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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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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!

33 Weeks

There might also be a bit of a food baby going on in this picture as well since I ate my weight in Mexican food for dinner.

32 Weeks

“You’re large and in charge.”

Because your lady bits are all wonkadoodle.”

My husband, ladies and gentlemen. He really knows how to charm his wife, doesn’t he?

Today was the long anticipated ultrasound to determine my fate. Will there be a c-section in my future?

Well, let’s start at the beginning of my day, shall we? I was awakened at about 3:30 this morning because our asshole of a neighbor does not understand that practicing his guitar in the middle of the night is not socially acceptable. Then I spent the rest of the night tossing and turning and stressing myself out. Although I did manage to doze off for awhile, I was pulled from the bed by the sounds of Lorelei having an epic meltdown over not being allowed to drink out of a plastic water bottle (because it would end up spilled everywhere – history has proven this).

By the time I got to the doctor’s office, I was thankful for the time in the waiting room to read my book in peace (Side note: Do not pick a 700-page book as your first book of the year if you intend to keep your resolution of reading two books a month). And then…and then, about five minutes into my ultrasound, my back really started to bother me. It’s not unusual for my back to bother me but  a small change in position will normally do the trick. No such luck today. I crossed my ankles the other way, bent my knees…and then I started to feel hot and sweaty. (I’m such an attractive pregnant woman, aren’t I?) I felt like a crazy person. I was just lying there and I felt like I had just finished a hard workout. Fortunately, my ultrasound tech picked on my discomfort and had me roll on my side.

Other than those few sweaty, nauseated minutes, the ultrasound was surprisingly pleasant and  – unlike past experiences – fairly quick. What are the results? Everything’s fine. Three months of anxiety for nothing. I should be thankful for the good news but…

HAHAHAHAHA!

My body is messing with me. After I got the good news at my ultrasound, I had to spend an hour waiting for my regular appointment. And then…then! Guess what? There was protein in my sample and my blood pressure was elevated! Hooray!

Oh wait.

Those are not good things. *headdesk*

My doctors have a tendency to be very, “It’s probably not a big deal, nothing to worry about…” when it comes to things like this. Probably because they sense that I tend to have a lot of anxiety. She assured me that since the test they do in the office is pretty basic, it could just be a false positive but with my blood pressure being on the high side – for me, not for a normal person, I usually have the blood pressure of a Buddhist monk – they were going to send another sample out to the lab. So, now…I wait.

Again.

Vital Statistics:

  • Weight: 163 pounds (23 pounds of weight gain)
  • Measuring at: 30 weeks (actually am 32 weeks, 2 days)
  • Baby’s Weight: 4 pounds, 5 ounces (40th percentile)
  • Cravings: Cottage cheese, discount Christmas chocolates from Aldi, ice cubes (always with the ice cubes)
  • Food aversions (they’re back!): Mayonnaise (and that’s a real tragedy).

31 Weeks

Checking in. (I might talk about my lady bits, be warned)

Still waiting. One week to go before my ultrasound. I’m not sure how everything will work, but I have my regular OB appointment the same morning so I’m going to hope that I will know what my future holds. Will I be forced into having a medically necessary c-section? Or will I get to actually try for that natural childbirth that I wanted the second time around? I hate being in this holding pattern. I don’t want to do anything or make any plans and it is driving me insane. I know they were waiting to do this ultrasound as long as possible to give my placenta plenty of time to migrate away from my cervix but I’m getting really fucking impatient.

And I have hives. For the second time this pregnancy. I don’t know if I’m having a reaction to something or if it’s just stress-related but I’m getting sick of being itchy all over my entire body.

Now. Where are my ice cubes?

30 Weeks

…and two days, but who’s keeping track. Not me.

Please ignore the weird shadow and facial expression going on in this picture.

So. Not much has changed. I’m still waiting. My ultrasound is in two weeks and then I will finally feel like I can start planning for things. Right now, I’m just munching on ice cubes like it’s going out of style and trying to get a decent night’s sleep.

29 Weeks

Things have been better. Sort of.

Last week, at my monthly appointment, I broke down in tears in front of my doctor. That doesn’t sound like it would be improvement, but considering my state of mind of the last few weeks, it wasn’t surprising. It was actually a relief to be able to tell someone about how completely overwhelmed I’ve been feeling. I’ve been feeling the pressure of trying to care for an active (and increasingly stubborn) toddler while, at the same time, getting things ready for a newborn. Not just getting things ready, but the idea of caring for two small children has really started to terrify me. I am, however, hopeful that once the new year comes and we have a little more room to breath (financially-speaking) and can start preparing for things for real that some of the stress will lessen.

