Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye and Good Riddance, 2015

I don't even know what to say about 2015. There have been two good things to come out of this year, and they both happened last January. LCC was born, and we bought a house. Otherwise (and including those things, I suppose) this has been the hardest year of my life. 11 years ago today we brought MacGyver the beagle into our home and he's not here any more. Because we haven't had enough shit happening in the last 6 months, since Thanksgiving we've had a falling out with our closest family members (which really sucks) and a car accident (yay more money spent on cars) and we've faced a deeply personal and sucky as shit medical decision. Dee spent a day in the ER getting evaluated for appendicitis the Friday before I left for a 3 days business trip (she's fine, by the way). Nevermind the mental health toll this has taken on me, which I have no fucking clue when I will have time to deal with it but whatever.

I'm really glad C has been my partner in this. We have a very strong marriage and we have survived. We have 3 healthy kids and one healthy dog.

Honestly I can't wait to say goodbye to 2015. I sincerely hope to never have a year this intensely shitty again.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Final Thankfuls, et cetera

Sometimes, life punches you in the guts. You're grateful for what you have (and lets just accept that yes, I am very thankful for the life I have, even if I didn't finish my daily thankfulness posts) but sometimes shit happens that makes you withdraw and appreciate that things could be worse. And while you acknowledge that they could be worse, that doesn't mean they don't really suck right now.

I will not be saying more about this. Suffice it to say that everyone is (mostly) okay, and even if and when we aren't, that is okay too. We're healing and on the right track. Things suck, but they will get better.

And on that note, when 2015 ends I hope the door hits it in the ass on the way out.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thankful days 21, 22, and 23

I am thankful for surprise baby teeth.

I am thankful for wine.

And today, I am most thankful for Clorox wipes (specifically in the context of cleaning up midnight vomit. Oy. Kids, amIright?).

Friday, November 20, 2015

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thankful, day 18

I am thankful that I got to spend so much nice quality time with my son the last couple nights while the girls were sleeping and C was working.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Thankful, day 17

I am thankful that we live in a stable place.

I see all this insanity about why our country (founded on the ideals of immigrants, escaping religious persecution, such as it is and was) should lock its doors against refugees from Syria. It breaks my heart. Why must people pretend that their fear is in the name of their god? Immigrants, refugees, are not terrorists, any more than the Protestants down the block are KKK members. Why do all the relief organizations seem to focus on faith and "godliness" when they could just focus on humanity? Why do we need to look to a god for the push to help? Why can't we just look in the mirror or at the pictures in the news and say "Dammit, I'm a person, you're a person, what can I do to help you, fellow human being?" rather than "NO! Why would you think about letting an ISIS member sleep on your couch?" (That is an actual comment I saw on a friend's Facebook status.)

This fearmongering has got to stop. I am happy and proud to live in a state that said "YES! COME HERE!" but at the same time, I am heartbroken that our state actually had to stand up and say something. I understand that the homeless and broken of our own nation need help too. But, though I hate to look at it this way, things aren't changing for them much. The refugees? They have left their homes and their countrymen and their neighbors. They have lost family members and friends. They are running scared in the hopes of finding safety. Every day for them is a new reality where they may not even speak the language and they rely 100% on the kindness of strangers to help them survive.

I guess what I am saying is that anyone crying out against letting refugees seek asylum here in the safety of our nation is GO LOOK IN A MIRROR. If there is a human being staring back at you, then help your fellow humans. They are not terrorists. They have already faced the fear of the unknown to escape the terror they know. Open your hearts, and if you can, open your homes. If you can't donate money, send positive prayers and love their way. Love your fellow humans. And FFS, Thanksgiving is next week. I cannot think of a more appropriate time of year to remember and celebrate the bond that joins ALL HUMANS in need than a time to give thanks for what we have and how we survived what we left behind.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Thankful, Day 16

I am thankful for my dippy dog. I love the little things in her personality that are blossoming now that she's our only pup, and how she loves the baby.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thankful, Day 15

I am so, so thankful that my children are healthy.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Thankful, Day 14

I am thankful for tea parties with my kids.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Thankful, Day 13

Happy Friday the 13th!

I'm thankful that I live in Colorado. Where else would I get so many sunny beautiful days, even in November?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thankful, Day 12

Today, I am thankful for coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. And chocolate. And whoever invented putting milk in coffee.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thankful Day 11

I am thankful for all the veterans who have served our country. Thanks to my grandfathers and my father-in-law, and my brothers-in-law for your service! Also thanks to my friends who have served.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

10 months!

