Posted in Mommyhood, Pregnancy

He’s Here! Part 1

Baby Boy #2, currently nicknamed “Bean” or “Beanie”, made his appearance on October 14th, 2010, at 11:08pm. He was 7 lb 6 oz, and 20 in long.

2 hrs old

I’ve been wanting to write this post for weeks, but it’s hard to put my precious bundle down for anything other than caring for my two-year-old or taking a nap. Or maybe a shower. They’re both few and far between these days. 🙂 I have gotten better about putting him down when he sleeps, though, so I can actually get stuff done. Currently, Beanie is taking a morning nap and Pie is distracted by Elmo in Grouchland on Netflix Streaming. I’ll probably get halfway into this post before Beanie wakes up again. Thus, “Part 1”.

MORNING, OCT 14 2010

We left Pie with my parents the night before, so all we had to do that morning was throw stuff in the car and head to the hospital to begin . . . duh-duh-DUUUUH! . . . Induction.

I slept moderately well, but I did wake up once or twice to pray that labor would start up on its own during the night, or that the induction would go smoothly and I wouldn’t have to get a C-section in the end, that the midwife would be helpful and fight for my choices, that the nursing staff would be awesome, that the baby would have no health difficulties, etc. I wanted another good birthing experience, but now that variables were being thrown into the mix, I was nervous.

Fortunately–aside from being at the hospital for many hours before anything even happened, mainly because I didn’t want Pitocin right away–I don’t think the experience could have gone more smoothly. 🙂

We checked in a minute or two after 8am. I donned an oh-so-dignified butt-(and-chest-)revealing delivery/nursing gown, got hooked up to the contraction and fetal heart monitors, and then the staff parade began. With the nurse who would be helping me came her nursing student. With the midwife came the midwife’s student and–I think–a student of the student, unless he was another nursing student . . . Navy Hospital is a teaching hospital, so not only are you a patient, you’re also a guinea pig! This isn’t always a bad thing, but it does mean there can be a lot of wasted time and no real long-term connection with staff or doctors (LOTS of turn-around as students graduate and people get transferred). It can also mean the occasional mistakes or less-than-efficient procedures.

For instance, just getting the heplock for the IV inserted took a painfully long time–emphasis on “painfully”. Though I can be hooked up to a blood donation bag, fill it, and walk out in about ten minutes, I apparently have a poor vein structure for getting stuff INto my blood. Didn’t help that my hands were cold, too. The nurse’s student, unfortunately, was too tentative and inexperienced to get it right on the first try. Or the second. Or the third. And I had decided to skip the lidocaine, thinking that it would just hurt worse than the IV insertion, anyway. I was a big girl; I could handle it!

Here’s a tip: If you have a nervous nursing student putting an IV in your hand, DON’T SKIP THE LIDOCAINE. In fact, if they have a hard time just finding a vein to insert the IV into, don’t skip the lidocaine. They may have to stick you more than once, and the less you feel, the better! Just take my word for it. It probably would have been more comfortable to get an epidural at that point . . .

I focused on listening to the baby’s heartbeat, or the midwives talking to me. I’m not afraid of needles, it just hurt like the dickens. The poor guy was just so intent on not hurting me that it hurt more the longer he took. Finally, another, more experienced nurse walked in and found a vein in my other hand, but had to insert a smaller gauge just to get it in right. This will return to haunt me later.

I was required to sit on the monitors for at least 20 minutes before I could get up and do . . . whatever. The midwives checked me–dilation to about 3cm, about 50-75% effaced (I think)–and then discussed options. I told them I wanted to leave Pitocin as a last resort. I’d heard stories of gals on a Pitocin drip for most of the day, never progressing until they had to up the dosage hours later. I’d heard other stories of labor stopping or becoming too intense, and the birth ending in an unwanted C-section . . . I wanted to avoid that, if possible. If my body could get labor going on its own, I’d rather work with that.

So, first option: Cytotec. It comes in a pill, which the midwives break into four pieces and insert a quarter of it into you to ripen the cervix and hopefully get things moving naturally after that. It at least gets you to a point where you can start using Pitocin, if nothing else. I’d heard something bad about that, too, but at the time I couldn’t remember what it was. The midwife seemed confident that it was safe and effective, so I just prayed she was right and nothing bad would happen. They ordered it, the pharmacy took their time getting it, and more time passed . . .

Beanie just woke up. Part 2 later!

Posted in Mommyhood, Pregnancy

The Date Approacheth . . .

No baby today. Some uterine discomfort, but that’s about it. I feel too heavy for my legs.

