28 November 2010

how we are

So how are we?

Here I am with a beautiful miracle of a baby- yes, as expected, sleep deprived, yes, time deprived. Yes, challenged beyond belief at this astonishing little being who can only communicate in at least one language I do not know.

She smiles in her sleep and my heart melts, and I did not expect to be cracked so wide open, and feel SO TOTALLY VULNERABLE to all of my own feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, incompetence... I can now change a diaper masterfully, thank you, but there are so many parts of this that I simply make up all day long, every day and I do not feel I am gaining on it.

I am torn to pieces when Della cries and I cannot console her, especially while she is nursing... but Doug is masterful, patient, and is able to help her calm when I cannot. Sometimes I can stay very calm for longer than I would ever have expected but come evening time, well, all bets are off.

I hate that I don't know what to do, how to help, what it means, or how BAD it is for her-- really hungry? tired and can't let herself sleep? just frustrated? maybe just blowing off steam?
We do the happiest baby stuff- swaddling, really loud shushing, swaying, etc, and it does work (hurrah Dr. Karp) but it is hard to do that for hours. No idea how to keep her settled and still(?) once settled with noise and motion. Ideas are welcome.

Breast feeding is going fine and I am so glad it is working. Della was up over 9lbs this past week at her 2 week appointment which is great and is clearly thriving. But it is a little challenging just by being so frequent and so lengthy- an hour of feeding every two hours, with some multi hour marathons, and of course I know it will get better as she gets older but right now it is hard hard. We do get occasional longer stretches that are lovely (thanks Doug!) and I sleep when I can.

I am already dreading pumping, trying to get her to take a bottle (already failed on our first attempt), going back to work, being away from her at all.

Several of you asked about how I am writing at all in the new baby vortex-- I write by writing fast and not editing, stolen time during Doug's baby wrangling (he is singing and dancing with her in the kitchen)..

We are all wishing we had more time here, to just be, to settle in, but I have a month or so before I have to go back to work
and Doug goes into the office tomorrow
and Della will be 3 weeks on tuesday, how is that possible?

So things are amazing, wonderful, great, difficult, teary (me, gosh darn), teary (Della), fun as can be (Doug), and I would not trade it for anything in the world.

Hormones suck ass though, I'm just sayin.

I did not expect to spend so much time crying or trying not to cry. No, no, not every day, not all day long, but tired+ crying baby+ feelings of inadequacy mean that gosh darn, every few days I come apart over something, feeling of extra tenderness, and then it is hard to get everything back under wraps the way I prefer. I am FINE being happy, but being sad/teary makes me feel horrible as you already know. I know it is hormones, and it is not always at all. I have many more moments of peace and happiness than sadness. But it still sucks ass.

So anyone out there have ideas for managing a fussy baby?
And I am open to ideas about how to prepare for pumping/bottle feeding during work hours.
Any favorite bottles for the discriminating baby?

27 November 2010

birth story, part 5

They checked me every half hour or so (NO PAIN during the checks which was lovely, truly, what a relief), and after each check, nurse D cranked pitocin up and up and up and up, and at 2:45 am or so, she had the doc come by.

Sarah came in from the lounge where she has been listening to her mind race, Doug woke from the sofa...
and the doc checked me after the nurse did, and said what I had feared: after 3 hours of monster pitocin plus the epidural, I had progressed in the smallest possible way, I was still only 7cm dilated.

At this point, the baby was starting to show stress/exhaustion. Heart rate of up to 170 then down, then up again--and by far the most important thing for me ever is/was safe baby-- so it was no surprise at all when she said it was time for a C section.

Doc D was called (was still in the hospital)-- there was some fun trying to get me ready for surgery since Doc D had threaded the epidural through my tank top, and remember, that little sucker (epidural) was only in by 2 cm... so there was some undoing, unthreading, Was I even in a hospital gown? or was I nekkid? no idea, just that things moved very swiftly.

Doug got a big white mechanic jumpsuit that made him look like an Elvis impersonator, and they wheeled me down the hall. We got to wait for a while outside the scrub area while they prepped the room, put my hair in a net, told me about the other people who would be in the room (a mean nurse, a guy named Steve who keeps track of the Things so they make sure nothing is unaccounted for when they are done sewing you up) then into the OR where it was damn cold. Dr D was with me, by my head, the whole time and incredibly present.
Dr S from my OB practice was the OB on duty that whole night and I have failed to say how great she was with me- how clear, and how compassionate, and Kendal (whom I adore) was with her in the OR so I felt that I was in really really good hands.

