Sunday, December 23, 2012

She's Here!

In the delivery room

Our baby girl, Charlotte Eve, was born Friday morning at 11:14 am, weighing 8 lbs, 5 oz.

I decided on Wednesday to be induced Friday.  I feel selfish that I decided to do it based on convenience- my in-laws were headed down and we had 5 days of childcare and help to ease the transition with the new baby.  I didn't feel like I was going to go into labor on my own, and if I waited a week only to be induced after my in-laws left, I would have been annoyed.

But given the way things happened, I am glad that I was in the hospital!

I went in at 6 am.  I did not sleep well Thursday night.  First I had a breakdown, crying, about how I was ruining the boys' lives by having a baby at 10 pm.  I took an ambien and did manage to fall asleep, but I kept waking up, and would lie in bed in disbelief that I was going to have a baby.  I finally got up a little before 5 to shower and get dressed.  I ate some toast because I was so hungry during my last labor.

My parents came to take over at 5:45.  The boys were still asleep.  It was pouring rain outside.  Of course I didn't travel light- 2 bags, a pillow, umbrella...

We got to the hospital at 6, went up to labor and delivery, and checked in.  I still felt guilty, explaining to the nurses that I was in for an elective induction.  I had also had some helpful friends tell me that I would surely have a c-section, so I felt anxious about that- since after my uncomplicated vaginal delivery with the boys, I really didn't want a c-section.

Around 6:30 or so, a resident came to check me- I was 3 cm and about 70-75% effaced, so no different from Wednesday, but the resident assured me this is a good starting point for an induction.  She put cytotec in vaginally- just a little pill- and said that's it, now we wait.  She said it would take about 4 hours for the pill to run its course.

My OB came around 7:45 to say good morning and let me know the plan.  I, of course, was anxious about the fact that my contractions had barely started, and he reassured me that the pill would take some time to get to work, and it had a few more hours before we went on to bigger things- like pitocin.

I put on the Today show and tried to nap.  Regular contractions started, but they were extremely mild- about the intensity of the Braxton-Hicks I'd been having.  I emailed a little, started watching an old episode of Glee (boring, Eric and I agreed that the show has gone downhill), and kept trying to nap.  Alarms kept going off- my IV ran out of batteries, the heartbeat monitor machine ran out of paper... so every time I would nod off something would start to beep.  I was already hungry and feeling upset that I might not get to eat til dinner!  At one point the baby's heart rate dropped off the monitors, and they told me I would have to lie on my side to keep it up.  That made me nervous, but they assured me it was normal and things would be fine.

At 10 my OB came back and said, "I think I'm going to rupture your membranes."  This was the point of no return- before I had thought if things didn't take off, I would get up and leave.  I guess I decided I wanted this baby, so I said ok.  He asked if I wanted an epidural first, and I said no- I wasn't in any pain yet, and I told Eric, "if there isn't any pain at all, it won't feel like a real labor."  I also know an epidural can slow labor and I wanted to keep things moving. I told my OB that I would call for one when things started getting painful.

My OB checked me, and said I was now 4 cm and 90% effaced.  I have to say that didn't feel like major progress for 3 hours worth of induction, but it was something.  He broke my water, said it was clear, and that this should start things.  I asked if I should call my mom, who wanted to be with us for the labor and delivery but was helping my dad with the boys at the time, and he said no, we had lots of time.

About 10 minutes later I started to have contractions that were painful.  I would say they were similar to the contractions I had when I went into labor with the boys, before I got the epidural.  They didn't seem that frequent.  After about 20 minutes of them, I told Eric I was ready for the anesthesiologist.  I believe my words were: "I'm no hero!  These really hurt!  I don't know who those crazy people are who want to have a baby without drugs."  We told the nurse to call for the anesthesiologist, and she did.

Maybe 10 minutes later, I wanted to try to use the bathroom on my own before my epidural.  I had to pee and thought I might have to poop, and wanted to do it in private.  The nurse came in and said that the anesthesiologist was finishing up in another room and would be with me in a minute.  I did get to the toilet, I peed, had a painful contraction, pooped, had another contraction, and really started to get uncomfortable.  I had some trouble getting off the toilet, but finally did.  I got back into bed and had another really painful contraction, where I felt like I was moving my bowels in the bed.  I got really upset! I said to Eric, "Call the nurse! I pooped in the bed! Call the nurse!"  Eric thinks I call the nurse too much, so he was hemming and hawing, also because there wasn't actually poop in the bed.

