The Ellapalooza Birth Story

On August 22nd, exactly one week and three days ago, at exactly 10:30am, Ella was born. Her birth followed a sleepless night had by her parents, a party of 19 relatives in my labor and delivery "holding cell" that closely resembled an event along the lines of OzFest or Lollapalooza (minus the mosh pits), and possibly the weirdest physical experience I've ever had in my 30 years.

Once we arrived at the hospital (and by "we" I mean my mom, #4, who, incidentally, behaved himself for the entire day and took some pretty nice photos, Rich, and of course, me), I was directed to my cubicle, instructed to disrobe, and stuck with an IV. I climbed into my bed on wheels, and then proceeded to lay there in all my unadorned finery (hospital gown, no makeup, nada) as my relatives and a few of Rich's relatives streamed in. There was coffee in hand by most (none for me, of course). There was banana bread baked fresh that morning by my great aunt being passed around. And I felt like the stuffed Thanksgiving turkey that all gathered around to see. It was seriously a mob scene in there. What the nurses must have thought, I have no idea.

As the minutes ticked by until 9:30, the time I was scheduled for delivery, all eyes were on the clock, because Aunt Karrie was due to arrive at any moment, and she really wanted to see me before I was taken into the OR. Karrie hadn't seen me pregnant. Well, she actually did at my surprise 30th birthday party in March, when I was 18 weeks, but I was hardly showing then. She desperately wanted to see the ginormous Beastie belly in all its glory. And then she arrived.

And see me she did.

Aunt Karrie was clearly horrified.

Shortly afterward, I said goodbye to the masses, and they wheeled me into the OR, minus Rich, who would join me once the epidural was in. The OR was freezing. There were about 10 doctors and nurses in the room. All for me! Dr. C, the OB doing my c-section came in, and instructed me to lean into her, and arch my back so I could receive the epidural. She tried to distract me by asking me of the names we had picked out. She also inquired as to the mob out in the hall. "Italian family, right?" she asked. "My family is exactly the same way. You can't ever do anything alone. Including giving birth." How right she was.

So, the epidural. It actually wasn't too bad. It felt like a really bad bee sting. And then...nothing. My feet started getting numb. Some nurses immediately moved my legs back onto the table I was sitting on the edge of. And I could feel the numbness moving from my feet up my body. And then things started to move. Up went the tarp in front of my face so I couldn't see my inards laid out on the table below me. My arms were extended to my sides, blood pressure cuff and heart rate monitor on one, IV in the other. And I could sense that something was going on down below. But no one was speaking to me to tell me what was going on.

Then, Rich arrived, suited head to toe in a blue gown and a mask. He told me that the incision was already made. He kept up a steady stream of meaningless conversation with me, the content of which I can't remember, in order to distract me. I felt pulling and tugging. Then yanking. Dr. C then tells me, "Okay Kristi, you're going to feel some pressure." And Oh. My. God, was that the understatement of the year. It felt as if someone took their two fists, leaned over my body, and pressed as hard as they could on my upper belly. It literally took my breath away.

But a few minutes later, Dr. C was telling me to look up, over the tarp. She said, "It's an Isabella!!" and I saw my daughter's dark, blueish body flailing around at the top of the blue tarp. She was screaming bloody murder.

And Beastie was a Beastie no more.

The rest of that day was a blur. They stapled me up. I was wheeled back to my "holding cell" while my room was prepared, and two by two, my relatives came to visit and meet Isabella. Recovering from the c-section in the days that followed in the hospital really wasn't as bad as I imagined. Percocet and I became intimately acquainted (can you believe it's my hospital's policy not to give mothers pain medication on a regular schedule. Instead, you have to ask for it. Um, hello? I was just cut open and had a baby ripped from my belly. And you don't want to medicate me?) I had one horrible day when I was in excrutiating pain from trapped gas caused my the surgery. The onset unfortunately coincided with Marie's visit. She saw me at my absolute worst, and let me just say, it wasn't pretty. After several hours of massive pain, I received another pain medication, on top of the two I had already taken. That resulted in me booting into the basin that was supposed to be Isabella's take-home bathtub. Whoops. Later on, I took an agonizing three-lap tour around my floor's unit, and mercifully the gas...passed around 1am. Oh sweet mother of God, was that a relief.

