Saturday, September 10, 2011

Carly Kate's Labor Day: The Full Story

Well, let me begin by saying that I make perfect babies.  I might be a little biased, but I think you might agree.

It Has taken me 11 days to finish typing this story.  We have fallen victim to what is apparently the worst computer problem the world has ever seen (according to the people at Dell anyway), a totally overwhelming exhaustion that plagues all new parents (especially those who also have a 20 month old), and I have just been trying to wrap my head around the birth of such a beautiful little girl.
Our smallest daughter's debut was like anything else in my life - chaotic and poorly timed. LOL But it just wouldn't be quite right if it were anything else.  That is how we roll. LOL

Carly was born early on Wednesday morning, but the story of her birth starts on Monday, and it starts with us scheduling an induction for Thursday.  Like late in my pregnancy with Hayden, I had been having some blood pressure issues and was basically expecting to be induced when we went to our appointment on Monday morning.  Lo and behold, after two weeks of sky-rocketing blood pressure, modified bed rest in the form of being as "Zen" as possible by the pool, and wondering when the induction was coming, my blood pressure was....  completely normal?! 

Seriously.  Totally normal.  No induction today.  So we scheduled one for Thursday, my actual due date and we went home.  I was a little bummed, but somewhere in the two weeks prior, I had resigned myself to the fact that women in our family are genetically pre-disposed to being late for everything - unless we are dragged there, kicking and screaming, we are rarely on time and NEVER early.  I had decided that I could expect nothing different from my littlest daughter.

Meanwhile, back at home, we carried on with life, waiting for Thursday morning.  Other than the Braxton Hicks that I had been having all day and night for weeks, and a little bit of wishful thinking, signs of impending labor were scarce.

Now, you may all remember my little Piper Penelope pug dog and all of her health issues.  Poor little pug just can't catch a break.  She was having issues similar to the ones she was having earlier in the summer, and just not acting herself.  At around 3am on Tuesday morning, she woke up in the night in bad shape - yipping, listless, and unable to walk.  We stayed up all night with her, waiting for the vet's office to open. 

I have a feeling that none of this fit into the prescription for "Zen thoughts and relaxation" put forth by Dr. Chacon.  I was trying to be calm, but things were not looking good for my little dog (who we all know is like my baby) and I was scheduled to have a baby two days later, so I hate to think what my blood pressure looked like that day.

At 7 am on the dot, my bleary eyed husband called the vet's office and we too Piper in.  The vet we had that day just happened to be my childhood friend, Schyler.  She is so kind and gentle, and she told me that she would do everything she could for Piper.  It means so much when you are a 40 week pregnant, hot emotional mess of a woman with a dog who appears to be dying to have someone be so kind to you as Schyler was to us.  She is still the same sweet girl I used to play dolls with when I was small - and that was so comforting.

Schyler thought that maybe Piper had an ear infection, or a possible Vestibular problem, which messes with dogs' sense of balance.  She also mentioned that it was possible that this could be something more serious - like the seizures that Piper has could finally be causing brain damage or there may be a tumor or mass.  It was decided that Piper would stay at the vet's office and that Schyler would call me in the afternoon with an update on her condition.

When the phone call came at around 5:30 that afternoon, I was playing with Hayden and trying to decide what we should make order for dinner.  I knew things were not good as soon as Schyler said hello.  She told me that Piper had taken a turn for the worse and that she seemed basically catatonic.  she was non-responsive and her eyes were not dilating or anything.  Schyler suspected that my sweet little pug had a brain bleed or a mass causing these problems and that she was probably going to get worse, but that she was in no pain and would probably not die in the night. She told me that she would give her a shot of steroids now and another one when she came back in the middle of the night as a last ditch effort at helping her, but that I should be prepared to make a decision the next day.  My heart was broken.  Schyler said she would call me first thing in the morning if that was okay.  I told her that I would surely be here, that there was no baby action happening tonight.

Garrett was mowing the lawn.

I stepped out the back door sobbing and he stopped the lawn mower. I filled him in and we stood in the dining room and cried.  Piper is really our first baby and we were not prepared to say goodbye to one family member and hello to another all in the same week.  Being so sad and so happy at the same time seemed impossible.  We sat down at the dining room table and I felt one good strong contraction, but I assumed it was just my heartbreaking and thought nothing of it.

I stood up and walked into the hallway to get a Kleenex and I suddenly felt a gush. 

Me: Oh, shit.
Garrett: What?
Me: Oh. Shit. Seriously? Now? My water broke.
Garrett: What?
Me: I am sure I didn't just pee my pants - I think we are having a baby.
Garrett: Are you sure? It wasn't very much...
Me: What else would it be?! It was enough!

This was at 5:45 -  fifteen minutes after I hung up the phone with Schyler.

