The Tweedles

Sunday, March 30, 2008

One month post.

Technically this is a week late since Trixie is 5 weeks today, but it's been a crazy month.
Anyhow shamelessly copying the likes of Dooce and Cecily I figured I should write to Trixie monthly.... enjoy.

Dear Trixie,
Today you are 5 weeks old! Five! Weeks! The time has flown, and yet it's crawled. You've made some amazing changes in these past weeks, morphing from a squirming baby to a little baby with some personality. Or I guess it's more that I am learning more about your personality. When I was pregnant with you I liked to wonder what you would be like. I often guessed that you would be opinionated based on the amount you kicked me, especially if I was ina position that you didn't like; and oddly enough you are an opinionated little one! You do not like to be alone, you must be held when you are awake, but I don't mind. I am sure some people will think that I spoil you, but I think that you should be spoiled! You are quite expressive, making all sorts of faces ever since birth. Most of those faces look like you are in distress, but I've learned that they are just your classic Trixie faces. They've even left little wrinkles on your forhead, so I think we're going to have to look into toddler versions of Botox in a couple years.
Most recently you've started to smile, which initally freaked me out because it was a smily face that you made when you were 2 days old and had a seizure, so when you smiled at me the other day I had a minor panic attack. But you are fine, and you are starting to smile. I know that some of it is reflex, but some isn't, and golly it makes me so happy to see that smile of yours! I want to say I can't wait until you do it more, but I don't want to wish away this time with you.

For most of the first week of your life you were in the NICU, which broke my heart. It was so hard for me to leave you there everyday when they shooed me out for one reason or another. But be assured, I spent more time in there than I didn't. I would often go in at night just to hold you. Since you were connected to so many wires I had to hold you carefully and mostly upright. Which was fine with you, but I couldn't see your wee face. I did become really familar with the top of your fuzzy head, which I stroked my cheek on. Then the day before you were a week old you were released, the doctors were unsure why you had the seizure. Their best guess was that my placenta stopped working well for you and you lost weight before you were born, then after you just didn't have the baby fat stores to live off of while my milk came in, so your blood sugar dropped and you had a seizure. But you are home now, and you are thriving, growing the way you should and making your mama and daddy so happy.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Birth Story Part 3.

