Nugget’s First Few Days

With pictures:
I was stranded in the basement for the first week. Karen wanted me to have the best possible recovery and this meant no stairs and as little movement as possible. I had to walk by taking baby steps and keep my knees together. Coby was extremely worried about what was happening to me during the labor and after. I could hear her howling while I labored and eventually she just took up this position in the bedroom window well. It was so cute, she would sit there for hours watching me and Jack. She was so happy when we finally introduced her to the baby and she could see for herself that I was alright. As hard as it was to stay downstairs for a week, it was really worth it. Whatever I was expecting from Vajayjay Destruction 2011, I have to admit that after only a week and a half, things feel like they are back to normal downstairs. I am sure things aren’t actually all the way back to normal, but the fact that I feel normal is kind of amazing to me. I am now on “modified” bedrest. I can now come upstairs, once! So I come up in the morning and bring everything I need (or someone else has to go down and retrieve it for me) and then I stay upstairs all day. I mostly sit on the couch although I can move around a bit. I can take short walks around the neighborhood which was super exciting to me! I am trying my best to be a good patient. Karen says the better I stick to this recovery method these first two weeks, the easier time I will have with my next pregnancy and the biggest benefit is that I will be more likely to retain my bladder control into my old age. Score! As you can imagine, I have had to rely heavily on others during this recovery period. Which has been tough for me. I just want to be useful. Bret came to stay for a week and she was amazing! She brought me all my meals and held Nugget so I could take short naps and showers. She hung out with me in bed and watched movies with me out in the living room. She kept reminding me to keep my knees together and scolded me for standing up for too long. She was really wonderful. 


Karen is like the baby whisperer. Jack will cry when anyone changes his diaper or his clothes, but when she is touching him he is totally content. And he is kind of a show off for her. She was asking about whether he had peed yet, so he wet his diaper. Then she was asking about the color of his poop and all of a sudden he started pooping….which makes me crack up by the way. 6 months ago baby poop would probably have grossed me out more. But now it makes me hysterical. I think it is because when Jack poops he grunts and then you can hear it squirt out. Some of you are like ‘eeeww’ and others know exactly what I am talking about. I also think it helps that his poop looks like playdough right now. It is yellowy orange and doesn’t smell so it is like it is warming us up to the idea that we are dealing with poop. I have also been pooped on, which made me bust up too. Andy and I thought he was all done pooping. Oh were we wrong. Suddenly there was a geyser of poop headed my way. I couldn’t stop laughing. It was too funny. Ah how I have grown up…yet not at the same time. 


Jack and his Auntie Em. 


Okay so I have been trying really hard to set Jack down. It is really hard though. He loves to be snuggled and I love to snuggle him. But I also know that he can’t be attached to me 24/7. His prom dates will really not appreciate that. Thanks to the Moby wrap he can stay close to my heart all day while I do laundry, eat, and go for my short walks. I promise to make a better effort to start laying him down more though…..here is proof that it has happened before. 


Jack and Aunt Bret! She really deserves a post dedicated to her awesomeness. She has been such a sweetie and I am so thankful that she was able to be here for the birth. Even if she is way more familiar with my lady parts than I would have originally liked. One morning we were laying in bed together and she said ‘you just make me really want to be a mom’. It was such a sweet sentiment. But I got up to go to the bathroom and took a look at myself in the mirror. I came back in the room and said ‘I make you want to be a mother? I am wearing a retainer, my hair looks like I was electrocuted and I am pretty sure this is poop on my shirt…..I am just such a beauty queen right now’. We laughed uncontrollably for a while over that one. 


Jack’s first bath. He was not happy. He is quite an interesting little fellow. When he got his vitamin K shot he didn’t make a sound. He didn’t seem to notice. Then when Karen poked his heel and proceeded to squeeze gallons lots of blood out onto the testing form he was calm and quiet. But when you rub him down with warm water, lotion or heated baby wipes, you would think he was being tortured. He turns red and gets so upset he is barely breathing. I really hope that he starts liking baths and realizes that being changed isn’t the worse thing in the world.  


Aw sad lip. 


Our first car ride. We took Aunt Bret to the airport and Jack slept the entire time. He did awesome. 


Trying out the swing. Look how ginormous the lapbelt looks on him. hahaha. 


Look a picture of me and the baby. I do exist. 


Big yawn and a patient big brother. 


Daddy’s boy already. 


Three generations. Grandpa was so excited to know that the family name would go on. 


Grandma Charlotte couldn’t wait to get her hands on him. 


Josey stops by for a visit! 


Daddy doesn’t mind that your arrival prevented mommy from getting him a birthday present. He seems pretty happy just to hold you and tell you all about all the fun stuff you are going to do together. 


Happy baby. 


Okay don’t tell the midwife, but we snuck out to dinner for Andy’s birthday. Don’t worry we kept everyone away from the baby. Luckily it was like ‘babies night out’ because every table seemed to have one. So people weren’t that interested in ours. He just slept through the whole thing. We did have to nurse in the bathroom before we went home and I started to get OCD hives as I looked at the changing table in the bathroom and decided I would rather change him out in the car. Man have I turned into a crazy already.  


Daddy’s birthday steamer pot! Two whole lobsters and clams and sausage. 


Jack and Great-Aunt Steph. 


Jack and Crazy Great-Grandma. 


Jack and Grandma Cathi. She was so wonderful and helpful. It was hard to see her go back home, but at the same time we have to put our solo-parenting to the test. 

