Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Birth Story #3: The Statesman

The Statesman was born on Thursday morning, June 14, at 9:30 am, at 8 pounds, 5.6 ounces, a whopping 22 inches long, and APGAR scores of 8 and 9. Depending on whose due date you like best, he was one day early, right on time, or 4 days late.

3:00 am I woke up and laid in bed, trying to figure out whether I needed to get up for one of my tri-nightly trips to the bathroom. I dozed off, was roused by a contraction, and decided to get up. When I returned to bed, I had another contraction, and while I wouldn't call it painful, it packed some heat. I was scheduled for an induction in the morning either way, so I continued to lie in bed for a while, trying to rest my bones for a few more hours before giving birth. Blood sugar: 106.

4:00 am I was still awake and having spicy contractions, so I timed a few. The intervals were variable, some being 5 minutes apart, some 10, some 8. Some contractions lasted a little longer than a minute, but most were less. I elected not to wake my husband, because the first time I did this, we were both awake for a full 24 hours BEFORE the baby was even born. That was a huge mistake. So I played it cool, and pretended that it was false labor.

But just in case, I got up and got dressed.

And (because, my husband says, I'm addicted) I checked Facebook and read blogs.

I laid back down again. Blood sugar: 99.

I prayed a few decades of the rosary for Christian unity, and committed my impending days' work and pain for the reunification of the Church. Don't ask me how that works, because I'm not totally sure.

6:30 am I was dozing off when my husband's alarm went off. I got up and had a few contractions that made me stop for a few deep breaths. I conceded that I was definitely in labor now, but I was still not convinced that I would have a baby before lunch. I was happy to say good-bye to the prospect of being hooked up to pitocin (which didn't really work last time), having my water broken (which makes the contractions even more intense), and generally experiencing labor poked and prodded along by someone else.

7:20 am The boys woke up and I decided to go downstairs to say good-bye. While I was down there, I changed diapers and got them dressed to save my father the trouble.

At one point, my 3-year-old was lying on the changing table and I stopped working at his diaper, grabbed the changing table rail, and exhaled deeply a few times. My son, looking at me quizzically and mixing up his pronouns, asked, "Do you know why Mommy is blowing on you?" My 1-year-old, considering the same behavior, looked at me with a bright smile and started happily blowing back at me ("Isn't this a fun game?").

7:40 am We got in the car to leave and, as far as I was concerned, not a minute too soon. I think getting up out of bed and moving around made the contractions come on faster and stronger. If we're still talking spice, then at this point I was close to the 5-star chili variety, or perhaps "Native Thai." Rush-hour would be well underway at this point, and it would take close to an hour to get to the hospital. Blood sugar: 68 (drank some Gatorade). My husband and I laughed and joked in the car that we had scooped our scheduled induction, and we'd have a baby by lunch! I also became fearful and choked back a few tears at the thought of my impending pain.

8:45 am I'm in the hospital lobby, on my hands and knees, exhaling deeply, waiting for my husband to park the car and come collect me, and somehow no one noticed for several minutes. Blood sugar: 73 (drank some more Gatorade).

8:47 am Most memorable elevator ride ever, having a contraction that I could tell was pushing the baby's head into the wheelchair seat.

8:50 am Check-in for the induction that never happened (whoooooo....). Reminded of the wonderful nurse we had for Braveheart's delivery (shoooowee...). Shed some tears because she wasn't there (of all the things to cry about on the day you have a baby!). Intake procedures that the nurse pared down as much as she could for the sake of the contractions (aaaaaaaaah....!). Contractions burned...if I could just...lie down on this bed...and stop answering questions...

9:15ish? The doctor had not yet arrived. The nurse-midwife checked my dilation, muttered something about +2 station, and actually almost left the room before telling me that I was fully dilated. "Oh, yeah. You're ready to have a baby," she said casually as she walked away. Blood sugar: 108.

Wait a minute. Fully dilated? Sure, it's fine to put that fetal monitor on. This was a little bit of a shock to my system. Please bring that vomit bucket back! I was still having contractions, and trying to find a comfortable position to lie down in. Yes, I'd like to hold the baby as soon as possible after birth. I was absolutely unprepared for this! There's meconium? Go ahead and break my water. I somehow avoided panic mode. Whatever he needs for his blood sugar is fine. Wait, what comes next? Oh yeah, push the baby out.

