Monday, April 30, 2007
I thought I would post a one week old picture. Physically I am feeling much better. My abdominal pain is gone and the swelling and pain of the stitches is minimal as long as I'm careful when I walk around. I'm in that in-between state where I feel like I could be doing things but I know it would set me back if I do too much. For now I am hanging out mostly upstairs and doing easy things like putting away a few pieces of laundry every now and then.
Emotionally, the depression is settling in much sooner than it did with G. Maybe because I'm just more aware of it this time around. J totally does not understand that you can't just smile your way out of depression and his being unable to understand what's going on with me makes him back off and keep his distance. One of the items on my to-do list is to start researching treatments for depression and their impact on nursing. I am definitely going to seek treatment this time around, sooner rather than later, but first I need to know what the options are and be informed.
Katherine is doing great. Breastfeeding still has me a little worried but she seems to be doing fine and my milk supply seems to be coming in okay. Nights are challenging because she just wants to be held all night. Days are easier because she is content in the swing or on the floor. I've figured out a technique of sleeping in the recliner with her at night that keeps her content and me reasonably well rested.
Things with G are much harder. I can tell that she is stressed and she acts up because of it, stressing me and causing me to sometimes take my frustrations out on her, creating a vicious cycle. Hopefully now that I am feeling a little better I will be able to spend more quality time with her. She did sleep much better last night so I'm holding out hope that we've hit the low point and it gets all better from here. She loves Katherine though and is always quick to give her a kiss or pay attention to her when she cries. J had something to do today so he took her to the sitter's. It's nice to have a bit of a break with just me and the baby!
Saturday, April 28, 2007
As soon as Katherine was born I put her to the breast and she sucked like a champ. I don't know how much time passed (maybe 15-20 minutes?) but at some point the midwife asked me to work on pushing out the placenta. Something about her tone of voice made me aware that things were, once again, not going exactly to plan. After a while of trying (there again, I don't know how long) the cord detached from the placenta. Not good. What happens next is not for the squeamish or faint of heart. Basically she had to reach up into the uterus and try a "manual extraction": she reached up in there and tried to detach it from the uterine lining and pull it out. Mine happened to be attached at the very top of the uterus. I am not exaggerating the following: she was in almost up to her elbow. Did I mention I got a second degree tear from the birth? This was not fun. In fact, it was much, much worse than any of the labor and delivery. After a while she said she was going to call in the OB on call because it was looking very much like I would require a D&C to get it out. Of course, in an effort to spare me surgery, the OB also tried a manual extraction. My doula didn't get to help out with labor but she was a huge help getting me through this.
In the end it was decided to do surgery. The midwife sat down with me and explained that there was a good chance I would end up requiring a hysterectomy. I guess when a placenta is stuck and they finally detach it, there is a very high risk of uncontrolled bleeding, in which case the only thing to do is remove the uterus. I told her I was fine with whatever they needed to do so long as I was around to raise my kids. In the recovery room the first thing they told me was that I did not need a hysterectomy and that everything was fine.
I'll spare you a blow by blow of the next few days. Suffice to say that everything was not really fine. Here's the OB's theory on what happened to me: In order to repair my septum they basically scraped tissue from the top of the uterus. I remember the fertility doc saying that it "thinned out" on the top right side quite a bit but shouldn't be a problem. When I got pregnant, the placenta attached to the scar tissue (which I understand is quite common). The placenta probably grew into the uterine wall a little too much, embedding itself in the scar tissue. When it finally detached, it left behind a small tear in the uterus and that tear allowed blood and air to escape up into my abdomen. It also left me severely anemic. A normal person has a hemoglobin level of 12-14. Within 12 hours after my delivery my hemoglobin was hovering around 7 and the next day it had dropped to 6. I agreed to a blood transfusion and within a day I was feeling like I might make it through the experience. Throughout my days in the hospital I had some pretty intense belly pain and was on some strong IV pain meds. I'm still pretty sore.
