Family

Chocobo is Here!

November is normally a busy month for my husband and me, since we celebrate our anniversary and (for the past three years) host Thanksgiving at our place. The month is usually the start of a busy season in which we do the most traveling and the most celebrating – from our anniversary in mid-November all the way through to the New Year. This November, we added another special occasion to the list when our baby boy was born!

But, I’ll start with our anniversary.

I was at the end of 38 weeks pregnant during our anniversary this year, and although we couldn’t do a whole lot, we enjoyed our day together! My husband took off from work so that we could go to a church that we recently discovered around our way. After church, we went to Panera for a light lunch, and then it was off to the movies. My husband has always been a fan of the James Bond series, so we saw Spectre. I was pretty wiped out by the time the movie ended, and we spent the rest of the day at home relaxing and working on getting some last minute baby stuff together.

Two days later, I was at what would turn out to be my last pre-natal doctor appointment. At the appointment my doctor informed me that, because of our baby’s suspected large size, she did not want me to remain pregnant past forty weeks. She said that if I did not deliver the baby before my due date, she thought it best that I come into her office to be induced. She didn’t want baby to become too big for me to safely deliver vaginally. My husband and I ran errands the rest of the day and ended the night with a quick, impromptu date to Olive Garden. That would be our last date before the arrival of little Chocobo!

The following evening, I experienced a series of Braxton-Hicks contractions (which I had already been used to having) and one real contraction (which I had not had up until this point). It was around 6 in the evening and I wondered if I was beginning to go into labor. However, I didn’t have any other labor contractions afterward and felt a little disappointed by the anti-climactic nature of my one contraction.

Three hours later, I began experiencing more contractions. They were only slightly painful at first, but as the night went on the pain increased. I’d heard all these stories of women who’d thought they were in labor and rushed to the hospital, only to be sent home. I didn’t want to be one of those women, so I decided not to tell my husband about it right away. I didn’t sleep all night because of the pain, and at four in the morning I finally decided to call my doctor and ask for advice.

My doctor advised me to begin timing the contractions, and I downloaded an app on my phone that allowed me to time them. I eventually woke my husband up around seven in the morning, and by ten we were calling the doctor again – my contraction patterns were consistent with true labor and I was instructed to get to the hospital right away!

This sent us on a little bit of a rush to grab everything we would need for our hospital stay. We were quite certain that we wouldn’t be back home for a while and although I had packed a few items into our hospital bag – the bag was far from complete. We got to the hospital around eleven on Thursday morning and I spent the rest of the day in labor at the hospital.

By five in the afternoon, I had already been in labor for about 20 hours. Although I originally wanted to try and make it through childbirth without any medication, I gave in and requested an epidural. I had to wait for the anesthesiologist to arrive and I had about ten contractions as he was administering the epidural! This was difficult because I needed to be completely still in order for him to do his job – but I also needed to move around to try and alleviate the pain of the contractions. The nurse had to hold me down so that I would not jerk or twitch in response to my pain. Shortly after receiving the epidural, I fell asleep. When I woke up, there were a swarm of doctors and nurses in the delivery room with me – rushing around and talking amongst one another. I looked for my husband who was standing up and trying to listen in to what everyone was saying. My heart rate was dropping, as was Chocobo’s. Each time I had a contraction, Chocobo’s heart rate dropped to lower levels than was safe. In addition, he’d swallowed some meconium. At this point, I was only 7cm dilated and the doctors didn’t want to risk waiting until I was fully dilated to deliver.

They’d decided that I was going to need a C-section.

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Although I was too drugged up to be nervous, the need for a C-section has probably been one of my biggest fears since childhood. I’ve mentioned before that when I was six or seven, I used to pray each night for a natural, vaginal delivery because I had witnessed my mother go through two C-sections and the recovery process did not look like fun. It looks like God’s answer to that prayer was “No!”

The doctors and nurses moved so quickly that I barely had time to process what was happening. I remember my husband grabbing my hand before they rolled me away from him, telling him that they would come back to get him. I remember the lights on the ceiling on the way to the operating room, and I remember feeling exceptionally drowsy and being unable to swallow.

