Thursday, December 22, 2011

24 hour Salad

I'm going to be making this tomorrow. It's so good I usually double it, but we're low on eggs this year & it's just the 5 of us, so I'm only making the regular recipe. Maybe I'll make it again in a couple months instead of doubling it.

1/2 cup (or more) of halved marashino cherries, set aside to drain
1 can orange segments, drained
20 oz pineapple chunks, set aside 1/4 cup of juice, drain the rest

(I usually just put all the fruit in a strainer together & leave them while I make the rest)

3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 c sour cream
2 c mini marshmallows
1/2 c whipped cream (or more if you like)

Combine pineapple juice, yolks, sugar, salt, cornstarch & lemon juice in a saucepan. Stir constantly over medium heat until it thickens. Cool. Stir in sour cream and vanilla. Add fruit and marshmallows. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Add whipped cream before serving.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ds3's Birth Story

My newest little guy is over a week old, so I guess I should really get on writing a birth story for him.

Ds2 was 3 weeks early, so I was expecting my newest baby 'any time' after that. Waiting was extremely tiring. I loved being pregnant this time & didn't mind that he hadn't come early, I just wished I had some idea *when* he was going to come.

On Sunday, March 1, 2009, dh had an attack of labrynthitis (vertigo). It usually takes him several weeks to recover. Since I was already 40 weeks (or over, depending on the calculator), we knew there wasn't going to be that much time, but I really hoped it was be at least a few days, otherwise he wasn't going to be able to help much, if at all.

About 7:20 on March 2, I woke up to go to the washroom & felt like I was kind of damp. I stood up & gushed water all over the floor. Every step I took to the bathroom, I gushed more water. 3 labours, 3 times with my water breaking with no contractions, despite all my attempts to have it start differently. In the bathroom I quickly checked to see if I could feel any cord, since I didn't think the baby was engaged. No sign of anything, so I figured it was fine. I put a towel between my legs, went out to the living room & called my friend, Jamie, who had offered to come to the birth, to let her know that I'd probably go into labour in the next couple days, since my water had broken. After I talked to her for a bit, I went back to bed & tried to get more sleep.

When I eventually got up, I was still leaking a little bit, but it only seemed to happen when I got up from lying down or bent over. I grabbed the fetoscope & listened for the heartbeat. It was nice & strong. I also started getting contractions around this time. They were fairly mild, I just had to pause briefly when I got one. The baby was quite active during them.They were about half an hour apart. I called Jamie again to let her know I was getting contractions, but still figured labour was a long way off, since I'd had to wait 3 days after my water broke with ds2.

I spent the day mostly taking it easy; losing bits of plug all day. The contractions stayed about half an hour apart until around 10, when they started coming every 12-15 minutes. I decided to try to get some sleep. I realized it could be sooner than 3 days until labour really started, but was still hoping that I had at least another day for dh to recover. By this point I seemed to have stopped losing plug & had a bit of blood.

I don't think I got much rest, the contractions got a lot more painful when I was lying down & started coming closer together. About 1:30 I couldn't take it anymore. I was thinking that an epidural sounded like a lovely idea. H was still up, but I made him go to bed. I was still thinking it would be a long time. Getting up made the contractions hurt less, but they were still pretty painful.

Around 2:30, I couldn't take it anymore & decided to try having a shower to see if the water helped with the contractions any. I had a waterbirth planned, the pool was all blown up, but it was in the bedroom with the sleeping kids & I really didn't want to disturb them if I didn't have to. So, I got in the shower. It was wonderful. Standing up was difficult, though, so I sat on the tub floor & just aimed the shower sprayer at my belly. By this point I had pretty much given up on hypnobabies. It seemed to have helped.a bit with the early contractions, but they didn't really hurt anyway. I stayed in the bathroom for nearly an hour. I knew the contractions were getting harder & closer together & I really wanted my waterbirth, but didn't really want to get out. I kept hoping that dh would wake up & come in so I could stay there while he got the pool ready, but he never did. So, I reluctantly got out of the tub, dried off & decided to try to move the pool into the living room. I wasn't sure we'd have enough space, but was hopeful that it would fit. At this point contractions were coming about every 5 minutes, but picking up fast.

I rolled the pool out to the living room, discovered it would fit & went to grab the plastic & sheets to put under it. I woke up dh around 3:30. The thought of trying to dig out the hose & fill the pool was too overwhelming. I laid out sheets (for padding & warmth, my pool didn't have an inflatable bottom & our floor is concrete) & put plastic over them; between contractions which were coming every 2-3 minutes by now. At some point in here (around 3:40am or so), I also called Jamie & told her the contractions were about 5 minutes apart. She said she was going to have a shower, then see if I wanted her to come up.

