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Birth Story :)

15 Mar

Hello blogosphere! So sorry for my long vacation from blogging and social media… I know it was pretty ill-timed, but I really felt like I needed to settle in (and get some sleep) before recounting everything that has happened over the past two weeks. Which, btw, is quite a lot.

In case you haven’t heard, I’m a mom! Enough about me, though, let’s get to the little guy that everyone is really here to see:

So I know I already posted this picture on Instagram and Facebook, but I just can't help posting it again. It's just too cute.

So I know I already posted this picture on Instagram and Facebook, but I just can’t help but use it again. Is he not the sweetest little boy? I just love him.

James David Everton
Born March 2, 2013 at 11:47 pm
8 lbs 2 oz
20.5″ long

So let’s get down to business, shall we? If you are a little squeamish, you should probably stop reading now… Also, this is probably the longest post you will ever read. I’ve been working on it since I was in the hospital. True story.

Saturday, March 2
I got a call around 5:30am telling me to come in for my (second) induction. It was a tad bit anticlimactic, considering that I had received the same call for the same situation just three days earlier, but I figured my doctor wouldn’t let me leave without a baby this time around.

My very last belly shot at almost 42 weeks. That's a good time right there.

My very last belly shot at almost 42 weeks. That’s a good time right there. And please note the neon orange bra showing through my shirt. Classy classy.

After checking in and getting a really impressive IV stuck into one of my really impressive veins, the doctor came in and checked my progress. Now, over the course of the three days since my first induction, I had been having a lot of cramping and a little bit of bleeding, so I was really hoping for something significant in terms of cervical dilation. Unfortunately, it was stuck at 1.5 cm. Still. After 2.5 weeks.

Obviously that thing was determined to stay closed.

So doctor decided to force it open. Which, by the way, is just as fun as it sounds. He used a cervical ripening balloon, which is a long tube inserted through my cervix into my uterus and then filled with saline. Once that first balloon was filled, a second balloon on the other side of my cervix was filled with saline as well so the two balloons squeezed together, forcing it open.

Pretty much they left that bad boy in place until my cervix opened enough to allow the balloons to slide on out, which would be when I had dilated to around a 4 or 5. If this sounds incredibly painful, it’s because it was! Painful and uncomfortable. At least with contractions you get a break between them (kind of), but those balloons huuuuurt the entire time.

Me, trying to look cheerful while the balloons did their worst/For the curious, here's how the evil balloons worked...

Me, trying to look cheerful while the balloons did their worst/For the curious, this is how they worked.

Much to everyone’s surprise, after several hours the balloons dilated me to between a 4 and 5! They hurt like you can’t even imagine for about six hours, but they got that cervix to open a little. I had no idea how sensitive cervixes (cervices? cervii?) are, but wow. Pain, pain, pain. Fortunately I was able to walk around with Michael while they were working their magic, which helped to distract me. I also chewed a LOT of sugar-free bubble gum to pass the time.

After the balloons were removed, my doctor pulled out all the stops. He broke my water and then started Pitocin to stimulate contractions. I had always heard that this drug causes really hard contractions, so I was a little terrified of what it would do (and not a little opposed to it initially…), but my nurse started it at a really, really low dosage and then came in every half hour to increase the amount, which simulates the natural release of oxytocin and mimics natural contractions. After several hours I was definitely in labor and having really painful contractions.

Breathing through contractions like a boss.

Breathing through contractions like a boss.

I seriously underestimated just how painful hard contractions would be. But I guess there really is no way to know what’s coming if you’ve never been in labor before. At first I felt like I had them under control, but after a few hours, I was really having to concentrate on breathing and relaxing through them.

Part of my initial birth plan was lots and lots of walking around. I just know that I deal better with pain and discomfort when the scenery changes and I have something different to focus on (in case you’re curious, it’s for this exact reason that I haaaate running on a treadmill). Unfortunately, my nurse told me I had to stay hooked up to the monitor in my room because my water had been broken. Boo.

After sitting in the same position for a few hours though I started to lose it. It got harder and harder to make it through them without tensing up, so my nurse brought in a birthing ball. Just getting out of bed and changing positions helped so much! It helped to get  me in a better place mentally and feel like I had more energy and tolerance to deal with the rest of labor. I sat on the birthing ball with my upper body draped over the bed while Michael lightly rubbed my lower back and helped me to feel comfortable.

