Tag Archives: newborn

Something is Wrong

23 Jun

Good morning, lovelies –

Here’s a recap of our week. The blessing is we met our son, Kobé Bruno Shreeve. He could not be more perfect. Here he is – 20 inches, and 6 pounds and 14 ounces of pure joy.

Monday morning:

6:00a: Unnecessary blood draw. Delayed cesarean by an hour.

9:00a: Resident administered spinal tap under direction of anesthesiologist Dr. T.

Operating room table I immediately told Andy and doctors I had excruciating pain in my right shoulder and behind my neck. The pressure was intense. I was told it was related to gas.

9:40a: We met our son! I heard his cry before I could see him. My eyes flooded with joyous tears. Docs confirmed polyhydramnios. When they broke the sac it sounded like a massive water balloon burst. Everyone had commentary. I was all baby and water. Extra fluid confirmed why I couldn’t feel our little dude towards the end of pregnancy. It wasn’t for lack of fetal movement – it was because he was floating around.

Monday continued:

I felt off but figured it was normal. This is the second time around so I figured it was probably harder. Add that plus lack of sleep, the feeling isn’t unique.

What was concerning was my loss of hearing. I mean I could hear but not well. Everything sounded like I was under water. My ears wouldn’t pop and there was ringing playing on a loop. It also felt like water in my ears but I was in no condition to jump on one leg up and down willing for it to separate. I recall thinking it had something to do with the bathroom. My discomfort would intensify when I would get up to use the bathroom – my clogged ears worsened, the ringing – louder, the dizziness – greater. Was it all the tile? The humidity? The echo? (Looking back it was because I was getting up.)

Monday night they also administered IV fluids at an accelerated rate. Like too much. I was getting pissed. They gave me two back to back. When I asked why they said for precaution. What precaution? Why? I retained water like a champ the first time around with Oriana, and the vanity in me crept in and I honestly admit I didn’t want to do it all over again!

I later complained of headaches. I was told it was because of my lack of sleep with either dehydration or fluid overload. Umm fluid overload? Didn’t you just give me medically unnecessary IVs back to back? And now headaches could be a side effect? Seriously.

Tuesday:

The morning met me with most intense headache ever. Pressure made itself a permanent resident in the front of my head. This is unique to me because I never get headaches. These headaches had me keel over. They were throbbing and pounding harder and more rhythmically than a nightclub promoting EDM.

Symptom check: Headaches, right shoulder pain, neck pain, and hearing issues.

Diagnosis: could be gas, dehydration, over hydration, or anything postpartum related.

Wednesday:

Symptoms remained and intensified.

1:15p: Took pain meds.

1:30p: Discharged.

We made our way home and soaked up the new experience as a family of 4.

Thursday:

3:00a: Intense pain woke me up. I slowly managed to get out of bed and hobbled to the bathroom. I held on to our furniture firmly with each shuffle in an effort not to collapse. I felt like the wife of Frankenstein. My body felt completely torn apart. Beaten and mangled. My c-section cut was roaring mad. My head was throbbing. The pressure debilitating. I was a mess. I told Andy I needed pain meds. I couldn’t go without them as I originally intended.

9:00a: Andy went to try to fill the prescriptions when the pharmacy opened. Come to find out we never received the scripts. He had to go all the way back to hospital to obtain them because they are schedule II drugs and the hospital would not fax the prescription to our local pharmacy. Convenience was not in our vernacular. Andy trekked back to the hospital. Before departing the hospital he noticed he was given only 1 of the 2 prescriptions I was patiently waiting for. He told them about the oversight and they corrected it. But still…another goof...

12:30p: He arrived home! I took the meds nearly 24 hours after my last dose knowing relief was close! I thanked the heavens for a patient husband and a medication remedy of great efficacy.

Friday:

6:00a: I awoke with minor pain but nothing discriminating from my earlier complaints. My headache was a new normal that dissipated to a dull discomfort with medications.

I got ready for the day’s appointments without watching the clock. I leisurely took a shower and put on makeup. I spritzed on rose hair and body oil which left my skin feeling dewy, radiant, and moisturized. The scent – heavenly. Repeat. Heavenly. I felt as pretty as a goddess despite also feeling like an ogre. A big, water-retaining, non-green ogre with radiant skin and angelic scent. Dislike. (Note: Water retention still has me with legs four times their normal size, the cuts, the pains, the things you’ll read in a minute.)

