Posts Tagged ‘labor’

Waiting, Impatiently

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

It is 8:32 pm on July 14th. I am 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant, which is 5 days more pregnant than I ever was with Caroline and 5 days less pregnant than I ever was with Evan. That’s a nice balance. Good symmetry. Seems like the perfect time to have a baby.

Unfortunately, my baby does not seem to agree.

I’m not technically overdue yet (TOMORROW), so I know the complaining about STILL being pregnant is annoying. Plenty of people have been much, much more pregnant and I could end up being one of them. (I REALLY REALLY HOPE NOT.) But unfortunately I let myself think “Oh, I am totally having this baby early!”

It’s not entirely my fault. My doctors all said I was in danger of early labor because of my high fluid levels. I’ve had tons more Braxton-Hicks contractions than with any other baby. This baby has been measuring big for two months and I basically LIVE at the hospital between non-stress tests and scans and regular appointments. My children can literally walk into the ER entrance and get themselves to the maternity ward.

But I should not have gotten my hopes up. People warned me. I just did not listen.

WHY DIDN’T I LISTEN????

 

I swear if it was ONLY my comfort (or uncomfort) level that I was worried about, I wouldn’t mind waiting a little longer to meet my baby. I never went through this end part with Caroline (I was induced unexpectedly after super surprise pre-eclampsia) so I would probably still be anxious, but I would be OK.

Unfortunately, due to E’s work schedule, I’m on a deadline. If I go a week overdue, he won’t be here for the birth. The moment where we finally find out together if baby #3 is a boy or a girl just…won’t happen. I’ll have to send an email he probably won’t get or a Red Cross message that at least 3 other people will read before him or just wait until he’s home again. He won’t be here to hold my hand or cut the cord or change a single diaper. I won’t be able to scream “WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME?!?!” as I push out a gigantic baby.

I don’t want this to sound TOO dramatic – he’s not going to be gone for months or years. His current work schedule is crazy and unpredictable but it’s not a deployment. He might be on a submarine under the ocean but he won’t be At Sea for more than a couple weeks at a time. The baby certainly won’t remember that he missed the birth but I know E will be so, so sad about it I won’t even be able to give him a hard time for “abandoning me”. I’m still not exactly EXCITED about it.

It would sort of suck to be in the room with just my nurses and the doctor. My mom – who’s here to watch the kids, in theory – has said she’ll fill in and I have friends who would take the kids if I really needed them to, but I’m not thrilled with that idea either. Mom watching the kids makes me being in the hospital much more relaxing. I don’t have to worry about whether or not they’re being terrors, she has to deal with it and love them because they’re her grandkids. Leaving them with someone else would mean lots of worrying instead of soaking up brand-new baby time.

We knew this was a possibility. As much as we tried to plan this baby around the Navy’s schedule, the testing that E’s doing now was supposed to be done in December. The command actually said “Plan your vacations for July and August, since that’s when we’ll be around”. Every time it got pushed back I thought “Ugh, this could be inconvenient” but until literally THIS WEEK I refused to consider E really truly not being here. Right now things are just slightly difficult – he’s not reachable by phone anymore so I have to call some office and they have to get a guy to run down to the pier and find him and then he has to get someone to cover for him and drive back up here to the hospital. But his boat is still tied to the dock, which is good!

I have a non-stress test in the morning (9 am, so possibly as you are reading this) followed by a regular appointment where I’m going to strongly suggest I am interested in them getting the baby the hell out ASAP. I feel like I’m breaking a bunch of birthing rules by even considering an elective induction. Admitting that on any of the pregnancy message boards will get you called a zillion things, none of which sound like “good mother”. But this isn’t my first time around the baby block and I did have a good experience with my last induction. Plus I have tried every single other possible thing to make labor happen on it’s own*** and nothing is working.

Why couldn’t this baby just COOPERATE, YOU GUYS?

Please send me lots of outside baby thoughts and keep your fingers crossed I’m so close tomorrow the doctor says I’m basically IN labor already and that my husband’s boat stays just broken enough that they stay in port and he’s right there with me when we find out if our Team Green baby is a boy or a girl. And so I can yell “WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME?!” as I push out what is probably a truly enormous baby.

I’m scheduling this to post at 7 am on Tuesday. Let’s hope that right now I’m already in the hospital having my baby and posting boring Instagrams of my IV all over social media (soon to be followed by adorable baby pics!)


*** The only things I haven’t tried are castor oil and black/blue cohosh. I’m not sure I can handle the side effects of castor oil and even Googling cohosh makes the internet freak the hell out about safety. But if my OB says “Sorry, one more week before we’ll talk about induction” I see a castor oil lemonade in my future.

