Busy, Busy

Busy, Busy

Things have been crazy busy. Life has found a routine, but the days pass by so quickly! Evangeline is growing like a weed. She’s so much bigger now than she was when I started work just a little over a month ago! Even the ladies at the daycare commented on it. It’s so hard. Everyone says it goes by so fast, but you don’t truly believe it until it’s happening.

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She insists on getting up with me in the mornings. I try to get her to sleep longer, but she wants to be awake! We’ve adjusted to her going to bed at 6, even though it sucks. At least we get the weekends with her, even thought they’ve been exceptionally busy lately! Last weekend, we went to visit the husband’s extended family two hours away. We went to see his maternal grandpa, who is currently in an assisted living facility. He’s got late stage Alzheimer’s.

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It was tough to see my husband so broken up over the loss of the man he used to know, but I’m glad we went. He needed to go there and Eva definitely needed to go! Even if she won’t remember it, we’ve got pictures to show her when she’s older. We stopped by his maternal grandma’s and also saw his paternal grandparents, as well. It was a very long day for Eva, starting at 10am! We didn’t even get home until around 7 or 8pm. Needless to say, that wasn’t a great night for sleep.

Eva’s still not sleeping reliably like she used to. The regression isn’t hitting us as hard as it has others, but it still sucks. I hate that she’s missing out on sleep and I certainly have some rough days at work thanks to less-than-stellar sleep the night before! This, too, shall pass… so I try not to get overly worked up about it. It could be much, much worse!

We think she’s started teething, so that could be causing issues, too. Poor thing.

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We spent Easter with the in-laws, which was nice. The father-in-law smoked a ham and the food was pretty tasty! Eva always loves seeing them, so she was quite happy. We didn’t stay long, we got there early and then got back home in time to do some stuff around the house. Okay, the husband did stuff around the house… Eva and I napped. We were both pretty beat and she doesn’t nap well when her grandma insists on bothering her when she’s sleeping!

My dad and his wife sent us an Easter dress, which I’ll be putting her in this week. Putting an infant in a fancy dress is just torture, so we’re just doing it for pictures. It’s really cute, though! I may just have them double up as her five month pictures. Ugh. I still can’t get over her turning five months! On one hand, it means we’ve made it five months with breastfeeding… which is awesome! On the other hand, my baby is growing up so fast. :(

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The husband has really stepped up. I’m so glad he’s more involved now. I understand how difficult it must be to focus on a newborn, but for me, I didn’t have a choice. It was hard then, and I regret not doing some things better. I regret not setting aside my difficulties and just enjoying those moments with her. You really, truly have no idea how quickly they’re gone until it’s over.

We’re reading to her now and still trying to go forward with teaching her French. I’m not sure how well it’s going to work, but we’re trying! Evenings are filled with playing with her while also trying to get things done. Once she’s asleep, the husband and I relax. It’s a quiet, but good routine. Going back to work has made me a better mother, as I figured it would. I’m just not cut out for the stay-at-home mother gig!

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It’s so crazy to look back and know that at this time last year, I knew I was pregnant, but I had no idea that this sweet little face was growing inside of me. I was scared and miserable. I’ll never forget those rough first months, but I hope that I also never forget when I first saw her and those confusing, but exhilarating first moments that I held her. Those first days in the hospital, everything was just so surreal. I continually recommit everything I can to memory, hoping that it doesn’t fade and that I never forget the details.

Evangeline’s Birth

Evangeline's Birth

I ended up being induced. We arrived early at the hospital and had one hell of a time figuring out where to park. Once we tackled that obstacle, we took the long, last walk to Labor and Delivery as a childless couple. It’s so weird how you don’t really think about that stuff until it’s immediately before you. I really, truly had no idea what I was in for.