Little Cat C is 10 months old. WOW. She's sweet and hilarious and stubborn and clever. 4 teeth and a crazy giraffe tongue. She says Dada and babbles, and sometimes says Hi, but mostly is just chill and happy. Unless she runs out of food, then you'd better be ready with more. LCC loves all food. She sleeps great at home but not so much anywhere else (like, say, the car). Loves her brother and sister, and rubber duckies are pretty funny. Almost got that crawling thing figured out, but prefers to scoot around on her butt and get herself wedged backwards under furniture. She wears some 9 month stuff still (like, 2 things that were weirdly large), mostly 12 month stuff, and some 18 month stuff. She moved into the convertible car seat (rear facing of course) last month, because she outgrew the infant one. Whew.

29.25" long - ~85th Percentile
20.4 pounds - ~62nd Percentile

Thankful Day 10

I am thankful for modern technology.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Thankful November

Once again, at midnight on Halloween, the Christmas bomb exploded. Once again, my heart aches for the sudden consumerism and insanity that grips the stores and apparently my fellow humans. What happened to being thankful and grateful for what we have rather than suddenly channeling our energy into living 2 months in the future and all the things we want? My kids are also affected, noticing that nobody seems grateful for what they have, and that nobody wants to celebrate fall anymore.

I'm trying to be thankful for my life and the things in it every day in November. Each day I will endeavor to post something I am thankful for, no matter how small, for every day in November. I realize it is now the 9th, so I will post 9 things today.

1. I am thankful that I have three wonderful and happy children, as different from each other as they could be but still happily joined in siblingdom.

2. I am thankful for my husband, who has stood with me and helped me through the shit that life occasionally throws at us.

3. I am thankful for 2015, as insane and emotionally difficult as it has been.

4. I am thankful for my friends.

5. I am thankful for this little mush and I am glad she's here.

6. I am thankful that I am employed.

7. I am thankful for my family, in its many permutations and forms.

8. I am thankful for podcasts.

9. I am thankful for FALL! It's still my favorite season and I love it so much.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

9 months!

Holy cow, she's 9 months old.

She loves all the food, though broccoli tempura gave her pause for a second. LCC is super happy and smiley. She wears some 6-9 month stuff and some 9-12 month stuff, and some of the 12 month stuff is too small so we're sort of trying to just stuff her into whatever fits right now.

She's still huge, at 19.5 pounds and about 29 inches.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

When it rains...

The transition between late September and early October was a rough one. Many shitty things happened at once, though in the grand scheme of things none were catastrophic and I feel like maybe I don't even get to complain because so many people are dealing with worse, but the fact remains that it was a really shitty 3 weeks. While C was hunting, our beagle got sick. It seemed that he aspirated something, but his breathing didn't improve over the next two weeks. The week C was hunting, I ran out of my meds because I just didn't have time to go to the pharmacy, and when I did go the doctor (for some unknown reason) didn't refill my meds for a year, but only for two months. So they gave me 3 days worth but it was a full week before I got back to the pharmacy. My OCD/anxiety were ramping up.

While my brain was in this state, I got totally slammed with sample processing my first 3 days back at work after the week off while C was hunting. As in 3 9 hour days with only 1 break to pump if any, and like 5 minutes for lunch. One of those days I had 3 blood samples to process- when I've asked in the past that no more than 1 blood happen at a time, maximum two per day, and I got 3 AT ONCE. And in the midst of this, I was informed that I was going to be consolidating my lab space in to *half* of what I've had for the last 8 years (which is ongoing, and the people moving in are apparently not getting what they asked for either and keep asking me for more space which I don't have to give). I was feeling really undervalued as an employee. During this time my dog was not really getting better, but he seemed okay. Stable.

My mom wonderfully was able to watch the kids while I was working late and C had to leave for work before I could get home. On Thursday of the week I was finally able to get my meds. Friday morning, on my way to work, I heard a (seemingly) harmless little "click" and the engine stopped. Of course. It was the timing belt. C came, we towed the Subaru home, and it sat there in the driveway til Tuesday when we got it towed to a mechanic. Fortunately I was able to get a ride with someone else on my floor at work who lives near me for the week we were down to one car, and my mom helped with the kids again. The mechanic informed us that we needed a new engine, the brakes needed maintenance, the power steering boot on the driver's side was torn, and oh, by the way, the clutch needed to be replaced too. The cost of all this? Well, we couldn't get a used car that would last 150K miles for this price, but damn. Not money we really had, but we did get the car back on Friday which was great.

Thursday night we noticed MacGyver was really struggling. He was lethargic and did not finish his food. I called the emergency vet (because, naturally, the regular vet had closed 10 minutes earlier). This earned him an overnight stay, medicine, and some Xrays. We learned that our 11 (almost 12) year old beagle has congestive heart failure, pneumonia, and possibly a mass on his liver (we didn't have $700 more to spend on the ultrasounds to confirm the mass and get a better look at his heart). He did get to come home on Friday evening, and we were all so glad to have him home. He's now getting better every day (and getting back to being a pain in the ass, which is wonderful).

And now? Now I'm rebounding, but my soul is exhausted and wrung out. My mental state is muted. It's better this week but I'm still reeling from the ups and downs (mostly downs) of the last few weeks. I just need a break, but I'm treading water to stay afloat at work and there's no end in sight. I just hope the Universe is done fucking with me for a while.

Oh, and another fun note about something that *just* happened: one of the people at work informed me today that she took my desk phone into the cell culture room for my ENTIRE MATERNITY LEAVE. I realize that I've been back for 6 months, and cleaning/sterilizing my phone now is an empty gesture, but what in the ever-loving-fuck. Join me, won't you, in a massive full body shudder? And then this same person just left candy on the chemical bench. Which I've since thrown away, because there are just places that food NEVER goes.

On the upside, my garden (mostly tomatoes) went gangbusters this year.

Praying mantis! From my Mother's Day eggs, perhaps?

Tiny watermelon! We had to pick it early because a rabbit bit the stem through...

Most recent harvest

Edit: Oh, Universe. I see what you did there. PMS on top of everything? Lovely. And now, ladies and gentlemen, my first postpartum period.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

8 months!

Where oh where has the time gone?!

8 MONTHS OLD. This baby is just full of joyful mischief. LCC still has 2 teeth, though she's working on at least 2 more (I think the next two on the bottom, rather than the top two, but I know better than to say for sure). She's pretty drooly and wet from the face down most of the time. Making her siblings laugh is a priority. LCC has not met a food she didn't like yet, but she's not very good at getting it into her mouth in any great quantities. Mostly it ends up all over her and I am SO glad we're doing Baby Led Weaning (easier to clean up). She's very good at using her tongue to manipulate the bits of food around her mouth. Still, she's primarily nursing (or taking bottles from Daddy and nobody else) and hasn't decreased her intake on that end, though she's sort of slowing down on growing/zooming through clothing sizes. Whew. I doubt she'll wear the adorable "My First Halloween" outfit I bought for her last year (foolishly in size 6-9 months...) 7 weeks from now though.

No crawling yet but she can sit up like it's her purpose in life. She can reach *really* far in front of her and get back to sitting, but not quite to the hands and knees position yet. She's getting there. Both of her siblings are trying to help her learn things and they love to play with her. J is particularly good at getting her to laugh out loud.

Measurements (as given by our bathroom scale, and roll of paper and pencil, and with Dee's help)

28.125 inches ~88%ile
19 pounds ~75%ile

Monday, August 10, 2015

7 months!

Seriously, baby, slow down!

LCC is 7 months old now. She still loves her siblings and is striving to be the most chill and happy baby out there. She has 2 teeth, and likes to bite people's fingers. She's working on the whole pincer grip thing to get food from her tray into her mouth, but has had very limited success in that area. She sits up like a pro and is enjoying tummy time more, though she doesn't do a whole lot of moving around yet. She sort of scoots around her crib/the floor on either her belly or her back, and she has sort of taken a break from rolling to focus on her mad sitting and reaching skills. LCC is also experimenting with perspective and frequently enjoys looking at things sideways or upside-down. Bathtime is still a hit, as is her new (to her) jumperoo. She sleeps through some nights, but usually wakes up once (which, compared to Dee through age..3... is fantastic).

According to our bathroom scale, she weighs 18.2 pounds, which means she's gained over a pound in the last month. Yowza.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Peas vs Little Cat C

LCC hasn't really shown any interest in eating food, but we've been offering her bits and pieces here and there. Last night we offered her some peas, and she tried to pick them up and eat them. Sort of. She practiced picking them up, and maybe some ended up in her mouth? She made some faces when I actually put one in her mouth, but she was entertained, at least! Most of the peas ended up by her butt, though.

