25 Weeks

It’s dawning on me that this is going to be over soon and I’ve not nearly documented as much as I’d like. I keep trying to draw parallels to this time with Lucky but I don’t remember and I don’t have anything written to go back to. Anyway, it’s my cross to bear. I’ll try to remedy it even though this past week has been a bit rough.

We hit viability on N’s birthday weekend so I took the opportunity to wish N and do an FB announcement. I bought Lucky a t-shirt that had a picture of Biggy on it and underneath it said “Notorious B.I.G. Brother”. As with all announcements, they’re fraught with anxiety but are always well received. So it obviously went off without a hitch and afterwards you wonder what the heck you were so afraid of.

The following week, I had an ultrasound appointment to check Dandelion’s heart and to see if the placenta had moved. It hasn’t but his heart is A-okay. I’ll pause here to ask WHY DON’T DOCTORS READ THE CHART BEFORE THEY WALK INTO THE ROOM??!! This doctor mentioned that Dandelion’s heart looked great and then checked her notes and said that’s he’s in the 99th percentile for size. I nodded but frowned because I’ve never had a 99th percentile measurement. I think she registered my frown and looked at her paper again and said, “Oh, I’m sorry that’s not your baby”. Then why do you have another baby’s notes with you ma’am? Geepers. Anyway, Dandelion is in the 40th percentile, I think. I know this measurement doesn’t really mean anything but this happens all the time. My step father in law was telling us how his oncologists made these mistakes with him as well, which is baffling to me especially when you’re talking about changing dosages on cancer medication. Ugh. But I digress.

So I have to go back to next month for another ultrasound to see if the placenta has moved. It will be a transvaginal ultrasound so that’s going to be fun. In the meantime, I’ll be thinking moving thoughts.

Then last week we were hit with really awful heat all week. I felt fine mostly but on Thursday afternoon as I was leaving work I started feeling braxton hicks. No biggie, I’ll just lie down. My favourite thing to do. Friday I had my day off and had planned on washing my car and doing laundry but the BH was really bad. My belly all along my c-section scar was just tight and painful I could barely stand up straight. I thought maybe some round ligament pain as well. I just drank water and rested. Saturday, same thing. I actually found a bit of strength to sort out Lucky and Dandelion’s clothing. A friend sent over some hand-me-downs and I had to go through them but I became very overwhelmed. Thankfully, my friend B came to help me. She ordered me to sit down and point at things while she folded and sorted. She absolutely saved my life and I love every inch of her.

And Sunday I was drinking so much water and it seemed to subside. I pretty much never left the couch. Yesterday when I woke up things seemed fine but around 9am they were not and I called the OB to see if I should do anything. At first they wanted me to go straight to the hospital but eventually decided I should just go into their office and they would do some tests. They could only fit me in at 2:45 though. No biggie. I just tried not to move. I wasn’t too worried. Dandelion was dancing and kicking like crazy. But while driving there I let my mind wander too much and by the time I got to the OB I was in a bit of a tizzy.

They did a 20 minute non-stress test and found no contractions which was good but all the while my belly kept tightening up. The midwife said it’s probably just a combination of dehydration and the c-section scar stretching and the placenta moving. I felt sheepish for going in and wasting their time but they assured me that I did the right thing and that because of my placenta they want me to call if anything like this happens again especially if I start bleeding. They do not want me to go into labour with the placenta where it is.

And thus ends my first (and hopefully last) teeny tiny little scare. I am doing okay now I guess. Still in a good amount of pain even though I’ve increased my water 3 fold (I’m rushing through this now so that I can go pee again x 100). I’m trying not to exert myself but Lucky is still very clingy and I have to carry and hold him for a good chunk of the day. I’m glad that I’m not contracting though. That shit is stressful!!

Two things are starting to weigh on me now. One is Dandelion’s name. My nephew wasn’t named until a few days after he was born so it’s not tooo much of an issue but we had Lucky’s name before he was even real. It’s my own fault really. I’m insisting on another L name. My middle brother’s kids are all T’s and my eldest brother’s kids are all A’s. My husband’s father and his siblings are all M’s, His brothers on his dad’s side are both J’s and his cousins on dad’s side are M’s as well. Something in the universe is compelling me to continue this tradition and I can’t let it go but we can’t agree on an L name. I have it narrowed down to 2 that I love. One of which I really love because it’s directly related to one of his cousins and it’s also a comic book character like Lucky’s name. The second is a name I found randomly and absolutely fell in love with. But it has no significant meaning to us which is a bummer. I just need N to come to the party. Both names are really out there and uncommon but I love them. N just needs to be convinced. The second names are way more traditional but I love them as well. Both kids will have 3 names total. Lucky is named after our fathers. Dandelion’s second name is N’s brother who passed’s name. His mother was extremely happy we decided to do that and his third name is a family name on my mom’s side. I told her she could choose a third name since all the grandparents have a hand in the names so she chose her father’s name. I know people don’t generally like when kids have a million names but I only have one name and both my brothers have second names so yes, I’m pushing my juvenile issues on to my children. Hopefully, they appreciate the meaning behind it though. Anyway, if you can think of any really strange L names, I’m all ears.

My second more dire concern is that it’s becoming a reality that my parents won’t be here for Dandelion’s birth. And they likely won’t be able to come until who knows when. If at all! That means I’ll pretty much be taking care of these two love bugs on my own after N goes back to work. Sure, his mom will be able to help but I really doubt she will move in with us. Having my parents stay with us when Lucky was born was an absolute godsend. I have no idea how I’m going to do it. I have to start looking into a nanny. I’m also having worrying thoughts about Lucky and daycare. Actually I think this deserves it’s own post. I have to write down and articulate my thoughts. But I think ultimately we’ll be looking into getting a part-time in home nanny to help with Lucky while I’m on maternity leave and then to help with Dandelion when I go back to work. Drama!

