My “first” Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to YOU and Yours!

I always loved Mother’s Day as a kid. I loved celebrating my mom and the other special women in my life, but also Mother’s Day falls in late Spring, when school is almost out, and pools are about to open! Growing up on Mother’s Day in my family we celebrated my mom, my aunt Elaine, Gram, and our JoJo (nanny of just about 30 yrs now). Our celebrations usually included mass and then heading over to my grandmother’s house for lunch as a BIG (there were a lot of us) family. I had such phenomenal “mom” role models growing up, so it’s not at all surprising that I am so obsessed with being one myself.

Yesterday while Lenny napped I slipped away to visit my Aunt Lainie’s resting place (I’m writing to you from my parent’s house in Ohio btw!). It’s something that I do almost every trip home, and as I gave her the usual rundown of life and our family, I of course wished her a happy Mother’s Day. Lainie suffered from a severe chronic illness that required hundreds of surgeries. She wasn’t able to have biological children and adoption was almost certainly out of the question since her illness was chronic, and life threatening at times (things were very different then too…). My mom said that when they were little Lainie was the mommy when they played house. She had always dreamt of being a mom, and her illness deprived her of making her dream a reality. My mom and my aunt were best friends, so when my mom had kids it was very natural for her to share us with my aunt. My aunt lived directly across the street from us, and I really don’t have many memories from childhood that don’t feature her. Every Mother’s Day we celebrated her right alongside my mom. My aunt was into hair, makeup, concerts, New York City, red lipstick, and puppies. She was a true girl’s girl, and that was great since even though my mom is girly for sure, she wasn’t the pro in these areas like my aunt. Missing her is part of my everyday life, but on special days like Mother’s Day she is especially missed. I know that she would be (or is I guess!) over the moon for Lenny, and he will grow up learning all about the amazing woman that she was and the important role that she played in raising his own mommy.

I have quite a few pregnant mommies in my life at the moment, and thinking of them today made me think of last Mother’s Day. In reflecting I got to thinking- and I kept repeating in my head on my first Mother’s Day we did this, this, and this…. . Then a little later that day I was wish wished a “Happy First Mother’s Day, Meghan!” upon departing the local convenient store. Then I started thinking- is this my first Mother’s Day? When does one officially become a Mom?

When a mom is first pregnant she usually doesn’t find out about the little soul that’s budding inside of her until she’s let’s say 4-5 weeks pregnant. I found out at around this time too. I remember taking the pregnancy test so vividly now. I had read that taking the test first thing in the morning was best from an accuracy standpoint, so I laid the test out on top of the toilet seat so that I wouldn’t forget to do it first thing in the morning. We were staying in a hotel in Warren, Ohio, since it was Thanksgiving morning and we were set to spend the day with our families. As I “performed the test” I already knew deep down that it would be positive, I just had this feeling! As soon as the double lines started to show I couldn’t believe what was happening, yet I knew that I was pregnant… weird but you get it right? The rest of the day is sort of a blur in my memory. My little baby growing inside of me was ALL I could think about. My husband and I decided not to share our news with our family just yet, but I had so many thoughts racing through my mind. “What at Thanksgiving is safe to eat?”, “I heard cheese is bad?”, “What about turkey? This isn’t turkey lunch meat soo..”. Thank God for Google! (Google is great sometimes….)

That same day a friend shared the heartbreaking news that she had lost her baby during pregnancy. I remember so clearly feeling a newfound part of my heart break for her. It was an aching pain I had never felt before, a gut wrenching feeling imagining what my dear friend was going through. In no way am I trying to say I had/have any idea how she was feeling, I just understood on a new level that there really could be nothing worse that could happen to me than losing this baby that I already loved SO much. It had been less than 24 hours since we learned that our little one was on his way, but within that short time my life was already changed forever.

By the end of the night lying in bed with my husband I was an emotional mess. I guess I was scared of the feelings I was already having for our baby. The panic had set in. I had drank alcohol just a week ago! I had colored my hair, eaten sushi in the last few days, and had missed a prenatal vitamin! Kurt did his best to assure me that most everyone probably does these things before finding out they are pregnant and not to worry, but I couldn’t help myself. A new chamber in my heart had formed and I began to feel a new type of love, along with a new debilitating type of worry. The minute a woman decides to nurture the little one growing inside of her (which is a life long obligation that she takes on I might add) I would argue she becomes a mother.

Throughout pregnancy mommies make decisions and sacrifices without a second thought, all for the baby that they growing and have not officially met yet. Pregnancy is HARD. I had a really great pregnancy symptom wise, and I still found it extremely difficult. I would say the swelling was the worst of my physical symptoms. From my toes to my nose was swollen from about 5 months on. Other moms that I know suffer from life disrupting nausea, insomnia, high blood pressure, bed rest orders, and more during pregnancy. I was lucky to have very few symptoms, but I know that if I had more they would have been the last thing on my mind, baby first.