We came home one week ago today. Took Ella to her pediatrician on Monday of this week (is it a bad sign that I keep refering to her pediatrician as "the vet"?) where she was declared "perfect." She even gained back all her birth weight. We took her home at 6 pounds, 3 ounces, and she was 6 pounds, 11 ounces at her doctor's visit.

She's a good baby, really. Which is what most new mothers would tell you about their offspring, I would imagine. But she really doesn't cry unless she needs something. Which is mainly the boob or a clean diaper. I'm exhausted, but I expected to be. Motherhood, especially when you have a newborn, is a 24/7 job. I'm averaging about 4-5 hours of sleep a night, which is certain to be more like 3-4 once my mom goes home, since she's been getting up with me at night to burp, diaper, and re-swaddle the little girl, while I go back to bed. And I'm learning to nap, something I absolutely couldn't do before she was born. This new life of mine has taken some getting used to. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

So this doctor I'm going to... she's going to want to see me naked, isn't she? Because I am so not cool with that.

*As a side note, it has taken me three days to complete this post. I would write a paragraph, and then fall asleep. Write another, and have to feed Ella. Start to write it again, and my mom, who knows not of this blog (for obvious, #4-related reasons), would come into the room and ask me why I was "playing" on my computer again. I never thought my life would be as radically different from the one I had not two weeks ago. But that's a topic for another post.

I so miss reading all your blogs. Mamacita leaves on Sunday, and so next week I hope to establish a regular routine with Ella, which will allow me more time to blog. I figure my cats can learn to change a few diapers and keep the babe entertained while I'm busy on my laptop, right?

Oh, and one more thing! I received a the August Perfect Post award courtesy of Practigal. She nominated my last two posts. I'm so honored. Thank you, Marie!

A Perfect Post


17 Responses to “The Ellapalooza Birth Story”

  1. # Blogger l

    Your posts have really been lifting my spirits lately. I'm so glad to be able to share this with you through blogging. It sounds like there was a big ole party in the holding cell...fresh baked banana bread, coffee. I bet they had quiche, too.

    Isn't it amazing what pain gas can cause? Yikes. I actually took Beano regularly for a while because I was so gasified. Until I read the packaging and learned that it's made from fungus and isn't proven by the FDA.

    Congratulations to you and Rich, again, Kristi. You guys made a beautiful Beastie, er, Isabeastie. No! I mean Ella!  

  2. # Blogger Marie

    I'm envisioning them all gathered around your hugeness with the fresh baked banana bread -- how cute is that!?

    It was 6 days before we had family in town to visit & help us after our little one's arrival (I'm obviously not Italian!), and I've just gotta say I'm loving your family more & more!!

    Hooray for Ella's 1st checkup! Chris calls our pediatrician the "vet" too, and it always makes my eyes roll. Yeah, it's only one syllable, but still. ;-)

    Who's coming to stay with you now? Seriously, get someone over there. We had family rotating in for the first month, post-surgery, and it was a GODSEND! Really. They'll do your laundry, make meals, help with the babe...  

  3. # Blogger M

    I've been so eagerly waiting for this post! :) So, the c-section doesnt' sound THAT bad....was it??? (For my sake, just say no)
    Isabella is so darn cute! I'm so happy for you. Maybe someday Madelyn and Isabella will meet?  

  4. # Blogger HoosierGirl5

    Congratulations!
    I haven't stopped by here in awhile, so you went from being pregnant to being a mama for over a week!
    The baby looks beautiful!
    Good luck~  

  5. # Blogger sher

    Well, reading your post has been the high point of my day. It was great! I kept giving off big belly laughs as I read it.

    I hate gas pain--it's horrible. And your hospital is medieval--making you ask for pain killers :):) Your family sounds great, mine would never gather at the hospital like that. (Poor me.)

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write that for us. Ella is so beautiful. She has the most expressive eyes and brow. Take LOTS of naps. I look forward to the next post!!  

  6. # Blogger Christine

    Oh you and your family make me so happy. Happy Saturday!  

  7. # Blogger 3wishes

    Congratulations and Welcome to the World Ella :) Kristie your blog is awesome, thanks for sharing your journey! You deserved a huge baby shower at work, maybe you will have another chance, say in a couple of years??? :) Heres to motherhood. That was the clinking of crystal punch glasses filled with Lime Sherbert/Sprite/Ginger Ale punch. Hope you like it :) Virtual parties.......hmmm Again, Congrats!!!!  

