On December 27th, 2018, at 8:08 am Kennedy Marie came into the world. She was scheduled to appear this day via C-section and since it happened to be the birthday of my late Aunt Brand Marie Dooley, we decided to give her Brenda’s middle name. It’s also the birthday of my Uncle Bruce (Brenda’s twin) and my cousin on the other side of my family, Matt, who got hold Kennedy on their birthdays later that day. So needless to say December 27th is a big birthday day in my family!
While it seems my birth stories are anything from the home birth, mellow, beautiful stories you so often seen floating around online, they are still MY stories and my experiences, and I think it helps to process it all by writing it all out—the scary details and all.
So at 5:00 am on the 27th Reed and I left for the hospital to check in for the c-section. Once you arrive and change they hook you up to a machine so they can start monitoring you and the baby. It turns out I was already having contractions (couldn’t feel them though) so I’m curious how much longer you would have made it in my belly!
The next step was to get the blood drawn and iv in. Now since I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything since midnight it is usually really hard to find my veins. But this time, it was extremely difficult! They kept jumping around and so after a few sticks the nurse tried another spot and this time I vasovagal, a word I had never heard of before, but it means you get really hot and sweaty, as in I thought my body was going to explode of heat, I became super light-headed and dizzy, my color completely disappeared, which is how the nurses saw what was happening, I lost the ability to really communicate and started throwing up and blacking out. Needless to say, it was one of the scariest moments I’ve experienced. But after a few minutes all returned to normal and I was ok, except for extremely tired…and we’ve barely begun.
After that it was just getting the epidural and waiting to be wheeled back for surgery. I remember being extremely nervous because of how difficult and painful the c-section with Ezra was, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So by the time they wheeled me back into the OR I was starting to have a panic attack. I’ve never really had one, but I’d say that was it. I couldn’t stop crying and since I couldn’t feel my legs it started freaking me out and I began having a hard time. I’m just SO thankful for the wonderful anesthesiologist. They recognized I was having a hard time and were so sweet; telling me it would be okay, calming down with words and also calming me down with meds. They gave me something to help me calm down and honestly it was the best thing. It made me extremely tired but I kind of liked it that way. I was very awake for Ezra’s c-section and it freaked me out the whole time. Getting to be in and out of sleep allowed me to relax and Reed was there the whole time to record what happened. I only remember hearing a few things, like her weight and that my doctor was going to Angelfire for vacation after the surgery. Literally, the word Angelfire was like the only thing I remembered afterwards, so weird. But I was no longer freaking out and the baby was born! I do remember that as soon as they pulled out Kennedy my belly instantly felt like a popped balloon, but in a good way. I felt all the pressure and nasal congestion and just a huge weight (literally) lift off my body, it was a strange feeling and I don’t remember that at all with my first!
Afterwards they wheeled me into recovery and I got to have my parents and Reed in there with me at different times. With Ezra, he was rushed to the NICU so everyone went with the baby and I was left alone in recovery, which ended up being very scary for me because I had no idea what was going on, so this time I was thankful to not be alone! They soon brought in Kennedy for me to hold and try to nurse, such a new experience since I never got to do that with Ezra! It was amazing. After going through something like that it’s nice to then hold your baby to make it all better!
Then I nursed for the first time ever really and it seemed to sweet and gave me hope that nursing might actually work! (I was wrong, but it was nice while it lasted, since I didn’t get to try and nurse Ezra until day 7, and it never worked with him)
After recovery, they wheeled me up to the room and brought Kennedy. Again, it was so amazing to have her in the room with us and I was so excited to have a very different hospital experience with her—so much so that I just seemed to feel happy!
They had also changed the way they did their pain meds since I had Ezra in 2016 and it seemed to be a much better experience pain-wise. They left the catheter in for 12 hours and didn’t have me walk to the bathroom until then, where as in last time it was only a few hours after being in the room and it was PAINFUL! So by the time I got up to walk for the first time there were no tears! It was so encouraging. I was up moving and healing way faster than before.
We had our first night with Kennedy and it went mostly well. She cried and I would nurse her and then we would put her back to sleep. There was one time when she wouldn’t go back down so the nurse came in and took her to the nursery so we could get some sleep and then brought her back when it was time to feed. Early that morning they took her back to the nursery to get her vitals and found her blood sugar was low. They gave her some formula so they could then check it again and see if it improved, but since it didn’t they decided it was best that she be brought to the NICU.
When I found out my heart sank. I was angry and sad. I felt like we were repeating Ezra’s story and that’s not what I wanted! So after a few tears, I gathered my thoughts and determined that since I felt much better and had already started nursing I would do whatever it takes to keep nursing her at the feeding times. So for the next few days Reed would wheel me down to the NICU and I would nurse Kennedy and then she would have a little formula after they checked her blood sugar each time. It ended being three days in the NICU before she was released, so we only stayed in the hospital one extra day.
I actually really enjoy being in the hospital. There is unlimited sonic ice, cranberry juices, people who are always helping you and giving you pain meds, people who make your food for you and clean your room, and willing to help you get some much needed sleep. Plus the bed that moves up and down is amazing when you have trouble bending and moving after surgery. So staying an extra day (for me) is always something I kind of like, because once we go home it’s taking care of two human beings plus ourselves and doing it all on 2 hours of sleep increments.
But thank goodness for family, especially my mom who came and stayed with Ezra while we were in the hospital. And on top of it all Ezra came down with some sort of cold and was sneezing, feverish, coughing, and needing all the snuggles. She was up with him during the night and most nap times trying to get him well. And when we came home we had to work really hard to keep him away from the baby and me because of it was contagious. In fact, the day my mom left to go back home, she came down with what he had and had to get antibiotics and meds. But luckily, no one else seemed to get it! (Well, except my in-laws who also had it..)
So in the next couple weeks we slowly got a routine. I was eventually well enough that I moved into the bedroom (something that took way longer with my first) and once I began sleeping in the bedroom, I learned how to feed and change diapers all from the bed. (Thank you Halo Bassinet and thank you to The Drivers who let us borrow theirs!)
But after about a week I began having pain. My gallstones were back and eating began sparking pain. I would have dull mild pain after every meal and then out of nowhere a big attack would happen. I still had one pain pill from my c-section so it helped me get through what is usually the worst pain of my life. But the bad part was that I hadn’t eaten any of my trigger foods and I now was at a lost of how to proceed. It seemed everything I ate sparked pain and I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it 2 more weeks until my first appointment with the doctor and then who knows how long after that for surgery.
When I had that first attack, we called the doctor and left a message explaining the situation and a few days later we got a call back. The doctor wanted me to come in that day and try and do surgery the next day. It was sudden and shocking, but we knew it was something we needed to ASAP. So we headed in to begin the process.
What was supposed to be a day surgery ended up being three days in the hospital. After the gallbladder remover of over 100 stones I still had some in my bile duct, so the next day a different doctor had to go into my bile duct and remove over half a dozen stones. I stayed another night in the hospital and then went home the next day. It was tough and involved a lot of pain and anxiety, but luckily, the grandparents stepped up and helped take care of the kids. And now, I’m finally on the mend and we are slowly getting in a routine.