If Baby doesn’t come tomorrow, then I will be calling in to Labor & Delivery around 6:30 or 7am on Thursday, with the intention of arriving (if there’s room for me) around 8am to begin . . . duh-duh-DUUUHH! . . . Induction.

I was righteously opposed to induction at the beginning of this pregnancy. I prefer natural labor–onset and duration–and I’ve heard Pitocin can make even the strongest proponent of natural childbirth cry for drugs. Also, I didn’t believe there could be any reason induction a week prior to the due date would make sense.

Well, it was explained to me that it was best for a baby with a two-vessel cord to come out a little early, while he still had room for his cord. Much later, and the risk of starvation/asphyxiation could increase, since there’s only one artery providing blood and oxygen. Okay, I could live with that explanation. I still wanted to go full-term, but this also works out with the time Sweetie can get off of work. I feel a little twinge of guilt for letting inconvenience be a factor in when he’s born, but there you go.

Anyway, I asked the nurse at my non-stress test today whether the midwife who will be on duty Thursday was at the hospital today. I wanted to meet her beforehand (never seen her before, I don’t think). She wasn’t, but the nurse assured me she is awesome, and I’m going to love her. She is also willing to work on “other” means of induction, leaving Pitocin as a last resort. I was relieved to hear that! I like her, already. 🙂

I got a little time today to visit a couple stores, pick up some bobbins for my sewing machine, a couple crafting tools, some fleece from Goodwill. Totally exhausted when I was done! My legs are so tired of carrying around an extra person and about 20 lbs of water, blood, and fat. I got pretty lucky today, though: I found a pair of BRAND NEW leather-soled baby shoes for $3 at Goodwill! They’re ADORABLE. I can certainly wait till the baby’s big enough to wear them, but I was so thrilled to find them!

Going back to my non-stress test: I had one last ultrasound today (I think–I don’t know if they’ll do another before induction) and the nurse tried hard to get a good view of his face. We haven’t been able to do so yet. In the first anatomical ultrasound, at 22 weeks, he had his arm in front of his face and refused to move enough to get a good view. Since then, his head has been so low and he’s been so obsessed with his hands that any attempt to get a good frontal view of his face has been impossible. We’ve gotten some good profile shots, but nothing clear, front-on.

Today was really funny, though. The nurse turned the monitor to me just as he was playing with his tongue and chewing on his fingers. The mixture of X-ray vision and slight 3-D capability of the ultrasound machine made it look pretty creepy, to be honest, but it was funny to watch him actually act like a baby while still stuffed inside me. I didn’t get much view of Pie in utero, since he didn’t have to be monitored like Baby #2. This was a rare treat.

I’m looking forward to meeting the little man. I’m hoping labor is as easy this time around as it was for Pie, too, despite induction. But hopefully he’ll come tomorrow, and we can dodge that bullet.

In the meantime, I should probably pack Pie’s bag for Grandma and Grandpa’s, since we’ll be leaving him with them tomorrow night . . . Man, I can’t believe it’s almost THAT TIME. 🙂

Posted in Insomnia, Mommyhood, Pregnancy

SPEAKING of INsomnia . . .

So, it’s 5am. I’ve been awake since about 3:30am. FOR NO REASON.

I’d love to say that I’ve been awake because I’ve been feeling labor pains, and they’re getting worse, meaning Baby will make his appearance today. However, that’s not true. I’m just AWAKE. 😛

It’s possible when we got coffee last night that mine was not actually decaf, like I’d ordered. I trust my husband said decaf (he ordered for me while I went to change our son’s diaper), and maybe the barista messed up. However, I could also just be sensitive to the little bit of caffeine in the decaf coffee. That latte was awesome, though . . . (Pumpkin Creme Latte from Seattle’s Best in Borders Books.) Alternately, I’m just awake, ’cause pregnancy’s like that.

I was also a bit hungry, and some other discomforts of pregnancy were nagging at me, so I decided to just get up and take care of the issues instead of playing Solitaire on my DS in bed. Unfortunately, the yogurt I ate has given me more heartburn. *Sigh* I can’t escape it.

At any rate, I was going to write the other day about some of the hilarious things my son is doing these days. I find I suddenly have the time . . .

WHY WE PROBABLY WON’T WIN “PARENTS OF THE YEAR” ANYTIME SOON:

My two-year-old–who, for the sake of this blog, shall be named (at least for the moment) “Pie”*–has a few favorite movies and television shows (on DVD or NetFlix streaming; we don’t have cable). We’re a little lax in the electronic distraction department, so he gets to watch these favorites quite often.

