Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ace's Birth Story

April 17, Thursday afternoon. By 4 pm I had about had it. My full-term OB appt was the next morning and I really didn't want to go to it. I wanted to be in labor. I'd had barely a Braxton-Hicks all day. So I put Miss E in her stroller and went out for a marathon walk. I walked briskly (for a 9-month pregnant girl) for an hour! Every time I had a B-H, I would tell the baby that it was a great day outside, and a marvelous day to be born. By the end of my walk, I had B-Hs coming every 5 minutes. Not that I really thought anything of that.

After Miss E went to bed, Dh left to play basketball with friends. EdgyK offered to come over and give me a pedicure. She showed up with not just pedicure supplies, but also caramel apple cider from Starbucks and delicious cake donuts from the local grocer. Ah, bliss. I started keeping track of my contractions around 6, when I realized they kind of hurt and were kind of regular. EdgyK and I OD'd on sugar and she painted my toes a delightful bright pink. By this point it was about 9 and the contractions were irregular (every 4-11 minutes) and sometimes painful (only like a 2). I stopped keeping track because I was bored with that. Dh got home from basketball and found The Never-Ending Story on tv. Dh and EdgyK watched it with the creepiest glazed look on their faces. I guess I am a little young to be hypnotized by that movie. Ha ha

At this point, it was about 10; I was still having quasi-regular, mildly painful contractions. I didn't really think I was in labor, but that of course didn't stop us all from making jokes about it. Dh and EdgyK told me they needed a full night's sleep. I told them I was going to wake them up at 3 am. EdgyK went home around 10:30.

I ate a snack, and then shortly thereafter - bloody show! (Was that TMI for you? Then stop reading, darling!) I was like, "Holy crap, I AM in labor!" I told Dh, and we quickly threw our hospital bags together. I wanted to get some sleep while my contractions were still so mild. I thought I was too excited to sleep, but I did manage to drift off around midnight. Unfortunately, my body decided to ramp it up at 2 am, when I woke to a rather intense contraction. 45 minutes later, I decided it was time to wake Dh up so he could be fully awake by the time we needed to leave for the hospital. I called EdgyK at...3 am, just as I had joked. She had magically woken up on her own about two minutes before I called, so she sounded remarkably lucid. She came over while I was on the phone with the dr's after-hours nurse, who said I could go on in to the hospital. (I was positive for GBS, so I needed to be on antibiotics for at least 4 hours before the baby was born, and therefore I didn't want to cut it very close.)

Dh and I headed for the hospital around 3:30 am, got into a room by 4. I was dilated to a 5 or 6. I was a little bummed about that, since when I'd arrived at the hospital to deliver Miss E, I had already dilated to a 7 or 8. I got an epidural by 4:30, sweet sweet relief.

***A brief note about Miss E's birth for comparison purposes: epidural didn't work correctly, but no time to fix it. She was born just three hours after I arrived at the hospital. Bulging bag of waters, had my water broken, then after an hour of pushing Miss E was born. There was meconium in her amniotic fluid and the cord was wrapped twice around her neck. Therefore there was no cuddling with my newborn immediately upon her birth. She was whisked over to the tray where an entire team of nurses and doctors suctioned meconium out of her passages. Her Apgars were 5 and 7 (not very good). Doctor Z gave me an episiotomy (WITHOUT discussing it with me at all) and then I ripped beyond that, I ended up with a 3rd degree. Which in case you're wondering means FREAKING OUCH.***

So anyway, back to Ace's birth. Dh dozed and I tried to as I continued to dilate further. The epidural brought my pain level back down to a 4 or a 5, where it had been a 7 or 8 before. By 8:30 am April 18 I was dilated to an 8 or 9. I was stuck at that dilation for a couple of hours due to a bulging bag of waters (I must make amniotic sacs of steel or something). The nurse & doctor figured the bulging bag was preventing the baby's head from putting enough pressure on my cervix to finish dilating, so I was like, let's pop that sucker! The doctor broke my water around 11, and then contractions ramped up.

