Archive for Pregnancy

It’s Not Always Perfect, And That’s OK

It’s supposed to be this beautiful, miraculous thing. Nobody wants to hear anything different.  You can joke about how physically painful it was. But don’t discuss how emotionally painful it was.

Avery’s birth was not what I expected. It wasn’t what you see in movies.  You know, the woman, obviously in pain, but able to talk, and joke with nurses and her husband. She might scream, and yell at him, but once the baby comes out, they are all hugging and crying with pure happiness and joy. “Look at this little miracle that we created.  Look what we made!  She’s finally here!”

I wish I could say that was my experience, but it wasn’t.

Like I said in the previous post. My labor and delivery didn’t go as “planned”  In fact, it was pretty much the opposite of what I wanted.  I wanted a natural birth in a hospital setting. No induction, minimal intervention.  I had a fully medicated, induced labor with loads of intervention.

Going in to it I had few expectations, so I’m not sure why the deviation from the “plan” had such an emotional impact on me.  Hormones perhaps?  I’m not sure. But i do know that how I felt during and after labor, was not what I expected.

My labor was quick, yes.  (if you don’t count the 24 hours that I labored at home)  But the fact that it progressed so quickly, and was so painful, made it seem more like a trauma than a miracle.

My eyes were closed for 99.9% of it.  I barely spoke to Dave (I guess that was good in a way—I wasn’t yelling at him!)  There was no “Good job honey!!!”  accompanied by a back-rub.  It was just me, in my own world, in agony.  And Dave not knowing what to do.  (Had he been talking to me I’m pretty sure I’d have told him to stop talking, or ignore him. and I didn’t want ANYONE to touch me)

When they put Avery on my chest, I wanted so badly to have that emotional, bonding moment.  But I couldn’t.  Not at first anyway.  I just kept thanking God, in my head, over and over that it was over. That I had survived it. That I wasn’t in pain anymore.

I don’t think it’s fair that society ignores the fact that labor can be traumatic for women.  I know that I am not alone, as I have spoken to other moms who feel “cheated” or “sad” because labor didn’t go the way they wanted.  We are made to feel bad if we don’t have a happy little story to share.  I think every woman should feel comfortable and safe in sharing her labor story.  No matter what her experience.  Women should know they are not alone if they had a “negative” experience.  It shouldn’t be something they feel they need to hide.  Women need to know that it isn’t just like we see on tv. It isn’t always perfect. We feel things. It’s OK to feel things.  Even the “ugly” things.  It’s OK.  It doesn’t make you a terrible mother. It makes you normal….it makes you human.

Of course I feel blessed to have a healthy, beautiful baby girl. I look at her with amazement every day. I’m in awe of her (and how she fit inside me!)  I know it shouldn’t matter HOW she got here, all that should matter is that she got here. Period. I just wish it had been a bit more “beautiful” for me, a bit more Hollywood…..more “romantic comedy” and less “horror”

I hope other women can feel more empowered to share their birthing experiences without shame.

(Also, I’ll admit, I am really angry that since the pain killers and epidural didnt work on me, I basically had a natural birth but  I don’t get the glory of going “med free” lol)

Plans, Pitocin & Pain: My Labor Story

I went into this whole “Labor & Delivery thing” with a pretty open mind. I had some ideas of how I wanted it to go, of course, but nothing was totally set in stone. There were a few things I knew. I knew I didn’t want to be induced, didn’t want my water broken, didn’t want pitocin, didn’t want to labor on in bed, on my back. I wanted to try to go without pain medication, I wanted to be up, moving around, I wanted to play awesome music. It didn’t work out that way. At all.

On April 1st, around 7am, I woke up with contractions. Of course, being April Fools Day, I didn’t want to tell anyone. I planned on laboring at home for as long as possible. And I did. For the entire day. Contractions were not intense, nothing more than moderate cramping. We went to bed around 10pm, expecting to wake up in the middle of the night in full-blown, get me to the hospital NOW kind of labor. That didn’t happen.

April 2nd, 5am. I wake up with contractions that are a bit more intense. I start timing them, and they are about 4 minutes apart, lasting about 30-45 seconds. Keep laboring at home. Around 6am they intensify. 4 minutes apart, lasting a minute, and getting more painful. I didn’t want to rush to the hospital just to be sent home, but, I was told to come in if they were 5 minutes apart, and lasting 1 minute…. So around 7:30am we went off to the hospital. When we arrived, of course, the contractions stopped. However my blood pressure was high so they kept me for about an hour of “observation”  Blood pressure regulated, and contractions starting again, 90% effaced and 3cm dilated. they sent me home.  Annoyed.

