Wednesday, September 25, 2013

first month of parenthood

if you read my last post, life cycle of a whale, you know that i was kind of freaking out about having a kid.  like, a real life baby human.  i really was.  not in a “i regret this” kind of way, but in a “i have no idea what im doing and im sort of terrified im going to screw it up” kind of way.  im still terrified im going to screw it up, and i still have no idea what im doing.  but holy cow, she is the cutest and sweetest thing to ever happen to us.

tummy time

this post is not going to start at the beginning, but if you are a brave soul, and want to hear all about the birth, then you can read the birth story here.

the sweetness is now a month old.  WHERE DID THAT MONTH GO?!  the first few nights getting barely more than a couple hours of sleep seem like a lifetime ago, and yet just yesterday.  

i want her to stay tiny.  FOR.EV.ER.

and no one told me that breastfeeding is seriously something dreamt up in S&M circles.  because, pain.

ok folks, im about to get seriously sappy here:

she has brought so much love into our lives.  you hear (at least i did) that having a kid doesnt take love away from others, but instead it just makes more room in your heart for more love.  its true.  i dont even have to think about it-i love her.  its not like the kind of love i have for my husband or anyone else.  it just is.  like you cant help but love this little person because its not logical to do anything else.  this isnt a new concept to me, but the truth of it is still poignant.

velociraptor baby!
but something is missing from that saying that i always heard. they leave out how that extra room in your heart also increases your love for those you already love.  the most obvious example is my husband.  i was amazed at the overflow of love i felt for him after having our baby.  (i make it sound like its weird to love him. har har)  it was incredible to feel so close to him while we supported and encouraged each other, and i appreciated so much the care he gave to both me and his daughter.  it was overwhelming at times, and i cried many tears of joy in those first few days as i saw my little family growing before my eyes.  

of course, i also cried many tears of frustration too. and stress. and fear.  and exhaustion.  having a kid is scary and hard.  my whole life is dedicated to keeping this tiny human alive and happy and sometimes that seems next to impossible.  or at least like the more happy they are, the more exhausted you become.  

in the midst of all of this new life thing happening, the circle of life is continuing in our family.  brians grandmother was diagnosed with cancer in april and just a few days before breckens birth, we learned that she had only a few months left to live.   

at the beginning of september, i was able to take brecken to meet her great grandmother, and let grandma meet her first great granddaughter.  it was a bittersweet moment, seeing grandma’s eyes well up with tears as she held brecken for what she knew would be the last time.  it was incredible to give her that gift, to see the love she had for this sweet little baby and how it lifted her spirits.  brecken will never remember feeling those frail arms hold her tight, but i hope she will someday treasure knowing how much joy she brought her great grandmother in her last days.  

great grandma boyer

as it turns out, our timing could not have been better-the day we left, grandma went into a coma, and she died 5 days later.  its almost like she was holding out to meet this sweet little girl.

this last month has been full of firsts.  some good, like first meetings and first grandchild, and some bad, like first projectile poop on my pants and first cracked nipple.  but its been so mindblowingly good.

i just wish i could keep her so adorably small.

even cobalt likes her

Brecken's birth story

so you want to hear the nitty gritty on how this whole birth thing went down huh?  

i dont blame you, im kind of morbidly nosey like that too.

now, i am kind of writing this more for me than for you, so if its REALLY detailed on mundane things, sorry, and skip ahead for the more graphic things :)

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

6:00 PM.   ive been with my grandparents who are visiting from NJ via VA all day.  we went to the jelly belly factory and took a tour and bought jelly beans and chocolate afterwards.  grandpa was grumpy because the tour line was so long and he wanted to go to the john muir house tour instead.  granny and i overruled him.  brian was still at work and i decided to stay for dinner at my parents house to eat with the family.  they were having spaghetti, but i ordered the prego pizza (basically a supreme pizza with insane amounts of garlic, onion, and meat.  the perfect pizza) from the local pizza place.  its supposedly guaranteed to put you into labor.  

6:30 PM.  we sat down to eat.  my dog was whining so i got up.  i felt a little trickle when i stood but ignored it. it was weird, but so are womens bodies.  a few minutes later, i got up again, and it happened again.  then i started to wonder whats going on.

