My name is Amanda Mercier, I am 39 years old and I am a commercial lines insurance agent, entering my 14th year with the same agency in Montpelier, VT.
My husband Dan and I welcomed our son, Waylon, at 9:15 pm on October 1st, 2016. We just celebrated his 3rd birthday a little over a month ago. He is ALL boy and so much fun to be around. He keeps us laughing constantly.
The only thing I ever wanted to be was a mom, I always thought I would have four or five kids by the time I was the age when I actually had my first!
When I was 35, I found out I was pregnant VERY soon after conception. I had been off the pill for one month and we conceived the first time we tried. Holy smokes, we were not expecting that! But we were excited.
Bring on the morning sickness and tendon/ligament stretching pain. The first trimester was awful, I lost 13 pounds from throwing up so much. I was sick all day, everyday. Second trimester was less nausea but I developed a super fun rash down both sides of my body from my armpits to my thighs. I think this is called “PUPPP” – look it up. I took a lot of oatmeal baths and lotioned up 24/7. By the third trimester, the rash had faded and I was now just super uncomfortable. Hip pain, ligament pain, everything pain. But got more excited to meet our baby boy.
We did not have any kind of birth plan, thank God because that would have been thrown right out the window!
My water broke Friday night, September 30th, right after we got home from my sister’s rehearsal dinner for her wedding, which was the next day. I was going to be dual maid of honor with my other sister. I had my VERY altered dress ready, shoes ready, my “wedding” bag was packed with my shoes, change of clothes, my nails were done. My speech was prepared.
At this point my son was a week late and we knew the possibility of missing the wedding was there but I thought for sure I would dance him out at the wedding reception. At about 9:00 on Friday night, Dan and I headed to the hospital after getting off the phone with my doctor. We checked right in, they confirmed my water had actually broke and got us right into a room.
I got comfortable and tried to mentally prepare – This is IT! I can remember laughing at my husband that night, I asked him to get my lip balm out of my bag and he goes over to it and started taking stuff out – “why do you have these dress shoes in here?” – He had grabbed the wrong bag! He grabbed the bag for the wedding the next day and not the bag for the hospital – of course, right!? I should have known right then how the next 24 hours would go.
Much of labor is a blur to me but I wanted to get out some of the memories I do have and share the postpartum as well. I do remember having contractions about midnight. They were bad but not horrible. I labored in the tub for a while, that was nice. I went back to the bed and let me tell you, I did not care who saw me or what they saw. I was much more comfortable just being in whatever position felt best – no inhibitions whatsoever.
From about 4:00 am to 4:00 pm I had contractions on and off, I don’t remember a lot of it, but knew I was going to want the epidural. I was only dilated like 3 or 4 centimeters, I think. I remember the anesthesiologist coming in and making me arch my back and lean forward, while hugging a pillow. I’m still not sure what happened but the epidural failed and another was attempted. I ended up having two epidurals and a spinal and none of them took. I could feel everything from head to toe.
One scary thing I remember was my heart rate and the baby’s heart rate dropping, the doctors and nurses came in to check me and I was bleeding a lot – I believe they thought this was placental abruption. I was laying flat on my back, oxygen mask on, and in and out of consciousness and they were going to use that little electrode thing to put in Waylon’s head to get a more accurate heart rate. For those that don’t know what an electrode is, you should’ve gone to your birthing classes! This was very scary to think about them doing but not really be able to do anything about. I remember looking up at my husband, he was looking down at the doctors, and seeing his pale white, very concerned face….and then see him look back at me and say, “Everything’s fine, you’re doing great, babe!” I knew he was lying. I was so scared. Then I heard my doc say, “C-section, now!” Then – for whatever reason, our rates went back to normal and everything was fine. They said I was bleeding so much because I had dilated a few more centimeters in a very short amount of time.
I proceeded to have contractions up until 8:00-8:30ish. Then they decided that I needed to have a C-Section. My water broke over 24 hours ago, and my big headed son was lodged in my pelvis and not budging. I just wanted this to be over with, I was tired, scared and just wanted to make sure my son was okay. I was rolled down to the “silver” room and crawled over on the table, all while still having contractions and in tears. They prepped me, they prepped my husband and then were ready to cut. They pinched my belly and said, “Can you feel that?” “Yup!” I could feel everything still. I ended up needing to be completely knocked out and this was the start of the worst part of my whole experience.
