My Cerclage

In September 2005, I was pregnant with twin girls. I lost my pregnancy at 19 weeks apparently due to my "incompetent cervix." I became pregnant again and wrote all about it on this blog. I now have a wonderful son. Since bed rest, anxiety and cerclage were so much fun, I've decided to do it all again.....

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

How I was Tricked into Natural Childbirth

First of all, I am over the moon with joy over here! We had a baby boy last Monday, and his name is Quinn. Thank you to everyone who helped me to manage the last nine months. I mean it; this blog has been a surprising source of comfort and support. Thank you to everyone whose blogs I read regularly and to all the great supportive comments. And I WILL post pictures, as soon as I figure out a few technical difficulties. Now that Quinn is here, all bets are off in terms of being shy. In the meantime, here is how Quinn happened to enter into the world.

I should start by saying I went on a bonifide hike on Sunday, and I went into labor early Monday morning. It was short hike, but it was straight up. I was determined to shake him out; even my husband said “if you don’t go into labor tonight, you are not going in for a few weeks.” That night I couldn’t sleep. I went downstairs to watch TV. Watching TV when I can’t sleep is odd behavior for me. Usually when I can’t sleep I just sit around miserably until I do. I had a few contractions and I remember thinking something along the lines of, “I don’t think I am going to sleep tonight.” But I still hadn’t put two and two together that the reason I might not sleep is because I would be in labor.

Eventually, around 2am, I went up to bed. I woke up husband to say that I had been having contractions, but no pattern and at the time I think I said, “They can go on like this for hours so I don’t think anything is happening tonight.” But then, 4:30am and hello! I woke up with a huge contraction. And then I had another. I woke up the husband, he timed them, and they were 5 minutes apart. I did that for an hour. I called the hospital; they were all “well, sounds early. Why don’t you hang out for a few more hours and give us a call.” So I did. The whole time the contractions were 5 minutes apart, and they were increasing in intensity. But I used my yoga breathing and was managing them just fine. During that time, I took a bath, I ate, and I even slept in my 5 minutes off. Finally, around 7:30 we called the hospital again, and this time they told us to come in. Even then, we took our time. I wanted donuts (donuts? I love donuts, but I had only had about two throughout the whole pregnancy. I guess I wanted the last of my guilt free eating), so we got some donuts and coffee and meandered toward the hospital.

Once there, they put us into triage and told us that they might be sending us home, since people can have contractions for hours before anything is happening. But they said they would “check me” and see. The midwife, who was awesome and whom I had never met before did check me and stated that I was already 5 centimeters dilated. Great! It was time to go into a real labor and delivery room.

This is where everything Guru says about hospitals starts to become untrue. Did I get pressure to do things a certain way? Sure. Was it with medical intervention? No! That’s what you get for living in a progressive city. My first suspicion should have been my nurse. She was so great and so nice. She said, “Why don’t you take a bath?! We’ve had some people labor in the tub until right before it is time to push! It can be really comfortable.” I did get into the tub, and it was a little better. My second clue should have been the other nurse. She looked to be in her mid-sixties and was clearly an authentic San Franciscan hippie. Like a real one, from the sixties. I can’t say exactly what it was about her, but when she showed me her moon pendant from the Renaissance Fair, I knew. She waved her hand towards a “birthing stool” that I could go “play around with if I wanted.” At this point, I was hanging over the side of the tub moaning. Things were starting to get intense for me. The contractions were coming quickly, and they were hurting a lot more.

Finally, the anesthesiologist entered. He arrived when the nurses and midwife had momentarily left the room and I looked at him gratefully. He told that he is “not trying to sell me anything” and then indicated the emergency situations that would involve him (e.g. emergency c-section) and then said that he does also do epidurals. At this point, I had left the tub, was ignoring the birthing stool and was clinging to the bed. By the time he finished talking I said, “Okay, I want an epidural. Now.” He said, “Great! I’ll go get the tray.” He left and the nurses and midwife came back. We told them our decision. Renaissance Fair said, “He won’t tell you this, but an epidural will really slow things down. You’re doing so great.” The other nurse said, “Hmm, why don’t we check you to see where you are before making a decision.” And the midwife said, “There are some other pain relief options before an epidural. Do you want to start with some nitrous oxide?” They checked me. They all clucked with approval, “7 centimeters! Wow! Wow that was faasst!!” They were nodding at each other and smiling. It felt like a show. I weakly looked at all of their calm, warm womanly faces and said, “Okay, I’ll try the nitrous.” I vaguely remember the poor anesthesiologist being shooed away when he tried to come back in. I started on the nitrous. I don’t think it did SHIT. Renaissance Fair admitted afterwards that she doesn’t think it does much and even said, “I think yours wasn’t on right anyway.” Great. I tried it for 10 minutes and threw the mask down.

