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Monday, October 29, 2012

Kate's Story - Part III

I know this is long and dragging out, but you'll just have to get over it.  I didn't have nine months to drag out a pregnancy and birth story, so this is what you get!

Rewind - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 Part III
(You can read Part I and Part II if you're behind.)

When the volunteer found me in the waiting room and told me to go back to J's room, J's brother and son were walking around . . . somewhere.  I left his wallet, keys, and something else with the reception desk because I wanted to get back there with J as fast I could!  I began the walk down (what felt like) the long hall to L&D.  Having practiced this during our false alarm/dry run less than a week ago, I was thankful that I knew exactly where to go, how to get through the security process, and where J's room was.  I lightly tapped on the door to room LD2 not sure what was going on from the other side.

As I entered, J was already in bed wearing a gown and monitors strapped across her belly.  I learned that J was dilated to a 5.  (Of course I texted that to DH who later told me he thought we'd be there forever since it took a week to go from a 4 to a 5.  ha!)  The nurse was there and was asking some basic admission questions.  In her questioning, the nurse asked, "On a ten point scale, what is the maximum level of pain you would be willing to endure?"  J replied, "Oh . . . 7 or 8."  The nurse then replied, "Okay," as she continued to enter the information and then asked, "And at what number are you right now?"  I was confused when J replied, "TEN." All I could think was that either J was confused or she was really keeping it together with that kind of pain.  I soon told J, "If you need me to step out, just say the word.  You won't hurt my feelings."  She let me know everything was fine and asked me to stay.  Remember, it was just her and I - nobody else.  We were in this together for now.

Although the entire staff was aware of the adoption plan, the nurse asked, "Soooo . . . are you guys friends?"  J and looked at each other and giggled our responses in unison, "Yes."  Then the nurse said, "Did you just meet?"  We laughed again and said, "Well, kinda!"  It was so strange and so amazing how comfortable we were.

I could hear our baby's heartbeat on the monitor and read that J was having pretty regular and fairly strong contractions.  However, having been in three deliveries in years past, I knew she wasn't "there" yet.  We sat back and I fed her ice chips.  We chatted a little bit and both texted people - including A (agency owner) - to keep them updated. Mr. Rambler was still at school and (in my opinion) suspended in disbelief that this was really happening.  He tried to line up a sub, get plans ready, communicate to his administration, and waited for my next update before heading to the hospital.  The night before, I made a few lists for him of things to get from the house whenever "the day" finally came.  I still laugh knowing my gut had me in mommy-mode the night before our baby girl arrived.  :)

Around 9:30ish, I asked J if she'd like a cold cloth for her head.  As I went in to the very tiny bathroom and wet the washcloth, I looked at myself in the mirror and shook my head in disbelief.  I might actually become a mommy today and the precious young woman on the other side of that wall was the reason.  Was this really happening?  Was this real?  Was this yet another time I thought I was having a baby and got nothing but empty arms?  Would my heart be broken?  Did I look any different?  Setting the wet cloth on J's head, I stroked her hair asked her how she was doing and told her to try to rest if she could.  Knowing very little about her history, I began thinking that it was a strong possibility nobody ever really did that for her when she was young.  I felt a mix of feelings of love that I would have for a friend, sister, niece or daughter.  It truly hurt my heart to think that she may not have gotten the love and care that I was so blessed to have from my mom, and it solidified my maternal instinct to take care of J as best I could if she'd let me.  Before things progressed any further, I held J's hand and said, "I'm here for you but if I do or say anything you don't like, tell me.  If you want me here, I'll stay.  If you want me to leave, I'll leave.  You will NOT hurt my feelings.  I want to make sure you are comfortable and okay."

