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.

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17 Days: On the Porch

I asked Brian this morning if we could have more babies. I got a pretty enthusiastic “YES!” from him.

There are just some moments that are so completely perfect that I can easily forget all the moments that have been bad. I can forget my frustration with Lorelei’s tantrums and refusal to eat. I can forget the several hour long nursing sessions with Amélie in the middle of the night.

The weather has been particularly nice the last few days and we took advantage of the warmer temperatures to sit on our porch in the late afternoon sun.

12 Days

We’re still trying to find our rhythm, adjusting to life as a family of four. I overdid it the last few days so while Brian takes Lorelei to the zoo (without us!), the littlest one and I will be here. Sleeping and cuddling and watching bad television. I may even read while she naps on my chest. It’s good. Very good.

4 Days Ago

Amélie Sophia

Born March 3, 2012 at 10:36 am

7 pounds, 14 ounces

*I mistakenly labeled this five days ago. Oops. It was only four. What can I say? Sleep deprivation is fun.

36 Weeks

Ooof.

Less than a month left. And that’s if I make it the full forty weeks. Lorelei was ten days early, so I’m not going to count on it. It’s nice that there is a light at the end of this giant-unwieldy-belly-tunnel, but I am not really ready to have another baby. There’s going to be two of them? No way.

We’re slowly inching our way towards preparation. The only thing that’s really left to do is order the last of my diapers and get those prepped. Oh! And there is the slight problem of finding someone to watch Lorelei while I’m at the hospital. One of the downsides to not having any family close by. I’m trying to stay positive and zen-like and hope that everything will work itself out. Okay, I admit that I’m making Brian figure it our so that I don’t have to.

Vital Stats:

  • Weight: 168, gained 28 pounds and approaching the size of a beached whale.
  • Measuring: 36.5 weeks
  • Cravings: A very large glass of wine. Which has nothing to do with pregnancy and everything to do with the fact that I could really go for some booze right now. ANXIETY!
  • Aversions: Cream sauce. Brian was nice enough to make us some pasta with mushroom cream sauce for dinner the other night and I had to stop myself from actually puking it up. It tasted like glue to me. That is not a judgement on Brian’s cooking, but my taste buds have decided to go all crazy these last few weeks.

(Belly) Button

Today’s photo of the day (for all the entries go here)

Small housekeeping note: Because of my lack of smartphone I have decided not to do every photo challenge. It’s just not convenient to tote my big ole’ honkin’ DSLR with me everywhere. Also, I plan on writing a real post tomorrow. Enjoy your evening everyone!

Hands

Another in the February Photo a Day Challenge. For all the pictures, go here.

Today we went to Kids’ Art Start, an event put on by the Repertory Theatre of St Louis. While it was a lot more low key this time around (we went last month and there were a ton of people and a lot more projects), Lorelei is always up for some coloring. And it got us out of the house on a rainy Saturday morning.

Words

I’ve been thinking about words a lot recently.

Sometimes, we underestimate the power of words. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. It’s a good lesson to teach your children, but it isn’t the truth.

Words can wound. I seem to have a particular talent for turning a simple phrase into something downright nasty. (Just ask my husband). And how many nights have I spent lying awake in bed replaying a conversation over and over in my head, turning a innocuous phrase into an assault on the very essence of my being.

Sometimes I forget that words can heal us, too. I hesitate to say things like, I’m thinking about you or, even, I love (care about) you. They can seem like empty phrases. For someone like me, however, it can turn a day that was full of despair and desperate thoughts into something a little brighter. I need to hear those words. I also need to remember that other people need to hear those words, too.

I love you.

I’m thinking about you.

It will get better.

What brought this on? There is a a little thing going around the internet: February Photo a Day (there was also one in January, but I didn’t do that). I thought I would give a shot, even though I’m handicapped by my lack of smartphone. Also, I’m already a day behind but I’m going to try to do two tomorrow to catch up. We’ll see how long this lasts.

For all photos, go here.

Halo

We’ve been blessed with a string of gorgeous days. Since I have been sadly neglecting my camera, I toted it with me on our afternoon walk and playground adventure.

I love this little girl.

Magic

Excerpt from The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern*

“It is important [telling stories]…Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There’s magic in that. It’s in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words.”

I like to think that that’s why I write. Why I am compelled to tell stories, even if it’s only in my head. Telling stories can be magic. What I say might change someone or help someone. So, even when I feel inadequate and words seem insufficient to explain what is in my heart and mind, I will always write.

*If you believe in magic, or wish you could, read this book now.