Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I had an OB appointment that afternoon and valiantly tried to think of anything- ANYTHING- I could do to bribe my doctor to induce me. At one point I told him, "I make REALLY good chocolate chip cookies!" and without missing a beat, he looked up at me, raised one eyebrow and replied, "How about oatmeal raisin?" And I told him I could do those equally well.
"It just doesn't work well to induce if nothing is happening... the labor and delivery can get long and complicated," he said.
"PLEASE don't bog me down with DETAILS!!" I replied, but indicated that I understood completely what he was saying.
But then he looked at my elevated blood pressure, my incredibly puffy legs, and checked me: I was 2-3 cm dilated. He asked how the baby was moving around and I truthfully told him that the baby was much quieter the last day or so, so much so that I almost called the on-call doctor the night before to make sure things were a-okay. The OB wanted to do a non-stress test and after he saw the results of that, he announced, "Well, you're getting your wish! Show up at 7am tomorrow morning to be induced."
And sweeter words I had not heard in many, many months. It was like a tremendous weight was lifted off my shoulders.
We showed up at 7am the next morning and I did my usual, "Uhhh... I'm here to have my baby" statement to the nurses. They were so packed on the unit that there were no rooms available for me to be in. They put me in a post- delivery room, where a sign stating We care about the health of you and your baby! Wash your hands thoroughly! taunted me the whole time we waited. All I wanted to to get things started and hold my little boy and have it all be over with.
We read the paper. We filled out paperwork. I read a People magazine. All three doctors from the OB practice wandered in and out. A very nervous looking third year medical student came in and asked me how painful my contractions were. "Not very," I replied. "I'm not in labor- I'm here to be induced." "Oh," he replied and looked visibly relieved.
Finally at 12:30pm a room was ready and they wheeled me into the room where my baby would come into the world. Dr. B broke my water and my contractions started coming pretty soon and strong after that. The pitocin was started. We talked about my pain control plan, which was to replicate as much as possible Jenna's birth experience, which was terrifically empowering and fast and generally fabulous. I didn't have an epidural with her, instead got some short-acting drugs in my IV and then fell asleep while I dilated. I woke up and pushed her out in four contractions. I was looking to do the same with Alec.
So about an hour into the whole process I got my first dose of pain meds and it just did not cut the pain like it did with Jenna. After two more hours, I was progressing beautifully but was starting to panic about how much it hurt. I asked for something- anything- to help with my pain control and was offered an epidural, which I knew would not come to fruition: I was too far along, too close to delivery, and likely unable to tolerate sitting up and staying still as someone fiddled with my spinal column. I settled for another dose of the same pain meds which they hustled off to get for me.
At about the 4pm mark, the room was quiet, Dan was standing next to me and I was sweating, yelling during every contraction and in the throws of painful labor. I was checked by a resident, who declared me 8 cm dilated and then about 10 minutes later Dr. B checked me and said I was only 6 cm. And that's when I lost it. Because 8 cm is a lot closer to delivery than 6 cm.
But I needn't have worried because a few minutes after that, I started to have to push. Not like, "Oh, I'm feeling pressure down there and think pushing would be a good idea" but more like "Parts of my body are convulsing on their own and I'm just letting you know that very soon a baby will be coming out." Dan called for a nurse and immediately the room was filled with the doctor who started barking orders at the six or seven nurses who came into the room.
As I roared like a lion from the pain, I felt the amazing journey my baby was taking: I FELT his head start down the birth canal, felt all the pushing and shoving my body was doing all on its own. And as I screamed, "HIS HEAD IS COMING OUT!" the only comfort I felt was knowing that very, very soon this would be all over and my baby would be born.
And it was just like Jenna's birth. I went from 6 to 8 to 10 cm and then, after an incredibly breath-takingly painful few minutes that I will never forget nor cease to remind Dan about for the rest of our married life, our beautiful son Alec John Libutti made his debut into the world. It was exactly four hours from start to finish. I have never been so glad that something was over in my whole life.
"Is it a boy? Is it a boy?" I kept asking over and over, because while I could sense that everything was fine with me and the baby, no one was saying anything. Dr. B started fixing me up (if you know what I mean) and the nurses started doing all the stuff they do to newborns.
I had finally gotten my second dose of the pain meds 10 minutes before I delivered, which did little to cut my pain during delivery but instead hit me afterwards and made me groggy. "Danny! Get the camera out! Take some pictures!!!" I told him.
That's when one of the nurses said, "He's a big baby!" and I whipped my head to to the right, trying to look at him for myself. "I bet he's over 9 pounds!" What?? Over 9 pounds??? That was so different than the 7-8 pound prediction that had been repeatedly told to me leading up to delivery. If I had known he was going to be that big, I probably would have opted for the epidural from the start. Because what kind of freak wants to deliver a 9 lb, 3 oz baby without great and total pain control??
I guess freaks like me, who somehow find value in the experience of going through labor and delivery doing the work, feeling the pain, and almost weeping with relief when it is all over. I still don't know exactly why I chose to go this route, but I did- and planned to since the beginning of the pregnancy- and I'm glad in a way, though it did really wear me out for the next few days.
Quick, dirty and painful: a four hour time period that changed our lives forever for the better.
And that's my story.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
We put new shelves in the playroom closet and I put almost everything into plastic bins. Dan was very afraid that I was going to put him into a plastic bin, too.