And then I knew for sure. It had been at least an hour since I tried the “other interventions” and I knew that I was probably close to 8 cm dilated. I was past the point of no return. I gave up thinking that I was going to get relief. They tricked me. I was suddenly in the midsts of natural childbirth.

You know how people say that you forget the pain of childbirth after it happens? And that if you do it naturally it is somehow more beautiful or you are more connected to your baby? Well, um, not so much. It hurts and it is scarey and it is like nothing I have ever felt before and I don’t know that I would do it that way again. That said, I am secretly proud of myself (not so secret anymore) and I do think things were moving fast and would have slowed down had I gotten the epidural. I also think my recovery was a lot faster since I was easily able to walk around immediately after giving birth. But, let’s just say I am not feeling like I need to go that route again. It hurts!

It seems that right when I realized I was done with other options, everything got hard. I started screaming during the contractions, which appeared to be coming one after another. I found out later that I always had a little break, but that’s not how it felt to me! Poor husband was so distraught while taking care of me; during a contraction he would put his face near mine and moan with me. He rubbed me, he got me cool washcloths, he told me how great I was, how strong and beautiful. At one point I decided to try to pee, and I had such a bad contraction that I remember getting up and saying, “somebody help me!!” before collapsing into his arms and clinging for dear life.

The rest is a blur. I guess at some point the noises I was making during contractions indicated that it was time to push. It’s strange, they say you can’t help pushing, and I guess I started making pushing noises. My “team” looked at each other knowingly and the nurse decided to check me to see if I was fully dilated. She couldn’t tell because my unbroken water bag was in the way so she went to get the midwife. I remember yelling to husband, “I think he’s coming out!” We were alone. I told him to go get them. He started towards the door and I screamed, “Don’t leave me!” Luckily, the midwife came in at that moment, checked me and said, “yup, time to push.” Again, the rest is a blur, except that I still remember that scary feeling of needing to push. It’s somewhat analogous to throwing up (which I also did a few times during the process). It’s involuntary, and it is awful, but it has to happen. Husband was right in the thick of things, holding up my thigh for me. I guess one nice thing about being drug free is that you can move around. I was in so many positions it was crazy. They kept on mentioning the birthing stool and the bed birthing bar and really, for the most part, I was clutching the side rails of the bed squinting in pain. I wasn’t going to actually move anywhere. I yelled “Why isn’t he coming out?” I know I yelled that a few times. There were lots of “Okay, push!!” and then some “take a breath” and then more “push really hard!” At some point, I heard my husband say “I can see the head!!” After they got the shoulders out, the rest of him just tumbled out. They put him on my chest, and I swear he looked right at me. That was beautiful. The truth is that childbirth does stop hurting immediately—it’s the worst pain of your life, and then it is over. Crazy how primal all this stuff really is.

Afterwards, we all heard a woman making the most insane sounds from the labor room next door. Everyone chuckled knowingly. Except me. Damned if I was going to laugh at her, I knew what she was going through.

The rest is history, and I am waay to tired to write anymore for now. Again, pictures will come, but for now I am loving being home with my baby and adjusting to the new saga called “breastfeeding.” More to follow on that.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

From The DH

Dear all,

This is just a quick note on my wife’s behalf to let you know that our perfect little boy was born happy and healthy on Monday, August 21 at 1:01PM. Everyone is doing great. We’re in the clouds. Details to follow soon.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dear Baby Boy in My Belly,

I know that I have spent this whole pregnancy telling you to "stay inside!" It is true that every night before sleep I religiously imagined my cervix closed and I imagined you inside unable to get out because my cervix was double triple locked. Believe me, it has taken some getting used to for me to imagine that cervix door unlocked, so I can understand that it may be hard for you to know that IT IS OKAY TO COME OUT NOW. Actually, not only is it okay, I am requesting that you PLEASE COME OUT NOW. I am a little tired of being pregnant and I am very anxious to meet you. So. If you don’t mind, can you please come out now?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Still Baking

Two nights ago I woke up with a mother of a contraction at 5am. I woke up with so much "menstrual like pain" that my first thought was, "I need an epidural." Good to know that the natural childbirth fanatics of San Francisco haven't completely gotten to me. My wimpy self is still in place. My second thought was, "it's time!" I woke up the husband right away even though I had just felt one contraction, because, frankly, it really freaked me out--that level of intensity. I told him that I woke up with a contraction and that I think I had had some in my sleep before that one. We both decided to train our eyes on the clock by the bed and see when the next one would come. Then it was suddenly 9:30am and I woke up again. I guess that is a lot of time between contractions. Since then I have felt stirrings of cramps, plenty of braxton hicks, but nothing indicating that imminent labor is on the way.

