Tag Archives: pregnancy

Pregnancy #2 Update: 8 Months

11 Feb

My lack of blog posts lately is the result of pregnancy exhaustion. Even though I have ideas about posts to write, I just can’t bring myself to sit down and write them. By the time Emma’s naptime rolls around, all I can think about is a nap myself. And by the time bedtime rolls around, I’m wiped and either want to read or watch TV and then hit the sack.

I’m 32 weeks as of today and being pregnant is definitely getting challenging. Being pregnant while chasing around a toddler is no joke!

32 weeks then now

I can only stand for a few minutes before needing to sit down. My big belly makes it hard to hold Emma on my lap or get down on the floor with her to play. Sleep is still decent — I get up 2-3 times a night to pee, and have started to be awake for 20-30 minutes at 3 a.m. for no apparent reason, but I can still get up before Emma 3-4 days a week. (It really just depends on when I go to bed.) I’ve started to have some back pain if I stand too long, or sit slouched over (which is easy to do when you have no core muscles!). Overall though, I am still blessed with a very easy pregnancy and a healthy, active baby. Only 2 months to go!

I made a ridiculously long to-do list of all the stuff — baby-related and otherwise — I want to get done before Junior comes. I’m trying to do at least 30-45 minutes of something during Emma’s naps instead of heading straight to my bed after putting her down, but some days that doesn’t happen! I keep waiting for that whole nesting instinct to kick in, but so far, it hasn’t.

Junior’s nursery is pretty much done though, so at least there’s that. We hung up the curtain rod this past weekend, and I found and hung picture frames for the prints that I made. I still have to paint the frames though, and finish a few minor details. I also bought newborn diapers and a few more gender-neutral sleepers so we’re good to go on that stuff until we find out if Junior is a boy or girl. Slowly but surely! I’ll do a separate post on the nursery once it’s all done.

So far, since signing up for the Northwoods Triathlon on August 8, I’ve swam and biked twice each. My speed and stamina are pretty pathetic (I’m blaming pregnancy), but I only want to get familiar with those activities again before giving birth, not actually make much progress. I swam for about 30 minutes each time (doing about 1,000 yards total I would guess). As for the bike, my butt is SO not used to a bike seat (I set my tri bike up on the trainer in the basement), so I’ve only lasted 5-7 minutes before switching to our elliptical. And my belly is too big for me to reach the handlebars, so I just hold myself up with my fingertips on the aerobar pads… But still, it’s better than nothing! I have to admit, I’m a little nervous about this whole thing, but it has been good motivation.

I haven’t done one of these ‘lists’ yet so I’ll close with one for this post:

Symptoms: Braxton Hicks, back pain, exhaustion, some inner thigh/pelvic pain

Cravings: Chocolate, but I think that’s mostly because Travis and I have been doing this ‘diet’ for the past month where we can’t eat sweets or refined carbs (more on that in a separate post)

Weight gained: 23 lbs at last week’s prenatal appointment (same as last pregnancy)

Movement: Baby is kicking a soccer ball in my belly — and only on the right side! I am noticing more defined times of activity and rest though.

Rings on or off: On, but sometimes tight in the morning

Belly button in or out: Starting to poke out!

Stretch marks: None that I can tell

What I Miss: Running! Wine. And my pre-pregnancy clothes.

Favorite Moment This Week: It’s not a single moment, but Emma has been really fun the past couple of weeks — I’ve been loving her quirkiness and crazy antics!

Least Favorite Moment: One of our dogs having diarrhea all over our carpet, causing an impromptu carpet cleaning on Saturday.

Looking Forward To: My sister-in-law having her baby — she’s due March 7!

Pregnancy #2 Update: 7 Months

14 Jan

I’m 28 weeks today – officially in the third trimester!

28w now then

The biggest changes this month have been increased inner thigh/pelvic pain and lots of Braxton Hicks contractions. The inner thigh pain definitely isn’t as bad as it was during my pregnancy with Emma, but every once in a while, it flares up and I have to walk like a grandma. My belly also starts feeling heavy if I’m on my feet for a while. But I’m still sleeping really well, so I can’t complain!

