Friday, January 28, 2011


I hope you like stories. Cause this is Carter's birth story. There won't be any as many pictures. But my hope is that one day Carter can read this and hear what the experience was like for his father and me.

I should have known that I was setting myself up all these months by saying how much easier Carter's pregnancy was than Christopher's. Because the pregnancy and birth was easier, but the recovery was much more difficult.

I guess the last place we really left off was dinner at Kobe's Steakhouse. I am so glad that we were able to go. The only thing I didn't take into account was that if we went to dinner the night before a pre-planned surgery, well, I wasn't going to eat the leftovers the next day. I really hope my mom enjoyed the lobster, shrimp and steak lunch she chowed down on on Tuesday.

But I am happy that the surgery was scheduled for the morning. I don't think I could have gone the whole day without eating. It was hard enough waking up at 6 a.m. and not having any coffee. I managed well I guess and was eager to head to the hospital.

We gave Christopher hugs and kisses when we were leaving and reminded him that Carter was coming soon. He had a giant smile on his face as we headed out the door. The plan was for Gaga to stay with him until Uncle Super Chicken showed up and then she would head to the hospital to be there in time for Carter's arrival.

This experience was completely different this go-around. We entered the hospital a little anxious, but definitely much calmer than the last time. I had gone to the hospital the day before to have blood drawn and to be admitted. So we were in our hospital room and I was in a gown in a matter of minutes. After trying to start an IV four times (they went through the vein three times - uh, ouch) they finally found a spot that worked. I told myself that if this was how things were going to go for the rest of my stay, then I wanted to leave. Immediately.

It was about five minutes later that the anesthesiologist arrived to insert the epidural. I was extremely pleased that we were doing this part before the going to the operating room. I was even happier that Brian was allowed to stay sitting in front of me, holding my hands. It honestly wasn't as bad as I remembered from the first time. Maybe that's because I wasn't having back labor and could relax a little more?

Anyway, before I knew it we were in the operating room. Brian waited outside for about five minutes as they moved me to the table. Which is when I freaked out the operating staff. Apparently I bent my knees (on my own) as they moved me. Apparently this isn't right. I say this because the anesthesiologist and the resident spent the next five minutes asking me to move various extremities - which I could - and then poking the same place with a needle to see if I could feel it - which I couldn't. They seemed completely baffled yet insisted I was fine for surgery.

Huh, hello? Can we be 100% sure about this before we begin cutting?

But what do I know? I'm not a doctor and I was way to drugged out to object. Let's proceed!  Brian came in, and then Dr. Snowden came to the table, "Well we certainly aren't having any big babies this time are we, Sarah?" "Nope," I believe was my reply.

After a few minutes of tugging and pulling (and Brian accidentally looking over the blue curtain thanks to the anesthesiologist) Dr. Snowden said, "Holy cow, that's a big head." "It sure is," said the resident. "Whoa, he's much bigger than we thought - where was he hiding!?"

And then seconds later we heard Carter's first cry.

I almost forgot what that was like or at least it brought back a flood of memories. But it really is a sound that hits your heart like a hammer. I instantly started crying. Brian instantly started laughing.

After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only three seconds, Carter was brought around the curtain by a nurse. Brian was still laughing. I was still crying. But I was staring at a beautiful baby who, for a second, stared right back at me in silence.

One thing I love about St. John's Mercy is that they put the baby on a table in your line of sight to run all their tests and check him out. So the only time he's really out of your view is when they go to weigh him.

"Nine-Three," Dr. Snowden said. Then I heard "Nine-Five," "Nine-Even," and finally, "Nine-Two."  "What do you think Sarah?" I had no idea what to think. Carter did not look like nine pounds to me. In fact, he looked to be seven. "I have no idea - I was expecting a seven-pounder."

This is probably because Christopher was Ten-Five. Anything less than that is going to look extremely small. But even though Carter was smaller than his big brother, I remember the first thing I said to Brian - "Wow. He looks exactly like Christopher." Brian agreed. I never seen anything like it. It was if Carter was a Mini-Me of Christopher. I'm serious... it was kind of freaky.