Tomorrow we see a new provider. I am not feeling so good about that even though I know it is the right thing to "widen the net" of people to meet in the practice since I all but know Peri won't be at delivery. I think, in my twisted way, I became very attached to Peri and her controlling hands on support. I am high risk, damn it! A midwife? How will she understand the nature of my high risk pregnancy? Of course, all of my questions have to do with topics that are not high risk and very much in her scope of practice, but STILL. I feel like meeting a new provider at 38 1/2 weeks pregnant--it feels wrong somehow. But Peri told me to do it, and I do what Peri says. Despite my seemingly complicated relationship with her, I credit her for getting me here and as usual, Peri knows best.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Super Secret Me

I almost posted a picture of myself walking on the beach this past weekend instead of my gorgeous dog sunbathing. In the picture, my hair is covering my face, so you can't tell what I look like. I am overly paranoid. For some reason I feel like I can spill my innermost thoughts to the world as long as you don’t know my name or my face. Because if you know what I look like, then you would...KNOW WHAT I LOOK LIKE! I love blogs with pictures. I love them. I don't know why I am so resistant in this forum. I am so important that if you saw me, you would want to stalk me. That must be it.

Anyway, I could pretend I didn't post the picture because of anonymity, but then I'd be lying. The reason I didn't post is because of my fat ass. I decided that the whole world (or the few people who read this) needn’t see what pregnancy and bed rest has done to my butt. So, even though it was a pretty safe picture in terms of hiding my super secret identity, it didn't work for me. I don't have a baby yet, but, clearly, I might be losing my mind.

I wish I could convey how beautiful that day on the beach was (even with my lovely dog as a model, you can't tell). The weather has been spectacular lately, and I am glad to spend time strolling along the cold ocean water enjoying every second of it.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Kick Counts

Kick counts are the new bane of my existence. Do doctors do this stuff just to stress you out? I am 37 weeks today (woohoo!), and very happy to be here. There is nothing left to do but enjoy whatever time I have left between no bed rest and officially becoming a parent. That is, I have nothing left to do but worry about kick counts.

This morning, I noticed my boy was moving a bit less than I think I usually feel. Not to worry, I thought. Not to worry at all. I diligently went to pre-natal yoga, and in class teacher talked about connecting with baby in the belly and letting go of tension in our face. My version was to internally and not very nicely tell the boy to please make his presence known, and my brow was decidedly furrowed. He did not comply.

I came home to where my husband was working and expressed my concerns, already imagining our trip to the hospital. My husband got me a HUGE glass of ice-water and an apple. I ate the apple to induce a sugar high for the kid and then downed the water. I lay on my left side. Within minutes, the boy started punching the belly. He also got the hiccups. He seemed sort of pissed, even my husband couldn't help a note of accusation as he said, "you woke him up and gave him the hiccups." I was so relieved I said, "Damn right."

This is how parents become crazy, right? This is how one becomes that overprotective mother you kind of roll your eyes at because she is always worried about the possible worst case scenario? I never thought that was me. I admit to having some issues with anxiety, but it's never been my main thing. I think of myself as sort of the calm, mellow person. HA! Kick counts have put me in my place.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Stitch Free

Yesterday I had my stitches removed! The whole thing was surprisingly easy. The worst part was all the waiting around, but when they got around to business, the whole procedure took about 5 minutes. It hurt, but not too badly, and like I said, it was over quickly. The stitches looked like twist ties. Weird. They sent me away for a few hours, and then checked me for signs of labor when I returned. Cervix is "very soft" but not open, and the baby is still high in my belly. I was sent home with a hearty "good job!" and a reminder to check kick counts daily until the signs of labor appear. I celebrated by walking the dog to the post office and back. My husband also treated me to a very nice dinner. One would think I might want to spend some energy preparing for my birth and new baby, which, theoretically, will happen anytime. See, but, no. These days it is all about "me me me." Take me to dinner, massage and whatever other pampering I can manage before I am giving my time and energy to the little one. I don’t have much time left!

I'm half kidding (only half). We have, finally, purchased some basics for when the little guy emerges. I realized that I was more stressed out not having anything than I was by the prospect of buying some things. It's amazing how your mind and body prepare you for life without you knowing. I probably shouldn't have wasted so much time worrying about when and whether we would buy. It was like one day it was too hard, and the next day it was not. But I know better than to think the change happened overnight. Something in me was working, under the conscious surface, at resolving some of this emotional stuff. Not to get to heavy, but I felt that way about the twins too. While it is still hard, there were moments when I was grieving where I understood somewhere that I was healing, but I can’t really point to what happened. I would have a moment of understanding, like walking on the beach on a cold foggy day. Something about that extreme nature, the ocean, so big and vast, it felt so much bigger than me and my life. I can’t say why, but it was healing. Oh boy! I guess I am being heavy. At any rate, I’m not sure why it was suddenly okay in the last few weeks to buy baby socks, but one day it was and so I did.

However, I do laugh when people talk about needing that "one last thing" for their fully operational nursery. When I say "basics" people, I mean it. We're talking a car seat, some clothes, a place to sleep and a stroller. Okay, okay. A little more than that--some blankets, a changing pad, but really not much at all. Should be interesting.....