Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Introducing Baby Grant...

Last Thursday, I blogged early on in the day recapping the 4th week of our summer adventures.  That evening, we attended the Urbana carnival with some neighbors - the kids loved the rides and we stuck around for the late evening fireworks.

View of the carnival from the top of the Ferris Wheel (that I skipped!)

I felt fine at the carnival, but definitely noticed that the baby was very active and I was extremely crampy.  Not in pain, but just very aware of baby and my growing belly.  I figured that since I was on the eve of being 36 weeks pregnant, I was just feeling the strain of carrying around the big guy.

We got home fairly late, but Nick and I spent about an hour on the couch talking baby names.  We've had our list narrowed down for a couple of weeks, but we were really struggling with the final decision.  Finally, around midnight, we called it a night... without making a final decision.  I took a dose of benadryl and headed to bed in the guest room hoping to get a decent night's sleep.  The past few nights I had been up non-stop (mostly peeing every hour, but also just generally uncomfortable) and was desperate for a few hours of uninterrupted sleep.  If only I'd known...

Around 3am, I woke up feeling wet.  With Georgia, I assumed "wet" meant that I had peed my pants.  Fool me once, but not twice.  I immediately jumped up and went into the bathroom.  I turned on the lights so I could better assess the situation... and instantly blinded myself, especially in my benadryl coma!  I noticed that I was wet as well as lightly bleeding.

I was fairly certain that my water had broken, so I stumbled into the master bedroom to wake up Nick.  I called his name a few dozen times before I turned on all the lights and finally screamed his name.  That did the trick.  I called my doctor's office and waited for the answering service to pass along my message.  Unfortunately, when my doctor called back, he let me know that he already had a patient in labor... at the larger hospital near the city.  There went the plan of delivering at the hospital 10 minutes from our house.  I burst into tears as I processed that information knowing that our plan to deliver close to home just went out the window.  I pulled it together enough to call my mom to let her know what was going on so that she could start heading south.  Nick texted with our neighbors to see who might be home and available to take Georgia to their house in the middle of the night.  Nick ran around the house throwing items into our suitcase, as I paced in a circle hoping that the benadryl coma might wear off before I made it to the hospital since I felt very cloudy.  It was also at that point that I was trying to figure out if my "crampy" feeling was actually contractions.

Georgia thought it was party time when we woke her up and let her know that it was GO time!  "Now?!?!" was her response.  Sorry, kid, but babies can't tell time.  We dropped her off at the neighbors (we have the BEST neighbors) and she could have cared less that it was the middle of the night.  I actually had to call her back to the car in order to get a hug/kiss goodbye.  

As we pulled onto the highway around 3:30am, I turned to Nick and told him to make the final call on our future son's name from our discussed choices.  It was looking more and more likely that we were going to be meeting the little guy very soon and I didn't want that decision looming over our heads any longer.  Nick decisively answered me and it was done.

We got to Holy Cross Silver Spring around 4am.  I was brought back to the triage area and hooked up to the monitor (we all know my love/hate relationship with those monitors!).  The doctor came to examine me and wasn't convinced that my water had fully broken yet.  Ultrasound showed that I still had plenty of fluid and we started discussing whether or not to send me home.  Excuse me?!?!?  However, it was at that time that we figured out that I was also having regular contractions every 2-4 minutes.  As my doctor pointed out, "You know that you're straining to talk to me, right?"  Nick was obsessed with watching my monitor and then waiting to see my reaction as the contractions hit.  Yes, dear, I can definitely feel that.

We stayed in triage for a few hours for monitoring.  Around 8am, the decision was made... As much as I was hoping for a VBAC, I wasn't progressing - my water still hadn't officially broken and my cervix wasn't dilating.  However, my contractions were regular and getting stronger.  Baby Thoman wanted out.  At 36 weeks, the doctor was fairly confident that the baby would be okay and the benefits outweighed the risks in terms of taking him out.

This guy was ready to go!