Milk-a-palooza

Jack was much lighter than we expected. His length suggested that he would be at least 7 1/2 pounds. So when he came out at 6lbs 12oz, was very skinny and had peeling skin, those were all signs that Nugget was an “old” baby. My midwife said that I was most likely dated incorrectly at the OB. She thinks he was well over 42 weeks, but it is hard to say how long over. What it meant was that Nugget needed food right away. Most babies are born “packing a lunch” as Karen coined it. They have plenty of brown fat to make it through until momma’s milk comes in. Karen said that they can go 24 hours without eating. But because Nugget lacked that brown fat, he needed milk right away. If he didn’t get milk right away the fear is that his body would burn brain cells to keep him fed. 
Luckily Caroline, the assistant midwife, is a nursing mom. So Karen asked me if I would be opposed to giving Nugget some of her milk to tide him over until my milk came in. Now at 6 in the morning after a LONG labor when she said ‘would you be adverse to the idea of Caroline giving us some milk?’ my mind immediately thought ‘Caroline is going to nurse my baby?’. I was definitely too sleep deprived to have any objections to any suggestions. 
In fact, I had a small tear and Karen asked me if I would like to have it stitched up. She said it was really small and straight and right in the middle of my perineum so that it would most likely heal just fine on its own. But if I wanted to have it stitched I could. I turned to everyone in the room and said ‘what do you think? should I get it stitched?’. Karen could tell I had met my decision-making limit. FYI she said she didn’t think I really needed them, in case you were curious.
Caroline came back into the room with a little baggie of milk and Karen pulled a little bit into a syringe and we fed it to Nugget. It is possible that 6 months ago the idea of using someone else’s milk to feed my baby would have grossed me out. But, let me tell you, it is amazing how your perspective changes even with just a few minutes of motherhood. You would rip your heart out of your chest if it was necessary to help your little snuggler. Good thing that wasn’t necessary. 
In addition to giving a little bit of Caroline’s milk, Karen started me on a milk regime. I pumped every 3 hours and nursed Jack every 3 hours. So every hour and a half I was hooked up to something, either a baby or a machine. You know how you hear women complain about the first few days of nursing and their areoles hurting like an M-er F-er? Well I think I got twice the action of a typical lady. Let me tell you, there is nothing like looking down at your little one encouraging him to latch and then wanting to yell and scream as soon as he actually attaches. Of course you don’t want him to think that he is causing you pain, then he won’t  want to nurse. So you are trying to smile down at him and say ‘such a good job buddy’ but all you really want to do is run away from this little person who feels like they are cutting your nipple off with a dull exacto blade. 
But it turns out it was totally worth it! This momma’s milk came in and fast. Before long I could hear Nugget’s long big gulps and the first 4 milliliters of milk that I pulled out of my pump…I have just never been so proud of my boobs ever! And this is coming from a ex-Barista who used these babies to pull in a hundred dollars in tips from just a few hours a week of work….granted the coffee shop I worked in was in the engineering building on campus. Those boys like cleavage, let me tell you what. 
So in came the milk and Nugget went bonkers. He’s been eating like a competition hot dog contestant. When the midwife weighed him the day after he was born he was down to 6lbs 8oz. It is pretty typical for babies to lose weight the first few days, but again this was a dangerous drop considering his condition. Karen had me keep track of how often he was eating and how much I was pumping on a chart and she asked me to call a lactation consultant to get her opinion of how we were doing. 
The lactation consultant said that if Jack’s weight wasn’t up at our 3-day visit on Thursday that she would need to come out and observe how he was eating. Karen weighed him on Thursday and he was up to 6lbs 10oz! and she was excited to hear that I was pumping and feeding him enough to not need anymore of Caroline’s milk. It looked like we were out of danger. Nugget continued to nurse like a champ and I was able to stop pumping and recording all of our feedings. 

Karen weighing Jack at our 3 day visit on Thursday. 

Flying Baby!

Jack’s little cheeks started to fill out and his belly showed a little bit of roundness. At our one-week appointment we all started taking guesses as to what his weight would be up to. I guessed 7lbs 2oz, Karen thought 7lbs, and Andy’s mom guessed 7lbs 1oz. When Karen put him in the sling she said ‘Holy Crap! He’s got us all beat. 7lbs 7oz!”. She was so excited and told me I was doing an awesome job. 

Testing his hearing. Both ears are good!


Flying Baby at one-week visit. 

So that’s my milk-a-paloosa story. I am excited to see how much he has gained at his two week appointment on Monday. I am guessing he will be well into the 8lb range. You guys are welcome to place your guesses. Another fun fact about your milk coming in and just having had a baby is that emotions are extremely fragile. I can cry at the drop of a hat it seems. Don’t worry, I am not sad or anything, but definitely emotional. 
Andy and I were watching The Pacific (which for the record I have seen before). Andy was talking about how Jack would be an amazing Marine and as I sat there holding him and watching a brutal scene, suddenly it was too overwhelming for me. I asked him if we could turn it off and watch something else. ‘You’ve seen this before’ he responded. Then the tears started spilling over and I said ‘please can we just watch something else?’. Poor guy didn’t know what hit him. He switched it over to Northern Exposure and then proceeded to tell me how he would have to tell his best friends about this. 
I also cried at the airport dropping Bret off and I also burst into tears last night when Andy’s mom kissed me goodbye. What a cry baby? I seriously don’t recognize myself. Karen said it is pretty typical for you to get emotional when your milk comes in. I am going to blame it on the tenderness of my boobs. Yeah that is what it is! hahaha. 
Okay here is what you really want. More Nugget Pictures. 

Talking to Grandma Cathi

Smiling at Aunt Bret

The pictures I was so excited to take, Jack and Lincoln!

  

I Want My Pool!