The thing I worried most about through all this is my ability to breastfeed. My milk is just now starting to come in but we have been lucky so far in that Katherine has not lost too much weight, nor is she showing anything but very, very mild signs of jaundice. My SIL (aka pediatrician) is not concerned at all and is not even suggesting I supplement her. I think it's going to work but that is still my biggest fear right now.
My second biggest fear is this hole in my uterus. The OB thinks that as the uterus shrinks down in size, the hole will seal itself off. As long as the uterus never stretches to pregnancy proportions again, the hole and corresponding weak area of scar tissue should never pose a problem. Theoretically. I am supposed to have a follow up appointment with him in about 3 weeks. I've been doing some serious thinking about whether or not I should just go ahead and have a hysterectomy once I'm all healed up from this ordeal. The whole situation makes preventing another pregnancy that much more vital and a hysterectomy would certainly solve that problem. Strange how this blog started with me wanting so desperately to get pregnant and now I'm worried about that very thing happening again.
Thanks for everyone's comments and well-wishes. I am still following all your blogs and will continue to follow the stories, hoping for a BFP for everyone.
Friday, April 27, 2007
To recap a bit, at my 36w3d appt, I was already 3cm but not effaced. At my 37w3d appt, I was almost 4cm and 50% effaced. After that appointment I stopped having any contractions but I did start to lose my mucous plug. I felt great Thursday through Saturday. Sunday (37w6d) I woke up feeling just "off" and not so good. Around 10pm Sunday night I was sitting around talking to J and I realized that I was having mild back pain. I called my good friend Janet (a L&D nurse at the hospital) and warned her that things might be going to happen. I went ahead and went to bed, hoping to get a bit of sleep. At around 2:30am, after dozing off and on, I finally got up as the back pain was getting more intense and less bearable. At that point I was still not having any contractions.
I went in to my bathroom and got down on my hands and knees which immediately relieved the back pain. I stayed that way about half and hour when all of a sudden I realized that I was having contractions. I tried unsuccessfully to time them. In retrospect, it was impossible because they were coming right on top of each other, lasting probably a couple of minutes with maybe 30 seconds in between. Finally about 3:30 I called Janet again and she insisted I call the midwife. I know it sounds stupid but I was hesitant because I couldn't say how far apart my contractions were! So I paged her and called out for J to get up and get dressed. The details are a bit sketchy in my mind but between 3:30ish and about 4:15, I continued to labor and in between I got stuff together and J got ready too. He called some friends who live close by to come and stay with G. I also called my doula and said we were heading out to the hospital. I had to page my midwife several times before she actually got the page and it finally clicked in my head that we needed to head to the hospital sooner rather than later! We were in the car sometime around 4:15 and my midwife called on our way to the hospital. We got there several minutes later and pulled up at the ER entrance. I got in a wheelchair and my friend Janet met us on the way back to L&D. They got me in a bed and checked me and I was already 9cm. My midwife showed up and quickly got a gown on and checked me. She said I was almost 10cm with a little lip of cervix. I told her I had to push and she said to go for it. Within about 5 minutes of her arriving and with only 2 or 3 contractions, Katherine was born. My doula arrived just as I was crowning! J was on one side of me and Janet was on the other and that was about the only thing in my ideal birth plan that came to pass!
Did I mention that it was a very fast labor?! In retrospect, my labor with G was very similar. It started with my water breaking so I did all my laboring in the hospital, but once the contractions really started with her, she was born about 3 hours later.
If the story just ended there it would be perhaps a wonderful labor and delivery story. Unfortunately for me, it did not end there. Later on I'll post the drama of the aftermath.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
The Bad: A retained placenta meant an emergency D&C for me.
The Ugly: I passed out Monday evening and was having severe abdominal pain. A CT scan showed air and blood in my abdomen. It was finally determined that there was a small tear in my uterus. A blood transfusion Tuesday evening finally had me feeling like a human on Wednesday. We were able to come home today (Thursday).
