So How’d It Go?

Posted in health, Kids on October 17th, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Overall, so much better than my fears were telling me it would go.  I had my second cesarean section on Friday, October 7.  Boy was I nervous beforehand!  I figured I would write out the details, just in case we decide to do this again I can look back at it and know what to expect.  So I warn you, if you’re squeamish about medical procedures or just plain not interested, then skip the post.  But if I can make just one person feel more at ease about their impending cesarean, even if it’s future me, then it’s worth writing this all out and sharing the details.

The day of my scheduled cesarean, the hospital told me to arrive at 5:30 AM.  Hubby and I set the alarm for 4:30 and got there a little early so we could visit the hospital chapel and pray together.  Thankfully, Grandma had arrived in town the night before and had our 4 kids at her hotel.  The first nurse we asked did not know where the chapel was in the hospital, which I found strange, but then again, our local hospital is undergoing major expansion and renovation, so I guess that’s the excuse I’ll let them have for the fact that their chapel (when we finally found someone who knew where it was) was just an empty room.  No matter because God listens where ever you are, so we prayed together and went back to the maternity ward where they began to prep me for my surgery.  They put an IV in, which didn’t go very well.  Seems I have great veins in my arms for drawing blood (the  blood techs always ooh and ahh over me and my veins, which makes them weird in my book), but in my hands, not so much.  Getting IVs is always very painful for me, and it bruises up my whole hand.  This day was no exception.  It hurt a lot, and they had to give me 2 holes before they got it right.  Then the nurse comes and tells me that because of the combination of it being my 5th baby and the fact that I had to have a blood transfusion last time that they were going to have to give me a back-up port in my other hand just in case.  So they start doing that, and that one hurts even more.  Next thing I know, I have a golf ball sized lump in my hand – “The vein blew” the nurse told me.  I don’t ever want to hear anyone tell me that something carrying blood throughout my body “blew”, and I still haven’t googled that one to see what it is because it sounds so nasty.  And at this point, I’m near tears thinking that if things are going wrong already, what will happen when they cut me open?  But they finally got my second IV port in, and then after the insertion of the catheter (not a big deal and I will spare the details), I was ready to be wheeled off to the surgery room in a wheelchair.

Luckily I had taken the c-section class at the hospital, so the cold sterility of the operating room did not alarm me, and I also knew that my Hubby had to wait outside until certain preparations were made.  On our way into the operating room, I saw the backup doctor, and he was talking to himself in the hallway in kind of a strange way.  He is known for being a bit different, so it didn’t really worry me, especially since I knew my regular doctor would be there also.  Besides, Dr. Strange delivered my 3rd child, and she was the easiest delivery I had.  I will spare details for what happened next; it’s a bit personal – if you really need to know how they prep a patient for a c-section then take a class at your local hospital.  Then the anesthesiologist came in, and my heart sank when I realized it was the same lady who gave me my epidural during the birth of baby #4 – the epidural that never worked.  She gave me my spinal, and it pinched a little, but much less than an epidural, not really a big deal at all.  My legs started to get tingly, and I was really starting to panic big time.  I kept asking the anesthesiologist if everything I was feeling was normal, and she was so nice and reassuring.   They had a blood pressure cuff on my arm which kept going off every few minutes, and they also gave me oxygen in my nose – I felt very well cared for.  They let Hubby in, and he and the anesthesiologist (so tired of typing that word, think I’ll just call her Dr. Drug from now on) sat by my head the whole time.  Dr. Drug said that they would test me to make sure that I was numb before they did anything, but guess what – they didn’t.  I brought this up to someone after it was over, and they had a good point – they probably tested my numbness but didn’t even tell me about it.  Since it was working, I didn’t feel the test, so they proceeded.  Duh.  It’s just that I was so nervous about the numbing not working after what happened with my epidural; you can’t blame me for being concerned.

