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Monday, September 26, 2011

First Outing With Cael

It started out fine, but ended in disaster, and me swearing I was never going to go shopping with Cael solo again. We needed more newborn size diapers, so I figured I would attempt a shopping trip to the new Super Walmart that just opened in our town. It took me a lot of motivation to actually get up and get going - from 12pm to 3pm - but I finally made it out. I've been having a hard time adjusting to motherhood; it's way more intense and overwhelming than I ever thought it would be. But that's for another post.

So I fed and changed Cael, put him in the car seat, grabbed the diaper bag and I was out the door. This was also the first time I've driven since delivery. It was raining when I left, but I figured no big deal. Well, when I got to Walmart, there was no close parking, so I had to park far away, and lug his car seat all the way into Walmart to grab a dry cart. Not to mention I made the horrible decision to wear flip flops out, so my feet were soaked.

I grabbed a cart, and I put him in the big part of the cart. I recently heard of a news story where a 3 month old died because their car seat, which was in the front part of the cart near the handle, fell off the cart, and caused a lot of trauma to the baby. For this reason, I put him in the basket part.

The excursion started off well. Cael was awake the whole time, but content and didn't say a peep. I grabbed the baby stuff I needed, and decided that since he was being so good, I would grab some food-related items, since we were pretty much out of food at home. By the time I was almost down to the last aisle, Cael started to fuss, and eventually cry. I got on line to checkout, and Cael was screaming at this point.

I had piled everything around Cael's car seat, and didn't really think about where I would put the bags once everything was packed. I go to put the two jars of sauce on the conveyor, and **smash** I drop a jar on the floor. It shatters, and sauce and glass go everywhere, including on my pant legs and feet - remember, I wore flip flops. I kind of freeze for a second, and take in what just happened. I've never dropped anything breakable on the floor in a food store before. I guess there's a first time for everything. But how embarrassing.

I apologized profusely, and mentioned, "Of course this would happen on my first trip out with the baby." Mind you, Cael is still screaming. And then I start crying. The lady in front of my feels bad for me, and tells me these things happen, and to not worry about it. She then goes on to help me unload the rest of my cart onto the conveyor. She was so sweet and helpful, and I am so thankful that she was so kind.

I finally get through the line and checked out (while they are cleaning up the saucy mess) - and I don't even know how much I spent; I just swiped my card and signed. I get to the exit, and it is POURING out. Of course it is. At least I have a cart to push everything the distance to the car this time. I get Cael into the car, and load the bags into the car, and am so ready to get home. HOWEVER, it turns out that the road out of the parking lot is FILLED with traffic, so I didn't move from my spot in the line for about 10 minutes.

I finally get home, and Cael wants to eat again. I put away the cold stuff, and leave the rest on the floor for Matt to put away when I get home. It was an absolutely horrible and exhausting trip out.

Here is a picture of Cael surrounded by groceries, screaming his head off. You'll notice at this time, there are TWO jars of sauce in the cart to the left. Yea, I only left with one.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cael's Second Weight Check

Today we had Cael's second newborn visit and weight check. He gained 11 ounces in 9 days, bringing his weight up to 8 pounds 6 ounces!! My little porker! They also measured his length and head circumference. He is now 21.25 inches long, and his head is 14.75 inches around. He's definitely growing, so the pediatrician was happy about that.

I also brought up a little rash that he has right above the base of his penis. It looks like a cluster of tiny bumps. The pediatrician thinks it could be some type of yeast rash, which he said isn't uncommon in newborns. So he gave us a prescription for a cream to put on twice a day to see if that heals it.

Cael also went on to spit up 3 times while being examined, which made me bring up that he's been starting to spit up more after feedings, and get heavy-sounding hiccups after every feeding. The pediatrician said it sounds like reflux, so he gave us a prescription for that as well. We also have to start him on vitamin D because he's breastfed - so a multivitamin - so we got a third prescription for that as well.

We go back next Thursday to recheck his weight and rash, and follow-up about his reflux. We were also told we can start Tummy Time with him. He's been holding his head up since day one, getting stronger each day. The pediatrician seemed really impressed by that, although he was trying to not sound too impressed. "He's really strong," he told us. No kidding! He's already using his legs to push himself up when we're holding him. We're definitely going to have our hands full with him, that's for sure!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Follow-Up Appointment

So I had a follow up appointment with my midwife today to recheck my uterus and mastitis. Over the weekend, I finally started feeling better - both in my uterine area, and in my pelvic bone area. Not to mention that my lady bits aren't swollen anymore. Woohoo!

