Sunday, 28 December 2014

Malcolm's Birth

Malcolmcrib

My baby was ten days overdue.

We scheduled the induction but I was hopeful, right up until the end, that I might go into labour spontaneously.  My daughter had been born the day before her scheduled induction, so it was possible.  I had heard so many negative stories about inductions and my daughter's birth had been so quick and straight forward, that I was really hoping for a repeat performance.  It was not to be.  It was bizarre to go to bed the night before and know for certain that the next day I would have my baby, and to know that it would be a very difficult day to get there.

8am.  On the morning of my induction, my parents picked up the older kids and we headed to the hospital to register at 8 am.  My doctor arrived at 8:30am and we talked about the options, which was a review from my last appointment.  An internal exam showed that I was already well on my way to having the baby, so we decided to start with just breaking my waters.  We were hopeful that that would start labour within a few hours.  My doctor broke my waters at 9am, and headed to her office.  Shawn and I settled in to enjoy the last few hours of quiet.

10 am.  We were hungry so Shawn went and bought us an early lunch.  Surely, I would be in heavy labour at noon, and we thought it was prudent to eat in advance.

1 pm.  The foreseen heavy labour did not arrive at lunch.  I was having contractions, but they were so small and so inconsistent that they could not be called labour.  At this point, it was time for us to get serious.  Shawn's mom delivered cookies, and we started walking up and down the hospital stairs.

1:30 pm.  The cookies were gone.  I started jogging up and down the hospital stairs.

2:30 pm.  My doctor returned.  Almost six hours in, and I still had nothing to show for it.  So, she asked me: what do you want to do?  In my mind, I had given myself a cut-off of 3pm before switching to Pitocin.  It was time to start the IV.  She thought it was a good idea and she said it shouldn't take much to get things going.  After all, I had started the day 3-4 cm dialated and 80% effaced, and spent almost six hours with ruptured membranes.  The tipping point had to be close.

3:00 pm.  The nurse inserted the IV and I started the Pitocin.  There was a shift change, and an very perky nurse took over.  She told me that she was only on until 7pm, and she was confident that she would get to meet my baby.  As the hour wore on, I started getting mild contractions at more consistent intervals, but it was nothing major.  They hooked up the monitors to track my contractions and the baby's heart beat (that's the part that freaked me out the most about induction: "why do you have to keep me hooked to these?" Response: "Sometimes, if the dose is too high, you can just go into one continuous contraction or the baby can get too stressed."  Right.  No biggie?)  At some point, I think this is when I started joking that the baby had wrapped its little feet around my Fallopian tubes and was hanging on for dear life.

4:00 pm.  I learned that the standard procedure is to up the dose of Pitocin every hour if its not working.  It wasn't working: Perky nurse upped the dose.  Within 10 minutes I was in labour.  Like breathing-through-it contractions.  I remembered why getting pregnant was a bad idea.  But Perky Nurse was perfect for me.  When she saw I was in good humour, she joked with me between contractions and encouraged me in a totally honest, not raa-raa-raa kind of way.  At one point, she looked on the contraction monitor, looked at me, and when it finished, she said kind of surprised " what would rate your pain at?"  It was an eight or a nine.  "Eight or nine?  Eight or nine!  Usually at this point I'm scraping some women off the ceiling!"

5:30ish.  The timeline started to get blurry at this point.  Everyone on the ward knew that my last labour had happened really fast, and when I felt the need to push, my daughter was born minutes later.  So Perky Nurse did not leave my side from about 4pm on and at 5:30pm, I said I was getting faint feelings so she called the doctor right away.  It seemed a little premature to me, and for the next hour things got a little awkward for me and I felt really bad, because the two nurses and doctor did not want to leave the room for fear I would have an insta-baby.  I did not.  I did however have ridiculous contractions (Perky Nurse: "There are some women that I want my teenage daughter to see in labour to keep her away from boys.  You are not one of them.").  I never knew what was coming and so I couldn't really tell anyone else in the room if I was getting closer are just stalling.  That's the thing about inductions - sometimes I would have a 4 minute long contraction that was manageable and other times I would have a two minute contraction that took my breath away.  Sometimes I would have 10 seconds before a new wave came, sometimes I had 3 minutes.

