Monday, October 29, 2007

Pictures!

Ok, without further ado:
Sophia BrynnJust after delivery (hey, not so attractive, but I was in labor for 16 hours):
Proof that she weighs 9 lbs, 1 oz (we couldn't believe it!):
Tim, the proud papa:
Me and Sophie (after a shower, hooray!):

Sophie and Macgyver got acquainted pretty quickly:

Fast friends after less than an hour:

It's been a whirlwind few days. Being with the baby is great, but it's been a challenge too. Nights are really rough for us, and breastfeeding has been more difficult than I expected (and I thought it might be tricky). We've gotten lots of help from family and friends, thank God, and that makes things better. But no matter how tough things get, Sophia smiles and it's all worth it. I'll try to post when I can. No promises on a time though--I'm still adjusting to life as much as Sophie is. So until then, I hope life is good for you!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The baby story--the short version

Here's the highlights, in bulleted form of course.

-Tuesday I didn't feel the baby move in the morning, so they had me come in for a non-stress test. Turns out the baby was fine, she had just shifted a little. My doctor came up, and I think she was debating inducing me, but we decided to talk about it the next day at my appointment.

-I drove to the hospital Wednesday morning for my 9:30 appointment. As I got out of the car in the parking garage, my water broke (I kept thinking--"how embarrassing if it was just pee").

-I told the secretary I thought my water had broken when I checked in. She told the nurse, who told my doctor, who though it was hysterical. They sent me up to labor and delivery to be checked. I called Tim about 9:30 AM and told him I'd let him know if they admitted me.

-About 10, they admitted me. I called Tim, who was up a little before 11, and my family, who all started migrating to the hospital (despite the fact that I tried to tell them it would be a while).

-The theme of the day: every time I hit a milestone, they told me delivery would be just around the corner. My water broke (and I was still 4 cm and 70% effaced), so I should deliver fast. At about 2:30 PM, they re-broke my water, which should start things moving. At 3:30 PM (6 hours later), we decided on an epidural and pitocin (I was 4-5 cm dilated, 90% effaced, -1 station at that point.) They were sure the pitocin would enhance the contractions (which were regular and strong, but not moving the baby), so they started me off low on pitocin at 4:30. I started at 2 mu/min. I ended at 16 mu/min. The max is 20 mu/min.

-So much for fast. At 8:55, almost 12 hours later, I was 9-10 cm, 100% effaced, and +1 station. They assured me I'd deliver fast. In fact, they thought my full bladder was holding things up, so they sent my family out when they straight catheterized me, thinking the baby would basically shoot out afterwards.

-That was 8:55 PM. I started pushing at 10:45 PM. I had the baby at 1:27 AM. So much for fast!

-The epidural was amazing for the contractions, but I felt every stretch with pushing. From 10:45 to about 1 AM, it hurt, but I was breathing and getting through it. When the baby crowned at 1 AM and the doctor came in, she decided to stretch me with every push. It was the worst pain of my life, to the point where I had no control over screaming or being able to open my eyes. And it lasted half an hour with no breaks. And I ended up with an episiotomy anyway.

-Want to know why labor lasted 16 hours and pushing lasted 3? Because everyone was prepared for a 7 to 8 pound baby, including the nurses and doctors. I kept telling people she'd be bigger, but they waved me off. Know what? I was right. Nine pounds, one ounce, 21 inches long, head circumference 37 cm. They weighed her twice, because even after she came out, the doctor was sure there was no way she could really be that big. I pushed--I KNEW she was that big!!!

-She's big, but beautiful. She's actually proportional, so instead of looking like a basketball, she looks like a two week old baby. Which, according to her newborn maturity assessment, she was two weeks overdue. So if she came two weeks ago, she'd be average. I can't imagine if she decided to wait until next week, when my doctor had thought about inducing me!

-Family got to see her for a little while Thursday morning, finally. I felt so bad that they had to wait so long. They hung out during labor in the room with me, but they all had to go downstairs to the cafeteria for three hours during pushing. Tim would call once an hour or so just to tell them we were still pushing! I felt so bad for keeping them up until almost 3 AM (they wanted to clean me and the baby up before visitors came up). But they came back later Thursday, after we were up in post partum, and got a little more time with her.

-Thursday was a long day with little sleep. Tim went home Thursday and Friday nights and came back the following mornings. Without fail, Sophie would be an angel until ten minutes after Tim left, and then she'd start screaming bloody murder! I felt guilty the first night, but I sent her to the nursery between feedings. The next night, I didn't feel so bad doing it--I know I needed the sleep. And it was doctor recommended to sent her out now and again to get a break. I think it was a good call.

-We got home about 2 PM today. It's unreal to have her home, but also so exciting. I'm terrified of spending our first night, the whole night, with her. I worry she'll be too hot, or too cold, or I won't be able to soothe her. But, we'll get through it!

All in all, she's absolutely wonderful. Tim's been a natural, and it's such a huge help to have him around. Both of our families have been so wonderful and supportive. I'm so glad we had our first one with so much support around. My mom has already helped me breastfeed, so there's one boundary we don't have any more!

Tim and I are both totally in love with our baby. I've got a million pictures. I've got to go through and pick out just a few, and then I'll post them. But she's amazing. and totally worth all the pain. Having said that, I still want to wait at least several years before undergoing that pain again. But if she's the prize, I'd do it again without hesitation.

