Monday, January 18, 2010

Charlotte's Birth Story

Just as I finished doing the bedtime routine with Emily on Sunday night at 9:10PM and went to leave her room, my water broke. I looked over at Emily and saw her big eyes looking at me, so I calmly said "goodnight sweetie", then ran for the bathroom. I at first headed for the guest bathroom, but remembered that my mother-in-law would be spending the night and using the bathroom so I didn't want to make a mess in there! I changed course and headed to my bathroom and quickly diapered myself in a towel so that I could waddle downstairs and tell Will to start calling everyone. Then I went back upstairs to take a shower. I had one contraction while I was shaving my leg that was uncomfortable enough to make me stop for a bit, but otherwise I was just feeling little squeezes.

My mother-in-law arrived to watch our daughter, and my mom and sister arrived to head to the hospital with us. We left the house at about 10:15PM.

On the way to the hospital I had 2 contractions that required a bit of breathing and concentration. Mostly I was uncomfortable because Charlotte was kicking up a storm, I felt like I needed to pee, and I could feel some gas bubbling around in my stomach. There was just entirely too much going on in my pelvis!

When we got to the hospital, I tried to head to the bathroom to relieve some pressure but the check-in lady saw me and stopped me. She said I'd have to give a urine sample as soon as I got to L&D so I should just check in first. Of course it took over 10 minutes! I only had a couple mild contractions but I REALLY wanted to pee!

I finally got to L&D, got a chance to pee, and was settled in at around 11:15PM. I was checked and told I was 4cm. I was having contractions about every 10 min, and a couple periods of discomfort in between each contraction that I still thought were due to Charlotte moving so much combined with gas pains, but once I was on the monitor it turned out they were contractions too.

Over the next hour the contractions picked up to the point where I was losing control. I had gone natural with Emily and hoped to do so again, but I was having difficulty relaxing and breathing through and ended up doing a lot of yelling instead! I was feeling them mostly in my back, so I tried leaning forward but that felt terrible. I went back to a sitting up/semi-reclined position, but that wasn't very good for the baby heartrate monitor so the nurse had me turn sideways a bit. As with my labor with Emily, moving brought on contractions, so as I rolled one came on and I kind of got stuck in a half on my back/half on my left side position where I remained for awhile. This position was unfortunately not a very good one, but I didn't want to move an inch because I wanted as long between contractions as possible!

The contractions at this point felt like my contractions I was having at 7-8cm with my first labor! When I was checked at 12:30, I was a whopping 5cm. The idea of spending the next 5 hours in pain this bad was NOT appealing to me, so I asked for an epidural. My mom said "But Sara, you're in transition!", to which I replied "I am NOT in transition, transition is going from 8-10cm and I am only at FIVE! I want an epidural NOW!"

The nurse started my IV and told me that once the whole bag of saline was in, she'd call the anesthesiologist. I was NOT happy, and with each contraction was yelling at my mom, the nurse, and random other nurses who came in the room to squeeze the IV bag and get it in there quicker! Everyone thought this was amusing, but I know for a fact that they can do this to get fluids in quickly in an emergency and I was furious that no one was listening to me! I've never seen liquid move more slowly!

The nurse finally said she'd call for him when the bag was only half empty, and when we got there 10 minutes later she checked me and I was 7cm. The fact that I had dilated 2 cm in 10 minutes was lost on me, I had my eyes set on an epidural and I was getting one!

The anesthesiologist finally got there around 12:45AM (I know, that was pretty dang fast but it didn't feel like it!). Once the epidural was in (which wasn't painful at all) I laid back and all of a sudden felt the baby drop into the birth canal. The nurse checked me, and I just had a lip of cervix left. It took about 2 more contractions for me to start to feel the numbness creeping in, and my left side was going numb before my right. I was worried because I have heard of epidurals that only ever take on one side, but the anesthesiologist said it is normal to go numb on one side first and it didn't mean I'd NEVER go numb on the other side.

My body was starting to push on its own, and I had to puff through each contraction because the doctor wasn't there yet. I heard the nurse ask the anesthesiologist if he wanted to catch the baby, and he said "I prefer to wait until the mother cat has licked off the afterbirth". I was focused pretty inward, getting ready to push, but even so that comment made me pause and think "What did he just say?!?!"

The doctor arrived at about 1:15AM and I started to push. Pushing with an epidural is much harder than pushing without! I could feel the muscles that were doing the pushing, but I couldn't feel the results, if that makes any sense, and I definitely couldn't push as hard. I seemed to do ok though, because 3 contractions later, she was out!

I always used to think a fast labor was a good thing but you know what? I actually preferred my 11.5 hour labor with Emily to this 4 hour labor! With Emily's labor it was gradual enough that I was able to stay on top of the contractions whereas this one went from zero to sixty before I knew it and I got scared and unable to relax.