At 11am I had my 40 week appointment with my OB.  He checked me, and I was at 4.5cm  He asked if when he checked me he could be a little “aggressive”  I wasn’t sure what he meant, but said “sure”  (Dave was in the room so I wasn’t too concerned about his intentions lol)  Apparently, “aggressive” means  “make you cry in agony as I strip your membranes”    but hey, if it makes this labor progress without medication, I was all for it.  He said it wouldn’t be long now, and that he was certain I’d have the baby that day.  He also said to go eat something, and walk, walk walk.  So off we went to Dunkin, where I got a juice and a muffin (My stomach was filled with excitement, I really couldn’t each much more) Then back home to walk around the house and will this baby to make her appearance.

Sometime, not much later, my contractions got worse.  I had trouble walking and talking through them, and my mommy friends on Facebook told me to get my butt to the hospital.  I was afraid they’d send me home again if Avery wasn’t half way out, waving hello, but off we went…..again.  And again, when I got there, my contractions slowed way down.  My blood pressure was a bit high again, so this time, based on that, they allowed me to stay.   At first I was thrilled. I did NOT want to go home again.  But then they told me they’d have to induce me. At this point, I wanted to go home. I had a fear that induction would lead to a C Section, and due to the fact that Dave had to go back to work in two days, I could NOT take that route.

They got me up to Labor and delivery, hooked me up to an IV and monitors, and informed me that I couldn’t walk around at all.  I had to labor flat on my back, in bed. completely UN naturally.  The LAST thing I wanted to do.  Apparently, walking would raise my blood pressure too much (as if being in mind boggling pain, while laboring in bed wouldn’t also increase it….)  I’m not sure what time it was, but they checked me–still 4.5cm–and I convinced them to give me the smallest dose of pitocin possible.  (Since “no pitocin” wasn’t an option) and broke my water (Yay….)

Around 6pm (?) I couldn’t take the pain.   I had wanted to go the natural route, but things were progressing to rapidly, and I was certain that Avery was about to rip out of my abdomen like the creature from Alien.  I asked for some narcotics to “take the edge off”    They didn’t work.  I felt dopey, but still in the same amount of pain.  Around 7:30pm I was done. I needed the epidural.  The pain was intense and the “pressure” even worse. They gave me the epi, and I thought I’d be ok from there on out.  I was wrong.  Apparently, my body feels the same way about pain killers as honey badger feels about cobra bites….  it just don’t give a shit.

Around 9pm I wanted to die.  Honestly. I wanted someone to put me out of my misery.  They had “topped off” my epidural multiple times, and it had no effect.  I was begging them to check me, and screaming that I had to push.  Of course, they didn’t think I was that far along and kept saying “no, don’t push….just breathe”  RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT….. Breathe…. ok…. sure…..

My doctor came in, checked me, and discovered that I was at 9.5cm.  That’s right…..from 4cm at 730…..to 9.5cm at 9pm. Oh and they could see her head.  I TOLD YOU!!!! I TOLD YOU SHE WAS COMING OUT!!!!  At 9:30pm they let me start pushing.  After a couple pushes I asked “how much longer?!?!”  and my OB informed me “When you see my get my mask and gear on, you’ll know it’s close”  One push later, she was asking for her “gear.”

At 9:50pm Avery Fontaine Bouvier made her grand entrance into the world.  They put her on my chest and she immediately peed all over me! (a sign of things to come) Then they tried to take her away. No. I don’t think so. Nothing else has gone right, my baby is going to get her own cord blood, you WILL wait til the cord stops pulsing. They finally agreed, and let Avery stay with me. The OB informed me that she was stitching me up, and I wouldnt feel it.  I felt every stitch. Dave cut the cord after it stopped pulsating. Avery went on to score a 9/9 on her APGAR.  I thanked God that it was over.

That’s the story.  I will write more about this from the emotional standpoint soon.  Like I said, it was not how I expected or wanted my labor to go.  It was traumatic. It wasn’t something you’d see on “A Baby Story” it wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t the romanticized delivery that you see in movies.  It was ugly, and scary, and intense, but in the end, I had a beautiful baby girl.  A perfectly healthy baby girl, with fully functioning “plumbing”

Avery Fontaine Bouvier
April 2nd 2012
9:50pm
7lbs 10oz
19.25 inches

Avery’s first photo

“No, I have not had the baby yet” and Answers to Other Burning Questions

Phone calls, text messages, e-mail, facebook comments…..they keep coming through with questions, questions and more questions.  I figured it would be easier to answer them here, than 1,975 times on all other forms of social media.

