Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Lucy's Birth Story

Since my office was closed on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday, I scheduled my maternity leave/vacation to technically start on the Monday following, December 1st. At the time I made my schedule, I thought there was absolutely no way I would make it to then without a baby, and while I wasn't completely off, I was pretty frustrated to find myself sitting in my office that wednesday morning, triple checking that everything I could wrap up was in fact, wrapped up.

That afternoon, I had my 39-week Doctor's appointment. I was fully prepared to get my membrane sweep, which my Doctor with Mia also did at my 39-week appointment, and I went into labor very very shortly after. B kept making jokes that he didn't want me to get it done that day because he wanted to be able to watch the Bears game on Thanksgiving. I told him very nicely to go screw himself, and secretly hoped for my labor to make plain my feelings on the NFL taking over way too many days of the week. But, as my Doctor walked in, she informed me that a membrane sweep was not recommended for someone who had tested positive for Group B Strep (which I did). I was basically enormously pregnant and enormously disappointed that I actually needed to wait for this baby to come out completely on her own. She did tell me though, that as soon as I was in any kind of labor, I should come in to the hospital to get my antibiotics started (because of the Group B Strep).

Thanksgiving came and went with absolutely no signs of labor, and I decided that I would no longer be relaxing. I bought one of those big pilates balls, bounced on it for hours a day, took long brisk walks, went shopping for our Christmas Tree, and decorations with my Mom (she insisted on an all-pink tree this year, to please her first grand daughter and celebrate the birth of her second). On Friday night, I contracted regularly and painfully for a few hours, but they weren't close enough together to be considered active labor. Plus, once I went to bed, they spaced out and let me fall asleep pretty soundly. The same thing happened Saturday, and Sunday night. By Monday, two days before my due date, I was exhausted and decided that if I contracted regularly again, we'd go into the hospital and at least see what they had to say about these contractions that were seriously getting on my nerves.

As predicted, it totally happened on Monday night as well, and B and I headed to L&D. I was fully convinced that as soon as I got strapped to the monitor, they would stop and I would be sent home. They did stop, but I was dilated to just shy of 4cms. My Doctor was on call that night, it was pretty slow, so he poked around down there a bit vigorously, told us to walk around the hospital for about an hour and see if my contractions could get regular enough to be considered active labor. Whatever he did down there definitely put me over the edge, and the contractions started coming strongly and closely while I walked. When I was rechecked, I was past the 4cm threshold for admittance, and I was put in a birthing suite and my antibiotics were started. An hour later, my antibiotics were in and my water was broken, which REALLY made things painful and quick.

I got my epidural after about 3 hours of post-water contractions. I didn't remember the epidural much from last time, but it was an incredibly unpleasant experience this time around. I do remember my first epidural completely numbing my bottom half and legs, so much that I couldn't hold myself up in my hospital bed. This time, I was told that I should continue to feel my legs, and that the only thing that would go somewhat numb would be my abdomen. I should continue to feel pressure, but no pain. 

It was actually kind of amazing. I could move my legs, not so much that I could walk, but I could shift in bed as I wanted to, lift my legs as needed, etc. I could feel that two hours later, my contractions were close enough together that I wanted very much to push through them, and alerted my nurse. Of course my labor would choose that specific moment to want to push, since it was shift-change time at the hospital and my Doctor (who had the overnight shift) had just left, so his partner (who I had met, but didn't particularly like) was now on call, but was in the middle of a scheduled c-section at a different hospital about 20 minutes away. 

Based on my history (with Mia) of a nurse delivery, quick pushing, and significant tearing, my Doctors wanted absolutely no pushing or pressure of any kind until he was in the room. I sat there, breathing through but not pushing through the strong (but not painful) contractions for AN HOUR AND A HALF before he came in the room at 9am.

He was as unfriendly as he was in the office, but he turned out to be really great at his job. He had me push once, during which I tore an inch (1st degree tear) along the line of my first tearing scar, and he immediately stopped me, gave me very specific leg positioning and pushing instructions, had me push three more times and by 9:05am, Lucy was born very gently into the world! I could feel everything but pain and felt very much in control of the whole situation. 

Within 2 hours of delivery, I was on my feet and going to the bathroom with a bit of help from my nurse, who was also awesome. Somehow, I got her all to myself and she was basically with me at all times which was really great. I felt like I got such better care at this hospital than I did for Mia's delivery across town. On that first day, I felt absolutely great, declined the stronger pain medication (until that night... when things were not AWFUL but pretty painful when sitting up). 

Lucy was wide awake for a few hours following her birth, she latched several times and was taking really REALLY strong and painful pulls almost immediately. Around 2pm, B left the hospital to pick Mia up, we did the initial introductions and Mia was absolutely thrilled and sweet. Lucy brought Mia a "big sister" gift, which was an Elsa doll (since Elsa is the big sister and all), and Mia was totally charmed and impressed. By the end of Mia's visit, we had Elsa glitter all over the hospital room, but it was worth it. 

