Past Due

Yesterday was Ike’s due date.  I kept thinking I’d get something posted, but…well, shit happens.  A lot, which is good – I think his jaundice will be well cleared by the time we get to his two week checkup on Monday.  Anyhow, a few last belly pics.  This is at the doctor’s office Thursday morning, after the good NST but before the low AFI ultrasound later that afternoon that sent me to the antenatal unit overnight (38w0d):

These are before/at the wedding, the night before I went into labor, so at 38w2d (same dress as here at 30 weeks):

I really figured that I’d go another two weeks, or at least make it to within a few days of my actual due date. So much for that!  I am so glad that he’s here, of course, but I will admit that I feel a tiny bit cheated wait, not cheated, that’s ridiculous, I’ve been cheated of little throughout this pregnancy…let’s just say that there is definitely a part of me that will miss being pregnant.  I was starting to get uncomfortable, yes, but I wasn’t completely miserable yet, and I am definitely still regretting that we didn’t get more cleaning and organizing done beforehand.  Mike’s parents arrive tomorrow and I wish that JUST ONCE it could look as though we have our shit together when they walk in the door, even if that illusion would still shatter once they sat down and stayed a while.  Alas, ’tis not to be.  As usual, we have made significant progress but fall short of actually clean.  Oh well.  At least he’s not crawling yet!  I shall shortly go ignore a few dog-hair dustbunnies in favor of scrubbed kitchen surfaces.  Whee.

Yesterday was also Mike’s birthday.  Sorry, Mike.  You got your present early this year, and there’s no gift receipt.  I’m guessing that’s okay with you.

Oh, Baby

Dear Ike,

I don’t know how consistent I can promise to be in writing down the minutiae of your early days (I will get that baby book out of its plastic box and start writing in it at some point, I swear), but I will try.  Today you are one week old.  I am still in complete awe that my body was able to turn you from an embryo to a fetus to a tiny little dude who’s here.  I’m even more amazed that I was able to get you out of me, keeping both of us in our respective one pieces, and that we appear to be sufficient caregivers and are keeping you pretty happy, even, so far.  I can see now why my brain was smart enough to stop me from realizing or admitting that being a mom was something I actually, truly wanted.  For so long I was so afraid that I would never get the chance to do this, and I had to hold onto the idea that if it never happened I would still be okay.  I know I would have been, but I have to admit that this is so much better.  Much better than I ever dared to imagine.  Sigh.  I can’t say that we know much about you yet, but I am very much looking forward to all the fun that’s yet to come.  I’m so happy that you aren’t too good to be true after all.    
Best. week. ever.  Let’s do it again, shall we?
Love,
Mama

No. More. Needles. Seriously, this time. I mean it.

One of the many great things about the hospital birth center option is that they don’t necessarily keep you a mandatory 48 hours or more after birth.  Once Ike was seen twice by a pediatrician and I spoke with a midwife about how I was feeling about breastfeeding and my own recovery, we were all released on Tuesday and home by about four pm (yes, after giving birth at 3:23 am on Monday).  I didn’t think much about Ike being sorta sleepy; from what I’d read newborns tend to be that way for a couple of days, then they start perking up with the screaming and squalling and never sleeping again.  Turns out we also had some jaundice going on, and thus the lethargy – have had to take him daily either to the lab or to the pediatrician’s office for heel sticks to check his bilirubin levels.  He’s been taking it rather well, thankfully, but the last trait I needed him to get from me was a tolerance for being a pin cushion!  I’ve been nursing as often as I can catch him awake (or close enough to it) and we’ve been taking him outside to soak up some sunshine for 30 second spurts throughout the days, and it seems to be working.  Today’s number plateaued, so the pediatrician is reassured enough that we do not have to bring him back again unless it seems like he’s regressing (eating less, being less active/awake, not wetting and dirtying diapers as often). Thankfully he never had to go under the bili lights and be admitted at the NICU (the possibility was mentioned once). That would have made me feel awful, since basically all he needs is my boobs to do their job to push the bilirubin out of his system.  Keep it up, boobs!

Skin to skin and snore therapy with Dad

Early Bird

I’ll start with the TL;DR version – he’s here!  Isaac (Ike) Michael arrived safely on Monday, June 18th (38w4d) at 3:23 am, weighing six pounds and ten ounces (so much for those ultrasound estimates!), 18 inches long.  Things are still a bit of a blur, so I’ll get what I can down of his birth story, but it may need edited for clarity or accuracy once I get my doula’s version of the timeline, etc.

