Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Makua's Birth Story

Short: Makua James Pahukoa was born on January 27th, 2015, at 1:14 AM. He weighed 9 lbs, 9 oz, and was 22.5 inches long.

Long: My due date of January 16th came and went... a familiar feeling by now, on this my third pregnancy. I was determined not to induce labor after my experience with Liloa. My delivery was complicated and painful, augmented by Pitocin and an epidural, and my recovery was long and even more painful. I thought that if I could avoid an induction, I could have a better delivery and recovery, and because I was still enrolled in school half-time and had two other young children at home who needed me, a speedy recovery was my top priority.

During the week after my due date, I had two NST's and AFI's to make sure baby's heart rate and the amniotic fluid level looked good. My doctor was okay with me going as long as 42 weeks even though baby would be pretty big by then. I was uncomfortable but willing to wait; I trusted my body and my baby to know what to do when the time came, and thought that no matter what, I could handle it.

On Monday the 26th, I had a checkup with my OB, followed by my second NST/AFI appointment at the hospital across the street. My OB checked me and found I was still 5 cm dilated and 80% effaced, the same as the week before. She stripped my membranes for a fourth time, and we discussed how I could possibly still be pregnant. I remember her saying "That's insane. That's a crazy check for someone who's not in labor," referring to my dilation and effacement. I just laughed, because of course I went past due. I'm not sure why I ever thought I wouldn't. We talked about how my first two babies were OP and I said I thought maybe that's why this baby hadn't come yet; he was in a bad position and not putting pressure on my cervix. She admitted it was possible and decided to do a quick ultrasound. We found that he was head down, but facing sideways and not engaged in my pelvis. Just as I'd suspected.

My OB decided that we could do the AFI right then, since she already had the ultrasound machine on me, then said we should just do the NST in the office as well to save me the trip. We discussed induction, and talked about her schedule. I wanted her to be the one to induce me if it came to it, so I was looking at either the coming Wednesday or Friday. Wednesday she was available all day and night, as it was her on-call day. Friday she was available off and on. Friday was 42 weeks.

After thinking it over during my NST, we decided Wednesday was better. We talked about starting the induction with methods other than Pitocin; she was of the opinion that she could just break my water and I'd take it from there with no problems. I was skeptical but thought it sounded better than Pitocin. I signed the paperwork agreeing to the induction and privacy practices, and let everyone know that that was it. We were scheduled to have a baby in 48 hours.

That evening, I was thinking a lot about baby's position, and how my first two were OP, and remembered hearing about Spinning Babies. So I pulled up the webpage on my phone and started reading. I found a few exercises for moving babies who were OP, and thought I'd try them, until I saw a link to another exercise that said "try this first." It was the side-lying release, meant to evenly open up the pelvis to allow a baby to engage. I read it over a few times, then enlisted Chris to help me (since you need a partner) and did the side-lying release for a few minutes on both sides.

While I'd had braxton-hicks contractions since 18 weeks, I remember thinking "These contractions kind of hurt" at around 7:30 pm, half an hour after I'd done the side-lying release exercise. I kept shifting positions to try to get baby in the right spot. I did lots of stretching. Lots of hands and knees, cat stretches, and hip circles.

At around 8, I helped the kids through their bedtime routine, finishing up their bath, tucking them in bed, and thinking "This might be it," as my contractions continued intermittently and uncomfortably. While I wasn't ready to admit it was true labor (I was scared to even think it for fear of jinxing it) I thought it would still be a good idea to finish packing my hospital bag and pulling together the last-minute things I thought I'd want.

Around 10, I was in bed, trying to rest. I had gotten really sleepy and almost wanted the contractions to stop so I could sleep, but they didn't. I'd downloaded a contraction timer app on my phone, which seemed silly at the time but was immediately helpful in watching for patterns. I saw my contractions get longer, and the intervals shorter, and finally texted my mom at 10:30 to tell her I was in labor but didn't need her yet. Originally I'd planned for her to come stay with the kids if it happened at night, but I decided I might want her with me instead. Stuck with the indecision, I just told her to wait. I can see now how that was kind of mean! I got her all keyed up and left her hanging. But after that, things started happening kind of quickly.

