Ridiculously Epic…

Right and wrong are just words. What matters is what we do

Lucas’ Birth Story

I’m not sure why this is a thing – sharing your birth story – but it is, and I’m jumping on the bandwagon.

My pregnancy was pretty uneventful. Mild cramping in the beginning, an irritating case of PUPPs in the 3rd trimester (and for 3 weeks after birth), and a lot of pelvic/hip discomfort for the last month were the worst things I experienced. Because things went so well, my mind obviously went to a deep dark place where my labor was going to last 30 hours and I would be in horrible pain. That was not the case, thankfully.

I was due May 10. So at my 39 week appointment on May 8, I asked my midwife to strip my membranes in hopes that it would jump-start my labor.

All day on May 9 I had consistent mild contractions that were 15-20 minutes apart (I downloaded an app to track my contractions). Otherwise, it was uneventful and I went to bed with the hopes that I would have a baby before the weekend was over.

I woke up in the wee hours of the morning on May 10 to use the restroom and couldn’t fall back to sleep (such was the norm for the past few weeks) so I sat in bed for about 40 minutes playing a game on my phone trying to make myself tired. I was on my way to the bathroom (which is a whopping 4 feet from our bedroom) when I felt a gush. I got to the bathroom and realized it was my water breaking, and I was losing my mucous plug at the same time (holy crap, that was gross).

When I got to the bathroom and started having more painful contractions I knew it was time to call my midwife’s office to see if I should come in. My phone call woke Ernest up and he came to see what was going on and I told him that my water broke. He stared at me like a deer in headlights for a minute and then said “What do you need me to do?”

He got dressed and got our hospital bag in the car, pulled the car out of the garage, and covered the front seat in thick fluffy towels in case any other fun liquids decided to make their escape on our 25 minute drive to the hospital.

While he was doing that, I was dealing with contractions and rocking on an exercise ball in the bedroom awaiting a call from a midwife. The midwife practice I was going to for my pregnancy has something like 12 different midwives who work 12 hour on-call shifts. The midwife I saw the most (Celina) called back very quickly, I told her what was going on and she asked what I wanted to do. I was experiencing a particularly painful contraction which caught me off guard and I started crying, but managed to tell her that I wanted to come in. She told me to go ahead and she’d see where things were when we got there.

As we were getting ready to walk out the door, I felt another bigger gush and made it to the bathroom just in time to not get my waters all over the carpet. After another few minutes of dealing with that, we were on our way.

My contractions were getting closer together but they were still bearable, and luckily it was 4am when we were driving to the hospital so traffic was non-existent. Traffic lights were still functional so we did run a couple of those to expedite our travels.

We got to the hospital at 4:30am, gave all the appropriate information, then went to a labor and delivery room and waited for the midwife.

Celina was the midwife on-call that night and it was nice to see a familiar face. She checked me and I was between 3-4 centimeters dilated, so I was admitted. Around 7am, my contractions started getting pretty intense and I asked for an epidural. That was also the time for a shift change, so Celina was going over whatever with the next midwife on call – Katherine.

Being that this was a first time pregnancy, I didn’t quite know what to expect despite the research and doctor visits and centering classes. So when all of a sudden Niagara Falls started coming from my lady bits, I was a bit shocked and started exclaiming loudly “Oh god, what the crap is that?!” Celina and Katherine whipped their heads around and looked at me alarmingly and I explained about all the fluid. They both just said “Oh” and turned back to what they were doing. Apparently this is normal, and “there’s a lot of fluid in there.” The nurse helped clean up what I dubbed “Lake Lucas” and we moved on.

I was still waiting for my epidural, and the contractions had begun to get very intense. I had acquired a birthing ball (aka exercise ball) and it helped me manage my contractions…kind of. By this point, pleasant, joking Jessi had gone into hiding and the “leave-me-the-hell-alone-what-are-you-doing” Jessi had come out to play. So when Ernest tried to rub my back or lovingly give me words of encouragement I was shushing him and waving him away, leaving him to stand there in awkward silence with the nurse.

