What next? What now? And…what’s her name?! (Birth Story, Part 2)

AHHHH. Feeling so totally overwhelmed (again) by the responses + outreach + prayers + goodness from so many people in the past week+.

ICYMI…we had our baby.

Mama had a feeling that girlfriend would make an early entrance. Nearly two months early…not so much. 😉 But I could just tell she was going to be a *strong* one from the getgo. And sure enough…the ONE word that all doctors + nurses keep coming to us with is “feisty.”

That she’s insanely sweet…and insanely feisty.

I see the irony, y’all. 😉

SO. Continuing on with this story. We ended Part 1 with baby girl’s grand entry. She cried when they delivered her, and I cried when I heard HER cry, and J cried through it all.

Now I’m crying (again) recapping it all, because #hormones. Shoutout to my mama (again) for helping me piece together the order of events here; Magnesium Sulfate *wrecked* my memory from all of this, so besides the few topmost moments (ie, actual delivery), a lot of the rest is prettttttty shotty.

What happened next:


Wednesday post-op:

I was still on our not-so-good friend, Magnesium Sulfate, through Thursday, so much of Wednesday (besides a hella good story below) are a drugged-out blur.

But once I was cleaned up from surgery, they wheeled my whole bed to the NICU to see our daughter. Really, I was SO SCARED that because she was so early and delivery was so situational, she wouldn’t know that I was her mom (because I didn’t get to have that moment of holding her right after birth or nursing her – the neonatalogy team had to whisk her away and get to #werk). And on top of that, even though I got to SEE her in the NICU pretty soon after birth, she was hooked up in her little greenhouse box and wasn’t able to be held.

Also, I was SO OUT OF IT from the Mag, I didn’t actually want to be *on* that still for my first moments with her, since I figured my memory would be shot (or non-existent) after the fact.

Nurses were coming in every 15 minutes or so to check my vitals, incision site, uterus firmness, bleeding, cather output, IV fluids, reflexes and all that jazz – then switched to every hour during the night. I was still totally out of it and could barely keep my eyes open (although still couldn’t sleep or eat). My mom said that I just kept saying how hot it was and that I was hot on the inside; I needed the AC cranked up, and the nurses came to blow a fan across me, put ice under my armpits, AND a cold cloth to my forehead/neck. Girlfriend was COOKIN’.

ALSO had some pain in the left side of my chest, which required an EKG; the doc said it was left ventricular strain – basically, my heart muscle being sore from how high my blood pressure had been.

I wasn’t allowed to really eat anything, so I tried a cracker later on; followed that with I think a solid *three* sips of soup broth, which led to me wretching + puking it all up. And lemme tell ya.

If you think that throwing up in a too-slender, hospital-grade plastic bag right after a C-section sounds like a horrible time…you’re absolutely right.


Thursday, October 18th:

First highlight: Getting off of Magnesium Sulfate around 2 pm. Praise the sweet Lord baby Jesus.

Second highlight (+ biggest): Holding the baby for the first time.

Third highlight: I could have my first meal since 8 am Wednesday morning: JELLO AND MASHED POTATOES. Bless up.


Thursday night:

We’ve got a FUNNY ONE AHEAD, FOLKS. If you’re not one for TMI, skip ahead to Friday. 😉

SO. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not one for bloodwork. Neither is my husband. In the past, we’ve both been so fortunate as to fully pass out with seizure-like symptoms (not actually an epiletic episode, but to outsiders it can/does look like it) upon having blood drawn. So like…it’s a no for me for bloodwork.

After this whole experience, it’s not even that it’s a no for me for bloodwork (I think I’ve been poked enough to last a lifetime now) – it’s that it’s a HELL NO for me for catheters.

Ironically, this is my clearest memory from post-op to about Friday night. HA. And absolutely nothing against this particular Nurse…she was doing the best she could here and the situation was overwhelming for *all*. So if she happens to read this…girl, let’s just laugh about it over wine sometime, MK?

I was catheterized for the C-section. Post-op, they removed the Foley – and when they do, you’ve got a six hour window in which you need to pee, lest you be cathetered again. I had the nurses help me to the bathroom because I had been hydrating (+ was on a fluid IV) and had the *urge* to pee. But turns out…couldn’t do it.

So Lord help the nurse who thought she could MAKE me pee.

She apparently had every trick in the book for making someone pee.

Let’s run the faucet!

Put your hand in this bucket of water!

Here- let’s squirt this warm water at your perineum!

I have my geriatric patients blow bubbles through the straw into a cup! It relaxes your sphincter!

OH OH OH let’s try peppermint oil! Put peppermint oil on gauze and put it on the toilet seat – that relaxes your sphincter, too!


Meanwhile, she’s standing IN THE DOORWAY saying, “How’s it going, sweetie????

And there I sit, on the toilet, squirting warm water at myself with one hand, other hand in hot water, blowing bubbles in a styrofoam cup, with peppermint at my hoohah and the sink water a-runnin’.


At this point, we’re 15 minutes in, and my left butt check is numb…and so is my left leg.

So Nurse goes to take the bucket of water. And doesn’t it spill ALL OVER THE FLOOR.

So now I’m sitting on the toilet, ass numb, trying to lift my legs off of the floor because my socks are soaking wet, still NOT PEEING.

And Nurse turns to me and says, “…Looks like we’re going to have to straight cath you.”


I couldn’t even *attempt* to hide my sheer dispair. I was heartbroken.

