A birth story. Hello again.

Well, my daughter is 15 weeks old, so it’s about time I crawled out of my maternity leave cave and put my birth story on paper. Or, uh, screen. I have been back to work for two weeks now and I am surviving. It’s even a little bit nice to get out of the house on a regular basis.

I have a lot of thoughts on being a new mom but that’s not what this post is about.  Having a baby is crazy. Let’s talk about that.

At 36 weeks, my doctor put me on bed rest because my amniotic fluid was low at a 7. While it wasn’t dangerously low (Between 7 and 25 is normal), it was low enough to take precautions because I was at risk for preeclampsia and a few other things according to a previous test they had done. So for a couple of days, I was off work, I had to cancel some appointments (goodbye, last pre-baby haircut), and I wasn’t supposed to venture out of the house much. Just me and my water bottle hanging on my couch. After 3 days, I was about to lose my mind. I was still doing work and also watching some Netflix (hey, Jane the Virgin!), but sitting around was mind-numbing. I also painted our front door (while sitting and drinking water) because I literally couldn’t sit around anymore. I am sure painting is not on the list of approved bed rest activities, but honestly at that point, I wasn’t too worried about it.

The Wednesday of that week, the babe had not been moving as much as normal, so we went in to Labor and Delivery, per my doctor’s instructions. The baby was fine, but we saw that my fluid was still low. It was higher, at a 9, but not as high as I had hoped. I kept chugging water. I kept not really moving.

At my 37 week appointment, August 1, I was sure that sitting and hydrating had done it’s job and I would be off to work. So, I went to the appointment freshly showered and in a dress. I went in for the ultrasound and the tech, Debbie, was ready to go. She told me that she could see on the screen that I was having contractions. Which I thought were just Braxton-Hicks but were actual contractions. She is usually a chatty Kathy so I was concerned when she suddenly stopped talking. I knew the baby was okay – she had assured me – and as always, I could see her dancing on the screen. But Debbie said she needed to talk to my doctor about something and left the room. My husband and my mom were both in the room with me and we kind of all just awkwardly looked at each other. I said, “that doesn’t seem good.” And everyone agreed. Then I proceeded to read the screen of the ultrasound that was left up. I was getting good at that since I had so many at the end of my pregnancy. Some quick math told me that my fluid had not corrected at all while on bed rest, but instead had dropped.

We were ushered into a room with my doctor to discuss the ultrasound results. She said my fluid was only at a 2 (crazy low…a 7 is low). And then she said we had a couple of options. One – go to the hospital and check my fluid again with their fancy machine to be sure the number was correct. Two – have a baby tomorrow.

I looked at my husband. I looked at my mom. Then I said “I guess we are having a baby tomorrow.” It honestly seemed silly to me to recheck the fluid. Debbie had checked it several times. And I knew it had just been going down since I was in Labor and Delivery. So, without much consideration, I decided it was go-time. On the outside, I was confident and ready. On the inside, I was just yelling “SHITTTTT OMG WTF FRICK.” One comfort was that my OB was on call the next day, so she would be delivering my baby. I felt really good about that.

I called my dad. I called my brother. I made arrangements to take our dogs to my mom’s house. I called my boss to let her know I would see her in November. I went home and I nervously tried to finish three weeks worth of work in my kitchen while I ate a bagel. I finished packing my bag. And off we went to the hospital.

They gave me Cervadil first to get me started around 5:30 that evening. My mom and step dad brought me Chick Fil-A. What a last meal! And then I just hung out and watched Blue Bloods. My poor husband slept in a recliner, kind of. In the morning, August 2, they started me on Pitocin around 9:30. Then I waited. The labor wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t enjoyable at all. I progressed pretty consistently at about 1 cm. per hour, which felt like forever. Then my contractions really kicked in and that was miserable. I waited until I was about 6 cm. to get the epidural and not a damn moment too soon. Not sure why I was trying to be a hero. I had chills for hours, from the epidural. I don’t handle medicine really well sometimes. That part was hard. I was so cold and I was shivering. I was covered in warm blankets but nothing helped. The epidural also only took on the right half of my body at first. They had me lay on my side and eventually, I was numb. It was blissful.

I had some visitors. My mom was there the whole time. My step dad came up. My brother and my sister-in-law came up. My dad came up. The day is mostly a blur. Once I got the epidural, I was pretty happy. I tried the peanut ball and switched positions several times. My doctor was in a delivery and I heard a lot of yelling outside my room, so I wasn’t in a hurry to get going as it seemed like everyone was busy. At 8 pm, my nurse came in and said it was time to push. Just a side note, I had the most wonderful nurses. They were amazing and sweet and answered all of my questions. I was very lucky.

