One month

Dear Augustus-

In the last weeks and days of my pregnancy, when my due date was approaching, and then had passed, and time had slowed to an extremely slow crawl, I knew that once you were born, time would play a funny trick. It would stop its painstaking, halting rhythm and start barreling forward in the way time only passes when you have a baby.

I remembered how quickly time passed in the first year of your brother’s life, and i tried to prepared myself. But even still, I’m shocked by how quickly this first month has gone.

You have been an absolute joy to me and to your dad and brother this past month. Your beautiful little face delights us and your hilarious expressions crack us up. You always look stunned or a bit alarmed. And probably for good reason, because life around you is a bit chaotic right now! Your almost-two-year old brother is a whirlwind of activity and noise, and you just kind of sit back and enjoy the ride.

You are a laid back baby, a pretty good sleeper, only really fussy in the evening and sometimes from 4-6am. You love to snuggle us, you’re a champion nurser, you like hanging out in your swing and lying on the floor staring up at light bulbs. Other than that, you don’t really have any hobbies at the moment, being only four weeks old and all.

I feel astonished that a month has already passed, and yet I feel like you’ve always been a part of our family. I feel a bit guilty that you don’t have the calm, peaceful infancy that Alexander had, what with being the second child. But the advantage is that you have an experienced mom who knows a bit more about what she’s doing and knows how to cling to moments like this one – with you asleep in my arms during Alex’s nap – because babies grow up so quickly.

I can’t wait to enjoy many more months with you, my sweetest second born, my lovely chunky Auggie, my squish, my Gus Gus.

Love,
Mom

VBAC!

The End of Pregnancy

At a certain point in my pregnancy, I stopped being able to think rationally about giving birth. I felt so discouraged and uncomfortable that I was still pregnant, and I was losing faith in my body by the minute. I honestly couldn’t picture getting the baby out in any way. I couldn’t picture meeting him, or delivering him, and I was extremely tired, not to mention in pain. I had so much false labor and so many disappointments that I was just in a really bad place when I did end up going into labor.

On Tuesday, February 25, 40w5d, I took the day off because my sitter couldn’t watch Alex. We spent the day together, we went to Panera, visited my husband at work, went shopping at Target, and went and walked the mall for about an hour. I had some contractions and abdominal pain at the mall and thought maybe this was it, but I was just disappointed again. The three of us went out to dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

Early Labor

At about 9pm that night, I got into bed. I had just dozed off when I was awoken by a contraction/cramp. It was 9:38. Instantly, adrenaline coursed through my body but I was so fatigued by the many, many times I thought I was in labor and wasn’t. I tried to sleep but at 10:02 had another contraction. I think I had five of these 25-30 min contractions before I woke my husband and decided to go take a bath.

Once I got in the bath (at about 11pm), the contractions started coming every 7-11 minutes. They were getting stronger. They definitely didn’t feel like anything I had ever experienced before. Andy thought that since they jumped from 25 minutes apart to closer together, that they were therefore “irregular” and didn’t count as contractions. I was too afraid to get my hopes up, so i got out of the tub and we got back in bed.

However, they kept coming and at midnight I said this had to be labor. We called my mom, who lives two hours away and was coming to watch Alex while we had the baby. I apologized in advance if it was a false alarm. She said she’d be here in two hours, and I got in the shower. At 12:20, I was kneeling by my bed having a contraction, and my water broke. Yep. This was the real thing. I frantically finished packing the hospital bag and I remember feeling an urgent need to clean the baby’s pack n play off because Andy had been using it to store clothes on!

Heading to the hospital

By 2am, my mom was here and my contractions had been 3ish minutes apart for an hour. They were getting more uncomfortable but I could handle them. I was encouraged by my midwives to labor at home for as long as possible, but something in me really wanted to go to the hospital, and I actually called the PA on call to ask if I should go. Looking back, I feel bad for waking her in the middle of the night with such a dumb question! Right when we decided to go, I had another strong contraction and more water gushed from between my legs.

