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Not What I Should Be Doing July 25, 2008

Filed under: Schmooper — booksunread @ 4:21 pm

What I should be doing, rather than writing down my birth story, is showering or running around and putting shit away or doing laundry or something, but I just want to get this all down before I forget. It’s already almost been a week (!) and the memories are starting to fade.

So at about 1:30 in the morning last Saturday, I woke up with kind of a pain, thought it was gas, went pee, went back to bed. At about 2:30, it was still going on, so I figured I’d better get up and start timing it, and also walk around to keep things progressing. Sick Miguel was sleeping in another room, and I knew he’d hear if me or dog got up. I wanted him to get as much rest as possible, so I was confined to pacing the bedroom and scribbling my contractions down on a random piece of paper (instead of my neatly laid out spread sheet trapped in a notebook downstairs).

For a while there, they were coming 3 and 4 minutes apart, and the pain really wasn’t at all unbearable, just like a bad menstrual cramp in my back (which I’m very used to since I have a tipped uterus). I waddled around, already optimistically starting to pull out and pack up borrowed maternity clothes. Around 4:30 Miguel heard me and got up, we went downstairs and I had some peanut butter toast to fortify me for the long day ahead.

And then the contractions started getting further and further apart. Since it looked like this was a false start, I called the doctor on call at about 6 to see if I should start the 24 hour urine test; I would have liked to avoid peeing in a jar all day if I wasn’t going to make it to 24 hours. She sadly confirmed it seemed like things were slowing down, told me to go ahead with the test and to get some rest in the mean time.

I laid back down until almost 11, and as I sat up on the side of the bed, I felt something squish down there and hustled it to the bathroom. It was very definitely my water breaking! So I told Miguel and started to shower and get ready (hey; who knows when I’d have another chance to do so…plus there were going to be pictures taken later!).

After I was ready, I called the doctor again, who said we didn’t have to rush, but should get to the hospital within the next couple of hours. The contractions at this point were still very mild and totally bearable. After another hour of fiddling around, calling people, packing up the car, etc., and we headed out.

When we arrived at the hospital at about 1:30 in the afternoon, they still made me go to triage before being admitted to confirm that my water had indeed broken, despite the fact it was a sensation that can’t really be confused with anything else. At that point, I was just barely at 2 cm, so not dilating a whole lot. We were there probably about an hour while a resident checked me and confirmed with a microscope sample that my water had broken. Then we were moved across the hall to a labor and delivery room.

Once there, they got an IV of fluids started, took blood and started me on a pitocin drip. The IV and blood work were required prior to getting my epidural; the pitocin, no one really asked me if I wanted it or not; maybe it is just standard operating procedure when your water has broken and you’re not moving along. The pitocin really started the contractions, with all the pain centered in my back, thanks to wee baby being sunny side up, instead of facing my tailbone like he was supposed to.

While waiting for the epidural, I tried kneeling on all fours (too hard to support my weight on my hands), and standing by the side of the bed, trying to use gravity to get him to drop down and turn around. Finally the nurse anesthetist came in, they sent Miguel out, and started attempting the epidural. Yeah, attempting. As waves of contractions kept hitting me with the pain all centered in my low back, I had to sit still while a needle was repeatedly poked around, in my low back. They finally had to call another doctor, who had similar difficulty, but finally got it in.

As the numb tingly goodness started coursing through my legs, I asked what they would have done if they couldn’t have gotten the epidural started, and they told me, “you would have had to go natural.” To which I replied, “No Freaking Way.” I literally could not conceive of enduring that level of pain to dilate another 8cm and then push a baby out. I would have lost my mind and they would have had to knock me out for a c-section.

Once the epidural fully kicked in, she checked me again, and I had gone almost another 3 cm to 5. In just over an hour or so, so I was really trucking along. At that point, I couldn’t even feel the contractions and spent a few happy hours lolling about, trying to read and doze off.

Somewhere as I approached 9 cm, they started having trouble with the baby’s heartbeat; not like code blue alarm, but they shifted me around trying to get a better read on the monitor and make him a little happier, which seemed to work for a while. Then the same thing started happening again, so they tried to do internal fetal monitoring to get a better read, but were having trouble getting it to read out-something with the equipment more than wee baby being in distress. But still vaguely worrying.

