May 26, 2011

Audrey Alexandra Meitl: The Birth Story

May 16
39 week checkup at the doctor shows no real signs of progressing.  The doctor said, and I quote, "well, your cervix is up by your neck!"  I believe this was a nice way of telling me I wasn't close.  She said I was 1 cm dilated and she guessed that Audrey was 7 to 7.5 pounds.  There is not a scientific method to this assessment; she just feels around on my belly and makes a guess based on her how big the baby feels in there.

May 17
I started having cramping in my lower abdomen for the first time.  Up until this point I had only experienced sporadic tightening in my upper abdomen that I believe was braxton-hicks contractions.

The cramping in my lower belly happened about 3 or 4 times throughout the morning and mid afternoon.  Around 5:00 it started happening more often, and I decided once Matt got home and we got settled down for dinner and a relaxing evening we should probably start timing them.  At this point it just felt like menstrual cramps, more or less.

Around 7pm we began timing them and they were ranging anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes apart, most being 7 minutes apart.  Because I tested positive for group b strep, the doctor wanted me to call and come in to the hospital once the contractions were 5 minutes apart, lasting about 40 seconds, for an hour.

We went to bed at 10pm and the contractions were still about the same.  Mostly 6-7 minutes apart, but every now and then one would be 10 minutes apart.  This went on until 2:30... waking me up each time (not that I was really falling asleep in between).  Still not painful.

May 18
At 2:30am the contractions jumped from 6-7 minutes apart to 2.5-3 minutes apart.  Now it was starting to get a little harder to tolerate.  I definitely found myself groaning mildly in discomfort.  This went on for an hour so we called the hospital at 3:30am (I'm exhasuted by-the-way) and they told us to come on in.

At 4:15am they checked us into the hospital.  The staff told us that they had a large influx of babies that night, that they couldn't believe how many had come in already, and that I was probably number 11.  My mom previously predicted that the ball would get rolling on the 17th due to the full moon, and I've heard from others that more babies are delivered during full moons.  I wonder what truth there is to that.

There were no labor and delivery rooms available at first so we camped out in a smaller recovery room.  I was tired and not managing the pain as well as I might have been able to if I had been well-rested.

At 5:45am the doctor had time to check me... 2cm.  What?!  Gosh.  It's already painful and I'm farrrr from the end.  Shortly after the check I was wheeled to my labor and delivery room.  The bed was much much less comfortable.  "Purely functional," the nurse says.  Great.

At 9:25am I requested that the doctor check my progress again, because the pain was wearing on me in my fatigue.  I felt confident that I had really progressed.  3cm.  Yeesh!  This is ridiculous.  I was hoping for more, because I was ready for pain meds.  I didn't want to get an epidural too early however and slow the progress, risk it wearing off down the road, increase the chance of also needing pitocin, etc, etc.  We all agreed that 3cm was a little too early for that so I committed myself to getting through another 3 hours.

During that 3 hours the contractions continued to get more intense and began hurting in my lower back.  I was so exhausted that I wanted to lay, but that didn't seem to be the best position for me to be in when the contractions came.  I wanted to be sitting on something with a lot of support that would not engage my already sore lower abdomen the way the soft bed or a soft chair would.  Instead of gearing myself up in between contractions, I was so tired that I just hung limply and panted.  I felt so sleep deprived I just wanted to cry and I totally lacked the energy to go on.  At this point I was dreading the next contraction. Was it really approaching noon?  It definitely still felt like 4am.

At 1:00pm they gave me two pain options.  I did not get another check on my progress, because too many checks increases the risk of infection and the assumption was that I was continuing to progress at a fairly slow rate.  I opted for pain meds through my IV.  I believe they were narcotics?  I slept for an hour.  It was great.

At 2:00pm that wore off and the next contraction I felt was terrrrrrrible and I decided I did not want to feel this any more.  I was done.  I asked the nurse if I should get another dose of the narcotics through my IV or if I should get checked to see if I was far enough along for an epidural to make sense.  She said she would ask the doctor.  When she came back she said it was pretty much up to me.  No guidance, and what did I know about making this decision?!  Again, I was really hesitant about an untimely epidural and the one hour break I got from the IV drip was amazing so I said I would take one more of those and then the epidural.  I don't think that makes much sense now, but again, I was in no condition to be making that kind of decision.  As she was beginning the second narcotic drip the doctor walked in and said, "well if you are going to get the epidural anyway you should have gone ahead and gotten it now."  Great!  Why wasn't that the information that was reported back to me?  Too late now.

At 2:30pm the narcotics hadn't done a thing.  I was totally miserable and fed up and basically losing it at this point.  I called to the nurses station and told them I wanted to start getting the epidural ready.  The doctor said she would wait and check my progress after the epidural, that way I wouldn't be in any pain while she was doing it.  At this point, I figured I had to be around 7cm, and I was amazed that the contractions felt like they did.  How did anyone ever get to 10cm??  I remember commenting that these already made me feel like I needed to push!

At 3:30pm I got the epidural.  This entire process was pretty traumatic.  The nurse described the position she wanted me to get in and apparently I misunderstood what she meant so we had a little bit of a time getting me situated.  Meanwhile I'm wailing during contractions and really scared to have to manage them while holding still in an uncomfortable position.  While I was getting situated on the bed and voicing my fears with the nurse (and crying), the anesthesiologist, prepping behind me, let's me know that this is elective for both of us, "you don't have to do this, and neither do I."  He was already being a jerk in everything his said, but this really frustrated me.  I told him that I had done everything he had asked me to do and asked that he please not be a jerk.  The nurse got me situated and was amazing at getting me through my contractions.  The doctor described everything he was doing, step by step, in very medical (and scary) terms.  I remember him talking about a too-small area... and something being too close... and the possibility of hitting something... and needing to move to another area... and all of this really scary stuff while I'm bent over trying to hold still through very powerful contractions.  Yeesh.

