Monday, December 24, 2012


Evan took Blake to see Santa at Macy's. And waited in line for 3 hours. He's a good dad.

Blake told me all about it when he got home:

Blake: I saw Santa!
Me: You did?! What did you tell him?
Blake: I tell him I want presents and he say yes! It was a real Santa!

Blake's enthusiasm reminds me of this little gem:

Friday, December 21, 2012

Delivered Part 3: The Ugly

Trevor spent Tuesday night in the nursery and I was able to get some decent sleep. I woke up Wednesday morning feeling pretty good. No headache. No neck ache. I knew a hot shower would feel really nice so I took one before the nurse brought Trevor to me. Wednesday passed quickly without much incident and I was excited to be going home the next day.

I felt bad that Trevor had spent so much time in the nursery so I decided to keep him with me that night. Around 1am he became inconsolable and I felt a dull headache coming on. I told myself that I was just tired and if I could get some sleep it would go away. I sent Trevor to the nursery once I calmed him down and tried to sleep. The only complaint I had about my roommate was that she liked to keep her light on all night and for some reason that night the light coming from her side of the room was making it impossible to sleep.

I woke up Thursday morning with the same dull headache. I tried not to panic thinking that the spinal headache had returned. I slowly sat up and the blinding pain returned. I texted Evan and told him it was back and that I needed him to get to the hospital as soon as possible because there was no way I could get all of my things together, Trevor ready, and be discharged without his help. Evan scrambled to get Blake ready and dropped him off early with Lindsay and made it to the hospital to find me laying in bed, a mess of tears.

Besides being upset that my headache had returned, I was terrified they were going to make me stay at the hospital. The on-call anesthesiologist came to see me and told me what my options were: 1) Another blood patch- This would be my third blood patch (I had a preventative blood patch while still on the operating table, then another one once the headache started) or 2) Lay flat and let it heal on its own, which could take a week.

I didn't really like either one of my options, but I decided to let the puncture heal on its own. After 2 failed blood patches I didn't want to risk being poked again and creating another hole in the membrane surrounding my spinal cord. I really needed my body to heal on its own so this headache would go away once and for all.

After coming to terms with the fact that I'd be leaving the hospital in a lot of pain, my focus turned to how I was going to manage being upright for at least ten minutes as we walked out of the hospital and waited for our ride home. The pain was so horrific when I had to sit or stand up, but I was willing to do whatever it took to get out of there.

One of the charge nurses came to check on me and said I should stay if I was in a lot of pain. I thanked her for being so helpful to me but told her that I absolutely could not stay at the hospital. I really just needed to be home.

My nurse came and had me sign a few forms and gave me a few instructions on taking care of myself and then we were free to go. Evan gathered all of my belongings, dressed Trevor, got him in the car seat, helped me out of bed and we headed out of the hospital room. Once I made it into the hallway the pain was terrible. I stopped by the front desk to turn in the necessary forms and walked as fast as I could to the elevator. I couldn't hold back the tears and didn't care who saw me crying. We finally made it outside and waited for our ride. At that point being vertical was too much to bear so I laid down. Outside. On a raised part of the sidewalk. I didn't care who saw me as long as no one rushed out and told me I needed to be readmitted to the hospital.

The Ugly

Melanie was giving us a ride and I'm actually grateful to her for taking some pictures. The corpse-like look I'm sporting here perfectly captures how I was feeling: like I was going to die. I tried to stay as flat as possible during the car ride home and the conversation was a welcome distraction from the pain.

We pulled up in front of our building and Evan helped me out of the car and into our apartment. I laid on the couch while he went back out to get Trevor and I just let all the tears I had been holding back for 3 days come gushing out. Even though having a roommate wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be (mostly because we complained to each other about how awful the nurse techs were and laughed about how pushy the hospital photographer was), I felt I had to keep my emotions somewhat in check because no one wants to be the woman who just had a baby and can't stop crying. So I just let everything come out. I was out of the hospital and couldn't be more grateful.