After J was fairly relaxed, I asked if she'd like for me to go get her brother so they could spend some time together.  He is a handful of years younger than J but very protective and caring of her.  Leaving my purse as my own subconscious collateral to return, I went to the waiting room and took J's son for a while.  Ahhh, the energy of a 2 1/2 year old!  He ran me ragged!  This was the first time I had spent 1:1 with him, and I kept thinking, "Wow.  I'm playing with my baby's half-brother!"  We ran down the halls, stopping to play at every water fountain.  I herded him away from the open area gift shop, trying to keep him out of all the fun toys.  We sat on the steps below the nursery window.  We raced (and I *let* him win).  My mind was half with him and half with J, and I wondered what was happening back there and what would happen next.  How would all of this go down?  When would A be here?  Would DH be here soon?  I was jolted from my thoughts when Little Man looked through the doors down towards L&D and said, "Mama?"  I told him that she was okay and seeing the doctor to make her tummy better.  I had no clue what to say but he seemed okay with it!  After what seemed like forever maybe 20 minutes at the most, J's brother came walking down the hall.  I asked him how J was doing and I could tell from the concerned look on his face that she was okay but probably pretty uncomfortable.  Not knowing what to do, I asked, "Do you think I should go back there with her?"  Thankfully he said yes, and it was all I could do not to sprint away leaving him in my dust of excitement and anxiety.

Entering the room again, I could see by the look on J's face that she was hurting.  No IV lines were in place and her arm was free of any tubes.  Again, I stroked her hair, flipped over her cool cloth, and asked the nurse when she could get drugs.  The phrase of the day was, "We have been so busy" and we were told the anesthesiologist was on the way.  I wanted J to get some relief from pain because the emotional pain had to be hard enough.  The nurse asked if J wanted her to do an exam, upon which we learned that she was dilated to 8 or 9cm.  Holy crap - we were almost there.  I texted DH and told him to hurry.  (We live an hour from the hospital, so the term hurry was very relative.)  Her water hadn't yet broken but the nurse felt the bag of water in front of the baby's head.  Soon, various people started coming in the room.  Docs/nurses from the nursery checked on the warmer, another nurse rolled in a sterile table, someone else rolled in a light and another cart and goodness knows what else.  I stayed kneeling by J's bed.  We were running out of room, but I wasn't moving unless I was told to do so.

By 10:30ish, J was in definite pain with no anesthesiologist in sight.  I asked for drugs for around probably the fourth time.  (For those wondering, I asked for drugs for J not me!)  The nurses said, "Well, she doesn't have an IV in yet."  WTH?  I calmly said, "Can someone start one?  She is really hurting."  They finally took that as more than a hint and poor J dealt with really strong contractions while nurses tried to keep her arm still and set the IV.  About 10:45 the nurse gave her 50mg of Demerol to take the edge off before the real drug man arrived.  Around then J said, "I need to get up."  (Huh?!)  "I need to get up and go to the bathroom." she said.  Wellll, having been a labor & delivery coach to a couple of friends I knew what that meant.  I asked, "Do you need to pee or poop?"  When J said it was the latter, I shot a look to the nurses who began snapping on gloves in a heartbeat.  The 2-3 nurses looked at one another and the lead nurse quietly said to the others, "We may need to do this."  Holy crap!  Where was the doctor?  Where in the hell was the drug dude??  This baby was coming no matter who was there to catch.

J then screamed and yelled, "I need to push!"  The nurse dropped the end of the bed and got her up in the stirrups for a quick check.  It was time but the doctor was not yet in the hospital.  (Insert phrase of the day about being crazy busy here.)  The doctor was on the way, so just "hold on" was what we heard.  The nurses told J not to push yet and to focus on her breathing.  At that point, I put my hand out to J and said, "Squeeze whenever you need to as hard as you need to.  You won't hurt me."  (Yeah, I was just praying she wouldn't hurt me!)  We interlaced our fingers and she began to squeeze.  I was blowing light puffs of air on her cheek to pace her breathing.  The nurse placed an oxygen mask on her face, and I held it in place since there seemed to be no time to strap it around the back of her head.  I told J over and over again that I was there, she was doing so great, and I was so proud of her.  It was so surreal that she was getting ready to deliver this baby without drugs and (hopefully) let us take that little gift home.

