Thursday, January 24, 2013

Colton's Birth Story

Warning to the reader: this story will most certainly include things about labor and delivery, obviously, and some content may be TMI for some people. These are all of the most important details I could remember from my very long labor experience.

The story actually begins on Friday, January 11 – only to say that I had been laying around for most of the night while Mark was at work. I had class on Saturday morning so I tried to make sure the lights were out and I was trying to sleep by 11 pm. I woke up a couple of times throughout the night, which wasn’t unusual, the fact that I was waking up at every little noise and sleeping very lightly was. I never wake up when the heat kicks on in our house but on this particular night I seemed to just be extra vigilant. I went to the bathroom a few times and noticed a couple of wet spots in my underwear. Nothing major, and nothing seemed to be happening when I wiped either. I had just laid back in bed and decided to Google some stories of water breaking in a slow leak and how slow it can be, just to rule out that this might be happening since there was so little. Suddenly I felt like I was leaking profusely. I got up really quickly and ran to the bathroom. My underwear was covered in clear discharged, leaked all the way through to my pants, and was running down my leg. When your water breaks you are supposed to check the time right away because babies are delivered within 24 hours of water broken to prevent infection. It was 3:37 am on January 12, 2013. We were on our way to having a baby!

Labor had not started at all for me when my water broke. I was totally shocked that it even happened. My understanding is that the water breaks before labor in much fewer cases than the other way around, like 10%. I feel like even though we went over this in our childbirth class the instructor made it sound like odds are this wouldn’t happen – but it happened to us! We had a few minor things left to pack and as much as I wanted to try and help or take a shower or relax for a bit before we left I quite literally could not get up without gushing more fluid, more than a pad would help. After dirtying another pair of underwear and pants I sufficed to just sit on the toilet, call the on-call number for the doctor, and yell instructions to Mark as we got ready to leave.

In order to get me out the door we stuffed a towel in my pants and laid another towel down on the passenger’s side of the car and were finally able to leave. It was about 4:30 AM at this point. The car ride was very surreal and I was getting nervous and excited all at once. The thought crossed my mind that normally when you’re in labor your not allowed to eat anything so we pulled over and got some snacks out of our hospital bag and ate them on the way. We arrived at the hospital at 5:00 AM and were admitted through emergency. It was funny because the same girl was working the admission desk when we were there a few days earlier for headache and high blood pressure, so we joked around with her that we wouldn’t be leaving without a baby this time! At this point I still was only feeling mild period-like cramps that started shortly after my water broke. I wasn’t tired at all, just ready to get the show on the road! We were admitted into Labor and Delivery room 3 and started the initial interview with our nurse. The monitor wasn’t showing any contractions yet and she had me drink some juice to wake up the baby so he could be monitored as well. I was checked and learned that I had virtually no progress going on whatsoever – cervix still closed and high.
For the next few hours the nurse suggested we try to get some sleep. Mark was able to take a short nap, which was good because he hadn’t even gotten to bed at all the previous night. He couldn’t sleep and had dozed off on the couch for just a short time before my water broke. I probably got somewhere around 3-4 hours of sleep combined with getting up and using the bathroom, sleeping lightly, and so on. I wasn’t able to sleep that morning in the hospital though. I watched TV in bed and had some light contractions start showing up on the monitor. The nurse came back around 7:00 am and said that I would be able to order a light breakfast, so I got to eat some scrambled eggs with toast and juice that finally got to my room around 8:00 am. While waiting I had to sign consent paperwork and get my blood drawn. I also had time to spread the word to family and friends about being at the hospital and what was happening so far.

During the morning the doctor came in and talked to me about what would likely go on since my water broke. He explained the two options typically include starting with medical interventions like Pitocin right away, or trying to stimulate labor naturally. I strongly indicated on my birth plan that I did not want medical interventions if possible and the doctor was great about that. He said he felt good about me working towards the natural route and would come to check on things later. I wouldn’t have a lot of cervical checks during the process because of the risk of introducing infection.

