Archive for the ‘A Little Help From My Friends’ Category

Progress!

Yesterday was a great day!

For starters, a mom from my Attachment Parenting group swung by to lend me a couple different carriers. (We have a babywearing group lending library. Talk about AWESOME!) I’m trying to figure out what carrier(s) I will take on our trip to California to keep me and Seedling as comfortable as possible. (No, we won’t use a stroller. It’s a personal, parenting-style based decision.)

Then my friend from church M came and picked up Seedling and me and took us to the beach with her six year old son I will call Sunny, and Sunny’s best friend G. Getting out if my apartment was AMAZING. And the fact that she was willing to pick us up and include us REALLY meant a lot to me. Fresh air, warm sun, water, sand, and comfy grass – what’s not to love? I did make sure Seedling and I had on sunscreen, and a sun bonnet on the baby. Gotta keep the skin sunburn free!

Then to round out the day my friend Suzy dropped by with boxes for our move and we had a little visit. She and I have just been so busy and on opposite schedules, it was nice to catch up a little and hear how her slice if life is going ūüôā

The introvert in me couldn’t do that much socializing EVERY day, but after so much time stuck home alone it was absolutely a breath if fresh air I desperately needed. I am so grateful to all those friends for finding time for me in their busy lives!

Today we got my car back. The mechanic really went through it with a fine tooth comb and believes he has fixed everything. We shall see….

And now for a sampling of beach fun!:

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Thoughts on Being a Poor Mom

We’ve been having car trouble. Repeatedly. It has been something every month… and it’s starting to be every week. Some small thing. $50 here, $100 there. So yesterday Hubster and I went in to a local car dealership. We weren’t looking for anything flashy or fancy. Just reliable. Admittedly, it was one dealer, one lot. But the way the numbers laid out, we realized that a new vehicle wasn’t realistic for us. Part of it is our credit. It’s not great, although we have been slowly trying to improve it. Part of it is that Hubster has not been at his job for very long, about 3 months. But part of it is just that we don’t make a lot of money. The dealer said several times “Well, you just don’t make a lot…”. Which is mind boggling, because I know people who somehow survive on minimum wage, and Hubster makes more than that. But money just doesn’t go as far as it used to… although that’s the history of the world, right? Inflation.

Regardless, we are technically poor. We qualify for food stamps and WIC. It’s a weird thing to really look square in the face. Even weirder to write a post about.

I guess it seems so weird because I don’t generally think of ourselves as poor. Hell, we are doing a lot better than we were a year ago! I think back two or three years… And it seems like we’ve come a long ways. We are able to pay rent. We have food to eat and clothes to wear. We are almost always current on our bills. We don’t overdraft the bank account on a regular basis anymore.

Sure, our clothes aren’t the height of fashion. Most of my wardrobe is several years old. It’s starting to look a bit worn. But if it gets stained, torn or holes I put it in the “to donate” pile.

I had a good cry when we got home from the dealership. It wasn’t really about the car thing. It was about being confronted with the fact that for all the progress we’ve made, we are still poor. Our finances is the main reason our surrogate stepped down all those years ago. It’s why various friends and families weren’t supportive of TTC. But Seedling has everything she needs! Heck, she has plenty of fun extras that aren’t necessity!

I don’t have grand plans for our family. My dreams are fairly modest, even a bit archaic. A little piece of land where we can raise our own meat and garden. Teach our children about God and faith and the value of working hard and doing the right thing. But I also want to be able to give my daughter dance classes, and horseback riding lessons or underwater basket weaving if that’s what really strikes her fancy. I want to be able to help her go to college. And it’s a tough pill to swallow to realize that with our current situation I can’t do that.

Generally, I’m content. I have a wonderful husband who us a fabulous father to our delightful little girl. My basic needs are met. We are surrounded with loving family, a strong church, and I’m slowly making lots of great new friends through my mom groups. I just wish that society could see that my life is rich, even if its not in material goods.

Body issues

Pretty sure Seedling is teething. She goes from her normal happy-go-lucky self to hysterical screaming at the drop of a hat. Drooling, hands in mouth, frozen teething rings, nursing 24/7, Tylenol, holistic teething tablets… Such has been my life the last few days. No real end in sight. My heart just breaks for her ūüė¶

Last night was the first time Hubster and I were intimate since Seedling was born. Well… Since about a year ago, actually. Pregnancy sex was just too weird for us, and then the exhaustion of patenting a new baby… We have talked about it quite a bit and agreed we wouldn’t have really high expectations. It’s been so long, my body is changed from childbirth and breastfeeding. Needless to say, we had to pause and giggle a few times. Since I’m nursing my nether regions were quite dry so we had to stop and hunt down lube. Then milk was leaking everywhere so I had to stop and put on a bra with absorbent nursing pads. But the most frustrating thing was that everyone told me after giving birth that “it’s like the Grand Canyon down there”. Um, no. Things were quite snug, uncomfortable… Actually quite painful, particularly along my episiotomy scar.