[*”Pie” is short for “Sweet[ie] Pie” or “Cutie Pie”. I just started calling him “Pie” one day, and it stuck. Who knows what kind of ridiculous nickname our second son will have. Give me time . . . ]

Here is a little lexicon that we’ve finally developed so we can communicate what he wants to see:

Sussues = Blues Clues
Bob de Boer = Bob the Builder
Pippard = Clifford
Diet = The Iron Giant
Froggies = The Princess and the Frog
Sheep = Shaun the Sheep
Dyosaur Tain = Dinosaur Train
Elmo = Elmo in Grouchland
Nemo = Finding Nemo
Monsters = Monsters vs. Aliens
Cars = Cars
Up = Up

He can sing almost all the regular songs from Blues Clues (not fluently–mostly just the last couple words in each line–but with enthusiasm!) and some from Elmo. He can say “Can we fix it? Yes we can! Yeah, I think so . . . ” from Bob the Builder. That, for a little while, was the extent of his memorization. Lately, however, I’ve been noticing that he’s been repeating a few more lines from a couple movies he’s seen twenty times or more (DON’T JUDGE ME!), and now he’s acting out a couple scenes from Iron Giant.

Now, this doesn’t worry me, beyond “Oh, now we need to start paying actual attention to what he watches.” It’s really funny to watch! What I should do is get some video or screenshots for reference, but you’re just going to have to bear with me here . . .

I first noticed him acting out a scene when Hogarth (the main boy character in The Iron Giant) first meets the giant. Hogarth sits on the ground, and the giant imitates him. I watched Pie sit down the same way while he was watching that scene. Pie also brought a toy car up to me one day and tried to feed it to me. When I refused to take a bite, he gently bit down on the front of it while watching the movie. This is the boy who barely eats anything more solid than oatmeal and bananas, and rarely, if ever, stuck anything non-food in his mouth that wasn’t a spoon. I knew immediately that he was pretending to be the giant eating a car–’cause iron giants eat metal, dontchaknow.

Later, I noticed Pie walking around with his shirt all bunched under his chin and his hands in the air. I had no clue what he was doing–he’s a two-year-old with a fertile imagination. Yesterday, Sweetie (my husband) and I were watching him watch Iron Giant, and he pulled up his shirt and put his hands in the air when the giant transformed into a big weapon and started shooting things (this is where the “No ‘Parents of the Year’ Award” comes in, ’cause some people don’t condone this kind of play). He wandered around the living room like that, checking the movie every once in a while to make sure he was still in sync with it. Then, when Hogarth intervened, Pie said “Hogarth” when the giant said “Hogarth”, and put his shirt down when the giant transformed back into his “peaceful” gianty form. A few more minutes into it, just as the giant is about to [***SPOILER ALERT!!!***] sacrifice himself for the good of the people, Pie crouches on the floor, just like the giant does, and repeats the line word for word, along with the relevant gestures: “Hogarth. I go. You stay. No following!”

Sweetie and I were about to EXPLODE, it was so cute and hilarious! But we didn’t want to laugh out loud, in case we ruined the show. 🙂

Well, yesterday, Pie wanted to watch Cars again, after a long hiatus (it needed a rest). I noticed he was repeating lines from that, too. Doesn’t surprise me that much, since he really has seen that movie more than twenty times. Possibly more than [*ahem*] thirty times.

I know there are parents and experts out there who would condemn this as a real parenting no-no. To a certain extent, I agree that we probably let him watch too much during the day, which MIGHT contribute to some inattention and (lately) late-ish nights and early wakings. However, often the TV is just ON, and he’s playing and doing other stuff without actually paying any attention (well, much attention, anyway). Also, some would condemn the violence in Iron Giant, and tell us we shouldn’t let him watch that kind of thing when he’s so young. It’s become PC to heavily filter even children’s programming. I agree with some reasoning behind that, because I think some children’s programming is a complete waste of time and seriously irritating. But, you know, I practically cut my teeth on Star Wars, Superman II, and an abundance of Looney Toons and action-figure-related children’s programming. My family, growing up, was even more TV-oriented than we are. I think Sweetie’s was, too. Aside from having the gall to want to learn martial arts and how to shoot a gun to defend myself, I’m pretty sure I turned out okay. I knew, either instinctively or through my own brain working out the causes-and-effects, that one should probably not use dynamite as all-purpose pest control and gravity will not take a holiday just because you accidentally ran off the edge of a cliff. Duh.

Similarly, I don’t expect Pie to grow up thinking he can take out the U.S. Army with his robot super powers or actually eat cars for breakfast.

