Archives for September 2011

Our Birth Story (Which Took Longer to Write Than to Happen)

I went to bed about 11:45pm.  I was up at midnight to pee…and because I swore SWORE I just felt a little fist punch me in my pelvis…like lower than any little fist should be able to reach.  My first thought was ‘oh crapt, this baby has his hands by his face’.  Why I thought he would possibly be that low and I would still be in bed I have no idea—if he truly was low enough to punch me there I’m pretty sure he would have been hanging out…

So back to bed I went.  After being up and down all night, I JOLTED awake at exactly 5am.  I felt and heard a little “pop” and took off running to the bathroom before I was even aware of what my body was doing.  I made it as far as the bedroom door before I had a trickle of fluids hitting the floor.

ME: Eric…I think my water just broke.
ERIC: Yeah. Really? (and back to sleep he went)

So I went to the bathroom and sat there for a good 10 minutes…and nothing more.  Hmm…perhaps this is a new stage of pregnancy where I pee my pants in the middle of the night.  So back to bed I went.

ERIC: How far apart are your contractions?
ME: I’m not having any.
ERIC: Shit. You know they’re going to want to induce you.
ME: ::Panicking:: Umm, well maybe I just peed my pants.
ERIC: Then why’d you wake me up.

Oh, Strike 1 for the hubby. (Though, I guess he does get points for totally not being phased that I might have just peed my pants…)

I tried to go back to sleep, but then I thought, if this is the start of labor, I sure have a few things on my To-Do List I’d like to get done first.  Like trim my fingernails.  And paint my toenails.  And clean the microwave.  Yep, that’s what I do in labor at 5:30 in the morning.  Before I could finish cleaning the microwave, the contractions started.  And they started pretty strong.  I was squatting and moaning in the kitchen within minutes.  I crawled back onto the foot of the bed and grabbed Eric—“Ummm, this kid is definitely coming today.”

I really wanted to shave my legs, so off to the shower I went.  No sooner had I washed my hair then I realized that was not going to happen.  By the time Eric came in the bathroom minutes later to check on me, I was laying in the tub moaning through contractions.  Eric looked a little worried and began timing the contractions.  We realized they were lasting about 45 seconds and 2-3 minutes apart.  Ummm…holy crapt.  No wonder I felt overwhelmed and like I couldn’t get “control” over them.  I didn’t even have time to really catch my breath!

We originally planned to labor at home as long as possible, but it seemed that we had already done that—and it had only been 20 minutes.  Eric finished getting ready while I crawled around the apartment—yes, crawled.  At one point in time I was perched on the arm of an armchair with my head hanging over the back.  I really didn’t think early labor was supposed to be this strong and close together!

When we got to the hospital, we parked and I walked in with Eric; I did not want to get separated from him.  The women in the ER didn’t even look up when we walked in and since the counter was high, they didn’t even realize I was pregnant.  Eric finally leaned over the counter and exclaimed, “she’s in labor and her contractions are 2-3 minutes apart.”  This kicked them into gear.  Eric later remarked he was impressed I actually stood there and answered admittance questions and gave them my preregistration information and ID.  I actually felt really calm at this point and think it was because contractions had slowed a bit with the nervousness of being at the hospital.  They sent a nurse with a wheelchair to take us up.  I made it about 20 steps down the hall before a contraction hit and I jumped out of the chair and walked to the elevator.  The nurse looked concerned and said he’d never had a pregnant woman get out of the chair before.  It was quite apparent from the beginning that laying or sitting down was torture.

They put us in the triage room and checked for dilation—only 4-5 centimeters.  This was good considering I’d only been having contractions for a little over an hour, but I did get slightly panicky…I wasn’t very far along and these contractions were CRAZY strong.  The nurse asked if we’d taken childbirth classes, which I replied no, but that we had planned for a natural birth.  She asked what that meant…at this point, I think both myself and the nurse thought it was going to be a looong day.  At some point here, Eric actually reviewed the birthplan with her, a fact which I didn’t know until I asked him later.  10 points to him!

They hooked me up to the fetal monitor and made me lie down…didn’t happen.  Most. Uncomfortable. Thing. Ever.  I’m not sure they ever did get a full chart on me because I kept jumping up after a few contractions—I just couldn’t lie there any longer.  They finally just sent me to the delivery room and tried to bribe me—if I stay still long enough to get a full read on the baby, they’d let me get in the tub.  The nurse tried to distract me by asking me questions and it worked for about 5 minutes.  I think the doctor finally freed me and told them to let me get up and get in the tub.  While I was waiting for it to fill, I sat on the toilet—it’s true—it’s one of the most comfortable positions/places during the whole delivery.

