Sunday, November 13, 2016

Cat's birth story part 3: In which I think "almost dying" might not actually be a dramatization

Obligatory birth story disclaimer: Blood, gore, and way too many run-on sentences. Squeamish grammarians enter with caution.

In part 2, the baby was born in a very timely manner--about 40 minutes after we arrived at the hospital and less than 10 minutes after my doctor arrived to catch.

This is where my memories get even more fragmentary than they are re: the rest of labor/delivery but hey, I get to write this the way I remember it and I don't have to care if maybe there's a doctor's note somewhere that has better details, right?

Anyway, we now had the job of delivering the placenta and I started feeling more contractions much sooner this time around; possibly because of the whole thing where I was having Pitocin pumped into my veins much sooner than last time around.

I had the same crushing back pain as during labor, strong enough that I made the same loud moaning sound. And Dr. B informed me that a large clot had come out before the placenta.

"Do not talk to me about clots," I replied crossly. I was very impatient for everybody's least favorite stage of labor to be over.

At this crucial juncture, Scott's dad called to see if we'd called my mom yet to come and take care of Tad. He was very surprised when Scott informed him that his new granddaughter had already arrived.

(Notes for next time: 1) Tell Scott's dad to TEXT if he has something non-life-threatening to talk about. 2) Just go ahead and call my mom as soon as labor starts. I planned to have Scott call her once I got admitted lest labor turn out to be a false alarm, but then things happened so fast we clean forgot. In hindsight we could have called her and said, "Hey, make sure your bag is packed and start driving if you don't hear back from us in an hour or so.")

While Scott was talking to his dad, I pushed out another large clot and finally the placenta. I made sure to tell them I was planning to keep it so they could store and label it properly.

And then Dr. B started pressing down on my uterus to make sure it was firming up properly. And every time he did it was crushingly painful and I would moan some more. Also, every time he did that there was a big gush of blood.

After a couple rounds of this I asked "Seriously, are there any meds I can have for this?" and Dr. B said "Yes" tersely and ordered such-and-such amount of morphine plus a second round of Pitocin. (I always start worrying when Dr. B gets terse because normally he is SUPER chatty, as you might have noticed from my various anecdotes.)

Morphine doesn't do shit, just so y'all know. Though it did kind of help psychologically just to know that nobody wanted me to be in pain.

(Thing I have since learned: Apparently for a lot of people morphine is one of those drugs that doesn't actually relieve pain so much as it makes you kind of loopy so you don't care. Which might help explain the patchy memory thing.)

I was still holding the baby and kind of nursing her off and on. (Every time I moaned she would unlatch and cry, so we made quite the pair.) And I honestly don't remember much else except lots of uterus-mashing and gushes of blood until finally things slowed down. Dr. B stepped out for a while and I thought he had left kind of abruptly but then he came back, checked things over again, congratulated me, and said he'd be by on rounds later that day. Then he left for good.

One of the nurses started a bag of IV fluids that she said was the second one I'd had, plus the fluids accompanying the original dose of Pitocin. (I guess you can give that in a bag of fluids or by itself?) The fact that I don't remember the intermediate bag of fluids suggests that I might have been more out of it than I thought, but maybe I was just distracted. Nurse K of the relentless encouragement was the second nurse in the room and she kept periodically pressing on my uterus and then apologizing when I'd moan over it. (It still REALLY HURT.) I reassured her that I understood she was just doing her job but I was going to have to make noises about it anyway. At one point she got a little concerned about how much I was still bleeding and asked the other nurse if Dr. B was still in the hospital but he wasn't. As I recall they just kept an eye on things after that but it's possible they called in a resident and I just don't remember.

At some point Scott did call my mom to tell her the baby had arrived and she should come down and stay with Tad. I think that was about 12:30. That made me remember about Teresa's birthday so I asked Nurse K when the baby had been born. She said she thought 11:17 but neither Scott nor I thought that sounded right so she looked it up and it was actually 11:27. So about 3 hours after my water broke and just in time for Teresa to have a birthday buddy. :)

Around 1:30 Nurse K suggested that we should weigh the baby and so forth. So we did and she was only 7 lbs 8 ounces, which shocked me. I mean, Cat certainly seemed smaller than Tad but I figured my impressions of baby size were going to be a little off after 3 years.