On the flip side, I have seen the effects of too much video game and television violence on a young brain. I do not attribute, however, the behavior issues this child had to the games or movies/TV he was exposed to (which is the popular thing to do). I attribute the issues to a lack of parenting and limits, either due to disciplinary confusion/acting out (results of shared custody and different value systems in each home) or inattention because both parents worked outside the home every day (yet another value system in school or day care). I’ve also seen a child who is absolutely sheltered from everything violent, morally unacceptable to his parents, and even mildly vulgar, who exhibits so little self-control around other children that it’s hard to believe he doesn’t watch violent cartoons all day. Well, what in the world could THAT come from? Too much constriction? [Just FYI: I’m not condemning these parents, though I might not agree with their parenting styles sometimes. These kids are fairly good kids, overall, and I only see them once in a while. The first example has grown out of much of his fixation, and I believe the latter one will soon do so, too. Children are what children are, and it’s not like they’re born with their very own personal manuals. You have to roll with the punches when they’re young. Goodness knows my children will have a few more things up their sleeves for us before they’re old enough to leave the nest.]

What I’m saying is that in today’s day and age, our parenting choices wouldn’t win any awards for awesome, wholesome, modern-day, magazine-cover parenting. But I AM a parent, and my kid’s pretty well-behaved, for the most part (for being two-and-a-half, anyway). I’m there, watching him, and moderating his behavior. My JOB is to parent him. His job is to obey me and test his boundaries. He’s a smart kid; I have no worries.

Although, this early-waking thing is getting old. We need to find a way to nip that in the bud . . . but maybe after his brother is sleeping through the night. Until then, what’s another kid needing your attention at ungodly hours of the morning? 🙂

I love my job. 🙂

Posted in Mommyhood, Pregnancy

Counting the Weeks

I counted the weeks I have left before my due date. They fit on one hand! Four weeks till week 40. I honestly doubt I’ll make it that far; I also doubt they’ll let me get that far. I know they won’t let me go late.

Yesterday, I was wondering if I was going to go into labor this week. Merely turned out to be late-stage pregnancy discomfort en masse: Swollen ankles, gastric issues paired with normal contractions, baby squashing my bladder and various other sensitive nerves, raging heartburn, sinus pressure, headache, and poor sleep. I left church after Bible class to go home, lay down, and drink water for a couple hours. Except for being really tired, which comes with the territory, I feel much better today. Unfortunately, I’ve also eaten pretty badly this afternoon (how come I can’t stay away from the dairy and carbs?), so the heartburn will byvaet (that is, “visit”, in Russian) again soon.

I’m ready for this pregnancy to be over, though I have to say it’s still hard to believe I’ll have a wriggly little newborn outside of me in a few weeks. Weeks! 🙂

I hope and pray he’ll come out fine, with no complications, perfectly cute and healthy and squalling. So far, on the inside, he’s monitoring just fine and growing like a little parasite weed.

He has what’s called a “single-artery cord”, a.k.a. “two-vessel cord”. A normal umbilical cord has three vessels: Two arteries bringing blood and oxygen to the baby, and a vein carrying away the waste. Isn’t the human body amazing? 🙂 Anyway, he only has one artery. Sometimes, it just means that his umbilical has one artery and that’s it. Sometimes, it means minimal to more serious birth defects. I opted out of the quad test at the beginning of my pregnancy, because often that test results in false positives, which can lead to more painful and risky testing, only to show that nothing was wrong in the first place. While it would be nice to know some of those things (like whether he has Downs Syndrome), that’s not something that’s going to affect my pregnancy or my love for him after he’s born.

By the time the 20-week ultrasound rolls around, it’s too late for the quad test, but many defects or symptoms of defects can be found at that time. I don’t know that a two-vessel cord can be detected in a quad test, but some of the defects of which it is a symptom might be discovered. Still not worth it to me, though, to justify the worry caused by false positives and the pain and risk of extraneous, invasive testing to disprove them.

In our case, so far, the two-vessel cord has been nothing more than an anomaly. His heart looks and sounds great, his brain is present, it appears all limbs are present and accounted for. They’re worried about weight restriction (not growing well) and constriction of the cord in the late weeks. So I have to go in for “non-stress tests” twice a week, where I’m strapped to a contraction monitor and a fetal heart monitor, to make sure that the baby’s heartbeat remains strong, even through contractions and movement. It has to naturally accelerate when he moves or when I contract. Deceleration means he’s not getting enough blood or oxygen. Then, once a week (during one of these tests), I get an ultrasound for fluid levels. If my fluid drops, the possibility of the cord becoming constricted goes up. Then, periodically, I get a weight check in the “big” ultrasound department to see if he’s growing at the right pace. The tech told me before that he’s just fine, if a bit short–but it appeared to her it might run in the family (she’s shorter than me, so we both had to laugh at that).

