As I mentioned in my previous posts, we had a crazy 2013! But, amidst all that crazy, there was a precious little blessing sent our way that really was our anchor to sanity.
I was kind of mostly surprised to find a positive pregnancy test one March morning. My temps weren’t what they should be according to my typical pregnancy temps, and well, there was just no scientific way I should have been. But, then I had a flash back to every Sunday the past 3 months. After Holy Communion, all the kids kneel and say prayers. And, every Sunday the past few months, Faith had been asking God to please put a baby sister in Mommy’s tummy!! I secretly hoped God sneezed and didn’t hear her requests because I felt I wasn’t ready to be pregnant and give birth without Lowell, who was supposed to deploy. (If you know anything about my pregnancies, you know my infinite dislike for doctors and hospitals and OB offices increases dramatically with the amount of time I have to spend in and with them due to being labeled “high risk.”) But! God gave us a parting gift from the Navy, upon Faith’s request, and we were due to meet this gift face-to-face on November 3.
My pregnancy went pretty well. It was my most stressful due to everything else that was going on in our life during that time, but the pregnancy itself was good. My only ‘complication’ with this pregnancy was how terrible my varicose veins got to be. I have always had them, and usually they got big and ugly the last few weeks of my previous pregnancies, but they got big and bad by the time I was 20 weeks with this baby. I finally found some awesome stuff to take orally and a lotion to help topically, though, and I swear it saved my life. That, and walking 3 miles 4 times a week, really did me, and my veins, the most good.
I finally was established with a doctor that I did not like at all. But, because I was so far along before I finally was able to be seen, and “high risk”, nobody would touch me, so I had to take what I could get. I was just another face in his office. He never remembered any of my details or information. I just went through the system, though, and did things the way I like it without much care as to what anybody thought about it. I think that most medical professionals are surprised when somebody like me comes around and I know my options, what I want/don’t want, and there is no changing my mind. At any rate, I knew I had to deal with what I’d been given, so I dealt with it as patiently as possible. (pun somewhat intended ;))
When I was 38 weeks and went in for final measurements with the high risk doctor, he told me my baby weighed 11 lbs 10 oz and that he was going to recommend to my OB that I have a C-section. I was blown away! Why was my baby so big?! I had tight control over my sugars as I always do, and the doctor hadn’t said anything to me about measuring too big. I did know I had lots of excess fluid, but 12 pounds, really? I told the high risk doctor that I had delivered my last baby vaginally with no problems in three sets of three pushes. And he was 10 pounds 10 ounces! He told me that he was sure I was I proud of myself, but went on to explain all the risks involved with delivering a big baby. I told him I was going to fight the slicing, and he said I could take it up with my OB who I was due to see in a few hours. I went to my suburban and cried my eyes out. How did this happen? How was I going to be cut open and deal with recovery with 4 little kids running around, and with a newborn? And, all of the battles to go VBAC after this! I cried and I prayed. I started to realize how selfish I was sounding. It wasn’t all about me, I had the life and well-being of my little (haha! little) baby to consider as well. I put on my big girl face and headed up to my next appointment and duke it out with the man who never remembered anything about me.
I was finally called back and the doctor came in. I just started right in…. The high risk doctor told me he was going to call and talk to you about my needing a C-section. I am completely opposed to it, but I realize I have my baby to consider. He was quite taken back. He said, “You are the patient he was talking about?! I never saw this coming.” Then he talked about the risk of delivering a very large baby. How the shoulder may get stuck and if continued to push through could break shoulder and/or tear ligaments and nerve ending that could potentially paralyze the baby. We talked about my deliver my ten pounder and he said that might have been a breeze, but maybe my body couldn’t “open” any more than that? Then we’d end up doing an emergency section due to a stuck baby and then had risks of pulling him/her back out the birth canal and through the slice. So, after we talked it all out, he left it up to me. He took my words and put them back in my court “my body, my baby, my birth” he would go along with whatever I wanted to do. As I had continue to pray about it since my first visit, I decided I wouldn’t be so selfish. I would go through with a planned C-section and have a healthy baby delivered to me unharmed and not risk his/her life by trying to deliver and something go terribly wrong, and/or end up being cut open anyway. The rough road of recovery and the battles of VBAC still bugged me, but I put my trust in God about those things and set the date to meet my baby.
The C-section went mostly well. They got me all set up and went to work. The water basin-type thing they put up to catch the blood and water filled with so much water that the doctor had to fish through that and into my stomach to bring out my ended-up-breach, chunky baby. They had given me a spinal, and I started to not respond well, but I think it had to do with a nasty cough I’d developed a few days prior to delivery . I wanted/needed to cough but I couldn’t make myself. The anesthesiologist told me to take slow, deep breaths while he was fixing the meds, all the while my baby was being born. I was concentrating on my breathing and listening for my baby. They told me it was a girl and a tear left my eye, but I was still struggling and started to feel overwhelmed with exhaustion. I could barely keep my eyes open. Lowell was paying attention to me and was starting to get freaked out, I think, and the nurses kept calling for him. “Dad! Dad!” I finally said, “Honey. The Baby. The Nurses.” He snapped to and collected her up and brought her to me.
She weighed in at 11 pounds 9.8 ounces. The high risk doctor was almost spot on! I was so out of it when I saw her, but I was so glad she was here and safe. I kissed her and I closed my eyes and just breathed. I was taken to recovery for a little while before taken back to a room. I was getting all my feeling back and wanted my baby. I latched her on to nurse and she took to it right away and pretty much never left me. Big girl, big appetite! ;)
The hospital stay wasn’t horrible, but it was seemingly never ending. It is the worst part of birth for me. I just want to go home! I did have a lot of bleeding, so they kept an extra close eye on me that first 24 hours. Then I was there 48 hours…then 72! Holy moly, I wanted to hit the road! But, luckily, I had such a precious little one to keep me company.
We finally got the okay to leave the confines of the hospital late in the afternoon of our third day there. It was so wonderful to be home and comfortable again! My good friend, Ashley, got it all set up for family and friends to bring us dinner for the next two weeks. I felt so blessed! She wanted me to stay completely still to really let me recover, so that’s what I did. I will always be grateful for that easy time. Well, as easy as something like that can be. I honestly have no idea why anybody would do that over and over, unless it was medically necessary of course!
We have been living happily ever after. The kids adore their little sister so much and are so good to her. Faith loves to talk about how exciting it is to know God hears and answers your specific prayers. Karolina is nearly 5 months old now and can do so much! She is pushing herself on all fours already. She tucks and rolls to get to what she wants across the room. And, she is Phillip’s biggest fan. I am excited to see their little relationship blossom. They get a kick out of each other. He is the only one who can really make her burst out with laughter about things. Just too cute!
**Random Fact!: We named Karolina after Bl. John Paul II and Our Lady (and Our Lord) of Divine Mercy. JPII’s given name was Karol Józef Wojtyła, so that’s why we chose Karolina with a “k”.**