At this point, it was about 10:50 or so with no doctor and no anesthesiologist in sight.  There was no turning back now and no drugs to come either.  I couldn't believe it.  J began screaming while the nurse and I tried to focus her on breathing.  She said, "I have to push," to which the nurse replied, "No.  You can't push."  Seriously?? The LVN was literally holding J's knees together like that was going to stop it.  J then yelled, "You don't understand!!!!"  I thought, "Geez.  With several women in here right now, I'm sure that I'm not the only who hasn't had a baby before and STILL knows that she needs to push!"  A minute later, a doctor walked in and introduced herself.  She said J's doctor was on the way, but if she wanted to push that would be okay.  (gosh, thanks)  The doctor began to get on her gloves and gown when J said, "My water just broke."  The nurse then said, "We have mec."  I knew it was meconium and looked down to the chuck (pad) below J.  Thankfully it was a very small amount (two spots maybe the size of a quarter) & was light in color.  This was good since it can be unsafe for the baby to aspirate mec during delivery.  The nurses elevated the bed and I scrambled to find a stool since I had been on my knees at her bedside this whole time.  Luckily there was a stool on wheels since J still had a strong lock on my hand and I was still holding her oxygen mask!  I continued to breathe with her and reassure her how wonderful she was as I sat down.

J pushed once and took a breather.  That's when her doctor entered the room.  J pushed again.  Her doctor finally got into place.  J pushed a third time which delivered the head.  While I was a little torn on where to maintain my focus, I kept it on J while hoping there was a lifetime ahead of me to focus on the baby.  With another push, our baby was here.  I saw only her tiny, smooth, little back as the doctor pulled her out and they took her to the warmer.  We both held our breath waiting to hear the cries of this precious angel.  A little cry came out and it was as if we collectively exhaled in relief.  I stayed with J while the doctor had to manually extract the placenta.  I tried to look at the baby in the warmer but a monitor completely blocked my way.  I couldn't see her but could hear her small, beautiful cries come sporadically from the corner on the other side of the bed.

The nurse suddenly asked us, "Is it a boy or a girl?"  J and I both stopped breathing again and I (thinking of the plethora of pink things that had been taking over our home) said, "It *should* be a girl!"   J quickly followed up with, "Yes.  Will someone please check?!"  The nurse quickly checked and responded with, "Yes.  It IS A GIRL!"  Whew!

J looked into my eyes and with a big smile, she stole my heart by saying,
"Your little girl is here."

Part IV coming very soon . . . . . . .

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Call It What It Is

This is a only a small representation of what some might called "hoarding."  Here, we call it "Emergency Preparedness."

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Full Heart

Kate went to see her first collegiate soccer game today and FINALLY got to meet her cousin, Whitney.  If you know me or know anything about me, you know my love for Whitney.  She has always been like she was (is!) my own.  My heart skipped a beat when I saw this photo taken today:

kekis' baby girls - be still my heart
This shows a full circle moment in my world.  How surreal that my sweetie girl Whitney is holding my baby daughter, Kate.  Something I thought would never happen has.  Off to cry some more . . .

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Kate's Story - Part II

Busy doesn't describe how things have been since Kate was born.  Thankfully, her birth story is etched permanently into my brain.  However, I still want to get it all written so I don't forget it when I lose my mind someday.  So, back to the day our precious daughter was born . . .

Rewind -- Tuesday, September 11, 2012  Part II  (Here's Part I if you missed it.)

At some point, I did remember to call DH and let him know that I was on the way to the hospital to meet J.  I honestly don't know if I called from school or from on the road.  :)   His plan was to remain at work & line up the rest of his day for a substitute in case this was the real deal.  I remember calling my sister, my parents, my brother, and maybe a few others but I can't remember everyone.

After our dry run the week before, I was thankful to know exactly where I was going.  Considering it was still within rush hour, most people stayed out of my way and let me get to the hospital in a timely manner.  My focus was on driving safely and checking the roadside every now and then to see if J was on the side of the road delivering a baby.  Don't think I'm kidding!  I tried listening to some soothing music to keep myself calm and safe.

Texts continued in from A (agency co-owner) and, as I pulled in to the Labor & Delivery parking lot, she texted me that J had just gotten there.  Good timing so far!  As I entered the building, I saw J's brother and her son in the hall.  Following them while trying not to look like a panic-stricken, overly-excited, hopefully Mommy-to-be stalker type, I heard "Kristin!" from behind me.  J was sitting in the lobby chairs, and I had just passed right by her!  As I walked to her, I smiled and could tell she was tired.  Although this was only the third time we had ever seen one another, it felt extremely comfortable being together.  We talked - though I don't remember about what exactly - and sent texts here & there since both of our phones were blowing up simultaneously.

