Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Better Luck This Time? Labor and Delivery #2

Three weeks before my due date, something woke me up around 4am.  I couldn't figure out what it was, so I went back to sleep.  But I would just get back to sleep and something would wake me up again!  I finally figured out that I must be having contractions (remember, I hadn't really had any non-Pitocin contractions the first time), but they weren't very painful, and I was sure they weren't very close together, so I figured that these must be the contractions I had heard so much about that come just long enough for you to call everyone on your list to tell them that you're in labor, and then they stop, so you feel like a FOOL.  I woke my husband up to tell him what I thought was going on.  He wanted to time the contractions, but I assured him that they were FAR APART.  He timed them anyway, and we discovered that they were actually 5 minutes apart.  I was still not concerned because they were NOTHING like the contractions I had experienced with the Pitocin, so I got up and took a shower, fixed my hair, and eventually called our person who was going to stay with Ian until my mom could get there.  I, however, was still not convinced that this was actual labor and I was almost certain it was going to stop at any time. 

By the time we left for the hospital (which was about 2 minutes away) at 5am, I was starting to want to smack my husband whenever I would have a contraction.  The contractions were finally starting to hurt as much as the ones I remembered from my first labor, and I couldn't bear the thought of going through HOURS of that misery, so as soon as we walked in to L&D, the first words out of my mouth were, "I am ready for my epidural!"  The nurse smirked a little and rolled her eyes, and sent me to get changed.  I told her that I felt like I needed to use the bathroom, but she said she would like to check me first.  She checked me and said, "How badly did you want that epidural?"  I responded, "There's a reason I asked for it as soon as I came in!!!!!"  She said, "Well, there's no cervix on this side, and only a little on that side;  I don't think there's time."  I said, "GET THE ANESTHESIOLOGIST!"  He came right away (THANK ALL THAT IS HOLY!) and said that if my water broke there wouldn't be time for the epidural to work.  I told him to GET A MOVE ON THEN. 

The epidural worked quickly, my water didn't break, I was fully dilated, but the baby wasn't dropping.  My beloved doctor arrived, broke my water, and, after 3 sneeze-like pushes, Baby #2 was born at 6:37am with the cord wrapped firmly around his neck (The moment when the baby's head was out and the doctor said, "Oh stop pushing!" was a moment I was VERY GRATEFUL for that epidural!!!!).  The doctor had to cut the cord to get him out, and he wasn't breathing, so, once again the baby was whisked off before I could hold him.  THREE WEEKS EARLY, Baby #2 weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces and was 19.5 inches long. 

I COULD NOT BELIEVE how good I felt!  I laughed and laughed because I couldn't believe THAT WAS IT, and now it was over!  I would have gotten up and gone home right then if they would have let me.  I did not feel like I had just been run over by a bus!  I had heard of women who had given birth and then immediately looked at their husbands and asked when they could do this again, and I FELT LIKE THOSE WOMEN!  If my pregnancies, labors, and deliveries could all be like THAT ONE, I could have LOTS of kids!

While they were checking the baby out anyway, I asked them to check his mouth, since I DID NOT want a repeat performance of my first nursing experience.  No tight frenulum!!!!  When they finally handed me the baby, I again waited for that magical bonding moment, and again I thought, "I know I just watched you come out, but you don't seem familiar..."  This time I made sure they didn't take the baby before I nursed him, but this hospital had rules about taking all of the babies to the nursery at certain times, and I DID NOT APPRECIATE the times they took him and didn't bring him back for hours. 

We had worked harder on the naming issue this time, but we still hadn't settled on anything.  This time when I looked at the baby, a name did pop into my head that seemed just right, and we were very excited to have picked out the name on THE FIRST day, instead of having the poor boy being called "Baby Boy Best" for two days.  For the purposes of blogging, I will call him "David".

Ian was brought to the hospital to meet his new brother.  He seemed excited that he could now see and hold the little person who had been "the baby in Mama's tummy".  In order to bribe him make this a positive experience for him, we had a present there for him "from his new brother" that he was quite happy about.  (Also, when we brought David home, we brought a new "brother" for Doggy too, a little stuffed puppy that matched Doggy.)

