Field trips and something random.

Hey hey hey!

So before anything else, if you’re reading from anywhere in the southeast, or from my island of Haiti (fun fact: I am a delightful mix, 50/50 of Haitian and Trinidadian), I hope you’ve managed to stay safe.  Please keep Haiti in your thoughts.  Haiti doesn’t need this in the least, but the storm has managed to cause some major fatalities and wipe out crops according to major news sources.  Please check on any relatives you may have on the island.  Social media is an excellent tool at times like this!

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I promised a little something at least once a week while I’m still recovering.  I’m officially four weeks out from when Liam was born, and by the time you read this, he will be one month old.  One month since I met the little guy.  It’s really hard to believe, and since we’ve come home, I can’t say we’ve fallen into very much of a schedule, except that he likes to go to bed by 1 am, and he’s been that way pretty much since he was born.

Before I went out on maternity leave (I’m taking a full 12 weeks, not sure if I’ve mentioned that, but I’ve gotten that question a fair bit), I wondered what I might do all day.  I didn’t think maternity leave would be a vacation, but I wondered if I might have some free time to write letters to grandparents, catch up on emails, in addition to getting to know baby Liam and things, but my time has been allocated a little differently than I thought.

What we do during our day.  

Keep in mind, we are still figuring one another out.  This will change I’m sure.  IMG_0096.JPGSo we start our day around 5:45-6:00am.  That’s kind of when he does his first big day nursing session, and when the first light hits.  Usually while I nurse him, I’ll watch some Hulu, eat a quick protein bar, try and drink some water because I’m usually thirsty asf, and depending on how he’s feeling, we’ll either go back to sleep for a second, OR he may want some snuggles until he eats again around 8:30 or 8:45.  He’s been doing this thing lately where he kind of wants to hang out with me, see dad off to work, and poop a few times.  (I’m being so serious, I’ve never met a human being who can poop more.  Apparently breast milk goes through the little ones quickly, so that’s why they’re ready to eat an hour and a half to two hours after they’ve started to eat the last time.)  So after this, usually I can get him to sleep, and I can sleep again for just a pinch.  He may fuss, and again, a few diapers usually are in there.  I’ll try to get in the shower and put on some fresh clothes, because it makes me feel somewhat attractive to wash ick off of me.  I’ve managed to shave a few times (big deal at this time!), and by the time I get some fresh clothes on, it’s usually time to nurse again.  I’m usually starving at this point, but every other day or so, I plan a field trip for me and the babe, whether it’s something we need to research or pick up, and I try to tack a quick lunch somewhere onto that so that we can get out and see some grownups.  The favorite the past few times has been Whole Foods, but we managed to squeeze in BOGO sushi with a friend yesterday which was a big deal.  By the time we get home from our field trip – say we went to the paper store for a wedding present, then to the baby store for some nipple cream, then to Whole Foods, it’s usually almost dinner time, and usually baby Liam likes to fuss for a little while before he starts to get sleepy, and snoozes until pops gets home from the gym.  Nurse somewhere in there.  Usually, we throw something quick together for dinner (which has been made infinitely easier by the kindness of family, friends, and Y folks who’ve dropped off salads and casseroles), and we head out for a walk around the neighborhood so I can get some steps, and Austin can get a little cardio in, especially on a day where he’s skipped it at the gym.  I’ll nurse him one more time, and usually this is the last time for the evening, around 10:30pm.  I pump after this feeding to store just a teeny bit of milk for the following night, and we make up a bottle for Austin to do the final feeding around 12 or 12:30am.  Sometimes, while Austin’s doing that, I’ll do some yoga down on the ground right next to the bed, and focus on some really, really, gentle stuff, and I always finish up with some pelvic floor work.

It’s crazy.  I just wrote this massive paragraph detailing what we do.  We do so much, and yet, sometimes at the end of the day it feels like we’ve done so little.  You’d think I would actually get something done, but most days, I feel like I barely have time to brush my teeth!  The field trips are good because it give me a reason to put a clean shirt on and pull my hair back into an acceptable top knot, but it’s so weird to not put on a dress and go to a meeting.  Right now, this is our normal, and it’s so interesting how hard and how natural it’s seemed at the same time.

