halloweeeeeeen

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We are doing nothing for Halloween this year. Having a new baby made me too lazy to decorate, Gwen didn’t want to dress up, and to top it all off most of us are sick (Taylor and I have colds, and Gwen has been blessed with a visit from the hand, foot and mouth disease fairy) so we’re just staying home and taking it easy. Since we won’t be trick-or-treating, Taylor made an Easter basket-style Halloween basket for Gwen and got some extra candy for the rest of us to share.

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Nicky’s ghost outfit is from Baby Gap circa 2001, Gwen’s cat jumpsuit is H&M.

one month

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Today Nicky is one month old! Taylor and I were actually still up last night with him at the very moment when he was born, but we were watching Jane the Virgin (I just finished marathoning the first two seasons, almost in time to start season three!) and didn’t notice the time until 12:34am, 21 minutes after Nicky’s birth minute of 12:13am.

He had his four-week checkup on Friday and he now weighs 4.34kg, is 54cm tall and has a head circumference of 37.5cm. He also has the WORST infant acne I’ve ever seen right now, my poor spotty little baby. He is finally growing some eyebrows. His hair is turning light brown and his eyes are turning blue (although I’m not convinced they won’t end up green). He likes baths, bottles and his bassinet, hates diaper changes, post-bath massages and tummy time. He enjoys being swaddled and is ambivalent about binkies and the rockaroo. He’s most awake and active in the evening and sleeps for stretches of up to five hours.

When I was pregnant no one believed that I really didn’t have a preference about the sex of the baby. Even now people try to say that the reason I’m happy I had a boy is because I secretly wanted one all along, which is weird. People have also asked if I’m disappointed that I didn’t have another girl, and in a way I’m a little sad that I didn’t get to use the girl’s name I had picked, and sometimes I think about some of Sym and Gwen’s special clothes I saved that won’t be worn again, but these things? A name, some dresses? They don’t compare at all to how sweet and special he is, and how much I (and all of us) love him.

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Happy one month, Nicky!

autumn

A few pictures from last weekend when we actually left the house…

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I’m so busy with work and parenting and homemaking these days that I barely have any time to make anything, but I did put together some new stickers this week! These “Too Sleepy to Live… Too Lazy to Die” Sleepy Skull stickers are available in the shop now.
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the grind

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We’ve been looking for a storage bench to put at the end of our bed for LITERALLY YEARS and the other week Taylor found this one on the Best Buy website of all places? Weird. Anyway it’s pretty much exactly what I wanted and when we ordered it it was on sale & therefore cheaper than all the not-quite-perfect ones I’ve seen so it’s a win.

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On the weekend I was feeling a little ~inspired and made these tiny grey suede boots for Nicky. I need to adjust the pattern a little to get a better fit but I just love them, and the little appliquéd evergreen trees on the soles are so cute.

This is my first week back at work and it has been… busy? complicated? hard? chaotic? Our original plan (Taylor works nights from home & looks after the baby while I sleep, I work days from home and look after the baby while Taylor sleeps, ugh this was such a good plan!) went out the window with my emergency c section. Why? Well, if you’re not familiar, one of the ~rules~ for looking after yourself after a c section is that you aren’t supposed to lift anything that weighs more than your newborn baby for 6-8 weeks after the delivery. You know what weighs more than my newborn baby? The daycare kids! As I mentioned previously I can do almost all of our regular activities, but I can’t pick them up, and sometimes they need picking up.

This means I need to have someone here to help me for almost the entire day. I can’t afford to hire a full-time assistant so the task falls to Taylor in the morning/early afternoon and Sym in the late afternoon. Since Taylor is awake for the first half of the day it’s not possible for him to work his regular midnight to 8am shift, so instead he’s working 4am to noon, which means I’m tasked with getting up with the kids if they wake up between midnight and 4. This makes waking up at 7 to get ready for work pretty difficult. Taylor’s sleeping hours are split completely in half: he sleeps from about 1 until 5pm, and then midnight until 4. As a result we are BOTH tired and irritable, which is kind of the opposite of what we’d hoped for, and yet another reason to hate my c section. We are still working out the scheduling kinks, so hopefully over the next few weeks we’ll get our routines down a bit better and stop being so crabby with one another. And hey, it’s only for three to five more weeks, how hard can it be? (DON’T ANSWER THAT, UNIVERSE.)