The next thing I remember is the tugging and pulling, which is also something for which the c-section class prepared me.  But it was actually much less unpleasant than I had panicked it would be.  It’s just that it seemed to take forever.  They said it would take about 1-2 minutes and according to Hubby, it took 4 minutes.  If you ask me, I would say it took 15 minutes.  The whole time I could hear the doctors talking and I kept asking Hubby what they were saying because I was panicking about the health of the baby and the fact that I was lying there sliced open on the table.  He said they were just discussing their techniques.  My Hubby kept looking down there, past the curtain, and I kept wondering how he could do that – if it were him lying on a table sliced open, I don’t know that I could look.  But then again, I don’t think it was like surgery looks on tv – I was picturing a completely open body cavity, but that’s a different kind of surgery.  I guess that’s why there was all that tugging and pulling.  So anyway, finally Hubby says that the baby is out, but I don’t hear crying, so I begin to panic even more (notice a trend here?  I am a worrywart, in case you haven’t noticed).  But both people seated at my head tell me everything is fine, and then I hear the baby (Luke James) cry.  I feel so relieved, and I can’t believe it’s over.  Except it’s not.  They clean up the baby, and they hold him up in front of my face for about a millisecond, and then they take him out of the room along with my husband and probably about half the staff that was on hand.  At some point, I don’t remember when, but I’m pretty sure it was after the baby was born, Dr. Drug held up a little vial and says, “I’m going to give you this.”  She puts it in my IV, and I find out later that it was Duramorph, a form of morphine.  I’m wondering now if this is something they give all their c-section patients (those who are not opposed to medications), or if I got the “panicking patient” special.  At any rate, after the morphine, my memory gets fuzzy, but I do remember lying there getting sewed up (still not feeling a thing below my chest).  My complaint was that it seemed to take FOREVER because I had nothing to do but lie there, and all I could think about was seeing my baby.  I even got envious of my poor husband, because here I had just gone through this surgery and now HE was getting to spend all this time with the baby and I hadn’t even barely gotten a look at him.  They should really think about putting a tv in there or something…  or would that distract the doctors?  Best not to think about it, I guess.  I had to keep talking myself out of looking at the ceiling because it was reflective, and I could see a little of me and a lot of red there – they ought to fix that too; I would bet that no one wants to see themselves getting surgery.  But finally they were finished, and a few of the staff people worked together to lift my helpless body onto the  gurney for the transport back to my room.

When I got there, there was Hubby with the baby, all excited to see me, and then I finally got to hold our new son.  And he was (is) so incredibly beautiful.  The rest of the day was wonderful.  Slowly my legs began to work again, and I could not believe it that I had absolutely no pain!  It did not resonate with me that I was on drugs.  I did feel kind of loopy, but I didn’t really think much of it and enjoyed the euphoria of having a new healthy baby and the relief that the worst part was over.  Weather-wise it ended up being a terrible weekend to be stuck in the hospital – it was 80 degrees out and sunny, and the grandmas took my kids to the zoo on Saturday, so I had to miss that, but at least they got to go.  When I was released from the hospital on Monday, it was still very nice out for a few days, but I didn’t feel up to going outside and by the time I did, Northern Ohio fall weather was in full swing and I’ve been cold ever since.  Oh well, such is life, and my Hubby had perfect advice when I was bummed about missing the beautiful fall colors (it was amazing how different our neighborhood looked with all the leaves on the ground after just 3 days!).  He said, “There will be plenty more color-changing seasons, but there are only so many baby seasons.”  What a wise, wonderful man!

