Monday, November 8, 2010

Our Birth Story

I have a confession. Before becoming pregnant, I always saw myself having a C-section. Mostly the thought of pushing something that large out of my whooha was kind of frightening to me after stories I had heard. I also worried that my husband would not be able to see my whooha attractive ever again. Once it became clear that we would be doing IVF, my desire to have a C-section became stronger. After all, there had been nothing natural about getting pregnant, why start with delivery.

With the help of some wonderful doctors and an overall desire to do the best thing possible for my child, I came around to wanting to deliver vaginally and going as long as possible without medication. Although I was clear that this is what I wanted to do, I procrastinated on developing my birth plan. So, when my water broke unexpectedly at 36 weeks and 5 days. I found myself unprepared. No bag packed, no nursery together, and no birth plan printed to give to every nurse or doctor during labor. However, it all worked out exactly as I wanted and for that I am very lucky.

It started around Friday, October 8, around 5PM. I had gone to the hairdresser to get my hair done. We finished early, but she told me that an old friend of mine was coming after me. I decided to stay to visit with my friend. While I was hanging out, I stood up and it felt like I wet my pants. I quietly excused myself to go check out the situation. Sure enough, my panties were soaked, but not through to my pants. I went back out front and asked my friend and hairdresser if either of their water had broken when they gave birth. Neither one had that experience, but encouraged me to call the doctor. I called the doctor who told me to put on a pad and call her in an hour if it soaked through. Luckily, my hairdresser had a pad. I put it on, texted my husband to meet me at the house and headed out into rush hour traffic to get home. In the hour it took me to get home, the pad had soaked through. Greg got home about the same time I did. I called the doctor again and she said to come on to the hospital to get checked out. Both of us were surprisingly calm, as we packed our bags to go to the hospital. I can't remember what I took, but all of it was useless because I did not use any of it while there.

Before we headed off to the hospital, we said a prayer for our new family to get through this safely with a healthy outcome. By the time, we reached the hospital, I had soaked several pads. We headed to triage where they confirmed that my water in fact had broken and I was having contractions. At this point, I could not feel the contractions at all. Once we met with the doctor and found out I was 2cm dilated (luckily, my doctor and another doctor that I love were both on call during my labor, so I was super excited about that), I was formally admitted we called my sister, parents and Greg's mother to let them know that we were at the hospital and our little girl would be here soon. The doctor told us to go get some dinner and walk around the hospital to get labor going while we waited on a birthing suite. Our plan all along was that my sister would come to Seattle from South Carolina the first week to help us out, so our first agenda item was to work with her to make travel arrangements. This took longer than we thought, but we got it worked out and then headed to the cafeteria to have our last meal as a childless couple. We took pictures of our last meal shared at the hospital to save for later. At this point it is around midnight and we set off to explore the hospital. Our RE's and OB's offices are both attached to the hospital by skybridges. We first walked over to the elevators we had taken many times to go to the RE and through tears we told Gracious the story of how she came to be. Because the building was empty, we were able to spend time there together, holding each other and talking to our soon to be born daughter. We then took the skybridge over to the elevators leading up to the OB and pediatricians offices, and we told her about going there to see her on the ultrasounds and how we would be visiting there often in the future to see her new doctor at the pediatrician. After all of this, it was time to head back upstairs to see if we had a birthing suite.

Once we were in the birthing suite, we met Marlowe who was our first labor nurse. I was hooked up to all the machines to monitor heart rates and contractions. Although I was having contractions, I still was not feeling them. However, I was dilated to 3cm. They decided to start pitocin since my water had broken and they wanted me to deliver sometime the next day. I begged them to let me try and make it to 10/10/10 for two reasons. First, I would be officially 37 weeks and full term and that would be a really cool birthday. However, my doctor was adimit that we go ahead and get things started to try and avoid infection after my water breaking. Of course, I gave in wanting to do the best thing for all involved. After drugs were administered both Greg and I tried to get some sleep. However, sleep was not in the cards for me. One I was too wound up to even think about sleep, and the pitocin made it so that I started feeling the contractions. At 7 AM, there was a nurse shift change and I was in some pretty bad pain at this point. Our new nurse, Ms. Choi, introduced herself and immediately started throwing pillows around me and man handling me. At first, I was kind of annoyed, but once she finished I felt so comfortable and knew that this woman was going to take really good care of me. Several hours later, Ms. Choi offered me some pain medication to take the edge off to help me get some sleep. I gave in and took it. I felt fantastic for a bit with this and got a little bit of rest. At this point, I completely trusted Ms. Choi and did everything she told me to do. When she thought it was time to do the epidural, I took her word for it and did it. She held me while I got it done and immediately felt relief. My doctor came in to check and I was only at 4cm, so they upped the pitocin to make my contractions more effective. By this point, Greg's family had arrived and were starting to get bored waiting at the hospital. We gave them a list of things we needed from Costco and BabysRUs and sent them on there way. We told them we would call them when we were closer.