Then the baby got handed off to Scott and Nurse K suggested that she could help me use a bedpan to make sure I was peeing and everything before we went to the postpartum floor. I tried to argue that I could totally walk to the bathroom but then sitting up made me feel so dizzy that I went with her plan. By the time I was done using the bedpan I had very nearly blacked out and had to lie back in bed with a cool cloth on my forehead, so Nurse K was definitely in the right there.

We stayed in L&D for a little while after that. I had a cup of ice chips that I'd gotten at one point during labor and we had apple juice boxes that I'd packed in case my blood sugar got low. (I don't think they even had time to test my blood sugar, labor went so quick.) While I was lying very still and cuddling the baby, Scott spoon-fed me ice chips and helped me drink out of juice boxes. It was quite sweet of him.

Eventually we did go down to the postpartum unit, though. Nurse K didn't think I could safely sit up long enough even for a wheelchair ride, so we ended up just wheeling me and the baby down in our bed (accompanied by my IV pole for the bag of fluids), and then carefully transferring us to the bed in my postpartum room.

Nurse K did a report to the postpartum nurse, and that was when I learned that I had lost 800 mL of blood, that I had gotten 3 doses of Pitocin, and that my blood pressure had at one point dropped to 90/50. I got the expected admonishments from the postpartum nurse to behave myself and not start hemorrhaging again or pass out or anything (and also to not under any circumstances try to get out of bed without buzzing for help first) and I promised to obey them.

There's a lot more I could write here (spoiler: did not do so great at behaving myself medically), but I think the "birth" part of the story is over so I'll wrap up and dump the rest in an optional epilogue. How about a baby picture to finish us off properly?

Probably cute enough to be worth it.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Cat's birth story part 2: Nasty, brutish, and short

Obligatory birth story disclaimer: Lots of details about where exactly babies come from. Read at your own risk.

When we left off in part 1, I had just gotten to L&D triage.

I had to start by giving a urine sample but fortunately pregnant people excel at producing urine so that wasn't too difficult. I brought the little cup back into the triage room and asked the staff person if she could take it and do whatever and she said she wasn't allowed and I could take it back out to the people at the triage desk. (I have no idea what actual job title each of these people had; I would have assumed they were all nurses but apparently not!)

At that point I was having another contraction so I just set my pee cup down by the sink in the room and leaned on the bed. Person For Whom Touching Pee Is Above Her Pay Grade left and I changed into the hospital gown and the stretchy wrap thing they use to hold the monitors on. As soon as I finished that I had another contraction strong enough that I found myself moaning through it. That gave me a little adrenaline kick because I was pretty sure "uncontrollable moaning" meant I was about 7 cm and we needed to get this show on the road.

So I poked my head out and said, "Somebody needs to come take my pee and check me because I want a room." One of them said, "What?" and I repeated it and then retreated back into the room. And three of them (I think) came in shortly thereafter. One of them did things to the pee sample and one of them entered data in the computer ("Anything you can't talk about with your husband in the room?" etc.) and one asked me to get on the bed so she could check me. ("There's going to be some pressure." "You know pressure hurts A LOT?")

At that point I was 7-8 cm and 90% effaced so they all started moving a little faster. I hesitated for a second, not wanting to be bossy, but decided to go ahead and tell the one who had checked me, "You should call Dr. B__ and tell him to come NOW because last time I went from 8 cm to baby in 30 minutes." So she did. The one who was entering data in the computer said a little nervously, "And it's supposed to go faster the second time, right?"

"So they tell me," I replied.

At that point I started having another contraction and definitely didn't want to be on my back so I flipped over to hands and knees. (Around this time they brought Scott back in.) Hands and knees didn't feel quite right either so once the contraction ebbed I crawled up and draped my arms over the raised head of the bed so I was still kneeling but with my back at more of a 45* angle to the floor. I was still moaning loudly during all these contractions, incidentally.

