Sunday, April 29, 2012

Emily's Birth Story

Emily's birth story begins and ends with poop.*

Warning:  There WILL be TMI in this post... so, it's all on you now if you choose to read further!  =) 

Last Sunday (I can't believe it's been a week already!) Jacob and I were home after an afternoon of driving through the gorge, having a picnic lunch and then doing some work around the house.  The day had been gorgeous and we were truly taking advantage of the beautiful weather.  That evening after dinner I started to feel a little "off".  I felt kind of constipated, even though I had been pretty "regular" the previous days.  I've suffered from the same thing many times during the course of the pregnancy and so I have a jug of prune juice in my fridge as a precautionary measure (I HATE the stuff... but it seems to work).  So, I chugged some of the juice, tried not to chuck it back up again (like I said, I REALLY hate the stuff. lol) and went about my evening (visiting the restroom several times to see if anything would "happen").

At about 10 PM I got a pretty sharp pain in my lower back (again, much like a gas/digestive issue would have caused me).  I didn't think anything of it and went to lay down on the futon in the office to hang out with Jacob who was playing some computer game.  But then it happened again.  I asked Jacob what time it was.  He told me.  Four minutes later I got another pain.  I told Jacob what was going on and we started clocking their frequency and duration for the next hour... as the pain got substantially worse.  They were coming roughly 4 minutes apart, lasting more than a minute.  Jacob started scurrying around trying to get the last minute "hospital bag" items and things for himself.  I started calling the on-call OB at my doctor's office and texted our doula, Kristen.  At 11:00 PM we got into the car and drove to the hospital.  Me PRAYING that I was actually in labor and wasn't just having back gas pains.  (I was still just feeling the pain in my back.  Nothing coming from the front/uterus area and nothing that felt like menstrual cramping... which I had heard contractions compared to before).

We got to the hospital, checked in and set up in a labor/delivery room, Jacob took one last "pregnant" photo of me... and that is when the prune juice decided to kick in.  Hard.  =(

By now it was about midnight on Sunday/Monday and not only was I still having pretty horrible back pains, but now I had diarrhea, too!  This was NOT a pleasant experience.  Jacob helped by applying some pressure to my lower back as the pains came, but could do little for me when I was laboring while on the toilet, too... except stand outside the door asking, "are you alright?" lol

When the nurse came in to get me set up with the monitors, she confirmed that I was actually feeling contractions and was in labor.  As happy as I was that it was finally happening, I was wishing more than a little bit that I could just stay pregnant a while longer!  The pain I was experiencing was no joke it was just getting stronger.

I lasted until roughly 4:30 or 5:00 AM suffering through the horrible back labor naturally (and visiting the bathroom every few minutes).  At that point I was in so much pain that I finally requested some assistance with the pain.  The nurse suggested a shot of morphine and something else that would allow me to get some sleep/rest between contractions.  I tried it.  It didn't work.  I asked for the epidural.

Jacob and I had discussed how we wanted to birth to go and created a loose "birth plan" with our doula.  I wanted to try to go au natural as long as possible, but didn't want to completely cut out an epidural as a pain management option.  Jacob was a little more leery about using any sort of "medically unnecessary" intervention, including drugs for pain.  I knew this, and I felt really, really bad wanting to get one.  I probably put off asking for the epidural a lot longer than I would have had I not felt like I was going to disappoint Jacob.  But, at the same time,  I had now been in labor for more than 7 hours and was already 6 or 7 centimeters dilated (I can't remember exactly where I was at this point).

The epidural wasn't bad.  The initial local anesthesia pinched a bit, but compared to what I was going through, it was nothing.  At a little after 5:30 on Monday morning, I finally had some relief and Jacob, myself and our doula (who arrived just as they were giving me the epidural) were able to get some sleep.

For the next several hours I was pretty much out of it (I think the morphine was finally kicking in).  My doctor and several nurses made appearances to check on me.  I was dilating nicely and things were progressing.  Kristen (doula) made a guess that I would have the baby by 1 PM.

Well, 1 PM came and went.  I slept.  We waited. I continued to dilate (I was about 9.75 cm at that point).  My water still had not broken on it's own.  My doctor had told me that morning that it wasn't a big deal if my water didn't break and that we could continue to wait on it and/or have it broken manually.  We chose to wait as long as we could to see if it would break on it's own.