11:20a: We went to Kobé’s first wellness check post birth. He weighed in at 6 pounds 11 ounces. Perfection! Everything with this little stud is 100 percent on target. We are so blessed.

12:00p: We headed home to breastfeed and relax before my 1:45p appointment to remove my staples.

1:45p: We arrived at my doctor’s office, also in Virginia Hospital Center where I had baby. As I checked in my phone rang. It was daycare. I was informed Oriana had a high fever. My heart broke. I advised the lovely Ms. Jessica that we were at my post-op appointment and we would get there as soon as we could.

2:45p: Doc finally came in. I discussed my symptoms. I explained my hearing was getting worse. Case in point: the nurse called for a Colleen to come back and I got up thinking she called my name. I mentioned my husband thinks it’s funny but equally irritating because there have been a lot of disconnects in our communication – presenting itself a challenge with a toddler and a newborn. My headaches were still very strong without medication and I wasn’t sure why – I couldn’t get to the root cause. I was sure to exclaim I was hydrated as well!

Staples came out.

3:00p: Doctor suspected spinal headaches but wanted me to be evaluated by an anesthesiologist. My concern was not about me at this point but Oriana…at daycare….with a fever.

3:30p: The anesthesiologist arrived to assess symptoms. A flurry of questions and answers were exchanged when suddenly a gush of cold, red fluid poured out of my cesarean incision where staples were just removed. Both the anesthesiologist and Andy exhibited looks of horror as they were cataloging what just occurred. Yes, my c-section cut appeared to have split open on my right side. I had major fluid retention – still do – and my lower extremities to include my cesarean incision had been bearing the strain of it. I had a seroma behind my cesarean incision resulting in said bloody show. A freaking seroma!!! The doctor said it occurs in less than 10 percent of patients.

The anesthesiologist maintained his professionalism with some humor. While pointing to my stomach: my sexy, bloated, blood-soaked stomach, adorned in a black tank masking the crimson color of blood, he said, I can’t take care of that but I can fix your other symptoms. He continued. He said I had spinal headaches as a result of spinal tap. My mind wandered – was it because I let a resident do it? Val – not the time! He directed me to go to outpatient surgery for a blood patch once my current situation was managed. He continued stating prep would be an hour and the procedure only 10-20 minutes.

Relief was in sight! But our poor little Ori bug…

Andy looked at me concerned – we came here for staple removal and suddenly we had several obstacles to overcome. A new gapping hole in my lower abdomen. A need for a blood patch. A daughter at daycare with a a fever. A baby boy all of 5 days old who was bound to be hungry at some point without a mama for nutrients if I get the blood patch. Andy and I both agreed he had to leave to go get our first little love. Shoot, it’s past 3:30p and daycare called at 1:45!!! I would be fine.

Andy left.

I waited at my doctor’s office for a resolution concerning this new ailment.

When the doctor came back in she advised us the thing only that could be done regarding the seroma was to put gauze inside the wound every morning and remove it the next day until it’s healed. Healed defined as an approximate 2 week ordeal. What? Yup. Apparently it needs to heal from the inside out. And my goodness is it massive, deep and scary looking.

So the doctor placed the gauze inside me. it looked like a mini-surgery was being performed. She instructed me how to tell Andy to do it since he wasn’t with me. Oh my goodness he is going to freak out. Are you kidding me? The process: Sterilize the gauze. Slowly insert the entire piece of gauze inside my open, puffy, painful wound using a polyester fiber tipped applicator. So basically Andy and I get to role play as Doctor/patient without any of the fun. Every. Single. Day. Until when? I don’t know. Why can’t they just stitch me up? Can I get an infection? You guys – it is so uncomfortable and painful to watch. 6/24/18 at 7:30a: Andy claimed he could see my intestines. WTF for reals!!!

4:00p: I headed to outpatient surgery for my blood patch. I was one step closer to feeling better regardless of my bizarre cesarean troubles. However, my breasts were on fire, my cesarean cut ferocious, my swelling at an epic volume – yet I was patient and counting my blessing for a husband who was managing this freaky Friday with me and for our two beautiful kiddos.

