Saturday, June 30, 2012

New Mommy Must-Haves: Baby Products

Over the last 8 weeks, there have been several products that have greatly helped us with having a new baby.  These are our "must have" products for baby August!  This list does not include breastfeeding products.  You can find my must have nursing products HERE.

1. SwaddleMe

August loves to be swaddled, as do most newborns.  We had been using his favorite blanket (see below) to swaddle him, but he would always wake up screaming in the middle of the night, and the blanket would be all kicked off.  The past four nights I have put him in the Swaddleme.  I had used it a couple of times but had quit because he would scream when I put him in it, so I thought it was too tight or hurting him.  Turns out, he just gets frustrated for a second because he can't move.  I put him in it the past four nights, and he calms right down and goes to sleep.  PLUS.....HE HAS SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT!!!  Yep, the last 4 nights he has slept for 6-7 hours straight.  (Insert angels singing here.)  I could not  do without this product.  For sure.  We got our SwaddleMe at Babies R Us.

2. August's Favorite Blanket: Cloud B Swaddle Blanket

For us, this is the perfect blanket.  It's not heavy and fleecy, but it's not thin like a receiving blanket either.  It's great to take with you when you don't know what the temperature will be (restaurant, doctor's office, someone's house, etc.).  It is so soft too.  A sweet family at our church gave this to us as a gift, and they even   had August's initials put on it.  We get so much use out of this blanket.

3. August's Favorite Pippy: Gerber First Essentials Pacifier

I have always called it a passy, but my husband calls it a pippy. :)  August's favorite is the Gerber First Essentials Pacifier (thanks Karen!).  We were going to be those parents: "Our child won't have a pacifier.  He won't need one."  HAHAHAHA.  The first night we were home from the hospital, August screamed from  12:00 a.m. until 5:00 a.m.  Finally, I lost it, "Where is that pacifier they gave us at the hospital?!?!"  We stuck the pippy in, and it worked wonders.  That was the Soothies brand.

He loved it.  The nipple on the Soothies pippy is large, so that's what he got used to.  So when we lost that pippy, we looked through our stash of pippies people had given us at our baby showers.  I found the Gerber ones, and he loves them just as much. I wish we could use the MAM ones or a different one since we have so many varieties of pippies, but he prefers the ones with "more to suck" if you will.  The MAM ones just pop out of his mouth.  (He's a violent sucker.)  So we are loving these Gerber pippies.

4. Favorite Diaper: Pamper's Swaddlers

This is our favorite diaper brand.  So far, we have only had one blowout, and that was probably because he went a few days without going #2, so he had been saving up.  The tabs on these diapers stay in place really well, and we of course like the yellow line that turns blue after he has pee peed.  The Swaddlers have a really tight fit, so they aren't too bulky either.  We are extremely thankful that we have not had to buy diapers yet.  We got so many packs at our baby showers that we are still going through them all and still have plenty to go.  If you got us diapers (of any brand, because we are using them all), thank you!!!! :)

5. Gripe Water

This stuff is great.  We give it to August when he is gassy or has a bad case of the hiccups.  (Hiccups make him really mad.)  You just put a little in a syringe and squirt it in his mouth.  It works within just a couple minutes.  He also loves the taste.  We used this stuff a lot when August had to take medication for thrush.  The medicine would hurt his tummy, so we would follow it up with this, and it fixed the problem.  Good stuff to have on hand for sure.  

6. Boudreaux's Butt Paste

We love this diaper rash cream, and not just because of its name. :)  This stuff clears up August's diaper rash in less than a day.  We can always tell a huge difference after just one application.  It's not sticky at all and doesn't have a strong scent.  It's wonderful stuff. 

I hope this helps any soon to be mommies out there!  If you already are a mommy, what are your favorite baby products?  Let's compare notes! :)  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Mommy Must-Haves: Nursing

Becoming a mommy has definitely been an adjustment!  Actually, that might be an understatement. :)  However, there are a few products and things that have been a huge help.  These products were all purchased after I had August, because they were things I needed that I didn't know I needed.  If you are about to be a new mommy or are about to attend a baby shower, maybe my experiences will help you in your decision making. :)

1. Hooter Hider Nursing Cover

If you plan on breastfeeding, a good nursing cover is a must-have.  I learned early on that if I want to have any sort of social life or be able to go out for more than an hour and a half at a time, I had to have something to keep me covered while nursing.  I even use this when we have people over or when I visit my family.  But, there are some things you need to look for in a nursing cover.  First, it needs to have a rigid neckline to hold the top open so that you can see the baby to help him/her latch on.  I originally purchased an Udder Cover nursing cover, and it claimed to have a rigid neckline.  The Udder Cover was only about $12 after an online coupon so I went for it.  I was very disappointed.  The hoop at the top would fall, leaving me exposed or it would cover August's face which would cause him to pitch a fit.  It didn't work.  The nursing cover should also have a "starchy" or stiff fabric.  Many of the nursing covers claim that they have a thin fabric, but that's not going to help the cover to stay off of your baby and create that tent form that helps you to see the baby.  The Hooter Hider nursing cover has both the rigid neckline that stays in place as well as the thicker fabric to help you see the baby.  They also have a lot of cute prints.  I purchased the print above.  The Hooter Hider is usually a bit more expensive than the Udder Cover, but since you will be using it so much, it is well worth the money and hassle.  

