Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How to lose sleep and make new people

I've read a lot of birth stories lately, and by comparison mine seems pretty plain. I woke up Friday morning two weeks ago, and cuddled with E, like we'd been doing all week. Then I stood up to go to the bathroom, and I felt a little "gush" of fluid, which could have been normal (have I mentioned pregnancy is extremely sexy?) but seemed a little different than normal. A quick investigation revealed some spotting in the fluid, which could have meant a few things. I called John to let him know I thought my water had broken, then called the doctor's office, then called my Mom. By the time the doctor's office called me back I had also lost my mucous plug, and the nurse told me to head to the hospital. I took a shower, got Eleanor breakfast, dressed and ready to go, and waited for my Mom. Who kept calling and telling me to lay down. John decided to meet me at the hospital, just in case this was the real thing. (I was still unsure, despite the mild contractions that were going on at this point.) Mom finally got to the house and off we headed to the hospital.

When we got to the hospital John was waiting by the maternity door for us. Mom took E to a nearby park to wait and see whether the hospital was going to keep me or not. At this point I hadn't eaten since around 10 pm the night before, and was starving since it was after 10 am. Mom promised me a big lunch if they sent me home. At the registration desk we were told the nurse had never called (which wasn't true) and that we were going to have to wait for a room. The receptionist was probably the only person I encountered at the hospital that wasn't wonderful, but boy, was she NOT wonderful. The nurse had called in over an hour before we arrived, but the receptionist didn't bother to actually check. We found that out later. Moving on, however, we finally got into a room. There they checked my cervix. LOTS of people checked my cervix. Repeatedly. Had I not later given birth later, I still would have been sore. They did an initial test to see if my water had actually broken, and then another more reliable test because the first test was negative but not conclusive. The second test, called a "fern" test, was positive, so the staff decided to do a short ultrasound to see how much fluid I'd lost. The ultrasound showed the baby in a breech position, and they scrambled the c-section team and called my OB back to let her know. She was there within 15 minutes, and did another ultrasound which showed that the baby had flipped again, and was head-down. We discussed options and agreed with the doctor that the best option was to augment my labor so that we had a better chance of avoiding a c-section, although nothing was set in stone. 1 out of 300 babies flips like this, and they can flip at any point, even through the last stages of early labor. Luckily, B decided to stay head down!

The nurses started the pitocin at around 2 ish(?) and I did pretty well. I lasted longer through the contraction before getting the nubane and eventual epidural. John was awesome, helping me through contractions and shutting the hell up when I needed him to. I effaced quickly, but didn't dilate much to start. I was 75% effaced but only 2 cm dilated after a few hours. I had Popsicles and ice chips, but nothing else. Labor stops your digestive system, and despite my readiness to gnaw on a chair from hunger, I remembered what happened with E during the pushing stage: I almost threw up.

By late Friday night I had started dilating in earnest. I went slowly from 2 to 3, but then shot to 5 and then 8 and then "Where's the doctor?" Just before she arrived the anesthesiologist came in to give me a little extra meds in the epidural. He was a weird one. Up until that point I'd been able to move my legs and had been doing great. When he increased the meds I lost all feeling, which made pushing difficult. The nurses ended up taking a sheet and tying knots in each end and doing a "tug of war" with me during the pushing to help me use the correct muscles. They ended up pulling muscles in my back, but by gum, I got that baby out! I could see her head in the mirror ( I got brave and looked in the mirror this time!) for about an hour, and was able to watch her come out. During one of my cervical checks the amniotic sack burst completely, and there was meconium in the fluid. When B finally emerged the staff swooped in and rubbed her clean while placing her on my chest. (John got a naughty picture of this part. We were both surprised when we saw it.) For all her antics in the womb, she's been awesome since birth. She isn't as demanding as her sister was, and cries far less. We can even lay her down! And she'll sleep!

There is so much here that I'm forgetting. Like how much she looked like her sister at birth, or how Saturday night there was an explosion in the hospital's steam room and the pipes banged all night and none of us got any sleep. There were the nurses who were great, and Loud Nurse who was really nice but insisted on giving me my going home instructions at 3 am. Loudly. Or how, on the way home I told John how great I was feeling, and how hopeful and OK, and 24 hours later was a sobbing, anxiety ridden mess. It's hard to believe it's been over two weeks, which hasn't been helped by the fact that E brought home a cold and shared it with me. But this post is already holy-shit long, so that stuff will have to wait. We're all doing a lot better, and I have been making it out of the house a lot more, which helps. We're starting to get back on a routine, which will include taking pictures and putting them up, I hope. It's still intense sleep-deprivation, so I can make no promises, but you should start seeing me around a bit more often again. Hooray for the babies!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Four and more to come


Last night B slept for four hours in a row, and I am a happy mama. It's been rough, her days and night have been flipped and I'm not certain we're out of the woods yet. Post-partum has been really rough, but the meds are adjusted and starting to kick in. E has been awesome through the whole transition, and I am extremely proud of her. I have a lot to tell you, about the birth, the aftermath, and the sleep deprived love we are in, but for now I need to pay some attention to a little girl and fold some laundry. Let's see if I can get a picture up:

I can! I really need to upload more pictures. It's on the list.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ta Da!

