THE birth story

Tuesday, on a full moon. I had been feeling crampy all day – well, around lunchtime I knew something wasn’t quite right. By the time I got home from work, I knew something had been changing. After a quick run to the store (I even posted about that in my blog!) I was in the bathroom and my water definitely broke. They say some women may not realize it but I was positive.

            I called my mother, since Ash was at flag football practice. Ash had chosen not to take his phone; the phone he got specifically so he could be reliable and reachable. I said to him on his way out how it wouldn’t matter if he took it with him! I called his friend, who I knew was with him at the fields, and told him to tell Ash to leave as soon as possible.

            Luckily, I had packed my hospital bag this past weekend and it was basically ready, aside from the camera, the birthing ball, and a few other minor last minute items.

We got into the triage waiting area by about 9. I started having minor contractions about 5 minutes apart. They mostly felt like cruddy menstrual cramps but each one lasted only about 20-30 seconds. After triage examined me and saw that I had dilated one centimeter, I was admitted and taken into the labor and delivery room. The good thing about Tallahassee Memorial Hospital is that their womens’ pavilion is awesome and the L&D rooms feel so comfortable; tv, dvd player, rocking chair, Jacuzzi tub and mood lighting.

     One of the doctors from my practice came in to talk to me and he evaluated me and whatnot. He was very friendly and reassuring, as I worked through each contraction between our discourse. The nurse got me all set up on the monitors and I labored for about two hours before they got bad enough for me to want to get in the tub. I started shivering really bad at this point and the contractions were becoming more intense. At some point, my recollection becomes a little hazy.

     My pain became pretty bad and all the breathing techniques I knew from yoga and childbirth class sort of flew out the window at one point as my body took over on pain management. Somewhere, something took over and my body writhed to work through the contractions. It felt sort of like an out of body experience; I think I shut down for a little there because I knew Ash was there and talking but I cannot really visualize it. I had really bad back labor so the best position for me was lying on my side, straightening like a board each time the wave of abdominal tightening hit me.

     I have to say, for all the planning you do for the perfect labor, it all just sort of happens the way it will. At one point, they gave me one of the minor pain meds and that took the edge off for about an hour. It also made me throw up once.

            After six hours on my own and dilating a mere two more centimeters, I finally had to give in and request the epidural. I was afraid for many reasons but none of those presented themselves at the time. Before labor, I wanted to go natural because I felt I could – I was capable. And Ash and I had been sold on it being more harm than good. So in a way, I wanted to go without because I didn’t want to let Ash down, as silly as that is. Of course, after he watched me work through such tremendous pain, he was as supportive as he could be when the tech came in and began to administer the epidural. I do remember him being very talkative and soothing. You have to be stone still while he’s inserting the needle and I was amazed at the power of mind and body as I sat there, not moving like I had done for each other painful contraction. I don’t really know how I did it.

     Once the medicine flowed through me, I sat and watched the EKG chart my contractions – they looked like ginormous earthquake readings and I couldn’t feel a thing, including my legs. Which I knew happened but was still weirded out by. I felt so good at this point that I had Ash open the blinds and I got to see the sunrise. Ash got a few hours of sleep, I dozed off, and all was well. Ash got up by 6 and went home to shower and take care of the dogs. Meanwhile, I dilated to 10 centimeters and by the time he got back to the room, I was told I could begin pushing.

     The thing about the epidural is that it takes away the pain but not all the pressure, so you wait for the contraction to come – and, as my awesome nurse said, “wait for it to bite” – and then you bear down. She kept telling me to push into this one area but it’s not like you can just order your body – which is half numb anyway – to do that. So it’s more like a mental focal point. Once I got the hang of the bearing down/breathing in and out routine, things really progressed. They keep a mirror in the room so you can see what’s going on and I really didn’t want to watch. However, it was actually really helpful because seeing how much he was coming out compelled me to push harder and get the little guy into this world!

