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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Margaret's Birth Story, Part I (pre-hospital)

So Margaret is a few months old now... and I feel like it's a good time to get back to blogging. I hope you'll enjoy reading these posts - I want to continue to be writing honest and realistic memories and reflections about my pregnancy, my birth story for her, and my adjustments to life as a Mom! So sometimes I may share more than is typical... but due to my honesty following our struggle for me to become pregnant... get over it! This blog is my space and I want to be a resource for anyone else who may have questions or want to know if others had their experience. Love!

My due date (March 17) came and went with Miss Margaret still not making an appearance. On Monday, March 20 I stayed up late in the evening to get some reading and organizing done (I REALLY needed to catch up on my hometown monthly paper The Rockbridge Advocate). Midnight passed. I was getting ready to go to bed and literally was laying down into bed at around 2:00am on Tuesday, March 21 when my water broke. I thought I had finally lost bladder control... but you quickly realize it's your waters when it just keeps going! Some mucus had passed in small pieces the past couple days (when you end up 'overdue' you really just feel the need to look into the toilet bowl...haha!) but I wasn't sure if there was any discharge or not. When my waters finally broke it was clear with very little blood. I shook Michael awake (who had been asleep for 2-3 hours), I said, "I think my waters broke..." and his very tired-REM sleep response was, "are you kidding me?" HAHA! I recall saying, "YES" and maybe even, "Yes, asshole!" I remember being both excited but also SO PISSED that I wasn't going to be able to get a full night of sleep before my labor started. By the time I hobbled to the W.C. there was some mucus visible - clear, white and snotty looking with some traces of brown (dried blood color). Thankfully, we had put a waterproof mattress cover over our mattress so I just plopped a towel down over the spot as it wasn't so much that I couldn't just lay there and try to nap once I returned to bed.

I felt really gross, so I told Michael to call the OB on duty line for our practice and I was going to take a shower. I remember him coming in with a disappointed face, and it turned out our favorite Obstetrician had been on duty that overnight, which meant she wouldn't be present when we delivered. Thankfully due to my PCOS and IUGR issues, we had gotten to know everyone in the practice so well! I enjoyed my shower and made sure to really enjoy it... I didn't know when the next one would be. I had gotten my hair and nails done in the two weeks leading up, so I felt as ready as I could be. I remember standing in the shower thinking, 'this is it' and feeling nervous about what all the labor could entail. I was excited to see what Margaret would look like, but the biggest thing is I was so scared she was going to be severely underweight and that we may get moved across town to UVA and the NICU. So there were many prayers about all of that... you just can't help it! I remember some early contractions pretty much right away, but they were so faint I didn't really know that's what they were as they were more at my back than anywhere else. I recall Mike said that the OB wanted us to go to sleep, so I sent Mike to bed and I... just lay there. I think I maybe got a 2 hour nap in before the labor really started moving.

We started tracking contractions when I learned what a contraction REALLY felt like. That happened at 5:48am. It was like a dull throbbing pain, but not as bad as I thought it would be. That said, I had had awful menstrual cramps for years and these early contractions weren't nearly as bad as those are for me. The fact that they gradually increased helped me kind-of surrender to the growing pain that I would still consider a discomfort more so than pain.

Contractions continued for several hours. Mike called the OB office during the workday, and we told them about the contractions, how they were pretty far apart and not regular (and when they were regular... still super far apart). We called my parents to let them know I was in labor but we'd rather they come after delivery... but Mike would keep them posted. My Dad responded by texting me a photo of the outfit he was wearing in honor of "his girls" - SO CUTE!
Mike called out of work to start his paternity leave. He also got our sweet Lily dog out of the house to go to her pet sitter for the next few days.
I took a bath to relax and be calm (and kill time)(but it turned out it stalled my labor... UGH). Day turned to evening again. We called the OB on duty again when I was about to go to bed... probably about 9:00 at night. I had wanted to labor at home as long as possible, but Mike was starting to get nervous (I really was fine, even though the contractions were uncomfortable I was prepared for that). The OB on duty wanted us to come in, I didn't want to, but Mike's face told me he would feel better so I had a really solid ugly cry about this not being my birth plan and I knew the baby was fine as our midwife class told us what to do about laboring at home and his stupid face was ruining it for me. haha. This OB on duty had already started discussing interventions and I was SO NOT HAPPY. So we got our bags and headed to the hospital which was a 30+ minute drive away. The next time we would be home it would be with Margaret!