2. My Breastfriend Nursing Pillow

I wish I had this pillow in the beginning.  The first month or so of nursing, my arms, especially my wrists, would get very tired while I was feeding August. I always had to use the cross-over hold with him because it was the only way I could get him to stay latched.  That position can be really awkward if you aren't used to it.  (By the way, if you are a new mommy or are about to be, I definitely recommend that position over the cradle hold, at least in the beginning.  You will have a lot more control over how your baby latches.  It was hard to do in the hospital with my IV and it also requires a little more muscle than the cradle hold, but you usually get a better latch that way.)  This pillow works really well because it goes all the way around you, supporting your back.  It has an adjustable strap so you can fix it to where it won't slide or shift, unlike the Boppy pillow.  The Boppy Pillow, which sits in your lap, leaves a big gap between how high you need to hold the baby and the top of the pillow.  It never helped me to support the weight of the baby.  Also, the Breastfriend pillow is made of really dense foam so it won't ever lose its shape.  The Boppy is a great pillow for letting your child hang out on your bed or on the couch.  I have a Boppy, and I use it all the time for that.  However, a Boppy wasn't originally made for breastfeeding, but this one was, and you can tell when you use it. 

3. Tank Tops

I got these at Walmart for $5 each.  I wear them underneath my shirts for extra coverage while breastfeeding.  Even if you are just sitting at home nursing, you eventually get tired of your gut hanging out every time you go to nurse.  This way, you can lift up your outer shirt, and just pull down the top of the tank top.  Your belly stays hidden, which is nice even while using a cover.  These would also be great if you had a low cut v-neck shirt for nursing.  You could wear this underneath.  I like the ones I got at Walmart because the straps are adjustable, so I just have them adjusted to where I can pull them down without stretching out the shirt.  

4. Breast Pump

A breast pump is a must-have for me because in the beginning, it got to where to was too painful for me to nurse August.  We had a lot of latch issues (including his tongue-tie) so this was definitely a life-saver for us with breastfeeding.  It's also convenient in the beginning to be able to pump a bottle to take with you in public if you are still not as graceful with breastfeeding as you would like to be.  I also needed a pump so that I could leave August with my mom so Adam and I could go out for our 2 year anniversary.  I am no expert when it comes to brands for breast pumps, but this is the one I purchased.  I got it because it was right in the middle of the road price wise.  It wasn't the cheapest electric breast pump, and it definitely wasn't the priciest.  It was $100.  Electric pumps start around $60 and can go $300 plus.  I also knew Playtex was a reliable brand, so this is the one I picked out in the store.  I usually give things a little more research, but I just picked this up while I was out one day because I was so desperate.  So far, so good.  It gets the job done. :)

5. Newman's Nipple Cream

Like I mentioned, August and I had latch issues in the beginning.  To say breastfeeding was painful is the understatement of the century.  Breastfeeding pain > Labor pain.  No lie.  I wish I was exaggerating.  I was naive and thought that breastfeeding is easy because it is natural.  Wrong.  It takes time, more patience than you think you have, determination, and practice.  It took us a good 6 weeks to establish pain free and stress free breastfeeding.  To help with the pain of cracked and bleeding nipples (yes, I said bleeding), my doctor prescribed me Newman's Nipple Cream.  She actually sent me home with the prescription for it before I even left the hospital.  I wasn't having any problems with pain then, but I was so glad I had it when the pain set in after I got home.  You can't buy it in the store, so make sure you ask your doctor for a  prescription.  I know a lot of people use Lansinoh cream, but I prefer this stuff.  It's natural, and it's not sticky at all.  It has a lotion texture instead of a sticky balm.  

6. A very supportive sports bra

At my 6 week check up, I got the "ok" to start working out again.  I didn't think I would need a new sports bra for that.  However, when I decided to give Zumba a go (Zumba is not for me, I don't think), I quickly realized that my pre-pregnancy sports bras were not going to work.  Not only were they too small, but they weren't high impact.  Mine were just made of cotton and weren't even lined.  Working out is super painful if you don't have the right bra.  So I picked up a sports bra labeled "high impact" at Walmart.  It has an underwire, different hook settings to adjust the tightness and also has adjustable straps.  I got the Danskin Now brand.

