My life has changed. I’ll never be who I was just a few hours ago. Today I’ve learned to love more than I ever thought I could possibly love. Today I welcomed my first born child, Luke Barrett Johnson, in to my life. He’s perfection in every way. Here is his birth story that has made me a new person.
This birth story was actually written way later after he was born as those days/weeks were insane. I wish I could say everything went smooth and as expected but, unfortunately, it didn’t go quite like that…
From the very beginning of this pregnancy my doctor stressed her concern about me going in to labor and trying to deliver vaginally. She was concerned my heart just wouldn’t handle it well. Labor is incredibly demanding of your body. For the longest time I kept pushing back – really wanting to experience child birth naturally but then God took a stand. I ended up developing Placenta Previa meaning I wouldn’t even have the option to deliver vaginally so the c-section was scheduled and a few weeks later off we went to the hospital.
Talk about the most leisurely delivery day ever. My c-section was scheduled in the middle of the day so I finished baking cookies, we stopped by a cigar shop and strolled in to L&D. Daddy Russ and I were so excited but I will admit that inside I was shaking like a leaf. I had NO IDEA what to expect and tried to keep the idea of the doctors cutting in to me while I was lying awake out of my mind (I later wrote about the full c-section experience which you can read about here).
I’m not going to get very in to the step-by-step experience of the c-section because I wrote a separate post about that. But what I will say is that it was actually much calmer and less chaotic then I ever expected. The staff was so quick cleaning him up and making sure he was healthy and then he was immediately in my arms for me to stare at in awe.
As I mentioned in the c-section blog post, my blood pressure kept dropping and each time it did I would vomit. This is right before that started! One moment I was holding Luke and the next I was saying, “Take the baby, take the baby! I’m going to throw up!”
After they took Luke out and my placenta you lose an incredible amount of fluid and nutrients in your body. My heart didn’t like that at all and started to beat irregular. It was a bit frustrating because after the delivery they were debating on whether to send me to a heart ward or on to post partum. I really wanted to go to post partum because otherwise I wouldn’t get to see Luke. Luckily, they gave me some nutrients, etc. through my IV and my heart calmed down enough after a few hours that I did get to go to my own post partum room.
The next days ended up being so much more chaotic than I wish they had ever been. I woke up the next day feeling great and started moving around. About mid-day the lactation consultant came in to start helping me breast feed and learn how to use the pump. While pumping I started not feeling well. Russ was helping me and looked at me with this kind of weird look on his face and asked me if I was ok. I told him I wasn’t and the lactation nurse quickly called the other nurses in. By the time they got in my heart had decided to completely go major irregular. It felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest and I couldn’t catch my breath.
In the blink of an eye there was medical people everywhere, I could hear them paging the crash cart to my room and I can remember seeing Daddy Russ sitting on the couch across from my bed with his head in his hands. Shortly after I was rushed to cardio – the whole time questions running through my head about what was happening and how was I going to see my baby.
As you can see we didn’t take any pictures during the time I was in cardio. It truly was not a good time for me. They were totally full so I had to share a room with a stranger. Let me tell you, as a female who has just delivered a baby – you DO NOT want to have to share a room with someone else. Additionally, I got some very bad news. During the pregnancy I had a terrible cardiologist (he’s lucky I’m not naming him). So bad that my OB eventually said she’d really prefer me to get another – which I did. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the change until the very end. Little did I know though, when I went in to my c-section my pacemaker battery was already running on back-up battery and needed to be replaced (something my old doctor should have known). So while I was in cardio having all the issues I got the rude delivery from my poor new doctor that I was going to need my pacemaker replaced within the next 7 weeks! That was pretty much the breaking point for me. How was I going to care for a NEWBORN and have my pacemaker replaced? But I’ll get more in to how all that went down in a bit.
Back to being in the cardio ward – everyone tried to be so kind and nice to me. And the hospital set it up where the on-duty guard would walk with a nursery nurse up to my floor to bring me Luke so I could keep breast feeding and spending time with him. But it stunk to not be with him every moment. The hospital also held my post partum room for me too which was wonderful because we had so many people visiting and it gave Daddy Russ a place to stay since my 1/2 room was so tiny. The next day I finally got moved to my own room in cardio.
I was there for another night and then got to transfer back down to post partum. We thought everything was going to start looking up from there but then, unfortunately, Luke went down hill. I loved breast feeding and we thought I was making enough milk but then all of a sudden Luke started dropping weight rapidly and became jaundiced. Now I know that so many babies get jaundice but it was so scary for me and I had been through so much stress already that I couldn’t help but burst in to tears. I felt like I was failing him. First, I couldn’t deliver naturally. Then I couldn’t even breast feed my own child and had been so limited on spending time and holding him the last few days. I sent myself a one-way ticket on a guilt trip!
We ended up being stuck in the hospital for two more days before they finally released us both. This ended up being over a week in the hospital – let me tell you we were ready to come home! Above: Me with my grandmother, Nannie.
I can remember the car ride home felt so odd to have a baby in the back seat. We probably drove 10 mi. an hour afraid that something would happen. It was so nice getting him home though. I began the process of trying to breast feed, supplement and then pump. I will say, this was SOOO hard! By the time I fed him, supplemented, put him to sleep, pumped and then cleaned everything it was basically time to do it all over again. I had lots of help from my mom and sister though who stayed with us. So we settled in and did this for 7 weeks and then I had to stop breast feeding to get ready for the pacemaker replacement surgery.
Above: Luke with his Pawpaw.
The morning of the surgery leaving Luke home with my mom I couldn’t help think, “This is so unfair!” I wanted to continue enjoying my newborn and not have to go have surgery. But, alas, it still had to happen and I actually ended up with an even better pacemaker. My mom had to take off a lot of work though to help me. My pacemaker is implanted in my left shoulder/chest so they have to strap my arm down basically so you can’t move it. That means NO lifting or anything. I’d sit in the rocker and my mom would place Luke in my lap so that I could feed him. Here’s a video she actually took of us (click here). Watching it still makes me sad!
Above: Luke with my OB – Dr. Elizabeth King.
Everything healed nicely though and he was such a good sweet baby! Over the next couple of weeks Daddy Russ and I gradually became a family of three. We couldn’t even imagine how it was before Luke! During one of the visits from some friends I heard Daddy Russ say to the other husband, ‘When you look at him how can you not believe in God?” It was forever imprinted in my mind. Because he truly is a gift from above.
Me with my grandfather, Papa.
Luke had quite the entourage awaiting his arrival!
I made mini champagne favors and cookie bags for the doctors, nurses and other staff. I highly recommend it!
This is my two little brothers and stepmother, Nathalie.
My dad with Luke.
This is my sTORI being written as you read. – Love, Tori