December 7, 2012

Story Time: Baby Who's Arrival

Posted by Kristin

Warning, warning....long post with a lot of baby pictures! 

Well folks...I'm five weeks in and still have my sanity, so thank the sweet Lord above for that! Laura shared Callum's arrival here but now I'm finally ready to share some more details and photos of his birth and life so  far.

Callum Elijah Thomas: Our favorite pic to date.

All along I was planning on trying to go through labor without medication and wanted to avoid any unnecessary interventions. I took childbirth classes, packed my hospital bag full of items to help me during labor, made some soothing mixes for the delivery room and read and reread the signs of labor about fifty times. But little Callum had some other plans. Shoulda' figured, right?

Stubborn, Breech Baby
Around 36 weeks, my midwife suspected that this little guy was breech (aka head up, butt down). So I got an ultrasound to confirm it. And confirm it, it did. But all hope of a regular delivery wasn't lost. The midwife told me to try a couple of different poses at home to get the baby to turn and to try acupuncture. She also said that we could try an external cephalic version, where they basically turn the baby from the outside by pushing really hard on your belly. I was game for anything that would avoid a c-section. So I scheduled two acupuncture appointments, got myself in some interesting positions involving kneeling upside down on the couch (and even broke an ironing board in the process trying to do this- no joke), and got poked with several little needles by a really sweet woman named Amy.

First bath at home. Wouldn't be complete without his Tigger towel.

By week 37, he was still breech, so we scheduled the version for the following week. The risks for a version are very low (about 1% result in an emergency c-section) and the success rate is about 55%. But this little guy wasn't ready to give in that easy. The day before the version was to take place, I got a phone call from my OB telling me that he saw in the ultrasound that the cord was around the baby's neck. Not a concern in utero (and very common) but it can cause more risks when doing a version. The big question was, did I want to proceed as planned? After much discussion and weighing of the options, Mike and I decided to forgo the version and schedule a c-section, hoping he would turn before that date.

This is one of his favorite positions. It's probably exactly how he was sitting in my belly.

I'll never forget when the receptionist in the office asked us what days were good to schedule the c-section. I thought to myself, "What, am I gonna say 'Well, Monday's out because I'm getting my hair cut'? I don't think so". All along Mike had said that if we did get to pick a date for the baby's arrival, Halloween would be great (they wanted to deliver him right around 39 weeks to avoid me going into labor but still let him fully finish cooking). So with a sideways glance to my hubby, I said, "Well, is Halloween available?". Low and behold, it was. So we left the office trying to wrap our heads around the fact that not only would we know when our kid was arriving (assuming I didn't go into labor before) but that he'd be born on Halloween. As a kid born near Christmas and none to happy about it, Mike insisted that Halloween would be an awesome birthday since its not a traditional gift-giving holiday (so no combining of birthday and Halloween gifts) and it would make for some awesome birthday parties. I trusted his judgement. We'll see what Callum has to say about it down the road.

The Big Day
Fast forward to the morning of the 31st. We were up at 5 a.m. to arrive at the hospital at 5:45 for the c-section. What a funny card ride it was. I felt really excited and peaceful at the same time.  I just kept listening to this song, knowing that I'd repeat the chorus in my head in the OR if I started to get nervous. Before we knew it, we were there, and I was getting into my johnny while my husband turned into Dr. Thomas.

Dr. Thomas and our boy moments after birth.

After getting an IV put in and answering a ton of questions, I bid my parents (soon to be grandparents) farewell and walked into the OR. I got to practice my deep breathing skills while they put the epidural in my spine (which actually didn't hurt surprisingly- my IV hurt more!). Before I knew it, the curtain partition was up and they were poking and prodding away (sorry if this makes anyone queasy). After about ten minutes, I was told I would feel a lot of pushing on my upper belly. I just closed my eyes and repeated that song in my head.

Baby Who is Born
Then I heard a soft little cry and saw a beautiful (but slimy, lets me honest) baby being carried over to the warmer. I saw Mike checking him out and touching his hand. "Whoa, that's Baby Who. Holy cow, that's my kid! Whoa...".

First moments together as father and son.

