summer will be over way too soon!
summer will be over way too soon!
Last Friday Annabel and I went to see the nurse at our pediatrician's office to weigh in. They don't normally require a 4-week checkup, but after her bout with jaundice they wanted to make sure she was gaining weight OK.
I'd say mission accomplished there -- she weighed 9 lbs 8 oz. Just 2 weeks earlier she weighed 7 lbs 6.5 oz. Ah, the powers of breastmilk...
So, all I've pretty much been doing the last couple of weeks is sitting around feeding the baby. Or changing the baby. Or giving her a bath. I do other things in between, but mostly it's about the baby, which is as it should be right now.
Today Otto and I had grand plans to go to the library, but the morning slipped away from us. Then we made hummus for lunch and (miracle of miracles) we all three crashed and took naps. Once O's up in a bit we'll get organized and out the door to the library for sure. But the list for Target (wipes, a birthday present, etc.) will likely have to wait until tomorrow while Otto's at school.
He volunteered to hold Annabel for awhile this morning. I offer every now and then, but he hasn't been interested since we took those photos when we were first home. He held her a few minutes and admired her, then said "OK, now you hold the baby." There's not a lot else he can do besides say "what a cute baby!" and occasionally retrieve a burp cloth for me, so I was glad he wanted to snuggle. He's also discovered that I'm a captive audience when breastfeeding, which means he can go get his longest picture book and demand I read it to him with about a 95% success rate.
And now it's time to feed the baby again... and see if Otto's ready to get up. Next time I have computer time, I'll have to describe our wonderful holiday weekend.
Three weeks ago I left work on Friday evening, had dinner with friends, and went home to crawl into bed and sleep like the dead. I had plans for Saturday, namely going back to work for a few hours to meet with our IT consultant, sign off on a small pile of invoices, and finish setting up the adult summer reading program.
But as I was puttering around the next morning I decided I felt kind of funny. Not bad, just off. Tired. And a little voice in the back of my head said "maybe you shouldn't drive out to work this morning" (remember, my library is 25 miles from my house). So I didn't. I called in and talked to a staff person instead, and when the IT consultant called me at 10:30 to go over our agenda I was lying on the sofa with a glass of water in my hand, waiting to see if the contractions I was having would subside. They were mild and irregular -- I thought maybe I'd overdone it Friday, nothing more.
Jon was running errands. Otto was watching Cars. I was doing laundry. I talked to Amanda, who was on her way here to visit for the weekend (I laughed when I told her I was having contractions. She, smart woman, put her foot down a little harder on the accelerator.). I talked to a local midwife about her VBAC class and got a couple of doula recommendations.
Around 11:30 I realized the contractions weren't going away. I spent awhile timing them and called the midwife to check in (I think it was noon). My midwife called back after a bit and said "well, we like our 2nd-time moms to come in when contractions are 5-7 minutes apart" (mine were around 6-7 minutes when I talked to her). I hung up the phone and thought "holy cow, I'm really in labor!" After that, time got fuzzy. I called Jon and got him home, grabbed the pile of clothes and necessaries I'd been stockpiling for the hospital and dropped them into a duffle bag, found the camera and Otto's bag... and we were out the door. In that short time period (an hour, tops) I went from 6-7 minute contractions to 4 minutes.
We pulled into the main drive at the hospital around 3pm and I climbed out of the car clutching my pillow and shoulder bag. Jon and Otto wheeled off to find a parking spot and meet up with our friend Andy, who was pinch-hitting for us with Otto, and I walked into the lobby. At the information desk the woman took one look at me and said "you can go ahead and take the elevator to the 3rd floor" (labor and delivery), so I walked down the hall and stepped onto the elevator. And then I was in triage, explaining to the admitting nurse that my midwife was on her way. The next thing I knew, the resident was yelling "this patient is 7 to 9 centimeters!" That was sort of scary, but as they hustled me out of there I said to the nurse, "well, my goal was to be in active labor when I got here." She laughed and said I'd done it.
By the time Jon handed Otto off and found his way up to triage I was already in a room. The midwife arrived and everyone started getting set up while I sat in a chair by the bed and went from 7 to 10 centimeters. It was only 4 or 4:30, and everything was moving so quickly that I started to freak out. Jon was on and off the phone with Amanda, explaining how to get to Andy's house and then the hospital. Then the midwife broke my water and told me it was time to push -- and I completely lost it.
I said no. I wasn't going to push, not without drugs. At the time it made total sense -- either they gave me drugs or they were going to have to find another way to get the baby out. Jon, the LDR nurse and my poor midwife traded looks of total disbelief across the bed. I would've laughed at myself if I'd had any sense of humor left. I knew I wasn't going to get an epidural, I didn't even really want to be immobilized by an epidural, but I didn't know what else ask for.
I'd thought about this during the pregnancy. I knew pushing could be a mental block for me. I pushed for 4 hours with Otto (2 au naturel, 2 with an epidural), but never felt anything like I did the first time I tried pushing with Annabel. Contractions? I knew what those were about, I had a strategy for those that worked pretty well until the very end. But pushing was completely new, and once I hit transition I couldn't think of a way to cope. There was no time to think, it was all moving too fast. My midwife tried to talk me down (yes, this feels different but everything's ok -- two big pushes and this baby will be out!) and I pushed a couple of times, but in the end I begged until they gave me some Stadol.
Once that kicked in and I had several minutes to breathe I felt better, calmer and more in control. I still didn't want to push but I was able to focus and do it. And 45 minutes later Annabel was born, healthy and beautiful with lots of dark hair.
So, let's recap -- first baby, 40 weeks pregnant, 30 hours of labor followed by a c-section. Second baby, 37 weeks pregnant, 0-60 in less than 8 hours. Is it any wonder I felt a little unprepared?
I feel bad about freaking out and demanding drugs. My intent was to make it through without anything, but even though I failed at that it was still a million times better than my first delivery. Within an hour of the birth Amanda and Hallie and my Otto were all in the room, admiring the baby and celebrating. Then my dear friend took the kids home, leaving Jon with me for the night.
Looking back, it would be difficult to think of ways it could've gone better. I had the delivery I'd hoped for, even faster and easier than I'd dared to imagine. My best friend was here to cheer me on and help take care of my boy. And less than 48 hours later we took home a healthy, happy baby on a beautiful sunny summer day.