Thursday, October 19, 2017

Bear's Birth Story and First Few Days of Life

What better time to wipe the dust off my blog than to share Bear's birth story! I can't believe it's been nearly two years since I last blogged but I'm really hoping to pick it back up because I know these days as a Mommy will go by in a blur. I want to document it all! Of course for me and my memories, but a few others have asked as well so this is the best way for me to share it, his birth story.
Bear Gatlin James, 10/1/17
I eventually want to come back and add a post about how I found out I was pregnant, how we shared the news, and how I told David (I got it on video)! And of course I want to share about the gender reveal too. But for now, while his birth story is fresh in my mind, let's start there.

Some of this may be a bit TMI so feel free to come back another day but this is for me, just as much as it is for others who've been asking me to share. So here it goes, and it's a really REALLY long one!

Alright, so my due date was October 20, 2017. Three weeks from when he actually came!

For the past several months, I'd been having braxton hicks contractions. These are not painful but basically your uterus tightens and becomes hard across your stomach. They had just become a part of my every day and I got used to them to be honest.

On the morning of September 29, 2017 (at exactly 37 weeks pregnant) I woke up at 3 AM to let the dogs out and felt a slight "gush". My first thought was of course, "oh my gosh, did my water just break?!" However after some googling and inspecting what was actually coming out, I'll just say it - it was my mucus plug (we're going to call it MP). That's such a gross word. I'll try not to say it again - ha! According to the google, once this happens, your body is preparing for baby's arrival. But this also means the baby could come within a few hours, or it could still be a few weeks. This was completely useless information as my due date was in a few weeks so really this told me nothing. I told David this happened and told him I didn't think we would make it another week. Little did I know...

I went to work that day (a Friday) and carried on like normal, all the while continuing to feel the remnants of the MP coming out...basically all day. This was also normal and expected per the google. Thank God for the google. Either answering your question or making you think you're going to die if you have a simple headache.

Anywho!

Fast forward to Friday evening and we had dinner at Guthrie's and Sonic treats with our friends Meghan and Russ, and I even told them that we were going to have an early night to relax because it'd been a long day and things were starting to happen that made me not want to be too far from home or out too late.

We got home and I was feeling a bit off. I was starting to worry if it may actually be amniotic fluid that I'd been losing all day and my braxton hicks contractions were especially noticeable. I was starting to get a bit anxious because if it was amniotic fluid, well that's not good. David had started to sense my growing anxiety and kept asking me if we should go to Triage. For those that don't know, Triage is where you go if you're pregnant and you have problems throughout pregnancy or if you go into labor, this is the pre-check point to make sure you're in active labor before they'll admit you. They may very well send you home though if you're not really in active labor yet. I made it to 37 weeks without having to visit triage and I was fearful/nervous of what would happen when I got there. After a bit of convincing, David talked me in to going to triage. It would either ease our minds and we'd come back home, or we'd be admitted because baby was coming and this was the start of early labor. This was now about 11:15 at night on Friday still. I remember at this moment I took a few more belly pictures because I honestly didn't know if these would be the last ones or not.
I so miss my belly already!

First things first, I told David I had to take a shower. I mean, the horror of if I didn't shave my legs before going in...

While I was in the shower, David kept poking his head in, now fully dressed, and he was very ready to go. By the time I got out the truck was running. He was set! I however was feeling rushed and didn't have time to pack the rest of the things on my "last minute list" for my hospital bag, even though the main things were packed and ready and had been riding around in my car for the last week or so.

We even took David's truck, not my car which has the car seat, because we fully expected to come back home. I didn't think this was the smartest choice but David was adamant that we take the running truck and we knew he could come back and get my car if needed.

Alright, so we kissed the pups goodbye and off we went to Triage. We were tired/nervous/excited and just didn't know what to expect. Luckily we did a hospital tour several months ago so we knew where to go for parking. This was all becoming very surreal at that moment.

We made it to triage and got all checked in. They checked me and I was 2-3 cm dilated and then they did a test on the fluid to see if it was in fact amniotic fluid that'd been leaking. They then told us to go walk laps around the Labor & Delivery floor for an hour while we waited on the test results.
As if you don't feel large enough at 37 weeks pregnant, these gowns will sure do the trick to make you feel like a house!
At this point David had let my parents know what was going on and we were instructed to keep them posted. I had my last baby shower scheduled for that day (now Saturday early AM), and I was starting to really accept the fact that I'd have to break the news to my beautiful besties Renee and Lindsay that the shower would have to be cancelled. I was quite sad and felt so bad because they'd put so much work into it and Lindsay and her husband even traveled here from Atlanta with their brand new baby and I was devastated at the thought of telling them the news - that the shower wasn't going to happen. Although equally excited and shocked because holy cow my baby was coming! Or so we were told...