This isn’t my “first” Mother’s Day, but it’s ok if you wish me one! I appreciate any and all celebration of this role that I am blessed to be tasked with for the rest of my life. However, I do encourage you to wish all of the pregnant moms in your life a Happy Mother’s Day as well. I have 3 very close pregnant friends and they were the first mommies I thought of to text this morning. It is such an exciting day that they can imagine spending holding their little ones in their arms next year. The anticipation that comes along with pregnancy is a magical gift. I often found myself day dreaming of holidays and birthdays to come while pregnant. I am happy to report the real life experiences are even better than the ones I could dream up! 🙂

This is my first Mother’s Day with my baby by my side, and I will selfishly hog him all day since it’s my day. That is all I want! Len actually came down with his first stomach bug just a day ago, and has a fever for the first time. He only wants his mommy, and I am JUST FINE with that. This morning my husband and I got to snuggle with Len in bed from 6-8 with Stella at our feet. It was heavenly after not seeing Kurt since Monday (he got in to Ohio last night), and I got to kiss my mom on Mother’s Day before she headed out to teach in the weekend pharmacy program in Pittsburgh. We celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday with my family, complete with a gourmet dinner prepared by my little Brother Luke and my sister in law to be Carolien. It was really special getting to celebrate this day with my mom, and I was SO grateful that she got to help me cope and treat Lenny’s first fever. We had dessert compliments of my brother Drew who couldn’t be here due to business, we took an after dinner walk, and Kurt and I played a game of “horse”. Kurt remarked that it was like a little date for us! I love showing off any sort of athletic skills that I have to Kurt. Growing up with two brother’s means I am pretty good at most sports, except football. I am only good at holding the ball for punt practice… thanks, Drew!

I hope that your Mother’s Day is the best yet! Whether it is your “first” or first! May you feel just how much you are valued, loved, and honored for holding life’s most rewarding title- Mom.

xoxo

Meghan

 

 

 

 

Lennox’s Birth Story Part 2

Upon arriving at the hospital, we went to the third floor, Labor and Delivery. Mount Sinai had done away with their hospital tours when I was around 6 months pregnant, so on our practice runs to the hospital we had only visited the check in area once. I had no idea how things looked inside, it really wasn’t something I was worried about. If you are to deliver at MSE there is a virtual tour online now, but if you would like to have a visit- I would speak with your doctor. Ours told us that he could arrange for a visit if I really wanted to, we just never got around to it.

Giving birth in NYC is its own experience in and of it itself, and I don’t mean a luxurious one. Again, this is one of those its own post topics. While the healthcare in the City is top-notch, the space is VERY limited. In all of the NYC proper hospitals, you can expect to have a roommate after you deliver your baby. That’s right, you are not entitled to a private room after you give birth. You have to get on a list for a private room after birth and pay upwards of $800.00 a day, and that’s if you’re lucky and there is space for a private room. This REALLY bothered me at first, the whole uncertainty of getting a private room to recover in and spend those first precious moments with my baby and husband. In some of the hospitals, if you don’t get a private room, your husband has to leave at 11PM and come back in the morning. I cannot imagine that! However, there was really nothing I could do, and I had faith that if we couldn’t get a private room right after birth, we would be able to get one the next day.

After checking in, the receptionist led us in through big double doors that led onto the Labor and Delivery unit. We were immediately seated on a wooden bench in the hallway and instructed to fill out our paper work and wait for the doctor from my practice that was on call to come and speak with us. When we scheduled my induction, I knew who would be the doctor on call the evening that we checked in and then there would be another doctor that came on mid Monday during the shift change. It was most likely that I would deliver later in the day on Monday (or so I thought) so it looked like Dr. M would be there for my induction, but Dr. B would deliver our baby. There are 6 doctors that deliver on rotation at my practice and I had met 5 of them and really liked every single one. The one doctor I hadn’t met, Dr. B was set to be on call Monday through Tuesday morning. I was a bit anxious not having met Dr. B, but I was assured by my favorite nurse at the doctor’s office that he was her favorite, and I was sure to love him. If you are an NYC mom and think that we share the same doctors and would like to chat please send me a message. Trust me, I scoured the internet too looking for reviews of Dr. B, since I didn’t get to meet him beforehand. Even if you are just shopping for an OB practice in the City feel free to message me because I highly recommend them. I needed to switch practices at 24 weeks and they were so wonderful to me and we were thrilled with their care.

Back to the story! As we waited in the hallway, two different couples passed us. Each seemed to be trying to move labor along by walking it out. Both husbands pulled the IV poles along as the mommies held their bellies and waddled down the hall. I couldn’t help but imagine that would be Kurt and me very soon! Three different nurses made jokes with us while we waited, along the lines of “moving in huh?”, regarding how much stuff we had brought with us. I didn’t care, I wanted to be as comfortable as possible during our stay, and I had heard that the hospital pillows sucked! We brought our own plus a nursing pillow. Dr. M cheerfully joined us (there was no room for him on the bench) and we started to game plan for induction. The first question Dr. M had for me was do you plan on getting an epidural? I said “YES” right away. He said since I definitely planned for an epidural I could have that first, that way I could have the balloon catheter inserted to open my cervix pain free. I asked if the catheter hurt, since I had planned to have my epidural after 4 centimeters. I had read that epidurals can prolong labor, and at this point that was the last thing I wanted. Dr. M said that it was not true that epidurals prolong labor, if anything it would help me to relax and sleep through the night which would be the perfect setting for my cervix to dilate with the help of the catheter and the pitocin to induce contractions. Dr. M then answered the other part of my question, and said the balloon catheter was uncomfortable for some, but ok for others. I had read about this too, and everything that I had read pointed to painful for most. I opted for the epidural first thing, and Dr. M led us to our labor and delivery room.

My first nurse during labor (we had 3) met us in the delivery room and set me up with my hospital gown and a glass of water. She told me that I should try to go to the bathroom (number 2) now because after the epidural I would be required to stay in bed until after I had the baby and the epidural was taken out. Next, she placed my IV, and set up the fetal heart rate monitor strap on my belly. Much to our surprise the monitor showed I was having regular contractions! I was so excited by this, and of course started to feel them more and more as I could seem them happening. I think that the leaking I had experienced during my blow out really was amniotic fluid, although at this point my water hadn’t completely broken. During our conversation with Dr. M I forgot to mention that he said he would wait to check my cervix for dilation until after the epidural was administered, since it had been a painful experience in the doctor’s office a few weeks before. He was quickly becoming my favorite person ever.

