Tag Archives: contractions

“This kid is proud and endowed…”

It all started at 2 am yesterday when I was awakened by the strong urge to run to the bathroom and eject my dinner. From then until about 5 am I had to pray to the porcelain gods every 15-30 min. Finally, I got a two hour break and slept. But the mass exodus of nutrient and liquid from my body continued periodically through the day. I was managing small sips of liquids (Pedialite is the most awful stuff ever, by the way) and actually thought I was managing the situation pretty well.

I am pretty sure this wasn’t typical morning sickness, although even Stephen had a hard time believing that at first given my history. Thing is I really haven’t been that sick this pregnancy compared to the other two. I have felt nauseous and there were a few dry heaving sessions early in the morning right at that 6-8 week intense period, but overall this pregnancy has been pretty easy. The last week and a half I have felt pretty good. I made dinner a couple nights and have been catching up on household chores like laundry and I even made it out of the house a few times to do some fun stuff with the kids. There is a stomach bug going around here (among other things like influenza, and the mucus/fever producing virus our kids and I got) I knew several people experiencing it.

Anyway, this just wasn’t like morning sickness. I know I am pregnant and that seems most probable, but I know my body and I knew this was some kind of stomach virus or food poisoning. A catalogue of what we’d eaten the past few days indicated that food poisoning would also be striking some other family member at this point that I’d shared a meal with. Since everyone else felt fine, knew that wasn’t it.

There was a misadventure yesterday while I was home with the kids by myself in my less than tip top shape. I didn’t want to get out of bed really so we closed off the upstairs, put Bean in diapers and let the kids have free reign of our bedroom and theirs. They checked in periodically with me, but mostly played nicely and quietly by themselves. However, dress up clothes, LittlePeople blocks, books, a rocking horse and a farm toy only could take them so far.

Late in the morning they made their way into our room and began raiding the closet. Sprout has a thing for my patent red Chinese Laundry flats so they were first to come out of the closet for sister to try to wear. This was followed by pretty much every other shoe we owned plus a few scarves and belts they were able to pull down.

At some point during all this I was called to my second favorite place that morning (with my bed being the first). When I was able to emerge, to my horror Sprout was walking around gnawing on a hunk of shoe polish and Bean was grinding the rest into the floor with the metal shoe polish canister. I swooped Sprout up and grabbed the big black waxy chunk out of his hands in a complete panic. Both kids had shoe polish all over themselves. I called Stephen screaming, “What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?” frantically into the phone. He texted the poison control hotline number over while I held Sprout under the sink to wash his mouth out of most of the particles. It didn’t seem like he swallowed much, just chewed on it. I got on the phone with poison control and the woman said, “You know, it’s mostly just wax with a little bit of dye in it. I really don’t expect much to happen.” Phew! I put Sprout in his crib and made Bean sit on her bed while I tried to clean up most of the mess. Then I promptly threw up. Called Stephen back to let him know it was all OK.

He came home for lunch and put the kids down for a nap and the rest of the day was uneventful. Though, Bean did pull out all the cloth diaper baskets and had strewn the cloth diapers all over her room after her nap, for fun. At one point I even started to feel more hungry (starving) than sick and managed to keep a few crackers and some toast down for three hours. But it wasn’t meant to be and back out it all came.

Stephen got home from work not too long after the kids woke up from their naps, although it was much too long for Sprout who had a stinky I couldn’t really deal with. He was kind of angry about it. Stephen got the kids changed and loaded up with plans for In-N-Out for dinner (I was obviously abstaining).

Well, about 10 min after he left I started feeling crampy low in my pelvis. Not good. Then they started to get regular, 30 seconds long and 3 min apart. What. The. Heck. I hadn’t thrown up most of the afternoon. I had been doing good with my sips of juice and water. Not good enough apparently.

