Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Birth Story

Apologies if anything in here is TMI. But let's dive in!

so as mentioned, Friday evening resulted in alot of prelabour. I assume this brought me to around 2 or 3 cm dialated. The contractions then tapered off throughout Saturday. Early Saturday evening I started to get some back pain, and occasional pressure in my (ahem!) rectal area. It was very odd. I literally felt like I had to poo every 20-30 minutes or so. Baby had always been in a good birthing position, spine curved along my left side, head down, so I didn't think she was posterior, causing back contractions.

These pains were coming a few times an hour, so I got on the floor and did some cat stretches or rested forward on the ball. That helped some. Some of them were very painful, so we called our doula, Lorena, and asked her opinion. She hadn't heard of this before, told us we were probably still in early labour and to call her overnight if contractions started up again, or to watch for the desire to push. We also checked with Catherine, the midwife, who confirmed she figured we were in early labour and just try to get some rest. She didn't think it was worthwhile to come to the house and check me at this point, since the "pains" were so irregular.

As the night progressed, the rectal pressure continued, and they started to increase when I felt them - every 15 minutes or so, to every 10 minutes or so. Regan started timing them, to see what they were doing. Around 6am they increased to every 2-5 minutes, and were beginning to last longer then 45 seconds. And every third one, I felt a huge desire to push. And often those ones I could feel pressure on my cervix, and tried to hold them in, but couldn't. I would say every third to fifth one was accompanied by a stomach contraction. However, I was an idiot - I really didn't think I was in labour. I thought I was having a bad reaction to the castor oil in the induction cocktail, and my intestines were just trying to clean themselves out. I thought it was payback for agreeing to drink something with castor oil in it!

At about 7am we called Catherine because the pain was becoming unbearable. She agreed to come over and check me, after listening to me breathe through a "pain" session. 30 minutes later she arrived, checked my cervix and said "ok. we need to go to the hospital now. you are 8cm". Umm what?!?! I didn't have time to change, brush my teeth, grab our hospital items. We had to leave, and we had to leave now. Did I mention it had snowed the night before for the first time this season? Thankfully it was 7:30 on a Sunday morning, so traffic was light.

My carefully planned phone tree list went out the window. We quickly texted our best friends to give them the update, and called my mom and Lorena to meet us at the hospital. By the time we got there, I was 10 cm. The beauty of a midwife was she had already called and checked me in, so we went right to my delivery room, I hopped up on the table, and I started pushing. It was 8 or 8:30am. Catherine also broke my water, since that hadn't happened yet. It had meconium in it, so they called a pediatrician consult to check the baby as soon as she was born.

My mom and Lorena arrived by 9am. Catherine continued to coach me through contractions. In these early pushes, I found pushing on my side the most comfortable. We also tried me on all fours - that helped to move her down, but I didn't find it very comfortable. I got tired quickly. For the last hour or so I pushed in the more traditional position - on my back with my legs up, the table angled down. I had my mom, Lorena and the nurse to hold various appendages while I pushed. I don't think I could have held up my legs that long without them. Regan continued to be a great coach, by my head and cheering me on through each push. He would also hold my back up during a contraction.

We went along this way for 2 1/2 hours. Catherine wouldn't let me push too hard or too long, and instead slowly helped me move the baby up. For awhile I thought she was some sort of 80's fitness extremist. It was always "just a few more contractions and she will be here". It was always just a few more contractions. It felt like she was never going to come out!

At one point I turned to the nurse and said "I don't think I can do this anymore". She replied "whenever someone says that, they are very close". And she was right. A few pushes later, at 10:56am, baby Keira was finally born. There had been a ton of meconium in the amniotic fluid, so they were worried she wouldn't respond right away, but she started wailing the second she hit the table. It was a joyful sound. And she came out with one hand by her face. Viva la revolution! Apparently this is what caused all the rectal pressure. It was likely her hand moving around during labour. It also resulted in a small tear. Catherine thought if she hadn't had her hand there, I wouldn't have torn at all.

So that is the story of my med free non-labour labour. Seriously, what kind of idjiot doesn't know they are in labour?

So a few things I remember -
1. the burning sensation in the final moments of pushing seems unbearable. But it means you are close!
2. the whoosh sound/feeling when they finally do come out is absolute heaven. It made the preceding 3 hours of pushing worthwhile.
3. you are immediately incredibly cold. I couldn't get warm for a few days.
4. everyone should have 5 people help them labour. They say it takes a village to raise a child. I say it takes a village to birth a baby.
5. you can be in labour without having stomach contractions :)

Keira scored 9/10 on both of her Apgars, and she breastfed within the hour. I was exhausted and elated all at the same time. Immediately grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles all arrived to greet miss thing. Everyone was so excited. We are so lucky to have so much love for her already.

