Monday, January 31, 2011

The Arrival of Lachlan Alexander

I've been dreaming about writing my birth story for the last 9 months and now that I sit here ready to document one of the greatest moments of my life, I struggle at remembering all the little details and describing the intense emotions I hoped to have in my story.

I woke up Tuesday, January 25th at 5am feeling like perhaps I had wet myself. I continued to have a leak and when Morgan woke up, I told him that my water may have broke, but that there is a chance that I was just peeing myself. I called my midwife asking for advice and she said to hang out awhile and that it was likely my membranes that had ruptured. She said that I should start feeling contractions sometime within 12 hours from the time they ruptured. She said if I needed to, I could come in to have them test my fluids to see if it was indeed my amniotic fluid or that I could wait it out and come in around 4pm, which was approx 12 hours from when my waters broke, to see if a) I was starting to have contractions and go into labor on my own or b) test my fluids if I was not in labor.

We sat around the house all day hoping that contractions would start on their own so that I would not have to be induced with Pitocin. In the sense that I was anxiously awaiting for contractions, time went by so slow that day.. but it also seemed like my time to go into labor was quickly passing me by. 330 pm came around and I wasn't having any worthwhile contractions so we finalized our bags and headed off to the hospital not knowing what to expect.

We went to the 4th floor which is the triage/high risk floor and we waited for Anne to come into the room. She came in and explained that there were a series of tests that she would do to determine whether my fluids were from my waters breaking. She started with a physical exam where she looked at my cervix to see if she could see any pooling and the testing basically stopped there. Just by looking, she knew that my waters had ruptured. All I could do at that point is take a deep breath. She did the other exams as well and they confirmed what she already knew - I was going to have a baby. I started crying and expressed my concern and worry to her that my birth plan and my vision of welcoming my son into this world was crushed. I was terrified of Pitocin and have read my fair share of horror stories on what being induced can do to your body and your overall labor experience. She talked me through my worries and said that all we can really do is wait and see how my body takes to the Pitocin.

We packed up our belongings and were taken to our room, room 513 and it hit me like a wall of brick. Holy crap, this was really happening, by the time I left that room, I would have a baby in my arms. We sat on the couch in the room and it was obvious that both Morgan and I were nervous and anxious for what was to come. Anne said that she wanted me to have some dinner before they started my Pitocin so I ordered some "room service" and ate some french toast, turkey sausage and strawberries.

I finished my dinner and we waited for Anne to finish delivering another baby before starting my Pitocin. I laid there in the bed anticipating what was to come for at least an hour before 7:25 hit when they started my Pitocin.

So, at 7:25 p.m. they started my Pitocin. We didn't have arrangements for pet care if I were to actually be in labor, so Morgan left to pick up our friend Timmy to take to our house to watch the animals. We figured that things would progress really slowly so it was no big deal to have him leave and come back. He got back to the hospital around 8:30 or 8:45 and I told him that I had only had a few minor contractions but that they just felt menstrual-like. By 9:30 p.m. I was in pain. I went to pee and sitting on the toilet hurt so bad. I came out and the nurse was in the room and she asked how I was doing and I told her that I was in pain and that it hurt. She told me that I couldn't say that yet and that this was nothing and kept telling me that if I wanted to go natural like I mentioned, this couldn't be hurting me yet. My hopes were crushed. I sat there in the rocking chair rocking through my contractions crying because I figured there was no way I was going to be able to handle the pain of REAL contractions if what I was feeling was nothing. The look on Morgan's face when she was telling me this was priceless. You could tell her how bad he wanted to tell her to shut up and leave because she was doing nothing but discouraging me.

From about 9:30 to 11:30 I sat in a rocking chair rocking vigorously while crying and breathing through my contractions eating orange Popsicles and drinking water. Morgan suggested that we try a couple different positions since I seemed to be in great discomfort while rocking. Other than standing and basically slow dancing with Morgan, no other position seemed to help.

Around 11:30, Anne suggested they check me for dilation and that we get into the bathtub to see how I like being in the water and if it relived some of the discomfort I was experiencing. Anne never did tell me how far dilated I was and in the moment I was thankful for that. I sat on the toilet while they filled up the bath tub and my contractions really kicked in and I was really starting to feel horrible pain.