FINALLY the anesthesiologist came around 8:15am to give me the epidural. They are required to go through all the explanations and risks first. Obviously this wasn’t their first rodeo because grunts, head nods, and thumbs up were good enough to them that I understood. Ernest had to leave the room, so he anxiously wandered around and got himself some tea while I got some sweet, sweet relief.

Within minutes of getting the epidural I was back to my pleasant self and was cracking jokes and smiling – even taking a selfie to put on Facebook.

Epidurals are my favorite.

Epidurals are my favorite.

They checked me right after the epidural and I was 9 centimeters dilated. Then for the next 3 hours, not a whole lot happened. The epidural worked a little too well, and I couldn’t feel my contractions anymore. If you can’t feel the contractions, you can’t push.

Around 11:30am the epidural had started wearing off enough for me to feel the pressure of contractions. Once I had made enough progress, Katherine could feel that Lucas wasn’t facing the right way – he needed to be anterior, but he was turned about 15 degrees. They called in the doctor to assess, so she did an ultrasound to see which way Lucas was turned so she knew which way to turn him. I heard her say “Well my hand is smaller than a baby’s head, so…”

Unfortunately, I spiked a fever during labor. This meant that Lucas and I were at risk for an infection called chorioamnionitis and Lucas would have to go to the NICU after birth. I was really sad when hearing this, but knew it was for the best and tried to not be too upset about it.

There was a team of pediatricians waiting to take Lucas over to the NICU (I think 4 of them), 2 nurses, 1 midwife, 1 attending, and another woman who was working with the midwife – I don’t remember why she was there though, and Ernest. Between contractions they all just kind of stood there, waiting, staring at my lady bits. I asked them if they ever get tired of looking at vaginas all day, no one answered me but they all laughed pretty hard.

After 4 hours of pushing, and 12 hours of labor, Lucas Dean was born at 3:38pm. He came out screaming his head off and the second I saw him I started bawling.

The first picture of Lucas and me

The first picture of Lucas and me

Still screaming his head off

Still screaming his head off

The nurse handing Lucas to Ernest so he could hold him for the first time.

A nurse handing Lucas to Ernest so he could hold him for the first time.

Father and Son

Father and Son

I had 3 tears, 2 of which needed stitches. I delivered the placenta (which looks kind of like the liver) which Ernest says was the second weirdest thing he has ever seen. They took Lucas to the NICU, and the room cleared out pretty quickly. Ernest went to get us food since I hadn’t eaten since 6pm Friday night and Ernest only had a couple of granola bars and some tea all day.

So that’s my birth story. I’m proud of how hard I worked to bring my tiny human into the world, and am so grateful to that Ernest was there to support and encourage me.

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One Month Later…

I am a mom. I’ve been a mom for one whole month (although some might argue that I’ve been a mom since we found out that I was pregnant – but I am talking about being a mom in the sense of caring for the Tiny Human outside of my uterus.)

After 12 hours of active labor – 4 of which were pushing – Lucas Dean was born at 3:38pm on May 10, 2014. Thankfully, I had a relatively easy labor that went quickly for a first time birth. The negative was that I spiked a fever during labor which indicated that there was an infection, so Lucas had to be taken over to the NICU after he was born. Thankfully, I still got to hold him and have some skin-to-skin time before they took him over. Ernest got to hold him too. The second I was able to stand, walk, and pee on my own you can bet we were on our way to the NICU to be with him. We both had to be on IV antibiotics for 48 hours and Lucas had jaundice, so he had to stay in the hospital an extra day. There are several things we feel that the doctors could have done differently to improve the jaundice sooner, but there’s nothing I can do about it now and Lucas is healthy so I guess in the large scheme of things it doesn’t really matter.

It still seems a little surreal, having a baby. I look at him and I am just filled with joy, hope, happiness, love…the emotions and adjectives are endless.

