Thursday, June 28, 2012

Calendar Girl

I won't lie.  I fall victim to trends sometimes.  If I like them. =)  I also spend waaay too much time on the internet, which is where I found this one: monthly onesie photos!  In all honesty though, it's a cute way for me to keep track of Ruby growing up this first year.  Growing up...  *sniff* *sniff*

Anyway...  Since I was still in recovery/survival mode when Ruby was zero months, aka freshly hatched, I didn't make a post.  And she'll be 8 weeks tomorrow, sooooo I better get on the one month, too!

Here's Ruby at zero:

I made her this hat while taking my glucose tolerance test.  She also wore it in the hospital, so I thought it was appropriate for her "zero" pics.

I'm a mean mommy, but this cracks me up!

At zero, Ruby was zero, so she didn't do a whole lot.  But then she just kept on growing, and pretty soon, she was already one month old.

Ruby had her one month well-baby check up on her actual one month birthday.  She was already kind of a pro at going to the pedi, unfortunately, since her whole jaundice episode.  She really enjoyed herself this time, though, peeing all over the exam table, and checking herself out in the mirror.

Ruby was up to a whopping 8lbs. 5oz., and was 21.25 inches long.  Girl has done a lot of growing in one month!!!  Seriously, 2.5 pounds, I can't even believe it.  That bandage on her thigh is from where she got her second Hep B shot...  Yeah, that was bad.  I thought she'd be totally fine, since her blood draws always went ok.  No.  Baby girl screamed the most heartbreaking cries.  It took nursing to calm her down.  Thank goodness they let you do that.  I am NOT looking forward to her two month appointment!

Ruby lost her cord at 7 days old, which meant we were comfortable giving her a real bath (even though they told us at the hospital we could, we started out with sponge baths anyway).  She loves bath time!  It's really cute!  Losing the cord also meant that her cloth diapers fit her a little bit better.  The only times she's been in a disposable was at the hospital.  We are loving the cloth!

This is probably my favorite picture I have of her right now.  Look at that spunk!
She also started imitating us.  Someone told us that if you stick your tongue out, they will copy you.  It's true!  She will do that, and often her "ohhhhh" face.  At one month, Ruby likes sleeping while being held, nursing, being held, getting her diaper changed, being held, going to Starbucks, and being held.  Did I mention she likes being held?  Ruby doesn't like sleeping by herself, being set down, her swing, her play mat, or pacifiers.  She's a girl who knows what she likes.

The obligatory crying pic.
Is it wrong that I kind of hope I get a crying pic at every monthly photo shoot?  I hope not.  She's cute, even with that grouch-face.

Monday, June 25, 2012


This weekend all the maternity clothes were packed up and stored away.  I'm so glad to have my baby girl here, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I am a little sad to no longer be pregnant.  Pregnancy occupies such a short time in life.  I re-read my posts from early in pregnancy over the weekend as well.  I'd forgotten already how sick I'd felt.  I still wouldn't trade my experience being pregnant with Ruby for anything, and I'll never forget how wonderful the end was when I could feel her moving all the time and anticipate her arrival.  I'm just so, so thankful to have had this experience, and I truly hope that I will need the contents of that box again some day.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Back to the Hospital (and more lessons on mommy-instinct).

We were discharged from the hospital on Saturday afternoon.  That day, we came home, put Ruby into her first cloth diaper (yay!), loved on her, and fed her constantly.  My poor, poor nipples.  But that's another story.  =)

That first night was SO HARD.  They don't prepare you for this, but Ruby cried inconsolably the whole night long, unless she was eating.  We were at our wits end.  We ended up doing the very last thing I'd ever considered a possibility in our family: sleeping with her in our bed.  But, ahhhhh, peace!

I didn't mention this before, but while at the hospital, they did a routine bilirubin check on her.  It was borderline high, so they did a blood test.  She was still at the high end, but she passed the test.  On Sunday at home, I thought she kind of looked yellow.  Keith kind of thought so, but we weren't really sure.
All of her clothes were too big.  She was only 6lbs. when we were discharged.
Maybe we should have called the pediatrician.  But we didn't know!  And we didn't know what we didn't know.  Besides, we had an appointment the next day for our post-partum check up.  She seemed fine, so we figured that was the place to ask.

Totally unrelated, but a funny story, my aforementioned nipples were dying.  Girl likes to nurse, and my milk hadn't come in yet, so she was eating all. the. time.  I'd heard of these gel pads, called Soothies, so in desperation, I sent Keith out to get some.  He sent me a frantic text saying, "Target is all out!!!  They don't even have any in the back, what do I do?!?!"  It was pretty funny.  And don't worry, he found some, thank goodness!

Anyway, Monday my milk came in and life got a lot easier!  A full, well-fed baby is a happy baby.  I got Ruby dressed in a cute outfit, and off we went to the hospital for our post-partum check up at 3:30.

The nurse started by doing a scan to check her bilirubin.  The scanner kept getting an error.  She decided we'd weigh her and try again in a bit.  Ruby was put on the scale, and she was down to 5lbs.11oz.  The nurse wasn't too happy about that.  She started talking about supplementing and formula... two things I didn't want to hear.  Especially since things seemed to be going well now that my milk was in.  The nurse gave me two bottles of formula and some tubing for a possible supplemental nursing system, because I did not want to do bottles yet.  She also wanted to do a weighed feed, so I sat in the nursing chair and fed my girl.  

