I know this is a little late, but better late than never. The last time I wrote I was the mother to two children and now am a mother to three. What an interesting shift it has been. The hardest part has been trying to reason with sassy Lydia when I wasn’t getting a full night’s rest. She wears me out enough on her own and when I was waking up every 2 1/2 hours in the middle of the night to nurse it was really draining me. But it was all worth it!
5:15 am on Thursday morning May 24 came all too soon. I figured I wouldn’t get a good night’s sleep because I thought I would be tossing and turning just getting anxious for what awaited us the next day, but I did. But 5:15 am is too early on any day. I got up and hopped in the shower and then did my hair in my traditional labor hair-do, the double french braid. When I went into labor with Brayden I happened to have my hair braided this way and decided it was hands down the best labor hair ever. It stays put so you don’t have your hair in your face during labor and it looks roughly the same after labor as it did before. So when I was induced with Lydia I braided my hair and once again thought it was the best hair decision I ever made. This time I thought about just wearing my hair down, and then realized that would have been the worst hair decision ever so my game time decision was braids.
After getting all checked-in at the hospital we were directed to my birthing room. My delivery nurse, Maggie, was there to greet us. Maggie was the best labor and delivery nurse EVER! My mom later told me when we first walked in and met her that she was a little nervous. She said Maggie looked as if she was going to be a bit of a curmudgeon. She was far from that. She knew what she was doing, she was great at keeping me calm and had a great sense of humor.
So step one was getting my IV in and checking my iron levels. And since I was getting pretty accustomed to having a needle poked in me from all the iron IV infusions, it wasn’t bad at all. All the many prayers worked because my iron level was exactly where they wanted it and so I didn’t have to have a blood transfusion. This lifted a weight off of me right away. The Pitocin started around 8 a.m. I had already been having contractions in the few weeks prior, but nothing to write home about. So about 20 minutes after the Pitocin started the labor pains began. They were manageable. I had a room full of people who were my personal cheerleaders. And they were just as anxious to meet this little boy as I was. Brayden decided to go to school for his last day that morning, but told us he wanted to be picked up early if the baby came before he was finished. More on this later. My doctor came in and since my labor was progressing he decided to break my water. This was the most disgusting feeling ever. I never quite felt this sensation before. With Brayden and Lydia I was 9+ centimeters dilated before they had to break my water and I already had the epidural so I didn’t feel that gross oozing. Then my doctor left and went in to the office because he had appointments scheduled for the day. I reminded him that my labors tend to go quickly and that he better make sure he made it back to catch. Good thing the office was just across the street from the hospital.
Now fast forward a couple of hours and the contractions were getting pretty intense. At this point my nurse suggested that if I was planning on getting the epidural that it was probably time. I still had a break in between the contractions so I wasn’t quite ready to get it. Maggie then started reminding me of what I told her about my previous two labors. Brayden came on his own 10 days early and was born in nine hours. I was induced with Lydia a week early and she arrived four short hours after the Pitocin was started. My previous labors were quick and intense. She said 12 other people were in labor at the same time and that she didn’t want me to miss getting it because they were very busy. I was nervous though. The epidural is the worst part of labor for me. With Brayden and Lydia I was completely in hard core labor once I got it. There was no break in between contractions, they were constant so I was ready to have the relief the epidural would give. This time I wasn’t quite there yet so I had a hard time giving the go ahead. I was also nervous that it would slow down my labor. So after 10 more minutes of the pain, I decided I better go ahead and get it.
So Mr. Anesthesiologist (editor’s note: he’d probably want to be called “Dr. Anesthesiologist”) comes in and prepares for the big poke and I’m fidgety. He then starts telling me all the risks, etc. while preparing my back and I just tried to tune him out. I know he has to tell me all these things but can you just not. During this process, Maggie was amazing. She calmed and soothed me. She helped me relax even while contractions were happening and the epidural was being placed. Did I mention how much I loved my nurse?