I told Chris about the few last minute things I wanted him to do. He kept coming into the room to check on me, but I was just laying on the bed in the dark, taking it one contraction at a time. I kept feeling like I needed to pee, so I was up and in the bathroom between almost every contraction. It felt good to rest between them until about 11 PM when Chris's mom came over. He'd called her to come stay with the kids in case I needed my mom to come help at the hospital. By that time, I was swaying a bit with every other contraction. Some of them I wanted to lay down for, some I needed to move through.

At 11:30, I was just thinking that the contractions were getting too intense. I had two back-to-back that were painful and immediately felt like I had to pee again. I got up and took a step toward the bathroom and felt a warm gush, and knew that my water had broken. I hurried the last few steps and made it to the toilet, peed, and tried to get the water to slow down. I had to swap out my undies for dry ones, but didn't think to put a pad on because I wasn't really leaking any more. I grabbed my phone and headed out to the living room where Chris and his mom were sitting on the couch. I said, "It's time to go. My water just broke."

Chris jumped up and started running around grabbing our bags while Bridgett helped me get my shoes on. There was a short discussion about which hospital to go to; I'd wanted to go to Southwest, even though we were closer to Legacy, because I'd had a better experience there. Bridgett wanted to know if I was up for the longer car ride but I knew what I wanted. We took the Blazer, and we still joke about how Chris "took his time, meandering down the back roads" to get there. Hah! I think we made that trip in record time. I had 3 contractions between our house and there, including the one in the parking lot, and my contractions were only about 3 minutes apart by then.

We got inside and went to the desk to check in. I wasn't sure what the date was so asked "Is it Tuesday yet?" Everyone looked at the clock, and the second hand swept past the 12. It was 12:00 AM Tuesday the 27th. Chris and I said "Looks like baby chose his birthday after all."  I was taken to Triage and checked out, contracting the whole time. I was 8 cm and 90%, and not at all sure I could do it without drugs, but wasn't about to ask for them.

I was helped into a gown in Triage, and things get a little fuzzy from here on. I remember most of it, but was so focused on my body that I lost my sense of time and wasn't able to communicate very well. The nurse who took us from Triage to our room was very nice, and she talked to me the whole time about her experience in Alaska, helping native women delivering, and talking about the beauty of birth. Her name was V (I think). We heard harps and chimes on our way to our room and she said "Ah, another angel has entered the world." I learned later that that music is played each time a baby is born there. A nice touch!

In my room, Chris put our bags away and everyone else got busy. V was prepping something. The on-call OB (Dr. Morgan) came in with a young male resident and asked if I minded if he tagged along. It's a learning hospital, and I was gonna give this kid a lesson in natural childbirth! I said I didn't mind, and went back to focusing on myself. Leaning over a table during contractions felt good, as did walking. I did both until I had to be checked again. I didn't want to lay down, but did it anyway, and found I was 10 cm and probably 98%. I just had "a small lip of cervix" left.

My nurse was very helpful and coached me through my contractions, reminding me "low, low" when I'd start to get breathy or breathing high. Eventually I was almost growling through those contractions. My doctor and nurse had left the room for... something. Just then, I started feeling pressure. I said so, to nobody in particular, and went back to concentrating on my body. Chris told me later that the resident was the only one there besides us, and he kind of freaked out and started suiting up like he was prepping for a natural disaster.

When the OB and nurse came back, there was a short discussion. Suddenly I felt like maybe pushing through a contraction would feel good so I pushed just a little. It did feel good. Then I was being ushered to the bed while trays of instruments were uncovered and wheeled over. My nurse coached me through a couple more contractions, saying I shouldn't push yet because of the lip of cervix. She had me doing the "he - he - he" Lamaze breathing technique to keep from pushing while the OB helped to push the lip out of the way.

Suddenly, I was told it was okay to start pushing. With the next contraction, I pushed. I was in pain but knew it would get better, and the most prevalent feeling was intensity. Chris had one leg and V had the other. I was on my back in the bed but feeling okay with it at that point. Baby had turned and was moving down exactly how he was supposed to. With that contraction, I got baby's head just to crowning. I could feel how far I was stretched. The OB was pouring mineral oil on me and massaging, trying to get the skin to stretch instead of tear. I lost my contraction there, with everyone cheering me on, and baby's head crowning. I remember thinking "I can't do anything but this" and panting a little as I just... held him there. I couldn't push, I couldn't let him slip back. I waited a full minute for my next contraction, just holding baby right there.

