Monday, September 12, 2011

My Looooooong Labor Story

Gavin Densmore Thompson
Born August 2, 2011
3:15 AM
8 lbs 12 oz
20 1/2 inches

Before Gavin arrived, I fantasized about what his birth would be like and how excited I would be to share my birth story. I didn't really have a "story" to share with Raya since her birth was a planned c-section, so I was really hoping I'd have a good one to share this time. Well, I got it. And I gotta say, be careful what you wish for...

On July 30th, at 1:17am, I awoke to a pretty intense contraction. I had been having contractions on and off for weeks, so I tried not to get too excited. But this one did feel different so of course I got super excited and immediately started timing them (with the Contraction App on my iPhone - hehe). By 3am I was typing out an email on my phone to tell Sarah I was in labor, and by 4am I was out of bed and timing contractions on my birthing ball. Mike came out around 5:30am to see what the heck I was doing - then went back to bed, knowing it would likely be a little while at least.

At 8:35am I texted Jenn, my doula, to let her know about all the contractions and asked to her call me when she had the chance. Then around 9:40, Mike, Raya and I went for a walk around our neighborhood. My contractions became much less noticeable on our walk and I started to worry that it was false labor. Jenn called around this time and insured me that it definitely sounded like early labor and that it was normal for the contractions to be less noticeable while walking - in fact, it was a good thing as it was giving my uterus a little break. When we got home, the contractions returned. My attempt to take a nap was pointless. We went for another walk that afternoon then decided it would be best to have Raya stay the night at Grandma's in case we needed to go to the hospital in the middle of the night. I went to bed around 9:30 hoping that things would pick up the pace soon!

At 12:38am I awoke (though I hadn't really been sleeping much) with a more intense contraction than before. I started timing them again - they were ranging between 8 and 11 minutes apart and I couldn't sleep so I got back on my birthing ball. By around 2am, Mike was up with me and I decided to call Jenn. She was at our house an hour later and helping me through the contractions which were now about 5 minutes apart. Had she not been there, I'm sure Mike and I would have gone to the hospital by now. Jenn knows when that change occurs - the shift from early labor to active labor. It hadn't happened yet. We labored together while watching old re-runs of Beverly Hills 90210. I tried to go back to bed for a bit but couldn't sleep. I took a LONG shower which felt awesome, then got back on the birthing ball. By late morning, Jenn said she thought we could go to the hospital. I don't think she was completely sold on the idea, but I was anxious to go and find out how far along I was. I braced myself for "the worst car ride ever" but traffic was light and I only had one contraction during the 10 minute drive - not so bad. We checked into triage and I climbed up on the worlds most uncomfortable bed. Laying on your back when you're having strong contractions every few minutes is nothing short of torture. I was so ready for the nurse to check me and to get off that bed and into my delivery room. When she finally came in (which was only really a few minutes later) she had to wait while I labored through another contraction. When it was done she told me I was amazing. I kicked that contraction's ass. I loved her. Then she checked me and said I was only half a centimeter dilated and half effaced. I hated her. My doctor came in at that point and suggested I get a shot of morphine and go home and rest. Tears were involved, but I did as suggested and managed to get about 5 hours of sleep. I woke up around 9pm (it was still Sunday, July 31st) and continued to labor on the birthing ball. The morphine was still taking the edge of the pain... but not for long.

I knew there was no hurry. Even when my contractions were sometimes right on top of each other, I didn't feel the need to call Jenn (who went home when we were sent home from the hospital) nor did I think we should go back to the hospital. I spent several hours laboring on the toilet. Sounds weird, but with a big pillow behind my head, I could breath through the horrendous contraction then sit back and practically lose consciousness for a few minutes before awaking to another monster contraction. The exact time of when things occurred from here on out is a bit of a blur, but I think we had Jenn come back over around 6 or 7 that morning. I was hesitant to go back to the hospital, but I wanted her with me. I just felt stronger with her around. She was the keeper of my confidence :) She was awesome.

