Saturday, July 22, 2017

My pregnancy + Marlowe's Birth Story

You guys, Marlowe turns ONE in less than 2 weeks!  I can't even believe it because it feels like I was JUST pregnant with her.  Because I'm feeling all kinds of nostalgic about it I thought I'd share about my pregnancy and her birth story here!

the original stick :)

My pregnancy with my sweet girl was wanted, planned, prayed for and dreamt about.  When I married Kyle, I wanted a baby right away, but we were young and living on teacher salaries, so it wasn't the right time (is there ever a right time though?).  When we were finally ready for a baby, I got sick, really sick with Ulcerative Colitis which forced us to put our plans on hold for two years.  If you know a bit about my story, I ended up having to have a temporary ileostomy (they removed my large intestine/colon) in November of 2014 because my body wasn't responding to any medications and I had become steroid dependent.  After the surgery happened, we were given the go ahead to start trying for a baby as soon as I had healed, and had weaned off of prednisone, even WITH my ileostomy.  I was told it would be ok to carry a baby, that it was rare, and it would look a bit different than a conventional pregnancy, but completely doable.  We tried and tried to conceive, but it was just not happening.  I was completely stressed out about it, worried that my sickness had somehow caused me to not be able to have a baby.  My doctors gave me a referral to go see a fertility specialist and we made an appointment.  That's when I relaxed a little, and THAT'S when I conceived haha.  We found out we were expecting the day after Thanksgiving, just a week before my fertility appointment.  Funny how things work out that way!

our first ultrasound picture!

The first trimester was mostly normal.  I had horrible morning/all day sickness through the first 14 weeks.  I was a 3rd grade teacher, so I just had to tell them I had a tummy ache all day.  I was constantly stuffing my mouth with ginger chews, jolly ranchers, salty things, crackers, and drinking ginger ale to help curb the nausea.  There were several times I would grab a trash can in the middle of teaching and just step outside for a minute.  It was awful.  My body didn't want ANYTHING sweet, and only wanted meat and salt which is the completely opposite of my usual diet.  Around the 9th week of my pregnancy we went in for my ultrasound, heard the heartbeat for the first time, and both cried.  That's when the whole thing felt real. She was just a little wiggly blob in my tummy, and I already loved her so much.  The feeling is truly indescribable, but any mother will know exactly what I'm talking about.

15 weeks!

grainy picture but look at how low she sat!
In my second trimester, I was considered a high-risk pregnancy because of my ileostomy, and UC.  I always had to go in for additional appointments in Charlotte to make sure she was growing at the right rate.  Sometimes people with Crohns and Colitis have trouble getting enough nutrition for their babies, but Marlowe had no issues with growth the entire pregnancy.  During weeks 18-22, I on the other hand, struggled with intestinal blockages.  If I ate anything fibrous (fruits or veggies) it would literally get stuck inside me as it would try to pass through my ileostomy site.  We had a couple trips to the ER because of it, where they would tell me to drink liquids, give me pain medicine, and check on Marlowe.  She was always perfect.  This was probably the most difficult part of my pregnancy because of the pain, and my love for food.  I had to drink a lot of smoothies and protein shakes to get the nutrition she needed.  I was in soooo much pain this whole trimester, but once I was able to feel her kicks and movement it was all worth it, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

the halfway point! She was still so tiny and so low!

My third trimester was mostly pain free, just the usual discomfort every woman experiences!  I carried Marlowe really low and far back so my bump was relatively smaller than most.  The hardest part about this trimester was hiding my ostomy with my growing belly.  I managed, but that is why there's not a whole lot of pictures at the end of my pregnancy because I was super self-conscious about it!  This trimester was mostly about surviving the summer heat and beating my heart-burn.  Marlowe was growing well, and was breach (she never flipped and her head was right side up).  Because she was breach, and because of my ostomy, they decided to do a scheduled c-section for her delivery (I'll talk about that in her birth story below!).

30 weeks!

my baby shower! 34 weeks!

For the most part, I loved being pregnant even if I was nauseated and uncomfortable.  There is NOTHING like carrying a baby, and it is truly a miracle.  If there's anything that proves that there is a God, and solidifies my faith, it was my pregnancy.  There is nothing like feeling those little kicks, the rhythm of her hiccups, and her head pushing on my rib cage.  The way I knew what side she was on, how she was laying inside me, when she was awake or sleeping, and how my belly seemingly grew overnight.  I can just cry thinking about how amazing and wonderful the whole thing really was.  Plus the fact that I could still carry her even with an ostomy, is a whole other level of amazingness.  She is my little miracle.
36 week bump!  Maternity Photos with Britney Moore!