Finally, it was time for nurse 1 to get me all set up in the computer system with my height, weight, and a few seriously weird questions that I was not expecting, but they are routine for admission to the floor. The questions were like “Do you currently feel safe?” and “Would you consider your situation a safe one at home?”. The nurse asked if I would like my husband to leave the room before answering, when I answered “No” with a puzzled look on my face, she explained to us that they have to ask those questions, it was nothing personal. I have read my fair share of hospital experience posts and I have never heard of this line of questions. I wonder if this is a Mt. Sinai thing or it generally happens at all hospitals?

The question about my weight is one that I had planned to answer for weeks now. It is important that they have an accurate weight for the epidural dosage (I guess?), so in your later appointments at the OB’s office they are vocal about letting you know your weight. Late in my second trimester and into my third I started to not look at the scale during my doctor’s visits, as it was really starting to upset me. By my third trimester I had already gained almost 60 pounds and I really felt out of control of my weight gain and was advised to see a nutritionist. I kept a food diary for a week and the nutritionist evaluated my intake and basically told me to keep eating exactly what I was eating but add extra almond milk to my diet because it turned out I wasn’t getting enough calcium. She explained that some women’s body’s react differently to pregnancy and that was likely the case with me. My metabolism had completely halted, yet I was still eating my usual amount of calories. She said that she expected my weight gain to plateau. She was right because in total I ended up gaining 72lbs (I found this out at my 6th week postpartum appointment when I asked). She made me feel a lot better when she explained that in her experience with cases like mine, when the mom breastfed her baby, most lost all of the weight completely within the first year of my baby’s life. I am happy to report she was right! Expect much more on this later :).

Excessive weight gain during pregnancy can be a sign of gestational diabetes which can be dangerous for both mom and baby. In my 28th week of pregnancy I had my glucose test. I had to go straight to the diagnostic 3 hour test because of my weight gain, but I passed with flying colors. However, I decided I did not want to know how much weight I was gaining from then on out, since it was not good for my mental health, and I surely did NOT want my husband to be keeping track in his head either. So what I did (and I totally recommend this if you are struggling mentally with preggo weight gain) was starting at my 36th week appointment when I was seeing the doctor weekly, I closed my eyes while on the scale and I had the nurse write my current weight on a little piece of paper at each appointment. When I got home I would put the piece of paper in my hospital bag in preparation for this very moment, to hand to my labor and delivery nurse so she would have it for my epidural. When the nurse asked me my weight I asked Kurt to hand me my glasses case. I had put my latest weight note inside there for safe keeping, folded of course so neither Kurt or I could see the number. I handed the folded piece of paper to nurse 1, she laughed a little and I explained what it was. She told me that it was a brilliant idea! She entered my weight and kept the note to hand over to the anesthesiologist so that he wouldn’t need to ask me as well. DONE! The next thing I knew the anesthesia team was knocking at the door and it was epidural time!

During my whole pregnancy the part of labor I was most dreading was the epidural. The thought of a giant needle going into your back whilst having contractions sounded just about unbearable to me. The doctor came in and had me sit on side of the bed. He thoroughly cleaned my back and covered the lower part of it with the orange hued surgical sterilizing solution. My husband was allowed to stay in the room! I was really excited about this. I read hundreds of birth stories during my pregnancy, and it seems like it depends on the hospital when it comes to if your partner can stay while you get the epidural. I was thankful that Kurt could hold my hand, and the nurse held my shoulders. She had me curl my stomach and arch my back around a pillow that I was holding, and she held my shoulders completely straight. Everyone in the room including my husband had to wear surgical hair nets, and it was just about epidural time when my husband asked the question “I’m sorry doctor, before we do this- are you the attending, fellow, or resident anesthesiologist?” The doctor replied that he was a resident. Now, before anyone get’s on their high horse and tells me “residents are better than attendings because they do these procedures more regularly” etc. etc. ….I’ll save you from typing I guess. This is a very personal decision. We were taught in our birthing class that we had a choice when it came to who administered our epidural, checked our cervix, handled our baby. I am about to have a GIANT needle inserted into my spine- do I want the resident who has been doing epidurals for a year or two to do this? Or do I want the attending or fellow who has been administering them for 5+ years and is the one who TEACHES the resident how to do them? I rest my case. The resident doctor handled Kurt’s question really well and said “No problem! I will get the attending right away”. I was really grateful for Kurt in that moment, though I’m sure if the resident did my epidural it would have been fine. I was so wrapped up in what was about to happen that I forgot to ask this important question regarding my care, but my husband had my back (literally).

The attending anesthesiologist came in and due to the brief lapse in time since my back was cleaned for the procedure they had to start over. They got me cleaned up again, and back into position. The doctor pressed on my back with his finger and told me to expect a little poke then a pinch right there, this would be the numbing medicine. I felt the pinch and the poke just as he described, it was really less painful than a flu shot. After that I felt nothing! Just some pressure and then a cool sensation down the side of one of my legs. It felt like ice water was being poured internally, it was bizarre. After that there was just the taping of the catheter in place (they don’t leave the needle in there or anything) and I was helped back into a comfortable position in the hospital bed. The doctor showed me how to use the top off button, which you can push every so often to add a little more medication to your epidural if you are feeling less comfortable. I was ecstatic at how painless and easy the epidural was! Within 30 minutes the epidural had completely taken away the feeling of the contractions I had been having, but I could still feel my legs and move them just fine. I was equally “numb” on both sides, and the cold icy feeling I had been feeling only on one side was gone. I did shake a little bit within the first 15 minutes after the procedure was finished, but I was told that it was normal.

