(I know, I know - don't worry, we'll get to that cute little baby part soon enough!)
Gap Maternity Jeans || Grey Tunic Shirt: Maurice's
Mustard Cardi: Target || Scarf: Handmade (by me!)
Polish: Sally Hansen's Wined Up
A few days after the sonogram, baby and I hit 37 weeks - also known as full term! This baby had been measuring big through my entire pregnancy, so hitting this was pretty important. My doctors didn't want to move my c-section date up at all, but said that they wouldn't stop labor after this point. That's standard procedure for any pregnancy, really, but being that baby was most likely older than we all thought, they were even more casual about it than usual.
My sweet little newly middle guy, photo bombed my weekly belly picture above ;)
We ended up having a really busy week, and being overly-active triggered some pretty intense BH contractions. I was having a really hard time balancing "trying to fit it all in" and "taking it easy", but Matt urged me to make more time to relax, so I really tried!
Gap Maternity Jeans || Purple Maternity Shirt: Target
Grey Sweater: Motherhood Maternity || Belt: No idea, it's ancient!
Polish: Essie's Chinchilly || Shoes: Black Glitter Toms
Our busy-ness sent the week into fast forward, and suddenly I hit 38 weeks! My c-section was scheduled for only a week in the future, and man I was feeling it. Things started hurting that I totally forgot would end up hurting - and, sorry for the information overload, but I felt like this baby could drop out of me at any given moment. I even took extra care with rolling over in bed - I was pretty convinced that one flip too quick would send me into labor!
The final week of preparation sped by as I rushed to fit in every little thing. I had a few emotional moments over the fact that I wouldn't see my boys for more than three days, and I started to fear the pain involved. It's weird, I didn't think about it at all for most of my pregnancy, but as the big day inched closer, it was all I could think about. I had dreams about it, I'd lay in bed unable to fall sleep due to obsessing over it, and I started expressing my fears about it to Matt. I said so many prayers for peace and comfort, health and strength, and a successful delivery and recovery. And they worked, because despite being very nervous - I became SO excited to meet my new little guy!
The night before my c-section was a busy one. We were all rushing to fit in our last minute tasks, and then my mom came over to spend the weekend here with my boys. I spent some time showing her where everything was and making sure they had everything they'd need. I let them stay up WAY past their bed times, playing with toys my mom had brought over for her stay, just watching them be their happy little selves, talking about them with my mom, and just trying to soak up our last evening as a family of four.
The big day started early for us - at 4am! I had to fit in a shower before we were due at the hospital at 5:15. Despite it being VERY early, my excitement and nerves distracted me from that fact. I was pretty slow moving (can you blame me?! look at that belly!) and we had a lot of last minute things to take care of, so we ended up leaving a few minutes late. I was so anxious about this - I'd had dreams about being late! But thankfully we live VERY close to the hospital so it was only by a few minutes. We were lead to our recovery room in the maternity ward, where they prepped me for surgery. Within minutes I was donning a very fashionable gown (snort) and an IV that made my arm burn. I laid in bed while they asked me questions, had me sign things, and I spoke with what felt like an endless parade of nurses, doctors and anesthesiologists. Speaking of - I got THE anesthesiologist I was hoping I'd get! I had him when Henry was born, and I attributed my amazing experience to him - both to his talents and his bedside manner, so I was so thrilled to see him!
Matt sat in a chair next to me and we held hands while we talked about who this baby would be. We wondered about who he'd look like and who he'd act like since his brothers are both so different. We tried to guess his weight and how much hair he'd have and if he'd scream when he was born (like Luke did) or calmly protest (like Henry did). And the biggest topic of discussion was his name. Yes, we were still discussing it! Everyone kept asking us, and we told them we had a short list to chose from once we saw his face - though we both knew what it would end up being. I don't know why I had such a hard time committing to it, but I was determined to spend some time with him before giving him his name. I didn't have the same feelings with the other two.
Somehow, two hours had passed, and it was time to meet our baby! Matt was dressed in scrubs and instructed to wait in our recovery room until someone came to get him. They wheeled me to the OR, and then began the familiar intense 15 minutes of prep that I always find the hardest to handle with each surgery. The nurses are always so sweet and friendly, and that helps a lot! But I always wish that Matt would be allowed in with me during this time - though I know he'd probably just be in the way. Everything happened very quickly - I was given my spinal (it was slightly more painful this time than I remembered with Henry) and quickly tipped over to help it kick in. My legs started tingling instantly, and I was very thankful that the bottom half of my body felt warm (it was so cold in there!). The first thing I remember was being extremely uncomfortable to have all of the baby's weight on me (I hadn't laid flat on my back in months!) and it was really bothering me. The anesthesiologist asked them to prop one side of me a little, and that helped. I laid there, concentrating on my breathing as they did everything else they needed to do. I kept staring at the lights, breathing as deeply as I could, and hoping Matt would be allowed in soon. The screen went up, and I felt them scrubbing my belly. They asked to describe what I felt, and I said I could tell they were doing something but not exactly what. My doctor said that was exactly the answer she was looking for, so they got started. Dr. Burns (my anesthesiologist - kind of an ironic name for a man that deals with relieving pain! haha) was rubbing my arm and kept asking me how I was doing. He asked me if I was feeling any pain and I said no, just pressure and some of it was uncomfortable. He then informed me that my doctor already made the incision and he said if I couldn't tell, I was good to go, and someone went to get Matt for me.