I kept telling the doctors, “I don’t want to be asleep when he is born. Why do I feel so sleepy?” and “I can’t swallow. Why can’t I swallow?” I’m sure I sounded like a delusional crazy person but hey, I was drugged so I get a pass. The rest is sort of a blur as I struggled to fight sleep. It was all I could do to keep my eyes from closing. I can remember bits and pieces of things – such as someone saying “Your husband is here!” and the feeling of him grabbing my hand (although I couldn’t see him because my eyes were closed). I remember one of the nurses saying, “Okay – she doesn’t feel anything let’s get started!” I remember the bright lights of the operating room, obstructing my ability to see clearly each time I did manage to get my eyes open, and I remember someone saying “Your baby is here!” and the feeling of them placing him on my chest.

I couldn’t see or feel anything, but I remember asking if I could kiss my son and one of the doctors chuckled and said, “He’s your baby! Do whatever you want!” Someone put him close to me so that I could give him a kiss, I tried to open my eyes and I remember kissing him on the forehead. Before I knew it my eyes were shut again and I was throwing up!

After this, I probably fell asleep for quite a bit of time. Baby Chocobo was born at 7:53pm and I didn’t get to see him again until 9:20pm! I don’t remember anything that happened between the time he was born and the time that I was able to see him again.

My husband went with the doctors and nurses to wherever they took our baby and he was able to spend that first hour and a half bonding with our son until I was coherent enough to do the same.

We stayed in the hospital from Thursday until Sunday, where I received a lot of care and instruction on how to recover from a C-section. I don’t know what it’s like to recover from a vaginal birth, but recovery from a C-section is horrible! I am so grateful to have gone through this process in a hospital that really did a great job of taking care of me after our son’s birth.

My father came to stay with us once we were at home, and he helped out a lot by making food and running to the store for us each day. A few days later, my mother, my husband’s mother, and my two sisters came to be with us and we were all able to celebrate Thanksgiving together with little Chocobo!

My husband and I are so grateful for our little baby, for whom we have (not always so patiently) waited and prayed over the last five years. Our wish for parenthood has finally come true, and so far we are loving it!

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Family

The Third Trimester – An Overview

*Trigger Warning* As titled, this is a post about the third trimester of my pregnancy. Please be kind to yourself if you are struggling with infertility and are not in a place to read this! Love and prayers always!

In the TTC (trying to conceive) and IF (infertility) communities, there is something called the TWW (Two Week Wait), in which a woman must wait the approximate two weeks between ovulation and her ability to test for pregnancy. It is a rather stressful time, in which every twitch and tingle is (over) analyzed and scrutinized in the hopes that her body will provide her with a sign that she is – finally – pregnant. In the TTC community, this time period (though stressful) can be rather exciting. Most women find that after a few months of TTC, a baby is indeed on the way. For the IF community, however, this is usually a time of anxiety, depression, fear, and hopelessness. Each month, for years on end, the TWW of an infertile ends in crushed hopes as her tests show up negative and her monthly cycle returns.

During my time as an infertile, I grew so tired of the TWW that I stopped testing. It was harder for me to see a negative pregnancy test than it was for me to see the return of “Aunt Flo” each month.

Now, as a pregnant woman, I am experiencing a different kind of TWW. This time, I am waiting through the approximate two weeks I have left before my due date (and if we want to be precise, I have exactly one week and four days left to go)! I thought now would be a great time to overview the third trimester and talk about some of the things I am doing to help me get through this new type of TWW!

Getting a Job

I was crazy enough to get a job at the start of the third trimester! I am a PreK teacher at heart (and probably always will be), so naturally I found a job in a pre-school teaching two year olds. There were some advantages and disadvantages to this decision. The advantages included having a little extra money to help with our finances, having something to do each day that helped pass the time and made me feel productive, meeting new people and making some new friends, and of course getting to wake up and do what I love (caring for and interacting with young children) each day was always a highlight! Two is an incredible age where anything can happen and no day is the same. Each day I had stories about something cute or funny that one of my kiddos had done. It was quite an enjoyable experience.

