Vashon

Mr. Makings parents came to town for a few days and we decided to take our lady out for an adventure. It is my 6th week of maternity leave and while I am SO obsessed with our baby bubble… getting some fresh PNW air sounded really lovely. The weather was perfect so we decided to take advantage of not only the extraordinary weather but also the extra TWO sets of hands. I got a wild hair up my rear and recommended we take a ferry over to Vashon Island for the day. It was a ton of fun and lots of firsts for our little lady including her first boat ride, first raspberry picking, and first stroll around outside of our bubble. I’m POOPED and M had a tough time going to sleep after such a stimulating day… but it was so worth it! Blow out diaper on the boat and all.

F.G. in the House

My mom came to town for a whole week to help out with Maryn girl. It was like heaven. My mom has some pretty significant health issues including a bad back. You would have never known she was in pain… she was running on love and adrenaline! We absolutely loved having her here and are really counting down days until she comes back. Saying goodbye sucked. Sucked bad.

While she was here we went down to the water and took some 3 generation photos! Maryn wore the outfit I wore for my first Thanksgiving. My mom reminded me I was 5 months old wearing this dress. Maryn was a whopping 5 weeks! This little girl is quite sturdy.

Mom spoiled all 3 of us by taking us shopping (a fridge full of groceries for M&M and a haul of clothes for Mini M), she sent me away for an afternoon pedicure sans baby and only sent out the SOS when it was time for her to be hooked up to the boob. She even cooked up a batch of all of our favorite things (cookies, muffins, and banana bread… hello weight gain… woops!) The best treat of all was watching her love on our girl. All of the snuggles and kisses… including the early morning shift so mama and papa could get an extra wink. Mom has a way of getting little to calm down.

If you’re wondering… Micro blew out a diaper all over that beautiful purple dress. We decided she protests hand-me-downs….. spoiled! Luckily we had another cute outfit in the diaper bag and continued our photo shoot!

NICU

I sent text after text to Michael begging him to tell me every little detail about what was happening in the NICU. I must have asked him for updates every 15 seconds. I begged God to protect her and give the medical team wisdom as they helped her breathe clearly on her own.

I was in the labor and delivery room with my doula and nurse. They both kept saying that they were so surprised the NICU team took her. Between texts from Michael and the whirlwind that was happening I finally looked up from my phone long enough to say, “if they had any doubt I was glad they took her in.”

All I knew was that if there was any reason for concern that she wouldn’t breathe clearly I wanted them to fix her quickly and bring her back to me.

Before I went into labor Michael and I communicated our game plan for announcing her arrival with our immediate family. Our plan was that Michael would send a text saying that the baby was born without sharing details. We would then do our golden hour, take care of the logistics, and FaceTime our families to introduce her in person. I had really specific desires to introduce her to the family “in person” (aka over FaceTime). I loved the idea of them getting to know that it’s a girl, what her name is, and see her face all at once. It was so important to me to let people meet MARYN… and for her to become the picture they have in their mind when they think of her rather than imagining who she would be. I wanted her to create her own identity. However, as soon as she was wheeled away to NICU I had a sudden tug on my heart for prayer specifically for HER. I shot off a text to our immediate family that said, “Hi the baby is here it’s a GIRL!!! Please pray she had to go to NICU. She has meconium in her lungs. Michael is with her. Very scary for both of us. More to come!” My announcement of her arrival included for the first time that it’s a GIRL.. much to Michaels surprise. I knew clear as day that I needed our family to pray for HER. (Later that day we discussed the text I sent and he agreed that I made the right decision) It was so so so clear to me that it was the right time to let them know they have a niece/granddaughter. Our team of prayer warriors called upon the Lord for us. I had no doubt that the prayers of peaceful hearts and healing lungs were answered. I felt so much peace knowing that my lady was covered in prayer from the fiercest of prayer warriors I know.

Back in the delivery room my doula forced me to order lunch. I was not hungry. She told me I would be hungry later. I couldn’t even fathom eating at this point. I remember watching a vlog by one of my favorite instagram gals talking about the meal after giving birth was like the meal after running a marathon. I ran a marathon a few years ago and that first meal after the race was heaven! I’ve also heard other mamas talk about how hungry they were after labor. I laughed to myself as all of the things I expected to be… we’re not. I couldn’t imagine eating anything but mustered up the whereabouts to ask her to place an order for stir fry and some rogue sides. She said, “You’ll be glad when it arrives!! You just don’t realize how hungry you are.” I agreed with her and figured that HAD to be true.

Text after text from Michael poured in. He gave me details on her weight (9lbs) and length (20.5inches). He assured me she was doing great and that everyone on the NICU team was googly eyed over our girl. His reassuring texts made me feel a slight bit better. He sent a video of her lungs inhaling and exhaling as well as multiple pictures including one of him holding her!

He spared me from the details of the team ramming tubes down her throat and jabbing her OVER 30 times trying to get an IV started.

Back in my room my food showed up. I drank some of the cranberry juice and had a few bites of mac and cheese… I told you, rogue sides. Food wasn’t appealing. I pushed it to the side as I chatted with my nurse and tried my best to comprehend what was happening. She gathered up our belongings (we didn’t take much with us thank God) and started prepping me for next steps. She explained that they would take me up to the NICU on the way to the recovery room and that she would help me get settled in. My doula gave me a big hug and told me she would keep in touch. It was now just me and Erin and the room felt empty and quiet. It was time to put my phone down and take care of myself. Michael assured me Maryn was stable and just needed to be monitored. He even said the medical team had left the room and she was just hanging out hooked up to the machines while he sat and stared at her.

Erin took out my epidural and showed me the crazy wires that were in my back. She helped me get out of bed and make my way to the restroom. I needed to brush my teeth desperately bad. She loaded up a padsicle for me and slapped that pup right in my mesh undies. I put on a hospital gown… I guess they frown upon roaming through the hallways of the hospital in the buff. Eh. To each his own…

Walking was tricky after my epidural line was removed. Apparently my anesthesiologist hit a nerve because my left leg was numb from my quad to my shin. As I type this my skin is still a bit tingly right over my knee cap. The doctor said it might take a few weeks to heal completely. Not only was my left leg numb but my lady bits felt like they got sent through a meat tenderizer. I was not ready for the PP aftermath. What a crazy experience. I was so thankful for Erin… she coached me on how to care best for my lady bits after birth. It really does take some special attention. L&D nurses ARE MY HEROES!

I made a comment to my nurse that I was so shocked and amazed that I didn’t tear. I did a hair flip as I joked about my rockstar vagina for birthing a 9lb baby without tearing. My nurse, who by this point totally understood my humor and knew she could get away with it, made a snarky comment to me about not bragging about that in the future people might get the wrong impression. We both got a good laugh!

Erin loaded up the wheel chair with our bags and instructed me to take a seat. We headed out of the room and on the way to NICU so I could spend time with Maryn.

The hospital we deliver at does the sweetest thing… every time a baby is born the mother pushes a button on the way to recovery that plays (throughout the whole hospital) the first few notes of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. Erin asked me if I wanted to have Michael come down to push the button with me. As devastated as I was to do it without my girl in my arms and Michael by my side… I told her I would rather he stay with M in the NICU. I did send him a message and let him know that it would be me pushing the button next. He recoded Maryn listening to the music as I recorded myself pushing it. Cue the first of MANY postpartum tears. I tried to hold them back as Erin wheeled me through the hallways, up elevators, and into the NICU ward.

The NICU was beautiful and so peaceful. I remember feeling so safe and warm in there. Erin rolled me into Maryns room and the nurses took her out of her bed and put her into my arms. It was a perfect moment and I simply couldn’t hold back the tears. I asked Erin for a Kleenex and she had to run out of the room to get me one.

After a few minutes of holding her and admiring her they had to get her back on the monitors and I had to get to the recovery room to get checked in.

I do not remember leaving her room. I think that’s the Lords way of protecting me from that heartache. All I remember after leaving her room was saying goodbye to Erin as the recovery nurses took over and she headed back to L&D. I was texting with Michael and letting him know I was fully admitted and what my room was. He told me that the latest news was that Maryn would likely be released from NICU after they established an IV for an antibiotic. Her white blood cell count was high indicating her body was fighting off an infection so she had to be on an antibiotic. He said as soon as she had that IV she would be with me. Based on the timeline I had I figured the best thing to do would be to rest for a few minutes until she got to the room. I was thinking it would be 30 minutes MAX! The exhaustion had fully set in and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I fell asleep and woke up over an hour later to quite a few missed texts and SOAKED with sweat. The postpartum sweats were unexpected and terrible. I was trembling again and totally freaked out. I called the nurse and she came in to help. She called back up and several other nurses came in to change my bed sheets, take my temperature and to help me to the restroom. They were worried about my body temperature and my epidural site. I was super swollen and in quite a bit of pain. I still couldn’t feel that section of my left leg and wondered why Maryn hasn’t made it down. Michael said they were on their way and we’re only waiting on her discharge orders. I took a super hot shower as the nurse helped me wash my body and put a hospital gown back on. I’ve never felt so thankful to have help in my life! PP stuff has taught me to ask for and accept help with open arms. That shower was the best thing that happened to me (other than meeting Maryn) in over a week! The shakes were so bad but I was glad to be back in bed. The nurse also gave me a heating pack for my back and an ice pack for my vag. Heaven! My low body temp, uncontrollable shaking, and sweats were attributed to the hormones. Ugh. Whatever!