When she came in, I told her I thought I had pooped in the bed, but also stressed the urgency of calling the anesthesiologist because I was having a lot of pain.  When she didn't have the anesthesiologist come in, but instead a nurse practitioner, it slowly dawned on me that something wasn't right.

The NP went to check me and said, "You're complete, baby is at +2-3."

Um, what?

I started asking if there was still time for an epidural, and in Eric's words, "No one really wanted to tell you there wasn't..."  but the NP suggested that I begin trying deep breathing and to keep my legs relaxed.  I think I was (more than) a little panicked- I remember saying things like, "but I didn't take a childbirth class!" and "I don't want to have a baby without an epidural!" and "are you SURE there isn't time for an epidural?" even though I knew that even given the small chance I could sit still for an epidural, it surely wouldn't take effect prior to delivery.  Eric called my mom and told her to come right away- she was 2 miles away at our house.

I tried to talk myself into it, I told the NP that I had pushed 15 minutes to deliver my first, so I could do 10.  I told myself, "10 minutes, you can handle this for 10 minutes. You can do this."

There was a bit of a mad rush, where they were calling my OB on the phone to come in from office, prepping the bed, getting the baby warmer, the nurse for the baby...  I think I was kind of in shock that this was all happening right now, and so quickly.  My mom still wasn't there, either.

With every contraction it felt 1) painful and 2) like I needed to bear down, but my OB was changing into his scrubs and I had to wait.  When he got in, they moved me down into the stirrups.  I think I was a little nuts- the speed, the pain- my brain could not keep up.  I had another contraction and was allowed to push.  My OB said to take a deep breath in, let it out, another deep breath, and then bear down and PUSH.  I have to say that pushing is very easy without an epidural because you know exactly how to push to help the pressure.  It hurt A LOT.  It is true that you have no real memory for pain, all I know is that I was kind of riding up the hospital bed trying to get away from the pain, and the OB kept telling me to come down, keep my feet in the stirrups, and bear down.  I had a hard time pushing for the full count of 10 you are supposed to push for because it hurt so much.  I remember saying, at one point, "I can't!" because it hurt.  I have heard of the "ring of fire" and I wouldn't say that I could feel a ring, but it really stung! Regardless, I can't complain- after 2.5 contractions, Charlotte was born!

I remember thinking she looked so big!  And her face was all smooshy and purple.  I was in total shock.  My mom had missed the whole thing!  She came into the room after Charlotte was delivered, while my OB was stitching me.  I have a 2nd degree tear again but I figure that's not so bad given her size and the speed of delivery.  I had a 2nd degree tear with the boys, too, and no problems recovering from it.

They gave Charlotte to me almost right away, and I put her up to nurse, and she latched right on.  This was completely amazing to me, given the struggle I had getting my guys to latch as newborns.  It was great.  She peed as soon as she came out, too!  And then while nursing she had a bowel movement on me- everything seemed to be in working order.  I saw on the notes that her apgar scores were 9 and 9- a perfectly healthy baby, and what a miracle.

I am still in a little bit of shock about how it all happened- it was never my plan to have an epidural-free delivery, but now that it's over I am happy with it.  I feel proud of myself for delivering a big baby without drugs- I didn't know I was capable!  And recovery has been so easy.   We came home from the hospital after only 24 hours, and she has been nursing and sleeping very well.  The hardest part has been the boys- Benjamin seems fine, but Asher is having some trouble adjusting, which doesn't surprise me.

