Thursday, November 21, 2013

Welcome Sweet Baby, Max!

(This was a c-section, so pictures may be a bit graphic.)

Welcome Maxime "Max" Matisse Saylor to this crazy world! (Yep, we went all Frenchie this time around...and if he gets teased because of his name - it only builds character later on in life.) The jungle as we like to call it at our house! Seriously, it is a total jungle...with animals and all...and these animals are vicious at times. We know it is a matter of time before Max becomes an animal as well. Right now, he is just a sweet, little sweet, love myself a newborn baby! And, I am back to blogging (sadly, I still have so many posts from this summer and fall that I want to get done...luckily, I have an amazing memory so I won't forget anything and will eventually blog about it all...wait, what did I have for breakfast?!?)...blogging every week seems super overwhelming, but the thought of not doing the blog for my fourth baby puts me into this "mommy guilt" spiral that I am sure I would need years of therapy to get out, back to weekly blogging I go. However, I give myself grace - and Max's birth story will be the week one post because we spent most of his first week in hospital anyway. Ok, baby boy...let's begin the story of your first year!


Obviously, this pregnancy was a big surprise...and it kept us on our toes the entire pregnancy. Honestly, I have easy pregnancies - I am normally sick as a dog for much longer than "normal"...sometimes even up through thirty-six weeks...oh joy. It was such a blessing this time around to barely get sick at all - it was actually amazing since we were in a very CRAZY season of life. We found out at nineteen weeks that I had a "low lying placenta" - seemed harmless enough. The next week my midwife said it was a full placenta previa - she explained it was an extremely low placenta and she was surprised I wasn't bleeding at all, but all was good - no issues. I would tell people I had been diagnosed with placenta previa and lots of people told them they had been as well - don't worry about it because it will move...actually, it does move the majority of the time...more than 90% of the time. I felt pretty good it would move and all would be normal...and I had no symptoms at all. Well, fast forward...and this placenta is super stubborn and isn't moving, and when it did move a little, the main vessels of the placenta moved to the, not good. We made the final decision at thirty-six weeks that we would have a c-section at thirty-seven weeks. With placenta previa, you have to deliver early since going into labor can be life threatening for Mama and baby. I would go into each appointment thinking, "do I really have this?" since I had no issues - but every ultrasound would confirm it...yes, I had it. I felt this same way when Hugh had dysphasia - I would always think, "does he really have this?" (since he had no issues...except he didn't want to drink)...but every X-ray would confirm that yes, he did have it. I realized that God heard the prayers of many faithful saints who were praying for us constantly - so, we praise God that I had no bleeding and no bed rest. In hindsight, this was a very uneventful pregnancy - praise God!

As many of you know, I am more of a crunchy Mama when it comes to birthing my babies - I like to deliver my babies with no meds and not in hospitals. So, a c-section was so far from my vision of a perfect birth...however, what is most important to me is healthy baby, healthy mama. I knew a c-section was my only option, so I embraced it and surprisingly, did very little "Google" on it...which is SO unlike me. The good news about the c-section...we could close up the shop...the baby shop. I had only one tube to remove since I lost my other tube in an ectopic pregnancy years, it made for an easy decision. So, no - we won't be trying for the girl...God blessed us with four boys...this Mama's heart is full...of lots of boys. And honestly, after this pregnancy - we are regrets (however, I can get emotional at times holding Max being reminded that he is my very last baby...ugh, my hormones are a total mess). We checked into the hospital on Thursday, November 14th for the c-section (I'll be honest - it was a little surreal knowing the day we would have this baby...remember I am a crunchy inductions for me). We get to the L&D floor and find out it is "Bring Your Child to Work" day in Switzerland...hmmm. It is not like I am taking my car to be serviced - I am going to be all my girly parts exposed and I am meeting a bunch of ten year-old boys who only speak French...hmmm. So, you just embrace it - chalk it up to the "ex-pat" experience. We get checked in and we wait for our surgery time (which they have explained may get bumped if an emergency comes in).  I was a bit anxious during this waiting - just the fear of the unknown and the fear of the unknown in a foreign language. We are told it is time for my surgery and they wheel me back - Jake goes another way to get suited up for surgery as well (don't worry - he took a selfie so all can see him in scrubs...nice job on the selfie, Jake).

