Wednesday, May 18, 2016

baby william

Sweet baby William has been a part of our life for almost two months now. I can't even believe how fast that time has gone. The whole process felt like quite the whirlwind to me, and still does in many respects, but I'm trying to really soak up this season of motherhood and enjoy this little babe while he's so little. After two months I feel like I am starting to forget some of the details of his birth so I felt like I better get them into a blog post stat, since handwriting them in my journal takes me about a million times longer.

I had been dreading the c-seciton portion of having a baby since the day I found out I was pregnant. I know it sounds crazy, and it is, but I just knew it was going to throw me for some major anxiety and panic attacks, which it did. You'd think with plenty of time to prepare I'd be ok by the time the surgery rolled around, but the anxiety was bad...almost worse than I even thought it would be. The excitement of having a baby (and not knowing the gender) mostly outweighed any anxiety the months and weeks leading up to William's birth. I tried to not even think about the c-section and I think that worked pretty well up until the night before I was heading into the hospital. I just started having panic attacks, one right after another, and they were pretty intense. I would just randomly start crying and then feeling this need to get up and go outside. I just felt totally claustrophobic. Robert was so sweet and gave me a blessing and just sat with me and let me cry while I hugged him, but I was inconsolable. I knew everything was going to be ok, but my anxiety was just taking over. It had never been like this before and it felt awful. Needless to say, I didn't sleep at all. At one point I just got up and went on a walk down the street at 2 AM. It was just so weird to feel like that. An hour or so later as I was sitting in the nursery in the new rocker and I started watching YouTube videos about how to overcome panic attacks. Did you know that you're supposed to try and HAVE panic attacks so you can learn to get over them? Well lucky for me I was having one after another so I just sat in that chair and imagined all the worst things and then tried to just let myself sit there and work through them. It was actually pretty awful, but believe it or not, I think it was a blessing because I started feeling myself ease up as I just let the fear wash over me. It was awful and wonderful at the same time, and by the time Robert woke up at 5:15 AM to take me to the hospital, I was feeling quite a bit more calm and collected.

Robert's cute mom slept over at our house the night before since we had to leave at 5:30 AM to get to the hospital at 6:00 AM. I felt a little guilty slipping out of the house without giving the girls a kiss goodbye, but I was so glad they were able to sleep and that we didn't have to drag them out of bed. It was still dark as we drove to the hospital and the streets were so quiet. Robert and I held hands as we drove and I just felt so reassured to have him by my side. He is the calm to my crazy and never makes me feel dumb about how insane I can be sometimes. He just lets me talk my way through it and then gives me a hug when I need it most. I love him and will forever be grateful to have him by my side. As we drove along in the dark we talked about how crazy it was that we were going to have a baby in a few hours. That is and always will be the strangest and most exciting feeling. It was just such a peaceful 15 minutes that I really needed in preparation for the next few hours.

When we arrived at the hospital our sweet friend Christine was walking in at the same time. She is a registered nurse and doesn't usually work at LDS Hospital, but I had asked her a few months before if there was any way she could be my nurse. She was so sweet and worked it all out so she could be there with us. I just love her. I was lucky enough to be able to be in the room to photograph the birth of her daughter Jillian a little over a year ago, and it was incredible. I realized that she would be seeing way more of me than she probably ever bargained for, but hello, that's what she does for a job and I just feel so comfortable with her that it didn't really phase me. Seeing her as we walked in brought yet another moment of peace I really needed. I had the same terrible nurse for not only Minnie's birth but also Louie's and she had made my experience so awful. Knowing Christine was there and was on my side (and knew about how anxious and claustrophobic I was) put my mind at ease. She even got us into a prep room with a window, which was a dream because the last two times I'd been in a tiny little room with no windows which had driven me kind of crazy. It was also nice to just chat with her about normal stuff leading up to the surgery because I felt kind of like my normal self for a little bit.

Once I was all prepped and ready to go and my doctor came in and talked me through everything, I got up and walked with everyone to the operating room. That walk is always kind of bittersweet because I know I'm not going to be walking for another 24 hours but it also makes me feel a little less claustrophobic. When we got into the operating room and I sat on the table, my sweet anesthesiolgist started walking me through all that he was going to do. I have lucked out with great anesthesiologists for every delivery and this one was no exception. I told him how anxious I was about everything and he told me that as soon as the baby was out he could give me something to help me relax as they stitched me back up. I was so grateful. Once I was totally numb and was lying down, they got to work fast. I'm telling you, it has gone by so quickly every single time, especially the first time since I fell asleep! I actually felt really present with this c-section, which I was so happy about. My anxiety had me chatting up a storm. I was asking everyone a million questions about their family, their jobs, their hobbies, etc. etc. I couldn't stop! I just had to talk so I wouldn't be crazy. Robert knew I preferred not to be touched in these situations so he just sat beside me and was that calm presence I needed.

Doctor Rallison was so cute about our not finding out the baby's gender and told me he was almost as excited as we were because people rarely wait to find out. Within minutes of lying down on the table I felt a tug and knew that the baby was out. Doctor Rallison lifted that sweet little body up over the curtain and said, "Ok Dad, what is it?!" Robert took a second to really process it and then said slowly, "It's...a...boy!!!" I was in disbelief! We looked at each other and just started laughing. What do we do with a boy?! I just started saying over and over, "I can't believe I have a boy! I can't believe I have a boy!" I felt such a rush of adrenaline and excitement that I hardly felt any anxiety anymore. Robert went to see them take his vitals and get him weighed and such and I just sat there talking with everyone about how surprised I was. Within a few minutes the anxiety started to sneak back in so I asked the anesthesiologist if he could give me a little something to take the edge off. As soon as he did I just felt tired, which was ok because I was kind of nervous I was going to throw up. I felt sleepy and relaxed but still with it somehow, which was ideal.