Well, that’s my current mental state. Physically, I’m doing pretty well. Other than being pretty tired and a wicked case of heartburn, I’m feeling better. I am, however, supposed to keep an eye on all these damn contractions I’ve been having. My doctor wasn’t super concerned, but she said that since I was having them so often, if they started to become more regular – even 10 minutes apart for an hour – that I needed to go down to my old friend Pregnancy Assessment just to be on the safe side. So, there’s that…

Thing I Have Been Craving This Week: Ice cubes. Yeah. I don’t know either.

27 Weeks

The last couple weeks have been…interesting. That’s a polite way of saying that the last couple weeks have been crap wrapped in suck with the occasional bit of Could this get any worse?

It all started with a panic attack and a near nervous breakdown. I don’t really want to go into details but let’s just say that when I feel like I can’t breathe and that there is an enormous weight on my chest, I know that I’m in trouble. I had quite a few panic attacks while I was pregnant with Lorelei – thanks anxiety, you’re a winner! – but they haven’t been too common this time around, despite my lack of medication. So, when they do happen they are bad.

So, that was last Tuesday. On Wednesday, I was spotting. (TMI ALERT!) I might have mentioned once or twice that I have placenta previa. It’s oodles of fun. It means that any time I see any blood *ahem* down there, I need to go get checked out. For what most pregnancies is completely normal and no big deal, I instead get PANIC! ALARM BELLS! WHOOP! WHOOP! WHOOP! By the way, it was nothing. Everything looked normal. It just took them four hours to tell me that. Chilling in pregnancy assessment with my butt hanging out of a hospital gown for the better part of a day was not what I had in mind.

Of course, because things didn’t suck enough, my old friends Braxton and Hicks have made an appearance. And on Friday, while I was doing something – I don’t know what, probably wrestling the two year old – I pulled a muscle…you know…down there and could barely walk or move.

I told you. Crap wrapped in suck. So that was my last few weeks, sorry I’m so whiny.

25 Weeks

I’m tempted to leave you with just this one picture. It about sums up how I’m feeling: big and uncomfortable and taking up too much space.

At 25 weeks, I still don’t look very pregnant. I get the “Oh, you look great!” and “Still so small!” reactions all the time and, just like with Lorelei, it makes me a little punchy. I know that I’m not that big. I get it. It’s just the way I grow ’em, I guess.

I’ll give you a real picture now.

At my doctor’s appointment last week, I was up 17 pounds – to put that in perspective, I had gained about 10 with Lorelei by this point – which means I’m right on track for the normal 25-30 pound weight gain. Baby girl number two also really likes to kick the doppler.

Something else I learned recently, my insurance no longer fully covers what they call “non-essential” services. Do you want to know what they consider “non-essential?” Blood work and ultrasounds. The only thing they cover completely are the 10 minute office visits that I can often spend 30-45 minutes waiting in an exam room for. It was giving me some serious rage issues when we first learned that all those little bills from the hospital were not sent to us in error. Or really, insurance? That extra $12 to pay for my ultrasound completely was too much for you? What annoys me even more is that, with the exception of my first trimester ultrasound, every single thing I’ve had done is required by my doctor. There is no way they would let me skip any of those tests. Tell me again how that’s “non-essential.” What annoys me the most, if I had not gotten an ultrasound, I would not have found out about my placenta previa. What if Brian and I had *ahem* “relations” not knowing that I shouldn’t be doing that? What would have happened then, Mr Insurance Company? It’s not something I like to dwell on too much. I still don’t know what’s going to happen and I won’t know anymore until my ultrasound in January which my insurance isn’t going to cover completely. Awesome.*

Other things going on the last few weeks: I feel like crap. I sleep like crap. I have tension headaches. I can’t fall asleep because baby girl likes to pick the second I lay down to start her gymnastics routine. Yeah, I’m one big ball of positivity over here.

*I would like to state for the record before anyone says anything, I am very grateful that I have insurance at all. I know that a lot of people don’t and a lot of people can’t afford it. I am lucky. I get that. But since this is a new policy, it came as a bit of a shock to suddenly be getting medical bills in the mail when I didn’t get a single one the entire time I was pregnant with Lorelei. So, yeah. And I can still be pissed about it. So there.