March 28, 2012

A's Birth Story

The day before A’s birthday, we had our last ultrasound at the perinatologist’s office. Fittingly, the same ultrasound tech who did our very first ultrasound there wound up doing the last one as well.

What a difference seven months makes.

During our first one, I was terrified of what we would (or rather, wouldn’t) see and had R hand me the tissue box before we even started so that I wouldn’t have to ask for it if I needed it later on. During the last ultrasound, I knew I had felt A moving around that day, and there was no thought of the tissue box and no particular worry about what the screen would show.

There also weren’t any indications that the little miss was going to come early, so I figured we had one last weekend to get some things done. We were planning one last dinner date as a couple on March 17, and that afternoon I was sitting on the couch working on some thank you notes.

At first, I thought my bladder had leaked a little bit. Then after I felt the leaking sensation a couple more times, I realized it probably wasn’t my bladder after all.

I went to the bathroom to confirm my suspicion that it was amniotic fluid. I expected it to possibly be pink-tinged, but I didn’t expect there to be bright red/pink blood. I knew it wasn’t just blood – there was definitely other fluid as well – but it was a lot more blood than I expected.

I called the peri’s office. I knew that we were going to the hospital regardless of what the peri said, and fortunately, the doctor on call (the other doctor in the practice) agreed that we should go. I was concerned about the possibility of a placental abruption. (Because, yes, I always have to have something to worry about.)

We didn’t have our bags completely packed. I was surprised at how calm we both stayed while we tried to grab a few more things, although R said later on that he was anything but calm on the inside. After a couple of minutes, the concern about the possibility of an abruption got the best of me, and I told R that I just wanted to get to the hospital without any more delay.

It was a 30-minute drive. He stayed calm and resisted the urge to peel down the freeway at 80 miles an hour while honking at anyone in his way. :-)

Once we arrived, he dropped me off at the hospital entrance so that I could head up to the Birthing Center while he parked. I was afraid I might leave a trail of amniotic fluid and blood behind me, but fortunately I had bought some super-absorbant pads and had put one on before we left the house, so that didn’t seem to be the case.

The peri’s office had called ahead for us, so as soon as I got to the Birthing Center, they whisked me to a triage room and had me change into a gown. There was a lot more blood by that point, and any thought of a vaginal delivery completely left my mind.

One of the nurses immediately hooked me up to monitors, and thankfully A’s heartbeat sounded steady and strong, which provided some reassurance. The nurses agreed that there was more blood than they would expect to see, but eventually they decided it was probably all related to my water breaking and nothing else bad going on.

We got to the Birthing Center around 5 p.m., and at 6 p.m., one of the nurses announced that they’d be taking us to the surgery suite between 7 and 7:30 p.m. I was surprised, because we had eaten lunch at 2:30 p.m., so I figured we’d have to wait until closer to 10 or 11 p.m. But apparently the anesthesiologist said it would be okay to go earlier. Earlier rather than later sounded great to me!

They wheeled us in to surgery a few minutes after 7 p.m., putting R in a separate waiting room while they did the spinal block on me. I was nervous about the idea of a needle in my back, but it turned out to be no big deal. One of the nurses stood in front of me and let me grip her hands. I said “ouch” a few times, but it really didn’t hurt that badly – it was more just the fact that I was feeling the pain in an unusual location rather than my butt or tummy. Seriously, PIO injections seem worse to me.

A few minutes later, the C-section got underway. I felt some tugging, more than I expected, as they pulled A out, but no pain. We heard a small cry before they suctioned her, and then as soon as they did that, the loud, healthy cries began.

I finally exhaled the breath that I had been holding for 9 months. She was here!

That cry was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. There were tears, and I still tear up thinking about that moment now, but not as many tears as I expected, because I was focused on watching her as they cleaned her up. (They brought her to us very briefly before taking her over to the isolette.) Once they were done, R was able to carry her over to me.

Finally, after all these years, we became a family of three.

March 23, 2012

Meet Miss A

Belated, but as promised, pictures of Miss A:

Our first kiss, a few minutes after she was born:

The rest of these were taken by the photographer who came around in the hospital. At this point it's all a blur, but I'm pretty sure that was on Monday, so she's less than 48 hours old.

I can't believe how tiny she looks in her daddy's hands:

A rare picture with her eyes open. What her hair color looks like may vary based on screen settings, but it's blonde. Most of the nurses were referring to it as platinum with highlights, because it gets darker at the ends. R and his siblings were all very blonde growing up, as was my dad. It looks like there's some brown mixed in with the blue in her eyes, so she may wind up with my brown eyes, but I wouldn't complain if she wound up with R's eyes too, because they're a great shade of blue.

This is her in her going-home-from-the-hospital outfit. (We haven't downloaded the photos of that day yet.) It's hard to see in these photos, but the gown has a very delicate eyelet pattern to it and a rose at the center of the collar.

I want to write posts about the birth, our hospital stay, and coming home, but I won't make promises on when that will happen, given how slow I was to get these posted.

One funny note I will leave you with - within the first 24 hours of being home, we've been both projectile pee'd upon (I was doing diaper duty, and thankfully had a quick enough reflex to get out of the way), and projectile poo'd upon. (R was on diaper duty and unfortunately did not have that same reflex. The look on his face as he looked down at his poo-splattered shorts was priceless.)

Yes, this is what we signed up for. And are enjoying every single sleep-deprived moment of it. :-)

March 18, 2012

She's Here!!!

After 9 years and 9 months, we're holding our daughter in our arms.

Her name is Al.e.xa She weighs 7 lb. 12 oz. and is 20.5 inches long. She seems to be a breastfeeding champ.

It looks like she has R's blond hair, may potentially wind up with my brown eyes (I know it's not definitive for quite a while), and my dad's curly hair. Both of us think she kind of looks like him.

Pics and more details to come in the next few days. She arrived the evening of St. Patrick's Day (March 17) at 38w1d after my water broke. There was a lot of blood mixed in, which freaked me out, and I wasn't having any sort of real contractions, so we went the c-section route.

March 12, 2012

9 Days (At The Most)

We are down to the single digits. The shorter the timeframe, the more slowly it seems to go.

Tomorrow is my last day of work, and then I'm taking a week of vacation time before FMLA starts. There are no signs yet of her coming early.

Overall I've been feeling pretty good, both physically and mentally, but I had another freakout day yesterday afternoon. Everything had been fine up until lunch, and then Kiddo started moving around a lot more than normal for the rest of the afternoon/evening. Plus, she was all bunched up on my left side, which is unusual - I think she's spent about 90 percent of this pregnancy on my right side so far, and if she ventures over to the left, she heads back to the right fairly quickly.

So I broke out the doppler three times yesterday, and even though I could hear her heart rate and the cord flow, I still wasn't 100 percent reassured. I didn't call the doctor's office, though, because I figure they'll tell me that as long as she's moving, everything is fine.

I'm doing better this morning. Still not 100 percent, but better. Although work has been stressful, one of the nice things about it is that it's kept me from obsessing too much every day. It will be interesting to see what I'm like starting on Wednesday. By Wednesday afternoon, the doppler may be duct-taped to my belly...

March 04, 2012

17 Days and Counting...

The days are flying by. It's hard to believe we're 2 1/2 weeks away at the most.

During our Tuesday appointment, the doctor checked my cervix. I joked with R that it was ironic how we've spent so long trying and there have been so many people inspecting that part of my anatomy, and then ever since we've gotten pregnant, there have been very few physical exams of that area. This was the second or third one at the most.

Anyway, the doctor said Kiddo's head had started to move down and my cervix was starting to soften slightly, but I hadn't dilated at all. She thinks I'll go all the way to the 21st.

We had another growth scan on Friday (36 weeks), and the measurements indicated Kiddo weighs 7 lb. 4 oz. However, the tech said girls tend to weigh less than the estimates, so she thinks Kiddo is in the upper 6 lb. range at this point.

I was concerned again that Kiddo's size could be because of the gestational diabetes, but the tech said it's not just her soft-tissue circumferences (like her belly) that are measuring large, but her bone lengths are also long, so the tech doesn't think her size is due to the GD. I don't know if the tech was just trying to make me feel better, but I'll ask the doctor about it on Tuesday.

It does make sense that Kiddo would be on the large side regardless, since other than me at 5' 7" and R's mom at 5' 1", everyone else in the immediate family, including R's sister, is 5'10" or taller. And all of us are medium or large builds - we aren't exactly a petite bunch.

Last weekend, we ventured out to a baby store with a friend of mine to buy a few more essentials. I was still a bit freaked out about allowing things to cross the threshold, but my friend said it doesn't count if the tags are still on and we still have the receipts, so I'm trying to be okay with it. Everything is still in bags, though - I haven't made progress to the point of washing things yet.

I am, however, now driving around with a car seat base in the back seat of my car.

I called the Fire Department this week to make an appointment because I'd heard it takes a few weeks to get on the schedule for car seat inspections, but when they called me back on Friday, they had an opening for yesterday. So we went, and I'm glad we did, because getting it installed in my car properly was tough.

But I was also really happy to find out that we can also use the car seat in the back seat of R's truck. His truck is old (1998) and has clamshell doors rather than a full crew cab with four full-size doors, so I thought we'd have to put the car seat in the passenger seat in his truck and shut off the airbag. But fortunately the back bench in his truck is deep enough that it fits safely. So yea for that!

March 02, 2012

Scan Pics for Mo

For those of you who don't know Mo from Life and Love in the Petri Dish, she is in a place very similar to where I was in August - at the beginning of pregnancy #7 and having a hard time believing it could possibly end well. I'm taking a look back and posting pictures of my earliest ultrasound scans so she can compare them.

The first two are from our ultrasound at 6w0d. The sac looks very kidney-shaped. The yolk sac was visible, but it just looked like a ring with an empty center, and it would be visible on the screen for a second and then gone the next moment, depending on exactly how the wand was positioned at the time.

These images are from another scan done at 6w6d. The sac looks really abnormally shaped in the first picture. It looks a bit better in the second one, but the yolk sac isn't definitively visible in the second one like it is in the first.

It's hard to imagine those first tiny images have turned into an actual live, practice-breathing baby, but somehow, incredibly, they have...Here is hoping the same for Mo, and for all of you who are in the process of working toward these kinds of images of your own.