Please note: This post is exceptionally snarky.

#1 “Have you had the baby yet?”   NO!!  I have not had the baby yet.  With her due date still over a week away I think it’s safe for us to all chill out a bit and allow nature to take it’s course. Don’t worry, I wont keep it a secret when I DO give birth. There will be announcements on Facebook, and twitter. E-mails and phone calls will go out.  Especially to family and very close friends.  YOU WILL KNOW when I have this baby.  I Promise.

#2 “How do you feel?”  I feel amazing, like I could run a marathon!  SERIOUSLY?  I feel like crap. But that is not what people what to hear.  They want to hear how wonderful I feel, how happy and excited I am and how these are the best days of my life. Nobody wants to hear how exhausted I feel. I’m lugging around and extra 30lbs. This “precious little baby” inside me has compressed my ribs to the point of no return and it hurts, a lot. Standing makes me feel like I’m going to pass out. Sitting gives me searing back pain, and laying down makes me feel like my abdominal muscles are being ripped open. Nobody wants to know about acid reflux, gas, bloating, swelling, bowel movements and mood swings. Fun right? So, yeah, I feel WONDERFUL!!

**I am still NOT in labor**

#3 “Are you nesting?”  Every time I mention that I did some sort of cleaning activity, I hear “OH!!!  You’re nesting!!!”  No. I’m not. I’m cleaning. I’m doing laundry. Even pregnant women still have to do dishes. It’s not a deep rooted, animalistic thing. Its an “I don’t want to be on the next episode of Hoarders” thing. I don’t WANT to do laundry, I don’t feel like folding 9,000 onesises, but It has to get done. Trust me, if anyone else wants to come over and do it, I’d be more than happy to take a nap while you fold fitted sheets.

**Nope, still no baby**

#4 “Are you having an epidural?”  The answer is “Maybe”  I don’t want to. We’ll see what happens. I’m taking this entire labor thing one step at a time. I know that you asked for an epidural the day your EPT came up positive.  I know that labor felt like being torn apart by jackals. You’ve told me 163 times that I’m “Insane” to think I can do this without being shot up with every pain killer possible. But, hey, I’m still going to try! And that’s ok!

#5 “When are you having that baby?”  If I had that answer, I’d be rich. Like I said the first 7,398 times you asked, I don’t know. It doesn’t matter when her due date is. Babies come out when they are ready. The due date just gives you a general idea of when she MAY come. It’s like when the cable guy says he’ll be there sometime between 9am and7pm”

**No, I still have not had the baby yet**

When Push Comes to Cut

I’ve started really working out my Birth Plan.  What I want, what I don’t want, what I’m terrified of, when it comes to the actual labor process.  For the most part I’m pretty “go with the flow” I have ideas of what I want, and there are a few things I refuse to do, but for the most part, it’s just a “wait and see what happens” kind of thing.

I know that I want to try for as natural a child-birth as possible, while in a hospital setting.  While the idea of a home birth, or water birth or birth in the middle of the forest sounds lovely, it just is not my cup-o-tea.  I prefer to be surrounded by medical professionals who will be able to intervene should, god forbid, something go wrong. Being surrounded by woodland creatures would be nice too, but I’m not sure how much medical training raccoons and chipmunks are getting these days.

I know for sure that I do not want to be induced, I don’t want Pitocin anywhere near me.  I want to go into labor naturally, when my body is ready, and I’d like to go through labor naturally, not sped up because the doctor has other places to be.   (Fortunately, my OB says they would never induce labor unless the mom was more than 2 weeks late, and it was medically necessary)

My hope is that I can make it trough labor without an epidural.  However, I am most definitely leaving that option open because while I THINK I have an incredible pain tolerance, this may be a “little” different.   I have read articles that American women tend scream for an epidural, while women in other countries are less likely to.  I  Think it has a lot to do with media (film and television) as well as friends and family instilling fear in our hearts and minds that labor will feel a bit like being torn apart by The Kracken.  (Not that I doubt it is painful, but I have found that women who have kids already like to scare pregnant women with all sorts of horror stories. I’m still not sure why.)