I was totally overwhelmed and happy at the same time. I just kept looking over at him while they cleaned him up, but hadn't really seen his face yet. Then I heard it. "9 pounds, 9.5 ounces". Seriously? No wonder I felt like I traded in my normal-size belly for a basketball, no-make that an exercise ball. Maybe a c-section wasn't so bad after all!  After a few more minutes, I finally got to see his little face, eye goop and all. And sweet Lord he was so cute! The first thing I remember thinking when Mike held his face next to mine was how warm and soft his skin was.

His skin was so soft and warm!

After a few more minutes of tidying me up, they wheeled me into the recovery room, while telling me to keep my hands inside the bed at all times. Somehow my "helpful" nature tried to force its way out, despite the anesthesia, by trying to hold the OR door open with my hand while they wheeled me out. Not a good idea I guess.

Meeting Callum Elijah
After getting settled into my new bed, I finally got to hold Baby Who, now properly named Callum Elijah Thomas. And I loved him, right from the get go. Don't get me wrong, I was overwhelmed and kept thinking "This is my kid?". But I also just wanted to snuggle with this new little person.  I learned pretty quickly just how strong Callum is. He broke out of his swaddle twice in the OR and nursed for a solid hour once I got into the recovery room. Then he finally conked out. Tough little bugger.

Holding Callum for the first time. Finally!

The rest of our time in the hospital was spent nursing him, changing some seriously disgusting diapers (fortunately Mike was all over that), and recovering from delivering a watermelon-sized baby. We got lots of sweet visits from friends and family and lots of help from amazing nurses, doctors, lactation consultants and many other wonderful people.

When he wasn't eating or pooping, he was doing this.

His first trip home. Wait, you mean we have to take care of him all by ourselves now?

Here's a quick recap of our life at home over the last month:

How are you feeling and recovering?
Fortunately, I feel great and have since early on. I love, love, love my OB and he did a great job with the surgery (I was also told by several nurses that I have a great-looking incision and Callum has a "beautiful circumcision". Good to know.). I was up and walking around the night after the surgery and only took pain meds on my first day home. I've started going for walks again and have been moving around well since my first week home.

First grocery store visit.

How's Callum doing?
He's great and perfectly healthy! He's a champion eater and regained his birth weight at two weeks old. I found out last week that he gained 1 pound, 9 ounces in just two weeks (normal weight gain is 5 ounces per week, so he more than doubled that). He's pretty even tempered unless he's hungry, gassy or has a wet diaper. He's sleeping a 5-6 hour stretch at night followed by a 3-4 hour stretch after a nighttime feeding. So all in all, we're really blessed! He's very strong and is already holding up his head for small periods of time. He likes tummy time and baths and makes us laugh a ton.

At only 5 weeks old, he already knows how to pray. Go figure.

How's Mike doing?
He's in love with his boy, plain and simple. I've never seen him so enamored with anyone or anything. Everyday he gets home and just goes straight to his boy. I love, love, love seeing him with Callum. He's an amazing dad already and a great support to me. He's also super proud that his son has already mastered Blue Steal from Zoolander.

Zoolander anyone?

What's the story behind the name?
Mike and I both have an Irish heritage and knew we wanted an Irish or Gaelic name. We found Callum online (pronounced Cal-lum, as in California) and both liked it. We knew we wanted a biblical middle name and I really liked Elijah. It means "the Lord is my God", something we pray Callum will claim for himself later on down the line. Thomas was an easy choice for the last name (booyah- still got some sarcasm even on little sleep!).

Alright, the end is in sight. Thank you to everyone for all your support and well wishes over the last nine months and since Callum's been here. Thank you for the meals, the cleaning and laundry, the emergency trips over to my place to help me figure out how to use my pump (you know who you are), and always answering my endless series of questions. The Thomases, all three of us, love you all!

Love, love love this boy. The end.


  1. Love it all Kristin! All your details take me back to seeing Sebastian for the 1st time and hearing his first cry. I know you will just love every moment of being a Mommy :) It is the best thing ever! Callum is so beautiful! Hugs to you and Mike and of course sweet baby Callum :) ~Kerri

  2. Congrats Mike & Kristin! I loved reading the story of Callum's entrance into the world. He's adorable and I can't wait to hold him!