The text I had been waiting for finally came! THEY WERE ON THEIR WAY!!! I got out of bed and opened the door. I hobbled with bare feet in my hospital gown like a pegged leg pirate down the hall holding back tears of joy as I saw the NICU nurse, Michael, and my girl in her carriage turn the corner. The nurse gave us a ton of information about her IV, her antibiotic schedule, and warning signs to look for as her lungs and throat healed. I couldn’t focus on anything but Maryns sweet face. She was so perfect and beautiful I couldn’t wait to get her in my arms and nurse her.

FINALLY the time had come, she was ready for some skin to skin and NURSING! I was so excited I grabbed her out of the carriage and popped her onto my boob. The nurse was shocked and asked how many brothers and sisters Maryn has. When I told her this is our first she was impressed with how easily nursing was for us. I was so incredibly thankful and so glad I had spent hours pumping before M came so I was well prepared for BF. Maryn fell off her latch a few times but got the hang of it really quickly. By her hospital discharge she was a QUEEN at taking the boob… and I was super confident feeding her. Our only challenge was that she would fall asleep on the boob. I’m proud to say she doesn’t do this anymore! She’s a quick learner.

After nursing I slipped her into my hospital gown and we got to snuggle skin to skin. It was the most amazing perfect few hours. While we did this Michael filled me in on what he experienced in NICU. He said they would have been to me a lot sooner but every time they started an IV Maryn flinched and burst her blood vessel. He told me they tried over 30 times before they were finally successful. This is what took so long (7 hours total) to get her out of NICU and into recovery with me. They finally got her IV in her foot and part of her care instructions were to be EXTRA cautious with her IV. Apparently Maryn is strong and would flinch from the needles and pull away from the nurses causing quite a bit of trouble. My poor baby had poke marks and bruises all over her hands and feet. We had to leave her foot out of the swaddle and she couldn’t have a bath until her antibiotic was complete.

Sweet Michael was exhausted and starving. I was finally starting to feel a bit hungry and asked for sushi. Before he went to pick up dinner we called some of our family to introduce them to Maryn. I’m sure it was the longest day of their lives… as it was mine! We got ahold of Michaels brother, my mom, and his parents. We weren’t able to get ahold of all of the family. I didn’t want to disrespect them by telling people her name and sharing pictures before I had the opportunity to introduce her to them. It had been over 12 hours since she was born… I was ready to shout her name from the rooftops! My girl was here, she’s healthy, and she’s ours forever!

Final stop in Laborland

Here we are epidural was placed and I was watching the clock for 11:00pm to hit because BYE AWFUL NURSE….

I should have on an epidural high once that thing was in. Ha! By this point my hormones had taken over completely and I was shaking uncontrollably. My teeth were chattering and my bones were trembling. The epidural was horrible. I was ready to kick my nurse in her teeth… or, well, just out of the room.

Before I had the chance to completely lose it with my nurse, it was shift change. Guess who walked in? ASHLEY!!!!! I could have wrapped my arms around her and cried I was so excited to see her. The excitement of seeing Ashley made all the drama with my nurse go away. We chatted about the wedding she went to and I complimented her on her adorable wedding hair style. I kept telling her how sorry I was and how exhausted she must be. She finally told me that she was pregnant too and we bonded even more about her pregnancy. I asked her a million questions about her experience, her hopes and fears, and her plans for delivery. It took my mind off of the chaos that happened earlier that night. Ashley was back and that’s what mattered.

All night long I was having a really hard time. My anesthesiologist came back in because I was complaining about the epidural. When my midwife came in a few minutes later she basically laid into the anesthesiologist for not giving me more medicine. Apparently she gave me the lowest dose and my midwife was not happy. My cervix and uterus were still on two different planets and the baby was still very high (station -3). I was required to “labor down” all night. They put me in a variety of funky positions including stuffing a peanut ball between my legs. At this point I HAD IT. I was SO done. My patience was gone. I was in pain. I was exhausted. And I was trembling uncontrollably and I was absolutely terrified. The medical team was attributing the shaking to hormones but they kept taking my temperature to make sure I wasn’t getting an infection.

I made them get rid of the peanut ball and let me use pillows and stirrups instead. This was not at all the experience I had prepared for in my mind and everything seemed so overwhelming. I also expected once I had the epidural that I would just “go to sleep” as so many women told me happened to them once they got the epidural. This was not the case. I had been awake (with the exception of a few short naps sponsored by morphine) since Friday early morning when I stated work. I was so frustrated and beyond freaked out. I was asking a million questions and worried that things were starting to go haywire. I simply couldn’t relax. I wanted to get up out of bed but they wouldn’t let me. I was only “numb” (eye roll) from the bottom of my rib cage to the top of my hip bone. I could have easily walked. I had a catheter inserted and winced the entire time they inserted it even though they said I wouldn’t feel it. Ashley finally removed it because I had full bladder control. I let her know when I need to pee and in goes the catheter again. Each time they told me to get in a new position I flipped myself over in bed before they had a chance to help me. That epidural experience everyone told me about…. not my experience!

My midwife finally ordered more medicine and I was pushing the epidural button as often as I could. Bring on the saline. Bring on all of the things. I felt like a lab rat…

My memories of Saturday night are so blurry. My doulas notes go like this:

-1:54am 7cm

-4:02am 8cm 100% effaced and between station -1 and-2

Sometime around 5:00am I had the urge (doesn’t even seem like strong enough word) to push. IT WAS SO STRONG. And so primal. I literally couldn’t stop it. The only thing I can compare it to was needing to vomit. It is that uncontrollable. I begged my medical staff to let me push. They explained to me that I couldn’t because I wasn’t dilated enough and the baby’s head would swell my cervix.

THIS WAS HORRIBLE. I couldn’t help myself and every time the contraction came I begged, cried, pleaded… PLEASE let me push. Check me! I have to be far enough! LET ME PUSH.

Eventually the pushing feeling passed (more drugs for the lab rat) and I went to sleep. Not real sleep, I was listening to my doula and Michael chat about ministry, about our journey, about all we’ve been through in the past few years, how we met, and about our daughter. They shared stories of childhood and bonded over our common beliefs around parenting and our faith. It was so awesome to listen to their conversation. At one point I told them I was listening. It was such a beautiful intimate conversation I felt creepy if I didn’t announce my presence. I finally felt peaceful. And relaxed. And although I was contorted around the bed stirrups with my legs going in opposite directions and hoping for that baby to drop lower… I felt at peace.

At 7:00am I was sleeping and Ashley came in. She told me she was leaving and introduced me to my new nurse Erin. I nodded to let her know I understood and she said, “Megan, do you understand? I want you to wake up and listen to me… I’m leaving. you’re going to love Erin. But I’m leaving You’ll be ok!” She knew I had a special bond with her especially after that horrible night I experienced in her care. When I eventually woke up I was so glad that she took extra time to make sure I knew she wasn’t going to be there for delivery.

Turns out I loved Erin just as much as I loved Ashley. She was amazing.. but I’m more on that to come!

My midwife came in and told me I would start pushing at 8. It wasn’t until closer to 9am that I started pushing.

Before I started pushing I asked michael to pray for us. He held back tears (all of us did) as he said the sweetest prayer thanking God for getting us this far, for safety, and for our beautiful girl. It was one of the most special moments of my life.

Pushing was the weirdest thing. I did not have the urge to push. My midwife came in and we causally chatted and she said “okay Megan lets have a baby!”… ummmm, what? Just like that… push her out? I don’t have to push. I begged you for 2 and a half hours to let me push.. and now you’re just like.. push? WHAT?

Okay. So they prepped the room up. Turned the lights on full blast and rolled in a cart of medical supplies. My midwife was dressed in her delivery gear. Michael was on my right and my doula was on my left. Erin, my midwife, and my doula explained to me how to push. And there I went… pushing this baby out. I took off my sports bra because I wanted to be ready to nurse when Maryn came.