    Elliot Michael was born Wednesday August 29th at 9:45 AM. He weighed six pounds eight ounces and measured twenty point five inches long. He scored a 7 and 9 on his APGAR.

     Ash got to help deliver him – with his bare hands! – and also got to cut the cord. During pregnancy and whenever I watched those baby shows on TV, I never thought I’d want them to thrust my baby on my chest right as he was born but it was – honestly – one of the greatest feelings of my life. Some women worry that they won’t instantly love a new baby but for me, it was love at first sight.

     While the nurses cleaned him over across the room – excited new father looking on – the doctor delivered the placenta and gave me one stitch for a minor tear.

    I was so very glad it was over and I definitely like him better on the outside than the inside! I spent two days in recovery, sleeping, learning how to breastfeed, taking calls from friends and family, eating pretty good hospital food, and regaining strength. Birthing a baby is a pretty hard task but I’ll tell you what’s harder: the realization that your Whole World Has Changed Forever.

    He’s four days old now and I love him more with every touch of tiny toe, every feeding, every glance at the video monitor. Being a mom is going to be wonderful.

           

Full term, party of one

Yes, 37 weeks is considered full term these days and that’s what I am today. ::Does the full term dance:: He can come at any time now. Although, as previously stated, I’d really rather he stay in there slightly longer – maybe until the 17th – just so all will go as planned. But as we all know, things don’t normally do that.

Yesterday was a pretty full day. We serviced our lawn mower (all by ourselves) and then Ash mowed the majority of the lawn. Yes, a 37 week pregnant woman still did the rest. Why? Because I can’t just sit around all day! We did other various things and saw War at 10:30. I dozed throughout because I was just exhausted but I don’t really recommend that movie. All it made me do was have dreams about Japanese people, good and bad. And there were some ninjas too. But at least I slept a full night for once. It’s a miracle.

Anyway, tomorrow is going to be busy and crazy and I’m probably going to go in early and leave late. That’s the way the first day of Fall semester always is. But I love it; I love when days fly by and I go home accomplished. To any and all reading who go back to school tomorrow, I wish you luck.

Pointless entries begin with weather talk

It rained in the night so as I was walking up to my building this morning, a cool breeze met my face. It took me a few minutes to realize just how nice it was; how unseasonably pleasant that bit of wind made the morning. It actually reminded me of some late October days when I lived in Hollywood. Down south, you don’t get many cool days. But I remember some like this, when my mother would come into my room and open the blue mini blinds and crank the window open. The air seemed to bring a bit of Fall with is; it almost smelled cleaner even.

I look forward to Autumn. I imagine cool November mornings on the deck, eating toast and sipping tea while my son sits in his little seat, looking up into the trees.

As much as I want to believe I am ready to have this baby, I am also semi-superstitious that your mind has a lot of control over actuality and I keep reminding myself to think 40 week thoughts. I must stick it out. I want him to cook as long as possible in there and I also – on a sort of selfish note – want him to come on time so I can finish up the work I need to do here. The drop/add portion of the semester’s beginning is incredibly hectic and I want to handle it my way and then be done. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, really.

I took the plunge and bought those elusive spring clips from the “Do It Best” website. They had the lowest per item price plus the cheapest shipping. I could have paid 2 bucks per clip on some other site but the shipping was 9 dollars, as opposed to 5.  I really hope this does the trick for the quilt. Then I’ll be basically done with the decorating I want to do. Well, I want to hang these two shelves but I’ll wait to break out the drill until the weekend.

I’m incredibly tired today, as usual, so I think I’ll take my lunch at noon and go home to sleep for a bit. My days of getting ample sleep are over. I probably won’t know a good night’s sleep for at least the next 4-5 years. Sigh.

Humpday hijinx

I didn’t blog yesterday; this is due to numerous reasons. None of which I claim to be excuses. I’m not apologizing; no one is around to read this anyway. I notice that my numbers seem to trail off right before a semester begins. I guess we’re all just busy. I know I am. I am also exhausted. I’m talking seriously depleted of all available energy. Must find energon cubes… Ok, if you got that, I’ll really send you a cookie. No kidding.

