Sunday, April 22, 2007

Messing with Baby

Here are some more pictures. We are having fun messing with the baby already... making her into a glow-worm or a banana is fun.

Plus there are a couple cute ones too, just because.

Pop goes the weasel

More details? You want more details? I'll give you more details...

Michael and I went to bed around 9:30 and at 10:00 I woke up with labor pain. I proceeded to spend the next 2.5 hours trying to convince myself that I was imagining it and that it was just stomach cramps I was feeling.

Finally at 12:30 I woke Michael up and told him that I thought we had started the whole process. We then spent the next couple hours trying to convince ourselves that we were imagining it.

Hmmm... that makes it sound like we didn't know that we were in labor... let me just say that we were trying to make sure it was the real thing and not just something we freak out about like we had heard so many first time mothers do.

We spent the next couple of hours trying to relax through my increasingly intense contractions. I took a hot bath and made Niffer soup which helped the pain termendously. I wish I could have stayed in that bath for the whole process. I think it would have gone so much smoother.

We also watched a movie, took a walk, took a shower, tried to sleep... random stuff.

Finally at 4:30 am I decided that the pain was strong enough to warrant waking up our doula. Up until then I was feeling guilty at the thought of calling her in the middle of the night... but I forgot to realize that's just part of her business. She came over within 15 minutes.

Then my contractions stopped. They had been every 2-3 minutes. Speaking of which, "they" say that you should go to the hospital once the contractions get to be 5 minutes apart... but they started at 2-3 minutes for me, which no one told me was an option. But anyway, as soon as Nancy showed up, the contractions stopped.

Talk about frustrating. And annoying.

She stayed for about an hour and offered to stay longer while we try to sleep again. I felt bad for making her come over, so we sent her home. And as fate would have it, the contractions started again as soon as she left.

We had our doctor's appointment scheduled for that day and so we decided to try to get it pushed up to see them sooner. At 1:30 pm, we were told that I was 5 cm dialated and 80% efaced! Holy cow! I had prepared myself to hear that after all that pain, I was still only at 1 or 2 cm (and for those who don't know, 10 cm is fully dialated).

5 cm! Go Niffer! That's quite a ways to labor at home!

At this point we had two options... return to home for more laboring at home or check into the hospital. I was totally up for going home again, but then we were told that the hospital was insanely busy and that they might not have a room available for me if I waited to check in. Well that settled that question.

We called Nancy again and she said she'd come straight over to the hospital. Meanwhile, we walked from the midwive's office to the hospital (which took people by surprise when I said I wanted to walk). Nancy showed up right after we were checked in.

I spent the next 7 hours in a hell of a lot of pain. It turns out that the baby was posterior and thus was applying a lot of pressure to my lower back. Let me tell you, it was not fun. However, I felt like it was totally do-able.

That was until they checked me again and told me that I was only at 6 cm and 90% efaced. The average labor progresses at 1 cm every hour. Though it was progress, I had only progressed 1 cm in 7 hours. I had thought that the pain was doable, assuming I was making more progress than that. Though at this point in time, I was handling my contractions relatively well, I decided that though I felt like I could continue, I just didn't think I could continue at that rate.

In comes the epidural. It took effect quickly and 5 minutes later I was at 7 cm dialated and 100% efaced. Apparently my body just needed to relax more.

I was able to rest for the next couple of hours, which the midwife said would be good because I needed to be ready for pushing for 1-3 hours when the time came.

Sometime during that timeframe, they broke my water to try to incourage progress. And finally, they decided that I needed pitocin.

And bam! Instantly the baby's heart rate went down, which was a sign that I was 100% dialated. It was just coincidence that it happened just as they gave me the pitocin.

Unfortunately, as time went on, I started to feel my contrations again on one side of me. The epidural is gravity driven and because the baby was laying on it's cord or something, I was unable to do anything other than lay on my one side, which meant all the epidural medication went to that side, and not the other. So, once again, I had the horrible contractions, only this time it was on half my body.

So now I'm ready to push. The midwife tells me that I can start pushing. I push, and apparently you could see the baby's head in my first push. Damn! I'm good!

