Meeting Henry

It took me awhile to write this post since I didn’t want to leave anything out. It is pretty lengthy, so thanks for bearing with me!

It all started on the way home from the annual “Friendsgiving” party we have with our friends. I was 39 weeks, 5 days pregnant and ready to pop, and I started having contractions on the drive back to our house.

I was pretty sure this was the real deal, so I called the nurse hotline to confirm when they would want us to go to the hospital. We were told to wait until the contractions were less than six minutes apart for at least two straight hours, then to call back for further instructions.

Geoff started helping me time my contractions using a worksheet we had gotten at one of our classes, but what I really found useful was an iPhone app called “Full Term” that times your contractions for you and gives you averages on how far apart they are an how long they last. All I had to do was push start and stop.

My contractions were sort of all over the place, ranging from 5  to 20 minutes apart and lasting around 20-30 seconds each, so around 10 p.m. we decided to go to bed and try and get some sleep in preparation for what was coming. Geoff fell right to sleep, while I squirmed through my contractions for an hour before exhaustion overcame me. Even then I was only able to sleep for a little over an hour and I was waking up every four to six minutes from the contractions getting stronger and stronger.

When I couldn’t take laying in bed waiting anymore, I got up and decided to take a shower in case I wasn’t able to take one later on. After that I rounded up the last few hospital bag items we needed and got ready to head into the hospital. I called the nurse hotline again around 3:00 a.m. (after two hours of timing my contractions to be less than six minutes apart) and was told to come to the hospital as soon as we were able.

So I woke up Geoff who had been sleeping for about four hours, he took a shower and I dried my hair (it was only about 18 degrees outside), we fed the cat and headed into the hospital. I was so uncomfortable and tired that I barely remember the drive.

We got checked into the hospital, then just waited around for about an hour until the doctor came to make her rounds and to confirm that we were going to be staying for the delivery and not sent home to wait it out. In the meantime, Geoff decided to open the blinds in our room and we were surprised to see that there was a mini blizzard going on outside!

Henry's first snow

Once the doctor confirmed we were going to stay (I was at dilated to 4 cm by this point), we were walked through all the paperwork, including the epidural risks/consent. This was all supposed to be “before labor gets too bad.”

Contractions were pretty manageable at this pointI also got my IV all hooked up, which I had been dreading. I asked for some numbing cream so at least I wouldn’t feel most of it, and the nurse was happy to oblige. That’s when she told me that she normally worked the day shift and was just filling in for someone that night. She said since it was nearing the end of her shift she was starting to get really tired. Just what you want to hear from someone who is about to shove a giant needle into you! Luckily she grabbed another nurse to actually put in my IV since she realized she might not have been the best person for the job. So this new nurse comes in and tries to put the IV into one of the two spots where I had the numbing cream. Even with the cream it still hurt pretty bad, so I was NOT HAPPY when she told me she didn’t get it in because I had “tough skin.” She then decided she didn’t want to try the other numb spot on my hand and tried for a spot further up my wrist. This one hurt like a you-know-what. And guess what? IT STILL DIDN’T WORK. At this point I was clearly unhappy, so someone grabbed a THIRD nurse to try to put in the IV. This lady was my angel, since she used a numb spot and got it in on the first try.

At this point my water hadn’t broken on its own, so my doctor planned on breaking it for me when she came for rounds over the lunch hour. I was okay with this, since my contractions were strong but manageable. Geoff helped me breathe through each one. What really helped was having him watch them on the monitor and actually tell me when he could see that each one was going away. That way I knew the pain was about to go away. The weird part was that in between each contraction I felt completely fine. Tired, but not uncomfortable.

When the doctor arrived she came in and checked me. I was making progress and was dilated to 6 cm! She had me lay back in between contractions and broke my water, which didn’t feel like anything at all other than wet. They started putting my bed back in the upright position, and on the way up I felt instantly nauseous. I told the nurse I thought I was going to throw up, and she grabbed me a barf bag just in time. Luckily I hadn’t eaten since Friendsgiving, so there wasn’t anything in my stomach but water. The weird part was that I wasn’t having a contraction at the time, so I wasn’t in any pain. I mentioned it to the nurse and she said it is because I probably had a major cervical change right after they broke my water. Turns out the baby dropped from -2 to almost +2 instantly, which is what caused the vomiting. This whole water-breaking process only took about 30 seconds, and they told me that now that my water was broken I could start to push as soon as I was dilated to 10 cm.

The contractions were fairly strong at this point, but I was still able to get through them. I asked the nurse if they would get much worse, because if this was the strongest they would be and they were only going to get more frequent then I could probably stick it out and do a natural childbirth. About 10 seconds later I started having a horrible contraction that was way worse than anything I had felt yet. I only lasted through one more of those before I asked for an epidural.

