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Friday, December 2, 2016

a birth story - my mighty Quinn

My sweet little man was born on September 28th at 8:38 a.m. My sweet boy, my rainbow baby, my third precious angel. It's still surreal to me, even weeks later, I can't believe he's here. I say it to him and to others all the time, I cannot believe he's here.

It was a difficult pregnancy, exhausting and some issues along the way. Now that I look back at the pregnancy I realize how lucky I am to have this little man. I've told friends, "I have done the pregnancy and birth thing three times now, and yet I still feel so blessed and know what a huge miracle it is. How lucky are we to be moms?!" That's an amazing feeling I'll never forget.

the day before I was scheduled for c-section

I was scheduled for a C-section on the 28th of September, a Wednesday. I worked up through the Monday of that week. I had planned to also work Tuesday, but it was pretty miserable walking around the school building that I work in and everyone encouraged me to take at least one day to myself. So Tuesday was pouring rain and I decided to stay in all day and watch movies, resting up for the Big Day. My husband surprised me and stayed home, too, and we ate, watched movies, slept and talked about our surprise in my belly, wondering one last time what we were having, boy or girl.

We watched the Superman movie that came out a few years ago (yeah, we're behind, parents of three!). The whole thing was about hope, the S symbol of Superman meant hope, this movie claimed. Hope was something I clung to during this pregnancy, after I'd had a miscarriage a few months before this time. Randomly watching this Superman movie filled with power, strength, courage, and hope, I don't know, it stuck with me and made me less nervous about my impending surgery the next day. I had been anxious the whole pregnancy, worried something would go wrong like it had the last pregnancy. So this was so nice to spend one day with my husband surrounded by hope and encouragement.

That night, we went to bed like we had done twice before, full of anticipation and surprise and excitement about what was to come the next day. I was filled with worry also. I won't go into how bad my anxiety was about this complicated surgery (I have a fibroid in my uterus), but I was genuinely afraid of so much with this surgery and birth. I just prayed a lot that night. We kissed goodnight, but barely slept the next few hours.

I was awakened from midnight on with contractions every few minutes, nothing major but they were annoying and uncomfortable. I told my husband, "This baby wants to come today, that's for sure." Since we were heading to the hospital in a few hours I figured we were good to wait out the uncomfortable-ness at home.

Before leaving for the hospital and leaving our two big kids with my best friend, I went upstairs to kiss my big babies before leaving. I teared up, looking at them peacefully sleeping, wondering how they would fare without me for a few days, worrying about how this new child would change things for them, praying they liked their sibling, hoping with all my heart that it would not change their view of my love for them.

And then we were off... we listened to music, looked at the stars and then the sun rising, it was so early in the morning. We held hands the whole time, as if I was able to take my husband's strength and positivity and will myself to feel the same way, letting go of the anxiety.

On the way to the hospital, just like I'd done twice before, I called my other best friend and asked her to pray with me. She told me in that wonderful prayer not only to focus on positives, love, and hope, but also to have fun with this experience, to enjoy it, to really be in the moment and enjoy this as a fun and exciting day instead of all the worries I had in my mind. That stuck with me the entire day and I swear it's the number one thing that got me through the nerves of the C-section: focusing on this being a beautiful experience, nothing to fear.

When we got to the hospital the nurses told me I was lucky to be scheduled first thing in the morning, as they were experiencing their busiest birthing week that year! They also asked if I was feeling those contractions, coming every couple of minutes. I said a big UH YEAH. It was painful at this point, not unbearable but certainly more than uncomfortable. Baby was moving nonstop, kicking away that morning, as if to say, "Let's do this, Mama." I took comfort in every single jab and kick, trying to memorize the feelings, as this was my last pregnancy.

They kept me on the monitor longer than they typically do, just to keep an eye on things since I was having frequent contractions, the nurse told me. Hearing the heartbeat over and over, it was music to my ears. I just sat in the hospital bed, giddy and excited, talking to my husband, playing the Questions Game that we have played since high school, especially to calm my nerves over the years in big moments like this.

