Sunday, August 26, 2012

And Baby Makes Three... (Lillian's birth story)

I know we sort of fell off the face of the earth there for a bit, but I promise it was for a good reason. A great reason actually - Lily is here! The last week has been filled with little more than trying to get settled as a family of three (okay, a family of 5 - can't forget the dogs now!).

While it is still fresh in our minds, I wanted to get Lily's birth story down. If you're not interested in reading about things like my cervix, you've been warned. I promise it isn't too graphic of a tale. (Jen B - if you're reading - it shouldn't make you faint! :)

Friday, August 17th (yes, her story requires that I organize the process first by DAYS)
After a fairly relaxing morning, and the completion of my Miles Circuit, I started to notice my contractions were more regular.Timing them for a bit showed that they were about 7-10 minutes apart at about 11:30 a.m. Nothing I needed to throw the bags in the car for, but I certainly had 'the feeling' that things were getting started. I didn't call Jeremy right away. He was working and the last thing we needed was for him to come flying home in an unnecessary panic. I did talk with him when he was on his way and by that time (about 3:00 p.m.) the contractions were now closer to 5 minutes.

Off an on I would keep track of their regularity and that evening Rachel (our friend and doula) came over to spend some time with us and help us through the early stages. Around 9:30 p.m. we headed to the hospital. We were excited! Contracting in the car isn't my favorite game, and at about 3minutes apart, I got to have a few on our drive in. In triage I had an exam and the nurse reported I was at about 3cm dilated. A bit more than my last appointment. She suggested that we walk the halls for an hour and check back in... unfortunately we were still at 3 - 'maybe 3 1/2'. (12AM) Since we were not progressing rapidly and still had some laboring to go, she recommended we go back home and try to rest - HA!

Saturday, August 18th
I did get some sleep, took a couple baths, and did my best to rest. By morning (7AM) my contractions had definitely picked up in intensity and had returned to some regularity (again about 3-4min apart). We decided to head back in. The great news was that our doctor was on call that day! YES! We were thrilled with the idea that our doctor would actually get to be the one to deliver our girl. That never happens. It felt like fate.

Another round of triage, 30 minutes of walking and we were admitted. 4cm dilated, completely effaced, and regular contractions. That folks, sounds like go time. About 10AM and we were settled into our birthing suite. The rest of Saturday blends together a bit for me. We did a LOT of walking the halls, working through contractions as they came and generally crossing our fingers that things were progressing. Rachel and I did try to play a game of cribbage, but that didn't work out so well. (Let the record show, I totally would have won. :) ) My contractions were getting more and more intense as the day went on, so we were hopeful it wouldn't be too much longer before we met Lily.

That evening (6PM or so), my contractions had lost a bit of their regularity... going back to every 7-8 minutes while I was down and back up to 1-3 minutes while I was up and walking. Jeremy and I talked at length and after a long discussion with our doctor, and an internal exam that showed I was only dilated to "maybe 5cm", we decided to break my water (how it hadn't broke at this point with the strength of some of my contractions, I have no idea). The hope was that would be all we'd need to get things going.

Unfortunately that didn't serve to move things along a bit. With still no further progress, we started the Pitocin to increase the intensity, and hopefully effectiveness, of my contractions... that didn't work either. Well, it did work - my contractions were certainly intense, but Lily still wasn't having it.

About 9PM - 12AM was rough. Probably some of the hardest work I've ever done. My contractions remained very regular, close together, and very strong. But, at this point I was exhausted. After laboring for the better part of two days, on little more than a handful of hours sleep, things were getting rough. I know they had to be for Jeremy and Rachel too. Both of them were at my side, encouraging me along, the entire way. With few breaks for them, our team was pushing through. We tried pretty much everything - different positions, walking, lunging, sitting on the ball, the shower, etc. But, I was wearing out. I'd had a bit of Fentanyl for the pain, but what really kept me from resting between contractions, the shakes. Let me tell you - they're the worst. Contracting is hard, and painful, but knowing that it is temporary and keeping your eye on the goal - you can manage it. But the uncontrollable shaking - during and between contractions - was maddening.

