Tuesday, January 22, 2013

We are travelers.

The DDH's grandfather died this morning.

We're heading to Houston later this week to be with his grandma and father. I love traveling and haven't been to Houston since I was very little (I have vague memories of the Space Center and a zoo or park or something). So perversely I'm kind of looking forward to the trip.


Anyone have any tips for surviving two eight-hour car trips and four nights, five days in a hotel with a two-month-old?

I think we'll have to switch to disposable diapers for the trip, since my cloth stash covers about four days, not five, and I'm not sure about doing laundry at my father-in-law's house. We also have a gifted stash of size one diapers that just barely still fit T-Rex.

And clearly the drive there and back will take much longer than eight hours since we'll have to stop and feed T-Rex every two to three hours. So there's that, too.

Please share your traveling-with-tinies wisdom! And any must-do's in Houston, of course! ^_^

Saturday, January 19, 2013

It's a T-Rex! (T-Rex's Birth Story, Part III)

The oh-so-thrilling conclusion! Read Parts I and II.

We arrived at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. and completed Round Two of paperwork, cervical checks, the works. I was not any more dilated than when I left the hospital on Friday, but everything seemed softer, apparently, which meant it was more likely that the induction drugs would take this time.

The nurse gave me another dose of misoprostol and the DDH spent a couple hours pacing the halls, to no avail. Not only was I not dilating further, but I wasn't even having the mild contractions I had been having before.

So we got yet another dose. We watched A Knight's Tale, which apparently the DDH had never seen before (how is that possible?).

At about 2:30 Monday afternoon, the nurse checked me again. I was dilated to about a two now, but not having any contractions. She did, however, think that things were ready for the next step.

My doctor came in and broke my water about 3:30 p.m. This was it--one way or another we'd have this baby within the next twenty-four hours or so now. At this point they also hooked up the pitocin to get the contractions going.

And get going they did! I managed fine for awhile, watching an NCIS marathon on TV and trying to get a last bit of rest.

As afternoon turned to evening, however, the contractions became more intense--and more frequent. I couldn't find a comfortable position on the bed, so I got up and paced the room, but the contractions were quickly too intense to walk. I bounced on a birthing ball--that helped for awhile. I could get a good position, bent over and hanging onto the bed.

The contractions got worse and worse. They were lasting about forty-five seconds with only thirty to sixty seconds between them. We asked the nurse to review my pain relief options, and she did--not pressuring me at all one way or the other, but letting me know what was available.

I held out until eight o'clock before I knew that I needed something. We opted to get a narcotic drip first. This, the nurse said, wouldn't stop the pain but would help take the edge off so that I could handle it better. Unfortunately, it did mean that I needed to stay in bed in case I had an adverse reaction to the drug.

That helped for a little while. The drug, whatever it was, kind of put me to sleep, a sort of semi-lucid dream state, where I felt the pain but was sort of sleeping through it. I remember thinking really hard about whether or not I was talking and saying anything to the DDH--I knew I wasn't all there, and I didn't want to say anything stupid, but I felt the need to convey information. It was very weird.

Speaking of the DDH--he was amazing through this whole thing. He rubbed my back, held my hand, told me I could do it, watched all the monitors for me, talked to the nurses because I couldn't focus on much other than the pain. He was great.

My contractions were now constant. One would begin, the pain would ramp up, peak, and then as the pain from one contraction subsided the next would begin. I was only ever getting halfway back down the little pain mountain, with no chance to catch my breath or regroup or steel myself for the next one. I was half sitting up, clinging to the bedrail and the DDH's hand, still not entirely lucid because of the pain meds and just screaming and crying.

Luckily, those constant contractions were finally accomplishing something! The nurse checked and I was dilated to about a seven. This was about 9:30 p.m., maybe? Five plus centimeters in six hours; I don't know if that's good, but after taking five days to get the first two, I was happy with the progress.

Still, with three centimeters to go, I knew I wouldn't last. Maybe I'm just a wuss, but the pain was incessant and terrible. So I gave in and asked for the epidural.

It took another hour or so for the anesthesiologist to come, so the nurse gave me another dose of the other drug in the meantime. It really did nothing for the pain this time, and I was very happy when the anesthesiologist arrived.

I could barely sit up and move to the other side of the bed. I kept having to stop and scream as the pain got too bad. But I managed it, the anesthesiologist did his thing, and finally the pain stopped. My legs went numb slowly, but the pain in my abdomen stopped almost right away. My right leg and a patch of my lower right torso never numbed completely, so I could still tell when I was having a contraction even though it didn't hurt very much, which was nice.

