Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Special Delivery

On Friday, at 3:24 am, we welcomed our second child into the world. Finally! I was so happy to be in labor that I hardly believed I was until I heard the magical words from the labor and delivery nurse, "Ok, Dr. Brazzel says he's admitting you". That was around 10:30 on Thursday night. I don't think anyone there would have predicted that I would have a baby before morning, but I did. Once this baby decided she was finally cooked, she didn't waste any time.

Oh yeah! And I had a girl! I was quick to report to the doctor that though we didn't technically know what we were having, I had a very strong feeling that it was a gynormous boy creature whose name would be Wesley. I couldn't even remember the girl name when he asked me. So when Fiona Marie made her debut, in three whole pushes (5 minutes of pushing), weighing 7 pounds and 3 ounces, I was shocked. She really surprised her mommy. I'm still trying to figure out how she managed to kick me in the ribcage for the past 6 months, when she's 2 cm shorter than Sofia was at birth. I never felt Sofia's feet up in that region.

When we arrived on the labor floor, I was giving the unit clerk my information, while panting my way through a contraction, when this dude wearing surgical scrubs who was sitting there listening in asked me if I "take epidurals". "Yes, please, I'll have two." I responded. "As quickly as possible please." He was as good as his word and hooked me up with a great epidural that numbed me up completely. For about an hour. Then, my entire right side wore off and I had to finish up with a left side that was numb and a right side that decidedly wasn't numb, and a right leg that was tingling like crazy because the sensation was trying to come back. Plus I felt my catheter and that was gross. The funny thing is, this exact same phenomenon happened when I had Sofia, so I have to conclude that it must be due to some interesting physiological quirk in my spinal cord that will not allow me to have a completely pain free childbirth experience. I don't care. It was worth it to be pain free for that one hour.

I will spare the gross details of my intrapartum hemorrhage for another day. Suffice it to say that the doctor (who caught the majority of it in his lap) was looking mildly ill over the whole thing. I was too busy oogling my darling little creation to take much notice of the liter or so of blood that rushed out with the placenta. That was the doctor's problem to deal with.

Fiona was born without any of the drama that Sofia came into the world with. No infection, no respiratory issues, no jaundice (so far, fingers crossed). She just kind of plopped out and they wiped her off and wrapped her up in a blanket and handed her to me. Then they all went to the nurses station to take a nap and I was shocked to be left alone with my baby in my arms for the remainder of the night shift. When Sofia was born, I only got to see her for a few minutes and then she was taken away to the special care nursery for hours. Hugo passed out on the couch and I spent the rest of the morning staring in wide eyed disbelief at the bundle in my arms, carefully checking her every few minutes to be sure she was breathing.

She is tiny and perfect and all my pregnancy related sarcasm, frustration and irritability has melted away into a cloud of pillowy marshmallow new motherhood, with whipped cream on top. So enjoy it while it lasts, eh?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

39 Weeks (I can't believe I'm typing this)

Today I am officially 39 weeks pregnant. No I'm not. Actually, I went into labor three nights ago and delivered a healthy 8 pound baby the normal way with no pain medicine. I didn't even have an epidural. My doctor was amazed. I only pushed once. It only took 45 minutes from start to finish. Sofia is changing the baby's diaper as we speak and I am enjoying a much needed post-partum massage while Hugo gets caught up on a few housekeeping activities.
OK, back to reality. I'm still fat and pregnant. I still have cravings (last night it was Twizzlers, which I haven't eaten in years). Hugo is at work. I am trying to deal with contractions (that hurt but not enough to make me think I'm in labor) and take care of Sofia at the same time. We are currently watching Curious George and I'm thinking aobut a vanilla milkshake from McDonalds.
I worked two nights this week and was going to work tonight but my stamina feels like its finally reached its limit. I'm not worried about making it through an entire shift. I'm worried about what will happen if I decide to go into labor at the end of the shift. Is there any precident for a pregnant girl getting to 10 cms and refusing to push because she's tired and needs a nap? I'm not sure, but I have decided that I do not want to know. Stick a fork in me, I am officially done with work.
My doctor is on call this weekend and I have decided that one way or another, I am having a baby this weekend. Do NOT argue with me on this point. People who have had the nerve to argue with me, or say uncool things this week, have found that 3 cms dilated Lauren is a very different creature than her usual docile, easygoing self.
Its 5 oClock. I wonder if its too early to call Hugo and put in my vanilla milkshake order?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

38 Weeks

I'm now in uncharted territory (sort of). Since I had Sofia at 37 and a half weeks, I've never actually been 38 weeks pregnant. I gotta tell ya, its not that much different though. The bladder is scrunched up a little more (increasing my average nightly visits to the restroom by one or two), the stretch marks are looking a little stretchier, and the baby's feet are lodged somewhere up in the region of my ribs.

I bought Sofia a baby doll yesterday to play with, to prepare her for big sisterhood. She loves it. Violently. I'm frightened.

I've stopped counting the number of times I've been told by my co-workers that I've "dropped" since they last saw me. Whatever the hell that means. As far as I'm concerned, I haven't dropped until I've dropped the baby, like its hot, right out of me. Then I'll consider myself to have dropped. Until then, I'm still working and taking care of Sofia and functioning with an 8 or 9 pound bowling ball wedged inside my pelvic bones. Ouch.

