Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What To Expect Right After You've Delivered

That first moment you see and hold your new baby is beautiful: that face, those eyes, the tiny hands.  

However, there is so much more that goes on, and not too many people will tell a soon-to-be mom, so the whole ordeal is a shocking experience, and she can't focus on the important moments.

So, I'll tell it straight.

There are a bunch of strange people in the room, modesty is thrown out the window.  Sorry, get use to if for the time you're in the hospital.  

As adorable as the baby is, it’s kinda slimy.  Unlike when my other kids were born, they don’t take the baby and wash it right away.  I was able to hold Liam for a while after delivery, and then they did measurements, but did not clean him.  He didn’t get a bath until he was almost 4 hours old... some new procedure to encourage bonding and breast feeding.  Which I appreciated, but really, they couldn’t wipe him down a little bit more?  

After delivery, there is pain.  I found the post delivery cramps worse than contractions.  I mean, a lot worse. When I had my other kids, self medicating was how pain was managed after delivery.  They gave you tiny bottles of Tylenol and Motrin and told you to take one every 2 hours, alternating.  This time around, you had to ask the nurse for your meds, then they’d have to call down to pharmacy and then give them.  I almost asked my husband to just bring me some from home!  And those diaper ice-packs are stupid.  Ask the nurse to put the maxi's in the freezer for you.  Trust me - just do it.  

Then there are the nurses.  The first day they came in and checked on me every hour.  Which is fine, but at 2 in the morning when the baby is finally asleep… can't a new mom get some rest?

Now it seems procedure to get the moms discharged and home after 24 hours.  My insurance gives me 2 nights, I'm taking it!  The nurses were trying to convince me to go the next morning, but I was waiting for my son's 'procedure' to be done, and that didn't happen until late afternoon the next day, and I wasn't going without him.  So moms, if they try to kick you out before you're ready to go, don't be afraid to say no.  

Visitors… I didn't get many so it wasn't a big deal.  But I remember hearing neighbors with visitors at all hours of the day.  Gifts and flowers are nice, but remember the parents have to bring all that stuff home.  And it's best to call ahead - mom may be nursing or sleeping, and you don't want to interrupt either.  

Sleep when you can, because you won't get that kind of help when you're home.  It's ok to ask the baby to go to the nursery for a couple of hours between feedings (especially if you're nursing) so you can get rest.  You need your strength and are no good to anyone without some rest.   You're not a bad mom if you ask for help!  That's a good thing!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

And Baby Makes 6

The first thing I did when I arrived in the Labor and Delivery room was ask for Nubian and my epidural.  I'd been in pain long enough, and I don't tolerate pain well.  I was nervous for the epidural, because my third caused me pain for well over a year.  I mean, you've got to warn a girl right before you stab her in the back, right?  But the gentleman who did my epidural was kind, and quick.  The Nubian helped.

With as intense as my contractions had been the last few weeks, I'd really hoped things would move quickly.  They did not.

After two hours the nurse checked me; only at 6.  But she expressed concern to the doctor about how the baby was sitting, suggesting that if my water broke the placenta might drop and or the baby would get wrapped around the cord.  I really wish the doctor had expressed that concern to me privately, instead of the nurse telling her right in front of me, because it freaked me out.  Still I was only at 6cm at 4am.  And of course, after my water broke, the concerns started to become reality.  Baby's heart rate began to drop.  So they gave me Pitocin and extra fluids and we prayed that things would move quickly.  By 6am I was at 8cm

Around 6:50am, as shift change was beginning, I was being introduced to my new nurses.  They asked how I felt and I told her there was a lot of pressure.  She checked me around 7:15, then went into almost panic mode - the baby was not only ready to come out, but was on it's way out.

Two teams of nurses were prepping the room for delivery.  I woke up my husband, who had slept the whole night; I told him to grab a coffee because it was go time.  It took him a few minutes to fully comprehend what was happening.

Going into delivery, he still did not know what we were having, he was getting excited to finally meet our little trouble maker.  Just after 7:30, I was pushing.  It was at that first "push" from the nurse that I started freaking out.  Should I be pushing?  Shouldn't we be having a c-section?  Is the baby going to be ok?  It was too late now, time to push.

