Sunday, October 10, 2010

Liam's Arrival

Before 2007 the only birth stories I knew were those that are played on TLC at about 10:00 a.m. Most of them are normal. I would always cry when I saw the dad's face and how proud he was of his wife and his new baby.

On September 19, 2007 I was witness to one of the most amazing things. I saw my nephew enter this world. I cried heavy tears as he was born and saw my sister and brother-in-law fall instantly in love with Mason. It was one of the best days of my life. Naturally the next month when I became pregnant with Lily, I thought her birth would go something like Mason's. Unfortunately, it didn't. I never saw Chris' face when Lily was born, and I never saw hers either.

If you haven't been a follower of this blog, or you don't know me, or if you just don't know the story of how our first child, Lily, entered this world, you should probably read her birth story before reading Liam's, it will explain a lot of why Liam's birth meant so much to us (of course Lily's did too, but hers went a little different than anyone could have imagined).

So, here is the story of Liam's birthday...

Tuesday, September 21st was the day that we picked with the help of Dr. J to deliver Liam. And I'm not sure if any of us thought that I would make it to that day, but I did. And that meant that Liam would be delivered fullterm and things would go according to "plan"...hopefully.

39 weeks of pregnancy (and 2 days) and 7 weeks of bedrest to avoid pre-eclampsia, it was all coming to an end. The night before the scheduled c-section, I posted this. What I didn't post is how frickin' scared I was that everything was going to go wrong. Looking back, there was really no way for me to not be scared because of what happened last time. And I was terrified.

I went to bed at midnight and surprisingly slept until 6:00 a.m. when Chris and are were awakened by Lily's cries of "mama, mama" on the monitor (she's a really early-riser). She had breakfast and we packed all our last minute stuff and got showered (and yes, I did put on makeup ::giggle::). I threw up a lot of P.F. Chang's and regretted eating it, or said I should have had a milkshake at midnight to keep it down...oh well, I know for next time :)

We made the trip to my mom's house and in the car, I tried to hold back tears as I told Chris that if anything happened to me and I didn't make it, he should print every page of the blog and make a binder for Lily and Liam, so they would know who I was. Mr. Optimistic assured me that nothing bad was going to happen this time. But, I wasn't convinced, after all, I never thought anything bad was going to happen last time and got a rude awakening. We dropped off Lily's overnight stuff there and then headed to the hospital with Lily and my mom and Billie and Mason met us there.

Once we got to Labor & Delivery, Kirsten (a nurse I never had last time, but still knew because I was there so long), saw us come in and said "Hi Shana, are you guys ready to have your baby?"...We were.

We got checked into our room and Kirsten started an iv and then my family joined us while we waited. I tried to act cool but was still totally terrified. The mood in the room was light. Lily and Mason ran around like the little crazies they are. Mason used the big boy potty (he was potty training that week), and we all made a big deal of it.

Lily and Mason hugging before we meet Liam

Dr. J came in to talk to us and reassured me that everything was going to go well. The anesthesiologist came in and talked to me about pain management. He decided that he was going to do a spinal instead of an epidural (what I had last time). Kirsten told us that they would be running late because they needed to deliver another baby by c-section. So, we got to hang out in our room a little longer.

At about noon they took me back to the operating room. I kissed everyone goodbye and tried hard not to cry when I kissed Chris and Lily (still scared to death). I walked the white hall and entered the same room where everything went terribly wrong last time with Lily. It seemed like dejavu. I sat on the table and they started the spinal and I absolutely thought at any minute my ears were going to ring and everything was going to happen exactly as it did last time. I prayed hard to my dad to protect me. They laid me down and I was okay. I couldn't believe it. I kept asking how my blood pressure was and if I seemed okay. I wanted to appear calm even though my brain wanted me to totally freak out. I didn't freak out. They said my blood pressure was great and I seemed very calm to them (great actress, I guess). They strapped my arms down (picture a crucifix), pulled up the blue curtain and started to prep my abdomen.

Chris got ready in the room and he thought it was taking a little long. I am sure he was worried, even though I am not sure he would admit that.

Finally they brought Chris in and he sat at my head on my left side. I was so happy to see him. I knew that if anything was wrong, they would have never brought him in.

This was it.

We were going to meet our son and we were both going to be present for his birth.

