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While gazing at our beautiful daughter a few weeks ago my husband said to me

“I never knew how much I wanted a daughter until I had one.”

Sometimes my husband is wrong. In this case he couldn’t possibly be more right.

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We were scheduled for a 10 am c-section and needed to be at the hospital by 7:45 to get checked in and up to our room by 8 am. I was given strict instructions to not eat or drink ANYTHING after midnight the night before. We arrived at the hospital a few minutes early and my husband dropped me and the luggage off at the front door and I waited in the lobby on the couch while he went to park the car. The woman working the info desk saw me come in and no more than a minute later she came over to me and asked if I was OK. I wonder if I looked so awful that she was honestly concerned about me or if it’s just standard procedure to check in with pregnant women hanging out in the lobby.

Anyway, we checked in and were told to go up to our floor where we were shown to our room. Our nurse came in and told us what was going to happen between then and when we actually went down for the birth and gave me a gown to change into. Then she left us to get everything ready to take my vitals and do our intake paperwork. While she was gone, we tried to get as unpacked as possible so that everything was ready when we came back to the room.

Waiting...

Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before she arrived back in our room with machines to take my vitals and a computer to do all of our intake paperwork. She went through a list of questions with me, nearly all of which I had already answered on the phone with a different nurse a few days before. The nurse was surprised that I had already answered all of the questions and commented how that would save a lot of time before the surgery. She came back in and brought some scrubs for my husband for surgery.

Ready to become a dad!

Then she shaved me, ahem, “down there” and got my IV going. After that point she told us that things with the first c-section of the morning were going well and I may be able to get in early, maybe around 9:30 instead of 10. I was excited, but nervous all at the same time. 9:30 came and went and eventually she returned to tell us that they had gotten behind and my surgery was actually going to be delayed now. Time was creeping by and I was getting antsy, so I played solitaire games on the Ninetendo DS which helped to take my mind off of things.

Eventually the nurse came back in to tell us that they were getting ready for us and we’d be going down shortly. Around 10:30 we left our room and went down a floor to the operating suite.

The walk down to the OR

We initially went into the recovery room where we got our hair covers and my husband got a pair of booties to wear.

Waiting to go into the OR

I was happy to see that one of the nurses, Dee, who was going to be taking care of me during surgery was the one who was with me during and after our attempted external version. She had told me at the version that she is a surgical nurse and she’d probably be there for my c-section, and it was definitely nice to see a familiar face. After a few minutes, I was taken into the OR to get my spinal, while my husband had to wait in the recovery room until I was prepped for surgery. The surgical suite seemed like organized chaos to me. There were many more people in the room than I ever expected. There was Dee, at least three other nurses, an anesthesiologist, someone else who was with the anesthesiologist (a supervisor perhaps?), and my OB who would perform the actually surgery.

They had me crawl up on the table and face the wall so they could do the spinal. Dee stood in front of me and rubbed my legs and hands while they prepped my back for the spinal. As I sat there amongst all of the chaos around me, I was completely overwhelmed by emotion. Before I knew it, I was in tears. Tears for the anxiety and fear of the impending surgery and recovery. Tears for my lost dream of a vaginal delivery and being an active participant in our daughter’s birth. Tears because for as nice and caring as nurse Dee was, I wanted nothing more than for my husband to be the one rubbing my hands and legs. Tears for the realization that within a few minutes we would finally meet the baby that we had been so eagerly anticipating for more than three years.

I could hear one of the nurses taking inventory of all of the supplies included in the c-section surgery kit and the rest of the people in the room were discussing Shaun White’s performance in the Olympics the night before. I started sniffling as the tears continued to fall and Dee asked if I wanted a tissue. As first I declined, then as my nose started running I reconsidered and took the tissue. I wiped my eyes and nose, all while trying not to move as the spinal was being administered. I didn’t really notice the pinch or sting of the numbing medicine and I tried to focus on the sound of the blood pressure machine as it clicked on and off, constantly monitoring me. Before I knew it, my feet began to feel warm and tingly and the sensation moved up my legs, which were all of the sudden like tree trunks and completely immoveable. They helped me to roll over onto my back and tested the effectiveness of the spinal. I could feel the pressure of them touching my stomach, but not the cold temperature of whatever it was they were using to test the spinal. Satisfied that the spinal was effective, they inserted the catheter and began prepping my belly for the surgery. While they were prepping me, small waves of nausea began to wash over me. Not “I’m going to puke” nausea, but just “I feel slightly sick and lightheaded and really weird.” I started breathing deeply in through my nose and out through my mouth in an effort to calm myself down, which I think must have worried the anesthesiologist because she kept asking if I was OK.

