Saturday, January 30, 2010

Maddy's birth - part one

Parts of the birth are graphic - just a warning!

On January 15th at 5:38am I woke up to a "cramp". A mild, menstrual-like cramp. About 8 minutes later, another... and so on for about 1 hour. Then I wanted to get up and walk around. So I gently woke Neil and let him know the contractions MAY be starting. With surprisingly little panic, we both were up and making sure our bags were packed and we could be ready to go. Things SLOWLY progressed... until at about 2:00pm the contractions were 4-6 minutes apart and while I could deal with the pain, I had to stop and concentrate on breathing to do so. So, we called the hospital to see if we should come in. They said sure, but that the unit was FULL and they may have to send us home. We were there by 2:30pm and settled into as assessment suite.

It was labour starting and contractions were looking good. But I was only 2-3cm dilated ( I was 1.5-2cm the week before, in the doctor's office). And so after a shot of morphine and gravol., we were sent home. This? Repetitive... but I want the full story in one place! And it's my blog... so HA!

At 11:30pm we called and gave our status again. And they said more waiting at home - until there were 2-3 contractions in a 10 minute period and I couldn't breathe through the pain. Well, that time hit at about 1:20am on January 26th. I wanted to wait more - I didn't want to be sent home AGAIN. It was a strange mix of pride and fear of the disappointment of having to go home a second time. But Neil called the labour unit at the hospital and they said to come in. We were off!

The pain by then? Intense. Neil says he can't believe the wimpering sounds I made. And the strangest thing, I remember it hurt. I remember where the pains were. I remember what I did to make it through. But I can't really remember what the pain felt like. It's just a distant memory now... Motherhood hormones? They are amazing.

We make it to the hospital around 2am (again near shift change - a theme for this delivery). The nurse - I can't remember her name, assessed me. I was at 4cm (FINALLY) and was in active labour. They HAD to keep me! It took me 20+ hours to go from 2cm to 4cm. Ouch... The nurse noticed I was having a hard time with the pain, and an epidural was offered. I GRATEFULLY accepted. I was admitted, taken to our delivery room and settled in. By then? It was shift change and we had a new nurse. Mercy. She was a kind woman, with an ideal name for her chosen profession. She had been working on the unit since 1980. She had seen it ALL. And there was comfort in that. When Mercy went on break, another nurse took over. Corvette. Yes, her name was Corvette - but she went by Cora. She told the story, her mom wanted kids. Her dad wanted cars. The compromise? Kids with car names *grin* If she was a boy she would have been Harley.

The epidural... AH! The epidural. It made the labour bearable. The anesthesiologist, Dr Dupuis ,was a very kind and competent man. He came in, as quickly inserted the needle. And within about 10 minutes I could breathe, I could relax. And I realized that I had been tightening my uterus/cervix to deal with the pain. Which isn't conducive to dilating. Smart, maybe I am not. Once I was able to relax, I could feel the difference. This was about 3am, by the time the epidural was in.

Mercy found Neil a reclining chair, for him to put his feet up in and rest. It was peach Naugahyde from likely the dawn of time. The arm to recline it had broken off. It took all of Neil's strength to get it to lay back. It was, in a word, frightening! But it was our only option. Mercy didn't even know this, but if you pushed back hard enough, the recliner laid all the way down. We meant to get a picture, but forgot. Neil was given a pillow and that is where he crashed, as we waited for my body to dilate. And we were both able to get some sleep. Neil more than I, since nurses were always around and assessing. I was frankly amazed and how well he sleep in the torture chair.

At 445am, Dr Dupuis came in and gave me a top up on the epidural. By then, I was pretty numb and barely felt any contractions. At 5am I was assessed... and was 10cm! It took 20 hours to go from 2 to 4cm and 3 hours to go from 4 to 6cm. On average, a woman dilates 1cm per hour, on an epidural. I thought we had plenty of time before the pushing started. I was wrong! But this meant that soon, I would have a baby, right?! Wrong again...

But Maddy is fussing and it's time I gave her a meal and checked her diaper. Part 2 (aka the pushing part) on the way, soon.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

She's here!!

Born on January 26th at 11:42am, Madeline Helen Patricia (Maddy) is here! She was 7lbs, 10 ounces (3460g), almost 21 inches (53cm) at birth.

Birth? Well, that is a slightly traumatic story saved for later. But the only important part is Maddy is here safely and she's gorgeous! The pic above was taken only a few hours after birth. And under that little cap is a full head of dark blonde hair, with a slight curl in it! I know nurses have to say it, but everyone says she's a gorgeous little girl.

Today is day 3 and our first day at home. So far? It's been good. Maddy is a sleeper (if she's in your arms) and I think we've gotten the hang of breastfeeding. And while this may be TMI (as per usual) I think that my milk is even coming in!!

