Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Birth Story - Part 2

Operating on no sleep here... I mean... really... NO SLEEP. Any recommendations on a book or SOMEthing to help us sleep through the night and get this feeding thing down would be greatly appreciated.

So - where was I? Asking for the epidural at about 1pm I think.

1:00pm Sunday July 15th
We walked to our room that we would eventually give birth in and stay for the remainder of our time at the hospital. I was having pretty harsh contractions at this point and they were about 4 minutes apart. They ran a bath for me and I was screaming so loud during the contractions the little bathroom was reverberating with sound. Mr. M was trying to work with me through them. I couldn't take it - I asked for the epidural.

They informed me I would need to get the IV to get a bag of fluids through me before the epidural could be placed. That was extremely hard - the IV, I know that sounds crazy, I mean - I gave birth for chrissake. But it's true, needles just drive me insane for some reason. I screamed bloody murder as they placed the IV.

I begged them to tell me how long it would take for the epidural guy to come. They told me I had to wait for the whole bag of fluids to go through me - now I don't think that actually happened. It seemed like the guy was there a mere 5 minutes later ready to place the epi. The guy who placed my epi was this really harsh dude. He informed me that I couldn't be squirming around like I had been when he puts the needle in. He tried to get all preachy with me, and I had my first moment of directiveness. I basically told him that I'd do the best I could under the circumstances but stop f*ck*ng with me and get that thing in. hehe.

The most painful part of the epidural was the novicaine needle. Which really - was not as hard as the IV. The most difficult part was definitely holding still while he put it in. My whole body was shaking with contractions - like tremors, they were so painful. So the test was to try and get the needle in before the next contraction hit. He basically had a window of about 2 minutes to get it done. The jerky dude ended up being very efficient and got it done immediately.

It took about 5 contractions to get the full effect of the epidural. Then - it was relief. My left side didn't numb as fast as the right. It did eventually get there though - and my legs felt like rocks. They put in a catheter into my bladder which I thought would totally suck - but I was numb so it was fine. Here I was strapped up to every monitor and machine known to man, the exact opposite that I thought I wanted. I was at peace with it though - I did extremely well laboring at home and getting to 5 centimeters by myself. Also - having my water break on its own was something I really wanted too.

4pm -
We rested for a bit - turned out the lights and tried to nap. I was too excited to sleep though. Mr. M did try to get some sleep which I was greatful for - since the rest of the evening turned out to be a long haul.

5pm -
I'm fulling dilated to 10 and they wanted to wait a bit for me to start pushing since I couldn't feel anything at this point. They didn't want me to waste my energy pushing when I didn't know where to send my energy. They dialed my epidural back to an 8 - 12 is the max btw.

6pm -
We started for a few trial pushes - I still couldn't feel anything and pushing was a bit ridiculous. I had to rely on muscle memory hoping that if I thought about pooping then my body would push like it was pushing. No luck. I couldn't even make my toes wiggle. I didn't push for EVERY contraction since it was a bit fruitless till the epi wore off a bit. They dialed me back down to a 6 at this point since they wanted to get the show on the road - and so did I.

The real pushing starts. It's hard work - I can feel the contractions, I'm sucking down oxygen as much as I can between co1ntractions to keep my energy up. Mr. M has to hold one of my legs while the nurse (Suzanne!) held my other leg. My legs were totally dead to me and I couldn't really push against anything so I relied on my upper body to pull on the handles of the bed to curl into a ball and push down. I tried back pushing and both sides pushing.

still pushing... every 2 minutes... I'm beginning to get exhausted and my body is fighting so hard I'm vomiting into a dish Mr. M is holding up by my head. The puking is painful especially during contractions - and I'm only vomiting up stomach bile so it stings and burns my throat. Although it sucked - it did squeeze the baby down with every purge. I puked a total of 4 times during pushing. My body was at utter exhaustion and unable to do anything but contract all muscles - including the stomach - thus the puking.

still pushing - and now I'm bargaining with the nurses and Mr. M. Begging them to tell me how much longer, PLEASE GOD - how much longer!?! They promised me that the baby was "right there!" Brought over a mirror to help me feel like I was making progress and asked if I wanted to feel the head. I felt the head... once. Then I was over it. I just wanted her OUT. They also said - the baby would be out by 9.

still pushing - obviously 9pm came and went. At this point I was pissed the hell off. I vetoed the phrase "she's right there!" from everyone in the room. No one was allowed to say anything about her almost being there for the remainder of the labor. Obviously their promise of 9pm was bullshit as was their promise of her being right there. So what I did was ordered they remove the mirror - and no I didn't want to feel the head, because goddamnit this just wasn't working.

