Thursday, February 9, 2012

Catching Up

So I haven't blogged in a very long time. As you might imagine, I have another baby now! Where to start, where to start? I guess I should give you a bit of a birth story.

So, the end of my pregnancy was pretty miserable. I stopped running at 20 weeks because I was told I had a short cervix. A few weeks later, I was told not only did I not have a short cervix, it was actually quite long. Ugh... I had gone a few weeks without running and starting up again proved to be so hard. I couldn't do it without pelvic pain and it didn't just hurt while I ran, it actually made me limp around the next day. One thing I learned with Darwin was that running right up until delivery didn't seem to help me come back any faster so I decided it wasn't worth it. I don't really run for exercise. I run because I love running. I don't really like other forms of exercise and, with a toddler, going to the gym seems impossible. Anyway, my point is, without running, I gained a lot more weight with this baby than I did with Darwin. Also, I got stretch marks! No! With Darwin, I got nothing. Also, I just flat got bigger. Everyone was telling me what a huge baby I was going to have. On Christmas day, I was exactly 37 weeks-full term. Brian's family started making guesses about when the baby would come. Most were guessing mid January. My due date was January 15th so that made sense. Then came the snarky comments. "You guys are guessing January? Have you SEEN her!?!" Seriously, people suck. Anyway, I started getting internals at 36 weeks. The first one showed I was 2cm and 30% effaced. Not too bad! At 37 weeks, I was 3cm and 50%. Because I was showing so much progress, they let me schedule an induction for 39 weeks. That put me at January 9th. It worked perfectly with my schedule at work so I was really excited about it.

Just 2 days after my 37 week appointment, I woke up at 4 am having contractions. They weren't painful or rhythmic but they weren't stopping and they were certainly noticeable. It was almost like I had a constant Braxton-Hicks and then every few minutes I would have a bad cramp sensation. I went to work and told Brian that, if they continued, I'd call my Dr.'s office at 8:30 when they opened. Well, they did keep going and they actually got worse. I spoke to one of the nurse practitioners and she wanted me to come right in. The contractions kept up until they got me on the table to monitor me and then they died down. She checked me and I was 4cm and 80%. Holy crap! Because the contractions died down, she sent me home but warned me that I should go to the hospital if the contractions started again and lasted an hour. She also said the baby was very low. So home I went feeling like the baby would fall out of me at any moment. This was Friday, 12/30.

Brian had to work the entire New Years weekend including Monday. Obviously, daycare would be closed for the weekend and on Monday due to the holiday. Seriously!? How the hell was I supposed to keep up with my very rambunctious 2 year old for 3 days knowing I could go into labor at any second? Well, I had no more contractions on Friday so that was good. On Saturday, contractions started about 8 am. They kept going and were happening pretty often, but not consistently. About 11 am, they got a little painful. I called Brian and he came home from work and took all of us to L&D. In the car on the way there, they stopped. I was beyond frustrated. Brian wanted me to go in anyway because he thought I might be even more dilated and perhaps they would do something to jump start things. The nurses were so happy to see me. They were totally bored and wanted someone to take care of. They monitored me for a couple of hours. They said my uterus was very irritable but that I wasn't in labor so they sent me home. They also said that as dilated as I was (still 4cm), if my water broke it would be a huge gush and to come in immediately if that happened.

The next few days I had several episodes of on and off contractions. By Tuesday (1/3) morning, I was really in hell. I'd taken care of Darwin all weekend long with a baby very low in my pelvis. My hips were killing me. On top of that, I had several times when a trickle of fluid would run down my leg. Every time I thought my water had broken but I never got that gush I was warned about so I just figured I was having some bladder control issues. I sent Darwin to daycare on Tuesday and went to the chiropractor. He was actually able to make my pelvis feel better. Enough so that making it to my induction on the 9th suddenly seemed doable. I didn't even mind the thought of going back to work. I'm always off on Mondays so with the Monday holiday, I also had Tuesday off and didn't have to be back to work until Wednesday. I was actually taking that morning off though to go in for a Dr.'s appointment.

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Here I am the day before Leo was born. I was 38 weeks and 2 days.

