Desmond’s Birth Story

At 9:30pm on the evening of August 31 (two days after my due date), I started having regular contractions. They weren’t bothering me much but I started timing them just to get an idea of how far apart they were – since this was my second baby, my doctor had advised me to go in if they reached 7 minutes apart so that we could make sure I got two doses of antibiotics for Group B Strep prior to birth. The entire week prior to this, I had several nights where I woke up to contractions that got gradually closer together before petering out at about 8 minutes apart, so I had no real reason to believe these would be different. However, they were different – these contractions steadily got closer together over a couple of hours. I hung out on the exercise ball to help them along and around midnight they were moving right along at 6 minutes apart. I made sure they were consistent for a good hour before I called Labor & Delivery. I wasn’t sure I was in labor – the contractions didn’t seem bad enough to be real labor – but you never know, right?

David and I packed up our stuff and headed to Kaiser so that I could get checked out.

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I was put into an observation room and hooked up to some monitors at about 1:30am (coincidentally, it was Labor Day). After a bit over an hour, a midwife came in to check on my dilation. I was only at 1.5cm (same as I had been on the previous Friday) and she didn’t think my labor had really started, but she felt fairly sure it was close to starting. Not only that, but the baby’s heart rate had decelerated a number of times so she wanted to keep me there for more monitoring. So we sat tight and she came and checked back in around 3am. My contractions were 4-5 minutes apart at that point, so we decided I should go ahead and get admitted.

The baby’s heart rate was fine by 7am and the contractions continued at the same rate. At 12pm, we decided to start on pitocin since I still wasn’t in active labor; we figured that my body just needed a little nudge in the right direction. I had a lot of reservations about pitocin because my labor with Jack had been long and hard, but the midwife assured me that we would go slow with the pitocin and we could turn it down or off if needed.

My contractions certainly intensified on the pitocin. I spent time going between the exercise ball and walking laps with David around the maternity ward.

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By 5pm, I had still only progressed to 3.5cm, although the baby’s head had moved lower into my pelvis. I kept doing my thing and trying to move a lot with contractions. The pitocin was slowly turned up every so often and every 4 hours I also received a dose of Penicillin for the Group B Strep (sidenote: the antibiotics had me in more pain where it was going into the IV than my contractions – OUCH!!!).

Around 7pm I put on my headphones and cranked some music (Lana del Rey!) to help me through the steadily intensifying contractions. I started needing David’s help to get through them but I still felt like the labor was manageable without any medication. David made a comment about how nice all of the nurses and midwives were…

Then there was a shift change at about 9pm…

A midwife named Doris came into the room and outlined her plan for our birth. She immediately started saying that my contractions weren’t productive, that she was concerned about the decels in the baby’s heart rate (which hadn’t occurred for hours by that point), and telling us that I was going to get too tired to birth the baby if things didn’t happen more quickly. There was talk of epidurals (was I SURE I didn’t want one??) and a c-section if I got too tired to push. The more she talked, the more agitated I got, especially after she said something about how if we followed her plan she GUARANTEED the baby would be born by morning.

Doris was a full on medwife. UGH.

After making her initial rounds, she sent our nurse in and instead of increasing the pitocin just a bit as we had been doing, she CRANKED it according to Doris’ instructions. Within 30 minutes I was doubling over with every contraction and sobbing hysterically from the pain. The contractions were maybe coming a minute apart and I had no time to recover between them. I was a shaking, crying mess, and I held onto David for dear life. I felt like I wanted to die.

Doris came back in the room and checked me, said that I still wasn’t at 4cm, asked if I wanted anything for the pain (which I rated at 8-9), and then sent the nurse back in to turn the pitocin up AGAIN. It had been about an hour since it had been cranked up and I was not coping well. Thankfully David stepped in and had the nurse turn the pitocin down a bunch to see if we could slow things down and give me a break. It took a bit of time but the contractions slowed just enough for my sobs to quiet and I was able to get a few breaths in.