6:30ish.  I was done with it.  Or at least I wanted to be.  I kept asking the doctor to check me even though I didn't feel an intense urge to push and finally at around 6:30, she said there was a small part that wasn't fully dilated, but I was close enough that I wanted to push it would probably be fine and progress the labour.  On the next contraction, I pushed.  I pushed hard.  There was no baby.  You have to understand that with my daughter, when I said I was done it was over - I pushed, she came out.  So I was shocked that not all labours end that way.  My doctor explained: "Its going to take time, and this is exactly what is supposed to happen.  The baby has to rock up and down a few times."  That sounded ridiculous to me, not that I told her as much.  As far as I'm concerned, if I'm going to work that hard to get a baby down, he sure isn't going to go back up again.  I braced myself for the next contraction.  It was going to happen.  I was NOT going to experience that kind of discomfort again.  Now, its worth mentioning that as a quieter person I've always wondered if I were attacked or really needed to scream for help, would I be able to set off the siren?  I can now tell you with certainty, I can indeed.  I apologized to the audience between pushes and we braced ourselves.  I was ready, I was pushing, I was screaming, and he wasn't coming out.  I stopped and - I'll never forget this moment - I looked at my doctor and said "I can't" and she looked right back at me and said "Yes you can, its RIGHT THERE."  And I did.  It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.

I cannot say the following sentence without sounding like I'm bragging: I gave birth to a 10 pound, 10 ounce baby.  They placed him on my chest, all warm and squishy and ginormous and it was such a rush.  He was crying and I was hushing him and we were both just trying to breath.  We stopped.  We caught our breath.  We snuggled.  There is nothing like it.  Nothing.

As they were cleaning me up and I literally was so taxed that I could not move my muscles from the waist down my doctor said,  "So do you want to know what went wrong?"  Gulp, yes, because that was NOT like the last time.  "Well, first of all he's HUGE.  But secondly, he came out with his arm wrapped around his forehead."  Perky Nurse: "That added a good three centimeters!"  Did I mention I loved my nurse?  By this time my ego was huge.  All in all, it was horrible, but it went exactly as it should and I know looking back, I will have good feelings about it.


Sunday, 21 December 2014

Reading and an Overdue Baby


wolfhallrasptea
"I'll take 17 cups of raspberry leaf tea with that." 

In the last week of my pregnancy, I decided to read "one last book" before things got crazy with a newborn.  I picked a Man Booker Prize winner, so I was sure to end on a high note.  I requested it from the library and when it arrived, I discovered I was in for a 700-page high note.  Considerably longer then I had hoped for.

Much like my pregnancy.

But it was an amazing book, that was compelling and opened me up to topics that I had previously had no interest.  Of course, I couldn't get it done before my induction date, so I took it with me to the hospital, thinking I might read a few more pages.  It was the book that just kept going.  Aptly chosen by some one who was experiencing the never ending pregnancy.  We were all surprised when I got to spend the entire day reading, as we slowly worked from the most natural induction methods to, eventually, pitocyn.  And I still didn't finish the book.  I did finish my pregnancy.

So, ultimately my pregnancy was a 700 page Man Booker Prize Winner type of experience: long, at times difficult, but looking back it was the right length that allowed me quiet time to reflect and connect with myself.

Its length was exactly what I needed.


Friday, 19 December 2014

Our new addition

Malcolm_Sleeping_1

Welcome to the world, Malcolm!

Malcolm Freeman Warner
December 18, 2014
10 lb 10 oz
23.5 inches

Sunday, 14 December 2014

On Baby Names

sashaselfie39weeks

After we named Scarlett most people adored her name - or at least to our faces were kind with their judgement - except for one close person.  They said, "Hmph, not a name I'd give my child."

Ouch.  At first, I was a little disappointed and even a little hurt.  But after some contemplation, I looked at their children's names and thought: "Of course they wouldn't - their tastes are totally different than mine.  I would never dream of using their children's names either."  It was no longer the message that was bothersome, only the delivery.

