Dylan’s Birth Story

Dylan Alexander Fry
Born 5/17/12
6 pounds
18 inches

A 3 week hiatus after my last entry was probably a bit dramatic, no? Rather than drone on about new motherhood and nursing troubles and baby blues, I would rather focus on telling Baby Dylan’s birth story before mom-nesia (or whatever it is called) removes it from my memory completely.

The day started out with me on the couch for what would be my last day of bed rest. My ultrasound appointment was at 1:30 to recheck my amniotic fluid levels, so, on the off-chance that I would be going to the hospital that day and not allowed to eat, I ate a large lunch of leftover meatballs in cream sauce and corn (foreshadowing: this was a terrible plan).

I was sure that the gallon+ of water I had been drinking daily would maintain my fluid after the IV from the week prior or, at most, it would have dropped by maybe a centimeter, which would still keep me out of the hospital. Someone else had other plans. Fluid was down all the way to 4 cm (for the record, 5 cm is critical, I was at 6 cm when I got the IV, & I left the hospital at 9.5 cm). That meant that the baby needed to be delivered ASAP to avoid compression of the umbilical cord. I figured that would mean a Friday morning delivery (see: monstrous lunch). A call to my OB and, instead, I was scheduled for a C-section that evening.

Hubby was in another county at his new internship. I told him not to rush up thinking that the surgery would be at 7 or 8 pm that night and he got out at 4 (notice the trend – I think one thing, something else happens…). Thank goodness he didn’t listen to me since, when I got to the hospital, my OB said that everything was set for a 5pm delivery. Of course, since it was a “scheduled” cesarean, they would wait for him, but my nerves were shot already, and waiting any longer than I had to for him might have killed me.

After my OB let me have a good, long cry to mourn, basically, the exact type of birth I DIDN’T want (an early scheduled c-section), I was sent to the exam room to get prepped and wait for the OR to be ready for me (there was one cesarean ahead of me). I changed into my hospital gown and was hooked up to the annoying ass fetal monitors for the last time (and I remembered my elastic straps for them for every hospital visit to avoid getting charged as the nurse told me the first time – I like to think I impressed everyone with that). After an eternity, David showed up to relieve my mom.

What was supposed to be a 5pm operation got pushed back due to the c-section before mine taking longer than expected.  The nurse was waiting on the okay to give me all the medicines that were required before I got cut open (most of which were due to me eating lunch that day since generally you want to operate on someone with an empty stomach).  The wait in the exam room took forever, and the bed was ridiculously uncomfortable.  At some point, I started having contractions.  David and I joked that it would be hilarious if, after all that, I went into labor waiting for the OR to open up.  Finally, I was told that I could walk to the OR (really?  they couldn’t be bothered to wheel me to the operating table???).  Of course, gravity took over when I stood up, and I decided that I should probably get one last pee in before I get cut open.  This was not the best plan since I was hooked up to an IV that wasn’t on a pole.  Seriously, the accommodations at this hospital were severely lacking.

Once I got to the OR, the panic began to set in.  The room was small, but overwhelming.  The operating table was too high up for me to sit on normally, so they had to get me a step.  That still wasn’t enough, so I had to hoist myself up under my own power.  Then, the fun part came – the spinal.  I would rather go through an unmedicated vaginal birth than have a spinal put in again.  Each jab was insanely painful – and there were about 10 to 15 of them at least.  After what seemed like eons of needles getting shoved in my spine, I was finally allowed to lay down on the table and the curtain went up.  I didn’t see much after that; all I was waiting on was for David to get in the room.  I knew everything would be okay once he was there.  Once he arrived, he was about to be his charming, joking self, but the doctor had to tell him to be quiet since they had started recording.  David mouthing “I love you” is one of the only clear memories left I have of that day.

Then, the fun began.  While I couldn’t feel any “pain” persay, I felt everything that was going on behind that curtain.  There was so much tugging and pulling and pressure.  David said that it looked like an earthquake with all the movement.  I even could tell the moment they pulled the baby out – there was some extra pressure, then a big release.  Before I heard him cry, I knew he was born.  Suddenly, the curtain fell a bit and my doctor held Dylan up over it to show us.  She was waiting for us to take a picture, but David could see me cut open and just wanted them to sew me back up.  I insisted that he take a picture of our new son or I would never forgive him.  As David says, “that was no place for a baby!”