Okay. Let’s start where we left off. So as of Saturday Bret had not arrived. But I went out walking with Andy’s mom and spent the day contracting. Things started to pick up and I was getting excited. Andy’s mom downloaded a contraction timer on her phone and we were hitting 50 seconds and 4 and 5 minutes apart. Woohoo! Andy went to get Bret and I waited at home for the midwife to come check me out. I listened to my relaxation exercises and that seemed to get things going even more. Bret arrived and then Karen (the midwife) arrived. We were all excited to find out what the progress was. I just knew there had to be some. 
Before she checked my cervix she wanted to do a swab test to make sure my water hadn’t broken. I have been wearing pads for several weeks, so she had checked my pad when I disrobed for my exam and was concerned that it was kind of full. I just thought I was still losing my mucus plug, but apparently there isn’t as much to the mucus plug as I imagined. The test came back for positive for amniotic fluid. Then I got my first of many “we need to talk” looks from Karen. She explained that what this means is that I am on a 24 hour clock and at a high risk of infection. Home birth midwives are told that if the water has broken they need to check the patient in at a hospital if active labor hasn’t started within 24 hours. Now this is America and I can of course refuse to do this. But she said it is usually a good idea because we would need to make sure the baby was okay and I was okay. She said she would not check my cervix because that would just add to the risk of infection (FYI- this is what you are looking for in a health care provider. Someone who will give you the time to progress without adding additional variables). I was disappointed again. But at least I knew I could keep on going. 
So looking back about the water breaking, I am not sure that there was ever a moment when it popped. I remember a gush during my walk with Andy’s mom, so this is where Karen set the “start” time for my 24 hour limit. But it was just a dribble really. Like a ‘maybe I peed a little’ after laughing too hard dribble. Karen said most likely the water had broken and Jack’s head slid down blocking the rest of it. So that was good. The fact that now I knew my water had broken made sense. My contractions were definitely twinge-ey. I remember wondering ‘these aren’t as comfortable as I was expecting from what I have read and seen and heard about from other people’. They say when your water breaks contractions are definitely more painful then when there is a nice water barrier. I could feel Nugget’s head against my pelvis with each contraction. The thing that got me through each one was the “filling the balloon” technique from hypnobirthing. We learned lots of techniques, but this was the one that kept me going. I just kept imagining a bigger and bigger balloon as the contractions got longer and harder. Fill the balloon with each breath. Let the balloon go when the contraction is over. 
So Karen left on Saturday night and told me to try to get more sleep. But at this point things were serious. Andy and Bret went to bed and I tried my best to close my eyes and relax. I didn’t really sleep, but I rested between the contractions as best as I could. The next morning when I realized I still didn’t have my baby, it was time for desperate measures. I talked to Karen when I woke up and after she answered ‘This is Karen’. I said ‘I am still pregnant’. She asked how things were going, what my temp was and gave me some pointers. She asked if I was willing to try caster oil. Now if you had asked me a week ago, I would tell you ‘hell no, I will not drink caster oil to get this guy out’. But when you are looking down at 12 hours until hospital intervention time, you are ready to try the technique that will have your ass burning and vomiting heinous evil (Oh peeps I am just warming you up, so if you are already squirming you might want to skip the birth story post. No apologies for this stuff). 
After getting the “recipe” for the caster oil (2 oz caster oil, 3 oz of OJ and a pinch of baking soda. Mix it in a blender and go to town….just in case you are out of things to do one weekend) I called Katie. She was already on her way up from the Springs to join the “Nugget Eviction 2011” efforts. I told her Bret and I were making a caster oil run, so if she beat us back to the house to come on in. Bret and I headed out for vitamin cottage for what I will dub Operation Evil Ass. It was at Vitamin Cottage that I realized what different places Bret and I are in life. She was looking at her favorite brand of cosmetics while I was frantically trying to find the caster oil on my own so I wouldn’t have to ask the older guy stocking shelves. Luckily a woman came by just as I had lost hope and pointed me in the right direction. Phew!

