Thursday, September 18, 2014

One week post-partum

I'm amazed at how much my body has changed in the last week. The previous 10 months were a pretty gradual change, but the last week has been a lot more sudden. 

This picture was taken Monday, September 8, right before I jumped in the shower for the evening - about an hour before the contractions started that would turn into Baby A. I had stopped wearing my wedding rings only the week before because they were leaving indentations on my fingers and by midafternoon at work I was taking them off and putting them on my desk anyway. (I was afraid someone would walk off with them, frankly, as I work in an open office setting and the guys in the same room as me are pretty oblivious when people walk into our room. On at least 3 occasions, baby gifts have been left on my desk when two of the guys were in the room and none of them noticed anyone walk in and put something down...)

Week 41, day 2

These next couple photos were taken Sunday, September 14 (only 4 days after delivery). I was able to wear my wedding rings that day, although they aren't on in the photo because I typically don't wear them around the house. (Especially when I'm not a new mom, because I don't want to lose them or their diamonds in the garden, or get them grimy while making dinner or cleaning house. Now, I don't want to scratch Baby A.)
Week 1 day 4 (or "week 42 day 1")

And these photos were taken this morning, 8 days past delivery. 

I might add I still can't see my toes, but not because of my belly. My milk came in and my "shelf" got a little bigger!

I know I should not be worrying about my weight, and I'm not. I'm just rather impressed that my body has bounced back so quickly. Just for vanity's sake, I tried on a pair of pre-pregnancy pants earlier this week and they were only about an inch from buttoning. I have not been dumb enough (or brave enough?) to step on the scale yet. My bump looks about the same as when I was 3 months pregnant and I assume that's about how much I weigh at this point. 

For now, I'm concentrating on continuing to eat a well balanced diet to produce milk for Baby A. I'm also moving around - over the weekend I walked to get the mail by myself (remember this is a .3 mile round trip, with hills both directions) and earlier this week I strapped on the ErgoBaby baby carrier and took Baby A on a walk to the mailbox, too. She seemed rather content with the infant insert (keeps her head from wobbling around). Granted, she was freshly fed and diapered and pretty zonked in a milk coma...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How week 41 became Week 1

At last week's doctor's appointment, the doctor said that if baby girl didn't arrive on her own by Wednesday September 10 (my next scheduled appointment) that he was going to schedule me to be induced. 42 weeks would have been Sunday, and he didn't want me to go past that, for fear that the baby might start to be in distress, or that she would be too big to deliver vaginally. 

So I spent the weekend trying to induce labor naturally. I don't know if that is what happened, or if she finally decided to make an appearance, but we now have a baby girl to hold in our arms. 

I continued to go to the gym last week and walked 30 minutes on 3 days. I also walked Freddy each morning. Even the folks at the gym started asking when baby girl was going to make her appearance. 

Saturday, I worked in the garden, picking another 3 gallon bucket of tomatoes and peppers, and dried four trays of tomatoes in the dehydrator. I also chopped down all the corn that was not producing. The Hubs was mowing the yard and stopped by the garden asking, "What are you doing? You're 41 weeks pregnant." To which I replied, "I'm 41 weeks pregnant and trying to induce labor!" 

Sunday, we went to the fair and ate a funnel cake and king taters for "appetizers" and then went to Chan's (a local cook to order Chinese joint) and shared a plate of spicy Chinese food. I also walked about 2 miles in the driveway at home, and we had (too much information?? We're all adults here, right?) some good lovin'. The only thing I refused to try was castor oil because I read in several sources that not only does it cause mom's bowels to get really moving, it can also cause the baby to have a bowel movement in the womb which could be bad news if the baby inhales the poo. I, however, did not need anything extra as I already had the shits Saturday and Sunday. (This is a sign of impending labor!)

Red velvet funnel cake
For dinner Sunday evening,  we had grilled bbq chicken, corn on the cob and homemade mac and cheese. My stomach was really upset and I choked down half my dinner. I kept thinking "could this be the night?" And wanted to have energy to make it through labor if it was. I started having contractions when I laid down for bed around 930, and they did not feel like Braxton Hicks. They felt real. But they were only coming every 20 minutes and I was able to sleep between them. I slept on the couch for part of the night because I was afraid of waking the Hubs. I wanted him to be well rested in case we needed to go the hospital.

Monday morning, I told him I was going to walk a couple laps in the driveway to see if I could speed things along after breakfast. So I walked about 20 minutes and the contractions stopped. I felt fine otherwise, and decided to go ahead and go to work. I had some contractions throughout the day, but they weren't as strong as the ones I had overnight and weren't coming at regular intervals. For lunch, a coworker and I went to the fair again, as I had this feeling I wouldn't be making another trip. I had a huge corndog and cookies & cream mini donuts. Think: funnel cake made into donuts about the diameter of an oreo, then coated with white frosting and crunched up oreos. I ate the entire thing (and REALLY) wanted a glass of milk afterward. 