A few hours later, the doctor came back to check on me and sure enough we were ready to go. We then began pushing. This is a weird experience that I don't think I can describe. Plus, I will admit it would probably a little TMI. However, I will say this it was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I will say my days of being a below average athlete did help me through. PreIVF, I did a boot camp four days a week. There was drill we would do where we would get in rows of four people. We would then jog and the person in the back of the line would have to sprint to get to the front as everyone else continued to jog. There were several hills along the route and it sucked to have a turn sprinting at the bottom of the hill. After completing the drill one day a few us were complaining about the hills. One of the women who was in her late 50s and usually put the rest of to shame told us she loved the hills and ran faster on them to make them go quicker. From then on, I have looked at hills differently while running. I kept thinking about pushing harder and going faster to help things progress. I was surprisingly quiet and focused during the entire labor. Finally, at 7:30 PM on 10/9/10 Gracious made her entrance into the world. They were able to put her on my chest immediately and it was amazing!

I will admit the recovery has been much harder than the labor. However, I am about 98% back to normal. We are happily adjusting to this new member of the family. She is beautiful, wonderful and the biggest challenge of my life. We have plenty of family members and visitors here and are very lucky.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Really Good Excuse

So this time, I have a really good excuse for being MIA. For the purposes of this blog, meet Gracious. She was born 10/9/10. She weighed 5lbs and 14oz and 18 inches long. My water broke the night before. I was 36 weeks and 6 days and 4 and half hours from full term. Despite jaundice and a little bit of family drama, we are all doing well. She is perfect and I am falling in love all over again. Hopefully, I will write more on the birth story later.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Thanks! (preggo pictures)

Thank you for your support during a very whiny day! I am happy to report that I am feeling much better.
- My excitement for the day is that belly button became an outie. It is the little things.
- We have been talking about going to the movies more because we know that it will be difficult once Baby Girl arrives. We saw Catfish and Freakonomics this weekend. Both interesting movies that make you think. Hopefully, we will be able to continue this for the next few weeks. I love going to the movies.

- The house is finally at a manageable state. I have only one and half more rooms that I am responsible for, so I feel better. I finally feel like we live here. There is still much more decorating and picture hanging to go, but I figure we are in this house for the long haul and I have time.

- My MIL is coming tomorrow for a few days. She is primarily coming to take a Grandparents class on Tuesday and "to help". I am excited for her to take the grandparents class and hear about it. She is a very kind woman with the best of intentions, but sometimes she tells me what to do too much and sometimes not in very nice ways. I used to let this stuff roll off my back, but pregnancy hormones aren't allowing that. Plus, I think I am going to get a bit more assertive when it comes to my child, so we will see how this goes.

- I think a good friend may have stumbled across my blog. She causally mentioned a few things the other day on the telephone that were things I had written here. She could just be observing the same things I am (i.e. not many people bought things off my registry at the shower), but I am not 100% sure. She is still in the trenches of infertility, so it is possible she came across it innocently enough. I haven't really said anything on here that I would worry about, but still, I want this blog to be anonymous.
- My Mom had both my sister and me prematurely. I was born at 32 weeks and 5 days. My sister was born at 35 weeks and 4 days. Now that I have surpassed both of those days, my anxiety has gone way down. I never realized how nervous I was about premature births until they came to pass. I know things can still happen, but I feel better about it. Give me a few days and some internet searches and I am sure I can find something to worry about though.

- Besides the lack of sleep and this bowling ball I am carrying around, I feel pretty good. I am surprisingly OK with the lack of sleep these days. However, I do believe that at the end of this process is designed to make you so uncomfortable that you are willing to go to through a very painful experience just to know that you can get comfortable again at some point in the near future.

Bottom line, 27 more days to go!
Pictures by Sandra Coan Photography

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

WARNING: I Am Feeling Really Whiney

- I am feeling pretty whiney today. I slept horribly last night and just have not gotten my groove today. I could not find some important documents this morning and I got pretty frustrated. I couldn't move some of the boxes that I needed to get into to look for what was missing because they were too heavy. I was just frustrated that I couldn't get done what I needed to do without help.

