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Thursday, December 24, 2009

A completely different experience

When I got pregnant with Jacob, I prayed that things would go differently than they did in my pregnancy with Samantha, and that prayer was definitley answered the way I wanted it to be. Other things were different, too.

In the first trimester with Samantha, I felt sick 3 or 4 times and got sick 2 or 3 times. With Jacob, I felt sick nearly all the time in my first trimester, but never threw up at all.

With Samantha, I went to the hospital at 34 weeks 6 days due to extremely high blood pressure which turned out to be pre-eclampsyia. I was put on magnesium sulfate that afternoon and don't remember much of the next two days...I have only a couple snippets of memory of the delivery room...and I wasn't able to hold Samantha until her 3rd day of life because she was in the NICU and I couldn't get out of bed while I was on the magnesium.

With Jacob I started to go into labor at 31.5 weeks and once I found that out, I was terrified. I lost my mucus plug on 10/19/09 and called my doctor because there was a bit of blood. But I really wasn't worried. I had lost my mucus plug at about 33 weeks with Samantha, and didn't go into labor. Because there was some blood, the doctor had me come in for an exam. He said that I was a tiny bit dilated and he did a fetal fibronectin test. He said to rest that evening but that I could go back to work the next day. The next day he called and told me that the test was positive, which meant that it was likely that I would have the baby in the next 2-4 weeks. He put me on sort of bedrest (I wasn't allowed to do any housework or walk around much, but I could sit on the couch with my feet up rather than having to lay in bed) and had me come in for an ultrasound on 10/23. That was when I started getting worried.

After the ultrasound, he said that he saw some changes that said I was preparing to have the baby, but that my cervix was still plenty long, so I wouldn't be delivering too soon. He said that since my job mostly involves sitting, I could go back to work on Monday, as long as I kept my feet up and I did nothing but lay on the couch once I got home. I told him that I was planning to not have the baby until at least December...and he laughed at me. He definitely thought the baby would be coming sooner than that. I started having weekly appointments at this time.

I followed the almost no activity order and went back for another fetal fibronectin test and another ultrasound about two weeks later. The ultrasound was the same as before. That was good. Then the fetal fibronectin came back negative this time. Woohoo! Dr. Levy said that whatever had caused me to start going into labor was resolved and things looked good. He said that I could resume almost normal activity, just not push things to much.

Looking back, I figured that I probably had pushed to hard the weekend before losing my plug, because we were on the go and walking a LOT that weekend. And I was very worn out at the end of it.

I resumed more normal activity, but still took it pretty easy in the evenings and on the weekends. Brent's mom came to our house for 2 or 3 days nearly every week from then until Jacob was born. She cooked and cleaned and did a million things to help us get ready for the baby. She was an amazing help, and I am so grateful to have her for my mother-in-law. I am so grateful that she was able and willing to help us in this way.

I surprised the doctor and made it all the way to our scheduled delivery date. I walked into the hospital on my own at 5:30am on 12/11/09, still not having any contractions. I walked into the delivery room and got up on the operating table on my own. I remember Christine, the nurse anesthetist, putting my epidural in, and I remember the warm feeling that was actually the lack of feeling starting at my toes and moving upward. I remember the aneshtesiologist poking me along my ribs and telling me to let him know when I could feel sharp and scratchy like I felt near my neck. There was no NICU doctor or nurse present. There were just two newborn nurses for the baby.

I don't know why, but I felt nervous. I had already been through a C-section once. Why should I be nervous? Maybe because I didn't remember the first one. I remember a smell, and asking what that was. I said that it reminded me of a smell from my anatomy class in college and Dr Levy joked that he had never had an anatomy class. We had 2 cameras in the room because we had just bought a new one. Brent took pictures with one and Christine took pictures with the other...so Brent was in the pictures, too. Christine encouraged Brent to look over the curtain to see our baby as the doctor was pulling him out. And surprisingly, Brent did look...and took pictures...and even took a picture of Jacob before he was even fully out of my body.

After seeing how much Jacob weighed, Dr Levy joked that we would leave the next one in a little longer to see if we could actualy get to 10 lbs.

After Jacob was weighed and measured, the nurses swaddled him and brought him to me. I was able to hold him on my chest even as the doctor was sewing me up. I cried again, just as I did with Samantha, at holding my baby for the first time. After a little while, the nurses said that they had to take Jacob to get bloodwork and do some testing, and Brent went with them. But I didn't have to wait long until I was able to see them again. Dr Levy didn't have to cut through anything unexpected to get to the baby. There were no complications at all.

When I got back to my room, I found out that Jacob had low blood sugar and had to be given some formula while I was still in the operating room. He drank an entire ounce! Samantha was a couple months old before she would drink that much at once.

Since he already had a full belly, Jacob wasn't much interested in nursing for a while, but he was plenty strong once he was interested. My milk came in quickly and there was plenty for him. It took a long time for that to happen with Samantha. Other than that bottle immediately after birth, Jacob has not had any formula, and he nurses like a champ. He has already gained back all the weight he lost after birth. We were buying formula for Samantha until she was about 5 or 6 weeks old and feeding her a combination of milk and formula, because I couldn't pump enough milk until then. This time I already have a little bit of milk stored in the freezer.

I am so grateful that things were different this time around. I am grateful for no complications. I am grateful to remember so much about the birth of my child. I am grateful for my child being healthy.

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