Special Delivery of
Ani Rae
At 7:30am on Friday February 27th we were scheduled to have our baby girl!  Hayden and Macy stayed the night at my mom and dad's house the night before.  I tried to get a good nights sleep but I think nerves got the best of me and I ended up waking up quite a bit the last few hours before needing to get up.....I wanted to remember this very last night and few hours of pregnancy.  It seemed like it had taken forever for this day to come but yet, I was very sad to think that this would be the end of my days of carrying a little baby inside me.  We knew we were done having babies.....three is a great number and we are happy with the happy healthy kiddos we have and very excited about the new little one we were about to meet.
So, Dennis and I get to the hospital, bags packed and all ready to get the show on the road.  We were anticipating a relaxed and a bit of a wait before the actual surgery as we walked on to the 2nd floor of the hospital to the Labor and Delivery department.  Dennis dropped me off at the door and went to park the car.  I walk into the prep/recovery area and there are a handful of people in scrubs waiting for us.  I parked my wheelchair that had all our stuff (my bag, laptop bag, cameras, etc) and immediately changed into my hospital gown.  I hopped onto the cart and all the prep began.  I had two nursing students (one U of M and one RCTC) who were going to be observing my Labor Nurse, Melissa.  Dennis showed up and sat down and waited and watched while they got me ready with an IV, blood work and registered.  My IV took quite some time to get...........and then my blood pressure was up.  I think it was nerves. 
Anesthesia came in to talk to me, then the OB Resident came in, then the Nurse Anesthetist came to talk to me, she was the same one as in my delivery with Macy!  I then found out that one of my former co-workers from the NICU who went onto Nurse Anesthesia school, would be in on my delivery!  I was happy that someone I know would be there.  Of all the pediatric residents and neonatal nurse practitioners I know that work in L&D, none were working the day of my surgery........so it was nice to think that I would see one familiar face. 
So I had Dennis all prepped and ready to be taking some pictures........he was busy getting all the cameras set up and we were reviewing what kind of pictures to take :).  He did a great job with pics from Macy but we had my professional camera with and he had never used that camera before and would hate for our pictures not turn out. 
So before we knew it, it was time to get wheeled back and have my baby!  Here is my last picture Ani and I...........she was moving and kicking around like crazy during this time..........they had a hard time getting the monitor on her because she was so active and you could see my belly and gown moving she was moving around SO much.  I think it was her way to have me remember the last of her kicking..........that is always forgotten so quickly after you have a baby, that I wanted to make sure I cherished it and took the time to really remember what that felt like.
So I get wheeled into the OR and plop on over to the surgical table.......and then all the activity starts!  It's amazing all that is involved and how many different people are in there.  So I sit on the edge of the table and they start putting in my spinal.  Ani is still being monitored and kicking the crap out of the external monitor.   I was told that with this being my 3rd section, because it may take a little longer so they would be doing a spinal of Duramorph (a long acting morphine) and a numbing agent.  But they are also inserting an epidural catheter but no medication at the time of surgery unless needed if the surgery takes longer due to the possibility of scarring, etc.  Plus since I was having a tubal ligation, that will extend the procedure slightly.  They wanted to make sure that there was enough medication to cover the extra time.  That all went smoothly and I, again, had a dip in blood pressure from the start of the spinal and then some nausea.  I had warned them I have had and in the past had some problems with nausea with this pregnancy and with my surgery..........so I wanted them to load me up on the anti-emetics!  Dennis was still waiting to come in...........they wanted to have me all ready for surgery to start before he came in.  They had to prep me and put the drape up but they took a long while before that happened.  They seemed to be taking a while to get the OBs in the room.  I heard later that it was pretty busy up there and my CRNA was busy doing epidurals so they had the anesthesia consultant in there.  I had asked all the obstetricians that were a part of my delivery to give me a guess on how much they thought this baby would weigh.  They were guessing the 8 pound range.  I was shocked that they kept guessing so small!
