Friday, February 12, 2016

Mischief Managed

It's hard to start this post. Mostly because it's hard to put what I'm about to say into words that will really convey my emotions through the experience of pregnancy loss to having 2 healthy babies at home.

First of all, I'm so incredibly thankful that I have Nolan and Maxwell. And even moreso, that they're both extremely healthy little boys! As a mother, that's about all you want is your children to be healthy and happy and I'm lucky that I know my little boys have a great start to their lives with great health and I hope that they're always happy with their lives.

For me, when I talk about "this experience" it bundles up the whole finding out I was pregnant in March of 2012 - and remembering the emotions that followed up with excitement in telling my family and a devastating crush having a late first trimester loss of that pregnancy. "This experience" also means TTCAL and being PGAL and the worry that surrounds both of those. And finally, "this experience" has led me to the birth of two healthy boys who are mine and I love with all my heart.

"This experience" really runs the gauntlet of emotions for me. I'm a person who holds on to sadness in what I think is a healthy manner where I'll recall emotional experiences and be able to shed a tear or two in thinking about them and it's cathartic in doing so. In the past (almost) 4 years I've gone from crying about every single day about my loss to getting back to my new normal as a person who's struggled with the pain of the loss of a child they never got to know beyond an ultrasound where there was actually a heartbeat at one point.

I think about that baby and what could have been.

I resolve myself to remembering that without that loss, I wouldn't have my Nolan or Maxwell that I have right now. It doesn't mean that I wouldn't have loved the everliving crap out of that baby, but because of that loss I have the family I have now. It's hard to really express why I'm sad about losing a baby when it means that I have the family I have today and I know with all my heart this is the family I was "meant" to have.

Nowadays, it's easier to talk about my loss in a public setting. I can usually get out the words, "I had a miscarriage," to relative strangers to help them understand myself and my struggles more - but sadly it's usually to identify with them as they relay their own personal struggles to me. I get out those words without a tear - sometimes.

Having had a miscarriage has shaped me into who I am today, I guess. It's a really shitty hand to be dealt and I wouldn't wish it upon anyone, but I'm thankful that I've been able to draw strength from within myself to try and help other people who come forward to me with their own struggles who know about mine.

Talking with people who are going through a loss currently almost serves as a window to the past for me. I recall how something innocent, like bringing a baby into the workplace, can be so hurtful for someone who's lost their child.

But here I am, on the other side of "this experience." When I lost my first pregnancy I remember wishing I could see into the future and know when I was going to have my baby(ies) so I could know that my story ends happily. It's such a relief to be able to say that I do have a happy ending and now I feel like our family is pretty darn complete.

To all the people I've "met" along the way, I hope that your story ends happily like mine. Many, many hugs to those that are still struggling to start/complete their family.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Maxwell Christian Salton

Maxwell Christian Salton is finally here! Well, he has been now for over a week but as you can imagine it's pretty hard to get a minute to start typing at a computer before someone needs you!

He was born on February 1st at 9:22pm and a whopping 8 pounds 11 ounces! He has a ton of hair and dark blue eyes (for the moment) and I can only describe him as "absolutely perfect"!

The Birth Story:
Well, needless to say, Maxwell took his sweet time in getting here and I was very anxious. Since his due date was actually January 25th, I was not mentally prepared to have a February birthday baby especially since his big bro was born "only" 4 days late.

Long story short, I kept wondering if I was in labor... what was this... what was that... kind of questions. I had a few scares which seem ridiculous now. He's moving TOO MUCH, must mean fetal distress, right? - let's go to the hospital at 11pm on a Saturday and get an NST. Thankfully the nurses and midwives all seemed to understand my worries and din't make me feel stupid for coming in. "We'd rather you come in and it be nothing than you not to come in and it be something," they said. So I usually left the hospital frustrated but thankful that everything was going well.

The day Maxwell was born, I had a midwife appointment that morning. They did the usual checks and things weren't really progressing. I was frustrated by this, and as a catalyst for my fear there of course was a "snowmaggedon" predicted to arrive on 2/2/16 (the day after this appointment) and I was nervous that I was going to go into labor and have 13" of snow to drive through across town to get to the hospital. Cue fears of delivering in my living room with NO EPIDURAL. I'm not sure which is worse, having to clean that mess up by myself or having to go through the pain!

So I conveyed this fear to the midwife and she asks me how I feel about an induction. To be honest, I wasn't too fond of the idea but she made me comfortable with it and I was just ready to have our little man so we talked about the risks (increased chances of a c-section after laboring was my biggie) and what exactly the process would involve. At this point I jumped at the chance and told Brian to pack up my last minute things (toothbrush and iPad = necessities) and come to the hospital!