The L&D rooms were huge and nice, with a giant window that overlooked the nearby ghetto, haha. We made many jokes at its expense. We watched the sun set while we waited on someone to come in and begin the process. I sat in my awkward hospital gown, completely oblivious to what I was about to endure. I was nervous and a little scared. Hospitals make me nervous–I’ve never been hospitalized before, nor had I ever had an IV or anything of the sort before. The husband has a bit of PTSD involving hospitals because of his childhood leukemia… but he was a trooper. He hung out on the vinyl couch, equipped with his laptop and 3DS.

I remember watching bad TV when someone finally came in. It wasn’t my nurse, but someone who was assisting her. There would be a shift change around 7:30, so these weren’t the nurses I’d be dealing with primarily. For that, I was grateful. The one who did my IV exploded a vein in my forearm and then did a shoddy job of putting it in the top of my finger. I’m ghostly pale and I have amazing veins–every phlebotomist has told me this! So, there was no excuse for her error. She commented on me “being a bleeder.” Well, yeah. That tends to happen…

And so it began. The shift changed and a nice, friendly nurse and resident came in. They explained what Cervadil was and that since I was past due, it was very likely that it would break my water and get this show on the road. It was uncomfortable, but no unbearable. Contractions hadn’t started when my husband left, as my insistence, to go eat some food (his last meal!) and get the proper charger for his laptop. While he was gone, the contractions had started, but I was managing.

They’d really ramped up by 2am. I was still walking around and able to leave the bed. I’d coaxed the husband into having a nap. I was grunting a bit with every contraction, but they were still pretty far apart–ten minutes or so. I watched the monitors fastidiously. I’m impatient. I remember having a very strong sensation that I needed to pee, so I padded to the bathroom, IV in toe. What happened next… was not exactly pee. It was a tidal wave. I shook a little. I remember returning to my bed and getting hit with an even more intense contraction. I felt a lot of pressure down below. I remember calling to my husband, a plaintive little cry. He came to my side, groggy and disoriented. I told him what had happened and he insisted I call a nurse. She checked me and another huge gush hit. It was 3am and my water had broke. I was officially in labor. The nurse set about removing the Cervadil (I still had four hours to go of it.)

The next few hours were intense. Contractions ramped up, coming every five minutes and then every four minutes. I went from zero effacement and 1cm dilation to 50% effacement and 6cm dilated. I stalled around 7 or 8am. The pain became intense. Another shift change happened and I was introduced to the nurse that would not only help me deliver my baby, but also be an amazing helper to the whole process. She told me she wouldn’t push the epidural and for that, I was thankful. I finally gave in and had some Stadol so I could sleep. It was amazing. The husband remarked that I was out of it. I didn’t even care. I wanted more, but they wouldn’t do it. They kept pushing pitocin. The nurse was reticent, knowing my desire for a natural delivery. Everyone else was skeptical except the nurse and my husband–they were my biggest supporters. Natural delivery didn’t happen in this hospital, at least not a voluntary one.

The contractions got really intense. I finally broke down around 10am and got the Pitocin. That’s when things got hairy. I spent the next few hours practicing every pain technique I could, but none of them prepared me for this. The husband was at my side, feeding me ice chips, giving me a cold compress on my head (I was burning up with each contraction), and putting pressure on my lower back. I was having back labor. Great.

There were a few times I stumbled. Where I questioned my resolve. Where I looked at my poor, tired husband and felt horrible for putting him through this. I wanted sleep so bad, I wanted him to sleep. I didn’t want to labor forever and lose my awesome nurse. They kept checking me and progress was slow, slow, slow… they ramped up my pitocin twice. I thought I was going to die. I remember doing all manner of positions, gripping the bed like a woman gone wild, and grunting like some sort of base animal. I finally got the urge to push around 2:30. I warned them, my body wants to push, call my doctor. They told me I wasn’t in the right station yet, I had one more to go, and that my contractions weren’t perfect yet. I said toss that, I can’t NOT push, I have to. I already was. And so they called my doctor.

