Storm In A B-Cup

The Birth Story of Baby G, part 1: The Labour

When I was around 36 weeks pregnant, I started experiencing what I now know to have been pre labour symptoms. I was having period like cramping, a lot of pain in my lower back, losing what I know to have been my mucus plug (and had been since 29 weeks, despite what the midwives told me), and having fairly regular braxton hicks contractions. I spent a long, LONG week and a half dealing with these symptoms between the couch, bed, floor, bouncing on my exercise ball, and perhaps most commonly, draped over the top of my exercise ball on the floor. I was certainly not sleeping for more than about half an hour at a time, between the SPD pain, back pain, needing to pee constantly and just general discomfort.

By the time 37 weeks and 4 days came around, I felt like I really could not endure any more.  The morning I was 37+4 (a Thursday), I was lying in bed around 7am and felt a distinctly different feeling. I sprung out of bed and to the bathroom, leaving an unmistakable trail behind me. I was one of the 10% of women whose water breaks before any sign of true labour beginning. I remember feeling oddly calm. The air felt different. Today was probably going to be the day that I met my precious baby girl, and all I could think was that I had ruined a pair of trackpants and possibly some bedsheets.

Within a few minutes I had phoned the birthing suite at my hospital (an hour and a half’s drive away, disregarding any traffic). The midwives were reluctant to believe that my membranes had spontaneously ruptured this early but when I told them exactly what had happened, told me to come in, but not to rush. So T and I each took a shower, and we stopped at good old McDonald’s for breakfast on our way to the hospital.

Two hours later, we were arriving at the hospital, and I was being hooked up to a CTG machine for some monitoring to see how baby was doing. Within a fairly short amount of time I was taken to a labour room (where some of the midwives were very unhappy to see me – I was taking up valuable space which may be needed for someone who “actually needed” it). The midwives asked for a urine sample and to see a pad as they still didn’t really believe my water had broken, however when I handed them a cup overflowing with liquid that was CLEARLY more amniotic fluid than urine, they declined to do the swab to test if my water had broken or not. The hospital was ready to send me home through early labour – I wasn’t happy about this as I live so far away from the hospital and had no idea how fast or slow labour would be – when someone thought to check my group B strep status, which had only been tested about a week ago, and I had never been notified of any results. I suppose I would have been at my next antenatal appointment, scheduled for a few days’ time. When they discovered that the swab had come back positive for group B strep, I knew I was officially in for the long haul as I had to be administered IV antibiotics every 4 hours until baby was born.

So once the hospital finally found someone who could place my cannula – apparently I was particularly difficult, with deep veins plus the edema that I was now experiencing in my whole body, I settled in to wait for an induction of labour as the hospital didn’t want my waters to remain broken with no baby for too long and a positive GBS swab. At 11am, the midwife came in to tell me that in a few minutes someone would be in to start the syntocinon drip (pitocin to all those in the US). A few minutes turned into a few hours, and by 5pm with no drip yet, my contractions had definitely started all on their own. Meanwhile it had taken me all day to even get a hold of a pillow for myself (can you tell why I might have ended up with such a traumatic birth?). labour1

Early labour went pretty much as I had expected, and with the support of my wonderful husband, I thought everything was going very smoothly, but by 11pm or so I was requesting an epidural with some degree of insistence. I had been checked around 7 or 8pm, and been found to be at about 4cm dilated, so I was of the belief that the staff would be OK with me getting an epidural, however they continued to try to stall me. The doctor who performed my internal to determine that I was about 4cm was very brusque, rough and caused me a lot of pain, and he is the one who kept telling the midwives I couldn’t have an epidural yet. I was VERY firm in not wanting to see him again.

First I was given some type of tablet for pain relief and another to “help me rest”. This only really took off the edge, and I most certainly wasn’t sleeping. By perhaps 2am (the details are already becoming so fuzzy), I was vomiting and shaking and seriously not coping with the pain again, so I again started asking for an epidural and again being told it was “Still too early” because it was my first baby, so I couldn’t possibly have progressed very far. So I was given a morphine injection, the only result of which for me was some dizziness and next to no pain relief.

By the time 5am rolled around, I was very much not coping with the pain and my contractions were only around a minute apart, and lasting for close to that whole minute. I was getting one strong one, a longer gap and then two weaker ones right on top of one another in a repeating pattern, a pattern which I was later told is common in women labouring with posterior babies. The midwives FINALLY agreed to getting the anaesthetist to administer my epidural and in the meantime offered me nitrous oxide gas. The nitrous oxide, while not providing much pain relief, gave me a much needed focal point, allowing me to get through a bit more. It did take off an edge, but made me very uncomfortably dizzy and my voice very manly and deep, which made my husband laugh to no end.

