Our Birth Story

The following is a pretty lengthy account (over 3000 words; you’ve been warned) of Morgan’s birth story. I was hoping for a VBAC that was 100% drug and intervention free. I had an obstetrician that was supportive and on board with my wishes. I also had my husband to support me through this, and I really have to say that his help was incredible! I wouldn’t have made it past Tuesday evening without his help.

As I’m sure you have already guessed, nothing went according to plan, because births never do. Here is our story:

Friday

I began having regular contractions around 2 pm on Friday. I called my husband at work to let him know that it would be wise for him to finish up any loose ends he might have because I didn’t think he would be going to work come Monday.

After he came home, we ate dinner and then went for a walk. Things picked up, and I was having a contraction lasting around 45 seconds every 2-4 minutes. The contractions were very mild, so I wasn’t too confident we were getting anywhere.

That night, I continued to have contractions, but things spaced out to once every 5+ minutes.

Saturday

My contractions stopped completely for a little bit in the morning. They soon picked back up but the intensity didn’t increase. I was still able to walk and talk without difficulty through each contraction. My belly was visibly tightening with most, though, which gave me hope.

I did a lot of walking. I also took a bath and my husband worked on my accupressure points. I was contracting anywhere from 3 to 10 times an hours. Nothing was consistent. I was beginning to get pretty frustrated and just stopped paying attention to them.

Sunday

Still contracting, but nothing had changed. Nothing was consistent, and the intensity was still manageable.

Around 1 pm, I noticed my contractions stopped completely. I also noticed that my son’s position had changed, bringing his bottom almost to my belly button, which caused my belly button to suddenly become an outie.

Around 2:15 pm, there are still no contractions, but I discovered bloody show! I have never been more excited to see grossness come out of my vagina in my life! I also began to lose chunks of mucus. More gross. More excited, though!

That evening, things pick up in intensity. My contractions were still very random, but they definitely grabbed my attention with each one.

Monday

My contractions continued all night, waking me every 10-12 minutes. After I get up for the day, my contractions suddenly stopped. Nothing was happening. My frustration has hit a new level. At this point, I’m also beginning to get concerned about the possible impact this drawn out early labor may be having on my son. I call my obstetrician who, thankfully, can squeeze me in for a nonstress test and evaluation.

I called my husband to come home around mid-morning because at this point I’m just very concerned; I need to hear my baby’s heart beat through a contraction for some reassurance. I also knew that if everything wasn’t perfect at this point my obstetrician would be admitting me for monitoring at the least. He encouraged me to squeeze in a nap, which I did, then we were on our way to the doctor. My mother had already come to pick up Eva, who was home sick from school.

While at the doctor, the medical assistant took my blood pressure while I was having a contraction. It was high enough that she wouldn’t even tell me what she got. My obstetrician checked me, discovering that I was dilated to 2 cm, 70% effaced, and she completed a membrane sweep while she was there (with my consent, obviously). She pushed (gently) on my son’s head while she did the membrane sweep, showing me how close his head was to my cervix. It was definitely a weird feeling. She was confident that she would be hearing from me in the next day.

The medical assistant waited until the end of the appointment to take my blood pressure again. Unfortunately, my contractions had picked up (thank you membrane sweep) and another contraction started while she took my blood pressure. Again.

It was 160/98. Off to labor and delivery we went for some monitoring and blood tests.

My blood pressure readings in labor in delivery were never above 120/80. The nurse also made a point to not take the readings during a contraction for the first few times. All of my blood work came back perfect, as well. We were sent home (about 5 hours later).

At home, we ate a nice meal and called Eva and my mother to make sure she had everything she needed since she would be spending the night with grandma.

Things soon picked up, with contractions that stopped me in my tracks. I was nauseated and could barely force myself to take bites between contractions. We left for the hospital around 9 pm when I could no longer talk through my contractions.

We arrived around 10 pm and after a lengthy check-in process, I was checked. I was only dilated to 3 cm. So, let the walking begin! I snacked, keeping my blood glucose levels in normal range, drank as much water as I could, and walked. We did some yoga and Spinning Babies moves along with squats and even relaxation. I was checked again at midnight, only to discover no progress had been made with dilation.