Monday afternoon, I called my OB's office. Sunday night, the contractions had stopped when I started moving around or snacked, but on Monday at work, I would have a contraction every time I started moving. Get up to go to the printer? Contraction. Go to the bathroom? Contraction. The nurse told me the best thing was to keep moving when they started, to help labor progress, but to not move so much as to wear myself out so that I would still have energy for labor. 
Cookies and cream mini donuts

I didn't walk Freddy that day or go to the gym. Instead I went to TJ Maxx and shopped and walked down nearly every aisle. I wanted to be moving but not at a strenuous pace, and I was leary of walking laps in the driveway knowing it would be two hours until the Hubs came home. I didn't want to collapse in labor pain in the driveway. When I got home I watered all the fruit trees. Again, low energy, but still moving. 

For dinner, I made cheeseburgers with diced onions and jalapenos in them and homemade french fries. The burgers weren't spicy at all, even though I used 4 jalapenos for a pound of meat. I also ate a pretty good sized tomato. I was stuffed when I got up from the table and was shocked how hungry I was compared to the previous evening. I snapped a quick 41-week photo before hopping in the shower.  
41 weeks, 2 days
Again, I laid down to read and unwind before bedtime, about 830pm, and the contractions started. I started timing them again and they were coming every 2 to 8 minutes and lasting for about 45 seconds. My OB had told me to head to the hospital when the contractions were 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute, for at least an hour. I figured labor would progress pretty quickly. (Boy was I wrong!) I showed the Hubs my contraction counter app and told him we would probably head for the hospital sometime during the night. I told him to sleep and I would wake him when the contractions were coming per the OB's times. I went to the couch to rest between contractions, and when a contraction hit, I would get up and walk around the living room. This was partly to keep my mind off the pain because sitting through a contraction was torturous. Around 230am, the Hubs got up to eat a snack. I had called the OB floor at the hospital about an hour earlier and told them my contractions were about a minute long, but still spaced 2 to 7 minutes apart, and that they had been like that for about 4 hours. She told me to labor at home as long as I could comfortably, and that she expected they would see me sometime that night. I told the Hubs he should go ahead and eat his snack, and think about going to the bathroom and getting dressed. I thought it was about time to leave for the hospital. He was ready in lightning fast speed, and we were off! It didn't occur to me until that point that I would have to sit through the contractions on the way to the hospital. In the 25 minute ride, I had at least 5 contractions. 

On the way down the driveway, it also occurred to me that the next time I was home, I would be a parent. I would no longer be responsible for just me. I would be sustaining a life outside my womb. What an overwhelming thought!

When we checked into the hospital around 3 am, I was 9 days overdue. I expected to have baby girl by mid-afternoon at the latest. 
Around 6am the contractions became more than I could bear and I asked for an epidural. It was about 8 am before the anesthesiologist got to me. The epidural left me immobile, and so I also had a catheter inserted and IV fluids started. Once the drugs kicked in, I could feel pressure from the abdomen down, but could not feel pain. My right leg went completely numb; I could not feel it at all and could only move my toes. I was unable to move my right leg without assisting it. My left leg was tingly, like it was asleep with pins and needles, and I was still able to move it. After the epidural, the contractions seemed to decrease in intensity and frequency. I was able to doze. In an effort to keep things moving, the nurses would rotate me from side to side every 30 minutes. This was to help baby girl get in the birth canal. At one point, I agreed to try pelvic rocking, which involved me turning around in the bed, with the back inclined nearly 90 degrees, and rocking. But with my right leg not moving, that did not work very well. I was laughing throughout the entire attempt because I felt like a fish flapping out of water. Even with a nurse on each side, I couldn't keep my leg upright. 

At about 3pm, my contractions still hadn't sped back up, so my water was manually broken. I didn't want to be on Pitocin, so the nurse gave my body a couple hours to respond to my water breaking. I don't know if it was because of the epidural, but the contractions would not get more intense or frequent. The Pitocin was started sometime that evening, not much to start with, and increased every couple hours when the contractions seemed to level off again. 

At 5 am on September 10, I was finally nearly fully dilated, except for a small rim on one side that was stuck on baby girl's head. The nurse could feel the top of her head and informed me that she had a full head of hair. I started pushing with each contraction at 5 am. The nurse was also confident that baby girl was oriented incorrectly - instead of being face down in the birth canal she was face up. Around 7 am, my OB/Gyn arrived for delivery. The nurses and doctor kept telling me about her hair and how close she was getting with each push; at one point I asked them to bring in a mirror. I was amazed how much more motivated I was to bring her into this world once seeing the top of her head. 

