We somehow made it to C-section day though I was fully convinced that the boys would decide to come sooner. We arrived at 8am for all the prep and then a little before 11am it was go time.
Since I wasn’t in active labor, I actually walked to the operating room. Seth couldn’t come in until I was fully prepped. I hated that part. I was genuinely scared of this procedure and the spinal and all the things, and Seth just naturally puts me more at ease. However, we soon learned that I’m the only patient they’ve ever had who giggled through the entire spinal. I have a very ticklish spine and awkwardly laughed the entire time. Once I went numb, I have no idea what else they did regarding prep, but soon, Seth was behind the drape holding my hand, and my doctor told me it was time.
I’d been told that I’d be numb from pain but I would still feel tugging and pulling. That all felt pretty minimal as well. It felt like no time when Dr. Lewis said, “Get ready to see Gabe” and then one minute later came Luke.
This was the best moment in comparison to my vaginal birth with Jaclyn- the beautiful reveal of our baby boys. It was truly a surprise because the blue drape had to be dropped each time and I could see them and touch them through the clear drape. They were absolute perfection that instantly made me sob in pure joy and relief that they were here and okay.
I don’t remember a ton between when they started sewing up my incision, recovery, and moving to Mama Baby Care. I do know that Seth almost fainted in the operating room. He went to get Gabe to bring over to me and accidentally looked at the clean up going on behind the drape. He sat down and kept repeating that he was hot and the nurses had to take Gabe and helped him regain his strength.
I also remember feeling terribly nauseous- so much so that I couldn’t do skin to skin with them for too long because I started heaving. I ended up throwing up on and off for the rest of the day and couldn’t move my head around much for being so woozy. So I gazed at my beautiful boys as Seth and my fam held them. Honestly, I wasn’t able to hold them enough the first day to truly learn who was who by looking at them.
And then that night, Luke was taken to another hospital by ambulance for more tests and evaluations to see if he needed an emergency, non-life threatening surgery. He was born with a bruise on his scrotum and when they did an ultrasound for blood flow, they couldn’t find any. So initially, there was concern that he may lose one of his testicles but thankfully got the all clear.
Seth and Luke were at the other hospital from 10pm on Monday until 2:00pm on Tuesday. Our first night together we were all separated, and Mom came to stay with me and Gabe. She left early the next morning to get home and take care of Jaclyn. Tuesday was rough. I was solo with Gabe on the day that all the long lasting meds from the spinal wore off. I was able to walk around, but my abdomen was so sore from the incision and my insides were very uncomfortable trying to settle back into place.
Additional postpartum woes included horrific itching and swelling. The weekend before my c-section, my belly became so terribly itchy that I just lived with ice packs on my stomach for relief. A few days later I found out that I had PUPPS rash in addition to an allergic reaction to the orange soap they scrub you with before a c-section. So from my rib cage to my feet, I was covered in various bumpy rashes that itched so bad I would bruise from the force of my scratching. I ended up getting a special compounded cream that gave some initial relief and then finished it up with a round of steroids. Misery.
I don’t remember being so swollen after having Jaclyn, but then again I had just delivered two babies. From my belly button down, I was retaining a ridiculous amount of water. My stomach looked like it had several intertubes built in and my legs and feet were so swollen that I couldn’t even comfortably wear my XXL maternity clothes anymore. Shoes were absolutely out of the question. It wasn’t the most uncomfortable thing ever except for not having clothes to wear, but the swelling concerned most everyone who looked at me. Seven to ten days later, it all mostly went down just as I was told.
Back to that lonesome Tuesday after birth, I also desperately wanted a shower but needed someone to be in the room with me and everyone was otherwise occupied. I had to send Gabe to the nursery for some of the day because I couldn’t move around well enough to take care of him and that devastated my soul. The time we did spend together I used to study his little face and features since I didn’t get to the day before.
There was a lot of drama and confusion about Luke’s release from the other hospital and if he would be readmitted to ours. For awhile, we were told that Luke would be discharged to go home and we would all remain separated. Thankfully in the end it worked out. However, they kept him in the nursery upon arrival for hours and by 7 or 8pm I still hadn’t seen him. During shift change, I sobbed to three nurses who came in at the same time about needing to see my baby as I sat in nothing but hospital undies while I pumped. Finally, they brought me my boy, and we were reunited.
For less than 24 hours.
We had a tough night of feeding Luke. It was difficult for him to take his full feed and at this point, he was still having low blood sugar so it was extra important for him to eat, but he just couldn’t. Soon we also realizad that his breathing was fast and chaotic and they wanted to monitor him in the nursery for awhile.
By Wednesday, late afternoon, they told us that they were admitting him to the Baptist NICU for lots of monitoring.
They were still monitoring him for low blood sugar from birth. His poor little feet look like they’d been to war from all the sticks and pokes.
They did an echo heart ultrasound and a chest X-ray. We were told we may have to follow up with a pediatric cardiologist eventually due to his echo results but the little they found usually resolves naturally. The chest X-ray showed some fluid in his lungs that was lessening and is likely from being a c-section baby.
Thankfully he didn’t need additional oxygen but they inserted a slow flow nasal tube to push the regular air into his lungs to help regulate his breathing. It helped stabilize his breathing for the first four days.
He has had a feeding tube to help with his eating that he ripped out twice. The first time, they left it out for a bit to see how he did but it was just days after the removing of the slow flow nasal tube and it was too much work on his little body.
The speech therapist discovered Luke had a tongue tie, so they went ahead and clipped that, which significantly helped his eating.
The breathing troubles were likely from the initial stressors on the day he was born and fluid in the lungs. The eating troubles were likely a result of a late preterm babe and he just needs time to grow into these skills. We kept hearing about these “37 weekers” who are often okay in size and appear to have it all together but often needed another couple of weeks in the womb for final development and maturity. Gabe was fine; Luke needed help.
We were all supposed to go home together on Thursday. So we maxxed out our c-section hospital stay until Gabe and I were released on Friday. That final goodbye to Luke before going home was brutal. Though I knew he needed to be there, it was absolutely heartbreaking to leave him there. We had the option to stay and board since we had been discharged but we really wanted to get home with Jaclyn.
She was beyond thrilled to meet Gabe. My mom did a great job of prepping Jac that Luke still didn’t feel good and had to stay with the doctor. And so we began our transition to a family of three to a family of four at home while little Luke worked on his eating and stamina for 13 more days in the NICU.