We were given the option to stay and continue to work on dilation, or to return home. I chose to return home. I was exhausted, and I knew every time I went home my contractions increased. So, I was hoping I could relax at home which would in turn speed things along. I was also feeling a bit shaky at this point.

Tuesday

We finally made it home around 1:15 am. I sent my husband straight to bed, and I even tried to lay down next to him. My contractions were such that I needed to make noise and focus on relaxing all my muscles to get through each one. I quickly moved to the couch hoping he could get some sleep while I hopefully made some progress.

I took a long, hot shower, which helped quite a bit with managing my pain. I didn’t even try to get dressed again after my shower, instead curling up on the couch with my giant towel and my favorite pillow. I feel the need to add that I laid down disposable absorbent puppy pads on the couch before I laid down, afraid my water might break and ruin my couch.

I dozed between each contraction, until suddenly things got too intense to deal with laying down. I began shaking, and I was afraid I was going to puke all over my couch, but I couldn’t manage to get up to get a bowl or anything either.

After several more of these contractions, I managed to leverage myself up to go get my husband. I was shaking pretty violently at this point, and I had myself convinced that I was nearing transition. I woke him up and said, “Time to go to the hospital, and if this isn’t transition or if I haven’t made progress I don’t care! We’re staying anyway!”

He was instantly wide-eyed and up. He took in my towel-wrapped shaking body, hair still wet, and I could tell he was a bit alarmed. We arrived at the hospital around 4 am. This time, I let him push me in the wheel chair. Last time, I had been too zen and determined to be a trooper for something like a wheel chair. This time, I wanted to get there already and stopping every 2-3 minutes to get through a contraction wasn’t appealing.

I also have to mention, that was the worst, most painful car ride I had ever endured. I was moaning with each contraction, but because of the shaking, I ended up sounding more like a goat or sheep most of the time. We had brought some pillows and my favorite blanket for the car ride to help me be as comfortable as possible and maybe help with the shaking, but pillows and a blanket can only do so much.

We arrived at the hospital, checked in and were sent to a room. I was checked and we discovered I was dilated to 4 cm and the water bag was bulging! This was it! I was so relieved to hear we had made some progress.

I was promptly hooked up to a fetal heart rate monitor. My son seemed to be weathering the storm rather well so far. Blood was also taken and the IV placed (I wasn’t hooked up to fluids at this point, though).

This is where things start to get a bit foggy. Time started to run together, and I didn’t even realize it until my obstetrician showed up for her morning rounds. I labored standing and swaying, on a ball, and on my hands and knees on the bed primarily. I tried laying down several times, but it seemed to make my contractions much more intense.

At the hospital in which I was laboring, they assign nurses in a 1:1 ratio with laboring women. So, each of my nurses (we went through a shift change) spent quite a bit of time in the room with us. I was peeing what seemed like constantly, which really sucked because every time I needed to pee this triggered a really intense contraction while I was peeing.

My obstetrician showed up sometime between 7 and 8 am with the new nurse. I grieved the loss of the last nurse because she had been amazing and perfect, but the new nurse turned out to be fantastic as well.

My obstetrician sat next to me and tried to chit chat while the nurse checked me again. The nurse discovered that I was dilated to 6 cm, but she was also instantly puzzled. She addressed my obstetrician saying, “Um, there is something there that shouldn’t be there”. My doc checked things out. She pronounced that it felt like a knuckle was presenting first, instead of his head.

Oh fun.

My doc said everything looked fine at this point and to keep at it, though. Off she went, and the nurse soon left telling us to call her if we needed anything.

Some time passed, but not too much, when we called her for something that wasn’t that important. I think it was for another pillow or blanket or some such nonsense. As she was leaving our room to fetch whatever we needed, my water broke.

I kicked off my slippers and hobbled awkwardly to the bathroom. I had been wearing underwear with a pad because I had been losing lots of grossness since Sunday when I lost my mucus plug. This is the only reason my slippers didn’t get ruined, thank you very much pad (and goodbye underwear because I was not packing them away to take home to wash)!

I stood in the shower and my husband stood there thoroughly grossed out with me. The nurse came back in with whatever it was we had requested and I told her my water had broken and let her see what was in the shower before I began rinsing my legs and feet. Gross. Just gross. I was glad to see there was no meconium, though.

