Wednesday, September 24, 2008

He's Here!

Our son, LL*, was born Friday, September 19, at 3:00pm. He weighed a ridiculous 8 lbs 13 oz, he's 21" long, and he has a surprisingly gigantic head. (Thanks for that one, kid.) He's healthy, and extremely cute, so all is well.

Full birth story (or maybe partially full... I'm not sure yet) coming soon. A few "highlights" in the mean time: 23 hours of labor, an extremely surreal conversation with the anesthesiologist around hour 15, 2+ hours of pushing, disturbing signs of fetal distress, unmistakable cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD) that even had the hippy-dippy nurse-midwife apologizing, and ultimately a C-section.

We're home now, totally exhausted, dealing with the painful physical aftermath of both a long difficult labor and a C-section (me) and some jaundice and feeding issues (LL). At the same time, we couldn't be happier. More well-rested, yes, but not happier.

* Sorry, but I've decided not to actually include his name on the blog. Oddly enough, I don't want to type it here, but I'm okay dropping enough obvious hints that you can figure it out if you want to. It starts with an L, has only 4 letters, and is also the first name of the guy who invented blue jeans in San Francisco in the 1850s to sell to gold miners. Er... we didn't name him for the blue jeans guy, he's just the most famous person I can think of who shares the name, which is a good Hebrew name from the Torah. On the blog, I'll call him LL for "Little L___".

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Induction Morning

He's a stubborn one, our little Barack. Today is D-Day, and still no sign that he's planning to initiate this process on his own. Here at +9 days, we're no longer comfortable waiting for him to make his move. Induction it is.

The way inductions work at our hospital is that you call first thing in the morning and ask if they're able to take you. If they're already slammed (women in natural labor get higher priority than I do; another big thank-you shout-out to my body for letting me down once again), then they tell you to stay home. They'll call when more rooms have opened up, probably in a few hours. That's the situation we're in right now -- yet another holding pattern. Our bags are packed, the car is ready to go, the house is nice and tidy... there's nothing else for us to do but wait.

I'm off to continue pacing around the house, waiting for the phone call that will let me know that I can go give birth to my child.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bigger Pumpkin?

Sigh. After 40 weeks of comparing baby Barack's size to a different object every Tuesday, I am now left high and dry here at 41 weeks. I'm still pregnant, but there are no more size comparisons to be had. Why? Because I'm not still supposed to be pregnant.

I asked S how big he thought Barack was this week. I mean, what's bigger than a pumpkin? A large gourd? S's response: "Your baby is now as big as a one-week-old newborn." Thanks, dear.

Friends and family members have offered several theories on why the baby hasn't made his appearance yet. Two of these roadblocks were cleared away earlier today:

Problem #1: Perhaps the baby was waiting until he had a crib.

Solution: I called today to check on the crib. You may recall that we ordered it back in May, and it was due in by mid-August. Then the store went out of business, the order was transferred, the manufacturer started reporting shipping problems.... The expected date was pushed back to mid-September, then to late October. When I called today, I found out that the date is now mid-December. I had made my peace with using a bassinet for the first 6 weeks, but that's not something we can do for 3 months. I told the store to cancel the order and refund our deposit. I then asked them to place an order for our second-choice crib (one we liked, but not as much, and it won't match the changing table, and it's more expensive). Turns out the second-choice crib was in stock. They delivered it this afternoon. We now have a crib. Ta da! Barack now has somewhere permanent to sleep. You can go ahead and be born now, kid.

Problem #2: Perhaps the baby was waiting until he had a new car to ride home in.

Solution: We have a new car. (Yep, today was an expensive day.) We ordered a new car back in July, because both of our cars are old, tiny compact cars that can technically fit a car seat, but just barely. The car was (you guessed it) back-ordered, until early September. Then they revised their guess, to be mid-October. Instead, the dealership called this morning to tell us that the car had arrived. I haven't even sat it in yet (S drove it home, while I drove our old car) because, with my luck, my water will break in our brand new car. So, baby Barack also now has a nice comfortable new set of wheels in which to ride home from the hospital.

S and I have been joking for months about which would arrive first: baby, car, or crib. The final ordering: crib, then car, then (hopefully) baby.

Last note: our baby betting pool has now been decided. My mom had the latest guess, and even her guess has now passed, so she wins by default. I told her that it was her fault that I hadn't gone into labor yet, because she historically has won an awful lot of baby pools. Her response: "Okay, but I bet you'll go into labor tomorrow, before you need to be induced." I bet I won't. So we both put our money where our mouths are -- I bet her double or nothing for the entire size of the pool that this baby isn't going to be born before Thursday.

Less than 36 hours until I'm induced....

