Thursday, December 26

2 & 3 Weeks

In weeks 2 and 3 of ERP's life -

~ he has already gained back his birth weight; plus a pound.  At 2 weeks and 3 days he had a doctor's appointment and was 7 lbs. 5 ounces
~ he is still wearing size newborn clothes, but we can put his 0-3 month clothes on him without him looking too much like a child playing dress-up
~ he is wearing newborn size diapers, but once these are gone he'll be wearing size 1.  This is one step closer to wearing his cloth diapers.
~ he loves taking showers with mommy
~ he is more and more awake every day
~ he is still a pocket baby, and loves to be held and snuggled
~ he celebrated his first holiday - Christmas
~ he is still eating and sleeping - 99% of the time
~ he is (sadly) coming down with his brother's cold.... poor guy

Things that I don't want to forget from the last 2 weeks -

~ how the stork bite on the back of his neck got smaller and smaller and just faded away
~ how his toes spread out, almost like fingers; when you run your finger under them
~ how soft the hair on his head feels
~ how he sounds like a dove cooing when he sleeps (sometimes)
~ how soft and warm he feels curled up against my body
~ how he looks me in the eyes while nursing now

Wednesday, December 18

Induction & Introduction (part 2 of 2)

Once we knew the day baby was coming, life around the house seemed to be calmer.  I will admit that knowing we were going for an induction felt like cheating.  I feel like I am missing part of the baby's birth story.  I wonder, what day would HE have chosen to be born.  Would he have come late as my gut was telling me?  Would he have come in the middle of the night or the middle of a snow storm?  Would we have made it to the hospital on time, or would it be another crazy birth story for me?  What would have been my first sign of labor?

None of these questions can get answered.  But we were able to make his birth just as memorable and special.  We were able to do things we wouldn't have done had we not opted for the induction.  The days and nights before I made extra certain that I spent one on one time alone, with each of the bigger boys. I was able to (with the help of Husband) have the house spotless and all of the laundry done before hand.  The day before the induction was a good one for us - our van had been in the body shop from an accident 3 weeks prior and was finally ready; and we took the boys out to dinner - one last time as a family of 4.  That night after my shower; Husband drew a heart on my stomach and everyone wrote a special message to the baby.   Everyone at the hospital LOVED this idea and commented on it, and read the messages.

We left for the hospital a little after 7am on Thursday December 5.  We had only told our parents and one or two other people about the induction.  Because there was no guarantee that our induction plan would work, and I was not willing to try pitocin or other means to induce; there was a chance that after 12 hours I would be sent home with a "failed induction".

We met my mom at the hospital for 8am and I was quickly hooked up to the IV to receive the antibiotics.  My mom and the boys hung around for a little bit, and then she left with them for breakfast and to take care of her horses.  Husband and I joked around with my nurse while she put all of my information into the computer.

Around 9am my midwife (MW) came in and inserted the Cervadil.  For the next couple of hours DH and I just hung out.  We watched TV, walked the hallways, talked to the nurses.  I had some contractions, but nothing I would consider the onset of labor - they were no more intense or frequent than what I had been having at home on and off for weeks.  At noon I had another round of IV antibiotics (I was off the IV pole, aside from the one hour increments it took to administer the meds).  Lunch was brought in during this round, chicken Parmesan - which I found funny as I had ordered that the night before at dinner.  It was good and I was starving and ate most of it, but I did draw the line at the salad which had more diced onion in it that seemed possible.  Within 30 minutes lunch was back with a vengeance and I couldn't help but wonder who gives all this acidic and spicy food to a woman in labor?