So, around 11:30 p.m., I got into the bath tub and my first thought was that the contractions weren't nearly as bad as they were out of the water. This thought lasted through about 2-3 contractions, which were about 2 minutes apart. At this point, I really started to doubt that I was going to make it without medication. I breathed, screamed and cried through my contractions. Morgan sat by my side through the whole thing pouring warm water on me and holding a cold wash cloth on my forehead because I felt like I was overheating. My fingers started to tingle and go numb and I thought I was going to die. I started telling Morgan that I didn't think that I was going to be able to make it. Telling him that I didn't think I was going to be able to do it quickly turned into telling him that I was not going to be able to do it and that I just wanted to get the epidural. Morgan politely ignored my statements that I wanted the epidural in a way to push me through one contraction at a time.

Eventually, around 12:30 a.m., I told him that I do want the epidural and to go ask the nurse how far dilated I was. He went out and asked her and came back in and after a few contractions, I asked how far dilated I was. FOUR centimeters. Really? My world crashed. He said that I was 4cm, 100% effaced and at 0 station. After hearing that news, I told him that I really couldn't do it and to have them call in the epidural. He asked whether or not I was really sure and after I told him yes, he went out and they called in the anesthesiologist. Anne came into the room and talked to me and told me that it was my labor and that if I really want an epidural that she would support that but asked if she could check me again.. she told me to let her know when my contraction ended so she could check my progress. At that point, I couldn't tell whether or not my contractions were even ending as they felt on top of each other and I had no real break in between. While the pain during contractions was excruciating, I was still feeling a great amount of pain in between.

So, she checked me and said that I was at 7.5 cm. Now, that's some progress. In about an hour, I went from a 4 to 7.5. She told me that she wanted me to give her 10 more minutes to see if something happens and if after 10 minutes I really can't make it, she would tell the anesthesiologist, who was waiting in my room, that I was ready for the epidural. I snapped at her and told her that I was going to make no progress within 10 minutes. She insisted that 10 minutes would make a difference. Somehow, I found the strength in me to make it through 5-6 more contractions. She said she wanted to check me again and at that point I was a 9.5. So, that meant that I progressed a whole 2 cm within 10 minutes. At that point, she said that we were going to have the baby right there in the bath tub. Gulp.

Within minutes of her telling me that, I felt an incredible amount of pressure and told her that I needed to push. She felt confident that my body was ready for me to push. The pushing was horrible and I wondered if I was even going to be able to make it through. I remember thinking that I wished they would just take me out of the tub and do a c-section so I didn't have to worry about pushing him out. After just a few pushes she said that he was right there and that she could see his hair. My first question was whether or not he had red hair! When he started crowning, Morgan started crying and I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that it was almost over.

I continued to push for 15 minutes and his body was in the water at 1:14 a.m. on January 26. He had his cord wrapped around his neck twice and just when I started to panic, the cord was released and his squirming and screaming warm body was laying on my chest. He opened his eyes within the first minute or two and remained alert throughout the rest of the labor. I will never forget how wide eyed he was and how his eyed moved around looking at everything around him - it was one of the most amazing moments of my life. All Morgan could do was cry and tell me how proud he was of me and thanked me for bringing me him into the world the way that I was able to.

I don't think I have ever been as proud of myself as I was the moment he was placed into my arms. While I give myself credit for what I was able to do, I know that without Morgan by my side, I wouldn't have been able to do it. As well, with Anne telling me to give her 10 more minutes, that gave me that last ounce of strength I had left to push and hang in there.

After his birth, we had to deliver the placenta. Anne told me that this was the easy part and it would be like pushing a piece of jello out. I had to get out of the water to deliver the placenta. I laid on the hospital bed with Lachlan in my arms while he made sucking motions (he was so ready to eat at only a couple minutes out) pushing to get the placenta out. After a few pushes, I realized that we were not making any progress. We keep trying and Anne eventually told me that I had a retained placenta and they were going to have to call in the chief physician to manually remove the placenta. They said that if they were unable to manually remove the placenta I would need to have a DNC (surgery) to remove it. With luck, they were able to manually remove the placenta. I will leave out the gorey details, but as Morgan explained it, they were savages, and that may be an understatement. The removal of the placenta was easily worse than any part of the labor and pushing.