Okay, now that I’ve rambled on and on and on…

Tell me something random! 

-I found a 48-oz bottle of kombucha for consumption on our field trip yesterday.  I may save the bottle for if I ever get around to making my own home brew.  It seems kind of tricky, but another instructor at the Y does it, and I’m thinking about asking her to see her lab.  Maybe I’ll make that one of my next field trips?

-I finished Breaking Bad again.  I maintain that it is one of the very best shows I have ever seen in my  life.  Todd is the most bizarre character I think a writer has ever created.  I may write a post just to discuss BB here in a few weeks.

-I am always, always hungry, which is apparently a thing when you breastfeed.  I am desperately shoving anything in my mouth that’s high in fat and protein, and guzzling liquids.  But it’s CONSTANT!

Liam Carter

I have to write this down, if for nothing else, I’m really starting to forget some of the details of Wednesday, September 7th.  These things get a little long, so feel free to close this out and come back later – I can split the story of my son’s entrance into the world into parts, because the day is kind of split into parts anyways.

So spoiler alert:  at 40 weeks and 4ish days, I delivered our son.  As you could probably guess from the tone of my Labor Day post, I was over being pregnant.  I was uncomfortable, and until the very end, I was going to the bathroom at least once an hour.  Plus, I was running out of patience for the questions and the fat comments I was getting from men.  Thanks a lot guys.

The Day Before

So, the Tuesday before I went in and was not feeling great.  I had my doctor’s appointment at 8:15am, and since I hadn’t really progressed, the doctor said that we really needed to schedule an induction for the following week, after I’d hit 41 weeks.  The doctor was cool, and allowed me to pepper her with some questions about why that would be necessary, and she asked that we put something on the calendar.  She probably could tell that putting an induction on the calendar was making me panic, and she assured me that a lot of moms wouldn’t have to even go that far.  I left that day kind of disappointed, and texted some friends, who were really awesome and just sort of held my hand while I did the anxiety spin.  I worked for about half the day from home, texted my boss that I wasn’t feeling so hot to check in, and then went to the mall to do a mani/pedi, and walk to the bookstore.

Wednesday

So, I was sleeping pretty normally for where I was in the pregnancy.  I was up and down to go to the bathroom all night.  Around 3:45am though, I kind of realized I was having a contraction – sort of this deep grip around my middle that would ease up.  Austin wasn’t sleeping super well so I nudged him.

C: Babe.

A: Huh?

C: Contractionnes.

A: Really?

I told him to chill, go back to sleep because I may need him later, and I laid in bed until about 5, timing them (they were kind of sporadic, but coming 10 and 12 minutes apart, and then one would come randomly 5 minutes in), until I got sick of being up and scrolling through Facebook, and I went out to the living room.  I sent a few emails for work, watched some music videos, texted my brother about whether we thought that French Montana was all there (we vote no), watched Beyonce’s VMA performance (fantastic once again), and sort of contemplated going into work that morning because I’m not sure I entirely was getting what was happening.  Austin was up and getting ready for work, and prevented me from getting in the shower and told me I wasn’t going to work, and that he could drop anything off at the office if I needed it.  We decided that he wasn’t going to work, but that he would go to his staff meeting via videochat.

Can I tell you something about this stage of labor?  It’s what I’d like to call the Kourtney Kardashian phase.  You’re calm.  You’re getting stuff done.  I showered.  I shaved my legs.  I put on a maxi dress.  I cleaned the bedroom (something that dear Austin had been begging me to do for a long time).  I did loads and loads of laundry.  I ate some egg and avocado toast, remembering that I needed to eat.  I sent Austin out to get me a huge smoothie for lunch.  I honestly thought that if this was labor, that I could definitely do this, and I could consider doing it a multitude of of times.

Phase Two

Stuff really started getting nasty at this point.  The contractions started to come a bit faster, and there were barbs on the end of them.  I started to have to pause my work when they hit, and at that point, I called the doctor’s office.