Our morning and afternoon was very busy with trying to get things going. We walked and walked and walked circles around the labor and delivery floor. The same nurses and housekeepers eventually started giggling about how often they saw us walking, and the intensity too. I would try and pick things up and go quicker in hopes to stimulate something. I also spent time bouncing on the birthing ball in our room. Contractions started coming more frequently, but not always consistently. They were anywhere between 3 and 6 minutes and were not super intense. They gradually seemed to become more uncomfortable but nothing worse than period cramps at that point.

My parents came up to visit us around 12:30, which started out okay but ended up being too distracting and overstimulating for me in the end. At first I thought it would be nice to have visitors but being as we had been there for 7 and a half hours with not much going on I just felt more frustrated and perhaps more performance anxiety or something with people sitting around waiting for something to happen. I was absolutely starving too, really wished I could eat something, and the nurse eventually got around to getting me some more juice and crackers. I had been drinking water throughout the process, which was certainly helpful.

At 3:30 PM, 12 hours after my water broke, the doctor came in to check out what was happening. And what was happening just wasn’t enough given our time restraints – I was only about 2.5 centimeters dilated and 50% effaced, but baby’s head was starting to come down nicely. The doctor suggested that we would need to get started on Pitocin to hopefully help move things along. He was reassuring that since the little contractions I had been having so far were working hard to efface me, the medication should truly be helpful. I was so upset though – this was just not part of my plan and I really didn’t want to do it. I wasn’t resistant because I knew it was important to deliver him more quickly but I cried quite a bit initially. I wasn’t defeated though. Just had to make the best of a situation I really was hoping not to deal with.

The nurse came in just few minutes later to hook up my IV and meds. IVs are truly awful. It took a while and all that jabbing is not just uncomfortable, it’s painful. They explained that the Pitocin would start on the lowest setting and they would only be able to turn it up every half hour as needed. I started on a 1 mL dosage and by the end I was up to 16 I believe.

My contractions prior to the Pitocin were already a tad uncomfortable but really not painful. Everything I’ve ever heard about Pitocin had left me terrified that I was going to immediately be in severe amounts of pain that I wouldn’t be able to handle but that really wasn’t the case. It seemed the contractions grew in intensity as gradually as the dosage picked up, maybe even less so. I worked on pain management with the birthing ball still, as well as sitting up in bed and laying on my left side. The nurse also suggested standing and leaning over the bed or a table and laying on my back or other sides. Walking could be done in my room but I wasn’t able to leave the room anymore.

Once the contractions started getting worse I was more than happy to not be walking the halls. The nurse later said how surprised she was that the birthing ball worked so well for me; I spent the majority of my time using it and leaning over as with my forearms on my knees was really nice for back pain.

What contractions felt like to me: I initially felt my contractions in my lower abdomen. They started wrapping around to my lower back and my hips as well. I am writing this 3 days after labor and I honestly can’t even recall how to describe the pain, but when it was really bad it was bad.

It took me a LONG time to get into active labor. At 12:00 am on January 13 the nurse checked me and told me that finally I was 100% effaced, but I was still only about 4 centimeters. Baby’s head was in position though and she suggested I make sure to stop using positions like leaning or standing that would make his head drop further and use the ball for counter-pressure or laying in bed on either side. For the next few contractions I laid on my left side, then got up and moved to the ball. The nurse came in and let us know that baby’s heart rate was starting to decelerate with contractions and that I should try to lay on my right side to see if that would help things. It actually did, and his heart rate went right back to where it should be.

After hearing that I was only 4 cm and the fact that the contractions had been bad and were still bad and getting worse was really upsetting. I was told that generally women will dilate 1 cm an hour, but I might go more quickly since I was totally effaced. The nurse helped me with breathing techniques and Mark helped any way that he could. What I found most helpful was to have him just cheering me on, reminding me to concentrate on my breathing, and to just be encouraging. I don’t think I ever actually looked at anyone during contractions, I preferred closing or covering my eyes. Hearing soothing voices helped me to try and relax and just get through what I could. He was the best support I could ask for and I could not have gotten through everything pain-med free without him.