My uterus looked SO much better on ultrasound. Still some fluid, especially in my cervix, but it was nothing compared to what it was 4 days earlier. And my breast looked better too. Thankfully! They also checked my hemoglobin again. This time it was 8.1. So it had gone from 7.9-8.1 in 4 days. I'm not impressed - considering I'm still taking 325mg of iron twice a day. I guess it's on its way up, just very slowly. With that, I still tire easily. Because of this (not sure if I mentioned this already), my midwife wants me to take 8 weeks off, instead of the usual 6 weeks. I told my work this, and all hell broke loose, but that's for another post. So my first day back to work will be Halloween, unfortunately.

But at least I'm finally on the mend.

Monday, September 19, 2011

2 Weeks!!

I CANNOT believe that Cael is 2 weeks old already :::cries:::. No seriously, I really do cry when I think about it, and it's silly, really. In my head, he's growing up so fast, and I get really upset about it. When in reality, he's still a newborn, at only 14 days old. Here he is at 2 weeks old, after his first real bath! He lost his belly button stump yesterday, thankfully. I hated that thing!

And for shits and giggles, here is my 2 week post-partum belly. I've lost all the weight I've gained during the pregnancy (I had by 6 days post-partum), but I still have a little "foopa" of extra skin. Matt says it will go away eventually, when it tightens back up. I hope he's right. I was 123 before I got pregnant, and I'm currently 120, according to my home scale. I feel like my current pp belly looks the same as my 20 week pregnant belly. I'll make a comparison, but it looks no where near what it did at 6 weeks pregnant.

Friday, September 16, 2011

More Setbacks

So I'm pretty sure I've expressed how rough my recovery has been. If not, I'll say it now - my recovery has been slow and tedious, and nothing close to what I imagined it would be. I had follow-up appointment with my midwife today to re-check my hemoglobin levels. I guess usually they don't see patients this soon after delivery (12 days), but since I had a very low hemoglobin level when I was discharged, she wanted to see me to re-check it. Let me remind you, I was in the ER 2 days ago, where my hemoglobin was 8-point-something.

I also wanted to bring up the sharp pains that I've been having in my pelvis, below my belly button, since Wednesday morning. It feels like sharp gas pains, but I know it's not gas because it's not moving. Plus, my belly-button REALLY hurts when you put even the slightest amount of pressure on it. ALSO, my left breast is starting to get sore and has some redness to it. I sure know how to turn a quick, finger-prick-only visit into a full on examination.

I was examined "down there", and that looked fine. She examined my breast, and determined that I had left breast mastitis. Wonderful. And she wasn't happy with how tender I was when she was examining my belly, so she had me get a pelvic ultrasound right there.

Let me tell you - I have the ugliest uterus I've ever seen on ultrasound! It was sticking strait up, and filled with fluid/blood/etc. I even had a rather large collection of fluid/blood/etc in my cervix. Truly ugly. Very ugly. I knew it didn't look good, and meant that I had an infection of some sort.

After showing the ultrasound pictures to one of the doctors in the practice, it was determined that I did indeed have a uterine infection. Endometritis to be exact. Great. So that, combined with my mastitis earned me a 10 day regime of Keflex. Even better. Now I'm terrified that I'm going to get thrush. I was also put on Methergine to make me cramp and contract, and try to get whatever fluid/blood/etc that is in there, out.

So to sum it up, I'm very anemic - my hemoglobin was 7.9 by the way - have mastitis, and have a uterine infection. Go recovery! :::enter sarcasm:::

Thursday, September 15, 2011

An Update On Everything!

So, instead of back-dating posts, and doing several little posts, I decided to do just one large post, broken down by date (if significant enough). It's been almost 2 weeks since Cael's birth, and I can't believe how quickly it's flying by! Trust me, I cry when I think about it.

Thursday, September 8th, 2011
Cael's First ER Visit

Today wasn't as eventful as the evening was. Cael hadn't peed since last night at around 6pm, so when about 24 hours went by and no pee or poo was to be seen, I became concerned. Especially since he was nursing every 2-3 hours, I knew he should be making pee. Matt wasn't as concerned as much, thinking it will just happen eventually. But considering everything I've been told and read said - "Should have about 4 wet diapers in 24 hours" - I got really concerned. He was only 4 days old, and all I could think of was his poor bladder being so full, and the toxins from the urine going throughout his body.

So I put a call in to his pediatrician's office through the answering service. One of the nurses from the triage center called me back, and went through some questions about what was going on. She asked things such as does he have a fever; is he lethargic; how often is he eating; what is he doing now; has he urinated today. When I answered "no" to the last question, she told me that we had to bring him to the emergency room. Commence break down. I tried to keep my composure as I hung up the phone with the nurse, and as soon as I hung up, I lost it. My poor baby.