Back to my recovery in the hospital, it went fairly smoothly, although I did have a lot of pain starting Saturday once the morphine wore off.  The baby was up all night on Friday, but I didn’t mind at all because I just wanted to be with him.  I haven’t watched tv in years, but over the weekend, I watched countless episodes of 3’s Company, Roseanne (forgot about the one where Becky gets into the liquor cabinet, haha!), and Everybody Loves Raymond – you know, shows from when tv was actually good.  I learned about the Prohibition era from PBS, and I also learned that there are conspiracy theorists who believe that there really isn’t gold in Fort Knox – hmm, that’s something to think about I guess.  Luke slept a full 5 hours on Saturday night from 1:30-6:30, and so did I since no one came for my blood until 6:30.  Last time I was in the hospital, I seem to remember them coming for blood every hour on the hour which made it really hard to sleep, but then again I had a lot of complications last time including the need for an emergency cesarean and a blood transfusion.  Sunday night, little Luke decided he wasn’t going to sleep again, and I woke up from my 45 minute nap that night feeling terrible – achy and lots of other pain, and chills because of a fever I was running.  Not only that, but there was a mean nurse who informed me in a not-so-nice way that I was over my limit of acetaminophen, which meant I was not allowed any pain medicine.  That really ticked me off; partly because of the way she said it, and partly because no one had given me any indication that this was a problem.  Had they warned me that I was getting near the limit, I would have declined some of the meds offered to me to avoid this.  Actually, all of the other nurses had been telling me that I should stay ahead of the pain.  They specifically said not to wait until the pain was really bad to take the meds otherwise they wouldn’t work.  The staff must have known I was upset because at 11pm Sunday night, my doctor called my bedside phone personally and reassured me.  And my doctor is the one I credit with my smooth delivery and quick recovery – she has been 1000% better than my previous doctors in every way throughout this process, and for that, I am so thankful.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been resting (probably not as much as I should have, but I have 5 kids now, who can rest with 5 kids in the house??).  Hubby has been amazing at taking care of me AND things around the house, but he also started a new job 2 days after the baby was born, which leaves him with 2 jobs, taking care of the 4 kids and me AND waking with the new baby at night as he likes to do.  My mother did a ton of laundry while she was here, and I’m just now starting to do laundry again a week and a half later, so that helped a lot too.  People from church have been wonderful about sending meals for our family, and that has been incredible.  Not only that, but we also have frozen meals that people sent and that my husband’s mother made while she was visiting for when our meal delivery runs out.  It’s been crazy, but we are managing, and a week and half later, I’ve been out and about and back in the real world.  I still have pain, but nothing extreme, and my 600mg ibuprofen works pretty well for that.  There are 2 complications I had that I was not expecting; one is worthy of a blog post all its own and I’ll get to it next time.  The other is the return of my backaches.  I’ve had a sore back since high school; I worked fast food and had to pop a Doan’s before every shift to make it through.  There are various things that I think caused it, but what does that matter now.  The strange thing is that during my pregnancy, my backaches disappeared.  Most women find new backaches during pregnancy, and mine disappeared.  I didn’t think much of it until I get home from the hospital and experience my back pain again.  This is discouraging because I know the incision pain will go away with time, but the backaches seem to be getting worse, and I have no guarantee that my back will ever feel better.  I guess it’s something to talk to my wonder doc about in my 6-week follow-up.  I already had my 1 week follow-up with the doctor, and she said my incision looks really great and my body is healing well – for that I am thankful.

Baby’s healthy, 4 big sisters and brother are healthy, I’m getting healthy, and Hubby is healthy (even if he needs much more sleep – praying for that to come soon) – what more can we ask for!  Life is good; God is great!

And oh yeah…  everywhere little Luke goes, he has a constant crowd of admirers.  If it wasn’t so sweet, it would be annoying because hey, when is it MY turn to hold the baby?!?  😉

Luke James

Posted in Everyday Life, Kids on October 11th, 2011 and tagged , , , , ,

Our 5th bundle of joy arrived on October 7, 2011.  His name is Luke James, and he was born at exactly 8 am, weighed 7 lbs 11 oz and was 19.5 inches long.  He is healthy and a very happy easy-going baby.  He seems to have his days and nights mixed up though, which I suspected based on his movements when he was still in the womb.  We are enjoying him immensely, and so are his 3 sisters and his brother.  I am recovering from the c-section pretty well, and I will write more about Luke’s first days at home when it doesn’t hurt to sit in a chair for longer than 10 minutes.  I would love to put up a hundred pictures of gorgeous little Luke, but my bunny chewed my camera cord, and I can’t get any pictures off my camera.  I hope to have this situation remedied soon, but I depend on Hubby for all my tech-related needs, and Hubby is exhausted staying up with the baby at night, taking care of me and the kids during the day while also keeping up with his responsibilities at both of his jobs.  It just seems mean and commanding of me to place more demands on him now, so I will have to somehow be patient about the picture taking and sharing.  I wonder how long I can last; Luke is one of the cutest babies I’ve ever seen!!!

**UPDATE**

Hubby devised a way to transfer my pictures using my ebook reader – genius!  So anyway, here is a picture of swaddled Luke at 1 day old:

Back To School And Redirection

Posted in Kids on August 19th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today is the first day back to school (already?!?), and it’s really quiet around here.  I guess my oldest two are my loudest two, and we have reduced the traffic in the house by 50% since half the kids are now at school during the day.  Thank goodness for school; I’m enjoying myself already.  So far, I’ve gotten two loads of laundry done – folded, put away and everything, and I have somehow also found the time today to put away most of the clutter that’s been haunting our dining room table for the last week and a half.  I even got to work on my e-book a little bit, and it’s not even 1 o’clock!  And, the kids at school are learning stuff, getting exercise, and socailizing with their friends; they’re not vegged out in front of the tv or outside fighting in the wading pool.  Everyone wins!

