Also. Note that because I think it's always easier to read LOOONG posts if they have pictures, my pictures will be randomly placed as I tell her story...
The week of August 4th was a busy one for our household. Out of all weeks, this was the week that I knew would be difficult to arrange if our baby girl decided to come on her own. I had previously been scheduled for a c-section on August 13th, and as uncomfortable as I was...I knew it would easiest for our family if this baby stayed "cooking" until then.
Children have a plan of their own.
On Wednesday August 7th, I woke up to some pretty intense contractions. I had been feeling contractions on and off for the past week. But I knew they were Braxton Hicks. Wednesday morning, that changed. These became crampy, and painful. They would take my breath away.
I didn't say much to anyone...after all, I didn't want to be the girl who cried wolf! So I just endured them. Kept an eye on the clock to notice if they were getting closer together. By afternoon, they had become about 10-12 minutes apart. But I wasn't sure when the on-call doctor (my doc was out of town) would want me to come in with the risk of uterine rupture and all. So I made a call.
The nurse called me back almost immediately. She told me to head over to labor and delivery, they wanted to monitor me.
Luckily, Jason was home by this point. He called his mom to come be with the other kids as I packed a hospital bag...just in case. On our way out the door, I stopped for one last pregnant-selfie...
I sent a quick text to my parents (they were vacationing on their annual Lake Powell trip) and we headed over to the hospital.
Once we arrived, they put me in an evaluation room, hooked me up to monitors and told me to sit tight for an hour. By the time the hour was up, the contractions were coming about every 8 min. The nurse paged the doctor to decide what to do....but I had a feeling our baby was coming that night.
The nurse came back to inform us they were prepping for surgery and within 15 minutes I had an IV, antibiotics on board, name bands, had met the doctor on call who was to perform the surgery, was gowned up, and ready to walk to the OR. They took me back first, had Jason wait in the eval room all bunny-suited up and said they would call for him after I received my spinal.
I was nervous. Sure, this was my 4th baby...and my 3rd c-section. But I was scared. I remembered all too well the puking that happened after both my other c-sections. Imagine puking for hours and hours and HOURS after having your abdomen cut open. I would get so sick that I couldn't even open my eyes to see my babies. I started to tear up just thinking of what was to come.
As I entered the OR, the anesthesiologist came in to talk to me. Hands down, best anesthesiologist I've ever had. I told him my concern about getting so sick. He sat and talked things through with me. Eventually, we decided to forgo the morphine in my spinal. He cautioned me that I would feel more pain, but hoped it would help me not to get so sick. I told him I would take the pain every day over the 10+ hours of throwing up. And I'm happy to say, it worked! I felt amazing during and after the c-section. No sickness. Thank you Mr. Anesthesiologist for making this go-around the best yet!
Once Jason came in, he took the obligatory photos and I was told surgery was about to start.
As the doctor began, things seemed great. I kept asking Jason if she (the doctor) was getting close to the uterus. He couldn't tell. I listened to the staff tell stories and find suitable "birthing music" on their iphones. I wasn't throwing up. Things were great!
Then. I could tell something changed. I could tell something was wrong. The doctor kept asking the anesthesiologist if the table could drop any further. He told her it was as low as it goes. (She asked another 3 or 4 times.) I looked up at Jason to gauge what was happening. I couldn't tell. I was told to brace myself for some pressure...that was an understatement. I literally felt as if I had both doctors kneeling up on the table on top of me pulling me open. Tugging and yanking, more asking to drop the table. This wasn't normal. This wasn't the same "pressure" I felt in previous c-sections. Something was wrong.
I heard the doctor who was assisting say "I can't get her, I can't get a grip on her." The entire table shook. Hard. This was the point I was really wishing for MY doctor...you know, the one I had to say good-bye to, Dr. C. This doctor ended up being very calm and great, but I trust Dr. C, he knew me.
Jason said afterwards that they literally were on top of me, pulling my stomach open wider...and fast.
Everything happened so fast. They were yelling for the nurse to get the vacuum ready. I looked to my left and saw them hooking everything up. As they ran it over, the doctor said she didn't need it. I could feel as they took Madison from my belly and waited for her to cry. Nothing.
I knew sometimes it takes babies a little bit to become stimulated and release that first scream. I told Jason..."make sure you get pictures." (He kind of forgot he was on camera duty with Connor.) But I didn't realize all that was happening in that moment.
Normally, when I've delivered c-section babies in the past, the doctor will hold the baby above the blue screen for a second to let me get a peek. I'll hear the baby cry. None of that happened this time.
Jason and I have always had an agreement...he is to always go with the baby. No matter if I'm sick and throwing up, no matter what....he promised me he would always go with the baby. This time was no different.