So finally I get all draped and Dennis could come in - with two cameras in hand :-).......the video and digital camera.  He was all armed and ready to go.  He stood and watched the whole thing over the drape.  I wonder what he thinks about seeing me cut open and parts pulled out for the third time.    It didn't seem like long before I heard the video camera come on.  I had asked, 'are we almost ready?'..........just waiting for that moment.  That moment that all mothers wait for their entire pregnancy.  That chance to see your baby for the very first time...........it is the very very best feeling in the world.  Before too long it was getting to that moment.  They opened me up and then I heard the suction for the amniotic fluid.  I then heard the obstetrician say, I need vacuum.  My ears definitely perked up when I heard this!  I got very nervous with my first delivery about using forceps or vacuum and having some major damage from it..............so when I ended up with a section and then 2 more after that, I never thought I would have to worry about the use of a vacuum again.  I think Michelle (the nurse anesthesia student that worked with me) may have sensed my concern and said, they only had to use it once.  It was explained to me later that Ani was wedged in there pretty tight and he couldn't get his hand in there good to get her out.  Well, so then came the moment.  He said, 'you've got a big girl here mom!'...........I couldn't wait to see my girl.  She let out one big cry.........and then they lifted her up over the drape.  At first glimpse I immediately thought that she didn't look as big as Macy........I saw lots of dark curly hair.  Then they said, 'here is your mommy'.........and she opened her eyes right up as if she was looking for me!  They then took her away to the warmer to get her cleaned up.  She was pretty quiet from that time to the time she got to the warmer..........she then started to cry some which was reassuring to me.  Not that I wanted her to cry but especially with c-section they need some help getting their lungs cleared out, so I was hoping she would cry and help get those lunngs cleared up :-).  It seemed like it took quite a while before they got her weighed and brought over to me.  That is why I was so glad that I got to see her before they did all their assessments, weights, etc.  Here are some pics of her while they got her all cleaned up.
When I saw her again, she was all wrapped up and in Daddy's arms. Dennis looked so comfortable with her there and she was content in her Daddy's arms.  She was just sucking away on her hands and I told her that as soon as I was back together that I would give her something to eat and she was SO patient and content with just sucking on her fingers until then.  I got to hold her for a little while too, as awkward as it is strapped to a table, drape up to her pits, nauseated and the baby upside down! Nothing can keep you away from your baby :-) and you realize how fortunate you are to be able to see and interact with your baby.  Working in the NICU, most the time, those babies are taken so quickly and parents don't get to do much holding, touching or talking to their sick little baby and you can't even imagine how devastating that must be!  So, definitely knowing this was our last opportunity to do this, I wanted to cherish the moment as much as I could.........all the while I kept asking for nausea medication!!  I even got really, really tired and tried to doze off a bit too..........I was having a harder time getting through this section..........I was much more tired and felt a lot more nausea than my others.  At this time, they did my tubal ligation and did a bit of 'clean up' of scar tissue at my incision but all in all, the section didn't take an extremely long time in regard to previous scarring or complications......so Dennis and I were both relieved about that.  I hated to even admit it, but both he and I had 'bad feelings' about this delivery.  He didn't say anything to me until the day before the surgery.......he had been having a lot of dreams of me dying during the procedure........and me being a nurse, I think tends to worry about 'the possibilities' more than the average person..........and so when he told me he was nervous too, I started to cry!  It was a very emotional week for me, all in all.  Partly because I knew the end was near.  The last time I was going to feel a baby moving inside me was happening.........the last time you see your baby for the first time was going to happen.  As ok as I was with the decision to have a tubal, it's hard not to get emotionally torn up by it.  It's a permanent infertility which women worry so much about in the beginning and I think we definitely have more attachment to that concept than the men do when they go in for their vasectomies.  It was just the right thing to do at the right time but still a sad thing to think about.
