Hello, friends! Wow – it’s been a wild couple weeks! Three weeks ago today, we added a new addition to our family – Miss Maddie Ann arrived two weeks early and in time to celebrate Mother’s Day (from the very wee hours!). I always had a feeling that she would arrive early, something tells me she will have a mind of her own, wonder where she gets that from?? All along, our concern was what we would do if I went into labor in the middle of the night and Carter was here. We had just hired a new nanny and she agreed to be “on call” should we find ourselves in that situation but we both still worried in general about leaving our little guy. In his 25 months, one of us has spent every night with him and only one night has someone other than Adam or me put him down to bed! What can I say, we love being with our little one. So let’s take it back three weeks ago to all the excitement of baby girl’s debut…
Thursday, May 10th –
Looking back, I think the straw that broke the camel’s back was me taking Carter (alone) to soccer practice. It was very hot and muggy and my little soccer All Star kept breaking away from practice and making a run for the playground that’s about 100 yards from the soccer field. He was totally taking advantage of the fact that Mama could only power walk to catch him! I have never been so happy to see my husband as that day – he made it for about the last 5-10 minutes of practice. Afterward, we went to Honey Baked Ham for dinner and headed home. Pretty much as soon as we got home I felt what I knew had to be contractions. They just felt like period cramps and lasted pretty much that evening. They weren’t overly painful but I was aware of them.
Friday, May 11th –
38 weeks! I was on several work calls and took a quick bathroom break. I discovered I was bleeding and my heart dropped. I also hadn’t felt much movement so far and that was very unlike Baby Girl who basically did gymnastics from 20 weeks on. I called my OB office and left a message and called Adam to let him know what was going on. Luckily, he was on his way home from a meeting and almost back to the house. My OB office called and asked that we come in right away so we headed that way. The nanny was here with Carter so we let him keep playing – I didn’t want to alarm him or upset him that we were leaving. At the OB office, they hooked me up and monitored the baby’s heart rate for about 45 minutes. She wasn’t showing any signs of distress and the monitoring also showed I was having contractions every 3-5 minutes. There wasn’t a clear explanation for the bleeding – just something that can happen with pregnancy. At that point, she went ahead and checked to see if I was dilated and I wasn’t – at all. She said she felt like I would make it through the weekend and made me a follow up appointment with her for first thing Monday morning. She also said she wasn’t the on-call doctor that weekend but had told the doctor that was if I called in she would come in to do the C-section. So we headed home thinking we would likely be having a C-section early the next week instead of making it to our scheduled date of the 22nd. My contractions continued throughout the rest of the day Friday but not to the point where I felt like I was going to have the baby at any second – it just felt uncomfortable. I had googled that it’s not uncommon for contractions to start weeks prior to giving birth so I just thought that’s what was going on. It’s funny though, with Carter, I never had ONE contraction at any point so I didn’t have anything to base these contractions on other than they were getting more and more uncomfortable. Friday evening we went to dinner at Olive Garden and had a good time together. Our favorite neighbor and little ones brought over a baby gift/Big Brother gift and we had fun letting the kids play before bedtime.
Saturday, May 12th –
This was our hottest day yet in TN. One of my friends brought over a baby gift and we chatted for a bit. The boys went for a swim and we had our neighbors over to swim as well. That mom and I ran interference on the patio and chased down our toddlers. I continued to have contractions that were slowly getting more and more intense.
It was getting to be nap time for Carter so we headed upstairs and got him to bed. I had a list of errands I needed to run around Chattanooga so I headed out on the hot hot Saturday afternoon. I had so many places I needed to go and get things done – I went to Michaels, Carters, Home Goods, Target, Kohls, Victoria’s Secret and last – Sams. By the time I got to Sams, I was literally barely walking. I was tired and hot and the contractions were no joke. I loaded up the cart with things we needed and things that would work for quick meals in the coming weeks, checked out, loaded up the car and finally headed home.
