Thursday, August 12, 2010

One last post

And it's going to be a long one.

Emma is here. She is nearly two and half weeks old already and I'm starting to emerge (just a little, not a lot) from the haze of the first two weeks. And it's a good thing because she has chosen this time to develop some kind of gas/colic/reflux issue. Not sure which yet. That's fun as a barrel of monkeys let me tell you.

Come to think of it, a barrel of monkeys sounds like a lot of noise and poo so there's more accuracy than sarcasm there than I had intended.

It's amazing how when a baby enters your life, suddenly everything is so very different, yet you can't imagine a time before her or life without her. Giving birth has also exposed a heretofore hidden capacity I have for murder. If anyone ever harmed a hair on this child's head, I could kill that person... slowly, painfully and without regret... 

Here is Emma's birth story, or as much as I remember of it, with the help of The Captain and my mama.

My water broke at 5:30am on Saturday the 24th.  I knew that my doctor’s policy was to call them as soon as this happened and I also knew they would have me come in to the hospital to confirm that my water had broken and then keep me there for the duration.  I wanted to labor at home as long as possible so I didn’t call until 10:30am. They of course told me to come in.

I lagged for most of the rest of the day. The Captain and I went to get sandwiches for lunch at Mattern Deli  ( I had a German salami sandwich which was delicious going down and awful when it later came back up. More on that soon). After that we were going to try to run an errand at Home Depot, so I could walk around a little but after lunch much more action started in my uterine region so we went home to get packed up and head to the hospital.
We drove to Hoag with very little traffic on the 55 (!) and were admitted around 5:00pm on.  A very nice older nurse volunteered to get us all settled in. This included inserting an IV and  unfortunately, I shit you not, she was rather palsied. She actually said to me before she began "You may not want to look, I kind of make a mess of this". The Captain and I stared at each other disbelievingly as she mangled one vein and then another. 
Now I have a problem with needles and blood that is mine being anywhere but inside of my veins and I could feel it rushing in rivulets down my hand and between my fingers as I just stared wide-eyed at my husband who was also looking anywhere but at the the carnage. She asked me after the second try to not 'wiggle this time'. The Captain at this point was trying not to laugh more out of shock than anything else. She finally got the IV in, pretty haphazardly and tried to wrap up the absorbent pad without me seeing all the blood on it. She was not successful. When I eventually made it to the recovery room, the nurse that removed the IV commented about the terrible job and all the tape. Awesome.
The Captain and I breathed a sigh of relief when that first nurse said she was off in an hour. The nurse that came on the next shift and was there for the duration was wonderful.
I went through a few hours of relatively normal labor and the contractions strengthened. I bounced on the ball, sat in the shower, rocked in the rocking chair, walked around and around…. Most of this was back labor by the way. Which hurts... a lot.
 This is where it starts to get  complicated and a little hazy for me. I was in a lot of pain, so much that I threw up -violently- during some of the contractions but was still desperately trying not to get an epidural (although I did take some anti-nausea medicine.) Not due to any kind of aversion to drugs mind you, but I was terrified of the size of the needle and my precious spine and the two of them being so close together and I had some serious misconceptions about epidurals in general that I will clear up for you all later.
 At some point around the middle of the night I was on all fours during contractions and collapsing on a pile of pillows on my stomach during the two minutes or so between them.  The Captain and my mom were amazing, snoozing with me for the couple of minutes between contractions, then waking when I would breathlessly wheeze out one of their names, they would wake up and hold my hand and rub my back urging me on, reminding me the contractions were for a purpose and opening things up. Unfortunately at around 6 centimeters, the contractions stopped doing anything. 
I was between six and seven centimeters for nearly five hours, three of which I was also on Pitocin (low levels).  It was so demoralizing, all the pain and energy and time doing nothing... We were all getting to the end of our rope. And I was starting to get extremely tired and that was making me afraid that I wouldn't have any strength left for the final push and that fear was making the contractions harder to deal with. There are memories during this particular segment of the evening, when I felt so trapped and afraid and exhausted, that I can recall them should I ever need to call up tears on cue, for example,

Tearfully: "I'm sorry Officer. I don't know whyyyyy I did that"

Finally at hour 29, my doctor who had arrived for her shift, thankthebabyjesus (a silver lining to my labor lasting so long - If Emma had come on Saturday someone else would have delivered her) and she came in to talk to me about the situation. She told me they were going to test the strength of my contractions to determine what the issue was  we were dealing with, then we would have to have 'a conversation'.
 I knew this was the c-section conversation and started to cry. I had tried so hard to not have a c-section, I realize there isn't much you can do if it's medically indicated but that was one of my main reasons for refusing the epidural and I had spent so many hours trying to get her out naturally... I was so disappointed.