While the oldest 2 kids are in school, I also have time to focus on my toddler, Disney, while her baby brother is napping.  Today, I got to sit on the floor and play puzzles with her; something we haven’t done together in months, almost a year because of my pregnancy and c-section.  And she was down for her nap by 12:30, which not only means some quality time together for me and baby Christopher, but also that my toddler should be to bed at a decent hour tonight.  Win-win!  While I was on the floor playing with my daughter, I was getting up to tend to the laundry and whatnot.  My daughter was following me around the house, and this is where my day becomes challenging – trying to keep our clingy almost 2-year-old out of my husband’s home office so he can work.  The home office isn’t  a room where he could close the door and utilize the out-of-sight-out-of-mind tactic.  The office is on the landing on our second floor, so if my toddler begins to head up the stairs or even looks up the stairs, she sees her best friend, Daddy, and it’s over.  She tantrums until he holds her, and he can’t get any work done.  Today she got upstairs and in the clutches of Daddy, so when I chased her down, of course she was upset.  But I used one of my favorite child-rearing techniques: redirection.  I taught her how to clean the toothpaste off the kids’ bathroom counter, which she happily did.  We went downstairs for a popsicle, puzzles, and Barney, and all was forgotten.  Wow.  I had totally forgotten about the magic of the redirection technique because the last 2-year-old I had in the house was our “spirited” child, Samantha.  Sammie was never re-directable.  She has always been so strong-willed that it’s literally impossible to re-direct the kid, let alone being able to trick her into helping around the house.  To this day, she will fight for her cause, whatever it may be, until she gets what she wants or she passes out.  And now that she’s older (she’s 4), the crying doesn’t last as long, but she will remember what it is she wanted and bring it up throughout the day (or week or month) until she gets it.  So I am actually enjoying Disney’s terrible twos a little bit – it’s so refreshing to have a kid who listens.  I know, she’s not yet 2 and things could get worse – so much worse.  But I’ve been there, done that, and after what Sammie put us through, no wonder Disney seems like a breeze.  And even if she does get completely crazy, soon she’ll be old enough to go to school, and we’ll start the terrible twos all over again with Christopher.  After 3 tantruming girls in their terrible twos, I’m curious to see what a boy will be like.  Probably no big deal, at least compared to Sammie 🙂

American Psycho Hellboy… Never Mind

Posted in Movies on July 24th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We managed to fit in some movie watching this week while the kids are with Grandma, and I was attempting to put them all together in a clever blog post title, but it wasn’t to be.  Probably my lack of sleep with the new baby and my recovery process has inhibited my creativity.  I hope to be back in full swing soon, but it will probably take a few months, especially because once I’m feeling better, I have lots of stuff around the house I need to catch up on and as much as I would like blog posting to come first, it doesn’t.  As people keep reminding me oh so helpfully, a c-section is major surgery 🙂  Don’t I know it. 

So the 3 movies we saw this week are Hellboy 2, American Psycho, and Fortress.

I did not like Hellboy 2.  I actually would have left the theater, but I never got around to asking my husband if he wanted to and that was a good thing because he liked the movie.  It gave me a good laugh when we were walking out of the theater and he told me he liked it because we always have the same taste in movies and I really didn’t like this one.  That also means I don’t have much to say about it except that the Abe fish-like character reminds me of C3PO from Star Wars, and I can’t believe the actor who plays Hellboy, Ron Perlman, was also Vincent the Beast in the old Beauty and the Beast tv show from the 80’s with Linda Hamilton.  I thought he was going to be some Andre the Giant huge guy wrestler type, but it turns out, he is just a regular actor.  I suppose my impatience with this movie had to do with the fact that my infection flared up and I was raging with fever yet again in the movie theater.  So even though I felt crappy and wanted to leave, I could not pass up a night out with hubby while the kids were away.  Even if it was to see Hellboy 2…  I’m just glad one of us enjoyed the movie.