9:30 am  I made a lot of noise, but if the word "gentle" can be appropriated to describe the moment that you push a small person out of you, I will go ahead use it. I was calm and, despite the rush, everyone in the room was basically pretty relaxed.

Our little man laid on the bed and cried within seconds of being born. He was so pink and perfect and squeaky, just like a newborn should be. The nurse called out, "9:31." No stirrups, thank goodness, so I collapsed on the bed. The placenta didn't take forever this time, so we wrapped things up quickly. Blood sugar: 139. His blood sugar was fine (60s) and stayed fine (50s-60s) during the next 24 hours. He nursed right away.

The nurse-midwife seemed pleased to have the opportunity to attend a labor and delivery like the ones she probably hoped to attend when she signed up for her job, and the L&D nurse rolled beautifully with the quick pace. At some point, she said cheerfully, "You might be my fastest ever!" My doctor, despite his late arrival, was concentrated and composed but not concerned. And my husband held my hand at all the right moments.


One of the blog posts from my early morning, early labor internet surfing was called "I Suck at Suffering." Throughout my labor, I chuckled periodically as I remembered her reflections (and those in the comment box) on the attempt to "offer it up," and how prayers when you're in pain often end with, "Oh dear God please just take it away," or "THERE'S A CHAINSAW IN MY UTERUS."

This time around, I didn't have time to think or whine about anything except physically getting myself to the hospital and through intake. Hopefully my attempt to offer my work and pain for the reunification of Christians will be credited to the cause...somehow.

In any case, we're home, we're happy, and we're so appreciative for all your prayers. I posted on Facebook the day before the scheduled induction: "Last pre-baby date tonight, the worst pain of my life tomorrow, and we'll be holding the everlasting fruits of my labor in our arms by the end of the day. Please pray for us!" and we certainly attained the benefits you sought on our behalf. Thank you!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

He's Here!

Sorry for the late notice but I did, in fact, have a baby last Thursday and my labor did not, in fact, take 4 days. In fact, it started on its own early in the morning and we had wrapped up by 9:30a!

Six hours of labor, 8 pounds, 5.6 ounces, a whopping 22 inches long, APGAR scores of 8 and 9 and I'm pretty sure "cute as a button" made it into the chart.

Birth story to follow shortly. :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Week 39: The End is Near

Yup, still here. No baby. Doesn't come as a surprise to me, even if it is a little disappointing, since my first two were both late (one spontaneous labor at 41 weeks and the other induced two days late).

I had a burst of energy this week, which came as an unexpected gift as we count down to baby Statesman's birth. It was followed by a crazy and tiring weekend, with a few bouts of false labor, but alas, I'm still here to tell about it.

I visited the doctors on Friday. NST was fine, blood pressure was down to 120ish/78 or 84, depending on which office's measurement you like, and amniotic fluid was up to a more normal level. I was 2cm dilated, 80% effaced, and baby is at zero station (first cervical check, so I'm not sure where things stood before now). I was 4cm dilated and 90% effaced before labor began with my first son, and I was 5cm dilated and 90% effaced before labor began with my second, so I'm not surprised at this news. I think some women just tend to dilate before labor begins.

Lows are increasing, both in severity and frequency. I've been gradually easing up on insulin levels (mostly bolus ratios), but don't seem to be doing so fast enough. My OB seems to think this may be an indication for induction, or at least an indication that the pregnancy is coming to an end.

My doctor has my due date as June 10, which means he's itching to induce this week. I was hoping to delay until June 18, but because my OB is really the only doctor that has trusted me this whole pregnancy, I'm not terribly anxious to get on the wrong side of him. He's agreed to June 14th. So our baby gets "tenth Thursday in Ordinary Time" for his birthday. :) Oh, well. If they schedule my induction late or things take a long time, he may be able to postpone his arrival until the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (June 15).

June 14th it is, unless something unexpected happens before then. I'll keep you posted, and I'll try to pester Jenn to write about her birth before then (hint, hint, in case you even still read this blog, my friend. :)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Ha, I bet I almost fooled you again, making you think I had actually given birth to a baby this week! I'm pretty sure some of you probably thought that when you saw the title of my Thursday post. When I left the doctor's office last week and she told me to "call if anything exciting happens," I thought about calling them to tell them about my awesome trip to the zoo this week, and the tasty dinner I made on Wednesday, just to make clear that I do not expect any fireworks here before my due date!

