Thursday, July 22, 2010

The New Path

The one good thing about my grandma is that I haven't had time to hit the park and therefore have not been able to run before I'm ready. I will probably start consistently mixing in running intervals next week and then do continuous runs starting in August. Of course, I'll see how I feel. If it's too much, it's too much. I'm not in a rush. Really!

Yes, even though I'm still about 25-30 lbs heavier than I want to be right now I am not in a rush. I even went clothes shopping yesterday to get something to wear to the funeral and as mortifying as it was to have to buy clothes 4 sizes bigger than normal (4 sizes!) I know I will drop the weight like a stone (in retrospect) with just living my life. No need to force anything.

I am getting really excited about training again though. I have a fuzzy plan in my head and an otherwise open mind. I believe I have a lot of improvement in me and I can't wait to tap into my well of potential reserves and see where that takes me. I can't wait to run with friends again and make new ones along the way. I feel like I've been hibernating for 10 months and I'm about to crawl out of my cave and see the sun.

A great thing about any comeback is that when it starts the skies the limit! I'm full of hope and anticipation to see where this new path will take me.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bye Bye Sweet Virginia

My dad's mother died today, the day before his birthday. If he were alive he'd be 55 this year. My grandmother's birthday is August 1. She would have been 86. She had 8 kids and my dad was #2. She had him when she was almost 31. That's kind of incredible that she had 6 more. I guess I could have 6 kids if I really wanted to. Um. I don't. Sorry for the randomness here.

But yeah. My grandma is dead. I am sad. I had a complicated relationship with her. She and my dad had a very rocky relationship while he was alive and that carried over into her relationship with me. She often took out her frustrations with my dad on me. I know she loved me and I loved her. I have her nose. I have her emotionality. I apparently have her fertility. I relish the gifts she's given me.

The biggest gift of all was this master class in dying. She was diagnosed with a recurrence of kidney cancer in January. She opted out of treatment and was given 6 months to live. She made it just a few extra days. In the meantime, she spent her final months at home among her family. Her 6 living children cared for her and she spent time with friends and her extended family up until her final days. I last saw her on Thursday. She was almost comatose by then. She tried to wake up and talk, but she couldn't. I could tell she heard me and knew I was there. It was awkward sitting at her bedside having a one-sided conversation. I'm sure she understood that. I'm glad I got to say goodbye. I'm so glad she got to hold her great-granddaughter that she waited for. I'm so glad she waited. I'm sad.

She died today around 2:00 in her home as she wanted. Four of her children, her husband and her sister were there with her. She was loved. She loved. What more could she ask for?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Toilet Water

Today started out craptacularly poopy. I woke up to a mountain of dishes and it went downhill from there. #2 decided that she didn't want to sleep for a couple of hours this morning so I was trying to soothe her while chasing peanut around. Most of the time I failed at both. #2 remained fussy while peanut wrote on his leg with a pen, tried to climb in the infant car seat innumerable times, hogged the glider so I was stuck nursing and soothing on a broken recliner, whined because I wouldn't read gigantic books on my lap while holding the baby, etc. The cherry on top came several minutes after I finally was able to put #2 down for a few minutes without her wailing. I was brushing my hair when I heard the toilet lid open. Before I could react I heard the telltale splash. UGH! I hate when peanut splashes in the toilet. GROSS!!!! I threw my brush down and grabbed his hand and marched him into the kitchen where I dried it off then coated it in hand sanitizer. I feel like some sitcom character cliche.

Luckily, my day was broken up with a visit from Evie and her peanut. I felt like I probably wasn't the best company, but her visit helped put the morning's events in the past and let us start fresh. After Evie and son left, my kiddos and I napped for 2 hours which was great and then went to visit my dying grandmother.

My paternal grandmother has just days left. Like my maternal grandfather who died this past Easter Sunday, She has untreatable cancer and we've been watching her wither so gracefully for months now. She was so excited to meet #2 and she did and since then she's really really gone down hill. In fact, she hasn't eaten since Sunday and was barely conscious while I was there today. It's so sad, but since we all have to go sometime she doing it the best way possible it seems. Her pain is managed well and she has had lots of time to spend with her family over these last few months. She's at home and comfortable. What more could anyone ask for, I guess.