One of the nurses mentioned needing to get an IV going and I agreed but said something about how I'm kind of a hard stick so they should keep that in mind. (I can't remember exactly how I phrased it; I had been trying and failing for a while to come up with a way to phrase that that didn't sound like, "Are you sure you know how to do your job?" and I don't improvise well in labor.) And then of course the nurse who was trying to start the IV spent a good minute or two carefully examining my arm and poking all the veins. It never ends well when they have to poke around like that.

I had another contraction or two during the vein exploration and apparently the noises I was making were making the nurses a bit nervous because they decided to interrupt their routine to move me out of triage into a regular room because "we're not set up to deliver the baby here." I stayed kneeling on the bed and somebody covered my butt with a sheet and we went off down the hall like that. I managed to crawl from the triage bed onto the delivery bed and somebody gave me a new sheet to cover my butt when I asked. (I specifically said, "I know I'm not going to care later but..." I have no idea how I wasn't already past the point of caring at 7+ cm but there you have it.)

I think we got to the room around 11:05 but I have no idea how I know that.

Shortly after that a new nurse appeared at the head of the bed so that my eyes were right at name tag level while she started working to get an IV started. (She did it much more quickly and confidently than the nurse who had been trying in triage.) I noticed that she had the same name as Night Nurse from my previous birth story and asked, "Have you worked here since before?" (Super clever phrasing there.) She said yes and I said I think I had her when my son was born 3 years ago and she said, "You do look kind of familiar. Did we have a good birth?" Me, a bit dryly: "Yeah, it was a blast."

Up until that point I think the focus on getting to a room had distracted me from the contractions--or else I had assumed that once I got to a room I would be able to settle down and relax and they wouldn't hurt so much. But it was impossible to get on top of these contractions. They were so much on top of each other that moving or changing positions was pretty much impossible. Scott rubbing my back or using the ice pack didn't help. Moaning loudly didn't help. (I knew I was losing control because when the contractions were peaking the moaning sounds started to slide up the scale until they were more like screaming.) Thinking that it would be over soon also didn't help, because what I wanted was to not be having this particular contraction. Or any contractions.

So I complained a lot, and I feel super dramatic about it now but honestly is that any worse a coping mechanism than moaning and making a lot of noise? I cope how I want, y'all. :p This included muttering while Nurse Who Maybe Was At My Last Birth was placing the IV, "I am never having sex again." I think she thought this was funny.

Then she went off to do something else (or possibly left entirely; there were a lot of nurses and I didn't care enough to keep track). I had a nurse we'll call Nurse K who stayed standing by my head. When I felt a contraction coming on I would say pitifully, "I can't do this..." and she would respond with a relentlessly cheerful, "You ARE doing this." I didn't find it super comforting at the time but in hindsight it was sweet that she tried. (And it certainly wouldn't have helped to be offered an epidural at that juncture--even if I'd wanted one, and I kind of did, there was simply no time at that point. Spoiler.)

Eventually I started responding to "You ARE doing this" with "I don't want to do this." Because I did get that I was doing it but man was it awful. And I complained at least once that I wanted to start pushing because pushing was better and when were we going to get to that part?!

At some point I noticed that my blood pressure cuff was not hooked up to anything and was just sort of flapping uselessly around my elbow. I think I asked aloud, "Do I need this?" but then I didn't actually wait for an answer, just pulled it off and threw it on the floor behind the bed. Best patient ever. :p

At some point after that my IV fell out (HOW? I have the worst luck with IVs...) and Nurse K quickly started a new one just below my elbow rather than in my hand. I am pretty sure this was after I took off the BP cuff because that had been on my left arm and the IV ended up in my left arm. (I eventually got a new BP cuff on my right arm.)

Also somewhere in there: I asked what time it was (because I was convinced I had been stuck in labor twilight zone for HOURS at this point) and it was only 11:15. I found that super discouraging because the amount of pain I'd been through in 10 minutes was already more than I thought I could handle, and no way was this going to be over quickly enough at that rate.

Scott, on the other hand, responded to my asking the time by saying, "Just think! Only a few more hours of this." Me: "Fuck you."

