You may have been wondering why I suddenly fell off the blogosphere these past two weeks…or maybe you have already guessed. Much to everyone’s surprise, our Little Monkey decided to grace us with his presence two weeks early! Now this Great Freakin’ Adventure bucket list item is probably the most significant one I will ever check off.
Please welcome Nico Alfredo Notes to the world! Born Thursday August 29, 2013 at 10:53pm at 5 lbs. 1.6 oz. and 19 inches.
Ever since I was a child myself, I dreamed about what it would be like to have a child of my own. As kids, my sister and I played house, school, doctor, and other role-playing games where we would play the “mom” taking care of our babies. I guess that is just something that little girls do…or maybe that was just us, I don’t know. As we grew older, the idea of having kids was something we tried to avoid, especially during our teenage and college years. Finish school, get a job, get married, then have babies, right? Of course, that doesn’t always ring true in the real world, but that’s what I was aiming for, and luckily, my life played out according to plan in that way.
However, the plan itself does not always go the way you would imagine. Life is just not that way, and ours was no different. It was not without struggle and some hard times. We were fortunate to get pregnant pretty quickly, but then our world crashed down when we lost our little Peanut. It was tough to move on, but the news of our Little Monkey on the way helped with the process. Although we were scared of something terrible happening again, there was still that glimmer of hope which increased with every week of my pregnancy.
There were both ups and downs with the pregnancy, but all in all I would say I had a very healthy, wonderful pregnancy experience. Toward the end, I loved feeling him jump around in my belly and we imagined every day what he would look like. It still feels weird to not have him in my belly anymore, and I half expect to feel a kick every now and again. I am glad to have this blog which documents most of this experience, and I look forward to showing it to Nico one day.
Now let’s look back to right before Labor Day Weekend. What I thought would be a routine 38 week check up on that Wednesday morning at 9am turned into me being admitted to the Labor and Delivery unit that morning and staying there for quite some time. My husband and I got called back for my routine ultrasound, and baby was not exactly cooperating that morning. He passed all of the tests with flying colors, except he wasn’t making any sharp movements. Now, I have my theories on this…we typically had 1pm appointments…maybe baby was just sleeping at 9am? However, he also fell down quite significantly in the growth percentile. He had been measuring small the entire time, but the docs said he was growing every time, so they were not really too concerned. They kept a close eye, and at this 38 week appointment, the percentile dropped to where they started to be concerned. My regular doc was on vacation that week, so they had someone filling in. Because of the lack of movement and drop in growth percentile, and the fact that I was full term at 38 weeks, the fill-in doc recommended that I be induced that very day. I’m sorry, WHAT DID YOU SAY??? Induced…today??? As in, RIGHT NOW??? Where is my normal doctor? Who is this lady?? Does she even know what she is talking about? She doesn’t even know our story! Would Dr. Stein say the same thing? These are some of the thoughts that ran through my head. My husband and I were clearly in utter shock. We had nothing with us. Our hospital bag was all packed, but it was all the way at home. I told myself beforehand that my “birthing plan” was more of a go-with-the-flow mentality, because it’s impossible to predict what will happen…but this is NOT what I was thinking, and I was not feeling like going-with-the-flow right now. We went down to the Labor and Delivery unit at the hospital and I spoke with the midwife on call. We did a series of extra tests, which the baby passed with flying colors, and I really second guessed this decision to be induced two weeks early. It was ultimately our decision, but we had a strong rec from the doctors, and really, what was our alternative? Go home, be stressed 24/7 about whether or not we made the right decision, or wondering if my placenta was somehow failing and baby was not getting nutrition the whole time? Or get the baby out now safely while he’s still healthy, no matter what it took. The choice for us was obvious.
Luckily, the hospital staff was wonderful, and because baby was still doing really well, they told me they would not rush the process, and make sure to take as much time as needed for as long as we could to make this induction happen and to try to avoid a C-section. They let me have my “last meal” before being admitted, and Zack went home to pick up all of our stuff for the hospital, including our car. The next time we would be going home, we would be going home with a baby. This reality was finally creeping in on us, and it brought a whole new meaning to Labor Day Weekend.
