Why does my forehead hurt? A birth story

May 4th 2010 – there are a lot of things that hurt me today.  Why I am all consumed with figuring out why the hell my forehead hurts is beyond me.  My forehead!  Never mind that a baby just came screaming out of me in four hours (or four days) flat.  Everything hurts, but I just want to remember why my forehead hurts.

If I could insert a tape rewinding sound effect here I would.  Please insert your own.

April 30th  – I want this baby OUT!  He is now 10 days past his due date.  Whatever THAT means.  Stupid due dates.  My other two kids also went way past their EDD so why did I think this one would be any different?  Well, because I wanted it to be different.  I have had enough of being pregnant already.  I am tired, bloated and ready for my baby to come out.  With S acupuncture seemed to help.  She was born the day after I had some needling done.  Let’s give that a shot.  I had been having contractions on and off since the day before.  I went to the OB for a NST and an appointment.  I finally let her do an internal and try to get things started. My parents arrive because I am petrified I will go into labor in the middle of the night.

May 1st -My parents decide to leave because, well, there was no baby yet.  We packed the other two kiddos into the car and go into Boston to see an acupuncturist.  Steve has called a colleague and she agrees to meet us at her office.  The kids walk around Newbury Street with Steve and I relax for an hour. I start having some contractions.  My parents call they say they’re just at my Aunts house because they were afraid to leave. We all go back to the house and I become a watched pot.  I have some regular contractions, some doozies, and then pfft. My husband calls the doula on the sly because I keep insisting I’m ok – WHICH I AM! Doula comes everyone is just staring at me, like soooooooooooo you gonna have that baby.  She leaves and my parents stay over again.

May 2nd – Still no baby.  My parents actually go home.  My in-laws come and take the kids away to their house. Exhale. Now what should we do? Let’s go tempt my water to break at Legacy Place :-)  We walk around, then eat dinner.  I have a HUGE contraction after dinner walking to the car then NOTHING.  We get home and decide to try to walk him out.  We go for a long walk and I have small contractions all along the way.  Then another HUGE contraction. It stops me in my tracks.  I tell Steve it’s really intense and he says “Well it couldn’t hurt too bad if you’re talking through it.”
I say “Let me kick you in the balls and see if you can talk through it.”

Suddenly I feel like I have to poo and I feel a little, um, leaky. I can’t walk fast enough to get home.  No really I can’t walk fast enough. I’m 10 freaking months pregnant remember?  I don’t know how I held it until I got home but I did.

May 3rd – My husband decided that today is the day we should get the oil changed in the car.

Yes, you read that right.

He made the appointment at the dealership a month before thinking we would already have the baby. Well no baby and now I have to go with him because he won’t leave me alone. We’re keeping the appointment because we have nothing else to do but wait.  Off to Arlington we go. They tell us it will take an hour.  I’m pissed. We have a NST at 11.  We get to the waiting area and I start having contractions again. Nothing spectacular just uncomfortable. Oh and I’m hungry too.  I have a banana and a protein bar.  NOT full, I’m 10 freaking months pregnant remember?

The car is done, next stop the hospital.  NST -all good. I don’t have an appointment with Dr., but she sees me anyway.  She examines me and I’m four centimeters fully effaced. I tell her I felt a little leaky yesterday and today. She said WHAT? Seems a little mad at me that that wasn’t the FIRST thing I told her.  She tests me for fluid and sure enough my water broke at some point.  A slow leak because the NST shows everything is fine. She suggests that I let her induce me today. The word induction is a scary thing for a VBAC mama. Talk of pitocin or perhaps fully breaking the water and seeing what happens. She wants to admit me and get started.  I ask if I can go have lunch first – I am starving and if this takes a while I won’t have the energy.  She gives me a sideways look says “Don’t eat anything too heavy and be back in an hour.”  So off to lunch we go!

So all of that took four days.

2pm -Check into the hospital.