The baby story--the long version

We're finally home, Sophia's sleeping on Tim's chest, and I have a few minutes to play on the computer. So, I figured I better write the story before I forget!

(Editor's note: this is the long version, intended for my personal record and people who have trouble with insomnia. Feel free to check out the bulleted version for the highlights.)

I had intended to post another "still pregnant" post on Tuesday, focusing on some of the things I've learned instead of being all "I'm so uncomfortable, blah blah" again. But when I woke up Tuesday morning, things didn't feel right. I was up when Tim left for work about 7:30, and from then until about 10:30, I didn't feel the baby move. She's usually very active in the morning. Sometimes she would wake me up from a sound sleep with her kicking! When I couldn't get her to move with all of the tricks the books tell you to use (eat something then lie down, get up and walk around, shift positions, etc), I called the doctor's office about 11 AM. After I left a message, I emailed Tim as calmly as I could that I couldn't feel the baby, I called the doc, and they may want me to come in. I didn't feel calm, but I didn't want us both to panic.

He came home about 12, and the nurse called backed back just before he got home. They told me to come in for a non-stress test. I grabbed a quick shower and grabbed anything we'd need for the hospital just in case they wanted to get the baby out immediately. We headed up to the hospital, went to labor and delivery, and got hooked up on the fetal monitors. They instantly found her heartbeat. I was so relieved (and feeling kind of stupid at the same time). She was moving like crazy and doing well, but I couldn't feel her, so she must have moved around a bit. They didn't do an ultrasound, so I didn't know how she was laying, but I could tell it was different.

My doctor came up to check on me. She said to come to my regular appointment the next day (Wednesday at 9:30) and we'd make a plan. She had a look on her face when the topic of induction came up that both Tim and I thought looked like she was really thinking if she wanted to do it right then. But, since the NST was ok, she decided that we'd wait. She was talking about not inducing me until next week, but we both agreed to talk about it the next day. She also stripped my membranes for a third time, since she was there.

We also found out that one of Tim's friends that he's known since high school is a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital. She was great about explaining things and offered to be our nurse when we delivered. The catch was she was going on vacation for her birthday, and she was only working Tuesday (when we had the NST) and Wednesday. So we'd have to deliver soon or hang out for a while :)

After we got home from the hospital, we had just enough time to stop home, let the dog out, and then leave again. Tim took me down to my parent's house to be baby-sat while he went to class. I had dinner there and hung out until he got back from class about 7:15. We then headed over to his parent's house to say hi (we hadn't seen them in a few weeks because they had been in New England), and we left there about 9:30 or so. By the time we got home at 10, we were exhausted.

I had a few contractions right after the doctor had stripped my membranes, but they had fizzled out around dinner time. I tried a few more of the old wive's tales Tuesday night to try and get labor started, but nothing really seemed to work.

Then, about 11:30, I was lying in bed when I started having some contractions. I think they were real--they were definitely uncomfortable--and they seemed strong. I paid attention to them for a while. I tried timing them, but they were still pretty irregular. They were painful enough that I couldn't sleep (plus I was excited at the thought that maybe we were headed for labor). So, about 2:30 AM, I decided to test them and see if they got stronger with walking. I got out of bed and headed downstairs to walk around. And of course, they went away. Even just sitting and watching TV led to no contractions. But, as soon as I would lay down, they'd be back. Final answer: they weren't regular enough to be labor, but they were painful enough to prevent me from sleeping.

So I got basically no sleep Tuesday night. I went back upstairs about 7:30 to shower, and Tim went to work. He asked me if he should come to my appointment that morning. I told him no, we'd just talk induction and I'd fill him in. As I was getting ready to shower, I had a moment of vanity. I had planned to do my hair, shave my legs, put on makeup, and generally try to look nice before I went into labor, figuring there'd be pictures and whatnot. But, since I was so tired Wednesday morning, and I was convinced this baby wasn't coming anytime soon, I just got a quick shower and threw on some crappy clothes, pulled my hair back, and skipped the makeup entirely. Figures, right?

I left about 8:30 to head to my doctor's appointment (rush hour sucks, so I figured I'd need an hour or so). It was crappy outside, and I half debated using the valet parking for labor and delivery, but I decided to be honest and just pay to park in the garage.

Right as I was pulling into the garage, I felt a little pop. It was strange, but I didn't feel any fluid, so I just ignored it. It took me another five minutes to find a spot. I parked, stood up to get out of the car, and felt a huge gush. I had a feeling it was my water breaking, but I also had the thought that maybe my bladder had decided to empty on its own. As discreetly as I could, I grabbed the stack of McDonald's napkins I keep in the car, plugged myself up, and walked to my appointment (about a five minute walk). I didn't think my pants were soaked too obviously, but I wrapped my jacket around my waist and waddled to the hospital as best I could.

I got there right at 9:30 (I try to be a little early, but the waddling was especially slow with the napkins). I signed in, and I leaned into the window and told the secretary, "I have a weird situation. I think my water just broke, but I'm not sure."

She went back and told the nurse, who came out and said that I'm going right out to labor and delivery. She also said that she had told my doctor that my water just broke, and she said my doctor just laughed and laughed.