Ladies and gents, we have baby! Miss B. was born Saturday at 2:09 am, 8 lbs 10 oz, 19.5 inches. She has straight brown hair, her Daddy's chin and my eyes. She also has her days and nights completely reversed, which is tough. More tomorrow...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Holding pattern

Last night, to the irritation of both John and myself, I spent the whole night flipping over because my back kept aching off and on. During one wake-up I had a brief thought about maybe timing the backaches, in case this was back labor or whatnot. Instead I fell back to sleep, only to wake up half an hour later with a neraly-week-overdue baby riverdancing on my bladder. Maybe it was Irish Step Dancing. I'd be damn proud either way.

Today I've spent quite a bit of time cleaning and doing laundry, since I've managed do jack shit in the house the rest of the week. It's been so nice to have time with my little girl; going out and doing neat stuff and having adventures. Today, however, I needed to stay home and get some stuff done. I haven't even come close to doing everything I'd like to, mostly because the energy and bending ability aren't there. The staying home and cleaning might be nesting. Or I could just need a day to do these things. Who knows?

The experience of sitting around waiting on labor to start has left me in an unfamiliar holding pattern. I do not like waiting. There's a Monty Python episode where the cast keeps yelling something like "Get on with it already!" I've been revisiting some very minor anxiety lately about things gone and gone again, but that keep popping up in my head at random times. I think it's just misplaced anxiety, since I'm currently stuck with no control over my situation. Tomorrow I might have some control, once I talk to the doctor and find out what's going on in my body. It seriously sucks not knowing if I'm even dilated at this point. And I do very much want to yell "Get on with it already!" I would like to start moving towards a life where I am not isolated at home all the time, and where my walls are painted, and I can have items of furniture where I'd like them, not where they are less likely to be destroyed/climbed on. I'd like to get into the lack of sleep stage, so I can get back out of it and get on with school. I don't want to wish my life away, and I am trying to enjoy these last moments with just me and E as much as possible. it's hard to remember to just enjoy, however. Being in the moment can feel like being stuck in the moment sometimes. A Groundhog Day of uncertainty, unable to plan more than a day in advance and even that's sketchy, and then nothing happening.

Hopefully, I'll either go into labor sometime in the next 12 hours or get some good news tomorrow. Being home with E today has been wonderful so far, and we're just getting ready to have lunch and take a nap. I might take her to the library for a little while this afternoon, since she's been so good. Then again, I don't really want to leave the house today, despite all I said above. That's not a normal feeling for me, so let's home it's really nesting and not just tired. If we stay home I'm going to let her do something fun, like play with air dry clay or get in the pool or whatever else sounds good. And hope that we get on with things pretty soon.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Robbers

In the past two or three days E has started asking us questions about robbers. Things like "Are there any robbers in the world?" and "Where do robbers live?" I have tried to give good parent answers, but do not know the perfect way to deal with this. Tonight at dinner we discovered that her cousins introduced this idea to her. The context is hazy, but it doesn't matter. John took her all around the house and showed her our defenses, which seemed like a good idea. I don't want to lie to her, but I also don't want to scare the crap out of her, either. It's a fine line. Especially since we've also had to start dealing with the stranger issue. She makes friends with everyone, and we need her to be a little less trusting and friendly with adults. It makes me want to cry sometimes. We have a sweet, trusting and friendly little girl that we need to make less sweet, trusting and friendly. Because some people are not nice. She is too young to learn this. She needs to know it now. We're treading carefully here, because again, we don't want to traumatize her. It's a line you don't think about walking when you decide to become a parent, any more than you try to figure out how you're going to deal with the sensitive issue of pulling down pants or lifting up dresses in public. You think about big things, like religion and discipline theories and breast or bottle. *sigh*

We're still waiting for my womb to oust this child. I emailed one set of parents today who have their little girl on vacation. They mentioned seeing me next week if I hadn't had the baby. HELL NO, PEOPLE. I am too pregnant to watch your child now. I emailed back, using words like "possible induction" and "will let you know." Come on, baby. Mama doesn't want to have this conversation, and you'll like it out here! LOTS of room! For stretching! Even at 4 am!

