Arlie’s Birth Story

It’s been almost two weeks since Arlie was born and our lives are completely changed.  All for the good.  She is perfect and precious and I have never felt this kind of love for another person.

On Monday the 13th, my standard weekly appointment was canceled and rescheduled for Tuesday the 14th.  I had a bit of a break down on Monday as I was tired of being pregnant and any small thing was setting me off pretty badly.  I went into the appointment on Tuesday thinking that it would be routine and they would check me and send me on my way.  I was told I was seeing a specific doctor, but when I got there they told me that I would be seeing a different midwife and that she wanted me to have a stress test.  The nurse started by taking my blood pressure, which was relatively high at the time because of anxiety.  After the blood pressure check, she hooked me up to the monitors and I sat alone for about a half hour while her little heart beat steadily.  The nurse came back to check my blood pressure again and it was still kind of high.  After the half hour, the midwife Katie came in and said that she had been on the phone with Dr. Balderston’s office (the specialist we were seeing for the cord issues) and he wanted to have her check the fluid levels as he was concerned I was past 39 weeks pregnant.  Apparently he had requested that I not go past 39 weeks, but I never got that information, so this was a huge shock to me.  Anyway, Katie checked the fluid levels and told me that they were quite low, so she recommended that I head over to Labor and Delivery to be induced.  Basically the combo of the high blood pressure and the low fluid levels were enough to concern everyone.  I immediately started crying because this was not at all what I expected to have happen at this appointment.

Luckily for me, I had packed all our bags in the car a few days prior to this.  M was at work about 20 minutes away, so I called him and told him he needed to come to the hospital to meet me.  In the meantime, my mom came down and met me to stay until M as able to get there.  I had a great nurse to start with, she just happened to be someone I knew growing up.  I was incredibly emotional at this point and terrified.  M finally showed up and they started my IV and took blood for some labs.  Because I was strep B positive, and because of the heightened risk due to the cord issues, they wanted to make sure that they got plenty of fluids into me.  My blood pressure started to level off and remained at normal levels for the rest of the hospital stay.

After being there for about 3 or 4 hours, Katie came in and checked my cervix, which was just under 3 cm dilated and they finally started a pitocin drip.  I was told that it could take anywhere from a few hours to two days to get labor started, which at the time was devastating to my morale. They started the drip at 2 and gradually increased it to 6 over the next hour to start contractions and to thin out my cervix.  Once the hour was up, Katie came back in and wanted to use a folley bulb to stretch my cervix out to a 5 to get the process going a little more.  I was not really comfortable with this as it was my intention to go natural and at that point I had already been on pitocin, which wasn’t in my plan at all.  I asked Katie and the two other people with her to give M and I a minute to discuss the option.  We finally agreed, based on the fact of not wanting to be there for two days.  Katie and the two other people came in and started the process of inserting the bulb, but it did not go as plan and they inadvertently broke my water.  This was kind of a big deal because they were specifically told by the specialist NOT to break my water as it was very risky with the cord issues.  The atmosphere in the room got a little scary at that point and they immediately stopped the pitocin drip to cut any more risk of stressing out the baby.

