I’d been having crampy contractions off and on started on the 29th of February, though I was trying not to make a big deal out of it since I knew it could stretch for quite a while. Thursday (the 1st), I didn’t have many, but Friday they lasted much of the day. Still, they weren’t intense or building, so I went to bed just figuring the time was coming sooner or later.
I woke up at 5am Saturday morning when, in my sleep, I stretched…and my water broke.
Ironically, it wasn’t the massive, soaking gush that it was a few weeks earlier that took us into the hospital – more of a plop – so I just got up and puttered around for a while. A tablespoon an hour, the midwife had said, and a continuing trickle were the things to look for. I was having crampy contractions every 5 minutes or so, not very strong, so I did a few things on the computer, had breakfast, and otherwise wasted time. The one thing that stood out to me, however, was that this time my water, or discharge, or whatever it was wasn’t clear…it was a dark yellow to brown color. This bothered me, but when I called the (very sleepy, slightly grumpy) nurse on call, she told me it could just be my mucus plug, “but if you think your water broke, then you should go to the hospital, but if you think it didn’t break, you shouldn’t.”
Well, that was helpful.
By about 6:30, I’d realized two things: yes, my water had broken, and yes, things were progressing right along. The contractions were starting to speed up and strengthen on me, the trickle of fluid had continued, and it was time to go! I made sure John was on board, got some things ready for our friend who would be watching the boys, put in a load of laundry, emptied the dish washer… Really, puttered around the house occupying myself and trying not to dwell on what the color of my water meant. I’d heard of meconium before – where the baby poops in the amniotic fluid before birth – but other than the fact that Danny had had some, I wasn’t sure what it meant in a more practical fashion.
We were off around 7:30, Eric awake and Danny still asleep (probably a good thing, that!), swung through a drive thru to get me a smoothie and John some breakfast, and made it to the hospital around 8. I stopped in the bathroom to discover my water now had a green tinge to the brown color, and that I had some bloody show as well…so I was progressing somewhat at least! We went upstairs and got me checked in as I labored, breathing a little heavy through the contractions but not dying for them. I found some positions better than others to be in to make it through the contractions. When they checked me, though, I was only 3cm dilated – which surprised me, considering I made it to 5cm with Eric with less pain and my water still intact! It definitely hit me then that having that water intact can really help manage the pain. They also confirmed that there was definitely meconium going, thick and nasty. We started my IV to do a dose of Group B Strep antibiotics (since I had tested positive for it in early pregnancy), and we waited.
But not for long.
It wasn’t too long in that we discovered labor was going to be…interesting. While the baby’s heart rate wasn’t decelerating (except at the peak of contractions), it wasn’t accelerating either – he was looking very “flat” when they like to see peaks and valleys. I also realized that I hadn’t really felt him move much at all in over 24 hours at that point. To keep a better eye on him, they placed a monitor on his head, and when that confirmed that he wasn’t varying his heart rate much, we started playing with different positions that might liven him up.
We discovered that if I laid on my side – especially on my right side, but either side would do – he would perk up a little. He still didn’t look great, but he looked better than when I was sitting up and leaning forward. The good news was that he was looking better, healthier, more stable. The bad news is that laying my side hurt like crazy during contractions. Now, that’s one thing if the contractions are doing much, but mine…weren’t. The nurse comments that compared to the levels they see on most women, mine were pretty weak, and my slow progress was a show of that. That wasn’t overly disturbing to me, looking at how slowly things went with Eric, but the fact that each one was bringing down his heart rate a little more bugged me.
I went ahead and got the epidural around that point; it was clear that my baby needed me in the more painful positions to manage labor better, and the pain relief really helped me focus on not freaking out. (Because believe me, at this point I wanted to freak out about baby not looking shiny on the monitors!) We entered a holding pattern then, making slow progress, picking and choosing what side I would lay on based on how well baby’s heart rate looked while I was in that position, and hoping something picked up – the speed of my labor, baby’s heart variability, anything – before anything went from “kind of concerning” to a real problem.
Honestly, in the back of my mind, I was preparing myself for a c-section. The way his heart rate was, not looking great and dropping during contractions, they weren’t willing to put me on pitocin, and they didn’t want me to labor indefinitely either if I kept barely making progress. The nurse was willing to stretch me out a couple times she did checks to help me along, but she didn’t want to cheat too much. They also did a trick where they pumped some fluid back into my uterus, sort of like an IV drip only through the monitor they had up there, and it seemed to help make the contractions more effective for me.