Ok!  So, did we ever get that baby weighed?  Of course.........when they first did it, it was in grams..........which I'm used to working with but typically, not good at doing the 'conversions' in my head, but when they said 4075, I knew how much it was in pounds and ounces before they told me........hayden was 4040 which was 8lbs 14 oz and Ani was 35 gms bigger, which is one ounce (plus) so I said outloud, 8lbs 15 oz?  and she was 20 inches long.  She was not as big as I thought she was going to be this whole time.  A lot of people didn't think I looked as big with her as I did with Ani........and they must have been right.  Dennis said her umbliical cord was HUGE (as was Macy's) and that my placenta was a generous size as well.  I sure know how to feed those babies in the womb! ;-)............their weights are a sign of that as well!  So for those who guessed in the
Baby Poll Lauri Rester and Julie Folkert  (my co-workers) were the closest picks, just ounces off! - Good job Ladies!!!  And my OB was off by a whole 1/2+ pound! :-)  He was guessing 8lbs 3 ounces!  Guess it shows you who ther 'reall experts' are, the nurses! HA!!
So it wasn't probably more than 45 minutes before I was getting wheeled into recovery.  This is where we got comfy and Dennis' first priorty was 'announcing' our arrival on facebook! :-)  He knows were people go for the news! ha!  So.........as I fed Ani and grabbed a pic from my cell phone, he updated my 'status' with our girls statistics and also called our parents.  Ani did a great job hopping right onto the breast and ate very very well and then fell asleep.  This gave Daddy an opportunity to snuggle with his girl and me some time to close my eyes.  I couldn't sleep but it felt good just to have some quietness...........we won't be getting much of that in the future! ;-)
Typically you spend 2 hours in recovery but our time got extended somewhat as I was needing some more nausea medicaiton.  I was having a very very hard time getting that to pass and I was even just drenched from sweating from the nausea.  So, we had to wait for the time to come up for me to get more medication or get an order for something else.  I was able to chew on some ice chips and a few sips of water and keep it down, just felt crummy.  As we were going up to my floor, I learned I was going to be in the antepartum unit (for women who are still pregnant and needing to be put on bedrest) but in a private room........which I was very excited about, they are much bigger and have their own little refrigerators in the room.  On our ride up, Dennis started to videotape knowing we would be seeing the kids very very soon and we wanted to get their reaction to their sister on tape.
My mom, dad and sister Ashley,  had Hayden and Macy and we were going to call them as soon as we got to the room, which we were thinking like 12:30...........well, it was closer to 1pm by the time we got to the room if not later.  They were waiting at the door while I got wheeled in and the kids were ready to pounce!!!  They were SO excited and could not wait to see their baby sister!  I hadn't even gotten into my bed from the cart and they both were trying to climb up on my lap!  I had brought another little 'guestbook' for people to sign when they come to visit Ani and Hayden was so sweet and wrote such a nice little note for Ani. 
I had about all I could do to not puke this entire time and I'm still sweating up a storm!  I would catch myself dry heaving on an doff.........oy, when is this going to end!!!?  But the kids came bearing gifts and were full of excitement, so that distracted me and it was so good and aweseome to see the kids meet their sister, finally!!!!  It was pretty chaotic, the poor nurse was trying to get me settled, we were trying to keep the kids calm and get Ani into her bassinette!  Just the beginning of the chaos of our lives....hee hee!   Ani even went to the nursery and had her first bath.  The nurses said, she did not enjoy it at all!......screamed the whole time, poor Ani! :(
We had a whirlwiind of visitors thos first few hours.  Cheryl,one of  the Lactation Consultant we work closely with, peeked in on us as I was getting settled.  Then my aunt Bobbie and cousin Heidi and her son Alex stopped up.  Our extended family meets every other Friday for pizza and I know everyone was waiting for the phone call and were anxious to see our new girl............so they must have come shortly after pizza was done :).
