A bad case of bad luck

If you’ve known me for long you probably are well aware that I have the strangest luck, at times no luck at all.  I take the hard road for things, no matter how hard I try to make life easy.  I am thankful that while my luck somewhat stinks sometimes, that it is down right awful.  I have the type of the luck that sometimes makes me laugh.  I saw a joke once that said, “I have as much luck as a bald man winning a comb.”  I laughed probably way too long at that because the reliability of it was out of this world!   I am the type of person who will go into basket BINGO and win 10 baskets that I have no care for and then walk out of the building to a flat tire.

The unfortunate part of this luck is that I often believe that good things cannot happen to me.  If I want something too much, I feel like it is going to be out of reach for me.  Thankfully, life has proven me wrong a million times.  While I’ve experienced a failed marriage, I now have one that I wouldn’t trade for anything.  While I’ve experienced infertility, I now have a beautiful baby girl in my arms.  I am so thankful that life proves me wrong sometimes.

I still get hit with just unfortunate bad luck repeatedly.  My husband and I took a birthing class that lasted 12 weeks.  The program was called the Bradley Method.  The purpose of the program is to help prepare you for a natural child birth.  I was open to the idea that I may not have a fully natural child birth but I wanted a “tool box” so that I could make the most informed decisions and tolerate the pain the best that I can.  Part of the program is monitoring what you are eating to ensure your body and baby are healthy.  I followed the program.  I ate healthy food and I stayed more active than I probably should have most days.  The result… feeling like absolute crap about myself at each doctor appointment because I was gaining too much weight.  By my doctors standards I should have gained 15-20 pounds.  By the end of my pregnancy I gained 40 pounds.  I tried everything to make it so that I would not gain the weight.  Yet, at every appointment I had gained large amounts of weight.  I tried to tell them I was loaded with fluid but they still insisted that I was not eating healthy.  Sometimes I would gain 9 pounds in 2 weeks.  I would have had to eat cake for every meal to do that weight gain… which I obviously didn’t.  I started to cry going to every appointment because I could not stand feeling like I was not doing everything I should have to keep my daughter healthy.  I fought so hard to have her, I was determined that I was going to give her the very best if I could just have her.  Yet, at every appointment I was told I wasn’t do my best.   I felt awful and nothing I did was helping.

Then it came time to have Claire, and if you read my previous post about her birth story, you know that it did not go as planned at all.  I spent 3 days in the hospital being induced before we determined a c-section was my only option.  The very thing I did everything I could to avoid, was now my only option.  I remember thinking, I did not get my natural child birth but at least I will breast feed so I can have one experience I really wanted (aside from having my daughter).

Shouldn’t have said that…

Breast feeding has completely broken my heart.  I was making colostrum when I was in the hospital. Everything appeared fine.  Claire was latching perfectly.  Then she stopped producing any output.  After about a day of that, I realized that I must not be giving her the nourishment she needed.  I lost my mind!  I remember just holding her and bawling.  I couldn’t have her on my own and now I cannot even feed her. I felt completely unequipped to be a mother and that she deserved so much more.  I introduced formula to supplement because I could not bare the idea of pushing breast feeding while knowing she was not getting enough.  After my meltdown, I learned that a mother’s milk may take longer to come in if you have a c-section and that may be all that was happening.  So  I would just need to supplement until my milk came in.  By day 8, I was starting to produce milk when I pumped.  Claire still screamed after I nursed her and I knew she was not getting enough food.  She lost a little over a pound and more and more formula was needed.  The irony of it all was I spent the entire pregnancy worried I was gaining too much and now the worry is Claire was not. I met with lactation several times and worked with the pediatrician.  Nothing was working to make me make enough food for her.  I tried supplements, power pumping, support groups, multiple consults with lactation, everything I could possibly think to try-I’m simply not producing. If you are reading this, know I cannot handle more suggestions because I’ve likely tried it, I’ve worked harder on this than most people ever do and I am doing the very best I can at it.   It appears to have come down to a case of bad luck.  Bad luck that broke my heart once again.  Everything that I had dreamed would happen wasn’t going as planned at all.  It feels selfish now that I say it because all that really matters is that Claire is healthy but my heart still breaks for all the parts of this story that went drastically differently than I thought they would. Sometimes they make me feel like a failure…even though I know deep down it is not true.  I am still working on breast feeding.  I’ve given myself a time limit before I decide that I’ve given it absolutely everything I can.  That time limit is coming up and my luck isn’t proving any significant break through. I am sadden and frustrated by it.  Eventually I will write more on this once I know which way this journey is going to go for us.  Either way I know Claire will be okay and I am glad I’ve given myself the time to make decision for myself.

