I didn’t want to just put Henry’s birth story out there publicly — in part because I know not everyone necessarily wants to read all the details — but if you would like to read it, leave me a comment and make sure to include your email address. (The email address won’t be public or shared in any way.) I’ll email you the password.
This is my 1,000th post, and I saved it for the very best post of all. I’d like to introduce you to someone.
Say hello to Henry Graham Baker. Isn’t he beautiful?
He was born at 10:12 PM on May 4, 2013 (11 days “late”). Eight pounds, eight ounces; 21.5 inches long, with a 13-inch head circumference. This picture was taken when he was about one hour old.
I have been trying to collect the time, mental coherence, and words to write this post for several days now, and when it comes to it, I am still speechless. There isn’t any real way to put into words how this feels. So much love. Such a miracle. This.
I’ll be back to tell our story (turns out that stork business is total BS) and to share more pictures, but right now I’ve got a sleeping baby to stare at…
As of yesterday, I am 41 weeks pregnant… which I guess means I am now in my 42nd week of pregnancy… thanks, Douglas Adams.
I’m still feeling pretty much just fine. I’ve had a little bit more indigestion, and it’s clear that my hips/pelvis are getting a little more stretchy and a little less functional (at least, where function = walking). But I don’t feel especially uncomfortable, exhausted, miserable, anxious, depressed — none of that stuff. It’s funny what a simple conversation and an extension can do for one’s peace of mind.
It seems like my family is really much more tired of waiting than I am. I wish that I knew when it would all happen so that we could stop having this, “Now? Today? Tonight?” anxiety! It is really wearing on everyone. For me, [REDACTED] is already a physical reality; he has gotten more aggressive about his kicking games, for example. But everyone else is just having to sit around waiting to experience him, and I know they’re getting tired of waiting!
We went in for our first (hopefully last) monitoring yesterday afternoon, to make sure it was okay to keep waiting for the baby to choose his own time. We had a non-stress test and an amniotic fluid check. Interesting side note: if you leave the hyphen out of “non-stress” when typing it on an iPhone, you end up scheduling yourself for a monsters test instead.
Anyway, we passed the monsters test with flying colors. His heart rate was strong and in the right range, although it sure did vary a lot over the course of half an hour or so!
According to the nurse, I actually had a couple of contractions while we were in there — but I didn’t even feel them. So weird. I have been operating under the assumption that contractions = pain. If that’s not the case — if you can have contractions that you don’t even feel — then have I been having contractions for the past several days? I’ve had several of what I’d identified as strong Braxton-Hicks contractions — a sense of downward pressure without any real pain — and some mild intestinal cramping that I thought was just gas. Maybe I’m not being as contraction-incompetent as I thought!
Then they did the world’s gooiest ultrasound, checking all four quadrants to make sure there was enough amniotic fluid in there. They wanted at least 8 (cubic centimeters, I assume) and I had in the neighborhood of 24.
So, yeah. I’m feeling a trifle inefficient. But other than that… all is well…
My favorite hobby this week is going to a store (or an estate sale, today) and hoping that someone asks me when I’m due, because then I get to say “Last Wednesday” — and the looks on their faces are PRICELESS. Apparently I am “holding up awfully well,” “very upbeat for being as far along as I am,” and “so tiny!” I gotta say: I could get used to being called tiny. The thing is, I fully attribute my general sense of well-being (both physical and emotional) to having some time away from work; I really do love my job, but it has been very stressful this year, and it’s exhausting any year (especially for someone who doesn’t get her “batteries charged” from human interaction).
I don’t have a great deal to say about anything, honestly. I think I am probably not going to update this site again until after the stork shows up; there’s really just not much to say. I am on Facebook, and posting fairly often over there, if you’re eager to know about my daily goings-on.
My belly is finally distended enough that my belly button is pooching a bit. It had been getting a little outward-bound when the baby was in the right position, and now that seems to be more the default look — but it still hasn’t completely popped, so I’m guessing that’s as far as it’s going to go.
Yesterday, I managed to splash burning-hot cheese soup INTO MY EYE. (Thank goodness for that eyelid reflex, and that it wasn’t any hotter — my eyelid hurt for a few minutes, but no damage done.) Then, while brushing Sophie, I provoked her into biting my hand almost hard enough to break skin. (Sophie is a cat.) I was clearly on a roll.
In the past two weeks, my heartburn issues and low appetite cleared up almost entirely. Then yesterday, I started getting… indigestion, maybe? Belchy, and kind of yucky feeling in that indigestion sort of way. Not even in the same universe as the earlier heartburn, though. But it leads me to believe that something is shifting in my body chemistry or structure… either he’s so big that he’s squishing things despite having “dropped,” or the hormone cocktail is changing again.
I have some tiny little skin tags. Such a weird thing. Why does this happen?
On Saturday I got my toenails all prettied up. The nail lady was massaging my lower legs and commented on how strong and tight my calf muscles were. “You must stand a lot — are you a nurse?” she asked. When I told her I was a teacher, she said that was just the same. You’ve got to love a career that shows up in your calves!
On Sunday I got a prenatal massage, which was very nice. It didn’t put me into labor or anything, obviously, but it made my back and hips feel a lot better. I think I’m going to make Ryan go to massage therapy school…
I have definitely lost weight (in the parts of me that don’t belong to [REDACTED], that is). I put on a non-maternity bra the other day that fit me at the beginning of the pregnancy. It was too small around the band, of course, but at least one cup size too big. I have been carrying weight in that area, and wishing I could cut some of it, so — other than the whole “now I’m gonna have to buy new lingerie” thing — that’s pretty awesome.
Re-reading some Piers Anthony (his Bio of a Space Tyrant series) for the first time as an adult with an education in literature. I’m distracted, not in a bad way, by his approach to female sexuality as a pragmatic tool to be used to manipulate men. A person could certainly argue that Anthony is a Heinlein-brand sexist, and there are unquestionably echoes of Heinlein in this space opera, but I actually think there’s a lot of respect there… just in an unconventional way. I do find myself wondering what I felt about all this when I first read these books as a young teenager… I don’t remember thinking much of it at all…
One day, I’ll wake up at 6:45 and be strong and alert all day long… the next day, I’ll sleep until 10 and feel tired all day… body does not know what it is doing.
Today, if I were throwing money around on presents for myself, I would buy a mint-green Timex watch (with Indiglo!), hot pink patent-leather Alegrias, and a sparkly bluebird necklace. Apparently I am in a colorful mood. What I really need to spend money on is a pair of baskets or hampers or bins or something to manage my ever-growing collection of blankets and afghans (not baby blankets — I have those organized — I have an addiction of my own!)
This is a continuation from this post from earlier today.
Okay! Doctor was able to squeeze me in at 1 PM. They went ahead and checked my weight (the same), blood pressure (the same), fundal height (he didn’t say anything), and baby’s heart rate (140bpm — apparently his heart is a little faster right after lunch!). Then he asked me what I wanted to talk about.
(Meant to say in my last post that I felt like I couldn’t think straight at the 40-week appt because he started tossing out all of these induction options while I’m sitting there half naked under a paper tablecloth — so part of my thinking for today’s meeting was that I needed to have a conversation with my doctor with my pants on!)
I started off by saying that I was having a lot of anxiety about inducing on Thursday, and felt that it stemmed from having some unanswered questions. That’s about as far as he let me get on my “script” — my doctor isn’t really the best listener in the world — before telling me that he was completely comfortable with pushing back induction. In fact, he had a pre-planned Plan B ready to go (I’ll get to that momentarily).
