Friday, December 27, 2013

Baby Girl's Birth Story (Part 3)


To catch up, part 1 and part 2

Susan and I made it to Labor and Delivery (after a quick confusing detour into the wrong hallway) and got me checked in.  Then nurses asked a series of annoying questions that I fail to understand the necessity of. (WHY did I preregister if you're just going to ask all this junk again??) This was all before they moved me into a room. During this time, I rode out a contraction and spent so much energy trying to breathe and not groan loudly, worrying about disturbing any others on the floor. In retrospect, if I had groaned, maybe they would have picked up the pace!

Just after getting into the room I had my next contraction as I tried to step out of the wheelchair and move to the bed. Right in the middle of loudly moaning through the contraction was when Kathy, my midwife came into the room. She praised my labor progression and instructed me to get into a gown. I considered asking to stick to my birth plan and continue laboring in my own clothes, but by this time I didn't care about the immodest hospital gowns. John met us in the room and helped me change in the restroom and then get into the bed.

I was coming into the hospital at shift change so my first nurse started everything, I can't even remember her name, then Jessica joined us and stayed through the rest of day. They wanted 20 minutes of monitored contractions so they had a baseline to if we needed continuous fetal monitoring later, so into bed I went. As I laid in bed Jessica, the other nurse and the head nurse asked me various questions. I was really struggling to deal with the contractions at this point, laying in bed was not helping anything and the fetal monitor pushing on my belly during contractions was painful. Kathy came in and saved the day! She was less than impressed that I was told I had to be in bed for this monitoring and Kathy set them straight that they are perfectly capable of running the tape with me out of the bed. After Kathy checked to see how dialated I was (7 cm!!), we were just about finished with the 20 minute requirement and at Susan's suggestion, we moved back into the bathroom.

I feel like we were in the bathroom for five minutes, but John assures me that it was at least an hour. At this point, Holli, the other Midwife came on shift and wanted to check how I had progressed since Kathy had left. I slowly made my way to the bed (can I just say that moving in contractions is no bueno!), I was at 10 cm and almost fully efaced!!

Holli worked with me on how to push and wanted me to do a few "practice pushes". I remember her telling me to "blow the baby out", encouraging me to use breathing to push down rather than yelling and wasting energy. During these practice pushes, my water broke but it really wasn't much. Unfortunatly they were pretty sure that it was myconium stained. Under hospital policy, Holli had to break the water a little more so they could be sure whether or not Cora had passed myconium in the water. This was something I didn't want but couldn't avoid. The exact reason I didn't want my water broken was the effect we found - Coras head shifted slightly as the water flowed out and now I had a lip of cervix that wasn't fully effaced.

Technically, I could have worked hard, pushed forever and gotten the baby out then with someone pushing that "lip" aside. BUT Holli is awesome and gave us some time to get the babys head moved back center and clear up that effacement issue. I say that she's awesome now, but I was so very disappointed when I knew I was fully dialated and she announced that she was going back to the office to see "a patient or two". I couldn't believe that she had time to see patients before I had a baby!

Susan & Cora
This is when I will forever be grateful for having an amazing Doula! Susan, being well educated in birth and understanding all the mumbo jumbo Holli was saying about how Cora's head shifted got me out of bed to shift the baby back to center! {I'd also like to point out that as great as my nurse, Jessica, was - she didn't understand what Holli was saying, she would have been no help to us in getting Cora's head straightened out} Since we knew my water was miconium stained, I had to have constant fetal monitoring (hospital policy), but the straps were just hurting so badly, so Jessica, my awesome nurse stood with me and held them in place as I lunged and squated for the next while. I was terrified my legs wouldn't support me as I squatted so John squatted right behind me holding me steady while Susan held the other end of Robozo across the bed from me. We were this way for about four contractions, until I started feeling Cora crown.

Susan started asking me questions about what I was feeling, I knew the baby was coming but I had trouble vocalizing that between contractions. As I squatted I was bearing down and Susan had noticed but Jessica didn't realize how close we were. Jessica checked and said I had a quarter size amount of baby's head showing and at her insistence we moved back into the bed. Susan suggested we call Holli back but Jessica thought we had more time to "labor down".