When the doctor came in and I was almost fully at 10, they had me start trying to push to get wee baby to come down more, and maybe turn around. I was feeling no pain at this point and had to be told when a contraction was starting. What I was feeling though, and could see through the nurse’s repeated clean up attempts, was that I was pooping as I pushed. A lot. Which is very, very distracting. They’re counting and encouraging and telling you to push from your bottom and all I could think was “Am I pooping? In front of people? Is Miguel looking? Oh my God, I am pooping. More pooping? Just how much poop do I have? Thanks, trusty company stomach!” It really pulls focus from the whole pushing effort when you can’t think about anything but the poop.

I pushed for about an hour or so, with Miguel alternately pacing the other side of the room studying the ceiling tiles and holding my leg some for me as a bore down. Round about this time, the epidural was starting to wind down, and they counseled me not to hit it again as it would deaden me for the final push.

They got set up with gowns and stirrups and then the fun really started. My recollection of the rest is rather hazy, but I do know that nice, easy going, good pusher Books went away with the epidural, to be replaced by trying really hard not to swear and be mean Books for the rest of the delivery.

All told it took another half hour or so to get wee baby out. The doctor actually had the forceps brought in because he wasn’t turning and wasn’t able to get his face down under my pelvic bone. That was the incentive I needed to give it my last reserves of pushing to get him out. At one point she started to very patiently present the pros and cons of an episiotomy, and I cut her off and just told her to cut it. At this point, I just wanted him out; making the hole bigger for him just seemed like common sense.

It was so frustrating, because you’d get him down there with a three push series (I could feel the fullness of his head filling my birth canal), and then as soon as you let go, he’d slide back up, which was beyond frustrating. I think I started to whine somewhere around here.

Other charming moments, as his head was crowning, the doctor kept encouraging Miguel to look down from his position holding my leg and check it out; I might have snapped at this point to leave him alone, he didn’t want to look. I mean, I just wanted everybody focused on the task at hand, getting this over with. (For the record, he did look and he was almost crying at this point…I’m not sure if it’s because it was so overwhelmingly beautiful to see his son emerging or fright at what was happing to my formerly um, sensual, parts.)

Same thing when she tried to talk him into cutting the cord. I was like it doesn’t matter who cuts the damn thing, just do it so we can deliver the placenta and be done. Of course, delivering the placenta was a mess too, and she had to go in after part of it, yummy.

Anyway, he finally emerged at 8:43 pm, and it was the best feeling in the world physically and emotionally. And then they had him all cleaned up and brought him back to me and he was so perfect and awesome and just looking around all befuddled, like how did I get out here.

We spent another hour or so in the labor and delivery room, contacting the cord blood collection company (VERY FRUSTRATING, first Miguel was on hold forever and then all the verification and info they kept asking for, all of which was already on all the paper work we’d filled out). Miguel was finally just about to start making the family calls when Salsera called. He called the rest of immediate family and then they packed us off to the postpartum floor.

I think I was just dazed at this point; I didn’t cry or sob…everything just felt so surreal, like I was watching it happening to someone else. It was like an episode of the baby story, except it was staring me.

Anyway, the first few days home have been predictably hard, full of highs and lows. We are having some trouble with breastfeeding, which is leading to even more stress and less sleep. I’m still having trouble with puffiness and blood pressure. But other than that, Baby Still Needs an Alias is so perfectly healthy and wonderful. He passed Wednesday’s nurse home visit with flying colors, as well as yesterday’s pediatrician’s visit (except for the part where he completely confounded the nurse practitioner/lactation consultant with his non-breastfeeding stubbornness, more on that in another post). He is, knock on wood, minimally fussy and sleeping, eating and pooping well. It is amazing to see already the differences in his alertness and demeanor from when we first brought him home until now. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

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Heading to the Hospital July 19, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — booksunread @ 4:07 pm

Shortly. My water broke a little while ago!

 

Due Date July 18, 2008

Filed under: ?Baby? — booksunread @ 8:34 pm

Given that it’s after 4, and I haven’t had a single ripple in the uterus area, it’s safe to say that my due date will likely come and go without producing a wee baby.

