Sunday, April 19, 2009

Baby L is Here!

So on April 8th, I became a mummy to Baby L! I wanted to record the events and my thoughts surrounding all of it before I forget.

April 4-6
I first noticed that I started losing my mucous plug. This went on for the next couple of days. It turns out that it was my cervix that was being effaced, or starting to thin out.

Monday April 6th
Started to feel unwell in the early evening. I tried to go to bed later, but was feeling quite uncomfortable and getting painful localised abdominal pains, and got no sleep that night.

Tuesday April 7th ~ 3am
I felt a sharp pain in pevic area and contractions started. My contractions felt like really, really bad menstrual gas pains. The contractions were already lasting a minute, but were irregular. The contractions lasted through the night and into Tuesday all day and night and Wednesday morning. The midwife told us previously not to call until the contractions were fairly regular, and about 3 minutes apart from each other. My contractions never made a steady progress like many w omen's do, so there were times when it was 10 min apart and other times when it was as close to 4-5 mins apart. But my contractions fluctuated the whole time, they were never regular. Eventually, I could feel the labour pains in my lower back. I'd called my midwife close to Tuesday evening when I was worried it wasn't progressing the way it should have.

Wednesday April 8th
After another sleepless night and a couple more calls to the midwife, she told me to head to the hospital. I had been labouring at home about 30 hours at this point, and had no sleep for the last couple of nights. Because she was already with another patient at a different hospital than where I was going, she asked if I wanted her to find a bed at the hospital where she was at, or to go to my original hospital, but have another midwife (whom I had never met), do the delivery. I chose to go where my midwife was.

We got to the hospital at around 9am, and got admitted. My midwife assessed me, and told me I was only 1 cm dilated. I was about to cry at this point because I'd been labouring for so long already, and I thought for sure I was further along. My midwife decided to break my water and do a bit of a stretch and sweep to help speed things along. She commented that the membrane sac was thick as she had a bit of trouble breaking it. A nurse, who was showing Hubby and my mum the placenta afterwards, noticed the same thing, LOL! After the midwife did the stretch and sweep, I was 3-4 cm dilated. My midwife was very encouraging about the effaced cervix, she told me that it's in a good place as it's like wet tissue paper and it would be much easier for me to dilate. Because I was GBS positive, I was put on antibiotic IV right away. I sat in a bath for about a 1/2 hour. Although we got one of the nicely renovated rooms at the hospital, because some moron was doing some drilling in the floor below us, we had to move rooms.

My midwife still wanted to wait for my contractions to become more regular and become closer together. That never happened, although we waited several more hours. They then gave me some saline with sugar water (I think) to give me some more energy, especially I had been up the previous two night without sleep. After a couple more hours, my midwife could see that things weren't progressing as it should, I was only 6-7 cm dilated, so she suggested that we do an augmentation (similar to an induction, both procedures uses pitocin), to speed things along. Because my midwife couldn't prescribe the pitocin, she had to find an OB to do so, and I guess it was policy that the OB come in to do consult. I had asked my midwife how much longer it would take, and she said it can be anywhere from 1/2 hour onwards before I become fully dialated. This OB woman came in to talk to me about the pitocin prescription, I had no idea why she was even there. I asked her how long it would take for me to be fully dialated, and she said 3-4 hours or longer, it was pretty demoralizing to hear. My midwife was annoyed and cut her off, and pretty much pushed her out of the room. Hubby was ready to strangle her.

So I was on the pitocin for maybe 1-2 hours, and things were progressing a lot faster. I found it really hard to handle the contractions at this point as they were coming on strong and increasing frequency, and I was really getting tired and unable to handle the pain coming on so quickly and intensly. The nurse that was with us suggested laughing gas, which I gladly took. It was hard to deal with the laughing gas as it started making me feel ill as I was breathing more and more of it because of the increased frequency of the contractions and there was less time for it to disperse from my body. And although I was getting ill from the laughing gas, I stuck with it because the alternative was to have an epidural, and I didn't want to go down that road. I was actually cracking jokes at this point. I think I remember saying at the beginning "Boy this stuff's good. Is this what it feels like when you smoke pot?" and "After this is done, I want chocolate ice cream!". I also asked if they were going to check me to see how far dilated I was (Hubby still makes fun of me about that comment!)