Okay, I’ll leave it there for now as I have to pee again and I have to make a dessert because I’m missing some much needed sugar in my diet.

xx

Poop Wars

Just a little over 20 weeks. Everyone’s been saying that I’m already showing. My immediate first instinct upon hearing that is to suck in my tummy and frown. Why do I do that? I worked so hard for this bump. And let’s face by the time evening rolls around I pretty much waddling. He gets so heavy as the day rolls on. I’m wearing a hoodie and sweatpants to work today (freezing temps in the office and skeleton crew) and you can definitely see the bump even though the hoodie is a size too big.

Our level 2 ultrasound went really well. I do have partial placenta previa but they don’t seem concerned. I have to do a fetal echocardiogram on the 6th and she said they’ll check the previa again to see if it’s moved and if not we have to talk about c-section. Dun dun duuuun. Just kidding. When the tech was doing the ultrasound I was reading her labels and I saw her write “complete previa” so I was prepared for c-section talk. And the more I think about it, the more okay I am with a c-section. Sometimes when I read about 4th degree tears I wonder if we shouldn’t just do it anyway. But I guess the thing that’s keeping me from swinging too much in either direction is fear of the epidural paralysing me in a c-section birth and fear of my asshole exploding during vaginal birth. Neither would be an ideal outcome. That said, I’m trying to stay away from horror stories in both scenarios and I’m just trying to enjoy the day to day.

Dandelion was extremely busy during the ultrasound. There was a lot of tut tutting from the tech every time he moved when she was trying to take a measurement. Especially pulling his little feet away from her. So cute! I wish ultrasounds were more like a tv screen they put over your belly so you can see what they actually look like. Although that might be not as cute.

Anyway, we got a few pics of him. She was so good, I don’t know when she snapped them because he was so fast but she managed to get it all done. She tried a 3D one too but he wasn’t having it. I’ll try for a 3D when I go for the echo.

I still can’t believe how fast all of this is going. I sometimes look at Lucky and feel a tiny bit sad for him. He doesn’t even realise that he’s not going to be an only child anymore. I think what’s makes me sad is his obliviousness to it. He doesn’t know that his world will be turned upside down for a while. All he cares about is sword fighting and eating and literally running up and down for no reason.

I guess you could say we’re fully into potty training now as well. It happened about as organically as it can I suppose. I toyed with the idea at the beginning of quarantine, you’ll remember, but we quickly gave up, like with most things. He was putting himself to sleep successfully a while back and somehow we’re back to staying in bed with him until he falls asleep and we don’t know how. Anyway, when we heard I’d be going back to work and N’s mom would be taking Lucky again she had me buy him a potty for her house and some cool underwear and she would do it. Yay!

The Sunday before I was set to go to work I thought I’d practice. I showed him the undies (superhero) and he was over the moon. He actually peed in the potty all day. He had success with her all the next day too but then we fell off a bit on the Tuesday. He made me put 4 pairs of undies on him at the same time then proceeded to pee on through all 4 so I just put him in diapers the rest of the day.

The rest of the week we flip flopped between diapers and undies. I hope you’re taking notes because this is obviously how potty training should be done :).

This week we have a new thing now. No undies and no diapers. He refuses both so I don’t know if this is a win or not. I hope it’s just a phase. But he has been successfully using the potty like a champ. The only real issue we had was when I was laying on the couch and he walked up to me and said “I’m going to pee on you”. I just laughed and said no please don’t. And this little terrorist proceeded TO PEE DIRECTLY ON ME!!! Thank goodness I was quick and he just got the couch but he got into a lot of trouble for that one with his dad. Yikes! Since then, no threats of urinary harm were leveled against me.

Pooping is a whole other beast. It’s only be a few days of refusing diapers but he also refuses to poop in the potty so I’ll give you 2 guesses as to where he’s been pooping.

$100 if you guessed grandma’s deck and another 100 if you guessed the kitchen floor. Thank goodness only 2 poops and it’s good that he knows he should go in the potty. He just doesn’t want to. It’s okay though. He’ll figure it out. I do worry that he’ll clench up and get really backed up but I’m keeping an eye on it. I have no qualms with abandoning this whole operation so he can poop in his diaper to his heart’s content. I’m also happy for him to poop on all the floors until he gets the hang of it. Thankfully we won’t be visiting anyone anytime soon.

So it’s been quite a fun journey. My son has weaponised his penis and now I have to be on the lookout for poop landmines for the foreseeable future. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a way to spice up your life.

I’ll have him all to myself for the next 3 days so let’s see what this weekend will bring.

Before I go. Quick question on a totally unrelated topic. It looks like everyone is slowly opening up their states. What is your plan for Independence Day weekend? If you’re not in the US but you are going into summer, do you have any plans for summer weekends?

 

 

 

I Finished a Meal

I think we’ve turned a corner with the morning sickness. It’s like night and day. I still have a mid-day slump and if I sit or lay around for too long I start to get a headache and feel ill. This one seems to like being on the move. So I’ve been drinking a tiny glass of iced coffee every day around 2:30 for an energy bump and to stave off the headache and once I start cooking dinner at 5ish I feel better again.

And last night I made fajitas and actually got through the entire meal! I usually tap out after a few bites. So I’m happy that things are on the up and up.

I’ve been thinking a lot about… Well everything really. But mostly about how I’m to approach this new journey. I remember when we were deep in the throws of the 2nd round of IVF after the chemical. The situation was so dire. Only 2 sent for testing. My AMH rapidly declining with every failed cycle. I was begging and bargaining with the universe to please let this work. I promise I would honor and treasure this pregnancy. I would scream it from the hills. I would take weekly annoying bump pics with size of the baby in cutesy captions. I would do anything in my power to believe that the baby was real and to not be afraid of stupid jinxes.