Anyway, this carpal tunnel is a bitch. I awoke at 1 am with numb hands. And at 2. And at 3 and then from 3-4 I was awake but in a state of drifting off while sitting up, mindlessly shaking my hand sort of like my grandma used to do, because of her old tired muscles or something. The two middle fingers on my right hand would not stop buzzing and the dull ache radiated up my arm and stalled in my elbow where it engulfed the area in pain. Yes, my friend, pregnancy is really fun and I just keep telling myself that there MUST be a reason that women were the chosen sex for this task. We must somehow be more tolerant but yet, at 2 AM, I feel awfully weak.

But for the love of pete, we should really talk about something other than pregnancy for once! Alas, the things going on in my life are pretty boring. We could discuss my dog’s explosive vomit, or the semi-dorky LAN party we’re planning for Friday. Or my car’s oil change that made me happy. Or that I have hardcore cleaned my office and now it looks like I don’t actually do any work because there’s no evidence of work-related items. But it’s seriously organized up in here! I even have little tags for where things go. The girl who’ll be filling for me might be slightly freaked out by my OCD habits. Or she might appreciate the direction I’ve given her instead of feeling totally lost. I know I would.

I know it’s only Wednesday but I’m already planning for the weekend. Should we see Superbad or War?

Laying around eating bon-bons

It’s kind of lame to be blogging at 10:48 at night – a Saturday night no less – but that’s just the kind of loser I am: a 36 week pregnant woman who didn’t spend enough time before getting hitched and knocked up to cultivate good friends. Ok ok, maybe I’m being hard on myself. Maybe the rain and all that blueberry cobbler has gone straight to my head and the pregnancy hormones that cause weepiness are forcing the emotions out of me. But being in this state certainly plops me into an interesting category. Not a grad student anymore, not a club-goer, not a huge drinker, not a mom – yet -, not a big socializer. I’m just preoccupied. But it can be so discouraging when your husband’s friend manages only one extra ticket to the Jaguars preseason game. I wish I could have gone but at least Ash could have a good time. And anyway, I got to watch it on TV.

But I wish I had something to do tonight. Something besides watching tv and eating chicken from Fresh Market and watching the rain fall on the deck. I almost cannot wait for this baby to be born when I can start going to the free mom support groups over at Best Beginnings. I think that’s a good place to find new friends; we’ll all have something in common.

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Before Ash headed over to Jax, we went and got him a new phone. I must say, it was time. His was old, beat to hell, and couldn’t hold a charge for more than half a day. So now he has a nice new, reliable Blackberry and I can email him at work now and send him lots of pictures of the baby when he comes. Makes me kinda want one of these. But I know I won’t ever own anything so fancy; I don’t see the point.

Anyway, I have a swig or two left of a Stewarts rootbeer out in the fridge and I think the dogs need to go out. If anyone has ideas on the whole making friends when you are pregnant/a new mom, feel free to share. Happy weekend.

The Elusive 3M Command Spring Clip

So yes, my grand plan for displaying the quilt that came with my crib set (see: picture of set) was to buy these. I weighed the quilt – well, I weighed me then weighed me with the quilt – and it’s only about a pound. According to this one website I found, a clip can supposedly hold half a pound. Well, I’d obviously need two so to me, the logic works. Of course, 3M’s site claims that “doubling up” is not a solution for trying to hold more weight. ANYway, I cannot find these stupid things anywhere. I have been to all the Targets and Walmarts and Staples and Office supply everywheres but no one has them. Well, I called Office Depot to see if they had it in their system and as it turns out, it is discontinued in their stores. I have been able to find it online but this definitely explains why stores do not carry them.