Monday, September 15, 2008

40w6d and Counting

Yep, I'm still gestating. I had an NST at the hospital today, and once we spurred Barack into action with some ice cubes and apple juice, he performed admirably. I've been having contractions since Saturday night, but nothing serious. The closest they ever get is 10 minutes apart, they're usually more like 30 minutes apart, and sometimes they disappear for hours at a time. They're uncomfortable, but not remotely painful. And they're short, usually only lasting 20 seconds at the most. In other words, other than being extremely annoying, they're not actually doing anything as far as bringing along the baby. We verified this analysis during the NST, when I got to point at the tape and say, "Those were contractions, right?" and the nurse responded with, "Those little blips there? Yeah, I suppose so." Then she confirmed that yeah, I'm probably not going to be in full-on labor anytime soon.

As of tomorrow (just a few short hours away) I'll be a full week past my due date. This sucks sucks sucks sucks sucks. I desperately want to have this baby already, but I'm also growing increasingly nervous about being induced. And I still have two more full days to sit around the house thinking about it, which means my anxiety level is only going to go up.

The only bright spot of the last few days was that the Packers looked awesome in yesterday's football game. And it looks like we're going to win our fantasy football game this week. As I was watching highlights last night, S walked in and mocked me with this: "That's okay, dear -- you stay on the couch watching Sports Center while I do the dishes and clean the kitchen." I told him that if he wants to take over the pregnancy for the next few days, I'd be happy to trade places with him. Sadly, he said no deal.

Now that it's not Sunday anymore, I'm out of distractions. I'm bored and exhausted and bloated and uncomfortable and nervous. Sucks sucks sucks sucks sucks.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Deadline Extended

S and I have been having a lot of discussions over the last few days about labor induction. I'm not thrilled with the idea of being induced, but I didn't realize until yesterday how totally terrified S is of the idea. Hard to define why... it just freaks him out. So, we talked to Dr. M this morning, and we've pushed back the induction two days. New plan: NST on Monday, to make sure that everything is really truly okay. If so, we'll wait until Thursday for the induction, at which point I'll be at 41w2d, or 9 days past my due date. I'm not thrilled with waiting that long (Dr. M was supportive, but also tossed around the phrase "fetal distress," which is hardly comforting) but S was so incredibly stressed at the thought of inducing too early that this seems like the best plan for us. So, baby Barack's new eviction date is September 18. If he wants to hand-pick his own birthday, he has to do it before then.

As for me... I'm fairly certain that Barack dropped further into my pelvis yesterday afternoon, because I'm suddenly feeling him somewhere between my knees whenever I stand or walk. Sharp downward pains whenever I move. Walking any distance more than the length of our house is now difficult enough that I'm essentially under house arrest. Bored bored bored. The phone calls and emails asking "Where's the baby?!?!", which I thought were kind of funny two weeks ago, are now just pissing me off, so I've stopped answering the phone. I don't remember ever feeling this anxious and uncomfortable ever in my life. But I also have not had a single real contraction that I'm aware of, other than some extremely light tightening feelings that are probably Braxton-Hicks contractions, because they're not painful at all.

Six more days of this, at the most. But please please please let me go into labor before then.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Still Waiting

Today was our last weekly appointment, in honor of reaching a full 40 weeks yesterday. No point in scheduling any more checkups. Dr. M thinks I'll be in labor by Monday, but just in case, we scheduled an induction for next Tuesday, September 16, six days from now. I am so uncomfortable and so worn down, and the baby appears to be so big (and still growing, as opposed to my pelvis) that we decided not to go past there. S wanted to wait until Thursday or Friday to induce, but I'm at my limit. As much as I would much rather go into labor naturally, on my own, I am just not willing to wait that long. So, Baby Barack now has a deadline. If he wants to avoid the dreaded pitocin, he needs to make his move before Tuesday.

The good news is that Barack and I are both still healthy. My blood pressure is actually dropping again, my weight is still on target (27 lbs total over a full 40 weeks), and Barack's heartbeat remains strong, as do his kicks. I have made a bit more progress since last week: 1.5 cm dilated, 70% effaced, -2 station. Better than a week ago, but at this rate, I'll be having the baby sometime around Thanksgiving.

Between napping and pacing around the house, I've been watching DVDs while sitting on a birthing ball. We have a fairly large collection of movies, so for the past several days, I've been watching anything that sounds even remotely appealing, just to pass the time. This approach has led to a rather eclectic mix of movies. How's this for a double-header: "Casablanca" and "Zoolander." I've watched "Crimson Tide" several times because looking at Denzel Washington makes lots of situations better. Young Harrison Ford has also featured prominently in several selections.

I've also been re-reading Harry Potter books. They're just the right mix of distraction and fluff.

But... these mindless coping techniques are starting to reach their limit of effectiveness. I had been hanging out with my friend C, who was due the same time as me, but she went into labor on Monday and had her daughter early Tuesday morning, so now I'm on my own. Waiting waiting waiting....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Yes, I'm still here, and still pregnant, at 40 weeks. I'm not exactly happy about it, but not a whole lot I can do about it, either. S and I have both marveled at how quickly I went from "Hey, pregnancy isn't so bad!" to "I seriously can't go on like this!" Because seriously -- I can't go on like this. Our five day triple-digit heat wave (once again, without A/C) is thankfully over, which is helping a bit, but I'm still so gosh darn uncomfortable that I'm finding it a bit hard to see the positives. I'm not sleeping, and I'm barely eating, thanks to near-constant heartburn. It hurts to sit, it hurts to walk, it hurts to lay down, it hurts to move. Even the smallest task, like getting in and out of a car, seems like a monumental undertaking. Everything about me is swollen.