We left for the hospital, which is about 25 minutes away. Having contractions in the car was REALLY uncomfortable. I remember yelling at my husband because he was going 60mph when the speed limit was 70. When we got there, we had to wait for an OB nurse to come let us in the mother/baby wing. She sure did mosey her way down that long hallway – no urgency at all – and I was annoyed. Then they’re trying to put me into triage, get me in a gown, and have me give a urine sample and I was just like, I don’t think you understand – I need to be admitted. That was when even more fluid gushed into a puddle on the floor between my legs right as a contraction hit and I dropped to all fours in front of the nurse’s station. That got their attention.

The interview/pain relief

I got to my room and continued to be really annoyed because they had about thirty thousand monitors they wanted me hooked up to, including an IV because I was strep B positive. They were asking me tons of questions like do you have asthma and are you safe in your home, and meanwhile I was having pain! I wanted everyone to leave me alone. Finally, they did, after they checked me and said I was 3cm and 90% effaced.

For probably two hours I labored with Andy and was able to cope by standing and rocking on my hands and knees during the contractions. A nurse had asked me what my pain relief plan was and I said I didn’t have one. I wanted to avoid an epidural or put it off as long as possible because I knew it could stall labor and, being VBAC, I couldn’t have pitocin to get it going again.

Change of plans

At about 6cm I lost faith. I started crying and said I couldn’t do this, it hurt too bad, I didn’t know how to do it. I couldn’t get any time to catch my breath between contractions and I wasn’t coping well. I asked for some IV pain relief, which was a waste of time and didn’t touch the contractions.

Then things got really scary all at once. It went from being me and Andy in my room to being me, Andy, and about 7 nurses. All of a sudden there was oxygen on my face and they were telling me they were putting a scalp monitor on my baby. I cried and said it was going to hurt him and they assured me it wouldn’t. (Yeah right!) Apparently his heart rate was dropping severely every time I moved to try to cope with a contraction. There was talk of c-section and one nurse asked another nurse “has she ruptured?” and the other nurse said “yes”. They were talking about my water, but I thought they meant my uterus! I was like WHAT and they explained what they meant but I was still freaked.

It appeared baby had stabilized, but only because I was on my left side. I was told that I could only labor on my left side and that’s when I said FUCK THIS and began pleading for the epidural. Moving through the contractions was the only way I was even remotely coping and there was no way I could have made it through the rest of the labor on my left side.

The epidural came quickly and with it, sweet relief. I was able to nap my way from 7 to 10 centimeters. My epi was great because I felt no pain but a lot of pressure. I could tell when I was complete because of the extreme need to poop.

PUSH!

At about 9:15, they decided I was ready to start pushing. I pushed a couple of times but then baby’s heart rate started dropping again. I was told it would be best to let me “drift” for a while – stop pushing and let the contractions drop the baby lower on their own. I was told to rest and call the nurse when the urge to poop became constant.

I did that, and around 10 am I started pushing again, but on my side. I kind of had to learn how to do it but then I got the hang of it. They could see the baby’s head, and I reached down and touched it at one point, but I couldn’t see anything over my big belly. After pushing through several contractions, they called my OB and said it was time to deliver. That was probably 10:30.

When my OB got there, I honestly think that was the first time I ever let myself believe I might get my VBAC. Between the frequent breech positioning all the way up until 37 weeks and going overdue, I just always assumed some complication would come along and necessitate a csection. Even when I went into labor on my own, I knew there were still a lot of things that could go wrong. But at this point, the baby was in the birth canal, my OB was right in front of me, and I was actually pushing this baby out. This was happening! I couldn’t believe it.

Andy was holding my left leg in the air and a nurse was holding my right. I was pushing three times, hard, with each contraction. Each time I pushed, the baby’s head popped out a little more and everyone got so excited and yelled. But at the end of the push, it would slide back in. Everyone was so enthusiastic that each time I pushed, I thought for sure that was it! I remember thinking if the doctor could see his head, why couldn’t he just pull the baby out? Haha.

Then, at 10:57am, I gave a last push and felt an extreme sense of lightening (along with some stinging as I tore). I looked down on the table and there was a baby there — a really angry, bluish, cheesy baby! I couldn’t believe it. It was my baby. Augustus James – 8lb, 15oz and 21.5 inches long.