There was one problem, though. Yesterday, September 7th, our area and the Binghamton, NY area was in a state of emergency due to massive flooding. There was no way out of our town, and therefore no way to get to the hospital in Binghamton. There was a travel ban, and all roads that led out of our town were under water. This flood was supposed to be worse than the flood of 2006, and that flood was horrible. And at this point, Binghamton was evacuated by the National Guard.

SO, that leaves the crappy hospital 2 miles from out house, in our crap town. It literally has 4 ER rooms. This is the hospital that I worked at when we first moved up here, and from working in the ER Admissions office, I learned that this is the hospital that you go to for sniffles and a cold. It's basically a clinic. If you have a life-threatening condition - good luck.

So I finished breast-feeding Cael, quickly threw together his diaper bag (this would be the first time we've gone anywhere since being discharged 2 days earlier), put Cael in his car seat, and we were heading out the door. Unfortunately, because we were in such a rush, I guess I didn't properly burp Cael, so this was also the first time he spit up. Poor little guy.

So we get there, and we were 1 of 2 patients that were in the ER. The other was this little boy who seemed to hurt his wrist. They brought us into a room, and started their assessment on him. In a nutshell, he weighed 7 pounds 5 ounces, he wasn't in distress, had good color and vital signs, and looked well overall. The only thing was that he had a low temperature - it was 97.3. However, that could have been our fault because: 1. we had only had him in a diaper and onesie since we brought him home, with a blanket of course (oops) and 2. we had just given him his first sponge bath, hoping it would trigger him to pee. I guess you live and you learn. We learned that night that we should have more clothes on him, including a hat, socks and mittens, because newborns get cold easily.

The ER doctor couldn't find anything wrong with him, and explained that because he was so tiny and new, that he would rather not catheterize him. If he were an adult, they would, but not in this circumstance. He was confident that he would pee on his own eventually, and said that sometimes the breast milk isn't enough yet because it hasn't fully come in yet. Therefore, he could be dehydrated, or not getting enough. This made me feel like crap. After his assessment, he left to contact Cael's pediatrician and let him know of his findings.

He came back, and said that the on-call pediatrician was fine with sending him home, because we had Cael's first newborn visit for a weight-check tomorrow, on Friday. That is, if we would be able to get up to Binghamton. The pediatrician also said that he wants us to try and give him formula after I breast feed, to make sure he's getting enough. This upset me greatly, because I really don't want him to have formula, and I really don't want to introduce a bottle just yet. But Matt said it's what the pediatrician said to do, so we'll try it. I, however, just knew that he was getting enough. He spit up a ton of milk before we left, for crying out loud.

The problem was, that we didn't have any formula to give him. This hospital also didn't have a nursery or deliver babies, so Matt thought they wouldn't have any formula to give us. Plus, all stores were closed, and we wouldn't even be able to get to them if they were open. But I figured you never know until you ask. Turns out, they had the little 2 ounce bottles of pre-made formula, and they gave us quite a few.

We were then discharged and were on our way home. However, not before paying a $100 out of network copay. I hope there aren't any other charges that come up that aren't covered. We
headed home after about no more than 2 hours in the ER, and it was time to feed Cael. I breast fed him, then, as the pediatrician suggested, we gave him the bottle of formula. I cried the entire time he was drinking from it, because I felt it was going to ruin his latch on me. Plus, I didn't want him having formula. Matt told me I was being selfish, and that this is what he needed (I knew he didn't need it).

He drank it so quickly and honestly didn't know what to do with the bottle nipple. He was sort of playing with it in his mouth. He was done after 1 ounce, and I went to burp him. He spit up EVERYTHING and everywhere. I knew he didn't need it, and it was probably too heavy for his stomach because he was used to the breast milk. I felt so bad for him, and had no problem telling Matt that he didn't need it, that I was making enough milk for him. We haven't given him formula since.

After he ate and was done spitting up, Matt took him to change his diaper. It was still dry. However, as soon as Matt took the diaper off, Cael peed all over Matt! The little stinker!! He actually peed twice during that changing, so we were both really relieved. It cost us $100 (that we know of, at least), but it was worth it because we knew he was ok for now. From then on, we knew Cael was going to be giving us a run for our money.

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011
Cael's First Pediatrician Visit..And My ER Visit

We never did make it to Cael's originally scheduled appointment on Friday because of the flooding, so we had to reschedule it to today. Matt's mom brought us because Matt couldn't get off. This was also Cael's second time out, and this outing would be the longest. His appointment went very well. He gained 5 ounces from when we were discharged the week before, so he was up to 7 pounds 11 ounces. The pediatrician was pleased with his weight gain. He went over some basic things with us, and we have another appointment the following week on Thursday to make sure he's gaining enough weight still.