Finally, I was 9 centimeters, and my midwife suggested that I go pee. I had been pumped with a lot of fluids by now, so it should have been easy for me to go pee, but I was so exhausted that I couldn't go pee. I think I told Hubby at that point that I couldn't do it any more, I was so tired and exhausted. At this point, my midwife told me to come out and I would start pushing. I was to lie back, with my legs up in the air and towards my chest (there were people there to help me push my legs back), pelvis down and start pushing with the contractions. Let me tell you that was the hardest thing in the world to do. Not only was this not one of the positions that they had taught us in our prenatal class as one of the better ways for delivery, but I found out later, from my aunt who is a community nurse, that this is how they did things in the "old days". I was too exhausted to care any longer, I just wanted this kid outta me! So I focused all my energies on pushing.

My midwife was encouraging me, and letting me know how far along the head was coming out. Hubby was sitting beside me and encouraging me, which helped tremendously. My mom (who came to the hospital with us) was actually pushing one of my legs, the nurse was pushing the other leg. I remember thinking at one point that I could feel myself tearing, and I thought, screw the "no tearing" thing, I want this kid outta me! I think everyone refers to it as the ring of fire. All I could think and focus on was getting the head out, so I put my pelvis down, and pushed hard with each contraction. I swear, it was like having the biggest poo of your life, only I could tell it was coming out of the wrong hole. But that's how I was treating it. It started annoying me how everyone was talking about the head was "almost" out, and I was thinking (and I
may have vocalised it) to stop telling me that it's almost out and to tell me when it's actually out! So this went on for about 45 mins, and Baby L's head popped out eventually.

The rest of his body slid out quite quickly after that. Once Baby L was out, I looked over to my right, I could see Hubby tearing up, and my mum already had her camera out and taking pictures! They had placed Baby L on my chest, and I asked if it was a boy or a girl. My midwife picked him up and show me his boy bits. Finally they delivered the placenta. The midwife told me that I had a couple of small tears that she had to sew up. I actually wowed my midwives. They were so impressed that I'd managed to push well and have the baby out quickly without an epidural, and despite the fact that I had no sleep for two nights straight. I told them that I had two thoughts in my mind: tenacity - I really, really wanted this baby out, so I focused on that and nothing else. And because I'd be doing all the exercising during my pregnancy, I actually focused on using those particular muscles to push. Even then I was thinking how glad I was that I did all that exercising and allowing myself to really be in tune with my body. I think that helped the pushing a lot, that and I didn't have an epidural to interfere with the pushing. The whole labour and delivery was about 40 hours in total.

Afterwards, I was talking with my midwife, and she told me that Baby L's umbilical cord was wrapped very tightly around his neck, and that the cord was shorter than usual. She surmised that was the reason why my body had such a hard time progressing forward through the labour, and if the labour had proceeded as it normally should have, Baby L could have been in serious trouble. I suppose that our bodies just sometimes know what to do, even if we don't always understand why it's doing what it's doing. In any case, this experience had validated our decision to go with midwifery care, I suspect that it may have gone very differently if I went with my GP or an OB. I probably would have had a C-section, which was the absolute last thing I wanted. Hubby and I were very glad that things turned out well, despite all the chaos, and confusion.

My midwife was awesome, and she made me feel that I could do this from the very beginning. Hubby was also a huge help, I don't think that I would have been able to last the 40+ hours without his help and encouragement.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Thoughts on Pregnancy - Part 2

If you know me in real life, you know that I never once enjoyed being pregnant. Well, here is a list of things that I went through in my pregnancy. This is more to remind myself than anything else. Everyone tells me that you will "forget" afterwords. I don't know if I will forget a lot of this.

