Monday, September 29, 2014

Why Birth Plans are a Big Load of Crap (and also, why I couldn't care less)

Greetings.  It's been a while.  I'm going to write this fast, before the little monster wakes up.

I had planned on having an all-natural, un-medicated and painful birth.  I had planned to do this on the 17th of September, which is when I was due.  I had planned to go into labour on my own, or at the very least, I had really, really hoped I would.  Well, Mice & Men and all that, right?

On the 21st, 4 days past my due date, my water broke.  It very kindly did this as I sat down on the toilet, so it didn't make a mess anywhere, which, admittedly was cool.  Once I was 90% sure it was my water, Mr. Wolfman and I got our stuff together and made our way to the nearest hospital, as the one I was going to deliver in was 40 mins away on a traffic-free miracle day and we wanted to be 100% sure before he called work and we drove all the way there.

The local hospital informed me that a) my water had indeed broken and b) since I went there first, they would have to give me the first round of antibiotics that I needed to help protect the little monster from Group B Strep.  They did a cervical check and a few other little things, gave me the antibiotics and eventually discharged me so I could drive to the other hospital.

Mr. Wolfman had run out and got some food for the road, so we texted the necessary people and set out, our Go-bags having already been in the car for nearly a week.  I wasn't feeling any contractions for most of this.  The odd one here or there, but very light and painless, so we stopped at a beautiful spot on the side of the road for a picnic and to take some pictures, since the light was absolutely perfect.  After lunch, we carried on to the delivery hospital.

I had planned on my labour starting properly somewhere during that drive.  I had planned on being given at least until for my third or fourth dose of antibiotics for my labour to start naturally, before being induced.  But that wasn't an option.  I was brought directly to the delivery room, hooked up to antibiotics and told that they were going to start me on Oxytocin immediately to induce labour.  I had a choice; I didn't have to sign the consent forms, but basically, I had to sign them.  So I did.

I knew induction was a possibility, and I had planned to suffer through the extra pain without drugs. And I did, for a while.  The oxy worked, and I was soon having proper contractions.  And then having really quite painful contractions, and then feeling like I had one of the chest bursters from Alien in my ass, only it wouldn't burst... and then they got really, really bad.

I asked for laughing gas, as it was the least invasive, stayed in the system the shortest length of time, was the least likely to effect the baby.  It doesn't do anything for the pain.  It gets you stoned, so that the pain isn't very important.  Just breathe it in through the contractions and voila! you're able to carry on, through even that, the most painful...

Nope.  Not even close to the most painful anything.  That came on a little later.  First I was whimpering through the contractions, then groaning, wailing, and finally, all-out, screaming bloody murder.  And when each one ended and I was done screaming, I was crying hysterically.

Mr. Wolfman was with me throughout, holding me through them.  He had been really good about not trying to push me into pain meds, even though I'm sure if our roles were reversed, I would have had a nervous breakdown listening to him scream like that.  But eventually, I asked him what I should do, if it was ok for me to get something for the pain.  He told me I had nothing to be ashamed of, just get the epidural.  So I did.

The nurse gave me a consent form to sign, of which I read the first sentence, which was basically agreeing that I had discussed and had the risks explained to me.  Which I had not.  She said the Dr. would explain when he arrived.  I signed it, because at that point, if they told me amputating a limb would get the pain to stop, I would have signed a consent form for that, too.  The anesthesiologist showed up and rushed through the risks, but I couldn't really focus by then.  I remember he said headaches and I remember thinking some of the other ones he mentioned sounded kind of severe, but not what those were.  Then he yelled at me (seriously, he yelled) because I apparently wasn't following his instructions.  I kept telling him I didn't understand what he wanted me to do, that I would gladly do whatever it was, if he would just explain it to me, and he kept yelling, telling me I wasn't listening and I was doing it wrong.  Eventually my husband just asked him and then translated, "Stick your ass out and roll your shoulders down."  I stayed still for the shot, which itself wasn't even remotely painful.