That's when I called it. I needed to know my progress or I was getting an epidural. If I was close or dilated, I may have pushed through (I'm not certain where I would have had the energy, but that was my stance), otherwise - find that anesthesiologist.

Almost 6cm.... All of that and only 6cm!?

I was losing myself. I felt snappy, angry, frustrated, and just exhausted. Without Jeremy there for every contraction, I wasn't certain I could hold myself up. My nurse and Rachel did exactly what we asked them to do at this point - respectfully challenge me to make sure I was certain. Rachel looks at me and says, "Sarah, how about we try 30 more minutes. If we don't have any more progress, we'll call them. You're doing so well!" I went a bit grizzly bear on her at that point - and a quote they've not let me forget since - "Rachel, I am no longer bartering with you. I'm done.

Sunday, August 19th
At just after midnight, the anesthesiologist showed up with her magic kit.

- - let me break for a moment. I think it is an important thing to mention here that I don't find my long labor to be a horror story saved by the magic of an epidural. I went into labor with a very open mind. I wanted to try and do this on my own. Women have done it for thousands of years, our bodies are made for this, and I wanted to climb and tackle this mountain on my own. However, I also have spent a good deal of time educating myself on the alternatives should I need support. I don't find epidurals or all intervention to be 'evil', but I do feel that they are commonly overused because of the fear our society places on the pain of childbirth. However, they are extremely valuable tools that serve an important purpose. Okay, that's the end of my soapbox rant. On with the story... - -

By magic I mean she was flawless. Contracting while there is a giant needle in your back is not the highlight of my year, but she could not have been nicer, more patient, or done a better job. I could still feel pressure in my legs and during contractions, but no pain from my abdomen, down. I could have kissed that sweet woman on the mouth. Instead - I slept. For the first time I actually got almost 3 straight hours of sleep. All of us did. And when I woke up (5AM), I had returned. I was back to making jokes, smiling, and happily anticipating our babies arrival.

Sunday morning progressed about as slowly as the rest of the weekend. I had managed to get to about 8cm overnight, but we were stalled again there. We increased my Pitocin to further strengthen contractions and kept a close eye on Lily. A few times in the morning she appeared to be a bit stressed. At one point her heart rate reaching almost 200bpm. We changed positions and worked on deep breathing and thankfully she returned to normal. It was around 9AM when we started talking cesarean section. This was something I really wanted to avoid if I could. But, if it is what we needed for Lily, that was what we were going to do. We'd come up with a plan of who to call and decided to try one more position change before we talked it through again.

It worked! At 10:45AM I was at 9cm. Almost there! 12:30 PM and our nurse joking called me 9.5+, just the tiniest bit left to go that she could barely count it.

We made it. With the C-section off the table, we decided to let her "labor down" on her own. Basically wait for her to settle into my pelvis without my pushing and forcing her through. That way I would conserve my energy and save it for when I really needed to push. They sat me up in bed, with my knees butterflied out and we waited. Chatting nervously, knowing that it was almost time. We all had the giggles. The light at the end of this two day tunnel was here and all of us had elevated spirits. We traded funny stories with my awesome nurse (who it turns out I played softball against in high school - small world!), told inappropriate jokes (something about Pez dispensers that almost had Rachel wetting the couch...), and tried to be patient.

At 3:00 p.m. exactly we started pushing. Shannon, our nurse, called them practice pushes at first, just to get the feel of pushing when you can't really feel anything - it did take some practice. But, with each contraction we kept going. I could feel the pressure of the contractions build, without the pain, and knew when to say go. With Jeremy on my right leg, and Rachel on my left, we worked together to inch Lily closer. It was about 3:50 when the doctor and team came in. With each push she edged closer - yes, we all watched - Jeremy and Rachel live and me with a mirror. Seeing her progress was incredibly motivating to me. Knowing that she was almost there. Her heart rate strong and steady - she also doing her part.