  • 1st trimester nausea. It started at about week 8-9 and lasted until about week 15. I was turned off by anything that was animal flesh: chicken, beef, seafood. One night, Hubby had made salmon, and the moment I smelled it, which was at the kitchen door, I felt a wall go up. I couldn't even step into the kitchen. It was frustrating for both Hubby and myself because I literally didn't know what I could and couldn't eat until it was placed in front of me. My only saving grace was that the pregnancy sickness didn't kick in until later afternoon/early evening, so I was at least able to eat something during the day. The nausea took time to subside however, it didn't go away instantaneously overnight. I also developed a phobia for the foods I couldn't eat, and it was some time before I could re-introduce those foods back into my diet. Thank goodness I never threw up once.
  • There are certain things that I wasn't allowed to eat during pregnancy, mostly either uncooked foods, unpasteurized foods, or foods that had the potential for being contaminated by bacteria, like deli meats. Fortunately for me, I hate sushi, but I did miss eating some foods.
  • The constant tiredness. This is something that I've always had to deal with, pre-pregnancy. I operate best with 9 hours of deep, uninterrupted, tension-free sleep. If I don't get all three elements, I don't function well the next day. The fatigue during the first trimester was also very hard. Going to bed at 7pm was not fun, and despite the fact that I got tons of sleep, I was still tired the next day. Please don't tell me that this is to prepare me for the sleepless nights afterwords, I've heard it enough times from everyone.
  • Right SI joint pain from month 3 onward. My chiropractor tried his best to fix it, but nothing he could do would make the pain go away. It went away on it's on at about week 30 when I noticed the Relaxin hormone kick in (it's the hormone that loosens the joints, to prepare your body for labour).
  • Peeing 4 times during the night. Not only does this interrupt my sleep, but it was frustrating when you only pee just a little bit out, despite the feeling that your bladder's about to burst
  • Constant kicking from the kid. Baby kicks really only had so much novelty for me. The baby was most active at night, which also didn't help with the sleep. What was worse though was when the baby wasn't kicking. I was worried that something had happened, which meant even less sleep. The best part is when the baby was pushing a foot into my diaphragm. Apparently, I didn't need to breathe.
  • Constant neck, shoulder, upper, middle, lower back and hip pain. This is something that I've dealt with for 4 years prior to being pregnant. I was really hoping that I would have some time to fix my back problems after finishing school and before becoming pregnant, but God apparently has a sense of humour and had other ideas for me. Getting pregnant while trying to finish up a paper was not fun. Anyways, the back pain I experience normally, I need to keep under control by exercise, regular stretching and taking hot baths, otherwise, I sleep very tensely, even if it's a 9 hour sleep, and I looked totally bagged the next day.
  • The fact that I couldn't sleep on my back after a certain stage. I'm a back sleeper, and my back pain is diminished when I sleep on my back. I was told that sleeping on my back while pregnant wasn't good for me as it could cut circulation off to the lower half of my body. Also side sleeping is better as it encourages the baby to be bettered position for birth, which is what I am equally paranoid about. No breeching or back labour please!
  • Constipation and hemorrhoids. I've backed up the toilet many, many times. Nuff said.
  • Constant indigestion, acid reflux and heartburn. It mild to moderate most of the time, and Tums is my saviour for the most part, but still not fun. I've dealt with indigestion most of my life, so this is something I won't forget the feeling of quickly.
  • I couldn't take hot baths. I did take baths, but not hot, hot baths like I normally do. It's not good for the baby to raise my core temperature so high. I needed the hot baths for my back pains, so it was hard not being able to treat my back pains properly
  • Constantly aching feet. Every time the baby grows, I know because I can feel my feet aching and adjusting to the weight. It was worse in the third trimester as that's when the baby puts on the most weight.
  • The skin on my belly being stretched to death. I'm carrying completely in the front, and my belly looks like a basketball right now. Every time I got bigger, my tummy grew. Every time my tummy grew, my skin, tendons and muscles on my stomach had to stretch to accommodate. There were days when I thought my belly button was going to spit into two. It was a lot of discomfort bordering on me wanting to cry or rip my skin off from the pain. I really hope that my tummy will eventually flatten out. I'm still aiming to have that bikini body.
  • Not being able to bend down or bend over properly. I couldn't clip my toenails after a while, and one finds very creative ways to putting on shoes or picking something off of the floor. Sometimes I'd just leave the thing on the floor.
  • Night leg cramps. I had a few of them, and they hurt like the mofo. I've had them many times before, since I was a teenager, but adding a belly into the mix didn't make it any easier for me to deal with it.
I think that what kept my sanity was the fact that I went to the massage therapist and chiropractor regularly. They both helped me manage my pain with all my body changes. I also continued going to Pilate's until about week 33 and going to the gym until week 38. I feel that it really staved off a lot of other pregnancy symptoms, like water retention. My wedding rings are a bit tight, but that due more to the bit of body fat I've gained over the last month. I thankfully don't have swollen feet, or swollen anything. I suppose that I should be thankful that my pregnancy for the most part has been fairly uneventful.