So I guess since Cael's visit was pretty much uneventful, I had to make up for that. I was fine during the car ride up to the doctor's office, but once I got out of the car, and walked the distance up to Cael's office, I started not feeling so well. I've been having a rough recovery to begin with, and did lose a lot of blood during the delivery, so I've been feeling weak. By the end of Cael's visit, while we were checking out, one of the nurses noticed that I wasn't looking so good.

I was completely grey, weak-looking, and out of breath from the walk to the check-out counter. I was also having some pretty bad cramping - worse than I've had since I delivered. One of the nurses, C, had me sit down, and took my vital signs. I explained that I was fine, that I just needed to sit and that I've done more today than I've done since I've delivered. And also that I'm anemic, which is why I'm feeling this way. However, they knew I wasn't fine. They wanted to put a call into my midwife's office, one floor down, and have me seen. They called, and explained to one of the doctor's (not my midwife) what my vital's and symptoms were. They told C to bring me right down to the ER, and not to bother with an office visit.

This really upset me, and of course I started to cry. All I could think about was Cael being away from me, or being in the hospital for longer than I wanted and being around all the germs. C got a wheel-chair, had me get in it, and away we went. They knew I was an employee, so I guess that got me in quicker. This was about 2:30pm.

When we got to the triage area, I had to leave Cael and Laureen behind. This upset me greatly, as I haven't been away from Cael since he was born (except the few hours he spent in the nursery after delivery). They asked me questions, took my vitals, did an EKG, and got me right into a room. I had blood drawn to check my hemoglobin again, and they took 7 VIALS! I was thinking I'm anemic enough, how much blood do they need!? I was alone in the room, and felt horrible. I wanted my son. I didn't want to be there, and didn't feel I needed to be there. But I knew I had no say in the matter (I wouldn't sign out AMA).

My hemoglobin had gone up slightly to 8 - it was 6 when I was discharged a week prior - but it was still low. I had an orthostatic blood pressure check done, and failed that because my heart rate rose 40 bpm when I was standing. Therefore, I earned myself an IV and a bag of saline. They also paged my midwife to discuss my cramping and symptoms, and I guess because I was only 8 days post-partum, so she would be the best person to see me. The lactation consultant was also going to come in and see me.

The nurse from Cael's office, C, called my room to see how I was doing. At this point, I had Cael in my room, and was feeding him, because Laureen spoke to the LC, and she said that as long as I was in my own room, he would be fine with me. He's best with me, and not apart from me, so therefore it would be ok for him to come in with me. I'm happy that I got to feed him, because they were talking about giving him formula. I explained that he can't have formula, that he'll just spit it up, and everyone told me not to worry about it, and just worry about myself. Yea, ok. I asked C (just to confirm) if it were ok to have Cael with me, and explained what the LC said. C was very hesitant, and said that they don't recommend it because of all the germs. Great - commence panic and crying. I finished feeding him, and had Laureen leave again with him, so he wasn't around the ER. I was now alone again, and crying to myself.

I wanted Cael with me, but was now paranoid of all the germs in the ER that he would be exposed to. Especially since there was a lady across the hall coughing up a lung. All I could think of was poor Cael getting very sick, and needing to be hospitalized. And it would be all my fault because I wanted him with me. This is when the LC came into my room. I immediately started crying, and explained what C said, which is why Cael wasn't in my room. I asked her if this true, and that I really didn't want him to get sick. She said that she understands my concern, but that it should really be ok if he's in with me. That being with me is the best thing for him. She also explained that whatever germs were around me, that my body was already making antibodies for them, and Cael would get them through my milk. This made me feel a little better, and I called Laureen to have her bring Cael back.

It had been about an hour and half, so the LC had me nurse him again. She showed me another position, that I really liked. Since I was half between laying flat and sitting strait up, she laid Cael on his belly, on mine right under my breasts, and had him nurse that way while I supported his head. It was very comfortable, and it worked. My midwife also came in at this point. Basically, we chalked my symptoms up to being anemic, and doing more than I have in a while. Which is why my cramping probably picked up too. I had another orthostatic blood pressure done, which I passed this time, given a second bag of saline, and when I could stand on my own without getting dizzy, I would be good to be discharged.

I was finally discharged at around 8pm that night. It was a really long day, especially for Cael. We had left at 11:00 that morning, and now wouldn't be getting home until around 10pm, because of the detours we needed to take - roads were still closed from the flooding. But he did so well, and didn't cry once. I'm so proud of him, and happy that he was such a good baby, especially for being only 8 days old. Anyway, I was sent home with the understanding that I wouldn't do anything but lay down, relax, nurse Cael, and sleep. I was to also follow up with my midwife at my already scheduled appointment on Thursday, which was made for me while I was still in the hospital after the delivery.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cael Matthew Has Arrived!!

