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Miss McKenzie Grace made her appearance into the world November 17 at 1:10pm weighing 8 lbs 5 oz. Despite wanting to have a VBAC, she arrived via c-section at 41 weeks and 2 days along and is quite healthy and doing great.
So the last update was when I was 36 weeks and it’s hard to believe it wasn’t longer ago. It feels like so much has happened in a short time! The next few weeks went along fine, as far as the pregnancy. My main focus in those couple of weeks was still fine tuning the boys sleeping and schedule situation. I mentioned in the previous update that we were working on getting the boys back into some good sleep habits after moving them to toddler beds and one of the things that FINALLY clicked into place just before McKenzie was born was their mornings.
As you may recall, they were waking up super early and mornings were very unpredictable. In a final effort to get them to stay in their rooms until a more reasonable time, I bought a Hatch light. It’s technically a nightlight/white noise machine, but the primary reason I got it was the “time to rise” light. Basically you can set it from your phone to be one color when they should stay in their room and then change to another color when they can “wake” and come out of their room.
In addition to the light (because I was desperate for quick results), I created a “treasure box”. My sister-in-law had one with her girls when they were young and it worked perfectly for her with getting her one daughter to stay in bed, so I added that in the mix too. To make the treasure box, I just got a big plastic container and went to the dollar store and added some fun little toys and things to it.
The night we tried it for the first time, I showed the boys the treasure chest and let them get a little excited about the toys in there and then explained the light. I changed the colors with my phone to show them how it worked. It would be red when they woke up in the morning and red meant to stay in bed. When it turned green, they could come out of their room and get something from the treasure box. If they came out when it was red, then no treasure box. It took about 3 days of learning and one of those days they came out on red and in order to teach them, we didn’t do treasure box that day. But ever since then, they have caught on perfectly. They literally come running out of their room saying “green light, green light” and can’t wait to show us and then get into the treasure box. It’s been a hit and I’m a fan. We even recently started it with nap time and it’s amazing. So all that happened the week or so before McKenzie was born.
I’d like a VBAC, please
As I mentioned in the last post, I’d really been hoping for a VBAC. Starting at 38 weeks, I was hoping and praying to go into labor, since my doctor said I had to go into labor on my own. He ended up telling me that sweeping my membranes was an option and that they could induce me if I dilated a couple centimeters, but my body and the baby would not cooperate.
My doctor checked to see if I was dilated at 38 weeks and things were locked down tightly, although my cervix was apparently super soft and the baby was head down. I had two appointments in my 39th week because we were really hoping he’d be able to sweep my membranes to help jump start things. My c-section was originally scheduled for November 10th and I desperately didn’t want to do that. The recovery is just not fun, especially with two big, busy toddlers to take care of. But still my body wouldn’t have it. Not only was I not dilated, but it seemed my cervix was really long and he couldn’t seem to get where he needed to get to be able to do the membrane sweep and check things out properly.
So in an effort to give myself and the baby more time, we pushed the c-section back a week. I was uncomfortable and so ready, but I knew the temporary discomfort of being pregnant for longer would be worth it if I didn’t have to have a major surgery.
That final week I went to a chiropractor that a friend recommended – 3 times. I tried walking (and even running after the boys), eggplant parmesan (twice) and allllll the things to try to go into labor. I had two more doctor’s appointments that proved fruitless. Finally, the Thursday night before the c-section (which was on Tuesday), I started to have contractions that were super consistent, lasted about a minute and were 3-4 minutes apart for about an hour or so. I even lost my mucous plug. We got excited, called the doctor and they said to come in. But as we were getting ready, things just kind of stopped. I had a doctor’s appointment set for first thing that morning already so instead of going to the hospital, I went to that appointment.
Again he checked things. He confirmed that I’d lost my mucous plug and said that my cervix was so long, he really couldn’t tell about anything else. BUT at that point, he kind of expected that I’d probably go into labor over the weekend.
Boy were we all hopeful.
Friday night it happened again, but the contractions were even stronger. My mom had been staying with us while we waited to for baby and she, the hubs and I were all convinced this was it. Again, we went to get ready to go to the hospital – and everything just stopped. So depressing.
Over the next couple of days I had fewer and fewer contractions. Go figure!