Right when I was starting to feel like I was getting on top of the contractions, my doctor came in to check my progress (now, remember that it had been about eight hours since he had broken my water and I had been in hard labor).

At this point I started to realize that there was a lot going wrong. After the balloons had been taken out, despite eight hours of hard labor, my cervix had stayed exactly where it was. Not only that, but my little guy’s station was a -2. In case you don’t know, a baby’s station refers to how far down the pelvis he has descended. Since I was dilated between a 4 and 5, he should have been at least at a 0.

When I learned that during the last several (excruciatingly painful) hours I had made absolutely zero progress, I almost lost it. Honestly, if I had progressed even a single centimeter, it would have made all of those contractions worth it and I would have been happy going on for several more hours.

But.

My water had been broken.

Once this happened, I was on the clock. When that membrane breaks, the barrier between the uterus and the outside world is removed, which means that bacteria can enter and cause infection, making a c-section necessary and increasing the risk of a whole lot more complications. I think if I had made any progress at all, my doctor would have allowed me to continue as I was, but he came in and told me my options:

1. Get an epidural. The idea behind this was that it could potentially relax the muscles in my pelvis and help my little guy begin to descend and open up my cervix.

2. Have a c-section. A quick evacuation, if you will.

One thing I just love about my doctor is that he has been on the same page as me throughout my entire pregnancy. He had told me his number one priority (aside from making sure me and my little guy are healthy) is to do everything he could to help me have a vaginal delivery. We had talked about this a few times, so when he came in and gave me my options I knew he believed there was no way my labor would progress on its own.

I took option number 1.

After he left I just kind of gave up on my contractions. They weren’t doing a single thing to get my baby out and were just causing excruciating pain. I was pretty ticked off at this point. I really got discouraged and couldn’t help but think that the last few days had all been a waste because I would likely end up having a c-section anyway. When I realized this, I couldn’t wait to get the epidural so I could stop feeling all of the pain.

Fortunately, my first attempt at induction had failed (though I didn’t appreciate it as a good thing at the time. Remember this emo post?), which allowed me to start to come to terms with the inevitability of a c-section. Part of the reason I was so disappointed on Wednesday was because I knew that there might be a bigger chance than I had thought of having one. By the time the anesthesiologist with a terrible bedside manner came into my room, I had just accepted that it was going to happen. I would be so happy if the epidural worked, but I thought the logic behind it was pretty shaky. At the very least I would be prepped and ready to go for surgery.

For some reason the epidural hit me pretty hard. I felt really loopy during those few hours so I just tried to get some rest. No one was terribly shocked to hear the same news when my doctor came back in to check me: no progress. So I waved the white flag and got ready for surgery.

Rocking the IV-induced double chin. It's a pretty great look.

Rocking the IV-induced double chin. It’s a pretty great look.

Having a c-section is probably the weirdest experience I have ever had. I was splayed out on the operating table for the world to see while the afore-mentioned anesthesiologist gave me even stronger drugs to make sure I wouldn’t feel a thing. I should have seen this coming because the epidural made me so loopy, but the second round of anesthesia hit me hard. Michael is probably the most squeamish person on earth and I knew he was kind of freaking out about what was going on on the other side of the drapes, so I tried to stay awake to talk to him and keep his mind off of it but I just could not. I was really knocked out. The few moments when I wasn’t asleep felt like a really weird dream.

All of a sudden (and I am so glad I was able to open my eyes for this), there was a slimy, screaming baby being held above the drapes. That was the most surreal moment of my life. Surreal because of the drugs and surreal because I was seeing my baby for the first time. That is one thing that I wish I could change about my birth story. Seeing my baby for the first time is a pretty hazy memory. And I may or may not have started sobbing the moment I realized what I was seeing…

Mister James, not terribly thrilled to be out of me. I guess he has a lot more Buster Bluth in him than I thought...

Mister James, not terribly thrilled to be outside of me. I guess he was just suffering from a classic case of Buster Bluth Syndrome…

Another thing that makes me a little sad looking back is that I didn’t get to hold him right after he was born. But I do love that Michael was the first person to hold him 🙂 I just know those two are going to be such great pals.

James meeting his dad :) These two are going to be such good pals.

