Luke Richard was born on Sunday, January 9th, 2011 at 8:00 am exactly. He weighed 7 pounds 13 ounces and was 19 3/4 inches long.
As I wrote about before, my doctor put me in the hospital on Friday night because I was having such a hard time with horrible hip, pelvic, & nerve pain and difficulty with walking. They performed an amniocentesis on Saturday morning to check for lung maturity. We were told the results would probably take 24 hours to return and I mentally prepared myself for a long wait and the definite possibility that they would come back saying Luke’s lungs were not ready. However, the doctor surprised us by coming in just a few short hours after the amnio had been done and said that the results were already back and Luke’s lungs were definitely mature! We were going to have our baby the next day!
We had a super nice room at the hospital – it was huge & so “homey.”
On Sunday morning, my favorite nurse, Pamela, came in to get me ready for surgery. She worked the 12 hour night shift but she stayed late so she could be there for Luke’s birth – I was so happy she did.
Here is Pamela & me:
Nate & me just before heading back to the OR – this is the last photo of me being pregnant!
In the OR, the anesthesiologist put in my spinal – it hardly hurt at all and within seconds, my legs were numb. With my last 2 c-sections, there was a few minute period where I felt simply awful – my blood pressure dropped & I felt queasy & tired & it was hard to breathe. I told the anesthesiologist about this and he gave me meds to prevent this. I felt much better with this surgery. At one time, I did feel sick to my stomach, but that passed & everything from there on out went great.
I think surgery started around 7:40 or so.
Here’s my wonderful doctor – Dr Barber -hard at work:
Luke Richard was born at 8:00 am. He came out crying –
Pamela was the ‘baby nurse’ so she took him from the doctors and surprised me by bringing him over to me immediately and letting me touch & kiss him! This was the first time I had been allowed to do this with any of my babies and it meant so much – I get teary-eyed everytime I think about that special moment!
Then they took him over to the warmer and got him cleaned up.
He needed a little supplemental oxygen as it took him a few minutes to adjust. I overheard that his apgar scores were 4 and 8. But he pinked up quickly with a little help and after a few extra minutes of monitoring, they said he was perfectly healthy.
He was grunting and “singing” and the pediatrician said this happened with c-section babies (the extra fluid isn’t squeezed from their lungs like it is during a normal delivery.) They said we’d just keep an eye on him and go from there.
Even though they had to watch him a little longer than my other babies, I felt fine about it because everyone was so great about letting me see what was going on and keeping me constantly informed.
They finally wrapped him up and gave him to Nate who brought him over to me.
While my doctor was sewing me up, I asked her about my ab muscles, which were pretty badly separated. She said they were pretty bad & they would try to fix them while in there. She said aside from the ab muscles, everything looked fantastic for having had 3 prior c-sections – she said I healed very well and had surprisingly little scar tissue. All in all, the whole c-section probably took about an hour – not very long at all for a 4th c-section.
They finished up and then gave me my baby boy to hold –
He was so little & precious!
Back in my room, the nurses – my other favorite nurse, Cindy, came on as my “day nurse” and she took care of me for the rest of the day – monitored things while I cuddled with Luke.
Luke continued to grunt & “sing” so Pamela suggested we do his first bath with the thought that it would make him mad and he would scream more – which would help open his lungs.
She was so sweet & gentle with Luke. His first ‘bath’ was just a light rub down with a damp washcloth – muchless invasive than other ‘first baths.’
Pamela & Luke-
After that, we were left to cuddle & bond with our sweet baby.
Here’s Nate & Luke:
Luke continued grunting & “singing” and we kept a close eye on him. Our nurse, Cindy, was fabulous in that she watched him closely, but she did it without stressing us out and also while taking good care of me.
Here’s me, Cindy, & Luke:
At around 1 pm, Cindy noticed that Luke was ‘retracting’ (working harder to breathe) a little so she called the NICU doctor. They recommended that Luke be brought down to their Special Care Nursery (or Level II NICU) and be evaluated. They told me several times they weren’t admitting him, just checking him out. Before I had time to process all of that, Cindy quickly informed me that she was going to bring Luke down and Nate could go too, but then she would come up right away, and help me get up and into a wheelchair so I could go be with my baby! She was so fantastic!
And she did exactly what she said – she was only gone a few minutes before she came back and started helping me get up. I surprised even myself by getting up and walking across the room slowly, while holding onto my IV pole, just 4.5 hours after my c-section. The first time is always tough & hurts but this was easier than I remembered with my other c-sections – and sooner. God is so good! It probably took about 45 minutes by the time I actually got downstairs. Just before we were heading down, a NICU nurse came up and said Luke was hungry & was I coming? I was so happy they were so supportive of nursing.
Because yes, I am attempting to nurse this time. With Joshua, I went straight to formula after having such a rough time nursing with Emily. This time, I don’t have a plan. Which is so unlike me – I am such a planner, but truly I have decided to take it day by day. For now, I am nursing, but if it becomes too much for me, I will stop at any time. No pressure and it feels so great!
By the time Cindy & I reached the NICU, I was really missing my baby (and it had only been about an hour.) We stopped outside of a room that had quite a few people in it – and all of a sudden, I got really nervous that I was going to be expected to go nurse with all those people in there. But nope, they quickly brought me to a private room and then wheeled Luke in his little bassinet into me.
I started nursing him and then the NICU nurse came into talk to me. She said Luke was doing really well and that his breathing had improved a lot just in the short hour they had been watching him – I had immediately noticed a definite improvement myself. His oxygen levels were great – 99-100% – and everything else looked fine. She said they would let me finish nursing him and then we could go back upstairs. Luke was never even admitted to the NICU and he was only there for about 90 minutes for observation. God was so good to us.
