Warning: This blog post is super long.
Tommy, Lola, and I were recently on a plane headed to a connecting flight through Atlanta and a sweet old Southern lady sat down next to us. She told us that she was heading home from a week with her grandchildren and that her daughter was having one more that was a “surprise blessing”. That let us segue an introduction to Lola. We told her our story, that we have triplet 2-year-olds at home and that Lola was a complete (and wonderful) surprise. This sweet lady said, “Well then you know that the Lord has extra special plans for her.” I love that. The Lord has plans for everyone, but it was just a beautiful way of saying something that people (including ourselves prior to it happening to us) tend to refer to as mistakes or accidents.
The Birth Story:
I have always had strong instincts. So when I had a gut feeling about Lola coming early on the night of April 30th, I cleaned the house and re-packed the go bag and also had Tommy install a single car seat (weird). I stretched-out bed time with Jovie, Rowan, and Sienna giving extra hugs and reading just one more book. I showered. Yep. We went to bed around 10:30 and at 1:45 I woke up out of a dead sleep with a contraction.
I need to pause here to let you know that I have never been educated about what real contractions are like. I have never researched online, taken a class, read a book, or asked any questions. When I was pregnant with triplets, there was no need because they didn’t want me to go into labor. Since Lola was a planned c-section, we didn’t educate ourselves about it once again. I knew what practice contractions felt like, and this was no practice.
So, I got out my trusty week-old i-phone and searched for a contraction timer app and used that to time them. At 2 a.m. they were about 8 minutes apart and lasted about 20-30 seconds. I tried to go back to sleep. That effort lasted 10 minutes. So I went to the living room and turned on the television to some random movie and continued timing. By 3 a.m. the contractions were becoming couch-clenching painful and were about 6 minutes apart. I remember that I kept telling myself that I would wait one more contraction and then wake up Tommy. I told myself that for 2 hours… about 20 contractions later. I finally was nervous enough when they were about 5 minutes apart. The only reason I knew something might be going on is because of ‘The Office’ episode where Pam is in labor and Jim gets upset that Pam doesn’t want to go to the hospital when her contractions were at 6 minutes. Pathetic, I know.
I finally woke him up and he was concerned and excited. He wanted to call our doctor right away, but I made him wait 5 more minutes. The doc said to go ahead and come to the hospital. He knew I was not one to cry wolf. Last time I called outside of office hours, I thought I was sick, but turned out being hospitalized for 4 days with pre-eclampsia.
We gathered our things and headed out. My mom was literally over in 4 minutes when we called her and I cried on the way to the hospital because I knew I wouldn’t see my girls for three days. I also kind of felt like I was ruining their perfect little lives. Did any other second-time-mommy feel like that?
We got checked-in and they brought us straight back to the c-section prep rooms. The I.V. was awful last time, but this time I barely felt it.
How. Freaking. Ever… the nurse said “I need to check you”. Sounds harmless right? I have never been afraid of the word ‘check’ before and I have never really been in labor before, so whatever she was going to do was going to be fine in my mind. Now, I know many of you have had this done, but you probably knew what was about to go down…literally. I had no clue about how horrible this was going to be. So imagine my shock when the nurse shoved what felt like her entire body-building arm, up my crotch to “feel around”. This was WAAAAAAAAYYYYYY worse than any pain I have ever felt in my life. Tommy even teared up because he could see how painful it was for me. Then the worst happened. The nurse calmly said, “I can’t really tell, I’ll have to have the doctor check.” What. Just. Happened?! I wanted to donkey-punch her in the throat… but I am nicer than that.
Meanwhile the contractions got closer together and hurt more. They kept asking me to “rate my pain”. I hate stuff like that. I said a 3, but the nurse looked at me like I was crazy. She was a great nurse but had too much energy for me in my current state.
Two hours went by and our doc came in. He again wanted to “check” me. While it still hurt like a teenage-break-up, I was prepared this time. He said told us that I was 100% effaced and 2 cm dilated and that I was definitely in labor. I got sad that I was having to do labor AND surgery. At that moment I wanted to try a vaginal birth, but I knew my risks were pretty high from a multiples pregnancy not so long ago and our hospital and doctors don’t practice V.B.A.C.’s. They said we could have the 10 am c-section opening and the waiting continued. I had Tommy get the laptop from the car and typed up sub plans for school ( Michelle, my teaching partner was appalled that I was doing this in labor) My sister went to watch the triplets, so my parents came down to the hospital. After hugs, prayers, and a few nervous jokes by me, I walked back to the O.R..
The doctor knew I am a teacher because his children attended my school, and so he also knew that I wouldn’t mind if he brought a med student into my surgery as a hands-on experience. The spinal block took twice as long because they were trying to teach him how to do one and it also hurt a lot more this time. Finally my butt went warm and I was laid down on the operating table. In comes Tommy wondering what took so long, but excited to get things going, much different than the tears of fear I witnessed last time.
We have two perinatologists. One delivered the triplets and he is very monotone and serious. The one who delivered Lola was the total opposite. Top 20 radio blasting in the operating room while he sang along. He was pulling out/ pointing out my organs constantly asking the med student what each one was (he thought my catheter bulb was an ovary…not quite ready for surgery yet). He joked about taking my placenta home and frying it up for dinner. Whoa. He said some people do! He also said some people bury it in thier yards because it is good for the earth. I told him I recycle and everyone busted out laughing. Tommy asked him to let him know when it was getting close to baby time so he could watch (double whoa.).
Before we knew it, he was yelling “Happy Birthday Baby Girl!” and pulling out a screaming miracle baby! I heard the neonatologist’s voice and told him he also took care of our triplets. When he came over to me after examining Lola I got so nervous something was wrong and bursted out in tears asking “You aren’t going to take her from me right?” He was kind of shocked and reassured me that he wouldn’t and that she looked perfect. We agreed. I got to kiss her and touch her and Tommy got to cut the cord.
Tommy followed Lola to the nursery to take a thousand pictures and show her off while they “quickly” stitched me up.
During the first c-section I had asked why they kept counting when they were closing up and they told me they have to count their instruments to make sure none were left inside. So, during this c-section, when they kept counting, and counting, and counting and quietly asking questions, I knew something was up. They were one clamp off. The doctor looked at someone, I am assuming the med student, and said “You better not have left anything in there because I am done stitching.” Great. Awesome. Fantastic. This was supposed to be my “normal” experience. Cue x-rays being ordered and 45 extra minutes in the O.R. leaving Tommy to wonder and worry about what was going on. I chose to use the time to make jokes and chat with the nurses to keep my mind off of the possible metal tool lodged in my abdomen. After some awkward x-rays, it was determined that the original count was wrong and nothing was left in me. Stay-tuned to future blogs where I set off metal detectors… hopefully not.
I felt so much different after surgery this time. Last time I didn’t walk for about 3 days, this time I wanted to walk three hours after wiggling my toes. It was so wonderful to keep my baby snuggled in my arms and have a nurse bring her to me at any moment instead of having to travel up two floors just to be able to see my babies. I soaked up every minute. We had a slew of wonderful visitors and I throughly enjoyed having my bed made and food brought to me for four straight days.
She is a very easy baby and is sweet to the core. Tommy close your eyes now.
She makes me want to have more.