Birth Stories: Brigid

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

To help fill in posts while I recover and adjust to life with a newborn AND a toddler I have some friends who have agreed to share their birth stories. Today is Brigid, the hilariously wonderful author of Now Showing! and one of the people whose blog I’ve followed before I knew “following someone’s blog” was a thing people did. Fair warning: it’s a birth story so it’s rated PG-13. And don’t get all shocked if someone says “vagina”. Brigid has a potty mouth, which I love about her so I’m posting unedited. If you can’t swear a little after childbirth, really, WHY HAVE FREEDOM AT ALL AMERICA?


Nikola’s Birth Story

by Brigid Keely

It started on Friday March 13th, really. The Braxton Hicks contractions had settled into a fairly routine but not painful pattern, and then they started hurting. Not hurting hurting; they felt like menstrual cramps only more so, and a back ache. I felt odd, too. Very alert, but wanting to conserve energy. I started timing contractions, and by the middle afternoon they were 4-5 minutes apart, pretty consistently. There were a few times where they’d slow down and have a twenty minute rest or so, but over all they were pretty consistent. I called Nesko and asked him to come home a little early. I didn’t think labor was imminent, but I wanted him near by. At this point, my mucus plug was intact and my water was entirely contained. Nesko called the birthing center and since this is my first kid, we were advised to wait until contractions were 3-4 minutes apart instead of 4-5. First babies usually are pokey babies, slow to come out. Lazy assholes.

Around 2:30 that morning (Saturday March 14th, Pi Day) contractions ramped up considerably. I took a very warm shower which helped and we timed contractions a bit more, then went to the hospital because they were very consistent and close together (every minute and twenty seconds to three minutes) and ramping up in intensity. I threw up before leaving, as I mentioned earlier. We live in Chicago, which gets terrible pot holes over the winter, and I felt every single one of them as we drove over them. So instead of speeding to the hospital we crept slowly along so as not to jostle me too much. This added maybe two minutes to our trip.

Nesko let me out in front of the hospital, I rang the special buzzer to be let in, and waddled slowly upstairs, stopping every two minutes or so during a contraction. I got to the nurse’s station and was all “I’m in labor, y’all. Contractions every 1-3 minutes. Ow. Wait. Ok. Sup?” And they were all “so is this your second baby? Third?” and I was all “Nope, number one.” And they were all “holy fuck you are so calm. Come this way.” And I was all “My husband’s on the way up. Do you need my insurance card?” “Naw, we’ll take that later.”

So I went into this tiny room and changed into a hospital gown and they poked around at me and found out that I wasn’t dilated at all. THANK YOU CERVIX. But I was contracting and the baby’s heart was thumping away, the way it does. They took my insurance information and moved me to a delivery room which apparently was the only delivery room that hadn’t been fitted with a DVD player yet. We hung out there all day. I spent most of the time lying on the bed with an IV hooked into my fore arm and monitors strapped to my belly. The pain was pretty bad. When I was finally allowed to get up, the pain was a lot less. My mucus plug started coming out and let me tell you, it’s pretty gross. Like my vagina had bronchitis. Contractions got less intense and less consistent the longer I was in the hospital.

That evening (I mentioned we were there ALL DAY, right?) my doctor came in and was all “In the past kabillion hours you have dilated to 1.3 or some petty shit like that. We can give you pitocin and hope to ramp this up, but most likely you’d have a C-Section and you and I both want to avoid that. You can go home if you want, or we can start the intervention train.” He was more medical in his presentation, this is a translation. I elected to go home and wait things out.

IRONICALLY, had I tried the pitocin, I would probably have had a C-Section anyway AND had a baby born on March 15th which is the Ides of March. SORRY NERDY BABY.

I spent all of Sunday, March 15th, curled up on the couch watching “Myth Busters” while Nesko timed contractions. He kept asking how long it’d be until go time. I kept losing bits of my mucus plug. Contractions got closer together and stronger. We went to bed around 9:30 or so but I couldn’t really sleep because things were getting painful. Around 11:30 or so, I think, I started getting the urge to go stand in a hot shower thinking it would maybe ease the pain. I put off actually getting up because I was very tired and the bed was very comfy, despite the pain I was in.

Then my water broke.

I swear I heard a popping sound, or maybe felt it, but it was like a giant water balloon exploded in my pants. Fortunately I had been sleeping on a waterproof pad JUST IN CASE and scurried into the bathroom leaving a trail of water all over the floor, which Nesko cleaned up (he was a cleaning machine those few days, let me tell you. He became very intimately acquainted with all kinds of my bodily fluids.), and sat on the toilet to drain a bit. I glooped amniotic fluid and mucus plug both into the toilet, felt really gross, and took a shower. Contractions kept coming. We got dressed and headed to the hospital yet again.

