Archive for the ‘ Pregnancy stages ’ Category

Finley’s Birth Story

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

We all have stories to tell. Within each story, there are smaller stories, the details as we remember them and felt them. I firmly believe in the sharing of stories. Some parts of our stories we share. Some parts of our stories we keep sacred. Whatever we decide to share, the stories we tell are evidence of the moments we are blessed to live. Some moments are trying. Some moments are humbling. And some moments are ones where our hearts nearly burst with love.

Finely’s birth was all of those moments.

Below are the stories within in the story that comprise Finley’s birth. These are the moments from her birth that I hold in my heart.  I’ll tell her these stories little by little, unfolding each detail, each fabric in the tapestry of her tale, when she asks me to tell her about the day she was born.

I’ll tell her how her sister awoke the day of her birth with eyes only for my belly. Instead of asking for her typical morning show, she wanted to hug my belly, smother it in kisses, and continually ask when “sissy boo” was coming. In a sweet exchange, we cuddled and talked, the three of us, unbeknownst to me, the last time “the three of us” would still mean one was in my belly. It’s as if in the language reserved only for sisters, they both knew, today was different. Today was important.

I’ll tell her how I’d planned a “pregnant lady day out.” A day that started with a routine doctor appointment and was supposed to be followed by a manicure, pedicure, and shopping. I’ll tell her how I drove away from the house that day with the bed unmade, dishes in the sink, and the vacuum out for some cleaning. I naively thought I’d be back shortly.

I’ll tell her how the nurse began with her usual check of my blood pressure and promptly noted it was too high. As I sat on the cold, thin paper of the exam table, it didn’t even register that this could be a problem. As the nurse checked and rechecked my blood pressure, leaving the room quickly, I heard the quiet whispers between doctor and nurse exchanged just outside the door.

I’ll tell her how the doctor came in and said my blood pressure would not come down and I needed to go to the hospital. I’ll tell her how I called her dad and delivered the news a bit too flippantly, certain it was only a blip in the day’s plans. He immediately began to make plans to meet me at the hospital at which I protested, again, convinced it would clear up soon.

I’ll tell her how her dad, the most caring man I know said, “but what if it doesn’t get better? I need to be there.”

I’ll tell her how the nurses in the ER were the first to use the word, “preeclampsia.” In all honesty, I didn’t know the exact harm of preeclampsia and when they replied, “seizures,”  it suddenly registered that this was more than a blip in the day’s plans.

I’ll tell her how the doctor came in to confirm the preeclampsia and that while we were all healthy and only 6 days away from my due date, she wanted me to deliver that day.

I’ll tell her how the tears of worry poured from my eyes but despite that worry, her dad told me that as scared as we were, we were going to meet our beautiful baby that day.

I’ll tell her how they started me on anti-seizure medication, magnesium sulfate, and it gave me an instant headache, as if someone had placed the fuzziest of clouds around my head from which I could not surface.

I’ll tell her how they started the induction and I asked the nurses to turn down my medication because I wanted to be more present, more alert, more in the moment when she was born. They obliged.

I’ll tell her how at 6:45pm we were on the phone with Grandma, laughing, waiting, distracting, and guessing the baby would probably be born around midnight.

I’ll tell her how at 7:00pm I grimaced in intolerable pain and told her dad, “I think I want to push.”

I’ll tell her how her dad ran into the hall to find a nurse and suddenly, their hurried voices declared me ready to deliver. I remember asking the nurse, “you mean I’m ready to push?” She confirmed, but told me not to because I needed to wait for the doctor.

I’ll tell her how the next 30 minutes were the most painful and excruciating of my life as I tried not to push. I know I only survived those minutes because her dad grounded me. He looked into my soul in a way that only childbirth allows and cheered me and coached me out of a place I thought I couldn’t overcome. We were a team, more than we’ve ever been before. I needed him not only because I love him, but because I could not do it without him. His courage, his optimism, his support carried me through. And when it was over, and he tenderly kissed my forehead and told me I was incredible, I told him we were incredible.

I’ll tell her how  the doctor finally came and said I could push.

I’ll tell her how she must have flow furiously from heaven because with four pushes she was placed on my chest at 7:59pm.

I’ll tell her how her dad kept saying how beautiful she was and how I kept crying because she was here, safe, healthy, and the sweetest sounds of angry first cries.

I’ll tell her how there is nothing comparable to the first moment when the baby one carried for nine months enters the world. It is a hallowed experience, a moment so rare and precious I hold it deep in my heart as one of the best moments I was blessed to live.

I’ll tell her how her dad and I cried happy tears and excitedly shared her stats as I lay IV ridden in the birthing bed.

I’ll tell her how she nursed like a veteran, a happy and welcome blessing considering the other complications I was facing.

I’ll tell her how the news spread rapidly that she was already here and family came to visit and hold her hours old bundle of sweet self.

I’ll tell her how famished I was post delivery and promptly devoured a sandwich, cheeseburger and fries, the only food still available. I’ll tell her how for the first time in history, someone likened hospital food to the nectar of the gods.

I’ll her how after all the visitors cleared, her dad gently rocked her to sleep and she looked so peaceful in his arms, ones she’d only recently met, but so clearly fallen in love with. We both tried to get some sleep but I stayed awake that night as she lay sleeping at the foot of my bed.

I’ll tell her how I stared and stared and loved her with the matchless love of a mother who just met her new babe.

I’ll tell her how my arms ached for her, but because of the preeclampsia and the sulfate, I wasn’t able to continually hold her. I cried because it wasn’t supposed to be like that and after the adrenaline of her triumphant birth, the letdown of my limitations and illness were crushing.

I’ll tell her how I cried giant, hot, frustrated tears to her dad and he listened to my disappointment, but wisely calmed me as he told me, “I can’t lose you. And neither can our girls.” He gave me perspective. I knew I needed to do what was required to get better.

I’ll tell her how in the wee hours of the morning, I asked her dad to bring her to me, and as I held her in my arms, warm and soft and tiny sounds of contentment, the light slowly, quietly brightened to morning. I snuggled her and whispered to her the dreams in my heart for her life.

I’ll tell her how that quiet moment between mother and daughter got me through many lonely and painful moments as the hospital stay, bed rest, and medications dragged on.

I’ll tell her how I was afraid that the moment I had been waiting forever for, the first meeting with her sister, being together as a family of four, would be too clouded by medication.

I’ll tell her how as drained, medicated, and swollen as I was, despite my worries, their meeting, that moment, was one of my favorite moments on earth so far. Her sister came in, a slew of questions, “Why are you in the bed mommy?” “Is that her baby?” (referring to a friend in the room), excitedly announcing, “I brought baby Finley a present!” And even though presents, the thrill of the hospital, and me being in the hospital bed competed for her attention, as I held my two girls, I felt my heart expand with love and gratitude for the two tiny souls I’d been entrusted to raise. Her big sister tenderly examined her with curiosity, declaring her eyes to be her favorite part of her new baby sister.

I’ll tell her how in a moment of blessed clarity, I felt more complete, more love as our expanded family interacted for the first time.

There are so many stories to tell Finley from that day and birth stories are some of the most important stories to tell. They encapsulate so much love.

As she ages, and perhaps as the stories get a little less clear, I hope that she remembers how we told her of the instantaneous love of her father, the curiosity and tenderness of her sister, and the humble gratitude of her mother.

I hope she remembers that we needed her that day, we needed her in that unpredictable delivery to bind us with more love and courage than we have ever known. Her calm little soul brought so much love to our family and continues to do so every day.

We deeply wanted our sweet Finley, but until she came, we didn’t know just how much we needed our Finley too.

 

 

Images: Courtesy of my friend Jana

Add a Comment
Back To Great Expectations

What Time is It? Baby Time!

Monday, February 4th, 2013

39 weeks/9 months

Let’s all do Rockette style pregnant lady leg kicks (we pause from our regularly scheduled post to let me catch my winded pregnant lady breath) because it’s BABY month! It’s here! I will not make it through this glorious month without having a babe. I’m a ticking time bomb.

There have been a myriad of beautiful signs that it’s about to be go time:

My doc asked if I wanted to be induced (I declined).

My pregnancy app tracker tells me I’m carrying a pumpkin, aka my belly is like whoa.

All the people scheduled to have babies before me have popped them out.

I am on deck people.

Really, we should change the title of this blog to “diary of an impatient lady who won’t talk about anything but how many days until her baby comes.” Rolls off the ol’ tongue doesn’t it?

What else can you expect though? I’m your baby lady, and soon, I’ll meet my lady baby.

The anticipation is off the Richter. The inquiring texts are rolling in like clockwork. A tiny part of me is very tempted to go off the map and see what that does to everyone. A few days of unanswered texts would drive the baby watchers mad. Oh to toy with emotions. I’d justify my game play as a fun distraction for the last two weeks of pregnancy, which some days feels longer than the entire pregnancy.

Really, for your sake, I’m hoping that you won’t have to listen to me ramble on for more than a week about how there are X number of days until our little Valentine appears.

I’m especially hoping this doesn’t take an Arrested Development turn where I have to explain her extreme attachment to me because she “spent 11 months in the womb and the doctor said there were claw marks on the walls of [my] uterus.” I wish that on no one. I’d go gangbusters on this uterus first.

Really, it feels like a great week to have a baby. Don’t you think?

Let the games begin!

Add a Comment
Back To Great Expectations

Pregnancy Cravings: Get in My Belly

Monday, January 21st, 2013

37 weeks/9 months

Ladies,

What is it about pregnancy that makes food one million (said in my best Dr. Evil voice) times more delicious (or sometimes disgusting, wha-wha)? As I’m rounding third base for home this pregnancy, I feel like eating is my sport of choice and having to breathe between bites is really hindering my game.

Sometimes, when I’m downing my third bowl of cereal or eating a whole sleeve of peppermint Joe Joe’s, I wonder if I’m alone in my pregnant indulgences. I try, bless my heart, to eat healthy, but sometimes, the come hither call of ice cream is too much to ignore. My body tells me I need it.  I’m wrist deep, three serving size spoonfuls in before I’ve “come to” from my ice cream eating blackout. No shame.

The thing about cravings are that they life-like in their demands and they must be met. How do I explain it for the non-pregnant crowd?

It is an insatiable desire for a particular food so great that in order to get it, one would willingly trade unnecessary body parts on the black market. Comprende?

I know it’s a pregnant stereotype to eat nonstop, but this pregnant face feeding train doesn’t care it’s cliche. It cannot be stopped.

The 90s television star with an unfortunate mullet put my current feelings about food so eloquently. Take it away Uncle Jesse, “have mercy.” Cereal, candy, ice cream why you taste so good?

My greatest pregnancy craving thus far: breakfast food. Unfortunately, not the steel cut oats and egg whites kind of breakfasts. More like the candy for breakfast types of food: waffles, pancakes, french toast. My desire is so great I cannot confirm or deny that I may walk around the house chanting, “What do we want? Waffles! When do we want them? Now!”

I know there are legends, of the urban type or sometimes real, about sending husbands out under crazy conditions to retrieve certain craving. In my case, my legendary tales involve a zombie-style, overly familiar autopilot, not sure how I got here until I did, drive to Chick-fil-A. Waffle fries. So wrong and so right.

I asked my pregnant posse who didn’t mind being outed for some dish on the dish that made them body part trading hungry during pregnancy.

My favorite confessions:

“I ate 6-9 long johns a week with my first. With my second, I had a thing for Costco polish dogs…embarrassing but true. I wasn’t a member back then, but I’d stealthily sneak in the exit for my fix. I felt like a criminal, but my body spoke to me; and it said “polish dog.’”

“Canned refried beans.” With her caveat of  “don’t judge me.”

Girl, you know I don’t judge it. This is a safe sharing environment with no repercussions. Let she who has not eaten some canned goods throw the first stone. I’ve downed one too many bags of gummy bears and sour patch straws to be pointing any crystallized sugar-covered fingers.

Let’s hear it ladies. Divulge that craving. Whether it be a bowl of dandan noodles, an In-N-Out burger, a rack of ribs, or copious amounts of sour skittles, help me live my last few weeks of pregnancy to their indulgent fullest by sharing those craving confessions.

Image: Documented cravings. Yes, I’m talking about the celebrity gossip too.

Add a Comment
Back To Great Expectations

Is There Anything to Gain from the Pain of the Cervix Check?

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

As I inch, or should I say centimeter (I slay me), my way to this due date, there’s another milestone that must be discussed.

The cervix check. Whoomp, there it is!

This is the point when pregnancy stops being polite and starts being real.

Call me dramatic, it’s my trademark, but the cervix check is worse than childbirth. I don’t know what they taught in med school back in the day, but it must have been something along the lines of, “if your patient doesn’t cry when you check their cervix then you’re doing it wrong.”

I don’t want to call my doctor out too much. Her bedside manner is impeccable and she’s listened to and assured an awful lot of hormonal tears from me, but dang gina, dem hands is rough.

My first pregnancy, I wasn’t prepared for the ol’ cervix check. I mean I’d had a pap smear and while not my best friend, no tears were shed. The cervix check though, ov vey. It was definitely a “like a virgin moment” and I don’t mean that in the way Madonna tries to spin it. There was nothing enjoyable about it.

The cervix check is not my favorite activity…but it is my least favorite activity.

I pity the fool who like me, so unassumingly, gets the most painful feel up of their life.