Pushing was HARD. HARD HARD HARD. I did not expect it to be so hard. I stared pushing her out from station -1 or -2. I had to rely on the monitor to show me when the contraction was strong enough to push because my epidural was whack.

About an hour into pushing somebody came in the room and pulled my midwife aside. I could hear the conversation They said that another one of her patience had arrived and was ready to deliver. She was 10cm and the baby was crowning. HOLY. CRAP. My midwife ripped her gloves off, left the room, and Erin coached me through pushing. I made the most progress under Erin’s coaching. She let me steer the ship and listened to me as I explained to her what my body was telling me. I finally got in tune with what my body was doing and was able to get the baby farther down.

My epidural was wearing off and I could feel contractions again.

I was also in a lot of pain as she made her way down lower into the birth canal. I was still only numb from my ribs to my hips.

A few minutes later my midwife came back in. WHAT THE WHAT?!? I was so annoyed that that woman had her baby so fast… ugh! Haha…

I kept using the sheet to wipe sweat from my neck…. oh was I sweaty! My midwife kept telling me to get the sheet away from my face. I told her I needed it to wipe the sweat away. I was so far in Laborland that I needed everyone to stop talking so I could focus. I remember being so annoyed each time somebody said something but the only person I said “shh” to was Michael. I wanted so badly to “shh” everyone else but I knew better than to be rude to the people who were providing me with medical attention.

At one point my midwife asked for a hook. She had to break my bag of waters. I was so weirded out by this because my water already broke! She explained that there are two bags and often they both break but the position baby was in I had to have the other one broken for me. Crazy!

It was finally happening. I could feel the baby coming out. My midwife said, “Megan, listen to me very carefully… this is a big baby. When her head comes out you need to keep pushing. It’s going to be hard Megan do you understand that?” I vigorously shook my head to indicate YES I GET IT. ILL DO IT! I GOT IT! “Megan when I tell you to push you DON’T STOP!!! You need to get her head and shoulders out in one push do you get it?” YES LET’S GO! She explained Maryn would get stuck if I didn’t do what she said. I was confident I could do it. Everyone was doubting that Maryn girl was big. We were all talking about how big we thought she would be. My midwife said 9lbs, I said no bigger than 7.5 and Erin my nurse said about 7 as well. “Look at her she’s still tiny.. where would a 9lb baby be?” She said. My doula agreed. Michael kept his mouth shut because he has already been told to be quiet. (Sorry M!)

It’s important to understand the chaos that happened a few weeks before my due date. My midwife was worried about Maryns size and the age of my placenta. A few weeks before I was due, I ended up in the hospital to have an ultrasound. I wasn’t gaining lots of weight (23 lbs total by birth) and my placenta was showing signs of age. They were worried about her size and my fluid levels. My belly was messing 2 weeks behind my whole pregnancy. When I got the results back from he ultrasound everyone was shocked. Maryn girl was estimated to be 8.5lbs and my fluid levels were a 12 (5 is considered a good amount with the weeks calculation I was). My weight gain was all baby (and lost muscle that changed into baby weight). I was skeptical with their calculations and still thought I would have a 7lb (max) girl.

By the time I felt her coming out my midwife gave me a cut off of 3 more pushes before I was going to the OR. They called NICU and in they came. I had Maryn girl out in 5 HARD AS HECK pushes including her head and shoulders all in one. It was the coolest feeling to have her head and shoulders come out. Her head, hurt SO BAS but once her shoulders came out it was an awesome feeling. I saw my belly completely deflate like a balloon. I will never forget that feeling or the way my belly looked as soon as she came out.

10:57am my lady was born!

When she finally came EVERYONE in the room was shocked at how big she was. I heard a cry. And my heart dropped. I knew what that cry meant.

Michael was incredibly emotional and rubbed my head and gave me a kiss and told me how proud he was. He was so supportive during the entire process and told me over and over again what a great job I did.

They handed her to NICU and they started working on her right away. There was tons of commotion in the room as people were working on her, my midwife was telling Michael to cut the cord, and my doula was telling me to talk to Maryn. “She knows your voice Megan, talk to her!” I could barely talk but the first thing I said was, “Thank you Jesus!” and, “Holy crap that was AWFUL!” I also asked if she was a girl because I had a dream that she was a boy. Everyone in the room started cracking up. “YES SHES A GIRL” they all chimed in.

I wanted to see Maryn so badly but I didn’t want her to be away from NICU. I knew they were the best ones to have her at the time. I knew she needed to be under their care. I still thought they would hand her to me in a few minutes. While NICU was working on her in the room everyone kept telling me how beautiful she is. Michael took some pictures of her and showed me. I kept asking them to tell me what she was doing. They told me she had a CPap machine on her and explained that they wouldn’t give her oxygen because it would hurt her. My midwife told me to push out my placenta and as weird as this might seem it was such a soothing feeling on my lady parts. My doula called the placenta lady to come pick it up for encapsulation. It was probably 20 minutes that the NICU team was working on Maryn in the room when finally a nurse came over to talk to me. She explained that they were going to let me hold her, but that they had to take her to the NICU to monitor her lungs and do few other things. It was very scary to hear. Everyone assured me that it seemed NICU was just being overly cautious because her coloring looked beautiful and she was responding really well. The only concern I had was that Michael got to go with her. “ABSOLUTELY!” They assured me, and that was all that mattered.

One of the nurses brought Maryn over to me and I was able to look into her eyes for the first time. What a beautiful little lady she is. Michael hugged us and kissed me and I told them to take her. I knew the longer I held her the longer it would be until she was back in my arms for good. I knew that the longer I held her the more at risk her lungs were. “Please fix her and being her back to me”, I said.

Off they went.

There I was… in a quiet room with my doula and my nurse Erin.

Laborland day 2

Friday night was a mix of excitement and pain. Michael slept while I stayed up and watched episode after episode of (muted) Triple D… I couldn’t stand listening to anything while I was contracting. At the point Ashley inserted the Cervadil (turns out it was at 6:00am Saturday morning …our doula came by and shared her notes with us everything is making much more sense now) I was dilated to 2cm. My cervix and uterus were on two different planets and I realized this was not going to be easy. I still had hopes of an intervention free birth but that Cervadil sure changed things. It was painful to receive and continued to hurt as it dilated my cervix. After lying flat on my back for an hour I was able to get up and move. They unhooked me from the monitors and that felt good!

Ashley was off at 7:00am. At some point during the night while she was in my room with me she mentioned she had a wedding to go to that day. I felt bad for her knowing she had stayed up all night. I was exhausted and I imagined she was too. I expressed my concern and she said she had time to get a few winks but assured me that was nothing I needed to worry about. Ashley introduced me to my new nurse, Marianne. I was so sad to see Ashley leave. She said she would be back on duty at 11:00pm but I would likely already have the baby. She promised if I wasn’t in L&D she would come see me in recovery.

Marianne was only my nurse for a short shift. I barely remember her and can’t picture her face. When Ashley left I checked out.

At some point on Saturday morning I was able to eat breakfast. I remembered many women talking about vomiting during labor so although I was quite hungry (the night before I passed on dinner and only ate a turkey sandwich late after checking in to the hospital) I was scared to eat too much because I thought the baby would make her appearance that day. I ordered a breakfast burrito, oatmeal, a bagel, cottage cheese, peaches, and cranberry juice. I ate some of the oatmeal, the cottage cheese and peaches, and a few bites of the breakfast burrito. Michael finished the rest of it.

While labor was happening minutes felt like hours and days felt like weeks. My midwife and doula came by for the first time since I was admitted and were able to spend time with me. My midwife sat on my bed and we chatted about her eye glasses, the one time she had Pneumonia and had to cancel my appointment, my “nudist tendencies”, and how I was feeling about labor and delivery both physically and mentally. She joked with me that it was only a matter of time that I would need to be on pain medicine. Not because I couldn’t handle the pain but because she wanted me to sleep. She knew that I was stubborn and she fully understood my hopes for the process. She practically begged me to take some drugs. I joked with her through contractions and told her I was good! She once again reminded me how NICU would be in the room for delivery because there was meconium in my water. She assured me it was “just standard hospital procedure” and “nothing to be worried about”. I brushed it off like no big deal. “No worries”, I told her, “I understand!” She told me she would keep checking on me as labor progressed but that I couldn’t have a baby until later that evening at the earliest… she had some errands to run! Haha…

While my midwife was in the room she was watching the monitor and checking the record of baby’s heart rate. All of a sudden she started giving me rapid commands like, “flip over!” and “get on your hands and knees”…as she began shaking my hips back and forth. I looked at the monitor and Maryns heart rate had dropped shockingly low. “GET HER A BAG OF SALINE!”…. “GET ANOTHER!” … everything was so frantic. My nurse pumped me with saline and eventually Maryns heart rate came back. I am pretty sure by this point my heart had completely stopped. We’re not sure why her heart rate dropped, but my midwife said it was likely that she grabbed ahold of her cord and made herself pass out. By the time she let go… she came back to. I about fell out of the bed in complete horror. MY BABY PASSED OUT?! Quite literally from that moment on I was OBSESSED with watching her heart rate on the monitor. When I couldn’t see the monitor, I made Michael watch it… or my doula watch it. I was traumatized. I was also SWOLLEN from all of that saline.