15 minutes into pushing, I was told to stop. Apparently the lady next door was delivering her 4th child and has a history of quick labors and so if the midwife didn't go over there, the baby would have no one to catch her.

But, uh... Hello? Who wants to stop pushing after starting????

30 minutes later, we were told that we could start pushing agin. A couple minutes later, the midwife came in (she gave us permission to push when she was still in the other room). When the midwife finally did make it back to my room, she looked at me and said "WHOA!" Apparently she was surprised at how far the baby had progressed.

As she's putting on her gloves, she told me to give her a practice push... and as I did, she said "Oh god, ok... stop! stop!" I guess she didn't realize that Niffers are great pushers.

A couple pushes later we had a beautiful baby at 1:30 am on Tuesday. She came out sideways. Michael was the one who told me that we had a little girl and I spent the first few minutes of her life holding her close to me and crying. She was so beautiful. And so alert.

So that's my story... 27 hours of labor.

My thoughts on the whole thing? Looking back, here are a few of them:

1. I feel confident that I could have done a natural, unmedicated birth if it weren't for the fact that the baby was posterior. Nancy told me that the level of pain I was feeling at 6 cm would be what I'd have to deal with for the remainder of the labor, and I would have totally been ok with that if I had a shorter labor... you know, one that progressed.

2. I think it was a good thing that I labored for as long as I did without an epidural. So many people have commented on how easy it is for a posterior labor to end up in a C-section because people get the epidurals too early.

3. It was a blessing in disguise that I was told to stop pushing. The extra time just sitting there probably allowed me to stretch more because I ended up having no tearing.

4. I don't know what I would have done without Nancy. Seriously, she was amazing and worth her weight in gold. During the entire time laboring at the hospital (checked in around 2:30pm and delivered at 1:30am) I think we saw our midwife maybe a total of 30-45 minutes. It was so nice to have Nancy there, who was a registered nurse, even though she was there as my doula. It was nice to have someone with me all the time, encouraging me, suggesting new positions and new relaxing techniques, and just reassuring me that what I was experiencing is normal. If you ever have a baby... GET A DOULA!!!

5. My husband kicks ass. It was amazing how easy it was for him to calm me down during the contractions. I love him very much. Words can not explain the connection I felt between us during the process, so I won't even try.

So that's the story. You wanted details, you got details. All I can say right now is that I have a beautiful daughter, but I am slightly bummed that I never got my popped belly button.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The circumcisn went well

The circumcision went well, or so we were told by one of the nurses who brought in our baby. Well that's good and all... but...

We had a girl!

It's a girl!

I went into labor 10:00 pm on Sunday and Lori.elle Ashlyn was born at 1:30 am Tuesday April 17th. She was backwards so it caused me a long painful back labor. However, she's just beautiful. She weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces and was 19 inches long (though she had quite the cone head). Take a look at the pictures! We just made it home today, and have to keep her on a UV blanket for jaundice (thus the yellow look), but we're both doing very well.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Now, now. Be good, Niffer.

My office is not on the "main campus" and thus I often have to ride a shuttle over to see people, run errands, or just get stuff done. On average, the ride over there is less than 10 minutes.

Is it bad of me to find entertainment value in the reactions I get from some of the drivers? There is a distinct difference in the way the female and male drivers respond to me. The females have been through this before. They have kids of their own, so when they see me waddling up to the bus, there is often a smile of sorts on their face.

It's different for the guys. They have recently gotten a look of horror when they see me approach the bus. One guy even had the gutts to ask me "When are you due?" and when I said "About a week, if not sooner." His response? His eyes got wide and full of fear and then he spent the remainder of the ride exclaiming things like "Oh, geeze! If you go into labor on this shuttle, we'll need to call for an ambulance for both of us."

Hahahha! I'm such a horrible person for finding this so funny. Do you think I should tell him that the chances of me having a baby during a 10 minute shuttle ride are slim to none?

Shy baby

I have heard various stories from my email buddies about how active their babies are. In general, I think their babies seem to be more active than mine. Well, maybe that's not quite the case. Maybe I just have a shy baby.

