Thursday, April 26, 2018

Welcome, Adrian Elaine!

This little girl is just over two weeks now, but it feels like she's always been here.

Adrian

I went off work the day before she was due, but she decided to take her time arriving. I was fine (and appreciating all the extra naps) until I hit 40 weeks and 4 days and I suddenly woke up feeling like I was going to crawl out of my skin. My doctor had already made an appointment for an induction at 41 weeks and 1 day, and I finally just gave in and accepted that nothing was going to happen before then. We used the extra time to see friends, mostly just trying to keep me distracted.

I was surprised by how disappointed I felt when I realized I might not go into labor naturally. We'd done zero labor prep (no classes, no reading, nothing) and I was feeling really unprepared and I had no birth plan other than knowing I was going to go for an epidural, but somehow the idea of being induced made me feel like I'd be leaving something unfinished. I'd made it through this entire pregnancy, and I wanted that moment when I would suddenly realize I was going into labor. But I made it to 40 weeks and 6 days with absolutely zero signs of labor approaching so I was increasingly resigned to the induction.

Well, at exactly 41 weeks I woke up to a painful contraction. By mid-morning I knew I was for sure in labor. I held out for as long as I could at home, but in the early afternoon I told D that I needed to go to the hospital. I couldn't tell if my contractions were six minutes apart or three minutes apart (it turns out they were three minutes apart but every other one was super strong), but they were getting increasingly hard to handle and it felt like they were ramping up quickly. At the hospital they hooked me up for the standard 20 minutes of monitoring, confirmed that I was 4.5 cm dilated and they went ahead and admitted me (probably partly because I was already a week overdue). Within 30 minutes of being admitted, I had an epidural placed and when they checked me again (about 45 minutes after my first check) I was 7.5 cm dilated. At this point, things suddenly started moving really quickly - the nurse got me an oxygen mask and asked me to put it on and started to say something about the baby and then the doctor on call came in and introduced himself and told us that the baby wasn't handling the contractions well and her heart rate had gone way down. He strongly recommended that we do a c-section right away, especially because of the umbilical cord (they'd found out that I had an SUA at our 20 week anatomy scan so we'd been doing extra monitoring during the third trimester). He was willing to let me try laboring a little longer but he felt 90% certain that we'd end up doing an emergency c-section. All of this feels really blurry but Dustin and I both interrupted him and just told him to take her out, whatever they needed to do. I remember feeling panicked, thinking that I'd carried her for so long and there was no way I was going to fuck it up at the very last minute. Since I already had the epidural placed they wheeled me straight into the OR. We had been in the hospital for maybe an hour.

I hadn't done any reading about c-sections so I was surprised when they strapped my arms down and I started to panic. Between the arm restraints and the oxygen mask and not being able to move my legs I was feeling really claustrophobic and I was terrified that I'd throw up and I wouldn't be able to take the mask off. They kindly found me a nasal canula to use instead of the oxygen mask which made it a million times better. Everything felt like it was moving at warp speed. They had the baby out in mere minutes and the NICU team started evaluating her and D was able to go back and forth between us and show me pictures and videos. It took another 20 minutes to close me back up, which felt like an eternity but I was able to relax as soon as they told us that the baby was okay and then the doctors started talking about their weekend plans and I remember thinking that I was probably not going to die because they would definitely not be chatting casually if anything was wrong.

Once the surgery was finished they brought Adrian over to me so I could hold her and then they wheeled us both into the recovery room. Everything had happened so quickly that I was in a bit of shock. We hadn't even had time to tell our families that we'd been admitted to the hospital. I was having a hard time believing that this was the baby who I'd been carrying all these months. She had a full head of jet black hair and the longest fingers and toes. I remember feeling overwhelmed and happy but I didn't have that instant sense of recognition that some people talk about. She was just this sweet, adorable stranger that we were suddenly in charge of. Over the next few days we slowly got to know her and fall in love with her. It feels like the craziest thing, creating a human being, bringing her home. Even at two weeks in we're still constantly turning to each other in disbelief. We have a baby, an actual BABY, who is going to become a tiny person and then an adult. I want everything to speed up and slow down at the same time. I love listening to the little noises she makes and we're already noticing how she changes from day to day. This is going to be such a crazy ride, guys.

Adrian, 2 days and 2 weeks
{two days vs. two weeks}

P.S. - I'll probably post about c-section recovery once I'm a little further along. Unsurprisingly, I hadn't prepared myself for a c-section so I had no idea what the recovery was going to entail. I'm incredibly lucky in that I also hadn't spent any time preparing for a vaginal birth (apparently I was just hoping this baby would magically appear?), so I didn't have any major disappointment that it worked out this way, but dealing with the recovery is more intense than I anticipated.

