Tuesday, February 28, 2017

walter rey (his birth story)

On February 24, two weeks before his scheduled birthday, Walter Rey Fredrich decided he was done being in my belly and joined our family at 3:22pm.
So... what happened? I'll tell you what happened. NASA happened. JPL, the jet propulsion laboratory happened, that's what happened. Matt and I had a friend of a friend who works at JPL give us a private tour of the place Thursday which was fantastic and so exciting for this space nerd. We saw the Mars rover twin, mission control, bought Wally some souvenir plush space shuttle and walked quite a lot. Even up a steep staircase and I didn't drink enough water or give myself enough of a break for someone that's so very pregnant. I am about the size of a planet here.
I felt pretty weird and tried to keep my feet up the rest of the night. Then that night I was restless and uncomfortable and around 5am regular contractions started and though it had been 2.5 years I remembered them well. I waited for Alice to wake up and started timing them and mourned the fact that her little life was about to change and I was a crying mess, the emotions about that I'll dedicate a whole post to. We snuggled and Matt got her some bacon, we played and tried to keep things light as I waited to see if the contractions would stop which spoiler alert, they never did. Finally, we moved from denial into action and got some babysitters for Alice and told our family to be on standby. We got our already packed hospital bag into the car and made a pit stop to my doctor's office to see if they would prefer I head to the hospital or if they would check me and I updated my unemployment info with their guy and we headed to Providence St. Joseph.
It's now 10:30am. After parking and being wheeled up to L&D we were put in the triage room so they could start monitoring me and him. After about an hour the nurse checked me and I was not dilated at all since contractions continued they called my doctor. Knowing his style I felt like since I'm a repeat C and that I'm pretty much full term he would just say something like "let's just get this baby out" I felt pretty confident that we'd be meeting our son that day. I had a few minutes of mentally scanning all the things we didn't get to finish like taking nice maternity photos, filing our income taxes and attending a marriage conference the next day but no longer being pregnant anymore sounded like a terrific trade off. Finally a nurse came by and said she overheard that my doctor wanted to just do the C-section and they were just working on scheduling. The word came down: 2pm! We called his mom and told them to come on by and relieve our neighbor who was watching Alice. So now I was being prepped for surgery and since I had a feeling that might happen I made sure not to eat or drink before I got there which after all those months of being hit by nausea if I had no food in me on this day, it had no effect on me! BUT it did make me incredibly dehydrated and while on any given day my veins are ready for a poke it took them two nurses and an anesthesiologist to finally get the IV in me. Last time I labored without drugs for over 36 hours so these contractions were not thang but they insisted on giving me a shot of something that makes contractions stop but makes my heart race. I made sure to voice my displeasure but they insisted on making my uterus rest and they gave me the stupid thing and the stupid thing made my heart race and I felt like I was gonna pass out. Everyone started sounding far away and faint, I got sweaty and pale and I had to take some serious deep breaths to calm down. The IV commotion and the failure to get good blood drawn had about 3 nurses hovering around me for awhile and since Dr. P wanted this to happen fast they had a lot to do in a little time to do it. So many papers, so many questions, so much poking and beeping. Around 2 or so my doctor arrived to tell me the other C-section was running a little late so it'd be closer to 3 probably before we got in there. That little delay allowed Matt and I to just relax for a bit after all the flurry and just reflect and I played "Dear Theodosia" to my belly and had a moment. While last time I was wheeled into the OR this time I was up and moving and walked myself in.
Let's not kid ourselves friends. Having a baby via C-Section is not the way to do it and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Get an epidural, do anything you can to avoid it if you can. It's a horrible, sterile environment and you lay there like something's seriously wrong with you but all that's happening is that you're getting a baby sliced outta you. I was able to look around the room way more this time and I just lamented the way we had to bring our boy into the world and that my body would have to endure what it was about to endure but I've made my peace with it. That's just how it was for our family. But... before they started I knew there was a shiny spot at the end of this because one of the things that had changed from the last time I had a baby sliced out of me was that they were focusing on skin to skin immediately even with C-sections so after I was stable enough they would bring him over to me and let me touch him and then I'd hold him and he wouldn't leave my side... ever. When the nurse told me that my heart soared. They did a spinal block instead of an epidural which wears off faster and doesn't require a needle staying in your back the whole time and that was a fast acting son of a gun. Immediately felt warm and tingly and I felt myself pee. They laid me down and gave me some oxygen and put up the curtain to block my view and when they were ready Matt was allowed in and held my hand. After sure enough, after what felt like an eternity and way longer than last time it felt like and hearing things like "where's the water bag?" confirming my suspicion that what I felt like really heavy pee that morning was my water breaking, cord around his neck once, and that he was breech I finally heard that sweet sound of my baby crying. Immediately the instinct kicked in. Gimme my baby. I want to hold my baby. My baby is crying I need to feed my baby, give him to me. The nurse brought him over and I got to feel him for a few minutes, his warm little cheek, his soft pink skin. He was so much smaller than Alice, probably because he was two weeks early, 7lbs, 1.2oz, and 19.25", skinny little feet and tiny hands. He looked like her though, and he had lots more little hair wisps than she did. But healthy all his fingers and toes, and a penis.
Like his sister before him, he was placed on me and helped wiggle himself right down to the boob and I nursed him. I was in the recovery room being monitored for another hour or so before they deemed me strong enough to wheel us up to the 4th floor. I held him, I smelled him, I just enjoyed my new baby while we waited for our family.
This was the part I was the most anxious and excited about, Alice finally meeting her brother. I was nursing him one more time right before she walked in and had to hand him off quickly because I wanted to be ready and waiting for her without a baby in my arms. 
My first baby. My girl. She will always be the first.
Here we are: the four of us. Alice was really curious about the baby. I held her and she kept pointing at him and we asked if she wanted to hold the baby and to our surprise she did.
She only held him for a few minutes and was very cautious and gentle before she stopped caring. I don't wanna push her too much so we were just happy she tried a little bit.
We are now home after three nights in the hospital. We're happy, we're tired, our boy is beautiful.
Alice comes home tomorrow and our real life begins as a family where this little space man came into our atmosphere. He's out of this world. Our shining star. 

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