I don't remember having that many people there with me when I was delivering the other 3, but having 2 pairs of nurses, the doctor, the resident, and my husband there all encouraging me made this delivery seem so much easier.  After 10 minutes and 3 rounds of pushes, I heard that cry.   They put the baby on my chest, and showed me the knot in the cord while my husband cut it.

It was so surreal… Did this really just happen?  Do I really have a new baby in my arms?  What were we thinking?  Can we do this again?  And then I looked at that face.  My little miracle.

Back in January, when the doctors told me I had a 40% chance of delivering, our Pastor and his family came to pray with us.  He said pick a date, so I chose April 2nd.  And on April 2nd at 7:44am, 6 lbs, 9oz, 19 1/2 inches, our healthy baby boy was born.

I looked up at Steve, and there was a mist in his eye.  Our family was complete.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Is it FINALLY time?

37 weeks

I woke up Sunday feeling run down.  Perhaps it's because Saturday was such an eventful day: my daughters' bible quiz tournament was here in town, so I was finally able to watch them compete.  They got 2nd place.

I started feeling nauseous, but not really getting sick.  I just wanted to sleep.

Monday I felt worse and was getting sick, so I worked from home.    No one needs to see a pregnant woman getting sick.  I wasn't contracting as much, which was a plus.

Tuesday, April 1, my husband decided to play a joke:

It made a few people mad, including me.

I decided some fresh air was in order, maybe that would help with the nausea.  So I went for a casual walk at my neighborhood park.  Went home, and then the "fun" started.

I'd never experienced my water breaking naturally; it was broken for me when I was induced with Samantha, and then it happened after epidural with Emmalee and Steven, so I didn't know what it would feel like.  I'd been told it would be a gush or a trickle, but I also know babies can put pressure on a bladder and cause the same trickle feeling.

I went about my day as usual, but after a few hours I called my doctor; I didn't want to have to go to the hospital for nothing.  Of course she wasn't there, and the other doctors in the office were too busy.  By this point its after 3pm, I have my three kids and husband is working… so I call and have him come home early.

He dropped me off, he figured it was another false alarm, and told me to call when I was released.

First thing we noticed was baby's heart rate was high.  I mean, really high.  The nurse, who was probably the best nurse we'd had, was very proactive.  After the initial test showed that my water did not break, and that I was still only at 3cm dilated, she suggested a few more to the young resident who was seeing me.  As they were prepping for these test, suddenly I felt a gush… but it wasn't my amniotic fluid, it was blood.  OK, now we're in critical mode.

The doctor on call was not available, so a senior resident was brought it.  Baby's heart rate was still high, but slowing down.  We did ultrasounds to check fluid levels and umbilical cord placement.  Everything was normal.  At this point, my husband is back and trying to calm me down. After being there for almost 3 hours, they check me again… 5cm!  Hallelujah it's time!  

Monday, April 14, 2014

When Nothing Helps

36 Weeks

Nothing has stopped the contractions.  Nothing has caused me to go into full labor.  Nothing is helping the Hyperemesis that has returned.

(Again, almost 4cm at my last appointment, 90%.)

I don't have much of an appetite now, and if I have to much to drink I feel all swishy.  I hadn't really gotten sick since my visit to the hospital 3 weeks ago, but now it's back.

The baby goes through times of a lot of sleep, no movement, which scared me.  Then she/he gets all frantic and every slight movement is painful.

It feels as though the baby is sitting sideways… at this point he/she should have their head down, and back to my front.  But it's back is to my right side, and it's feet kicking my left.  This kid has always favored my right side…

Perhaps if this kids were to get into the right position, everything would move along.  I sit up as straight as possible, I sit on the exercise ball, I lay on my left side, I lean up against walls.  This kid is being stubborn.

I've been taking the Evening Primerose Oil (Omega-6). I replaced my Omega-3 with it.  It sits better with me, doesn't cause the heartburn that the Omega-3 did.  And if it will help bring on labor, great!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Can I Really Handle This?