I was hoping to get a chance to head to the bathroom and see if this was really my water or pee, but I didn't get the chance. I did call Tim and tell him we may be having this baby today, but it depended on the water breaking situation. I told him to wait until I called him back (because that's so easy to do when you think your wife's in labor), but I was really worried it was just pee and they'd send me home.

Well, when I got up there and changed into a gown, I knew instantly it was my water (no need for details). They checked me out, agreed, admitted me, and I called Tim a little after ten to tell him we'd be having a baby today. I was four centimeters dilated, 70% effaced, and -1 station. They said that things should be pretty quick because I was already progressed, so I called my family and Tim called his. I told them we might not have the baby until a few hours later, so no big rush (but again, like I could convince them to wait).

My doctor stopped up about 12:30 or so to check me out and chat. The contractions were pretty regular, but they weren't pushing the baby down. She said we'd start pitocin maybe 3-3:30 if the contractions didn't start things on their own. By this time Tim and my mom were in the room with me, so they kept an eye on the monitors and kept me company. The contractions were strong, but I could breathe through them, so I wouldn't call them painful.

About 2:30 or so a resident came in to check me. She thought she felt a forebag, which I guess is another part of the amniotic sac, so she got the amniohook (with Tim assisting) and re-broke my water. If what I had before was a gush of fluid, this was a waterfall. So again I was told things should start moving quickly now.

Do you see a pattern developing?

We were lucky enough to have Tim's friend come into work from 3-7, and she volunteered to be our nurse. I was way past having any personal boundaries at that point--we even had a student nurse stay with us from 2-11:30 PM so she could see the labor and delivery process--so who cares if someone I know gets to see my cash and prizes? It meant she gave us a lot of personal attention. And she's got a good sense of humor too, which is always helpful.

At 3:30, I was checked and was 4-5 centimeters, 90% effaced, and -1 station. Things were moving, but very slowly, and the baby wasn't coming down. We talked about starting pitocin, but I asked that we place the epidural before the pitocin. I didn't think we wanted to try and insert a spinal catheter while I was having strong contractions. Or worse yet, things would move as quickly as they kept saying, and I'd be pushing with no epidural.

They placed the epidural at 4 (piece of cake), and it was probably what they call a "walking epidural". I had no pain, diminished abdominal sensation, but I could feel my feet and legs (although they still don't let you walk because they worry things could chance any time). They started the pitocin at 4:30. They started me at 2 mu/min and said they could go up every half hour if need be, with the max dose at 20 mu/min. The pitocin got the contractions stronger, and with the epidural, all I felt was pressure and no pain. Totally awesome. Ask anyone in the room at that time, and they'd tell you I was like a public service announcement for epidurals at that time.

At 5:15, I was 5 cm dilated, 100% effaced, but still -1 station. They kept upping the pitocin, and again all I heard was that things would take off soon. At 8:55, I was "complete": 9-10 cm dilated, 100% effaced, and +1 station. They thought maybe the baby was held up on my bladder (I had been getting fluids IV for hours because of the epidural), so they sent all the family members out. They straight catheterized me to drain my bladder, and they warned everyone that the baby could basically slide right out if that was the hold up.

Umm, yeah. That was 8:55 PM. I had already been there for almost 12 hours, and I was constantly being told how quickly things were going to happen. Still no baby.

And the straight cath didn't produce a baby either. They had me just labor on pitocin for another two hours, hoping she'd move down. Not so much. And by now, the pitocin was at 16 mu/min. I didn't have much more room to go--if the contractions wouldn't do it at 20 mu/min, we'd be thinking about other ways of getting the baby out.

Finally, at 10:45 PM, we decided to start pushing. We sent all the family downstairs for real this time. It was showtime. Again, I was told that things should move fast once we started pushing.

Umm, not so much. I started pushing. And then I realized I could feel the head. In the birth canal. And it was not fun. I pushed the epidural button to up the pain meds, but it didn't work. It was then that I realized things could get interesting.

I pushed for what seemed like ages. Tim would hold one leg up, and the student nurse would hold the other. And I'd push. I could feel pain and stretching, but I just tried to breathe through it.

So we started at 10:45 PM. And at 1 AM, the baby crowned. Yes, more than two hours later. No one thought it would take that long. They kept saying, "Maybe the shoulders are stuck in pelvis" and things like that. So I tried pushing in other positions, like pulling on a sheet wrapped around a squat bar with my feet on the bar. That had to be quite a sight, I'm sure. The cool thing about that was that they put a mirror at the foot of the bed, and I could see the top of the baby's head at the end of each push. I couldn't see much of it, and it would disappear at the end of each push, but I knew she was coming.

At 1 AM, the on call doctor came in, and she decided to move things along. (Warning: talk of girl parts). She decided to stretch the opening of the birth canal with mineral oil and her hands during each contraction. That should stretch things enough that the baby should come down faster and without an episiotomy.

Let me explain the pain. During contractions, pre-epidural: uncomfortable, like cramping, but it doesn't last long. During contractions, post-epidural (including transition, the tough part): I could feel a little pressure in my abdomen, but no pain whatsoever. I could talk through contractions, and everyone kept commenting on how I was smiling and laughing. Pushing, pre-crowning: a sharp pain in the birth canal (I kept saying that I could feel her nose or something on the right side jabbing me). Lots of pressure and stretching/burning during the push. But it felt more relieving to push during the contraction than to let it happen without pushing. And in between contractions, I could rest.