Called Stephen, “I need to go to the ER right now. I am having contractions.” Left a message for my midwife to update her on this latest development and Stephen was back home. After a quick change (I know this is low priority, but I am vain and my snowman PJ pants were not appropriate plus they really clashed with the bright orange tank top I had on) we were in the car and a few minutes later checking in to the ER.

I hate hospitals and pretty much wanted to turn around and leave. But I didn’t and got checked in quickly. Then more waiting. Sister-in-law and her husband came by. She sat with me while Stephen went back to the house for overnight supplies with the kids and his brother-in-law and to eat since my call interrupted that earlier.

I met with the on-call doctor. She said it sounded like a stomach bug too and that they’d seen a lot of it. I would be having an IV to get me hydrated, blood work to check my electrolyte levels, anti-nausea meds, an ultrasound and a pelvic exam during my stay. They would get me a room ASAP. Nice. Mostly this was old hat for me after everything I went through with Bean’s pregnancy. I knew what to expect, but why did I need a pelvic exam?

Anyway, sister-in-law got to go back with me for the ultrasound (Stephen still wasn’t back yet). The ultra-sound tech had a good sense of humor. He looked at baby. Baby was measuring 16 weeks, not the 14 from my due date. And even though we told him I didn’t want to know the gender before I knew it there he was with the legs splayed on the screen for all to see.

“Are you sure you don’t want to know?”
“Well I can pretty much see it.”
“Yeah, this kid’s proud and endowed. Hmmm oh wait, no that might be the umbilical cord. Let me take a look here…”

He then switched to the blood flow view and decided it was the umbilical cord.

“So, still unconfirmed. You get your surprise.”

When I came back Stephen was there. Got to talk to our midwife. She said they wanted to do a pelvic exam to see if I was dilated at all, but I could decline it. I decided this seemed like a good reason.

So a blood draw for blood tests (which came back normal), two bags (liters) of saline, lots of shivering, some Reglan (hate that stuff all it ever does is make me go to the bathroom), four near emergency trips to the bathroom, more shivering, some Imodium, some Zofran and a pelvic exam (which showed I was not dilated) later, it was 11 pm and they were discharging me with a dose of Zofran to take home and a prescription for more.

Overall the experience was much better than any at the ER in Bakersfield, but I still hate hospitals and getting IVs.

Got a great night of sleep. Woke up with a Zofran headache and actually don’t feel too nauseous. Hope today is better and I can keep down food.

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“You’re still pregnant?!”

As each day goes by I still hear my former OB’s voice in my head (the title of this post) when I walked into his office at 41+4 in all my huge, pregnant glory.

That was a very nerve wracking day as I went from station to station at our medical group wondering if I was going to be given a bunch of chemicals and end up with a c-section by the end of the day.

And maybe then, as now, I should just stop viewing my lack of going into labor on my own as this horrible thing that is going to automatically spiral down into a c-section. I know quite a few of my readers have had them for various reasons and it really isn’t the end of the world or life or anything. So I should probably stop thinking of it like that. And many more of my readers have had successful inductions that did not result in c-sections.

But I really, really want another homebirth. It’s just me.

Anyway, I guess that is sort of a tangent from what I originally sat down to write about in this post.

Yesterday we made a quick trip to Bakersfield (as in drove straight there and turned around and came back) to see my midwife. I’m still growing, baby is still growing, baby is still moving, heartrate is good. She thinks the baby feels around 8lbs which has me a bit worried since I tore with Bean and she was only 7lbs 4oz at birth. I was definitely more dilated than last time (though she didn’t give me an exact number) she saw me, so I guess all these false alarms have at least been doing something.

We talked about the due date and those handy wheels OBs and midwives alike use. I guess one version of the wheel is 40 weeks plus 2 days and another version is 40 weeks. And up until 10 years ago you weren’t even considered past due until you actually hit 42 weeks, which explains to me why my mom’s OBs never gave her a hard time about her crazy cycles and when the baby had to be born by or why Stephen’s mom was allowed to go until 42 weeks with him.