I unfortunately haven’t gotten much more consistent with exercise. Emma still struggles with nap time fairly frequently (meaning I’m holding her instead of working out), and I honestly am completely exhausted by the time she goes to bed at 8 or 9 pm. I tried doing my Pilates video once when she was awake, but that just resulted in her sitting on top of my head — not the kind of workout I had in mind. That’s the hardest thing about it being so cold in the winter — exercise is pretty much limited to the indoors, and it just isn’t that appealing.

I had my glucose and hemoglobin tests at my last prenatal appointment, and passed both of them. My iron levels are a little low (most likely because I wasn’t being very consistent with my prenatal vitamins) so I’ve started making sure to take those every day, as well as eating more red meat and other foods that contain iron. I’ve gained around 20 lbs so far, which is the same as last pregnancy.

I’ve started making a list of the things that we need to buy and do before Bisky Junior comes. I bought a changing pad, changing pad cover, gender-neutral swaddles and tissue paper pom-poms for nursery decorations this past week. The other stuff will wait until February when we have more money — other stuff being a curtain rod, gender-neutral newborn clothes, diapers, crib sheet to match the nursery, frames for the prints that I made, etc.

Speaking of the prints that I made, I found inspiration on Pinterest and Etsy, and made these in GIMP:

faith hope loveI printed the signs as 8 x 10 pictures at Walmart. I love how they turned out! I’m hoping to find some fun frames at a secondhand store that I can spray-paint gold.

Well, I think that’s about it for this month. I’m trying hard to enjoy these last months as a family of 3, and not be too impatient for April to arrive.

Pregnancy #2 Update: 6 Months

19 Dec

24weekcompI was 24 weeks along this past Wednesday – and my belly is definitely bigger than last time! Seems like pregnancy exhaustion is kicking back in because I am very behind on blogging, but just can’t seem to ever bring myself to do it! I’ve been taking naps during Emma’s naps and vegging in front of the TV after she goes to bed (which means I stay up too late, adding to my exhaustion).

The biggest change since my 5-month update is that I can no longer run. I went on a 2-mile run with my friend Brenda the weekend after Thanksgiving weekend and my pelvis was so angry afterward that I could barely walk. So… I had hoped to keep up the more intense workouts for longer this time, but it appears my body has other ideas. For now, I’m sticking with walking, the elliptical and my prenatal Pilates video. We’re talking about joining the Y, which means I could get back into swimming. I’m entertaining the idea of signing up for a local sprint triathlon that is in August next year. It sells out fast, and registration starts on Jan 2, so I have to decide soon!

Besides running, everything else is still going smoothly. Baby is very active! I’m starting to get to the point of pregnancy where it’s hard to sit up, roll over and good sleep is hit or miss (hence the naps). I’m also having weird dreams, which I had last time. But still no food cravings, no face acne and no linea negra (so maybe it’s a boy this time?). I’ve gained about 12-13 pounds so far. When I was pregnant with Emma, I tried to gain 1-2 lbs every week during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. This time, I’m only concerned about gaining too much! I know now that the weight piles on faster at the end so no need to worry. Plus, I’d like to gain fewer than 35 pounds this time.

We had our ultrasound at 22 weeks. Everything looked great. Baby was laying like a taco, with his/her legs over her head.

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The ultrasound technician was super nice and even did some 3D imaging for us while waiting for the baby to move so she could get a better image of the heart valves.

1509037_850898904940433_6891209828618443299_nI’m still a little apprehensive about not finding out the gender ahead of time, but we’re sticking with it!

I made some more progress on the nursery since my last update – I sewed curtains and stuck up wall dots (from Walls Need Love).

1507940_847382471958743_748364470285530591_n 10628045_847382508625406_6811728264417116824_nI’ve pretty much decided on the other decorations I’m going to do for the nursery, but they are going to be after-Christmas projects. Too much stuff going on before then!

Well, I think that’s about it!

Pregnancy #2 Update: 5 Months

19 Nov

I’m 20 weeks along today – halfway there!

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Never mind that bad picture…

Here’s me at 20 weeks with Emma:

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We have our ultrasound the day after Thanksgiving but we’re still planning on keeping the gender a surprise until the baby is born.

