It’s been about a month and a half since my last blog post and I can’t believe how much my life has changed in such a short period of time.
As I’m sure all of you know, I’m a mom now! The process of becoming a mother was much more of a journey than I ever expected it would be. I’m a big planner so I had a very specific plan on how I wanted things to go and let’s just say things did NOT go according to my plan.
Let’s rewind back to the middle of October and I’ll bring you all up to speed.
As I mentioned in my last blog post, my pregnancy was pretty much flawless. I didn’t have any issues (aside from being anemic and having to take iron pills), I felt good and I really enjoyed being pregnant.
Then week 38 came along. I wasn’t feeling the best, but I knew that was normal towards the end of pregnancy. In the weeks prior to this one my blood pressure had been a little on the high side, but at this appointment it was even higher. My doctor was concerned that I may have preeclampsia so I had to have blood work done, do a 24 hour urine sample and then go to the hospital right after my appointment and have fetal monitoring done to make sure that the baby was okay. Two days later I went back to get the results from all the lab work and to check my blood pressure again. Thankfully, I didn’t have preeclampsia, but my doctor still wanted me to go to the hospital twice a week until delivery for fetal monitoring as a precaution.
She had also checked me that week and I was dilated to a 3. She had said that she wouldn’t be surprised if I had a baby by the end of the week, so that got me really excited and got my hopes up. Obviously, that didn’t happen so the last few weeks of pregnancy seemed to drag on and on.
By week 40 I was so ready to not be pregnant anymore. I’d been having some contractions over those last few weeks but nothing consistent. I was exhausted and uncomfortable 24/7 but I also didn’t want to be induced because I wanted to give my body the chance to go into labor on its own. I tried every trick in the book that is supposed to naturally induce labor but nothing worked so I just gave up.
At 8:15 on Halloween night, my water broke. I was suddenly overwhelmed with all sorts of emotions. I knew that after your water breaks, you have to deliver the baby within 24 hours, otherwise there can be complications. Knowing that I would be a mom in a few short hours made me excited, nervous, anxious and a little scared, but mostly just ready to get this show on the road!
Matt and I grabbed all my bags, hopped in the car and rushed to the hospital. They took me back to triage and when the nurse checked me I was still only dilated to a 3. I was a little discouraged because I’d been stuck there since week 38 but thought that since my water had broken on its own, my body was finally doing what it was supposed to.
My doctor decided to give it through the night to see if my contractions would pick up on their own so they moved me to labor and delivery and told me to try and get some rest.
That night was the longest night of my life. I was having some contractions that I could feel in my stomach, but mostly I was just having really bad back labor that kept getting worse. I had heard women talk about how horrible back labor is, but I never imagined it would hurt as much as it did. I can’t even describe it any other way than saying that it was constant excruciating pain in my lower back and no matter what I did, there was no relief. I couldn’t get comfortable no matter which position I was in so that whole night I think I MAYBE got a combined total of 2 hours of sleep.
By 7 o’clock the next morning, I still wasn’t having regular contractions so we didn’t have any other choice than to start me on pitocin, which was what I’d wanted to avoid. I REALLY REALLY had my heart set on doing everything all natural with no epidural and I knew that pitocin would make my contractions much more intense and that would be harder to do. Shortly after they started my pitocin, my doula arrived. She massaged my back and helped me get into some different positions to try and relieve some of the pain from my back labor but since my water was already broken, I couldn’t get out of the bed so I was limited with what positions we could try. Around 8:15 the nurse checked me again and I was still only dilated to a 3. I was so frustrated and discouraged because I was having all this pain but nothing was happening.
By 10 o’clock, the pitocin had definitely kicked in and my back labor was worse and my contractions were becoming more regular and painful but I was still bound and determined to just breathe through the contractions and deal with the pain. Shortly after that, my blood pressure spiked and then stayed high. My doctor said she knew that I’d wanted to go all natural, but suggested I seriously consider getting the epidural to help maintain my blood pressure because if we didn’t get that under control it could be bad for me and the baby. At this point I’d been in labor for almost 14 hours, I was beyond exhausted and had no energy so I decided to listen to her suggestion and get the epidural.
One of the main reasons I’d wanted to avoid the epidural was because we’d watched a video in our birthing class about it and the whole process of actually getting the epidural freaked me out, so I was a little nervous. Thankfully, the anesthesiologist I had was AMAZING and got everything done very quickly and painlessly. After the epidural kicked in, I FINALLY felt some relief from all the back pain I was having and I thought to myself “Why didn’t I do this hours ago?!”