Around 2ish (I think... I was still pretty out of it at this point), I had not dilated any more.  My doctor was called and two possible "solutions" were given.  She could either come in and break my bag of waters, or the nurses could start pitocin.  As Jacob and I REALLY didn't want to use pitocin (we were pretty scarred after watching The Business of Being Born) we elected to have my water broken.  My doctor came in, checked me out (still about 9.75 cm), broke my water, and inserted an internal monitoring device to get a better feel for the strength of my contractions (it was not the monitor that attaches to the baby's head... I can't remember what it was called, but it didn't even touch the baby).

My doctor then left me with the nurses to "labor down".  Unfortunately, there was a bit of a side effect to my water breaking... for some reason I was starting to feel back pain again.  It was not nearly as bad as before, and I was told to be on the look out for "pressure" that would signify that it was time to start pushing, so I tried not to think too much into it.

After about an hour of "laboring down", there had been no progress (I wasn't feeling the urge to push) and my contractions were getting farther apart.  By this point I was REALLY feeling the back pain again, and made it known, however was told that feeling my contractions may actually be a GOOD thing in terms of getting the baby out.  After consulting the doctor, the nurse started me on some "practice pushing" to get an idea of how to do it, and to see if we could get the little one to descend any further.  (Side note:  I don't know if I ever actually pooped on the table like you hear so many women do (and I don't really care to know), but I do know that my nurse didn't keep up too well on keeping my bladder empty and, when I started to "practice" ended up urinating all over the table. =P  Lovely).  I pushed and pushed and was making very little progress as my contractions were getting farther apart.  Again, I was given two choices on how to proceed: 1) They could turn down my epidural and see if that helped the contractions or 2) they could start pitocin.

This was a HARD choice for me.  I already felt like my epidural was wearing off and I REALLY didn't want to experience the level of pain that I was feeling 12 hours prior to that point, but we were also very scared of pitocin.  Jacob and I asked for a few minutes to talk about it with our doula.  Due to my fears concerning the pain, and the fact that I was already dilated to 10 cm by that point and just needed the extra "push" (pun intended) that we would go for the pitocin.  Had it been earlier in the labor process I probably would have pushed to wait, but it was time to get our little girl out and my body wasn't doing it on it's own (which, in turn was stressing out the little one--her heart rate was taking longer and longer to get back to "normal" after each push/contraction).  So, we called the nurse back in, the pitocin started, and I started pushing, for real.

I honestly don't know what time my doctor showed up during the pushing process.  I was otherwise engaged and wasn't watching the clock. =)  I pushed and pushed and pushed.  The baby was having a really hard time making it's way around my tail bone.  I kept hearing things like, "you must be having a big baby!" and Jacob say something about how he was born with a huge head** (P.S.  this is something that I would have liked to know BEFORE so I could have prepared myself for a kid with a ginormous noggin!).  Still, I kept pushing.

Birthing a baby is a WEIRD sensation.  Especially when you can feel the thing crowning and you're just laying there waiting for another contraction to come so that you can push again.  For lack of a better metaphor, it's like wearing a big maxi pad and feeling this large presence between your legs. lol  Really, really weird.

Finally, during one contraction/pushing moment I suddenly heard several voices saying "stop pushing, stop pushing!"  So, I did.  I really wasn't with it enough to realize what was going on.  My doctor was scurrying around her little table of supplies and I just laid there, waiting.  Finally another contraction came and I was encouraged to push... and suddenly, at 6:47 PM on Monday, April 23rd (just shy of 21 hours of labor), I had a slimy, crying baby lying on my chest.

I started to cry then.  A LOT.  I was so tired and had so many emotions/hormones taking my body over.  I cried and cried and cried.  I heard several people making exclamations about how impressed that they were.  It seemed a little over the top and I didn't really comprehend what they were saying/getting at.  Finally I got myself together enough for our first family photo, to really take a good look at my daughter (which I confirmed that she WAS a girl very shortly after her appearance into this world!), to deliver the placenta, and to find out that my baby had indeed been posterior... which completely explains all of the back pain I was having (which my nurses/doctor kind of ignored).  Apparently, this position during birth is very uncommon and, more often than not, babies in a posterior position are delivered via C-section, so, the fact that I did it vaginally was something to celebrate.  (My doula told me that even the nurses a the nursing station were talking about it later, much like recapping an awesome football play).