We went back to the hospital around 8 or 9 that morning (it's now Monday, August 1st, my due date). Back to triage where we were greeted by a new LOUD nurse who drove me CRAZY! I can't imagine anyone in labor would be able to stand having this woman around, especially not one who had been in labor over 2 days already! So when she checked me and said I was about 1 and a half to 2 centimeters dilated, I wanted to rip her stupid face off. But I barely had enough energy to cry and I needed to cry. I was devastated. She said we could give it an hour and she'd check me again. I intended to get up and really work my contractions during that hour but I was so exhausted that I sorta fell asleep (if you can call it that - more like deliriously lost consciousness) between each excruciating contraction until Nurse Loudmouth returned and informed me that nothing changed. She said she would consult with the on-call doctor and let me know what my options were. Turns out there were 3 options this time. 1) Get another shot of morphine and go home and rest. 2) Walk around the triage floor for 2 hours then get checked again. 3) Opt for the repeat C-Section. The last thing I wanted to do was go home, and a repeat-c was unfortunately starting to sound tempting at this point... so I clung to option 2 as my saving grace. I told Jenn I wanted to do everything I could during those 2 hours to make these contractions more effective. Her expression had a look of, "Game on!" and we were on our feet and on a mission. We walked those halls through and through, pausing every few feet to hang from the handrail in a squatting position and sway back and forth while loudly breathing in and out for all to hear. Mike was on one side of me with barf bin at the ready, Jenn was on the other side talking me through it and pumping out that confidence I needed to keep me going. I have to admit, I did sorta kick ass. Those contractions hurt more than anything I could have ever imagined, but I OWNED them. I got right in their face and said, "Listen BEYACH, you're gonna do what your supposed to do. Now open me up damnit!!"

They didn't listen. When our two hours were up (I think it was around noon) Nurse Loudmouth checked me again and informed me that I was still at 2 centimeters. Another morphine shot and we were on our way home again. I went to bed but the contractions were too intense for the morphine to do any good. No sleep for me. Around 4:00pm, I felt my water break. I was so relieved. I screamed, "MIKE! MIKE! MY WATER JUST BROKE!" - violently waking him from his nap. We called Jenn and she said there was no way they'd send me home this time and she'd meet us at the hospital. After the VERY worst car ride ever (3rd time's a charm) in peak commuter traffic, we checked back in with Nurse Loudmouth. She made me sit on a pad for awhile to make sure my water had actually broke (I swear she just wanted to torture me). When she confirmed that it had, she checked me and announced that I was 4 and half centimeters and 90% effaced. I wanted to kiss her right on her big loud mouth. I was being admitted!

My plan had been to have a natural birth. No epidural. But I had been in labor for nearly 3 days now and I had zero energy left. I was nervous to break the news to Jenn (I didn't want to disappoint her) but I knew I needed some relief. And to my relief, Jenn completely understood and was supportive of my decision. After all the laboring I had done, she didn't blame me one bit for needing it.

Some time around 5-6pm my Mom arrived. I came out of a major contraction to find her standing next to me in the delivery room. I had no idea how much she witnessed and could only imagine how horrifying it looked so I immediately informed her that I changed my mind about the epidural and would be getting it soon. She later told me that I looked beautiful and focused. I sure love my Mama. Sometime around 7pm on August 1st, after about 67 hours of labor, I received my epidural. I was so grateful for the anesthesiologist. If I weren't already in labor and 100% aware of how painful it was, I would've offered to have his babies. Okay, not really. But that's how much love I felt for him at that very moment. I could breath normally! I could lay down! Most importantly, I could SLEEP! That's what I call heaven on a hospital bed.

Around mid-night they woke me up to check my progress. Before the epidural I was 6 centimeters dilated. Now, 4-5 hours later, I was only at 7. On top of that, my baby's heart rate was going down with each contraction and they were worried about cord compression. He was recovering well between contractions so it wasn't an emergency... but a repeat c-section was looking very likely. The doctor said we could give it an hour and check again, but she wanted me to be prepared. When she left, I couldn't speak. None of us could. Are you kidding me? After 70 hours of labor, you're telling me I need a c-section? Jenn tried to console me - saying it's not certain. I may not need the c-section. But all I wanted to do was lay there and talk to my baby. I focused on those contractions and asked him to work with them and prove the doctor wrong. I told him I loved him and couldn't wait to hold him in my arms. I didn't want to let the stress of what the doctor said prevent my body from doing what it was supposed to do so I tried to relax. When she came back to check me, I felt mostly numb but still a little hopeful. I watched her face and it immediately lit up. She said, "Amazing! You are fully dilated, 100% effaced and the baby is RIGHT THERE!" She couldn't believe it. My contractions had been so ineffective this entire time but in the "final" hour, when I needed it more than ever, they kicked some serious butt.

