My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Friday, May 1, 2015

Cosette's Birth Story

I used to have a memory like steel trap... I could remember the most minute details. Now it's more like a brillo pad... full of holes and gaps and really, really twisted. I wanted to record the details of Cosette's birth, as best I remember because even after only two days, it's a bit hazy. Seriously, people, this is your brain on drugs. Legal, prescribed drugs but drugs nonetheless. And when Cosette is 18 and is reading this, honey, Nana doesn't mean REAL drugs. Nana isn't crazy yet. She might be by the time you read this but not yet.

Soooooo.... as I had mentioned earlier in the week... at her last doctors visit we really stressed to the midwife that the baby needed to come out. I don't think Tasha will mind me sharing that she struggles with depression because it's just real life. I don't look down on her in the least because of it, in fact, it's easier in some ways to know that she knows that sometimes she's a bit skewed. Knowing that about myself makes me embrace my inner quirkiness. Crazy people are fun. No, Cosette, Nana's not crazy and neither is your mama. But depression plus the very tail end of pregnancy was making life pretty rough for Tasha and all those who love her. Soooooo... at her last appointment we said, "she needs to be delivered". And although her midwife was hesitant about inducing a first time mom before 40 weeks, she heard what we were saying and agreed to the induction.

Sidenote: I can't say enough about Tasha's midwife. We came in a posse at almost every visit, Tasha, Austin, me, her mom.... and so the midwife had a crowded exam room and four times the questions at every visit and she fully supported everyone in Tasha's support group. She even didn't mind if Austin wanted to touch all the random equipment.

The plan was to have Tasha go to the hospital at 9pm on Tuesday night and if she was dilated less than a 3, she would have the medicine put on her cervix that softens it and prepares her for induction. Then, around 5am they would start her on pitocin to induce labor.

As it turned out she was already a 3 when they got there so basically they just spent the night waiting for them to start the pitocin. Her parents went back home after she was settled in... my mom and I had planned to come in around the time the pit got started or earlier if things were progressing. Austin stayed the night. He slept some but Tasha slept very little.

And, as it turned out, me, my mom and Tasha's parents all had trouble sleeping that night. We all averaged around three hours. My mom and I left the house around 6am after Tasha texted me to let me know they had started pitocin at 5am, right on schedule. I'm no longer an early riser and I don't drive in the dark often... and.... it was raining so I white knuckled the drive to the hospital and performed a less than perfect parking job AND left the lights on in the car. Fortunately Austin and Tasha's dad made a trip to McDonalds and noticed the car lights were on and fixed it for us.

My biggest fear in all of this was that I would be in too much pain to be there the whole time and/or would be in too much pain to enjoy or remember much. The really awesome thing was that there was this convertible loveseat/oversized chair that is meant for the dad to sleep on in her room. If we pulled it out halfway and I tucked a pillow in the small of my back, I could mimic the exact position that allows me the least amount of pain. It made a huuuuuuge difference in how I handled the day.

Tasha was having some contractions with just the pitocin but they were having trouble keeping Cosette's heart rate on the monitor. Her heart rate was fine, she was just moving too much for them to consistently track it. They had to wait until the midwife came in and broke her water and was able to put the internal monitor in before they could increase her pitocin. I'm not crazy about the internal monitor because it scratches the baby's head but a small scratch beats the kind of things that could happen if the baby isn't monitored consistently.

The midwife came in a little bit after 8:30 and broke Tasha's water and if I remember correctly, at that point she was dilated to 4. Maybe 3 stretching to 4, I'm not certain. There were a lot of people talking and the tv was on and I had a hard time hearing what any of the medical professionals were saying to Tasha. Everybody was kind of high strung and chatty but Tasha's dad had about 60 ounces of coffee (I may be exaggerating but only a bit, he drank a LOT of coffee) and was being pretty loud.

The midwife stepped out and then stepped back into the room and asked me if I remember the last weight measurement they had done, what Cosette weighed then. She was 5lbs 14 ozs at that point, just shy of three weeks prior. I don't know if she was thinking it was a big baby or what her reason was for asking but I'm glad she knew that I would know, what with my brillo pad brain and all.

The morning dragged along... we passed around my bag of groceries. I am used to feeding Austin and I use food for comfort so I brought as many snacks as I could carry. Just for posterity, here's what I brought:
trail mix
banana chips
vanilla wafers
pecan twirls
microwave popcorn
slim jims
nutter butters
fiber one lemon dessert bars

And probably more, that's just what I can remember. The funny thing was that Austin's dad and stepmom also brought drinks (and I think snacks) and Cody and Marquee brought drinks and snacks. Marquee even made snickerdoodles! Apparently my family knows to bring food for any potential crisis situation. OR... we can picnic anywhere.

Some time around mid-morning but not long after her water was broken, Tasha got an epidural. She went into the process without having made her mind up about it and when she started getting the first painful contractions she decided to get it. I'm neither pro or con on the subject. My first delivery was with an epidural and I pushed for a long time and had a forceps delivery so it involved a lot of recovery. My next two deliveries were just with a little demerol and I was fine and pushed a lot better. I would say the biggest concern I had about the epidural was that it might slow things down but to be honest... I really feel like in Tasha's case it sped things up and gave her an opportunity to rest so that she had energy for pushing. From that point until around lunch Tasha went to sleep and slept really deep - snoring and everything - and everyone just let her sleep. The birth photographer came in and started getting some shots of random things around the room.

