Friday, May 23, 2014

Shiloh's Birth Story

On Thursday morning we woke up bright and early to head to the hospital at 5:00 AM. A friend came to be with our kids at our house so we wouldn't have to wake them up and she was there to get them off to school and play dates for the day. We drove the hour to the hospital in pretty much silence. I think it was finally starting to sink in for both of us of what was happening that day and we were pretty tired from getting up early!

Last picture pregnant at 38 weeks and 6 days…longest I have ever been pregnant!
When we got to the hospital we were told that we were actually bumped back a couple of hours so we wouldn't be starting until closer to 9:00 AM so we just waited. Apparently you aren't booked for an actual OR time and they just schedule a certain amount of c-sections for a day and it is first come first serve after that. I was a little shocked that someone beat us there! John went to sign a form saying that he was aware he had to bring them baby home in a car seat (not per Saudi government rules but per company policy) and then we started getting hooked up and ready to go. The nurse I was given was amazing and was so comforting during the whole process. She was assigned to my prep and then to Shiloh post delivery until I was transferred to the postpartum care floor.

Waiting to head back to the OR
We met with my doctor who was really good and not only medically very qualified but was a huge source of comfort, really understanding about any worries I had and made it such a better experience. I had met with three different doctor's and picked her to continue care with and was very thankful for that decision. We headed back to the OR and got ready to meet our little girl. For some reason my anxieties about being in Saudi and having a baby wasn't around the actual surgery but mostly around the spinal (which I would have had anxiety about even if I wasn't in Saudi) and then recovery. Even though I wasn't too worried about the whole surgery for some reason it went so well and exceeded my expectations. I was so impressed with how smoothly things ran, how comforting everyone was to me when I needed it and how quiet it was. John could remember what was going on in the OR with both kids…for Peyton there was a discussion about point and shoot cameras and for Graham the radio was playing Prince, "Purple Rain"…..for Shiloh it was quiet and very little conversation. The spinal went really well and the nurse was so comforting for me. I did laugh to myself when the anesthesiologist assistant was setting up all the monitors and was telling me that everything was going to be alright…"inshallah." Inshallah means if Allah wills and is said often here and in reference to everything. Didn't really bring much comfort and peace and for sure reminded me that we were in Saudi having a baby! We also found it interesting that there were at least six different nationalities in the operating room alone working on me (and then several more different nationalities later during my hospital stay) so it was a very multicultural birth for Shiloh!

And then at 9:57 AM we heard Shiloh cry and she cried loud and made sure it was known she was here! I couldn't get over how loud she was and how strong her cries were but since I hadn't seen her yet it was so comforting to continue to hear her!

Something pretty special that John was able to do this time and not with the others was "cut" the umbilical cord. It was more like he cut to trim the cord but it was still a neat experience for him to be able to have. 

Once she was all checked out they were able to bring her to me to see and touch and allowed me time to look at her. I immediately could tell she looked like Peyton but had Graham's nose for sure! I was also amazed at how small she was. I really thought with me carrying her the longest she would be at least as big as Graham but despite being almost two weeks longer gestation than Peyton, Shiloh was only 5 ounces bigger but she was the longest by 0.5"! A tall, slender little girl!

John then went with Shiloh to watch her being checked out and have some time to bond with her. He was able to hold and cuddle her for an hour.  

One thing that was different here in Saudi was a mandatory two hour recovery room period. I was to stay there for two hours regardless of how I was feeling for observation and then I would be moved and could have Shiloh. I knew this going in and was upset about it when I first found out about it but took the time over the past few months to prepare myself mentally and create positive thought processes for it which was a big help. I was surprised however at how much I enjoyed having a place without the pressure of holding my baby or trying to start breast feed or anything. I could rest, breathe and focus on letting my body recover and get ready to meet my baby. 

But….once the two hours were over I was ready to be moved and they didn't have any beds to move me to on the right floor. I was fine for a little bit but as time continued to pass and I was feeling better and better I was getting upset and broke down in tears. The poor nurses in the recovery room were trying so hard to get someone to move me and really felt my frustration but there wasn't a bed. Finally after another hour someone came to move me and we were moved upstairs. The delay ended up being a blessing because the only room that they had available was the private isolation room and I was put in there instead of a shared room. It was an incredible blessing and answered prayer to have a private room, especially that first night. I got set up in the room, hooked up and vitals done and then was brought Shiloh.

It was such an amazing moment and I couldn't get over how alert she was. She had just had a bath and the nurse said she didn't make it too warm/comforting so that she wouldn't get too sleepy and it worked. Such an answer to prayer that she was alert! After just looking at her and soaking in some cuddles I was able to try and breast feed and she immediately started searching, latched on and was a champ. Another huge answered prayer!

We cuddled more and more and put on her fancy bow hat for some pictures and just soaked up her cuteness!

John was able to spend some more time with us, get me settled and then he had to head home to pick up the kids from friend's houses and get them home and to bed. And then it was just Shiloh and I for the night. 

For the most part everything went really well but it was hard to not have John there to bring Shiloh to me and have to call the nurses for everything but thankfully they were very helpful and it was more just me being emotional about feeling so helpless and I was exhausted. Around 2:00 AM I had a little breakdown, I was absolutely exhausted, Shiloh was constantly wanting to nurse and soothe and the hospital had no pacifiers although I thought they did so I was just nursing non stop and in so much pain. I called the nurse and just said I couldn't do it anymore and they needed to take her away from me and try to soothe her in the nursery. The nurse wanted to check my vitals and do some stuff for me first so she wouldn't have to come back and interrupt me which was great but Shiloh was crying in her bassinet which was breaking my heart and I wanted to soothe her but I was exhausted and emotional and so I started crying…it was hard. Finally, I was finished and the nurse took her away and came back 15 minutes later and said Shiloh was fine and settled in the nursery and to rest and I was able to get a wonderful 3 hours of sleep and felt so much better in the morning! 

One day old and ready to meet her siblings for the first time! 

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