August 15, 2008


Seventeen days later... My sweet kid is on the outside and I don't think I could love anyone more.

I had a great time writing this blog, but now that I am no longer rounder and wider and weirder (well...) - I don't plan to continue on here.

Who knows, maybe I'll pick it up again when the Android and I decide to add to our family, but for now the memory of pregnancy and childbirth is all too fresh. We'll see in four years or so.

Anyway, thanks for reading and laughing with me. For the non-moms out there - I hope I didn't scare you off of motherhood.

For the pregnant gals - I didn't lie. I may have... expanded some ideas, but the main points are the same. Don't blame me.

And for the other moms - I hope I did you proud.

Keep reading about my adventures in motherhood on The Czar and I.

August 7, 2008

Here goes.

My water broke at 11:40 pm on July 28. It really broke this time - no foolin'. And damn was it gross. Why is it that no one tells you the little details like this? Pregnant women, take note: When your water breaks it doesn't just gush once and stop. NO. It continues on, it goes while you walk, it collects when you lie down, then it gushes more. When you get to the hospital, make friends with the mesh panties (surprisingly comfortable!) and sneak a huge pile of the mondo pads that the hospital provides. You. Will. Need. Them.

I digress.

I called the hospital and told them that my water broke. The nurse told me to get my stuff together, take a shower if I wanted to (Oh, I wanted to.), and to come in within the hour. Because I had Group B Strep they had to get me on antibiotics pretty much ASAP. And so it began.

We got to the hospital and checked in to PETU. Again. A couple of nurses at the desk recognized us from our visit a mere 72 (!!!) hours earlier. I wasn't really contracting much (Though the last three days had been spent contracting like a mofo in spurts) - maybe every 20-30 minutes or so, but since my water really had broken this time, I wasn't going anywhere. At this point it was baby or bust.

I got an IV. My first ever. Very exciting, and also very cumbersome. We hung out in a teeny room and a cheery nurse checked on us periodically. I was dilated to almost 2cm - not great. I knew I was in for a long night. Android and I watched TV, looped around and around the halls of the maternity ward, and willed my cervix into dilating enough to get us into a Labor & Delivery room so we could really get this party started.

Several hours went by, it was 5am and my cervix had dilated to a whopping 2cm. Better than almost 2cm, but not as good as, say, MORE than 2cm. We continued to hang out and try to sleep. At 6ish we were moved to a L&D room down the hall. I have to say, these rooms are just lovely - spacious, nice view, comfy bed - but none of these things convinced my body that a child should come out of me anytime soon.

At 7 our magical nurse Teresa came in to introduce herself. She was sweet and cheery and had had two kids so she seemed to know what she was doing. She complemented my breathing techniques and sincerely hoped our kid would be born during her 12 hour shift. Ha.

At 10am (Five HOURS since my last check) I was still dilated to 2. TWO. Two centimeters does not make a baby opening. They started the pitocin. Teresa started me on a teeny tiny drip, and the contractions began to get more regular, but I was breathing through them like a champ. I was switching positions, I was getting in the bathtub, I was walking while I could... it was going well. We trucked along until about 1pm when they got baaaad.

Like, BAD. I was on the birthing ball (just a fancy name for the exercise balls that you can do ab work and Pilates and stuff on) and Android was behind me rubbing my back and just generally being awesome, but it didn't help. It hurt like a bitch. It kept hurting like a bitch until Teresa took pity on me and checked me again - 4cm. BINGO. I only had to make it to 4cm before they'd break out the epidural.

The anesthesiologist was a magical man who came, saw, and poked me in the back with what I can only assume was a very large needle. And for that I thanked him. Profusely. Sure, my legs were numb as hell, but the pain was GONE. I got to sleep for the first time in 12 hours. It was lovely, until I woke up to a nagging pain in my left hip.

Pain? That shouldn't happen, right? No, no... it shouldn't have, but it did. Big time. This is where things get fuzzy.

