Thursday, April 5, 2012

Making my move

Hey everyone,

Sorry I've not checked in for so long, but I decided to make a move to Wordpress, and go public, and it's been a slow transition.  My new blog is a parenting after infertility blog, which will include my usual blend of infertility and parenting writing plus product reviews and demonstrations (once I get a tripod for my camera).

I hope some of you will follow me to my new site, and thanks to you all for your amazing support and advice through this journey!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The story continued...

I believe I left off with the epidural kicking in and needing Deme.rol to stop my uncontrollable shaking...

At this point I was pretty exhausted and I did sleep a little.  My husband came to stay in the chair next to me, and my mom and sister went back to the apartment for a little rest (asking to be called in when I was up again and ready to push).  The whole sleeping thing didn't go too well, as I was still feeling pressure, and there was drilling and hammering going on downstairs in the hospital and making a terrible ruckus.  I had headphone earbuds in to try and block out the sound of the construction, as well as the sound of the all the monitors, but it didn't work all that well.  Looking back on it, the construction added a kind of comical element to the ordeal, though at the time I didn't find it all that funny.

After the epidural, I dilated very quickly...from 3.5 to 6 in the first couple of hours, and then to almost full in the next couple.  Within another half hour, that last lip of cervix was gone, and I was told to let them know when I felt the urge to push.  They left the room, and just like that, I felt the urge.  Apparently, Baby S was riding low and bringing on the sensation to push before expected.  I couldn't wait though, I had to push, and so it started.

The first hour was not terrible.  It sucked being on my back because of the epidural.  This was always the thing to avoid, because it makes it more difficult to push the baby out, and works against gravity, but it was what it was.  The midwife had me curl myself up, holding onto the backs of my legs for dear life and bearing down.  I could feel quite a bit, even with the epidural, but it was still early on, and I had rested a bit, so I was doing alright.

The second hour was harder.  I was tired, and things were coming faster and hurting more.  My contractions had never really gotten close enough together to move things along, so they had given me a small amount of to get the contractions coming faster.  It was working and so was I, though I was getting tired, and Baby S was see-sawing back and forth.  They could see the hair on her head, but she kept slipping back.  They kept telling me to curl around the baby, and that I needed to help her get past the pubic bone, but I was floundering a bit.

It was at this point, at the start of the third hour, that they called in the OB on the floor.  She assessed the situation, explained that Baby S's heart rate was starting to go up very high, and that if I didn't start making more progress, they would have to "help" her out with at least a vacuum or forceps.  All I really heard though was "C--section".  I wanted to cry.  I called out that I didn't want a C-section.  That's when the midwife put on her strict, mean voice and told me exactly what I had to do to prevent any more interventions.  She and my sister (who had arrived with my mom at some point) talked me through the next hour, helping me focus my pushing and find the strength to keep going.  My mom and another, much sweeter, labor nurse, helped hold my legs with each push, and my husband stayed by my head, where I could see him and hold his hand from time to time, just like I'd asked him to. 

By the end of that hour, I had apparently made so much progress that the OB, who had returned to check in, said I could push for one more hour - though that was my limit.  This was it, the final hour.  I again cried out when they said another "hour", as I thought it was almost over and that just seemed liked forever.  I was weak, and exhausted, covered in sweat and starting to believe the baby would never come out, and that I wasn't strong enough to push her out.  I was wrong about all that.

The despair lasted a short time before my sister and the midwife excitedly told me how close I was, how much hair my baby had, and let me reach down to feel the top of herhead.  It freaked me out to do that, but at least I could feel that the end was in sight.  Somewhere inside a voice and strength I didn't know I had, rose up.  I made up my mind that whatever it took, I was going to push this baby out.

I don't know exactly how much longer it took, but somewhere during hour four of pushing, Baby S came out in a warm, exquisite gush.  Before I could absorb what had happened, she was there, on my chest, warm and squirming with life.  Everyone told me she was beautiful, and had a full head of black hair, but I couldn't see her face.  I was flat on my back, and she was still connected to the placenta and couldn't be moved any further.  My husband kissed the top of my head, and it was the sweetest moment of my life.

After the cord was cut, and Baby S was weighed (8lbs, 8oz), we had time to just admire her and take her all in.  I couldn't do much but lie there, as I was still being stitched back up.  Apparently, I had a 2nd degree tear which I never noticed among the other pains when it first happened, but once I was being stitched I definitely took notice. 

That was how Baby S entered this world.  It was horrible and wonderful, painful and beautiful.

My post-partum story is actually crazier, and longer, so I think I will save that for another day.  For now, it feels good just to get this all out.  I needed to write it down and to remember how wonderful that feeling of having pushed her out actually was - how strong and accomplished it made me feel.  Remembering that helps keep me from getting caught up in the awful memories of that 34 hour labor and the horrible kidney infection, ER trauma, and separation from my baby girl that all followed my delivery.

In which I try to get down some of my labor/delivery story

WARNING: This is long post, filled with a lots of less than lovely labor memories.  Though it has a happy ending - a healthy baby girl - those currently pregnant may not want to read it.  I do promise you, however, that my story is not typical of most births.

It has been amazingly difficult to find the time or energy to do much besides sleep, eat and take care of Baby S, but I promised myself I would work on getting some of this story down and I WILL do it.

I'm actually sick at the moment with a nasty cold, and I think Baby S is feeling it too (hoping with every finger and toe crossed that she won't get any sicker than she is right now).  She has been crying and fussy all day and last night wasn't so great either.  It is so sad to see her so inconsolable.  At the moment she is quiet, but I know it won't last long.

The story, or at least part of it:

I woke up the morning of Dec. 19th, at about 4am, with slightly stronger pains than I'd had previously, and I was feeling a little excited but unsure based on the previous few nights of false labor.  By 6am, things were actually feeling a bit regular, and I decided to bring hubby in to do some timing.  The contractions were 7 minutes apart, almost like clockwork, so I called in the reinforcements (mom and sister/doula who needed to drive up to us from NY).  Everything seemed to be moving right along, and the hospital seemed sure that they would see me by later that afternoon.

Five hours later, my sister and mom arrived, and I was still holding steady.  The contractions hadn't really increased much, and timing-wise they were spacing out from 5 minutes apart up to 10 minutes apart.  We all settled in for a long wait, my sister went on liquids patrol - offering me fluids after every contraction - and I started to relax into the rhythm.  By evening, we were baking chocolate chip cookies (a Christmas family tradition), but I was needing lots of breaks as the pains were getting slightly stronger if not closer together.  The midwives suggested I try to sleep and even wanted me to take an Ambi.en if need be.  I couldn't tell if my waters had ruptured, and I was starting to feel anxious.

Around 11:30pm, I went to bathroom, and "POP!" "GUSH!", my membranes truly ruptured.  It was so startling and strong a sensation that I became shaky on my feet and had to call my sister in inspect the fluid and make sure all was well.  After that the pains became much stronger and I started getting nervous and antsy to get to the hospital.

Unfortunately, when we arrived at the birth center, they sent me into a triage room...something I thought wouldn't happen in the birthing center, and which meant staying 30 minutes on my back, in a small room, with the nastiest labor nurse ever, and pain coming seemingly from everywhere.  I was scared, I wanted to get up and move and I also wanted to stay in the bathroom as I kept feeling the intense need to go, I wanted my family back around me, I was in pain and I was starting to feel the intense urge to vomit.  The nurse brought over a wastebasket, but it stank of antibacterial products and I couldn't put my face near it.  I was shaking horribly by this point, and starting to freak out.

I was informed that the room with the birth tub was in use, and wouldn't be available to me...something I knew might happen, but I was still so upset to hear it.  I was taken to my room where I got into the tub and tried to relax.  It didn't work.  I was so tense, and I still kept feeling those strong urges to go the bathroom (both 1 and 2, sorry for the TMI), so I had to keep getting out of the tub into the cold bathroom and shivering on the toilet while my sister wrapped towels around me.  My sister tried to talk me through each wave, but I was losing my grip on reality.  I was beyond tired, and feeling like there was not a single break between contractions, even though there were in actuality.

I had told my husband, actually before I got into the tub, that I wanted an epidural.  The midwife and everyone else was totally against it.  I was only 3 cm dilated (after almost 24 hours of labor), and they said it was too soon and not what I had said I wanted.  I didn't want to hear it, but they promised me the tub would help.  After being in the tub did little to calm me or help with the labor pains and dilation, I truly went nuts and started begging for pain medication.  I explained that they could all stop worrying about my birth plan, and that I had in fact put it in my birth plan that though I didn't want pain meds offered to me by anyone, I was not against taking them under extreme circumstances or a very long labor...this could be categorized as both.

After crying and begging, they said they would get me the epidural.  The news that the drugs were coming somehow zapped the last of my strength, and  at that point I folded in on myself and seemed to completely give in to the pain and panic..fear, of course, being the worst thing for managing pain.  The anesthesiologist was held up with an emergency, and I began to cry thinking about how many more contractions I would have to feel before he arrived to take the pain away.  I dreaded each one, and could do little more than lie in a fetal position and cling to the closest warm body while screaming for help.

The anesthesiologist arrived, and thankfully his kindness made up for my coarse, nasty labor nurse.  Everyone else was forced to leave the room, and I had to cling to the nurse who seemed to find my clinging repulsive.  He worked quickly, though not fast enough to prevent more waves of pain from wracking my body, and I struggled to be still while the catheter was put in.  Finally the medication started to kick in, and for a little while I let the pain and fear go.  Unfortunately, I then started to shake/shiver so hard that I can only compare it to having a seizure.  Everything convulsed, violently, and I found it hard to get air (this can apparently happen with an Epidural).  The only thing that calmed the shaking was two dosings of Demerol added to my drip, and finally my teeth unclenched and my body truly relaxed. 

Okay, Baby is hungry, so this post will have to be continued later...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Short update

Just wanted to let everyone know that Baby S is here, and beautiful, and healthy.

After a very long, difficult labor my heart exploded in pure ecstasy on the afternoon of Dec. 20th, when my 8lb 8oz, perfect, healthy daughter was laid across my chest with her umbilical cord still pulsing.  Unfortunately it's been a difficult battle ever since for my already sleep deprived and battered body, including a secondary hospital stay for me (right after being discharged from post-par tum) with a terrible kidney infection that I'm still fighting.  I'm home now, but I can't write much just yet.  Trying to enjoy what time I can with my little love and trying to heal.  Will give the full story soon.

Monday, December 19, 2011

We may have lift off!

Contractions started early this morning, and have been fairly steady, though they spread out a bit there in the middle.  Right now I'm trying to get them back down to where they were - at 7 minutes apart - by keeping active, but I'm still getting some 9-10 min apart ones here and there.  Fingers crossed that this baby will be here before the end of the day!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Hey Everyone,

Just a little update on today's appt., and the ultrasound.  Everything went great.  The baby passed her bio-physical profile with flying colors, and my fluid levels are doing fine, so there is no push to force this baby out.  We couldn't see much on the ultrasound since she is now so big and completely filling my uterus, but I did get a take home pic of the sweet little foot that's been poking me sharply in the side for a while now.  Her head was too low to see anything but the outline of her chin, but the tech showed us how the baby is practicing breathing, which was pretty neat to watch.

I was 1 cm dilated, and very effaced (she didn't give a %age but said my cervix was super short), so the midwife did a little membrane sweep in hopes of helping move things along.  Other than lots of cramping this afternoon I haven't noticed any changes yet -- supposedly if you are already moving in that direction, it can speed up the onset of labor, but we'll see.

Right now, I'm trying to relax and ignore the crampiness.  I didn't sleep a wink last night (thank goodness for AMC having a middle of the night 80s movie marathon), so I did a little cat-napping this afternoon, and talked to a local acupuncturist about coming in tomorrow to maybe help with both the sleeping and the labor onset.

That's all the news right now.  Will be keeping you posted.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sleepy Scare

This post comes with a little warning about taking sleeping pills when you are pregnant: Give the pills to someone else to hold onto!

So, after skipping one night of the Ambi.en, I decided to go back to taking it last night.  Now, I could swear I only took one pill, and then watch a tv program for a bit till I literally was seeing double and walking like drunk.  I went to sleep, and had one of the best nights of sleep I can remember having in a VERY long time.  I hardly woke up, and each time I did, I fell easily back to sleep after a quick, stumbling trip to the bathroom.  Then, this morning I had a terrible time trying to wake.  I was still seeing double, and I wound up napping through almost the whole day.  By evening, I finally woke enough to have a light bite to eat and drink down some much need fluids.  That was when I noticed the baby hadn't been moving at all...

I had some cold OJ, and a toast with jelly...nothing but one small twitter.  I started to get worried.  Why had I slept so much, why was a I still groggy, and could I have done something to effect the baby besides just making her a little sleepier than usual?  I went and counted my pills and one was missing -- I'd only taken them for four nights, but five pills were gone.  Now, I had read online that Ambi.en can cause amnesia, but surely I would have remembered taking two doses instead of one, wouldn't I?!?

I tried for a little while longer to get the baby to move, and then called the midwife.  She had me come in for a NST, so off we went to the hospital.  At first, there was only a little movement, mainly when I had a contraction, but overall non of those nice upticks in activity that they were looking for even after cold water and lots of poking.  The midwife agreed that I might have taken an extra Ambi.en, and just not remember it, but they still seemed a little concerned about the baby.  Then, something wonderful stomach growled loudly (mind you I'd hardly eaten all day), and it woke the baby with a jolt.  Her heart rate bounced right up beautifully, and I started to feel her wiggle about. 

There was collective laughter round the room, as the monitor continued to show the baby dancing about in her startled state, and after a promise that I would come in for an ultrasound early tomorrow morning (just to be sure everything is good), we were released to go find some dinner. 

I'm home now, and having some more major cramps and tightening sensations - probably the same false labor I've had the last few nights running, but who knows. I'm hopeful that we will hear tomorrow that my cervix has made some progress, and in the meantime, no more Ambi.en for me, at least not for a few days, and I'm giving the bottle to my hubby to hold onto so that I can not screw this up again.