I had gotten back up and moved to the birthing ball and had two contractions in a row where I started feeling like there was pressure in my bottom area. I was really freaked out by that because I wasn’t supposed to be dilated all the way yet. I asked Mark if he could try to go find the nurse to make sure that this feeling was okay. The nurse came in and we asked when I would be checked yet. She said that I was just checked 45 minutes ago at midnight so we would probably wait until 2 am to check me again.

We decided to move me to the bed first on my left side again and at that point I was in full freak out mode and yelling that he needed to go get the nurse, it felt like he was going to push himself right out! Mark went over to the door but I started begging that he needed to stay with me so he pushed the call nurse button and the nurse came in. I continued to freak out and explain that I felt like my body was just pushing and I couldn’t help it. The nurse ended up checking me and I was totally ready at 10 cm. From 4 to 10 in 45 minutes! I was also shaking so bad at this point, almost like I was practically convulsing, which the nurse said was normal at this point in labor. It kind of made everything seem worse though because instead of having a break from contractions and resting I was shaking uncontrollably.

Nobody really expected things to move this quickly, so the nurse had went to start setting things up in the room and had to go get the doctor who was actually about to go in to a C-Section before me. I know that some people find pushing to be relieving but I found pushing to be horrifying. It made me feel really panicky and it did not feel good to me to push – it just felt like my body took over and I had to do it. The nurse and doctor were super encouraging and excited, telling me to just listen to my body and let it tell me what to do. While things were getting set up I was able to push during my contractions with just Mark and I on the bed. I started feeling like I was just pushing and nothing was even happening, that you couldn’t see anything. The nurse told us that yes – you could see his head at the opening while I pushed. She pulled over a large mirror and during my next contraction she pointed out where you could see his head starting to make an appearance and it was the craziest thing! We did maybe 3 pushes before the doctor was ready.

Finally things were set up for real pushing. I got into the stirrup position and the doctor helped coach me on how and where to push as the contractions came. It was so hard to do and so painful, I thought. This took about 4 pushes, and on the last push since I was tearing the doctor decided to do an episiotomy to help him out. (at that point I asked them to push the mirror away, I didn’t want to see that happen). I felt the episiotomy but it honestly felt better than pushing without it. Plus this really motivated me to just get him OUT, I just didn’t want to push anymore. The doctor had me open my eyes mid push to see his head finally come out, with one last push out came his body and he was here! 1:47 am on 1/13/13. He weighed 7 pounds 1 ounce and was 20.75 inches long. He is the most perfect thing I've ever seen and he was so alert when he was born! I can't believe he's really mine.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Our son has arrived!

Colton Daniel was born on 1/13/13 at 1:47 am. He weighted 7 pounds, 1 ounce and 20.75 inches long. He is the most precious teeny thing I've ever seen! We are busy transitioning into parenthood at home now but I will have more to come soon.

One of his first pictures!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Weekly Menu 1/13-1/19

I am hoping to get to the grocery store tomorrow after my morning class, so I decided to do my menu planning a little bit early. I'm not even 100% sure how this plan will work out because we could be having a baby at anytime - so that will possibly throw a wrench in the plans. Either way, here's what I'm thinking for this week:

Sunday 1/13: Ranch Cheddar Chicken, Artichoke Dip
Monday 1/14: Leftover Artichoke Dip, Hot Dogs
Tuesday 1/15: Chicken Chili 
Wednesday 1/16: Eggplant Parmesan Heros
Thursday 1/17: Leftovers
Friday 1/18: Buttermilk Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs
Saturday 1/19: Leftovers

Some of you may have noticed that I decided to get rid of my food blog and export everything here instead. It just felt like it made more sense to me to have an all-encompassing blog rather than trying to update in two different places. I think that menu planning and recipes fit nicely with the overall themes of my blog as well - wife & mom stuff. I'd love to try and do a "dinner tonight" segment at least once a week, and also update if I do any baking or snack making or things of that nature.

