Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Well, That Was Unexpected

I think it all really started on Monday afternoon.  My mother and I were talking about movies that we would like to see in the movie theater.  When my mom learned that my girls had not seen Frozen yet, she decided that was something we needed to do.  I looked up show times, and saw that Tuesdays are $5 movie days with free popcorn and the theater is right by my midwife's office.  The only showing we could go to was just after my appointment with her, and everything seemed to be falling into place just perfectly.

We had a plan.  We were so excited about our movie date with the girls.

But things don't always go according to plan, do they?

Hanna got sick that night, and spent all day Tuesday asleep on the couch.  It seemed that our perfect plan was not going to happen.

Little did I know that there were going to be far greater reasons for us to miss that movie.

There we were, Tuesday afternoon, Hanna asleep on the couch, Heather asleep in her crib, my Grandpa knitting me a warm pair of booties, my mom in the car pickup line waiting to get Hallie from her early release day of school.  I was following Hanna and Heather's example, and was dozing on the couch.

My mom and Hallie came home, and I woke up a little, but mostly continued dozing.  I had been having tiny contractions all day.  They were nothing to get excited about, mostly just irritatations, reminders that I was still pregnant, and not feeling at all good about it.

And then, quite suddenly, I had a contraction.  It surprised me with its intensity.  Still, I dozed sleepily on the couch.

And then, quite suddenly, another contraction.  I sat up.  I looked at the clock.  2:24.  I tried to keep my voice light when I told my mom that possibly I was starting to have real labor contractions.

Another one.  I told my mom that it seemed like this baby was going to come the way Hanna did, in a hurry, because I could not believe how intense these contractions were.  We timed the next two contractions.  Seven minutes apart, and that is the amount of time my midwife had told me to look for to call her and go into the hospital.  I had an appointment with her for 3:30, and wasn't sure if I should just keep my appointment and have her tell me if I was in labor or not.

I thought I'd better call Devin for sure, though.  He was immediately on his way home.  I grabbed a few last minute things I wanted in my hospital bag, and then I began transitioning.  This baby was definitely coming.

I called Jill, my midwife, and she said she would meet me at the hospital.  I waited for Devin, still trying to rationalize that maybe I wasn't actually already transitioning.  I had only been having contractions for half an hour.

When we got to my labor and delivery room, the nurse of course wanted to check how far I had progressed.  I thought she would shout out a number to indicate how far I had dilated, but instead she said that she felt something, but it wasn't the head, and then she said "Cord!" and things got crazy.

Suddenly my room was swarmed with nurses and people scurrying around, and the main nurse kept saying things like, "I need all hands in here now," and "I need someone to do the... to the...with the..." and then she would lean over to me and say, "ok, we are going to need to do a lot of things really fast now, and we need you to stay calm.  The most important thing you can do right now is stay calm.  Can you do that for us?"

I had no idea what was going on, but I do know exactly what it feels like to be a deer caught in the headlights of a fast moving car.  Suddenly that first nurse was back by me, telling me that she needed to keep baby inside me, to keep her from pushing on the cord.  And that was how this nurse spent the next twenty minutes, and this is how I know that nurses are a special kind of people, when they are willing to do what she did to help keep my baby alive.

And then suddenly someone was jabbing me in the shoulder with a needle, and my world collapsed in fire and ice, and I heard her say that it something to help stop or at least slow my contractions.

And then someone was yelling about why didn't I have an iv in yet, and someone else was yelling back that it was because they were busy doing... to the... with the... and then suddenly I had an iv in my arm.

And then in the very next moment the anesthesiologist was introducing himself to me and asking me a series of questions about my height and my weight and my medical history of everything that I have ever gone through in my entire life, and then he said that I would be asleep in just a few minutees and I just needed to stay calm, that the best thing I could do for baby would be to stay calm.

I hadn't been able to see Devin in a few minutes, the cluster and flurry of people around me was too thick, but there was a break in the crowd and I could see him in the corner of the room, wearing scrubs and a mask and that funny little hat.  I think that was when it finally occurred to me what probably would have been obvious to anyone else: I was going to have a c-section.  Like, now.

They wheeled me out of the room, that blessed nurse still using her hand to keep my baby inside me and not pressing on the cord, and as we were wheeled down the hallway like that I couldn't help but think that I never thought I would find myself so exposed in a public area.  I prayed that there were no visitors wandering the hallway at that time, because poor souls I don't think the sight of me being wheeled in such a manner to the operating room was one that they would ever have wanted to see.

