#microblogmondays – Done

I fully intended to provide Caleb with pumped breastmilk at daycare for a year like I did with Simon. But with Simon I had a huge freezer stash since he wouldn’t really take bottles for several months. I was able to stop pumping at 11 months and even donated about 150 oz.

I loathe pumping. There isn’t really a good reason – I have the time, my supply is great, it doesn’t hurt – but I really really really hate it. In December I cut down to one session a day and was mostly able to keep up with a freezer bag from my minuscule stash here and there. I thought about quitting, but I kept at it until I got sick. I didn’t pump those two days because my skin was crawling, we used up all but one freezer bag. I kept going for another week. Then last week we had snow and the kids were home and then Wednesday at work…I just…didn’t. He went to school with one bottle of cow’s milk. Thursday it was two, and Friday no breast milk at all.

I know this is the absolute right decision for us. I will keep nursing when we are together for awhile. I won’t put a time limit on it. I have lots of feelings that I can’t quite articulate. I’m so so happy to be free of the pump.

The end of an era.

Remember this?

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The tiny baby who loved to jump. He loved this thing so much. We have way too many pictures of him sleeping in the jumper because he would jump until he fell asleep. It didn’t take us very long to learn, that when this happened, we should let him be.

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Last week I sold the jumper. I”m really not sure how I feel about this. It’s the first baby thing I’ve gotten rid of that was a big part of Simon’s babyhood. I was more emotional than I should have been over a toy that hasn’t been in our home for six months. Because, you see, last summer I sent the jumper out on loan to a friend (it was returned over Christmas). I thought I would lend it out and get it back and we’d maybe be expecting again (we are NOT) and would have need of it again soon.

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I do want Simon to have a sibling. Someday. TTC#2 is another subject on which I have many thoughts and am not really sure how I feel. At some point in one reality of my life plan, we would be having a second baby this summer. But when the time came, we had some discussion, and realized that we are in no way prepared to have a second baby now.

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There are financial reasons (I work 3-4 days a week as a grad student who is severely underpaid) two kids in daycare is NOT an option right now. There are emotional reasons – we both have a little PTSD from Simon’s birth that is slowly being dealt with. And really, we are finally at a really good place with Simon and parenting. We love toddlerhood, despite the challenges it brings. Simon is becoming such a little person. It’s the good parts. He talks. He has ideas and opinions. He’s sleeping better. I wish he would eat more… I want to just enjoy this phase.

Also, I recently met with my doctor who said we could try on our own, but with my PCOS, asked why I would want to do that to myself? Why indeed? So when we are ready for #2, we will likely go straight to treatments. I’m mostly ok with this – I think – I just don’t know when… I was really hoping for some time to “just see what happens.”

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But back to the jumper. It’s been sitting in Simon’s room taking up space for a month. Simon liked to turn the music on and off, but he’s much to big for it. The two friends I have with babies the right age didn’t want it. So I posted it for sale. And on Tuesday dropped it at it’s new home.

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I was sad. I really don’t know why, he’s clearly too big and doesn’t need it. But someday we will likely buy another, probably used (it is one of the few things I did buy new) but this was the end of an era.

Simon jumping November 2011 at 4.5 months:

When I pulled it out, I put Simon in for one last spin. He had fun – but clearly has moved on. Where did my baby go?

We are so glad to have this boy.

Birth Story Part 2: at the hospital and a change in plans

The (really, really) long version continued: Part 1 HERE  *If you don’t want all the labor details about the epidural and lack of progress start at the astriks at 1PM.

We got to labor and delivery around 2:30 and I was taken to triage.  I was not so fond of the nurse who was in charge of checking me in.  She wasn’t friendly and she kept asking me questions while I was unable to talk, hello contraction, and then would keep asking until I answered.  Needless to say I snapped at her from the pain and then she was all like “well that is an unnecessary tone.”  I apologized, but really don’t think I needed to.  Rob was too stressed out by my pain to remember to answer the questions – like “do you want an epidural” or “how long have you been in labor” – for me, hence the snapping  I was then put on the monitors and checked.  90% effaced, -2 station, 5 cm dilated.  Woo hoo!  I’m halfway there or something.