Only 1 day past his due date, at 40 weeks 1 day!

Cael Matthew was born on Sunday, September 4th, 2011 at 8:17pm. He weighed 8 pounds and was 20.5 inches long. My contractions started around 12:00-12:30 in the afternoon, so I only labored for 8 hours, and pushed for 20 minutes. Here is his birth story!

How I Spent My Labor Day weekend

Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's my due date - 40 weeks today! Since I made it to my due date, I was given an appointment in L&D to have a NST done - something done standard when you reach your due date. We went after Matt came home from work. We did manage to try and jump-start labor again by..::ahem:: you know..before we left for the appointment. The hope was that it would trigger contractions to start while I was having my NST done. But no such luck. Cael looked perfect on the NST, I wasn't having contractions, and we were good to go after only 20 minutes.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Today I am 40 weeks 1 day. I couldn't help but think and fear that I would go WAY past my due date, and have to be induced. It's something I thought about every day - I really didn't want to be induced. Anyway, Matt and I slept in, and we woke up about 9:30ish. We decided, again, to try and see if we can "put me into labor". So we did that, and went about our morning, which consisted of Matt putting ESPN on the TV.

Around 12:00, I started feeling some light contractions. They were in my back, and after a few of them, they started getting stronger and more painful. I couldn't help but NOT be excited, as this has happened to me before, and my labor stopped after 13 hours. But these felt "different". They were more intense, and definitely more painful. I tried walking around, went to the bathroom, ate something, and even soaked in our jet tub. That helped a little, but they were still coming. At that point in the tub, they were about 5-6 minutes apart. By 12:30, I decided to start timing them, and they were 5 minutes, and getting stronger.

I had Matt putting counter-pressure on my back and hips because the pain was really bad with each contraction - a pain and discomfort I've never felt before. I was trying positions, like on my hands and knees. Matt asked me when I was going to call my midwife, and I just kept saying, "This can't be it. This happened before. Let me wait a few more contractions to see if they go away." Well, they didn't, and by 1:45, I put the call into my office. However, prior to this, Matt was secretly running around in between contractions getting the last minute things packed in our bags, and getting everything together. He knew.

We decided to go in and get checked to see if this was the real deal. The contractions were remaining at about 5 minutes apart and lasted over a minute each. They were getting even stronger, and continued to give me intense back pain and pressure, as well as pain/pressure that wrapped around the front of my pelvis. The car ride in Matt's truck (a lifted Toyota Tundra) was absolutely horrendous, and I was extremely uncomfortable.

We made it to the hospital at around 3:30 I believe, and this time I had Matt take me to L&D in a wheel-chair. I just couldn't walk up there, like I did 3 weeks prior. They took me right to a room (as opposed to the NST room), and didn't waste any time. They had me get into a gown, and this amazing OB nurse, W, checked me to see if anything was going on. I was 3cm, "working on 4cm" and 90% effaced! What?! This is the real thing? I guess it was. It certainly felt like the real thing, and a lot different than 3 weeks prior.

W then had me get into the bed so she could hook me up to the monitor to monitor my contractions and Cael's heart rate. Now, I can't even begin to describe the pain and discomfort I was in, so having me sit/lay in a bed for 20 minutes seemed near impossible. Cael looked beautiful, and my contractions were 4-5 minutes apart. To be quite honest, after that they didn't really seem too fixated on how far apart my contractions were, although they did monitor me a few more times between then and Cael's birth. So I really can't tell you how close they got.

W and Matt then got me out of bed, since I was so uncomfortable, and W gave me advice on positions that may help. Squatting being one of them. I used this one a lot, but it was very tiring, especially on my legs. When I would squat down to the floor, I would have Matt put counter-pressure on my lower back and hips. It didn't make the pain go away, and actually only seemed to lessen it a little, but it did help.

Since everything between then and when they broke my water is blur, I'll skip ahead. I do know that W had me try "knees to chest", laying on my side, bending over the bed, and sitting reverse on the toilet. Of all of them, the toilet one was my least favorite. Knees to chest and squatting were my favorite. I also know I was checked maybe one other time, and I was bleeding by now.

I do want to take a second to talk about my husband during this whole thing. He never once left my side - which made updating friends and family very difficult, as he only had the time between my contractions to do so. When I would have a contraction, I wouldn't even need to tell him - he just knew it was coming. He would immediately run to behind me, and press on my back. When I thought I couldn't do it anymore without medicine, he told me I could, and kept me going. He was always there with ice chips, water or apple juice when he just knew I needed it. I never had to ask. He was my Knight in Shining Armour, that is for damn sure. I couldn't have asked for him to be any better or do anything different than he did.

