Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Birth Story: It's only a little gross I promise but yeah, prepare yourself for some bodily fluids.

People, it finally happened!  I am NO LONGER pregnant.  As you may have surmised, I did not much enjoy being with child.  I can tell you, having a kid that lives on the outside of you is INFINITELY better than having one suck the life force from within (although I will say the sucking of the life force from without in the form of breastfeeding is as painful as people described to me, but that's what GLORIOUS lactation consultants are for...that's another post).

Lots of people want to know the gory details of exactly how Booberry entered the world.  If you do not want to know, perhaps skip this post and keep your innocence.  After last weekend, I no longer have any shame, pride, or personal boundaries, a fact I fully realized as I chatted with my mother-in-law yesterday while pumping about how the machine sounds like repetitive Scooby Doo (ruh uh, ruh oh, ruh oh).

My story begins...

Booberry followed in her mother's footsteps in so many ways, one of which was that she stayed put past her perfect due date of the ides of March.  The Doctor and I decided to get Booberry her own cherry tree which will grow with her in the front yard and we will take milestone pictures in front of.  We were in sight of the nursery the Sunday after the due date when the Doctor stops for a pedestrian, a mother and her toddler.  The woman isn't crossing and is giving us an inquisitive look when BAM!  we're rear-ended.  Both cars pull to the side and the Doctor goes to talk to the driver.  The driver, like a line from a "what not to do" video, says, with a hint of surfer-dude, "Oh man!  I'm so sorry, I was just reaching for my phone..."  So, yeah, we'll call that a "no fault" accident on our part.  I thought to myself, "Hey, something just happened to me, I should just call my ob to see what's up."  And so, even though I felt totally fine, I called the doctor's office and they paged the doctor on call, a lady by the name of...Dr. Cherrytree.  Yes, that's a real person and not a character in a sitcom.  She's super nice.  But she did say we had to go to the hospital to be monitored for four hours.  BAM!  Shit got real.  

But we still went and picked up our tree.  The Doctor planted it soon after:

Then I changed into my "going to the hospital" outfit and we packed the car for what could be THE BIG ONE.  We got to the hospital and were quickly escorted to triage where I was hooked up to fetal and contraction monitors.  Booberry was galloping away in there, totally fine, which we all had a feeling she was.  My uterus was steady as a flat line.  No contractions to note.  I could see the hope fade from the Doctor's eyes, resigning to spend yet more time with the giant crazy person who ate his wife.  We went home that night and neither of us slept a wink, too dejected and stressed from our non event.  

Wednesday the 19th my doctor said they'd induce me, but not until the 24th to which I whined in a tone I am not proud of, "but that's soooo long from nowwwwwww."  So, Booberry would be in there an extra ten days.  Then the OB did what the Doctor refers to as "when Stephen Colbert fingered you" because my OB looks a bit like Stephen and he "swept my membranes" which is, yes, like a very unpleasant fingering.  The OB also said that, because of my dainty little pelvis and what he was guessing was a baby over nine pounds, I should mentally prepare myself for a c-section.  The Doctor was catatonic on the way home.  He reminded me of Cameron in Feris Bueller's Day Off after he saw the mileage on his dad's car.  He went to work and I sobbed hysterically into Catdome.  My friend brought over her six week old and let me hold her foot for an hour, which helped me feel better except for the CRUSHING WEIGHT OF MY OWN BODY.  

Thursday was dark, emotionally.  The Doctor was working late and then decided to go hang out with a couple guy friends and said he'd be home by ten.  I probably could have nagged him into staying with me, and I did feebly try, but thought it might be good for him to get his ya yas out before this thing eventually went down. I literally spend the whole day alone in the house, unable to walk more than a few pathetic steps and listless in my lack of purpose.  I knew it was bad when I identified a strange, electronic noise that was only audible in the living room and seemed to have no source and I became obsessed with it like the guy in "The Telltale Heart."  My in-laws called to check up on me and I could tell they thought I was becoming pretty unstable because, despite their 9pm bedtime, they offered to come over.  I declined and went to bed myself.  I was just dozing off, thinking, "Man I'm tired, it's gonna feel so good to be unconscious for a while..." when I felt the sensation of peeing.  Except I wasn't controlling it.  I jumped out of bed and made it the two steps to the bathroom when a large amount of clear liquid soaked my pants and puddled on the floor.  I did the STEVE HOLT pose: 

