Monday, June 4, 2012

Willa Capri is here and I am a Mommy! Our Ridiculously Long Birth Story

**Feel free to NOT read this post as it is ridiculously long and may bore you to death. I couldn't stop typing!!!**

Whew, what a whirlwind the past few weeks (err, months) have been. I started to go crazy the end of my pregnancy which is why I kind of why I stopped posting, and now I am a mommy to a three-week old and am totally sleep deprived. So much has happened, so I will do my best to condense it into a somewhat readable blog post.

So, around 37 weeks I started to go nuts. I wanted this baby out of me so badly and was simply dying to have my body back. Because of all the complications I had had, I was used to the idea of having her early. When that didn't happen, I started to get anxiety and did whatever I could in my power to try and induce labor. Of course, none of them worked (stupid wives tales, don't even try them). At my 38 week appointment I found out I was dilated to a 3 and had already lost my plug, so I was prepared for labor to start at any moment. My body had other plans. By 39 weeks I found out I was dilated to a 4 (!!!) but still had no other signs of labor. My doctor said she didn't want me going past 39 weeks because of my blood pressure, but I asked for as much time as possible to go into labor naturally because I was so terrified of induction. We scheduled my induction for Sunday night, May 13 (Mother's Day) which was my due date. The entire week went by and of course I didn't go into labor. So, off to the hospital we went on Sunday night.

As many of you may know, I was really set on having an all natural birth. In fact, if I wasn't considered high-risk because of my PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension,) I probably would have tried to convince Jacob to let me do a home birth in the living room. Walking into the hospital at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday night, I was terrified. I didn't want to be hooked up to Pitocin because it makes your contractions much stronger/closer together than natural ones and therefore makes most moms more likely to get an epidural. I didn't want to be hooked up to monitors my whole labor because I wanted to be able to get up and move around. I didn't want to be hooked up to an IV because I had heard it makes you swollen. Also, I knew my risk of getting a C-section went up 50 percent just by getting induced. I pretty much knew that my birth plan was going to get thrown out the window.

We checked in at 10:00 p.m. and were put in a triage room on the labor and delivery floor. I was hooked up to the Pitocin by 11:15, and was also hooked up to monitors so we could watch the baby's heart rate and my uterine activity (contractions). They started the Pitocin really low (thank God) so my contractions came on very slow. They basically just felt like mild period cramps, and came on every three minutes or so. Jacob took advantage of this time to take a nap, and I just kind of laid there wishing I could sleep. After an hour the nurse came and turned up my Pitocin, and it wasn't too long before the contractions started to get pretty hard to deal with. By 1:30 a.m I woke up Jacob. From that point on I needed him to get through every contraction. I had back labor and pretty much felt like my whole entire back was being sawed in half. Even though I was hooked up to an IV and the monitors, I was still able to sit on a bouncy ball next to the bed while he pushed on my back through each contraction. The pain was so surreal... no words can describe it! Because of the Pitocin, my contractions were unnaturally close together, about 45-60 seconds apart (eek!).

By about 6:30 a.m. I had had enough. I asked the nurse to come in and check me. I was sure that since I came in dilated to 5 cm, I had to at least be extremely close. After more than 7.5 hours of labor, I thought I would be at 8 cm or so. When the nurse came in and checked me, however, I had hardly progressed 1 cm! I was so devastated and felt like I couldn't handle the pain anymore. At the rate I was going, I was going to be in labor for 24 hours and I had no breaks in between contractions. I asked the nurse for an epidural. Jacob kept asking me if I was sure (since I had strictly instructed him NOT to let me get an epidural), but I think deep down he wanted me to get one. The pain I was in took such a toll on him too, since I needed him to get through each contraction (seriously, back labor is no joke). The nurse called the anesthesiologist and they moved me into a labor room. It took me ten minutes just to walk a couple doors down the hallway because I had to stop to get through so many contractions.

Getting the epidural was intense. I had to lean over and be perfectly still, but all my pain was in my back and the contractions were so close together. It was torture!!! After the epi was in, I laid back in bed and waited for it to kick in. and waited. and waited. and waited. Nothing went numb except for my mouth! Apparently 1-3 percent of people have this sort of reaction to the medication. The anesthesiologist came back in and doubled my dose of meds, and then moved the catheter around in my spinal canal, trying to get it in the right place. My tongue only became more tingly. Because the Dr. had doubled the meds, I had to wait at least an hour before they could try again with another epidural. In all honesty, this was the worst part of my labor. I was in so much pain, so exhausted, and so frustrated! After an hour, the head of anesthesiology came in and replaced my epidural, and this time it worked. I was so relieved. I was very adamant that I didn't want to be numb, and that I would still be able to feel contractions, and that is exactly what happened.

The epidural took all the pain out of my back, but didn't relieve what I felt in my uterus or lady bits. I could tell when each contraction came and went, which allowed me to relax but still feel like I was involved with the labor process and aware of what my body was doing. Within an hour of getting the good epidural, my OBGYN came in and broke my water. She checked my cervix, and I was already 8 cm dilated! That was 2 cm progress just from the time I got my epidural. I truly think that having it helped me to relax and made me progress quickly. Within two hours of having my water broken, I felt like I was ready to push. I felt so much pressure down there! I started pushing, and told Jacob to go and get our nurse. She came in and said to me: "Oh honey, I am sure you're not ready yet. I can check you if you want, but I am sure it's not time to push yet." I asked her to check me, and sure enough I was complete and it was time to push! The nurse warned me that most first time moms push for three hours or so.

My OBGYN came in and the party began. At first, I thought pushing was fun and I was literally enjoying it! I was able to feel the beginning and end of each contraction and I was able to kind of run the show. I had a student nurse holding one leg and Jacob holding the other. Pre-baby we always talked about how he wasn't going to look "down there" when I was in labor, but he pretty much watched the entire time. It wasn't nearly as awkward as i thought it would be, and he seemed to be pretty impressed with what my body was doing.

My doctor thought I would have the baby out in three pushes. Apparently I am an excellent pusher (I credit that to P90x and five daily cups of raspberry leaf tea. In fact, we all started placing bets on what time we thought she would be here... My doctor bet 12:08 (it was currently 11:58), Jacob bet 12:15, and I bet 12:30 just to be "safe." However, Willa ended up being sunny side up (we didn't know that she was) and so I pushed for one hour before she came out. Half way through, I literally thought I couldn't do it anymore. I wanted to give up! I was so tired. So hungry. In so much pain. So sleep deprived. I started getting frustrated because everyone was telling me how "great" my pushes were, but I felt Willa get sucked back in the birth canal after the end of every contraction. It was awful!

Well, finally Willa came out at 1:19 p.m. Once her head came out, I felt everything else just kind of slip out like jello. Oh, and that ring of fire everyone talks about? It is real. So, so real. Because my epidural was "turned down" so low, I could feel everything down there. Even my stitches. Getting stitched up was probably the most dramatic part of the delivery... the baby was on my chest but I was still in so much pain and couldn't even focus on her... I felt every last stitch. Everything was kind of mayhem, I don't even remember Jacob cutting the umbilical cord! I remember him crying tears of happiness, and me freaking out because I knew there was blood everywhere.

After the drama died down, I was able to look at my beautiful baby on my chest. The nurses let me stimulate her to get some cries out, and handed me towels to wipe her off. She didn't leave my chest for at least an hour, until I finally asked the nurses to take her and weigh her because I was dying to know! We officially named her about two hours after she was born. I didn't want to commit to anything until I could spend time looking at her with her eyes open, and that didn't really happen until my feet were out of the stirrups and the doctors were down pushing on my uterus (ouch). We had narrowed it down to three names pre-hospital: Willa, Everly, and Hazel. I knew right off the bat she wasn't a Hazel, and then eventually realized that she was most definitely a Willa. Jacob and I both agreed. I am so glad we chose the name we did... I am in love with it!

Well, without further introduction (as if it wasn't long enough), meet Willa Capri! She is a perfect little gem, and was born at 7 pounds, 13 ounces and 19 inches long. She has tons of dark hair, beautiful dark eyes, and pretty olive skin. She sleeps all day, loves to stare at people, and has a passion for sucking ANYTHING. I am the happiest mama in the world!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Full Term Update

At 37 weeks 4 days, I am now considered full-term. According to my OB, baby girl could now come at any time! It's kind of funny, because I wake up every single morning wondering if I feel any different, searching for signs that labor might be impending. Of course, my daily full body self check usually just tells me "Nope, I feel exactly the same as I did yesterday." Thankfully my doctor doesn't believe in doing internal exams (cervical checks), because I think that would really drive me crazy! I can't imagine knowing I am a couple centimeters dilated and still wake up every day with no contractions, broken water, or lost plug. Anyway, as most of you know I have had problems with my blood pressure this entire pregnancy. Yesterday, my blood pressure spiked crazy high and I had to go into Labor and Delivery at my hospital to get checked. They took a urine sample and drew blood to check for pre-eclampsia. The tests ended up coming back normal (although I had small amounts of protein in my urine--normal for someone with chronic hypertension). After a couple hours, they ended up sending me home. My blood pressure wasn't high enough for any sort of emergency action. I had an appointment with my OB today and she told me that my blood pressure is spiking most likely because the medicines are starting to wear off. After all, I have been on the stuff for almost eight months now! She did tell me, however, that with high blood pressure the placenta starts to deteriorate early and that she doesn't think it's a good idea for me to go any longer than 39 weeks. Although it's nice to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I REALLY don't want to get induced. She did tell me that she would only induce me at 39 weeks if I was at least a little bit dilated though. She said that if your cervix is very high and closed (meaning body is definitely not ready to deliver) that labor turns into a very long and difficult process, and can often lead to a C-section. Of course she doesn't want to go that route, so if by 39 weeks by cervix is still completely closed, I will just have to go into the clinic every other day or so for ultrasounds to make sure that the placenta is still giving baby enough nutrients. I am hoping and praying that I will go into labor naturally before I hit 39 weeks! I have started drinking raspberry leaf tea which is said to strengthen the uterus, making the second stage of labor shorter by making pushes more effective. Today was my second day of drinking three cups a day. The stuff actually tastes pretty good! I also have been sitting/rocking/bouncing on an exercise ball. Apparently it helps the baby engage and encourages dilation, but I sort of doubt that. I am doing it anyway though, just in case. Besides, it helps relieve my back and hip pain! I have yet to experience a single Braxton Hicks contraction. I hope that doesn't mean anything.... On a side note, people's comments have really been cracking me up lately. The other day someone told me "Wow, your baby really has dropped. Her arrival is probably just around the corner." But then today someone told me "Wow, you're carrying so high. Baby will probably hang out in there for a while!" People are so strange... I am trying not to listen to ANYONE!

Maternity Photos

I swore I would never do maternity photos. I mean literally swore. I just do not feel beautiful with a big round belly, huge ginormous boobs that are impossible to cover up, fat, cellulitely thighs, and a very round face (all this and only gained 23 lbs at 37 weeks--what a feat!). However, my darling sister surprised me with a maternity shoot as a gift... she has a girlfriend who is a photographer and she worked out a deal with her so I was able to get some photos.
Let me tell you, at first I was terrified. I had no idea what I would wear to flatter my large body, and I was really self conscious of how my fat face would photograph. My dad eased a lot of my worries by offering to take me out shopping for a new outfit! What a sweetheart! He even looked at the things I tried on and picked out my outfit (I love dads).
The whole experience ended up being pretty painless--I don't know what I was so worried about. The photographer was awesome and kind of talked us through the whole thing (yes, Jacob was a trooper and took photos with me). It took just about an hour and we ended up getting some super cute shots! I don't know if I will be framing any of these around the house, but I am definitely glad to have something to look back on when I hit my "man I miss being pregnant" stage (which apparently I am doomed to reach?).
Here are couple of shots from the shoot (Thanks Hayley and Annie):

Saturday, April 14, 2012

36 weeks

Welp, I am 36 weeks pregnant and very round.
My brother made a joke the other day about how they could just use ME as their ball in the family kickball game. Hmph.
I am up 22 lbs and about 14 bra sizes (ughhhhh).

I have been having these crazy period-like cramps for the past three days. I don't feel any tightening in my abdomen (because it is constantly contracted and as hard as a rock), so I am not sure if I am feeling contractions or not. I am anxious for my non-stress test on Monday to see what's going on in there...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

It's a human!

We had a surprise 3D/4D ultrasound on Monday and lo and behold, there is definitely a human in there! Lately all of her ultrasounds have made her look like an alien, so I was relieved to find out that she is indeed a human with hair on her head, chubby cheeks, and a thumb she loves to suck!

We were unable to do the 3D ultrasound at our last appointment because she was facing my back, so when we went for a usual growth scan on Monday, the sonographer decided to try it out just for fun! It was so cool to see her moving around in there and moving her fist in front of her face. I think she is definitely going to be a thumb sucker! She is already 5 pounds, 12 ounces, and has jumped from the 31st to the 52nd percentile! YAY! If she comes at exactly 40 weeks, doctor thinks she will be in between 7.5 and 8 pounds.