More than anything, if we go through pregnancy and labor again, I will be most scared for delivering the placenta. While the agony and pain of labor was pretty horrendous, at being almost a month out and being as in love with Lachlan as I am, I've forgotten the intensity but feel as though I will never forget how I felt when they were removing the placenta.

When they got the placenta out, they were inspecting it (which I guess is normal) and Anne said that the placenta was very "tough" and small and it was likely a good thing that I had been taking baby aspirin throughout my pregnancy. She also said that it is likely the cause of all of my abnormal lab results as well. Who would've thought? Either way, I am glad that although my placenta seemed to be "defective" that it was able to provide life to my son for 39 weeks and 5 days.

While my pregnancy may have seemed rough and proved to provide some hurdles along the way; in the end I got what I wished for, a perfect and healthy baby boy. I've learned so much about my body, myself and Morgan throughout the last 10 months. I've put myself to the ultimate test and was able to succeed and persevere through one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. Miracles do happen and what a miracle Lachlan is.

See you soon.

No longer a mommy to be,

xo, mommy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

39 weeks preggo.


Hard to believe that I am now 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I am definitely starting to reach the anxious stage and believing that I am going to be pregnant forever. I feel like at this point I have convinced myself that I will never have this baby so I am less prepared now than I was before.

I had two nights this last week where I woke up with painful contractions lasting about 5-6 hours at 3 minutes apart. Both nights I thought "this is it" but obviously it wasn't. Both nights the contractions were worse while laying down and would go away a little bit when I would stand up and walk around. I was just waiting for the moment where I couldn't talk through them or walk through them before going in to the hospital. But, I never reached that point. I had decided that I should just take maternity leave early because I figured a) labor was coming soon and b) I became so unreliable at work with calling in all the time. But, on Wednesday night started to doubt my decision and wondered if I would regret my decision if he decided to come late and I missed out on a couple weeks with him. So, Thursday morning I went back to work. I am glad I went back since he is not here yet. I'll be the first to admit that it is a struggle to work at this point in pregnancy, but it is what it is!

I've been struggling with a bad cold this last week. It is finally starting to fade away. I was worried that I would be trying to have a baby while not being able to swallow or breathe through my nose.

At my appointment on Friday I asked to be checked because I was so sure that after two nights of horrible contractions, I would've made some promising progress. What a let down. She said that I was the same as far as dilation and had gone from 60 to 70% effaced. I thought for sure I would be at least a 3. But, I just need to remember that dilation and effacement are not predictors of labor.. just disappointing to go through all that with no progress, it is discouraging and makes me doubt that my body is going to labor correctly. She swept my membranes to try to help ripen my cervix. We'll see if it was successful at my next appointment. I hear mixed outcomes.

I've definitely become pretty pessimistic over the last week or two. I hate feeling this way but it is hard to keep my chin up at this point in the game.

I am anxious, nervous and excited to meet our son. I am feeling the same way towards labor as well. I am also anxious, nervous, excited and sad to not be pregnant anymore. I worry that I am going to struggle with not having him inside me anymore and miss that connection and bond that only he and I share. I worry about the first few nights. I worry about how good or bad of a mother I will be. I worry about failing at breast feeding. I worry about being able to bond with him. I worry about his health. I worry about my own health. I worry about Morgan's happiness once there is an addition to our lives. I worry about my body post baby. I have so many thoughts and feelings going through my mind these days and feel like I am struggling with a lot. But, I think and hope that this is all normal.

Kind of a negative post tonight but I don't think I am the first woman to be a couple days away from giving birth and not feeling frustrated, nervous and anxious.

Guess we will see what happens over the next week. I hope to not have a "40 weeks preggo" post next Sunday as that will mean I am 2 days overdue! :) Could happen tonight, could happen 2 weeks from now.

See you next week?

xo, mommy to be.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

38 weeks preggo.

Still here, still pregnant!