While I was signing all of the papers for the c-section there was one part where I had to put in the date, so being totally confused, upset and in pain I asked what day it was. The doctor replied that it was a day that I would never forget, February 24. I remember being irritated that he wouldn't just tell me the date, then it dawned on me that it was the day that my baby would be born.
After signing everything I spoke with the anesteologist, whom we will call needle doc, he came to ask standard questions, my height, weight etc. I was disappointed to realize that Adam knew my weight despite me trying to keep it from him for 41 weeks, it was probably good that he knew since I had another contraction.
There would be a little time before I went to the OR, so the pitocin was turned off when they determined that I would need the c-section and my contractions really eased up, becoming totally manageable. I wonder if that is what labour would have been like and the pitocin ones were just really bad like I've read. I guess I'll see when I have the next baby.
About 20 minutes after I sign the papers I am wheeled into the OR, my current nurse and another older nurse that I don't remember meeting are there with me along with the man doctor, needle doc and another younger woman OB, whom was the nicest ever. The nurses position me on the operating table and I practice arching my back out for needle doc to place the spinal. I am given some numbing stuff and then I get to wait a minute for it to work. In the mean time I have another contraction and the older nurse tells me to focus on a point and breathe through the contraction. I felt irritated that she was telling me how to handle them. In the same contraction I rationalize to myself that I am just tired and she is trying to help. By now my skin is numb and needle doc can put the spinal in. I assume the position and he puts the needle in and I scream. It wasn't so much that it was painful, but it was really uncomfortable, I feel a strange popping sensation and I had a contraction. Also I was at the point where all I could do to handle anything was scream. After he is done they lay me down and start the catheter, which again was uncomfortable and a little demoralizing. About now needle doc starts checking to see if I am numb. He starts with something cold then moves to something pokey. I couldn't feel anything, but I was so scared that I would feel the surgery.
After the barrier is placed I am given oxygen to help the baby and I ask if I needed it, and I was told yes. I didn't like the smell of it and it was contributing to my claustrophobia which came on strong when I realized that I couldn't move my legs. And while I couldn't move them I had this strange sensation that they were bent and I kept trying to straighten them, despite being told that they are straight, that my mind just remembered which position they were last in before I lost sensation.
Now Adam comes in and sits next to me in all of his blue scrubs wonder. He holds my hand which is taped down to prevent me from accidentally touching the sterile part of myself. The surgery starts. I don't feel anything and anticipate the pressure I was warned of. I wait, and try not to cry. I feel dry though, like I have no tears in me left, and no energy to produce any. Then I am told that there will be pressure, and there was. I scream, again and then I am shown Beatrix. She's so pretty. I notice her dark hair and the glob of orange goo that is on her cheek. As they were pulling her out of me Adam puts the camera over the barrier and just clicks, and amazingly they are clear pictures, I hear him choke down tears as he welcomes our baby into the world, I don't cry, but I do choke, I'm way too overwhelmed to cry. Adam leaves me to see the baby and brings her back to me. All I can reach is her little hand and I just stroke her fingers, marveling that I am now a mother and I have a precious little baby. Totally overwhelmed with love.
Adam sits with the baby as I am stitched up in what seems to take forever. I start shaking uncontrollably and my arms keep trying to roll off of the little arm boards that they are on. I manage to wedge one on and Adam holds the other on for me. Then he goes back to where they are checking over the baby. I can't see anything so I watch the canister which is being filled with my blood. I wonder how much I am losing and if everything will be okay. Then Adam comes back with the baby and I totally forget about my blood loss. (which was decent, by the way)
Eventually I am all stitched up and I am transferred to another gurney and wheeled out. Beatrix is placed in the crook of my arm and I am aware of her slight weight and notice how she is wiggling. I think that she is like those fake baby dolls that make random movements on soap shows, except she is warm, and real. It's all so surreal. Adam takes pictures of me, and I am told to smile, I make an attempt, and my eyes are closed, I am so tired.
I am wheeled back to my labouring room and my doula and midwife are there, waiting with food for Adam. They marvel at my perfect little princess and help me start to breastfeed. Beatrix latches on like she's been doing it forever and I just bask. Eventually they leave, going back to their lives and I am moved to the post partum ward, where I meet another host of amazing nurses.

And this ends the birth of Beatrix Gabrielle.

Pictures here.


Monday, March 24, 2008

I did not go and get dead,

I think I have a totally excusable reason for my lack of posting, but it's not that! We've finally moved and we have none of those complicated internet thingys. We get it tomorrow, there will be rejoicing!
So until then I am in a deli, hijacking Adam's super-dee-duper laptop to read my emails and such. (I love my laptop, but it's harder to type on than this one)

I have some blog entries that I need to get up and running, they've all been written and edited, in my head. Stay tuned! They will mostly involve Trixie. Does that make me a mommy blogger? Is that a good or bad thing? Should I care, should I be labelled? I refuse to be labelled! (heh, I was watching some "My So Called Life" yesterday. )

While I have time a wee Trixie related snippet.
Today Adam and I are taking our sweet baby to get her passport so we can take her home and get her a REAL passport, (suck it jparks!, hee hee.) and as we were leaving home at an early hour to come here to first check our email we were congratulating ourselves for being organized and leaving the house in good time. However when we got to the deli we realized that we forgotten the documents for the passport. Apparently we aren't as organized as we thought. I will take credit for the properly packed diaper bag though, thank you very much. (If we've left the house 10 times with Trixie, the bag has been properly packed 4 times. Parenthood, it's great.)

Well Adam should be here to pick me up shortly, after having gone home to get the stuff for the passport.

more later.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Beatrix's Birth Story part 2.

