Birth Story Part I

So LS is here! Everybody loves a good birth story, right?!

It’s been a humbling month or so, starting with BG getting conjunctivitis and sharing it with myself and Mr. MLACS, then I had Flu A, then some other flu-like virus BG brought home, which culminated in a double ear infection for me and I lost most of my hearing in both ears.

I was practically deaf.

I went into urgent care a couple Saturdays ago because my right ear was causing agonizing pain, and walked out with Augmentin and ear drops, which helped me to feel better but did not help my hearing loss.

Mr. MLACS took me to see my OB on my due date, thinking maybe they could help me by giving me a referral to see an ENT (our insurance is PPO but a referral would expedite my appointment). They put me on the monitor and LS was good, but chillin’. So I drank some apple juice to wake her up. And she started hopping, but I noticed some decells–her baseline heartrate was about 150bpm, and she would hop up to 180bpm, but then fall to 110-120 bpm. I wondered if that was just her falling off the monitor, but I didn’t think so.

Sure enough, my OBGYN came in and said baby was not in distress but she didn’t like the decells and would rather play it safe and induce me, since I was officially 40 weeks. I wholeheartedly agreed.

It felt surreal, because I had resigned myself that I would probably carry to 41 weeks and that LS would be born on BG’s 4th birthday.

We called the sibling doula and the back-up sibling doula that we had hired to come stay with BG and the pets while Mr. MLACS and I went to the hospital to deliver LS. Our primary doula was available and set to be on her way. I had already written several emails with detailed instructions for the doulas. We nervously drove from the clinic to our house. My hospital bag still wasn’t fully packed, the house was a mess and I had cleaners coming the next day, and I needed a shower. I could hardly focus on the tasks at hand and BG was following me around asking 20 questions. I was relieved when the doula showed up and realized I needed some privacy to complete my tasks and process the overwhelming fact that I was going to have a baby–MY baby–in a matter of hours. BG adored her and they ran off to play.

Noteworthy items I packed in my hospital bag were:

1. SOMA intimates pajamas–the softest jersey material, like butter on your skin. Button down is a must for breastfeeding and they make you feel comfy and elegant in the hospital. Not cheap, but worth it.

2. An exercise ball for labor–I bought a pink one from amazon. A lot of hospitals say they have them but you never know if one will be available when you need it and also it’s a safe bet that A LOT of other peoples’ bodily fluids have christened the ones at the hospital.

3. Baby gowns instead of footie pajamas, because they have to wear an ankle bracelet and also for easy access to change diapers.

4. Swaddles–I prefer velcro swaddles in soft fabrics rather than wrapping baby up in hospital blankets.

5. I brought my own diapers. I use honest diapers and unscented wipes. The nurses were annoyed because my diapers dont have the pee strip, but oh well not their call. The diapers in the hospital are scented, and I want to smell my baby, not aromantic pampers.

6. A phone charger with a long cord (like solid 6ft) so you can plug it in the wall and still have it next to you in bed.

7. Obviously for me–ostomy supplies. I packed plenty of supplies–more than what I thought I might need, just to be safe.

8. My medications. Hospital is supposed to have a list of current meds and provide them for you, but just bring them anyway.

So I tidied the house (i.e. stuffed sh*t in closets), showered/did my hair, finished packing and off Mr. MLACS and I went. It was hard saying goodbye to BG, knowing everything was about to change.

It was a solid 40min drive to our hospital–a perk of being induced is that I didn’t have to do this drive while in active labor. We arrived and they had a L&D room waiting for me–another perk of being induced is I didn’t have to go through triage (while in active labor) before being admitted.

It was about 6:30pm–we got there right as they were changing shifts and there was a flurry of activity. Even still, I was quickly attended to.

Everybody in L&D speaks in hushed and soothing tones, like Bob Ross.

The moment they walked in the room and opened their mouths I had to stop them and say “I have a double ear infection and I can’t hear you unless you SPEAK UP.” This was not ideal, but everyone obliged so it could have been worse. My ear pain in my right ear rivaled the pain of my contractions, so that was fun. They gave me Tylenol and offered me Nubain, but I was not trying to be high on Nubain since I’d had Staydol during my (incredibly painful) labor with BG and it made me psychotic.

My induction started with the foley bulb (sp?) which involves the nurse threading a balloon attached to a catheter through my 1cm dilated cervix and then inflating the balloon with water so that it causes my cervix to dilate to 3-4cm, then the balloon falls out.

I also had an IV and pitocin drip started as well. My nurse Jennifer (whom I liked) started the pitocin “low and slow”, at like a 2 or 3. By the time the foley bulb fell out my pitocin was up to a 7. Jennifer offered me the epidural (which I knew I wanted) but at first I refused, with the idea in mind that it could slow my progression and cause me to need a c-section. But Jennifer said that actually the epidural would allow her to push my pitocin and that would help my labor progress more than anything. She asked if there was any other reason to delay the epidural and I said emphatically *No* because I had ALL the pain during my 37hr labor with BG and then also with my Crohn’s disease so I have nothing left to prove–bring on the epidural!

….to be continued…

XOXO,

MLACS

The Hardest Thing I Ever Did…

I just wasn’t ready to write about this before now…I’m f*ing bawling and I haven’t even started…

Ok, so on February 4, 2013 I woke up and took a perfunctory HPT and almost died when I saw two lines. Totally unexpected. I was totally terrified because my Ulcerative Colitis was ‘flaring’ and my doctors had cautioned me time and again to “Be sure my disease is under control BEFORE I get pregnant because it will most likely become worse in pregnancy”. I thought my body was smart enough to know better than to get pregnant when I’m already bleeding (from my anus). I also thought that I wouldn’t get pregnant since we’d only had sex ONE time all month (due to my health issues). I told Mr. MLACS not to get excited because I was worried this wouldn’t work out. I felt sick–I was freezing cold and exhausted and fuzzy-brained and my colon was bleeding (I later found out I was suffering the symptoms of hypothyroid in addition to my UC). So of course, he went out and told EVERYBODY at his work. I was apprehensive but decided to treat the pregnancy as though everything was going to be fine.

For Valentines Day, Mr. MLACS gave me a gift certificate to a pregnancy spa for a prenatal massage, along with several sessions of prenatal yoga. I went to one session with a friend who was 32 weeks along at the time, and the yoga instructor looked appalled when I told her I was only 6 weeks along–she acted like I was crazy for coming to the prenatal class. I understood after I took the class, because it was so easy that a brisk walk would’ve been more useful to me. But I got the distinct feeling the yoga instructor was also intoning that I should be concerned about miscarriage and that it was too early to embrace my pregnancy. After I had my miscarriage at 7w2d, I understood…

So, hopefully you’ve read the story about my friend, Dee (click ‘Dee’ to read) becoming pregnant quite soon after my miscarriage. It hurt. We both lived in the Southwest and met because our husbands work for the same company and were working on a project together–we were both strangers in a strange land. But though I trusted her, she was hard to get close to. We were talking every day and then after my miscarriage I hardly talked to her and never saw her…only later I found out it was because she was in the first weeks of her pregnancy. Then a couple of times she went home to visit her family in the East Coast and didn’t call or text me at all while she was gone (for a month each time), even though I tried to keep contact with her. I knew I wasn’t being rejected, but still, how could we go from talking every day to no talking for a month? Anyhow, I sucked it up and would hang out with her and her pregnant belly. I felt sorry for her puking ALL DAY (Hyperemesis Gravidarum) EVERY DAY through her second trimester. I offered to keep her son (who I adored) when she went to prenatal appointments. I went shopping for baby clothes with her. I didn’t stop her when she gushed about all the great stuff she scored at the baby swap meet, or her nursery theme. And to her credit, she listened to me lament my health issues and talk about trying to conceive–she encouraged me.

I felt like maybe I should give Dee my prenatal massage gift certificate…but then I thought “No, Mr. MLACS wanted me to have it” and “I should be pregnant before we move so then I can use it”. I mean…I got pregnant by dumb luck once, so, it should be easy, right?

I did not get my second BFP until the end of July. The line was veeeery faint, and I was cautiously optimistic, and I thought “Statistically this pregnancy should work, odds are in my favor”…but alas, my beta was 5…how the hell did I even see a line? FRER’s are amazing, IMO. I started my period right on time, but it was THE most painful period I’ve ever had, worse than my first miscarriage, so I call my “Chemical Pregnancy” a Miscarriage…Also, I went to see my RE for a scan before starting Clomid …he saw a sac in my uterus…I wish he had never told me that he saw something. I had already been reading IF blogs because my friend Steph Mignon writes one. Also, Steph had just done her first IUI and fallen pregnant! I KNEW, that we could not possibly be so fortunate as to enjoy our pregnancies together. My life is full of hubris. The blogs I read told of nothing but heartache and failure (although almost all of the bloggers I started reading 9 months ago are pregnant now). I realized that my journey to motherhood was not “normal”, and I was (as per usual) in the minority statistic of women who struggle to conceive and carry a baby. My head hung low and my heart was broken–I felt broken.

I now had to come to terms that we wouldn’t be conceiving before we left…well I’ll just say it..Las Vegas. I had purchased a little onsie on Freemont Street that says “I’m What Happened In Vegas!” as a gesture of optimism that we would conceive while living in Vegas and I imagined holding it across my pregnant belly in our pregnancy announcement (this was before I started resenting pregnancy announcements). I realized that I would not need that prenatal massage gift certificate…THAT broke my heart…remembering how excited Mr. MLACS was when he brought it home to me…how he’d kissed my belly and rubbed my feet and told everyone in his path that he was going to be a daddy…I had been clutching that gift certificate with the belief that it was meant for me and my rainbow, but I was moving 1,482 miles away with no prospect of a rainbow…

And of course I knew, that the only right thing to do was to give it to Dee, because she was 7 months pregnant and also moving across the country WITH a potty training toddler…she deserved it. But GOD was it hard…I was jealous of her…then I felt guilty…but it’s SO unfair…what if I just threw the gift certificate away, as a symbol of throwing my dreams away…giving Dee the gift certificate felt like I was handing her MY dream…and wasn’t she already beyond blessed???

I was with Dee in the car one day and she mentioned getting a prenatal massage…and I took a deep breath…and I said “Well, you know Mr. MLACS gave me a gift certificate….and I’m not going to use it…and I wanted to get you something anyways…so I’d like to give it to you as my gift.” And I was so awkward and heavy with my words…Dee urged me that I could still use the massage even though I’m not pregnant, but I said no, that I was already getting a massage somewhere else and I wanted her to enjoy it. And I got out of her car. And I walked in my house. And I fell to my knees on my kitchen floor sobbing so hard no sound would come out. And I couldn’t stop crying for hours. And I talked to my dear departed Mother, and I talked to God, and I hugged my cat, and Mr. MLACS came home to find me crumpled on the couch.

Giving Dee that gift certificate was the hardest thing I ever did, and I’ve done A LOT of hard sh*t. I’m pretty hardcore actually.

There are two good things that came of this experience:

1. Making this sacrifice made me feel like I have good character.

2. I did something nice for my friend Dee, and even though I didn’t tell her how I felt, she knew it pained me and I know she appreciated that I gave it from my heart.

And now, at 7:30am EST on December 5th, 2013, her daughter will enter the world via C-section. And I’m happy for Dee. But it brought up this story, which I had meant to tell you about already but just never found the strength until now.

XO