Marlowe's Birth Story
Her birth honestly feels like it was yesterday.  We scheduled her c-section for August 2nd, the day before my birthday.  We had to make sure she made it to that day because I needed MY doctor to do the delivery because of my special case.  We had planned to have 2 OB's in the room, and we had arranged to have another surgeon in the room in case of emergency because of my ostomy.  Let's just say, we covered all the basis haha.  The night before her delivery, I was a complete disaster.  I was emotional, nauseated from my nerves, and basically freaking out about becoming a parent.  I was sad it was the last night of "just Kyle and I", but at the same time so excited that I couldn't sleep.  I think that's the downside about a c-section is that you know when the baby is coming, so your mind has time to think.  When you go into labor naturally, there's not a lot of freak out time because you are busy dealing with contractions.  Once we got to the hospital around 10:30, everything was just routine.  Put your stuff in the room, check for contractions, hook me up to IV's, talk to the nurses...Then they take you back to the surgery room and give you the spinal tap in your back.  I think this is what I was super nervous about, because every one says it's a big painful needle, but honestly I don't even remember it hurting.  Once they give you the shot, your whole lower half slowly goes numb.  It kind of feels like your legs are falling asleep, and they get super tingly, till basically you can't feel anything below your chest.  They put a curtain up so you can't see what is happening, and Kyle was then allowed to come into the room, hold my hands and sit behind my head.  I was still super nervous at this point (I couldn't stop shaking), but Kyle sat there and cracked jokes the whole time to distract me.  There's not much to do until that baby is out because it's not a pretty picture below that curtain!

our first family picture!

Then I felt a few tugs and pulls (not pain), and all of a sudden I hear a crying baby!  My doctor lifted her up and said,"Here's your baby girl!".  Then they literally took her away for the longest minute of my life while they weighed her, got the fluid out of her nose and mouth, and while Kyle cut the cord.  I could just hear the nurses saying, "Oh wow she's got some lungs on her!", "She's 6 lbs 8 oz", and Kyle laughing and talking to them in the background.  Meanwhile I couldn't see anything, the doctor's were busy stitching me up, I just kept asking if she was ok, and the anesthesiologist was kind enough to sit with me and tell me she was doing perfectly.

Don't even know who took this or when, but look at how tiny and perfect she was and how swollen I was!

FINALLY, they handed me Marlowe, all wrapped up.  I can't even describe the feeling of looking at her for the first time.  I remember she stopped crying, and we just looked at each other.  The nurses took some pictures and then they rolled us into the recovery room.  Before any visitors were allowed, the THREE of us got an hour to ourselves to do some skin-to-skin and bond.  I just couldn't stop staring at Marlowe.  She was absolutely perfect.  Not a spot on her face, and just so tiny.  I couldn't believe she had light hair, and that she was finally in my arms.

A new daddy!
The whole c-section itself was a breeze, it was the recovery where I struggled.  Once we got into our hospital room, my hormones went crazy and I swelled up and got soooo hot.  I just kept telling the nurses that I felt like I was on fire and couldn't stop sweating.  I guess that's what happens when a baby is literally ripped out of you.  It takes a minute for your body to adjust. The whole first day was a complete blur.  The next day I wasn't feeling right, I still couldn't get up and kept blacking out when I'd lift my head.  Turns out, I needed to have a blood transfusion because my hemoglobin had dropped too much.  After I received 2 bags of blood, I felt like a new woman.  We ended up staying in the hospital for 4 days, which was fine because I received a ton of help from the nurses with breastfeeding.

And that was it! Marlowe Eloise joined us on August 2nd, 2016 at 12:27 pm and that day and moment will forever be in my heart. She was the BEST birthday present a girl could ask for.  Would I do it again?  Yes, yes in a heartbeat.  Do I want another baby?  Yes again, and I'm super excited and eager to find out what pregnancy will be like WITHOUT my ostomy this time!

going home! Look at her TINY legs!

Still can't believe she will be a year in a week and a half, so stay tuned for a post all about her:)

an almost 1 year old!

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