Amazingly, Carter had taken a 4-hour nap and was just waking up when I got home! I collapsed in the recliner and Adam nicely unloaded the car for me. Before we got Carter ready for bed, I remember he was on the phone with his mom and told her I was having consistent contractions and she said something about if I could talk through them then they weren’t that bad yet. That sentence kept replaying in my mind over the next few hours as the contractions started kicking my butt. Ironically, my sister-in-law also started having contractions Saturday night with her 3rd (another Gray girl). We gave Carter a bath and did our normal night routine with him, I read him books and rock him until he falls asleep, however, I was in so much pain I texted Adam to come finish getting him to sleep. The only thing I wanted to do was take a hot bath and fall asleep. I took a nice long soak in the bath but it didn’t help much – if anything, it just was a good distraction. Adam and I decided we should go ahead and have my parents come down as soon as they could the next day in case I went into labor earlier than planned. I texted my mom at 9:59 pm and told her we wanted them to come on as soon as they could on Sunday. They were actually spending the evening at my brother’s house another 2 hours from where they live so they planned to go back to their house, grab the dog and come our way early Sunday. I texted her back at 11:20 pm and said “I’m in so much pain.” Then, at 11:52 pm I followed that up with, “You need to get here early. I don’t know if I’ll even make it overnight at this point.” I thought it was weird she wasn’t replying but come to find out, she was actually driving them back to my hometown and they were going to drive on to TN overnight after they grabbed their things. She and my dad already had everything packed and ready to go it was just a matter of needing to get the dog and my grandma’s things and then continuing on the 300 miles to our house. Adam and I went ahead and went to bed shortly after my last text but I was in so much pain neither of us were sleeping. The contractions were coming so close together and lasting forever. With each contraction I felt like I had to go to the bathroom so I would get up, go to the bathroom and come to bed. At this point, I was still in denial that I was in labor. I had nothing to compare it to and thought I still had two solid weeks to go. Plus, I knew I wasn’t dilated when we were at the doctor Friday. The second or third time I went to get up it was 1:15 am, I stood up and my water broke – it was completely like the movies – a huge gush and NO question that it was my water breaking – all over my white rug that I just had cleaned 6 days prior! I called my mom and my dad answered her phone and that’s when I found out they were en route back to WV. Adam called our nanny and she said she would be over in 20 minutes. My next call was to the OB office after hours line. I left a message with the service and the on-call doctor called back within seconds. I mentioned that my OB had said she would come in to do the C-section and he said for us to head on to the hospital. Comically, I had pre-warned Adam that if my water broke, I would be showering, washing/drying/curling my hair and doing make up before we left for the hospital. We had 20 minutes before our nanny would be here to watch Carter so I got ready in record time. As I dried my hair, I was overcome with a million emotions – Carter was going to wake and we would be gone, what if something happened and I didn’t get to tell him I loved him one more time, we didn’t get a “last” picture as a family of 3 – just a million emotions/thoughts all at once. I pulled myself together and finished packing my cosmetics and Adam loaded up our bags. Thankfully I had already packed most of our things in advance. Getting ready was also a good distraction from the contractions because they were KILLING me at this point! Our nanny arrived and we made the short drive to the hospital. On the way, Adam was literally driving like a 99 year old and we were the only car for miles around. I was like I think you can speed!!! I would have gladly dealt with a police officer had we been pulled over!
We got the hospital around 2:15am and had to go in through the Emergency Room. Adam dropped me at the door and parked the car. The two women sitting at the front desk made a comment like “oh, another pregnant woman” and went on to say I was the 5th or 6th pregnant woman to come in that night and all the others had been sent home because they weren’t in labor. I said “well, my water broke and this baby is coming soon!”. They got me in a wheelchair and I had to wait for Adam to finish the registration paperwork. I had pre-registered a few weeks ago but it still took about 15 minutes to finish up everything once we were actually there. The only thing on my mind was how much longer until the spinal?!
By 2:40 am, I was changed into the hospital gown and had tons of lab work done and we were prepping for surgery.
At 3:30 am, I had the cap on my hair and was about to throw up from the contraction pain and did once they gave me the liquid medicine to take to neutralize my stomach acid.
I did get confirmation that my OB had come in and was beyond thankful for that and her. 46 minutes later, at 4:16 am, our sweet baby girl debuted! The first thing I asked was “is it a girl?!” and then I wanted to know if she had hair and did she ever! She had a head full of dark brown hair. She was and is absolutely perfect! She was 7 pounds 2 ounces and 20″ long.
It felt like the C-section took twice as long as Carters and I just wanted to see and hold my girl! The longer it went the worst I started to feel and ended up throwing up mid surgery. Then I was freezing and couldn’t stop shaking which is a pretty common thing to happen. Adam went on to the nursery with the nurse and Maddie while they finished up with me. There were several funny/notable moments from the C-section…
- During the spinal, a MAN told me just to “relax” during the contractions when they were trying to find the spot to do the spinal
- A nurse commented that my contractions are “really long” as she told me several times each one was “almost over”
- My underwear somehow ended up in the operating room even though I didn’t even get to wear them once I changed into the gown. How they ended up in there is a mystery!