They took the baby over to the table to clean him.  After insisting that he didn’t want to before the baby was born, David finally agreed to cut the umbilical cord.  I guess after seeing my surgery, cutting an unnecessary organ wasn’t such a big deal.  The most amazing part was that he was crying right until David started talking – then he stopped.  He already knew his voice.  Once Dylan was cleaned and swaddled, they brought him over to me.  I had no idea what to do with him.  I think someone finally told me to give him a kiss.  It was too surreal.  I was just laying on a table, and now I had a baby.  I asked them if I could try to breastfeed him before they took him away.  A nurse grabbed my boob and stuck it in his mouth, but he didn’t take.  They took him away to have a bath while I finished getting repaired.

Once I was done getting sewn up, I was supposed to be taken to a recovery room, but ended up in maternity triage instead, which was much noisier and less private.  I was held there for 2 hours without Dylan while I tried (unsuccessfully) to keep down my lunch and get some rest before being brought to my room.  Someone left the Heat game on, and I felt the need to tell everyone that I didn’t choose for it to be on the TV – it was already on when I arrived.  Finally, David and my parents took turns visiting me and giving me updates on the baby.  He absolutely hated his bath and fought with the nurse the whole time (an indicator of his current state).  He also got 9s on both APGARs thanks to his strength and penchant for screaming.  I, meanwhile, focused so hard on attempting to move my toes that I made myself sick.

After 2 hours, the nursed wheeled me to my room.  All of my family was in there with the baby waiting for me.  It didn’t last long, though, since I needed to try and nurse him again, so everyone left.  I don’t remember the rest of that day very well.  I remember Dylan fussing that night while David and I tried to sleep.  Every time he heard one of our voices, he would stop, though, so we spent most of the night shushing or saying his name to keep him calm.

I will try to remember the rest later & hopefully include more pictures – it’s hard getting an entry written and taking care of Dylan by myself at home (I started this entry almost a week ago).

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Reporting from the couch

So… what was supposed to be a couple of days of bed rest didn’t exactly go as planned (but what has these days?).  I went in to the ultrasound appointment on Thursday expecting to be told that everything is fine and that I would be back at work tomorrow.  Instead, I got an envelope and a one-way ticket to the hospital.  My fluid had dropped another centimeter, which was very concerning since I’d been drinking like a fish (why does that metaphor rub me the wrong way?) and hadn’t been on my feet TOO much.  The doctor decided to get me hooked up on IV fluids to see if that would help.

Poor doctor didn’t know what hit him because, with this news, I immediately burst into tears.  Poor David, too, because he’s been dealing with me crying every other day for a few days now (and I’m not usually a crier).  I think all the hormones have finally taken their toll on my tear ducts (although why couldn’t all this fluid go into my amniotic sac, hmmm????).

Anyhoo, we went home to pack a small hospital bag – which was, I’m sure, the reason I was sent to the hospital, because I hadn’t packed my hospital bag yet – and call my mom so that she could switch off shifts with the hubby as  he had to pick up our rocking chair that had just been delivered to the store with my in-laws and gather his stuff since he started his research assistant position that day.  We stopped off for dinner, since who knows when I would eat next, then to the hospital for admittance to labor and delivery.  I also made the mistake of reading the paperwork in the envelope on the way over, which gave guidelines for the various fluid levels: if they go above 8 cm, I go home; between 5 & 8, they wait until 37 weeks (which was in a week), then deliver; below 5, deliver immediately.  Now, the nice doctor didn’t mention the “deliver if under 5 cm” part to me, so this was a bit of a shock considering I was at 6 cm.

Once I was finally admitted, which was also my first chance to see the L&D rooms as the hospital doesn’t allow tours, I waited around for a while, then was finally hooked up to the IV fluids.  I also got my first cervical exam.  I got to find out the hard way that, apparently, my cervix is set far back.  For someone who is only 5 feet tall, I certainly got worn like a glove right then.  On the bright side, there was no dilation or effacement and no signs of any amniotic fluid leaking.