Meanwhile, Georgia was having a blast at our neighbor's house and Mimi had managed to catch the first flight of the day to Baltimore.  She arrived and was already at our house showering before I even went to the OR (and enjoyed her first Uber experience!).  Since G was happy at the neighbors, Mimi headed to the hospital to await the birth of her grandson.

I walked myself to the OR and Nick sat outside as they prepped me.  The anesthesiologist was fabulous, but I absolutely hated the entire process.  The spinal, the catheter, the prep, etc.  I immediately asked for some good anxiety drugs and for more oxygen as I was struggling to stay calm and regulate my breathing.  The team was great and tried distracting me by all guessing the baby's weight just based on my (very exposed) tummy.  Nick came in as they started the surgery.  Almost immediately, my water broke, which apparently was quite a scene.  It burst onto the lighting, the nurse, etc.  I can't say I found it funny, but the rest of the team seemed to enjoy the moment and Nick said it was fairly entertaining to watch. 

The next thing I heard was my doctor saying, "Oh, what the hell?  You are already TROUBLE, buddy!"  Somehow between triage and the OR, Baby Thoman turned into a breech/transverse position and his arm and legs were all splayed out and in wacky positions.  (I later talked to my doctor and she explained that when the spinal took effect, it probably relaxed my body enough for the contractions to slow down and allowed baby to flip)

As I struggled to just stay calm (while chanting "I hate this.  I hate this.  I hate this."), I just kept telling myself that this too would pass.  I remember hating every moment of Georgia's c-section too, but I knew it would go quickly once they really got started.  Sorry, I'm just not one of those smiley women lying there all calm and awaiting the birth of my child with a full face of beautiful make-up.  I'm more the lie there with my eyes shut tight while I self-talk and pray for it to end.

The next thing I know, we started hearing baby cries and the team asked Nick to join them over at the warmer so that he could cut the cord as we welcomed our son...

Grant Michael Thoman
DOB - 7/22/16 at 9:53am
Weight - 6lbs, 8.1oz
Length - 19 3/4 inches

People keep asking if there is a story behind the name... For some reason, we really struggled this time around with boys names.  We also felt a lot of pressure since people still compliment us on Georgia's name.  We narrowed it down to a short list early on and then kept circling around to the same names time and time again.  We knew from the start that we would use MICHAEL as a middle name to honor my father/my mother/his family.  I talked and prayed to my dad daily during this pregnancy.  From the day that I found out I was pregnant, I begged my dad to keep the baby safe and to watch over both of us.  Not a day passed that we didn't "chat."

Our first name criteria included: 

  • Easy to spell (I hate when I don't know how to spell a kid's name or when there is a funky spelling to a relatively straight forward name)
  • On the shorter side --- Have you ever taught a boy in kindergarten to write his name?!?!  The less letters, the better!
  • Went well with Georgia (we actually tried to avoid names starting with /G/ and our final 3 names ALL started with /G/ - oh the irony!  I was okay with Grant since the /G/ is a harder sound than the /G/ in Georgia, which is more of a /J/ sound.
  • A name that people recognized as a name, but that was not common or super popular.  I love that Georgia is the only Georgia in our world.  When we're at the pool or park and I scream her name, she is the only kid turning around.  I didn't want him to be 1 of 10 kids in his class with the same name (says the 1979 Jennifer).
  • A lot of boy names are now being used as girl names - James, Dylan, Blake, etc.  We wanted something that was a strong male name that wouldn't cause any gender confusion
  • I didn't want a name that reminded me of any students that I've ever had over the years in teaching
  • Most importantly the name did not have a vocalic /R/ in the middle or end of the name (sorry, Massachusetts family, but "Connahhhhhhhhhh" was not an option).  

Hence, it took awhile to come up with some good options!

Nick was so proud to cut the cord since he wasn't given that opportunity during Georgia's dramatic arrival five years ago.  He then brought him over so that I could see him for the first time.