Once I have the quilt on the wall, the room will be nearly finished. I think my nesting instinct is what is driving me so crazy. I want this thing to be done now! I want this baby to be slumbering peacefully in his Sea Life decorated crib and wearing his cute little onesies. I am so over this pregnancy, as much as it pains me to admit it. Roughly 4 more weeks people. Just FOUR MORE WEEKS.

Please send help… and caramel

I remember reading somewhere that caramel was the all-purpose solution for carpal tunnel, don’t you? Hmm, I guess I could be mistaking it with stretching and an arm brace but I’m sure it couldn’t hurt. So yeah, I believe my right arm is afflicted with this syndrome. It’s painfully achy through the wrist, thumb and first two fingers, which is the exact description of carpal tunnel. Luckily, women who manage to pick this up during pregnancy are not likely to have it reoccur after delivery. Thank God because seriously, this is no picnic. (And I like picnics very much, thank you.)

Not to be a whiny pregnant woman on the verge of breakdown but this throbbing dull pain is really making me want to call it a day at, like, one o’clock and just go home and rest. We have a meeting with a potential pediatrician at 4:15 so  was going to be leaving at 3:45 ANYway. What say you? Think I should just go home?

The sun is trying to kill me

My sister turns 23 today. If she had a blog, this is where I would <insert blog url here> and have you all wish her a good one. But she doesn’t because she’s a pretty private person. In fact, she won’t even answer my phone call but it IS only 10:40; she could still be sleeping.

I just took a walk because sitting at my desk has become uncomfortable. I’m not sure if it’s worse than the hellish beat down of the solar rays outside but it’s comparable… in terms of discomfort.  Blah. I must say that this pregnancy has been fairly benign until this friggen’ week. Welcome to week 35! You’ll now enjoy the side effects of sleeping on your arm until it falls asleep and falls off due to excessive numbness. Your back will hurt because your belly is dropping lower and lower, forcing its weight in an unnatural way. Because baby is so low, he’s squishing your bladder into oblivion and that is why you have to use the bathroom Every Five Minutes. And that’s not an exaggeration. You will also get all kinds of weird abdominal pains that are most liley just the muscles stretching to their very most limits, never again returning to the once tight (relatively, anyway) stomach you used to know. Do not ever hope to wear a two piece bathing suit. The belly fat and sudden stretch marks have branded you “mom in a one piece” forever. Don’t you look forward to the next 5 weeks? With joy!

I bet you could even hear my eyes rolling.

So yeah, I’m supposed to be working on my site for the online class. I really really should not put it off, just in case I were to go into labor earlier than expected. And yet, I cannot bring myself to work on it. I need some… inspiration. I know it can come from anywhere and my eyes are peeled. But alas, I just sit here and play Scrabble online.

*sigh*

Happy Tuesday, everyone.

Tranquility

Normally, during a break between semesters, I take walks around campus. There’s something very serene about the dorms all closed and quiet, devoid of freshmen doing laundry and carousing on the back steps with their cigarettes. I liked to walk to the Union and sometimes get a bagel or coffee. Some of the terrain is uphill and I’d get a good little workout. However, the summer is in full force right now and I just don’t think I even want to subject myself – or my baby – to those conditions. I’m not exactly keen on sweating within five minutes of stepping out of the cool comfort of my office.

Our last childbirth class was last night and it was intensely hands on in the labor and delivery room. It’s a bit ridiculous how much you can do with the bed positioning, the dimming of the lights, the fact that there’s a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom to ease the pain of contractions. I see how a woman could make it through their entire labor drug free; which is my plan and goal for the time being. In some ways, I kind of look forward to it in the same way you look ahead to a test you’ve been studying a long time for. I want to get it over with but I’m also confident going in. It’s like, “Let’s do this.”  Alas, roughly 40 more days. This weekend, I am going to figure out how to install the car seat base in my backseat. That’ll be one step closer. One of these weekends we have to pack our hospital bag. I kind of know what to put in but does anyone have any ideas, if you’ve done it, that is?

Ok, I’ve got to do something here or else I am going to lose my mind.