If you have a menu plan, please tell me about it! I love reading menu plans and finding new recipes.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

38 weeks

Daddy, Mommy, & Baby just shy of 38 weeks
Only 2 weeks to go now - or less! This weekend we spent time with both sides of the family and I had everyone fill out there guesses for when the little guy will be born and how much he might weigh. Some of the guesses are coming up this week, so I guess we will see if they are right! Personally I'm not feeling super different except maybe a little more cramping and braxton hicks contractions this week than last week. I've been feeling very moody and emotional the past few days and having a lot more trouble sleeping. I hope all of those things mean that labor is coming sooner rather than later.

Very early this morning we had a mini scare because I had a rather severe headache and my blood pressure was in the 150/99 range at the highest (according to a home monitor). We were advised to head to Labor and Delivery and I was monitored for a few hours. High blood pressure paired with a bad headache can sometimes be symptoms of preeclampsia, which is not something to take lightly. Thankfully after a few hours my blood pressure went down, my urine and blood samples were clear, and baby was looking good. I was terrified that things wouldn't improve because I was most certainly going to be induced if they didn't. The nurse had even prepped me for what procedure would most likely go on if things got to that point.

During our mini stay I learned that I am 1 centimeter dilated, cervix is still long. According to the monitors I was having contractions that were pretty consistent - about 4 minutes apart! I didn't really feel anything though, so the nurse said they probably weren't doing a whole lot to facilitate labor at that point. Kind of crazy to hear that though. I think I've recently pinpointed some changes in my Braxton Hicks contractions seeming to amp up into something more. I'm experiencing more shortness of breath in addition to tightening all over instead of concentrated in my lower belly. Seems like there might be a shift going on from false labor to true labor.

I moved my 38 week appointment to Thursday since we were just at the hospital on Tuesday and I would rather have some space in between trips out that way. I am crossing my fingers that something new is happening. Every time I talk to my mom about pregnancy related things it sounds like her body changed and prepared quite rapidly once things got going. Maybe it's hereditary? I hope so!

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year's Resolutions 2013

Photo Credit

I am a goal setter, a planner, a dreamer. New Year's resolutions are always right up my alley. I love imagining all of the things I could accomplish in an entire year's time! This year is kind of odd making resolutions because my life is about to change so drastically and I don't know exactly how the rest of life will respond to that, but I'd like to set some goals this year regardless.

1. Health
This is the resolution that everyone chooses year in and year out. I think it is even more important for me this year because I am most certainly going to have some baby weight to lose and some muscles to strengthen. My specific goals include:
  • eating a fruit and/or vegetable with every meal
  • limiting sugary beverages like pop and juice
  • find an exercise program or video that I enjoy and do it regularly
  • take the baby on 3 or more walks per week when the weather gets warm
  • reach a healthy post-pregnancy weight that I am happy with
2. Hobbies
Having a baby is certainly going to be a major hobby of mine, but I'd like to still keep an identity apart from being a mommy, so setting some goals for hobbies is essential. I have a hard time with hobbies to begin with as I'm always so caught up in working or being a student, and while I don't know what the future holds as far as a new job or my class workloads, here are some hobbies that I'd like to focus on in the new year:
  • experiment more with cooking and baking; test out a new recipe at least once a week (I've already tried out 2 new dinners this week alone and am about to make a new cake recipe tonight! so this is going well)
  • keep up with blogging and taking pictures of life
  • read at least 1 classic novel per month (I'd love to get through the Times top 100 novels of all time someday)
  • make fitness a priority and a hobby that I can learn to enjoy
3. Family
In this category I want to be a good mother and a good wife, find balance between spending time with family, and also including extended family as much as possible in our child's life. I want to find fun things to do in our neighborhood and explore with our son, even though when he's really tiny there won't be much to do right away. Some examples of things we would like to do this year:
  • Go to the zoo
  • Choose a new church 
  • Utilize our neighborhood park and find new parks
  • Go to the beach
  • Fourth of July vacation to Silver Lake Sand Dunes
  • Cider Mill and Pumpkin Patch visits
  • Chop down our own Christmas tree at a Christmas tree farm
4. School/Work
This category is difficult to set goals for because I'm just not sure what we will need to do vs. what will work out with our growing family (again). Some of the thoughts bouncing around my head include:
  • Finding a balance between class schedule and time at home
  • Complete school specialization successfully
  • Find internship and begin in the fall semester
  • Be open to various part time jobs should I need to go back to work when the baby is a bit older (possibly waitressing again, although I would love a part-time position at my previous county job, if available).
  • Study and take the NCE (National Counseling Examination) in October for licensure
  • Graduate with my Master's degree in December if all internship hours are completed!
I think that pretty much covers my bases! I know that this year is going to be challenging but I also am certain that it will be a wonderful year too. If you have any goals/resolutions that you are setting I'd love to hear about them!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