While Ruby was eating, the nurse stepped out to see if she could get a different bili scanner.  I was fighting tears due to a combination of post-partum hormones, and feeling like a breastfeeding failure.  The nurse came back in with another, more experienced nurse (from the get-go, I'd kind of felt like our nurse didn't know what she was doing).  They scanned Ruby once, while looking at how yellow she was.  The other nurse proclaimed that the error code the scanner was giving, was an error because her bilirubin was too high for the machine to read.  Crap.

At this point, they called our pediatrician.  Of course, since Ruby was only 3 days old, we hadn't even had our first appointment yet with the pedi.  So the nurses came to get Keith to give the pedis all our info.  Apparently, the plan was that Ruby would need to go upstairs to the lab to get blood drawn to see what her bili level was, and then we needed to go to the pediatrician so that they could decide how they wanted to treat her. =(  Of course, we'd been assigned the last appointment of the day at the post-partum center, so all of this was done in a big rush.  I was struggling to keep it together.

The good news was, Ruby gained two ounces in just that one feed.  So the nurse proclaimed that we did NOT need to supplement until further notice.  We never have had to, so take that, nurse.

We left, rushed upstairs to a horrifying blood draw (they didn't properly warm her foot, even though I told them it wasn't working, so they had to squeeze the hell out of her to get the blood out, and it was totally awful).  Then we rushed off to the Redmond office of the pedis, because that was the only one that had an appointment for us (5:50pm, the last one of the day).

We got there, met a really nice doctor, and she checked Ruby out.  She said looking at her, she was pretty jaundiced, but the lab hadn't called back with the results.  She told us she was pretty certain Ruby would need treatment.  It would either be bili blankets at home, or she'd have to be hospitalized.  My heart kind of stopped at that.  My new baby might have to be hospitalized already?

The doctor's office was closing for the day, so the doctor sent us off, and told us the on-call night doc would let us know what to do once the lab results were in.  We were still on the way home when we got the call.  Ruby was going back to the hospital.  Her bilirubin level was 21.  Too high for the at-home blankets.  The doctor told us to go home, pack some things, and they'd be waiting for us on the 4th floor at Evergreen.  I hung up and cried.

We did as the doctor told us, but had to make arrangements for Braidy too.  We didn't end up back at the hospital until 9:00pm, but sure enough, they were waiting for us.  

Ruby went right under the bili lights.  

She didn't like it, she wasn't being held!  She cried a lot.  The nurse suggested a pacifier, which I did not want to introduced until at least 3 weeks old when we were into our breastfeeding groove.  Keith was all for it, and the nurse told me to not look at it as a long term thing, but something to get through the next 24 hours.

I'd be lying if I didn't say I wasn't a little bit happy that she spit it out more often than not, but it did help her a little bit.  The other issue I ran into was feeding.  Ruby was only allowed to be out from under the bili lights for 30min every 2 hours.  If she got hungry in between, I wouldn't be able to take her out and nurse her.  The nurse set me up with a pump when I said no formula, and said if I got enough milk, we could go that route.  I didn't want bottles either, so the nurse taught us how to finger feed her with tubing and a syringe.  So it went, every 2 hours around the clock, I'd take her out and we'd weigh her, then feed her for 30min, weigh her again, put her back in, pump, soak the pump parts in my little dishwashing tub, finger-feed her (because she'd always take it, and then be full until next time), clean my pump parts, and then maybe rest until the next time.

The doctors we had there were really great.  After the first night, her levels had gone down, but not enough.  They were also really concerned with how much milk she was getting (because it flushes out the bilirubin), so we were doing weighed feeds around the clock.  Luckily, I had good milk, and she was gaining nicely.  But since her levels weren't as low as they wanted, we ended up having to stay two nights.  

We were finally discharged.  The past two days had been really hard for this first time mom.  Luckily, we'd had great nurses and doctors, and beds to sleep in in Ruby's room.  I never left her for a minute.  We were sent home with instructions to follow up with our pedi for more bili checks.  After about a week of every other day blood draws, Ruby was proclaimed in good health.  Phew.
On the way home from the hospital.  It kills me that she's already outgrown that sleeper she's wearing, and it's too big for her in this picture.

This was the second time in her first week that I wished I'd trusted my instincts.  I knew she looked yellow.  If we had called the pedi, maybe her levels wouldn't have gotten so high?  I guess we'll never know.  But I do know, from now on, when I have a feeling about something, I need to act on it so I'm not kicking myself later.

Ruby's First Day (and a lesson about trusting your Mommy-instinct)

After Ruby was born, it seemed like our family arrived almost immediately.  Like, they came in as Keith was still giving her a bath.  I found out later that he'd told our parents right away when she was born, so they all just came over to the hospital.  That was ok, but I wouldn't have minded a little more quiet bonding time.

The on-call pediatrician from our practice came to check her out, and said that everything looked and sounded great.  So we kicked back, held our baby girl, and ate pastries that my dad had brought from the French bakery.  Yum.

There was a shift change for the nurses.  In walked a woman that seemed so familiar to me.  Our previous nurse introduced her as "Jennie".  Then it hit me.  I said, "Are you Jennie Turner?"  She said she was.  I told her, "I used to babysit your children!" and told her what my maiden name was.  She remembered, and we laughed at the coincidence.  An exceptional coincidence, because that doctor I'd recognized the night before while we were walking the halls?  Yeah, that's her husband!  We told her about how we'd seen him too, and couldn't believe what a small world it was.  Jennie was a great nurse, and really good with breastfeeding/latching help.  She also brought be some Medela lanolin, which I was really thankful for, because it was much nicer/easier to put on than the Lansinoh I had.

A short while later, a woman with a big machine wheeled into our room.  She introduced herself, and said she was there to do the baby's echocardiogram.