Mean nurse would not let two folks be in with me, so Sarah waited in the room (now, without the bed, she said it was bizarre to be there waiting)-- and apparently they decided Doug's goatee needed to be covered too--

In the OR, they moved me to the table, careful of the epidural (I was practicing handing over control), then on the table they started to prep me, put in the catheter, swab my belly, etc, while Dr D gave me more medication to make me go numb. Luckily the window of aliveness in my crotch was not in the window of pain for the C section, so after testing me for sensation (full sensation of pressure, none of sharpness in the zone)-- they started.
Dr D kept saying, look at me, look at me, stay with me here, don't let the anxiety get you-- and I remember a few weird things:
Looking up I was impressed at how present he was for me, considering that he had been so grouchy during the epidural,
and how he looked me right in the eyes like I was a real person in real stress/duress not just one of a thousand of these he does each year...
I was impressed at how carefully he shaved his neck, ending perfectly at the border of his underchin goatee, and

suddenly, they had begun, I felt the pressure of the scalpel...
but Doug was not there!
I remember saying over and over, Wait! where's Doug?
Where's Doug?

they so clearly were trying to get me open and get the baby out...
there was a new sense of urgency (or new that I noticed)...
then, just about exactly at the time they were yanking and I do mean YANKING the baby out of my body
Doug miraculously arrived at my head, (Doug saw my body lift each yank)
Dr. D took the camera, we had a lens fault (classic),
got that cleared up by turing it off and back on again...and he took photos over the blue curtain...
then we heard him say, here he comes... no wait,
you have a daughter! and then, finally, a cry
and we burst into tears

They showed her to us over the partition, so briefly, a pissed off red faced baby- ALIVE.

And that, my friends, is the single most amazing moment of my life so far.

Very soon they brought her up near my head. Dr D took the photo of Doug holding Della near my head, and he undid one of my arms from the soft restraints so I could touch her face. I could NOT believe she was real, it was over, and all that happened, the whole long journey was over.

Doug and I asked each other what her name was, that moment, as they took her away- and we agreed, Della.

And then Doug went with her, and I got sewn up,
and just kept thinking about her
Our Daughter.

birth story, part 4

After hours of hideous nubane contractions (see Sarah's comment on the last post for her take on this whole chapter)... cervix recheck, still at 4-5cm.

I could not believe it. I think this is when I started to think I might not be able to do this. I mean, really not.
I am not sure, but I think this may be when I started to say OW and fuck or shit instead of just my weird single note toning during contractions, but maybe it was a little later.
It was evening now-- 24 hours since my water broke. Nurse D came on.

My lack of progress was incredibly disheartening-- I just felt like I was sinking each time they checked and each time it was the same. Pitocin was discussed with doc. And we all decided that it might help kick my dilation into gear-- they promised to be gentle, to start slowly. I asked about an epidural since I was so scared about the increased pain, but we all decided to see how I did, and then decide. If progress was quick, it might not be necessary.
D asked if maybe I would be more comfortable laboring in one of my own shirts- YES, and somehow we all changed me into a tank top.
And we started pitocin.
I also got a dose of antibiotics that tasted horrible in my mouth.

And then hours passed. Pitocin was increased twice.

They kept checking me, but even with the pitocin, I was barely dilating. Barely. 4-5? 5-6? The baby's head was deep and engaged, totally ready. I was even getting rectal pressure (sorry folks, but truth)-- and I would reward my own survival with tiny micro pushes, tiny ones, just hello body, I am pushing a little. I remember hearing Sarah say at some point (then? or before at the tub?) that it sounded like I was in transition. Well I sure was, but my body wasn't.

Late at night we conferred with the doctor again, decided on an epidural and very strongly increasing the pitocin. For those of you who know me, you KNOW how tired I was, how intense the pain was if I agreed to an epidural. Doctor D was summoned, a cranky interesting man, the bringer of pain relief and surly grumpiness.
But, oddly, he also brought the first laugh in a while--

he told me all the Bad Things That Could Happen, which I asked about and wanted to know- then I leaned into Doug and Doc D began to try to do the epidural while explaining the process out loud to Kendal, the magnificent med student at my OB's for her rotation-- I remember him remarking that "since I was slender"..... (??? SLENDER? Like a beluga whale?) but I guess from the back I was. I have no idea where Sarah was (Sarah, did you watch?)-- but he did look around at one point and ask me if the stuffed elephant on the window sill was a childhood toy. And I said, no, it is an adult toy. And then said oh my god, no, I did not mean that! and we all laughed-- two docs, med student, nurses, Doug and Sarah.

I remember Doc D feeling my hips, my spine, telling me the needle would not really hurt much, and you know, it didn't much, just a sting (menopur wins)--then he put in the epidural, I felt pressure, but nothing alarming, the beginning of warm heaviness in my legs, and then he said Uh Oh. Apparently it went into a vein not an artery, he backed it out, told me everything that was happening-- of all the uh oh's this one was not a bad one, he was able to reposition it rather than redo it, but then the epidural was in just 2cm. Taped into place, and I was told to stay pretty darned still so it did not dislodge.
There was an immediate and subtle abatement of most of the pain, a moment of sparkling sparkler feelings in my left thigh, and then, substantial relief.