Monday, December 22, 2008

things the books don't tell you, part 1

so everyone knows about the little fountains boys can make of diaper changing time. How come no one tells you girls can do this too? As soon as that diaper comes off, she springs into action. For such a little thing, she has some force behind her!

The trifecta poops are really entertaining too. For some reason, she tends to poop in threes. But only after you have changed the diaper, put on the onesie, put on the sleeper, and swaddled her. Rinse, repeat. As my friend Jaime noted, its like watching your child literally pee and poop their college education away in diapers.

Keira is 8 days old

Saturday, December 20, 2008

how we got things moving

I will try to post a birth story in parts, so let's start with how we got things going.

Friday December 11, I was 41weeks, 5 days. Our midwife gave us a recipe for something called a natural induction cocktail earlier in the week, and we decided to give it a try on Friday. We were really hoping to avoid a medical induction using proglandin gel or pitocin, which would require hospital stay and most often leads to other interventions because of the close monitoring and potential stress to the baby. While there was no drop date for doing this if baby continued to respond well to testing, I was getting increasingly uncomfortable as each day passed.

We had a non-stress test that day which showed baby was still healthy and ticking away (they measure fetal heart rate and contractions and look for a good variety over an hour period). She responded to my braxton hicks contractions well, so they let me go home.

The cocktail consisted of a small amount of castor oil, an herbal oil called verbena oil (the secret ingredient) and then some apricot juice and peanut butter to make it like a smoothie. You down this twice about 5 hours apart.

I did this on Friday, taking the 2nd shot around 5pm. By 11pm I had some early contractions start. These progressed throughout the night, but never became consistent. We didn't get much sleep. Regan was a trooper, holding my hand and coaching my breathing through the harder ones, keeping time on his iphone - he found an excellent use for a lap time function Mac should consider promoting in their next campaign. By the morning, the contractions petered out again until they were only a few an hour. My mom came over, and we tried to get some sleep during the day. My pre-labour had officially begun.

TMI Warning to Family

my milk came in two days ago. Holy flotation devices batman.

Keira is 6 days old.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Keira is here

Keira  finally made her appearance on Sunday, December 14th, at 10:56 am. She weighed in at a hefty 7lbs 9 oz, making good use of the extra time inside.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

are you a betting person?

then place your bets to the right!

I am now exactly 41weeks pregnant, or 7 days past my due date. Now, less then 5% of women actually deliver on their due date, and the majority of first time babies do go over. As I am under the care of a midwife, I am under no obligation to induce, if I don't want to, barring any medical complications or the results of stress tests on the baby. If she is happy and still thriving in there, she can just keep on cooking.

So I ask you, when do you think she will arrive by? Let me know by taking the poll on the right.

what's the stupidest thing a pregnant girl could do?

at 39 weeks pg?

I apparently set out to demonstrate this with Darwinian flair when I fell down the stairs at our townhouse at exactly 39 weeks pregnant. Granted, it was only the last 3 stairs, and granted, I did fall on my back. But c'mon, who does that? Regan is now very concerned this child will have my (and my mother's) sense of gravity :).

Luckily all appeared fine with baby - she was moving pretty immediately, and at my checkup 2 days later she was in pretty much the same position (a little higher) and her heartbeat was normal.
However, i managed to twist my foot and aggravate my pelvic bone, which has bothered me on and off throughout the pregnancy. Regan put me on forced bed rest for most of that week. Which was fine by me - I could barely walk to the bathroom without assistance the first few days!

I have been seeing a chiropractor a few days a week to make sure I didn't misalign anything that could affect the natural labour I want, and it has been very helpful. 2 weeks later and my foot, neck and back feel great, and my pelvis only seems to flare when I sit at a computer chair too long.

So my advice for the day (besides don't fall down stairs at 39weeks pregnant) is visit a chiropractor or massage therapist who specializes in prenatal techniques throughout your pregnancy - it feels wonderful and really helps to reconnect the mind/body and soul!

le bump, 33 - 40 weeks

me at 40 weeks. Hopefully this signals the end of this "bumpy" ride!
me at 38weeks. she has settled into basically this position since:

me at 36 weeks. Not sure if it was the shirt or not, but I am looking very round and proud in this one!
me at 33 weeks:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A bumpy ride!

16 to 31 weeks