And then I was in the operating room and they were switching me from one bed to the other, and somehow everything became calmer and a lot more hectic all in one swift motion.  They asked me a few last minute questions that I tried to answer through the oxygen mask, and then they said they were putting me to sleep and I tried to count to five but I only made it to three and then

I was awake and shaking and my world was limited to a section of my belly that had exploded in fire, and just like with my hernia surgery I had no control over my neck muscles and couldn't stop spastically shaking my head.  I begged to see my baby, to see Devin.

They told me I was hypertensive and they couldn't move me until I had stopped shaking and they got better blood pressure numbers from me.  Over and over they took my blood pressure. I lay there, shaking and shaking and beginning to think I wouldn't get to see my baby before she left for college.  She was two hours old, my midwife Jill offered to go take a picture of her for me, so I could at least see that.

She was fine, and she was beautiful, and I was still trying to wrap my brain around everything that had happened.  She had been born at 4:13, less than two hours after my first contraction.

Since waking up and talking to the surgeon and anesthesiologist today, here is what I have learned about what was happening with me and my baby yesterday.

A week ago she was in perfect position, I had an ultrasound and she was down and happy and ready to go.  When I got to the hospital yesterday, however, she had gotten herself all twisted up.

She was breach.  The cord was beneath her and she was pinching it.  The cord was also wrapped around her neck.

When the surgeon tried to pull her out of me, only her feet would come out.  Her hands were above her head and both head and arms had gotten stuck in my uterus.  I was apparently having a contraction that wouldn't let up and she was stuck in the middle of it all.  My surgeon had to make an extra cut to get her head and arms loose.  Today he explained that I have both horizontal and vertical cuts on my uterus.

Because of the extra cut and the contractions that wouldn't stop I lost more blood than they generally like you to lose.  I find that I am awake one minute, and completely asleep the next.  I thought it was the morphine, but they tell me it is the anemia.

My uterus is pretty well done in, and I am warned that IF I were to get pregnant again it would be very difficult for me and I would have to have another c-section.

Every nurse and doctor I have talked to has told me how lucky I am that we got to the hospital when we did, and that they were able to keep the baby from coming until everything was ready.  Probably because this is a Catholic hospital, but they have all also mentioned miracles and divine intervention and that God was watching out for me and baby.

I still don't really understand all that happened yesterday, but I do know that I am very grateful to hold Hazel, and that she is healthy and well.

We didn't get to see our movie yesterday, and I certainly did not get the natural water birth that I had planned, but I do have a beautiful new daughter and that is good enough for me.

I'm drifting off to sleep now, but maybe pictures tomorrow?

Friday, January 24, 2014


Hallie got a camera for Christmas.  She's really, really into taking pictures.  Of everything.  I'll probably share some of her classic shots in another post, someday.

Today we're talking about "selfies".  I tried to take a "selfie" once, as a joke for my sister.  It was a terrible disaster, and no one will ever see it. I wish I could un-see it.  Do I have to use "quotation marks" when I use the word "selfie"? It just seems like such a trendy word that I, being me, don't have the "right" to use.  Because I am "totes" not trendy.

Ha ha ha ha ha.

Anyway, Hallie has no idea what a "selfie" is, but it seems to me that she is well on her way to mastering the concept.

And yes, that is probably the best picture I have of her haircut.
I'm still kind of having a hard time with the whole thing.
I know, I know.

Monday, January 20, 2014

While We Wait

The set up at Hallie's school for drop off and delivery is kind of ridiculous to me.  They don't bus the children, so most parents have to drive to pick up their children. Hallie's school is a little over three and a half miles away, down very busy streets.  Like many others, I drive her.  In the afternoon, we drive to the school, and then we sit in a line of cars for, on average, an hour.

A one year old and a three - now four - year old in the car for an hour every single weekday is... I mean, I could tell you that it is really fun, and a special bonding time for all of us, or I could tell you what it is really like.

Boring.  Mostly, pretty much, it's boring. Sometimes there is fighting, sometimes there is crying, sometimes there is screaming.  Sometimes there is peacefulness, sometimes they are both asleep, sometimes we play games and sing songs and all is bonding and swell.  Since Christmas break I've been doing Hanna's reading lessons during the wait, and that has been nice.

But really, mostly, boring.

The other day I had a notebook and pen out and was making a list, you know, as I do.

Hanna popped up beside me and begged me to take dictation of what she wanted to say.  I present to you now, a transcript of maybe 15 or 20 minutes of our hour in the car, from a random weekday in January while we wait for Hallie in the car.  Oh, and if you think it doesn't make much sense, you're right.  I literally wrote down everything she said, as she said it.  Heather's words are italicized.

