Izzy's First Days

I think we are quite possibly two of the happiest new parents in the world! Oh how we love this little boy. 

 Our hospital stay was punctuated by a couple of events. One planned and the other a bit unexpected. Since Israel was born at nearly 11pm, we didn't get to our room on the Mother-Baby floor until almost 2:00am. Needless to say, we were all exhausted. The Captain tried to figure out the chair-bed (turns out that it was not put back together properly from it's last guest, poor guy had to sleep on a broken non-bed!) and we settled in for another attempt at feeding...though, lets be honest--this little guy was sleeping through everything. Thursday was pretty uneventful, though we had scheduled a procedure--step one in fixing my kidney issue--for Friday so we had a lot of interruptions. Interns and residents coming to ask the same questions that had already been asked so many times (I wonder why they don't just look at my chart?), signing release forms for surgery and not-signing for anesthesia (I had questions when I read that my only options were for a spinal or general anesth. that the resident couldn't answer so we waited to sign that one), pediatrician check ups and lactation consultations (both of which were welcome), meals (very, very welcome). But, it was all a little much when all we really wanted to do was hold our little boy and sleep.

In the wee morning hours the next day, I was awakened by a pediatric resident who tried to explain that Izzy's bilirubin count was elevated and they wanted to start phototherapy immediately. All of which to my exhausted brain was muddled and confusing.  The Captain was sound asleep on the cot which he had thankfully fixed, and didn't rouse until the end of our visit. I said I would need to discuss with my husband and asked if he could come back after I had fed the baby. It broke my heart to think of him taken away from me and put in a plastic crib all by himself, but there really wasn't any other option and frankly we were too tired to research it. We were told that Izzy needed more food to push the bilirubin through his system and that the lights would help break it down. I let them wheel my baby away and reluctantly fell asleep. I woke up with my mommy radar on high alert! I heard my baby crying--which was impossible since we were separated by many doors and walls--but I know I heard it. One of the nurses came in our room, looking a little confused, and said that my baby was screaming. "Bring him to me and I'll feed him, please!!" I said, a little shocked by her method of communicating the problem. If there is anything more heartbreaking that your newborn child's frantic cries, I do not know what it is. I gladly fed him and I could feel his relief even though we were definitely still figuring the whole breastfeeding thing out.

It wasn't long after the nurse returned Izzy to the nursery that we were told that they were ready for me in the O.R. I don't know why I wasn't given the option to pump breast milk (our nurse, who was wonderful, was on break while all of this was happening), and my lack of experience unfortunately didn't prompt me to ask, so we made the decision to let the nurses feed Izzy formula while he was under the lights until I came back from recovery later that morning. I did make sure they used a dropper instead of a bottle (too many fears of nipple confusion--which I have since learned is a real thing). Having Izzy under the lights and care of the nurses proved to be a blessing. As the Captain followed me down to the O.R. I couldn't help but get emotional. Being raised by a physician father, I am very comfortable in hospitals. Operating rooms and their surroundings are almost a second home to me. But travelling through that hospital on a gurney that morning, I couldn't help but think worst-case-scenario. Surgery is still surgery and general anesthesia -even in it's lowest doses--is still general anesthesia! There are always risks and, like it or not, there was a small chance I wouldn't wake up....
It took all of about five minutes and I was waking up, sleepily telling whoever was left in the OR that they did a really great job and that I was feeling great and was I intubated? because my lip felt like it had a laceration in it (they told me it was just an indentation). Coming out of anesthesia has to be one of the funniest feelings ever. So loopy!

 The Captain met me in the recovery room to check in for a few minutes and then went back to the Mother-Baby unit to be with Izzy. Once I was cleared to leave it took forever for someone to come and transport me back upstairs. I hated being away from my new baby. I finally got back upstairs and the Captain asked if I wanted to go visit Izzy. We walked around to the other side of the floor and there he was laying in a little bassinet under the lights with just a little diaper on and gauze wrapped around his little eyes. Even though he was very calm, it makes me emotional just thinking about it. All in all, he was only under phototherapy for about four hours. They continued to monitor his levels, which came back down to a safer number and we were both discharged Friday evening. (I'd love for the Captain to tell his version of what happened while I was away. Maybe I can convince him to include it here.)

Of course we had the same feelings as most, "Is this really our son? Our baby? And we get to take him home just like that? Yes, yes and yes. Now our home has been flipped upside down. Baby things have taken over our small apartment and it's never looked better to me! 
As we figure all of this new parent stuff out I am grateful for my life experiences that have prepared me for motherhood. Being the second oldest of six kids (I was 13 when my youngest brother was born), having 10 nieces and nephews on the Kartchner side (we have three nephews and a new niece on the Captain's side),  for being a member of a Church that teaches the importance of families and specifically of Mothers. As much as I never wanted to be an "old mom", I am glad for the time I've had to wait and want, to travel and study and grow. God is Good and His timing is perfect. 
Here's to the many sleepless nights and joyful days ahead!

Pregnancy Journal - Forty Weeks

Israel Cid Adams entered the world Wednesday, April 3 at 10:58pm, just an hour shy of forty weeks. Our little Izzy weighed in at 8 lbs 10 oz and is 21 inches long. He has his daddy's chin and mouth and his mama's cheeks (dimple on the right included) and (maybe) nose.

Labor was interesting as I slowly dilated to 6 cm over the course of several weeks starting at week 28 when the OB found I was already starting to dilate and I was subsequently put on bed rest. All those weeks of "contractions" had only gotten me so far. I say "contractions" because now that I know what active labor feels like, though very important to my progress, they were a drop in the bucket compared to what I eventually felt.