If I had asked for the epidural 1-2 contractions later, it probably would've been too late to get one. I ALMOST wish that had been the case, but now I have experienced labor both ways. I was definitely more comfortable with the epidural, and I think it allowed me to be more patient about pushing so I didn't tear as much, but at the same time I definitely didn't get the same burst of post-labor endorphins this time that I had with my natural birth.

Either way, Charlotte is here, and I'm glad to be through labor! I'm super-glad that both times my water broke it was in the privacy of my own home. It's nice to not be a ticking time bomb anymore!

Life as we know it

A week ago today, I gave birth to Emily #2 Baby Charlotte. It is RIDICULOUS how much this girl looks like her sister. Take a look:



The only difference in their appearance is that Charlotte DEFINITELY has Will's family's long skinny feet and long skinny fingers whereas Emily has my short fat fingers and feet. I can already forsee the pre-teen meltdowns when I take my girls shoe shopping and Emily and I can buy cute shoes at the store while Charlotte will have to get whatever fits. Oh well, there's always Zappos.

I have a feeling they won't look identical for long though, because while Emily was jaundice and it was always a struggle to get her to eat, Charlotte NEVER stops eating. She will nurse for 45 minutes, fall asleep, wake up 5 minutes later rooting and nurse for another half hour. Sometimes she's still hungry after that, and then we'll give her a bottle (both because I'm out of milk and because there's only so much nursing my boobs can take) and she'll drink 3.5 oz. A baby at 10 days old is only supposed to have a stomach capacity of 1 oz! My milk, as usual, has been very sluggish to come in despite the fact that I've been taking enough fenugreek to make me smell like a maple tree, but when it does come in I'd better have a lot...I feel like I'm nursing twins.

So Charlotte is a very good baby...she only really gets irritated if she starts rooting and is not supplied with a boob or bottle in a timely manner. She almost never spits up, which is a HUGE difference from Emily, who was so difficult to feed in the first place and then she'd promptly barf up everything you'd given her. Charlotte has been snoozing quite a bit during the day, which makes me nervous because it can mean party time all night, but she pretty much wakes up for a diaper change and a nursing session and goes back to sleep at night which is awesome.

Emily has been amazing too. She hasn't shown a single bit of jealousy so far, and she LOVES her little sister. She has gotten a bit TOO loving on one or two occasions, but by and large she is incredibly gentle and sweet, especially for a 2.5 year old. Except for some complications I'm dealing with (I will probably post about it later) life has been pretty great since we got home. I've been getting a shower and a nap every day thanks to my wonderful husband and family, and that's huge. Emily has been a well-behaved toddler and wonderful big sister and Charlotte is healthy and doing well so we're all pretty happy campers around here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I visited the OB today (the good one!) and was given the very encouraging news that I am "a good 3cm dilated, 50% effaced" and she can feel the baby's head. Also cervix is "low", which doesn't mean much to me but it's better than 2 weeks ago when the doctor said "Where is your cervix" while he was digging around up in there. Um, I usually keep it right where you're looking, can you REALLY not find it? I am apparently measuring 37 weeks now vs. 39 weeks last week, so I guess Charlotte dropped further? When I mentioned to the good OB that the irritating OB told me last week that second time moms don't drop down, they drop out, she said "I really don't know what he meant by that". I'm glad to hear that someone with a medical degree is just as confused by the irritating OB as I am.

Most exciting is that the doctor said I would be very easy to induce. So if, for some reason, I'm still walking around pregnant in a week and a half, all she'll have to do is break my water. It's actually quite a load off my mind to think that pitocin will probably never have to enter my veins. AND, if I make it to my 40 week appointment next week, I get to see the good OB again. I guess the front desk lady only forces you to see a different doctor if you specifically ask for the good OB. I kind of want to strangle her.

I know women walk around 3 cm dilated for weeks sometimes, but last time my body didn't mess around so I'm hoping the same will be true this time. I have actually been having lots of contractions today as long as I'm up and walking around, but they die down when I sit so I'm thinking it's not labor yet. They definitely don't hurt like labor contractions did last time, but then again my water hasn't broken yet and I've heard contractions are much less painful before your water breaks.

So I'm sitting here, periodically thinking "Hmmm, that one felt pretty tight in my back, maybe I should start to call people", then deciding against it. My mom's contractions with my youngest sister didn't hurt until her water broke, and then she only had about an hour until Kathleen was actually born so I worry about that happening to me. I have a lot of people to collect before I can go to the hospital!

I'm also spoiled in that Charlotte has cooperated so well so far, I find I am now trying to make her arrival come at the PERFECT time. I keep thinking I should get up and walk, since that makes my contractions come, but it's getting towards the evening and if laying around vs. walking will make her come tomorrow after I've slept vs. tonight as I'm falling asleep, well that would be good right? She's not even due yet, so another couple hours in the womb will just make her less likely to have jaundice and more likely to have nice strong lungs, right? And she's not going to weigh much more tomorrow morning than she does tonight, so it wouldn't be much tougher for me. Then again, if I manage to get labor started right now, I could have her by bedtime tonight and then I wouldn't have to worry about visitors busting into my delivery room because no one is allowed in until tomorrow morning anyway.