because I'd been told that, once your water breaks, they always deliver the baby within 24 hours.  THIS WOULD BE OVER IN A DAY!  Ruby sauntered into the bathroom.  She'd been weird all day, following me around the house puking.  I almost took her to the vet but was too disabled.  I tried to shoo her away from my puddle but she went up to it and sniffed...and then started PURRING SO LOUD.  WTF, cat?!

I sat on the toilet, liquid still trickling out of me, and called my husband.  No answer.  I left a cheery message.  Slightly unnerved, I called his friend.

Me: Hey is the Doctor with you?
Friend: No...he just left.  What's up?

I called my doctor's answering service.  I called his parents who were dead asleep.  I called the Doctor again and left a message along the lines of, "YOU ARE NOT DOING THIS TO ME RIGHT NOW, MATTHEW CRAWLEY!"  If you don't get that reference, you are not caught up on your Downton and need to get on it.  I called my dad and found out he ALREADY HAD A FLIGHT for the next!  He just bought a bunch of flights and had been cancelling them as days past due date rolled around. I got the call back from the doctor on call at my OB's office.  It was that midwife I don't like.  She informed me that my normal doctor wasn't on call and asked if I might prefer a midwife.  "I WANT AN OB!" I said, forcefully, and she promised to leave a note with the intake people at the hospital.  

 I called the friend again.

Me: Ummmmm....can you call the Doctor....?
Friend: Is something going on?  Do you need me to get in a cab and come over?
Me: (still on toilet) NO!  Just keep calling him...repeatedly.

I left the Doctor a message along the lines of "WHAT THE FUCK?!"

I got in the shower and my phone started ringing.  I could see the Doc's pic and said, out loud, alone, in the shower, "LET HIM WORRY!"  The phone continued to ring until I got out of the shower and I found out that the Doctor was very nearly home and was, as I hoped, freaking out that I didn't answer.  I was going to go get dressed in my backup "going to the hospital" outfit but liquid was somehow still coming out of me so I just wandered around in a towel getting things together until the Doctor came home and it was ON.  

He was so excited in the car.  He was this excited:

I had to tell him to calm down and drive safely.  

In the parking lot of the hospital, I felt another GIANT GUSH of liquid (geez, how much is there?!) and I sloshed to triage where they had to check my pee to make sure it was my water that had broken and not just me peeing my pants.  Uhhhh....yeah it was my water.  Duh.  

Once in labor and delivery, they decided to put me on pitocin to speed things along.  The risk of infection goes up when your water breaks before you're in active labor. I found out I was in the super special 10% of people whose water breaks as the first sign of baby time.  I am so gifted.  We all went to sleep and the Doctor proceeded to snore peacefully for six hours while I began to get contractions I could feel.  Nothing too dramatic, but those were real. 

In the morning, when my in laws showed up, I had not slept all night, being woken up by the contractions which were still only at a...5 on the pain scale, I thought.  I was offered the magical epidural.  

Me: But I can still talk through my contractions!
Nurse: You can still get it now since you can't sleep though them.

I actually ended up getting two epidurals because, as I've been saying for years, I have slight lower back scoliosis and the first one didn't work.  Lots of people say getting an epidural is the worst part, but, honestly, it wasn't that bad.  It was a little scary being told to hold completely still because there was a needle entering my spine, but it was a lot less painful than how my hips had felt the last week of pregnancy.  Soon I was on a painless cloud and made a glib facebook status about how I was having a contraction right then but could still fb because of the perfect epidural.  We wikipedied March 21st and were thrilled to learn it was World Poetry and World Puppetry Day.  What a great birthday for Booberry.  I took a nap.

My doctor just HAPPENED to be on call that day and came in to say hi.  

Me: I'm so awesome!  It's the best I've slept in three months!  
OB: (poking at my swollen feet) Sometimes when we get bored, we like to poke at the women's edema.  They can't do anything about it.  

