Monday, September 22, 2014

Welcome to our world: Celine's birth story

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to my pride and joy, the newest love of my life,

Celine Evelyn Rauch!

This little doll officially joined our family on August 20th, 2014, four days before her due date. She loves intimate dinners, long rides in the stroller, and pacifiers. Her gentle personality lets Mommy and Daddy knows just what she wants without too much of a fuss (well, so far).

It has been a LONG road (more about our pregnancy woes later) but for now, here's how our princess joined us:

We could feel Celine's head at the top of my bump since maybe mid-trimester three. I kept hearing "You'll know when baby flips" and "once the baby flips, you know you're getting close..." and so on. I waited, poked my bump, and waited some more. I could feel her moving, adjusting herself, and stretching, but no obvious flip. Just in case she had and I slept through it or didn't know, around 35 weeks I asked the doc to double check.


He let me know the usual steps taken to flip babies in cases where they did not flip themselves. But it was still somewhat early.

Another week goes by, and she still hadn't moved. We talked about scheduling a version, an "uncomfortable" (painful!) procedure where a doctor externally lifts/moves the baby in the womb to turn him/her around. The whole thing is done in an OR, just in case something were to go wrong or the baby were to get exhausted/stressed, in which case an emergency C-section would be done. Versions are usually done at 37 weeks, with a 90% success rate for transverse breech babies (laying sideways) and 50% success rate for complete breech (head up, butt down, knees bent). An ultrasound was scheduled to double check her position before anything was put on the calendar.

A few days later, our suspicions were confirmed. Survey says: complete breech! A consultation was scheduled with the surgeon who was to potentially do the procedure. At this point, we are starting week 38. The consult went well, but he regretfully informed me that because in the last 3 weeks of pregnancy the baby is quickly gaining weight and the earliest he could get me in was the end of the week (just before we turn the corner into 39 weeks), our chances of success were steadily dropping from the aforementioned 50%.He suggested skipping to the cesarean, feeling rather uncomfortable attempting the version when it would potentially do more harm than good.

38 weeks, the day of my baby shower
Joel and I had discussed that of course, our preference was a vaginal delivery, but if push came to shove (ha ha) and other means were necessary, we would do whatever we had to do for baby and me to be safe. If that meant a C-section, so be it. At this point, the will we/won't we of the version, C-section, and vaginal delivery were starting to weigh on us. I'm a planner and Joel hates leaving big issues unresolved, so after a few weeks of this we were ready to have a decision made one way or the other. I decided that at my next weekly checkup, I would refuse to leave the doctor's office unless something was decided (and on the calendar, if applicable) either way.

My family doctor happened to be on vacation for my week 38 appointment, so I met with the next available doctor, who just so happened to be the head of the OB department. I explained the whole situation and when it came to his attention that I'd already been having contractions (Braxton Hicks... I felt them, but they didn't hurt and it was MAYBE 1-3 times a day so I didn't bother considering it a warning sign for labor), he told me a successful verison would be impossible (also taking into consideration how far along I was). I was gearing up to stand my ground and demand a solution when he said, "It looks like a C-section for next week is going to be your best bet. We don't want you to go into labor with the baby in that position because it's potentially very dangerous, and although it's not our first choice when a vaginal delivery is available, I am confident this is safest for the both of you. Our goal here is to end up with happy and healthy mommy and baby," (or something as confident and reassuring along those lines. I agreed, keeping my discussion with Joel in the forefront of my mind. "Now don't move until we get this on the calendar for you. Do you have a date in mind?"

It was a good thing Joel and I had half-hypothetically-half-jokingly picked out an ideal day of the week for baby to come. "Wednesday, please." I was shocked. This was so... simple! We were given the rare opportunity of knowing exactly when our baby was going to arrive. That meant I had about a week of not having a baby outside the womb. Days of cleaning the house, home-spa pampering, and sleepless nights later, Joel and I arrived at the hospital at 5 AM on Wednesday, August 20th to have ourselves a baby.

I was more nervous than anything else. We quietly listened to the introductions of the doctors and nurses and followed our instructions. We nervously made jokes about our anticipation and fought to keep our name choices secret for a few last precious hours. I was wheeled through what seemed like every hospital hallway before I entered the HUGE operating room, full of basically a billion people in scrubs. Joel joined me, I was given anesthetics, and after what I swear was only a minute or two after the "Can you feel this?" poke test, one of the anesthesiologists said gently to me, "They're about halfway there." My profound response: "So I am like, open right now??"

I hope she keeps her fabulous hair!
At 7:29 AM, Joel and I held our breaths as one of the surgeons pulled out the baby. "It's a boy!" she said, and we exhaled and smiled at each other, relief and excitement overcoming us. "No, wait, it's a girl!" The SAME doctor exclaimed. Apparently, because she was swollen and came out butt first, back up, the doctor was thrown off or something? I don't care. She was here!). A split second of confusion, and then the same relief and excitement followed.

Celine Evelyn was 7 lbs, 13 oz. and 18 1/2 in. long. It felt like an eternity before I could hold her! 
The painkillers I was given gave me the annoying side effect of being terribly itchy (petty, I know) but I couldn't much function or sit still. The exhaustion probably didn't help. I was given Benadryl to help the itching and as a result, I was incredibly drowsy for the first full 24 hours following surgery. I have little clear recollection of that time, but I remember it was awesome being a family, all together for the first time.

Stay tuned for more on her royal cuteness as I am finally energized and recuperated enough to pick up my old hobbies again, including blogging. Thanks for reading!

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