Neil has been the most amazing and loving father and husband. I could not have asked for more support and love in any way. However, no one bothered to tell him that cleaning is the LAST thing to worry about! You nap when the baby naps. Our kitchen is spotless but Neil was exhausted. He's now crashed on the couch and hopefully getting the rest he needs. I think I am on the high of getting the breastfeeding thing started well that I am incapable of sleep. Right now. Give me an hour, and I'll crash and Neil can take over.

Today the nurses came, to assess me and Maddy. There were 2, a veteran and a new nurse on the job, in training. While their names now elude me (serious memory issues here) both were wonderful and helpful and Maddy is doing well as am I. Except the trauma to the baby exit zone and the fact that the cankles I showed before? They have quadrupled in size. I honestly struggle to bend them. Lots of water and feet up is the remedy. But I have to take a pic of them as is... it's a little scary.

The dogs are SO excited about the new addition to the family, although we're careful to keep them separated still. They just want to be near her and shower her in kisses. And every time she cries, they want to be by her side. Except they are not allowed in her room... which has Sherman a little upset. But he'll live.

Day 3 of being a mom... and I am more in love with Maddy than I ever thought possible.

Monday, January 25, 2010

More waiting

Spoke to the hospital again. They said that I should be having 3-4 contractions in 10 minutes - ones that are so bad I can't breathe through them - before I come in again. Right now I am 2 every 10 minutes and I can still breathe.

Already I feel so tired... my body is just exhausted. But I'm going to try to sleep some. Or at least rest some. I am thinking sometime tomorrow morning, over 24 hours after it all started, we'll be heading back to the hospital to finish this. It sounds like they are really busy right now, so maybe they'll have a bed by then.

Sprout is just taking her time coming out! At this rate, I may just make it to my due date! *grin*

It's started! We think. But it's slow going.

This morning at 538am I was woken up by a contraction. It wasn't too intense, what I though was a normal Braxton-Hicks. Every 7 or so minutes another one would come - not much more intense... just regular. So at about 630am I woke Neil, said it all MAY be starting and then we were up. I walked around a bit (to see if walking changed the pain/frequency) and it really didn't. We had breakfast, washed up, chatted... then we played on the computer for a bit to pass the time and wait for them to become more regular/intense. At about 1030 mom came over to drop off/pick up some things. At the insistence of mom and Neil I called the labour ward. They said when the contractions are about 5 minutes apart and of an intensity that makes you stop and breath through it for about 1 hour, then it may be time to come in.

At about 1130am the contractions started to be more intense, almost every one, and between 4-6 minutes apart. Finally at about 230pm (after another call to the labour ward and much hemming and hawing) Neil and I were off to the hospital!

We got there at about shift change (just before 3pm) and I was hooked up to the monitor and we were watched. Again, every 5 or so minutes and the pain was pretty consistent. But once checked, I was only at 2-3cm dilated. And the ward is apparently very full. So? By 430 we were sent back home, although they were kind enough to shoot a needle full of morphine and gravol into my left ass cheek. Morphine? Doesn't totally take the pain away but I think it makes it more bearable. Or it just numbs me... I feel kinda flat.And a little nauseous, despite the gravol. Morphine? I am sorry, Mr. drug, I can't say I am a huge fan of yours.

I felt pretty tired when we got home and I tried to nap for awhile. But every 4 minutes or so I would wake to a contraction. So I am up now, on the computer a bit and pacing the house a bit. Now more waiting, more contractions, more deep breaths.

When mom came to visit, she told me she hoped that I don't labour like her side of the family - very very very slowly. Well, mom, I think I am just like you! Here's hoping things pick up speed.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Week 39 and update

The update? Nothing has changed *grin*

The Braxton-Hicks have totally stopped now, everything is just status quo. Sprout is ready to come any time now. We have my maternity bag packed, car seat installed and checked, nursery ready, house reasonably clean (although more to be done on that today), Neil has started packing his maternity bag even! After a horrible night's sleep on Thursday, I slept as well as I could last night and so feeling human today. Tonight I think Neil and I are going on a date to see Avatar. Tomorrow dinner at the parent's place. Wednesday night is book club. Life is going on!

On Thursday I was talking with a friend who was also pregnant. She was due 3 days before me. We were comparing where our bodies were, and they were in about the same place (regarding effacement, dilation etc). We were joking about how in sync we were, that we may just have our kids at the same time. We spoke Thursday at 930pm the last time. She had a son (6lbs 4 oz) on Friday morning!

First, congratulations Blessie! I can't wait to meet him!