Around 1pm my MW came back in and moved the Cervadil closer to my cervix and she stripped my membranes.  My mom stopped in with the boys when this was done, and I nursed TT a little (my MW said it would help bring on labor).  Husband left with them to grab a bite to eat for lunch and I hung out in the room and then went for a walk.  During the walk I realized that labor was imminent.  I got back to the room and was about to call Husband on his cell when he showed up.  Shortly after that my MW was back, I am guessing it was around 2pm at this time. I asked if I could labor in the shower (it was one of those hydro-steam showers) and was told that was fine.  At first I labored alone in the shower; then I realized I needed Husband in there with me and sent him running for his shorts (which where in his bag out in the car).  In no time at all he was back and helping me through the contractions.  While I was in the shower my MW checked my cervix and I was about 3-4 cm and the baby's head was very low.... that seemed to be the entire labor - baby's station was ahead of my cervix; apparently he was more ready than I was for him to be born.  It was also during this time that I realized I really was having another child - that I really had been pregnant for the last 9 months and this WAS happening.

I had to get back into bed for my MW to remove the Cervadil (which she was awesome about and I was wrapped in heated towels) and as I was laboring in bed I started to have some very painful contractions.  These brought back sharp memories of my labor with TT and being trapped in the car.  I cried a little and was very afraid of going through "that" experience again.  My MW suggested the birthing ball; which sounded like and turned out to be a great idea.  I sat on the ball for the longest while.  Husband coached me through my breathing and MW gave the BEST back and hip massages to go along with my contractions.  She stayed with us for the longest time until she had to step out briefly and Husband took over.  During this period I started to really have to vocalize through the contractions and unfortunately it was also time for another round of IV medications.

So by best guess this was shortly after 5pm, as they are given every 4 hours.  One of the things that really struck me with this labor is I had no concept of time or exactly how fast my labor was progressing.  There was no timing of my contractions, there were no internal checks of my cervix - my MW was able to move me through labor based simply on how I was acting.  Even when I was ready to push she didn't insist on checking to "make sure" I was complete.  

As soon as I was hooked up to the IV again I jumped out of bed and headed back to the shower.  Once in the shower my water broke, it was a small break and merely trickled this time.  I was told if I wanted to deliver in the shower I could and I would have; but all of the heat from the steam plus the pain started going to my head and I got light headed, I thought I was going to pass out and so did Husband and MW.  As I was getting out of the shower I felt the need to go to the bathroom; to push; and I asked my MW how to tell the difference between the two and her response "I don't know, they are kind of the same."  Thinking back on RR's labor I would have to agree.  I tried the toilet but that did nothing for me, and at this time I was screaming and cried for drugs.  My MW told me she didn't think I needed them.  I decided I wanted to push in bed after that and tried a few positions, but mostly ended up screaming - at which my MW said to me "That's great screaming, but how about trying some pushing."  Once I found a comfortable position (the old stand-by) I had a few practice pushes; felt my water gush out a couple of times, felt the ring of fire (dear Lord; glad I didn't have that with TT) and then in one big push and with a huge surge of water out came baby - yes all in one shot, thank you.

He was placed on my chest and I was immediately in love.  

Baby boy was born at 5:25pm; roughly three and a half hours after labor really seemed to start for me.

I have no idea what his Apgar scores were.  It didn't seem important.  What was important is that they let me hold him and hold him.  He was so tiny, and warm, and fit perfectly on my chest.  We waited a good long while for the cord to stop pulsing and Husband made a couple quick "he's here" calls and snapped up pictures.  Once the cord was cut they took him to be weighed and measured.  He was 6 lbs. 5 ounces and 18.5" long - my smallest baby.

It was at this time that we found out he had a low body temperature (95 point something degrees) and would need to go to the nursery.  Husband followed them out as I shouted, "don't give him formula I'll pump first".

And with all of that our newest member of the family fell into our hearts and lives.

More details to come in an epilogue.....

Friday, December 13

1 Week Old

ERP is now a week old.

One week already.  Time is flying.