I didn't feel "pushy" as my nurse termed it for about half an hour. That half hour was no fun, as I could feel the painful contractions, but felt no urge to push (wasn't fully dilated yet). I started pushing around 11:30. I had some trouble at first getting focused. What finally helped was when the nurse brought in a mirror. Once I could see what was going on down there, I found my focus in a real jiffy. Such that that baby really started sliding down, and the nurse ran from the room to grab the doctor, yelling, "Stop pushing!" as she left.

I looked at Dh. "I'm not stopping."

"Anth," he pleaded, "don't push. The doctor needs to get here."

"You can catch the baby," I answered. The look on his face told me perhaps that wasn't the best course of action, so I held off as much as I could. I saw the doctor's feet appear beneath the curtain blocking the doorway. "Is that you, Doctor X?" I yelled out.

"I just need to put on my gloves and scrubs!" he answered, coming around the curtain. "Think about something else - don't push - think about the beach."

"The beach!" I said, almost deliriously. "That won't distract me! I'll think about waffles! I want some waffles! I'm really hungry!" The nurses, doctor, and Dh all started laughing. Finally Doctor X was ready and gave me the go-ahead to push.

With the next contraction and pushes, the baby was just moments from being born. "I don't want an episiotomy!" I told the doctor. "I don't want to give you one!" he answered back, which was enough to make me love him forever. It was so weird and cool to watch the baby coming out in the mirror. Once his head was out, well I got kind of distracted and lost my focus again. So he was half in-half out for a few seconds longer than normal. Oopsie. But out he came, and they laid that beautiful baby boy on my stomach. He cried, and then I cried, and Dh cried and it was the most amazing experience. After a few minutes the nurse asked if she could take him to clean him up a little. His Apgars were 9 and 9!

Doctor X stitched me up - I had a second degree tear, which after the third degree from last time is like a cakewalk. (Stupid Doctor Z with her un-desired - and probably unneeded - episiotomy!) Ace was born after a mere 25 minutes of pushing. Despite being about a pound and a half bigger than Miss E with a head a full inch bigger around, this labor was a much better experience. In no small part, I'm sure, due to the fact that everything was all kind of stretched out and experienced, so to speak. Also I did a much better job pushing.

Quite frankly, I found Miss E's birth to be horrifying in the less-used sense of the word - shocking, dismaying. After she was born, I felt completely exhausted and used up. In contrast, I found Ace's birth...empowering. Many women told me the second birth is easier, and I've found that to be true for myself as well. After Miss E's birth I didn't even want to think about going through labor again, for a long time. After Ace's birth, the idea of childbirth doesn't frighten me any longer. It's just the 40 weeks of pregnancy that proceed it that I loathe! Ha ha

The prize at the end of a hard 40 weeks!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Some Reviews and News

Dh went back to work this morning after a week off. He was very helpful, especially at night. He understands that I need as much sleep as possible to stay sane. :)

My mom arrived Saturday evening; she is staying for two weeks. Sunday morning my mom offered to give Miss E a bath while I relaxed in bed a bit. I asked if she had had her morning poo yet. (Miss E is very regular.) She had not, but my mom decided to forge ahead. Well, Miss E squatted down in the tub and unloaded. I guess you could say Miss E wanted Grandma to brush up on her young-child parenting skills immediately! (And way to take one for the team, Mom! Heehee!) Right now she is off at the grocery store with Miss E, where I think she is buying fancy cheeses and other various goodies. My parents' standard of living is higher than ours (due to lots more moola) and so we reap the benefits when my mom comes to visit (no cheap Kleenex or grating your own cheese for her!).