I got up on Wednesday morning to go to my 8:45am appointment. I decided to take a quick bath. When I stepped into the tub, it was slick and my leg slid out from under me. I didn't fall but my leg went to the edge of our very large tub while my other leg was firmly planted on the bathroom floor. It hurt so bad. All the good the chiropractor had done was gone. I could actually hear my pelvis popping and grinding as I walked and just standing hurt. Walking was impossible without limping. I was at the end of my rope! I hobbled into the Dr. and the nurse says "How are you still pregnant? Most girls that are 4cm don't walk around for very long without going into labor!" Not what I wanted to hear. They put me in the exam room which was super hot. I was the first appointment of the day so the Dr. was taking her sweet ass time. It was also her first day back from a week long vacation to Jamaica so everyone was stopping her in the hall and talking to her. I know this because the walls are paper thin and I can hear everything in that office. The nurse came in to apologize for the heat and the wait. It was cooler in the hall and not many people were around so she started opening and closing the exam room door to fan some cooler air into the room. I stood up to readjust and noticed a large wet spot (about a foot in diameter) on the paper that was over the table. The nurse took a look at it and you could tell she was like "oh crap"! She put an absorbent sheet down for me and went to get the Dr. Finally she comes in. I tell her my sob story about the weekend. She does an exam and says I am 5cm but she isn't sure if my membranes were ruptured or not. Either way, she sent me straight to the hospital! Yay!

I texted Brian and he called me while I was parking. I got checked into L&D at 10 am. It wasn't long at all before Brian was there. They started pitocin on me immediately. Anesthesia showed up before I had felt even one painful contraction. I really didn't want to get an epi until I was feeling some pain but I also didn't want to send anesthesia away. What if things went quickly? I was already 5cm. Also, I didn't want them to take their sweet ass time coming back when I finally decided that I needed one. I went ahead with it. Everything went fine but they needed to do a test dosage while monitoring my blood pressure and pulse oxygen but something was wrong with the equipment. The nurse messed around with it and eventually got it working. Sadly, blood had clotted in the catheter so they had to rethread it. It wasn't that bad but I really would have preferred not to have to do it twice. Once the epi was in and working, my Dr. showed up to break my water. Nothing came out when she did. She said she would have thought it would have been a big gush but didn't seem too concerned. Everything seemed to be going fine but suddenly, I heard loud ringing in my ears and felt strange...and horrible. I don't know how to explain it. I could tell something was very wrong. If felt like there was a lot of pressure on my chest. At first, I didn't want to say anything because I didn't want to be perceived as a difficult or whiny patient but I was scared. I told my nurse that I felt weird. She looked a little concerned and said "weird how?" At that point, I thought I was going to pass out and puke and possibly die. I'm not kidding. I really thought I might be having a stroke. I was very scared. I had no idea what was going on but I knew it was bad. I envisioned the worst. I thought maybe they would have to put me under and do an emergency c-section. I had a feeling of doom even like maybe I wasn't going to make it at all. I had the immediate urge to tell Brian hat I loved him and to tell our boys how much I loved them. I did not speak this out loud though. I couldn't believe it was happening! The nurse yelled down the hall for help. Brian was at my side. He was talking to me but the ringing in my ears was so loud that I couldn't understand him. Apparently, my blood pressure had dropped extremely low. It was something very low like 50/30. They dropped the bed so I was lying flat and put something in my IV. I started to feel a little better. Beads of sweat broke out on my face. I had to fight the urge not to start bawling. Anesthesia came in a put something else in my IV and I truly did feel better. Overall, it wasn't a big deal and it is something they see all the time. Still, it scared me so, so bad.

At that point, even though I hadn't progressed at all, I was over it all. I just wanted to be done. With Darwin, I went from 5-10cm in less than an hour. I was hoping that since this was baby number 2, it would go even faster. That was not the case. Everything went painfully slow. I called my sister around 4pm to see if she could pick Darwin up from daycare. She came by the hospital so she could trade cars with us (she doesn't have a car seat in her car). Just before she got there, I was 8cm. Finally, a little progress. She left and around 5pm and the next thing you know, I was ready to push.

Pushing didn't go well with Darwin. He was stuck behind my pelvic bone and I really wasn't very efficient. He was having decelerations so they just yanked him out the the vacuum after I tried for about 15 minutes. I was determined to do it myself this time. Luckily, when I started pushing, I could totally feel what I was doing. It was almost like I could see him and I was guiding him out. Out he came in only 4 pushes. Apparently, he had been so low in my pelvis that he was acting like a stopper. All the fluid was behind him. Once he was out, the fluid came flying out in two big splashes. It went all over my Dr. If she had been a few inches shorter, it would have hit her right in the face! It was crazy. If I had seen this on TV or in a movie, I would have gone on and on about how unrealistic and gross it was. I had no idea that was a possibility. Apparently, it doesn't happen often because the nurses and the Dr. were pretty shocked. Anyway, now I had a beautiful baby boy. I could tell immediately that he was smaller than Darwin. Because, he came out so quickly, he really didn't have the typical misshapen head. They put him in my arms immediately. He cried and so did I. There is nothing like the moment right after your child is born. He weighed 6 lbs, 10 oz and was 20 and 3/4 inches and looked exactly like Darwin did when he was a newborn. He had tons of dark hair. We named him Leo Benson. Leo because I love the name and Benson for the neighborhood where Brian grew up in Omaha. He nursed immediately and was just such a sweet, mellow little guy.