Obviously we were all kind of shocked, and told her that we knew nothing about this.  In turn, she was shocked.  She told us that usually the families were expecting her, and that the doctor had heard a heart-murmur, so she ordered the echo.


We explained that the pedi had told us everything sounded good, and was she sure she had the right baby?  She looked down at the chart, must've read the name in her head, because then she started spelling our complicated last name out loud.  Yep.  Right baby.  Our name is impossible to confuse with any other.  It felt so wrong and weird, but I mean, she had OUR chart.  It couldn't be a mistake then, could it?

She wheeled the machine and Ruby's bassinet over together and started the ultrasound of her heart.  Ruby had had SO many ultrasounds at Maternal Fetal Medicine, including a fetal echo, that I still just couldn't believe she needed this.  Ruby didn't really love the procedure, she kept scooting herself across the bassinet.  We thought it was pretty funny that she was so mobile.  My mom kept scooting her back.  The sonographer didn't seem like anything was out of the ordinary when doing the test, other than that we hadn't known about it.  The whole 30min she was there, we kept talking about how strange it all was.  Finally, she was done, and left.

Nurse Jennie came back in to check on us, and we mentioned what had just happened.  She was very suspicious also.  She wanted to find out more.  Pretty soon after that, though, her shift was over.  Guess who was our nurse now?  Australian Nurse Jenny!  She was back, and very excited to meet Ruby.  Nurse Natalie wasn't with her, but she actually came back to meet her too, and congratulate us.  Anyway, as with any shift change, Nurse Jennie filled in Nurse Jenny (ha!) on how things were going.  She also told her about the echo.

When Jenny had a moment, she came to talk to us about what had happened.  She was pretty mad.  That kind of thing shouldn't be sprung on brand-new parents.  She also vowed to find out what had happened.  My mom had gone out to get something (I actually have no idea what...), and when she came back in, she told us that she'd overheard Nurse Jenny having a heated conversation on the phone.  It turned out my mommy-instincts were right.  Ruby wasn't supposed to have the echo.  The pediatrician had ordered it for the WRONG BABY.

What the hell?  Seriously?  How does that even happen?  Also, we were hoping that the baby that needed the echo got it!  Nurse Jenny was heated, telling whomever she'd been talking to that we should not have to pay for that test (no kidding).  She told us she'd been working on it, and would keep us in the know.

Later in the afternoon, the phone rang in my room.  It was the pediatrician.  Instead of apologizing, she launched into this story about how the sonographer should have done something when we were suspicious, and that she "wasn't trying to make excuses" but it was really busy and there were a lot of babies, blah blah.  No apology still.

Then she goes on to tell me, that she'd been talking with the charge nurse, and the sonographer had actually seen something during the echo, and so she recommended I have the test sent on to Children's to be read by the radiologist.


I asked her what the sonographer had seen.  She wouldn't tell me!  She said that the techs are not supposed to "read" the scans, and she'd only gotten the information second hand from the charge nurse, so she couldn't tell me.  I told her that I would need to know what was seen on that scan, before I would consent to having this (very expensive!) test completed.  She told me ok, that they'd hang onto it until tomorrow.  If the discharge pedi heard anything when she came to examine Ruby, they'd send it on.  Then she finally gave me an incredibly half-hearted, not really believable apology and hung up.

I filled everybody in on what she'd said, and Nurse Jenny was still mad on our behalf, and went to go talk to the charge nurse.  The nurse came and talked to us, and I think still wanted to send the scan (I'm having trouble remembering now).

The next day, the new on-call pediatrician (who was much nicer than the one before!) came to check Ruby out for discharge.  She said all was great.  I'd assumed that since all was well, they wouldn't even think of sending the scan on to Children's.  But they did anyway (I think they had the day before, but I'm not sure).  Everything turned out to be fine, and the hospital assured us, and has since assured us many times, that we will not be billed for the echo.

In the end, Ruby was fine.  The procedure didn't hurt her in any way.  But I look back on that experience, and really wish that I had trusted my mommy-instincts.  I immediately felt that something wasn't right when the sonographer came in.  In hindsight, I should have insisted we confirm with the pediatrician that the scan was necessary.  I guess the thing about parenting is, you're always going to question your choices.  I just wish I had trusted myself, and now I know I need to.

After all that mess was taken care of, it was all about wrapping up our hospital stay.  We were sent to a baby-care class that morning (which was mostly about breastfeeding, which I thought was cool).  Keith's friends Jesse & Heather came to visit us.  I put on real clothes for the first time in two days, and we packed up our enormous amount of stuff we had there.  Note to self: for the next baby, pack light!  We hardly used anything we'd brought.  Oh well.

Finally, it was time to go home.  They were actually letting us leave with a baby!!!  We got our girl all dressed, and the nurse helped us put her in her car seat.  Once they removed the baby lo-jack, we were good to go.  Leaving the hospital was emotional for me.  Actually, just typing it out is making me tear up seven weeks later.  But I knew what a momentous thing it was that our girl was born.  We were leaving the place where our first baby came into the world, and we'd never have that experience again.

But...  This is what we get to experience now. =)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ruby's Birth Story, Part Two

***Disclaimer: This is a birth story.  It may contain TMI, and it is VERY long.  Still, this is a time that I personally don't ever want to forget, so I'm not going to leave any details out.  Consider yourself warned!

Keith drove us to the hospital through lots of traffic and rain.  It felt so WEIRD to be making that drive, knowing that when we came home, our baby would be with us.  One of Keith's biggest fears was not making it to the hospital in time because we'd be stuck in traffic, and mine was being in the car in transition.  I joked that we were stuck in traffic, but it was no big deal after all!  I mean, I wasn't in labor at all.  I had had zero contractions.