She wanted to allow baby to continue to move down on his own before I started pushing, so we waited one more hour. Around 2:30, with just the nurse, Jenn and Mike in the room, I gave my first push and could already see his head in the mirror. Just after 3, they were frantically trying to track down my doctor (who had been called into an emergency) and I was instructed NOT to push until she arrived. I wish we had caught her expression on video when she finally walked in to see me laying there with a baby head poking out! 2 or 3 pushes later and Gavin Densmore Thompson was laying on my chest, crying in my arms.

3 days and 2 hours after my first contraction... and worth every moment.

Monday, May 9, 2011

28 weeks already?

I decided a blog entry was overdue since today I am 28 weeks and officially in my third trimester. How fast was that? Didn't I just take that pregnancy test and see a very faint second line? Feels like it was just a few weeks ago.

I had a few "scares" since my last post. Everything turned out fine, but I thought I'd share them anyway...

First of all, about a month ago I fell down. I was walking with Raya in the stroller and Mike was walking next to me with Steve on a leash. Something spooked Steve and his reaction was to ram into my legs and knock me off my feet. Since I was holding onto the stroller (and wheels turn) I went down face forward while Raya was tipped skyward. Luckily she was just fine and didn't seem to mind the sudden ride. I however, was left with a bruised and bloody knee (and a hole in my favorite maternity jeans) and a few fingernails that were scraped thin on the rough pavement. I was 99% sure T2 was fine. Still, 1% doubt may as well be 100% for this girl. I went in the next day for a non-stress test (to check on the baby's heart rate and activity, as well as monitor for any contractions). Everything was just fine. And the fingernail ordeal inspired me to trim and polish my nails regularly. Always a silver lining!

Next, I failed my glucose screening - an indication of gestational diabetes. My levels came back elevated because I'm a super gigantic dummy and wasn't careful about what I ate before taking the test. I DID follow the instructions. I just followed them a bit too literally. It said not to eat anything with sugar in it for two hours before drinking the glucola. So what did I do? I finished a multi-grain scone at 9:15am then drank the glucola at 11:15am. How te-rarded can a girl be? My punishment for that was to go through a 3 hour fasting blood draw. I got pricked 4 times, leaving bruises on both arms that only recently faded (the blood draw was 3 weeks ago). A few days later, I got my results. No gestational diabetes, thank goodness! Expecting me to go through pregnancy without ice cream or smoothies is like expecting me not to wear my maternity leggings almost every day.

So here I am at 28 weeks and feeling good. Other than I can't sleep worth a darn, my back hurts a little and I'm extra exhausted/lazy most of the time. Once I plop my butt on the couch, I wish to leave it there as long as possible. But Raya has learned to say "'mon Mommy!" as she waves for me to join her on walks up and down the hallway while she pushes "Kee-Cat" (her Hello Kitty) in her toy stroller. Who could ignore that? It's just too cute. I've been going to prenatal yoga once a week. I love the classes and I'm really looking forward to the "Couples Yoga and Massage for Labor" workshop we're going to in July. So is Mike. Okay, that's a lie, but he has agreed to go which definitely counts for something. T2 loves to kick the bejeezus out of me and I love him all the more for it. I'm already getting the "are you sure it's not twins?" comments... which, you know, whatever. It's not funny but it doesn't piss me off. It's just one of those things that comes with being pregnant. And honestly, even the non-funny comments are an important part of the experience :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

OMG... there's a teeny tiny weenie in my belly!

18 weeks

Let me start by saying I am so completely thrilled. I was really worried I would be sad about the future we wouldn't have. Part of me really hoped Raya would have a sister and I loved the idea of going on girl trips later in life. But as soon as we found out we were having a boy, all I felt was pure joy. I get to experience having a daughter and a son! My husband gets to have a little buddy to play catch and watch sports with. Raya gets to have a little brother to torture and love (and vise versa). I am so completely thrilled.

