Time for an update.
Little M was born four weeks ago. While this pregnancy was undoubtedly my most difficult, the labor was a breeze.
I woke up from a nap at around 5 in the afternoon on that Saturday. I felt like something was happening, but I wasn’t totally sure. Because the hospital where I delivered is about a 40 minute drive and there were some concerns about her heart, we had planned to go to the hospital right away. As we drove, my contractions got more intense and I was sure this was labor. After completing the ludicrous check-in process– a woman in labor would sign anything– I was evaluated and quickly wheeled into a delivery room.
While my contractions continued to intensify, I requested the epidural. I’ve had the experience of a natural birth, but this time I knew I needed something different. Due to concerns about M’s heart, I knew I would have continuous fetal monitoring, which means being confined to the bed. I also had an intense amount of anxiety that I didn’t want that to hinder my perception of pain. Placing the epidural was tricky because of my curvy, twisty spine, but after an intense 45 minutes it was in. As relief washed over my body, I felt physically and emotionally relaxed. Floating. My husband came back in the room and we turned on the LSU-Florida football game and I texted my friends with updates.
A short time later, I was ready to push. A team of about 10 residents, doctors, and who-knows-who came into the room and prepared for the baby. I knew she would be given to the NICU team immediately. This was a very different experience than with my other kids. I just prayed that she would be okay.
She was born at 10:30 that night after just a couple of easy pushes. I heard her little cry from the other side of the room and could see her pale, glowing skin and shiny, black eyes as they took her out of the room in a little plastic box. It all seemed like a dream.
We finally got to see her in NICU early the next morning. She had a line through her belly button to deliver medicine to keep a fetal blood vessel from closing. The cardiologists were concerned that she could have a Coarctation of the Aorta and giving her this medicine would give them time to determine if she needed surgery to fix it.
It was a bizarre feeling to have just had a baby and be all alone. I slept for most of the next day, waking up to pump and eat. My own recovery was easy. My body was so relieved not to be pregnant anymore, I felt great. I was able to visit M whenever I wanted. The NICU was just down the hall with open access for mothers. I couldn’t hold her because of that special line, but the nurses explained what each of the wires were for, which made it less scary. I can still hear the sounds of the beeping alarms and see the flashing numbers run across the screen.
M was doing well, though. And after a few echocardiograms and ultrasounds, the cardiologists determined that she didn’t need surgery and that the issue with her heart was just something that needs to be monitored. We will have her one month follow-up appointment later this week.
So I was discharged on the Monday after she was born and she came home late Wednesday night. Many of the things that I had anticipated about her birth– knowing that I wouldn’t get to hold her and that I would go home before she did– happened, but I survived. At the time it all just seemed so surreal. And to some extent it still does. I am still adjusting to normalcy and trying to accept that she’s okay. My anxiety during pregnancy didn’t let me fantasize about life with three little darlings. I didn’t think about anything after her birth. I didn’t buy clothes or get out baby stuff.
I’m still pinching myself every time I look at her. The way her brother and sister love her and interact with her is unreal. I couldn’t have imagined a better relationship. Z is thoughtful and helpful. He reads her books and brings me anything I need. R hasn’t shown any signs of jealousy. She is more affectionate with her little sister than anyone else and gets upset if baby is crying. “She wants milk, Mama!” she says, not wanting her to have to wait at all.
I’ve just been trying to take things one day at a time and not put too much pressure on myself. I definitely feel better when we get out of the house. The time change, unfortunately, is working against me. And with her appointment approaching, my anxiety is increasing. So keeping myself in the moment is more important than ever.
I’d like to thank my friends, family and those of you I don’t even know for your prayers and support these past few months. I feel so blessed and incredibly thankful for everything I’ve been given. It is truly overwhelming.
I’m hoping to start posting more regularly again. Sometimes I wonder why I put so much work into blogging when I’m not making money on it. But really I get so much enjoyment and fulfillment out of creating and writing posts! I have several projects in the works so I’ll be playing catch-up for a few weeks. I’ll keep you updated on Instagram and Facebook.