We walked casually into the hospital.  The same woman was at the desk.  She said, "Hey!  You're back!"  Haha.  She called for our nurse, and we just chilled out waiting.  Finally, Nurse Jenny came out to get us.  Yes, that was her name.  She was Australian, and she was hilarious.  She brought us into FMC, and took us to our room, which was about as far back into FMC as you can get.  The last room in the C wing.  She had a student nurse with her too, Nurse Natalie.  She was quiet, and sweet.  Together, they took all our info and worked on getting us settled.  Nurse Jenny took my birth plan and made a copy to put on top of my chart.  I really liked that.  When I'd called the hospital to tell them we were coming, I'd asked for a natural birth friendly nurse.  Nurse Jenny didn't know anything about Hypnobirthing, but she was up for anything we wanted and that was cool with me.

I put on my lovely hospital gown, and Jenny told us I had to have a little bit of monitoring first.  That was fine, I still wasn't in labor.  Dr. Dise came in after a while.  She told us that since my membranes had been ruptured for over 12 hours, they wanted to help kick start labor.  She knew that we wanted as few interventions as possible, so instead of Pitocin (which I totally feared), she was going to insert 1/4 of a pill of Cytotec in the hope that that would get things started.  She had checked me and said I was 2cm and 50% effaced, so I had a ways to go.  Once the Cytotec had been inserted, however, I'd have to be monitored continuously for four hours.  Ugh, but ok.

After she left, Jenny and Natalie tried to hook up the telemetry monitor so that Keith and I could take a walk.  I wanted to get labor going, and I knew walking could help.  The machine wasn't working that well, but Jenny let us go anyway because the baby was looking good and it really didn't matter that much.  FMC is pretty boring, but we walked a couple of laps.  On our way back, I heard someone say, "Dr. Turner".  I looked, and realized I knew the man who was Dr. Turner!  I babysat his kids when I was very young.  He had aged, but it was definitely him.  I remembered that he was an OB, and his wife, Jennie, was a nurse.

Back at the room, we got Freebie back on the monitor basically by me holding it to my belly.  Keith and I decided to play cribbage.  I just wasn't ready to get into my Hypnobirthing zone yet.  Nurse Jenny told us we should try to eat, because we'd probably be hungry later.  Nothing sounded that great, and I was scared to have Keith leave the hospital to pick something up.  We finally decided that Olive Garden sounded amazing, but by then it was too late.  Nurse Jenny tried to learn how to play cribbage.  She also tried to talk us into naming our daughter Matilda.  She had always wanted a girl named Matilda, but instead she'd had all boys.

I think around this time I finally got the Cytotec.  It had been a while, because it took forever for the pharmacy to send it up, and then Dr. Dise had to come put it in.  So now I was trapped in the bed.  Ick.

Right around this time, we got a new nurse.  Nurse Bossy.  Nurse Jenny went over my birth plan with Bossy, and I could tell right away that she wasn't loving it.  But as I was stuck in the bed, things were going according to her plan anyway.  I told Bossy about how I basically had to hold the monitor to my belly, and she whipped out this awesome contraption (ok, it was a tube of fabric, like a tube top) that held them on SO much better.  She advised us to try to sleep, turned the lights off, and basically left us alone for a while.

Sleep was not in the cards for me.  I decided now was a good time to get out my iPod and get into my Hypno-zone.  Keith decided that now was a good time to eat a snack.  The noisiest snack on the face of the earth.  He was eating these berry-yogurt flavored rice cake things, so not only did they crunch when he ate them, but the bag was super crinkly too.  Plus, they smell completely disgusting.  I was pissed off at him for eating them, and I mean pissed.  For some stupid reason, though, I didn't say anything to him.  I just sat there trying to concentrate on my Rainbow Relaxation, to not concentrate on contractions, and getting more and more mad.  I was so relieved when he finally finished.

Keith fell asleep right after that, but by now the Cytotec had done its job, and I was definitely contracting.  The contractions were weird.  They started off really close together (2-3 min apart, I think), but most of them would double peak.  So as soon as I thought one was ending, the intensity would come back up.  It had been about 3 hours on the Cytotec and I was starting to get uncomfortable (the contractions were all in my back), and very antsy.  I wanted OFF of those monitors, and off of the bed!  I woke Keith up, because I didn't want to handle it on my own.  I remember telling him a lot that I wanted out of the bed.

Finally, four hours had passed!  I was definitely NOT in my relaxation zone of Hypnobirthing.  I think being trapped in the bed made me stressed, and impossible for me to relax.  Nurse Bossy came back in and told me that I was having contractions (duh), but that they weren't in a good enough pattern or something and that I was probably going to get Pitocin next.  Um, what?  No!  I was having lots of contractions, I didn't want that!  She said she was going to check me first, then call the doctor.

Nurse Bossy checked me, and I was at 4cm.  I want to say I was 70% effaced, but I'm not sure if I'm remembering accurately.  I was kind of bummed.  Only at 4cm, and my back labor was more painful than I thought early labor should be.  BUT, Nurse Bossy called Dr. Dise, who, instead of putting me on the Pit, told her to take me off the monitors and let me labor how I wanted.  Woohoo!!!  Nurse Bossy asked if I wanted to try the birthing ball or the tub.  I wanted both, but opted for the tub first.  At this point she said she'd get it ready, and said "This is a little more fun when you're not in the bed.  You get to use all this stuff."  I was glad her attitude was starting to change.