In any case, today I begin my 29th year (for those of you keeping track, that means I'm 28 years old). Happy birthday to me! Today, we will have a birthday party to celebrate the birth of my nephew on Wednesday, the end of my oldest son's third year, and my own 28th. It's a good week for our family.

Last year, I wrote a little bit about what it was like when I was first diagnosed with Type I diabetes at age 9, and a little bit about growing through teenage years and into early adulthood with diabetes.

[Imagine a picture of me 37 weeks pregnant. I'm not going to post it because of that issue that I had, having my blog linked to from a pornographic site. Bleck.]

I think one of the funniest things about being 37 weeks pregnant is trying to take a flattering self-portrait. I propped my digital camera up on the book shelf and...well, I didn't include the outtakes for a reason!

I hope it's not the last picture like this that I get to take, and it's not because I think I'm about to be called up by a modeling agency, nor because I think pregnancy is just so awesome and easy. Nope. I just refuse to cave to the paranoia that a lot of people, especially doctors, seem to have about Type I diabetics having babies. Babies are way better than we give them credit for.

It's not easy, but sometimes it's a pain worth taking on again, and again, and again, and again...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Week 38: Busy Week

This is about the time of pregnancy, I've decided, when it's best to distract myself and pretend that what's about to happen to me is NOT not literally about to happen. Because really, everyone will understand if I don't show up for that play date, and I'd rather not sit at home simply WAITING for something that might happen today or two weeks from today.

Don't get me wrong. I'm doing plenty of sitting around, when I'm at home. I go to bed early, even when the laundry hasn't been folded. I ask for a ton of help. And I don't apologize or get mad anymore (at myself or the kids!) when I can't pick someone up or get to the grocery store with both toddlers in tow.

But this week, I made sure to keep myself busy with:
  • A trip to a local monastery to celebrate the last few days of the month of May, a time when we remember and honor Mary especially
  • A trip to the zoo to celebrate The Pious One's birthday
  • Having a dinner guest
  • Long walks
  • Preparing food to freeze for after the birth of the Statesman
  • Doctor's appointments (not terribly exciting, but it at least keeps me busy)
I don't expect any fireworks before June 15, and probably later (unless I need to be induced). I'm moving more slowly, but I'm still moving, and I don't plan to stop until I have to.

I think I am over the emotional hurdle that I faced several weeks ago. I'm no longer kicking and screaming about the fact that I'm already tired (in spite of the fact that the baby has not been born yet), I'm already hurting (in spite of the fact that the baby has not been born yet), and that it's only going to get worse (once the baby has been born).

Speaking of tired and hurting, does anyone else find that they are literally awake every hour during the night? To turn over, go to the bathroom, get a drink of water? How is that possible? I get about 2-3 hours of deep sleep and then spend the rest of the night in a restless half-doze. I either forgot about that or it's new this pregnancy.

So, resigned to my state, I move forward until I can't any more. Anyone want to come over for dinner in the next two weeks? I'm sure you'll understand if I have to cancel...

38 WEEK ADDENDUM: I visited my doctors yesterday, and thought I'd include some stats measured over the last few weeks, largely for my own reference in the future. The only significant fact from my visit is that my blood pressure is borderline to hypertension, which may be the cause of OR result from the mild headache I've had for a few days, but that everything else looks pretty good. My OB told me that the blood pressure number they worry about most is the bottom number, the diastolic (not sure why), and that number is much closer to acceptable than the systolic.

36 weeks: amniotic fluid 10.something, blood pressure 118/60-something, weight 172.something
37 weeks: amniotic fluid 8.something, blood pressure 124/60-something, weight 172.something
38 weeks: amniotic fluid 9.something, blood pressure 137/77, 132/76, and 130/88, weight 174.something

Another interesting thing I learned about amniotic fluid is that it tends to go down during the last few weeks of pregnancy, but that usually anything above 5 is OK unless it's trending downward consistently and rapidly.

Further, about the blood pressure: being uncomfortable (having a headache, for example) can artificially raise your blood pressure. Blood pressure naturally rises somewhat during pregnancy, as I mentioned, my OB said the bottom number is more important to them. Blood pressure plus back-of-the-head headaches with pain shooting down the neck and/or blurry or bright spots in your vision are more concerning than simple elevated blood pressure.