The upside of this fairly cruddy situation is the kids themselves, which I guess is the part that makes it all worthwhile. Nicky is a pretty chill & easy-going baby, Gwen has mostly been well-behaved and helpful, and Sym has ALSO been well-behaved and helpful (almost more amazing in a teen than a preschooler). They really are the bright spot in this frustrating time.

five faves

First of all, I keep meaning to thank everyone for your sweet comments on my last couple posts/facebook page/instagram. I really appreciate it 🙂 I actually meant to include this in yesterday’s post, and also meant for the post to be longer but the baby woke up so I was just like… “good enough,” and hit publish. AUTHENTIC MOMMY BLOGGING, or something.

Anyway. Today Nicky is TWO WEEKS OLD if you can believe it. I actually never talked about his one week checkup with our family doctor last Friday. It went amazingly, Nicky is doing great and as of last week had not only regained the weight he lost in the hospital but had actually SURPASSED his birthweight. Actually he started regaining the weight even before we left the hospital; he weighed 3.465kg at birth, 24 hours after birth he was 4% below his birthweight but at 48 hours after birth he was only 2.4% below his birthweight. As of last week he weighed in at 3.56kg, so a whole 100g more than when he was born. He is a little eating machine and averages about 500ml of delicious, delicious baby formula a day.

Aside: I’ve decided I’m switching to just using metric measurements for weight, it’s easier to keep track of Nicky’s weight because that’s what the doctor’s scale is in and this way I don’t have to do any conversions, PLUS for myself I think it gives a more manageable-sounding goal for getting back into shape post-pregnancy. Like, if I say I want to lose 10-15 kg that sounds a lot more doable than saying I wanna lose 25-30 pounds, right? BUT IT’S BASICALLY THE SAME THING. Of course this is just an estimation at the moment since a) I don’t actually own a scale so who knows what I even weigh, and b) I can’t work out for four more weeks anyways.

OKAY. On to the faves. These are somethings I’ve/we’ve been loving for Nicky in the first two weeks of his life. These are all things we have purchased ourselves or received as gifts from family, some are things we used with Gwen and some are new to us, but all are total faves.

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1. Baby Brezza Formula Dispenser HOW. DID WE EVER. LIVE WITHOUT THIS??? Honestly if you are formula feeding your baby or regularly supplementing your breastmilk with formula then RUN DON’T WALK to get yourself one of these bad boys. It has honestly made feeding the baby so much easier than it ever was with Sym or Gwen. No measuring, no spilling, no reheating. Just fill the hopper with the powdered baby formula of your choice, fill the reservoir with sterilized water and HEY PRESTO you can dispense the perfect amount of perfectly mixed formula at the perfect temperature at literally the touch of a button. It takes less than a minute and you can do it with one hand while holding your baby, and as a result I can probably count on that same one hand how many times Nicky has gotten worked up into a full howl while waiting to be fed.

2. Vital Baby Microwavable Steam Sterilizer We don’t use Vital Baby bottles (I SPENT ALL THAT MONEY ON THE LIFEFACTORY BOTTLES MY KIDS WILL USE THEM UNTIL THEY ARE GROWN) but this sterilizer works with other brands of bottles, as well as breast pump parts if that’s a thing you care about. Prior to buying this we were sterilizing bottles by either boiling them in a pot of water like it was the olden days, or running them through a whole dishwasher cycle (which took forever). This takes just a few minutes to sterilize and has really streamlined our whole bottle washing process, as well as made me wonder WHY DIDN’T I HAVE ONE OF THESE LAST TIME???

3. IKEA Himmelsk Burp Cloths These were a hand-me-down from Gwen, so ours have a different pattern on the printed one (although I really love the grey stars on the new ones). We used these cloths every day at every feeding with Gwen and we use them every day at every feeding with Nicky. Gwen had a cold at the beginning of this week and I sent one to bed with her to wipe her nose. She also uses them (sans boogers) to swaddle her babies (ie stuffies) as she’s become obsessed with swaddling since we brought Nicky home.

4. AngelCare Bath Support Another item we used with Gwen, I feel like I sang the praises of this bath support a lot back in 2012/13, and I still love it. It is comfy for little babies to lay in, the holes make rinsing super easy and it’s a breeze to clean. If I had any complaints about this it would be that it does take up quite a bit of space when not in use, but our bathroom is really small so this might not be a concern for you. We have a hook on the bathroom wall to hang it on and it generally hasn’t been a problem or gotten in the way at all.