And here we are, almost 16 weeks in and I’m petrified all over again. Only yesterday did I manage to take a bump picture. I still feel the bile rise up in my throat after we’ve shared the news with someone new. I managed to put in my maternity leave on Monday and was choking back nervous tears through the entire conversation with the HR director.

I’ve been analyzing Lucky’s birth a lot too and I think a lot of the reason that it affected me the way it did was because we weren’t at all prepared. At all. And the reason we weren’t prepared is because I never believed that it was real. That he was real. I didn’t believe and I was afraid of jinxes. You’ll remember that we never packed a hospital bag. Why would I if this was all just a dream? And what if I did and something happened to him?

We went to the doula birthing classes, I downloaded the meditation app, I bought those affirmation cards. Not once did I meditate and as soon as the cards came I packed them away. I was going through the pregnancy motions but never fully committed to the idea and it kills me when I think about it.

But we’ve been given another chance. We’ve even been given (albeit with some caveats) a chance to try to have the birth we’d hoped for. I owe it to Dandelion. I owe it to Lucky.

I owe it to myself to jump into this feet first with arms wide open and just embrace everything. It’s scary to just think of letting go. But I think I can face things and still be afraid seeing as how bravery isn’t the absence of fear and all.

I think I’ll start with more frequent blog posts and weekly bump pics for myself. I realize that that opens my blog up to possibly losing the few followers I have left or exposing readers still in the wait to triggers. Something I was afraid of with Lucky. I don’t want you to think that I’m not cognisant of all of this. I just know that I don’t remember milestones of my pregnancy with Lucky because I didn’t document anything and that makes me sad too. I just want to be prepared and I don’t want to have any regrets, but please know that I do get it. I always try to be sensitive in my posts. But I feel that it’s probably even more unlikely to be possible seeing as how this is my second pregnancy.

My therapist made me aware that I tend to hold back on saying things for fear of hurting other people but she also said that in doing so I’m robbing them of their growth. She made me think of how it felt to see pregnancy announcement and how I navigated those feelings myself and how those feelings helped me grow. And perhaps if I did a pregnancy announcement it would initially sting for someone but it would also likely help them confront and navigate some difficult feelings themselves? There’s no way to know for sure of course. And of course that could also have just been lip service to get me to stop whining about my good fortune. Either way, it made me feel better for a second.

I think I’ll leave it there for today. It’s almost 5 and I’m still powering through a quick project that I’m trying to wrap my head around. And it’s almost food time!

 

 

13 ish Weeks

It’s been a truly terrible first trimester this time around. I don’t remember the morning sickness and the exhaustion being this bad with Lucky. It might also be exacerbated by taking care of Lucky by myself all day. I’ve had no energy for anything and the lock down hasn’t been helping either. But I’m starting to feel a bit more like myself and realise that mentally it’s been draining as well. Thankfully, I’ve been able to keep up with my therapy sessions virtually. I’ve still been exercising regularly. I’m doing tap and jazz classes virtually and 2 of my dance friends and I have a personal trainer that we still see virtually twice a week. I’m so glad that I’ve continued the exercising because it helps with the sickness for some reason.

This is just another random update that’s going to be all over the place because I really feel all over the place emotionally and physically.

First, I’ve been agonizing over the birth of this little one. After Lucky was born we both agreed that we would absolutely change hospitals if we were lucky enough to do this again. Changing hospitals would mean finding a new OB practice. Something I’m not too sad about. I like my current OB, Dr L. She is sweet but she doesn’t deliver at the hospital we want to move to so oh well. But I did go see her for our first OB appointment after being released from the clinic because we had Dandelion’s IVF paperwork sent to her. It was good to see her again but again, she blew through the appointment and somewhere in her fast talking she said she’d schedule me for a c-section at 39 weeks. At that point I realized that me wanting a vbac might have to be fought for a little harder than I expected. I didn’t push back or question because I figured I wasn’t going to stay with her anyway so why rock the boat. When I got home I started researching other doctors and midwives who delivered at the hospital we want to switch to. After a few days I settled on an OB who’s practice doesn’t do VBAC’s and a midwife who’s practice does do VBAC’s under certain conditions.

Truth is, I don’t know if I want to do a VBAC. But I would like the option. So I want to talk to the no VBAC OB and see what his thoughts are and how they do planned c-sections. and I want to talk to the midwife to see if I’m even a good candidate for a VBAC. I don’t know what I want yet. All I know is that I’m not afraid of a c-section. I would like to have more information going in. I would like to not have my heart set on anything in case plans change like with Lucky. I don’t want to have my heart set on a VBAC and come 37 weeks and this child is breech as well and my life is turned upside down again. I want to go with the flow.

I have been having sleepless nights about it but I think I’m okay now that I have these appointments set up. I’m meeting the midwife and Thursday and the OB the following Thursday so by next week I should have my life sorted out a bit.

I’m also battling with the usual infertility PTSD. I’ve just written 3 paragraphs about a birth plan but last night when I was laying on my stomach my boobs didn’t hurt so how do I even know that Dandelion is still okay? The constant all day morning sickness was awful but made me feel a bit more secure but now that it’s abating I’m starting to fear the worst. We have a doppler which I’ve used twice successfully but I’m afraid to use it. I’ll try again tonight because I’m feeling too good physically right now.

And lastly… corona. Sigh. I’m so lucky that I can work from home with full pay. But it’s hard. I think it’s been hard because of the all day sickness and watching Lucky by myself because N is still going in to work everyday. I mean I could stay home for the rest of my days as long as I can order take out but emotionally I worry that I’m not doing enough and I miss my friends and family. I’ve fallen into the trap of comparing myself to everyone else. I haven’t had the energy to spring clean my house. I’m too sick and tired to do arts and crafts with Lucky. I have all these projects that I want to do that I’ve just not had the energy for. We planned on potty training Lucky during this time but he’s refusing and I’m tired so fuck it. So I feel like I’ve wasted over a month of “free time”.