At some point, my guess would be 6:30ish maybe, my midwife came in to check me, and said she would get things going more for me, because she could see how much pain I was in. She checked me, and I was 100% effaced and 6cm, working on 7cm. She then broke my water. That is one of the weirdest feelings ever. I didn't feel anything inside, but just the immediate warmth I felt that ran all over and down my back - it felt different, but gross at the same time. My midwife also offered me some relief with Fentanyl. I said yes, but I wanted as little as possible. I didn't have an IV at this point, only a Heparin lock, so they gave me the medicine and hooked up a saline bag.

I was given half a normal dose of Fentanyl, and honestly, I didn't really feel any relief at all. Maybe a little woozy, but definitely nothing to hoot about. I was ok with this though, because I didn't want to be out of it, and I didn't really want to have a ton of pain meds pumped into me.

My midwife would then pull up the rocking chair that was in the room, and sit and talk to my husband while I was having contractions. I'm sure she was talking to me too, but I honestly can't remember. The contractions were coming harder and stronger - which I didn't think was possible - and I was having a lot more pressure now. I was checked again, and had progressed to 8cm, almost 9cm. My best guess is that this was around 7:15ish. My midwife signaled for the nurses to make a tray up, but leave it outside the door.

I do have to just mention, that at this point, I was completely naked except for a sports bra I had on. The robe just got in my way with all the positions I was moving into, so I ripped it off in a fit of rage during a contraction, saying I didn't care if I was naked. Honestly, it's nothing the nurses or my midwife haven't seen before. I would have taken my bra off too, but I had the IV hooked up, and I didn't want to bother with that.

I really felt like I needed to push with all the pressure, but they didn't want me to. Some more time went by, and I was eventually pushing a little. They had me get on the bed on all fours so that we could try to turn Cael. He was "sunny side up", and had been the entire time. My midwife offered me the second 1/2 dose of Fentanyl, and I said yes, only if I wasn't too close to delivery, because I didn't want Cael to be tired and drugged when he was born. They wanted to check me first, so they did. They checked me while on all four (weird), and I was 9-10cm. No Fentanyl for me, and I was perfectly fine with that. I really wanted to push, but they didn't want me to because they didn't want my cervix to swell.

Eventually, maybe around 7:45pm, I was just about 10cm, and they wanted me to start pushing. W had me push during contractions with her fingers still inside of me, so that she could try and move my cervix around Cael's head. I guess this prevented swelling. They also had me roll onto my left side first, push hard a few times, and then roll to the other side and push. We were trying to get him to turn. At this point, I was fully dilated, fully effaced, and would be meeting Cael soon. I couldn't believe that this was actually happening, that I was actually in labor, and that I had made it this far without any pain relief (I really don't consider the 1/2 dose of Fentanyl I got earlier pain relief, since it didn't do much of anything).

In these first stages of pushing, I couldn't even make it to a count of 10. I got maybe to 4 or 5. For some reason, I just couldn't do it, so I would have to stop for a second, take another breath in, and push again. Cael would come down a little, but then go back in. At this point, I remember a bunch of nurses filing into the room, bringing with them the warmer for Cael, and the tray for my midwife. She decided to get into her gown, and said that I'd be having him real soon.

The whole time, Matt was beside me in a chair. His poor knees from constantly squatting with me. But I must admit, I unfortunately don't remember anything about him being there at that point - what he was doing, if he was saying anything, etc. Everything in the room going on around me seemed like a blur. Almost like slow motion, although it wasn't moving slow. I later asked him what he was doing or if he was saying anything, and he said he was holding my right leg, and cradling the back of my head and neck.

Since I was having so much trouble pushing, they popped up these handles that were on either side of the bed. You basically grab them with your hands, and pull yourself forward, and it helps you push. Those things were GREAT! They helped me push so much better, and I remember pushing to a count of 10.

The weird thing though, at this point, is that I didn't remember feeling the contractions anymore. No more back/hip pain or pressure. Just the urge to push. It's amazing how your body just takes over, and knows what to do. What I did start to feel though, was him crowning. And let me tell you, everything they say about the "Ring of Fire" is true, plus some. It burned SO bad. I can't remember the pain now, oddly enough, but I know I felt it. My midwife grabbed my hand, and had me feel the top of his head. He was right there.