5. Jolly Jumper Moses Basket Stand YES THE INFAMOUS MOSES BASKET STAND, the one I was so keen/desperate to get before the baby was born that I walked down to the baby store and back WHILE IN LABOUR to pick one up. In spite of the fairly mixed reviews online we haven’t had any problems with this stand. It was easy enough for Taylor to assemble, the overall look is unobtrusive and simple so it looks good in any room, and it’s small and light enough that even I can move it around the house if need be. The bassinet from our old stroller is shorter than the baskets you’re meant to use with it, but once I adjusted the length of the curved straps on either end (they are flexible plastic and screw into the sides; I was easily able to drill new screw holes to tighten them without having to actually cut them shorter) it’s worked just fine. I do wish this had regular straight legs instead of rockers as we don’t really rock it ever, but I just put a couple of door wedges under the rockers to keep it stable. And honestly, we aren’t going to use this for very long so for the amount of time we’ll need it the price cannot be beat.

If you have any baby faves you think I should hear about let me know in the comments, and have a great weekend, everyone!

the first day

Today is my first day looking after the little kids by myself. When we first came home from the hospital Taylor took the whole following week off, and halfway through that week his mom came down to stay with us to help out for a week. This week Taylor is back at work and his mom left yesterday afternoon. Of course, Taylor is working from home right now which means he is the one who is up with Nicky during the night and he’s around in the mornings to get Gwen up and walk the dogs and just generally be a help. But this afternoon it’s just been me and so far it’s alright. Both kids are fed and dressed and alive (as am I, sort of) and I even managed to do some cleaning.

It certainly helps that Gwen is basically the best kid in the world. She really loves her baby brother and all morning she was asking to hug him and for him to sit in her lap! It’s so cute. She has also been tucking her lovey Elke in with him, which is pretty amazing because Elke is very special to her and is not a toy she shares with others. There have been a few small meltdowns (namely because she wanted to wear her cat-themed hooded sweatpants jumpsuit, which was in the wash) but overall I can’t complain about her behavior.

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I hate it with my life

This post contains my raw and crabby feelings about my c section; you may have different feelings about your c section and this post is not intended in anyway to invalidate your feelings.

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Not exactly the meet-cute I’d hoped for. Photos by Taylor Laramie.

I hate my c section. I hate it with my life.

I know that due to his fetal tachycardia it was the best thing to ensure Nicky was delivered safe & sound, whole and healthy, but I hate it. I hated it from the minute the on-call obstetrician told me it might be necessary if his heart rate didn’t normalize. I was scared of having surgery and afraid the recovery would be a nightmare. I didn’t want to do it and I cried “no, no, no” during my contractions. When someone (a nurse? the doctor? who can remember) asked me what I was saying “no” about I cried “this whole situation! I don’t want to do this!”

I don’t feel guilty, or disappointed in my body, or like I have somehow failed by having a c section. I mean… there wasn’t anything that my body could have done. I think if we’d had a couple more hours I could have delivered vaginally. I was 5cm dilated and I have my “proven pelvis” (a phrase I will never not find funny) thing going for me so I truly think if Nicky wasn’t in distress I would have pushed him out just like I did both the girls, but we didn’t have a couple more hours. When I think back to that night in the hospital it seems like such a long evening but really it was only a few hours: I arrived at 8pm, spent an hour walking around, spent another hour being monitored, and then my water was broken, I laboured for a while, I was taken to the operating room and prepped for surgery. Nicky was born just after midnight, so there were really only two hours between “you might need a c section” and “it’s a boy!”

I just feel… angry? Angry and frustrated. Now that I’ve had a variety of birth experiences I think I can say this one is my least fave. And the recovery is the worst! I honestly wasn’t even going to write this post about my dumb feelings but last night after my shower I noticed one end of my incision was a little open (just like.. a couple millimeters) and inflamed-looking and when I was patting the area dry it… well not to put to fine a point on it, it oozed. It’s gross! I hate it! And now I gotta worry about what if it’s getting infected? Is the whole thing gonna open up like a zipper and all my guts spill out? Ugh! (ftr I don’t think this is going to happen, it already looks less swollen/red and has mostly stopped weeping today but STILL).

