Trea’s Birth story

The delivery was a c-section.  My choice. Many people will silently judge me for making that decision.  Many people will envy the fact that I was able to make the decision, when so often women are forced/coerced into having c-sections when they aren’t medically necessary.  I chose this option.  The OB on-call tried her hardest to talk me out of it–reminding me of all of the benefits of a vaginal delivery and the possible complications of a c-section.  She was very positive, affirming and persuasive; and I love that she tried so hard to empower me.

Here is my story of why I chose an elective C-section for my final birth.

I was in tremendous pain for several days before the delivery-I’ve had pubic bone separation and hip pain for months that made walking, moving and standing painful. I have had this since early in pregnancy, however, the last week of my pregnancy was by far the worst.  On top of being in acute pain every time I moved, I was sick–headache, sore throat, fever and body aches.  I was exhausted and wasn’t sleeping–3 nights running with little to no sleep.

The day before Trea was born, I had my 40 week OB appointment.  Every time someone touched me for the simplest of procedures I cringed.  My nerves were shot–and I was edgy.  I begged (and actually cried in her office) my OB to induce me on Fri morn. She agreed, after giving me the lecture on risks of uterine rupture (up from  0.5% to 1.5%) and other complications. I went home feeling excited about the next day and optimistic that there was an end in sight.  Tomorrow I would be holding my little girl.

Jeff’s parents arrived that afternoon, and I spent the afternoon in bed, hiding under the blankets with a fever.  We got everyone settled for the night and I decided on a bath and then bed, as my indication appt was at 6am.  Best to get as much sleep as possible.  During my bath, I realized that I had not felt Trea move for a while…and she typically moved a lot!  I decided, for the first time in my pregnancy, to do a formal kick count.  I took 90 minutes and had only felt a few movements.  I freaked out.  I made Jeff take me back to L&D to be sure she was OK.

She was fine, but I wasn’t.  I was panicked, my heart rate was high, and I was on edge.  I was scared and exhausted.  We spent a good portion of the night in L&D waiting for tests and doctors.  They were very busy with many women in labor and delivering.

I decided then, just a few hours from my induction, and after considering my mental and physical state, the expected size of Trea (9 lbs or more), my hemorrhoids (out of control!), the recovery experience I had with Spencer and the risks, to opt for a c-section. We went home and rested for a few hours–the first chunk of sleep I had in days!  It felt great and I felt at peace.

L&D was busy when we arrived.  Our appt. was moved back several times for emergent C-sections.  Everything went fine during the procedure, though I was so very nervous!  I was most nervous about the epidural (I received a spinal block).  It went fine–though they did stick me twice!  And to make matters worse the nursing staff was counting their instruments while I was getting the spinal block.  The names of the instruments and the counting of them is a disconcerting experience.  I remember it vividly from Elliott’s birth.  I tried to go to my happy place, and hoped that I wouldn’t feel anything during the surgery (I didn’t).

Jeff was able to capture an amazing picture of Trea’s first moments of life outside the womb.

Welcome to the world!

After they removed her, Trea had some trouble breathing on her own.  They suctioned a ton of fluid from her tummy and gave her oxygen, but she was still struggling.  The doctors brought her over for a moment, and then they took her to the NICU-Jeff went with her.  I was left alone in the OR while they finished up my surgery and transferred me to the recovery room.

Jeff was moving back and forth from the NICU with Trea, to the recovery room with me.  He was giving updates and checking status–back and forth.  At one point, he was returning from seeing Trea and was about to walk into recovery only to be stopped by the nurses and me telling him to not look and stand back.  I had a slow postpartum hemorrhage, and while it was a lot of blood–it wasn’t enough to need a blood transfusion.  But it was enough to cause concern.  After both Trea and I were stable, I was allowed to be wheeled in to see her.  Finally after 4 plus hours–I was able to see my daughter.

During the time that I was in recovery–Trea received an IV, was on CPAP, and oxygen.  She had labs and a chest x-ray.  The initial thought was that she aspirated meconium, as there was some discoloration in my amniotic fluid.  So, they were treating her for possible sepsis.  They also were worried that during her struggle to breathe that she may have collapsed a lung.  Additionally, they worried that she might develop pneumonia, as she had fluid in her lungs.  The doctors didn’t know what would happen and all of these variables were floating around with no definitive answer.  It was a stressful time for Jeff and I both.