I was pretty bad yesterday about watching my salt and hydrating, then this morning I purposefully had caffeinated coffee and ran a few errands in the heat prior to my doc’s appointment, all in an effort to amp up my bp and puffiness. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out; while my bp was a ridiculously high-160/88-at the beginning of the appointment, after laying down it went back down to the more reasonable 140/80. Added to that I’ve apparently lost 3lbs of water, my puffiness is down and my pee was protein-free, and the conclusion was, “sorry, the bed rest is working to keep you out of the danger/preeclampsia zone.” Which, obviously is good for the health of me and wee baby, but not so good for convincing them that wee baby should get a helping hand in arriving.

Added to that, my cervix is still locked up tighter than a bank vault, making them even less inclined to push me along. I have not dilated or effaced one smidge in the last three weeks. So I got the vigorous attempt at stripping my membranes again, which I must say I bore much more stoically than last time-either this doc had a gentler touch or I’m more desperate and willing to suffer for the cause this week. (Not willing to suffer for the cause? Miguel, who flat out refused when I told him the doc’s best suggestion was he take one for the team and have sex with me tonight. Poor thing also has a cold, so I can’t really blame him for not being down, errr up, for a pity/duty fuck.)

They want me to stay on bedrest through the weekend, and do another 24 hour urine test, just to really rule out preeclampsia. Then Monday when they have the labs, I will go back in to see what’s what. She has promised me that I will NOT be pregnant for another whole week. Depending on the labs, what else they have going on in terms of scheduled inductions/c-sections, and when my preferred doctor is on call (answer I DO NOT CARE, WHOEVER IS ON MONDAY IS FINE WITH ME), we will make a plans to induce me in the early part of next week.

Of course, all this is if wee baby does not show up this weekend, which WOULD BE NICE (ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME YOUNG MAN?).

Also, on a positive note, I talked to my SIL this morning about visit schedule and she told me absolutely not to worry about it. We will figure it out. I should have just said something in the first place, rather than preemptively freaking out.

 

Still No Baby July 17, 2008

Filed under: Pregnancy — booksunread @ 2:33 pm

And Wee Baby’s delay is really starting to stress me out. If he doesn’t show up today or tomorrow, he is going to seriously screw up the family visit schedule. As it is, it’s going to be very tight.

Unfortunately, all of our family is at least 6 hours out of town, so there will be no popping by for an hour or two and then going off to their own homes. Any family visitors will be staying with us in our house. 24-7.

Originally, I really wanted to be home for several days before the influx of visitors started. I just didn’t want everyone’s constant two cents about how I should be doing this or that while I was trying to figure things out as a first time mom. As we’ve gotten closer to my due date, and I’m more uncertain about how I’m going to feel after, especially if I need a C-section, I’ve been more flexible in my thinking. I figured we’d see how it went, and how I feel and if I needed/wanted them right away, my parents could jump in the car and come down on pretty short notice. If I felt up to it, we could plan for them to come a couple days after.

My in-laws are scheduled to come out a week from Sunday, no matter what. My SIL is coming with them and she is a teacher with two kids. School is starting soon for her and her husband has a second job essentially so she’s made arrangements for kid wrangling and daycare, etc. and therefore doesn’t have a lot of flexibility in changing plans to accommodate wee baby’s stubbornness.

At best, if I have wee baby today or tomorrow, then I’m in the hospital for 2-3 days, my parents will need to come in the day I get out of the hospital, to give them a decent 3-4 day visit before we have to turn over all the guest rooms and bathrooms for the next wave of guests. At worst, wee baby waits as much as half a week late or more and then we’re completely screwed…I don’t even know what we’re going to do. I think it goes without saying that I will never be forgiven if we let Miguel’s family comes in and meets the baby before my parents. My mother holds grudges and this would be the mother of all grudges to hold.

When we originally talked about this, the end of July for the In-laws visit seemed plenty far enough out. I never counted just how many days that was from my due date, nor dreamed wee baby would keep us waiting past it. I always assumed people who were “overdue” were more likely screwed up on their dates than actually growing a baby for an extra week. Since we knew without any doubt wee baby’s conception date, I figured we were safely right on the money and would maybe even be lucky enough to go early (common wisdom regarding 1st baby’s late arrivals non-withstanding).