I wondered for a second as I laid on the couch whether I had made the right decision to leave the hospital. What if my headache didn't go away and I had to go back for another blood patch? It became very clear as soon as Evan returned from picking Blake up that he was going to be the best nurse I had ever had. And as stressful as it was for him to have to care for 3 human beings, he was up to the challenge. Being in the hospital was frustrating and stressful for me, but I gather that Evan was just as frustrated and stressed because he couldn't be there to help me. And I'm sure my frantic texts and weepy phone calls didn't help.

By Saturday afternoon I was taking prescription strength Motrin and popping caffeine pills every 3 hours to control the spinal headache. And it worked! My headache was gone by Sunday and I could finally live life like a normal human being.

I had survived pregnancy and giving birth in Brooklyn. None of it was easy and I will never do it again here. Ever. But having such a sweet baby like Trevor helps me look forward to our future as a family.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Worst Fear: Confirmed

Before Trevor was born I had one big fear: I was afraid Blake would start to feel less loved and cared about because of the time and attention a newborn requires.

Maybe it was inevitable. I don't know how to split my time between 2 little boys and it's becoming obvious.

When we first brought Trevor home, Blake was excited and curious. We made sure to help him understand how important being a good big brother is. And with Evan home from work and my mom and sister in town for a week to help out, Blake always had someone paying attention to him. But settling into real life when it's just me at home is bringing out the monster in me AND the sneaky/rude/angry little 2 year old who likes to provoke the monster, in Blake.

Tuesday was an especially hard day. I was exhausted from being up with Trevor in the night and had zero patience for Blake as soon as he was up for the day. And as the morning progressed and both boys needed more and more of my attention, I just got angrier and angrier. Lots of time outs and a few spankings later and I was ready to run away from this new life as a mom of two.

Wednesday was a little better. I was able to control my anger and did my best to stay calm when Blake threw a tantrum instead of flying off the handle like I had all day Tuesday. We went to a friend's house for a play date and while I was excited for Blake to be able to get out of the house and play with other kids, I didn't recognize the aggressive little boy who was pushing kids and angrily yelling at people. I felt like he was imitating my angry yelling.

Evan put Blake to bed that night and recounted a conversation he had with Blake. "Daddy, do you love me?" This isn't the first time Blake has asked this question. On a few occasions since Trevor was born, Blake has asked me, "Mommy, you don't love me?" or "Mommy, you don't like me?". He never asked that question before Trevor was born. My fear of Blake feeling unloved has been confirmed.

I knew life was going to be rough for a little while. And while everyone in our family is experiencing the struggles that sometimes come with big changes, I feel like Blake is feeling it the most.

After the nightmare that Tuesday was, I've started reviewing each day to look for what went well and what I will do better the next day. I can't go back and change the Tuesdays of each week where I've turned into someone I don't recognize. But I can make sure the next day is a little better so eventually both boys will get the love and attention they need and less of the anger and contention that takes over more frequently than I'd like to admit.

This motherhood stuff is hard.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lost in NYC


Probably my favorite place to grab a quick bite to eat. Unfortunately for my taste buds (but fortunately for my bank account and waistline) there is not a Wendy's within walking distance of where I live. So when I find out I'm going to be near a Wendy's, I arrange my outing to include a meal there.

Prior to heading to Ikea with my sister, I searched online to see if I could find a Wendy's nearby. There wasn't one super close, but I got directions to one and felt confident we could find it. We finished at Ikea and jumped in the car, ready for some of those delicious fries.

One missed turn later and we were heading over the Brooklyn Bridge. Into Manhattan. 1 woman who lives here but has never driven in the city, and 1 woman who is visiting from out of town. Lost in NYC.