My OB came in and we started the pushing. While I couldn’t really feel it, at that point I was so exhausted that pushing sounded terrible. It wasn’t painful but it was tiring. My labor team, as my mom and husband like to call themselves, were instructed to stand behind my head and behave. They did not. Thank god they were there because they were short-staffed and we only had the one nurse in my room. My husband was on my right leg and my mom on the left because I wasn’t able to hold them up. I pushed for an hour and a half. The labor was actually hilarious because my mom and husband were teasing me and acting as if they were doing all of the work. At one point, I was puking into a bowl and my mom asked my husband, over me puking, if he was feeling okay. Story of my life…

After 35 hours of being in active labor, our daughter Winnie Jean was born. 6 lbs 5 oz of squishy little love. She came out screaming with a head of hair. It was the longest day but meeting her was worth it. I held her immediately and I was pretty much in love, despite being too tired for any emotions. I couldn’t believe I had done it and it was amazing.

winnie

Also amazing was having a turkey sandwich about an hour later. I missed deli meat.

Kung fu fighting.

What in the hell is going on in my body right now? Someone, who is already really large, is kicking me 24/7. It is the most painful thing ever. Miserable actually. And it almost never stops. I am glad to know she is doing okay in there but Jesus Christ. The kicking is getting to be intolerable. Kicking my lungs. Kicking my bladder. Perhaps she is teaching a spin class or doing the uneven bars on my rib cage? She is constantly flipping, rolling, dancing, doing cartwheels (I assume) or doing the Wobble. But there’s just not enough room in there for these antics. We are so tight on space. She is way too big for her residence and it’s basically making it impossible for me to sit down, drink or eat, or really even live without crying. It’s very intense and I cannot wait for 6-8 weeks from now when that is not a thing anymore.

I hate to say this because I know I am lucky to be pregnant and I am also very excited for this little nugget to get here, but man, pregnancy is not my thing. Many women say that pregnancy makes them feel beautiful or sexy. Those people are the worst. Because this is the least beautiful I have ever been in my life. At every step of this process, I have had the worst possible side effects. I have had fucking miserable morning sickness that lasted months longer than it was supposed to. I had nosebleeds for months. I have had headaches and dizziness. I have had trouble breathing. Horrendous heartburn. I pee like 10,983 times a day. My skin is itchy. I am fucking exhausted. Sometimes I am a little bitchy, also.

The only thing I have going for me is that my metabolism is amazing right now and I can eat a lot of cookies without getting super obese. But I am not sure that’s enough to convince me not to have an only child.

Does everyone hate their kids?

I am not sure what it is about being pregnant that makes people want to share their every thought with you. People constantly tell me their horror stories about birth. It’s awful. I don’t need you to tell me about how much you bled, or how hard it was to breastfeed, or what labor feels like. I am good. I did the research. Your first-hand, horrifying account of your birth doesn’t help me to be less nervous. It makes it worse. Please stop.

But the thing people overshare about the most, I have found, is how hard it is to be a parent. Please excuse me, but … duh. I mean, obviously it’s hard. You have a tiny human that needs you for every little thing. They can’t do anything. And they never sleep. Obviously, it’s going to be hard. Really hard. I am not an idiot. I am aware of this.

But everyone talks about their kids like they are just awful. Like babies are little shitheads that are just the worst ever. I have heard so many versions of the following:

“Oh just wait, you will never sleep again.”

“Enjoy your husband while you can, because it’s never about you again.”

“Everything you own will be covered in poop and vomit.”

“Being a new mom is the hardest thing I have ever done.”

“Kids are so expensive.”

“Say goodbye to your social life.”

“Oh if you think you are tired now, just wait until she gets here.”

I mean really? Just stop. I having a baby. People do it all the time. And live to tell about it later. If it was so hard and so miserable, no one would have two kids. Everyone would be an only child. But that’s not the case. Babies can be terrible. And yes, they can be grumpy. But that’s why tiny humans are cute! So you want to keep taking care of them even though it is hard. But there’s obviously something incredibly rewarding about having kids. Or it wouldn’t be so common.

So please, just shut up. Let me enjoy things as they come. I know I will be tired. And covered in poop. And vomit. And I will have less time and certainly less spending money. But that’s what I signed up for. And it’s what you signed up for, too.

Maternity Photoshoot.

We had some maternity photos taken and I just love them. My friend Brooke, who I have known for almost 10 years, took them. She also knows my husband and is wonderful at making us comfortable. We both sort of despise photos, but I thought it was important to document this time in our lives, so I was so grateful to her for taking pictures we will love forever.

31 weeks…………..

Here we are, in single digits. 9 weeks to go. The countdown is on. I mean, clearly, a due date is a rough guess, so there’s no guarantee I will make it 9 more weeks and really no way to know that I don’t have 11 weeks to go. Anything is possible.