At this point I was still committed to my epidural free birth.  It was a very busy night in labor and delivery, so I was in triage until a little after 5am.  In this time they never came to take me off the monitors so I couldn’t move.  Not that the cramps would have allowed for much of that anyhow.  The nurse also came in to put in my IV.  This was during a moment of high pain, so I wasn’t with it enough to say hep lock only.  Rob was in a chair across the room.  He could get a little closer but not too much because of all the machines.  At some point I was in pain, and Rob wasn’t able to help me and I couldn’t move and I started to think the epidural wasn’t such a bad idea. (**I really don’t know if some of these things were different if I would have made a different decision or not regarding the epidural)  At 5 when the nurse came to tell me my room was almost ready.  I said I was thinking maybe an epidural, they took this to mean call the anesthesiologist right now.  On my way to the room the nurse grabbed me around the waist, to help me walk I guess, and I snapped don’t touch me.  Again she was offended, but she didn’t ask or say anything, and if someone was going to help me I would prefer it be Rob and I really didn’t want anyone touching me at that point.

When I got to the room the anesthesiologist was waiting.  I was ok with it and ready but if you aren’t sure don’t say you are thinking about it.  My justification to myself for the epidural was I can’t move around anyhow, so I might as well not move and be comfortable.  And I was exhausted as I had been in labor and constant (no breaks between contractions) for 11 hours.  When asked for my pain scale the contractions were around an 8 and the breaks a 4 or 5.  The epidural went in fine, it’s probably best that policy is Rob had to wait in the hall.  I did have a very nice med student who wanted to observe and she held my hands.  The hardest part of this was sitting upright and still as it went in.  As soon as it took I had an absence of pain between contractions.  During this time I stayed on the lowest dose with no “booster” drug because I did still want to feel the contractions.  But I was finally able to rest.  And even sleep a little.  Rob however, was in an upright chair again.  I should also point out that due to heat and watching too much Netflix we had both only slept about 3 hours on Thursday night and had now been awake all night Friday night.  When the shift changed at 7:30 and my new nurse came in, I was actually smiling feeling pretty refreshed for all the catnaps.  Rob was looking pretty rough and the first thing the nurse did was go find him a recliner.  I told Rob to call my parents and let them know we were at the hospital (funny story in itself) and then to sleep for awhile.  The nurse gave him a blanket and he kind of did.  My doctor, Dr. S was on L & D for the weekend.  So she came in at 8 and checked me again.  5 cm!  At this point I was super glad of the epidural because if I had been in labor with lots of pain for 5 additional hours and knew I hadn’t progressed I would have been pretty stressed.  Dr. S broke my water and there were meconium in the fluid.  She wasn’t worried but said we’d have to check the baby when he came out.  The also gave me an internal contraction monitor.

At 11 Dr. S checked me again.  7cm.  I had progressed, but slower than they would like.  They like to see 1cm/hour.  Dr. S said to go another hour and then maybe give me pitocin to speed things along.  I was ok with this and Rob and I chatted and I was feeling pretty good.  At noon I was starting to have back labor.  At this point I figured if I had an epidural, I might as well have the epidural and asked for another dose.  Dr. S said to hold on though because maybe I was ready to push.  No progress.  And the baby’s heart rate had not been recovering super well from the decels. (*If I had not had the epidural I would have asked for not constant monitors, so this may or may not have been a factor).  I got the booster dose of epidural.  Then Dr. S gave me an internal heart rate monitor for the baby and an oxygen mask for me.  She also said no pitocen because that would possibly put the baby in distress and mentioned that if things didn’t start moving we’d think about a C-section.  She’d come back in an hour.