We were discharged from the hospital the next day, and while we had a rough first night, we've settled into a pretty good sleeping and feeding groove, so things are going well. At Lucy's first visit to the pedia (and during our meeting with the lactation consultant in the hospital), we found that Lucy had a tongue tie that was snipped right then and there, with absolutely minimal bleeding and 100% improvement on the painful latch. Other than that, I've felt so happy and fulfilled and incredibly satisfied with my two girls. More on her first days soon!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Lucy Catherine

A quickie update to share that Lucy Catherine was born on December 2, 2014 at 9.05am. After a weekend of contractions, I finally started contracting at regular enough intervals to go into labor and delivery. Lucy was born a few hours later, and we are now home and resting. I'll do a birth story post in a few days!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Still no baby, folks!

While Baby #2 is not quite late yet, she sure is taking her time to make an appearance. I am however, officially on maternity leave, so at least I am not sitting at my desk staring at my computer wishing I wasn't there. Part of me feels pretty silly for taking these couple of days off, but in the grand scheme of things, I think these two days will be most appreciated now, rather than starting on a Wednesday or Thursday when I come back.

Thanksgiving was nice, but pretty low key. We were hesitant to commit to anything since, yeah, but of course in the end we were cautious for nothing. On Wednesday, I had my 39 week appointment, at which I had made no actual progress. I asked for a membrane sweep, but evidently this is not allowed when you have tested positive for Group B Strep. The first time around, I didn't test positive and didn't actually think much of it, but the membrane sweep is what put me into labor the first time, so I'm starting to get discouraged that my body doesn't know how to go into labor without one.

On Saturday night, I was absolutely convinced I was legitimately in labor. I had contractions between 4-5 minutes apart, some were very painful and some were not, but they eased up after an exhausting 5 hours. I've been contracting on and off since then, which is also exhausting, but they are neither regular nor painful enough to keep me from talking through them. 

So! That's the update, non-update. 

Meanwhile, I've taken my "extra time" off to spruce up the Etsy Shop for the Holidays, so take a look at my new listings and share them with anyone you think might be interested!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Not much of an update

My Mom flew in from China and arrived in Las Vegas yesterday, so that is a relief.

39 weeks tomorrow, a few painful contractions last night that stopped as soon as I went to bed.

Follow along on Instagram for more reliable updates! (Link in menu)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Throwback Tuesday: Mia's birth story

This blog post was written (and published) on my [now defunct] family blog, and I thought it would be fun to repost it here while I wait (and wait and wait) for Baby #2 to make her appearance.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mia's Birth Story

Mia Jennifer
 7 lbs, 2oz, 19"
May 25, 2011 at 4:56pm
By now, I am hoping that nobody is learning of Mia's birth for the first time from this blog. However, B and I are proud to announce the birth of our daughter, Mia Jennifer, on Wednesday, May 25th, 2011. For posterity, and other people's curiosity, I'd like to share Mia's Birth Story.

On Tuesday, May 24th, I had my final appointment with my OB. I had a morning appointment, but Dr. K was busy at the hospital again, so I didn't end up being seen until around noon. He did an exam, and found that I was about 2 centimeters dilated, but manually pushed me to 3 cm (which hurt like crazy, btw). He warned that I might have some mild cramping and bleeding.

After stopping for lunch at Jimmy John's, my cramps started to become a bit of a nuisance, enough so that I decided not to go into work that afternoon and lay down. The cramps "progressed" and became what I would consider contractions around 3 or 4 pm, and I began timing them at 9 minutes apart around 5. I decided to call B at 6pm, so that I could catch him before he left for his softball game that night. I didn't tell him that my contractions had progressed from 9 to 8 minutes apart by then, but that I'd like him to keep an eye on his phone in between innings. No use in him rushing home if the contractions went away, like I expected them to.

By 2 am, we decided this wasn't a false alarm, and it was time to head to the hospital. After gathering some essentials, taking a shower, we headed to the Hospital, car seat already installed. Mom followed us shortly afterwards. It was a very busy night at the Labor and Delivery, so I spent the first few hours of my hospital stay in a large triage room which lots of people would periodically walk through. I was at 4 cm dilated by the time I was checked by Cindy, my very nice overnight nurse. She had the exact attitude that I needed, especially since I was so nervous about getting the all the little procedures done (like the IV, epidural, etc.), and the fact that I was still not in my own room.

Dr. H, my very nice anesthesiologist came in and put in the epidural around 5 am. It was every bit as unpleasant as I expected, but B and Cindy coached me through and soon enough, I could only feel my toes. My contractions almost stopped once the epidural kicked in, so I was given pitocin after all to speed up my dilation. Cindy put in an internal fetal monitor, which is a little probe that gets stuck to the baby's head, and we had our first clue of what Mia looked like. Cindy had to put in two probes, because the first one got so tangled in her hair that the readings were not coming through!

By the time I was 6 centimeters dilated, they decided that I definitely needed to be moved into my own room. Since there still were no labor and delivery rooms, I was put in a makeshift room by adding the necessary machines/baby nursery/delivery table/bed with stirrups to a postpartum room. It was a bit crowded, but luckily, I wasn't moved again for the rest of my hospital stay.

