Friday, August 19, 2011

Bits and Pieces

Spinal Headache - OMFG ouch. I had a massive migraine-like headache that started the night she was born and continued until Monday night/Tuesday morning. That's five full days, in case you were counting. It was easily a 9 on the pain scale, a 10 at times. There were moments that it felt something like a 437. Laying down was the only thing that would make it stop. I would be happily sleeping, then she would need to be fed, I would sit up in bed, and it was like someone dropped a cinder block on top of my head. NOT recommended. A procedure called a blood patch would have fixed it, but instead, I lied my fool head off to everyone and told them it was just sinus pressure or pain from a strained neck. Tuesday morning, I got up with no pain. I felt like a million bucks compared to the days prior. Since then, it has stayed away. It should be over for good.

Newborn Sleep - The first couple nights were really rough. She would sleep like a champ in her pack n play all day long. Three or four hours at a time, even. Then we put her in her bed. I was lucky if she slept an hour and a half between wakings. That really wasn't working for me. I took the first part of the night, and J took over around 3am so I could sleep a bit. I started tossing ideas around with my mom the other day, and we figured out that there is noise of some sort in the living room all the time. The TV, Monkey, us talking, something... So we put a radio in Em's room the third night. She slept 3-4 hours at a stretch, only waking for feedings and changes. I function much better like this.

PPD - The baby blues hit me like a ton of bricks on Wednesday. Suddenly, I was convinced that J was going to leave me, something would happen to the baby, etc etc etc. I cried most of the day. I called my OB's office and they immediately called in the same anti-depressant I was on pre-pregnancy. I started it last night, and I hope to start getting back to normal soon. As normal as I get, anyway...

Hemorrhoids - Pushing was not kind to me. I had some minor 'roid issues during pregnancy, but this is ridiculous. Witch hazel is my new best friend. I didn't realize that if it doesn't go away relatively soon, I may need surgery for it. Yikes. Any tips to get it to go away super fast would be greatly appreciated.

Mother of Two - The transition hasn't been as hard as I feared it would be. I love both my kids to the end of the earth and back. It's hard sometimes when I'm feeding the baby and Monk needs a drink right this very second. Monk is definitely having to learn to have a bit more patience with me, and that's actually going really well. He did tell me today that the baby is not cute or pretty - she is just a baby. But he loves touching her and holding her, and every time she squeaks, he runs to the pack n play and asks me, "What's wrong wif it?" It's the beginning of a beautiful relationship, I'm sure.

Marriage - I know that my hormones are out of whack, and that evolution provides us with certain feelings so that we don't all end up single parents... But damn I love my husband. I was talking with my BFF yesterday, and the best way I came up with to explain it was that it feels like every feeling I have right now is magnified. I feel so much more in love with him now than I did in the seconds before her birth. I don't know if it's completely hormonal or what. I think this is what led to a lot of the crying and fear of him leaving. I'm just so much more attached right now. I want to crawl inside his skin and stay there. Nothing else feels close enough.

Physically - I'm actually doing really well. Most of the perineal pain is gone. I still have bruising, but the stinging is over. The hemorrhoids suck, and that is probably my single biggest discomfort right now. I think it's a cruel joke that my sex drive came back before my ability to satisfy it did. Anxious to be able to do that again. I'm also anxious to get back to the gym, drag my laundry up and down the stairs, take Monk out on his bike, etc. Four weeks is much too long and I don't know that I'll last. Something physically demanding will occur before that. I feel too damn good to just sit on my butt.

Tubal - I'm seriously thinking about not having it done. J was supposedly sterile (as discovered by an army doctor in Germany), and hadn't ever had children before. This is through two marriages and countless other relationships. At 45, this is his first. I just think that our Em is a miracle baby, and lightening doesn't strike twice. I don't know. I'm too hormonally jacked up to make any kind of reasonable decision right now. The doctor won't do it until after 6 weeks now anyway, so we have time to think it through.

And now, my tiny smooshy baby is hungry again. Monk and I will watch Rango (AGAIN) while I feed her, and then J will be back home and he and Monk will play like they're both toddlers. I may live in a zoo, but it's mine and I love it dearly...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Birth Story

We reported to the hospital as scheduled on Tuesday (Aug 9) at 7:30am. I was a nervous wreck. I ate breakfast, and was terrified I'd lose it before I even got there. From registration, they sent me to the lab to have roughly 9 gallons of blood drawn, as well as a urine sample. Then we went upstairs...

Our hospital uses LDPP rooms, so you get to stay in the same room the whole time - none of that delivery room nonsense. It was daunting to walk in and see the monitors, the delivery bed, the isolette. They gave me a gown and told me to change, then put me in my bed. They started an IV, put me on fluids, monitored baby, and asked me every question on the planet.