36-37 Week Bump Watch & Update

On Monday I hit 37 weeks which means full term for me! Baby could arrive at anytime now and all of his little organs should be functioning well. I am not feeling like he'll be coming this week though - and perhaps not next week either, but we'll see!

Let's start with a few bump pictures - here are my 36 and 37 week shots:

Probably should have removed the hoodie in my 37 week shot. Comfort is of the essence lately. That shirt in my 36 week shot has been retired, don't worry. I realize now it doesn't quite fit as well as it used to. You can tell even more in the following Christmas shots that the husband and I took together: Just a smidge small.

My 37 week appointment today was extremely uneventful. My blood pressure was a bit elevated at first but the nurse retook it at the end of my appointment and it was back down to almost normal. I met another new doctor in the practice and she was super sweet. She told me that she is on call this weekend if I need anything and I really wouldn't be too upset to go into labor knowing she would be the doctor delivering our little boy!

Since I haven't really been having any contractions, or very minimal ones, she advised that it wasn't necessary to do an internal cervical check unless I really wanted it. I was awfully curious - but decided to decline after all out of pure laziness. The appointment was already taking kind of a long time and I had other things to do and getting undressed just sounded really unappealing. Oh well - it's a mystery for now if I've made any progress. I'll be back next Tuesday anyway so it's really not too long to wait.

I'm feeling okay overall. Tiredness and swelling are my two biggest complaints. Since I'm not working anymore though I've been resting a lot and it's been super helpful for swelling and back pain. All of the baby's stuff is pretty much organized and ready. The essentials are definitely done so anytime he arrives we will be ready!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Goodbye 2012, Welcome 2013!

2012 has come and gone - and we survived the apocalypse! (Ha. Ha.)

The year 2012 was by all accounts a really great year. This year was incredibly busy and in some ways it feels like it flew by quite quickly.

We started the year off as we always do in January with plenty of birthdays to celebrate, and my husband did the greatest job making my 23rd birthday special. January also brought some sadness as one of Mark's close friends passed away unexpectedly. The semester started off with some frustrations as I was very unhappy with the way one of my classes looked like it was going to go, so I dropped it and decided to take it at a different time. This left my course load a bit lighter than expected and it was a nice, smooth semester with much less stress.

Looking back at this month, it seemed like we had lots of fun planned each weekend. From Cirque du Soleil, to purse parties with the girls, to Red Wings games, and dinners out, there was plenty of excitement on the agenda. My brothers turned 15 and 17 respectively and we celebrated birthdays as well.

Not much going on here. My husband decided to take up a new hobby this month and worked on brewing some homemade beer. I spent a lot of time working and studying. I applied and was accepted to our chapter of the counseling honors society, CSI, and had my induction ceremony. We went to see The Hunger Games at midnight which is always exciting too!

In April we spent the Easter holiday with my family having dinner. My littlest brother turned 12 and we celebrated his birthday. I ended my classes on a great note and we jetted off to Seattle with Mark's parents for a trip in between winter and summer semesters. The trip to Seattle was really great and I would love to go back one day. We did plenty of touristy type things as well as spent time with Mark's family members that live out that way. Such a cool city.