I am given my epidural which was a little odd - trying to figure out how to get my back in a rolled position with a big belly - not the easiest task. (For those of you wondering, most of the doctors speak great English...however, the anesthesiologists all seem a little on the young side and their English is the most lacking (in my opinion)...this is surprising since this is such a specialty in the US). I was very thankful for my nurse anesthetist - she was fantastic and helped me through the surgery. One of chief surgeons came in during the epidural to talk me through it since my anesthesiologist wasn't really comfortable speaking English. She was great as well and I was very thankful for her. (I know I need to learn the language here - but I have only been here for four months and have many young children...makes learning a language difficult. I am thankful that English is a language that unites the world and most professionals know it. I also have a lot more compassion for people who don't speak the language of the countries they are living in and have to have medical procedures is scary.)

 Overall, the surgery went really well - I had more issues with the anesthesia than the surgery (passing out, severe body tremors, and dry heaving was not on my perfect birth plan). My doctor was great and made the decision to cut me low on the skin, but cut the uterus higher to lessen the risk of blood loss - it would be a bit of a guessing game, but was the best shot for a less bloody surgery. (You see, at almost every appointment and every one we spoke with - they reminded me that they had blood for me in case I needed it...that was so comforting to hear all the time...wait, not really.) I didn't feel anything in the surgery except a lot of tugging - and Jake got sucked into the train wreck (along with the ten year-old boy) and couldn't turn away...and he got some pictures so I got to see insides as well...just what I had always dreamed. Max was ripped out of me at 11:59am on Thursday, November 14th...weighing in at 2.83kg and 48cm (yes, we live in a metric world now), for all you Americans - it is just shy of 6lbs 4oz and 19in.  - our littlest baby, but could have been our biggest boy if he had gone full term. Jake and Max left and they started to finish up my surgery - they came back briefly so I could see Max and they laid him on my face (hmmm...guessing that is a normal c-section thing)...then they left and I was alone...with my insides open where everyone around me was speaking French.


Again, another surreal experience - being awake during surgery, but not knowing the language of the people who are operating on you...chalk it up to the "ex-pat" experience. The surgery went very well and my doctor didn't have to cut through the placenta, which was amazing since I had an anterior positioned placenta (the baby was behind the placenta...yep, another thing that isn't very common...lucky me) - his cut was perfect on the uterus...just millimeters above the placenta. I asked him (once I was recovering) if the c-section was actually needed (placenta previa can move in the last days of pregnancy)...I needed to know that this c-section wasn't in vain...he said I was back to a complete placenta previa (very rare...less than 1% of pregnancies are a complete placenta previa at birth...lucky, lucky me) and we made the right decision...shoot, the only decision (at times, I am very thankful for modern medicine - these ultrasounds saved my life and the life of Max - praising God for His mercy and grace).

After my surgery, I went to the ICU to recover (that is how they roll here)...and I didn't get to see Max for three plus hours (I am fairly certain in the states that you recover with your baby, but not here...that was a little sad...and incredibly lonely...however, they do bring you a picture of the baby and Daddy...not quite the same, but better than nothing). I can say with certainty that I have no regrets never getting an epidural (honestly, I am not sure if I had an epidural or a spinal block) with my first three babies (and I am not starting a birthing battle - each to their own...epidural, no epidural...who cares).

I, personally, hated not being able to feel my legs (like no feeling whatsoever) - what a freaky experience...and I had the moment of "what if they jacked up the epidural and I am paralyzed forever"...yes, totally irrational...but totally freaked me out. After three plus hours, I got feeling back into my legs and could go back to Jake and Max (so, no worries - I am not paralyzed). And that my friends, is the birth story for different than my previous three births, but God's perfect story for this sweet boy.

Obviously, my recovery is very different this time around - I stayed in the hospital for four days (the Swiss don't boot out the mothers - I could have stayed ten days (shoot me) and regular births can stay up to five days) and I have a fair amount of pain. The care was great - like the rest of the world (excluding the US)...the L&D floor is run by midwives (OBs perform surgery and are not part of normal deliveries).  They spoke the best English they could - their English was much better than my French. Husbands don't stay in the hospital normally, so Jake didn't stay with me - that was a first for us and that was sad.  I felt bad for Jake and he felt the need to be in so many places at once. 