In talking with some other moms today, it came up that I have not had an exam since my delivery. When I went in for my “6 week post partum” check, the nurse looked at my chart and said “oh, you’re not due for your annual Pap smear. Sorry you came all the way in for nothing” and sent me home. I thought it was odd at the time, but I was also exhausted and hormonal and just eager to go home and sleep more. So no one has checked that I healed correctly, or any of the other bits and baubles that should have been done.

And now I no longer have insurance coverage.

I don’t know why exactly but it all just hit me very strongly this afternoon. I felt like I’d failed something, somehow. Failed myself. Failed my body. Or my body had failed me. There was crying.

I just feel like every time I turn around something is wrong. Of course, it could be that everything is hunky dory and normal. But I don’t know that. Why didn’t I stand up to that nurse? Why didn’t I ask more questions? I’m overwhelmed with questions of “Am I ok? Will our sex be painful forever? How will this affect future childbirth if I’m lucky enough to get pregnant again?”

Hubster was very sweet and understanding. Both during the sex, and during my mini panic attack this afternoon. He told me to call a doctor and be seen ASAP, we will just have to pay for the exam, my health is the most important thing.

Several people have told me to go back that doctor and demand a free exam. He was a descent enough guy, the best option with our last minute change during the pregnancy, but I don’t really feel 100% comfortable going back there. I got several great recommendations of other doctors and midwives to choose from. I tried calling today but offices were closed. Guess I know what I’m doing on Monday!

I’m so grateful for the amazing support I have. Dear childhood friends, an amazing local mom group, new friendships I’m forming in my church. I think that’s why I so rarely blog anymore… This space was about needing support that I didn’t have. But now I have so much support. But it’s still comforting to come back here and lay it all out. Like a childhood security blanket.

I don’t know exactly what I’m trying to say. I’m so exhausted and drained. It’s been an emotional day. Sleep is calling. I’m just gonna curl up with my blankie and go night-night.

Being a Real Girl, pt2

Yesterday was a no good, very bad day. But it all came out good.

It started with me going in to get my dress altered. You know, that blue one I ordered? Ya, well, it was too small. And not just a little that she could let out. 3 to 4 inches to small. Not exactly the confidence boost a 4 month post-delivery mom needs. :/ I promptly returned the dress.

Then I found out that the apartment Hubster and I have been considering moving to is going to cost more than originally quoted. It’s a long story, but it just left me grumpy and frazzled.

And THEN I went to pick up our local produce box (similar to a CSA) at a community center. The woman behind the counter proceeded to argue that the box had been left FOR THE COMMUNITY CENTER and I was like “No, it has MY NAME on it!”

Grrrr….

I did some dress hunting online. Everything I liked wasn’t at a local store for me to try on. Until I checked out David’s Bridal. Sure, I’m not going to a wedding, but I need a nice dress in a plus size that isn’t going to cost an arm and a leg.

Then my mom showed up to babysit so I could go meet some old coworkers for dinner at Red Robin. It totally saved the day. I had a drink with alcohol in it. We laughed and joked and talked about what everyone is up to. There was even discussion of our various favorite vampire novels, I came home with some interesting titles to look up (if I ever have the time hahaha). It was just so refreshing to get out and have adult conversation.

The fun continued today, I went to have brunch with a different old coworker from a different job. She’s 38 weeks pregnant, and it was so cool to think back to just 5 months ago when I was all super pregnant. What I had assumed would happen, and how it all turned out so differently. We met at a bakery and indulged in donut-y goodness. (After dinner last night and donuts today, I swear its salad and water tomorrow!). Seedling was uncharacteristically good for the hour drive, mostly sleeping. It was a nice respite from her usual screaming. She woke up at the bakery, smiling and cooing and being very sweet. With her sleeping on the way back I decided to run by the local David’s and try on a dress I had seen online I liked. We got the right size, it was comfortable, in my price range, and we would be able to just get it in time for my trip. So I placed my order. Lookie at pictures! (They only had a black to try on so you can’t appreciate the draping detailing… I ordered it in dark blue…)
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Obviously must find a bra that doesn’t cover my entire upper back… Lol. Oh the glamor of a nursing bra…

On a Seedling Milestone note: today while changing her diaper, she reached for… and grabbed her foot!!!! She has reached lots, but this was the first time she’s gotten a hold of one! The photo is blurry, but it was the best I could get in the moment:
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A more recent update

By all means, please read my post from earlier today. If for nothing else, to listen to the song that is *my* song to Seedling. But that was a post a month in the making. Here’s some more current news:

-Twice this week Seedling fell asleep before her standing 2am time slot. One was midnight. The other (last night) she fell asleep by 10:30, getting Hubster and me to bed by 10:45. And she stayed asleep until 5! * happy dance * of course I won’t expect that to happen tonight (I’d rather be pleasantly surprised than disappointed) but its an exciting step in the right direction. At 7 1/2 weeks old I’m thinking we are on the back slope of the fussiness bell curve.

-I cannot believe this Saturday she will be 8 weeks old!!!! She is officially out of newborn clothes, solidly in the 0-3 month sizes.