7. A Breastfeeding Support Group

If you are going to nurse, you have to have a good support group.  I would say it's almost impossible to breastfeed if you don't have people around you who are supporting you and encouraging you to keep at it.  My husband, family, and friends have been very encouraging, but something else that has really helped me and made a huge difference in my stress level is going to a breastfeeding support group.  My hospital has one that meets once a month, and it's so nice to sit around with other mothers, talk about breastfeeding challenges, discuss products, milestones, suggestions, etc.  It's nice to be around people going through the same thing.  It definitely makes you feel a lot less alone.  I have also been to a Le Leche League meeting with one of my friends, and I really enjoyed that too.  The more meetings you can attend like that, the better.  

I hope these suggestions are helpful to you when it comes to making purchases or just preparing for breastfeeding.  If I could offer any advice to new mommies or soon to be mommies, it would be to immerse yourself in breastfeeding knowledge.  When I went to the hospital to have August, I knew absolutely nothing about breastfeeding.  I did all of my research on pregnancy, but none on what to do once August was actually here.  I didn't know that there were different holds, I didn't know that there could be latch issues, I didn't know that it could take weeks for us to get it right and could involve a lot of pain.  There is so much with breastfeeding that I didn't know, but if I had known to expect some of that, I would have had a lot easier time.  So do your reading!  Also, take advantage of the lactation consultants in the hospital.  Mine came in my room several times a day to help me.  They even spent a solid hour or two after August was born helping us learn how to get him to latch.  I didn't take advantage of the help though.  I didn't want to ask for help or "bother them."  But that's their job, and you get their services for no extra charge while in the hospital, so take advantage of them!  You will be so glad you did.  I hope this helps!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

August's Birth Story: Part 6

Within a few minutes, new faces were pouring into the room.  I didn't look around much, but I caught a few glimpses of the new nurses.  I gathered that they were student nurses since one was being instructed on how to hold one of my legs up.  She was taking over for Lisa so that Lisa could assist my doctor and oversee the other nurses.

"Go ahead and count for her," Lisa told the new nurse.

"1, 2, 3, 4, 5....," she counted as I pushed.

"No, no, no!" Lisa interrupted.  "Like this...1...........2............3........."

Lisa's counting slowed to a deathly crawl.  Her 10 seconds stretched out to be at least 20.  I pushed with everything I had.  I didn't breathe.  Some nurses tell you to breathe, some tell you not to breathe.  Lisa said not to breathe during the push.  It seemed to be the most effective way to push, but it was really difficult and exhausting.

"Look at her stomach!  You can see him moving down!" I heard someone say.

I looked down.  I thought my stomach looked different, but I couldn't really tell.  I just wanted to go back to my own world.

After a few good pushes, I heard a familiar voice.  It was my doctor.  She flew into the room as she grabbed a pair of gloves from the dispenser.

"Are we ready to have a baby?" she asked.

I can't remember if I answered her.  I was in my game.  This was it.  I was ready.

"She knows when to push.  She can tell when she's having a contraction," Lisa told my doctor.

"Oh ok, great!  Well just push when you feel it coming," my doctor replied.

I waited a few seconds and then pushed down hard again.  The time I took pushing after my doctor came in seems like seconds to me.  Adam said I pushed for about 10 minutes while the doctor was there.  I remember thinking that I was about to not be pregnant anymore.  I thought back over my pregnancy and how I would miss it.  It was miserable at the end, but it was all about to be over.  I was about to begin a new chapter and meet this little boy I had been carrying around for the past 9 months.  I couldn't believe he was about to be here.  I couldn't believe...

"He has hair!  He's got lots of hair, baby!" Adam exclaimed.

I snapped back into the moment.  I felt a ton of pressure.  Each second I thought he was crowning, the pressure would get even more intense.

"Push! Push! .....6.....7....8....9," I heard Lisa shouting.

I quit thinking at this point.  I just gave it everything I had.  I thought my body was going to explode.  That's what it felt like.

Just when I thought I couldn't stand it any longer, I gave it one last good push.  I felt it.  I felt him.  I felt everything.  I knew when his head came out, when his shoulders came out, and I felt the rest of him come out.  Then I heard him.  I heard his cry.  I can't explain what it felt like when I heard that cry.  It wasn't a shrill cry, but a reassuring cry.  I knew that cry was what we were looking for.

Before I knew it, Adam had cut the cord, and August had been passed off to the nurse.  It was all very quick since they weren't sure how he was doing.

