Little Rabbit Enters the World

Wow. I can hardly believe I am sitting here typing this at 5 days postpartum, with my little 5 day old girl. If reading about this is painful for you at the moment, I completely understand and please skip!

Monday our families drove down/flew in. We had some takeout pizza and then I went into the hospital to sleep with cervidil as planned. Sleep that night was pretty tough- not only because of all the monitoring and frequent adjustments but also because I had the worst heartburn episode of my whole pregnancy! I could not even recline and had to get the nurse to put antacid in my IV. After that, I did drift off a bit.

The next morning things happened swiftly. They started my pitocin around 7:30 am and my doctor broke my water. That was an outrageous experience! I thought it would be like 1 gush and then over- but things were just coming out of me all the time. I started getting contractions pretty much immediately. I asked for an epidural quickly only because I knew it would take a while to actually receive. Indeed, it took about an hour and a half/two hours. The nurse started me on a lot of fluids to try to prevent drops in BP that many people have. The Dr who placed my epidural was excellent- no nonsense and fast. It took effect basically immediately which was great because at that point contractions were getting tough to handle. I just remember the sensation of my whole torso tensing up and I couldn’t speak during those moments.

Unfortunately I did get the massive blood pressure drops they tried to avoid. It scared me because of how dizzy and faint I got but the nurse gave me a drug that helped right away. This was now the ‘boring’ part of labor- I didnt feel much pain but I had nothing to do except lie around and wait. The catheter was in at this point- so I was fully immobile. Mr Upside was running back and forth between the hospital room and the waiting room with our families to give updates. He also spoon-fed me Jello at one point which was really sweet.

I had planned not to let any family in the room but I honestly got bored and told them to come in. They sat and chatted for a bit until I realized I was experiencing a very different sensation- like vaginal contractions instead of uterine ones. I shot my husband a look and he got the family out of there. When the nurse came back to check I was 10 cm dilated and 100% effaced. She was completely shocked and called my OB.

I “labored down” for the next hour and Little Rabbit’s head made her way all the way down and became fully engaged. We got to the point where I was starting to push, but I had another BP drop and started shaking intensely all over my body. Mr Upside got really worried at this point and honestly so did I. I thought I might get sick and heaved into the barf bag but nothing came up. Finally the nurse got me some more meds to elevate the BP and I started being functional again- although the shaking continued. I was worried but apparently whole body shakes are a common side effect of the epidural.

The pushing went really well– too well actually because I was told I had to stop or I’d have her before my OB got there! Once she did, I swear it was only like 15 min of pushing- but the last 5 were UNBELIEVABLY HARD. I thought my whole body would split in two and I kept yelling “I CAN’T!” The last push was so difficult and painful I was about to cry- and didnt even realize I had pushed her out until she was on my chest. I immediately burst into tears.

Holding her on my chest- seconds after the immense pressure/pain- was the single most overwhelming moment of my life. My daughter was here, in the world, and everything had changed forever. I just remember my husband tearing up and holding my hand while Little Rabbit wailed.

Finally, they took her from me and cleaned her up. Her Apgar was 9/10. She was just perfect.

The days/nights that followed were tough. She had blood sugar issues that kept us in the hospital and extra day. My breastfeeding was really challenging and I have now had to stop- at least temporarily- and exclusively pump due to nipple damage. I had a few breakdowns in the hospital that I wouldn’t have gotten through without my husband’s support.

We were able to leave on Friday afternoon and have been home ever since.

Quite frankly, my emotions have been all over the place- crying for a variety of strange reasons, not all sad. I know my hormones are going through the ringer right now, so I am trying to not get ahead of myself and let it play out. She is just the most incredible thing that ever happened.

 

 

Current Mission: Don’t Have a Baby in a Flood

So I am 38 weeks + 1 day with Little Rabbit.  I had another cervix check last Wednesday and I was dilated 2 cm (!) but not yet effaced. Doctor sent me home with some instructions to have sex, sit on birthing ball, in hopes to progress a little more.

Well that line of reasoning changed fairly rapidly! Hurricane Harvey hit Texas last night, and although I am not in the worst part of the storm path, by any stretch, we are going to be getting days- and days and days- of rain and probable floods. We have a bunch of low lying areas- not directly in front of our house, but around it. I now am trying to rest and relax, and tell her to stay put for at least 4 or 5 days. Mr Upside said he has figured out a route we can take to the hospital, if need be, that avoids the flood plains, but the general feeling is ominous and daunting. And I know it will only get worse.

We’re lucky to be out of the main path of any destruction without a doubt. But the timing isn’t great, as I approach 100% full term. On one hand, I want to progress so that induction is easier- but it’s a balance of making sure she doesn’t come TOO early and cause issues in this weather.

There’s always something!

Induction Discussion

I am 37 weeks + 2 days with Little Rabbit. We had our last sonogram last week, and she is measuring ahead in most places, but namely, her head. It is 99th percentile (it has been for a while) and while she is a good girl, head-down, there are concerns about my body being able to deliver her naturally. (By naturally I mean vaginally). I don’t exactly have wide birthing hips. I’m a really petite person and there’s been discussion about what to do to avoid a c-section.

So, they scheduled an appointment for an induction on September 4— if she doesn’t come earlier. I would go in the evening of the 3rd to take cervidil and sleep in the hospital. Then, 12 hours later, assuming everything goes to plan, I would start pitocin and get the show on the road.

Given that my due date is September 8, it’s not a lot of difference- but they didnt want me to go past my due date, and this was the time that worked out with the hospital I guess.

In order to avoid a high likelihood of a c-section, I’d have to be at least 2 cm dilated. When my doctor checked me last week I was 1.5!!! So I am feeling hopeful I will be in a position where I get to 2. Still, though, there is no guarantee I won’t need a c-section. And I am okay with that. I’m honestly less scared of a c-section than I am a long, painful labor where I don’t progress.

It’s hard to believe we are at this point. Two more weeks. I cannot wait to meet you, little girl.

35 Weeks + 2 Days: Slowing Down, Speeding Up

In a few days I will officially reach the milestone of being 9 months pregnant. The past few weeks have definitely felt tougher than the ones before. My belly is so gigantic now, taking up a large percent of my overall body!

Some things are slowing down while others are speeding up. I now go in to see my OB every week! Which feels crazy after waiting a month between appointments up until now. We got to see Little Rabbit on Friday and she turned her head to give us a cute but creepy darth vader sonogram photo 😉 She is head-down, estimated to be about 5 lbs 12 oz. That is the size of a real baby!

My digestion seems to have slowed even more than prior months. My heartburn has picked up like crazy because of it. I am moving slower too, because it takes so much out of me.

Work, however, is not slowing down. I am on massive deadlines to finish 2 major projects before my little girl makes her entrance. Its getting harder and harder but I know I can do it. Then I get a 3 month “break” to spend with my new family.

My 36 week appt will involve a cervix check- so I guess I’ll see how low she is and if I have dilated at all. Often I hope for her to come a week or two early; then I think about my work and realize- that may not be enough time!

Home stretch, either way….

32 Weeks and a Baby Shower

I’m currently 32 weeks + 4 days with Little Rabbit. My belly is bigger and bigger by the minute, work is nuts, and I’m starting to feel more fatigue settle in. Getting up once I’ve relaxed on the couch is HARD!

Last weekend we had 2 baby showers. The first was girls-only and was hosted by my mom’s friends. It was really sweet of them- they made some potluck brunch, we played a game, and they were so generous with gifts. Later on that evening, we had our main baby shower- a couple’s one, hosted by our friends. The main pic here is me, swinging at a piñata and everyone else staying far far back 🙂

Last week we had our 32 week scan- and everything looked good! She is head-down which is great, and about 42nd percentile. My fasting glucose was 12 points lower than the previous reading, which means my GD diet, even when its annoying, is really working. I was so thrilled to hear that!

Things are getting real now- really real. We have the vast majority of our baby gear, we’ve taken an infant safety class, I got my breast pump, I am trying to rapidly finish (or at least make significant progress on) my work projects– and really, the countdown is on.  I still can’t believe I am here and even though I am still anxious sometimes, I could not be more grateful.

Less than 8 weeks to go…

Glucose Failure: She’s Sweet Enough Already

Well, I failed my 1 hour glucose test. Not by a few points, but by 40 points. My fasting glucose was about 92, which is on the high side, and my levels after drinking that nasty orange sludge was 180. What’s more is that my OB doesn’t do 3 hour tests- she believes that if you fail the first one, your body isn’t tolerating glucose well enough to drink more of the sugar for 3 hours. So she treats you as if you have gestational diabetes.

Honestly? I was really upset about it Monday and yesterday morning. I felt like a total failure, I felt pissed off, I felt like I let Little Rabbit down, I felt like…how is it that I’m a petite person, who has gained 21 lbs so far, and I fail, but there are people who gain 75 lbs in their pregnancies and they pass???

I’ve settled down a bit: it’s not my fault. I’m not doing anything “wrong” for Little Rabbit. It’s just the way my placenta is interacting with my body.

That doesn’t mean I’m happy about it. I’m really disappointed. I worry about the complications- for me and for my baby. I read things online that tell me I have a 7 fold increased likelihood of developing diabetes in my life. I read things like baby girl could have hypoglycemia when she is born, which is dangerous, or have lifelong metabolism problems. I know that most of the risk comes when GD is uncontrolled, but I still hate to think I’m risker than I was a month ago.

So, no cookies, cake, ice cream, fruit juice, honey, syrup, cereal, jam- etc- for me. I have to cut back on my fruit. I have to cut back on my carbs. I am supposed to be eating more meat (which is weird to me)- beef and pork are on the OK list but granola is not! Like, this totally flies in the face of how I typically eat in general.

I even went to the gym today. It’s too hot already to walk outside, so I spent some time on the treadmill and with small weights. It’s not what I want to be doing when my body is so big and uncomfortable, but I feel too guilty not trying it out.

My next appt is in 3 weeks- and I have to come fasting to get another blood draw. Hoping I can stick to this diet and when I go back in, I won’t need insulin (just such a bizarre thought).

Babymoon and Third Trimester

Hello! I am fresh off our babymoon in San Diego and am still a bit jet lagged. It’s amazing how 2 hours can make a difference. We timed everything pretty amazingly, since I wasn’t technically in my third trimester until today. So we really snuck it in under the wire.

San Diego was absolutely gorgeous. We spent 2 days with a lot of our friends who flew out with us, then 2 1/2 days by ourselves. Being by the ocean is a constant calming force for both Mr Upside and me. The weather was a high of 72 the whole time. Much better than the major heat and humidity we left (and have now come back to).

We did a very minor hike in Torrey Pines– I couldn’t handle much else, honestly, with an extra 20+ lbs on my belly. But honestly getting away for just 4 days made a big difference in my anxiety. It’s such a truly beautiful and calming place to be.

My heartburn is pretty bad right now, but I wonder if a lot of that has to do with my diet. I pretty much ate whatever I wanted since I was on vacation. Restless Leg Syndrome had been a bit better for about a week, but last night it got me GOOD. I have all these leg vibration devices, but for some reason last night my RSL was fighting through them, which hasn’t happened before.

I have my gestational diabetes test on Monday, which I’m NOT looking forward to, but its a necessary evil. The third trimester is going to be tough, but it is all 100000% worth it for my little girl.

26 Weeks

Good afternoon-  I am officially 26 weeks pregnant with my miraculous Little Rabbit. That also means officially 6 1/2 months, though I have been saying that for the past 5 days anyway.

Pregnancy symptoms

  • Sore back: traveling makes this much much worse. I have a pregnancy pillow that has helped a lot but it is SO massive (U-shaped) that I really can’t bring it anywhere- so sleeping at hotels isn’t good for my lower back. Neither is flying! After 10 hours of airplane time in the last 48 hours, I can definitely say that my back is really affected by those uncomfortable sardine seats.
  • Heartburn: My heartburn is pretty frequent, but it’s a minor-to-moderate irritation/annoyance.
  • RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME: This started about 2 weeks ago and it has been the most brutal part of pregnancy thus far. It happens at night, and I have had a terribly hard time with it. You can’t go to sleep, no matter how tired you are, when you feel like your legs are burning/itching/being zapped or electrocuted. It’s the strangest thing. I may have found a possible solution though. I have compression socks that I sometimes used for running, and I have worn them the past 3 nights- they have been a TREMENDOUS help so far, but I worry about jinxing it.

About 3 days ago, one of my best friends gave birth to her son! He came early, though she was already scheduled for an early C-section due to the fact that he was breech. She was miserable and swollen the last few weeks of her pregnancy, and so far, her recovery has been very good. I’m so happy for her and I have the chance to see him next week which is very exciting.

One thing that caught me off guard, though, when she texted about his birth, was jealousy. It was so strange. It’s not because I’m miserably uncomfortable and want to get this show on the road- I’m not (despite the RLS). It’s much different than that. It’s that she already knows. She already knows that her baby was born healthy, is thriving, isn’t preterm, and that her recovery and birth process went well. Although there is no indication that LR won’t be perfectly healthy and full term, anxieties plague me often. I’ve had a challenging time this entire pregnancy fully letting go and acting like a “normal” pregnant person who doesn’t have a care in the world. I still get hesitant about buying baby things, but at this point I also know I need to get her nursery set up! I’m immensely grateful to be where I am right now- tho I know all too well that really anything can happen and nothing is guaranteed. But this is true in ALL of life, not just pregnancy. So I’ve been working on my meditation and just general ability to sit with my feelings and immerse myself in the joy of baby girl’s kicking.

Being so busy has helped as well. My boss sent me on a whirlwind trip to DC this week, complete with multiple layovers and getting home at midnight. I was upset about it at first but it actually ended up being a pretty interesting trip. I am tired, but more functional than I worried I might be- since I had to get up at 4 to catch a flight, have 12 hours of intense meetings, and manage to get home into my bed after midnight the next day. Work is important to me, though. It’s nice to have reminders and experiences that are different or bigger than pregnancy, and I can get out of my own head about it and experience my regular life and contribute in a way I feel good about.

And I have even more travel coming up! Next week I am spending time out of town for work, which I actually get to merge with seeing my brother, who I don’t often get to see. Then, Mr Upside and I are going on a mini babymoon to San Diego! We are staying at his parents’ place right by the beach, and they won’t be there.

Then I have 1 more work trip and presentation at the end of June- and after that I am quitting flying until I have the baby. Looking forward to that.

 

24 Weeks 4 Days: Little Rabbit is “Perfect”

Sometimes speaking up is a great idea.

After my last blog about our ridiculous experience with the nurse after our anatomy scan, I wrote a “review” of our experience that went directly to my OB’s practice (not a public Yelp review). I got a call on Friday from someone named Jacy who is a team lead nurse and left a voicemail– I couldn’t call her back because we were in North Carolina setting up for my best friend’s wedding and I got basically 0 reception at the venue. Anyway, when I returned I called her back- and we had a great conversation! She thanked me so much for providing feedback, apologized profusely, and even laughed at some of my stories. I forget which one of you mentioned Candid Camera or Punk’d, but she basically said the same thing!

Turns out the “nurse” is actually a Medical Assistant not a RN or LPN. She has been there for 2 weeks and came from working in some hospital’s emergency room. She has been placed under direct supervision now until her training is more adequate. And, what’s more, we have a note on our file that we are to be given the other staff nurses, not her. So that avoids future awkward moments.

The best part is she had our file in front of her and confirmed Little Rabbit is “just perfect.” Her 40th percentile is a great place to be, and my cervix, at 40 mm, is perfect and “pretty much rules out very preterm labor.” It was wonderful to hear, from someone competent.

Just goes to show, speaking up and letting people know when your care is subpar, as long as the practice or clinic is otherwise responsible, is a great idea.

23 Weeks 5 Days: All Over the Map

Little Rabbit had her anatomy scan today! It was really hard waiting until about 24 weeks instead of doing it at the regular 20. The sonogram was very long- like 40 minutes of getting close-ups of all her parts, including arteries and placenta blood flow, etc. It’s pretty shocking how much they can see. When I was born I am sure my parents barely saw sonograms of me at all!

Overall, her weight is 40th percentile, which is great. She is estimated to be 1 lb 4 oz. Strangely, though, some of her other measurements are all over the map. Her femur length (measured on one leg) was shown to be in the 5th percentile, which was odd. And yet her occipitofrontal diameter (say that 10x fast)– basically diameter of her head– was in the 90th percentile. Big head, short legs? I wouldn’t be surprised if that were true- but, I think given that these things jump percentiles with every mm, something seems off– I bet she’s not THAT short with THAT big a head. There really are limitations to these sorts of measurements.

The important thing is that her scan was determined to be normal. All her parts are there (including lady parts!) The sonographer remarked “yep, still a girl!”

The second part of our appointment was really disappointing, but I’m trying not to dwell because it isn’t important. But we did not get to see our doctor to go over results– rather, someone who I think was a kind of nurse, but sadly, was not competent. Mr Upside asked a question about what the baby percentile is calculated from– weight? length? She answered “it’s just based on your baby. Like, people get worried, but it just means she’s 40% of your baby.” Um……we just stared at each other and it went downhill. She didnt understand how to take my blood pressure. So after a few attempts she finally stopped. She told me my cervical length was 4 cm (it is- and that is great)- and that it’s going to keep growing to get ready for labor- 10 cm! OK. No. I have no medical training (outside of google) and I know that cervixes shorten before labor, not lengthen. She means dilation. And believe me, I am NOT 4 cm dilated!

It was not a great experience and I had to write a note to the practice. She’s perfectly nice but should not be working there. It was not confidence inspiring. Had this been our first time, we would have run for the hills. But everyone else there has been so great, that it’s okay- just glad to not have our regular care provided by her.

At the end of the day, the thing that matters is that Little Rabbit is growing strong. Over 1 lb! And on Friday I’ll be officially 6 months. She’ll hit her first viability milestone. And I’ll be a bridesmaid in a wedding this weekend so we are off on a big trip tomorrow! Baby’s first wedding.