Pretty much everyone we met was horrified by the thought of four boys age five and under...this didn't surprise us (once I actually post about life in Switzerland, you'll understand that this is EVERYONE'S response to four boys age five and under). The food was much better than the states - you don't have as many options, but the food doesn't taste like it was mass produced. However, the food is, one night (before I picked my meals), they brought out a huge white sausage (very common Swiss meal)...make me barf...I still shudder at the thought of it. I was thankful to have a private room - that is not a given here (normally it happens, but not a guarantee)...but the thought of having to share a room after a c-section with someone who didn't speak English would have put me over the edge. The nurses were SUPER intense about making sure Max stayed warm - like dressing him in a onesie, a sweater, a thick sleeper, and then a quilted sleep sack.  I would start sweating just looking at him.  They were much cleaner than in the US with people coming in constantly to clean the room and bathroom...and they forced me to take showers. I am sure I took more showers at the hospital than I did for the prior two weeks at home (no joke). Overall, the hospital experience was fine...obviously, it was very different, but good different...chalk it up to the "ex-pat" experience...and Jake thoroughly enjoyed all the boobie pictures over every inch of the halls (they really push breast feeding here and one way is by adorning the walls with pictures of breast feeding mamas).

I miss being able to just feel like myself (as much as you can after you have a new baby and get no sleep)...I hate being totally useless in my own house. My mom is a saint for being here to help - she will have spent a quarter of 2013 in Switzerland once she leaves. I am sure she won't be back for a LONG time. I am hopeful I'll start to feel better soon. Max is a sweet baby - I don't think he has really woken up yet though and I am not fooling myself thinking this is his temperament quite yet. And my breast feeding woes...maybe this will be a child that I don't have any and I don't whine about it (blah, blah, blah)...we'll see. So far, so good (except for all the common boobie issues that come along with feeding a shark)...except he is a super lazy eater and just likes to sleep. So, we tend to sit for a bit of time feeding. He is super cute and I love him to pieces - we cannot get enough of him and neither can his brothers...lots of love for little Max. He seems to be adjusting well to the chaos - the constant screaming and touching from his brothers (if I was him, I would already be plotting ways in my head to torture my brothers at a later date...his big brothers have not quite realized how incredibly annoying it is to be constantly touched while trying to sleep - of course he is going to open his eyes when you touch him eight thousand times!!!). Jake is having to really adjust this time around. Normally, Jake would be sleeping in the guest room since I keep baby in the room with me (let's be the bed with me)...but that would mean he would be sleeping with my mom and that would be super weird. So, he is adjusting to sleeping with all the little baby noises. And, I have never woken Jake up in the night to help me (Jake definitely gets up with our boys...but not newborn boys...I never saw the point in it since he couldn't really help (he doesn't breast least not that I am aware of) and I saw no point in having two exhausted parents...Jake pays his dues once the boys get older and oh, boy does he pay his dues), this time around I am waking up Jake - I need the help since I am still in pain. He is great about it - and if anyone loves their sleep, it is Jake. And, Max cannot get moved to his room...Sammy still sleeps in there. So, we are closing our baby chapter by spicing it up all over the place. And, why not? We did move halfway across the world...right?!?  We aren't doing much since I can't do much, but Max did already have his first shower...we aren't worrying about the umbilical cord thingy falling off this time first...the Swiss are more laid is to being laid back (Jake, did you read that?).

So, here is to my last little very last little baby (no tears). I want to enjoy it all...the sleepless nights, the breast feeding woes, the stretch marks, the nasty scar, the crazy hormones, the relentless sweating, the weight to lose, eating like a teenage boy, the needy cries, the sweet cuddles, the tiny fingers and toes, the sweet little nose, the kissable lips, the sleep smiles...and the list goes on. I know in my moments of weakness that I won't enjoy every moment...especially all my body issues, but I pray that I do cherish this sweet boy because children truly are a blessing from the Lord. Here is to fifty-two weeks my sweet boy...the crazy, the chaos...the life you'll come to know! Bring it!

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