My baby will kick and dance and seem to be content to continue forever, unless someone tries to feel her. I'm told that if you press on the foot kicking on the tummy, then most babies will withdraw the foot then continue kicking after a moment or two. Not my baby.

It seems that the moment my baby detects any outside involvement, she freezes. This means if she is stretching her foot (or arm - how would I know?) and you apply pressure to it... she stops. The foot isn't withdrawn back into the tummy. It stays right where it is. It's almost as though the baby is thinking "Shhh... If I stay still, they won't notice me."

The advantage of this is that it's relatively easy for me to have someone feel the baby's foot, since it feels like a hard bump inside my tummy. The disadvantage is that it's difficult convincing people that indeed they are feeling a foot and not just a funky hard growth.

I wonder how this trait will show itself after the baby is finally born. How can you tell a shy baby? It's not like they can run and hide behind Mommy's leg like cute little shy children do. Am I going to have a baby that freezes whenever I introduce him to a new person?

"Ah, yes, meet my baby... I swear he's not just a doll!"

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Contractions are your friend

I'm sure I'm going to have to be reminded of that when the time actually comes for labor. However, at this moment in time, it's pretty easy to appreciate the contractions.

What? Contractions? Yep. You heard me. I have finally caught up to other pregnant friends and am experiencing relatively frequent false contractions. They don't hurt, though. At the most, so far they feel like minor menstrual cramps.

As strange as this sounds, I would almost call them funny. I think it depends on how the baby is placed inside, but sometimes the contractions end up distorting my stomach into a shape you'd never really imagined on a pregnant woman before.

Ever thought you'd see a big pregnant tummy in the shape of a square? Trapezoid? How about a triangle of sorts? No, I didn't think so.

Michael thought it was interesting that he could tell better than I could if I was having a contraction. Every now and then, I'd exclaim "Damn! What is up with the baby?!" and he'd look at my parallelogram-shaped tummy and say "you're having a contraction." In my defense, he can see my tummy much better than I can! Besides, I have gotten better at recognizing the contractions, so leave me alone. :P

You may ask "how often do the contractions occur?" or "how long do they last?" because these would both be good data points to have in possibly predicting my upcoming labor. However, I do not know the answers. I'll try to start paying closer attention so that hopefully I can say more than just "often" and "not long".

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bets anyone?

Someone mentioned that I should start taking bets on when my baby will be born and then give a prize to the winner. Anyone wanna play? Anyone?

Some data points to consider when betting:
Due date based off of last period - April 10
Due date based off of first ultrasound - April 21
Incredibly uneventful, easy pregnancy.
Typically 2 or so weeks behind on any updates (ie feeling the baby move).
Only recently started noticing Braxton Hicks contractions (false labor).
Braxton Hicks seem to happen often but are not painful yet.

Update... if you can call it that

Once again my appointment this week wasn't very exciting. I have a text-book pregnancy (with the exception of the false scare for needing to do the extended glucose tolerance test), which I'm not complaining about. But when I go into my weekly appointments, it means that not much is said.

"Still looks good."
"All we can do is sit back and wait."
"We're on auto-pilot from here."
"Your weight gain is good."
"Heart beat looks good."
"Baby is still growing."
"Is the weather still cold outside?"

However, if you really want an update... My baby has decided to be a boy. Up until appointment last week, Baby had a high heart rate, which had the midwives predicting a girl. Last week and this week, the heart rate has been lower, so Baby is now a boy. Hehehe... I know you can never tell (I've heard a lot of exceptions to every prediction method, heart rates included), but that's the best I can come up with for an update.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Original Due Date

Most due dates are determined based off of the last day of your last menstrual cycle. I don't think many people know this, but my original due date was April 10th. And for those not-so-observant people... yes, that's today.

They pushed our due date off because when we went in for our first appointment and had our first ultrasound, the size of the baby indicated a due date much later than the original one (by 11 days, of course).

But it's strange to think that today could be my due date. I doubt that it is (not that the due date really means anything anyway), though, because I tend to be a couple weeks behind all the updates I read about or hear about from friends due around the same time as myself. And that's even taking into account the later due date.