My doctor is under the impression that I will deliver around 39 weeks. She says because of my stubborn tight muscles, high BP, and the fact that I have already had some serious contractions, this baby won't arrive late. We'll see though....part of me has a feeling that this baby might keep me waiting for a long time.

Anyways, I wanted to share the picture with you all. She's so cute!

Friday, April 6, 2012

What to do?

At 35 weeks, I find myself already patiently (read: impatiently) waiting for baby to come. I know that I am not even full-term until two weeks from now, but I feel like everything is done and I just can't wait for her to get here. We finished the nursery this weekend, packed baby's bag, and started packing my hospital bag. Most of the stuff I want to pack I use on a daily basis, so it will have to be thrown together at the last minute. Jacob even installed the car seat in my car today! With everything so close to being done, I just can't help but sit here and anxiously wait for her to make an appearance.

Part of me is sad, though, because as my mom pointed out, once she is out of my tummy I have to share her with the rest of the world. Now, the two of us kind of share a bond that no one else gets to experience or share. Once she's out, however, I have to share her with Jacob and everyone else in the family. Of course I am tickled there are so many people in my life who love her, but I think I might miss feeling her move around all day and dancing to music (I am convinced she does). Sometimes I can feel her little, tiny elbows, fists, and bottom through my stomach and I touch them lovingly. I wonder if she knows it is her mommy who is touching her? I just want to reach through my skin and grab her and kiss her little, tiny body parts!

We have an OB check and ultrasound on Monday. I am anxious to find out what sort of position she is in and if my OB has an estimated time for her arrival. If my blood pressure is down, she will probably get to stay in there until 40 weeks (or later). I have been feeling so much pressure down there lately (like my pelvis is about to crack in half) I am convinced she wants out early! We will see though, because according to when I think I ovulated, my due date is even later then what the doctors think it is (May 13). It would be amazing to have her on Mother's Day!

I definitely overdid it today. I vacuumed the house, folded laundry, made dinner, went to coffee with a friend, and then out to frozen yogurt in the evening. (Don't tell my OB I did all that!) Now, I am really paying for it. All the moving around just makes me feel muscles are SO tight!! I also having a headache, which can most likely be attributed to a raise in blood pressure. I am going to need to keep this in mind during the holiday weekend....TAKE IT EASY HEATHER!
It's just so hard to sit at home and "relax" when I just want time to pass quickly so I can meet my little beebee.

That's all for now. Hope everyone has an amazing Easter weekend! HE IS RISEN!

Nursery: Check!

Wow, after working on this nursery since 10 weeks, I didn't think we would ever finish it! But lo and behold, today I sewed the last stitches on the crib bumper and was able to put it into the crib. Now, just about everything is done! There are still a couple small things I want to do, like get some vintage throw pillows to put in the crib (for looks) and maybe install some mini book shelves to display some of the vintage childrens books I have.

I think the hardest thing about this project was the size of the room. I had so many ideas of things I wanted to do, but our space was so limited that I really had to pick and choose our decor elements carefully. Even then, I think I still may have overdone it. It's a super bright and colorful room and I hope it will fit her personality (I am imagining she is going to be a spunky spitfire, just like her parents).

I am going to post some pictures of what we have done so far... the only thing I can't show you is picture with the gallery wall in it since we are keeping little one's name and initials a secret.

Hope you enjoy! (Pardon all the crappy pictures, they're just from my cell phone)

Here's a little breakdown of where most of the items are from:

Tissue flower pom mobile: DIY. Ribbon and tissue from the dollar store!
Crib: Babi Italia from Babies R Us
Crib Skirt: Handmade by family friend, fabric from Hancock Fabrics
Crib bumper: Handmade by yours truly, fabric from Hancock Fabrics
Pink baroque mirror: Thrifted, painted with Rustoleum Berry Pink
Wall Owls: Thrifted and spray painted
Flag Banner: Handmade by my sister
Vintage dresser: Belonged to my great grandmother
Lampshade: DIY by me, fabric from Joanne's
Lamp: Painted with Krylon light pink
Tchotchkes: Thrifted from various stores
Rocking chair: Grandparents
Stool: Thrifted
Stool Cushion: Pier One
Yellow Curtains: DIY, fabric from Hancock Fabrics