Andy called to tell me he would be at the hospital around 5p. I told him no problem-o, we should be done by then.

I waited.

Waited.

Waited.

I was told there was a glitch in the system followed by, “sorry for the wait.” At this point it’s comedic. The whole day is really.

5:00p: Andy arrived at the hospital. Kids were sleeping so he hung out in the car. Our concern was Kobé needed to eat soon – he last ate at 12:45p. We were growing anxious. But from our last communication around 4:00p I was no closer to getting the needed blood patch.

5:15p: A different anesthesiologist talked to me about the blood patch. He wanted to hook me up to an IV and catheter. What? I was outraged. I said absolutely not! I didn’t need a damn IV – the IV and my fluid retention were probably why I had a freaking Seroma and my cesarean incision exploded like bloody Niagara falls. No! (Note: my anxious, exhausted, opinion only.) He said, you need it for precaution. That word again. Precaution. “Like hell!” I said. “I’m leaving!

He said okay, okay no IV. These a$$holes make money in administering IVs people!! (Note: my opinion only.) I didn’t need one – needless to say a catheter?! For a 10-20 min blood patch? NO!

So guess what – this anesthesiologist left without explanation or expectation when he would return.

I waited.

They closed the curtains and no one checked on me until 5:50p. Andy grew impatient and understandably. He ended up going to the grocery store to buy formula in case baby woke up and I was still being told that I’d be seen in the opaque realm defined as “soon.”

5:55p: Finally – the blood patch! The nurse messed up the first blood draw so a second one was required. 20 ccs of blood were taken from my right arm and placed in back. When they started injecting the blood in my back I nearly passed out. The sensation – eerie; however, within minutes my headache, right shoulder and neck pain dissolved.

6:10p: I slowly walked outside where my favorite person and littles were waiting for me. I hugged my husband so tightly and never wanted to let go. My little Oriana bug seemed in good spirits with her “hi mama, hi mama, hi mama!” cheerleading chants. It felt so good to be united with everyone. And as luck would have it, Kobé didn’t need any formula – that little dude was still sleeping. Andy was happy to report the kiddos were kind to him!

6:15p: Andy asked me how my hearing was. I was astounded that I didn’t even recognize it came back. I could hear! There was no muffled peripheral noises. I couldn’t stop raving about the necessity of the epidural blood patch! Why did I try to tough it out?

7:00p: We finally made it home. Dinner time, play time, and movie time with Oriana. With her being such an awesome big sister, slightly under the weather, and having been kind to Daddy without any tantrums our little bug had permission to stay up passed her 8:30p bedtime.

8:30p: We were watching a movie with Oriana when she fell over.

Seizure. Febrile Seizure.

Andy did everything you’re supposed to with a seizure. I called pediatrician emergency line. No answer. I called 911.

Oriana turned blue. She was shaking. Eyes rolled back. Convulsing. Saliva everywhere. I couldn’t do anything but watch her and watch Daddy handle it with grace. Torrent of tears cascaded down my face while I was holding Kobé.

Paramedics arrived and assessed Oriana with daddy present. I was with Kobé. They didn’t want Kobé exposed to anything so they told me and him to standby. My little girl was out of my sight with strangers but at least also with Daddy. The feeling was too familiar. Too uncomfortable. And too emotional. I was losing my cool. I only wanted to hold my other baby ever so tightly and whisper that it would all be okay. I knew daddy was but still…

My daughter had her second febrile seizure that evening: June 22nd, 2018. Practically 13 months after her first one. Her fever randomly spiked to 103.6 without warning. We were treating it, too. We remain baffled.

After yesterday’s events, then the seizure, I never felt so broken. B.R.O.K.E.N. I would take on all of my family’s pains if I could be promised my babies would never suffer. Oriana is my love – my first little who made me a mom. I would give anything to stop her from experiencing the shock and discomfort of a seizure or anything else that may present itself. I would do the same for Kobé, and the same for Andy.

During a time when our family should be enamored by the newborn bubble, we have been rolling with the punches. I’m not complaining. We are blessed beyond measure but it doesn’t make this week’s events any less biting. I share this with you so that you know behind the smiles, behind the squares on social media, there is substance – all of it is colorful but some of it isn’t my favorite shade.