- My MIL is bugging me. She made some snippy comments this weekend that would normally roll off my back, but in my current state I am taking it personally. I know it is me not her.

- I am wanting to see my IRL friends right now, but am having a hard time getting schedules to line up.

- My poor husband, is a saint to put up with me right now.

- Things I have learned in my pregnancy. When you see a pregnant woman never comment on their size whether you think she is large or small. Always tell her how great she looks! Also, I know it is fun to buy things for babies, but there is a registry for a reason. I think my baby registry has way more useful things on it than my wedding registry. Yet, I have mostly gotten clothes from people.

- This time last year, I started lupron for the IVF cycle that created Scooby. I feel like I have been pregnant for 12 months already.

Sorry if this all comes off as whiney and bitchy about being pregnant. I will take the lack of sleep and crazy hormones any day to be where I am. However, that doesn't change the fact that this can be hard at times. 32 days left. Not that I am counting.

Friday, September 10, 2010

32 Weeks 5 Day Milestone

Please accept my apologies for once again going MIA. We are moved into the new house, but are no where near unpacked. We will get there. As I have learned the hard way, patience is a virtue. I have been back online for a few weeks with intermittent computer issues along the way. As a result, posting has been difficult, but I have tried to keep up on blogs and comment here and there. Now for a quick update:

- I bet you didn't know that 32 weeks and 5 days is a big milestone in a pregnancy, but it definitely is for me. In my mother's pregnancy with me, I was born at 32 weeks and 5 days (yes, I am so obsessed that I figured it out). It makes me feel good to get this far because I feel I don't have any obvious issues from being premature 37 years ago. I am sure there are things that I have dealt with along the way that I never realized because I do not know any different. However, I feel like I have led a normal life and makes me feel good to get this far. While I would prefer that she make it to at least 37 weeks, I know that is possible for her to come now and be OK. The doctor surprised me the other day telling me that they would just let labor happen at 34 weeks. Wow!

- Speaking of doctors, my ob left the practice about 2 weeks ago. Yes, 2 months before giving birth I am starting over with a new doctor. The same thing happened to me at the fertility clinic and it turned out better. Therefore, I am taking it in stride. I have met two other doctors in the practice since then and like them well enough. It really isn't that big of a deal because I get whichever doctor is on call the day I deliver, so there is a chance she wouldn't have been there anyway.

- Acupuncture and therapy have been helping a lot with my anxiety. I also feel like getting farther along has helped too. Her movement is still amazing!!! I love it. I still get worried if she has a "lazy" day. However, I am getting better at dealing with it. The other day instead of obsessing I went out and bought some baby books. I am finally reading them and preparing.

- I am also working at getting things prepared for her arrival. I refinished an old buffet that we used in our dining room to use as the changing table. We are getting a crib from a friend that is in the process of transitioning her 3 year old to a big girl bed. It is one of the Pottery Barn recalled ones. However, they have the fix for it. We decided that we would rather have a crib that has been scrutinized and fixed then one where they are still waiting to find problems. I ordered a glider last week and it may or may not be here before she arrives, but I am not going to stress over it. We are getting a co-sleeper from a friend. We got a pack and play at the Target baby sale. My MIL has been busy buying baby clothes. We had a bit of a run in last week because she bought all kinds of fleecy and furry clothes in a size 9 month. The problem is that she will be 9 months old in August. While it is not super hot here anytime, fleece and really furry jumpers may not work. She said that she will probably be able to wear them sooner and they would be appropriate. That may be true, but at this stage of the game we have no idea of how she is going to fit into things. Babies in my family are typically small. Plus, neither my husband nor me are very big people. I am not expecting to have a gigantic kid. However, this is one of those we will just have to wait and see what happens and I am not going to battle it too hard right now. Trying to choose my battles.

- My shower is in two weeks. I am pretty excited because my Mom, best friend and another friend are coming in from the East coast. I feel really honored that they are coming this far to be here for it. I didn't expect that at all. I know when I moved 3000 miles away that having everyone participate in things is not realistic. It is just the way it goes.

- We are in the middle of a 6 week childbirth/breastfeeding/newborn care class. It has been great to be around other pregnant women. There are two that have the same due date. We still need to do infant CPR/ First aid and child seat safety. My MIL is also going to take a grandparents class. Greg has really enjoyed being more involved in getting ready.

