Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Baby Story: Anabelle Marie Guy

WARNING:  This is incredibly long!

First let me start by saying how HORRIBLY amiss I have been in this tale.  I really wanted to get it written much sooner as I didn’t want to forget any of the details, but having a newborn is a bit difficult.  Now that Anabelle is 16 weeks (I can’t believe I just typed that), things have settled down, I have gone back to work, and I can really take a moment to write about the events leading up to the big day as well as the big day itself.

My last blog post was at 37 weeks (I had to go back and read it just to make sure!) At my weekly appointment at 38 weeks, I had surprised my doctor by dilating another centimeter to 3 and becoming 90% effaced.  She also made the comment that Anabelle had dropped so low; she could actually feel her head! She thought I would go early too!  Leading into what would be my last appointment I did EVERYTHING I could think/read about to naturally induce this baby out.  Fresh pineapple, walking, evening primrose oil, walking... at 39 weeks, or the Friday before I had Anabelle, I was dilated to 4 centimeters but still only 90% effaced.  I had a very serious conversation with my doctor about being induced.  Although I said from the very beginning I would do everything possible NOT to be induced, I wanted my baby out and in my arms before my sister’s wedding.  My doctor’s responses, “Well, let’s go ahead and strip your membranes. That should get things going.  And if you don’t go on your own by Monday, I will schedule you to be induced at 6am.  But trust me; you are going to be miserable for your sister’s wedding.”  HA!  What faith she had in me!  Throughout all of this, you could tell Billy was becoming more and more anxious as the weeks passed.  He was over it!  He wanted to go to the hospital right then and there, but I was still not quite ready to give in to induction.

Fresh cut pineapple... Didn't work!
Primrose oil... didn't work!
So, after my appointment on Friday, we called our parents and let them know that it could be any moment, but if not, we would have a baby by Monday.  Everyone was ecstatic and I was so anxious, I decided to make that my last day and not go to work.  Not only was I excited and nervous, but I started having contractions due to the stripping of the membranes.  I was FOR SURE I would be having my baby that weekend, I was wrong.

Friday night, Billy and I walked to the Fall Foliage to try to get things moving, nothing happened.  Saturday morning we walked all over town to try to get things moving, nothing happened.  We probably walked the square 20 times over the course of the weekend, nothing happened.  That’s not true, something happened.  In between all that walking, we watched an entire season of Scandal.  SO GOOD!  So by Sunday, we were bummed.  I REALLY wanted to go into labor on my own, but it didn’t look like it was in the cards for me.  So Sunday, we got up, walked down to the parade route and watched the Fall Foliage.  At one point, I actually had three different complete strangers ask me if I needed water!  HA!  I must have looked huge and exhausted.  After the parade, we spent our last evening as just the two of us with good friends.  We ate, played cards, and just relaxed as we knew it would be the last time we could do that for a while. 

By the time we got home on Sunday, contractions were coming much quicker, but not with any set frequency.  I started timing them, for fun, and contractions were coming anywhere between 5-7 minutes apart and lasting between 45 seconds to a minute and a half.  We called the on call doctor just to make sure I was fine to continue to labor at home, and he said that unless things sped up, he would see me bright and early at 6am the following morning, Monday, October 14.  So with bags packed and everything ready, Billy and I went to bed, for the last time as a family of two.

I slept better the night before Anabelle was born than I slept throughout the entire pregnancy, though Billy forced me to sleep on a TON of towels in case my water broke.  I think that was just my body’s way of storing up energy for what was about to happen, but also realizing that it was almost over.  Billy got up and called the hospital at 5am and they told him that 9, yes 9, Mommies-to-be had come in over the night and that we should not come in until around 10 am.  So, I lay back down and slept a little while longer.  When it was time to finally get moving, Billy woke me up with a little surprise… a picture of our good friend’s newborn baby girl.  That’s right; Billy’s college roommate and his wife had given birth to their daughter, Katherine, at 12:07 am on October 14.  Our daughters would share the same birthday!  While I was absolutely ecstatic for them, looking back, I barely remember anything I said about that as I was focused and in the zone preparing for our own birth.

