If you haven’t read part 1 (Ella’s birth story), click here. You know, you’d think after the first birthing process, you’d be like “I’m an expert” when it comes to number 2. Boy, was I wrong! Not to be outdone, here’s Isaac’s birth story. My story of becoming a mom… again.
Isaac’s Pre-birth Story
Whoever said that you feel sicker during pregnancy when you’re having a girl was totally wrong. I was sick the whole time I was pregnant with Isaac. Props to the hubs because he pretty much was a single parent to Ella since I was just a log on the couch the whole time.
Since Ella’s birth was via a C-section, I fully intended to do a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarian) with Isaac. The catch was that the OB wouldn’t give me pitocin and we would just wait it out. He did give me the option of scheduling a C-section in case Isaac decides to stay put like Ella did. I chose a date 4 days before his due date. I just felt so sick and miserable that if he did not come out by then, I would opt for the C-section.
At 39.5 weeks, we go to the hospital for our scheduled C-section. I remember being sad and thinking maybe I should cancel and wait it out. I really wanted to do a VBAC. The doctor came in and said he doesn’t think Isaac will come naturally that day and asked us if we are ok with going through the C-section. Andrew and I agree this time. Yes. My mom was with us and my brother had gotten into town already and time-wise, it was the best choice so that we could have help.
Isaac’s Birth Story
They prep me for the OR. The anesthesiologist give me the epidural or whatever drug, the same way the epidural was given – via my spine. They bring Andrew in to be by my side as I lay down on the table.
Since we both thought we knew what was gonna happen, we were pretty calm about the whole thing. I remember that I wasn’t shaking as much and I thought that maybe they gave me a different kind of medicine.
The doctor comes in and gets ready for surgery. He pokes at my stomach and he asks if I can feel it. Ummm yes. Yes I can feel that. He says “Don’t worry, I won’t do anything until you don’t feel anything but pressure.” Uhh thanks? Somebody better give me more meds!
The anesthesiologist gives me more meds I guess and finally I only feel pressure when the doctor asks me if I could feel anything. He, again, talks us through the process and I’m not sure why but I start to feel more than pressure in my stomach as the surgery continues. I tell Andrew I feel more than pressure and he tells the anesthesiologist. She asks me if i’m feeling pain and I go “well, it’s definitely more than pressure, so I think so?” I didn’t want to be rude, but like why would I say something if it didn’t hurt?!
So she ups the meds again. And I remember the room spinning. I’m confused as to why I was feeling woozy and why the lights in the room were moving. I remember saying sorry twice because I thought I was asking for too much. Later on Andrew told me I said sorry the whole time I was on the operating table. I guess I was pretty hiiiiiggghhhh.
I remember snippets of what was happening – Isaac crying, the nurses saying he weighed 9 lbs 2 oz and me thinking, “well I guess it’s good I didn’t try VBAC.” Then I remember Andrew bringing Isaac to me which is funny because I don’t remember him getting Isaac at all. Then I thought I was really high when I saw Isaac because legit I was like “Ella?” He looked exactly like her – swollen, red, and hairy.
Isaac’s Post-Birth Story
I get wheeled into the recovery room and they finally put Isaac on me and I remember crying uncontrollably. I remember thinking I felt so high on meds that it must have gotten to him and now something is wrong because he got some of those meds. There was no way I could explain it at the time but I wanted someone to tell me that he was ok.
The nurses and the doctors finally assured me that he was ok. I still felt so sick from the meds but I felt completely lucid by the time they wheeled me to the maternity ward.
All of Isaac’s tests were normal. He didn’t have to go to the NICU like Ella did (I was worried since he was also a large baby), which made me so happy. The lactation consultant and the pediatrician realized he had a tongue tie so with our permission, they cut the lingual frenulum which made breastfeeding less painful.
The rest of our hospital stay was filled with visits from family and friends and me learning how to breastfeed Isaac… every hour… morning and night.
Becoming a Mom (part 2)
This time around, I knew that it was going to be hard. We weren’t going to be sleeping and I knew that breastfeeding is hard. I told myself before Isaac was born that if breastfeeding didn’t work out, I will not feel guilty about giving him formula.
I think that because I expected those things, I didn’t get the baby blues at all. On top of that, Isaac slept like a champ. I do remember that he would fall asleep on my boob while feeding and when we checked his diaper, he would poop but not really pee. So I supplemented with formula. And I was ok with it. Becoming a mom again for the second time was gonna be just fine.
Everything was going great until a week before he turned 2 months old. He stopped eating and just slept all morning. He had a fever and though we tried to wake him to feed him, he would suck the bottle for 5-10 seconds and go back to sleep. I got worried and called his pediatrician who told us to go to the ER.
They bring us back pretty fast and they start to run tests on him. He got poked with so many needles because his veins were so small. He cried so much to a point he just stopped crying because he was so tired. The ER doctor comes and says because Isaac seems inconsolable they are going to do a spinal tap. What….
I’m not a squeamish person but when they were about to do the spinal tap, I could not breathe. The doctor and two nurses came in and that room is not big. They ask me if I would like to stay or step out. I wanted to hold Isaac but I knew they are trained better than me and I would just be in the way. I tell Isaac I will just be in the doorway and give him a kiss.
Another nurse sees me stand in the doorway and as Isaac starts screaming, she walks to me and gives me a side hug as I finally break down and cry. She assured me that I did the right thing bringing him in and that they will help him as much as they can. She had no idea how much that meant to me.
A minute or two later they are done and once they give me the green light to come back to the bed, I scoop Isaac up and he stops crying and just rests his head on my chest as I apologize to him profusely. We sit together, and wait for results.
I don’t know how much time passed but the ER doctor finally comes in and says that Isaac had meningitis and has to be admitted into the hospital. My heart drops. I call Andrew to let him know we have to get admitted. He puts Ella to bed and arranges for a sitter to be with her so he can come join me at the hospital.
We finally get a room in the pediatric unit. They tell us that we have to wait until they can grow a culture from the spinal tap to figure out if it’s bacterial or viral. If it was viral, he should recover pretty well – the prognosis would be good. If it was bacterial, it could be fatal if they don’t start treatment right away. So they start it just in case since it would take 2-3 days for the culture to grow. More needles. My poor baby boy.
Andrew and I take turns at the hospital. Wonderful friends come and play with Ella during the day so that one of us could nap before going back to the hospital. They also came to drop off food so that we didn’t have to worry about cooking.
After 3 nights and 4 days at the hospital, we finally get the results that it was viral meningitis. Isaac was waking up, smiling, and eating again. He was still lethargic but much better than 4 days before. The doctor said that it could take him up to a week to go back to normal but he is doing well enough to let us go home.
Finally Back Home
That night, when we were all home, I was finally able to breathe.
For part 1 of this series, I said to make sure to ask for help if you need it. Before this happened, I was that mom who tried to do it all. If people helped, cool. If they didn’t, totally ok with that as well. Never wanted to be a burden to anyone. Still don’t. But this incident made me realize that the term “it takes a village” really is true.
We wouldn’t have known what to do if our heroes didn’t step up to help care for us and pray for us. Help from friends nearby and words of support/prayers from friends near and far got us through one of the most difficult times of our lives. For that, I am forever grateful.
I’d learned an important lesson at that time. Accepting help made me a better mom. I’m still learning tons every day. I pray and hope that nothing bad happens to my children. But if something does happen, I know that there are people there that I can rely on always, that will help me become a better mom every day.
Thanks for reading and Happy Mother’s Day everyone!
(all gifs from giphy.com)