Robert brought that sweet baby over so I could take a good look at him and my heart just melted when I saw his little face. It was strange how even though he was just a tiny little thing, the fact that he was a boy just felt so different to me. I knew I would have been happy having a girl too, but I have always wanted to know what having a son would feel like and I was so grateful I would have the chance.

As they rolled me back into our room I saw my mom and Julia in there and they both were so excited when we announced, "It's a boy!" It still just felt so surreal. I can't even explain how nice it was to have my mom here for the birth. There's something about having your mom with you when you have a baby that feels so comforting. My dad and Nick and Megan came up a few minutes later and it was such a sweet hour being together chatting, taking pictures and passing around our sweet baby. Charlotte Skyped us and it was so fun to see her and her cute boys for a minute. She has four boys so she's going to have to give me all the tips on what to do with boys. I felt a little wobbly because my body was so numb and then I was shivering and my teeth were chattering because my body was in shock from the surgery, but I was able to nurse William for about 15 minutes and he latched on like a champ. Once he was done I was feeling totally wiped out. From not sleeping a wink the night before to the major surgery I'd just had, I felt like my eyelids had weights on them and it was all I could do to keep them open. I felt just plain tired the entire time we were in the hospital, which you can probably tell by how I look in these pictures. Thank goodness at least for those nights I was able to send William to the nursery and get a few good hours of sleep.

Everyone left a few minutes later and my mom and Julia were going to get the girls so they could come meet their brother, which I was most excited about! I got wheeled over to the postpartum unit and actually had the same room I'd had when I had Louie, which was kind of nice. I think I got to take a quick nap and then the girls arrived. That really was one of the sweetest moments of them all. They both ran into the room beaming and shot straight for the baby in Robert's arms. When we told them they had a new baby BROTHER Minnie's eyes just lit up. It was all I could do not to cry right then and there. The girl had wanted a brother so badly and it was pure magic to see that excitement on her face. They were so cute holding him for the first time and giving him kisses on his forehead. I think one of my favorite things about being a mom is seeing my kids love each other. It's one of those sweet rewards you never realize you're going to love so much until it happens.

The girls spent the night at my parents house that night and Robert was kind enough to spend the night on the tiny roll-out bed at the hospital. We spent the next two days agonizing over what to name the baby. I told Robert that the last two names were names from my side of the family, so this baby should have a name from his side. We'd played around with a million different names and Minnie was mostly set on James, which was Robert's grandmother's maiden name. I loved the name James too, but there were a few others in the mix we liked too. William Collard was Robert's great grandfather's name. I've always liked the name William so I was happy with that. We also wanted to include George to honor Robert's dad, who passed a year and a half ago. We were actually held up at the hospital because we hadn't finished our paperwork yet because we hadn't settled on a darn name. I think Robert felt a little guilty not using James because Minnie loved it so much, but he felt a stronger connection to William George. So, after some discussion with Min, we finally settled on William George it's a perfect fit. Minnie would still bring up the name James occasionally, but we've made some big strides the last two months and James hasn't been mentioned in a long, long time.

Once we were ok'd to leave, the nurse came in to cut the clamp off of William's umbilical cord. I'd already had him dressed in an outfit to go home in, and as she was buttoning him up after cutting off the clamp I noticed quite a bit of blood on his outfit. When I asked her what that blood was she said she wasn't sure. When she unbuttoned his outfit there was a huge puddle of blood oozing out of his belly button. I almost lost it. She did too. The clamp had actually pulled his umbilical cord totally off! She said she'd never seen that before and then immediately called for the head nurse to come...quick! They put something on the belly button to help stop the bleeding but I was just sweating bullets. William was as calm as could be, so I figured he was probably fine, but seeing that much blood coming out of him had me totally freaked out. They put lots of gauze on the belly button and then wrapped his tummy with an bandage to help hold it on there. They told me to just watch it and then go to the pediatrician in the morning. My pediatrician said he'd never seen that either, but thankfully everything turned out just fine and the belly button healed pretty quickly. William also got some irritation in his eyelids before we left the hospital and could barely open them. He looked like he'd gotten into a big brawl. It was so sad! They were red and puffy and it made me worried (of course it did :) ) but his doctor assured me that it was totally normal and would go away, and he was right. About a week later it was nearly gone.

I'll be honest, the whole newborn stage this time around was a little rough for me. It actually has been every time, but this time felt harder than ever for some reason. I think part of the issue was that our girls were at such independent ages when I was pregnant with William and I really had no idea how good I had it. We were all sleeping like logs, they both fed themselves, they'd play for hours together...we had it easy. Nursing William was sooooo painful. I also struggled getting up multiple times a night to feed him. He got sick about two weeks after he was born and super congested and was having a hard time sleeping and was spitting up a ton. He is also kind of a fussy little thing so between him sleeping and eating there was quite a bit of crying and that just about did me in. Three kids just threw me for a loop and even with all the help I had since Robert was home for a week and my mom was able to help a ton because she was on spring break, I just felt a little crazy. I feel like after two months I'm coming out of the fog. Nursing has been 100 times better since about a month on and William's in a little bit more of a routine and seems to get happier every week. I am making it sound like it's all been terrible, and it hasn't. It has actually been really amazing, but there's just a lot of hard stuff surrounding the amazing parts.

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