I thought about getting in while it was filling, but it seemed like way too much effort. When the pool was finally full (no idea how long it took, in our practice run it was 25 minutes, though) dh encouraged me to get in. I had to go find a shirt to wear in it, since I felt really uncomfortable with the idea of being totally naked. The kids were awake by this point, not sure if it was me getting the plastic out of the bedroom, dh getting the hose out of the closet across from the bedroom, or my moaning through the contractions that woke them, but at least it meant I could turn on the light to find a shirt. I finally found the one I was looking for & got in the pool. I think it was about 4:30am at this point, but I really wasn't paying attention to the time anymore.

The contractions were really close together & very painful. As expected, doing the pool was about the extent of what dh was capable of doing for me with how awful he was feeling. I figured Jamie was probably on her way & just hadn't called. Just before 5, she called to say she was on her way. I really had thought she'd be here any minute when she called. Dh told her he thought I was in transistion. I wasn't moaning through most of the contractions anymore, just screaming & begging dh to kill me. I was also giving deliberate little pushes on some of the contractions, just because it seemed to make them hurt a little bit less.

Ok, to be totally honest I was pushing quite hard on a couple of them. I just couldn't handle the pain anymore. I was trying all kinds of different positions to try to get away from how much it hurt. I was really scared of a long pushing phase (ds2's was about 15 hours, several of which he was stuck for) because I knew I couldn't take this much pain for that long. I was also scared that I was pushing too soon since I'd only been in active labour for a few hours & I wasn't feeling any kind of pushing urge, it just felt less painful.

I asked h to check me, since at least then I'd have some idea if pushing hard was likely to cause problems. He checked & said he couldn't feel anything that seemed like cervix, just something jello-y feeling & possibly the head underneath. He figured the squishy thing was probably the sac. I started pushing with every contraction after he told me he didn't feel any cervix, but I still wasn't pushing really hard.

Sometime around here, Jamie arrived. It was about 5:20am Dh was relieved. He was starting to worry he was going to have to decide whether I needed to go to the hospital or not. In fact, just after she called, I'd told him that I was going to make her take me to the hospital as soon as she arrived because I couldn't take it anymore.

The baby was obviously moving down, since I felt like I needed to have a bm. At this point, I wasn't even really thinking about the baby, I just wanted to get rid of that feeling. It's horrible! So I started pushing really hard, several times each contraction. I was just concentrating on pushing & so, even though I felt it, it took me awhile to realize that I was feeling a burning sensation & a little bit longer to process what that meant.

I told everyone (the kids were watching from the hall, I think my screaming had scared them a bit, especially ds2) that I thought I was crowning. Then I reached down to feel if I actually was. The baby's head was partially out already, with the edges of the membranes floating in the water. What I really wanted to do at this point was to push as hard as I could to get his head out & stop the burning. I also really wanted to avoid tearing.

So, despite how much I wanted the burning to stop, I slowly pushed his head out. Push, pause, burn, push, pause, burn. After about 7 pushes, his head was out. I waited until the next contraction & gave a hard push & his shoulders came out. It almost felt like there was a 'pop' as they came out. I think Jamie said his arm was out even before I pushed out his shoulders, but the timing of everything is a bit fuzzy. Unlike with ds2, who had just slipped out on the push after his head was out, I had to push again to get Nick's body out after his shoulders.

He floated up to the surface of the pool, face down. I grabbed him out of the water & brought him to my chest, then checked to see if he was a boy or a girl. I was kind of surprised to find that he was a boy, but also relieved that labour was over. It was 5:35 am, only 4 hours from when I couldn't handle the contractions in bed anymore, even though they had still been 10 minutes apart.

I leaned back against the side of the pool and looked down at him. He was a little blue & completely quiet, which freaked me out a bit. Then I saw him move his mouth & knew he was ok. He looked up at me, then promptly closed his eyes & went to sleep. Jamie grabbed a towel & covered him with it.

After waiting for a little, I started getting a few mild contractions and decided to try pushing again to see if the placenta was ready to come out. It took a bit more work then I was expecting & as it came out, Nick woke up & cried for the first time.

Before I'd gotten in the pool, I'd grabbed some containers for things, since I knew dh wouldn't be able to find anything with as bad as he was feeling. He handed Jamie the bowl for the placenta, which she floated in the pool while I was pushing it out. Once it was out, it was put in the bowl.

The pool was very bloody at this point & I decided I wanted to get out. I gave Nick to Jamie & leaned on dh to get out. Then I sat down on the couch with some towels under me & a big blanket around me & cuddled my new little guy. I tried to nurse him, but he wasn't at all interested at this point. My older boys came over to see their new brother & dh started draining the pool.

