Monday, 20 January 2014

Isla's Birth Story

Well, the weekly updates stopped because Isla made her debut on January 10th, 18 days early!! She was 5lbs and 11oz, 20in long and sunny side up! If you care to know more, her birth story is below.

At midnight on Friday morning, I woke up to go to the bathroom and noticed that my underwear were wet. At the same time I looked down and saw clear drops of fluid running down my leg. Bewildered I wandered into the bathroom and evaluated the situation. My water had broken. In the middle of the night. Like in the movies. Our birth class instructor said sometimes urinary incontinence occurs towards the end of pregnancy so if you aren't sure if you've peed your pants or your water has broken, just see if it smells like pee. Well, it didn't.

I paced around for a couple of minutes, then woke Neil up. I got my, "Honey, it's time!" moment. After he woke up enough to realize what was going on, we called the labor and delivery number at the hospital. Since my water had broken, we were told to take showers, pack up and come in, even though I wasn't feeling contractions. In a daze, I took a warm shower and then started throwing together my makeup bag. Neil hadn't packed his bag since we weren't expecting our little girl for another few weeks, so both of us were throwing things in and trying desperately to remember what else we needed. I started feeling sick around this time and promptly threw up everything I'd had for dinner. After I'd finished and started feeling a little better, we packed up and headed for the hospital.

It was a dark and quiet drive at one in the morning and we were still trying to wrap our heads around the fact that we were about to become parents! Neil thought they might send us home, but I knew that once my water was broken, there was no turning back.

We arrived at the hospital around 1:30am and checked in at emergency. It was completely empty and the staff at the desk were expecting us. It was all very calm and peaceful. We were moved to a triage room in labor and delivery where we met our first nurse, were assessed and learned what would be happening. My blood pressure was fairly high and I had gotten a headache so they were a little concerned I might have some preeclampsia developing, even though I'd had no signs of it at my checkup only two days earlier. They took some blood to check and monitored my blood pressure. They also placed an iv because I was group b strep positive. My blood pressure eventually went down enough that they stopped worrying. I think I was just so nervous and anxious! We then met with an ob/gyn resident who did an ultrasound and found out baby was face up! This meant my labor and delivery could be significantly more difficult if she didn't turn by pushing time. They were hopeful she would though. They also felt my stomach and thought Isla was about 7-7.5 lbs.

I was taken to my delivery room at that point and given my options to get contractions started since they were still not really going. I was offered pitocin or a breast pump. I was also told that due to the group b strep and my water being broken that if I hadn't progressed by around 4am, they would start pitocin. I opted for the breast pump and wanted to do things as naturally as possible, for as long as possible. After just a little time using the breast pump, the contractions came thick and fast. I started out not being dilated at all and was at seven centimeters by about six or seven am, I lost track of time as the pain was incredibly intense. The pump caused some very intense contractions, I had at least one that was four minutes long. I also had terrible back labor because of her position. I labored naturally, albeit in agony, until I hit those seven centimeters. At which point between throwing up and making sounds I didn't know I could make, I chose to get an epidural. I had really hoped not to need one, but I was at the point where I didn't know how I could continue without one. Shaking and incoherent, I had Neil tell the nurse we were ready for the epidural and she said she thought that it was a very good idea. I had a little pain relief in my iv to take edge off enough that I could sit still for them to put it in.

After the epidural was in place, I was still in a lot pain but it was reduced enough that I was able to settle down. Around 10 or 11am the pain was amping back up and I was ready to start pushing. We were told it could take up to three hours for a first time mom. Well, it took me four. I was exhausted after three hours and kept thinking that I didn't know how I could do this any longer. The midwife was very reassuring and kept having me feel her head which would give me enough of a boost to keep going. When we hit four hours though they started suggesting we use the vacuum to help things along. When the doctor came in to explain it though, we made just enough progress that the midwife told me just a few more pushes and sure enough, she came out, face up, to greet the world at 3:14pm!