About 5 minutes after they broke my water, my contractions picked up immensely.  They went from being bearable to being very uncomfortable.  After laboring in the bed for about an hour, I decided to move to the tub.  My amazing nurse Ashley got everything ready to go and I got into the tub.  The water was crazy hot and it helped ease some of the intensity of the contractions.  I labored in the tub for about two more hours.  My contractions were coming in waves of three with less than a minute between each wave of three.  I was in more pain than I could have imagined and I was getting exhausted beyond belief.  I finally told M I needed to get an epidural.  He tried to talk to me but at that point I had already made up my mind that I needed to have it, or I would have no energy to push.  M helped me get out of the tub and we talked to Ashley about getting the epidural.  Actually, M talked while I writhed in pain on all fours on the floor by the bed.  Ashley offered to check me to see how far I had progressed to see if that would encourage me to not get the epidural, but because my contractions were so close together and there were so many in a row, she didn’t feel like she could get an accurate check.  She called the anesthesiologist and told me it would be a half hour until he could get there.  The next half hour was the longest of my life.  I was bare ass naked on the floor on all fours and each contraction was incredibly strong.  When the anesthesiologist finally came in they had me sit on the edge of the bed while he prepped everything.  I could hear him talking to nurse Ashley about how my contractions were right on top of each other and she informed him that I had been laboring this way for 4 hours straight.  He was an incredibly nice guy and did a great job of making me as comfortable as possible.  I had to sit still through about 10 contractions while he inserted the catheter and got the meds going.  It was incredibly hard for me to sit still and I was so glad when it was over.  After about 5 minutes, the meds finally kicked in and I started to feel some relief.  I could still feel the contractions, but the pain was about a 5 instead of a 10.  Katie came back in to check me once the epidural had been started and I had progressed to 9.5 cm dilated.  Basically I progressed from a 3 to almost a 10 in four hours.  This news was both encouraging and disappointing because there was part of me that wished I had been able to be checked, but that really wasn’t an option.

Katie told me that they wanted me to rest for about an hour to let the baby slide further down into the birth canal on her own.  After about 20 minutes, the epidural started to wear off and they called the anesthesiologist back in to adjust the levels.  When he did adjust them, my blood pressure dropped so he gave me a shot of adrenalin.  This made my heart race and it kind of freaked me out, but it brought my blood pressure back up.  Katie and one other person, Julia, came in shortly after that to have me get into position to push.  I started pushing and after the first sets of pushes, the baby’s heart rate didn’t respond well, so they put a monitor on her head and called in the on call doctor.  From that point forward, I pushed on every contraction and I could slowly start to see Arlie’s head move closer and closer.  Her heart rate continued to accelerate and decelerate with each contraction, so as I got closer to actually pushing her out, they brought in a NICU team and another team of doctors to be on stand by as a precaution.  There were about 10 people in the room.  They brought out a mirror so I could see the progress I was making with each push.  After pushing for about 45 minutes, Arlie’s head started to emerge.  Nurse Ashley encouraged me to reach down and feel her head, which was an amazing experience.  I pushed on two more contractions, then on the next push, Arlie’s head came out.  She had the biggest cheeks I have ever seen.  One more small push and nurse Ashley told me to pull her the rest of the way out.  I literally pulled her out of me and onto my chest.  She immediately screamed and protested and was very active.  The rest of the nurses and doctors let me lay with her while they floated around and took care of various things.  I had lost a lot of blood so they were preparing to give me blood if needed.  In the meantime, Katie and the doctor were at the end of the bed waiting for the placenta to come out.  The cord had almost immediately detached on its own so my placenta was still in there.  After about a half hour, they had me start pushing to try to get the placenta to come out.  When this did not accomplish what they were looking for, the doctor ended up putting her hand up in there to try to manually extract the placenta.  This took her about another 10 minutes, and eventually I was able to push it out.  We took photos of it and Katie put one stitch in where I had torn.  The nurses cleaned me up and we got Arlie onto my chest again to get her to nurse.

Overall, it was an incredibly amazing experience and we feel incredibly lucky.  Being parents has been a dream of ours for a long time and it is so wonderful to have her here and safe and so perfect.