As we drove across the bridge I grabbed my sister's phone and starting snapping pictures. As much as I was freaking out, I knew I needed to document this little mistake because I was never going to cross the Brooklyn Bridge in a car again unless it was in a taxi or a car service. Tori didn't really understand that we were heading into lower Manhattan until we got off the bridge and straight ahead was the Freedom Tower.

The GPS we were using couldn't recalculate fast enough to help us get back over the bridge. And when it started telling us to turn onto streets that we weren't coming upon, we really started to freak out. At one point I figured we'd have to park the car somewhere, abandon it, and find the nearest train station to get back home.

Finally the annoyingly calm GPS voice told us to turn onto a street we were actually coming up on and we found a sign that helped us get to the bridge. I breathed a big sigh of relief as we drove back into Brooklyn. A few more wrong turns and 1 abandoned mission to Wendy's later, we finally made it home.

Peanut butter and jelly never tasted so good.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Delivered Part 2: The Bad

Terms that will help you understand this post a little better (not that you don't know what these are, just a clearer explanation of the roles they played in my hospital stay)
Nurse: A registered nurse who was assigned to take care of me and Trevor (and a whole lot of other patients).
Nurse Tech: may help patients eat and bathe, observe them and record their vitals. Duties may also include preparing rooms, sterilizing equipment and escorting patients to examining rooms or to surgery. AKA the absolute worst part of the being in the hospital due to their bad attitudes, unfriendly demeanor, and apparent lack of social skills.
Charge nurse: Angels sent from heaven to advocate for me when I couldn't help myself. 

I woke up early Tuesday morning (because nurses don't believe in letting you sleep until at least 7) feeling overall rather crappy and with pain in my neck. I knew I wasn't going to be feeling great so soon after a c-section. And I was kind of dreading what Tuesday was going to bring: the "get out of bed and try to move around even though you've just been sliced open" time.

I remember it well with Blake, for two reasons. When I had Blake two nurses came to my room the morning after I had him and asked if I had been out of bed. When I said no, they told me I needed to get up at once and try to use the bathroom. Flanked on either side by a nurse, I was told to stand up as straight as I could and experienced an incredible amount of pain that I was not expecting. As they helped me hobble to the bathroom, it became glaringly obvious that no one had put a pair of those cute mesh hospital underwear on me and well, let's just say it was disgusting and kind of embarrassing. (Side note: that underwear isn't cute. Nothing about your post-partum body and accompanying functions is "cute").

So I knew what to expect for day two. And this time I made sure I had the necessary undergarments on before I got out of bed. The nurse tech entered my room around 6:30am and told me that I needed to sit in a chair for a while. Yay. I slowly raised my bed and what had started out as neck pain turned into the most blinding headache and neck ache I've ever experienced. I thought maybe I was just tired and extremely hungry, but I couldn't figure out why my neck would hurt if I was tired. The nurse tech pulled a chair over to my bed and helped me get my feet on the ground. And then she did something that confused me. She turned around and started messing with a blood pressure machine while she waited for me to get into the chair. By myself. A woman who was dealing with several fresh incisions. And a terrible headache.

I waited for a second to see if she was going to help me and when it became obvious that she wasn't, I somehow maneuvered myself into the chair. I don't even remember how I did it. And I easily could've passed out from the pain my headache was causing me.

"So this is what everyone was talking about. This is how it's going to be, " I thought as I sat in the chair fighting back tears. Most of the women I know who have had babies at this hospital had recounted their experiences to me and I walked away with this advice: "Just expect the worst during your stay and know that you won't have to stay there forever." Not the most comforting thing to hear, but it was completely accurate.

