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Welcome Home Vivienne Mi Yeon Johnston!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

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Welcome home Vivienne Mi Yeon Johnston! We welcomed our newest little addition on June 26, 2015 at 3:47pm and cannot believe how blessed we are to have another little girl! She was two days early from her due date, quite different than her older sister who was late by almost a week, and surprised even me! I honestly didn't think she was going to come early and figured she'd arrive on my planned c-section date, which was at 41 weeks. With Cora, I had an unplanned c-section and really wanted to try for a VBAC with Vivienne. I really wanted to experience the whole going-into-labor-on-my-own-thing and not have surgery since my recovery with Cora was quite long and difficult.

Let's start from the day before Vivi was born. I went in for my 39 week OB appointment and got the usual cervical check, but in addition to that, my doctor tried to strip my membranes. She claims that she tried and didn't seem to have any luck, but I think this is what got my labor going. I had also gotten my blood pressure checked before seeing the doctor as with all of my other appointments, but for some reason it read really high. Higher than usual and to the point where they wanted to check my blood pressure after I saw my doctor. And of course it read high again, probably because I was freaking out about the whole thing because I've never had a problem with my blood pressure before, like ever. The doctor was a bit concerned and didn't want to take any chances so she told me to get my butt over to Labor & Delivery at the hospital to have my blood pressure & baby monitored. So, I went and picked up Steve and headed on over to the hospital. I was monitored for about a few hours, including the baby, and was told that all my tests checked out and that I was having really great contraction patterns. The doctor that was monitoring me, Dr. Stitt (love her!), told me that the doctor who had sent me (Dr. Hays, love her and she delivered Vivi) to get monitored said she wouldn't be surprised if I went into labor the next day.

So we went home and just chalked it up as just a crazy day, nothing more than that. Although, it was kind of nice to go back to Labor & Delivery and get a feel for everything before the real thing. In some ways, it kind of eased my mind about giving birth since I was starting to get really nervous and scared (who knows why!). I'll be honest, at this point we still hadn't even chosen her name yet. It was between Vivienne and another name (which will remain a secret since we might use it for a future daughter), but we just kept going back and forth between them. The rest of the day went by and we picked Cora up from daycare, ate dinner, and did our usual chilling on the couch before her bedtime. After she was put to bed, Steve and I just relaxed on the couch watching some T.V. like we normally do in the evenings. Around 9pm, I noticed that my contractions (Braxton Hicks ones or so I thought) were getting stronger and even a tad painful but nothing that made me think, "OMG, I think this baby's coming right now!". So I finished eating a bowl of cherries and a peanut butter cookie and then we went to bed. Around 2:30am, I woke up to use the bathroom and when I hopped back in bed, I realized that my contractions were ridiculously painful and that I actually had to concentrate on breathing whenever they came. I still wasn't sure if this was the "real deal" so I waited for 30 minutes and timed the contractions. When I realized that they were about 1.5minutes long and coming every 5-6 minutes, I had to wake Steve up and let him know that it was really happening. We were going to meet our little girl real soon!

By the time we got to the hospital, it was around 4:30am, and let me tell you, the contractions were getting so painful that I had to brace myself on something and just concentrate on breathing whenever they came. By the time I got into triage, I had dilated 8-9cm (I know, I can't believe it myself!) and a whole herd of nurses came in and orchestrated the quickest prep to get me in a room and get me an epidural. And they did just that. I was probably in our labor & delivery room for only 30-40 minutes before the anesthesiologist came in and relieved me of my pain. Then everything kind of slowed down. I stayed at 9cm dilated for a long time and around 10am, the doctor came in to break my water so that things could get going. Even after my water broke, they wanted to wait until the baby was really way down in my pelvis because they didn't want me to labor for too long since this was a VBAC and with that comes a whole host of risks, especially uterine rupture which they really didn't want to have happen.