At this point it was 2:30A.M. and Dr. M came to visit us to check my cervix and to insert the balloon catheter. Ladies….all modesty goes out the window during labor. In order to check my cervix Dr. M had me put my legs in a froggy position, legs bent to either side and the heels of my feet touching. When he checked my cervix I felt NOTHING, oh that epidural is amazing. Dr. M told us that I was already 3cm dilated, so I would not need the balloon catheter! He checked my contractions which were strong but not as frequent as he would like, so he ordered the smallest dose of pitocin to start. We were advised to try and sleep as soon as my catheter (bladder one) was placed, and that he would visit us at 7:00 A.M. to check me and probably break my water. Nurse 1 came to our room soon there after and Kurt was already asleep on his little pullout cot. The nurse had me get into that frog like position again and we talked about our dogs while she inserted my catheter LOL. Again, this was painless because of the epidural I felt nothing at all. When that was finished it was about 3:30 and I really did try to sleep but I was way too excited!

At around 7:30 A.M. (it’s now August 8th) Dr. M came to see us and check my progress. The pitocin was working great. I was having strong regular contractions, and the baby’s heart rate showed that he was tolerating them very well. I was just over 3cm still so Dr. M decided to break my water to speed things up. This too was painless! They set up a special water breaking set of paper sheets. Dr. M broke my water with a ruler looking tool and Nurse 2 cleared away the special sheets that absorbed it all. After that, it  was like nothing ever happened! Nurse 1 had gone home at the shift change, so I had a new nurse now, Nurse 2. I asked Dr. M when he thought the baby would get here at this rate, and he explained that it’s a marathon not a race. He said his educated guess would say early evening, and that he expected the pace to pick up once I got past the 4cm mark. He suggested we try to relax and enjoy the view. Since it was light out at this point Kurt and I got to see the view from our delivery room. It was a gorgeous view of Central Park, a really great spot for people watching. Kurt decided to hit up Starbucks for breakfast and also grab lunch just in case. FYI girlfriends delivering at MSH there is a Starbucks on 96th and Madison, and you are allowed to have “clear” liquids here. Clear liquids mean anything that you can see thru, but it doesn’t actually have to be clear in color. This meant I was allowed to have my green tea! I was very excited about this, since I get headaches if I don’t have just a little caffeine in the morning. They said that a little caffeine was fine to have during labor. As far as food goes while in labor you are stuck with jello…which I refused to eat. While Kurt headed out to get food I called my mom to give her a status update and to check on Stella. My mom didn’t sleep at all! Instead she cleaned our whole apartment and she was dying to join us in the hospital. I told her to come on over, but I let her know she would likely be making another trip home and back before baby would actually be here. She was fine with that!

The next few hours were really uneventful, except I got to meet Dr. B for the first time. Dr. M brought Dr. B in to meet us before he left to go home and sleep before coming on to the floor again in less than 24 hours. Dr. B made a great first impression and it’s so weird but I felt like I had known him for a long time. Turns out that Dr. B is from Indiana (Midwest is best!) and he is a huge Cubs fan. Kurt and Dr. B bantered back and forth about baseball and talked about the Cavs recent win and I was at ease. Dr. M gave me a high-five and told me “you’ve got this!”. Dr. B said we’d wait a few hours to check my cervix unless I was feeling any differently, just let my nurse know. We would also be gradually increasing the pitocin.

Within an hour of the pitocin increase I started to really feel the contractions and the top off button was not helping… at all. I started to panic a bit! Was my epidural wearing off? Was it time to push and my epidural had quit working? I was scared.. Dr. B checked me and I was now 4cm dilated. He had the anesthesiologist come back and administer manually more of the epidural concoction to my line. I could feel that cool like sensation again but way more subtle. Within 5 minutes I was almost pain-free again and I was really grateful! Calming down and processing that I was only 4 centimeters really discouraged me. It was now around noon and I was only 1cm further dilated with about 8 hours of pitocin. My mom tried to take my mind off of things and we chatted a bit. Around 2:00 she headed back to our apartment, and we promised to call her to come back over to the hospital when I was 7cms dilated. It is a quick 10 minute trip during non-rush hour times from our West Side apartment to the hospital.

At this point I was exhausted, hungry, and restless from being stuck in bed since 1 AM the morning before. It was now about 8PM and we were closing in quick on 24 hours of labor. I knew that I would have to have Lenny before the 24 hour mark of having my water broken. That was at 7:30 in the morning though, so I had at least 10 hours of “trying” to have the baby vaginally ahead of me and it seemed like an eternity. I caved and ate some jello… I was that desperate. As we were sitting there watching my contractions and Lenny’s heartbeat, I noticed that it was in the 80’s instead of the high 90’s and low 100’s, which seemed to be his normal range. Before I could vocalize this to Kurt to my horror his heart rate continued to drop and immediately 10 people came rushing into our tiny room. They asked Kurt to move away from my bedside as an oxygen mask was being forced onto my face and nurse Meredith (who was nurse #3 that we had in L&D and was an absolute God send) pressed the heart rate monitor attached to my belly looking for a better read of baby’s heartbeat. Dr. B ordered that they stop trying to give me oxygen as it has been shown to have no effect on baby’s hear beat. The room was tense and every second seemed like it took 10 minutes to pass. Dr. B told me that he needed to reposition the baby right this second since his heart rate was not varying in the way they like to see. In the mean time he said that the team would begin prepping me for an emergency C-Section in the event the baby’s heart rate didn’t rebound after he repositioned him. I watched as Dr. B literally put his hand up there and turn the baby (I swear from my vantage point it was up to his elbow, but Kurt disagrees lol). I could feel him turn the baby but it was not painful due to my epidural. Lenny had been in the favorable face down position ready to be delivered for the last few weeks of my pregnancy, and he remained that way up until Dr. B had to move him in hopes of leveling his heart rate. Dr. B had no choice but to turn Lenny face up (not to be confused with head up as in breach) and as soon as he did this Lenny’s heart rate was back up and fluctuating in the healthy fashion that they like to see during labor. Crisis averted it seemed, and the room calmed down a bit. Dr. B explained that sometimes after so many hours of pitocin a baby can start to show signs of distress, in our situation by way of a low irregular heartbeat. It seemed like the change in position had taken Lenny out of distress, but they would be closely monitoring me, and if it happened again I would head straight for an emergency C-Section. He assured me that they could have Lenny out in as little as 5 minutes, since I already had my epidural in and working properly. Dr. B wanted to wait at least another hour or two in order to see if I kept dilating before going the C-Section route, but we had to dial down the pitocin because it was clear that the current dose was not agreeing with the baby.