(P.S. Scott I love you but that was not super encouraging. :p )

(P.P.S. It occurs to me as I'm writing this that he wasn't in the room during the part where I was checked at 7-8 cm. So he had no idea how far along I was and was probably assuming that labor would be about 6 hours like last time.)

I decided that I should try breaking the contractions into smaller increments so I didn't have to get through a whole contraction at once. (With Tad's birth I broke transition contractions into 4 Hail Marys apiece.) So I told myself to take a deep breath and moan for as long as I could and see if doing that 3 times in a row was enough to get through the contraction.

As I recall, I got through about 1.5 moans before the sounds suddenly changed to more guttural and grunty ones. (Because I was starting to push, let's be clear on that.) The nurses all jumped to attention at that and one of them said to go fetch a resident just in case. I asked where Dr. B was and Nurse K reassured me that he was on his way but of course he had been "on his way" last birth too.

The resident was a blond girl--and I say "girl" and not "woman" because she literally looked about 14. I mean, she would have had to be at least 26-27 to be a medical resident, right? How do people my age look like such babies? She introduced herself (no memory of her name) and I said "Yeah, my last baby was delivered by a resident too." And then I never spoke to or saw her again because a minute or two later Dr. B actually arrived, looking very well-dressed in a sport coat.

I seem to recall he watched me through a contraction (during which I complained "This baby is trying to break my spine.") and then once I was done he said calmly, "I'll just get changed." Again in hindsight it occurs to me that the OB deciding to gown up for delivery means that he was quite sure I was close, v. him thinking that he had time to hang around and do whatever.

But at the time his calmness seemed at contrast with the urgency I was feeling, so I replied, "Get changed QUICKLY."

After that leaning on the head of the bed stopped feeling right. I asked for a squat bar and somebody put one up and I ended up kneeling at the foot of the bed with my arms draped over the bar. I have no idea why that was better but it felt much more stable at the time.

With Tad I remember pushing being a huge relief but this time around I just went from feeling like my back was going to snap in half to feeling like my pelvis was going to snap in half. I complained about this a lot while I was pushing. ("This is supposed to feel BETTER why doesn't it feel BETTER?" Also more generic pushing-out-a-baby stuff like "It burns" and "Oh God oh God oh God." For real, you guys, I was super dramatic with this labor.)

At one point I reached down between my legs to feel the baby's head (report: much more smooth and slimy than you'd think, sorry baby) and Dr. B asked if I could feel the head. I was still wearing the hospital gown and kneeling so he literally couldn't see anything from where he was sitting at the foot of the bed. That's how you do hands-off, seriously.

I said, "Yes, but that hurts my arm muscles" and went back to being draped over the squat bar. (It really did make my arm hurt. Do you ever get that thing where you sort of hyperextend your arm and it really hurts? This might be just me.)

After this somebody had their hand on my perineum but I didn't notice or care who because I was kind of focused on the whole pelvis-splitting-in-half situation. And the situation where it felt like I was going to tear like crazy. It's kind of hard to balance one sensation telling you to PUSH REALLY HARD AND GET THIS OVER WITH and another sensation telling you NO DON'T PUSH THAT WILL HURT REALLY BAD. I did try to hold back a smidge to give things time to stretch but let me tell you that there was no peaceful breathing the baby out happening in my life.

Anyway, I pushed a time or two and felt the baby's head slide out and another pelvis-splitting sensation that I assume was her shoulders and then I pushed and her whole body slid right out and I said something like "Thank you, Jesus!" Confession: For that one second I was 100% glad that labor was OVER and 0% thinking about the baby.

That only lasted a second, though. Dr. B, who at that point was standing next to the bed instead of sitting at the foot, was commenting chattily on how the baby was a girl and had had the cord wrapped around her foot and goodness knows what else and I demanded bossily that he give her to me.

(Scott reported later that Cat wasn't crying right away and Dr. B had to sweep some stuff out of her mouth so it's possible he was not so much "irrelevant chatting" as he was just filling the silence while prioritizing making sure the baby could breathe.)