With the next contraction, I pushed again. The OB was telling me to push, Chris was repeating her, and V was offering praise. Baby's head came out and the OB said "Reach down and feel your baby!" I was in a trance at this point, overwhelmed by everything happening, and said "Oh, I can feel him all right!" But I didn't reach down. The contraction was still squeezing, I was still pushing, and baby's shoulders were stuck. One was out, one was in, and there was a scramble while I was told to keep pushing, keep pushing! and the doctor and resident both had their hands on me and baby, trying to get his second shoulder out. Everyone was saying he must big, and I knew I was SO CLOSE to delivering him and SO CLOSE to being done. I couldn't take it, and started yelling at them to just GET HIM OUT already. I pushed again, and felt his second shoulder come out, and V said "Just a little one now, just a grunt," and I gave a little push and delivered my baby, all natural.

There were lots of comments on his size, and when they put him on my chest I knew he was a big boy. I delivered the placenta and got 2 little stitches, all while snuggling Makua. When I was fixed up a bit, they took him to weigh him and everyone was astonished at how big he was, and how well I did. I felt really good afterward. I got that endorphin rush I'd missed with the other two, and even though it was just after 1 AM, I had enough energy to eat, drink, nurse Makua, laugh with Chris, chat with my nurses, and (finally) go pee.

We stayed the rest of that night and the following night, opting to skip the 2nd full night my insurance would have paid for in favor of our own bed. I had sore nipples from the start but requested a shield, shells, and lanolin, and met with a lactation consultant. My milk came in before we even checked out of the hospital, and Makua was a good eater, except that he'd fall asleep after only a short time on the breast. This manifested in other feeding issues, but that's fodder for another post.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Story of my life

Lately, it feels like my default setting is "overwhelmed." This week is getting the best of me. This quarter at school is getting the best of me. This schedule is getting the best of me. I usually take an hour of downtime each evening for myself, my sanity, my health, but it's never as it's intended to be, since I KNOW I should be doing something else. Some homework assignment that I didn't have time to finish the day before, some chore around the house that's constantly behind, some stupid daily-life task, like calling to schedule doctor or dentist appointments, or that e-mail from work...

If I slow down, even for a minute, I feel like I'll stop completely. I have SO much on my plate right now, and not enough time to do it in, or hands to complete the tasks, or memory space to even remember it all.

(this is a blog, so you can't see it, but I was just derailed for almost 40 minutes right there)


I'm feeling the pressure at school. I am SO excited about the classes I'm taking this term; they're ones I've wanted to take for over a year (Python programming and HTML) and I've scored the best (IMHO) instructor at Clark for these topics, and I feel like I'm letting myself down because I can't put as much time into these classes as I want to.

I WANT to spend a couple of hours each night just tweaking my web pages or screwing around in the Python GUI, but I can't. How could I possibly?! My family demands SO MUCH of my attention right now, and when it's not them, it's things related to them. The laundry, the dishes, the packing of the lunchboxes, the constant need for my attention to read a book or help them get dressed or undressed or change a diaper or turn on the TV or go outside or get them something to eat or drink or play with them... and that's just the kids.

I love my kids (understatement of the decade). I know they're not going to need my help or want my attention forever, and I am trying to cherish every day with them because every day they get older and change and it happens so quickly, and yet so gradually... but MAN.  I also need to find the time for Chris, who does just as much around the house (well, ALMOST) as I do and who also wants my attention. But what about me? I'm 7 months pregnant and average 6.5 hours of sleep each night, which isn't really enough for me even when I'm not growing a human. So which thing wins? When I have a finite amount of time in each day and more to do than can possibly get done, how do I  prioritize a seemingly endless list of equally important tasks?

If you know, will you tell me? I'll listen to your explanation in just a few minutes, after I finish these 2 past-due homework assignments, mail off letters to the HOA for my boss, call DHS and the kids' day care to adjust their schedule, take Liloa in for an immunization that was missed at his last appointment before they kick him out of day care on Monday, carve these pumpkins, get dinner started, let the contractors in to work on the furnace, and maybe have some lunch. If I get around to it.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Let's consider this almost two year break from blogging a vacation, shall we? Much, much, MUCH has happened in my life and I keep intending to write a catch-up series, maybe an entry for each month that I was gone, but as time goes on that task seems more daunting than enjoyable and I find myself avoiding it.

