Archive | December, 2012

The Waiting Room

12 Dec

Wow. Time passes so quickly with a newborn (except for in the middle of the night when the baby takes 2 hours to burp all his air out). I find that in my “spare” time, I have critical decisions to make. Do I:

1. Take a shower? (or brush my teeth, if it’s really a tough day! Ha.)
2. Drink a cup of coffee?
3. Eat a meal? (I’ve had breakfast at 2pm on multiple occasions)
4. Take a nap? (I’ve only done that twice in 15 days, believe it or not)
5. Clean?
6. Do something excessively extravagant with my time, like read a book?

Time is pretty valuable when you have an 18 month old and a newborn. And to top it all off, my mom is here doing tons of cooking, cleaning, and shopping. I do wonder how I will survive when she leaves in a few days. I regress.

I remember a day where I would get so bored when my time was spent inefficiently. A big culprit of inefficiency was waiting. Waiting at the doctor’s office. Waiting in line at Walmart. Waiting for the bus. Waiting to get to my destination while on the bus. Waiting for tardy people to arrive… I used to grumble and complain about so much waiting.

Last week I had to take Emmanuel back to the hospital to get his routine second PKU test. My mom was going to stay at home with busy Miss Hadassah while I took the baby. I almost couldn’t contain my excitement. I was going to go someplace with my fed and sleeping newborn. And what was I most hoping for? To wait for a really long time in the company of my Nook (and sleeping baby).

From what I remembered, we had to wait a bit for Hadassah’s PKU test. Not excessively long, but enough that I remember the waiting area.

I arrived to the lab and was immediately greeted by a phlebotomist. I filled out paperwork for 1 minute. I was ushered to a tiny room and took Emmanuel out of his car seat (1 minute). She pricked his foot and finished in 1 minute. And just like that we were finished. No waiting around for this girl. And now I complain.

Baby Emmanuel’s Birth Story!

3 Dec

Ok, 6 days post partum and I am finally able to post (or at least start writing) a detailed description of labor day!

As my last pre-labor log mentioned, I had a busy day on Tuesday.  My mom was driving out to my house and had a 10 hour drive ahead of her.  I woke up that morning and she had left me a voicemail saying she had ended up leaving at about 7am.  I was a bit sad as she had told me she was hoping to leave by 6am.  I talked to her on the phone at mid morning.  I really wanted to chat more with her and help her pass the time while driving but since i was sick, my voice was shot and talking was pretty exhausting for me.  I did say, “Well, I could probably go in to labor right now and you would probably still make it for the birth!”  At that time she was about 5 hours away.  I did mounds of laundry, took care of Hadassah (it takes so much longer to accomplish things with a toddler!), and did general cleaning.  I really just wanted to rest during Hadassah’s nap but I felt like I just could not spare the time.  I was expecting mom around the 3 o’clock hour and gave her a ring to check on her ETA.  She was close, but about 45 minutes away.  I was sitting on the couch during this short conversation, looking at the last pile of clothes that needed hung up.  I just sat there and thought, “maybe I will just have to welcome mom to this instead of to a pristine house.  However, I considered how I spent all day cleaning and how all my work would be in vain if she arrived to find this disorganized mess to greet her.  I mustered up the last bit of energy I had and put every last thing in its place.  I made a final call to mom and she was just a few miles away.  She finally arrived a little after 4pm.

We spent a few minutes greeting each other.  Hadassah showed her some new tricks (like walking), and then we sat down to eat.  I was slow going in eating, as is customary when I am trying to keep Hadassah watered and fed, while reheating my food ten different times.  I was just finishing up a second bowl of chile around 4:40 when I had a contraction.  It felt like a Braxton Hicks contraction but slightly more intense than any I had before.  I just stopped eating and talking, closed my eyes and bowed my head.  I think mom was talking to me and didn’t realize what was going on.  At the end of the contraction I explained that I was having a contraction.  I think we joked about how funny and ironic it would be if I went in to labor right now.  I kept eating and as my bowl was almost empty I had another contraction.  When it was over we continued talking, and mom mentioned how she should probably unload the car before it got too dark, and just in case I did go in to labor that evening.  She had brought out a bunch of meat and wanted to at least stick that in the freezer.

She went out to the car to unload, I stayed with Hadassah and sat on the couch.  I felt like I just needed to sit and relax.  My back was really hurting from standing and cleaning all day, and as mentioned before, I was just exhausted.  Hadassah was toddling around and walking in circles and chatting.  I had another two contractions, and Hadassah for some reason wanted to be hanging all over me during the contractions.  Dad called mom’s phone but mom obviously wasn’t able to answer, and then he called my phone immediately after.  I told him I was having some contractions and that mom was unloading stuff in case I was starting labor.  I texted Rebecca at 5:14pm and said, “mom’s here for 20 minutes and I start getting intense contractions.  I just might be starting labor.  Keep you posted.”  To which she responded, “No way, how exciting.  Does it hurt so good” to which I laughed out loud.