My doctor had some difficulty getting the placenta out and I think that it was more painful that it usually is (she suggested that I click my manual epidural button... but I wanted to get over the drugs as quickly as possible and didn't want to add another dose).  But finally she was done and was stitching me up (I had a 2nd degree tear... which she told me was normal.  I didn't really care at that point, I just wanted to be done with the whole process!).

After all was said and done, and the room was starting to get cleaned up, the nurse was doing her initial evaluation of our little one as she laid on my chest.

You know how I said at the very beginning that this story starts and ends with poop?  Well, it was at that moment that our sweet little Emily decided to rebel for the very first time, and, also for the first time, relieve her bowels... all over her mother's chest. =P  The nurse got Emily up and into her father's arms, and quickly started to clean me up and help me change into another (clean) gown.

Welcome to motherhood! lol

* This account is completely from my own recollection.  I was pretty out of it for awhile and not sure that I remembered the specifics particularly well... but I did what I could. =)

**  I did, in fact, NOT have a huge baby.  She weighed in at 7 lbs., 6 oz. and 21 inches long.  Perfect. =)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Emily Janette

Hey everyone!  Just wanted to post a quick update and let you all know that Emily Janette FINALLY made it on Monday at 6:47 pm.  It was a long labor (about 21 hours), but everything went smoothly in the end with only a few bumps and bruises along the way. =)  We are all home now and doing well.

More photos and the birth story are sure to come later!  For now, it's time to sleep and get accustomed to this unusual new lifestyle! =)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Still In There

I am still pregnant.

I am now four days past my due date.  I know that "most" first time mom's go past their due date, but I really didn't think that would be me.  At least, not four days.  I am a very punctual person... I assumed that my daughter would be as well.  And, as my cervix had gotten such rave reviews at my last Dr. appointment, I figured that it would have happened by now.

I'm feeling really sad and kind of depressed.  This waiting, anticipating, and thinking it's going to happen (only to find out that it's not) is really starting to effect me.  I have never been good with "surprises".  I am type A.  I worked off of a plan/schedule.  And my schedule has gotten all messed up.

On Friday morning I woke up at 2 am to contractions.  They were pretty mild (more uncomfortable than painful) and I clocked them at about 8 minutes apart.  I was able to catch some sleep off on and on until about 6 (waking up and clocking them every hour or so... always about 8-10 minutes apart).  I finally got up at about 6:00 thinking, 'Today is the day!"  I had a cup of tea, called my mom to let her know what was going on and then waited... for nothing.

By 7:30 or so they had completely disappeared.  I was pretty much heartbroken the rest of the day.  I went on another long walk hoping to get things moving again... but nothing.  My mom called me three times during the course of the day to check in.  And still, nothing.  I had several friends who "knew" that it was going to happen on Friday (even without hearing about my early morning experience) and they all checked in with me... only to hear a big, fat "Nope".

This is all just getting really frustrating.  And I know that the waiting/anticipation/false starts is having an effect on Jacob, too.  He brought up induction last night... something that he has been against.  I think, at this point, we are both just "ready".

Another reason that I'm feeling so down the longer it takes her to get here is that I know that the longer she takes, the less time that I'm going to have to spend with her before I have to go back to work.  I'm only taking 8 weeks before I go back part-time.  I have already been out for a full week.  I feel like it was wasted just sitting around my house waiting (and getting over ANOTHER icky cold).  It was hard enough thinking about dropping my daughter off at day care at 8 weeks... and now having to think of 6 or 7... I want some bonding time OUTSIDE of the womb.  I wish that she understood this, too...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

40 Weeks = Due Date!

Today is officially my due date!  I know that the majority of women don't give birth on this day, but I am a very punctual person, so I'm hoping that my daughter is, too! =) 

 Size of baby: According to Babyzone she's about the size of a watermelon... and I believe it!

Total Weight Gain/Loss:  +44... no weight gain from last week... hopefully this is it!

Maternity Clothes: Now that I'm on my maternity leave I can live in sweats and slippers... awesome! =)

Gender: It's a girl!

Movement: Still a lot of poking and prodding.  I'm forever pushing knees/elbows back into my belly. lol

What I miss: My husband.  Between him sleeping elsewhere because I'm snoring (apparently another lovely pregnancy symptom that no one told me about) and my not being able to get comfortable in any sort of "cuddling" position, I'm really missing him and any "closeness" that I really feel like I need at this stage.