Dr. B: "It can be tricky..." (I don't remember how he finished this sentence but it conveyed the idea that kneeling is not the best position for instant baby transfer)

Me: "Put her between my legs. And get this thing off me," And then I yanked open one side of my hospital gown while Dr. B obligingly slid the baby between my legs and then I was scooping her right up and everybody was telling me not to go too far because her cord wasn't very long. (I keep making short-corded babies, apparently.)

She cried and I pointed out to Scott that she does the exact same pouty lip thing that Tad does when he cries. And I talked to her soothingly and offered the breast and I'm not sure what else. At some point Dr. B clamped the cord and helped Scott cut it, and I think around that same time Nurse K was getting a bit nervous about the part of my birth plan where I mentioned the history of hemorrhage, so she had me move my arm a bit so she could access the IV and get a bag of Pitocin going.

Once the IV was going Dr. B had me lie back so he could assess for tears, of which there were none. I commented that I had tried to slow down a bit, though there was only so much one could do. Dr. B said, "You timed that well. You sounded so calm on the phone." (I think "You sounded so calm" is code for "I didn't think you were in active labor." Fortunately he had gone with my gut there!) I told him about how I had gotten to triage and had a contraction I had to moan through, "and I was like, 'Oh this is bad' except it wasn't bad because I was already in the hospital.''

Stay tuned for part 3 in which I was really glad to be in a hospital.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Cat's birth story part 1: Let me be brave

Obligatory birth story disclaimer: Here be discussion of bodily fluids and other things you might not want to think about if you're squeamish and/or a man and/or know me in real life. 

There's also a possible Doctor Who (S9 E10) spoiler.
39 weeks = officially really full-term
= officially REALLY ready to be done
Like with any proper birth story, I think we ought to start before the actual labor does. (This is probably one of the reasons my last labor was 6 hours long and merited a 7-part birth story. :p )

Monday night/Tuesday morning, Tad slept very very terribly. At about 10 a.m. I was messaging with Sheila and and said that I'd bet good money that he was going to spike a fever or break out in a rash or something within 24 hours.

Within about 10 minutes of my writing that, he started throwing up.

So we canceled all our plans for Tuesday and Wednesday and once Tad fell asleep I left him with Scott (who was working from home) and went to Kroger for crackers and Pedialyte.

Facebook discussions of the day revolved around the fact that Murphy's law dictated I would definitely go into labor that night. I panicked a bit worrying that nobody would be willing to watch Tad when he was potentially contagious.

Throughout the day I kept thinking that I should do housework/take a nap/get caught up on paperwork so that if I DID go into labor I would be that much more prepared. But instead I did basically nothing but surf Facebook and read Sims blogs. Honestly, though, I think I needed a day off more than I needed to get all that stuff done.

Tad stopped throwing up at around 1 p.m., took a roughly 4-hour nap, and woke up apparently right as rain. We went to bed and woke up and no baby so I assumed I was actually in the clear. (For some reason it seemed impossible that I would have the baby during the day.)

On Wednesday morning I left Tad watching cartoons with Scott's supervision and went grocery shopping by myself--50% to avoid spreading Tad's germs around and 50% because I was just way too pregnant to deal with a toddler while out shopping.

Tad took another good nap that afternoon and I felt somewhat guilty for wasting more time on the internet instead of a) napping myself or b) getting baby prep done.

After Scott finished work we made dinner and I thought about suggesting going for a walk to get some fresh air but it was raining very heavily. (Parts of our metro area got hail and tornado warnings!) So we kept lying around like slugs.

Around 8:15 I was sitting in the recliner and Tad wanted some milkies so I told him that if he was going to do that I needed to use the bathroom first. (He seemed sleepy and I was honestly hoping that nursing would put him to sleep, but that's quite the time commitment for a pregnant bladder.)

So I went to the bathroom with a cranky Tad hanging off my knees. As I stood up I felt weirdly damp but I assumed it was just extra pee (I mean, not being able to tighten one's pelvic floor promptly enough after peeing is kind of a thing when you're 39 weeks along...) and ignored it, bundling Tad off to the recliner for nursing.

He nursed for a while, but obviously didn't want to sleep, as evidenced by the fact that the nursing session included things like moaning/fussing loudly while still latched on and repeatedly kicking me in the face. (He stopped doing the latter after I asked if he needed to be all done.)

