Monthly Archives: September 2009

Birth Story Two

Oona close-up

I started having frequent contractions Wednesday evening, August 26. I had them for three nights in a row, then nothing, then another night, and I remembered that with Shea they had started six days before he was born. So I figured she probably wasn’t going to go long past her due date. I was NOT in a good mood that week. I wasn’t sleeping well (from heartburn, insomnia and contractions). I was finding it difficult to concentrate or enjoy anything during the four hours of contractions I had most days, and I was overall just feeling crappy and uncomfortable. I think, psychologically too, I was stressed out about the birth. So unlike with Shea when I was happy to go long past my due date (10 days), this time I wanted to get it overwith ASAP.

Contractions began again at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 3—my due date! Once again, I didn’t know if they were going to last or stop, but I started timing them and they were about seven minutes apart and more regular than before. So at 3 p.m. I texted my doula to let her know that I’d keep her updated. Around five she checked in and I told her they were continuing at about the same rate. By then I was pretty sure I was in labor, but she told me to just wait and see if they increased in intensity and/or grew closer together. Martin’s mom was here watching Shea for a few hours because I was exhausted, and I warned her that she may have to spend the night. During dinner while she and Shea ate, I emptied the dishwasher because moving around distracted me from my contractions. It was different from when I went into labor with Shea because, having drunk castor oil, things progressed much more quickly the last time. This time the hours passed and not a whole lot changed, but the contractions continued and slowly (too slowly for me) grew stronger. By 9 p.m. I could no longer sit through them and would get up and walk around through each one. By ten I called my doula to come over and got into the tub just afters she arrived (Shea and Martin’s mom were in bed by then, which worked out perfectly). Unlike before when things were so intense in the tub that I wouldn’t get out, this time after an hour or so not much had changed, so I got out and walked around. By 2 or 3 a.m. I was very sleepy and would lie down between contractions and jump up each time one hit and bend over the piano. By then they were very consistently five minutes apart. My water didn’t break, but I had the bloody show and passed the mucus plug and asked my doula when we should leave for the hospital. My bags had been mostly packed for a week, and I had put them by the door earlier that afternoon.

After eating a quesadilla, I left for the hospital at 3:30 and checked in at 3:45. My contractions weren’t as strong as they were with Shea when I arrived, but by the time I was up in triage getting examined, I was in a lot of pain. I remember people smiling and saying, “Hi” to me as I arrived and me just staring blankly back, unable to even attempt a smile or a hello.

Once in my room, the nurse put the monitor on me, which I was NOT happy about. I wanted to go in the shower like last time, and she said first she had to monitor the baby for 20 minutes. After what seemed like hours, I asked how much longer I had to stand in one place, and she said 13 more minutes. SEVEN minutes had passed! At 15 I told her to take it off and when she insisted I wait for the full 20 minutes for the sake of my baby, I said, “NO, TAKE IT OFF.” I couldn’t stand there for one more minute, I was in such a tremendous amount of pain. So I went into the shower and did what I did before, which must have looked absolutely ridiculous to anyone watching. Each time a contraction hit (and of course, I was naked at that point), I would mash my fact into the corner of the shower (because the cold tiles felt good on my skin) and moan. Last time I swayed my hips, but this time I just squeezed the bars on the shower as hard as I could and dug the toes of one of my feet into the other foot. Somehow it all seemed worse than last time. And whereas before I suddenly had a clear urge to push, this time I felt a change but wasn’t sure what it was, so when my doula said the doctor could break my water if I wanted and that would hurry things along, I said, “Yes, I can’t do this anymore.” And during those face-mash contractions, which seemed to last an hour but probably were closer to half an hour, all I could think was “WHY WHY WHY didn’t I get an epidural this time? Why am I putting myself through this? WHY WHY WHY?” Once I got out of the shower, I went to the bed and had a horrible contraction (bent over bed) and my controlled moans (which were intentional, to get through the pain) turned into real ones. The instant I lay down on the bed, I panicked and yelled, “I wanna push I wanna push I wanna push!” It was such a terrifying feeling because it came on so fast and I wasn’t even in the position to push yet. My water broke then, before the doctor could do it, and when I started pushing I screamed. (I never screamed the last time.) After two or three pushes like that, the doctor told me I was going to get a sore throat (and I’m thinking, a sore THROAT?) and that I should hold my breath when I push, and then I remembered, yes, that’s how you push! I’d completely forgotten. So I tried again like that and after about four pushes, out she came, only just her head and the rest was still inside, and I was in so much pain, I screamed, “take her out! take her out!” and then with another push her body came out. Then of course, the fun of getting stitches while they were laying her on my chest. (I had a second-degree tear. Not as bad as last time). It’s hard to enjoy your baby when your private parts are getting stuck with needles (first a local anesthetic and then the needle, which I could still feel). Oona wasn’t crying enough, so they wouldn’t let me breastfeed her and, after giving her a bath, took her to the nursery to give her a couple of shots to get her to cry and clear her throat, which worked. They brought her back a half hour later, and she was fine.

Another detail that I forgot is that when I arrived they asked me if I was Group B Strep positive or negative and I said negative and told them the paper was in my bag. They looked at it and said the paper said I was positive. I know my OB told me I was negative, so they called the lab and eventually found that I was indeed positive, which meant I needed antibiotics. I had already refused both the IV and the hep lock, which pissed the doctor on call off (I did not like her any more than the doctor I had last time), so now, while PUSHING, they had to get me set up with an IV. They did it pretty quickly, but since the pushing went so fast (my doula said it was 8 minutes, although it felt more like 30), I didn’t get much antibiotic. It had to go into me before the baby was born to protect her from getting the bacteria from me as she came out. Of course, she came out so quickly she didn’t have time to catch anything from me!

I was thrilled when Oona came out to see that she had all her fingers and toes (and so thin and dainty compared to Shea’s fast paws!) and that she was healthy. She even had a fair amount of dark brown hair. Shea was so bald for so long, but he also had light hair, so it barely showed. Oona was big when she was born—8 lbs 11 oz—even bigger than Shea—and her eyes barely opened. As big as she is, though, she seems SO tiny. She is just this cute (and funny looking) little ball of jelly. As exhausted as I’m sure we’ll be over the coming weeks and months, it’s so fun to have a newborn again. Toddlers are super awesome because they walk and talk and learn new things every day, but babies are adorable, too, for the very reason that they don’t do much of anything at all other than drink a lot of milk and fall asleep with one cheek mashed against your chest and a little milk drooling out one corner of their mouths. SO CUTE.

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The Week in Review

Shea-and-Oona

Oona will be one week tomorrow, and I haven’t even blogged about the birth yet. I’ll do that next.

I forgot how much time with a newborn is spent sitting on the couch breastfeeding. I remember now that I watched a ton of TV and movies after Shea was born because that was the easiest thing to pass the time. Oona hasn’t quite woken up since her arrival into the world, so she pretty much eats and goes straight back to sleep and that’s all she does all day. Her awake time, unfortunately, is from about 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. During that time I feed her and then Martin watches her for three hours, gives her back to me, I feed her again and she falls asleep in my arms.

I’ve spent most of my time while she’s sleeping during the day running errands to buy baby and toddler things we still needed, like a table and chairs for Shea, a second diaper pail, a shade for the stroller, pump accessories, etc. etc. My recovery has been much easier this time than last, or maybe I just knew what to expect this time, but I don’t remember running errands at all for the first week or two after Shea was born. And my first day back from the hospital I walked to Safeway and back with Oona, and I certainly wasn’t doing THAT last time. I have fewer stitches this time, so it’s easier to walk.

Breastfeeding, unfortunately, is just as painful as before. Well, just enough LESS painful that I am suffering through it without the nipple shield this time because it caused so many problems with Shea gaining enough weight. Every time she latches on I squeeze her blanket as hard as I can and say, “fuck fuck fuck” under my breath until her sucking relaxes a little. One day I just burst out crying, I was so exhausted from all the pain (after the birth). But yesterday I stopped taking my Motrin, so things are slowly improving.

I ended up gaining 42 pounds and have lost 15 so far (without trying). It’s hard to watch my diet when I’m starving after I breastfeed, but I’m trying to at least eat healthy snacks (fruit, yoghurt) instead of cake and cookies and ice cream. I do eat Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches, though.

This week has been pretty manageable, and there as only one day that I was extremely sleep deprived, but I don’t know how I’m going to manage once Martin goes back to work. He’s off for three weeks and then somehow I’m going to have to figure out a way to take Shea out to parks with Oona. Should be interesting. I haven’t taken her anywhere in the stroller or car seat yet because I feel like she’s just too little. She’s fine snuggled in the Moby on walks, but she’s so incredibly small and fragile right now that I hate to even put her in the stroller. Maybe next week we’ll give it a try. Right now she’s just this little ball of jelly with her eyes mostly closed and her mouth rooting around like a fish. She is beginning to open her eyes a little more each day, though.

I bought Po Bronson’s NurtureShock today and am really looking forward to reading it. I even forked out the $27.50 to get it from Pegasus in order to support our local Solano Ave. stores before any more go out of business (It’s crazy how many have shut down.) I watched “Entre Les Murs, or “The Class” in English, today and what a GREAT movie. Reminds me of my time substitute teaching for the Oakland School District only the Oakland Schools are much worse. I could relate to the “incident” that happened, too, because something similar happened to me. I just lost it one day and told a student to get the hell out of my classroom, and about 10 students all ran down and reported me to the principal. The principal was NOT nice to me. That was also the day my eye glasses were stolen (by one of the kids in that class) and I had to pay $250 to get a new pair since I didn’t have vision insurance. I think I made $100 that day. Not a fun job.

Trying to get motivated to take another look at my book and decide whether to keep sending it out or to revise it further. Not really in the mental place to think about writing right now. I’m more interested in reading, watching movies and spending time with my munchkins. At least this week. I really want to get my other projects done, too, before I get back to work: updating two baby books and making our wedding photo album and Shea’s first year photo album – both long overdue.

That’s about it for this week. Next post: Birth Story

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