Sleep: Sleep has been good.  Except now I have ANOTHER head cold... so we'll see how it goes tonight. =P

Symptoms: Pretty much same as last week... Braxton Hicks contractions, swollen fingers/legs/feet, some crampiness, aching hips/pelvic region, sore lower back, sore feet, and sporadic nerve pinching where my legs hit my torso.

Cravings:  Nothing out of the ordinary.  I've been kind of disappointed with this aspect of the pregnancy.  I really wanted to be able to tell my little one about the weird stuff that I wanted to eat while she was "baking". =)

Dr. Appointment:  During my cervical exam yesterday my Doc told me, "Nice job!".  =)  Apparently I have gone from 1.5 cm from last week to THREE this week (and 80% effaced)... meaning that shit could happen SOON!  I plan to get some stuff done around the house tomorrow and then try to go for a nice long walk. =)

Best Moment this week: Jacob and I went to a baby consignment sale this weekend... and didn't buy ANYTHING.  =)  I think we may be set... we didn't see anything that we felt we needed before the big day.  That's a nice feeling.

What I am looking forward to:  Meeting our daughter... and finally revealing the name to everyone.  It's been pretty touch of my family as they don't have much patience. lol

Monday, April 16, 2012

Baby Vacation

Today was my first official day of maternity leave.  How did I spend it?  Sick on the couch.  =(

What I thought were allergies yesterday has turned into a full blown head cold.  I am REALLY not happy about this.  I was JUST sick... and here it is even closer to my due date (tomorrow!) and I feel like crap again.  Woo!  =P

On another note, it was really weird to not be at work today... and to leave work on Friday knowing that I wasn't coming back until June.  I felt like a kid on the last day of school before summer vacation... and I haven't had a TRUE summer vacation since MAYBE high school.  I've always been either in school, working, or both.  It's really weird to just be sitting around the house waiting for "something" to happen.  I would have liked to be a bit more productive today, but, feeling as gross as I did I didn't get much (anything) done.  Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to do a few small tasks that I've been putting off.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Transcript Evaluation? Seriously?

I got my Master degree from a notable university in British Columbia... only about a 6 hour drive from where I now reside.  I BARELY had to cross the border to get there.  Not a big deal... right?

Apparently not so right if I want to someday (or soon?) get a job in the US where I actually need to present my degree as criteria for employment.  Apparently I need to get it evaluated by a US credential evaluation agency.

Has anyone out there in blog-land had to do this before?  Is there one agency that you all recommend over another?  Advice needed, please. =)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bookending the Pregnancy with Mongolian Grill

Last night Jacob and I had dinner at Chang's Mongolian Grill.  The dinner was fine (I ate spicy... you know... just hoping. lol).  But my fortune cookie at the end was really the highlight for me:

I'm assuming that by using the word "enjoy" that this means child birth will be OVER by the weekend and I'll be "enjoying" being a new parent. lol  I guess only time will tell. =)

Something I realized when we were leaving the restaurant though was that the last time we were there was the day before I found out that I was pregnant.  That fortune cookie had a good message for me, too!  =)  We have officially book-ended this pregnancy with Mongolian Grill. =)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

39 Weeks

  Size of baby: According to Babyzone she's about the size of a jackfruit (yup... no idea.)

Total Weight Gain/Loss:I am up FOUR pounds from last week... I don't know what the deal is.  But I do know that I seem to be retaining a LOT of water.  I don't even look like I have ankles anymore... just goes straight from calf to toe. lol 

Maternity Clothes: ... are even getting uncomfortable.  =(

Gender: It's a girl!

Movement: She's not kicking anymore really... but there is a lot of stretching/shifting/etc.  I am definitely getting some prods in the rib cage... which are not pleasant.

What I miss: Hiking/walking.  The last few days have been GORGEOUS and, after months of rain/wind/cold grossness I really want to get outside and DO things... but I can barely get two blocks without feeling like I'm going to die these days.

Sleep: Sleep has gotten SO much better!  I'm hoping that improved sleep is one of my body's pre-labor "tells". ;) 

Symptoms: Braxton Hicks contractions, swollen fingers/legs/feet, some crampiness, aching hips, sore lower back, sore feet, and sporadic nerve pinching where my legs hit my torso.  It's just a world of fun over here. =P

Cravings:  No real cravings to speak of this week.