And we determined that I was in... ACTIVE LABOR.

I don't know what time that was.  I know I was at four centimeters and needed to get to ten.  I know my family stuck around until the fourth hour I was at eight and then we sent them home and that was 9pm on the 21st.  At 11pm, still at eight, the baby had been having decreased heart rate with big contractions and I had what was called "failure to progress."  They had me on oxygen which I think was scary for everyone to see but my nurses were so good, they never let me see the severity of the situation.  Time for the C-section.  The Doctor got quiet.  I was secretly just so thankful they weren't going to make me push.  I hadn't slept, really, and hadn't eaten anything besides hospital "gelatin" and ice chips since some cheese and crackers Thursday night and a spoonful of peanut butter I forced down after the midwife told me to eat a meal before coming in.  I ate it on the toilet...

I felt like I was cheating the system, never having had hours of painful contractions to count before being admitted and never having to push.  My mother-in-law is helping me work though this feeling of inadequacy. 

My WONDERFUL and amazing nurse who I want to track down and hug came in to...shave me, and they upped my epidural so I couldn't feel anything below the boobs.  The OB and my husband made jokes to each other about shaving shapes into me and landing strips which I thought was perhaps not appropriate but, frankly, didn't care AT ALL because at least the Doctor wasn't just silent and pale any more.  Off we went to OR 1. It was past 11:30 and the Doctor was still saying Booberry's bday would be the 21st and I started betting on the 22nd.  The OB and nurses started taking bets on the size of the baby and my OB and I were in the "over 9 lbs" pool while most of the nurses were voting for 8 lbs.  

They took me in alone and splayed me, Jesus-like, with my arms out, tubes going into me.  The Doctor got to wear a cool spaceman outfit and had to wait in the hall for me to be prepped. They put up a big blue sheet so I couldn't see what they were going to do to me and I was warned there would be "pressure" but not "pain."  They brought in the Doctor and I said to him, as he earnestly held my hand and told me everything would be okay, "You think you want to look beyond the curtain, but you don't.  DON'T LOOK."  (he totally looked).

The whole extraction of child took only 10 mins. Yes, I could feel them pulling me apart by hand, but, no, it did not hurt.  I am SO GLAD it was a c-section because, not only was Booberry not responding well, my pelvis little, her big, but she was also face up, which would have been near impossible to push out.  The OB said they opened me up and she was just STARING at them, alert.  Incidentally, that's what they said about me when I was born.  The Doctor had the normal, human reaction to her being born: red eyes, smile.  When they brought this 9 lb 4 oz lump of flesh around the corner to show her to me, my reaction was just...shock.  As in, "HOW THE F WAS SOMETHING SO BIG INSIDE OF ME JUST NOW?!"  They plopped her down and the Doctor held her in place and a nurse took our first family picture:

Then they took her away and the Doctor went with her to get her various reflexes checked and they sewed me up. I accidentally saw the medical refuse as they wheeled me away...all I can say is...GIANT BUCKET OF BLOOD.  But, it's cool.  Something else weird about the whole procedure is that I was not cold, but everything I could feel was chattering uncontrollably.  It was like my body knew I was being ripped apart but my brain didn't.  It went away a little while after I got back to my room, where the Doctor was waiting, proudly proclaiming that she passed all her tests, and they put my daughter on my chest...where she promptly injured my nipple so severely the lactation consultant described it as "the most purple I've ever seen."  That's my girl...

Recovery is for another post, but I tell everyone I meet that having a baby is SO MUCH better than being pregnant with one.  Yes, I'm on heavy narcotics (my dad had to fill out a lot of paperwork to pick them up at Walgreens), but I'm in significantly less pain than I was that last week of pregnancy.  True, I didn't sleep more than an hour at a time from Wednesday night to the next Wednesday, but the reason for being awake was pretty cute.  Yes, my feet have been described as resembling "hairless hobbit feet," but I don't have shooting pain when I walk.  Yes, my child is a biter and I spend HOURS a day feeding her or preparing to feed her, but I could care less about any of the inconveniences.  Yes, the Doctor and I parent and sleep in shifts, but he is the CUTEST in the world with her and is exceeding all my expectations in his amazingness as a dad.  