35 Weeks

I went to my doctor on Thursday las week, and was 3, "maybe 4" centimeters dilated.  She told me that she was on call Monday and the following Sunday, and if I went in, she'd probably be able to help move things along.

Well, she didn't.

I went through the weekend, expecting things to be progressing.  I walked as much as I could, drank my Raspberry Leaf tea as often as I could.  Got my maternity leave stuff done for work.

I wanted to go in on Sunday, but decided to wait.

Monday morning, I said goodbye to the kids as they got on the bus, they were excited to think that they'd be able to give me "proper hugs" soon.

Hubby and I went walking around the mall for a bit, just to really get things going.  Of course I was already contracting, but I wanted to be sure baby was really ready to come out.  I think we were annoying some of the regular walkers, because of the frequent stops I was making.  Sorry.

I was still at 3cm, but could be "stretched" to 4cm (sorry, TMI).  She let me walk around for an hour, hoping it would make a difference.  We walked around the first floor for I don't know how long, stopping every other minute.  Surprisingly, we were only asked one time if we were OK and if I needed a wheel chair.  We kindly told the doctor, no, I need to walk.  Did she not see my belly?

When we got back to my bed, the contractions were crazy.  I mean, crazy.  Resting point 0, maxing out at 127 (whatever that means) and lasting about 90 seconds, every 2 minutes.  According to the nurse, that's what she sees when a woman is ready to push.  And when my doctor checked me… no change.  I was crying in pain.  She could see on my face that sending me home like that was not going to happen.  So she admitted me.

I think she was really hoping that something was going to happen that afternoon.  I wonder if that's why she sent a resident to check me, because in the past they'd incorrectly stated that I was more dilated than I really was, so she could in fact move things along…

Thankfully the Nubain helped a bit, but boy these contractions hurt.  My back hurt, my front hurt, everything hurt.   After 3 doses, the contractions started to become irregular.  Didn't go away, didn't become less intense, but spacing out more.

When the doctor came in to check me in the morning, there had been no change, so I was discharged.  I started to bawl my eyes out.  How the heck am I suppose to go another month like this?  It's to a point where I can't concentrate on ANYTHING.  Watching TV, listening to music, helping my kids with homework, folding laundry… Nothing distracts me, and in everything I do I need a "break" every couple of minutes.  I mean, even writing this, I've been working on it for over an hour.

At this point, our biggest fear is when everything really starts, it will happen so fast that I can't get to the hospital in time.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Alternative Methods To Bring On Labor

So I found this list of 40+ things to help induce and/or shorten labor.  As a woman who began contracting at 25 week, and at 36 weeks has been at 3cm for 2 weeks and contracting every 3 minutes with no change, can you blame me for wanting to move things along, now what we can't prevent anything anymore?  Most of the items on the list are suppose to bring on contractions, which I'm already doing.  It would be nice if the contractions would actually be doing something, though...

This is what I've tried from the list:

Acupressure:  I had gone for a prenatal massage, and then for a trigger point massage.  The trigger points did make the contractions a bit more intense, but didn't do anything to help dilate.

Balsamic Vinegar:  I use this often anyway, don't see any change after I increased use.

Bananas:  I don't like bananas, but I did add it to my berry smoothies, didn't notice anything

Basil: Again, I eat it regularly, but have been a bit more generous when using it.

Bouncing on Exercise Ball:  I think mine needs to be inflated a bit more, I can't seem to get into a comfortable position with it; the bouncing is more uncomfortable to my back than helpful to the contractions.

Bumpy Car Ride: Any car ride is bumpy from potholes after the winter we've had… if anything it's more painful.

Chinese Food:  Yea… I must not be ordering the right thing...

Clary Sage Oil: I've never been one for essential oils, but I'm open to aroma therapy.  It's VERY strong smell.  My husband doesn't like it.  I did put it on the cotton balls, as several articles suggested, and mixed it with coconut oil as a lotion.  Not sure I'd call it relaxing, though, which is what it's suppose to do.  Perhaps if I mixed it with lavender oil, as one article recommended...