I told the room they better come up with some options because this was obviously not working. I had now been pushing for 4 total hours - and couldn't take anymore. My body was so extremely spent that I couldn't do much more to help this labor along. I dug as deep as I could into myself to find the strength at this point. The midwife offered an episiotomy saying she thought it might help. I asked about vacuum extraction - they brought in the OB on the floor. She came up and looked me directly in the eye and told me that she could do it, but it would tear me and that I'd still have to push just as hard as I had been. She said she thought I could get this baby out. She also said - if I didn't get this baby out by vacuum that she'd have to start talking C section.

When I heard C-section something came over me. I distinctly remember looking at Mr. M's face and seeing his worry and fear. I couldn't do that to him and I certainly hadn't worked this hard to have vaginal pain AND a c-section scar after all of that. I told the room - there was no way in hell I pushed for 4 hours to have a c-section. I told the midwife to cut me... I didn't feel it.

I looked at Mr. M and I looked into the eyes of my midwife - and I pushed so hard I thought my eyeballs would explode out of my head. Then I did this rocking motion - more like I'm trying to push a car out of a snowy ditch. Out she plopped - on my belly.

Li.llian makes her arrival. There are no words to describe the relief of this moment. I didn't have immediate feelings of love - I just rubbed her down and she made these little whimper cries. Not screaming - I almost felt her relief too I think. They let her stay on my chest for quite a bit - until...

Post partum hemorrage begins. The OB is called in - they are pushing on my belly so hard, it hurts almost as bad as the worst contraction. The placenta hasn't come yet - and people are frantic around me. I hear things - like "blood loss" "no placenta", "fourth degree", "cytotec".

The OB is stitching me up - and I ask her how bad it is - she informs me I have the worst tear that one can get. I have a fourth degree tear, the cut helped to get her almost out but once she came it was an explosion and my vagina and anus basically became one opening. They had to place cytotec in suppository form up into my uterus to get it to clamp down and stop bleeding. The placenta finally came out - and WOW does that feel amazing. Like the best poop you could ever take. I wouldn't stop bleeding so they also had to give me some sort of blood clotting drug into my thigh as well.

All the while - my beautiful girl - who was not so beautiful at this point, squished like crazy was getting 8's and 9's on her apgars. She was perfect.

So that is my birth story. Do I have any regrets? Not at all. If I hadn't have gotten the epidural I think I would have just given up and they probably would have done a c-section. Turns out that my dear girl was face up - and I was enduring back labor. That is why the contractions were so unbelieveable. It's also why I pushed for 4 1/2 hours - her little head was stuck on my sacrum and pelvic bone.

I pushed my baby out - and I'm very proud of that. However, the feeling I had that night when the lights were low and I was in my hospital bed with my husband and baby sleeping peacefully was not utter happiness. I felt like I had been gutted and left for dead. Like my body would never recover to its original shape or size and that I would forever be 'scarred'. My vagina would never be the same - I know that's weird, but it's true. The nurse helped me to take a bath while she changed my sheets. I just cried in the tub. I had a catheter to help me pee, IV to keep my fluids high since I lost nearly 4 cups of blood, and stitches holding my bottom together. I was given a diaper filled with ice - which felt heavenly but also embarrasing. All dignity was lost at this point. I couldn't control my peeing or my pooping for that matter as it just kinda fell outta me with the stool softeners they were giving me. Of course the alternative (constipation) was not something I wanted either - trust me, I experienced that a few days later.