As I type, I am bouncing and rolling around on my exercise/birthing ball hoping that it is effective and I roll into labor tonight! How nice it would be to get off work tomorrow.. I am so over working at this point.

For the most part, we had a pretty uneventful week. However, on Tuesday, I was working and looked up and I couldn't see very well. The wording on my computer screen was all jumbled and when I tried talking to people, I couldn't see their face, it was just like a black blur. Immediately I thought of preeclampsia. I went to lay down in our little lounge area at work and then later got a headache and started sweating a bit. Janine called Morgan to pick me up and I called the midwife and she asked that I come in to be seen. My blood pressure was high (compared to what mine usually is) so they drew blood and did a urine dip test to see if I was excreting protein into my urine. There as no protein within the sample I gave but she wanted to do a 24 hour collection of urine as she said that it doesn't always come out with every sample and this way, they could monitor what I was excreting over 24 hours. So, I left with a clear bag with a piss tray and a gallon jug to empty my urine in. Real pleasant! I stayed home the next day and did my collection and rested so my bp stayed down (hi, work stresses me out these days!). Thursday morning we went in to give them my urine and had my weekly appointment instead of waiting until the next day.

We signed our consent form and put down the deposit for the birthing tub. I hope that all remains well so that I can have the opportunity to do a water birth if I want to. I've been watching water births on youtube and it has been pretty inspiring. I feel like I am more confident than ever that I will be able to handle the birthing process unmedicated. But, if I don't, I don't, but hope and think I can.

Not much else to report. I am getting pretty anxious and would welcome his arrival any time now. I'd really like to go into labor and have him before we have any company so that we can get into our routine and schedule and get situated before we have visitors. I feel like it will reduce stress if we can settle on our own - and well, adjust the animals to the new member of our family.

I bought another diaper bag this week. Hopefully this one works out better than the other. Guess it won't hurt to have two, right? I think I deserve to have two diaper bags.. :)

Well, Time to do more bouncing and rolling and hope for the best... 12 more days!

See you next week.

xo, mommy to be.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

37 weeks preggo.

Well, we've made it to term! I am feeling pretty excellent today.

This most may be a little "tmi" for those that don't want to read about blood, mucous and the like, so this is your warning :)

This last week was hit or miss. Some days were good, some days were not so good. I do know that working full time is really, really getting hard. I think the stress from my job is making my blood pressure raise through the day causing contractions. There were some days this week where I felt as though that was it and had to be my last day of work. I called on Thursday as my body just couldn't take it anymore.

On Wednesday I was leaving work and had to go to the bathroom and when I was done, realized that I likely lost part of my plug. Thursday I spent the day home and felt pretty good in the evening after having relaxed all day. Friday my contractions came back and we had our appointment that afternoon.

Since I had been having a lot of cramping and contracting I asked whether or not they do cervical checks. At my last appointment they checked me after doing my strep B test and I was just about 1cm dilated and 0% effaced - still long and hard. So, she agreed to check me and boy was it pretty painful! She said that I was about 2cm dilated and about 60% effaced and very soft. After my exam she said that I had was having a bit of a bloody show and Morgan noticed the same on her glove. She couldn't tell whether or not the baby was head down (although she was pretty sure she could feel a head) so she wanted to do an ultrasound to be 150% sure that he hadn't flipped since my last appointment. I got pretty worried at that point and warned Morgan that if he had flipped, I was going to get emotional about it. But, we lucked out and he is still head down. She said that he is down in the pelvis and is at a -1 station at this point and 0 is fully engaged in the pelvis, so he is almost there. I asked to make sure that he was in there the right way so that we wouldn't have to worry about a sunny side up baby. She confirmed. She said that I may be in early labor and that we would see what happens over the next couple of days.

I was cramping pretty bad after the appointment. I was having some pretty intense contractions that were very regular at about every 3-4 minutes apart. I will be honest and say that I thought that was going to be my last meal before labor so I wanted to make it hearty! When we got to dinner I went into the bathroom and realized that I had bled through my pants. I was still having active and new bleeding as it was still red. I really did think that was it. I woke up in pain around 1am and then woke up again around 3:30 and had absolutely no cramping or pain and wondered what the heck!? False alarm.