The nurse checked me again, and I watched her every move to make sure she was maintaining a sterile field quite easily otherwise I wasn’t going to allow her to check me since my water had broken. She was perfect, maintaining her sterile field without being overly cautious or not cautious enough (for my liking, obviously). She said I was dilated to 7 or 8 cm. She was also hopeful that the weird something they had felt earlier was just two suture lines of his head sticking out as his head was molding to fit through my pelvis.

She left us alone with instructions to call her if something changed or felt different.

Pretty quickly after this, my contractions picked up. I had been getting contractions every 2-3 minutes that were lasting about a minute to a minute and 15 seconds. They slowly began lasting longer and longer, and then the time between them was getting shorter and shorter.

I noticed I was feeling the need to pee with almost every single contraction. I continued to stand through most of my contractions, swaying at the beginning and end of each. I also sat on the ball and did imaginary figure 8’s with my hips between contractions because it brought some relief. My lower back had started to hurt after my water broke. I couldn’t move during the most intense part of a contraction or it hurt just so much more, but I really wanted to stretch my back some.

At some point, I decided to move to the bed. I alternated several positions, but I was beginning to have a really hard time getting through each contraction. I couldn’t do anything other than stick my arm out to my husband to signal to him that I needed him to massage my hand (it was my only source of relief at this point). Each contraction began to leave me pretty wiped.

Little did I know that at this point my contractions had been lasting about 6 minutes long with a minute or less between each contraction. After about an hour of this, I called the nurse. I told her something had changed.

She came in mid-contraction and I could hear her encouraging me to focus on my breathing. Once I could speak again, I told her “I need a break; is there something that you would recommend at this point other than an epidural?”

She said she wanted to check me again before we discussed options. She discovered we had a problem–my cervix was swelling and this meant I was now at 6 cm again. I had either been bearing down or my body was bearing down without me realizing it. I can’t honestly say.

She said that she didn’t want to recommend something I had previously stated I did not want (the epidural; she knew I didn’t want one), but she didn’t have any good options at this point. I asked her if it was possible to get the epidural while laying on my side because I didn’t think I could sit up with a rounded back through one of my contractions. This is when I was informed by my husband that my contractions were lasting so long.

I didn’t really listen to her immediate response because another contraction just kicked in just after the end of the last one, taking my breath away. A moment later I realized she was on the phone, calling to see who was available to give an epidural. Whoever it was, she knew they could give an epidural while I was laying down and she gave me the thumbs up.

I only had to make it through two more contractions before the anesthesiologist showed up. I was happy to see her, yet sad that I was about to get an epidural. I HATED my epidural last time with Eva, and getting it placed had been a difficult process. I had been very determined to have a natural birth that was completely intervention free.

The anesthesiologist, at least, was pretty fantastic. One stick to numb, another stick to place it without difficulty around 10:15 am.

Shortly after having it placed, my nurse also placed an internal fetal and contraction monitor. It had become increasingly difficult to get a consistent heart beat from the baby, but I had resisted getting the internal monitor placed because I wanted to continue to be mobile. Now, since my mobility was already gone I consented to the internal monitoring. I was also getting increasingly worried about my son since things had definitely taken a strange left turn. We also discovered that his heart rate dropped rapidly if I tried laying on my right side. A urinary catheter was also placed at this time and IV fluids were also started.

I cried to my husband once the nurse left the room.  I told him that I was proud of him and me, but I thought something was off and I didn’t know what.  I fell asleep shortly after this conversation.

The nurse woke me again around 11 or 11:30 am. She checked my cervix again to discover that all swelling had reduced and I was at 8+ cm (her words), but the thing that she hoped was just his head molding seemed like not his head at all. She called for the house obstetrician to come check him out before calling my obstetrician.

The house doctor, who I had met the day before when I was being monitored for high blood pressure, was super nice and efficient. She quickly checked me internally, asked the nurse to get the portable ultrasound machine, and told me while we waited that she was pretty sure my son was presenting face first. She said she wanted to check his exact placement before making any assumptions, though.

I woke my husband up, because he had also fallen asleep after I fell asleep. The ultrasound clearly showed that our baby was trying to enter the world face first and that his little neck was already pushed pretty far backwards. It looked very painful, to say the least!

At this point, I wanted to cry. I knew this probably meant a repeat c-section for me. I also knew that his improper position probably explained the pretty ridiculous contractions after my water broke.

