Thursday, August 18, 2016

The birth story, 17 months later

This is from an email to a friend. We started writing when we discovered we were both expecting, just 2 months apart, and shared our experiences in a long thread of emails. Naturally not much were written when the babies were just born (sitting by the computer doesn't happen a lot at that time), so quite a while later, I wrote down my story, both for her and for myself. Then I thought, why not save it here as well? So, here it is! (I started on it when my little boy was only 8 weeks, but didn't finish it until over a year later...)


sleep deprivation..... aaaaah! Dominic is usually pretty good the first half of the night. Last night I woke up just before 3 in PAIN, so I woke him up, to change and let him drink. But I don’t know what happened - perhaps he doesn’t like the penicillin I’m taking against the stupid strep throat? He would not stop stirring, I burped him and put him down, and he was WIDE awake. And then puked all over himself. Changed clothes, and the dude was even more wide awake. a bit later he managed to sleep 45 min (and me too, yey!), and then we awoke in increments of 5-10 min the rest of the night. Nothing new I guess, has happened before, but it was just extra annoying. 

And then this morning I had to take David to Ottawa for his next 5-day pairing to LA and Honolulu. Sigh. But I made it back without falling asleep at the wheel. Dominic obviously slept like a log the 2.5 hours of that trip, so now he’s wide awake. lol... 

I need to work a bit on my referee report, but I need some sleep before that, so I thought  I’d write you my birth story, so I have it written down and not forget it! :) 

I can’t believe it’s been 8 weeks now... 

Monday the 16th of March: Big as a mountain, I had awaited the phone call from the hospital for a few days. At about noon it came, as David and I were having crappy burgers and awesome root beer (towards the end of the pregnancy, I got cravings for pop - perhaps not the best!) at A&W, when the phone call came. Are you ready, they asked. Aaaaaah was my thought. Not ready at all, all of a sudden! Rushed home, got the totally useless hospital bag, and drove in to Ottawa. Very nervous drive. It was cold, but sunny. When we came in, I got my room, and robes, and a nurse was happy to help me empty my bowels, lol. That was not fun!!!. But probably very useful. 2 more mothers to be were induced in adjoining rooms, and the Drs described the different methods to use. They opted to use a mechanical method for me, rather than give me the  common tampon with hormones to get the contractions started. Instead, they inserted a balloon into the cervix, on top of it, so it was stuck, and inflated it to about 4 cm. That way, when I was open enough the balloon would fall out. Getting the balloon in was not pleasant at all. And as soon as it was in, the cramps started. They were all very pleased. Fairly soon I got one full-fledged contraction, but then it was back to cramps. This was at 5 in the afternoon. The rest of the evening I cramped, talked to a friend who visited (who is a Dr, and had just worked there a few days earlier!), and tried to nap a bit. Once an hour, a nurse came and measured my contractions with a device on my stomach. Pretty cool to be able to see it on a screen! Even rather faint ones showed clearly. And the baby’s heart beat. 
At midnight, I went to the washroom, and the balloon fell out. According to instructions, I called the nurse, and then we were all business. So much for that sleep... 

Next step was to puncture the amniotic sack with a huge crocheting needle. I worried about Dominics head, but all went well, and out came water. Neverendingly. For hours. I was provided with pads large as mattresses, which I had to show the nurse every time I went to the washroom, so they could see that the baby hadn’t pooped due to stress. But all was well. Except - I had contractions, starting probably 2 min after the sack was punctured, and they were no practice ones... Holy moly. Meanwhile, the woman in the room next door sounded like she was being slowly tortured to death. Never heard such screams before. Both David and I got rather pale at that. Apparently her birth approached much too fast for any pain killers, and it was all au naturel. Argh!! 
Time for pain killers... They brought in laughing gas, and had me try that. I don't know how others react, but it took away no pain, and instead I wanted to vomit. Useless stuff. Apparently some have that reaction, they told me.
At that point, I decided that I definitely wanted my epidural, regardless of how well the nurse said I handled the contractions (breathed through them rather than screaming, but that didn’t mean that they didn’t hurt!). But... the epidural team was elsewhere, and noone knew when they could come. So after a while they decided that they could give me some narcotics, through an IV. I really wanted SOMETHING so I agreed, and they proceeded to try to put in the IV. It is funny, but that is actually the most painful part of the entire birth. They FAILED, three times at three different locations (they "exploded" my vein, whatever that means, so it wasn't useable anymore - gaaaaarggh... these things make me green faced...), so they didn't want to continue, since I needed the last possible spot for later. Which is when the epidural team showed up - hallelujah. David decided to go for a walk (he is very sensitive to needles and the like), and I was 2 minutes apart my contractions, so it was at the VERY last moment! That nurse was a professional for sure, put in the IV without problem. They told me I had to be absolutely still for the epidural, meaning not move at all if there was a contraction. Of course there was one, so I prayed through it, and the prayer really worked - have never been so still in my life. 

