Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our Birth Story and First Week with Jackson aka: Jack

So I have been absolutely terrible in updating the blog to share the story of the birth of little Jackson, but I finally got a chance to sit down with an alert mind to get it together :). It was a whirlwind of a delivery experience and did not turn out anything like I had planned it to be, but we feel so blessed to have a healthy baby boy with us now.

On Saturday November 13th at 10 am. I went to triage in the morning due to having really itchy feet and hands for the past few nights to the extent that I couldn't sleep. I know it sounds kind of weird that I would be concerned about my hands and feet when you would think most of your attention would go to the belly. Well, there's a condition called pregnancy induced coleostasis that can have a negative impact on your pregnancy (I won't get into the finer details of the diagnosis). So, I went to the hospital just to check in, and I was 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant at this point. They put me on the fetal monitor and had me describe my symptoms. After about an hour my mom and I were getting ready to leave the hospital, and the midwife came in and told me the chief resident of the ObGyn unit wanted to talk to me before I left, because they felt I should be induced considering my symptoms and how far along I was. As everyone knows from previous blogs, I was trying to go all natural for the birth, and this did not fit into my plan. I called Jonathan to come down to the hospital to talk about our options. When he got there, the chief resident talked about the risks of leaving without doing an induction, and we decided the induction was the best decision. So, we went home to pick up our belongings and came back to the Birthing Center to get started. The picture above is the last pregnant photo of me smiling not in pain before leaving to go back to the hospital.

They gave me a pill to prepare my body and said it could take up to 72 hours to get things started so I should sit back and relax. Well, my body kicked into labor about 2 hours after taking the pill, so I must have been ready to go soon on my own. Contractions started off manageable and Jonathan and I walked the halls of the hospital. I felt like I had it under control and we would still have our natural birth. About 2 hours into pretty good contractions, they came and told us that I would have to go to the high risk unit since they drew blood and found that I had severe preeclampsia and the possible coleostasis. This meant no birthing tub or freedom to move around outside of the bed for natural pain management. I was going to have to stay in the bed the whole labor and be given pitocin to get things moving along. Well, I labored unmedicated on a pitocin induced labor for approximately 15 more hours. My contractions were coming a minute apart and were excruciating, but everyone was convinced I was almost to the point of pushing. I thought I could make it just a little bit longer if I was close. I was examined, and they said that my body had failed to progress and I was sticking at 4 cm. The midwife recommended an epidural due to 17 hours of labor and to calm me down to see if my body would progress. 2 hours and 2 epidurals later (the first one didn't work), I had only progressed 3/4 cm, and Jackson's heart rate was dropping after every contraction, so they determined that we needed to do a c-section.

They wheeled me in to prep me for surgery, and Jonathan and our doula got all dressed up in their special surgery gowns. The doula took pictures and a video for us during the c-section so that Jonathan could talk to me. I felt like I was going to fall asleep but fought hard to stay awake so I could hear his first cries. Jackson "Jack" Steven Nichols was born on November 14, 2010 at 3:28 p.m. He was 7 lbs. 14 oz. and 20 3/4 in. long. I heard him cry, and Jonathan told me to tell everyone his name. Everyone was asking us throughout the labor, and we said we would announce it when he was born. They cleaned him up and did his Apgars, and they held him up to my face so I could see him. Jonathan went with him to recovery, and they stitched me up, where I fell asleep for at least half of it. I was hooked up to an anti-seizure medication for 24 hours post delivery due to the preeclampsia and only able to eat clear fluids/drinks. We were finally discharged from the hospital on Wednesday November 17th. Overall, everyone at the hospital was so great, and we really enjoyed working with them. The time we had at the hospital gave us a great chance to learn some of the things that come along with caring for a newborn. I think if we went home right away we would have been overwhelmed a bit by reacting to his late, late night fussiness and how to meet his needs in the first few days.
When we first arrived home my parents were in town until Sunday. They helped with getting any extra baby items while we tried to get some rest and took Jack to his first pediatrician appointment. He had a little bit of jaundice but nothing to be too concerned about. Right now Jack's life consists of eating A LOT, sleeping, and going to the bathroom. A few days ago we put him onto his playmat for tummy time, and he rolled himself over from his front to his back since he doesn't really like being on his stomach much. He's very advanced ;)! We are probably the luckiest people alive, and I almost hate to say this like I might jinx myself, but he is an amazing sleeper at night. He started off waking up on his own every 3-4 hours, then we set our alarm to wake him up every 3-4 hours, and last night he slept through the night! He slept through the night at 8 days old...pretty amazing. We thought he would wake us up, but he didn't, so we're going to have to go back to waking him up to make sure he eats enough. We've had a bunch of appointments to go to, and he's really great travelling in the car too.
One of the things I was most excited about is that we had newborn photos taken this morning. Some of them were so cute I almost threw up :). We got some of his little nudey booty with these cute hats on, and a few family pictures. The photographer said she would have them edited in about a week, so I will try to put some up here when we get them. He was a good sport during the photos, but he was so over it at the end when we tried to get some of him and me. Oh well!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Reflecting on the Past 40 Weeks

