Friday, January 3, 2014

The Birth Story

Let's see... I should probably begin with the fact that I went into labor around 12 AM on Thursday, December 19, 2013 (aka 36w6d). That said, I didn't actually admit that I might be in labor until 14ish hours later, and I didn't truly believe it until 5 hours after that, right before my awesome(ly terrifying) ambulance ride to the hospital. 

To say I was in denial is probably an understatement, but between taking care of the twins and trying to get everything ready for the holidays, having a baby three weeks early--especially one who hadn't yet turned head down (!)--was seriously the last thing on my mind.

So, when those first intense, early morning contractions woke me up out of a dead sleep, I convinced myself I just needed to pee. And as the morning progressed and the contractions became even more uncomfortable--like, breathe-through-them-uncomfortable--I decided that I was probably just doing too much, and if I drank some water and relaxed, they would eventually settle down.

I know, it sounds ridiculous, but denial is a very powerful thing! Plus, as I mentioned in the 36 Week Update I wrote that day, while the contractions were intense, they didn't seem all that regular (though, to be fair, I wasn't timing them). And furthermore, in my defense, drinking water and lying down did help--sort of--it's just that when I stood up, the contractions seemed to hurt twice as much..

Finally, around 2:30ish, I broke down and called Mr. E for backup. The way I saw it, maybe it was The Real Deal, or maybe I just needed to rest, and there was no way that was happening if I also had to entertain two very energetic 20-month-olds. 


(Fun fact: I also called my chiropractor and canceled that afternoon's appointment. Unfortunately for me, a contraction hit just as she got on the phone, and in an effort to sound cool and nonchalant, I was the total opposite. I swear, I said something along the lines of, Hi I know it's last minute but I think I'm going into labor and I'd really rather not so I think I need to just relax would it be alright if we rescheduled? Totally normal, right?)

Anyway, two hours an eternity later, Mr. E finally got home, and I hightailed it up to bed where I lay down and tried very hard to convince myself that I wasn't actually in pain. When that didn't work, I decided I was probably focusing too hard on things and making it worse, so I attempted to distract myself by working on some Christmas stuff. And when that didn't work, I gave in and let myself acknowledge the fact that maybe--just maybe--my mind was not going to overcome my body.

So, I did the next logical thing, which was to call the doctor go on a mini cleaning spree that included picking up the kids' room, putting away clothes, throwing in a load of laundry, and scrubbing the toilets. (Please, don't judge. I was clearly not in my right mind.) Once those *highly* important tasks were finished, I finally called the doctor and--surprise--was told to go straight to Labor and Delivery.

At that point, I still felt pretty sheepish about the whole thing. Of course, the contractions were definitely painful, but during the pain-free moments in between, I couldn't help but wonder if I was overreacting. It just felt so sudden: I mean, I wasn't even 37 weeks! That said, I still made myself pack my hospital bag, and I at Mr. E's insistence, even called my doula to meet us at the hospital "just in case."

In the meantime, we called my mother-in-law to come watch the twins for us. She lives about 30 minutes away, and we only live about 12 minutes from the hospital, so we figured we'd get to L&D within the hour. At the rate my contractions were coming--about every 3-5 minutes--I thought that was totally doable. Unfortunately, we seriously underestimated rush hour traffic and how much time that would add to my mother-in-law's ETA..

Over an hour into waiting for her, we both started to get nervous. I mean, if I really was in labor, and the baby was still breech, I definitely needed to be at the hospital sooner rather than later. At that point, I was actually using my birthing ball to get more comfortable ("comfortable" obviously being a relative term!), and suddenly, the idea that I was about to have a baby didn't seem all that far-fetched.

Then (MAJOR TMI AHEAD!!!) I went to the bathroom, and well, things got real. For the record, I never really bled while in labor with the twins, so when I saw all the blood this time around, it scared the crap out of me. I started yelling for Mr. E to come look, and then this huger than huge clot fell out of me, except for a split second, I could have sworn it was E3's umbilical cord (cord prolapse being a risk with breech babies), and I started to seriously panic because after a day of thinking that maybe I wasn't in labor, it was suddenly excruciatingly obvious that I was.