I looked down and saw a nurse carrying him across the room to the heat lamp.  I remember the way his body was laying as she carried him.  I remember how my heart stopped as I realized this was my son.  This was August.  I play that moment in my head over and over again all the time.  I can't relive that moment without tears coming to my eyes.  My heart gets that same feeling all over again when I think about it.  That dropping, burning feeling, like when you go off the first hill on a roller coaster. That is the distinct moment I remember seeing him for the first time.  It changed my whole world.

"Time of birth, 12:50 p.m.," I heard someone announce.

The next few minutes seemed like hours.  They took his footprints and his Apgar scores.  He scored an 8 the first time, and a 9 the second time.  I heard the nurses gasp when they took his footprints.

"He's got toddler feet!" one of the nurses announced.

I tried to get another glimpse of him in all of the hustle and bustle.  They had told me that he would have to go to the nursery for observation as soon as he was born.  The Magnesium Sulfate was in his system, so they had to make sure he would be ok.

"8 pounds, 20 inches!" another nurse shouted across the room.

I hadn't really paid attention to what my doctor was doing.  I heard a few words like "second degree tears.....lots of stitches....", but I wasn't paying much attention.  I tried my best to focus on August.  I later learned that I had torn in a star burst pattern, and that I required a lot of stitches.  I felt the placenta deliver. 

"Was that the placenta?  Can I see it?"  I asked the doctor.

"Sure!" she replied.

A nurse walked up next to my bed holding a bed pan with the placenta in it.  It looked funny.

"What's that all over it?" I asked.

"Those are calcium deposits.  Your placenta was calcified.  It was almost done."

"Really?" I asked.  "Wow."

My eyes lost track of August for a few seconds, and as I refocused I saw Adam walking toward me.  He was carrying something.  Adam couldn't get close because of the nurses assisting my doctor, but he held up the most beautiful, crying baby I had ever seen. The baby looked like someone I knew.  Someone who has passed away, but is so close to my heart.

"He looks like Paw-Paw!" I said.  Paw-Paw is my dad's dad.  He died when Adam and I started dating.  I was standing next to his bed when he passed away.

As I spoke, August looked at me.  He looked right at me and immediately quit crying.  He recognized my voice!  I couldn't believe it.  He was listening to me.

Just as quickly as I met him, they whisked him away.  They told me it would be two hours before I would get to see him again.  They would observe him, go ahead and do his PKU, and give him his first vaccine. 

The seconds ticked by as the doctor continued to stitch me up.  I was hurting pretty bad.

"Are you almost finished?" I asked the doctor as politely as I could.

"No, why?  Do you feel this?" she asked.

"Yes, I feel it."

"I wish you had said something," she acted shocked.  "I have a numbing shot, but I thought you were already numb.  Do you want the shot?"

"Yes, please!" I answered.  I didn't care about needles at this point.  I had been through every needle situation possible now.  What was a shot?

The shot finally kicked in, and I was getting eager to hold my son.  I missed him so much, and I wondered if he missed me too.  I felt like my heart had left the room with him.

I don't remember much about what happened during this time as I waited for August.  I was still on the Magnesium. But I know all I wanted to do was hold him and tell him everything would be alright.

At 1:50 p.m., only an hour after August was born, the door to my room opened.  "Knock knock!" I heard a nurse say.

I looked over and saw the nurse wheeling a crib toward my bed.  My heart stopped. I looked over to see a swaddled baby.  He was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen.  The nurse picked him up and placed him in my arms.  He looked so peaceful.  My heart got that burning feeling all over again.  I couldn't believe this was our son.  He was ours.  He belonged to us. 

"Hi August, I'm your mommy," I whispered.  "I love you."

The following days were filled with a rollercoaster of events.  I had a difficult recovery due to the Magnesium Sulfate and stitches.  The Magnesium took away all strength from my muscles, and the stitches made it nearly impossible to walk.  My blood pressure refused to go down, so we had to stay longer than expected.  But looking back, I don't care.  It's amazing how I look back on everything with a longing to relive it.  When I was going through it, I was terrified, and I just wanted to go home.  Now that I am home, I want to do it all over again.  There are parts I could skip, but then it wouldn't be August's birth story.  That hospital room feels like home in a lot of ways, and the hospital staff feels like family to me. 

Even though I had a series of unexpected events, I saw God in every situation.  I prayed for weeks that God would allow August to come naturally.  I kept thinking that must be His will.  If I had told the doctor no, and refused to be induced, then the preeclampsia (that I didn't know I had) would have gotten much worse.  It was His will for me to be induced.  God did answer me, just not the way I thought He would. 

I also believe my labor nurse was a blessing from God.  The Sunday before my induction, my Sunday school class gathered around me to pray for the induction.  A lady in my class....named Lisa....prayed that God would give me the nurses and doctors I needed and that they would know what to do.  Lisa was the name of my amazing labor nurse.  Only God.

