Saturday, November 26, 2016

Avril Ann

On Monday evening after putting Gordon down to bed for the night I started getting the chills and feeling feverish. I thought it was a little weird, but that's essentially what pregnancy is - feeling all the weird things a body can feel and having it be totally normal. I took a shower to try to get warm and relax but it only seemed to make things worse so I decided to just go to bed. At 10:30 I woke up to painful contractions. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks but this felt different. I was pretty sure I was in early labor. After timing contractions for half an hour my app said it was time to go to the hospital. We packed up what was left on our last minute list, got Gordon up and headed over to my parents house.

The four of us stayed up until about 2 AM when everybody finally went to bed, everybody except me of course. I wasn't able to sleep through the contractions so I just managed the pain, ate, had a bath, etc. for a couple hours until the contractions were coming regularly between 2 and 4 minutes apart. The back labor was getting pretty intense at this point and I had stopped feeling Avril move so at 6 AM John and I headed over to the hospital. Unfortunately I was only dilated to a 3 but they kept me for a couple hours of monitoring. After 2 hours I was admitted, despite no progress dilating. Baby's heart rate was not as strong as they'd like, I had developed a fever and a pretty bad case of the shakes, and I had cramping even while not having contractions. They were concerned that I had developed an infection in-utero and they wanted to start me on antibiotics right away. 

We got situated in our room, got me my epidural and started the antibiotics and pitocin. 4 hours later I was still a 3! My doctor broke my water and things started picking up. Around this time my mom decided to stop by the hospital just to see how I was doing and keep me company for a bit. I told her I was fine and that it was pretty boring around here but if she wanted to come hang out she was more than welcome. When she arrived I'd just been checked and found to be dilated to a 6 and fully effaced. Baby's head was also getting nice and low. But the doctors and nurses were starting to get really worried about Avril's heart rate. It had not been strong during the entire labor but was really starting to look scary now. They wanted to get her out as soon as possible. So with the help of my mom on one side, my amazing nurse Michelle on the other, and my doctor down below I pushed for about 5 minutes to go from a 6 to fully dilated. Keeping that momentum going I just kept pushing and 10 minutes later Avril Ann Garlock was born at 2:34 PM weighing 7 pounds and 20.5 inches long. 

Pushing with Avril was amazing. I had a mirror that I was watching the whole time, which was so motivating. My mom was such a calming peaceful presence and was great at championing me through it all. She kept telling me how proud she was of me and what a good job I was doing. I was able to feel things so differently this time around versus while pushing with Gordon. I knew how to push this time, and it felt good to push. With Gordon it was really difficult. I never knew if I was doing it right, in fact the nurses spent most of their time telling me that I wasn't doing it right which was discouraging. I was absolutely exhausted after the hour and a half it took to deliver Gordon. I loved seeing Avril's head and at that point I was so motivated, I just wanted to keep pushing even when I wasn't in a contraction. I loved watching her be born. My mom cut her umbilical cord and I was able to immediately hold her on my chest for a minute afterwards, which is something I never got with Gordon. I held her and just cried with joy that she was here and we did it together. It was once again, one of the most beautiful tender experiences of my life. At one point I exclaimed, "That was fun!" After delivering the placenta I hemorrhaged again (same as with Gordon) but they took great care of me and got it under control really quickly. Avril was not breathing well so John went with her to the NICU to get her on oxygen and start an IV for antibiotics incase she had gotten the infection as well. 

Fast forward through all the uncertainty and worry and waiting through lab work, blood cultures, a spinal tap, spinal fluid cultures, antibiotics, etc. and essentially, Avril is doing great but she needs a full 7 days of antibiotics and monitoring before she can be released. So I was discharged on Thanksgiving just in time to go to my parents for turkey and pie with the family and we went back to be with Avril first thing in the morning. We are just camping out there until she gets the all clear to come home, which will most likely be Tuesday, a week from her birth. 

Although it's never easy to have a baby in the NICU, I have learned to appreciate a few things about it, namely the ability to get extra rest postpartum that is definitely harder to get when you've got the baby home with you to take care of all on your own. This time around I have Gordon to distract and cheer me up from the sadness of having a sick baby that you can't be with all the time. I also have my parents here that have made this experience so special. John is, as always, my biggest supporter and strength. We have been through this before and we are just trudging along doing it now, feeling optimistic and very much in love with one another and our sweet babies. I feel extremely grateful for hospitals and doctors and nurses and modern medicine. Women and babies die from the complications we experienced and I am humbled and overwhelmed with gratitude that we could essentially be saved from that fate by the miracles that we experienced through the entire process. Now I'm just waiting to get our sweet girl home and let the real party begin! 


Dana Blackburn said...

I love you! And I'm so proud of you and Avril. I can't wait to meet her! Xxxx

Linda said...

One of the most amazing experiences of my life!
Thanks Linds and John for allowing me to be there. How truly sweet!
Love you all so much

Summer said...

I'm so happy for you! Love and blessings to your little family. 😘

Kristie said...

Congratulations, Lindsay! She is perfect!