I think at some point I ordered lunch per my doulas request. I really wasn’t hungry for anything because kept thinking whatever I ate would come back up. The only thing that sounded good was ginger ale and cranberry juice. I did eat a cup of chicken noodle soup and some cottage cheese. I think my food ended up in the trash. It was crap anyway.

At 1:35pm on Saturday the Cervidil fell out while I was using the restroom. Everyone cheered and said that was a great sign and that I was dilating quickly. That also explains why I was in so much pain. SO much pain! They still didn’t want to check my cervix for risk of infection and kept monitoring based on how I was feeling and what my contractions looked like. They also took my temperature ALL. THE. TIME. Because the Cervidil fell out it was time to start an oral medication called Cytotec. Lets just throw away all of those intervention free thoughts now and start down the path of ALL. THE. MEDS.

Around 2:30pm on Saturday I had a shot of Morphine so I could relax and hope that contractions, and my cervix would work together. The medical team knew it was going to be a long process and I hadn’t yet been able to rest. With the morphine I was finally able to get some sleep. They said Morphine lasts 6 hours. I got about 1 and a half of pain relief. Morphine is good stuff, let me just say… but it doesn’t last long enough. And they wouldn’t give me more.

Around 7 pm on Saturday night I was told I needed to start Pitocin. Marianne, my nurse, had traded off with a new nurse (that shall not be named) because she was AWFUL. More on that later…. back to Pitocin… By this point I had come to terms with the way my body was reacting and ready to do the damn thing and get the party started. I knew I would need an epidural and requested the epidural before starting the Pitocin. Starting the epidural was very scary to me. At this point I had started getting so shaky that I was convulsing uncontrollably all over my whole body from my teeth to my limbs. I was paranoid between the contractions and the shaking I would not be able to sit still for the epidural. A lot of things were happening at this point including my frustrations with my nurse. I felt as if she was not listening to what I was afraid of and kept telling me not to worry. She gave me several shots of Fentanyl and eventually the anesthesiologist came in to administer the epidural. It was a horrible process and took a long time. It was very painful to get and I was stressed out the whole time. The anesthesiologist couldn’t get it placed and failed multiple times. I was getting worried but eventually, it was done and I was relieved of some of the pain.

They attributed the shaking to a rapid release of hormones. They were taking my temperature even more often to ensure it was not caused by a fever. This was when shit started to get real. Really real!

What I expected when I was expecting

Things are different for everyone. Every baby is different. Every mama is different. And every papa is different. Everyone journey is unique, and special, and NOBODY should undermine your experience… your hopes… your parenting journey. NO ONE!

Leave the mom guilt and judgment elsewhere. Noooo time for that here.

When I was pregnant I was given a ton of advice. All of this advice was well intentioned and (for the most part) well received. Most of it at least. Sometimes I just said thank you… walked away and rolled my eyes! Kinda like people that said “you’re cloth diapering? That won’t last a month…” which I guess isn’t advice as it is assholes being judgy… I digress.

Back to it, some of the advice I received was the biggest blessing of our new parent life….and some… well… lets just say some was interesting. I think most first time moms can relate. But, then again I’m not you, so maybe your experience was different?

As I received advice I stored bits and pieces away as I prepared for motherhood. Some things you just can’t prepare for. And some, you can.

The irony of our journey is that almost all of the things I expected to happen… didn’t. And so many things crossed my mind that I brushed off or didn’t prepare for… have been our biggest challenges. Motherhood is ironic… it’s like rain on your wedding day.. a free ride that you’ve already paid.

What happened you ask? Let me tell you…

1. Expectation: Breastfeeding will be difficult.

So many of my dear girlfriends and fellow mamas struggled through excruciatingly painful and horrific experiences breastfeeding. My heart literally shatters every time I hear this. Tongue and lip tie, mastitis (multiple times), babe with severe dairy allergies, bleeding, cracked, raw, sore blistered nipples. Fighting their way through nipple shields, syringe feedings, boiling breast pump parts at 4am, and giving their baby a formula bottle for the first time in tears. SO many of my dearest friends (4 specific women come to mind and as I write this I pray for you and the beautiful mama you are to your sweet babes… just know… I’m on your team always) had the WORST experiences. Seriously the journey these women are on breaks my heart. Disclaimer– choosing (or needing to for X, Y, or Z reason) formula and bottle feed your baby is your journey and there is ZERO place for judgment here. Or anywhere for that matter. FEED YOUR BABY MAMA! AND ASSHOLES QUIT JUDGING!

My journey on the the other hand? I desperately wanted to BF and was terrified that it wouldn’t work out. I was no fool to think that it would be easy as I prepared myself by reading articles, asking questions, and learning as much as I could beforehand to prepare myself for what would likely be a VERY challenging experience.

I was sooo well prepared for the struggle that BF would be and ready to grab the bull by the horns.

Reality: What actually happened? Maryn girl loves the boob. Her first few feedings she thrashed around a bit on the boob… and fell off her latch a few times. After that… she’s a boob girl. My nipples? Never had a sore, blister, or scab. We rocked at BF! NOT NORMAL. She nurses like a rockstar.

What I didn’t prepare for? Having Thrush, a low supply, and her HATING the bottle. I seriously didn’t even know what Thrush was before our lactation specialist told me I needed to call her pediatrician and get both of us on medication right away. I sobbed thinking I’ve harmed my baby because of pure ignorance. I could have started her treatment right away and saved both of us tons of frustration, tenderness, and tears. We both now have Thrush, and this SUCKS!

I also didn’t think a bottle would be hard for her. I was more worried about my boob! The bottle seemed like the easier of the two. I didn’t prepare for the frustration, thrashing, cold sweat, bright red faced sobbing baby (and husband) that I would need to soothe. I didn’t prepare for puking sessions and choking down milk. I did not prepare for the feeling of heartache knowing I have to go back to work in a few weeks (TOO SOON) and the angst we would all have over this. I didn’t prepare for her to love the boob and hate the bottle. Motherhood.

Breast struggle. Bottle struggle. It’s no less challenging whatever your journey is. ITS. FUCKING. HARD. I’m on your team!

2. Expectation: I’m a WOD queen, I’ll ROCK at pushing her out.

Reality: NOPE. NOPE. NOPE. NO. I SUCKED at birth. Absolutely SUCKED. Nurses, midwife, doula, husband, fellow CF mamas… encouraging words the whole pregnancy “you’re going to ROCK at labor because you’re fit and strong and you will push her out in no time.”

What I was prepared for? A few pushes… and BABY! (I’m. So. Stupid!)

Reality: What happened? 2 hours of frustration. 2 hours of pushing SO FUCKING HARD…. and such little progress each push. Granted, I started pushing from a station -2… so that wasn’t helpful… but IT WAS NOT EASY AND I WAS NOT PREPARED. I literally had NO idea how to push…. it did NOT come naturally. It was not the “workout like experience” everyone said I would be a champ at. Not. In. The. Slightest. 2 hours in my midwife said she would give me 3 more pushes before I ended up in the OR. 5 pushes later Maryn girl was here. NOT what I expected. It was HARD!!!!! SO SO SO SO SO HARD. And incredibly frustrating.

3. Expectation: Pregnancy is miserable.

Reality: I’ve already talked about this. I thought I would end up with gestational diabetes (I was SO convinced) and I didn’t. I thought I would be puking and swollen and miserable. I wasn’t. On and on. Pregnancy was the nice part. Newborns? Not. So. Much.

4. Expectation: Newborns are hard.

Reality: NEWBORNS ARE HARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In all fairness nothing can prepare you. There is no such thing as “sleep now became you won’t be able to when baby is here”. Duhhh sleep doesn’t work like a savings account you cant stockpile that stuff and save it for a rainy day. I thought newborn would be hard. I knew I wouldn’t sleep. I just didn’t know THIS hard.

5. Expectation: NICU will be in the room, they’ll clear her… and give her to you for the golden hour.

Reality: 7 hours later I finally get to meet my baby. Best way to get that golden hour? Avoid the OR. I was LIVING for the golden hour and convinced if we didn’t do skin to skin right away I wouldn’t bond with my babe, breastfeed, or even feel like a mother. All of my focus was on staying out of the OR… never did I imagine NICU would be our journey. Never! So naive.. the medical staff did an amazing job preparing us for it. I was in my own world. I thought the only way I wouldn’t get golden hour was to avoid the OR. How naive. How ignorant. How dumb.