Next up is a movie from the early 90’s called Fortress.  It’s set in the future – and it’s always fun to see what people thought the future would be like when the movie was made over a decade ago – and revolves around a corporate owned underground prison (think Walmart does Alcatraz).  The main characters are sent there when they break the “one child per couple” rule.  They had lost their first child, and now they’ve been caught trying to have another, so they are both sent to prison, even though she is pregnant.  This is a fun action-packed movie.  When I looked it up on imdb.com after we watched it, I learned that it is actually a kind of cult classic movie and there are actually multiple endings.  Our version was the less happy of the endings, but I still liked the movie.  It’s kind of violent for early 90’s, and if you look it up on imdb.com, don’t let the keywords fool you.  Let’s put it this way, if I had seen the keywords first, I wouldn’t have watched this movie, but in retrospect, I don’t think there was really much adult stuff in it – just violence and gore, but they didn’t overdo it like they do in some movies nowadays, like the Saw movies for instance.  American Psycho on the other hand…

I will start by saying that Christian Bale was excellent in this movie.  I wasn’t so impressed by him when he was Batman in The Dark Knight, but he definitely shows versatility and depth in this movie.  He plays a Wall Street executive who is just about as big a jerk as one can be.  Also, he has blood lust and likes to kill people in his spare time.  The movie is very strange for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on.  For one, I was confused about what the movie was trying to be.  I guess it’s just a story about this man, an American Psycho.  But at times throughout the movie, the music was strange, and it just didn’t play like a normal movie.  And then there were the constant 80’s references.  I guess it was supposed to take place in the 1980’s, given the characters’ huge cordless phones and constant talk of musical artists such as Phil Collins, Huey Lewis, and Whitney Houston.  Why they would change the time period of the movie, I don’t know, but they did a good job because if Reese Witherspoon (who is about my age and would have been a kid in the ’80’s) wasn’t in it, I would have been convinced the movie was actually filmed in the ’80’s.  And I have to say the end confused me a lot.  I won’t say more because I don’t want to spoil anything, but if anyone who reads this has seen this movie, maybe you can answer a question I have.  I don’t think I’d recommend this movie since there are many disturbing scenes and it didn’t seem worth it to me to sit thru them for what you get from the rest of the movie.  I don’t think I’m going to put it on my list of baddies however, but then again, Hellboy 2 isn’t going on there either.  Just 2 movies I didn’t really like and wouldn’t see again, but I don’t feel like I wasted my time watching either of them, and that’s always a good thing.   

Flashback!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 19th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In the last few days, my recovery from tthe emergency c-section has not been going well.  I awoke from a nap Thursday night feeling awful, but luckily my medication kicked in, and I was able to enjoy the midnight showing of The Dark Knight – more on that later.  Friday we met Grandma in South Bend Indiana which is halfway between Chicago where she lives and Ohio where we live to transfer my kids for a week’s vacation with Grandma.  I felt awful all day, and I started shivering in the restaurant.  I knew there was something really wrong when I went outside into the 90° oven and actually enjoyed it – uh oh.

When I got back to Ohio, I had an appointment with my doctor for her to take out my staples (yes, they had to actually use staples to put me back together, yuck) and that actually went well.  Hardly hurt at all, just a little pinch, and it didn’t take long.  I brought up my symptoms to my doctor and she said everything was normal, and I believed her because when I had my other babies, I would heal up right away, so I figured these were all just side effects from the cesarean.  But I took another nap when I got home and when I woke up, I felt like I was dying – that’s really the only way to describe it.  We took my temperature and it was 102.7°, so of course I had chills, the sweats, headache, and pain.  A quick look on the internet gave us the diagnosis:  mastitis – a common infection often suffered by breast-feeding mothers.  We called the doctor and they wouldn’t prescribe any antibiotics over the phone, so we headed to the hospital for the 2nd time in a week…