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Good news, Bad news

Well I am currently writing this post from a hospital bed. I went into my doctors office this morning for a routine visit (my 39 week appointment) and they told me they wanted me to be on the monitor for a bit. The first check of my blood pressure was high, so they had me sit for a while longer and checked it again and it was still high. The midwife on call came in and told me she wanted to check the fluid levels. She had been on the phone with my specialist and he indicated that he would prefer I didn’t go past my due date. Apparently he also said that if the fluid levels were low that he would like to induce. There is some concern that because of the insertion and cord issues, her well being could be compromised if they wait much longer. I had no idea that there was even a possibility of having to go early, so this came as a huge surprise to me. I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty scared and I am upset. I cried when the midwife told me I was being admitted and I’ve had a few more crying jags since then. So now we wait. They

I definitely want Arlie to be here and that part is very exciting. I’m going to try to get into a better head space so I can enjoy the fact that I will get to meet our little girl very soon. We will see I guess.

said it could be two more days before she gets here so I am trying to prepare myself for that. Mostly though I am just nervous and scared. Our birth plan was to go as natural as possible and we are already off that path so I am a little disappointed too.

Arlie’s Hospital Bag

I probably read a million “what to pack in your hospital bag” posts to get an idea of what to bring with us.  I think I am going to do a separate post for my and M’s bag, mostly because we have kind of a lot of stuff and I don’t want to overload a post.  Anyway,  I read a ton of other posts and compiled a list of things that I thought were relevant to how we plan on taking care of Arlie.  There were a lot of things that people listed that seemed kind of unnecessary and M and I live within 10 minutes of our hospital, so there will be plenty of opportunities to run home if needed.

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I started with some basics…  We plan on using cloth diapers.  I am not a crazy environmentalist or anything like that, but I do really hate the idea of wasting money on diapers.  I also hate the idea of contributing to the landfill in such a huge way.  I like to compost and try to recycle everything I can, so cloth diapers seemed to fit into that philosophy.  The best part about them is that they are so stinking cute.

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I read that the hospital clothing that they provide for the babies is kind of rough and can scratch their little faces, so I packed two sleeper gowns, and a couple of white outfits that she can wear in the hospital.

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For her “going home outfit” I packed two options.  I think we will probably go with the first one.  I bought it specifically to take her home in, so it will probably win this battle.  Plus it is cold here and I don’t want her to get chilled.  The other outfit will probably get used for the photo that the hospital takes.  I think it is super sweet and not too girly.  Apparently I was on a white clothing kick when I packed this bag.

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I packed some hats and a super cute headband…  The navy striped hat was one of the first things I bought, before I even knew we were having a girl. I glued the tiny pink bow to it.  The pink striped hat was knitted for Arlie by one of her Aunts (thanks Sadie!) and it is so precious.  The other hat was a gift from someone who was due two weeks before me and her son had a matching one.  Finally, the headband is to go with the second outfit from above.  Again, my intention for that is for hospital photos.  Plus, it is a minnie mouse theme, so we couldn’t resist adding it to the bag.

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Three swaddling blankets…  Two adain and anias and one carters.  I figure she will puke or poo on all of them, so three seemed reasonable.  We also plan on wrapping her in one of these right after she is born, then having M take it home for the dogs to smell on.  We read that it helps the dogs adjust if you bring something home that smells like the baby, so we are going to test that theory.

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And a blanket to tuck around her for the drive home.  M also insisted that I pack the birthday book by Dr. Seuss.  He said he wants to read it to her in the hospital on her birth day.  I totally cried when he made this request.  The blanket was one of the first things we bought for Arlie and we both love how soft it is and that it looks so pristine, for now… 🙂

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And this is everything packed away in the bag…  My sister made me buy a bigger bag a few weeks ago.  She said the other one I had was too small.  So now we have two, which is kind of nice.  The second one I will be keeping primarily in the car for a back up.

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Hopefully this will cover us for the time we are in the hospital.  I have one other onesie packed (plain white) and in M and my bag there are two other sleepers, just in case.  I am not necessarily opposed to having her in hospital clothing, but I also like the idea of learning how to change her in a setting where we can get help.  Plus, I just can’t wait to start dressing her in cute stuff.  I also have a pair of scratch mittens packed a two pairs of socks.  I honestly have no idea what our hospital actually provides, but as I said above, M can always run home if we need anything else.

