Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hell Yeah

After considering just not showing up, begging my body to get 'er done, and fantasizing about how rebellious I could be, I finally just gave in and decided to see how everything went. We had a solid plan for Kaylee care, so I knew that wouldn't be stressing me out as much as something last minute, and really Eric and I were ready for Hazel to arrive.

I showed up in labor and delivery at 6:30am as instructed, only for the registration lady to say "Oh, you were signed up for 7:30. Well, that's Ferrucci for you."

Thanks, Doc. I was anxious anyway and had woken up at 4 am to pee and just couldn't get back to sleep anyway. It was good I didn't need to delay the inevitable.

They did another ultrasound to confirm she was still head down and got my IV started for the pitocin. I was unhappy I was being given fluids and tried to get the resident to just let me drink and stay hydrated that way. Nope. Ice chips. I stared him down and took a drink of water and he backed away slowly, saying "I think I just lost. I'm not sure what I lost. But I lost..." Either way, Joanne came in later and said that pitocin needs to be diluted anyway, hence the fluids. Well gee, if the resident had said that BEFORE....  She got a chuckle out of the encounter.

Eric kept me in good spirits too, especially after he accurately described Ferrucci as Michael Cerra. IT'S SO TRUE!

Anyway, pit was started around 8 am and contractions didn't start immediately but when they did they were super mild and about 4 minutes apart. I had been told that it would increase by a unit every hour and I got grumpy when they popped me up to a 2 after only 45 minutes and then a 4 45 minutes after that. Ferrucci came in to talk to me about the game plan and immediately was talking membrane rupture, which I didn't want to do artificially. I don't like being on a timer. However, upon consideration, I realized that usually membrane rupture means labor gets going in earnest (even if that wasn't true my first time through) and it might mean that they wouldn't increase the pitocin, which was my bigger hope. I made sure to call in my doula at this point.

When Ferrucci broke my water at 12:25pm I was 3.5cm dilated and 70% effaced. Some progress from when I started, but not nearly enough.  As soon as my water broke, hell broke loose. Contractions got VERY strong, very quickly. Pitocin was at 8 units at this point and did not increase the rest of my labor. The doula and Eric together were invaluable to help me cope. I was everywhere, on the bed, on the ball, on the toilet, standing. I didn't want to stand/squat because my legs were shaking so much from the pitocin contractions that I didn't trust myself to remain standing during one. It was hard to remember to relax. Before my water was broken, my contraction strength on pitocin alone were what I recalled from transition with my non medicated labor with Kaylee.

A lot of low, deep vocalization helped, and doing semi-lunges on the birth ball. I definitely threw up,  a lot and could only think that when I was throwing up with Kaylee I was in transition but there was no way I was in transition at that point with Hazel. Total denial. Even the doula was telling me transition, but I don't think I wanted to get my hopes up. At the peak of transition I could feel my cervix opening, it pinched and was a different kind of pain from my uterus. Totally crazy weird. Apparently when I got up from the birth ball to use the toilet I had had my bloody show. Joanne said to look for it, it meant I was around 7 cm dilated. I kept trying to pee while on the toilet, but every time I was ready to get the stream going, a contraction would start and I couldn't do it.

It was getting really hard for me to relax between and save my strength. Tiffany (doula) suggested I try laying on my side on the bed. I was hoping it would help reduce the pain. No luck. At this point I was begging for it all to be over. In my head I was seriously thinking that an epidural might not be a bad idea at this point. In contractions I was feeling better when I bore down and kind of pushed, but again was convincing myself it was all in my head and just a frantic urge to have it all be over.

There started to be a lot of activity in the room and Joanne came in to do a cervical check, my second the whole day. I was at an 8/9. Wait. What?! Hearing that, and then hearing Tiffany describe how there was a ton more activity in the room, they were bringing in the warmer and were gowning up, it helped bolster me. I could handle this a little bit longer.  Joanne wanted me to switch sides I was on because I was more dilated on one side due to how I was laying. She told me, just a couple of contractions on the other side. The pit was turned down to 4.

I dutifully switched. I was hanging onto the bed bars like they could save me and had my eyes squeezed shut. Bearing down kept feeling better and better.

I couldn't tell you exactly what made me do it, but I had a REALLY big urge to be on my hands and knees. I was convinced that was going to be a better position to handle the contractions. I wanted the damn hospital gown OFF.

