A Birth Story

I’ve been absent for a bit, as some who occasionally browse this blog may have noticed. Considering the prodigious number of posts I’ve done on the impending arrival of my new little man, you might be able to guess the reason for my absence.

Finally, finally, finally, after 42 weeks even of pregnancy, our man arrived February 22nd at 12:56 pm. He was 9 lbs 13 oz and 22 3/4 inches long. A big boy for sure! However, he was  (and is) completely and utterly perfect.

The big question now might be if I got my VBAC or not. Wow, well, where to begin with that story. The short answer might be disappointing – no, I did not get my VBAC. However, I’m not sad about it, as I might have thought I would be a few months ago (or even a few weeks ago).

This is how it all went down.

As I entered my February break from work still pregnant and went to my last prenatal appointment that Tuesday, I was pretty much at my breaking point emotionally. I felt like I was never going to go into labor naturally. I just wanted my baby in my arms. My OB gave me the option of scheduling a c-section for Friday and if I went into labor before then, then I could proceed with attempting my VBAC as planned. If I didn’t schedule a c-section for Friday then I’d have to schedule one for the following Monday.

After a lot of thought, I went ahead and scheduled a section for Friday. I was having tremendous amounts of anxiety and just felt that if I didn’t go into labor on my own by Friday it likely wasn’t going to happen before Monday.

Well, lo-and-behold, I went into labor on my own (a big achievement, in my mind, since I felt I might not be capable of going into labor by myself) Thursday night. I went in to the hospital at my scheduled time for my c-section, but explained that I had started labor and was hoping that we could see how things were going to progress and possible even let me go home. My OB was on board so long as I had another biophysical profile done to check on the status of the baby.

Well, while the baby seemed to be doing pretty well, he was still measuring very large and his amniotic fluid was super low. My OB was very firm in that she wanted me to have a c-section, almost to the point where I felt a bit betrayed by her 180 degree turn on the VBAC front. That said, I was starting to feel like a c-section might be the best course of action…under certain stipulations.

I wanted, if there was nothing immediately wrong with the baby, to have him given to me right away. No whisking the baby off to be vigorously dried off, poked and prodded, and wrapped up tight so there was a thick swaddling blanket between the two of us as my husband dangled him overhead. I wanted the baby passed to me, I wanted to take him in my arms, just as I would if he had been born naturally, and have him lain across my chest, skin to skin. My OB agreed.

Everything happened very quickly after that. I signed consent forms, had an IV put in, talked to anesthesiology, got prepped for surgery, met a variety of nurses and doctors, and in what felt like a matter of seconds (though it was really probably just a bit over an hour) was taken into the OR.

I felt okay until I came into the OR. It didn’t feel regret or anything, but the sudden gravity of what was about to happen hit me in full force. A mix of “Holy crap I’m about to have a baby” and “Holy crap they’re about to slice me wide open.” I shook. I shook hard. I asked repeatedly, as they gave me a spinal, laid me down on the operating table, felt my legs and abdomen go numb, where my husband was, when I’d get to see him, when he’d be with me. I needed his strength and comfort. I tried really hard not to cry.

But eventually the hubs arrived, took my hands, and tried to not show his own nerves. I felt so relieved with him beside me, especially at first, but as we started to wait for the baby’s arrival, my anxiousness started rise once again.

For one, I still had a cold. I had been getting these nasty colds on and off throughout my pregnancy (you may recall my brutal sinus infection at the very beginning), and this one wasn’t too bad, but it led to a really stuffy nose and a cough. Have you ever needed to cough while having a spinal? Really, really uncomfortable and weird. Between that and the stuffy nose I felt like I was having an asthma attack, but because my oxygen was fine, there really wasn’t anything they could do.

Eventually, however, it didn’t matter, because my doctor began to deliver our little boy. I didn’t get to see him right away, because, of course, that blue curtain was in the way, but a few moments later, the curtain was quickly lowered and my little one was thrust into my arms, bloody, squirming, and shrieking his head off. Perfect.