Once in the beautiful suite Stacy gets me all settled and starts an IV on me, which proved to a little difficult despite my juicy veins. She was kind enough to want to start one in a place that wouldn't irritate me, but it was in a spot (just below my wrist) where the veins move easily. After it was started the doctor came back and we had a discussion on how to start my induction. Basically there were 2 options a chemical route or a manual route. The chemical option was a drug who's name I can't remember, it's similar to cervadil. The manual route is a Foley catheter induction where they put a catheter past my cervix into my uterus and inflate it, then tape it to my leg with some tension to pull it out, thereby dilating my cervix. If you know me well I am sure that you've guessed I chose the non chemical route.
The catheter was placed and it was relatively painless and the tension was applied. At this time I felt some period like cramping that started to become regular, which were my first contractions. They weren't painful and I could talk through them, but it was exciting to actually feel something starting. I asked how long it would take for it to pass through my cervix and I was warned that it can take up to 4 hours, then I would be 4 centimeters. At this point it's about 8pm.
I settle in with my midwife and we chat and Adam goes out to get something to eat since I was famished. Then around 8:20 I tell my midwife that I feel a lot of movement. She suggests that I should get up and go pee and see that does anything. So I make my way to the bathroom doing a very pronounced waddle and when in there I go to sit on the toilet and I hear a 'plop' and the catheter fell out. I yelled for my midwife who comes to the bathroom and she tells me to leave it where it is and that someone else should clean it up. I feel a little uncomfortable leaving it there 'cause it's a little bloody, my midwife tells me that there will be a lot more. I think I blanch a little.
After I get all settled back in my bed I called the nurse and she comes and we have to decide if I want to start pitocin now or wait to see if my body will continue to contract on it's own. I decide to wait, hoping that the quick exit of the catheter is a good sign and that my body will take over. Plus I still haven't eaten and they won't let me eat once the pitocin starts. Shortly after the nurse leaves Adam comes back with food and a bag all packed with what we would need at the hospital. (we didn't have one packed) Around 10pm my contractions haven't started on their own and with the doctor's help we decide that it's time to start pitocin. I was given the option for a half dose and almost agreed to it, but then decided on the whole dose, reasoning that if I'm going to do the druggy way, might as well do it up right. So now I get hooked up to an IV pole and my birth officially becomes more managed then I'd wanted.
It takes a couple hours for the contractions to start. I finally start having some around midnight, but they are totally manageable and no one really notices that I am having any. My midwife decides to go home since she figures it will be a while until I need labour support. Adam and I both settle in as well for a nap, since we're in for a long night. About a half hour later another doctor comes in and chides us for taking a nap, suggesting that we should be out walking around trying to get things going. Then she realizes that there isn't a 20 minute strip of the monitoring for the baby. We'd been having a hard time keeping track of her, the Doppler would fade in and out. So they find the baby and I am told to not move a muscle for 20 minutes. Which I agree too, and we plan with the doctor that when it's done we'll start walking laps around the ward. However after 20 minutes the nurse comes back and shows us on the strip how the baby's heart is decelerating and they won't take me off of the monitoring so I can't walk around. Instead I am tethered to my bed and the chair next to it. I am officially less than amused.
I try again to take a nap, but the bed is exceedingly uncomfortable and my contractions are picking up. They aren't painful yet, but it makes sleeping hard. Around 2ish my contractions start to get painful enough that I need to not talk while I am having one. My nurse, Michelle, asks if we have a doula lined up and suggests that we should call her soon. We decide to wait a little longer since I know that she has 3 small children and I don't want to wake them up. We did call her earlier in the night to let her know what's going on though and she's awaiting a call. Michelle suggests that I sit in the rocking chair and rock through the contractions, I try this and it's amazing how well it works. About an hour later though I need my doula and Adam gives her a call. At this time a doctor comes and checks my dilation and I am still only 4.5 centimeters.