Back at the house it was time to mix up the concoction. Dudes looking at these pictures I am like the giantist blob of human flesh. Maybe it is just my “caster oil” face, but thank god I was less than 24 hours away from having a baby because I am looking done. 
Okay so in all honesty this isn’t the worst tasting thing. You will be able to get it down should you ever need this type of service. It is just hard drinking oil. But again desperate times call for desperate measures. After dose numero uno we waited 15 minutes. We had planned to go on a walk, but we wanted to see whether there would be an initial “reaction” before we ventured too far from the house.
I joked about how we needed to borrow someone’s RV and Bret and Katie could follow behind me as I walk down the street. When we did leave the house for the walk, this lead us to point out every RV “opportunity” along the way and we joked about how awesome it would be to go to someone’s door and ask to use their restroom. Bret was a tad on the nervous side as we ventured further away from the house, so we soon headed back. 
Then the “games” began. Oh and were they fun. Don’t worry I won’t go into details there. Karen and I continually checked in with each other. I took two more doses of the caster oil….probably that third one wasn’t necessary, but ‘When in Rome’…..not sure how that applies here, just makes me feel more classy about Operation Evil Ass.
Katie went through a “fear release” exercise with me, Bret massaged me (wish you could just massage a baby out that would have rocked), and they hit up my pressure points. It felt like things were rocking along. Karen was on her way back and although I was nervous I was feeling like we had made some real progress. 
Pickles, Emmicakes and Pickle’s mom came by to drop off a TON of food they had made. As you might remember Pickle’s mom was the big hippie who had both her boys at home…back when it was illegal for a midwife to assist you. Such a rebel. I have always seen her as a tough woman, but she was visibly distressed by me. I realize that at this point I had been laboring a long time, but I still consider the majority of my labor very manageable. Anyhoodles, Pickle’s mom pulled me aside. She said ‘listen sweetie, there is no shame in going into the hospital and getting some help. you have been going for a long time now and no one would think less of you for not doing this at home’. It was really nice of her. I know she was scared for me. Later when she came by to meet Jack for the first time she told me ‘that old hippie is gone, I am not sure where she went, but I was so worried for you’. I told her she was a momma bear now and just concerned about one of her babies….even if I am adopted. 
The Pickles clan took off and shortly after Karen arrived. We came downstairs and listened to Nugget’s heartrate through a couple of contractions. At first his heartrate slowed down…not good. Karen put on another “concerned” face and then said we would see if it improved when I was on my side as opposed to my back. She took my temp and blood pressure. Those were good. She watched me through my contractions, but was just not convinced I was “working hard enough” to be very far along. Enter the “we need to have a talk” face number two. She said that it had now been 24 hours. She wasn’t feeling like I had made enough progress. She said she couldn’t be sure without checking my cervix, but it just didn’t appear to be at the level she was looking for. She said it might be time to go into the hospital and get checked out. 
My heart was sinking again. 4 days! I had been at this for four days and now I was going to have to give up? It just felt so unfair. If I was going to go be induced or worse, get a c-section, couldn’t that have happened right away? Not after I worked so hard to get here. Karen said she would want to check my cervix before we go to the hospital. So that we could report to them where we are at and she wanted us to go to Boulder where we would be well received. Coming into just any old labor and delivery isn’t always met with the best reception and she didn’t want me to be treated badly by the staff who would give the ‘I told you so’ look at homebirthers who need medical assistance. She said if she checked my cervix and it was at least 4 cm then we might be okay to keep on going, but then I was at an even higher risk of infection so if my temp spiked at all and/or the baby’s heartrate dropped during the contractions, we would definitely be headed to an E.R. If she checked and my cervix was only 1 or 2 cm then we would be headed to Boulder.
I felt absolutely defeated, but I told her it sounded like either way we needed to check. I just kept hoping that it was a tell-tale hypnobirth and she was having a hard time judging my progress because I was rockin’ through my contractions. Oh please let that be it! I got nekid and Karen set up to check me. To all of our amazement I was 5cm dilated, 90% effaced, and at positive 2 station. He was right there. My cervix was half way, but it was working! She went from pointed to my spine to right in yo face in two days. Sure not the most significant progress, but I felt so relieved. Karen’s face was awesome. She smiled and said ‘Okay! I am staying, it looks like we are having a baby in the next 12 hours’. Oh thank you! Thank you cervix and uterus and vajayjay and every other part of my body that was making this happen. Everyone’s spirits lifted. I was like ‘Let’s Do This Shit!’ Half way there, so close. He’s really coming. His head was down past my pointy boney things (where I was worried he might get caught) and now it was just a matter of opening up even more, getting my cervix to efface 10% more, and getting him down the last station.