That's when Mr. E called 911 because his mom still wasn't there yet, and--this was funny only in retrospect--per the dispatcher's instructions, I somehow ended up on my back in the middle of the living room floor, totally nude from the waist down, which is exactly how the EMTs and my mother-in-law found me when they arrived a few minutes later. (Good times. I swear, between this pregnancy and last, my MIL has seen WAY too much of me!)

Minor humiliation aside, however, I'm glad we called for help. By the time I arrived at the hospital--one dramatic, siren-filled ambulance ride later--my contractions were lasting one minute long and coming every two. (This was according to the paramedics; I was sort of beyond timing them myself!) On top of that, I was starting to shake, which is exactly what happened when I went through transition with the twins.

At that point, I was 100% certain I was going to have the baby that night and was feeling a pretty urgent need to get him or her out. However, I apparently do not play the part of a laboring woman very convincingly* because at first, I don't think anyone else thought I was quite as progressed as I thought knew I was.
 

*This is funny only because I'm a pretty ginormous wimp in real life, but as I explained to Mr. E, I prefer to suffer my contractions in silence and save the yelling and cursing for the important stuff...you know, like stubbed toes and banged shins...and paper cuts! ;)

Anyway, after I had explained why I was there--the contractions, the bleeding, the breech baby--the resident asked me (very calmly) if I thought I was in labor, and when I said yes, she simply said (still very calmly) Okay, well let's see if you're dilated...

And I was. To 5 cm. And about 10 minutes later, I was at an 8 with a "big bag of waters," which meant that 1) There was zero time to turn the baby, and 2) Suddenly things went from Well, the patient might be in labor to This baby is breech and we need a c-section immediately!
(Actually, they used the word stat. It was all very Grey's Anatomy-esque, which might have been exciting if I hadn't been the patient in question!)

The events that followed passed in a sort of blur. I remember signing a gazillion forms that I never looked at and listening to a million instructions that I never really heard, all the while trying to keep my composure through each contraction. I also remember the OB on call (whom I had met when I was on bed rest with the twins and really liked) asking the nurses if she should put the IV in herself because things needed to move faster.


Overall, it was pretty hectic and overwhelming, but in the background, I could also hear Mr. E telling the team our mini birth plan--mainly that we wanted to see and hold the baby as soon as possible, c-section or not--and I remember feeling so grateful that he was around to say those things.

Then, suddenly, I was in the OR being prepped for a surgery that I hadn't ever really considered a possibility. (I'm pretty sure I said more than once, But I'm supposed to have the baby turned this Monday! as though that would miraculously put my labor on hold...) Anyway, I was lucky to have an amazing team. The anesthesiologist and nurse in particular were really good at explaining everything that was going on. Plus, in the beginning, I was concentrating so hard on getting through each contraction that I didn't have time to focus on the upcoming surgery, and then the spinal was in, the pain was gone (as was any sensation below my armpits!), and before I knew it, the anesthesiologist was telling me that they had already started.

Mr. E came in soon after, and it was really comforting to have him right next to me. (Surreal though, too, because we were able to talk and laugh almost like I wasn't in the process of having major surgery, and we weren't about to meet our third child.) Then, the doctor told Mr. E to stand up and look over the curtain, and I heard him say, It's a BOY!, and just like that, at 9:12 PM, after about 21 hours of labor, 36w6d of pregnancy, and lots of hopes and prayers, our second little boy and third little miracle was born =)





Thank you so much for listening and for your support throughout our journey to E3. It means the world to all of us! Love and baby dust and Happy New Year! XO


Mrs. E

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Came Early!

To be more specific:

Christmas at the E's arrived last Thursday, December 19, 2013, at exactly 9:12 PM, in the form of one slightly early, but thankfully, very healthy little...