Once again, he dropped me off, I buzzed, so calm, how many babies, etc. This time I was taken straight to the delivery room (the same one we’d been in before, which had no DVD player). I was once again tethered to an IV (in my RIGHT fore arm this time) and fetal monitors and confined to an uncomfortable bed. Nesko tried to sleep. So did I. My back muscles felt like they were being pulled apart. If you’ve ever shredded chicken or beef for tacos or pulled pork for barbecue sandwiches, that’s what it felt like my back muscles were doing. I asked for a shot of demerol so I could sleep; I’d been told by several people affiliated with the hospital (including the hospital tour) that demerol was the drug they use. I’ve had demerol before and it works for me. I was told that no, they do not use demerol, they use something else I hadn’t heard of (stadohl?) and they can only give two injections of it. I asked for an injection and they jabbed my thigh. It dulled the pain slightly, but only for two hours.

I wound up asking for an epidural.

I don’t really remember them putting it in. I think it hurt. My legs went numb and that was really weird. I’d try to move my feet and just… couldn’t. There was nothing. Not quite nothing… it was almost like static between tv or radio stations, if that makes sense. I couldn’t feel the contractions any more unless I really focused on them, and even then it was kind of like when you get a filling at the dentist and you can feel sensations and pressure but not actual pain. I slept a lot, but it wasn’t a refreshing sleep. Somewhere along the line an internal fetal monitor was put in (which I really didn’t want before this all started) and a catheter (no longer having to get up to pee? sounds great in theory, but…).

Several hours later I had progressed to… wait for it… 2 cm dilated! Holy FUCK. THANK YOU CERVIX, YOU LAZY JERK. Pitocin was started to speed things along. Contractions were still strong and frequent, just… nothing was happening. Around 7:30pm I was fully dilated but Nikola hadn’t descended much at all, so we made a bunch of jokes about him being a lazy bum or just too comfortable where he was. My doctor suggested a C-Section. I agreed and was wheeled into the OR which I remember as being right across the hall, but I don’t think it really was. It’s all pretty blurry, frankly. I had to wriggle (numb from the waist down) from my bed onto the operating table, which was crazy narrow and had these like wings for my arms to go on, all spread out. Like Jesus. A fat, pregnant, paralyzed Jesus. They strapped my legs down and erected a curtain. I knew Nesko couldn’t handle the OR and called my mom in (she and my dad were there, well, were in the cafeteria eating). She arrived soon after I’d been strapped down and the epidural increased. It was freezing going in, and let me tell you, it’s creepy to have someone poke your arm and say “can you feel that” and you can, and then poke your stomach and say “can you feel that” and you can and then say “can you feel that” and you didn’t feel anything. I felt so removed from my body.

I fell asleep on the operating table. It was pretty boring. I wasn’t wearing my glasses, so when they put Nikola on the counter under the warming lamp and cleaned him up, I couldn’t see anything. My mom narrated how big he was etc but I wasn’t really paying attention. The entire operation took an hour and was held up some because I’m fat and this caused some problems stitching me up (they had to clamp bits of me out of the way). After the operation they took me back into the delivery room and once again I had to wriggle my (even number, but now with additional stitches and severed muscles) self back onto the bed. Nikola was in the room already and people were clustered around him because he is just that cute, he attracts groupies like honey attracts flies. He was naked under the warmer, I guess, but I was really out of it and didn’t really get a good look at him until the next day.

Numb from the waist down, catheterized, de-babied, I lay on the hospital bed. It felt like I was lying in a pool of blood, but I don’t know if I really was or not. I was told someone was going to come in and clean me up, so maybe I really was bloody, I don’t know. I felt the urge to fart, and several people had told me that farting is important after a C-Section (seriously, it is), so I farted. Only it wasn’t a fart. I shit myself. Two, maybe three times. I just couldn’t control it. I am embarrassed to say this, but hey. I’m trying to be truthful about what childbirth can be like (vomit! poop! uncontrollable sweating that wakes you up!) so other people aren’t taken by surprise so there you go. I shit myself. You might also. Or you might not. I lay there in the bed, unmoving, in a pool of blood and shit and I turned to Nesko. “I am lying in bed in a pool of blood and shit, waiting for someone else to come clean me up. I feel so… Decadent.” He laughed. I laughed. Laughing was a mistake. Ow. Anyway, I started referring to this as The Incident in my head.