When I got into the tub (like a jetted Jacuzzi), my first instinct was to get on my hands and knees.  The nurse encouraged me to just sit back and relax, and she was right.  It was instant heaven.  Absolute bliss and relaxation.  For about 5 minutes…During this time I was able to catch my breath and finally felt in control of the contractions.  After about 10-15 minutes, I started shaking uncontrollably.  I think this freaked Eric out a bit, but I actually felt good and we had a great conversation and joked around quite a bit (mostly about the bathroom looking like a crime scene—fluids-gah!).  It never really dawned on me that this was transition—wasn’t I supposed to be screaming in agony and have my head spinning around and cursing at Eric and all of that?  Eric just thought I was cold, and I just thought my hormones were going crazy causing me to shake.  All of the sudden, I looked at Eric and said, “get the nurse, I feel like I have to go to the bathroom—bad”.  I remember reading that this feeling could mean I’m ready to push, and I did not want this kid coming in the toilet.  It took the nurses a few minutes to get there; I don’t think they really thought I had progressed.  They checked me and I was 8-9 cm.  This was a great source of willpower.  I just kept thinking, “holy crapt—I’m through the worst part and  I didn’t even notice.  I can definitely do this.”

They encouraged me to get back in the tub; I no sooner sat down (literally 10 seconds), than I jumped up and exclaimed, “I need to push.”  Thankfully the nurses were a little more timely and checked me quickly.  Indeed, I was fully dilated, save for a slight lip.  They told me wait just a few minutes and they would get the doctor.  I really, really, NEEDED to push… I stood by the side of the bed, squatting and doing what Eric deemed my “tribal dance.”  The nurse kept lowering the bed when I would squat down, then raise it when I stood up.  This went on for a good 5 minutes before they realized they should just leave it alone—I wasn’t staying in one position very long.  Another nurse came in and fed me ice chips while Eric rubbed my back—I remember being really grateful and giving her a whole-hearted “Thank You!” in the middle of a contraction—at least I was nice.  The doctor came in during this time (Eric said he looked like Jack Hannah—Birkenstock sandals, holla!), and he sat down and observed for a few contractions.  I remember thinking, “I’m ready to push people!” and finally said so.  The doctor checked me and said I was indeed ready—told ya.  He asked if I wanted a squat bar, and it took them a while to find it because apparently they don’t use it very often.

While waiting for that, I was trying to breathe the baby down and do some light pushing.  I could feel him coming out, and when I finally moved into a squatting position on the bed over the squat bar, I was certain I was squashing the poor little guy with my moving around so much.  After a few minutes of light pushing, I heard the nurses mention a drop in heart rate and the doctor order a call to respiratory.  The nurse shoved an oxygen mask on my face and the doctor told someone to get him an episiotomy tray and Pitocin.  They shoved me back and put my legs in the stirrups.  I shot up and very calmly asked what they needed that for.  All three of them answered, “just in case.”  I still felt perfectly fine, and call it mother’s intuition, but I knew the baby was fine. I refused internal monitoring, so I’m sure they weren’t getting a good read.  I pulled the oxygen mask back and said, “Umm, I’m fine.  I can push.”  Everyone froze, calmed down, and the doctor laughed and said, “well, let’s push then.”  At this point I realized that in order to avoid invasive measures, I was going to have to push hard and get this baby out quickly.

When the next contraction hit, I pushed hard, took a deep breath and pushed again. The baby must having been slightly stuck, cause the doctor did some sort of crazy work with his fingers to dislodge him that made me about come off the table.  We laughed about it after the contraction and he apologized—I guess he thought it was better not to warn me, and he was probably right.

During the next contraction, I took 3 breaths, and with that, the baby was out.  Everything I read said avoid pushing so hard, but I must admit that it did feel “good” to push that hard—it felt like I what I needed to do.

During those last two contractions, Eric made all the difference.  The doctor and the nurses kept saying that the baby was coming, but it was Eric encouraging me and saying that he could see him coming that really motivated me.  His voice was eventually all I focused on…and yes, at some point in time I do remember thinking, “I can’t believe he’s looking—I hope he doesn’t pass out.”

When the baby came out, they put him on my belly and he was perfect.  There’s no other way to describe it—even covered in “fluids”, he was already cute and perfect and loved.  I loved him before he was born, but it’s amazing how quickly that swells.