I don't think it took very long to set in.  Once it had, I didn't feel the next contraction at all.  And then the little monster's heart rate dropped.  I'd been hooked up to the Doppler, so I heard the drop right away.  But before I had made the connection or said anything, the anesthesiologist was getting a little too adamant about how OK everything was.  So I asked why the baby's heart rate was so low, and he just kept repeating everything was fine - so I kept telling him it clearly wasn't, because the heart rate was simply way too low (I checked with my husband afterward, it was about 60 at this stage, about 100 bpm less than it had been).  In the same breath as "everything is fine" he was getting the nurse to call in another doctor, because of  "Severe fetal [something]-cardia".  Yes, I was pretty out of it, and no, I'm not a doctor.  But I'm also not stupid, and I know the meaning of the words severe and fetal, and that the suffix cardia refers to the heart.  So I wasn't buying the "everything is ok" story I was being fed over and over, by that guy and the nurses.

Another doctor showed up and stuck an oxygen mask over my head, told me it was for the baby because his heart rate was too low.  Then they tried to wake the baby up by stroking his head (glad I was numb from the waist down at this stage) and eventually, they called Dr. Ladyhouse, because they were seriously starting to worry.

His heart rate went up pretty much on its own around the time Dr. Ladyhouse showed up.  She explained that it had dropped so much because all of the adrenaline my body was producing to deal with the pain of the contractions just melted away, once the pain was gone.  And since that adrenaline had also been fed to the little monster, it disappearing caused his heart rate to crash.

Once that adventure was over, they gave me a button to push to up my pain killers and everything was fairly calm and quiet for a while.  They took me off the Oxytocin so that my body could hopefully start working on its own and to give the little monster a break from the stress.

I was pretty out of it, my lips were numb and I was mostly just rambling about stuff and trying to use my button as infrequently as possible.  Eventually, I threw up again (I had thrown up everything from the 21st during the initial contractions.  I'm not sure whether it was the 22nd by this time or not) and the nurse checked me again, told me I was ready to push and called Dr. Ladyhouse again.

It seemed like a second after she arrived, I needed to push.  I was really surprised, and told her not yet.  She told me I push, or they cut the baby out.

I had planned on delivering either squatting or on all fours, but the epidural made that impossible.  I couldn't even move my legs reliably, there was no way they were going to support my weight.  So I had to deliver the way I was completely against, on my back with my feet pushing against braces, pushing while a nurse and DH held my legs.

At Dr. Ladyhouse's request, I had calmed down on my pain button, but I still had to be told when I was having a contraction, so that I knew when to push.  Things weren't progressing at a rate they liked, so they upped my oxytocin again.  Eventually the contractions got painful again, but nothing like before the epidural.  I guess I pushed for a solid 2.5 hours, but I was still incredibly out of it (I learned later that the epidural was full of a narcotic) and it only felt like about 20 mins.

He was born with open eyes, looking around at the world, not crying, but not looking very happy about things, either.  And that's why I don't care that my birth plan was a total disaster.  It's all very cliche, but when they gave him to me, I really didn't care how he had gotten there, just that I had him. All memory of the pain just melted away.  I still remember the events, obviously, and I remember that there was pain, but I don't remember the pain itself.

He is absolutely perfect.  Just totally adorable, and already very smart and alert and so soft and cuddly and... ahh!  I was getting teary eyed yesterday at the thought that he can't just stay this size.

Mr. Wolfman is an absolute natural, and loves to snuggle the little monster and tell him about all the fun stuff they'll do together when he's older.  He'd never even held a baby before and by the end of day one, had mastered changing, burping, swaddling* and cuddling.  He's well and truly mastered sleep when they sleep as well.

Well, I need to wake up a certain adorable somebody and give him some breakfast.  I had planned on this being a much shorter blog.  I ended up saving it part way through writing and coming back to it. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.

*which we can't do anymore because the little monster figured out how to flip back to front at 5 effing days old.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lift Off?

Well, not quite yet.

I know only about 4% of women go on their due dates, and I never really had an expectation of being one of them, so I wasn't really surprised to wake up this morning feeling much the same as I did last night.  A little snugglier, maybe, and a little more tempted to try to convince Mr. Wolfman to skip work.  But generally good and healthy and not crazily impatient.

