Hattie Elizabeth's Birth Story

I realize this is a lot to read! I never got around to writing Georgia's birth story as it was a bit traumatizing. Although I remember all of it, I've always regretted not saving the small details, so I wanted a complete record of Hattie Beth's. There aren't many photos in this post, so I will plan a separate post to share that aspect. This is a good read though!

cesarean delivery story

After being so sick and uncomfortable, I was sure that Hattie Elizabeth would make us wait until the last possible minute to meet her. I was so convinced, in fact, that I didn't have a bag packed, carseat base installed or nursery ready to bring a baby home. I was shocked and a feeling a little unprepared when she came three weeks early! Fortunately, David had spent some time the week prior getting Georgia's old baby items from storage, so we had some basic gear clean and ready. I'd also washed some newborn sized gowns and outfits, bought a box of diapers and wipes, and ordered a bassinet and car seat. So we weren't completely unprepared - I just hadn't braced myself mentally to welcome a baby.
To give the full picture of Hattie's arrival, I need to back up a week and start there. I've posted about being incredibly sick with hyperemesis gravidarum since I was five or six weeks pregnant. It did not let up during my pregnancy and although the Zofran pump helped to take the edge off and stopped some of the vomiting, it's mentally and emotionally exhausting to insert a needle into your stomach at least every eight hours (sometimes more often) in addition to being confined to your bed and home for an entire pregnancy. Since I really couldn't leave the house anyway, I stopped the Zofran pump about halfway through my third trimester and started taking Zofran, Diclegis and Phenergan orally again. It wasn't ideal to be so sick {or medicated!}, but we were able to have fun and do things as a family on weekends when David was home, and I was able to get lots of rest while Georgia was at preschool.

The two weeks before Hattie Elizabeth was born, I was so uncomfortable. I had been having contractions off and on, but there was no labor progression. My doctor told me if I was unable to walk or talk through a contraction go to the hospital immediately. She also told me to head to the hospital when they were consistently five minutes apart. The weekend of June 17, the contractions weren't painful, but once I started paying attention and timing them, I realized they were consistently two minutes apart. I called the nurse to ask if we should be concerned since I was just uncomfortable but not in any real pain. She asked a series of questions and once I told her that I was only able to keep water down (no food or other liquids) she told me to go check in to get some fluids and IV nausea meds.

I headed to the hospital around 7 p.m. that Sunday evening. I remember driving myself and telling David I would call if I were going to be getting meds that would make me drowsy. At this point I think I had been admitted eight or nine times and he always went with me. I was sick of being in the hospital, had watched all of the movies and I just wanted him to stay home and put Georgia to bed. I realize now that I probably shouldn't have driven myself... I do remember the funniest thing about the drive and waiting to check in, though. Our friend Drew was texting us from a concert and I texted back like nothing was up. I didn't call my or David's parents - I like to think that if I keep pretending everything is normal then nothing dramatic will happen!

I got to the hospital, changed into a gown, peed in a cup, etc etc etc. I decided to settle in and watch Mean Girls and hopefully fall asleep once the meds started. The nurse was taking my vitals and asked if I always had high blood pressure. My blood pressure had been one of the healthiest things about my pregnancy - even borderline low at times, so it wasn't a concern at all. But it was something incredibly high. They decided to monitor it along with my contractions.

My contractions were consistently 2 minutes apart, lasting 30 seconds or more each, but I wasn't dilated. They were registering pretty strong on the monitor, so the doctor told me they would monitor for a couple of hours and check to see how far I had dilated then call my doctor in. With Georgia, I was in labor for 38 hours before I dilated at all on my own; we eventually had to get her delivery started with medical intervention. So I really wasn't expecting much to happen. 

After four hours of monitoring, I was zero dilated and the medication they gave me to lower my blood pressure hadn't worked. I wasn't having symptoms like vision issues or headaches, and the baby's heartbeat was fine, so the doctor on call released me and asked me to follow up with my doctor Monday when I woke up.

I talked to my doctor's office Monday around noon. Since I still didn't have any adverse symptoms and the contractions had magically stopped, we decided I'd just see her at my appointment Wednesday. By Wednesday I was feeling great! Just the usual pregnant in the hottest part of summer things like a constant backache and profuse sweating, but after my appointment Georgia and I had a blast getting milkshakes, her hair cut, dance class and doing a little shopping. 

I survived the rest of the week but Friday was so miserable that David came home early and "rescued" me {my prince in shining armor!} by taking me out for a snowcone. I also scarfed down some Mexican street corn and hot Cheeto nachos also sold at our favorite snowcone stand. In retrospect, not the smartest idea, but I was going to have the stomach issues regardless of what I ate so....