The summer semester begins! I picked up the previous class I dropped in the winter so my workload is quite a bit more than I would normally take in the summer - 3 classes, so 12 credits. This semester was really great because I got to meet and get to know a lot of really great people. This is the first semester that I feel like I was actually making friends that I would hope to keep in touch with and get to know more as time goes on. I officially bought a new car from my dad that I had been borrowing for a number of months due to a slew of issues with previous cars.

Most importantly this month is that I found out I'm pregnant! I had my first couple of doctor's appointment and the whirlwind of expanding our family began.

This month we shared the news of our pregnancy with our families and some close friends. We also celebrated our one year wedding anniversary. We replicated some of the fun things we did on our honeymoon like playing putt-putt golf and going out to dinner. At my cousin's graduation party at the end of the month our pregnancy news was shared even further to other relatives.

For part of the week of the 4th of July, Mark and I headed to the Silver Lake Sand Dunes on the west side of the state to spend the holiday with his family. It is the traditional vacation spot that they go to every year. Also this month we celebrated with Mark's family again for his grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary. It was really nice - everyone got dressed up, went in a limo to a very nice restaurant, and came back to their house for dessert. We had our first ultrasound at 12 weeks and were able to announce to the world that we are expecting a baby. My littlest sister turned 11 and we celebrated her birthday.

Our niece had her second birthday at the beginning of the month and we celebrated with her and family. The semester ended and we moved right along to preparing for the next semester with one of the biggest classes in the program - practicum. I also officially enrolled in the school counseling specialization classes. We went to a Tigers game with my parents and Mark spent some time at the Woodward Dream Cruise (I decided to skip it for this year). My grandpa was in town this month so we had some nice family barbecues. Finally, we had our anatomy scan ultrasound and learned that our baby is a BOY! We made our first big baby purchase this month - the crib!

This month was definitely busy and stressful - as was much of the fall semester. My schedule was absolutely out of control and I had pretty much no down time at all. Our 5 year dating anniversary was this month and we celebrated at home. I cooked my husband's favorite foods and dessert and he got my flowers and the sweetest card. At the end of the month because of all the stress of school and getting more uncomfortable in pregnancy, I decided to quit my waitressing job.

Since quitting my weekend job, I finally had weekends off this month for the first time in 2 years! Since I had worked there I was mostly hired on to work weekends and eventually dropped down to work Saturdays and Sundays only. This was such a welcome time for me to finally get to relax and spend more time with family. We made it out to the cider mill only once this fall, and it was a wet and muddy day, but still nice to get out there and enjoy it while we could.

Much of the same kinds of things going on since between school and work I was still quite busy. A friend of mine that I waitressed with did some maternity pictures for us. It was so cold outside, but they still turned out quite well. Thanksgiving came and went. We celebrated with Mark's side on Thanksgiving day, and I went to my parents house on Black Friday to have a second Thanksgiving dinner and spend time with them. I had my first baby shower with Mark's side of the family and it was really lovely and so adorably decorated, I wish I had some pictures!

The month started off with a surprise baby shower thrown by my mom and sister for our side of the family. I was definitely very surprised; I didn't suspect a thing. My sister turned 21 and we went out to celebrate her birthday with the family. I ended the semester FINALLY and we took childbirth and breastfeeding classes to prepare for our little guy. I worked up until the week before Christmas and then quit my job, leaving me unemployed for now (apart from being a student) which is quite an odd experience.

The week of Christmas was so busy! We had brunch with my grandma and all the grandchildren followed by a baby shower thrown by my friends. Christmas Eve was spent with my family, but it snowed quite a lot and Mark ended up getting into some car troubles. His car is currently still out of commission. Christmas day we tried to slightly split up between families since Mark missed Christmas Eve with mine. Then just a few days ago Mark sprained his ankle while playing hockey! We are quite the pair right now - guy on crutches with his 9 months pregnant wife, haha.

We rang in the New Year quietly. We had gone out to lunch earlier that day with Mark's family. When we got home we took down the Christmas tree and set up the Pack n Play in its place. Ordered up some pizza and spent the night hanging out on the couch watching TV and finally seeing the ball drop.

And now - we welcome 2013! All I can think of is how any day now (or in a few weeks) the baby will be here!