Dear Momma, Hanna I like your pretty dresses.
Dear Hanna, do you like the snow?
Hanna.  Mommy. Do you like our mailbox?
Hanna. Dear Hanna. Do you like the car?
Dear Hanna. I mean mom. So so so so so. Huh?
Mom. Dear Hanna.  Do you like your preschool teacher?
Hanna, Do you like the trees? by Mom.
(laughs) Yucky! My finger has some yogurt on it.  Hmm, that is so yummy yogurt. (NOTE: She had no yogurt on her finger.)
Dear Hanna, Do you like the mailbox?
Dear Hanna, Do you like the grass?
Dear Hanna, Do you like your mom's spinning wheel (laughs) by Hanna.
Dear Hanna, Do you like your snow pants?
Dear Hanna, Do you like your mommy? (laughs, repeats question)
Mommy, on one of them can you make a question mark? (this question repeated three times, I showed her that I had been writing many, many question marks)
Mommy we forgot to go to the store today. (This sentence repeated three times)
Mommy what is that supposed to be? (points to something random in the car, I didn't know what it was she was pointing to)
(Heather begins crying.) Momma! Momma! Pooping!
Dear Hanna, Do you like your nose?
(Heather crying) Momma! Pooping! Out! Mommy! Owie! (assorted grunting noises)
(Hanna, to Heather) Heather, what do you want?
(Heather, softly now) Momma.
(Hanna, to Heather) Do you want me to take off your shoes?
(Then a conversation where I mostly hear the word "dots" repeated over and over and Heather saying "Yeah!")
(Next, Hanna instructs Heather to repeat the following words.  Hallie and Hanna love to teach Heather new words. It went as follows) "exclamation point", "seat belt", "magazine", "snow"
(Heather quit playing when Hanna tried to get her to say "stoplight")
(They talk for a minute about boo boos, then something about hair, then Heather began crying again.  She is done playing with Hanna.  I tell Hanna to leave her alone.)
(Hanna, ignoring me) Say "jacket" Heather.
"no say jacket, Hanna, no jacket!"
(Hanna continues poking at Heather. I upgrade from "leave her alone" to "stop it".  Hanna does not stop)
Stop it Hanna, stop it!
(I tell Hanna to move back to her seat away from Heather. She does.)

(The car is peaceful for one minute.  Hanna and Heather begin mumbling to each other things I can't understand.  Laughter.)

(Heather asks Hanna to play the boo game.  Hanna begins to play.  Suddenly, Heather is done playing.)
Sit down Hanna, sit down!
(Hanna continues boo game, laughter, Heather begins to say random words) boot, rock, tip, all through town, Hanna move
(Hanna begins playing with my hair.  There is one minute of peace again.  Heather, crying again.) Momma! Pooping!
(Hanna begins singing) We're sitting on the lawnmower, my daddy is a grandpa, my daddy is a baby.
Mommy, write me a note. Dear Hanna, do you like the black car?

And thus, we came full circle.
Note, Heather never did poop.

Wish me luck.  I only have ten years or so to go of sitting in the car like this every single weekday for an hour.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Cake Boss

Devin is the cake man around here.  I like eating cake, but he likes decorating them.  It's just another one of the small things that make our relationship magical.

For their birthday parties, Hallie requested a Cinderella cake, and Hanna requested an Ariel cake.

Which was crazy, because Hallie's favorite princess is Ariel and Hanna's favorite is usually Cinderella.  Go figure...

Anyway, frosting bag in hand he went forth to make his little girls' dreams come true.

First we had Hallie's party.

Hallie's friends examining the cake.

Then the following week we had Hanna's birthday party.

Happy Birthday Girls.  I hope that in twenty years, even if you don't remember your Ariel and Cinderella birthday cakes, you will always remember that you have the coolest dad around.

Also, I hope you notice that Hanna is wearing Hallie's birthday crown she got at school.  I love these sisters.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Baby Update

Last week at my appointment my midwife Jill said she might want me to have an ultrasound this week to confirm that baby was in a good position, because she was a little concerned.

We went in and she said she did want me to have the ultrasound because she just couldn't quite tell what was down there, but it didn't feel quite like the head should feel.

Turns out she is hanging out down there fist first, but her head is right down there next to it.  Apparently she thinks she might want to come out superhero style.

It was confirmed that it is her bum that has taken up residence in my right rib.  The technician said she is all on my right side - which I could have told anyone months ago, as I never ever feel her move on the left side, and all of my back pain is on the right side.  It is getting to the point now where it is hard to walk, and I keep forgetting and putting more weight on my right side than I should.  That means I fall over a lot.  But let's not dwell and complain, so moving on...

The first thing the technician said was that she could see a lot of hair.  I just have to wonder how they can tell what is hair in all that grey fuzziness, but she was very confident that there was a lot of hair.  We'll find out when she's born, I guess!

It was also confirmed that baby is in fact a girl.

Well, I guess that's the update from around here.