Several hours later, literally, some people came in to clean me up. They did a poor job, as I found out later. I was taken up to the recovery room which ALSO had no DVD player (allegedly it’s the only recovery room that didn’t have one. WHATEVER.) I was on a morphine drip (mmmm) and in a slightly more comfortable bed. At one point some nurses came in and removed the catheter and told me that “when I felt up to it” I should get up and walk around and use the bathroom. Then they left. It was dark. I slept. Nesko slept. Nikola was in the room with us and kept making monkey noises. I sweated an ungodly amount. UNGODLY. This is apparently normal, also. IT IS THE MIRACLE OF LIFE, Y’ALL.

Eventually the sun came up and I had to kind of pee. You know how it is when you sort of have to pee but it’s not urgent but you want to use the toilet before it becomes urgent? It was like that. I called Nesko over and he helped me haul myself out of bed and onto my no-longer numb feet. I held onto him and the drip stand, and took a few steps, and felt pretty ok to use the toilet. Then we discovered that the drip stand was plugged into the wall, and the cord would not reach to the bathroom. GOOD TIMES. Luckily for us, a nurse came in and was surprised to see me up. She helped me into the bathroom and also helped me clean up. She asked me if I normally “have a little bit of anal leakage.” lolwhut. It turns out the nurses who cleaned me up left poo all over me. May I point out that I’d just had MAJOR ABDOMINAL SURGERY and also had poo all over me? Good one. This nurse cleaned me up very thoroughly and I walked around a little in the room and checked out the baby (so cute! so much hair! huge feet!) and went back to bed.

At some point breast feeding was tried. I wasn’t producing much of anything so mostly we did formula which the hospital supplied.

It was a long, boring, 3 day hospital stay with some mostly terribly bland hospital food (seriously, how do you fuck up mashed potatoes? SERIOUSLY.) and some very inept nurses (oh, hey, no, when I rang for the pain medication I was supposed to have received AN HOUR AND A HALF AGO I didn’t really mean it) and some kind of lax house keeping (my IV pulled out and I bled on the floor and it stayed there for three days; I took a shower and there was a dirty bandaid (not mine) in the shower) and some really kick ass nurses, and a vague promise to take me to a different room to show me a breast feeding video (never happened). We also had a lot of visitors, family and friends, including Brian who kept making jokes that made me laugh and OH THE PAIN but it was totally worth it. On the final day we were told we could probably go home that day as soon as my doctor said it was alright. “check out time” (whatever that is) is 11:00. We were told we could go home around noon-ish. We were finally approved to leave at 5:30pm, which meant we were packed and ready to go and cooling our heels for over five hours before being sprung.

We went to visit Nesko’s family for dinner, then picked up my prescription drugs including pain medication (NOTE: these events should have occurred in reverse order! DUH!) and then went home. I had hilariously awful problems getting in and out of the car, I was so stiff and sore. And then we were home!

That’s pretty much it. I would rather have done a drug-free vaginal birth, but a C-Section isn’t the end of the world, although I do think it’s interfering with my milk production (it was slow to come in and I’m still not producing a huge amount of it). A lot of stuff happened that I didn’t expect, or didn’t expect would happen to me (pooping! Asking for an epidural!) Several nurses remembered me (“You were so calm checking in! I thought you’d had like five kids!” “You’re the one who brought your own pillows! that’s such a great idea!”) which was cool. One nurse (the one who was an hour and a half late with my pain medication, and who kept asking me if I’d gone pee pee or poo poo) came in at like 2am and started asking questions about how many kids I’d had. “This is your second pregnancy? The first was an abortion?” Uh, no, it was a miscarriage, but THANK YOU for asking that in front of my mother or husband, I forget who was there, that’s a totally normal question to ask at 2am FUCK YOU. She came back at 5am with “discharge paperwork” but I yelled at her and she went away before she could ask about my pee pee and poo poo.

That’s pretty much it. I consider most of it uneventful. I had some bad experiences with some of the nurses who didn’t seem to know what they were doing or who violated what’s apparently normal procedure (apparently, normally, you remove a catheter only after someone’s recovered full feeling in their legs AND you help them to the bathroom. You don’t just leave them with vague advice to get up and walk around later when they’re less numb. Also, normally, when someone has an epidural needle or spigot or whatever removed, it’s also normal to remove all the tape and not leave it there. Oh, and epidurals? You can “ring” for more if you feel pain. Nobody told me that for HOURS, that I had my own push button for pain relief.). Other nurses were really great.

People have asked me if I’d do this again and yeah, I would in a few years.

Sorry if this is kind of garbled and confused. I was in pain and/or drugged up and my memory of a lot of stuff is cloudy.

PS it was several days after The Incident before I could poop again. Farting? No problem! Pooping? Oh man, constipation is usually a stranger to me. If you have a C-Section be prepared for poop problems.

