It seems apparent that it’s been a long, long time since I updated this blog. It has been. A lot has changed in the last year. We were foster parents. I was pregnant. I had a baby girl. Life… us… everything has changed. I wrote for a little while on a completely separate blog about trying to get pregnant and then for a while throughout my pregnancy. Unfortunately I didn’t make it beyond journaling past the halfway mark of my pregnancy. While I was going through the hurt of trying to get pregnant, I wrote anonymously. I decided that maybe someone might want to look at that for encouragement so I’ve actually decided to “close” that blog and imported everything into this one. SO.. that being said, you can now go back in time and read what pains/struggles/hurts/triumphs/etc. I was feeling.
There’s so much to update you on that I’m just going to start with Everett’s birth. I can’t possibly go back farther than that to really remember things correctly. Being pregnant, even 11 weeks ago, seems like a distant memory. I miss it so terribly much because it felt like such an extreme privilege and pleasure. I think all that sadness built up over time while we tried to get pregnant that when it FINALLY happened, I could feel nothing but pure joy.
Let’s start with February 2nd, though. Or maybe February 1st since that’s when my contractions began. Our next door neighbor, Jax, turned two and there was a big birthday party for him that day. We attended the party. I felt nothing. No signs or symptoms. I sat on the floor and played with our 18 month old foster daughter. Fast forward to that afternoon and we went out to lunch with some of our other neighborhood friends. Again, nothing. No Braxton Hicks contractions. Nothing. In fact, I had a c-section scheduled for February 5th because our doctor thought Baby Blasig was going to have trouble with my potentially small pelvis. I was a little bit mourning the idea of possibly not going into labor on my own. I wanted to feel that rush of telling Dustyn, “OH MY GOSH! I think this is it!”
After dinner, we played with our foster daughter in her Little Tykes car. We took a very, very small walk around the neighborhood. We weren’t gone long, but on that walk…I started to drag. I couldn’t keep up with them. I felt slow. Things in my body seemed shifty, and maybe every now and then I’d have a little contraction, but I really thought it was such a busy day that I was maybe a bit dehydrated. Signal me going home and beginning to guzzle water. I relaxed on the couch, curled up with a book or watched TV (which of those, I can’t remember – maybe both). Around 10:30PM, I told Dustyn I was for sure having contractions. I opened my app on my phone and began keeping track of them. They weren’t nearly close enough to head to the hospital; at that point, they were approximately 30 minutes apart. This is the point where I consciously decided to stop eating and continued to drink water. I knew if I did go into labor and needed a c-section for sure, I would need to not have eaten.
My contractions continued, but we tried to get some rest. Like normal, we went to bed, but I laid in bed until maybe 1am. The contractions were getting closer and closer. I couldn’t sleep. I’m not sure if it was the pain or the excitement. I took a shower to try to relax my body, again still a bit in denial that I was actually going into labor. I sat in bed while Dustyn snored away. (Seriously, the man had no idea that I had yet to sleep or that my contractions were getting closer together. I remember looking at him and thinking, “How can he possibly be sleeping!?”) I woke him up after my shower and we continued to wait things out. By 2:30, my contractions were approximately every 14-15 minutes apart. In a few hours, the time had halved. We decided to call our parents to let them know what was happening; they live approximately an hour to an hour and a half away so we knew they’d want to make their way to Austin quickly. They all arrived sometime around 5:30 or so. When they got to our house, my contractions were 5-6 minutes apart. That’s around the time the nurse had said to head to the hospital when I took my birthing class; Dustyn did call to let them know we were on our way and also asked what to do since I had a c-section scheduled. They told us to check-in like normal so we packed up and headed to the hospital. (This, of course, was after we phoned our neighbor Justin who so graciously gave up his Sunday morning of sleeping in to come to our house to take care of our foster daughter. We didn’t want to disrupt her schedule so she spent Super Bowl Sunday hanging out with Justin and his wife, Katie, once she returned home from an out-of-town trip.)
At the hospital, they confirmed that I was 3 cm dilated and that my contractions were about every 5 minutes apart. They kept me for a while after being checked in to see how I progressed. In an hour I had progressed to a 4. They then had Dustyn and I walk circles around the delivery floor for an hour to keep the contractions progressing. This was like the Hour From Hell. Really one of the most painful that I remember. I would walk and a contraction would hit. I would lean against the wall or squat until the pain passed, then continue walking. The nurses joked with me that I was a “waller.” They said they liked watching how each woman responded to the contractions. I just don’t know what else I could have done. It was so difficult to walk through them!
While we were doing our circles, I told Dustyn that we needed to take my very last bump picture. Though I didn’t blog all of my weekly photos, I did continue taking them. I looked quite a mess – crazy hair, no makeup, and the awesome, awesome hospital gowns. My expression says it all (as you can see above). After walking for the hour, they rechecked me and I had progressed more, my contractions intensifying so much that by the time they got me to my room, I was ready for my epidural. I debated so much whether or not I wanted to try to labor without one and let me simply say that I am so, so glad I decided to do it. (aside from the itching – a side effect of it that was super irritating). They checked me into the room at I-don’t-even-know-what-time. Maybe 10-something? I have no recollection of time. It seemed to pass by so quickly. I’m sure it didn’t feel that way for everyone waiting, but things just moved so fast for me. I suppose that’s good because my body eventually stalled out.