I have 8 weeks of maternity leave and it’s already half over. Only 4 more weeks at home with my little man before I have to go back to work and he has to go to daycare twice a week (or more!). I love spending my days with him. We snuggle, talk, have tummy time, run errands, try to get Avery to come closer to him, generally enjoying each others company (I’m just assuming he enjoys my company as he can’t actually contribute his thoughts yet).

I love his little hands and feet, all of his crazy hair, his perfect little ears, his beautiful blue eyes, how he looks like a tiny old man when he cries, his smiles, all his crazy faces he makes (the “I’m trying to poop/am pooping” faces are the best), his little cinnamon bun belly button, his grunts and squeaks and all kinds of other adorable noises. I could go on.

Obviously I don’t love everything that comes with being a mom, but nothing is worth mentioning because A) It won’t last forever and B) Why even bother? Why complain when there are so many other positive things to focus on?

I AM A MOM.

And it’s fucking great.

Ernest, Lucas and I - Day 1

Ernest, Lucas and I – Day 1

Lucas and Mommy – Day 3

Lucas & Mommy – 1 Month

Lucas – 1 Month!

 

 

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The “Fat” Problem – Preggo Style

Half a year ago, I wrote a post challenging the  commonly held notions surrounding body image. In light of recent events, I realize it is time to revisit the issue… preggo style.

I’ve gained 10 pounds and it’s all up front. Don’t even get me started on my ever-growing boobs. Since I was already on the heavy side, my doctor suggested a weight gain range of 11 to 20 pounds. Gestational diabetes, excessive weight gain and increased risk to myself and my unborn child prompted a higher awareness to dietary choices. Resisting the urge to succumb to every craving was a challenge, but lucky for me my cravings consist primarily of fresh fruit, fresh veggies, salad, smoothies and yogurt. Thankfully, the Tiny Human wants more than just bacon cheeseburgers, french fries, and amazing grilled cheese sandwiches from Melt.

I’ve always been painfully aware of the fact I would never be what I consider one of those “cute” pregnant women. Social media is constantly flooded with weekly baby bump photos detailing the progress of pregnancy. By the time the 9th month rolls around, you might think she’s stuffed a beach ball under her shirt. What makes it even more difficult for those of us who weigh in on the bigger side is seeing the few who are lucky enough to return to their pre-pregnancy figure immediately after child birth – with seemingly no effort.

Why go into all this? This past weekend at work I had 2 different clients express surprise at me being only 7 months pregnant. Based on my size they thought I was further along, and didn’t hesitate to comment on it.

I don’t understand why people think it’s okay to comment on how “big” – or how “little” – a woman is during pregnancy. In general, women are already sensitive about their weight/size/shape. A 9-month-long ride on the hormone roller coaster only makes it worse. Even the most emotionally stable, self-assured women experience days where they feel less than 100% beautiful – pregnant or not.

A quick Google search for “things to never say to a pregnant woman” brings “about 83,700,000″ results. Most of the sites I checked featured at least 2 to 5 points regarding weight/size/shape.

On the contrary, a Google search for “things to never say to a women” comes up with “about 516,000,000” results. The majority of them are geared toward men with far fewer references to weight/size/shape.

Don’t even get me started on the inconsistencies and sexism behind the differences in those searches. That’s another post entirely.

Where am I going with all of this? I simply ask that you be aware. Pregnant women get bigger and bigger as the Tiny Human grows and we are made constantly aware of this fact as our clothes fit tighter and tighter as each day passes…without comments from friends, family, co-workers, customers, or even complete strangers. In a society where “skinny is sexy” gets shoved down our throats on a daily basis, we don’t need reminding. Just tell us how excited you are for us, or how much fun having kids is. Please leave the comments about our appearance to yourself, we’re probably thinking it anyway.

Note: I originally drafted this post 3 days ago, and since then I have had at least 4 clients express surprise at my baby belly exclaiming that they didn’t even realize I was pregnant and how great I look. So there’s that…and it makes me smile.