6. Expectation: PP hormones are a bitch and the aftermath in your undies is not pretty! PP depression is real and I will speak up if I need help.

Reality: HORMONES ARE THE DEVIL AND THE AFTERMATH IS WAY WORSE THAN I EXPECTED. I mean, still bleeding 4 weeks PP? Yes, it’s normal. Yes, I’ve already talked to my midwife. No, you don’t need to tell me I should have this figured out by now.

Hormones are WEIRD. I was not prepared for the mess this would be. Thank God for a girlfriend of mine that talks with me about my psychotic hormones and sends me the most beautiful encouraging inspiring articles to read that normalize all of this. My dear, your support is everything and I love you for doing this journey with me. PP depression is REAL. Praise Jesus for placenta encapsulation, a husband that allows me to sleep off my exhaustion (at least for an hour or two until the small one needs to be hooked up to the nip again), for fellow mamabesties, and for tequila. I love tequila, I love my best mama support group, and I love my baby…. even though this shit is hard. Don’t worry I don’t drink too much tequila… just relax I got this under control.

The weirdness of all of this is that it’s totally normal. Babies are unpredictable, your body is unpredictable, and life is… you guessed it… UNPREDICTABLE. Everyone says it…Nothing can really prepare you for parenthood. No advice, no article, no recommendation, tip, or trick can prepare you. The beauty is… if you’re a parent, you’ve been there. You get it.

It’s all so hard.

Giving advice to a pregnant woman to “sleep now” isn’t helpful. Telling first time parents that the sleepless nights are “worth it” isn’t helpful. Instead, order them Chinese food, drop off a case of beer and a pack of diapers on their doorstep, tell them you love them, and pray for them with ALL your might. There’s nothing a full belly, little beer, a clean diaper, and a whole lot of love can’t fix… (Thrush excluded.. were still looking for a fix for that 😉 )

Note: I don’t hate advice. Please don’t think that. I don’t have any of this figured out and sometimes the advice is SO helpful… so (although I’ve probably already tried it) if you have a way to get rid of Thrush… please send me a message! My baby has a yeasty mouth and lefty is starting to itch and hurt. Righty is still going strong so pray for her.. she needs it!

We love our tribe… and if you want to come over and hold the baby we are now accepting visitors! Prepare for crazy hormone mama to spray you with Lysol before entering, leave your small germ infested humans at home….and for the love of all things good and holy….Bring tequila…or a hug. We love you friends. Whole heart, big time, so good too much it hurts your soul DEEP love. We do.

Laborland…were still here!

Ashley is a young, tall, blonde gal with a sweet demeanor and a peaceful presence.

She was a Godsend! I absolutely loved having her as my nurse. She was incredibly attentive and listened very carefully as Erica explained that I ruptured, was leaking fluid and meconium, had to be hooked up to penicillin for GBS, and ate a turkey sandwich. Ashley looked invested as she listened to Erica and that alone gave me so much comfort. I couldn’t help but notice that l she had a little bump under her scrubs… as curious as I was… I did NOT ask… I sure know better!

Ashley spent a ton of time with me that evening as contractions got stronger and more frequent. That night was difficult. We tried a few different things including walking around the room and leaning over the bed. The medical staff really wanted me to walk and all I could think about was sleeping. I was exhausted and frustrated that I was getting more and more uncomfortable but my body was not responding properly. Walking made the pain of contractions worse as they starting coming hard and strong. They were coupling and were inconsistent with both strength and time. I was on and off the monitors as they were trying to gauge my progress without doing a vaginal exam. They explained that the more times they “go in” the higher risk for infection. The best thing to do was monitor both me and baby all from the outside. I kept reminding myself to stay hydrated and rest when I could. As soon as I would drift off to sleep, I’d wake up with a contraction. I was determined that I did not want intervention including pain medicine.

Throughout the night, it became apparent that my hopes for this birth were not likely going to happen. As much of a surprise as this may seem, I wasn’t really one to make a “birth plan”, although it was a recommendation I got from many. Planning for something that has so many variables is highly troubling to me. Early in my pregnancy I thought I would make a birth plan (I do love me a good plan). Once I learned this would likely not be the experience I was hoping for I found it to be incredibly important to keep an open mind and remain flexible. Having a “plan” would create a bad head space for me. Instead of creating a “birth plan” I had my “birth hopes”. These hopes included avoid the OR with every fiber of my being, avoid intervention (including Pitocin, pain medication, and other medical procedures), and get that golden hour (delayed cord clamping, skin to skin, establish nursing immediately, and no medical procedures on baby until the hour is done).

Friday night was long with no sleep. Ashley called my midwife at some point and explained how my contentions were progressing. The trouble was that my uterus and cervix were not on the same page. My uterus was in labor but my cervix was still closed. They were worried that I wouldn’t have enough time for my cervix to catch up before pushing needed to happen. It was highly recommended I get Cervidil placed so that’s what I did. It was quite painful and not fun. I had to be flat on my back while the Cervidil did its thing and made me even more uncomfortable.

By this point I have fuzzy memories of what happened and when it happened. To fill in the details I had to rely on the few cryptic texts that I sent to the handful of people that knew I was in labor. This helped refresh my memory but there is still so much that was a blur. To help you understand, I was really quiet about the whole process and everyone I did talk to was sworn to secrecy. I thought the less people that knew the more safe my head space was. It seemed so incredibly overwhelming to imagine a bunch of people sitting around waiting to hear the big news. Even worse would have been people asking me “is the baby here?… is the baby here?… is the baby here?” It stressed me out just thinking of it. As I was in the middle of it I was aware of how long it would take and it felt impossible to explain to people to relax… and WAIT. It felt impossible to convey what we were going through and the easier option was to not say anything. The more people knew then more vulnerable this experience became. Furthermore, the more we told people the more they had opinions and advice. I learned to just keep my mouth shut to protect my experience. If people didn’t know they couldn’t ask questions. Note: One thing I learned about myself during labor…. DON’T ASK ME QUESTIONS. (And don’t talk to me. I’ll talk to you if I need something.. otherwise SHUT. UP. Please.) We were in for a long journey…every medical person is that came in said “it’s going to be a while”. I know everyone was excited to hear the big news but I NEEDED everyone to chill out. I really hate making people wait on me…for dinner, for a meeting… and yes, for labor.

A long trip to Laborland

On the way to the hospital Michael and I were plotting out our game plan for arrival as I gave him directions to get to the there (yes he didn’t know how to get to the hospital…haha). It was pretty hilarious and exactly what I imagined it would be like. He even said to me at one point, “you should just be driving”. I’m the driver in our family and throughout my pregnancy I often joked about driving myself to the hospital when I went into labor. It was really fun to not be in pain heading down because we were cracking jokes the whole time and enjoying the process. We decided to pull up in front of the emergency room because they could bring out something to help with my current state of “leaky”. The valet at the hospital was already closed so emergency it was. At this point it had gone beyond “leaking” and was more in a “waterfall” phase. I easily could have walked from the parking garage, but the puddle that would follow behind me deterred me from making that decision.

When we got to the hospital Michael pulled up in front of the ER and went inside to let them know I was there. They brought out a wheelchair with a sheet on it. I opened the car door and a nurse started cracking up. She said, “did you forget to put pants on?” We all got a good chuckle! I said, “no I have a dress on I just didn’t want it to get soaked so I pulled it up!” She laughed and explained that she seen it all and that you never know what goes through mom’s head when she goes into labor. Forgetting to put on pants would almost be fitting. One of the other nurses ran back inside to get a cover to put over my lap so I wasn’t fully exposed. I sat in the wheelchair as they pushed me through the ER. Michael went to park the car and said he can meet up with me when I got to the room. On my way in through the emergency room they stopped at a desk for the nurse asked me a few questions. They said that Michael couldn’t remember the year I was born when he checked us in and needed to verify (haha at this point he was so nervous but I was cool as a cucumber). I gave them the information and off we went. The nurse was still chuckling thinking I forgot to put pants on and she wheeled me through the emergency room, passed a group of paramedics, doctors and nurses. She said hi to a few people, including the paramedics that asked if she was on duty all night and where she was taking her patient. “L&D!”, she said as we scooted around toward the exit doors. At that moment I it hit me, holy crap! IM HAVING A BABY! I got emotional… then started worrying about Michael. I wanted him there with me so badly. We got to the maternity ward and the ER nurse passed me off on another nurse. I was officially being admitted! We got to my room, didn’t even stop by triage. A nurse named Erica came in. She started asking me a bunch of questions and told me she was admitting me based on the large amount of fluid I was leaking. She didn’t even need to check to make sure it was amniotic fluid. We joked and laughed and hit it off right away. A few minutes later Michael came in with all 3 of our backpacks (Maryns too!) and announced the snacks didn’t make it to the car. Whoops! Erica kept asking me questions as she sat with me and we chatted. She explained if I was in any pain they wouldn’t be so casual or take the time to do all of this but since I was good she got all of the medical paperwork out of the way. It took almost an hour. She asked me everything from my blood type, to delivery preferences, to religion and family origin. I kept cracking jokes and had her laughing pretty good. I even told her about the arrival through ER with no pants on. I was feeling contractions but they weren’t painful they were just “there’.