So instead of saddling myself with one more freaking task, I will come back to this blog with the enjoyment it was intended to provide me. Entries will likely contain a mix of current events and nostalgia. Feel free to let your mind wander along with mine.

The reason for today's post is to brain-dump, I suppose, a lot of things that have been weighing on my mind that I'd like to unload and move on from. I have enough to deal with in my simple day-to-day goings on that I really don't need my spare brainpower to be devoted to dissecting these issues in the background. So in random order (for this is how my brain works when overloaded) here we go:

Baby #3 will be here in January. About 5 months from now, we will add a third little person (sex as yet unknown) to our household and it will be everything that a new child always is: wonderful, exciting, terrifying, exhausting, joyful, challenging... As this is my third "rodeo" I have an idea of what to expect, and as such, have no delusions about my abilities (or lack thereof) immediately following the birth. I am hoping for a slightly easier birth experience than I had with Liloa (PLEASE less tearing this time) and more support for my intense, unwavering desire to nurse one of my children for longer than a month.

Leading into... nursing. Hindsight is SO 20/20. Looking back I can see my mistakes and think "If only I had known x, y, or z at the time, I could've nursed longer!" I've always wanted to nurse my babies. I'm a firm believer in breastmilk being the best thing for babies and I admire the shit out of women who breastfeed. I tried, with both of my boys, and you can bet your ass I'll try again with this baby. I feel like I know more than I did, and am better prepared, but... I doubt myself and my abilities this time, where I didn't before.

My attempts at nursing Kawika and Liloa were hard-fought and ended prematurely, both times. And I felt like a failure after each time that relationship ended. I hope the third time's the charm, as it's likely to be my last chance. But that self-doubt, oh! Add that to the logistical challenges I'm going to face being at home with all 3 kids largely on my own, and part of me is tempted to give up before I even try. But that stubborn side, that logical one that knows what's best for baby, that side that bristles every time I hear a woman nursing in public was asked to cover up, THAT side won't let me give up without a fight.

In the same vein as nursing (insofar as it applies to newborn-related challenges) I've decided to cloth diaper from the get-go this time. I didn't start cloth with Loa until he was about 6 months old, and never put cloth on Kawika (until this year, for night-time diapers) so I'm a bit intimidated. However, the downright adorableness of those tiny diapers is TOO MUCH right now so I'm focusing on how fun it will be instead of how much extra laundry I'll be doing.

Our Blazer is DOA. They key is stuck in the ignition and won't turn over. Google results are varied and range from the not-so-bad, "Just a jammed key, happened to me, try x, y, z, good as new..." to the awful "You'll need a replacement steering cylinder, ignition switch, and transmission." This is particularly bad news because we were planning to SELL this car to get a down payment together for a new car. My Maxima is also on its last legs, it seems, and starts slowly or not at all depending on its mood. It probably just needs the starter replaced (oh, is that all?) but that's another $300 I wasn't planning to spend on that car. Meanwhile, we'll eventually need a car that fits 3 car seats ANYWAY so let's just get rid of the two junky ones and get one nice one. Right? Oh, down payments and APR's and my credit score is WHAT?! Well, shit...

And school. Oh, school! If it wasn't for having a baby in January (about 6 months earlier than I'd planned) I would take the last classes I need for my AAS in Computer Support during Winter term. I'd graduate in spring. Or I could take 20 more credits over the next 2 terms and graduate next September with 2 degrees. That was the plan. But plans change, as mine have, and now I have to think of a new plan. I am so frustrated that I am SO close to being done with my AAS and I can't quite finish it in time. I'm scared that taking a term off (or two) might turn into me never going back and finishing, which would mean the last year and a half of my life was wasted. But again, I know my limitations, and maintaining even a half-time school schedule with a newborn is... well... damn near impossible. *sigh*

I thrive on challenges. I kick ass at finding solutions. I am a planner, and once I have a good plan in place, I am a master executor. But I am floundering here. I can't even think of a viable plan to continue to work on my degree(s) AND have a third child.