I also want to share with you that you must be your biggest champion. I ask that you’re never afraid to be your greatest advocate if something feels off. You’re probably right. Speak up!

Every single day Andy and I acknowledge that we are enveloped with unconditional, unyielding love – and with that love comes the sprinkles of fear. It’s the duality of life.

Yesterday sucked. Hard.

But we are not going to be trapped by unhelpful anxieties.

We will continue to look for the good that came out of what we have lived through and treat every day as a do over, as a new day…a new day filled with opportunities to giggle, dream, play, and love without bounds. I mean we have a new baby boy who is a dream – a legit dream!!!! And a precious 2 year old daughter with spunk, sass and personality! We get limitless cuddles and coos galore – life is rich!

Thanks for stopping by.

XO

Valgal

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“And She’s a Mom!”

3 Aug

Yesterday marked my first run after work postpartum. I set out to sweat but also to quickly return home to be with my babes.

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I woke at 4:30a. Bus to metro to work by 6:45a. Returned home at 6p ish. Showered my baby girl with kisses, squishes, and cuddles (a proven test that my lip stain is indeed a stain as there was no evidence of my smooch fest on her cute little cheekies 💋). Little O fell asleep shortly after so the guilt of leaving her for my needed “mommy time” aka “run” didn’t sting so badly. I returned home around 7:30ish to find my little rosebud giggling with daddy. 

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Seriously peeps, coming home is the sweetest gift ever!

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But let’s get real about some things…

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The Monday-Friday grind, the commute, and wanting to spend every waking minute with little O while also training for a marathon, training to get my body back, and making sure my relationship with my better half continues to thrive is a challenge.

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The transition to motherhood has been blissful. But the transition trying to find the time to connect to my mind, body, and soul as well as trying to connect with my partner is nothing shy of a taxing adventure. It’s an adventure plagued by my own heavy guilt (because of societal standards) coupled with the subtle microaggressions from others and the ubiquitous endorsements, advertisements, and stepford-esque wives evangelizing the glory of motherhood and condemning any other activity that taketh your attention away from it. 

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Not all dialogue centered around motherhood is riddled to make you feel guilty. But my point is, some dialogues about motherhood actually reject mothers carrying other roles; thus, rejecting women and the whole feminist evolution. The content strikes me as callous because the words scream to me that when motherhood “ails” women it deviates women from their previous multifaceted construction to that of a singular dimension. We are not one dimensional! It’s as if having a child suddenly diminishes a woman to carrying one title only – a mother. Is that all that is expected from us? Being a mother? Anything on top of that role is an attaboy moment – “She managed that project, delivered her pitch, ran a marathon, and she’s a mom!” Why is there the qualifier, “and she’s a mom!”? What purpose does it serve? We are whole without it. We should not be typecast as if being a mother abates us of all competencies. (Thanks to Lauren Fleshman for pointing that out in her podcast with Dr. Melody Moore.)

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I’m a mom. A new mom! I was a runner first. And people still don’t understand my desire to run, especially post pregnancy because it means I leave the house and my babes after being away all day for work. I think it makes people uncomfortable because they couldn’t fathom leaving the house and their newborn. Maybe it’s a fear of separation anxiety from their baby (I did experience this). Or maybe it’s their fear of being criticized for putting their own needs first. I don’t feel the need to repent for continuing to put my needs first. I’m on call all day and night – a little time etched out of the day for me is reasonable, not selfish.

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Yet I’m criticized on the daily – I’m sure of it. Some days I feel assaulted by negativity because of the opinions of others about how I “mom.” No one explicitly criticizes me but their comments are back-handed. Do you know what I do? I smile and nod. I play dumb. While it’s hard to ignore the undertones of chastisement, I pretend I’m not competent enough to understand their insults because hey, I’m a mom – remember – all competencies were removed with my placenta – part of the deal.

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Why is there this brazen epidemic to mommy-shame? I question if I’m a bad mother because I’m trying to do it all. Intuitively, I know I’m not a bad mother. But yes, I leave the house after working all day to run. And yes, I’m a breastfeeding mom who drinks wine with dinner. At least it’s not the bottle! I’m not a bad mother.

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But do I need to explain myself so that my actions make others feel comfortable? No.

