Monday, March 30, 2009

Here's What Happened: Part 2

I think it was about 2:30 pm when we got to the hospital. They decided to conservatively estimate my water breakage as happening at midnight the night before. Therefore I was given a scant two hours to go into labor on my own.

My folks had already been on their way down when we called them from the delivery room so it didn't take them the full hour to arrive. Mr. b and Kirk went back home with Papa to prepare two overnight bags: one for Kirk and one for me. My mom stayed with me. Not that I was worried about having the baby on my own. I just was bored and didn't have so much as a magazine to read! We decided that since I still had another half hour before my deadline that we would walk the halls of the maternity ward and see if that could kick start things. It was weird reminiscing about how things had been laid out when I had Kirk (they were undergoing major remodeling then). I was actually sort of creeped out by the floor. I didn't want to have to hear anyone screaming during their deliveries. Thankfully it was pretty empty then. But every time we passed the doors to the caesarian surgery theater I had to suppress a shudder. I've never been knocked out for anything - heck, I even have all my wisdom teeth - and I've certainly never been cut open. I suppose if it was an emergency I'd get over my hang-up in a hurry but it definitely weirded me out.

I was also a bit freaked out by the prospect of having pitocin. I had never heard anything but horror stories about how it makes everything hurt so much more. So at about 4:30 my time was up and I was going to have to get an IV, thereby tying me to the bed for the rest of the ordeal. I asked the nurse about pitocin as she was trying valiantly to find a vein for the IV (she ended up with the back of my right hand - same spot as for Kirk's delivery). Apparently it's not that it makes labor hurt more. It's that it makes the contractions come on faster and stronger. Seems like a pretty fine distinction to me. But she also assured me that they administer the hormone in stages and that often it doesn't take much to kick start the body into action on its own.

They also put me on antibiotics again. With Kirk it was because I hadn't had the Strep B test yet. Well, we did that early this time and I knew I was negative. But since it had been 18 hours since the presumptive breaking of my sack of waters they wanted to just be on the safe side. Not that it mattered to me; I already had the IV in so just adding something else to it really didn't make any difference.

I definitely started to feel contractions by 5:30pm but they weren't really anything major yet. By this point the boys had returned and I was still able to actively converse. And I was hungry, having missed lunch, but they wouldn't let me eat much of anything. I had some jell-o and some graham crackers, some 7-Up and some water. I had a fetal monitor as well as a contraction monitor strapped to me and I had a button to push every time I felt the girl move. She was pushing her butt out against my right ribs with each contraction. I could actually sense her moving lower by where her butt was hitting!

My parents left with Kirk at about 6:15 pm. I was starting to have to actually focus as each contraction came, though I was still fine in between. They were definitely picking up speed though. The nurse had only turned the pitocin up once so I guess my body had picked up the slack on its own. My cervix had been checked back when I first was admitted and I was only dilated to like 3 cm and barely effaced at all. Since my amniotic sack had been broken they didn't want to check again for a while and so waited until 7 pm. By then the labor hurt. A lot. So I was beyond dismayed to learn that I was only at frickin' 4 cm. I couldn't believe that shit. The news that I was also 100% effaced didn't make me feel better at all. The nurse asked if I wanted to have nubain and I quickly agreed. Frankly I didn't see how it was going to do me any good if I still had six centimeters to go!

I felt very tripped out when the nubain hit my system. I don't remember there being such an obvious drug effect when I had it during Kirk's labor. But it helped. Instead of the pain of each contraction being stabby, it was more rounded. Most definitely still there but somehow less intense. I was able to relax somewhat. Mr. b asked what he could do and I just had him pet me: rub my back, rub my head and neck, smooth my hair. He crawled up onto the bed and snuggled against my back. Because by this point the girl was low enough they couldn't pick her up via the fetal monitor with me laying on my back. I was laying on my left side and Mr. b was spooning me.