So sure enough after the epidural made my contractions feel like they were non-existent they actually were non-existent. My labor pretty much stopped. This is where I panicked a bit. I jumped straight to the, “Oh, no, I don’t want to end up with a c-section” thoughts. I was mad at myself for giving in about the epidural because my biggest fear about it came true. They pretty much went away for about 20 minutes. It was also past the four hour mark. I figured this labor would go by just as fast or faster than my last one and that clearly wasn’t happening. Maggie told me to calm down. She also picked up the sheet, bent down a little and yelled at my cervix to start dilating again. Yes, you heard that right. She yelled at my cervix. It was the funniest thing to happen in that delivery room! I think it also lifted my spirits because right after they upped my Pitocin less than 30 minutes later I was in full on labor again.
Less than an hour later I started to feel the contractions a bit and knew my epidural was wearing off. I told the anesthesiologist that I wanted him to top me off a little. He tried to discourage me a little by telling me it wouldn’t work well that it was different nerve endings, yada, yada, yada. But I insisted. I went through with this epidural and so I wanted it to actually be working when the pushing started. And I knew I was getting close to that because I started feeling more pressure too. With Brayden and Lydia the epidural wore off before the pushing. I didn’t want that to happen this time. This was my third go-round, I knew exactly what to expect. So he topped me off. Then about 15 minutes went by and I told Maggie that I had to push now! She calmly told me that I did not and quickly ran to a phone. Of course she told me I didn’t have to push because my doctor was not there. But she clearly knew that I did have to push. I was 10+ centimeters and baby boy was coming. She made me wait, though I kept telling her I wanted to push. They prepared the room for delivery and my cheering section made their way to the waiting room. Jay’s Dad had already started making his way to Brayden’s school to pick him up and Lydia went with him. We thought it would be good to get her out of the hospital for awhile. The usual crowd stayed in the room with me – Jay, my mom, my sister, Kelly and Jay’s mom. And this third time an addition was made. My sweet sister-in-law, Sarah, stayed in for the birth of her second nephew. I did tell her that if she wanted to see a delivery, that I was the one to watch. I’m not a screamer. I focus and get the job done. But, I also told her that if it scared her enough that she wouldn’t want to give me a niece or nephew that she would have to leave. 🙂 She stayed.
My doctor arrived less than 10 minutes later, I pushed once and then heard my doctor say the cord was wrapped around his neck. I remember asking if I needed to stop pushing and he pulled the cord off quickly and told me to keep going. I pushed a second time and our precious little boy was placed in my arms. What a joyous moment! A healthy baby boy. The birth time was recorded at 2:26 p.m. Though we are pretty sure he arrived about 10 minutes before that. Text message time stamps from my youngest sister to my oldest sister stating the play by play don’t lie.
They cleaned him off and did all the measuring. He weighed in at 7 lbs. 10 oz. and was 20 1/2 inches long. After they swaddled him up and I got him back I couldn’t take my eyes off of our precious little baby. My sister then asked us what his name was going to be. I forgot. We still had to name him. It was a cute little conversation that Jay and I had, we even got it on video. I told Jay it was his choice and he said Parker. He looked like a Parker, it fit. So welcome to the world Parker Alan! Alan is Uncle Scott’s middle name and in keeping with tradition of family middle names for the older two, we thought it was just right for our new addition.
Another tradition (I’m not sure if you can call it a tradition because it has only been done twice) was when Lydia was born, Brayden was the first to hold her after Jay and I. Everyone else had to wait. So we made everyone else wait this time too. Luckily Grandpa K. arrived with the kids at the perfect time to let them be the first to hold sweet Parker. They both beamed at him. He was perfect! Our family is truly blessed!