My therapy sessions have just been a lot of her reassuring me that I’m doing enough. Lucky is happy (albeit a bit too fond of hitting lately which we’re working on). My family is fed and most importantly, we’re all healthy. I have to remember that I’m still working full time and I don’t actually have loads of free time to catch up on projects and still take care of a toddler and deal with first trimester woes. So in the end I’ve closed the door to the room that needs all the projects done. I put the pile clean laundry that needs folding in that room too. If I don’t see it I don’t feel too guilty. I’ve hidden Lucky’s iPad because that guilt was crushing me. But I got Disney+ and he and I have been watching all the Disney movies in the background while I work and he plays. I’m doing okay. I get waves of guilt and frustration but I’m doing okay.

I think that’s it from me for now. I’ll have more to say once I get through these appointments. I hope everyone is coping well with the situation we find ourselves in. Just remember to take it easy on yourself and you’re definitely doing enough and, yes, the constant dirty dishes fucking suck!!! When will washing dishes end?! So many dishes!!! Fuuuck!

xx

Last Post of 2017: A Birth Story

Last year’s last post of the year was a tough read. Sure I was hopeful because we had 1 pgd perfect embryo on ice but the year itself was so so rough. And here I am a year later writing my very own birth story. Wow.

Man, I wish I knew where to begin. I want to start with how I’m feeling but those feelings are just too complex to unpack right now so I’m just going to start at the beginning and just recount his birth as it went from start to finish. Just the facts. This is going to be a long post.

I wrapped up work on Friday the 15th. It was a relief but didn’t really feel real since it was a Friday. The weekend was pretty uneventful. Had dinner at my mom-in-law’s, Went to a Christmas party and Sunday we had friends over then N and I went to watch Star Wars as our last hoorah together.

On Monday I had the fullest schedule. In hindsight I wonder if I did too much. That morning I was feeling a lot of the contractions and I told N to keep his phone nearby but I’d been having them all the time so we both brushed it off.

9am: I had an appointment with one of the cats. All is well, just a check up and some shots.

10:45am: Chiropractor appointment in Providence. Set up a follow up appointment for Friday. He wishes me luck for the version the following day. Stop at Target to buy a baby book.

12pm: Get home and rest for a while but all the while I’m running through the laundry list of things we have to get done. I still have to finalise my and N’s bag. There’s no telling what could happen at the version the next day.

2:45pm: Go to last OB appointment before the version. Everything looks good. We set up an appointment for next Wednesday in case everything goes well with the version.

3:45pm: Head straight from OB to Orthodontist appointment to tighten braces. I’m feeling a bit anxious about the next day because that damned bag isn’t packed. why didn’t I pack it last week? It’s okay, I have all night to get myself calm. I’m just doing my checklist in my head but I’m also going through the things I haven’t done. Like I haven’t really taken the gentle birth classes seriously. I haven’t really listened to my hypnosis tracks. I bought my affirmations but haven’t read them really. Can I really do this? Shit is getting real now. But it’s okay, the version will go well and I’ll have time to get my shit together. There’s time.

4pm: Walk into the orthodontist office and check in. As soon as I sit down I feel a quick sharp pain in my vagina and warm liquid starts flowing down my thighs. WTF! Luckily my pants are dark and there’s only one other lady in the waiting room. I make a mad dash for the ladies room but I know this is my water breaking. It stops when I get to the toilet. I check and there’s nothing red or brown. My heart is racing and I’m suddenly very excited. This is it. But what the heck do I tell the receptionist? and how wet are my pants? I check and it’s not too too bad. I could leave without a big scene.I text my girlfriends back home to tell them what’s up. One is the best nurse in the world so I’m hoping she has good advice. They all just say to go home and get my ass ready to go to the hospital. As I pull my pants up to contemplate and exit strategy another big gush. There’s no time to think. I stick my head out the door, the receptionist desk is right across from me. She looks at me curiously. “I’m just going going to leave if that’s okay, I think my water just broke”.
“What’s that?”
“Um, my water just broke, I’m gonna go, if that’s okay.”
“What?!! Yes Yes go go oh my god go!”
“Okay, everything is okay in there, I’ll reschedule the appointment when I…”
“Oh my god it’s okay just go!!!”
I run my wet ass outta there as quick as I can and I hear “That’s so exciting!” as I close the door behind me.

I call N on my way home. He’s at Home Depot looking at trim. He’ll drop everything and meet me at home. Not to worry, we have time. Contractions shouldn’t really start for at least an hour. I’ll go home and shower and pack that damned bag in the meantime.

I call B to recount the story and have a laugh. She also says to go home and take a shower I have about an hour to kill. While I’m talking to her I feel my first real contraction. Like what I’ve been feeling before but way more painful. But bearable. Hmm, I thought they only start a little later. No worries, that was a little one. I have time.

I call another friend to have another laugh for some company. Another contraction during that call. Hmmm.