Eventually we cut the cord & confirmed something Jamie thought she'd noticed earlier. There was a knot in the cord. When I cut up the placenta to dry it for encapsulation, I took pictures of the knot. After we'd dealt with the cord, I went for a quick shower to get rinsed/warm & get dry clothes on. Jamie went home about 8:30 & dh & I crashed for awhile. The kids were wide awake, so I napped on the couch with the baby while they played a game on the playstation. At some point my youngest had a nap on the floor, but my oldest stayed awake for the whole day.

I don't know exactly how much he weighed at birth; need to weigh the blanket he was wrapped in & subtract it, since it clearly weighed several ounces. I think he was around 6lb 6oz, maybe a bit less. 19 1/2 inches long & head circumference of 13.4 inches.

Nicholas is 9 days old now. Breastfeeding has been fairly easy (compared to my other 2, it's been stunningly easy). My milk came in at only 2 days. He only had 3 meconium poos before it became normal bf yellow. His cord stump came off at only 5 days. He seems very strong & alert for such a little baby. He regularly lifts his head off my shoulder for several minutes to look around at the world. He's still incredibly calm, only crying when he's hungry or when I change him.

ETA: He was anterior, but his head may have been slightly asynclitic.

DS2's Birth Story

Things started the exact same way this time as they did with my first son, only difference being it was a couple weeks earlier in pregnancy. My water broke on Tuesday morning. I woke up around 3am and felt a bit damp, but figured it was just sweat since our place is hideously hot. Around 4:30am, my husband came to bed. We talked for a few minutes and I thought I felt something. I thought maybe I was losing my plug, so I went to the washroom and realized that I was getting gushes of fluid. I really hadn't expected things to start this way and had been taking vitamin c for most of the pregnancy to try to avoid it, but was hopeful that labour would start in a few hours.

During the day on Tuesday, I would get an occasional contraction, but never more than about 1 an hour, sometimes I wouldn't get one for several hours. Wednesday was more of the same, although I was getting one almost every hour. There were even a few that were closer together than that. I kind of lost it on Wednesday night. Between the leaking and the fear that I was looking at a repeat and labour would never start (which I know was completely irrational, but I was tired and desperate for labour to start). I lost it so bad I seriously considered going to the hospital. My husband very bluntly asked me would I rather leak or be cut open again? That quickly brought me back down.

About 10pm on Thursday, I went to take a shower (aka hiding out from my mom phoning to find out what was going on). While I was in there, I also scrubbed the tub a bit, since it had been driving me nuts for days. Near the end of my shower or just after I got out, labour suddenly kicked into high gear. From every twenty minutes or so (we weren't really timing, except for one or two contractions occasionally), contractions moved to 15 minutes, then 7, then 2, in less than a couple of hours.

Sometime around 3/4am on Friday, I started getting pain in my back, too. Until this point, all the contractions had been in a band extremely low down in my belly. Once they started hurting in my back too, I just couldn't take anymore and decided to try sitting in the tub and using the sprayer during contractions. Unfortunately, we only had one and it didn't stretch very far, so either my back or my belly got sprayed, and it was very difficult to get my back without standing up, which I didn't want to do. My husband put a pillow in the tub with me and I alternated between sitting up and leaning back. Sometimes one seemed to work, then the next time it would make it hurt worse.

I finally got my husband to put the plug in (I couldn't reach and didn't really have room to move) and let the tub fill while I used the sprayer. Once there was enough water, my husband started using a cup to pour it over my back during contractions while I sprayed my belly. The pouring didn't really do anything to lessen the pain, but it did give me something that briefly distracted from it, which was nice.

By around 7 or a bit later, I'd been out of the tub for while and the only way I could endure the contractions was to push during them. I don't know if I was fully dilated or not and I didn't feel what I would call an "urge", but the pain was manageable when I was pushing and excruciating when I wasn't.

Sometime after I started pushing, my husband checked me and said it felt like the baby's head was jammed against my bones. I think the baby must have been stuck for awhile, because on several pushes my husband and I noticed that my stomach was bulging out, which it didn't do when I pushed later, after he was unstuck. I spent several contractions on my hands and knees, no idea how long, but when husband checked again, he said it seemed like the baby was even more stuck and had moved back. I decided to try lying on my back for awhile to see if that made any difference.

I don't remember if I did it because I remembered someone mentioning it, because it felt better or because husband had written to the ICAN list and a couple people mentioned it to him, but I started arching my back during the contractions, occasionally alternating with sitting up and leaning forward, which seemed to also make it hurt a bit less.