Obviously there are lots of stories to be had from this week! I am healing but am severely anemic. We were oh so lucky that my uterus did not rupture and that I didn't have to have a hysterectomy for the retained placenta. But we are so much more lucky that all the drama happened to me and that my little Hope is perfect in every way. Here's a picture to tide you over until I can get all the details posted. Oh, she weighed 7 lb 9 oz and was 20" long.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
The last 3 days I have felt really good and yesterday I felt almost normal - like I wasn't pregnant at all. Today I have not been feeling well at all. My nether regions are very swollen and painful which I suppose is the varicose veins protesting all the walking and exercise ball sitting I've done over the last few days. I also took a nap today.... for 4 hours! Right now I am just counting the minutes till I can put G in bed and go back to bed myself. I have also been feeling somewhat nauseas and the back plumbing department is pretty loose (sorry - TMI!). Off and on today I've been having the very mild contractions again and a few Braxton Hicks. I can only hope that all this together adds up to an imminent labor. On the one hand I want to run around and get my house cleaned up but on the other I want to just sit and save up my energy. I will probably do some of both. I will try to update when there's something to update with!
Saturday, April 21, 2007
So, no real news to report. I have been doing as much walking as I can stand the last few days. Fortunately we are having beautiful spring weather here in central Ohio so G and I can go to the park. Usually my trips to the park are spent on the bench reading. Now I've been walking around in circles while G plays and she really doesn't know what to make of it! J is due home tonight and I'm really hoping that psychologically my body will feel ready to get off its break and "let go"! I'll try to keep posting here every few days with my status.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
So even with all this I find myself still waiting. But I am at least a little more hopeful that the wait might not be much longer.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
As the baby gets bigger I find that her movements are much more uncomfortable. This morning she seems to have gotten a foot caught in my rib cage. Sounds cute until you're actually trying to get unstuck from that position.
Okay, enough wining! I spent a fair amount of time yesterday walking around. I find that my vulvular varicose veins don't bother me nearly as much since I stopped exercising regularly, so walking is actually an option now. I'm going to do more of it today.
Monday, April 16, 2007
My BH and contractions have really tapered off but this morning I'm having a lot more discharge. Every little sign and symptom gets paid a lot of attention! But, I've been informed by both my hubby and SIL that I'm not allowed to have the baby this week. SIL is off at a medical conference for the week. J wants to get a bunch of stuff done this week and out of the way. So I guess I'm supposed to just hold my breath and hope for the best! I promised them both that I wouldn't do anything to try and bring on labor this week.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
The past several mornings I've woken up to quite firm breasts that feel really full of milk. If you've breastfed before, it's that feeling you get just before you're baby is ready to nurse: not quite painful but reminding you there's milk in there. It's rather exciting for me because breastfeeding is one of the things I'm really looking forward to with this baby. My experience breastfeeding G was absolutely wonderful but abruptly cut off by an illness (mine) when she was 11 months old.
Previously I had thought that I wouldn't try to pump and freeze. I pumped a little with G but it was such a hassle. This time I signed up with the formula makers to get free samples and I figured I would just use those the few times someone else kept the new baby. Now that I have the deep freezer, though, I decided to think more about freezing. If you have breastfeeding questions, I've always found the Kelly Mom website to be really good. In particular, this page has information about how long you can freeze breast milk. In a deep freeze at 0 degrees, it will freeze 6-12 months. Wow! This means that I can freeze along the way in the early months and have plenty of supplies when she gets to the point where I will leave her with someone else. So, I might pull out my pumping supplies after all.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
So, lots of symptoms to obsess over but nothing definite. J is on a trip until Monday. One of his flights on Monday is a special exam that he really doesn't want to miss as it is the last step in him getting sort of a promotion (and corresponding raise!). While I'd like for him to get that out of the way before the baby comes, on the other hand I'm having a hard time imagining these BH/contractions going on for days on end. Time will tell......