After she Erica finished with the questions she had a few other things to do like start my IV and call my midwife. I really connected with her in the first few moments I spent with her. We were sitting in the room as she was filling out papers and she got a big grin on her face. I could tell something was on her mind. She asked if we knew what the baby was. “Yes, it’s a girl!” I told her. It was always so fun to say that out loud because we hadn’t told anyone outside of complete random strangers (flight attendants and waiters/waitresses) and of course our medical staff what the baby’s name or gender was. Erica smirked and said, “Does she have a name?” “YES!” I replied, “Maryn.” Erica got a huge grin on her face and said she knew because she read it on my medial chart. I was completely baffled by this because I had only once briefly mentioned it to my midwife and never knew her name was on the medical records. Erica kept smiling. “What?, I finally asked. She said, “Marin is my daughters name too. I see you spell it Maryn, we spelled it Marin”. I was absolutely shocked… I smacked Ericas arm in complete disbelief! I was truly blown away and told her I didn’t know anyone else named Maryn and how special it was that I got to meet her. Such a cool moment. I wish Erica was my nurse for longer. She was off that evening at 11:00pm for shift change. When she finished getting us checked in she started my IV so she could start giving me penicillin. It was around 10:30pm and I was officially admitted. She also recommended I eat something before I try and get some rest. I truly wasn’t hungry, probably because I was so excited about what was happening. She ordered me a turkey sandwich (fancy name for two pieces of bread and a slice of meat), a bag of chips, and a juice. When the sandwich arrived around 11:00pm, and when I saw it I was really glad I had it! Erica called my midwife to let her know I was admitted. My midwife ordered that my fluid be tested to confirm it was indeed my bag of waters. They did the first strip test and it came back negative. We were both in disbelief! She did another and immediately it turned green. We were both relieved knowing there was no way the amount of fluid I was leaking couldn’t possibly be anything other than amniotic fluid. My midwife also recommended I have Cervidil placed, a vaginally inserted drug to ripen my cervix, to get things going. I asked a bunch of questions and eventually decided to decline the medicine and see how labor progressed throughout the night. My game plan was intervention free birth… step one patience! We made it this far I wasn’t willing to give in yet.

I was really excited that my midwife, although not on duty at the time, said she would be the one to see me through delivery. The nurses were pleased about this too and said it’s not entirely common for that to happen. I was really fortune that my midwife was willing to do this for me. I sent a few text messages to let a some family and close friends know I was in the hospital and my water broke. Everything at this point felt surreal. I was excited to be checked in and thrilled that things happened without a scheduled induction. I was so full of gratitude that I didn’t need to be induced that the “high” of excitement kept me from feeling much pain. My head was clear, I was fully present, and I was excited to see what the next few hours held!

Food network on TV, husband settled in, mama hooked up to an IV, monitoring baby’s heart rate and contractions, freedom to hang out and enjoy the process!

Erica came in at 11:00pm to introduce me to my new nurse, Ashley. I was so sad to see Erica leave and wasn’t sure I would like another nurse as much as I liked her.

Laborland status: -3, 0% effaced, dilated 1cm. We’re in for it….

Welcome to Laborland

On Friday, August 4th, I woke up to my last day of work before maternity leave. I knew it would be my last day because against my every hope and prayer I was scheduled to be induced on Sunday August 6th at 4:00pm (41 weeks and 5 days). I started work pretty early because I knew I would have to step away to go to my last appointment with my midwife later that morning. I only had a few things on my work schedule including a some calls, checking in with coworkers, and finalizing last minute projects and tasks all from the comfort of my living room. I decided to set up shop that morning from the kitchen so I could stand at the counter… or sit on the yoga ball at the table. It was hot so I put the fans on full blast. My last appointment with my midwife was scheduled for 9:15 am. Leading up to this final appointment I had a few exams that left me feeling discouraged about our progress. My midwife told me for weeks leading up to birth that Maryn would be late because my body was stubborn. I couldn’t understand how she knew, or could make that prediction, although she explained it to me many times. “Your cervix is thick, closed, and high..The good news is, you’ll never have to worry about going into early labor!” I kept asking for natural methods for induction to ensure I wasn’t going to go past term. She would give me recommendations for preparing my body… always followed with discussion of induction. She knew my heart was hoping for an intervention free birth but needed my mind prepared for what was to come. While the looming thought of pending induction had me on edge I was convinced I wouldn’t need it. For weeks, every day, I prepared my body. We’re talking taking 5000mg evening primrose oil and eating 8+ dates a day, and lots of sex to soften and ripen my cervix… raspberry leaf tea by the cup full to strengthen my uterus….using the breast pump for many hours to encourage contractions and get baby to drop. Spinning babies exercises, every other day trips to the chiropractor, bouncing on the yoga ball, walking, and squats (ALLLLL of the squats) to prepare my pelvis for labor and get baby to drop lower. Massages to relax, pedicures to feel pretty, and acupressure to get things going. We also caved into some of the old wives tales such as spicy food, pineapple by the pound, Clary Sage and Lavendar essential oils infused in our room at night as well as rubbed all over my skin each day. There was no lack of effort to get things going. The one thing I was unwilling to try was castor oil. I know better than to mess with that stuff! Each appointment I was graced with more and more talk of induction. I remained determined that my body would do its thing. As the date approached I felt less and less panicked about Pitocin and more and more aware and ready for the journey we were on. Inducing labor never had anything to do with not wanting to be pregnant, being “over it”, feeling “miserable”, or even “too hot” to be pregnant. I would get frustrated when people would say these things but afraid to voice my true feelings because it would expose my fear of the reality we were walking down. I felt as if admitting my fear of induction outside of my close knit circle was almost a sure fire way to send me into Pitocin-land or even worse the OR. I learned as soon as you express fear in pregnancy every Tom, Dick and Harry finds it necessary to let you know you have nothing to be worried about followed by an example of how much worse it could be, their nightmare story, or by simply just saying that my fears are irrational and that it’s “not that bad to be induced” …or that “C-Sections are easier anyway!”

At 9:00 Michael and I headed out the door to visit our Midwife. Compared to Monday’s appointment I was feeling much more at peace with everything that was happening. I was looking forward to knowing that this was without a doubt our last weekend as a family of 3 (yes we include Georgia). As we drove I documented a little video to commemorate the event. I told Michael, in all of the uncertainty, I was CERTAIN of one thing and that is the next time I see my midwife, it’s because were having a baby. That simple truth gave me all the positive vibes I needed to make it until Sunday.

During our appointment my midwife did a few test including a NST and cervical exam. The exam felt quite aggressive for lack of better words. Honestly, it hurt! We watched Maryns heart rate on the monitor and watched a few contractions come and go. I remember looking at Michael as the contraction number on the monitor started to skyrocket. I told him, wow that was the biggest one I’ve felt yet! When she was finished monitoring baby and doing the exam she sat me up and walked us through the induction process. She confidently said, “I’ll see you Monday morning to check on your progress.” We left with instructions to call the hospital around 2:00pm Sunday afternoon with an arrival time of 4:00pm. Leaving the office I told Michael that she was really aggressive with the exam and I was feeling a little sore and crampy. While my midwife was not able to strip my membranes as I was only dilated to a 1, -3 station, and 0% effaced she definitely tried. Induction was the name of the game.

I came home ate some breakfast and started back to work. As I was bouncing on the yoga ball and I started noticing the cramping in my lower abdomen started getting stronger. It wasn’t comfortable almost as if I was having period cramps, which I normally don’t get so I’m not sure I’m describing it right. As the day went on all I could think about was our weekend and spending time together before Maryn made her debut. I was so excited it was my last day at work especially since the last few weeks were so difficult. I am such a diligent, prepared, intentional person, I made it a point to have my back fill fully immersed in my role by July 4th. Meaning, for almost a month before I left the business he was doing my job. That left me with a frustrating and challenging task of finding productive things to fill my time with, while being on constant baby watch. I was afraid to venture too far from home as my due date got closer and closer. Work days felt longer than ever and my level of commitment to my employer had me stressed out. I was constantly fearful I was not pulling my weight. A burden I only put on myself. The struggle was real.