The arching seemed to be working, but I couldn't really do it very well due to the problems with sciatica I'd been having for months (I was going to be going to the chiropractor that week, but never went because of the leaking). I had some pillows and a cushion under my head, so I got rid of the pillows, which helped me arch a bit better and I heard a slight sound kind of like bone on bone.

I knew then that the arching was probably making a difference and I wanted to be able to do more of an arch, so I left my cushion where it was and slid so that my head was on the floor (our bed was just a mattress on the floor). I then planted my feet on the bed and used the cushion to help me get a bit more arch. After a few times of this, there was a loud, several second long, sound of bone on bone. I didn't feel anything, but I must have subconsciously noticed something, because I don't recall doing much, if any, arching after this point.

During all this, my husband and son were in and out of the room and shortly after my husband came and lay down on the bed next to me. I seemed to be getting a bit of a break between contractions at this point, though they were still extremely painful. My husband was so wiped, he fell asleep for several contractions. At some point, they must have eased off enough that I was able to sleep briefly, too. I have no idea how long we slept, my husband seems to think he only slept about 20 minutes, but he actually fell asleep twice, once was when I was asleep too, so it was probably longer than that. I woke up and dealt with a few contractions before they got bad enough that my moaning woke my husband up.

I continued labouring in the bedroom for awhile. My friend, J, called around 12:30 to see how things were going. We had planned for her to come watch our son if needed and maybe offer some reassurance to husband (since she had had a VBAC herself), but our son was doing really well and my husband had been coping pretty well, too, until it seemed like things were dragging on forever. She managed to reassure my husband some. Around 1pm, my son fell asleep on the couch in the living room, so my husband no longer had to go back and forth between us.

By this point, I was just thinking about the next break between contractions, they hurt so much. When I was between them, I just enjoyed the relief and didn't worry about the next one, didn't think about anything. There were several points, and this was one of them, when I really, really wanted my husband to just call the ambulance and let them make the pain stop. I really didn't believe I could take it anymore, but I did. [The first time I felt like that was when I was in the bath and started pushing the first time. I also felt like I couldn't take it anymore around when I was arching my back, especially before I figured out that doing that would help.] Changing positions didn't seem to help at all, but I kept trying anyway. I alternated lying down on my back, my sides, kneeling against a pile of cushions, sitting on the toilet, leaning against the wall and hanging onto my husband.

I decided to try the tub again for awhile. I don't know exactly what time that was, probably about 2:30 or 3. I think it helped a bit. I started pushing some again while I was in the tub, but I couldn't really get comfortable in there and had to keep moving around. My husband was completely exhausted and in agony, so when he talked to J again, and she offered to come over, he was very willing to have her. She had to get someone to watch the kids and then she got stuck in traffic, so she didn't make it here until about 5, at which point I was back in the bedroom and I'd been pushing again. Just before she got here, husband checked me again and the top of the baby's head was only about a knuckle in. I can't tell you how relieved I was that I was actually making progress this time. I couldn't feel him moving down at all, but obviously this time the pushing was working and he hadn't gotten stuck again.

When J got here, my son woke up and my husband stayed with him for a bit while J came to support me. I was pushing on the toilet when she got here and didn't really want to move, but I also didn't want to have the baby there, so eventually I moved back to the bedroom. I alternated pushing in kneeling, hands and knees and reclining positions. I couldn't get enough leverage in either of the first two positions and it was taking forever. Knowing I was so close, I really wanted to get it over with.

When the head was visible and not really sliding back anymore, I switched to a mostly sitting position, with a huge pile of pillows behind me. J told my husband she didn't think it would be very much longer, so my husband and son came into the bedroom, too. We had promised our son that he could watch the baby be born, but he didn't want to be around the rest of the time.

J suggested that I plant my feet on the bed against the bed to try to get a bit more leverage. I did this for quite awhile and the baby was very slowly moving down more, but I still felt like I wasn't getting anywhere. J then suggested that I try holding my husband's hands, since I kept grabbing at my arms to try to use my whole self to push. Holding my husband's hands really helped with the pushing, since I really yanked on him and I actually started feeling like I was making progress.

I reached down to feel the baby's head and there was quite a bit out. I couldn't understand why it was taking so long to get his head out, but after he was born I realized that what felt like it must have been all of his head above the eyes was actually only about the top half of his head, it had molded so much.

I kept pushing and I started screaming with every push. I'm not entirely sure why, since it didn't hurt that much, it just felt like the right thing to do. Really surprised we didn't have anyone coming to check on things here (apartment). I was determined not to tear, so I regularly paused between pushes for things to have time to stretch. It was uncomfortable, but I figured it was better than recovering from a tear, especially since I had no one to sew one.

It was really weird how I was thinking rationally, but I wasn't able to articulate anything while I was labouring.

I finally felt his head come out and knew that one or two more pushes and I'd be done. The cord was around his neck loosely, but I just couldn't handle having anyone's hands there long enough to unloop it, so I just pushed the rest of him out into my husband's hands and J unlooped the cord. Then I got to hold my new little boy! He let out a little whimper and pinked up right away. We didn't suction him at all since he obviously was breathing fine on his own.

I found out later that he had come out facing my right hip and he hadn't rotated at all after his head was out, he just came straight out the next time I pushed.

My husband got a towel to cover him and I sat there and held my new son for quite awhile, at least an hour. J left right away, since she had only planned to come over for a little bit to give my husband a break and she had to get back to her kids.

Eventually my tailbone started really hurting from the way I was sitting, so I got my husband to come tie the cord. He tied it off with a couple of shoelaces that had been boiled and then cut it with a pair of scissors that had also been boiled.

The placenta still hadn't come out, so I got my husband to tie the cord again closer to my body and cut it short so I didn't have to have it dragging around until the placenta decided to come out. My husband took our new little boy and I went to have a shower. I was a

bit woozy, though, so I sat down in the tub and used the sprayer to wash myself.

Eventually we had some nuked chilli for a very late supper, around about 9:30. After that, I went to get ready for bed. I went to the washroom and the placenta came out, about 4 hours after the birth. It really stung coming out because it was huge. We were all too exhausted to deal with it, so we put it in the fridge overnight, and then froze it. Eventually, we'll be getting a tree and planting it at my mom's place.

We weren't expecting the baby quite so soon, so we had no diapers. We just kept the baby wrapped up in a towel until the next day, when my husband went and bought some diapers. We didn't dress him or bathe him until Monday morning, when I gave him a quick sponge bath to get rid of the little bit of blood that was still on him. Except for a tiny bit in the creases, all the vernix got rubbed into his skin, like it's supposed to be.

We weighed him by putting him in a sling and hanging it on a fish scale the day after he was born and he was 8lbs 8oz. His head was 35cm and he was about 19 1/2 inches long. Really hard to measure, though, since he was so curled up and not at all happy about me trying to straighten him a bit. :) It turned out that the fish scale was off by quite some way, since when I took him to the health nurse at 10 days old, he was only 6lb 12oz.

Ds1's Birth Story

Very soon after I got pregnant, I started doing research and reading about pregnancy and birth. Very early on in my reading, I learned about doulas. I thought that this was a wonderful idea and decided that I was going to become one. I looked at DONA's website and got their reading list. I decided to try to read as many of the books as possible....

I was determined to have a natural childbirth and even considered a home birth. My husband was not too impressed with the idea, and with the combination of this being my first baby, being an hour and a half from the nearest hospital, extremely limited finances and being 5 hours from the nearest midwife, I gave up on the idea. I planned for a natural birth in the hospital, with a detailed birth plan which specifically requested limited interventions for me and no eye goop, shots, formula, or circumcision for my baby.

I saw a GP (a.k.a. Family Physician) for the first 8 months of my pregnancy. He was pretty good. A bit hard to talk to, but very low intervention and willing to answer the few questions I had. I also took a childbirth class given locally by a health nurse. It was a class I didn't really need to take, since I knew as much or more than she did by this point (except for actually having gone through it, of course) and I mentioned things she was unaware of or brought in extra information to classes.

I was due on the 15th of August and around the first I had my first appointment with the doctor who would be delivering my baby. We had to drive an hour and a half or so to get to the appointment. There was a lot of testing done (weighing, measuring, urine testing) and a lot of waiting. The city only seemed to have 2 doctors who did deliveries, one was an actual OB who dealt with high risk women, and the other doctor (who I was seeing), who was trained as an OB overseas but didn't quite qualify here, though he was still allowed to operate.

The very first thing this man said to me when he saw me was, "You're probably going to have to have a c-section. Most women under 5'2 do." Well, I knew this was complete b.s., but it's still a traumatic thing to hear, especially as the very first words out of someone's mouth. I should have run right then. I could have switched to a doctor in another town nearby--I didn't, though. The appointment didn't improve much after that, with the doctor insisting I was due earlier than I knew I was (all he did was put the wheel thing somewhere in the vicinity of when I said my LMP was, not exactly on the date; I've found he does this quite often). My DH and I left the appointment extremely upset. I was in tears, actually.

My one huge fear was having to have surgery. In all the reading that I did, I deliberately avoided reading up on it. I barely mentioned it in my birth plan. I just could not face the idea. It was terrifying.