I gave Dr. J orders that I didn't want to hear a play-by-play of what they were doing, just tell us when he is here. So, they started, and Chris and the anesthesiologist tried to make small talk with me. "How did we meet?" the anesthesiologist asked. I was trying to stay calm, but also trying to listen to what was going on behind the curtain for any signs of things going wrong. I wanted no part of the small talk. But, I know they were trying to keep my mind off of things.

I've tried to describe what I felt, but can't really put it into words. I felt tugging, pulling and pressure, probably exactly what you would imagine feeling, except there was no pain.

At one point I heard Dr. J get a little nervous and he asked for suction and I heard a lot of water. We would later find out that after making the incision, lots of water came out and because of that Liam slipped over to the right and Dr. J could no longer get to him through my small incision. A vacuum was used to scoot him back over.

They told us that it was going to happen any second and Chris wanted desperately to look over the curtain, but I was scared for him to see me all bloody and kept telling him to sit back down.

The anesthesiologist stood up and looked over the curtain while they had Liam's head out and exclaimed "He's got lots of dark hair!"....I remember thinking you must be kidding, I have been trying to grow Lily's hair for years for bows and this little guy was going to come out with hair. I said "Your kidding!"

12:33 p.m.

I felt them take him out of the place that had been his home for the last 39 weeks and felt the pressure leave as I heard Dr. J announce "It's a boy!"

Chris couldn't stay seated any longer and stood up to take a video of everything.

I heard his first cry and he was here. It was amazing.

Tears streamed down my face...this is what I imagined it would be like. I felt the feeling that I always wish I had felt when Lily was born. Bliss, happiness, contentment, excitement. This was what is supposed to happen.

I heard nurses saying "He's all boy!" "Happy Birthday!" "Congratulations!"

They quick brought him over by me so I could see him and then whisked him away to do measurements and apgars.

Chris gave me a kiss and left my side to go see Liam and tape all his first moments (so glad he did this). He was so proud and had tears in his eyes...and I got to see his face when his baby boy was born, another reason I had happy tears.

I heard Kirsten tell Chris "He's a little bigger than your first baby, huh?"

It seemed like it took forever to get me all back together and I kept asking again if everything was alright and if I was okay. I was still scared that my blood pressure might spike and they would put me under, even worse, Chris would be witness to everything and would be scared. They assured me that my pressure was very good, even low and I was doing great.

Chris came back over to check on me and I immediately asked if Liam was okay. He said he looked great.

I tried hard to focus on staying calm and trying not to be nervous. I just remember watching the clock...1:15 p.m. and they said it would be about 10 more minutes.

I was dying to get my hands on Liam and be near Chris.

When I hadn't heard Liam cry in quite some time, I asked if Chris and Liam had left, I thought he would be crying and crying. The reassured me that he was under the warmer being measured and Chris was absolutely still in the room.

They brought Liam over all bundled up and took a picture of the three of us.

Liam Daniel
September 21, 2010
7 pounds 3 ounces
21 inches

Finally I was ready to go and they lifted me to the hospital bed. Kirsten walked over and put Liam in my arms. I couldn't believe it.

Apparently they rolled my bed out of the operating room and back into my Labor & Delivery room, but I couldn't tell you where we were going, because I couldn't stop staring at Liam and thinking...

We did it!

When we got back to the Labor & Delivery room, Kirsten let Lily, my mom, Billie and Mason back in to quickly meet Liam before I had to start breastfeeding. We were all happy!

After about an hour in Labor & Delivery they took my bed up to Postpartum and Liam rode along in my arms the whole time.

We got settled in our room, the nurse went over things with us. I was especially concerned about how to take care of the umbilical cord, since we didn't have to do that last time.

Sometime after 4:00 p.m. (time is kind of a blur). Chris went to watch Liam's first bath and I started to get feeling back in my legs, so I asked to get up (I had heard the sooner you get moving after a c-section, the quicker your recovery is). I went into the bathroom to clean up a bit. This c-section didn't hurt at all. Last time I woke up out of general anesthesia with no pain meds until my blood transfusions were complete. This time I was feeling no pain!

Lily, my mom, Billie and Mason came back for a little visit and I just kept saying "I can't believe how great everything went" "I feel amazing" "This is amazing".

Having a little brother is exhausting!

I definitely was bitten by the baby bug and was not going to let anyone take me off the high I was riding. I felt like I could do anything!

After we said goodbye to Lily (which was sad). We both just kept talking about how great things went. I know Chris always thought they would, but I was unsure and could have never imagined things going so well. I also couldn't believe how great I was feeling.