I remarked to Scott at one point that it was incredibly annoying to sit through all the noise and wiggling. What I didn't mention was that it was even more annoying to sit through that when I kept thinking about the weird damp feeling and trying to convince myself that it really was just pee.

After a few minutes Tad finished nursing so I went back to the bathroom (after noticing that I'd left a little damp spot behind on the chair). Even as I was trying to get my underwear and skirt off I had more fluid dripping down my legs, and once I sat down there was a big gush of it.

The fluid in question was also pretty solidly pink, which for some reason made me more sure it was amniotic fluid and not urine. (I mean, it could have been a sudden onset, totally painless UTI, right?) I put on a pad and found the phone and hid in the office to call Dr. B. He called me right back and we talked things over and he agreed with me that it sounded like my water breaking but reassured me it wasn't a big deal, even with some blood (he mentioned that was probably just the cervix bleeding as it dilated), that it was even less of a big deal since I was GBS negative, and I should go to the hospital either when I started having regular contractions or in the morning, whichever came first.

So I told Scott about the situation and then we started working on getting things together. I took a shower first, figuring that a) I wanted to be clean for labor (so I could get all messy immediately...) and b) a relaxing hot shower would help clarify whether the contractions I was having were strong enough to merit going to the hospital.

I did have some very strong contractions even with the shower taking the edge off--strong enough that I started having to rock through them and concentrate on breathing. During this time I started repeating "Let me be brave" as a labor mantra, which I had gotten from catching up on Doctor Who a few weeks prior.

(Does it say something about how I view labor that the quote I picked was spoken by a character going to her death? But, really, they are both similarly inevitable and similarly terrifying and about all one can hope for is to face them willingly rather than running away.)

After getting out of the shower I kept having strong contractions and tried to time them in an app but I found it frustrating--some were over a minute long, some only about 30 seconds, and they ranged from about 2 to 6 minutes apart with no apparent pattern. Still, the benefit of an app is that it smoothed all this data out into "about 4 minutes apart" and "about 45 seconds long."

At about 9:45 we called Scott's family to come watch Tad. He was still awake and demanding snacks and things and I was starting to need Scott's help to work through the contractions. (That reminds me that at some point in there I made myself a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of milk because I hadn't eaten since dinner and didn't want my blood sugar to get too low. And I made Tad a peanut butter sandwich too because of course he wanted one. Labor is much different the second time around!)

I remember Scott asking me whether we were planning to head to the hospital now. (Since of course the last time we'd discussed it, it had been a maybe tonight or maybe in the morning kind of thing.) I replied, "Yes, because either I'm in labor or I'm dying and either way we should go." And then I asked, "If I'm making jokes does that mean I'm not really in labor?" I looked at the clock then which is how I knew it was about 9:45. I started to feel a greater sense of urgency then because I had gotten it in my head that I could not count on labor lasting more than 3 hours so we needed to leave around the 1 to 1.5 hour mark, and at that point it had been 1.5 hours since my water broke and the inconsistent, not-quite-long-enough contractions started.

So I called Dr. B again and told him (or rather told his answering machine) that I had been having contractions about 4 minutes apart and 45 seconds long, maybe closer since I'd stopped timing them, and that since my last labor had been only 6 hours long I'd rather err on the side of going in too soon. Even while I was leaving the message I thought that I probably didn't sound labor-y enough but when Dr. B called back all he said was, "Okay, I'll tell the hospital you're coming" and I said "See you later" and then we hung up and started heading out.

Scott's dad had arrived by that time to watch Tad and we gave him a few parting admonitions and then I gave Tad hugs and kisses and told him I'd see him in the morning.

At the head of the stairs I remembered that Tad had locked me out of the apartment earlier that day while I was checking the mail, so I went back to tell Scott's dad that he should make sure to not leave the apartment unless he took a key. Tad hadn't really noticed when we left the first time but now he insisted on trying to come out with us. I gave him another big hug and told him I loved him and would see him in the morning, etc. and then handed him off to his grandpa and walked down the stairs to the sound of him sobbing on the other side of the door. I felt kind of bad about that. (He turned out not miss us that much, for the record.)