We left as soon as they would let us out this time because I really did feel good, I couldn't sleep at the hospital, the food was awful, the nurses were surly really busy, it really PISSED ME OFF irritated me the way the nursery kept taking the baby, and I just wanted to be home.
I am TOO CUTE FOR WORDS and so tiny compared to my giant brother!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

More About Ian and Pregnancy #2

For Christmas, Ian received a LARGE stuffed dog;  he immediately, strongly attached to that dog.  (He actually still sleeps with "Doggy" and he'll be 12 soon.)

At 18 months we took Ian to the nursery at church;  he was THRILLED to go, and when we came to get him later, he told us to go back so that he could stay there. 

Ian never really babbled as much as I expected him to, but by the time he was 2 years old he could talk to an adult not from our household, and that adult could understand him.  Also around this time, we noticed that he would become VERY INTERESTED in a certain thing, like tractors;  for months and months he would be very focused on any sort of TRACTOR and NOTHING ELSE.  We had noticed that Ian was very strong-willed (but isn't every child strong-willed?), and around this time we also started noticing that he was very defiant, especially towards me. 

I had started getting the feeling, some months earlier, that there was another little person who wanted to join our family, but I was SO SCARED!  I hadn't forgotten how awful my pregnancy had been, and I was really worried about being able to take care of Ian if I got that sick again.  But I'd talked to many women, and some had said that they had had morning sickness really bad the first time but that it hadn't been so bad in subsequent pregnancies, and some said that they only got sick when they were pregnant with a boy, and some said they only got sick when they were pregnant with a girl, so I tried to cling to the hope that it would be different if I got pregnant again. 

I had taken a pregnancy test as soon as I thought the egg might have been fertilized the day before my expected period many, many, um, several a few times, CERTAIN that I must be pregnant.  Ironically, the month I finally WAS pregnant, the days of my monthly cycle had slipped my mind, and I was a week late by the time I looked at the calendar! 

I waited fearfully for the constant, severe nausea to start...but it never did!  I felt yucky in the mornings and evenings, but I could still function!  I could stand and walk!  I could still eat and drink!  I decided that if THAT was morning sickness, I could absolutely survive!  And it didn't last as long as it had the first time!  (Of course, with this pregnancy I had a doctor who actually would have DONE SOMETHING to help me if it had been like the first time...)

Ian was very excited when I got pregnant and we started talking about "the baby in Mama's tummy".  He INSISTED it was going to be a sister named Baby Elizabeth.  I was happy to go with that and dusted off my list of girl names and got the girl crocheting out again.  (Imagine our surprise when the ultrasound tech put the wand on my stomach and it was IMMEDIATELY APPARENT that it was not going to be Baby Elizabeth after all!)  As my tummy got rounder and rounder, Ian enjoyed patting it and giving kisses to the baby.

Ian had a really hard time with changes and transitions (time to go home from the park, time to stop playing and do something else, etc...), so as soon as I knew I was pregnant I started talking to him about what would happen when the baby was born.  We passed the hospital often when we went out on errands, and every time we would drive by I would say, "There's the hospital where Mama will go when it is time for the baby to come out of my tummy.  You might wake up one morning and Grandma will be there!  Grandma will stay with you while I'm in the hospital, and she will bring you to visit me..." 

Once, around this time, when Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers was Ian's favorite book, I walked by his room to hear him saying, "Never ever, ever take a blue scoop tractor from a stranger!" in the most serious voice.  I laughed and laughed!

I could always tell when Ian was sick because he would come sit on my lap;  it was the ONLY time he would sit on my lap for any period of time.  He was a VERY BUSY boy!  One day I was walking down the hall, and I heard something I had never heard before:  Ian was laughing, and it was a sound of PURE JOY.  I rounded the corner to find him, and his big stuffed dog, sitting on his dresser, with a large container of baby powder, and he was delightedly shaking it ALL. OVER. THE. ROOM.  (FYI:  When one is already in a REALLY BAD MOOD about having to clean up half a container of baby powder, it DOES NOT HELP one's mood when the vacuum cleaner repeatedly shocks one during the clean up.)  He also delighted in clearing a certain bookshelf EVERY. TIME. HE. WALKED. BY. IT.  And dumping the bag of crackers all over the floor.  And dumping all of his toys in a big pile.  For some reason, he acted surprised every time I insisted he clean up whatever glorious mess he'd just made!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

PSA: Crappy Day Present Tutorial...or How The Crappy Day Present Came To Be

EDITED at the beginning because I finally remembered and at the end to offer suggestions for more generic CDPs and links to examples.

