Things they don’t tell you about labor

Well, it’s been two weeks and I’ve managed to keep Banana alive. This is a big win for us. (I kid, I kid).

I survived the first week mostly by myself. We came home late Saturday night and Sunday/Monday night, Phil was still on night shift (so he was basically useless), and then Tuesday-Saturday he left for Florida and Washington. I did it though. With the help of my mother in law, a few friends here and there, I finally got the swing of things. I also became incredibly overwhelmed with all of the help, to the point that I had to say stop. So..my 100% honest advice is to just dive right in there. Don’t get help from people until week three. Establish routines. The hustle and bustle of people makes you feel like you need to be “on” and causes you to be even more tired. Tell people thanks for the help, but I’ll see you in a month. The baby will still be a baby in a month.

Anyway–on to the point of this post.

There were things about labor I knew (it hurt), and things about labor that I didn’t know. I’m sure I read about it, but it wasn’t until I actually experienced it that it made sense.

1). When your water breaks you don’t have to go in right away. I’m so grateful I asked how soon I had to go in. The sooner you go in, the higher the chances that you won’t progress naturally. If your water breaks and you don’t have contractions, hang out for a while. I told my story to my girlfriend who delivered at an inferior hospital in Richmond, and she was told to come right in, hooked up to pitocin right away, and was confined to her bed her entire delivery. And this was just two years ago. Also, don’t get antsy like we did. Take a nap. Relax. It will happen in due time. If we had taken a nap we might not have been so exhausted.

2) When they check to see how far you have progressed, it hurts. A LOT. This is a great time to practice your breathing and relaxing techniques. Because they will come in handy for when the real “trouble” begins. It’s not like a regular pap smear exam. This is like a whole hand in their jabbing around, I actually don’t even know what’s going on in there. A finger puppet show?

3) Moan with your contractions. I don’t even know how I knew how to do this, but good golly. Think of going into a man’s voice and repeating “low” like “looooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwww”, over and over and over again. I don’t think I ever did any lamaze breathing. The moaning was more helpful.

4). Labor on the toilet. I know. Weird. But when you are sitting on the toilet, your body relaxes more and the contractions aren’t as painful (hahahahha). But seriously, they aren’t. I guess it’s just a natural thing to relax when you’re on the toilet. Whatever it is, it works. At one point I was just begging to go sit on the toilet.

5) You will try to bite your partner’s hand off. Don’t do it.

6) You will want to give up. You will curse the world. You will wish you weren’t pregnant.

7) More painful than birthing the child, is birthing the placenta. The doctors or midwives will push down very hard on your stomach. They call this a “massage”, I called this the death of me. I ended up having to do more moaning and breathing just to get through this part. It doesn’t last very long, but you feel like there is no end in sight. I had no idea about this. Silly old me just thought the placenta kinda..fell right out. Nope. It is forced out.

8) They really need to provide women who birth children with those silver blankets that marathon runners get. Within 20 minutes of delivery you will be shaking all over. Convulsing. Uncontrollably. Motrin doesn’t help. You just shake. And there is no solution. Except to keep shaking.

9) You might need a catheter to go to the bathroom the first time. It doesn’t hurt. It’s just weird seeing all that pee inside of you in a bucket/bag.

10) The next day you will be sore. Like physically uncontrollably sore. Not just your lady bits, but your whole body. For me it was my arms. I couldn’t lift them up at all. I had to have Phil brush my hair because I psychically could not.

Anyway, those are the highlights. Be prepared.

Dress Rehearsal

On Sunday, I turned 36 weeks. I also experienced what it might be like if I go into labor. Maybe this kid is like me–good to be prepared? Better safe than sorry? Anyway-the point is I spent the night in the hospital Sunday night, because I apparently had nothing else better to do.

Here’s how it went down: I started having contractions. I attributed them to Braxton Hicks and thought:
“Maybe I need to drink more water,” and nope, they weren’t going away.
“Okay, maybe I need to change positions”. Nope. Not changing. Pretty consistent every seven minutes.

Phil is getting ready for work (night shift, yes!) I tell him that I think I might be having contractions. We call the doc and he says “If they continue to last for another hour or so, increase in pain, or water breaks I need you to come in.” Phil leaves for work. I decide that if I have to go into the hospital, I should wash my hair. (I hadn’t washed it since Thursday. I’m trying to wean myself off of shampoo so that my hair gets use to it. Three days is about my max). Then like an idiot, I’m standing in the shower going–“Well how the hell am I supposed to know if my water breaks if I’M IN THE SHOWER?!”