When we arrived at the hospital it was so quiet. The parking garage was empty, it was a very still, cold winter night. At Martha Jefferson we go straight to the Birthing Wing - and since I pre-registered - and my OB on duty told them we were coming in - everything was a breeze (still had some paperwork though)(stupid bureaucracy). I had a contraction while we were speaking to the nurses at the check in desk. I remember just rocking back and forth in Michael's arms - like we were slow dancing - and it was so quiet in that hospital you could hear a pin drop. We were one of maybe 3 couples on the unit that evening when we checked in. We got to our room and it was just as serene and lovely as it had been in the hospital tour so while my tension was mounting I was also feeling at ease knowing everything would be alright. At this point it's just about 11:00pm on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, and I'm ready to get this show on the road!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Weeks 38 - 40 Pregnancy Journal

40 weeks here!

How Far Along? 40 weeks, 1 day - as of today 3/18/2017

Week 38 Began: Friday, March 3

39 weeks in this photo with our dog, Lily

Week 39 Began: Friday, March 10
Week 40 Began: Friday, March 17

Size of Baby (at 40 weeks): the size of a red panda, minus the fluffy tail or a watermelon (average is 20 inches tall and 7.5 lbs)

Gender: A girl, Margaret

Weight Gain: hovering around 188-194 pounds most days

Maternity Clothes: I've finally really popped at 38 weeks, with the baby continuing to drop down I think I'm really showing now at weeks 39 and 40. Shirts can barely cover my stomach!

Nursery: We have been given so many gorgeous gifts the past few weeks - handmade items! A handmade quilt from one of my boarding school professors, two knit hats and a throw blanket from someone who trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with M, and the spouse of a coworker of M's sent him home with a stroller blanket and a throw blanket. So girly and sweet!

Quilt from one of my retired boarding school professors - gorgeous and matches the nursery perfectly!

Movement: Margaret is still moving a lot all day long. She has definitely dropped but she has still really active so the Docs have no concern about rushing to induce me before we get to 41 weeks and then we will reassess.

Symptoms: Heartburn, calf stiffness, and now hip stiffness on both sides from when I'm sleeping and moving from side to side overnight. Side-sleeping really has been an adjustment.

Side Effects: We've had some global warming weather shifts that have been really dramatic lately. So we've been running 3 humidifiers in the house but I've had more issues tied to that than this pregnancy - dry nose, dry eyes, sniffles, etc.

Sleep: It's fine... except I'm now getting up due to needing to pee all the time. I mean, ALL the time. Totally wild. But trying to keep up with as much sleep or naps as I can.

Cravings: Just hungry in general quite often!

What I Miss: No heartburn. No muscle aches. Being able to bend over easily to put on socks!

Best Moment This Week: Finding out at 39 weeks 5 days I was finally ONE whole CENTIMETER dilated. haha. But also good progress in that my cervix is anterior. She'll arrive when she is ready!

What I Learned This Week: You can eventually run out of things to do when you aren't working and your baby is due to arrive at any time. Also, I got a manicure and pedicure last week and that was really nice - that pedicure felt AMAZING!

Looking Forward To: Active labor starting at some point.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Week 37 Pregnancy Journal

How Far Along? 37 weeks

Week 37 Began: Friday, February 24

Size of Baby: a bunch of swiss chard (or "winter melon" (19" or more, around 6.33 pounds))

Gender: A girl, Margaret

Weight Gain: hovering around 186-192 pounds most days (apparently I "lost" weight this week and they thought I had caught the local stomach bug going around. Nope... just going #2 a bit more regularly now. haha). But in all honesty they have always weighed me on the heavier end as I usually have OB appt after breakfast, lunch, in mid to late afternoon with lots of clothes on!

Maternity Clothes: maternity yoga pants, Uggs, cardigans, shelf bra tank tops, and dresses if they can stretch around my ever expanding chest (more chest than tummy/uterus for me!).