And then there was pushing once the doctor got there. The worst pain. Of. My. Life. I felt like I was going to black out from the pain. And there was no rest from the pain. And pushing wasn't relief. I was screaming, and I couldn't help it. Tim kept telling me to open my eyes and see the baby's head. I physically couldn't open my eyes because of the pain. I was drenched in sweat. And all I could say was, "Oh my God, it hurts!" I tried breathing and all the other things they tell you, but the pain level was like nothing I've ever even heard of. Each time the doctor would stretch me, it just multiplied the pain by ten. And I did this non-stop for almost half an hour.

Now, let me take a detour for a minute. To amuse ourselves during labor, everyone in the room was guessing the baby's weight. She had been 6 pounds, 7 ounces by ultrasound estimate at the end of September. She was also smack on for the earlier due date of Oct. 16. Overall, that meant she was 55th percentile for both weight and head circumference.

They say babies can gain an ounce a day or more at the end of pregnancy. So, I estimated she was over 8 lbs 7 ounces a month post-ultrasound, and since she was also overdue for both the earlier and the later due date, I said she'd be over 8.5 pounds.

Everyone in the room, including the doctor, nurses, and every other random person coming through, said there was no way. Just the day before, where I was in for the non-stress test, I had asked my doctor about size, and she said she wasn't concerned. I had measured 42 cm to the top of the fundus the week before (and since I had a little extra padding around the middle from before I was pregnant, I measured 1-2 cm ahead every week). So 42 cm is within normal range for a full term pregnancy (the estimate is 1 cm=1 week gestational age). And even though we only had the month old estimate of weight by ultrasound, they didn't want to check again.

Want to guess how big she was?

Nine pounds, one ounce. 21 inches long. Head circumference of 37 cm.

She was HUGE! As the doctor stretched me right at the end, she could finally feel around the head, and she said I'd need an episiotomy anyway, despite all the stretching. But even when Sophia was born, the doctor guessed her to be about 8 pounds before she was weighed.

Not so much. 9 lbs, 1 oz. They weighed her twice, because neither the nurses or the doctor could believe she was really that big.

And all of a sudden, it was clear why I labored for 16 hours and pushed for three. Her head was gigantic. And my body just had a hard time pushing it out.
Now, a caveat. I don't think she looks like a basketball or anything. She looks two weeks older than every other newborn. She does have round, full cheeks, but she's proportional. Her measurements, for a 40 week baby, put her at the 90th percentile or so for height, weight, and head size. But for a 42 week baby (2 weeks overdue), she'd be about 50th percentile. And her newborn maturity score put her at 42 weeks.

So basically, she was two weeks overdue by her physiology. Which is what I had been trying to tell people. By the end, I knew she was ready, but I also realized that my body couldn't get labor started. If my water hadn't broken, I still probably wouldn't have had contractions, wouldn't have gone into labor, and would still be pregnant. And she'd be even bigger!!!!

Anyway, once she was out, I had something else to think about besides the pain. They put her on my chest right away. I still had pain (especially after the placenta was out--I had a lot of uterine bleeding with clots, and the way they get those out is gross and painful). But I also had a beautiful baby (who I affectionately called "my little porker" for most of the morning). The family came back in three at a time at about 2:30, and they all left about 3:30 AM when we were headed to postpartum. Unfortunately, things were busy, and we were stuck in labor and delivery until 5:15 AM. I hadn't slept since Monday night (it's now Thursday morning), I had eaten one turkey sandwich in a day and a half (and that's only because my doctor overrode the no eating during labor rule and had them get me something about 2 PM Wednesday), and I had just labored for 16 hours and pushed for three. I was beyond exhausted, and so was Tim.

We finally got upstairs about 5:15 AM. By the time they checked us in, did what they needed with the baby, and took her to the nursery, it was 7 AM. We got about 2.5 hours of constantly interrupted sleep, and at 9:30 they brought her in to eat. Surprisingly, the 2.5 hours was enough to at least make me functional again. The rest of Thursday was spent feeding the baby, having family come by, and just recovering. I was in a lot of lower abdominal pain, especially externally, and I was still losing a lot of blood. At one point the clots were big enough that they were talking about starting an IV in case I needed fluid/blood, but things leveled off after that.

Sophia was a doll all day Thursday. We definitely had a learning curve with the breastfeeding, but the nurses were super helpful. And when she wasn't eating, she was a peaceful little angel.

Once all the family left again at about 9:30 PM, Tim and I chilled. He went home a little after 11 to sleep. Sophie had been so calm all day, I planned to have her room in with me overnight (she rooms in full time unless you want the nursery to take her). Not twenty minutes after Tim leaves, she starts screaming bloody murder. I tried to soothe her, and I fed her again. She went back to sleep, but she woke up again a few minutes later and screamed. I tried feeding her again. Just as I was finishing, the nurse came in to take her to the nursery to be weighed. She asked me if I wanted her back in my room afterwards, or if I wanted Sophie to stay in the nursery. I thought about it for a minute, and I felt really guilty, but I told her to keep the baby in the nursery.

For as hard as it was to send Sophia out of the room, it gave me five hours of sleep. They didn't bring her back in to feed until 7 AM. And that five hours made me feel like a new person. I fed her and got her situated, and then I had the nursery take her again for 20 minutes so I could shower. Of course, just as I finish the shower, I hear noise in my room. It turns out my doctor had stopped by to say hi, and they had brought Sophia back. So I threw on my gown and didn't even take my hair out of the towel. I was trying to talk to my doc about things, but Sophie was screaming because she was hungry. That turned out to be the theme of the day.