After this whole episode it wasn’t surprising that I was now 5cm dilated (remember his whole arm was up there so…). I was an absolute MESS and sobbed as we watched Lenny’s heartbeat which was now normal, but we were terrified that it would drop again and something could happen to our baby that we already loved so so much. Kurt called my mom and told her that she should definitely come back. Within 30 minutes of Lenny being turned I started to experience the most intense agonizing pain I have ever felt in my life. I was experiencing what they call back labor due to Lenny’s now posterior position, and I could not form a sentence let alone think straight. Dr. B came to check on us and explained that if Lenny were born “sunny side up” that it would be like adding a pound and a half to two pounds on to him, since it is not the ideal way for the baby to come through the birth canal and out of the vagina. I begged for a C-Section on the spot (remember we did not want to use “tools” during delivery and this was looking more and more like a situation where they would be required). Dr. B reasoned with me and said that his heart rate looked completely normal and that he wanted to wait at least an hour or two to see if I would dilate further. He said that after the 4-5cm mark things usually progress quickly and he was still hopeful we could have a baby born vaginally by midnight or so. In regards to my pain he said he would send in the anesthesia team to see what they could do. I calmed down internally a bit but I really couldn’t talk because I was in so much pain. I will never forget the way Kurt clutched my hand so tightly as we hung on to every word that the doctor said. The minutes still felt like hours and I knew deep down a vaginal delivery was not in the cards for us and I was ok with that.

The anesthesiologist was a different one than the night prior and I recognized her as one of the people in the room during the emergency heart rate situation we had a few hours prior. She introduced herself as Elaine, and in that moment I remember thanking God in my head for sending me an “Elaine”. Elaine was my late aunt’s name (she was a nurse herself!) and it is my middle name. My aunt went by “Lanie” and she is the reason we decided on the name Lennox. “Lenny” rolls of my tongue in such a loving familiar way, just like Lanie does, I feel like Lenny is the boy version of Lanie. I perked up a bit listening to Dr. Elaine tell me that she thought I was experiencing back labor and she would give me the max amount of epidural that she could give, however I would probably not be able to feel my legs anymore and it could make pushing more difficult. She also noted that in some cases epidurals do not take the edge off of back labor at all, sort of like back labor is immune to epidurals. I of course told her I didn’t care about the whole not feeling my legs thing, and I just wanted relief from the pain. The best way I can describe the pain now is it was like an ax chucking away at my lower back every 5 seconds. It was an extreme pain that seemed to radiate before starting back up again, and it really made me question if I was going to survive this whole ordeal. It didn’t make me scream or anything like that, it just really halted all of my abilities. I felt like any sort of movement even opening my eyes would make it worse. I got the epidural top off and was advised it could take a half hour to feel relief.

Relief never came and poor Kurt flagged down Dr. Elaine three more times in the next hour to check on me. Dr. Elaine said she would speak to Dr. B and would be right back. They both came back to our room and Dr. B said that since we were nearing 27 hours of labor and the fact that I hadn’t progressed anymore than 5cms in the last 3-4 hours that he felt that it was time to consider a C-Section. I have never been more relieved in my life, and I begged to go right away. Dr. B explained there were 2 emergency C-Sections being conducted and they had to keep an operating room open for an emergency, so I would have to wait around 45 minutes. At this point I was dry heaving and throwing up from the pain I suppose, and waiting 45 minutes seemed impossible. Dr. Elaine said she would give me the 1/2 of the C-Section epidural medicine and then the other 1/2 right before the operation so that I could have relief while I waited. The medicine did help while we waited for an operating room, but I could still feel the pain and continued to have extreme nausea. I was comfortable opening my eyes for the first time in hours and I was able to talk with Kurt and my mom during those last few moments before becoming a family of 3. The pitocin was turned off yet my contractions continued routinely. I am convinced that I would have never delivered Lenny vaginally, his size and my size just didn’t allow for it. Now reflecting on these crucial moments I am so thankful for modern medicine. I don’t think I would be here with out it.

About an hour later it was our turn! We were about to meet our son. Kurt was instructed to pack up all of our stuff and take it to a locker in the recovery area where the THREE of us (Lenny, me, and Kurt) would head after the surgery before going to our room on the maternity floor. Dr. B stopped by one more time before they wheeled me to the operating room, and I asked him if my mom could also join us in the C-Section, it is standard that your partner is the only one allowed. Dr. B said it would be fine with him as the surgeon but we had to clear it with the anesthesiologist. Kurt got Dr. Elaine’s attention and she said that she had no problem with it! I could see the relief wash over my mom’s face, and I thanked God again for one of these “gifts” he had been sending my way all night. I have never had a major medical procedure without my mom by my side, let alone surgery while awake. I know that Kurt was relieved too because with all that had gone on so far we both had leaned on my mom for reassurance. Nurse Meredith who is the most spectacular nurse I have ever met came in and prepared the “surgical area” for the procedure which required making sure I was properly shaven, that I take out my contacts, and remove all of my jewelery. I remember thinking wow the incision will be that low? Next stop, the Operating Room!