All in all, I've been doing really well the last two days. Yesterday E and I spent the day with my Mom. Today we went to visit Daddy at work, and then I took my girl to the pool. She saw her best friend there, who happened to be wearing the same swimming suit. They had a blast. I got to see the little brother, too. I watch both kids, and it was great to have them run up and be super excited to see me. Don't get me wrong: I still want and need a new job. On the other hand, that rocked! As did a great day with my girl. She is so tired, though, that she had trouble eating dinner. Once again, robbers. Were they running through the woods? Why were there robbers? I need to remember to give my niece and nephew a very scary movie for the next major holiday. On principle.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Where baby? No. Were-baby.

I'm sitting upstairs with my laptop listening to John record an audition for a movie. It has a lot of funny lines, one about eating his own vomit and another one where he yells "Get me out! Get ME OUT!!!" Which is pretty funny to hear out of context up here. I have a cat on my shoulder/head/stomach depending on what moment we are in. I still have a Wee baby in my belly. Strangers have now started asking when I'm due and they, too, are recommending Jumping Jacks. I'm unsure how to respond to this advice. Smile nicely? Shove a shoe up their ass? Laugh maniacally and pee my pants? I don't know.

On the bright side, I had a really lovely day with my girl. We hung out in bed for a while. We had a leisurely breakfast. She wasn't sent to the corner all day, no tantrums, no drama. She did have an accident during nap time, but a little pee is no big deal. Actually, it's to be expected at this stage. Just before the baby is born and just after is difficult for siblings. Everything is uncertain, and they know things are changing. I'd rather deal with a few accidents than deal with a screaming, unreasonable kid. She's done so well, in fact, that I am taking her to the pool tomorrow! After we go visit Daddy at the office and have a picnic lunch with him. She didn't nap today, and I'm not expecting her to take one tomorrow. Wednesday we're both going to sleep well.

John has decided that tomorrow is when I'm going to have the baby. It's a full moon, and he is convinced we're going to have a were-baby. E came out covered in what we called "monkey hair" which was a soft, fine dark hair on her ears, back and arms. She still has a slightly hairy back. John thinks this one is working hard on making a bigger impression and will come out completely covered in green hair. Believe it or not, he's never been a drug user. He just seems that way, a lot.

We had a fabulous weekend, with a little girl who behaved well and LOVED fireworks. We were able to see a lot of friends at once and a new baby. John and I also figured out that this was our first time watching fireworks together, even though we've known each other for, holy shit, 18 years. I am 31. The only people I have known longer than John are family. He's down there yelling again. I hope this audition goes well. Otherwise he's going to sound like a cracked-out teenager for nothing.

On the name front, we are down to 2 main options, with a "meeting her" clause. To be honest I'm not sure about either name. So not sure, in fact, that I just erased and entire paragraph about our choices. Then again, I'm also in the completely logical state of "This baby will never come out. I'm going to be pregnant forever." Which we all know is not true. Just until next year.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Today's the due date!

A due date means nothing. NOTHING. I went in on Thursday and I am, indeed, not dilated, effaced, or within throwing distance of either. I wanted to cry by the time the OB was finished. The nurse kept saying "two more days!" like I would just spontaneously birth the baby on the due date like magic. I was nice to her, but wanted to hiss mean things at her. People keep telling me to do jumping jacks, too, which is very funny. You do not launch yourself off the ground for any reason when you are this pregnant. You just don't.

My parents took E to the big fireworks shindig last night. She told John and I that they were "big rainbows in the sky with really big BOOMS after!" I'm so glad she had fun! We're going to a friends party tonight and we're going to let her stay up and see the fireworks again. She's been alternating between very good and demon spawn since she came from her vacation, but she is steadily getting better. I'm done with daycare for at least four weeks, so I'm looking forward to spending time with my girl, and very thankful she's getting back into shape. The fireworks are a reward for working back into big girl form, and being so good for her grandparents last night. We know where my parents are going to be at all times now, just in case I go into labor. In fact, the only reason we're risking going to our friends party is because they live within five minutes of the hospital we'll be delivering at. That and the Sno-Cones. I can't WAIT to give E a Sno-Cone. She's going to be so impressed!

The nesting has died, if it ever was. I am back to just wanting to read and sleep, now that the clothes are sorted and you can walk into the nursery. In fact, I should probably run up and grab some clothes for to launder, because I should probably wear something to the party. Something cleanish. I had a dream last night that I had the baby, who was about the size of a two year old, blond and at one point nursing, at another covered in chocolate and foil like a cheap chocolate Easter Bunny. Pregnancy dreams are always bizarre.

Now I'm actually going to go get those clothes, and then try to get a girl to go take a nap. I need a nap, because I have been awake today. No other reason. Stupid tired. Only gonna get better from here!