Baby Lion joined our family on February 15th at 11:28 pm. She was 8lbs 6oz and 20 inches of pure perfection, and we were immediately in love!
After a complicated and stressful pregnancy, I was truly counting down the days until we would get to meet our sweet girl. Because she remained breech (my stubborn uterus doesn’t allow babies to turn, apparently) we had a c-section scheduled for February 20th, but once I hit full term I was more than happy to meet her a bit sooner!
The morning of the 15th was much like every day of the previous 8 weeks. Lots of contractions, but not close enough together to signal “alarm.” After 3 trips to Labor and Delivery, I was on the lookout for contractions that “became more intense” and were 5 minutes apart for more than an hour. I was told that because this would be my second c-section and because my baby was breech that I should come in and not labor at home, as the baby would need to be monitored once I was in active labor. During active times of the day my contractions would often get to 8 minutes apart, but usually didn’t get any closer.
Around 2pm I left home to attend a baby shower for a close friend. Shortly after I left, my contractions became more noticeable. I had stopped the constant timing of contractions because it was making me crazy, but they were close enough together for me to get out my timer. As I began timing, they were about 6 minutes apart. By the time I had arrived at the shower, they were closer to 5. Not wanting to leave for another false alarm I stayed for a bit, but after consistent contractions for over an hour, I called Mr. Lion to see what he thought, and decided to head home to wait it out.
After trying all the “stop the false contractions” tricks (drinking water, laying down etc.), they remained fairly consistent, between 4-6 minutes apart. Around 4:30 pm I called my OB office and was referred to their on call midwife. She told me I should come on in, so we threw together our bags and called the family who would be taking care of Little Lion while we were in the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital around 6pm, and got checked in (for the 4th time). They gave us the same speech about what to do, and took us to a room to get hooked up to the monitors. I joked with Mr. Lion that we were on the opposite side of the hallway than we were the other 3 times, and that maybe it was a sign.
A very sweet nurse came in and hooked me up, and together we watched the contractions come and go for the next 2 hours. They were still regular, and each one was a little more painful than the last. The midwife came by and confirmed that no, I was still not even a little bit dilated. After another hour or so on the monitors and another cervical check she said the words that I was dreading…that she wasn’t sure, but that I was probably not in labor and that they wanted to discharge me.
I tried to hold it together for the sake of my pride, but it was clear that I was upset. Actually, upset is really an understatement. Petrified is more like it. I was clearly having contractions at the rate that I was “supposed” to come to the hospital. I was in pain, and I was emotionally exhausted from the ups and downs of the last 8 weeks. I could think of nothing scarier than going home and having to wait it out overnight. I knew I was going to be having a c-section regardless at this point, so waiting just didn’t make any sense to me. How would I know when it was time to come back again?!
By the time the midwife walked out of the room, I fell apart. My sweet nurse was reassuring, told me she understood why I was scared, and that it would be okay. She then left, and I think she may have spoken with the midwife because it wasn’t long before they both came back. I explained to my midwife (who, I should add, I had not met before this day and was not really aware of my complicated history) why I was so afraid. She thought for a moment and told me that she would be happy to talk to the OB on call and see what he thought.
A few minutes later she returned with wonderful news…the doctor believed there was no reason not to go ahead with my c-section. He wasn’t comfortable sending me home since I could be in active labor and had a previous c-section. It was baby time! Within minutes I was surrounded by a team of doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologists. They placed my IV, asked me lots of questions, and before I knew it I was being wheeled into the OR.
It’s funny how things can be so different and yet so similar the second time around. When I entered the OR, I was surprised at how small and bright the room was. Once I had my spinal block they got me settled on the table and set to work getting everything set up. It is so surreal to watch everyone buzzing around with their very specific and very important jobs to do. Once I was settled, they put up a curtain and allowed Mr. Lion to join me. He sat up by my head and held my hand, and the surgery began.
Surprisingly, there isn’t much about my first c-section experience that I remember, but I vividly remember my second. The first time was such a blur I don’t really have any memory of what the surgery itself was like, let alone being self conscious. This time I was very aware of everything happening, and also very aware that beyond my blue curtain I was completely uncovered. For some reason this was really unsettling this time around.
After a short time, I was greeted with the sound every expectant mother waits to hear…Baby Lion’s first cry. I immediately burst into tears, so relieved that my pregnancy was over, that she was here and that she was okay. The next few minutes were the hardest. Mr. Lion left my side to be with her as she was weighed and checked out, and he was able to trim her cord. After that was done, the nurse brought her over so that I could see her and kiss her and we were able to get our first pictures together.
The rest of the surgery seemed to take an eternity. After a while, I started to get concerned…I didn’t remember it taking this long the first time around. It actually took so long that I asked the doctor who was standing at my side if everything was okay. He explained that since my original incision had left a keloid scar (instead of being flat it was puffy) the doctor doing my surgery was repairing it so that my new incision would not be. Lucky for me, it turns out the doctor who was on call that night is known to be “pretty much a plastic surgeon” around the hospital. His precision definitely made the additional hour of surgery worth it.
Once he was finished, I was wheeled to recovery, where Baby Lion was brought to us as soon as I asked for her. She immediately tried to nurse, and we spent much of the rest of the night snuggling.
It is hard to believe that all of this is just a memory now. Within just a day I was back on my feet, feeling better than I had while I was pregnant (except for some awful gas pains…more about that in another post!). I immediately morphed back into “myself,” and it has been amazing.
Baby Lion is 5 weeks old and time is passing so quickly, although I would be okay if the sleep deprivation passed a bit faster. Breastfeeding has been MUCH easier this time, and Little Lion has adjusted well to having a baby sister in the house. Now we are just looking forward to Spring, and lots more adventures as a family of four!