What seemed like forever was about fifteen minutes or so, and the desk clerk called J's name.  She hoisted herself out of the chair and walked gingerly towards the desk.  They brought her a wheelchair and she sat there answering questions.  Soon, they wheeled her back to L&D while J's brother, son and I prepared to wait.  I offered them granola bars and water and apples that I had shoved into a bag before leaving school.  My hunger waned as my nerves slowly increased, so I continued to drink my water.

J's son is not quite 2 1/2, so he proceeded to cruise the halls, run through the automatic doors, check out the gift shop, etc.  He is such a cute, sweet, and active little boy.  J's brother lovingly followed him around trying to let him be active while keeping him safe.  It warmed my heart to know that I was watching the uncle and half-brother of our baby girl on the day of her birth.    Of course, my mind was with J and hoping she was doing okay.  Since A lived a fair distance from the hospital, I knew it would be a bit before she arrived.

We had not yet discussed a hospital plan, so I had no idea what to expect.  I was looking forward to A's arrival so she could orchestrate everything and make sure everyone was comfortable with how things progressed.  She was the only one to whom this was not foreign territory, and she always handled things with the greatest of ease while making sure we all knew what was happening along the way.

As I watched the guys cruise around the lobby and halls, my mind wandered a bit until a nice woman came up to me and said, "Are you here with J?  She'd like you to come back."  With a big smile on my face, I headed back to the labor & delivery rooms wondering what lied ahead of me.  Little did I know . . .

Monday, October 15, 2012

Kate: One Month

Can't believe our baby girl is already one month old!  This isn't the best shot of the bunch, but I think it's hilarious because Kate is sporting a look that says, "Seriously Mommy?  Pictures again?"  Goodness, I love this little girl.

At her one month check-up, Kate weighed a whopping 9 lbs. 2 oz. - up 2 pounds from her birth weight!  Dr. D said, "Soooo . . . you're feeding your baby?"  Haha!  She is doing superb.  Still battling some gassiness but she's cuter than ever and precious and funny and pretty and lovey and feisty and strong and . . .

Yeah, we're in love with little Katherine Leigh.

Monday, October 8, 2012

What's in a Name?

If my daughter grows up not knowing what her name is, I will know why.  We have so many nicknames for her right now that I can't even keep up with them all.  A few different names we call Katherine besides her true nickname of Kate are:

Baby Cheetah
Baby Girl
Sweet Baby Girl
Little Pterodactyl
Princess Leia
Chubber Cheeks
Miss Thang
Jane Fonda (after she started doing butt lifts on her changing table)

You have one guess to figure out which two names we use when she's screaming & crying.  Won't be difficult!

And because you KNOW there's never enough cuteness, here's a pic from today.  Mommy needs some Botox.  :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Stealing Daddy's Heart

Kate and Daddy had a very rough afternoon on Saturday while I ran a few errands.  It was the beginning of her colic, and Mr. Rambler got it all.  I came home to an exasperated husband and worn out baby girl.  Of course as a crazy person Mom, I worried that DH wouldn't want much to do with her after that experience.

After I got Kate ready for bed that night, I took our little bundle to Daddy for a goodnight kiss.  I said, "Say night-night to Daddy, Kate.  He wants to give you sweet kisses."  As I leaned down for him to kiss her, Kate turned her head, puckered her lips, and made a kiss sound!  It was sssoooooo sweet!  The look on his face was absolutely priceless.

And Daddy fell in love with his baby girl . . . again.

There's nothing like a Daddy's girl.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The C Word

If you've been reading this blog for long, you've probably figured out I can easily exercise the mouth of sailor.  However, I hate the "C" word.  But now it has a whole new meaning.


For the past four days, my sweet little angel turns into a screaming, shrieking hellcat for a handful of hours each day.  It's so sad and awful.  I feel so helpless in trying to help her and feel so sorry for her. I'm great at keeping my cool with her and didn't cry until my mom called tonight.

Dear Sweet Baby Jesus Lying in a Manger Lord in Heaven ---- Have Mercy on Me.  This too shall pass . . . . . .

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