The admissions people panicked when they saw us coming in with the baby, but we quickly explained it wasn’t him, thank goodness.  Anyway, after a quick look, the ER doctor confirmed our internet diagnosis and sent us home with a prescription.  But since all the pharmacies were closed in our town, they gave me some medicine right then and there.  “Name and birthdate”, they always ask at the hospital before they give you your meds, and I was like, FLASHBACK!  I thought I was done with this for awhile!  But for spending a Friday night in the ER, it wasn’t so bad; we were actually in and out in an hour.  If this had happened in suburban Chicago where I used to live, it would have taken 3-4 hours to wait our turn in the ER, and they would have wheeled a few body bags past us while we were waiting.  So today, I feel much better comparatively, and since the girls are with grandma, I slept until 11:30, so I’m sure that also helped.  The antibiotics seem to be working already, and it was nice to wake up and not feel like I was dying, something that hasn’t happened for a few days.  I also feel better that now I think my recovery from everything is headed in the right direction, whereas when I felt crappy and didn’t know why, it was discouraging because I was thinking, will I ever feel better?

My husband is peeved at my OB-GYN for not checking me more thoroughly during my visit with her yesterday.  I agree; Idid mention my symptoms and she was too dismissive, but being a man (especially one who won’t listen to doctor’s orders – if the doctor tells him to do something or recommends some sort of exam or test and he doesn’t want to do it, he just won’t) I don’t think he understands how important to me it is to have a woman OB-GYN, and she is the only one in town.  Besides, I do like her, she is gentle and she has been through 3 c-sections herself, so she knew exactly what to tell me about what to expect.  If we do have any more children, there will be some debate about which doctor we will use.  Well, anyway…  off to Walmart to get my third prescription this week!

He Is Here!

Posted in Kids on July 16th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 days oldAfter months of blogging about my pregnancy, it’s finally over and with the best result possible – a healthy, beautiful baby boy!  His name is Christopher Vincent and he was 8 lbs. 2 oz. and 20.7 inches long when he was born at 2:53 pm on July 11.  He is named for his father (at my insistence because my husband felt it was egotistical of him to duplicate his name – not when others do it, just him for some reason) and his middle name is after the baby’s late grandfather, my husband’s father who passed away from Lou Gehrig’s disease when our oldest child was just one year old.  So we’ve been waiting a long time for a namesake for Vincent, and now little Christopher Vincent is here.  He is a perfect baby and rarely cries, although he does seem to have his days and nights mixed up.  Today he slept for almost 5 hours until I woke him up to eat.  But that’s probably because last night he woke up every hour.  I wish I had known he was going to sleep that long because I would have taken a nap!  It’s been difficult for me to sleep at night due to the extreme pain I’m feeling because of the emergency cesarean they had to do to bring little Christopher into the world.

Here’s a warning – I’m going to get a little bit graphic medically here because I feel the need to explain what happened to me.  That way, other moms searching for info about pregnancy, cesareans, etc. can happen across my site, and maybe it will help educate them and ease their fears if they know some things they can expect.  For the rest of you, I apologize, and I suggest just looking at the really cute pictures of the baby and moving on to my other posts.

So I went to the hospital Friday at 7 am to get induced…  I was really excited, but also pretty nervous.  It’s ironic that I didn’t allow myself to get as nervous as I was with my 3 previous pregnancies because my last birth went relatively smoothly, so I figured, why get all worked up when everything will probably be fine?  But it wasn’t.  Well, in the end it was, but until I got to see Christopher, Friday was one of the worst days of my life.  It all started when the nurse couldn’t get my IV in.  I always bruise like crazy from the IV, but they’ve never had trouble getting it in me before.  In fact, I seem to remember writing a post in my blog about what good veins they always say I have.  Anyway, the nurse was trying to “save me a poke” and get a blood sample at the same time she hooked up my IV.  I ended up with two holes on my right hand that swelled up like balloons – and I still had to get the IV put into my left hand.  All that and she STILL had to draw blood from the vein like a regular blood sample, thus not “saving me a poke” at all as she had promised.  But it didn’t matter because I never care too much about the blood draw since I’m used to it and my veins are so easy to find…  but anyway, after all this, I had to make a stupid comment – I said to the nurse, “I hope this isn’t an omen for how the rest of the day will go…”  Idiot.  Apparently I cursed myself because things were just going to get worse. 

