Friday, March 24, 2017

A Birth Story Introducing Elijah James (Part 2)

I proudly held onto our baby boy as I was wheeled out of the Labor room and down the hall into my Postpartum room. It felt like an entire new day once we were greeted by the smaller, bright room with a view of the Charlotte skyline. I slowly got into bed as Jeremy made himself as comfortable as possible in his dinky, reclining "pull-out" chair. All three of us took a snooze for a few hours as nurses came in and out while I answered their questions in my sleep.

Later that morning, Elijah was taken to get his first sponge bath so I figured I would clean up myself. It's amazing that brushing my teeth, washing my face and rinsing my hair in the sink made me feel 100x better. I felt a little more like myself as I changed out of my hospital clothes and into my robe I brought from home.

The three of us were reunited once again as Elijah came back from his bath smelling brand new and looking handsome. Later that afternoon, Sunny came by to take more photos. She did an amazing job capturing those first 24 hours with Elijah. They are moments I will never forget.

The next 2.5 days were spent crammed in room 8502. Elijah spent some quality time with his Uncle Reuben, Auntie Nickie, cousin Randal, and best friend Sunny as well as getting to know his good ol' mom and dad.

Once Elijah passed all of his newborn screenings, we were finally given the okay to go home. We were given great care at the hospital, but we were ready to go. We packed up our things and high-tailed it outta there.

After a careful drive homeward bound, we welcomed Elijah home. It's a crazy world, Elijah, but you're dad and I are going to do our best to protect you, raise you right and love you like no other.

Friday, March 10, 2017

A Birth Story Introducing Elijah James (Part 1)

Jeremy and I planned for a March baby; it's what we always wanted. But Elijah? Elijah had a plan all on his own.

On Thursday, February 23rd, I went in for my 39 week prenatal checkup. I was with a new practitioner, as they like you to see as many OB's as possible since you never know who will be on call when baby arrives. During my visit, the doc and I discussed that at 38 weeks I wasn't dilated, how I had experienced a few Braxton Hicks contractions a few days earlier, and how I was feeling overall. The doctor then asked me if I wanted her to perform a "sweep" (I later learned that she was referring to Membrane Stripping) where she could induce labor. I, still being terrified of labor at that point, quickly said NO. She then checked my cervix and told me I was 2-3 cm dilated. We were both shocked considering the week before, my cervix was closed. Before I left, I noticed a little spotting and asked if that was normal. She assured me, yes, and that it should stop in 24 hours. Feeling exhausted, I headed home for a much-needed nap.

Earlier before my appointment. Feeling great and sippin' on a milkshake.
I woke up feeling a little well-rested, but not really. I didn't like the fact that I was spotting and I started to feel more Braxton Hicks contractions coming on. I went about the night waiting for Jeremy to get home as I noticed that these "Braxton Hicks" seemed to be a little more painful than the night before. Around 9 PM, I noticed that they were coming regularly and started timing them. They were 5 minutes apart. A little worried, Jeremy and I called the hospital to see what we should do. We were advised to stay at home since I could still talk through each mild contraction.

With the contractions coming at a steady pace, we finished packing our hospital bags and tried to sleep. I never had contractions through the night and I figured I could sleep through them. Boy, was I wrong. I was up every hour, possibly getting sleep every 15-30 minutes. It was awful. And to hear Jeremy snoring comfortably in our bed just made me mad.

As soon as Jeremy woke up for work that Friday morning, I told him he was staying home and that we may be having a baby that day. The contractions continued throughout the day growing from mild in the early morning to medium in the afternoon. I tried to distract myself with tv, posting my third trimester blog and showering but the contractions quickly increased becoming intense around 3 PM. Although my contractions were growing strongly, they were coming every 7-10 minutes. I was trying to follow the 5-1-1 rule to go to the hospital, where my contractions were 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute for an hour. Finally by 4:15 PM, Jeremy could tell by my face that I was uncomfortable and ready to go. We called the hospital and I fibbed saying that my contractions were following the 5-1-1 rule which gave us the go-ahead to come on down. I was relieved to hear that one of my favorite doctors, Dr. Nicholson, was on call for the evening, easing my anxiety just a tad.