Not too bad for 39 weeks and 6 days! 
Billy and I arrived to the hospital around 10:30 am, checked in and were escorted to our room.  To say I was nervous would be an understatement.  It is hard to prepare for that which you have very little knowledge or experience and boy was I scared for what was to come.  Around 11:30 am my mom and dad showed up and around noon Billy’s mom showed up with lunch for Billy.  Note: women about to give birth are not allowed to eat in case a C-Section is needed.  Do not, I repeat, do no, eat a sandwich in front of the pregnant and laboring mother of your unborn child.  She may say it is ok, she is lying!

What Billy ate while I was STARVING!
Billy and I had decided early on that we didn’t want people in the waiting room waiting on us to have this baby because I didn’t want the added pressure.  But I guess you can’t really expect your parents to listen.  They were all SUPER excited.  Billy and I had also talked about who we wanted in the room during labor and delivery and Billy mostly left the decision up to me.  I went back and forth, but finally I decided I just wanted Billy and my mom there.  I knew Billy would do great, but not knowing how long the whole labor and delivery process would take; I thought he might like a little back-up in case he needed a break.  Good thing it was quick, because my mom turned out to be NO HELP!  More on that later.

Taken right before they broke my water and the "fun" began.
About 12:30 pm, my nurse came in and checked me.  She had already placed the IV and hooked me up to the monitors to measure contractions, but she wanted to see how far along I was before she hooked up my Pitocin drip to start the inducing process.  Although my nurse was fantastic and I absolutely loved her, she didn’t believe me that I was already 4cm because I was talking and joking around.  She informed me that some women ask for an epidural at 4cm and here I was walking and joking around like it was no big deal.  I am SO thankful that she decided to check me first, because even though I was still at 4cm, she thought that if we broke my water, I would progress naturally.  She went ahead and called the doctor, Dr. Watters, and by 1:30pm, my water had been broken (which felt like I was peeing myself over and over again) and labor had officially begun, no induction needed.

Some might call me lucky and others might feel sorry for me, but as soon as my water broke, contractions came FAST and STRONG.  They had to adjust the contraction monitor because my contractions were off the chart.  When they say you can’t talk through real contractions, they aren’t kidding.  I just remember continually telling Billy how I was NOT prepared for this and that I thought it would take longer.  My nurse and I discussed an epidural before we broke my water and I knew that I was third in line.  She said it took about 30 minutes for the anesthesiologist to do an epidural from start to finish, so I knew I was going to have to labor beyond my pain tolerance for a while.  Later, I was told, that I kept trying to get Billy to find the anesthesiologist and pay him to come to me first!  HA!  Like we could even pretend to offer him enough money to do that.  And where was my mom during all of this, you might ask?  In the waiting room!  She states that she couldn’t stand to see me in pain, so she chickened out and would come back and forth as the messenger.  And who was she giving messages to?  Oh, all my aunts, cousins, and cousin’s children waiting on us in the waiting room.  You know, the ones I said not to come until after Anabelle arrived!  With everything progressing so quickly, my Mom kind of jumped the gun, but oh well, there was a lot of love in the waiting room!

By 3pm the anesthesiologist finally arrived and I was never so happy to see a person in my whole life.  Shortly before he arrived, the nurse checked me to see how far I was and although she didn’t tell me until later, I was dilated to 8cm.  I had gone from 4cm to 8cm in a blink of an eye, but now, it was epidural time!  I always knew I would have an epidural, but it still scared me.  I wasn’t nervous about the needle or the pain, I was nervous about the necessity to sit still.  Yea right!  Try sitting still through a contraction!  It is virtually impossible.  My anesthesiologist was AMAZING though and had me hooked up in a blink of an eye.  In fact, as soon as he was done, I looked at my nurse and proclaimed I needed to push.  I could see the doubt in her eyes as she told me I would have to wait at least 15 minutes for the epidural to take effect.  My response was, “Ok, then I need to poop!” HA! She checked and low and behold, I was 10cm and ready to push!  Told you!