Isla was placed on my chest immediately and had a big bruised cone head from her position but was healthy and here!! I had no tearing and needed just a few internal stitches so we were surprisingly well despite the difficultly of the labor. Neil cut the cord and we enjoyed a few hours of family time before we were wheeled to our recovery room. After nine months of pregnancy and about 15 hours of labor, we were a family.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Weekly Pregnancy Update
How far along: 37 weeks (technically, full term!!)
How big is baby: The Bump says winter melon, Babycenter says as long as a bunch of swiss chard and What to Expect says watermelon (18.9-22in inches long and 6.2-6.5 pounds)
Total weight gain: Close to 26 pounds I think...
Maternity clothes: Wouldn't be able to get by without them!
Sleep: Since my back has been feeling a bit better the past few days, my sleep has improved slightly. Would love to have less hip pain too, but I'll take what I can get!
Best moment of the week: Today! Hitting 37 weeks is huge milestone and I can't believe our little girl could in theory be born any time now. Although we would love for her to stay nice and cozy until at least 39 weeks when she would truly be full term, if she was born anytime from now on she would not be considered premature.
Food cravings: Fresh fruit.
Food aversions: Nothing, which is probably not a good thing.
Symptoms:*Knock on wood* my back pain has been completely or almost gone for the past few days. I have been keeping my fingers crossed and hoping so dearly that it doesn't return!! I have been able to walk and function which has been amazing. My fingers and ankles have been swelling though. I had to leave my wedding ring at home today and that was hard but hoping I might still be able to get it on again and that I'm just having a bloated few days.
Movement: Oh yes, our baby girl had a dance party in my belly all evening yesterday. She settled down a bit when we went to bed but before that it felt like she was trying to escape 'Alien' style haha.
Gender: Beautiful baby girl
What I’m looking forward to: I always look forward to my appointments since I get to hear Isla's heartbeat and get a little status update, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow.
What I miss: Energy and not feeling quite so big.
Next appt: January 8, 2014

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Weekly Pregnancy Update
How far along: 36 weeks + 2 days
How big is baby: The Bump says honeydew, Babycenter says as long as a head of romaine lettuce and What to Expect says watermelon (17.2-22in inches long and 4.2-6.5 pounds)
Total weight gain: Almost 24lbs (Yikes!)
Maternity clothes: Oh yes, and even a few of those things are getting a little snug :-O
Sleep: I've had a cold since this last weekend so between some serious nasal congestion and all my other pregnancy related symptoms, sleep hasn't been so good.
Best moment of the week: Ringing in the new year! 2014 is a year of big and wonderful changes!
Food cravings: Still bagels and fruit, not much specifically though.
Food aversions: Nothing really.
Symptoms: The usual ones and still dealing with crappy, crappy back pain that makes walking really uncomfortable. It's also getting harder and harder to bend down to put socks on or tie my shoes.
Movement: Fewer big kicks, but lots of little wiggles still.
Gender: Little lady!
What I’m looking forward to: The birth! At this point in the game, there isn't much more to do other than wait for our little lady's arrival. I go to the midwife once a week now. The nursery is finished. We've purchased pretty much everything we need. Now we wait :)
What I miss: My old wardrobe and mobility.
Next appt: January 8, 2014

As we creep closer and closer to Isla's due date (26 days away!) I alternate between feeling ready to have her out to snuggle and hold (and be able to put my socks on a bit more easily) and feeling mildly overwhelmed by all the massive changes about to occur. I read a lot of blogs by new and expecting moms and I don't seem to see many people writing about the anxiety of welcoming you first child (or any subsequent) to the world. I'm sure I'm not the only one feeling this way so if you are reading this and have any doubts about what's to come, remember to breathe and that you aren't alone in your feelings. We planned for this baby and we are overjoyed to be growing our family, but I feel it's only natural to have worries and wonders about what will inevitably be the biggest life change my husband and I will ever experience. I feel that now that we have everything purchased and we are "ready" at least materially, my mind (I'm a born worrier) has moved on to worrying about how I will handle all the other changes to come. Will I figure out how to care for a newborn? Will I be a good mom? Will it come naturally to me? How will the transition from couple to family affect my marriage? How will my relationship with my husband change? How will I handle being away from work? These are all things I'm sure every expectant mother thinks about, but few people want to talk about. So I'm going to take my own advice and breathe. I'm going to try and relax these last few weeks of pregnancy and not let doubt and worry overwhelm me. What will be, will be and my life is undoubtedly changing for the better. I will find my way with caring for my daughter, even if I stumble at first. I will define for myself what it means to be a good mom, whether it comes naturally or not. I will remember that my marriage will continue to need work to thrive, as it always has, but that I married the most amazing partner and we are on this journey together. I will remember to breathe.