At 6 am, 13 hours after I was considered officially in labour, I finally got my epidural. It took five attempts to place correctly, as the anaesthetist had to try to place it in between contractions – and there was not much time at all – and he said my epidural space was very deep, almost too deep to reach. He told me that the needle to place the epidural is 8cm long and my epidural space was 8cm in, so it was quite difficult to place, the most difficult he had placed in a long time, he says. While placing the epidural, he got quite frustrated with my midwife for not listening to me sooner about wanting an epidural as he suspected I may be at least 8cm dilated. labour2

In my case, it was lucky that my progress had not been checked before the epidural was placed, since if I had been checked, I would not have been allowed the epidural. As the anaethetist had suspected, I was dilated to 8cm and was transitional. Luckily, within two contractions of the epidural being placed, I was blessedly no longer feeling anything to do with the contractions but could still move my legs and feet around pretty well. I had a catheter placed, and settled in to wait. No sleep was to be had, but at least I was able to rest.

I had written out the entire birth story in one post, but it was simply too long, so I think that here might be a good place to break – part 2 will be coming very soon!

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Back again, Hopefully to stay (?)

It has been so so so so long since I posted, yet again. Last time I posted, I believe I was about 19 weeks into my pregnancy and about to find out baby’s gender.  Now, I have the most beautiful 4 month old baby on the PLANET, and my life has changed in the most unbelievable ways.

I want to make a bunch of updates, but it’s far far far too much to put into a single post so for now, I’ll write just the most important stuff, perhaps just some of the rest of my pregnancy and then my next post might be the birth story which I have been just dying to share, but only now feeling ready to talk about, since it was such a traumatic experience for me – and baby – unfortunately.

As at the last post, I was going to find out baby’s gender in the next few days or week, and I was so so excited.  Ever since I was a little girl, I “knew” that my first baby was going to be a girl, and when I became pregnant that feeling only intensified. Up until I found out the gender though, I tried to make sure not to get my hopes up as of course I would love whoever arrived in my arms, as long as he or she was healthy and happy. As we drew closer to the exciting day of the ultrasound, I had myself almost utterly convinced that I was having a little boy, and my husband and I even had a name picked out for our future son while we were very up in the air about girl names.

On the day of the scan I drank my mandatory 1.5L of water and we drove to the clinic half an hour away. When we were told that the tech was running about 45 minutes late, I was a little beside myself – I don’t know how I made it that long without wetting myself. The scan went very well, although bub was measuring a little early at this point, and as such they had a little trouble getting all of the pictures they needed. I tried not to be too pushy about the gender, but I think I still asked…oh, maybe 4 or 5 times? At the end, the tech told me that she was 98% sure that baby was a girl, and I was so shocked and happy, and excited all at once, I think I was floating for about a week afterwards.

That day we bought our very first baby outfit and made our little facebook gender announcement. Ironically, the onesie we bought that day, baby girl G never wore once, we ended up with SO MUCH stuff for her!

I had a wonderful pregnancy for the most part, however ended up finishing work a month earlier than I had planned when I developed severe SPD. I battled through for a few weeks but ended up stopping work at about 32 weeks, when I started not only having a lot of trouble with SPD but having consistent, painful braxton hicks contractions as soon as I was on my feet for any longer than about an hour at a time.

So much else happened throughout the course of my pregnancy, and I really wish I had kept blogging throughout so that I could have everything documented but I know now that if I tried to write about it all, it would be a huge convoluted mess, so I won’t even try – I’ll skip from here to the labour and birth story, which begins at 37 weeks and 4 days. But first I’ll share a couple of pregnancy photos – I couldn’t resist!

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10 Gender Prediction Old Wives Tales

In just a few weeks’ time, I’ll be able to find out (hopefully!) if the baby growing inside me is a boy or a girl.  And call me silly, but I just don’t know if I can wait that long! Not knowing is just about killing me, so I thought it might be fun to google a bunch of the old wives’ tales that are supposed to predict the gender of your unborn child and see if any kind of trend emerged – and then see in a few weeks if it’s right or not!

1.One of the first tales I heard was about baby’s heart rate. This one suggests that if your baby’s heart rate is under 140bpm it’s a boy and if it’s over 140bpm it’s a girl.  I don’t know about this one, since I know for sure that all babies’ heart rates will fluctuate pretty wildly, but it’s a bit of fun.  According to this one, baby is a girl with a heart rate of 152 at the ultrasound that I have had so far.

2. Morning sickness.  Apparently if you have morning sickness, you’re having a little girl, but if you haven’t been hit with it, you’re carrying a little boy.  According to this one, baby is a boy.  I was very lucky on the morning sickness front!