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I still have a commitment to myself while also holding the torch of motherhood. Becoming a mother doesn’t dissolve me of my identity. Rather, it highlights it. 

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So there you have it. In a culture that pretends there is equality among sexes, why is it that we celebrate motherhood but impose insidious maternity leave policies? Why is there gender inequality in the workplace? Why do we celebrate men who become fathers with a pay raise but women who become mothers don’t see that same jump in income? Why is it that our culture preaches women can do it all but then women are ruthlessly assaulted and shamed when they try to {cough cough} and do so successfully? For a culture that is so politically sensitive about the most paltry of matters, why is it so crass towards women and women’s rights? The whole empowering women movement is just a dog and pony show. The kicker, why are some of the hardest critics of women those that share my gender – women? It’s pitiful. We can’t rise when we are anchored down by our own kind! Come on ladies!!! 

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Years of false paradigms have flooded our minds with what it means to be a woman, a wife and a mother. It’s such a narrow definition of success. We should stop expressing concern about a woman’s (a mother’s) well-being because of a false idea of what she should be. 

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I am a woman. A mother. A daughter. A sister. A granddaughter. A niece. A cousin. A wife (soon). A friend. An employee. A runner. A lover of all (especially my Boston terrier, Mika). A pseudo chef. A wine lover – bring on the Malbec. A tequila nut. A frozen gummy bear spaz. A book worm – I can never have enough books. A terrible singer. A shoe fanatic. A luster of the new Garmin Fenix 3. A woman who loves dressing up my sass but equally loves to be accessorized in sweat. Whether I’m in stilettos or my laces are tied, in conference rooms, or starting lines, or singing lullabies, you can’t define me. I don’t fit in a box. 

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And so, I will continue to defy the norm. I invite you to do so as well. If you’re reading this and you are a mother, I ask that you acknowledge that you are more than just that, albeit being a mother is a privilege and a gift! The only qualifier I want referencing me as a mom is, “and she’a badass motherrunner” – because let’s get one thing straight, I’m am!

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Thanks for stopping by!

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XO

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Valgal, badass motherrunner 

Running and Life

20 Jul

Hello lovelies!!!.

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.My days are numbered being at home with my little babe. The longest I’ve been away from her has been during my runs which is about 1-2.5 hours. So with Monday on the horizon, my heart is sinking. How am I supposed to go back to work? How can I juggle work, be a mother, a wife in training, and a runner? .


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During my mini sweat session today (I ran based on how I felt – hello sub 7:00!!! – ran a 7:50 warmup and speedy miles thereafter! I love the way a 6:00 min pace feels- it’s been too long! 🙌🏼) I was thinking about how running is a true euphemism for life – more so today than ever before. What I’m saying is that it takes enormous spiritual strength for me to embrace training for a marathon after 39 weeks of untraining my mind to go hard and push through the pain because of pregnancy. Now I’m trying to build back that grit. But honestly, it takes even more spiritual strength to leave my little on Monday for the first time ever for my workday.

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I’m freaking out that I’m going to miss her more than words. Her little coos, her smiles, the way she cuddles on my chest and grips my hand so tightly. How am I supposed to be away for 9-12 hours without her when she has been all I’ve ever known. “It’s impossible to miss anything before she came into the world.”

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I’m so thankful for running. It has allowed me to run out my emotions. It helps. But I’m still deep in resentment that I can’t have a few more weeks. At least I know what I’m in for. My work day will feel like a bloody marathon – trudging through the pain of her absence – but coming home will feel like crossing the finish line – the reward of embracing my rosebud will be worth it. .

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Shout out to all you badass mother runners, and mamas who must leave the house for work, (because let’s be honest, being a mother alone is WORK), “The world does not benefit from you hiding your bad-assery” so make sure you make it known!  You inspire me!!! XO #badass #motherrunner #runnergirl #sweat #sweatsession

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PS- thanks @nuunhydration for hydrating me!

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Thanks for stopping by!

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XO

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Valgal


My Type A Journey to a C – A Birth Story

15 May

Good morning friends! Happy Weekend!!! 