I told him I thought that maybe I loved him.
It turns out, that there was one window of 1" x 3" in my crotch, in the contraction pain zone, that did not get numb at all. And so while things were *MUCH BETTER*, each fiery contraction came and went through that window, enough so I felt awake or at least conscious during each one, but was able to do something like doze/rest in between. The relief was immense. But that window sucked rocks.

Sarah went to try to sleep on the sofa in the lounge, Doug passed out (once he saw my face relax) on the sofa thingy in the room...and for a while, it was just me and the nurse and the monitors and the pitocin.

26 November 2010

birth story, part 3

I did forget things-- like how during the first contractions at the hospital, a gush of fluid exited me. It was almost funny,
contraction+ gush
contraction +gush
and each time I would announce, panting, "Another Gush!" because for me it was so remarkable, and I guess I could not believe how much fluid there was.

So, the tub.
Somehow, I said yes to the tub and they started to fill it.
I'd seen the tub during the tour-- a big tub, BIG. And we all laughed since they had little aquarium skimmers handy for, um, skimming any unintentionals out of the water.
They have arm length gloves for in-water cervix checks and for baby delivery...
and they asked that dads please bring swim trunks if they wanted to join their beloved in the birth tub at any time.
Let me say this: Doug is NOT a water person. So there would be no "joining".
Never mind the skimming.
The gushing.
I am not knocking folks who share the whole experience but gosh darn, I don't think I am ready to bond that fully (come, my love, and share in a soup of my bodily excretia).

So the time comes to walk down the hall. My IV was unhooked.

The only way I think I made it was to imagine the instantaneous pain relief of hot water, of buoyancy, of that big tub.
I don't know how we made it down the hall, how long it took, I only know my eyes were mostly closed. I do know Doug walked me.
I do know we got into the room.
I got nekkid.
they put a truly green exam glove over my IV port hand, taped it around my wrist and asked that I keep it out of the water.
I do not remember getting in
how I remember being in the tub.
BLISS feels like an odd word to use the in the landscape of such intense physical sensation, but it was blissful. Warm, I tried to will my body to relax around the intensity. Asked my shoulders to stay low and soft, asked my friken cervix to open, asked my hips to release the pain.
Bloody show! Nurse W would exclaim and then work some magic with her skimmer. I hung on to Doug at the edge of the tub. The bottom of the tub was smooth and it was deep, there were no handles, no places to sit, just straight sides about 2.5' deep, hot water.
My sister arrived when I was in the tub. I remember her voice, and her hand in mine. I opened my eyes only long enough to register her presence. Hopefully said something welcoming. I do not know.

About thus time Nurse G arrived to take over for nurse W (split shift) and they realized they needed to monitor the baby since I had been in the tub for several hours. I remember a long process of them putting goop on transmitter, transmitter into water toward baby/belly, goop washing off transmitter... over and over and over until they asked me to get out so they could monitor the baby.
Getting out sucked ass. The water was getting cool so they told me they would refill the tub.
Stepping out of that tub, over that ledge, was insane. I remember being toweled off, lying on the bed, monitors back on, maybe a cervix check. As Doug says, they did that a lot.
They did.
A lot.
Because almost nothing was happening.

It was afternoon I know now but did not know then. I think I was finally as far as 4cm.
Back out of the tub we talked about pain management. The doc was consulted, nubane prescribed since it had a lower chance of causing nausea. So back I went to the room (no recollection of this journey), back on the IV, nubane administered. And what it did for me was not to take the edge off at all-- no relief at all-- I ended up calling it "the consolidator" (my sister calls it the exorcist drug) -- it took my gaussian contractions (ramp up, sustained bad, ramp down) and took away the ramping-- now a rect function (instant on, sustained bad, I don't remember how they ended)-- so the contractions slammed me with their intensity.

I got on my hands and knees, it helped some, but then they needed to check me again. So back on my back. And once I was lying down, it was nearly impossible to talk myself into moving.

Hours passed.

24 November 2010

birth story, part 2

And so, late on the 7th (11:30 pm-ish?), after maybe dozing or maybe not (hard to sleep when you realize this is real, and a baby Will Be Coming Soon, somehow, through your body), real contractions began. This was not an ease-into-it, gradually-increasing-sensation sort of beginning... this was a holy shit, pedal to the metal sort of 0-60 in 2.3 seconds sort of beginning...with a second shitty surprise: the contractions were entirely unlike menstrual cramps, and instead were pelvis-is-breaking hip/back/butt radiating firepain I rated 10/10 in my notebook.

I woke Doug at 1:45, who pointed out that it was snowing.
no kidding.
Thus my criteria for real labor was met.

On my way to pee and I had another big gush of liquid. Staggered to the bathroom, assessed fluid as copious and pink, and called the birth center. I had not been timing the contractions so we did that for an hour-- they were not all the same intensity, but the strong ones seriously sucked the breath out of me. About 4 minutes- 4.5 start to start, and lasting a minute and a half each...
I called again at 3-- E said to come in even though the criteria was 3 minutes apart-but not to rush. So I showered (it was part of my birth plan to begin the journey clean....)--the hot water felt good but most was spent bending over, hands braced on the edges of the tub, gasping... we dressed, already had stuff in the car, called my sister to confer about the weather (she lives two states away), and decided that she should wait until daybreak to head up but only if the snow had stopped. I kept having to stop our conversation to heave over the kitchen sink-- no barfing, just heaving, with the pain.

