Monday, September 26

In my absence

This is what I've been up to in the month since I last posted - Levi! He was born Aug. 29 at just after 2 a.m. by c-section here at the Casper hospital. I'd had mild contractions all day on Aug. 28 and didn't think anything of them - I assumed they'd stop, as they weren't getting any more frequent or intense, although some of them did last for a long time. 

It was about 9:30 that night, as Scott and I were thinking about going to bed, that we made the ultimate decision - to go the hospital or not to go to the hospital. After weighing the pros and cons, we decided to go, since it's just a few blocks away, I was already all preregistered, and we figured that way they could send us home and we could sleep in peace, after being assured the baby wasn't coming anytime too soon.

Alas, we got to the hospital and I was three centimeters dilated, though my contractions still weren't very strong. They sent us away, telling me to walk around and come back in an hour. We got back to the hospital at 11 p.m., and my doctor was there seeing to another birth, so she came in to the exam room to talk to me, and that's when she did a quick ultrasound and discovered that our baby was, indeed, breech. 

Since I was already in labor, it was too late to try to do anything about it, and she simply said, "We'll have to do a c-section."

Those weren't the words I had been expecting to hear when we'd left for the hospital two hours earlier, but at that point there was no way around it, and they started prepping me for surgery. That included three tries at an IV, two in one hand and one in the other. That hurt. So there I was, getting attempts at an IV in one hand, blood drawn out of the other arm, and having labor pains on a very uncomfortable exam bed. It was awful, and made even worse by the fact that I had to lie there for about two-and-a-half hours, waiting for my turn in surgery. It wasn't the hospital's fault, as an emergency c-section came in shortly after they prepped me, and another girl also came in at eight centimeters dilated, so I ended up being third priority. Granted, I wasn't an emergency, and there was no harm in waiting, I just wish I'd asked to move to a more comfortable location. 

Finally, my doctor came back in and said it was my turn to go. They wheeled me out of the exam room in the labor and delivery unit to the operating room, which is on the same floor. On the way we passed my mother-in-law Shirley and sister-in-law Penny, who were patiently waiting in the hallway waiting area. 

After getting to the operating room things actually started to move along. It was freezing in there, and I only had one of their flimsy cotton garments on, so they layered me with warm towels while the anesthesiologist prepared me for a spinal block. Those warm towels were wonderful. I was sitting on the edge of the operating table when he did it, and by the time I got my legs swung up to lie down I was already going numb. 

I want to add a note here that all the doctors and nurses at the hospital were wonderful - the girls in the operating room were very good to me, and comforting, and I really liked the anesthesiologist, too. And, of course, I like my OB, and was very glad that she was the one on call and the one to do my c-section. 

After I got my spinal block and they got me all arranged, Scott came into the OR to sit at my head while they worked on getting our baby out. It was the strangest feeling, as I could feel everything that they were doing, but without any pain. There was lots of pulling and tugging, and the anesthesiologist said I'd feel some strong tugs up under my rib cage when they got ready to pull the baby out, and he wasn't joking. Those spinal blocks sure do work. 

Scott sat at my head the entire time, checking on me to make sure I was ok. I was. I was mostly just thankful that I was comfortable and that I wasn't lying on that exam room bed anymore. 

After they pulled the baby out, I heard them announce that it was a boy, and one of the nurses commented on his big hands and feet. I couldn't see him, because of the blue curtain that was near my face, but I heard him start to cry as they cleaned him all up and got him warm. When he was all clean and wrapped up, Scott picked him up and brought him to me so I could see him. He was wrapped tight in a flannel blanket, with a little knit white cap on. 

His name was Levi Frank Martinez as soon as we were sure he was a boy - that name had been decided since last January. We chose Frank for a middle name because that was Scott's dad's name, and my dad's middle name. To add even more meaning to the name, Levi was born 21 years to the day after Scott's dad passed away, and it was almost exactly to the minute, as well. Levi was born at 2:04 a.m., and Scott's dad passed away at 2:15 a.m. We are thankful that now the Martinez family has a new life to celebrate on Aug. 29, while still remembering their husband and father, who is still very much a part of their lives. 

After Scott went with Levi to the nursery, passing Shirley, Penny and Levi's cousin Kyle along the way, they finished putting me back together and sewing me up. I was transferred to a wheeled bed and taken to recovery, where another kind nurse looked after me while I regained feeling in my legs. More warm towels! I was so tired by that point that I kept dozing off, but the unfortunate thing was that, whenever I did, the monitor I was attached to started beeping because the oxygen in my blood would drop. So no sleep there!

I was in recovery for about two-and-a-half hours before being taken to the mother/baby unit, which is one floor down in the hospital. I was transferred again to the bed in the room, and soon after Levi and Scott arrived and I got to hold Levi for the first time. That wasn't my preference, as I would have loved to be able to hold him much sooner than several hours after his birth, but I was glad that Scott got to be with him in the nursery and observe as the nurses gave him a sponge bath and do all the things they do for newborns. Levi weighed eight pounds, 6.6 ounces at birth and was 20.5 inches long. 

My mom had already been planning to drive out from Iowa on the 29th, so we kept her posted on all the happenings through the night and she headed west first thing Monday morning, arriving at the hospital that evening to see her first-ever, brand-new grandson. On Monday we had many visitors, and it was great to see everyone who came to wish us well, but by mid-afternoon I was wondering if my conversations were coherent or not, I was so tired. Levi and I received many flowers and nice gifts, and we sincerely appreciate all our friends and family.

We were in the hospital for two full days, and got to go home the following Wednesday. While still in the hospital Levi and I got started on breastfeeding, which took some practice, but he's four weeks old today and things are going along just fine now. He's had two visits to his pediatrician - at two weeks old he'd regained the four ounces he lost after birth and we've been on an upward trend ever since. I went in at two weeks to get my incision checked, and I also received a passing grade. 

The week after he was born we had two baby showers, one hosted by the wonderful girls I work with at the Roundup, and another at Alcova, hosted and attended by the community women whom Scott grew up around. 

My mom was able to stay for two weeks - a stay that was extended by a day because of an additional surgery I had to have on my leg where I'd been stepped on by a horse at 37 weeks pregnant, but that's another story for another post. :-) My dad also came to visit for a couple days, and it worked out so that my brother Nathan also came by when Levi was a week old, and my sister Melissa came over for the Roundup baby shower. 

So, hopefully blog posts will become more regular and timely once again. Today Levi and I are getting ready to head into the Roundup office for a little while, so hopefully that goes as well as I hope it will. :-)

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