The nurse called my obstetrician, who arrived right around noon. She tried repositioning my son, but he wanted no part of it. He immediately went right back to the way he was. She tried again, and once more, but to no avail. She laughed as she was trying to reposition him because her first try, she accidentally poked him in the eye. Her next try, she said she might have just picked his nose. Her last try, he flailed his head around to express his displeasure at her efforts.

So, c-section it is.

I asked for the lightest dose possible for the c-section (as I had with originally getting the epidural) because I am sensitive to anesthesia. The anesthesiologist accommodated as far as I could tell.

My hands were free during the surgery, and my husband was at my head (along with the anesthesiologist). My baby boy was brought into this world at 1:03 pm! His left eye was swollen from where my doctor had poked him earlier and he had some bruising and swelling around his nose. He also had an indent across his forehead from where he had been pushed against my pelvis for hours. By the next day, only the bruising remained.

While he was getting cleaned up, I noticed I was having an increasingly difficult time catching my breath. The anesthesiologist gave me some oxygen and propped me up a bit, which helped tremendously. I ended up numb a bit too high.

Once my son was cleaned up and swaddled appropriately, my husband and he sat by me while the c-section was completed. My obstetrician also came and checked out the baby once she was done closing (she apologized to him for the eye-poking incident).

Here we are a little over two weeks later, and I am still very thankful for my hard, drawn out labor. I think it helped with my recovery at the very least, and I think it made my son better equipped for this world. I’m not even taking ibuprofen for pain and haven’t been since he was about 10 days old. I am moving really well, and I only have twinges of pain when I cough or sneeze. I still haven’t picked up anything too heavy (the baby in his car seat has been the heaviest thing) so I don’t ruin this great recovery. I can’t stress enough how completely different this recovery is compared to the last time. I was consistently rating my pain at less than a 3 during my hospital stay.

As for labor helping my son, he is a strong little bugger. We haven’t had a single problem with latch (more on breastfeeding another time). The nurses in the hospital called him “Hoover” from the get-go because he has such a strong latch and suck (my poor boobies). He also kicked the jaundice pretty quickly, which was a bonus.

Did I mention he has lungs unlike any newborn I have ever met? He could wake the dead with his cries! Except his father…he can’t wake him. No one can manage that feat (except Eva when she jumps on him to wake him up).

Well, that’s our story. It went as all births usually do–completely different than what was planned.

One last note:

My blood glucose levels during labor were great…until I quit sneaking snacks. I had snack food that I was having my husband give to me in one bite increments about every 4th contraction. Once things got more intense, though, I was too nauseated to continue to eat. My blood sugar then dropped and then spiked. My body was eating into my reserves which was setting loose ketones into my urine. Some lactated Ringer’s via IV seemed to help balance things out a bit.

Immediately following my c-section, my numbers were back to ideal. My son’s numbers were perfect as well. I haven’t had a single high reading since, and I quit checking while I was still in the hospital.

Nothing Exciting

I thought for sure last night was THE night. I was having contractions every 2-4 minutes that were lasting 45 seconds to over a minute. I was nauseated and energized. I had lots of pressure, you know, down there.

But no, I’m still waiting for this boy to decide to enter the world.

My view throughout the night as I continued to contract without a lot of sleep:

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Only one of many more nights to come with limited sleep. Bring on the feedings every two hours, though, because I’m ready!

My Appointment

40 weeks and 4 days.

That’s 284 days.

That’s a lot of days.

Today’s ultrasound appointment went pretty well. The ultrasound showed that my placenta looks nice and healthy as does my son. He is guestimated to be 7 lbs. 9 oz. (give or take a pound as the ultrasound tech informed me), which is a pound and 2 oz. heavier than he was last month, but still pretty close to average. There is plenty of amniotic fluid in there still, too, and he is practice breathing pretty well.

The appointment with my obstetrician went, too. She is obviously getting more nervous the more/longer pregnant I am. She told me point blank today that she would be “cutting me off” at 42 weeks. I asked her why she would be imposing a deadline besides the slightly increased rate of stillbirth and placental failure.

She said, “I don’t have another medical reason other than my heart just can’t take it.”