I sat in the chair while the nurse tech checked my blood pressure, leaning forward because that seemed to help the pain a little. I told her that my head and neck were killing me and she said she'd tell my nurse. Ten minutes later my nurse came into the room and asked what was happening. The pain was so bad I couldn't turn my head to look at her. I just started crying and told her I had an excruciating headache and that my neck was hurting. She tried to comfort me and told me it was probably due to lack of food (at this point I hadn't eaten in about 30 hours), but I told her that my hunger doesn't account for the neck pain I was experiencing. I asked her if I could have some crackers or something and she told me breakfast would be coming in a few minutes. With my head pounding, I asked her when I could get back in bed and she told me I needed to sit in the chair for about 20 more minutes. At that point I thought I was going to die. 20 minutes with this pain was an eternity.

Looking back, I wish I had just gotten myself back into bed once she left the room. I had gotten myself into the chair so I knew I could somehow get back into bed by myself. I knew the head and neck pain were because of my epidural, but when I tried to offer that up as an explanation, she brushed it off. So there I sat, my body completely rigid because any movement made it worse. The nurse took my blood pressure and told me everything was fine. Which is just what you want to hear when you are in incredible pain.

The nurse left and I sat in that stupid chair, crying uncontrollably. My liquid-only breakfast was brought in, and even though chicken broth at 7am was disgusting, I ate everything on my tray just to get some nourishment. Finally when the shift changed I had a new nurse. When she came into the room I immediately asked her to help me get back into bed. I told her about my headache and that I think my epidural was causing it. She told me she would call the anesthesiologist and tell him about my pain.

Once I was laying flat in bed, the pain subsided. I grabbed my phone and texted Evan to tell him not to bring Blake to the hospital. I was in no shape to see him, but Evan insisted they were both coming.

Around 8am, a charge nurse wheeled Trevor into my room. As happy as I was to see him, there was no way I could take care of him at this point. I desperately needed to use the bathroom but dreaded being upright for any length of time. I asked her if she could help me use the bathroom and started to put my bed up. The pain returned. With her help I made it to the bathroom, but the ordeal that ensued taught me a valuable lesson about surviving in this hospital: I knew my body and what it was capable of better than the nurses and was better off doing things on my own instead of waiting for a nurse to help me.

What needed to be a 3 minute bathroom trip turned into a 15 minute bathroom trip. By the time I got back in bed I was exhausted. The pain was unbearable and Trevor had started to cry. The charge nurse held him and rocked him, and then she offered to take him back to the nursery because it was obvious I couldn't take care of him.

I laid flat in bed, waiting for Evan and Blake to arrive. 2 nurses came to my room and asked me about my pain. As I explained to them that my head and neck hurt when I sat up but stopped hurting when I laid flat, I received some confused looks. It was so obvious to me that I was experiencing a spinal headache. I emphasized over and over that I was fine if I was flat on my back, but sitting up led to blinding pain. "Isn't that a tell-tale sign of a wet tap," I kept thinking as they continued to ask about the pain.

Soon after they left, Evan and Blake arrived. The look on Blake's face when he saw me sent me over the edge. He was scared of me. I looked so awful that I scared my son. And not the "I have no make up on and my hair is dirty" awful. He sees me like that all the time. This was the "something is wrong with Mommy and she looks scary" awful. I covered my face and started crying. I told Evan I was ok, just a little emotional. Blake walked warily toward me and gave me a hug. Then he quickly returned to Evan.

Trevor had been in the nursery all morning, so Evan and Blake went to retrieve him. It made me incredibly happy to see Blake meet Trevor and despite my early morning protests, I was happy Blake and Evan had come to the hospital.

After they left, the 2 nurses came back and explained what they believed was causing my headache: a post-dural puncture. I wasn't surprised at all by the diagnosis. In fact, if I had known the term they used, I would've just said, "I have a post-dural puncture headache and need a blood patch," when they came to my room the first time. As they explained what it was and how they could fix it, I was confident my pain would  be gone soon. A few hours later the anesthesiologist came and administered a blood patch and the pain was gone within an hour. I was so happy to be able to actually sit up for more than 30 seconds!

Things were looking up. I was feeling better. As long as the blood patch kept working I knew I could handle being in the hospital for another day and a half.