4:20pm: Walk into the house. Parents are laying on the blow up mattress in the tv room
“Okay guys, please please don’t panic. Please don’t panic. My water just broke. I need you to not panic and go to the car and please wipe my seat down for me. I’m going to jump in the shower and then I’m going to need help packing my bag”
They both jump  up simultaneously and panic ensues. I leave them behind and jump in the shower.
Two more contractions while I’m in there and the stuff just keeps coming out of me. It is really cool how it all works. The heat of the water on my back is great and I’m able to collect my thoughts. I’m excited. N walks in and he sticks his head around the curtain and we chat about our feelings and stuff. We’re both calm but we both say we have time. But I tell him I’ve now had 4 contractions. I should probably time them.
I tell him to text the doula even though she’s at a resort with her family and she likely won’t make it to the hospital. It’s okay. We’ll text the backup doula, L.
I get out of the shower and instruct everyone to eat. N says I should probably eat too and he’s right but I have zero appetite. Everyone is eating, I’m standing in the bedroom looking at the closet… What the fuck do I wear?
“What do I wear??!!”
All the while I’m texting my friends to keep them up to date. Consensus is wear any damn thing. I’m opting for pyjama pants, nursing sports bra to labour in maybe, a sweatshirt and slippers, no socks. Another big contraction. This one is big! I yell for N to come and put pressure on my hips. One of the techniques the doula taught us.
I’m starting to panic a little. I’m not dressed yet and the bag isn’t packed!
I put mom on bag duty but I’m remembering little details that are putting me in a tail spin because I’m now on a steady schedule of contractions but there’s not rhyme or reason to the severity. Some are small and quick, some are long and painful, some are short and painful. 3 to 5 minute breaks in between. This can’t be right. It’s not been an hour yet has it?
N gets in touch with doula L who will meet us at the hospital but we should call ahead and see if we can talk to our doctor.
At this point I realize I have no phone numbers for the doctor or the hospital. I’m in full blown panic mode right now because these contractions hurt and I am not ready for this to be  happening so fast.
My husband is shaving and is then going to jump in the shower because the last time we spoke I was the picture of calm. But he hasn’t seen me since I got out of the clothing debacle and that one big contraction.
While he’s in the shower my mom is now on hip duty since I need someone to put pressure on these hips when I’m contracting. I’ve also for some reason instructed my dad to cut my toenails because that’s clearly what’s important right now.
So, I’m laying on the bed googling a number for the hospital while breathing, my dad is cutting my toenails and my mom is running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off because I’m barking orders at her about what to put in that damned bag.
I get through to the hospital but I don’t know what to ask for. I ask for maternity and then the mother of all contractions starts and I’m up off the bed screaming for my mom who has a million stuff in her arms. I throw the phone at my dad and stand up leaning on the bed yelling for mom to push on my hips. My foot still in my dad’s hands who is still calmly clipping. He calmly picks up the phone and takes over with N telling him what to ask for. Apparently Dr L isn’t on call but we should go in.
The contraction passes and my mother is flipping out.
Mom: Let’s just go, I don’t understand why we haven’t left yet
Me: Mummy just calm down
Mom: *Not in English* Don’t tell me to calm down!!
Dad: Okay okay *still clipping nails* Your nails are done. I think N should finish shaving, not shower and let’s just go.
All three of us: N! Don’t shower, Let’s just go!

5:45pm (I believe): I don’t know how but we’re all in the car even that damned bag! I’ve stopped timing contractions but last I checked they were 2 – 3 minutes apart and ranging anywhere from 20 seconds to 1minute 10 seconds.

6pm: N drops us at the entrance. I have another C (I can’t type contraction anymore. I will refer to them as C’s from now one as there are lots of them) as I get out of the car. The 3 of us walk in while N parks the car. I’ve been to this hospital. I think I know where the maternity ward is but we stop at reception anyway to ask.
The oldest man in the whole entire world is sitting at the front desk with and another old lady who’s on the phone.
“Where’s maternity?”
He leans forward scrunching his face, ever so slowly.
“Maternity??!!” I shout
“Rezendes?” He asks
My mother and I look at each other incredulously and swear in Afrikaans. The lady gets off the phone and points us in the right direction. When we get to the elevator N is right there. Then N’s mom is there too.
We find the ward and drop the parents off at the waiting room and we make our way in.

Maternity Triage

There’s obviously no one at reception because why would there be. Eventually a nurse strolls in and says they’ve been waiting for us.

6:15pm: We are checked into triage in the maternity ward. Intake Nurse N is asking me a million questions that I have no time for. She warns me that she has a lot of questions and she understands but they’re necessary. In the meantime she has me strip down and put on the Johnny. Then I remember the damned bag. Everything I need for my perfect labour is in the bag!! The bag is in the fucking car! The pretty pusher johnny I bought so I wouldn’t have to wear the hospital one. The fairy lights. My affirmation cards. My Birth Plan!! The bluetooth speaker for calming  music! Oh my god another C! Fuck it. Put the hospital Johnny on. Fuck everything.

I’m on the bed now and Nurse N need to test the amniotic fluid to make sure that’s what it is. Oh you mean the stuff that’s pouring out of me right now as I’m contracting that’s definitely not pee? Sure go ahead. I feel a little bad for her because we all know it’s amniotic fluid but there’s also that hospital policy. I ask when we’ll get results through gritted teeth.

20 minutes.

I look up at N in desperation and start doing C math. That’s at least 4 more C’s. She walks away and that’s the first time I show weakness. I tell N I don’t think I can do this, it hurts too much. Where is Doula L? I don’t know if I can do this. N looks me in the eyes and says that I absolutely can and I will. He obviously doesn’t love me and wants to see me die. I’m alone here and I’m going to die alone.

Doula L is at the hospital but they won’t allow her into triage. Are you fucking kidding me? Only one person allowed in. It’s okay, we’ll talk to her in a bit because the on-call Dr is here.

Dr H… A tall woman. A bored smile. She introduces herself and proceeds to do a scan. “Oh I see a little butt down here, someone is breech… Okay we’ll have to do a c-section. Let me check  your cervix”. I’m protesting a little bit. Let’s just do the damned surgery, just don’t check my cervix!

Cervical checks are awful. This one in particular was horrendous. It feels like she was in there for hours and up to her elbow I’m sure. I’m kicking and moaning. When she pulls out I have another huge C and as I roll over I see her pull and exasperated face to Nurse N. I don’t think she got a good reading on that. She leaves without a word.