But I mean, even before this latest fun development the recovery has sucked, and it’s not even as bad as I thought it would be. It’s still bad enough though. The first couple of days in the hospital when I couldn’t even sit up on my own, like I needed to raise the back of the bed up and then pull myself up the rest of the way before I could even lift my baby out of his little cot. The gas pains in my shoulders, feeling like I was gonna burst open every time I coughed or laughed or went to the bathroom or tried to lie on my side, my abdomen hurting inside and out. I still can’t stand the feeling of anything around my waist, like even my maternity leggings are too binding and I kind of wish I’d had the baby in the summer instead (like, that he had been DUE in the summer, not that he was a super-preemie) so I could just wear flowy dresses and not fuck with pants at all. I can safely say I would 100% prefer to have all the worst pain of delivering a baby BEFORE the baby is born, rather than for weeks and weeks afterwards when I’m also trying to look after a baby. Like if this wasn’t our last baby, if I was to have another I would for sure try for a VBAC because this? This sucks. Zero stars, would not recommend to a friend.

Some people would say the only important thing is that I had my baby, and he’s fine. I know I’ve been guilty of saying it myself in the past and to anyone who I might have said that to, I APOLOGIZE. Because like DUH obviously I’m thrilled to have my baby here and healthy! I was able to come home and bring him with me after just two days in the hospital. That’s amazing, I’m so lucky! But that doesn’t mean I have to also be thrilled with being in pain every day, and with the memories of the fear I felt going into surgery, and this whole stupid thing. The baby is important, but I’m important too, and my feelings matter.

Another frustrating aspect to having a c section is it’s sent all my carefully-laid plans for my return to work into a tailspin. After you have a c section you cant lift anything heavier than your baby for six weeks, and you know what is heavier than my baby? All the daycare kids. I’m pretty confident that I will be able to do most things with them (playing toys and games, preparing their food, regular daycare activities like story and song time) but what I CAN’T do is lift them into and out of their high chairs at mealtimes, and into and out of their cribs at nap time. Thankfully Taylor is going to be able to help me out in the mornings and Sym in the afternoons, but like… it’s going to be hard and it’s going to be complicated. But I am just going to have to do it and get through it. Like the c section itself, I guess.

big sister, bigger sister

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all photos by Taylor Laramie

Throughout my whole pregnancy with Gwen I made every effort to include Symphony. She helped pick the nursery furniture (and even helped build it!) and went baby clothes shopping with me all the time. She was present in the delivery room when her baby sister was born and even picked her middle name (sort of; she suggested Viola which became Violet). Of course, she was 11 at the time, so it was a little different from going through this pregnancy with a 3-year-old.

From the very beginning I talked to Gwen a lot about the baby in mommy’s tummy, how soon it would come out and live at our house and be her friend. When we switched the girls’ bedrooms we let her pick which side would be for her and which would be for the baby, we bought her a toy baby of her very own and got a book about a little girl who gets a new baby sibling to read to her (which I still can’t get all the way through with out crying…). Of course I was still worried about how the changes would affect her since she is still just a little kid.

Thankfully so far both girls seem pretty enamored with their new baby brother. Gwen always wants to hug/kiss/pat him and says “awwwww, that baby so cuuuuuute” (or more rarely “Nicky so cute” because she has an aversion to saying names and tends to call most people “that boy” or “that mom” or “that baby”). She helps by bringing him his blankets and his lovey and talks about how when he’s a little bigger she will share her toys with him and they can take a bath and go to the park and do all sorts of things together. For Sym of course this new baby sibling business is old hat, but she still likes to watch him make his tiny funny faces and wave his tiny hands around. She’ll help by giving him a bottle but she draws the line at diapers (I don’t blame her; Nicky is kind of a poop machine rn).

an unexpected arrival

Even though my due date wasn’t until October 7th, it was pretty common knowledge that I was gunning to deliver as close to the beginning of my two weeks off of work as possible. I wanted to have as much time to snuggle and bond with my new baby before getting back to my regular grind. I had said the ideal for me would be to go into labour on Friday afternoon and have the baby Friday night/Saturday morning and that’s pretty much what happened, just one day early, and not at all in the way I expected.

Thursday afternoon I had an appointment with my obgyn, and in accordance with my plans & wishes she swept my membranes to hopefully start things moving a little. At that point I was about 2.5 cm dilated but not at all effaced, so she felt confident I would probably have the baby after the weekend. She warned me I might have spotting, cramping and increased discharge after the sweep, and after I got home I did notice some light cramping but nothing else, so I just got on with my day.