Being on my hands and knees, those contractions changed. I was still bearing down through them, but instead of my whole lower belly just aching and aching, I felt like I needed to poop. I even announced it, "I'm pooping..."  and several people, nurse, doula, midwife, all responded, "No that's a baby."  Joanne had me stick my ass in the air like a modified child's pose in yoga. I complied, no fucks were being given at that point, and she did one last cervix check. I very ferally screamed at her into a pillow because it FUCKING HURT and I had no idea what she was doing. Apparently she was stretching one tiny lip of cervix out of the way during a contraction.

Then, each contraction, I was pushing and I could feel Hazel moving down and feel myself stretching out. It's the darnedest thing. And as before, it felt so fucking good. It felt like worthwhile effort. And it was kind of crazy because it was a bit automatic, kind of like when you start throwing up and you're stuck in a vicious cycle of heaving one after the other. I would push, and need to push again and push again. But I could feel her coming and oh that gave me strength.

I did get the ring of fire this time as I stretched. Joanne cautioned me to watch it, to not go too fast. So I tried to push with less frantic energy, to control how much. I could feel myself stretch and was torn between getting her head out or preserving my vagina and vulva. Somehow, both won out. Her head came, and then she needed to turn and her shoulders stretched me again but not nearly as much. Then the rest of her body and it was slippery relief. Adrenaline just coursed through me and I was shaking.

Eric helped me rip the rest of the gown off as we carefully maneuvered me onto my back without getting tangled up in the still pulsing umbilical cord. Amniotic fluid poured out onto the bed, but I wasn't bleeding. Kaylee was handed to me and I snuggled her while we waited for the cord to pulse. Eric said her face was blue when she was crowning but she pinked right up, scoring 8/8 for Apgar. She had a set of lungs that she made use of right away.

Eric cut the cord once it pulsed down and I let Hazel go be measured and weighed immediately so I could have uninterrupted snuggle time. They cleaned up all the puppy pads and I delivered my placenta. It was complete with no pieces left inside and the nurse brought me warmed blankets for my legs. I was shivering and shaking still. I was told to not fight it, just let it happen, otherwise it would last longer.

Hazel came back. She looks a little like her big sister did, but with the old man bags under her eyes and not nearly as plump, vorpal cheeks as Kaylee had. I think Eric and I were both hoping for more vorpal cheeks. LOL

Hazel Ophelia 8 lb 2.9 oz, 20 3/4 inches long. Bigger than her sister was

We declined a bath and erythromycin for her eyes but she did get her Vitamin K shot and Hep B. I snuggled her for a bit and DAMN that kid had head control immediately! She was bobbing for boob from the start and latched beautifully on both sides.

Eric snuggled her and I got up to pee and take a shower. The bathroom looked like a murder scene when I was finished, LOL.

Very relieved and happy to be done. Elated that I fucking did pitocin with no pain meds, holy fuck

After the shower was more snuggles and Eric alerted family with pictures and text. She was born at 3:46 pm and we invited family over anytime after 6pm.  Both of us ordered dinner from room service and that felt amazing to eat. I had stuffed shells and chocolate cake. I was famished.

Big sister Kaylee holding Hazel for the first time

Grandma and Hazel

When Kaylee came in she was so excited! She gave me a hug and immediately wanted to see Hazel and hold her. She was so gentle and just genuinely happy. She was less happy when she found out that I would not be going home with her that night.

We had a ton of people in the room for around an hour. Grandma and her husband, step sister Olivia and her boyfriend Rahul (they brought us an edible arrangement, which I personally believe was the best idea ever) and Elyse and Brandon who brought Kaylee.

I just chilled, Hazel got passed around a bit and soon everyone headed out. Eric took Kaylee home and I was left at the hospital with Hazel.

It was a bit of a rough night, though I don't know what Eric could have done. I just tried to sleep when I could. Hazel was taken for her hearing screen at midnight so I slept while she was gone and don't remember her being brought back, just waking to hear her cry and nursing her. I was naughty and coslept in the hospital bed because I just... couldn't do it any other way. I got my first blood thinner shot at 4:30, a little over 12 hours after birth as planned. As the sun rose, I finally decided to get out the ring sling and wrap Hazel up on me so I could sleep and hold her at the same time. She wanted to look out the window, then she passed out. She likes to look and be upright. I got a little more rest.

So tired

Dressed to go home!