Back at home between lots of raspberry leaf tea and bouncing on the yoga ball while listening to calls, I went to the restroom and noticed a slimy mucus discharge. It was slightly tinged a dark blood color. While it was more mucus than I had seen before, it wasn’t something that surprised me. What did surprise me on the other hand, my midwife told me a few days back that she thought I had already lost my mucus plug because she couldn’t feel it. I attributed my discomfort and my mucus discharge to the “aggressive” cervical exam my midwife preformed. I was texting one of my girlfriends and said that I felt like the boy who cried wolf but I thought there was a chance labor could be starting. She reassured me that I am not being dramatic and what I was experiencing was normal, all good signs, and likely early labor. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I explained my mucus plug discharge and the contractions I was feeling. She urged me to contact my midwife to give her the heads up. I was hesitant and kept saying I feel like the boy who cried wolf. I wanted to badly to go into labor on my own. I thought it was all in my head.

I used the restroom again later that afternoon and noticed even more mucus. This time, a significant amount more than the first passing. I was confident this was my mucus plug… or one of my mucus plugs. I decided to give my midwife a call. I left a message with the receptionist. My midwife returned my call but I happened to be in the restroom when she called. She told me over voicemail she would call me back in a few minutes. When she rang again I answered. She explained she was quite vigorous during the exam and it’s possible she stated my labor but she was still certain it would be a long process. She said if my water breaks, or if I start having contractions that take my breath away that I would need to go straight to the hospital. The reason for a rush to get to the hospital was due to a positive GBS test, as well as visible Meconium in my amniotic fluid during an ultrasound a few days before. She joked with me and said, “see you on Monday after you’re induced!” She was certain I wasn’t in labor. I was starting to downplay what I was feeling.

Time went by and I stopped noticing the cramping, not because it stopped but because I put it out of my mind. Michael asked if I planned on going to the gym. While I knew I wouldn’t do the workout I definitely needed to move a bit, get some social interaction, and take my mind off this possible labor boy who cried wolf situation… and celebrate being done with work. I also got a message from the gym owner and friend saying she made more treats for me and she left them at the gym for me to pick up. She had been amazing over the last few weeks knowing my frustration with wanting labor to start. She kept saying her way of helping me was to bake for me. Almost daily she had some sort of treat be it homemade or something she picked up while out and about. It made me feel so loved!

I drove down to the gym a little after the 5:30 class started. Michael was already there and was finished with his workout. Everyone greeted me with sweet sentiments as I walked in with my head hanging. “STILL PREGNANT” I announced. Everyone got a good chuckle. I tootled around the gym for a bit stretching and chatting with some of my best pals. I finally grabbed a 10lb medicine ball and set up a station with water and my ball committed to 150 wall balls before I left. I did them in chunks of 10 stopping and chatting between sets. A few of my friends from the 6:30 class came in and stopped to chat with me. One of my friends is a nurse at the hospital we delivered at. I gave her all of the details on my induction and told her to come by and see us. She explained she was heading out of town for the week and wouldn’t be around. We were both bummed!

About halfway through my 150 wall balls Michael interrupted me to ask what I wanted for dinner and to see if he should take his work vehicle back that evening or the next morning. I was exhausted and just wanted to spend a quiet evening at home with my man and begged him to put it off for the morning. He looked suspiciously at me and explained he really felt like he should do it tonight. I reluctantly agreed with his responsibility and said I would meet him at home after I finished my exercise. I finished my wall balls, grabbed my Smores Bars, and started scarfing down on the way to my car. As soon as I sat down in my car I felt a small but noticeable gush of fluid in my undies. I thought to myself, that did not feel normal! I started getting really excited wondering if I was experiencing my water breaking. I threw a puppy pee pee pad (I had them stashed all over the place.. in the car, under my mattress, in my work bag etc) underneath my rear end just in case it was indeed my water! On my way home I called Michael to get his status. He said he would be home in about 20 minutes. I didn’t mention that my water might have broken because I was again scared of being the boy who cried wolf! By the time I pulled in my driveway I was more than just “sweaty” down below and was fairly certain something exciting was in the works. I called my girlfriend that I talked to earlier in the day (she had a baby the month before) from my garage and told her I thought I was in labor and my water broke. I had to tell someone and I didn’t want to tell Michael over the phone. When I stood up out of the car the puppy pee pee pad had moisture on it. I was certain this was my bag of waters that had ruptured!

I came inside, threw my dirty clothes in the hamper and hopped in the shower. When I got out of the shower I heard Michael was home. I called for him to come upstairs as I was sitting on the toilet. I explained to him that I was pretty sure my water broke… but it wasn’t yet enough liquid to confirm. He wanted me to explain everything to him. It was at that moment that I really stated experiencing a rush of liquid. I put a giant pad in my undies and started packing my hospital bag and getting all of our belongings ready. Yes, we waited to pack until this moment. I knew we would have time. I had a list of things to being including phone chargers, an outfit to wear home from the hospital, the boppy, a nursing bra, and a few other luxuries from home such as the Mega Boom to play music, the iPad to pass time, and lanolin for sore nipples. I was not the kind of person that would take a ton of things with us. On our way out the door I threw together a bag with snacks and set it by the back door to grab on our way out of the house. Michael loaded up the car and hooked up our brand new air conditioning unit straight out of the box so Georgia wouldn’t fry by the time we were home. We took our time gathering our belongings and making sure we had what we needed. I started leaking quite heavily. It was unable to be contained with a pad. I changed the pad multiple times before we left. It felt like a movie. I had NO idea how much fluid came out. I got dressed threw on a bit of makeup and we headed out the door. I wore my black dress because I could hike it up around my waist in the car and it wouldn’t get ruined from the amniotic fluid. Michael drove us to the hospital as I gave him directions. By this time, I had soaked two puppy pee pee pads and asked Michael for more. I was worried I was going to ruin the car seat. He told me I had the only two there were (I knew I had more in the back seat… he said he couldn’t find them! Later I learned they were just in the side pocket of the back seat door he couldn’t see them while driving). On the way to the hospital Michael said he was hungry and wanted to stop for some food. He grabbed McDonalds while I sat in the car. I made him park away from the crowd and go in, rather than the drive through because my dress was hiked up around my waist and I was covered in amniotic fluid, puppy pee pee pads, and a pad. It was a sight to see! At this point I wasn’t experiencing frequent or strong contractions, but I certainly was ready to get checked in at the hospital. While Michael was inside McDonald’s getting his food I gave our back up Doula a call. Our original doula was on vacation for the weekend with her family. She set us up with her substitute who we had never met. I gave her a call to let her know I was in labor. She asked me a few questions and we chatted for a few minutes. She explained to me that it might be smart to labor at home for a while instead of head straight to the hospital because they wouldn’t let me leave if I go in after my water breaks. When I told her my midwife asked me to go straight to the hospital if my water broke because I’m GBS positive and needed to get on anabiotic’s right away on top of the meconium present she immediately agreed and said I was making the right decision. She asked what my preferences were on having her come down to the hospital I told her we would get checked in and give her an update. I was mostly excited to meet her and wanted her to come down at least to get the introductions out-of-the-way before she coaches us through my labor. At this point I had no idea what my progress was or how long it would be until the baby was born.

Moments with Maryn

 

Happy 3(+)weeks little lady. Goodness time flies and seems to lag at the same time. For the first 10 days of your life I wished you were 5 years old. I begged for this phase to be over as you stressed me out, worried me, and made my heart burst with all of the emotions possible. Everyone said it would pass (and pass too quickly). That was so hard to imagine. I found myself struggling to keep my head above water… figuratively gasping for air…as I stayed up all night with you cradled in my arms as we sat in your nursery hooked up to my boob. In between the sob fests (all 3 of us) over the last few weeks…we are slowly learning to survive. The last 3+ weeks brought about a trip back to the emergency room and lots of sleepless nights. I’m finally able to say I think we’re getting the hang of it and maybe the thoughts of wishing you were 5 are fewer and farther in between as I learn to savor these moments with you my sweet girl. Not sure if we’re just starting to settle into our new normal or if we’re turning a corner… but this all doesn’t seem as crazy as it did the first 10 days….

 

Life with a newborn hit us HARD. I’m not sure if it was the picture perfect pregnancy I had that made me think life with a newborn wouldn’t be as scary as everyone made it seem (?)…Or if it is pure stupidity (?!?)… but either way I really didn’t imagine it to be as hard as it is.