Upon reviewing my fertility chart this morning, I had a very gradual temperature shift that occured between April 4 and 9. Using a simple due date calculator, that puts my due dates between December 26 and 31. So, I could just be as little as 41+4 today or I could be as much as 42+2. And then there is the admittedly inaccurate 20 week ultrasound due date of Jan. 7 which would only make me 40+4 (though a review once again of my chart suggests that there is a very slight possibility that this date works).

Anyway, I’m getting restless and nervous that things are not going to go the way I planned (do they ever?). So, I had my midwife strip my membranes yesterday. I’m sure this might sound slightly shocking to some of you since I’ve seemed so against this idea on here. Really, though I’m not against it, especially in a situation like mine where I’m overdue and I’d like to go into labor as naturally as possible.

I just think that patients have rights including consent and the right to be informed about things that are being done to them. When I was pregnant with Bean, I actually went into my OBs office that day planning to ask him to do just that thing, but for one thing he was making me really mad and uncomfortable because of how that appointment went. I felt intimidated like he thought I was the biggest idiot in the world and now here he was going to get to tell me “I told you so,” and as such I didn’t ever get to the point where I felt like I could even ask him anything. Then, under the guise of doing a normal cervical check he went ahead and did it anyway without asking me or telling me and when I mentioned that it was the most painful and uncomfortable and long check I’d experienced the whole pregnancy he LIED and said that he was checking out the shape of my pelvis. Well after yesterday I am now completely sure that he stripped my membranes because that was exactly what it felt like. Furthermore it isn’t exactly the most comfortable thing to go through, it would be nice to be a little prepared for what’s coming so you can breathe or try to think about something else or any of the other coping mechanisms one might use.

End of rant.

So after that yesterday I was really crampy and then I even started having some fairly intense contractions on the way home (last 20 minutes of our car ride was EXCRUCIATING, I seriously don’t know how you ladies make it to the hospital in full on labor, also something needs to be done about the bumpiness of CA-23). They were 4 minutes apart, getting progressively intense and then they just stopped. Again. And my midwife is probably laughing because she said, “I can do this, but I don’t think it will do anything really. If your body is ready, it is ready. We all have our little things that we think starts labor, but I tend to think it is all just coincidence.”

So if I still haven’t had this baby by Wednesday morning she wants me to call my OBs office (that I haven’t seen since November, for some reason I feel really awkward about that phone call even though things ended on very amicable terms with their office even wishing me the “very best” and to “keep in touch”) and get an NST done and see what he thinks.

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Diuretics. Or why I wanted to rip my face off a few hours into 2010.

So where was I on this whole ongoing birth story again?

Oh yeah, I’d given up all hope of ever going into labor. Castor oil did not work, but luckily I didn’t have any of the severe side effects.

Anyway, turns out it was kind of a really good thing that the castor oil did nothing because my midwife was a little busy attending two other births that day.

Yesterday Stephen and I started off the day with Bean up bright and early. So we decided to take her to the park and do some walking. Well, more like I decided and Stephen went along with it. He had the day off, what else was he going to do?

So the walk does nothing except exhaust me. We get home around Bean’s naptime so I promptly put her down and then went into my bedroom to put myself down.

I can’t really get into the details, but about 30 minutes after I laid down some drama started and pretty much lasted all day. So we were both basically emotionally exhausted.

So it was pretty nice when we got a last minute invite over to my sister-in-law’s for a small gathering of friends to ring in the New Year.

As I was showering to get ready I felt a couple of contractions. I wasn’t sure if they were Braxton Hicks or real. They certainly hurt more than Braxton Hicks usually do, but they were too long and indistinct, unlike real contractions. This isn’t an uncommon occurance during a shower though so I just dismissed it.

And as always these friends (and family) did not disappoint. Stephen and I got some much needed belly laughs in playing silly games, snacking on yummy hors d’ouvres and roasting marshmallows in the fireplace for smores. As we drove home around 2am we both commented on how much we needed that tension release after our day and just how great it was.