Monday, December 10, 2012


The only lyrics of this song that have anything to do with me are "ridin' solo". If I wasn't so exhausted I'd take time to make up new lyrics about motherhood. But that ain't happenin' today.

Today I'm officially "Ridin' Solo". I've been really nervous about this day, when my mom and sister returned home and Evan went back to work. But it's 8:30am and both boys are still asleep. I should hop back in bed and sleep too, but I figure that will jinx it and Blake will be calling me as soon as I shut my eyes.

So here's to life as the mother of 2!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Delivered Part 1: The Good

A week ago today I was riding the R train to the 4th Avenue/9th Street stop, climbing those ridiculous stairs, catching the F train, hopping off at 7th Avenue, and walking to New York Methodist Hospital to have a baby. And while it may be too soon to write about this little "adventure", I want to do it now so I remember it all. The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.

Riding the train to go have a baby. I bet no one else on the train could say that!
Before I continue, I must explain that I had numerous offers from friends to be given a ride to the hospital so we wouldn't have to take public transportation. And 5 months into this pregnancy when Evan said we could just take the train when it was time to go to the hospital, I laughed in his face and said, "Uh, you can take the train. I'll be riding in a car." But as D-Day approached, taking the train didn't seem so bad and was a heck of a lot cheaper than calling a car service to take us to the hospital. And, because of the time I needed to be at the hospital, most of my friends were taking their kids to school. I'm sure we could've worked something out with someone, but riding the train wasn't bad at all and is part of the birth story I will get to tell Trevor one day. (I would not, however, recommend using public transportation if you are actually in labor. Pay the money. Take a car.)

A few days prior to my appointment at the hospital, I was scheduled to have a pre-operation check up in which I'd have my blood drawn and overall health checked so I could be cleared to have a c-section. As luck would have it, I wrote down the wrong day for the appointment and missed it completely. When I called to find out what I should do, I was told to just come early to the hospital on Monday and have it done. As understanding and kind as the nurse was who I spoke to, this little mishap bumped my stress level up to where the anxiety was bubbling just below the surface of my emotions. I tried to hold it together until Monday, but Sunday night it all came crashing down over a bowl of corn flakes at 11:30pm in one big, tear-filled confession: I did not want to have this baby. At least not the way it was going to happen.

I had convinced myself that my body's inability to go into labor with Blake was just a fluke. This time was going to be different. I visualized my labor starting and continuing like it was supposed to, only to end at the hospital with some pushing and the delivering of a baby the right way. None of this "slice me open" stuff like I had with Blake. Unfortunately no amount of visualizing was going to coax my body into labor. I tried everything short of castor oil to get things going, but nothing worked. So Sunday night at 11:30pm it finally hit me that a repeat c-section was most certainly going to happen. And all of the painful, horrible memories of Blake's birth came flooding back. I couldn't go through it again. But there was no choice. This baby had to come out.

Strangely, there was some sort of comfort that came from not being able to control this circumstance. I knew very well that this baby had to be born. I may not like how he was going to be born, but he absolutely could not stay inside of me forever. So instead of dwelling on the slicing and dicing part of this birth, Evan calmed me down and I began to focus on everything after the operating room.

Running late, but I needed a picture!
I woke up Monday morning and announced to Evan that I was ready to get this over with. After dropping Blake off with a friend, we arrived at the hospital where I had my blood drawn and was asked a flurry of health questions. A nurse escorted Evan and me to the labor and delivery floor where we were told to wait in the waiting room among laboring women who were waiting to be checked in and relatives who were waiting to meet the newest member of their family. After only a few minutes, Heidi, my labor and delivery nurse, came and got us and prepped me for surgery. My c-section wasn't scheduled until 2pm, but by 10:30 am I was laying in a hospital bed, hooked up to fetal monitors and an IV.