This is an improvement over the piece of peach I let her taste this weekend, where she just looked at me like "WTF, mom? WHY ARE YOU PUTTING THAT IN MY MOUTH?"

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

6 Months Postpartum, and a plan

I'm now 6 months and change postpartum for the third time. I am still suffering from discomfort and, frankly, pain, from the SPD that I had while pregnant with LCC. I've gained back the 5ish pounds of weight I had lost immediately postpartum (which, honestly, just puts me back to where I was a couple months before I fell pregnant). I am sick of living in pain, and I want to get back to where I was before I got pregnant. So I've joined a fitness group on Facebook and hopefully that will help me with the motivation I need to work on this!

Crappy *Before* Pic - weight 144.6 pounds
Here are my goals:
1. Strengthen my core and pelvis and anything that comes along with that is a bonus.
2. Get back on track with healthier eating, by tracking my food so I don't have issues as LCC starts eating solid foods and my milk output decreases.  This is not to say I am counting calories, but I am trying to make sure I get enough fruits and veggies and protein, and enough water.
3. Start being able to run again (which can't happen until my pelvis is back at 100%, because OUCH).

The fitness group challenge runs through the end of October, but I don't plan to stop then. I'd like to at least get #1 and 2 solidly in place by then. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

6 months! Eeep!

Oh my goodness, Little Cat C. I can't believe you are 6 months old!

This child is happy, drooling, teething, and sleeping through most (ok, about half) nights. She sits unassisted for a minute or so, rolls over, loves tags with a passion unparalleled. LCC is also really good at turning her tongue sideways and thinks it's the best trick ever. Absolutely hams it up during mealtimes and loves her siblings and making them laugh, bonus if she disrupts a meal. She's still a milk monster and has no interest in solid foods yet. She's a lover and absolutely adores being worn and has been practicing fake coughing and what seems to be a sarcastic chuckle. She's wearing 6-9 month clothes, and has her daddy's nose (though it took us a while to figure it out, apparently). She's also been exploring the realm of "da, ga, ba" noises.

17#2oz (70%) 
26.76" long (84%) 
Giant head (also 84%)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

5 months!

Wow, five months! This giant baby is growing so fast. She's a very happy baby. Her favorite people are her sister, brother, mom and dad. She's also a big fan of MacGuyver and sort of wary of Athena, since she's not so much a fan of being licked. She eats a lot (I'm guessing somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 ounces a day, but since I am nursing her half the time and she gets pumped milk while I'm working, I can't be exactly sure). She also has been wearing mostly 6-9 month sized clothing, because, well, she's giant. Giant for my babies, anyhow. LCC can sit unsupported for a second or two at a time, and loves to sit up straight (on her own) in her high chair while the rest of us are eating. Baths are awesome, and so is eating her toes. LCC has discovered blowing raspberries and enjoys sucking her thumb and sticking out her tongue. She's not really into tummy time, and does not roll over yet but the big kids are trying to teach her.

Her current stats (as best as I can measure at home):
16.5 pounds (about the 82nd percentile)
27" long (off the chart for height... so...99th percentile?)

This makes her bigger than both of her siblings at 6 months, though Dee was the same length at that age. She also seems to have more hair than the other two did at this age, but maybe it's just a little darker so it looks like more.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Four months!

Colic is GONE! Hurray!! I am so very glad it "only" lasted about 3 months. Since then, it's become apparent that LCC is the second happiest baby ever (obviously J was the happiest). We got out the high chair because she wants to see everyone while we're eating, so she hangs out and plays with toys at table level while we eat. She's really trying to sit up on her own and while being held is close to sitting up without being supported. She thinks farts are hilarious and loves watching her brother and sister, and playing with her toys. The current argument between the big kids is whether she's as cute as a baby panda or a baby platypus. 

She still wears 3-6 months clothes though she's starting to test the tensile strength of some of her leggings. She hates tummy time after about 3 minutes, but loves playing with her toys, especially those she can stick in her mouth. She loves bathtime, and has discovered that she can kick her legs and splash. She eats about 30-34 ounces per day (guesstimating, since I can't really measure how much she eats while nursing), but I've been able to keep up with her by pumping at work and then again in the evening before bed. I'm actually keeping up so well that I'm ahead of her, and I have about 70 ounces in the freezer. I NEVER had that much with the other two kids!