And then something happened. I can only describe it as feeling the way that a snapped rubber band sounds. And then I was bearing down. I jabbed frantically at the bedside call button and shouted, "Something changed!"

My theory is that I went from 4 cm to the full 10 cm in an instant.

My own memory is hazy here. Mr. b says there were millions of nurses suddenly in the room, all discussing what was happening. They helped me roll onto my back and got my legs up into pushing position. There was no chance of finding the girl's heartbeat so I just pushed. And pushed. And pushed. I didn't think I could keep going. I had no strength left for another push until I heard Mr. b assure me that she was almost out. One more push and I felt her head come through and the rest of her body slide out. I heard her cry. It had been maybe five minutes, if that.

My doctor didn't make it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Here's What Happened: Part 1

My water broke.

See, that just sounds so dramatic, doesn't it? You get a vision of a complete flood of fluid gushing out and making a mess. And maybe that's true for some women. For me it was more like a slow leak. And I didn't even pay any attention to it for hours. I had noted to myself that it was definitely a damp night. But since the doctor had just checked me out on that Monday and confirmed it was not amniotic fluid I just didn't really pay much attention. Saturday mornings are my designated sleep-in day of the weekend and I wasn't about to give up that extra sack time.

Mr. b had a hair cut appointment at Noon so I did finally get up and get dressed - showered and everything! - before we all left. I had planned to have a nice afternoon hanging out with Kirk in Dinkytown. We dropped Mr. b off and walked down to the bookstore that has kitties and puppies and birds and fishies as residents. I figured we could browse for a while and then get some lunch. But Kirk decided to be a royal jerk instead. After several stern talkings-to that made no difference, I finally dragged him outta there while he was screaming, "I wanna be nice! I wanna be nice!" So we set off on a brisk walk around the block to get him to calm down. My folks called while we were walking (Kirk was still alternating between, "I don't like you, Mama!" and "I wanna be nice!") to check up on me but I was frankly too focused on the bratty three year old by my side and blew them off. Kirk finally calmed down after several blocks and we made our way back to the hair place.

Mr. b's haircut was nearly done so we decided to just wait there. Kirk asked to use the bathroom and since preggos have to go all the time, too, I took the opportunity to pee as long as I was in there with him. And that's when I noticed that the discharge was sort of pinkish.

I got on the phone and called my insurance company's nurse line to ask if amniotic fluid was pink. The answer was, "It can be." So then I had to try to get a hold of my doctor. Of course my clinic's phone system is being upgraded and it was offline that weekend. The answering service took my message and all we could do was wait. But I didn't feel in the least bit like I was about to go into labor. We walked over to Mr. b's old cafe and got drinks, joking with his former employees that I was going to be having the baby that day. We figured that we'd just start heading towards the hospital. Doc called when we had just started out and suggested the same thing: just head to the hospital. They can confirm if it's really amniotic fluid or not.

When we got to the hospital, same place I delivered Kirk, I still had my unfinished chai in hand. We calmly walked into the emergency room and I stated that I needed to find out if my water had broken or not. With Kirk I was fully in labor at that point and don't really remember the bureaucracy we dealt with there. We just walked ourselves up to the maternity ward this time and I stated the same thing when we arrived. All while still working on my chai. They got us a room and I changed into a hospital gown. I had had one single contraction during the drive up and nothing since then. Kirk thought it was just neat to be at a doctor place where he wasn't the patient.

Our nurse went through all the various questions that I guess they have to ask for this process. He was pretty funny about them so it was quick and easy. He did dismiss my boys while he took the sample for testing. And the verdict was: I was going to be having a baby. It was indeed amniotic fluid and therefore the sterile environment was breached and the baby was coming out. Period.