Judy visited with me in the morning, which was nice. There were a few more tests through the day and Hazel needed to be retested for hearing, which was not successful because she likes to snuggle and I wasn't with her. Eric brought Kaylee down after preschool as the plan was that I would be discharged around 4-4:30.  Hazel wasn't brought back until around 5 and then we had to wait for paperwork and patient transport. Transport got mixed up, but eventually we were all on the way home, exhausted and a family of 4.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Troll Body

Tuesday night and early wednesday morning I had timeable contractions that persisted through all the things that I've been taught they'll persist through if it's really labor.

And then I ate breakfast on Wednesday and everything stopped. I had already tapped Eric to stay home so it was nice that he was with me, but it was so frustrating.

I had a bit of a mental breakdown Thursday at the thought of now having so much less time before my induction Monday morning and sent a panicked message to my midwife, who never actually saw it before I was able to talk to her in person on Friday.

Having the induction puts restrictions on me that I do NOT WANT. I have to be constantly monitored, I think they're going to want me to have IV fluids in addition to pitocin, which I do NOT WANT. I can handle the pitocin, I just want to be able to hydrate myself. I might be restricted to ice chips only, which is a fuckery beyond imagine because you need energy to deal with labor and if I can't even have clear fluids (which is a minor enough fuckery to me) that's just bullshit on all levels and I'm just being set up to fail.

I'm planning on bringing in food anyway. Because fuck those policies. Especially  now that the American Society of Anesthesiologists recommends a light meal in labor and not the fasting that was previously pushed.

"A light meal could include fruit, light soups, toast, light sandwiches (no large slices of meat), juice and water."

The cherry on the fucking top is after having some awesome sex last night (I'm beyond caring about TMI at this point) I woke up early in very timeable, very painful contractions that were around 4 minutes apart, lasting for a minute. I started timing them to get to the hour mark and right at the hour mark they started spacing out. And then I was just exhausted from getting up early (and I had eaten at that point)  so I laid down and they fucking disappeared entirely.

I got a nice nap in though. But I was pissed off.

So I went across the street to the high school and walked a mile. Goddammit body, stop fucking with me and just get it done with already. 

I did snuggle with my pony.

And then I walked.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


I'm 40 weeks pregnant as of Sunday and had my series of appointments yesterday down at the hospital. Induction was discussed and I had a second sweep. That evening I tried two sessions of nipple stimulation with my breast pump and lo and behold, contractions started up and didn't stop, even through a bath.   I went to bed last night, moderately hopeful.

I didn't get much sleep, maybe 5 hours, and contractions have been continuing this morning so I'm reasonably sure I'm in early labor. We'll see how much faster this labor is from Kaylee's. I'm not anywhere near hospital intensity yet, or even needing support from someone else and contractions are nearly close together enough in frequency.

Kaylee finds my breast pump fascinating

Still doing my chores

Saffron has become very friendly

Yay selfies!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Still Pregnant

Everything looks great. My body is definitely getting ready to go but I'm not quite there yet. I'm doing everything I can that old wives tales suggests. I should go on a long walk in addition, but I figure I'm so busy every day that that should count.

Hazel is FINALLY in the most ideal position, which is awesome, so now all that's left is for labor to start.

I'm generally achy, which I think is a good sign. In fact, as I'm writing this I'm having a random contraction. Now for them to get regular! Midwife is hopeful, my mom is hopeful, Eric is hopeful.

Mom and I have been making freezer meals for after Hazel is here. So far we have several meals worth of manicotti, two breakfasts worth of blueberry pumpkin french toast and we'll have some portions of a ground turkey sweet potato chili. My house smells amazing.

And my mom is a rockstart, even if little things annoy me sometimes. She's helped me get on top of laundry, clean and everything.  Kaylee is having a blast having her here and I get some downtime when I'm just tuckered out. My sleep is all off and while I'm getting some longer stretches (yay coughing got nearly fixed!) I'm waking up too goddamn early. I won't tell you what time, because you working types will laugh at me. But I seriously need my normal schedule and I'm not getting it.

The zantac and inhaler combo seem to have REALLY worked well! Of course this morning I woke up with more sinus pressure with a returned cold so that sucked, but I'm stuffing myself full of fluids and elderberry syrup on the offchance that the woo works. But my coughing is significantly reduced.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Health Stuff, frank TMI stuff. Read if you definitely want to never get pregnant

So I've had this cough that wouldn't quit. It's been getting worse, keeping me up at night hacking away. A couple nights ago I ended up sleeping upright on the couch because laying down just wasn't going to happen. It's been hell. I've been bringing it up at every appointment, but they listen to my lungs, say I'm clear and it's just an upper respiratory infection and it'll eventually go away.