My motivation was renewed. I went into “try every position” mode. Here’s a picture of my favorite (ignore the yucky stains on our stairs. Note to self: get carpets professionally cleaned before next birth). I would stand on the stairs swaying back and forth. We put on Adele so I could sing in between my contractions. When one would start I would put one foot up two steps and sway and breathe through the contractions. Don’t worry peeps I held on to both the half wall there and the handrail on the other side. I joked about how Andy would want to anchor me with a robe so I wouldn’t fall back. I would switch legs and let me tell you what, this made those harsh contractions manageable. I just imagined opening up like a big flower and I imagined Jack hearing me singing and wanting to come out (I will say because I am such an amazing singer, but it would probably be so I would stop). 
To give you a time stamp, she had checked me at 6pm. So at midnight it was time to see how we have progressed. She monitored me every 30 minutes, checking my temp, my blood pressure and heart rate and listening to Nugget with the Doppler. There were a couple times my temp was getting high. This would get her worried face going again and I would panic. I would push more water and try to work a little less hard through deeper relaxation. When we went in the bedroom at midnight I just knew I had to have made amazing progress. I was in a lot of pain when I would go sit on the toilet to pee and do other stuff (ref: caster oil above). That was the absolutely most excruciating pain to be stuck there during a contraction and invariably one would start because they were about a minute and a half apart and 50-60 seconds long. If I was up moving around through my contractions they were conquerable but if I was on the toilet I had to work extra hard. And thanks to mr. caster oil, I was on the toilet a LOT! 
Okay, so midnight cervix check. I laid back thinking ‘this could be it! she could tell me ‘you’re at 9, let’s get you in the pool!”. Instead she said ”you’re at 7. Now let me see what is happening during a contraction”. Come to find out that instead of opening more during a contraction my cervix was closing back to 5cm. Damn it! Enter the “we need to talk” look number 3. Karen said after 6 hours I should have made more progress. She said it might be time to go. She said she was willing to let me stick it out for another 6 hours, but that was it! If I wasn’t dangerously close to pushing by 6am, we were going to the hospital via ambulance. I thought for a minute whether I should just give up then. 6 Hours and only 2 cm and not even really 2 cm because I was regressing during the contractions. I had worked so hard. I was tired, but I was also feeling stubborn. She told me that I needed to get rid of the crowd of people. Andy’s mom and sister were there, Katie and Bret and then Caroline and Karen. Plus obviously Andy and I. Karen and Caroline were keeping a pretty low profile. They would hang out on the opposite floor from where I was. But everyone else was hovering a little. Andy rightfully so. But when I was on the stairs his mom and sister sat at the top for a while. They weren’t meaning anything by it, they were just keeping me company. Bret and Katie would come and check on me too. And honestly it didn’t bother me. But I could see Karen’s point that part of my trouble could be because I was being “watched”. She had said women in labor are no different from animals in labor. Our body’s are looking for a dark secluded place where we feel safe to have a baby. 
I told her I wanted to keep trying. I couldn’t give up now, I would always wonder if I could have done it. She agreed to let me keep going, but said Andy and I HAD to go into our bedroom alone. We obeyed. We set up the birth stool and the yoga ball in the bedroom. Andy timed me on his laptop and I waddled between the toilet and the bedroom. Caroline or Karen would silently sneak in every half hour to check everything. We were doing great. The intensity just kept building and I kept visualizing opening up and letting this happen. 
Things got really intense. When I was on the toilet I would be practically crying it was so hard to sit there through a contraction. I remember my defeatist brain running through images from every video I had watched. Orgasmic birth was sounding like such a freakin’ joke to me, let alone the calm births. I was thinking ‘if I can just make it to my pool. Then it will be just fine.’ I knew I couldn’t be far off from getting to get in my pool. The soothing warm water welcoming my baby out and relaxing all my muscles. 
At 4:30 am Karen came in to check my vitals. She said she would do an exam in a half hour and if I wasn’t at least 9 it was time to make the call. I kept telling myself that it was only half an hour more. One way or another we would soon know how Nugget would make his entrance into this world. I remember being ready to give up. I was thinking ‘let’s just go to the hospital, get an epidural, sleep for 7 hours and do this again some other day’. I should have known this was transition. But the other part of my brain was thinking ‘no, what if I get to the hospital and am too far along to be able to get drugs. then it is either 7 more hours of this or a c-section’. Andy tried his best to help me through each contraction. ‘Breathe through it’ he would repeat. I could manage for the first 30 seconds of the contraction and then excruciating pain that I couldn’t place. Something felt wrong. He was stuck! I was dying! Something wasn’t working right. I just remember thinking where is my fucking pool! On the outside all I said to Andy was ‘I am just so tired!’. I looked at the clock after each contraction. Knowing that Karen would be there soon. I wanted her to come, but I didn’t want her to come too soon. It was a strange dichotomy. I wanted that full 1/2 hour to progress, but I also wanted the pain to stop. She needed to fix me. 
After a few more ridiculously long minutes and the crazy contractions that were tearing me apart, I bore down at the end of one of them. All of a sudden it hit me ‘I need to push!’. It was the only thing that made them feel better. Andy’s mom came in to see if I was okay. I was definitely making a lot of noise. I remember Andy saying ‘shhhh, just breathe’. So I knew it was getting really audible. 
Karen said she could hear me too. But it was only 10 minutes until she was coming down and she figured if I needed her I would ask someone to get her. I turned to Andy and said ‘I need to push. Get Karen’. His mom said ‘you want Karen?’. ‘Yes’. When she left I turned to Andy and said ‘I want my pool!’. He said he has never felt more helpless in all his life. Karen said it was 4:59 when Cathi came up and said I wanted her. She came down and into the room ‘What’s going on?’. ‘I need to push….and I am going to throw up’. I went into the bathroom and knelt by the bowl. Karen got everything ready to check me. I didn’t throw up, but I have never wanted to so much in my life. I finally got up and came back in. I must have just flopped on the bed and spread my legs. I was still contracting like crazy so I didn’t really hear her when she said ‘you’re complete!’. She said she was so shocked. She hadn’t thought I was there already. I remember seeing her rush toward the bathroom door, so I thought something was wrong. In my head I was thinking she was calling an ambulance. This was it. I was going to the hospital. Then I saw Cathi next to me and she said ‘it’s time, he’s coming’. Who? Who’s coming? The ambulance driver? Then I looked up and saw Caroline’s sweet face ‘You’re having a baby’. What? You mean something isn’t wrong? 
Turns out Karen was calling the other midwife. Like I said, they weren’t expecting me to be that ready to go in a half hour. There was a big bustle as everyone was getting stuff ready. Meanwhile I was laying on the bed like a beached whale. Still trying to manage my crazy contractions. If I had been with it, I should have stood up and got ready to squat or something. I think part of me must have thought they were all lying. That I was being rescued soon and they would whisk me away to the hospital to drug the pain away. Before I knew it Karen was telling me to push. She had me hold behind my knees and coached me through it. Each time I tried to push like she instructed I felt like I would throw up. I remember thinking ‘this is the worst position in the world’. I think they were worried I wouldn’t have the energy to stand and squat. They might have been right. All I wanted was my calm and soothing water birth. I thought about my pool sitting out in the living room, mocking me. I remember that we had the video camera upstairs on the tripod ready to film that calm soothing water birth. Did someone have the camera? I had no idea and there was no way I was going to be able to ask about it.
I remember looking up and seeing Bret come into the room. And I knew Katie was there. She got next to me and said ‘Breathe your baby down’. I nodded and tried to use my hypnobirthing techniques. In between each pushing contraction I was able to lay back and relax. I remember thinking ‘this was a terrible idea!’. Everyone was so great. ‘We can see the head! One more long push’. Karen told me to reach down and feel the head. I could feel this little sliver of hard. I pushed again and again. Feeling like he would never come out. I remember people saying that when you crown you feel a ring of fire. So I was trying to feel the ring of fire and push through it. I was making so much noise. There was no way I was the model hypnobirthing mom. My screams would get high pitched and Karen would say ‘lower Natalie, Use that energy downward’. Andy and I laughed about it later as I imagined myself screaming high and then going baritone the next minute. EEEEeee. OOoooooo. Hahaha. It is funny now. But not at the time for shiz. 