I also have to thank my long-suffering Hubby for putting up with all my whining, cooking for me, and doing all the toilet unplugging. I don't think I would have survived this far without his help and understanding.

But pregnancy still isn't fun.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Thoughts on Pregnancy - Part 1

So sorry, I haven't been updating my blog. March was a very busy month for me.

My last day of work was actually yesterday. I had to interview, hire and train my replacement, which takes time. During that process, I was frantically trying to get as much done at work (I was working evenings and weekends), and doing a mind-meld with a newbie is time consuming. Yesterday, things were blowing up left, right and centre, but my replacement seemed to handle it well. At least he took it in stride, so I was pretty confident that he could handle the job. I could only sit back and watch in amusement at all the drama everyone else was causing my staff. Ah, I will miss all the work drama.

That coupled with trying to finish off the baby room, it was pretty hectic. Hubby had to put together the crib, the dresser and hang the curtains. But the baby's room is finally ready! At least the baby finally has a place to sleep. I couldn't say that even just two weeks ago. It was nice though, we received a lot of gifts from friends, so that help a bit, especially the clothing.

For a while there, I was worried that the kid wouldn't have enough clothing. While many people have been promising to give us hand-me-downs, I hadn't seen anything come our way. I'm certain that those people will hold true to their promise, but the kid actually needs some clothing as soon as he's born, and not 2 months down the road. Up until the point where I bit the bullet and bought a few more items, I think the kid had a grand total of three outfits. Any parent will tell you that I would have probably gone through that many outfits in one day! I also bought a whole whack load of cloth diapers. Someone gave me a little stuffed animal as a gift, and I'll be using it to practice swaddling, diapering, putting the kid in the infant carrier and into the car seat. So much to get a handle of!

A part of me was a little loathe to be spending so much money in the last three months, and we've probably spent a little more than we should have on some baby stuff, but we're new at this, and I had to keep reminding myself that start up costs always tend to put a dent into any bank accounts financially, no matter how much you try to plan. The trick for me was to figure out what was a need and what was a want. Plus, a lot of experienced moms told me not to buy too much before the baby was born, because things like clothing sizes, colour, and whether or not the baby will like certain toys like swings, will depend on the baby's preferences/fussiness. So it's been really tough trying to figure these things out, but I think we've done okay and haven't overspent too much.

Around my birthday, which was last week, I discovered the one, and only, thing that I found cool about pregnancy: baby hiccups.

Now I knew about the baby's ability to hiccup while in the womb, and it doesn't hurt the baby. However, it didn't even occur to me that my baby was hiccupping until someone asked me last week. Then, that very night, at about 1.30 am, I realised that the rhythmic kicking was actually the baby hiccuping, and not just the baby actively kicking and doing it's darnedest to keeping me awake. I had felt it before, but never had put two and two together until someone pointed it out to me.

I knew where the head and the rest of the body was, and I could actually feel the body jump up and down inside, like most people do when they hiccup. It was actually a neat experience, and I had to wake Hubby up so he can feel too. I think this was the one time that Hubby didn't mind me waking him up.