And then bliss happened. All pain gone. David came in and was met by a super happy and calm me. The contractions were now only visible on the monitor. Super fascinating! They told me I could even go to sleep (yeah right). We rested through the rest of the night. I was reading a book by Chris Hadfield (the Canadian astronaut). Then in the early morning, they started getting a bit worried about Dominic's heart beat, and checked me. Fully dilated. So, time to get going. Time to start the pushing. Yikes. The main nurse (the same who had given me the enema 14 hours earlier) really pushed me to push hard... So I did. At one point, when I complained about it feeling like I was pooping, she said " oh, we already took care of that", which made us both laugh through a contraction, but then we were all business again. Towards the end, they said that I could bring down my hand and feel his head, and I did. That was scary - all squeezed together so it felt like a mountain range. Poor kid! Can't imagine the headache they must have going through with a natural birth! And then, he was out... and there was a scream immediately... they put him on my chest, his head bloodied, and he calmed down. The nurse kept upsetting him so he would scream more, which I found a bit mean, but apparently it's necessary, to free the lungs and throat of phlegm and fluids. But he kept being calm with me. Wow, I was crying. What an incredible thing. After a little while, they offered David to cut the cord, but he was a bit chicken. I was curious and wanted to touch it, so I did, and it felt like rubber. Much harder than I had expected! They asked me if I wanted to cut it, but no.... felt weird and wrong to cut the life-giving conduit! Then David collected some courage and ended up doing it, lol. I was so proud of him... :)
Then, most interestingly, they told me that I could rest, and they would take care of the placenta etc. I had no idea. They proceeded to kind of massage my stomach until it was out. I was intrigued, and they asked if I wanted to see it, which I of course did. So they held it up, with the entire amniotic sack, and showed how everything had been located. SO COOL!!! 

In all, the pushing sequence took about 30 minutes. Rather fast, they said. While they measured Dominic, they had to sew me up. YUCK! I saw the needle, and decided to not look that direction again. And I was VERY grateful for the epidural at that point. Granted, had I not had it, I may have gone slower and perhaps not torn... I don't know.... 

It was very interesting afterwards. We got to rest in the same room for a while, a few hours I think, but then I was supposed to go to (well, be wheeled out) the room I was to share with a few other moms (David then noticed that it actually was included in his health insurance to have a private room, but it was to late to organize that). But when I tried to stand up to go to the washroom, I couldn't stand, I thought I'd faint. They ended up emptying me with a catheter. Also, they said my uterus didn't contract as fast as they wanted, so they put in some kind of pill, that rendered me even weaker, plus I started shaking uncontrollably. This was not nice at all. Eventually, I did manage to get myself to the washroom (holy crow, it was hard!), and saw all the blood on the floor. yikes. Much more than I expected (but within reasonable limits according to the nurse). Wheel chair with little Dominic in my arms. 

Thinking back at this, I remember the feeling of exhaustion, and how unreal everything felt. Especially that the little person now was outside of me. It was hard though... having lost a night, trying to nurse, and nothing came, being in excruciating pain when going to the washroom, the indispensible spraying bottle, all the mattress sized pads... And then the night... 3 women in the same room with 3 little boys, each baby taking turns at screaming all night long. I sent David to sleep at a friends, because I reasoned that it'd be better if at least one of us was rested the next day. Smart, but hard. And then Dominic screamed, hungry, and I had nothing... Oh, I felt so miserable. Finally a nurse came in and gave him a bottle (which the milking consultant was very disapproving of the next day). And, having to stay a night extra, because Dominic lost too much weight... Argh. 

And, heading home, -17 degrees (C), packing, putting on real clothes. The feeling of awe and fear and HOLY CROW HOW are we going to manage on OUR OWN???? But managed we did, learning so much, and now I'm sitting here, more than a year later (this email has been forgotten over and over again) and I can barely imagine a life with out our little boy. :) What a miracle. What a blessing. 

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Still winter

Haha. I found the following among my draft entries, from last winter:

"...worst winter ever, including those years in winnipeg (almost). But as far as snow content goes, worst. I change my mind. I want a Swedish winter next year. (dark, ok, wet, ok, but shorter, and warmer, YES!)”

And... that’s what we got! in the beginning. It didn’t start until December, and all of that month was more or less like in Sweden. Almost seems like my brother brought the weather with him when he came to celebrate Christmas with us - and as soon as he left the snow came, and the cold. But January was decent, albeit cold (I’m still inoculated by the Winnipeg years though, so not too bad yet. Plus it helps being pregnant, I’ve never been so warm during winter, in my life!!! I love it.) But now - 15 cm one day, then a day of sun and after that, continuous snowing for 5 days. Meanwhile Montreal is getting nothing, so it seems like it’s some kind of lake effect going on.