So if things progress the way the rest of my pregnancy has, the baby will come after my due date of April 21. Or, maybe after my original due date of April 10th. Hmm... Interesting... At least we're packed for the hospital!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Daily Soundtrack

I have recently had people comment on how I have added sounds to my daily routine. Apparently I grunt, sigh or moan when I do random things like bend over, reach for something or even stand up. I find it funny to think that I make enough additional sounds throughout the day that multiple people have commented on it.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Niffer Tsunami

I am a huge fan of a nice hot bath. In fact, I prefer baths over showers. I think that might be one of the things I miss most since becoming pregnant. Though I can take a bath, I can not have the water as hot as I'd like.

Anyway, this results in me taking more showers than I normally do (hehehe... doesn't that sound like I'm normally a nasty, dirty person?), but the other day I did find myself taking a relaxing warm bath. Mmmm... Niffer soup.

You know how they say that natural disasters can come as a surprise? Apparently it's been a while since I've taken a bath. When I pushed myself out of the water to sit after washing my hair, that's when it hit! It was all in slow motion like you see on TV. As I sat up, I could see a huge swell of water form and as I watched it approach the bathtub shoreline, I just barely had enough time to think "Oh $#!+" before disaster struck.

You'll be relieved to hear that the cats made it out safely, with only minor emotional damage due to being cold and wet. However, the dust-mites were not so lucky. Poor Dust-Mites. There wasn't enough time to warn them. I don't know the death toll, but I'm sure it's in the millions. Poor Dust-Mites. They never had a chance.

A moment of silence in their memory...

Thursday, April 05, 2007


I think that I am ready for the whole labor process. I feel like I have accepted my role and am OK with the concept of childbirth. I believe that Michael and I will kick ass with the whole labor thing! I've come a long way, haven't I?

However, I have confession to make.

The biggest issue I have to deal with now is the idea of being empty inside after the baby is gone. I'm not speaking emotionally. I'm speaking physically.

In our childbirth class, we were shown a picture of a woman's body before and during pregnancy. The before picture showed the organs all nicely spread out throughout the body's cavity. I had always assumed that when a woman is pregnant her guts were essentially still in the same spot, just behind the baby. We'll add that to the growing list of bad assumptions. The picture showing how a pregnant woman's body is laid out showed all the guts pushed up into the rib cage. Yes, all of them. The baby is essentially the only thing occupying my body cavity (with the exception of my bladder, conveniently located under the baby's head).

So my problem? My confession is this:

It totally weirds me out to know that I am going to be completely empty inside after the baby is born. Oh, I know that my guts will all fall back into place, but YUCK! Gross. Ewww! Blech. It's the "in between stage" that is the most difficult thing for me to accept at the moment.

I just shared this issue with a coworker a few minutes ago and she said that she remembers how a few days after her baby was born, she bent over to turn on the water in the bath tub and her skin on her stomach fell forward and totally grossed her out. She said she never realized how "empty" she was until that moment. I politely thanked her for the warning and came back to my office to vent into a post.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A bed for all occasions*

Our baby is going to have so many beds that it's almost pathetic. First, we have the obvious... the crib. Every baby needs a crib, so this one should come as no surprise.

Second, we have the baby basket. This is actually the same basket that I slept in when I was a baby, so it means a lot to me that we use it for our little one. This basket has been through a lot, though, and needed to be mended. The bedding is different than when I used it, but that's because the original bedding had been through a lot (my cat had kittens in this basket too!).

And last but definitely not least is the cradle. How beautiful is that? My mom and her husband made it a year or so ago for his first grandson. Since then, they have decided to pass it around to all the grand babies (a plaque on the back names all the babies who have used it). Little do they know that I might just like it enough to keep it all to myself! Maybe once my baby is too big for it, I can hide it somewhere so that no one can threaten to steal it from me just because they feel the need to have another baby. =)

So where do we put all these beds? Most likely the crib will be in the nursery. Duh. The basket will be in our bedroom. And the cradle will be in the living room. That way the baby is free to sleep where ever and whenever she chooses. We want to encourage sleep, you know!