 BOY!!!

J, the baby formerly known as 7 =)
Born @ 36w6d
7 lbs. 7 oz.
19.25 in.


Crazy birth story to come! For now though, Merry (early) Christmas and Happy Holidays!
XOXO,
The E Family

Thursday, December 19, 2013

36 Weeks (+6 Days) And a Breech Update

Weekly Questionnaire #29

How Far Along? 36w6d!!!! (Officially 5 days more pregnant than I've ever been!)

Total Weight Gain: +16 lbs!

Maternity Clothes: Yes, and word to the wise: If you are going to be pregnant in the winter, for the love of God, buy a maternity coat! I did not, which means that the past week of snowstorm+temps in the teens has been pretty darn cold... Too late now, though.

Symptoms: Well, the good news is that the chiropractor has definitely been helping with the lower back pain! Apparently, my sacrum is "stuck," possibly from the last delivery, but it's starting to loosen up a bit. I can definitely feel the weight of this baby on my hips and pelvis though...holy aching, batman! That said, if it means that 7 is growing well, I'll take it!

Stretch Marks: Nothing new, but the old ones are definitely still there.

Belly Button In/Out: Out/Flat.

Sleep: What is sleep?

Best Moment Last Week: I think crossing the 36 week mark wins the prize! I only made it to 36w1d with the twins, and every day from 23w4d was a struggle... I am amazed and so, so grateful to have had such a relatively easy pregnancy this time around.

Food Cravings: BACON.

Food Aversions: Breakfast sandwiches... BUT, I had Taco Bell last night! First time since getting pregnant and it was AMAZING!

Gender: Team Green. I need to do some of those old wives tales things... People have been saying boy judging from how I'm carrying, but girl based on their gut feelings. I'm still thinking boy, but honestly, Mr. E just had two dreams last night in which we had a girl, so maybe knows something I don't...

Movement: Yes.

Labor Signs: Contractions are still strong, and sometimes they get pretty regular, but nothing real yet!

What I Am Looking Forward to: Tomorrow! 37 Weeks!

Breech Update: Well, 7 is still breech. I had an appointment yesterday, and we scheduled a version (where the doctor tries to turn the baby) for this coming Monday at 10 AM. My doctors and midwife agree that I'm a good candidate because my uterus is very "malleable" (yay?), but I'm still nervous. Attempting to turn the baby means a trip to L&D and the possibility that something could go wrong--placental abruption, water breakage, fetal distress--which would then end up in an emergency C-section. The risk is very low, but it's there nonetheless. I am just praying that no matter what, 7 stays put and only comes when s/he is ready!

Monday, December 9, 2013

34/35 Weeks (+3 Days)

Weekly Questionnaire(s) #27&28

34 Week Bump Shot & Twin Selfies =)
 
How Far Along? 35w3d

Total Weight Gain: +13 lbs as of my last checkup two weeks ago, but after this past weekend (we went to IKEA and discovered the joys of 6 cinnamon buns for $4), I wouldn't be surprised if that number has doubled...

Maternity Clothes: Yes, though I still like squeezing into some of my comfy winter pre-pregnancy shirts when not in public. Of course, a good portion of my belly hangs out the bottom (tres klassy), but they're just so comfortable!

Symptoms: Hm. I sort of wonder if, after a certain point, the "symptoms" category should just be called "side effects." As in, The Side Effects of Growing Another Human may include: The ability to want to sleep all.the.time, yet the frustrating inability to actually fall asleep when given the chance. Hip pain, back pain, rib pain. Heart burn. Hot flashes (had forgotten about those!) ...On a positive note though, side effects also include super thick hair, awesomely strong fingernails, and of course, a BABY =)

Stretch Marks: Nothing new, though I recently noticed that a few of the ones I had before now look more obvious.

Belly Button In/Out: Out, but almost completely flat.