The thing about natural labor is, your body pushes that baby and the only way I found to cope with that intensity is to push and help that natural laboring of pushing the baby down and out. Once up in that bed I got on my side and started pushing. The room quickly filled with tons of hospital staff! I had okay-ed some nurses observing (later we learned they wanted to watch because they hadn't seen a natural birth before), plus Nursery staff that was doubled by the concerns about the myconium stains in the amniotic water. As I pushed I was encouraged to not push, to wait for the midwife to get there. About the third announcement of "wait" I yelled at no one in particular that I couldn't. All the while I laid there knowing full well that everyone in that room was trained to catch, I knew that if no one else stepped up Susan could catch the baby. I wasn't going to not push just because my midwife wasn't called in time. At some point they grabbed the on-call OB, she gowned up and stood at the ready incase Holli didn't make it in time.

When Holli arrived there was a giant sigh of relief in the room, She tossed her coat one direction while stepping into a gown being held open by a nurse. Two more pushes or so and we had our baby girl!!

When Cora was born she wasn't crying, this is somewhat common with natural born babies as I understand it. That compounded with the myconium stained fluid and the nursery staff insisted that the cord be cut immediately. They whisked her over to the warmer and started suctioning fluid from her mouth. John joined them while I finished up delivery. After they cleaned her up and worked on her for a while I got to hold her skin-to-skin for just a moment, long enough for Susan to snap a few pictures and then they whisked her off to the NICU.

Cora & Kathy
Turns out that Cora had TTN (transient tachypnea of the newborn) and had to spend some time in the NICU. Her first Apgar was a 6, second one was an 8. She improved greatly in the first 7 hours and was weaned off oxygen by just over 24 hours. Antibiotics were administered as a precaution for infection from the Myconium but all cultures came back negative for infection. I was ready for discharge at 24 hours after birth but stayed in-patient an extra day to make it easier to be with our daughter. Cora was discharged from the hospital four days after birth.

I loved my birthing experience, not so much right in the trenches of it - but coming out on the other side I knew within hours of being finished that not only could I do it again, I'm excited for it! I found birthing empowering and beautiful. All the major points of our birth plan were followed up until the complications surrounding Cora once she was born and none of those complications were as a result of birth. Looking back there are very few things we would change that are in our control. Doing it again I will for-sure hire a birth photographer!! I'm so sad we don't have more pictures of everything! I wouldn't change anything in our birth plan and really the only big thing that we would do differently is possibly the location of our birth. I'm seriously contemplating using a Birthing Center for our next child! I'm just sad that we would have to change midwifes for a different facility.

8 lbs, 12 ounces
20 inches

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Workin' Momma Tales

This last month I returned to the office. I can honestly say that the first day was the most emotional drive to work ever! Every day I tell myself not to be dramatic, that thousands of moms return to work at six weeks and leave their babies but this is H.A.R.D. So much harder than I expected. And making it more complicated is the fact that thanks to doctor appointments and the "Icepocolypse 2013" as they're calling it, we haven't had enough "normal" days in a row to establish and maintain any form of a routine.

I haven't struggled with any Postpartum Depression, and about the extent of my Baby Blues revolved around complete and total exhaustion. That being said, I truly question if I'm dealing with a bit of PPD in consideration of how poorly I'm dealing with this transition. As I was venting and talking it out with a friend I realized that much of my frustration is that after coming back to work almost all my time revolves around the fact I am working. I get home from work, spend 10 or 15 minutes hugging and cuddling Cora then I have household responsibilities I have to rush to in preparation for the next day of work. Pumping makes my milk supply go up so much that I have to pump at home to prevent engorgement, there's another 20 minutes pump time (two or three times while I'm home) and then storing milk and sanitizing pump parts and bottles for the next day is almost an hour of work each night. Many working moms I see have the expendable income to hire a housekeeper to reduce some of that evening chore load, they also eat out quite a bit to ease the time in the kitchen; these just aren't options for us.

Pumping breastmilk at work is also an adventure on its own! I'll have to do a seperate post on that later. If you were ever wondering why employers, by law have to provide a place other than the bathroom for a working mother to pump (and many large companies provide a place other than the persons office) - it's because pumping in your office can be very awkward! I figured it wouldn't be a big deal, I have a perfectly good door & pumping in my office would allow me to work while I pump. WELL... I rarely close my door, if anything I half close it to indicate I don't have time to talk and would rather not be disturbed. Nevermind that my door closed normally means I'm either not here or not available, I swear half the time I close it now to pump someone (always a man...) comes and knocks on the door! This leaves me sitting there thinking of an appropriate response because "just a minute" doesn't quite cut it and "I'm pumping" seems too personal/tmi. OR they know I'm pumping so rather than coming to my door, they buzz my phone to talk to me. As if it isn't horribly awkward to talk to someone while a machine is milking you.
My Crazy Daily Bag!

I'm also not ashamed to admit that I cried like a baby when I spilled 4 ounces of breast milk all over my desk. (It may or may not have also been a hard day and our cat died the night before...)

Everyday I look like I'm moving into my office! The bag holds my pump, pump parts & stored milk for in the fridge at work, lunch, purse and backup drives for the office I have to carry to and from work each day. 

My survival tips

Lists! Embrace that Mommy brain and start making lists now! They're the best and it's the only way I get everything ready for Coralie for the next day and all the stuff I haul to work for pumping each day. Not to mention any normal life things I need to remember!

Crock Pot! It's no secret that I have a slight love affair with my crock pot, it's been so nice that dinner is just a few quick steps away from finished many nights and I don't have to take the time to prepare something from start to finish. We've had several meals revolving around the things I've made multiple servings of in the good ol' crocker - Baked Potatoes, Buffalo Chicken, Taco Meat. Those three meal preps fed us for six nights with variations on the meal. Boring but efficient!

Moms, how do you do it? Does it get easier or will I always feel this resentful about working and leaving my daughter?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

52 Week Savings Goal for 2014

When I first started looking into the YNAB system, I read the e-book about the Four Rules of Budgeting written by the founder of You Need A Budget. He said that when you are making BIG purchases, no matter the reason, it's hard to stop and step back from spending that much money each month and refocus on living using less money and budgeting wisely. 

This past summer with Baby Cora on the way, we had some BIG purchases that needed to be made! Every month we were budgeting to drop almost all of our expendable income on something. From our Insurance Deductible to pay the Midwife, to paying for our Doula, nursery furniture, a new car... the list was endless. We depleted our savings in a hurry and haven't had a chance to build it back up. 

For 2014 our goal is to regain some financial balance. Rebuild our savings, which isn't nearly as easy to do as our budget is tighter than ever with baby related expenses and paying on those fabulous hospital bills we incurred back in October. 

SO, we have joined in the 52 Week Savings Challenge hosted by House of Rose!

I'm really confident we can complete it and I get a happy warm feeling inside thinking about having at least $1,378 in the bank at the end of 2014!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 A Year in Review

Displaying 2013yearinreview.jpg

What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
I'm sitting here trying to think of a less obvious answer than "Pregnancy & Childbirth", but really that's what this year revolved around. We also bought a mini-van, the first big-girl purchase I've made!

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't really make resolutions at the new year, but I do something similar on my birthday (January 4, so basically New Years). Considering we weren't pregnant quite yet when I made that list, we met most of the goals that were realistic for the change.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yup - me! :) Also, my dear friend Tiffany gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Juliet!

Did anyone close to you die?

What countries did you visit?

I didn't even leave Texas this year...

What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

I honestly cannot think of a single possession that I'd like that much. I'm very happy with my life and my little family!

What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory?
Monday, October 21 - the birth of my beautiful daughter!

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Becoming a Mother followed by a job promotion.

What was your biggest failure?
There isn't one thing that comes to mind, but I really struggled physically with Pregnancy and balancing all of that with work.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Outside of the normal pregnancy stuff (nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, etc.) I was actually really healthy this year!!

What was the best thing you bought?
Best and biggest... My Mommy-mobile - a Mini Van!

Whose behavior merited celebration?
I'm really proud of John and I for the amount of debt we paid off in the first of the year! Going into the summer we were free of credit card debt! Unfortunately, we've had to use them again but the debt isn't anywhere near what it was and we're paying it off quickly! It feels so nice using them as the financial tool they're made to be!

Where did most of your money go?
Into the nursery! Or medical bills associated with the pregnancy/birth.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Meeting our daughter!

What song will always remind you of 2013?
I can't think of one...

Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder?
Thinner or fatter?Thinner!
Richer or poorer?Poorer, which is ironic because we both made more money than we did in 2012!

What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish we had traveled more and spent more time with our friends.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

I wish I spent less time worrying about anything & everything.

How will you be spending Christmas?
Christmas is quite the event this year! We will have a family get-together with John's side the Saturday before Christmas. The Sunday before Christmas, we're having a quasi family reunion with my Dad's family. Christmas Eve & Christmas Day we will spend with my immediate family & some local extended family.

Did you fall in love in 2013?
 Yes! With my beautiful baby girl!

How many one-night stands?
 bahaha... no.