I heard mom open the door to drop off some things and I was having another contraction with Hadassah hanging over me and I realized I am FOR SURE in labor, and needed mom to be finished unloading NOW so she could take Hadassah and I could relax.  I yelled down to mom exactly all that and asked her to hurry.  I watched Hadassah walk around and all I could think about was how badly she needed a bath.  I was contemplating bathing her when I got another contraction and realized it would not be safe for me to bath her while I was in labor.  Mom finished unloading whatever she needed to unload around 5:30 and I told her how I really wanted Hadassah to get a bath.  So she did.  I continued to have a few contractions and my stomach hurt badly.  I went to the bathroom a few times while mom was bathing Hadassah and I had a very slight tinge of blood on the toilet paper.  Here I realized that things were actually happening, and that once again I was for sure in labor (I had to keep telling myself I WAS in labor because I wasn’t very convinced).

Bath time was over, and I kept saying to mom, “I don’t know what to do!”  I was trying to problem solve.  It was almost time for Hadassah to go to sleep.  Did we put her down and then wake her in the middle of the night later to drop off at Mike and Amber’s?  I was rather sure I was in labor but felt that I might need to stay at home at least several more hours.  Mom kept saying, “let’s just start with timing your contractions.”  By a little bit before 6 I decided it would be best to get Hadassah to Mike and Amber’s house.  I also asked mom, “maybe we should throw the suitcase in the car, just in case?” and she said that was a very good idea.  I called them and said we would probably be over in 45 minutes (it takes about a half hour to drive there, so I was imagining it would only take 15 minutes to get ready to go).

I had packed up most of the suitcase the week before, since there was a night I was so uncomfortable I could have bet money on the fact that I was going in to labor that night (but I obviously did not).  I had grossly underestimated how long it would take me to get out the door.  Packing is one thing.  Packing during contractions that (I did time them) were coming every 3 and a half to four minutes is another story.  It took us an entire hour to get the final few things together and load up the car.  We headed out the door at right about 7pm.  I texted Fernando that we were dropping Hadassah off.  I thought that maybe I should text my text-list of people that I was in labor, so I programmed the numbers in mom’s phone so she could easily text the list of people with updates later.  I was nervous doing this task in between contractions, because I didn’t want to mess anyone’s number up!

During the drive I was debating whether we should end up going to the hospital or not after dropping Hadassah off.  My wonderful mom, who was thinking much more clearly than I was, wisely said, “Why don’t we see how you feel after we drop off Hadassah?”  We quickly dropped Hadassah off.  I used the bathroom and stayed in there until my next contraction passed.

Mom and I went back out to the car and had a pow-wow.  “What should I do?”  I thought.  “Ok,” I told mom. “We are on the same side of town as the hospital.  Why don’t we go, and they can at least check me if nothing else.”  I felt really good about my decision.  I realized that if I went home first and then back up to the hospital immediately, that would be an entire hour more, and it was already 7:40pm.  I knew Fernando got off of work at 7:40 and would be able to answer the phone any moment.  We basically drove right by his work as I was on the phone with him.  I told him we were going to the hospital and that he should just go straight there, and that we would literally be arriving only a few minutes before he would.  The timing seemed pretty perfect and it made me so happy.

In my L&D room, somewhere around 7cm

In my L&D room, somewhere around 7cm

 

We arrived at the hospital at right about 8pm.  I had called on the way over so they had my stuff ready to go.  I got into the triage room and all I could think about was how much better I felt in the triage room compared to when I was in the triage room with Hadassah.  With Hadassah I was writhing around and could not stay in the bed, and I kept making the monitors come off.  This time, I was able to sit peacefully in the bed.  My contractions also slowed down sitting there in the bed.  I went to the bathroom, and every time I sat on the toilet I had a contraction which was really uncomfortable and had back labor.  Fernando got to the triage room at about 8:15pm and mom had to leave.  A nurse came in to check me and I was almost 7cm.  I thought, “wow, that was easy!”  I asked Fernando if he had called off work for the next day, and he said he wanted to wait.  I said, “what for!?” and he said he wanted to make sure we were staying.  I was like, “honey, I know I look fine and happy, but I’m 7 cm.  It’s hard to believe, but we aren’t leaving here without a baby.”

The nurse came in again and mentioned how she would call our midwife, Jana, but that she didn’t work on Tuesdays, so she might not be able to deliver me, and Dr. X. might be the one delivering me.  I wanted to cry.  I already hadn’t seen Jana since my 36 week appointment due to scheduling, and then some doctor that didn’t even work at her practice might deliver me!  However, I was arguing with myself and telling myself to relax, because Hadassah was also born on a Tuesday and Jana delivered her.  And Jana has never been in the office on Tuesdays.