I’ll try to post the other part of this later…

38 Weeks

One more week down.  Hopefully no more to go… 🙂  Actually, I have finally reached a place where I can relax a bit and stop willing this to happen.  Mostly because stuff is actually happening finally.  And also because I am so much more comfortable working at home.  It is easier, I feel more productive and being able to wear my pj’s is pretty much the greatest thing ever.  I had a appointment on Monday and I was 2 cm dilated, 50% effaced and she could no longer move the baby’s head off of my cervix.  She said she was really pleased with the progress I was making and that the likelihood of going over my due date was low.  She also agreed that if I did happen to go over, they would not let me go past 41 weeks.  This was a huge relief for me.  I was really worried about going way over and the risks for the baby.

The day after my appointment, I lost my mucous plug.  I actually had my “bloody show” and since then my mucous plug has been coming out in globs.  It was both fascinating and terrifying all at the same time.  And kind of gross too.  I actually woke M up to see if he wanted to see it (we are weird about stuff like that, don’t ask) but he asked me if I thought he should see it and I quickly said no.  It seriously was interesting to look at but also so grossly disturbing.  I went to work that morning and told my boss what was up and she tried to force me to go home, but I had a class I had to take.  So I sat through a 3 hour class, then headed home to work from there.  The next day I called my doctor’s office to let them know what was up and I ended up speaking to a nurse who was a real bitch.  She tried to tell me it was probably just spotting.  I nearly lost it at that point.  I have been having periods since I was 11, I know the effing difference between spotting and a huge disgusting glob of bloody mucous.  I pretty much hung up on her at that point and started maniacally cleaning my house.  I got the entire house clean and was able to get some work done too.  I realize that losing the plug/bloody show isn’t a sure sign of labor but they had specifically told me to call if it happened.  Sometimes I am so disappointed by the lack of CARE I receive from this practice.  They are surprisingly uncaring and even unprofessional at times.  I’ll be glad to be done with them pretty soon here.

I am still waiting to get more contractions or to have anything else happen.  I am still losing the plug and I am using my birthing ball to try to encourage labor to start.  I haven’t really gone as far as eating anything weird or taking Evening Primrose Oil, but I’ve been walking and using the ball.  I have a massage scheduled tomorrow so we will see if that gets anything else rolling.

How far along? 38 weeks, 3 days
Total weight gain: 45 lbs.  I’m never going to be small again…..
Maternity clothes? Only maternity clothes now.  And pj pants.  Or nothing.  That works better than anything these days.
Stretch marks? Thighs, calves, butt.  No where else.
Best moment this week:  Hearing Arlie’s heartbeat, finding out I’d made progress and losing my mucous plug.
Food cravings: None really.  I eat when I am hungry, and there isn’t really anything that I’m really craving.
Anything making you queasy or sick:  Nope.  I even ate chicken this week.  I just don’t really care anymore.
Have you started to show yet? Yes.
Gender:  Girl!
Labor Signs: Some contractions, some cramping.  2 cm dilated, 50% effaced.  Lost my mucous plug and continue to lose more of it.  I’m in a fair amount of discomfort, but I can feel the end is near, so I’m doing ok.
Symptoms:  My nose is a lost cause.  I can’t even breathe anymore.  My hands and feet are swollen and I am super hot and sweaty most of the time.  My sleep has been kind of crappy.  M informed me that I am snoring like a man every night and that might explain why my throat hurts so bad all the time.
Belly Button in or out? It fluctuates between being completely flat or slightly out.  It is so stretched out and almost bruised.
Wedding rings on or off?  Off.  I actually tried to put on my ring this morning and I couldn’t even get it over my knuckle.  I will be very glad to wear it again.
Happy or Moody most of the time: It’s definitely a mix now.  I am happy when it is me and M and we are relaxing and not out in public.  I am cranky when we leave the house and I am definitely still a little impatient for things to get rolling.  I think with the signs of labor actually happening, I am able to relax a little more and be conscious of my attitude.  Basically I am really trying to not be a whiner and just wait patiently for Arlie to arrive.
Looking forward to: So many things.  I am excited to meet Arlie.  I’m excited to be able to savor the time I have left with just M.  I’m excited for Mason and Winger to meet their little sister.  I’m just so excited to see what happens next.  I am also looking forward to another appointment on Monday, although I am sincerely hoping that I don’t have to go in because I go into labor.  Heres to hoping that this weekend is it….