The DDH and I took advantage of this time to get some sleep. It was very nice, really, to be able to relax and sleep while my body did the work, even though it was uncomfortable to have my legs be asleep and not be able to move.

Between about 1 and 1:30 Tuesday morning, the nurse came in, checked, and bam! I was a ten. She called the doctor and came to help coach me through pushing, since she thought I could start doing a little of that until the doctor arrived.

About this time, we noticed that T-Rex's heart rate dropped with each push. The nurse had me roll onto my right side and coached me through pushing from that position, as it didn't seem to send T-Rex into distress.

I pushed maybe five or six times before the doctor and other nurses arrived. Things moved quickly now, as they set up all the equipment and got everyone into position. At some point the nurse had them bring out a mirror so that I could see. This helped me focus the pushing on the right spot, since I could only partially feel it, and it was awesome to be able to see T-Rex being born!

With the doctor there in case T-Rex went into distress again, they had me return to my back. The nurse and the DDH helped hold my feet up in the stirrups and I pushed a few more times. T-Rex's heart rate was definitely plunging each time, but he was also crowning.

Everything moved so fast. It only took about three pushes after the doctor arrived before T-Rex's head popped out. The doctor was yelling at me to hold on and not push for a moment, but I could see his head out and I just wanted to get it over with and was determined to push him out now. I learned later that the cord had been wrapped around T-Rex's neck, but luckily the doctor was able to slip it off quickly, because one more push and there he was!

He was so squished and wriggly and covered in slime and adorable and mine. They handed him to me and I held him while the DDH cut the cord. I couldn't stop saying hello, over and over. It was 2:23 a.m. Tuesday, November 20.

The DDH went with the nurses over to the baby cart and watched them wipe him down and do the Apgar tests and things while the doctor stitched me up (I had a second degree tear). He weighed 8 pounds, 2.9 ounces and was 21 inches long. The doctor checked him out and though he lost a point or two for blue lips or something, really, he was perfect.

They gave him back to me and the nurse helped me position him to breastfeed. We sat there and he ate for 117 minutes--apparently the longest they've ever had a newborn eat! The DDH's mom and stepdad came in to meet him and hold him once he finished; then he was bathed and wrapped up. He had to hang out under the heat lamp for awhile since he had gotten too cold, but eventually he warmed up. The in-laws left and finally the three of us were moved to a recovery room.

We slept and ate and fed and marveled and entertained visitors all Tuesday.

T-Rex's hemoglobin numbers were high on his 24-hour bloodwork, so he had to be under the billirubin lights. They put tiny little baby sunglasses on him and set up a hood of lights over the cart where he slept. He was also lying on a blanket of lights, and he had to remain strapped to that when we took him out to breastfeed him, which was awkward. But after twelve hours with the lights his numbers were back up and we were allowed to go home.

My parents had arrived from Albuquerque Wednesday afternoon and helped us pack everything up. We were discharged about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, in time to go home, eat Indian food takeout, and for everyone else to get some sleep before Thanksgiving.

I had intended to try to go without the epidural, but I'm glad I got it. Being able to rest for a few hours allowed me to focus and I believe helped me push more strongly and quickly. Sometimes I still wonder if it was the best idea to go in to be induced, but I think that was the right choice, too. He did not want to come out, and though I'm sure I would have gone into labor eventually, I'm not sure how much bigger he could have gotten before I wouldn't have been able to birth him. I was able to avoid a c-section and he arrived healthy and strong. It all worked out, and now he's here, my handsome, happy little T-Rex whom I love.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Intermission (T-Rex's Birth Story, Part II)

Read Part I here.

Friday, November 16. The DDH and I had been in the hospital for two nights, expecting to have this baby. But despite a slew of different cervical ripening treatments, nothing was happening. We were sent home and scheduled to come back on Monday to try again.

At this point, I was deeply depressed. I was experiencing frequent and painful cramps thanks to the second medicine the nurses used, so I was in pain, but to no purpose--they weren't contractions. They weren't helping T-Rex out into the world. I just hurt, for no reason.

The whole venture seemed pointless. Why had we even bothered? We should have just waited and left well enough alone. We had both missed two days of work--the DDH falling behind on his trial prep, me losing two more days of pay--and here we were, still sans baby.

I started writing Part I that day, but was too disheartened to finish it or post it. I wanted to curl up and hide. I hated still being pregnant, and yet I was scared of actually finally having this baby, too. I didn't know what to do or how to feel.

The DDH's mom took us out to a nice lunch on Friday, then we spent the rest of the day at home, miserable. A warm bath finally made the cramps go away, and we woke up on a beautiful sunny Saturday feeling better.