Our little thinker - profile with a hand to his forehead

Kickin' it - T2's crossed feet

We decided to let the ultrasound technician tell us this time, instead of printing a card for us like we did with Raya (we still had them print a card for his baby book). I forgot how LONG these ultrasounds are. So many body parts to check on and measure! It felt like hours before we got to the good stuff (not that seeing my baby open and close his hands, cross and uncross his legs, and move his tongue around wasn't good stuff!). Mike and I were both thinking girl. It just seemed more likely for some reason. By the time we were ready to see, Lil' T2 decided to be modest. The ultrasound technician had to bounce my belly around to get him to open up a bit, and when he finally did she casually said, "So here's your baby's penis..." We both burst out laughing (I may have shed a few tears too). We were shocked! I LOVE that she said it that way... so casual. As if she were pointing out his nose. I will remember it forever.

I noticed something else that sorta surprised me. I'm sooooo grateful now that I already have Raya. She's my GIRL. I'll treasure my relationship with her even more now. Didn't think that was possible.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What's your prediction?

16 weeks

Here's what I can tell you...

-- I had mild morning sickness for a few weeks, but it was mainly just a faint nauseous feeling after I ate.
-- I've had no specific food aversions, other than just being extra picky about what I want to eat.
-- I actually craved vegetables in the first trimester, and still love anything tomatoee (V8, salsa, tomato soup, ketchup, bloody mary mix).
-- I am back in love with Thomas Cinnamon & Raisin bagels with cream cheese - my daily breakfast (I remember thinking after Raya was born that I could not understand why these items were so wonderful to me. Now I can't understand how they weren't!)
-- I want nothing to do with the brownies at the cafe down the street (which I was addicted to last time).
-- I eat Tim's Cascade Jalapeno potato chips every chance I get.
-- Too much pizza is so NOT a good thing this time around.
-- I don't miss drinking alcohol, but I do crave red wine (if only the non-alcoholic versions weren't so nasty!)
-- I do crave sweets periodically throughout the day, but in the form of candy, ice cream or cookies. NOT in the form of cake, pie or brownies.
-- I'm gaining weight slower, even though my belly is pretending to be 6 months pregnant already (I'm only in my 4th month).
-- I just finished my headache phase (fingers crossed) that I also experienced the first time around.
-- So far my complexion has remained unchanged. No dry, flaky skin like last time.
-- At my last check-up (yesterday), T2's heart was beating 150 beats per minute.
-- I feel healthy and upbeat and absolutely fabulous.

Now you tell me... Boy or Girl?

There's no wrong answer here. Part of me wishes I had one of each in there (a very small part of me who is crazy). Still, I'd like to know what you all think for fun's sake. We'll know the answer on February 28th!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Here we go again!

Baby number 2 is on the way! I'm just over 13 weeks pregnant with Lil' T2. I decided to tell my office today because I'm showing so much already! Two of my co-workers said they had their suspicions. I guess baggy sweaters and big scarfs can only do so much :)
T2 is due August 1st! Everything has gone smoothly so far. I had some issues with nausea for a few weeks, but no major aversions. Just a lot more picky.

Here's a profile pic of T2 at 11 weeks

The second shot is of T2's bum and little frog legs

Everyone of course asks if I have a feeling whether it's a boy or a girl. I honestly don't. With Raya, my very first instinct was that she was a girl - but then I changed my mind somewhere down the road and ended up surprised when she actually was a girl. With T2, I didn't have a first instinct. I tried to force one but apparently that doesn't work. So my "feeling" that we are going to have another girl is based solely on the fact that virtually everyone else thinks I'm going to have a boy. Almost everyone thought I'd have a boy the first time too.
I've fantasized about both. My fantasies about having another girl are mostly long term... I imagine her when she's a little older and playing with Raya or when she's much older and I have a relationship with her like I do with my mom. My fantasies for a boy are all newborn and toddler age... what he'll look like and what it'll be like to need a pee-pee teepee for diaper changes. I can honestly say I love both fantasies equally and don't care which one comes true. I can also honestly say I will be a little sad about the one that doesn't. Raya says she wants a boy or a "tis-ter" - so apparently she feels the same way as me!

I'll try to post regular updates again like I did last time. I love looking back on my older posts so I really hope I manage to keep it up. I don't have a belly shot for this post, but my belly looks about the same size as it did at 18 weeks last time so feel free to refer back to February of 2009 for a picture :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A few words of wisdom...

...brought to you by Miss Raya Claire.

15 months old today.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Happy Anniversary Michael! It's been an amazing 4 years with so many great experiences... but adding Raya to the center of our heart takes the cake!