I didn’t answer, I just sat patiently, and she eventually added that in her practice, no one goes past 41 1/2 weeks. She said she has never had a patient with gestational diabetes go all the way to 42 weeks, either. She gave me kudos for maintaining ideal blood glucose levels and keeping my weight so steady and sited these things along with my son’s weight/size (and ideal blood pressure and no swelling) as her reasoning for being willing to work with me and try to allow things to progress naturally.

At this point, I reassured her that I wasn’t having any sight problems, that I have no swelling since I quit wearing flip flops, that I haven’t had any headaches, and that really, I feel great other than some sore pelvic muscles. I reassured her that he doesn’t make any spastic movements but that instead just jabs and rolls frequently throughout the day.

She then asked if we could try for an induction instead of going straight for a c-section at 42 weeks. I told her that I wasn’t willing to have the gel (cervidil–an artificial prostaglandin gel that is supposed to ripen and dilate the cervix) or Pitocin, so that if I’m not dilated quite a bit we were out of options.

She then said she wouldn’t want to use the gel or Pitocin on me either, but that she would like to to try a membrane sweep next week if I am dilated. She also said that if I am dilated enough, she would like to artificially rupture my membranes at the 42 week mark if things don’t happen naturally/with the membrane sweep by then.

I told her that I might be open to induction via an artificial membrane rupture. My husband and I will have to do some thinking and praying on that front. I’m still hopeful that I go into labor all on my own before then! I find it hard to swallow to have an end date imposed on the pregnancy if all is well.

So, my prayer and hope is that I go into labor before 42 weeks so we don’t even have to address the end date.

Thank you, everyone, for all of the well wishes for today’s appointment! It was so good to see that my son is measuring just fine, that there is plenty of amniotic fluid and that the placenta is still looking perfect! Thank you all so much!

Tomorrow Is Important

I have an appointment for an ultrasound with biophysical profile scheduled for tomorrow.  I’m a bit nervous. If everything isn’t ideal, my obstetrician will want to impose a deadline on this pregnancy–a line in the sand that reads natural labor must begin by X date or a cesarean will be happening.

I’m pretty sure nothing has changed with my cervix yet; so I’m still not a good candidate for an induction. I’m also not a good candidate mentally for induction. The mind-body connection being what it is means an induction would probably not be a good choice. I say probably because I’m just not sure of much right now.

I’m am pretty sure, though, that my son is still within normal growth range. But, get this, I’m actually worried now that his growth might have leveled off. I know, I know–I find too many things to worry about. That’s kind of in my job description as mother I believe. I’m worried that his growth leveling off will be interpreted as a sign of a failing placenta. Eva’s growth pattern, though, suggests that my babies just do most of their growing in the second trimester.

So, lots of nerves today. I had been very zen about it all, until today. Now I just need good results tomorrow at the scan so I can return to my zen state.

I’m Still Here

The title says it all! Still no baby.

I must say it is quite fun to go out in public and freak people out, though. Well, not really freak them out, but watch their reactions when I answer their baby-related questions. Almost everyone wants to know when I am due.

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a lady at the dentist’s office that went something like this:

Lady: “When are you due?”

Me: “Yesterday.”

Lady: (Wide-eyed) “Oh, are you scheduled to be induced then?”

Me: “Nope.”

Lady: (Looking even more concerned and wide eyed now) “How many babies are you having?”

Me: (Pointing to Eva) “Well, I had her and now I’m having this one.”

Lady: “Looks like you could pop at any moment!”

She then proceeded to ask if it was a boy or a girl and the name and if Eva is excited, etc. All the normal chatter that complete strangers really have no business initiating but can’t seem to resist.

I know, I know, I should graciously accept such things, but I have a hard time with strangers inquiring about my unborn child. If there is more than a passing comment or the typical “how much longer” question, I tend to get protective. If the conversation then gets directed to Eva to ask her all about how she “feels” about having a new baby, I get even more annoyed with the conversation.

Yesterday, I wanted to tell this woman to quit asking questions and mind her own business. I also wanted to tell Eva that it is ok to not be excited, that there are a million other emotions in the world she can be feeling about suddenly having a baby in the house. But I didn’t.

So, I am continuing to wait patiently for this baby of mine to make his appearance. I’m losing patience with people, but not so much with waiting.

Today Is My Due Date

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Well, I’m 40 weeks today. Still no baby, obviously. I’m still waiting patiently (for the most part).

