Friday, June 28, 2013

Making a Baby: Mission Complete

Well, it finally happened. We have a baby! He's beautiful and lively, just as predicted.

The benefit of having a newborn that spent 2 extra weeks cooking (2 weeks you guys!!) is also the major drawback - he's alert. As in, he's now been awake and looking around for the past 2 hours. Fortunately, he's a happy little guy (so far). He only cries when he has gas or he hasn't been fed fast enough; rooting and lip smacking lasts approximately 30 seconds before becoming a pissed off scream that we have dubbed the Strangled Billy Goat*. Other than that, he's quiet and easily calmed.

*Note: Other noises that we have come to know and love include: The Hulk, My Little Broney (R hates that I named it that, but it totally stuck), The Bullfrog, and The Machine Gun. I've been told by several reputable sources that I need to record these sounds ASAP before they disappear. My favorite is The Hulk, which represents frustration/impatience. He'll make this low grunt and literally lunge at my nipple.

I will, of course, be posting lots more about our little guy. But right now I'm pretty sure I have another diaper to change and diaper laundry to finish up.

I have to give single parents serious props. R's been fantastic and I don't know how I'd retain my sanity if I had to do this alone. Working as a team has helped turn situations that would be frustrating, possibly even soul shattering at 3am when consecutive hours of sleep is like glimpsing a unicorn, into something comical. Like that time muconium kept pouring out like a river of brown/green toxic waste into the Great Lakes or the time that the baby managed to pee in his own ear.

On that note, I'll be in touch.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Making a Baby: 42 Weeks and It's Time

Here's the really brief version of what's about to happen and why:

At 42 weeks (seriously, what the fuck?!), the risks to baby go up quite a bit. My doctors...well, all but that one we talked about last time...have given me the option to continue being pregnant and miserable, but I would have to get nonstress tests every couple days.

However, after much deliberation and weighing our options, we have decided to go the induction route. Here's why:
1) My cervix has been 50% effaced (thinned out) for 3 weeks. It hasn't budged since then, and that means dilation has ground to a halt at around 2 cm. In laymen's terms, nothing is happening.
2) We don't want to wait until there is an emergency. At that point, our options would be c-section or cesarean (FYI, those are the same things).
3) Let me be honest, I'm pretty sick of this whole pregnancy thing. I've had weeks of practice/false labor. On several of occasions, it was looking like this was it, only to have contractions subside.

SO, we are going in to the hospital tonight. Unfortunately, because I tested positive for Group Strep B (a common bacteria, about 40% of pregnant ladies have it), I can't go the Foley bulb option, which is a manual way to try and get pregnancy going by forcing your cervix to dilate. Instead, we'll be using Cervidil, which is the only FDA approved drug to ripen the cervix. Added bonus, it's removable, so you can circumvent nasty side effects like uterine hyper stimulation.

We'll take it from there. Hopefully, my body is ready to go and that kicks me into labor and I can do the rest naturally. If not, well, I feel like I did all I could to get to that point. Either way, the next time we come home we'll be bringing the baby with us - outside my womb and visible!

Wish us luck!

Side story:
I went 41 3/4ths weeks without a stranger trying to touch my belly. Then it happened while I was waiting in line at Hastings:

Lady: Oh my god, look at you! (running at me from other line with hand held out)
Me: (assuming defensive position, hands over belly) ??
Lady: Can I touch it?
Me: Please no.
Lady: REALLY? (honestly confused, hand still out)
Me: I'd rather you didn't.
Lady: Oh. Well (insert banal questions about due date, sex, etc.)?

After we leave the store:
Me: Did that really just happen?
R: Afraid so.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The High Pressure Sell: Induction and Cesarians

On Thursday we went to the OB for a biophysical profile (this checks baby's movement, amount of amniotic fluid, and general health) and a routine visit. That's not what happened.

The good news: the baby is 100% healthy and awesome. The biophysical came back with the highest score possible. Yay!

The bad news: according to the ultrasound, I am carrying a nearly 9 lb baby. When you factor in the margin of error, he could be a little below 8 lbs. Either way, big baby. The accuracy of an ultrasound isn't great, but the smaller and slimmer the mother, the more likely it is to be right...balls!

On to the doctor's visit. Let me preface by saying that I am seen at a practice with three physicians and we choose to rotate through them because any one of them could be on call when the baby is born. That said, the doctor we were seeing on Thursday is my least favorite. His bedside manner is fantastic, but his scope of knowledge leaves me...unsettled. He's one of those go by his guts type of guys and his response to items on my birth plan (which is short and simple) weren't very reassuring. For instance, while the other two doctors both were fine with my request to avoid an episiotomy unless it looked like I was going to tear toward the front, this doctor went into how this was "an art" and he would basically make the decision to do an episiotomy or not to avoid "my bottom blowing out."

So, still reeling from being told I am having a mammoth-sized baby, the doctor comes in, looks over the biophysical report, "um, looks good, very healthy...8 lbs. 14 oz. So, what do you want to do?"