The anesthesiologist came in pretty quickly (I later found out we were the only ones in the labor and delivery ward at that point) and asked me to sit up and dangle my legs off the edge of the bed, round my shoulders and push my lower back out toward him. He called this “the position.” In order to accomplish this, my bed had to be raised up off the floor so my feet wouldn’t touch the ground. I was pretty nervous about the giant needle, but it turns out that the feet dangling part was the hardest. I must have been using my feet to take some of the pressure out of the contractions, because as soon as my feet left the ground the pain was intensified again. This time the contraction was so strong that I started vomiting again and I wasn’t able to get into “the position.” They warned me earlier that the whole epidural process would take around 10-15 minutes, which for me was a blur of contractions and quite possibly the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. Apparently the anesthesiologist did mine really fast, so I guess it is good that it didn’t last longer than it did.

It took awhile for the epidural to kick in, but when it did my legs were completely numb. The weird part was that I could still wiggle my toes even though I couldn’t feel them. Since the baby was so low already I also had an incredible amount of pressure going on “down below,” which wasn’t painful but was so strong that it was really hard for me to breathe through the contractions.

I don’t remember how many contractions I had before they told me I could start pushing, but it can’t have been many. The nurse grabbed one of my legs and Geoff grabbed the other, I grabbed behind my thighs and, in the words of my doctor, I tried to “push the pressure away.” Geoff told me later that watching me push through those contractions was the worst part for him. I couldn’t catch my breath after each one, so I probably sounded terrible. I was pushing for around thirty minutes before little Henry was born.

Once Henry’s head was out, the doctor told me to look down, but I still couldn’t see anything. Geoff didn’t look at that point either. It wasn’t until Henry was about 3/4 of the way out that we both saw our son for the first time. They plonked him on my chest and started cleaning him up right away, though I was surprised at how clean he was. In my head he was going to be all gory and gross, but that wasn’t the case at all.

IMG_0184

Little man didn’t pink up right away so they took him from my chest pretty quickly and put him on the warmer. He got an APGAR score of 8 (both times) because he was still a little blue. Luckily that didn’t last long and Henry was able to come back and hang out with his mommy and daddy for the rest of the day. His grandmas and grandpas, uncles and aunts came to visit him right away, and it was clear by how full our room was that Henry is already a much-loved little boy. We couldn’t be happier to bring him home with us on his due date, Wednesday, November 27, 2013.

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Week 39: BabyWatch 2013 Begins…

Seven days until D-Day and I’m still pregnant. I’ve reached the point where if I call someone the first thing out of their mouth is, “Is this baby coming?!” The good part about this is that people answer my calls no matter when/where they are, but are quickly disappointed when I am just calling to say hello or to have them send me a recipe or something.

At least I’m not alone. This week’s email from Pregnant Chicken says, “It’s right around this time that there’s a slooow shift from you being perceived as a glowing woman that is creating life, into a fat husk that’s hoarding that adorable baby they all want to see.” (By the way, if you’re pregnant, definitely subscribe to the weekly emails she sends out – they are awesome and hilarious.)

Remember when I had ankles?

Remember when I had ankles?

Not much is new this week. I’m still uncomfortable and not sleeping very well. My feet look like sausages half the time and my fingers are so swollen I can’t wear my wedding rings. Geoff put a pillow under our mattress so my feet are elevated while I sleep, and that has really been helping a lot.

We had our weekly doctor appointment on Monday, and we did another blood draw to check on my low platelet count. I’m at 135 now, so they have gone up slightly since last time, but the important thing is that they are staying steady in the 130s and not dropping near the 100 mark (which is when you have to see a hematologist to determine whether or not you can get an epidural). I think that was my last blood draw until baby comes, so yay for no more needles!

According to the doctor, I’m now 2 centimeters dilated and still 50% effaced, which is not really a change from last week’s appointment. I’m weirdly disappointed that I’m not further along, since I started dilating three weeks ago. I have two more Monday appointments scheduled, so cross your fingers that I’ll either have the baby before I have to go to both of them or that I’ll be further along at the next one so I don’t feel like I’m just waiting for something to happen.

People have started asking me if I’m nervous for labor, and the truthful answer is that I’m really not. Maybe it is because I know I’m in good hands, or because I’m very prepared as to what to expect, or because I can always get an epidural if I can’t handle the pain, or maybe I’m just excited to get this show on the road, but I’m not afraid. I keep expecting a wave of panic to set in, but it never comes. I mean, there’s no point in being afraid anyway, since I can’t really get out of it now!

We’ve had lots of guesses for the date of baby’s arrival. If you’d like to join in you can comment below or send me a message and I’ll add you to the calendar I’ve started.