I haven’t participated in a typical pregnancy update post yet, so I thought why not? There is no time quite like the present. Besides, if I’m lucky, I will be in labor any moment! Ha! I can keep on dreaming, I know.

How far along: 40 freaking weeks, baby!

How big is the baby: Well, I don’t know. The last ultrasound, done a month ago, guestimated him to be 6 lbs 7 oz.

Total weight gain: 5 lbs.

Stretch Marks: Well, stretch marks and I have a long history. It’s hard to tell if I have any new stretch marks, but I can’t imagine I don’t.

Sleep: About four hours at a time, minus pee breaks. I need two pillows for my head, one for between my knees, and another to hug if my husband isn’t in bed.

Symptoms/Feeling: 

  • Tired, mostly.
  • I also have a very sore lower belly and mons pubis area. It is all sore muscles. My muscles attached to my round ligaments like to cramp every once in a while as well, too, which isn’t pleasant.
  • My nipples hurt. That isn’t new either.
  • Really irritable when I am having contractions or I have been on my feet too much.

Miss anything: Wine, sleeping on my belly, jogging (it just isn’t possible these days), being able to take Ibuprofen when my back hurts. Nothing too major.

Best moment this week: Riding in the car with my husband laughing because the baby was seemingly grooving to the beat of the song. My husband could see him moving, too.

Food cravings: I am mostly interested in small amounts of food. I just want a little here and there, but I want to eat frequently.

Food aversions: Not really. I wish I suddenly hated all things unhealthy or something crazy great like that, but no. I just stay away from the bad stuff, despite really wanting some chocolate cake when it is in front of me. The gestational diabetes is under control still, thankfully. Still no medication for that.

Gender: A boy.

Movement: He has a schedule in there. There are specific times every day that he is still for about 20 minutes at a time taking a nap (I assume) and other times that he is ALWAYS active and moving. I can almost set my watch by it. Sadly, he is moving the most when I am ready for bed. This is going to be a problem I’m sure.

Labor signs: I haven’t have any contractions (not even Braxton Hicks) in a little over 24 hours now, which is actually a little frustrating. I feel like things should be getting more frequent, not less frequent. Pregnancy constipation is not an issue, if you know what I mean. I don’t know if my cervix has done anything because I am choosing not to get checked. Some extra mucus discharge is happening (gross), but nothing to write home about. I keep having these bouts of swinging from super energized to super tired.

Belly button in or out: In, but very, very shallow. I had my gallbladder removed a few years ago, and the scar from that is completely 100% visible. Kind of creepy looking. My husband likes to say it looks like my belly button is smiling. I don’t see it, personally, but that might be because I literally can’t see my belly button without using a mirror.

What are you looking forward to: I am looking forward to labor and delivery! I am ready to meet my baby boy, and I am ready to rock this labor stuff! I also get an ultrasound this coming Friday. I’m excited to get one more peek at my boy for reassurance before the big day (maybe, unless I go into labor before Friday, which I’m not counting on).

Milestones: I have been pregnant longer than ever before at this point!

Bump: See photographic evidence above that it isn’t a bump, it is a giant mountain. Mole hills be damned! We skipped that stage. I can’t walk up stairs without hitting my belly with my legs. I can’t drive without my belly touching the steering wheel anymore. I know this can’t be safe, but I can’t scoot any further back in my car because I have a manual transmission and I have to be able to depress the clutch completely.

Wedding rings on or off: On. I am glad to say I have no swelling most days. I get a little puffy around the ankles when I wear flip flops instead of tennis shoes, but that is pretty normal during the warmer months even when I am not pregnant.

Happy or moody most of the time: I guess moody, but I feel like this is such a misnomer. Pregnant women have a LOT to think about and prepare for before labor ever happens. There are so many things that need to be thought through and addressed and pondered, and it can be a lot emotionally and intellectually to sift through. I cried to my husband in the car over the weekend that I don’t necessarily trust my body to eject this baby if he needs it suddenly. That is just one example of a realistic fear that results in a “moody” moment. So, yes, I just wrote a book because of one little question. Good thing I haven’t been doing these all pregnancy.

The chain we have been using to count down the days to my due date is all used up. We left one lonely link hanging up for Eva to pull down on the day that her little brother is born. It seems strange to see it on the wall. We started with something like 245 links, and now we are down to one.