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Size Matters

It has bothered me for months that I can only compare the size of my growing child to fruits or vegetables. At first, it wasn’t bad. I could easily visualize how big the Tiny Human inside of me was when my Baby Bump app said that he was the size of a blueberry, avocado, even onion. But once I hit week 19 things started getting fuzzy. As a non-tomato eater I know there are grape tomatoes and then bigger-than-grape-tomatoes. So when week 19 told me that Tiny Human was the size of an heirloom tomato, I was having difficult visualizing it.

That’s when I hit The Goog in attempts to find some type of baby size chart that was more tangible, something that I could relate to easier than some of the upcoming comparisons. Every fracking result was fruits and vegetables!!! How difficult is it to give women (and men) a more realistic idea of how big their baby is?

So I took it upon myself to search Google for things that were the same size as these fruits and vegetables I was getting. WASTE. OF. TIME. Every time I tried searching, I would just get images of women’s torsos with said fruit/vegetable next to it or a link to yet ANOTHER website with a fruit/veggie comparison. Regardless of what I typed in for the search. Eventually I just gave up, and started picturing my Tiny Human smooshed into the shape of the fruit/veggie-of-the-week (usually after searching for what the veggie of the week looked like if I wasn’t sure).

I did eventually find 2 different sites that gave comparisons that were not fruits/veggies. They are both great in helping me visualize better, but sadly both are catered to the dads. This is disappointing to me. Why is this targeted at dads? Neither my husband or I know what some of these vegetables look like, so why are these non-fruit/veggie comparisons just for dad? I call bullshit. Just because I am a woman, I should innately know what a hothouse cucumber (week 26) looks like? Or how big a “small” cantaloupe (week 20) is in comparison to an “average” cantaloupe (week 34)? At week 25, Tiny Human was the size of a rutabaga. I’ve been sharing these fruit/veggie comparisons with some friends over the weeks, and only one knew what a rutabaga looked like. Either we are all terribly uneducated on vegetables, or these size comparisons are weird. I vote option #2.

Well, I’m done. Now for your amusement….which one is easier for your mind to wrap itself around?

Week 21…Banana v. Beer Bottle

21 Weeks - Banana21 Weeks - Beer Bottle

Week 26…Hothouse Cucumber v. Work Boot


26 Weeks - Hothouse Cucumber26 Weeks - Work Boot

Week 31…4 Navel Oranges v. the big wheel on a Big Wheel Trike

31 Weeks - 4 Navel Oranges31 Weeks - Big Wheel

Week 38…Leek v. Beach Ball

38 Weeks - Leek38 Weeks - Beach Ball

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It’s All Fun and Games Until Somebody Gets Pregnant

Unless you just think that I’ve been eating way too much Chipotle, it should be quite obvious that I am pregnant…almost 7 months pregnant to be exact. While it might be true that I have been thoroughly enjoying my fair share of delicious rice, steak, corn, tomatoes, and cheese (doctor’s orders…I swear), it is not the cause of my burgeoning belly. According to my baby app, I’ve got a tiny human that weighs about 2 pounds and is the size of a 14.5″ cauliflower hanging out inside my uterus. He should be making an appearance around May 10, if all goes according to plan.

I am in no way, shape, or form an expert on pregnancy (is anyone really?) However, I’ve read some blogs, talked to friends, and done a good amount of research on pregnancy and the ridiculous stuff you experience in the 9 months a person spends as an incubator for the tiny human. Despite all of this “research,” nothing truly prepares you for the changes that you experience during pregnancy.

One reoccurring thought I’ve been having is the amount of stuff one does on a daily basis that they now have to think about…that they’ve never had to think about before.

Peeing

Yes, peeing. Never once in my life have I ever doubted myself whilst peeing. You sit down, you pee, you wash your hands…end of story, right? Wrong. I find myself hanging out in the bathroom just a few minutes longer. Why? Because there’s always some pee left in there. Always. And it’s a huge pain in the ass to start washing my hands only to realize that why yes, yes you still have to pee. My hands are so dry from washing and re-washing because my body doesn’t know when it’s done peeing anymore. It’s sad when a person can’t even trust their own bladder.