We looked little Liam over. Right away I could tell he had very long fingers and feet, just like his Daddy and Lily. He had sideburns and dark hair. In time we would discover he has a dimple in his left cheek just like Lily does. We couldn't figure out who he looked like, but he does look a lot like Lily when she was born, except they have different noses.

Because of the vacuum that was used, he had a large bruise over his right ear. It made breastfeeding a little difficult at first, the lactation consultant said his jaw was probably sore and taught Chris and I how to massage his jaw to loosen him up.

 Liam's bruise

Our first night was filled with brief moments of silence staring at Liam, interrupted by exclamations of...
"Can you believe how great this went?"
"I can't believe he's here"
"I can't believe we had a fullterm baby!"

All I wanted to do was hold him. I know now how fast time goes and that pretty soon he would be too big to be held. Chris tried to get some sleep the first night and I stayed up holding Liam and staring at him, nursing and of course taking pictures.

I suppose our hospital stay was filled with normal things families and friends visiting and bearing gifts and loving on Liam (and Lily), parents taking lots of pictures of their new baby, nobody getting any sleep, taking your baby's hospital picture and feeling completely happy, not stressed or scared. To us it seemed to mean so much was truly a dream come true for Chris and I.

Breastfeeding is much smoother with a fullterm baby, although with Liam's "latching" issues there was still a bit of a struggle, but nothing that even compares to how hard it was with Lily. Because of his bruise and his sore jaw, we decided to postpone his circumcision until breastfeeding was well established. The day of the circumcision he was very tired afterward and breastfeeding went south. I started pumping and was pretty proud of myself when I saw that the lactation specialist had written in "milk goddess" next to how many ounces I got.

Dr. J came to visit with us the next day. He wanted to explain the bruise and see how I was doing. I can't even put into words what an amazing doctor he is, just typing this is bringing tears to my eyes. He is one of the most kind, caring people I have ever met in my life. I have him to thank for getting me to fullterm, it is because of his excellent care. I am so happy that he delivered my babies.

Lily finds Liam's nose

We have exclaimed a million times how much easier this experience has been. We knew it was hard last time, but couldn't truly know how hard we had it because we had nothing to compare it to. Now we know how hard and stressful things were last time.

I couldn't help but feel a little bit of sadness thinking about how wonderful Liam's birth story is and how sad Lily's is. And knowing now that bedrest earlier in my pregnancy with Lily would have probably prevented all the heartbreak we went through and all the suffering that Lily went through. I think with Lily's birth I went through all the steps of grieving, but I never felt angry about it until now. I know that there is nothing that can be done, but it still stinks that it had to happen that way.

After our blissful hospital stay, we were anxious to get home and be with Lily again. On Friday, September 24th we were and Liam together! We got ready as a family to leave the hospital.

Liam discharged at 6 pounds 6 ounces

  Liam sees his room!

 yes, our daughter is still wearing Christmas pj's

 sometimes when you have a brother, you have to put your feet up in the air

 kisses from Lily

My recovery this time was so easy. I was really scared about having another c-section because I remembered how last time I was in so much pain and couldn't really do much for weeks afterwards. This time I felt great by the next day and have felt about 100% this last week (even without pain medication!).

We have been adjusting to our new life as a family of four. So far the transition seems really easy. We are so glad that we decided to have another baby and didn't let what happened last time stop us from growing our family. Liam belongs with us.

Liam is an awesome baby. He was pretty wild inutero, so I was expecting a colicky baby, but he is as calm as can be. We thought Lily was pretty easy, but he is determined to outdo her in that category. He is still nursing and now is going about 3 hours in between feedings and the last two nights he has slept for 5 hours - we'll take it! He is up to 7.4 pounds now and is getting better and better at nursing each day (they say it takes 3 weeks for them to become experts). We are enjoying our time together before Chris goes back to work and have been trying to do lots with Lily and Liam before the cold weather. We've taken them to story time and the zoo this week.

We are over the moon in love!
Happy Birthday Baby Boy!
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*Laura Angel said...

I am sooo happy for you!!!! Tears of happiness over I await my happy arrival! Preeclampsia free I hope!

Stefanie Blakely said...

I am so happy that this turned out to be the experience you wanted!

Our little Liams were both born on the same day...Congrats on your beautiful baby boy!

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