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I don’t know how soon or how long it will be before I get to write a post announcing the birth of my son, but I just want to tell everyone now that every kind word of encouragement and congratulations I have received along the way has been so unexpected and so wonderful!

When I began my journey to becoming pregnant, I didn’t expect to have difficulty conceiving. I didn’t expect to find so much wisdom, support and friendship via a blog through my infertility journey. I then didn’t expect to find so much excitement and support and wisdom when I finally became pregnant.

I can’t express to all of you how much I appreciate all of you and every like and comment you all have made! Thank you all for being my friends and cheerleaders and being better than any other source of information. Thank you all!

One last photo before I go. The picture below is a photo I took when I first found out I was expecting.

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39 Weeks 5 Days

Written in the middle of the night:

Well, I should be exhausted. I slept (intermittently, that is) about four hours total Thursday night. I didn’t nap at all Friday, instead spending the day with my mom (which was pretty great) running all over to shop (well, browse really) a little here, there and everywhere.

After picking Eva up from school, she packed some clothes and off we went to meet her grandma and grandpa on her father’s side. She is spending the weekend with them, where she will probably stay up late, eat like a horse (she always eats better for her Nana) and play with her baby. Her baby is a 10 pound (soaking wet, maybe) daschund that showed up as a stray about two years ago. She convinced her grandparents to rescue him, and ever since she has been proudly calling herself his Mama.

We went over what she would like to do if her baby brother decides this is the weekend he will make his appearance. She also has some cousins that will be visiting at her grandfather’s home this weekend as well. So, she wants to come see her brother after his arrival and then return to her grandparents until either we come home or it’s time for school on Monday (at which point my mom will stay with her at our house). She said she wanted to play as much as possible with her cousins. There are contingencies in place in case she changes her mind, though.

But, here I am at 1:41 am Saturday morning, typing…not sleeping. I am energized!

My poor brain is trying to keep up with my body, but my body has most definitely quit making sense. I have been doing some Spinning Babies activities (spinningbabies.org, a must for the pregnant woman wanting an ideally positioned baby, in my opinion), and I have completed two rounds of my usual prenatal yoga routine. I’m still wide awake.

I haven’t had a single contraction all day. I don’t think this burst of energy is the beginning of labor, but I don’t know what it is.

I find my brain to be in limbo. I’m having a hard time firmly grasping reality, unfortunately. I find it hard to believe that I am currently waiting for my son to arrive.

My son. A real baby. My real baby.

I have officially been pregnant longer than I have ever been in my life. I have been pregnant for 278 days (give or take a few). But, still, even after 278 days I forget I’m pregnant. I will stand up to make my way to a different part of the house only to realize suddenly that, oh yeah, I’m pregnant as my giant round bellied shadow looms next to me. Then I take another step and I’m reminded again as it feels like my hips might just decide to run for the hills if it means no longer having to support the wide load that I have become.

As I try to think about the reality of this tiny being locked up in my cozy uterus, I am at a loss. I suppose it isn’t going to be real to me until he is in my arms, or maybe as he’s crowning. Kind of hard to ignore reality as your hooha is being torn apart I would guess.

So, as I wander around my quiet house, I will continue to contemplate my soon-to-be reality of more late nights.

Decisions, Decisions

Today at my obstetrician appointment, my doctor was obviously disheartened to learn that I haven’t made any progress toward ejecting this baby boy of mine. As a matter of fact, she said that it seemed like my cervix was even farther back than it was two weeks ago.

She also confirmed what I suspected this morning–my son isn’t all lined up and ready to go anymore. He has pulled his head out of my pelvis and has it firmly planted in my left hip region (which she said explains the cervix feeling more posterior than it did previously).

Next Monday, I will be 40 weeks. I asked her what, if anything, will be changing about my appointments if I go past the 40 week mark. She said starting next week, she would like to begin seeing me twice a week (did I mention she is about an hour away from where we live?) to complete twice weekly non-stress tests so she can keep an eye out for a failing placenta. She said whether I get cervical checks is completely up to me. She also said that she wants an ultrasound at the 41 week mark to check everything out and check his size.

