Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Target FAIL

I decided to take all 4 kids to Target to do Lillian's back-to-school shopping and get a few miscellaneous items like light bulbs and C batteries.  I fed all the kids; they all went to the bathroom; I fed the baby; I changed her diaper; I had a water bottle (a must for Arizona); I had extra diapers, wipes, and an extra onesie; I had emergency granola bars; I made a list and I stuck a pen in my hair so Lillian could check off the items and (hopefully) not bother her siblings.  Target is about 20 minutes away, so if Evie has to eat every 2 hours, we have a little over an hour to get this all done and get back home before I have to feed her.  I would be like the Delta Strike Force.  In and out.  No messing around.  I expected it to go very poorly.

The actual shopping went as good as could be expected: of course Lillian took freaking forever to pick out a present for her friend's birthday and Ethan announced he had to go poo when we were on the exact opposite side of the store.  I don't know what his deal is, but he takes like 20 minutes to do his business and announces multiple times that he's finished, but then quickly recants.  "I'm done!" I open the door.  "I'm not done! Go away!" Repeat at least 4 times.  The girls were less than thrilled to be stuck in the bathroom for 20 minutes and told me so.  A few times.

You know how you can feel when it starts falling apart?  Evie started screaming when I was looking for the light bulbs.  Ethan was climbing like the uncoordinated monkey he is, winning me disapproving tuts from passersby.  Nora ran off to look at the headbands.  Lillian was unsuccessfully trying to mother the other two kids and it was giving her anxiety and making her freak out, plus the other kids don't like being mothered by her so they were freaking out.

We got to the checkout and I was mentally stabbing the man who ran to shimmy his way in front of me in line while bouncing the screaming Evie (a-RAH a-RAH a-RAH) and yelling at Ethan to get down for heaven's sake.  I threw our items on the conveyor and the checker, sensing the urgency of the situation, began scanning like a madman.  I reached into my purse to get my wallet and found only extra diapers, wipes, and the extra onesie.  No wallet.

Then I remembered I had taken it out to get the number for the credit card customer service and put it on the table.

I maybe screamed a little.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What a difference a pill makes

A friend stopped by to see the baby.  As he was holding her he asked, "So, is she totally your favorite right now?"  Bizarrely, for me, I could answer yes!  She is!

When my other babies were infants, I felt like I was stuck in a babysitting job that never ended... and that's all I felt.  Other moms talked about this magic bonding love that exploded inside of them when they saw their infants for the first time.  My first thoughts were much like Bill Cosby- "I just gave birth to a lizard."

With Lillian, I attributed my lukewarm attitude to the fact that I was sailing in uncharted waters, largely alone.  I lived away from my family and Tyler and I were the only people in our group of friends to be married, let alone have a kid.  Tyler was working to finish his degrees and was gone a lot.  Then it was just me and the kid.  All. Day. Long.  Very lonely, who wouldn't be a little depressed?

With Nora, I attributed it to the fact that I was, once again, very alone.  We had moved to Arizona in the middle of my pregnancy and I didn't have very many friends by the time that she came along.  Plus, she cried a lot.  A lot.  Who wouldn't feel a little ground down by a baby that won't stop crying, especially when you have a total of 3 friends... none of whom you know very well.

With both of those kids, I mostly just hid and cried and cried some more and then it got better and I decided that I loved them with that heart-exploding love that everyone talked about.  Then we had Ethan.

Nora was only 19 months old when Ethan was born.  It was summer, which is my darkest time of year anyway.  Tyler's company was laying off people left and right, which was stressful.  I had just decided to go back to school to finish my degree and started online classes a few weeks before he was born.  The stress and hormones outstripped my coping abilities.  I sunk into full-blown post-partum depression.  Tyler suggested that I call the doctor and I cried for two days just thinking about it.  I never thought about hurting my kids, and I wasn't afraid that they would come take my kids away, I was mostly afraid of admitting a weakness.

In Mormon theology, gender is an inseparable part of one's identity and I was raised to believe that I was a mother by design and that the bearing of children is part of my eternal calling.  To aid me in this calling, I was endowed with all the attributes I would need to be successful... and here I was, failing.  I felt like I was defective.  I cried and cried.

Eventually, I called the doctor and started on an anti-depressant.  The nature of the pills is that they take about two weeks before they start working, and I was amazed at how much better I felt.  It was magical.  I all of a sudden could handle the stress.  I loved my baby.  I could think clearly.

This time around, I asked for a prescription when I left the hospital.  The past few days, the blues were starting to creep in, but now, after taking the medication for two weeks, I'm feeling much better.  And I get it now: I can sit and look at Evelyn for hours while she is sleeping and I feel like my heart is going to burst.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Birth Story

So, I was getting ready to leave church on Sunday.  I stopped in the hall and chatted with a friend who had said he wanted to swing by sometime in the week.  "Oh sure! I don't have ANY plans this week... unless, you know, I go into labor..."

And at that very second, my water broke.

No kidding.

It started out as a slow trickle so it wasn't as embarrassing as it could have been, and I went outside and waited by the car while my friend went and found Tyler and the kids.  Estimated time: 4:10 pm.

I wasn't in labor so we headed home, changed, I ate a little dinner, took the kids over to a neighbor's house and then headed up to the hospital.

The decision was made that if I didn't "convert" into labor on my own (spoiler: I didn't), we would start pitocin.  Yeah, I'm getting an epidural for that.  I was 3 cm.