I have no idea why things just do not go as planned or follow the “norm” for me most of the time.  My only hope with it is that someone else struggling won’t feel alone because I share my struggles.  I do have good news… I’ve dropped 35 pounds already so only 5 more pounds are left!  And the very best news… Claire is gaining plenty of weight and has surpassed her birth weight now.  I have a happy, healthy, beautiful daughter and I know deep down that nothing else matters.  I am still determined that I will give her the very best of everything I can…which she already has… my unconditional love.

claire and mom hand

Claire’s Birth Story

This is the story of how my beautiful daughter joined our world. A better title for this post might be…”Well that did not go as planned.”  November 24,2015 an embryo was placed back into its home and that started our two week wait to see if I was pregnant.  Two weeks later we found out that I was pregnant.  The best feelings in the world started then, our hearts were so full knowing soon we would be parents. Nine months went by and we fell more in love with our daughter through each movement we felt and every time we saw her face on the sonograms.  Soon we would meet our baby girl and we were beyond excited!

The week before Claire was born I was sent to the hospital from our appointment for monitoring due to high blood pressure.  It was more routine than anything and we were sent home.  I had another appointment a few days later on Monday to check my blood pressure.  This time my blood pressure was still high and I had a lot more protein in my urine.  We got sent back to the hospital for monitoring and we fully expected to be sent home.  After tests and monitoring were completed a midwife met with us to go over the results.  The results were the beginnings of pre-eclampsia and it was time to start trying to have a baby.  The risks associated with staying pregnant were higher than actually just having her at this point.  I was really quite in shock because I knew they were packed with laboring mothers and I really thought they would send me home!

They moved me into a room and Kevin and I contacted our parents to let them know what was going on.  Little did we know how long this was actually going to take! Our midwife was very nice and let me have dinner before we started the induction (a decision I regretted a few hours later).  At 7pm I was given medication to help my cervix get ready to work! Within thirty minutes I was having a reaction to the medication and having intense contractions. I was incredibly sick from it.  They started and IV to re-hydrate me and help calm my body down.  Luckily within a few hours that settled down.  In the morning they checked to see if the medication worked. I was 3cm and about 50-60% effaced.  This was progress from the 1cm I was the night before.  My doctor let me have breakfast and shower before the next round of medications.  After the night before I was terrified to eat, so I stuck with toast! Once I was ready they started the medications to continue to induce labor.

I started with small contractions.  I was stuck mostly in my bed because of blood pressure.  So all of the awesome techniques I learned to help progress labor couldn’t really be used.  The doctor checked on me every couple of hours.  Progress was small and Claire’s head was still sitting up high.  They continued to pump me with medication to try and push more contractions.  Eventually contractions became stronger and slow progress was being made.  The doctor came in to break my water which really set the contractions into full force.  I went for several hours rolling through contractions.  At times I lost control of them but my nurse and husband helped bring me back.  After two days of laboring and pure exhaustion I opted for the epidural.  I was sad, and felt like a failure, to give up my natural child birth plan, but an exhausted body couldn’t do the job it needed anymore and I knew that.

They came to give me the epidural and that was hell in itself.  My back was loaded with fluid making it difficult to find the best spot to place it.  I had to be stuck four times.  Many of the sticks resulted in what I could only explain as what it must feel to be electrocuted as it hit a nerve. I was terrified that damage was going to be done and my inability to tolerate the pain anymore was going to ruin my life.  Thankfully it finally worked and I was perfectly fine.  It was not the best epidural but it did take the edge off so I could relax more for the long road I had ahead of me.