The midwife came back in the afternoon maybe around 1pm? Honestly, I don't remember. Seems like she was a 4 or 5 then. I asked the midwife if she was progressing well and she said that getting to six would be the hard part and after that it would go fast because she was thinned pretty well. At this point the nurses got Tasha in what they called the "fire hydrant" pose. Basically, they had her laying on her side with the top leg supported in a stirrup so she looked like a dog peeing on a fire hydrant. It must have worked because it didn't take too long before we were seeing contractions spiking up on the monitor and she was complete and ready to push by around 2:30. What was funny... the noise in the room was still pretty loud and somehow Austin missed that she was "complete" or didn't quite understand what they meant by it because as soon as I heard it I went out to the waiting room to tell Cody, Marquee, my mom, Austin's dad and stepmom that she was about to start pushing. As I was walking down the long hallway the emotions of the moment just overwhelmed me and by the time I got to the waiting room I had a hard time catching my breath and being able to speak. I mumbled something and stood awkwardly for a minute and said, "ok... I'm going back". When I got back to the room Austin said, "she's ready to push, I've got to run out and tell everybody". I'm like... dude... I'm a half mile ahead of you.

Tasha had decided that she only wanted Austin and the birth photographer in the room with her which was FINE by me. I know that personally I would have never felt like I could do what I needed to do if I was concerned about what people would see and or think about me in that process. I fully respected her choice of who she wanted in there with her. However, grandparents will be grandparents... her mom and dad and myself all lingered in the hallway right outside her door so that we could hear Cosette's first cry.

That was probably the hardest part of the day for me because we couldn't exactly set up a chair out there but standing gets real painful, real quick. Eventually I sat down on the floor criss-cross-applesauce with my ear right beside the door - but not blocking the door. We heard "push, push, push... she's right there...." a few times and then we heard the baby cry and I lost it! Huge sobs choked up out of me almost like a giggle cry. The nurse stepped out and told us the baby was here, she told us her weight and that mama and baby were fine. And then she asked us to go sit in the waiting room while they got them cleaned up. Fair enough. They let us sit there longer than most would have.

I walked on clouds to the waiting room to give everyone the news. I mean, surely my feet must have been on the floor but I sure didn't feel the floor. Cosette arrived at 3:05pm on April 29th - my birthday - weighing 6 lbs, 9 ozs. It didn't take long for Austin to walk out (barefooted. in a hospital. don't get me started!) and said that the moms could come back and then we'd bring more people back two by two. Barbara and I shared a side hug while we walked and said, "we did it!". Cosette was so tiny... tinier than anything I've ever seen. She was still wide eyed because they hadn't put the silver nitrate drops in her eyes yet. I held her and told her I was her Nana and that I would love her for the rest of my life and a lot of other things that I don't remember. We stayed maybe ten minutes and then they shoo'ed us out the door again to bathe the baby and stuff like that.


It was a long wait before anyone else got to go back and by that point the adrenaline was wearing off and I had a major headache and things were starting to hurt. Austin's dad and stepmom live quite a long way from us - more than two hours - and Cody and Marquee live about an hour and a half away so we sent them back to see the baby in the next two groups.  After those two groups went, me, mom and Tasha's parents were all allowed back. My mom held her and I just watched and then we left to go home.

And I came home and sorted through about three hundred facebook notifications, skipped dinner and fell asleep... crashing hard.

Yesterday morning I dragged myself up and out to the hospital to get another cuddle or two because I knew I wanted to give them a few days to settle in at home without company. I went, took a few more pictures (without the flash on most, oh well!) and then went to get Chick-fil-a for my mom and I for lunch to reward ourselves for surviving the long day before.

Yesterday afternoon my sister-in-law Angie took Sarabeth and Jamie to see Cosette. Austin snapped photos on his cell for me.

Then, a little later, they released them from the hospital. Cosette had just a touch of jaundice and had to go back today for a bilirubin check. Austin had to go back to work today (if you're local and you stop by Ingles, ask him to show you a picture of the baby!) Tasha's doing well with nursing. Cosette right now is mainly cluster feeding and just trying to get the process down. Austin has changed a poopy diaper. He's doing great with her and can I just say? My mommy heart was so proud of how supportive he was for Tasha throughout labor and delivery. He stayed at the hospital every night with her. My kids' dad didn't. And heck, my dad didn't even watch the delivery of us kids. So Austin is definitely a modern, hands on dad which comes in part, I think, from being raised by a mama who taught him at every turn how to be kind and think of others.

I'm sure I left out a lot of stuff and maybe even got things crossed up a bit but... there you have it.... the birth of my first grandchild. She is fearfully and wonderfully made.

Love and hugs, y'all!

Next up....

Oliver Joel... due in July!


MammawsDecorativeArt said...

I was in tears by the time I finished this. Congratulations and welcome to this new place in your life. I hope that you will find this is your happily ever after.

Unknown said...

Congratulations!!!! I am very happy for you. Being a nana is great.

Unknown said...

Congrats! Nothing beats having a grandchild. Many blessings for your sweet Cossette. Your son is very handsome. Great he was there and trying to help.

Unknown said...

Congrats! Nothing beats having a grandchild. Many blessings for your sweet Cossette. Your son is very handsome. Great he was there and trying to help.

Heather said...

Nelishia, I can only say that the phrase "for such a time as this" runs through my mind a lot! Years ago I prayed that God would either give me a significant other or give me peace about not needing one. He has done more than I could ever have imagined and I can't tell you how sincerely I believe that this really is my happily ever after!

Red*Hot@52! said...

Congratulations! I am so happy for you all!