They tested my contractions and they weren't nearly strong enough any more to get anything done. She told me this left me with two options. They could jack up the pitocin level a lot higher for which I would need the epidural  and hope that worked or she would have to medically recommend the c-section. I was exhausted, confused and a little disoriented,  so I called The Captain over and asked him to tell me what to do. 'Epidural babe, it's going to be fine. You'll be fine' and then I heard my mom say from the other side of the room 'One way or the other, the pain is over'.  And a teeny little part of me relaxed a little bit. And I cried a little more.
The anesthesiologist that administered the epidural, who in my opinion is a Golden God, was fantastic. As soon as he walked in we all eased up a little. His whole demeanor was so comforting and laid back. He reminded me of The Captain and made me feel a skosh (it's a word) less terrified of the procedure.

So, leaning on my husband, I let them stick a gigantic needle juuuuuust far enough in to not breach the 'dura'    And  in just a few minutes there were rainbows and butterflies, birds singing, unicorns and no pain. I could still move my legs, still feel them actually, I could still feel the pressure of the contractions but no pain. NO PAIN!!! It was glorious...
The epidural taken at the right time (and dilation) makes the climax of the pregnancy experience more memorable and (I'm not kidding) enjoyable. I was not exhausted any more, I felt strong and alert and more than ready for the most important part.  Another one of the misconceptions I had about the epidural was that the baby might come out groggy or less alert and thus not be ready to nurse which was very important to me. She , however, nursed like a champ and was awake for five or six hours after birth, so that was not an issue. And she got an 8.9 Apgar score. This is just my opinion but the epidural saved me from a c-section and I can't say enough about it.
So where was I?
OH and then... I slept. I'm not sure how long. But it was exactly what I needed. When I woke up, I was dilated ten cm and Emma was at +3 station in my pelvis, ready to roll. The pitocin and epidural had done their job and no c-section would be necessary.  Hooooo- RAH! 
I pushed for about 39 minutes and  33 hours from when we started Emma popped right out. There was no pain, but because of the lightness of the epidural and the rest it allowed me  to have I was able to feel the contractions coming, and be present and active in pushing her out. It was wonderful. At one point the delivering nurse asked me if I wanted a mirror to 'see what was going on' I frantically shook my head, wide-eyed behind the oxygen mask. NOOOOOOO thank you!!! I went by my mama and The Captain's faces. That was something I will never forget. They were so ecstatic, crying and supporting me and telling me what was happening. 
Emma Moira joined us at 2:09 pm on Sunday the 25th perfect and healthy and our lives were forever changed. 
If you stuck with me through that whole recount, thank you. And if you've stuck with me through this whole wild ride thank you again, so much. The blog posts have been a very memorable part of this pregnancy and it has been a great pleasure to be able to share them and this pregnancy with all of you. 
Much love to all of you. We'll see you soon!


Monday, July 19, 2010

Any day now, little lady....

No pressure, but uh, well there IS pressure in that entire region, due to your head and where it is crammed... and frankly, it's getting pretty uncomfortable carrying you around.  And I'm tired...Between you  making me pee every hour or so, the heartburn getting unbelievably worse and your dad's violent and noisy sleep habits, I am exhausted. I realize these are preparatory drills, I get the point. I know I won't be sleeping soundly for the foreseeable future. Can I just have a few days before the meconium hits the fan?

No? Alright, nevermind.

A Holding Pattern

I am currently 80% effaced (go ahead and google that if you need to) and at least 1 cm dilated (as of Friday) so technically I am in the early stages of labor. This includes lots of contractions and an abundance of new and interesting pelvic pains.  The contractions have ceased to be cute and are now becoming serious. I have to breathe through them and find myself thinking 'wow, this whole thing is going to be really.fricking.uncomfortable'. The child is wedged comfortably at what 'they' like to call 0-station in my pelvis (see below - yeah, she's hanging out right there. Awesome.)

Although this all sounds very exciting she seems pretty comfortable riiiight where she is, as evidenced by this photo of her taken last Thursday. That does not look like a child that is eager to go anywhere... In fact, if I didn't know any better, I would say that she is wearing a little smirk. Is there a genetic predisposition for smirking??

My pregnancy-magnified neuroses have not settled down in the slightest, much to the chagrin of the poor Captain. The other night he was trying to make dinner and I decided that right at that moment is was imperative that I mop the kitchen floor.

It's a pretty hysterically insane picture I paint for you, The Captain trying to maneuver around me to fix a meal as I frantically mop the floor under his feet. Him eyeing me with concern and asking,

'You have to do this now, honey?'

'YES I HAVE TO DO THIS NOW! Oh my god, have you seen how filthy the hood over this stove is?!'

He then takes the gibbering mess that is his wife, and puts her on the couch with her feet on some cushions as she breathes heavily and with wide, mad eyes scans the living room looking for something else to clean.