*As I was thinking about it, I remembered that, during high school, I used to bring Crappy Day Presents to my friends on days I knew they were having (or were going to have) a Crappy Day!  One of my favorite things to do was to bring a cheerful bunch of helium balloons, a supportive note/card, and their favorite treat and leave it in their bedroom for them to find when they came home.

Shortly after Ian was born, we had to move (BAD, BAD timing!).  One of my best friends came over before we pulled out, handed me a brightly decorated/beribboned gift bag, and said, "Here.  This is a Crappy Day Present (CDP) because this is a really Crappy Day!"  There was a box of tissues, some chocolate, and I don't remember what else (Who can remember anything past "chocolate"?). 

During the long drive, I had a long time to remember (brain damage from pregnancy and sleepless nights and all that) how wonderful this Crappy Day Present idea was.  I am the kind of person who will be out shopping and see the PERFECT thing for someone I know, and I will excitedly buy it, or maybe I have just learned how to make something new, and I can think of someone who would love it...but then I get frustrated because their birthday or Christmas seems EONS away and I want to give it to them FIVE MINUTES AGO!  Also, I like to do things to try to cheer my friends up or be supportive when they are having a rough day, but that gets trickier when you've moved across the country from the people you want to cheer up, so I decided that I would still be able to do this:  send something IN ADVANCE so that it is on hand when the next Crappy Day happens!  Also, just having something on hand to look at and wonder about can improve a Crappy Day because you can think "Well, if this day gets TOO bad, I'll just open a CDP!" or "This day really sucks, but someone loved me enough to get me a CDP, so maybe I can make it!" or "Is this day really so bad that I want to use one of my CDPs?" 

So!  If you are this kind of person, or you just want to randomly brighten someone's day, READ ON...(This is partly taken from a really long comment I left at Swistle's.)

These are the suggestions I would have for a person wanting to do Crappy Day Presents for someone (you can absolutely modify any of this to fit your situation):

Step 1
a.)  Think of what you are good at--shopping, painting, card making, crocheting, knitting, organizing, sewing, baking, playing with children--ANYTHING you are good at, and keep that in mind during the rest of the process in case you can use something you are good at to help with your Crappy Day Presents.

b.)  Then, think of any helpful piece of information you might have about your person (we'll assume your person is female):
*Do you know her favorite color or treat or movie?
*Does she have dogs/cats/kids?
*Have you noticed she brings/orders a certain thing for lunch quite often?
*Has she ever mentioned that she has a cow/sunflower/apple/rooster/americana/bird theme in her kitchen/living room/bathroom?
*Has she ever mentioned that she likes to bake/read/do crossword puzzles/take bubble baths?
*Has she ever mentioned that she really needs a new set of measuring cups/kitchen towels/muffin pans, etc....?
Think of ANYTHING you know about your person that might help you pick something out. 

c.)  Then, think back to the things you are good at, and see if you can think of a way to use what you are good at to find something that goes with the things you know about her; if you thought she would use them, you could make little "coupons" that can be redeemed for something you can do: babysitting her kids, running to the store for milk/eggs/bread, a loaf of fresh bread, a batch of cookies, a batch of soup, dinner for her family some night so she doesn't have to cook, cleaning a bathroom, ect...be creative! 

d.)  *Insert encouraging voice* I know this next part could be HARD, but this process could also involve GOING SHOPPING to find the right things.  I know, I know!  It's a sacrifice!  But it's for THE GREATER GOOD, so, do what you can do. 

Even if you don't feel like you can think of anything amazing, I can't imagine that anyone wouldn't be cheered up that someone cared enough to bring her a bag/basket/box of brightly wrapped, mysterious little packages! 