At 7:55 am on Wednesday, September 10, our baby girl was born. In the final push her entire body came out. I guess I expected one push for her head and several for her body. But once her head came out, everyone encouraged me to keep pushing and she came out. She was momentarily placed on my chest. In that moment, I was so overwhelmed with joy and was crying, but I was also laughing because she had a severe conehead from being pushed out the birth canal for 3 hours. (I was told later that 3 hours of pushing is typical for a face-up delivery, and that some OB/Gyns won't even deliver if the baby is in that orientation because it takes so long.) The nurses took her to the other side of the room to clean her up and do some quick testing. It took several minutes longer than the Hubs and I were expecting. She had mucus in her lungs, and they wanted to take her to the nursery for oxygen treatments. They were afraid she wasn't taking in enough air. They expected to return her to my room around noon. This was quite scary, as we had initially been told that our baby would stay with us from the beginning, and that she would be placed naked on my bare chest and allowed to nurse at her own whim. 

Baby girl responded well to the oxygen and they were able to suction mucus out of her lungs that was causing her difficulty in breathing. She was returned to our room around 930 am. Such a sigh of relief, except I could not get her to nurse. It took quite a while of trying, and finally a nipple shield, before she would nurse. My nipples were so large (partly because that's how they are,  partly because the epidural and IV caused me to retain water and swell.)

The Hubs, whispering secrets to his baby girl
Baby girl swaddled. Mom - does the hat look familiar?
We were given the choice of staying another day or being discharged on Thursday. So we had more time to recover, take advantage of all the assistance from the nurses and lactation consultant, and the meals being prepared for both of us, we stayed until Friday.

Friday, the Hubs took a load of belongings out to the car and discovered one of our tires was flat. It was the front passenger side, and he said he wouldn't have noticed except that someone put a note under the windshield wiper (not because he's oblivious to these things, but because he didn't walk on that side of the car). He tried to put the spare tire on so he could drive to the tire shop, but it was low on air, too. So my MiL came in and took him to the tire shop. He ended up buying a new tire because there was a nail in the tire. Just our luck (thank goodness) that we didn't have a blowout on the drive in to the hospital on Monday night!

Baby girl was awake the entire ride home and didn't cry a bit. 

Monday we had our first pediatrician appointment. Baby A  is on track currently for the number of diapers and feedings each day. She weighed in at 7 lb 7 oz, so she is still a little below birth weight. We go back tomorrow for a weight check. (In the meantime, she is getting longer feedings. Momma doesn't want to feed formula!) She is still 21" long (even though her conehead has decreased - I can't tell that she used to have an elogated head, but I look at her everyday...) 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

To my Baby Kangaroo - 9.7.14

We are 41 weeks today and are really ready to meet you! I've walked nearly every day this week, if not at the gym then several laps in the driveway. (From our front door to the highway and back is .3 miles.) I had some contractions last Monday evening that were stronger than the typical Braxton Hicks I've experienced, and they came with back pain and I was able to time them every 20 minutes. I figured it would be a long night, so I laid down to rest and ended up falling asleep between contractions... When I woke up they had stopped. Guess you weren't ready to make an appearance yet!

On Wednesday, we had a non-stress test. The test was supposed to take about 20 minutes. My appointment was after lunch and you usually move around after lunch. Which was necessary for the test. The doctor hooked a contraction monitor and a fetal heart rate monitor around my belly and gave me a clicker. Whenever you moved, I was supposed to click the button. Except you didn't move at all for the first 20 minutes. Even after they gave me a cold Coke to drink, you didn't move much. An hour and a half later, you had only moved about 10 times, but your heart rate responded like it was supposed to so the doctor was satisfied that you weren't under any stress staying inside. Of course, right after I left the doctor's office you were active for the next hour... On the plus side, I got to take home a strip of paper with your heartbeat on it for your baby book.

Symptoms this week:
- Increased hunger - I've been waking up in the middle of the night and eating a mug of cereal because I've been so hungry. Maybe my body is storing extra energy for labor???
- Still peeing at least 3x a night and nearly every hour during the day...
- Increased Braxton Hicks contractions, all day long, and even when I get up in the night to pee.

Today, your dad and I are going to the Fair to walk around and eat carnival food for lunch. If you don't arrive today, this will probably not be my only fair lunch this week. I'm looking forward to corn dogs and king taters with the girls for lunch. I was actually thinking the fair would be your first outing but you didn't arrive when expected, so you'll experience the fair second hand this year.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

To My Baby Kangaroo - 8.31.14

Today is your due date. You don't know me yet, but I'm not a very patient person. Waiting is not something I do well. When given a deadline, I stick to it. So waiting for you to arrive has been torturous because I'm not really sure when you'll get here. Your room is ready, our bags are packed, and now we just wait. ...

