Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Baby Smell

That newborn smell everyone always talks about? The one that has mommies nuzzling the fuzzy tops of infant heads? I finally get it.

I never got it when Laura was an infant. I couldn't smell her newness. I could laugh at her crazy spiky hair, but I didn't nuzzle into it to appreciate that soft scent. I can smell it on Gavin.

Every time I pick him up, I nuzzle the newness of him. I breath in deep his infant scent. And boy does it smell wonderful.

I'm well aware that I didn't bond with Laura for a very long time. I bonded with Gavin with the first cry he made. I bonded when I held him sticky with birth in my arms. I have bonded with every goose honk cry since.

I smell the newness on Gavin's head, and breath in the wonder of this fresh chance to be a mommy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gavin's Birth

When I was told way back in my first trimester that I was GBS+, I saw it as a death sentence for the labor and delivery I felt I missed with Laura. I knew I'd have to be at the hospital as soon as I went into labor. I'd be hooked up to an IV from the start. I wouldn't have the chance to labor naturally. I was sad.

In actuality, I think the GBS+ actually helped me toward a birth experience I am incredibly proud of. I knew what to expect from the start. Knowledge is empowering!

My water broke a little after 8:00 Thursday night. I realized Big Bang was a repeat, so I started tidying things. I bent down to fix something on Gavin's swing, and felt a small gush when I stood up. I calmly mentioned it to Nate and MIL, then went to the bathroom to check things out. Yup, water broke. A small leak, but fairly constant. I started organizing our night from the porch, where I could drip without guilt, read bedtime stories to Laura, and direct Nate in some last minute packing. Thankfully, most of our stuff was ready to go after our false alarm the week before!

We got to the hospital all calm and smiles. I got my first of three IVs in triage: a stupidly placed thing right in my elbow. As soon as I moved to my room, I had my nurse move the IV. But, something happened with the stick. My vein puffed up, my arm started throbbing, and I couldn't move my wrist. IV number three sat much more nicely!

I started my antibiotics, and just napped as well as I could. I was damp from my water, but not having any contractions. Pitocin started at 4:00 am. By 7:00 am, I was starting to work through contractions. They were manageable, but I figured what was the point of waiting for an epidural?! The anesthesiologist was free, so I grabbed the chance. He got the epi flowing at 8:00, which was just after my low point: I wet the bed. The promise of a catheter along with the epidural was most welcome!

And then I dozed most of the day. I got checked around noon, and the doctor realized I still had a sac of water to break. She broke that, and my contractions really started coming fast- not that I could tell!!

Around 1 or 2? my epidural was wearing off. I was 7cm, 100% and 0 station. I got a re-up on the epidural, and immediately both couldn't feel my legs and was in intense pain in my back. I couldn't catch my breath through contractions and started to panic.

Nate wasn't very helpful calming me down. I was hysterical by the time my nurse checked me. She got me calm again very soon, called for a check, and I was fully dilated.

I started to push just before 3, and immediately began to feel better in my back. The doctor and nurse looked at each other and my complete change in pain, and said "I bet this baby is facing up instead of down!" I pushed for 20 minutes, and out came my sunnyside-up little boy came out!

Gavin cried immediately. Music to my ears! I got to hold him all sticky and fresh. It was the most amazing feeling in the world. Everything I missed with Laura, I got with Gavin. He was so calm from the very second I held him. No crying, no tears. Just a philosophical look on his calm face.


We've been home since Sunday afternoon. Gavin is amazingly calm, still. He's eating really well, sleeping, and loves looking at thus strange new world. I'm doing really well, too. I know the sunny, non-blizzard weather helps a lot! But also knowing I've already raised a really smart, hilarious and sweet two-year-old goes a long way! I can do this!

Laura is adjusting, loves her baby brother, but does seem just a little sad. We're trying to make her feel special, but it's hard. She cries easily, throws some strange tantrums, but couldn't be sweeter with Gavin. Nate and I are taking her for ice cream tonight, leaving Gavin at home with Grammy.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Gavin Michael

Gavin Michael born at 3:16 on 5/18, 7 lb 6 oz, 21 inches


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Off to the Races!

No false alarms this time: my water broke!! Just after 8pm, I bent down to get something, and felt a small rush when I stood up. The small gushes have gotten heavier, and we are headed into L&D!

I got things really nicely squared away at work today, and I got to tuck my first baby into bed (with Grandma to watch her) before we left.

Send me happy labor vibes!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cramming it all in

I gave notice to my boss last night that I would work through this week, and also work Monday (maybe Tuesday) of next week, but that's it.  I needed to have that "last day" on my calendar.  I'm not good with unknowns.  I'm not good when I can't control.

But I'm still having contractions here and there.  I'm still feeling nervous about going into labor (worse - having my water break!) while I'm at work.  So I'm cramming every minute I can with as much work as I can before something happens. 

My controlling nature?  I don't want to leave anything unfinished.  Even if my water broke in the next hour, I'd leave a post-it on my current excel print-out, so my boss would know where to pick up where I left off. 

It's been hectic... but good.  I'm really glad I decided to PLAN to be at work this week.  I'm glad I made plans to have lunch with friends today.  I am also glad that my hard work the past few weeks makes me feel comfortable leaving at a moment's notice, knowing that my boss CAN pick up where I left off.

Any time now, Gavin.  I'm ready for you.

Worst post ever?  Possibly.  Just letting you know I'm still here... and still pregnant!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day, Appreciated

Late Friday afternoon, I decided I needed an attitude adjustment.  I wasted most of last week waiting for something to happen.  So instead of staying mired in the waiting game, I started to make plans.

I emailed my boss that I planned to come into work on Monday (today), and that I planned to do X, Y and Z on a certain project.

I made plans with my coworker (and one of my current best friends) to have lunch away from the conference room on Monday (today).

I emailed two college friends in the city and made plans for lunch on Wednesday.  Food trucks, here we come.  I hope the Pie Truck is out.  That's all I have to say.

Planning ahead for actual non-baby activities helped me to move past the waiting game of last week.  Planning helped me to be ready to spend the whole weekend at home, not in labor.  Planning helped me to be present with my family of three for at least one more weekend before we become a family of four.  I'm a planner, and last week left me feeling completely unsettled and frustrated.  With a plan in place for this week, I spent every minute I could getting strawberry hugs and kisses from Laura.  Yup, two months later and Laura is still baking her most wonderful strawberry hugs.

I am so glad for my shift in thinking on Friday, so I was able to enjoy the strawberry hugs all weekend.  I'm back at work today, getting settled and ready to work on my project.  I'm sipping some raspberry leaf iced tea I brewed over the weekend, and I'm ready for whatever the week might bring.

And for all you beautiful mothers out there, Happy Mother's Day!  I hope you got as many strawberry hugs as I did.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Worst Psychic Ever!

Today at two o'clock has come and gone.  I had my regularly scheduled 38-week appointment this morning.  Absolutely no progress whatsoever.  The baby dropped, for sure, but that's it.  No more contractions, no more dilating, no more effacing. 

And I could be walking around dilated to a 3 for the next two to four weeks.  I'm pretty disheartened this morning.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

38 Weeks

Sorry for the poor lighting.  I am feeling pressed for time.  Just now, as I walked to the food court near work to get my lunch, a nice, normal looking woman ran over to me.  RAN. 

"You are having the baby today!  2:00!"

Um.  How creepy and exciting!  All at the same time!  Since it's already 1:00, let's do a quick recap:

Friday I was 2cm, 0% effaced.  Some contractions at random times.
Tuesday I was having lots of contractions in the morning, was 3cm and 50% effaced, and then the contractions petered out.
Yesterday I was flat out insane, moving furniture, doing squats, and chugging hot sauce.

Also yesterday: Gavin dropped.  I may still look pretty roundy to you, but trust me.  His butt is now in line with my belly button.  I can take a full breath, but cannot bend over without pain.  My stomach is definitely slopier and mushier at the top, where it had previously been the roundest and hardest area. 


I could still be getting my hopes up for naught.  But I don't care.  That random (potentially crazy) lady told me today at 2.  I'm getting on the 2:20 train home.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Crazy Person

I sat Down for the first time all day about an hour ago. As soon as I sat, I realized two things:
1) I was tired
2) I had been a crazy person all day.

I got up, decided I wasn't going to work, and drove to Lowe's to get some screws I needed for a "quick" DIY dresser fix-up I wanted to do to Nate's two dressers. Quick DIY projects are never quick. Anyway, I spent most of the day rebuilding Nate's two dressers, replacing hardware, and sorting his clothes.

Oh, and did I mention I moved both pieces of furniture in the room to make space for the bassinet I also put together?




And all those clothes I sorted through? I walked a trash bag filled with give-aways to the drop box at the end of our street. Then walked the long way home.

I also vacuumed the whole upstairs. Which meant I carried the vacuum up the stairs. I washed some dishes. Changed the sheets on our bed. Did some more laundry.

I was a crazy person today. Time for bed.

Update: Working from Home

When last I posted, I was on the train headed north.  Nate made me call the doctor's office about the contractions, and they had me come in for a check.  On Friday afternoon, I was 2 cm dilated, 0% effaced.  Yesterday morning (with the same doctor), I was 3cm dliated, 50% effaced.  If you recall, you have to be fully effaced before you can fully dilate.  I've lost a good portion of my mucous plug, and feel like I'm about to get the worst, crampiest period ever.  The doctor said, "that's great!"  I guess because things are progressing?

With that in mind, she stripped my membranes and recommend spicy food and spicier... time with the husband.  By the time I got home, my intermittent contractions from the morning had pretty much stopped.  I drank lots of red raspberry leaf tea, ate the spiciest food I could handle, and begrudgingly seduced my husband.  Nothing.

I'm sitting at home this morning, still feeling incredibly crampy - and cranky.  I just couldn't bring myself to get on that train into DC this morning.  But I'm also starting to wonder when this kid is going to arrive!

I'm not technically due for another 2 weeks, so I  could theoretically have another two weeks before I move from the "early labor" category into the "active labor" group.  Or I could have the kid this afternoon.  I just want a plan!  Let me know your plans, baby boy, so I can stop flipping out!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Getting Ready

I had planned to use a work PC webcam today today to get a long overdue belly shot. But I got halfway to work when I realized I really didn't want to be at work. I'm working through some strong contractions on the train ride home now.

So in my planned post, I was going to tell you:
- I was 2cm dilated on Friday
- I lost a large bit of mucous plug yesterday afternoon.
- I've been contracting off and on since yesterday morning.
- we have a minivan, carseats installed
- I cleaned our one bathroom for over an hour on Sunday. It's a very small bathroom.
- I've done laundry that probably didn't need to be done.
- I've packed my hospital bag. And found myself adding things to it last night.
- the bassinet we bought last week still isn't put together, but we have it.

I think my body is telling me I need to be ready for Gavin's imminent arrival.

Monday, May 7, 2012

My nightmare

I was awoken from a horrific nightmare this morning by a really strong, take-your-breath-away contraction.  Being jarred awake from the nightmare, this one contraction made me think for a heart-stopping moment that perhaps I was in labor.  It also made me question my ability to labor and birth my son, due in a mere three weeks.  But it also made me so happy to realize that my nightmare, a thing so real and so scary moments before, was simply that.  A nightmare.  A horrible vision, but fiction nonetheless.

I sat up, breathed through the contraction, and made it to the bathroom to pee.  I had been asleep too long, my bladder was overly full.  The contraction fadedas I peed.  I felt better physically, but also emotionally.  Sitting in the bathroom, I could see with my own eyes that my water had not broken, that I was not gushing blood.  I could see with my own eyes that my baby was still safe inside my womb.  He kicked and rolled in confirmation of his health and I went back to bed.

But not to sleep.  Instead, I lay in bed remembering my nightmare, in which I found myself suddenly losing my child.  In my nightmare, my water had broken and I was bleeding profusely.  I was someplace far from my doctor's hospital, and needed the EMTs to take me to a different hospital nearer.  It was graphic and horrifying.  My son was being born too soon.  He wasn't going to survive.  I was losing my baby.  My dream self was in a panic, because somehow in my dream I wasn't full term and my baby wasn't big enough, strong enough, or ready enough to be born. 

Though relieved it was only a dream, my wakened self was filled sadness.  My baby is safe and warm.  When my contractions start and my water breaks, Gavin will be ready to meet the world.  But there are so many other babies born too soon.  I want to comfort their mothers.  Diana's babies were born too soon.  I want to comfort Diana.  To be able to say something - anything - to make her pain go away.  But I don't know what to say.  I never know what to say.  Instead, I cry as the sun comes up on a new day, hoping my tears can wash away some small part of her sorrow.

Diana, I grieve with you.  You are in my heart.  Your sons will never be forgotten.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Grown Up

Let's forget for a moment that I have been a home owner for 6 years, married for nearly 5 years, and a mother for more than 2 years. Because in all that time, I never really felt grown up.

That all changed today when I bought this:


I'll be the mother of two before I turn 30 next month, and I now drive a minivan. Yup. I'm a grown up.

Would someone please pass me a glass of wine?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rainbow Sprinkles

Nate and I took Laura for ice cream the other night.  With sprinkles, of course.

I sent this picture to my parents, and immediately received a text back:
Ice cream with jimmies!  Summer can't be too far away!

Jimmies. Someday, Laura will ask her Grammy, What on earth are jimmies?!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A prayer for all the babies

I just haven't been able to write anything this week.  I have drafts of posts, just sitting in my dashboard.  They feel inadequate.  Impotent.  Inappropriate.  A silly picture of Laura eating ice cream, talking about how Maryland is such a different place to grow on than my own New England childhood.  But it just feels wrong.

Wrong, when I know that a beautiful person is lying in a hospital bed, praying for her little boys to survive.  To meet their darling older sister.  To be handed an ice cream cone covered in rainbow jimmies sprinkles.

Wrong, when I think back to how I was feeling halfway through this pregnancy.  Uncomfortable enough to be scared of preterm labor.  My scariest week was at 26 weeks pregnant, when Nate was out of town and every weird infection I'd experienced in the whole pregnancy seemed to be peaking. 

26 weeks was my worst, lowest point. The very thought of preterm labor at 26 weeks was scary enough.  But 18 weeks, 5 days?  My heart just aches for Diana and everything she has been going through this week.  Every day has been a miracle and a testament to her strength. 

Every day has been a reminder of how lucky I am to have nearly two healthy pregnancies under my belt.  I'll be full term tomorrow.  And while my pregnancy with Gavin hasn't been the easiest or most comfortable, it has certainly still fallen into the "healthy" and "normal" category. 

So instead of posting about crabs vs. lobster, I'm posting a little prayer for Diana and all the other mothers lying in hospitals, hoping for their babies. 

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep:
May God guard me through the night
And wake me with the morning light.

Pouring my heart out.  Completely and utterly.