Off we went--much less jauntily.
The snow turned to rain as we headed north...
This time I could not walk-- to the car, to the hospital. I felt broken, breaking. I cannot describe the pain it was so intense and so unexpected. I expected the semi-familiar landscape of uterine, or cervical pain, and with maybe some back pain. I never heard about this option, this broken/breaking pelvis and hips option. I was completely paralyzed with it.

In we went, stopping, starting... but this time into a labor room not triage... I was asked to get nekkid again, into the tent like gown again, by then fluid in pad was greenish which I knew was miconium and knew that it put us into a different category... E tested the pad, and yup, my water had broken. So we were there for the duration.

Dilation? None. Horrible painful check, and fingertip/1cm but thinned nicely. Contractions 3-4 minutes apart. Baby heartrate great. Doctor called.

In between contractions which took me totally inside, one part of me asked in a Very Whiny Voice how could I have been having contractions that felt so shitty for so many hours, water broken for what, 8 or 9 hours? and not be dilated? I felt I might go insane.

I want to talk about the internal process of this, since it was another part that was unexpected. Bring cards or a movie or a magazine, the sites say-- early labor can take a long time and is mostly painless and you may want to have something diversionary with you to help time pass. My ass.

For me, the pain drove me inside, eyes closed, focused entirely on my breath, imagining opening of my cervix which each blown exhale... open I said to myself, begged my body, open. My eyes felt nearly glued shut. In between I opened them in reverse blinks, like tiny snapshots of consciousness. But each moment was just each moment.
I think, at least in the beginning, the sound I made was largely the blowing of my exhalations. I am not sure when I began to make sounds, but they surprised me too. A tone, hum, would just come with the exhalation. Loud to me, beyond my control, it just came out of me.

I was checked how many times? There was much celebration for each bloody show, but dilation remained at none for a long while, and I have no idea when that began to change, but it did not change much. Thankfully the baby remained fine on the monitor, and my contractions were good and strong and regular.I did ask for pain relief and was given an IM shot of morphine plus an anti-barf med. It did nothing. But I was hopeful. They said it would help me sleep which was complete bullshit.

I'd like to point out two things: first, epidurals scare me more than most things. second, we all thought "I can do this"-- that somehow I could do this.

At some point in this, 12 hours after my water broke, E's shift ended, and Nurse #2 came in. I will have to ask Doug who it was (W who I barely remember but what I remember is nice but I have literally no recollection of what she looked like)- a split shift I know, since she was there only for a while then we were handed off to another, G. W placed an IV but now we cannot remember why it was at that point.

Reality check: I imagined this-- walking. walking a lot. maybe using the birthing ball. the birthing stool. I imagined moving, swaying against Doug, being there with him in some way that he could feel.

In reality, I hurt too badly to move, and the pain had driven me so far inside, I just hoped he knew how much it mattered to me that he was there.
I did not even squeeze his hand during contractions. My hand was too far from the pain to help me channel it.

A birthing stool was brought in at some point, but I could not imagine moving. W wanted me to move. Heck, I cannot tell you how much I wanted to want to move. But there was NO WAY I wanted to move with this specific breaking bone pain.

Mid morning W suggested moving to the tub.
Ahhh the tub. The tub that I had imagined floating in in my fantasy birth.
The tub that was all the way down the hall.

22 November 2010

birth story, part1

I have a confession:
I am not sure what to write about Della's birth story.
I mean, I have one, but it is more of a fractionated fairy tale, or a hallucination, not a record of events. Some folks have this amazing clear narrative-- " At 10:45 they placed the epidural, I was 3 cm dilated and completely effaced, my contractions were coming 3 minutes apart and lasting 72 seconds"...
Um, yeah. Mine is more like a series of impressions, a much more hazy rendering. So I have been having a very hard time figuring out where to begin, what to say, what to share.

Well, that's never stopped me here before, so! Lucky you! You get Birth Story a la Kate. There will be no unicorns. Except for that one.

