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Friday
Jul162010

Taming The Beast

I do not recognize myself today and I don't just mean my reflection. My doctor says that the baby could come at any time and this waiting is making me a person that even I don't want to be around.

All of my positive thinking and meditation is failing me miserably. Or rather, I am failing miserably at my positive thinking and meditation.

I cry. Over really stupid things. Like the fact that my mom is stressed out waiting for my delivery. Or that my significant other deserves someone happier and thinner than me. Or the fact that I can't see my laptop screen.

I want to b*tch slap anyone who says any of the following:

  • You look really great though!
  • Any minute now!
  • You're still here?
  • No baby yet?
  • Hang in there, it's almost over!

I vacillate between loving all of my friends and family and wanting to weep over how lucky I am to have them, to wishing they would never speak to me again. Said vacillation can happen in the span of about 15 seconds.

I have to try to control this! When the baby comes, I am going to feel like a total jerk for not being more graceful and calm about this hormonal running of the bulls but right now it feels like I am going to be like this forever! I know how stupid and childish this is and knowing that just makes it worse!

I need to, as one of my favorite producers says, "Shut it down!" When she says that to me, we are usually on assignment in some other city. "Shut it down!" means that I need to go back to the hotel, order room service, and stop speaking words out loud for the rest of the night. She knows me so well. So that is what I am going to do. It is Friday, I just finished my long day of Apple coverage. We have a new episode of Top Chef freshly downloaded at home. I'm shutting it down. I'll give positive another try tomorrow. Any inspiration you've got is more than welcome in the comments below!

Thursday
Jul152010

Birth Story

 

While pregnant, I watched A LOT of A Baby Story and Birth Day, and read many birth stories on TheBump.com.  I guess I just wanted to know what I was getting myself into.  A few of them scared me (I unfortunately Googled what a 3rd degree tear was after hearing it mentioned on A Baby Story), some of them made me cry, and most of them amazed me (women are capable of astounding things and babies are so darn cute!).

I never thought I’d write my own birth story for the world to see, but then this blog came around, and it just seems like the right thing to do.  It’s long, but I couldn’t leave anything out!

*******************************************************


My due date was March 15 or March 21, depending on who you asked.  March 15th came and went with no apparent movement by my little guy and no real dilation.  As my doctor said, “You aren’t having this baby anytime soon unless your water breaks.”

I started taking even longer walks, I ate the spiciest food I could handle and I went to the chiropractor, all in hopes of starting contractions.  It was my plan to labor at home as long as possible so I could be comfortable and relaxed.   And as a freelancer, I’d have to tie up some loose ends before heading to the hospital.

Nic didn’t listen to my plans.  On Thursday, March 18, I got home from a meeting at about 8 pm.  I was feeling a bit off, so I asked my husband to make us something to eat and went to my room to put my jammies on.  That’s when I felt some wetness.  I went to the bathroom and GUSH.  Had I just wet myself or did my water break?  After some panicked debate between me and my husband Shaun, we decided that yes, my water had broken.  He called the hospital and I jumped on my laptop to take care of some lingering work issues.  I had tested positive for Group B Strep, so I knew that my water breaking meant that I couldn’t labor at home.  I had to get to the hospital and started on antibiotics.

I worked for 20 minutes while scarfing down a last meal of undercooked frozen pizza.  Shaun loaded the car with my bag, birthing ball and about a dozen other things I thought were essential, but turned out not to be.  What I remember most is that before we left, we hugged in the kitchen and I cried.  It was the last time it would be “just us.”  I was excited to meet our baby, but needed a minute to mourn the ending of an era.

The hospital was whisper quiet when we checked in.  After about 20 minutes, we got confirmation that my water had broken and we started to walk the halls.  I wasn’t contracting yet, so we made dozens of laps in a tiny circuit on the maternity floor.  At about 1 am, we decided to take a nap in hopes that the contractions would come on their own.  If I wasn’t contracting regularly by 4 am, the nurses were instructed to start pitocin. 

Going into the birth, we had done a lot of preparation.  I practiced yoga throughout my pregnancy and got regular exercise, and my very squeamish husband read The Birth Partner cover to cover—all in anticipation of the marathon of childbirth.  I didn’t write a birth plan, but instead a short list of objectives, including go as long as possible without pain medication, avoid pitocin if possible, and try for skin-to-skin contact directly after the birth.  However, I was prepared for the fact that anything could happen.


At 4:30 am they started the pitocin and within a half hour, I was contracting regularly.  They weren’t too frequent and the pain was bearable.  I felt strong and ready for the challenge ahead.  For the next 6 hours or so the contractions got stronger and we worked our plan.  I sat on the birthing ball, breathing and concentrating through contractions.  Our families even filtered in and out of the room.  I was reasonably comfortable and felt in control, even as they kept increasing my pitocin.  I was empowered.  This is what we’d been waiting for.



Patiently waiting for the arrival of our little boy.  That tiny outfit was my focal point for labor.

At noon, my contractions started to really intensify.  We tried new positions (straddling a chair was a personal favorite) and Shaun applied pressure to my back during contractions.  The pain was manageable, but just barely. 

Since my water was broken, they didn’t want to check my cervix frequently for fear of introducing bacteria.  After the contractions started to get really intense, I had my first cervix check.  This was 16 hours after my water had broken.  The check was painful and I was only 3 cm dilated.  I didn’t want to be, but I was disappointed and the pain was increasing rapidly.  I thought I may be able to make it without an epidural if I was getting close, but knew at that point that I wouldn’t make it for several more hours.

I decided to get in the shower, having heard the tale of water being “the wet epidural.”  Well, that wasn’t the case for me.  I literally hit the wall while in the shower.  I remember leaning with my face against the tile and telling Shaun I was ready for the epidural.

My one regret of labor was waiting until I was at my breaking point to request the epidural.  Because the anesthesiologist was with another patient, I had to wait about 30 minutes before it was my turn.  While waiting, I had a dose of phentenol to take the edge off.  It helped immediately, but I needed more.

After what seemed like forever, my epidural was in place.  Getting it felt like a bad bee sting and it only hurt for a few seconds.  Once the medicine was flowing, I was in heaven.  I requested a light epidural, so I could still feel the contractions, but they didn’t hurt.  Thank the Lord.  This was at about 2 pm.

I contracted steadily and comfortably until the late evening when my epidural wore off.  I’m pretty sure this was during transition for me—what is supposed to be the most intense part of labor.  It’s a little fuzzy, but I just remember it HURT.  So much so that I didn’t want my parents to come into the room.  I remember Shaun stalking the anesthesiologist in a panic until he came back to top me off.

Once my epidural was dosed up, I was happy again.  My cervix had been dilating well and at last check, around 7 pm, I was at 9 cm.  I was almost there!  But I stayed there.  At 9 pm, I was still at 9 cm.  At that point, they warned me that if things didn’t change soon, I would likely need a C-section.  This caught me totally off guard.  The thought of a C-section hadn’t even crossed my mind.  My reaction surprised me though.  I was totally ok with it.  No crying, no disappointment.  More than anything, I felt excitement and relief.  I would meet my little boy soon!  They waited a half hour more and checked me again.  I was still 9 cm and that last bit of cervix was starting to swell.  I was actually going backwards.

My doctor came in tell us that a C-section was necessary and we all started preparing for surgery.   Shaun looked so cute in his scrubs!  Both of us were too excited to be nervous.  I didn’t even consider the fact that I was having major surgery.  I was going to have a baby soon!



Maybe he should have been a doctor?

I remember laying in the operating room as everyone got ready for the delivery.  My arms were spread out in a T and my shoulders and neck ached from 26 hours of labor.  I was SO uncomfortable, but it was worth it.  In just a few minutes, I felt them pull him out of me, I heard him cry and then I saw him.  My doctor thrust him up over the curtain and I saw his amazing round face and dark hair.  He was making what we came to refer to as “hungry face.”  Shaun and I both scrunched up our faces with tears of joy.  Our little boy continued to scream and everyone oohhed and ahhhhed over how perfect he was.  Shaun cut the cord, and in minutes he was holding him next to me.  What I remember most were his dark pink lips.  Especially his bottom lip, which was shaped like the top of a heart, but upside-down.  I’ll remember my first look at him, and that sweet little bottom lip forever.  At least, I hope I will.

In this first few moments as a little family, we decided on his name (there were a few in the running), and we took our first family picture.  Then we just soaked in our baby.



Our first family photo

I didn’t get my instant skin-to-skin (or pretty much any of my other “birth objectives”), but Shaun went with him to the nursery where he gave Nic his first bath and watched while they attended to all of the necessary tests.  The doctors sewed me up and I was wheeled to the recovery room.  I felt like it took forever for Shaun and Nic to meet me there, but when Shaun pushed that clear plastic bassinette into the room, I knew my wait was over.  I would get to hold my little guy for the first time.  I don’t actually remember what it felt like to take him in my arms, but I remember his tiny face nestled at my breast for his first feeding.  He was hungry from the long labor and ate for 45 minutes.  I relished every minute of it.

I could go on and on about the hours and days that followed, but it suffices to say that Shaun, Nic and I became a family in our tiny hospital room.  My labor didn’t go at all as I planned, but I am proud of the strength and confidence I felt throughout the beginning of the process, the calmness with which I faced the C-section, and most of all, the family we have become since.




Thursday
Jul152010

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

I was warned that the lucious locks I had during pregnancy wouldn't last forever.  As my doctor explained, during pregnancy women stop shedding hair, and shortly after birth it starts again full force.  At about three months post-partum, it happened to me.  Washing my hair now results in this:

Disgusting, I know.  And I have a chin-length bob!  So ladies, enjoy that beautiful hair while you have it.

Thursday
Jul152010

Pottery Barn Kids Recalls 86,000 Drop-side Cribs

My husband sent a link in an email titled, “Oh No!” to me this afternoon. I knew whatever the news was, it couldn’t be good.

Nope, Pottery Barn Kids has issued a safety recall for all its cribs sold from 1999 to 2010…more than 86,000 cribs! The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that “the cribs’ drop-sides can detach when hardware breaks, creating a space into which a young child can become entrapped, which can lead to suffocation. A child can also fall out of the crib. Drop side incidents also occur due to incorrect assembly and with age-related wear and tear.”

CPSC and Pottery Barn Kids have received 36 reports of drop sides that have malfunctioned or detached, resulting in seven minor injuries when children fell out of the cribs or got their legs caught between the mattress and the drop side. One child became entrapped at the head between the drop side and crib mattress but was freed without injury.

As luck would have it, my husband and I purchased a used Pottery Barn Madeline crib off Craiglist for our nursery. It’s in great condition, but it does make you worry! The good news is that you can contact Pottery Barn Kids to receive a free fixed-gate conversion kit that will immobilize the drop side. We’re definitely hopping on the phone in a week or so when call volume dies down.

 

Wednesday
Jul142010

Checking Myself

I saw this mommy spoof video a few years ago when Funny or Die launched. It made me laugh but it had far less significance than it does now that I am on the precipice of mommydom. I went searching for it again today because I needed a good chuckle. I had been feeling especially dumpy, uncomfortable, and straight funk, yo. Enjoy, criminals!