3. Breasts – According to this wives tale, if your left breast is larger, you are having a girl, and if your right is larger, you are having a boy.  By this test, my bub should be a girl.

4. Which side do you sleep on? – If it’s the left,  baby is a boy.  If it’s the right, baby is a girl.  I don’t know what happens if you flip around, or sleep on your back!! Mostly I tend to sleep on my right hand side (I think this is really because my right ear is the one I can hear out of, so if I sleep on that one I’m less easily disturbed) so it should be a girl!

5. According to the mayans, baby’s gender can be predicted by the year of conception and the mother’s age at conception.  If both numbers are either odd or even, it’s a girl, and if one number is odd and the other ids even, it’s a boy.  If this is true, baby is a boy!

6. The traditional chinese birth chart.  This one uses the mother’s age at conception and the month of conception to predict the gender.  Here’s a link to one if you’d like to try it for yourself! For me it predicts a baby girl

7. If someone asks you to show you their hands, if you present them palms up, you’re expecting a girl.  Palms down, a boy.  For me – judging by my instinct – I would be expecting a girl.

8. If you dream about your baby being a girl, your baby will actually be a boy.  And if you dream of it being a boy, then it will be a girl.  But what happens when my crazy dreams have me breast feeding a kitten???? For this one, it’s unknown.

9. If your areolas have darkened during pregnancy, you are having a boy, and if not, it’s said to be a girl.  So far for me, that would mean I was having a girl, but I suppose that still has plenty of time to change!

10. Cravings – if you crave salty/savoury foods, then bubs is a boy, and if you crave sweet foods, then bub is a girl.  I’m not sure where this leaves me.  I have craved both salty and sweet at different times, and occasionally together.  Most often though, I’ve been craving salty so I will go with boy.

So the outcome of this lot of old wives’ tales?  3 say boy, 6 say girl, and the remaining one is undecided.  My initial feeling was that baby would be a girl, which then swung the other way, and now I just don’t know! Only the ultrasound in a few weeks’ time will be able to tell us with any certainty!

What do the old wives tales tell you?  What are some other fun old wives’ tales to try?

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Pregnancy Musings at 15 Weeks

Since this is the first week that I am blogging since getting pregnant, I suppose I have some catching up to do.

We found out on the 6th of November, I was around about 6 weeks along but I had been suspecting for a little while for a few reasons – Firstly, my boobs had grown and were really sore – something that never happens to me, ever.  Before a period or otherwise.  Secondly, my period was late.  It was day 46 of my cycle when I finally broke down and tested.  BUT the previous month’s cycle was 43 days long, so I don’t think this was too far out of range.  Though I wonder if the previous month may have actually been a chemical pregnancy.  But that’s neither here nor there.  I was unreasonably tired.  And – and this may have been my biggest hint – I just had a “feeling”.

It was a terrifying day.  As much as I wanted a baby, I also knew that this probably wasn’t the best time for us, in all practicality.  My husband and I spent that day just scared out of our minds.  And we stayed that way for a long time.  Gradually, the fear has been giving way to excitement, and there has definitely always been happiness!

My first trimester was pretty good – I was very lucky as far as symptoms go.  I had next to no morning sickness, and I just kept on waiting for it!  I was however incredibly tired.  ALL. THE. TIME.  My breasts HURT.  Lots.  And grew – by 8 weeks I was up at least a cup size, and soon I only had one bra that even kind of fit.  I had a BUNCH of hot flashes.  It’s summer here, so it’s already hot, but even on mild days, I literally felt like my face was burning off, and I was dizzy and just felt horrible with that.  And something I really wasn’t expecting was the low blood pressure.  My blood pressure has always been on the low side, but once I was pregnant, I found that if I stood still for more than a few minutes, especially if I hadn’t had something to eat or drink for a while, I would get super, super dizzy, lightheaded, start seeing spots and just be sure I was going to pass out.  As long as I was well hydrated and kept moving I was ok!

This trimester, I have really not had a huge change in symptoms.  I was SO looking forward to that boost in energy but so far it has remained elusive.  Seriously.  It’s all lies.  I go to work, I come home, I collapse on the couch because I seriously cannot go on.  I’m asleep every night by 9.  And I can sleep in until 9 or later the next morning given opportunity.  And I will still be tired.  I’m calling BS on the second trimester energy burst, at least for me.

Since I have come into the second trimester, I have found my skin is starting to break out, although I really thought that was supposed to be clearing up by now.

Baby brain is a very very very real thing.  I’m finding that especially at work, things are just slipping my mind that really shouldn’t be.  The other day I asked someone where the stapler was.  It was IN MY HAND.  They must have thought I was crazy.  It’s not very good!

Just in the last few nights I’ve found myself not sleeping well.  I don’t really know why.  It isn’t like I’m too hot, too cold, uncomfortable or anything like that.  I just can’t sleep.  Very strange.

