Category Archives: Recaps

21 Days: A Birth Story

Warning: I’m going to be talking about birth in this post. I will try to keep it relatively clean, but birth is messy. If you are squeamish, or you just don’t want to know this stuff about me, I would skip the words and just look at the pictures (those are safe, promise).


March 2, Friday night, just around midnight, I was startled awake. Was that my water breaking? I’m no stranger to peeing myself a little bit in the middle of the night. It was a fairly regular occurrence during my entire pregnancy – second pregnancies are even more glamourous than the first! – and not something that ever really bothered me. This was…different. Since I had my water broken at the hospital with Lorelei, I wasn’t sure what to expect so after using the bathroom I went back to bed, thinking I would just wait and see. A few minutes later, I was up again. No. That was definitely not just me peeing myself. I stood in the bathroom as a small puddle of pinkish liquid formed on the floor. It wasn’t much, but it was enough.

I cleaned up. Brian went to work, calling our friends over to watch Lorelei, changing the sheets. I pulled on some clothes and got out a ratty old gray towel to sit on while we waited. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to eat once I checked into the hospital, I shoved handfuls of pecans into my mouth while we waited.

I waddled back into Pregnancy Assessment – having spent the night before there for contractions that lasted all day but then mysteriously went away – and hoped that I wasn’t wrong about it as they checked me in again. Then I waited. I wasn’t having any strong contractions, so it was actually kind of nice to just sit there and joke around with Brian (poop is hilarious until it happens to you). The nurse couldn’t get a good sample to actually see if my water had broken so I had to wait for the on call doctor to come by and check me with a speculum. Not fun. While I waited for her to return, my water really, really broke. There was the huge gush of liquid that the movies make you think you’re going to have.

Still no real contractions.

I was checked in and sent down the hall to Labor and Delivery. I was on the clock. I was given two hours for my contractions to show up and some progress to be made. If nothing had happened at the end of those two hours, my labor was going to be augmented with Pitocin. Two hours went by. Still nothing. So, Pitocin it was.

It took awhile for it to kick in. They started me off and a very low dose of it and upped it every twenty minutes. Brian and I watched Dr Who. I was starting to finally feel something by the time Brian went off to get himself a little breakfast but I was optimistic enough to ask the nurse if maybe we could go for a walk when he got back. That never happened. It was shift change and we got a new nurse. By the time Brian had returned from his breakfast excursion, she was getting everything set up and I was starting to be in a lot of pain. I went from Oh that’s kinda uncomfortable to Holy shit that fucking hurts.

Let me pause and say here that I went into this hoping for a drug free birth. Or at least, one where I didn’t have an epidural. I was delivering in a hospital and I know that they have rules once your water breaks, so I was prepared for the possibility of Pitocin much as I didn’t want it.

So…Sometime that morning. Six o’clock? Seven? Things really got going. I was having lots of contractions and they were extremely strong and extremely painful (thanks Pitocin!) At this point, details get a little fuzzy. I sat up in bed, my legs crossed for awhile. That got uncomfortable so I sat on the birthing ball next to the bed for awhile. That got uncomfortable so it was back to sitting in bed. I was trying but I started to feel like I had hit a wall. My tolerance for pain had been reached. I kept telling Brian, “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.” Around 9:30, I got an epidural. Do you know what is worse than contractions? Trying to sit still through them while someone sticks a needle in your back.

Much like with Lorelei, shortly after they had finished administering the epidural, I was ready to push. Unlike with Lorelei, however, I only pushed a few times. None of this two hours of pushing nonsense this time. At 10:36, little Amélie Sophia came into the world. All of seven pounds, fourteen ounces. And then we were a family of four.

It wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t what I wanted. There were things working against me. But, look what I got. In the end it doesn’t matter.

Two

It has been a day. And I’ll just leave it at that.

Someone I know turned two today, let’s focus on that instead:

(Previous Year: One)

Birthday Bonanza!