All my sewing supplies, fabric and notions... out of ghetto plastic bags and into nice neat plastic shoeboxes.
The wall of shelves in the playroom: toys on the bottom, DVDs, CDs, boxes to hold the girls' schoolwork, and picture albums at the top.
Another big project I worked on was getting the room ready for the baby. I really love the new baby's room.
Now we are ready for fall.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
'Cause a girl's got to be prepared for anything preschool may throw at her.
She had a great morning, as did I: I spent the time getting a massage, eating a hot blueberry bagel and reading the newspaper uninterrupted.
Doing her job of the day: watering plants
In front of her cubby
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Who knew that I would meet a tall, quiet, dark haired guy in the hallway of that apartment?
Who knew that I would spend the next year of my life trying to convince him to be with me forever?
Who knew that he would be so eager to be convinced?
Who knew that 13 months later we'd get married?
Who knew that we'd get along so well, have the same sense of humor, get through rough patches relatively unscathed, and build a warm, happy life together?
Who knew we'd make such beautiful daughters together and love them so much it hurt?
Who knew that 14 years later, I would be swollen with his third baby and first son who could make his debut at any moment?
Who knew that it would all work out so well?
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
The first I think bothered me because I felt like it was the beginning of Michaela having a life outside of what I have constructed for her, full of people and tasks and interactions that I was not supervising nor even part of. She was beginning to construct a life away from me and enjoy her own set of experiences. This is a huge step for a mom, especially a first-time mom, who has carefully orchestrated every moment of the last five years so that needs are met, hurts are minimal, and plenty of fun has been had by all. And, of course, the somewhat crushing realization that this separation of experiences was only going to continue from that point forward. All I would know what was she chose to share with me, a mommy eager and hungry for my baby girl to be healthy in every way and happy.
The second- losing the baby teeth- was much more concrete: it was changing the look of my little girl. The Michael Strahan-type space between her long-awaited front teeth, which charmed me from their first appearance, was suddenly gone, replaced by a gaping hole that would be filled with brand new adult sized teeth. Her smile was different, her face was different and it took me months to get used to glancing at her and seeing something other than the reliable space and those neatly arranged little baby teeth.
And yesterday I had a third Moment of Monumental Importance, and again it was a mundane-type event that just struck at my heart. Michaela is working out of a Textbook for math this year as opposed to a workbook, and I can assure you that everytime she says the word Textbook, she says it as though it starts with a capital letter. Maybe ALL CAPS. This is a BIG DEAL. This is what the BIG KIDS use in school.
The Textbook needed a cover, even, and we had to go out last week one evening because my TEXTBOOK NEEDS to be COVERED, MOM!! And I had poignant flashbacks of my own grandmother spending hours- HOURS- of her life when I was in school, sitting at our kitchen table carefully covering all of my Textbooks from school with brown grocery bags. Each one was perfectly done, with exact right angles on the inside, exactly even sides, and taped together within an inch of its life. I'm honestly not sure how my covers came off at the end of the school year. And for all my embracing of the domestic arts that my grandmother instilled in me, for every Christmas dress I've sewn, every meal I've cooked from scratch, every homemade craft I've done, I am somewhat of a cop-out failure in the book covering department: we just went to Staples and bought a Book Sock brand cover, which proudly displayed a message on the inside back cover of "Don't Drink and Drive!" which I think is kind of funny. I mean, if your tendency is to go out and get bombed this weekend with some friends, I doubt the little message in your school Textbook book cover is going to be the reminder you needed to designate a sober driver. But maybe not. Maybe that Book Sock message is saving lives.
But I digress.
The point is Michaela is doing math problems out of her Textbook and arrived home yesterday with the results of her first math assignment. It was written on a piece of loose leaf paper, wide ruled, with her name printed neatly at the top, the date underneath it, and the assignment (Pg. 5, #1-12) written below that. And neatly numbered on the side of the paper, as evenly spaced as those precious baby teeth, were twelve perfectly done math problems each with a little star next to it marking it as correct.
I was just blown away.
It was so grownup, so school-age looking, so different than the colorful pictures and counting groups that usually make an appearance on her math worksheets. A true milestone. And seeing her name, neatly written at the top: it's what you imagine when you are pregnant, sitting on the couch with a baby name book, half-watching tv, contemplating all the various names for your baby before they are born. How does it sound? What would it look like written down?
How will it look when he or she writes it on top of a 3rd grade math assignment paper?
Monday, September 14, 2009
Here's some video for your viewing pleasure.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
It was a hectic week- not doing really much of anything except soaking up gorgeous weather and watching my ankles swell- and we have visitors in town this weekend.
Dan and I are going to a wedding this morning followed by a brunch. I've known the bride since fifth grade. :)
My OB appointment this week was thoroughly unremarkable. Only point of interest was that the midwife thinks the baby is average sized, and will be between 7-8 pounds at birth. That was good to hear... though I'm still not convinced that he will not be 25 inches long. All systems are go.
Dan took Thursday and Friday off, making a 5 day weekend for himself, and we are all off kilter from the change in routines and schedule.
Back to school for Michaela in three days. We are still working on getting her to bed at a decent time. She met her teacher on Thursday afternoon and she is young and pretty and it seems like a very nice class filled with good kids. She is not terribly excited about returning to school, saying she'll miss being home with us. And the feeling is mutual: she takes good care of Jenna and I.
Enjoy the weekend!