I remember them calling the anesthesiologist again. He adjusted the epidural catheter and gave me a bump of something to bring the pain down faster. It was a little after 7pm, and Teresa's shift was over. She introduced Jen as her replacement. Jen was a cute little blonde with glasses and a baby bump (due October 22). Teresa had lovely things to say about Jen, and promised to come by the next day to meet the baby. Suitably comforted, I slept.

Until I woke up to searing pain in my lower back. Again, that should not have happened. But it did, and in swept another anesthesiologist with yet another cocktail of druggy deliciousness. Which worked beautifully until the absolutely body-rending pain in my right side.

Y'all, this nearly finished me off. I vividly remember this stage because I was clutching the side of the bed with both hands, gasping for breath through the sobs, hoping that someone would just put me out of my misery in any way they saw fit.

You think I'm kidding.

Also, the pitocin drip was inches away from my face and I could hear its mechanical click every few seconds as it pumped twelve times the pitocin I started out with into my body. It was taunting me. I remember yelling "Will someone just turn off the fucking Pitocin?" No one was in the room other than Android and I, but it felt good to get that out into the universe. When Jen came back I asked her nicely if she could turn it down and she said "Sure, honey. But I don't think it will do any good." At least she didn't sugarcoat it.

I wanted a c-section more than anything at that point. Seriously. I don't think I ever said it out loud, but I think Jen could read my mind. She came in and said "The anesthesiologist will be here soon. He's in surgery. Until then, I'm going to give you some fentanyl and it will calm you down between contractions. I have spoken to the doctor - you are almost fully dilated. You will be giving birth vaginally."

I didn't argue with her. Jen was kind of a badass.

The anesthesiologist did come. The pain went away again for a while, and pretty soon I was feeling like I should push. And push I did. It was me, Android and Jen and we pushed our way though those contractions like you wouldn't believe. I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head. It was freaking HARD, but it was also the best part of the whole experience because I was doing something.

Now, I was told from the beginning that first time babies can take up to 3 hours to push out, and having an epidural (no matter how shitty it turned out to be) doesn't help matters. So I pushed. And Andrew counted. And Jen continued to be amazing and calm and sweet but vaguely scary.

I pushed. And pushed. I was visited by various doctors (including the teenager from our false alarm! Turns out she's really sweet and good at her job! Hooray!) who told me I was doing well, but I'm sure they say that to all the girls.

It hurt. I'm not gonna lie to ya. The drugs were pretty much a thing of the past. And remember the pain in my left hip the first time the epidural pooped out on me? Yeah, turns out the kid's head was wedged in there and whacked against my hip with every contraction. His head continued to be cocked funny for a while, which made pushing even more difficult and just a titch more painful.

And I pushed. I passed the 2 hour mark and was just about to the end of my tether. I asked Jen how much longer she thought I had and she took a deep breath (because you know they've got to hate questions like that) and said: "Maybe 45 minutes? But don't hold me to that."

Forty-five minutes. That wasn't what I wanted to hear. Naturally, I started crying. Again. She said "Honey, 45 minutes isn't very long! Tell you what: prove me wrong."

25 minutes later he was out. I take challenges seriously.

So, I pushed. I knew something was happening, but this stage is a whole lot of "two steps forward, one step back". I knew I was getting somewhere when it felt like my hips were being split open by his skull. Unfortunately, this is also when I decided I couldn't possibly go on. The various doctors and nurses had assembled pretty quickly as I was pushing like a madwoman.

I expected the quintessential movie line "I can see the baby's head! One more big push!". I've seen too many movies. No one warned me that he would come out as fast as he did. One second he was in there, and the next he just... wasn't. Then the next second he was on my belly.

And he was amazing. And not nearly as gross as I thought he'd be. He just just kind of shiny - not all cottage cheesy like we saw in the childbirth videos. My jaw dropped. I could not believe that something so beautiful and so FREAKING HUGE came out of my nethers.