She is asleep now- so I better go, too!  Life has just gotten a little more crazy here.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

crappy iphone picture of the belly, next to the tree, in our new house
How far along?  39w1d
Total weight gain/loss? I went about 3 weeks without gaining weight, but I think at my last visit I think I had gained some (because they didn't say that I had stayed the same weight).
Maternity clothes? Obviously.  
Pregnancy symptoms?  I feel pretty good, all things considered. I have heartburn off and on, but otherwise I have a fair amount of energy.  I even shaved my legs this morning- comfortably.
Stretch marks? Oh yes. And getting worse, it feels like.  On Friday my skin felt so painful, like it is tearing apart.  I am dreading the post-partum belly.
Sleep? Terrible!  I wake up a million times a night- to pee, if Eric snores/breathes, if the cats are on the bed... and then the nights I do sleep well and solidly I wake up very early and lie there with a million thoughts running through my head.    
Best moment last week? Just listening to my guys talk more and more.  Asher keeps saying things I didn't know he knew- like "Water please, Mommy.  I thirsty!"
Movement?  She is a big mover.  Last night around 1:30 am she went wild, and I swear it felt like she was trying to crawl out!  That is what made Monday night into Tuesday so worrisome.
Food cravings? No particular food, although I wouldn't mind a cheeseburger and milkshake!  That was my mom's pregnancy food with me.
Gender? Counting on it being a girl since I painted her room a coral color...  
Labor signs? Still no real signs of labor.  At my OB appointment on Wednesday I was 2 cm dilated and 75% effaced, but that's it.  Yesterday I moved- actually helped move, like lifted and pushed and carried and packed and unpacked, and nothing.  Come on, baby!
Belly button in/out? In. But it has this top part that pokes out a tiny bit, and I think that's all I'll get.
What I miss: There really isn't anything I am missing.  I can't move too quickly and I am still stiff when I get up, but I am not good at following pregnant lady food rules, so I have had whatever I wanted to eat.  And tonight I had some wine with dinner!
What I am looking forward to:  We close on our old house on Friday (although this makes me more sad than happy.  I will really miss that place.  Going in there now and having it be echoey and empty is hard- it makes me tear up to go in there).  And potentially, I might have a baby this week- although every day I am still pregnant makes me feel like it is less likely I will ever be un-pregnant.
Milestones: We're moved into our new house.  The boys seem to be adjusting pretty well, although tonight Benjamin was looking at pictures he took at our old house and he said "Go home, go home to Boo Boo's house." We spent last night here and then this morning just hung out in our pj's to give the guys some time to get used to the place.  I am glad we have at least gotten this settled without my having the baby.

I also never thought I would still be pregnant right now.  A full-term baby!  She feels huge in there.  I am still vacillating between excitement at meeting her and no longer being pregnant (although I think have had the easiest, most painless pregnancy ever) and feeling sad that I'll never be pregnant again, and that our lives will have to go through yet another transition.

We are looking forward to my in-laws visiting on Friday for Christmas.  We got a tree today- bad Jews!- but I love the smell and the way it looks.  It is also helping the boys be excited about their new house.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

what a week... and it's only wednesday

Well, how can one week take so long?  We are getting ready to move on Saturday, and we made a schedule, but life seems to get in the way of things like that.

Everyone has been sick.  Grandma Sonia was in the hospital on Saturday and Sunday- they are not sure what it was, but she was dehydrated and then had tummy trouble.  On Monday my mom went to get her and bring her back to the facility where they leave, and found my Grandpa David very sick with tummy trouble, and no one had helped him.  Oy!  Then on Sunday night Jane had either a terrible case of food poisoning or a bad stomach bug.

Our immediate family has shared a little cold, so there have been runny noses, coughs, and some sneezes.  Then today Asher got sent home from school after nap time because he threw up.  I was at work (lucky me!) and Eric had to go get him, and Benjamin didn't want to stay without his brother.  Asher threw up several more times, but seemed to be done by the time I got home from work.  Then Benjamin started dragging, which is unusual.  No throw up from him, but both my mom and I have had bouts of nausea (without vomiting) in the past couple of days, so maybe he had that same feeling but a stronger tummy than Asher.  And now Grandpa Nick is in bed complaining of aches and nausea.  Oy!  All I can think is, thank goodness I haven't had this baby and don't have to worry about her getting sick!

Regardless, movers are coming on Saturday at 9 am to move our furniture.  If we have to dump things into boxes and carry them down the street, we will, but come hell or high water, we are moving in some fashion on Saturday.  I am starting to get really excited about living in our new house.  I am not sure how I will live in the kitchen or where I will put our things, but I love the paint colors in our living room and dining room and am excited to have my family in a beautiful new home.