- Once my doctor had pulled Maddie out, Adam started snapping pictures of her – as we were looking at the pictures later, we noticed that he had captured me laying there cut open as well – didn’t need to see that!
- As I lay there, dry heaving, a nurse kept asking me all these questions that could have totally waited until I was in better shape. She did at least say “I hate to bother you with this right now, but…”
Finally, at 5:34 am, we were reunited in the recovery room. She was so tiny, it felt like holding air. Her temperature was low so we kept her bundled up and snuggled until it came up to where it should be. It was such an odd feeling to have a baby in the middle of the night and no one knew! Well, outside of our parents, no one knew. Once it got later in the morning, we had fun face-timing and texting our friends and family and sharing the awesome news. We got settled in our room and my parents and grandma arrived around 8:30 am, after driving all night. It was great to see them and share our little bundle of joy.
Next up, a visit from Big Brother! He was sooo sweet and gave her the perfect amount of attention and love. Then, he had moved on to the next thing that caught his attention – gifts for the new Big Brother. I was so happy he was able to come be a part of the excitement with us and I was glad to see him completely fine. Since we live so close, Adam was able to go back and forth between the hospital and home and put Carter to bed each night and keep him somewhat on his regular routine. He also liked coming to see me at the hospital and checking out what snacks there were available!
We spent two nights in the hospital and got to leave by lunch on Tuesday. We were SO ready to go home and be back in our bed/our environment. Everyone knows, you get no sleep in the hospital! I had the same itching reaction to the anesthesia and battled that basically the whole time I was in the hospital. Benadryl and several other drugs they gave me didn’t even help with the itching. It’s such a miserable feeling! My pain from the incision was pretty intense but I didn’t take much actual pain medicine because it seemed to keep Maddie so knocked out. She dropped to 6 lbs 11 ozs before we left the hospital – she is just so petite! She took to nursing right away but has a terrible latch – she sucks her tongue up to the roof of her mouth constantly and doesn’t open very wide. The first week, we could barely get her to stay awake long enough to nurse but now that we are going on week 3, she’s doing much better. Still a tiny little thing though!
I was not expecting a tiny baby – Carter was SO big – 8 lbs 6 ounces – that I didn’t have many newborn sleepers or diapers. Newborn clothing actually swallowed her and is just now starting to fit her better. My mom went to several stores but none had premie clothes in store so she got several more newborn sleepers that have saved the day.
I picked up a horrible cough somewhere along the way and it about killed my incision. A bottle and a half of Mucinex and several days later, it was finally going away. Coughing + abdomen incision = nightmare!
We have settled somewhat into a routine now that we’ve been home 2.5 weeks – I still look at her and can’t believe she’s HERE and everything is fine.
Coming home from the hospital and seeing Carter run out the front door to us just ripped my Mama heart in half. He looked so grown up and big – I was just overwhelmed with emotions. My mom captured the moment my sweet baby boy became a kid. I could cry every time I look at this picture now. It’s just such raw emotion. Now, I laugh, when I change his diaper – his tush is HUGE compared to baby sisters!
Everyone asks if “Maddie” is short for something (Madalyn, Madison, etc) and no, it’s not. We both just really like the name “Maddie” and it was basically the only name we agreed on! I like that Maddie and Carter both have 6 letters, my maiden name is “Kidd” so the double D in Maddie is a nod to that, my mom’s name is Debbie and my niece is Abbie – so we have a theme with the double letters and names that end in “ie”. The middle name “Ann” goes back 4-5 generations in my family. I also included “Panashy” as a second middle name to mimic mine and serve as a tribute to my mom’s parents – they have been such an important part of my life, I just wish my grandpa were still here to meet her.
I’m on maternity leave from work for several more weeks and am so grateful to work for a company that provides paid leave. I will be celebrating 10 years with my employer this summer which seems hard to believe. I only took 8 weeks leave with Carter and it about killed me going back so soon so I am looking forward to having more time with both kids and to recover this time. It does feel completely odd not working everyday though! It’s been a lot of work chasing down Carter, nursing Maddie and recovering but I wouldn’t trade this time for anything.
More baby updates to come – thanks for coming along on this wild ride with me!
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Links to items in the pictures: