The Pregonaut

A non-breeder's journey into the unknown

I’ll Drink To That April 4, 2010

Filed under: Celestial Body,Ground Control — anditron @ 1:23 am

P4020160 I participated in a focus group today on alcohol and pregnancy. It’s a touchy subject and one that really brings out the Holier Than Thou in people. There were 9 of us in there, all of whom have had a child in the last year and all of whom have had a drink in the last 30 days. I was the newest mother with a 2.5 month old I believe the oldest was 8 months.

To start things out the moderator asked the question “Is it okay to drink while pregnant?” Everyone around the table began, “No!” “Absolutely not!” “It’s irresponsible.” “If a woman drinks when pregnant she must not want the child.” The judgment spewing out of them made my blood boil. I knew what they were doing, maybe not all of them, but most. I knew they were immediately thinking of the extreme, you know, the idea of someone out clubbing every night sucking down beer and throwing back shots.

Then I spoke, “I drank when I was pregnant. (more…)

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Who’s Got to Potty? I Do April 1, 2010

Filed under: Celestial Body,Ground Control — anditron @ 9:57 pm

Hard at WorkI’m realizing now that while I didn’t suffer some of the really hellish pregnancy symptoms, such as morning sickness, I was fatigued. Everything tired me out especially the last three months when I was commuting 2 hours each way to a contract gig. I was exhausted and it’s no wonder I gained 55lbs! But pretty much the day after the Bot’s birth I was ready to get out and get moving. I was actually jealous of my husband and my dad that they got to leave the hospital room, because I was stuck there barely able to move. In fact, the day after we got home from the hospital, I made my dad take me to Target to pick up a couple baby things. And I’ve refused to slow down since. (more…)

 

When Good Birth Plans Go Bad – My Delivery Experience the Conclusion February 11, 2010

Filed under: Celestial Body — anditron @ 12:25 am

P1150014Here’s the thing about Birth Plans. It’s a plan. It’s the perfect ideal of what you want to happen if you could make the world perfect. But it’s just a plan and the likelihood is, it won’t go the way you want it to, so be flexible and be okay with changes as they happen because they do happen for the best.

I told my husband back at the start of this pregnancy that if I asked for the epidural, I wanted the epidural and he didn’t need to feel like he had to protect the “Plan”. In the end, I couldn’t be happier. If I had to do it again, I’m pretty sure I’d still want the epidural. By the time I got it, I was spent. I was an absolute wreck and worn out… it had been 36 hours after all. I am thrilled I got an epidural and frankly, I wish I hadn’t been so stubborn against it in the first place. It was the best decision I’ve made since deciding to have a baby in the first place.

 

When Good Birth Plans Go Bad – My Delivery Experience Part 4

Filed under: Celestial Body — anditron @ 12:06 am

P1150026Before I begin, I’ll warn you, this post is more for me than you, I want to be sure to remember everything about my daughter’s birth so there will be some not-to-pleasant parts to this. If you’re squeamish, this might get to you and it’s entirely possible some of this isn’t work safe.

Considering how my labor was going so far, I’m still pretty amazed just how quickly the anesthesiologist got to me after I told Bob909 and the Dictator nurse that I wanted an epidural. It was almost immediately, I think I only had one contraction while waiting for her to arrive.

When she got there, Bob909 obviously had to leave. They set things up and I asked the Dictator to turn down the pitocin as I knew I would never be able to sit through a contraction with it pumping through me so much. Whether it actually helped or was merely a placebo, I couldn’t care less, after squirming, jumping and crying my way through one last contraction I told the Dr. to do it now. I sat dead still, eyes closed, as mentally focused as I could possibly be and I breathed while she talked me through everything she was doing. I couldn’t feel any of it I was so well tuned at that moment. And it was done. The nurse helped me lift up into the bed and I let the epidural take away every last bit of pain. The Dr. told me that if I needed I could get a boost later, this is in addition to the button I had for constant re-dosing. I don’t know how I managed to remember this but I did.
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When Good Birth Plans Go Bad – My Delivery Experience Part 3 February 10, 2010

Filed under: Celestial Body — anditron @ 9:01 pm

P1150005Before I begin, I’ll warn you, this post is more for me than you, I want to be sure to remember everything about my daughter’s birth so there will be some not-to-pleasant parts to this. If you’re squeamish, this might get to you and it’s entirely possible some of this isn’t work safe.