Her stats (at 4 months and 10 days): 
Weight: 15 pounds, 1 ounce (62%)
Length: 25.6" (85%)
Head Circumference: 16.54" (81%)

Big and healthy!

Monday, April 27, 2015

4 years old!

Dee is 4 now. Not quite used to that yet!

She's 40.25" (63%ile) and 31.8# (23%ile). Still tall and skinny, that feisty girl!

Friday, April 10, 2015

3 months old!

Oh Little Cat C. Three months already!!

She's solidly in 3-6 month clothes. Colic is improving so she only has 1-2 days a week of it, and the rest of the time she's pretty cheerful. She does like to be held sitting up though, and she wants to be right in the thick of whatever is going on so she can watch. She's discovered her toys and really loves to reach out and grab them. The big kids are great sources of entertainment for her. She still nurses and eats like a little piggy and she's by far the easiest nurser I've had. She laughs occasionally and drools a lot. She also enjoys playing on the floor on her play mat, and looking in her mirrors.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Two Months Old!

Apparently, I don't know what day my child was born, since last month I posted on the 11th that she was 1 month old. Oops.

I can't pick just one picture. The bottom one cracked me up, Dee insisted on holding the baby, and this was about a second before the spitup reached her arm...

Little Cat C is 2 months old (WHAT?!). Her 2 month stats are:
23.2" long (72%ile)
11 pounds, 15 ounces (55%ile)
15.9" head circumference (86%ile)

So she's slimming down a little, but still pretty darn big! She's proportional, and is transitioning to 3-6 month clothes as she's suddenly outgrown her 0-3 month stuff. Yikes! She loves to watch people, and be worn. She has also discovered that she loves chewing on her hands and if we didn't know better we'd say she's teething. The bouncy seat is pretty awesome. She also sleeps through the night about half the time, which is AWESOME. I joke that she sleeps better than Dee, and it's actually about half true.

I go back to work next week. Boo :-(

Colic is... colic. It sucks. The screaming inconsolably haunts me sometimes, and can send my anxiety through the roof. I hope the end is sooner than later, but the pediatrician says it can go anywhere from 3-6 months. It's like she's two different babies. One that's normal and happy and one that's possessed. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015


Little Cat C is sick. Not as sick as she was, since we're home now, but it was scary for a few days. She got sick about a week ago, but on Wednesday she was struggling to breathe and her little fingernails were purple-tinged, and when she cried her whole face got dark and scary. We went to the ER, and were admitted with RSV. Two chest x-rays showed that she did not have pneumonia (yay!). It hit everyone but J and me, and LCC earned a 3 day hospital stay with oxygen and albuterol nebulizers. My mom was awesome and brought me stuff a couple times, since I hadn't packed for a hospital stay when LCC and I went to the ER. The nursing staff and respiratory therapists were wonderful. Babywearing was a lifesaver, and I knew she was feeling better when she was colicky again.
Waiting in the ER for news and test results.

Nap time for baby.

This swing was borrowed from the NICU, and it was wonderful.

Nebulizer time at home!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

One Month Old!

My how time flies!!

Little Cat C is one month old today! (And no, I have no idea how that happened!) She eats and sleeps LOTS and started smiling about a week ago. She really hates having a dirty diaper. Currently she's wearing 0-3 month sized clothes and weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 pounds. I swear she is bigger every time I look at her. She loves her big brother and sister and smiles at them as well as C and me. She sleeps really well, and actually slept a 7 hour stretch a few nights ago (at 4 weeks old exactly).

This child has had a really busy first month. We've moved into our new house (see her book? She's reading up on her home repair skills in case we need her help) when she was about 2 weeks old (on 1/29) and have since been taking her to all kinds of places to buy stuff for the new house. She's generally a pretty happy kid, as long as she's not hungry/tired/in need of a diaper change. Or if it's not 4:00pm or later.

We've also discovered that she's colicky. It seems that 4:00pm is evil baby time. Every. Damn. Day.  When I eat heavily spiced or even remotely garlicky or spicy food it's worse. It's horrible and demoralizing and frustrating, and often the only thing that stops it is wearing her and/or her falling asleep.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

She's Here!! (8 days late...)

Short version: 12 hours labor, epidural, baby sunny side up, 45 minutes of pushing, born 3:44 pm. 8 pounds 14 ounces. Pictures to come shortly once I get them off the camera. 