Brian hadn't left for work yet thankfully! He normally works later on Monday mornings but I caught him before he was scheduled to go in that day. He was able to collect all the things I requested and met me at the hospital where I was already checked in and getting poked and prodded.

Pitocin... check... Saline drip... check... Penicillin... check 
I had to be connected to the tubes pretty much the entire time which was a pain in the ass. The penicillin was because I was Group B Strep positive so they gave me antibiotics every 4 hours, pitocin obviously is the induction medicine, and the saline drip is just to make me get up and pee every 4 minutes apparently.

So yeah, connected to tubes and monitors wasn't really pleasant. Especially when I had to go to the bathroom and we had to disconnect the monitors and drip stuff so I could walk to the bathroom.

Another part of the induction was breaking my waters. Early on when they checked me they said that the baby was "bouncy" which I guess isn't a good thing to break waters at that point because the umbilical cord can be delivered first and wrap around baby's neck. So we waited to break waters until maybe an hour or two later. When they finally did break the water they did notice a bit of meconium in the water (fancy word for baby poop... yuck!). Way to make an after loss mom fuh-reak right out! Midwives (Donna and Autumn - Autumn was a student so I got to have 2 of em... which sometimes meant twice the checks... but I'm ok with helping people learn so it wasn't a big deal) reassured me that a little meconium is normal and not to worry.


Well, after breaking my water the contractions ramped up. I'm not sure if it's because they increased my pitocin at the time or if the waters just accelerated the contractions. Either way this was starting to get painful. To describe the contractions on pitocin vs with Nolan (no pitocin) it was more like there was broken glass in the ute that started getting stabby all at once. With Nolan I remember it being a warm sensation that was painful but it like started small and grew inside me during the contraction. Pitocin was definitely a harsher feeling.

The nurse at one point said, "when is a good time to talk about an epidural?" I said, "it's always a good time to talk about an epidural!"

Like I said, with pitocin they're a little more keen to know your pain management plans. Before they started the pitocin they wanted to know my plans for an epidural and I think if I said I wanted to go without one they would have at least wanted to know if I would consider it.

But yeah, I wish I was on an epidural right now.

Luckily for me, I got my same anesthesiologist (I SPELLED THAT RIGHT WITHOUT THE RED SQUIGGLE LINE THE FIRST TIME #iamsosmart) that I had with Nolan and I could sing his praises from how great the epidural worked for me last time. This time I think they bumped up the medication because my lower half was really numb. I think this worked to my advantage because the pain was completely gone and the numbness lasted well after having Maxwell which helped with the "repairs."

Having an epidural did give me the shakes though, to the point where I felt like I was having a seizure. It was like my entire body was freezing, my teeth were chattering, body was shaking the earth was quaking etc. So they moved me to my side where somehow the shakes subsided.

Back up... at some point they checked me for dilation and I was at 5 cms... then like an hour or two later I was still at 5 cms and I was a little beside myself wondering if I was going to have to have a c-section because I wasn't progressing. Then finally around 7 or so I started feeling that feeling you get when you need to push (poop, it's like when you need to poop). The midwives said since I was on my side and comfortable for the time being they didn't want to check me right then. Then about an hour or so later they came in and the student midwife goes "ohhhhhhhhhhhh yeah" which the teacher midwife goes, "when the midwife said 'ohhhh yeah' you know that's a good sign". Apparently at this point they couldn't even feel ye olde cervix and Maxwell was basically ready to debut.

Within minutes the room was filled with blue gowned individuals (2 midwives from earlier, 2 nurses, and a NICU nurse). They had me start pushing around 8:50pm or so and at 9:22 our little Maxwell was here!!! Good on you, Maxwell, for such a short turnaround time in the pushing dept.

Side note: I did request a mirror while pushing. I actually recommend this, because while the site itself isn't really pretty it wasn't something I wish I never saw. I didn't get to see him fully coming out with the mirror as the midwives needed to be where the mirror stood but it was really cool to be able to have that visual. If you're on the fence about it, I definitely recommend it!

After having our little little man I held him skin to skin for probably about an hour before Brian got to hold him. Initially, he wasn't crying which was kind of frightening for me but the nurses quickly reassured me he was fine. Within a minute or so he did start crying and I knew those lungs were working! Brian cut the cord and they did all the necessary cleanup for Maxwell on my chest. We didn't actually weigh him until much later... maybe even not until around midnight.

We survived the "snowmaggedon" which ended up being like 5" of heavy snow by being held up in the hospital while my mom took care of Nolan.

We're all so happy to have Maxwell in our lives!