Coming Back

September 11, 2009

As mentioned before, we briefly considered a planned c-section when we learned the baby might be a big baby. When we made the decision to induce and move on to a Cesarean if the labor did not progress, it never entered my mind we would have anything but a traditional vaginal delivery. The shock of have my options removed from me was quite unsettling but overall the Cesarean was not a negative experience. Even with the dour anesthesiologist, who by the way is an excellent anesthesiologist who has performed more than 10,000 spinal procedures, and the unpleasant reaction to the epidural the actual surgery itself was not that bad. I made a conscious effort not to think about what all of the pushing, pulling, and tugging was all about and focused on Russ rubbing my head and the thought of our baby girl about to be introduced into the world.

The really hard part came after the surgery…

The only think more surreal than the pushing during the surgery was when they moved me back into my bed and I watched the nurse move these legs that could have just as easily been yours onto my bed. VERY strange!

They tell me I have made an excellent recovery but it was tough at first. I was on a morphine drip for until the day after the surgery and was not happy about having to give it up. I must say, I was even less happy to find out that less than twenty four hours after I had my abdomen cut open I was supposed to get up and walk around! They have this crazy idea that the sooner you get up and move around the quicker you heal. I fought it for as long as I could and eventually they removed the IV, changed me over to Percocet and Motrin for the pain and cramping, and believe it or not I even walked to the bathroom. To say it hurt like the dickens would be quite the understatement. To be honest, it hurt like nothing I have ever experienced before – or at least nothing that I can remember experiencing.

My only real complaint with the Cesarean is not being able to pick up my child with ease. The first few days I had to have someone hand her to me, as I simply could not pick her up safely, and I really craved the ability to pick my daughter up and hold her of my own accord. Of course, without the Cesarean we would have been in a very different place, as a vaginal birth was impossible with the cord wrapped around her neck three times. And without the medication, I would not have been able to stand the pain and heal from the surgery so all and all it worked out for the best. I consider myself blessed to have such an excellent physician who did such an excellent job of taking me apart and putting me back together again.

Today, eleven days post surgery, I have what feels like a sinewy cord under the incision site and it is still sore but it does not hurt like it did even three days ago. I have been off the medication for two days and while I am still very tender I can make it up the steps in less than three minutes. 🙂


Happy Birthday Jellybean!

September 8, 2009

I had great plans of documenting Jellybean’s debut each step of the way, providing my blog followers (all three of you :-D) with a hopefully witty day-by-day accounting of her first week with just a few dedicated minutes of blogging effort per day. Well, as you parents out there probably could have told me, for parents of infants, there are no available “few minutes per day” for essential items like sleeping, much less blogging.

So here is best summary I can finally muster here day eight post birth.

The Expectant Father

The Expectant Father

After a wonderful late dinner at Willow, Mother, Russ and I checked into Virginia Hospital Center right on time (midnight), settled into our room and got started on medication to soften my cervix. Things were moving along just like Dr. Williams and Dr. Caskie said they would. We all went to sleep at a decent hour, woke up Monday morning, had breakfast, an exam by Dr. Williams, and I was given my first dose of Pitocin… and so the morning progressed: Pitocin, contraction monitoring, exam, fetal monitoring.

The delivery suite was peaceful at 2:30 p.m., as I was receiving a foot massage from Mother and a head massage from Russ, when all of sudden the doors swung open and the room filled with medical staff surrounding my bed, barking orders and physically rolling me onto my side. Before I even appreciated the existence of an emergency, it had passed. I was confused as to what had just happened when Dr. Caskie appeared at the foot of my bed.
Dr. Caskie said that she had ordered that the O.R. be prepped right away and that we we’re going ahead with a c-section. What?! When? Now, she said. She explained that the fetal heart monitor had indicated a drop in my little girl’s heart rate from 150 bpm to 60 bpm in just few seconds, but that it was now back up again due to me being rolled over. [kudos to the Virginia Medicate Center nursing staff!] Although we were out of immediate danger, she continued, that little episode was in all likelihood indicative of problems to come if we continued with a traditional vaginal birth.

Meanwhile Russ was being instructed on, and donning, surgical garb and an anesthesiologist was standing by. Dr. Caskie said we did not have to go now, if I objected, but . . . and while she was not coercing me into having a cesarean, she was coercing me “just a little”. I trust Dr. Caskie implicitly and while I was scared six ways to Sunday I had a quick prayer and consented to the c-section.

Before I knew it, a dour anesthesiologist was disclosing all of the risks associated with an epidural, Russ was in scrubs, and I was being wheeled down the hall on my back to an operating room trying to think of anything I could to stall my very first surgery. So many thoughts were going through my mind as I tried to breathe and psychologically surrender control of the situation. Much easier typed than done!