The Android cut the cord, and the baby was whisked across the room to the warming lamp for cleaning and suctioning (he passed some meconium- probably when he was being smooshed into my hip). I still had some work to do - the pesky placenta had to be delivered. I had been told it could take up to a half hour for that to happen, but I think I had it out in three pushes. A squishy mass of tissue is a piece of cake (have I ruined cake for you?) next to a giant-headed baby.

The Android was beside himself as he bopped between me and the boy, reporting things like "Ten fingers! Ten toes!" and "He's TALL! 22 inches!"

I was blissed out on not being in pain anymore. I think they gave me a local anesthetic in my lady bits as they stitched up the tear my kid made as he came out. The teenage resident did the stitching and an attending watched. I think it went badly, because the attending eventually took over for the resident and redid her work, muttering "...something...something...hamburger."

I swear.

But whatever.

It's nine days later. I'm feeling pretty awesome. The kid is amazing and thriving and all around perfect.

But I guarantee you he won't have a sibling for another four or five years.

August 1, 2008

He's here.


I have one long and complicated birth story to share, but I'm not so good with the coherent sentences right now, so it'll have to wait.

For now - the basics:
Ivan Dean was born at 1:16 am on July 30. He weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces. He's 22 inches long and has looong fingers and toes.

We like him a whole lot.

I'm doing really well (though I'm about due for another dose of ibuprofen...), Android is the proudest Papa ever, and Ivan is a sweet little baby nugget who sometimes shrieks like a raptor.

More later.

July 28, 2008

This has GOT to end sometime.

It was a hell of a weekend. It began with a "pop" at 10pm on Friday night. I swear I thought my water broke, and I was SURE I hadn't peed on myself, and I was contracting (though they weren't painful. I would find out later what pain REALLY is).

So, anyway, I was under the assumption that my water broke. There was no massive gush of fluid, but I thought that was pretty normal - they tell you that sometimes the baby's head acts as a cork and the amniotic sac can form kind of a slow leak of fluid. This is what it felt like. I called the hospital, the triage nurse said we could hang out at home for a couple of hours, but since I tested positive for Group B Strep I did need to come in, even though my contractions weren't regular.

We rolled up to the hospital at 1am, and they checked us in to PETU (Perinatal Treatment and Evaluation Unit). This, as we learned, is where they separate the REAL laboring women from the big, fat, fakers. Ie: yours truly.

Android and I were led to a quiet little room down the hall from the nurses station, I put on a gown and got into bed, and a nurse came in to strap a fetal monitor and a contraction monitor onto my belly. (These things suck because you cannot freaking MOVE while they are on. You can a little, but you always run the risk of dislodging the fetal monitor and having a nurse come in and readjust it with a vaguely annoyed look on her face.)

They had to verify whether my water had broken or not, which involved a cotton swab for 60 seconds in a place where cotton swabs normally don't go. She dipped it into a solution, waited 10 minutes and came back saying it wasn't amniotic fluid, but it wasn't urine either - and they weren't convinced that I hadn't broken my bag of waters.

This is when the 12 year old resident made her appearance.

Note: I am not the kind of person who judges doctors by their age. I'm really not. But I have reached the age where my doctor really could be younger than me and that terrifies me just the teeniest bit.

She examined me, and the gush of fluid (hey, if you've been reading this blog since the beginning you've read worse things, I think.) that came out made them really believe that my water had broken. They took a sample to send to the lab - apparently amniotic fluid forms a fern pattern on a slide when put under a microscope. Neat, huh?

Alas, no fern for me. At this point I was something of a medical mystery. The best explanation was given by my nurse (we started out a little rocky, but I ended up quite liking her) - it's probably just crazy birth canal lubricating discharge. Not many women get it, but she happened to with her second kid.

Because they were still so confused, I got another exam - this time with speculums! Woo! The best part about that exam is the nurse was missing a critical cotton swab (because they are all different.) and had to leave the room in order to get the right one, all the while I'm sitting on the bed with my knees as far apart as they would go, a speculum up my hooha and a prepubescent resident waiting patiently for the return of the nurse. Talk about awkward.