– I’ve been working on slowly reading “The Happiest Baby on the Block” and while I’m holding out on agreeing with everything (some of the authors ideas of how/why we evolved seem lacking in evidence) the parts about recreating the womb make a lot of sense and what we’ve incorporated seems to be working! Loud white noise, for us we chose the sound of rain, (thank you WhiteNoise App!) and firm jiggling seems to be helping work through “the midnight fussies”. I suck at swaddling but the Ergo, with its snug body hold, seems to have a similar effect, and this week we finally figured out nursing in the ergo so we have “Shushing”, “Swinging”, “Swaddling” and “Sucking” down.

-Today has been a day of bodily eruptions. This morning, while changing a wet diaper Seedling projectile-pooped EVERYWHERE. Several prefolds, wipes, and the changing cover we’re taken down in the assault. This afternoon I took Glen to the local dog park so he could run off some of his excess energy and I could walk and get some exercise. When we got home our other dog Emma had vomited, urinated and diarrhead all over her kennel, blankets and herself. The blankets (technically old towels) went into the trash and I cleaned up the kennel and dog as best I could. This evening I woke up from a nap with Seedlinf to discover one of the cats had vomited all over the bathroom. *cue heavy sigh as cleaning commences once again*

Needless to say, I’m not feeling bad about consuming pizza and coke tonight. And chocolate. There will be consumption of chocolate!

The Birth Story

Well, my big plans to sit at my laptop and write this has flopped. Between feedings, changings, trying to get enough food and sleep myself, AND get in moments of quality time with Hubster, there is no opportunity to chill with my laptop. So what that means is I will be pecking it out on my phone during nursing time, and the occasional nap time. And that means expect typos, weird auto-correct issues, and that it probably won’t flow well. But I need to get it down before it all fades away as birth memories tend to. Already it feels like it was ages ago and has a hazy quality to it…

I had been having Braxton hicks for a few days before Friday, December 28th 2012, and at times they seemed to have some regularity although not very close together. Thursday night showed some good consistency (and some intense discomfort!) and I was intrigued to find out what my cervix was doing Friday morning at my appointment with Dr. B. I went in at 8:45am to learn I was 4 cm dilated! The doctor wanted to rupture my membranes but I really wanted for them to break on their own. I was sent home with instructions to “walk vigorously” and come back for a recheck at 1:30.

I got home and after speaking with Doula P decided not to rush anything, but to try and rest. I tried but contractions were slowly coming closer and closer together and I could not sleep through them so I decided to take a shower, thinking it might help me to relax, the contractions to ease, so I could sleep. Instead they started coming more frequently! At this point Hubster arrived home after leaving work and swinging by the store for some last minute items. I called Doula P back explaining contractions were averaging 1:40 apart and strong enough I couldn’t sleep through them. She offered to come to our apartment, we could meet at her class space or go to the hospital. I was worried about my bag breaking (and I needed antibiotics due to the Strep B I had) and with the contractions so close together I thought for sure the baby would be coming sooner rather than later. (Haha!) So Hubster and I rounded up our bags, sent out texts and Facebook posts, and headed to the hospital.

The ride to the hospital was… Uncomfortable. Having contractions while forced to sit, unable to move or hip rock was tough. Then Hubster got confused as to where exactly the entrance we needed was, and turned one turn too early… turned around…. then missed the entrance we needed and turned one entrance too late… if it had been a movie it would have been hilarious. So I just tried to laugh.

We checked in at the hospital and I realized I had forgotten my purse! Thankfully they took me at my word that I was who I said I was, and I had pre-registered so they had all my info in the computer system. Then they insisted I be wheeled up instead if letting me walk… I wasn’t walking fast but I was still able to walk! Sheesh…

About 1:00 -1:15pm we got up to the correct floor and go into a “triage room”, meant to be where I would be assessed before being formerly admitted. However a nurse came in and said they need that room for something else and they are going to move me over one room… Which turned out to be one of the tub rooms!!! I was totally thrilled. It seemed like everything was going “according to plan”. I have to admit, I went into this labor a little elitist. I had done my research, I had a plan, I had the determination and will power. No way was I going to give in to interventions. No way was I going to “wimp out”. I wouldn’t be like all those women who can’t handle the pain – If countless women in history and in third world countries could deliver naturally, so could I… Of course, “Pride cometh before the fall”… In all seriousness, my first lesson as a parent is the importance of humility. It is amazing how in the two weeks since she has been born, I have done several things I always swore I would never do simply because I couldn’t understand the perspective until I was in the midst of it.

So we are in the tub room. Doula P and her amazing assistant L arrive, followed shortly by Jewel (who had so very kindly ran by the apartment and retrieved my purse!) and I was hooked up for my “20 minutes of monitoring”. The contractions had slowed and eased off a little, but I felt confident they would pick up soon, and it was just the car ride that had caused me to tense up and thus cause labor to slow. The hospitalist Dr.GrumpyPants came in (since Dr.B wasn’t there yet) to determine if I should formerly be admitted. He checked me – 4cm dilated. Fully effaced. Bag bulging. Baby at -3 station (still pretty high). I was disappointed I wasn’t any more dilated, but wasn’t overly concerned. Doula P suggested I try bouncing on a yoga peanut-ball so I was game. And then doing side lunges… It felt good to be “doing something”, but it wasn’t causing any super-fast changes. So then I elected to start walking, to see if I could get my labor back to where it was when I was home.