Sleep: Not great. After I finally do fall asleep, I proceed to wake up almost every hour because I have to pee and/or 7 decides to throw a little party that apparently involves a fetal rendition of the Can-Can, muay thai, and a touch of good old-fashioned head banging.

Best Moment Last Week: Reaching 34, bypassing it, and making it to 35!

Food Cravings: Bacon, apples, and now, cinnamon buns!

Food Aversions: Honestly, I don't know if I'll ever want a breakfast sandwich again in my life. HOWEVER, I did pass Taco Bell yesterday and got the slightest twinge of a craving!

Gender: Stubbornly Team Green =)

Movement: When doesn't this baby move?

Labor Signs: I've been getting a few strong runs of contractions almost every day now--usually at night, and they can last anywhere from 1-3 hours with contrax coming every 3-5 minutes. They're strong, but not exactly painful, though judging from my last pregnancy/labor/delivery, I'm not a good person to ask about contraction pain. (By the time we figured out I was actually in labor, I was already 9 cm) Anyway, I do get a little nervous that these contractions are changing my cervix, but since they always stop before I fall asleep, I figure it's not the real thing.

What I Am Looking Forward to: My 36 Week OB appointment on Thursday! 

Breech Update: As of last Thursday, 7 was frank breech (legs up to its face in the pike position). The doctor who did the ultrasound also said it was clear that s/he had been upright for a while because of the shape of its head... I'm pretty sure 7 has since changed position though--not head down (boo!)--but its feet are once again all over the place and s/he kept squirming from breech to transverse over the weekend. As I mentioned before, I'll have to seriously discuss our Plan of Action with my OB this week, but today, I'm biting the bullet and heading to the chiropractor. I figure it can't hurt, right??

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Operation: Turn Baby 7!

So, the good news is that I turned 34 weeks last Friday (wooo!), but the not-so-good news is that this baby is still stubbornly breech--at times. And transverse--lying horizontally across my belly with its head on one side and its bum on the other--at other times. Sigh.

Pretty much, I have 9 days until my OB and I have a serious conversation about my options, which (as far as I can tell), consist of: 
  • Attempt an External Cephalic Version (ECV) at 37ish weeks. In short, my OB would try to turn Baby 7 manually. The procedure would be performed in L&D in case any complications arose and I needed an emergency C-section (ie: baby goes into distress, placental abruption, labor starts.)
  • Schedule a C-section for 39ish weeks and hope that 7 turns in the interim. 
  • Do nothing, go into labor, and hope that 7 turns at the last minute. Depending on the circumstances (like if my water is still intact when I get to the hospital), my doctor could also try to turn 7 while I'm in labor. However, if s/he remains breech, I would need an immediate C-section.
Anyway, I have a pretty good idea which way I'm leaning, but I won't go into all that until I have to. For the time being, I'm still hoping and praying that 7 turns, hence the title of this post. So, what have I been doing? Or, rather, what haven't I been doing?!
  • Forward Leaning Inversion, also known as "Look Absolutely Ridonk While Kneeling off Side of Couch With Forearms and Head on Floor."
  • Breech Tilt, or "Achieve Massive Head Rush While Lying Upside Down on Ironing Board While Husband Talks to Crotch."
  • Open Knee Chest, aka "Attempt to Maintain Dignity Despite Having Butt in Air and Head, Forearms and As-Much-Boob-as-Possible on Floor."
  • Hours Spent Crawling Around on All Fours, or what I like to call, "Dignity Officially Lost."
  • Ice Pack on the Baby's Head (To make 7 move away from the cold.)
  • Flashlight Below the Belly Button (To make 7 move toward the light.)
  • Music Below the Belly Button
  • Hypnobabies (Which might work if I didn't keep falling asleep during the deep breathing exercises!)
  • Acupuncture + Moxa (Apparently, stimulating a certain point on the outside of my baby toe will make the baby turn, so a--literally--hot date night with Mr. E now consists of him burning mugwort "cigars" next to my feet...)
  • Homeopathic Pulsatilla (Recommended by my doula; according to the packaging, it's a homeopathic remedy for pink eye, but apparently it also encourages head down babies??)
Next up? Possibly a visit to the chiropractor to help loosen my ligaments and create enough space for 7 to flip. This is still a maybe though because my OB doesn't think it will work, PLUS my issue seems not to be a lack-of-space, but rather, way too much space. Meaning, thanks to the twins' 36 week stint in Ute-Ville, 7 inherited a big a$$ swimming pool rather than a head-downward-encouraging-bathtub. Huge sigh.