Eggplant:  I've never been a fan of eggplant, but I've heard that Eggplant Parmesan (with lots of basil & oregano) has put women into labor… might need to find someone to make me some, since it's hard for me to go to the store right now.

Evening Primrose:  Now this has been on my radar for a few weeks, but everything I read said not to try until 36 week.  Some articles say to start w/ 3 500mg capsules a day for a week, then drop down to 2 until delivery.  Others say 3 a day until delivery.  And others say 1000mg.  This is the only item on the list that's suppose to help the cervix dilate, which is what I really need, since I seem to be contracting just fine…  The 1000mg pills are huge, so if you can't handle pills, try to find the 500mg.

Massage:  Helped ease some of the pains, but didn't do anything to move things along.

Oregano: I've added more to my regular use, perhaps an hour of stronger contractions after the meal.

Pineapple:  They say to really notice something, you need to eat like 7 fresh pineapples in a day.  At $3.99 each, that's almost $30 for a lot of fruit!  I've had 1, and I was done!  No change, but perhaps I should try eating more…

Raspberry Leaf:  I've been drinking this tea for a couple of weeks, I make a pot (24oz) with 5 tea bags (so it's a bit stronger).  It might be contributing to my stronger contractions, but not enough to enable dilating.

Relaxation Exercises:  Mother of 3, sick all the time, in lots of pain…  I'm trying to stay relaxed, really I am…

Spicy Foods:  I hear this all the time, and I do enjoy spicy foods, but all it does for me is add to my heartburn.

Stairs:  With all the back pain and pelvic pressure, stairs are hard to do at this point.

Walking:  I do quite a bit of this everyday now, I've joined the league of "mall walkers," lol.  It's more of a waddle now.  The benefit of being at the mall is I can stop and look in stores when I'm having a really bad contractions, so I'm not so obvious out in the main walkthrough.

So… do YOU have any tips to help move things along.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hospital Visit #4

34 Weeks

At my doctor's appointment this week, it was a family affair.  Kids had a snow day (WHY!?!?) and my husband wanted to come to the appointment, plus he didn't want me driving in my condition.

I love my doctor, she's been very strong for me.  She declared me 3cm and 80%, a jump from 1+cm and 60% two days ago.  She could see I was in pain, so she gave me a prescription for Tylenol w/ codeine to help me rest.  She's happy that I've made it this far, as am I.

The next day wasn't as forgiving.  The pain was worse, and the pills didn't do too much.  But I didn't want to go in unless I had to, so I went walking.  I ran errands.  I tried to move around as much as I could.  Let's just make this happen!

And when the pressure started, we went in.

It was late, but I didn't care.  Again, another resident.  Again, she didn't understand why I stopped the Procardia.  She checked me, no change from yesterday, but they wanted to observe me for 24 hours.  So I stayed.

They had a Fetal Monitoring Specialist come look at the baby.  Baby is perfect, placenta is normal and fluids are at a good level. Baby measures large (thanks to 2 rounds of steroids) and while I'm just shy of 35 weeks, baby measures about 37.  Which makes sense, because it hurts.  And my skin is stretching, so the point it looks and feels like I have a sunburn on my tummy.  :(

So with baby measuring further along, you'd think they might be ok with helping labor move along, right?  Wrong.

I stayed for 36 hours, and the doctor that released me on Tuesday released me again on Sunday.

I bawled my eyes out.  The pain is ridiculous.  The contractions might ease up at times, but they don't go away.  They wake me up at night, if I can get to sleep at all.  I can't find a good position to sit/stand/lay in.

I started looking up ways to bring on/increase labor.  So far I've tried spicy foods, raspberry leaf tea, and some at-home acupressure.  I'm trying to find a professional to do trigger point massage to bring on labor.  There are 2 things I find on every list of "bring on labor" that I will not be trying: caster oil and (well, look it up yourself).

Of course I want the baby to be healthy, and to stay in as long as he/she needs to.  But if I'm going to be laboring for over 2 months and trying to stop it, is it so wrong to want things to progress quickly now that the baby is at a healthy stage?