I felt rather bewildered by all this. I mean, aren't you supposed to, I don't know, actually be going into labor when that sort of pronouncement is made? Everything was pretty much the exact opposite of how it went down with Kirk. Well, once again we laughed off the ridiculous idea of having a birth plan and once again we didn't have an overnight bag prepared but everything else was completely different. I had called my parents back on the drive to the hospital to ask them if they could come get Kirk depending on the results of the test. So I called them once again to confirm that Mom is indeed psychic and I was having the baby and Kirk would need someplace to stay.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Boob Barnacle

I'm kind of perplexed by breast feeding. The actual nursing seems to be going fine. Veronica gained another two and a half ounces as of her Monday check-up. We'll have one more weight check next Monday and then we should be able to get on the normal well baby visits schedule.

My boobs are definitely heavy with milk. I haven't had any kind of painful engorgement to deal with, thankfully, but there's certainly no shortage of boobie juice for the girl. And yet I can't get anything from pumping. It's very frustrating. My sister loaned me her pump and it seems to be a good one and yet I'm only getting about an ounce of milk. Per day. Both boobs combined. I tried using the manual pump yesterday and it was the same results. I had a rental hospital pump with Kirk and that thing worked great. And I don't remember it making my nipples so sore afterwards either. I'm going to have to figure something out by the time I go back to work or else I'll be forced to wean just by dint of having my supply dry up.

Mr. b tried bottle feeding Ronnie for the first time Tuesday night. I thought it seemed like a good idea until he was actually doing it. I was appalled at how pathetic the fridge supply of milk was after all the pumping I had done. I was horrified at how quickly it was gone. And I felt utterly useless. My sole purpose has been to feed this child and I felt like my only job had been taken away from me. I sulked in the bedroom all night.

I'm certainly not afraid of formula. But with Kirk he was on both breast and bottle, both milk and formula from literal day one. So I never had the mental paradigm shift to handle. That's just how things were. Mr. b and I split the nights into shifts and took turns. He also had a different job then which allowed him to often be home during the day on occasion. So it felt like more of a team effort. Now it feels like it's just me. Which is both stressful and also great. Kirk hasn't wanted his mama for months now so at least this gives me something to do. But it's also wreaking havoc with the crazy post-partum hormone emotion roller coaster.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sleep, Eat, Poop

The biggest difference between Ronnie and Kirk so far is that she's nursing. Kirk was nearly a pound smaller and just didn't have the sucking reflex down at all. Plus since he was in the Level II nursery for a week I never got a chance to really spend time figuring it out with him. It was all about measurable amounts of fluid, breast milk or formula, to get him to gain weight. So it was kind of weird to have Ronnie in the hospital room with me and to be released before the full 48 hours were even up.

However, she's still small so jaundice is a very real issue. She's definitely yellowish in her face and halfway down her chest. Her extremities remain pink. But she's eating well and has been pooping the real breast fed baby poop instead of just the newborn meconium so the bilirubin is definitely being expunged. Just not as fast as we might like.

The homecare nurse came to check us out on Wednesday and found that Ronnie had dropped down to 5 pounds 8 ounces. She was down to 5lb 11oz when we left the hospital, and a weight drop is completely normal, but this was only 1 ounce off from the 10% birth weight benchmark. So the nurse suggested we bump up our first well baby visit to Thursday instead of next week. Ronnie was back up to 5lb 10oz at the clinic but who knows if that's because she had just eaten and she was totally hungry the day before. Either way, her weight is looking good and she's already grown a half inch in height. The doc wanted to have her blood checked though and get a bilirubin count. Since she was on the edge of intermediate and high levels, we took her in again this morning for the same blood work. This time it dropped, only very slightly, but at least it didn't go up. Jaundice apparently peaks on day 4 or 5 after birth so again, that all lines up. Doc decided that she should be fine over the weekend and doesn't need to have any UV treatment. At least it would have been an at-home option (they have some kind of a psychedelic light blanket now) so it's not like we would have had to take her in or anything. He'll check her out again on Monday.