Ace slept for an almost 5-hour stretch last night! Fortunately I went to bed 45 minutes after he did, so I got a glorious almost 4-hour sleep! That's the longest I've slept in one go since he was born. Naturally I woke before he did, irrationally convinced that something was wrong with him that he was still sleeping peacefully. Ha ha It didn't even feel weird to go to bed at 8:45 in the evening, owing to extreme tiredness.

I look about 4 months pregnant. Not too bad, I suppose, for a week and a half postpartum. And my stretch marks don't look as bad now that they're not all stretched out. I did forget though how hard it is to find shirts in my closet that fit these temporary boobs. What a pain getting dressed is! :)

Ace is a marvelous little baby and I am soooooaking up his deliciousness. Someone told me you are able to enjoy your second newborn more, simply because you've done it before so you're not constantly experiencing scary new things (Shooting poo! Nursing in the car! Pee all over the carpet!), and they were exactly correct. I feel so much more chill this go-around. Though I do sometimes find myself with much less patience for Miss E's antics. I know she just wants attention, but funny, that doesn't make her attempts to pull every wipe out of the container or dump my water glass all over the floor any easier to deal with.

And now for some brief reviews:

Juno. I liked the humor (sarcasm is my boyfriend). I thought it was a cute story. The anti-man undercurrent was super annoying. This whole trendy idea that mother + baby = nuclear family, with the "+ father" as an optional accessory is antithetical to a functioning society.

The Cutting Edge - Chasing the Dream. Um. That's all I can say. I watched this movie for about fifteen minutes before vomiting violently everywhere (sorry, hope you weren't eating just then). In my defense, I was horrifyingly bored (this was while 39 weeks pregnant). Don't even go here. Just DON'T.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. You didn't think I was going to let a little thing like having a baby stop me from reading, did you?? This book is marvelous and I think you should read it. If you enjoy being moved by a book, if you want to think about things in a new way, go get it from the library now! It took me a little while to get into, but by page 194 I was tearing up (and that's only halfway through the book). A very good book; I highly recommend it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Pictures ('Cause That's About All I Can Manage Right Now)

EdgyK's son saw a pic of the baby and promptly nicknamed him Ace. I think it's a brilliant blog nickname!

Miss E is very good about being gentle with the baby.

Miss E has a cold and mightily resists most nose wipings. I think the above pic is funny because 1) her dramatic expression and 2) Miss E makes Ace look like a little shrimp!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Anth Smiles Happily (and Tiredly)

Thank you all for your well wishes and prayers!

We are home now, but this is still surreal to me. I'm still realizing that 1) I have a baby, 2) I have kids, and 3) I'm not pregnant anymore. Though Miss E already figured out that last part, as she settled onto my lap this evening. :) When she notices the baby (only about once every half hour), she very gently pats him on the head. Otherwise, she has been running around like a crazy child, desperate for lots of attention from both her parents.

Baby Boy's birth went very well - the quick and dirty details are 10 hours of labor (not counting all the very mild contractions on Thursday evening), born 1 day before his due date. Got an epidural (which worked fabulously - woohoo!), baby born after 25 minutes of pushing. He came out looking not particularly newborn-y due to his large size! I'll try to type up his birth story sometime soon...

But now he is sleeping, so it's off to bed for me, at least for an hour or two. Here are some more pictures of our beautiful baby!

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Arrival of Baby Boy

I am so happy to announce I had my baby this morning at 11:54 am. You can see from the scale below just how very big he is!!!! He is 21 inches long and perfect in every way.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I Think So

Pretty sure I'm in early labor. Contractions since 5-ish, getting progressively more painful. Also had bloody show. The contractions are only mildly painful still, so I'm going to try to get some sleep, if I can. Starting to get excited...

Pray for me, please!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Temporary Mama's Girl

As I have mentioned before, Miss E is a daddy's girl. This delights Dh. It delights me too, because then when he is around, I can kind of "check out" and have some down time while he entertains her.