When I pushed I could feel him coming down and then I would relax at the end of the contraction and he would go back in. I was so frustrated. This is never going to happen – I thought. Then all of a sudden there was a pop and they said ‘There’s the head!’. What? That was the head? Then Karen said ‘do you have one more push?’ and I bore down and flop! Out came the rest of him. It felt so strange. Not what I was expecting. Next thing I knew he was on my chest. I was looking at this greyish blue slimey monster. His little eyes looking up at me. Cathi (Andy’s mom) said ‘he’s beautiful!’ and I was thinking ‘really?’ and then I said out loud ‘you look like yoda’. Everyone laughed. I started rubbing and kissing him. Saying hello. I said ‘you are so tiny!’ then I remembered ‘you definitely didn’t feel tiny!’.

I was in such a daze. I remember pushing the placenta out which was MUCH easier. Then I remember Karen and Caroline pushing on my stomach and feeling huge gushes coming out. I kept having to lift my butt up so they could change the absorbent pads. But mostly I remember just being so amazed that I had done it. I had really done this. I turned to Andy and said ‘so is it a boy?’. Everyone laughed at me. He was so warm and so funny looking, yet the most beautiful face I had ever seen. I remember staring at him and just thinking ‘hi, who are you?’. 
 

This is Amy, the secondary midwife, checking Jack out. She missed him coming out. She was on her way down the hallway when he flopped out. I don’t know how long we stayed like this. Eventually they said I could get up and go to the bathroom and take a shower. They needed to weigh him and things. Cathi helped me around the bathroom. She had to stay in there and make sure I didn’t pass out. I remember the shower felt amazing! When I came back Daddy was holding Jack. 

He looks exhausted too. I remember when we were timing the contractions he was falling asleep in between. I would look up at him and say ‘okay now!’ for when one started and he would bob awake and push the button. 

 Amy putting lotion on him. His skin was very peel-y. That combined with the redness in his face tells them that he was over 42 weeks. I had been mis-dated. Yet another factor that could have sent us to the hospital if we had known. There was also a lot of meconium in the water that came after him. If any of that had come out before he did, we would have gone to the hospital. Andy and I looked back at everything that happened and we are so amazed that despite everything, we were able to birth at home. And everything turned out just fine. Karen said if I had been with a doctor and had gone in on Friday after contracting for over 12 hours and they had felt my cervix pointed back, there is very little liklihood I would have avoided major interventions. It is hard to say if I just would have been given pitocin and if that would have done it. But with the water breaking, the lack of progress after so long after my water breaking, the meconium, et cetera et cetera. There was just so much working against this birth.
But you know what? I never felt like we were in danger. I thought Karen was being very safe in all her assessments. I think she was the perfect guardian of my birth and she knew how much I wanted to do this at home on my own time, but she was also ready at every turn to get me the help I might need.
Turns out even with everything that happened the birth and Nugget were just perfect. He is absolutely healthy and perfect. He popped out after only 30 minutes of pushing! Believe me it felt longer. I thought I was pushing for days. But he arrived at 5:50am. 10 minutes before his 6am deadline, go figure. At least he was early. I stand by that whole ‘if you’re early you’re on time, if you’re on time you’re late and if you’re late you’re fired’ statement. So he was 10 minutes early. Just like momma would have been.
Karen gives him his vitamin K shot. Mommy and Daddy flinched at the needle, but he didn’t even notice. Not a peep or a reaction. 
Getting oiled up. Apparently Olive Oil is a must-have baby item. You put it on until they are done pooping the meconium and then it doesn’t stick to them. Meconium looks like black tar and acts a lot like tar as well. So he smelled like a little Italian for the first few days, but his bum was super soft and easy to clean. Everyone add that to your baby list. 
This is us yesterday for St. Patty’s! I didn’t have a picture from after I had showered and crawled back into bed. 😦 We are excited because we just heard that our pal Lucky was born that morning. We are decked out in green to welcome our leprechaun friend into this world. Can’t wait to meet you little dude and hear about your birth as well!

So that is basically the end of the birth story. As you can imagine I have no regrets. I do wish I had been able to get in my pool and that we had been able to record it. But those things really aren’t important to me now. The only thing that is important is just how absolutely wonderful he is doing. He is so sweet and cuddly. Next post I will tell you all about Milk-a-palooza 2011. Because he was overdue they are pretty certain he lost weight in the womb. What that means is he was born without the brown fat that is so critical to newborns. A juicy newborn (what they are called when they have brown fat) can go a while without eating. Sometimes a day or two. But an overdue baby needs food right away. If he doesn’t get enough fuel they start burning brain cells to stay warm. Don’t worry! Everything turns out fine. Just wanted to set the story up and I will knock it out as soon as we can.

A Nugget to Tide You Over

So trying to write a cohesive post about your birth story, while working really hard to get your milk supply in and not sitting around too long in a shirt with poop on it and going to the bathroom every once in a while proves to be quite the effort. It is such a strange joy though. I stare down at this little bald boy who is just barely the size of a small ham and I think ‘this is the most amazing thing to ever happen to me’. I have wanted him for so long and it is so surreal to think that he is here and all mine…well I do have to share him some. I feel his little skull and try to recall all the events leading up to pushing it out into this world. I don’t want to leave out any pieces. So to tide you all over until I get it all together here’s a video of my little man.