I feel like I’m being so negative, but I suppose the biggest positive is that other than those few things I’ve mentioned, I really feel completely normal.  My husband is being so supportive and helpful.  I love him a lot!! He is just fantastic.

And – I know it’s super early – but yesterday, my parents pulled the cradle I slept in out of the roof for us so as soon as I get T to put that together I’ll post photos!  We still have to buy a mattress, I think it might not be a standard size any more, but we’ll work it out.  It’s so exciting!  And not that long until we can find out if it’s a boy or girl! It really is all super exciting!!

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Daily Prompt: Write Here, Write Now

I am promising myself I will get back into blogging – it is a resolution of mine.  Not necessarily for the new year, or for any particular reason other than I need something to focus myself on and to continue to express myself in a way that is meaningful to me, if not to anyone else.

That’s why I am writing this post in response to the daily prompt: Write here, write now.  It’s a challenge to myself: I will write every day,  something new.  Something that makes me think or reflect or that interests me.

Right now, my life is in a place of great change.  I feel scared, excited, lost, terrified.  I have no direction, and yet a whole new direction.  I am scared that I will be a bad mother, that I can’t make the right decisions for a whole new person who is completely dependent on me.  I feel terribly selfish because I am afraid that in this whole process of making someone else, that I might lose myself.

I already love my baby – in an intellectual kind of way – I know that I want the best for him or her, and that I don’t want anything bad to ever happen to him or her.  But I also feel as though I am a bad parent for not already feeling that deep, instinctive connection and love for my child that so many parents say that they can feel as soon as they see that first scan or hear his or her little heart beating.

Now – completely unrelated – I’m also not sure that I am following this prompt quite correctly.  But to be honest, I don’t think I care all that much.  I am writing, and I am feeling and I am expressing something that I have been afraid to express aloud.  And I think that that is one of the most important parts of blogging for me.  Connecting with myself.  And hopefully, someone else out there can relate and maybe feels some of the same things.  And maybe, just maybe, they feel a little bit less alone now.  I know I do.

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A New Start

I know I’ve said this several times before, but I think this time I’m really back to stay.  We have moved to a new house – one of our own this time, and for longer than six months, I swear.  We have real internet – no more of this blogging from my phone nonsense which was a big reason for my not posting for so long.  And I have some VERY very exciting news.  A couple of posts ago – more than a few months ago, I’m incredibly ashamed to admit – I wrote about pregnancy scares and trying to conceive.  Several months ago, my husband and I decided that rather than “trying” to get pregnant, we would just…stop “not trying to get pregnant”.  I assumed that with my current weight and PCOS and all of those fun things it would take at least six months, probably more along the lines of a year or two.  NOPE.  I am excited, and very SCARED to announce that after four months of “not not trying”, we are expecting our first baby.  He or she is due to arrive at the end of July this year, making me 14 weeks and 5 days pregnant right now.

It has been a wild ride so far.  I am excited and extremely terrified at the same time.  I worry one moment that we aren’t ready, that we can’t afford a baby yet, that I haven’t finished – and now, due to timing and some other circumstances, won’t finish – my nursing degree.  But in the next moment I am thrilled, excited, over the moon.

In my first trimester, I was very lucky.  I had only the most mild morning sickness.  I felt queasy a lot of the time, but it never really went beyond that.  I feel like I haven’t really experienced pregnancy yet because I haven’t had a lot of symptoms.  Because of that, I think that it doesn’t really feel like it’s really happening to me.  I have been tired, and I am NOT coping with all of the recent heat waves, I constantly feel like my face is burning off.  But I feel lucky.  Because unlike the other two girls at my workplace who are pregnant, I’m not throwing up 17 times a day, or experiencing awful heartburn or insomnia or any of those things.  For the most part I feel normal.  And that worries me too.  Because if I feel normal, maybe there’s something wrong with the baby.  In fact, up until my scan at 13 weeks, I was almost convinced that I was imagining the whole thing and that there was no baby at all.

Happily, I was wrong and with great joy watched my little one jumping around, and heard his or her heartbeat for the first time.  It truly was an indescribable moment.  People kept telling me that the first time I saw my baby, and heard its heart beat would be the most incredible moment of my life.  But I had no idea just how powerful it would be until it happened.  That ultrasound is what made this whole experience real for both myself and my husband.  Yes, we are both still worried, but I think most normal parents worry.  But now mostly, we are excited to meet our little one in six all too long – and all too short! – months.

I am so excited to share a couple of images from the ultrasound with you! This scan was performed at 13w1d.

baby1 baby2 baby3

Until next time!  And I promise it won’t be a matter of months this time!

 

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