Well, for the past week and a half Miss E has done a complete 180. Now she just wants Mama, Mama, Mama. I've been enjoying the kisses and hugs, and the joyful shouts of "Mama!" when I walk in the room. She only wants me to put her to bed, which is kind of a problem, since I can't really hold her for more than about thirty seconds without experiencing major pain.

Poor Dh is having a hard time not taking this "Mama's girl" phase personally. I'm pretty sure it's just temporary, due to some kind of subconscious recognizance on Miss E's part that her life is about to undergo a major upheaval. I really want the upheaval to come soon.....

Miss E

I'm still pregnant. And grouchy about that fact.

So I'll post some recent pictures of Miss E in a probably vain attempt to distract myself.

Here is Miss E about to go to church. She was wearing a sweet, poufy dress with coordinating sweater from my mom. You might notice her hair looks unkempt as always. Another mom told me a couple of months ago that if you want your daughter to sit still and let you do her hair, you have to train her to do so from the time she is very, very young. I didn't do that, and now Miss E's hair pretty much always looks like this. She pitches a huge fit if I try for more than the ubiquitous clip.

Miss E is very fond of Dh's motorcycle (as long as it's off). She loves to look through his motorcycle catalogs. He trained her to call them "vroom-vrooms."

Just a couple of pictures showing Miss E's ebullient love of life. :)

These are pictures of Miss E at a local park last weekend. We had a rare warm sunny spring day on Friday so we celebrated by going to the park as a family. I sat on a blanket (soaked my bum) and Dh played photographer as Miss E braved the slides and made friends.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I Can't Make Up My Mind

I just took this personality quiz and my results were:

Feels trapped in a distressing or uncomfortable situation and seeking some way of gaining relief. Able to achieve satisfaction from sexual activity.

I think this quiz might have been created by a frickin genius.

However, this evening I've been thinking about the actual possibility of labor, based on what I can remember of my labor with Miss E. (My memory has dulled a lot of the pain.) And I suddenly realized I'm not actually that keen to go through it again. Granted I don't have a lot of choice, or rather, I made my choice 9 months ago. But, um, labor hurt. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm okay with a little more waiting.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Almost 39 Weeks...

Had a doctor's appointment this morning. Everything's fine. 33 lbs weight gain. I'm 2.5 cm dilated...the baby could come any day now. (Baby. I'm talking to YOU.)

Go give some love to Alfred's Mom. She didn't go into labor like she'd hoped, and is having a c-section like, right now. So she gets to meet her little boy today!

It's a beautiful sunny day here, so when Miss E wakes up from her nap, we're going to go to the park! Huzzah for the sun!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Why Rainbow Is Awesome

Rainbow and I have been friends for about five years. She is one of the nicest people I know. Here is some proof:

Dh and I and Rainbow and her husband are planning to double date this Friday. We were going to go to one of the few good restaurants in our town - the only place I've had quality Italian food since moving here. However, while talking on the phone this morning, I admitted that I have reached that magical phase of pregnancy - luckily the very end - where I am uncomfortable in every position - walking, standing, sitting, lying down - it doesn't matter, it all hurts. She asked if I would rather not go out, that they could just come over to our house. "Yeah, but then I'd have to make dinner," I whined.

"No, you won't. We'll bring dinner," she answered. I said that sounded wonderful. Also this way I don't have to go pick up and then drop off a babysitter, which I hate doing.

"In fact," she continued, "why don't you let me come over to your house next week and clean it. If you have the baby this weekend, I'll get Dh to let me in, and I'll clean your house while you are in the hospital."

I was rendered speechless. Finally I squeaked out, "Rainbow, you are awesome."

"I know," she responded in a happy voice.

When you're awesome, you should just admit it.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Fun with the Tax Refund

Friday our tax refund deposited into the account, so we had some fun spending money.

An HP C7280. Dh and I are both in love with this printer. It prints photos! Easily! Dh was so inspired, he bought some photo frames and printed out adorable photos of Miss E to put in them. I think this will also make timely baby announcements much more attainable and affordable.