The prognosis wasn’t great. They said we’d try pushing and see if she’d descend. They put me into the epidural delivery position–flat on my back, legs raised and assisted by nurses, feet against stirrups. I tried pushing for an hour, no luck. My doctor came back and checked me. By this time, I’d acquired quite the following. Several med students, another doctor (from the hospital), and other nurses had gathered around to watch the natural delivery happen. My doctor mentioned “c-section” and we both tensed visibly. No. I was not doing one. My resolve steeled, I said, “can I try a different birthing position?”

They looked at me like I was crazy. Then they looked among one another. I got: “well, yeah… I mean, we’ve never had it happen, I mean there’s always the epidural and numbness. What do you want to do?”

My husband suggested bringing the bar. I remembered it being mentioned in my birthing class. Only two people knew what I meant. They were from the “old” beds. A nurse scrambled off to locate it while I shed any dignity I had left and got on my hands and knees. I labored like that until they brought the bar. Once it was attached, we did a few more sets and then finally got our positioning right. I ended up gripping the bar while my awesome nurse and husband helped me in an assisted crunch. The other doctor (female) assisted me with where to push and helped guide the baby out while someone ran to fetch my doctor again.

An hour later, Evangeline was born. I remember them ushering me on, telling me to keep going. She got caught on my pelvic bone. Her huge head didn’t want to navigate it. They guided her out. They said if I reached down, I could touch her hair. I said hell no! Someone asked me if I wanted the mirror, to which I hastily replied, “does anyone ever want the mirror?!” A med student laughed and said, “sometimes, I guess.” To which I said only: “well, then, they’re mad.”

There was one instant where I slightly barked at the husband to bring me ice chips in the middle of a contraction. I realized how it sounded and apologized for being demanding. Everyone stopped what they were doing and said, “did you just apologize to him while you’re in labor?!” My doctor peeked up at me, looking quite shocked, “how are you talking during this contraction?” I could talk during them and while pushing, too.

I had the room laughing during and after my delivery. I remember only when she crowned and nothing else. It was a pain unlike anything else and for a moment, I faltered. I cried out for the first time. Their voices ushered me on. I tuned them out and heard the frantic heartbeat on the monitor. She was in distress. I’d heard them discussing it between my last two contractions. I focused on that and I pushed. I thought I was only pushing out the head. I was wrong.

When they sat her down on me, I was shocked. I just stared and gasped and said ridiculous things like, “what? Where did this come from? You said we were only doing the head! That’s an entire baby!” I just stared and stared at her, completely awestruck at this awkward, very pale, very messy little human. They cleaned her and warmed her, putting her against my chest. She pooped on me. I didn’t even notice. I just stared while everyone congratulated me and told me how amazing I’d done and how impressed they were. For many of them, it was their first time witnessing a natural birth.

I glanced at my husband and he was crying. I didn’t cry, I was just so shocked, adrenaline running through me. Soon, Eva was whisked away to the other side of the room where she was surrounded by a pediatrician and his students. I was left with the two doctors sewing me up. I felt it all, despite their local anesthesia. I had also felt him cut me towards the end. I asked what the damage was. He told me a second degree natural tear and that he’d cut slightly past that. When it was all said and done, it amended it to more like a third degree tear and I heard them discussing how I’d ruptured an artery inside. Great. I’d pooped the entire time during labor, too. Sigh. Dignity was a foreign concept at this point.

I harangued my doctor all the while, telling him that with all that stitching, he’d best make it look good down there. I remember telling him that he was supposed to be a pro, how’d he let me tear so badly? My alertness and fast tongue were apparently uncommon. I deal best with stress and adverse situations with humor or sarcasm, so yeah.

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When I held Eva again, she was cleaned up, but still pale. I remember looking at my husband and saying, “look at her perfect little finger nails! She has my hands.” And I commented on her “sweet little face” looking exactly like it had in the ultrasound.