Once the induction process started, it was a long road. It finally got started around 6:30pm (after being in the hospital since 9 am). 12 hours and another day later things finally seemed like maybe they were moving along. Unfortunately, after the midwife examined me…it turned out that things were not really moving along all too well. Rather, than drug me up with more and more pitocin (which they did not think would work for a natural delivery), she suggested that we start the process over. WHAT? Again? 12 more hours of this? And what if it doesn’t work again? I am doomed for a C-section. I wasn’t feeling too optimistic at this point, but I trusted that the midwife was recommending the best thing for me and what what we wanted for this delivery. So, they let me take a shower, have another “last meal”, and we tried again.
Somehow, someway, the process worked this time and I started progressing. That was a ridiculously happy moment for us, and I started to feel hopeful. The rest of that afternoon, I felt contractions, but I wasn’t in a terrible amount of pain. My mom, sister, and mother-in-law were able to make it up to NY in time to be there before the delivery. I had very lucid conversations with them through my contractions, and I was generally pleasant for a lot of the time.
I kept progressing, they eventually broke my water, and it was then that everything kicked into high gear. My contractions started getting more difficult to handle, and thank God for those birthing classes my husband and I took as he was so helpful in getting me through a lot of them. Eventually it got to a point where I said, “I don’t have to be supermom right? I need an epidural.” It didn’t kick in right away, but let me tell you…I was so happy when it did. Before we knew it, the midwife was telling me it was time to push. Already? For such a slow start, this birth certainly was moving quickly now! We didn’t even have time to tell our family that it was go time. We just had to go. A small army of medical professionals surrounded us and my nether region, but at this point, I was so over feeling awkward…I mean I had to pee in a bedpan for the past 24 hours, because they couldn’t unhook me from the machines…my humility had already gone out the window. I pushed like a rock star for only 20 minutes, and our baby boy finally arrived! Right before he came out, his heart rate started to drop, and there were talks of possibly using a vacuum to get him out. I guess that was all I needed to hear to get him out as soon as possible. Turns out, the culprit was the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice that had tightened up as he was coming down the birth canal. Thank God for those last quick pushes. They placed him on my chest, and I was so overwhelmed with emotion and shock, and I don’t even know what else. It was so surreal that this little “alien” jumping around in my belly for nine months was finally here and a teeny tiny human in the real world. My Little Monkey. My Nico.
It was a magical experience, that I don’t think you can even accurately describe or understand the feeling unless you have gone through it yourself. We stayed at the hospital for about a day and a half after Nico’s birth, trying to recover and pick up all the tricks of the trade from the nurses. My husband even videotaped a nurse doing a swaddle. Trust me, it has definitely helped out at home! It was pretty unreal taking our baby home and realizing that we were now officially parents who had a new job of raising this child.
My mother-in-law stayed with us for a few days to help out with cooking, cleaning, giving us time to catch up on sleep, etc. We are extremely grateful to have such a wonderful support system. Once she left, we missed her and the help, but it was nice to try and figure out this parenting thing on our own, and get into as much of a routine as we possibly could.
I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks since our little Nico arrived. I already feel like we have been through so much emotionally, mentally, physically, and more. As soon as we think we have things figured out, something changes. Everyone says this, and I thought I would be different, but breastfeeding is not easy. Sleep is so important for your sanity and well-being. And it’s integral to get out of the house every now and then.
Nico is doing well and gaining back his birth weight. He has been a pretty awesome baby so far, and he sleeps a lot for which we are very appreciative. As crazy and exhausting and hard as motherhood can be, I am loving every minute of it so far. Just seeing that little face every day, the little smiles he gives, and knowing that my husband and I created such an innocent, wonderful little being makes everything worth it. I already feel like time is moving by so fast, and before I know it, he will be going off to prom or getting married. I am so excited for the journey that is to come and ready to take on all of the challenges that come with being a mommy.
Heading home from the hospital
Like father like son
Nico with his Nana (my Grandma)
First trip to Prospect Park
Since this major life change, I can’t promise to keep up with my blog as often as I once did, and I can’t promise I will take a shower every day. But I can promise to give this baby the world, my best, and everything I’ve got.