All of this got better. My body has healed - a bit, but not all the way yet. I'm still bleeding, which is quite normal. Going to the bathroom has become much easier - and everything seems to be working properly. I have trouble sitting on hard surfaces.

Breastfeeding is the current battle - no thanks to my breast reduction 7 years ago, we're struggling quite a bit. That story will have to wait - she's sleeping, and I need to take advantage and get some rest as well.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Birth Story - Part 1

Ok - lets see how far I get. Timing is tight around these parts these days - as I either have boobs hanging out from just feeding or about to be feeding or pumping or SOMETHING. Mr. M has used all methods possible to keep my curtains closed on our main floor of our house. He's getting pretty creative - chip clips, buttons, pins, - remind me to take pictures.

Sunday July 15th - 3:00AM

I was awoken with a contraction that was unlike any of the others I thought I was having up until that point. This one was very much like a menstrual cramp - so much so I thought I would go to the bathroom and have my period. When I did get to the bathroom I had some bloody show (just mucus with a few traces of blood). I put on a pad - to protect the undies and I tried not to get excited, I convinced myself to go back to sleep - which I did for a few hours.

Once again awakened by a menstrual cramp - same intensity as the other one. Not like I couldn't bear it - it was just uncomfortable. I nudged Mr. M and whispered, "I've been having contractions I think." We snuggled a bit - and then I went downstairs and made a contraction tracker in excel (what, you thought I'd stop project managing when I went into labor?!?) I ate some cereal - and the contractions were about 7 minutes apart - I was unable to figure out how long they were as they kinda snuck up on me and then faded without a clear end to them.

I started baking cookies - as I'd always planned to do in early labor. I made my famous chocolate chip cookies and continued to have 7 minute apart contractions through that whole process. This whole time I'm letting Mr. M sleep since I knew that I would need him to be completely rested for whatever was about to happen the rest of our day. As I took the last batch of cookies out of the oven, Mr. M came downstairs. We hugged and were a bit giddy - as THIS COULD BE IT! eeeeeee!!!!!

Mr. M asked why I was timing the contractions. I thought about it for a minute and figured he was right. Why WAS I timing them?? It's not like if I was in labor I would miss it some how. So I abandoned my contraction tracker for a bit and took a shower. The shower felt awesome - but the contractions kept on coming. When I got out I made sure to put a another pad on - just because it was easier to keep track of just how much mucus and blood I was getting.

Contractions started getting much stronger at this point, so I started tracking them again - sure enough they were 5 minutes apart. So I asked Mr. M to call the midwife - he left a message (since it was the weekend) on the answering service. Less than 10 minutes later the midwife called back - and I was happy to find out that it was one of the 4 or 5 midwives I had hoped would be present at my birth. As soon as Mr. M answered the phone I started peeing my pants - of course I didn't pee my pants, but that is really what it felt like. I clamped my legs together like a 5 year old who has to go pee pee and wiggled my way to the bathroom saying - I'm leaking I'm leaking. I heard him on the phone with the midwife say, "I think her water just broke."

All of this was so surreal - how could my water be breaking?? How could these really be contractions?? Was I having my baby today?!? I felt a mixture of emotions; anxious, scared, strong, confident, and excited. I spoke to the midwife briefly and she suggested we come on in and have this baby. So we scrambled around the house a bit making sure all the last minute things made it into the suitcase for the hospital. I had the pillows, Mr. M had the bag and his laptop. We were ready - and we were giddy.

Once in the car the contractions started getting strong - not kill me strong, but strong enough to make me moan and groan a bit. I felt almost out of body - watching us make this trip. I still feel a bit out of body - like I'm watching myself care for this little peanut girl. We got to the hospital and I had a few more contractions trying to walk to the admissions desk in the L&D area. The whole time my pad is filling with more and more amniotic fluid. I thought for sure my pants were wet - but they never did show the signs - I have a nice thick absorbent pad to thank for that.