But knowing it's the end of one life really makes me appreciate these beginnings I witness everyday. What's a little toilet water going to hurt in the long run?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Family Bladders

Peanut's watching Ellen and standing in the recliner. # 2 is in the swing. I am taking a break from folding laundry. It's already 4:45 p.m.

Things are going well in that we have had no injuries and we're all surviving, but it's kind of nuts around here. I more or less just fly by the seat of my pants all day. Gone are the days of planning a nice day of stimulating activities. I realize now how spoiled I was with one kid. Last summer I felt overwhelmed by just peanut. I was a serious wuss!

I am really lucky though. Peanut is adapting very well. We had a few days of worrying he was going to maim poor #2. He hit her and poked her a little too hard and a little too often for our taste. Now he pats her and kisses her if he pays attention to her at all. We've had a few moments where he was sick of me not being able to pay attention to him because I was nursing her for too long, but otherwise he's been great.

I've managed to take them both to the park and get a walk the last few days. I even mixed in a little running in yesterday and today. I just did very short running intervals just to get the legs moving and to remember how to run. The only problem is that I went out today with a full bladder and I paid for that mistake! I should have taken the three minutes to pee before heading out. I had a much easier delivery and the recovery is going great, but my pelvic floor muscles are still weak and need some time to recover. I can't take them for granted right now and must remember to pee before heading out for any kind of bouncy exercise! It's a horribly embarrassing problem, but a common one so I've heard. Any other momma's experience the peeing of the pants on the run after baby?

All right, Justin Bieber or whatever that dumb kid is on Ellen and peanut is screaming at the tv (I'm hoping in disgust!) Time to go!




Friday, July 09, 2010

Happy Family

It was now around 11 a.m. on June 28. Mrp and I sat together in the birthing room, me strapped to the fetal monitor in the hospital bed and he in a chair next to me. It was strange. No one said why we were automatically admitted. No one really explained anything to us. We were just there for a while.

After a while of waiting in uncertainty, another ob resident came in to check me. She did an internal exam and said I was just 4 cm, 80% effaced and -2 station. This was backwards progress for all three of these critical stats. You can't regress in labor--at least not that I know of. It's all just a matter of perception and this chick apparently is very conservative and sucky because this info kind of got me down. It was de ja vu all over again. With peanut, my progress in labor kept stalling out. I felt like there was something wrong with me that I couldn't progress in labor. Besides that she was fairly certain that the bleeding was not cervical, but rather evidence of a partial abruption. It was just to heavy and going on for far too long to be cervical. Because of this I had to stay on the fetal monitor continuously for my entire labor. The ob resident also suggested that if in two hours I was not making progress that she would recommend I get pitocin to induce active labor. Pitocin would almost certainly necessitate an epidural as it supresses the body's own pain easing hormone and causes more intense contractions that "natural" ones. UGH.

Mrp and I called our doula and I told her the news. Based on this info we decided that she could continue on with her scheduled appointments and we'd get back in touch later that day if I started to make progress or if I was going to get induced. Sigh.

The other thing that kind of worried me was that I had never met the midwife on call. My doula said she had heard that she was really good, but never met her either. Hmmm. Not too long after the ob resident checked me, the midwife came in to see me. I never met her before. She was a bit older than all the midwives I had seen. Turns out she's the head honcho of the entire midwife practice. And even better, she is AWESOME!

We first talked about the partial abruption. She said that although she agreed it required that I be continuously monitored, she did not think I needed to deliver urgently and that I had enough time to let nature take its course. Phew! I next told her how I wasn't progressing and she calmly responded that she was not worried I was only 4 cm because I was clearly only still in early labor. It was now almost noon, but she also said she was confident she would deliver our baby before her shift ended at 7:00 p.m. She said once I started to go, everything would move along quickly. She was very confident in me. I immediately felt confident too. We could do this!