I feel bad saying this but honestly, this pregnancy has been pretty much a breeze so far. I’d say that I’m a little more tired than usual, but I was used to taking naps during Emma’s naps even before I got pregnant so… I guess that’s pretty much the same. I’m still attempting to get up before her in the morning, but she has decided recently to start waking up at 6, which is as early as I’m willing to get up. Frustrating…

I haven’t had any weird aches or pains (that last, at least), I’m still sleeping pretty well (on my stomach sometimes even!), and I haven’t had really any food cravings. I’m still running – we signed up for a Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving so I’ve been “training” for that by running about twice a week. I’ve worked up to 2.5 miles so far. Even though I had gotten back into running shape last spring, I wasn’t running more than a couple miles at a time all summer. Now that we seem to be in the thick of winter, I’ll probably be done running for a while after the race (unless I join a gym).

I started feeling the baby move a couple of weeks ago. The movements are very slight flutters at this point, but fun to feel and also reassuring that the baby is doing well. I’ve gained about 12 lbs so far.

We finally made some progress on the nursery this past weekend. My parents were up so we moved the futon downstairs and painted. We had a gallon of paint left over from when we painted our main room, and it was the color I had decided to go with anyway, so it worked out! I LOVE it.

Before

booknookAfter

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I bought some wall dots from Walls Need Love after seeing them on Pinterest and plan to do a design like this or this. I am going to spray paint the lamp we already have – gold for the shade and navy blue for the base. And just today I bought fabric to sew curtains – it’s a navy blue and white fretwork design (which I just happen to be obsessed with).

I went through Emma’s baby clothes and we have only a few gender-neutral things, so I’m going to look around for some more in newborn / 0-3 month sizes.

And Emma is crying again from her cough that will. not. go. away. so that’s all I have for now!

 

Pregnancy #2 Update: 4 Months

29 Oct

I’m 17 weeks along today. I decided that with this pregnancy, I’m only going to do monthly updates. I mean, there’s only so much you want to read about cravings, aches and sleep problems.

Although I’m very fortunate to not be experiencing any of those at this point. I went on a short run the other day and even though I haven’t been running much and was also 16 (now 17) weeks pregnant, I felt surprisingly great. I’m still sleeping pretty well, my energy is back (got up at 6/6:30 all last week!) and food is appealing once again. I still don’t have many cravings but that is just fine with me. I’ve been able to keep the bad heartburn at bay too, so things are going well.

This pregnancy is similar to my first in some ways. Things have been relatively easy so far. I’m finding it interesting again this time around how you can feel as big as a house but not look that big. (At least, not big compared to later on.)

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17 weeks with #2
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17 weeks with #1

But it’s also different – mostly in that I am WAY more relaxed about everything. I think once you experience being pregnant and being a parent, you get a sense for what’s a big deal and what isn’t in terms of “what not to do” and all the preparations for a baby. (Sometimes I laugh at the completely impractical things people do in decorating the nursery – but I get it. You just get more practical the second time around.) That said, the countdown and process is still just as exciting!

I started nursery preparations this past weekend – I cleaned out the closet and built-in bookshelf. Next up is getting rid of the desk and moving the futon downstairs. Then it’ll be time to paint! I had wanted to do a mint green color on the walls but now I’m reconsidering. I have a teddy bear print from my room growing up that I’d like to hang but mint green wouldn’t go well. Now I’m thinking white, navy and coral (with maybe some gold accents). We’ll see. It’s hard planning a gender-neutral nursery!

Pregnancy #2 Update: First Trimester

10 Oct

Sorry to announce my pregnancy and then fall into complete silence for almost 2 weeks! I hate to use the cliche “Life has been crazy” saying, but hey it’s true.

The culprits of this craziness are many (and some are our own doing):

1) Travis has been working 50+ hours each week and traveling more than usual (3 weeks in September alone).

2) We’ve been gone for part or all of almost every weekend this summer and fall.

3) We just moved into a new house prior to the craziness beginning.

4) Emma’s been sick for over a month with one virus after the other and a hacking cough that will.not.go.away.

5) I’ve had my share of pregnancy issues, which I will get to shortly.

Both Travis and I are living thisclose from a major meltdown. Did I mention we’re going elk hunting in Colorado this week?