A couple of more pushes, and a lot more burning later, I felt his head come out. She told me to give one more small push, and the rest of his body was out. He was born at 8:17 pm, after pushing for only 20 minutes. The relief I felt when his body came out was amazing. She immediately put him on my belly, and he was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I turned to Matt and started to cry. I said, "We have a baby". They had me pull my bra up so that we could get the best skin-to-skin contact, and they started wiping him off. He wasn't really crying, but more of a wimpering. He was fine though, and he eventually let out a few cries.

A funny aside: Practically the whole time I was pushing towards the end, and after Cael was put on my chest, my midwife is down between my legs, discussing articles of research that she recently read, and was telling all the nurses in the room about it. One article in particular was letting the cord stop pulsing before you cut it - so leave it attached for at least 2-3 minutes she said. This was perfect, because this is what I wanted. It was odd though, because I felt the cord touching me "down there" the entire time we waited for the cord to stop pulsing.

As I continued to gaze at Cael in disbelief that he was finally here, and that I had just labored the way I wanted to (take that, people who said I couldn't do it without an epidural or pain medicine!), the cord was ready to be cut. My midwife turns to Matt and asks if he wanted to cut it, and he said NO! He had told me prior to going into labor, several times, that he didn't want to cut the cord. I, however, didn't know if he was serious or just joking around with me. She said "Alright", and at that moment, I said I'll cut it. "Really?" she said, and I said "Yes, I want to cut it." She handed me the scissors, and I cut my sons umbilical cord. For some reason, I didn't want a stranger doing it. It was pretty cool, and it's awesome to say that I cut his umbilical cord myself.

They kept him on my chest for about 30 minutes maybe, while I delivered the placenta (another weird feeling), and while the nurses did their "Anti-Abduction" procedures. This included finger printing me, and taking a foot print of Cael. I was bleeding a lot, so the nurses were pushing hard into my belly, trying to make my uterus contract. This really hurt despite the bliss I was in from holding Cael, and I guess you don't really hear about the pains of everything after delivery because a lot of women get epidurals, so they're numb. Maybe. I continued to bleed, so my midwife inserted a Cervidil suppository into my rectum, to further try to make my uterus contract. It eventually started to firm up, but I had lost a lot of blood.

Then the fun part - the stitching. I had only a 1st degree tear and a tear in my left labia, but she said it wasn't bad. But I FELT EVERYTHING! I felt the lidocaine, and I swear I even felt the pinching of the suture. She said I was a moving target, so she used a lot of lidocaine to numb me.

They eventually took Cael after about the 30 minutes or so and weighed him. He weighed in at 8 pounds exactly. They swaddled him up, and gave him back to me to nurse. He latched right on after 2 attempts, and nursed for an hour strait!! The nurses were impressed by this, since I guess that is a long time to nurse for a 1-hour old newborn. After he nursed, they took him and put him on the warmer while they cleaned me up and changed my bed. At my hospital, you labor, deliver and post-partum in the same room, in the same bed. It breaks down into all different positions.

Because of how much blood I lost, I spent the next 3 hours shivering uncontrollably. Unfortunately, and this is the only part that I'm seriously upset about, to this day too, Matt didn't get to hold Cael until after midnight! He laid on the warmer for about 3 hours, naked and flailing around (but not crying), until a nurse came in to give him his bath and measure his length. They apologized, saying it's normally done within an hour, but they became busy. I figured it out though - it was around shift-change.

When the nurse came in, I expressed how happy I was that she was finally here bathe Cael, because Matt had not held his son yet. The nurse was shocked and actually upset by this, considering it had been around 4 hours since his birth. I'm just happy that Matt's parents were there until around 1am, because Matt and them stayed right over Cael, touching him and making it known that he wasn't alone. He was awake the whole time too - didn't sleep at all in the 4 hours following his birth. I still cry thinking about how he was on that warmer for so long like that. That's not how it's supposed to be. He's supposed to be swaddled, or be on me, skin-to-skin.

He got his bath, was fresh and clean, and Matt finally held Cael for the first time.
We were discharged on the 6th, where Cael weighed 7 pounds 6 ounces. He's perfectly healthy, and breast feeding like a champ!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Just Some Belly Pics

These are from Wednesday, 39 weeks 4 days. I took them for Hump Day Bump Day on The Bump, and they show more of my torso, so you can see how big I am.