My favorite part of the appointment was here, after she mentioned his size, she paused and asked me what did I think about his size (big/small/average). I told her that I thought he was still small because I was much more uncomfortable with my daughter at this stage than I am with him. Eva was only 7 lbs 2 oz when she was born at 39 weeks and 3 (or was it 4?) days. I also told her that it had been a long time, though, so my memory is fuzzy, but it definitely didn’t seem like he is abnormally large.

She then asked me how far I wanted to go before any interventions. I told her that I would go as long as I needed to if he isn’t showing any signs of distress. I also told her that because of my philosophy on this, I wouldn’t be consenting to an induction.

If things reach a point that she thinks he needs to come out, then she would need to make sure he really needs to come out very soon as in can’t wait another day. To me, in such a situation, that would mean a c-section is in the best interest of my son. I told her I would need to see that either there is obvious distress or it is obvious that the placenta is failing.

She agreed wholeheartedly with my statement. She said she does not like to use Pitocin on someone with a previous c-section anyway, so if I did want an induction it would be guaranteed to be a long process because she keeps the Pitocin at the lowest level possible. She also told me that right now, my body isn’t favorable to a successful induction (posterior cervix, still only barely dilated). So, she didn’t see a point in trying for an induction, either.

I forgot to ask her what she thinks about stripping membranes, but I’m quite sure I already know her answer. Her stance on pretty much everything touted to be labor-inducing is that if you aren’t already favorable to labor, right there on the edge, then it won’t make any difference.

We covered some differences in policy concerning c-section between the hospital where I previously had my c-section and the hospital at which I plan to deliver this go around. The last time, the hospital insisted on leaving the epidural in place for 12 hours following the procedure. It wasn’t delivering any medication after 8 hours, but it was still in place. At the new hospital, it comes out within a couple of hours, and the medication given is more similar to receiving a spinal block. The urinary catheter stays in for 12 hours, unless I really, really want it out sooner (which I doubt will happen because the first time I got up to pee post c-section was beyond horrible for me, and that was about 16 hours post-op).

I also told her that the anesthesiologist last time gave me some kind of anti-anxiety medication as soon as my daughter was out without asking for my consent. I was not okay with this. She kind of looked shocked by this and then reassured me that this wasn’t something that happens in her OR.

I need to ask her about skin-to-skin in the event of a c-section, I suppose, but I still fully plan on going into labor one of these days soon. I still have time, and my son is still doing just fine. He has responded well to every non-stress test so far and he is still active. We have no reason to think that we won’t be able to do this naturally still.

As we were wrapping things up, she asked me specifically (which I found surprising) to name a week/end date. I told her we would just have to wait and see how things are going at 42 weeks, but that she should keep her fingers crossed that I go into labor before then. She nodded and held up crossed fingers for me. She also said she would check to see how busy things were supposed to be on the 42 week mark in the morning, in case we decide to schedule a c-section. I know she will be really, really hesitant to go any further than 42 weeks because of my gestational diabetes. I will have to be very sure that he is fine to convince her to continue without c-section at that point.

All in all, it was really nice to hear her asking me what I was thinking/feeling and then listening. She seemed doubtful that I would be able to stand the physical discomfort all the way to 42+ weeks, but I reassured her that this isn’t about my level of comfort at all and that I have been through a c-section before and being uncomfortable for a couple of extra weeks still hands-down beats a c-section recovery. No contest there. I still don’t think she believes me. But, I suppose many women need things to happen within a certain timeline for work and maternity leave and the added discomfort on top of that financial stress can result in a woman begging to get that baby out RIGHT NOW! This was definitely my reality when I was 39 weeks with Eva.

So, fingers crossed and prayers up that labor happens sometime in the next couple of weeks so we don’t even have to evaluate the need for a c-section!

Nothing But Blue Skies

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77 degrees (Fahrenheit) in my neck of the woods. It’s warm enough I feel the need to use the lovely air conditioning in my car.

Spring is almost here, which quickly gives way to Summer for us. I am looking forward to wearing flip flops on a daily basis without getting strange looks. I have already embraced the flip flop season since it now requires I hold my breath to tie my shoes. Some people don’t seem to understand why I would wear flip flops when the thermometer clearly says 45 degrees.

I just realized I am a little over a month away from Eva’s 7th birthday. I’m not ready for her to be that old.

But that’s it for my randomness today. I hope everyone can enjoy some sunshine soon!