I felt pretty alright yesterday. It was kind of off and on throughout the day. I was continuing to have some discharge, sometimes bloody, sometimes not, and assume it was likely more of my plug. I called the midwife to make sure this was ok and she said it was so I felt better going about my day. I didn't really have much for contractions yesterday, just very hit or miss, which is pretty uncommon for how I have been feeling over the last 4 weeks or so.

Today, I have been feeling really great. We went grocery shopping this morning, cleaned the house a bit, watched football (go Packers!), I organized the pantry (nesting much?) and we finished more of the nursery. Up until this evening I don't think I had more than a handful of contractions and very mild cramping if at all. I even felt mobile and wasn't feeling like I had been riding a horse for the last month. I was able to bend over and do what I needed to do. This evening I am starting to cramp a bit and having some very mild contractions (compared to what I am used to). I am still having some blood/discharge but it is pink and pretty minimal. Who knows, this may be the calm before the storm, or maybe I am on a good streak and will be making it to 42 weeks. I don't really know what to think at this point! Part of me feels like it will be this week, and part of me feels like I could very likely go to 42 weeks and end up being induced, although I really hope not.

We talked at our appointment whether or not we wanted to do the water birth. I decided that I want to keep it as an option so we will be putting our deposit down so that it is an option if we want one. It will all depend on how I am feeling when I get to the hospital and what I feel like I want and need at the moment. She said that she often has patients get into the bathtub to see if they even like the water and if so, suggests the birthing tub.

Morgan finished painting and priming the shelves for the nursery so he put those up today. At this point he just has to finish his art for the nursery and it will be close to complete. We don't have much for one of the shelves but are sure that it will be filled with pictures of him once he comes. I like how it is coming together.. it has been a long process. We added our expenses up and only ended up spending about $1000 on the nursery which includes the artwork, wall decor, bookshelf, crib, changing table, rocking chair, lighting, etc, which I think is excellent considering we pretty much started with nothing and I have expensive "modern" taste. Enjoy the sneak peek at the nursery.

I bought some raspberry leaf tea today and had my first cup of it. I will likely have another cup before bed. I do believe that if your body is not ready for labor then it doesn't really matter what you do to it (natural inducement, anyway), it's not going to make a difference. As I have mentioned, I really wanted a 01/11/11 birthday but am not really feeling like that's likely at this point with how I am feeling today.. but who knows, I could wake up in the middle of the night with my water breaking tonight or tomorrow night.

Well, I think that is about it. We'll see if I am still pregnant to make a 38 week preggo post. It could go either way!

See you next week.

xo, mommy to be.

Monday, January 3, 2011

36 weeks preggo: Dear Baby C.

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and put my hand on my belly and felt your foot, or knee press up gently on my hand over and over again. It was so little. I think you were giving me a high five, letting me know you're okay and you'll be here to meet us soon.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

36 weeks preggo.

Hello January and hello 2011!! Most likely, we will have a baby before this month comes to a close.

Today marks the 36 week and 2 day mark. On Friday I will be considered full term which is such an accomplishment for this pregnancy. For awhile I really thought that he would be a 2010 baby but it looks like we will get our 2011 baby after all! I won't lie, I was kind of hoping for a new years eve baby, but more than that, I would've rather a full term baby, which it looks like we will get.

We had an appointment on Wednesday. Actually, my appointment was supposed to be on Tuesday but I totally spaced it thinking my appointment was on Wednesday. Luckily they were able to get me in the next day. It was important that I was seen because we had to determine whether or not a version was necessary due to him being breech.

Well, she examined my belly with her hands and said that she wasn't sure whether or not he was head down but that she was pretty sure that he was and wanted to do an ultrasound to confirm. Before doing the ultrasound, she did the strep B test, which came back negative which I am happy about as I won't have to worry about antibiotics being given through an IV during labor as I am hoping to not have an IV during labor. Also during my strep B test, being shes was down there and all, she checked to see if I was dilated at all. She said that her finger went straight through my cervix and that I was 1cm dilated, which really, means nothing. I told her that I understood that I could be 0cm and go into labor that night, or I could be 3cm and stay that way for a few weeks or longer! But, it was somewhat reassuring that I am starting to dilate.