Because of the general anesthesia, Waylon came out of me blue and with very shallow breathing. It took a little while to get him going- Dan told me how scary this was as he was going through it by himself. Part of me feels awful that I was not there for him then. The first thing I remember is waking up – if you can even call it that – in my room, still on oxygen, not really able to move, barely able to open my eyes. Dan came over and said “They need to know, are we naming him Waylon?” We had his name picked out but we wanted to make sure first that he looked like a Waylon. I said sure, even though I hadn’t seen him yet. Dan brought him over to me, little hat on swaddled in a hospital blanket, and laid him next to my head. He smelled so good, like a freshly bathed babe. I will never forget that smell and laying my head against him, I think I cried.
I remember Waylon being placed on my chest under the blanket with me, skin-to-skin, and this was the moment I had waited for since January of that year! It was the best feeling in the world!!! We laughed because I thought I had pulled one of my IVs out because I felt wet, the nurse came over to check things out and we realized Waylon had peed all over me. Like I cared…
The next few days were very scary for me. I was trying to learn how to breastfeed, I hated my lactation consultant, my labor and delivery nurse was not on for a couple days and I wanted her back (she was MY ROCK) AND my husband had his last cigarette the day after Waylon was born and I felt like he was “on edge.” I got very nervous and anxious when he would handle the baby. This is NOT how I was supposed to feel. I don’t remember any really good feelings during this time, except when I would get Waylon to latch and he would nurse a bit and then look up at me with milk face and fall into a milk coma. I enjoyed my time with him when no one else was around.
I never really had problems because of the c-section. Obviously, it took me a little bit longer to do things and move a little slower, but my incision healed perfectly. My milk was not coming in, and my legs were swollen three times bigger than normal and it was very painful. That was the biggest downfall.
By the time we left the hospital, I had been there one day short of a week. I had not been outside. I had not talked much with the outside world. I felt isolated and lonely. Waylon was not discharged until Thursday because he dropped some weight and they wanted it back up. We started supplementing formula before we left because I was so scared he was not eating/gaining weight and I just wanted to go home. Someone FINALLY told me that it was ok if he had some formula. That’s all I needed to hear.
The first night home was the hardest. Dan was working from home and still cigarette-free but definitely moody and I felt he wasn’t very sensitive towards me. I was awful to him though. I was a maniac. My hormones were NUTS and I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. I set my alarm to nurse/pump and write down Waylon’s diapers. I was getting up every 1.5 hours because that’s what the lactation consultant told me to do. I was waking him up trying to get him to nurse. It wasn’t until my mom said “Amanda, if he is sleeping, let him sleep and you go to sleep too!” I stopped setting the alarm, I pumped when I could and fed him with a bottle what I was pumping, even though it wasn’t much. My don’t think my milk ever REALLY came in. Any supply I would get from pumping would only last maybe half a day. Waylon was a growing boy and I just could not keep up with him. Pumping slowed down, my milk slowed down and then stopped and Waylon ended up being on 100% formula by 6 weeks old. (And he is just FINE from it today!)
I felt like the first few months were the absolute worst, I didn’t want to leave the house, I didn’t want to see people, I didn’t feel like my husband and I were getting along and I know without a doubt that I was depressed, anxious, scared and didn’t know how I would get through this or how long it would last. But thank GOD for that baby boy, being silly and laughing and being SUCH a good baby for us. He knew we needed him and he helped us get through the hardest part…..which I will argue with now that we are in the terrible 3’s!
Now, I am 39 and up until about a month ago, I was a definite NO on having another child. I did not ever want to feel those postpartum feelings again. This is a lesson though, I need to be more prepared, I need to prepare my support system a little bit better, I need to know how to ask for help from my husband without losing my mind. This was the scariest, hardest thing I have EVER done…..and I would not trade any of it for the world. Hearing someone say, “Cuddle me, mama!” is the ultimate reward!
Thank you mamas out there for reading my story. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Xo