During the course of the evening I felt a few more of the uncomfortable hybrid Braxton Hicks, but again dismissed it. Maybe they were more uncomfortable because of all the laughing, I thought to myself.

Anyway, as much fun as the evening was I made a terrible mistake in that I did not drink any water while I was there and instead had two glasses (actually plastic cups) of Coca Cola instead. For one thing I was trying to stay awake to ring in the New Year. Plus, I rarely get to drink the stuff so I kind of indulged.

Well, caffeine is a diuretic which is a substance that basically dehydrates you. I’ve read numerous times that for every caffeinated or alcoholic (another diuretic) beverage you consume, you should be having 1-2 glasses of water alongside it to avoid dehydration.

Yeah, I knew this and did not do it even though as a pregnant woman staying hydrated is even more important than most. I guess this means you should give me my sign right now.

On our way home from the party I commented that I wasn’t sure if I was having contractions or just so sore from all the laughing. By the time we got home I knew that I was having some sort of contractions. I even actually saw the start of one when I stood in front of the bathroom mirror while washing my hands.

Stephen said we shouldn’t worry about them and try to get as much rest as possible. He tried to coach me into relaxation in our bed, but it wasn’t working for me. These things hurt and didn’t seem to stop hurting. I felt like I was on a never ending abdominal workout. Plus, I was also experiencing some restless leg syndrome symptoms which have started in the last few weeks and basically it means that just as I am drifting off to sleep I have the incredible and irresistible urge to kick something really hard, jerk my legs, run a marathon, I don’t know. I just have. to. do. something. with. my. legs.

So I decided to go downstairs. I was very delighted to find out when I got online that my friend Barbie that was due within days of me was also possibly in labor (turns out she really was and has probably already had her baby at this point, anxiously awaiting some news!). I started trying to time the contractions which was slightly difficult because my belly just hurt so much! But I did manage to do it and discovered that my old friends 1 minute long and 2 minutes apart were back in action.

This isn’t how labor normally starts. So even though they hurt a lot more I was pretty skeptical that this was the real deal. It was about 3am at this point. I laid on the couch and managed to slightly dose off until 4:45am. I felt like I “dreamed” (not sure if that is what I actually did) about contractions the whole time. They hurt so bad. When I “woke” up I was just miserable. Why wasn’t I getting a break?

I started timing them again and they hadn’t changed in duration or frequency, but they had gotten more intense. I also learned that Barbie was actually headed to the hospital! As for me, I was still debating whether I should wake up my midwife or not. I was so skeptical that this was the real deal. I knew this wasn’t how labor was supposed to be.

Finally, around 5am I decided to just give her a call and see what she thought. She agreed that the fact that the contractions hadn’t changed in duration or frequency seemed suspicious. I told her I would take a bath and drink some more water and keep her updated.

So I did all that. When I got out of the tub I was just so overwhelmed at not getting a break and the contractions hurting so. freaking. bad. that I started crying. Stephen woke up and tried to make me comfortable in our bed. He was trying to get me to stay calm and relaxed, but it hurt and I wasn’t getting a break. It really, really hurt.

He called our midwife back up and it was during this conversation that we figured out my hydration problem. She said that if I was dehydrated it could cause an irritable uterus and that could be why I was in so much pain. She suggested walking around and drinking more water.

Well, walking around did not help. It just made me belly get all hard and contracted and stay that way and then it was crampy and really sore on top of that. I was having a hard time maintaining my composure. It just really, really hurt!

I kind of figured out at this point though that there really didn’t seem to be real contractions happening. I wasn’t really that crampy low, rather it was more across the middle section of my belly. There weren’t waves of contractions, just constant pain like you’ve worked out much too hard. Stephen called our midwife back again and she said that it would probably take a couple hours for the water I’d started drinking at 2am when we got home to kick in and rehydrate me. Once that happened, I would probably feel a lot better. She said another bath might help.