The next morning, the pediatrician decided to get a chest x-ray of Luke ‘just to be careful’ as he continued to occasionally ‘grunt’ and ‘sing’ throughout the night. It came back ‘negative’ (meaning everything was fine) and from then on, Luke’s breathing has been just fine.
I was a little concerned that he might get jaundice as he is a couple weeks early, but his levels have been perfectly fine – another blessing!
The only negative to my whole hospital stay (aside from the weird ER psych experience I wrote about before) was the social worker visit. She came in sometime on Monday and started questioning my ‘mental stability.’ It would have been ok, except she clearly didn’t look at my chart and didn’t have any of her facts straight! She said things like “Well you said you were admitted because you wanted to commit suicide and they had to call the police.” Both completely false – NEVER happened! I was upset about not being able to walk and was in tremendous pain, but I never had suicidal thoughts! Geeze! Talk about taking it to the extreme. And the police? No, never happened, complete misinformation. The lady kept acting like she wanted me to commit to her right then and there that I was going to go to counseling and go on medication. And when we reminded her that I had been evaluated by a psychiatrist – someone certainly more qualified to evaluate my mental state than a social worker – and I had been completely cleared (with no recommendation of counseling or meds), she didn’t even know that had happened. Gee, don’t you think that would have been a good idea to look into? Nate & I were both pretty irritated with her, especially when she started talking about how she had to “be an advocate for the children.” I think she was either really dumb or really new at her job, but she did an awful job and left me pretty stressed out. That was the ONLY thing that stressed me – her visit. Thankfully it didn’t last long and she seemed satisfied when I reassured her that I was going to do follow-ups with both my OB & my family doctor and that I would go on meds if I needed them and I had a very good ‘support system’ in place.
Onto a lighter, much nicer note – that afternoon, the kids came to meet their new little brother.
When they came in, Joshua didn’t realize Luke was there right away but when Luke made some noises a little later, Joshua immediately was very interested and then he offered his sippy cup to Luke – he never gives his sippy cup away so this was a real honor. It was so cute.
Emily was thrilled to meet “Baby Luke” and loves to hold him.
Me with all 4 kids!
Nathan took it all in stride – he’s a great big brother:
Daddy with all 4 kids – notice how 2 of the 4 are not very happy (it had been a long few days)
Nathan holding Luke:
Nathan loved his glove that the nurse gave him –
Joshua kept very busy, as usual. He managed to page the nurses twice by pushing the button on the bed – something he was VERY pleased with-
Poor Emily was so tired, she melted down at one point and Daddy made her lay down on the day bed for a little rest. She kept crying until Daddy had the idea to let her hold Luke – it worked out perfectly and we had a very happy big sister & one contented baby-
On Tuesday morning, I was ready to go home. I probably could have stayed another night – the hospital really was so nice that I wasn’t as anxious to get home as usual. But I also knew that my poor kids needed some stability and needed Mom & Dad home. Add to that, the fact that we were supposed to get a ton of snow on Wednesday and it made the most sense to go home a day early. (Usually you’re supposed to stay in the hospital for 3 nights after a c-section.)
Luke had lost some weight – he went down to 6 lb 13 oz from 7 lb 13 oz – and the on-call pediatrician was a little concerned and wanted me to supplement. But she was ok with us going home that day. I called our beloved family doctor and talked to her personally. My milk came in Tuesday and our family doctor said that as long as he didn’t continue to lose weight and started gaining weight soon, it would be ok. I have a baby scale at home, so I can keep a close eye on him too. And we are bringing him in Monday for a checkup, so we’ve got our bases covered.
The OB okayed me going home too. She said I’m anemic (that would explain why I would suddenly feel like I had to take a nap out of the blue) so I have to be extra careful not to overdo it. Other than that, I’m doing great.
We came home Tuesday. It’s a good thing we did because we woke up to a good 8″ of snow Wednesday morning and it continued all day until we had a good 20″ or so.
We’re exhausted and all adjusting to being a family of 6 now but we’re doing pretty good.
Our church family is taking care of us and bringing meals – something I cannot thank them enough for! Someone even ordered us pizza last night just to make sure we had something to eat when the weather was too bad to travel! We are so thankful!
Luke is a really good baby so far. We have had none of the issues that Joshua started showing right away (spitting up tons, fussing, etc.) He doesn’t spit up at all and is very contented as long as he is fed. And I am loving having such a tiny baby to care for! 0-3 months clothes are soo big on him and I don’t have any newborn clothes, because I’ve never needed them before. Goodness, with Joshua, he barely wore 0-3 months for a week. It’s so funny to have such a small baby (and I know 7 pounds is average, not *that* small!) after all my big babies! One of my dear friends is bringing me some newborn clothes soon so we’ll be all set.
Well I think that’s all. For now, we’re just hanging tight, trying to recover, and enjoying our precious new baby. I’m not up to visitors right now – especially with cold & flu season – I am going to keep Luke very close for now. So don’t be offended if I’m not letting you hold my baby – it’s nothing personal.
Well I think that’s finally our long-overdue update. I’m going to finish this up & try to get in a short nap while the baby is sleeping & Nate has the other kids occupied. I should just say that once again I am reminded how truly blessed I am to have such a wonderful husband. He is simply amazing – he takes such good care of me and our kids and puts us before himself. He is truly selfless and I am incredibly blessed to have him. I love you so much, Nate!