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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Let it begin

Or so I thought…
I woke at 12:30am to pee.  I usually wake 2-4 times a night to see.  I went back to sleep but felt cramps and low back pain that weren’t allowing me to rest comfortably.  I ccouldn’t really fall back asleep, and thought I was feeling a minor contraction like pain in my cervix area.

At 1:30am I was still laying in bed, and thought I felt a tiny, tiny wetness.  At 1:45am I got up and walked around, feeling simply horrible.  Trying to breathe and relax.  I used the sink to lean on and a gush of fluid was released. I soaked it into pad and bagged it up.  Then I got into shower, just in case this was the real deal.

I was already exhausted from my little running ordeal the days before, plus I had a headache that wouldn’t go away, and I was so so tired of being pregnant.

At 2:20am there were still no contractions, so I waited 40 more minutes, and then decided to wake Jeff up.  Rather than wake the kids and our friends for something that may take hours I decided to head to labor and delivery myself and have them test the fluid to be certain.  My water broke with both boys, so it wasn’t out of the question that it happened with this pregnancy.  I left around 3:30am.

by 4am, the pad had tested positive and I advised Jeff.  I was so nervous and scared of labor starting and the eminent pain that would be involved.  My body was so tired, my head was killing me, and I had been in pain for long that I was super sensitive to everything.

The OB came in to do a speculum exam around 4:30am, one where she checks for amniotic fluid near the cervix, and checks any progress I have made.  She tested 2 strips and both were negative for fluid.  She was perplexed since the original one was positive.  And decided to take a look under the microscope to be certain.  At 5am, she confirmed that I had pee’ed my pants, and that the slides were negative for amniotic fluid.

Needless to say, I was super embarrassed!  I have never pee’d my pants and felt so silly!  But, I think i was wanting to be in labor so badly that I wasn’t paying attention to my body the way I should.

In any case, I went home exhausted and defeated.

Dense

Sometimes I am so dense and unaware…especially when it comes to my own health and discomfort.
I have been thinking that the last several months worth of pelvic pain and pressure were the result of the baby and a casualty of being hugely pregnant.  I even went so far in my head to assume that because I was older and on my 3rd kid that my body was just worn out (partially true…).  When, in fact, this is classic pelvic girdle pain

Today, I finally realized that the cramps and my inability to walk, get out of the car quickly, put my pants on easily, bend down, climb the stairs, or get up from a sitting position – that this was not a normal part of being pregnant.  Neither is the pain I have been feeling in my groin.

Today, the pain is so bad that I can barely walk.  Each step causes me to wince and grimace.  While at the park today, Spencer feel off a high area, did a mid air flip and landed on his head and back on the ground.  I witnessed the entire fall, and was close enough that I decided to attempt to run over so I could comfort him quicker.  That was a noble idea–but a huge mistake.  He is OK, and not hurt seriously, luckily.  But, I am in tremendous pain. 

I hope that some rest this evening remedies my woes.  Tomorrow’s agenda is to research how to make the waiting game easier, and my birth as comfortable as it can be. 

4.2.13. 9:30pm

Princesses and Rainbows

We had the luxury of spending the weekend at my best friends house for their son’s 1st birthday party.  On the eve before the party my boys and their daughter were all playing dress up.

It is known around our house that my younger boy loves princesses, and both of my boys love dressing up.  So when he came out of the bedroom head to toe in pink ruffles and heals it was no surprise to me.

The crown, the dress, tutu skirt, and shoes were adorable.  But, the sword was out of place.  So, I asked him what his plan was with the sword.  He matter-of-factly responded with, “Mom, it’s not a sword” and then as if exasperated at having to explain such a simple concept to me, goes on to say “it’s a magic wand!”

Taken slightly aback, but not wanting to be bested by my 3 year old, I go on to ask my question again… “Son, what is your plan for your WAND?”  With a wave of the wand, and flick of the wrist he explains “It’s for making rainbows!!!” and then struts off to do just that.  Leaving the room to explode in shocked and adoring laughter. 

At that moment, I could not love anyone more.  I simply adore that boy. 

Is three a charm?

Up until 2 weeks before I got pregnant I never wanted children. When I was younger I would tell people I didn’t want kids. I didn’t babysit. There weren’t many babies or small children around while I was growing up. With the exception of my cousin who was born when I was in my early 20’s all the other kids were my age.

When the hubby and I met I was still certain that I didn’t want kids. Then one day something inside of me changed. It was shortly after we got married that my inner clock started ticking. I tried to ignore it a first. But it wouldn’t be ignored.

After living together for several years, a good length engagement, and a wonderful year post marriage the hubby and I had a short, and I mean 5 minutes or less, conversation about if we should try and start a family.

2 short weeks later the pee stick said pregnant. I was in shock for my entire first trimester. I did not handle it well. We now have 2 awesome, gorgeous boys.

Most of my friends seem to be content and happy with one child. These days many folks start their families later. Some are less willing to give up their perceived freedom due to careers or simply the pragmatic choice of budgetary restraints and are therefore unable to stay home with their children and then, many people simply feel satisfied with one child (and some none) . Some decide on having two, but very few of our friends have decided that yet.

I am plagued.

I want a third child. Something in my heart is telling me that our family in not complete yet. There are so many reasons why a third baby would be impractical. We only live in a 2 bedroom house-1000 square feet people. 3 kids might put us over the edge financially. I might loose my mind with three kids. Where would the 3rd kiddo sit at our dinner table? Would we ever get invited anywhere again? When would we sleep again? Oh, and I would have to get pregnant again (I don’t love being pregnant, and my lady parts are still on the fritz).

There is also the global perspective and the planet to think of. It is really a good idea to populate our planet with more than ourselves as replacements? Am I being selfish wanting a third child when so many folks can’t even have one? Hubby has valid concerns too regarding how much time he would have to spend with each. Would he get the quality time with each of them that they needed? Would it be total chaos? Would we be able to give each of them the love that they needed. What would our house be like with 5 human beings living in it at all times. Plus a dog and a cat.

All things emotional and logical inside of me say yes.

The house logistics are simple. While I occasionally get depressed that our house is so small; most of the time I am content with our small, cozy quarters. I love the neighborhood, the centrality, and our yard. I know we could make it work. Moreover, I want to make it work. I like to be challenged. And living in this house is a challenge in terms of getting everything to fit. It forces me to think about things before I buy them. It also requires shared space which is a good lesson for everyone. It forces each person to respect the others space. Plus, we won’t live here forever, although the in-laws have lived in their home for 30-plus years. Hmm, we could always remodel-budget permitting.

We have the gear. I have the space in my vehicle. I know I have enough love (patience may be a bit short in the beginning and during the teenage years). I am not getting any younger and in many ways I want to be done with the childbearing part and move all my energy and focus to the childrearing phase.

I keep getting stuck in the comments of others. Am I crazy for wanting three? Will I put myself over the edge? Do I have the personality to handle three kids?

I still have plenty of time to ponder this idea since breastfeeding full time has warded off my period. But it is fun to think about. Unless we have a girl…then all bets are off.

Confession of an angry Mom

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away I had a problem with anger. I would get angry quick and unexpectedly. I would often over react and yell; many times saying things i regretted or didn’t mean. Yes, I know you are thinking that everyone does this occasionally. And, yes, I agree. But, it would happen to me frequently and the rage associated with it was so unexpected that I deemed it a problem.

I put an end to a few bad relationships, reassessed my self-worth and finished college. After college I sought to eliminate the anger. I bought a book about anger management and realized that anger was a secondary emotion. It was the reaction to feelings about something else. Hmm, for me, at the time, that was enlightening. I also determined that I had what was called sudden anger. I learned some techniques, including blogging as a way to share my feelings and sort out my thoughts. The anger subsided, and I became a calmer, happier person.

However, in the last few months it seems that the anger has crept back into my life. My once rational, calm, reasonable demeanor is now short tempered, hot headed and worse yet…irrational. Arrgghhh.

I have been thinking and analyzing the reasons for my feelings and the cause of my anger. I have come up with this. And like it or not, these are my feelings.

Most of the anger i have been feeling is towards my children. In particular my older child. He is a good, kind kid. But, I realized that I was taking him to seriously. Especially when he would tell me no, or say he didn’t like me, or just outright disobey something I asked him. Uh, hello, he is a 2 year old. Of course he is going to test his boundaries and limits. Especially with his new found confidence from swim lessons.

The thing that made me the most angry was when he would take a toy away from his younger brother or try to hurt him. I soon realized that the reason this made me so angry was because I was erroneously thinking he was doing it maliciously or on purpose. Of course, he is not even 3 years old and doesn’t yet have the ability to be mean like that. Once I was able to wrap my head around that, I stopped reacting so over the top.

I am glad that I took the time to look deeper into my actions and feelings and find a way to communicate with my children in a more effective and productive manner.

Fight your own battles

Everyone always says they don’t want to end up like their parents.  And then, at some point in our parenting career, we do something that our parents did.

There is an Oh Shit moment.

I had that moment this morning.  My mother was, and continues to be stoic with her feelings.  She didn’t express a lot of empathy or sympathy towards our childhood pleas. She despised whining.  She always told us to fight our own battles.  I understand that she was trying to encourage my younger sister and I to become independent and strong women.  I get it.  But, sometimes we needed the coddling.  We needed the support of our role model, our Mom–we were little kids after all.  We needed to be shown how to respond, how to behave, how to fight back.

So, I have found myself lately acting in the same manner towards my toddler. He is capable of doing simple tasks by himself-putting his shoes on, taking off his clothes, climbing up into his car seat.  But, he refuses and gives a fake attempt and then says-Nope, I cant.  Then he whines for me to help him.  Knowing that he can do things on his own, I have been strongly encouraging him to do it himself.  He will then cry about how he cant do it and whine more.  The cycle of whining and crying will escalate the longer I insist he do it himself.  I reach my wits end, and end up yelling, he cries because I have hurt his feelings and he thinks I am mad at him (rather then frustrated at the situation).  We end up in a no-win situation.

I realized that I was not being empathetic to my son.  I was looking at the problem and only wanting to move towards the solution; without allowing myself to feel for him and he plight.  I wasn’t allowing myself to see that he was really upset over me not helping him.  I began to wonder if he was upset for the same reasons I was as a child?  Did he feel abandoned by my refusal to help him?  Am I do more harm than good by not helping him?

So, today I am slowing down.  I am taking it easy on him and myself.  I am lowering my expectations.  I am choosing not to yell, and instead I am trying to look deeper into him and look at the reasons he is refusing.  I want my boys to trust me and know that I will always be there for them.  My love is unconditional.  Yes, they will have to fight their own battles still, but I hope to be able to provide them with the tools they need to succeed.

my who-ha is broken

About 4 weeks ago I started feeling worse in my post-partum recovery.  That is to say that my neather region was hurting more than after I gave birth, and something just didnt feel right.  


I saw my midwife again, and she thought that perhaps I pulled a stitch.  I only had one external stitch so that seemed a plausable option.  She also recommended I take it easier than I was.  While my recovery still was up hill for a while it eventually started to get better and the pain subsided.

But my privates still didnt feel ‘right’.  It didnt look right down there either.

So, I made my 6 week follow up appointment with an idea of what my diagnosis was.  I, of course, had consulted Dr. Google for medical advice.  And was able to give myself a surprisingly accurate diagnosis.

The Gynecologist said that some of the pain I was having was caused by abrasions from the delivery.  She said it could be painful for a while.  But, sheesh, really?  7 weeks tomorrow is a long while to still feel so tender.  I can not fathom the idea of sex.  

The more pressing problem however, is that I have a stage 2 pelvic organ prolapse.  I am going to spare you the specifics.  It is embarrassing to admit and now that the diagnosis is confirmed I dont even want to talk about it.  I joked about it with everyone before it was real.  But, not that it is real–it isn’t so funny.

I feel bitter in some ways about having a broken vagina.  When Elliott made his way into the world it was via Cesarean.  On a side note–my midwife attended, vaginal delivery cost more than my C-Section.  Same hospital, different insurance, 2.5 years later.  The C-section and hospital stay was $14K, and this delivery was $22K.  WTF?  The recovery from the C-Section was long, but not permanent.   I knew that I would heal and gradually day by day I did.  With the prolapse–there isn’t any healing.  It can be managed, or it can get worse.  But, it doesnt go away without surgery.  The surgery is elective, and if I have any more kids vaginally–the surgery would be undone. Plus it is a 6 week recovery.    Yikes!

Most days it doesn’t hurt.  Most days it is just there–annoying me.  But, today, I decided to start running again.  I haven’t been losing the pregnancy weight as quickly or as easily as I did the first time around.  So, to jump start the weight loss–I thought running might help. It felt good to be moving around.  That is until after I was done.  That is when the pain and irritation began.  

My poor husband has been so patient about waiting the 6 weeks.  He wants to be sure I am recovered and pain free before we re-consummate our relationship.  But, from the feel of it…it might just be a while longer.  

Post-Pregnancy Brain

Today I moved an entire load of laundry from the washer to the dryer before realizing that the clothes werent wet…I had forgotten to start the washer.  Oops.

Yesterday I threw a pair of socks into the trash can instead of the dirty clothes.