Hey, did you know that Lorelei turned one last week?  Oh, you say I’ve mentioned it about a thousand times?  I promise think accept the possibility that this is the last time.

Monday, November 8th at 2:24 am, little lady bug turned one.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t really celebrate since the husband has class Monday nights.  Just because we weren’t having a big celebration on the actual birthday doesn’t mean that we couldn’t open at least one present!

Presents are hard work and, just like her mommy, Lorelei needs to stick her tongue out while she attempts to open them!  Let’s not even get started on how hard greeting cards are…

Bows are lots of fun though…

And then there was the present itself (clothes from Aunt Tamara!)

The big event didn’t happen until Saturday.  I don’t think I’ve worked this hard on a birthday party ever.  A theme!  Favors!  What?  I ordered cookies from the Cakery in the shapes of lady bugs and the number one:

Oh yeah!  I also made “confetti” by stamping a lady bug on red paper and using a leaf shaped hole punch.  Dork.

And then there were presents!

And (cup)cake!

I baked some red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  And displayed them like Martha Freakin’ Stewart on a cupcake tree that I borrowed from my friend Meredith

Phew.  Exhausting weekend, but you only get one first birthday party!

One

The last twelve months:

Year in Review

I used to do this survey every year for awhile but I think it’s been a year or two. This morning while catching up on one of the many bloggers I stalk read, I noticed that she did the same survey and I thought: my brain can’t come up with anything too original right now so why not?

1. What did you do in 2009 that you had never done before?
The obvious would be getting pregnant and giving birth to a beautiful daughter and everything that goes along with it. Also changing a poopy diaper. That’s right, I had never changed a diaper before. I also totaled my car. As a fairly careful, if occasionally impatient but not doucheally (douchebagily?) impatient, I have only inflicted minor damage to my car before and usually while doing something really stupid (ie Backing down an alley in the pouring rain and running into a dumpster. Ahem.)

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I honestly don’t think I made a specific resolution. Past experience with failing at every one I’ve made has kept me from doing them in recent years. This year, I am hesitant to make any because I worry that, you know, taking care of a new life and all will keep me from really committing to any one thing. I do, however, want to do better so I will make some:
  • Read more. It has been several months at least since I last finished a book. I have two that I have started but have only gotten through the first few pages/chapters of (Up Till Now: The Autobiography by William Shatner and People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, in case you’re interested). And since I have a to be read stack that is out of control and a want to read list that is insanely long, I think I really need to work on this.
  • On a related note: get a library card.
  • Cook at home more.
  • Related: eat more healthfully.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
You mean besides me? My childhood friend Rachel gave birth to her son Liam this past spring. And then a few people I knew from college but wasn’t particularly close to.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
I had to think about this one for a minute but no. As far as I know, not anyone even remotely related to me which is amazing. If I have left someone out because I’m absent minded, let me know.