It was almost 11 am by the time I was checked-in, got to my room and Bob909 had returned for things to start. The on call Midwife came in to say hello and told us she had 5 patients today, the most she’s had in one shift during her 13 years practice. The hospital has 40 L&D rooms and to have 5 of those all under 1 person was pretty surprising. I handed nurse and Midwife our Birth Plan. She confirmed that I was getting pitocin but that they would start at the lowest setting. I warned them that I go into cold shock when fluids are put in me and they seemed doubtful. The nurse put in my Hep-Lock, hooked me up and thus I became a member of the Borg.

Sure enough cold shock set in and I got covered by warm blankets until the shivering stopped. My nurse was wonderful! She was super nice and it almost felt like I was away for a restful weekend retreat not like I was about to give birth. To be honest, the first 4 hours weren’t to bad. We put on some movie they had playing, the contractions were mostly easy. Then we put on Buffy the Musical and I sang along as my contractions started to make themselves felt. I was starving by 1pm and Bob909 snuck a nutty bar to me which helped but man was I wanting a veggie burger and fries. I had a birth ball to make things a bit more comfortable that I rocked comfortably on while playing video games to pass the rest of the time.

By 2:30 or so, Bob909 needed to eat and frankly could use a beer or so. I told him to go and eat and then began the worst couple of hours in my life. My very nice nurse disappeared, I didn’t see her for at least an hour or so. My husband wasn’t there. The pitocin had finally got things moving. My contractions were about 3 or 4 minutes apart and getting stronger. I was handling them pretty well; taking a deep breath and releasing with a low, slow ohm. As the pain increased, I went into the bathroom to use the shower and discovered… it didn’t work.

My panic button struck. I needed my nurse. I needed my husband. I needed water to get through this labor. What was I going to do? For whatever reason, between each contraction I would go mess with the shower head trying to get the spray to work right and never succeeding. Finally Bob909 returned and I told him what was going on. He asked me if I wanted him to go find the nurse but I couldn’t let him go, the contractions were coming too quick and too strong. Instead I needed him there to help me through the contractions.

Another nurse came in and told me my nurse was taking care of her other patient who was now in active labor and pushing. She tried to take my vitals but Bob909 told her about the shower and told her we needed it fixed asap. She left to see what she could do and we continued working through contractions. But labor was still going pretty well, I closed my eyes with each contraction, supporting myself using Bob909, taking deep breaths and focusing through. I was pretty proud of myself.

Then it happened. The strongest contraction yet hit and with it a bloody gush of fluid. I looked at my husband and cried “What the hell was that”? I panicked, he tried to keep me calm while desperately throwing down a towel to clean up the mess. Another contraction came and with it another gush as big as the last. I cried again and am amazed I didn’t yell at my husband.

Everything from that moment became chaos for me.

A different nurse came in. (We dubbed her the Russian Dictator -in Soviet Russia baby has you! – She remained my nurse through the rest of my delivery.) The other girl hadn’t returned and we had no idea what she was doing. They weren’t getting any of our vitals, my battery had died or something. So the dictator was trying to get me out of the bathroom and reconnected. I was upset about my shower and each contraction releasing a bloody gush and I was no longer able to focus through my pain; instead I jumped around in agony searching for a position that gave me some relief which didn’t exist. Bob909 was upset at the Dictator for upsetting me and my not having any water to ease my pain and mostly that there was nothing he could do.

I refused to leave the bathroom… hey gushing fluids, it made sense to me that I should do that in the bathroom. And anyway, I still held hope that somehow someway the shower would start working.

Finally Bob909 and the Dictator managed to get me to leave the bathroom and each contraction just seemed worse than the previous one. I had lost my focus so completely at this point I didn’t know how I was going to go on. I was mad. I just wanted water to ease my pain and there was none to be had. I wanted to cry. And finally I wanted to know how far along I was. So I told them to check me.

As we were waiting on the Midwife the Ghost Nurse returned. “I can do one of two things. I can move you to a tub room in an hour or I can move you to another room with a working shower now.”