I was supposed to have another appointment with him on the 8th, but cancelled it, and another on my due date. I called him to see if this appointment was really necessary or if I could skip it. I just didn't feel like making that drive if I didn't have to. He informed me that the appointment was actually for an induction because I was "overdue" (only by his lame excuse for calculating!). I told him there was no way I was coming in to get induced. He tried to persuade me for a while but finally realized he wasn't going to get anymore and made me give official verbal notice that he had informed me of the dangers of going over (specifically meconium-related) and basically told me it was my fault if my baby died. Nice.

I told my family what had happened and had both my mother and sister screaming at me that doctors know best and I was endangering my baby, etc. I finally hung up on one of them and my DH answered the next call and effectively told my Mom to bugger off, that I wasn't talking to either of them again until they stopped stressing me out.

On Saturday the 18th of August, I lay down for a nap around 8:30 p.m....Around 9:30 or 10:00 there was a massive clap of thunder. Found out later that the lightning hit somewhere in town, so at most it was 3 miles away. I got up about 12:15 and felt water running down my leg. Since I hadn't had any problem with controlling my bladder during my pregnancy and I was past my due date, I was pretty sure it was my water. I went into the bathroom and found a huge clump of mucus in my underwear. It was definitely my water! Yelled down the stairs to DH and told him that my water had broken and I was going to have a shower.

He started freaking out a bit and asked me if we shouldn't get going to the hospital. I told him I wasn't having any contractions yet and we probably didn't need to go until they started. Got out of the shower, came downstairs, still leaking occasionally. I still hadn't had any contractions, so I told DH to try to get some sleep. He finally did about 2:30 a.m. I went on-line and read messages and posted to my message board that my water had broken. I still wasn't having contractions and I was really upset by how messy my kitchen was, so I was reading messages while I took breaks from cleaning.

About 5:30 a.m. I still hadn't had any contractions but I was beginning to think maybe I should at least call the hospital. I called them and told them I thought my water had broken, should I come in or just go to the city? She said about it having just broken, and I said no, a couple hours ago. She told me to get on the road RIGHT AWAY. So we did. I don't know why I didn't continue with my original plan to stay home. I really wish I had. I think it would have made everything a lot different.

I got to the hospital and up to maternity by about 8 a.m. Got checked, I was at 1 cm. Still no contractions, tiny bit of meconium in the water, which the dr. "reminded" me that he'd warned me about when I chose not to be induced on my due date. My belief now is that the meconium was there because of the thunder. It really was a miniscule amount and the thunder had scared me quite badly, I can only imagine how scared a little baby would have been! It was decided that they'd "let" me go for a few hours and try to get my son to drop and some dilating and contractions to get going.

About 2 p.m. I got checked again, still at 1 cm, still hadn't really had a contraction and my son was still up really high. So, I got put on pitocin and the monitors. My son kept managing to move so they couldn't hear his heartbeat, a technique he'd done regularly during the pregnancy, so a couple hours later (I have no idea what time it was, really) the doctor checked me again and put an internal monitor on. Since I was still only 1 cm and he could only just touch my son's head, this procedure was really not fun. In fact, it was agony. Something else I wish I'd never consented to. (Not that I was given any chance to refuse.)

I was on the pitocin until about 7 p.m. or so, they upped it to the max by about 6. Dr. checked me again and I was still only at 1. I'd had a few contractions, but not very many. My back had been hurting quite a bit, but I hadn't really been feeling any contractions. I don't think my son was malpositioned, but I suppose he could have been. I still haven't seen his medical records, there may be some information about position in there.

The doctor had to go do another c/s, so they were going to leave me on the pitocin until after he was done. I asked if there was really any chance that another hour or so was going to make a difference and was told no, so I said to just take me off the drugs, which they did. I knew there was no way that I was going to be allowed to continue trying after 24 hours was up. If I'd stayed home until I was contracting and lied about how long I'd been leaking for, maybe we would have had a chance to have a natural birth. At the time, I didn't know about the low risk of infection without vaginal exams or that I could just refuse them.

I cried a lot about having to wind up with a c/s. Then the nurse came in and put a catheter in, which was also quite painful, though nowhere near as bad as the internal monitor. The dr. came back and they unhooked me from the machines so they could wheel me into the O.R. One nurse told me I had to give up my glasses, even though my birth plan said I wanted to wear them whenever I was conscious. By this point I was so exhausted and upset, I just gave them to DH. Got to the O.R. and everyone was doing whatever it is they do. I was talking to the nurse near my feet, who was there to help me bend over so they could get the spinal in, and I said that I was kind of upset I wasn't going to be able to see anything because I didn't have my glasses. She was really nice and actually sent another nurse to go get them from DH. Yay!!

My DH decided not to come in with me. He felt that he couldn't deal with it. Lucky him, not to have to deal with me being cut open! I was so upset about the section that I didn't really care at that point. I was still being my usual empathetic self. My DH feels bad now that he didn't come in with me, and has almost since the next day, but that doesn't change that I was alone, that I have no pictures of my son just after he entered the world and that because my husband wasn't with me, my baby was whisked off before I'd barely seen him and I didn't see him again for a couple of hours.

The anesthesiologist was really nice, too, but didn't believe me about my extreme reaction to morphine; he decided it was just a normal reaction and put it in my IV anyway. When he thought everything had taken effect (there were apparently shots of something put in my legs too), he told me that when they almost had the baby out I'd feel some pushing up high. Not long after, I felt the pushing, but I was thinking that it couldn't possibly be them getting the baby yet, I didn't think they'd started cutting. Next thing I knew, I heard them say that the head was out, then that it was a boy!! Guess they had started after all.

He was born at 8:49 p.m. on Sunday, August 19 and weighed 8 lbs. even and was 20.5 inches long. His head was 37.5 cm. They took him over to a bed that was all the way across the room from me. Even with my glasses, all I could really tell is that there was a baby over there and that they were rubbing him off. Eventually, they bundled him up and brought him over to me. I couldn't move my arms, don't know if they were strapped down but I had a monitor on one arm and the IV stuff on the other, so all I could do was look at him and give him a kiss. Then they took him off to meet his daddy and then to be suctioned, warmed, bathed, warmed some more, bundled up and stuck in a little plastic box in the room I'd be going to after the numbness wore off. I do have pictures of all that, at least.

I was lying there for quite a while and kept feeling nauseous, so the anesthesiologist kept putting stuff in my IV to keep me from getting sick. I knew then that he hadn't listened about the morphine. Anyway, I heard them say something, I don't remember what, and I asked him if something was wrong. I got told that because of being on the pit so long, my uterus wasn't contracting at all, so the dr. was massaging it to try to get the bleeding to stop. I guess it eventually did, because they finally started wheeling me to recovery.

And without the anti-nausea drugs, I got sick. A few times and a recurring pattern for the next 12 hours, until they finally gave me a prescription anti-nausea drug in my IV. The nurses kept trying to tell me that there must be something horribly wrong with me to be throwing up water and I kept telling them it was just the bloody morphine. Good thing I'd had it once before or I might have been getting worried.

Finally got to my room at about 10:30. DH was there holding the baby. The nurses hadn't told him how to hold the baby and he didn't have any experience with babies, so they looked kind of awkward, but even drugged out of my mind, I thought it was really sweet that he'd held our son the whole time they were waiting for me, rather than abandoning our new baby to be by himself. DH stayed for a little bit to see how I was doing, then brought my son to me and went to make phone calls while I finally got to hold my baby. And, from looking at the pictures, didn't do a very good job! He seems to have fallen in one, though I think maybe I had been trying to get a look at him without all the bundling.

Nursing was very difficult. I have inverted nipples and between that, all the excess fluid in my system and all the drugs making my son sleepy, things didn't seem as though they were going to work. The nurses were very encouraging and brought me a nipple shield, which made nursing possible. Unfortunately, I didn't know about the problems they can cause with supply, or the difficulties with getting rid of them. My milk didn't come in for 5 days so I supplemented a couple of times. Around 2 months postpartum, I had to take Blessed Thistle to up my supply. We never did manage to get rid of the shield and are still using one. I eventually discovered that, in order to make up for baby not "milking" the areola, I needed to massage my breasts and the area covered by the shield while he was nursing. It helped quite a bit with supply. I only wish I'd discovered it early on.

I stayed in that hospital until Tuesday, when I got myself released to come to my local hospital. The car ride home wasn't too bad, except when we hit a bump. I really didn't like being in the local hospital. DH wasn't with me and I had a hard time doing much without help. It's a really small hospital and I was always worried about my son disturbing everyone when he cried, one of the reasons I supplemented a couple of times. I was finally allowed to go home on Thursday, though the doctor would have preferred I stay until Friday. On the Monday (8 days postpartum), I had my staples removed. Some of them stuck a bit but it wasn't too bad. It took me weeks to stop being terrified I was going to burst open, though.

At my 6 week check-up, the doctor discovered a hard lump under my incision. She made a small slice in my skin incision and a bunch of fluid came out. She took some for testing, then stuck a "wick" in the hole, covered it with gauze and tape, and told me to go to the hospital when I needed it changed. It took several days but eventually the liquid all came out and the little slice healed. The fluid wasn't infected, thankfully.

It's been almost 2 years now. I was in agony for the first 6 months after I stopped taking pain killers all the time. I was frequently in pain for the second 6 months. And I still regularly have twinges of pain. Usually not long or extreme, but enough to remind me constantly of the unnecessary c-section I had.