Or I could still be 2 weeks away from having this baby. Either way, 3cm is 30% of the way to pushing, yay!

So I will continue to hang around in limbo, making sure that my phone is nearby and vacillating back and forth between thinking I should rest and thinking I should get up and move.

Monday, January 4, 2010

We made it

Here we are, January 4th, and Charlotte is still in my tummy. I can't tell you how happy that makes me. This issue I've worried about pretty much since I got pregnant is now officially not an issue anymore. My lesser worry, a big snowstorm, does not appear to be too much of a possibility in the next 10 days either. BIG sigh of relief.

Brad and Kim's wedding was lots of fun, I can't believe they're actually married now! Mostly I can't believe Brad is married now. It's always weird when someone you grew up with gets married I suppose. But everything went well, I managed to do some slow dancing, sobbed through most of the ceremony, first dance, daddy/daughter dance etc. and even managed to FREAK Will out when he saw a random puddle of water on the floor in the place I had agreed to meet him before heading to the reception. I found him running down the hall with a panicked look on his face yelling "Are you OK?" It's nice to know he cares.

So now, I am kind of at loose ends. I really appreciate the extra time Charlotte is giving me to get ready, but I honestly expected to have a baby by now so I am kind of just hanging out at the house, napping a lot, slowly putting up curtain rods and VERY slowly getting the Christmas stuff put away. It is a really strange mix of super-relaxing and super-tense. I am constantly paying attention for a gush of water, or a contraction that hurts in THAT way. I am making a pork shoulder for dinner tonight, and when I started it cooking this morning it was strange to think I might not be here to take it out of the oven 8 hours later.

It's also weird because if I were going away on a trip for 2 days and leaving Emily here with grandparents I would make sure all her clothes were clean and put away in the right place, her bed made "lasagna style" with several layers of clean sheets and waterproof pads in case of an accident, plenty of food she likes easily accessible, the house clean etc. The problem is, I don't know WHEN I'm leaving this time, so I am trying my best to keep everything perfectly ready at all times but it's tough because I'll let you in on a little secret...I don't usually live that way. More often than not, I pull her clothes out of a (clean) laundry basket to get her dressed vs. her closet. If some clothes or sheets are dirty, I usually don't wash them right away because we have more. If she has eaten all of her favorite snacks or dinners I don't worry because I know what she likes and I can just go shopping and make some more food. I try to keep the house clean, but it certainly doesn't stay clean and I always work best on a deadline which I don't have this time. Well I DO have a BIG deadline, but I don't get to know when it is.

I did actually think I was in labor last night for back hurt so badly that it woke me up out of a dead sleep at 1:15AM. I decided I was having back labor (I just KNOW I'm going to have back labor, as much as she has ground on my back during this pregnancy) so I stumbled out of bed and went to the bathroom (which is always the first order of business upon waking). In my sleep-dazed state, I was thinking to myself "If this is very early back labor, I need to go to the hospital and get an epidural NOW!" because boy did it hurt. I tried talking to Charlotte and telling her that I didn't mind her coming now, but there was a much easier way to do it for both of us. If she could just turn her face towards my back we'd all be happier.

Once I laid back down in bed (on my left side this time) I felt a little better and soon I was back to sleep so it obviously wasn't labor. I suspect it was a bit of digestive upset, possibly caused by my over-indulging in frozen buckeye filling I discovered in the freezer before bedtime :-(

Emily seems to realize something is afoot, because she has been spending a lot of time in "No, Mommy, no!" mode. This morning she wanted noodles, she didn't care that we didn't have any noodles, then she wanted yogurt, no not this yogurt, YES WE DO HAVE OTHER YOGURT, she wanted to see the doggie visiting Tank next door, she wanted Tank and his friend to come BACK outside, SHE wanted to go outside, she wanted to watch a pony show (???), she wanted to be picked up but she was not willing to use her words to ask and say please etc., all liberally sprinkled with crying and whining. Luckily there are also times during the day where she'll sing songs about how much she loves me and be a total sweetheart, so I guess she's basically just being a 2 year old. Just a more whiney one than she usually is.

So, as much as it surprises me, it's looking like I might actually make it to my 39 week Dr appointment this week. We'll see what's up then, and we'll see if they start trying to schedule me for an induction again like they did last time. But no matter how well I feel, and no matter how few signs of impending labor I am having, this baby WILL be here in the next 3.5 weeks, and most likely earlier! I'll hold out hope that Charlotte continues to be agreeable and won't decide to come while I'm at the grocery store or just laying down to sleep for the night. But I've been so lucky already I will definitely take whatever happens and be happy!