Long version: 

(Seriously don't read it if you don't want to know about my cervix. You've been warned!)
This whole delivery was bizarrely parallel to my first, but with far better outcome for me, and less trauma to everyone.

Friday the 9th I was a week overdue. I was sore and exhausted and beyond done being pregnant, and I felt like the only way I was ever going to start labor was for my water to break. I had my 41 week appointment that morning, and we'd scheduled a 42 week check for the following Thursday and induction for Friday the 16th.

Fun aside: January 10th was the inspection resolution deadline for our house, so we knew we were going to have to sign some things that day (thankfully, electronically).

We went to bed at about 11 on Friday night, I was timing contractions and noting that they’d been every about 7 minutes for a couple days (whee). I woke up at 3:30am on January 10th with a decently intense and painful contraction, but didn’t really think anything of it because honestly that was sort of the norm by that point at 41 weeks 1 day pregnant. I peed and came back to bed at 3:38. A few minutes later I had another contraction, this time accompanied by a rather enormous gush all over the bed. I woke C up with my exclamation of “Ohmygod, my water just broke!” and continued to gush all over my side of the bed while he went and grabbed every available towel in the bathroom. I tried to go back to sleep for a little while, but the contractions were immediately so painful and intense that I was already having to focus through the pain and really work to let them accomplish what they were doing, rather than tense up. I had to resort to making “Aaahhh” sounds and trying to stay open and relaxed starting almost immediately. At about 4 I gave up trying to get back to sleep, and we left for the hospital 45 minutes away at a little after 5am. Turns out that 45 minutes to the hospital, even with no traffic at all (yay Saturday morning?) REALLY sucks when you are in active labor like that. I tried to eat and drink a little but threw up pretty fast, and I decided that I hated every bump in every road, and every red light was out to make me miserable.

We pulled up to the hospital and C went and got me a wheelchair, and they directed us to the Mother and Baby unit, where the nurse immediately sent us to triage (in my head I said “Are you fucking kidding me? Triage? Really?” but once the nurse there saw the puddle between my feet and how much I was actually in labor, she brought me to a labor/delivery room. We were set up and I was being monitored by 6am. Because Dee's delivery had been only about 30 minutes after my water broke, we thought that maybe this one would be quick too, so by about 7am the room was set up. They monitored me for a little while and started the IV antibiotics because I was Group B Strep positive. I also got an ultrasound to verify that baby was head down, which was apparently hospital procedure even though I’d had an ultrasound the day before to check fluid levels and had already verified that she was head down. I was 5cm dilated, and having very frequent and very painful contractions. I was doing my absolute best to surrender to them and let my body work but my hips and low back were feeling every ounce of pain, and my pelvis was objecting mightily (I had symphysis pubis dysplasia/SPD for the last 8ish weeks of my pregnancy). The jetted bathtub became my best friend for about an hour.  The tub had jets labeled “feet” but which hit my hips absolutely perfectly to ease the pain and give his hands a rest. C helped me out at around 8am. I was feeling pushy and they checked me again. 7cm.

I was put back on the monitor (UGH) and they noticed that the baby’s heart rate was not doing well with my intense contractions. I was really, really thirsty, but because I’d been throwing up I just asked for ice chips to chew on. Around 9am they put in an internal monitor (poor girl has scratches and a scab from it still 3 days later) to keep better track of her heart rate. I also got an oxygen mask around this time. I was able to labor on my knees in a supported kneeling position, which felt good but C still had to use strong pressure on my hips and low back with every contraction. At every 2-3 minutes, he really didn’t get any breaks. Because of the internal monitor, I could not go back in the tub. During this time, the OB noted that the baby seemed to be OP(occiput posterior)/OT (occiput transverse) which explained the back labor and lack of dilation. I needed to hold C’s hand very hard while I was focusing on trying to let contractions happen without letting my body push, even though the baby’s head was pushing against my back and rectum which makes pushing happen. I spent a LOT of this time visualizing my midwife Mary from when I delivered Dee, making me breathe with her instead of letting my body push before I was fully dilated.