Jack Lucas Arrives

Sorry guys. I’m alive and well. Nugget arrived safe and sound on Monday March 14th at 5:50am. He was born at home, but of course things didn’t go exactly according to plan. I promise to write his birth story here too. It will be titled “I want my pool!” so hopefully from that you can guess that the main turn of events was that I didn’t get my calm, soothing water birth. But C’est la vie (culture even when I am bleary eyed and my nipples are ready to fall off). Okay here are the stats and pictures to tide you over. 
Weight 6lbs 12oz
Length 19.5 inches
Eyes: Blue so far

Little bit of hair- Brown

Collective Sigh of Pity for Andy

Well I didn’t want to get you all too excited by reporting about this stuff earlier, but as there are other first time mom’s-to-be out there, I suppose this could give you an idea of what to expect. I had been having Braxton-Hicks (or Toni Braxtons as Andy likes refer to them as) for a couple of weeks, if not longer. They basically feel like your tummy all of a sudden becomes a hard ball. I didn’t feel any pain with them and mostly ignored them. Well on Thursday night things changed. As patient as I have been trying to be, it is hard not to get a little excited when a “signal” appears. On Monday, my estimated due date, I got my first signal….a pretty whimpy one really, but I lost a bit of my mucus plug. For those of you squeemish about bodily fluids, let me tell you this was really gross. My friend Lynn refers to them as crotch loogies and that is basically what it looks like. So that was really my first sign. But back to Thursday when the real adventure began. At around 10p actual contractions showed up and scared the shit out of me. They were more intense, like severe period cramping. After a few of them, I turned to Andy and said ‘I’m scared’. He talked me through it though and reminded me that this was just what needed to happen to get Nugget here. I remembered what my midwife said. If my contractions started late at night I should try my best to ignore them and try to get some sleep. That took some serious effort, let me tell you. I went through just about every relaxation technique I could think of. I think I was able to get a little bit of sleep in between waking up to breathe through them, and then at around 3:40a I caught a break and they stopped enough for me to sleep until 6am when my alarm went off. Things were still happening, but they seemed to have slowed down so I decided to go to work. 
After a couple hours there my co-workers kicked me out. Apparently when you tell people you’ve been having contractions they get really nervous. I was still having them, but by then I had figured out how to manage through them and relax. When everyone told me to go home, I decided not to argue, you all know how bored I have been at work. I could think of a million things I would rather be doing. I decided to stop at the bank on the way home and then grab a blizzard at DQ (figured it might not be long that I could use Nugget as an excuse to eat them). Then I went to get an oil change. If there is one tip I can give you ladies now that I have figured out what a long process this can be, do whatever you can to keep yourself distracted from sitting around thinking about your contractions. Don’t overdo things, but there is no need to sit at home and wait. After my oil change I came home and took a short nap, figuring I had only had at most 4 hours of sleep on Thursday night and if this fella was going to come soon I would need my rest. 
I had called my midwife to see if she would still want me to come in at 1:30p as planned and she said as long as I could drive comfortably. Well driving wasn’t exactly comfortable, but again just breathing through the contractions seemed to manage them. I was hoping to get to my appointment and hear the words ‘5 cms dilated’, but instead I heard the words ‘your cervix is pointed back towards your spine’. Damn. She tried to move it forward so she could measure the opening (fun detail for you there) but apparently I have a stubborn cervix. Basically what all this means is, it is hard to say what, if any, progress there might be. But she could feel the head, meaning he has moved down significantly. So that is a good sign at least. Glass half full right? She pep talked me saying it could still be a few days. Things would probably speed up at night, but I should again keep trying to get some sleep and relax. 
Andy’s mom flew in at 5pm so when Andy got home from school we went to pick her up. I was so glad he got home just before it was time to leave so he could drive. Andy and I had already decided part of our Nugget Eviction 2011 plans would be to have a major amount of sex. Luckily Andy’s mom was planning to stay with his sister, but let’s just say Andy was surprisingly unmotivated to get some last night. What? A man not interested in sex when given the opportunity? What a werido. After his sister got off work, she came over and we ordered pizza. Then Andy proceeded to show them a couple of documentaries he likes. I decided not to make too big a deal of it, even though the hormonal pregnant girl wanted to be like ‘okay get out, sexy time’. He hasn’t seen his mom in a long time and despite what a big talker he is, I figured he was a little excited to spend time with her. I went down and got ready for bed giving Nugget a good talk that it would be great if we could get some sleep tonight. And Success! I did wake up at 12:30 and 3:40, but I considered that pretty good sleep considering it could have been much worse. At 3:40 I was feeling pretty awake. I contemplated whether Andy would respond to a booty call…..boy was he grumpy! But here’s the deal. My midwife said that according to her experience the best way to really get labor going is to have sex 3 times within 24 hours. Well if you get number 1 taken care of at 4am it felt like a good jump on the day :). After a little more coercion (basically reminding him that no man on earth would feel bad for him right then) Andy acquiesced. 
Then we both passed back out. To my surprise, when we woke up at 9, Andy was much more agreeable. So there ya go. Two times down, one to go. But we are entering day two of contractions and it could still be a while. Damn. I am doing a little bit of timing right now (FYI http://www.contractionmaster.com). And while last night they were 30 seconds long and 6 minutes apart, this morning they are 30 seconds and 9 minutes apart. But I have decided not to let this get me down. I did get a semi-decent night’s rest. At least if this is going to be a multi-day process I won’t be really super worn out by the time the pushing has to begin. Slow and steady I can handle. 
According to my midwife, this type of labor is really typical for first time moms. Generally speaking the contractions get gradually more intense so you are able to adjust to each new level and while the breaks in progress can be frustrating, they do allow you to rest up. So that is where things are at people. While I was excited to potentially have had a baby by today, I have figured out that it could be a couple more days. Hopefully not, hopefully our Eviction “efforts” will make things really happen. Bret flies in tonight. She has a degree in neuromuscular massage so she promises to do everything she can, with pressure points and what not, to get Nugget out. I wish there was more to report, but I am glad there is at least something to report. At least it looks like Nugget has some sort of plan to come out. I won’t actually be pregnant forever, which, I have to admit, I was starting to wonder if that was a possibility. 
Okay now I am off to eat some food and walk my big pregnant ass around the neighborhood, maybe play some Dance Dance Revolution. You know basically do whatever I can to get things to pick up. 