I don’t remember all of the procedure clearly. I do remember being wheeled in and moved from my hospital bed to the operating table. They put a drape up just below my boobs so that I couldn’t see what was going on. Dr. Elaine sat right next to my head on my left side and told me she was going to give me a whole new dose in my epidural of the C-Section medicine, and she expected it to make me nauseous since I had already been very queasy. She gave me a dose of anti-nausea medication through my IV and also taught me this cool trick which I will use as a nausea fix in my next pregnancy. She said if I started to feel like I was going to throw up to tell her and she would rub the space between my upper lip and my nose with an alcohol swab. This would take the nausea away. I didn’t really believe this because I had never heard such a thing, but she did it when I felt a wave of nausea and I promise it went away. My arms were outstretched on either side but not taped down. I was relieved, for some reason just the thought of being constrained like that really stressed me out. On my right side Dr. B was working away prepping cleaning off my stomach and telling me each thing he was doing, letting me know he was not cutting me open yet I guess. I looked at all of the tools and my heart rate spiked on the monitor. Dr. Elaine told me to calm down and take some deep breaths. They tested to make sure I was completely numb before they began. Dr. B poked and pinched my stomach to see if I felt pain. I felt no pain, but I could feel him touching me if that makes sense? This scared me but the team assured me that it was normal. Kurt and my mom were ushered in dressed like doctors themselves and it was time!

On my left sat Dr. Elaine and on my right was Kurt then my mom. Nurse Meredith was behind me narrating the whole procedure in a very PG-13 way so not to scare me but to let us know what was happening. Within 15 minutes of the start of the procedure Dr. B told me that I would feel some pressure on my chest as they pushed down to get the baby out. I felt mild pressure (it was not painful) and my body rocked involuntarily back and forth as they pulled Lenny out of me. At 4:17 A.M. on Tuesday August 9th Dr. B said “Meghan and Kurt have a look up!” and over the curtain we observed the most precious, wrinkly, bloody, angry little face I have ever seen. Kurt squeezed my hand so tight as we got the first glimpse of our son. William Lennox Weaver weighed 8 pounds 9 ounces and was 21 inches long. Nurse Meredith took Lenny from Dr. B to be cleaned up and invited Kurt and my mom to follow her. I am crying now as I type this, reminiscing at the thought of hearing his adorable first cries to my left and watching as they cleaned Lenny off as Kurt and my mom stood over him. The relief that washed over me was unlike anything I have ever felt before. It was like my body had as much as it could take and I just laid there with my eyes closed, tears streaming down my face, but feeling the most pure form of joy that exists.

My relief was short-lived when I heard Dr. B ask Dr. Elaine if she had any “x medication” to give to me. Dr. Elaine replied yes, and I opened my eyes to find her at my left arm. She said that my uterus was bleeding a bit more than they would like and she had to give me a shot in my arm to stop it. Now I was crying not from relief but from fear, and I watched Kurt and my Mom with Lenny thinking atleast I know he is ok! Almost instantly I could feel my uterus contracting but not in a painful way. The surgery continued in less of a panic than a few minutes prior and Kurt was now next to me with our precious boy.

Lenny wasn’t crying at all anymore and Kurt held him to me, we were cheek to cheek. I will never ever forget that feeling. It was like watching every point of my life come together to bring me to this moment, to be Lenny’s mom. I once again just closed my eyes and relished in the moment, pretty much unable to speak. As they stitched me up Kurt and my mom headed to the recovery area to put our name in for a private room, and Lenny and I remained in the operating room. Nurse Meredith put Lenny in a plastic bassinet next to me and I just stared at him and watched him slowly kick and move his tiny fists. I recognized every movement, as the little patterns I used to feel inside of me. It was the most surreal moment, while I was being operated on fully awake and watching my fresh to the world baby acclimate to life outside of my womb. I was moved from the operating table back to my hospital bed, Lenny was placed in my arms, and Dr. B and the resident physician wheeled me to the recovery room.

In recovery Kurt joined me and my mom kissed us goodbye. She needed to head home to be with Stella and she was happy to give us the proper alone time as a new family of 3. Nurse Meredith helped me to remove my hospital gown from my chest so we could do skin to skin as soon as possible. Lenny latched on right away with a little help and I remember being so thrilled, at least one part of my “birth plan” had gone as I had wanted it to! Meredith periodically for the next half an hour or so pressed on my uterus which was really really painful. I felt the blood and afterbirth gushing below me. They had placed several gauze like towels underneath me, and they were changed each time my uterus was pressed on. At this point the epidural had almost completely worn off, I had a new large incision in that area, and I hadn’t slept in over 30 hours. From the administration of my epidural two days prior through the birth of Lennox I had been in labor for 29 whole hours and I had not slept or eaten at all. Exhaustion doesn’t even begin to describe what my body was feeling, but I was able to rally and enjoy skin to skin time with Lenny and feeding him for the first time. Meredith showed me how to hand express colostrum just so we could see if anything would come out. Liquid gold immediately formed a droplet on her gloved finger, and she rubbed it in place on my nipple so that Lenny could smell it. Lenny continued to nurse for the next half an hour while our room was being set up. More good news came our way when we were notified that we got a private room, AND Dr. G (our AMAZING pediatrician) was there to check Lenny for the first time. It was procedure to call and “report a newborn” with Dr. G’s office, and Kurt had done that as soon as he exited the operating room. A few more things were successfully checked off of our birth plan!