I was actually quite emotional as I came to terms with the fact that I’d probably have a c-section in a few days. I had been so hopeful for an easier recovery with a VBAC and it was hard to accept not having that. Plus, my prior c-section experience was really quite bad. The hubs and I were kind of afraid of it being that bad again. I don’t even think I realized it fully at the time, but over the last couple years, as I’ve looked back on everything, it was a horrible experience the first time around. I still get emotional talking about all of it. I genuinely didn’t want to go through it again. I prayed about it a good bit and finally got to a good place and accepted it.
We went in for the c-section that morning armed with the knowledge of what we didn’t like about the last experience and hoping to be able to voice our concerns along the way and have a better experience this time. Last time had been an emergency c-section (like a big emergency – once they told me it was happening, everything started 20 minutes later) and we had also been at the main hospital where they have lots of lots of births. This time it wasn’t an emergency and we were at the hospital out by us where they are far less busy.
Things started off iffy when it took 5 tries before they could get my IV in. The hubs and were like, “Oh no. Not a good sign.” LOL. However, everything from that point on was exceptionally better than the previous experience. Like so, so much better.
To start, there was the epidural. Last time, it was extremely painful and he had to do it twice. Plus, the numbness was so bad I literally could focus on nothing but trying to breath throughout the entire c-section. I was so out of it and I really believe the effects of that lasted for weeks afterwards. This was my biggest fear this time around because it was the worst part of my experience. I can’t even fully describe it all, but I NEEDED to be myself both during and after this birth. I feel like I had a little PPD after the twins and largely feel that the epidural played into that.
So anyhow, we expressed our concerns when the anesthesiologist came in and he said it was kind of normal to feel like you can’t breathe, even though you actually can. So when when he put in the epidural, the hubs was right next to me and we were just waiting for the pain. Fortunately, it was pain that never came. He did a WAY better job! There was pretty much no pain at all and I could still totally breath. The hubs was thrilled because I was clearly still myself and all was well and as we’d hoped. I was numb like I should be, but not more than that. This actually confirmed to me that the first experience was not right and i’m so thankful for a better experience this time.
When we got into the actual surgery, there ended up being complications from my previous c-section. It took longer to get McKenzie out as a result. It turns out there was a bunch of scar tissue and my bladder was attached to my uterus. So my doctor had to cut my uterus vertically instead of horizontally in order to get McKenzie out. After she was out, he spent a while fixing things up. Apparently he removed a bunch of scar tissue and worked on my bladder. He ran some blue dye through to make sure there weren’t any punctures. He did a couple other things and it all basically took about an hour and a half. A fairly long procedure. The anesthesiologist asked if I wanted to be put under and I said no. I was still myself and didn’t want to lose that by going under. So he gave me a little more pain medicine and I waited. It was funky because I could kind of feel them doing stuff, but it was fine.
So after all of that, we ended up being kind of glad that a c-section had happened. My doctor was surprised that all the scar tissue and everything hadn’t been causing pain or problems, so it’s probably for the best that I had a c-setion. Now hopefully there won’t be problems down the road.
Next was moving into recovery. Again, a better experience. Rather than milking me like a cow to feed my babies (literally), the nurse helped facilitate breast feeding, which McKenzie did beautifully and never looked back. I know this is often a very hard thing, so again I was grateful. It was tough with the boys at first for various reasons, so this was a big blessing.
The next few days of recovery were overall better than last time. My nurses were awesome! One of the first things they try to do after a c-section is remove the catheter after about 24 hours. For me that was in the middle of the night. However, my nurse noticed that my urine output wasn’t great despite the fact that I’d been drinking a lot of water. There was a lot of back and forth with another nurse as they figured it out and got things right PRIOR to removing the catheter. I was thankful for their attention to that because once they removed it, there were no issues. With my previous c-section, they just removed it and then I ended up having issues and I won’t go into detail on that, but let’s just say this time was better.
I won’t dwell more on the recovery details, but it was just so dramatically better this time around and the nurses were seriously wonderful. The hubs and I couldn’t get over how much better this experience was in every way. From my doctor doing a great job repairing me, to the nurses actually seeming like they care about their patients, to the way I recovered and was supported, it was just better and I can’t say enough how thankful we are. Also, because of all the rules in our current world health situation, we obviously couldn’t have visitors. While visitors were wonderful last time, I will say that the hubs and I truly enjoyed just being together and really having time to settle in and let me recover without any distractions. It was very peaceful.