Birth Stories: Brittany

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

To help fill in posts while I recover and adjust to life with a newborn AND a toddler I have some friends who have agreed to share their birth stories. Today is Brittany who blogs (not nearly often enough) at Germama – although she’s been doing so well the last few days! My Google Reader rejoices!  Fair warning: it’s a birth story so it’s rated at least PG-13.

Birth Story – Two Weeks Later

Originally posted on August 12, 2009 by Brittany

Much to my surprise, baby decided to evacuate the womb two weeks early. At 3:45 am on July 29, during my 37th week of pregnancy, I woke up and felt… moist. I had the foresight to jump out of bed before the deluge hit. As soon as I was on my feet, my water gushed out, soaking my shorts and running down my legs. I scurried into the bathroom to try to drain into the toilet, which seemed like the proper thing to do, and was really shocked at there being blood in the water. I know now that it’s normal, but it kind of freaked me out at the time. Once I got reasonably cleaned up, I woke up Ralf and told him my water had broken. I’ve never seen the man wake up so fast!

I called Labor and Delivery to ask about the bleeding. They said it was normal, and that if my water had broken we were welcome to come in anytime to get checked out. Because of our plan to go natural, I had originally wanted to stay home as long as possible to labor in a familiar place. But because this was my first baby, I started feeling really nervous and just felt like I needed to be at the hospital where I could know everything was ok. I was only having mild contractions at that point, so Ralf and I both took showers and he started gathering up everything we still needed to pack and get ready for the hospital. I scarfed down a cereal bar because I knew they weren’t going to let me eat once we got there. At this point I was under the impression that today was the day and I’d be able to eat more once she was born. Ugh.

At the hospital, they took us to a room where a nurse ran a test to make sure my water had actually broken. The Niagara Falls from my vag that happened earlier really left me with little doubt, but they wanted to check. Remarkably, that test was positive. Then she attempted to check my cervix and couldn’t even find it. Not cool. She called in reinforcements – another nurse came to check me and found that I was 1 cm. Basically, I was nowhere yet. However, since my water was broken they would not let us go home. Damn. So, we got moved into our actual room and got settled in. I would be in this room for a long, long time.

I was having mild contractions that were around 5-7 minutes apart. They needed to be 2-3 minutes apart to really be considered progress. Since we were going natural, the doctor was going to give us 24 hours to get to that point before augmenting labor with Pitocin. I was trying different positions, rocking around on a birth ball, and nipple stimulation. Yes, I was sitting in a hospital room while my husband tweaked my nipples for hours. Amazingly, this actually did make the contractions come stronger and closer. Unfortunately, it didn’t sustain anything and wasn’t really creating any progress. Around 11:00 pm or so, after about 20 hours, I had my cervix checked for the first time since we got to the hospital. 2 cm. TWO. After 20 hours. Balls. I decided to go ahead and start the Pitocin. I knew it would make the contractions more intense, but I was going to be in labor FOREVER if I didn’t help things along.

I had an IV port in my left wrist so the nurse connected up the Pitocin. Right after that, I started getting this huge bulge in my wrist. I asked her if that was supposed to happen. Uhhh, nope! My port had clotted off. So, she had to start a new IV on my right hand. Thankfully that one worked fine. The Pitocin definitely made the contractions stronger. I was using my Hypnobabies techniques to relax through them, and Ralf was right there by my side using the relaxation words and helping me through each one. Unfortunately, they had to keep upping the dosage to get the contractions to the 2-3 minutes apart point. With that much Pitocin in me, by the middle of the night the contractions were so intensely strong that I was becoming unable to relax through them. I was having horribly painful back labor and was having to whine and moan through the contractions instead of relaxing. A few times the pain was so immense that I was throwing up. Everything I’d read said that throwing up was a good sign because it meant you were in transition – around 7 cm and the baby was starting to move down. So I assumed I was in transition.

By 6:00 am or so, I was exhausted and in so much pain. I asked to have my progress checked so I could assess the situation. The nurse checked me and told me I was 4.5 cm. ARE YOU SHITTING ME?! 27 hours of labor, 7 hours on Pitocin, and I was still only 4.5 cm. That was really the last straw for me. I knew I needed to get some rest if I was ever going to have enough energy to push the baby out, if I ever got to 10 freaking centimeters. I knew I needed an epidural. Going natural was my goal, but at this point it was just not in the cards. I would have rather gotten the epidural than suffered through more hours of intense pain, because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to push her out and I would end up needing a C Section. On the other hand, Ralf was terrified of the epidural and was worried that it would cause me to need a C Section. We discussed it and ultimately decided on the epidural.