There are so many other little things that I could go on and on about.  It's so amazing to see how God uses His people to work.  He does amazing things.  We are so blessed to be August's parents.  God is good.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

August's Birth Story: Part 5

I had better be further than 3 cm.  These contractions must be doing something, otherwise I am the biggest wimp on the planet.  How do people do this naturally?  Granted, I am on Pitocin, which is like contractions on steroids.  But surely I'm further than a 3.

"You're at about a! Now you're at an 8!" Lisa announced.

"WHAT?!" I gasped.  I went from a 3 to an 8 in....about an hour?  I did not expect that at all!  I couldn't believe it.

"I'll go find the anesthesiologist...." Lisa said as she hurried out the door.

I could tell she was just as shocked as I was.  I couldn't believe I had progressed that quickly!  I could tell Lisa felt bad for making me go that far without an epidural.  I wasn't mad at her.  I was too shocked to be mad.

"Well, are you ready to have a baby, honey?" I asked Adam in between contractions.

"Let's do it!" he said.

After about 10 minutes the anesthesiologist came in the room.

"You are my new best friend!" I exclaimed.  "I'm sure you get that a lot though."

I was feeling chatty now.  I was SO ready to get rid of that pain.  The anesthesiologist was pushing a cart of needles and supplies.   I have never been so happy to see a cart like that in my life.

"Are you allergic to any drugs?" he asked.

"Nitrous Oxide," I answered.  Nitrous Oxide is the laughing gas from the dentist office.

"What happens when you have that?" He stopped and looked at me over his glasses.

"I seizure," I replied.

I could tell that wasn't the answer he was looking for.  I prayed he would still give me the epidural.

"Ok...well I need you to sign these forms.  It's a formality letting you know that this is a risk, not just for you, but for anyone getting an epidural."

I scratched my signature as quickly as I could onto the paper.

"Alright, let's get this started," he said.

I sat up in the bed and leaned over onto the nurse per his instructions.  I felt him rub a cold liquid onto my back.  I had watched a video online before of an epidural being given.  They rub that dark stuff on your back before the needle goes in.  Then I heard the infamous words, "Big stick!  Hold still."  Those words were more than welcomed this time.  The epidural didn't hurt at all.  Not even a pinch.  I felt it go in, and I felt him push it in deeper, but it didn't hurt at all.  The nurse who administered my IV should've been there to take notes.

"Alright, we're done," he said after about a minute.

"Wow, that was fast."  I was surprised.  I had read online that it was like a 20 minute process.

"I'll be back to check on you in a little bit," he said, and he pushed his cart out the door.

I had a couple more painful contractions after that.  I waited for a warming sensation that I read about online, but that never came.  My legs never went numb.  I was still able to move them.  The epidural took the edge off of the contractions, but I could still feel them coming and going.  I could feel the hardness of my stomach and the intensity of the contraction, just not the sharp pain that used to come with it.

We knew it wouldn't be too much longer.  I don't remember much about the happenings at this point, but I do remember my mom helped me put on some makeup.  Yes, I'm that girl.  After laboring all night and all morning long, I knew I looked a hot mess.  The Magnesium made me really weak, so my mom helped me out.  I wanted to look good in the pictures with my little man. :)  My little compact mirror didn't reveal how truly swollen my face was.  I was a blimp.  My whole body was pumped with fluids.  I remember not even recognizing my own feet.  They were even worse than they had been over the past few weeks.  I didn't think that was possible.

Before I knew it, I was at 9 cm and then 10 cm.

"You're 10 centimeters.  Are you ready to do some practice pushes?" Lisa asked.

Wow.  I couldn't believe this moment was here.  Practice pushes?  Like I'm going to practice pushing this baby out?  I had no idea how to push.  All I knew was that I was going to have to push with everything I had.  There was no going back now.  He had to come out, so the harder I could push, the faster I could get him out.  At this point, I didn't look back.

"I'm ready!" I told Lisa.

Everyone left the room except for Lisa and Adam.  They held my legs back, and we waited on a contraction.  I was able to tell them when I was having a contraction because my epidural was apparently turned down very low.  When the contraction finally came, I pushed down with all I had.  Some people say you have to learn how to push, others say you know based on instinct.  All I know is that I heard it's a lot like having a bowel movement....a really big one.  So that's what I went with.  I that....with everything I had.

I'm not sure how long I practiced pushing.  It didn't feel like long at all.  Lisa checked my progress.

"I can feel his head; we are getting close!" she said.

Oh my goodness.  I couldn't believe he was coming.  He was really coming.

A few more contractions came, and I pushed down.

"Right now, you are pushing a Hot Wheels on ice.  I need you to push a Mack Truck with its brakes on!" Lisa coached.

I pushed hard.  I mean hard.  I thought the veins on my neck would pop out.  I grunted and groaned and gave it everything I had.  This boy was coming out!  The feeling of pressure was intense.  I kept thinking that surely he was about to just burst out of me.

"Good job!  That was a great push!  He came down really far!" she encouraged.

After a few more Mack Truck pushes, Lisa could see his head.  He wasn't far.  She pulled up one of the stirrups and placed my leg in it.  Adam continued holding the other leg.

"Time to call the doctor!" she said as she walked toward the phone.

I gulped.  I couldn't believe my son was about to be born.  He was about to be here.  We were about to meet August.

Monday, June 4, 2012

August's Birth Story: Part 4

I opened my eyes.  I hadn't even fallen asleep.  The pain from the contractions was getting worse.  I hated the way my stomach felt when it tensed up from the contractions.  It was more than uncomfortable, and they were still coming every 2 minutes consistently.

"I'm going to have to have something for this pain," I told Adam.  "This hurts really bad."

I may have been stronger if I didn't already know I would be getting Pitocin and possibly some other drugs, not to mention a c-section.  At this point, I just wanted comfort.

"Can you ask for the epidural now?" he asked me.

"No, I'm sure I have to be at 3 cm for they haven't even started the Pitocin yet.  I'm sure they won't do an epidural yet."

After a little while the nurse came back in.  I told her how bad the contractions were getting and that I couldn't get to sleep.

"That second Ambien didn't work?  Wow.  Well we can get you some Nubain.  It will help you sleep and will help to take some of the pain away."

"Will that be given through the IV?"  I did not want to be poked again.

"Yes it will be," she replied.  "Do you want it?"

"Yes, please." I said.

Within a few minutes after they started the Nubain, I started feeling sleepy and relaxed.  By this time I think it was around 2:00 a.m.  It could have been later though.  Adam and I aren't sure on the timing around this part.  We were both exhausted already.  The Nubain started to mess with my head.

"Are you going to make the sandwiches?" I asked Adam groggily.

"What?" He was confused.

"The sandwiches.  We need 50 sandwiches."

"No sweetie, I haven't made the sandwiches yet," he smiled.

I drifted off to sleep, dreaming of sandwiches.


A short time after I had fallen asleep, the nurse came back in and was talking to Adam.  I caught words here and there about what she was saying.  The Nubain was really working on me.  I heard words like " Blood work. Preclampsia.  Magnesium Sulfate. Liver. Blood pressure."  I tried to wake up to understand what was going on.

Adam had to fill in most of this part for me.  I had Preeclampsia.  The blood work revealed that my liver contained uric acid.  My blood pressure was not going down, so they were going to start me on Magnesium Sulfate.  I was really surprised I still hadn't heard the word 'c-section.'

"Once we start the Magnesium, you will not be able to get up anymore.  The Magnesium is an all over body muscle relaxant.  It will hopefully reduce your blood pressure and keep you from seizuring.  You won't be able to stand after we start it.  We are going to have to start a catheter too."

The catheter was the second worst part of the whole process, right after the Cervidil.  Most people do not feel a catheter when they get one because they usually have an epidural, which is why they get the catheter.  I still did not have an epidural or any numbing medication, just the Nubain to help me sleep.  The catheter was very uncomfortable going in, and they did not get it in far enough.  I felt like I was trying to pee through a straw.

I saw the nurse hang the bag of Magnesium Sulfate.  Not long after she started it, I felt sleep taking over again.  I drifted off into the darkness.

"Breathe Amanda.  Breathe."

Breathe?  Someone was telling me to breathe.  Am I in labor or something? No, I'm trying to sleep.  I wish they would stop saying that.  What is that beeping noise?  I wish they would leave me alone.

"Amanda, you need to take a breath.  Breathe."

I opened one eye. The nurse was standing next to my bed.  One of my monitors was beeping.

"The Magnesium Sulfate is causing her body to relax so much that she is forgetting to breathe.  The beeping monitor is indicating that her oxygen level is too low," the nurse told Adam.

I took a breath.  I was so, so tired.  My whole body was heavy and sleepy.  My eyes felt like they had boulders on them.  They were so difficult to open.  They seemed to only open one at a time.

"You've got to breathe, ok Amanda?  You're going to hear that monitor go off every time your level gets too low.  Take a big, deep breathe if you hear it go off.  Ok?" said the nurse.

"Ok," I mumbled.

I drifted back off to sleep.  The next few hours were filled with beeping sounds and the voices of Adam and the nurses telling me to breathe.  Just when I would get deep into sleep I would hear "Breathe Amanda." I never felt like I wasn't breathing.  I just felt very comfortable.  I was in my own world, sound asleep.


"Amanda, I'm going to check you to see where we are, and I'm going to take out the Cervidil."