All of the rest of this took 4 hours and it’s a bit of a blur.

3 pm -Break water totally. Steve and I decide to go for the water breaking before pitocin.  I had a natural birth with Sienna and wanted the same with this baby.

3:15 -contractions start.

3:30 -contractions full force.

4:00 -on the balance ball.

5:00 -in the tub. Oh!! There it is! That’s why my forehead hurts. I was rolling it back and forth on that bar in the tub like a dumbass.  Felt good at the time.

6:00 -on the bed. Want to be back in the tub.

7:00 -Please god make this stop.  I can’t do this.

7:08 -OMG somebody just stabbed me in the vagina and I think I broke my husbands wrist.

7:09 -And that somebody.

This guy. How cute is he

7:15 – So happy.

I’m sorry what was I saying? Something about my forehead…

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The Waiting Game

My husband actually said to me yesterday “Why don’t you just relax and enjoy the last days of your pregnancy?  This is the last time you’re going to be pregnant.  Just enjoy it.”

Um, ENJOY IT?!?!  The time for enjoying was in the first trimester, oh wait I was so nauseous I couldn’t see straight.  Or the second trimester, oh wait my hormones were making me a part of the lunatic fringe.  Maybe third trimester?  Nope. I was so exhausted taking care of two kids while working and pregnant, it just about did me in.  Now in my TENTH month you want me to relax and enjoy it?!  Argh!

I will admit I paused for a moment on the you’ll never be pregnant again thing.  That is pause-worthy after all.

No more big bellies after this.  No more first kicks.  No more wondering what one more of our offspring will look like (we make ’em cute!).  No more knowing smiles from strangers and offers of help.  (Soon I will just be that crazy woman with three screaming kids who got herself into that mess she can manage the door on her own.)

So I wait.  But I am not very good at waiting.  I will wait to see what this baby will look like?  Wait to see him to figure out what we will name him.  And the smell, oh the smell of a newborn baby.  My baby.  I will wait.

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Life and death

All of the wakes and funerals are over.  Life and death, and birth, have been on my mind a lot lately.

My grandfather died on January 31st.  My 39th (gulp) birthday came along.  The 15th anniversary of my little brother’s death was March 19th.  My husband’s 40th in April.

Then last week.  Oh dear God, there was last week.  My Nana died on Sunday morning and my husband’s cousin died on Sunday afternoon.  Then Thursday night a friend’s father died.

I had to go buy new clothes for my guy for all the funerals.

All of this as I am pregnant and caring for two kids 3 and under.  I have little or no time to grieve.  Do I explain death to an almost 4 year old?  Do they go to the wake?  What if it’s an open casket?  How do I explain that?

My grandparents lived long full lives and their deaths were imminent.  In some ways a relief for my parents.  They have been caring for them for the last eight years.  My mother has been basically living in her mother in laws basement for 8 YEARS!  They are all tapped & nurtured out.  When my grandparents moved to a nursing home last year (the one my mother works at as a hospice nurse- still taking care of them :-) my Dad started to renovate the house.  Preparing for them to come back home or to make a nicer spot for himself and my mom to retire in.  He really wanted my grandparents to see it finished.

My husbands cousin had Huntington’s Disease that he fought until the very end.  I first met him on the beginning of his decline from the disease.  I could tell then that he was a fighter.  His daughter whom he hardly knew because he wife divorced him after he was diagnosed, traveled from Mississippi to say goodbye.  As I told her how sorry I was for her loss a single tear drifted down her cheek.  I had to leave the room after that.  It was all too much.

Then my good friend George’s Dad died.  I have known George since 2nd grade.  Many of my friends IRL I have known for that long.  We grew up in a small town and stayed close through high school and beyond.  I knew his father well.  I know his whole family well.  I was devastated for George.  He was sick, but was making progress.  George was just telling me at my husband’s birthday party how they were making plans for him to come home in May.  Then he was gone.