When ever I told anyone that I was already dilated to a 6 (or a 4 or 5 for that matter) the reactions I received were always the same. "Why are you not at the hospital??" We knew that if we went to the hospital and I wasn't in active labor (meaning the contractions hurt!) they would want to induce me due to how far I had dilated. I committed myself to unmedicated childbirth long, long ago and the Captain had become fully supportive after some convincing. But, knowing that this baby was just getting bigger as my due date approached, we were getting more and more anxious to see more progress.

this is happening!
Wednesday morning I called my midwife and asked her about the prospect of breaking my waters manually as it seemed like it could take my body forever to begin active labor. She suggested I start with the infamous castor oil instead and then come in to get checked. I took two doses of the awful stuff and then waited for the magic. My contractions (still not painful) started to pick up and become regular (every 3-5 minutes) around noon. I went into the drs office later in the afternoon, had a quick consultation to find I had dilated a little bit more to a 7 and called the Captain. We decided that he would cancel his evening patients and meet me at the hospital. I had taken the subway to my consult, so he would also swing by the house to grab our hospital bag and then take a cab to avoid ridiculous parking fees.

trying not to "push into my face"
At the hospital, I handed my pre-filled in paperwork to the registrar and pointed out my handwritten note at the top stating I was already in the system and none on my information had changed. I was, for the first time in all of my visits, the only woman in labor in the waiting room. Yes, I have seen full term mamas waiting for a labor and delivery room or even just to be seen in triage. Once other waiting room patrons realized I was there to have a baby, the conversations seemed to change. "You're in labor?" "Uh, yep! (big smile on my face) "You seem really calm, that's amazing." What do I say to that? "Well, my contractions don't hurt..." Blank stares.

We were admitted and taken to a very spacious L&D room at 6:00 pm where we waited for my midwife whose office hours ended at 7:00 pm. I changed into a beautiful and flattering gown (hehe) and grippy bottomed socks and was put through some calisthenics by the Captain. He figured if we could get my water to break on its own, we'd be that much further ahead of the game. Lunges, squatting, work on the birthing ball, jumping jacks. Why yes, this IS our first child birth. How did you know? Next time I'll just relax and reserve my strength.

Elisabeth, my midwife, arrived just after 7 and broke my water at 7:30. The very next contraction took my breath away and the intensity just kept building from there. After having contractions for months, I finally felt what a real, working contraction feels like. The Captain says after the third hard contraction I  said, "I can't do this?" to which he laughed and said, "Oh, you're doing this!" I don't remember this conversation at all. :)

He was the sweetest birth coach, running from one side of the bed to the other, grabbing my ice chips, whispering encouragement, pushing on my lower back...once he starting pushing on my lower back I wouldn't let him do anything else. That alone provided the most relief. We had prepared for birth using the Bradley Method, which is all about the position you're in during labor (called "the running man position" lying on your side, almost stomach with the top leg bent up resting on a pillow) and total relaxation during each contraction...just breathing through them. With all my previous yoga practice, focusing on the breath is not difficult for me to do, but by about 9:30 pm I was having a difficult time breathing through them.

At this point, Elisabeth turned to me (she had been sitting by the monitors reading a book the whole time, periodically checking in and checking my progress) suggested that I was probably in transition and may feel better laboring in the shower and to come back to the bed when I felt the urge to push. Is was the best suggestion as the hot water pelting my body was so comforting and distracting, even relaxing. Because the bathroom was so steamy, the Captain brought his iPhone in playing the Caribbean channel on Pandora. So I transitioned imagining I was laying on the beach ;). Though that makes it sound like it was easy, which it was not. Not. One. Bit.

Once I felt the urge to push I waited for a break between contractions and made a beeline back to the bed. I moved through several different pushing positions. First in a full squat using a squatting bar. Then on my left side, then right side, back and back to my side and ended up on my back. But to say I was on my back is not super accurate since the back of the bed was elevated to about 45 degrees and  the Captain and our nurse were at each side holding my legs. I was, in essence in a squat without the help of gravity, but neither did I have to utilize any more strength trying to keep myself upright. On my side, the baby's progress would stall. He was caught on my pubic bone. Moving to my back helped, but his little heart rate would decrease. They gave me oxygen to breath during the rest periods.

The encouragement I received from our little team (the Captain, Elisabeth and my L&D nurse) was motivating, but the best motivation was the mirror I had asked for. Being able to watch the baby's progress and descent was what I needed to keep going and not give up. I could visually associate what a "good push" looked like with how it felt. I know it's not an experience every woman wants to have, but being able to see his little head crowning and then watch Elisabeth pull his little arm out, which was up by his head just like it had been for the last several months in the womb, and then his shoulders, torso, and finally his legs was nothing short of miraculous.

To say giving birth was the hardest and most painful experience I have had and ever hope to have is an understatement. But the thing is, as soon as Izzy's little legs were out and he was placed on my abdomen the pain was gone and wiped from memory. It is truly a miracle. I do have recovery pain, but this little guy is worth every ounce of ache.
juiciest lips!

Thus far he has been a calm and peaceful baby, so easy to sooth. He has brought new meaning to our lives and a deep sense of purpose.  His arrival was long awaited and I truly love being his mommy. Thanks be to God who in His mercy has found us worthy to be parents and to experience the best and biggest miracle.