Doris came back in at some point and I started crying again and silently wishing harm on her person. As soon as she left, I decided two things – I would go ahead and get an epidural, and I didn’t want Doris anywhere near me for the rest of my labor. David called for the epidural and I begged the nurse to keep Doris away from me and instead send in a doctor.

The epidural was placed right around 12am, in between contractions. It was pretty quick and painless and the numbing started immediately. I still had incredible pain in my tailbone (which I am 99.9% sure I broke when giving birth to Jack), and the anesthesiologist said that the epidural wouldn’t touch that, unfortunately – I just had to get through it. 🙁

The doctor came in to check my progress then. Right as she was saying, “This is probably going to break your bag of waters,” there was a splash. The staff scrambled to change the padding underneath me and I said that I felt like I was going to poop. The doctor looked down, said it was the baby’s head I was actually feeling, and announced to the team that the baby was coming! The staff kicked it into high gear, but the baby wouldn’t wait – his head slid right out, then his shoulders slowed him just enough for the doctor to get in position before he SHOT OUT like a football. I didn’t even get a single push in!

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Desmond Eric

Desmond Eric was born to a room full of chuckling people at 9/2 at 12:43am. He didn’t cry – instead, he looked around and squeaked a bit every now and then. He was 7 lbs, 1 oz, and measured 19″ with a tuft of blonde hair.

We are totally in love.

This Is How I Nest

I think it’s safe to say that I’m officially nesting. It looks a little different than I thought it would, though.

Rather than focusing on cleaning and organizing (although I’ve done a little off that, too), I’ve been working on getting projects completed. It started with creating a baby book using Project Life products (PL Baby Book example found here). That didn’t take long (since the baby isn’t here yet), so I moved onto hanging pictures on the walls.

We’ve lived in this house two years now as of last week and most of the walls were devoid of pictures even though I had a ton of stuff already framed. So I took care of that (pic 1 and pic 2).

Most recently I’ve been working on migrating photos from the albums that our dog destroyed when we first adopted him into new albums. I’m using Project Life for this, too – I had two photo albums full of pictures from my trip to England and France 10 years ago (10 years ago this month, even!), 8 pages worth of journaling, and a pack of souvenirs that I’d saved. I still have to transfer the more of the journaling into the book but I have all of the pictures and memorabilia set up in the album now. (David does not understand this at all – he thinks I’m spending way too much time putting together an album that I might take off the shelf and look at once a year or so. To him I say PFFFT.) I feel accomplished.

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On the more traditional nesting front, this weekend we visited a furniture store that just opened up nearby and took care of getting one of the TOP things on my list of “I NEED this for the baby!” – a rocker recliner. Initially when I mentioned that I wanted one, David was totally opposed (due to the cost and the space it requires) but I ignored him because I’ve been through this before and I NEED a comfortable chair for rocking and nursing a newborn baby for hours on end! So he good-naturedly accompanied me to the furniture store and watched the World Cup while I negotiated with the salesman and made the purchase. Et voila:

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Now I’m focused on trying to find a place within a few hours of us to have a nice little getaway before the baby is born. So far this task has proved to be very challenging, as August in northern California means an influx of tourists and tons of local events (making everything much more expensive!). We don’t want to spend a ton of money but we really want to do SOMETHING before the baby is born (especially since our anniversary is 6 days after my due date). Hopefully we’ll stumble upon a deal or a quaint, little-known town to visit.

Or maybe a generous benefactor will come out of the woodwork and offer us something. WILL BLOG FOR VACATION! (Don’t worry, I’m not holding my breath on that one!)

Over Halfway There

I’m in my 22nd week of pregnancy now. We’re over halfway there! We had the baby’s anatomy scan about two weeks ago and it went pretty well. The baby was not being all that cooperative – as I had thought, the kid prefers to tuck himself deep into my pelvis, hence the hip and leg pain I’ve been having for a while now. It took some work on the ultrasound tech’s part to find out the gender because our baby’s little pretzel legs kept getting in the way, but about halfway through we saw undeniable evidence that this one is a boy.