Then they made me pee in a cup.

The teenager came in a bit later to tell me that there still was no amniotic fluid to be found and that's a good thing because I was still 1 centimeter dilated and labor would have been long and hard if my water had broken at this point. The logical part of my brain knew she was right. The part of me that was wearing a gown that showed my ass if I moved too quickly wanted to wrap her stethoscope round her neck and pull it reeeeeeaaaal tight.

When she left the room I cried. A lot. The horrible quiet trying-not-to-make-too-much-noise/mess-in-case-someone-comes-into-the-room-cry. I couldn't help it. I had been such a trooper though the damn exams and the chilly room and the fetal monitor and the contractions that I couldn't quite believe we were going to be sent home sans baby.

At about 4:30 my doctor (like, my actual doctor - she was on call that night) came by to check on me, which I thought was awfully nice. She explained (more gently than the toddler did) that my lack of amniotic fluid at this point dropped my chances of a unnecessary c-section by a lot. She was the only one who comforted Android and I by saying that false alarms like this are totally normal and par for the course.

At 5am we were released. We gathered our things, walked out of PETU (the nurses waved goodbye and wished us a swift return) and into the deserted corridors of the hospital.

We were sad and exhausted. We went home and crawled into bed and shut off our cell phones and slept (and my contractions had either stopped or I was too tired to acknowledge them).

Saturday was my due date. It was also my sister's birthday. Android and I hung out at home for most of the day in the hope that something, anything, would happen. It didn't. We joined my sister, brother-in-law, and Mom for a picnic out in a very beautiful park in the western 'burbs. We ate, drank (I had a glass of champagne and loved every sip of it) and were generally merry.

By the time we got home I had started contracting again - about every 11 minutes, and let me tell you - those suckers are painful! They're like menstrual cramps on crack. Unfortunately, the regularity died down and the Android and I made an attempt at sleep. He was more successful than I, but bless his heart, he usually woke up just enough during my contractions (about every half hour at this point) to rub my back until I had settled down again.

I managed to get a fair amount of sleep in and woke up relatively refreshed on Sunday morning.

Android and I had a stupidly hopeful Sunday. We went to Target for cat food and toilet paper. We got some breakfast at our local joint. We walked around for an hour hoping that my contractions would steady up again. We had a couple of friends over for pizza and The Simpsons. We continued timing my contractions, but they were sporadic at best. We went to bed.

And here I am. At 4:19 on Monday morning. Still contracting (I'm averaging every 7-8 minutes for the last hour or so... yay!) and pretty tired, but not enough to try to sleep.

The Android had today picked in the warehouse baby pool - I hope he's right. We'll win eight bucks.

July 24, 2008

Progress! Finally!

Had an utterly lovely doctor's appointment today! I'm dilated to 1cm, I'm good and effaced (thinned out), and the kid's head is engaged. All good things. Then again, my standards have been lowered considerably over the last couple of weeks - 1cm is sorta paltry considering I've got 90% of the way left to go, but whatever.

My bp was a teeny bit high, and my feet were swollen (I know, REALLY? In JULY? At nearly 40 weeks pregnant? INCONCEIVABLE!) - so doc made me pee in a cup. There were trace amounts of protein so she wants me on the alert for headaches, vision changes, and more extremity swelling. I'm going to take it easy tomorrow and see what happens.

July 23, 2008

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

I'm trying to keep my head up. Yes, technically I am not overdue yet. I can count. I can read a calendar. Doesn't change the fact that I am hideously uncomfortable 100% of the time.

You heard me. One. Hundred. Percent.

Surely I exaggerate? Nope. But I won't bore you with the details.

I am not afraid of labor and delivery. Bring that shit ON. I just want my kid. Here. Now.

July 21, 2008

I'm a big liar.

So, here's my belly at 39 weeks plus a couple days.

Admire the lack of stretch marks. Seems to be the only thing I've got going for me.