After what seemed like an eternity, they finally brought my husband in to the OR. I was so happy to see him and told him how upset I was that he wasn’t there with me. He told me that it was awful for him to be sitting out in the recovery room all by himself while I was being prepped. Happily reunited, we sat there together waiting for the surgery to begin. They taped the drape to my stomach, put some warm linens on my arms and then they began. There was a lot of chatter back and forth between the people in the room, most of which I paid no attention to. The anesthesiologist would tell us what they were doing and how things were going. Contrary to what I’d always heard about c-sections (you’ll feel lots of pressure, but not pain), I really felt nothing at all. The thing I remember most was that my body seemed to always be in motion, rocking back and forth slightly on the table as the doctor did her work. The entire situation was extremely overwhelming for me so I continued to breathe deeply trying to stay as relaxed and happy as possible. At one point I remember hearing my doctor said to someone “Wow, she’s got great abs” and then she yelled over to me to tell me the same thing. It struck me as such an odd comment and then it hit me that she was actually talking about my muscles. My insides. I have nice abs. What a strange comment to hear during your baby’s birth.

Eventually the doctor said that she was going to break my sac of fluids and the anesthesiologist told us that we would hear a gush, which intrigued me. I never did hear the gush, but then the doctor said that she would have our daughter out soon and I became completely focused on identifying the moment when she came out. Of course I was completely numb and there was no hope that I could actually know when she was pulled out of the home she’d spent 40 weeks inside. The only indication of when she was actually born was the sound of her cries as she came out.

I immediately started crying. As I struggled with infertility, the one thing that I focused on was getting that positive pregnancy test. That was my one and only goal. I knew that once I finally got pregnant, life wouldn’t be all rainbows and sunshine, but I never anticipated the stress of the first trimester with all of the bleeding and constant worry that something would go wrong. I was much more relaxed for the rest of the pregnancy, but back in a teeny, tiny corner of my mind there was always the worry that something could go wrong. I was always focused on the moment when I could hold her in my arms to know that she had arrived safely. Obviously that moment of holding our daughter for the first time would be delayed with a c-section, so instead I focused on those first cries. When she came out crying, it was the happiest moment of my life. She had a good strong cry, which was all I had hoped for and those little baby cries had both me and my husband in tears. This was a moment we’d waited a long three plus years for. We looked at each other and smiled, knowing that our daughter was finally here.

All of the sudden there was chatter everywhere: “Wow, she’s a big one!” “She looks great!” “Listen to those cries…we love it when they come out crying!” “She’s a big baby!” All of the comments on how big she was had me wondering what kind of giant baby I had carried inside of me. They did what they needed to do to get her ready to show to us and finally they said “look at the top of the curtain to meet your daughter.” I looked up and there was a tiny little head floating over the top of the curtain. In all honesty, I didn’t really process what she looked like at all. She was very swollen and still pretty gunky, plus they didn’t really have her held quite high enough to see her whole face. It didn’t matter to me though. She was our daughter. Our long awaited baby was finally here. That in itself was perfection. They told Mark to come around the curtain to be with her as she was weighed and measured. He turned to me and asked if I was OK and I told him I was fine and to go be with our daughter.

She's just brand new

I was left there alone as they stitched me up. In front of me, high on the curtain, was a small round blood stain where they must have accidentally touched Nina’s head while they were lifting her up to show her to us. I focused on that little red spot, knowing that it came from our baby girl. It was the closest thing that I had to her for that moment.

I could hear my husband on the other side of the room with Nina where he was fawning over her and giggling. It made me so happy to hear the joy in his voice, knowing that his adult dream of being a dad had finally come true. Eventually he returned to me with our little daughter all bundled up and introduced me to her.

