Dec 29, 2011
Dec 23, 2011
Dec 22, 2011
Dec 19, 2011
Dec 16, 2011
Dec 11, 2011
I spent the next 4 days having contractions that started at night, and would subside by the morning. Mark and I walked around the entire neighborhood of Capitol Hill several times over the next few days, I drank red raspberry tea, made spicy ginger cookies, ate spicy Mexican food, and tried every other trick in the book to kick labor into gear, including asking our midwife Sierra to sweep my membranes twice.
Sunday, we left church early and decided to go on another long walk and I felt some light contractions. Later that evening, we had friends over to visit and by the time they left at 8pm, the night contractions had started again. But this time – they felt different. They were stronger and they came in a timed pattern, and I was so happy! I timed my contractions with my handy iphone app and they were 5-8 minutes apart for a steady 3-4 hours. We called Sierra and let her know we thought this was it, and we wanted to come into the hospital.
We met Sierra at the hospital around 1am that Sunday night. Walking into the hospital, the image of Mark still makes me laugh so hard. I had packed way too much in our hospital bag, we had the baby bag, a pillow, my purse, and a giant medicine ball to labor on. Mark was so nervous and seeing him carrying all that stuff from the car to the hospital, doing his best to “keep it together” made me laugh out loud, despite my contractions. Ahhh, that guy. When we arrived on the labor and delivery floor, I was dialated to 4 cm and 80% effaced! However, Sierra thought it was still going to take awhile to get to the more serious contractions, so we walked around the hall for an hour to see if it would move things along. After an hour, we checked and…no progress. We made a decision to go back home and labor in the comfort of our own home, which turned out to be one of the better decisions we made during labor. It was so nice to be in the dark, cozy comfort of my apartment that night.
As my labor progressed and contractions got closer together, 3-5 minutes apart by sunrise on Monday, I really started feeling the pains in my back. We had taken hypnobirthing classes, and had planned on using techniques to relax and be able to handle the labor pains naturally. But we had not counted on the intensity and pain associated with back labor. The only thing that was working to relieve those back contractions had nothing to do with “going inside”. Nope, I’m sorry to say that hypnobirthing did not work for my back labor. Instead, I turned to my animal instincts and found myself pressing my lower back against anything I could find to relieve the painful back contractions, that were coming 2-3 minutes apart by 10am. I’m still haunted by images of me pacing back and forth all night from our bedroom to the living room, pressing my back up against the laundry room door, on the dining chair, and the bookcase every 3 minutes to try and relieve the pressure on my lower back. Mark would follow me around every few contractions and push my hips together for counter pressure. It felt amazing when he was able to apply the right kind of counterpressure and really helped control the pain.
We headed back into the hospital at 10:30am, feeling excited about the progress we had made, and with repacked hospital bags (and that pointless medicine ball left at home), and Sierra checked my progress - 4.5cm. I had only progressed 1/2 cm in 12 hours! We were pretty discouraged, but glad to be at the hospital with Sierra, where I felt safe. Sierra is a really good friend of mine. We lived together for about 6 months before Mark and I were married, and I had always hoped she would be my midwife, but didn’t know if we would still be living around each other when I was pregnant. I’m so happy we were able to go through the pregnancy and birth with her – she’s an amazing midwife and I loved experiencing such an intimate and private thing with just my husband and friend. It was so sweet.
When we checked into the hospital, Sierra would switch with Mark to push in on my hips, my legs, and my back every 2-3 minutes for counterpressure for the back labor, giving Mark a nice break from the previous 16 hours.
The day continued with contractions growing in intensity, staying 2-3 minutes apart. I took a couple of hot showers, walked around the halls for hours pressing my back up against the walls, and Mark continued to support me so well through the whole day. He had water, juice, ice chips, and food ready for me at any time, and rubbed my back and held my hand through every contraction or left me alone when I needed to be alone. I have never felt so much love for another human being as I did for Mark during my labor. Mark was my rock.
That night, around 10pm, we checked my progress again. I had only progressed another ½ cm reaching 5cm, and was now at -1 station. This was kind of the breaking point of my labor. I had been laboring for 26 hours, I was physically and emotionally exhausted, and my back literally felt like it would burst apart during each contraction and I was losing the ability to control my breaths during each contractions. I took another hot shower to try and relax, and we took a few hours to think about what to do. I really wanted to have a totally natural labor, but with the pain of the back contractions, I just knew I couldn’t continue on by myself anymore and have strength to push when the time came. Time didn’t really exist at that point, my eyes couldn’t stay open, and I only had a couple of minutes between each contraction to really think about what to do next, so it took awhile to decide. Finally around midnight I told Sierra I was ready for an epidural. We decided to do a Pitocin drip along with the epidural in hopes I would progress further and hopefully my water would finally break.