Shocked and excited but still with heavy hearts, we called my family (my mom to meet us there, my dad to watch Hayden, even though my friend Patti was closer so she ended up coming to get her and take her to my dad's house) and tried to put Piper out of our thoughts for now.  We were on our way to meet our Carly Kate.

By 6 pm, we were on the road.

The hour and fifteen minute drive to Carson we laughed and talked, cried a little more about Piper, and paused every ten or so minutes for a contraction.  The contractions were nothing like the Pitocin induced devil contractions I had with Hayden - they were so manageable and there was a pause in between. 

Everyone was so calm, so mellow - it was nothing like in the movies or on TV when the mother's water breaks and there is a torrent of panic, screaming, running around like idiots, and the like.

Well, ALMOST everyone was calm.

The only person who was panicked was my mom - even though she has three kids, she was for one reason or another convinced that if your water breaks, a baby comes shooting out spontaneously.  She was meeting us in Carson and called four times during the hour drive.  She seemed almost annoyed that we were so calm.  I told her to breathe like this, "Hoo hoo, hee hee." She didn't appreciate that joke.

She was like freaking Ricky Ricardo or something.

We teased her relentlessly about being so nervous.  When I told her that we were thinking about stopping to get something to eat just in case we didn't get a chance again for a while, she yelled, "NO! You need to get here!" When I assured her that we were no where near having a baby in the El Pollo Loco drive-thru, she said, "You don't know that!"  LOL Um, actually I am pretty sure that if anyone knows that, it is me. haha!

When we got to Labor and Delivery, they sent us into triage.  I changed my clothes and the nurse came in.  She used a little stick to check if my water had actually broken. 

She told me no, I must have just peed my pants.  "It happens."

Um, no. It doesn't happen.  Not to me anyway. And if it did, I would know. And I surely wouldn't call my husband over to take a look.  I am almost 30 years old.  I know the difference between peeing my pants and something else. 

She assured me that I was wrong (I refused to believe that) and left to call Dr. Chacon.  I was contracting every ten minutes or so and we were wary of driving all the way home just to have to come back. Plus, I really believed that my water had broken.

She came back after a little bit with good news. Dr. Chacon decided to keep me.  The nurse seemed skeptical that we would be in real labor anytime soon without help.  She briefed me on when she'd start an induction, trying to time a baby for during the day.

I didn't think we would need any induction - I knew I didn't pee my pants. 

She set us up in a room, assured us that we were having a kid no time soon, and left. Garrett and my mom decided to go get some food for all of us.  They stepped out of the room, I sat down on the bed, and suddenly I was sitting in a puddle. Gush after gush. There was no way this was pee. Seriously.

I yelled for Garrett and pushed the call button.

Nurse: Do you need something?
Me: Um, I am SURE that i wouldn't pee my pants twice - this is my water.
Nurse: You'd be surprised.  I'll check but it could be another false alarm.
Me: No. really - unless I am still peeing, I am positive....
Nurse: Okaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy.......... I'll be there in a minute.

Why was this lady so against my water breaking? I will never know.

But sure enough, I was right.  The test came back positive immediately- we were on the way to having a baby.

Again, we were assured that we had time and mom and Garrett left for food.

While they were gone, I watched TV and waited.  It was around 9:30 when the nurse came in and took my monitors off - the were going into surgery and if I needed to go to the bathroom our anything, I would need to be able to handle it on my own.

I was timing my own contractions the whole time though - 5 minutes apart and pretty strong.

I ate dinner and my mom left to get some sleep.  When the nurse came back in, I asked for an epidural as soon as I could have one.  I couldn't let it get to where it did last time or I might be out of luck. She assured us again that we'd have time - Garrett assured her that we did not.  With Hayden it was four hours from start to finish, and I turned into a cussing, wall climbing screaming wildcat of a woman.  The prospect of that was scary to poor Garrett, who had witnessed the whole hot mess last time.  She called for an epi just as my contractions (now four minutes apart) were getting intense.

By1:00, I was all set with my beloved epi, avoiding all bad behavior and without a single cuss word.  My husband was thankful. LOL  The nurse checked and I was at 8 cm.  I was thankful.

"You weren't kidding - this is going a lot faster than I thought," she said.  I refrained from saying I told you so. (Don't get me wrong - this nurse was so nice.  She was wonderful, actually.  We just kept surprising her.  I am efficient at having babies in a timely fashion.  Everybody's gotta be good at something.  LOL)

Garrett and I took a nap, and at around 2:30, she came back and checked again.  Carly's heart was having some decelerations and I was complete and ready to push.  She left to call Dr. Chacon, and told us to tell my mom to hurry.

Garrett called my mom, who rushed over from her hotel room across the street.  They had closed the front door, so poor Ricky Ricardo/Mom had to walk all the way around the hospital and through the ER, making her arrive after the doctor and after the first several pushes.  This made us tease her even more relentlessly.