At 11:15 they checked me again and I was dilated to a 5 so I was excited that things were finally starting to progress. My doula then got out the peanut ball and had me lay on my sides for 45 minutes each with that in between my legs to try and get the baby in the position that she needed to be. For those that don’t know what the peanut ball is, see below.
While in that position, I was able to get some sleep which was nice and VERY much needed.
At 3:15 they checked me again and I was still only dilated to a 5 and back to feeling discouraged and frustrated. They continued to increase my pitocin and decided to insert an IUPC (Intrauterine Pressure Catheter) to monitor my contractions better. As the pitocin got higher, I started feeling all my contractions and back labor again. My doula continued to have me try different positions on my sides and then sitting all the way up with my feet down to try and get the baby to drop but nothing seemed to help.
By 7:15 it was time to check me again and I had only dilated to a 6 and was 80% effaced. The nurse told me my doctor was going to come talk to me and it was at that time that I realized that the delivery I had envisioned and hoped for wasn’t going to happen. I knew my doctor was going to tell me that we were going to have to do an emergency c-section and that thought overwhelmed and terrified me. I never thought that this would ever be a possibility for me so I hadn’t mentally prepared myself for it and all I could do was cry. I knew that I had tried everything and done all that I could but I felt like a failure. This wasn’t what I wanted. I didn’t want to have a c-section but I didn’t have a choice.
As I was being taken back to the operating room my mind was racing. I was scared because I had absolutely no idea what to expect or what was about to happen. My mind was filled with a million different thoughts but the one that was louder than all the others was the voice screaming “I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS!”
They moved me from my hospital bed to the operating table and there were so people doing so many different things to me at one time. I remember someone putting the oxygen in my nose, two anesthesiologists getting my medicine ready and asking me all sorts of questions about what I could or couldn’t feel, someone putting the curtain up, plus my doctor and I don’t even know how many nurses behind the curtain prepping me for surgery.
Matt was so amazing through the whole thing. He knew I was terrified and did his best to help me stay calm. I was numb from the chest down but my body had some sort of reaction to the medicine they gave me and through the entire surgery my arms, hands and head were shaking uncontrollably. My teeth were chattering and I wanted so badly to stop but I couldn’t. It made this already scary situation a little more scary but Matt held my hand, rubbed my arm and played with my hair through it all and just having him next to me made it a little better and less scary.
Having a c-section was weird. I couldn’t feel any pain but I could feel things happening and it was a bizarre feeling. When they pulled the baby out of me it was like all the pressure I’d felt for so long was gone in an instant.
Makenna Marie Kellen was born at 8:38 PM on November 1, 2014.
She was 9 pounds and 20 inches long and absolutely perfect in our eyes.
Hearing her cry for the first time was the most surreal feeling in the world. All I could do was cry. I was just so happy that she was finally here.
Right after my doctor had pulled her out she said “You had a toddler in there!” and she wasn’t kidding. I had a big baby! And she had a big head that would have never fit through my pelvis and that’s why everything we had tried in the 24 hours prior had done next to nothing.
As they were sewing me back up, the nurse put Makenna on my chest to do skin to skin, which was something that was really important to me in my birth plan. I was still shaking uncontrollably and I couldn’t even enjoy that time with her because I felt like I was going to drop her so Matt ended up taking her and holding her until they were done.
When I got back into my labor and delivery room, I was finally able to do skin to skin with Makenna and my doula was there to help me with breastfeeding.
Side note: Before I had gone into labor I started having second thoughts about having the doula. I thought that maybe it’d be better to just try and do everything on my own, but I am very glad I didn’t go through with that. My doula, Cara was amazing through EVERYTHING. She was so positive and uplifting, she brought me countless popsicles and ice chips since I couldn’t eat anything while in labor, and was so supportive and understanding of the emotional rollercoaster that I was on. I would suggest having a doula a thousand times over to anyone that has the opportunity to have one.
When we got to our recovery room I felt so relieved because I thought the worst was finally over. We finally got all settled and went to bed around 1:30 AM on Sunday. Makenna was in the room with us and only woke up a few times throughout the night.