The nurse gave Brian the honors of weighing Carter. "Nine-One," Brian called out. And then laughter filled the OR. Dr. Snowden peeked over the curtain, "You want to tell us where Carter was hiding?" I didn't know what to say. I was utterly speechless and shrugged my shoulders.

So there you have it. We had our second "Holy Cow" baby.

And that, my friends, is where any similarities to Christopher's birth ended. From that point on - whatever I expected to happen - didn't.

For starters, I was in the recovery room for two hours (as compared to the one hour with Christopher). And pain free (which was a nice change, thankyouverymuch.) That was until I started coughing on some ice chips. By this point my Mom had left to go pick up Christopher, Brian was upstairs watching Carter get his first bath, and the nurses were nowhere to be found. I seriously believe this was the beginning of my downfall. I probably coughed for two minutes before I could stop. I thought I had blown some stitches (I hadn't) or at least strained a stomach muscle.

After being moved to my room on the maternity floor, Brian came in and soon followed Carter. About an hour later, Christopher showed up with my mom. He ran straight over to the bed and wanted to give Carter the present he had wrapped for him. Christopher was also more than happy to unwrap it for Carter.

After exchanging gifts and relaxing for a little bit, Mom and Christopher headed home. A few hours later we gave kisses to Carter and sent him off to the nursery for the night.

I couldn't believe our little man was finally here. It still seems surreal that he's no longer kicking my insides but instead is sleeping in Brian's arms.

The next few days were some of the worst and best days ever. On the second day, Wednesday, the pain in my abdomen started to increase. I remember being in a little pain after I had Christopher so I didn't think much of it. What did bother me was that I could feel my epidural leaking.

I told my day-nurse about it. I was soaking bed sheets in a matter of minutes. The nurse said it was perfectly normal. "You've got tons of fluids going into your body, some of it is bound to get pushed back out. As long as you aren't in horrible pain, you're fine." Well I wasn't in horrible pain... yet.

Later that day I was still worried about the fluid running down my back and my pain was starting to increase. I was having extreme difficulty standing straight. And getting in and out of the bed was excruciating. So I called the nurse back in and insisted something be done. She called the anesthesiologist. The doctor recommended we go ahead and take out the epidural and get started on pain pills before the pain catches up with me. Then she took off the tape and epidural cover. "Well that's why your feeling fluid on your back - the epidural already came out on its own."

Really? REALLY. Lovely. And that's when things got worse. It seemed like by the time we had found out about the epidural it was too late to "catch up" with Percocet.  It was probably another two days - Friday evening I guess - before I started to feel like myself. Or at least I wasn't completely hunched over when headed to the bathroom.

The pain wasn't the worst part. The worst was that I wasn't allowed to have Carter in the room by myself until I could move without pain. In case something were to happen, I would need to be able to jump up and help him. And since Brian was at work during the day, I wasn't able to have him alone in the room with me until Friday afternoon.

We decided after Christopher's birth that if we were to ever have another child, Brian would go back to work while I was in the hospital and then stay home for a week when we leave. With Christopher, Brian stayed at the hospital with me for the six days we were there and then had to go back to work the day after we came home. It was as though he didn't get to spend any time with Christopher.  But this time we were fortunate enough to get nine inches of snow on Thursday. Brian's job was closed and he was able to spend the day with us.

This time seemed to be a little easier. My mom came in town the week before Carter was born and stayed until my sister, Beth, came in from DC. My sister stayed until last Monday helping out around the house and with Christopher. Then Brian was home this week to help out. My mom will be back this Sunday when Brian has to go back to work. Hopefully by the time she leaves, I'll be able to drive again and things will start to become routine.

But who am I kidding? We just added a second kid to our family. There is nothing routine about a toddler, a baby, two dogs, two cats, and two sleep deprived, caffeine addicted, stressed parents.

I look forward to telling all the good, bad and unusual stories of the Daniels' family for a little longer. I hope you stick around.

*Read Christopher's birth story by clicking here.

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