Fast forward to about 1 AM and lots of walking and waiting later and here was the scoop. The test came back positive for amniotic fluid. The nurse said "congrats guys, you're not leaving here until you have this baby!" Cue panic! We did a lot more waiting but then the doctor on call came in and said he wasn't convinced I was in active labor since I wasn't progressing. He also wasn't entirely convinced that my water had broken because he did an ultrasound and there was a full sac of amniotic fluid still. I told him about the baby shower and based on the lack of progress, he decided it was best to let us go with the instructions to keep an eye on things, come back if my water breaks or if I start having strong contractions.

We got home around 4 AM on Saturday 9/30 and somehow managed to sleep for a few hours. I woke up around 8:00 and promptly monogrammed (with HTV) his coming home outfit hat and onesie. #Priorities. That was on my to do list for my last few weeks! He didn't end up wearing this home and the hat swallowed his little head, but it was cute anyway.
Kind of at a loss for what to do, I took another belly pic. I guess I just figured our time was very limited, and it was!
At this point I was ecstatic about the fact that it looked like my shower would still be on! I prayed to God all morning to let me make it through my shower, since everyone had put in so much hard work and I was so looking forward to it. But that evening, I was game for whatever. Boy does He have a sense of humor...

The shower was at 2:00 and Mom and I rode out in my car to Renee's house where the shower was being held. The party came and went and it was absolutely perfect (I'll have to do a designated shower post too!). I was having contractions all day but nothing that I wasn't used to at this point. Although these felt less concentrated and more all over but were not painful. Any who, Mom and I were hanging out post-shower while Renee and Lindsay were getting busy cleaning up. And that's when the show started...
Little did we know, Cooper's buddy was on his way!
My beautiful hostesses!
If I were a television show producer this is where I would end Season 1 and leave you hanging for 6 months while awaiting Season 2 to premier. But lucky for you, I'm not and I'm going to keep right on going. ;-)

So, like I said I was standing there in Renee's living room, "supervising" cleanup, when all the sudden I felt this POP and a gush of water came deluging down my legs onto the floor. I immediately started laughing because I could not believe God's humor. My water had just broken (on 9/30/17 at 4:55 PM), a mere 15 minutes after the last guest left, and I knew this was it for real. No denying that my water just broke and it was like a scene from a movie after that. The girls asked me why I was laughing and I said my water just broke!! Everything was kind of a blur after that as Renee shuffled me into her shower and handed me a towel to shove between my legs - ha! PS - Renee I still have your towel! I stood there just giggling to myself in disbelief and I had my Mom bring me a phone so I could call David. He was at a football party, where I was supposed to be heading after the shower. I said babe, my water just broke - we'll see you at the hospital!

We hurriedly got ready to leave Renee's as she packed some leftovers for us to have at the hospital (my Dad ended up eating these later in the parking lot! LOL). I quickly hugged Lindsay's neck and we were on our way! Renee followed us to the hospital. Looking back now I am so grateful how all of this happened! Surrounded by my Mom and two of my best friends (and of course Bear's future BFF, baby Cooper). So much excitement surrounding that very moment and what was to come. Hard to believe that my son would be in my arms in 13 short hours!

We arrived at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and we were greeted by David in the lobby. He and the check in guy were watching the Florida State game on a cell phone while waiting for our arrival. It's funny the little things that stick out in my mind.

We got checked in and then went up to the next check in desk and they did not have any beds available right then in triage so they had me chill in the waiting room with my fam! I so enjoyed this though. We were all so excited!! Mom had called Dad at this point and he joined us too. The excitement was just palpable. As a reminder, this is the first grand baby for my parents so they have been waiting for this moment for what has seemed like the last decade of my life! Also, Renee may or not have been waiting just as long - ha!
SO STINKIN' EXCITED!
After maybe a half hour wait, a nurse came back and took me to triage. I got checked and was 4 cm dilated and they again did the test to confirm that my water had broken. There was no mistaking it this time but they still had to confirm it.
Only one visitor at a time was allowed in triage. Mom's shift while David ran home real quick to take care of the pups and grab some last minute things!
I can't remember now how long we hung out in triage but I think it was around an hour and a half or so? Lots of sitting and waiting on an L&D room.
We finally made it to our room, 204 I think, and got comfy for what would be a long night ahead. David, Mom, and Dad were there and we got some bonus visitors as well. My Grandma and Aunt Sandra were in the hospital seeing Sandra's husband so they came by and hung out for a little bit while I started to feel some major contractions for the first time. Things were getting really real!
It's hard to describe what a contraction feels like. I don't think anyone can really ever prepare you for that kind of feeling/pain. Although I felt the contractions across my belly, those were bearable. However I labored in my lower back and IT WAS AWFUL. It was this writhing pain that I couldn't escape and I wanted nothing more than to come out of my body to get away from it. At 5 cm dilated, I decided it was time to get an epidural. Best decision I made, for me. I got to experience labor and feel what it was like but I also didn't spend the next few hours in writhing pain and wishing it would just be over with.
Life after the epidural was gooood. LOL. PS - "holding still" during a contraction while they administered the epidural was down right SUCKY. When the anesthesiologist lady was done, I did ask her if we could make out. It was nearly instant relief!