Our parents came to check in with us, gave big hugs and "I love yous," and then it was time to walk into the surgery room. I hate that part. Walking away from my husband to go get my spinal inserted. I cried as they held me still, through contractions, clinging to a nurse, talking me through it with positive stories. And then a calm came over me, like we can do this, I'm fine, my baby is fine, we're going to be a family. It was so bright in there, the surgery room, which usually is blinding. But on this day, choosing to find the fun and excitement in this event, I saw it as sunshine.

I pictured holding my baby, just like I'd done for the last 38 weeks since I found out I was pregnant after a miscarriage, full of worry and fear that something could go wrong, I pictured myself holding my baby. It was the one thing that got me through the fears, picturing what I wanted, what I hoped for, willing it to happen.

And then the fear set back in... as I heard them whispering that the baby's heartbeat was down... and then it was some professional rushing around, moving quicker than typical, and asking where the Dad was... not waiting for Dad to get started they said... and for a few moments I was terrified, wondering what was going on, but trying so desperately to trust they had this, they knew what they were doing, we were OK, me and my baby were going to be fine.

And then my doctor called it, as she has done the last two times I was in that operating room. She said what we were there for: a C-section birth for me and that we don't know the gender and that Dad would announce that part, and let's get started... and my husband was by my side, thankfully.

From there it was quick... my baby was born at 8:38 a.m. My husband held my hand tightly as he announced that we had another baby boy! I heard my little one scream loudly as if to say, "Yup, I'm HERE! I've arrived!" It was the loudest cry ever. It made my heart feel full instantly. I burst into tears, as if I'd even stopped crying all morning anyway! I instantly thought, "I have a boy, I have another son..." I was so happy, elated. When they announced that he was 6 lbs 13 oz I almost laughed, as my first son was 9 lbs 3 oz and my second, a daughter, was 7 lbs 14 oz. What a peanut we had here!

He screamed and screamed, louder than our other babies. He was so upset coming into the world, until he lay with me and was snuggled by his Dad, he then calmed down. It was perfection.

At one point with my boy on my chest a nurse asked what his name was, and I smiled saying the name I had in my head for four years prior... Quinn. She said "oh he's a mighty Quinn all right" as she heard him loud and clear. I love that. It's now his #amightyquinn for my Instagram pictures. He is definitely mighty... after all we survived together during pregnancy... he's mighty for sure. My mighty boy.

He cried so loudly. I sobbed. I just wanted to hold him, my whole body ached to hold him tightly as I'd pictured so long after my miscarriage, just wanting to hold that baby tight and know everything was all right, he was safe and sound on the outside. There were moments in the delivery room when I just smiled, thinking, "I did it. I carried him to term, we made it together. He's here. I'm so blessed." I felt so proud of my body in that moment. So proud.

My sweet boy's birth was nothing short of a miracle and yet it was an easier than expected surgery to get him here. I felt so lucky. When we were wheeled into the recovery room I was beaming and excited, just wanting our family to rush in to see us. My husband told me to slow down, let's enjoy this together since it's our last time, our last little one. We stared at our baby boy for a while, just taking it all in, memorizing his face in that instant. He was so tiny. I looked at him and realized that in an instant he'd grow so quickly and we'd never have this time back again, so we better stop and enjoy it as it came to us.

And that's how it's been... now 9 weeks later (ugh! took way too long to write this birth story, but such is our busy life with three kids now I suppose!)... he's already so big I barely recall how little he started out as back then. Time is surely flying by, and we're very, very blessed.

This birth was filled with sadness as it was my last, and pride from what I'd accomplished through this tough pregnancy and difficult surgery. It was filled with smiles and tears, fears and worries, and ultimately bliss that we had completed our family with our sweet boy, Quinn Ronald.

It could not have gone smoother, better, happier. I am such a lucky mother.

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