Two strange things

Was first person in my building at work this work. Am therefore listening to Justin Timberlake as loudly as possible. Also, found myself shouting: “First!”

Am apparently a regular for breakfast at the Burger King next to Nora’s daycare. Was greeted with “Hungry today?” and a smile by the woman at the drive through. Don’t consider this a good thing. Vow to cross the street to McDonald’s… for a while, at least.

Stuff happens

And before you know it, nearly two more months have gone by. I don’t realize how fast she is growing until I’m clearing out stuff from the drawers that doesn’t fit her anymore. I look back at photos from the day she was born, and remember how I was afraid I would never get to this place… where I am confident, where I feel like a good mother, where I can see her happy to see me. Now when I pick her up at daycare, and she smiles and reaches for me… I think: yeah, I can see that tomorrow will definitely be even better than today.

But, the past six months? Man, what a whirlwind. This baby, let me sum her up for you:

Oh my gosh, will we ever sleep again?

*blink*

Yay, four hours of sleep!

*blink*

Aw, a smile! And she babbles!

*blink*

Yay! She rolled over!

*blink*

Her first fever. Will we ever sleep again?

*blink*

Yay! Six hours of sleep!

*blink*

Giggles?!? OMG, giggles are the best thing ever!

*blink*

She can sit up on her own now? She couldn’t do that yesterday. What happened?

*blink*

A tooth?!? What?

This is how exciting my life is:

That the thing that makes me log in and use my blog in who knows how crazy long is this: Sonic. Brought back. THE STEAK SANDWICH! (That’s chicken fried steak, for the uninitiated.) For a limited time only, but still. I know what I’m eating in February now. I craved this sandwich through my entire pregnancy, and now they have it. Figures. Go now. Get thyself one. I’m not talking about the breakfast toaster steak sandwich silliness they have right now, too. I’m talking about the good ole steak sandwich that I know and love. But here’s the thing: they have it on toaster bread. That’s just ridiculous. Ask for it on a bun. Also, get tots and a cherry limeade, enjoy, and know that all is right with the world.

P.S. This baby is FIVE MONTHS OLD NOW! Can you believe it? I can’t. 🙂

Nora’s Birth Story (Part one of who knows how many)

This has been written and revised so many times under so many states of mind that I can’t even begin to know how to introduce it. I began in tears, the week after she was born, knowing I had to regurgitate as much of what I felt as possible. I have gone back many, many times and added more actual detail. This isn’t even half the story, but it’s a start.

We first saw Nora in breech presentation in a 32 week ultrasound. She stayed in that position for the rest of my pregnancy.

I guess her birth story begins at my 37 week appointment. The doctor had been sure the bulge I felt by my belly button was her bottom. I knew it was her head. It had been there as long as she was big enough for us to be able to tell. A quick internal exam and an ultrasound confirmed what I feared: breech.

I was presented with three options: vaginal birth, version, or cesarean. Vaginal birth and version seemed out immediately. In my mind there were too many risks for baby, and cesarean seemed the safest way to go. My doctor had very little experience with either vaginal breech delivery or version. So, we scheduled a cesarean for August 28, just a week before my due date, giving us 2 weeks to get this baby to flip on her own.

I had spent my entire pregnancy preparing for a drug-free vaginal birth and I felt like my world was crumbling on top of me. We tried lying on an ironing board, getting me and a semi-headstand position, even moxibustion. I cried and prayed a lot, and Errol and I decided we would ask the doctor again about trying version. At my 38 week appointment, we made a new plan with the doctor. August 28 we would report for a version. If successful, we would induce labor, if not then we would have a c-section.

After a week of more trying all the home tricks to turn a breech that we could, and more crying and praying, I decided that version was just not the right answer. I had a really bad feeling about it, and was feeling more and more positive about going in for a planned cesarean. So, at my doctor appointment on August 27, we changed the plan. Cesarean it would be. We immediately went to get pre-admitted and have blood drawn for the next day.

Errol and I went out for a nice dinner at Boure, and I had a glass of wine hoping it would relax me and help me sleep. I had a stuffed pork chop and Errol had ribs. It was still a very restless night. We both had a hard time finally going to bed. Think “Christmas when you’re 5” times a thousand.

We reported to the Emergency entrance at 5:30 a.m. for our 7:30 surgery. My mom met us there. They processed me, tacked on my ID bracelet, and then we walked up to labor and delivery. Errol, my mom and I made the walk to the elevator with my bags and when we got to the floor they had me press the call button and go back into labor and delivery on my own. It was all such a relaxed and surreal experience. I had expected to arrive here in pain, breathing heavily and in a wheelchair. As I sat on a chair at the desk and signed more paperwork, I couldn’t help but think about how I would never labor and deliver a baby in any of these rooms around me.