So we have officially hit the 40 week pregnant mark...the due date yet still no baby. I've been told by many people that it can be disappointing but a whole lot of people see the due date come and go. I'm sooo ready for this little guy to come, but the time really has gone pretty quickly. Lately I've been thinking back to the whirlwind of the past 40 weeks and how amazing this whole experience has been. At what was the 4 week and 2 days along point I tested positive on a pregnancy test. Jonathan was away for the weekend at National Guard training. I had been feeling a little bit different, and I was at Target so I figured I would get a test...what the heck, right? I was so excited to do it that I took the test while I was still at Target...lol. I told Jonathan by text message with a picture of the test, and he responded back by text 2 hours later since he was in and out of signal. The next week we went down to Memphis for a wedding, and I was questioned by a few people about being pregnant since I wasn't drinking anything at a bachelorette party.

At 8 weeks and 4 days pregnant I was at work and thought that I was having a miscarriage. I left work crying and went to the doctor. By my surprise and feelings of amazing good luck, our baby was fine. I guess 25-30% of people have symptoms of miscarriage while only 50% of those people actually have one. This incident of quickly leaving work is how I told my supervisor that I was pregnant. Not really the way that you want to go about telling people, but it prevented any apprehension or nerves about her reaction when I told her. The whole first trimester consisted of minor problems that sent me to the doctor more often than most people go, but obviously this guy is a survivor. I guess some of these problems were payback for the fact that I didn't really have terrible morning sickness like so many other people do :).

The whole second trimester was pretty smooth sailing. I look back at pictures I took of myself at the time where I thought I had this huge belly and it basically looks like I had a big lunch. In this picture I was 13 weeks pregnant and thought I had this obvious pregnant belly and was so excited to be wearing a maternity shirt...lol. How your perspective changes once the belly has really taken over. I loved the second trimester, because people just start to ask with confidence when you are expecting, and I had finally come out of the fatigue haze of the first trimester and could actually stay awake past 6 p.m. At about 17 weeks I could feel the first little hint of movement, but you still question for a week or two if it really was movement or if your burrito settled weird in your stomach...haha. At 21 weeks we had the opportunity to find out the gender of the baby. The whole time leading up to that Jonathan was adamant that we would not find out the gender of the baby and that it would be more fun as a surprise. I really wanted to find out, because I'm not totally into surprises and would rather be able to plan appropriately. A week before the ultrasound where we could find out gender, Jonathan was away at National Guard Special Forces Selection and he texted me saying he was excited and we should find out the gender. So that next week we found out we were having a boy! Initially, I had hopes for a girl, but now I am flooded with relief that I don't have to worry about braiding hair and doing all the girlie things that I'm quite honestly not that good at. I can just slap some pomade in our boy's hair, stick him in a t-shirt and jeans, and he's good to go. My kind of morning time routine in the future!!

This third trimester has been so fun, because I feel like Jonathan has gotten to be more of an active participant. It was so nice to reach the point where he could see and feel the baby move around. His excitement has grown more and more throughout the third trimester, because I think that's when it becomes more real. A bigger stomach, a foot sticking out of my side, and my stomach jumping are good indicators that this is the real deal :). There are also so many decisions to make about medical care for the baby, natural vs. medicated births, whether they will sleep in your room or not, and so on and so on that it has been really fun making those decisions together as a couple. We don't always agree on everything, but we've really been able to compromise based on what is most important to each of us.