So another bath was drawn. I kept a water bottle by my side and Stephen dutifully rubbed my back the whole time. About thirty minutes to an hour later I finally was no longer in pain, just really exhausted. No more contractions were happening so we both got into bed. Stephen called our midwife again and let her know that it was all over and we were all glad that she didn’t have to make another trip out here for nothing.

Lesson learned. No more diuretics. Drink lots of water.

Maybe this baby will eventually decide to make an appearance.

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We are going on false alarm #5 over here…

Since Sunday, I’ve had four more false alarm contractions sessions. It is getting a little annoying.

The second to last time was over 21 hours long. The contractions never really picked up in intensity, but were just annoying and strong enough to keep me from sleeping or napping. I was actually a tiny bit relieved when it was finally over with yesterday because I knew it meant I would finally get to sleep.

So last night we were blessed with pretty much an entire night contraction free and sleep issue free as well (which, those of you who have been through pregnancy know all about that third trimester insomnia). I slept straight through from about 11pm to 5am when my bladder woke me up. I don’t even remember the last time that happened.

Upon relieving my bladder, drinking a little water, rearranging my pillows and climbing back into bed, I was hit with some fairly serious contractions. Much more intense than any of the ones I’d felt in the previous days. I seriously felt like it was impossible to breathe during them. After about three of these guys I woke up Stephen because I thought for sure this was going to be the real deal.

We started timing them and they were more along the lines of what early labor should look like: slightly intense contractions that are about 4-5 minutes apart. The contractions in previous days had always been around 2 minutes apart and were not intense at all, just annoying. They were intense in that I had to concentrate on breathing through them, but still not hard labor.

So little praise to my husband here. He has actually been reading the Bradley childbirth book and it has been like a dream come true. Just in these few false alarm experiences I can tell a HUGE difference between this time around and Bean’s birth.

If you remember from Bean’s birth story, upon arriving home I had him install our carseat. This was mainly because I honestly felt like he would be more of an annoyance to me than help. A few hours later when he was asking me questions like, “What do you want me to do?” and “Do you want to wear a sports bra?” I was definitely annoyed. I was in hard labor and couldn’t really begin to think about what he needed to be doing and didn’t really want to make a decision about whether or not I should be wearing a sports bra when our midwife arrived.

This time has not been like that at all. Stephen totally takes charge of the situation. There are not 50 questions about what to do. He knows what to do and he handles it and gets it done. This morning when I was having trouble breathing while lying down and found that sitting up helped more, instead of letting me sit with no back support on our bed, he ran around the house gathering up pillows to get me propped up and as comfortable as possible. He rolled a towel to stick near my lower back and provide counter pressure during contractions since back massage wouldn’t be easy in my semi-reclined position. He was completely attentive to every body part when a contraction was going on and constantly reminding me to relax my forehead or not clench my hands. He payed attention to my breathing and reminded me to stay calm and take deep breaths. Gave me visualization cues to concentrate on during a contraction.

In short it was awesome. A couple weeks ago Stephen said he has learned way more from the book than he ever did from our childbirth class. The class was useful, but the book just provides way more information about what to do in certain situations and why to practice things like breathing through a contraction standing up in case your wife has to go to the bathroom during labor and has one on the way there, etc. So for all those men out there that say they don’t need to read the book and that they’ll just get enough information from their childbirth class, I offer up this example. Books really do get the information into your head in a different way and a more thorough way, in my opinion. And I think anyone who says that they don’t need to read the book is just being lazy. You have nine months to get the reading done. It really isn’t that much. Be a good coach. Read the book. End of public service announcement for all the husbands who are probably not even reading this.

Anyway, back to my story. After about an hour of timing, my husband called our midwife and based on what we were experiencing, she too thought this sounded like the real deal. So she left Bakersfield fairly early this morning and carefully navigated her way through some soupy valley fog and an hour of LA freeway driving.