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Here's Leo only seconds after arrival.

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And here we are just a few minutes later.

Throughout the pregnancy, I talked to Darwin about the baby. I never felt like he really understood what was going on. Not that I expected him to, I mean, he was only 2 years old. I was worried how he would do when Leo showed up. When he walked in and realized there was a baby, he was immediately happy and curious. Brian sat him in a chair and brought Leo over to meet him. Darwin couldn't contain his happiness. Seeing him look at Leo and smile such a big sweet smile was one of the most amazing things I've ever witnessed. And there they were. My boys. Our family was complete.

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Darwin and Leo meet.

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Our family

Recovery wise, I was doing great. As the epi wore off, I could already tell I felt pretty good. Brian took Darwin home for dinner and the nursery took Leo for his first bath. I got up and walked to my recovery room and I knew this was gong to be a much easier road than the first time around. The next morning, I felt really good. Brian and Darwin came to the hospital and I was up and moving around. I was schedule to get my tubes tied at 10am. I had nursed Leo at 6am and wanted to nurse him at least one more time before I went in for surgery but it wasn't looking like that was going to happen. The nursery had already taken him back for his circumcision and it was after 9am. Surgery came to get me and it was all I could do not to cry. I had no idea how long this would take and I just felt like I needed to be with Leo. Surgery is always scary and I was all alone and missing my baby. I almost backed out. When I woke up, I couldn't believe the pain. It was awful. I had never had abdominal surgery. I couldn't imagine what having a c-section must feel like. I wanted to die. I kept asking how long before I could see my baby. My nurse was so sweet to me. I'm sure I drove her crazy. I felt better when I got back to my room thanks to drugs. Brian and Darwin were waiting for me but Leo was not there. Brian said he had spoken to my Dr. She did my tubes and Leo's circumcision. She said both went great.

I changed from the hospital gown into my own clothes and Brian took Darwin home for a nap. Finally, they brought Leo to me and of course, he wouldn't nurse. Ugh.... I felt awful. My stomach hurt from surgery and I was an emotional wreck. At this point it was around noon and Leo hadn't nursed for 6 hours. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to nurse him every hour and getting no where. Finally, at 6pm, he nursed. To make up for his 12 hour hunger strike, he nursed pretty much every hour that entire night. Around 2 or 3 am, my drugs wore off. I was having a hard time getting up out of bed. I was in hell. I called the nurse and she brought me more pain meds but it was still pretty painful.

We checked out of the hospital the next morning and just walking was excruciating. Why the hell did I do this to myself was all I could think. I wasn't allowed to pick anything up for a week that weighed more than 10 lbs. That meant I wouldn't be able to care for Darwin by myself. I felt like I had made a huge mistake. I was miserable for probably 2 more days. After that, I still felt bad but I could get around a little better. After a week, I felt pretty normal. If I could do it all over, I would not have gotten my tubes tied. I feel like I would have been almost completely recovered by the time I left the hospital if I had not had the surgery. Ultimately, I am glad that we had birth control taken care of but I should have let Brian get a vasectomy instead. He actually had a referral for a urologist scheduled but it was for the day after Leo was born so he had cancelled it. Also, it was very shady. They wanted money up front despite the fact that we have insurance. I had a bad feeling about the whole thing. He could have called his Dr. to get another referral but I felt that would be like starting over. He was off for 3 weeks after Leo was born and really needed to get the procedure done while he was off. I felt like time wasn't on our side. When we checked into the hospital, I wanted it taken care of so I just told the nurse I wanted my tubes tied. Hindsight is 20/20 I guess.

After the week of recovering from the surgery, I was fine. It was a bit of a transition at first. I couldn't do a lot with Darwin because I was recovering so Brian took care of him while I took care of Leo. I felt like I lost touch with Darwin for a while. It was hard but eventually, we all came together as a family. Leo has been a very easy baby. He started sleeping all night when he was around 8 weeks old. Now he sleeps 9 or 10 hours straight at night! It is great. He has dark brown eyes like me but other than that, he looks just like Darwin did at this age. Darwin still likes him but you can tell he is frustrated that he can't do much. Darwin tries to share his food and toys with him and doesn't understand why Leo just sits there. In a few months, I have a feeling he will be much more exited about him. A few months after that, he'll probably be annoyed that Leo takes his toys and food!

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Here are a few of my favorite newborn pics of Leo. He is one week old in these.

Leo is 11 weeks old now and I'll be headed back to work in a little over a week. The time has flown by. I have been running and am almost back to my normal weight. I'll be writing more entries about losing baby weight and getting back into running. After going through it with Darwin, I've had a much more enlightened approach this time and it has been very successful.

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And here is a current pic of Leo

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