Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Littlest Lewis--The Birth Story

The day started off normal with a nice workout at the gym and then a busy shopping trip/library visit that lasted about 3 hrs. When I got home I was famished and gulped down a HUGE protein drink and some fruit and then put Littler down for her nap around 2:30 or 2:45. Then I sat down to read Little some stories and this whole time I pretty much felt like the baby was dropping down as low as he could go, though there were no contractions with this (maybe one or two normal feeling BH-ish sort if anything?).

At 3:45pm yesterday (April 27), I felt my first contraction. I didn't think anything of it until a similar one came along less than 10 minutes later. Within half an hour, I had contractions coming less than 5 minutes apart on average. We started cleaning up the house and getting our final things together even though at this point I wasn't positive it was "real" labor. At 4:30 I told my friend I was having contractions and I'd let her know if they went anywhere (since she'd be watching the kids). I told her the contractions had "an element of pain to them". At 4:45 I told her I'd eat my big toe if it wasn't labor. At about 5:20, we dropped the kids off to her, and by 5:30 we were off on our way to the birth center. (My intuition was telling me at this point that I might not make it, but I brushed it aside as silly thinking and told myself I was probably much further than 45-60min from delivery.) This whole time the contractions were getting stronger. We charted them in Excel from about 4:30 to 5:15 and they averaged about 3 minutes apart during this time period. While I was running around cleaning up and packing things up from my list of things to prepare when labor started, I stopped for each contraction to lean on the closest thing that was at about waist height. I found that the weight and pressure with each contraction was more bearable when I kind of scooped my hips or dipped them until it was over. I also tried to concentrate on making sure I was relaxing my belly and my shoulders, which I think I've been pretty tense with in past labors, and I exhaled a bit loudly, kind of like pilates breathing or something.

Once we were in the car, it took me a couple contractions to really get the hang of the best way to relax and cope with each contraction, but it turned out to work best to concentrate on relaxing my whole bottom side, along with my shoulders and arms still, and I eventually stopped the breathing thing naturally because it didn't matter in this stage anymore. Partway through the drive to the birth center I was starting to have those "I don't know how much longer I can do this" transition thoughts, and again, I brushed them aside as silly because I was probably no more than 5 cm or something really depressingly unprogressed for how intense the contractions were. To my surprise (and not), at 6:08 I had a contraction with the urge to push and my water broke and I had to try not to push, but my body was just grunting and trying anyway. All the pressure of the contractions was in my bum now and it was less painful (as pushing contractions always are for me). Peter called our midwife to clarify some directions (she'd given us a rush hour shortcut) and told her my water had broken and I was having the urge to push. She called us right back after that to let me know to blow through the contractions so I wouldn't push. I was only partially successful, but I tried my best. I had no interest in giving birth in the car, as nice a story as it might make.

A few minutes later, after lots of maddening red lights, we arrived at the doors of the birth center. I had a contraction right then that I had to blow through and as soon as it was over I got out of the car and walked into the birth center. I walked straight back into my birthing room where the tub was filling for me and walked over right to the steps of the tub. I stooped over to pull off my pants so I could get in the water and got the urge right then to see where the baby was and push him out. I reached in and felt him not crowning but just inside the birth canal and then squeezed him out from a standing position in one push into my and the midwife's hands. My first thought after that was "I wonder if I can get in the water now?" Then Peter walked into the room with a shocked expression on his face, as he had just taken less than 2 minutes to park the car and grab a couple bags from the trunk. Apparently he heard a baby cry as he hopped out of the car and figured it was his mind playing tricks on him. Nope--that was the birth of your son that you just missed! But it was okay. Even if he'd been in the room he might have missed it. I almost feel like I did, it happened so fast. Littlest Lewis was born Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 6:21pm weighing 6lbs 15.6oz and measuring 20.5in, after 2hrs 36min of labor. (13 3/4 head circumference)

It turns out he was tongue tied, so the midwife clipped his frenulum, but he's still not the greatest nurser. He really doesn't like to open his mouth, or suck. This is nothing new to us (3 for 3), but it's still disappointing and difficult. This time we have a nipple shield already, so we did manage to get one good feeding in with that last night, but that's all we've managed so far, 20hrs after his birth.

All in all, a fast labor, an untraumatic birth (for me), a pretty good postpartum bottom-side (not as good as last time but much better than the first time), and another tricky nurser. Wish us luck that the nursing is figured out even faster this time!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Going to the Birth Center

Wish us luck!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Prodromal Labor...?

I seem to be experiencing prodromal labor again (like with pregnancy #2). Last night I was up for a few hours counting contractions and unable to really fall asleep all the way because they were strong enough to keep me up. I promise I did try! I even had to get out of bed for my body to do that "cleaning itself out" thing pregnant bodies like to do before they go into labor. I'll be honest and admit that I was pretty sure it would develop into the real thing and we'd have a baby by now. But then I got a minor migraine and things faded away to being less frequent and not quite as strong. I've still been having pretty constant contractions, but they're not painful. Anyway, it's progress, even if it doesn't tell us anything about WHEN this will happen. Now, it's time to go plant our tomatoes and take the kids to the pool, because we can't count on being able to do it next Saturday!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

38w 4d--Still here!

Well, today is the day that this little doofer would have been born if he were 10 days early like both of the other two. I honestly didn't expect him to be as early as them though, and it turns out I was right. (Not like I could ever actually know something like that, but whatever.) I guess you could say that small things are happening that tell me that I'll be having a baby soon, but nothing that screams "He's coming!!" (More frequent Braxton Hicks, a little bit of mucus plug--no bloody show (sorry if that's TMI for anyone), and a loooooow baby...) For now, I'm content to wait the however long until he's born. Ask me in 10 days, and maybe I'll be more impatient about it. I AM starting to get tired of going to my prenatal appointments though. Once a week is pretty annoying when there's nothing new to do or say. Just that darn weighing every time, which is a pregnant woman's torture.