Birthday (25a)

Kyle had the honors of stapling me back together again

They wheeled me into the OR and onto an operating table where the dour doctor began preparing me for the epidural and Russ waited outside while my OR team “got me comfortable.” Now there’s a euphemism to be sure. Oh boy. I had no idea how uncomfortable this was going to be! They had me hunched over the table while the anesthesiologist swabbed my back and gave me a shot of Lidocaine in my spine before inserting the catheter for the epidural. Remember what I said about children and plans? That goes double for patients that to pass out during the administration of an epidural.

Yep… in went the catheter and down went the patient. Everyone scrambled as now my blood pressure and heart rate dropped dramatically. Then came the oxygen and I came back around. Okay, no catheter. The anesthesiologist begrudgingly removed all of his careful preparations from my back; there was a hasty pow wow between Dr. Caskie and the anesthesiologist. Plan B – spinal block. Meanwhile, Russ is pacing the halls like the proverbial expectant father wondering why it was taking so long to “get me comfortable.”

Eventually I was on the table, Russ was in the OR, and my team was working away. Talk about a freaky experience…Russ sat beside me stroking my head as I felt them pushing, pulling, and tugging away on the other side of the sheet. Next we heard Dr. Caskie say “I knew it! The cord is wrapped two, no three times around her neck.” (OMG, thank God we went with the cesarean delivery!) Then at 3:15 in the afternoon our little Jellybean made her debut in the world weighing in just under eight pounds. Our dour anesthesiologist reached over and pushed the screen down in time for Russ to see our little girl being lifted out of my abdomen.

They paused and gave us a brief look at the little darling on our side of the curtain before cleaning her up. At that very moment, all of the surgery anxiety faded and my heart left by body took up residence in my daughter.

My Last DINK Day

August 31, 2009

8am: What better way to celebrate our last day with DINK status than by sleeping in really late. Russ and I laid in bed snuggling for hours, soaking up every remaining precious moment of being a two-some. We’re excited (and anxious) to be a three-some, but being a two-some has been pretty cool too – and it is familiar.

12pm: We made breakfast together—pancakes, bacon and eggs.

1pm: Sit and stare at nursery. Big smile. 😀

2pm: Remembered that I didn’t remember anything from our six-week course on labor and delivery and don’t know anything about labor induction. Internet crash course.

3pm: Mmmm… What would a DINK do on the last Sunday afternoon? Get a massage of course. So I did.

4:30 pm: Russ picks up my mom from the airport . . . in the Viper (no minivan yet!)

8pm: Last meal of sorts. A fabulous dinner at Willow Restaurant in Ballston, celebrating our last night as DINKs in style! The pastry chef, recently awarded best pastry chef in DC, knowing how much we adore her works of art, promised to make us a German chocolate cake (Russ’s favorite) once we got back from the hospital.

10:30pm: Back home for an hour-long couch nap.

12am: We parked in the VIP “stork parking” and checked into (or judging by the amount of luggage we brought, we moved into) the Virginia Hospital Center Labor and Delivery, knowing that our life, which is a very good DINK life, was about to change forever… for the BETTER!!! 🙂

Braxton Hicks and His Contractions

August 30, 2009

Who the heck is Braxton Hicks anyway?

After a month of “fake” contractions, and one sleepless but Braxton Hicks contraction filled night before going in for induction, I decided to see what I could find out about this Braxton person and his contractions.

John Braxton HicksIt would seem that back in 1872 an English doctor by the name of John Braxton Hicks described the contractions that occur before real labor. He was born in Rye, Sussex and attended Guy’s Hospital Medical School from 1841. As you can see for yourself, he was also a portly guy with a really weird beard.

Back to the contractions…From what I have now learned Braxton Hicks contractions, or BHs as I have taken to calling them, can start as early as the second trimester. Thankfully I have only been dealing with them for the last month or so, I cannot imagine having them regularly for three or more months!

Here is an interesting tidbit I learned from the American Pregnancy Association’s website:
“Braxton Hicks are also called “practice contractions” because they will prepare you for the real thing and you can practice the breathing exercises you are learning in your childbirth classes. ”

Isn’t that nice? To have special little practice contractions so I can practice my breathing? [I hope you could detect the sarcasm in my voice!] There is also speculation that it helps tone the uterine muscle and promotes blood flow to the placenta. Although my OB/GYN tells me they do not cause cervical dilation, several online sources state they may do some of the preliminary work of thinning the cervix. [Note: in my case they have NOT had an impact on my cervix.]

So what causes these nice little practice contractions anyway? Well, it seems the jury is out on that one but this is what I have learned thus far.

  • Activity and/or exertion from mother or child.
  • People touching your belly.
  • Sex.
  • Dehydration.
  • A full bladder.