Around 2, I still had plenty of dilating to do and nothing had changed much with how my labor was progressing. John slipped out to get something to eat. A half hour later, the nurse checked me again – I’d gone from a “big 7″ to “about an 8,” massive progress – and suggested I try laying on my left side sort of forward, half laying on my stomach and half laying on my side really, with a pillow under my belly and one leg to support me. It was the most comfortable position I’d been in all day, very close to how I had been sleeping every night, so I settled in and contemplated taking a nap.
A couple minutes later, I felt a contraction. Then another, quick and fast and hard. I hit my epidural button, grumbling, and watched the monitors since they were right in front of me. The monitor for contractions showed them definitely getting more intense – and the one for baby’s heart rate was dipping lower and lower at the peak of every one.
John came in about 15 minutes after I’d started feeling the contractions, and they were still building. I had him hit my epidural button again, and I freaked out to him about the heart rate dipping. It had gone from dipping into the 140′s during contractions to dipping down to about 110. 105. 100. 96. Erm. He poked his nose out to ask the nurse, who assured him (then came in to assure me) that they were watching it, and yes he was dipping, but between contractions he was looking better than he had the entire labor.
That’s about when the contractions started to hit me so hard I was whimpering through them. I told her so, and she asked if I’d hit my epidural button. Um, yes. Twice. So she checked me. “Oh! You’re complete!”
Right about then, another contraction hit, and I realized part of the pain I was feeling was the desperate need to push.
Of course, the nurse wanted a doctor in the room, and kept telling me to pant and breathe through them. I countered with a not very rational “I don’t know how to not push!” Let me just say, not pushing hurts like crazy. Seriously. I was clinging to the rail of the bed, desperate to push, trying not to, feeling the kid moving down anyway and trying not to cry from the pain of it. I’m pretty sure I started begging her to get anyone, I didn’t care who, in there to catch the baby so I could push… I know I had a brief exchange with John telling him I didn’t want to ask him to catch, but he just might have to anyway. I wasn’t telling myself to push, I wasn’t trying to push, it was just happening.
The doctor on call (my doctor’s partner in the practice, I wasn’t lucky enough to get MY doc on call for the weekend) arrived at 3:23. She puttered around, put on a gown, asked for a different size of gloves, and I was like – really? Seriously? Grab a freaking towel and catch this baby, I want to push!
And finally, green light go. Pushing felt awesome. And then the head got to the bottom of the birth canal, and I cursed myself and my husband for making big headed babies as the doctor massaged me through a couple of contractions to help get the little guy out. With maybe 4 contractions worth of pushing, out came the head…and his shoulders got stuck. I remember telling them to get the darn kid OUT of me already, and one more push later, he was out. Ohthankgod. (Come to find out later, when the head came out, the cord was around his neck, and when I started to push again, his heart rate took a dive – so she did a quick episiotomy and just got him.)
And lo, Andrew Taylor was born at 3:29pm on March 3, 7lb 6oz and 21 inches long. The doctor got to mess with my after birth – which included the cord trying to detach from the placenta, so she had to reach up there and get it – and as she washed me up we came to the mutual agreement that my epidural had pretty much stopped working the second baby started to descend. (This included me nearly cursing at her as she went to stitch me up. Whoops.) Andrew, meanwhile, was getting suctioned like crazy and had to be intubated to get all the meconium out of him, and they were explaining to John that he had some bruising because he’d come down the birth canal so quickly his head hadn’t bothered to mold, it just slammed right on through. He was healthy, though, and once all was said and done I got to nurse him a little, as well as both of us getting plenty of cuddle time with him before they finally took him to the nursery to be checked out.
Once there, however, his oxygen saturation took a bit of a drop – so they put him on some O2 and monitored him for a bit before letting him come up to my new room. They also requested I let him stay in the nursery overnight (coming out to me every 3 hours or when he was showing hunger signs) so they could monitor him in case it dropped again while I was asleep. He made the night just fine, though, and by morning was pink, healthy, and ready to rock and roll.
He just needed a little time in the spotlight, I guess – little dramatic guy.
We have been home for a few days now. Eric is thrilled, Danny is…undecided, but not causing issues, and we are a little tired and sleep deprived but overall doing well.
(*This post may be edited at some point or other depending on whether John pings me upside the head and makes me realize I got something wrong. I was not in the best frame of mine to make solid memories, ha!)
I keep being told by people that I am “so small,” “too small to be so close,” and variations along that line. Even my doctor has said it! And I’ll admit, while a part of me feels good about that…I know it’s a total sham. Granted, I am not an “all belly” carrier of babies; I gain it pretty much everywhere. But truthfully, I’m feeling huge! I bump into stuff all the time because I don’t give myself enough room, I can’t get comfortable, and I’ve gained 50 pounds. Yes, 50. When I tell people that, they ask me where I’ve gained it, and to be honest I have no idea. It’s pretty much everywhere!
I’m on weekly appointments now until this baby chooses to arrive – or until 41 weeks, when he’ll be forced to make an appearance either way. My doctor scoffs at the idea of my still being pregnant at that point, and I pretty much have to agree. That, of course, means that it’s less than a month before this baby shows up! I’m ready to be done, but I’m also not at all ready; to me, 37 weeks is just a little too early! I had that belief tested last week, too, when I went to get up off the couch and suddenly found my pants (and couch) soaked. Um? I was the exact same gestation as when Danny started leaking on me – 36 weeks 4 days – but this was no slow leak, it was more of a gush. Suddenly, images from TV of women flailing around screaming “my water broke! my water broke!” were flying through my head, though there wasn’t really much panic involved. I wandered around a bit packing up a bag, ate something (it was right before supper time), and we headed down the road for the hospital. I was having contractions, but they weren’t the real deal type of thing – they were the uncomfortable-but-not-painful ones I’ve been having off and on anyway as my body gets ready for the main event.
Once we got there, they took my blood pressure, hooked me up to some monitors, and we sat. And sat. And sat. I got to go through the ten million questions they ask at check in (isn’t that the point of pre-registration – not having to do that mumbo jumbo?), and a midwife checked me out to see if she saw any more fluid, since I wasn’t still leaking. They kept asking how much it was, and I’m sitting there thinking, what, I was supposed to catch it and measure it? It was enough to soak my jeans from crotch to knees, and it left a wet spot on my couch the size of my hand. Somehow, I think they all got the impression it was a lot less, no matter how much I stressed it. Whatever. An ultrasound showed my fluid levels were still fine (though a good bit lower than they’d been for my ultrasound a couple days earlier), there was no break or leak to be found, and baby was head down but not acting as a plug and holding it all in. So, in essence, it was “just normal discharge.”
Right then. “Normal.”
Of course, being the same gestation as when Danny’s water leaked and he was brought into the world in a whirl of surprise and excitement, my blood pressure was on the higher side. It wasn’t super high, but it was high enough that they wanted to run blood work if it didn’t come down. Now, telling me you need to draw my blood is not a good way to get my blood pressure to lower. In fact, it has the opposite effect, so sure enough they ran blood work and we got to sit there even longer as they got it to the lab and ran a bunch of tests to make sure I didn’t have an infection or something.
Of course, once the needle was past, and I had been assured the baby was not making an appearance, my blood pressure went back to normal. Yep. I could’ve told them that.
And so we went home, with them basically telling us that there was no reason for us to come in if it happened again. (Seriously? My doctor, at my next appointment, told me you “never know” and shouldn’t take that amount of fluid for granted.)
The side effect of the excitement is that, along with the 36 week ultrasound, we know this baby is totally rocking in there. The nurses and midwife all commented how strong and great he looks on the monitors. The ultrasound showed him head down, with growth perfect on the charts – his curve couldn’t look more textbook – and plenty of fluid as he does lots of practice breathing. It’s a rough estimate, give or take a pound, but at 36 weeks he measured at 6lb 6oz; with the “roughly half a pound a week” they say babies gain at the end, he’ll probably be around an 8lb baby. He did continue to measure a week ahead on the last ultrasound, so even though I’m not showing much progress toward labor, the doctor thoroughly expects me to go around 39 weeks.
Like, really soon.
But then, I suppose next week is March, isn’t it?