Dr. G sat at the foot of the bed and examined Lenny. She said that he seemed perfect and that his heart and lungs sounded great. She noted that Lenny had scored a 9 on both of his Apgar tests, and that was the highest score that we could have received (this was a great thing!). Dr. G told us she would stop by later once we were in our room to check on us again, and we were so grateful for her prompt visit. Next it was time for the shift change so Meredith came to tell us goodbye and wished us luck. I thanked Meredith for her kindness and care. I will never ever forget her! It was then time for us to head to our room and as I was being wheeled down the hall holding little Len, Kurt walked ahead carrying all of our bags beaming as a new daddy. Dr. M was back as the on call doctor from our practice on L&D, he and Kurt high-fived and hugged as they passed each other. I was excited to introduce Lenny to Dr. M, it felt like SO MUCH had happened since he left our care in Dr. B’s hands less than 24 hours ago at that point.

We checked into our sun drenched room with a perfect view of Central Park and the two towers that I adore the most in the whole scape of New York City. We actually planned our engagement photos around those buildings, so the irony that we would be placed in a room with a stunning view of them was another little gift from God, letting us know that Lanie was watching over us. With a private room at Mt. Sinai there is room service and the culinary attendant visited to take our breakfast orders (that’s right daddies are included too!). I ordered pancakes and juice right away! The new nurse helped me into the bed in our room, it was the first time that I had stood in almost two days. I moved slowly, as I still had my IV attached as well as my urine catheter. I checked my cell phone for the first time in more than 15 hours. Kurt had made all of the necessary calls and texts as soon as Lenny was born, but my friends and family were all wondering what was going on and most importantly where were the pictures!? Lenny was in his quaint little hospital bassinet to my left with a baby blue card that read “Baby Weaver”.

As I waited for breakfast Kurt snored away on the cot set up next to my bed and Lenny napped basking in the first bit of sunlight that he had ever felt on his tiny face. Reminiscing now I think that is as close to heaven I will ever be before I actually get there. All of the pain, fear, and unbearable anxiety that came in the days leading up to August 9th were SO worth it. I would go through it all again 1,000 times over in order to bring Lennox Weaver into the world.

I think of this day often now, and I know I am forever changed by it. I am a different person, all for the better since becoming Lenny’s mom. He still has no idea how much we love him, but I intend to spend the rest of my life showing him. It is a feeling beyond what anyone was able to describe to me before I experienced it personally, so I won’t try to here… But it really is magic I believe, the bond between a mother and her baby. I will leave it at that.

Thank you for reading this oh SO long post about the best day of my life! I look forward to sharing more soon.

♡ Meghan

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Heaven blew every trumpet
And played every horn
On the wonderful, marvelous
Night you were born.

Lennox’s Birth Story Part 1

Lennox’s birth did not go exactly as I had imagined it would, but in its own way it was just perfect. My due date was August 6th, one day after my own birthday which I also share with my Uncle. I had artfully planned every little detail in the months leading up to our son’s arrival. For example, I had a complex about taking a cab or an Uber to the hospital, so we got a car. I had my bag packed and ready 5 weeks in advance of Lennox’s due date, I had Stella’s walks set and the dog walker all ready to go- just a quick call to execute a plan for her care for up to a week’s hospital stay. On a note pad I had my non-negotiable list hand written for during labor (you know in case I was so wound up in breathing through a contraction my husband could read my wishes… haha omg!). My mom was set to arrive 10 days before my due date via SouthWest airlines, but of course her ticket was able to be changed in the event I went into labor early- which it really never crossed my mind that I would go to my due date since Lenny measured in the 85th-95th percentile the entire pregnancy. We learned (although my doctors told me all along) that his size would likely NOT dictate whether or not we got to hold little Len in our arms sooner rather than later. They of course were right, mother nature hurries for no one.

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In my 38th week of pregnancy my doctor finally said he would check my cervix and I was REALLY excited. I found it odd that I hadn’t been checked before this point. My OB explained that the risk of infection was too great to start checking the cervix before the 38th week in the case of a FTM (first time mom), who was showing no symptoms of dilation or labor. He further said that the beginning dilation of the cervix usually doesn’t indicate whether labor is imminent or not. Some moms are dilated 1-3cms for weeks before they go into actual labor. Our bodies are fascinating, and I was SO excited, convinced really- that I would be at least 2-3cms dilated. I had been experiencing about a week’s worth of “lightning” in my cervix, random contractions, and bathroom issues… lol. The doctor had me lie back and told me to relax. Never for one second did I expect this to hurt (Missy G this is one thing you did not warn me about!) but much to my surprise I almost flew off of the exam table! I do not want to scare any mommies who are about to have this done, it wasn’t unbearable. I think the shock and the fact that I was 0 cm dilated made it painful. I looked over at Kurt for reassurance and he looked terrified. Now that I think about it, I don’t think he had ever seen me in pain before. When my doctor said “Ok we’re at 0 cm but your cervix does feel soft..” I wanted to slap him! I was sure he was joking, but he wasn’t. How could I be ZERO dilated? Feeling defeated I got dressed and Kurt and I headed to his office. Side note- I really love this about my OB’s practice. You have your physical exam in an exam room and then you get dressed and visit the doctor’s office. It lets you get to know your doctor better and I really looked forward to these 10-15 minutes chats every appointment.