One Small Wish granted...one happy family

She was perfect. Even with all of the swelling, you could tell she was just adorable. She looked to be in such peace, all swaddled up with her little hat on. I wanted nothing more than to hold her, but there really wasn’t any way to do so since the drape prevented my arms from going any lower than my armpits. Instead Mark brought her down to my face so I could give her a big kiss. We were finally the family we had dreamed of becoming. My One Small Wish has finally been granted.

Thank you lovely ladies for all of the support regarding my previous few posts. It is always nice to know that you are not alone and that there are others who understand what you’re going through and can offer advice of their own.

A couple of days after my Blubbering Mess post, I had another small breakdown and my husband sat down and talked everything out with me. I told him that I’d never felt so alone in all of my life and I felt like he didn’t even love me anymore. I told him that I was frustrated with how things were going and that what I needed most was to be given words of encouragement and to be told how much he loved me. My guess is that it was a combo of him doing those things for me and my hormones leveling out as I immediately felt better and continue to feel really good. Bye, bye baby blues! We’ve been really enjoying life since that point.

I did end up sending my friend an e-mail about her infertility struggle. I told her that I was well aware that it was none of my business, but I wanted her to know that we also struggled to conceive and I was there for her if she ever wanted to talk. I didn’t hear anything from her for five days and was convinced that I had somehow offended, embarrassed or angered her. Last night we were together with some of our other friends and she seemed as cordial as usual, so then I wondered if she even got my e-mail in the first place. On our way out to our cars at the end of the evening she pulled me aside and told me that she got my e-mail. She said she just wanted to talk to me about it in person and that’s why she hadn’t responded. She said that she really doesn’t have anyone to talk about it with who can directly relate to what she’s going through. Her family is aware, but none of them ever dealt with infertility, so they can’t put themselves in her place. We’re going to get together to talk next week and hopefully I can provide some sort of an outlet for her.

Nina is gaining weight like a champ. She was born at 8lbs 7oz and rapidly lost weight to the point where she was 7lbs 5oz the night before we left the hospital. Because she’d lost 12% of her body weight at that point, it was recommended that we supplement her to help her get back on track with her weight gain. She would eat on one side and then I would use a syringe filled with formula with a narrow tube attached to it and thread that into her mouth as she ate on the second side. The formula did the trick and she maintained her weight by the time we checked out of the hospital. We continued supplementing her until her two day post discharge check up where she was up to 7lb 7oz and the doctor determined that we could stop supplementing her. We just went back two days ago on her one month birthday and she’s now up to 9lbs 6oz, so she’s caught back up nicely.

Breastfeeding is going well and as such we were able to introduce both a pacifier and bottle this week without confusion. It will be nice for other people to be able to feed her with a bottle so that I can be away from her for more than a couple of hours at a time if necessary. It will also be nice for Mark to be able to take part in feeding her and be able to bond with her that way. He got such a kick out of giving her the first bottle and can’t wait to do it again. On a related note, we’re not 100% sold on the bottles we have (The First Years Breastflow) and are looking to try other bottles. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Nina turned one month old two days ago. It is nearly impossible for me to believe that she’s been in the outside world for four weeks already. It seems like just yesterday that we brought her home. I know that everyone says that the time goes by so quickly and to be sure to enjoy every moment of it, but this first month has gone by faster than I could have ever imagined. I am sure that a large part of it has to do with the lack of sleep and the fact that each day seems to pass by in the blink of an eye. We’ve done our best to get out and about as much as possible and I think that has made the time go by quickly as well. Nina’s been to over 10 restaurants, been geocaching on two separate occasions and to the dog park a few times. We love integrating her into every aspect of our lives and can’t imagine life without her now.

Being a mom is more than I could have ever hoped for. I have so immensely enjoyed this first month getting to know our daughter. My husband has less than two weeks of work left at his current job and then we’ll have six weeks off together before I go back to work to enjoy Nina and make memories that we will fondly look back on and smile. We’ve got lots of baseball tickets for this spring and we’ll be taking a trip out to Seattle to introduce Nina to her aunt, uncle and nieces. We plan to take more local trips around our state with her as well and I’m sure there will be lots of other fun things to come in the next two months as well. As much fun as we have planned for the future, I have to slow down and remember to savor the here and now too. We’ve waited so long for this…I don’t want to miss a moment of it.

Worst mom ever?