Things are ramping up now. 2 more nurses come in with forms that need signing and more and more questions that need answering. N and I are trying to wrap our heads around this new outcome. Should we protest? Why can’t we wait? But I’m in so much pain. N looks scared. He did not want this for us. It being major surgery and all. We decide that he should go get Doula L for a talk and maybe swap out. I’ll be okay I think. They’re putting an IV in.

Once I’m alone Nurse N asks the personal questions about whether I feel safe with my husband. Am I being abused etc etc. While she’s asking another C comes and I beg her to rub my back. She obliges. When it’s done I ask her if the c-section is absolutely necessary. Can we wait til her turns? Can we try an ecv now? She says now because I likely don’t have enough amniotic fluid to turn him and best to get him out sooner rather than later. I’m sad now because I’m having a moment of clarity between C’s. My first in a while. I’m able to get my wits about me.

In all that craziness I’ve assessed the C’s. It feels like small, small, big, really big… small, small, big, really big. And if my calculations are correct I have two small ones coming. That means I can do this!! As Doula L walks in she throws her coat and bag on the chair because she sees my face contorting. She comes over to me really quickly. She bends her whole body over mine holding my right hand and rubbing my lower back and whispering in my ear “You’re doing so awesome! You’re doing a great job!” over and over. Where has she been all my life? It’s like she was sent from the angels. That C was bearable again. Okay we have  small, then big then really big coming. I have time to fill her and in answer questions and sign forms. Oh the forms.

The anesthetist comes in to explain what he’s going to do. While he’s going through his spiel I realise my calculations were way off or my body is changing the rules. It’s big.. It’s really big and it’s fast. I roll over to my side and I can’t see straight through the pain. I’m remembering to try to keep my eyes open and not scrunch them. Breathing isn’t helping so I’m now loud moaning. Doula L is still whispering in my ear but she sounds far off. I only feel pain. Why is it lasting so long? It feels like hours. I want to climb the walls to run away from the pain but I can’t move. Finally it’s reached the peak and it slowly (I mean slowly) calms down. “What the hell?!”. I hear the form filling out nurse say “Wow that was long”. Doula L tells me that breech babies make irregular contractions. I’m very frightened now. I definitely can’t do another one of those. Thankfully, the next 2 C’s  as small and small again but with 30 seconds spaces in between.

Doula L asks me how I’m feeling. I’m feeling sad and relieved. I feel a bit like I failed. She reminds me that I’m in labour right now. I did it. I got to experience labour. I’m in good  hands here and c-section is not the end of the world. We’ll see our son soon. I feel a little better. She says she’ll stick around until after he’s born but she’s going to swap out with N again. She grabs her coat and bag and looks back at me and it’s time for another big C. She drops everything and runs over to me and for some reason both of us are laughing a little through this one. Just a little because it still hurts.

Okay she’s off. While I’m waiting for N to come back. Dr H sticks her head through the curtain “Hey do you want some painkillers?”…. “Hell yes!” I say, forgetting that point #1 on my birth plan was Please don’t offer pain killers, I will request them.

This was really a mistake. I’m given Stadol through the IV. N comes in and I am incapacitated. The Stadol makes me completely woozy and speaking is very difficult. My head seems to be lolling about. But it doesn’t take the pain of the C’s away. It’s worse now because I can’t tell N what I need. I need him to whisper in my ear that I’m doing  great job. All I can get through the next few C’s is “Say something nice to me”. He chuckles and tells me I’m beautiful and kisses me. It works.

It’s just N me and Nurse N. N asks her about the c-section and how it’s going to go. The hospital is supposed to offer gentle c-section so N asks if that’s what we’re getting. She assures us that it is. They’ll do delayed cord clamping and I’ll get skin-to-skin and we’ll get him very soon after he’s out, etc. etc. N won’t be allowed in immediately though. He’ll stay behind and get changed into the full zip-up outfit and they’ll come get him once they start cutting.

Operating Room

OR Nurse B and another Nurse come to get me for surgery. I’m still not really able to speak and I don’t remember saying goodbye to N. Nurse B and her friend are bubbly and lovely and telling me things that I don’t remember. I’m so woozy. But nurse B has a very pretty rose pin on her shirt. I’m so focused on this pin. It’s all I can see and think of right now.

We’re in the OR now and I’m asked to sit up. They’re talking about the epidural or spinal block or whatever. I have to curl over a lot and push my lower back out as much as possible. I still can’t really believe I have to have a c-section but there’s no turning back now. People are saying things but it’s just me and my thoughts. How is this happening? I’m starting to freak out and here comes another C. A big one. I can’t curl my back!! Nurse B has me rest my head on her shoulder. I see the pin again. I strongly believe the pin is keeping me alive because it’s the only thing I can see and focus on. Why is the epidural taking so long? I can hear them saying things to me about curling my back but I’m moaning loudly over their instructions and focusing on the beautiful pink petals on the rose. I’m now on C number 2 moaning again and there is still no epidural in. What’s the hold up?!

C number 3 has started and I hear them say they’re all set. Really? I didn’t feel a thing. I thought he was just digging his thumbs into my back. They lay me down and I think maybe the stadol is wearing off because I’m feeling a bit better. Nurse B is telling me how well I did through those C’s. But now I’m panicking because I’m about to have major abdominal surgery and where is my husband?

Stay calm, stay calm. They’re talking to me about what I should be feeling. The anesthesiologist says something about no more C’s. I realise he’s right and my legs feeling tingly. Someone says they’re going to put the catheter in now and I can feel them doing so I’m really panicking now. I frantically tell him I can feel things. I can still feel!!

He assures me that I’ll still have a bit of sensation but no pain. I don’t like it. Where is N?! I don’t want this. Stay calm. Stay calm.

They put the draping on my chest and start pulling it up so I can’t see. I really don’t like that. I’m the IVF patient who watches them draw blood. I’d like to see what you’re doing to my body please. But do I really want to see them cut me open and not feel it? Better leave this to the professionals.

