He’s here! The chapter of my life where I’m a mom of one has finally closed. I have two boys to care for and love and I could not be happier right now.
If you’re interested in my birth story, please continue reading! I think it’s a story worth telling as much as the first. As many differences as there are in comparison to last time – there are some similarities which have led us to the conclusion that we will be a family of four forever, but I feel complete.
[I also think it’s valuable to read my first birth story at this link if you haven’t before because it goes more in depth into any issues with my uterine fibroids and why my mood this whole story is hesitant at best]
I thought for sure knowing more about this pregnancy would help ease any fears I might have about pregnancy or giving birth. However, the closer I got to the planned c-section, the more my fears grew and the more I doubted if I could do it despite not having any other choice. I’ve never had a surgery planned before – they’ve all been emergencies and in situations like that I didn’t have time to dwell on the possibilities.
I don’t want to say my fears were correct going in, but, looking back, they were definitely valid and something to consider for the future.
That day, we were told to be at the hospital by 10am and the surgery was scheduled for noon. However, once we got there, there was an emergency c section ahead of us and we kept getting pushed later and later until we found out we wouldn’t even get into surgery until after 4pm. It wouldn’t be such an issue, but I had been fasting since I went to sleep at midnight and, at 37 weeks pregnant on the day, I would be two meals and a couple snacks in at that point. Good thing I had an angel of a nurse, my other half Micah, and a Nintendo Switch to keep me company and pass the time. Micah even went so far as to not eat until I could a couple hours after the c-section. We were really in it together that day!
If you’ve been following me a while or know my first birth story, Lisa, my sister in law was there for the first one. She’s a nurse and was so helpful then that I knew I wanted her there for me again, however, with Covid restrictions, I wasn’t banking on it considering Micah was going to be able to be there for this one since it had actually been planned.
In the hours that passed, Micah and I had about three hours of Stardew Valley (the video game we were playing on our Nintendo Switch’s) under our belts, a Covid test that made my nose start gushing blood (which was a normal occurrence this pregnancy for some reason), and I don’t know how much IV fluid I had by the time I went in for surgery. On one of the times where my nurse came in to check on me, someone in scrubs followed her in with their hair under a scrub cap and mask up to their eyes – it was Lisa! Having done surgery for my doctor before, he trusted her to be in the OR with us. I was so stoked. After all the mixed feelings through the whole pregnancy and regarding another c-section, I really could use the support especially then.
The walk to the OR, I felt more and more nervous as if I had to do anything but lay there. I’ll never know what it’s like to have to push a baby out, but I do know c-sections and, despite having the best doctor possible, I still felt afraid.
I have uterine fibroids and, by this point, the fibroid at the top of my uterus which was only – I think – 4cm in 2019 was now 10cm and my doctor’s plan was to try and remove it during the operation. Last time around they caused quite a bit of trouble for us and the years since my first birth, I had learned much more about fibroids – which wasn’t necessarily a good thing.
Word of advice for anyone who has any kind of medical issues: sometimes the support groups online aren’t the support you need. My birth plan was to trust my medical team and walk out in a few days with my new baby in tow. I made the mistake of posting in one of those groups and, no exaggeration, all the responses I got were something along the lines of “your doctor shouldn’t try to remove your fibroid during c-section or you will bleed to death”. Obviously I knew my doctor wouldn’t attempt anything he felt uncomfortable with, but their words still worried me.
Sitting down on the table to getting an epidural to surgery felt like no time at all. Even Micah said “wait – they already started?” and even I was unsure at first. The anesthesiologist asked what music we like and my “anything but country” response wasn’t satisfying enough. We listened to Queen while my son was born which is pretty awesome, if I say so myself.
Things were progressing quickly and uncontrollably, it felt like. Suddenly, a familiar and very bad feeling appeared. It started off as pressure but then took over my whole entire being. It hurt so bad and tears started falling out of my eyes. My doctor said the scar tissue on my uterus from last time was giving him trouble. The amazing anesthesiologist read the situation quickly and asked if I needed something more to help with the pain. When I said yes, I was given something in my IV. I was already squeezing Micah’s hand probably too hard and the last thing I remember seeing for a moment was his face looking somewhat horrified.
This happened with Paxon. It hurts too much, I’m given something, then my brain is sent somewhere else. I hate every second of it. I don’t think I described what my brain does last time, but I will this time. It’s like I leave my body and walk down a hall before everything turns white. Red, yellow, green and blue start as little pixels and eventually take up all the space around me. I hear my name and have to walk back down the hallway.