On the bright side of things, right when I was about ready to cry uncle from the burning pain in my leg while running, baby shifted a bit, which seems (maybe?) to be the cause of the burning dropping to a background level. Running is enjoyable again! I was lucky that it was only torture for a couple weeks or so. I know you're not supposed to say things like this, but I'm really proud of myself! I know not everyone has circumstances that will even allow them to exercise the way I've been able to, and I'm VERY blessed to be able-bodied through pregnancy this way, but it also took a darn lot of hard work. Very hard. So excuse me while I pat myself on the back a little bit. (I'm simultaneously saying a prayer of gratitude.) I'm such a dork.

Anyway, that's pretty much the update. I'm all ready for this baby--clothes cleaned and put away, carseat installed, pack'n'play bassinet set up against our bed, at the same exact height! (even though we probably won't use it much at the beginning), bag packed for the girls when they're babysat during labor/birth, labor food ready to put in the cooler, list of things for me to grab quickly before leaving for the birth center. What else is there? We've even got the house in a pretty constant state of clean and mostly clean (including laundry being put away, which is my biggest challenge).

So, bring on the baby! Or not. The girls are in a pretty tough stage right now, which is why I'm so content to wait if that's what happens. It's kind of weird to think I'm about to add another one right when we're in the middle of one of our parenting crises (which seem to come every 3 months or so). Angels angels demons angels angels demons, etc.

Unless something interesting happens, the next post with words on here will probably be one telling you all that we are heading off to have a baby. But stay tuned for some more belly pics in between if nothing else is happening!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Pregnancy 2 vs Pregnancy 3

For your (and my) comparing pleasure, here are pictures of me last pregnancy at 35 1/2 weeks, and this pregnancy, today at 36 1/2 weeks. The ankle showing in the picture from today is my swollen sprained ankle, at it's smallest since I sprained it 3 weeks ago.

Pregnancy 2 (Littler), at 35w 3d:

Pregnancy 3 (Littlest), at 36w 3d:

36 w 3 d

Here's me, today at 36 weeks 3 days. You can see my beautifully swollen sprained ankle there at the bottom. And my cute Littler in the background. (Can I admit now that I'm really looking forward to having this baby and getting my body back?)

Friday, April 02, 2010

Time keeps on ticking...

Today is 35w 6d. Might as well say 36 weeks, right? This baby feels like he is right under the surface of my stomach. The movements I feel with him are so much more detailed feeling, if that makes any sense, than with the other two pregnancies. I feel lots of little squirms, in addition to the big movements that are so common in late pregnancy. He spends a lot of time with his bum in my right rib, although recently he seems to have shifted a bit so that there's a knee or something else smaller than a bum in that rib instead. I predict that he'll be bigger than Little and Littler were, but we'll see. I guess it depends when he's born, too! As far as movement is concerned, he's also been dealing me some painful blows in my lower abdomen, and kicking things off my stomach a lot. Typical, but it never gets old!

In the last few weeks, I've gone from the status quo of middle pregnancy to feeling uncomfortable enough that I have to remind myself I don't actually want to go into labor before 37 weeks! I think the transition mostly happened 2 1/2 weeks ago when I sprained my ankle running. I was only able to exercise a couple times that week and had to spend so much time just sitting around. AND the ankle sprain put strains on other parts of my body, making the sciatica WAY worse. Anyway, once I started running again, it was much less enjoyable. For the past few months my right leg has been burning in a few spots while I run, which is reeeeeeally uncomfortable, but once I started running again (after barely more than a week break), it was so bad I could barely convince myself to keep running (and I actually did have to stop a few times momentarily to let it get some oxygen and stretch it a bit). With today's run though (the third entirely normal run I've done since the sprain), it's finally starting to fade a bit more into the background again. And don't worry--if it was affecting the way I feel the rest of the day, or hurting anytime but when I run, I would stop. But it's not. So I keep running. After I run, I feel so GOOD. And if I don't get in those three runs a week, I feel so blah. The stationary bike at the gym feels really good at this point though--it seems like a really good late pregnancy exercise, like swimming. As much as I would really love to, I have NOT returned to my dance class post-sprain because i don't think my ankle is ready for that sort of movement yet. It can handle walking and running, but the things that require more side to side strength or flexibility aren't really possible yet. It's still a little swollen, too.

Beyond all of that, we feel pretty ready for this baby now. We've got his bed set up right next to ours, his car seat ready in the car, his dresser set up waiting for whatever we get at our baby shower next week (isn't that so awesome that I get a shower??!), and the diaper bag stocked. I have yet to prepare anything for the actual birth, like a birth plan or packing my birth bag or getting food/drink for the labor and birth ready. I guess I have about a week to get on top of that (although, most likely a lot longer than that!). We'll see what the next 1-6 weeks bring us!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Wildflower Season Means... for our table! Yay! It really does a lot to brighten a room...

31w 4d

I don't know why I torture myself like this, except that I know someday I (and my children) will appreciate seeing this, and if I don't put it here, it will disappear. This is at 31w 4d, after a morning run.

It's That Time of Year Again!

The flowers are starting to bloom everywhere, and for me that means PICTURES!! Bear with me as I de-rust my photo skillzzzz.

I couldn't resist snapping a pic of this dude.