In other drama this week- I made my first (and hopefully only) anxious pregnant lady call and visit to the doctor yesterday.  After not feeling Petunia move for about 12 hours, I called the OB in tears.  She hadn't moved after my nighttime ice cream treat, she hadn't moved when I got in bed for the night, which is our usual busy time, and she didn't move through the night or after breakfast.  The nurse at the OB's office sent me in for a non-stress test, and I had to go to Labor & Delivery because all the other testing beds were booked.  Everyone in L&D was really nice, and the second I climbed up on the bed to get monitored, she started to kick.  I kind of felt silly, but the nurses told me I did the right thing, and that they would rather see me everyday between now and delivery if things don't feel right than have me stay home and feel silly about calling.  I thought that was really nice.  Since I went in, and today, she has been her usual overactive self, which is reassuring.

I did have my regular OB appointment today, and he said I am now 2 cm dilated.  I guess progress is progress, but it does not seem that this baby plans to come out anytime soon.  I am fine with staying pregnant through the weekend- we have so much to do, having a baby is not on the list.  I am just mystified as to how my wimpy cervix was so ready to throw in the towel in my last pregnancy and is now holding on strong.  I know the baby will come when she's ready, but I think we're all starting to panic that my in-laws will come down here for Christmas and not have a new grandchild to see.  I think we all believed I would have the baby early- but we were wrong!

Fortunately for me, I feel great- physically I do feel like I could be pregnant forever.  I have plenty of energy, very few aches and pains.  I am slow and more easily out of breath, but other than that I feel very normal.  I still wear high heels to work, my rings still fit, and I still have ankles.  Apparently my body knows this is my last pregnancy and wants to make it last!

My guess is- the next time I post we'll be in our new house! I will take some photos to post on here.  A lot of excitement coming soon!

Friday, December 7, 2012

mixed emotions

Hot dog? Ice cream?  Both!
Belly yesterday at 37w5d.  Just in case I went into labor and had the baby.

I'm 38 weeks tomorrow.  I had my appointment today, and all is well with baby and me- her heart rate is good and strong, my blood pressure remains low, and I haven't gained any weight.  We are healthy as can be.  The OB gave me an internal- it was not the doctor who I usually see and have seen for the past couple of months- and he was not nearly as gentle as my usual doctor.  It seemed like he couldn't find my cervix anywhere! Ouch!  And then he told me, no change.  Still about 1 cm dilated, 75% effaced.  Hmph! I am having crazy Braxton-Hicks, some of which are becoming really painful, waking me up at night, and nothing???  That is really frustrating.

At the same time, I feel relieved.  We have friends coming from Boston this weekend and a long list of things to do, like packing, painting, shopping, and baking (yes, I seem to think that tomorrow has 36 hours in it rather than 24).  It will be much easier to get things done if I am still pregnant.  I asked the OB if there were any restrictions and he said no, to go ahead and paint, bend and lift, pack, do whatever.  I am kind of hoping intense activity will move things along.

I also feel a little eager to meet this baby.  What will she look like, sound like, smell like?  And yet I am happy to focus my attention on my two guys right now.  I feel such guilt, that I know what's coming and they don't.  Every night when we tuck them into bed I think, "Is this the last night that they'll be my only two children?"  I am having trouble sleeping because I find myself thinking about things like that.  As I've said before, I love them so much, and I worry that this new baby will upset them.

I also find myself thinking, "will I be sure when I go into labor" (dumb question, given the intensity of my contractions last time around).  Will my labor be similar but shorter?  More painful?  Less?  I am not scared of labor and delivery because it went so smoothly the last time, and I know the epidural is always there waiting for me.

There are just such feelings of ambivalence.  I feel like our whole lives are in transition.  And I hate the anticipation of change, even if I will love the effects of the change when it's done.

Today the boys and I went to Trader Joe's and I saw our lactation consultant there.  I haven't seen her, other than for a brief moment when she came to visit my cousin last fall, since she came to help the boys nurse when they were 5 days old.  She got them both latched and I really don't think we would have done it without her.  She said it made her day to see them big and healthy, and me pregnant again.  I told her I still carry her card with me and will be calling her if there's any trouble when Petunia arrives!