The baby’s heartrate was still not doing well with the contractions, so they did a saline infusion via catheter to add some fluid back around her to try to cushion her a bit (I think this was around 9:30). This worked somewhat. The OB on call did mention that if her heart rate continued to be this slow we would be facing an emergency C-section in about 30 minutes; as soon as she said that, Little Cat C’s heart rate sped right back up. While we had expressed our wishes to do this med-free, the nurse could see how much pain I was in and how tense I was, and the fact that I had not dilated any further for two hours despite the frequency and intensity of contractions and my changing positions. She asked if I thought I might want to consider an epidural, just in case that allowed my body to relax and dilate. I immediately went back in my head to J's delivery, and how my decision to get an epidural (evidently) made everything so much worse. Knowing, however, that we already had an internal monitor, and the saline infusion catheter, and I would not be getting out of bed and being able to move around much (due to the interventions plus the SPD). C and I talked about it. He told me I was doing an amazing job and that he would support whatever I wanted; I just wanted to cry because I felt like I was spiraling down the disaster trail I’d been down before. I knew, deep down, that I was completely exhausted and would not have the energy to keep breathing through the urge to push for however many hours it would take me to finish dilating. Around 10:30 I told the nurse I wanted an epidural, though I mentioned my previous experience with them and the source of my reluctance.

The anesthesiologist was amazing and had my epidural in place by 11:00. I could still feel the contractions, but they were 75% less painful and suddenly I found that I could deal with them, breathe through them, and allow my muscles to unclench. I never knew that a properly placed/properly executed epidural could work for me. My blood pressure dropped a lot shortly after the epidural was placed, which I guess sometimes happens. The anesthesiologist came back and gave me a shot of fenylephrine, which fixed things. It did still start to wear off around 3:00, but that was fine with me (that part is coming up). The nurses and doctors noted some meconium in the fluid at around this point, and the baby’s heart rate was still dropping with the contractions even though I was no longer crawling out of my skin with each one. The OB suggested giving me a dose of terbutaline in my IV, to help relax my uterus and give the baby (and me) a break for a little bit. They assured me that it would only be for about 30 minutes, and the contractions would pick back up again (which they did). It worked beautifully, and once I was laying on my right side Little Cat C’s heart rate started cooperating again. I also got to nap for about 2 hours. I was dimly aware of contractions picking back up, and C told me he could tell because I changed my breathing with each one. At around 1:00 or so I woke up and noticed that the contractions were definitely picking up in intensity. I could feel that I needed to poop, and mentioned it to the nurse. She checked me and said that my cervix was softer, and the baby had moved down more, but I was still only at 7cm. The OB said to start pitocin to help the contractions work to move down this OT/OP baby. We did try putting a big peanut ball between my knees to open my pelvis and help the baby turn, but that didn’t really work. The pit definitely did it’s job, and I went back to sleep for a little bit between contractions. My heartrate started going up pretty high, and they noticed I was running a fever (another side effect of the epidural, apparently, because it went away completely a few hours after delivery and I never felt ill at all). I was finally making dilation progress, and actually felt the baby move down during one contraction, but had a very swollen lip of cervix left. They had me try pushing with a contraction to see if they could move it out of the way, but the baby really didn’t tolerate that very well, and it didn’t work. I still kept flashing back to during J’s delivery where I also had a lip of cervix that would just not move. They decided it would be best if I just kept letting the pitocin help (they never had to turn it up very high, I only needed a little bit of a push from it) and we’d check again in a little while.

At around 2:30 I was *FINALLY* at 9cm, but still had the lip of cervix; at about 3 I was complete and started pushing. The OB was absolutely awesome and was able to actually push the little bit of cervix out of the way *and* turn the baby’s head as I pushed (side note: I really should look up who the OB was because I cannot remember her name). If you’ve given birth vaginally before, you are probably familiar with the ring of fire which generally accompanies a baby’s head as it comes out, and it vanishes as soon as the head/shoulders are through I had this VERY mildly with Dee, and very briefly. Well... I had it the entire 45 minutes it took to push Little Cat C and her chubby little body out. I am so, so grateful that the doctor had such strong hands that she was able to turn Little Cat C as she was born. We were unable to delay cord clamping for very long, because she did not cry beyond a couple gurgles when she was born. C cut the cord and the NICU team took the baby over to the warming bed. The OB noted that she was a big baby, probably about 8 pounds. They worked on getting Little Cat C to breathe for what seemed like an eternity. I have no idea what her APGAR scores were. She never cried. I never noticed anything particular about my other babies crying but Cecilia’s lack of crying was awful. I’m getting teary just remembering. I finally asked if she was okay, and they assured me that she was but they were just trying to get her lungs a little more open. The nurses and OBs working on me had me deliver the placenta and did all the usual fun things (no real tears though, surprisingly! Just a teeny little papercut sized thing that didn’t warrant stitching). I did finally get to hold my baby after they did what they so pleasantly termed a “sweep” of my uterus. Yeah. That was horrid. I never again wish to have anyone’s hand inside my uterus, but apparently it was necessary as I was bleeding pretty badly and actually did have clots that were preventing things from properly clamping down. Turns out I had a postpartum hemorrhage, but “only” lost about 750ml (half of what I lost after J was born).