Tim came back about 11 AM, which was a nice relief. One of my friends who works at the children's hospital pharmacy (attached to the same hospital) stopped by, and Ming and Kim from the lab came by, but each time Sophie would only give me about ten minute's peace between feedings (and I'm still a little weird about flashing boob randomly). Due to car issues, my parents couldn't visit Friday, and Tim's didn't come up till about 8 and stayed till 9:30. And you know what? It was actually really nice to just have it be me and Tim most of the day. I thought I'd be stir crazy or lonely, but once Tim got there, we were our own little family.

He went back home again last night, and I didn't feel bad about sending Sophie to the nursery. Kim from lab, who's a pediatrician, said not to feel bad at all about using the nursery option while I had it. I didn't get quite the sleep last night that I got the night before, but it was still better than nothing. I do have to say--I hope the night sweats end sometime soon. The nurse said they can last a while, but it makes sleeping tough.

Tim came back about 9 AM this morning. Sophie was eating again like crazy, and my milk came in sometime overnight, so now she's getting the real thing. Let me tell you--I knew my chest would get bigger, but I'm about 5 times the size I was when I was pregnant, which was twice as big as I am normally. It's insane!!

We got everything squared away for the discharge, and at 1:30 PM, we left the hospital and headed home. Sophia did well with the ride home, and she didn't seem to mind the change of scenery once we got home either. Macgyver was a little wound up, but I came in the house first, got reaquainted with him, and let him smell Sophie's hat. He was still hyper when she came in, but not aggressive. I had to feed her again almost as soon as we got home. The dog sniffed her the whole time, but no other trouble. I think they'll get along fine.

It's amazing the difference in feeding from even yesterday to today. Yesterday, with just colostrum, she would feed up to 30 minutes on one side, switch and do the same on the other, and then she's hungry again half an hour later. I felt like she never left my chest. Today, she eats for 10-15 minutes on one side and is totally full. She'll sleep for about two hours between feedings and then only spend another 10-15 minutes eating. And we've already had two pee and two poopy diapers since we've been home! Just unreal.

So that's been the experience. She's totally gorgeous. Tim's been absolutely amazing with her, and both of our families have been great and super supportive. Really, other than the tough delivery (and the after effects that go along with it), it's been great. Now, the delivery was tough enough that I'm not real anxious to do this again anytime in the near future. Sophia will definitely be an only child for a while.

Tim and I both look at each other on occasion and think, "They let us take her home?" We're still learning a lot--like how she can pee while you are changing her, soaking her sleeper and the changing pad cover underneath. But, that's what the washing machine is for.

I think we'll be learning for a while. But we do a lot together--change her together, do diapers together, he'll take her when I'm done feeding, etc. It's been wonderful. I know he'll have to go back to work next week, but I'm so glad we'll have at least one more day to learn together.

Tonight is our first night with Sophie full time. I'm scared to death that she'll be too hot or too cold in her crib, or that she'll cry all night and I won't know what she needs. It's terrifying, but it's something we've got to get through. We'll survive it, but I'm not counting on getting a lot of sleep.

But it's all worth it to be able to have Sophia in our lives. She's a little angel.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

She's here!

I am sitting here, typing one handed, because I have a baby in the other hand. That's right, she's here! At 1:27 AM, Sophia Brynn came into the world. I'll give the full story when I have both hands to type, but I just wanted to share the news!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Maybe now she'll come...

Before I got married, "Father of the Bride" was on TV one night when my whole family was together at my parent's house. I got all teary and emotional, as did several other members of my family, and it was just a touching time.

Well, I was channel surfing this afternoon, and "Father of the Bride: part 2" was on. I watched it while Tim was upstairs napping (I'm not the only one sleeping crappy). And of course, at the end when the babies are born, I got all teary and emotional again.

So, maybe now that I've done the unofficial ritual of Steve Martin pre-major life event, the baby will decide now is a good time to come. Of course, if she doesn't, my mom's having family dinner at her place tomorrow night, so at least I'll have something to take my mind off being ten months pregnant.

Still not yet

It's getting depressing to keep having to post the "not yet" message. But what can I do? She's just not ready to come out yet. And so we wait.

Not much of an update--feeling a little bummed out, so I'll wait to post more until I'm in a better mood. Or the baby comes. Whichever comes first.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The weekly update

Despite having a few bouts of contractions that I thought would be the start of labor over the last few days, I still managed to make it to my doctor's appointment this morning.

The weekly stats were 4 cm dilated, 70% effaced, and 0 station, so some progress from last week. The baby's heart rate and everything was fine, and despite being very swollen, I got the ok health wise too. Usually, I'd be pretty pumped about being given a clean bill of health, but what it meant was that I have to wait another week to be induced if she doesn't decide to come on her own :( I guess no medical indication for induction is a positive though, so I'll just try to be patient!

The doctor did sweep my membranes again, and I've already had a few mild contractions and some back pain since then (and that was since my appointment at 11 AM), so I'm hopeful maybe this will get things jump started.