Early Sunday morning they took Makenna to the nursery to have the pediatrician check her. The nurse came back and told us that her white blood cell count was high so they were a little concerned about her possibly having an infection but said it could just be because she had been under so much stress during labor. Her temperature had also been slightly elevated right after delivery but they thought that was just because she had been under the incubator. They told us they were going to monitor her white blood cell count but if it didn’t get better she’d have to go to NICU. We’d hoped and prayed that it wouldn’t come to that.
Sunday evening I had to get up and walk around which was not a fun time. Let me just tell you, you don’t realize all the muscles that you use to do simple things like standing up, sitting down, laughing, sneezing, coughing etc. until you have a c-section and they cut through all of them.
Early Monday morning they took Makenna to the nursery to be checked again. They brought her back and then shortly after the pediatrician came to talk to us. He said that her white blood cell count was down from the day before but her CRP (C-Reactive Protein) level was high. He explained that the CRP could be high due to her having an infection so they were going to move her to the NICU and start her on antibiotics right away and were also going to do a 48 hour blood culture to check for infection. He said she would more than likely be there for at least another 4-7 days.
I thought I was going to be okay with it all but after the NICU nurses came and took her away all I could do was bawl. I was overwhelmed and scared. I just wanted my baby to be healthy so I could take her home.
Seeing her in the NICU was hard. She was connected to all these different monitors and had IV’s in her tiny little hands so all that made it difficult to hold her and it was just hard to see my sweet little baby like that. It wasn’t how I’d envisioned my first few days of motherhood.
The following days were kind of a blur. A big emotional, exhausting blur. I had to be there every 4 hours to feed her and would spend as much time as possible there but any time I had to leave to eat or sleep either Matt, my mom or step-dad stayed with her.
When we went to see her Wednesday morning they’d had to move her IV to her head because her hands had swollen up from all the fluids. Seeing that really bothered both of us. It was just so sad!
Later that day they took her off the fluids, she’d completed her last round of antibiotics and we found out that her 48 hour blood culture had come back negative for infection and that she may be able to go home the following day but there was another issue to address first. She had a low resting heart rate (which can be normal for full term babies) but the doctor wanted her to have an EKG and echocardiogram done as a precaution. It just seemed like if it wasn’t one thing it was another. Thankfully, all of our prayers were answered and everything came back normal.
Thursday morning I woke up bright and early because was beyond ready to be discharged and to get my baby girl home. I got discharged around 10:30 that morning but Makenna didn’t get discharged until around 1:30 so it was a loooong morning for everyone. When we finally made it home we were all so happy. Matt’s parents were here from Iowa and his brother came from Missouri to see her.
Boomer meeting Makenna for the first time.
Adjusting from the hospital to home was rough. On the first full day we were home if Makenna wasn’t eating or sleeping she was screaming and we couldn’t figure out why. It felt like she was an entirely different baby than I had at the hospital.
I’d scheduled Makenna’s newborn photos for the next day and I considered just cancelling them but thankfully she was in a much better mood when the time came. She ended up sleeping through the whole photo shoot and they turned out WONDERFUL. Here are a few of my favorites.
The next day, Matt’s family had to go home and my dad, step-mom and brothers got into town. It was really nice to see everyone and I’m glad they were all able to meet Makenna.
Out of of everything that has happened, the one thing that has gone almost perfectly is breastfeeding. Aside from one night in the NICU when she wouldn’t latch on, we’ve had no issues. For some reason I expected it to be difficult but it’s the one thing that has been pretty easy for us so I’m grateful for that and I actually really enjoy it.
We had a little bit of a rough start to parenthood but everything is starting to get better. Everyone says the beginning is hard and even with our added hiccups we survived!
Makenna is such a good baby and she’s already changed so much since birth. She’s very alert and so interested in everything going on around her. She’s also a little wiggle worm who loves to lay on the floor and just kick and stretch out. Most nights she will sleep 6-7 hours without waking up which is AWESOME. I really hope that continues. Oh and did I mention that she’s ADORABLE!? I know I’m biased but how can you not love that little face?!
I look back at the last few weeks and I can’t believe how much our lives have changed. It’s hard to remember what life was like without her. In a way it seems like she was just born yesterday yet in another way it seems like she’s been here forever. I just can’t put into words how much I love her. Her little smiles melt my heart and I love being her mommy.
Needless to say, our lives are definitely a million times better with our little blessing in it and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.
Until next time! ❤