Because it was dark and raining, we decided to take surface streets to the hospital. I kept telling Scott to drive slower, believe it or not, because I get nervous when somebody else is driving and being nervous distracted me from coping with contractions. At some point I figured out that if I braced my feet on the floor of the car I could push backwards hard enough to sort of put counterpressure on my back--or perhaps the tension in my legs just distracted me enough to make it bearable.

We got to the hospital a little after 10:30 (I remember this because I was steeling myself to survive until 10:30 and we hadn't arrived by then but were close enough that I could manage anyway). I had Scott drop me off at the door and go park and made my way up to L&D.

At that point I apparently didn't look like I was in labor because the nurse working the triage desk was all, "Why are you here?" I managed to give a non-sarcastic answer, yes my water broke, blah blah blah sign all the forms that they shove at you.

Then she paged some other nurses and said "There's a Dr. B__ here for you." Apparently that's a descriptor as well as a doctor's name. :p

Scott arrived around that time (I was so glad he didn't get lost) and rubbed my back while I leaned on the counter and breathed through a contraction. The nurse politely waited for us to be done and then Scott had to wait in the waiting room while I went back to a triage room.

Read Part 2 to find out if I was actually in labor!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Pregnancy update: 39+ weeks


This is Cat, short for Caterpillar, to fit with the metamorphosing animals theme. (Notice the butterflies on her sleeper?) She was born on October 19 and I have already written 5000+ words for her birth story. :p But for now it is late and both kids are sleeping so I will save the wordiness for another time.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Atlas

The other week I was talking with Tad's occupational therapist about various things and at one point I told her how Tad was never really cuddly, not even as a baby--when he nursed he would push himself as far away from me as possible while still staying latched on.

She suggested that maybe I think of it less as him pushing me away and more that he just needs that extra resistance/sensory input of pushing into something. I feel like this is not just a good explanation for his nursing acrobatics but also for his behavior in general. He pushes me (literally and metaphorically) because he knows I'm not going to move.

And it does help, to think of it that way, but at the same time it doesn't change much. It doesn't change the fact that it's utterly exhausting when you're the one solid thing in a universe that somebody else finds utterly confusing and unpredictable.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Pregnancy info dump 23-27 weeks

Previous pregnancy posts: 7-15 weeks and the anatomy scan.

23 weeks:

I had an appointment with J the nurse practitioner (not to be confused with M the nurse practitioner). There was also a student nurse there who came in first to do her own exam. I suspected based on movement patterns that the baby had flipped head-down since the anatomy scan and the Doppler did pick up her heart rate fairly low. Neither of the NPs made an official guess about her position, though. The student nurse measured my fundal height, which might be the only time this pregnancy I get a proper one with a tape measure and everything. :p Dr. B always just eyeballs it. (Or hands it, I guess? Since he's doing it more by feel than anything else.) Then she asked if I had any questions and I apologized that I did not, since if I did I would have loved to give her the opportunity to practice answering them. (I have had a fondness for students ever since Tad was delivered by a resident. Ask me questions, students! I have things to teach you!)

J the NP came in after that but that was very brief since of course she was just double-checking that I didn't have any questions or issues left over. I mentioned that I was tired but "I think that's more a side effect of my first pregnancy," gesturing to Tad. (Who was sitting in the next chair over playing on the tablet.) She thought that was pretty amusing.

24 week belly shot with toddler photobomb

27 weeks:

I had my 1-hour glucose test at this appointment. Conveniently, Dr. B's office allows you to take the drink home with you, refrigerate it (maybe this is why I find it so much less gag-worthy than most other people report?), drink it, and then report the time at which you drank it to the receptionist.

I think I timed to to be something like 45 minutes before the start of my appointment so it must have been a speedy day because Dr. B was already in the room by the time the medical assistant came to draw my blood. He suggested distracting me by doing the Doppler at the same time, so that's what we did.