Impatience

I know I am probably the most impatient person in the world.  I feel like even though it is a completely gross personal trait, I am at least aware of it and I try to not be.  That being said, I am really sucking at patience right now.  Really.  I just want her here and happy and healthy.  I recognize how lucky I am right now.  I married an amazing man.  He loves me and treats me well and is my best friend in this world.  He is going to be the most amazing father and I can’t wait to see him in that role.  I have been asked multiple times over the last few months about what I am looking forward to most about having Arlie here.  And I can honestly say that the thing I am looking forward to is seeing M hold Arlie for the first time.  I know how much he loves me and I can only imagine what his love for Arlie will look like.  I also have a spectacular best/closest friend.  I know she is going through so much right now and I am admittedly nervous about how she will handle Arlie’s birth.  But I also know that she is going to be there and she will be a person in my and my children’s lives forever.  She will be able to teach Arlie things I can’t and she will be a person Arlie can turn to when she needs someone to confide in.  She is here for me in ways that other people just can’t be and I appreciate her support and love more than she probably knows.

This time I have left until Arlie gets here is dragging.  I know the end is near and I am glad that I will get to meet her soon.  I’m trying to be more patient and enjoy these moments I have left with just M and me.  I want to savor the time we have left as just a couple.  I love M so much and I am so glad that my life is with him.  We plan on going on a couple of dates, going on walks, spoiling the crap out of our dogs, and just spending time together being lazy.  I am now working from home so my life will be in a weird suspended reality for awhile and that makes me a little nervous.  I’m not very good at having no real schedule, but I am also looking forward to not having to get dressed and go into the office every day.  I also love the idea of being able to use my own bathroom a million times instead of the weird bathroom at work.  But mostly I am looking forward to being able to be comfortable and quiet in my own house.  I have become increasingly more uncomfortable at work and the thought of being able to lounge in a comfy chair and get work done almost makes me want to cry.

I know the end is near.  I’ve been told by my doctors that they won’t let me go past 41 weeks 2 days, which is the 29th of January.  I sincerely hope that I will not have to wait that long.  I’m not going to lie, the thought of waiting that much longer is kind of heartbreaking.  But I at least have an end date.  I’m really just hoping every day that something will start.  I feel a little crazy because every time I get a contraction, I am hoping it will be painful.  Or every time I get a cramp I’m hoping it will intensify.  I’m sure other people have also experienced this level of weird prior to labor and that is at least comforting.  I just want to get this show on the road.  But mostly, more than anything, I just want to have Arlie here.  I am so excited to see her for the first time and labor, to me, seems like the greatest challenge ever.  I might be crazy but I am seriously looking forward to labor.  I want to experience it as much as possible and I am pretty excited about it starting.  I want to test myself and the best part about it is that the end result is a perfect little girl.  Gahhh!!!!  How much longer?????

37 Weeks

I’ve finally reached “full term”.  37 weeks.  I seriously never thought this would happen.  I had an appointment on Monday and while the midwife was trying to figure out where Arlie was laying (still head down and engaged) she noted that I was having contractions.  I knew something was going on, but they weren’t particularly painful.  I had two more in the office and she asked us the basic “are you guys prepared” questions.  We went to run some errands afterwards and I had quite a few more contractions and they continued into the evening.  I went to bed that night thinking that they would continue, but nope.  They completely stopped.  I’ve had a few every day since then, but nothing consistent or painful at all.  I feel like I am willing this to happen.  To add to my impatience, nearly every other blogger I follow on here has given birth in the last week or so and a friend who I was two weeks behind had her baby last night.  I feel like I am behind and even though I know she could be in there for three or four more weeks and that seriously makes me want to cry.  I am so close to the end and I know I should just be excited, but the closer we get to her actual due date, the more I worry and fret about her health and safety.