Time for bed- I'm exhausted and need to cram 2 days' worth of activities into tomorrow.  We will definitely owe our friends dinner after all this!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

the circus at our house, 37w1d, and house news

The lion giving the monkey a ride on the tricycle
You have to hand it to 2 2-year-olds- they know how to have a good time.  Yesterday during what was supposed to be nap time, they broke into their closet and found their Halloween costumes.  So last night and this morning, they dressed up in costume.  Of course this also led to attempts to trick-or-treat and eat candy.  This morning they were on the tricycle- Benjamin drives and Asher hops on back.  They went in circles around the house and loops around the dining room table- I was laughing hysterically.  They are so cute and always coming up with new and inventive ways to make trouble.

How far along?  37w1d
Total weight gain/loss? The nurse told me 0 lbs over the past week.  Well, that is nice.  I am still huge.
Maternity clothes? Yes. Down to 1 pair of yoga pants, 1 pair of leggings, 1 pair of jeans, 2 pairs of work pants.  Slim pickings when things get dirty with one wearing.  
Pregnancy symptoms?  Mainly fatigue.  I am back to being really hungry (vs. being too full to eat). Why did I have to be so full on Thanksgiving, my favorite eating day of the year?
Stretch marks? Yes. My lower belly is killing me.  It feels like it's ripped apart- ouch!
Sleep? Somewhat better than last week- less trouble falling asleep, but I am waking up 2-3 times a night to pee and often have trouble falling back to sleep afterward.  I just remind myself, all of this is far better than the newborn, eat-all-the-time stage we are about to begin.  
Best moment last week? Watching my boys turn into sweet little guys- learning their manners, new words and phrases, and becoming adept at so many physical activities.  A friend of mine gave the boys a puzzle last night, and Asher has been very dedicated to putting it together over and over.
Movement?  Still going!  She loves, loves, loves sugar.  Just like mommy.
Food cravings? If it's food, I want it.
Gender? Let's assume- still a girl.  
Labor signs? My usual Braxton-Hicks.  They are slightly more painful from time to time, but that doesn't mean anything.  I did get another internal on Wednesday, and I was 1 cm dilated and 75% effaced, which was a change from the prior week.  Although it doesn't mean anything as to when I will actually go into labor, it was reassuring to know that there is change taking place, because I am not particularly interested in 1) going past my due date or 2) having an induction.  I was also told that I'm negative for Group B Strep, which is good news.  I am hoping for an easy labor and delivery!
Belly button in/out? In.  I am destined to never have an outie, thank goodness.
What I miss: Having a lap for my two guys to sit on.  Someone is always slipping off when I try to squeeze them both on what is left of my short legs.
What I am looking forward to: I am kind of looking forward to stopping work- it is awkward scheduling appointments with the disclaimer that they might not actually happen.  I like to be consistent and predictable, and telling people I just might not show up does not feel very predictable.
Milestones: I'm full term!  Hurray!  Now I just wait for this baby to come.  What a strange feeling- not knowing when she'll come.  I spend time thinking about how excited I am to hold her, look at her little bits and pieces, nurse again... and then spend time feeling completely anxious about how I don't want a baby to come.

I called my mom after my OB appointment this week and told her I am not sure I want a baby.  I'm just dreading the upheaval.  I am sure things will be wonderful, but in the meantime I am not handling the unpredictable nature of all of this very well.

10:12 pm- I wrote everything else in this post around 3:30 while we were at my parents' house.  The boys were napping there while we had an open house at our place.  Well, the open house was productive- we received an offer at 6 pm, and had signed papers by 7:15 accepting the offer.  AND they want to close December 21.  Because that means we won't have to pay 2 mortgages for even a single month, that is great.  Because I am due December 22, it's not great.  Oh my gosh.  Over the next 3 weeks we need to: fix up our new house (which we thought we had all the time in the world to do), pack up our current house, move down the street, and somewhere in there, have a baby.  Hahahaha.  When we do crazy, we do it right.