When my doula arrives I can still talk and joke and have a grand ol' time in between contractions, but it's not much later than I need to really relax in between them and enter "labour land". I'm impressed with myself that I am able to fully relax between my contractions because I had trouble learning to relax in preparation for labour. I remember feeling guilty for not being able to carry on a conversation any more at this time, although I was aware of what was going on around me and what everyone was saying. Soon though I started to block it all out and started vocalizing though my contractions. I was a little shocked myself when I started with the "awwwhhhh awwwhhhhs", I always thought I would be a quiet labourer. Hmm not so much we shall say.
I continued to labour away for a couple more hours, eventually moving to a stand and leaning on my fit ball which was on the bed. When I'd have a contraction Adam, who was standing behind me would squeeze my hips which helped a lot with the pain, although no matter how many times I would tell him "harder" it was never hard enough to make it all go away. Around now the attending OB came in to check my cervix and he found it to be at 4.5 centimeters. I was devastated because the pain was so much more intense, the contractions were a lot closer together and yet I was still the same. They baby had moved down a little though, which was good news. After the doctor left I remember thinking that I had just let a male doctor examine me and that I didn't like him at all. I thought he was really rough and unkind. However he would be my doctor for the rest of my labour.
In between the next couple of contractions I brushed my teeth and drank some water and had a minor meltdown because another doctor came in and wanted to put internal monitors to watch the baby and my contractions. Adam and my doula thought I was freaking out because I didn't want the monitors, (which I didn't but I wasn't so aware of what was going on now) but I was having a meltdown because I wanted everyone to stop talking, I couldn't focus while there was so much talking. I didn't mind Adam and the doula talking, but various nurses and doctors kept coming in and were so loud and it really disrupted my focus, which I needed all of now since my contractions were double peaking.
Soon the boy doctor came back in to place the internal monitors and break my water. He also wanted to do a procedure where he would put sterile water back in my uterus to cushion the baby and make the contractions less evil for both of us. However while he was doing this the internal monitor which was watching my contractions was pulled out, then when he was putting it back in the one in the baby's head was pulled out. (yes 2 screws went into my baby's head, I was not at all happy about that, and even today at 16 days old you can see the marks they left) So he replaced the one in her head and he started putting water in my uterus. Unfortunately for me I was not allowed to stand or move for the contractions, I was left laying on my side during the most intense ones to date. All I could do was hold the bed rails and rock myself while screaming my head off, despite my doula trying to help me find my centre. In between the contractions all I could do was beg Adam to make it all stop and make the pain end. I didn't want to say epidural, but I needed something. The doctor heard me begging and said I couldn't have anything. I thought he was the meanest person in the world. Later I found out it was because they were watching the baby and on the verge of declaring that I needed a c-section. Eventually the doctor had the pitocin turned off and my contractions spaced out and lightened up, which was pure heaven. Adam tells me that they were only a minute apart, but to me it was more like 15 minutes of pure heaven. I later explained to my brother that the breaks I was getting must have been better than any drug on earth. I felt so good and so relaxed and at peace, until the next contraction. But I was able to handle these ones now and I got through them. However the baby's heart beat kept decelerating. At one point Adam says that it reached 50, and I guess that is when the doctor told me that I needed the c-section and that without it the baby wouldn't make it through a delivery. He kept trying to talk to me while I was having contractions and Adam and my doula eventually made him stop. Between the contractions I signed waivers and had everything explained to me. Adam was sent to change into paper clothes and I sat and wept, totally upset about needing a c-section, and completely freaked out that my baby was in that much distress.


