Wednesday, January 28, 2009

First Day ALONE at home

Well, ok, I had about six hours alone at home.

My husband had to go into work for a meeting that ended up not happening. And my inlaws headed back to Iowa after being here for two weeks. The help that they were with the cooking and cleaning was fabulous, but they will be really missed by our 2 year old. He got to spent quality and QUANTITY time with his grandparents. My mother-in-law especially has a heart for little kids, and she spent time working with him on his Bible stories, and painting, and time outside (weather permitting). He now has another gagillion songs under his belt, and a brand new hobby of painting with watercolors. My FIL brought out a bunch of trains for the train table. And, he found, somewhere, a cache of little "Caterpiller" earth moving equipment models, which have gone over like gangbusters.

Anyway, as you can see, it was one big fun time for Jonathan. And today, when Gramma and Grampa went in a plane, and Daddy had to go to "werk", it was just boring ole' mommy, who spent hours nursing the baby. As I tweeted at some point, it was really strange. Within an hour of folks leaving this morning, both boys had a dirty diaper. The baby had THREE. And the baby suddenly developed a diaper rash. And started hollering, apropos of nothing. And Jonathan wanted to hold the baby so he would "stop crying" and I was suddenly wrestling an octopus as I tried to keep Jonathan from taking the baby out of my arms. (2 year olds are STRONG.) It took a good while to settle everyone down. Thank goodness for videos. And then suddenly Thomas was asleep, and Jonathan was done with his lunch and was rubbing his eyes. It only took one rendition of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" (his favorite song) for him to go to sleep as well.

And so I got a nap in! Hooray! And, seriously? Praise the Lord.

I don't pretend to think that every day will be a "double nap" day, but a girl can hope. And then, miracle of miracles, my husband was able to come home early.

Phew. And now he is home for a couple of weeks, so it can just be the four of us for a bit, trying to figure out how to be a family of four, instead of a family of three.

On a non-baby related note, my friend Sherri is doing a "read-along" of Rilla of Ingleside. I just have to get the book, and I am going to enjoy that. It is going to be a good long while before I can do a book group in the traditional sense, so this should be fun.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


So. We have a new president. I have a new baby. The latter is more important, and all-encompassing. Feeding the baby takes up, strangely, and inordinate amount of time. And since I nursed Jonathan until he was nearly two years old, you would think that I would be prepared for this. Ah well. Good thing my inlaws are here helping with food and keeping Jonathan occupied.

Anyway, I have nothing to report except that I added two photos to the "birth story" post. One is the C-section birth itself (which is not really gross, I actually find it kindof interesting.) And the second is Thomas being weighed. Just to let you know how he looked just after birth.

Oh, one of the aspects of the birth that our doula told us when she came to visit this week was that by the time of the surgery, Thomas had slipped around to an "occiput anterior" position, which means that he was lying with his back against my back (not unusual after someone has had an epidural) and therefore was "sunny-side" up. Which might explain some of the back labor I was experiencing. Anyhoo....

We have his two-week appointment tomorrow, and will know more about his weight gain, etc. then. And then, for your reading pleasure, I will have a dissertation-worthy post about breastfeeding. And maybe a rant re: same. We shall see.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pics of the boys.

So, it occurred to me that perhaps I should post a couple pics here, since I put them on Facebook.

So, the first one is Thomas in the bouncy seat with Jonathan. And shortly thereafter, milliseconds actually, we realized that the bouncy seat is too bouncy to have the baby in while the toddler runs around.

The second one is one of a precious few of Thomas with his eyes open.

The third is what I spend my days doing. Ahem.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

First full day at home!

Well, home is different from the hospital. The beds are more comfortable, for one. On the other hand, the food, while marginally better than hospital food, doesn't magically arrive at your bedside.

But we are well and happy.

Jonathan likes Thomas, calls him either "the baby Thomas" or "my baby". He likes to "hold" him on the sofa and sing to him.

A friend of mine took Jonathan this morning to her house to play with her son while we went to the doc for a well baby appointment. Thomas has started to regain some weight, which is good and no one right now is worried about the jaundice. For those of you who know my history, you know this is a huge thing. Of course, his days and nights are mixed up. He sleeps all day from about 10 until 5 and then mostly wants to be awake all night for the same time frame, oh yes, and nurse all night. Bleck. 'Twould be fine if I could be on his schedule, but not with a toddler and not in the real world. Thomas nurses all the time. I won't bore you with the gory details. Suffice it to say, "Ouch."

