My Beautiful Disaster
Where to begin? There are so many emotions running through me. The Good. The Bad. The Ugly. But the only thing I can think is what a Beautiful Disaster.
One week ago today, I gave birth to my son, Henry. From that moment on, and from the months and moments that lead up to that… my life has FOREVER changed.
Rewind to June 1st, 2017. Something wasn’t right. I knew I was pregnant. I had a feeling, took a test and there it was… two lines on a positive pregnancy test.
I had a million questions running through my head. Were we ready? Did I really want kids? What if I’m a bad mom? What if I resent my child? What if I resent my husband? How am I going to do this? Am I good enough?
I had emotions I didn’t know existed. Happy, sad and everything in between. Emotions were so high that they made me shiver. Looking back on that today, that was just the beginning of my Beautiful Disaster.
When my mom passed away unexpectedly in April of 2015, I made a vow to myself, that I would change my life. I promised to say yes to everything that brought joy to my life. To spend more time with family and friends that build me up, and less with those that don’t. I promised to quit worrying what others thought and to start living my life, instead of living the life that others thought I should live. I promised to start making each and every moment count.
So when the results came on June 1st I had so many emotions but I knew, I️ had to do just that. I had to take this blessing and make every moment of growing a family count. After all, I️ made a promise to myself and I knew my Mom would be there, right by my side, the whole time.
My pregnancy was an easy one. Yes, it had its challenges, but I felt great! I never experienced any of the typical pregnancy woes that women have. I never had morning sickness, I had more energy than I had had in years, I was even sleeping great at night!
Despite feeling amazing, I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. Which in my mind, was my Moms first sign that she was with me on this journey. My Mom had been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 11 years old. I grew up watching her go through the daily struggles of Diabetes. The finger pricks, the insulin shots, the low and high sugars. On a number of occasions, I saw the worst. The ultimate lows when she went into Diabetic Shock, and the highs, when she would be so sick she would be vomiting. I never fully understood this though. I knew it could be bad, but didn’t understand how she couldn’t manage it. I mean, she had insulin and checked her sugar, but why would she still get sick? I often blamed her for mismanaging her disease. That was until I had to go through it myself.
I quickly learned what managing Diabetes meant. I went from eating and drinking whatever I wanted, to having an extremely strict diet. I was pricking my finger to test my sugar 7 times a day, and administering insulin shots 4 times a day. This was extremely trying on me, physically and emotionally. Although I still didn’t fully understand what my Mom dealt with, I certainly could relate much better.
This was by no means the worst thing that could have happened. Yes, it was hard but manageable. And I myself, then experienced what I had watched my whole life with low and high blood sugars. My diet now became a balancing act with counting carbs and exercise. It was a life of checks and balances, all while growing a small human inside of me.
I began to get depressed and angry about it but knew that a healthy baby was all we ever wanted. In hindsight, the sacrifice was small and well worth the reward.
Through the months that led up to the birth of Henry, my husband and I began to prepare. We got the nursery ready (which we still haven’t completely finished!) and did some renovations on the house. We talked about how things would be when the baby got here, and how excited we were to become parents. We laughed and cried together as we approached what would soon be, the best day of our lives!
As we quickly approached my third trimester, we were counting down the days! We were so excited!!! I was so excited (and stressed!) that my blood pressure began to rise. The doctors started to monitor me closely. Between that and the Diabetes, I was then told that the baby was breech and I would have to have a c-section. This devastated me.
In some perfect world far away, I had pictured my labor and delivery going perfect! My water would break, we would go to the hospital, I would start contractions, get an epidural, push once or twice, not feel a thing and have a perfect little baby in my arms in no time. Crazy, I know!!! I would hear how there is no such thing as a birth plan, and in the back of my head would say, “yea, maybe not for you, but my labor and delivery is going to be perfect!” After accepting that my “Perfect Birth Plan” wasn’t happening, we scheduled the c-section and moved on. We were scheduled to meet our baby, January 15th.