My friend asked me what the best part of being a new mom is and I didn't really know what to say.  

All I could come up with was, "I don't know...I just love her."

Simple as that.  

Friday, March 14, 2014

How Twilight Got it Right

My OB and I were joking about how, in the movies, people always have their water break and then they have like one contraction and then they go to the hospital and then they have a baby and that whole thing takes twenty minutes and how that's not realistic.  Realistic is that one feels progressively worse for a period of several weeks until one cannot take it any more and then one gets driven to the hospital and stays there for another day and they break your "bag of waters" (why is that such a weird and gross expression?) and then there's a baby.  And babies are adorable even if they're not the three month old cherubs portrayed on TV.

To quote Carrie Bradshaw, "I couldn't help but wonder..."

How do some of the movies get it right and wrong when it comes to the CREATION OF LIIIIIFE?  Like many people, pre-pregnancy, I did my research and re-watched or watched some movies to inform me about the subject.  Some of these movies are awesome and hilarious.  Some of these movies are youtube clips of episiotomies (don't do it).

In honor of the Oscars, here are my awards.  The...Bumpies.

Best Depiction of How Crazy Pregnancy Makes You Feel: Rosemary's Baby

How it's right: sometimes the hormones make you feel like the whole world is against you...that even your loving husband is in a coven sent to turn you into a gestational machine for it's own personal gain at the expense of your life.

How it's wrong:  Not positive, but pretty sure Booberry is not the antichrist.  She seems pretty cool so far.  Even though, DANG IT KID, it's time to be born (tomorrow is D day)

Most Quotable: Juno

How it's right: it's just FUNNY.  Because, yeah, Juno gets pregnant like our moms and teachers and is not super rosy colored about it.  (on the left: thank you to my sister for the awesome photoshopping).  Also, TEENAGERS: this is a good lesson on how easy it can be for your tiny, fertile bodies to get pregnant.  DON'T HAVE UNPROTECTED SEX unless you want a human.  Also the scene with JK Simmons in the hospital after she gives birth and gives up the baby (spoilers) makes my cry EVERY TIME.  And it heavily features a Toyota Previa which makes it cool.

How it's wrong: Some say it romanticizes teen pregnancy because Juno doesn't really have any terrible repercussions for her actions and her parents don't disown her or whatever...but whatever.  It's unrealistic because Jason Bateman plays a skeezeball and that's just never gonna fly.

Honorable Mention Most Quotable: Baby Mama

How it's right: Ok this might be too much info.  But there's this scene in the movie where the childbirth coach tells the characters to rub oil "down there" to prepare for the stretch of childbirth.  And Amy Poehler has a great line about just spraying some PAM down there.  SOOOOOOO, my phone app (see next award) mentioned this and I went down into the man cave and announced that the Doctor needs to "rub olive oil on my taint" (Tina Fey's line) and then he informed me that his microphone was on and his dental school buddy just heard that...

Also, this clip made me laugh SO HARD this last viewing:

"Just me and two fatties." is the part that gets me.  The Doctor is not fat...and people have said things to me like "I can't believe you're due next week, you're so small" and I'm like "TELL THAT TO THE SCALE! YOU LIIIIIIIAAAAR."  But yeah, I'm concerned about how much I feed Booberry and that she will be large and break me.  It's cool.  I love her.

How it's wrong: How could two women basically MISS first trimester?  Neither woman has any discernible morning sickness for like two months (Ok Tiny Fey has some stuff at the end but like eight weeks in!).  I started feeling like a lump about two days before the positive test and just kinda chalked it up to summer heat until I found out it was because the hormones were strong with this one.

Best Adaptation of a Phone App: What to Expect When You're Expecting.

How it's right: I am SOOOO Elizabeth Banks in this movie.  Throughout, she has every "normal," "textbook" pregnancy symptom and she keeps waiting for her glow (HINT: the glow is actually just sweat) and doesn't get it until she has the actual baby.

How it's wrong: the hilarious dad group is way too good to be true.  I wish the Doctor had a group of witty stroller dads to hang with.  Chris Rock is the ring leader (and has our same cool stroller).  Chris Rock is amazing in everything he does, even CRACKED OUT children's movies.