Dr.GrumpyPants did another check… maybe 4.5 cm? I could tell he wasn’t happy with that. By this time Dr.B showed up, and so Dr.GrumpyPants had him check me, to see if there was much change from my appointment with him that morning. There was a LOT of talk about something needing to change… Dr.GrumpyPants basically wanted me to either get Pitocin, or go home because I “wasn’t really in labor” – because apparently I was smiling too much. (I’m a happy person, I was excited, what can I say?) I wasn’t really happy about either option. I felt so strongly against unnecessary medical intervention, and I really believed that Pitocin was unnecessary at that point. I didn’t really want to go home because I dreaded having to sit in the car through contractions, and was worried we would lose the beloved tub room. (There are only 2 tub rooms, and it’s on a first-come first-serve basis) I was so committed to a water birth, and I wasn’t going to let it go!

Dr.B goes to do his check, and determines that I’m 5cm… and while doing his check he “accidentally” broke my water. At the time, I really thought it was an accident (he played it so well!) but in hindsight he must have done it intentionally, knowing it would be the card I needed to keep me in the hospital. Of course, to do it with just his finger the membrane must have been pretty ready to break anyway. My big fear of having my water broken prematurely was that it would cause contractions to unnaturally intensify, and that was why I kept putting it off. I wanted it to break when it was ready (I also had a teeny tiny hope it wouldn’t break and Seedling would be born in the caul, just because that sounded so cool) Well, any fears I had about it causing sudden-intense labor turned out to be unnecessary, because it didn’t do that. What it did do was cause me to finally be formerly admitted to the hospital! And get me started on IV antibiotics. But first we had to move to the other tub room… not sure why we had to move, but that space was even more beautiful than the first room, and it still had a tub, so I was fine with it. It took 3 tries to get my IV placed… dang my tiny veins! They actually had to call in the Charge Nurse to do it. So I got my IV set, and went back to walking… walking… walking… lunging, bouncing on the ball, lunging, more lunging… All without much change in my contractions. They would start to come more frequently and more intensely and then fade off.

It was frustrating, and I started to get more emotional that it didn’t seem like anything I was doing was helping. But Hubster, Doula P, L and Jewel were so amazing. They never seemed discouraged, they just kept encouraging me, getting me to laugh, suggesting new movements, giving me counter-pressure on my lower back during a contraction (WHAT A DIFFERENCE THAT MADE in the pain!). They made sure I was getting water and eating (The hospital provided 3 meals a day to me… and I think in the course of the 2 days we were there I ate 3 pieces of cheesecake… because, hello, CHEESECAKE! Mmmmm… But I promise I also ate other things.) I cannot imagine what my labor would have been like without those amazing people by my side.

Hubster was my rock, never far from my side, endlessly loving and patient. I could not have endured without him. Doula P was my guide through a road I had never traveled before, I would have been lost without her. L was quiet confidence, to keep up the journey. And my dear Jewel was a ray of sunshine, keeping my spirits up when times felt dark.

Doula P suggested I try some squats, to see if we could bring Seedling’s head down more. If we could get her to drop, then there would be more pressure on the cervix, and then we would hopefully see more dilation. So I started squat after squat… I wanted to make my body cooperate. After all these years of my body not working, the infertility struggles, the baby we lost… couldn’t my body finally do what it was supposed to? Reviewing “the worst pain” – the pain of wanting a child and unable to achieve it. That the pain of contractions wasn’t anything compared the the broken heart I had carried all those years. I kept thinking about all the women who had given birth without medical interventions and how much I wanted the best for Seedling. I wanted to do a good job, do everything I could. (Of course, the uterus is on the autonomic nervous system… much like you can’t consciously control when your heart beats, you can’t control when, or how strongly, the uterus contracts. Believe me, I tried.) I know at one point in the squatting tears came to my eyes, just feeling so frustrating and worried.

It was suggested I try getting in the shower. I’m so grateful for this – Not only do I just love the water, but it was a good change of pace (I was able to squat in there because they had handicap bars on the walls) and the water felt really good running down my back during a contraction, and down my tummy when the contraction was over. It was also the only laboring in water I ended up doing, and again I’m so thankful I got to spend some part of my labor in water of some kind. I also had some really great contractions, they felt closer together and stronger in the shower. But I was also starting to feel how tired I was… After 40 minutes I headed out of the shower, I can’t remember if I chose to get out or if the nurse prompted me because she needed to check me? But I do remember that I was checked… and keep in mind it was now well into the evening. (Sorry, brain way to fuzzy to offer an exact time.) I had been in the hospital for hours and hours. And the nurse found… No change.

No. Change.

