Amos’ Birth Story.
Monday, January 21st I woke up just as I had the past few months, achy and sore from tossing and turning all night because at almost 38 weeks pregnant, it was hard to stay comfortable in one position for any significant period of time. But the big day had arrived! The day Andrew and I would say ‘goodbye’ to Malachi for longer than ever before, and head to the hospital to say hello to our second son, Amos.
The morning was a bit weird, my parents were there to take care of Malachi while we were gone, so we were out of our normal routine as I tried to show them where things where and give them an overview of Malachi’s typical routine. I spent the morning snuggling Malachi and making sure I had everything packed that I might want. A freak snowstorm popped up right as we were leaving for the hospital and we were worried we might be late so we left a bit early even though I didn’t want too. I didn’t want to leave Malachi any earlier than I needed too! I knew I was going to miss him so much!
On the way to the hospital cars were siding off the road right and left. We made it safe and sound and even found a decent parking spot which was good since I don’t pack lightly and I we had quite a few bags. 😀
We went up to the maternity ward and were checked in at noon, and then taken to a prep room where we signed a lot of papers and then more waiting. And waiting. Every few minutes there would be a part in the clouds and the sun would come streaming in, and then a dark snow cloud would cover the sun and there was an instant whiteout. So weird. Amos was coming during a freak snow storm and Mali arrived amid tornado sirens going off. My kids certainly have interesting timing! Eventually nurses started coming in to take my vitals, get me hooked up to IV’s, get antibiotics started, and do various other things. Just like any time I have to have an IV or get my blood drawn, the nurses had a lot of trouble finding a vein since my veins kept ‘moving’. After four blown veins a nurse finally got it and then said I was done with that. And then another walked in and said, ‘Ok, now we have to put in an extra IV in case you need blood because of your previa.” Great. That one hurt so much I was light-headed while they tried to get it in, but at least it only took two tries. As with Malachi’s birth, getting my IV’s in was the most painful part of the entire birthing process.
Eventually the anesthesiologist came in and explained what he was going to do, but I must confess I was getting a bit distracted so I have no idea what he said. I was watching his mouth move, but it sounded like the teacher on Charlie Brown. Wawawa wawa. I even remember thinking while he was talking, ‘I have no idea what he’s saying…’ I wasn’t nervous or scared, and I definitely was not looking forward to going into surgery, but I was getting anxious to finally meet my baby! After two hours of prep they wheeled me into the OR to administer the epidural while Andrew went to get scrubs on. Getting the epidural, the part that scared me most about a c section, was about to happen.
The operating room was freezing. I’m still not sure if I was shaking from fear at the thought of the epidural or shivering from the cold. But then the funniest thing happened. You see, I’ve only ever seen women getting an epidural on TV pregnancy shows like TLC’s ‘A Baby Story’. All of those women were in lots of pain. I figured it was because there was a needle being stuck in their spine. It never occurred to me that their pain was from contractions. Seriously. And I never asked questions about it when I was faced with a c section because I didn’t really want to know the details. So I was expecting some serious pain when I got the epidural. But get this: they use local anesthetic before they give you the actual epidural. And I honestly didn’t realize this till the anesthesiologist told me he was all done. I was still trying to get over the fact that I just had an epidural and I was fine and not crying from pain when things started moving quickly.
Andrew and Dr. Lane came in, and then it’s all kind of a blur from there. Dr. Lane and the nurses were talking about vacations and their kids’ spring break schedules, and every once in a while the anesthesiologist would pop over my head and ask if I felt ok. I could feel myself being moved around, but it was like when your foot falls asleep and you touch it. You know you’re touching it, and you can feel it a bit, but not like normal. Andrew was peeking over the curtain taking pictures and then the baby nurses started getting ready and Dr. Lane said, “Here he is! Hi, little one!” I started feeling overwhelmed and like I might cry! My baby was here! He was born at 2:13 pm and weighed 7 pounds 3 ounces.
The baby nurses whisked him over to the bassinet to check on him and then things started getting scary. Dr. Lane had said that they couldn’t put the baby directly on my chest but that Andrew would be holding him within minutes and by the time I was stitched up (5-10 minutes) I would be able to hold him as well. But the nurses never handed Amos to Andrew.
They were administering oxygen and sucking fluid out of his lungs. I could see his little hand and feet when he would kick them up, but then more nurses came over and asked Andrew to move back and basically formed a wall around the bassinet. At this point my happy tears began to change to scared tears because I could tell something was not right. Andrew wasn’t holding our baby, and I could hear Amos was having trouble breathing. I could tell Andrew was trying to be calm and positive for me. They started wheeling me out of the OR and Andrew asked where I was going and I replied I didn’t know, but I wanted him to stay with Amos.
I was taken to my room a few doors down and thankfully Andrew and Amos (and his entourage of nurses) soon followed. But they didn’t stay for long. Amos was having a hard time breathing and at the rate he was going, he would quickly wear himself out and he wasn’t strong enough to nurse. They needed to calm him down and get a feeding tube going just in case. Andrew, Amos, and the nurses all left to go one floor up to the NICU and I called my dad to ask if he or my mom would come sit with me.
My sister Hannah and my dad came, and eventually dad went home and Hann agreed to stay the night to help me with pumping and anything else I might need. Hann was an awesome help. She’s gone from being freaked out about nursing when Malachi was born to helping me pump with Amos was born. She was such a help that first night when Andrew was with Amos. My nurse that first night was also very sweet and helpful. I think it was around 8:00. maybe 9:00 pm when I was finally able to stand up and get in a wheelchair so I could finally go see my baby!
The NICU was a sad place. Lot’s of tiny, tiny babies. Lot’s of moms and dads who had been there for so long and had so much longer to go. We had to wash our hands for two minutes before we could enter the NICU and by the end of the week our hands would be raw and cracking from all the washing with the harsh antibacterial soap. Amos was hooked up to a few different monitors and had a feeding tube. But he was mine and he was beautiful. And the spitting image of his brother, only with dark brown hair instead of blonde. The nurses explained to me that Amos had TTN, transient tachypnea of the newborn. They expected him to better and breathing on his own within 72 hours. That meant there was a chance we would still be going by Thursday. It was bittersweet seeing my baby for the first time. The nurse told me not to touch him much as touch ‘excited’ him and raised his heartbeat and quickened his breathing pattern. I just wanted to hold him and comfort him so bad.
The next few days alternated between speeding by and dragging on. Amos was making slow progress. We had a pattern of two steps forward, one step back for a day or so. I was up with Amos as much as possible, pumping in his room every two hours, and then coming back down for pain meds as I needed them.
Andrew and I were able to see Mali a few times when my parents brought him to visit, usually so we could all have dinner together. It was nice to see Mali and nurse him for his sake and mine as he was missing his mama and milk and I was feeling cheated of snuggle time with one baby in the NICU and the other at home. Thankfully my parents and sister were a great distraction for Malachi and he didn’t seem to miss us too much! We wouldn’t have been able to see Mali at all since the hospital had restricted visiting rules in place due to it being flu season but Andrew’s papa bear came out and he told the nurses that was going to be a problem because Malachi was still nursing! I was so proud of Andrew for fighting for our family and my ability to nurse! He demanded to speak to someone in charge and 30 minutes later we had a paper stating Malachi was allowed to visit! I was so proud to call Andrew my husband. (Don’t worry, I still am!)
Wednesday I finally got to hold Amos, and on Thursday I was able to nurse him. He latched on right away and proceeded to nurse like a pro! I was sooo relieved we didn’t have any trouble with breastfeeding, I had been really worried about that!
On Friday Amos’ various monitor levels had been steady for 24 hours and we were discharged around lunch time. It was such a relief to be going home and I was so ready to break Amos out of the NICU! I am beyond thankful that his stay there was so short and he doesn’t have any lasting complications.
Since bringing him home Amos has continued to eat like a champ and as a result has grown. At 3 1/2 months he’s currently wearing 6-12 month clothing and is practically as big as is brother! We might have had a rocky start but Amos is a pretty chill baby like his brother was. I’m so happy to be his mama!