Saturday, December 27, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
It was Sunday, December 7, 2008. I was 40 weeks and one day pregnant. My due date, December 6, had come and gone and I was getting antsy. My doctor told me that if I was still pregnant at my appointment on the 9th, he was going to schedule an induction. I had the notion that I was going to do the labor and delivery thing as naturally as possible, maybe with a little narcotics if necessary, but I wanted to avoid the epidural, and I knew an induction would make that difficult to achieve.
That was my ideal, anyway. I approached childbirth with the same attitude I approached my wedding five years ago – back then, at the end of the day, it didn’t matter what happened, as long as I was married. Same thing now – I just wanted a healthy baby, and if things didn’t go according to my ideal to accomplish that, well, so be it.
In order to avoid the induction, I’d spent as much time on my feet as possible over the past several days, trying to get gravity to “do its thing”. We’d spent most of the day Saturday shopping, picking up last minute baby supplies and trying to make sure that everything was ready when the time came.
I woke up the morning of the 7th feeling really crampy. Looking back now, it’s funny how my pregnancy ended the same way it started – I only took a pregnancy test because I had cramps for a week and my period never showed up. I had periodic contractions throughout the day, but nothing more than the Braxton-Hicks I’d been having for the past few weeks, but the cramps never let up.
We went to bed at 9:00 that night, as usual (we get up really early). Almost immediately the contractions started. I casually looked at the clock every time, and they were five to eight minutes apart, but still not very strong. At 9:30 I got up to see if they would go away, since I wasn’t going to be able to sleep anyway. Once I was up and about, they were spaced out a little more, five to 12 minutes, so I called the advice nurse to check in and see what was what. She told me to wait till they’d been three to five minutes apart for a couple of hours, then go to the hospital.
They kept coming, getting closer together, so I stayed up. Finished some laundry, watched some television, and timed my contractions. There are still little lists all over the house where I wrote down the times in whatever room I happened to be in. At midnight I accidentally woke up Larry while getting some socks because my feet were cold. I told him not to be surprised if he didn’t go to work the next morning.
By 1:00 they were three to five minutes apart, and I was starting to panic a little, so I got Larry up and we packed up our bags and headed for the hospital. We got there about 2:15, and I was three centimeters dilated so they decided to let me stay. I was quite relieved about that – I was going to be awfully embarrassed if we’d headed out in the middle of the night for nothing!
Once they gave us a room, I got in the Jacuzzi tub down the hall. We spent about two and a half hours there, till I was wrinkled as a prune and decided it was time to walk a little. I was also fortunate that they let me eat some fruit – for some reason I was famished. My contractions were getting stronger, but when they checked me I was only at four centimeters.
Somewhere around 9:30 or so (time is a little fuzzy, you can imagine), they checked me again and I was still at 4 centimeters. The midwife on call decided to break my water, which was a lot more painful than I thought it would be, but luckily it only took a second. Sometime after that, they decided my contractions weren’t productive enough, so they put me on pitocin, and that was when the roller coaster ride started.
I should pause here to tell you a funny thing about my labor experience – I think every piece of equipment in the room had a faulty cord at one point or another. Both the internal and external fetal monitors, the blood pressure cuff, and the contraction monitor.
Once they started the pitocin, the contractions came hard and fast, as I knew they would, which is why I was hoping to avoid the induction in the first place! The monitor showed that they still weren’t strong enough, so they kept upping the dosage throughout the day. It hurt to sit or lie down during the contractions, so I tried to stay standing as much as possible. They put me on a portable monitor, so I could be out of bed and wander the halls some, which helped for a while.
Finally, sometime in the early afternoon, I was tired of being in pain, so they gave me some fentanyl, according to my birth plan. That didn’t do a darn thing for the contractions but it helped me relax during the few seconds in between them (they were just about continuous by this point). Then they checked me again to discover that I was still only at four centimeters. I think that was the point where I began thinking I was never going to have a baby! Also at this point, they were having trouble keeping her on the monitor, and decided to do an internal monitor, which meant that I was stuck in bed for a while. The cord was faulty so they couldn’t get a read on that, either, and had to reinsert it once again.