After only 1 hour and 17 minutes of pushing (it went by SO fast), she was here. After passing her head, everything else followed without hesitation. She cried instantly. A soft, adorable, cry. She spent a minute or two with the nurses checking out her airway and then handed her to Jeremy. My husband was a father. With tears in his eyes, he laid her on my chest, and the three of us were finally together.

After 53 hours of labor, months of being pregnant, and all the years we waited for her before that - Lillian Josephine Scott had arrived. Perfectly round head, beautiful little red lips, and chubby little body - she is everything we hoped for. We snuggled and loved on her for almost an hour before we resumed with the remaining formalities. We all placed our bets on what she would weigh - and I lost - big time.

10 pounds, 11 ounces and 22 inches long.

Granted, we were on IV fluids a long time and both of us were puffy and retaining a good deal of water... but still! How on earth did we make a baby that big!? Even the next day, swelling down quite a bit, she was still just over 10lbs. Sorry baby girl, your mama likes her carbs!

All of her tests went by flawlessly 8-9 on her Apgar, perfect hearing, blood sugar series was excellent... she's a champ.

We're in absolute love. Jeremy doesn't like to put her down - always loving, kissing, and snuggling her. He's taken very very good care of us this week. Already he is such an amazing and loving father. Sleep is hard for me to come by and that mixed with hormones and learning to breastfeed creates its challenges, but nothing that snuggling that perfect baby cannot cure. Each day we're getting more in sync and figuring each other out.

And just like any good tale, it wouldn't be possible at all without the entire cast of characters. While I was certainly the one with the baby in her tummy - Jeremy and Rachel worked just as hard to see Lily into the world. Rach - we love you. We cannot thank you enough for your knowledge, encouragement, sounding board, and general bossiness when I need it most. Our main nurses were fabulous. Shannon and Tiffany made the difference for us. They were advocates for us, a support system, and truly just awesome. We felt like they truly cared for us, and our daughter, and that we were not just another day at the office for them. World class people. My parents took turns and stayed at our place to make sure the dogs were taken care of. All of our family was so patient and encouraging. Such an amazing community we are bringing Lily into. we cannot wait to continue to share her milestones as she grows!

While I'm certain I've left out a detail or two, you get the idea. It was a long couple of days with its share of twists and turns, but we got our happy ending. The happy ending to our labor and delivery is just the happier beginning to the rest of our adventures together.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

40 Week Doctor's Appointment

Just a short note to keep everyone up to speed on our progress.

We had a good doctors visit yesterday. I did do another internal exam (not nearly as traumatic, but boy those are not fun!) and found that I am over 2cm dilated - last week he said we'd have good progress if I had further dilated 1/2cm or more (I was about 1cm last week), so this is great! - and easily stretched over 3cm. My cervix is 'super soft' and I am about 90% effaced. She is in a good head-down position as well.

Right now I am ready and raring to go for labor. We are just waiting for contractions to pick up and become more regular. With a cervix that is almost entirely effaced, that means that once contractions do become productive, effacement will be out of the way and they'll be all focused on dilating. That's a good thing!

We have scheduled another appointment for next Tuesday. Let's hope to the Gods that we don't need it. Should I still be pregnant at that time, we will do a NST (non-stress test) to look at her fluids, do some monitoring of her heart rate/lungs, and make sure that she remains as happy as a clam. Also, if I'm still pregnant a week from now, Doc would like to schedule the induction. So long as she is healthy and happy, this is something I'd like to avoid - mostly because I just want her to come when she's ready.

The short version of this update - we're still waiting!

Monday, August 13, 2012

40 Weeks

We made it!