I request that he conduct the internal exam before we start discussing options (if I'm dilated to a 3, that's going to influence my decision). Instead, he launches straight into a soliloquy about potential complications related to the baby's size - permanent nerve damage to the shoulder, distress, death. That's right, he went there. Right away. So, what do I want to do?

Again, I say I'd like to have him conduct the internal exam. Obviously a bit annoyed, he gets the nurse, does a very quick exam and says I'm not dilated at all. R and I share a look. R asks, "So it can go backwards?" Because I was at 1.5 cm the week before. The physician basically blows this question off and starts talking about induction. He makes it clear that it would be a multi-day process and because I'm not dilated, he thinks it would end with a cesarian. Then he goes back to talking about babies dying!

When I try to ask him a question, he cuts me off and tells me how he'd do an induction. It involves the drug that we learned about in my birthing class. The one known to have the most risks of hyper-uterine stimulation. That means uber painful for me, most likely to stress the baby, and most likely to lead to a cesarian. R asks him if that drug is even FDA approved (we know it isn't), and he says "not that I know of." Then he rationalizes why he uses it anyway. Grrreeeaaat.

To sum up, when I said I really want to avoid a cesarian he tells me that "I wouldn't put money on it if I was a betting man." Repeatedly warns me that the baby is only getting bigger while I wait. Implies I should go straight to a cesarian to avoid distressing the baby. And then starts telling me of the advantages of a cesarian, totally glossing over the fact that this is major surgery with all the potential risks of any other major surgery, like hemorrhaging and infection.

Needless to say, I was feeling backed into a corner. Which starts to make me mad. I'm not avoidant when it comes to arguing the facts. I have extensive training in doing so, that's basically what graduate school is. But I don't want to piss off the guy who might be delivering my baby. So instead of attacking his talking points, I point out that the confidence interval (level of accuracy) on the ultrasounds when it comes to size estimates are really poor. This causes him to back pedal. He admits that their practice never recommends interventions due to the baby's size.

I'm left thinking then why are we having this whole conversation?? My baby is perfectly healthy. I'm not pushing to get him out early (though I'd love it if he'd come). And I was only 4 or 5 days overdue, depending on what due date you want to use. On average, babies come over a week after their due dates. The range for full term is 38-42 weeks. They use 40 weeks because it's in the middle. He knows this, so what's with all the pressure?

In the end, we agree that I schedule an OB appointment for Monday (tomorrow) and I think about it. And, I have thought about it. And the more I've thought about it, the more pissed off I am! F this guy! He's the doc on call this weekend, and as much as I want this baby out, I spent the whole weekend whispering to my bulging belly, begging our little guy to wait until Monday.

Unless there is a reason, based on the actual health and safety of my baby (P.S. size isn't a recognized concern by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists because pelvises expand and babies squish), this baby is staying in there until he wants to come out. On his own.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Making a Baby: 40 weeks and counting

Really, I have nothing to say. Or rather, I have nothing NEW to say.

I am still pregnant. It is either 3 or 4 days past my due date, depending on which indicator you want to use, date of last menstruation or ultrasound. It doesn't really matter. Either way, I'm still pregnant. I have been pregnant for over 270 days. And really, I've had enough.

Unfortunately, that does not make me any less pregnant. Neither does walking, nipple stimulation, red raspberry leaf tea, pressing of pressure points, more walking, sex, bouncing on my exercise ball, jiggling my belly, or having every person I know annoy the hell out of me because "weren't you due last weekend?"

I have gone on an almost complete communication blackout. No Facebook. No phone. For my own sanity I should also not listen to my voice mails or read my text messages because they all boil down to the same BS, that I might have had the baby and not told anyone. Or some suggestions on ways to induce labor. Or just to remind me that I haven't had the baby yet, WTF? Why am I doing this to everyone?

In the meantime, I continually lose feeling in my right hand, my ankles - especially the one I broke in high school - look frighteningly similar to overtaxed water balloons, I keep having contractions (but not enough to go to the hospital), and the baby has taken to performing extensive cardio routines which involve thumping me in the cervix while kicking and kicking. I have tried to convince the baby to use this energy to get the hell out of my uterus, but apparently he isn't getting it. Also, the in utero movements have lost their cuteness entirely. No more, awww, look it the wee little foot. Now it's just GET OUT! WHY ARE YOU NOT GETTING OUT?!

In all honesty, the primary source of my frustration is that my father, due completely to R and I's smug certainty that I would have had the baby by now, is going to be here in 9 days. That seems like a long way away, except that we have stipulated a no visitors for 1 week rule. My dad is not in a position to easily change his schedule (thus the reason for scheduling his visit in the first place), and if he comes before the 1 week is over all hell is going to break out among the other relatives. Not to mention that we really want that week for me to recover, to establish breastfeeding, and to just be by ourselves before the tidal wave of visitors hits. I love my dad, but I don't want him here while I deal with the worst of the postpartum hormones and grossness.

That keeps hovering over our heads as we approach tomorrow's OB visit, where we will do a full biophysical profile (yay for coming with a full bladder so I can properly test my kegal strength throughout the testing!) and have the induce/not induce discussion.

Long, complainy-pants story summary: baby, PLEASE just come today or tonight!