Around 9, the doctor came to check me, and I was still at 3cm, 70% and -2 station, as I had been for a week. They started the pitocin. It was very uneventful. I expected more somehow... Instant contractions, something like that. I don't know. I did finally start having regular contractions, but they were just uncomfortable. Around 3pm I guess, I started having real pain. It was very manageable, but it hurt. I asked for something to take the edge off, and they gave me IV pain meds. THEN I took a nap. That was some seriously good stuff. I can see how that could be quite enjoyable.

By shift change at 7pm, I was at *drum roll please* FOUR centimeters! Woo freakin' hoo. The night nurse asked if I wanted to go ahead and stop the pit for the night so I could eat and get some rest. We talked about it and decided it was for the best. Without food or rest, delivery would only be worse. Baby was doing well, and I needed to just have some time to recuperate. J went and got me some food and I got a relatively good rest.

The next morning, J brought me breakfast and we got ready to start the pit again. My doctor came over and broke my water, then they turned the IV back on around 8. Doc said I could have the epidural whenever I was ready. This time, contractions were immediately pretty serious. By 10am, I asked for the epidural.

The lady came up and got me ready. Mom stayed with me because I felt like she would be more likely to tell me to STFU and sit still. They cleaned my back, did the local (OUCH!), and went for the money shot. And nothing happened. No numbness. No tingling. No nothing. They kept asking if I was feeling any better or if my legs were heavy or anything. Nothing. No change at all. They called for another person, and she came up. Asked me if I could lift my legs. I proved that pregnant women are plenty flexible. Both legs were able to shoot straight up.

So, we had to start over. They peeled off the giant back-size piece of tape, pulled the catheter out, and off we went again. Part TWO. J stayed this time, pulled his chair up in front of me, and talked to me the whole time. It was actually an almost spiritual thing between me and him. With his help, I was able to block out almost everything going on around us. He talked about Monkey and our home and then I asked him to tell me about the wedding. I'm crying just typing it out. (This post was saved as a draft, and I was re-reading it before continuing. Made me cry all over again. Love that man.) He was amazing. Anyway, they redid the local and put the needle in for the epidural again. They found out I had a "false space" in front of my epidural space. That was where the first dose had ended up. When she got into the epidural space, I had a contraction. Just the contracting within my body caused the needle to slip. She went into my spinal space instead. It would have been fine if she had been using a spinal needle, but it was an epidural needle, which is too big. This apparently occurs in about 1% of all epidurals. It causes a spinal fluid leak and that can cause a killer headache from hell (PDPH - post-dural puncture headache). Because of that, I had to lay flat on my back for 24 hours. SUCK.

Around 2:30, I started feeling a lot of pressure. I said the words that every laboring woman with an epidural apparently says - "I feel like I need to poop." The nurse decided she should probably check me, even though I was at 6 cm just a short while ago. Then her eyes got really big and she called in the OTHER nurse to check me. Then HER eyes got big and they decided it was probably time to call the doctor over from the office. He came in, checked, and they started breaking the bed down. It was time. They got me in the stirrups and all that. Mom stood by my head and J held my right leg. The nurse took my left leg. The doctor said it was time to push. He and I kind of worked together to know when to push. I could feel it, but he knew when it was building before I did. It only took about six contractions. The doctor kept telling me that she was getting closer, but she was sunny side up. Because of that, she kept sliding back between pushes. Her heart rate was falling, so the doctor decided to get the vacuum to help us. He didn't pull her out with it, he just held her in place between pushes so we weren't losing ground. Then there was crowning. OMFG. Burn, baby, burn. Everyone suddenly turned into a cheerleader. The doctor, the nurse, J, my mom... Everyone was cheering us on, telling me how close she was. The urge to push was something like the urge to puke. It was completely involuntary.

Mom was curling her arm up under my head pushing me forward while I pushed. HUGE help, by the way. She had sworn she wasn't going to watch the baby come out, she didn't want to violate my privacy. In the moment, I really didn't care and she couldn't look away. It's funny, in retrospect. Anyway, she and J were both telling me that the baby was right there, that they could see her, just a little bit more. Everything in me wanted to quit. I was exhausted, I was in unbelievable pain (I found out afterwards that they shut the spinal off during the last 10 minutes), and I just didn't think I had the strength left to finish what we started. Then it hit me again - harder, stronger - I had to push NOW. I screamed (I'm not ashamed to admit it) and with one more push, she was out. I'm not going to lie - the pain was incredible. It hurt so bad. But then it was over. She was there. I had a daughter.

They suctioned her and wiped her face and put her on my belly. My tiny squirming purple slimy child. And my God... She was perfect. We were all crying, all amazed.