Then, this past weekend, I started getting breathless again. My mother in law is a nurse and came over yesterday to help us finish the tiling project. She took a listen and heard rattling and tightness. I called the nurse line and between the two of them made the decision to go to the ER. I was worried that having a less than effective cough meant I was potentially at risk for pneumonia.

I drove myself in around 6 pm. After my last trip to the ER I decided to pack a bag *just in case*.  I wasn't sure what the outcome would be, but I'm glad I was prepared. I was, thankfully, over prepared!

As soon as the ER doctors heard of my previous history with the pulmonary embolisms they pulled blood to check for coagulability and effectiveness of the heparin that I'm now on. It was not working at therapeutic levels like it should be. Because the breathlessness was acute (i.e. happened recently and not slowly) I ended up getting another CT scan.

After that I was sent up to Labor and Delivery because I'm 38 weeks pregnant to wait for the scan results.

Scan came back clear. Even for pneumonia, but definitely for new clots, which was GOOD!

I had a NST (non stress test) done on Hazel and she passed with flying colors. They even picked up two minor contractions I had. The nurse asked if I thought I had contractions, my answer "one or two minor ones, like braxton hicks" and she nodded happily and said I'd had two. So yay!

My midwife was on call and she came in as well to check on me, which was really nice. I LOVE this lady. Seriously. I was a huge fan of the midwives I had in Washington and I'm so glad I found a provider here in Michigan that I get along with just as well. She never fails to put me at ease. She brought in an ultrasound and we got the BEST NEWS OF THE NIGHT!

Hazel is head down! She's sunny side up, which means back labor if she tries to get out in her current position, but hell, I'd take back labor over breech! I've been trying nearly everything under the sun to get this kid to flip around. I've been avoiding reclining positions, I've been on my hands and knees, sitting up straight, laying on an incline with my head at the bottom, anything to open up my pelvis and make room for her. I even went to a chiropractor and was on the verge of making an acupuncture appointment!

I wasn't ever admitted, and was discharged at 1 am. I got to go home and sleep in my own bed, thanks to the assistance of a benadryl. And then promptly peed myself coughing because my bladder was so full when I woke up and the pad I used from the hospital was crappy and barely caught anything.

Kaylee was happy to see me and we started the morning off with a nice hour long soak in the big tub. We're getting snow off and on this week, so it was extra cozy to be in the warm water.

I'm happy to be home, I just wish I had a magic potion I could drink that would take the damn cough away. Because I still have that. Guh.

Tuesday I had my regularly scheduled midwife appointment. Hazel is still head down! Blood pressure is awesome, no signs of Pre-E. I got a copy of the report from the CT scan to bring to my primary doc since they're not in the hospital system, but then, my next appointment with the specialist and they were ON THE BALL. I walked out of there with an inhaler and a supply of zantac.  What I suspected, and what the doctor thought was happening, was that the acid reflux from pregnancy was irritating my esophagus at night when I laid down to sleep. The irritation was making me cough, and that combined with a few colds, revived my dormant asthma.

AND, and this was cool to learn, people who have asthma quite literally have thicker mucous than those who don't. So it's harder to cough up and clear your lungs (in addition to have bronchiole restrictions). So I've been in this negative feedback loop for two fucking months, no wonder it's not getting better! And no wonder the breathing treatment I got at the ER helped me feel a bit better for a short while (until I laid down).

So the zantac is to better control the acid reflux (so long, Tums!), and the inhaler is to help manage the asthma. I'm hoping this will help me get over the current cold I have (seen on the CT scan, and exactly where Judy heard crackling when she listened two days prior) and I'm on order to not eat anything 2 hours before bed to help with the reflux.

Otherwise, I'm a go for labor any time and it looks like the MFM will want to induce around 41 weeks which I'm hoping doesn't need to happen, and I'll push for 42 because I'm like that.

Monday I had a final prenatal visit with my doula and that went really well. We're pretty much prepped for labor to start anytime.

My mom flies in on Saturday and I'm hoping I go into labor while she visits just so having someone to watch over Kaylee will be a non issue and I can focus on Hazel.