Today we start our 40th, and hopefully final, week of pregnancy. Tomorrow is our due date (not sure how the weekly updates and our due date are not synced up, but I don't have the energy to care much about it either!) and also our next weekly appointment. While we are certainly ready for her to arrive any time, we're trying our best to be patient. If we can avoid evicting her before she is ready (induction), we'd like to. So long as she and I remain healthy (and her daddy keeps what's left of his sanity/patience - he's currently tapping his foot louder than I am!) than we're prepared to wait her out. And wait. And wait.

Not a lot has changed for Lillian - other than she continues to grow and mature while she makes us all await her entrance. She's still moving around like a champ, but now with quite a bit more force and power than her smaller self. While I'm certain she doesn't have a lot of space, she does what she needs to be cozy, my organs and skin be damned. Stubborn and strong willed... I cannot image who she got that from (her dad, of course).

I have been able to accomplish a few things - picked up some last minute items from the store with my mom (breast pump shopping is intimidating!), hung a few more things and organized Lily's closet... small projects that are keeping me occupied. Jeremy continues with his projects as well and I'm helping as much as I can (or I should say - as much as he'll let me!). He's done more work to organize our garage, is still working on the back porch (sanding, etc), and countless other small to-do's he is able to check off around the house. Hopefully getting out of our way a few distractions, so that we're ready for nothing but quality bonding time once Lily arrives.

I'm still getting around pretty well. The extra rest I've had these last few days has made a world of difference for my stress levels and general mental health. I am still getting up 3-4 times a night, but being able to sleep longer and rest more throughout the day is invaluable. It's amazing what a full 8 hours of sleep does for a person. I really cannot complain. We are so grateful to have made it to the marathon's finish line. There is a healthy baby girl in this tummy and our biggest 'problem' is being patient until she gets motivated and working to stay comfortable. I'd say that's pretty much the most wonderful problem a person can have.

Here I am at 40 weeks:

And for good measure, I thought I would throw in a couple more comparisons, just for fun. Who knows, they may be our last!

 At 20 weeks, we'd just found out we were having a baby girl and the nursery preparations began. 
At 30 weeks, I remember feeling GIANT. Oh the chuckle that gives me today.
And now, at 40 weeks, I look like that I could topple over with a breeze from the right angle!

The changes my belly has seen in just the last 10 weeks is remarkable. I don't even think I realized how much she (and I!) have grown in the last handful of weeks.

Lily's Nursery

Over the past few months you've had an opportunity to see bits and pieces of Lily's nursery as we've worked to pull it all together. From the hours Jerry and Jeremy spent installing the board and batten, to the painting, sewing, and constant reorganization of that small space... it is all done.

We could not be happier with how it turned out. She certainly has the nicest room in our house! It is such a calm place and we love spending time in there. Now we just need Lily to join us.

Here it is!

From the bedroom door

She has a lot of little friends waiting to meet her:

And do not get me started on her closet or her superb collection of clothes:

Her diapers are washed and ready for use:

Our cozy corner is stocked and ready with all that we'll need to spend time with Lily. The iPod (loaded with some good tunes), a support pillow, clock, and of course a good selection of books (housed in a magazine rack/holder that Grandpa Jerry made when he was in school - how cool is that?!).

Folks, I think we're ready. In classic Sarah fashion, I may even be over-prepared. I suppose my Type-A, Virgo, personality could have produced a worse flaw than my need to plan and prepare. We are just too excited to sit still.

We are forever grateful to everyone who helped pull this together. Our parents played a huge part in pulling this off - from shopping, to building, to making sure it had elements of our own childhoods, the handmade blankets and art from family, the amazing books, and our friends and their never ending generosity. There are consignment sale finds, hand-me-downs, designer items, handmade features... The thing I love best about Lily's room is that there really is no theme - it is the eclectic assembly of her whole family - blood or otherwise. We couldn't be more ready for her to love this space, and the people that made it happen, as much as we do.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Doctors Appointment Update

We had our weekly visit with the doctor yesterday (Wednesday). In addition to our normal measurements and heart rate monitoring, I had my first internal exam. He was checking to see if I was dilated and the general status of my cervix.