Second, I KNEW Sprout would be a stubborn procrastinator, just like both her parents are. Our little apple is not falling far from the tree.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Where I once had feet...

... I now have sausage toes...

... and cankles.


We have gone internal!

Warning, this post contains "internal" information!

Today was another doctor's appointment and I was given the option to have an internal examination. Which I most definitely took!

Taking a step back - again this week I started with a student doctor, this time a resident. He was a gentle and polite Arabic man. He was very careful and thorough (although not very confident). I am measuring 39cm, BP still normal (although high for me), weight is just a bit higher (ick), and everything is looking normal. Then the resident and mom care doc came in and did the internal exam. First her, then him. He gave the rundown on where he though I was at, she agreed.

mucous plug is gone
1.5-2 cm dilated
cervix is in mid position and medium firmness (needs to move to anterior and be soft, from posterior and firm)
baby's head is at station -1
effacement... well, I am either 25% or 75% effaced. They said 75% but I am not sure that meant 75% left or 75% along. I was getting a little excited at that point!

My body is getting ready for the big day! Since hearing the news, I have been feeling much better. I even BOUNCED down the stairs! Just knowing that the initial steps have started makes me feel there is an end to it all. During the exam, the doctors were able to feel her head. Someone other than me has now touched her.

Neil's reaction? I think it hit him (again) that labour is imminent. There may have been some shaking, stress and alcohol consumption *grin*.

Last night was our last prenatal class, all about breastfeeding. I have to say, it does not look easy. I am hoping that both Sprout and I are quick learners. Right now, Neil and I are planning to exclusively breastfeed until both Sprout and I have the hang of it, then introduce bottles so that Neil (and the grandparents) can take the occasional feed.

The maternity bag has been triple checked (only a few things added). Now to clean the house properly - Sprout can't come home to a messy place! - and clean her room again. I must make sure the laundry is all finished, things are organized and ready to go... we're having a BABY people!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Week 38

Neil was convinced she'd be coming yesterday or today. And... still no real sign of her. Some Braxton-Hicks (I think) and loads of discomfort. But no emerging baby! Which is OK. Despite the fact that I have made all the meals I planned, I still haven't fully cleaned the house and I really should before she comes. Plus, it's nice to have the time to let Neil's finger heal. He REALLY did quite the number on it.

Sprout? Still pretty much fully baked. Me? Still pretty much uncomfortable. It's becoming a broken record. Sleeping was horrible last night - my hips ache so much from laying on them constantly for months. And my ribs hurt too. My swelling is increasing daily and my wedding rings are a distant memory, despite the fact they were once falling off me. I really am reaching that magical point where I'd rather go through the agony of labour (which has an end) than this constant state of discomfort. Although, there is some comfort in having Sprout still nestled inside - I know where she is, I know she's protected and fed and warm and not crying...

We're going to a friend's son's birthday party tonight, which will be fun. And are heading out today to get the car sear inspected (to make sure we installed it correctly). And the rest of the day? Will be spent resting. I am just not capable of much more than that, right now.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Not as round but even larger

Well, I am not as round as I was. Tonight she's been very interested in pushing against me. Neil was able to reach out and actually identify that it was her foot (specifically heel) that was pushing out of my belly. Little one is rapidly running out of room!

If you look closely, you can see the little ears of Walter on the bottom left. He's been so clingy of late, with Neil's injury and my pregnancy. He stood and stared at me as I tried to get a non-blurry picture of the growing belly. I wish I caught more of him. And a better pic of me *grin*

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More of the same

This blog is getting pretty dull... but in a good way! Had another doctor's appointment yesterday. Again, I look good, Sprout looks good, it's all good. Back again next week, to see if there is any change. Although the last 2 times I went I had medical students first see me. It was quite cute, to see these young (seemingly very young) women doing their one-day-I'll-be-a-doctor thing.

One interesting thing, if you could call it that. I have lost total feeling around my navel. It's like it's been frozen at the dentist. I can feel pressure, if it's pushed on. But when Neil was gently touching it, there was no feeling at all. Hopefully it returns when Sprout is out and stops pushing on my various body parts/nerves/who knows what.

Some drama this morning, though. Neil was happily making a spinach and shallot omelette when he kind of cut the end of his finger and nail off. Not kind of, he completely cut his nail and the end of his finger off. Lots of blood and a surprisingly fast trip to the ER later he has a cute finger bandage to keep the wound clean and will likely have a lopsided finger for good. As we were driving to the ER I mentioned how it really would be just our luck to have labour start as Neil is at another hospital having his finger dealt with. Despite a Braxton-Hicks or two, no labour onset and we're safely at home. Sans baby on the outside *grin*

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Week 37

We have made it to WATERMELON people - that is not an encouraging fruit as labour approaches. But Sprout is now considered FULL TERM. We did it, we grew a person! Now I just have to get her out of me.

