happy birthday, baby!!

I’m mostly writing this post so that I don’t forget anything that happened the day the baby was born. We were scheduled to be induced on Monday, September 26 at 7:30AM, but Sunday morning at 12:56AM my water broke. I had been having contractions since Friday afternoon/evening, but they were irregular and not painful. Saturday night Paul went to a concert downtown and a small part of me thought he should stay home, but since my contractions weren’t that bad I didn’t say anything.

I was expecting Paul to come home around 1:00AM on Sunday morning, so when my water broke I didn’t feel too bad making him come home early. He said the band was on its last song anyway, and came home. I then called the hospital so they knew we were coming and called my mom.

We arrived at the hospital around 1:30AM. I had told Paul what route I wanted to take when we finally went in, but just like every other soon-to-be dad, he forgot what I had said and went a different way. Once we were there I was hooked up to the monitor. I was actually happy that my water broke because the midwife on call that weekend was one that I liked and the midwife who was scheduled to induce was not my favorite. By 3:30AM I was all checked in and tried to get some sleep.

Of course I wasn’t able to sleep, so around 5:00AM I tried sitting on a labor ball. By this point my contractions were about 4:30 minutes apart and were getting stronger. The baby had hiccups throughout my pregnancy (and still has them), so I ended up having hiccups with my contractions. Paul did a very good job of rubbing my back while I had contractions and trying to distract me with card games (although I wasn’t having any fun, so we only played one or two games). By 9:45AM they checked my progress and I was only dilated to 3cm. Since I wasn’t very far along yet I was allowed to eat to get my blood sugar back up, so I ordered some toast, yogurt, and apple juice. Unfortunately, it didn’t stay down.

The baby moved a lot during labor, especially during contractions, which made them worse. After eating I took a shower and tried nipple stimulation (sorry, at this point nothing embarrasses me anymore) to increase the contractions. That works, but it created very intense and painful contractions and I just didn’t have the energy to continue doing it. Eventually my mom called and wanted to know how things were going (or not going, in my case). By 11:30AM my midwife said that since we were reaching the 12 hour point we should talk about alternative ways to induce labor. I had requested not to be offered pitocin because it creates very intense contractions and increase the chance of needing a cesarean. My midwife suggested an enema, but that really didn’t sound like much fun, so I suggested that I keep trying nipple stimulation for another hour or so and then we can consider the whole enema idea.

During that hour, I talked with Paul about getting an epidural and pitocin. We were both against having either one, but I was exhausted and I didn’t feel as if nipple stimulation was really working fast enough. I was starting to feel that I wouldn’t have the energy to push if I didn’t get something for the pain. I decided that the baby was going to be born one way or another, and I needed to have the energy to push or else I’d have to have a cesarean, which I didn’t want. So at 12:45PM (almost exactly 12 hours after my water broke), I asked for an epidural and pitocin. My nurse checked my progress, and although I was about 90-100% effaced, I was only 4cm dilated, and the baby was still at 0 station.

It took about an hour for the epidural and pitocin to be administered, but by 2:00PM we were finally able to take a nap. Of course my husband got more sleep than I did. I was checked again at 4:00PM and this time I was dilated to 6cm, and the baby had dropped to +1 or +2 station. I was very happy that I chose to have an epidural because at this point I was starting to feel the contractions, but I wasn’t feeling much pain with them. I don’t even want to imagine how they would have felt without the epidural. At 4:30PM I realized that I hadn’t updated my mom since that morning, so I gave her a call. Then we tried to watch a little TV and nap some more.

At 7:00PM I switched nurses again. My nurse seemed very nervous, and it turned out she was new to labor, but for some reason that made me feel better. I think that since neither one of us was experienced, it made me feel as if I had someone there with me who understood what I was going through. I had a variety of nurses by the time I went home, and I felt as if the more experienced nurses had their opinions and would tell you what they thought, whether or not you wanted to hear it. Anyway, by 7:30PM, we were told we’d probably have the baby before midnight, so we ordered dinner for later. I promptly threw up again after that (I think the idea of food was unsettling).

I was checked again at 8:30PM and it was confirmed that I was complete and could start pushing. I started pushing at 9:00PM and at first I was still in a pretty good mood. It took me a little while to get a rhythm and to understand when I should start pushing, but during that first hour I was making jokes and criticizing Paul’s technique (or lack of technique) in helping hold my leg back. Eventually that all passed. The nice thing about having the epidural and pitocin was that when it came time to push, my nurse increased the pitocin and lowered the epidural. This allowed me to have a better idea when I was having a contraction. Part of the reason I didn’t want an epidural was because some women can’t feel their contractions at all, which can make labor last longer. In the end I was definitely able to feel when I needed to push. There were even a number of instances where I said I was ready to go before the contraction would show up on the monitor. Eventually, they even took the monitors off because the contractions weren’t reading as well as I was able to predict them.

There were definitely points were I did not think I was going to be able to keep going. I don’t know if Paul l really knew what he should do to help me, but the best thing he did was make sure I drank a lot of water. I don’t think I would have had anything to drink in the 3 hours (apparently that is a long time, even for first-time mothers) I was pushing if it wasn’t for him. At one point someone suggested that I use a mirror to see how I was doing. At first I found this very frustrating. For at least an hour everyone kept saying how close I was and how they could see his head. I could barely see anything when I first looked in the mirror, so I didn’t feel as if I were close at all. For a long time I didn’t feel as if I were going to make it and really wanted to stop.

Finally, though, at 11:40PM, almost 24 hours after my water broke, the baby arrived. I wanted to give him the chance to find my breast on his own, so we let him do the belly crawl for about an hour. He came very close to getting there on his own, but eventually I had to help him out. Either way it was cool to watch him try.

Although, my experience didn’t go exactly as naturally as I had planned, I wouldn’t change a thing. It was probably the worst experience of my life, but it had the greatest outcome. However, now that it’s all over, I have to finish typing this up before the baby kicks the laptop off my lap.

count down to baby

I was talking to my mom and she suggested I write down the events that happened before the baby arrives. It’s probably something that won’t be done every day, but whenever there’s something worth mentioning I’ll add it.

Sometime around week 36 (August 17th) I started working on an activity gym. I got the idea out of frustration with not being able to find an activity gym that I liked that wasn’t $80. I thought it had to be possible to make my own for a lot less. Anyway, sometime during week 36 we went to Lowe’s and the fabric store and I began the project.

Aug 27 (37 weeks, 6 days): I was invited to meet up with a new mom’s group. We met at the park and I was the only pregnant “mom” there. I had a lot of fun, but it was very overwhelming being around a lot of babies. It made me realize that I haven’t been around or held a baby since my twin cousins were born – and they’re 13 now. Afterward, Paul and I went shopping for patio furniture. Apparently, I was hungry because I grabbed a box of granola bars and ate all of them.

Aug 28: Today we went to a work party for Paul’s office. Everyone surprised us with a baby shower, which we were not expecting. We were both a little overwhelmed with the party and being around a lot of little kids (most of the kids are under 10-years-old), but overall it was fun.

Aug 29: Got my braces off today!

Aug 30: Started having contractions around 9:00/10:00AM that went on every hour – hour 1/2 til about 4:00PM. Of course I freaked out and made Paul come home from work. He had the car and it was raining, so I wasn’t sure if I’d have to go to the doctor’s office and I wasn’t going to walk in the rain. Fortunately, I felt well enough by 5:00PM to go to swimming. After swimming I stopped by the breastfeeding fair at the hospital.

Aug 31 (38 weeks): Today I had my 38 week appointment. I was 1cm dilated and 80% effaced, so my midwife said it could be a couple of days or a few weeks still.

Sept 1: We made it to September! I had a lot of errands to do and it was very hot out, so I think I overdid it by the end of the day. I thought it would be a good idea to get a manicure and pedicure, which ended up not being a great idea. The baby did not like the massage chair during the pedicure, so I had to turn it off and they didn’t have the air conditioning on in the store, so I was unbearably hot the whole time. The manicure started to chip off the next day, so I was disappointed in the whole experience. After I got home I started having contractions around 2:30PM. Paul went to get the car seat checked at the police station while I stayed home. I was hoping to go to swimming, but the contractions were too uncomfortable. Paul’s parents sent us a video camera as a birthday present, so he thought it would be a fun idea to video tape me while I had contractions, but I wasn’t too into that. The contractions seemed to stop around 9:00/10:00PM, but I still didn’t feel 100% better.

Sept 2: Still having contractions, but they’re sporadic and the baby’s still kicking a lot. I tried to finish my sewing projects, but I sewed my finger and had to go to the emergency room (I also ran out of thread). I was pretty disappointed in the emergency room experience. I wasn’t exactly expecting an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, but I was at least expecting some concern about the baby when we went in. It ended up not being a big deal; I guess I didn’t really hurt my finger as much as I thought I had. The contractions finally stopped around 9:00PM and I was able to sleep through the night (minus the trips to the bathroom).

Sept 3: Finally finished the activity gym!

Of course, as soon as I had posted this I started having contractions again. Paul had gone to the football game and came home early because they were more intense and closer together. However, once he got home they stopped.

Sept 5: I thought we were going to have a relatively boring Labor Day, but I started having contractions around 2:30 that were difficult to time and lasted for a long time (longer than contractions should last). I called the hospital to see if I should go in or if there was something I should be doing (I was trying to lay down, but that wasn’t working very well) and they suggested I come in. Of course nothing was wrong and after being there for 3 or 4 hours we went home. I guess the baby moves a lot and he moves while I’m having a contraction, which makes it stronger and last longer. After we got home everything calmed down and I haven’t had any contractions since.

Sept 9: Not a whole lot has happened since Labor Day. Lately, I’ve been feeling more tired and wanting to take a nap rather than doing any more “nesting”. On Thursday, after swimming, I was pretty tired and I just had the feeling that the baby would be coming soon. It was a different feeling than I had had before – most of those were hopeful, let’s-get-this-kid-out kinds of feelings. This was more of a calm feeling. I was up about every hour and 1/2 because I had to use the restroom, but also because the baby was moving a lot and it was pretty uncomfortable. Most of Friday I spent on the couch with the cat. He seems pretty indifferent when I’ve played baby noises for him, so I hope that’s a good sign. I took some pictures of him and decided that if the baby is going to come soon, I should take some pictures of my belly, since I haven’t really done that yet.

  

Sept 12: I think we’re reaching the most boring part of the whole pregnancy. Paul’s leave from work started today, so he’s been around all day. We were kind of expecting to have the baby already, so we’re running out of things to do. He at least has some work and the pond to work on. I’ve been feeling relatively the same; mostly tired and ready to move on to the next stage. Since we were bored we put the cat in the Moby wrap. Surprisingly, he didn’t seem to mind being in there as much as we thought he would.

Sept 13: I had another weekly appointment today, which was disappointing because I haven’t made nearly as much progress as I had hoped. I’m about 90% effaced, but I’m still only 1cm dilated and apparently the baby “disengaged”. Last time he was at 0 station, but now he’s at -1, which basically means he’s running back in, which is the opposite direction I’d like him to run. I think the sudden change in the weather scared him back in.

Sept 14: Well the due date came and went. I guess the nice thing about knowing that I haven’t made a whole lot of progress is that I’ve been less stressed out and have been able to sleep better at night. I think I’ve reached the point that it will happen when it happens and I should stop trying to figure it out. It’s still a bit frustrating. Until then, I will be going on a walk every day.

Sept 20: Nothing’s happened in the last week, so we had another appointment. This time we had an ultrasound and a non-stress test, both of which affirmed that the baby is very happy staying in there. Fortunately, I’m 2cm dilated and have started having contractions again (although they’re not regular and are hard to time). I have another appointment on Friday, if we make it that far, for another non-stress test and to talk about inducing. My midwives are comfortable letting the baby go to 42 weeks, which would be the 28th (my birthday), so that’s probably when we’d induce. I think having appointments close together helps my mood because it gives me something to look forward to. This last weekend was really hard. No matter what I did I would start crying. We even went to a movie on Sunday to get out of the house and give us a distraction and I cried during the first hour. Everything was getting to me. For now, though, I’m feeling pretty good.

Sept 23: I’m still feeling pretty good. We went in for another appointment and had another non-stress test. The baby really likes being in there, so we have opted to induce. We’ll be going in on Monday at 7:30AM, unless he decides to come before then. I’m 2cm dilated, 90% effaced, and the baby’s still at 0 station. I decided I didn’t want to wait until the 28th to induce, but that Monday (the 26th) would be better because it will still give him some time to come on his own and will still guarantee us a September baby. It also gives us one last weekend alone. Hopefully this weekend will be a little happier than last weekend. I’ve been going on a walk just about every day, which doesn’t seem to be doing much, but it at least gets me out of the house and gets my mind of things. We had some friends over who also have a baby and I was interested to see how the cat did with the baby. Unfortunately, he was pretty upset, so that doesn’t leave me very confident when we bring the baby home.

Sept 24: My husband and I spent a few hours with my mom’s group in the afternoon. He looked a little out of his element when he held a friend’s baby. That night he went to a Mountain Goats concert and at 12:56AM on September 25th my water broke.

5K-ansas university

I’ve been trying all month to train for a 5K that my mom and I were planning on running on April 30th. The race was originally scheduled for February but got rescheduled for April due to the weather. I was really looking forward to running in it because it was going to be the first official 5K I’ll run while pregnant.

The race was to take place in Lawrence, Kansas, which is not too far from my parent’s home, but still a decent drive. Lawrence happens to be where the University of Kansas is located. I should also mention that although I have a decent sense of direction, whenever my mom and I go somewhere we’ve never been before we almost always get lost. We didn’t completely get lost this time, but we had a very hard time finding the race, and once we did, there wasn’t really a race to run. The area was between the river and some train tracks and there wasn’t anyone there who looked like they were putting on a race. I wasn’t too excited about running by the river anyway. I swear Google maps made it look like we would be running in a park.

We decided that since we had driven all the way out to Lawrence and we were dressed to run that we might as well run somewhere. I had never seen the KU campus so we decided to run around it. Usually I don’t enjoy running somewhere I’ve never been before, but running around the campus sounded like a lot of fun. It turned out to be incredibly hilly – probably the hilliest run I’ve ever done (definitely the hilliest since I’ve gotten pregnant). Part of it was really fun; I enjoyed seeing the campus and running with my mom, but I did not enjoy the hills so much.