Always Eat Dessert First

Being pregnant was different, I’ll say. I will also say that I wouldn’t trade the experience – even the barfing – for anything. I grew a whole other human inside me, which is kind of awesome. It’s like I have superpowers, now.

So John Randolph was born March 20, at 12:21 a.m., weighing seven pounds, three ounces and he was 20 inches long.

And yes, he was early. Ish. 36 weeks, to be exact.

It all started earlier that week, when I made the comment to my husband that I just felt “off.” I had this vague headache, I was tired, and nauseous off and on. In other words, I sounded like a woman who was nine months pregnant. I really didn’t think anything about it, mostly because other than some really bad morning sickness, I had a pretty normal pregnancy.

I had a doctor’s appointment Friday. My regular OB was on vacation, but again, no worries. The little one wasn’t even supposed to be done cooking for another week, and this was supposed to be a routine weekly visit. I was seeing her partner instead.

I got to my appointment, and they took my BP. Now, it’s been around 120 over 60 my entire pregnancy. The week before, it was 115 over 53. That day? It was 139 over 89. The doctor frowned. After quizzing me, and I admitted I was “off,” she had it checked again. 136 over 89. At that point, she told me she’d feel better if I was admitted over the weekend for observation, and so they could do a 24 hour urine test.

I get admitted, and hourly BP checks begin. I’m peeing in a “hat” and pouring it into a jug that sits in ice in the bathroom. My BP doesn’t go down, but still, I’m calm. I think this is just some weird blip, and it’ll go down, and I’ll go home Sunday.

Only it hit 178 over 95. Then 145 over 89. Then my high score Saturday – 195 over 118. My face started feeling fuzzy. I was lightheaded.

Around 5 or so, my dinner got delivered. Veggies, salmon, salad and carrot cake. I was being a good girl and eating my vegetables when the nurse came in and said, “PUT THAT FORK DOWN.” Apparently, it had been decided that the baby was coming out. Soon.

I should’ve started with the cake. So lesson to everyone: If you’re admitted early, eat the dessert portion of every meal first, just in case.

Right after that order, the nurse walked out and said she’d be back in a minute. The room got pretty tense – my in-laws had come to visit, and now we were all wondering what exactly the order meant. Soon, the nurse returned and said, “Well, Miss Fuzzy-Face-Lightheaded-195-over-118, you just earned yourself a trip to Labor and Delivery. You’re having this baby at midnight tonight.”

At that point, I was slightly terrified. Yes, I knew a C-section was probably in the cards for me a long time ago, but this was different. It was real, for one thing. The other thing? I never figured in the evil mag sulfate, which the nurses said was needed to make sure I didn’t stroke out from my blood pressure.

OMG. If you’ve never had it, there is really no preparing someone for it without making it sound terrifying. It starts with a four mg dose, all at once. I felt like fire was shooting from the top of my head and down to the balls of my feet. I sweated profusely. I could not get cool enough. They finally brought a fan in and pointed it directly at me, and things got a little more comfortable. But only just. What’s crazy is it was actually so cold in that little room that everyone that came to visit me was bundled up.

Then came the epidural. The actual administering of it wasn’t nearly as bad as I built it up in my mind to be. I got the shakes right after, and threw up, but then felt OK. It is just a very weird feeling to not be able to move your body.

My poor husband was a rock through all of this. At least twice I dissolved into a shivering, sweating, blubbering incoherent mess during the surgery prep, and he was awesome. We got a great L&D nurse, too, who took the time to explain everything that was happening, even during delivery. Even the anesthesiologist and his tech were great.

They wheeled me in to the L&D OR at midnight. Ten minutes later, they were making the first incision. My husband was sitting by my head, and the anesthesioligist and tech were to my right. All of the sudden, I hear the tech say to my husband, “You should really stand up and look over the drape now and tell me what you see.”

My husband, “I see feet and legs.”

Tech: “No, look between the legs!”

My husband: “It’s…a boy?!”

Baby boy was still breech, as we knew from the most recent sonogram. What was funny was that the doctors had a hard time getting him out because – get this – he was holding on with both hands to the sac. He didn’t want to leave. And when they did get him out, he immediately began bellowing his displeasure.

I wasn’t prepared for how it was a little lonely behind that drape after the baby was out. My husband was busy watching them evaluate John. The doctors were busy putting me back together. Finally our nurse came over to tell me what was going on, and a few minutes later, they brought John to me.

Although he was born at 36 weeks, 1 day (barely), John only had a little grunting problem that was quickly fixed with some skin on skin in recovery. He was perfectly healthy in every way, and the only other wrinkle has been helping him learn to nurse. According to our lactation consultants and pediatrician, it’s a common problem with 36 weekers. By the time we were discharged, we had a lactation plan down that will help him learn that while maintaining and building my supply. He’s a month old now, and while he’s pretty much exclusively getting breast milk, he still hasn’t quite learned to nurse. We practice a lot, and I am pumping a lot.

But I really couldn’t ask for a better baby. He sleeps 7 to 8 hours at night, waking only in the middle for a quick feeding before nodding off again. He’s now getting out of that sleep ALL the time phase, and stays awake a little longer every week, staring gravely at you while you talk to him, like you’re telling him nuclear codes. During the day, while I write, he obligingly naps for two or three hour stretches, waking to eat and talk for a while.  As I type this, he’s napping beside me, but will probably rouse himself soon for a diaper change and afternoon meal.

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