He lay atop my chest and started to relax, nestling into my arms, falling asleep. I cried as I kissed his surprisingly hairy little head and told him repeatedly, almost idiotically, how beautiful he was. I’ve never experienced natural birth, and now that I’ve had a second cesarean, I likely never will, but I know there is supposed to be high after you give birth. Maybe what I felt wasn’t the same, like I said, I’ll never know, but I was about as high as Mt. Freaking Everest in that moment, and trust me, it wasn’t the pain killers.

I got to hold my little man while the stitched me back up and got cleaned up. After a bit a nurse took him for just a moment to weight and measure him, then he was promptly returned to my arms and we were wheeled into recovery. Once in recovery I started to nurse him (a struggle at first, but now, nearly eight weeks later, we’re going strong) and bonding really began.

As I finish writing this (it’s taken me a few weeks, coming back and forth), I’m getting ready to start my last week of maternity leave. It’s been an amazing journey so far. I remember changing and learning a lot when E. was born (who, by the way, is an all star big sister), and the same is happening this time. I have learned so much about myself as a person and a mother. I am slowly coming to realize what is important, what my strengths are, and, most certainly, my weaknesses. Above all, I’ve come to see even more strongly, just how precious my little family is and how very lucky we are. I wouldn’t change it for anything and I’d happily do it all over again.

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Week 39

Week 39 (February 1 – February 8) 

Estimated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: I’ve been getting really crampy, as well as have more Braxton Hicks and the very rare (maybe two?) more painful contractions (but nothing too exciting). 

Body Changes: Achey hips and pelvis, and my baby belly has dropped 

Cravings: Peanut butter and chocolate, for a change; Raisin Bran!!

High Point:  Continuing to have a happy, healthy baby growing inside of me! 🙂

Low Point: I’m just tired, sore, and ready for this pregnancy to be over. What’s more, I was checked again and there wasn’t any change. Again, I know it’s incredibly foolish to care this much about the status of my cervix, but it’s hard to not take it to heart.  

What I did to prepare this week: Continuing to struggle to keep things organized and clean. 

Paranoid Moment: Every little thing feels like it could be labor, or prelabor or SOMETHING, but ends up not. Very frustrating and disappointing and it puts me on edge.

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say: 

“Your baby’s waiting to greet the world! He continues to build a layer of fat to help control his body temperature after birth, but it’s likely he already measures about 20 inches and weighs a bit over 7 pounds, a mini watermelon. (Boys tend to be slightly heavier than girls.) The outer layers of his skin are sloughing off as new skin forms underneath.”

37 Weeks – Full Term!!

Week 37 (January 18 – 25) 

Estimated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: I’ve been getting really crampy, as well as have more Braxton Hicks. AND my first real contraction!

Body Changes: Achey hips and pelvis, and my baby belly has dropped 

Cravings: Peanut butter and chocolate, for a change

High Point:  I had a really lovely surprise baby shower at work this past week. It was put on by some great co-workers who brought in cake and other tasty refreshments. I received some really sweet gifts for the baby and was especially pleased to get lots of clothes in the 6-12 month range, because I’m really lacking in that department! I felt so welcome and loved, especially since this is my first year working at this school.

Low Point: I had another appointment with my OB this week, and while everything was great, she “checked” me again and nothing had changed, even after having a real contraction. I know that the state of my cervix really has nothing to do with the ability to predict when I’ll go into labor, but I was hoping for some sort of change, especially since so little happened when I was in labor with E. I’ll admit, I was bumming pretty hard.

What I did to prepare this week: More cleaning and organizing. It’s a challenge to keep on top of everything lately because I’m super tired and I have a husband and kid. It’s not to say they aren’t wonderful and big helps in their own way, because they most certainly are, but they’re not the cleanest bunch 🙂

Paranoid Moment: I’m very much at the same point I was with E. when I was pregnant with her, where everything could be a possible indicator of something wrong. I’m not harping as badly as I was when I was pregnant with E. (mostly because I’m working this time around and have things to occupy my mind), but I still worry more than I characteristically would. 