She's still pretty quiet in there, not moving quite as much. But she is about 7 lbs and 20 inches long - there can't be much wiggle space left. She gets the hiccups about once a day now, which still makes me smile every time. We're just waiting for the big entrance to come.

My nesting has been pretty strong. I have been cooking up a storm and freezing many meals. My urge to clean the house is growing - every where I look there is something else that I want to scrub/move/throw out. There are still about 5 dishes I want to make and freeze (on the agenda for tomorrow), the car seat to put in (today) and a whole shwack of cleaning to do (today, tomorrow, the next day etc).

By the end of the day I ache. My feet, hips, ribs, back... everything. In fact, it's often so painful that falling asleep is a challenge. Sometimes I wonder if this is just how hard late stage pregnancy is, or if I am just feeling the effects of my age. I think it's likely a little bit of both. But the simplest things are harder - like walking. I can't get over how slow I am! I just can't seem to swing my legs any faster. The other day, out doing errands in the cold with Neil, I was trying to "turbo power" my walk to the car. I was moving as fast as I could on the icy parking lot when I realized that not only am I waddling, but I am bobbing my head like a CHICKEN in hopes it would speed up my waddle. A comment on this has lead to Neil randomly humming the "Chicken Dance" song as I waddle around. And while I am not able to retaliate yet, just wait until the baby comes, my love!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

More catch-up

Monday was yet another doctor appointment. I am (of course) measuring large still - at 38cm in week 36. But everything else is still wonderfully normal. Weight is still ok, blood pressure steady for the last few months, baby's heartbeat normal. Next week, they check to see if I have started to dilate. Ugh.

Neil is still convinced she's coming soon. As in Jan 16th soon! This has me in a bit of a panic, since I have about 50 meals to prepare and freeze and also the entire house to clean, a few projects to finish, a few more things to pick up, people I want to see and lunch/dinner with... Too much for 10 days. So? She'll just have to wait until her due date to come out! Or later... Feb 4th works for me. And, yes, I know it's her call but a mom can wish.

Since Tuesday Sprout has been much quieter. I still feel her moving around, but she's much calmer, more flutters versus huge swinging kicks. Which is sometimes a sign of impending delivery. Except not this time. Because I'm not ready. Hear that, my little one?

Last night was Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner - and it was FABULOUS as always. The food was glorious, my mom can definitely cook! We ate until we were bursting, which wasn't that much for me. Then we sat around and laughed and talked. And laughed. And laughed a lot more. There is a core of the "regulars" - John & Ruth, Paul & Iris, Debbie, Graeme, Erika & Frasier. And one guest couple - this year Ken & Lois. The regulars? They are like family to me. Every year, on the Christmas that is the fun and stress-free one, they are there to laugh with and visit with. And have been there for close to 20 years now. Next year? There will be a new regular, our little girl, who will get to enjoy the food and the company and the house full of love that magically happens every Jan 6th.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Week 36

Week 36... one week away from full term. She really could come at any time! Neil is still convinced we're about 2 weeks away from the big show. I am not as certain. I feel no rush to get the car seat in, to finish packing the hospital bag or to nest. I just don't think it's going to happen that soon. Although I really should get the hospital bag packed, just to be safe. There is yet another doctor's appointment on Monday, and then I can find out more about what my body is doing.

And I am now on maternity leave. Well, technically I am on vacation for the next 2 weeks and then I start my maternity leave on the 18th. There are so many forms to fill out, to get my benefits etc. And then so many more when Sprout comes, to make sure that everyone knows she's alive. I have a little list typed up, because I am pretty sure I won't remember otherwise. And I have everything in the daytimer on the counter. Memory (or my lack of one) is still such an issue!

I think the fact I am done working is what makes it the baby coming feel real and imminent. There is no turning back. I am going to be someone's mother. Days like yesterday, where I stay in my pjs and watch TV and chat with Neil and surf the net while snuggling with the dogs... they won't happen anymore. There will be a person who needs to be fed and dressed and washed and entertained. I'll be responsible for someone!

And that someone is almost fully baked. Her lungs are the last thing to develop and they will be ready to breathe any day (week) now. Depends on which book you reference, but one said she's as much as 5.5lbs and 20 inches long! No wonder I feel so distended *grin*.

The last few days have been easier, after she's given me lung room back. Although this is still hard. I am heavier than I have ever been, moving all this weight takes real effort, my joints hurt, my fingers and feet are so swollen, I am tried all the time, sleeping solidly is a distant memory, Sprout is running out of room and she lets me know. But in a few days/weeks we are going to get to meet the person that we created...