Best (worst) Picture: Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I

First: why did I watch this movie?  I have no idea.  I'd read about a third of the first book because I thought I'd like it since I teach the young adults and HATED IT SO MUCH I'VE BEEN COMPLAINING SINCE about what a terrible role model Bella is and how awful everything about the book series is: the writing, the plot, the sparkly vampires.  So, for some reason I watched BD pt 1...maybe I missed Oregon that day.  


Here's how it's right;  How I felt yesterday can be (overly dramatically) summed up with this clip:

Ok, let's break this down:
1.  Bella gets pregnant by not using protection (TEENAGERS...SEE?!)
2.  Immediately the fetus starts to suck away her life force, leaving her a shell of who she once was.
3.  The baby breaks her spine and kills her
4.  The baby is a superhero and Bella is reborn as a vampire.

So my situation isn't quite as dramatic: basically the baby is nice and low now which is fantastic except she's sorta off balance or something because I went for a long walk yesterday in the beautiful sunshine and kinda can't walk now without shooting pain going through my right hip down my leg.  I spent the day yesterday watching movies, alternating between bouncing on the glorious yoga ball (who'd have thunk I'd like YOGA things) and snuggling with Ruby in a chair.  Ruby ONLY snuggles me when I feel like I'm dying.  The last time was during first trimester when I was too queasy to function and the time before that was when I had a migraine.  So I know I deserved sympathy.  She just follows me around, even when there's a vacuum (thanks, awesome husband) and gives me love.  Awwww....RUUUUUBY, you have no idea what's coming. 

The Doctor came home last night and brought me a heating pad which I greatly appreciated except it didn't work so he went BACK to the store and got me a fancier one and I've been wearing it since and also he convinced me to take some Tylenol so I'm feeling better now.  Still hobbling, but not weeping while I do it.  

Conversation I just had with the Doctor when I thanked him for making me feel better:
D: I feel like you are like Michael Scott on The Office when he burned his foot.  (episode recap: Michael burns his foot on a waffle iron and totally over-reacts, unable to function that day and requiring nursing)
Me: that is so mean.
D: Not because of the severity of your injury but because of your over thinking of pain medication.  He crushes advil into his oatmeal and then is like "Oh I feel the healing going into my foot."  That's you.
Me: So mean.
D: I mean, you being pregnant is nothing like Michael burning his foot.  I don't mean it like that...maybe this wasn't a good example.
Me: Thank you.  

How Twilight got it wrong: so many ways, of course.  But mostly because pregnancy makes Bella a skeleton and then she gets reborn a super hot (or at least that's what we're supposed to believe) vampire and she has NO weird post-baby pooch and her hair is MORE lustrous even though everyone knows pregnancy makes your hair lustrous and then it falls out in terrifying chunks after you give birth.  Also, Bella's pregnancy is accelerated and she only has to be pregnant for like a second whereas I, as of tomorrow, get to be pregnant for the full nine months plus overtime (looks like).  Everyone says ,"first babies are late" and then everyone tells you stories of how they had theirs like two weeks early and how fun and surprising it was.  Nope.  I get the full experience.  Screw you, Bella, for getting to pass out and miss the whole thing.  JK.  I don't want to die like Bella even if my sparkly husband can make me eternally nineteen after he EATS THE BABY OUT OF ME...ew wtf is wrong with Stephanie Meyers??

So, happy pi day everyone.  I'm going to go back on the yoga ball with my heating pad and bounce the day away because the good Doctor thinks I should just stay inside.  "Good thing our house has plenty of rooms for activities" I said.  To which he replied, "Because it is your prison..."

Thanks, love.  

No it's cool, he's cleaning.  

