Thursday, April 29, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The drive to the hospital went by in a blur, with me squeezing a pillow during contractions and bracing my legs against the floorboard. There was no traffic so late on a Sunday night so we made excellent time and arrived at the emergency room at around 8:45 pm. Of course, there was no one at the front desk to check us in and the several disheveled patrons milling around the waiting room acted like they had never seen a pregnant woman before in their lives.
The nurse on duty finally arrived and buzzed us in, informing us that we would have to check in before I could be officially admitted. I was prepared for this, with all my paper work filled out, signed, and a copy of my insurance card. I wasn't about to sit around trying to remember my social security number while contractions were wracking my body. A very nice orderly showed up in minutes with a wheelchair (hospital protocol) and I gratefully took a seat still clutching my pillow. He wheeled me down the hall to the elevators, Kris is tow, carrying the hospital bag and an ever-calm demeanor.
I arrived at Labor and Delivery and was shown to my room (#3) where the night nurse, Tricia, hooked me up to a variety of machines and asked me several thousand questions about my health, like had I happened to do crack, cocaine, meth, or heroine at any point in my life. I felt like telling her I was seriously thinking about doing all four at that moment and could we just get this show on the road thankyouverymuch. After she confirmed that I was in labor, FOR REAL, as opposed to just pretending, she put in the IV, got my antibiotics flowing, informed me I was in for a long night and to just let her know when I was ready for pain medication. Then she left. Left me in the room with my very tired husband and my dear friend, Amanda, and a Ben Stiller movie on TV. That last bit wasn't in the birth plan.
At this point I was only dilated to 3cm. Let me tell you just how disappointed I was to hear that. I was hoping for at least 6cm but at 3cm I knew that things were going to get a lot worse before they got better and they were going to take their sweet time doing it.
For the most part I could still carry on a conversation during my contractions and once a contraction passed I was able to feel relatively normal and rested. Tricia came in several times and shared some information that wasn't a part of any pregnancy book I had read, like how I was going to "bleed like a garden hose", then she got me set up with these awesome mesh underpants, something that you might find in the Geriatric Fredrick's of Hollywood. Add that to the awesome hospital gown I was wearing and I was the perfect picture of FRUMP. That's another thing they don't tell you about labor, how you are stripped of any shred of dignity or modesty and your inability to control any part of your body. It was a humbling experience and one that I was completely unprepared for.
After about two hours, Tricia told me that it would be good for me and my labor if I got up and walked around. The first time out, Kris accompanied us but the second time around Amanda and I left an exhausted Kris on the hide-a-bed and hit the hallways which some forward-thinking genius had outfitted with railings. Let me just say I got to know those railings really really well. Each time a contraction hit I would stagger over to one of those mahogany-colored dowels and hold on to it for dear life while rocking back and forth. I was focusing on my breathing, deep breaths in through the nose and out the mouth. It seemed to be working fairly well and Amanda was doing a stellar job coaching me and keeping up a steady stream of chatter which was a most welcome distraction.
I was still only at about 5 cm at 1 am and the contractions had definitely started to get a bit more intense. I was unable to talk through them and they seemed to be lasting longer with less time to rest in between. I was so exhausted. I hadn't gotten any sleep since the previous night and I was kicking myself for making banana bread instead of taking a nap the day before. I was still managing without any pain medication at this point but it was getting so much more difficult. I knew that if I was going to have any chance of making it to the PUSH part of labor I needed some rest. So, I buzzed in Tricia and asked her what my options were other than an epidural and she mentioned Fentanyl, a fast-acting but temporary pain relief, it would last about an hour and I could have up to 6 doses. I was really starting to feel like I was at the end of my tether so I agreed and was given my first dose at around 2am.
It was totally worth it. It didn't take away the pain completely but dulled it to about 60% which was enough so I was able to get a few precious minutes of sleep. Amanda made a coffee run for herself and Kris and the waiting continued.
Posted by Barstow at 4:11 PM
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Last week Cohen graduated to his crib for beddy-bye time. He's been doing remarkably well and now he won't because I just tempted fate by putting that in writing. oh well.
His schedule is becoming more defined and we are getting better at reading his cues. I've changed approximately 7,392 diapers, have spent the better part of the last 14 days shirtless, and have taken 3 showers. I'm sure his first words are going to be, "hey, mama, you stink". To which I will reply, "I gave up personal hygiene to feed, bounce, bathe, and carry you and you WILL appreciate it."