In retrospect, the last night I tucked Pax into bed before my c-section, I cried over him because the thought that there was any chance I may not be able to see him grow up was being realized as I remembered what happened the first time and how it was considered to be very lucky that we both made it out. I don’t want to scare anyone who may have a c-section in the future because most c-sections aren’t awful, but mine are. Feeling that kind of pain really messes with your mind and the worst case scenario weighs on you so much. On the operating table, my worst fears were making their way to the surface and I couldn’t handle it.
When I stepped back into reality, the baby who was once a part of me is on a table a little ways from me. The next few minutes are fuzzy and I don’t even know if I have them chronologically correct, but I remember they get my baby out, yet the mood around me isn’t very happy. He’s in shock for a few minutes and doesn’t make any noise. It seems like he isn’t the color a baby is supposed to be. I didn’t even remember this but they had to call code for him. It’s very fuzzy now and I remember Micah got to go be with him and Lisa takes his place as my support person. I remember more tears going down my face and I talk to Lisa but I can’t remember what nonsense I probably say before the pain has returned again. My doctor is trying to put my uterus back in my body.
The anesthesiologist asks if I want something else again. I can’t remember what I said in response but I know I must have said yes because I walk down the figurative hallway again. It’s a lot of the same strange, colorful pixels before I walk back down the hall and I come back to reality in a recovery room.
I keep shaking my head like it’s going to clear the fogginess of the trip I just got back from. My sweet nurse is next to me while reality comes back and she informs me that the loud crying I’m hearing from across the hall is our little baby.
At first I’m able to only have ice chips and it’s so miserable. They give me water and I try to be reasonable about it but I start drinking fast and Micah has to put it on the table for me so I don’t make myself sick. I’m not sure how much time has passed, but Micah, my superhero, finally gets to go get us food and, just as with Paxon, KFC and A&W is my first meal. At first I eat too quickly and feel nauseous so I have to take an anti-nausea medicine before I can continue. Our baby was on an IV because his glucose levels were really low and so he wasn’t very hungry at first and I could assuage my own hunger before I got to his.
Finally, I get to really see my little baby. Apollo Lee Ohl – a name fitting for such a beautiful boy. He was 5lbs 11oz and 19 inches long. He feels tiny, but is a full pound and 10 oz more than Pax when he was born. I like the name because in mythology, when there are signs of Apollo, it signifies the end of sickness or plague. Maybe it can be the same for all of us. The Apollo missions are also some of my favorites and so the name comes from that as well.
So far, I have been blessed with his presence for a month. I never knew something was missing from our family until he fit into our lives and I started feeling more hopeful just as I did when Pax was finally home. I feel a lot of love and support lately. I do need all the help I can get, no matter how hard it feels to ask for help.
Our first week home, we actually had to go back to the hospital for a night because Apollo’s bilirubin levels were really high. I had to keep him under the lights for phototherapy at all times, but take him out every two hours to try and feed him. Lucky for me, Lisa brought coffee and a cookie after one of her shifts and her daughter Mylie who is in nursing school was on our floor during that time during clinicals.
Pax is such a sweet and caring big brother, but he’s absolutely not gentle at all. I think that’s been the hardest part. When I was really feeling bad at first he pretty much couldn’t be near me at all. His first night with us he jumped on the couch I was sitting on and it felt like it ripped open my whole c-section (it didn’t). He also wouldn’t go to sleep so easy without me putting him to bed like I usually did, but lifting a 30 lbs boy when my limit was 5lbs as directed by my doctor wasn’t going to work. Luckily now, a month later, I can cuddle him again as much as I cuddle Apollo and it’s made a world of difference. We’re still figuring out their schedules as well.
Honestly, recovery has been a lot harder than the first time. I spent two days at the hospital and went home still in a fog. I can’t tell if it’s because the c-section was more rough on me or maybe it’s because I’m older, but from the way I felt for a couple weeks, I wouldn’t be able to do what I did with Paxon and live around Spokane while I try and figure out how to make it to his care times at the hospital.
This whole experience has made our family realize that I will not be doing this again. I love my babies and would go through hell for them, but it feels like I already have and now it’s time to build back up my strength and make memories with them and teach them all I can to be good, compassionate people. It showed me that they both need me at my best and, as soon as I can, I will try to get a hysterectomy so I can finally be who I know I am, but haven’t felt like in so long because of these awful fibroids. I’ve felt so lazy and foggy for a couple of years now so I can’t wait to get rid of them once and for all.
So this is us, family of four – as the real mom bloggers say “BoY mOm”. I’m excited to watch these boys grow and learn about the world.