So much for the due date, which was yesterday. But, I know a lot of first time babies come late, so we're just following the crowd I guess! I'm going to hang around at home and hope the contractions don't fizzle out again. I'll let you know if things change!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Not yet

I'm really exhausted, so this will be brief (and maybe I'll update more later). Still no baby. I was hopeful this weekend, but nothing. I'm home now for good--just too tired to keep going into lab. My next appt. is Wednesday morning, and I have a feeling I'll still be pregnant, so I am going to ask what she thinks about breaking my water or even trying pitocin. I'm so desperate to not be pregnant anymore!

I'm having constant contractions, but not strong enough to go to the hospital, and that's tiring. Plus I'm not sleeping from the heartburn, the contractions, and general discomfort. I'm just totally wiped out.

Tomorrow is the original due date. Since I've been dilated/effaced for a month, lost my plug 3 1/2 weeks ago, and been having contractions five minutes apart since the version three weeks ago, I didn't figure I'd still be pregnant on the due date. So much for that!

Friday, October 12, 2007

No baby

That's how I answer the phone now--no baby. I've regressed, contraction-wise, to the point where I went back into work today (I stayed home yesterday, thinking that might be the day). Even now, I'm thinking I may go into work next week if things are still the same.

I think I might just stop gathering information too. I've been checking a lot of websites and message boards about what people's stats were (dilated/effaced/etc) before they went into labor, how long from when they were first at a certain number until they delivered, etc. It just varies too much. Some people weren't dilated or effaced at all before they went into labor, and some were even more dilated/effaced than me and had to wait a while.

I guess I just need to be patient. If I make it until my doctor's appointment on Wednesday, I'll ask her what she thinks. Maybe she'll break my water. Maybe she'll want to wait. I don't know.

I know ultimately the baby will come when she's ready, even if I'm ready now (and have been for weeks.) I did have a symbolic gesture yesterday--I had finished the thank you notes, but I hadn't sealed them, on the chance I'd go into labor soon and have a baby picture to send out with the notes. Last night, I just decided to stop waiting. I sealed them up and mailed them out this morning. No baby picture included, but now at least I'm not jinxing myself by having things waiting on the baby.

I'm not so good with this patience stuff. But, at least work seems to be really good about things--quite a change. My boss came by around lunch time and was really pleasant about it, and he told me he hoped he wouldn't see me Monday. And the girls at work have been super supportive this whole time, which has been great.

I still don't know what I want to do about maternity leave. I don't do well sitting at home by myself--I get so bored--but I don't want to start a ton of things at work either. My mom came up yesterday afternoon. It was fun--we chatted, she made dinner (always a treat!), and we just hung out. Of course, when she went to leave at 8:30, her car wouldn't start. It was pouring, and Tim, my mom, and I are trying to jump her car. We couldn't get it started, so we called my dad, who called AAA. My dad came up to get her, and the AAA guy got the car jumped (figures), so they were both able to drive home about 9:30 or so. Always an adventure with us.

I guess I'm just going to play it by ear at this point. The contractions are back to the Braxton-Hicks, and even the constant pressure I was having yesterday has disappeared. I feel just about the same as I did before my appointment Wednesday. So, my official verdict on the membrane stripping: it didn't work for me. But, it wasn't horrible either, so at least we tried.

I'm just going to wait it out this weekend, but I'll post here if things look like they are moving ahead. Till then, I'm just trying to be patient.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I wish I knew...

So, everything I've ever heard is that, "you'll know when you're in labor, and if you have to ask, then you're not." Despite that, I have no idea if I'm in the beginning stages of labor, or if this could go on for another week or two.

After the doctor stripped my membranes yesterday morning, within a few hours my contractions were a little stronger. Not yet painful, but stronger. I stayed at work the whole day, but I had Tim pick up some last minute things from home just in case I went into labor at work and he had to meet me at the hospital. It turned out that wasn't necessary.

Last night the contractions felt more like increasing pressure. But again, not what I'd call painful. I took a little nap, and they I stayed up until about 11:30 or so hoping things would start moving. They didn't. So, I went to bed (anxious and excited, which doesn't lend itself to good sleep). At about 11:45, I had one good contraction, and I told myself that if I got another one like that, I'd start timing them. I didn't.

I did sleep decently (for me anyway). I woke up this morning with very weak contractions--more like the Braxton-Hicks I've been having for months. As soon as I got out of bed though, the pressure was back. Since then I've been up and moving around. I have occasional contractions with either cramping or pressure, but nothing painful, and they actually feel less strong than some of the ones I had last night.

I'm still home, at least till lunch, because I don't know what's going on. Are the contractions different than they have been? Yes. Are they painful? Not really. Are they regular? No. So, I don't think it's labor, but I do think it's a step in the right direction. The question now is: how long until real labor starts? I'm not even thinking about how long it'll be till the baby's born once labor does start. I just want to know how long till I go to the hospital! (And they keep me!) Once I'm there, the baby will be monitored, and there will be doctors and nurses to give me info. It's the lack of info killing me right now.

For now, I wait. I'm just hoping things get started soon. Today's Tim's dad's birthday. That'd be cool for her--I was actually born on my grandfather's birthday (my mom's dad). Really, any time is fine though. I'm not picky.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The weekly update

Today's stats: still 70% effaced and -1 station, like last week. I'm 3 cm dilated now, which is a little more. And she stripped my membranes, which she said has been shown to not necessarily start labor immediately, but it does prevent people going past their due date. Another MSTP was telling me that she went into her appointment not dilated or effaced at all, had her membranes stripped (by the same doctor), and she was in labor 12 hours later. On message boards and things, it sounds like sometimes it takes a few days, and sometimes it doesn't work at all.