I think part of this calmness stems from the fact that I have so much to do.  Normally, this would be a cause for great anxiety, but I think all the stuff that I need to get done is balancing my impatience to have my baby, and it's put me into a state of near neutrality.  Which is good, because if I was panicking right now, I definitely couldn't get the kitchen cleaned up and the laundry started, which I need to do before the little one gets here.  I'm so not going to be doing housework for at least a few days after the birth.

Today we have an appointment with Dr. Ladyhouse, to set up an appointment for an induction next week, if the little monster doesn't appear before that.  I still need to do some research on membrane sweeps to decide if I want one, but if I can avoid being given oxytocin, that would be a major plus.  Not looking forward to the exam, which I'm sure will be necessary today.  I'd really rather keep my lady parts between me and my husband, but what can you do?  More of that to come, anyway.

Anyway, we decided we'd better pack the car as if this is it, because the hospital is 40 mins away, so if I somehow go into labour on the way there, we're not going to be able to turn around pick up our go bags.  I'm going to bring my knitting, too, in case I do end up in the hospital.  I'm positive for Group B Strep, which means the first thing they'll do when I do get admitted is give me antibiotics for 3-4 hours.  It would be nice to get something done in that time and the blanket I've been working on is somewhere on my list of things to get done before the little one gets here.

Mr. Wolfman asked me to pack a bag for him for the hospital.  Little does he know, I bought him a new one and packed it weeks ago.  It's been hiding in the Little Monster's closet forever :)  It's supposed to be a surprise, though (I'm 90% sure he doesn't know the address of this blog), so I'm thinking I'll walk it over to his work and sneak it into the trunk of the car before he gets done... and just hope he doesn't need anything out of the trunk before he gets home.  I wanted to get him some comfy pajama pants for it, but there's nowhere around here to buy some.  If I can sneak away for a few minutes after we've seen Dr. Ladyhouse, I might have more luck.

So, that's it.  Or at least that's it for now.  Tempting as it is to sit here and play around online (which is all I feel like I've been doing since work ended), I actually do have things that need to get done, not the least of which is taking a shower.  I'm really wondering if my next post will include a baby or not.  Only time will tell.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

T- 1 Day

My due date, as determined by my first ultrasound, was yesterday.  The one based on my period is tomorrow.  Baby time is nigh.

My crazy hormonalness is tapering off a bit.  I'm still a bit off, but a lot more in control.  At the moment, I feel very calm, much like I did in the wee hours on the day of my wedding to Mr. Wolfman.  I had a bit of anxiety left in me for when the ceremony was inexplicably delayed (that should really be unexplainedly, since there was an explanation, but no one wanted to give it to me), and I'm sure I'll have a few more hiccups before the end, but generally I have a feeling of serenity, like things are actually happening as they should.

Going to see Dr. Ladyhouse tomorrow, assuming nothing miraculous happens tonight.  Thinking about a membrane sweep, but I haven't decided.

And now Mr. Wolfman is kicking me out of his spot, and so adieu.  I'll write more tomorrow, possibly about what it's like to have an actual baby, but probably just about how my appointment went. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

39+1 (6 Days left)

So after my last really depressing post, I was ready to write a really cheerful one yesterday.  I was in such a good mood (despite some gross news at the Dr.'s) and I kept putting writing it off in favour of other things.

...and then Mr. Wolfman came home and announced that instead of having the next two days off (the last time off he'd have before the arrival of the little monster, the first days off he would have had in 5 weeks), he's decided to stay at his second job until Sunday.  Which means no days off and 16 hour days all weekend.  He won't be off again until my due date.

So, I have to apologize, but this is not going to be a happy post.

Went for my (hopefully final) prenatal checkup with my Dr. Ladyhouse on Tuesday, only to find out that Dr. Ladyhouse wasn't there and no one had bothered to call me.  They did keep the appointment with another Dr., who was pretty good, although I think I prefer Dr. Ladyhouse because she seems more straightforward.