I have read several articles about how to naturally induce labor, because I don't want to be induced with Pitocin. Several women I've spoken with say it is not a good experience, even with an epidural. I don't like the idea of my body being forced to open up and push you out if you're not ready. At my appointment last Monday, the doctor said if you aren't here by this week's appointment we will have a nonstress test. They'll hook a fetal heart rate monitor around my belly and I'm supposed to push a clicker when you move. Then they check to see how your heart rate reacts when you move. If we pass the test, then I guess you get to hang out a little longer. The doctor asked last week if I wanted to be induced, and I couldn't tell if he was joking or not. He said he is on vacation this week and I would like to be around to deliver you. I don't think the doctor's vacation plans are a good medical reason to induce, so I told him I'd rather wait for you to arrive. Last week I was about 2 cm dilated.

One of the ways to encourage labor is walking. But I've been walking my entire pregnancy so I wonder if that is why it doesn't seem to have an effect?

My symptoms:
- tired in the afternoons
- my toes get a little pudgy in late afternoons, but if I walk around it subsides. It is also worse if I forget to drink enough water.
- back and hip pain, even in the morning. I was feeling better after sleeping, but I guess with getting up 3 times a night to pee, I'm not laying still long enough to feel better?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

To My Baby Kangaroo - 8.24.14

Week 39.

I honestly wasn't expecting to still be pregnant at this point. I thought for sure you'd arrive several weeks early. You've shown me!
I alternate between thinking "How am I still pregnant? I'm ready to meet my baby!" and "Sweet; I'm still pregnant! I have energy to work in the garden today!" No, I'm not joking, that's really what goes through my head.

Symptoms this week:
- Braxton Hicks, but mainly during and after exercise, and when I forget to drink enough fluids
- You are still kicking a lot a couple hours after I eat, and I notice a lot more in the evening when I'm relaxing on the couch after dinner.
- frequent night peeing - at least 3 times each night
- My hips/pelvis have not hurt as much this week. I think because you have moved down and are putting pressure in a different area.

On another note...We bought our current mattress 8 years ago, and recently noticed the areas where we sleep have deep indentations. I called the place where we bought it, and the mattress has a 10 year warranty. So we did all the paperwork and ordered a new mattress, which will come in this Friday. (Woot woot!) The Hubs is kind of freaking out that my water is going to break in the middle of the night. We can't have any new stains on the mattress from when we took pictures for the warranty paperwork. So we've discussed me sleeping on a trash bag, but I just can't handle sleeping on something crinkly right now! I already don't get enough sleep and if I have to hear a trash bag every time I roll over I really won't get any sleep!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

My Growing Belly

Just for fun...
Week 5

Week 10

Week 15

Week 20

Week 25

Week 30

Week 35

Week 36

Week 37
I usually take the weekly photo on Monday, so I haven't taken week 38 yet...

Saturday, August 16, 2014

To My Baby Kangaroo - 8.17.14

Week 38!

This week you are probably between 6-1/2 and 7 pounds. Your organs are mostly mature, but your brain is still developing and will continue to do so even after birth.
This week I'm pretty sure you "dropped". The ladies at work noticed too; the bowling ball on my frontside seems to be sitting lower. Which means I am able to eat more at one sitting, but also peeing about every 30-45 minutes. And my middle back is starting to hurt.

Symptoms this week:
- increased hunger
- peeing more frequently
- backache
- Friday evening I experienced cankles for the first time. I came home from work and grocery shopping and noticed my ankles and calves were all one width and I couldn't see my ankle bones! I propped up my feet for awhile and the swelling subsided.
- frequent Braxton Hicks contractions, especially after exercising. They were so frequent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evening after exercising that I finally conceded and put my hospital bag in my car, just in case I go into labor at work!
- baby girl has hiccups several times a day that last for about five minutes each time. They are funny to experience because my belly starts bouncing and an interval
- at last Monday's doctor's appointment I was dilated about 1 cm. I have another appointment tomorrow mid-morning.
- my belly is too big for me to fit in the weight machines, and lifting anything that requires my abs to flex is really uncomfortable. I stopped lifting weights in the last couple weeks and now am only walking on the treadmill.

As selfish as it sounds... I am glad baby girl has waited to make her arrival. It's given us the opportunity to harvest and put by a lot of produce from our garden. If she had arrived a week or two ago, all that produce would have stayed on the plants and rotted (unless I could convince some family to come harvest and can or freeze for us). I've made several batches of relish, peach salsa, frozen 20+ packages of bell and banana pepper slices for fajitas this winter, several packages of seeded and stemmed jalapenos, several packages of green beans (I didn't have enough to make a full pressure canner so I blanched and vacuum sealed them), and well over 30 quarts of crushed tomatoes and tomato juice. This weekend I am working on tomato sauce/paste and another round of peach salsa.
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