6:45 PM.  i was uncomfortable in my maternity shorts and asked my little brother for a pair of basketball shorts to wear.  i was anticipating an evening of football (49ers first preseason game-im not a fan of the niners, but i like football so ill watch anyways) and would rather be comfortable.  seth made a sarcastic comment about “you better take these off if you go into labor.”  i stood up to go change.  unmistakable trickle.  slight panic.  ran to the bathroom.  inspected shorts.  shorts wet.  maybe its butt sweat?  it WAS hot today...  peed while i thought.  cracked door open and called for my mom, cuz that what every girl does when she panics, right?  i was suddenly having flashbacks to when i started my period and i also called my mom to come rescue me while sitting on the porcelain throne.  while waiting for her, another trickle.  confer with madre and confirmed suspicions-water must have broken.  only she doesnt really know either cuz the one time her water broke, it was a flood not a trickle.  CRAP.  

7:00 PM.  i rushed home to meet up with brian and get the hospital phone number i was supposed to have pinned to my shirt long ago.  luckily, our bags were mostly packed (im type A, remember?), so at least i wasnt worrying about that.  the hospital confirmed that it sounds like my water has broken and i should come in to double check.  we decided to take our time and not rush since they would admit me.  collected the dog, packed brians things, made sure we have everything.  we dropped the dog off at my parents house and headed to the hospital.

9:00 PM.  we got to labor and delivery. the hospital is only 20 mins from our house, but like i said, we really took our time. in triage, i changed into a gown and peed into a cup and waited for a nurse.  the nurse tested for the presence of amniotic fluid, which requires the use of a microscope (and took forever because it would trickle every time the little litmus paper wasnt around to trickle on), and brian and the nurse had a fabulous time looking at the specimen and chatting about how it looks until the midwife caught brian staring at the slide unattended.  

10:00 PM.  Confirmed: my water broke.  now im admitted.  and i leak water from triage to the room.  awkward.  then its sit and wait.  i wasnt really having contractions-i have to look at the monitor to see if i am, and i only feel one out of 5, but barely.  

Friday, August 9th
12 AM.  they finally stopped hooking me up to junk and testing me and blah blah blah.  as far as we know, i was dilated to a 3 and 80% effaced, as evidenced by the last drs appointment, but they wont check me again because my water broke.  i was still not “in labor.”  the midwife put me on some drug that helps with effacement, but can also trigger contractions.  

1 AM.  we tried to get some sleep.  which is crap cuz they come in every 5 minutes, but we tried anyway.  he succeeds mostly.  i dont.

4 AM.  i was having more contractions, but still only barely.  they were a little uncomfortable but thats it, and 5-7 mins apart.  so, not really labor.  they suspected the contractions are more a result of the drug than my body actually doing the work, so we waited some more.

8 AM.  contractions basically stopped, so it was definitely the drug causing them.  this gave rise to a heated dispute between the midwife and nurse about whether to give me more of it.  midwife says yes, nurse says no.  midwife wins, and i was given the drug again.  i was just in favor of whatever would get this party started, cuz i was feeling like a guest who showed up only to be told i got the time wrong and now i have to help setup, and i was starting to not be so excited about the awesome food and music and people who will show up later.

throughout the day: i walked the halls. alot.  i got monitored alot.  we brought the harry potter movie series because of the sheer number of hours it contains, and its a good thing we did, cuz the tv offered little distraction that we can both agree on.  so we watched alot of harry potter.  eventually my mom showed up and hung out with us.  my contractions were all over and stop and start, but were still just slightly uncomfortable.  i was starting to hope im one of “those women” who has virtually painless labor.  

5 PM.  i was getting tired of hearing that im not in labor.  thanks, thats helpful.  the cool nurse that admitted me was back on shift again and he told me the next step is pitocin.  i was concerned about that because i wanted to go natural and i had heard horror stories about how pitocin makes labor hell and you usually need an epidural if you get pitocin.  he told me how the hospital does it compared to others and assured me that i could do natural with it, but i could always come off it if i didnt like it.  i decided id see if i went into labor on my own between then and 8 pm. and id reconsider at 8.