After the epidural, it was now about 10:45 PM and we were able to get a little bit of rest intermittently. At that point I think I was still only around 5-6 cm. Not much progress had been made so the nurse left us to sleep and she'd be coming back to check me in a little bit. At about midnight, my parents were debating heading home and getting a few hours of shut eye, when the nurse checked me and I was 10 centimeters. Holy cow! Per the nurse, my instructions were to let her know once the pressure started to build enough that it was consistent and I felt the urge to push.
At one point I was the only one awake (things are fuzzy but I remember my Dad being in and out of the room with us throughout the night. I think Mom was catching Zs in the waiting room) and as you can imagine, my thoughts were everywhere. I was soaking up the last hours with my baby in my belly because I knew it wouldn't be long before he was joining us Earth-side. I spent a lot of hours that night staring at that little unoccupied baby bed.

I think it was about an hour or so after I was ten centimeters that I called the nurse in because I was feeling the urge to push. After an hour of pushing with just the nurse, baby boy was starting to get pretty stressed out on the monitors and we weren't making much progress. We decided to give it a rest and she brought in the peanut ball. It's a peanut shaped exercise ball that you rest your legs on each side to help the baby progress with contractions down the birth canal. IT WORKS.
I think it was about another hour, hour and a half later and I was really feeling like things had picked up and my body did what it was supposed to, which was move baby on down. This was not painful, but I could feel it, if that makes sense. The extreme pressure to push was definitely there. With the nurse back in the room, she had me do a few rounds of pushes and decided oh yeah, time to call in the doc!

I can't remember exactly when, but I think it was right about now that I got really really really nervous. It was show time. My body was shaking really bad and I couldn't believe this was it.

Dr. Dixon was on call which worked out perfectly because he is my primary OB and there was a good chance he would not be on call when I went in to labor. But alas, he was and he got to deliver my baby boy! Still so thrilled that it worked out this way!

I think I spent an hour and a half to two hours pushing. Talk about HARD WORK. Yet another event that no one could ever really explain to you. Pushing a baby out is excrutiatingly hard and exhausting. Everyone was sitting around looking at me and all my lady parts in the spot light waiting on a contraction to come and watching the monitor. Also David, the Dr., and nurse were the only ones in the room with me. Mom and Dad were apparently hanging outside my door in the hallway. I could feel the contraction coming on right before it showed up on the monitor and I'd say, alright, I'm ready, and then we'd do three sets of pushes counting from 1-10. The first one was always the most productive and the last two were meh. IT WAS SO HARD. At one point I remember vocalizing that I felt like I was going to pass out and so they put the oxygen mask on me. I hated that thing! I couldn't get quick full breaths to push without it suctioning to my face, so I was having to hold it off my face while focusing on pushing. Then the little monitor on my finger kept coming off and I remember trying to get it to stay put. All the little things that are flooding back to me now...

Alright, so now we've made it to probably 5:00 AM on Sunday, October 1st and baby is not coming out. We've learned he is sunny side up (facing up towards my navel instead of face down). I remember Dr. Dixon trying to unsuccessfully turn him and eventually the words vacuum assist and c-section were being brought up. The little guy was just getting slammed into my pelvic bone each time I pushed and we were both in need of some assistance. I did not want a c-section if at all possible so I opted for a vacuum assist. Dr. Dixon used the vacuum for about 10 seconds to get him past the bone and before I knew it, a few more solid pushes and our baby boy was out and in my arms. WHAT AN AMAZING MOMENT!

I was keeping my Instagram and Facebook updated so once he was here I posted the following to my Instagram story. So glad when I was finally able to share the "HE'S HERE" post!
The moment we became Mom and Dad and our first official photo as a family of three. So in love with our baby boy!!
Top hat added for modesty - ha!
6 lbs 13 ounces of perfection, and three weeks early! And look at ALL THAT HAIR!
About two hours after delivery, we got to head up to the recovery room and what would be our home for the next couple of days. On the way, we of course had to stop and push the lullaby button signaling that a baby had been born. It plays throughout the whole floor and always made me smile getting to hear it leading up to our baby boy's arrival.
Brand new and a little beat up from his journey into this world. 
I ended up having an episiotomy so I got stitches which made my recovery less than fun. If you want to know what that is, give it a google. I'll spare you any further discussion on it!