Note here: there is one nurse at the practice where I am who is SO nasty.  I’m not sure she realizes how she comes off, but I interacted with her just once before.  So when I called the office and they transferred me over, first no  one picked up, which fine, there are other people in this world besides me, but I did roll my eyes at that.  And when I called back, I got this nurse who just was not pleasant.  When I described to her that I was moving into a not-fun phase of labor, she sort of suggested that I hadn’t had enough water, and that my uterus may have just been irritable.  I felt like I almost had to convince her I was genuinely having a baby at some point in the near future.  And I get it.  She has probably dealt with a million panicking moms, but I do not like the suggestion that I’m just some crazy, histrionic woman too dumb to recognize that she’s in labor.

So, we went into the office for a labor check.  When we got there, I was having to pause for contractions, and I was getting really really uncomfortable.  The PA and an intern, I think, came in to check me, and I was about 2 cm dilated.  She said she could feel and see his head when she took a peek with the speculum, and she mentioned that my water was bulging, but not broken.  I think she really wanted to break it, and I was like no girl, and she seemed to get that telepathically, I was not feeling that at all.  They stuck me on what Austin called the “seismograph” or the thingie that measures the baby’s heartrate, his movement, and the level of contraction we were having.  The contractions were rocking and rolling at this point, which the machine was telling us.  When I got off the machine finally, the nurses advocated for me to get another check, and I was at a 3.  They sent me home, and told me to come in after dinner.  This is when stuff super super super started ramping up…

Phase Three. 

Phase three.  Otherwise known as, the phase where you’re convinced you’re going to die imminently.

So, we went back home, and my parents were there when I got there.  My mom has done this a lot.  Four times.  And I think she looked at me, and knew that I wouldn’t be at the house for long at all.  So I labored on the couch, and would roll over onto the floor on hands and knees as necessary.

I laid on the floor in the bedroom for a while, and asked my mom a few times if this seemed normal.  She reassured me that it was completely normal, and let me squeeze her hand and yell as the contractions came.  She and Austin threw a few of my last things into my bag, and Austin literally picked me up off the floor so that we could go to the hospital.  Things started getting a little hazy here, so I have to write this down so I won’t forget.

Kia Soul Labor

Austin loaded me into the car, my mom climbed into the backseat, and we started to the hospital.  Laboring in the car, as someone warned me before, is HELL.  It is the closest you will ever in your life come to hell.  I am telling you, try and make it so your ride to where you need to go, whether you’re delivering in a birth center or at the hospital, is short.  My ride was only like 15-20 minutes, and it was hell on earth.  I begged Austin to take the turns slowly, and I think I told him and my mom that I was dying a few times.  But my mom was great – telling me that this was normal, and that soon, we would meet the baby. Hell.  Hell.  Hell on earth.  Hell. Fun fact, at one point, my mom, who knew what the deal was, leaned over Austin’s shoulder and asked if we should call the ambulance.  I kind of knew that meant I might be close, but I was in so much pain, and in denial, and Austin assured her that he would get us there.

Hospital – it gets good here.  It’s 6pm at this point.  

We got up to patient registration (thank you God that I’d sent my form in so they had me in the system), and a wheelchair materialized.  We got to the desk, and through my haze, I was able to give the woman my name, my practice, and the name of the doctor on call.  They hustled me up to triage, where I met Clare, this awesome nurse who let me hold her shoulder while the contractions came.  I let her know immediately that I needed pain relief, so that she might want to call whomever she felt could help with that.  She looked a little stunned at the fact that I’d requested it so quickly, but her response was really kind, even though for the life of me, I can’t remember it.  She helped me into a hospital gown and took my shoes off, and I sort of got into the bed, which was nice for just a sec.  Dr. Kalinowski came in a second later.  At which point I apologized to her for being so sweaty.  I told her I’d showered that morning, but that labor had rendered me pretty sweaty.  I don’t know where that came from.

C: Dr. Kalinowski, I am not comfortable.

I’m sure she was like duh, you friggin idiot internally, but she was kind, and she got to checking me.

