Richard Jarrett Schario was born 18 December 2020 at 13:50 PM and, I have to say, he is absolutely perfect.
The End of Pregnancy
Before I write about how he came into the world, it’s important to capture a bit of context from the end of my pregnancy. The short version: it was not going especially well.
I am so lucky. In the grand scheme of things, everything went phenomenally. I had a pregnancy that was relatively easy and smooth. But around the 36-week mark, I started having a hard time keeping food down.
The Sunday before Thanksgiving (November 22), I was unable to keep anything down at all. As I was vomiting into the toilet, crying tears from the pain of vomiting for the umpteenth time that day, I turned to Casey and said I thought we had a problem. Vomiting had been a part of my pregnancy throughout, but that was a meal here or there, not a total inability to keep anything down. That Sunday marked a whole weekend where I hadn’t kept any food down- not even saltines. I wasn’t nauseated, I just was constantly vomiting. When I called my doctor’s on call line, she asked me to head into maternity triage (the hospital) just to let them run some tests to make sure everything was okay. Okay. Scared, we did exactly that. Thankfully, it was. An IV bag, a series of blood tests, a roll of fetal heart rate monitoring tape, and a 6 hours later, we went home grateful but scared. I was allowed to go up to 10 Tums per day to try to quell my heartburn to see if that helped.
That week, when I went in for my 35 week appointment (November 24, also our wedding anniversary), my doctor and her midwife spent a lot of time asking questions about how I was feeling and what was going on. They were starting to get nervous because I had lost 3 lbs from the prior week, which now put me at less than 20 lbs gained throughout the pregnancy and was a general flag this late in the game. They sent me to triage again because that would be the only way to get same-day lab results. I was confident that I’d be going home again, so I was anxious but okay with it. I didn’t even have C come to the hospital. I went home knowing that I needed to be more diligent about drinking Ensures, protein shakes, and Pedialyte if I wanted to let this baby bake all the way until he was ready.
The following week (December 1), I went in for my weekly checkup (Week 36) to slightly better news: I hadn’t lost any more weight and baby’s ultrasound looked good. I hadn’t gained any but not losing more felt like a win for me. I was still vomiting most days. My ribs were hurting from a combination of baby taking up all the space and the act of vomiting being so frequent. Another trip to triage, another IV bag, another series of blood tests, and thankfully another trip home. I had brought my laptop this time, optimistic that I was going to get the chance to work (it’s pretty boring) and that once again I’d be going home. I had a company-wide presentation to deliver this day at work over Zoom, and I did. From the hospital. And, I’m proud of myself for it. I knew that I was fine and I wasn’t ready to have this baby, so to me there was no difference in delivering the presentation from the hospital vs from home.
At my 37 week appointment, I was feeling better but still not keeping food down. Again, I hadn’t lost weight, so I wouldn’t be going to triage, but we’d be keeping a close eye on things. I would not be going to triage on December 8.
On December 15, Casey and I celebrated 7 years of dating. I also had my 38 week appointment. While there, they had me do a non stress test (NST) which is meant to check on the baby’s heart rate, especially in relation to the contractions I was having. Unfortunately, the baby’s heart rate was all over the place. Sometimes this means you have an “irritable uterus,” which is when you have contractions that don’t help you progress into labor, but sometimes it means there’s something else. They sent me to get an ultrasound before I could go home. There, they discovered that my amniotic fluid was low. Normal would have been 13 centimeters. Mine was only 8. Five would have sent me off for induction on the spot, but since it was only 8, my doctor and I discussed our options. We concluded that I’d come back on Thursday, two days later, and we’d recheck my fluid. My doctor told me to prepare that if things didn’t get better, I’d be induced on Thursday.
I went home anxious and cried to C. Over the next day and a half, we prepped things in the house: buttoning up the hospital bag, running final errands, prepping food, etc.
I worked until noon on Thursday. Around 10 am, I noticed I was, for lack of a better term, “leaking.” I texted my doula who asked a couple of questions, but suggested it was probably just pre-labor things. After work, I ate, showered, packed up my car, and headed to my doctor’s appointment. Aware of the possibility that I wouldn’t be going home, I was prepared, but I was also optimistic, so C didn’t come with me. We did have a plan for Bo- C could drop him off until 6 PM at the boarder. We’d booked him a stay until Monday, just in case.
At the doctor’s office, I was excited to hear, that my fluid was great and normal. My NST was still off, but my doctor was more okay with it given the fluid recovery. She suggested going to triage to run some tests, just in case. Then, I mentioned to her that I felt like I had been leaking since the morning. She insisted on just confirming that my water had not broken; if not, I’d go home.
Looking at my watch, I texted Casey to drop Bo off at the boarder. Meanwhile, I went to McDonald’s and bought a bacon cheeseburger and a large fries. Once you go to the hospital, they don’t really let you leave. I wanted to eat before they wouldn’t let me.
Then, I went to triage. They took some blood, some pee, and some swabs to see if my water broke. Just in case, I asked for a hep lock when they wanted to put in an IV. I watched HGTV and scrolled Twitter.
Less than an hour later, the nurse came back to tell me that my water had broken and that I was being admitted. I called Casey and told him we were going to be doing the real deal.
I AM SO GLAD I WENT TO McDONALD’S!
Labor and Delivery
It was evening when we were finally admitted. Casey texted our families, letting them know that things were getting started and we’d update when there were updates to be made- this would keep anyone from reaching out. He went to the car and got the stuff that we had prepared while I got a COVID test and was admitted to the hospital.