It took a long time for the tub to get ready.  I found that the most comfortable thing to do during contractions was to lean on Keith and sway.  Nurse Bossy was going to go on break, so we got Amazing Nurse Jenn.  She tried to show Keith how to do hip squeezes for me during contractions, but I quickly found that I did not like that AT ALL, so we stopped.

I got into the tub finally, and it was HEAVEN.  The water felt so good, and even though the contractions were intense, I was able to relax in between them and talk to Keith.  Jenn gave him a cup, and during contractions he would pour water on my belly.  That felt amazing too, and really helped me get through them.  Jenn would bring in a doppler and listen to the baby's heartbeat before, during, and after a contraction.  Freebs was doing fine, so I planned to stay in the tub forever.

Like I said, the contractions were intense.  I started to feel like the jets of the tub were distracting me, so I turned them off.  A contraction would hit, I'd tell Keith and he'd pour the water, and I'd grab onto the hand rails by the tub and close my eyes and focus.  After a time, I started to kind of hum or make a noise through them.  I never imagined myself wanting to make any sounds during labor, but it felt like I needed to do that, and to my surprise, it helped me.

I also started to get really tired at this point.  I wanted to sleep.  I'd keep my eyes closed between contractions even.  The pain in my back was intense, but there was also a new sensation - I felt like I had to go to the bathroom.  Now, I knew that people said it felt like that when it was time to push, but I hadn't been in the tub that long, and was only 4cm, so I thought I just had to poop.  I didn't want to leave my precious bathtub, though, so even though I kept telling Keith I had to go to the bathroom, I stayed in there.

Finally, I could resist the urge no more.  I asked Keith to help me get out so that I could sit on the toilet.  Somehow I got dried off and back into my gown (though I have no memory of this happening, I know I was wearing one...).  I sat on the toilet and nothing was happening, though I kept saying over and over that I had to poop, haha.  I also was so, SO tired.  I started to think that I couldn't do it.  Back labor was not what I expected.  I figured I was maybe at 5cm by now, and I'd been in labor for 5 hours.  I didn't think I could take at least 5 more hours of this back pain.  At every contraction I would squeeze the life out of Keith's hands and moan.  For some reason, all I wanted to do was hold his hands.

I couldn't take it anymore.  I looked up at Keith and told him I wanted the epidural.  That I really meant it.  I could tell he wasn't sure.  After all, I'd warned him that I might say I wanted one, but wouldn't really mean it.  I remember saying, "I don't need to be a hero, I need an epidural, I can't do it anymore."  He advised me to go through another contraction, and then see what I thought.  So I did.  And I thought I wanted that epidural, now.   Keith still looked unsure.  He said, "Nurse Jenn said she'd be back in 15 minutes to check on you, why don't you wait until she comes back and then we can tell her?"  I had another contraction and remember pulling on his shirt through this one, and said, "No.  NOW."

Keith and Jenn came back in.  Jenn said she thought she should check me, so she did, right there on the toilet.  She looked at me and said, "Honey, you're at an 8!"  I was in transition!  I wasn't expecting that!  I remember telling her I felt like I was out of control, and her telling me, no, I was so in control.  Nurse Jenn knew all the right things to say.  I asked her if it was really this bad, or if it was just the transition talking.  She assured me it was just the transition talking, and I knew at that point I wasn't getting an epi, nor did I want one.

Almost immediately after that, I felt the overwhelming urge to push.  I yelled out, "I feel like my body is pushing!!!"  Jenn checked again, and told me I was complete.  I yelled, "Good, now get your fingers out of me!"  I definitely felt out of control.  The contractions were fast, and my body pushed with each one whether I wanted to or not.  I was still in the bathroom, but at this point, a bunch of people came in and started getting stuff ready.  Nurse Bossy was back from her break, too.  Nurse Jenn went and got me some apple juice, and had me take a sip to get my energy up.  It was go time!

Since I pretty much had no control over my body, I had basically decided that I was going to have the baby on the toilet.  I didn't want to go anywhere, nor did I think I even could.  Nurse Bossy came in and told me I needed to go to the bed.  I told her no.  She said, "You can't have your baby on the toilet."  I told her, yes, I could.  She looked at me and said, "No, you can't.  So either I can help you over to the bed, or I can go get a wheelchair for you."  Looking back, this comment totally cracks me up, because it sounds like something I'd say to one of the kids (give them two choices, both of which get me the result I want).  Needless to say, I let her help me over to the bed.

I remember walking over there thinking, "No!  I don't want to lay in the bed and give birth on my back!"  But I didn't really know why I didn't want that, and it turned out, pushing that way wasn't bad at all.  Nobody coached me to push during contractions, I just said when they were coming and went with it.  Time kind of slowed down at this point, I remember thinking I wanted the contractions to come faster because I just wanted her out (which I said over and over, "I just want her out!").  Nurse Jenn had stayed, and was making me drink juice between them.

I felt the "ring of fire" sort of, though it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd expected.  I remember her head being right there, and "just wanting her out!", and not wanting her to go back in in between contractions.  I even kept pushing when I was pretty sure one was over, because I wanted her out so badly.  Luckily, after just a few contractions, she was here!

Ruby Josephine entered the world at 4:18am, on May 4th.  She had grown a lot in the last few weeks, and was born at 6 pounds, 4 ounces!  She was 19 and 3/4 inches long.

Ruby was put on my chest immediately, and I remember thinking how cute she was.  Newborns aren't always cute-looking, but she so was!  She didn't cry, she just kind of looked around at us.  I got to hold her for a long time, and it was quite a while before Keith cut the cord.