I wouldn't say that I have a hard time on the table - as far as what I've heard from others, I handle it pretty well. I don't get nauseous, I don't freak out, and I'm generally calm. Dr. Burns told me that it helped that I was a vet because many of his first-time patients aren't so easy. But I was really a bundle of nerves, and a lot of the things they were doing to me were uncomfortable. I swear I could feel suction from the inside, which is just....the most bizarre feeling in the world. So once Matt was in the room with me, he held my hand, and I asked him to talk to me about anything he could think of to get my mind off it. I winced a few times, and not from pain, but from the gross suction feelings (I don't remember feeling that before!) and Matt kept pep talking me. Sighh, he's the best, you guys. He always knows exactly what to say. I remember telling him that I was so glad he was there, and he joked that he almost made other plans. :)
I could tell that they were getting close to deliver the baby, and after saying so to Matt I felt them start pushing him down. MY GOODNESS, the relief of pressure was unbelievable! My doctor said, "He's a pretty good size! These are some big shoulders!" and they told Matt to stand up and see him. When he did he said, "WOW, he's so small!". The doctors and nurses disagreed with us, they insisted that he was bigger than average, but Matt told me that there was no way he was as big as his brothers (who were 9lbs 5oz and 9lbs 6oz at birth). We listened to him scream - LOUDLY, angrily, and raspy - he sounded JUST like Luke when he was born! We were laughing and crying, and because of my limited movement, we shared a moment together the same way we had after our first two were born. Matt put his head on mine and squeezed my hand while we shed tears of joy. He kept saying, "You did it, you did such a good job," and I started my usual "I want to see him!" chant. I told Matt to go take some pictures and visit with him. I couldn't see around the equipment, but I looked as much as I could (I could only see the back of Matt's scrubs), and I listened closely as he talked to him. They announced his weight - 8lbs 6oz! I couldn't believe it!! I somehow had a little peanut baby! He was a whole pound lighter than Henry! I really thought he'd be at least 9 pounds.
They finished up their initial work with the baby and then swaddled him up so Matt could hold him. They gave Matt a chair by my head, and I could not take my eyes off our baby! It's so strange - every new baby is a different experience. When Henry was born, he looked SO different from Luke, and there was this weird hesitance in wondering if my heart was big enough to love a baby the way I'd loved Luke. I quickly overcame that (like, within minutes), but I still remember it. This time, I was well aware of the amazing blessing of having siblings and the fact that my heart is sufficiently stretchy to fit in another baby to love just as much as I love the ones that have come before. So as I looked at him, I just felt love. I saw both of my babies in his sweet little face - subtle adorable hints of Henry, and A LOT of Luke. I kept touching his cheeks and giving him kisses when Matt moved him closer to me. It was weird, not having a name for him yet, but when I looked at him I felt like no name would ever do him justice! How could I pick anything?
Unlike my previous deliveries, Matt and the baby were able to stay with me for the entire surgery. My doctor was very quick, and I was so thankful to have them with me the entire time. Matt sat with the baby behind me while they finished up and rolled me onto the bed where I'd recover, and then as they rolled me toward our room, Matt followed with the baby in his rolling bassinet. I was so thankful that they were with me SO much! We even had a really great nurse for recovery that previously worked in the nursery so she was able to do all of the initial baby stuff right in our recovery room! That was a HUGE change from last time - we were SO mad that they took Henry away for so long, and this time Jake had all of his tests right where I could see him, and took his bath right in our room. We were able to eat breakfast and talk to family while we snuggled the baby and I nursed him for the first couple times. Oh, it was so great. It was absolutely the best post-birth experience I've had! Matt kept filling in wherever I couldn't be - taking pictures, watching his bath, calming him while the nurse did her tests, and the nurse said, "I can tell you're a great Dad. Most of them just kind of sit on the sidelines, they aren't as active as you." This made me both proud of him, and sad for everyone else. Sometimes I forget how lucky we are :)
My pain was surprisingly manageable. While we were still in the OR, I felt a somewhat-similar soreness that I'd felt during my surgery with Luke (but not with H). My doctor confirmed that it was my uterus shrinking down, and since it's so trained with previous children, it does so more easily (aka, more strongly, quickly, and therefore painfully!). It was bothering me so much that I couldn't stop mentioning it, and the anesthesiologist added something to my IV to help. By the time we'd made it to recovery, it had kicked in, and I was feeling pretty good! They didn't do that for me last time, which is, I think...why my pain ended up escalating to an 8 while we waited for our maternity room. This time, my pain never went above a 3/4 - and that includes the entire time we were there!
So my baby didn't leave my side, my pain was good, Matt and I weren't nervous or worried about anything (it wasn't our first picnic!), nursing was an instant success, the sun was shining into our recovery room, we had a really great nurse, and breakfast was delicious. As far as being in the hospital and giving birth go - we had a really fantastic morning!