He swiped my membranes and determined I was about 1 - 1 1/2cm dilated and 80-90% effaced... follow that? Basically my cervix is almost all the way thinned out (the 'tunnel' is 80-90% gone) and open about 1 - 1 1/2 cm. He described it as very soft. All of these things are good. However, they really don't mean anything. I've had plenty of girl friends who walked away from exams 3+ cm dilated and stayed that way for weeks. I was only 1 or so cm and I could have this baby tonight. Only Lily knows for sure!

Oh, and HOLY COW no one warned me it would hurt so bad! He really rooted around in there and coupled with the back spasm I had from laying on the table... I was a hot mess. Not my most pleasant visit.

We talked about my general status and the doc determined that I needed to be done working. I am not getting enough rest, and coupled with everything else, it was time for me to take it easy. Which is not something easy for me to do! So, I drove to work today, doctors note in hand, wrapped up a few things with my replacement... and they gave me the boot.

I truly love my coworkers. I have the most supportive peers and managers. I could not have a greater group of friends at work. To think the next time I will see them, I will be a mom. WOW. Thank you! I truly appreciate all of you.

Now, we wait.

Hopefully she doesn't keep us in suspense too long!

Monday, August 6, 2012

39 Weeks

Lily is approximately 7+ pounds and should be around 20 inches long. This week she's compared to the size of a mini watermelon (my fav!). Her outer layer of skin is sloughing off, along with the remaining vernix, and new fresh baby skin is replacing it.

We've had a few contractions the last couple days - nothing we need to be sounding alarms for, it could still be a few weeks before she's here - but it's a nice little start to say things are at least moving in the right direction. My belly continues to get bigger, something I wasn't sure was even possible. Did I mention here the story about the lady in the elevator at the doctors office? If not, basically a complete strangers eyes bugged out as she exclaimed about how huge I was. Even when a woman is obviously pregnant - a damn near at the end - when did it become okay (at any time?!) to comment on a woman's size? For those that don't know or forgot - the answer is never. Ever. Being told you're huge, for whatever the beautiful reason, no bueno. There, I'm glad we got that lesson out. Now go forth and spread the word like gospel.

Physically - this part is hard. I know I've said it a thousand times now, but pregnancy isn't for wusses. Or maybe I'm a bigger weenie than I thought. Overall I've been pretty fortunate, but even with just the 'typical' stuff, it certainly isn't easy! I'm fairly achy most days, my hips especially after sleeping, I've had some days of decent swelling with this hot weather, heartburn, fatigue, etc. Thankfully I've been able to soak in a cool bath and that seems to offer some good relief on these 90 degree days.

Mentally I'm in a pretty good place. I was worried that when I got here I would be pacing up and down the hall, impatience at it's peak, losing my mind because she hadn't arrived yet. Just in case you don't know me at all - I skipped the day they handed out patience, and I've managed not to collect any more of it over the years. But here, I do have to give myself a bit of credit... I'm doing pretty well. I'm certainly ready to be done with pregnancy and to meet our daughter, but I haven't turned into Captain Crazy Pants. Yet.

Jeremy is definitely ready for her to arrive. When we went to sleep last night he laid in bed, rubbed my belly, and was sweetly asking Lily to come out. "I love you, Lily. You can come out now." I love those moments. Almost every time I stretch or groan he gives me a hard time, "Is it time yet??" He's like a kid anticipating the best Christmas morning ever. I absolutely love his enthusiasm. People continue to give him a hard time with the, "Oh, you just wait!" but he really is just as cool as a cucumber. I think his calm and excitement is really what is helping to keep things together for me as well. He's going to be a great daddy.

Our weekly visit with the doc is on Wednesday of this week, so we will continue to keep you posted with any exciting updates!

Tick Tock - the countdown begins!

39 Weeks:
(Final complete nursery photos will be coming next week!)