It was so quiet and zen-like in that room, I have never felt so calm and focused in my life.  I was at work. My only purpose in this world was this baby.  My dying dog, my other daughter, my whole life took a back seat for 45 minutes while I did the only thing that mattered. 

The baby was still having some decels with each contraction, but recovering after.  I was pushing and pushing, so calm and focused, when it was revealed why she wasn't coming - she was sunnyside up, with her head tipped back.  She was coming forehead first - which was explaining the decels and why i was having to work so hard. 

Dr. Chacon and the nurse were so amazing.  There were a couple of times that they gave each other a look or spoke quietly in doctor-speak, but they remained as calm as they could, never showing their concern in a way that would shake me. 

Not that my resolve could be shaken at this point. Like I said before - I was at work, a woman on a mission.  I had a baby to meet, and I was the only one who could make that happen.

Finally, with three last big pushes, Carly Kate was welcomed into the outside world at 3:14 - just six hours after the second water break. (I still refuse to believe I peed my pants at home.  I did not.  So it was really more like 8 hours.)  She cried and I did too.  That sound really is music to a mother's ears.

Garrett blinked back tears and quickly cut the cord as she was whisked away to the warmed next to my, because in all of the drama that my little Drama Queen was causing, she had passed her meconium inside right at the end and they have to get that out so that the baby doesn't aspirate it.

It only took a second, and she was placed naked on my bare chest.  She was beautiful - a full head of gorgeous brown hair, looking a lot like Hayden, but more like her Dad than Hayden ever has.  All of my fears about not loving her the same as Hayden went out the window, all of my fears that that I could never have enough love in my heart washed away.  My heart grew two sizes in that very second.  I found that what I had been told was true - it is magic everytime you lay eyes on your own child, whether it is your first or your tenth.

My mom told me later that she had the cord around her neck.  Dr. Chacon told me that nine times out of ten when a baby comes out that way, the mom can't push them out, and that if my last ditch effort pushes hadn't been the ones, that between the awkward position she was coming in and the decels of her little heart, that we were minutes away from being whisked away for an emergency c-section.

I feel so proud that I made her, that I pushed her out under those circumstances.  I did it.  The human body is an amazing thing.

As minutes became hours and we were getting to know each other, all of my regular life concerns crept back in to my mind - especially Piper. The vet's office opens at 7am and I found myself dreading the phone ringing.  I knew that the news couldn't be good, especially since at last update (man, a world of change had happened since that phone call) Piper was catatonic.

Around 7:45 the phone rang.  I made Garrett answer.  My heart couldn't bear hearing Schyler say that we were going to have to make a decision or that my first baby was gone.  I couldn't hear it.

Surprisingly, it isn't what he heard either.  The dog wasn't dead.  She was not 100%, or even 75%, but she wasn't dead.  That was all I could ask for. She was hungry (Piper is always hungry) and she was responsive.  She couldn't stand or walk, but she was alive.

It is totally suiting that the World's Worst Dog is what broke my water. (Again, I didn't pee, I swear.) And how lucky am I? Look at these sweeties.

My cup runneth over.

Also, I left my toddler home while I went to have her baby sister, and when I returned, she was all grown up.

And she LOVES her sister. (Sometimes, it is a bit intense...)

I am not going to lie, it has been the most exhausting and chaotic week and a half of my life.

There isn't a lot of sleep going on in our house and I still feel like I was hit by a Mac truck.  When a kid is born sunnyside up, the back of their giant 14 inch head bruises the heck out of their mother's tailbone.  It is pretty painful, especially when combined with all of the usual ailments of being 11 days post partum. :-/

But I wouldn't trade any of it.  Carly is nursing like a champ (this child loves the boob and practically lives there! LOL)  Hayden is as sweet and funny and loved as ever.  And, most surprisingly, Piper is with us.
We still don't know what is wrong with her - she could still have a tumor or a mass, or it could simply be a vestibular issue (more on that HERE) but we are just taking it one day at a time.  She is walking again (albeit quiet wonkily and she slips or falls sometimes) and this morning she chewed up a piece of Hayden's animal puzzle.  Like I said, one day at a time.

So, there you have it - the story of Carly's grand entrance, just a little late. She came all on her own, in her own time, her own way.  And like I said before - she is perfect.


  1. Lovely story! Congrats on your hard work!
    She's gorgeous!
    Morgan looks a lot more like her dad than Peyton does, also.

  2. This is beautiful Allison. I laughed, I cried (a lot... it was the catalyst of the "we just brought our baby to college meltdown")
    <3 Thanks for sharing all of this, I love being able to follow from this side of the country!

    AND I can't wait to meet all of you guys and your beautiful girls :)

  3. Such a wonderful story, beginning to end. Your girls are beautiful, and so is little Piper, I'm so glad everything went well, and RR/your Momlol got to meet and be there for her Grandbaby always your stories are very entertaining !!!