Stephen got everything arranged with his sister to watch Bean and got her all packed up and out the door.

By the time my midwife arrived the contractions were around three and half minutes apart, but still around the same intensity level. She did a cervical check which hurt like heck because I had a contraction during it. I was so disappointed when she told me that I was still the same as our visit from over the weekend which was 2cm and my cervix was still posterior. Seriously? All these contractions and intensity and no progress at all? What the heck?

She said we should go for a walk and see if that helped things progress. So we did a couple laps around our apartment complex. During our walk I stopped being able to feel individual contractions because I was experiencing some fairly instense pelvic pressure. When we got back to our apartment, I still had a lot of pressure and was not feeling any contractions. Then as I sat for a bit the pelvic pressure began to subside, but I still was not feeling any contractions. I was starting to get even more disappointed. Not only was this seeming to turn out to not be the real deal, my midwife drove two hours to hang out for nothing for a few hours and my sister-in-law and her family had to get all coordinated and rearranged to watch Bean. Plus this was false alarm NUMBER FIVE. I was starting to feel like the boy who cried wolf.

A few minutes later I got up and walked around our livingroom. I started having some contractions again, but they were really weak and didn’t seem to have any pattern. Stephen was making me some food to eat and by the time I’d finished my meal I wasn’t feeling anything. It was all over.

So completely frustrating.

Because of work schedules and vehicle coordination, my sister-in-law wound up watching Bean the whole day. While it was kind of nice to be baby-free, after about an hour of sewing and hanging out by myself I was pretty much bored and already missing Bean. So I guess if anything this helped me realize that I’m glad we’re no longer DINKS.

Anyway, that’s your second installment of Baby Watch 2009. Stay tuned…

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38 weeks, a false alarm story.

Sunday afternoon on our way home in the car I thought I felt a few contractions. But I was kind of in denial about the whole thing and thought that maybe it was just the way I was sitting or the car ride itself. They were pretty mild.

I was exhausted because Bean decided to wake up at 4:30am and talk to herself until 8am when we finally decided to stop fighting it and get up with her. Her vocabularly recently increased so she’s pretty facinated with her new “words” (mewing like a kitten, barking like a dog, cawing like the crows at our apartment complex, OK, bye bye, no, upstairs, toes, and ew… with OK, ew and the animal sounds being particular favorites… oh and ew comes with a scrunched face to match). So anyway the plan was for me to take a nap when we got home.

Once I was laying in bed with nothing else to really think about I definitely knew that what I was experiencing was contractions, albiet very light ones. I laid there for a few minutes and then decided it might be a good idea to tell Stephen what was going on. So I did. Then of course he went into full manager of the situation mode. Brought the computer upstairs so I could use the Contraction Master site to start timing the contractions. Called our midwife. Started packing up Jillian for a possible overnight (which with her dietary issues is a little more complex than most kids).

They were extremely mild and if I was doing other stuff and not paying attention I would miss them. I tried taking a bath to make them go away, but they were still happening. My midwife said taking a walk and drinking more water might help. So we went to get some lunch and walked around a shopping center for a bit while I drank a whole liter of water. They still were not going away and starting to get a little stronger.

We talked to Stephen’s sister about watching Bean. Stephen also talked to her husband (his boss) about the week ahead work wise. I decided that I really wanted to take a shower because it might be my last chance to do so for a couple days. So I did that. I even shaved my legs because it just seemed important. I had some pretty strong, physically visible contractions in the shower. Got out, blow dried my hair. Still having contractions.

Then I went downstairs and got on the computer to try and distract myself and everything completely stopped. And it has been that way ever since. I’m still kinda pissed about missing my nap yesterday and for going through all that to have it turn out to be nothing. In all it was about 3.5 hours of regular contractions about a minute and a half apart and 15-30 seconds in duration.

So anyway, that’s the latest Baby Watch 2009 update. Figured it was blog worthy.

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