They put me in a wheelchair and wheeled me to Triage - they call it PETU. They hooked me up to the fetal monitor and contraction monitor for the agreed upon 20 minute strip to make sure my baby girl was ok and to be sure these contractions were real. I undressed and got into hospital garb. I had originally put on my birth plan that I wanted to wear my own clothes - but at that moment - I really didn't want that. The midwife came to check me - and believe it or not I was at 5 cm!! I was so proud of myself for laboring at home and having my water break naturally. I felt that I had already accomplished something at this point. However, since my water had broken the contractions were becoming increasingly unbearable.

They admitted me immediately since they never send anybody home who's water has broken or people in active labor for that matter - hehe. Second goal accomplished! I'm a first time mom and I went to the hospital only once - and that was to have my baby. Once we got to our room they ran me a bath at my request. I didn't have any IV at this point as that was in my birth plan that I would not have any needles unless absolutely necessary.

I got in the bath and the contractions were UN-believeable. The water helped but I felt like I wanted to crawl out of my body. This was amazing pain - nothing I have EVER felt before. Don't be scared, those of you who are close to giving birth, there is a reason I had this pain. Mr. M was such a godsend. He was by my side with such steadfast love and support that if I ever doubted that I married the right man - this moment changed my life (ok - already crying). I screamed my guts out in the bath tub. I'm a singer remember - so me screaming packs quite a punch. They told me to try and bring the sounds lower as that will help against the contractions. At one point I think I was arrrrrrrging like a pirate.

Then I hit my wall - I asked Mr. M for the epidural. I said our "code word" so he knew I was serious. I was terrified of the epidural but I couldn't visualize myself experiencing this level of pain with contractions for the remainder of the birth.

sorry - have to shower while she's sleeping.... more to come.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

She's Here

We made it out alive - and WOW to I have a birth story for YOU! Give me a day or two to clear the people out of my house before I get around to writing that.

Here's my sweetness:

Lill.ian El.izabeth
7 lbs. 7 oz.
20.5 inches
Born: July 15th at 10:35pm

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Due Date Arrives

Today is the 'due date' for this child to leave my body. Do I think it's going to happen? Not sure... probably not, but it would be cool. Yesterday I left work early (around 2:45) because lower pelvic back pain had become a bit unbearable sitting in my chair at my desk. If that were the only thing I was feeling I would have toughed it out, but I also had explosive diarrhea that morning and I was feeling contractions during my conference calls.

So I figured what is the point of sitting here in all this pain - I need to go and take care of myself. As I left people eyes got big when they saw me packing up my stuff, wishing me luck, telling me they hoped they didn't see me on Monday. It was a little weird - like they were sending me off to battle.

When I got home I ran a warm bath - put on some music and laid there a bit. Then I tried to nap but the whole world kept calling me (friends, family, Mr. M). I probably slept for a total of 30 un-interrupted minutes. Then I got up and my mom arrived. We walked briskly around the neighborhood for about 45 minutes - me contracting the whole way, while she tried to distract me.

Contractions are a weird thing - for those of you who are early in pregnancy or have never been pregnant. My contractions - they don't feel like how I THOUGHT they would feel, or how the books describe them, or how anybody describes them for that matter. Yes it gets kinda tight, but it feels more like I have a large, heavy ball on my butt - then in the front it feels like the baby pushes out and curls up tighter in a ball. So - I assume they are contractions, I can't say they have a definitive start and end. That's another difficult one when it comes to "timing". I can't really time them right now - because I can't find the start or the end, I just know when I'm having one. They sneak up on you.

I leak a lot - and I could freak out and be a first time mom and say "OH MY GOD MY WATER IS BREAKING", but in reality I think there is just a lot of stuff that comes out of us pregnant women at the end of pregnancy and it's quite difficult to determine what is pee, what is discharge, and what is amniotic fluid. I almost wish they'd send you home with a few litmus testing strips so that when you find yourself wet you can easily take a little check and not feel like a dumbass when its really just that you sweated through your underwear.

I had continuous contractions last night - from about 4:30 till the time I went to bed at 10:30. I had trouble falling asleep because of the pain, but once I relaxed - they did stop and I got a good solid night of sleep. I feel energized this morning and well rested. I already had my breakfast of champions (fruity pebbles!) and am waiting for Mr. M to wake up so we can go for a walk.