We got Chinese food tonight. And I made a calculated misjudgment and suggested that my husband take Jonathan to the basement and put together a toy for him. So, of course they were downstairs when the doorbell rang. I was up here nursing the baby. I had to struggle first to unhook myself from the strongest latch in the world, and second to get out of my squishy sofa. I am so distracted that I just signed for the food, baby in my arms. When the guy said, "do you want to leave a tip?" I didn't really hear him and I said, "no, I don't need to." Then I saw his face and tried to recapture what he had said. Egads.... ack. Needless to say, he got a bigger tip than his services warranted.

Monday, January 12, 2009

How Thomas Maher came into this world.

Once, about ten months ago....oh, never mind that bit.

For the men in the room, or people that don't want every single detail, I recounted the basic information in this post. Look no farther. If you go below the asterisks, it is at your own risk.


If you want the background to this pregnancy, you can go look here.

Ok. So, as many of you know, my official due date was January 1, 2009. I rebelled against that and asserted in many ways that I was going to have the baby by the end of the year, and I picked December 28. I actually did have reasons to think that 12/28 was a better date, and you can ask me those reasons if you like.

In any event. Christmas came and went. December 28 came and went. January 1 came and went. Now we were beginning to get cranky. Marcus and I are planners. And as said before, Jonathan's birth was planned. So this waiting thing was hard. My Friday OB appointment on January 2 was disappointing.

Saturday, January 3, I woke up and started having contractions! Yeah!! They were fairly short, 20-30 seconds, but relatively frequent, for four or five hours. Then they stopped. Then they started. So my sister came over for dinner and the spend the night, to stay with Jonathan in case we had to make a run to the hospital in the middle of the night. We all went to bed and the contractions stopped.

Not many on Sunday.

Sometime on Sunday evening I felt the baby move and shift out of a head down position. So, I decided to take a wander to the doctor's office in the morning to see. By the time the morning came around, I had started having the contractions again, and still felt that the baby's position was off. Not wanting any surprises, I called the doc very early and he told me to head to Labor and Delivery. We rousted the troops to come watch Jonathan, again. Our plan had been just to take him with us to the doctor, but then we envisioned Labor and Delivery with a toddler, and opted for the other plan.

So, that is how I wound up in the hospital for six hours on Monday, January 5. They sent me home because I was only 1 cm dilated and the contractions had slowed. However, because things seemed to be happening in earnest, we decided to have my mom come and take Jonathan to their house (two hours away) for a few days. And so she did. Of course, essentially the second she drove away, the contractions stopped. And nothing happened.

All week. I tweeted and left Facebook status updates informing people that NOTHNG was happening.

Thursday evening I went to bed and thought labor might start. There was nothing I could point to, I just felt off. I warned the doula and Marcus.

Friday, 1:30 a.m. I started leaking, and small contractions started. At 2:30, my water broke and there was no mistake. Labor had actually started. Aimee arrived at about 3:30 or so, and I was having fairly regular, not horrid, contractions that were about 10 minutes apart. Enough that I couldn't talk or walk through them. By 5:30 I was in the aqua doula (labor tub) and the contractions were coming closer together and lasting for at least a minute.

The only position that was slightly comfortable was if I was on my hands and knees, resting my cheek/chin on the edge of the tub. And
By about 8:00 a.m. they were about 4-5 minutes apart. And right about that time, I "gave back" all the tiny bites of food that Marcus and Aimee had made me eat. Good thing I had a two quart sauce pan as a catch basin.

But about that time, 8:30 or 9:00, the contractions started to space out. So, I got out of the nice warm tub, and walked around a bit. Some inside, some outside. In my nice fuzzy long nightgown. Things weren't speeding up, and the contractions were about 10 minutes apart again, though undoubtedly they were labor contractions.

Aimee suggested that we try to sleep. Sounds weird, but Marcus got a heating pad, like a Bucky. I lay on my left side on the bed and he lay right behind me and pressed the hot pad against my back. That way, when I had a contraction, he could apply counterpressure to my lower back like he had in the tub.

We actually were able to sleep. Which was a blessing, although irritating because it meant that my contractions were still spaced out. Making my life difficult, but not being productive in terms of labor progressing.