I love these two boys so much.

One thing I will remember for the rest of my life was the moment Michael held James’ little face up to mine for the first time. Our faces were about six inches apart and he just calmly and curiously looked into my eyes and examined my face. It only lasted for a few seconds but I felt like he was looking into my soul. That moment made everything worth it. The failed inductions, the hours of contractions that didn’t lead anywhere, the haze of the epidural, and finally having a c-section. None of it mattered anymore.

Even though I wasn't the first (or second) person to hold my sweet little guy, I finally did get to hold him :)

Even though I wasn’t the first (or second) person to hold my sweet little guy, I finally did get to hold him 🙂

Maybe I should have held out for longer before I got the epidural and maybe I should have waited before agreeing to the c-section, but I was exhausted (more mentally and emotionally) from hours of unproductive labor. I also could not stop thinking about women in my situation around the world who do not have the ability to go to a hospital for delivery. Or women who had this problem before medicine was equipped to handle it. Looking back, my labor did not follow my birth plan at all. In fact, literally everything I wanted didn’t work out. But I feel so incredibly blessed.

I have a happy, healthy little boy who just melts my heart every day (but not so much at night… he doesn’t exactly sleep at night).
I am alive. Thanks to modern medicine.
I have probably the sweetest husband on earth who was so supportive during pregnancy and labor and is becoming quite a great dad. That has probably been my favorite thing to watch.

And with that 2,000 word post, I will leave you for today. More coming later, there has been a lot going on in the past few weeks (including, but not limited to, a call to the paramedics, 24 hours spend under light therapy, and a baby who has peed in his own mouth multiple times).

In the meantime, here are some pictures of the little monster 🙂

We were relieved to learn that his lungs are incredibly healthy.

We were relieved to learn that his lungs are incredibly healthy.

:)

🙂

james 13

Coming home! There should really be a more open and honest discussion about the bloating effects of IV fluid... Just so you know, I have lost 15 lbs. since this picture was taken less than 2 weeks ago.

Coming home! There should really be a more open and honest discussion about the bloating effects of IV fluid… Just so you know, I have lost 15 lbs. since this picture was taken less than 2 weeks ago.

I have the cutest baby in the world. True story.

I have the cutest baby in the world. True story.

Mister James post-bath. His right eye is a little stubborn and likes to stay closed...

Mister James, post-bath. His right eye is a little stubborn and likes to stay closed…

We just love this little boy :)

We just love this little boy 🙂

You will never believe this.

27 Feb

I know you won’t believe it because it happened to me and I’m still in shock.

Do you see that goal there? "to have a Baby Boy!" Totally not accomplished.

Do you see that goal there? “to have a Baby Boy!”
FAIL.

The unthinkable has happened. I am sitting at home and am still pregnant.

After a sleepless night last night, I got a call at 5am saying to come in for the induction and we arrived at the hospital about an hour later. I hadn’t dilated at all since my appointment last week, so they put some kind of drug (I can’t remember what it’s called) on my cervix to make it soften and dilate.

Over the course of the next 12 hours I started having contractions about 1.5-3 minutes apart, but they never really started to get painful or intense.

See the printout on the right? Those are my contractions!

Please refer to printout on the right for proof that I WAS actually having contractions.

My doctor finally came in and checked my progress and absolutely n.o.t.h.i.n.g. had changed during the 12 hours I had been there. What? Yes. No progress.

Our doctor gave us our options:
1. Go home and wait a few days
2. Have the doctor break my water and hope things got going

Even though the thought of having him break my water was really appealing at the time (because then we definitely would be having a baby within 24 hours), we realized that the risks were just too high. After all, nothing happened after the first round of drugs, so if there still was no progress after that I would just end up having to have a c-section. No thank you.

So here I am at home, hanging out with Michael and my mama (who traveled here just for this… sorry mom!), trying to figure out what to do for the next few days. Any ideas? Watch more 24? Um, yes, don’t mind if I do. Obviously there will be another few rounds of self-therapy self-tanning…

Induction pt. 2 coming Saturday, March 2. Stay tuned. Let’s hope this next round is more successful…

12 Hours to Blastoff!

26 Feb
Does this picture look familiar? Yep, totally been here/done this before...

Does this picture look familiar? Yep, totally been here/done this before…

Sorry for the radio silence yesterday, I was busy getting all my last-minute plans taken care of. Just to update you, the NST went great and I am good to go for tomorrow morning at 6am! So yes, in case you were wondering, today was the longest day of my life. But, interestingly, the longest day for the exact opposite reason that Jack Bauer’s days are so long…

Yeah, I’ve been watching a lot of 24 to pass the time. No big deal.