Basically the weekend plan is lots of boobie milk and laying in patches of sunshine whenever possible. Nursing is very sweet but man alive do my nipples take a beating. Ronnie hasn't settled into any kind of feeding pattern yet so it's pretty much every 2 hours no matter what. She's gone as long as 4 hours between sessions but then she's also had at least one cluster feeding every day where she wants to eat about every 30 minutes for a good 2 to 3 hours. Those seem to be happening in the middle of the night so I need to start going to bed earlier just to combat that insanity. We'll figure it out. Strangely, all the trouble I had with Kirk is benefitting me now. I already knew about various techniques for latching her on, breaking the seal, getting her to swallow, and on and on. Only this time I can put that knowledge to use. I'll start pumping next week and then Mr. b can take some of the feedings. He's been awesome, changing all the diapers and doing nearly all of the Kirk care. But I know he wishes he could do more.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Veronica Annette was born at 7:56pm on March 7th, 2009. She weighed 6 pounds 1 ounce and measured 18 and 1/4 inches long.


Friday, March 06, 2009

36 Weeks 5 Days

As of today I am officially more pregnant than I've ever been before. This is all new territory from here.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Silver Lining

OK, I've just been bitching non-stop of late so now here are some positives. Last night I didn't have a single contraction! Of course I still woke up to pee...but it was nice to not have to deal with any pains before falling back to sleep. In fact, since Monday afternoon I've really been feeling pretty darn good. Nothing at all like late last week or this weekend. That was truly miserable. I have zero clue what changed though. Was it psychological after my check-up? Did it take that long to "recover" from the barometric pressure shift? I know I've been told by women that have gone overdue that they hit a point late in their pregnancy where they stop feeling like hell and just sort of become resigned to their fate or something. Maybe my body went past its own internal due date and that's what happened to me? Honestly, anybody's guess is as good. I got nuthin'.

I do suspect that next week *could* be it since there's another weather system moving in and it's a full moon on the 11th. We'll see. Every day the little girl keeps cooking is a better chance that we'll avoid the Level II nursery this time.

I've also been blessed with the absence of two common pregnancy plagues: swelling and stretch marks. My legs have just the slightest bit of swelling but its really only enough to give me sock marks. I haven't had to deal with my shoes not fitting or my rings getting stuck on my fingers or anything like that. And I continue to be free of stretches on my belly. I escaped them with Kirk, too. Of course that could just be karma since I got plenty of nasty ones on the tops of my thighs when I put on considerable post-college weight thanks to an unexpected metabolism change. But I'll take it!

Monday, March 02, 2009

...Signifying Nothing

Nada. That’s how much more I’ve dilated since my last appointment. I must admit, I was pretty shocked. But New Doc explained that even though I’ve been having lots of contractions, they’re not steady enough or big enough to do much of anything. That makes sense but it sure doesn’t make me any less uncomfortable.

My extreme hunger has caused me to gain another three pounds, too.

The most interesting part of my visit this morning was all the checks that New Doc did to ensure that everything is on track and that the baby is safe and healthy. I made Mr. b go with me, just in case I got sent to the hospital, because I thought that I had leaked a tiny bit of amniotic fluid yesterday morning. It was certainly different than the usual discharge I’ve been used to seeing by this point. A few years back a friend started leaking when she was around 34 weeks but the baby’s head effectively blocked the leak and her water didn’t fully break so I knew that was a possibility. So first New Doc got out his little portable ultrasound and checked to make sure there were still lots of visible pockets of fluid. Check. Then he used a sterile, plastic speculum to take a look and visually confirm there were no leaks. Check. Then he used a litmus paper to check the pH of the vaginal sample and confirm it wasn’t fluid. Check. (Vag stuff is acid and amniotic fluid is basic. Chemistry is neat.)

So I continue to wait. And grin and bear it when the contractions come, knowing that nothing’s actually happening. I made my 37 week and 38 week appointments just now. We’ll see if I make it to either of them.