Dr H walks in. Where the fuck have you been all night. She’s different now. No fake smile. All business. “Okay, I’m going to poke you and you tell me if you feel it”. Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes. “Okay we are good to go… Agree?” then everyone in the rooms says “Agree!”. But no! no! I said yes to all your pokes!

I look at the only person who’s talking to me. Larry the anesthesiologist. “But I said yes to all the pokes”… “Not all of them” He smiles. I’m not reassured. I want my husband.

The room goes very quiet now and it’s just me and Larry but I can’t see him without craning my neck. I smell something. They’re cutting! or cauterizing! Finally N walks in stage right and sits down and grabs my hand. He looks calm. That calms me down. “What’s that smell?” he asks.

I chuckle. I’m okay now. We’re okay. It’s still deathly quiet. No one is talking. Waiting to feel that tugging but it’s not coming. I look at the clock over N’s shoulder. 8pm. Then I feel the tugging. It’s weird. Then someone says “Look up mama”. I look up and  up pops a little head with a hand on the forehead then it’s gone.

“Oh he just peed again”… Everyone laughs.

So that’s it, huh? I just had a baby. Boy, is he screaming. Poor guy. I wonder what they’re doing with him. Aren’t I supposed to get him for skin to skin? What’s taking so long? I look over N’s shoulder again. 8:05 I think. What’s taking so long? N is also starting to worry. He leans over to ask where the baby is. Everything is fine they’re just cleaning him up. But aren’t they not supposed to do that really? This doesn’t feel very gentle c-section to me. It feels cold and harsh. N asks if they did delayed cord clamping. Dr H snaps back “No.”

N’s face changes to irritation. But as he’s about to protest Nurse B’s friend brings over our little bundle and places him on my chest. He’s warm and squirmy and difficult to get a good hold on. He’s laying across my chest and crying. I can kind of see his face. So this is the baby I just gave birth to. He’s cute and little but I can’t hold him. He keeps slipping up to my face. I tell N to take him and do skin-to-skin. The nurse says no at first because N would have to take his t shirt off. He unzips the suit they gave him to reveal no t-shirt “Way ahead of you”. She laughs and moves Lucky to his father.

His father. My husband. A father. To my son. Our son. I look over at the two of them and he is beaming. A beam I’ve never seen before. It’s beautiful. I could look at them forever.

Okay I want him back now. I think I can handle it. N puts him back on my chest and we let him try to rooting around and crawl to maybe find my breast. He finds his way but never latches but it’s okay.

I’m not sure how much time has passed but they tell us that N and Lucky have to go to recovery so they can finish up with me. I’m still feeling like this isn’t real.

I hear counting. They’re counting the swabs or whatever. Just like on Grey’s Anatomy. I look up at the bright lights and I catch a glimpse of my incision in the reflection. Cool!! I can’t tell what they’re doing but the fun part is over. Everyone is talking about vacations to Cancun. The drape comes down and Nurse B is including me in the conversation but I’m just smiling. Did I really just have a baby?

Eventually they’re ready to wheel me into recovery. I’m enjoying the ride I keep hearing babies cry as we pass rooms. Then I hear my baby’s cry! Why are we going passed it? “Stop! stop! I know that voice!”

Both nurses laugh at me. They were just turning me around. I see N leaning over the baby in the warmer bed thingies as I’m wheeled in. He’s still beaming. Baby is still crying and I am still trying to understand how this is real life.

N comes over to be with me while the nurse swaddles up our little bundle. They adjust my pillows a bit and we try to get him to latch. It’s not very easy but we got him eventually. But he’s lazy and probably tired from you know.. being born.

While I’m watching this little person familiarize himself with his surroundings I notice that the nurse has my leg in her hands and I can’t feel her holding it. It’s freaky as hell so turn my attention back to the little person.

Once we’re all settled our family and doula L are allowed in to come say hi. I only vaguely remember this because I’ve been given some morphine before they come in. I know that my mother is crying big mom tears and my dad just has the biggest smile on his face. I don’t remember much about the conversation. They don’t stick around for very long but doula L stays for a bit to drop a few words of wisdom. Again,  I wish I could remember all that she says but it’s similar to her words in triage. I do remember that she is holding my hand and squeezing it lightly and reassuringly. I’m sad when she leaves. I know I’ll likely not see her again and she was pivotal in this story. I’m sad.

10pm: We’re a family of three now. N and I are in my hospital bed in room C210, holding this little body watching him sleep. I’m trying to take everything in. Wondering if I should be feeling a certain way. Shouldn’t I have cried by now? Shouldn’t my heart have grown three sizes? Aren’t I supposed to be experiencing a love I’ve never known?

None of that is happening but I can’t take my eyes off him. He’s so fuzzy. He has so much hair. I knew he would have lots of pitch black hair. The way his little top lip sticks out looks exactly like his ultrasounds. His eyes look like my nephew’s. His perfect little nose is… perfect. Is this really my child?

***

I don’t know how long we stared at him while he slept. I don’t know how the night ended actually but I remember we just stared and stared silently at this person we made.

So the birth didn’t go as planned at all and everything is not how they said it would be. I thought I wouldn’t be able to get over the fact that it didn’t go as planned, but 2 weeks in and I’m feeling much better about it. My incision is healing nicely and my baby is breastfeeding with the best of them. And while I didn’t feel that instant love that you read about when I saw him the first time but, again, 2 weeks in and I find that I worry about him constantly and I can’t stop looking at him and kissing his little fingers. It makes putting him down to sleep very difficult. I would be happy if he could sleep on me or N forever thank you very much. Maybe that’s the love they’re talking about?

My favourite part of all of this is watching my husband as a father. He does a lot of things better than I do. He’s so patient with Lucky. He can’t seem to get enough of him. It really is the best thing in the world. I hardly recognise this man but I love it and I love him more and more because of it.