I went into labor on Sunday morning/early afternoon.  Crampy contractions starting around 10 am.  I immediately went into denial.  Chugged water, took a bath, lied on my left side hoping it’d stop or at least slow significantly and let me nap, but none of that worked.  By the time we started actually timing them, they were about five minutes apart and around a minute long – clearly the real deal, but I was far from admitting that yet.  We labored at home until early evening, finally heading to the hospital when I figured I couldn’t stand to have too many of the now fairly strong contractions in the car, and we asked our doula to just meet us there instead of at the house.  But I was still pretty terrified I’d get to triage and they’d say I was barely dilated, go home, you silly first time mom, you have no idea how far you have to go with this. But no, when they checked they said five to six!  They were still cleaning our room in the birth center, so they sent us to walk the halls for a half an hour or so.  After what felt like a century, our room was ready and they began filling the tub.  It felt SOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOD to get into that hot water.  For anyone who’d like to even attempt to avoid medication for all or part of labor and/or birth, I cannot recommend hydrotherapy highly enough.  Amazing how much that helped me relax at that point.  But being in a good, established active labor, it didn’t slow things down too much either.  Not that they were really going too fast anyway.
I labored in the tub for quite a while.  I should mention here that he had not rotated to an anterior position, so while I was coping with the contractions, I was leaning on Mike heavily for counter-pressure for every one – we’d started that early on at home.  Everyone kept asking if it was back labor, and I’m sure my answer wasn’t too helpful:  the sensation seemed like it was all in the front, but the counter-pressure was absolutely necessary for coping (so maybe it was back labor?  I’ve nothing to compare it to).  Finally around midnight the midwife and nurses asked if I wanted to get out and be checked.  I said yes, and to my relief, they said I was at nine centimeters.  I think that while I was being checked the nurse rotated the little man. Not fun, but glad she did it, as pushing was plenty hard enough – cannot imagine trying to push a posterior baby out med-free.  At that point my water also broke.  They had me try a couple pushes on my side but I eventually got back in the tub.  Labored for a bit more until I actually felt the urge to push.  I lost complete track of time at that point.  I don’t know how long I pushed, but I know it was a while.  I can’t even really describe…it was the craziest (and yet the most normal, natural) thing I’ve ever been able to convince myself I could do.  He finally came out squalling and red (thankfully – I was so scared of a quiet bluish baby, even knowing that can be a sometimes normal way for a waterbirthed baby to appear at first), and I held him until the cord stopped pulsing.  Mike cut it, they took the baby to clean him up a bit and helped us out of the tub (yes, Mike was in with me for the pushing part).  My placenta didn’t want to vacate.  That sucked.  Like, no, I don’t want to push anymore, this is ridiculous.  They got him latched as best as he would do at that point, but it didn’t do the trick either.  They ended up giving me a shot of pitocin, and finally, eventually, it detached.  They said it was small, which, again, I’ve no basis of comparison, and that there were some calcifications (normal? Dunno, didn’t really care at that point).  I did not keep it to plant, encapsulate, etc.  I don’t totally discount what’s been posited about potential great side effects from consuming one’s placenta, but I’m not quite crunchy enough to pay someone a significant chunk of change to fix it up for me.  Amazingly (to me, anyway), I didn’t tear – woohoo, no stitches!  The midwife said there was one tiny superficial thing that didn’t call for a stitch.  Again, can’t recommend the water enough – I’m still salty at my first OB who was all, “you know, babies have actually drowned.”  I mean, technically true, I’d guess, but it’s just so sad that someone so educated would be so ignorant about such a thing.  But really, even the pediatrician that came to see Ike this morning asked, “so did you have one of those water births?” and when I said yes she said, “you crazy woman, you.”  I didn’t hold back my scoff.  I mean…COME ON.  I’m not saying it’s easy or for everyone, but I am not going to talk shit about epidurals or anything else – to each their own, one hundred percent.
We should go home later this morning or early this afternoon.  He’s doing great so far, and I am feeling shockingly good – haven’t even taken an ibuprofen yet (though I certainly may, the soreness is not limited to the obvious, thanks to all the serious counter-pressure I required for every contraction until the pushing ones!).  Sleep has been sparse at best, but I am not complaining (yet).
Sigh.  So, while I really could have used those four days off work to clear some remaining clutter around the house, ’twas not to be, and ’tis now of little consequence.  If all’s well that ends well, well, we are off to a good start for what’s to come!

Home

Eventually did get sent home yesterday, thankfully.  Took them what seemed like all day, but we left with instructions to drink a gallon of water a day (!!), and a note to be off work until at least six weeks postpartum (!!).  The midwife said that was actually negotiable after I have a repeat ultrasound on Thursday and see the doctor to review it, but I do at least have some down time coming.  I was again surprised by that.  Not complaining, definitely.  Going to work every day lately has frankly felt like a colossal waste of my time and energy, so four days to take it easy and do some stuff around the house sounds perfect.  Losing any time from my leave does not sound so perfect, but we’ll see what I can work out.  Perhaps I can work part-time from home or something.  I don’t mind doing what I can from my couch, but unfortunately a lot of the day-to-day stuff on my plate requires a physical presence (or others to scan and email an awful lot of extra paperwork, and that hardly seems fair to ask).  So we’ll see.  Trying not to stress too much about that part.  Not worth it, at this stage of the game!  And at least it’s not bed rest, so I can still do stuff, just need to make sure I drink tons of water and take it relatively easy.  Pay attention to contractions and anything else that should rear its head.  Mike is actually in a friend’s wedding this afternoon, so I should probably start trying to get ready now, since I feel like I’m still moving at the speed of molasses.  I’m fairly sure I have at least one dress that still fits, but shoes are going to be a challenge. Pretty sure I’m going to end up in some cheapo flip flops even if I manage to start out in some cute heeled sandals.  I suppose that’s acceptable for approximately nine and a half months pregnant!

(38w2d)

Better

The ultrasound tech said that the fluid looks normal this morning.  YAY.  Waiting for official word of what the plan will be, but I’m expecting to be sent home.  I’m sure they’ll want to get a better blood pressure reading first, as the last few have been rather high, but I’m thinking that’s nerves from not knowing what’s going on – this good fluid news should help the BP come down, I’m hoping.  Still feeling a bit puffy in the hands and feet, but nothing too dramatic, and I’ve heard nothing of protein in my urine, so I don’t think I’m in a danger zone.

Fingers crossed we get another week or so, at least.  His weight estimate is still around six pounds.  Could stand to plump up a bit.  I do not want to be induced today (or, ever, but certainly not today).  This is not how I wanted to arrange a three-day weekend, but hopefully I get to go home and have a really good nap. Getting up to pee almost exactly every two hours isn’t so terrible at home, but adding IV fluids to make it every 45 minutes plus a bleating IV pump that was convinced it had air in the line did not make for a restful night last night.  I feel bleary, but relieved.

(38w1d)