  8. # Blogger Shannon

    That photo of Karrie is PRICELESS!!

    I'm so glad you're back to blogging, even if it means taking days to complete one sentence. Ella is such a beautiful kidlet! I love the curve of her mouth.  

  9. # Blogger kenju

    I haven't been clicking on because I thought you be too tired or busy to post. I was pleasantly surprised to see this one - and it is great to read about the birth. I am sure your large family gathering made news in the hospital! Isabella is beautiful, and will continue to get more so, I'll bet. Keep us supplied with photos, okay?  

  10. # Blogger Christy

    She's so gorgeous!! I hope you continue to get lots of sleep. And I'm so impressed you are still keeping us informed on whats going on too.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story and pictures with us (well I'm a lurker usually). Its been fantastic, and yes calling a pediatrician the vet..thats just funny!!!  

  11. # Blogger Lisanne

    Hi there! :) I came over to your site from Shokufeh's blog. Congratulations on your beautiful new little girl! We're due in October with our second, also a girl! :) She's gorgeous. Best wishes!  

  12. # Blogger sunShine

    She is just beautiful. I am glad that your birth experience wasn't a horrific one. Take advantage of the naps and the people that offer to help. Call them up and tell them they can come and do laundry and cook for you. If I was closer I would come and cook for you. Most importantly enjoy this time with Ella, it goes by so fast.  

  13. # Blogger Kross-Eyed Kitty

    I think that this is a Perfect Post too!
    I loved Karrie's reaction! Too funny!
    And Isabella is really a beauty. I had to laugh how you keep calling the pediatrician The Vet! LOL...
    Take care of yourself, and rest up when you can.  

  14. # Blogger Binulatti

    Great post, Shish. And having had only the perspective of the waiting room, it's really interesting to learn what was going on 'behind the scenes'.

    (and for the record, I wasn't *horrified*...more like very very surprised. In the most loving way possible, of course)  

  15. # Blogger annelynn

    Thank you for the update! Such a great story... such a great mom you are! And (again with the such, but so true) - such a lovely baby you have.

    I knew you'd have less time for writing after The Arrival, so I very much appreciate your words now.  

  16. # Blogger Kristi

    L-Awww... thanks. I'm glad. And that's seriously scary and gross about Beano. Who knew?

    Marie-Oh I have family here all right. Almost too often, though. Which is a topic for another post!

    M-Nope. Definitely not bad at all. Much less painful than I thought it would be. And it would be so neat if Isabella and Madelyn could meet one day. We're not that far apart, right?

    Hoosiergirl-Thank you!

    Sher-I'm trying to take naps. Most of the time, though, I can't put my mind to rest. And when I want to sleep, she doesn't, of course!

    Christine-Hee-hee. They're a trip alright.

    3wishes-Thanks for stopping by. I'm looking forward to the day when I can toast Ella with some champagne!

    Shannon-Isn't it? And regardless of what she says, she was horrified.

    Kenju-It was definitely very cool to have so many relatives there. I'm lucky to have the family I have.

    Christy-Thank you. I wish I could post more. I miss it!

    Lisanne-Thanks for visiting my blog! And congrats on your girl.

    Sunshine-Awww, thanks. You're sweet. I have a very supportive family, luckily, who are making me more food than I can fit in my fridge!

    Ramona-Vet. Pediatrician. They're essentially the same, right? ;)

    Karrie-You were horrified. Admit it.

    Annelyn-Thanks! I wish I could post more often!  

  17. # Blogger Suzanne

    I love reading this blog backwards! She's too freaking cute : )

    My son#2 was born on Aug 22nd in 2004, also by a c-section. His was only halfway planned. Bodhi was breech. The OB tried to turn him but no go. Then they told me the one OB I DIDN'T want (out of 7 drs, she was the only one who could do it) was going to be the one performing my c-section. I had a temper tantrum ("I don't even want to do this, and now I can't even have the doctor I want??") and canceled the scheduled c-section (against the nurse's advice.) Didn't matter because I went into labor 2 weeks early (turns out trying to turn him started things going), and Bodhi had to be delivered by emergency c-section (they knocked me out) because by the time the doc (the doc I didn't want, imagine that) came to check on me, I was ready to push.

    Ah, good times...  

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