 

You guys, I had the best pregnancy. I was almost tricked into thinking the drama people talked about with newborns would be as it compared to the drama with pregnancy. Before I was pregnant I was scared of ALL of the pregnant things. The weight gain, the swollen ankles, the morning slickness (all day sickness) the horror!!! I was truly terrified which is why we waited over 5 years to have a baby. Pregnancy symptoms I experienced…stuffy nose, itchy nipples, swollen feet every now and again. Really, nothing compared to the crazy things women experience. During my entire pregnancy I felt like the best version of myself. Sure I got chubby…. and yeah I modified my CrossFit workouts… and could have done without 10 months of sobriety (margarita me please) but things were magical. I loved being pregnant. As my due date approached people would always say things like “you poor thing!” and “it must be so hard.” I really couldn’t wrap my head around this. Pregnancy was great! I was eager to meet the baby. And DREADING being induced, but truly that was the only reason I was doing all of the things to get her here. It was never ever once about being miserable, uncomfortable, or too hot to be pregnant. I was happy! I felt great! I did NOT want to be induced.

 

In my head, all of the horror stories of how hard life with a newborn is seemed like overly dramatic embellishments. I wanted to tell people to suck it up. I couldn’t understand because I heard the same things about pregnancy and here I was on cloud 9 as I hit 41 weeks… rocking it out at the gym and enjoying time with my little squish snuggled up inside. Sure, there were moments (usually at the end of a long day) that I complained about getting up off the couch because moving was hard…. or was tired of peeing every 10 minutes… or even feeling like I couldn’t breathe because her feet were stuffed so high in my ribs I thought I would cough and she would come out my throat. I was truly starting to believe newborn life couldn’t be as bad as everyone made it seem. Pregnancy sure wasn’t. How could it be? We will find our rhythm. We won’t sleep, but who cares? Crazy hormones? Not me! Certainly not me… I didn’t have crazy pregnancy hormones… can’t be! I’ll be able to go on walks… we’ll meet with friends for coffee…. we’ll settle into life with a tiny person just like we’re meant to be.

 

How wrong I was.

 

It was all so hard. So incredibly hard! I cracked about Day 6 as I quite literally melted into Michaels arms and asked if we made a mistake. I was convinced I couldn’t do it anymore. It was the weirdest feeling. I never thought SHE was a mistake, I felt like I was a mistake. Like she deserved to have a better mom. Like she deserved to have something more. I knew nobody would love her like we do, but it’s all such a mind fuck. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and scared. SO scared.

 

When Maryn was born she made quite an entrance. My water broke around 7pm on Friday night. I didn’t realize all day on Friday that I was in labor, but now looking back… I sure was! She wasn’t born until a few minutes before 11am on Sunday morning. I was 11 days past due. Because she was cooking for almost 2 whole weeks past her due date, she had fully mature intestines, therefore pooped while still in the womb. For those that don’t know, this poop is called Meconium. When my water broke the fluid I was leaking was a greenish brownish color full of Mar girl poops. My midwife told me she could see meconium in my water during my 41 week ultrasound. At this point she told me that NICU would be in the room for delivery as part of standard hospital procedure. She assured me (although I wasn’t worried) that it was normal and everything would be fine. I truly wasn’t worried. She said when the baby came out she would hand her directly to NICU before they handed her to me. It was likely going to be brief and as soon as she had the clear from NICU we would have the “golden hour” as a family of 3. I was fully expecting things to go as planned.

 

Unfortunately, when Maryn girl was born she took a big breath, started crying, and inhaled meconium. This resulted in a 20 minute procedure in the delivery room with her hooked to a CPAP machine, tubes down her throat, and lots of trauma to my sweet (not so) little 9lb baby. The NICU nurses explained to us that her lungs were sticking together with each breath she took and they would need to take her to the NICU to get her breathing settled down and start an IV. By this point I had not seen my baby or held her. They brought this little bundle wrapped up like a burrito and put her in my arms. I held her for 15 seconds before they took her, and Michael, to the NICU. I was worried beyond belief. I hated that I wasn’t there with her and desperately wanted to nurse her and snuggle her. I can’t imagine the fear that was going through Michaels mind as he watched them poke her repeatedly with needles and stuff tubes down her throat and up her nose. He was able to hold her and sent me a picture. I was beyond relieved to see her in his arms.

 

All of this to say, her first few hours of life were quite traumatic in so many ways. When she was released from the NICU she came to my recovery room. Finally we were able to be a family of 3 all together again. The NICU staff gave us lots of things to be on the lookout for as she recovered. Her breathing, while was good enough to get her out of NICU, was still scary to listen to. We were on edge, stressed out, and super worried for our girl.

 

A few days later we were released from the hospital. Michael couldn’t wait to get home. I, on the other hand, was begging to stay. I felt safe in the hospital and couldn’t believe they were letting us take her home. I’m pretty sure I asked every nurse to come home with us. Nothing short of creepy… I held back tears as we made our way out of the hospital. I wanted to hug each nurse and cry on their shoulder. My hormones were WHACK. My whole body hurt. I was certain they were letting us go home too soon.

 

The first few days at home were a blur. Such a crazy blur! We had to keep our eye on her around the clock and watch for respiratory distress. I’m sure every new mom can relate to the feeling of needing watch your baby sleep and make sure they’re still breathing. I hear it’s common to do this. Now, lets talk about the NICU staff scaring the daylights out of us with all of these warning signs that she is in respiratory distress…. so we quite literally watched her every move and listened to every grumble, grunt, gasp, and growl. There was a terrifying moment on Saturday that she started gasping. I called the nurse hotline (for the second time) and they told me to take her into the ER. Off we went.

 

Here we are….3 weeks and 3 days PP…. Miss Maryn is recovering well and I’m getting the hang of this mama thing. Michael is the best dad ever and makes my life as easy as he can. He does the dirty work…. after I supply the nutrition. Now that I’ve shared all of our drama here are a few things that I hope to never forget…(they say someday these things will be funny….)

 

Day 2 home from the hospital… Michael and I cracked open a beer and enjoyed time together while she slept on his chest. I was so exhausted I was getting ready to go to sleep while he held her so she could sleep (she had to be sleeping upright while her lungs healed… oh the exhaustion). I was ready to head up to bed and hear Michael say, “OH SHIT!” My heart almost fell out of my body… no new mom wants to hear these words while ANYBODY is holding their newborn. He was taking an exhausted sip of beer from his glass and dribbled beer out of the corner of his mouth. It dropped on the top of her head and down hear ear/neck/back. I grabbed her and ran upstairs in a total panic. We started washing her up with a sponge bath as she wailed the entire time. I couldn’t help but imagine we were going to end up in the ER that evening (her breathing had us on edge) as I told Michael “CPS is going to take her from us!! My baby smells like a frat house!!!!!” We got her cleaned up. I banned him from doing anything stupid like this again. He felt so bad… I went to sleep. Hormones.

 

Her cord finally fell off (3 weeks later). 3 smelly weeks later.

 

She got thrush. We’re both on medicine. Drama never ends.

 

She’s no longer fitting in most of her newborn clothes. She’s in size 1 diaper. She started gaining weight right away. Homegirl loves a good snack. She’s mine!

 

I lost ALL (and more) of the baby weight within the first 10 days…. then put back on a few lbs because I’m quite literally hungry all the time. I went to Trader Joe’s and basically filled up a cart with all of the snacks. I should relax a bit on the popcorn, alphabet cookies, Peruvian Corn, and chocolate covered blueberries…..

 

We did a newborn photo shoot (3 weeks) after she was born. She loves the camera!

 

Michael is the best dad. She LOVES him so much. He can settle her down almost immediately. He does these “tooter moves” with her…. homegirl can TOOT especially during her tooting exercises.

 

She has the biggest case of FOMO ever. EVER!

 

Strawberry blonde hair and long (clear) eyelashes. That’s all your dad kid, sorry.

 

We’ve been going to a breastfeeding support group and the RN (Lactation Consultant) is always so impressed with Mar girl. I’m always impressed with the other moms. It’s such a supportive, reassuring, happy time of our week! We love it.

 

Before signing out… I have one last little gem for you. My mother in law came to stay with us for a few days to help. It was incredible to have the extra hands. While she was here she accompanied me to an appointment for Mar Girl….by the time we left the appointment I was starving and could only think about pancakes. We decided to stop at a small, quiet, local cafe super close to home. It was the first time we went out with the little one (and since then really have only gone to the market… Starbucks… the hospital… and CrossFit). I had to nurse her while we were out and was pretty nervous. It was the first time I nursed her outside of our home/the hospital and although I’m completely cool with it…. I’ve heard horror stories of mean looks and weird things people say to nursing moms. The waitress walked over to refill my coffee. “Boob show over here…sorry about that”, I awkwardly said. Her response? “No worries girl feed your baby!… also those are nice boobs!” I will never feel worried about nursing in public again. I have nice boobs and a hungry baby. Deal with it. 🙂