Discarded plans:
1. Take ALL OF THE CREDITS I need to finish my AAS in fall term.
<i>Whoops, that's 22 credits, which means I can't work, and unless Chris has a full time job lined up for this winter (he doesn't) I can't NOT work</i>
2. Take 1 class in Winter term to keep my student status and make (slow) progress toward the AAS.
<i>Whoops, if I'm taking less than 6 credits (half time) my children won't be able to go to day care, leaving my only option an online course, and pickings are SLIM as far as what I have left to take for my degree.</i>
3. Stay enrolled full time in Winter term
<i>HAH, yeah right, with a NEWBORN?! Who would watch baby while I was in class, anyway?</i>

Current plan:
1. Take 12 credits Fall term. Take Winter term off. Possibly Spring term off. Try to re-enroll in school for Spring or Summer term. Try to get day care lined up again (which involves coordinating between my school, our state's subsidy program, my job if I still have one, and Chris job). Try to find another day care that will take a 3 or 6 month old since our current provider will not. Try not to FREAK THE HELL OUT about leaving my infant in someone else's care. Go back to school for TEN MEASLY CREDITS and then... Attempt to find a job after being out of the workforce for three years? Try to finish my second AA? Or go for a BS?

Backup plan:
See Discarded Plan #2, plus lots of crossing-of-fingers for a 3-credit online course that will fit the "elective requirements" of my AAS.

All this, and a stomach bug? Please, go on.

But no, I will stop. I have spewed enough for now and this blog is starting to sound more like a pity party than a brain dump. Maybe now I can focus on something productive.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Adventures in nursing

A blog written in hindsight, about my misadventures nursing my first two children.

With Kawika, had I known about the 3-week-old growth spurt, cluster feeding, and the cycle of milk production, I'd have been fine. We had to use a shield because he had trouble latching onto my flat nipples, but I didn't mind and he didn't mind. We were nursing comfortably up until that point where he started cluster feeding. And I panicked, thinking my supply had dried up or he wasn't getting enough, and I started supplementing with formula. After that, my supply really did tank, and then I went back to work and dried up instantly. He did just find on Enfamil. I mourned that loss, more so after doing extensive research on nursing and newborns and realizing what had happened.

Liloa was different in that every nurse and LC we saw (5 total) in those early days agreed that he had a great latch. Our technique was perfect, good job! And we didn't need a shield, even with my flat nipples. But it hurt like... FIRE. Needles. Nails. Cheese grater. And after less than a week, my nipples were so cracked they bled. I had canyons across both nipples stretching onto my areolas. I bled during nursing, and cried, and bled when I pumped, and cried, and all the lanolin, gel pads, ice packs, heat packs, and shields did NOTHING to help. It got to the point where when he'd start showing hunger signs, I'd cry, just THINKING about the impending pain. So I stopped nursing, and gave him a bottle. The Similac was hard on his stomach; he got very gassy and constipated and I felt terrible, knowing I had what he needed and I couldn't bring myself to give it to him because of my own pain. I intended to nurse him again, bring my supply back up, resume that relationship that I really, REALLY wanted, just as soon as those fissures healed a little. 

I tried. I didn't want to wait too long, for fear of supply issues. I took herbal lactation blend supplements, ate oatmeal, and pumped when I wasn't nursing him, to try to maintain some milk. And it still hurt. So. Bad. But as soon as I'd healed a little, we tried nursing again, with a shield this time, and I was back to the unbearable pain. So we took another break, a little longer. During this break, we switched him to Similac Sensitive, and he was a much happier baby, and by the time those huge, deep cracks had healed and I'd gotten over enough fear to try again, Liloa wasn't really interested in nursing anymore. He got what he needed faster and with less effort from the bottle. Thus ended my attempt at nursing my second child. 

In hindsight, I think his latch was good - to start. But then he'd slip down. I don't know if he'd get lazy, or shift around during feeding, but his latch would change to a bad one and I didn't notice. I didn't take him of and relatch him, because I was just so grateful that he was eating at all. And it's so hard to see those things in the middle of that postpartum haze where everything seems blown out of proportion. I was hurting from a third degree perineal tear and episiotomy, and it hurt to sit. Kawika was only 18 months old and needed more of my time and attention than I could give him. Chris had to go back to work, and my mom was... busy? I needed so much more help in that time than I got. 

Maybe next time will be better.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Liloa's Birth Story

Short version:  Liloa Christopher was born on 10/15/12 at 4 pm.  He weighed 8 lbs 12 oz and was 21 inches long.