People keep reminding me how much I will worry once she is here, but they have no idea what this has been like for me.  Being pregnant has brought on a level of anxiety I did not know could even exist.  I am constantly worried, every single day.  I want her here in my arms where I can see her and feel her and watch her breathe.  My anxiety now is higher than it has been in a long time and I just feel like I can’t do it much longer.  I know anxiety and fear are not good reasons to want her out now and honestly I get that my reasons are purely selfish, but it they are my true feelings and I don’t really want to apologize for that.

I have a hard time justifying posting my fears because I don’t want to come off as a whiner.  And I don’t really feel like I am whining.  I know being a parent is going to be incredibly hard but I welcome that challenge at this point.  I want to hold her and snuggle her and see what she looks like.  I am inherently an impatient person, this is something I fully recognize.  But I truly had no idea how hard the last few weeks would be.  Pity party for one!!!

How far along? 37 weeks 3 days
Total weight gain: 43 lbs.  I’m not sure if I will gain any weight next week because I am so over eating in general.  Between the heartburn and acid reflux, eating has lost its appeal.
Maternity clothes? As I said before, I am down to bare bones for clothing.  I still have two dresses that fit and two pairs of leggings, plus one pair of jeans.  My hips keep getting wider so even the jeans look pretty bad now.  PJ pants are my best friend.  If only I could wear them to work….
Stretch marks? Thighs, calves, butt.  My stomach seems to be staying stretch mark free.  Crossing my fingers.
Best moment this week:  Reaching “full term”.  That is such a huge milestone and I am really glad to have made it this far.
Food cravings: I’ve been eating frozen fruit a lot lately.  I like the coldness of it, and I like that it is so refreshing.  Plus I feel less disgusting about eating fruit in large quantities than sweets.  I’m also really digging waffles.  Plain though.  Just frozen waffles with nothing on them.  M and I estimated this weekend that I have probably consumed somewhere around 70 gallons of milk during this pregnancy.  This works out to about 1.75 gallons of milk each week.  The average American drinks somewhere around 20 gallons of milk every year.  Go me.
Anything making you queasy or sick:  I am mostly just having a hard time with eating any moderate quantity of anything right now.  My stomach is so squished that I feel sick even if I only eat a little.  It is also making it really hard for me to get my liquids in.  I just don’t feel thirsty at all and when I do, I can only get down a few ounces before I feel crappy.
Have you started to show yet? God yes.  My bump is ridiculous.  And lopsided because she generally hangs out in the same position every day.
Gender:  GIRL!
Labor Signs: Contractions every day, but not productive.  I am also getting a lot of pressure in my lady parts.  This is making my bladder constantly feel full, which is not ideal.  The really weird part is that when I do pee, barely anything comes out.  So unsatisfying!
Symptoms:  Swollen everything still, although I took the last few days pretty easy, so my feet are less swollen than they have been in a week or so.  My boobs are leaking again, and my nose is done for.  I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I will not be able to breathe out of my nose for the next few weeks.
Belly Button in or out? It is still flat with a little protruding nub on top.  My piercing holes look very strange and stretched out now.
Wedding rings on or off?  Off completely.  I’ll be really glad to have them back on.
Happy or Moody most of the time:  With the exception of my pity party, I am relatively happy.  Definitely excited.  But also a little moody.  I’m just ready for the end to be here.
Looking forward to:  Another appointment on Monday.  I like being able to see a doctor or midwife consistently.  It helps with my fears.  I am also looking forward to being checked again.  I am really hoping that I have made some progress.  Even better would be to go into labor this weekend and not have to go in on Monday at all!