We got into our room and the anesthesiologist came so quickly, I didn't even have an IV in yet, so he started one, got called away to the emergency room for a bit, then came back and put in the epidural.  Estimated time 9 pm.

Pitocin was started and it took about 45 minutes for the contractions to start coming... and I could feel them. And they hurt.  A lot.

I told the nurse and she got the anesthesiologist to come back lickedy split.  He decided to change around the medications in my epidural and if that didn't work, he'd put in a new one.  I agreed to give it about 20 minutes to see if it would work.  Estimated time: 9:45.

I think I gave him about 5.  Not working.  He came back with his attending and when he pulled out the first epidural, he saw that it was kinked.  He put a new one in and I could immediately feel it start to work.  Sweet.  Well, I had a small spot on my left side, probably the size of a 50-cent piece, that I could still feel.  The doc said that it was probably because I had some scar tissue from my previous epidurals and he probably couldn't fix it.  I thought it was annoying but if that's how it is, that's how it is.  The nurse checked me and I was still 3 cm.  Estimated time: 11 pm.

Very soon, I realized that the small spot on my left was getting bigger and bigger.  Then it was my whole left side.  Then, I started to wonder if the epidural was working anywhere.  My legs, however, were numb and paralyzed so I couldn't move to writhe around with the pain, which was very claustrophobic-inducing.

The pain was off the chart.  Sometimes the contractions came every 3 minutes, but sometimes they came faster and I yelled and cursed the universe when this happened.  I said, "I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE," and my nurse would calmly reply, "honey, you don't have a choice."  I didn't feel an urge to push, but the pain was different.  Not less, just different so the nurse checked and I was 10 cm.  Estimated time: 12:15 am.

The doctor was called, the bed converted and the pushing started.  I cannot believe how painful it was.  I pushed through 2 contractions and her head was out.  Then, at the start of the next contraction, through a white wall of pain, the nurse's face swam up next to mine and yelled for me to stop pushing.  Then, all of a sudden, there was a pop and an explosion of pain.  I had been yelling up to that point.  Yelling loudly, but I think it was just yelling.  However, with that pop, I screamed in pain.  The baby's shoulder had gotten stuck behind my pelvis and the doctor had popped it out.

Two or three more pushes and the baby was out.  Exact time: 12:31.  You can see because she came so fast, her head is really round.

I was having an after-contraction when Tyler told me to smile for this picture.

She didn't like that bright light in her face.

I stayed awake for approximately 20 minutes, enough time for everyone to finish up their fussing over me, and then I passed out.

Not my favorite birth experience, and I don't feel any stronger or better for doing it somewhat naturally.  I'm just glad she's here and perfect.

Welcome to our family Evelyn Claire.  You'll like it here.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Same old, same old

38 weeks 1 day

Here's a list of things that have not worked in starting labor:

  1. Measuring at full term (for those who have not had children, the doctor measures your belly and how many cm it is roughly corresponds to how many weeks pregnant you are.  Thus, my belly is 2 cm too big).  I feel like measuring 40 cm should give you a free pass to labor and delivery.  It doesn't.
  2. Walking.  I've walked and walked and walked.  I read in "Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?" that walking does not speed the onset of labor, but I thought it might at least serve to wedge the baby down into my pelvis... or something.  It would appear that this is not so.  Also, it's like 95 degrees outside at 7:30 in the morning, when I go for walks sometimes, and upwards of 108 during the day, so I've also been doing a lot of sweating.  Which brings us to number 3:
  3. Dehydration.  In the afore mentioned book, the author mentions that a dangerous way to start labor is to dehydrate yourself which would concentrate the oxytocin in your blood, theoretically starting labor. Although I'm not doing it on purpose, I'm probably perpetually dehydrated given the amount of sweating I've been doing and the fact that I can drink and drink and drink and not pee any more than usual.
  4. Drinking raspberry leaf tea.  This, on it's own, is not supposed to induce labor, but it's supposed to tone your uterus, making your contractions more efficient.  Since I've been in labor for 4 months, I thought it might help move things along and then I could do like I did with Ethan and just show up at the hospital 4 cm dilated and having contractions and convince them that I was in labor.  However, I am not dilating like I did with Ethan and, at last check, was only a piddly 2 cm.  I may have started crying, or yelling, or both when they told me that.
  5. Drinking black cohosh.  This did give me more forceful contractions with a higher frequency... for about two hours, then I fell asleep watching TV.
  6. Having Tyler massage my feet with some supposed labor-inducing essential oils given to me by my neighbor.  Perhaps one needs to have more faith in accupressure for this to work.  But, hey, I got a nice foot rub out of it.
  7. Heavy lifting.  I've been telling my kids for the past 8.75 months that I can't carry them up the stairs because I have a max carrying capacity of one child.  No more- I've been carrying them with reckless abandon for the past week or so.  Nothing.
  8. Uh... the thing that got us into this situation in the first place.  Nope.
  9. Making and eating a spicy curry.  It actually wasn't that spicy.  This only served to cause my children to cry tears of joy because it was so delicious and they wanted to eat thirds, but I wouldn't let them.  (That's a lie. They hated it.  Nora told me that she didn't want to eat it because it had worms(?) in it.)
I don't want any other suggestions, AND DON'T TELL ME TO TAKE CASTOR OIL, I WON'T DO IT. I just want to have this kid and be done with pregnancy forever.

In Lillian's nighttime prayer the other day, she prayed that "mom can have the baby so that she can be in a good mood."
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