Every night I’m laying awake running the math on another day lost and right now, I’m about ready to cry.

 

Party July 15, 2008

Filed under: Pregnancy — booksunread @ 8:31 pm

As the nine month non-stop binge is drawing to a close, I have been rationalizing all sorts of food indulgences over the last few weeks as “the last one.” Last Friday I went to Dunkin Donuts on the way to work and picked up an iced coffee and some munchkins (huge mistake, on a day when you’re going to the doctor, btw; she totally busted me on the donut holes by the sugar in my urine!).

One of my coworkers, Dave, spied the iced coffee on my desk and surmised that I was the guilty party supplying the munchkins in the break room. When I explained the “probably the last one” rationalization he said “oh this is your last day?” and I said “no, but I’m a week from my due date, so fingers crossed here.” (At this point I hadn’t been to the doctor and taken off work) And then he was like “Well, we should do lunch or something then!” Yes, yes, we should do something; that would be nice!

As I had my doctor’s appointment around lunch that day, they arranged to have lunch brought in on Monday. Then I came back from my appointment and announced that I was not coming back, so thanks anyway on the lunch. I felt kind of bad, but I was also kind of like, nice waiting until the last minute, fuckers. They said they’d probably still have it, and I could come in if I felt like it. Gee, thanks!

So anyway, when I told the office manager I wasn’t coming back she was like, “oh, but we have something for you; I don’t know who has the card!” So I had to wave it off, and be all faux gracious…while in my head I’m thinking, maybe you should have planned this a little better. It’s not like it’s totally unheard of for babies to come before their due date (although this one seems determined not to, despite my best efforts!).

Since I was out yesterday to have my bp checked, I went by for lunch when I was done at the doc’s office. It was nice, and they gave me a card that they all signed and a gift card for Target and the Learning Store.

The Target one will come in handy; I plan to put it towards the breast pump purchase. So far, I’ve been holding off on that; it’s just such a big expense. And what if I end up not being able to breast feed for some reason, or don’t do it for very long? On one hand, I was kind of hoping that one of the people that casually mentioned they could lend me theirs would remember and come through…on the other, I’m still kind of squicked by the idea of using something so personal secondhand. In theory, you just buy all new tubing and plastic parts, the machinery/pump never comes in contact with any fluids.

I looked on ebay and none of them seem a big enough bargain to justify not buying it at a convenient store where you can return it if something goes wrong. I also looked into renting, but they don’t come in stylish Modella bags; they look like a big hamster habitat or something; not very transportable. Plus, beyond a certain point, renting it becomes as expensive as buying one. I wish I had a better network of mommy friends around, then I would have some more borrowing options…

 

Old Wives Tales…AKA Bullshit July 14, 2008

Filed under: Pregnancy — booksunread @ 7:54 pm

So here it is Monday and no changes on the laboring front, despite my best efforts. So far I have tried the nipple stimulation, but don’t have the patience for the hours that requires. So I went Thursday to the mommy spa for that massage with emphasis on the labor-stimulating pressure points. That was an adventure.

For starters, the lady wanted to talk about what else I could be doing at home, starting with “Sexual stimulation, YAY!” Seriously, “Yay!” She went on to tell me that there’s an old saying “what got the baby in there, can help get the baby out.” She was so earnest, I didn’t have the heart to tell her that my husband was nowhere around when I got pregnant. At my lackluster response, she advised that a good way to get started and get in the mood, and help open up my jaw, which was in a direct line with my pelvis which would then also open up would be to work on French kissing, like for 20 minutes.

Um hello, I’ve been married for 6 years, we don’t engage in marathon makeout sessions anymore. I think actual sex would be preferable to a slobbery 20 minute French kiss. She also very strongly urged me to labor at home as long as possible, because “once you get to the hospital and you’re on their clock, they try to hurry you along. And then you could end up with an epidural!” Horrors! I don’t know where she got the impression that I was of the granola natural birth persuasion, but I wasn’t interested in hearing a sermon, so I just nodded solemnly like I agreed.

The massage itself was a little less comfortable than last time; she really put a lot of muscle behind squeezing those pressure points. She worked a point in my hands and then another one in my heels. She also spent some time trying to open up my hips (you know, so I could get into unmedicated squatting position for the delivery…). So obviously, that didn’t work.