Let's begin with a brief overview of anticipated narrative arcs:
early diagnosis of placenta previa: scheduled c section 39 weeks
vasa previa: scheduled c section 36-37 weeks
no vasa previa! but placental venous lake: scheduled c section 39 weeks
no placental lake! vaginal birth! but since IVF, additional monitoring (NST week 38?/ BPP@ 40 weeks), and kate's increasing fears that Something Bad Will Happen, maybe we should induce...
week 40 comes, begin discussions about induction, make tentative date for week 41...witness kate's increasing fears about induction, culminating in deciding to give the baby a few more days to show up the old fashioned way (NST and BPP show baby is thriving)...
week 41...
All day regular BH with new lower back awareness...
to my immense surprise, my water breaks at 6:45pm while standing at the stove serving myself dinner (turkey meatloaf YUM). It is just this: remarkably hot liquid, silent (no pop, or deep percussion), suddenly exiting my body. 5-6 tablespoons...I put in a liner, and a second little gush happens right away...this time I can see it (clear/pinkish, no odor) call the doc. He calls back instantly, tells me to go in to get checked to see if it really was my water breaking since it matters and these might be the only gushes I get... Enter beginning of surreal/dissociative feeling.
Jauntily make drive to hospital, enter birth center, meet E, our first nurse. She asks me to change, get nekkid, into circus tent sized hospital robe... clean catch urine sample, then onto the bed for testing (damned uncomfortable dry vag swab, 1 min, then paper strip on finger-- both mostly external in clean zone after clean catch...), monitoring (NST-ish for baby heartrate and contractions--mine were every 5 min or so--still painless). Both tests say no water broke, which I disagree with silently as I am quite aware of liquids that exit my body in small warm gushes...
I don't remember if she checked me for dilation then or later or both...
she sends us home but says she will not be surprised to see us again during her shift.
We get home and as I get out of the car I laugh and say "see? it couldn't be labor yet since it is not snowing..."
finished the cold supper, aware I might need fuel...
and to bed, nerves jangled, and this is where the narrative starts to get really fuzzy.

19 November 2010

bloggy anniversary and things I am learning

I missed my blog anniversary on the 12th, happily busy with other things. 442 posts, 2 years, 100k+ visitors, a place to spill my heart out, whimper, wail, rage, celebrate, ponder, wonder, delight, think out loud, explore fear and loss and, now, revel in all that it means to have somehow magically succeeded...
I cannot thank you all enough for reading and lurking, commenting and sending such love and hope and support and positive energy--I cannot imagine how I would have made it without you and this amazing community.
Thank you, truly, deeply and humbly.

Something I have learned about fear from my baby daughter:
Gas pains** bring rigid body wailing, heart wrenching howling cries, tears and gasping, then a moment later, it is over, peace reigns, her face goes calm, she nurses, body relaxed.
She is not holding fear it will come again, or maintaining the pain by holding on to the memory of how bad it was. She is just simply being.
Me? I am a creature of dread and habit, of emotional regurgitation and an infinite capacity for replaying discomfort...

Oh universe.
I have so much to learn.

**all hail the mylecon drops

17 November 2010

unsolicited advice part 1

From a newbie:

Take all of the hospital underwear they will allow you to take
trust me on this
take them all
ugly or not
they stretch, wash well, and you do not want to wreck your own

order boxes of your favorite big pads before you give birth-- if you are sensitive like me, I cannot say enough about Natracare Maternity Pads-- big, long, cushy, free of plastic, and covered in cotton. no kidding. available at drugstore.com.

Bring a bunch of tank tops with you-- preferably ones you can cut off if needed (if you're on an IV). At some point in the laboring process they let me change into a tank from the damned hospital gown-- bliss and worthwhile. bring loose ones, not tight ones.
Do not expect you'll be in any kind of pants until they put you in a pad.

Bring your favorite maternity pants with you to go home in.

Do not underestimate the amount of pads you will need, you will change one each time you go to the bathroom and you will be peeing a LOT. Get more than you think you need. Expect to leak.

Clots are frightening but common, big ones are terrifying, but unless they come with worsening in bleeding or clotting, you're ok. Check with your doc always, but don't panic just because it feels like you lost your liver.

Pain-- take the medication, do not try to be superwoman, pain means slower healing and that sucks... so
also take colace. Trust me. Prunes. I cannot overstate this enough.

Sweating-- at night, I go through 2 shirts and would actually go through more if I could haul my ass out of bed. Soaked shirts, sweaty beyond belief-- wet with sweat-- I'm just sayin'.

Diapers-- praise the disposables for now-- I am very crunchy granola envrio aware geeky whatever but to be able to throw them out at this point is great. Simplifying is key here. We did get unscented bio degradable bags for them and no kidding, they do not smell. Some magical something of breastmilk. So no diaper genie. When food begins or we have to do formula again, this would change.

Breast care-- I use a microwaveable hot pack big enough to drape across my breasts... mine is from The happy company, and is vaguely moist. I had to cut lace off the rim, but it works just great. Also great for draping across my belly. I had one bloody nipple day. It corresponded with The Dark Day. Nuff said.

Breastfeeding more generally-- ask for help, but do not necessarily ask the zealot. Ask the pragmatist. I had the most shitty 45 minute visit with the lactation consultant. What I wanted was a gap solution to feed a hungry baby with no milk in yet-- what I got was a .... lecture is not fair, but a full fledged philosophical treatise that was not only unnecessary, but left me with a screaming pissed off baby with no improved ability to help. Enter pragmaticnurse that night-- she saved me. SAVED ME. I cannot say enough that you can mmm your way through a shitty consult, and then ask for help from someone else...