The placenta was delivered pretty quickly, and I got a shot of Pitocin in my thigh (which I was ok with, it was to help my uterus contract back down so I wouldn't bleed too much).  Dr. Dise said she was going to stitch me up, and I was surprised to find I had a 2nd degree tear.  I didn't feel that bad!  As she was working, everyone in the room kept saying how fast that all went, and when I have #2, I better get to the hospital in a hurry!  I thought, sheesh, I just delivered #1, one thing at a time people!  I also got to try breastfeeding her.  It was weird, but ok.

After a while, they took her to check her out.  Her blood sugar was low, and her temp was low.  That meant that Keith couldn't give her a bath right away.  Eventually he did, but it was a sponge bath under the warmer, instead of in the sink-tub.

The nurse had Keith dress her in the clothes we'd brought.  Which was pretty funny, because I'd picked out kind of a complicated outfit for her (it had snaps in the back of the shirt).  It amused me to watch Keith struggle with that.  It was like baby-dressing trial by fire.  Also, her clothes were way too big for her, even though they were size Newborn.  It was dumb that they had him dress her, though, because we pretty much did skin to skin constantly, where she was stripped down to a diaper anyway.  Eventually we stopped re-dressing her.

All swaddled up, and hanging out with Daddy:

And the only decent picture I have with her (still, to this day!):

I felt pretty amazing afterward, and my recovery has been an absolute breeze.  Pretty much once I got home, I felt like nothing had ever happened to me, physically.  Well, except my boobs, but that's a whole other story...  I'm so happy that I got the natural birth I wanted.  I'm glad Keith and Nurse Jenn didn't let me get the epidural.  Keith told me later that the two of them had conferenced about whether or not I really meant it, and together decided to help me to not give in.  I'm grateful for that!  I'm sad that the midwives did not deliver me (but Shana came to visit and held Ruby later that day).  Next time, I'm sure they will.  Overall, the whole birth experience was completely amazing, and I am so glad that I got to experience it.  Keith asked me if I'd do it again, and go natural.

Would I???  

Absolutely!  I mean, look what we got out of it!  =)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ruby's Birth Story, Part One

***Disclaimer: This is a birth story.  It may contain TMI, and it is VERY long.  Still, this is a time that I personally don't ever want to forget, so I'm not going to leave any details out.  Consider yourself warned!

Tuesday, May 1, I had my 38 week appointment and was sure this baby was never coming out.  I'd found out that she was right occiput transverse - head down, but looking out my left hip.  Shana had given me some exercises to do (that were quite uncomfortable!), so Wednesday after work I set out to do them.  I also did some googling and found an extra exercise to try.  I wanted that girl anterior, darn it!

Thursday morning I woke up as usual.  I showered, and went downstairs for my morning ritual of breakfast/makeup/watch the news/read blogs.  I always get back into my PJs to do this, then come upstairs to decide what to wear.  So I went up to get dressed.  At the top of the stairs, I felt a little gush of wetness.  Um, ew.  I went to the bathroom and took another pair of underwear with me, because it felt like I needed one.  Turns out, I did.  I was a little suspicious, but the end of pregnancy brings a lot of discharge, so I figured that that's what this was (even though it warranted a change of clothes).

I did my daily struggle of what to wear.  Nothing was fitting well anymore and I was so sick of my maternity clothes.  Keith was getting ready to leave.  I told him that he should probably keep his phone close by today because something was off...  I told him what had happened, that I didn't think it was anything, but felt weird.  Then it occurred to me that we'd had tacos the night before, and I'd spent a lot of time in the bathroom.  I asked if he had, and if he'd poisoned the tacos.  The answer was no to both.  Was my body trying to "clean itself out" before labor?  Hmm...  I still wasn't convinced.  We debated whether I should call the midwives.  I didn't really want to because I knew they'd make me come in and get checked.  I decided to go to work and think about it.  Keith told me to pack my hospital bag and take it too (he was annoyed I hadn't packed yet), but I didn't have time, so I only put the diaper bag in the car.

At work, I felt another little gush, smaller than the first.  I still felt... weird.  Laurel came in, so I decided to ask her opinion.  Of course, she told me to call the MWs.  Sigh.  I called, and at first I don't think the receptionist understood me.  Once I explained again (I was feeling so embarrassed that I didn't know if my water broke or not), she told me that they'd call me back.  What?  I wasn't expecting that!  Of course, they called back and said come in.  I asked if I needed to any time soon, and they said yes, like, now.  Crap.  I was hoping I could just stop by after work.

I called up to Chris to tell her that I needed coverage for my classroom.  I started off with, "Don't get excited, because I am sure this is nothing, but..."  I was sure it was nothing.  She was excited.  She told me not to wait, to leave now, and someone would be down shortly.  Before I could leave, I had to tell everyone what was going on.  They were excited.  I was embarrassed.  I grabbed my stuff, and snuck out before any of the parents could see me leaving.

I got to the Center for Women's Health, and went to check in.  I'd been told they'd sneak me into Michelle's schedule.  Of course, I wasn't on it yet, so I practically whispered why I was there.  Of course, the one woman said to the other, "Oh!  She thinks her water broke!"  I wanted to tell them, no I didn't really think that, I didn't really need to be there.  Instead, I sat down and waited for my turn.  I had texted Keith to tell him they wanted me to get checked, and while I was waiting, I was texting him about how stupid I felt.  I was SO embarrassed.  I could even feel my cheeks getting hot as I sat there.  There were a ton of people in the waiting room, so it took a long time.  I was trying to be patient though, because I was busting in without an appointment even.