I had to wait almost an hour and a half for the anesthesiologist to show up and put in the epidural. I was never so happy to see a small bald man (well, except for when I met Michael Stipe). He got everything put in and set up. I honestly didn’t feel a thing he was doing, despite knowing he was inserting a huge needle in my spine. I was just so happy to be receiving relief. It kicked in after maybe half an hour, and I was mercifully able to sleep for about two hours. A little while after I woke up, I was checked and found to be 7 cm. I visited with my mom and sister for a while. I was STARVED by that point since I had only eaten a cereal bar about 30 hours earlier. I remember eating some red and orange Jello, and had attempted to drink some of the hospital’s chicken broth, but it was super nasty.

At 3:00 pm I was finally 10 cm and was allowed to start pushing. At first they just let me do it on my own time, but I wasn’t really feeling the contractions so it was slow going. After a while, the epidural started wearing off so I was able to feel the pressure of her coming out, and the doctor came in and told me how to push more effectively, so things started speeding up. Eventually he came back in with a bunch of nurses, but I wasn’t really aware of what was going on because I had my eyes closed and was focusing on the pressure and getting her out. Soon, the doctor was down in my business with his hands, moving her head around and helping her to come out. Let me just say, that was incredibly unpleasant. Then he was telling me to push and breathe and push some more. At one point he said breathe and I assumed I should push again, but he ended up saying, “No, no, just breathe!” and I think that may have contributed to the sizable tear I ended up with. Ouch. But anyway, he soon said the head was out. I had to push some more to get her shoulders out, and at that point I was seriously growling like a demon. My sister was filming so I have evidence of this! Then, the doctor told me to look down and see my baby coming out.

That… that was crazy. There was this little person coming out of me; this slimy, writhing little thing was being extracted from my loins! It was bizarre and amazing and crazy. Then the doctor pulled her out and put her on my belly. I was DONE! Or so I thought… While Ralf and I marveled at this little creature we created, the doctor was down there extracting the placenta and repairing the damage. Ohh, was he ever not gentle. I was trying to just focus on my new baby, but all my feeling was back down there and he was stitching and blotting and OUCH. It hurt. On top of that, I was going into convulsions. Yeah, apparently that happens after you give birth. But eventually, finally, the doctor finished up, I was cleaned up and given my diaper-sized absorbent pad (oh, the glamorous aftermath of giving birth) and that was it. They had her weighed and measured and poked and whatever else, and
then we were alone. We had a BABY! Oh dear Jeebus.

SO… after 38 hours of labor… Rory Michelle was born at 5:26 pm on July 30. She was 7 pounds, 7 ounces, and 20 inches long. Her Apgar scores were 9 and 9, and she was a perfect little baby with all her parts. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to have her naturally, but it was ultimately the best decision for us. Luckily, I didn’t have any of the side-effects of the epidural and everything went smoothly. All of the doctors that came to see her told us how round her head was for being born vaginally, and how pink she was. One doctor called her a Gerber baby. Hooray, my baby has a round head and isn’t ugly and wrinkly like most newborns!

We have been at home for 11 days and are starting to get into the swing of things. Sometimes it hits me that we are responsible for this thing and have to raise her and keep her alive and the weight of that is sometimes immense. But hey, every day is another day we’ve kept her alive, so that’s a success to me. I hope you enjoyed this epic length story. I’m sure there will be many stories to come, most likely about how we’ve been pooped on.

Birth Stories: Ryan

Monday, December 20th, 2010

To help fill in posts while I recover and adjust to life with a newborn AND a toddler I have some friends who have agreed to share their birth stories. First up is Ryan, whose story is so amazing and beautiful it makes me want to have another baby RIGHT NOW just so I can try and do it her way. Fair warning: it’s a birth story so it’s rated PG-13. And don’t get all shocked if someone says “vagina”.

BIRTH STORY: Patience Makes Perfect

(written by Ryan, about the birth of Jude, born 04.28.10)