Time flies, for sure, when you’re pregnant and have 2 kids! With just 8 weeks to go, it’s a fairly safe bet than in 2 months’ time, there will be a baby in this house… Crazy as that is. Until then, he’s watching us.
This has been kind of a pivotal week and appointment to me, because it’s the point where All Hell Broke Loose with Danny. I got crazy sick at 31 weeks, and so everything from here forward is… Well, it’s not uncharted territory obviously, since I had a healthy pregnancy with Eric, but the memories from Eric have been well eclipsed by everything that happened last time. The thing I’ve noticed the most, far and away, is how strong this baby is. I know in the last few months there is big movement, belly shaking rolls and jabs, but I don’t remember them being uncomfortable and on the verge of painful at times. It’s completely normal, but I just don’t think I got to that point with Danny! By the time he was big enough to do it, he was sick, so he wasn’t nearly as strong. This boy has no such issue, and it’s not uncommon to get a strong right hook that makes me wince at times.
I’m cherishing it (with just a bit of complaining, heh). It’s a sign that things are going right this time!
We did the second of my 3 monitoring ultrasounds, and I could easily see the differences. I couldn’t even tell where this baby’s brain ventricles were, as opposed to the big black spots that Danny had – the ultrasound tech pointed them out and I was like, really? That’s it? He’s measuring a week ahead still, with a nice round head and perfect looking belly, long legs, a bit of hair, and hands tucked right up beside his face. The estimate for weight – which, keep in mind, is plus or minus 11oz, so a big swing! – was 4lb 8oz. I don’t want to put too much emphasis on that, but at the same time, it puts it into a little perspective to think that Danny was only 5lb 6oz when he was born. My fluid levels are also spot on, where at this point with Danny they were pretty darn low. Pretty much, the ultrasound was perfection!
My doctor checked in with me really quickly too, mostly to go over results from her stand point and make sure I didn’t have any issues, questions, complaints, that sort of thing. Along with confirming that baby looks great, she told me that my iron levels are perfect (around 12, they worry if they’re under 10) and my glucose test came back “just awesome” (120, they want anything under 140). My blood pressure is great (120/72), and my weight… Well, I’m not going to post that particular number on the Internet, but let’s just say I gained 9lb this month – ahem – and am up about 35lb for the pregnancy. My doctor didn’t say a word about that, and while I’m going to put a little more emphasis on watching what I eat, I’m also going to keep eating when I’m hungry and feeding this baby. I’ve gained more than I did total with Danny, but still substantially less than my final gain with Eric, so I’ll take it.
Full speed ahead! I’ll be going in again for a routine appointment in 2 weeks, next ultrasound & appointment in 4 weeks, and then start weekly appointments until the baby arrives.
What I want to know is how, exactly, I got to be so pregnant. Of course, I think it snuck up on me mostly because of the holidays. I’ve definitely been feeling pregnant, and it’s hard to ignore the huge movement and rolling and pushing that’s going on in my belly these days, but in my head I just had my 20 week ultrasound…except I’m 30 weeks along now.
And that leaves a little over 2 months to go. Say what?
In one way, I’m ready for this baby to be born and to get on with it. In another way…not so much. I plan to enjoy these last months of pregnancy in a way I wasn’t really able to with Danny. In just 2 more weeks, I’ll hit that point in the pregnancy where – frankly – all hell broke loose. Instead of relaxing, picking up baby stuff, and oo’ing and ah’ing over all the clothes and toys and stuff being gathered, I was attending way too many appointments, getting weekly ultrasounds, and standing in the shower staring at my moving belly, wondering just how I would manage if this baby I carried was indeed severely disabled. Those are not exactly warm and fuzzy memories.
I find that, as I approach the 32 week mark, I am finally starting to lose the calm and mellow view I’ve had of this pregnancy. I expected to be worried the whole time, but really it’s just beginning to creep up on me. Thankfully, this child is a very active boy, and the movements are large and strong – which goes a long way to reassuring me. My biggest fear, though, is that I’m going to get sick sometime in January…a notorious time for the sickies to hit anyway…and it’s going to freak me right out.