The midwife headed out and it was just mrp, me and our awesome nurse hanging out. The nurse got me a birthing ball and set it up so I could stay on the monitor but bounce around. She even showed us how to unplug the monitor ourselves so I could pee. As long as I wasn't off too long she'd leave us alone about it. Yeah.

So, we just hung out for a while watching dvd's as I bounced on the ball. Hours went by. Nothing seemed to change. My contractions were definitely necessitating my concentration to get through them, but still not that bad. By 3:00 we started to think that there was no way in hell that we'd have this baby by 7:00. I felt tired so I laid down even though I knew it would make the contractions feel worse. I felt like I better rest while I still could because it could be a loooooong night.

Mrp got me a popsicle and I chomped on it a little as I lay there. I relaxed and rested between contractions. About a half hour into my little rest period I felt a pop and then a bigger pop and then my water broke all over the place. It was really yucky feeling. It was nuts. I was just laying there. You'd think it would happen when I got up to pee or bounced on the ball. BUt no. It burst as I lay there eating a popsicle. Go figure.

There was meconium in the amniotic fluid, but not a ton. Although this necessitated the pediatricians attending the delivery. The nurse put out the word. She told us that there was probably nothing to worry about, but it was just a precaution. She then warned us that my contractions would likely become much more intense without the amniotic sac cushioning the babies head. Oh boy!

We called our doula and she said she'd wrap up her meeting and be there in about an hour. Sounded good to us!

After the call, I got up and immediately the contractions hurt a lot more. I was still ok though. I made it to the bathroom because I felt like I had to pee. I tried to pee and clean myself up. The nurse and mrp helped me and then got me back on the ball and I started to eat my popsicle again. The next contraction came and I threw the popsicle across the room it hurt so bad. And then I just fell off a cliff. Holy ___! It hurt! I started swearing like a trucker. Then I had to puke. Mrp got the garbage can and I leaned over it hurling while my lower body felt like it was in a vice grip. Oh my god, the insanity!!!

I pleaded to be let into the shower. The nurse called the midwife and she agreed. Mrp helped me get there. In the shower the contractions just got worse and worse. It was just me and mrp. Mrp was so excited. He had tears in his eyes. He tried to comfort me, but just like in a sitcom I snarled at him in response. I pleaded for help. He offered a million things and none of them were what I needed. I pleaded for drugs. Everyone ignored me. I felt panicked and scared. This was nuts! Yet mrp was so sweetly excited. He knew he'd meet his daughter very soon. I, on the other hand, still felt like maybe I still had many hours to go. I was still having trouble trusting myself after all the false labor. Several minutes into the shower, I had the contraction of all contractions. It had to be five minutes long with no break. Just contraction on top of contraction. It felt like my hips were being screwed together. And then I felt like I had to push.

I heard them call the midwife in. She was there by the time I walked from the shower back to the bed. She didn't even check me. She knew it was time to push just by the way I was behaving. I was standing next to the bed and I started pushing. But I was so tired all ready just from the intensity of the contractions. The nurse urged me to get on the bed. She raised the back of it all the way up and told me to get on my knees and hold on to the top facing the wall. I did this and it felt like the best I could do. And then I started to scream like a savage and push. And I pushed and screamed and screamed and pushed. In the background I heard people say, "close the door!" Ha!

It felt like forever. It hurt like nothing has ever hurt before. I think all the physical pain I have ever experienced heretofore all added up would not equal this pain. To feel the baby coming out all raw with all the sharp edges is the most crazy animalistic feeling I have ever experienced. I felt like I was exploding. I was sure I was tearing every which way down there. I didn't care. I needed that baby out and I needed to be DONE!

After maybe three pushes, the babies head came out and then the next push I had to work 90 times harder to get the shoulders out but I was determined to do it in one push and I did. And then she was here! At 4:11 p.m., just 40 minutes after my water broke! Just like peanut she was whisked away by the pediatricians so I didn't get to see her right away. Apparently, the meconium and the very quick delivery left lots of gunk in her nose and throat that had to be suctioned. Mrp and I waited anxiously for the cry. It felt like forever but finally she let our her first wail. Yeah! She was ok!