Jack totally called it a few days prior when he said, “I want it to be a girl, but I think it will be a boy.”

I had mixed feelings upon learning the gender, to be honest. I love having a boy already and it seems like boys are a bit easier to raise (with lower-pitched voices). At the same time, my boy is very attached to me and I know girls tend to be more attached to their dads – it would be nice to have someone in the house not obsessed with me (we also have three animals that are males and all gravitate to me)! There are no guarantees, of course. Who knows, maybe this kid will think I’m boring as hell.

Anyway, I’ve gotten used to the idea of having another boy now and all is well on that front.

So, with that, we’ve stopped disagreeing about girl names and turned our focus to boys names. We have two picked out that are tied for first place but I keep hearing one of them pop up all over the place so I don’t know that we’ll go with it. I can’t quite cross it off the list, though.

Last night I dreamed about the baby and saw his face. Unfortunately that didn’t help sway my opinion of either name. Bah! (Maybe I should put the baby’s name up to the a vote – ha!) Hopefully it will all become clear when the little dude joins us in the outside world.

David finally felt the baby move over the weekend! He’s been moving around for weeks but the kicks were inconsistent and I think maybe the placenta is toward my back or something. The kid is getting stronger, though, and loves to be active right at bedtime. Maybe that’s why I continue to suffer from fatigue, headaches, and SERIOUS pregnancy brain!

Because of the fatigue, headaches, pregnancy brain, and overall less patience with the world around me, I’m in hibernation mode. I’ve been making dumb mistakes and forgetting a lot of things, which is super frustrating to me. I’m an administrative assistant, so the fact that I can’t trust myself and must triple-check my work is screwing with my self-esteem! But at least I’m flighty enough to only worry about it for five minutes at a time…

That’s the latest on this pregnancy business. Any questions?

What To Do While You’re Waiting For Baby

56HI was chatting with a friend today about the misery of those last weeks of pregnancy. Nothing fits anymore, it takes an hour to walk a block, naps usually result in pain when you try to get up, and you are just DONE WAITING to meet that new little person who is already changing your life in drastic ways.

During the last few weeks of my pregnancy with Jack, I was horribly depressed. It was the middle of summer and my body showed no signs of preparing for labor. Eventually, at 41.5 weeks and partly because I was feeling so low, I was induced. While giving birth eliminated some of the issues I was plagued by during pregnancy, it (naturally) created other issues – mainly, everything I wanted to do had to be weighed against when my baby would next need me, which was at least hourly.

This pregnancy, I hope to enjoy my last few weeks of gestating a little more. I recommended some of these things to my friend, who is due in two days and completely ready to be done being pregnant.

  • Read books – It’s hard to concentrate on books post-baby even if you are lucky enough to find time.
  • Go to the theater – chances are you won’t be doing that for quite some time – even if you can manage to take your baby to a (loud) theater, your movie will likely be interrupted by fussing/crying, a need for a diaper change, and perhaps a need to feed the kid if you don’t feel comfortable doing so in public.
  • Get a pedicure and/or visit the salon for a haircut – the salon isn’t a place you want to drag your newborn to, and it will be hard to get away for an hour or more for a good month after the baby is born.
  • Go bra shopping – Buy a variety of sizes of supportive bras and camisoles, particularly if you are going to be nursing. Not only is it hard to get out of the house to go and try things on one the baby has arrived, chances are your breasts will start leaking all over the place when you either see another baby, hear one crying, or even just let air touch your boobs. Remember, you can send a family member or friend to return the bras that don’t fit later.
  • Go to a cafe and sit alone – Ahhhh, blessed quiet without the countdown to the next feeding flashing in the back of your head!
  • Have dinner with friends/family – Your house or theirs, it doesn’t really matter – but you will appreciate the memory of sitting down to a nice dinner when you have a baby who is going nutso during “witching hour” every night and you and your partner need to tag team in order to eat dinner.
  • Get a massage – Relaxing and soothing for your poor pregnant body. Who knows, it might even get labor started.
  • Go out to dinner with your partner or other children – Enjoy the family time when you can still put sentences together.
  • Schedule or pay bills ahead of time – Okay, this one isn’t exactly exciting, but you might forget these things while focusing on your new baby so plan ahead! This can save you some stress later.