Around 12:30pm, I was given the go-ahead to start pushing, and I pushed for almost 2 hours. The nurse we had was amazing, I cannot say enough how amazing and comforting she was. She told us what was going on with every push and didn't sugar coat anything but didn't freak us out either. Towards the end of pushing, she told me that Vivi's head was getting crammed because my pelvic bone just wasn't wide enough (height-wise) for her head to come through. She told me that I was doing a great job of pushing and my contractions were really strong but because of my pelvic bone, she didn't think there was much chance of Vivi coming out vaginally. She also told me that my temperature was up and that Vivi's heart rate was increasing. To hear this was to experience deja vu all over again because this is exactly what happened with Cora's delivery which was via c-section. I was devastated and I think she knew, so she suggested we take a break from pushing and have me sit up for a little bit to use gravity to get Vivi to come down a bit more. After the break, we pushed just a few more times but with really no advancements. In fact, Vivi had gone a little higher up then before and it totally broke my heart to hear that. The nurse then told us that a c-section was inevitable and that the doctor was coming in to talk to us. Dr. Hays came in and told us that we would have to move quickly and get me into surgery right away because the baby's heart rate was really high and they were concerned. Of course at this point I'm freaking out and saying, yes let's get her out so she can be healthy and safe.

A whole string of nurses came in to prep me quickly, and Steve, being the best husband there is, tried his hardest to keep things light-hearted for my sake. He knew how much I wanted a VBAC and how terrified I was of having another c-section. They wheeled us to the surgery room and I just kept saying to myself, "please hurry, please hurry before I have a panic attack." The anesthesiologist was an absolute angel. She was really trying her best to keep me calm and happy, and just to plain distract me from the simple fact that I was about to major abdominal surgery. Within 15 minutes, I could feel my entire body jerk and I knew that Vivienne had come into this world. I was waiting to hear her cry (Cora cried the minute she came out!) but she was so quiet that I couldn't hear her from all of the talking that was going on. But I knew she was okay because Steve kept saying, "she's here! she's here!" and the fact that he could see her was a comfort to me. Then they brought her over to me and I was able to see her and touch her.

There is nothing like seeing your child for the first time. With Cora, it was all so new and frightening that I don't think I really understood the brevity of the situation I was in. But with Vivi, I knew what it meant to see her for the first time and to know how amazing it is to have a child. I told myself that with Vivi, I would savor every moment because I felt like I was shell-shocked the first time around and missed out on just plain enjoying becoming a mom. And so far I've been loving it all. Even the cluster feedings from 10am-3am, it doesn't bother me because I know what a miracle it is to have Vivi in our lives. The doctor had told us in the recovery room that my uterus was so thinned out that when she went to cut my uterus to get Vivi out, she had touched it with her finger first and you know what happened? It ripped. She didn't even have to cut it because it was barely holding together. Had I pushed and labored for a little bit longer, uterine rupture would have been something that we would've had to experience and I have no idea how awful or traumatic that would've been. I thank God every single day since Vivi's delivery of how thankful I am that the doctors and nurses got me in surgery that quickly to get Vivi out because who knows what would've happened. I really believe that when Steve and I decided to stop pushing and just go with the c-section, it was divine intervention that got us there so that we wouldn't have had to experience anything worse than what we did.

It's been a week and four days since Vivi's birth and my recovery has been so different than the last time. It's been going so well, I feel stronger every day and find myself doing more than I did the day before. Like, I've been able to do some laundry yesterday and can go up and down the stairs a few more times than just the once a day they recommend. I know a lot of it has to do with my incredible husband who has taken care of me and our two girls with such love and devotion that it just gets me all teary-eyed typing this up. He's taken on the role of cook, housekeeper, grocery shopper, along with being the best father and husband. Both of our families have been amazingly supportive, bringing meals over, and just spending time with Cora so that I can rest up as much as possible. My mom has also been ridiculously helpful by coming over almost everyday since we've been back home and helping us with Cora and Vivi, but mostly Cora since I'm not as mobile as one should be with a toddler, and bringing food every single time she comes over. Thank you mom for your love and support! I hope that when Cora and Vivi have children, I can be as helpful and loving as my mom has been to me and my now family of four.

I know this was such a long post and I want to thank you all for sticking around to read it all! It's been such a ride this past week and a half and I wouldn't change a single thing. Here are a few family photos we got done by Bella Baby Photography while we were in the hospital. We weren't planning on it, but while we were in the hospital, we were told that Bella Baby Photography would take photos at no charge unless we wanted to purchase photos. We figured why not, especially since we never got newborn photos of Cora. And I can't tell you how glad we are that we got these photos taken. My favorites are the ones of both girls together - such sweet moments captured!

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