Baby was indeed head-down, as I suspected, but kind of oblique, with her head on my left hip and her hindquarters over on the right side. Her heart rate was in the 150s, which is about where it usually is. During this time Dr. B referred to the baby as "he" a few times but I didn't bother to correct it. Meanwhile, Tad was quietly playing games on my tablet but as soon as the Doppler found the heartbeat he looked up curiously. I said something like, "Can you hear baby sister's heartbeat?" and Dr. B apologized, saying, "See, I told you I was going to forget." I said that "I don't mind if my gynecologist is a little bit forgetful" and he laughed and then told a story about his dad, who was also an Ob/Gyn, having a patient say hi to him out in public and replying, "Oh, hi, [name], I didn't recognize you with clothes on!" My Dr. B was 13 at the time and basically died of embarrassment to have his dad talking about such things.

Me: "I think we all find our parents embarrassing when we're 13."

Dr. B: "What I can't figure out is why my daughters find me embarrassing."

Having been a teenage girl, I can totally figure that one out. :p

After that we sat down and I talked about some preliminary birth related questions. First I mentioned that labor with Tad had been pretty fast and asked what my guidelines should be for going in. I can't actually remember what they were (oops) but I do remember he said, "The part where you get to the hospital at five or six centimeters, that's when I should leave." (Last time, as you may recall, he left for the hospital when I was at eight and that turned out to be not enough warning!)

We also talked about the postpartum hemorrhage I had last time and I asked whether he thought I should add a provision to my birth plan for doing Pitocin immediately rather than taking a wait-and-see approach. He said, "I think that would be a good idea," which is remarkable because pretty much every other time I've asked for his opinion he's said something like, "We can work with whatever you prefer." I find it reassuring that he's taking hemorrhage prevention that seriously, since it still kind of unnerves me almost three years later (despite the fact that it really was a pretty small hemorrhage and easily resolved).

***

Tune in next time to find out whether or not I passed that 1-hour glucose screen!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Things I want to remember: 33 months

1. Tad's articulation is improving lately, which I appreciate because his primary method of verbal communication is still "Unleash torrents of unintelligible gibberish with a few recognizable words interspersed."

But it also makes me all sentimental that he's gradually losing his baby-isms. For example, "nammie" has become "banammie" and "peer" has become "peeda budder." (You never would have known to pull this out of the cupboard if my kid walked up and asked you for "peer," would you?)

Tad's first pony ride with bonus Baby Sister bump.

2. You can tell that I have been carrying him less (because carrying around his baby sister is more than enough work for my spine and pelvis right now!) because he has picked up the phrases, "Wait! Come back!" and "Follow me!" (Though he sometimes phrases that as "Okay, ehrybody, follow me!" which makes me think he heard it somewhere else as well, since I do not refer to him as "everybody.")

He also says "I be right back" when he leaves the room, which is adorable except when he's going somewhere he shouldn't be!

The county fair wore him out so thoroughly
 that we put him in the carseat, drove home, and
transferred him to bed, where he slept another 2 hours.

3. Another of his new favorite phrases is "Don' worry" which is pretty much my signal to start worrying, especially when I overhear him saying it apropos of nothing obvious.

This is honestly pretty tame for him

4. Sometimes when I give him something to eat or drink he says "Gank!" before stuffing it into his maw. Maybe I'm just desperate for affirmation, but I enjoy these little displays of gratitude. :)

Creative fine motor activity with salad tongs,
farm animals, and the lemonade cup from the fair.

5. At the beginning of July we went to a wedding and Tad learned how to "dance" (bending his knees so he can bob up and down, really). This skill disappeared for a while afterwards but then reappeared later, possibly due to watching a lot of Phineas and Ferb episodes that involved singing and/or dancing. Now he bobs his knees up and down AND does hilarious robot-like arm motions. It is excellent.

6. He is now tall enough to drink out of a drinking fountain--and he's had the necessary comprehension of the steps involved for quite a while already. This is also hilariously adorable and convenient to boot, since it was hotter than Hades here up until about a week ago and I don't always remember to bring enough water for both of us.

7. One day, for no apparent reason, he ran up to me, threw his arms around my legs, and said, "Aww, so happy!" For real, moments like that make all the challenging stuff a little less overwhelming.

***

This is kind of a seven quick takes post, but I have no idea who hosts those these days and am too lazy to Google, so no link for you!