Friday, February 25, 2011

It's on

***please note, the following posts are no-holds barred accounts of Marlowe's birth.  If you are at all squeamish about that kind of thing, you may want to skip them.  This means you, Stamatia. 

When we arrived at the hospital, the ER was surprisingly quiet.  The Obstetrics Check-In desk was closed, because it was the middle of the night on Saturday, and because SB and I had done our hospital tour such a long time ago (because we're keen like that) we couldn't remember what we were supposed to do then.  We tapped on the regular Check-In desk's glass, and the gentleman who came waved us through to the elevators.  Meanwhile, an ambulance crew was waiting to deposit a patient, and during this 2 minute interval they asked me approximately 8 times if I would like a wheelchair.  Even though I told them no 8 times.  

Once upstairs, we got all set up for the routine pre-admission fetal monitoring and check of progress.  Our doula arrived, and SB went back down to park the car.  (Because it was the middle of the night, he got a great spot!)

I became preoccupied by how hot the room was.  I am hyper-sensitive to temperature in normal times, but my entire pregnancy I felt like a self-contained rotisserie.  And my gown wouldn't snap.  So we did the whole one gown the right way, one gown backwards trick so my ass wasn't hanging out everywhere, but this solution compounded the sauna-like state of the birth centre triage. We waited for what seemed like hours for the resident on duty to arrive, and when he did he looked like he had just rolled out of bed, into his hoodie, and walked from his dorm to the hospital.  Which is totally possible, and maybe even probable.  I don't remember his name, nor would I post it here, but let's call him Dr. Duh.

His check showed that I was 4 cm dilated, 80% effaced, but that baby was at -3 station, which means very high up there.  Also, my membranes were still intact, so I guess I just had a slow leak all day long.  I was a bit disappointed to hear how high up she was sitting, since I had assumed she was low and engaged given all the pelvic discomfort I'd been feeling.  I was glad to hear how far I'd progressed, though, because if these pains were just practice pains, then grrrr.  At this point Dr. Duh said "so, we'll get you admitted, and then you can get your epidural."  When I said no, he was kind of like "what do you mean?"  This did not bode well, but I just ignored him. 

Once we were settled into our delivery room, our first nurse arrived.  She seemed like a nice enough lady, and looking back, I feel like she was probably new.  The first thing she wanted to do was get me hooked up on a fetal monitor.  Since I had just spent five hours (actual time was probably 45 minutes, but it felt like five hours) laying on my back attached to a monitor, all I wanted to do was walk around the room a little.  We asked why this was necessary since we had just been hooked up, and they had plenty of data for the moment.  She then proceeded to explain that since the baby was so high up, and my waters weren't broken, I would have to remain in the bed on a monitor, since if my waters broke and I was walking around the cord could get washed out first and compressed. 

Plausible?  Maybe.  However, I had been leaking fluid all day and walking around laboring at home, and if I'm willing to take the risk to have a better labor experience, then dude, don't argue with a woman squeezing out a baby.  She then began her spiel about how I would also have to stay in bed so that the IV would be stable and safe, and oh, by the way, watch out, I need to put the bed rail up so you don't fall out of bed.  (behind me I heard my doula whisper to me "when was the last time you fell out of bed?")

(Because I have a pretty major phobia of needles, and because I didn't intend on needing an IV for anything except an emergency circumstance, and because I know that if I needed one, it would be easy enough to install when it was necessary anyway, I was adamant about not being hooked up to an IV, nor a Hep Lock.)

She then asked us where our birthplan was if we wanted all these "special" instructions followed (don't get me started on how not wanting any interventions at all when laboring could be considered "special") - I had specifically asked my doctor about it at my appointment the Monday before and she said "it's totally not necessary, just tell the nurses what you are okay with and what you aren't, and they'll respect it.  They are very supportive of whatever you choose."  So I was not please with this nurse demanding to see one.  Our doula quickly jotted one down, which I signed and gave to the nurse, who then said she still couldn't let me up to walk around without a monitor on. 

I started to lose my shit about then, and thus began the argument that resulted in me yelling at the nurse "why are you still here arguing with me?" and "would you just go get the doctor already?"  While my doula tried to politely say "I think we understand what you are saying, but she would just like the doctor to come check and see if maybe the baby has engaged?" Then the nurse fired us.  FIRED US like it would hurt our feelings.  I will never forget the tone of her voice when she said "Well, maybe I should just get you another nurse, then..." and I wish I could have seen her face (I was busy with my head buried in a pillow during a contraction) when we all three said "Yes, please, I think that would be a good idea."

Then she had her boss come back in with.  I don't know why.  She was back to trying to explain why I had to stay in the bed and why I would need an IV.  At this point I turned off my ears.  My head was about to explode off my body, and I felt I may leap off the bed and tackle that nurse.  Eventually between SB and the doula they worked it out - the nurse left, we got a new one, and they sent for the doctor to check me.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Early Labor

***please note, the following posts are no-holds barred accounts of Marlowe's birth.  If you are at all squeamish about that kind of thing, you may want to skip them.  This means you, Stamatia.