So something else that happened right after Bear came in to this world still chokes me up to think about. Immediately after he came out, he was placed on my chest for what should have been one hour of uninterrupted skin to skin. This is hospital policy and I was certainly looking forward to those 60 minutes of blissful bonding with my son. In a whirlwind of events, he was placed on my chest and a few moments passed before our nurse said, "we may need to put him under the light". I had no idea what that meant but I figured they needed to check something out and move him to the baby bed. Another beat passed before she very urgently said "we need to get him under the light right now!". My baby was then whisked away from my body and taken over to the bed across the room. We could see him moving around and then all the sudden we watched in what felt like slow motion as he'd gone completely lifeless. I heard the nurse say, "Dr. Dixon, I need to hit the code button!" At this point I felt like I was watching a scene in a movie, of someone else's life. What was happening? Will my baby be ok? Why isn't he breathing! David hit his knees next to my bed and started crying and praying and pleading with God to let him be okay. Minutes passed while an alarm sounded across the entire ward and our room quickly filled with a dozen people including other nurses and the NICU team. All hands were on deck working on our baby. Some were whacking his back, some were trying to hook him up to oxygen...Then just as fast as he'd gone still, he sprang back into action, pinked up and started crying. The most beautiful sound in the world! Just like that, all was right again and he was eventually placed back on my chest. Thank God our story had a happy ending! I think I remember that they told us he had ingested too much amniotic fluid on his way out and it had caused whatever it was it caused. I really don't know in the tizzy of it all if that was right, but we didn't care at that moment because he was ok. Come to find out, my poor parents who'd been hovering outside my door and heard him cry for the first time, quickly went from elated to panicked when they heard the alarm sound and then saw everyone come flooding into my room. Not knowing what was happening. I know they were so scared. Again though, I'm so grateful that our story had a happy ending!
The proud Weezer and Grumps holding their first grand baby!
The next few days went by in a blur. We got little to no sleep and spent our time soaking up our new baby, entertaining visitors, getting a Fresh 48 Photo Session done, and just enjoying our time before we were on our own!

Unfortunately I didn't get photos of all of our visitors but here are glimpses of the days that followed Bear's birthday! I'll let the pictures do the talking.
One proud Daddy
First bath! I am just now seeing all the soap in my poor babe's eye! :(
She's been waiting on this forever and ever. 
I must also point out that Renee and Bear share a birthday! How fun that my lifelong friend got to see my baby fresh out of the womb on his birthday and HER birthday!
Love this picture...Bear has my Dad wrapped!
Bear meeting his Great Grandma "GiGi"
Aunt Kali and Uncle Cole were on a cruise all weekend so they missed all the excitement and came home to a nephew!
<3 td="">
Hi my sweet boy, I'm your Mama!
Heading home on Tuesday, October 3rd!
Oh that wittle babe!
And with that, I think I'll wrap up this very, very, VERY long post. I know I will re-read this post for years and years to come. Hopefully you enjoyed it too!

I plan to be back on here soon, and regularly so I can do my best to document this little man's life!

6 comments:

  1. Oh Tamara! So so sweet and beautiful. I'm so glad you shared this! I was crying reading that scary part. Praise the Lord baby boy is so well now!

    Also, I've been thinking about blogging again too and now you've really given me the fever! I know I need to write down my birth story, if nothing else, so I might need to get on that!

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    1. Thank you so much Halie! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I would LOVE to read your birth story if you end up writing it out! Isn't it crazy how we used to blog so much and then just...silence?!

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  2. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story! The goodness of God's glory in opening your womb, bringing forth life and family to be there along the way! You are an amazing woman, wife and momma! I was in tears the entire time! Love the baseball foot print!!!

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    1. Thank you Kandace! You are so incredibly sweet and encouraging and you've always been one of our biggest supporters in starting a family. Love you sweet friend!

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing Bear’s birth story. The next best thing to getting to be there :). What a joyful story with a scary break in the middle. Daddy David knew just what to do. We thank God for creating your beautiful new family of three. Bear’s a cutie.
    Love,
    Aunt Lona & Uncle Bobby

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    1. Thank you so much Aunt Lona! I love that I've gotten to share this with everyone and that I've got it recorded for me to read for years and years. Love you guys!

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