The holidays were in full swing, and we were getting closer and closer to meeting our little one. I had so many reservations about the c-section. I had a really hard time accepting the fact that I wouldn’t be going into labor. As a woman, this bothered me. As much as anyone could tell me, a c-section is easier than vaginal birth, I didn’t want to hear it. I wanted to experience my “Perfect Birth Plan.” I was told a number of times, that I was “lucky” to never have to go through labor and that I should be grateful!
During the last 6 weeks or so, I began to be exhausted all the time and mentally checked out. I was looking forward to not being pregnant anymore and go back to be able to do things again. You know, things like, tie my shoes and be able to put on my socks. By. My. Self. I felt so dependent on Scot that I was getting noticeably frustrated and, well, OVER IT! I was to the point where going to the store for a few things, was the extent of what I could do. I had canceled lunch plans, missed holiday parties and napped. A LOT!
The holidays were over and I was looking forward to focusing on this baby! On January 4th, I went in for what was my routine ultrasound and weekly check-up. We had the ultrasound and everything was normal. We then waited for the Dr. The doctor walked in and we small talked for a few minutes. My blood pressure was elevated, but nothing more than it had been in the previous weeks. However, the Dr. looked at me and said that he thought it was best that we moved my c-section up. In my head, I assumed it would be the following week sometime. He continued to talk to us and said that he thought it would be best for both baby and me, that we moved it to that day! HOLY SHIT!!! TODAY!!! I started shaking, crying and laughing all at the same time. I was a mad mix of emotions! I remember looking at Scot and I was crying, and he was white as a ghost! This. Was. Happening.
You wait and anticipate this moment for months. We were overjoyed that we were just hours away from meeting our new little one, but scared and nervous and full of fear at the same time. My head was spinning.
We left the office within just a few minutes to come home and get our things. You know… that bag that I had packed for the hospital two months before but felt like I had nothing. I started throwing everything I owned in that bag… panicked that I was forgetting something… you know, like my flat iron or my blow dryer. Because in my head, my hospital stay was going to be glamorous. Hair and makeup is done and perfect outfits. Ha! I had even shopped for my hospital outfits. (Don’t judge me, I’m a first timer here!) We then rushed to get out the door and down to the hospital. We barely said a word on the drive. We were both just trying to wrap our heads around what was about to happen.
We arrived at the hospital at 10:30 am and they checked us in right away. We were taken back to the room, I was in my gown and the IV was in within the hour. Over the course of the next hour or so, there were doctors and nurses coming in, checking my sugar, monitoring my blood pressure and poking and prodding me. I was finally “ready” to go back to surgery.
The took me back to the operating room. Scot had to stay in our room until they got me situated on the table and ready to go. Needless to say, this panicked me! And then I walked into the room to see about 15 people preparing for the procedure. I went into a full blown panic attack! I was feeling so vulnerable and scared. I was shaking and crying. Within what seemed like moments, they had my spinal in and had me down on the table ready to go.
Scot finally made it to the operating room and stood by my side. And then from there… it’s kind of all a blur. I remember some things, but there was so much going on at once, it was hard for me to focus. I remember lots of doctors and nurses talking…a lot of tugging on my stomach… a lot of uncertainty… and then a sense of overwhelming joy when Scot shout out, “Its a boy!!!” And just like that, our lives forever changed!
Henry William Wahl was born Thursday, January 4, 2018, at 1:12pm. 6 lbs. 4 oz. and 19 inches long. He. Was. Perfect! And we were so in love!!
I was able to hold my new baby as the wheeled us back to the room. And let me tell you… there is NOTHING more amazing than holding your baby for the first time! I couldn’t stop staring at this little miracle. He was everything I hoped for and so much more! He was the perfect blend of Scot and I. I even kept saying, “how did we make something so perfect?” It was surreal.
The next few hours were blissful! I was madly in love with this little boy and was feeling amazing! They were right! C-sections were a breeze!!! That was… well… until the pain meds wore off!
About three hours later, the medication wore off and I started feeling a lot of pain. Reality hit me in the face, and this surgery was no joke!
The rest of that day I was in a lot of pain! So much so, they decided to keep me in the High-Risk department overnight.