Oh my goodness, this is my first Saturday morning waking up as a mom. Yes. A mom!!!! My heart is melting as I type this on my phone while simultaneously staring at my beautiful daughter all swaddled up and dozing off. I am spellbound by her every movement, face, sound, gesture…

And then it hits me. The sudden reality that I am a mother. Proof that being type A doesn’t mean much as far as game planing goes. Trying to get pregnant at precisely the right time (yeah right), trying to arrange when the baby comes, crafting a birth plan(s)…With planning I’ve learned that something will happen making a muck of your neatly arranged, tailor-made itinerary. (I didn’t have a birth plan but I’m still bemused over my birth story.)

This whole “embracing motherhood” thing started in August 2015. But motherhood materializing into something other than a hashtag on Insta got real on Tuesday, May 10th. 

On May 10th I went to my routine weekly pregnancy checkup. This was the 39th week appointment! The doctor and I discussed how I was feeling and talked about dates for a scheduled induction in case baby girl didn’t debut Sunday, May 15th. 

On my way to my next appointment at Maternal & Fetal Medicine I phoned Andy. I was stoked to tell him that if baby girl doesn’t come on her own they plan on inducing me Wednesday, May 18th. I shared the news in a quick flash as the next set of doctors whisked me away and hooked me up to the non-stress machine.

After 40 minutes of what is typically a 20 minute monitoring session of baby’s heartbeat  and movement I was escorted to the sonography room. This was after the intermittent intervals of nurses coming in and asking me to drink orange juice topped with what felt like aggressive poking of my belly. *Side Note: I visited Maternal & Fetal Medicine weekly due to baby girl’s risk for SGA (small for gestational age). Nothing was ever too alarming. Images and testing always revealed that my amniotic fluid levels were perfect, baby girl was measuring petite but proportionate in the 12th percentile, and her heart rate was top notch. Except on Tuesday, May 10th, something was off kilter. 

When the sonographer wrapped up she told me she’d be back after she shared the images with the doctor. This is normal. Fast forward 10 anxious minutes and the dapper Dr. Akoma greeted me. She was beaming. My panic had immediately frittered away.

Dr. Akoma, again, beaming, had bright eyes with a sparkle. I was admiring her composure. She made me feel settled. Worry-free.

She spoke. “Looks like you’re having a baby!” 

Me: “I know!” In a pitch like a 5-year discovering she’s going to Disneyland.

Dr. Akoma: “Well alright, let’s get you induced!”

Me: “Oh, yes. I am scheduled for Wednesday, May 18th.

Dr. Akoma: “No, dear. You’re going to be induced today. Your baby, although her heart rate is great, she isn’t moving like she should and you don’t feel her enough to reassure us that your pregnancy should continue. At 39 weeks she is term. She is ready. Are you ready? Call your husband and tell him to get here. Your room is being prepped.”

Me: “Oh my gosh, okay. Is she okay? Oh wow, so we are doing this. Today? I get to meet my baby girl?! What do you mean my room is getting prepped? I have to wrap up work. I mean I don’t have to but there are things I need to do. Can I go home and get my hospital bag? ” My furor was extraordinary muffling my speech. Dr. Akoma was probably unable to make a thing out or thought I was delirious.

Regardless, I was about to have a baby!!!! 

I called Andy. “We’re being induced, TODAY!!!” This communication string was priceless. Emotional. Exciting. Inexplicable. It was an exchange of words and enthusiastic cries that will be forever etched in my heart. A private dialogue between two parents-to-be preparing for the best day of their lives.

I was accompanied by a lovely nurse who gave me red carpet treatment all the way to the labor and delivery wing. The experience was surreal. Not at all as I had envisioned. 

Labor and delivery. 

Wow.

Fast-forward a few hours. It was 3:30p. I was intoxicated by my emotions and the realness of “having a baby!” I laughed a bit, too. I was anxious. Nervous. Excited. Our lives were about to change in a matter of hours.

Side Tangent.

Me: “Babe, you know what’s wild?! I’m so happy I ran yesterday! I logged at least one run in in my 39th week of pregnancy! Whoop! Whoop! Which really means I can say I ran my whole pregnancy!”

Andy: “Val, you’re out of control. You shouldn’t have run. You’re done. You can’t run now for 6 weeks. You’re going to listen to me and the doctor.”

Me: “Yeah. I’m well aware. But seriously, I would’ve been so disappointed had I not ran yesterday.

But back to having a baby!!!