Finally, Tami, the MW's medical assistant came out to get me.  She had a huge smile on her face, and was excited to see me there.  I admitted to her how silly/embarrassed I felt, and she tried to reassure me that I'd been right to come in, and that it wasn't stupid at all.  She put me into the same room I'd been in two days before for my 38 week appointment, gave me the paper sheet, and told me Michelle would be in soon.

It was an eternity before Michelle came in.  Still, I was taking time out of her day, so I wasn't going to get impatient.  I did wish that I'd been able to wait with my pants on though.  Michelle finally came in, and she was all excited too.  I again admitted how silly I felt.  She also reassured me, and told me she'd do 3 tests.  One was a pH paper test (amniotic fluid would turn it blue), a ferning test, and another that I don't even remember now.  She told me that amniotic fluid looks kind of shiny, so she might be able to tell just looking at me.  She asked if I had any other gushes, and I told her I had when standing after sitting a long time, and going up/down stairs.  She said, "Hmm..." and raised an eyebrow, which I (correctly) assumed meant she thought it may be the real deal.

Well, Michelle took one look, and laughed and said, "Oh yeah.  I don't even need to do 3 tests."  She put the pH paper down there anyway and held it up to show me.  Super blue.  What???  I was stunned.  I was certain that I'd be going back to work feeling sheepish, NOT having a baby that day!  She told me I had two options: 1.) I could walk over to FMC (Family Maternity Center) and start Pitocin, since I wasn't having any contractions, or 2.) I could go home for a while and hope that labor starts on its own, BUT I had to be back at the hospital by 6:00 no matter what because they'd want to monitor me for signs of infection.  It was a no-brainer.  I did not want Pitocin.  I chose option 2.  Michelle told me that that was fine, but she wanted me to have an NST first just to make sure baby was ok.  The clinic was so busy, that she was sending me to FMC to have it done.  She also told me that while Shana was on call over there right now, neither of them were that night.  Dr. Dise would be, and Michelle said that she was as close to a midwife as I could get with the OBs, and that she would let her deliver her own children.  Sigh, ok.  As I was getting dressed, I heard Tami out in the hall, "So...?"  "Oh yeah, she's ruptured," said Michelle.

Down to FMC check-in I went.  I told the lady at the desk why I was there, and I had to sign a consent to treat form.  Then she decided that since I'd be back later for sure, I should just go ahead and sign mine for later, and the one for the baby too.  That was weird.  I got a hospital bracelet, that was weird too, but it listed Shana as my physician, and that put me at ease a little.

They took me to OB triage, and the nurse hooked me up to NST.  She was very sweet, and like always, we passed the test.  I texted Keith to let him know that this was for real, and I'd keep him posted.  I kind of wanted him to come home early just in case contractions started and got crazy real fast.  I had to pee in a cup before leaving.  I went back to my little "room" to get my purse, and as I came out from behind the drape, there was Shana!  She had come in to see me.  She gave me a big hug, and the nurse said, "Well, I didn't know y'all know each other!!!"  It was kind of funny.  Shana reassured me that Dr. Dise was as good as I could get if I couldn't have her or Michelle.  She also told me that she was back on call again at 7:00am, and just maybe I wouldn't have even delivered yet.  After all, it was my first baby.  If not, she said she'd see me later with a baby in my arms.  Talking to her made me feel a lot better.  She told me to go home and rest, stressing that I shouldn't do too much and should save my energy for later.

When I got to my car in the garage, I called school.  Kathie answered, and I told her that it turned out, I wasn't coming back after all.  She was very excited.  I texted Nathan also, to have him spread the word in our building that this was real, I wasn't in labor, but I'd be having a baby in the next 24 hours.

On the way home, I thought it'd be a good idea to fill the car up with gas.  Then I thought I might stop by Fred Meyer.  I really wanted to get the Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple cream, and I hadn't had a chance yet.  And maybe I could get some snacks for labor too!  Yes, I decided this was a great idea.  As I walked in to the store, I started to feel gushing again.  What?  I thought I was pretty much done, as more had come out when Michelle had examined me.  I had no idea how much fluid there really was.  I proceeded to the door and could feel a lot more coming.  Crap.  I had on my long maternity coat, so I started to try to zip it up, but couldn't.  Crap.  I strategically placed my purse in front of my crotch.  Why didn't I turn around?  I was already at the door and didn't want to look like an idiot, turning around and walking back.  Mistake.  Once inside, the fluid kept coming.  I beelined for the bathroom, but it's in the middle of the store!  As fast as I could, I made it in there.

Fluid was POURING out as I shut myself into a stall.  I was trying to figure out how to get my pants off without getting fluid all over the back of them too.  With a quick move, I was soon sitting on the toilet.  The fluid was still coming.  Worse, my pants definitely looked like I'd peed them.  The crotch area was completely soaked.  I texted Keith, "Ah!  I'm trapped in the bathroom in the middle of Fred Meyer with wet pants!"  I didn't know what to do, but I thought it was hilarious.  I sat there a looong time, waiting for the flood to stop.  There was a pad in my purse from the summer before when I'd had my HSG.  I stuck it in my wet clothes, zipped up my jacket and hoped for the best.

It felt gross walking around with wet pants, but luckily my jacket covered me completely.  Because of this, I thought, "Hey!  I can still get the nipple cream!"  The natural food section (where it was) was near the U-Scan, which was near the door, so I hustled over there, grabbed it, bought it, and waddled out to my car.  Phew!