I’m sure there are a ton of things I’m forgetting, so readers, what would you add?

Gestating Away

This pregnancy is a bit strange, if you ask me.

First of all, I forget about it sometimes. You wouldn’t think that was possible considering that I’m definitely showing and I’ve even felt the baby moving. And of course there is the nausea that hasn’t completely left me alone and also the fatigue. But still, I forget that I’m pregnant and that there will be a baby joining our family this fall.

I can’t quite believe that a baby will be joining our household this fall. It could be the stream of bad luck we’ve had over the past couple of years or my prior miscarriages or my attachment issues. I don’t know. But every time I go into the OB office and see the baby moving around on screen or hear the heartbeat, I am surprised. Really? It’s still there? This isn’t a recording?

See, within a month of discovering I was pregnant for the first time back in 2005, I found out that three others close to me were expecting, as well. As soon as I heard that, I KNEW that one of us would miscarry. It turned out two of us did. This time around I know at least six other pregnant women (and two others who just gave birth within the last month). So it’s probably not entirely strange for me to wonder if we’re all gonna make it out of this okay, right? Or maybe I’m just too morbid for my own good.

I only this week started to gain weight. I definitely look pregnant but due to nausea and getting sick with a sinus infection, I lost weight during the first trimester. As of a couple of days ago, I’d gained back some of the weight I lost and now I’m one whole pound over my pre-pregnancy weight. I’m sure things will escalate quickly from here!

So far I’ve craved cheesy potatoes, fruit smoothies, and salads. Kinda weird – especially the salad thing! I’ve had aversions to most beef (ground beef/hamburgers, of all things, excepted) and have actually preferred chicken (which, pre-pregnancy, would have always been the last thing I preferred due to it’s bland flavor). I haven’t been very good about avoiding the things I am supposed to avoid. I was so good about all of that during my first pregnancy and now I’m just like, meh, it’ll work out. I think Jack has worn out the part of my brain that worries about things that are unlikely to happen.

I feel so much crankier these days, which I don’t remember from my pregnancy with Jack. I have a lot less patience for people and animals. Unfortunately this includes Jack (HOW many times do I need to tell him not to throw himself at me and to keep his knees away from my belly?!), but the upside is that David and Jack are spending more time together and it seems to be really good for both of them. Plus, Jack is not relying on me quite so heavily, which is quite a relief. Sometimes he’ll even go and read a book instead of asking me to entertain him!

Overall being pregnant has been harder than it was eight years ago but it seems to be going by fairly quickly. I’ll be 16 weeks tomorrow! I’m surprised that at this point I’m dealing with things like restless leg syndrome when I lay down and general hip discomfort. The heartburn seems to have started early and I’m still taking frequent trips to the bathroom, which I thought would have let up by now. I’ve heard from a LOT of people that subsequent pregnancies are harder and it’s also more difficult the older you are.

That’s just not cool, man.

We’re going in for the anatomy scan on April 9 and then we should find out the gender. Hopefully then I can feel more comfortable nailing down a name – so far, even though we have two clear front runners, I still keep going through lists and throwing out ideas. To which David sighs and says, “I thought we had names. Are those out now?” Ack, I just don’t knoooow!

Making decisions is hard, yo.

So that’s the latest. I’m sure this is boring for a lot of you but I figured I should document it somehow. Hopefully I’ll get back to writing more and sleeping less now that I’m in the second trimester.