I couldn't decide if the pain was worse when they put the Cervidil in or when they took it out.  Adam said by my reaction it didn't look as painful as when they put it in.  But, I was so drugged on the Magnesium, I think I just didn't have the means to brace myself or to have any sort of response of pain.

"You're still at about 2.5 cm, but you are fully effaced."

"2.5???  That's it???  After all of those contractions?" I was shocked.

"Yes, but the Pitocin will help to dilate you," the nurse replied.

I opened my eyes.  The nurse was hanging another bag on my IV cart.  That thing was getting full of bags.  I looked up at the clock.  It was just after 6:00 a.m.

"You will be getting a new nurse soon.  My shift is up.  I hope we have a sweet baby boy by the time I'm back tomorrow!  Let her know if you need anything.  You're doing great!"

I thanked her.  She was a very sweet nurse, and I was nervous about getting a new one.  I couldn't believe how heavy my body was.  I felt like I had been hit by cruise boat.  My whole body hurt.  It was a terrible feeling.

My new nurse's name was Lisa.  Lisa was very motherly but also very blunt.  She didn't baby me, but she was very caring, and she wasn't afraid to push me.  At this point, my contractions were almost unbearable.  Lisa had told me that I had to get to 3 cm before I would be able to have the epidural.

"I have to be at 3 cm now!"  I told Lisa.  "Can I please have an epidural?  I need one!"

Shortly after I began asking for the epidural, around 8:00 a.m., my doctor came in to check me and break my water.  She had told me at my appointment the day before the induction that she would break my water at that time.  I didn't feel any pain or even a gush when she broke it.  I actually had to ask her if she did it.  Adam later told me that they put a pad underneath me before she did it, but I don't remember that.  He said some fluid came out, but I didn't notice that either.  My doctor told me I was at 3 cm.  Finally!!!

"I'm at 3 cm, Lisa.  Can I have the epidural now?"

"Let's see if you can make it another hour," she said.  "I want you to really feel the relief when you get that epidural."

Was she nuts?  Did she know that I have been having contractions every 2 minutes for the past 11 hours?  Two of those hours had been on Pitocin. Pitocin contractions are SO much different than regular contractions.  They are seriously contractions on steroids.  The pain was insane.  I wish I could describe it, but I barely remember it now.

"An hour???" I didn't know how I was going to make it through the next contraction...let alone the next hour.

"You can do it.  Just breathe." she replied.

The only way I could get through the contractions was to hold hands with Adam with our hands joined up in the air.  I would push down on his hand, and he would push up on mine.  That was the only thing that would do for me.  My mom was there at this point.  She let Adam step away for a moment so he could put his shoes on.  His feet were killing him.

"No, come back!"  I yelled to Adam.  "I'm fixing to have another one!"

My mom came over to the bed.  "Here, I'll hold your hand," she said.

The contraction came, I pushed down on my mom's hand and her hand gave way.  "No mom, you're doing it wrong! Squeeze harder!" I gritted through my teeth.

That was the first and last contraction I allowed Adam to step away.

My mom and dad both stayed in the room.  They both tried to give me words of encouragement.  But I wasn't having any of it.

"Shhhhhh, no talking," I would say.  "Don't touch me."

I don't remember most of that part, but Adam told me about it later.  He said I wasn't rude, just short and to the point.  I always thought I would be a clingy laborer, but Adam said I mostly looked like I was somewhere else.  Like I tried to be somewhere else, and that's how I dealt with the pain.  I was surprised at how independent I wanted to be.

After about an hour or so (we aren't sure of the timing on this part), Lisa came back into the room.

"I NEED an epidural!  Please check me!" I begged.  I am not normally my own advocate.  Adam was surprised at how blunt I was.

"Ok, I'll check you.  Let's see where we are." she replied.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

August's Birth Story: Part 3

"There is a high amount of protein in your urine.  We are still waiting on your blood work results.  They should be ready in about an hour," the nurse said.

"Does that mean I have preeclampsia?" I asked.

"We'll have to see what the blood works shows," she answered.  "We're going to go ahead and insert the Cervidil.  I'll be right back!"

Preeclampsia.  I had my suspicions over the past few weeks.  My swelling had gotten out of control, and I had been seeing spots for a while.  But there was never any protein in my urine at my doctor's appointments.  I immediately thought c-section.  I'm going to have a c-section.  I knew that when women had preeclampsia, the only way to cure was to get the baby out.

"You might want to call my mom, Adam.  I'm probably going to have a c-section," I told him, fighting back tears.
"A c-section?" he said.  "How do you know?"

Adam should have known.  I research everything.  I have memorized just about every article from BabyCenter, and I read blogs like there's no tomorrow.  I had done my homework.  Adam later told me that my mom thought I would be having a c-section too.