This morning I really thought I was going into labor. I was having contractions, they seemed to be getting stronger as time went by, and I was READY. I had Hugo take the baby to daycare on his way to work, so I could focus on going into full-fledged labor, and I set about waiting for the definitive moment to come. It never happened. The contractions petered out and now I don't feel any closer to being in labor than I did 3 days ago. Darn. False alarm. I remember these from last time. Only last time, I went to the hospital several times, thinking I was in labor. Now, having actually been in labor, I won't be so easily fooled.

After my labor dreams went up on smoke today I pulled myself together and took advantage of not having Sofia with me to go and get my nails done. I went to Fancy Nail, this new place in the Publix Plaza near my house. Fancy Nail. Just one. Swear to God Val. It was great. I got a French manicure and my eyebrows waxed for 24 dollars. You can't beat that. I like getting my nails done and everything, but I always feel so gargantuan when I'm sitting there in front of this tiny little Asian person with my mits in her tiny little birdlike hands. Its even worse when I get my toes done. I always wait way too long between pedicures too, so they have to get that heel scraper thing out and shave the dead skin off the bottom of my feet. Its mortifying to see a pile of what looks like very thin potato chips on the floor underneath your feet. They probably lose their appetite for lunch because of me.

So here I am, another week into the pregnancy, waiting and wondering. I can't count down the days, because I don't KNOW how many days it will be, which is maddening. I never thought of myself as an impatient person, but this is just about killing me. I'm trying so hard to be all serene and let nature take its course like I'm sure Mrs. Dugger has done for every one of her 18 and counting kids. But right now, a little bit of Cervidil and some Pitocin amongst friends is starting to sound awfully nice...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Week 37

Week 37 is a magical time for every pregnant woman. It is the time when the prospect of labor becomes very real and very imminant. Its the special cutoff that marks the time when the doctor stops saying "stop" and starts saying, "go ahead, make my day". There were times when I thought I wasn't going to make it. There were moments of extreme despair when I felt like screaming "Why 40 weeks God? Why?" 40 weeks is, in my opinion (and I realize that I may sound somewhat sacriligous here), just too long.
Anyway, all that is behind me (almost) now. At most I have a month left to go. And believe me, it better not be a month. But even if it is, I think I might be able to do it. My bags are packed, the nursery (ie. my bedroom) is ready and there are several frozen dinners on hold in the freezer. I have an entire arsenal of baby girl clothes ready to go (leftover from Sofia of course) and one lonely newborn boy outfit for the child to wear home if it does indeed turn out to be a baby of the male variety. I'm sort of hoping for a boy, but that might just be because I know it will give me an excuse to go shopping right away if it is. Is that pathetic?
Yesterday Hugo asked me if I've been having any Alfred Hitchcock contractions. I think he meant Braxton-Hicks, but, having experienced a few contractions during Sofia's birth, I think Alfred Hitchcock would be a fine person to name them after. The Birds have nothing on a few good uterine squeezes for horror content. And if the definition of Braxton Hicks is indeed "painless practice contractions that get the uterus ready for labor" than the answer is no. Contractions hurt. All varieties that I have experienced hurt. I have never had one that felt "painless". Anyone who would dare to say that contractions are painless to a pregnant woman is either very brave or very stupid. Which leads me to believe that this Braxton Hicks character was probably a man.
My doctor told me that I looked like a ghost and I better take my iron pills and get my hematocrit up before the baby comes. I told him I was trying out for the new pregnant Twilight movie.
Every time I do any kind of housework, Hugo accuses me of nesting. Now, I realize that for most women, nesting would involve scrubbing floors with a toothbrush, reorganizing the closets and cleaning out the refrigerator. Should I be offended that my husband thinks my loading the dishwasher qualifies as nesting?
Irritability is a common, understandable side-effect of late pregancy. I don't remember being particularly irritable with Sofia, but this time around I sure am. Last week I brought Sofia to the pediatrician for her 15 month visit. There was a stocky little pest of a boy who was a good year older than Sofia who came over to the toy she was playing with and proceeded to begin slamming the little plastic doors on the toy alarmingly close to my darling one's fingers. "Jackson" his mother whined, "don't do that. Play nice with the little girl...". She looked at me with a simpering smile, as if I was supposed to be amused by this. Normally in this situation I would at least attempt to be civil, understanding that children at that age are not capable of exhibiting socially acceptable behavior at all times. But not that day. I got up and snatched Sofia away from the toy and the little boy and said, "Come on Sofia, let's play with a different toy" in a special tone with a stony glare at the other mom. She got the message. Don't mess with the pregnant momma.
And so, I begin this next and final phase of pregnancy with anticipation and a big question mark. When? How? Will my water break spontaneously like last time? Will I have to have a c-section? (I sincerely hope not). Will I get to the hospital in time for my epidural? (I better). Will the baby be born with a tan (ie, jaundice) this time, requiring several painful and emotionally scarring (for me) days under the bilirubin lights? Will I lose so much blood during the delivery that I will have to be intubated, transferred to the ICU, transfused with 20 units of blood products and ultimately rushed to emergency surgery for a hysterectomy? OK, I admit, this is a bizarre thing to wonder about, but ICU nurses only see the bad postpartum patients, so we tend to have a jaundiced (no pun intended) view of the birth process as a result. I've already let my doctor know ahead of time that I'm not that attached to my uterus, so if there's any shananigans after the baby is born, he'll skip the whole 20 units of blood products thing and just proceed directly to the hysterectomy. I need to be alive to take care of the babies I have thanks very much. I'm not one to cry over spilled reproductive organts. And if I wake up on a ventilator in the ICU with sore boobs and a swollen you-know-what, I'm NOT going to be amused.
And of course, the biggest question or blue?