I continue to go about my business, and the contractions continue to go about theirs. I’m not ready to go to the hospital, and I am not ready for this baby to come, I MEAN THE CAR SEAT ISN’T EVEN INSTALLED. So I avoid it for as long as possible until I get a contraction that was like a feeling of  Joey Lawrence a la Blossom “Whoa.” So packed my bags (thankfully they were mostly packed) put the dogs up, but the spare key in the spare key spot and drove to the hospital. In the 10 minute drive, I did try to call all my best friends who have had babies to have them talk me off the ledge, but it is 9 pm at night and of course no one is picking up their phone.

Still not convinced that this is anything, I park my car on the street with a $700 + camera inside. So for all you ladies that go into fake labor: Remember to actually bring your bags inside. Poor Phil had to run out like five times.

I check in, I get monitored up, and my contractions aren’t even registering on the monitor. So I’m kind of like, okay than what is going on? My gal pals are texting me and I’m trying to give updates but I’m all “I DONT KNOW WHY I’M IN PAIN AND WHY COMPUTERS ARE TELLING ME I’M NOT.”

(For those who wonder, the contractions felt like period cramps that came in waves. Sometimes they were painful, but I could still talk and breath through them, but they were 100% uncomfortable and I just kept telling myself they will pass, they will pass, they will pass).

Doctor comes to evaluate me, and I’m 3 centimeters dilated, 70% effaced, and the baby is at -2. Naturally, I shot straight up and said “Am I having a baby today?!” She said maybe, and that she would check me in two hours.

And that was the longest two hours of my life. Because I couldn’t move, I was uncomfortable, I tried to read (because all the blogs said bring a book–and HAVE THESE PEOPLE EVER GIVEN BIRTH BEFORE? I read the first three sentences 50 times before throwing the book back into my bag, because that was definitely not happening). I kept telling Phil we weren’t ready, he kept saying–do you think you will be ready in four weeks? I said “can we go back to 2009 when I didn’t want kids?” he said “Too late now”.

Doctor comes back, still 3 centimeters dilated, baby is at -2, but now I’m 100% effaced and the contractions are 4 minutes apart, and we are 80% sure we are having a baby tonight. Also-Phil gets called into surgery to do a hip replacement. PERFECT TIMING WORLD.

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I do the only thing I know how to do. I cry. Hysterically. I call all the parents, I continue to cry. I am texting my girlfriends. I text my friend Heather and ask if she can come in and just sit with me because I need someone who won’t tell me it will be okay, but will be like yeah this sucks (but..it’s fine). I’ve got the doula on stand by, I’ve got painful IV’s in my arm, I have no make up on (but clean hair). And this was not my plan. The Epidural doctor comes in and goes through the concerns and I’m 99% sure I just kept nodding and saying this isn’t happening, but okay Doc–you keep telling me what’s up.

Heather comes, Phil comes, we sit in the room..Things are good. Still having contractions. Still freaking out. Still in a Hospital.

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This is why you want makeup. and a Hairbrush.

And then it’s time to sleep (but ha! because no, that doesn’t happen). There are lights everywhere, things beeping, even when you turn off the overhead lights and shut the blinds, the monitors are still on. They have given me 2 (maybe 3) saline drips, so I have to go to the bathroom just about every five minutes. And I’m hungry, but I didn’t bring snacks to the hospital BECAUSE I WASN’T HAVING A BABY.

Well, at about 4 am when I woke up for the 800th time. I looked at Phil and said “We aren’t having this baby.” My contractions had just about stopped. I was hungry, I wanted my bed. My dogs. And I wanted to not be there. So I somehow fell asleep for another hour and a half. The doctor came in and checked me, I hadn’t changed. And what do you know, I WASN’T HAVING THAT BABY.

Thank God.

So now, I have 4 weeks left. I’m 3 centimeters dilated, and I’m 100% effaced. Neat.