It was around supper time that Jim and Judy (Dennis parents) came up to see Ani.  Ani was wide awake and alert and just stared at Jim, it was so sweet.  He teared up a little bit in typical Jim style :-)........I think that is the sweetest thing ever!  Judy took a ton of pics of another little Reckward girl!  It was finally at that time, my nausea ended and man, did I feel like a million bucks :-)!  But, unfortunately that was when Ani's 'nausea' started.  She was kind of gagging and spitty, which is typical of c-section babies.........so I had hoped it was going to pass.  She kind of would do a little high pitch 'squeak' and you would hear her swallow then.  I can relate to how that feels! 
After work my sister Megan and her son Landon came up to visit as well.  She was bummed out that she had to work and had to wait so long to get up there. 
The first night was actually a litle more 'sleepless' than I had expected.  Dennis has stayed the night and had a heck of a time getting a 'comfy' spot on the couch/pullout.  He had been dreading that this whole time.......there just isn't a good place to sleep in those hospital rooms, but I needed him to be there and he was there......that is what was important.  He didn't get much sleep either............Ani wouldn't sleep more than 30 mins at a time as she seemed to be quite uncomfortable from the 'refluxing' she was doing.  She'd make her little 'yelp' and then more swallowing and then she would fuss a bit.  She didn't want to eat either, so Dennis would sit up and rock with her and she did much better.  So it was longer a night than I thought it would be........usually the second night is the rough one.  I was feeling pretty good so by morning I was looking forward to start getting some of the 'tubes' removed so it would be easier to get up and get around.  The night before I had been up in the chair already the night before and had walked to the door and around the room and got cleaned up a bit.  It's amazing how fast you start to feel your the need to move around..........and my inicison was still pretty numbed up, that made it easier to get moving! :-)  So, by morning, I was taking enough by mouth and was 'peeing' enough that I got my IV locked and my catheter taken out.  I was looking forward to a shower!   Ani was eating regularly and pooing and peeing regularly so I was very happy about that!  She also had a lot of burps and farts going on already!.........boy, oh boy........wasn't expecting that so early! :-)
I got up early and sent Dennis home to go take a nap and get cleaned up in the morning.  I figured I'd be having a lot of company that day and then that way he would be able to go get the kids and bring them up later.  I had a nice regular breakfast and ready to show off my baby girl!  I got the camera out and started grabbinga  few pics of her.  I could not believe how wide awake and alert she was!!  Such a beauty! :-)
Well, the uncles Chad and Darrin came up with Dennis and the kids to see Ani.  Neither one of the boys had ever made trips up to the hospital to see the kids when they were born, so it was nice to have them come! :-)  The kids got to spend a bit more time with Ani but not too long.............they would just get a little stir crazy and wild!  They got to hold her for the first time as well, that was fun to see!
Megan and Landon came up again and spent a good chunk of the day with me.  Landon did a very good job toddling around the room and was very gentle with Ani.  Shannon and her kiddos came up to visit as well and JoJo held Ani and seems to be an old pro by this time, having a little sister of her own! ;-)
Also, the aunties Tish and Tonia came up with Grandma Deden.  They were both wanting to come up yesterday but with me getting up to my room later, it worked out to come on Saturday instead.  Also, they were off to celebrate their sister's 60th bday that night!  My friend Shannon (who introduced Dennis and I) came up to visit Ani too.....she has always stopped up to see us in the hospital with all 3 kids - I'm bummed I didn't get a picture of her :(.  Ani sure does not mind all the activity around her..............she does SO good with all the visitors and activity!.....she is used to it I think.
Dennis and I planned a late night supper with the 'three' of us......me, him and Ani.  My mom came and watched the kids while he came back up to the hospital to enjoy dinner from Chesters with us.