Dr. Appointment:  Remember how the baby was "WAY low" last week?  Well, apparently she's even LOWER this week!  My Dr. said that I'm about 1.5 cm dilated and 60% effaced.  My cervix is still posterior though.  I want this little one to get OUT of me (she is running out of room!) so I hope that I continue to progress well over the course of the next week so that she's not TOO late (if late at all).

Best Moment this week: The weather was really nice this weekend.  Jacob was able to get a bunch of yard work done and I planted some seed starts for the vegetable garden this year.  It was nice to feel sunshine again! =)

What I am looking forward to:  Maternity Leave!  My last day of work is Friday!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

38 Weeks

  Size of baby: According to Babyzone she's about the length of a swiss chard.

Total Weight Gain/Loss:  +40... ok... I've reached the limit of what I was willing to gain for this pregnancy.  The baby either has to come before my next weigh in, or can't grow anymore! lol (As I write this I'm swallowing a big chunk of chocolate chip cookie... lol)

Maternity Clothes: Jacob told me yesterday that, if he were in my shoes, he'd be living in sweat pants and slippers right about now.  I'll tell you, that's EXACTLY where I'd like to be!  Damn professional office job! =)

Gender: It's a girl!

Movement: I think there is less "movement" but still a lot of poking and stretching and prodding at my insides.  Not comfy!

What I miss: Being able to bend at the waist.  I tried tying my own shoes for the first time in several weeks yesterday... it did not work well.  Looks like I'm sticking with my slip-ons!

Sleep: Sleep has been getting better since my cold started to clear up.  I think I only got up twice last night! 

Symptoms: Fingers swelling... I had to take off my wedding ring the other day for a few hours until my finger went back to normal size.  I don't like it!

Cravings:  No real cravings to speak of this week.

Dr. Appointment:  My doc told me yesterday that the baby was "WAY low".  So, I guess that's a good sign. =)  She also told me that my cervix is "WAY posterior" (She must really like that adjective).  I don't know what this means.  I mean, I know literally what it means, but I don't know what it means in terms of child birth, etc.   So far no real dilation to speak of though (she estimated about .5" at this point).  She did mention, though, that I did well with the exam.  She said that it's a good way to measure pain tolerance in terms of child birth/labor and, since I'm hoping to go at it naturally, that it says good things that I was ok with the pressure/discomfort from the exam.

Best Moment this week: Went shopping!  Went to a big consignment sale and bought a jogging stroller and some infant rattle/teething toys.  Then Jacob and I went to Target and got a bunch of the stuff that was left over on our registry that we wanted.  Thanks to our discount and all of the gift cards we received, we paid only $60 for $250 worth of stuff.  SOOO grateful for those gift cards!

What I am looking forward to:  Ummm... getting this thing OUT of me! lol  As much as I don't think I'm "ready" yet, I am definitely READY to have my body back.  I'd be ok going into labor right now!  *hint, hint*

Sunday, April 1, 2012


How many bottles should I have on hand?  My "plan" is to breastfeed for the first month, solely, and then switch between breast and bottle... but how many bottles should we have??

April Has Arrived!

Happy April everyone!

Usually I would be wishing you a happy "month"... but this month is particularly special.  This is the month that I become a MOTHER! 

Oh crap! lol

Sometime within the next three weeks (hopefully! I'm giving the little one a few days of tardiness with this estimate), I'm going to suddenly go into labor and (not so suddenly, lol) birth a child!  It just seems so weird and unreal. 

I feel ready in the regard that we have the "stuff" that we need (we think!) but I feel so very unready in the sense of having NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING!  Several times during the course of this pregnancy I've had the "what the hell have I gotten myself into?" thought.  (Tell me that I'm not alone here?).  As excited as I am to finally meet my daughter (so, so weird!) I'm really scared about being a parent.

Last night I gave myself a bit of a panic attack.  I Googled "what do contractions feel like?"  There were a lot of answers stating that it was going to feel like menstrual cramps (that continue to get worse), but one woman said that it felt like she need to have a bowel movement but nothing would come out.  Well, last night my stomach didn't agree with something that I ate.  I had a hard time sleeping as I was so "concerned" (as concerned as one can be while half asleep at 2 am) that I was going into labor. lol  In the back of my mind I knew that I wasn't (as I knew, pretty much, what the food product culprit was that I'd consumed) but I still had a bit of a panic attack.

Did my other mother friends feel anything like this in the final weeks?  What did you do to calm yourself down and/or get yourself "pumped" for the impending pain that would be child birth/parenting? lol