* I have been wanting to write this post for a long time, ever since I got pictures of the cradle from my mom. Impressed that I waited to get pictures of the other two? I am! Please, please, no applause. Just throw money. =)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Poll Update

I had my weekly appointment yesterday, and for the most part it was boring like the other appointments (I mean that with a great deal of relief). However, this one was interesting just because when I laid down for her to check the baby's vitals, she said "you're having a contraction". Apparently I have been having braxton hicks contractions without knowing it. I've read that some mothers think that it's the baby moving and have to be told that it's a contraction. Well I'm not even that good. I didn't think anything of it. Go figure.


I think this is where the gender poll currently stands:

Votes for Girl: 7
My mom, because she really wants (and almost insists on) to have a grand daughter.
Michael's mom, I'm guessing for the same reason.
Michael's stepfather, because my facial features haven't changed much.
Midwife #1, because of the baby's heartbeat.
Midwife #2, because of the baby's heartbeat.
Coworker #1, because my physical features haven't changed much.
Coworker #3, because I crave sweets instead of sour food.

Votes for Boy: 6
My sister, because she disagrees with my mom.
Michael's brother, just because.
Midwife #3, because of the baby's heartbeat.
My mom's husband, because I think he likes the grandsons.
Neighbor, because of the way I'm carrying the baby.
Coworker #2, because of the way I'm carrying the baby.

Who else wants to vote?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Weekend Rambling

I'm going to ramble on about my weekend, so please excuse me if it ends up being really long without being witty or exciting for you to read.

As you might have gathered, the number of weekends we have left before out lives change forever are very limited. Because of this, Michael and I have tried to do something we really enjoy doing every weekend. We've also been very productive trying to get our "to do" list done.

Saturday marked the day that officially my baby is considered "full term" and what better way to celebrate than practically insisting on going to see the cherry blossoms because I LOVE THEM!!! Michael said that this last weekend would be the last one that he would feel comfortable venturing "so far" from home. His argument had something to do with not wanting me to go into labor on the metro. Where's the fun in that?

The cherry blossoms were spectacular and the kite festival was fun too. The weather was perfect. We even had a picnic!

As far as how well the pregnancy mixes in with cherry blossoms goes, here is a summary:

1. Pregnant women do not get harassed as much for using a restroom in a cafe without buying anything.

2. Pregnant women can not stop to ask for directions, offer to take some one's picture, ask someone to take a picture, pick a toy up off the ground for a mother, or sit or stand next to anyone else without them striking up a conversation of "Oh, when is the baby due? Three weeks?! Why are you still walking around!?"

3. Pregnant women bring out the friendly side in complete strangers.

4. Everyone is always so happy for a pregnant woman and always want the best for them (of course, that is the polite way to go).

5. Much to my disappointment, pregnant women do not get preference while standing in line for the restroom. Come on people!? I know my bladder is smaller than yours!

But all in all, the day was fabulous. We got a few great pictures with Niffer and cherry trees, but the fun didn't stop there!

After cherry blossoms, we met some friends at a really pretty garden so that they could help us take more tummy shots. I even bought a cute sun dress for the special occasion! (by the way, next time I want to be pregnant for more of the spring season because the clothes are all so cute!)

I don't have any of the pictures my friend took (with both Michael and I), but I know we ended up with some great ones with us in front of the daffodils (I'll have to post them later). And man were the daffodils beautiful!

Life is good.

I don't think Saturday could have been any better. I even got a foot massage when we got home!

Sunday was a good day too, but only because it was another productive day. Michael worked on power washing the deck and I started packing for the hospital and doing baby laundry. Somehow I ended up with a purple crib sheet. It was white when I put it into the laundry and definitely purple when it came out. This was particularly strange when you consider the fact that everything in the load was yellow or white. Anyway, I decided to try to bleach it back to white and ended up with a pink crib sheet. Michael tried to make me feel better by suggesting that it's a sign of things to come. I hope he wasn't referring to years of embarrassing my son by turning all his socks pink.

Sigh. Oh well. I hope your weekend was as nice as mine!