Bending Over

This morning I dropped my Kindle charger on the floor. Now, just a couple of months ago I would’ve just bent right over and picked it up. However now I have to think about which way I can/should bend in order to retrieve the item I have dropped. Most of the time, I have this awkward squatting stance where I slowly bend over to my right side while holding on to something with my left hand to keep my balance. My husband keeps looking at my like a bird with a broken wing…eyes full of pity and mildly sad that I’m floundering so helplessly to complete such a simple, mundane task. Usually this provokes a “Stop looking at me like that, you did this to me!” (all in good fun of course).

Sitting

There’s nothing quite like curling up on the couch with your significant other/dog/cat/whatever while watching some Grey’s Anatomy, or Dexter. But not anymore. Maybe never again. Back pain is an annoyingly common symptom of pregnancy. Mine is exacerbated by trying to get comfortable. Sitting for more than 20-30 minutes usually causes some pretty intense pain in my middle to lower back on the right side. Driving or riding in the car? I swear that there are several tiny little leprechauns in the seats stabbing me in the back with knives. You just can’t trust leprechauns.

Sleeping

I love sleep. Or I used to anyway. We invested in a body pillow in my early pregnancy (Target clearance after back to school? Score!) It takes up 1/3 of our bed, and I usually end up with at least part of my body under the pillow at some point throughout the night. I can only lay on my left side with the pillow between my legs or on my back propped up by pillows. I wake up on average at least 2 times a night, usually because I have to pee, but sometimes because of the aforementioned back pain. I like to play a game when I wake up in the middle of the night and am still half asleep called “If I Fall Back Asleep Right Now, What Are the Chances I’ll Pee the Bed?” Fortunately, I’m not a chance-taker so I just get up and pee anyway. Our dog, Avery, hates the body pillow because there’s no room for her on the bed anymore, and oftentimes will try to lay half on it and half on me. This doesn’t usually end well for her.

Sex

Let’s preface this one with I’M PREGNANT. I am not the Virgin Mary, this baby was not immaculately conceived. Little Lucas is the result of some good old-fashioned fornication. And you’re not allowed to be grossed out by that. Hate to break it to you, but sex happens. Now onto my point here…for the first month after we discovered that we had successfully created a tiny human there was no sex. I had crazy cramping, which is a common symptom in early pregnancy, but not one that people talk about? I think it’s because most women are too busy being miserable from puking their guts out with morning sickness to realize they’re having horrible cramps. Once that phase was over, the sex was UH-MAY-ZING. I mean, it’s always been fantastic, I have an incredible husband. We work well together. But in the early pregnancy, it was magically more amazing. Now…well…my tummy sticks out past my boobs and things are uncomfortable when I walk across the room. I’ll spare you the details, but as amazing as things are…that doesn’t mean they’re entirely comfortable.

Breathing

Some of you might be asking “C’mon, really? Breathing? That’s second nature!” Well let me tell you, breathing is hard when you’re growing a baby. I work in a fast paced environment handling dogs and cats that demands fast talking and fast movement. Guess what makes me out of breath? Fast anything. I’m so used to just being able to talk or move quickly, that I find myself getting winded and embarrassed talking to clients – especially on tours. Luckily I work with amazing people who are incredibly helpful to me, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be the client calling to check on their pet and have me answer the phone because by the time I’m done checking on their pet, they might as well just pick them up it took me so damn long.

When all is said and done, I am super excited to be a mom. I am fortunate that I get to experience being pregnant because there are people out there who can’t. I am lucky to have a supportive and wonderful husband who is just as excited as me about this baby (he also has some pretty funny thoughts on babies, you can check him out here). Pregnancy is a weird thing, and does weird things to your body, but I don’t even have my little man in my arms yet and I know that all this weirdness is worth it in the end.

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