At 3:30pm, Dr. Watters arrives, gowned up, and the pushing began.  I know that everyone has things they are concerned about, pooping on the table, being told when and how to push, etc.  By that time, I didn’t care; I wanted me baby out and in my arms.  My nurse and Dr. Watters were highly optimistic that I would be able to get my baby out within 15 to 20 minutes.  After 30 minutes of pushing I was informed, “Well, we have some bad news.”  I IMMEDIATELY panicked.  On the short list of things I didn’t want, right after not wanting to be induced came having a C-Section.  So, I asked if that what I needed and my nurse immediately said, “No silly.  Your baby is just face up and she is too far in the birth canal for us to rotate her, so it might take a little bit longer for you to push her out than we expected.”  Phew!  I remember thinking, I can handle that.  So, I continued to push.  Each time Billy and the doctor would count to 5 even 10 and as soon as I could catch my breath I would say, “Did I make any progress?”  I think I probably asked a MILLION questions, but that one in particular was repeated after Every. Single. Push.  My nurse’s response, “Well, you went two steps forward and one step back.”  It wasn't until much later that I realized she was just being nice!

By 4pm I informed the doctor, nurse, and Billy, that I WOULD have a baby in my arms by 5pm.  I could see the doubtful look on their faces, but I was determined.  The clock became my focal point and Billy counting became the only thing I could hear. My baby WOULD be out by 5pm.  As 5pm came and went, you could feel the tension in the room.  I know that they were all thinking missing my deadline would put me into a tailspin, and to be honest, it almost did.  However, at 5pm I experienced what all laboring moms refer to as the “Ring of Fire” or Anabelle's head descending.  At 5:05 pm, Dr. Watters actually told me to stop pushing, which I thought was weird. I later found out that if I had continued to push, I would have had Anabelle’s shoulders stuck while waiting on the next contraction which would have been horribly painful!  Dr. Watters told me on the next big contraction to push harder than I thought possible.  At 5:07pm, Anabelle Marie Guy came into the world sunny-side-up and screaming the most glorious noise I had ever heard.  Weighing in at 7 pounds 15 ounces and 19.5 inches long and looking an awful lot like me, I truly couldn’t believe she was our baby, as I expected her to be a bit bigger than that.  She was immediately placed on my chest where all Billy and I could do was stare at her and kiss her.  From start to finish, I was in labor and delivery for 6.5 hours.  Not bad for a first-time mom! And remember those 9 other Mommies-to-Be?  Well, I was the last one to check in and the 2nd to have my baby!  YA!

How cute it my bugaboo?  She looks so big here!

Although I was determined to breastfeed and tried to get Anabelle to latch, she really wasn’t interested and within minutes a Lacatation Consultant was in trying to show me how.  Anabelle still wouldn’t latch and the nurse told me she would visit me again after we were settled in our Recovery room.  Bloomington Hospital has what they call the “Golden Hour.”  No visitors for the first hour so that Mom, Dad, and baby can bond.  By 6:05 pm, all of our stuff was packed up and my parents were knocking on the door.  My Dad could absolutely NOT wait any longer and he needed that baby!  After Billy and me, my Dad was the first person to hold Anabelle, though Billy had a hard time giving her up.  By 6:15pm, all of our stuff had been packed up, and we were being moved to my Recovery room.  Along the way, we stopped in the middle of the hallway for my cousin’s children and my nephew to see Anabelle, as well as announce her name.  (Remember, up until birth, no one knew her name!)  It was fun to see all of the kids look at her with awe and wonder and even though they were not allowed to come back to my room, they still got to meet her.

After that, everything became a big blur!  I know that my parents, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law, and my cousins all came in to see Anabelle and hold her.  My sister came a bit later as she knew it would be crowded and wanted Anabelle all to herself.  We even got George, my brother-in-law, to hold her, which truthfully, is one of my favorite pictures to date! 

Billy's mom, Tina.

My mom, Sara. 