We had a laid back weekend complete with Georgia putting on a dance recital and concert for us. Sunday I was sick but I wanted to get out of the house. I made it to about half of Sunday School then went to a blogger meetup. When I got home we attended a party to celebrate our friends' four-year-old son beating cancer {YAY Nolan!!!} Before we left I asked if it pajamas were appropriate. David said absolutely not! So I wore running shorts, tshirt and flip flops. Frankly, my feet were too fat for actual shoes. The party was outside and it was hot. I must have looked a mess because several people asked "What are you doing here?" I thought something might be wrong when I couldn't even take a bite of the delicious BBQ catered from one of my favorite places. Nothing tasted like it should. Even cupcakes, snowcones and Chick Fil A nuggets didn't appeal to me. We celebrated Nolan and came home.

Monday morning I woke up sick at 6:30. This was different. Usually I'm sick when I wake up, but being sick doesn't wake me up, especially not that early. And I couldn't go back to sleep. I laid in bed getting sick every 30-60 minutes while trying to get a little sleep. I do remember taking a small nap while Georgia watched TV. 

I had asked my friend (and hair gal!) Kristi to come over to touch up my highlights at 10 and another girl to do my eyelashes that evening, so Georgia and I somehow hit the McDonald's drive through for a Dr. Pepper and got her some chicken minis from CFA. When Kristi got to our house I felt miserable. But my roots were pitiful and my hair was in bad need of a cut and a moisture treatment. Kristi is amazing! We had to stop every half hour or so for me to run to the other room to get sick. By the time she finished I was getting sick every fifteen minutes. And this sickness felt really different, it wasn't letting up at all. So right when Kristi left I dropped Georgia off at a drop-in childcare we sometimes use (I was too ill to call a friend and explain, daycare was much easier to deal with) and headed to the hospital. I didn't call ahead and all I took with me was my wallet, a book and my phone. I had to pull over and get sick on my way there. In the rain!

When I got to triage I was pretty much passed out on the couch when a woman who was clearly in labor signed in. I rolled my eyes and thought "Oh great, I'll be here forever" because they call patients back in order of severity. So I was pleasantly surprised when I got called within minutes of arriving.

I was so dehydrated so peeing in a cup wasn't going to happen, and they didn't make me weigh. They did have me put on a gown right away and the nurse immediately took my blood pressure. As soon as she finished, she said "Well, today is probably baby day!". What?? I came here because I need a shot of Zofran and fluids.

The nurse paged my doctor and we waited for her to call back. I still wasn't worried or convinced; having the baby is the doctor's decision, not the nurse's and I was barely 37 weeks along. Or 36, because there were two due dates in my file. One based on fetal growth (very big!) and one based on LMP dates.

But in less than an hour after arriving it was decided that I would be leaving Texas Children's with a brand spankin' new baby!

My blood pressure was going up, up, up. Not that being told that you're about to have a baby will do that to you or anything...The nurse kept having me lay my head back and close my eyes. I know at one point my blood pressure was 160/115. Which I googled. And saw that is classified as severely high during pregnancy. Unfortunately, the baby's heart rate kept dropping from the 160s to the low 80s. 

I wasn't scared or nervous. I really didn't have time to be. I got to the hospital around 3, and by 4:15 I was being moved to a surgery-prep room. If I hadn't already planned on a c-section, I would have been frantic. But I'd had plenty of time to prepare for the method of getting the baby into this world and I was OK with that. 

Poor David. He kind of didn't know what was going on! I called him at four and asked him to go pick up Georgia and pack a bag for me "just in case". I didn't want to tell him over the phone because I didn't want him to worry or drive too fast to get there. He had to leave a meeting in downtown Houston, drive to our neighborhood to get Georgia, come home and pack a bag for me and one for Georgia (unbeknownst to me, my mom had called him and told him this would be a "good idea"), then drive back into Houston to the med center. I think he and Georgia got to my room at about 5:45.

My mom called two of my aunts who live about an hour away because we needed someone to take care of Georgia. I definitely wanted her to be at the hospital so she could see me before surgery and hopefully see the baby right away. All of my friends who might have been available (i.e. do not work) have kids so wouldn't have been able to come to the hospital to watch her. We also wanted her to spend the night with family. Fortunately, my uncle and my aunt were both able to come right away.

I got to spend time cuddling with Georgia before I went to surgery. I was so happy for that time. Since I'd felt so bad the couple of days before we didn't get our usual cuddles in! Even while we were talking about the baby, none of it felt real! I still wasn't convinced we were going to have a baby!