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Monday, April 09, 2007
So, lots to obsess over! I've noticed that people have stopped asking me how far along I am. The question now is "How much longer?"!!
This weekend, in a supreme burst of energy, I cleaned my upstairs. The vacuum cleaner has been sitting in my upstairs hall for 2 weeks waiting for that burst. My house right now is in a state such that I'm not ashamed for anyone to see it. Actually, it hasn't been this neat and clean in some time!
My other project was to design birth announcements. This was one thing I didn't do for G; I sent an email to most of the people we knew and the few who didn't have email, I mailed a picture with a note. The emails were actually nice because almost everyone responded and I saved all those for G's baby book. But I decided to do something a little different this time around so I'm sending out some simple announcements. With all the energy, I also managed to address all the envelopes!
That's all for now. Just waiting....
Saturday, April 07, 2007
I'm ready to go.
Yup, the hospital bags are packed and ready to go. It feels so surreal to look at the corner of my room and see them sitting there. So, here's what I packed in case anyone is looking for a packing list:
I basically just packed the diaper bag with:
- a few diapers (the hospital provides diapers but it is a diaper bag after all!)
- wipes (for some reason most hospitals don't provide these and changing a yucky meconium diaper with a wet paper towel is not fun)
- "coming home" outfit (basically the smallest footed pajamas I have)
- a couple of newborn size onsies (probably won't be needed but they are something I will keep in the diaper bag anyway)
- a couple of blankets
- the car seat. I know - you're supposed to install this beforehand but for some strange reason I'm just really not ready to drive around with it empty right now.
2 nursing nightgowns
a nursing shirt to wear home
several pairs of socks
Lansinoh (with G I didn't start using this for several days. This time I plan to start using it right off the bat. It helps immensely but I think the trick is stopping the chapping before it starts)
stuff to keep my hair out of my face
some pairs of old underwear
shirt to wear in the jacuzzi
birth plan (the midwife has one in her files but this one I will hand to the nurses when I come in so everyone can be on board with what I want up front)
nitelight (the hospital where I had G had a nightlight type lamp but some places don't, making middle of the night feedings challenging. I have a rechargeable flashlight that has a nightlight setting that I plan to take just in case)
my ipod and speaker set (I changed my mind about taking music. The doula convinced me that it couldn't hurt to bring it)
walking the halls shoes that I don't mind getting dirty
That's it. I left out the bottle of wine. Since we only live about 5 minutes from the hospital, I decided I can always send someone home to get it if I decide I need it. Of course, there are some last minute things that I can't pack yet (like my hairbrush and my cameras). I have a very detailed list about these items and exactly where they are in case I'm not the one grabbing them.
The only other thing I'm thinking about is a gift for G when she comes to visit. I'm thinking about getting her something like a cabbage patch doll and having my friend who is a delivery room nurse there bring it in in a bassinet just like the real baby. I think it will help her to have her "own" baby to do stuff on when she can't actually do it on the real baby. She is really into that stage where she wants to help me on everything and gets very frustrated when she's not capable of doing something.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
I started packing the baby's bag last night which meant that I had to get on the ball to wash all the clothes. It actually took 2 loads in my front loading washer but that included the myriad of blankets and crib linens. I did open the package of newborn size diapers - I can't believe how small they look! It's so easy to forget how small babies are. With G I never used a special detergent - I just washed her stuff separately and did a second rinse on them. Even then, I only did that for maybe 6 weeks and then I just started washing her stuff with ours. Fortunately she didn't inherit my sensitive skin! My front loader washer has a "skin care rinse" that does about 3 separate rinses I think. Hopefully this one won't require anything more special than that.
Tick, tock. Just a few more days till I can start thinking labor thoughts! Actually, right now, I'm thinking 37 weeks would be a perfect time frame. We'll see what happens.