An emotional reunion.

Our reunion was cut short by me vomiting again (I also vomited right before I hemorrhaged)… and with all of the very sick babies in the NICU they quickly wheeled me back to recovery.  We made our way upstairs to the Maternity floor a few hours later, and then began our 3 hour rotation of visits to the NICU for the next several days.  I will detail that in a later post.

I don’t know if my decision to have a C-section caused the respiratory distress in Trea or if the way I was feeling was an external trigger that something was wrong and she needed to be delivered ASAP.  Respiratory distress can happen when babies are delivered via C-section or through a very quick vaginal delivery.  Contractions serve a greater purpose–they not only open the cervix to allow the baby to be born, but they push fluid from the lungs and stomach of babies on their journey out of a woman’s body.  I will never know the reason, and I am OK with that.  I do not regret my decision.  I do not mourn the loss of a vaginal delivery like I did after my first c-section.  And I am grateful that Trea was able to get the care she needed right away.  There is no way to know if she would have experienced the same distress during a vaginal delivery, or if she would’ve needed to be delivered emergently as a result.  All of these factors put my mind at ease.   I knew in my heart that I didn’t have the strength to endure labor.  Looking back, I needed to save all of my strength for handling my baby being in the NICU.

I am at peace with my decision.  My daughter is here, she is healthy and she is home.

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Milestone-Elliott

Elliott, who will turn 6 on July 1st, has hit a milestone.  Last night, for the first time I am aware of, was able to wake himself up and get out of bed to pee all on his own.  He didn’t call for us either.  I heard him get out of bed, go to the toilet, pee and return to bed.

Since he was little, he has been a ‘heavy wetter’.  He was tough to potty train, and had accidents with frequency.  Up until a few months ago, he wore an overnight pull up. He has always been a very hard sleeper.  The pediatrician said that some kids physically aren’t ready, and to just wait it out.  I was fine with that, and so was he.

It seems that the wait is over and his body is ready to take charge.  I am glad we allowed him to take it at his pace.    

I do my worst parenting when pregnant

I have heard from several Mom’s who have multiple children (that is more than one child, not twins) that they did their worst parenting while they were pregnant.  And then I heard that the Duggar’s are expecting their 19th child as well as their 1st grandchild. 

I wonder sometimes why I can’t do it all, why I feel so overwhelmed.  And then I feel guilty because I can’t seem to hold it together.  I lose my temper so easily.  And then that leads me into wondering if I am trying hard enough to be a good person (insert wife, mom, friend as needed).  Am I weak?  Am I a slacker, a cop-out?  I become riddled with guilt if I allow my son to watch a video because I am just to exhausted to explain to him (over and over until a meltdown ensues) about why we limit TV time.  I spend the entire day beating myself up for being short with my hubby.  I curse my lack of self control when I eat yet another cookie instead of an apple.  It reminds me why I don’t ask for help more often.  I suck at being vulnerable. 

And in the next breath, I am happy again with myself.  I am forgiven.  I feel like in any given day I do accomplish a lot.  I am a good parent.  I remind myself that my son is joyful, polite, clean, and kind.  I am a good wife and caring friend.  My house is clean and organized.  Our bills are paid.  Everyone’s doctor and dental visits are scheduled and attended.  Baby #2 is growing, kicking like a pro-soccer player and healthy.  I forgive myself for allowing my raging hormones to get the best the of me.  I visit my due date calculator as affirmation that this emotional struggle won’t last forever, there is an end in sight.

And then something else happens to set the roller coaster in motion again.  Wee, off we go again.

Let’s practice letting go, shall well?

Weakness and vulnerability have never been easy for me. I have often been called fiercely independent. This has worked in my favor for most of life; having left home when I was 14 years old, a girl needs to be strong. When I met my husband we clicked partly because we are both extremely independent and strong willed.

The down side of being uber independent is that any perceived weakness feels like I am open to vulnerability and I get protective over that space. Being vulnerable for me has always been a perceived weakness. Can you see where this is going…? Upon meeting the hubby though, he convinced me that allowing yourself to be emotionally vulnerable opened you up to people. These here blog entries have allowed me to be emotionally vulnerable without feeling weak or defensive. They have also allowed me to become more in touch with my feelings and have an easier time identifying them and sharing them.

What I wasn’t prepared for however, was my third trimester of pregnancy. I am actually only 24 weeks along and technically at the tail end of my second trimester, but I feel huge and my mobility and energy is becoming more limited. This decrease is physical abilities is tough for me. I don’t remember feeling this way the first time around, perhaps because I was working, and not chasing after a 25 month old. We had both a housekeeper and a gardener and our financial resources we far superior to now so we were eating out with frequency.

Whatever the reason, I am very touchy and sensitive about ‘keeping it together’ and ‘getting everything done’. Basically, I need to still be able to ‘do it all’ or I start to feel weak. And the cascade of emotions that occur if I feel like I am slipping or anyone critiques (perceived or real) my abilities…well, it is all over.

So, in preparation for baby#2 I am going to again practice letting go. Letting go of control, letting go of my obsessive need for order and balance, and letting go of my wretched need to ‘do it all’. Like all things that involve me and control—the best of luck.

First Tumble for my toddler

My sweet, beautiful boy took his first tumble yesterday. He was walking with his clacker and leaned a little to far to the left, the toy tipped over, and my boy fell face first onto the handle.

I waited just barely a moment, watched his body to see if he was going to get up and how he was going to respond and then in that instant knew that he had injured himself. I picked his slumped body off the clacker, drew in a breath and pulled him into my arms.

His mouth was full of blood and I couldnt tell where he was bleeding from. I took him to the kitchen sink and poored cool water into him mouth attempting to rinse it out. We were both coated in water and blood. I held him until he calmed down and his mouth stopped bleeding. It only took 10 or 15 minutes, but it felt like far longer.

He still will not let me look in his mouth or touch his lips at all, but after he calmed down I was able to observe when he was sucking on his pacifier that it was his upper inside lip that was cut and not his gums or tongue. Phew.

What a terrifying experience. I was just him and I at home, hubby was at work. I was always a cautious child and am now a catious adult. Until my C-Section–I had never so much as had a cut needing stiches (unless you count getting a mole removed or a wisdom tooth pulled). Anyway, seeing blood flowing from your babies mouth, running down his chin–well, it was heart wrenching and I think for a moment I was actually in shock. I didnt know what to do, or how to respond.

Within the hour, he was back to normal. Back on the clacker, walking around. As for me…my nerves are shot.

Habit One-Be Proactive

I would like to adopt some of my fellow bloggers remarkable strength and discipline. He has managed to give up caffeine, material possessions, a chair for his desk, and tee-vee. Just to name a few of the things I admire about his iron-clad willfulness.

He mentions the book 7 habits of highly effective people, and upon additional research it seems like a pretty good ‘idea’. Now, ideas are always great in theory. But practice is different.

So, I wiki’ed it, and decided I would like to try the first habit–“Be Proactive” on for size. My recent bout of depression, and emotional state could use some proactive thinking, that is certain. Being proactive is in direct opposition to being reactive, which is an emotional way of thinking. According to the wiki definition, being proactive means to take responsibility for everything in my life and that when you are reactive, you blame other people for problems.

I like this habit for several reasons.

  1. it forces personal accountability
  2. it forces me to look at where and how I am responsible for the outcomes in my life
  3. it makes me look at obstacles and problems, as situations that CAN be resolved and not just road blocks
  4. not being able to blame other people requires a deep sense of introspection and self analysis as to my role in situations and issues
  5. being proactive means that I have to critically think about things, and not (re)act emotionally (this one is a real bummer because its so fun to be a drama queen and victim sometimes-thanks Mom!!!!)
  6. I have a decision and choice with it comes to everything in my life
  7. I am the only one responsible for my life, its outcome and its circumstances

Phew, I feel better already. I feel empowered knowing that I am in control again! Yes, back to being the control freak that I am. Now, hopefully there will be no more pregnancy based mood swings or emotional breakdowns. Since I am pregnant can I still blame it hormones? I mean those are real, and I take responsibility for them taking over… LOL.

bitter, angry and slightly taken advantage of

Something must be wrong with me today. I started my day happy and smiling, talking to the dog and the cat. Going about my morning chores and routines.

Then I came to work, and fell back into a glum state.

I have been struggling with a game plan for my maternity leave. I submitted a plan of action to my boss yesterday (which Jeff and I discussed and agreed was reasonable both in terms of my legal rights, and giving enough consideration to the small company I work for), and we discussed it. Which left me feeling less than positive about the companies perspective on my leave (and frankly a little bitter at the response I received). *A disclaimer is that my boss, still has to clear it with the 2 owners who are much more reasonable and rational, as well as with our HR department. But, I guess I expected a warmer response since he has toddler age twin boys and both him and his wife work full time.

I am also struggling with the fact that I have to put my goals on hold, while my husband doesn’t have to in the same way or for a set time period. His responsibilities are more intermittent during the first year or so.

On top of feeling bitter, angry and slightly taken advantage of–I am inversely happy and then teary eyed sad. Like the flipping of the light switch. I cant seem to control my emotions today.

I can’t talk to Jeff about it, because is working 5am to 9pm this week, and the last thing he needs is my sorry pathetic pregnant self adding to his stress level.

Then, while I was expressing my concerns regarding my discussion with the boss about my leave to a female co-worker–her (male) office mate interjected with a true, but very rudely expressed comment. I think it was this that made me feel the worst. It isn’t that I disagree with the comment, but it was so ill placed that it really hurt my feelings (which are clearly on the fritz today).

Lastly, I am wondering what other people (both moms and dads) have felt when trying to make the right decision regarding family leave and extended time off to care for your child, and how long they took off before and after the birth of their children, and how their employers responded. How their marriages changed with the disproportionate amount of work and commitment a mother puts in. I wonder a lot of things, and no matter what any one else experiences, it is only a guideline, since my relationship is my own (and theirs their own…).

My first car

When I was 20 I made one of my first big ticket purchases-all alone. I went to the Nissan Dealer and began looking around the lot for a car I could afford. I had never been car shopping before, and didn’t know how the process worked. I was excited and felt empowered to be there on my own, making a big decision.

I was approached by a blond guy, mid 20’s perhaps, friendly and smiling. We talked about budget, and what I could afford. I wasn’t the type of girl to hold things back, and was pretty outspoken for my 20 years. I had a steady job, and didn’t pay any rent so I could afford a few hundred a month for a car.

Not knowing any better, I settled on a test drive in a stripped down white 2 door Sentra. The exact order of events are not crystal clear to me, however what occurred and how I felt is clear.

The salesman flirted with me all the while we were on our test drive. He made suggestive comments. I felt somewhat flattered that a guy who was so cute was attracted to me. I also felt somewhat powerless to refute his advances. I was torn between being wanted and accepted, which I longed for desperately and standing my ground and risk pushing him away and feeling rejected.

I gave in. At some point in the test drive he asked me to pull over and we started to make out, kiss, then things progressed to him pushing me to go down on him, and then to sleeping together. It was dirty and totally unwanted.

We drive back to the car dealer, and I ended up leasing the car. I wanted to drive the car home (of course!) so the salesman had his girlfriend (!!!!) meet him at the dealer and we all drove back to my house and then they drove my traded in truck back to the dealer.

Out of curiosity, I called the dealer a few months later to see if the sales guy still worked there and I was informed that he didn’t. I asked why and he alluded to some sort of inappropriate interaction with a customer. I was glad that someone stood up for themselves. I don’t know what prompted my to call the dealer-perhaps if he still worked there-I would have told my story to someone. Perhaps not…

I am not sure why I decided to share this story first. Perhaps because I haven’t shared this experience with many people, or any that I can recollect. Perhaps the loss of power, the shame, or the embarrassment of being taken advantage was too raw and real for me to share. Perhaps sharing it would allow people to think of me as weak (the horror). Perhaps I just wanted to put it behind me. Whatever the reason-I feel good having put it out there.

I know that when I was in the situation-that it was wrong, it felt wrong and nothing about it felt right. Given my upbringing-I had a pretty liberal view of what was right and wrong-but I always stood by the saying that if it feels wrong-then it probably is. And this felt wrong. I wouldn’t call it rape or date rape since there was no physical force. It wasn’t assault-again no physical force. But for a young woman moved by acceptance and the desire to be wanted there was a strong emotional force to give this guy what he wanted. I thought that by giving in–I would gain acceptance and love (something that was clearly missing from my upbringing).

How do I –a woman carrying her first child –ensure that my offspring feel the love necessary to allow them to stand up for themselves. How do I ensure that they can say no when they clearly know that what they are doing is wrong. How do we instill the confidence in our children so they can say no without the fear of rejection. How do we teach them not to use sex to get love… or as power over other people.