Except.  On the subject of straightforwardness... I found out from my last visit with Dr. Illegible that I'm Group B+, which means that I have a nasty bacteria (which actually most people have) in my lady parts, and both he and Dr. Ladyhouse had explained that if I had this bacteria, they would need to start me on antibiotics as soon as either a) my water breaks or b) I go into labour.  What neither of them bothered to mention, but the other Dr. did, was that if my water breaks first, they'll induce me with oxytocin.

Not effing impressed.  Not just that I may have to be induced, because I understand that there's a medical reason that they can't do anything about.  Even though I really, really do not want an induction, I can recognize that it might turn out to be a necessity.  But is there a reason they couldn't have told me that before?  Like, say, when they told me about the Group B test... or, I don't know, when my results came back POSITIVE?  And now I'm just realizing that they're probably going to try to make me deliver in the hospital bed, because they'll want to keep me hooked up to the antibiotics for my whole labour (no one told me this either, I had to Google it).

If they do have to induce me, the pain is going to be way worse, which I can deal with, but it also greatly increases the chances of distress to the little monster and hugely raises the chances that I'll need a C section.  And I feel like if they force me to labour on my back, they may as well just cut me open and save the time, because that's just an illogical position to give birth in.  I mean, look at all other animals (and most other humans).  There's a reason they don't give birth that way.  Gravity, people.  Dr. Ladyhouse already told me that if I need a C section they'd give me an epidural because it's safer than general anesthetic, which is lovely, but I have relatives for whom the epi did literally nothing, so I'm thinking that's not necessarily going to be an option.

Between this crap and the fact that Mr. Wolfman and I are now not even going to have one day to spend together to get stuff ready (he's been working 2 jobs since before we moved into our current place, so we still don't even have our apartment set up normally, let alone ready for a baby) and enjoy our last moments of young couplehood, I'm just a weepy mess.  I feel totally overwhelmed and I can't even figure out what I could be doing, if I had enough energy to do it.  Which I don't, because on top of everything else, I'm sick.

Oh, and it was -6 when I got up this morning.  It's not even the 10th of September.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

38 Weeks - 14 Days left!

Two posts in two days.  The mind reels.

So, I'm 38 weeks today, and I have 14 days left until my EDD.  That is effing close.

I feel... I don't know.  Right now, I feel lonely.

Mr. Wolfman is wonderful - beyond wonderful - and always here for me, when he's here.  But part of his being here for me and for the little monster is as a provider and he's taken on a temporary second job, just to get some extra money in the bank before the little one arrives.  He'll be back to just one job before the little one gets here, but right now he's working 80 hours a week, and I'm working 40, so we don't see very much of each other.  And since this is really our last time with it being just the two of us, I feel like we're missing out and it makes me sad.

And, through no one's doing but my own, I don't really have friends.  I shouldn't say that.  I have some wonderful friends, just not very many, and none of them are here, and of course they all have their own stuff going on, and I don't want to be the self-centred pregnant woman and go on and on about baby stuff - but I have nothing else going on right now.  I work, and I'm too tired to do anything else, so I feel like I have nothing to contribute to a conversation.  I can talk about what I watched on YouTube or an article I read, or about my increasingly unpleasant bodily functions, but not about anything I've actually done or seen recently.  And I'm starting to feel like this is going to get worse after the baby, because then everything I do will be baby related, and consequently, that's all I'll have to talk about.

My parents are in their 50s and don't have friends, and growing up I don't remember them having friends, and I don't want that - for myself, but especially for Mr. Wolfman, who is super social and really enjoys being around people - I feel like I'm taking that away from him because I just don't click with people.  I get exhausted around them, and feel anxiety at the thought of any social interaction with anyone I don't know really well.  I really don't want my son to end up in the 3rd generation of friendless misanthropes when he's an adult.  I'm not friendless and my parents aren't misanthropes.  I guess I'm just mad at myself because I haven't seen my close friends for so, so long - some for years -  and I feel like I'm incapable of making new ones.

I opened up this blog fully intending to write about how close everything is getting and how excited I am - not meant to be misleading, I really felt exactly that, until I typed "I feel" and all this came pouring out.  Now I can't stop crying.  Stupid pregnancy hormones.