I have a feeling that tonight will be even longer though. I’m a little worried that I’ll be going into labor without getting much sleep the night before, but I figure the night-before-a-race rule applies here (you know, the one that says it doesn’t matter how little sleep you get the night before the race as long as you got a lot two nights before? I’m hoping running marathons and giving birth translate to similar physical exertion).

So get excited because the next time you hear from me I will no longer be host to a fetus but will have a tiny little person living outside of my body. What? Yes, seriously. Bah! I can’t believe it!

Ps: Um, I have pretty much the best pals ever. Thank you all for the comments/advice/questions or for even just reading! You guys rock. Seriously. Just makes me so happy. Go buy yourself a frozen yogurt to celebrate how awesome you are. Mmm.

Woman with a Plan

22 Feb

After yesterday’s disappointing news at the doctor’s office I hit the self-tanner pretty hard as a form of self-therapy. Yes, I deal with stress by turning my skin orange. Don’t judge, it certainly isn’t the worst form of stress-management out there. I guess having newly (and artificially)-bronzed skin makes me feel just a tad bit more attractive, which, I firmly believe, is very important during pregnancy.

You gotta do what you gotta do to feel cute, right? After all, a giant belly certainly doesn’t do much for the self-esteem, whether it be from a human baby or a food baby.

I was trying (unsuccessfully) to explain this whole concept to Michael last night while we were out shopping for some last-minute baby-time items… He couldn’t understand why I wanted the cheap neon orange sports bra over the cheap black sports bra to wear under my hospital gown.

Luckily, JCPenney filled that particular void in my life and I walked out of the mall with this fancy little thing (okay, honesty time… pregnancy has affected my body in such a way that the word ‘little’ isn’t super accurate when describing my bras anymore) for only $14:

Cute, no?

A flash of neon under my hospital gown? Don’t mind if I do!
And yes, I’ve already thought about how awesome this
color will look against my (fake) tanned skin.

Sorry, I was just so excited about that cute thing that I couldn’t help but share.

Ps: the reason I’m getting a bra specifically for labor is because my hospital is all about immediate skin-to-skin contact. I’ve read a lot about it and apparently it has all kinds of benefits for the baby. But. Babies are covered in all kinds of nastiness when they are… freshly squeezed… and I don’t want to be wearing a bra that I’ll use ever again. I just don’t want to live in a world where it’s acceptable to wear articles of clothing that have once been covered in blood and slime and baby poop.

Moving on… I have a plan. Forget about my hesitation from yesterday, this little boy is going to be out by midnight tomorrow night. I have all of the necessary protocols in place to make it happen.

Phase 1: These little cuties. No big deal, but I’ve already eaten an entire one. It got kind of brutal toward the end… and my tongue is now covered in tiny little blisters. But hey, if it gets the job done…

Apparently pineapples contain bromelain, an enzyme that can soften the cervix.

Apparently pineapples contain bromelain, an enzyme softens the cervix.

Phase 2: I’ve been walking pretty much all day long. 4 miles, to be exact. And yes, it did take this pregnant chick all day to accomplish this feat because I broke it up into mini sessions. And now my back is killllling me. But it will all be worth it when I’m holding a little baby boy in my arms rather than my uterus at midnight tomorrow.

Phase 3: Evening Primrose Oil. Chalk full of prostaglandins, the stuff that softens the cervix. I’m allll over this stuff.

This 3-phase plan is my Trifecta of Success and will get things going so that my goal is accomplished by midnight. I have never been more determined to make something happen in my entire life, so I know it will happen (do you see how I’m relying on the power of positive thinking to produce a son and heir? If only the European monarchs had as much optimism as I do).

I shall update you when the contractions begin. And they will begin soon.

No News

21 Feb

You know that saying ‘no news is good news’? Well turns out it’s a dirty lie.