Poor man, the only thing that will stop this madness, is the madness of a brand new human in our home. And I can't even guarantee it will end there.

So, the plan for the next few days is lots of spicy food, 'exercise' (wink) and trampolining (what? no?)

And check out our new 'Put The Baby To Sleep Device' (it rocks, literally and figuratively) and the beautiful quilt my Aunt Kathleen made for the bebe!

Hoping you're all well.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Peanut butter m&m's are far superior to peanut m&m's

After significant (significant) research I have come to the conclusion that the Peanut Butter M&M's are just much better than the Peanut M&M's, and I thought you should know. Try them consecutively and repeatedly as I have and tell me if you don't agree.

I have several things to discuss with you and not a whole lot of time in which to do that so we're going to move rather quickly here.

Photos: Here is a picture of Pickle the Mouth Breather taken at our last ultrasound.

The top of the image is all cloudy because there was not enough room between her forehead and the uterine wall for the ultrasound to get a clear reading. We have one more ultrasound appointment before the due date but getting another great shot will be tough . She's waaaay down in my pelvis and there just isn't a whole lot of room in there.

She's either going to be a dancer or an epileptic judging by the amount of movement that is apparently necessary in utero. She still doesn't have this mythical 'down time' I hear so much about. When I first wake up and if I stay reaaally still, she's quiet but as soon as she knows I'm up, she's up too and giving me a rousing rendition of the dance number from Let's Call the Whole Thing Off ( Fred and Ginger Calling The Whole Thing Off ) and it really doesn't stop throughout the day. I am losing hope that she will take after the Captain in this regard and be a solid napper. She will be more like me I think and not want to sleep much because she might be missing something cool.

Moving on.

Pregnancy Pro-Tip: Do not get a new Driver's License picture in the eighth month of  pregnancy. Although The Captain and I were married in August of 2009, I had taken my sweet time processing  all the name-change shenanigans, but as The Pickle's arrival loomed ever closer, I realized it was probably time for me to become an official "Mrs. Captain".

And at the DMV, those bastards made me take a new eight months pregnant. When the DMV employee took the shot he actually said 'Very nice. Pretty picture.' I don't know what he was looking at. Because what I'm looking at is something that very closely resembles a mug-shot of a bloated and dazed street person. I'm tempted to go pay another $25 and have another picture taken after I have the kid. Ridiculous? Yes. Yet still a possibility? Yes.

Grandma: My mom will be in the labor and delivery room with me so I took her on a tour of the maternity ward at Hoag. It is a lovely place but throughout the tour I could hear these little 'hmphs' every once in awhile coming from the direction of my mom as the nurse spoke. At the end of the tour, as we were walking toward the elevators she hissed in my ear,

"I feel like I gave birth to you in a CAVE!"  

What a difference 30 years makes.

Baby Showers: I had my baby shower. It was wonderful to see all my friends and family together. I am, however, at a stage in my pregnancy where I sweat profusely even if I'm doing nothing at all and opening gift after gift in front of a crowd with sweat droplets gathering on my upper lip and in my knee pits, kind of awkward

It was a milestone though and I spent the rest of the day in a very introspective state. After seeing all these things the baby would use and clothes she would wear, she became more real to me in a way that is difficult to explain.

My friend Kelly who threw the shower had everyone decorate some little onesies for The Pickle while they were there. They were hanging to dry in the sun on a clothesline in my mom's backyard and it was such a pretty picture, all these teensy little onesies with my friends' personalities all over them. It made me choke up... just a little.

Unexpected Pregnancy Symptoms #642 and #643:
 #642: Do you remember falling riiiight on your crotch on the jungle gym or your bike as a kid and it hurt so much it took your breath away? Well that's what getting punched in the hoo-ha from the inside kind of feels like. It's not as bad but it definitely makes you wheeze and stop whatever you're doing.

#643: Hearing loss. It doesn't happen to everyone but the jacked-up levels of hormones in a pregnant woman's body can do exciting things and one of those things for me is not being able to hear very well. A conversation with my boss when there is a lot of background noise could currently go something like this:

Boss: Leah, can you please grab those copies from the printer for this meeting

Leah: The waves are choppy and you have a splinter from the seating?!?! What the hell are you talking about?

Boss: [sigh] Nevermind.

Blessings Upon The Captain: It's not easy to sleep with an unwieldy woman taking upwards of three minutes to shift from one side to the other, right next to you, several times a night. I tend to make lot of noise while I'm doing it too (see: groans, moans, grumblings, grunts).  It's so super sexy [\sarcasm] yet he makes me feel beautiful and loved every day and I am unbelievably fortunate to have him.

Stay tuned. We are full term in two weeks and that's when The Pickle will get her eviction notice. We'll see how she takes it.