They took her away after an hour. The husband followed dutifully after them to the nursery and I was left to try and recover. I’d apparently left quite a bit of blood on the floor. My awesome nurse insisted I take something for the pain and then had to run off to an emergency down the hallway. I spent the time alone texting family and staring at the meal they’d brought me. I hadn’t slept in a day and I hadn’t eaten in almost that much time, either. I wasn’t hungry and while I wasn’t tired, my body was exhausted.

The nurse had insisted that if I felt up to it, I was welcome to take a shower… but only with her assistance or my husband’s. She warned me gravely against doing it on my own. When the husband came back, I got a shower. It was difficult–I was weak and he had to help me wash my hair–but in the end, I felt a hell of a lot better. There was a lot of blood. I don’t know how he managed, but I’m grateful that he did. His knees were on fire from kneeling on the chair next to me, so I insisted that he let me run the hot water over them.

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Holy puffiness, Batman! Look at that unflattering double chin.

We got moved to the mother and baby room. Unfortunately, we didn’t get one of the fancy new ones, as they’d had a lot of babies born and were full up after me. When they brought Eva in, it still hadn’t really sunk in. I was a mother. We were parents.

The poor husband was beat. I coerced him into going to sleep after he binge ate Arby’s. He went out around 8:30 with his shoes still on. I remember changing Eva’s first diaper and then removing his shoes and covering him up. He only had this uncomfortable, tiny chair that pulled out into an awkward, narrow bed. He slept for around thirteen hours while I couldn’t seem to get my body to rest at all!

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She came out 7lbs and 9oz, measuring at 21.5 inches! Such a sweet little face. It really does look so much like the ultrasound. She also got a lot of pigment, too, once she got warm. She isn’t cursed with my pasty complexion, but instead seems to favor her father or my Spanish grandma. She’s got a pretty, more olive-like tone. I love it. She also was born with a lot of hair, yay!

Another Countdown Begins

It looks like this baby has no interest in appearing without being forcibly evicted! I was barely 2cm dilated at my appointment on Thursday. The nurse practitioner checked me and stretched my cervix a bit. I had a bloody show Friday and Saturday, with some cramping and contractions. On Sunday, we walked around the neighborhood and then we went out to some stores just to mill around a bit. We stopped for dinner and I had consistent contractions for about 2 hours before they eventually tapered off. Disappointment isn’t a big enough word!

I had some severe cramping last night and this morning, but it was all due to gas. I’m feeling some pressure and I’m pretty sure I’ve dilated more, but I haven’t had any consistent or worsening contractions. It’s really frustrating. My doctor scheduled me to be induced Tuesday at 5pm at my appointment last week. I agreed to it, forgetting that my birthday is Wednesday, sigh. I’m hoping I’m dilated enough that everything progresses swiftly and she’s born before my birthday and not during.

I was going to reschedule, but I’m so fed up and done at this point that I really don’t want to deal with more waiting. It’s really annoying. I’m trying not to be frustrated or upset, but it’s hard. I didn’t want to be induced, I wanted to try and go as natural as possible. I could push and say I want to wait another week, but that’s another week off work without a baby. That pushes my return date to work back even more and I don’t want that, nor can we really afford it.

Of course, it’s silly to ever assume these things are going to go as you’d wish. They never do. I am just hoping and praying it doesn’t end in a C-section. I do not want surgery, period. Our families are driving us crazy asking us where the baby is. My mother-in-law keeps insisting that I run to the hospital every time I feel so much as a cramp. I know they’re just excited, concerned, and/or worried, but it’s really nerve-wracking when I’m already going through my own emotional tailspin.

It’s hard to believe that so much time has passed by already. This time last year, we were boxing up our apartment and preparing to move. I was getting excited about celebrating my birthday. So much has changed in just a short time. Trying to imagine how much will have changed by this time next year is just mind-blowing.

The next time I post here, I’ll be a mother and forever changed. Nothing will ever be the same again. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s frightening all the same. Change is terrifying, especially when you’re not sure what to expect. I just want everything to go okay. Whatever happens, I want to be safe and I want the baby to be healthy. It feels so weird to think about her actually being here. The whole pregnancy thing has been so surreal. I just can’t imagine holding a baby and it being mine.