I’m going to interrupt myself here to talk about moses baskets. Or rather, moses basket STANDS. When Gwen was a newborn she slept in a beautiful cradle a family friend gave us, that I laboriously painted a lovely pale grey with blue & yellow flowers. I was so excited to pull it out of the storage room for our new baby to use, but when we brought it into the house… it doesn’t fit anymore. We have replaced & rearranged the furniture and now the cradle doesn’t work in any of the places where we used to put it. It basically only fits smack-dab in the middle of the living room, which is less than convenient.

Once I realized the cradle was a wash I started scrambling to try to figure out where on earth we could put the baby to sleep. Obviously we already had the crib set up in the shared bedroom, but we don’t want to put the baby in there at night yet because it would be too disruptive to Gwen’s sleep. So I started thinking: our old stroller has a beautiful bassinet, which I loved using with Gwen, but I really feel like we aren’t going to use that stroller very much this time? I feel like we will be using the Ergo more, especially once I’m back at work. So why not use the bassinet at home in a stand instead of as a stroller attachment? I did some research and found that this is entirely possible and even found an affordable stand that would be suitable.

Of course I came up with this plan like… a week and a half ago so I didn’t want to order the stand online and risk it not arriving before the baby. It was available locally in a few different stores but I thought I’d try to find it on craigslist first. As luck would have it there was someone downtown selling a stand in the colour I wanted for a decent price, but as luck WOULDN’T have it the person was like… the biggest flake. They only responded to my initial email and I was never able to make arrangements to actually purchase the item! Pretty ironic for someone who puts “SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY” in their craigslist listings…

Sym’s dad offered to pick the stand up for me at Babies’R’Us on Saturday since he’d be in the neighborhood, but while I was trying to get the craigslist flakes to reply to me they sold out of it at that location! So on Thursday morning I started calling around to some of the local baby stores and was able to find it (again, in the right colour bc that is important?). Unfortunately it wasn’t in stock at the location closest to me, but they offered to have it transferred in and I would be able to pick it up after the weekend. Perfect, I thought, because I’m probably not having the baby until after the weekend. However, later in the afternoon I got a call from the store, letting me know their driver had made a second trip to transfer items, and wouldn’t you know it, they had the stand already! Even better! I let them know I would be coming by to pick it up after I finished work.

So while all this was going on, I was continuing to have mild cramping. I completely brushed it off and as soon as I finished work I woke up Taylor so he could come with me to pick up the all-important moses basket stand. The store is about a 20 minute walk from our house, and we were in a little rush so we popped Gwen in the stroller and headed out. Just before we left I mentioned my mild cramps, which by this point had become pretty regular, to Taylor and joked “what if I’m in labour, haha, so funny!” We walked about two blocks and I said to him “… but maybe I am in labour? This could be labour.” He was like “should we really be out RUNNING ERRANDS right now? like do you need to go to the hospital???” but I figured if it was true labour walking around would help it to progress, and if it was false labour walking around would stop it, so I made the decision to keep going. I did download a contraction timer app to my phone on the fly though, and timed each cramp, or rather contraction bc lbr, I WAS IN LABOUR, the whole way to and from the store.

Once we were almost home I let Taylor know that yes, I was pretty sure this was true labour, as the contractions by this point were oh, three minutes apart, lasting 45 seconds and increasing in strength. I was still able to easily walk & breathe through them, so I texted Sym’s dad to come to the house at 7:30 so we could give Gwen dinner and her bath, and put her to bed like usual before going to the hospital. I also needed to PACK MY STUPID HOSPITAL BAG, because if you recall I had not done that yet, although fortunately that morning I had made a comprehensive list of what to pack. I made Gwen’s dinner and gathered everything into my suitcase while Taylor quickly walked the dogs and also started panicking. At once point he dropped everything and was like “I NEED TO WASH THE DISHES, GWEN HAS NO CLEAN CUPS” and started filling the sink and splashing water all over. I kept telling him to calm down, it was fine, and even if I was gonna have the baby it wouldn’t be for hours because look. He was pretty worked up and I really had to tell him to SNAP OUT OF IT because his stress was stressing me out, and no one needs that.

We got to the hospital a little before 8pm (all according to my plan, because they lock all the doors at 8 except for the emergency entrance, which is on the front of the building and we live right behind the building so it’s faster for me to go in the back entrance) and headed to maternity. They put me in the assessment room to check my and the baby’s vitals and then send me to wander the halls for an hour to see if my contractions would continue or stop (nevermind that I had just been out walking around for two hours…). This was very boring because I had to stay in the maternity ward and it’s literally just three hallways with nothing to see, so Taylor and I walked back and forth and up and down. My contractions continued to increase in strength to the point where I could no longer walk through them and would have to stop, so after about 45-50 minutes I went back to the assessment room to get checked again.