I'll keep updating as the weekend goes on - as long as I get times to myself that is. Which is hard since if you see yesterday's post - the whole world is on their way. I'm being swarmed.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Vultures and Zen

I understand this is an exciting time for all of my family and friends. It’s an exciting time for us as well. We are about to have a major life change – welcome a child into our home, be parents! That’s huge! I get it.


That doesn’t mean that it is anyway about YOU. It is SO NOT ABOUT YOU. It’s not about you Mom, Grandma, Grandpa, friends, family. It’s just not. Your comfort or feelings will not be considered during the next weeks – and I’m sorry if that pains you. I hope you can overcome and rise above and do what you need to do to make yourselves feel special. Because really, right now… it’s about me, and then very shortly, it’s not about me at all, it’s about her. It’s about this little girl – who I believe will knock my socks off and I will do anything in my power to protect and love.

The cervical check I experienced this week at my midwife appt (on Wed) was the most painful thing I have felt this far in pregnancy. Well, other than the first three trimesters of wretching over a toilet for 3+ times a day – that still holds the title for most suckage possible.

The last two cervical checks before this one were like kitten kisses in comparison. I was crawling off the table – and Mr.M looked at me worriedly “you’re turning red!” My dear daughter is so incredibly low in my pelvis and my cervix is so incredibly high that the two in combination are painful as hell when fingers are trying to wriggle their way up there.

Of course the midwife stopped immediately and said, “doesn’t matter anyway, why be in pain for a silly check.” I agreed wholeheartedly as it gives me little to no clue when she’s coming anyway. She didn’t act concerned about the high cervix – and no matter how much I tried to pull it out of her if that would affect the length or pain of my labor she said, no big deal. She offered some solace in saying what she could feel was very smooth and that I was probably close to thinned out completely. Maybe that’s why it hurt more than the others? I have no idea.

This morning I experienced the first bout of explosive diarrhea I have been warned about. Its ok with me if that’s the way my body is trying to clean out to get ready for battle. I just hope battle is this weekend and not weeks from now. My due date remains set for tomorrow, no predictions have been made by the midwives. Interestingly enough I was watching a birth show on TV last night and the midwife said “no good midwife or doctor would ever tell a pregnant woman when the baby is coming – they just can’t know.” My midwives must be excellent in that case – because they never make a guess, they just say “could be any day! Or next week! Or today!”

I have achieved a zen like state when it comes to my baby girl’s arrival. I get up, I take a shower, drive to work, work all day, and come home. I walk, I swim, I sometimes lay on the couch! Then I repeat. I make no plans, no promises, and no apologies to anyone right now. I’m not afraid, I’m powerful, I’m strong, and I’m ready.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I’ll Take Hormones For 500 Alex

I haven’t been stricken with the midnight cravings or the trouble sleeping that most women at this point in pregnancy complain of. I also haven’t had to deal with stretch marks or hormone imbalances… until yesterday.

A dark cloud fell over my well being yesterday. I woke up and was fine, it was hotter than hell but all in all I was ok for being 38w4d. I had the day off due to the Holiday, but Mr. M was working so I’d be flying solo. I called a few friends to chat, one was heading to the cabin, the other working – I really didn’t want to hang out anyway as I was feeling very ‘home body-ish’.

I’m watching the numerous birth TV shows I have on the DVR with my laptop googling pregnancy related things. I come across this website: http://www.theshapeofamother.com/ and started spanning through the various entries.

Now don’t get me wrong here – because I’m walking a fine line – I know it.

I think what they’re trying to do on that website is awesome. Exposing the truth of what happens to women’s bodies after birth/pregnancy is very important. As is embracing what we have and striving for it to be a mark of pride rather than shame. I’m all for this stuff – GO WOMEN RAH RAH! YAY!

As I’m paging through these images I’m thinking to myself that I am extremely lucky to have not encountered a single stretch mark in my journey through pregnancy. I’m also thinking that hey, not only is my stomach not wracked with streaky red lines but it’s also quite lovely. I should take a picture – yes, that is what I shall do!