Growth spurts of your little one will be prefaced with 24 hours or more of non stop feeding, and general irritation. This will cue your body to ramp up production. Expect at least one nearly sleepless night when this begins, and expect you will wake with amazing breasts a day or two later ready for the increased demand.

Tears-- I have cried more in the past week than I have in a long while-- happy stunned tears, only one day of shitty sad self esteem from hell tears, all others are just near the surface, waiting for a look or a thought or beauty and whoa... they just come. No warning no control and it is weird to just have them spill out complete with crumpled face and throat lump.

Healing-- let's talk briefly about The Belly.
It is down to half what it was when I left the hospital, but completely foreign. I am trying not to look at it very much and am relying on other senses to send love to it...I love the soft skin, will miss my flush belly button. I can actually see parts of myself kept under the cloak of mystery these past 6 months at least...my weight is down to 10 above pre-baby, I am wearing maternity pants, a tank with stick-in ultra soft breast pads, and a big soft shirt over that...and no bra since none of the so called nursing bras that I have will actually work for me, and hospital underwear.

Nursing bras--
hm. Might want to wait until you and your little one figure out the basics so you can know the way you prefer to access your body. I am globally disappointed. And at this point, I do not envision a solution for me, except maybe a good old front closure bra. Screw one handed operation. Full access is more important to me.

Do not underestimate the power of a hot shower-- even three minutes, no shaving, just hot water, gentle cleanser, cetaphil for the underpinnings, blot yourself dry, put on clean clothes, you WILL feel better.

Drink more water than you can imagine needing. You will need more than that. Beware the lightheadedness, eat dried fruit for a quick shot of sugar while you think of something to eat that makes more sense.

Belly binding-
the hospital bound me up after surgery-- helps make the whole region feel supported, which is really nice. But, my skin HATED their binding thingy, so I ditched it. Got a cheap one. Wore it a few hours each day when I wanted to feel less immense and more supported. It helped with both things. But, finally, it is just not comfortable. I admit I spent $20 on it not 60-80 (not a belly bandit) so perhaps I chose too cheaply.

Nail file not nail clippers for the little one's talons. His/her face and your breasts will thank you.

Baby clothes--cute outfits with shirts and pants are cute, indeed, but totally impractical. Get the snap or zip up footed sleeper thingies. They rock. Our one day in shirt + pants lasted 1 hour. All of our side snap t-shirts will be in giveaway. Onesies and pants will be fine, but for now we are addicted to simplicity.

The happiest baby on the block-- the book is too long, rent the video. Worth it. It really works- not always but often.

Learn to type with one hand. I am learning but have yet to be able to let go of my desire for punctuation (even if incorrect and sporadic) and capitalization. I will get over it. My desire to document and communicate will win over typo paranoia.


Della is rocking our world--
one week old yesterday
eyes changing from slate gray to brown we think...
she smiles in her sleep sometimes and I will be completely doomed when she can do that on purpose.
Tears are new, and break my heart.
She has the saddest sad faces in the world.
She laces her fingers together, nurses with them tucked up by her face, stretches big big stretches now that she has room to do so! and has the hiccups much of the time.

Last night was hard rain and hard wind, a wild weather night. Today is all fast clouds, moments of brightness, moments of darkness, moments of rain. The sun came out and all the rain drops in the woods sparkled like they only had a minute to show off- a dazzling display.
Now, back to dark and moody.

14 November 2010


11/9/2010 +5

Home since friday-
Della is swaddled in front of me on the sofa, sleeping her brief sleeps between feedings.
One horrible day on thursday- hungry baby, and NO MILK at all- just felt like a failure in every way- pregnancy (IF), birth (fucking A), and then breast feeding. A dark, dark, shitty place to be with no sleep and profound powerlessness.
Then an angel nurse, a decision to try a supplemental nursing system (bring on the tubing, the syringe, and the formula-- tape the tiny tube near the nipple, pray for a latch, then feed along with suckling---)--and an edict to pump 10 minutes after every feeding....
one day of tears (friday)
and then yesterday, right breast filled! and today, I look like a new augmentation, spectacular breasts, wish I could show you. I nursed last night, yes, every hour, or hour and a half, or once, for 2 hours nearly straight, but I am nursing and so happy not to be dealing with the SNS and the post feeding pumping.

Other things in the kate landscape-- no kidding, I DID look 8+ months pregnant after the birth, a big soft BIG belly, protruding out pregnancy-esque, body image from hell, neither pregnant (YAY A REAL LIVE BABY!) but not kate.... I did not expect to feel quite so shitty about that, quite so foreign, self conscious, embarrassed, and one more thing that felt not right.

Then the clots, oh my,
yes well. One last night too. Yes I called, told them I thought I'd passed a lung. I know what to watch for and all is well. But man alive, it was immense and wow. Yeah. Horror show.

A visit with my lovely mother in law just ended,
and tonight we will skype with my faraway dad
and then
we will just be us.