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Beatrix's Birth Story, part one.

February 23, 2008.
I woke up with a headache and feeling rather blah, and knowing that a headache could be sign of high blood pressure I called Adam into the bedroom to take my blood pressure. Sure enough it's a little high. I kind of wish it away and dismiss it because I didn't sleep well and was stressed because I'm closing in on my 41st week of pregnancy.
Adam and I chat and make plans for the day. Since I have no desire to cook and little desire to eat we decide to go for lunch and then to Whole Foods to get some groceries and the vitamins that I'm running out of.
I slowly get ready and we leave for lunch at the Macaroni Grill, which is one of my favourite restaurants. While we are eating I have a couple contractions that are slightly painful which is exciting for me. Adam and I fantasize about an impending birth and I try not to lose my temper on the people at the table next to us who are total idiots and did get the meals they ordered, even though they're insisting they didn't. To celebrate possible contractions I have desert too, which was mixed berry tiramisu, and it was yummy.
After lunch we make our way to Whole Foods which is my favourite grocery store in the whole wide world, but I feel so crappy that I quickly find what I need and insist we go home. I can feel that my headache is worse and I just want to go to bed. When we get home Adam takes my blood pressure again and it's still high. So I call my midwife who tells me to call my doctor. I call the advice nurse at labour and delivery and she advises that I come in to be monitored. I have a conversation with her about what I need to bring and she assures me that I don't need to bring anything, and if I need anything I can always send someone to get it. I agree and pack a book remembering the couple hours I've spent in observation in the past and how it was dull, dull, dull. I also send a couple emails and post on my due date clubs message board that I'm off to the hospital and ask them to keep their fingers crossed that I can still have my home birth.
Adam and I leave for the hospital and I time how long it takes to get there. Recently it's been a habit of mine to notice how long it takes to get to the hospital when we go there, or when I have to drive past. We arrive in 12 minutes, always 12 minutes. I find this reassuring that when I have my home birth I am only 12 minutes from my hospital.
Since it's pouring rain Adam drops me off at the entrance and parks the car, I stand outside and wait for him, scowling at my reflection in the window. I did not want to be there, I was not looking forward to sitting on a cot having my blood pressure taken every 15 minutes and being connected to a Doppler which was sure to annoy the baby who always tries to squirm away from them. Then Adam comes jogging up to me having parked the car and trying to avoid the rain, he still got wet.
I am checked into the hospital and they send me off to Observation Room C, which was the same one that I was in before. The nurse asks if I need to pee and I said I did and that they would want me to pee in a cup, so she gives me one and I trod off to the bathroom, still irritated that I have to be there. I try in vain to pee in the cup properly and manage to get more pee on my hand than in the cup. Then back in the room Adam teases me for the little amount I got in the cup. I remind him that I don't have the same equipment and reaching around a big ol' belly to pee in a wee cup is really hard. He laughs, I scowl.
After staring at the walls for a while and vowing to never paint anything in my house this particular shade of purple/grey the nurse comes in, tells me to strip down and don the lovely gown and starts to give me a cup to pee in. I show her that I did already and she seems shocked. I tell her that I know the procedure, and we have a little giggle. After I change into the uber sexy open backed gown I get hooked up to the machines and the monitoring begins. Then as predicted my blood pressure was okay, and the baby tries to squirm away from the Doppler.
I have several nurses come in and ask me questions about various medications they have me on record as having and ask that I tick off on the 4 page list of medications which I am still taking. I comment to Adam that it should be obvious that I am not on any of these since they are all drugs to get someone pregnant. Then another nurse comes in and asks if I am taking a prenatal vitamin and I also mention that I am taking a couple other supplements as well. She wants me to list them all, and she proceeds to get confused at the names of what I am taking. (Alfalfa juice pills and Probiotics confused her the most) After the explaining of the hippy supplements I have some blood drawn and we get to play more waiting game.
Around now my midwife calls and lets us know that she is on her way in, she was too nervous to sit and home and wait and see what was happening. I told Adam that I wished she had stayed at home because it's an hour drive for her and my blood pressure is okay and the baby's heart beat is okay so they surely would let us go home. (sigh)
After we are off the phone with our midwife a student doctor comes in and takes my history, I was amused how he was trying so hard to be caring and kind. He rubbed my leg and spoke in such hushed tones, if I wasn't in a pissy mood I would have teased him for it (in a totally nice way so that he wouldn't be so uncomfortable, especially since he mentioned vaginal discharge.) After he finishes he tells me he will report back to his attending and they will come in and speak to me.
Shortly after he leaves the doctor comes in with him in tow with an ultrasound machine. She tells me that my blood tests and pee tests are good and I don't have pre-eclampsia, and they just want to do a little ultrasound to check my fluids and then I can go home. I agree and she starts up the machine and squirts the goo on me and takes a look. We see the baby, and her face and then she lets the student take a turn with the wand showing him how to look for and measure the fluid. They have a little trouble finding some and she instructs him to hold the wand more vertically, then she just takes it from him and measures a small pocket of fluid, and determines it to be a 1. Confused I look to my midwife (who arrived about a half hour before) and she confirms with the doctor that "it should be at least an 8". More confused I look to the doctor who tells me that I have one pocket of amniotic fluid and it has about a millilitre of fluid in it, and I need to have a total of 8 millilitres throughout my uterus, I only have the one pocket, and 8 is still considered a low number. The doctor lets me know that she is going to have to have me stay and I will need an induction.
This is the first time I lose my marbles and cry. Everyone in the room is totally sympathetic with me, all are aware that I wanted a home birth. The doctor encourages me to cry, and the nurse rubs my back. The student doctor looks totally lost as confused and looks at the ground completely uncomfortable. I do pull myself together and agree that it is the best to have the baby now in the hospital.
I remember asking the nurse if she will still be my nurse and she says that she isn't working that part of L&D tonight, but will find someone who is sympathetic to home birthers. She comes back with Stacy who the nurse I had when I came in for observation before. Stacy makes sure I get the extra nice suite and they wheel me over to my room. It's at the end of the hall, and huge. I have a private bathroom and there is lots of room for everyone in there. I realize later that I may have gotten the end room because they know I want a natural birth and I am bound to make a lot of noise.

part two
part three