We celebrated a fabulous Christmas Day at our house with Don, Julie and Dustin. I went to bed around 10 p.m. while they were still playing a game in the living room. I eventually ended up on the couch around 1 or 2 in the morning (A nightly routine for me!). I woke up at 3:30 and it felt like the blanket beneath me was wet. I thought, surely I didn't just "wet myself." I got up, went to the toilet, and a huge clot of blood fell in the toilet. I yelled to Aaron, "AARON, IT'S TIME!" At that point, I wasn't sure what had just happened, but I knew we needed to go to the hospital. Was this the Mucus Plug I had heard about? Surely I was about to go into labor, right? So, we excitedly flipped on the lights and started getting ready. I jumped in the shower, and he called his parents at the hotel to come over and stay with Korben. I was so excited. I just kept saying "GOD is SO GOOD. I'm not stressed at all! My bag is packed! Your parents are here! This is so great!" Aaron was just as excited, but a little stunned at the same time. While I was trying to put my clothes on, he stopped me, held my hands and prayed over us and Klaire. I could hardly wait for Don and Julie to get there so we could hop in the car to go to the hospital. When they arrived they had big smiles on their faces, greeted us with hugs, and Don was video taping the whole experience! Since they would need our car with the car seat for Korben, they kept their warm car running in the driveway for us to take to the hospital. Aaron excitedly rolled our suitcase right over one of our new landscaping lights in our flower bed and ripped it right up on the sidewalk. It was one of those "moments" I'll never forget!
We arrived at the hospital a little after 4. I kept thinking to myself. "Was that a contraction?" Although, I didn't really think I was having any. A nurse came in and checked me and to my MAJOR surprise said that my cervix was completely closed. I said, "like, a ZERO?" She said "yes." This shocked me since Dr. Torres had told me two weeks ago that I was already dilated to a 1. She said my water had not broken. The blood MAY or MAY not have been my mucus plug, but either way, that didn't mean I was going into labor. I was SO bummed! Even though it was only 5 days before my scheduled c-section, just the hope for a few minutes of getting to meet her early thrilled my soul. I mean, there we were with a suitcase full of every necessity, and my Boppy nursing pillow! The nurses watched to see if I was having any contractions on a monitor for an hour, and although they said I wasn't having any contractions, they wanted me to wait and see Dr. Torres when he came at 7:30. It was around 5 a.m. at this time, and that seemed like a long time to wait. Considering, he was probably just going to say the same thing the nurses said and send me home until Friday, right? So, I drift off to sleep and start thinking of all I need to do at home in preparation for my sister and mom arriving on Tuesday. Apparently I was taking a really great nap because when Dr. Torres flipped on the light at 7:30, it took my eyes a while to adjust. In fact, he had already checked me and told me that he wanted to go ahead and take the baby before my eyes had been able to adjust to the light. Did you hear that? He wanted to go ahead and do the C-section...like NOW! It was one of the most exciting moments of my life. I had been on such a roller coaster that night. Here I was convinced I was going into labor, then convinced that I was going to have to go home, and then my doctor CONFIRMED that I was going to have this bay...NOW. He did not think that the bleeding was from my mucus plug, and couldn't explain why I was having the bleeding at all. He said that he would not be able to sleep if he sent me home with bleeding. I guess I will never know what caused that bleeding, but I'm just so thankful I was as far along as I was, and we had the option to be able to just go ahead with the c-section.