At this point I was just 4cm dilated so the nurse told me that the doctor wanted me to walk around for another hour. Argh! I kind of hoped they would just send me home so I could walk around the neighborhood instead since the boredom was too much, but before I went to start my second walkabout she checked the baby’s heart rate and said “NEW PLAN, you’re staying here and we need to monitor your baby’s heart because it’s beating too fast” They strapped all the external monitors to my belly to track the heart rate and my contractions, and also started an IV to give me fluids because one possible cause of an elevated heart rate in an unborn baby is dehydration. We (the nurse and I) also told Taylor that yes, it was time to go home and get my bag because I would not be going home from the hospital that night.

After an hour of IV fluids and monitoring, the baby’s heart rate was still elevated, so they moved me from assessment into a LDR (labour-delivery-recovery) room because it was time to start moving things along. Taylor wasn’t back yet and I was having trouble with my contractions because the positions that made them most bearable were incompatible with the external monitors, so I called him like “WHERE ARE YOU WHERE ARE YOU COME BACK RIGHT NOW.” As it turned out Gwen (who had not gone to sleep when we left and had been in and out of bed all evening heard his voice and wouldn’t go back down until he tucked her back in, so I can’t really fault him for taking too long.

I think it was at this point that the obgyn on call came in to talk to me about interventions. I was still only 5cm dilated and the baby’s heart rate was still way too high. It’s called fetal tachycardia guys, it sounds really scary, and they pretty much only let it go on for 80 minutes before they are like LET’S HAVE A BABY. It had been an hour already with no change other than the heart rate also decelerating more than it should during contractions, which is also bad. So just like.. all bad things, and no clue as to the cause. Remember at 5 o’clock when I was joking “haha, maybe I’m in labour?” Not so funny when you’re looking down the barrel of an emergency c section.

Taylor finally got back and was told everything that was going on, and then my water was broken to try to speed up my labour a bit more. This next part was horrible, each contraction let out another huge gush of amniotic fluid until I was basically lying in a hideous swamp. I kept wanting to flip onto all fours but again, that position wasn’t conducive to monitoring the baby’s heart so between each contraction I’d have to lie back down in a squelch of rapidly cooling liquid. It was so gross and uncomfortable and by that point it was pretty much a given I wasn’t going to be delivering vaginally so like… WHY MUST THIS TORMENT CONTINUE? I was so scared, so afraid of having surgery and so worried about my baby.

Next they asked me (with Taylor’s help) to take off my jewelry. I remember thinking how funny that I made it through my whole pregnancy without having to stop wearing my wedding ring only to have to take it off now, for this. I was given some gnarly liquid to drink to neutralize my stomach acid and then I guess it was time to go to the operating room? I am a little fuzzy on the details now and I’m not sure what time this was at, because I was a) in massive pain from my still-continuing contractions, and b) basically in a blind panic of fear and worry. The moved me from my horrible swamp-bed onto a gurney and rolled me down to the operating room. It’s actually on the same floor as the maternity ward, like basically right outside it, which is very thoughtful and convenient since I was howling the entire way. At some point Taylor was peeled off so he could go get dressed in his stylish scrubs, booties, hairnet and mask, while I continued into the room to get a spinal anaesthetic. This is pretty similar to getting an epidural while in labour, in that it’s really hard to do because you have to sit very very very still through your contractions while they put a needle in your spine.

For the spinal I was sitting up on the edge of the operating table (I think) which is a weird thing to be on because they are a lot narrower than you would think. Like it makes sense that the whole surgical team needs to be able to easily get very close to you but at the same time you feel like you are gonna fall off, at least until your body goes all numb and then who cares. Anyway I was holding hands with the obgyn during the spinal, and I cried a lot about how afraid I was for my baby while she reassured me everything would be ok.

After the spinal was done I was laid back down on the table, and once I was numb from the ribs down they started doing the rest of the prep, I assume stuff like draping and scrubbing and other such things? Oh and inserting a catheter, I didn’t even realize I had one until well after the whole thing was over. Who knows. Things get suuuuuuuuper fuzzy and confused at this point. They put up a big curtain that angled back over my head so all I could see was blue fabric and the edge of one of those crazy huge operating room lights that was above me. Taylor was finally allowed in and he sat by my head while I cried and shook (the anaesthetic makes you all shivery and my arms and head were like vibrating) and then I guess I had surgery.