I kept watching Jason for a clue as to how serious things were. I could see the worry begin to grow in his eyes. He quickly bent over, kissed my forehead and was gone. That's about the time I heard the doctor say, "keep listening mom...you should hear a cry anytime now."
I could feel the situation get serious. I looked up to now watch the anesthesiologist who was no longer paying attention to me. Instead, he was intensely focused on what was happening with my baby. That is when I felt the tears well up.
Silently I sat with hot tears rolling out of my eyes and I looked to the door and saw the code team rushing in. I couldn't talk. I couldn't swallow. I had no idea how bad it was. My doctor was staying calm, taking care of me. But my world was spinning. I just wanted to hear my baby cry.
I watched as 4 staff (who I now know was the neonatologist, and NICU nurses) ran in, with another 5 out in the hall gowning up.
I felt helpless. I felt alone. I prayed.
Jason later told me that he was basically dancing from side to side as they all rushed around, trying not to get in anyone's way. He described how her little body was completely limp, no muscle tone at all. She was completely blue, not breathing. Her APGAR was a 2. Not good. (Again, I had no idea of any of this...just that something was wrong.)
Finally, after what felt like an eternity, I heard the soft sound of what I thought was a cry. I looked up and asked the anesthesiologist...'was that her?' He looked down to see my tear streaked face and nodded.
Things from that point got incredibly better. She gave us quite the scare those first 5 minutes of life. I will never forget the feeling I had, being strapped to a table...uncertain about what was happening, not able to help. It was one of the worst feelings I've ever experienced.
It was about this time that Jason came over and explained they were taking her downstairs, she needed an IV placed for fluids. I asked if I could see her first. He brought her over to me for a quick kiss and she was on her way.
(My first glance at my poor bruised baby)
Not quite the birthing experience I hoped for.
I stayed upstairs for about an hour in recovery. Jason was downstairs with our new baby. I hated it. Finally, I wasn't sick after a c-section...yet I STILL couldn't hold my baby. I sat in my recovery room alone, tearing up. Worried.
(Before they took her away...)
I thought I was handling things pretty well until my parents called. They had no idea all that was happening. Jason simply sent a picture with her weight after they got her breathing. When my mom called to ask how she was, I choked up. I couldn't even get the words out. Finally I explained that I didn't know, she wasn't with me. I hadn't even seen her yet. Oh how my heart ached.
(Getting fluids through her little IV...man I'd hate to be the nurse that had to place them in babies!)
My nurse finally got a clue and allowed my bed to be wheeled downstairs. I was able to hold Madison's little foot (that's all I could reach) for the first time. She looked like she had been through a war. Her poor face was bruised, all up her ear and head. But, she was peaceful. She was perfect.
The pediatrician came to talk to me, explained that 'something strange happened from the time I was being monitored before the c-section to delivery.' It was unusual to have a delivery like this when the strip she was being monitored on looked so great just an hour before. (In my head, I said a silent prayer...I was SO thankful they didn't opt to send me home earlier...heaven only knows what the outcome could have been!)
After Madison got the fluids, she began to perk up. Things were looking good. They opted to keep her IV in, just in case. But felt she was doing much better than before. I was taken to my room and told they would bring my baby to me when she was done being monitored.
Again, I was frustrated. But understood. I was just anxious. I wanted my baby!
Finally, about 10pm that night I got to hold my baby for the first time. The NICU nurse was so cute, trying to teach me about safety and go over everything with me....I couldn't tell you a thing she said, I was just ACHING to get my hands on my baby girl!
(FINALLY, getting my hands on my baby!)
Words can't describe how relieved I was to hold her, and nurse her! I have to be honest, I was a bit worried about bonding with this little lady where she wasn't planned and I had a hard time getting excited about the pregnancy because I was so overwhelmed. I can assure you, bonding was no issue:
Daddy was proud as can be, and I finally was willing to hand her over to him. (Not going to lie, I didn't want to let her go once she was finally in my arms!)
Shortly after they brought me Madi Jo, our 3 other children were brought to the hospital. I probably should have recorded their excitement, it was electric! Since Mikayla is the oldest, she had the privilege of being the first to hold her sister...
The girls kept 'ohh-ing' and 'ahh-ing' over her, it was fantastic!
Kaitlyn couldn't stop grinning at her. She didn't want to even look up for a picture...
And Bubba. My sweet Bubba, he sat by me the entire time. Once Madison was brought over he kept saying 'hi baby' over and over again! He instantly fell in love with her, we all did!
It was an emotional night, and one I don't think I'll forget. I can't say how grateful I am that everything turned out beautifully. And now, we are a family of 6....whoa!