They gave me pitocin to help me continue to labor. My contractions got so close and intense that they hit a threshold where they couldn’t even increase the pitocin anymore. I remember the nurses twisting and turning me in just about every position known to man. (That’s something I suppose I didn’t realize pre-labor. Labor is like a painful version of horizontal yoga.) My right leg was completely numb from the epidural. I had zero control over it so moving into any position felt incredibly difficult. I felt so bare naked and minute by minute was losing any bit of modesty I walked into the hospital with that morning. The nurses had to help me with practically everything. Dustyn was a trooper and made sure I was propped comfortably and became a pro at maneuvering the position of the pillows.
I remember starving. I hadn’t eaten anything since approximately 6pm the evening before (unless I had snacked on something small between that time and 10:30pm) when we went out with our friends. The nurses brought me popsicles (the delicious rainbow Bluebell ones – sweet heaven!). I felt so tired and wanted to sleep so badly, but there was also so much anxiousness. I wanted to be aware of what was happening, to talk with the people who were there waiting with us (my mom, my grandmothers, my sister-in-law, Leslie). Sleep felt so difficult. I think I faded in and out for a while. My awesome Ob/Gyn wasn’t available to deliver our baby (who if I didn’t mention it yet, we did not know the gender of). We had the on-call doctor who pretty much from the beginning tried pushing a c-section. I discussed wanting to try to have her naturally with my nurses who were the best supporters a girl could ask for. They were very much on my team. I had been told that maybe my pelvis was too narrow, but another doctor told me she thought I’d be just fine. No one could say precisely until I was in labor, so we just waited it out.
I got to a delusional point though where my hunger and tiredness began to really affect me. Probably between 9 and 10pm (again, these times are just estimates because I don’t remember exactly) I began throwing up. The doctor was brought back in to check me again and he pretty much told me that our baby’s head was at an angle that wasn’t going to allow me to have her naturally. All the twisting and turning I’d been doing hadn’t made the baby move. At 11pm, the call was made that I would be having a c-section. At that point, all I wanted was to hold my baby.
Very, very quickly, Dustyn was dressed for the operating room and I was whisked away. More drugs were pumped into me. My arms were stretched to my sides. I was so, so, so out of it. This part all feels like a dream. I don’t remember it much at all. The photographs from this time make me cry and the ideas I had of what it would be like to hold my new baby weren’t how it felt at all. I felt very not-in-control of my body. I continued to feel nauseous. No one told me that the surgery was actually beginning. I vaguely remember feeling tugging, but no pain. We knew that she had swallowed meconium in the womb so there was no big “first cry” moment because they wanted to prevent her from swallowing more.
In summary: Everett’s birth happened very, very quickly.
Once she was born, they allowed Dustyn to peek his head over the curtain to announce the gender. The doctor was a little bit of a jerk because he gave Dustyn a hard time not begin able to see properly thanks to the umbilical cord, therefore making it difficult to say if we had a baby girl or boy. So the doctor announced it for us and made a bad joke about Dustyn. (Grr.) I was 99% sure we were having a boy. I am positive I’d even began to think of the baby as our chosen baby boy’s name. I was shocked, SHOCKED, SHOCKED when they announced girl. They whisked her away to take care of the meconium, clean her up, and weigh her. Dustyn brought her over to me as I was being stitched up and I tried so, so hard to hold her. I had zero control of my arms. The angle was awkward. It wasn’t that amazing moment I dreamed of, holding my baby girl for the first time. I cried. I cried because I was so excited. Because we had a daughter. I cried because I wasn’t in control over my body. Even because I was exhausted – emotionally and physically. The drugs were completely knocking me out. All I could think of was sleep, beyond the fact that my daughter was healthy and safely delivered.
I did ask that instead of her being taken to the nursery that she be transported to the delivery room with me. Due to the hour, nearly midnight, this made it impossible for our families to see her that night. Dustyn was able to go to the waiting room to announce her arrival, but everyone had to end up going back to our house because I needed to recover for an hour, attempt to nurse her, and then Everett’s blood sugar level continued to dip below the number they wanted it to be at. I tried breastfeeding her in the recovery room, but again, it felt like an out-of-body experience. I couldn’t hold her well because my arms were jello. I kept slipping into a light slumber and didn’t even feel it was safe for me to be holding her. When they told us skin-to-skin time was needed to help improve her blood sugar level, I asked Dustyn to do it because I just had no control over my body. She was so adorably tucked into his t-shirt where they sat for a while. And I slept. We weren’t actually wheeled to our room until approximately 4am. Maybe 5.
The nurses took Everett to the nursery after we arrived to give Dustyn and I a little bit of time to sleep. We were back up by 8am, anxious to see our baby girl, and ready for our parents and foster daughter to visit so they could meet our sweet baby girl.
We are so incredibly excited to be parents to this little girl. Nearly every day it catches me off guard that she’s ours. I think a little bit of my mindset needs to be altered because as we were foster parents for a year, I continually thought about her returning home and being reunited with her bio family. I remember one day, maybe in week two of being home with Everett, turning to Dustyn and tearfully telling him that no one was going to take this baby girl from us. There would be no worry that she would leave us. That was a huge revelation for me because it opened my eyes to the incredible amount of anxiety I’d felt for a year as I fell in love with and bonded incredibly with a little girl who did return to her family.
But that’s a whole ‘nother story. I suppose this is as good as any stopping point to introduce you to our baby girl, Everett Hayes Blasig.
Everett Hayes Blasig
Date of Birth: February 2, 2014
Weight: 7lbs., 9oz.
Notes: We were so, so shocked to have a daughter. Also, she was born with hair. A head full of it!