Tracking contractions
I've never seen Jeremy move so quickly. He had a plan in his head and he was ready to get out the door. It was 5:15 PM and we were headed uptown to CMC Main. Lucky for us, traffic wasn't terrible as we were basically going against it. It was not, however, fun having contractions along the way. Jon Bellion was my music of choice as we blasted it, along the the AC (it was 80 degrees that day), to get me through each contraction.

It was 5:45 PM and we finally arrived to the hospital. I was placed in a wheelchair as the hospital valet service took care of our car. We were wheeled to the front desk where we got to skip the line but only one person was working causing admission to the Maternity Center to take a little longer. More contractions came and I almost had a mini breakdown freaking out just thinking about the whole experience that was about to go down. We were finally admitted to the Maternity Center and we were wheeled up to the 8th floor.

Although we had been accepted to the floor, we hadn't been given a room yet. We arrived to a section on the floor where they took my vitals, weight, had me changed into a gown and check my cervix. It was the moment of truth to see how far I was dilated. I was a little nervous since I basically lied to get in there but, (surprise!) I was 6 cm dilated! Woohoo! The nurse was impressed since I was a first-time mom. Heck, I was impressed with myself. She told me that we were having a baby that night! And then I started shaking from nerves and from being cold (I forgot to bring socks since it was so freaking hot outside).

Next thing I know, I was being wheeled to my Labor and Delivery room. I breathed through each contraction as I got settled into the room and got to know my RN for the evening, Tia. Tia took great care of us, getting me socks and best of all, getting me approved for my epidural. I had been on the fence about getting an epidural the entire pregnancy but at this point I was so tired from not getting sleep the night before AND I learned you had to push with each contraction so I had no problem getting a needle in my back to subside the pain.

Blood samples were taken for me to get approval to get the epidural. My body also had to process a bag of fluid before it was given. I waited and took on more contractions. Ugh.

In the meantime, our dear friend, Sunny, arrived to document the big night. She distracted me with conversation and also made sure I was comfortable, requesting I get another warm blanket as she saw I was still shaking. Turns out the shaking was due to my hormones going crazy (and also my nerves).

The nurse came back with great news of an epidural on it's way. Jeremy helped balance me as I leaned over to have the drug administered. A contraction decided to come right at that moment so that was fun...but in the end, it was totally worth it.

Breathing through a contraction
15 minutes later, I was contraction-free. Well, not totally. I could tell when I was having contractions because of the pressure I could feel down below. It wasn't nearly as painful though.

Relaxed, I was able to watch a movie, watch some Mindy Project, pay more attention to conversations and best of all, NAP! Jeremy and I both caught up on some Z's for about 2 hours.

Friday the 24th had passed and it was now the wee hours of Saturday, the 25th. At 2 AM, we were advised that I was 10 cm dilated; time to push! The shakes came back as this was the most nervous I was the entire time. Anxious and all, it was go-time whether I was ready or not.

Although we got the news at 2 AM that it was push-time, I actually didn't start pushing until 3 AM (we had to wait for confirmation from the Dr, blah, blah, blah). I had prepared myself for a sprint but I should have prepped for a marathon. It was a team of Jeremy, Tia (the nurse), and I at the beginning as we got the pushing process started. Around 4 AM, we got the news that Tia was working overtime and was instructed to leave. Sad to see her go, a new team of three came in (I forgot their names), and they got me through the next hour and a half. I will say, I wasn't the nicest, as I was oblivious to how much time pushing would take. I got frustrated with them when they would tell me I was "close" but with each push, I felt like I got nowhere. Jeremy was a champ, coaching me, holding me and being where needed at each and every second.

At 5:15 AM, I was close enough to have Dr. Nicholson come in to deliver our baby.

On Saturday, February 25th, 2017 at 5:27 AM, Elijah James Singleton arrived. 7 lbs. 1 oz., 20 inches long.

He was placed in my arms and instantly, everything felt at peace. Our son was here and he was perfect. I couldn't take my eyes off him. We couldn't be happier or more in love.