So I trod up the stairs, lumbering with every painful step to take a shower. Because naturally, one would like to have a clean face and hair if preparing to take awe inspiring, mother earth pictures of her deliciously rotund belly.

I’m walking past our wall of closets to slather on some of my ‘stretch-mark lotion’ and I stop mid slather. I gaze into the mirrors on my closet doors reflecting a woman I don’t even recognize anymore. I get up closer and closer – until what do my eyes spy… a stretch mark. Light in color, for now, but definitely on its way into the classification of ‘angry and red’ any day now. By this time I’m nearly pressing my face into the mirror trying to get the right light angle and turning my belly the right way to see just how bad the damage is.

And this, my dear readers, is where you should learn from me. You should walk away, walk straight away from that mirror, write it off as a smear on the mirror, or bad lighting… WHATEVER.YOU.HAVE.TO.DO… just walk away. I pinched that skin together thinking, well if it’s really a stretch mark, I’ll need to see what it’ll look like when my belly goes back to ‘normal’.


I began sobbing immediately. Pinching and pushing my skin from side to side, adjusting the lighting, laying on my side, etc. It wasn’t until I started eyeing the camera I had brought up to take those “earth mother” shots as a possible clarification of just how bad it is that I finally stopped myself and walked downstairs melting into a heaping pile of sobbing pregnant woman.

I was inconsolable for the rest of the day. Let me be clear here, I mean… I really SOBBED for the.rest.of.the.day. Like from 12:00pm to 5:30, only to begin again after dinner from 9:00 until I fell asleep.

My body – she is destroyed. I will never be able to look or feel the same way ever again. I have always been someone of huge self esteem and never had much of a self image problem. When the other girls were bulimic and anorexic in high school and college – I shrugged my shoulders and though I’m hot and so are they, what is their problem?!?

So … could be hormones, could be reality, could be I’m ready to have this baby right fricken now. I’m continuing to grieve the loss of my youth and the loss of what I thought was a pretty decent twenty-seven year old body.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


11 days to go till my due date. I've been telling people that I'm ready now, but maybe that isn't the whole truth. I may be as ready as I'll ever be, but visualizing myself in labor is hard for me. As is visualizing myself as a mother: breastfeeding, changing diapers, snuggling, etc.

A few things happen when you're less than 2 weeks away from your due date that I didn't really know would occur. When you call people, you know, just to chat like always - they immediately say, "are you in labor". When you respond in the negative they immediately say, oh ok - we'll talk to you later! I'm going through social withdrawal, nobody talks about anything but babies or labor.
I also find myself peeing a lot - which I thought wouldn't happen to me. When I do go pee it ends up being no more than a teaspoon. I wipe with amazing diligence, inspecting each piece of toilet paper hoping to see a trace of mucus plug.

Google and the Discovery channel have become my close friends and enemies. I can't stop watching birth shows and googling "38 weeks closed cervix". Yup, my cervix is totally closed. I got checked yesterday at my 38 week appointment. I was told this is currently a 7 lb baby and that my cervix is completely shut. However, the saving grace message that I received was that she is at zero station - meaning her head is 'locked and loaded' if you will. I've carried low throughout my pregnancy so I wasn't surprised by this information. I just wish that cervix would start to soften up a bit and get a move on.

So the wait continues. I don't know when it got in my head that I would be lucky enough to have her before my due date, but I was secretly hoping. She's got 10 more days before I get really impatient. I'm still working and plan to till I deliver, I just can't sit at home and twiddle my thumbs. I'll go absolutely crazy waiting if I'm not distracted by spreadsheets and timelines.

If I should go into labor this blog won't get an immediate update. Since no one in my personal life knows about my blogging there really isn't anybody to update with news. When we bring her home I'll post pics and the birth story. As I know how much I have been obsessed with reading birth stories for the past few weeks.

You'll have several more posts from me before she's here though. You'll hear from me after July 14th for sure.... still moaning and groaning.