I felt so at a loss. All my work hadn’t done anything. Doula P was so kind, but she pointed out that with how much time had passed, we needed to bring on some extra help. I felt crushed. I knew she was right, I knew I had been giving it my all and my all wasn’t working. But I couldn’t help but think about how much I had wanted to do this, I had wanted my body to work, I didn’t want to have to face my friends and family and admit that I hadn’t been able to have an unmedicated birth. I worried that Pitocin would be too much pain to handle. I worried that Pitocin would push Seedling into distress. And the thought of doing anything to harm Seedling made me nauseated with grief.

Doula P and Hubster sat and comforted me. I never felt forced to make the decision to get help, they were so kind and patient, allowing me to grieve and process the loss of a piece of my dream birth. It still felt like it was my call, my decision to make. We talked about that maybe the Pitocin would help kick-start the labor, and eventually we would be able to turn it down or turn it off and I could still do a water birth. I finally took a deep breath and agreed, to the lowest dose of “one”. (I’m still not sure if that is 1ml or 1mg or what…) Of course, by agreeing to Pitocin that meant constant monitoring, and Seedling had an unfortunate habit of “falling off” the monitor if I moved too much, so I was relegated to the bed. The “one” level really wasn’t too bad. I would feel a contraction coming, and someone would put pressure on my lower back, I would do my breathing exercises… and when it was over I would attempt to shut my eyes and rest until the next one came. However, after a while, the contractions were one on top of the other, with no relief between them. The pain and exhaustion were catching up with me – and my support team. Poor Hubster, he never complained, never made a peep, but afterwards he admitted to being exhausted, especially when he realized there wasn’t a break between contractions and I needed the pressure on my back for some semblance of relief. It turns out my nurse had slowly been upping the Pitocin without anyone realizing! I was at a “five”! Doula P got them to turn it down so we could discuss where to go from here. I’m pretty sure they did another check at this time… no real change. I think Seedling had dropped a centimeter, so was at -2 station, (I might have also been declared 6cm dilated at this point… like I said, it’s all a little fuzzy at points) but that wasn’t a very significant change considering how much time had passed.

Doula P suggested it was time to consider the epidural. I felt like such a failure. I wanted to say “No, I can keep going, turn the Pitocin back up, I can tough it out, I can be strong enough!” but she pointed out that we had a long way yet to go, and I was exhausted. I needed to get some rest so I would have the energy to actually push Seedling out. All I saw was that my body was failing me once again. That an epidural was the final pull of the rug out from underneath my dreams of a calm and peaceful waterbirth. I saw the tub in the corner and it was so close yet so far. All I saw was that the epidural would inevitably lead to a cesarean section. Once again Hubster and Doula P were so patient with me. I knew in my heart that Doula P was not a big advocate of intervention. So I trusted that if she was suggesting an intervention, then it really must be needed. (After the fact, Hubster admitted that he had really wanted me to get the epidural, but he knew that he couldn’t push, it had to be my decision. But he saw how exhausted I was, and he was so exhausted. As committed as he was to minimal interventions he saw how great a need there was for some relief.) Finally I agreed to the epidural, and tried to focus on the fact that there was still hope for a vaginal delivery.

The anesthesiologist came in. He was rather upbeat for a man about to puncture my dreams, but I’d rather take that than more of Dr.GrumpyPants. They prepped my back and explained what would happen. First the local anesthetic (yes, on par with a bee sting) and then he placed the epidural… and oh my did that HURT. All my friends who had gotten epidurals always raved about the relief they offered, no one prepared me for the fact that this would hurt. I think he must have tweaked a nerve because I could feel twinging running down the right side of my spine from where the catheter was being placed. But then the numbing started to take effect… (Just a heads up, when you lose control of your lower extremities, that includes your bladder. Yes folks, I voided my bladder in bed. Thank goodness I was very comfortable with the folks I had chosen to have in the room with me.) I had to lay on my back for a while because the drug works by gravity, and that ensured it was distributed evenly, and then it was a game of laying on one side, only to switch the other side a while later. I finally gave in to the exhaustion and started to drift to sleep. I could hear Doula P, L, Hubster and Jewel quietly talking about what was ahead, including the possibility of a cesarean section tomorrow, and what to expect if that happened. Of course I was 75% asleep so it had a dream-like-quality to it. I just remember hearing bits and pieces. Then Doula P came over to let me know she and L were heading home to try and get refreshed before the morning. Hubster and Jewel bedded down in the room with me. (Talk about commitment, Jewel slept on the floor! Hubster on a sad excuse for a roll-away-bed.)

Friday morning dawned. The nurse came in to remind me to roll over, and to check me. Still at 6cm. Although Seedling had dropped a bit. While feeling physically refreshed, my spirits were really taking a toll. I looked at the nurse and just said “That’s not enough, is it? If we are going to go in for a c-section, I just want to get it over with.” I just couldn’t handle any more waffling of “Maybe we will, maybe we won’t.” I didn’t want a c-section, but I felt it was inevitable. And if it was inevitable, let’s just “rip the band-aid off”. But the nurse said that Dr.B wanted to have an internal monitor placed to confirm how strong my contractions were. This is done by placing a small plastic tubing into the cervix, it doesn’t hurt the baby. A small part of me just sighed and rolled my eyes at one more delay of the inevitable, but figured it couldn’t hurt. However, Seedling was so low that getting the tubing placed was proving difficult, and my nurse had to call in another nurse to help place it. In some ways that was a good thing (the baby was really low!)! They finally got the tubing placed, and realized that even with the Pitocin, my contractions were not in fact strong enough to cause dilation! Suddenly there was some light at the end of the tunnel, because it was simply a matter of increasing the Pitocin! Back to napping and changing from side to side.