After about an hour of sleeping/contractions, at about 12:30 p.m. we tried walking. If you were driving around Vienna on Friday morning and thought it odd to see a pregnant woman out for a walk in a red robe, that was me. Oh, and brown mammoth crocs. With black socks. Stylish. The walking helped a bit, but not as much as she had hoped.

And so we decided to go to the hospital. The thought was that perhaps a little bit of pitocin might bring the contractions faster. Also, she wanted me to wait for an epidural, based on how she had seen me dealing with the contractions I was having.

We arrived at the hospital at about 2:30 p.m. on Friday. Got myself settled in with a saline I.V. The FOURTH poke in a week, but at least this one took the first time. We waited to see my doctor, who is the chief of obstetrics at the hospital rather than electing to see one of the residents. There are all sorts of reasons why, but the result was that he did not come to see me and check my "progression" until 6:00 p.m. So I had had a chance to get back into a good rhythm with the contractions. He did not think I was as dilated as we had thought, but in any event, I was in active labor and wanted to wait to see what progress would be made.

Let me jump ahead for a second and say that, because I never dilated beyond 4 cm, that I never was in active labor. However, the descriptions of the various stages of labor (early, first stage, active first stage, transition, second stage (pushing), etc.) indicate that I managed to make it through the transition stage. I don't know what the answer to that is, except to say that I have decided that obstetrics and midwifery is as much an art as they are a science. My doula certainly thought I had made it through transition and was actually suggesting that I "bear down a little" with the contractions. And she also gave me some "pushing" pointers because she thought that the pushing phase would be quite short. So, there was something weird about my labor.

Back to the progression, or lack thereof. Between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. I was severely uncomfortable, to put it mildly. The contractions were just miserable (and all y'all who have been through it are saying, "yes, yes, they were for me, too.") According to our doula, herself a former Bradley teacher, and my husband, I was "doing all the right things" to manage the pain: breathing, relaxation, etc. However, I did not feel like anything was being managed. And I was a sniviling, snotty mess. I could not stop shaking, toward the end, and I was done. If I could have just taken a breather, perhaps I could have done it, but that really isn't an option. So, approximately 18 hours after serious contractions had started, and about three hours into 'active labor' (or whatever....after that weird transition thing...) I asked for, and got, an epidural, at about 9:00 p.m. or so, Friday night.

Shortly after that, my doctor came and checked again and said that I had made not progress. Still 4 cm dilated, though I was fully effaced, and the baby was still high up in my pelvis and had not moved. He suggested that we all, including him, take nap. Four hours later, my contractions had slowed a bit, and when he checked me at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning, he said there had been no change. He was reluctant to give me any pitocin, because he suspected that there was a reason that the baby was not descending and allowing me to dilate. So, I had another C-section. Thomas James Maher was born at exactly 3:30 a.m. 10 pounds even. 22 inches long. Full head of straight dark brown hair.

When asked if he could see any reason why the baby didn't descend, he said that the head just wasn't quite properly positioned, and that the baby was just spinning around trying to figure out what to do, but just wasn't doing it. So. Nothing any of us could have done. Would laboring longer have given him more time to figure it out? Perhaps. And there was a era in which there would have been no other option and I would just have had to struggle through. And the end result might have been other than a happy, healthy baby boy and a happy, healthy (and tired and sore) mother.

My purpose in attempting a VBAC was not to make some grand point. There are points to be made: I do believe that the C-section rate is unnecessarily high; that women often take what is perceived the 'easy' way out, etc. I also believe that the culture and mindset around birthing needs to shift to a non-medical model of care. And I could get really passionate about the issue and do some "activist" work. But that wasn't the point here, I just wanted the best for me and my baby. I believed that was a vaginal birth. And, I think, it was.

Since I did go into labor, I know that Thomas was ready to be born (as he should have been at 41 weeks and 1 day late). I know that he and I both benefited from the labor hormones. My body was able to shift from pregnancy to post-partum in the fashion that was intended. There are so many amazing things that happen in the mom and the baby during labor and immediately after delivery, and they happen best in a particular order. Physcially, I am more tired and sore after this birth than my first, scheduled C-section. That would be from the two extra nights of no sleep and the work of labor. However, emotionally, I feel much better. I feel like the labor worked out a lot of the stress hormones or something.

So now, we are off and running. Thomas is nursing well, my milk has started to come in, a bit earlier than previously. Breastfeeding will still be a challenge, but it is one that I am expecting. A bigger challenge will be balancing the needs of Jonathan as an almost 2 1/2 year old and the newborn needs of Thomas.

What have I learned in this whole process? The big lesson is that I cannot control most of the important things in life. This really was one of the few situations that drives home that point. For those of you who have watched me wait and pace and wait some more, you have witnessed some of the frustration. Didn't God (and this baby) understand that there were tax advantages to being born before January 1? Didn't they understand health insurance premiums and the difference one day would make? Didn't they understand that I was so very very tired of being pregnant? It was helpful that people kept reiterating to me that 'babies come when they are ready.' More importantly, however, was me learning to trust God in new ways and learning a little about what it means to wait.

p.s. I know, I know. Y'all want pictures. Fine. Just give me a day or two.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Background to birth story

Well, as many of you know, I had a C-section with my first child, Jonathan, in the summer of 2006. It was a scheduled procedure, timed for when I was 39 weeks pregnant, because Jonathan was a transverse breech, essentially sitting cross-legged, inside me. As surgery goes, it was straightforward and as fine as could be expected. We were disappointed, because we had planned a Bradley birth. But, we trusted that God knew what He was doing, and accepted the situation.

This time around, though, I did not want surgery again. After Jonathan was born, I had a gall-bladder attack again, and had surgery very quickly thereafter, when Jonathan was four weeks old. And to have another Cesarean with this baby would be three major abdominal surgeries in less than three years. And, of course, there is more risk for pregnancy the more C-sections you have. We are happy with two children, but I did not want to deliberately choose to have another C and therefore increase my risks. So, I wanted to try for a VBAC -- Vaginal Birth After Cesarean.

Back in the day, the wisdom was, "once a Cesarean, always a Cesarean." Now, it is acknowledged that there is essentially no more risk to the mother to have a vaginal birth after a standard Cesarean (the current standard, not the past...the incisions were very different.) )For more information on the whole issue, visit here.) Still, many OBs prefer repeat surgeries rather than supporting their patients in attempting a vaginal birth. But there are some great docs out there, and I found a very supportive one. He is the "go-to" guy for VBACs and other oddities. People either love him and are willing to put up with the wait, or they aren't. Personally, I found that I only waited for him to deliver babies, but then again, I made it a point to be the first one in the office every time.

In any case, that was where I started. The next post actually sets forth what happened during labor and delivery!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Baby is here!!

I am happy.

Thomas James born at 3:30 am.

10 pounds.

22 inches.

Born via second C-section after very weird, and long, labor.

Birth story will be on blog in a bit.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Is this worth a post of its' own?

To answer my own question, I'm not sure.

But, since I know that the three of you reading this are just dying to know the status of things (what, not everyone can stand to be on this knife edge of anticipation with me???) I thought I would throw up a quick update.

Which is, drum roll please, nothing.

I haven't had any contractions to speak of since Monday afternoon, post hospital. Boy, am I glad that I didn't stay (thank you Aimee, my amazing doula!)

But, because of the unknown, my mom came and took our two year old to her home a couple hours away, for a few days. He loves going to Gramma and Grampa's, so I think he is ok. Mom may be going out of her mind. My own grandparents live with them (86 and nearly 91). And my dad is still working at age 72 in spite of some fairly severe and recent health problems of his own. So, she doesn't feel like she has a whole lot of freedom to come and just hang out here.

In any event, we have had a nice day and a half, though. It has been nasty weather, so we have been mostly inside. Although that "knife edge of anticipation" is hard to live on (maybe more so for my husband since he cannot DO anything), it has been good to rest up and be quiet. In hindsight, I suspect we will look on this time as a gift straight from God, though at the moment the waiting is frustrating.

Part of it is managing expectations. We had everything so organized. On our timeline. Which apparently had very little to do with the real timeline. And our timeline has just been completely shot. Therefore, there is this uncertainty. (Which is coupled with some anxiety about the baby being breech -- which is our experience with Jonathan -- and not knowing what labor will bring -- which feels odd, since this is our second baby -- and trying to do a VBAC -- which we know is completely doable, but which freaks some people out a little, including some of the doctors -- and trying to ensure in the middle of all of this that we are being good parents to our two year old.)

And Marcus took time off from work to help with the baby, time which is slowly being eaten away by this waiting.

But y'all know what would happen if we changed it up, right? As soon as Marcus decided to go back to work for a few days, or we decided just to have Mom bring Jonathan home, I would get slammed into active labor, and I would be scrambling to get Marcus home from the city, and someone to take care of Jonathan, etc. etc.

So, I think we wait.

And pray.

Which explains why I am up at 4:00 a.m.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Labor (or pre-labor?) part two

I am home from hospital.
More work to do here, apparently.

Details follow. If you don't want them, cease reading here.


Went this morning b/c baby was sideways
and wanted it checked and was starting to bleed a
little. Normally this wouldn't bother me, except that
Jonathan was breech and I am a bit wiggy about the whole

But "checking" with doctor who is an attending in the hospital seems to mean
admittance to Labor and Delivery.

Good news is that am dilated and things are starting
but the baby not engaged in pelvis.

They sent me home after five hours. I wanted to leave, although they would have been happy to have me stay, because of the worry of the previous Section.
And the fact that the baby not engaged.
Without previous C/S they would have sent me home pretty immediately.

Contractions coming frequently but not "labor"
just "prelabor". Whatever. They aren't long enough. But they certainly feel HARD enough.

Hate the hospital. Not that one particularly, just in general.
They were nice. But have three IV holes. Which HURT.
Two attempts, and then a third success. Which will have to be
REDONE when I go back in to actually have this kid.

Wireless there is difficult on itouch.

Will take laptop next trip. Didn't plan on being admitted today.

Beth came this morning then Kristen came to stay with Jonathan.
Mom just came and took him down to Tapp for a day or two.
Supposed to sleet and freeze rain tonight.
My doula sent me home to eat and drink and sleep. So, the first two have been done.
Now, onto the next one.

More anon....

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Labor. Part 1 of who knows how many.

Let me start by saying that I now am officially the most boring person in the whole world. My entire world has collapsed into wondering when (and sometimes, "If???") this baby is going to be born.

My husband has been mostly relegated to "toddler duty" and my poor two year old says, not infrequently, "where's mommy?" even though I am right here.

At some point I will get back to posting about things other than this pregnancy. And then it will probably still be mostly about my family. Ah well.

Anyhoo....the following is for the interested few, and for my own records, so I don't forget.

So, Friday morning I went to the doctor. Nowhere near close to labor. Nuh-uh. Nothing.

Friday night, had chili dogs, onion rings and fried mushrooms (can we all agree that I needed more fiber?) for dinner. Got a raging case of heartburn. Course, since I had never had it before, I don't know how 'raging' it was, but for me it was awful. Tried to sleep on an incline with pillows. FAIL.

About 12:30, the baby started going nuts. He hadn't been moving a lot the past few weeks, just little squirms here and there. This was a full-out home renovation. It was clear to me that he DID. NOT. LIKE. HIS. CURRENT. POSITION. And my body promptly reacted by having very strong, and very short and sporadic, contractions. It was like a cage fight in slow motion in my belly.

Went on for about an hour.

Just as I was about to get up and call somebody, everything settled down. I did get up, anyway, for a bit, to eat a little something and see if anything kept going. Nothing. So, about three a.m. I went back to sleep. And got some decent sleep.

Saturday morning woke up and we did the normal morning routine. And then I started having more contractions, of a similar nature to the ones the night before. Uncomfortable, but short and sporadic. Those went on all day. I put the family (and Twitter and FB) on a cautious "alert". Then I made cookies.

We all took a nap after lunch since we are/were still fighting colds. During the nap everything slowed down to a crawl. Post-nap, we thought a walk would help. A walk at the speed of a two year old, which is the only speed I want to go now. Walk didn't help.

But, exactly as my doula/midwife said, just wait for nightfall. At about 7, they kicked in again. 30 seconds or so. Uncomfortable, but also not predictable. Got myself in gear for ramping up. Thought I would try to sleep a little. And did.

And everything stopped at about 11. Until about 8 this morning.

So, we got a decent night's sleep, except for the two hours I was awake in the middle of the night wondering what was happening.

That brings us to now.

More of the same contractions. I shall now go lie down and see if I can spot a pattern.

Thank you. That is all.

Friday, January 02, 2009

40 and counting

No. Not my age.

Weeks. Actually, let's be accurate here, 40 weeks and one day (or is it two).



Not only "no progress", but no indication that my body ever intends to go into labor.


Baby seems fine. But the doc will send me for a sono check and a NST next Friday if I still have not had the wee one. If I go another week, I might go crazy.

Or not. I do think I have managed to do some surrendering to the One who created all of us. After all, I should have this baby by, oh, Valentine's Day, right?