Meanwhile, the midwife checked and confirmed that I did not tear at all!! Not even a little bit. NOTHING!! Woohoo! That doesn't mean it didn't hurt. Oh, it hurt. But there was no tearing. Alleluia!

After the pediatricians confirmed #2 was a-ok, I finally got to hold her. I looked at her and she looked like no one I have ever seen before. I did not recognize her. Peanut's main features resemble mine, so I definitely felt like I recognized him when he was born. But #2 looks different. She is beautiful, just as peanut was beautiful but it's kind of cool to see someone totally new. TOTALLY new. Mrp was beaming as he watched her slowly latch on and begin to nurse. We looked at each other proudly. We made this beautiful creature and we brought her into this world. We made it through a natural labor and delivery almost all by ourselves! Our doula showed up around 4:45 and there we were with babe in arms already. I guess I can progress in labor, after all! Good thing we didn't go home in the morning. I probably would have stayed there until my water broke and then had the baby in the car on the way there!

11 days later and I am still in awe of everything #2 has taught me about myself. I have a sense of trust in myself, my instincts and my body that I never had before. And I have a beautiful babe, a wonderful husband and an adorable son: a happy family all my own.



Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The In-Between Time

So, at 2 a.m. on my due date, I woke up greeted by blood. It kind of alarmed me (it was more bloody than the bloody show I'd been experiencing for the preceeding few days). I called the midwife on call and told her about it. She didn't seem concerned and told me it could just be from rapid cervical changes and not to worry about it unless it became heavier.

Meanwhile, my contractions were steady, but mild. I bounced on the exercise ball and watched some tv. I didn't even wake mrp up yet. About an hour and a half later I got up to get a glass of water and I felt a slight gush. I went to the bathroom and I discovered I was bleeding pretty heavily. I went in to tell mrp about it. Half asleep he said, "I think it's just prelabor." This annoyed me and I responded sharply, "what makes you think that?" and then I showed him the blood. Suddenly he was awake and dialing the midwife on call. I talked to her and she said to come in to the hospital to get checked out. Bleeding isn't necessarily a problem, but it can be.

My original plan was to stay at home and labor there as long as possible. Well, change of plans. Oh well. We called my mom and waited for her to come to watch peanut. We left around 5 a.m.

We got to the hospital and they sent me to triage where I was checked by two ob residents. The first checked and said I was 6 cm. Woohoo! The more senior one checked and disagreed. She thought I was more like 4-5 cm. They both said they thought the blood was from my cervix and to not worry about it. They left it up to us if we wanted to be admitted or to go home and come back later. If the bleeding was no big deal, then we didn't want to be admitted quite yet. Yet, at the same time we didn't want to go all the way home. It's a half hour drive without traffic, plus I didn't want to confuse peanut any more than he probably already was. And something inside me said stay close to the hospital. So we decided to walk to a local Starbucks and hang out for a couple of hours. We left the hospital at 6:30 a.m.

We made it to Starbucks and mrp napped in the chair like a homeless man while I watched Six Feet Under dvd's on my lap top. My contractions were still pretty mild and the bleeding hadn't gotten worse so we decided to take a walk through the charming ethnic neighborhood near the hospital. My contractions were demanding more of my attention--of course I got one as we entered every intersection so I had to hobble across the street. It was actually pretty fun. Probably doesn't sound like it, but it was.

I had to pee, so I went in to a pastry shop. The bleeding had picked up a lot. This could not be right, I thought. I came back out and mrp and I sat on a bench and talked about what to do. After a call to our doula and our own assessment of the situation we decided to head back to the hospital. Of course black clouds started rolling in so we tried to walk quickly--not easy in labor! We made it back around 10:00 a.m. without getting poured on.

We decided to wait until 10:30 to head back up to labor and delivery just to make it a full four hours between the time we left the hospital the first time and going back. I hoped to at least get to a solid 5 centimeter dilated before being admitted. We people watched and joked around for our last half hour of freedom and then we decided to head upstairs.