Monday, March 3, 2014

My pregnancy spirit animal is the bulldog

Here's what's up with me:

Week 38. DUN DUN DUN!  My various phone apps have stopped giving me new information every just recycles old info because so many people have had their kids already.  But not me.  We want to shoot for at least 39 weeks to make sure all the brains get juiced up and ready to rock and roll.  But the story of my own birth is as follows:

It was a hot California May and Laura was due to be born May 10th.  June 6th rolls around, and so does a heat wave.  Finally, my poor mother went into labor that continued for MANY HOURS (June 7, the glorious day of my birth arrived) until they determined that I would have to dragged out of that cozy uterus via C-section.  So I was from my mother's womb untimely ripped as MacDuff would say...untimely my giant baby butt.  I was 9 lbs 8 oz and the doctors said "She's the most alert baby we've ever seen!" (they told my mother my sister was "the most beautiful" but fine).  

I do not want to follow in my own footsteps.  Here's hopin' for a bday on any of the following days:
Any time on or after March 7.  Before March ends omg.  Special preference for pi day, the ides of March (actual due date), or even St. Patty's.  Really, once we hit St. Patty's, I'm gonna be reaaaaaaal crank city.

My pregnancy spirit animal is the bulldog.

This picture describes how I feel most of the time: stout, squishy, and sleepy.

Sometimes I'm also wearing glasses (because pregnancy makes your eyesight bad...which is another one of those weird things).

Also this sounds really good to me right now.  I really like ice.  And I'm always hot and sweaty.  Bulldogs are known to overheat easily.  

How wikipedia describes bulldogs: "There are generally thick folds of skin on a Bulldog's brow; round, black, wide-set eyes; a short muzzle with characteristic folds called rope above the nose; hanging skin under the neck; drooping lips and pointed teeth, and occasionally an underbite."

I have some of that, yeah.  I mean...I really just have the skin under the neck...

BUT I TOTALLY SOUND LIKE A BULLDOG.  Especially last week when I had a cold and Booberry's BUTT was where my stomach used to be.  Many people have remarked on the impressive depth of my breathing.  The Doctor actually went and slept in the guest room last night.  WE'RE ONE OF THOSE COUPLES NOW...He did do a hilarious impersonation of my wheeze/snore.  It sounds like a goose to me.  He described it as, "a tauntaun f@%$ing a wookiee."  I'm too sexy for my lungs.  Wikipedia quote, "They can be big snorters and heavy breathers, and they tend to be loud snorers."  I had to look up how to spell tauntaun and wookiee because I'm cool and don't know every little thing about Star Wars.  

Wikipedia also says that bulldogs cannot withstand the rigors of running.  That's true of me.  Bulldogs and I also have hip problems in common...and I was also delivered by C-section...but we are hoping Booberry will not be...but if she be it.  TRUST THE WESTERN MEDICINE.  

People keep asking me if I'm ready.  Well, sure.  I mean...I have all the stuff...that seems to be the criteria for readiness.  

We also took the childbirth preparation classes.  The Doctor hated them with the fire and passion of a thousand suns, describing the teacher as, "that midwife shooting granola out her vagina."  I'm gonna go ahead and not put that on the official class survey I got in my email.  I mean, yeah, she was SUPER anti-epidural even though everyone in the room kept asking questions about epidurals so clearly she should tell us about the drugs without insinuating that we're making bad life choices...and yeah she was a terrible public speaker and talked SO SLOWLY and made us watch a lot of videos of natural childbirths that make me cry.  And, yeah, we didn't really learn anything we didn't already know from my phone app and as The Doctor kept saying, "I KNOW THIS STUFF I'M A DOCTOR" (YOU'RE A DENTIST, SWEETIE..."delivering a crown" is the not the same as delivering a human).  But my level of anxiety is so high and my level of information retention is so low that I think it was helpful to hear it, even though the information was delivered extremely slowly and with a significant bias against everything I believe about childbirth and modern medicine. 

If nothing else, the class made it seem like maybe we are ready.  Because clearly the Doctor is ready to perform a solo c-section on me at a moment's notice because HE'S A DOCTOR AND DOESN'T NEED THIS INFORMATION.  And clearly I'm ready because I installed the car seat base in the Subaru and have all the clothes organized by size and type of tiny cute baby thing...

I mean, really, it doesn't matter if we're ready.  It's on Booberry now.  We're placing our entire lives at the mercy of something I'M REALLY HOPING weighs less than Ruby.


Now's good.  Or later.  But be READY!  And something about a sparrow.  THANKS, HAMLET.