Sometime Saturday morning I remember Hubster coming over to the bed, with the icons and cross and prayer book and saying morning prayers. I tried to mumble along as best as my sleepy mind could… but it really touched me that he would initiate that, re-centering the entire experience on our faith. I still believe our pregnancy was a miraculous unexplainable gift from God, and it is only right to thank Him for the largest blessing of my life.

The nurses had a shift change, and the new nurse went to do a check… 8cm!!!! That was so exciting and uplifting to hear. Some real change! But I suddenly realized that I could feel my hands on my legs… was my epidural wearing off? With how high the Pitocin was running, I was terrified of feeling it, and kept repeating to the nurse that I thought something had happened to the epidural, I was starting to have feeling in my legs (Yes, nurse, both legs) and that the bolus-button did not seem to be making a difference. Could all my turning have pulled the epidural out? After much insisting they finally brought in an anesthesiologist to check. Yes, the epidural was still placed, and she put in an injection of super-special extra-strong meds… and my legs back went to being numb. Then another check, and in the course of the nurse checking she felt it stretch from 8 to 9cm! I asked her how the head was positioned… and she suddenly asked “Are we sure she is head down? I think I feel a butt.” Ummm… suddenly there was a flurry to get in an ultrasound machine… and the doctor that accompanied it was Dr. GrumpyPants. Oh joy. However, they determined that she was in fact head down. Whoo, crisis averted! But while we were waiting for the determination, Hubster had called Doula P to let her know there was a question as to the baby’s position, and she headed back in.

Then I started to feel some pressure on my cervix and rectum. It didn’t hurt, it just felt like I had to go to the bathroom. I tried to let people know what I was feeling. It was hard not to push. But I was also starting to have intense sharp pain between my should blades. All those rotations from side to side, when I had to use my arms to pull and push myself, had caught up with me. In hindsight I think I must have pulled those muscles. But the pain was consuming, taking over my ability to focus on the changes in my labor. Dr.B came in and determined I was 10cm and should start really pushing hard. But part of pushing is leaning forward, curling yourself into a ball. With my shoulder muscles in agony, that wasn’t really a movement I was inclined to do. He left, and Doula P encouraged me to just “labor down” – gently push during the contractions, but not so much that I was killing myself. That I really liked. But eventually Dr.B came back and said we had to start moving things along. He talked about using a vacuum or forceps, which I was not excited about. I didn’t want anything squishing or mushing my baby’s head! I may have had to give up most of my birth plan, but if it was possible, I was going to push Seedling out. All by myself. So I started pushing. Suddenly I heard heavy metal being played on the playlist. WTF?! Earlier Hubster and I had joked that if Hubster were in labor, he would want metal playing. But I have no idea how that joke turned into reality. However, I was so internally focused on the sensation of pushing, and the sensation of sharp pain in my shoulders to properly verbalize my opinion on the music. Hubster was listing off various metal artists and for some reason in my brain I thought I had to listen to metal, and so I threw out a band name… only to realize when they came on that I absolutely did not want to listen to that band, but I felt like I would inconveniencing someone if I complained so I decided to do my best to ignore the music. I didn’t like the music, I didn’t want to listen to the music, I didn’t want my precious baby girl born to such obnoxious, offensive music. But for some reason I had come to the conclusion I didn’t have a choice.

Of course, Hubster ever the supportive man, kept trying to encourage me and would ask “are you listening to the music?” to which my brain would think “I’m doing my get to ignore it!” but I couldn’t get those words out. (Hubster has since profusely apologized, he thought the driving beat would help. Ah, men!) Eventually the music stopped playing on its own, and nobody bothered to restart it… thank goodness. (Note to self, next time make sure to put together a playlist for the pushing stage of music I like! We had done so well with the laboring playlist I had put together…)

Most of my memory of the pushing stage is about hating the music, searing pain in my shoulders, nurses telling me to push harder (and me thinking “I am pushing as hard I can! Stop telling me to push harder!”) and Dr.B saying “Get angry” (and me thinking “I am angry!”) The pushing wasn’t actually that painful or difficult, (thank you epidural) it was my shoulder muscles that felt like someone was stabbing them over and over with a knife, that hurt. And every push someone would try to lift my head or shoulders, intensifying the shoulder pain, and that just made me angrier! And the tub was over in the corner mocking me. Suddenly someone exclaimed “I can see the head! There’s so much hair!” And they wheeled in a giant mirror so I could see – that was bizarre. It was hard to believe the view in the mirror was ME. (Because, let’s be honest, how often do you see that side of yourself?) But the next push I could see a little sliver of baby head and suddenly tears filled my eyes. More pushing and pushing… so many comments about her hair, one nurse said “the next push I could braid her hair!”. (According to Jewel, as she was descending, and the contraction would end and her head would slip back a little, her hair would continue to be sticking out. So, as Jewel put it, “She was born hair first!”)