On the downside – I was so tired and in so much pain. The constant movement was too much for me and I got to a point at times where I could barely walk! Cleaning my classroom after nap time (picking up all those cots!) and at the end of the day (organizing toys, arranging furniture, vacuuming, taking out the trash) were the worst parts of each day. I got sick from kiddie germs after my first week at work and it was difficult to recover. It was also hard to get a bathroom break, and I was expending so much energy that I needed to eat almost constantly. Our weekly grocery bill went up by almost another $100 just trying to keep me fed while at work!

Still, I enjoyed having a job and I thought it was great how baby Chocobo responded with kicks and flips to the voices of other children playing, singing, and talking to me.

Childbirth Classes

We started taking childbirth classes at the hospital where I am set to deliver. It was a five week course in which we went once a week for two hours at a time. Our teacher was really sweet and the class was very informative. Despite having worked with children for most of my teen and adult life, I knew very little about childbirth – and even less about natural childbirth and non-medicinal pain management options. We saw some very graphic videos that gave us a bit of an idea of how much pain I am headed for! I also learned a lot about the recovery process that I feel will help to prepare me for what to expect post-partum.

3D Ultrasound

During my time as an infertile, one of the things that I always said I would do if I ever got pregnant was to have a 3D ultrasound. Although I have read a bit on the potential dangers of having too many ultrasounds, I decided in the end that this was something I really wanted and I waited until my 35th week to have one done! I was hesitant at first, but I am so happy that we went in and now have a clear picture of what our baby looks like – even before his big debut!

Baby Shower and Visiting Friends

The weekend after the 3D ultrasound, my husband and I went home for the baby shower! My mom and sisters organized it, and it was a lot of fun! There was good food, fun games, and lots of people that I hadn’t seen in a long time! It was great to catch up with everyone.

We also got a chance to make our yearly trip to visit our friends – who recently had their second baby. We always enjoy visiting them each year and didn’t want to miss out on our 2015 visit! My husband got a chance to practice feeding a baby on their infant and it was cute to watch. Hopefully, when we visit next year, Chocobo and their little boy will be able to interact with one another!

Cat Fleas and Last Minute Things

Unfortunately, my cat contracted fleas somehow, and man has that kept me busy around the house! I hate that he got fleas so close to my due date! In addition to trying to organize and get everything ready for baby’s arrival – I also had to deal with keeping the house disinfected and keeping my cat clean! I’m not sure whether or not his medicine made him sick or whether he ingested something from the fleas, but he’d been throwing up a lot and we were quite worried about his lethargic behavior! Thankfully, I think the problem is finally starting to clear up.

We also went on our hospital tour and let me just say – don’t wait until your 38th week of pregnancy to tour a hospital! All of the walking and standing was excruciating for me! The tour was great and the tour guide was very thorough and answered questions well, but it was hard for me to pay attention at times because I was hot, exhausted, and in pain.

My doctors told me that baby is approximately 8 pounds and 11 ounces right now, and that I could go into labor at any time! When she said that, it hit me that I really needed to have certain basics set up so that just in case I begin labor sooner than I think I will – we’ll be ready.

We are planning to have him sleep in our bedroom in a bassinet at first, so we set up his bassinet. The following day, we installed the car seat with the help of a fire and road safety technician, and now I am working on packing a hospital bag! Everyone says that I should be getting the “nesting” urge but honestly I feel just as tired lately (if not more tired) than I did in the first trimester! When it comes to all the cleaning and organizing I need to get done – “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!”

Final Thoughts

Toward the middle of my pregnancy, people began asking me “Has it hit you yet?” and “Does it feel real yet?” And while the aches, hunger, fatigue, insomnia, and Braxton-Hicks contractions definitely feel real – the fact that I will be bringing home my very own baby still doesn’t feel real to me! I don’t think it will hit me until they lay that baby on my chest and I get to see him face to face for the first time! This has been a completely surreal experience all the way through.

As I face this new type of TWW, I am trying to keep focused on things like my NanoWrimo project, getting the hospital bag packed and getting baby’s room organized, our upcoming 7th wedding anniversary(!!), and on enjoying what little sleep pregnancy insomnia hasn’t stolen from me!

God-willing, the next time I write about our son – it will be to announce that he has made it safely to the outside world!

Two weeks ago, at 36 weeks!
Two weeks ago, at 36 weeks!