After everyone had their chance to love on Parker, the nurses took him once again to give him a sponge bath. Lydia was watching the nurses very closely the whole time and they even let her help wash him. She was on top of the world doing her first duty as an older sister. After they finished we were moved to our post-delivery room. I got up out of bed shortly after we arrived to use the restroom. The nurse came with me thankfully. I sat on the toilet for awhile and just couldn’t go and thought maybe I was just being shy because someone was in the room with me, but that was not the case. I started feeling dizzy and let the nurse know. I have extremely low blood pressure so if it drops at all I get that queasy feeling. I also have low blood sugar and then couple that with the low iron and it isn’t a good mix. My nurse came over to me sitting on the toilet and told me that if I was still feeling dizzy that I could lean on her for a minute. I decided that might be a good idea and laid my head down. The next thing I know I wake up and am slumped over her knee and still sitting on the toilet. I looked up at her and said, “I just passed out, didn’t I? ” She nodded her head yes and then I told her that it felt great to pass out that I was even starting to dream. She had pulled the emergency chain as soon as I passed out and held me up with her leg. More nurses ran down and my mom came in to make sure everything was ok. After that they told me I wasn’t allowed to be super woman anymore and had to have help walking to the bathroom, etc. for a little while. I was a good patient and listened to them. I felt a bit embarrassed after the whole thing but it is a funny little story that I will always be able to tell now.
The hospital stay was quite normal. We had great visitors come to the hospital to meet Parker and share in this wonderful experience with us. I love having the support of so many caring people. And that support continued even when we went home. My bible study girls supplied endless meals to keep our family fed and happy and had more and more people come over to our house to meet little Parker. Or Parker Barker which he seems to be called now. Jay started saying it and now everyone says it. Brayden has even made up his own variation and calls him Parky Barky. I’m not a fan of the silly nickname, but even I call him that. It’s catchy!
The first few days back from the hospital were fun. I was feeling great and didn’t feel like being cooped up in the house. It was Labor Day weekend and Jay and I’s 8th wedding anniversary was also on the Tuesday after he was born. So we went to the zoo and went shopping (not something a girl who just had a baby should do, talk about depressing) and just had a good time out with the family.
And then the jaundice kicked in. I noticed he was a bit yellow and mentioned it to my pediatrician when we were seeing her for his first week check up. She decided to send us to the hospital to get his bilirubin checked. We had family pictures scheduled so she told us it was no big deal to go get our pictures taken and then swing by the hospital afterwards. So we did. After getting his blood drawn for the test we headed home. We were home maybe 30 minutes and I was about to lay down for a quick nap and our pediatrician called. She told us she wanted us to take Parker to the hospital to admit him for a high bilirubin count. Jay asked how urgent it was to see if we had time to arrange for childcare for the older two and she said we should get to the hospital right away. This made me worry. When we arrived at the hospital we learned his bilirubin levels were extremely high and thankfully we caught it before serious problems could have come from it.
The next two days in the hospital were somewhat of a blur. I stayed with Parker the whole time as he was sunbathing under the lights and Jay went home to stay with the kids. I don’t think I had ever been more exhausted in my life. Parker wasn’t comfortable laying under the lights and on a biliblanket with his makeshift sunglasses wearing only a diaper. Newborns want to be held and swaddled. The lights dehydrated him and so I was nursing every hour and a half or so without any sleep. He was uncomfortable and I was uncomfortable and all I prayed for us was to be able to bring him home. The most emotional part for me was all the needles. He was poked and prodded so much for blood draws and IVs. They had a hard time getting any blood from him and eventually had to take some from his head. Thankfully Jay was at the hospital at this time and I was able to leave the room. To say I was physically and emotionally drained from this experience would be an understatement. But it made me more compassionate to other moms who have sick children. No one wants their children in a hospital bed and we can understand as parents how terrible this is. But now I can also somewhat understand just how it affects the family as well.
After he was discharged from the hospital the next few weeks were filled with blood draws to continue to check his levels and weight checks at the doctor every other day. And because he is my “drama baby” as my good friend Lori call him, he also failed his hearing test in one ear at the hospital when he was born so we had to go to a hearing specialist and take a longer hearing test to make sure everything was good. He passed with flying colors of course because our little Parker Barker is a fighter!
He is a sweet, easy-going, healthy, beautiful boy. And we are so blessed that he is ours.
And now just a few more sweet pictures of baby Parker.