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say:

“Your baby is now considered “full term,” even though your due date is three weeks away. If you go into labor now, his lungs will likely be mature enough to fully adjust to life outside the womb. (Some babies need a bit more time, though. So if you’re planning to have a repeat c-section, for example, your practitioner will schedule it for no earlier than 39 weeks unless there’s a medical reason to intervene earlier.)

Your baby weighs 6 1/3 pounds and measures a bit over 19 inches, head to heel (like a stalk of Swiss chard). Many babies have a full head of hair at birth, with locks from 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches long. But don’t be surprised if your baby’s hair isn’t the same color as yours. Dark-haired couples are sometimes thrown for a loop when their children come out as blonds or redheads, and fair-haired couples have been surprised by Elvis look-alikes. And then, of course, some babies sport only peach fuzz.”

The Official List (Hospital Bag Edition)

Last month I wrote a bit about my experience staying at the hospital after E. was born and some of the stuff I really, really wished I had with me. After much thought and some actual packing (and having to dig out my HUGE suitcase that has

been living at my parents for the last six or so years), I’ve got the list. 

Now, keep in mind, I am the ultimate over packer. I really dislike being without, and, if for whatever reason, I’m stuck at the hospital for more than a couple of days, I’m going to be very grumpy if I don’t have everything I think I’ll need. That said, should I not use even half of what I pack, that’s totally okay with me. 

So, here’s the list: 

Wallet

Cell/Charger

Blackberry/Charger

Nook/Charger

Deodorant (buy travel size)

Toothbrush (buy spare)

Toothpaste  (buy travel size)

Brush

Makeup

Lip balm

Hair elastics

Hair clip

Shampoo/conditioner (buy travel size)

Ratty t-shirt for labor

Bathing suit top for labor in tub/shower

Bathrobe

Jammies

  • Night gown
  • Pants and top
  • More pants and top

Pair of socks

Nursing bra

Roomy underwear

Snacks

Pillow with pillowcase

Notepad (buy)

Pen/Pencil

Going home outfit

  • Black sweats or yoga pants
  • Comfortable top

Shampoo/body wash for Mike

Jammies for Mike

Swim trunks for Mike

Changes of clothes for Mike

  • Two pairs of pants
  • Three shirts
  • Three pairs of underwear
  • Socks

Sleep sacks for baby x3

Going home outfit for baby

Receiving blanket

Boppy pillow

Nursing cover

Cloth diapers

Nipple cream

Doula gift(s) (gift card/certificates to Beth’s Kitchen and something else…)

(I apologize for the weirdo formatting – this is what happens when you copy and past from Word, apparently.) So that’s all of it. The clothes take up the most space, but I wanted to have something clean to change into each day, especially if I end up having another c-section. I also wanted the hubs to have access to come clean and comfy clothes, too, since he’ll be hanging around the hospital with me and sleeping there as well. 

And, despite the apparent simplicity of it, I did put a lot of thought into that going home outfit for me. I wanted something basic, but also not totally schleppy looking. I’m obviously not going to try to look like a movie star, but I want to feel put together as well as comfortable. 

I found when putting this list together that there were a lot of little things and a lot of stuff I didn’t just have on hand, particularly the travel size stuff. As I’ve packed my bag I’ve added things slowly over the last couple of weeks. I just bought, for example, the travel size shampoo/conditioner and deodorant during our last trip to Target. I had to set aside just the right kind of undies each time I did laundry. And I haven’t even come close to packing the electronics, and those likely won’t go into the hospital bag until we’re ready to go. It’s definitely not a trip you can pack for all at one time! 

And, a note on snacks. I’ll be honest, I haven’t even asked my OB or the hospital when we did our tour last week about their policy regarding eating during labor. I plan on feigning (sort of) ignorance. Because, I will eat. And what did I choose for snacks? So far, I grabbed three different of granola bars and a box of pineapple popsicles when I went grocery shopping last week. I may add to my small collection when I grocery shopping next Friday, but I’m actually pretty happy with what I have for now. The granola bars, I think, will be good early on in labor, when I will want something more substantial and the popsicles will be nice when labor is more intense and I might want something more filling than water, but still light. 