Finally, around 4:30, the pain was too intense and too constant and I asked for the epidural. That was shortly after I asked Larry if it was too late to adopt, and not long after I started insisting that I was going to die from being turned inside-out by contractions. Randy, my hero, the anesthesiologist, came in to put it in. This was when the blood pressure cuff decided to malfunction and just kept squeezing and squeezing. So there I am, mid-contraction, arm being pinched off, giant needle going in my back. It was a memorable moment, LOL!
I think I instantly fell asleep once the epidural kicked in. It was the first sleep I’d gotten since Saturday night, so I was exhausted. I woke up a little while later as I started feeling contractions again, and pushed the button that was supposed to deliver an extra dose of medication. It didn’t. The nurse had me push it again. We waited again. Still nothing. The contractions were back, as strong as ever. I was starting to panic, and Randy was called in once again. He discovered that the epidural had moved into a blood vessel so it was completely ineffective. He took it out and we started the whole process over again, but this time he gave me a spinal, too, so I would get relief faster. The drugs kicked in, and back to sleep I went.
Somewhere around 10:00, they checked me again. I was 6 centimeters dilated but my cervix was swollen on one side, which meant that Caitlyn wasn’t coming down straight and wasn’t putting enough pressure on to finish the job. At that point, the doctor decided it would be best to do a c-section. Because Caitlyn wasn’t in distress, it wasn’t an emergency, so we had to wait for an operating room to open up. Shortly after midnight (it was now December 9), they took me in and we got started.
It’s a strange feeling, being awake and knowing that someone is cutting you open, but you can’t feel anything. Because of the spinal, I didn’t even feel the pressure they kept talking about, and I spent the whole time trying not to panic because I couldn’t feel my legs. I’m not a claustrophobic person in general, but I was at that point. I just kept focusing on my breathing, which I had been doing all day.
At 1:16 a.m., Caitlyn was born. She came out screaming at the top of her lungs, which was great and scary at the same time, because there was meconium and we didn’t want her to breathe any of it in. They whisked her away to be cleaned up, weighed, and measured. She weighed in at 10 pounds, four ounces, and was 22 ¼ inches long. Her head circumference was 14 ¼ inches. It turned out that she was head down, as she had been for weeks, but facing sideways, and her head was coming down crooked, so she couldn’t make it all the way down.
It was a long, difficult, painful process, but, as they say, it was all worth it in the end. She is a precious, perfect, miracle child, and we are so glad she’s finally here!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
This one keeps popping up in the blogs I read and I think it's pretty cool. I happen to have borrowed this one from hazeljoy.
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven't done and don't want to - leave in plain font
1. started your own blog
2. slept under the stars
3. played in a band
4. visited hawaii
5. watched a meteor shower
6. given more than you can afford to charity
7. been to disneyland/world
8. climbed a mountain
9. held a praying mantis
10. sang a solo
11. bungee jumped - oh hell no!
12. visited paris
13. watched a lightning storm at sea - that would be so cool!
14. taught yourself an art from scratch
15. adopted a child
16. had food poisoning
17. walked to the top of the statue of liberty
18. grown your own vegetables
19. seen the mona lisa in france
20. slept on an overnight train
21. had a pillow fight
22. hitch hiked
23. taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. built a snow fort
25. held a lamb
26. gone skinny dipping
27. run a marathon
28. ridden a gondola in venice
29. seen a total eclipse
30. watched a sunrise or sunset - are there really people who haven't done this?
31. hit a home run
32. been on a cruise
33. seen niagara falls in person
34. visited the birthplace of your ancestors - but first I have to figure out where they came from!
