The first attempt at breastfeeding was a success. For being four weeks early, she latched quickly and well. Though small, she is mighty. She still gets tired at the breast and is given expressed breastmilk after each feeding to top her off, which means I am pumping a few times a day. Benjamin was slow to latch and feed and even had a feeding tube (and longer NICU stay) at an entire week older. That whole "lazy white boy" term proved to be more than true. Did you know African American girls are the best at early birth in all developmental areas? Interesting. Girls in general fare better and thankfully, Claire sure did.
I'm still recovering. The physical effects of the emergency C-section are no different than any other C-section. I'm on Motrin and no narcotics. I'd say the hardest part physically is not being able to pick up Benjamin. He has been a trooper about holding my hand down the stairs instead of Mom picking him up, so that's good. My parents have been in town and have been a great help, so that's been easier on the recovery as well. Things will get a lot harder once my parents are gone and we're going through day-to-day trying to keep things normalized for Benjamin.
The emotional recovery. Well, if you know our story well enough as most of you do, pregnancy and growing our family has not been an easy task. Each pregnancy I've had ended in tragedy, almost tragedy, and/or heavy complications. I'm still not sure how I was dealt such cards, but it's hard to complain when we are holding the life of a precious daughter in our arms today. I struggle with the thought of why we were put through the wringer and why we were spared this time. And why not with Andrew? Why not all of my friends who have lost babies and multiple babies? How did my doctor have such incredible intuition? Did that Cholestasis that kickstarted the last 4 weeks of crazy mayhem and doctor intervention cause my daughter's almost demise, or was it the savior that landed me in the hospital that night for extra monitoring which ultimately saved her life? I do believe a blog post about Cholestasis is in order to get it out on the web. It's so important that moms fight for testing if symptoms are present.
My OB who had been carrying my case throughout Benjamin and Claire's pregnancies exclusively came to visit me 5 hours after Claire was born. It was just past 9:00 a.m. on January 14th and she was supposed to be my delivering OB (as she was with Benjamin... yet she's never delivered any of my babies!). She rushed into my room and took me into her arms. She told us that when she called in this morning to check on my status and they told her I was "crashed" and had an emergency C-section in the middle of the night, she nearly dropped the phone. She couldn't believe it and was so relieved. She said that countless doctors including the NICU doctor who was present with his team at Claire's birth all asked her why she chose to admit me that night rather than wait until morning. When I was admitted that night, they were all questioning it and thought it was weird and odd. I wasn't being induced that evening and it really made no logical sense, especially since I had perfect NSTs that weekend. She didn't know. It was just her intuition and wanting me to get some rest because I had been through enough with the itching and scariness. My OB told me right there that she couldn't believe the record of decelerations she saw on my chart from that night and if I was not there that night, Claire would not have made it. Just typing that makes me cry big, huge tears. We're so lucky, and yet, so unlucky.
Without having lost Andrew, neither Benjamin nor Claire would be here. Benjamin based on timeline and possibly complications that could've lead to his birth ending horribly (Polyhydramios, cord issues, poor NSTs) and Claire because the Cholestasis would've been written off and not been admitted that evening. But because we lost him, the doctors were taking our case very seriously-- after I demanded those blood tests. It is so, so important to advocate for yourself and your baby. I don't like to think about Andrew "saving" them, because I'm not willing to allow the thought of me having to sacrifice my firstborn to have some kind of normalcy and family, especially when others don't have to go through any odds to achieve "the dream" like many of us loss families. But the connection to losing Andrew is something that has changed the outcome of our family dramatically.
Here are some photos of Claire's birthday, along with more storyline.
last blog post about Claire's unexpected delivery, he did not receive my phonecall as I was being wheeled into the OR by a team of nurses, the delivering OB, the anesthesiologist, NICU doctor and their team... and whoever else was in that room. There were a lot of people. I left him a message with something very casual like, "Going in for an emergency C-section. Bye." He may never live down not receiving my phonecall. Note to other husbands out there whose wives are alone in a hospital overnight-- don't keep your phone on silent.
My friend Kristi was my on-call person who would show up in the event of an emergency to relieve Elliot and stay with Benjamin who was sound asleep, but I called her the night before telling her with 100% certainty that we would not be needing her and that she didn't have to wait by the phone. After all, I was being monitored, so nothing could happen, right?
I remember being wheeled in, being asked to move over to the delivery room bed, telling the nurse what my passcode on my phone was along with my husband's name (so she could call him after my unsuccessful attempt--and I totally used Siri to call Elliot but failed, haha), telling the anesthesiologist to please knock me out before they start cutting, a gush of liquid across my belly, an oxygen mask on my face, and the anesthesiologist grabbing my jaw tightly with his big football player hands to get me knocked out immediately. I also remember someone saying something about arms and being strapped down. The rest is lost.
Elliot finally answered and the nurses asked him if he had been receiving their calls--apparently called a few times. Nothing like knowing my husband was sleeping soundly while I was going through a major emergency abdominal surgery and that our daughter's life was on the line. He couldn't believe it and neither could I... though even if he were there, he would not have been allowed in the room and it might have been more traumatic for everyone. He remembers asking if we were okay and they said we were both alive. When he arrived, the nurses were discussing "Where they wanted Mr. Wilson", which scared him a bit.
Claire was born at 4:17 a.m. and these photos of me in the recovery room (which I don't remember at all except Elliot and the anesthesiologist talking about Elliot's hat from Antique Archaeology) are all we have of that time. Apparently I'm quite funny under general anesthesia and morphine, because Elliot remembers me cracking jokes (!) with the anesthesiologist. These photos were taken at 7:19 a.m., thanks to the photo properties for keeping track. It had been 3 hours since she was born and we had yet to see her. Elliot was asked by the nurses if he wanted to see Claire or me first-- he chose me (wise, husband). He actually arrived in the recovery room before I did, though I truly have no known knowledge of any of this, or seeing Elliot at all. My first memory when I woke up that is visual was being wheeled down into the NICU to see Claire for the first time with Elliot. The NICU was huge, the rooms were all private, and less than a year old. It was an entirely different NICU than Benjamin experienced.
|Apparently I asked for tissues. I was crying I guess.|
In the meantime, Benjamin was being cared with the best hands possible. Our friend Danielle took him to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast (note donut hands grabbing for more), the children's museum, playhouse, and he ate super well for her!Benjamin's birth story about the Ronald McDonald House not being open despite the signs saying they were and us sleeping in the lobby because we refused to leave. The social worker picked out a special toy for Benjamin and everything.
Finally in Mother-Baby with our baby girl. We were released by my rockstar OB around 1:30 p.m. on Friday the 17th and headed home. I was wheelchaired to the car as I was after the births of my boys and walked the two feet from chair to car in my socks because I didn't have shoes that fit my swollen feet. I didn't care. Get. us. home.