Being nine months pregnant through that week was helpful, and not so much.  The hormones got the better of me at times.  But my belly provided a much needed distraction for some from the grief they were wanting to push aside. Instead they focused on my belly and the life it was nurturing.

We will all die one day this is for certain, but it always comes as such a shock doesn’t it?  Even when it is expected.

So I have had my fill of death for a while I think, I hope.  I am moving on to birth.  Waiting for my new little one to arrive any day.

I am moving on to this thing called Life. Despite the setbacks, the death and the grief.  There is life, and life is good.

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Crocs Love

So I love Crocs.  I am not ashamed to admit it.  Especially now since they are the ONLY shoe I can wear without my back and my sciatic nerve giving me fits.  But here is the real truth – the ones I have, I do in fact, think are ugly. 
They have some super cute ones now. But when I bought these a few years ago these were definitely the cutest of the bunch.  The Mary Jane!  Even a cute name.  I bought them in bright orange because orange makes me happy and I never intended to wear them in public.  The furthest these shoes have traveled is to the curb to take out the trash.  And our house is pretty close to the curb ;-)

Fast forward two years and now I am 9 months pregnant and can’t wear any of my shoes.  I search, scour, and generally turn the internet inside out to find another pair of Mary Jane’s.  I actually even left the house and went to a real store – my local independent shoe store.  They only had the big fat kind and the new super cute skinny kind.  Back to the internet – closeout, discontinued, outlet store.  WHAT??  I NEED a pair of Crocs I can wear in public.  Black or brown ones size 7, please.

I turned to Twitter to express my frustration with my 9 month preggo body and my serious lack of Crocs love.  Someone tell me this isn’t true!  Discontinued?  All I wanted was for someone to break the news to me so I could just move on with my life sans comfortable shoes.  I get a tweet from Crocs asking me what model I’m looking for exactly.  I tell them and they confirm that they are being discontinued. Oy.  Then another tweet they want to know my size to see if they can find me any.  Then an email.  I am the perfect sample size and she’s going to look through the closets in Colorado and see if she can find me something.  Another email.  She is sending me a pair, free of charge and to please enjoy the rest of my pregnancy.

How nice is that?  Hubs didn’t even get me a pregnancy present.  Hrmpf.

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38 weeks then never again

I was going to write a joyous post about being 38 week and being nearly done with this pregnancy.  Joyous because I AM DONE.

I had (have) an upper respiratory infection for the past two weeks that has rendered me basically useless.  Now I can hardly walk from the strain that all the coughing has put on my muscles.  The baby is huge.  I AM HUGE.

Then I think about being done and it’s permanence.  I will never be pregnant again after this.

Three and out – that’s what I told my husband.  He had to be talked into the third.  He thought he may have been able to get away with two because it was a boy and a girl.  But I wanted three.  THREE  I say.  He relented, with not much of a fight I might add.

But never again.  This pregnancy has been the worst by far.  Morning sickness, hormones, exhaustion.  It’s been a long nine months.  My kids want me back, need me back.  My husband would secretly say the same too.   The thought of the baby inside of me keeps me going.  He’s full term but could stay for three more weeks if he wanted or needed to.

As miserable physically as I am right now, there is much that I will miss about being pregnant.  I am sure that years from now when I see a beautifully pregnant woman I may yearn to do it again.  But for now I am done.  So done.

So I say never again, but I say it with a bit of a sigh today.

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Fear & loathing in my uterine wall

So the realization that I am actually going to have this baby hit me the other day.  Like that I have to HAVE the baby.  Deliver the baby.  BIRTH the baby.  Oh crap.

I haven’t thought much about my primary csection during this pregnancy, mostly because I haven’t had the time.  Strange because it was probably the second most traumatic thing to happen in my life.  I have two kids now and all the research I did to prepare for my first birth and then for my VBAC seems indulgent, almost.  No time for self pity anymore :-)

My pregnancies are uneventful for the most part.  The morning sickness has progressed in a downward spiral with each pregnancy.  Other than that and some serious hormonal mood swings, nothing that complicates my health or the baby’s.  My labor and deliveries, however, are an EVENT!