40 Weeks!! Due Today!

How far along?: 40 weeks! Due Date Day!
Current Weight: 148.
Total weight gain: +25 from pre-pregnancy weight.
How big is baby?: Watermelon! Yummy!.
Movement: He moves so much that I don't even bother doing "fetal kick counts". His movements are getting more uncomfortable because he has no room left. They just jab into my side and ribs.
Stretch marks?: Still none on my belly - thankfully. But they're still there on both hips, which is weird.
Sleep?: I've been taking Unisom every night for the last week. It's really helping, and I want to make sure I get a good nights sleep so I'm ready for labor.
Symptoms?: Some minimal BH's, an increase in vaginal discharge, hip/pelvic pain and achiness, sharp lower twinges, and sore breasts and nipples.
Food aversions?: Seafood.
Food cravings?: Cheese, pizza, pasta..Nothing different.
Labor signs?: Some contractions, but they're minimal. Feeling overall junky. As of Tuesday, I was 2+cm dilated and still 70% effaced. I had my membranes stripped then too, but that obviously didn't help. I had bloody show after my stripping until Wednesday, but that's done now.
Belly button in or out?: Sticking out a little
What I miss: Moving around easily, bending over, and having normal sex. I'm really looking forward to having a normal sex life again.
What I'm looking forward to: Getting this labor going. C'mon Cael, let's get going!!
Best Moment this week: Having Cael move so much. I know I complain about it because it's uncomfortable, but I still love feeling him poke me. And I never have to worry about lack of fetal movement.
Milestone: Due date today. Now it's time to get this show on the road!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Dear Johnny Appleseed

Dear "Johnny Appleseed",

No honey, I have not forgotten about you. I can't forget about you - you were my first baby. My first pregnancy, and my first loss. It's just too ironic that the day we lost you is the same day - exactly one year later - that I am due with your baby brother, Cael. I know Cael probably won't be here tomorrow, September 3rd, but it's still a date of significance. It's the date that I lost you, but it's also the date that I'm due with Cael.

In the short amount of time that I carried you inside me - 5 weeks 1 day - I felt such joy, happiness, excitement and love. Some may say that I was barely pregnant, but what they say is nonsense. We didn't see your fetal pole, or your heartbeat, but I know you were growing inside of me. And then I lost you. That was one of the hardest times Daddy and I have experienced. It's something that, unless you go through a miscarriage yourself, you have no idea what it's like. All of your hopes and dreams for the tiny baby growing inside of you are just gone. It's not fair, and it hurts so much.

I have to admit though, that the pain, although still felt in my heart, has subsided. But that doesn't mean I have forgotten about you. As I've said, I will never forget about you. Where I once felt guilty for not crying anymore over your loss, I can admit that I don't have guilt anymore. The pain is still there, but I have been healing a little bit each day. And I know I will continue to heal. But I will never forget you.

Daddy and I aren't religious at all, but I know that you are in a better place. And I know you will be looking over your baby brother, Cael, when he arrives in this world.

I Love And Miss You,

Dear Cael

Dear Cael,

This is your Mommy writing to you. I can't wait until you come, and I can't wait to hold you in my arms. I can't wait to see who you look like, and if you have hair; Can't wait to see how long you are and how much you weigh. I can't wait to meet the special little guy who has been kicking me, and moving non-stop inside of me, throwing knees and feet into my ribs.

The last 9 months have certainly been a roller coaster ride. They've been filled with joy, terror, hope, excitement, happiness and frustration. It's bittersweet, being at the end of my pregnancy with you. I am extremely uncomfortable and can't wait until you come out. I honestly feel just so done, and that I can't go another day of being pregnant. But at the same time, I will miss feeling you inside of me and outside of me - something that only I can experience with you. I will miss feeling your hiccups ALL.THE.TIME. I will miss trying to guess what body part is poking me. But with the end of my pregnancy comes the new life that you will live. And I'm so excited for that.

You certainly have been giving Mommy and Daddy a run for their money already. From the charting, temperature-taking and OPK's I peed on, to the moment you were conceived on December 11, 2010; To the agonizing and tortuous wait for a phone call that my Betas doubled; To the gut-wrenching wait in the waiting room for my very first ultrasound at 5 weeks 5 days, which we saw your heart beating for the first time; To the morning sickness that lasted until 24+ weeks; the visit to the pediatric Cardiologist (which thankfully went perfect); From the pre-term labor and my shortened cervix diagnosed at almost 31 weeks, to the 6 weeks of bed rest and being pulled out of work until after you were born; From the 13 hours of labor you put me through at 37 weeks to the roller coaster of emotions I felt when that labor suddenly stopped on its own. It has all been worth it for YOU.

Now Mommy and Daddy are patiently waiting for you to arrive. You are due tomorrow, and although I don't think you'll be making your appearance by then, I know you can't stay inside forever - no matter how comfy and cozy you've become. I know I will meet you one day very soon, and I can't wait for that day to come. Until then, Daddy and I sit and wait until you're ready. Just know that I love you so much already. My life has already changed for the better because of you, and I love you for that.

Please come soon, baby Cael.

With All My Love,