Our washing machine is holding up well considering we've used it at least once EVERY SINGLE DAY since we got home from the hospital, including the time we popped a load in at 3 am because Cohen thought it would be hilarious to spit up 3 times (maybe to mark the hour) each episode just far enough apart that I had cleaned him, myself, the rocking chair, the changing pad, etc. by the time the next round of spew appeared. After frantically emailing several experts we were assured this is normal. Both the spit up AND the laundry.
He passed his two week Dr. appointment with flying colors. In the words of Dr. (Franken) Stein, "He's perfect." We would have to agree.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
I didn't give much thought to the whole "labor" part of pregnancy during the first 8 months of expecting. It was the vague and hazy moment in the future that I couldn't really anticipate so I kept it vague and hazy. I knew that I wanted to try and have an all natural birth, no epidural, no drugs, and I was adamant that there was to be no snipping of the perineum. I wanted nature to just run it's course. Usually when I told someone that I was planning on not having an epidural they were skeptical and some insisted that I would want it, be begging for it because labor is "just that bad". Others were supportive. I had never been through labor before. All my research on contractions used words like "intense" and "discomfort" not "you will be writhing in your hospital bed, while clawing at your husband's shirt".
I was anxious when my original due date passed, March 28. I hadn't felt any "discomfort" apart from struggling to put socks on in the morning and I felt like I'd been pregnant for 18 or 19 months. So when I felt some odd sporadic cramping at around 10 o'clock in the morning on Easter Sunday I didn't pay much attention. In fact, I thought it would be an excellent idea to make use of the nasty bananas taking up space on our counter and make some banana bread sans nuts. I threw a load of washing in and set to work mashing bananas, music blaring from the computer. If this was labor I was going to have NO problem. Look, I'm baking!
In the sheaf of paperwork I had brought home from my obgyn, it gave strict instructions NOT to call the hospital until a) my water broke or b) I had contractions consistently 5 minutes apart for two hours straight. I was also under the impression that when my contractions had reached this rate I would probably give birth within an hour or two. HA! Right around the time the laundry was done and the banana bread was cooling I noticed that the discomfort level was raising the bar a little bit and thought it best to keep a pad and pen handy to note the time of each cramp/contraction. I focused on my breathing and felt that I was handling this whole pain of labor thing quite well. I wanted to stay home as long as possible because once I checked into the hospital I would be pretty restricted, no eating, and only a limited amount of movement/walking. So I flipped on the Food Network and watched as a crew of chefs put together cakes that defied the laws of physics and design. Right around the time Family Guy was about to start, my contractions had been coming every 5 minutes for two hours. This was it! I called the hospital and the dr. on call said that it was time I made my way over and check myself in. I told Kris that we needed to go. We were about to have a baby!
We left the house about 8:15 pm.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Sunday, April 4, 2010
This is the original serialized novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, published in 1888. Burnett was asked by her publisher to revise and expand the novel which then became the well-known, A Little Princess, published in 1904. We found this at Goodwill for $20. The illustrations are beautifully done and in the back are several pages of advertisements for dozens of books put out by the publisher, Charles Scribner's Sons. It definitely shows signs of wear, the binding is fragile and there's some discoloration on the cover but all the pages are intact, although yellow from age. Inside the front cover the owner of the book pencilled in her name: Bulah M. Hunt, in the most graceful script. It's beautiful.
Kris found this in one of the dilapidated sheds out back. A dilapidated shed that is now being used as a chicken coop by our neighbors. After doing some research our best guess is that it's from around 1945. It's in near perfect condition, no rust and only one minor scratch. I LOVE stuff like this, package design was so much cooler 50 years ago. Now we just need to figure out where to put Aunt Sue, she's spent the better part of her existence in a grotty shed, she deserves a place in the sun.
Posted by Barstow at 3:24 PM
Friday, April 2, 2010
There it is folks, the 32 lb. BUN in the oven. My due date has come and gone and the bean seems perfectly content where he's at. I haven't had a single hint of a contraction, there's a possibility I passed my mucus plug but apparently that doesn't mean very much. At my last appointment I was hooked up to the fetal heart monitor and some other device that measured contractions. Sadly, the only thing it ended up registering was my laughing fit. I've walked miles, heaved myself up and down our basement stairs countless times, and attempted squats and done just about everything a girl can do to get labor started. This is just one stubborn bean.
We met our pediatrician, a Dr. Stein, who's first name is Hal and not Franken, which is a real shame. He's wonderful, experienced, and he patiently sat through all our questions regarding vaccinations, circumcision, and rectal thermometers (is the rectal part really necessary?).
Here's hoping we'll have bigger news to report next time...