The main reason for the extended recovery time and large amount of pain is that, rather than a low transverse incision, I had a high transverse incision on everything but my uterus. The incision was about halfway between my bikini line and my belly button.

I'm not pregnant again, though I hope to be soon. And I will not be going to the hospital at all, unless there's a definite emergency. I hope to have a home waterbirth.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pros & Cons

It's totally dumb, I know, but I want a 4th child. I wanted 1 more even while I was pregnant with our 3rd. And now he's the age that I thought would be a good time to have one more, a compromise based on how old I'm getting and wanting him to be able to nurse for at least 2 years. He'll be 2 years old in 1 1/2 months.

I decided maybe if I put down all my reasons, I can convince myself that having another one is just a bad idea.

The cons are easy. I'm a bad parent while I'm pregnant and I invest a lot of time & energy into my newborns. Maybe too much time & energy. I already feel like I'm failing at homeschooling my kids, how much less would I be able to give them for another year & a half or so?

I've had one cesarean and 2 home births. I'd have to go back on the roller coaster of hope of avoiding and terror of another major surgery. I have 3 basically healthy kids, but I'm over 35 now, could we handle a child who wasn't healthy? I know it's rare, but it still happens.

Even if we didn't have to worry about a child with health problems, could we handle a FOURTH boy? I adore my youngest, but I've still never quite gotten over the fact he wasn't our longed for daughter. If we could guarantee a healthy girl, it'd be a much easier decision.

My husband, S, worries that after this I'll want "just one more" again and again. The fact is, I'm aware that I'm nearly at my parenting limit here. When my 5 year old has a bad day, I'm WAY past that limit. I think S is past his on most days. He was an only child and just can't seem to handle the noise and energy. If we had one more, that would definitely be it. I'm also thinking about 3 teenage boys eating us out of house and home. Or 4 teenage boys.

We'd need a bigger place if we had another child. We almost need a bigger place now. S complains daily about the noise and the inability to get away from the kids. They are incessant. It's after midnight as I type this, and they are showing no signs of staying in bed, much less sleeping.

We're getting older. I know lots of people have babies much older than we are, but I still feel like I'm pushing it. My birth father died of throat cancer when he was in his late 40's. My adoptive father died of stomach cancer in his early 50's. S nearly died last near from acute pancreatitis and still isn't fully recovered. Having another baby feels like a big risk; would we both be here for him/her? I was nearly a single mother of 3 last year. How bad is it to still be thinking that another baby is a good idea. On the other hand, even a young parent has no guarantee they'll still be here long enough for their child to grow up. Making such a major decision on the possibility of dying young means I probably shouldn't have had my other children either.

It's strange, I thought the cons would be easier to come up with. Maybe because they loom so large in my head.

So, reasons to have a fourth baby. They all seem less solid than the cons, but somehow, they seem to be weighing more heavily in my mind. Obviously the main one is simply that I want another baby. Completely illogical and emotional. I would hope said baby would be a girl, but I'd be happy with another boy, too. I just feel like someone is missing. Only 1 someone, despite my husband's belief that I would just keep wanting kids.

My birth aunt died of breast cancer. My birth mother has had it but it was caught early. Another baby means more nursing and less periods, both of which reduce my risks (and, you know, less periods, which I'm always happy about). Is that a good reason? I really don't know.

I'm not ready to be done. How's that for a reason? Seems pretty stupid I guess. The thought of never nursing another baby, never snuggling another newborn to sleep in a wrap makes me feel sad and weepy.

It's a hard choice. And bed time always makes it harder because I feel like if I can't get them to go to bed and stay there without yelling and threats, what right do I have to even think of having another child? Then one of them cuddles me, or misguidedly says we're the best parents in the world, and I think how can I not think of wanting just one more?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pushing What?

It seems like everywhere I go, I hear about women "pushing" breastfeeding, trying to force some poor woman to continue when she doesn't want to or feels it's wrong for her. I guess I must be reading the wrong things, because I've seen none of it. I'm sure someone will tell me I'm just not seeing it because I'm biased. I suppose that's possible. Or it could be that people see "pushing" in anything from supportive encouragement to suggestions for how to make it work better. Maybe this supposed pushing is largely from the same mind-set that sees facts as "trying to make people feel bad"?

All I know is, I've never seen lactivists trying to push or force anyone into continuing to breastfeed. On the other hand, I have seen so many posts lately from formula feeders, pushing women to stop breastfeeding. No one says it outright, but the tone of all these posts is "Don't be a martyr, formula is just as good, don't let those mean old lactivists convince you to keep going if your tired or frustrated or sore or just plain can't be bothered."