Step 2
a.)  Once you have gathered together some things you think your person will like, get out your wrapping supplies and any froofy things you have been saving for some occasion that never seems to come up (stamps, stickers, ribbons) and apply them generously to your gifts!  (Think how fun it is at Christmas to see a cheerful pile of brightly wrapped presents under the tree.)  If you'd like, put a little note in the present telling why you picked that thing for her.

b.)  Attach some sort of note or tag to your present(s) so your person knows what to do with it (them).  I have two different tags I use, depending on the person.  For someone I am not really close to, such as the lovely lady at the post office or my favorite nurse at the doctor's office, my tags say:  "This is a “Crappy Day” present!  Open it the next time you are having a CRAPPY day, and know that you are appreciated for all you do to make the world a better place!" and for family members or close friends the tags say:  "This is a “Crappy Day” present!  Open it the next time you are having a CRAPPY day, and know that you are loved!!" 

c.)  If I have a bunch of presents to give someone all at once (usually this happens when I'm sending a box to someone far away;  I figure if I'm sending a box, I might as well FILL IT UP!), I try to label the tag for the appropriate level of crappiness:
  • Minor—“Life certainly can be blah!”
  • Moderate—“Why is everyone around me *SO* IRRITATING?!”
  • MAJOR—“If people don’t *WATCH OUT*, HEADS MAY ROLL!!!!”
Step 3
Deliver your package and enjoy the knowledge that you have made someone's day a little less crappy!

This can be a really involved process if you are trying to distract YOURSELF from YOUR life's stress like that sort of thing, or you really could just put a present in a brown bag, staple it shut, and hand it to your friend saying "Open this the next time you have a Crappy Day."  Whatever works for you!

It is usually around Step 3 when I start to PANIC, and I think, "This was a REALLY STUPID idea!  She isn't going to like any of these things!  I should just wear a sign that says 'I AM A DORK'!"  I try hard to ignore the nasty, demon voice to persevere and deliver/send the present anyway, but sometimes the voice wins.

Also, Life of a Doctor's Wife asked about more generic CDPs, so I thought I would add some information about that:

I think for generic CDPs you could do some of the same kinds of things you would do for teacher presents: some sort of candy, a cute mug, bath stuff, candles, cute little notebooks/notepads...check Swistle's posts on teacher gifts for more ideas because that's all I can remember at the moment =).
What else? You could wrap: a container of brownies/cookies with instructions to open that package first...a gift card to somewhere to eat with instructions to take herself to lunch...a cute reusable shopping bag...a CD of your favorite cheer-yourself-up music...a cute necklace, bracelet, pair of earrings...The Blue Day Book by Bradley Trevor Greive...if you email me with whatever information you have about your person, I will try to tear myself away from my sweet, obedient, precious children, um, abandon my much appreciated efforts to keep the household running email you back when I get a chance!

Even if you don't manage to pick out her VERY FAVORITE candy or candle scent or whatever, I would think it would make her feel better just to know that somebody cared enough to try! And never underestimate the power of LOTS of cheerfully wrapped packages, even if the packages only have little things in them! I'm usually one who puts the cookies in a ziploc bag and presents them to someone that way, but I have a friend who is REALLY GOOD at making things look nice (for example, she puts her cookies on a festive-looking plate), and I've decided those little things really can make a difference in the cheeriness factor of the gifts!
It can be a good idea to read the following post and print it out for yourself or the person you are giving CDPs to =)!
The Rules For the Opening of Crappy Day Presents

Crappy-Day-Present-Receiving Etiquette

Link to Crappy Day Package example #1
Link to Crappy Day Package example #2
Example of a Crappy Day Package #3
Example of a Crappy Day Package #4
Example of a Crappy Day Package #5
Example of a Crappy Day Package #6
Example of a Crappy Day Package #7
Example of a Crappy Day Package #8

Links to Other Examples of Crappy Day Packages/Presents

I Don't Remember Talking About Pitocin in Lamaze Class: Labor and Delivery #1

I woke my husband to tell him the happy news and we called the hospital.  I don't remember what they said because I was too busy thanking my lucky stars that this pregnancy was almost over!  We went to the hospital within about 2 hours of my water breaking (I SHOULD HAVE STAYED HOME LONGER!), and I wasn't having regular contractions (although I was dilated to 3cm).  They made me stay in the bed since my water had broken (that was their procedure for avoiding a prolapsed cord).  *I* was thinking that if the baby's head was not allowing any more fluid to come out that there wasn't much chance the cord was getting through and that gravity might be helpful in this situation, but their solution was Pitocin.  I figured that they had my best interest at heart (WHY would I think that?!), and was still so excited about the thought of NOT BEING PREGNANT anymore and getting to hold my new baby that I didn't argue.  They gave me a lot of Pitocin VERY QUICKLY, and, within minutes, I was having really intense contractions that were right on top of each other;  I would have 3 or 4 right in a row with no break!  My poor friend whose hand I was squeezing was afraid I was going to break her hand.  I thought I was going to die in the HOUR AND A HALF before the anesthesiologist showed up.  I could have KISSED HIS FEET once that epidural took effect!  This was at around 6:30am, and by 10am, I was ready to start pushing. 

The doctor (the only one from the practice that I didn't like, of course) came in when I started pushing and then disappeared....for THREE HOURS.  The baby crowned after 20 minutes but WOULD NOT COME OUT, and the doctor was nowhere to be found (seriously, there was not another doctor in the whole hospital?!).  I pushed for 2 1/2 hours longer trying to get that baby out, and not half-hearted tentative pushes, but GET THIS BABY OUT SO I DON'T HAVE TO BE PREGNANT ANYMORE pushes.  (Let me just mention here that trying for 2 1/2 HOURS to push out a baby who is stuck makes for some VERY UNHAPPY lady parts in the weeks to follow!)  When the j*ck*ss doctor FINALLY came back, he used forceps and the baby came right out, all 8 POUNDS 8 OUNCES and 21 INCHES of him (Thank Heaven he was 2 1/2 weeks early!).  Oh, and he did have LOTS of hair on his pointy cone-head (apparently being stuck is NO FUN for the baby either), just as the ultrasound tech had said. 

Baby was purple (and VERY MAD) so he was quickly whisked off.  I was VERY PISSED a little irritated that after all of my suffering and hard work, I was the LAST person in the room to get to hold him.  But someone FINALLY handed him to me, and I thought, "Hey, wait a minute;  where's my tiny newborn?  This baby looks about 2 months old!" and then I thought, "I have waited for you for so long, and I know I just watched you come out of my body, but you don't look at all familiar..."  I waited for that magical moment when I would look into the baby's eyes and have that immediate, overpowering feeling of love and bonding that I had heard so much about...um, not so much.  I did soon love him and bond with him, but it wasn't that IMMEDIATE thing I'd heard so much about (Thing that made me think I might be a bad mother #1).

I spent the next hour snuggling and sniffing and marvelling over MY PRECIOUS NEW BABY!!!  And when the nurse came in and said it was their policy to take the baby to the nursery after an hour, I was too stupid inexperienced to argue with her.  So they took the baby BEFORE I HAD NURSED HIM.

Edited to add:  Right after they took the baby, someone came to move me to another room and told me to HOP in the wheelchair.  I COULD BARELY MOVE.  The epidural had worn off and my body was letting me no in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that it was NOT HAPPY with the treatment it had received the previous few hours.

Needless to say, by the time they returned him to me he was quite ready to settle in for a nice, long nap, and I spent the rest of the day trying desperately to get him to wake up and eat.  He WAS NOT INTERESTED in waking up, and soon the nurses started telling me that if I couldn't get him to eat they were going to have to start an IV because his blood sugar was low (Thing that made me think I might be a bad mother #2).  I was eventually able to wake him up a little, but he seemed to be having trouble latching on (Thing that made me think I might be a bad mother #3).  Different nurses and the lactation consultant came and tried to help, but this seemed to only make him more mad (did I mention that he just generally seemed REALLY PISSED?).  NOBODY EVER CHECKED THE BABY'S MOUTH.  (About 9 months later he yawned at a doctor's appointment, and the nurse said, "Wow!  His frenulum (thing under his tongue) is really tight;  does he have trouble eating?"  I wanted to WEEP thinking about the THREE MONTHS of nursing AGONY I had endured...)

In between trying to wake the baby up to eat, I would look at his precious baby face and wait for his name to pop into my head because that is what everybody had said would happen, right?!  No luck.  The day before we had to leave the hospital, my husband went home and got the baby name book.  We searched and searched and finally found a name we liked, that also had a meaning we liked.  For blogging purposes, I will call him "Ian".

This Is Not Exactly What I Was Expecting: Pregnancy #1

As soon as I was old enough to understand what a pregnant woman was, I could hardly wait until it was my turn to do that!  It was FASCINATING:  a tiny, perfect, little person growing inside the woman's body, feeling the baby bump around inside her tummy, a precious, soft, warm, fuzzy, snuggly baby at the end!  Fast forward an eternity more than a decade, and it was MY TURN! 

The day my period was late, I took the pregnancy test in the store bathroom--TWO PINK LINES!!!  I was THRILLED....for about two weeks, before the constant, severe nausea started.  I had heard about morning sickness, of course, but had crossed my fingers and hoped I would be one of the lucky ones who "never felt better" than when she was pregnant (HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA...Joke on me #1).  The only way I could explain it to people so they could almost understand was to say, "You know how when you get a stomach virus or food poisoning, and you are so nauseous, but you really don't want to throw up, so you lie there, miserable, for a long time, but you come to that point where you are leaning over the toilet begging God to either kill you or let you throw up?  THAT is what I feel like EVERY MOMENT I AM CONSCIOUS."  I could barely eat or drink.  I tried the ginger, saltines, peppermint, eating something before I got up in the morning, etc.  I was VERY PUT OUT with whoever had decided that this misery should be called "morning" sickness, instead of "all-day-wish-you-were-dead" sickness.  After about six weeks of this I had my first doctor's appointment.  I asked the doctor if it was normal to be excruciatingly nauseous all the time, and the doctor said, "You are pregnant.  Pregnant women feel nauseous." 

Someone told me that they had gotten Vitamin B shots when they were pregnant and it had helped with the nausea, so I asked about that at my next appointment.  The doctor was happy to give me the shot (he couldn't bring this up himself at my LAST VISIT?!), and it was HEAVEN...for a week.  I went in for another shot, and that one lasted about 3 days, and the last shot didn't do anything =(.  I wanted to WEEP every morning when I had to get out of bed and go do my student teaching because standing/moving made it worse.  I BEGGED my husband to smother me with a pillow to put me out of my misery, but he wouldn't do it.  Every day I wondered how a body could feel so awful and not just DIE from the misery, I LIVED for the 12-13 week mark when the "morning sickness" was supposed to go away, but it didn't start getting better until I was about 22 weeks.

Of course, as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I started making my list of girl names and crocheting cute girly things because, what else would I have?  (HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA...Joke on me #2).  At the ultrasound we learned it was going to be a boy and that he already had hair (who knew they could see hair on an ultrasound?).  Then the naming fun began in earnest.  My husband leaned towards really unique names and I leaned towards names that wouldn't make our child hate us some day more traditional, or at least main-stream, names.  We really couldn't agree, and everyone said that once we saw the baby we would "just know" what his name should be so, like fools, we believed those with more experience than us and decided we would worry about that at the hospital.

I did manage to enjoy weeks 22-30 (hooray!), when I could feel the baby moving and I was obviously pregnant but didn't feel like a beached whale yet.  One day I was feeling my belly and felt the baby's poky elbow or knee or something (a rare occurrence), and, as I rubbed it gently, I felt him pull away with a "don't touch me" kind of vibe;  I thought that was a little strange and but figured it must have just been my imagination (HA, HA, HA...Joke on me #3)! 

The last 2 months of pregnancy the usual discomforts started:  I started getting puffy (at one of my doctor's appointments, the doctor who was pregnant with TWINS looked at me and said, "Wow! You're even puffier than I am!"), felt so large and cumbersome (I had a new understanding of the scriptures which said that Mary was "great with child", and I felt IMMENSE SYMPATHY for her), had to use the bathroom every 2 hours all night long...until about week 36 when the baby dropped and I then had to use the bathroom every 45 minutes all night long...One night, 2 1/2 weeks before I was due, I woke up around 3am thinking, "No, I just used the bathroom 30 minutes ago;  I should still have 15 minutes left..." and, an instant later, my water broke.  I don't think I had ever been happier in my entire life!  My first thought was, "Hooray!  The misery is almost over!"  (HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA...Joke on me #4), followed quickly by, "Hooray!  This is labor FOR SURE, so I don't have to feel silly calling everyone and then not really being in labor!"