Tomorrow evening, hopefully, everything changes forever.

The Longest Wait

My doctor’s appointment on Thursday was disappointing. I’m barely dilated, if even at all! He really had to get up in there, which was immensely uncomfortable. They asked me what the baby weighed at my last ultrasound and I had no idea, because no one had explicitly told me. All they usually say is, “she looks good, everything is healthy.” Which, you know, is great… but details would be nice!

After the exam, we had a minor scare that he’d broken my water. I was sitting in a literal puddle. My husband ran and got the doctor back. He tested it, but it wasn’t amniotic fluid. It was a lot of discharge, mixed with a tiny bit of blood, and possibly some urine (gross!) Being pregnant is truly nasty at times. I’m glad it wasn’t my actual water breaking, as then I’d be confined to a hospital and induced. I really don’t want to be induced!

We spent yesterday out and about for around eight hours. I did a lot of walking and some minor shopping, just enjoying time with the husband and trying to hopefully get things going. We’ve been doing everything we can think of to naturally progress labor along. My next appointment is, again, Thursday… which is also my due date. I’m really hoping I’ve made some progress by then. I’d love to be able to labor at home instead of being confined to the hospital and bed, hooked up to a bunch of monitors. I also have an irrational fear of hemorrhaging out and dying… it’s rare, but it happens, and it happens more often with inducing.

We have pretty much everything ready to go. I’ve been buying small things here and there. We went out for my very early Birthday lunch last weekend (it was delicious!) I haven’t actually gotten a present, but there’s nothing I really want right now. I think the husband has forgotten, because he was being really persistent… which is good. I don’t want to waste money we could be using towards the baby and truly getting her room ready. I’d love to get a bookcase. I’ve started getting things together for my plan to have her simultaneously exposed to both English and French from day one. Husband is in charge of the speaking part of French… he took it for seven years and could have had it as a minor, whereas I am hopeless. ;)

The plaques haven’t worked out, but we’re persisting. We may end up just getting wooden letters and decorating them! I want something on the wall above her crib. Letters or plaques would look great there. I really wish I were more crafty and gifted in that area. Sigh. I’m so jealous of all the other people out there who are! Pinterest is just a website of things I’m incapable of doing probably, haha.

I’m not sure how ready I am to truly be a mother or have an infant, but I definitely know I’ve had enough of being pregnant! Labor is kind of scary, but I’m doing really good with not panicking or anything. I’ve educated myself as best as I can, the husband knows what I want (as does the doctor), but I’m also willing to do whatever we need to. This pregnant gig, though, is getting old. I want my body back! I’m tired of feeling like a turtle on its back and the constant discomfort is just too much. If I gain anymore weight, I think I’ll have a nervous breakdown! The scale is not my friend. I had such high hopes of being active and amazing, but it just didn’t happen. I truly had no idea how uncomfortable I would get. Ugh.

We may go out a bit more today and get some things. We’re putting the closet off until after she’s here. I really want to get a little organization kit and we found a bunch of stuff at Home Depot that’s perfect… but it may be better to wait a bit. The setup we have now works well enough and we still need proper doors. The ones we have now don’t fit after the drywall installation and I still want to buy a bookcase, which costs a bit more than I had anticipated. I’d love to at least have it ordered before she’s here! I need something to set the awesome dragonfly globe my aunt bought for me on.

The husband has declared that tomorrow is my last day at work. I had every intention of working until I went into labor, but husband wants my time to run out in December when people can donate leave to me. So now I get to spend Monday figuring out all of that fun stuff! I have enough SIQ and AWL to ensure I get paid until December 16th… hopefully we can get enough donations to at least make it into the new year. That only give us two and a half months or so without my pay.