At one point someone said “Her head is out!” and I remember there wasn’t any noise so I exclaimed “Why isn’t she crying???” and someone clarified that she was almost out.

I remember Doula P encouraging me to open my eyes and look in the mirror, or reach down and feel her head, but all I could focus on was the pushing and the pain in my shoulders.

There was a moment where I felt a flash of pain and I realized Dr.B had cut an episiotomy, and I yelled out “What’s going on?!” – we hadn’t discussed an episiotomy, but apparently I was starting to tear, and the doctor knew that if he hadn’t made a small cut, I would have had a significant tear. While it startled me, it’s another example of why I am so thankful for the great team I had, who was looking out for me when I was so vulnerable and in a state where I couldn’t be clear and rational.

Suddenly I felt a release of pressure, and I opened my eyes to see the doctor holding a baby, bum up, (she came out with meconium, so he was being careful she didn’t get any in her lungs) and then she was placed on my chest, warm and wet and slightly purple – and so incredibly perfect and beautiful.

There was more pressure, as Dr.B delivered the placenta.

I looked at the beautiful tiny face, and I found myself saying “Where did you come from?”. I couldn’t believe this was the same little being that had been in my tummy. “Surreal” doesn’t even being to cover it. But even as I wondered how this could be one in the same, how after everything I had been through I had somehow find myself at this inestimable moment, I knew that I loved this little girl. The word “love” doesn’t even cover it. The feeling I felt – and still feel – is primal. It is consuming. Complete, overwhelming adoration and protectiveness of this person. Delicious obsession. The desire to know everything, every curve of her face, every dimple in her fingers, to see her grow, to learn about what she loves.

I know it took 2 weeks for me to get this post out. What can I say – it’s hard to type when you find yourself lost in looking at a face for hours. But I hope to do a slightly better job of writing posts, in order to cherish these memories later. She is growing and changing so fast! Some favorite photos from that first day… taken by Doula P (all rights given to her, please feel free to check out her website!)

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***update*** I just want to clarify: although it didn’t go according to my “plan”, I have nothing but warm, fuzzy nostalgia for my birth experience. I wish I could return to that room, that time, that experience. I felt so loved, cared for, and safe. I feel so lucky, blessed and grateful for my experience. It was filled with much fun and laughter, even though it also had moments of difficulty and tears. Sometimes the most rewarding experiences have highs and lows, because we grow so much through both emotions.

Hodgepodge

So much to talk about… Maybe I’ll do this post bullet-style:

~(just because “~” is more fun than “-“, see, it has an artistic squiggle!)

~Tuesday Hubster and I went to see the preliminary, unedited photos from our maternity photo shoot. ¬†I was so worried that with the rain and everything that I would look like a drowned rat… but the photographer is amazing and I do not, in fact, look like a drowned rat! ¬†I love the pictures, and we picked the one that will be our Christmas card (she’s going to focus on editing that one first so we can place the order for the cards ASAP) It was funny though, even though I take “bump photos” I don’t really see pictures of myself very often,¬†and¬†certainly not multiple pictures from lots of angles all at once. ¬†I¬†exclaimed¬†“Wow, I look¬†really pregnant!” and both Hubster and Suzy (my friend AND professional photographer) looked at me and said “That’s because you¬†are really pregnant!” ¬†I tried to explain it to Hubster later. ¬†See, I’ve always struggled with my weight. ¬†So, I’ve always had a “big abdomen”. ¬†So as far as how I¬†feel, I don’t feel any different than when I was heavy. ¬†Big abdomen. ¬†I mean, sure, my abdomen feels different in that there is a¬†heaviness/weightiness to it. ¬†My abdomen isn’t squishy, it’s solid. ¬†I can feel a little person moving around inside of it. ¬†But there is this ingrained body image that I’m overweight, that I am generally large, and that I look like I am overweight. ¬†I generally assume that walking down the street, people assume I’m NOT pregnant, but that I am overweight. ¬†So it really was a revelation to realize that while I feel pregnant, I also¬† look pregnant.

~On a pregnancy-related note: I’ve always had an average amount of¬†baby-fine hair. ¬†Which means I tend to have styling issues. ¬†If I don’t shower every 24 hours, my hair looks really greasy and gross. ¬†If I don’t put hair ties on really tight, they slip off my hair. ¬†If I part my hair wonky, it looks like I’m balding… but since being pregnant causes you to stop shedding hair, I have thicker hair! ¬†And now, I can shower every other day and my hair looks fine! ¬†(Like a normal person!) Hair bands stay in place! ¬†My part doesn’t have to be perfect! ¬†If only it could stay like this forever…

~Work is good.  Monday was a terrible, horrible, no good day because we were slammed, were having power surges which was messing with the computers and then we had a really horrific, bully of a client come in and I had to walk away or I was either going to scream at him, or cry.  In contrast, Wednesday was a GREAT day, very chill and very nice customers.  But through it all, I love that the people I work with are such great people.  They really try to pull their weight and work hard and help me out.