It's strange to count down to a particular date for 9 months, and then that day comes and is just another day. Nothing is happening. And somehow, I had convinced myself that I would go into labor before my due date, so I never really wrapped my head around being in this position.

We have tried every old wive's tale that exists to try to induce labor. And yes, I do mean every single one. Even the incredibly uncomfortable ones (eg, spicy food does not induce labor, it just makes heartburn even worse). S has even taken to yelling at my cervix ("Dilate!!!") and my uterus ("Contract!!!") but they're both ignoring him. Still, it's healthier than yelling at the baby ("Leave!!!") which was his initial instinct. He does occasionally plead gently with the baby ("Please come out so we can meet you!") but it's only brought about swift kicks to my hip bones. We even tried the tempting-fate approach and hosted a small Monday Night Football party last night (Go Packers!) but alas, I didn't go into labor by halftime like I had hoped.

My 40-week appointment is tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be showing some more progress, but either way, we're going to have to have a conversation about induction. Suggestions on how to kick-start labor are more than welcome. Even silly ones. In the mean time, I'm off to continue bouncing up and down on a birthing ball.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Little Progress

One of the most common questions a pregnant woman gets asked, in addition to "Boy or girl?", is "When are you due?" In the beginning, I answered this question with a date. I'm due in September. After a while, when I was further along, I answered with relative time. I'm due in 2 months. Six weeks. Things like that. This past month, I started answering in days. I'm due in 18 days. Sounds close, doesn't it? I have now reached a new milestone; a new way to answer the question.

I'm due on Tuesday.

How bizarre is it that an answer of "Tuesday" is actually unambiguous? I don't need to specify which Tuesday, because it's this coming Tuesday. The very next Tuesday we're going to have. That's when I'm due. On Tuesday.

That's all very exciting, but baby Barack may have other plans. I had my 39 week appointment today, and though there has been some progress, it's not much. I'm 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. Rather than look at those numbers in absolute terms (one measly centimeter?!?) I'm choosing to look at them in multiplicative terms: I'm infinitely more dilated than the zero centimeters of last week! Doesn't infinite progress sound great?! The baby has also dropped a bit more, to -3 station. It might not seem like much, but last week I wasn't even on the scale, so this is definitely an improvement.

So, the good news is that some progress has definitely been made. The bad news is that this sort of progress doesn't necessarily translate into being any closer to labor. Dr. M is hopeful that I'll go into labor on my own sometime in the next week, but if I end up having to keep next week's appointment, he's going to want to discuss induction. Baby Barack seems to be in excellent health, but he also seems big, so nobody (including me) wants to let me go more than a week or so past my due date. One way or another, Dr. M wants the baby out of me by September 17 or so.

Otherwise known as: a week from Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


T minus one week and counting. Yep, I'm at 39 weeks. The famous "Enough already, get this thing out of me!" stage. I have to say, overall, I think that I have had an easier pregnancy than most. I've experienced quite the range of pregnancy symptoms, but each one has been fairly short-lived, with long respites that have actually been pretty comfortable and enjoyable. More good than bad. These last few weeks, though... they're starting to wear on me. Yet another heat wave without air conditioning, this one reaching triple digits, has pushed me over the edge. Unbearable heat. Unbelievably swollen ankles and feet. Painfully swollen hands. No more than 3 consecutive hours of sleep in weeks. A remarkably squirmy baby who manages to get his little legs kicking at every major internal organ I own. I am ready to move on.

My unrelenting exhaustion means that I was much relieved to have been off from work this past week. Around short but frequent naps, I was able to knock off just about everything on my to-do list. (A few small things remain, but they're very small. "Buy stamps" kind of small.) By Friday, though, I was out of things to fill my days, which is making the waiting even harder. Time moves sooooo slowly when you're home alone in an overheated house with nothing fun or productive to do. (Bored? Might as well begin labor....) Besides, the hospital has air conditioning. And it would have pleased the punster in me to go into labor on Labor Day.

I am still (naively) hopeful that I will deliver before my due date next Tuesday. My own guess in our baby betting pool is this Thursday, September 4. But as hours and hours go by without so much as a single Braxton-Hicks contraction, that goal seems further and further away. On the bright side, Dr. M probably wouldn't let me go too far past 41 weeks without inducing me, given that baby Barack is consistently measuring on the large side, so I have ~17 days max yet to go. In the mean time, we've rented DVDs, gone out to see some movies ("Tropic Thunder" was only so-so. "Bottle Shock" was light and fun.), had lunches out with friends, and been generally trying to socialize as much as possible. The waiting continues.