I couldn’t sleep that night. Between the adrenaline pumping through me, and the pain from the surgery, sleep was just not an option. But I didn’t care. All I could think about was this incredible little boy! I just stared at him in awe! I would even whisper to myself, “I can’t believe he is mine!” And “I get to keep him!” Like he was the greatest prize I had ever won! Which of course, he was! So as delirious as I was, sleep was on the back burner.
That night and the next morning were full of family and friends. Henry was already so loved! Which isn’t too surprising, I mean, he is the cutest baby I have ever seen! And I’m not bias or anything.
Later in the evening on Friday, I started to experience some more pain. Like a lot more. Like pain so bad it made me want to vomit. Gut wrenching, excruciating pain, like I had never felt before. This pain was so bad it made me shake, sweat, feel nausea, cry, and scream. Pain so bad, I would forget to breathe. So much so, that Scot had to keep reminding me. When I would be experiencing a wave of pain, Scot would say on repeat, “Breathe…breathe…breathe!” I would then begin to breathe and the pain would start to subside. This went on for hours… three straight hours of incredible pain. This was making my blood pressure skyrocket, which was putting me at risk. Something wasn’t right and I was scared. I even remember, looking over at the bassinet that Henry was in, thinking I didn’t know if I was going to make it and I was thinking that I was so lucky to have Scot because Henry was really going to need him. A bit dramatic? Maybe. But at the time, we didn’t know what was wrong and I was terrified!
After the third hour, the doctors decided it was best that they would need to transport me back to the High-Risk Department. They needed to manage the pain so that my blood pressure would go down. Once I was back in High Risk, the doctors were trying to come up with a plan. They put me back on a Morphine drip to manage the pain, and that was helping! My blood pressure was beginning to go back down.
The next morning, a team of doctors came saying they had ruled out going back in for surgery. And me thinking to myself, “I didn’t even know that was an option!” What the doctors had discovered, was that my bowels had completely shut down. This was causing the excruciating pain, along with my body going into “labor,” and I was experiencing contractions. Put that on top of your standard post-surgery pain.
That day I was still in so much pain. I couldn’t even nurse Henry and they had to supplement with formula. I remember my sister coming down to let Scot go home and shower. The whole time she was there, she just held my baby boy, fed him and soaked in all the baby snuggles she could get. I’m not sure I even talked to her the whole time she was there, I was still in so much pain. I do remember her saying at one point, that the agonizing moaning I was making, reminded her of our Mom when she had a rod put in her back. And that’s when I knew, this pain was REAL!
Over the course of the day, they made me go on walks around the hospital floor. This took it all out of me. I had NO energy and just trying to get out of bed was the extent of what I could do. But I had to do it, this would help the gas move around and hopefully start to release. Eventually, it did and they transferred us back to Postpartum.
The next two days I was still in so much pain, but nothing like I had experienced Friday night and Saturday. That being said, I couldn’t get out of bed on my own, go to the bathroom, shower, change a diaper or even pick up my baby! Scot was our superhero! He, without hesitation, stepped in and DID IT ALL!!! Changed every diaper, tended to Henry when he would cry, sit with me when I was feeding Henry and telling me that everything was going to be OK. And it was!
That Monday, we were discharged and we were bringing our baby home! We were so excited to begin this adventure with our little boy!
That first week was a blur, filled with family, friends and A LOT of food! It was overwhelming! Scot was still home from work so he was able to help me with EVERYTHING!!! Thank god!!!
One night, in particular, It was just Scot and me at the house. It was our first time, that it was just the three of us. No family. No friends. Just us. Our beautiful family of three. I became overcome with emotion and started crying. In fact, I couldn’t stop crying! (I’m sure my raging hormones contributed!) Scot turned and look at me asking what was wrong. But I think for the first time in a week, I was able to process what had just happened. We welcomed a beautiful, healthy baby boy. And all I could think was “What a Beautiful Disaster!”
After months of waiting, our baby was here. And in a period of a week, we had experienced every emotion from A-Z. And at that moment, it all came crashing down on me. The months that led up to that moment came flashing through my mind. So raw and real. This was the moment I knew that nothing else mattered to me, nothing else was important, except for my family that I was so incredibly blessed with! And I knew, THIS was just the beginning of MY Beautiful Disaster.