So, let me tell you the story of the easiest c-section of all time. Other than the fact that I was VERY dehydrated (thanks to the stomach virus 4 days prior) and it took 4 people, 5 sticks, and lots of blood all over the floor before they found a vein for my IV...it was the best experience ever. The nurse anesthetist was absolutely phenomenal. She was the one who not only found my vein, but the one I give the credit to for making my c-section so pleasant. Aaron and I walked to the operating room. They asked what type of music I liked for them to set on Pandora Radio. First I said Christian and then I said Christmas. Then I said, well, they're practically the same thing! I remember hearing Mariah Carey singing "Hark the Herald Angels sing, Glory to the Newborn King" as they were prepping me for surgery! There were candles lit, there was pretty art on the ceiling, and a room full of friendly nurses. The spinal block was not bad at all, and worked instantly. I kept saying my favorite thing about my legs going numb is that my feet were no longer cold. I was very cold, but my nurse anesthetist let me have my own heater that I got to put under the arms of my gown. It was so wonderful! She stayed right above my head and told me everything that was going on and medically explained every weird feeling that I felt. I'm a nerd for medical information, so I loved it. I think we were quoting Christmas favorite Christmas movies around the time I interjected and told the staff that there was a lot of money on the table based on whether Klaire would have red hair or not. Aaron and I both said we didn't think she would have red hair. It was hardly a minute later that Dr. Torres said that the hair was dark and there was a lot of it. They had to use some sort of suction cups to get her head out. Her head was very far into the birth canal, which was very evident once we saw her cone shaped head. They had a very hard time getting the suction cups on her head because of her head full of hair! Then the next thing I remember is Dr. Torres saying, "She is a CHUNK...I didn't think she would be this big!" Then I heard nurses echoing, "She ISSS a Chunk." Haha! They pulled the sheet down so we could see them pull her out. I couldn't believe how big she was either! I even heard a nurse say "She's a beast!" when they were cleaning her up. They were taking bets on how much she would weigh and their guesses ranged from 8 and a half to 9 lbs. Turns out, she weighed one ounce away from 9 pounds! She was 8 lbs. 15 oz, and 20.25 inches...TWO weeks early! I guess I'm just meant to have my big babies two weeks early. Can't imagine carrying Korben or Klaire full term!
They cleaned her up a little bit and put her on my chest. I was in love. She was absolutely beautiful. I just remember her staring right into my eyes. Her chubby face melted my heart, and the first thing I told Aaron was that her chin reminded me of my dad. He totally agreed.
Aaron was able to carry her to the nursery. Of course, not without seeing Linda Cain on the way (For the record, Linda Cain made it so quickly that I saw her as I was walking TO surgery). Everything happened so fast that our family wasn't even there yet. Mom was on her way, and Don and Julie had taken Korben to the hotel with them to get ready.
I was in recovery for an hour and a half or so. I had a hard time resting in there. My face ITCHED terribly from the spinal block. They gave me medicine for it, but nothing seemed to make it stop! Even after two doses of benadryl, I couldn't sleep and my face still itched!
It wasn't long until I was in my room. And I hardly had to wait long at all before the brought in my BEAUTIFUL little girl. I will never forget that swaddled up baby with the bright open eyes, and beautiful spiky dark hair. She didn't look at all like I imagined, but I couldn't even remember what I HAD imagined once I saw her. Just perfection. I nursed her for the first time, and although I don't remember it at all, I remember that she was a natural!
I tried to make a huge effort to never forget what Korben said to Klaire for the first time. I also tried to make a huge effort to give Korben a lot of attention when he came in. I couldn't stand for him to think I was neglecting him for my new baby. I had him come get in bed with me and I hugged and kissed him a lot! He said, "Hi Baby Klaire" and "Baby Klaire's not in your tummy anymore!" . Then he pointed out that the duckies on her blanket were yellow and blue, just like his shirt! It was so funny. He also had a BIG TIME telling all the nurses what he got for Christmas. When anyone asked, he said he got a BIG BLACK DOG named BULLSKIE! Of all the awesome things Korben actually did get for Christmas, and he still went with his imaginary dog!
The rest of my hospital stay had its ups and downs. The ups were seeing our family and so many sweet friends. The downs were the lack of rest! I seriously had to be discharged before I got any sleep! My adrenaline was so high the day I had her, I got no rest. My first night in the hospital I was either feeding her, being awoken by LPN's to check vitals, or my favorite interruption...my 2 a.m. shower! That is right...they woke me up at 2 a.m. to walk for the first time and have my shower for the day. I am the type of person that can't JUST take a shower and go back to bed. A shower means: Shower, dry hair, straighten hair, put on clothes, and make up. So that is what I did. By 3:30 a.m. I was dressed for the day and back in bed...JUST in time for a feeding! Awesome. Aaron played my guard dog that day, and I was able to get good naps in between feedings. That night got a little stressful for me. Klaire, who had been perfectly happy and content, became very fussy. She would cry everytimee I fed her and seemed very restless. I had an incredible nurse named Gina who helped me tremendously. She was wise enough to know that Klaire was just getting hungry because my milk had not come in yet. She just encouraged me to keep nursing her because that would only make my milk come in faster. She also taught me several tricks to help soothe her. Gina was a life-saver to me on Monday night and Tuesday night. By FAR the best nurse I had.