As I have gotten closer to my due date, my BHs have gotten stronger and stronger to the point I am up at almost 4am with my iPhone’s stop watch on to time these things (oh goodie, more practice for the real thing!). One of my doctors assured me I would be able to tell the difference because the real contractions would “take my breath away.” What she did not tell me was that BHs can take your breath away too! All of the research I have done tonight says about the same thing on telling the different between BH and the real thing.

  • Braxton Hicks contractions do not increase in intensity, labor pains do.
  • Labor pains will increase in frequency, whereas Braxton Hicks contractions will eventually disappear. [Tonight’s BHs have varied from 3 to 7 minutes but have not disappeared.]
  • Braxton Hicks contractions tend to be irregular, and occur sporadically. Real labor pains usually have a pattern to them. [Although I cannot comment on the real labor pains yet, the variation mentioned above is why I am here typing and not on my way to Labor and Delivery.]
  • Braxton Hicks contractions do not cause pain, just discomfort, unlike real labor contractions. [And this is why I am timing my BHs, although I am sure the next 36 hours will show me a new level of pain, these little devils are quite a bit more than “just discomfort”!]

According to the American Pregnancy Association, these are a few tips for dealing with these things:

  • Change positions; lie down if you have been standing or go for a walk if you have been sitting or laying
  • Take a warm bath for 30 minutes or less
  • Drink a couple of glasses of water, because contractions may be brought on by dehydration
  • Drink a warm cup of herbal tea or milk
  • I have not tried the herbal tea yet… off I go! Wish me well. 🙂

    The Checklist…

    August 29, 2009

    Crib – check
    Car seat – check
    Stroller – check
    Bassinet – check
    Changing pad – check
    Audio monitor – check
    High chair – check
    Diapers – check

    What is missing from this equation? Oh yeah!

    Baby… to be induced at midnight tomorrow night. YIKES!

    9.5 Centimeters

    August 27, 2009

    Did I mention our darling little baby formerly known as Jellybean, now affectionately referred to as Watermelon, has a head that measured 9.5 centimeters in diameter on Monday?  Did you know that 9.5 centimeters is roughly 3.75 inches?  I think the English measurement is much less daunting than the metric measure.  Don’t you?

    In case you are curious, here are some things that are also 9.5 cm or there abouts:

    • The measurement from my palm to the base of my middle finger.
    • The length of a small paper clip straightened out.
    • The diameter of a normal sized grapefruit.
    • The diameter of a softball is 3.8 inches.
    • The diameter of a 2 liter Coca Cola bottle is 9.86 cm.


    Today’s mantra:

    God never gives us more than we can handle.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

    The Nesting Sensation

    August 26, 2009

    This nesting thing is a rather odd sensation for me. I have always been able to go out and buy cool stuff but my attempts to stage said cool stuff to look like the pictures in the magazines have always been met with disaster – or at least that cluttered look. I have never been one to comb through fabrics, wander through stores looking for the perfect lamp, and most certainly not one to even consider custom painted pulls for a chest of drawers but something has come over me recently. This nursery project has been completely different for me.

    The magnitude of the decisions I have had to make are unlike any I have made in the past and I have taken my job as decorator of the nursery very seriously! I confess that I probably drove people nuts asking fabric and fringe opinions! Ask any of my agents – before they could talk real estate they had to opine on the pros and cons of fringe versus cable and pink versus green. I have combed the Internet and local stores looking for exactly the right things, and yes I even had the drawer pulls made just for the nursery!

    Project Coathanger“Project Coat Hanger” is probably the sub-project I am most excited about here! My favorite little children’s store, Nina’s Closet, is going out of business so I not only took the opportunity to cash in on some fabulous deals for Jellybean but also to grab as many of their white wooden hangers as possible to paint and decorate for the nursery. For those of you that know me, you know my craft projects have gone downhill since the days of Mrs. Gervais’ art classes and frequently end up heaped in a trashcan as tears of frustration stream down my face. Well, I am pleased to report I have broken my unlucky craft streak! The first set of coat hangers has been completed and I am now looking for polka dot appliqués for the second batch.

    Finally, a craft project that turned out okay… save the patio table that still shows traces of the spray paint. 😮

    We are still looking for a few hard to find “perfect” items which means the nursery is still a work in progress and what a fun work in progress it really is!

    I am also pleasantly surprised to report that I am not the only nester in our home. Russ has also taken to the nesting concept and, in the last three months, has managed to knock five years of items off of his “honey do” list. At this moment he is actually out looking for new projects around the house. How cool! How bizarre!

    For your viewing pleasure, and because I could not sleep, I uploaded a photo gallery of the nursery. It is a work in progress; most noticeably we are awaiting the window treatments from the seamstress, a/k/a Maxine’s mom, and a rocking chair. 😉

    Obviously I need to get more sleep at night…