We’re not strangers my doctor and me. She brought my pride and joy, my darling first daughter into this world. Please ma’am, understand we’re close now. Next time, warn me if you’re going to do anything that will make me loathe you for an entire week.

Now that we’re all aware of how much I truly, madly, deeply hate the cervix check, let’s talk the dilemma.

The slightly wussy lady in me who despises pain, wants to opt out of all cervix checks until labor is literally taking my breath away.

However, the curious, glutton for punishment part of me wants to know, is there any reason to suspect, hope, dream that this baby might be coming early? Have the floodgates opened?

The problem is the dilation status messes with the ol’ head. It adds another level of crazy to the waiting game. Just because one dilates does not mean one immediately labors. It can take weeks.

I hear tales of women who walk around dilated to a 5 for weeks. WEEKS! I hear of women who go from 0 to 60 in 5.2 (figuratively speaking of course).

Theoretically, the cervix check means nothing. Like babies, cervixes do what they want, when they want. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, but I’m curious, oh so curious if anything is happening. It might not make a bit of difference in predicting her arrival to know the dilation digits, but maybe, just maybe it might?

I can’t get you outta my head cervix check.

Is the pain worth it to find out if my business is doing any meaningful business?

Image: Gloved hands via Dan Kosmayer/Shutterstock.com

Add a Comment
Back To Great Expectations

Let the Countdown Begin

Monday, January 14th, 2013

36 weeks/9 months

Maybe I’m twenty-seven going on seven, but I still like to make paper chain countdowns for exciting events. Well truthfully, I can justify any event to be exciting enough to paper chain. Birthdays, holidays, vacations, doctor’s appointments, root canals. Pap smears? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Nothing preps oneself for the awkwardness of that appointment by paper chaining down those nerves.

I think most of the world would agree then that a baby is definitely paper chain worthy.

With 4 weeks to go, I might be getting out the stapler and scissors a little too early, but I’m ready to countdown. We’re in the red zone. I’ve got my victory dance ready. It’s nearly midnight. The magic is about to happen.

Are you tired of the countdown talk yet? Sorry people, we haven’t even started.

It’s a much different feeling this pregnancy because with my first I was terrified to have a baby. With one birth under my belt, I know it can be done and it doesn’t scare me as much anymore. Yes, there are still some nerves, but most of my feelings are bordering on pure excitement.

We’re at the point where the little bambina could come at anytime. Yes, I want her to continue to grow as healthy and big as she needs to be, but it wouldn’t be totally bonkers if she made an early debut.

This means that we’ve entered a very interesting, very difficult stage of pregnancy.

The waiting game.

It can be a cruel one.

I’ve watched friends and family have babies a couple of weeks early or right on time over the last couple of months and it’s left me hungry. My arms are aching to snuggle a newborn, yet I have no idea when they’ll be filled.

With my first, I was a week overdue and I’m trying, desperately and unsuccessfully, to prep myself with a “she’s going to be late” mentality.

I know, I know, “babies are easier in than out” and “enjoy it while you can,” but there’s just something about this new phase as a family of four that I’m happily ready to start.

I know they’ll be moments with two children that I’ll think, “why was I in such a rush?” Or I’ll long for the days of peeing with absolute freedom, peeing with impunity!

I’m aware newborns are not all snuggles. Enter colic, acid reflux, mixed up sleep schedules, complete dependency. I know it can be hard and realize that it will be hard in some moments, but somehow those thoughts are not curbing my enthusiasm.

I haven’t hit the “I’m so tired of being pregnant please remove this watermelon of a baby by any means necessary,” stage…yet. I’m just thrilled at the thought of making her tiny and sweet acquaintance.

This excitement though heightens the mind game that is the waiting game. These are the last few hard weeks of pregnancy physically, but also mentally. The waiting game is a mind game of epic proportions. When will these contractions get serious? What day will she come? Today? Tomorrow? Three weeks? When should my mom fly out? Too many unknowns!

Soon the dearly beloveds in my life will start sending daily “thoughtful” texts with inquires and excitement about her arrival. This majorly ups the waiting game ante. Too stressful for my blood, I fold.

My solution? Paper chain my feelings into a countdown I can see and maybe, just maybe, feel like I’m doing something to cajole her into the world each time I rip that little shred of paper.

You can bet your bottom dollar when it gets really close to time, I’ll do more pointed cajoling with some serious stadium stairs, spicy foods, and sexy time but for now, the paper chain will suffice. Honestly, experience tells me she’ll do what she wants, when she wants, wives’ tales aside.

And so it begins and tick tocks on the clock…the waiting game.

Add a Comment
Back To Great Expectations