Long version:  Our due date of October 7th came and went with me being dilated to 4 cm and 50% effaced.  My doctor was sure I’d go into labor on my own, but we scheduled an induction for the 15th (41w1d) just in case.  As it turns out, Liloa was very comfortable and the eviction was served.  We arrived at the hospital at 6:45 AM on the 15th.  The nurses checked me in but then realized that we weren’t on the schedule.  My doctor’s office had forgotten to send over some paperwork so the hospital wasn’t aware that we were supposed to be there.  They put us in a waiting room and called my doctor, who confirmed that we wanted to go ahead with the induction, and then they showed us to a L&D room.  I got into a gown and discussed the plan with my nurse, who was very nice. 

It was a strange experience, going in for an induction.  You’re not already in labor so there’s nothing to focus on, like contractions.   You’re just... waiting.  They started the pitocin drip by 7:30 AM.  I wanted to deliver without any drugs or interventions at all, but because it was an induction, I had to reevaluate my plan.  I had to be monitored continuously, but Liloa kept moving around and the monitors weren’t able to keep a continuous line on his heart rate.  He was doing fine, but every time I’d move around, they’d lose him on the monitor.  Only, they kept telling me to keep moving.  I took walks with my IV pole, one hand holding the monitor in a spot I hoped they’d get a good reading from, and kept getting called back to have the monitor adjusted.  He was OP, or “sunnyside up” so it was hard to get a good reading on him, and then I’d move, or he would move, and we’d lose his line completely, and everybody was getting frustrated but trying not to show it.

They increased the pitocin in small amounts hourly.  We watched the morning news, Let’s Make A Deal, and The Price is Right while I waited to feel something more than these irregular, only-slightly-uncomfortable contractions.  At 10:30 my doctor checked me and I was at a 5, and she decided to break my water.  They turned the pitocin up again. 

By noon the contractions were painful and I was doing Lamaze breathing techniques and sitting on a birthing ball to keep things progressing while managing the pain.  The next 2 hours were intense.  My body had finally got the clue that we were DOING something and started to contract on its own.  Between the pitocin contractions and my contractions, I was in a lot of pain and not able to relax much between them.  The breaks between contractions were short and the pain never went away completely.  Because Liloa was OP I was having some mild back labor too.  Standing and swaying helped me through the contractions.  My nurse tried to get me to lay down for a while, since I’d been on my feet all morning trying to get Liloa to turn, but when I laid down and couldn’t move like I wanted to the pain felt completely unmanageable.

By 1:45 I’d had enough of the cluster contractions.  The Lamaze breathing was making me panicky and Chris (quite frankly) was no help.  He spent most of my labor surfing the internet on his phone and occasionally tossing a “Good job babe” my way.  I asked for the epidural.  The anesthesiologist was there very quickly.  I signed the paperwork and got up on the bed so she could do what she had to.  I had 4 very intense contractions during the whole procedure and was reduced to tears and shaking by the time she was done.  When they let me lay back, my nurse checked me while we waited for the epi to kick in and I was 8 cm dilated.  It was 2:45 PM.

At 3 PM Chris wanted to run home and let the dog out.  We live close to the hospital, and I was in a good place pain-wise, so I was OK with him going.  The nurse told him it was a good time to go, so he left.  The epidural was good; much better than the one I had with Kawika.  I could still feel the contractions and they were still a little painful; they felt like early labor pains, no longer the uncontrollable monsters I’d been having.  I could move my legs with almost no assistance, and I didn’t feel nauseous.  Overall, I was very pleased.

At 3:30, my doctor came in to see how I was doing and decided to check me.  I’d been dozing a little since Chris left at 3 and was kind of irritated that she had come back so soon to bug me.  But as soon as she put her hand down there I noticed that I felt different.  Her eyebrows shot up and she said “Wow!  You’re... 10 centimeters and plus 2 station!  Let’s have a baby!”  The nurse looked at me and said “You’d better call him.”  I called Chris, who didn’t answer, so I sent a text: “Come back, don’t dawdle, we’re ready.”

The nurses and my doctor started setting everything up, chatting about cars and the weather and the recent string of bicycle thefts in my doctor’s neighborhood.  Everyone was suited up and they put my legs in the stirrups just as Chris walked in.  He looked around wild-eyed, took off his jacket, came to stand by my head, gave me a kiss and my doctor said “Okay, here’s a contraction, and, push!!”  He was just in time!