What’s going (or has gone) in your hospital bag? 

Week 34

Week 34 (December 28 – January 4) 

Estimated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: I’ve been getting really crampy, as well as have more Braxton Hicks. Also, breast tenderness has resurfaced.

Body Changes: Achey hips and pelvic joints

Cravings: Carby carb carb carbs

High Point:  The hubs brought home a box of baby clothes from a friend at his work. It was so nice to add some cute little outfits to our collection. I think we’ve got everything we need now, at least for the first few months. I also got a ton of cleaning and organizing done New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. It felt amazing to get everything straightened out just the way I wanted it.

Low Point: I went back to work on the 2nd, and while that was nice, I felt like my entire body had been beaten with a bat when I got home. Not a good feeling. Thankfully subsequent work days haven’t been as bad.

What I did to prepare this week: Tons and tons and tons of cleaning and organizing. My mom came over and helped me get my kitchen in order (and did an amazing job cleaning out my rather disgusting fridge). That was Monday. On Tuesday, I put away baby clothes, organized cloth diapers, got my bedroom set up to accomadate the co-sleeper, whenever we go out to buy that, started packing my hospital bag, organized E.’s toys and cleaned up her room, cleaned my bathrooms, scrubbed the living daylights out of my stove, and pretty much did up the whole house. I’d love to get some dusting done this coming weekend…

Paranoid Moment: I’m doing okay here.

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say: “Your baby now weighs about 4 3/4 pounds (like your average cantaloupe) and is almost 18 inches long. Her fat layers — which will help regulate her body temperature once she’s born — are filling her out, making her rounder. Her skin is also smoother than ever. Her central nervous system is maturing and her lungs are continuing to mature as well. If you’ve been nervous about preterm labor, you’ll be happy to know that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks who have no other health problems generally do fine. They may need a short stay in the neonatal nursery and may have a few short-term health issues, but in the long run, they usually do as well as full-term babies.”

Week 33

Week 33 (December 21 – December 28) 

Estimated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: I’ve been getting really crampy, as well as have more Braxton Hicks. Also, breast tenderness has resurfaced.

Body Changes: Achey hips and pelvic joints

Cravings: Carby carb carb carbs

High Point:  Christmas came and went, and it was lovely. I couldn’t help but think (and hear from lots of people) that this time next year we’d have another little one to shower with love and junk amazing gifts. It has been hard to believe that this was our last holiday season as a family of three.

Low Point: It’s been smooth sailing here.

What I did to prepare this week: I got a really super awesome gift of a TON of cloth diapers (this brand, specifically) from my mom and dad. I also got to officially open my gifts from the hub’s grandparents, my Boppy pillow and some bottles. It was exciting to finally take home a substantial amount of baby gear!

Paranoid Moment: Paranoia manifested itself very differently this pregnancy versus my last. With E., I was constantly afraid something horrible was wrong with her. It got ridiculous, actually, and I blame a lot of that on my watching waaaaay too much Law and Order: SVU. This time around, I’m confident that the baby will be very healthy and totally fine, but I’m having a hard time doing things like driving places and not worrying about possible risks to myself, my daughter, and husband. I go through spouts where I’m afraid something terrible will happen to one of us and it’s almost immobilizing. It’s only been recently that I’ve realized this is probably my late pregnancy paranoia setting in and will clear within a few weeks to a month or so after the baby is born (just like it did with E.). For now I just have to ignore that nagging voice in my head.

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say: “This week your baby weighs a little over 4 pounds (heft a pineapple) and has passed the 17-inch mark. He’s rapidly losing that wrinkled, alien look and his skeleton is hardening. The bones in his skull aren’t fused together, which allows them to move and slightly overlap, thus making it easier for him to fit through the birth canal. (The pressure on the head during birth is so intense that many babies are born with a conehead-like appearance.) These bones don’t entirely fuse until early adulthood, so they can grow as his brain and other tissue expands during infancy and childhood.”