And I feel totally useless.  Today I was off work, and after a trip to the Dr.'s (which was also going to be one of the main topics of this post), a visit to the post office and a stop by the grocery store, I came home and did nothing.  All fucking day.  I checked Facebook, baby boards, watched Dr. Phil on YouTube.  That's it.  I didn't even do anything fun but pointless.  Everything I did was boring and pointless.  I ate one meal and a bag of microwave popcorn and now I just don't even know what to do with myself.  If I can't even look after the house now, how much worse is it going to be when I am looking after a baby and trying to stay on top of housework.

Well.  Good thing I don't have regular readers to get totally depressed by random posts with misleading titles.

Everything went great at the Dr.'s.  Dr. Illegible is really happy with my progress and with the little monster.  He's going on vacation for 3 weeks, so I won't see him again now until after the baby is born, but he has been really great through this whole thing.  I forgot to ask him about the vaccination schedule, but I can ask Dr. Ladyhouse when I see her next week (I have yet to do a post about my OB, who I met last month and who so far seems great)... assuming I don't go into labour before that.

Also, random, but I realized today that Mr. Wolfman is 6'1", his dad is 6'2", his brother is probably 6'4", my dad is 6'2" and all of my Dad's brother's are his height or slightly taller.  When I asked Dr. Illegible if there was any indication of how big the little monster is going to be, he said, "not small." I'm just a tad worried now... but as Mr. Wolfman lovingly pointed out, all that really matters is the size of his head 0_0

Monday, September 1, 2014

I've done it again...

Forgotten to post for a small eternity, that is.

I'm now 37 weeks pregnant, with just 2.5 weeks to go until D-Day.  A couple of posts ago, I was saying spring was on its way.  Now I can say that sadly, Summer is very much over with.  I'm still very excited, but now well on my way to being very freaked out as well.  Not so much about labour, because I know it's going to be the most painful thing I've ever experienced, and I know I won't be able to mentally quantify that until it happens.  More about afterwards.  I feel woefully under prepared.  But there isn't that much more to do, not really.

The little monster has a name, though Mr. Wolfman and I are still going back and forth about what we'll call him day-to-day.

We bought his (extremely expensive) stroller and car seat and spent way more than I had planned.  But they're pretty amazing and we'll still have them if we decide to do this all again in a couple of years.  My parents got us a pac'n'play, which we had actually decided against buying, but it's fairly sturdy, and it will work perfectly until he's ready for a full-sized crib and to go into his own room.  We've also got a bathtub that's shaped like a whale, and all the clothes he could need until he's in 3-6mo.  And my sister threw us a baby shower and bought us a diaper bag and a bunch of bits and pieces, as well as making him a blanket.

I've also got a breast pump and granny panties and I'm working on making a couple of weeks' worth of padsicles.  So I'm set, apart from nipple butter (who knew I'd need that?).

Buuut... we still don't have a baby monitor, we still don't have bottles for him (I'm planning on breastfeeding, but I need some bottles just in case I want to go out/sleep or Mr. Wolfman wants to feed him) - we still don't have diapers (we have a few disposables, but I want to cloth diaper), we still don't have a little portable washing machine for the diapers... I don't know if we need a bassinet attachment for our stroller, I don't know if he needs one of those chair things for newborns.  I don't know what those chair things are called.  He doesn't have godparents.  If we got in a car accident and died on the way home from the hospital (morbid, I know), I literally have no clue who he would end up living with.  He doesn't have a winter coat, and even though I know he doesn't need them, I feel like a bad mummy for not getting him winter boots.

And he doesn't have a song.  Since she was about 4 months, I would sing to my niece over Skype if she started to cry, and when I finally saw her in person, that same song worked to immediately calm her down if she was upset.  It still does.  One bar and she's done.  I want a song like that for my son, and I feel like I'm
somehow neglecting him by not having come up with one yet.

We've moved and we're staying where we are for a while.  It's a 2 bedroom place, so the little monster will have his own room.  And he will have a crib, eventually, and diapers and possibly even one of those chair things.  And he'll have parents who adore him.

But, eek, it's all coming so fast.