I know this because I had a doctor’s appointment today and found out that not much is going on in terms of progress for me. I’m somewhere between 1 and 2 centimeters dilated and about 60% effaced. Just to recap, I was a little under 1 centimeter dilated and 50% effaced at my last appointment a week ago. Sigh.

All last week I could feel the little guy using his head as a battering ram against my cervix (which, btw, feels about as awesome as it sounds), so I was pretty sure I would see a bit more progress, but no dice. And I was planning on having my membranes stripped today but I wasn’t dilated enough. Sad day.

He (my doctor) also told me that I have a “pretty decent sized” little person in me, which, he went on to explain, means that the little monster is probably “only” 8 or 9 lbs. Does that seem gigantic to anyone else? Because I’m thinking it sounds absolutely huge.

On the bright side, I still have a few more days to process.

I’ve been thinking seriously all week about this whole “labor” thing… and also the whole “baby” thing, and it’s a little overwhelming. I mean, I obviously knew what the end result of my adventures through pregnancy was, but I’m feeling seriously, seriously under-qualified to deal with the massive project of raising a human baby into a successful adult.

So even though I feel like I’ve been waiting for years to go into labor, I’m really appreciating the extra time at this very moment.

One thing for sure is that I’m definitely down to days (and not weeks… or months…) because I have an induction scheduled for next week. The plan is that I’m going to go into the hospital for a Fetal Non-Stress Test (remember the last time I had one of those?) and if everything looks good I’ll be induced on Wednesday morning. 6 DAYS! What? I know, crazy.

Having an induction makes me really nervous that I won’t be able to do a natural birth. When labor is induced, doctors use a drug called Pitocin, a synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin which stimulates contractions. With Pitocin, however, contractions come a lot harder and stronger, making them waaay more painful than natural contractions… meaning that it’s much more difficult to deal with the pain. And. When labor is induced the chances of a cesarean increase as well.

I guess what this all boils down to is that I have had a bit of a stressful day trying to wrap my mind around everything. I’m trying to stay positive, but I’m also (kinda) panicking a little. Only 6 more days of pregnancy… going into labor… the possibility of not being able to follow anything in my plan… coming home with a baby… my life changing forever… Yikes. That’s a lot to deal with.

Um, yes. Now that you’re thinking about it, I wouldn’t mind some words of advice… The countdown is on, after all, and I’m feeling the deadline coming up quick…

Valentine’s Day Fail

16 Feb
Can you appreciate the artistry in this picture? Um, yeah. I'm thinking of becoming a photographer.

Can you appreciate the artistry in this picture? Um, yeah. I’m thinking of becoming a photographer.

When Michael and I were dating, we spent our first Valentine’s Day eating takeout sushi from Happy Sumo in the parking lot of Y mountain. We had been engaged for a few months and were pretty in love with each other, so it was quite a romantic day (as per the fact that I demanded it be so), complete with cards, flowers, presents, music, and musing about our future together.

On our second Valentine’s Day we lived in Wymount Terrace and had been married for almost a year. Because Michael is a financially-minded accountant (and the fact that we were poor college students), we kept the day of love pretty low-key. In addition to being exceptionally frugal, Michael also would never acknowledge Valentine’s Day unless he had a sappy wife (luckily I fill that void in his life), so I planned the day and we ate takeout Happy sumo for a candle-lit picnic in our front room and then watched a chick flick. Such romance.

This year was a little different…

What's more romantic than making flashcards for your husband for Valentine's Day?

I’ve recently become really paranoid that Michael will forget everything he’s learned about labor in the heat of the moment, so I lovingly prepared flashcards for him as a Valentine’s Day present. Thoughtful Vday present, no?

I woke up feeling absolutely terrible because I was having a lot of contractions. At first I thought I might be in labor but after paying closer attention, I realized that the contractions weren’t regular and weren’t getting stronger, so I knew it was just a warm-up. When I went to my doctor’s appointment he told me that I’m a little less than 1 cm dilated and that he was “pretty confident it won’t happen today.”

Honestly, I was okay with that because I think it would be tough to be a boy and have your birthday on the girliest holiday out there. Plus his mom would turn his birthday into a pink and red affair every year… Yeah, I think that worked out for the best 🙂

See? Still there.

See? Still there.