Pre-surgery. Feeling good.
Evan stepped out for a little while to grab lunch while I laid in bed and tried not to think about the juicy Five Guys burger he was eating a block away. I knew I should try to sleep, but that was impossible. So I stared at the TV trying to take my mind off my impending surgery.

Finally around 1:45 my doctor came to speak to me about the surgery. We were both disappointed I hadn't gone into labor on my own, but now it was time to focus on the matter at hand. Heidi tossed Evan some scrubs and told him to get dressed quickly because it was time to go. She helped me out of bed while Evan stumbled behind us trying to get ready. In his haste, he put one of his shoe covers on his head which the nurse pointed out as she opened the operating room door. I laughed as I followed her in, thinking it was the perfect thing for me to see before my body was cut open.

I sat on the operating table while nurses busily prepped the room. I noticed my heart rate starting to rise and tears forming behind my eyes. My doctor walked in and asked if I was cold. I said I was a little chilly but I was fine. He brought me some clean sheets that had just come out of the dryer and covered me. I was grateful for the warmth. He stood a few inches away from me and started a light conversation. At first I found this awkward, but I soon realized talking about trivial things was taking my mind off the surgery and had a calming effect. My heart rate returned to normal and I found myself starting to joke around with the doctor and nurses.

The anesthesiologist came into the operating room and began to explain the risks of an epidural. 1 in 200 people experience spinal headaches after an epidural, I was told, and then I was asked to sign a consent form. Without much choice in the matter, I mean, I have to be numb and I didn't want to be knocked out completely, I signed the form and the placement of the epidural began. The worst part was the prick of the needle to numb the area where they would be working. My legs started to tingle as the anesthesiologist finished up, and one of the nurses helped me lay down on the operating table.

At this point my body was positioned like one of those dead frogs high school kids dissect in biology class. Even though I couldn't see my body, I pictured it in my head and felt incredibly embarrassed. How many times in one's life do you carry on a normal conversation while a nurse is trying to insert a catheter, another nurse is placing electrodes on your chest, and a doctor is scrubbing your stomach of any germs or bacteria that could compromise the incision he is about to make? It was all very awkward. Not to them. Just to me.

Once everything was ready, they had Evan come sit next to me. Donning his scrubs correctly this time, he sat down beside me and held my hand. I said, "Hi Doctor Jordan!" and thought to myself, "He'd make a cute doctor."

After apparently pinching my stomach really hard and seeing no reaction from me, they knew I was numb and surgery began. I tried to keep my breathing steady and not think about what was happening behind that big blue curtain. I didn't feel anything until the nurse warned me of the pressure I'd feel when they pushed the baby down from his current position and pulled him out.

Trevor cried out. And I immediately started crying, just like I did with Blake. He was here! He was finally here!
Told you Evan would make a cute doctor!
I caught a glimpse of him as he was carried to the warming crib and checked by nurses to make sure he was ok. The doctor commented that he was not a small baby and the nurses confirmed it when they called out that he was 8 pounds 3 ounces, 20 inches long. Evan said, "You were right! He is bigger than Blake." I wasn't surprised at all by his measurements. I felt every inch of him inside of me!

Trevor Wesley Jordan
The doctor worked to stitch me up and then I was moved off the operating table into a bed. Trevor, Evan, and I were wheeled into the recovery room where I would spend the next 6 hours throwing up and having doctors and nurses push on my stomach to make sure everything was returning to normal. Women who had a vaginal delivery stayed in the room where they delivered their baby. Us c-sectioners had to recover communally. So everyone heard me throwing up. And everyone heard me writhing in pain when a nurse pushed on my stomach. But at some point you stop caring because you just want to feel normal again.

Finally a bed opened up and we were all transferred to the mother/baby floor. By this time it was almost 10pm. I sent Trevor to the nursery so I could rest and Evan left to pick Blake up and take him home. It had been an exhausting day, but I was healthy and Trevor was healthy. We had made it through. Now I just had to survive the  next 3 days in the hospital.