During the first 30 hours of labor, the only monitoring I had was a handheld fetal monitor that Sierra used to listen to the baby’s heartbeat every 30 minutes. No hep locks, no IVs, no nothing. Mark fed me applesauce, hummus, broth, saltines, and apple juice and had the water cup at my mouth after every contraction. In a matter of minutes, our peaceful and warm labor atmosphere that we had created the first 30 hours of labor ramped up to bright fluorescent lights, IV drips, needles, monitors, anesthesiologists, nurses, and no eating or drinking. I felt so scared and nervous and I could tell Mark was getting upset with the brash treatment from the nurses who couldn’t care less about my fragile and exhausted state after 30 hours of back labor. I don’t know how I did it, but I stayed still during a back contraction while the candyman gave me an epidural. After the epidural and Pitocin was administered, I finally felt some relief and Mark and I both fell asleep for about 4 hours. It was kind of heavenly, even if I hated the feeling of not being able to feel my legs, it was amazing to rest from the intense back labor pains. When I woke up at around 7am, we decided to break my water since it wasn’t happening naturally. Within about 3 hours, around 10am Sierra checked and I was up to over 8cm! Finally, it was working!
Within the hour, I started to feel more pressure and felt the urge to start pushing. I was also feeling some of the back labor coming back, so we ordered another epidural dose, but by the time the doctor arrived, it was too late! The baby had dropped so low, that the epidural wasn’t working. It was 11:00am. I announced to Mark and Sierra, “I want to have this baby by noon, let’s do this”. So I started pushing. And pushing. And pushing. Each push, I was encouraged by Sierra, Mark and the additional nurse who told me how good each push was. They could see the head with each push, and encouraged me with each effective push. About 45 minutes into pushing, Sierra stepped out to get another doctor to help out with the birth, because she was concerned that the baby wasn’t coming out during what she told me were very effective pushes. Her and the additional doctor were both worried that the baby was too big for my pelvis and the shoulders might get stuck during my pushing, so they told me I would have to push him out entirely with one push to prevent him getting stuck. Um, terrifying. Thoughts of the medical birth and c-sections entered my mind. The back labor had also returned with vengeance and I remember after about an hour of pushing literally throwing my hands up in the air after each contraction and finally saying “I CAN’T DO THIS!” I was sweaty, thirsty, sore, and I thought my back was going to snap in half every time I pushed. Sierra and Mark and others in the room responded, “Yes you can do it! You are so close!” So I gathered my strength and pushed with all I had. After about 3 contractions, I pushed and felt the most amazing all-consuming feeling that completely took over my body. I screamed out in pain and said “The ring of fire! I feel it!”
During my pregnancy I had read so much about the ring of fire that occurs when the baby is coming out, and was anticipating and so excited for this part of the labor and delivery. I laugh now when I look back on that moment, because I’m pretty sure the nurses and everyone in the room were like “this girl is totally crazy”. I don’t remember what they said, but there was definitely some chatter about me saying “the ring of fire”.
So, knowing that I had to push out this baby in one push, or risk him getting stuck, I pushed through the ring of fire with every ounce of strength I had left in my body, and out he came, head and body in one push! It was just after the noon hour - 12:21 pm.
Sierra put him on my chest and I felt the warmth of his heavy baby body lay on my chest and then tiny little cries from his little mouth. He was brownish-gray and a little slimy and so new. His little face was so scrunchy and mad, I just died at his adorable serious face. Mark was sobbing and I was shaking, but felt so calm as I looked at him. I felt like I was kind of looking down on the scene, not really experiencing the delivery and I could not comprehend that this baby on my chest was the thing that had been growing inside my belly for the past 9+ months. It was the strangest mix of feelings, but I remember feeling so satisfied and proud of this little baby. After about a minute of looking at his face and arms and hands, I said – wait, is it a boy or a girl? We didn’t even think to look because I think instinctively I just knew it was a boy. He had such a boy face! We picked up his leg, and yep – a boy! I couldn’t believe how happy and tired I felt. I even remember thinking “ok I cannot wait to do that again” (seriously, that ring of fire thing is amazing). Mark cut the umbilical cord, and Henry was weighed and measured - 8 lbs 11 oz and 20 1/2 inches!
Right after Henry was born, he had to be taken to the NICU because he had inhaled some meconium during the pushing. The doctor gave him some air to push out the meconium, and took him for monitoring and x-rays to make sure he didn’t have anything in his lungs (he didn't).
Mark went with him to the NICU while the doctors took care of my post-birth body. It was really hard to be away from him during those first couple of hours – I felt exhausted and I couldn’t even remember what he looked like because we’d only spent a minute of his life together. Finally, after what seemed like hours I was finally ready to leave the delivery room, and Mark pushed my wheelchair down the hall to the NICU to see our little boy. I gathered him in my arms and we tried to breastfeed. He latched right away and I just cried and cried. I couldn’t believe how perfect he was and how familiar it felt to hold him.
“I think I know what his name is”, whispered Mark, “Henry George”. George after Mark’s grandfather, and Henry because he just looked like a Henry (later we found out my great great grandfather is named Henry). Mark gave him his name, and since Henry is Mark’s spitting image, it was totally fitting that he named him, too.
I'm so happy with the way my labor and delivery went. While I didn't have the natural birth I had anticipated, I am grateful for the support team of Mark and Sierra - they both helped me make the important decisions that helped me stay focused and I know helped Henry arrive safely. We love our Henry and really can't imagine our life without our sweet little guy.
Dec 6, 2011
Dec 1, 2011
Nov 28, 2011
Nov 25, 2011
Nov 21, 2011
Nov 11, 2011
Nov 10, 2011
Nov 9, 2011
Nov 8, 2011
Nov 4, 2011
i can't tell you how happy i am that i gave a definative end-date before baby. there's no way i could continue to come in day after day. my belly has doubled in size over the past couple of weeks and it's getting a little awkward sitting in business meetings with a basketball shaped bump under my shirt.
after today, if anybody wants to find me, i'll be:
at home planted firmly on the couch,
taking long walks around the neighborhood, or
eating spicy, spicy food
Nov 3, 2011
i have been on "go" mode for the past few months. too much work, too many meetings, too much planning and crafting and buying for baby, just too much. it keeps me up at nights thinking how un-ready i am, but how can that be?! i am busy all the time!
yesterday i took an early day and finished some things around the house that had been nagging me. like packing the hospital bag. geez. who waits until 39 weeks to pack that thing? hopefully it will be finished after a target run today. i bought some frames to hang in baby's corner, and some crafts to work on should the baby want to cozy up for another week or 2 or 3. i also worked on some freezer meals.
i feel a little more prepared. but in a way it's nice to have been so busy. i haven't had time to sit around and fret about waiting for a baby (yet, anyway). i know baby will come when the time is right. and waiting for a baby has to be the weirdest thing anyone ever does in their lifetime. waiting for this tiny human that will change your life in ways you cannot even dream.
...that first cry
...a new voice in your house
...giggles and coos from a beautiful babe
waiting to see TH be a dad. waiting to be a mother.
our life of "just the two of us" is soon coming to a close, and we couldn't be more crazy/nervous/happy/tired/excited/anxious/joyful.
Nov 1, 2011
Oct 31, 2011
Oct 29, 2011
Oct 26, 2011
i forgot how funny 19 and 20 year old boys are. they are such dorks and i love it. TH and i had the best time joking around with them and hearing their crazy stories. i love our church and love that these boys are brave enough to take 2 years of their life to learn and share about Christ and serve others. it's super inspiring and makes me feel hopeful for positive change in the world. any time people put someone else ahead of their own needs, i feel like they should get a standing ovation.
Oct 25, 2011
as it turns out, yesterday was Food Day and DC participated by throwing a K street food truck festival. and guess which lucky lady was the beneficiary? mm hmm.
i tried a tofu korean taco from far east taco grille, a cheddar on sourdough from the big cheese, and a veggie empanada from DC empanadas, which i ended up being too full to eat. bummer.
the awesome thing about all these food trucks in one place at lunchtime, was there were enough food trucks to serve the number of hungry people and the lines were totally manageable! i was finally able to try those food trucks i've always wondered about. and the verdict? fojol bros is still the best, but far east taco grille makes one heck of a korean taco.
also, another verdict - people love to s.t.a.r.e. at pregnant ladies, especially when they are holding multiple bags of food from different food trucks. leave me be, people. i'm growing a human being here! this is my time to eat 500 extra calories a day with abandon. just doing my duty.
ps, did you know that we own a food truck with our friends? it runs in fairfax county and we think those gourmet hot dogs are pretty darn tasty.
Oct 24, 2011
it's monday. and i just don't feel like it today.
maybe it has something to do with...
this big baby bump?
the new moody M83 album that is lulling me right now?
the too many chocolate donut holes i ate this morning?
how no matter how much sleep i get lately, it just never seems to do the trick?
i only have 10 days left in the office before baby leave begins, so i gotta make it count, but man! days like today are rough on my exhausted body.
Oct 21, 2011
after a completely failed attempt at celebrating the actual full term day on wednesday (work too busy for a fancy lunch break, dinner was a disaster cloaked in too much walking, humidity and tears), we had a successful celebratory dinner at Oyamel in Penn Quarter on thursday night.
At a sweet intimate table (read: small, cramped table in the corner) we shared the guacamole (best I've ever had, ever), fresh tortilla chips, and ordered a ton of small plates. BBQ pork tacos, cactus leaf salad, brussel sprouts with pepitas and lime, and other crazy good food. Oyamel also makes fresh juegos every day for us teetotalers. I had the blackberry fresca and I can say with a clean conscience that it was ridiculously refreshing and tasty.
We wanted to celebrate baby, but also we wanted to celebrate us. We've come a long way in 18 months of marriage, and an even longer way in the last 9 months. It takes a lot of courage to bring pregnancy into a new marriage, and we had no idea how much it would change us and test our relationship - ultimately making it stronger. I can only imagine the difference it will make to have the actual tiny baby in our arms and those 2am, 4am, 6am feedings. I still can't wrap my head around the fact that I'm going to be a mother. But you know what I can wrap my head around? Walking without the urge to waddle, running fast through a field, eating pizza without fear of heartburn, and sleeping on my back as much as I want!
We can't wait to meet you, tiny T. just wait until November when my midwife is back in the country. moms orders.
Oct 19, 2011
I've realized that being forced to eat in smaller quantities means that I'm pretty much snacking all the time. Like last night when I had wheat thins and apple juice for dinner, a late night snack of cereal, and midnight snack of Ben and Jerry's cookie dough ice cream. This morning I woke up with a glass of apple cider, followed by a small yogurt with granola and later in the morning a granola bar.
This is not the most healthy diet I've ever been on, but at least I'm keeping my food where it belongs - in my tummy!
Funny sidenote: my sister was explaining to Lizzie (4 years old) about pregnancy and being sick. Lizzie was so worried because she thought if you throw up, you throw up the baby, too. Because "the baby is in the stomach. Right mom?" Cue my sister trying to teach a 4 year old the difference between and stomach and a uterus, leading to the age old question - "but how does the baby get in there, mom?" i'm glad i don't have to handle those tough questions...yet!
Oct 18, 2011
i mean it's a WAFFLE. what's not to like? they also had a killer sweet potato soup.
i've been living off waffles lately, no joke. my all time favorite recipe is here, the morning-of waffle. that molly kills it every time and these waffles are no different.
on the way back from lunch, we ran into large headed JFK. so, pretty much the best lunch break ever.
Oct 17, 2011
i couldn't even remember! it honestly took me about a minute to even recall anything other than sleeping and eating. oopsie. i hope i am not wasting away my pre-baby time on nonsense. but! then i did remember one awesome thing i did:
we saw Moneyball and walked around the city for about a half hour and saw a high speed chase being filmed by professional movie makers! cool!
and then i remembered another awesome thing:
we walked around Eastern Market and had lunch at Teds Bulletin (me: green green salad and french onion soup, him: turkey sandwich and white bean chili)
and then even one MORE thing i remember:
we had amazing Indian food at Haandi in Falls Church with TH's family.
but really this is what popped in my head and what i really remember from this weekend:
eat, sleep, eat, naps, walk, eat, why is this bathroom line so long?!, walk, nap, movie, walk, sleep through church, TV, eat, nap, eat, walk, sleep.
what has become of my life?
Oct 13, 2011
...an expectant mother
...a creative mind
when i was extremely sick the other night, i googled "vomit 36 weeks pregnant" and google basically said "you are in labor". freak out panic time for a few minutes. but of course i was not in labor. i don't know why i ever use google as any of the above.
i need to remember to seek out more human advice (including listening to my own instincts). i have a feeling this will become ever more important in the next month or so.
Oct 12, 2011
Back in January we had big plans for this month. We were going to take a few weeks to travel the Romanian and Hungarian countryside and maybe even take a sail down the Danube. TH speaks Romanian and has wanted to return to the country since his short stint there in 02. The way he talks about the simple beauty and the Romanian people, the country just tugs at my heart a little bit.
Instead...well...surprise baby! It's just funny how you make plans for your life, but other things have a way of just happening. So we put off the Romania trip for another year and hopefully this time next Fall it will be a trip for 3.