Dr. K: Cheri, you’re gonna laugh at this…

I’m thinking, “what is remotely funny right now?  If I am still 3 cm, I am going to hurt someone.”

Dr. K: You’re 9 cm.

My eyes bugged out of my head.  If you’re not familiar, 10 cm is showtime.  Somehow, between the office visit and my short trip home, I’d progressed really quickly, and at the end of our conversation, I was closer to 9.75.  And I was still in triage.

So I’m not dumb.  I knew that meant a probably absolutely no on pain meds, but I still begged Dr. K for them.  She didn’t outright call me a dumbass like she should have, but she explained that that wasn’t going to happen, very gently, and that I was probably going to want to start pushing soon.

Since I needed to get out of triage, someone swept all of my stuff up, and we were hustling down the hall to labor and delivery.  I made sure to have a contraction or two on the way, and screamed out, while the poor nurses probably were thinking that I was terrifying all of the women in earlier stages of labor who didn’t know how fun it was going to get for them.  V v fun.

The one part I thought was kind of annoying was that I had to get my big pregnant laboring self from my triage bed onto my labor bed. I wasn’t really mobile at that point.  Kourtney was gone.  Somehow I got onto that bed with some help, and I flopped down on it.  I got some monitors strapped on for the seismograph, and Dr. K materialized shortly.  I got the feeling that it was about to go down.  The contractions were coming in waves.  Literally, I could feel their buildup, and then the crash, and there was almost no rest time.  Dr. K told me to get rest between contractions, and I had a good chuckle at that.  Again, I felt like it was time to do the thing, but my water still wasn’t broken.  Before, I’d been really opposed to having anyone break my water, especially early on, because I didn’t want it broken, and for nothing to happen for 24 hours, and for me to end up on the operating table if I could avoid it.  But I was close to the end, vaguely felt like my body was pre-push, if not pushy, and my mom wouldn’t let anything happen to me that she felt was inappropriate.  Dr. K broke my water, I felt the gush, and I think everything started to go from 0-90.

It felt like time to push.

So I think I pushed a few times, and in the quick lull between contractions, when someone asked how I was I asked the following upon realizing that the clock was in plain view over the doctor’s shoulder.

“Can someone please move the friggin clock off the wall? I can’t deal with that right now.”

Austin covered it up.  It was taunting me, the same way the clock at the gym does sometimes.

So with each contraction, I would push, work with the contraction to get the baby out.  He seemed like he was sort of moving, but I think once we got close, he decided he really didn’t like being squeezed, and with each contraction and push, his heart rate started dropping.  My mom saw it on the monitors, and a second later, Dr. K let me know that we needed to really work hard on the next few pushes to get him out because at one point, the low heart rate triggered this alarm that didn’t sound alarmy, but I recognized that more people, nurses, were coming into the room.  We changed positions.  I got on hands and knees.  I got on my side.  And screamed that I was not comfortable, and that I needed to be in sit-up position to deliver him.  The team, my mom, and Austin got me back into position, and they were holding my legs.  We needed to get him out.  A few more contractions, and a little more pushing, and suddenly, the room filled with people, and these really serious lights came up.  I’m not clear, not because it wasn’t communicated to me, but because I’m really hazy at this point, on whether someone informed me that things were getting a little dangerous for the baby, but everyone was really calm, while urging that the baby had to come out within the next few pushes.  I was given an oxygen mask for little man.

So ultimately, we made the decision to allow the doctor to use the assistance of a vacuum, and I resolved mentally that the baby was coming out in the next few moments, even if it killed me.  I wanted him out safely and healthy, and nothing in the world else mattered.  My mom and Austin were being amazing and encouraging me, and in the next contraction or so, I sat up, bore down, and pushed with all my might.  My mom was screaming encouragement, Austin was screaming encouragement, the nurses were supporting the doctor, the doctor was counting, and all of a sudden, at 7:04pm, baby Liam was here, and immediately on my chest at 7lbs 7oz, 20.5 inches, on 9/7.  Lots and lots of 7s.

And that, on the day after I’d scheduled an induction, is how Liam Carter decided he was coming into the world.  liam-carter