They took her off to the side to clean her up and get her vitals. Everything about her was just right. Ten fingers, ten toes, breathing like a champ, already looking for food. J went to be with her and Mom stayed by my side - ever faithful, that woman. Cute new baby in the world, and she stuck with HER baby. I don't remember a ton from this period... I remember telling my mom that I was so tired. She said, "It's a good tired though, huh?" I nodded, but what I really thought was that I was just too tired for it to be good or bad. Good and bad were over with. I was ready for a nap.

When it was time to deliver the placenta, I was scared that it would hurt. The doctor told me the contraction was coming and told me to give him a small push. Then that part was over, and it didn't hurt at all. Felt really awful in a gross kind of way, but it didn't hurt. I waited for him to get the sutures. Surely, as bad as that hurt - as certain as I was in the moment that I was freaking dying - I had torn. Then he said it: "No tears at all. Little skid marks, but nothing that needs stitched." Holy freaking shit! The doctors had told me that my parts were too small to deliver vaginally, that I would end up with a tear of epic proportions.... And I did it. No tearing. No cutting. No c-section. Just me and my daughter.

The nurses took her to weigh her, mom and J left the room while my nurses cleaned me up and my anesthesiologist checked my drugs. This is when they reminded me that I was to stay as flat as possible in my bed for the first 24 hours. Huge bummer.

They brought her back, and said she weighed 7lb 7oz and was 21 inches long. I had called it at 7lb 8oz weeks ago, so I was pretty pleased with myself. After the night nurse came on, they took her again to do a real bath and assess her again. She came back in and said, "There was an error with the scale earlier. I'm sorry. Really. The power cord was trapped between the cradle and the base, so the weight wasn't accurate at all. She's actually 8lb 4oz. And she's probably lost at least an ounce since birth, but we're going to record her birth weight as 8lb 4oz." I told them to bring me my cape because yes, I am Wonder Woman.

This is already way too long and it's taken me a week to write it, so I think I'm done for now. Childbirth was easily the most incredible thing I've ever done. It was also the most painful and physically demanding thing I've ever done. I didn't have my tubal immediately after birth due to the spinal issue, but I'm still planning on having it done later. I love my daughter to the ends of the earth and I stand in awe of what my body managed to do, but I don't think it's something I want to do again. That was seriously hard work.

And now, I must go. Monkey is watching Scooby Doo, and the wee one is starting to stir. For some reason, she feels the need to eat every 3 hours or so. Babies are so unreasonable. This is, without a doubt, my crazy beautiful dream come true.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Best Kind of Exhaustion

I don't have time for a real update because I really really want to go sleep in my bed. I just wanted to drop by and say that on Wednesday, August 10, at 3:01pm, I met the most incredible person...

I was 39w4d, and she came in at 8lb, 4oz. Birth story as soon as I have a waking moment that isn't spent staring at chubby baby cheeks.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Membrane Strip

I had my OB appointment yesterday (38w3d). She hadn't looked at my chart yet and had forgotten that I was dilating and effacing. She gave me the schedule for the induction and asked if we were doing Cervadil. I reminded her that at last check, I was 2cm. She immediately remembered that it was membrane stripping day. As nervous as I was about the strip, my BP was very good. Pretty pleased with that fact.

I read a lot online about having the procedure done. Some people said it was the most painful thing they had ever done, worse than childbirth, etc. Others said it didn't hurt at all. I had no clue what to expect. I can definitely say that it wasn't pleasant. It was much more painful than a regular cervical exam, but it kind of felt like ripping of bandaids or tape. Kind of a pulling, stinging feeling. Definitely uncomfortable, and it hurt, but by no means was it the worst thing I've ever been through.

She warned me that I might bleed a fair bit after the strip. I had zero bleeding. Now, last week, I had a regular exam (a rough one, with some stretching, but not like this) and I spotted for about 36 hours. This time, she specifically said I would be bleeding a lot, and there was nothing. Weird.

She also said that if I had intercourse, it would increase the odds of this working and putting me into labor within 24 hours, but that didn't happen. We finished at the doctor, went grocery shopping, and we were both exhausted. I think people forget what it feels like to be 38+ weeks pregnant. They tell you to have sex, but they can't possibly remember how very tired you are when they say that. Or how hard it is to move when you're this big.

Anyway, I had maybe 2 good contractions after she stripped me. One during the procedure, and another a few minutes later... Then they stopped. I had a lot of back pain last evening, and I was hoping it would turn into something much more painful like, say, childbirth, but it didn't. I went to bed and only woke up for my bathroom trips and Tums snacks.

If I haven't done anything by August 9, then we are to report to the hospital, bags packed, at 7:30am to begin an induction. That means that in six days, we will hold our daughter. I can't possibly wrap my mind around that.