But holy shit. 9 weeks isn’t much. It’s 63 days. Two months. Nothing at all.

We are ready. At home, we are ready. We have the necessities and can function with a child. Things are purchased and in place.

Physically, I am tired of being gigantic. I am physically really, really ready for this pregnancy to be over so I can wear regular pants again. And see my feet. And have a waist. And run 6 miles.

Mentally…well, that’s another story. I have never been so panicked about something in my life. I am so mentally nervous about everything. Birthing. Being a mom. Surviving the first few weeks. I am very mentally prepared, but also very, very anxious. I did so much research. I know literally every possible thing that can happen during labor and in a delivery room. I know what to expect. I know what to expect in the first few weeks. I know what to be prepared for from the first contraction to taking her home. But man, am I anxious.

Last night, we celebrated our one year wedding anniversary. In many ways, I never thought I would be here a year ago. I mean, we definitely wanted kids and getting pregnant was not a surprise because I understand science. But I couldn’t have imagined what the last year would look like last June. I couldn’t have imagined the struggle, the challenges, the emotions.

One thing I do know is that I hit the jackpot with my husband. He has been my number one fan and supporter through a pretty rough pregnancy. He is an even better partner than I imagined he would be. I am so grateful.

When I look back, this year just went by so fast. And I can’t believe it’s been 31 weeks of pregnancy already. I mean, I can. When I look down. But it’s just crazy. I guess I have 9 weeks to get my shit together.

 

30 weeks!

Holy shit, man. 30 weeks. That is crazy. I survived 75% of this pregnancy. That also means that we are almost to single digits, people. Like a countdown is on. I got a text from a pregnancy app on my phone this morning that was like “Hey! 10 more weeks!” and I totally freaked out. 10 weeks sounds like nothing. Nothing at all. I am so not ready.

I mean, I am ready. The nursery is 90% done and we had one shower so we have a lot of what we need (carseat, diapers, stroller, tutus, black patent leather booties – the essentials). We finally picked a name! Yahoo! Which we are keeping secret, minus telling a couple of immediate family members. But that feels good to have the big thing marked off the list. Basically, if she showed up tomorrow, we would be okay. I hope she doesn’t. I need her lungs to cook a little longer and for her to fatten up, but we are prepared for her arrival. And that is good for me since I am a planny/organizey lunatic.

But, honestly, I am not mentally ready. Not 100%.

My favorite professor in college had her first child 9 years ago. When she was pregnant with her, her husband said to me (something like) “having a kid is crazy. You talk about it and talk about it and decide you are ready. And then when there’s a pregnancy, you are like ‘holy shit, did we really think this through??’ But there’s no going back.” When he said that to me, I was 24. I had no idea what it would be like to want a kid. It wasn’t on my radar. But that stuck with me for some reason. And he was so right. You feel like you mentally say, ok let’s do this! And then you are pregnant and all of the worry and fear comes out of nowhere. Will I be a good mom? Will I even know what to do? Will I be patient? Will I do the right things? Can I do this?

I think you just figure it out. You realize that every mom was a first-time mom at some point and they all survived. So that’s good to remember. Roughly ten more weeks of repeating that in my head and by then I can convince myself we will be fine.

Not to mention, 10 more weeks until I can have a beer doesn’t sound to bad to me.

 

Tired.

I am really tired. I am tired because I don’t sleep much. I wake up about 6 times a night. I am sure that is great training for me, but man, it’s hard. I am tired of worrying about what I can or cannot eat and if it will make me feel awful. I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted to, whenever I wanted to, but now if I even think about spicy food, I feel terrible. For hours. And I can’t sleep because my stomach hurts. I am tired of getting dressed. Nothing fits right. Nothing looks cute. And everything is too short. The bigger my belly gets, the sluttier my dresses get. It’s attractive. I am tired of people saying awkward things to me. I am tired of people telling me I am huge. Or that I finally look pregnant. Or asking how far along I am and then telling me how much longer I have to go. Or reminding me that summer is hot and I will be miserable. Ok, thanks. I hadn’t figured that out yet from the swamp ass I currently have 24/7.

I am tired of being pregnant. I know, it’s only June. But it’s hot, and I am huge and I am just over it. I have roughly 77 days to my due date and I am just about ready for her arrival. Other than at work. At work, I have so much to do. But at home, the nursery is done, the baby clothes are washed and everything is ready. I have a couple of showers coming up and then she can make her appearance.

I made it to the third trimester, so that is exciting. Finally past the worry phase now that this little lady is kicking me all over the damn place. It’s a little easier to feel like she is doing okay when she is actively punching me in the bladder. It’s crazy to think I only have about 2.5 months to go, but that’s about where I am. Getting really excited to meet her. If only we could decide on a name.