After being admitted into the L&D ward, I asked for walking monitors for fetal monitoring. (Since my water had burst, I needed to have continuous monitoring.) I was given Cytotec to help me progress in labor and put on Pitocin. I was managing my pain well. Between the adrenaline pumping through me and the nurses checking on me every 30 mins, I struggled to sleep. I just kept asking Casey to hold my hand or touch my arm. It was such a small thing but it made me feel wildly better.
Around 4 AM, I asked for my epidural. Around 9 AM, my doctor came in and saw that I hadn’t really progressed since my epidural. We were going to pause my Pitocin and pop the rest of my bag (I had only had a high break, which meant a lot of my water was still in tact). Around 11 AM, my doctor came by and did exactly that. At that point, things started to move very quickly.
Even with the epidural, around 1 PM I was writhing in discomfort. I turned to Casey and I begged him to call the nurse. When she came in, she checked me and found that I was at 9+ centimeters and ready to go. They spent some time getting things ready and calling Dr. G in.
There were 5 people in the room, I think, in addition to C. I was a bit overwhelmed by all the things being said to me, so I just kept turning to Casey for guidance. It was easier to shut out all the other people giving me instructions. I kept asking if the baby was okay. I don’t know why but I was so worried about that.
I pushed for 25 minutes (I only vomited once), and then Richard Jarrett was born at 13:50 at exactly 6 lbs.
We call him RJ.
Casey texted our families and we told them we’d call them later.
RJ was born just before 2 PM and by 4 PM I was on my own in our room walking around and doing my thing. I do consider myself incredibly lucky and how great of a recovery I have had (and am having!).
I think my physical bounce back is in large part because of the diligence in my fitness routine over the last couple of years. Pre-pandemic, the reality is I was working out more than I wasn’t, and while there are loads of posts here of me whining about how I wasn’t working out enough, I know that my body has been able to do incredible things in large part because I have taken good care of it. I am more excited than ever to bounce back into a CrossFit routine post-vaccination. (I am planning on doing Glowbody PT postpartum recovery plan as soon as I’m cleared.)
At this point, I was SO hungry. After we were moved to our new recovery room and settled, I asked Casey if he would pick us up pizza and apple juice. I was very hungry at this point, and I really wanted a stuff crust Pizza Hut pizza. He was very nice to indulge me and do exactly that. Since having RJ, I have found myself craving apple juice more regularly. I never drank juice before and now I can’t get enough.
We stayed in the hospital Friday and Saturday nights. While I suggested that Casey go home to get some real sleep, the fact that we had no obligations at home (we had boarded Bo) made it easier for him to stay with me.
The recovery days in the hospital are a bit of a blur. They’re a combo of nurses coming to check on us every couple of hours and a crying baby who seemed to be on a different schedule from the nurses. There were also so many feelings. I don’t think I understood just how many emotions and feelings there were going to be but there were.
One thing of note that I’m grateful for: by the time we left the hospital, my pregnancy heartburn was gone. It really must have been that full head of hair! I think I needed Tums 2 or 3 more times. I haven’t touched it since I got home.
Thanks to our friends at Livia’s Artes, RJ had this beautiful outfit to go home in. He’s probably a couple of months from filling it out, but that just means he’ll get more wear out of it.
We loaded into the car, put RJ into the car seat, let the hospital staff inspect it, and we were on our way home.
At home, we’ve gotten into a cute routine. By sheer luck, RJ was born at the beginning of C’s winter break, so he got to be home for the first two weeks. (I am on maternity leave from work.)
Because I’m breastfeeding, I handle the night feedings. We’re lucky that RJ pretty much only wakes up when he’s hungry or he’s lost his pacifier. In the case of the former, it’s all me. In the case of the latter, it depends on who is up. He rarely wakes up because of his diaper- we just couple that with his feedings.
We have his elephant-themed nursery upstairs in a room adjoining our bedroom. He currently sleeps in a bassinet called the Snoo at night and does most of his daytime naps in our pack and play downstairs.
We have our very own Christmas tradition that we’ve developed over the years- We don’t travel at all. We open one gift on Christmas Eve. On Christmas day, Casey makes us prime rib and Bo gets a nice present. We watch the Santa Clause movies (all of them). It’s a special time with lots of cheese and shrimp cocktail.
This year, anticipating that RJ could come at any point over the holidays, we had our Christmas celebration a couple of weeks early (right after Thanksgiving). It really removed a lot of pressure and allowed us to be focused on learning what it was to be a family of three over the Christmas holiday.
Of course, RJ was the best Christmas gift we ever could have asked for. We are madly in love with him, and he has brought us so much joy. I could stare at his face all day.
On Christmas Day, C did end up making another Prime Rib (yum!) that we savored as a family of three.
There are all these cliches that I heard before- your heart gets bigger, you have a new appreciation for all parents, etc. And, now I get them all! Even when I’m exhausted and I just want to go to sleep, he’ll smile (probably not even for me), but it makes me turn into a ball of mush.
There’s still a lot we need to learn and manage. Bo has been adjusting incredibly and is veery protective when RJ cries. He sleeps on the floor of our room at night, right next to the door to the nursery. Whenever he gets the chance, he goes to the nurses to look at RJ (which he can’t do, but which he tries).
What an incredible celebration. 2020 was a special year. ❤️
Emilie is an Army Wife, Data Engineer, and CrossFitter with a love for working through her thoughts in this space on the internet. She is a contributor to many open source projects including dbt, Meltano, and GitLab. She lives with her husband Casey, their son RJ, and their pup Bo in Columbus, GA.