So I’m wheeled back to bed for a straight cath, any semblance of pride and/or bladder control out the window.


Nurse comes back.

Look who I found in the hallway…a student!!! Would you be OK if she does your straight cath for you?”


Clearly, the panic is evident on my face.

You don’t have to say yes if you’re not comfortable!”

So I say to student, “I’m sure you’re SUCH a good nurse, I’m just the world’s worst fan of cathetersHave you done this before?!?

She’s clearly SO NERVOUS and says, “Full disclosure…I’ve done this on men but never on women.

Oh. Sweet. Jesus. No.

At this point, I’m panicking. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for #knowledge and totally get that everybody’s gotta have somebody be the first…but my urethra cannot be that first. I ask the Nurse, “You’ve done this before, right?” “OH YES, thousands of times!!!!” she says. OK. So at least *someone* knows how to insert a catheter.

I’m SO sorry, but can I have the Nurse do it? You can totally watch the whole shebang, but I’d just be more comfortable with her doing it!”

No problemo, amigo. So here we go.

Nurse takes her SWEET OLD TIME turning this catheterization into *full blown* teaching time. Me, spread eagle on the table, lights blaring – and she’s teaching the student how to “make a sterile field” and ensure a clean process. Let’s just go out in the hall and round up any other passersby in case ALL THE PEOPLE want to watch this magic happen, shall we?

She puts the catheter in, I wince, and don’t I hear…

OH…that’s not the urethra.”



Nurse catheterized my vagina.

Are we having fun yet???

At this point, everyone is having a grand ol’ time.

She fixes the straight cath in the *correct* hole, and everyone watches, oohing + ahhing (literally) as pee happens. I’m like y’all, I NEVER SAID I DIDN’T HAVE TO PEE. I HAVE HAD TO PEE FOR HOURS THANKYOUKINDLY.

That horror ends, straight cath comes out, and I’m given another six hour window to make the magic happen.

Fast forward and it’s about 10:30 pm. I can’t fall asleep, because lo and behold…I need to pee.

J is *sound* asleep on the cot in the room, and Lord knows I was not about to wake him up; he’d been the biggest trooper through everything and had to also endure everyone coming in + out at all hours, so he was finally getting rest and needed that! And Lord knows I was also not about to call a nurse in, since that would also wake up J…and likely end with someone in the bathroom with me, watching, as if that’s going to help me “relax my sphincter” more than blowing bubbles or peppermint oil.



And I prayed.

Sweet Jesus, please a.) get me to the bathroom, and b.) make me pee. Amen.

Mind you, I hadn’t walked at this point. At all, let alone by myself. So maybe I’m an idiot…or maybe I just reaaaaaally had to pee. You be the judge. 😉

In the dark, I walked myself to the bathroom, sat down, AND PEED.


I slept so soundly. And when the Nurse came in and said, “C’mon Erica, time to pee!” and I sleepily whispered back, “I already did!”, the Nurse was I think equal parts proud and terrified that I had pulled a solo stunt. BUT, girlfriend’s gotta do what she gotta do, and I had to pee.

So that’s that. 😉


Friday, October 19th:

The wakeup text to my mama:

No more pee-talk today. 😉

On Friday, I had chest pain again, but this time, on the right side – coupled with an intense pain in my right lung area that made it feel impossible to breathe (even though I still COULD breathe). They sent me for a CT scan to rule out a pulmonary embolism (aka, blood clot in lung), so that ended up basically being…gas pain. HA.

Apparently when you’ve gotta fart after a C-section, it feels like you’re having a heart attack? So that’s cool.

But it happens if/when air that got inside during the C-section is traveling up the chest. SO. Two types of chest pain for two different reasons. Carrying on…

On Friday, the babe began a kind of phototherapy treatment to help her skin, which was reminiscent of a full-blown baby tanning bed – funny goggles and all. Later on, we did Olive Garden takeout for dinner, and breadsticks never tasted better.


Saturday, October 20th:

HOME. For mom + dad…


So, what now? 

Life revolves around pumping and milk runs and NICU visits.

Baby girl will be in the NICU until she does a few key things on her own, that she hadn’t been through developmentally yet by 32 weeks 6 days when she was born. (Example: Lung development was under 50% at that point since the lungs are one of the last organs to fully develop. And she’ll need to be able to be in the open, regulating her own body temperature normally, etc).

It’s all day-by-day. Top priority is making sure she’s OK, and that she just keeps progressing as if she were still in utero.

So far so good – girlfriend makes leaps and bounds every single day, for which we are SO. STINKIN. GRATEFUL.

It all feels surreal, but by the time she gets to come home (they estimate 4-ish weeks), the anticipation + excitement is going to be so far past the roof, it’ll be miles beyond the sky. If anything, we’re happy that she’s safe + being tended to by such fabulous doctors, and it gives us a hot sec to adjust to life as parents before we’re all united under the same roof.


And…what’s her name?!

Introducing: Olivia Grace Gwynn.

J + I knew what her name would be for *quite* some time.

The irony?

“Olivia” means Peace. Grace obvi means Grace. And BOY how we all needed peace + grace straight from heaven with this one’s grand entrance. 😉 Plus, being at peace isn’t exactly mama’s strongest suit – so some thing’s gotta be given when genes won’t step into play. Ha!

We’re both just completely obsessed.

So. On behalf of Jamie, myself, AND Miss Olivia…thankyousomuch. Again.

More updates coming soon.

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