Until tomorrow 9am, and our follow up visit to weigh the little one, and to make sure all is well.

Della is beyond beautiful, astonishingly lovely
smooth silky everything, hair, skin, I will callous her with incessant love.
she has gray blue eyes right now that could turn into anything
and I want each moment (except the clot) to last a year so I can focus on every detail, every single minute everything, how she feels and sounds and looks...

Healing is going fine with one firey pinchy spot deep inside the second layer of stitches, and yay percocet.
I assume I will poop again in this lifetime but it is only an assumption.

And in the middle of the night,
the stars are so clear
and the sky so big but so close,
and the quiet so profound,
except the sound my heart growing as fast as it can to try to keep up with how much love it is trying to hold.
it just can't.

Baby stirring,
must happily go attend to this miracle.

10 November 2010

11/9/2010 +1

Hello loves,
I am too tired to write much, but wanted to say how much I appreciate all of your notes and love.
Della is beautiful- with a complex forehead filled with expression, the strongest legs and arms, and just a miracle to me in every every way.
I promise to post the birth story sometime soon, but for now these photos from yesterday. My eyes are fine, red from sobbing with JOY and no small measure of relief that she was out and ok. Doug's too.

We go home on friday.
Happy birthday Sprogblogger and Alyssa!

08 November 2010

All is Well

Sarah here. This is amazing! Kate is amazing. She is still 5cm after a long day including tub and position changes so has agreed to small amt of pitocin to kick things up a notch. Baby is fine. Kate is radiant. Doug is steady and peaceful. What an honor to be here. Hopefully we'll have more news soon!


wind and snow and rain
we're on...
heading for hospital soon

amazingly intense everything
fear excitement tired sensations (oh the hip pain!)

holy shit folks, this is really happening.


07 November 2010

week 41, update

So yeah, our first trip to L&D!
And home again.

A little gush of very warm fluid, then another-- not urine, so I called and they told me to come in to see if it is amnionic fluid. Nope. They said Lochia maybe...but that does not make sense. So I have no idea.
But I am contracting every 5-6 minutes (they feel like B&H with some fun intense moments with major cervical sensation), and I lost my mucus plug at the hospital...
and while they did check (good lord) I am not at all dilated. Just not.

So-- home to rest and eat and drink and walk and shower and rest more..
they said to call again when the contractions are 3-5 minutes apart, intense, and lasting a minute each. Or if another gush of fluid...
They said they think they'll see us before morning, but if not...we have a morning appointment if nothing happens between now and then.

Babe looked great on the monitor
and that is what matters MOST.

Contraction right now, wow. Feels surreal. But I also know it could be days yet.

So-- I do realize this: regardless of how this plays out, I am not sure when I will update. If I don't, my sister or my darlin' eventually will.
Thank you all for your amazing support and encouragement and kindness.
This whole thing is one hell of a ride.

week 41, +7

Woke today to a hyper awareness of my grumbly colon-- not new news for me, since, well, most of my life has been consumed by hyper awareness of my colon.. but it is new news for me since my radical life change (aka gluten free/dairy free) a few years ago. So I am a little back achy/tight, a little too much colonic awareness, and will sort of stay close for a bit.

Then, if it feels possible, Doug and I will walk in a while-- (don't want to be on the far "out" of the walk to find my colon thinking that this would be a FINE TIME to express itself fully-- been there, done that, but I could walk not just waddle and could disguise myself better in the woods).

Anyway, all is well.

Week 41. Who would have guessed we'd make it this far?

With utmost love to Alyssa and Sprog, wednesday would be fine, but so would tuesday, or monday or say, today. I'm still feeling fine, but discomfort is a fine motivator.

Cloudy and chilly-- the sun came out for a moment of warmth then went right back in.
But no rain today- a fine day for a walk. And a fine day to make apple pie. Hope I get to do both, you know, unless I'm busy.

06 November 2010


Yup, I am actually peaceful
with, you know, moments of maniacism (maniac-i-tude?)
but mostly peaceful.

So-- it is not your imagination: I went from FREAKING THE FUCK OUT thinking almost nothing but impending doom unless we get the baby out RIGHT NOW and persistent front row DBTs to thinking wait a minute.. we're paying attention, we're doing BPP/NST monitoring, so maybe just maybe, everything really is ok (right now).

I am trying to focus on the peaceful side, and the Tired sure is helping. Hard to run in circles when you're this big and this tired.

Out into the world then home to nap (I hope)--

05 November 2010

+5, post doc

All good news: Baby is thriving, fluid fine, I am fine, not swollen, BP OK...so... I asked, then why are we going to induce? And, well, at this point there is no medical reason to do so....So as of this moment we'll have an "end date" of next wednesday/thursday instead of sunday/monday, which gives us a few more days for this little one to choose to come on its own...
the hospital does inductions monday-thursday and they don't want me going into week 42 since that puts me back in a high risk zone none of us want me to be in so, there we are.