He wasn’t “pinking up” as quickly as he should, and Eric said they suctioned more fluids/mucus out of his nose and mouth than they were used to; however, he was roaring like a dinosaur (that’s exactly what it sounded like!) from the second he came out, so his little lungs were definitely fine. They took him to check him quickly, and all was fine, with strong Apgar scores.  They weighed him too—8lbs, 5oz, 21” long—and this was the first time I started to wonder what the heck my girly parts were like after getting that big guy out (though, I felt no pain, so that was good sign).  I looked over at Eric—once I made eye contact I guess he thought it was safe to fall apart…he simply said, “I need to go.”  He looked very pale, and I laughed because I was surprised he’d made it this far.  Apparently he spent the next ten minutes passed out in the hallway with the nurses feeding him orange juice.

We told the nurses that Eric didn’t want to cut the umbilical cord, but they were insistent that he do it.  The doctor kept waiting for him to come back, and I told them again there was no way it was going to happen.  They asked if I wanted to do it, and I most certainly did not.  As the placenta was delivered, the doctor literally held it up and said, “look” as he plopped it in a tray.  I wasn’t sure (and I still don’t) if I thought it was cool or was completely grossed out.  He said I had a slight labial tear that needed two stitches (whoo hoo—it could have been so much worse), and thankfully that was done before Eric came back.  As soon as they got me stitched up and handed Matty back to me, they all ran out of the room.  Another gal started having problems and needed an emergency c-section.  The nurse looked at me, said “You’re doing great. You don’t need us.  If you do need anything, just page.”  Ummm…ok, thanks, I think…

It was 4 hours and 16 minutes from the time of water breaking to the time my baby was placed on my belly.  Amazing.  It was only another 10 minutes before Eric and I were alone snuggling with our new son.  Even more amazing.  By 10:30am, 5 ½ hours after my water breaking, I was out of bed, showered, dressed, and watching pregame football with my two favorite guys while Eric updated his fantasy football league.  It was very surreal.  And it felt so natural and normal at the same time.

Eric actually left around noon to meet his parents who drove up to visit, and to pick a few things up from the apartment—we’d left in such a hurry that we didn’t grab everything.  He went out for dinner with the guys later that night.  Clearly, this transition into parenthood was going well!  By the time the nurses were done waking us up all night, I asked what the likelihood of us going home that day was.  They started the paperwork, I was cleared  by my doctor by 10am, Matty was cleared by the pediatrician by 11am, and we were home by 3pm.  Eric went to work for two hours.  All three of us have nicely slid into a routine, and I couldn’t be happier with our little guy, or my amazing husband (who has yet to change a diaper, but has shown patience and a natural fatherly tendency that I didn’t know he had).

(First snuggles at home with Daddy–ignore the pizza sauce stain–we’re still learning to eat one-handed)

(very happy to be home less than 36 hours after my water breaking)

Moscato + Cat PJ’s = Baby

It’s never a good thing when your husband pulls over on the side of the highway and says, “we need to talk.”  We were driving home on Easter from a family egg hunt and dinner, and this exact scenario played out.  What? Gah? But we’ve only been married like a year…we had such a fun day.  Noticing the look on my face, he immediately started laughing and reassured me that his words had come out wrong.  Ya think?!

He proceeded to explain that he was ready to be a father.  He wanted to have a baby.  He shared his joys of wanting a little baby to hold and a little playmate to take to family events.  It melted my heart.  And made me cry.

Because just over a year before this, we found out that we probably wouldn’t be able to have children.  After months (heck, years) of being sick, I finally went to the doctor and checked every little box on the form of any symptom I ever possibly could have maybe had.  Quick diagnosis by the doctor: you have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome).  I had never heard of this, but immediately knew what it meant; I mean, break it down.  My ovaries don’t work.  They form cysts instead of releasing eggs.  A blood and hormone test confirmed ridiculously out-of-whack levels.  The doctor confirmed my self-diagnosis: I can’t have children.  She recommended we see a fertility specialist at least two years before really wanting a baby, and said with some of the levels, it was going to be a long road.

So I gave Eric the option of breaking-off our engagement.  He laughed and said that was the stupidest thing he’d ever heard.  He didn’t even really want kids.  We could retire at 50 and move to the Caribbean.  And if we decided that we wanted we kids, we could adopt. Or foster.  Or steal some cute kids from somewhere (my nieces and nephews were also top options).  And now, here we were, sitting on the side of I-75 discussing having kids.