Week 32

Week 32 (December 14 – December 21) 

Estimated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: The babe is starting to do those twisty movements where I feel like my entire belly is shifting position. I’ve also been getting really crampy, as well as have more Braxton Hicks.

Body Changes: Achey hips and pelvic joints

Cravings: Carby carb carb carbs

High Point:  We had many lovely festivities at school and then Christmas break began! And I had a lovely appointment with my midwives in Bridgton. As always, it went well.

Low Point: Things have been cruising along nicely, and other than starting to feel a wee bit crampy (like, menstrual cramps), things have been good. I have been worrying that the cramps could be an indicator of early labor, but so far so good.

What I did to prepare this week: While I am very much aware of my pregnancy, Christmas has overshadowed a lot.

Paranoid Moment: None that I can think of.

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say: “By now, your baby weighs 3.75 pounds (pick up a large jicama) and is about 16.7 inches long, taking up a lot of space in your uterus. You’re gaining about a pound a week and roughly half of that goes right to your baby. In fact, she’ll gain a third to half of her birth weight during the next 7 weeks as she fattens up for survival outside the womb. She now has toenails, fingernails, and real hair (or at least respectable peach fuzz). Her skin is becoming soft and smooth as she plumps up in preparation for birth.”

Baby Prepping

 

So, at some point I might post pictures from our Christmas, but my brain moves fast lately and as soon as dear old St. Nick laid his head down to rest after the big night on Monday into Tuesday, the gears started turning towards the next big event in our life. 

E.’s fifth birthday. (Trust me, it’s already crossed my mind, a mere five months ahead of time.) 

The arrival of the baby. 

So, post Christmas, here’s what’s left on my Must Have/Would Really, Really Like to Have List: 

An Arms Reach Co-Sleeper

I’ve officially decided that we’re going to get, somehow, someway, the Convertible Mini, because it’s smaller and less expensive. Apparently the weight limit is 30 lbs., but considering E. just hit 40 lbs. at 4.5 years old, then that weight limit is more than enough. 

I also have a few smaller things that need to be purchased, like bottles (we only have three), baby shampoo, and, yep, I’m gonna say it, nipple cream. But really, they aren’t huge things, and it’s stuff, other than the bottles, maybe, that I can add to my grocery list and pick up a little bit every couple of weeks. 

I’m not worried. 

The next big project I have for the next few weeks is my hospital bag. Well, actually, hospital suitcase. Because I don’t know for sure how long I’ll be at the hospital and because home isn’t as conveniently located as it was with my daughter (45 minutes vs. 5 minutes), I need to think really carefully about how and what I’m going to pack. 

The biggest help in this process? Pinterest (link is to my “In My Hospital Bag” board). I love that site, because I can be an equally verbal and visual communicator. I like pictures and then the captions underneath are like the icing on top. 

Anywho, off the top of my head, these are the things I know I MUST have in my bag, because I didn’t have them last time and it suuuuuucked

  • A couple of pairs of my own jammies

  • Hair clips (purchased some today) and hair elastics

  • Shampoo and conditioner

  • Razor

  • Make-up

  • Snacks, for both labor and during the hospital stay

     

     

 

I do have other things on the list, particularly baby pertinent items (you know, like clothes and stuff) and items for labor, but these were the most important for me to remember, because, like I said, I didn’t have them last time, and, honestly, I probably wouldn’t think of packing these things without thinking about it ahead of time. 

But why do I have all these little beauty product items? Because, after you push a multi-pound baby out of your va-jay-jay or are gutted like a farm animal up for slaughter, you kind of feel and look like…crap. Or I did, at least. When I got to the hospital to have my daughter I already felt crappy (and you would too, at ten days over due) and gross – forget how I felt after a c-section and four day hospital stay. I was stuck using hospital shampoo and conditioner, a cheap-o razor, and a piddly travel brush to get myself back to human status post-birth. And then I put on the clothes I came to the hospital in. 

I’m not doing that again, no thank you! 