Matt was really urging me to finalize the baby's name because he didn't want to share his picture with our family until he had a name to go with it. I kept saying that I wanted to spend more time with him and learn his face better before I chose. For weeks, Matt had been giving me a hard time about my name choices, but as we were in recovery he was so euphoric and easy-going, and he kept saying things like, "It's all up to you, you did all the work!" and "She's the boss!". Even with free reign, I couldn't commit! Matt finally suggested, "I think he's Jakob. Don't you?"
As soon as I found out this baby was a boy, and we had maybe 1 discussion about names (I hadn't planned on needing a boy name - I was so sold on this being a girl, and I knew exactly what "her" name was), I thought of this baby as Jake. I don't know why - it kind of planted itself in my mind after we entertained the idea, and I secretly spoke to my belly with that name. I always said "Good Morning, little Jake!" and "What are you up to, Jakey?" Even so, I struggled with it matching well with his middle name (Matt is a stickler about them all having the same middle name, and now all 4 of them do!), and I just wasn't as big of a fan of Jacob as I was of Jake. Then I saw it spelled with a K on a baby name site, and that was IT. We spelled my oldest son's name with a K as well (Lukas), to both be a little different, and to make the whole transition from Lukas to Luke make more sense (not to mention easier to explain to a kiddo). So Jakob not only fit our family well, it had the same "makes more sense" factor between Jakob and Jake. And again, it's a bit different. And now he TECHNICALLY doesn't have such a popular name (Jacob was #1 in 2012). I usually don't like such common names, but the way Luke-Henry-Jake flows was really appealing to me. They're classic, strong names - not super "in the moment" trendy or country club-ish. Why yes, I do over-think everything. ;)
The rest of our recovery with Jake was wonderful, and about as easy-going as our initial experience. There were a few low moments, of course - both of which were thanks to some nurses. We had one that was good, but she was so matter-of-fact and "you have to do this" about things, and she was assigned to us more often than any other nurse, so she got on our nerves a bit. She kept trying to give us parenting advice about nursing schedules and pacifiers and I actually had to stop her and say "I HAVE done this twice before and this works best for us" before she stopped with the unsolicited advice. The first night, I was having some nerve-related rib pain (the nerves in your pelvis end in your rib cage, so after birth and/or abdominal surgery you can experience some inexplicable pain up there - I only found this out after asking the doctor why the hell I was in agony in my rib cage while my incision felt like a minor cut!). This nurse was doing her usual fundus check (ya know, when they push on your belly really hard and make you want to die?), and she was SO brutal about it this time that she triggered MORE rib pain. I was in absolute agony (for the first and last time of our stay), and I started crying. She went and got me some ice packs for my ribs, which did help. The next morning she asked me about it and I told her I was much better, and she was like "Yeah, when we're tired, we all tend to get a bit weepy." Uhh, whatever lady, my sleep deprivation hadn't even started yet - you just butchered my insides after I had major surgery!
Even so, we would have picked that nurse over the one we got the next night. She was...I don't know how to put it, a bit insecure I guess? She just had this vibe of not being sure of what she was doing. Her hand was shaking like crazy as she took my temp. When I asked her for more pads in my bathroom, she asked me what I meant. Uh, you're a woman, right? lol Even after explaining, she brought me ice packs instead. Huh? When it was her turn to do her fundus check and she was opening my abdominal binder, she braced herself by leaning on my stomach! Seriously! When I yelped in pain, she looked at me like a deer in the headlights. I told her what she was doing and she was like, "Oh, but, I have to take this off to look"....yeahhh, and all the other nurses put their hands on the bed to help them, not on the injured woman! She also had a hard time understanding that we were practicing non-separation, and kept asking us when we wanted to send the baby back to the nursery for the night. We had to keep explaining that he doesn't go to the nursery, he stays with us. She also kept telling us he needed to have his newborn tests at midnight (because we were leaving the next day), but she kept making it sound like he was going to stay in the nursery after his tests, despite us repeatedly saying he would not. So when she finally took him for his tests, I was worried that she was unclear about our wishes, and I thought Jake wouldn't be coming back for hours, and I stared crying. Matt was like "this is our chance to sleep, take it!" and I couldn't! Luckily another nurse brought him back to us before too long, and then I was able to sleep.
But aside from those hang ups, everything was great! Even the first time they made me walk was much easier this time! In fact, I felt so good during this time that I decided to sit in a chair and eat my dinner there before I shuffled back to bed. Those were always my most hated moments, so having an easier one this time was awesome!
I am really going out of my comfort zone in sharing that picture with you, so in my defense - I was extremely bloated from the IV fluids and heavier than even before Jake was born! But that picture still makes me happy, and even being sort of crappy in quality, it just speaks to my mama heart and makes me smile. This was after Henry warmed up to me and agreed to sit with me for the first time. I feel like you can almost see the sigh of relief on my face. Or at least I know it's there ;)
And so, let me officially introduce you to my sweet number three: