Hello, Julia!

Julia is here!

Julia finally made it here!  I was 41 weeks and 6 days when I went into the hospital to try induction this past Monday.  Luckily, when I arrived I was already in labor, dilated to 3 cm!

Julia came 14 hours later at 6:51 PM, weighing in at a crazy 9 lbs., 13 oz., and is 21.5″ long.  She’s got dark hair and gray blue eyes that I think will turn green like mine.  We got home this afternoon, and I’ll put up some new pictures in the next couple of days.  Until then I’ve got to get used to nursing, then napping, then nursing, then napping my days (and NIGHTS!) away!


Julia Update

I just went to the midwife (well I just ate a boatload of chips and salsa, but before that I was at the midwife’s).  Julia is doing fine, about 16″ long at this point and 4-ish pounds.  I’ve only gained about 17-20 pounds (hence the chips and salsa craving, maybe?  LOL).  Everything is awesome, except that Julia is back to a breech position again.  She’s actually in an oblique breech position, which means that instead of being straight up and down she’s diagonally head-up in there.  What I thought were kicks are really punches!

She has several weeks to turn again, which the midwife said was likely.  If she’s still upside down at about 35 or 36 weeks, then we’ll start talking about what’s called an external version, during which my midwife and attending doctor will try to force her to turn as a result of outside pressure.  The worst case would be that I have to have a c-section.  I’m trying not to be very upset about the higher possibility of such a stupid birth, but it’s difficult to remain completely logical in this hormonal state.  Until then I’m going research a bit about encouraging the baby to turn on her own; there are some techniques that might help.

Hazel’s Birth

I went into the hospital on Monday, August 25th, at 3 pm to be induced.  She was already 12 days late, and just a couple of days longer would have put her at risk for all kinds of nasty things.  The doctor inserted a progesterone gel onto my cervix around 4:30 pm, and then we waited.  My mom and I stayed at the hospital while Amos went home, hopefully to get a good night's sleep on a real bed.  The doctor gave me an Ambien to help out with that, and poor Momma was just stuck with a cot.  We settled in for the night around 10 or 10:30 pm, nervous and excited but also tired.

At 2 am I woke up to a wet bed.  When I stood up to go to the bathroom I felt a trickle down my legs, and I saw puddles on the floor and on my bed.  I was pretty out of it, though, so I went to the bathroom to try to clean up, thinking I had somehow wet the bed, and laid back down.  When I realized things were still happening down there Momma called the nurse to report my water breaking.  She knew right away that my water had broken and also noted the meconium staining, which isn't good news but was manageable since we were already at the hospital.  A quick call to Amos, then we moved to a labor and delivery room.  At 4:30 am I started the pitocin drip as planned, and we settled in for the labor.

After that things get fuzzy for me.  Contractions built steadily.  At first they were short and breathless, and gradually they moved into longer, more defineable pains that had a definite peak.  I grew more and more focused on the pain and less on what was happening around me.  People talking and coming and going, the sun coming up through the blinds, shifting from the bed to the ball to the shower; everything became jumbled into one long back and forth with the pain.  I moved around, walked to the bathroom, sat up, got on the ball, tried everything to get past the gripping, breathtaking pains that fell from breasts to thighs.  After eight hours I asked for pain medication, and the nurse gave me staydol in my IV.  

Let me backtrack for just a second.  When I started the labor I had a couple of things working against me, mainly lack of sleep.  Sunday night I tossed and turned, too excited to sleep much, and Monday I got three or four hours before my water broke.  Add to that the Ambien and you've got one sleepy mother-to-be going into the labor.  For hours I fell asleep between contractions, even if for a minute or two.  So, when I got the staydol, I didn't feel much relief from pain, but more sleepiness and exhaustion that I was trying to fight off.  I hated it but was so out of it I couldn't really tell anyone.  I ended up having two doses, but I have no idea about the time span in between.

After a time my contractions started piggybacking one another.  The uterine monitor wasn't working well for me, not catching my contractions as they actually came, so Amos started to really time things to tell the nurse.  He noted that they were coming every 70 to 90 seconds and lasting for 60 seconds – meaning I had 10 to 30 seconds in between to rest.  I remember the midwife at one point trying to do an exam and me screaming at her to stop, because the contractions were so fast and intense I couldn't take the extra pressure.  I was still only dilated about 4 cm at this point.

Even though I was upset and felt horrible, I asked for an epidural.  I just couldn't take it anymore, and anything to get some relief was a necessity.  I remember having three contractions while the doctor administered the shot, but not much else.  Finally I was able to lie down and relax a bit; I still felt contractions, but they felt more like they had hours ago.  I slept for a bit, only waking somewhat to feel the contractions and then drifting right back off.  The rest allowed me to dilate fully, although I remember absolutely nothing about getting there.  I woke up and was ready to push.

This was the best part.  After being a victim to pain for hours I could finally control the action, and thanks to the epidural I had gotten a little sleep.  I first felt the urge to push about 2:45 pm; I had been out of it for so long that I remember looking at the clock and being surprised at how late it was.  Momma and Amos each held one of my legs so I could push against their hands.  The first few pushes I used to kind of feel where to push from.  Pushing correctly is a lot harder than it sounds.  As she moved down inside me things again built in intensity.  I screamed a little with each one, both to release tension and to remind myself of my job.  It was the hardest and best thing I've ever done.  I felt her the whole time, and the final push when she came out was just amazing and wonderful.  At exactly 3:10 pm she was born, all slippery and warm on my chest.

Beautiful, dark hair, tiny feet, long fingers.  8lbs, 2 oz.  20.5 inches long.  She didn't cry much at first.  I will never forget her first wide-eyed stare at my face.  I just remember thinking, this is my baby, this really happened and now she's here and I can hold her.  It was indescribeable.

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8 lbs, 2 oz

We are home.  We are three!

Auburn Hazel was born at 3:10 pm on Tuesday, August 26th.  She was 8 lbs, 2 oz and 20.5 inches long, with a full head of hair and a dimpled chin.

I was going to type out the whole thing but I just started crying because this chip I ate was too spicy.  You can't make this stuff up.  Me & my hormones are going to take a nap, and I'll be back with the full report and some photos very soon!

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Today, Tomorrow

I'm headed to the hospital this afternoon at 3 pm to start the induction process.  Today they'll put on the progesterone gel and tomorrow morning I'll start an IV with pitocin, the dread contraction drug.  I'm so wound up and confused…this is how I'm feeling right at this moment:

1.  Excited to finally meet the baby
2.  Happy my mom's going to be here
3.  A bit relieved to not be pregnant anymore
4.  A bit sad to not be pregnant anymore
5.  Very, very creeped out and upset that I'll be induced instead of having a natural birth
6.  Worried that it will hurt worse than it could have had it been natural
7.  Defensive when people keep saying, "A healthy baby is all that matters," meaning get over your feeling about being induced.
8.  Also furious about #7.
9.  Scared I'm going to snap her neck or she'll have some congenital disease or something equally horrible.
10.    Very irritated and prickly at nothing and everything, off and on.

Probably I should add exhausted to that list.  I mean, wouldn't you be if you kept switching back and forth through all that?  But I'm too hyper/upset to be tired.  This whole process really just creeps me out.  Do you know what I mean?  That every aspect, even getting a good night's sleep beforehand (via "something to help you sleep," which is just vague and that is also annoying) is planned out and controlled.  Did you know that tomorrow if they stopped the pitocin I would stop being in labor?  So, technically, we can even control how long the labor will last.  It's creepy!!!!!!!  I really, really hate it and am totally jealous of the 50 bazillion women who have had natural births.  At the same time I'm terrified that if I insisted we wait past the magic 42 week deadline she'll immediately be huge or deformed or start dying.  Seriously, this is the kind of thing I've read and been told might happen.  So what would you do?  Of course, opt for the clinical scary gross birth instead of risk the baby being harmed somehow.  Sigh – rock and a hard, sterile place.

And please, no platitudes.  Like I said up top, this is my birth experience.  It's not just about having a healthy baby – and believe me, I am so anxious and elated to meet her finally and to get to be her mother.  Apart from her, though, it's this awesome, personal, feminine experience for me, and I think I'm right to feel sad about having to be induced.  Maybe that sounds selfish or overly sensitive and defensive; this is a great example, though, of the crux of feminism as related to motherhood, and I refuse to listen to people telling me to get over it and focus only on the baby.

So, I imagine I'll be absent for a while.  I'll be in the hospital at the very least until Thursday, maybe to Friday, and when we get back I'm sure Amos and I will want to spend every moment of the weekend with Hazel and get settled into the house again.  He has to go right to work on Monday; actually today is his first day of classes, but of course he's taking the week off to be with us.  Us.  I can't believe that tomorrow we'll be three!  I promise photos ASAP, though, and wish us luck!

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So things are both hectic and the same.

My mom's in town until Sunday, which is cool.  It's a great excuse to shop around, plus she's always up for an afternoon nap, which is a bonus.  I mean, who likes to nap alone??

The bad news came from the doctor yesterday.  Apparently I'm still in no-man's-land with this child, with a cervix more tight-lipped than an old lady at a pride parade.  That means I've made no progress, with the bonus of not being able to induce this week either!  The doctor told me that it looked like the inducement wouldn't work to open the cervix, it would just really hurt me, and that my chances of a c-section would be greatly increased because of the failed/sluggish inducement.  I spent all last week gearing myself up for the totally artificial, extra painful inducement, only to have that option snatched away as well.  As you might imagine I'm pretty upset about it, but what are you going to do, right?  

The plan now is to have an ultrasound this morning to check the amniotic fluid and make sure she's still doing ok, then wait it out until Monday afternoon.  At that point they administer a hormone to get the cervix into a more workable condition, and Tuesday morning they would start the pitocin drip.  At that point we've waited just about as long as possible, so even if things are in the same shape as now we wouldn't risk her staying in there any longer.  

Did I mention the ultrasound tech estimates her weight at 8 lbs 3 oz?!?!!  That's TWO POUNDS extra in just like 3 weeks!!  If she had come out last week she might have only been 7 lbs!!!

I'm not happy at all with how things are going, but I'm trying to stay kind of positive.  After all, she's healthy, and plus I apparently have the strongest-willed cervix this side of the Mississippi.

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Dear Baby,

You are hereby evicted.  Sorry!

Love Mama

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August 4th, or 5th, Maybe 6th

So, exciting news – I'm in early labor!!

After crazy backaches and sporadic contractions all day, Amos and I headed up to the hospital a few hours ago at the advisement of my doctor.  The nurse who checked me out said I'm dilated a fingertip and that I'll be back at the hospital probably tomorrow, maybe the next day.  My contractions are still random, something like 6 to 11 minutes apart, but definitely present.  I'm pretty calm though, excited about her coming into the world, kind of hungry, kind of nauseated, kind of restless (can't you tell from this rambly post??) lol.  

Right now I think I'm going to lay down, eat a bowl of Corn Pops, let my toenails dry, and start the countdown to 5 minutes apart.

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