~Wednesday morning I had a midwife appointment. ¬†Things are still coming along nice and normal, nothing really exceptional to report. ¬†Seedling is moving, wiggling, rolling, had a good heartbeat. ¬†My blood pressure is nice and low. ¬†Everyone’s happy!

~Here in the states, yesterday was Thanksgiving. ¬†I made grain free biscuits and stuffing, grain free pie crust, and my¬†infamous¬†family recipe pumpkin pie. ¬†Can I just say… that stuffing recipe is the BEST EVER??? ¬†Even if you don’t need to eat grain free, it is delicious! ¬†Hubster is NOT a stuffing fan AT ALL, and even he liked it! ¬†And the pie crust was equally amazing, had great flavor and texture, and if I had not know it was grain free I would not have guessed that it was! ¬†My dad, stepmom and mom all came over. ¬†Hubster was really expecting a terrible time, lots of family awkwardness and that it would be uncomfortably cramped in our small apartment… but somehow it all worked out! ¬†It was actually really amusing to watch my mom and stepmom take over my kitchen and work together and chatter away (mostly about how they think I have organized ¬†X well but really need to improve the organization of Y with the baby coming… lol) ¬†There was just two less than stellar moments:
1. ¬†when my mom started digging into a pity party about how terrible her boss is, and then I just changed the subject much to everyone else’s amusement.
2. ¬†when my stepmom started going off about how I must be¬†so done with being pregnant and how¬†terrible it was for her to be pregnant, but I just stopped her and basically said “I think after infertility, loss, and all my friends who have had really difficult (sick, bed rest, late term miscarriage) pregnancies I don’t have anything to complain about and am trying to enjoy every moment of this that I can.” ¬†And that basically shut her up!
All in all it really was a great visit! ¬†The food was amazing (I’m digging me some Thanksgiving leftovers!) and since everyone had to work nobody stayed too late and I got to go to bed early.
The Thanksgiving table… the tablecloth, china and silverware were my late Maternal Grandmother’s… it was nice to have a piece of her with us on the holiday ūüôā

~The day after Thanksgiving here in the States is usually called “Black Friday” because lots of stores have huge sales, trying to clear out inventory etc with Christmas coming. ¬†I’ve never been a big fan, getting up and standing in line at midnight to deal with a bunch of exhausted and cranky people bickering over who grabbed the last box of who-the-hell-cares just to save a few bucks? ¬†Not my cup of tea. ¬†But this year, I had my gift cards and cash gifts from our showers, and I did my shopping online to try and finish up some of the last, important things on our registries. ¬†Of course I couldn’t get¬†everything, but tried to grab all those last-little-things, and left the 3 largest items for the handful of family members that still want to get us things. ¬†(I think it’s easier when someone says “What do you need?” to list 3 things, rather than 20) ¬†I’m very happy I got my fabulous deals with free shipping, no lines, in my jammies and was in bed before midnight. ¬†Anyone wanna read a list of what I got? ¬†Because in my nerdiness, I made one! ¬†(Hurray for lots of discounts and deals!!!) ¬†I am also stupidly excited for packages to show up in my mail lol ūüôā

Black Friday Loot
Bedding:
Serta Organic Contour Pad
Changing Pad Cover – brown dots
Changing Pad Cover- yellow dots
Organic Contoured Changing Table Cover
Graco Quilted Pack N Play sheet – ecru
Yellow Crib Rail Cover (1 long)
Yellow Crib Rail Cover (2 short)
Swaddle Blanket – Kiwi Triple Paisley design
Swaddle Blanket – Sterling Sparklers design
Jersey Sheet – Soft Yellow
Jersey Sheet – Yellow Stripe
Safety:
First Years American Red Cross First Aid Kit
Hyland’s Teething tablets
Summer Infant Oral Care Kit
Bottle Drying Rack
Universal Outlet Covers (6)
No Scratch Bottle Brush
Diapers:
OsoCozy 6 pack prefolds
Simple Step Diaper Pail
Rumparooz Pocket – Preppy design
Rumparooz Pocket – Lux design
Rumparooz – Ladder design (Hubster was a firefighter for 6 years, I couldn’t pass up a diaper with a firefighter theme!)
Thirsties Cover – Family Tree design
Thirsties Diaper Pail Liner (2)
Thirsties Hemp Prefold (5)

~Saturday we are meeting up with friends to go and cut our Christmas tree. ¬†I’ve never done the weekend-after-Thanksgiving Christmas Tree thing… a little worried it will be a a mad house but I’m looking forward to seeing this group, especially as some of them live quite a drive away and we see rarely. ¬†Than Jewel is supposed to come down Saturday evening to hang out for a bit. ¬†We haven’t hung out for a while, and I will borrow some much-needed super-small needles from her to get started on a Christmas project. ¬†Sunday has no plans other than church, and by gum, I’m keeping it that way!!! ¬†Looking forward to an afternoon spent on the couch, hopefully getting some serious work done on my pile of Christmas present projects!