The mention of a C-section was scary.  I wasn’t concerned, still thinking I would progress and all would be well.  Rob got choked up though.  Surgery means bad things *could* also happen to me, and we both really wanted to avoid surgery.  We were both teary and choked up and talked a little about it, but weren’t really left alone long enough to process big feelings.  And we were processing that the baby could be in trouble.  The internal monitor is SCARY.  It’s a loud ticking sound that gets slower as his heart rate drops.  And then sometimes just stops – this is a transmission error from the baby or me moving around – which is about the most terrifying thing ever.  The nurse said the heart would never just stop like that, but I asked he to turn off the sound anyway.  She didn’t do that, but did turn it as low as it would go.  (As a side note the contraction monitor has a loud alarm that signals a paper jam.  I think that alarms should really be reserved for actual emergencies for parents sanity.)

***
At 1 o’clock Dr. S came back.  Still no progress.  Ugh.  She said C-section.  And meant like right now.  This is when Rob and I both got a little scared and choked up.  I trust my doctor, and if she is saying this it needs to happen. But still, not what we wanted.  I had been in the room for 8 hours and in labor for 19.  She said most people would be parents by now.  She didn’t know what the hold-up was but my cervix was starting to swell and he was possible too big.  She didn’t want to wait, because it didn’t seem I would progress, and didn’t want to risk pitocin.  She brought the paperwork I signed and then things started moving lightening fast.

waiting in the hallway

The nurse brought scrubs for Rob and started telling us about the prep.  We were both teary and still processing.  I asked for a few minutes.  The nurse cleared the room.  Rob and I both broke down sobbing.  He sat on the bed and we hugged and were talking a little to comfort each other.  I swear we got 90 seconds before the room was full again and everything was starting.  This was not enough time for either of us to really be ok with the C-section.  Or enough time to stop crying uncontrollably.  I was given more epidural, enough for surgery and they started prepping me.  Rob went to the bathroom, I think to cry and wash his face, and THEY TOOK ME.  I know Rob was going to have to wait outside until they were ready to start the surgery, but I didn’t want him coming out of the bathroom to find me gone either.  I told them to have someone wait for him.  I have no idea if anyone did, but he was directed to outside the OR, so I guess someone did.

Through all of this I could not stop crying.  I finally asked to take the oxygen mask off because I couldn’t breathe.  I felt like it was suffocating me.  I asked for a kleenex to blow my nose, the best they could do was a blanket, I have no idea whose bare hand I put the snot covered blanket in when I was done.  I was trying to be all business, but I couldn’t stop crying.  Hormones and drugs I blame it on.  Oh, and I was still a little scared, and my husband was in a hallway somewhere.  I got the sense the staff was used to that though because everyone in the OR was very calming and soothing and nice about it.  Everyone also explained exactly what they were doing even though I couldn’t see or feel below my chest.  I was also FREEZING.  The epidural made my legs and upper back really cold, so they put pressure warming boots on.  The extra saline made my arm cold, so extra warm blankets on my chest and arms.  In addition to crying I now couldn’t stop shaking.  I was worried I was going to shake to much for them to do the surgery, then I remembered I was numb and nothing down there was actually moving.

first pic

Rob was brought in and he had the camera.  His eyes were all red.  I told him “you have to hold it together from here on out because I’m not going to be able to”  All of this happened within 15 minutes of being told we were having a C-section.  I cried through the whole surgery.  Getting Simon out was pretty quick.  They started cutting at 1:21 and he was born at 1:41.  The way he was turned and his size made it take a bit to get him out.  I could feel the tugging and Dr. S talking about turning him.  Once he came out he was given directly to the pediatrician.  He wasn’t held up for me to see or brought over.  He didn’t cry immediately, but within a few seconds.  I don’t know what went on with Simon at this time, normal newborn stuff I suppose.  When Rob went with him to the nursery they said they wanted to monitor his breathing and that this was common after a C-section.

