Monday, December 21, 2009

Oliver - the first month

I never want to forget how quickly he changes. It's hard to remember every moment...

Learning breastfeeding together... I feel like it's something special the two of us were meant to share. One could not do without the other, and us together make this awesome thing happen... I am able to feed you, to help you grow.

Through the sleep deprivation and crying fits when I wished he would just go to sleep, so I could sleep...

When he was asleep and I would miss his eyes and his face so much... I just want to hold him and watch him. Awake or asleep, as long as he's near...

It's amazing how one tiny person consumes my whole life, what did I ever do without him?

For Oliver:

The first best picture your dad ever took of you... ready to head home for the first time.
The first day of the rest of my life.

 My love, you steal my heart when you make this "kissy face".

Sweet angel, sleeping peacefully... what do you dream about?

Your gaze focused on the light pouring in through the window.
Your first interests were the bright contrasts of windows and lights and the shadows they cast.

Looking at your Daddy. He's so proud to call you his own.

Our silly baby! Sometimes this is what you needed to fall alseep...

Bathtime, a household favorite!
Our tiny Soapasaurus loves the water, and the soothing music Daddy picks for us.

I just want to hold you, always. I can't wait for our lifetime of hugs!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Birth Story Part 3... In the tub

(See, this is the date I started the post. Sorry I took so long to post it, y'all.)

Sweet relief. On a scale of one to ten, (as I was later asked) getting in the tub took my pain level from a 9 to a 7. By my standards at that point, this was nothing short of a miracle. I started out seated on a small ledge in the tub. Nick went around behind the tub so that he would be right by my head the whole time. I had a few contractions like this, then had to change positions again. Being on my hands and knees felt so much more comfortable... I think leaning forward took some of the pressure off of my back. One of the nurses took a barf bucket and used it to keep pouring water over my back as the tub continued to fill.

With every contraction, I squeezed Nick's hand. In between, he offered me water, kept my hair out of my face, and told me what a good job I was doing.

Me: "I'm so tired!"

The nurse, telling me: "This is the worst part. It doesn't get worse than this!"

(Yes, that thought was oddly comforting. Like, well, here I am, already in the middle of it, and I'm still alive. Not I am SUPERWOMAN I can do this, but more like I can SURVIVE this because, hell... I already AM surviving it!)

(I am SUPERWOMAN came later.)

Me: "I just want it to be over." *sob*

My amazing husband, who never left my side: "I know baby... not too much longer! You're doing so well!"

I must say I'm proud of myself for never saying "I can't do this!" The TV shows and the internets tell us that when the woman yells something to that effect, "I give up" = Ready to go! and you all know how I feel about doing the thing that everybody always does.

(For those that don't, "typical" & "expected"... them's fightin' words!)

Time. To. Push.

It was sudden, just like that! I was so scared at this point... this is where most women who tell the story say that they get excited (until they remember hearing tales of the Ring Of Fire), I'm going to meet my baby soon! Me? Scared. What if I didn't push right? I didn't know what the hell I was doing!

But the thought was fleeting. Colleen the midwife asked me if I wanted to get out of the tub. I told her no, DO NOT WANT. I didn't think I could. I wanted to push. So she told me that if I could feel him coming and felt the urge to push, I should push.

The first time I pushed, I screamed. Because it hurt. The nurse said the thing about using the energy that I was wasting by screaming to bear down. I wanted to tell her to shut the hell up, but I figured that wouldn't do any good, and she was the one pouring the lovely water over my back, so I didn't want to piss her off. Irrational, I know, but oh crap! Here comes the next one!

I pushed through the contractions, and I rested in between. Nobody counted. I flipped around in the tub (it came with these cool little divots for your to put your heels in and push against) but being on my back was still not working, so I flipped back onto all fours again.

Nobody holding my legs, nobody staring at my crotch, no stirrups.

I ended up mostly growling as I pushed... I think it helped me focus, and the nurse didn't correct me. I think she even told me I was doing well. I do know that Nick was there, right by my head (have I mentioned he was amazingly perfectly supportive? That he said all the right things and never left my side?) telling me to "GIVE IT HELL BABY!"