But, the greatest news is that he turned! He is no longer breech, so unless he turns before labor, I have less chance of needing a c-section. Obviously anything can happen during labor to create the situation where I would need one, but if he were breech and did not turn, it would be 100% c-section. So, we were both very relieved and excited. When she was showing us his head, Morgan asked her if she could tell us whether or not he was smart which I totally thought was funny and she did as well, so I am glad she has the same humor as us. I do have to admit that I am pretty nervous that he will turn again before labor. But, I'll do my best to remain optimistic. :)

Today we went to The Giggling Green Bean, which is a baby store that specializes in cloth diapers. I didn't go with the intention of buying anything but we left with 24 prefolds and 4 covers/wraps. She explained how while it's a great idea to use the one size diapers, the diapers can be a little big or bulky during the first few months and its best to just use the prefolds at the start for a little while. Another bonus is that prefolds are cheaper! They were only $2 each, buying 24 only put us at $48 for 24 "diapers" which will have us doing the laundry every 2 days or so. We bought the covers as well, 2 being one size so they will fit him (hopefully) until he potty trains with larger prefolds. I really love the all in one diapers, or the pocket diapers, but who knows, maybe we will grow to love prefolds, I know of a lot of moms who do.

I have our hospital bag packed and the baby's bag packed for the most part. I need to buy a couple nursing bras, but other than that, we should be good to go. Morgan is likely going to stay at home with the animals the night that I am in the hospital and we are only a 15 minute drive away, so he can go back and pick up things as we need them or if we forgot them.

Tonight we introduced a baby to the dogs. We borrowed a baby doll from Janine and Jeff for our Bradley class and we were practicing cloth diapering on him tonight. We put the baby in the bumbo and neither of the dogs reacted very well. Sammy was clawing at his face and pulling him by the clothes to pull him out of the bumbo. We were doing something and looked over and Sammy was humping the baby in the Bumbo and while we shouldn't have, I about peed my pants from laughing. Frankie has always been really hyper and excited (think possessive with kids) so I knew he wouldn't react well. We've been carrying the baby around all night and Frankie gets a little upset and really wants to protect the baby. I think until the baby comes, we are going to play house with this doll and hope Frankie gets used to it. To be honest, he is the only one that I am really worried about (and I won't lie, it stresses me out). While I know Sammy will be curious, I think more than anything he will be scared of the baby and will go about his own thing. As well, I know that Sammy may get a little jealous because he is a momma's boy. But Frankie, he is a little possessive and hyper. I think and predict that the first week is going to be really stressful with having a new baby home and trying to get Frankie not to eat the baby, or just freak out in general. However, even just after one evening of having the baby with me everywhere I go, he has improved a little bit. I think it will help. I hope it does.. the animals are our babies, too. I posted a picture above of Frankie with his new friend.

Morgan installed the base of the car seat into his car which was easier than either of us had thought it would be. It was definitely weird putting the car seat in there knowing that we would be bringing a baby home in it before we know it. Also weird was doing the first load of baby laundry to pack his hospital bag. Folding 12 pairs of little mini socks was weird!

I've been feeling OK. Still have my on and off days physically, mentally and emotionally. On Thursday night, I had about an hour of consistent contractions which were the most painful that I've had yet. However, after an hour or so, they went away and I haven't had any similar episodes since. I get them here and there, still feel crampy and tight as a bowling ball, but those are all things I've been experiencing since about 29 weeks. Work is getting rough as well. I am sooo exhausted after an 8 hour work day and was lucky to have the last 2 weeks be short weeks with only 4 weeks. To be honest, I don't know how much longer I am going to be able to put in 5 days a week. I am just so sore and over it by Wednesday. Guess we'll see what happens. I should be thankful that I do not have to be on my feet all day.. mad props to those preggos that are.

Well, I think that is about it for this week. If the baby is ready, I am hoping for a 01/11/11 baby (hey, have I mentioned that once or twice before!?), so yes, if he is ready and healthy, I'll be hoping for a baby 9 days from now. But, if he wants to come late, that is OK, too (ask me again at 41.5 weeks!)

See you next week.

xo, mommy to be.