I was always pretty certain that a fertility specialist wasn’t in the plan; I couldn’t imagine all of that stress. And I always, always, always had the feeling that maybe God had bigger plans for us, and that maybe there was a reason we couldn’t have children of our own.  So I knew that I needed to go about this whole havin’ babies thing as naturally as possible and be open to God’s plan. So I told Eric I would research options and we would revisit this discussion in a week. I mean, cause seriously, he may change his mind the next day anyway after the holiday-high wore off.

I spent hours and hours reading about PCOS and fertility treatments and stories from women who were in the same boat.  It’s amazing, AMAZING, how many women are going through the same thing.  It was these success stories with happy endings that motivated and gave me hope that I might possibly be able to do this.  (SPOILER ALERT: Our story has a happy ending, so I suppose by oversharing here it might help someone else.)

It seemed that diet, exercise, and a general reluctance to modern western medicine was key. I quit dairy, most starches, and sugar cold-turkey.  These were replaced with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. It seems difficult, but within mere days I felt better than ever and was actually repulsed by some of my former favorite foods (like milk).  I also did acupuncture and herbal supplements.  Within a month, I had my first “natural” menstrual period since I could remember.  Each month brought good results, and charting basal body temperature indeed started to show that I was ovulating.  It still took almost 18 months before we got a positive pregnancy test, but this was all work that helped to have a healthy pregnancy.

Though I can honestly say we never got frustrated during the process and life never turned into “OMG, we HAVE to have a baby”, there was something about Christmas Eve last year that hit me; I wanted this year to be the year that we got our baby.  I said a little prayer.  Our baby was due Sept. 24, exactly 9 months later. (Yes, I know we’re a week off there, but still.)  Truly blessed doesn’t begin to describe it, and knowing this baby was meant for us and given to us in God’s time makes him all the more special.

Besides the prayer, we like to joke that the formula for having a baby is:

Quit trying + Barefoot Moscato + Cat Pajamas =Baby

I don’t really drink alcohol, but on Christmas Eve I had a glass of Moscato.  We also had a family pajama exchange where Eric and I got matching pj’s with cats on them.  They were so sexy that one thing led to another and…jk, jk (I think).

That being said, I was 8 weeks pregnant before I suspected anything. Charting? Out the window with the holidays.  In fact, we were planning a trip to Europe thinking that a baby wasn’t in the cards for awhile.  While at a game night with some friends, we played Boxers and Briefs, and the card was “I need to take a pregnancy test.”  It was given to me.  I made a joke, but as the night went on, I started thinking…I am a little late, though I’m not all that regular.  I have felt a little “sick”.  And what was that the other night when I was shivering and took my temperature and it was high And then Wednesday and Thursday I had called off work because I was having horrible stomach pains and nausea. I slept all weekend. Seriously all weekend. And my breasts—couldn’t look at them without them hurting.  Monday & Tuesday I woke up and immediately was so nauseous I hit the floor.  Hmm…perhaps I should take a pregnancy test. I came home for lunch from work and peed on the stick, and I didn’t even get the cap on before a strong positive appeared.   I spent the rest of my lunch pacing up and down the hallway going “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.”  And shaking with excitement/anxiety/I don’t really know.  All I knew is that I couldn’t wait to tell Eric.  I went back to work and sent him an IM: “Don’t be late tonight, I have a surprise for you!” Now he immediately thought “baby”, but sent back: “Does it rhyme with Amy?”  Well, no.  So he was crushed.  Someone needs to go back to 1st grade and learn their rhymes…

I told him when he walked in door that I had a movie night planned and got a new movie.

He didn’t get it.  I had to explain it.  It was lame. But he was excited, and I was excited, but when Eric gets too excited he shuts down, so he basically just sat on the couch looking up minivans and houses all night.  But by the next day, he wanted to shout it from the rooftops and was begging to tell everyone, and almost slipped up a few times at work and dropped hints. We decided to wait until after the first trimester and a meeting with the doctor before we told anyone, mostly because I was so certain that something was going to be wrong; I mean, we tried, and then it just happened; it all seemed so easy; could we really be blessed not only with a baby, but a happy, healthy pregnancy?