8 PM.  still no progress.  its been 24 hours now of basically nothing.  so the options were: wait around until my body did its thing (meanwhile racking up the hospital bill and going delirious with boredom), or start pitocin and do the thing already.  im sold-pitocin it is.

9 PM.  started the pitocin. nurse said the aim was to have contractions 2-3 mins apart and not be able to talk through them.  sweet, i had a goal to work towards instead of this amorphous “active labor.”

Saturday, August 10th  (these times are much more approximate, as i was only kind of conscious of anything other than the bowling ball between my hip bones.)

12 AM.  i think im at the goal.  2-3 mins apart and i was not talking through the contractions- i was mostly just grunting at brian when he wasnt close enough to me for me to lean on.  at this point, i was hooked up to IVs (pitocin and other fluids) and the monitors (both contractions and baby heart beat) and my only options of positions were standing and sitting/laying down.  sitting was killing my back/butt and laying down was like the worst position for the contractions.  so i was standing.  my feet were starting to hurt and i really needed to pee so they unhooked me so i could go to the bathroom.  while i was in the bathroom, my mom talked to the new nurse on duty about my progress.  this new nurse told my mom while i was in the bathroom that she thought i was still not in labor and that it was going to be at least 10 hours until i had a baby.  when i emerged from the bathroom, i was pissed: a. yes, NOW im in labor.  maybe chemically induced, and maybe not in transition yet, but this is def labor, thankyouverymuch. b. you are a new nurse, who has barely come on, and you have never met me, so dont presume to know everything about the sitch the second you walk in here. c. you could have had the balls to say that to MY face, instead of while you think im out of earshot. needless to say, i kind of freaked out.  i was mad at the nurse, and frustrated because this was not going the way i was hoping it would.  because i was being monitored constantly, i had very little room to move in general, but the baby was so far down that the monitor barely stayed in place even when i was standing, and any movement caused them to lose the signal.  i felt trapped standing but i really wanted to kneel down like we had practiced.  

12:30 AM.  my mom decided to leave and get a few hours of sleep.  i decided that i was going to do whatever the hell i wanted and the nurse could come hold the monitor in place if she really wanted the heartbeat that badly.  i climbed up on the bed on my knees and brought the head of the bed up to nearly vertical (labor beds are crap for sleep, but awesome for this) so i could rest my elbows on the top.

12:45 AM.  out of nowhere, i had a seriously intense, sudden, and sharp pain from my pelvis area.  it felt like the baby kicked really hard right where the monitor rested and there was a seemingly audible thump.  it was so sudden and painful that it almost knocked the wind out of me.  i was still dealing with it when i had another contraction and i got nauseous.  i figured it was from kneeling on the bed and was probably cutting off circulation in my knees so i got off the bed and instead bent over the side of it.  a few contractions later, which were now more painful than before, i say to brian, “i feel like i need to push.”  he wanted to get the nurse, but i was still irritated at her.  im convinced she will think im an idiot because as far as we knew i was still at a 3.  who wants to push at a 3?  she came in and brian asked her what kind of things he should tell her.  she said any sudden changes in pain levels or a need to push or poop.  brian kind of glared at me cuz both of those things have just happened but i shook him off.  

1 AM.  I had the push feeling again and i told brian to go ahead and get the nurse this time.  she kind of dragged her feet but admitted i “looked a little different” than i did a few minutes ago, whatever that meant.  i started shaking and my teeth were chattering, and i realized that i read somewhere about that being a body response to the immediate effects of labor.  she checked me and low and behold, i was now an 8 and still only 80% effaced.  brian was immediately on the phone with my mom telling her to get down here.  the nurse surmised that the thing i thought was a kick was actually the baby dropping into the birth canal.  drop?  you mean freaking crashed through my pelvis.  

1:15 AM.  transition sucks.  brian was such a great coach and was helping me remember to breathe and focus on that instead of the push feeling.  i couldnt push yet because i wasnt totally effaced but right then i was not thinking about pushing, just finding a good position.  laying down was incredibly painful, so i was back standing at the side of bed, bent over it.  less painful, but now i was throwing up.  lovely.  all those labor videos your watch dont mention vomit.