So far, all testing has shown him to be normal and healthy. He will probably be monitored a bit after he comes out to make sure everything works properly apart from the womb. Fortunately, I got them all (that would be the obstetricians, midwives, and Comp[licated] OB nurses) to agree that someone messed up my due date after my first ultrasound, so they aren’t expecting me to be overdue when/if I make it to my real due date of October 21st.

I now say I’m due anytime between the 15th and the 21st, because my original due date, determined by the first date of my last period, was October 15th. The date they adjusted to was the 9th. I told them that was impossible, because my periods are long, not short. The baby measured at 9.5 weeks, and the first day of my last period was January 9th. I can see where the mistake was made. An obscure note was appended to my file to say that it was Oct 21st, but the 9th was written in all the pertinent places. When the Comp OB was talking to me about induction at 39 weeks, he was STILL under the impression that I was due on the 9th, but didn’t really give me a straight answer when I asked him whether he knew it was really the 21st. I had to see the report after that visit to find out they still assumed my due date was the 9th.

Don’t listen to the pregnant woman. Paperwork can’t lie. *eyeroll*

I managed to convince my midwife that the 9th was wrong, and to review my file to find the right date. She did, and now everyone is on the right page. However, because it took so long and all the people who did the original measurements had transferred to new duty stations, they had to go by the 15th, but would allow for the 21st. I was fine with that. At least they weren’t going to assume that the last week of September was the 39th week. If I can avoid induction, I will, but at least I understand the reason for it: As the cord ages, the coating around it can lessen, and as the baby grows, there is less room. The possibility of the cord becoming crimped grows as the baby does, so the original plan was to get him out before he could get too big. Of course, they didn’t tell me that when reviewing the “original plan”; I had to ask my midwife at my next appointment.

I did ask at the Comp OB appointment to see if I could go to full term, and they said it would be okay. The midwife is convinced (as am I) that he will come before the 40th week, anyway. He might make a liar out of both of us, but that’s when I’ll allow talk of induction.

I should probably pack my own go-bag for the hospital sooner, rather than later, and pick up the infant car seat. Last time I gave birth, I’d packed my bag and washed all the baby clothes the day before I went into labor. Talk about a close call! 🙂 I didn’t even know what contractions were supposed to feel like before that day. Now that I do, I’m very aware that I have them more often now, especially when I’m walking around or engaging in much activity. I’m not really a bed-rest case, but I’m not nearly as mobile as I was a few weeks ago.

Aha, there’s the heartburn. Just in time for dinner! Oh well. Comes with the territory. 🙂

Posted in Mommyhood

“Momsomnia” — a Definition

Originally, I was going to call this blog “Momnesia”, but that was already taken.  So I used a suggestion made by my friend Justin.  At first I had rejected the suggestion, because I don’t really suffer from insomnia, not even that often while pregnant.  However, as I began to think about it, I realized that the root of this word was not insomnia, but somnia–or, more specifically, somnus, which means “sleep”.  How much sleep I am or am not getting isn’t the point.  But the sleep that moms do get is either scarce or precious, making “Momsomnia” a rather apropos title for a blog of mine.

Justin knows.  When we all got together to game, I was often one to fall asleep when it got late, even well before I had a baby.  My characters had to be put on auto-pilot during my impromptu naps, because I was pretty much unrousable until the nap had run its course.  Now that I’m a mother of a toddler and eight months pregnant, I either get lots of sleep, or little sleep, and my body just has to deal with that fact, because spontaneously napping while my two-year-old has run of the house is not always the smartest choice in the world.  And not sleeping carries a bunch of consequences all its own.

But I’m at that stage in pregnancy where I long for bedtime or a nap all day, and then don’t take that nap or go to bed on time because I either have other things to do, am relishing the quiet time and want to be awake for it, or I have to use the bathroom so often that it’s almost inconvenient to sleep between potty breaks.  Tonight, for instance, I’d really love to lie down and go to sleep, but I’ve been drinking a LOT of water today.  I’m also suffering from acid reflux, and the prescription ranitidine (Zantac) is causing chest pains due to either the medicine, itself, or depriving undigested food of acid it needs to move through my sluggish, squashed digestive tract.  I might also have a little foot using my stomach as an ottoman, which could be contributing to the problem.

And, in the midst of this rambling about tummy problems keeping me awake, my eyes are closing, I am drifting off into la-la land and typing whole pages of the letter “m” to prove my point!

So, that is Momsomnia in a nutshell.  Feel free to add your definitions to the comments!  I’m going to go to sleep now.