At this point, I just sobbed and sobbed.  I heard the doctor trying to reassure me that she was almost done and the anesthesiologist said something about tears of joy.  But, for me, it was more about relief.  36 weeks of just pure worry and terror that at any second something was going to go wrong or that we were going to get bad news like we did with Georgia.  All together, I had 15-20 ultrasounds and 30+ doctor/high risk appointments.  Even though we were never given cause for concern, I was considered "high risk" in just about every category - advanced maternal age, history of miscarriage, history of premature birth, previous c-section, history of gestational diabetes, previous child with a birth defect, etc.  All I felt at this point was pure relief that it was over and that he was here and breathing and crying.  I remember thanking god and my dad over and over again as I quietly cried it out and just felt the relief wash over me.

As they finished up and Nick held him close to me, I started really feeling the effects of whatever pain meds they gave me.  The entire world started spinning.  All I can relate it to is when you have 5 or 6 too many margaritas!  I told Nick that I was really struggling with my vision.  They put Grant on my chest as they rolled me into recovery and I begged the nurse to not let him go because I was afraid I would drop him because of how bad I felt.  I did not experience the same issues after Georgia's c-section, so this was all new to me.  I was very warm and trying to kick off blankets (with numb legs).  I immediately started begging the nurse for ice chips as soon as we got to recovery.  I was blazing hot (and would be for the next 36 hours).  I'd love to find out what drug they gave me at the end so I can request to NEVER have it ever again.  

Since his arm was in such a weird position during delivery, they ordered an x-ray on Grant to make sure it wasn't injured.  They also gave him a little bit of formula because he wasn't latching right away and his blood sugar was a little low.  Nick got to cuddle with him and they kept bringing him over to me to lay on my chest for short periods of time.  Nick went out into the waiting room to brief my mom on the on-goings.  We also learned that we were more likely going to be hanging out in the recovery room for quite a bit longer since there were no beds available upstairs (we overheard the poor people in the bed next to us say that they had been in recovery for 12 hours).

Having a little formula to boost his blood sugar

We noticed that Grant was "squeaky" and grunting a bit while crying/making noises.  One nurse commented that it was common for c-section babies to grunt since they don't get that good squeeze of coming out of the birth canal so they end up with junk in their lungs.  At that point, a doctor came over and told us that they were going to bring him up to the NICU for observation and to give him some extra oxygen.  To say I lost it was an understatement.  For some reason, every single worry that I had came crashing back to me.  Another baby in the NICU?!?  The doctor and nurse tried to reassure me that he was fine, but I was really struggling to even speak as I just cried and cried at the thought of having to possibly leave another baby in the NICU when I was discharged.  I know I was jumping way ahead, but a million thoughts and concerns ran through my head.  This just wasn't the plan... again!  I heard the nurse tell me that he was fine and that it was completely typical for a 36 week old c-section preemie to need a little extra support, but I was devastated that someone was taking a baby from me again.  They brought him over to me so that I could say goodbye and give him a kiss.

My mom and Nick headed up to the NICU as soon as they could to check on Grant.  Nick came back saying that he was doing great.  The arm xray was clear and they were just going to keep an eye on him for a bit.  Nick even brought me a picture of his monitor to show me how great his stats were up there.

My little chunky monkey in the NICU

We continued to wait in recovery for a bed to open upstairs.  I still was feeling completely out of it as congratulations texts and well-wishes rolled in from family/friends.  I dozed on/off and just kept hoping that the spinning would end as I started regaining feelings in my lower body.  I let the nurse know that I hated her guts as she kept coming in every 15 minutes to push on my abdomen to help with the healing process.  Talk about pain!  I vividly remember that horrible pain from Georgia's recovery room too, but holy hell.  

That just about wraps up the actual "birthing" experience.  Next up, I'll cover the rest of our hospital stay... settling into our room, visiting Grant in the NICU, and bringing Georgia to the hospital to meet her new baby brother.

A huge thanks to everyone for all their calls, texts, emails, etc.  We really appreciate the support and love from all of our family and friends.  We're slowly settling into our next adventure as the Thoman4!

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