The contractions started getting pretty painful and I called for the epidural, which if you don’t know, is a pain elimination procedure (supposedly) administered directly into the spine.  It’s very uncomfortable to receive one, although it’s nothing compared to the pain of the contractions it relieves, provided someone poking around in your spine doesn’t bother you.  Except that mine didn’t work, which I’m told is rare, so don’t worry, just research other options before you go…  But for me, this is where things go from bad to worse.  Once we’ve all determined that the epidural didn’t take, they make a call for the anesthesiologist to come back and discuss options.  Except that, lucky for me (sarcasm), there was a shift change, so the person who messed up my first epidural was no longer around to mess up a second one.  And, of course the new anesthesiologist didn’t want to do one on a patient who had been done by someone else.  And I should note that every time they call the anesthesiologist, it takes forever and a day for them to come because they’re usually doing other patients in the hospital or who knows what.  I wonder if it’s like that at larger hospitals…  Our hospital is quite small, and I’ve often wondered if there are certain aspects of care that could be better as a result.  Anyway, so the 2nd anesthesiologist is explaining my options to me, and she is talking so slowly, I swear I was close to kicking her – I could still feel my legs, after all, and that was their fault, not mine.  As she’s explaining my options to me (not that there were many left), the nurse decided to check me and that’s when she discovered we didn’t have time to do anything – the baby was coming!  The anesthesiologist was shooed away and the doctor was called, but of course with the way things had been going that day, she had gone home and so we had to wait for her to get back to the hospital.  She got there and I was finally able to start pushing, except the baby wouldn’t budge.  I think the pain was worse than it’s ever been, and I could tell the baby wasn’t being pushed, and then the worst news yet – the baby’s heart rate started dropping.  Everyone started running around, honestly, it was total chaos, but I couldn’t even think straight through all the pain.  They wheeled me into the surgery room where there were like 10 people wearing surgery masks all doing different things.  I was actually in favor of them knocking me out – the sooner, the better.  Of course because of the epidural not working, I felt them cut me open, but in retrospect I don’t know if it hurt more than I was freaked out about being able to feel them cut me open.  My arms and legs were tied down and I will be honest – it was a horrible experience – I couldn’t sleep my first night in the hospital because right when I’d fall asleep, I’d have a flashback of the experience and jolt awake.
Then, I smelled something funny in my oxygen mask and the next thing I know, I’m being wheeled out of the room – it was over!  They had gassed me after all – lucky for everyone involved!  But now I’m stuck with the awful recovery process of a c-section.  One of the worst things about it besides the pain is the fact that I can’t lift heavy objects – including kids.  The second I got home, my 21-month-old reached her arms out and said “Mommy!” with a big smile, and promptly started crying when I couldn’t pick her up.  Between the lack of sleep, the hormone changes, and me missing her, I started crying, but luckily grandma saw me lose it and stepped in to rescue us; giving my daughter ice cream to feed me that made it all better for both of us.  Now, only 2 days later, my daughter seems used to not being picked up, and the pain seems to be getting better, finally.  Yesterday the pain was getting worse instead of better; when I woke up, every square inch of my body throbbed with pain, and I couldn’t move at all – it was awful and totally discouraging.  But, I had forgotten that the doctor said to also use ibuprofin along with my pain meds, so ever since I’ve been trying that, it’s been working for me.  But believe it or not, another pain remedy is baby-smelling.  You just sniff the head of the newborn baby and give him kisses and it makes the pain better too!  The worst part of the whole thing is that I had really wanted more kids, but after Friday, I just don’t know if I have it in me to go through something like that (or worse!) again…  But for now, I am enjoying mommyhood immensely, and the girls LOVE their new little brother.  Taylor and Sammie want to hold him all the time, and Sammie especially can’t keep her hands off him.  She’s always petting his head or touching his hands, or softly kissing him…  she is so gentle; it’s very sweet.  And Disney, being almost 2, is getting her own ideas on how to care for Christopher as well.  Yesterday she tried to insist that he be put into his car seat and of course she threw a tantrum when it didn’t go her way…  But overall, things are going great and wil be even better once we unmix Christopher’s days and nights and get some more sleep!

Oh, and one more hint that will give you a fun momento for the baby book.  If you mail a birth announcement to the White House, they will send you a congrats card from the President!  Signed by an intern, of course, but hey, for some people in the ’90’s, that would have been Monica Lewinsky!  Here is the address you send it to, you can also do this for wedding invitations, though I’m not sure the address is the same.  I would just do a google search for “white house wedding announcement” or something like that.

Send your baby’s name, birthdate and address to:

White House Greetings Office
Room 39
Washington, DC 20500