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I do know that I was out of it enough Dr. S did not ask us his name.  I sent Rob over to take pictures so I could see my baby.  He took some pictures and came back to show me.  The nurses called him back over to hold the baby after about 10 minutes and Rob brought him over to me.  The nurses took our first family photos.  We look rough in these pics.  Raw emotion.  I looked at them for the first time a month later and they made me teary.

finally seeing Simon (about 10 min post birth)
family

Some notes on things to remember if and when we ever have another baby:
1. Written checklist for Rob to look at both at home and in the hospital (remind K to drink water, ask every 30 minutes “what can i do”, answer to all hospital questions and THEN ANSWER FOR YOUR WIFE)  If he can’t remember to answer then HAND THE LIST TO THE NURSE.
2. Ask to be taken off the monitors after 20 minutes in triage (also on husband list)
3. Say no to the IV in triage (also on husband list)
4. If there is no reclining chair for the husband in L & D, ASK for one
5. Ask for intermittent rather than constant BP monitoring.  I had major bruising from the cuff
6. DO NOT sign consent forms for anything until you are actually ready.  If you need a few minutes say so BEFORE not after you sign.  Otherwise you get no time.

first time holding Simon (6:15 pm)

The birth was traumatic, that’s really the only way I can describe it.  But it’s been almost 7 weeks not, and the raw feeling is subsiding.  I have no regrets about having the C-section.  I really feel it was the way he was going to get here.  I would change a few things about the overall experience, see the list above, but I don’t feel like I was cheated out of a vaginal delivery.  I was asked around 4 weeks if I would go though labor again, since I did for 19 hours and all, and I said yes without hesitating.  This surprised me, because until that day I was seriously thinking I could be ok with one baby ever.  But if I am lucky enough to have a second, I would go through labor and Dr. S said there is no reason I couldn’t have a VBAC.  She said he was big, 7.5 pounds doesn’t sound that big, but maybe he was.  He was also turned with his face 3/4 to the front, causing my back labor and making it hard to descend, I think this was the bigger problem, but that is just my opinion.

Birth Story Part 1: labor at home

The short version:
I went past my due date.  I had a non-stress test and saw my doctor, Dr. S, Friday July 8.  At that appointment she stripped my membranes and told me she was on call all weekend and hoped to see me back before my induction date of July 12.  I went home and worked on my research project all afternoon.  Around 5:30 I had a strong contraction.  At 6 they started for real.  We went to the hospital at 2:30 and I was 5 cm.  I got an epidural and at 8 I was still 5 cm so Dr. S broke my water.  At 11 I had progressed to 7 cm, which was slow, so Dr. S wanted to watch me for an hour and maybe give pitocin to speed things up.  At 12, no progress, Simon wasn’t recovering from the decels (heart rate slowing during contractions) well so they put me on oxygen and said I may need a C-section if I didn’t progress.  At 1 pm I was told it was time for a C-section.  I wasn’t progressing, and my cervix was starting to swell.  Simon wasn’t in distress, but they didn’t want to get to a point where he was.  They wheeled me to the OR and Simon was born at 1:41.

The (really, really) long version:  **To my family and friends, I’m writing this in detail for me, I need to process it all one more time in writing and then move on.  I’m also writing because I found it helpful to read other people’s birth stories.  Be warned for lots of medical and emotional detail.

After wanting and trying for a baby for so long, we were excited and a little stunned when we found out I was pregnant.  I spent approximately the entire nine months planning and prepping for him, including how we wanted the delivery to go.  After reading many many blogs and seeing “The Business of Being Born”  I was interested in a drug free labor and delivery.  At 26 weeks I passed out during the blood draw for the glucose test and decided that the thought of lots of needles stressed me out way more than the thought of labor pain.  That’s when I started really researching, but also reserving the right to change my mind at any time.  I read both of Ina Mae Gaskin’s books and also The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (the absolute most helpful book I read and am re-reading now).  My doctor, Dr. S, was on board with my plans.  I never wrote an actual birth plan.  At some point during my blog reading I came across this plan “Bring home live baby.”  While my struggle with IF was relatively easy and I am not coming from a place of miscarriage or still birth, the sentiment behind this stuck with me.  Because really, getting Simon here safely was the main thing.

That said, when Rob and I talked about what we wanted from the birthing experience (mostly me talking) I wanted to stay at home as long as possible, I wanted to stay drug free, and we both wanted to avoid a C-section.  That one was probably the most important.  Oh, how the best laid plans change.