My wheelchair rolled into surgery at 6:24 p.m. I guess I have a thing for needing to know exactly what time it is when a baby is involved, because I vividly remember looking at the clock for the exact time (1:15:15) that Georgia was born. And in surgery, they call out times for everything.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but upon entering the surgery room I felt as if I were entering a space ship. Everything was white, bright, shiny and chrome. There were lots of people. Most of them were young and all of them were great looking (this becomes important in a few minutes). I did get quite nervous at this point; I was anxious for David to come be with me. I didn't really know what to expect and I needed someone to talk to.

Before I knew it, I was sitting on a table leaning on a sweet nurse named Ruby, preparing to get a spinal tap. She held me up, talked me through it and helped me breathe. I remember being so thankful she was there. Just like my epidural with Georgia, when they started counting my vertebrae [aloud!] I got very anxious. I mean, it's my spine for crying out loud! Then the needle went in. I still have time to back out, don't I? I really wanted to ask if we could just do this the old fashioned way. The anesthesiologist told me to prepare to feel the medicine burn....and as soon as I did I started panicking that something would go wrong. I wasn't freaking out aloud, but I think Ruby could see it in my eyes because she started relaxing me. 

A few seconds later, I couldn't feel anything. I saw nurses lifting up my legs before I realized they were my legs. I felt like I was watching someone put a mannequin together. I only recognized them as my legs and feet because of my chipped red nail polish. 

A few of the great-looking staff came over to introduce themselves. Like, shake my hand and give me their name and let me know what they would be doing. Quite nice of them! Until I looked up and saw my reflection in a shiny light fixture. I was naked from my ribcage down, save for a pair of ugly hospital socks, and splayed out with my legs butterfly style for all to see. So much for dignity. At least I wouldn't be pooping on the operating table!  

I wanted to ask if we could turn some music on but I forgot to.

They put the big blue curtain up and started doing some stuff and asking if I could feel "this" and "how about this one?" I couldn't so all was good, but I was still worried until I was told "Well, that was the big one, if you didn't feel it then you're good!" 

The anesthesiologist asked if I'd like to know what was going on. Yes! Of course! I actually wanted to have the blue curtain moved so I could watch as the baby came out but the doctor wouldn't allow it. Before he started describing what was happening, he told me to let him know if I started feeling sick. No, I feel great! Better than I have all pregnancy. Oh gosh. WAIT. I need a bag, I'm SICK! He grinned and told me it was a side effect of the medication and anytime I felt anything let he could basically adjust it away. And he warned that I would start hyperventilating in just a few seconds. Yep! Strangely, wiping under my nose with an alcohol pad brought my breathing right back to normal.

A few seconds later someone yelled "Where is her husband? Can somebody go get him?" and a response of "I'll run down there and grab him!"

David came in and everything felt surreal. It may have been because he was wearing one of the blue head covers, but I felt like I was out of my body watching this whole experience. I couldn't feel my body although I knew my parts were likely on the table beside it. But I was excited! After a couple of kisses I started to crack a couple of jokes with David. 

c section recovery

Before we knew it the doctor was asking if David would like to watch. He said no and I begged him to watch anyway. He did. Then we head "It's a girl!" I looked at the clock - 6:59! David told me she was beautiful and had lots of hair and a few seconds later I got to see for myself. She was tiny and pink and gorgeous with a ton of black hair plastered to her perfectly round little head. She was just a little curled up ball! Her eyes were squeezed shut and her mouth was open. We couldn't stop saying how tiny and pretty she was.

David left my side to go be with Harriet while she got toweled off and her mouth suctioned. I couldn't stop smiling. The best memories ingrained in my mind are of David comforting our brand new daughters. With both Georgia and Hattie he stood by them and talked softly, holding their tiny little hands and looking into their eyes. I heard him singing Goodbye Ruby Tuesday to Hattie Elizabeth and I want to cry tears of happiness just thinking about it!

A few minutes later I got to hold her. Since we didn't really know she was coming I hadn't thought to prepare what my first words to her would be. We have a video of us meeting face to face for the first time and I just kept saying "Look at you!" Hattie Beth was so sweet! Tiny. And strong! She was on my chest and raised her head up to look around several times. She was perfectly healthy and passed everything with flying colors. She looked so much like me! I couldn't believe it. And she had hair! Neither of us could believe that!

cesarean section video

My blood pressure went down quite a bit, so fortunately I didn't have to get a magnesium drip. I had been warned that it would make me feel pretty terrible for 24-48 hours. I did stay a little while for monitoring, but we soon got to go back to my room so Harriet could meet Georgia. Baby Sister finally made it! Happy and healthy and our family is complete!