The plan we came up with was to have a growth scan as planned in week 39 (if I went that long) and based on those images we would have a game plan. If the baby had gained over a pound and a half since my scan at 37 weeks where he was estimated at about 8 pounds, I could be eligible for a C-Section. I won’t lie, this was super appealing to me. Attempting to push a baby out with a head measuring in the 99th percentile didn’t sound like a can of worms I wanted to open. Other than the concern for my own body that birthing a large 9.5-10 pound baby brings, I worried about shoulder problems or the need for birthing assistance if I attempted a vaginal birth. That was on my “list’ of nonnegotiables during labor, I did not want forceps or the vacuum to be used. Kurt and I had decided we would prefer a C-Section above their use. Mommies and Daddies- you are allowed to decide these things ahead of time! I think one of my fav things that I learned in our birthing class (which is going to be a WHOLE post of it’s own) is the empowerment to take charge of your baby’s birth. It’s often that we feel controlled by our doctor’s, which to an extent I want my doctor in control for sure, but above all else it’s your body and your baby. In our birthing class the instructor taught us that it was best to have a birth plan, write it down, and decide your nonnegotiables. We did this and it helped to soothe the anxieties of delivery day SO much.

My 39th week appointment actually came rather quickly, and Kurt and I woke up bright and early to head across the city, we liked to be the first appointment of the morning. I highly recommend this! Not only for OB appointments, but for all doctors appointments. You are way less likely to have to wait for your appt. since the office isn’t backed up yet. This is especially important with your little baby at the pediatrician. If you schedule your appts. to be the first of the morning, you are way less likely to be sitting in the waiting room with your infant in tow with a bunch of sick kids (ahhhh!). Anyways, we had our scan with the imaging center first and found out that Baby Weaver’s estimated weight was now between 8.5 and 9.5 pounds, putting us in the 84th percentile. At the 85th percentile you become eligible for a planned C-Section. The pained/frowning/eyes wincing emoji would be just perfect to insert here. The ultrasound pro told us that baby had LOTS of hair that she could see, he was in perfect eject positions, and that it still did not appear that I was dilated at all. After consulting with our doctor we decided we would wait it out through the 39th week until the day after my due date. If I hadn’t gone into natural labor yet we would be induced on August 7th at 11PM! I instantly felt better with a date set, but I really hoped to still go naturally because I knew that I wasn’t eligible for an elected C-Section.

During my 39th week there were two days that Kurt almost stayed home from work because I was having pretty regular contractions 10 or so minutes apart. This would last for an hour or so, and then they would stop. I was averaging about 4 baths a day because I really only felt comfortable in warm water, and I was still feeling the “lightning” shock feeling in my cervix when I took more than just a few steps. I never lost my mucus plug, and we tried all of the traditional ploys to bring about labor. Spicy food, foot rubs, sex, walking, raspberry root tea, and more I’m sure. I had been getting a massage once a week since about 35 weeks, and I seriously considered upping it to everyday in the home stretch… like that was a realistic thought? LOL.

When we had found out that I was 0cm dilated I had my mom hold off on coming to New York because there was a limit to how many days she could take off in succession and I knew that I would need her most when we brought the baby home. Two days before my birthday my mom arrived to stay with us for the next few weeks. I was so much more at peace as soon as she arrived.

On my birthday (Aug. 5th) Kurt headed off to his last day of work for over 2 weeks, since we knew we would be induced Sunday the 7th. Kurt got 2 weeks worth of paternity leave. I was so grateful for this, but it truly isn’t enough! Again, that could be a whole other post… Kurt had only been at work for about an hour when I started having pretty serious contractions, they were more painful than the Braxton Hicks I had experienced before and I was SO EXCITED that baby and I could share a birthday! Kurt rushed home (not before picking up my cake of course), and I hopped in the shower. So much for that pre-labor blow out I had always planned for I thought. After my shower like clock work my contractions STOPPED. I was sad but excited to spend my birthday with two of my favorite people and eat as much cake from Magnolia Bakery as I wanted!

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Sunday August 7th was exceptional. I barely slept because I was so excited! My mom, Kurt, and I went to mass and brunch on Columbus Avenue.  At my 39th week appointment I had received my induction instructions. They were pretty simple- no eating or drinking 4 hours before checking in to the hospital, and no dairy, fried, spicy, or especially fatty foods 24 hours beforehand. EASY! We ate at one of my favorite brunch restaurants, Fred’s (it’s dog themed AND I saw Bruce Willis there once), and then my mom and I got blow outs at Drybar in anticipation of my hospital say. During my blowout I felt as though I was leaking. I had been wearing a pad regularly because…. you know if you’ve made it to 40+ weeks preg there is either leaking pee or whatever else at all times. I had soaked through the pad during my blow out and it seemed to be amniotic fluid. By this time it was about 3PM and we were set to check into the hospital in a few hours so Kurt and I took a nap, I took a bath, and savored my last moments with Stelly as our only baby. We kissed my mom goodbye with plans to call her once I was 5cm dilated. I wanted my mom to be there for the delivery of Lenny, but I wanted to go through most of labor with just Kurt.

Heading downstairs, Kurt went to the parking garage to bring our car around as I waited for him in the lobby with all of our stuff to take to the hospital. It felt so surreal making small talk with the concierge. Trying to play cool I told him that we were off to be induced, and the next time that he saw us we would be bringing with us a new resident of the building. In his true sweet fashion he told me he would be waiting for us and that he couldn’t wait to meet him. Kurt and I rode the quick 15 minute drive to Mt. Sinai on the eastside mostly in silence. We had practiced the route to the hospital twice. Once during traffic hours and another during the night. The anticipation that I felt was unlike anything I have ever experienced before. And the next thing I knew we were pulling up the the hospital and off we went to become parents! I can’t imagine having shared this experience with anyone other than Kurt. He truly is my rock and I walked so confidently into the hospital, knowing we had done everything right up until this point. We had prepared to become Lenny’s parents for so long! The promise and aura of that moment are forever ingrained in my mind, and it was only the start of the tour of emotions to come.
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IMG_5380To be continued…

Lennox’s Birth Story Part 2 (because thats how long my labor was…)