Here are the abridged fast talkin’ versions:

The first, with N, was 26 hours of natural labor induced with prostiglandin because he was two weeks late. The prostin worked immediately and I labored pretty heavily for all that time only getting to 7 cms.  My water hadn’t broken so they wanted to try that first.  Water broken back down to 5cms and…meconium.  My plan was for a natural birth in a birth center.  Meconium is a deal breaker in the Birth Center.  Then there was some heart rate issues and a mad rush across the street to the hospital.  So now I’m in a hospital, they are poking and prodding, tethering a monitor to his head.  Wouldn’t let me out of bed anymore, talk of an epidural and pitocin.  A doctor I had never met before wouldn’t look me in the eye.  I finally agreed to an epidural and pitocin. The anesthesiologist was outside the door and all of a sudden heart rates dropped, wires being removed, bed moved out of the room, flying down the hallway.  My husband was left in the dust.  In the OR things calm down.  They say the heart rate is better.  I say then why do we have to do this then?  They didn’t answer.  My cynical side says it was Friday nite at 6, but whatevs.

I spent a lot of time over the next two years sad, angry and determined.

I found a great doctor and a wonderful hospital fully supportive of VBACs for the birth of S.  Husband on board, family (not so sure, but they don’t get a vote) and a doula, check!  Six days past due and I’m getting a little worried.  My OB says I’m almost ready.  Does a semi-strip of my membranes.  A quick visit to my friend the acupuncturist for some moxa and needling induction. I am having contractions on and off, but I’m able to sleep through the night, but I tell my mom she should come up the next day.  Morning goes by with some contractions, we eat lunch and then something just changes.  All of a sudden contractions are coming pretty quickly.  We call the doula.  What?  She’s at another hospital with her son, back up is called.  I am terrified to leave my house and get to the hospital too soon.  Too soon for a VBAC can spell big trouble.  Getting closer so we decide to leave.  Actually my mother, who is a nurse yet is frantically pacing back and forth through my kitchen, decides we should leave.  Now I become a cliche.  I am the woman screaming in labor outside the house, in the car, outside the hospital, in the elevator, at the nurses station. I scared some food service guys in the elevator.  Surely the must have seen women gripping the side of an elevator in agony before.  They checked me and I was only 4cms.  I started crying.  This was the only moment that I doubted myself or my decision to VBAC.  And it was only a moment.  Four hours later my girl was born.  I stayed in the tub for most of the crazy fast labor.  I could feel her moving down, if I opened my eyes at all I bet I could’ve seen her getting in position.  Out of the tub and onto the bed for a half hour of pushing.  There she is! My successful VBAC with a gorgeous fat healthy baby.

Up until about a month before I delivered S, I was petrified.  Would my uterus rupture?  Would I die?  My baby, oh god, my baby?  I decided that, for me, the risk is far less than all of the rewards and benefits of a natural vaginal delivery for me and my baby.

I am no longer afraid of a repeat section. I do absolutely loathe the idea of it however.  Because I had a VBAC?  I’m not sure.  Because I love and trust my doctor?  That helps.  Because Doulas rock?  This I know for sure.

What else I do know for sure is that each of those experiences are mine, and I own them.  I would not be who I am today without them.  I learned that everything can go wrong and you can get nothing the way you wanted it and still be ok.  It can even inspire you!  Or it can go almost exactly the way you imagined and a sense of calm and order is restored to the world to a point that if a csection was needed this time around- ok.

So me and my uterine wall, we’ve got some issues.  Am I afraid this time?  Not as much as before.  Do I hate that I was ever put in this position?  You betcha!

Maybe I’ll leave for the hospital a little sooner this time.

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