She said that maybe it'll increase the strength of my contractions. I've been having regular contractions for weeks, but they aren't painful. So, they aren't labor. But, if this works and my contractions do increase in strength, then maybe I'll be able to be admitted.

The doctor had me schedule my appointment for next week, but she said she may see me before then. I am hoping! But, I don't want to get too excited. I at least want to have a couple of real contractions before I start making plans.

So, again we wait. At least the weather's better (only going to be mid-50s the rest of the week, instead of 90). And I have things to do in lab today (not that I want to), so maybe I can keep myself distracted.

If anything changes, I'll let you know!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Still no baby! I detect a theme...

Yep, still here. No baby. It's getting harder and harder to wait. I almost wish that I wasn't really dilated/effaced at all--it's sort of like false hope. I've been checking all these message boards and talking to women who recently had kids, and each person's experience varied so widely that it is difficult to compare my situation with theirs.

I've been grabbing onto anything as hope that labor will start soon:
-my face broke out (so maybe my hormones are changing)
-I had a crazy huge appetite this weekend (so maybe I'm fueling my body for labor)
-and then today I have no appetite (so maybe my body's getting ready)
-Gross alert: I've gone from having one stool every 3-4 days to 4-5 stools a day (an old wive's tale that your body cleanses itself before birth)
-I finished cleaning and setting up the nursery, with help (so maybe I'm nesting, even though I didn't get the burst of energy with it).

Or, it could just be that my body's exhausted, and I'm tired of having a messy house. Those are more likely.

But really, it's amazing how desperately I look for any sign things will happen soon. I'm almost 39 weeks by our original date. It feels like forever, but still, all the statistics I've seen are that first babies are much more likely to come after their due date than before. I took all of my dilated/effaced info to mean I'd move faster than most. But here I am, nearly three weeks from first hearing I was partially dilated/effaced, and still no baby.

I'm trying to be as patient as possible. I know she'll come out when she's ready. But it makes it nearly impossible to plan things. Take lab, for instance. My boss was actually pretty non-confrontational last week about my experiments, but I know that won't last forever. I won't have as much done as I had hoped before I go on leave, which is disappointing, but I will finish the last of the small experiments before this weekend hopefully. I just underestimated how feeling tired and crappy all the time would affect my lab work. It's nearly impossible to concentrate.

I'm actually debating about making this Friday my last day at work, baby or not. It's getting tough for me to walk from my parking garage into work. It's hard sitting at my desk or bench in the uncomfortable chairs (and it makes my feet swell like crazy). I'm tired, and I'd be more alert with a mid-day nap, but there's nowhere to do that. I'm just not being as productive as I could be, so I might as well be home.

On the other hand, starting leave early means I get less time home once the baby comes. And while I'm at home, I'll just be antsy. I still have a few thank yous to write from the shower (I was hoping I'd have a baby picture to mail with the thank yous, but that doesn't seem to be the case). So thank yous would keep me busy for a day or so. After that, I'd probably just pace around the house, waiting for the baby. But at least I could rest when I need to. Or sit in the air conditioning, which we thankfully turned on late last week (it's supposed to be 87 and humid today. In October. In Cleveland. What is going on?)

I'm still on the fence about work. Of course, if the baby would just show up before Friday, then I wouldn't have to make a decision. However, something tells me I might be waiting for a while if I wait for the baby to decide.

Anyway, life is good otherwise. I've got some pictures of the nursery I'll load maybe tonight or tomorrow. I'm trying to get copies of the shower pictures too (I am usually the photographer, but since I was otherwise occupied, I'm relying on other people's pictures for this one). I might do some final (hopefully) grocery shopping tonight to make sure we're well stocked. But otherwise, I'll just be waiting.

I've got my next appointment Wednesday morning. I'm hoping there's some good news. My doctor is using a later due date (Oct. 21), so I don't think she's as antsy as I am. The different due dates were no biggie for most of the pregnancy--with the exception of the very first ultrasound at six weeks (which is why we have two due dates), every test and ultrasound has put us on Oct. 16, our original date by LMP. So that's what we kept. My doctor said no biggie, they're only 5 days apart. Except now, five days is a long time. So even though I'll be 39 weeks at this appointment by the original date, I'm 38 weeks 3 days by her later date. Because of that, I'm wondering if she'll be less likely to want to do something like strip my membranes to get things working. I'm going to ask anyway, but she may want to wait another week or so.

Honestly, I think I might be crazy in another week if this baby's not here!

But, I guess it's probably a lesson for me. I can't plan everything. And as long as she's safe and healthy, the baby can stay comfortable for as long as she wants. I'm terribly uncomfortable--if you don't have stock in Rolaids or Tylenol, you may want to buy some, considering how much I've been using. I have horrible heartburn (even with water! or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!), my hips ache terribly, I can't sleep, I pee constantly, and my feet swell so much that I have trouble flexing my ankles. But, as long as the baby's ok, I'll keep putting up with it for a while. I know it's all worth it in the end.