It became obvious pretty quickly that Liloa wasn’t tolerating the pushing very well.  I’d only pushed 3 times through 1 contraction and they were having me shift from side to side, take deep breaths, and push even harder.  After the 2nd set of pushes, my doctor got very serious and I started to feel scared.  They put an oxygen mask on my face and put NICU on standby.  My doctor leaned over and said “Listen, Julie, you need to get him out NOW.  You can do this, he’s almost here, but you need to get him out.”  One more contraction, and I pushed so hard.  I had to hold it for 10, take a quick breath, and push for 10 again, and again, and again... I felt a strange sensation and someone said “Here’s his head.”  I glanced at Chris and he was looking at the baby, looking scared.  I pushed again and delivered his shoulders and body, and... silence.  Half a minute, maybe, while my doctor and a nurse rubbed him and suctioned out his mouth and nose.  I could see he was blue, and not moving much. 

Suddenly he gave a huge cry, and everyone seemed to give a collective sigh of relief.  They put him on my chest and toweled him off a little more, and he was very pink and very noisy.  Chris and I kissed each other, and kissed Liloa, and marveled at how long his fingers and toes were.  His head wasn’t the slightest bit cone shaped, and despite delivering him sunnyside up, he didn’t have any marks on his face from my pubic bone like Kawika did when he was born.

The doctor spent a good 20 or 30 minutes stitching me up.  I realized that I’d been up in the stirrups with her doing her thing down there for quite some time and asked Chris.  He said “It’s bad, babe.  It’s real bad.  She cut you.”  It turns out she gave me an episiotomy to help Liloa out faster because his cord was crushed when he was down in my birth canal and he wasn’t getting enough oxygen.  After the episiotomy, because I was still pushing so hard, I tore.  I had a 3rd degree tear and a hematoma.

But Liloa is perfectly healthy and suffered no ill effects from his birth experience.  Overall, he’s an easier baby than Kawika was, and that’s saying something.  We’re truly blessed!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Almost, almost

So close!

I had a checkup yesterday afternoon and it was determined that I am 4 cm dilated and 60% effaced.  What a great start, for not even being due yet!  I had the good doctor strip my membranes hoping to get things moving but all I've seen so far is a slight increase in cramping and low back pain and some extra *ahem* material making its way out.  Of the slimy variety.  Gross.

I have another appointment scheduled for the 10th if there's no baby by then, where she'll probably strip my membranes again and then marvel at how I could possibly still be pregnant.  She scheduled an induction date for the 15th, laughing the entire time.  "There's no way you'll still be pregnant by then.  It would be some freak of nature thing!"  She's the expert; I only hope she's right.  I'm still hoping for this weekend, but a day or two relaxing and finalizing things wouldn't be awful, either.

Coco reminded me that today is the 5th.  And rent is due on the 5th.  I'm not sure my brain has been processing anything other than baby-related news for the last week or so.  I had to check our bank account to make sure we even had enough (we do) and call Chris to remind him to drop off a check.  He said he thought about it yesterday but didn't say anything because he knew today was payday.  Duh, I still would have appreciated a reminder since it had obviously slipped my mind ENTIRELY, as evidenced by the fact that I didn't mention it ONCE during the last week, which is so unlike me.  Men are so oblivious.

Kawika had a GREAT last day at day care, of course.  This week at drop off he hardly fussed at all, didn't actually cry, and by Thursday morning he was happily reaching for his teacher and waving bye-bye to me.  He was happy as a clam when I picked him up and gave his teacher kisses.  I don't know if it's that he finally got used to it, just in time for me to pull him out, or if he somehow knew it was his last day.  Either way it makes me kind of sad.  I almost wish I could afford to keep him there at least a couple of days per week, but if I'm not working, I just can't. 

When I picked Kawika up yesterday I made it a point to clean out his cubby and grab everything that was his so 1) It wasn't in the way and 2) So we could use it.  One of the teachers also handed me a handful of art projects and I thought "Wow, that's a lot of art!"  Well it turns out that it's not his!  Some poor little kiddo named Emese is now missing all of their art.  Don't worry, Emese's parents, it's safely on my garage work bench and I am planning on bringing it back.  I love every stupid preshus random crayon scribble Kawika made on a leaf-shaped cut out that probably held his attention for all of 30 seconds, and I'm sure you want your child's version, so never fear.  It will be returned.  I won't even ask for ransom.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Byron Carol

Rest in peace, grandpa.  You were loved; you will be missed.