Harry Potter is an A-hole

Okay not the book/movie Harry Potter, but rather the stretch mark I dubbed Harry Potter a few months ago. Yeah he’s an a-hole. When he first arrived I was like ‘yeah well I knew this would probably happen, no biggie’. But that was mostly because he was literally no biggie at the time. He was maybe an inch long and looked like a lightening bolt, so it made me feel a little kick-ass about him. Then he invited his friends to come party and I was semi-okay with that. They looked like teeny kitten scratches, so kind of cute. But then my adorable little Harry Potter turned from a cute lightening bolt into a 6 inch long by 3/4 inch wide (I am an architect, we tend to get a little analy accurate when it comes to our measurements, your welcome) red tiger scratch and his adorable “kitten scratch” friends have done the same. Basically it looks like I was mauled. So not cool Harry Potter, so not cool. I thought we were friends.
I can tell why stretch marks don’t make a real appearance until the end of pregnancy though. It is because by now you are like ‘whatever, my baby will be here soon and he is going to be totally awesome and cute…..plus now I can hold this against him for the next 50 years and be like ‘these stretch marks are my battle wounds for bringing you into this world….now buy momma a Range Rover”. Neh, all joking aside, I could really care less about Harry Potter and his pals. They are just more reminders of this journey into motherhood…..which for the record is still looking like it will be a while.
So you know how my plan was all well thought out and shit? Well I didn’t account for the fact that I would basically be wrapping up all my work the first two days this week and then trying to figure out how to occupy my time for the next 3 days. Thank God for my girl Oak and this miraculous invention known as Skype, otherwise I would literally go bananas….which reminds me, I was pissed when I went to the store last weekend and the bananas were all bright green. Sure I could have gone to another store to check, but I am pregnant, they should just have bananas ready to eat for me at all stores at all times. I suppose I could have asked the produce guy if he had a stash of yellow bananas in the back he could slip me. Pass a paper bag suspiciously through the back door.
Anyway, to occupy myself I cleaned my desk, neatly stacked all the drawings and reports for various projects up, then re-stacked them after I double checked they were all sorted properly, I pestered the shit out of my electrical and mechanical engineers and followed up with clients about the teeniest questions known to man. Now I am reading the TSA Planning Guidelines Version 3.0 and using three different colors of highlighters to separate pertinent information. Basically I am killing time (thus the mid-morning blog post). Thank goodness we had a staff meeting and a 401K meeting this week to have some other activities to add to my sad non-existent to-do list.
I know I could go home. I could spend the day making those chicken pot pies I was talking about, scrubbing the dirty floors, giving the stinky dogs a bath, re-organizing the drawers in the baby’s room, or watching all the Northern Exposure’s I borrowed from my dad. But then I would give up these last 13 hours of work. That is 13 hours I would be giving up from my quality time with Nugget and there is just no way I can do that. So I am going to read this giant boring manual and then maybe reward myself by doing some random sketches for new ideas for ticket counters or something. I think I will also try to drink like 80 gallons of water today just so I can take the extra bathroom breaks and walk the halls of the office building before I come back. 
I know that this is what I asked for, but I definitely didn’t think it through fully. I am one of those people who thrive on having lots of stuff to do. When I have to sit here the only thing I can focus on is how I am not having a baby….which I am constantly painfully reminded of because everyone and their mom has been texting and e-mailing me and everyone at the office walks by and says ‘you’re still here?’. I can see why even the happiest pregnant girl could go bat shit crazy during this point in pregnancy.
The reality of the situation is that I still feel great. I get a little sore and achy in my bones (mostly pelvis) so I move like an old crotchity woman at first when I stand up to walk around. But I actually do feel really good. I am super happy and even though I would be cool with it if stuff started up right now, there is still part of me that is patiently waiting around for this little guy to decide he’s ready. He still has 11 days to kick things off before we need to start worrying about checking for problems and statistically he would still be early for a first-time baby. A week and 2 days late. That is the average and for us that would be next Wednesday. So I am trying to look at next Wednesday as my actual due date instead of 3 days ago. It just makes things seem a bit brighter if you think of it that way. Of course, most likely starting at exactly noon tomorrow, when my chunky ass feet hit the pavement outside this office building I will put a real effort into Nugget Eviction 2011. It isn’t that I want to force him out, but considering I have made the decision that my maternity leave officially starts tomorrow, I do want to put forth a good effort to encourage him to come out. I want as much time as I can possibly get with this little man. And I know if Monday hits and he still isn’t here, there will be a part of me that will be thinking I should come into work so I won’t waste my Nugget Time sans Nugget. If that happens will someone be sure to remind me how freakin’ bored I have been this week? Tell me that it would be way better to be able to do stuff around the house (even if it is stuff I have already done a time or two) or go walk around downtown or in the mountains then to sit here twiddling my thumbs and bugging Oak with my ideas for funny pregnant lady YouTube clips we could create.