5. What countries did you visit?
Other than the one I live in? None, sadly. Before little bit came into the picture Brian and I had been talking about going to Ireland this fall. Obviously, that became completely out of the question. I get the feeling that we won’t be doing any traveling outside the country for the next few years at least.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
This is going to sound depressing. I would like to have a better outlook on life. I’m going to share a story, and maybe it will embarrass the husband, but I think it’s really sweet. We have an ornament on our tree that is this little circular mailbox that says “Letters to Santa.” When I took it out this year, I noticed that there was paper in it and I had completely forgotten that Brian had written something and put in there. At first he didn’t want me to read it, but I don’t like secrets and I browbeat wheedled asked really him really nicely until he gave in. It said: I want Kirsten to be happier. Commence the groaning now. So, there you go.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched on your memory, and why?
I always hate this question because usually no specific date comes to mind. However, I do have two. March 12th, the day my pregnancy test was positive and November 8th, the day my daughter was born.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I feel like this question is asking me to list some huge award or promotion or something like that, but I’m afraid that I don’t work and even if I did where I have worked has never awarded me with anything. Seriously. I was voted employee of the month at my CPK the month they decided that they weren’t going to do plaques or give bonuses for that anymore; so, that doesn’t count. And despite the fact that I have been told I deserved it, I never won the Mother Bread award at Bread Co. Instead, someone who it turned out was stealing was the one who won it. But I digress. Achievement wise I think figuring out what it is I want to do with my life, whether I succeed in it or not, has been my biggest accomplishment.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I think I feel like a failure the most when I haven’t been the best wife, or best mother, that I possibly could be.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
When I went to the emergency room, they asked me if I had any illnesses and my response was, “Does being pregnant count?” Reason for trip to the emergency room: I fell down my front stairs and severely sprained the ligaments on the top of my foot.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Ummm. Most of the things I buy are trivial and although I did spend a lot on my new car, I can’t really say that it was the best thing I bought. I’m going to have to say it was the SUPER SECRET SURPRISE PRESENT that I got for my friend just for fun. I like making people smile especially for a totally unexpected reason.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My husband. Everyday (almost, he’s not perfect after all) he amazes me with how supportive and loving he is. I don’t think I tell him often enough how much I appreciate what he does for me.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
There are a few; but, in the spirit of a new year, I will not detail that behavior here.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Bills, bills and more bills.

15. What did you get really excited about?
I feel like a broken record: the birth of my daughter.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Uhh…well, I can tell you what song my iTunes played the most. “Dark Blue” by Jack’s Mannequin. I’m pretty musically challenged these days.

17. Compared to this time last year are you:
  • happier or sadder? About the same
  • thinner or fatter? Oddly, about the same since I lost about ten pounds before I got pregnant
  • richer or poorer? Financially, definitely poorer. In everything else, I’d have to say richer.

18. What do you wished you’d done more of?
Read, knit, cook, bake. Spend more time friends and less time as a hermit.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Cry for no good reason.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Pre-Christmas weekend, we traveled to scenic Toledo, Ohio for my mother-in-law’s sixtieth birthday. There was much sleeping and eating and going to the art museum and dealing with a fussy schedule interrupted baby. Then I got sick. Then we opened many presents on Christmas morning while the baby slept through the entire thing. Then I got even sicker and we had lunchmeat sandwiches for dinner. But on Boxing Day we went to the Botanical Gardens and it was all better.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?
With a perfect baby daughter.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
I’m so over television right now. I watch reruns of NCIS and Bones and that makes me perfectly happy. Although I do enjoy Castle.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I’m trying not to hate anyone, but I’d have to say I just hate the same people.

24. What was the best book you read?
I haven’t done a whole lot of reading as I’ve said before, but I really enjoyed The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Side note: Amazon finally has a release date for the third book. August 2010! Whoo!

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I have terrible taste in music.

26. What did you want and get?
A new car, although not in the way it happened. A new job, which unfortunately turned out to suck almost as much as the old job.

27. What did you want and not get?
I want for nothing.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Do you know, the last movie I saw in the theatres was Harry Potter? God I’m lame. I would have to say the new Star Trek was my favorite though.

29. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I turned 27 this year and on my birthday I worked in the morning and then Brian took me to the Melting Pot. And then I envied all the people who could drink.

30. What is the one thing that would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Again, I want for nothing. I think I’ve had an amazingly good year despite some of the low moments.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Whatever fit over my ever-expanding ass. Sweat pants and big t-shirts.

32. What kept you sane?
An amazing husband and amazing friends.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Barack Obama. But mostly because I just love listening to him speak.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Definitely health care and all the stupid stupid people out there that don’t realize that universal health care is not some communist plot to take down the American way of life.

35. Who did you miss?
Blake. I wish she didn’t live in New Orleans.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Meredith. And her crazy husband Frank who I swear is just like Brian.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009?
Money can’t buy you love. No wait, that’s a song. Nothing comes to mind right now, I’ll get back to you.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?
“I want my life to make more sense…” from Pavement Tune by The Frames.
Well, that’s all folks. I’ll see you next year.