At my 40w 4d appointment I asked Dr. S to strip my membranes.  I was about 60% effaced and 1.5 cm dilated.  I had mild to moderate cramping all afternoon while I sat on the couch and worked on finishing up some research things that I had been putting off.  Since my mom was coming the next day (Saturday) for the week and my induction was set, this was my last chance to get it all done before the baby

At 5:30 I felt a HUGE contraction compared to what I had been feeling (nothing compared to what was to come) and I talked to Sara (BFF who happens to also be an OB) on her way home from work.  Everything seemed pretty normal.  At 6pm I got what were the WORST period like cramps of my life.  The debilitating kind where all I want to do is curl up on the bathroom floor and sleep for a week.  And maybe throw up some.  Of course this started right around the time we were eating dinner.  By 7pm I couldn’t move and only picked at my food.  Around this time I started feeling contractions on top of the cramping.  They were far apart but pretty regular.  The worst part for me was no break from pain.  Ever.  The whole time I was at home.  I thought maybe I had misunderstood everything I had read, that there was a contraction and then a rest period.  I’ve talked to enough people that I believe this is generally true.  I never had that rest, because between contractions I still had the WORST CRAMPS OF MY LIFE.

I still hadn’t finished my research items that were due, so I laid on the couch curled up and worked from that position.  Around 9 I told Rob I was done, and I thought this was probably real labor and I needed to focus on it.  I dictated an email for Rob to send for me with the bazillion attachments I had been working on, apologized for any incoherency and said I’d deal with questions in a few weeks.  At 10 Rob convinced me to call the hospital to make sure that this was IT.  The doctor on call said it sounded like early labor and to take a shower, it would help.  It did not help.  I couldn’t stand up in the shower because standing made me want to throw up.  I did want to throw up though, I was hoping that would relieve the pressure in my stomach.  I laid in a warm bath for awhile.  This also did nothing, but it was easier to stay there than move to get out.  One thing that did help some was sitting on the toilet and leaning my arms and head on a stool.

For all the prep work we had done in my reading and our childbirth class, we really didn’t or couldn’t use any of it.  Because of the cramps I couldn’t move and the only position that was comfortable tolerable was the fetal position (which is not on the labor positions list).  I didn’t want to be touched at all as my skin was crawling.  We did finally find that if Rob massaged my forearms and hands that helped.  At one point Rob told me he didn’t know how I was still going because when he gets headaches they weren’t this bad.  But he was stressed because I was in pain and I kept having to remind him to rub my arms or tell me to drink water, or talk to me through the contraction.

At 11:30 I finally threw up.  Hallelujah! I felt better for about 2 hours, and could finally use some of the labor prep.  In this two hours I was finally able to sit on the exercise ball.  Sitting there leaning on the bed and Rob pressed ice packs wrapped in towels on my lower back.  The pressure and the cold felt nice during contractions.  I was also able to walk around during this time which helped.  The contractions were about every 5 minutes at this point and the cramping wasn’t so bad (but the contractions were stronger).  I laid in bed around 12:30 and told Rob to try and sleep.  At 1:15 I got back in the shower.  The cramps were back in full force and the contractions were really hurting.  They were lasting about a minute and it was getting harder to talk through them.  Around 2 Rob and I decided that since I had been in labor 8 hours, we had no idea how far along I was, and the pain was really intense, that it was probably time to go to the hospital.  I called and talked to Dr. L again and she said to come on.  I told Rob to take a shower while I finished getting ready.  I braided my hair – I would highly recommend this if you have long hair – to keep it out of my face and I knew it would stay up for a couple of days, and packed the last few things in the hospital bag.

We called the car service, which came in about 5 minutes, and rode to the hospital which took about 10.  Another thing I knew was that I wanted to leave for the hospital before 5 when rush hour starts.  This was the most painful car ride ever.  The NYC roads are not the smoothest.  Contractions were super strong and close together.  When we got there we used the ER entrance and were directed to labor and delivery.  Walking was not happening so much and I rested against the wall a lot.

continued in Part 2