Thankfully, my doctor understands all this. At my 28 week appointment, she told me she didn’t need to see me for 4 weeks (though usually I’d transfer to every 2 weeks at that point). I’m comfortable with that for now, since really things are going great and visiting the doctor next week with the boys still off school would be a massive pain in the butt. However, she told me that if at any point I am worried, for any reason, all I need to do is call and they’ll get me in. We’re also at the point now that we are doing monthly ultrasounds, not because there is any reason to think there’s a problem, but just because it makes us feel better. And it did, definitely. When I saw a peek of the baby’s brain and didn’t see those tell-tale dark spots that were Danny’s enlarged ventricles, the first signs of serious things amiss, I felt my whole body relax a little. The doctor confirmed that everything looks perfect, and we’ll look again at 32 weeks to make sure nothing has changed.
I feel a little silly for the extra monitoring when there’s nothing wrong, but it does help my state of mind. Having that image in my head and feeling these massive kicks, letting John feel how strong he is, it makes me feel better.
As for the 28 week appointment otherwise, all is well! I have gained just under 30 pounds, my blood pressure is great, and the baby’s heart beat is exactly where it should be. The ultrasound showed perfect growth; he is about 2lb 14oz, with big feet (something all of my babies seemed to share), settled head down (for now) and chilling. They did my glucose test for gestational diabetes, leaving a huge bruise on the inside of my arm that is still lingering over a week later, but with no history for it and no symptoms the doctor expects it to be just fine…and I haven’t had a call yet, so I can’t imagine the results were anything but good.
Now, if only I were feeling as flexible as baby is. I’m pretty sure if I did this, I’d break in half…
Yes, that is his profile. And yes, those are his knees rubbing against his eyebrows. Oh! And they saw a bit of fuzz on his head… Looks like he will probably be born with a little bit of hair.
When I began this pregnancy, I made a pledge to myself: I was, for a change, going to do a decent job of recording it. Now, most of this happened on a separate blog I created just for myself; the little details week by week just didn’t make for interesting reading. They were things, however, that I knew I would wish I’d written down a few years from now. They’re things I wish I’d written down about my last 2 pregnancies, when symptoms started and stopped, what I was thinking week to week. I stuck to it too! I took weekly belly pictures to go with each post, and every week I diligently jotted down a few thoughts, a few things that were happening, and just a little something to remind myself of years later.
Then someone used my web account to spam, and it was all borked, because – of course – I’d kept up decently well on backups for the main blog, but I totally spaced on backing up the new one. I started it in late June, had one backup in early July, and then…nothing. Months, lost.
This will be very much for me, and a little tedious, but I want it recorded. So here is what I remember, before it gets even more lost:
I got my positive test very early, at a whopping 10dpo/3 weeks and 3 days pregnant. It was very faint, but definitely there. Still, other than some vivid dreams, I hadn’t noticed any symptoms and wasn’t quite sure it was true, just because it was SO early. Unlike my last 2 pregnancies, the morning sickness didn’t show up until the 6th week, and it started to fade by week 11, being completely gone by week 13. It was moderate – not as strong as with Eric, but not as mild as with Danny either. I was, however, exhausted – fully and truly – from about 4-5 weeks until around the 13-14 week point. Physically, my body seemed ready to be pregnant this time. My breasts got huge, my hips shifted, and my balance was thrown by about week 10, leading to aches and pains and a loss of stamina like I haven’t experienced before. (I realized around week 20 that a lot of that was because I had “toner” shoes that were unstable, and getting more supportive shoes has taken care of the aches and pains part…though not so much the loss of stamina!) I was 13 weeks when I started to feel little taps from the baby. In fact, the first one was crazy – at the very far left side, there was a series of jabs that actually shook the arm that was resting against my side. I didn’t feel anything else that obvious for a while (until around week 16), but there was the odd movement every few days. It got to be a daily thing around week 16, then quite vigorous by week 20. (Now, the kid frequently hosts parties in my tummy!) My hormones went crazy early, effecting me in ways that were completely different from my last 2 pregnancies… I want to say that I got even more touchy emotionally than the first 2 pregnancies, but I’m afraid my husband would laugh me out of the house for it, so I don’t really know. I feel like I’m noticing it more though?