Beyond the fear of the highly unlikely (that Nina would just stop breathing in the middle of the night, or that someone would break into our house and steal her), my biggest nighttime worry is that she will wake up needing something and I won’t know it for hours while she is left all alone in her crib. It’s something that I’ve pondered every time that I’ve put her down in her bed and went to sleep in our room (which is a shockingly low number, by the way, but that’s another subject for another post). I don’t want to even THINK about my baby girl crying alone in her room waiting for god knows how long for someone to come and help her.

It just happened. I just woke up to the sound of my husband bringing little Nina into our bedroom. He said he got up to go to the bathroom and she was screaming bloody murder in her crib.

“But how does that happen? Don’t you have a monitor?” I can hear you asking the most obvious questions there are. The simple answer is yes, we do have a monitor. The unfortunate answer is that for the monitor to work, you have to recharge the batteries every once in a while.

I know that our monitor has a warning when the batteries are getting low…it’s one of the things I looked for when I picked out what monitor to get. However, it appears that a the sound of the humidifier and fan in our bedroom are loud enough to make the low battery warning completely inaudible to a tired and happily sleeping mama.

I immediately knew something was wrong when I heard my husband come in the bedroom…it was through the main bedroom doorway, not the bathroom doorway as is normal for a middle of the night awakening. In a panic, I asked what was going on. He replied that she was in her crib screaming “something fierce” and didn’t I turn the monitor on? Of course I did! My fear of this exact situation has left me double, triple and even quadruple checking that damn monitor to make sure that:

a. It’s turned on
b. The volume is up (on one occasion the volume was accidentally turned down all the way…thankfully this happened during the day and I was just in the other room and could still hear her without the monitor)
c. It’s on the right channel

Despite trying to do everything right and feeling like there was no way it could go wrong, it sure did. Note to self: if not using the monitor in a location where it NEEDS to be cordless, it’s best just to leave it plugged in.

And the part that makes me feel even worse is that we have a monitor with two receivers. The first is in the living room and is the one that we use the most often. Sadly and ironically, the second receiver lives in our bedroom…unplugged. Yes, the whole situation could have been avoided if I had not been so lazy and actually searched out a plug in our bedroom that continues to be powered even if the light switch isn’t on. It something we’re running really low on (two alarm clocks, a fan, a humidifier and my heating pad pretty much used up all of the available outlets) and I’ve been too lazy to properly investigate the situation and remedy it. So we’d just been carrying the living room receiver around with us wherever we needed it. Rest assured that project will be top of my priority list tomorrow.

So the good news is that she had only been in her crib for a little over two hours. It’s not unimaginable to think that she had been sleeping most of that time and had just recently woken up. My husband was also able to calm her down just by picking her up and holding her. I have to believe that had she been really, really upset, it would have taken a lot more to settle her down. And finally, she was not super hot in the face, which she always is if she has been worked up for a while. (Can you tell I’m trying everything I can to make myself feel better about the whole thing?)

I know it’s a rookie mistake and one that lots of new moms probably make. I also know that this will not guarantee years of therapy down the road because she has repressed feelings of abandonment (not to mention the fact that we’ll likely be the cause of way bigger things to need therapy for down the road). I know that she’s sleeping happily and contentedly in my arms right now and any thoughts of being alone in her crib are likely completely erased from her memory by now. I know that it’s not the end of the world.

But none of that stops me from feeling like the worst mama ever, for right now at least.

Our History

Dec 2006 - Started trying to conceive
Summer 2007 - Semen analysis (great), progesterone test (normal)
Dec 2007 - SHG normal
Jan 2008 - 1st RE appointment
Feb - Mar 2008 - Diagnosed with elevated FSH levels, 2 rounds of IUI with 5mg of Femara
Apr - Jun 2008 - Seeing a new RE. 3 rounds of IUI with 12.5mg of Femara, all busts. HSG normal
July 2008 - Moving on to IVF at a new clinic
Aug/Sep 2008 - 1st IVF cycle - cancelled due to poor response
Nov/Dec 2008 - Retry IVF, transferred one blast and one morula, negative beta
Feb/Mar 2009 - 2nd IVF cycle - Antagonist protocol
May 2009 - 3rd and final attempt at IVF - Antagonist protocol
Feb 18th, 2010 - our One Small Wish comes true: Nina Adele is born.

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