Once up in labor and delivery we were sent back to triage. I explained to the nurse who we were and when she heard that I was the bleeder she immediately admitted us. I guess they were waiting.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Is This It?

* As I said many times, peanut came 6 days early (after more than 2 days of labor!) so in my head my due date was June 22, rather than the June 28 that my midwife said. I watched two friends go way past their due date a few months ago, feeling sorry for them and unable to relate at all.

June 19th came and went. June 20th. June 21st. June 22nd. Nothing.

I had a midwife appointment on Wednesday, June 23rd. I was 3-4 cm dilated, 60% effaced and #2 was at a -2 station. She said I was a prime candidate for membrane stripping, which is a simple procedure the doctor or midwife can perform that sometimes gets things moving. I agreed to it, since the risks are more or less nonexistent. My midwife said it might hurt and that I should feel pretty crampy for a couple of hours afterwards. I didn't even know she did it. It felt just like a regular internal exam. And then for a couple hours after I had a couple of cramps, but nothing out of the ordinary for 39+ weeks pregnant.

Peanut and I stopped at the grocery store and then headed home for his nap. I laid down and while laying there contractions started. I didn't get too excited at first, knowing it could be false labor. But when they were still going when mrp came home about 4 hours later I did start to feel like maybe this was it. We put peanut to bed and I nursed him. I came downstairs and mrp and I left a message for our doula just as a heads up. We decided to time them before going for a walk. 5 minutes, 5 minutes, 3 minutes, 2.5 minutes, 2.5 minutes, 2.5 minutes ... what?

I called my friend B who worked as a doula in California before having her son a year ago. She said the nursing stimulated the contractions and to have a small glass of wine and put my feet up and they should slow down or even stop. I did this and at first they went back to 5 minutes, but about an hour after I went to bed they stopped.

I woke up in the morning and was disappointed, but hopeful because I had contractions for half a day the day before I went into labor with peanut. Sure enough, 2 hours after I woke up on Thursday they started again. They were stronger than the day before--they were uncomfortable but I could still talk and walk through them. I met BH for a walk and lunch. She's studying to be an OB nurse so it was fun to chat about that stuff and it was nice to have some company to keep my mind from fixating on the contractions.

The contractions continued all day and after nursing peanut to bed intensified in the evening. I was needing to slow down and sometimes pause when I talked during them--still not active labor strength, but getting there. At 11 we decided to call my mom to come over just in case this was it. Of course she came over and of course after laying down and relaxing the contractions stopped again.

I woke up on Friday June 25 and texted my doula that I was "hellbent" on having a baby that day and that this time I wouldn't sleep until I did. She got in touch with one of the midwives who suggested I try a mild laxative which can sometimes get things moving if you're on the verge.

Desperate, I drove to the drug store and picked up magnesium citrate soda nast. I came home and drank it and waited. Nothing happened. Nothing happened all day. Nothing. I had maybe an hour and a half of consistent contractions all day. By noon I was sobbing. By 1:00 I was happy and had resolved to trust my body and #2. With peanut I wore myself out long before I delivered him. I did not want a repeat performance. I swore I would not go into labor exhausted. I wanted to give #2 the best start I could.

So, with that mrp, peanut and I had the best weekend. We were done prepping for baby so we spent lots of time hanging out with each other. We cuddled in bed. We went out for pancakes. We went to the park. We went to peanut's gym class. We spent time with peanut's grandparents. It was great. I had no labor contractions all weekend to speak of. And I didn't care.

I went to bed on Sunday night, the eve of #2's due date and I was ok that I would at least make it that far and even ok with going late. I was feeling relatively good and happy. Mrp planned to go back to work and my in-laws planned to come over in the afternoon to help me with peanut to make sure I was able to adequately rest.

I woke up at 2 a.m. I'm not sure if it was a normal pee wake up or if a contraction woke me up. I do know that I saw blood in my underwear and shortly after this discovery had a contraction. After all the false labor I've had I was hesitant to say this was it, but deep down I knew it was.

*Last photo of peanut as an only child!