Going Home and Big Brothers
We went home after a few days in the hospital. My mom was taking care of the boys for us until we got home.
When we left for home, we were excited for the boys to meet McKenzie. I feel like as parents we all look forward to those moments and the boys totally exceeded my expectations. It had been hard to know how much the boys really understood about me being pregnant and a baby coming, but seeing them with her made it very clear that they understood. They were adorable and so loving!
Those boys couldn’t stop caressing her hair, giving her kisses on the head and just looking at her. It was absolutely precious. They clearly knew she was McKenzie and came from mommy’s belly. They couldn’t wait to sit down and hold her (with assistance, of course). It was just so darn precious.
And they really are still great with her. We sometimes have to remind them to be careful and gentle, but they love to lay on the floor next to her, hand her a teddy bear when she fusses, give her kisses and alert me when she seems like she’s getting upset. It’s going to be fun to watch their relationships change and grow.
Recovering at home was pretty much what I remembered from last time. For me, moving around and getting up and down is the hardest. Especially when laying down to sleep. So I actually slept in the rocker/recliner we have in McKenzie’s room for the first 4-5 days until the pain got more manageable. At that point, things started cruising along a little better and all seemed well.
A Late Night ER Visit
Then at almost 3 weeks postpartum, I started having some pains. At first, it seemed like my ribs were sore. Then it seemed like maybe I had slept funny and my back was sore. Then my back got more and more sore – all over less than 24 hours. So I made an appointment with the chiropractor I’d seen while pregnant to see if that would help.
But by that evening, the pain got worse. I was baby-wearing McKenzie while making dinner and the pain I had while trying to breathe got so bad I could hardly breathe. It just hurt so badly that my breaths became shallower and shallower. I put McKenzie down and the pain started to ease up and after 15-20 minutes was ok. Then in the middle of the night it happened again when I was holding her. The pain got so intense that I had to go wake my mom and hand her off as quickly as possible. I couldn’t breathe and the pain was excruciating.
I had no idea what was wrong. I didn’t know if I should wait for the chiropractor in the morning, which didn’t seem like the issue at that point, or try to see a doctor. But what doctor? I ended up calling my OBGYN and they said the concern would be for a blood clot, so they said to go to the ER. I ended up being diagnosed with pneumonia and plural effusion, which is fluid build up in my chest/lungs. They gave me medication and sent me on my way.
The pain was still awful for the next day or so, but after that it got better quickly. Thank goodness. I was just ready to feel healthy and be able to take care of my kids.
And I would say that’s the hardest part so far is just wanting to be able to be everything for all 3 kids and right now that’s just very hard. I’m trying very hard to be as available for the boys as possible, while also making sure McKenzie has all she needs. A challenge, for sure.
Fortunately, McKenzie is such a sweet baby. Unlike our experience with the boys, she has fallen right into a sleep schedule, generally naps very well and after about the first week (she got back up to birth weight pretty quickly) started sleeping in 5-6 hour stretches at night. Right now she goes to bed between 9pm and 9:30pm, depending on how quickly she settles, and sleeps until between 2am and 3am. She eats again between 6am and 7am and then sleeps again until 9am. She’s doing great. And while I would never expect that from a newborn because babies are babies, I’m thankful for it at this point. She’s only a month old as of tomorrow, so things could change, but at the moment she’s doing great and is super healthy and gaining weight well.
We are totally in love with her. Love love love. She’s awesome and sweet and – according to most everyone – my little mini-me. Despite the craziness of the last month, it’s been full of very sweet moments and lots of love. We are thankful for the blessing of our children and seeing our family complete. God is so good! If you’ve followed our journey for long, you know it wasn’t an easy one. But God brought us to where we are now and it couldn’t be a more beautiful place. Through all of it, He’s shown me that trusting Him is best and that His plans always work out for the best. I truly believe that – even though there are hard moments – and I’m so thankful. We have healthy, beautiful children and I’m forever grateful.