However, the dress rehearsal taught me the following:

  • Bring an eye mask
  • Bring your own pillow
  • Pack snacks
  • Bring ear phones
  • Bring socks (This was something I didn’t have because socks are weird to me, and that hospital is freezing)
  • Maybe put some makeup on? You’re waiting around for a while. Maybe you want to send some selfies to friends.
  • Forget the books-bring something trivial. A magazine, an Ipad, something that requires zero concentration
  • DO NOT FORGET YOUR CHARGER
  • Download the Sleep Pillow app. That’s the only thing that got me to sleep was the sound of a fan, coming from my phone.
  • Practice breathing exercises now, those helped tremendously when I would start to have freak outs. Thank God I started yoga early.
  • Leave detailed instructions to people who are watching your dogs. Like, please make sure bathroom door is closed or else you have this on your hands:
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Things I can’t say enough about: The nurses were fantastic. The Doctor’s were fantastic. The hospital room (minus the terrible pillows) was actually decent.

At the end of the day, Phil and I long distance high fived, went to sleep, installed the car seat, and lit a ton of candles that this baby would bake for 4 more weeks. Here’s hoping!

Sorry for the Delay

Hi y’all. I could blame this break in posting on a number of things, the holidays, having mini time off with my husband, being pregnant, whatever…but I’m back.

Where did we leave off? Oh, I broke the internet with D and her being the most adorable dog ever.

So high-level recap on my life:

1. 2 weeks ago I flew to St. Louis for my baby shower. Unbeknownst to me, my mom who lives in Japan flew in and surprised me (Thanks Dad!). It was great to see my mom, spend time with the family, see my cousins, and start plotting my move to St. Louis. It really was a wonderful shower, with delicious food, and Baby T and I are completely spoiled.

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2. Christmas! This could honestly be the first Christmas that I wasn’t disappointed in a single gift that I received. They were all great, and wonderful, and it was a really relaxing day with my in laws. Food was also included and it was delicious.

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3. I became lazy. I’m pregnant, so I can do that. Phil was on a mild vacation, so we cleaned house (barely), watched a lot of movies and TV, and just vegged. Call it a staycation.

4. New Years Eve. We went to a wedding. It was beautiful. We were beautiful.

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5. Now the countdown is on. 6 more weeks of work and then this little person arrives. To be frank, I’d be okay with 4-5 more weeks of work (but who’s counting!)

I will say, upon all of these things–we’ve ran into friends who had questions etc about pregnancy. Which like –I get. I get that people are polite and want to ask and whatever. But literally, every time I see someone and their first question is “How are you feeling?” It enrages me. I will tell you and talk about it if I want to, but if you ask me about it I immediately shut down. Mostly because I feel like there is more to me. Remember me? I’m a person. I have real things going on in my life.

Also, I FEEL FINE. I FEEL NORMAL. So as I’ve mentioned I feel like people want me to complain, but anything I have I feel like I can’t complain about it.

1. I have had heartburn twice. It’s not enough for me to bring it up and talk about because a) I don’t want to hear “just wait it gets worse” and b) people get heartburn all the time. Like people are actually on medicine for it, so no. I don’t feel like this is something to bring up.
2. The baby kicks me and it hurts. Still not going to complain. My baby is moving. It’s healthy. It will be out of here in 6 weeks.
3. Swelling. I take my rings off at night. Not worth discussing, or complaining about.
4. I get out of breath going up the stairs. But I’m in better shape than like 75% of the population, so I don’t feel like I should complain about this stuff, because I know other women have it far worse.
5. I wake up in the middle of the night and pee. Do you really want to hear me discuss my bodily functions with you?
6. I’m having trouble sleeping. BECAUSE THERE IS A 5LB BABY INSIDE OF ME. What is worth discussing about this? So you can say, oh I’m sorry that sucks?

I know all of these things suck, I don’t want to talk about them. My New Years Eve resolution was not to complain as much. In fact this the quote I hope to live by:

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain”

When people ask you how your day is, and if its going great, don’t find something to complain about just to make conversation. Say you are having a great day, don’t say, it’s going great but it sucked this morning because this asshole cut me off. That’s irrelevant.

I digress. I digress because I got some unhappy news today and I just want to vent about it–but venting won’t change anything. So, I’m looking at all my silver linings, and hoping for a happy 6 more weeks.

Updates on us:

Baby is head down, yeah! Baby is about 5lbs? 17 inches? Baby is very very active. Hiccuping all the time–which I read is a good sign because it says it will be good at swallowing once it’s born, helpful for feeding situations. Baby’s legs really like hanging out underneath my right rib cage.

Next week, when I don’t feel rushed–I’ll be a bit more cheery 🙂

Things not to say to Pregnant Women

First, let’s clarify,  I’ve 100% said these things to other women. But I sure wish someone had written a blog, or a magazine article, or heck just said it out loud–because whether these questions are coming from complete strangers, or friends, it’s annoying. There is more to pregnant women than what’s growing in their uterus. Most of us have jobs, most of us have other stresses, most of us did watch the latest episode of The Vampire Diaries. Some of us are interested in knowing who is playing Christian Grey now that the other dude is out. And some of us, are actually concerned with the government shutdown. Sure, I have moments through out the day that I talk about the baby..but when we talked before I was pregnant,  you didn’t always talk about the baby.

So here is my list **these are also statements other pregnant woman have mentioned as bothersome, so they are not all directly things that have been said to me. mostly 1 and 2 pertain to me .***

1) How are you feeling?–This could just pertain to me because I don’t have anything to say. I don’t belong to the women who hate pregnancy club, because pregnancy has been really easy. So all I can say is “Great! Thanks for asking.” Which, I feel like leaves people wanting more “Any morning sickness? indigestion? something?..anything? come on, every woman complains”..and then there’s me. No. I’m good. I just complain because my clothes don’t fit and we don’t have any money. But those aren’t things I actually want to discuss with you. Unless I bring it up.

2) Are you excited?–Listen. The only acceptable answer here is yes. And if I say yes, then what’s the rest of the conversation. If you asked me if I was excited that college basketball was only a few weeks away, then I’d say yes. The questions is really the worst coming from strangers. I don’t know you, and I’m not going to beam you a smile and say “Oh yes, what a blessing!’

Basically, this question is really a way to hide what you are trying to ask which is:

3) Did you plan it?–Regardless if someone planned it or not, DON’T ASK. They may have been planning it for a long time and it took 3 years (those people are probably very interested in answering questions 1 and 2), but they don’t want to talk to you about their possible fertility problems. Or, complete opposite,  what if it was a mistake? That just makes everyone uncomfortable. And lastly, maybe it was like us..basically planned, basically happened as it should, so we don’t have anything to really talk about. Yes. We decided to try. Yes it worked.

4) Are you sure you’re not expecting twins?-Just, no. Don’t. Stop. Do I need to explain this one?

5) Not a question, but a statement: You don’t look that big!–What is THAT BIG? In who’s mind? I know I’m still skinny as a rail with a belly, but you know who feels like she looks THAT BIG–me. The fact that none of my pants fit me, I feel that big. And I don’t want to talk about it.

Questions that are acceptable to ask:

6) When are you due?–It’s a basic question and leaves room for other conversational pieces. (Just in time for March Madness!)

7) Do you know what you’re having?–I’ve seen this varied. Some people really hate it, other people don’t mind. I don’t really care. I just say we will find out in February!

Questions that I’m on the fence about:

8) Do you plan to breastfeed?–Actually, no. Move this up to questions you don’t ask. People are allowed to do whatever they want. If they want to know the benefits they can find them. This is my worst, 6 years ago, not being a mom, if you told me you weren’t going to breastfeed–I soapboxed the shit out of you. But now, upon reading..and maturing..basically, everyone’s entitled to their own thing. People in France don’t breastfeed. Yes it’s good. Yes I’m going to do it. But don’t judge someone else.

9) Have you started decorating?-I haven’t. So I don’t have anything to talk about. I would judge this by the person. I have some pregnant friends who LOVE decorating. I’m sure they are looking at samples as we speak. I wish I could get into decorating. I can get into painting. and Vacuuming. But not decorating.

10) Have you found childcare?-Again on the fence. I haven’t. Because it’s so expensive. Because I don’t know where to look. Actually, I think this is fine. It could add fuel to get me started.

Also–let’s face it. I’m so particular, I think the reason I don’t like people asking these questions is because I don’t actually feel like they are listening to me after they ask the question. They are either waiting for me to finish because they have already formulated their next thought, or they heard one part of what I’ve said and want to focus on that and only that (looking at you husband). Or all the questions they ask have expected outcomes. Personally, I think it’s okay not to be bursting at the seams every five minutes over the baby. It will get here when it gets here. And everything will fall into place.

For now, let me watch Vampire Diaries.

Updated: See, I’m not alone!! My friend Heather, who’s husband is in residency felt the same pains as I did. Read here and here.

First Trimester Suprises

Here’s the thing. Your friends won’t tell you about first trimester symptoms, because this is the time the pregnancy is a secret. Sure once you read the baby books you learn about cramping, frequent urination, and morning sickness, etc. But you don’t really know what that means because no one has explained it to you! Only afterwards do you hear, “Oh yeah, that happened to me!” “Nope sure don’t miss that!” “It only gets worse!” (gee, thanks guys).

So here are some “Who Knew” symptom’s that I never knew about:

1) Burping: I feel like my Babcia.  I’m either always burping or needing to drink a coke to make myself burp. Apparently there is this lovely hormone called progesterone that makes you bloat, get gassy, and other enjoyable things during pregnancy.
2) Heartburn/Acid Reflux: Having never been privy to this feeling before I didn’t quite know how to explain this to Phil. From here to here I feel full (throat to stomach), but here I’m starving (stomach). Like the good husband he is, he ran to the store to buy me some Tums (one of the 4 medicines I can actually take) and it went away. I was recently made aware of an old wives tale that states if you have heartburn the baby will be born with hair. So naturally I assume the baby will look like this guy:

3. Feeling Full: I thought pregnancy was the time to enjoy all food related wonderful things. Nope. Not for me. I eat one thing and within 3 minutes I’m full. And then 2 hours later starving, but nothing seems appetizing. In fact, at a really fancy dinner on Saturday night, I ordered a kids order of Mac and Cheese because it’s the only thing that sounded filling, but not wasteful.
4. Exhaustion (we’ve talked about this): I feel like I’ve climbed Mt. Everest. But I can’t nap because my brain NEVER SHUTS OFF.

4) Frequent Urination due to a shifting bladder: Seriously, 3 times in the middle of the night, completely full bladders. I find this completely unnecessary, and also, no guy believes you. Because why would they? All they know is the same thing I knew before pregnancy which was women pee because a baby is on their bladder, and right now the baby is the size of a chickpea/lime/plum whatever, the point is it’s tiny and it’s not pushing on my bladder. Supposedly, it goes away second trimester, but third semester it comes back 10x worse. Like some dumb witches curse.
5) Headaches: Where did these come from? And why can I only take Tylenol?! Let me live!!
6) Dizzy Spells: Every time I get up from the couch/desk/bed to do anything, I have to grab on to the wall for dear life before I topple over. This too is related to progesterone. Really can’t wait for that hormone to leave my body.

7) Break outs. My face looks like a 16 year old boy. And I can’t stop picking at it. What happened to my beautiful, unharmed skin?

From what I’ve learned, the only cure for any of this is to take it slow, take your vitamins, drink water, eat small meals, wear lose fitting clothes, drink ginger ale, and pretty much act like you are on disability for 12 weeks!

That’s all that I can think of now. It hasn’t been a terrible first trimester for me because I haven’t had any morning sickness (Thank god!). Mostly I’m just tired, and little things pop up that make me go UGGGGGGHHHH.

Did you have any first trimester issues that were unexpected?

 

First Trimester Things…

I’m tired. Not like, “yawn, another cup of coffee will really get me through this next half hour”. More like, I need some snuggles, a comforter and a nap. At least 60 minutes of solid sleep. Even if I could drink coffee, I can’t. So here I am at work, sleeping my face off.AdobePhotoshopExpress_2013_06_14_15_02_56

Not really. But what I would give to take a nap!  The thing is, I’ve only known I was pregnant for 5 days and it’s like the instant the test said pregnant, I said tired.

All I can hear is my husband saying, “You know what makes things easier, complaining.”

So he’s right. I can’t complain about it, but I can do some research. With a quick Google search I found the following articles to be very helpful:

Honestly there are a few more that I’d like to link to, but they all say the same thing. Plus, I’m writing this post at work and I still haven’t told anyone yet that I’m pregnant, and I keep thinking they are going to see pregnancy websites on my computer. Having to click out of a webpage every five seconds is making me even more tired.

What did you do to cure the first trimester sleepiness?