A new cell phone for me. Mine's midnight blue. My old cell phone was just over two years old. It would say it was fully charged, yet after a five-minute conversation the "Battery Low" warning would start to beep and flash. Annoying. The only sad thing is my lame ringtones are all gone now.

This Simplicity crib in Cognac. It's cheap. That is a major factor in why we got it. Dh put it together today and it is Miss E's new crib. The crib she was in was not convertible, whereas this one converts into a toddler bed (safety rails included), a daybed, and a headboard for a full mattress. We now have two cribs up in Miss E's room. (We are selfish and not ready to give up the office to children yet.) I'll take pictures soon, once I get Miss E's old crib all prettied up for the baby. Rainbow's husband brought the bassinet back about a week and a half ago - that's where the baby will sleep at night, just outside my bedroom door, at the edge of the living room. For daytime naps, though, I obviously needed a place to lay him down where Miss E would not be shrieking randomly or loudly demanding bagels or cheese. So now he has a crib of his own. Miss E's new crib has a large trundle drawer underneath, which freed up space on the shelves in the changing table for Baby Boy's clothes. Slowly but surely, I am getting ready for this kid's birth.

Image credits: printer and crib - Amazon. Motokrzr - Skatter Tech.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Unsuspected Anxiety in Miss E

This morning I was leaning against Dh as he browsed T@rget's website on the laptop. Suddenly I had a sharp, intense pain in my lower right side. "OW!" I yelped and sat up as quickly as I was able. (Downright slowly, in case you were wondering.) Miss E looked up from her blocks and asked with real anxiety in her voice, "Mama?" I smiled and told her I was fine, but she didn't believe me. Smart girl, since I was lying through my teeth. "Mama?" she asked again. By then the pain was gone, so I could honestly tell her, "Mama's okay." She went back to playing with her blocks. Dh and I exchanged looks and I whispered that I hope I go into labor while Miss E is asleep so she won't be worried about me. It was quite touching to see her little face full of concern.


I realized last night during a long sleepless hour (gotta love the last month of pregnancy!) that I have become excessively lazy while expressing myself both on my blog and in my comments on friends' blogs. Everything is "sooooo cute" or "sooooo frustrating" or "totally great" or blah blah blah. I am smarter than "soooooo" and "totally" and I am going to make a conscious effort to utilize my vocabulary.


I also heard Miss E wake up at 5:45 am and start talking animatedly to herself. I don't usually get up to get her until 7:45. I thought she woke up between 7 and 7:30 each morning. Does she wake up at 5:45 am every morning? I have no idea. I only heard her because my soft, cushy bed was too uncomfortable, so I decided to sleep on the old, flattened sofa. Where I was finally able to successfully fall asleep. I know. It doesn't make any sense to me either. I only know I am thrilled to be nearly done with this pregnancy.

Baby Shower

Last night my friends from church threw me a baby shower. As with the shower they threw me for Miss E, I was blown away by the generosity of these women, and the number of impossibly cute things! The food was great: a veggie pizza, marinated cheese with crackers, watermelon (served in plastic buckets with shovels - very cute), and a yummy carrot cake (from Costco). There were about 15-20 people from my church congregation there, and Rainbow was also able to make it (she lives in the next town over).

I swear everyone must have discussed beforehand what sizes to buy - there was a perfect array of clothing from newborn to 24 months. The above picture shows all the rompers and onesies.

Here are miscellaneous goodies - toys, socks (oh how I love newborn socks!...), sandals, sunglasses, etc. Also a handheld food grinder, which I've been thinking about getting for about two years.