I mean, I'm not giving up hope, but I'm definitely starting to get nervous...!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

33 Weeks (+4 Days)

Weekly Questionnaire #26

How Far Along? 33w4d

Total Weight Gain: +13 lbs

Maternity Clothes: Definitely.

Symptoms: Pelvic/back pain; head-under-ribs pain discomfort; over-the-top rapidly growing hair (but getting my much needed haircut this weekend!)

Stretch Marks: No new ones!

Belly Button In/Out: Out, but possibly less obnoxiously? I think it depends on the baby's position.

Sleep: Getting better, actually. I've perfected the pee-while-half-asleep trick, and the ten thousand pillows that have taken over our bed has made falling back to sleep/staying asleep much easier.

Best Moment Last Week: I had an ultrasound last week, and 7 was measuring 4 lbs 11 oz (55th percentile) at 32w5d! Obviously s/he is growing quite well, and the placenta looks good, too. So, as far as we can tell, my fall/preterm labor scare last month didn't do any permanent damage!

Food Cravings: Still with the bacon and apples. It's crazy. My sweet and sour tooth is still going strong as well, but the good news is that I've started to crave water on a serious level. (Can you crave water? I don't know...it feels like a craving...) At least I'm staying hydrated though =)

Food Aversions: The same old tacos and breakfast sandwiches.

Gender: Team Green.

Movement: Lots and lots.

Labor Signs: None!

What I Am Looking Forward to: Well, still a head-down baby... Other than that? 34 weeks!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

32 Weeks (+6 Days)

Weekly Questionnaire #25

How Far Along: 32w6d


Total Weight Gain: +11.5 lbs

Maternity Clothes: Yes.

Symptoms: Well, the obvious symptom would be the belly, though I still think I'm carrying small overall. At least, in comparison... I really should do a side-by-side of my pregnancy with the twins/this pregnancy at some point! Other symptoms: the usual back/pelvic pain, and to make it more interesting, under-rib-discomfort (I won't call it pain...yet!) due to 7 being breech!

Stretch Marks: Nothing new, woooo!

Belly Button In/Out: Out. As so wonderfully demonstrated by this week's picture =)

Sleep: No snoogle yet. Mr. E dug up some more pillows (apparently they were hiding in the linen closet?) and that has made things a little more bearable. Plus, I've been listening to the Hypnobabies "Turn Your Breech Baby" mp3 every night, and while 7 has not yet turned (boo), I have somehow managed to fall asleep within the first 10 minutes of the track every single night... (Which, given that I'm sleeping rather than self-hypnotizing, might be why 7 is still happily breech!)

Best Moment Last Week:  Still no bed rest, bleeding or real contractions. Basically, an all around perfect week!

Food Cravings: Bacon, apples, frosting, gummy candy (again!), clementines.

Food Aversions: Tacos. Breakfast sandwiches. Ew.

Gender: Team Green!

Movement: Yes, everywhere...the craziest looking movements are from the baby's head bumping its way along the top of my belly though! 7 regularly switches from breech to transverse to halfway in between, and it's not only funny to watch, it's definitely funny to feel!

Labor Signs: Nope =)

What I Miss: Nothing!

What I Am Looking Forward to: Well, I am going to acupuncture this Saturday to try to turn the baby, so I'm hoping that works... Otherwise, 34 weeks!
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