35. seen an amish community
36. taught yourself a new language
37. had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. seen the leaning tower of pisa in person
39. gone rock climbing
40. seen michelangelo's david in person
41. sung karaoke
42. seen old faithful geyser erupt
43. bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. visited africa
45. walked on a beach by moonlight
46. been transported in an ambulance
47. had your portrait painted
48. gone deep sea fishing
49. seen the sistene chapel in person
50. been to the top of the eiffel tower in paris
51. gone scuba diving or snorkelling
52. kissed in the rain
53. played in the mud
54. gone to a drive-in theatre
55. been in a movie
56. visited the great wall of china
57. started a business
58. taken a martial arts class
59. visited russia
60. served at a soup kitchen
61. sold girl scout cookies - lots and lots of Girl Scout Cookies!
62. gone whale watching
63. gotten flowers for no reason
64. donated blood
65. gone sky diving - again, I say oh hell no!
66. visited a nazi concentration camp
67. bounced a check - I once managed to bounce a check I wrote to myself between accounts!
68. flown in a helicopter
69. saved a favorite childhood toy
70. visited the lincoln memorial
71. eaten caviar - nasty stuff!
72. pieced a quilt
73. stood in times square
74. toured the everglades
75. been fired from a job
76. seen the changing of the guard in london
77. broken a bone
78. been on a speeding motorcycle
79. seen the grand canyon in person - if from an airplane counts!
80. published a book
81. visited the vatican
82. bought a brand new car
83. walked in jerusalem
84. had your picture in the newspaper
85. read the entire bible - almost every year I start out to do this, but never make it past the first few books!
86. visited the white house
87. killed and prepared an animal for eating - if fish count!
88. had chickenpox
89. saved someone’s life
90. sat on a jury
91. met someone famous
92. joined a book club
93. lost a loved one
94. had a baby
95. seen the alamo in person.
96. swum in the great salt lake.
97. been involved in a law suit
98. owned a cell phone
99. been stung by a bee
Ok, obviously I need to travel more, LOL!
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
With more to follow, as soon as I have a little more time and energy.
Caitlyn Claire arrived via c-section at 1:16 am on Tuesday, December 9. She was 10 pounds, 4 ounces, and 22 1/4 inches long. Yep, we grow 'em big around here (and to think my doctor was worried about low birth weight!).
We weren't expecting a c-section, but everything worked out fine in the end, and she's perfectly healthy. We just got home from the hospital early this afternoon and have had time for one feeding and introducing her to the friendly beasts (who all want to be REALLY friendly with her, because, well, she smells like milk, LOL!).
I'll post more details later but, well, for now, I'm TIRED...
Sunday, December 07, 2008
And, I finally got around to taking pictures of the nursery yesterday. It's far more "put together" than I ever thought a nursery of mine would be, and I absolutely love it. That was hubby's doing - he wanted the furniture to match and everything. Once we finish replacing the outlet covers, Caitlyn will be the proud owner of the first completely finished room in the whole house... :-)
That last one is the chalkboard that hubby painted onto her closet door. I'm sure we'll regret that someday when there's wall to wall chalk in her room, LOL!
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
At any rate, now that I've made a smidge of progress, I'm feeling much better about things than I was this time last week!
This is shaping up to be a weird holiday season. I don't know why, maybe it's because Christmas is about the last thing on my mind right now. Maybe it's because I rushed through our holiday shopping just to get it done early, and didn't take any pleasure in picking things out for people this year. Maybe it's because I'm not making anything for my friends. Maybe it's because I'm not even decorating or baking this year. Oh sure, we could set up the decorations now, but I know when the time comes to take it down, I just won't have the energy.
At any rate, Thanksgiving didn't feel like Thanksgiving, and it sure as heck doesn't feel like the beginning of the holiday season. I think I need a little snow to put me in the mood, but if it's going to, I'd prefer that it holds off until I at least get to the hospital on the big day, and maybe not till I'm safely home!
I'm sure a week or two from now, it won't matter one little bit to me that it doesn't feel like the Christmas, but for now, well, it's just WEIRD.