1:40 AM.  i needed to push.  BAD.  i could barely control it.  brian was phenomenal at helping me breathe and focus, but thats just not enough to control that push feeling.  its not just a feeling-its what my body was doing, and i had to try to distract myself and stop it as much as possible.  like trying to not barf halfway through-impossible.  at one point, i couldnt avoid pushing, and suddenly a flood of amniotic fluid with the force and rage of a river tore through my body.  ugh, that was one of the worst feelings ever. i was suddenly standing in a puddle.  i remember apologizing, mostly for pushing when i wasnt supposed to, but also for the new lake on the floor.  

2 AM.  i have to push.  I HAVE TO PUSH.  i cant stop it any more.  they got me back on the bed to make sure i was fully effaced before they gave me the go ahead.  now im cleared for take off.  at this point, i wish i had changed position, but i was just thinking about how relieved i was that i didnt have to fight the push anymore.  the plan was that i push three times with every contraction, taking huge breaths and holding them while i push.  brian and my mom helped hold my legs cuz i just couldnt do all those things at one time and do them all well-i can multitask, but come on.  after a few contractions, i started to feel light headed, and in between contractions i was lying lifeless trying to clear my head of the fog and get enough air.  my lack of oxygen was affecting the baby’s heartrate, which had started dropping, so they gave brian an oxygen mask to put on my face.  he says my mouth was starting to turn blue between pushes before they gave me the mask.  

2:20ish AM.  my midwife told me she is going to tell me to stop at some point to help me avoid ripping.  i was relieved cuz i really didnt want to rip or be cut.  she told me to stop and i did-that was so much easier than not pushing when in transition.  i could feel stretching and she predicted good things.  a couple pushes later, and i could feel the head crowning, which was both incredible and painful.  they talk call it the ring of fire-such an accurate description!  the burning stretch!  after three pushes, the midwife told me i could push one more time and the babys head will probably come out.  i was wiped so i say no, lets wait.  she seemed to like this idea because she starts applauding the stretch that is inevitably happening and says i wont tear at all-yay!  hearing that the baby is almost here, brian, who was holding my hand and brushing my hair back, started giggling which quickly turned to tears streaming down his face.  he told me he was proud of me and loves me, which was so sweet.  especially since all i was thinking was “dont you dare look down there!”  so sweet and romantic of me.

2:25 AM.  the next push, the babys head it out!  but three pushes later the shoulders still hadnt come out.  i had a perfect view of the midwife, and i could see her focusing on getting the baby out.  

2:30 AM. after a few minutes of more pushing and no baby, all of a sudden a team of 4 or 5 other people descended on me. they pushed mom and brian out of the way and moved my legs to other positions, some even pushing on my stomach while i pushed.  it was kind of scary because i knew something wasnt right.  then the midwife whipped out some scissors and cut me.  i couldnt feel it but i could hear it, and i looked at brian and said “she cut me!”  mostly i was shocked-after trying so hard to make sure i didnt tear, i knew her cutting me had to be a sign of something wrong.  

2:35 AM.  as soon as the snips were made, the midwife pulled the baby out!  

once again, i could tell something was wrong.  her face was so dark, almost black in the dim lights of the room, but her hand by her face was so white. seconds later they cut the cord and whisked her away.  between getting stuck and the dropped heart rate and the color of her face, they were concerned she wasnt breathing.  thankfully she was fine, just extremely bruised and swollen, probably from crashing through my pelvis.  

despite being stitched up, one of the sweetest moments was when they brought her back to me-she was screaming but the moment she heard my voice, she stopped.  what was even sweeter was that she had the same reaction when she heard brians voice.  she clearly knew us, and was comforted by our voices.   that was the moment i fell in love.

because id had pitocin and fluids, her weight was artificially bolstered, coming in at 8 lbs 5 oz. but by the time we left the hospital, she was only 7 lbs.  thats a big weight difference, even for hospital weight loss, and the drs were concerned for a while, but after coming to the conclusion that the weight was wrong, they cleared her.  she is a tall and skinny girl, starting at 20 ¾ in long.  

i know this was full of details and was super long, but if you made it all the way through, good job and i hope you enjoyed it!