We went to the farmer's market. We had brunch. We spent an hour or so wandering around Bass Pro Shop, looking at talking fish and fancy dehydrators. We went to Target. We came back and relaxed at home.

We skipped church on Sunday, unable to face everyone's questions and comments. We met up for lunch with some friends who were in town on their way home to Iowa. We took the dogs to the dog park.

Really, it was a lovely weekend. We were able to deliberately enjoy this last bit of time alone.

And by Monday, we were ready to try again.

To be continued again...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

When it rains, it pours. (T-Rex's Birth Story, Part I)

T-Rex was due November 12, but showed no interest in leaving. The doctor was concerned that he was starting to get too big and wanted to try and get things moving so a C-section would be less likely. We were scheduled to be induced on Wednesday, November 14 at 7:30 in the evening. Here's that story.

When Laura of the Hollywood Housewife announced her Day in the Life challenge for November 14, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to photodocument the last day of our lives before T-Rex came along. You know. This is what the house looked like, where Mommy and Daddy worked at the time, what the weather was like and what we ate and wore.

So it started out great. I did a little photo tour of the house, photographed the dogs and the rabbit and the DDH dressed for work. I'll spare you all the boring photo details (though if you're curious about the famous yellow plaid wallpaper, check it out on Instagram, where I'm @ktindeed).

Anyway. Then, on my way to work, a big SUV tried to cross the four-lane road on which I was traveling. She made it across three lanes...but not the lane I was in. I slammed right into her rear passenger wheel-well.

I think I spent about two minutes sitting the car where it landed, screaming, before I managed to pull off onto the side street where her car had ended up, climb out, and start taking care of everything. I called work to let them know I'd be late and called the DDH to come rescue me, and neither of them could understand what I was saying--I was shaking so badly I couldn't talk clearly. My throat hurt for days from the screaming.

But, my ridiculous overreaction aside, everything was apparently fine. She had three kids in the backseat, and they were all ok. I wasn't experiencing any cramping or anything, so T-Rex was probably safe.

Everyone was okay, though her car was not driveable. Subie was in the shop for almost two weeks (that's the thing about Subarus. They're tough little cars and they last forever, but when something does go wrong, it takes an absolute eternity to get the parts--shops don't tend to keep them on hand).

I finally made it in to work after taking Subie to the shop and picking up a rental car. I then proceeded to work like mad to leave everything in order before I left, which I think I actually managed to do (except I think I might have left a flash drive of photos in my computer there, because I can't find it anywhere at home. Hmph).

Came home and putzed around putting everything in order. I wrote up directions for caring for the animals, made sure everything was packed for the hospital stay, that the guest beds were made up for when my parents arrived. Took a nap.

The DDH came home and we had a celebratory "last meal" at McAllister's, then headed off to the hospital--excited, nervous, but thinking that either way, this was it.

Yeah. As Mom told me later, "I knew when the wreck didn't send you into labor that there was no way you were having that baby yet." Sigh.

The nurse checked me into the hospital. I signed all the paperwork, donned the hideous gown, accepted the little IV valve in my wrist. I still was dilated not even to one. The nurse dosed me with misoprostol and said she'd check back in four hours.

We hung out in the room, watching Hulu. We napped. Four hours passed. Nothing. I was now maybe a one. The nurse gave me another dose. After waiting the requisite hour, we got up and paced around the hospital. I walked laps around the labor and delivery floor and then around the deserted main lobby. I set up an Instagram account and uploaded all my Day In The Life photos.

I was having contractions now. They were short and not super strong, but also really close together. When we returned upstairs, the nurse put the monitor on and said she couldn't give me another dose of the medicine yet because the contractions were coming too close together. Yet I was still only dilated to maybe a one and a half. This was getting frustrating.

We hung out some more. Tried to get some sleep. Eventually the monitor said the contractions were far enough apart and the nurse gave me another dose of the medicine. We did sleep then, for awhile.

Morning came, and another nurse, and ineffective contractions too close together. The DDH left to feed the dogs and get some breakfast. He returned with the news that some Amish people were having a bake sale in the lobby. We petitioned the nurses to let me eat (supposedly I was only allowed clear liquids this whole time), and they agreed. We trekked down to the lobby and bought cinnamon rolls and pumpkin bread and brownies (and some for the nurses as well).

This pretty much continued all day: mild, ineffectual contractions. Lots of walking. More doses of misoprostol. Continued lack of progression.

That evening, they decided to give me a different cervical ripening agent. This one eventually caused really severe cramping, but proved to be no more effective than the misoprostol. My body just was not in the least interested in giving birth yet. So they sent us home.

To be continued...