Dear Jude,
The calendar said you were due to arrive on Saturday, April 17th. Ten days after that date I woke up asking myself the same question I’d asked for the previous nine mornings – Do I feel any differently today? No, the answer came.
I went on with my day nervous and a little scared. Since I was past my due date I had already gone to the hospital for one round of fetal monitoring. If you didn’t come by tomorrow afternoon I would have to go in for another. If you didn’t come by Friday it was likely that I would have to be induced.
Around 11 a.m. I noticed that I’d soaked through the panty liner I was wearing. I mentioned it to your dad when he came home for lunch and he suggested I call our midwives.
We arrived at Rosemary around 1 p.m. and Alina checked the fluid with a test strip. Sure enough, I was leaking a small amount of amniotic fluid. Since it wasn’t gushing, Alina guessed there was a leak in the side of your sack. This was confirmed when she checked my cervix, which was about 2 centimeters dilated, and still felt the bottom of the bag intact. Because of the risk of infection, I would have to start IV antibiotics within 6 hours. If I wasn’t in hard labor within 24 hours I would have to go to the hospital. Your dad and I were worried but Alina put us at ease saying, “you’re going to meet your baby today!”
From that point on we were on a mission to get labor started. Alina gave me some herbs to take every 15 minutes. Your dad dutifully set reminders on his iPhone. After returning home to eat and take a short nap your dad and I walked the Ringling Bridge and swung on the swings at Arlington Park. We even drove up and down Orange Avenue flying over the speed bumps. We were trying everything we could think of to shake you loose!
While Cheryl was on her way over to do some acupuncture, I made the decision to take castor oil to further hasten your arrival. I blended the castor oil into my favorite smoothie – hemp powder, almond milk, almond butter, banana and flax oil – and chugged it down. Within minutes I was upstairs in the bathroom pooping my brains out. By the time Cheryl arrived, around midnight, I was feeling a slight but regular tightening in my belly. Your dad had them timed, again with his trusty iPhone, at about five to ten minutes apart.
As the contractions got stronger I started feeling nauseous. When I was sick enough to throw up I remembered Carmela saying that throwing up was a sign of labor progression. By this time it was about 3 a.m. and I was moaning through contractions that were now a solid five minutes apart. Your dad called Alina who said she would meet us at the birthing home. We were finally in active labor!
Walking through the dimly lit courtyard felt like a dream. The birthing home shone like a giant amethyst. The small pond gurgled exceptionally loudly. Alina had prepared the birthing room. Candles were lit and soft music was playing. Everything was sharp and sparkly but blurry and concave at the same time. I knew the lyrics to the song that was playing yet I’d never heard the tune before. I suddenly remembered the joke I had made in birthing class about how Carmela’s explanation of labor could be confused for a bad acid trip. Not so much of a joke now that I was in it. And although I didn’t consider it bad it certainly was a trip.
In addition to the visual and auditory intensity, time seemed to slow down and speed up all at once. At one point I looked at the clock as I felt a contraction coming on – 4:04 a.m. I could hear the “click, click, click” of the second hand for what seemed like hours as I dove head first into a wave of contraction. As the wave crashed and then faded I looked at the clock again – 4:05. How was that possible?
I wanted desperately to curl up on the bed and sleep but my body wouldn’t let me. The discomfort while lying down was almost unbearable. Instead of sleeping, I went inside myself and played with all the ideas I had about childbirth. I paced, rocked in a glider, hung from the bed posts, leaned over the bed as your dad and Cheryl rubbed my back. Mostly I howled. I was like a she-wolf – bending and baying at the full moon.
I didn’t realize it at the time but was told later that at some point during labor you turned face up. Since it isn’t ideal to deliver a baby in that position, Alina had me flip flop on the bed while she attempted to manually turn you. This was painful and exhausting. Then I labored on the toilet for about an hour. In between pushing contractions, which spaced to nearly 10 minutes apart, I rested. Then, after pushing in bed and in the tub, I climbed up and down the stairs for an hour or so before returning to the tub.
Your head was emerging ever so slowly – one centimeter out, two centimeters back. Cheryl got a mirror to show me the progress and even fashioned a birthing stool from two chairs so I could squat and get you lower. Even though I was determined to see you it felt like I had no control over my pushing. The contractions would force me to the ground, my knees on the hard wood of the stairs, and I would bare down aimlessly. But you knew what you were doing. You worked so hard to carefully stretch my perineum. Thank you.
By this time Harmony, Julia and Heidi had all arrived and were helping me stay focused and hydrated. It felt so good to have one of them put cool washcloths on my face and body. And your dad never left my side. He was my shadow. He rubbed my back and stroked my head. He waddled behind me up and down the stairs. He even held me up while I sat on his knees in a squat and worked through contractions.
Then, back in the tub, I pushed for another hour. As soon as I hit the water I entered a new state of awareness. I was exhausted and I knew it. I wanted you in my arms so badly. This whole thing was taking forever! My contractions slowed, there was an eternity between them, and my body would just curl around itself and flex downward as if on auto pilot. Your head would slide forward with each contraction only to retreat back inside.
After nearly five hours of pushing, the burning on my perineum was intense. I was given oxygen. I started crying. I was desperate and scared. In my head I was screaming at my mom, “why didn’t you tell me it would be this hard!?! Why aren’t you here to help me!?! I need you!!!” I pleaded with my midwives to help me, to do something, but there wasn’t anything they could do. Perhaps an episiotomy would have brought you out more quickly but they knew I didn’t want one.
I wish I had words to describe what I was feeling in that moment. This was, by far, the most difficult part of the entire process. It wasn’t physical pain that blocked my progress, it was emotional pain.
But then something happened. I was asked to stand up. Blood had darkened the tub water. Alina needed to check the bleeding and get your heartbeat. I guess this was a big deal but Harmony and Alina were so calm I didn’t think anything of it and just stood up (with your head hanging half way out of my vagina, by the way, like it was no big deal). Your heartbeat was strong and there wasn’t any major bleeding so I sank back into the tub. I could feel that the change in position had forced you lower and perhaps the distraction helped clear some of my fear. I only knew one thing – that I wanted you in my arms. So I closed my eyes and waited silently for the next contraction.
I don’t remember the pain of your head finally delivering. All I remember is hearing someone scream (presumably me) and then hearing someone (Harmony, I think) say, “Ryan, look down at your baby”. I looked down and as your head slowly turned you looked right at me with two huge black eyes. Your hair was dancing in the water. I had such an intense longing to have you in my arms but when I reached down to pull you up I saw your dad eagerly fixed on your arrival. I let go, leaned back and let him catch you.
As the rest of your body emerged I felt so many things. Every inch of you – neck, shoulders, chest, stomach, waist, butt, legs, feet – was examined by my insides like I was feeling sensation for the first time. Simultaneously it was as if I had left my body and was watching from above. I could see inside myself. But I also clearly remember this strange X-ray image that I was seeing from above was also being projected on the wall in front of me. My bones flexed and bended around your tiny body as its skeleton stretched and compressed and came forth into the world. It was the most transcendental thing I have ever experienced.
In that moment the exhaustion and pain and fear evaporated and they were replaced with pure love. I barely paused long enough to see if you were a girl or a boy! You were wide eyed and alert and nursed beautifully within the first 20 minutes. And as your dad and I chatted and giggled and snuggled you close it was as if we had known you forever.
Love,
Your mother