By the time everyone left, Billy was so exhausted, that flipped on the Colts game and passed out as soon as his head hit the pillow.  I, on the other hand, couldn’t sleep.  Between the events of the day, being hungry, and being checked on what felt like every hour, who could sleep?

Anabelle was born on Monday Night Football.  GO COLTS!
Tuesday morning brought my husband’s cousin to see us as well as more lactation consultants.  Anabelle still wouldn’t latch, but they didn’t seem concerned.  They just asked that I continue to try every hour to hour and half and also recommended Anabelle see a special pediatric physical therapist who specialized in microfacial therapy.  My brother-in-law’s mom stopped in for a minute as she was in Bloomington for some testing and boy did she get a show (my bare derriere!).  Billy’s dad came a bit later and a little after lunch we were visited by Billy’s stepdad, Scott. 
Billy's Dad, Billy.
OUr good friend, Kenny.

Billy's Step Dad, Scott.

Anabelle loves to lay this way!
Tuesday night brought more visitors, including a picture session with Billy’s cousin who is a photographer.  To say I love the pictures she took is an understatement, especially as I sit at my desk staring at one of her beautiful images.   Tuesday night was also the night Billy and I finally broke down and asked for formula.  Although I wanted to nurse, Anabelle just wouldn’t do it and she was hungry!  She gobbled up the bottle we gave her and I officially started what would become my life, pumping. 

Wednesday morning we woke up and they told us we could leave that afternoon after we completed all of the necessary paperwork.   We also had a physical therapist come in and work on Anabelle for a bit.  They were concerned that since she was unable to latch, it might be something other than me and they were right.  Because Anabelle dropped so low at about 36 weeks, she got into a place that she couldn’t get out of and she was born with torticollis, or an extreme stiff neck.  This caused Anabelle to not be able to open her mouth wide enough to latch and suckle without it being painful.  The therapist suggested we make more appointments to meet with her once we got home and got situated.  Thus we began our 10 weeks of physical therapy, but that's a story for another time.
By 2pm, everything was packed up and ready to go and I couldn’t help but think all of the nurses and doctors were crazy for letting us take this sweet little innocent and precious baby home.  I mean, we had never done this!
Notice their shirts.  Big Guy and Little Guy. 

While on our way home, we let our friends and family know that they were more than welcome to come visit, but I wanted and needed time to introduce Anabelle to her puppy sister, Winnie.  I didn’t want Winnie to be overwhelmed with a new baby and a bunch of people.  After getting situated, which I admit invoked some tears from me, our family started trickling in.  It was a great night filled with family and friends, but boy were we exhausted when we hit the sack.

Told you I cried.
Thursday we woke up to our first Pediatrician appointment and wedding preparations.  Remember, Erika, my sister, was getting married on Friday and although we were little help on Thursday, we did make it to the Rehearsal dinner. 

Friday, WEDDING DAY, and I felt great!  HA!  In your face doc!  Billy, Anabelle, and I arrived at 3pm ready for family pictures.  At 4 days old, Anabelle was being welcomed into the family in a big way!  My sister’s wedding was absolutely beautiful and I am so happy that we were not only able to make it, but that Anabelle was able to make it as well.  My parents were a little less stressed out and everyone was able to focus on the happy couple while also having the opportunity to meet the newest addition to the family.
Our family.

All in all, I can say that my pregnancy, labor, and delivery were pretty uneventful, and for that, we are truly blessed.  Billy, Anabelle, and I are surrounded by amazing family and friends that have helped make the transition from couple to family easy.  I absolutely love being a mother, though I will not sugarcoat it and say it is easy.  The first month of Anabelle’s life was HARD!  I do not do well with sleep deprivation and there were times I was at my wits end.  However, Anabelle has been sleeping through the night for the past month and I can honestly say we are lucky!  I love my little family and can’t wait to see what life has in store for us.  One thing I can tell you for sure, though, don’t be expecting another little Baby Guy any time soon.  I want to be Anabelle’s Mommy for a bit.

Stay tuned for pictures of the first 4 months of Anabelle’s life. 

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