At 3:30p on May 10th I was only 70% effaced, 1cm dilated and feeling painless contractions. To begin the induction they gave me Cervidil. It is designed to ripen the cervix to 100% to begin active labor. The process using Cervidil was expected to last no more than 12 hours. 

After several hours my contractions were back to back about every two to three minutes. They were painful. Painful. Painful. I told Andy and the nurses that I wanted to shake the hands and kiss the feet of every woman out there who had a natural birth because these contractions were tempestuous! I recall thinking that I must be 100% effaced and super dilated if they hurt like they did!!! I was ready to keep them coming because each one meant we were closer to meeting our daughter.

Around 11pm three + nurses came rushing in. They were fixated on the monitoring screen. They gave off panicky vibes and were speaking quickly in a language foreign to me. Andy took one look at me and saw my fear. He grabbed my hand to comfort me. He proceeded to ask, “What’s wrong?”

After they assessed everything they informed us that our baby’s heart rate fell drastically with each contraction and it had been too low for too long. She had not yet recovered from the last few contractions.

My heart stopped. 

No tears formed but I was crying on the inside. I was scared. I tried to stay calm. Relaxed. Strong. I was everything but.

Cervidil, although a mild drug, created stronger than expected contractions for me and our baby was distressed with each one. They feared it could be due to prolapse of the umbilical cord. “If this occurs, the umbilical cord may become compressed between the fetal head and the walls of the mother’s pelvis, thereby cutting off the blood supply to the fetus. Unless a vaginal delivery is expected to occur immediately, cesarean section must be performed to save the baby’s life.” The staff couldn’t delineate which one was influencing our daughter’s low heart rate. Was it the Cervidil or prolapse of the umbilical cord? Either reason behind it, fetal distress was not good and the alternatives were looking dour.

They removed the Cervidil. 

That’s all I’m going to write on that.

Roughly an hour later I was given an epidural. Finally!!!

They exercised some caution before administering it. I didn’t give a care that I was only 1cm dilated, my body was in labor even though it appeared I was failing to progress.

Within 30 minutes of receiving the epidural my already low blood pressure plummeted. In turn, baby girl’s heart rate fell to its lowest and was not recovering timely. It was a spectacle. After careful monitoring and continued guests rushing in and out, the doctor on call came in to discuss a cesarean with me. I obliged that if it’s necessary, it’s necessary.

Then our daughter’s heart rate took a turn for the better. Yay! The cesarean was an afterthought, for the time being. But with that being the third time they flirted with it, I began to think it was highly likely.

It was finally dark in the room. The machines weren’t yelling at us anymore. We finally had some semblance of peace and quiet. It was as tranquil as it could be. It was as tranquil as it would ever be. The nurses continued to monitor me. Hours went by with faint beeps in comparison to the alarms. The conversations being held by the medical staff echoed in the room but the epidural helped me zone them out. They told me to relax because I’ll need all my energy for pushing in a few hours. I was beginning to feel reassured that we could have our daughter vaginally. I breathed deep. Looked at Andy. Smiled. 

But there was no chance to relax once they began the IV drip of Pitocin at 7a. I was surprised they were giving me this drug since it was a lot stronger than Cervidil. But who am I to question the doctor? Oriana’s heart rate was steady again at 130 and had been for a while. I didn’t feel the need to challenge them. The first of the Pitocin dosage was small and it was gradually increased.

Then there was a repeat of the noise that flooded the room a few hours prior. Alarms were ringing, medical staff  were avidly speaking in doctor-tongue, and I was being asked incessant questions about my health, allergies, fetal movement…

Our daughter was experiencing, yet again, serious fetal heart rate deceleration. I was still only 1cm-2cm dilated. The Cervidil and now the Pitocin, although they acted catalysts to make the contractions stronger, weren’t working to dilate me. 

Active labor was happening but at slow rate. Despite back to back contractions, transition aka pushing was guaranteed to be hours away. This was not good. With the fetal heart rate decelerations continuing as frequently as they were, baby girl was not getting the oxygen needed to sustain labor. Therefore, the doctors did not want to risk continuing as it would jeopardize baby’s health. In every effort to avoid an “emergency” they wanted to conduct a cesarean for immediate delivery.