Several minutes later the nurse came back in and informed me that Jana was going to be able to come in for my delivery.  I was so happy!!!  We started the process of moving to the L&D room.  I first went to the bathroom (contraction!) and then went in the hall.  Fernando was on the phone with someone (I don’t know why he was talking on the phone while we were moving from one room to another!) and of course I had a contraction and just fell over on to the wall.  We walked out of the triage area to find mom.  As she was coming I plopped on to a chair for another contraction.  We got in the L&D room probably around 8:45 or 9pm.  We were sitting on the couch talking for a little while.  I was so thirsty, so I was drinking a ton of water.  I also could barely talk and my throat hurt a lot, so I got some tea.  I threw my clothes on really quickly to take my last belly picture of my pregnancy and then got back in the gowns.  I decided to write Emmanuel a little letter because I wanted him to know exactly how I was feeling hours away from his arrival.  Probably around 9:30ish the nurse came in to hook me back up to the monitors.  Around this time Jana came and she said she would come and check me around 10:15pm.  I had some bad contractions in my back.  With Hadassah my contractions were all in my front, and this time they were everywhere, including my back.  I also felt some bad pain in my pelvis during some contractions.  The nurse brought by a birthing ball around 10 and Jana also suggested I try hands and knees.  Nothing felt comfortable at all and I decided I was much more comfortable laying on my right side during contractions.  Jana came and checked me and I was about 9cm.  By 10:30 I remember looking at the clock thinking that things were getting really intense.  Mom predicted that the baby would be here by 11pm.  I was thinking the baby probably wouldn’t be here until the next day.  I mentioned something to Jana and she also thought the baby would be arriving before mid night.  I don’t know why it was so hard for me to believe.

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My favored contraction position

Right at about 10 or 10:30 mom said, “hey, let’s Facetime Rebecca!” which I thought was a cool idea.  I was on the birthing ball at this point and mom and Rebecca were chatting.  They were talking about their birth experiences and I don’t remember exactly what they were saying, but they were making Fernando laugh while he was giving me a massage during a bad contraction and that made me angry and I told them to shut up.  I think that was the only mean moment I had during labor.

The last part of labor is fuzzy according to exact times and sequences, but I’ll try my best to describe the last part of my labor.  At around 10:30pm, I asked Jana about getting the bathtub ready.  The nurse said there were lots of natural labors going on tonight, so she had to check to see if it was available, and also if it had been cleaned if it was in fact available.  Fernando continued to massage my back while I had contractions and they were just getting less tolerable and less tolerable.  Jana said she could make a hot pack for me, which felt good.  It was during this time I also had intense pain in my pelvis in the front.  Jana, at some point, also showed Fernando how to do counterpressure on my back, and she pushed on my sacrum.  All I can say is that was the most relief I had felt in a long time!  I finally felt like I could manage during most of the contractions.  At a little past 11pm I asked about the tub.  Jana said the tub was available and was clean.  I got pretty happy.  But then Jana said she had to check to make sure I was not 10cm.  If I was 10cm I couldn’t get in the tub.  So, she checked me, and I was indeed 10cm.  She suggested that I could get in the shower if I wanted to.  I had a few more contractions in the bed and then headed to the shower.

I was in the shower for several contractions.  It didn’t feel great and I said, “I just want to be in the tub!!!” in a very whiny voice, I am sure.  I desperately asked Jana what else I could do to feel some relief, and she said, “besides having the baby, you could try bearing down.”  I didn’t feel the need to push, but I decided to bear down on the next contraction.  I felt a tiny bit of relief.  I did that for two more contractions.  On that second contraction I started feeling too hot in the shower and said, “I have to get out of here.”

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Our sweet baby!

I got back on the bed in a somewhat hands and knees position and had a contraction.  Once again, I decided to bear down to help with the discomfort and my water broke (yay!) and Jana said it was clear (phew!).  I immediately said, “uh-oh” because I knew this meant that things would get more intense, and I still was under the impression I was going to be in labor for hours.  I put my head at the head of the bed and got on my hands and knees.  With my next contraction I felt Emmanuel’s head starting to come out!  And WOW I felt it! (With Hadassah I didn’t really feel much during crowning and her coming out)  After the next contraction I thought his head has to be almost out, but it still wasn’t.  I think it took probably two more contractions and then his head was out.  Those were the longest and most intense minutes ever!  They felt like forever.  I did indeed feel the need to get him out of there.  It was a “bittersweet” feeling.  I was thinking, “I don’t want to do this!” but I knew the only exit was out!  During the pushing stage I realized my mom was still on FaceTime with my sister.  I thought they had hung up an hour before.

After his head was out, I knew that the hard work was over!  I just waited for the next contraction and got his shoulders out, and it was immediate relief!  They passed him through my legs and I turned around with the help of a nurse and snuggled my little boy!  I remember thinking he had much more

A happy reunion!

A happy reunion!

hair than Hadassah had, which made my heartburn worth it.  He also had really long and thick fingernails, and he had dry cracks all over him as if he were an overdue baby.  He looked like a little old man!  And for some reason I thought he looked like a monkey.  I also said he was furry (maybe that is why I thought he looked like a monkey).

Even though I felt way more with this birth, I barely even tore, and at 6 days post partum I have not had any swelling really and haven’t felt any pain (except when I cough, since I am STILL sick).  It didn’t take Jana very much time to sew me up at all!  I was so happy that Emmanuel did not have to go to the NICU like Hadassah did.  It was such a sweeter experience to have my baby with me immediately after for several hours!  Now I have 8lb 2oz and 20 inches of sweetness to enjoy

My Placenta Encapsulation Adventure

1 Dec

I did it.  I actually did it.  I just finished encapsulating my own placenta.  While I was picking up the final ingredients last week for the process, I didn’t do it very enthusiastically.  Nor did I think I would actually do it.  Even when I was in the hospital I was having second thoughts about encapsulating my placenta.  I mostly thought, “do I really want to do this right after having a baby?”  Then I thought of my lonely little placenta, sitting in the hospital freezer for a month, fully expecting to get picked up by me.  Upon discharge, I asked the nurse

This is my dehydrated placenta - I didn't take any pictures of the raw placenta

This is my dehydrated placenta – I didn’t take any pictures of the raw placenta

about my placenta (I actually almost did forget).  She returned shortly with our doggy bag.  I stuck the placenta in our fridge and was just dreading the whole process.  I thought once again how maybe I wouldn’t do this, but then I wondered what I would do with my nice biohazard bag.  Of course I could just throw it in the trash, but we have a horrible cat problem in our neighborhood and I knew they would get in to my placenta and eat it.  Yuck.  So I figured, if anyone is going to eat my placenta, it is me!  Not some gross cats.

I started the process yesterday.  It took awhile for me to get psyched up.  I finally broke down with a typical post partum cry, weeping about how baby Emmanuel had only had one wet diaper for the day and how he was sleeping too much.  I just cried and cried.  I knew that was a good sign to get my booty moving on fixing up my placenta.  The task at hand loomed before me and seemed so gigantic and overpowering.

Step 1, I washed my placenta.  This would have been more pleasant had it not been so cold on my hands, and if I wasn’t having back and belly pain from my uterus contracting and returning to its original size.  I can see why people hire other people to do this.  Plus, you have to take in to account the grossness factor.  I kept telling myself this was just like any other piece of meat (with a membrane attached to it – ewww!).  I spent about 20 minutes washing out my placenta.

Step 2 – I steamed my placenta.  Once again, I’m cooking up my placenta.  Gag.  I threw in ginger, lemon, and crushed dry chile peppers.  It actually was pretty off hands to steam the placenta.  I only had to flip it once.

Step 3 – Slice and place placenta on a dehydrator.  This part I was kind of okay with.  The placenta looked more like a piece of cooked meat, but the membrane was still there, and there were some marbled looking pieces which looked disgusting.  I actually threw away a fifth or so of the placenta (including most of the membrane) because I just thought it looked gross and wouldn’t dehydrate well.

My placenta pills!

My placenta pills!

I finished step 3 at around 7:30 at night.  By mid or late morning the next day, my mom had informed me that the placenta looked pretty crispy and brittle, so we turned off the dehydrator.

I left the pieces for several hours, because I wasn’t quite ready to sit down and work at what I thought would be a difficult and trying task of putting powder in capsules.

Step 4 – I stuck the pieces in the blender.  I was afraid our blender wouldn’t make it in to a fine powder.  But it did!  That was easy!!!!

Step 5 – I have a bowl of placental powder.  This looks nice!  It looks nothing like…well, what it did 24 hours ago.

Step 6 – I scooped up the powder with the capsules while listening to Christmas music.  Nothing gets you in the mood for placenta encapsulation like Christmas music!

That is all.  I got 59 pills out of my placenta, but as I mentioned above, I didn’t use quite all of my placenta.  My midwife did mention right after Emmanuel was born that I had a good sized placenta.  I think an average yield is 75 pills.

I would definitely do this again.  I am interested in seeing how I feel after taking the pills during this post partum period.  It was a lot easier than I imagined!  For reference, here is a site I used to help me prepare the placenta.