I got home a little later and promptly went back to bed and spent the rest of the day in a painful haze. When Michael got home we went out for Thai food (no sushi when you’re pregnant, much to Michael’s relief) and frozen yogurt and then went to bed early. I feel really bad that I ruined Valentine’s Day, but I honestly wasn’t up to doing too much.

Don’t worry, Michael. I’ll make sure that next year is twice as romantic to make up for it 🙂

In the meantime, I have started to focus on other things. Like this:

The Bryce Canyon Half Marathon! {source}

The Bryce Canyon Half Marathon!
{source}

I registered for this race a few days after Christmas and then promptly forgot about it with all the preparations for Mr. Baby.

But.

The other day I had a dream that Michael and I were doing a triathlon together (I beat him) and since then I haven’t been able to stop thinking about getting back in shape.

Michael and I did this half marathon a few years ago and it is seriously such a good time.

How can a course with an elevation chart like this NOT be a good time? I mean really.

How can a course with an elevation chart like this NOT be a good time? I mean really.

I am so excited to do it again! Considering that I need to lose quite a bit of weight leading up to this race, I’m thinking that my chances of PR’ing are pretty remote (I ran it the first time in 1:56:04). If anything, this gives me a goal to work toward. And I’ll be able to spend some quality time with my first love: running. I’m thinking that April 1 will be the official start date of my serious weight loss/training program. Is it the worst idea to start on April Fool’s Day? I guess we’ll see!

I kind of can’t wait 🙂

Why I’m Doing This Thang Naturally

10 Feb
Yes please! {source}

Yes please!
{source}

I’m one of those people who likes to have a full supply of painkillers on hand when I get sick. Nyquil, Tylenol, Afrin, Theraflu (which, btw, is no longer made. Tragedy), pass them my way! Which is why it came as a bit of a shock to some people (Michael, are you reading this?) to find out that I am planning on having a natural birth. After all, if someone hates being in pain, it should naturally follow that this person would opt for an epidural during childbirth, right?

Well, not this girl, turns out.

In all honesty, I’ve wanted to write about this for a few weeks but have struggled with putting the right words to my feelings. I have felt very strongly about going the natural route for awhile now, but I couldn’t quite figure out exactly why it struck such a cord with me. But (yep, get excited for this) I think I figured out my internal struggle.

Here’s the thing: I believe that some pain has a purpose. Sounds nuts (and not just a little eccentric), right? Just wait til I get going…

If you know much about me, you know that I am absolutely in love with running. And not just any running, distance running in particular holds a special place in my heart. To the point of obsession at times, actually… I mean you can’t run marathons without being just a tad bit obsessive, after all.

Anyway, here’s my point: I would never take drugs before going on a run. Even though I know I’ll be in pretty significant pain in an hour (or two, depending on the workout), feeling pain is important because it tells me if I’m doing something wrong. If I’m pushing a little injury too far, if a previous injury flares up, or if a new injury starts to form, it’s important to be aware so I can make adjustments. See what I’m saying? Pain with a purpose. When I get home from said run, I’m all about the Tylenol though, because I don’t see any reason to continue subjecting myself to pain.

I think of childbirth in pretty much the same way.

The human body is pretty freaking awesome. And the female body was made for childbirth (minus the stretch marks… I feel like there’s a flaw somewhere in the plan on that one). If pregnancy has taught me anything, that’s it. Even though I’m fully aware that it will be painful, I think there’s a purpose to the pain. Feeling contractions will allow me to work with my body to deliver my little guy quickly and safely. I don’t like the idea that I’ll have to be told when my contractions are going on, and I really don’t like the thought that I won’t be able to feel how hard I am pushing or should be pushing. Plus, just like with running, I think it’s important to know if I need to make adjustments in order to avoid unnecessary pain once the epidural wears off.

Btw, I don’t think the pain that goes along with the flu or a cold is really that productive. I take more of a “thanks, I’m aware that I’m sick, now stop bothering me” approach to viruses.

Long story short, I really believe that natural childbirth is the best and safest option for me. I have a really hard time with moms/books/professionals who try to impose their beliefs and values on others because each person and circumstance is so different, so don’t think I’m writing this to try and convince you one way or the other. I just wanted to explain to some of you out there (ahem… you know who you are :)) why I’m choosing this route.

Anyway, happy Sunday! Look forward to a bumpdate tomorrow 🙂 For now, I’m off to bed!