They asked me how I felt about it. I had no feelings about it. I was prepared for anything in labor and delivery. My type A personality took a backseat. I did not try to govern the process of delivery. My birth plan was this —> epidural. I was prepared to be game for anything. And I was.

I knew far too well that you can’t plan for labor and delivery. I didn’t plan on being induced. I was told I was going to be induced. I didn’t plan that my body would fail to progress in labor. But my body failed to progress. When vaginal birth was no longer an option, I was already prepared for the invasive procedure better known as a c-section. I didn’t plan on a cesarean. I was told it was medically necessary. 

My type A personality accepted the substandard and dreaded C. Honestly, I would have accepted anything to ensure the health and safety of my unborn daughter.

Within minutes I was being rolled out to the operating room. It was May 11th at 11:15a. I had no time to really conceptualize what was happening. They turned Andy away to another room to change. I was there, in the mix of all these doctors, anxious inside. Crying inside. Thinking my body failed. Thinking I failed as a woman. But then something switched. I couldn’t stop thinking that I’d be holding my daughter in an hour. The crocodile tears fell down my face.

The operation was something else. To be numb but tugged around like a rag doll. Hmm. I held Andy’s hand and griped tightly. In a matter of minutes, literally, the doctor said, “Your daughter will be here in 5 minutes.” 

I turned to Andy. This was the last time I’d look at him as a man not yet a father. My eyes bigger than ever filled with tears. I was Excited. Nervous. Anxious. Already in love. I froze the moment in my memory bank. 

Then…

Doctor: “She’s got so much hair! Congratulations on a beautiful baby girl!”

May 11th, 12:04p we became parents to Oriana Yoshie Shreeve. A bundle of perfection weighing in at 6.5lbs and 19.6″.

Just like that I saw my daughter in a flash of a second while they transferred her from my abdomen to the table behind me. They took her to do the Apgar testing and invited daddy. I was left there on the table alone. I was literally paralyzed from the chest down unable to get her in my line of sight. I turned my neck as much as I could to try and catch a glimpse of her.


Tears were perpetually falling from my face. I was thinking, “I have a daughter. We have a daughter. We have a little girl!” 

My sweet fiancé transformed into a daddy. I watched him in those precious moments overwhelmed with emotions and falling in deeper love with him. This is our family now. I spent 39 weeks waiting to meet this little soul and there she was – a few arm lengths away with her daddy whom was and continues to be captivated by her.

When they finally placed her in my bed, I nuzzled her warm skin. I stared at her. I breathed her in. Life stood still. She was all I knew existed.

The way I felt in that moment was new but familiar. She is my heart. She has always been my heart. In that instant I couldn’t recollect life without her. She fills me completely. She is proof that love is not something you search for. Love isn’t something you dream for. Love is something you do. And she, our baby girl, is a result of the love between her father and me. She is the best part of us. She is our greatest gift. 

Everything in my life like the nonsense, the stress, the chaos, the opinions of others, the friends that have come and gone, the what-ifs, it all became preposterously irrelevant when I met Oriana. She obliterated it all. She has opened me. 

Today she is 3 days old. She’s sleeping peacefully near me. I catch myself staring at her in complete awe that she is mine – all mine. Staring into her eyes and seeing her fixate on me eliminates the pain from the cesarean. Her very being reminds me not to feel ashamed of my body post-cesarean. 

Of all the things I’d done wrong during my journey through life, in getting myself here tells me I’d done something right. The severe swelling (thighs, calves, ankles – entire legs), my likeness to Frankenstein with the wretched staples, the extreme discomfort, the inability to get in and out of bed without it being a 10 minute ordeal, while it doesn’t sound ideal, is something I’d do all over again. Life doesn’t need to be so complicated. Oriana has shown me how simple it all is. And it’s astounding.

I have a daughter. The amount I love her cannot be qualified. It’s all-encompassing. I don’t know who I was before her.

I welcome my new life. I may be type A but the C has taught me to accept all things. You can’t know beautiful without knowing a bit of brutal. The C was brutal. But it is a temporary state of brutal/discomfort. My scar will be a beautiful reminder of my daughter and our time together as one. Oriana is my forever. She is my blossoming soul. She is my kind of beautiful. She always will be.

I love you, Oriana. Thank you for making me a mommy.

Thanks for stopping by!

Valgal

XO

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