Little Cat C was born at 3:44 pm on January 10, 2015. She weighed 8 pounds, 14 ounces, and was 20 inches long. My reaction to her weight may have been “HOLY GOD, she’s almost 9 pounds?!” She ate for an HOUR after she was handed to me for the first time. Contrary to Dee’s prediction, she never pooped on me. She has so far been very easy and relaxed; having a chubby baby is pretty different! We don’t have to wake her for feedings, and I’ve never brought a baby home that was already too big for newborn clothing items.

Things I have learned? Baby position is VERY important to ease of delivery. My two OP babies both resulted in epidurals, internal monitors, back labor (though J’s was by far worse), and lots and lots of pushing (almost 3 hours with J, 45 minutes with Little Cat C), and longer labors (though Little Cat C's was almost exactly 12 hours, just like Dee, had she *not* been OP/OT it would have been significantly shorter), in addition to postpartum hemorrhages (though this could have been from other things, like the pitocin/epidural/long ass transition) and a bruised tailbone. 

Recovering from the SPD is not really that pleasant. My pelvis doesn't feel properly connected to itself, and I'm just waiting for things to settle a bit more before getting an adjustment which I think will help a lot. I *can* walk pretty well though, which is awesome, and more than I could do before delivery!

Also, epidurals are not the devil. They *can* work perfectly if they are placed perfectly, though I still metabolized the drug faster than normal. Mine did make my face really itchy for a while, which was weird.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Hey, look, I'm still pregnant! 41 weeks.

How Far along: 41 weeks

Baby size: Big. I don't know how big, because the only email updates I got this week said "Your baby is 1 week old" which really just didn't help anything at all.

Total weight gain: 18ish. 

Maternity clothes: Definitely, though not all of them are even long enough.

Sleep: Ugh, give me more. Naps most days are nice, but I'd really rather just not be pregnant still.

Best Moment this week: Hm. I've enjoyed having time with my family. The kids and I had a tickle fight today which was really fun. Oh, and we bought a house! We're under contract to close on my birthday. And J turned 7 which was cool. He's really a great kid.

Movement: Yep.

Gender:  Girl!

Labor signs: Same old, same old. Timeable contractions around the clock at 7-9 minutes apart for days and days...

Belly button: I still have one.

Cravings: Not anything exceptionally exciting.

Aversions: Nothing new.


Stretch Marks: No more new ones.

What is different this time around: Well, I've never actually been 41 weeks pregnant before.

What I am looking forward to this week: Having a baby? Please? Although I am scheduled for induction next Friday so one way or another that's going to happen. I'd prefer no induction, but this child is pretty insistent on having things her way.

Friday, January 2, 2015

40 Weeks?! Happy due date to me...

I really hope this is my last belly picture.

How Far along: 40 weeks

Baby size: Well, the Bump said jackfruit sized... but I'm not buying that. She's big, though... and really, really squished in there.

Total weight gain: 17ish last time I checked

Maternity clothes: Definitely, though not all of them are even long enough.

Sleep: Ugh, give me more. Although so far, 2015 has included naps every day, so that's been nice ;-)

Best Moment this week: Starting maternity leave, probably. 

Movement: Yep.

Gender:  Girl!

Labor signs: Nothing exciting. The nurse at my appointment this week tried to get me all excited when she was like "Oooh, regular contractions! Keep that up!" and I said "Yeah... that's been going on for 2 weeks..."

Belly button: I still have one.

Cravings: Not anything exceptionally exciting. I do really like chocolate, and I did really want pizza last night.

Aversions: Nothing new, but I am really not a fan of the smell of garlic-flavored things. Garlic is fine, but apparently garlic Triscuits are not.

What I miss: Same stuff: being able to get around comfortably, not having PUPPPs and SPD, etc.  

Stretch Marks: No new ones since last week as far as I have noticed.

What is different this time around: Well, I've never actually been 40 weeks pregnant before.

What I am looking forward to this week: Having a baby? Buying a house? My firstborn turning 7 on Wednesday?!