So like I said, as of today I am 40 weeks pregnant! As of two days ago I started sleeping on the couch instead of in bed. For some reason I get much better sleep there. Instead of waking up 1-2 times an hour, I wake up every 2-3 hours, which really does make a difference in your energy level the next day. It makes me sad to not sleep in bed with Jonathan, but Izzy loves it since she has completely taken over my side of the bed. I have been drinking Red Raspberry Leaf tea and taking Evening Primrose Oil tablets, which allegedly help get things moving along. I sit on my exercise ball every night trying to bounce the baby out, and I get on my hand and knees numerous times per night trying to get the baby in the optimal fetal position. No luck so far, but the baby can't stay in there forever! We have several meals cooked or purchased and in the freezer for after we come home. The nursery is finished besides a few decorative touches, and the pack n play is in our room so the baby can sleep next to us for a little while. We also put the car seat bases in both cars, and I'm driving around with the car seat in my car. Now it's just the waiting game.

Last night we put vinyl art fish on the wall. It adds a lot of color to the room without being afraid something's going to fall off the wall over his crib.

How far along: 40 weeks!
Sleep: Not so great. I'm sleeping on the couch now, because the firmness and support of the back of the couch seems to help me get longer periods of sleep without waking up.
Best moment this week: Besides the usual fun of feeling the baby, I was really excited to get an infant photographer lined up for after he is born to take cute newborn photos!
Movement: It's definitely more rolling and quick jabs or a foot in my side instead of major kicks. There is also a lot of movement from one side to the other so one side of my stomach will be more elevated than the other.
Cravings: I've been back on my dairy craving again and am feeling milk crazed.
Gender: Boy!
Labor Signs: I've still been crampy, but nothing to get too excited about.
Belly Button: It's pushed out a little bit farther, but I still consider it an innie. Jonathan disagrees, but it has not "popped."
What I miss: I barely remember not being pregnant to know what to miss...haha.
What I'm looking forward to: Meeting our baby boy! It's right around the corner!!
Weekly Wisdom: Don't get caught up on the due date, because it's really a due month. He'll come out when he's ready. I'm really, really trying to focus on this!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nearing the End

This weekend we thought there was a slight possibility of having a Halloween baby, but alas, it is now Monday and I sit here still pregnant :). I had my 38 week appointment on Friday, and my blood pressure was coming out high each of the three times that they took it. Last week the same thing happened at my 37 week appointment, and I had to go in the next day for a follow-up blood pressure check. They had some concerns about possible preeclampsia, so they hooked me up to the fetal monitor, drew some blood, and a few other tests. They wanted me to go into triage on Saturday for follow-up tests and to talk about any results on the blood work. When I asked the midwife what would happen if my levels were elevated, she told me that I would be induced. So, we prepared for the possibility that a baby may come, but I really felt confident that everything was ok. On Saturday morning I went into triage where they hooked me up to the fetal monitor again and took my blood pressure every 5 minutes for 20 minutes. They told me that all of my labs from the previous day had been fine, and we would just see how my blood pressure looked. Thankfully, I only had one ever so slightly elevated blood pressure, but nothing concerning. I was relieved walking out of the hospital, because I really want to go into labor naturally since I'm planning an unmedicated birth with our doula. I've been told by several people that when labor is induced with Pitocin it's almost inhumane to go through the labor process without an epidural. The big goal for me now is to learn how to chill out a little bit by whatever means necessary so I can keep a lower blood pressure.

I am now 38 weeks, 5 days and wearing out a bit from the lack of sleep. I wake up every hour to flip sides, and last night I was awake about 10-20 minutes each hour that I would wake up pacing around trying to relieve some of the soreness before I went back to sleep. My days at work are a bit shorter now. I normally work 9 hour days with every other Monday off, but I am starting 8 hour days with no days off during the week in preparation for maternity leave. So now I'll work 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. instead of working until 4:30 p.m. I got the hospital bag pretty much packed last night besides a few items that we will have to grab on the way out the door. Now it's just the waiting game! I had a little chat with the baby last night while sitting on the couch, and I told him that we were as ready as we'd ever be, and I thought he would really enjoy it on the outside :).