I had given up somewhere along the line, I couldn’t tell you when or where. I just knew that there was no way I was going to move rooms at this point. My contractions were still 3-4 minutes apart and it seemed to take everything I had between them to attempt to get through one. I dismissed her like a Queen blowing off a peasant. These nurses made me so angry, ey easily got all my wrath and yet, I was dolling it out as politely as possible. According to Bob909 I was being pretty sweet and then mumbling my anger just under my breath.

The Midwife came in. They still had not checked me since the week before to see how dilated or effaced I was. Because of my water breaking so long ago the risk of infection increased each time they checked so they limited it as much as possible… ie not at all yet until I requested it. The pain was so excruciating. I was so exhausted with only 6 hours of sleep during the last 3 days. I was starving with my only meal that day being one little egg sandwich. I didn’t know how I was going to continue but was sure I must be 8cm and just about ready to have her.

The Midwife checked and told me, “You’re about 4cm”

I was crushed. I looked at Bob909 and told him, “Give me the epidural. I can’t do this.”

And with that, my great natural child birth plan was flushed down the proverbial toilet. No tub, no shower, Pitocin, and now an Epidural. Everything I had hoped for during the birth of my daughter was out the window. Now what I had to figure out was how in the world I could bear a contraction long enough for the epidural to happen and how was I going to manage waiting for the anesthesiologist knowing how busy the hospital was that day.

 

When Good Birth Plans Go Bad – My Delivery Experience Part 2

Filed under: Celestial Body — anditron @ 6:48 pm

P1150008 Before I begin, I’ll warn you, this post is more for me than you, I want to be sure to remember everything about my daughter’s birth so there will be some not-to-pleasant parts to this. If you’re squeamish, this might get to you and it’s entirely possible some of this isn’t work safe.

It’s not like there was a lot of sleep had that night for either of us. I didn’t sleep at all with my steady 8 minute contractions. Bob909 woke up around 6am and we decided to pick up a Zipcar to go down to the appointment. With an early reservation we walked around the neighborhood on our way to pick up the car hoping that my contractions would finally get going. Once in the car we grabbed a breakfast sandwich picked up our hospital stuff and headed down to the Midwife’s office.

We knew I was 2cm dilated at least, the midwife checked at my prior week’s appointment. Because of this, we had already decided a few days before that since we were almost a week overdue we were going to have the midwife take measures to get my labor going. Things like sweeping the membranes, and anything else they could do to start things up. Of course we wouldn’t have to do that now, now we were having a baby, probably today.

We arrived plenty early and tried to distract ourselves with games on our smart phones while waiting. It hadn’t sunk in yet; that we were just hours away from finally meeting her. It felt like a theme park ride. the lead up to the big drop. Not the ramp up part, no, just that initial bit when you start to go round the corner of the fun house or horror ride (I’m not sure which). You’re coasting and you know something big is going to happen but there’s no sign of excitement yet.

The midwife finally called us back and I relayed the last day’s events. She ran the same 3 tests and it took barely 5 minutes (unlike the hour at the hospital) for her to come back and tell us my water had broke, and likely happened Thursday morning. She couldn’t check my cervix because of the risk of infection so, I was to head straight to Labor and Delivery at the hospital, do not go to triage. And from there she started to destroy my birth plan. I would be getting pitocin as soon as I arrived because my contractions had stalled at 8 minutes and I was over 24 hours since my water broke.

I was really disappointed. I didn’t want to have pitocin at all, I had heard too many things about it’s affects and what often resulted down the road… epidural. I wanted a natural birth but I was pretty open minded about it all. I wasn’t locked-in to no medication, but wanted to try my hardest to have a natural birth. But with the pitocin announcement, I wondered just how much of my plan would stay in tact through the whole ordeal.

P1150004The doorman for the hospital was incredibly cheery. Greeting us with a “Happy Birth Day” and guiding us to registration. We checked in, I told them I wanted a tub room, and went up to the L&D floor. Apparently, Friday the 15th was the day every possible baby decided to appear. I waited for my nurse to come get me and there were already 3 other women there ready to give birth as well. Bob909 had left to return the car when my nurse finally came. She kindly wheeled my suitcase down the hall for me and explained that unfortunately they were extra busy and all the tub rooms were occupied so my birth plan for a tub labor couldn’t be accommodated but I did have a great view of Lake Michigan, if only it wasn’t so foggy. I figured that was fine, there was a shower to use and as long as I had that, I was sure I’d be fine.