On Saturday, February 5th, I woke up at around 7:30am to find I had developed a slow leak in the night.  Dr. Google thought it was most likely my waters, and a quick phone call to my doula later that morning confirmed that was probably the case.  I had spent pretty much the entire week walking around like a cowboy because I felt like I got kicked in the kooka, and was pretty sure I had passed my bloody show on Thursday.  So I kind of had a feeling things were going to get started soon.

With the intuition that birth was probably imminent, SB and I realized that we had some serious last minute shit to get done.  Armed with a list of baby supplies we headed out.  My walking pace was considerably slower than normal, however I had feelings of only mild cramping throughout the morning.  As we finished up our errands, these cramps became more pinchy, and by the time we got home I was describing them as "contractiony cramps" instead of just cramps.  We finished packing the hospital bags.  I included the toothbrushes.

Then I realized that I hadn't prepared any of the Houla Houla Hop T4s for our ex-employees.  It was on my list of stuff to do and I just hadn't gotten to it yet.  So, as the contractiony cramps got pinchier and pinchier, I was cursing and swearing trying to find all the information for eighty seven different forms and also trying to remember how I had done it last year.  Finally finished those up around 4pm, however they are still here waiting to be mailed.  Incidentally, this is also the point where I would say the contractiony cramps became contractions, and this is where we really start counting the hours when talking about how long my labor was.

We had pizza for dinner, and we watched The Prince of Persia (it was a terrible, terrible movie).  I tried to rest a bit, as suggested by the doula, but had no luck with that.  We started timing the contractions, you know, for fun, and found they came every 6-7 minutes.  I think at that point we both kinda didn't want to believe that this was it.  We went to bed to watch TV.  We talked to the doula several times by phone.  She has a policy that she doesn't want to come too early, in case it's false labor and also in case early labor is just very very long.  It's a waste of time for her to be hanging out for nothing, and it's easier to be comfortable and rest when you are just yourselves at home.  I think she thought that I may make it through the night laboring as I was, based on how I described the pains, and also by how relaxed I sounded on the phone.

But then, something happened, and the contractions not only sped up, but intensified.  Breathing didn't work.  Walking around definitely didn't work.  Somewhere between Auction Kings and Idiot Abroad (thank you, Discovery, for providing entertaining TV for laboring women at 1-2am on a Saturday) we figured it was probably time to get to the hospital.   Our doula, by phone, was a bit surprised, I think, by how I went from relaxed to not quite so relaxed - rather then come to our house first, we decided to just meet at the hospital.

And away we went, in a snowstorm (thank you for the peace of mind, Subaru) at almost 3am.  The bars were closing up soon, so through the snowstorm we had to maneuver around many many crazy taxis (I've been in a 3am cab before - they drive like they're playing MarioKart) and many many drunk people wandering into the street.  We decided our kid was a partygirl, arriving as the bars close, just in time for the afterparties. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

4 days, 11 hours

The baby came! 

She was born on Sunday, February 6th, 2011 at 10:04am.  Her name is Marlowe Fiona, and she was 6lbs 15oz and 19.5" long. 

The last four days have been sort of a blur as we try to work out some strategies to organize this crazy new life we have.  I have been thinking a lot about how I want to tell her birth story, but I'm not sure I'm ready to write it out yet.  So for now, I leave you with this and a promise to be back soon.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

38 weeks, 2 days

I've been on maternity leave for two weeks now, and I have learned a few things in this time:

1.  Tess doesn't actually like spending time with me, she was just using me.  She knew that I was the one with the cool job where she had lots of doggie pals to hang out with so she was nice to me, ensuring I would bring her along.  Now that we don't go to work, she spends her days ignoring me and sighing, and her evenings tormenting SB because she knows HE can still at least take her to the dogpark.

2.  Daytime TV sucks.  As I putter around the house doing various tasks, I realize how much I hate a lot of TV that airs during the day.  Especially Barbara Walters.  I love the View, but I despise Barbara Walters.  I feel like she has completely irrelevant opinions and it seems like she is half senile based on the comments she makes on "Hot Topics" and also the way she interrupts everyone else on the show to make said comments.  Is it sad that the fate of my days lately hinge on whether she is on that day or not? Sheesh.

3.  Even with all the time in the world, I am still an exceptional procrastinator.  I would even go so far as dubbing myself a Master Procrastinator.  And I know for a fact it's not just laziness, because I am very selective about which tasks routinely get ignored.  For example, I've kept up on laundry, my crafting is in turbo mode, but I still haven't packed my hospital bag.  Even after the nurse at my appointment on Monday chastised me for not having it prepared.