My first doctor’s appointment was a week later.  Do you know how hard it is to find a doctor? Gah. I knew that I wanted a natural, drug-free birth (natural had gotten me this far), but how do you find a doctor on board with that?  Especially in a town when only one doctor, yes one, has a website.  Needless to say, Dr. Bradley was chosen based on his website. Ha! Though, of course he had the credentials and personality that I welcomed.  I still wanted a midwife, but was too concerned about complications resulting from PCOS to not have an OB/GYN.  The first appointment went well, though they couldn’t find a heartbeat (still a little too early-Gah-then why check?!).  The next appointment found a gloriously strong heartbeat and the next showed us this little cutie:

Our little guy. Baby Eric. Our Matty. I wanted a boy, Eric wanted a girl. He was immediately won over by this little squirmer, though. He saw the playmate potential.  Aside from a scare with blood platelets and slightly elevated blood sugar levels in week 27 (both of which turned out to be normal ranges for me and a total non-issue with a slight change in diet), we had a perfectly wonderful pregnancy.  Minimal morning sickness. Two “babymoons”. Lots of weekend trips to Cincinnati. No strange cravings (well, except for a particular donut, but more on that later.) Though I had bouts of exhaustion, I also had spurts of adrenaline and was able to stay pretty active and get projects done.  At no time did I feel “done” or ready to “get this kid out”. Ok, ok, maybe once or twice after waking up every 15 minutes to pee (especially when carpal tunnel reared its ugly head at week 38).  Oh, and maybe after I threw up at the NASCAR race in July and some random drunken gentleman held my hair and gave me a bottle of water while Eric yelled at a cop (it’s one of his many talents).  I tried to take it easy and had a wonderful work situation that allowed me to work part-time the last month. Yes, I worked until the week before I delivered, though I originally planned to take off during June. I spent this week off preparing for labor: reading about Hypnobirthing, relaxing techniques, and by the end of it, I was ready to drive to Tennessee to deliver in the forest with the bunnies at The Farm.

I felt Baby Matty’s first kick on April 27th.  We were having some really bad storms which resulted in the tornado sirens going off.  It was the most distinct and awesome feeling, almost indescribable.    Eric felt him kick for the first time on June 1st.  He wasn’t too happy, considering he was being kicked in the back while we were snuggling and sleeping.  He actually saw the baby kick on June 13th while we were lounging by the pool in Gatlinburg; I had a string on my bathing suit and every time Matty kicked, the string would twitch.  I think Eric watched this for a good 10 minutes.

At my 37 week appointment, I was 1 cm dilated and 60% effaced.  This was motivating.  At my 38 week appointment, I was 3 cm dilated and 90% effaced.  He highly doubted I would make it to my next week’s appointment. I had discussed my birth plan with him, but for some unknown reason, he still asked if I wanted to be induced.  Yes…he didn’t think I would make it 7 more days, and I wasn’t even to my due date, but he recommended induction. W.T.F.?  He thought I might be uncomfortable and I had a good chance of an induction going well…Seriously?!  No, thanks.  When I told him I was leaving my appointment to go shopping he looked at me like I was insane. He gave me all of my free samples and sent me on my way. I went into labor 4 days later.

Though I think the Red Raspberry Leaf tea, the 50 squats per day, the walking, and the positive attitude played huge roles, I have to say it was the sprinkle donut from Central Pastry that did it…you see, when I was little, I would find spare change and walk/skate to a local donut shop and get a sprinkle donut.  Mmmm…

During my pregnancy, from Day 1, I had dreams, DREAMS, about these donuts.  And for as often as we traveled to Cincinnati, we could never seem to make our way to Middletown to make a stop. The day before I went into labor, Eric and I made a compromise: I would travel 2 hours to Cincinnati so he could go go-kart racing at a new place (he had a great lap time–go him!), if he took me to Central Pastry.  So Eric, “the guys”, and I loaded into the car and headed South.  Of course, when we got there, they were out of sprinkle donuts. OUT!  I asked if it was possible if they could make me one, and they made me 3.  Those ladies are FANTASTIC!  I hung out at Eric’s parents, eating my donuts, while the boys manly men went go-kart racing.  That’s all our little guy wanted—he began his arrival about 12 hours later…and the great thing was I still had a donut left to eat after delivery…

Um, hi?

 

Yes, yes.  Forgive me Father for I have sinned…it’s been over 1 year since my last blog post…

I got promoted. Eric got promoted. It got cold and I don’t function in the winter. OH, and we got pregnant! Yep, we currently have a little baby snuggling on the couch with us.

So what better motivation to blog again than to share all of the awesome details of life that now includes a baby?  So stayed tuned for our pregnancy rundown, birthday story, and weekly updates from our little one. And hopefully a few other ramblings from my mind along the way, like what we’ve been up to over the past year (hint: a lot) and what we’ve got planned in the upcoming year (hint: a lot).