23 comments:

  1. CONGRATULATIONS! I also had an emergency c-section with my first - with very similar circumstances - it wasn't what I'd hoped for (a natural birth - ha!) but I accepted it. The recovery was NOT easy. Take any medications you need, and try to rest as much as you can.

    Adrian is beautiful! My younger daughter had that much hair at birth, and now at 6 yo, still has the most beautiful and plentiful hair.

    ENJOY - it's fleeting -

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  2. Hi Rachel, I'm a long-time reader of your blog but I somehow missed the last two posts referencing your pregnancy. So it was such a lovely surprise to read this and to see the gorgeous pictures of Adrian. I wish you and Dustin all the very best as you embark on this new chapter in your life together. I also had an emergency c-section for my first (after induction - he seemed to flip over at the last moment) but the recovery is a bit of a blur now (it was 24 years ago!). Take it easy, rest up, don't feel bad about sleeping whenever you can. And enjoy!

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  3. I do realize that there are a lot of opinions out there about the best ways to become pregnant, give birth, and raise a child - but at the same time, it seems like the ONE thing a woman doesn't need to study for is birthing a baby! I have seen so many people get so stressed about it, or disappointed when the birth doesn't work out just as they planned. In my experience, there is no magic recipe or "right" way to do it, as long as everyone is happy and healthy. Best of luck with recovery, and congrats on your little girl. That hair is amazing!

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  4. Congratulations, what a beautiful girl! I'm sure you're currently being inundated with advice so the only thing I'll suggest (as a mum of a busy 18 month girl) is to not to forget to take photos with both you and her in, and of the three of you if possible. I didn't manage this and wishing I had! Good luck with it all, it's such an amazing and overwhelming (and sometimes, tough) time!

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  5. Congratulations! I had that same experience when my daughter was born-- it was like someone handed me a very cute stranger baby. I thought I would recognize and love her instantly but I definitely didn't. Adrian is super adorable!!!

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  6. Congratulations! She's precious. I also had an unexpected C-section, but I am just so happy that my daughter is okay as well. Take it easy - it's a tough recovery, but you'll do great. I always love your writing and your insight. Your readers are lucky to have you, so of course your daughter is the luckiest! xoxo, another Scrippsie

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  7. Congratulations! What a strong mama and strong baby you two are. Welcome to the world, Adrian!

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  8. Congratulations!!! I can't wait for little Adrian to discover all the things.

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  9. I’ll be 40 weeks on Sunday and am feeling surprisingly disappointed if I have to be induced. I really want it to just spontaneously happen for some reason. She is beautiful, congrats!

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  10. That wonderous hair! Hurray for you and her and D.
    I remember that sense of surprise that I didn't have an instant of recognition- but mothering grows on us as we make the choice each day- each moment- to mother.

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  11. Congrats on your sweet girl! I’ve read your blog for a long time and always appreciate how real and honest you are. I have a 4.5 little boy, also born by emergency c-section. He was born early and spent 33 days in the NICU. I also remember thinking how weird it felt to one minute be pregnant and the other minute not, without really feeling it happen. Recovery is no joke. Months later and I am still aware of my incision...it doesn’t hurt, but I know it’s there. Granny panties have become a close friend! Rest and enjoy your little one!
    P.S. I love her name!

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  12. Congratulations! She is beautiful. I was 40 weeks + 1 day when I went into labor and after 4 hours of pushing had a c-section. What a crazy experience it all is, and I feel like it's hard for someone who hasn't gone through it to understand all of the emotions. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

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  13. Congratulations ! I can wait for Circe / Adrian bonding stories !

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  14. Ops sorry , I meant I can’t wait.

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  15. SHE IS SO GORGEOUS!!! That hair!
    Congratulations to your family. Such a beautiful life - glad to hear you're doing well and baby is healthy.

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  16. Congrats! Just happened to find this little gem in my reading list - I’m so happy for you all!

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  17. Hey, I just teared up a bit reading about the birth and seeing pictures of your new baby. . . thanks so much for sharing with us.

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  18. Great article with amazing informative and super knowledge thanks for sharing this. again thanks for sharing. Visit My blog post:- best emergency lights

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  19. Beautiful! I love your description, it puts into words exactly how I experienced it as well: 'a sweet, adorable stranger' that I love more and more every minute. Thank you for sharing <3

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