Nursery: We ended up getting a few more gifts in the mail or from coworkers but we are basically done with all nursery items except for hanging up artwork! Note the sweet handmade throw on our chair in the top of the photo - it's pink and orange with a white border - that same former coworker also made us a little pink cape/shawl for Margaret as well!

Movement: Margaret is still moving a lot all day long. She lets me know if she doesn't like a position I'm hanging out in. Obstetrician today said she was still head down and in the right position but her head was kinda buoyed up a little bit more than she was two weeks ago. But still dropped.

Symptoms: some heartburn. Not as frequent but when it's there it is awful! Insomnia. Biggest symptom this week is from my calves cramping up, kind of a restless legs syndrome feeling more so than a charley horse.

Side Effects: Nesting, eye sensitivity, bladder pressure, feeling more full in the front which makes me a little off on my feet when I try to get out of bed in the morning (I have to roll around and out otherwise my muscles feel pulled around my pelvis).

Sleep: I have to get up more in the middle of the night to go to the loo. She is a bit more insistent in her kicks regardless of my sleeping on my left or right sides. Still trying to get as much as I can, while I still can. A crappy night is like 5 hours and a good night is 9+ hours of sleep.

Cravings: King cake gluten free cupcakes from Pearl's Bake Shoppe in C'ville for Mardi Gras.

What I Miss: No heartburn. No muscle aches. Not getting winded going up our stairs... so weird (but they are steeper than usual stairs)!

Best Moment This Week: M bringing me those King cake cupcakes after work on Mardi Gras!

What I Learned This Week: That even though we haven't had a cervix check in two weeks (last time I was still closed), I learned I was a fingertip dilated on Thurs 03/02... so some progress which is good but surprised it was still less than 1 cm. I also remembered that it was exactly like all of my reading and the classes we took at the Birthing Center told us - it just sets you up for disappointment so don't take it personally or think too hard about the cervix checks. Remember they are optional in my situation so I could refuse one next week and it would be no big deal. So I wasn't bummed out but I was a little surprised... that I was relieved I wasn't more dilated. When you know you know I guess. Also learned more about perineal massage from an actual friend and not just from the birthing center or from my readings... as I continue to look into it/try it out. Super gawky but really neat concept. Got some real talk from honest friends - including one classmate who is pregnant with her 4th child and each labor has been different for her. Always good for perspective. Everyone is different and I keep telling myself that.

Looking Forward To: Continuing to savor every pre-baby moment with M. Which is mostly just in the house watching stuff I recorded on our DVR from 31 Days of Oscar as going anywhere is just exhausting for me. haha. Also when this is over I'm looking forward to sleeping on my stomach again!!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Week 36 Pregnancy Journal

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How Far Along? 36 weeks

Week 36 Began: Friday, February 17

Size of Baby: a head of romaine lettuce (18.5" or more, almost 6 pounds)

Gender: A girl, Margaret

Weight Gain: hovering around 183-185 most days

Maternity Clothes: Chucks, anything I can bend and move in relatively easy. This week I purchased two nursing bras just to be more comfortable and have them ready to go!

Nursery: The bassinet has been assembled and placed in our master bedroom: Upgraded the basic mattress in this bassinet to a more firm organic one, waterproof mattress pad, and organic fitted sheets. I also finalized getting items together for our hospital bag!

Movement: Margaret is clearly running out of room - she moves ALL day long now and it pretty aggressive

Symptoms: Heartburn isn't terrible now... just occasionally awful. Seems to have alleviated with her dropping this week!

Side Effects: Sleepiness.

Sleep: It was a busy week - relatively speaking. I had a cold but it seems to have finally passed. Sleep has been a little harder with her dropping. Lots more pressure on bladder.

Cravings: Chocolate peanut butter. Chinese food (thank goodness for PF Changs).

What I Miss: HOT steaming baths. A nice rose or white wine with the hot weather we've been having.

Best Moment This Week: No evening obligations as we have finished all of our prenatal classes and the like. Really enjoying just being lazy-ish.

What I Learned This Week: Different baby bottle brands have different periods of time required for sanitizing bottles. From 5 minutes to 10 minutes to 20 minutes... kinda crazy that there is such a range!

Looking Forward To: Enjoying every pre-baby moment with M.