Thursday, June 3, 2010


I'm over it now... I know it's ridiculous, I just feel like I'm packing on the weight at this point (which I know is what is supposed to happen, don't try to reason with me, I'm insane right now) and my rear-end and thighs are taking one for the team.

I have mirrors on my closet doors in my new house, and I spent some quality time with them this morning... That was probably a bad idea... I didn't even get my usual after-OB appointment celebratory egg, cheese and hash brown burrito from the Del Taco, which made me sad because those things are stupid-good.

My juvenile vanity being set aside, I'm moving on.

Had my 32 week OB appointment today. Everything still looking great, however dig THESE numbers: Baby is measuring large by a week. My uterus is measuring small by a week. (both numbers are in great normal range) My OB says 'you're probably feeling pretty stuffed right about now, hahahaha'. Oh ha, ha, ha. Comedy isn't your thing doc, stick to the baby-birthin... She reminds me of the church lady for some reason. Can you imagine that in the labor and delivery room?!

Church Chat with Danny Devito and Willie Nelson

'Loooooks like we're going to hafta do a liiiiittle episiotomy. Isn't that special?'

My fetal diagnostic tests start tomorrow. My doctor told me today that although she doesn't anticipate anything being wrong since this pregnancy has gone perfectly, from here on out, I have to go to Hoag twice a week for non-stress tests on the babeh, due to my being diagnosed with and treated for severe high blood pressure before I got pregnant and that I need to have my go-bag packed because if anything shows up on the tests, the hospital will not allow me to leave... whoah. That info was such a mind-bender it caused me to create quite the run-on sentence there. Did you see that?

Anyway, five more weeks and we will have a full term baby on our hands...



A buck fifty coming soon 

i'll post more when i've finished with this panic attack...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chocolate chip M&M cookie? Yes please

sheesh. I tell ya. I cannot stay away from the sweets.  It's ridiculous!  And some a-hole left a pile of chocolate chip & mm's cookies on the counter near my desk. I have a perfectly good pear staring at me pointedly. Bleh.

A Confession: We moved last weekend to our wonderful new house. I spent Monday organizing our bedroom and bathroom. The way I put things away in the cabinet in the bathroom (although awesome in it's categorical organization) and did not allow room for our super-sized bottle of mouthwash. So it was on the counter.

The Captain, unbeknownst to me, came in and reorganized the cabinet to fit the Listerine. When I opened the cabinet to get something later that evening, I nearly started to hyperventilate because NOTHING...WAS...IN... THE...SAME... PLACE!!! AND the stuff was  no longer organized by product type and use.

I'm sorry to say I seriously had a little Rainman breakdown, The Captain started speaking very quietly and backing slowly out of the bathroom while I muttered insanely, moving all products back to their original position... THE ORIGINAL POSITION!! 'whywouldIwantnailpolishremoverbymynightcream,itneedstobebymynailpolishandwhat

After I had recovered from my episode I breathlessly thanked The Captain profusely for letting me have a complete neurotic breakdown and letting me leave the mouthwash on the counter!

He's the best.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The smartest fetus ever

Ultrasound update: We had our 30-week ultrasound today and The Pickle is 'head-down' finally! She's been breech for two months which was concerning me, but a couple of days ago I felt some serious shifting around in there and suspected that she had changed position. Sure enough, she's now feet-up and ready to go. She's such a smart fetus...

She's also measuring big. She's in the 66th percentile for size (translation: she's 16% bigger than average). This is fantastic because it gives me ammo when the people say 'You're so smaaalll! Are you sure you're eating enough for the BABY?!'  I can now say, 'Yes, I sure am. She's a fatty. I have data to prove it. Thank you for asking'

She was sucking on her umbilical cord during the visit. What. A. Weirdo.

Large and in charge update: Pregnancy annoyance #67. I'm really clumsy right now and drop things constantly when I'm too big to easily pick them up. The Irony.

Something weird I've noticed: I was recently talking to someone about the pregnancy information site's weekly fetal development updates. For some reason, when trying to illustrate the current size of the fetus for the pregnant mom, they consistently equate it to an obscure food item (usually a fruit or vegetable, but sometimes a nut), like a kumquat or a persimmon. 

Sometimes they run out of ideas and your baby is 'the size of a medium carrot'. What the....? Because your curious, I'll tell you, currently this baby is the size of a Chinese cabbage. Not a regular cabbage. A Chinese cabbage.

It is important to specify because you could be thinking my baby looks more like this.
But she doesn't.

Shirking update: The best time to move? Is when you're pregnant. We're moving this weekend and I will be doing such low impact things as lining the cabinets, hanging up clothes and putting away dishes. I'm so bummed. So bummed .;)

We got some okay pictures of her today, but nothing incredible. She had her face smooshed up against the wall of the uterus, so no 3d this time. And just the usual gorgeous profile was available. I won't bore you with all my baby pictures.....yet, :insertevillaugh: