Wednesday, March 27, 2013

3 weeks 2 days - Babies are hard.

We were getting along swimmingly, and then I think she gave my nipples the thrush.  Suddenly my right nipple felt like it was being pierced when she ate - I've cried a lot in the last few days.  And then her latch got lazy - she only wants the top half, thank you very much, you can keep that bottom part.  Except that's excruciating.  So we're relearning our nursing manners.  I've cried a lot in the last few days. 

It's overwhelming that I'm the only one who can feed her.  I feel like I'm with her every second of every day and that I never get a break.  I remind myself that a baby is what I wanted, and that this is part of what it means to have a baby.  I look into her sweet face and count my blessings again - but I'm so tired.  Two of the last three nights have been really rough (have I mentioned how much I've cried?).  Thankfully, she seems to know right when I've hit my limit, and she magically goes to sleep - for 3 or 4 hours.  So she's working me.  I get that now.  She's training me.  It's rough training, man.

Jimi tries to help, but I understand why he says he feels helpless, useless - there's just not a lot he can do.  I think he's sick of fetching me water and snacks, and I feel guilty every time I ask for another favor, but I'm stuck where I am, you know?  I try to get him to change as many diapers as possible, not to pass off the task, but so he can get some face time in with his daughter - of course, she hates having her diaper changed, so in his mind she's starting to associate him with horrible things, like a cold hooha.  And some nights nothing will console her but a nipple, and his don't fit the bill - and I get jealous as hell watching him over on the couch, able to get up and move around all nimbly pimbly whenever he likes.  I squash down my feelings of resentment - it's not his fault he can't feed her. 

I wonder how we'll ever get on enough of a schedule for me to go back to work in 4 weeks.  I wonder how I'll ever manage to leave her in the care of someone else for 9 hours a day.  This mom shit is serious bidness, yo. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

2 weeks 5 days - Love like this...

Oh, I love her so much. 

Geneva is nearly 3 weeks old.  I still haven't finished writing her birth story.  I don't have a lot of time where she's not in my arms, and when I do, I find myself spending it showering, cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, eating, and sleeping.  There's so precious little time for those things - I haven't picked up the computer for more than 10 minutes in at least 2 weeks. My entire life has changed, my priorities have shifted, my world is a new place full of uncharted territory.  Anything for her.  I miss her when she's sleeping, and find myself wanting to snuggle up with her the way a child cuddles with a favorite stuffed animal.  She's so small and soft and warm.  I wonder how I've lived my whole life without knowing her?  And she's a stranger I'm getting to know, but at the same time, I feel like I know her intimately, like we're part of the same soul...does that sound crazy?  Probably.  I'm tired.  I love this little baby. 

She hiccups all the time - most especially after a meal.  She makes the most adorable little noises.  We're calling her Hiku - our little HikuHiku baby. 

Sometimes it just washes over me - I have a daughter.  A child.  A baby girl named Geneva.  I wondered for so long if this day would ever arrive.  Here I am, here we are.  Happiness defined. 

She's snoring a little.  I wonder if it is something I should worry about, or do all babies snore?  She's so pretty and sweet and wonderful.  I love her so much.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

41.5 - Happy Birthday Geneva!

Our beautiful daughter, Geneva Aibhilin, was welcomed into the world on Monday March 4, 2013, at 11:34 p.m..  She weighed in at 7 pound 8.7 ounces, measured 20 inches long, and is absolutely the most beautiful thing I've ever laid eyes on. 

I was 41 weeks, 5 days, and had been at 3 cm, 60% effaced for the previous two weeks and was frustrated and facing a very-much-not-wanted induction on 3/5.  I was scared of pitocin - I was afraid it would make the contractions more than I could stand, and scared it would lead to an epidural or c-section.  Fortunately, Geneva decided to arrive on her own terms, and I felt my first contraction around 2:30 in the morning.  I remember thinking "that's probably what a contraction feels like" - I'd been wondering how I'd know, but what other women had told me held true - you can tell.  To me, it felt like a strong, though brief, menstrual cramp.  I made note of the time, and then went back to sleep.  I felt several more as the time passed, and when my husband got up for a restroom visit at 4:30, I mentioned to him how I'd been contracting for a couple hours.  That was all she wrote for our sleep for the night - I'd spoken the magic words, and they officially woke us up.  I started timing - we stayed in bed until around 6, and with the contractions around 7 minutes apart, I realized this was probably the real thing, so I got up and took a shower.  Jimi made us oatmeal for breakfast, and I made a pan of brownies for the nursing staff.  When my midwife's office opened at 8 a.m., I called and gave them the scoop - because I'm group b strep positive, they told me to head on to the hospital.  This was it! 

Check-in went quickly, and because I was so overdue already, I was put directly into a room - they reassured me that I wouldn't be leaving the hospital without my baby.  I was told to change into a hospital gown, was strapped to the monitors, and an IV for antibiotics was started.  In other words - things were starting off in exactly the way I hadn't wanted to labor.  I felt like a sick person, but I wasn't sick!  I was just in labor!    When the nurse checked me, I was still only at a 3 - I assured her I hadn't been making up the contractions.  She smiled at me and told me she knew, and not to worry because if things didn't speed up on their own, there were things that could be done to make things happen.  That was the closest anyone came to offering me medications, and it wasn't an explicit offer by any means. 

After my first round of antibiotics was complete, my midwife came in and unhooked the monitors and IV so I could change into my own clothes rather than the gown - I felt much more human and less sick wearing my black maternity dress.  When they checked me again and still there'd been no progress, they brought me a breast pump to use to try to stimulate more contractions, and boy did it work.  When we started, I was able to breathe easily through each wave, rocking on the birth ball or leaning over the side of the bed.  After one 15-minute session with the pump, I was needing to get down on all fours to rock myself through the waves.  I spent the next 3 to 4 hours pacing my room and and getting down on the floor or up into the bed onto my hands and knees each time a wave hit.  I did manage to lie down and nap briefly in that time, maybe for 30 minutes. 

My midwife came in after office hours and we discussed my options - did I want to be checked?  What were my options if I hadn't progressed?  She mentioned a balloon catheter, maybe more pumping...I decided I wanted to be checked - i needed to know if things were moving along.  She did, and they were - now I was between 5 and 6 cm.  Thank goodness!  I was so relieved to know things were happening, that the last few hours hadn't been for naught.  I continued my rocking for another hour or so, then asked to move to the tub.  Jimi ran me a warm bath, and I climbed in.  The water didn't offer the complete pain relief for which I'd been hoping, but it did make the waves more tolerable, more bearable. 

I'm not sure of the timeline that followed after - at one point, I felt what was almost a pop inside my belly, followed by a whoosh between my legs.  I was pretty sure that was my water breaking, but I was submerged in water, so I couldn't be sure.  Jimi was sitting on the edge of the tub, reminding me with each wave to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth, to "Relax" (a cue from Hypnobabies reminding me to let my body go limp).  At one point I asked him to sing to me; he sang "Sweet Baby James" and "Raspberry Beret".  He also called me "Momma Manatee" as I flopped from side to belly to side in the water - in another time and place I would've laughed, but in the moment I could only think incredulously, "He just called me a fucking manatee."  I was starting to get vocal, too,  Ooohing and Aaahing through each wave, remembering what I'd read, that relaxing the jaw and vocalizing can help with pain control.  I don't know if it made anything feel better, but it did make me feel better to let out some sign of what I was feeling.  The waves started at the middle of my belly and radiated out across my waist and around to my back, almost like a wide belt of strong menstrual cramps, but much deeper and more intense and stronger than anything I'd ever felt before.  I began to lose myself - I didn't have much interest or concern for anything outside of my body, I was just following the cues, doing what felt right and offered the most relief. 

This will have to be a Part 1 - there's so much more to tell, and my sleeping baby time is so short...

But here's a hint - the story ends with a beautiful little girl safely in my arms.  It's the most beautiful ending beginning. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

41.3 and still pregnant

This baby is getting close to being served an eviction notice.  We've got a deadline, actually - if she's not here by Monday, they're going to induce Tuesday night.  *sigh*  I really want to avoid induction.  My midwife did explain to me how their use of Pitocin differs from your typical OB's office, but not want. 

After having irregular contractions all day Thursday, I went to the midwife yesterday to attempt to have my membranes stripped, but it was for naught.  Baby is facing my left side.  She needs to turn and face my back in order to drop low enough to get down in there and sit her little head on my cervix just right and get things started.  I was sent out with an aching lower abdomen (cervical checks are NOT comfortable) and mounting frustration - I've been at 3 cm for nearly 2 weeks now, and nothing is changing.  I was told to spend lots of time leaning forward, doing pelvic rocks and squats, and trying to make my belly as hammock-like as possible to encourage baby to turn correctly.  I'm following those instructions very carefully, which means I'm sitting UBER-ladylike  at all times, with my legs spread wide, elbows on my knees as I lean forward.  I don't give a shit what anyone thinks - I'm going to get this baby out of me, dammit.  As of this morning, I think she has turned - she feels more centered to me, at least.  Her little back and butt have been along my right side for months, and now she seems to be more in the middle.  Oh, I hope this works!

My house is clean.  I've done our taxes.  The laundry is caught up. I'm making a list in my head of the little things that need to happen if she decides to show up this weekend.  I'm ready.

The longer this process drags on, the more nervous I get.  I just want to get it over with - let's get this show on the road, already! 


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