At home, I had an agenda.  I needed to shower and shave my legs for sure.  I also needed to pack my hospital bag.  I decided to do some laundry too.  This all kind of took a while, and I felt bad because I hadn't been resting like Shana had told me to.  I felt restless though.  When would contractions start?  I was getting antsy for Keith to come home too (and to bring my yoga ball from school, I had left it there). He told me that work was keeping him, and I was annoyed.  Screw work!  It's baby day!

Keith made it home around 3:00.  He packed his bag, and Braidy started freaking out, since there was luggage out.  He had called his parents to come get her, and his dad said, "What?  You want us to come there and get her, drop her off at home, and then go back to the hospital???"  Um, no.  No one is coming to the hospital until the baby is born.  His parents did not get this.  I was annoyed.  We decided to call my mom and have her stay with Braidy for the night.  Having dog duty would keep her from coming to the hospital too early, too!

Because it would be rush hour, we set out to leave at 5:00.  I made a bagel sandwich and ate an apple.  Before we left, I took the last ever belly picture.

Off to the hospital we went!  Part two is up next...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Oops. Catch-up.

So... yeah.  This here ol' blog hasn't been updated since 28 weeks.  Um, if I were still pregnant, I'd be 43 weeks today.  Oops.  I love blogs though, and I'd love to be able to keep up, especially to record the life of our little girl.  So I'm going to try.  But that means I have a lot of catching up to do.

So, after our appointment at MFM, it became clear that our little Freebie had some growth troubles.  Dr. G had me on that nasty protein powder.  In March, our girl got an IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) diagnosis and things got real.  He wanted more monitoring to make sure that she was still better in than out.  Yikes.  He said our goal was to "make it" to 37 weeks, which would mean that Freebs would be born in April, before my 30th birthday.  Holy crap!

In March we also had a slew of baby classes.  Breastfeeding, and an all-day baby care class.  That class was funny.  The most memorable thing for me was that we were given fake babies (dolls) and had to be responsible for them all day.  Which meant that when we went to eat lunch in the hospital cafeteria (the food was not bad!), we had to take our fake baby with us.  Ours sat on the table between us.  We got weird looks.

April came, and with it, my residency at Evergreen Hospital.  By that, I mean, I pretty much lived there, I was there so often.  We started out 5 week Hypnobirthing class that first week.  I was skeptical going into it, about the whole hypnosis thing, but left that first class feeling really encouraged!  I really enjoyed the whole series of the class, but I was nervous that I wouldn't be prepared, because I was likely to miss 2 out of the 5 classes with my potential IUGR induction looming.

Speaking of that, April started my bi-weekly NSTs (non-stress tests - monitoring of baby's heart rate, and my uterus to see if it was contracting).  Every other week I also had an ultrasound, either growth, or a BPP - Biophysical Profile, to check on the Freebs.  Spring Break was the 2nd week, and baby actually kind of failed an NST.  She went off of the monitor for longer than they like, so I was ordered to have 3 NSTs that week.  See what I mean about living at the hospital?  I was making good friends with my NST nurses.
That week, coming home from the hospital, I got onto 405 and got hit with a barrage of rocks, cracking my windshield.  Wtf.  I couldn't get the license plate of the truck, because I needed to get out of the way of the debris, but I saw that it belonged to a construction company.  After much sleuthing, I found out I could file a "rock claim" with the company, to see if they'd compensate me for a new windshield.  Not only did they, but I mentioned that I was pregnant & would like it taken care of quickly, and I had a new windshield the NEXT DAY!

The following week I spent 4 more days at the hospital.  My wonderful co-workers threw me a little shower, with many a wonderful, practical gift.  I also had my 36 week appointment with midwife Shana, where we went over my birth plan.  Oh yeah, I also had to have the lovely Group B Strep swab, so I consented to an internal exam.  One centimeter dilated, 70% effaced.  I asked Shana about the MW schedule, because I was still so paranoid that she or Michelle would not be there to deliver my baby and I'd be stuck with an OB.  Yikes.

I made it to 37 weeks!  Freebie had a HUGE growth spurt.  She grew 20oz in two weeks, which meant...  NO MORE INDUCTION!  Yay!!!  Dr. G said we could go on our own now, woohoo!  I still needed 2x weekly NSTs, but no more ultrasounds until 40 weeks if I made it that far.  Phew.  Keith and I kind of secretly hoped that she'd be born that following weekend though - so she & I would share a birthday (and, bonus!  Michelle was on call!).  Alas, I spent my 30th uneventfully, with swollen feet and pizza.  =)

That Monday, I noticed that I was missing that bowling ball between the legs feeling.  Also, baby girl was stretching and poking out body parts quite uncomfortably right under my ribs.  She'd been at 0 station at 36 weeks, but I felt kind of like she'd moved back UP if that were possible.  I also had the realization this week, that I didn't know her position.  She'd been head-down for a while, but was she anterior (ideal)?  Sunny side up?  That Tuesday at my NST I had to have an AFI (fluid check), so I asked the sonographer which way baby was facing.  Ugh.  She was facing out my left hip.
I went to see Shana right after, and the first thing she said was, "So...  Feel like you're going to have a baby any time soon?"  I told her no, not at all, and that I felt like baby had moved up.  She measured my fundal height, and I measured on track for the first time ever.  Shana said that that was probably because Freebie HAD moved up.  She also told me that the position was transverse, and showed me some exercises I could do to turn the baby (and avoid some painful back labor).  I left my appointment in such a funk.  I felt like this baby was never going to come out, and I'd be induced at 42 weeks.  Keith met me at the hospital for our last Hypnobirthing class, and I was almost in tears because I was so convinced that she was never going to come.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong!  Freebie's birth story is coming up next!