I steered the conversation back to my list of questions. He reassured me that cytotec wasn’t dangerous in the hands of someone who knew how to use it correctly, and that I’d be very carefully monitored, and that there was an “antidote” that could be administered if I overreacted to it. He said that he couldn’t anticipate my pain tolerance levels, etc., but that there was no reason to mandate an epidural with induction — that pitocin didn’t make labor any more painful, it just shortened the amount of non-painful time in between contractions. I again tried to emphasize my sensitivity to medications; he acted like he believed me, and told me that the sleeping pill was totally optional, but I don’t think he really believed me (then again, it’s the nurses who need to know that stuff anyway). The catheter dilates you up to 4cm, he said, and can definitely jump start labor on its own.
The important part is that he rescheduled induction from May 2 to May 7, with two “checkpoints” along the way in which I’ll go to L&D and have some monitoring done to make sure that there is adequate amniotic fluid and that the baby is still happy and healthy in there. At either point, if baby is in any way NOT happy and healthy, we’ll go ahead and get him outta there (that’d be Wednesday and Saturday of this week). Otherwise, we’ll let things take their natural course unless the natural course doesn’t get going before Tuesday…
Feeling MUCH better about all of this. It’s really only a couple of days, and I still believe that he’ll show up on his own, but now I feel like I can relax and just let him come — and that if he doesn’t, that I did everything I could to give him the opportunity before it became unsafe for him. It’s a much better feeling. I was feeling completely okay about everything EXCEPT the “deadline”, which was making me CRAZY — so this is definitely an improvement!
I’ll try to do better about keeping y’all posted…
I never did post for the 40-week appointment, and haven’t really been in the mood to write since, but this post will wrap all that in, I guess.
Kiddo isn’t here yet (he is “due” April 24/25). I guess at this point I am supposed to be completely miserable and uncomfortable and anxious for the birth, so here’s one more place in which I am deviating from the norm: I’m actually pretty okay. I mean, yeah, I want to meet the little guy. I want the waiting to stop. I want to stop feeling guilty about taking “unnecessary” time off work…. But I, myself, am not in that “oh my gosh please get this baby out of me” frame of mind that seems to hit most moms. I’m no more uncomfortable than I was two weeks ago… I would be okay right now if he weren’t due for another month.
The problem is that the doctor has set a giant countdown clock, and so now I feel like a kid with test anxiety being asked to solve 100 math problems in 100 seconds. (Which is funny, because I love that sort of thing, but I think I understand the feeling now.) HAVE THIS CHILD NOW, the countdown clock seems to say, OR WE WILL FORCE HIM OUT OF YOU ON THURSDAY.
And yeah. I don’t want that. I don’t, strictly speaking, believe in it. But it is hard to know what to believe, when the doctor says that the chance of stillbirth increases after 41 weeks… I don’t want any sort of interventions, but I REALLY don’t want anything to happen to my baby.
Doctor has three recommended routes for induction. There’s the standard “straight to pitocin” induction, which will necessitate being tethered to the bed (dislike) via IV (dislike). The doctor’s recommendation — or so it seemed — was to start with cytotec and then move on to pitocin if needed; cytotec is an ulcer medication that also sometimes starts labor. What he didn’t mention is that cytotec apparently (apocryphally?) has some pretty scary nasty side effects (fatal ones) and there are no statistics on them because it’s an off-label use. The third path, which R and I feel seems promising, is to go in the night before and use a balloon catheter to mechanically dilate, which may start labor on its own — and if not, we can proceed to medical induction.
In all honesty, I’m extremely unhappy and anxious about this whole “you’ve got until Thursday at 6 AM to do this on your own, and then we’re taking over” thing. I really feel like I need to talk to the doctor again so that I can get my head on straight and stop freaking out. Things I want to talk to him about:
- What are the actual risks of cytotec?
- Do I stand a reasonable chance of avoiding an epidural if induced?
- How much dilating does the catheter actually do — is it going to make much of a difference if I’m already at 2cm?
- If we use the balloon catheter, is the sleeping pill he mentioned mandatory?
- Does he believe me when I say that I am unusually sensitive to medications, including hormones?
- Why, if first babies often show up 7-10 days late, are we rushing to induce at only 7 days past the arbitrary due date? Follow-up: can we wait a few more days?