Anyway, that’s why I haven’t been blogging. Can you blame me?

BUT after elk hunting, we have nothing on the calendar for 3 whole weekends, then deer hunting, and almost nothing after that. Which means hopefully we will be able to discover some normalcy and routine instead of running around from here to there like chickens with our heads cut off. Yes, routine would be very nice.

So, the first trimester. Travis and I discovered I was pregnant the first week or so of August (from the get-go, things have been quite a bit more laidback than my pregnancy with Emma – I didn’t record the date of the pregnancy test…). We were and are VERY excited, and if you’re curious, this pregnancy was planned. My due date is almost exactly 2 years after Emma was born, which was the timing we were hoping for (though not nearly that accurate!).

The week after I found out, I went to the doctor and they did all sorts of tests, asked all sorts of questions… except they didn’t check that I was actually indeed pregnant. I asked about it after getting my lab results and the nurse said that home pregnancy tests are so accurate these days, they don’t retest. Ummm… ok.

I didn’t have an ultrasound until I was 12 weeks (I’m 14 weeks now), so for those middle 6 weeks I felt like we were hoodwinking our immediate and extended family by telling them I was pregnant. I didn’t feel pregnant, didn’t look pregnant… was I pregnant? The only symptoms I had were that coffee wasn’t appealing and food was meh. Other than that, I felt pretty normal. Needless to say, we didn’t tell anyone beyond our family about the pregnancy.

Right after we got back from San Francisco trip though, I started feeling more pregnant. I picked up some kind of virus or food poisoning that kept me on the couch for a couple of days, and since then, I’ve felt slightly carsick all the time – meaning food in general has sounded disgusting. When I was pregnant with Emma, I had tons of cravings in the first trimester. This time, I haven’t really had any. But considering that’s been the worst symptom until a few days ago, I have been very blessed with an easy pregnancy again.

In the past few days, I’ve had ridiculously bad heartburn. My chest feels really tight and I can barely breathe. I had that happen about 5 years ago when I was nowhere near pregnant and went to the ER because I thought I was having a heart attack. Nope, just really bad acid reflux. Turns out carrying a 23-lb toddler is not enjoyable when you have stabbing chest pains – neither is sleeping in any kind of reclined position. Hopefully Zantac and papaya enzymes can keep it at bay from now on.

Similar to my first pregnancy, I haven’t been exercising as consistently or eating as healthy as I would ideally like to be. But limited energy, lots of travel and a general ‘meh’ attitude toward food make it tricky. Once we get back from elk hunting, though, I AM getting back on the workout bandwagon. I do NOT want to be as out of shape postpartum with this baby as I was with Emma.

As for gender, Travis and I have decided that we are going to wait until the birth to find out. The anal planner in me is freaked out by that choice, but it also feels like an adventure, which is fun. I keep thinking the baby is a boy, though, so if it’s another girl, it’ll probably throw me for a loop.

And here’s a bad picture of me at 14 weeks for your enjoyment (I feel giant already):

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{Seeing as I fly to Colorado tomorrow, Emma’s 18-month update will most likely be happening after I get back. So see you in another week!}

Matching Outfits for a Special Occasion…

28 Sep

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More details coming soon!

Emma’s Birth Story, Part 3

13 Apr

Emma’s Birth Story, Part 1

Emma’s Birth Story, Part 2

The first day of recovery in the hospital was incredibly overwhelming. I was exhausted, with a new baby that didn’t want to breastfeed, and there was a steady parade of hospital staff, doctors and nurses through our room at all hours. We didn’t even get to “bed” until 4 am Sunday morning, and even then, Emma was not a fan of being in her bassinet alone so I ended up holding her quite a bit while sleeping very lightly sitting up in bed.

Emma wasn’t interested in breastfeeding right away – she was gagging and coughing up bubbles a lot. Later on Sunday, one of the nurses suggested that we put a tube down her throat into her stomach to get some of the gunk out that she likely swallowed during birth. We agreed, though it broke my heart to think about her enduring that, but I’m glad we did it, because she had about 10 ccs of air and a bunch of amniotic fluid mixed with saliva in there. The procedure didn’t clear things up completely right away but we noticed she was much more content and willing to feed.