I also hope not to need a C-Section.  Though I can’t imagine anyone WANTING one.  If I NEED one I’ll definitely go along with that. (Anything for Avery!) I am “concerned” about the number of cesarean births in the US (32% of births in the US are by Cesarean)  That percentage may not seem high, since it’s less than half, but when I look at the last 5 friends who have given birth, ALL were by C-section.  Of course they  had reasons for it, and I most definitely do not judge them at all.  Some had medical reasons or medical emergencies, making a c-section absolutely necessary.   Another was a second child (the first-born via cesarean which made it riskier to try a vaginal birth with the second) The others were after induction, having been in labor for long periods of time.  (My doctor informed me that the majority of c-sections happen after induction, which can put the baby into fetal distress and make a c-section necessary.)

I also know of a couple of women who have felt “pressured” into a c-section, or an induction that ended in c-section. Some women aren’t aware that there may be other options and just assume that the doctor wouldn’t do it if it weren’t 100% needed.

Cesarean Rates for the US from 1970-2010 I prefer not to go the c-section route if at all possible. Mainly because the concept of surgery terrifies me more than the potential pain of labor. Also, because Dave will have to go back to work pretty much immediately after Avery is born, meaning I’ll be recovering from major surgery and taking care of a newborn, alone.  That is virtually impossible.

This post is getting incredibly long, but there is one other thing I want to address.

Apparently there is a stigma surrounding C-section births. I never knew this before, it honestly never occurred to me, but, there are women who think c-sections aren’t “real” births.  As if they, having had a “natural” birth are “better” and more of a “mom” than those who had c-sections.  This just blows my mind!!  I can’t fathom being such a “Judgey McJudgerson” It angers me that there are women out there who think this way. Where does that put MY mother, who adopted me. She didn’t carry me for 9 months, nor did she expel me from her womb in any way.  Does that make her “less” of a mother?  I don’t think so!  I know some women feel like they were cheated out of having a natural child-birth, even causing feelings of depression about their birthing story.  Of course, I haven’t experienced what they have, but I can’t imagine myself feeling that way.

Adoptive moms, cesarean moms and v-birth moms are all equal.

Perhaps it is because I was adopted, but to me being a MOTHER has absolutely nothing to do with HOW the baby got to you.  While I hope my labor goes according to “plan”  I’ll be perfectly happy with however Avery arrives as long as she’s healthy and happy and we all feel respected.

It’s Shower Season!

This weekend I was thrilled to attend one of my best friends baby showers! (Thanks to Dave driving me the three hours each way to Albany)

Since we’re also expecting (in case I hadn’t mentioned that before) Money is “tight”  I wanted to think of creative gifts to give my friend Erin, and her husband, John.  Of course I hit up Pinterest to see what cool things other people have made

First I found a super cute idea for making an initial (in this case “R”) out of buttons. (http://www.spearmintbaby.com/2011/03/button-monogram/)

I just happened to have a big box of buttons that I had planned to use for our wedding decor, but never ended up using.
Here is my version!

After that I found a cute idea for a “Hospital Emergency Kit” for the momma! (http://jensownroad.blogspot.com/2011/06/hospital-survival-kit-with-printables.html)

I took some of her ideas, and added in a few of my own to personalize it for Erin.

I included the following:
Travel Bottles (so she can bring her own shampoo/conditioner to the hospital
Toilet paper (Ive been told that hospital toilet paper can be compared to sandpaper)
Hand sanitizer
Blistex lip balm
Wisps (for those times when getting up to brush your teeth seems impossible)
Comfy socks
Altoids breath mints
elastic headbands
Kleenex
Facial wipes (Get rid of the sweat and get that glow back)
Calming lotion (So daddy has no excuse to give a little back/foot rub!)

For the Daddy to be I wanted to do something funny, and came across this “Daddy Doody Kit” (http://www.livingeventfully.com/2010/03/because-its-his-baby-too.html)


I bought a clear paint can (available at Michael’s Craft stores–and other craft stores I’m sure)
Inside I packed:
Baby wipes
Tongs
Advil
Hand sanitizer
baby powder
Diapers
Goggles
Mask
Ear plugs
latex gloves

All things a new dad may need when changing a diaper.

I had fun creating these gifts (and Dave had fun helping!)  I think they went over well at the shower and everyone got a good laugh.

The shower was a blast, and it was so good seeing some friends that I haven’t seen since our wedding!  Erin’s family and friends who threw the shower did a fabulous job (Even Dave enjoyed himself, and some cake, when he got back early from a little golf session)  Can’t wait to meet Little Mr. RJ in a few short weeks!!