Another thing I read was that basil and oregano have properties that may cause contractions. So I ordered a pizza Thursday night that had extra fresh basil on it. I expected it to come with a sprinkle of chopped basil, but instead it was piled with whole leaves. Miguel said it looked like seaweed and refused to touch it. But I ate the whole thing over the next three meals. I kid you not; I shit a whole basil leaf after eating that thing. Do you think I’ve had a single contraction? Not a one.

We’ve already discussed Friday’s extra special exam which also failed to jump start any contractions. Now that I’m on bedrest, all the physical methods, like walking or going up and down the stairs are out. A trip to the doc’s this morning revealed that my bp is holding steady so they are not in any hurry to rush wee baby along. I’m starting to worry we are in for at least hitting my due date. It’s not that I want to be induced; I know it’s best for wb for me to go into labor on my own, when wee baby is ready, but I just wish he would hurry up!

 

Bed rest July 11, 2008

Filed under: Pregnancy,Uncategorized — booksunread @ 11:39 pm

Starting today, I’ve been put on modified bed rest. No more work for me. It was supremely weird to go back to the office, officially hand off all my work and leave with my plant for next 3 moths or so.

It was pretty much the same drill as last week; my bp was send you to the hospital high when I got to my appointment, but after some side lying down, went back down to actually pretty good. My urine is still protein free, so we’re not venturing into preeclampsia territory yet. So that’s where they want to keep me. They are hoping the bed rest will buy me enough time in that pre-preeclampsia state that I will go into labor on my own, whereas if I pass over into preeclampsia, they will have to induce me.

The internal exam revealed that not much has changed…I’m maybe a loose 1 and a half cm. The exam was also a little extra vigorous today…what according to the girlfriend’s guide used to be called “stripping the membranes” to try and jump start labor. The NMW didn’t call it that, she just said (with her fingers up my vaj), “I’m going to do something here you’re not going to like. I’m going to kind of run my finger around the inside of the opening and try to massage it open a little more. So take deep long breaths.”

Not any kind of massage you want, let me assure you. I let it go about 30 seconds before I let out an “Oh God!” and stared trying to crawl up the table away from her. Seriously, it hurt really fucking bad. After she was done I was like, well, labor is going to be fun. Because seriously, that only lasted 30 seconds and I could barely take it (looks like I will be catching the early express train to epidural land).

And then they sent me on my way; I go back on Tuesday for an ultrasound to make sure the baby is doing okay and not under any stress from my high bp (his heart rate was great and he was moving around during the exam). Which I guess they’re not all that worried about it if we can wait until Tuesday. (This is what I get for having my weekly visits on Fridays-shoved off until after the weekend. That’s my advice to any pregos out there; when you get down to every two week visits, make sure they fall in the early, not late, part of the week!)

That’s the thing that has bugged me through this whole thing, this panicked “Oh, that’s bad!” followed by “wait, never mind, go home. Call us if you have a headache.” I called back the nurse this afternoon to ask if I do go into labor, since they are concerned about my bp, do they want to hear from me sooner than the usual “call when your contractions are 5 mins apart consistently for an hour” rule of thumb (which seems ridiculously last minute to me even for a regular no worries delivery). I figured, they’d probably want to monitor my bp more closely earlier in my labor. The answer, nope; only call if you’re having headaches, visual disturbances, etc. Or if you’re concerned about anything, you can always call if you have concerns. Okay then.

But the more I thought about it this afternoon, the more I thought well, that’s at least twice now that my bp has been “alarmingly” high, and at neither time was I having headaches, double vision or these symptoms they keep telling me will be indicators that my bp is too high. So maybe you only get those indicators if stays that high and mine is just occasionally spiking that high. But um, what are they odds that my bp is ONLY spiking that high the 30 seconds out of the week that they are checking it? Pretty slim, I would guess. Of course, now the office is closed so I could call the emergency number and be annoying, but I’m guessing I won’t. Meh.

Anyway, I should probably go lie down. I’ll have to do a whole ‘nother post on yesterday’s “labor inducing” massage. (Hint: so far, NOT working)