Here's my birth plan if anyone is interested:
I would like the following observed when at all possible:
- no drugs offered or administered unless firmly requested
- freedom to move about
- I would like to have the option of laboring in water
- I am aware of the need for IV penicillin for Group B Strep, but I would like to have a Heplock when the antibiotics are not being administered.
- vaginal exams only when necessary. I would prefer the midwife to do most of the exams, although it is okay for someone else to do an initial one.
- no artificial rupture of membranes unless necessary
- staff in the room should be limited to only those necessary
- eating and drinking allowed
- fetal monitoring via stethoscope or Doppler only except for the initial monitoring upon admission.
- no episiotomy unless absolutely necessary
- no medical interventions without first having discussed the benefits and risks with both of us
- immediate breastfeeding
- cord cutting delayed until pulsing stops if possible (G's cord was very short so it was cut more quickly so we could hold her)
- spontaneous placental delivery if possible
- no separation of mother and baby unless absolutely medically necessary
- in case a separation is necessary, J, M, or J should be allowed to be with the baby at all times
- no bottles or pacifiers
- anticipate 24 hour rooming in with breastfeeding on demand
- eye drops delayed until at least an hour after birth
- If a cesarean becomes absolutely necessary:
o I would prefer an epidural over general anesthesia
o J should hold baby as soon as possible so that K can see and touch
o attempt at breastfeeding as soon as is medically possible.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
J actually told me today that he needs to pack his hospital bag! Then he started listing all the stuff he wants to be sure and bring. I hadn't mentioned a hospital bag at all to him so it was neat for me to know that he is actually thinking about and looking forward to doing this all over again.
I think G is dealing with a virus or something. She has been "off" the last day or two and she woke up from her nap today with a bit of a fever. I can only hope it's nothing contagious.
Monday, April 02, 2007
Last week I bought a chest freezer. I have a bottom freezer fridge and space there has always been at a premium. Last summer I got tons of fresh vegetables from a friend who has a garden and, being the frugal person that I am, couldn't let it go to waste, so I froze a bunch of it. No regrets on doing that except for maybe the time ice cream was on sale and I couldn't buy any because there was just no space. I've also had my ice maker turned off so I can use the space taken up by the ice bucket. I was talking to my friend last week who is coming after the birth and she offered to make stuff for me to freeze while she's here. That's when I decided it was time to invest! I got the smallest one available which still has tons of space and I'll be curious to see what it does to the electric bill.
Another thing I did yesterday was to make a calendar for the month of May that I can hang up in the kitchen so that anyone coming over can see what's going on, namely to show who's bringing us food when. I was pleased to see that basically we're covered for meals from May 10th on. Depending on when this kid actually shows up, we'll hopefully have some help until then. Plus I am making extras of all our meals right now to freeze. Between that and frozen pizzas I think we'll survive. J is actually a pretty good cook if he puts his mind to it but I'd rather have him worry more about things like entertaining G and changing diapers!
Pregnancy-wise I'm feeling about the same. I started getting some crampiness again Saturday night and it continued off and on through Sunday. Saturday I actually considered taking some of the terbutaline pills but I knew I'd be up all night if I did so I decided against it. The cramps were somewhat regular, coming about every 10 minutes. But they seem to be gone now so maybe they were just Braxton Hicks. My next appointment is this coming Thursday so I'll check it out with the midwife then. I suspect that since I'll be so close to the 36 weeks mark by then that she won't be too concerned.
Time is ticking by. It's entirely possible that sometime this very month I'll actually have this baby! So another project this week will be to actually wash the baby clothes and finish getting the nursery ready. Doing that, combined with packing my bags and a session with the doula on comfort measures during labor will, I think, really serve to bring home to me that this is actually going to happen. Yes, I still check the toilet paper every single time I pee. Yes, I still wonder about every twinge. Yes, I still hold my breath somewhat when I think the baby hasn't been moving enough. Yes, I know that things can still go terribly wrong. But right now I'm allowing myself to be optimistic and look forward to meeting my new daughter.