They took me to a triage room, with three beds divided by curtains, where I went into a bathroom, changed into a gown, and collected a urine sample. Then, I got into a bed. They drew more blood, then they inserted the IV. (Bane of my existence for the next few days because they put it in my right forearm. I wish I had thought to ask why they didn’t put it in the back of my hand. That IV got bumped so many times while I was holding the baby. Very painful.) They also put socks on my feet and some boots that inflate and deflate to prevent blood clots. Next came the monitors for baby and for contractions, then they shaved me. It was a very painful dry shave with an electric buzzer. Ow.

After that, they brought Errol in. I thought I would be able to have him and one other person with me in the triage area, but they said no. One nurse, though, started allowing folks back to see me. We got to visit with our doula, my mom, and our pastor.

Errol got changed into scrubs. We waited for a while. There was a surgery meeting, so our surgery time got pushed back about an hour. The longer we waited, the more I just wanted to hurry up and get it over with. When I look back, though, I wish I had just savored those last moments of pregnancy. I wish I had taken more time to enjoy my whole last day of pregnancy. I wasted a lot of energy on anxiety.

While we were in triage, I was assigned a room out on the maternity floor and my mom was able to get all of our personal belongings settled and have a private place to wait for us.

My doctor (along with what seemed like a dozen nurses, but maybe it was 3 or 4) came in and took another look at the baby’s position with an ultrasound, and talked to us a little more about what to expect. We also got a check in from the pediatrician who is a friend of ours. Then, the nurse anesthetist came in to explain what would happen with the spinal anesthesia and answer any questions we had. He was awesome. This is the person who will be there by your head the whole time, so it’s very important to have someone supportive. He even held my hand while they stitched me up after Errol had left with the baby.

They wheeled me down the hall to the surgery room, and had Errol wait outside while I got prepped. The spinal didn’t hurt at all getting administered. They used a local anesthesia for the site, so all I felt was a lot of pressure. The hardest part was holding still with my back arched, sitting on the edge of the table. I was shaking so bad from the cold room, from the overwhelming emotions, just everything. Thank goodness for Tina, the sweet, sweet nurse who let me lean on her and grip her arms for dear life. They laid me back down and I started feeling a tingle almost immediately. After that, everything seemed to happen all at once. The drape went up blocking my view. It was a lot closer to my face than I expected. Then, they confirmed I was numb and surgery began. The doctors had already gotten a start when they brought Errol in to sit with me.

What happened next is all a blur. I can’t even begin to describe the pressure I felt as they pulled Nora out. It was way more intense than I expected. What seemed like forever tugging and pushing, she emerged at 8:30 a.m. and was taken by the pediatrician to get suctioned and checked out. This station was within my view, so I was able to see her in all her freshly born glory. I immediately noticed her full head of dark hair. She seemed so big to me. When they got her cleared out and I heard her first cries… I can’t describe the emotion. I must have been holding my breath, because I felt sobs just explode out of me when I finally heard her cry. I was overwhelmed with this feeling: she sounds like me, she’s mine. The pediatrician brought her over so I could touch her face and see her up close, then Errol left with her and the pediatrician to go to the nursery and get her weighed and checked out.

I said I had a bad feeling about version, and I know now that my gut instinct was right on. When the doctor extracted my uterus to stitch it back up, he remarked that there were 4 or 5 golf-ball sized fibroids attached to the exterior. There were probably more in the muscle that he could not see. So, I feel like this was our answer. Perhaps their placement was in such a spot where she would have been unable to turn in any other position than the one she was in. (When I had my 2-week check in with him, he confirmed this was, indeed, the most likely explanation for why she was breech, and it’s probable that future pregnancies will result in breech presentation.)

Coming (sometime before her first birthday, maybe): I get moved to recovery, my first time to hold her, the sweet honeymoon days in the hospital, and our harrowing first two weeks at home. Stay tuned!

Open letter to The Cough

Hey, Cough. Yeah, I’m talkin to you. LEAVE MY BABY ALONE. Ever since you announced your presence at 3 a.m. on Friday, December 7, (yes, yes, I do remember the very day and hour) you have totally taken over her body and her personality. I realize you must serve some purpose, but come on. Have you no common sense? Surely you realize you have more than over-stayed your welcome. Take that mucous you got rattling around back there in her throat and GET OUT. I mean, the Fever left, and so did the Pain and Ear Infection. Haven’t you done your job already?? You rob the child of her smiles, stop her attempts at conversation, and make it impossible for anyone to get any quality sleep around here. Every time you stop her breath, you stop my heart. STOP IT. So, whatever you’ve got to do, do it already and leave. You can’t stay here. That is all.