Who were your best friends? 
 Lauren, Tiffany, Kim & Kim

What thing did you do that was meaningful to others?

I did my usual volunteer projects but I'm not sure what of that would stick out. This year we kind of took for ourselves, and honestly we needed to do that.

What were your favorite TV programs?
Greys Anatomy, Walking Dead, Revenge

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

What was the best book you read in 2013?
What to expect when your wife is expanding... My reading was pretty much centered around the pregnancy.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
How very annoying the music is on children's toys! Seriously, I think they commission the music for these toys with the request that it be the most repeatative and obnoxious as possible!

What did you want and get?
A natural birth!

What did you want but did NOT get?
 For the first time (practically ever), I coveted fashionable clothes. I was the size of two people, so I didn't get any.
I also wanted to go to Hawaii for our second honeymoon - we had a child instead. 

What was your favorite film of this year?
Catching Fire

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 24, I'm sure John and I went out to dinner that night but really we celebrated both our birthdays and anniversary later in the month. The day after my birthday I had a lovely massage and then went out with my friend Kimmi!

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
 I can't think of something, this year was wonderful!

What kept you sane?
 Knowing that pregnancy would eventually end!

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
 ha, well I'm still not much of a Pop Culture follower so....???

What political issue stirred you the most?
The mess associated with Obamacare, trying to figure it out and how it will affect our office and our clients. It really has been a big mess!

Who did you miss?
 I missed my Mom a lot this year! Especially since Joshua graduated High School this year.

Who was the best new person you met this year?
 I'm really fond of our Doula, Susan! Life changing, really.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
Change isn't bad, sometimes it is coming, you can't help that change will happen and you should embrace it. I spent so much of the year scared with the changes that were coming and not knowing how to embrace them. I wish I had enjoyed my pregnancy more but I spent too much of it afraid. Afraid of how it affected our lives, marriage and of course afraid for the health of my child.

Quote that sums up your year:
1 Samuel 1:27
For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Coralie - 1 Month

This month has gone by so quickly! Cora is still so tiny but her development changes daily! She's grown so much, I can tell a huge difference in her from her newborn pictures to today!

Cora at One Month:
- Mommy finally got her scheduled & in for newborn pictures!
- She generally sleeps 6 or 7 hours at night! Sometimes we revert backwards to the every two or three hours for a feeding.
- She still sleeps in her bassinet or in Mommy & Daddy's bed.
-Her awake periods are much longer and she's very alert.  She will nap about 30 minutes between feedings on average with only an hour long nap in the morning and evening. 
-She still loves her swing and bouncer
- She can hold her head up unassisted for long periods of time and loves belly time, particularly with her Boppy Pillow for support.
- She exceeded her birth weight! At her weight check, she was up to 9.5 pounds!
- Went with Mommy & Daddy to her first movie at the Drive in Theater! Catching Fire!

Cora at 5 Weeks:
- Slept for 8 full hours one night (after a very busy day meeting her Uncle Mike, Aunt Val & cousin Matt!)
- First church Thanksgiving pot luck! (Second time to church!)
- Her first Thanksgiving!
- Joined Mom, Dad & Granda on a Black Friday Shopping trip!
- She outgrew her first Newborn outfit! 
- She is really fighting gas but we're learning techniques to help her rather than giving her gas drops all the time.

 1. One Month Old! 2. Thanksgiving pot luck at church 3. Uncle Jacob came home & brought this nifty shirt from NYC 4. Meeting Uncle Mike & Aunt Val 5. Cuddling with Grandpa during Black Friday shopping 6. Thanksgiving outfits 7. Going for a walk at Grandmas.

{Working} Mommy Tales:
Next week I have to return to work. Words can't describe how much I'm dreading this. For now, until she has shots & is a little older, my Dad will be keeping her. Even with knowing she is well taken care of by Grandpa, I'm still really emotional and uneasy about this. Since we got her out of NICU, I've never spent more than 2 hours apart from her, I have no desire to be away from her. I should be able to return just part time, working 3 days a week, but I need to get the go-ahead from my boss tomorrow morning.

I'm also quite nervous about how it is going to work moving from exclusively breast feeding with maybe one bottle a day, to most of her feedings by bottle and needing to pump at work. I've heard of so many moms that go back to work and the combination of stressors and lack of time to pump end up depleting or eliminating their milk supply. Financially and emotionally we can't afford for that to happen. I really want (and need) to continue breast feeding her until she's 6 months and we introduce solids.