Once I was settled in my new room, my day shift nurse named Haze started. B and I were thrilled to find that she was the nurse assigned to us, because she taught the birthing class which we attended a couple of months earlier. Haze has been a labor and delivery nurse for about 30 years. She was no-nonsense and efficient. Even though she was basically a 180 from Cindy, she was exactly what I needed as a coach during the actual delivery.

Around 4pm, after laying numbly and miserably in my bed for the whole day, I was finally 10 cm dilated. Mom, B and I asked whether Dr. K had been called yet, since we assumed he should be there before I start pushing. Haze said that Doctors don't get called until crowning, so we had a little work to do first. Dr. K had already stopped by to check on me a few times, since he had 8 women in various stages of delivery at the hospital at the time.

Apparently, I was unexpectedly efficient at pushing, because after about 30 minutes, Haze urgently called for Dr. K. When he still hadn't arrived 5 minutes later, Haze made a "NURSE DELIVERY" announcement into my call button and about 5 different people came rushing in to "catch" our little girl. Dr. K came in about 30 seconds later, welcomed by a crying baby. Unfortunately, Mia came out with one of her arms up by her face, rather than it staying down by her body as most babies do, so Dr. King arrived just in time to fix the damage. Luckily, it was nothing too serious.

Our first family photo!

At 7 lbs, 2 oz and 19 inches, Mia showed everyone that she was quite a bit trimmer than she was expected to be. She also had a full head of dark hair, very chubby cheeks and an adorable round nose. Our new little family spent the next two nights in the hospital, to make sure Mia was feeding properly and I was healing well.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Still Here, Still Pregnant

My mantra, for the time being, is this:

Every day your baby stays inside makes post-birth life easier.

I'm on the verge of 38 weeks, so the "full term" milestone has basically been reached at this point.  But the closer to 40 weeks (or even 41 weeks) you get, the better of baby is and the easier everything will be afterwards. Their eating is more regular, their sleep is more regular... everything. I keep telling myself this, reminding me not to wish my baby out of me until she's ready.

My college roommate, and one of my best friends, was pregnant and due 2 days before me. She gave birth early this morning to a beautiful little girl. It's their first and I'm thrilled for them, but their baby is only 2 gestational days older than mine, so... really... at this point... I've got a newborn inside me and I think I've hit the threshold of misery.

She's sitting quite low in my pelvis, and pressing against some nerves in my back and spine that send a surge of pain through me every so often. Most times, it's right when I'm getting up out of my chair, allowing her to shift just so into my spine... making me topple over if I don't catch myself on the corner of my desk or on the doorjamb. It's unpleasant, but since I can predict it now, I don't think I'll actually do any falling.

Today was Las Vegas' first foray into temperatures below 60 degrees. A couple of months ago, I decided that I did not, in fact, need any additional maternity clothes for the "winter" portion of my pregnancy, since I would probably only be pregnant for 1 or 2 weeks of actual cold weather. Despite only needing "real" clothes for a maximum of 6 more days (since we'll have casual friday, and casual wednesday-before-thanksgiving), I definitely regretted that decision as I tried to squeeze into and button my only pair of maternity slacks. The kind that still has a fly, just a really low fly, with those nice elastics on the side? Well, let me tell you... those do not fit a 9-month belly. I mean, I'm wearing them. But tomorrow? I'll be wearing leggings and a tunic. Sorry "business casual", but you'll forgive me this transgression. Once on maternity leave, I fully plan on getting back in maternity clothes (I'm not delusional) but I am sure those low-panel type pants will work just fine postpartum.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

37 weeks!

Here we are, closing in on full term status!! At 37 weeks tomorrow, I basically feel like we're in an "any day now" situation, and while I don't constantly have my mind on going into labor, I have been feeling the need to sort of "wrap things up" every evening before I shut down my work computer. I find myself not starting anything new towards the end of the day, just in case.

I don't think I would be feeling this way, except that we had our first trip to Labor and Delivery last Thursday. I was having what I thought might possibly have been "back labor" from the Dr. Google descriptions, and I had been having these very painful type cramps in my lower back for about... 5 hours at regular intervals. I called my Doctor's office, and of course, they said to just go into L&D to get checked. B and I dutifully headed over there, even though I was fairly certain this wasn't labor, just to get some peace of mind that nothing else was wrong. B ran around like today was THE DAY but I told him that if he brought the car seat and my hospital bag in with us, I would kill him. So he did not. And after about 1 hour on the monitor and a cervical check revealing a "posterior and closed cervix", it was determined that I was in fact not in labor, everything looked fine, and perhaps the baby was just pushing on some nerves back there. Yes, perhaps. I mean... it still freaking hurt, but after laying down in various positions trying to get her to shift, she finally did and the cramps stopped around 10pm.

The next day, I had a regular OB appointment, where I had actually progressed to about 1cm dilated and "nicely effaced", so B started freaking out all over again. I've been assured (by Dr. Google) that you can stay between 1-3 centimeters dilated for weeks, so that doesn't necessarily mean anything. I'd still very much like to not go into labor until my Mom gets here (on November 24th) but it sure would be nice not to be pregnant anymore...