We left to go home on Wednesday. The Pediatrician came in and said that her Billirubin (Jaundice) levels were at a 14, but he thought they had reached their peak and would only come down. I had a gut instinct that he was wrong because of our experience with Korben. Korben's billirubin didn't peak until his 6th day of life, and we had already gone home from the hospital with him too. So again in this instance, we happily went home. But,I should have known we would end up back in the hospital for 2 nights.
My milk had come in by Wednesday and Klaire was a new baby. Content and happy! I woke her every 3 hours for a feeding. Our first night home from the hospital was a total breeze with Klaire. I woke her up, she ate, and peacefully went back to sleep. Piece of cake. However, around 3 a.m. I noticed that I had started to break out in hives and the back of my throat was itching. It was obvious I was having an allergic reaction, and the only thing I could attribute it to was my pain medicine, Oxycodone. At the same time I was dealing with that reaction, I was also dealing with night sweats, chills, TERRIBLE stomach cramps from taking laxitives, combined with the pain of a c-section incision. This was a MISERABLE night, to say the least. Then, I only had one more normal night before my mom, Kim, Joyce and Guyndal came to Fort Smith to celebrate Christmas (Although, it wasn't really Christmas...it was New Years Eve, the day I was supposed to have Klaire!) Oh, most importantly, Mom and Kim were returning KORBEN! He had been at my mom's house all week, and it worked out so great that Kim was there too because they bonded tremendously. I'm so grateful for the great care and attention Korben received as I was recovering. I didn't worry about him at all while he was there. We even got to have several Skype dates with him while I was in the hospital! SO COOL! He loved seeing baby Klaire over the computer. He didn't like seeing her with a pacifier in her mouth. He would say, "Take that out of her mouth, I want to talk to her!" He thought she wasn't responding to him because I had her mouth plugged. Ha!
Like I said previously, My family came on Friday afternoon, New Years Eve, to celebrate Christmas. We were so happy to be reunited with Korben, although I probably wasn't as recovered as I thought I was. I got a little overwhelmed with trying to feed Klaire and trying to be there everytime Korben called. I felt guilty not doing whatever Korben wanted to do, even if I couldn't physically do it at the moment. I was determined for him to not feel like I had forgotten about him for the new baby.
The inevitable moment came where Korben was in my room and saw me nursing for the first time. I have been dreading this moment for months now. Conversation went like this.
Korben: Mom, She's drinking you!
Me: I'm feeding her some milk.
Korben: I want some.
Me: This is milk just for babies. You're not a baby you're a big boy
Korben: I'll go get her milk from the refrigerator. I drink blue (2%) she drinks pink (skim).
Me: No, Korben...Klaire only drinks her milk from my....Bbbb...bbb....BOTTLES. (Yes, I said bottles. I couldn't utter a proper term to save my life.)
When I put Korben to bed that night, after prayer time he asked me, "Is CC going to feed Baby Klaire from her Bottles?" Wow. I'm sure I'll have many more "bottle" stories to post in the future. It seemed to be the best explanation, and he hasn't asked anymore questions since!
The next morning, Klaire was incredibly lethargic. So lethargic that we physically couldn't wake her up for a feeding. We tried EVERYTHING. We knew her jaundice levels must have risen. After our doctor confirmed we needed to take her to the ER (New Years Day), so we quickily packed our bags and called mom to come over as fast as she could from the hotel (what a blessing, once again, to have family in town when we needed to get to the hopsital quickly.) Mom was there in a flash. We had a terribly long wait in the ER room. Klaire barely woke up even when they drew blood from her tiny hand. Her billirubin had gone up to 19. Of course, they admitted us to put her under lights. We were there for a full 48 hours. It turned out to be SUCH a blessing. First, because Klaire got so much better while she was there. But secondly, I was finally able to rest. It was a tiny room on the pediatric floor, and all I had to do was take care of her and sleep. Since I was no longer on the labor and delivery floor, it was no longer about me, therefore, they left me alone! The nurses hardly even came in, and it was great! Even though I was up all through the night for feedings, for some reason, it was still a restful experience.
We had saved Korben's gifts from the family for him to open that morning. Unfortunately we were in the ER so we didn't get to watch him open his presents. Thanks to my sweet family, we have tons of pictures and video footage to help us feel like we were actually a part of it! They took him right back home with him (after only being in fort smith for less than 24 hours).
He officially returned to us on Tuesday, and by that point, I felt like a brand new mom. Those extra nights of recovery were just what I needed to feel like I could be what Korben and Klaire needed. By Wednesday I was home all by myself with my two children for the first time. Mission Accomplished!