That's it for now. I have this feeling, judging by the Braxton-Hicks contractions (and the lack of any real ones) that it may be some time before little girl makes her debut. Of course, this would be one gut feeling I would be more than happy to be wrong about.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Happy anniversary to me

Today is our 5 year wedding anniversary. Tim was really hoping that the baby would come today. His reasoning was that then he only has one date to remember for two events, but considering how freakish he is at being able to remember dates anyway, I don't really think two dates is an issue for him.

So five years ago today, the remnants of Hurricane Lily had just swept through our area (it was a torrential downpour for our rehearsal dinner). I was so worried we'd have terrible weather for the ceremony and reception, but it was gorgeous. We had some great pictures taken outside. Overall, it was one of the greatest days of my life. I had been very uptight about planning everything up to that point (ask my family how many excel spreadsheets I had). But when the day came, we just went with it. There are moments in every wedding that don't go how you plan (our DJ, for instance, was not good at all). But we had a great time anyway, and hopefully that helped other people have a good time too.

The last five years have really flown. We still haven't been married as long as we dated (dated for nearly seven years), but so many of the important events in my life have happened in the last five years that it's hard for me to remember what life was like before. I wouldn't change it for anything.

So yeah, happy anniversary to us. I don't know if we're going to do the yearly anniversary tradition tonight--takeout Chinese food and cherry coke--but we'll come up with something. We're real romantics, can't you tell?

It's hard for me to think that every anniversary after this one, we'll be parents. I think we're going to work hard to be good parents and still have some us time too. We might not be really good at it right away, but it's something we're planning to work on.

Time sure flies. Well, it flies for everything but pregnancy--I feel like I've been pregnant for years! But I know--soon enough. She'll be here when she's ready.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Moving right along

Not that I think people lie in wait to hear the state of my cervix, but just in case you do, here's the latest from the doctor:

Today, I am 2 centimeters dilated, 70% effaced, and at a -1 station. The baby's head is down (the doctor could feel it during my internal exam).

The -1 station means she's already descended a bit ( floating above pelvis is -5, middle of pelvis is 0, baby's head crowning is +5, to give you a reference).
(from healthline.com)
She didn't think labor was coming super soon--she still had me schedule my appointment for next week--but we're on our way. She said it wasn't out of the realm of possibility for me to go into labor before next week (and she'll be out of town for a few days, so Murphy's law says that's when I'll go into labor). But she thought it might still be a week or more.

Good news is, since the baby's in the pelvis, the chances of her head coming up (and thus our needing a c-section) are very low. There's always things that can happen during labor that necessitate a c-section, but we won't need to schedule one.

So, we wait. The contractions have actually settled down a little over the past few days, so while last week I woke up every morning thinking she was coming that day, now I think it might be a little while.

That's what I know. I'd love for the baby to come sooner rather than later, but I guess I'll keep experiments going for a little while. As pumped as I am that we won't need to schedule a c-section, it would make planning a little easier.

I'll keep you posted!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Still hanging around

I was back to work on Friday, and I'm back again today. Not fun, but considering I don't know when I'll go into real labor, I figured I'd better get some experiments up and running again before my boss has a heart attack.

I don't know when real labor is going to start, but I hope it's soon. I've been having near constant Braxton-Hicks contractions. Friday night they were so bad I didn't really sleep at all. They are very irritating, and it makes it extremely difficult to get comfortable, but they aren't what I would call painful. I do get some that start in my lower back, or give me crampy pain in my lower abdomen, but they aren't the real thing either.

I did get some sleep Saturday night--I went down to sleep on the couch, and I actually got about 7 hours straight of sleep. I haven't done that in months. I felt well rested for most of Sunday, which was great, but I was tired again by Sunday night. And it was back to tossing and turning all night long last night.

I know I was a little dilated and about 50% effaced nearly two weeks ago, and it's been over a week since I lost my mucus plug. I thought that meant things would be moving a little faster. Apparently, that isn't the case. I'm interested to see where I am at on Wednesday when my doctor checks me. Hopefully I've progressed. I have to say though--this time last week, when she was still breech, I woke up every morning with a feeling that labor was coming that day. Now that she's turned, I think we could be waiting a while. Of course, she's been moving around a lot, so I'm not sure she's 100% head down anymore. She's not totally breech again, but she feels like she's more transverse now. But, I don't think that means she can't get head down when she needs to. One more thing for the doctor to check Wednesday.

I'm definitely at that point where I just want to be done with the pregnancy. I know it's actually easier to take care of her now than it will be when she's born. But I'm antsy to meet her, and I'm tired of being pregnant. Besides, the nursery's ready now. We're packed and ready to go. We're prepared. Which means she'll probably take her sweet time.

And, I'm sick of work. My boss, whom I didn't see much of last week (thank goodness for that), is really antsy, and it's driving me crazy. I'm trying to wrap up some loose ends, but I don't want to start this next phase of experiments (that will likely take several months to complete) right before I go on leave. I'm nearly at a good break point. But, I don't think he understands that. I've accepted that I won't have as much done as I wanted to initially before I go on leave. It sucks, but that's life. Unfortunately, he's not of the same mind, so it's frustrating to talk to him about my project. Another reason that the sooner I go into labor, the better.

Anyway, I'm just hanging in there today. I'm very tired, and the contractions are irritating. But, I've got my cells treated for Wednesday's experiment, and I've got seminar at four. At least the end is in sight. For today, anyway.