The kids and I had a conversation on Saturday that illustrates the issue.

Nevin: Scarlett, you're a Silly-Bo-Billy.
Scarlett: No!  I'm a Scarlett.
Me: What about a Scarlett-Bo-Barlett?
Scarlett:  No!  Only Scarlett.  No silly names!
Me: What about Nevin?  Should we give him a silly name?
Both: Yes!
Me: So what should we call him?
{Scarlett gets lost in thought.  Nevin waits eagerly.}
Scarlett:  John!

You see, here is the thing:  Your John might be my Jett, or your Josiah might be my John.  We all are a part of different social circles, consume different media and form different opinions on names.  Scarlett has never met a John her age - maybe a Jack, but not a John - and I'm pretty sure the only John that she comes across regularly is the wildly dressed John the Baptist.  And he is pretty silly looking to a three-year-old (what kind of guy wears miniskirts made out of camel hair anyways?)

Shawn and I seemed to have decided on names for the baby, and this week we'll be opening ourselves up to criticism yet again.  Just remember when you someone presents their baby to you, they gave a lot of thought to that baby's name and they have done what they believe to be the very best for that child.  Be kind with your judgement, or at least with your words.

p.s.  Why are selfies so easy for teenagers?  This was taken two weeks ago, and I am very conflicted about it.  Also, why is it that unbrushed straight-out-of-the-shower hair can look like that, but when I put effort in its a mess?  So unreliable.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Nail Polish Guide for Pregancy

toes

Can you still see your toes?  It is the cliched question that every pregnant woman gets asked weekly.

The answer, of course, is no.  But I don't need to see them.  I know what is there, and when I do get a peek, before bed or when I climb into bed, I am reminded of the love that has covered them for the past three months.

I'm not talking about the metaphorical love growing in my belly - thats a little too sweet for me.  I'm talking about the nail polish that has literally covered them for the past few months.  The three best pedicures I've had in my life, involving the three most important women in my life.

The first was in September.  Scarlett loves getting her nails painted, so when its just the two of us I'll often give her a little pedicure.  For the first time, she asked if she could do my nails.  I obliged, and she did a hack job, but I loved it.  She was so proud and my heart swelled.  I told myself I would never take it off, and proudly wore my sandals to work.

Then I flew west to visit my brother for Thanksgiving.  My niece, who is nine, noticed my colourful, chipped toes and asked if she could do them over.  So began my epic second pedicure.  She got out all the colours she could find and layered them however she pleased.  To enhance my spa experience, her five-year-old brother got out his toy monster trucks and rolled them on my arms, neck and back.  "Do you like your massage, Auntie Sasha?"  I loved it.  When it was all done, my toes were amazing: yellow, orange, purple, navy, and turquoise.  "On that foot," she said, "your toes spell love.  And do you see the 'K' on your other big toe?  That's 'K' for Christ."  She too was so proud of her work, and my heart was full.

That pedicure, chipped and worn, lasted until this week.  My mother took me to a spa to get a pedicure in preparation for my labour.  Before my first delivery, she had read somewhere that a pedicure could induce labour, so it has become a tradition.  She has taken myself or my sister-in-laws out for a pedicure just before her due date for every child.  It has never worked, but the ritual has given us a sense of calm and control - a feeling like we are ready for what lies ahead.  This is probably her last grand baby, and so when I look at my toes I see her love and support for her extended family as another chapter closes.

The power of touch, and the value of ritual, is not lost on me nor is it new to us.  Even in the Bible there is the story of the sinner who came to Jesus and anointed his feet with her hair, oil and tears.  It was a profound act of love that connected and humanized both involved.  These three women all asked to care for me with no motivation but to connect and share their love.  The pride that came with humbling themselves enough to care for another far outweighed their need for the act to be reciprocated and the intimacy of touch restored us both.

So, no, I cannot see my toes.  And until this week, a stranger perhaps might have thought, "clearly that girl has no idea how hideous that nail polish looks!"  But they would've been wrong: my toes have been fantastically perfect for months.


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