I don’t want to not work and lose out, but I’d also rather be here getting stuff done, anyway. I’m benched at work, so all I am right now is a glorified secretary. It’s really pointless and boring. I mean, I’m thankful my job isn’t difficult and the people I work with and for are all understanding, but I hate feeling like I’m not actually contributing. At least if I’m home, I can get stuff done here. We’ll see what happens.

Best Laid Plans…

Best Laid Plans...

I’m not going to lie, I thought I’d have a baby by now. Apparently, she’s quite stubborn and has no intentions of coming before she’s ready! Everyone else I knew who was pregnant with me, both those due before and after me, have all given birth already. Of course, they all had boys. Boys have little issue coming early it seems. My doctor’s appointment is tomorrow and they’re going to check me and see if I’ve made any progress. I’ll be 39 weeks.

I had these amazing plans of making my own little wooden placards with her name on them. Buying one would cost nearly $300 due to the length of her name. Of course, I got all the stuff… but I’m not terribly crafty. Unfortunately, we’re having issues with the stencils involving her name. Husband was going to cut them out… but they’re not coming out as smoothly as we’d like.

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It doesn’t help that I bought some cheap acrylic paint for the lettering and it turns out it is way too runny to use! I’m not sure what we’re going to do now. I feel so defeated. I wish I were crafty. I really wanted her nursery to look nice and not just a room. Sigh.

I’ve been doing my best, but I’m still not happy with it. I’m a perfectionist, so none of this is… it just feels extremely “bland” to me. I feel like everyone else pulls out all of the stops for their first child’s nursery and it took us forever to even get the walls finished. We’re working on organizing her closet now. I’ve got everything mostly washed, just a few odds and ends left.

We’ve been leaving the the nursery room open to air it out and get Loki used to it. It used to be this mysterious room we kept a bunch of crap in, but now it’s got furniture and more importantly, stuffed animals, so he’s interested. He didn’t bother it much at first, but adding those seemed to pique his interest. The husband was in there measuring when Loki jumped up into the crib and tried to abscond one of her stuffed animals!

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He really likes the little husky I just got at Carter’s over the weekend. We went out shopping a bit with the mother-in-law since the father-in-law was off hunting and she was lonely. I got some sweaters and hoodies because they were having a sale. The husband pointed out the husky dog and I grabbed it. I love huskies! Apparently, so does Loki… well, he loves anything that’s fuzzy.

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After I shooed him away from the husky, he started nosing into all the other soft things. There’s a bunch of stuff piled on her crib because I’m still sorting and organizing. Loki decided that he liked the comforter and flopped down. It’s like Loki heaven–surrounded by stuffed animals and soft, cushy blanket to enjoy. Sigh. When I went to remove him, he tried snapping at me. Naughty kitty!

I don’t encourage him to go into the crib because I don’t want him doing that when she’s actually asleep in it! He’s not malicious to children by any means, he likes to cuddle with them… which is the worry. I don’t want him smothering her on accident.

As we approach the due date, I’m suffering from a lot of insomnia and just major discomfort. I haven’t had any “nesting’ vibes yet, but I’m still forcing myself to organize and clean as much as I’m able to. I fell down the steps over the weekend and while I didn’t hurt my belly, I did take the entirety of the fall on my left knee. Since then, I’ve been swelling like crazy in my legs. It’s horrifying! I’m a little worried my doctor is going to write me off work, so I’ve planned my leave out for my last day being the third. We’ll see what happens…

I’m really ambivalent about my family lately. My mother isn’t respecting my “no contact” request and my grandparents are being overly pushy about the whole situation. No one on that side is being understanding in the least. As I told the husband, as per usual, no one cares or thinks about me, they’re only worried about themselves. Thinking about it just agitates me. I don’t even know if I want to tell them when she comes, because I don’t want to deal with the stress of them coming down and wanting to bring my mother. She’s taken to calling my mother-in-law, which is just completely inappropriate!

At least my dad and that side of the family is being good. It’s like a seesaw. Annoying.