Okay, it’s 2 minutes to midnight here. My parents are sleeping on the blow up mattress at our feet. N is playing Zelda on the Nintendo Switch and I’m typing this while little Lucky is sleeping on my lap.

Life is fucking fantastic at the end of 2017.

 

2-ish Weeks to go

Still breech.

Every morning I wake up and I rub his little noggen on my left side underneath my boob. A little sad that he hasn’t turned but a little glad that I know exactly where he is and sometimes when I rub he responds and that makes me smile.

My parents arrived on Sunday. It’s really good to have them here but I feel bad that the living arrangements aren’t perfect. Of course they’re fine with everything and it won’t be for much longer but still. We just have to do the floors upstairs then we can start moving things up there but for now they’ve opted to take the blow up mattress in the tv room because they don’t want me sleeping on it. And they’re unable to unpack their suitcases because there’s nowhere for them to put their clothing. But we’re making due. I’m just very happy they’re here.

My appointments yesterday went well enough. As we suspected, he’s fine, he’s just smallish. He’s up to 6lbs (2.72kgs) now which isn’t bad IMO. My parents joined us at the level 2 ultrasound. I warned them that they may not see much because of his position and most of it was just the tech measuring his belly and the femur and his head. She struggled to get his belly because his little knee was pressed into it. I don’t understand how that’s comfortable but I guess they’re just different. She was all business at first but after she got his measurements she actually tried to get us some 3D pics. It wasn’t easy because there were hands and feet in front on his face but we saw a nose and a set of juicy lips and some cheek too. He may only be 6lbs but I think 2 of them are all cheek. My favourite was seeing the little dimples in the knuckles on his fat hands. He’s cute. He’s mine. Wow.

During the 3D scans the high risk OB popped in to say that baby’s doing great and if we’re planning on doing an ECV that we do it at 39 weeks and induce that same day. Then she popped back out. Seems like the best job in the world to me :).

At my OB appointment later that afternoon N came with me. I was really relieved because I felt calm and confident and ready to ask questions about what our final plan is going to be. While the nurse was taking my BP I mentioned the cramps I’ve been having. Oh, btw I’ve been having a lot of cramps. Especially at night. My friends think I’m in early labour which is very exciting to me but the cramps seem to sporadic so I don’t want to get too excited. I timed them last night and they’re really all over the place. Anyway, so I mentioned the cramps and then she had me undress from the waste down so that the dr could do a cervical check.

As I was undressing I told N I didn’t want to do it and I was again disappointed in myself. But these people just tell you to do things seemingly in passing and run away before you can say something. She said “okay since you’re having cramps you can undress, Dr will be in in  a second” and then she was gone. In my mind I didn’t have time to protest. I need people to give me a second to digest what’s going on. Anyway so I sat through the doctor’s visit half naked screaming at myself to say something and thankfully at the end of it she got up to check me and I asked if she really needed to and she said no so I said okay then let’s rather not because I really don’t enjoy them. She said that was fine and that was that. Yay! Go me!

So what we discussed at the visit. When she walked in she said that she had the version scheduled for next Tuesday at 8:30. If he turns successfully then we’ve decided to go home and wait for him to come on his own. If he doesn’t turn we were given the option of going home and waiting for labour to start then we can go in and do the c-section. We also have the option of picking a c-section date if the version isn’t successful. We’re going to go with former right now. There’s also the chance that he goes into distress during the version and if that happens they’ll do an emergency c-section right away but she said she’s never had that happen.

She said that they would give it 3 good tries and if he doesn’t budge then they won’t force it. He seems so comfy cozy I wonder if he will want to move. Either way I’m glad that we have the option to try and I just hope that he’s co-operative.

And that is where we are so far. She also wrote a note getting me off work this week which is a huge relief. I don’t think I would have made it next week. So I only have 4 more days of work left! Woohoo! I actually have a bunch to get through so let me sign off for the week.

Thanks everyone who’s hung around for this ride with me. I appreciate everyone’s kind words and everyone’s positive thoughts and baby turning vibes :). You’re all awesome and I love you for it!

Go With Your Gut

So I’ve decided on a hospital, finally. We’re going to stay with the current hospital and my current OB.

I consulted absolutely everyone and got really good feedback and ultimately I just had to go with my gut. Thanks everyone here who weighed in as well. It was really helpful.

I met with the midwife at the new hospital 2 weeks ago.  She was fantastic. Answered all of my questions satisfactorily. She did say that the 2 hospitals are under the same umbrella so policies will likely be the same. The c-section rate at my current hospital is higher though, 30% vs 20% at the new hospital.

As far as everything else is concerned, labouring and pushing in any position, using non-chemical induction methods before pitocin, etc. both providers were fine with. So it was really just up to who I felt most comfortable with and that was a no-brainer.

Granted, I’d only just met the midwife and she was really awesome, I just feel like I’m in really good hands with my OB. I felt that way from the minute we met.

Last night, at our doula meeting a couple and their chubby 5month old came to tell their birth story (my favourite part of the meetings). It started off how most of the doula assisted birth stories started. Soft lighting, affirmations everywhere, calm music, no pain meds. Up until 5cm where she stayed for several hours and no amount of re-positioning was working. Eventually they did an emergency c-section because her little one was stuck in her pelvis. I really enjoyed that story. Both parents seemed so content with how everything went even if it wasn’t to plan and she kept saying over and over for everyone to have a plan but keep an open mind because you can’t plan a birth. And yes yes everyone has been saying this but this birth story sounded similar to what I have in my head and ended with one of my fears but here they were, a healthy and very happy family. It was just what I needed to hear.

So I’m feeling good about this choice and I’m glad it’s not keeping me up at night anymore. I feel a bit more relaxed about how this is going to go.

I only have one more big fear which I’ll talk about once I can put my thoughts together.