Having a c section was pretty much the weirdest experience of my entire life. I had only had surgery once before, my breast reduction, which was done under a general anaesthetic. For this not only was I wide(ish) awake, but I could still feel everything except for any pain. So all the weird pulling and tugging and pressure of things being taken out of my body in a way that they would not normally come out? WHAT THE HELL. It was so strange. The actual part where they cut you open and take the baby out is only about 10 minutes, and they talked to us throughout about the baby, stuff like “here’s the head, look at all that hair!” and “such big shoulders!” but with a significant enough gap between those two statements that I think for a minute I just had a baby’s head like… sticking out… of my lower abdomen. Which is freaky to think about.

At 12:13 am on Friday, September 30th the baby was delivered. They asked Taylor to stand and look so he could announce whether it was a boy or a girl, and then baby was whisked over to the little cot to be checked out but the pediatric team to make sure everything was ok; at this point there was still no explanation for the tachycardia and spoiler alert, there never will be because no cause was every determined. COOL. Taylor got to go over and cut the umbilical cord and he said the placenta was there in a plastic bag, all steamy, which is supremely gross but I guess why wouldn’t it be steamy? The insides of bodies are hot.

Once they determined the baby was healthy I was able to do skin-to-skin until my arms got too tired. My fingers were starting to feel all pins-and -needles-y, plus my arm and shoulder muscles were exhausted from the shaking, which hadn’t completely subsided yet, so Taylor took over baby holding duties (also doodies because he got pooped on). Meanwhile on the other side of the curtain my body was being put back together. At one point I heard someone say “I’m going to externalize the uterus now” which was another weird thing to hear. I guess they take it out to sew it up, then put it back inside before sewing up all your muscle and skin layers? I have watched enough of veterinary surgery videos to get the gist, haha.

Eventually Taylor and the baby were taken back to my LDR room to wait for me, and once I was all stitched up they moved me off the operating table onto a gurney and I was taken to surgical recovery. They covered me in about fifty heated blankets, plus one that was like inflated with warm air, to keep me cozy and toasty while I waited for the anaesthetic to wear off. This was the second-weirdest experience of my life; you can’t go back to your room and see your baby until you can move your legs, bend your knees and wiggle your toes, so they ask you a lot “can you move your legs? can you bend your knees? can you wiggle your toes?” Whenever they asked I would try my hardest because I was basically desperate to get back to my baby, so I would be thinking to myself MOVE, DAMMIT, MOVE!!! but I couldn’t make them move. Finally though, after they asked and I tried and failed I said “no, I can’t move them” and the nurse was like “… what’s that then?” and my legs were totally moving all over the place! But like… I couldn’t feel them moving, I couldn’t feel myself make them moving. It was truly bizarre. After that I was moving them as much as I could, with the idea in my head the more they moved, the faster the anaesthetic would wear off, and the sooner I could get back to my baby! idk if that is truly how it works but after two hours in recovery I was allowed to leave.

I was wheeled on my gurney back to the maternity ward and after kicking Taylor out of my bed where he was doing skin-to-skin with the baby I was moved back into it and was finally able to hold my baby again! By this time it was about 3am and Taylor, who worked Wednesday night and only slept a few hours Thursday afternoon before going through what was a very stressful experience for him as well, was exhausted, so he asked if I minded if he went to sleep. I said of course not so after wrestling with the terrible pull-out chair, then getting not one but two nurses to help, then getting an all-new pull-out chair altogether because the original one was broken, he fell asleep and I stayed up and just held my baby for hours and hours until I started drifting off. Eventually I needed to go to sleep myself so I called a nurse to swaddle and put the baby to bed in the little cot, but even then I fell asleep holding onto the railing of the cot and woke up for every little squeak, every little sneeze, every little sound.

I have a lot more things I want to write about, like my feelings about having an emergency c section after two fairly easy & uncomplicated vaginal deliveries (the obgyn said I had a “proven pelvis” haha) but this post is already long as hell so that can wait for another day. Instead here is a selfie I took at 3am after I got back to the room, wearing the same hospital gown I put on at 8pm and had surgery in four hours later and holding my brand-newborn infant son.

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Nicholas Albert Laramie, you are so loved. Welcome to the world.