The world stops

When you have a sick baby, it feels like everything swirls around you. We were locked in the house all weekend with Nora, trying to remain calm. She was congested and coughing on Friday, but still smiling and acting like herself. Then, Friday night she slept. All night. From 8 til 5. Now I know that this is less awesome, and more like a sign of trouble. I fed her at 5, and went back to bed. A couple of hours later, she woke up crying. I sent Errol to check on her, and heard through the monitor “Hey, babe, you should come here.” She was burning up. On fire with fever and screaming. For the rest of the day, if she was awake… she was crying.

We were giving her Tylenol, but it’s effects seemed to wear off fast. I was beginning to worry that she wasn’t eating. Finally, Sunday afternoon, we hit the breaking point: bloody mucous coming out when she coughed and coming through her nose. We called our pediatrician at home. I nearly cried when he told Errol we could meet him at the clinic right away I was so overwhelmed. The good news… it’s not RSV. The bad news… it’s an ear infection. So, we got some antibiotics and ear drops. Hurrah! Having an answer to what is hurting her is SUCH a relief.

All Nora has wanted is to be held, and to sleep in our arms. This, I have found, I am no good at. I get too fidgety. Errol, however, is a master of sitting still for over an hour with a hot little baby in his arms. Bless him. I can’t tell you how lucky I am to have him. This very morning, he is at home with Nora a second morning in a row while I go to work. I have no personal leave right now. Thank goodness he is seemingly more capable at this sick baby thing than I am. I hate it.

Back to work!

Contrary to what I expected, it kind of felt like a relief to hand off Nora at daycare and take off. Motherhood has defnitely changed me. I’m less worried about things being done my way as I though I would be. I admit, it helps that she’s only going to be there 4 hours a day.

It’s my first day back, and even though this is my desk and everything is familiar, it’s like starting a new job. The biggest thing that makes it like a whole new job is that I am part time now, working just the mornings. I think my student worker will be working more hours than me in the month of December! I feel like I have come back to work in a new year with resolutions and focus and suchlike. This will require some new, fresh discipline from me, and put my time management skills to the test. Speaking of which, time to stop blogging and get to working. Ack!

Oh, and I have to say, being genuinely missed is a great feeling. People are hugging me, and seem truly excited to have me back. It’s nice. 🙂

Goals for the week

Nora is 7 weeks old today. I can’t believe this tiny person person came out of me. It’s a daily revelation. She is so beautiful, and she makes me laugh every day. This baby thing is getting easier every day, too. We truly feel blessed. She takes great naps, puts herself right to sleep when we swaddle her up and put her in her crib. It’s amazing, and I’m thankful every time she falls asleep. Once we got naps figured out, I found this amazing, happy baby. She is so happy. Yes, she’s fussy sometimes, but what baby isn’t? But for the most part, wow, happy is the only word I’ve got. She’s getting to this point where she just stares wide-eyed at the world, and is really taking it all in. I see a smile every day now, too. We’re still not sleeping through the night yet, but I feel like we’re really close.

I know, I said I would post a birth story, but it’s been a long emotional process to get it written. I have a draft sitting on my desktop and I plan to open it back up this week, read it again, and get it finished. I’m just now coming out of what I can only describe as kind of a fog. I’m breathing sighs of relief and looking around me more.

Other goals: write thank you notes, then put away all the gifts we have received since Nora was born that have been lying around the house. Have mercy. We’re talking like 8 thank you notes I have to write, here, and it’s been so hard to get done. Why are thank you’s so hard to write?

Speaking of napping babies, I better go take a shower while I have my chance!

Nora Kathleen is here!

Born August 28, 2007 at 8:30 a.m.

7 lbs. 14 oz., 19 1/2 inches

We came home on Friday, August 31. Let me tell you: being in the hospital was the easy part. I wish we could have stayed a little longer.

Parenthood has hit us with some challenges, but we’re surviving and loving this little girl with every ounce of ourselves. She is amazing. More details about her birthday to come. I’m still working on getting all the details out of my head and written down.

Having a baby tomorrow

To make a long story short, she is still breech and we have decided on a c-section tomorrow. We report at 5:30 a.m. and my surgery time is 7:30 a.m.

No internet access at the hospital, but pics will be uploaded as soon as possible.

Tomorrow, I will be a Mother. If I say much more, I might start crying and never stop.