Babywatch 2010

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Do I need to remind anyone that this is the point in pregnancy where pretty much every post will contain TMI and if they don’t want to hear words like “mucus plug” they should stop reading? Did I not do enough to scare those people off with the first baby?

Ok then: IF YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT WHERE BABIES COME FROM, COME BACK AFTER JANUARY 1ST. Or never. Because once this baby is born you’re guaranteed about six months of constant boob talk followed by another six months of “OMG I cannot lose this baby weight” talk and then before you know it I’ll be knocked up AGAIN and thus begins the circle of mommy blogging again. *cue Elton John song*

I had my 38-ish week check-up at the OB this afternoon and it was pants-off, complete with one of the most uncomfortable cervical checks EVER including the kind you get when you’re not pregnant than involve things that look like torture devices. But it was fairly pointless as no signs point to imminent baby arrival (sorry early guessers in the baby pool!) so I’m waiting another week before I let them even talk to me about Things That Might Help Induce Labor.

Or at least that was my plan.

Unfortunately, my blood pressure was a little high (130/80-ish)(which is only borderline high for a normal person but extra high for someone like me whose numbers are usually closer to 90/60) and since I had all those issues with my kidneys, high blood pressure can be a Very Bad Thing and unexplained high blood pressure might be any number of things that could potentially lead to more problems. So my midwife sent me down to the lab for bloodwork and orders to come back tomorrow for another blood pressure check at which point we may begin talking about Things That Might Help Induce Labor or even DO one of the Things That Might Help Induce Labor*. Which suddenly makes this “I’m having a second baby” thing WAY WAY too real. Definitely not good for my blood pressure.

In the meantime, I’m going to do a little happy dance over the SEVEN POUNDS I’ve lost since my last check-up (almost certainly just water weight due to the IV fluids I was full of thanks to hospitalization but still pretty good – losing a few pounds is often a sign labor is imminent)(Also, I am 11 lbs lighter than my 39 week pregnant weight with Baby Evan which means 11 lbs less to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancies weight). I think I’ll also try to make it to Stroller Strides tomorrow, since walking and/or stair climbing might be just what my body needs to get things moving and I would MUCH prefer to let this baby come on her own than start down the road to induction.

But like my midwife said, the full moon is on the 23rd 21st anyways. That’s ONE WEEK until I’m pretty much guaranteed a baby.

*My midwife actually offered to strip my membranes today but a) I wasn’t dilated enough for her to do it b) I wasn’t sure I WANTED her to do it and c) my mom doesn’t come back until Saturday so I CAN’T go into labor until then. Does anyone have experience with membrane stripping working/not working? Google assures me it’s harmless unless labor is already close but sometimes I’m not so sure Google is the most reliable medical source. WHY EVER WOULD I THINK THAT?!

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