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Ready to pop

Here I am, 38w4d pregnant and you’d think I was 43 weeks for the amount of whining and sheer “get this baby out of me” desperation I feel. Here is how my days go:

5:45am: wake up and think “this is the most pregnant I’ve ever been” (true every day since 37 weeks). Feel decent, roll out of bed and take the first of a thousand pees I will take that day

6:55: leave the house with the kiddo in tow, awkwardly navigating the ice/snow/garage door/car seat/25 pound toddler to get to daycare. There really is no graceful way to do this, I’m sorry to say. Letting Alex walk is a bit of a mess, and the dawdling is scary when the temps are consistently BELOW ZERO EVERY GODDAMN DAY, but carrying him is basically for emergencies only these days. This morning I whacked him with the car door at the babysitter’s, and he fell over in her driveway. He wasn’t all that concerned except that he put his hand on the ground to break his fall, which means he touched snow, and then his hand was really cold. : ( Sorry your mommy is so giant and clumsy, son

7:45: arrive at work, huffing and puffing, pee again, start a marathon of morning eating – I am so hungry all morning, every morning.

1:00pm: baby starts to get pretty active, butting his head against my bladder (but at least he is head down!). I honestly do pee about every 45 waking minutes these days. That is not an exaggeration.

4:00: get off work. Some days, Andy picks Alex up and I get to go home and have about 20 quiet minutes at the house. Other days, I trek out to get Alex and I repeat the exhausting snow/fat mom/waddling thing.

All evening I have BH contractions and feel crappy. It always kicks up right about when I get off of work. Sitting in the car on the way home is usually pretty uncomfortable. At home, there is really no comfortable seat between my recliner and reclining couch in the living room. I usually go upstairs around 8 or 8:30 just so I can stretch out in bed, read my book for a while, and go to sleep because OMGFATIGUEOMG.

Does it sound like I’m complaining? Well I am. I’m sorry to be that way but this is exhausting, uncomfortable, and not fun. I want to have this baby and I want to have him now while he is still head down, because he has flipped breech every other week for over a month now. If he flips again before I go into labor, then it’s another c-section for me. Which wouldn’t be the end of the world, but it would just be so much nicer to have my water break now, while he’s head down.

I had an ultrasound last week and the tech went on and on about how great he looked. You could see him practicing breathing and my fluid has never been higher. He’s a good size and is very active.

I know there’s not much sympathy out there for an impatient pregnant woman who is still 10 days from her due date, but to me, it feels like I am 10 days over my due date, compared to my last pregnancy. And as dumb as it sounds, the last weeks of this pregnancy and this winter have kind of combined into this freezing cold, seemingly interminable-seeming situation. All I want is to have this baby and to see some temperatures in the 40s for a while.

This is all my choice, as I’m sure I could call my doctor right now and schedule a c-section for any day, or at least any day after this Thursday (39 weeks). I just need to suck it up and get over it and know that this pregnancy, and this winter, will some day end.

 In May, I will go for a walk with both of my boys in the sunshine.

 

Ch-ch-ch-CHANGES

A few weeks ago I accepted a new job within my company and I start on Monday. Within my first 90 days, I have to pass three tests which get increasingly more difficult – the Series 6, 26, and 51, for those in the know. My 90 day clock starts ticking on Monday, pauses when I go on leave, and picks back up when I return. I am about 60% really excited about the new job, 10% sad to leave my current job, and 30% stressed about the exams. The 30% often keeps me up at night. Luckily I was able to start studying for the Series 6 last week, so I’ll be ready to sit for that one either next week or the week after. I’d like to take it by 38 weeks in case baby comes early. 

Alex currently goes to a sitter who is the older sister of my childhood best friend. So I have known our sitter for about 20 years. I love her and have trusted her implicitly with Alex for the past 17 months. She was equipped to handle both of my boys before Andy got his new full-time job, but now is not sure she can accommodate both of them full-time. So I have been searching for in home daycare options for a two year old and three month old beginning in May. It has been a large source of stress for me.