My parents came to visit for a few hours a couple times each day, which was nice. They got to see and hold Emma, and Travis and I got a little bit of a break. We were told numerous times to sleep when Emma was sleeping, but that was nearly impossible with how many people came into our room what seemed like every hour – our pediatrician, my doctor and nurses, volunteers with cookies, housekeeping, specialists doing infant tests, etc. We wished that we had a “Do Not Disturb” sign.

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IMG_4390 (Large) IMG_4387 (Large) IMG_4388 (Large)Emma getting her hearing test done – she passed on both ears!

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Because my water had been broken for over 18 hours before Emma was born, she was required to stay in the hospital the full 48 hours. The doctors weren’t really that worried about her since I had been given 4 doses of penicillin over the course of labor, but they wanted to make sure. That meant we weren’t allowed to go home until Tuesday around noon. It was a little frustrating, but I knew it was in our best interest. Emma also had low intermediate jaundice levels so we were supposed to see our pediatrician on Wednesday or Thursday.

That first day, I was panicking a little inside. Everything was so new and overwhelming, breastfeeding seemed daunting, I was exhausted and wondering how in the world I ever thought it was a good idea to have a baby.

Sunday and Monday nights, Emma went through the very common cluster feeding stage, which meant that I was up pretty much all night. Travis did give me a couple of 2-hour stretches when he was able to keep Emma content, which helped a ton. It’s amazing what a little sleep can do to your outlook on life! That, coupled with nursing/latching help from some great nurses and the lactation consultant, encouraged me that this whole baby thing was doable – I just needed to be patient and get through the first few weeks.

Finally, Tuesday came and we were able to go home. We packed up all of our stuff, put Emma in her car seat and got wheeled downstairs. And what odds that we went home in the 2nd worst snowstorm Denver has seen this year. Emma likes her snowstorms I guess.

It felt so great to be home! We put Emma in her swing almost immediately and were delighted to find that she really enjoys it.

IMG_4393 (Large)She does not, however, like her diaper being changed when she’s hungry.

IMG_4395 (Large)She’s a really good baby overall though. Her eyes melt my heart.

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I’ll give more specifics later, but it’s been great to be able to be home. I love nursing Emma in our glider and it’s great sleeping in my own bed for the few naps I get each day (over 24 hours, usually about 3-4 naps for 2 hours each). I’m not getting a ton of sleep, but I’ve been able to adapt for the most part.

The best part about being home is having Emma with us. It still feels a bit unreal but we are now the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl!

Emma’s Birth Story, Part 2

12 Apr

Emma’s Birth Story, Part 1

Because Lauren suspected that Emma was facing the wrong way, she brought the peanut ball for me to put between my legs, in hopes that lying on my side with my legs spread would encourage Emma to turn. I laid on my right side for about an hour and then the doctor came in, broke my bulging bag of waters (which I couldn’t feel because of the blessedly effective epidural!) and said I was at about 9 cm. Lauren helped me switch to my left side, and let Travis and I rest for another hour. I couldn’t sleep, knowing that the pushing stage was right around the corner, but it was nice to just lay there for a while.

About 15 minutes before Lauren returned, I started feeling the contractions again – though they weren’t painful at all, I could just feel the tightening like Braxton Hicks. I also started feeling downward pressure during each contraction, which I hoped meant that the time for pushing was close. By that point, it was also after midnight, which meant Emma would be born on her due date!

When Lauren returned to check my cervix, Emma had descended into the birth canal and was right there. Lauren had me do a practice push, mentioned that she thought Emma had turned, then went to get the doctor and all the supplies for delivery. It was finally time! She brought a big mirror that I could look into to see Emma come out, which was very cool.

While we waited for the doctor, I pushed with a few more contractions and could see Emma’s head and hair. The doctor arrived, I pushed with two more contractions, and there Emma was! Seeing her come out was hands down the Coolest. Thing. Ever. I was finally seeing the little being that had been in my belly for 9 months! Once she was out, they placed her on my chest for skin to skin. She was covered in vernix and beautiful – I couldn’t believe that this was my daughter.

While the nurses wiped Emma off on my chest, the doctor delivered the placenta and began stitching me up – I had a second degree tear. I could feel the tugging of her sewing but it wasn’t painful at all.