- I don't talk about my work in at risk preschools much because of privacy reasons. However, for the last two years I have worked 2 days a week in a preschool with 6 week to 18 month olds. Many of these young kids are facing a lot of difficulties and trauma and have been removed from their homes at a very young age. The preschool that I work in is fabulous because it is giving them consistent loving support on a daily basis. Many people asked how I could face this while dealing with infertility. However, I will tell you that it is one of the main things that got me through those hard times. I felt many times that I needed these kids to help fill the hole in my heart as much as they needed me to help rock them to sleep. Their issues were not their fault and I felt like I was doing something to help make it better for them and me. I also learned soooooo much from the amazing teachers there that I will use with my child. If I have any advice to those still in the infertility trenches (if they still even read this blog), is to find a child to help make that hole in your heart a little smaller. It may hurt or sting a little, but I can say from experience that the time I had to learn from these children has already made me a better mother. The reason I am bringing this up now is because yesterday was my last day with them. My belly is getting in the way, and it is for the best. However, I will miss them so much. They made me a beautiful painting that will go in the baby's room to remind me of those difficult times and all they taught me.

So, that is what has been going on with me for the most part. I will work hard to continue to post more regularly. In the meantime, take care!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Little Tid Bits

- We are in the middle of moving, so things are quite busy. Movers will be here on Monday. Final count down. Only 2 more sleeps until we are in the new house! Yay!

- I am a little "plugged in" and need to go on one of those Oprah spend a day without technology boot camps. Turns out my husband thinks this is a good idea because we currently do not have cable or Internet ready to go at the new house. I have tried to warn him how this may turn out, but I don't think he truly understands that this pregnant lady is going to go nuts when she doesn't get to watch Bethenny Getting Married on Thursday. This should be interesting. So, posts and commenting may be a little sparse for awhile.

- Beside the lack of TV and Internet, I am anxious that most of our furniture will not be delivered until the middle of August. Also, we do not have air conditioning in the new house. So far, we have had a pretty mild summer (Thank you, God). However, August might get a little tough. Women have babies in third world countries all the time in much harsher conditions, so I am sure I will be fine. However, I will still be a bit whiny.

- Scooby has her busy days and her down days. It still makes me nervous on the down days. I got so nervous about it the other day that I went in to get checked. The doctor was very compassionate about the whole thing. She told me not to worry about coming in that I had been through a lot and she wanted me to be comfortable. I have a super compassionaet OB and I am very thankful for that. I am working through the anxiousness aa bit better. Other than BabyWatch 2010 anxiousness, I am feeling pretty good.

I will keep up as much as I can over the next few weeks via my phone. In the meantime, I am going to be working on the two houses a ton and reading to relax. Take care!

Monday, July 12, 2010

The New Normal

I have a new obsession. . . I call it BabyWatch 2010. I am obsessed with feeling Scooby move. It has taken over hours of my day. I also freak out if I go too long without feeling or seeing a movement. Scooby thinks my probes, pleads and prayers to get her to move are annoying (I would too.). I know she needs her rest to grow big and strong. I do really try hard to give her the space she needs. I have been working to distract myself by packing for our move and exercising. However, I can't stop thinking about when was the last time I felt her.

Several times on this blog, I have mentioned that infertility has changed me. Up until this point, I have not been able to articulate exactly how it has changed me, but I have felt different. Recently, I realized that the difference is that I have become so much more vulnerable than I have ever been in my life. The 21 months it took to conceive this child and the additional 9 months of her growing inside me have opened me up to a whole new possibility of hurt that I never knew existed. Month after month of wishing and hoping only to be disappointed and hurt, showed me that I have no control over the situation. It did not matter how hard I worked or relaxed about it or read about it, ultimately I could not control how it hurt my heart each month. There was only so much that I could do.

I thought pregnancy would be such a huge relief with less pressure. I thought my nerves would calm at the possibility of a baby at the end of these 9 months. Instead the worry and vulnerability have increased to a whole new level. Pregnancy has brought on all new worries. There are a million useless questions that I have about what is going on or not going on inside my uterus that are not worth mentioning. They are no good except to make me worry. Again, I can stay way from soft cheese, nitrates, booze and caffeine all I want, but there is only so much I can do.

This is a vulnerability that I cannot ignore or run away from or even forget. It is in my face and my only choice is to approach it head on. It is scary and I am frightened on a day to day basis. However, I know she will be worth it and the worry has really only begun. This is my new normal and I am working on how to manage it. I will keep you posted on how that goes.