Fortunately the staff was nice and waited until Bob909 got back before starting anything. That was a big relief. But there was much more coming that I couldn’t have even anticipated. And I was not ready for most of it… at all.

 

When Good Birth Plans Go Bad – My Delivery Experience Part 1 February 2, 2010

Filed under: Celestial Body — anditron @ 3:17 am

hospital menu Before I begin, I’ll warn you, this post is more for me than you, I want to be sure to remember everything about my daughter’s birth so there will be some not-to-pleasant parts to this. If you’re squeamish, this might get to you and it’s entirely possible some of this isn’t work safe.

2:30 AM, January 14, 2010. I was well into my nightly routine of sleep an hour, wake up, bathroom, change position when it happened. I flipped my turtle-ish body to sit up and as I did thought, oh, that’s strange. We all know things get leakier as the pregnancy goes on; that night it seemed like there was a bit more of a leak than usual. And then I stood up, and again, thought ok, that’s REALLY strange. But that was all I felt, and things didn’t really seem different than “normal” so I wrote it off as just one of the leakier moments, besides, Bob909 had a big day at work that day and I didn’t want to wake him and cause him to be tired for no reason. I got up, did my thing, went back to bed but I couldn’t get back to sleep. Rather than lying there useless I decided I might as well get up and work on my umbrellas since I had an order for 4 come in just a few days prior.

At 6am Bob909 woke up and went to work at while I painted; as the day passed I kept asking myself, was that my water breaking? And frankly every time I asked, my answer to myself changed. I finished my umbrellas and waited for him to come home. At some point during the day, I decided that I should tell him what I thought and get his opinion on the situation – but I wasn’t going to do it until he got home. Every time we talked on the phone that day was murder, I was dying to ask him what he thought, but somehow managed to hold off.

It was around 5:30 or 6pm when Bob909 finally got home. He came in, told me about his day and then I said, “Honey, it’s probably not, but I wanted to tell you what happened this morning.” I could see him run through the list of possible subjects and I honestly don’t think he landed on what I was about to say. I barely got my description out when he told me to call the midwives.
“Really,” I asked. “I mean, I haven’t been having any contractions or anything. It probably isn’t even my water breaking.”
“Don’t you remember what they said? If your water breaks, you’re essentially on a countdown. You’ve got 12 hours and it’s been 15.”
I didn’t recall that at all, but luckily for me, Bob909 has repeatedly proven to me that he retained more info from our class than I did. So I called and had the midwife paged. They quickly called back and I explained what happened. Sure enough, they told me to go in to triage and they’d check.

So we grabbed everything that was left on our to-be-packed list and got it into the suitcase. You know the things like the computer, camera, phone cords and such. During this time I noticed that I sort of felt like I was having contractions but I was unable to tell the time between them and how long they were lasting so I figured I was just experiencing Braxton Hicks not the real thing.

Bob909 called for a cab and as we made our way down Lake Shore Drive to the hospital we phoned our family and told them what was going on. We sat in triage for about an hour before going back to be examined. The exam which would allow them to run 3 tests to determine if my water had broke. The first test was to see if there is fluid pooling in the cervix. The second was to take a swab of that fluid and if the swab turned blue, it was likely amniotic fluid. The third test is the absolute – take the fluid dipped swab, rub it on a slide and if they see ferns, then without question your water broke. Test one said yes. Test two said yes. Test three was inconclusive.

In addition to the tests, they of course hooked up a fetal heart monitor as well as a monitor to watch my contractions if there were any. There were, they were a steady 8 mins apart during the two hours we were in there so imagine our surprise when instead of running that swab/slide test again, they decided to send us home. You see normally, if it’s been 18 hours since your water broke, you’d be induced and the baby would be on its way. Not for us. The midwife decided to send us home since we had an appointment the next morning at 9:15.

So home we went and sat around wondering what we should do. We opted for burritos from Mr. Salsa and a walk around the neighborhood. Bob909 was able to get sleep but I only managed about 3 hours thanks to contractions and overall nervousness. It was possibly the hardest night of my life because we were pretty sure that the next morning we’d be sent directly to the hospital, do not pass go and do not collect $300.

All three cats knew it too. They all curled up with me on the couch keeping me company through the night.

 

 
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