After a while, the nurses took Emma to weigh her and do their tests just across the room.

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Lauren cleaned me up and then my parents arrived.

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IMG_4381 (Large) They didn’t stay long – only about 10 minutes – because it was about 2 am and we still had to move to the recovery room.

After my parents left, Lauren and the other nurse helped me to the bathroom, which was interesting because I couldn’t stand – my legs just buckled underneath me. Meanwhile, Travis packed up all of our stuff and I was put in a wheelchair for moving to the recovery room. Emma was placed on my chest for skin to skin while we made the journey up a floor, because her temperature was a little too low.

Even though my labor went nothing like I had wanted – my water broke but didn’t start active labor, I had to get Pitocin and an epidural, Emma was facing the wrong way – I am very satisfied with the experience.  I am glad that I experienced the real pain of labor but do not for an instant regret my decision to get an epidural. I know that I held out as long as I possibly could, and it made the pushing stage short and easy. I also am thrilled that I was able to avoid a c-section.

Coming up: Our stay in the hospital…

Emma’s Birth Story, Part 1

11 Apr

I finished my last day of work on Friday. Like any other lazy Friday night, Travis and I ate leftovers for dinner, watched TV and I went to bed around 9:30. At 12:30 am, I was rolling over in bed when I felt a huge gush of warm water. It felt very surreal as it dawned on me that my water had broken. We were going to have a baby sooner than later! Luckily, I had put puppy pads and a garbage bag on the bed under the sheets so our mattress didn’t get wet at all, and my amniotic fluid was clear so our sheets were fine after a wash.

I called to Travis from bed, told him my water had just broken and asked him to grab me a towel, since I knew from reading copious amounts of birth stories that what had gushed out of me was by no means all of it. He grabbed me a towel and I raced to the bathroom holding it in place. I immediately called my doctor’s office and the on-call doctor said I didn’t need to rush in right away since it was the middle of the night and I wasn’t contracting yet – I could wait until things started to happen.

I knew it would be a good idea to get some more sleep while things were still comfortable, but adrenaline had kicked in and my mind wouldn’t stop reeling. So I sat on the couch and read, made some no-bake energy bites, slept an hour, read some more. My contractions were pretty irregular in intensity and timing – some were semi-painful, others felt just like Braxton Hicks. Some were 6 minutes apart, others were 15.

Finally, at 7 am, I decided it had been long enough so I called the doctor again and asked him if I should wait until things were more regular, or come in then. He said to come in. Travis and I leisurely loaded up our stuff, made a stop at Walgreen’s, and got to the hospital around 8 am.

They had our room all ready and got us checked in quickly. The amazing thing about the hospital we gave birth at is that the labor and delivery wing is SO quiet and relaxed. It’s pretty much the opposite you would expect for a place where so much action happens. But it was very nice.

We got all the paperwork squared away, then the nurse checked to make sure my water really had broken, which it was. She also checked my cervix and I was only 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced. I was a little bummed that it was still so early but it wasn’t that surprising.

Since I had tested positive for Group B Strep, they got my first IV dose of penicillin going. I would get a dose every 4 hours until baby was born. The medicine is so concentrated that it burns a little going in – made my arm feel really heavy and achy. But the nurses were able to adjust the drip rate so that the discomfort was minimal.

IMG_4362 (Large)Getting my first dose of penicillin

My first nurse, Shelley, was great. She was very respectful of my desire to avoid Pitocin and any pain medication, and instead, labor naturally and out of bed as much as possible. After my first penicillin dose was done, they capped off my IV. Travis and I walked some laps around the labor and delivery floor, watched a movie while I sat on the birthing ball, and did a crossword. My contractions were coming more regularly – about every 5-6 minutes. They were also getting more intense, but I could still talk and walk through them. I talked to the doctor and he recommended starting to think about augmenting labor, since at the rate things were going, it could end up being a very long day.

IMG_4365 (Large)With our dolphin back massager – great for the first part of labor

Around noon, I got my second dose of penicillin and had my cervix checked again, so I could make a decision about augmenting labor. I had made no progress – still just 2 cm, 80%. So I agreed to have them start me on Pitocin. I had really hoped to avoid it, knowing it would make labor harder, but at that point, it had been 12 hours since my water broke, and my body was doing pretty much nothing on its own.