I decided I had better go to the bathroom before she inserted the Cervidil. Adam helped me get up and go to the bathroom for like the fifth time since they had started the IV.  I was so hydrated that I couldn't stop peeing.  I felt like my bladder would explode.  It was such a hassle to get up.    Adam had to unhook my blood pressure cuff, oxygen finger thingy, and then we had to get the IV cart and push it to the bathroom.  It was an adventure every time.

Just as I made it back to the bed, the nurse came back into the room with something in her hand.

"This is what it looks like."  She held up what looked like a long, thin string made of rubber with some kind of small cardboard looking thing on the end.  "It works kind of like a tampon," she said, "but I'll have to get it way up there.  Did your doctor say if you are dilated at all?

"I was at a 2 yesterday.  My doctor told me that my cervix was still really high though, and that the nurses probably won't be able to reach it," I said.

"Oh I'll reach it," she replied.  She then jammed her fingers way....way....up there.  The pain was pretty terrible.  "The baby's head is so low that it is difficult to get to your cervix.  You're still at a 2 though."

She held her hands up and gave me a visual to try to explain the baby's position.  I wasn't following.

"I'm going to go ahead and insert the Cervidil.  This is going to be uncomfortable, but let me know if I'm hurting you."

This was painful.  Like, super painful.  This was probably the most painful part of the whole process.

"OWWWWWW!!!  That hurts!!!!  It's really painful!!" I tried not to yell.

"I'm sorry, I've got to get it up there for it to work.  Bear with me."

The seconds seemed to crawl by.  The pain was sharp and scraping.  Tears rolled down my face, and my whole body was drenched in sweat.  Finally she was finished.  When she pulled her hand out, there was blood on her glove.  I guess I was going to have to get over the blood thing if I was going to have this baby.

"Alright all done.  I will come back and let you know when we find out about the blood results.  Try to relax and rest." She left the room.

An hour came and went.  Time continued to tick slowly.  I tried my best to relax and calm down.  My IV was killing me.  They told me after a while I wouldn't be able to feel it anymore.  I could feel the fluids pumping into my body.  They were freezing cold!  The nurse brought me a warm blanket (literally, the heated up the blanket before they brought it to me).  It felt so good.  I tried not to think about how badly I needed to go to the bathroom.

Adam and I were watching the Nashville Predators play against the Phoenix Coyotes in the Stanley Cup playoffs on t.v.  I got on my computer to get on facebook.  I needed to take my mind off of things.

"We're at the hospital.  Prayers please!" I wrote as my facebook status.  I tried to sound upbeat, but I was really fighting back tears.  I was terrified.  I decided not to stay on my computer.

Finally the nurse came back in.  "Our machine in the lab is down.  We haven't been able to analyze your blood work yet.  Are you ready for your Ambien to help you sleep?"

It was around 11:00.  "Yes, I'll go ahead and take it.  How long should it take it to work?" I replied.  I was ready for some relaxation.

"About 30 minutes at most.  It affects everyone differently though.  Don't fight it when you feel it kick in, just relax."

She came back in a few minutes later, and I took the Ambien.  I was relieved to see that Nashville had won.  At least I knew my hubby would be in a good mood for the long night ahead.  Adam snapped this picture of me.  I faked a smile.

After a short time, I began to feel a cramping sensation in my lower abdomen.  I looked at the monitor.  It was showing contractions.  I wondered if they were doing anything.  My stomach got rock hard every time I would have one.  I remember what I had read online about Cervidil.  If your body was ready to go into labor, Cervidil would start the contractions, if not, it would just soften the cervix, which is what its intended to do.

The nurse came back in about an hour later.  "Still awake?" she asked.  "Do you need another Ambien?"

At this point, I was ready for some rest.  We had been at the hospital for about 4 or 5 hours.

"Yes, please," I answered.

She left the room.  The contractions continued.  I looked at the monitor.  At this point they were coming every 2 minutes.  Contractions 2 minutes apart?  I thought that didn't happen until the end of labor.  Aren't they supposed to start out at 10 minutes apart or something?

The nurse came back into the room.

"My contractions are 2 minutes apart.  Is that normal?" I asked.

"That's pretty impressive isn't it?  The other nurses and I have been watching your monitor out at the nurse's station.  Your contractions are very regular.  It's because I got the Cervidil so high up there, where it's supposed to be.  A lot of nurses don't put it high enough.  We are still waiting on the blood work results.  Try to get some rest.  Here's your Ambien."

I took the Ambien and waited for sleep.  The nurse turned the lights down, and I tried to relax my body as well as my thoughts.

"I love you," I told Adam.

"I love you too honey.  You're doing great.  Get some rest," he said as he gave me a kiss.

I closed my eyes.  But not for long.

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