This wouldn’t be so bad if I could just do something about it, but shovelling in the 8th month is probably not a good idea. Walking outside without spikes is not recommended either. And walking itself is quite the chore. Sigh. (D is away for 4 days working, otherwise he’s doing awonderufl job shovelling)

On the flip side, I LOVE our house, and it’s quite awesome to be home so much. Definitely not tired of it yet. And I do have that paper to finish, so it’s not like I’m out of things to do... I can’t believe I haven’t finished it yet!!! Argh.

Already affecting the outside

Laptop on lap, edge of keyboard touching belly. And BOINK - the laptop moved, small movement in the keyboard part, but the monitor consequently shifted several cm! I realized that this is the first time there is an outside effect to the movements of my little insider. What a special feeling!

(A little insider who may very well have a name, approved by both David and me, but which will be decided for sure once we meet him. I even found myself googling it last night, and it looks like he will be the only one with it (that’s including 2 names and the family name). I like that :))

Monday, February 02, 2015

33.5 weeks

My "blessed state” (not sure if you say this in English, but it’s for sure a synonym to pregnancy in Swedish - ett vĂ€lsignat tillstĂ„nd - a very apt name for it, once experienced!) has been going very well, all along, albeit with some side effects that are rather common... Today, I am very very tired. Hot flashes and out of breath. Since I wrote last time, the kicks and moving around has become more pronounced (and mostly I LOVE it, except for occasional movements to nerves which hurt... but it’s not often!). I’m supposed to keep count in 2 hr intervals, once per day, to make sure there’s more than 6 movements within that time range. That hasn’t been necessary...

So, anyway, I thought I’d write down some fun observations along the way, so that I don’t forget it.
Trimester 1: Nausea (not bad, just in the afternoons, and evenings if not eating at exact times) and no throwing up - at all! I think I was very lucky, having conversed with others. The interesting sensation of being happy when nauseous, since it meant that all was going well, and being all worried when feeling well, in case something was wrong. Tiredness galore. Wow. Our walks became slower and slower, with lots of stops.
Appetite: Only mediterranean food seemed to make me interested, as well as cheese, loads of fruit and veggies and generally healthy stuff. I didn’t mind.
Craving: Orange juice. And apples.
Strangest thing: The chocaholic (well, moderately so, and only for very high quality stuff) completely lost all interest in chocolate. Weirdest feeling in the world. I even forced myself to try some, and my senses weren’t impressed at all! Liquorice (the real, black, salty Dutch and Swedish stuff) was however incredibly awesome (even more than usual), and seemed to help with nausea.

Trimester 2: Oh, this was nice. Energy back, things almost normal, except the appetites and cravings, which remained. And the acid reflux (heartburn), which I’ve always “enjoyed” to some extent, came back with a vengeance, and just got worse and worse. Luckily there’s medication. Most wonderful thing of all: movements starting in week 17 (first time that I was sure was real, was in the celestial room of the temple - that was incredible...), and could be felt from the outside from week 20.

And Trimester 3: Not much change really, more than always thinking that the belly "can’t possibly get bigger than it already is???”, and a subtle increase in tiredness, together with a much less subtle increase in acid reflux... So far no swellings of ankles or anything like that. More appetite, which is treacherous, since too big portions bring the heartburn. So instead one has to eat often... Chocolate is yummy again btw. The rest is about the same. Orange juice is still divine. And apples! Not to mention kiwis... A little known fact is that they help with constipation. I’ve never had so many kiwis in my life...
A beautiful feeling of connectedness with this little person inside. Before, it was unreal. Now it’s very real, and even though the entire process still feels like incredible science fiction, it feels REAL! I don’t worry as much as I did in the beginning, and I just love it. I also love the fact that I’ve reached the state where I’m not (very) worried about the delivery anymore. It seems to be directly correlated with the amount of discomfort one experiences, which is rather practical, I suppose...

What an incredible adventure! It really is the biggest adventure of my life. Anything can still happen, but being the direct observer of this process, experiencing the body changing so much, and how it all works, it’s just fantastic.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Unexpectedly strong kicks

Ooooh, I have so much to write, to tell, to describe... But no time, so here’s a little peak into current events:
Today I got a HUGE kick to my stomach... (and a lot of smaller ones). From the inside... I held my hand over the stomach at the time, and I could feel it strongly from the outside as well! What a little kicker (kicker = frog in Dutch btw), I’m so happy that he seems so strong! :) What an incredible feeling that is... The first months, I was wondering so much how it would feel, and now I know. And it feels like communication, from this little soul I’m carrying, and I just cannot for my life put into words how incredible that feels. It’s sci-fi. Miraculous. Fantastic.

David is currently flying home from Las Vegas in his B767. He emailed and said they were grounded for a while, even though they were ready to take off, because Obama had just landed at the airport...

I’m not done my paper... I’m working on it, but I wouldn’t call it full time. It better be done before Christmas.

And it was cold today. -8 most of the day. But it’s going up to +14 on Monday. Would be nice, not particularly fond of the snow and ice lying around (even though the layer is about 100 times less than what Buffalo and area are experiencing!)