Once the fluids started, I swelled up like a Thanksgiving day parade balloon.  It was bad enough that my sister was able to tell that my IV arm was MORE swollen than the other over Skype.  And not even a GOOD Skype video connection!  I also shocked a nurse by sleeping through a whole slew of contractions.  Then, I got to see her face when telling her that I’ve had Braxton Hicks contractions since 19 weeks pregnant.  Poor hubby worked mostly through the night on his research while occasionally helping me with all my wires when I needed to use the bathroom, but that luckily impressed the professor he’s working for tremendously that he would work while his wife was in the hospital (it wasn’t like there was much else he could do while I was loaded up with saline).  I slept intermittently and was never so thankful for the horrible mattress we have at home compared to the hospital bed.

The next morning, we had the ultrasound, which, THANK THE SWEET BABY JEBUS, showed my fluid up to 9.5 cm.  This made me seriously pissed at the ultrasound tech the day before (especially since she was kind of mean, particularly when I asked what kind of breech position the baby was in, and her response was “it doesn’t matter, you’re going to have a c-section”).  The hospital tech thought that there could have been a chance that the one from yesterday couldn’t see some of the fluid pockets.  Either way, I got to get discharged with stricter bed rest instructions and a duty to drink even MORE water, which I’m not sure is possible, but I’m trying.

Even with the bed rest, hubby tried to make sure that I had a nice Mother’s Day yesterday.  He even drove me to the park across the street so that I could lay down on a bench outside to get some fresh air. Unfortunately, I also got a visit from my mom (not the unfortunate part) and my grandmother (that’s the ticket).  My grandmother, within 5 minutes of arriving, deemed that I looked like an elephant and asked me how much weight I’ve gained.  Now, I wouldn’t admit to her that I know how much I’ve gained, but for those of you playing the home game, it’s about 40 pounds, 14 of which happened between weeks 32 & 34 and are at least partly due to the fluid retained in my legs and hands.

Now, the coming attractions for this week: OB on Tuesday to schedule c-section if baby is still breech and general checkup, possible chiropractor on Wednesday with approval from OB if baby still hasn’t flipped, and the next ultrasound on Thursday to check fluid levels.  If fluid goes down again below 8, we could be looking at delivery this weekend.  Otherwise, we should be looking at delivering at beginning of June if breech, or, haha, when I go into labor if vertex (again, haha).  Tonight, my mom is coming over to help me pack my hospital bag for real.  We figure, it’s kind of like bringing an umbrella somewhere to make sure it doesn’t rain.  I’ve learned my lesson!!!

Taking off the boxing gloves, psychologically-speaking

So, after mentally psyching myself up for a fight with my OB about low intervention and monitoring the baby to see if/when he turns, blah blah blah, guess who still has a breech baby but no c-section scheduled… yet!

I’m getting one more week to get the baby on board with the whole “if you would just put your head down, you would probably be a lot more comfortable”-thing.  I’m still going to the chiropractor, and I think I can actually identify what position the baby is in at this point most of the time (I helped my doctor find the baby’s head this morning for the ultrasound even).  However, she is not forcing me to get induced if I show up on c-section day and the baby has flipped.  I feel a lot better knowing that my, er, his deadline is no longer at 36 weeks and is now up until 39 and a half (or whenever we’re scheduling the slice and dice) and that I don’t have to worry about an induction right now.

Rest is going less restful than it probably should be.  Saturday was my baby shower, and it was the most exhausted I’ve ever been after sitting for most of the time.  We got some nice swag and shouldn’t have TOO much more to get before this baby shows up.  We also had plenty of people show up, so we didn’t look like complete losers. It was  just the way we like a party – low-key and not too traditional.  I am still trying to eat all the leftover cupcakes from the cake… getting nice and buzzed on some artificial food coloring… yum.

Otherwise, trying to stay (get?) positive.  Supposedly, that can help everything relax and help the baby get into position.  That means no more talk about grounding a fetus and maybe using a nice tone of voice to relax him when he gets into awkward positions rather than grumble.  I have thank you cards to work on from the shower, and I’m trying to use this time to actually rest up so that I can maybe recover from some of this exhaustion that I’ve dealt with the past few weeks.  Perhaps I will actually be able to get stuff done when I get back to work.

Tips for increasing amniotic fluid levels or flipping breech babies while on semi-bed rest are welcome!

So, who didn’t see this coming…

Apparently, I didn’t.  Went in for my measuring ultrasound today and got put on rest to get my amniotic fluid levels up.  Baby is looking fine – all perfect scores on the biophysical profile (lots of movement, good muscle tone, strong heart rate, placenta doing it’s job, etc.), but my fluid levels were low.  At 35 weeks, they should be between 10-15 cm.  Critical level, which would be a 1-way ticket to the ER for IV fluids, is 5 cm.  I’m at 7 cm.  It’s not full bed rest, but I have to be resting for at least 50% of the day (laying on left side, blah blah blah).  I’m also supposed to be drinking enough water to be peeing every half-hour or so (now, even as a pregnant lady, I have a decent-sized bladder, so I don’t know how realistic that is), especially considering that I was already up to about a gallon a day (and did I mention I’m only 5 ft. tall???).

Also, baby STILL hasn’t flipped, despite my trips to the chiropractor and some other random tricks (most of which I don’t think I can do while on rest).  The doctor at the ultrasound facility seemed to still think there is time & room for the baby to turn over, so here’s to hoping something happens before my next ultrasound.  Baby is measuring, according to ultrasound (which I know is not very accurate), at around 5 lbs, 7 oz, which is a good size for gestational age and would predict around a 7-pounder at birth.  Not bad at all.

My next ultrasound is on Thursday, and I’m not allowed to go back to work until they check my fluids again.  I didn’t really have enough paid time off to get me through maternity leave before, so I have no idea what I’m going to do with missing 5 days of work.   Since I have to lay down most of the time, it’s not like I can even do much cleaning around the house or anything like that to be semi-productive.  At least baby is moving around like crazy right now to keep me company while hubby is in his second of 3 final exams.  Maybe I will try to restring my guitar – I had wanted to start playing again while I was pregnant so that the baby could hear the music when it was up against my belly.  Who has some tips for things to get done while on not-bed rest???

Blah, blah, more whining

As you can imagine, things are starting to get pretty hectic.  I went for my fancy 3-D ultrasound a little over a week ago.

Not included is the giant, glowing wang shot... NO doubt that he's a boy!

Unfortunately, we didn’t get many good images because, as the sonographer decided (despite my hospital ultrasound 4 days prior stating otherwise), my fluid levels were low.  Keep in mind, I’d been drinking close to a gallon of water a day per the hospital’s orders to the point my pregnant stomach was distended.  However, baby likes to smash his face right against the side of my uterus (something I could have told you without his help), which made things look a little precarious for him.

I brought this information to my OB on Tuesday, which, when added to a 14 pound weight gain in 2 weeks out of nowhere (most likely due to my newly found cankles), a 33 week/6 day fundus measuring at 35 weeks, and the breech positioning, now has me going in for my measuring ultrasound this Friday.  MOST fun part is that, if the baby is still breech, she’s going to go ahead (at 36 weeks) and set me up for a scheduled c-section (not take him early, but will schedule it then).  Then on the day of the c-section, she’ll do an ultrasound and, if he’s in vertex position, they will induce me then before he has a chance to flip.  GAH GAH GAH – I don’t WANT anything scheduled.  I would rather have an emergency c-section than a scheduled induction.  I want him to stay inside as long as possible to make sure it’s really his time to come out before we drag him kicking & screaming.

In a desperate attempt to get this baby to flip (and, also, because my back pain has gotten ridiculously out of control as of late), I’ve started going to the chiropractor again.  According to my chart, I hadn’t been there in over a year, and I recall exactly why I was there – I was actually in the midst of a pregnancy scare and thought that I would try an adjustment to get AF to show (or some other nice euphemism for a period).  Didn’t work, but holding the progesterone prescription (not even getting it filled!) did back then.  Anyways, I’ve made a couple of visits to the chiropractor, which, at the very least, cured me of my waddle.  Literally, my entire gait changed the first adjustment.  The doctor is also doing something called the “Webster Technique” to encourage room for the baby to turn.  It basically involves an adjustment on the pelvis (something I needed anyways) along with a light massage on one of my round ligaments.  We’ll see come Friday if this has had any effect at all.

So, in the midst of all of this, I need to find time to finish cleaning/organizing the house, pack my hospital bag, and finally get some of the laundry that is all around the house put away.  Oh, and my mom is throwing me and the hubby a baby shower on Saturday.  Hopefully we will have a better show than my bridal shower (5 people aside from my mother, grandmother, and my mom’s friend).  At least there will be boys at this party… (I don’t get along with girls very well).  I will have to watch out for the hubby, though, since the last co-ed baby shower we attended was also the last time he got completely plastered.  There won’t be any scotch at this one, though, so I think we are safe.

This baby is so grounded as soon as he’s born

I thought with our hospital visit back in January, we would be able to skip the late night, pre-labor Labor and Delivery run.  I guess that wasn’t the case.

(Obviously, if you couldn’t tell by the title, everything is fine)

After a day of not feeling the baby move hardly at all yesterday, plus not even being able to get to 10 kicks for kick counts (the complete opposite of my usual getting kicked simultaneously in the ribs and bladder), I finally broke down and called the doctor’s phone service.  The on-call doctor told me, of course, to go to the hospital.

We’ve done the drive to the hospital plenty of times for all the classes (childbirth, breastfeeding, CPR, etc.), but this was by far the longest ride, even with hubby running a red light.  Yeah, we’re outlaws.  I hadn’t realized that I’d become so used to the baby’s movements until they weren’t there.  I kept anticipating kicks that weren’t happening.  I felt a little ridiculous waddling up to the ER sign in desk and having them ask “is it time?”.  The nurse asked if I wanted a wheelchair to L&D.  The hubby is usually against that type of assistance (he’s trying to convince me that I should reject the wheelchair when we are leaving the hospital with the baby just to be a badass – which I won’t), but once she explained that it was a really far walk, I told them I would take it.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever actually been wheeled around in a wheelchair before.  It felt even weirder just getting up out of it when we reached our destination – like I was a fraud or lazy or something.

Everyone had to ask me how far along I was.  Since I suck at remembering what month (and I never know if I say the month I completed or the month I’m in), I always answer with what week I’m in.  However, I was also on the cusp on 33 weeks – my weeks change on Wednesdays, and it was quarter to midnight on a Tuesday.  Hubby was less than amused when I would joke that I would be 33 weeks in a few minutes.  Half of it was me attempting humor, but half was also my inability to do anything but precisely follow the rules (which, I think, he knew).

The first hour-ish of my stay involved me laying in a bed with a monitor that kept losing the baby’s heartbeat either from slipping or the baby being uncooperative as usual.  I was given a clicker to document any time the baby moved.  The problem was, with the monitors strapped to my belly, I couldn’t feel much of anything.  Finally, I was walked down to the ultrasound department where we would finally find out what the heck was going on as we really couldn’t figure out the point of me being on the monitors for so long.

Just an aside, I apparently rock at maternity triage, however.  I called 2 things correctly about other patients.  First was an order for “environmental services” to come to a room, or whatever you call the curtained-off area, and I totally predicted that it wasn’t a clean-up – the woman just left and they were resetting the room.  The second one was a bit more impressive.  A nurse came by saying that another woman’s water broke.  I whispered to hubby (the curtain was closed, so I couldn’t see anything anyways) that her water didn’t actually break, but she just peed herself (not that I blame her for that at all!).  Turns out I was right on both accounts.  If I didn’t hate dealing with bodily fluids and injured people and such, I probably could go in to nursing.

Anyways, the ultrasound is where everything went down.  Already long story short, baby managed to turn himself breech since my last ultrasound a month ago when he was vertex.  It probably happened the day before and was most likely the reason I couldn’t feel him kicking all of a sudden.  After passing every test this pregnancy with flying colors, finding this out was kind of like learning that your straight-A, all-star athlete kid is doing drugs behind your back.  I know, I know… plenty of time to move, blah blah blah.  I just don’t want a scheduled C-section.  I want to go into labor.  I want to at least try to deliver naturally before any attempt at surgery.  At least he was moving after being prodded by the ultrasound guy’s cattle prod.  Only half-joking about that – he literally had a buzzer that he would put against my stomach and sound to make the baby jump.  See, baby would move around just fine during all the other checks – breathing, heartbeat, fluid levels – but when it came time for the actual, you know, MOVEMENT part of the exam, he stopped.  This kid keeps proving how much of a pain in the ass he’s determined to be.  Finally, we got some video of independent movement, most of which I couldn’t feel BTW, and were sent on our way back to triage so that we could leave.

Also, some fun things we learned at the ultrasound: baby is doing his practice breathing (he better be for all of this trouble he’s causing), male ultrasound techs are not nearly as gentle as their female counterparts (especially when he’s pressing directly on my bladder and commenting on how full it is and how I must need to pee really bad), and I also have a fibroid a little over 2 cm wide.  Not quite sure how 5 other ultrasounds missed that, but whatever.

The whole visit was about 2 1/2 hours, which, for a hospital, is probably pretty good.  Unfortunately, that meant that we didn’t get home until almost 3am.  Needless to say, I’m damn tired today.

Also, as a post script, before we went to bed, hubby and I watched the Tupac hologram video from Coachella.  Of course, this is when the baby finally started moving again.  That is all.

Cranky pants

Ok, so pregnancy is officially kicking my ass (hence the lack of updates as I cannot stay awake long enough to compose an entire post).  That second trimester euphoria has been replaced (or, rather, forcibly removed) by third trimester exhaustion and swelling.  Everyone at work now comments on how I’m REALLY pregnant… or my waddle.  On a side note, NEVER tell a pregnant woman that she’s waddling unless you are offering her a chair and getting her whatever she needs.  Considering that the baby is stretching from my bladder to my rib cage, I don’t really think there’s enough room for the both of us in there, which is making me very nervous that he still has another 2 months to grow.

Basically, all of the edema and fatigue have made me more than a little cranky and weepy, which has led to a very short fuse.  On the plus side, I’m being a lot more forthright with people, especially those that are pissing me off.  However, it is also making me more ranty than usual.

For example, a friend of mine posted the following article on Facebook: Lactation Breeds Lack: The High Cost of Breastfeeding.  Now, the article itself isn’t anything to write home about.  It uses outdated data, draws conclusions where none really exist (although, I do agree with said conclusions), and focuses more on short-term solutions (such as better laws for expressing milk in the workplace) rather than the underlying issues (the major suckitude of maternity leave in the U.S.).  The worst part for me, though, was the comments.  Yes, I should know better than to ever read the comments section on any article, ever.  Now, do you think that is really going to stop me?

If you scroll down and see my replies, you will see exactly where I take offense. Women post responses declaring that the only reason this is even an issue is because women aren’t willing to leave their job with their precious money and sack up and take care of their children.  Now, excuse me while I go tear my hair out and scream!  First of all, looking at the state of the economy, I don’t know very many households that are sustainable on a single income, even when “making sacrifices” or “cutting back”.  Most people aren’t struggling in their finances because they have expensive tastes (and, generally speaking, those that are overspending aren’t the ones that recognize that they have financial issues in the first place) – it’s because companies are preying on a desperate workforce that doesn’t have a lot of options.  Jobs don’t have to pay competitively anymore because, really, where else are you going to go?  Secondly, that does not take in to account families where the woman is the breadwinner, not always by choice.  Hubby is in law school.  Should he sink the money already invested in his education to attempt to find a job that will pay significantly less than what he will be able to make once he is out of school?  And that doesn’t even BEGIN to address the issue of the single mother!  I despise the criticism that working mothers don’t love their children.  Do you really think that we all just go to work for that sweet, sweet cash?  Does it ever occur to you that we drag our asses to soul-sucking jobs day after day BECAUSE we love our children and want to make sure that they have food in their bellies and a roof over their heads?  That, were it not because of them, we would gladly quit and survive on ramen noodles and live in a cardboard box until we found a rich husband or a better job (with flex time and maternity leave that would allow us to actually breastfeed our babies).

This also leads me down another mental path, one that I have a hard time reconciling.  Now, people always say that if you can’t afford to have a child, then you shouldn’t have one.  In this day and age, though (and given the position that I am in), this feels elitist.  Sure, you shouldn’t be broke and in severe debt and expect to properly raise a child, but what is the “right” amount of money/income for having kids?  Are we saying that only the wealthy should be allowed to procreate?  That those in a less-than-ideal financial situation shouldn’t be able to start a family? It just starts to feel classist after a while when only the rich have access to the means necessary to reproduce.

I know I am having a hard time expressing my point properly, but my son is trying to escape out my belly button butt-first, and I need to get out from behind the computer now.