Labor continued and progress was small still.  Claire’s head just was not dropping like they would have liked. My legs were hard and shiny from all of the fluid I was taking on. I could feel it in my face, my scalp, literally everywhere.  Wednesday afternoon my doctor determined it was no longer safe to continue to push fluids and I needed a c section. There went everything I had hoped for with bringing my daughter into this world.  I tried to prepare myself for every scenario because I am well aware that things do not always go as planned.  I stayed as positive as I could about it because I really had no choice at this point.  My options were gone and if I wanted my daughter here safely I needed to accept this.

We waited until an OR opened, which took a couple of hours.  I went back and forth between being okay with it and from sheer panic.  I was so afraid I would die in surgery and that the daughter I had longed for would grow up without me.  Dramatic I know…but it is where my head always likes to go. Then my probably more realistic fear was that I would feel them cutting me open and that I would panic during surgery and then what?  Thankfully the Bradley Birthing Method class I took for a natural childbirth was still useful.  I practiced the relaxation techniques I used to help me to go to the OR and through the surgery itself.

Once it was time to go to the OR, they had Kevin get in scrubs and then wheeled me up to the doors.  Kevin had to wait in the waiting room until they were prepped for surgery.   I was put onto the table and the prep work began.  There is nothing quite like lying awake on an operating table while they talk their lingo to prep you and you just lay there waiting for it, feeling alone.  Thankfully the doctors and nurses were beyond amazing.  They reassured me and helped to keep me calm until Kevin could join me again.  Once he came in he was able to sit by my head and I could start to feel the pressure of things happening to me in my stomach.  I remember just saying to him, “I’m so scared.”  He grabbed my hand harder and we talked through the surgery to try to keep us both calm.  I tried to imagine that I wasn’t cut open, that this was natural childbirth and I just was not able to see it.  As they pushed and rocked my body around I tried to keep convincing myself of that.   I was shocked by how much I actually felt (not pain, just pressure and movement) and how much force it felt like was needed to get her out.  My epidural was not one of the best because my back was so swollen.  They had to give me a high dose of medicine to ensure I was numbed.  The absolute worst part for me what I felt like I could not breath since I was numb to my neck.  Luckily as that sensation started to hit me, the nurse somehow knew and warned me it might happen.  I was thankful for the warning, but was still terrified the entire time.

There was lots of rock and shaking my body and then suddenly… a cry, a very loud squeal like cry.

Time really did stand still. 

Kevin and I looked at each other in absolute amazement and disbelief.  That cry was our daughter.  She was okay, she was alive and here with us!  I will never be able to put into words how that felt.  After trying so hard just to have her, injecting myself with medicines, facing losses, doctors appointments, anxiety, and literal blood, sweat and tears , she was here.  The little girl we dreamed about is actually here!

They took her to clean her off and check her out.  Then that little bundle of joy was brought to us.  They held her by my face so I could say hi and give her a kiss.  The neonatologist came over and let us know that she was absolutely perfect.  So much fear was gone at that point.  We were so in love from that very moment.  The nurses took pictures for us and then it was time for Claire and Kevin to go.  I was alone again as they worked to put me back together.  Once they were finished they took me to recovery where I started to get some feeling back.  Then they brought Claire to me to try to breastfeed for a bit.  After that attempt Kevin and Claire went back to our room and I followed behind not long after.

Our Claire is finally here!

We spent three days in the hospital after her birth.  I was incredibly swollen even when we left the hospital.  Thankfully by now most of the swelling is finally gone!  I had a really difficult time accepting the c section but when I see the pictures of us together in that OR, my heart feels so full and I feel like my body still did something amazing… it created life and then in the end I laid awake on a table as my body was cut open just to bring her into this world.  I’m proud of that, even though sometimes I am still saddened by it too.  Claire is thriving and doing well.  We are working on breastfeeding but facing a bit of losing battle with it…but that post is for another day.  For now, our family of three is healthy and happy – what else could matter?