Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Olivia in pictures

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Things that have helped

I've been living in an emotional cyclone these last couple of weeks--picked up bodily by the winds, spun around, wrung out. But as with every good cyclone, there's a quiet eye to this storm, a peaceful place where I can say to myself, Everything will work itself out and You'll feel better once you've had some sleep and a bite to eat. When she's sleeping and I can simply stare at her--the perfection of her fingers, the soft blonde hair on her temples, the rounding belly as it rises and falls--I start to believe that we will make it through in one piece, and that, even if I don't feel like I deserve her, she is mine.

There has been so much kindness from friends and family and strangers. There have been the comments and the brownies and the phone calls and the kickass lasagne, the great advice and the heartfelt commiseration. The offers to hold her so I can sleep; the cups of tea and dishes done. People who don't hold it against me that I'm made temporarily crazy by the thing that I've wanted most in the world.

I think the winds are losing strength, and that, very soon, I'll find myself deposited somewhere else, another state.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Somehow, it all seemed pretty smooth at the time

I realized today that I will not have time to write up a comprehensive retelling of Olivia's abrupt entrance until such time as she is sleeping through the night. By that stale point, I will no longer remember the details, so I will cheat and adapt the bullet points I emailed to a few friends last week:

4:30 a.m., lying in bed wide awake, just gone to the bathroom for the seventh time, feeling a little crampy, not quite comfortable, jabbing senstation and GUSH. Very clear water breakage. No doubt.

4:35 a.m., while rustling through drawer next to Jeff's head for clean underwear, remember to wake him up and tell him. Said, Wow, my water broke, over and over again for about an hour.

5:30 a.m., after second big gush and noticing that minor cramps are persisting, remember to page on-call doctor. Am instructed to wait for contractions; remember to ask doctor what contractions should feel like. Am told menstrual cramps. Mention already have those. Told to time them.

7:30 a.m., contractions have been coming pretty close together but are still mild, at least compared to what I expect, so don't think much of it. Figure I'll wait a bit longer.

8:30 a.m., notice contractions are at five-minute intervals and figure I'll call again. Am told to go immediately to hospital.

9:30 a.m., arrive at hospital, sent to triage for evaluation, hooked up to machines, examined (70% effaced, 1CM), fluid tested "somewhat inconclusive" but contractions are regular and topping out off the chart (not that I could really tell, even then) and nurse immediately pages doctor because of "variability" associated with the contractions. Not know what variability refers to. Am told baby's heartrate is going down with each contraction, which is OK, but they want to do continuous monitoring regardless. Love the monitoring. Fine.

11:00 a.m., whisked off to L&D room with Nice Nurse Janet. Gigantic IV placed in arm, hooked back up to monitors. Doctor on call from OB's practice (who also happens to be head of women's medicine for the hospital, lucky us) arrives, checks me again, it hurts excruciatingly, I am still 70% effaced/1CM dilated, she wants to hurry things along, am put on Pitocin.

4:30ish? Have lost track of time. Have been working crossword puzzle, chatting with the nurse, still breathing through the contractions but noticing that they're starting to get stronger. Doctor returns to check me, which hurts in a breathtaking manner, am 4CM dilated and 100% effaced. I am dumb and still do not ask for drugs. Over next hour, contractions turn to torture.

5:30ish, Doctor returns to check me, excruciating pain, am 10CM. Get fantonil (sp?) in IV, which is lovely. Am advised by nurse to get epidural stat. Am told Olivia is "sunny side up", which sounds so cheery.

6:00ish, get even lovelier epidural. Have had PIO shots that hurt more. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Doctor goes off duty, new doctor from same practice supposed to take over.

6:30ish, feel urge to push, crew of nurses brought in to help with holding legs and such, pushing hurts some but not bad, think I need to go #2, am told that's the baby, silly girl, just feels like a dump. New doctor paged, doesn't respond. Am told to keep up the good work, baby is moving down the canal, pushing very effective. Doctor paged again. Doctor responds that she will be there shortly.

6:45ish, am asked if I need my epidural "topped off"; I am fool and say, no, I can just press the button twice an hour for a little extra if I need it. FOOL.

7:00ish, labor turns into torture; the words "I can't" escape me while being instructed to pushpushpushpushpush. Then told to stop pushing. STOP? How stop? Must. Push. Doctor still not there, baby close, need doctor, she can't be there, has another patient at the same stage of labor.

7:30ish, still trying not to push. Original doctor returns from home to deliver baby. Looks at monitor read-out, gets very brusque, tells me to push NOW, baby needs to get out. Hear murmurs of "40 beats per minute" and "are you sure you're not picking up the maternal heartbeat?" Scared.

7:45ish, pain becomes excruciating, not sure I'm conscious at some points, still pushing, get oxygen mask, rip it off, someone puts it on and holds it on.

8:04, Olivia rips through me and into the world. Oxygen mask ripped from me and put on Olivia. She turns from indigo to pink while flopped on my belly.

8:10-8:45, I am the lucky recipient of a couple dozen stitches, each of which I can feel in exquisite detail. Where is epidural? Big mystery. I get IV antibiotics for a fever of 102 and watch as Olivia falls in love with her father, engulfed in his arms.

And that's the story, as best I can remember it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Bits and pieces

Sorry for the extended silence. Having problems with my emotions; seem to have a classic case of the "baby blues". Every sensation just tears me to bits. I do not recognize myself. Hoping a few hours of sleep (if I can find a way to get them) and remembering to eat will help.

Will post more soon.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Olivia Rose

6 lbs, 6 ozs
8:04 p.m.

She is asleep on Jeff's forearm right now, her too-big hat over her eyes. We are in a state of shock and bewilderment and exhaustion and joy.

Will post the details soon.

Thank you, all of you, for your support and kindness and encouragement. We are overwhelmed.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Grand entrance

I am pleased to announce that Miss BabyBugs made her grand entrance at 8:04 tonight, weighing 6lb, 6oz.  Mom and baby are doing fine, and according to the proud papa everyone is healthy and lovely and so happy.  I will leave the details for Bugs to report when she's able, but wanted to share the news.  Let the rejoicing begin!


The benefit of insomnia

I had been trying for two weeks to come up with an insomniac's silver lining, but to no avail. Till this morning at 4:30, that is, when I felt a sharp jab cervix-ward and a surprisingly warm gush. Yep, my water conveniently broke while I was wide awake and able to make a mad dash to the bathroom before gravely despoiling our spring-fresh sheets. I have not popped out of bed so quickly since the second trimester. Thank you, insomnia, for saving the linens.

What till now I had considered mild menstrual-type cramps are apparently contractions, coming every 5-8 minutes and lasting 30-75 seconds. Not very painful just yet; can still breathe and talk through them. Looks like we'll be heading to the hospital sometime soon, though first I suppose I have to put on something other than Jeff's pajamas and the super-soft tee shirt that blatantly fails to cover my girth.

In the meanwhile, I am frantically checking in on Jen to see if her wee bundle has made an appearance. Perhaps a shared birthday is in the cards?

The kind-hearted Cass has offered to post an update for us when there's news to report.