At one week -

~ he is nursing like a champ; still having a hard time latching initially, but does great once on, he prefers to nurse on the right side
~ he is wearing preemie diapers, size small (did you know they also come in extra-small)
~ he is almost back to his birth weight - he has gained 5.5 ounces in 5 days
~ he is eating and sleeping all the time, some naps are short but he has gone 4 and 5 hour stretches as well
~ he is wearing size newborn clothes, but that's because we don't own any preemie size clothes
~ he is the apple of both of his brother's eyes
~ his bouncy seat is his favorite place to be, aside from curled up with mom or dad
~ at exactly one week in age he realized that he doesn't need to keep his legs all squished up high and has started stretching out more
~ I call him my Pocket Baby and Squishy Peanut
~ he had his first sponge bathes at home
~ his cord fell off at age 5 days

Things from this week I don't want to forget -
~ how the hair in the back of his head is the longest and you can curl it around your finger
~ how downy soft his hair is
~ the look of his eyelashes as they started to grow in
~ the soft baby hair on his upper arms
~ how long his fingers and toes are and how big his hands and feet are, they seem out of place when compared to how small the rest of him is
~ how his feet look so funny in socks that are way too big
~ how skinny his legs are, I tease him I've eaten frog legs with more meat on them
~ how he keeps poking himself in his eyes and mouth with his hands
~ how when I see him move and hold his butt all of his movements in my womb make sense

Tuesday, December 10

Induction & Introdcution (part 1 of 2)

Ah.... A long overdue pregnancy post.... followed by a birth story and an introduction.

Somewhere in the 36 week range of pregnancy I did as every pregnant American women does and tested for Group B Strep (GBS).  A week later I found out I was positive for GBS.  And I was crushed.  In the US being positive for GBS and delivering in the hospital requires several rounds IV delivered antibiotics.  You can decline, but you're given a hard time about it.  I opted to retest before making any decisions about what I wanted to do go forward.

You see we all carry GBS in our body; it's just a matter of whether or not it's active.  When it's active it's only active for 6 weeks at a time.  So there was a chance to retesting and not being GBS positive anymore.  Personally I find the whole GBS thing a bunch of bull as you can be negative at time of testing but positive when you deliver and they (the doctors and hospital) have no way of knowing.  There is not a "rapid strep test" for GBS.  Anyhow, I go home and treat with some home remedies from my midwife and some that I found on-line.

My retest a week later comes back still positive.  I am a mess.  I am crying.  I do NOT want an IV in while delivering.  I want a water birth, like we had hoped for with TT; free of as much medical intervention as possible.  I worry about yeast infections and thrush for me and baby, both side effects from antibiotics.  I worry about baby and the 1 in 2,000 chance of fetal death from GBS if I do not treat.  I worry about not getting to the hospital and treating the GBS before baby is born (remember TT's labor?).

My midwives offer an induction.  They tell me  based on my history of fast labors and the GBS+ status that the induction will give me the birth I want, the water birth I want.  Yes, I will need an IV, but it will not be in all the time.  Husband and I think it over, I cry some, we talk and talk more and decide the induction was the way to go.

We had an appointment with the midwife that was doing the induction and we sat down to talk more about the birth plan; and that's when I found out the birth tub was not available (new tub in a new suite waiting for the board of health to approve it).  I, again, was crushed.  The water birth was the incentive I needed to go ahead with an induction.  Personally, I am just not a fan of the idea of inductions.  Too many chances for complications, additional drugs, interventions.... and the whole "picking your child's birth date" thing really bothers me.

Based on my history, current dilation, baby position and my desire to have no medical interventions or drugs we decided to use a medication called Cedavil.  I was up front and told her absolutely no pitocin, which is what everyone thinks of when you mention an induction.  Cedavil is a thin strip of material placed next to the cervix which help ripen and dilate the cervix.  If this did not work within 12 hours we were going to call it a failed induction and I was going to go home.  Because of the chance of not having the baby that day; and because when you mention induction everyone assumes pitocin Husband and I opted not to tell anyone about the induction.  We told our mothers and one or two other people and then hoped for the best.

The induction date was set for December 5; six days before the baby's actual due date.

to be continued

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