They got the Pitocin going around 1:30, starting at a dose of 2 (what that means specifically, I don’t know). They increased the dose by 2 every 30 minutes. Not long after, my contractions started getting serious – they were coming every 2-3 minutes and the intensity was building. I had started off being able to do abdominal breathing through contractions. Then I had to start moaning a little on the exhale to help keep control.

I was sitting in the glider next to the bed and my back starting to really hurt with each contraction, so I had Travis apply counter-pressure during each contraction, which helped, but was tough for him to do. With the nurse’s help, we rearranged the bed into a chair and that made it a lot easier for Travis to reach my back.

By 5:30, the Pitocin was up to a dose of 8, contractions were coming on top of each other every 1-2 minutes, and the back labor was excruciating. Every contraction, I thought “I can’t do this anymore. I am in so much pain.” Travis was great at encouraging me to keep with it, reminding me that each contraction was bringing us closer to Emma.

Since I had read that contractions can be that close together during transition, I hoped that maybe I was making quite a bit of progress, which would explain why things were so intense. But when they checked my cervix, I was only at 5 cm. Four hours of horrible pain and I had only changed 3 cm! I wanted to cry and despair. If things kept going at that rate, I had hours of labor ahead of me.

Finally, I caved and accepted some pain medication – Fentynal – through my IV, and they also dialed my Pitocin back to a 2. The pain meds made me really dizzy and relaxed, but did absolutely nothing for the pain in my back, which was there even when I wasn’t having a contraction, and was agonizing during one. Moreover, I had to lay down on my back during the hour that the pain meds were ‘working’, which made things even worse – Emma’s heel jammed up into my ribs on each contraction, which just compounded the pain.

By 7 pm, I was starting to lose it. Even laboring standing up was horrible. The pain was so unbelievable that I started seriously contemplating getting an epidural, even though I had really wanted to avoid one. I just didn’t see how I could make it several more hours at the rate I was going, with the pain that I was in. And I was so tired by that point that I could no longer relax during each contraction – I tensed up, writhing in pain, moaning as loud as I possibly could, even though I knew that tensing up was hindering my uterus from doing its thing.

My nurse Shelley introduced my night nurse, Lauren. Lauren was awesome. She was so supportive and helpful. Shelley explained to Lauren that I was contemplating an epidural. I asked for my cervix to be checked again, and I was only 6 cm dilated. Lauren also noticed that I had a bulging bag of water – amniotic fluid that had collected above my cervix, preventing the baby from bearing down as much as she should. Lauren explained that I could have the doctor break it in hopes that things would speed up, but it would probably make things more intense. I couldn’t imagine more intense. She also explained that my back labor was so bad most likely because Emma was facing ‘sunny side up’ – which I knew could make the pushing stage even more painful, and possibly end up requiring a c-section. For all of those reasons, I decided that an epidural was my best option for survival so I finally caved and asked for one.

The anesthesiologist arrived 15 minutes later. The time he spent getting set up and the epidural put in were the longest 10 minutes of my life. The epidural didn’t hurt much more than getting a shot. I was lucky in that it didn’t make me itchy, but unlucky in the fact that the epidural didn’t work. I could still feel and move my legs, and my back labor was still just as intense as ever. It did work enough for me to be able to lie down comfortably and rest in between contractions, but each contraction was still ridiculously painful.

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Thank God for Lauren and the anesthesiologist, who refused to give up on helping me get relief. They suggested higher doses, additional meds, which I accepted reluctantly – worried about the effects on Emma of all the drugs – but none of which worked for the back labor. Finally, after about 45 minutes and learning that I was still only dilated 8 cm, the anesthesiologist suggested that he adjust the epidural tubing to see if that would help, and if it didn’t, he would replace the epidural. I agreed, skeptical that it would work but I was at my wits end. At that point, I had been laboring on Pitocin for over 8 hours.

The adjustment took about 10 minutes and involved a very painful process of ripping tape off my back, but once he got it all situated again, it was only about 20 minutes later that I started feeling real relief. Thirty minutes later, I was pain free.

To be continued…