I pushed three or four times, then I felt it. His head. Was coming.

I pushed... someone said: the baby's crowning!

I pushed... I yelled... and suddenly I was kneeling upright in the tub... someone said: the head is out!

They had me lean back. I'm so tired.

Me, eyes closed: "Is he here?"

Someone: "One more push and he will be!"

In my head, all I could think was: Ok, one more. That's what she said. I only have to push one more time. Once more. I remember being terrified that it wouldn't be just One More and Oh God What would happen then???

I pushed one more time.

Nick, behind my right shoulder: "He's here! Oh my God there he is!"

I opened my eyes, and saw my baby being pulled up out of the water and placed on my chest. I reached up to cradle him. I was not surprised, yet stunned by the tiny boy with the full head of hair. Mine.

Again, the next few minutes are a blur. Nick reaches out to carress the tiny hand. He gives me a kiss. They have him cut the cord. I touch the tiny cheek and say, "Hi baby."

I sat there and stared at my baby for I don't know how long, until someone asked me if it was ok if they took him and wrapped him up so I could get out of the tub. I had forgotten I was in the tub. They kept saying what a "nice, long umbilical cord" we had. Super.

(At this point, I'm tempted to censor the story, but I won't.)

I sort of snapped back into reality and looked around to find myself sitting in a murky tub full of bloody water. There is a smear of white goo on my top where Oliver had just been laying, but I don't remember him being slimy at all, just wet. There is a splatter of blood on my arm, hand and the side wall of the tub that had come from the umbilical cord. As I'm getting up the midwife is telling me that it's because the placenta/cord combo has a lot of built up pressure (think: blood and nutrients must pump into the baby) and isn't it amazing how that works. Whatever.

Why won't my legs stop shaking?!?

At this point, I think we're down to just two nurses and the midwife. One nurse is tending to Oliver, the other is helping me get into bed. The midwife tells me I now have to push out the placenta. Dammit! I thought I was done with the pushing! And somebody please tell me why my legs are shaking!

She tells me to push, so I give a half-hearted push, and out plops the placenta. Weird and gross. Honestly, it looked like a clear plastic bag full of puke. I know it's supposed to be all beautiful, "tree of life", this is what sustained my son for 9 months, but... yuk.

I look over to see my boys: Nick staring down into a tiny bundle of blankets, so dreamy... then OUCH!

The midwife is poking around at my sore, bruised parts and saying things about how I only have a few small tears, and she probably won't even stitch them up. "Skid marks." I'm finally coherent enough to ask, "Why are my legs shaking?" She tells me it's the hormones, and that my body just went through a lot (really? DUH) and the hormones need a little while calm down. She also tells me that I've just had what they call precipitous labor, meaning that it lasted three hours or less, since his time of birth was 2:56 am.

I don't know how many times I looked at Nick and said, "I can't believe I just did that."

That thought alternated with I AM SUPERWOMAN over the next few days, but it was mostly I Can't Believe I Just Did That. All in all, it was very scary, but we both came through it and ended up healthy, so of course that is all any mom could ask for.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Birth Story part 2... Off to the hospital

I grabbed a towel to put on the car seat, because at this point I was gushing fluid with every contraction. On the way to the hospital Nick called my mom and let her know we were going to the hospital. I looked at the clock in the car: 1:40 am.

When we pulled into the hospital Nick asked me if I wanted him to drop me off at the emergency room doors. I said no, because there was plenty of parking relatively close, and I didn't want him to leave my side. I NEEDED him. Nick grabbed the bag and we walked from the car. The midwife had called ahead to let them know I was coming and to set up Room 8 (the room with the giant labor tub). The lady in the emergency room called up to maternity to send a nurse down. The nurse asked me if I wanted a wheelchair, but after the misery of riding in the car, sitting in a chair did NOT sound appealing. So we walked. Down the neverending hall, around the corner, and up the neverending elevator ride, contracting all the way.