We interviewed one woman last weekend. I had not even removed my boots before I wanted to turn right around and leave the house. The entire place smelled like smoke, and then febreze used in vain to cover up the smoke. There’s no way I’ll leave my kids in a house like that, but we still went through the polite motions of chatting for 45 minutes and seeing the basement, which was set up for daycare. HOLY EFFING SHIT. The entire basement was FULL of toys, toys everywhere, lining the walls, the shelves, the floor. Way too many toys (think 8 stuffed Elmos lining a shelf), most of them were battery operated, loud, stimulating toys. Not many blocks or books or quite time toys in sight. It was an overstimulation nightmare, even for me. Not to mention, there’s no way anyone can keep that amount of toys clean. Yuck.

Needless to say, I had nightmares that night about leaving my babies there and we will not be using her services. She was quite nice, but seriously. We have another interview this Saturday which I really really hope goes better. I’m having a hard time thinking of leaving them with anyone new. Plus, it is hard to find somewhere with two spots open.

So there are two big changes: a new job, a new sitter, and oh yeah…I am 35w5d and will likely be having a baby sometime in the next month.

O.O

Update from the “Winter Vortex”

Life– I am happy to be at work today after being snowed in since Saturday with the coldest temps in 40 years (windchills of 45 below zero). Three days in a row of family time is just too much, although I did get lots of laundry and cleaning done. Even Alex was ready to go last night, as he found his hat, put it on, took my keys, put them in the keyhole of the front door and said “CAR CAR!” Translation: let’s get the hell out of  here, I’m bored!

I am also slowly recovering after a virus/sinus infection/devil plague/god knows what knocked me on my ass for a week and a half. I felt AWFUL. It feels good to feel more normal now.

Pregnancy– I am 33w4d. Baby was head down at my last appointment, and I think he has stayed that way!! This is huge news for the VBAC situation. Two weeks before that, he was breech, and I actually felt him flip while I was lying in bed one night. That was some SERIOUS movement!

Overall, this pregnancy is going well. I am big and waddling around and a bit uncomfortable, but at the last appointment the baby was measuring around the 56th percentile – as opposed to two weeks before when he was in the 30something percentile and they were worried. I refuse to believe he grew that much in the past two weeks and think it has more to do with positioning – he was measuring small when he was breech and normally when he flipped. My fundal height is still measuring behind but I’m not worried about that as long as the baby is normal. My fluid was also low last week but again, I had the devil plague so that figures. I go weekly now and I think all will be well at this Friday’s appointment.

I have been experiencing a bit of anxiety at night about the VBAC thing. Now that we are getting close, I’m doubly worried: 1) that something will go wrong (measuring small, low fluid, something else) and since I can’t be induced, I’ll need a csection before the baby is ready to come out, and 2) that nothing will go wrong and I’ll actually have to face a vaginal birth, which I’ve never let myself deal with because I was too afraid of being disappointed if it didn’t work out. I finally placed some holds on some library books about childbirth and VBAC in particular and Andy has committed to reading them with me to educate ourselves. I’ve also been listening to HypnoBabies affirmations that a blog friend sent me, and those help in the middle of the night when I’m scared.

Alex– oh my god what a ham. I’m telling you, this kid is so hilarious. He is REALLY into dancing and has expanded his moves from “wide-leg rocking back and forth” only, to also include “moving arms up and down frantically” and “awkwardly bobbing head back and forth” and “clapping”. The very best part of NYE was dancing with him and him laughing!

He has also started talking up a storm. I had been keeping track of his words on my phone but I finally stopped because it seems like he adds one at least every day. New gems include “rocky” which means broccoli, “mommy” which means Rocky – our dog, “no”  which means snow.

Alex also has a bit of a temper on him, and when he gets really mad about something he sometimes lashes out at the dogs. For this reason, he has had a few time outs and it has worked really well. He definitely understands that he’s sitting in the chair because he did something he shouldn’t have, and afterwards he apologizes to the dog with a gentle touch. In fact, now all I have to do is use a stern voice and face, and he runs and puts himself in time out. This reminds me so much of the self-critical, serious, anxious child that I was that it breaks my heart, and I go tell him that it’s okay, he doesn’t have to sit in time out, he’s not in trouble like he is when he hits the dogs. Oh toddlers.

Overall, everything is going well, I can’t believe my second baby will be here in a matter of weeks. I am trying to enjoy the last weeks of pregnancy but honestly, I’m ready to move on and be a mommy to two. But only when my baby is ready to come out!