Saturday, June 21, 2008

Three weeks and counting

Josh snuck up on me while we were cuddling the other morning. Ok, we were sound asleep, too...

Vacuum Girl after her first bath; photo taken about 20 minutes ago. We did take pics while she was *in* the bath, but as I was bathing with her... those aren't for public consumption.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

This was supposed to be for Father's Day...

But time moves very differently with a newborn.

Vacuum Girl is 2w 3d today, and at her 2-week appointment yesterday, she'd gained 13 oz. above her birth weight!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Finished Object - Picture heavy!

Carolina Rose was born May 31, 2008 at 10:04 am, 18 hours after my water broke unexpectedly, about 7-8 hours active labor, and an official 14 minutes of pushing (although my doula thinks it was more like 4 really good pushes). She weighed 7 pounds 1 ounce, and was 20.5 inches long. Doubtless she's longer now, as she's sucked like a Hoover from birth!

Incidentally, that's Carolina (Lina for short) with an "e" sound, not "i" like the state; the reverse of her fetal nickname, I now realize. Yes, I have condemned my child to a lifetime of being mispronounced. *grin*

This is the last belly pic before labor, at 38w3d. I hadn't realized how huge I looked before seeing this!

So there I was on Friday May 30th, going about my business, which happened to be picking up a prescription at the pharmacy. I had just paid when I felt a couple of little gushes... I finished my business and called my doula, who confirmed what I suspected: my water had just broken. It had broken pretty high up, so I didn't flood the carpet or anything, but still, I knew that my baby was going to be arriving much, much sooner than any of us expected. Ok, about a week sooner than her due date, but at that stage, a week feels like a million years! I continued on to meet Josh at his classroom as we had previously arranged (about five minutes' walk from the pharmacy), and with some telephoning and consultation, the three of us (Josh, Stacey-the-doula, and I) decided to wait a couple of hours and let traffic die down before heading to the hospital; it's about an hour away and lies along a major commute route. Meanwhile, Josh and I headed home to do what we could to get things moving, because my body wasn't really yet ready to go into labor, and Stacey got things ready on her end. By the time we left home, I was contracting lightly but regularly, but by no means in active labor.

Mom and babe, just minutes after birth.

So we got to the hospital, and got triaged, and yup, that was broken waters, and those were light and regular contractions, so they admitted me, and we got down to the business of getting my labor going in earnest. We walked the halls; we went outside (it was a gorgeous night) and I walked the labyrinth the hospital has in the pavement. I did some lunges midway through the labyrinth, and by the time I had come back out of it, my contractions were strong enough to make me pause, although I couldn't really call them active labor yet. So we went back inside. I sat on the bed and knitted for a while; we asked for a birth ball and I sat on that for a bit, too. My contractions were slowly strengthening and coming closer, and we decided to try the bathtub for a while. That was lovely, I must say, but by the time I got out, my labor had mellowed, and the midwife on call started talking pitocin. Since that was almost the last thing we wanted, we negotiated to try more natural methods first. Since no one could find a hospital-grade breast pump we could use, we decided to ask for some privacy so that Josh and I could cuddle and hope that worked. 45 minutes later, my labor was moving quite nicely enough that the "p" word wasn't mentioned again. :)

Isn't she precious?!

So I sat on the birth ball again for a while, and then lay in bed for a bit, because I wanted to try to rest some between contractions, and I wasn't able to while on the ball at that point. But lying in bed made the contractions more painful, so I was just thinking of moving back to the ball, when GUSH! My water broke low, with enough meconium (baby's first poop, for those who don't know) that we all felt some concern about getting the baby out without delay. Fortunately, my water breaking like that also got my labor really going in earnest, so delay wasn't a worry.

Back to the birth ball, and on to a timeless time in Laborland as I dozed between contractions, and sat up and breathed and moaned (and sometimes puked - hospital barf bags are fabulous!) through them. My voice was hoarse for days after. I had about two contractions, probably right before transition, where the "e" word floated through my head (that's epidural), but right after that I had the classic "I can't do this" moment while on the toilet, and it was time to start getting prepared for pushing.

The new family - yes, I know it's dark.

So the nurse checked my dilation, and I had a bit of a cervical lip, so everyone helped me on my side to encourage that lip to melt away. I did about five contractions there, as the urge to push got more and more overwhelming, and the medical folks got set up for the endgame. Those five or so contractions of not pushing felt longer than the whole night had been, and blowing instead of pushing was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life.

Finally, the medical folks were all ready, and Stacey had them set up a bar I could grab so I could squat and push more efficiently, and they helped me sit up so I could push. And push I did! Stacey was an invaluable help there, reminding me to push into my bottom and not into my face. After about three endless contractions, I could feel the baby right almost crowning, and I knew that she was almost here, and that I would probably tear pushing her out, because I knew there was no way I was going to be able to ease her out. So on that last contraction I pulled myself upright, gave a mighty push, and there was the head! And I pushed again, and there was all the body! And she was beautiful and purple as the midwife put her in my arms. It all happened so fast that the medical personnel didn't get a chance to see her sex, but I was holding her in such a way that I could feel that she was a girl, just like I'd hoped for nine long months and more. Because of the meconium, she needed to have her cord cut sooner than I'd hoped so that the goo in her lungs could get suctioned, but lo and behold, when Josh (not liking to touch icky things) passed on the opportunity to cut it, the midwife offered me the scissors. Of course I accepted. :) After the suction team had their way, they put my baby girl back in my arms so I could nurse her, and boy did she ever! She latched on well right away, and sucked so well I was comparing her to vacuums.

Meanwhile, the midwife (or "medwife", since she seemed much more inclined to the medical model than not) was starting to get impatient about delivering the placenta. I would have been happy to let it come when it was ready, which it clearly wasn't yet, but she was anxious and started applying traction. Ultimately, she was quite rough with it, and I hemorrhaged a bit. Not a ton, not dangerously, but enough that I clearly lost more blood than I should have, which loss I'm still recovering from. I did indeed tear as well; one second-degree tear and two near-skidmarks that the midwife stitched just because of their position. Still, while we're annoyed about the placenta incident, we're very satisfied overall with our experience, and wouldn't hesitate to go back to that hospital the next time.

Lina today.

Because of my hemorrhage, I was in the hospital an extra day, just to make sure I was going to be all right going home. I'm actually rather glad of the extra time, because it gave me a chance to remedy my near-ignorance about infant care, something Lina is tutoring me in every moment still. Lina stayed with me the whole time, usually snuggled in with me; Josh stayed with us, too, except for brief trips out for special goodies, or home to feed the cats. We came home on Monday, and I've spent the week mostly sleeping, or nursing, or trying to find a few minutes to take care of myself; I didn't even get a chance to look at the pictures until today!