Blankets, including two adorable and so soft handmade ones. These two blankets were made by Laura and Hannah. Laura and Hannah each have a distinctive style of handmade baby blanket (Laura hand crochets around the edge, Hannah makes a border and decorative machine stitching). They both make a blanket and matching burp cloth for EVERY baby born in our church congregation. And, um, we're Mormon, yo, so that's a LOT of babies. Everyone calls them their "Laura blanket" and their "Hannah blanket." I used Miss E's Laura and Hannah blankets tons when she was little. They're great for swaddling.

Here is photo 1 of adorable outfits. Note especially the blue striped tie, and the sweater vest. I love sweater vests on little boys, they are just too cute.

Photo 2 of adorable outfits. Here I draw your attention to the fabulous little Hawaiian shirt. Baby #2 will so be rocking that outfit this summer.

And finally, goodies for Mama! A pedicure set in a paint can (complete with inflatable foot bath - how funny is that!), chocolates (Dh was excited about those), and the expensive nursing pads that I like but can't justify buying for myself (I told EdgyK about them, and she remembered!). EdgyK gets the award for cleverest gift - that little Ziploc bag in the lower left corner is a v-neck tee in my size, to keep in the diaper bag against the inevitable spitup all over my shirt. This way I will never have to walk around reeking of baby spitup!

I had a lot of fun at the shower and everyone was so nice to me, telling me how I've dropped (I have) and how it could be any day now. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful, sharing women!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The ABCs of Anth

Shamelessly swiped from Melain

A - Advocate for: more stupid science fiction movies, such as Earthstorm (starring Stephen Baldwin!!) and The Black Hole.

B - Best Feature: Probably my eyes. They are big and have nice lashes. Dh says my butt.

C - Could Do Without: Eggplant Parmesan and alarm clocks.

D - Dreams & Desires: I would like to get really good at karate. And learn Spanish. Also I would like to travel outside of North America.

E - Essential Items: Pretty, brainless magazines, this blush, and a steady supply of good books to read.

F - Favorite Pastime: Reading and shopping. It's a tie. Well, only if I actually have some money to spend while shopping. Otherwise, just reading.

G - Good at: optimism and crocheting.

H - Have Never Tried: lobster.

I - If I Had a Million Dollars: I would save most of it, and use some for a month-long trip. I would pick one continent and travel all around it, seeing the cool sights. And shopping.

J - Junkie For: mind-numbing games like Bejewled and Bingo Luau. Gah, I can't believe I just admitted that.

K - Kindred Spirit: Rainbow and EdgyK. They are two girls to whom I can say any lame thing that pops in my head, i.e., I can be myself around them.

L - Little Known Fact: When I want to get out of the house and buy something but it's the end of the month (read: I'm low on funds), I head to the thrift store or the dollar store. That way, even if I go buck wild I've still only spent 10 bucks.

M - Memorable Moment: Not to slight Baby #2, but finding out I was pregnant with Miss E was one of my top moments. It occurred on the due date of the baby I lost and so was a very precious event.

N - Never Again Will I: Date a guy who treats me like crap. (Um, hopefully I will never date another guy at all.)

O - Occasional Indulgence: Cold Stone ice cream. Lucky Charms.

P - Profession: Stay-at-home mom.

Q - Quote: I can resist everything except temptation. -Oscar Wilde

R - Reason to Smile: Pregnancy eventually ends.

S - Sorry About: I stick my foot in my mouth with regularity.

T - Tag Some Friends: Katie. EdgyK. Deena.

U - Uninterested In: ever eating beets again.

V - Very Scared Of: something happening to Dh, Miss E, or Baby Boy.

W - Worst Habit: I allow my insecurities to inhibit me from reaching out to others.

X - X Marks My Ideal Vacation Spot: I cannot pick because I want to travel pretty much anywhere. Of the places I have been, Puerto Morelos in the Yucatan peninsula.

Z - Zodiac Sign: Taurus. I can be stubborn, but I wouldn't say stubbornness is my overriding characteristic. Though I do like delicious food, delightful fabrics, and sex. Which is very Taurean of me.