This week according to What to Expect:

Your baby’s weight and height have probably increased only a little from last week (and your overstretched skin at 39 weeks pregnant is probably grateful for that). But his or her brain is still developing rapidly (a pace that continues during the first three years of life), with changes you’ll be able to recognize firsthand as your baby’s skill-packed bag of tricks expands almost daily. 

Heard that babies cry a lot?  There’s definitely truth to that rumor — as you’ll find out soon enough (and usually during the middle of the night).  But what you may not have heard is that tiny babies don’t produce tiny tears when they cry, since their tear ducts aren’t open for business yet.  While you’ll be consoling your crying baby right from the get-go, it won’t be until sometime after the first month that you’ll be wiping tears off those chubby cheeks.

Your baby’s skin has now finally changed from pink to white (no matter how dark-skinned he or she will be eventually; pigmentation will occur soon following birth). That’s because a thicker fat layer has been deposited over the blood vessels (making your baby’s cheeks —  both kinds — pinchably and kissably round).

Week 38: Baby brain, Pinterest projects and decorating the nursery

We missed Halloween by a few weeks, but our little man is now the size of a pumpkin!

We had our weekly doctor appointment on Monday and found out that I’m 50% effaced and almost 2 cm dilated, so at least some sort of progress is happening even if it is minor. I like the idea that the Braxton Hicks contractions are actually taking care of part of the labor for me. Too bad the entire labor and delivery can’t be this easy!

My doc also said that although my platelet levels are low again that she is not concerned at this point. She is having me do one more blood draw on Monday just to monitor the levels, but she said that since my count has been consistently above 100 I should be fine to get an epidural if I want one.

I’ve been super uncomfortable lately since the baby has dropped (doc says he is head down, so that’s good). I haven’t been able to sleep much at night, and the baby brain has kicked in at full force. I think I actually said, “Wow, look at those pretty trees on that tree,” to Geoff the other day. Words are hard when you are sleep deprived, uncomfortable and 38 weeks pregnant, okay you guys?

We are going to the hospital tonight to do our car seat safety inspection, which will be extremely helpful. I have had the car seat sitting sideways in my car for a few weeks now, which is obviously not the best way to install it. It will be really good to have the professionals show us how it is done and give us the peace of mind that the car seat is installed correctly.

We’ve also been adding some final touches to the nursery, including some of the cute decorations from my shower as well as my first Pinterest project! I bought a bunch of cheap black frames and some cute fabric swatches and just taped the fabric into the frames. The entire project cost less than $100 and I think it turned out pretty good – what do you think?

Eva (our cat) is obsessed with the bird mobile. She thinks it is a toy. She was fixated on the thing for about three hours when we first put it up, then started climbing the crib to try and get it! We had to lock her out of the room but that just caused her to sit outside the door crying and scratching at the door. To get her to stop we had to put some balloons in front of the nursery door to scare her away (because balloons are really scary!). I just hope that the baby loves the mobile as much as the cat! 

That’s about all for now… There are two weeks until my due date, so I’m taking bets on what day our little guy will arrive – let me know what you think in the comments!

This week according to What to Expect:

Your Baby in Week 38 of Pregnancy

Hey, your little one isn’t so little anymore, weighing close to seven pounds and measuring 20 inches long. Fetal development is nearly complete as your baby tends to a few last-minute details like shedding the skin-protecting vernix and lanugo. He’s also producing more surfactant, a substance that prevents the air sacs in his lungs from sticking to one another once he starts to breathe. Most of the changes this week are small but important: He’s continuing to add fat (so he can take advantage of all those photo ops by sporting a round, cute baby look!) and fine-tuning his brain and nervous system (so he can deal with all the stimulation that awaits him once he makes his entrance into the world).

Week 38 Pregnancy Tip: Stocking Your Freezer

Have visions of yourself, newly delivered domestic goddess, whipping up gourmet meals in those postpartum weeks? Dream on. Cooking will be the last thing on your mind or your to-do list during those first few weeks (make that months) after delivery. Trust me, fitting in a three-minute shower will trump it for sure, as will using the bathroom when the urge strikes. To avoid serving Cheerios for dinner on a nightly basis (realistically, there will be nights when you will), plan ahead. Do some cooking and stock your freezer now with individually packaged, simple heat-and-serve options that you (or he!) can get on the table in a flash. Label carefully, so you won’t be left with UFOs (unidentified frozen objects). Good candidates for the freezer include hearty soups, stews, and casseroles, as well as mini–meat loaves. Have the baking itch? Satisfy it, and stash away several trays of bran muffins (don’t ask, you’ll need them). Another plan-ahead tip? If you don’t already have your favorite takeouts on speed dial, now’s a good time to enter them.