Accupunture again tomorrow...
NST/BPP and cervix check again on monday, then again wednesday...
and, maybe not oddly at all, I feel MUCH better. Even with my free floating anxiety. Seeing the results today may buy me some breathing room--gosh I hope so.

And, as an added bonus, NO cervix check today, AND, as an added measure of happy success, for the first time ever, I did not pee on my own hand during urine sample collection.

As Linda so rightfully (gently, respectfully) reminded me, this is the BEST WAIT EVER. We cannot believe our luck.

(Ok baby, it's up to you now).


I am not used to the change in light- it happens so fast these days! Dark at 5pm, dark still at 7:45-- just light enough to see trees against sky. My whole self wants to tuck in, sleep deeply and late, or get up and turn on ALL of the lights to signal to myself it is time to wake.

This morning we have an OB appointment: NST, BPP, then cervix check (gah).

I'll update later with where we are and where we're going.

04 November 2010


cold beautiful rain--- just above freezing. I am sure it shows just how pathologically questionable I am that I was hoping for snow- not SNOW just snow- almost nothing is as beautiful here once the leaves are down.

My last day of work today- wearing PJ bottoms, a long cozy sweatery thingy, wool socks, drinking hot real tea...

A little mucous and pinkness this morning, all new. All expected. A little upset stomach (queasyish)- nothing dramatic. I am just Aware and aware of my awareness.

Doug and I talked last night about the baby maybe just not being ready- and it made me feel more conflicted about the possibility of induction. But I am not going to dwell- I will lose myself in a work a bit, then in a book. I cannot impact this with rational thought or irrational fixation.

If I were to try to reframe this part of the experience toward what it truly is, it is simply and purely magical. Of all of the technology that brought us here, this part? This part is purely up to "nature" (unless we intervene for sanity or safety or both)--
and it is pretty darn cool to have this feel like other folks may feel (except the dead baby panic hovering in my peripheral vision like an energy sucking thief)-- this wondering when, how, how will it start, how soon would I know, what will it feel like, what will happen, how will I be...

So I am trying to step back--
my darlin is worried about timing for logistical reasons, but if you think about it, logistics are OUR construct, right? Nothing to do with the baby. The baby just is.
I am trying to not try *quite* so hard, and I am trying not to feel like I am Waiting.... instead, I am opening.

So-- with that-- work and tea and warmth and rain on the roof...
then books and rest and calm breaths, and tea and warmth and rain on the roof.

03 November 2010


A cold morning, only 25 with the sun well up- thick frost.

Acupuncture today after my half day of work, then a late lunch with sweet Tammy-- then...
home to rest I hope!

The TIRED is impressive-- almost as impressive as my desire to ignore it, work through it, fight it, do other things. I really suck at certain kinds of self care. Right now, I cannot afford to suck at it. So... Today I hope to actually rest, since sleep is sucking rocks right now, and lying down just feels bad in general.

Psychologically, I admit I feel better with an end date-- I do. I know my last day of work is tomorrow (half days this week), and I know that by early next week, the baby will be here. I have preferences still, strong ones, but I keep reminding myself of the most important goals that have driven me all this long way: healthy baby, healthy kate.

02 November 2010

+2, election day!

One very different feeling contraction in the middle of the night that made me think that maybe....
and that is the truth, isn't it?

Today looks like november with a matte gray sky and no sunlight to help the oaks show off their raspberry or copper or chestnut colored leaves.
The ash have all gone brown from their vivid yellows
and the only yellow that remains that I see are the small willow leaves on the top of the bush I planted a few years ago that drops its leaves from the bottom up.

Work this morning and then, after lunch.... voting, one errand, then rest.
I feel up for it.

01 November 2010

+1, post doc update

Hi all, just a quick update-
no change in cervix (except a less horrible check), baby still doing well on BPP and NST...
and a plan-ish:
I come back friday morning (if we have not delivered yet) for the same rummaging and testing, then, if cervix is dilating, induce monday morning, if not, induce starting with cervadil on sunday night (and hope the baby gets the message and comes over the weekend)... the doc does not want us going longer than that and I am ok with that.

Acupuncture today
and again on wednesday
we'll see.

Patience, rest, and time with my darlin' between now and ....?
I'm ok with that too.

+1 Happy November!

Yesterday's walk brought spitting snow, which I LOVED-- sunlight here and there, clouds over the mountain, oak leaves, pine needles down along the road the exact strange color of my hair....
I slept badly, briefly, woke hourly except for 4, stayed awake for long times in between, awake awake. Watched the stars like time lapse photography, watched the moon rise, watched orion make his way across the clearing, watched the sky lighten, watched my brain roar with one little dream loop with minute variations-- hospital, waiting, reading a menu of options...

Today I have a string of dr appointments starting at 11 but will update this evening unless, you know, I'm busy.

I'm ok when it is daytime, but night brings worries.
The maybe plan has been discarded for when the doc says induce we will do it then. Until then, walking, raspberry tea, time, patience.

I'll let you know how that goes.