And now I’m 27 weeks (tomorrow), starting the third trimester. I’m most definitely showing, I’m feeling movement many times through the day, I’m feeling huge some days but good otherwise. I’m sleeping fairly well (when the boys allow it), have a decent amount of energy (unless you ask me to run), and don’t have many complaints about aches and pains (though my balance is definitely off, which makes getting up from sitting a little tough). Baby is on a schedule it seems – I can count on him moving around 6-7am, 12-1pm, and 9-10pm, plus a few other times during the day that I seem a little more random.
Finally having hit the 12 week mark in this pregnancy, I was able to have an appointment with my actual doctor to discuss all the ins and outs ahead of us. Before then, appointments are mostly to get things done: blood work, dating ultrasounds, that sort of thing, all handled by the nurses.
My doctor, whom I absolutely love, walked in with a little gleeful “Oh my gosh, Kelly, I was so excited to see your name on my list last night!” We have bonded, she and I, largely because we just get each other. We see a lot of things in the same light, we handle things much the same way, and we just generally speak the same language. Because we get each other, she doesn’t talk down to me or over me like some doctors do, and my appointments are mostly us chatting and covering things on a very equal level. She ended the appointment by giving me a hug and saying she thinks we’re going to have a lot of fun with this pregnancy… Can’t beat that!
There was, of course, a laundry list of things on both of our minds that we needed to take care of along with the usual checking of weight, blood pressure, and baby’s heartbeat. Incidentally, I ended up getting another ultrasound; when she went to check the heartbeat, she warned me that – for whatever reason – she has a hard time finding heartbeats at 12, 16, and 30 weeks. Of course, she couldn’t find mine, so after less than a minute of trying she just chuckled. “That’s enough, I’m ADD. I’m not concerned, but I’m not letting you go home yet either – let’s just pop over for a quick scan.” Sure enough, baby was just demanding a photo shoot, floating upside-down (making it hard to find the heartbeat with a doppler) behind an anterior placenta (meaning it’s on the front of my stomach, between the baby and anyone trying to check on it). Eric was the same way, so that works for me.
Because my dating ultrasound measured 5 days off my due date, it was left to the doctor to decide what to do about it. She decided to leave it alone, so I’m officially due March 12, no backsies.
We discussed delivery options for this baby, and we agreed to do a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). She said I’m a great candidate for it, and there’s no reason I’d need a second c-section (unless something pops up later in pregnancy, of course). I’ve already delivered a baby “normally,” my c-section was due to Danny being breech, I don’t have a history of having trouble in labor… There’s no reason not to, really. Some people cite some increased risks with VBAC, but in her words, “the chances of that happening are 1 in a thousand. The chances of one of us dying of a heart attack by age 60 are 1 in 2. Really, you have more chance of getting hit by a car on the way home than of having complications with your labor, especially since you’ve [delivered vaginally] before.” I’d done my own research weeks ago, and it was great to have her on the same page. (See? We just click!) She did say that she doesn’t induce VBAC patients, but followed it up with the fact that very few people want to be induced anyway. It’s certainly not high on my list of things to do. If I go too far overdue, she said she would try natural methods to get labor started for me.
After tackling that, we moved on to the fact that things went crazy with Danny’s pregnancy. She offered me a referral to MFM (maternal fetal medicine – the high risk pregnancy folks), but said it was up to me and where my comfort level was. To her, the last time around was one of those crazy flukes; I’m not in any high risk categories, I don’t have any genetic or other reoccurring reasons to be concerned about my pregnancy, I just got sick at the wrong time with the wrong virus. She has no worries or concerns that something will happen this time, told me to take normal health precautions (wash hands, avoiding sharing food, blah blah, all the stuff I’ve been doing), and that sort of thing. I declined the referral to MFM; I don’t feel there’s any benefit to be gained there, and she agreed but said that at any point if I (or she) does want me to be followed more closely, the option’s on the table. She does want to do growth ultrasounds at 28, 32, and 36 weeks “just to make us feel better,” since the only reason we even knew something was up with Danny before he was born was because we did an ultrasound around 32 weeks. That’ll keep us from worrying, guessing, and wondering.
That was pretty much that! We talked about Danny a bit, how he’s doing and where he’s at, and we were done. I go back at the end of September for a regular appointment, and then October 25 is the “big” ultrasound – making sure all the fingers and toes and heart valves and brain lobes are in place, and seeing whether we’re going for three in a row with a boy or changing things up with a girl. That seems a long way away, and yet…not that far at all!