"They're coming too close together! I'm not getting a break in between!"

We get down to Room 8 and the nurse that walked us up says to another nurse, "Well, we had 5 contractions on the way up..." And the second nurse's eyes got all wide. They had me change into a hospital gown and get on the bed. She checks me, and announces "She's 8 centimeters." A third nurse showed up at some point. They put the monitors on my belly, and one nurse went to put the heplock in my left wrist. She said something to another nurse about a blown vein, and when I looked down I saw a big bubble behind where she had stuck the needle. The other nurse said "yeah, that looks blown." I'm pretty sure it hurt, but this part of the story is vague recollections through a haze of pain. I do remember Nick looked pretty pissed off about that. A different nurse sucessfully put it in my right wrist.

For what seemed like forever, they kept me in bed trying to get a good reading on Oliver from the monitors, but the way I had to sit in bed was apparently keeping that from happening. I was later told that the nurse in charge of getting the reading was starting to get upset about it, but was told by another not to argue with the woman in labor! The midwife came in and got updated on what was going on and said I could get in the tub as soon as they got a reading, so I decided that I could get on all fours in the bed so maybe they could get their reading and let me get up! I was ready to get in the tub!

I didn't believe it when people told me that I would lose all modesty during labor, but I did. There I was, on my hands and knees on the hospital bed, my ass on display for all to see, and I didn't care one little bit. In fact, I was only barely aware of anyone else in the room.

Someone called out through all the background noise that she got a good reading, and Oliver was handling the contractions well. Before I got in the tub, she checked me again, and announced "She's complete!" (This means 10 centimeters dilated, fully effaced... basically, baby's coming as soon as he drops low enough to give me the urge to push!) It did kind of bug me that everyone kept talking about me like I wasn't there, but I realized later that everything was moving very quickly, and they didn't have time to stop and talk to me every step of the way.

Now, I could get in the tub! Nick grabbed my maternity band (thing that's supposed to help keep your pants up during pregnancy) that I was going to wear as a tube top in the tub. I changed, and Nick and a nurse helped me into the tub.

Part 3 (the conclusion, hopefully) coming tomorrow.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Birth Story... Finally!

Here it is, finally, uncensored.

On Saturday November 14th, I went to bed about 9pm.

Sunday November 15th at midnight, my water breaking woke me up. I ran to the bathroom and luckily I was wearing a regular pad and not just a pantiliner, so I didn't get a bunch of fluid all over the bed. I sat on the toilet for a while because every time I stood up more would gush out. After a few minutes I figured ok this is really it (I didn't just pee myself) so I went and woke up Nick, who was sleeping in the guest bed.

"Honey, I think my water just broke!"
"No way!"

I went and sat on the toilet again and asked Nick to bring my phone so I could call the midwife (I knew my doc was not on call that night and had met with the midwives in advance so that one of them would deliver me in this case) and let her know. I had to laugh at myself because after all the preparing and planning and reading I had completely forgotten what to do! I called from the bathroom and was on the phone with Colleen when I had my first contraction at about 12:15am. She told me to time the contractions for an hour or two, and when they got between 3 and 5 minutes apart to call her back and we'd probably be ready to go to the hospital.

Nick got into bed with me and busted out his iphone with the contraction timer app. I'd tell him when a contraction started, breathe through it as best as I could, and then tell him when it was over. After only a few I could tell they were getting stronger and had Nick go get the exercise ball. I sat on the ball next to the bed and rocked my hips side to side like we learned in our childbirth class, but it didn't seem to make them much more bearable. After only a half hour of timing, the contractions were much stronger than I expected them to be, and the timer app had them at 2 1/2 minutes apart and lasting almost a minute! Nick called the midwife back to tell her what was going on.

"The contractions are already at 2 1/2 minutes apart!"
"Wow, she's not messing around, huh? Go ahead and head to the hospital, I'll meet you there!"

Nick ran to load up the car and got the dog's stuff ready, then called his mom to let her know we were going to the hospital and the dog would need a place to stay for a couple days!

OK this is really long... To be continued tomorrow.