So, while I will be haggard and exhausted after this little guy comes around, I know I will feel better for having my own shampoo and conditioner, a decent razor, and some make-up (I should add to my list above a cute buy comfy going home outfit for me). 

As for the jammies, snacks, and hair stuff – 1.) You want your own clothes. Johnnies are not cute, not comfy, and way too revealing no matter what the situation. I’m packing a ratty t-shirt for labor and delivery (because that’s going to be a throw-away afterwards), and then a couple comfy pairs of my favorite jammies. 2.) I plan on eating as I please during labor, though of course, I’m going to try to pick items that will help boost my energy, more than anything else. I pinned some ideas on my Pinterest board. 3.) Believe it or not, I did not bring hair elastics with me to the hospital. My hair was a mess the whole time, got in my face, drove me nuts. And it was a totally gross rats’ nest after delivery, too, and stayed that way until I went home. Not happening this time. In fact, I’m thinking of asking one my best friends to come in and French braid my hair for me after the baby comes, so it’s out of my way, but looks nice (and I can get away with sleeping in it for a couple of days). 

And, speaking of hair, in addition to buying some hair clips and elastics today, I also got my hair done, because it needed it and I’ve vowed to not go into the hospital looking like a total slob. 

Whatcha think?

Image

It so, so needed to be done and feels so, so much better! I’m totally ready to have another baby, right? 

Week 31

Week 31 (December 7 – December 14) 

Estimated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: The babe is starting to do those twisty movements where I feel like my entire belly is shifting position

Body Changes: Achey hips and pelvic joints

Cravings: Carby carb carb carbs

High Point:  An extra long weekend due to a snow storm on Monday and a personal day on Tuesday. Purpose of the personal day? I had an ultrasound in the Big City – the last one, presumably – before the boy gets here. Everything went well and looked good, except for one minor thing (see below)…

Also, I got to go out to dinner with my daddy afterward. Always a plus 🙂

Low Point: It’s really not that big of a deal, but that silly baby boy wouldn’t turn around! We didn’t get any good views of his face or profile because he was back-to the whole time. Luckily we got great views of him during the last ultrasound, so there aren’t any worries, it was just a bummer. I also didn’t get any pictures of him! I’d take pics of his little fetus behind over nothing at all!

What I did to prepare this week:  Christmas prep has totally taken over!!

Paranoid Moment: None that I can think of.

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say: “This week, your baby measures over 16 inches long. He weighs about 3.3 pounds (try carrying four navel oranges) and is heading into a growth spurt. He can turn his head from side to side, and his arms, legs, and body are beginning to plump out as needed fat accumulates underneath his skin. He’s probably moving a lot, too, so you may have trouble sleeping because your baby’s kicks and somersaults keep you up. Take comfort: All this moving is a sign that your baby is active and healthy.”

Week 30!

Week 30 (November 30 – December 7) 

Estimated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: Braxton-Hicks and lots and lots of movement!

Body Changes: Growing a belly and more milk production

Cravings: Carby carb carb carbs

High Point:  E. attended her sibling class. It was a neat class and totally appropriate for a four year old, especially since it involved E. getting to play with her very own baby doll. They talked about how carefully hold baby brother or sister, discussed how babies demand a lot of attention from mommy and daddy, and that big brothers and sisters can be great helpers and that their parents still love them every bit as they always have. E. really liked it and I think it helped her have a slightly better idea of what it to expect when her brother finally arrives. 

Low Point: Overall, this was a pretty great week.

What I did to prepare this week:  The sibling class was pretty much it.

Paranoid Moment: None that I can think of.

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say: “Your baby’s about 15.7 inches long now, and she weighs almost 3 pounds (like a head of cabbage). A pint and a half of amniotic fluid surrounds her, but that volume will decrease as she gets bigger and takes up more room in your uterus. Her eyesight continues to develop, though it’s not very keen; even after she’s born, she’ll keep her eyes closed for a good part of the day. When she does open them, she’ll respond to changes in light but will have 20/400 vision — which means she can only make out objects a few inches from her face. (Normal adult vision is 20/20.)”