With my room being on the antepartum side, it was very very quiet at night and we got some great sleep.........no screaming babies from our room or any other rooms around us! :)  I think I was one of the only patients on that end!  We also had some great nurses.........but I think I only had one nurse that stayed the entire 12 hour shift!  With how the Obstetric unit works, nurses work on several different areas - antepartum, labor and delivery, Level 2 nursery, etc. so they float between the units.  Or, because they are a closed unit, they will be sent home if they are overstaffed, which is what our unit is like.  So, a lot of my nurses had to go to another unit or go home after 4-8 hours...........so I had a lot of different nurses, unfortunately! :(  I got to see some familiar faces though with all those nurses - one even being a former nursing student of mine!!!  That was something else :-)..........I got to see some residents that I've worked with before too, so that was nice to have them 'caring' for my little girl. 
That night, the nurses took Ani to the nursery for her weight and to get some blood work done. 
This night was much better.  Ani slept much better but did so while laying with me in the hospital bed!  But hey, whatever you gotta do for sleep, plus it gets uncomfortable having to get up and getting her out of the bassinette so much.  We slept really good though.......we miss being 'with' each other all the time I think :) so it's much more comfy to have each other so close.  LIke I said, they took Ani down to the nursery and did her weight that night and she was down to 8lbs 4 ounces........which is expected - they lose weight at the beginning but the Pediatricians were glad it wasn't too much and were happy with that weight.  They also were VERY impressed with her bilirubin - that yellowness in her skin.  I guess they routinely check the bili level with a transcutaneous meter on the forehead and she came out 0.5!!!  The Peds resident said, 'I probably have more bili than she does!' and as  NICU nurse that hears that level a lot, you gotta brag about it when you can! :-)  Hayden's bili was 12 when we left the hospital and Macy did have some jaundice too looking back at pics, but Ani didn't have a lick of yellow in her skin.........so I was very happy knowing that she was eating well, getting hydrated and pooping out any bili that she may have! ;-)  That is always a worry and more so with those breastfed babies as your milk isn't in right away and they don't get as hydrated and they don't always get 'pooping' a lot to get rid of the bili  We used to get babies on our unit having to be readmitted because their bili level is too high............and I know several friends that have had to come back to the Dr several times to recheck their blood levels and such and it's just one less thing to worry about it's low.
I was told that if I wanted to be dismissed on Sunday I could - I was doing everything that I needed in order to go home and Ani was doing so well, but I opted to stay one more night and go home on Monday instead.  I felt one more night would be ok as I needed to have a bit more rest!  Sunday was a MUCH crazier day for us!  We had a ton of visitors and I LOVED it..........thank God for that bigger room!!  My sister and nephew came up again.  Amy, Milt and Hutson came all the way from LaCrosse.........Maria & Evie (which was great, Amy got to meet two of the new girls while she was up & go see Karsten - Matt & Steph's little guy who was born 3 days before Ani!)..........Theresa (from work).............Amber (an old co-worker of mine that came all the way from Albert Lea...I haven't seen her in almost a year)!...........Tammy, Brandon & Aubree...............Jenny & Cecelia..............and LaRae and her sister.
Dennis and the kids brought up a 'birthday' cake for Ani and balloons and ate some Jimmy Johns and got to celebrate her 'birthday'.....what a fun party!
Had a nice quiet evening with just me and my little girl and spent our last night 'alone - just the two of us' and planned on going home in the morning.
Monday morning came and we had it arranged that Ashley would come stay with the kids while Dennis picked up Ani and I.  Made our last rounds with the physicians and met up with Lactation before getting the final ok to go home.  It was funny - my dismissal nurse was a nursing school classmate of mine that I actually got to see each time I had the kids, so it was neat to have her be the one to see me out!   We had our appointments set up to see the doctors - Ani in just a few days and me in 6 weeks.  Got my prescriptions filled and picked up as we were waiting for escort to wheel me down to our car.  I had Ani in her going home dress and had to snap some pictures.  She did NOT like the dress and so we didn't get a ton of pictures :(.........you know me and my pictures, ha!  The dress was so big on her too, we'll have to grab some more when she gets a wee bit bigger!  There wasn't much to our last day at the hospital............we were home by 10:30 and then another adventure begins! ;-)