I felt one more contraction and that was it.  I could still feel pressure in my bottom during the contractions, but it didn't hurt.  It made me feel like I needed to push still.

At 3:35pm the doctor checked me and I was 9cm!  Woops!  No fricken wonder.  She broke my water then said she would be back in 30 minutes to see if was ready to push.

At 4:25pm she made it back (she was running around delivering a ton of babies that night) and when she checked me she said, "Well, the baby's head is right there, you won't have to push long at all."  Great!!  I think I pushed through about 7 contractions, three serious pushes with each one.  This was a little stressful, because I wanted to do it right, but couldn't tell if I was or not.  I totally thought I was going to pop blood vessels in my face and I know I had to have been purple.

At 5:10pm Audrey Alexandra Meitl was born.  The cord was pretty close to being snug around her neck so they cut it as soon as her head was delivered and whisked her away.  She was a little stunned and had a hard time finding her voice.  After a few minutes I heard her make a sound.  After 10 minutes they brought her to me and I got to hold her.  She had one eye wide open staring at her new world.

Here she is... just 10 minutes old.

6lbs 6.3oz; 19in long.  What an angel.

May 23, 2011

My Pregnancy: Week by Week

week 5 - found out we're pregnant

week 6 - kidney stones!

week 7 - nausea/light-headedness and fatigue begins

week 8 - bloated!! throwing up when i brush my teeth, ack!

week 9 - nausea makes it hard to eat - i want bacon and burgers and things that have a strong smell and taste

week 10 - lots of ramen and grilled cheese

week 11 - heard the heartbeat, amazing!  told my boss and co-workers

week 12 - i feel better, just tiiiiiiired

week 13 - it's impossible for me to get too much sleep these days

week 14 - other than being tired and a little bloated here and there, i feel good

week 15 - grapefruit and citrus fruit juices seem to be my craving.  the more refreshing the better. 

week 16 - finally starting to show a little!!

week 17 - it's a girl!!

week 18 - felt the first movements - feels like blowing air into your cheeks

week 19 - i feel fantastic, good energy level.  hardly feel pregnant except for feeling the baby move, no more bloated feeling.

week 20 - low blood pressure made me almost black out while driving - had to call 911 for myself!

week 21 - really starting to pop out now - feels more like poking your tongue against the inside of your cheek 

week 22 - baby didn't move much this week - but i got to hear her heartbeat

week 23 - she's moving like a champion again!

week 24 - heart burn!!

week 25 - heard the heartbeat, passed my glucose screening, and i've gained 11 pounds... still on track to gain 25 which is good.

week 26 - baby is all knees and elbows these days

week 27 - i feel like i can start telling where she is positioned and whether i'm feeling arms, legs, head, or butt

week 28 - started noticing that my belly moves like a bowl of jelly when she's playing in there

week 29 - starting to feel when she has hiccups

week 30 - more than just knees and elbows, i can feel what i believe is her back pressed against me... like she is using the right side of my belly as a hammock

week 31 - drove to TN and back - lower back aches! - and sewed crib bedding with mama, it looks awesome.  this is the first week we began calling her audrey more than we call her baby.

week 32 - the first week i really started to be uncomfortable in my belly.  she's really filling up that space and tieing my shoes is a real chore!

week 33 - had someone ask me if i was having twins, really?!

week 34 - it's official... i feel pregnant.  very pregnant. sore feet, hard to roll over.

week 35 - baby's is head down and not likely to come up out of there.

week 36 - tested positive for group b strep.  no big deal, we're not upset.  baby has begun to drop and yet is still way up in my rib cage.  not much real estate for her in there.

week 37 - i thought i felt pregnant at week 34.  i didn't.  but now i do.  walking sloooow.

week 38 - i think i have 3 shirts left that fit me.  but i'm still in my regular jeans.  amazing.

38 weeks and 2 days - last week of work, almost finished with the nursery.  car seat still not in the car.  hospital bag still not packed.  bottles not washed.  pediatrician not picked out.  and all of this coming from a planner!

38 weeks and 5 days - my last day of work, starting to have contractions.  nothing regular, although for a little while they were happening every 7 minutes.  once i got my butt horizontal on the couch they went away.

38 weeks and 6 days - absolutely no energy.  slept 10 hours last night and still drug around the house all day.  i'm sure the extreme rest is good for my body right now.

39 weeks and 1 day - dr appt shows now signs of progress quite yet.  i've lost a pound, which isn't uncommon at this stage.  i've gained 20 pounds overall and the dr is guessing that Audrey is 7 to 7.5 pounds.  

39 weeks and 2 days - a different kind of contraction, i think.  cramping in my lower abdomen.  nothing regular or consistent.

39 weeks and 3 days - guess that cramping in my belly was the real thing, because it never went away until Audrey made her entrance into this world!

Birth story to come... :)

May 15, 2011

Moving on Up!!

And sliding down...  The stairs... On moving boxes that we've broken down...

Check out the speed!!

May 14, 2011

Roasty Toasty Artichokey

I grabbed a Boboli pizza crust the other day and made a pizza with leftover shredded rotisserie chicken, spinach, artichokes, and toma tomatoes.  It didn't take many artichokes to cover the pizza and those guys aren't cheap so I didn't want to toss them.  They've been hanging out in the fridge waiting to be used for something else.  I decided to just try roasting them tonight and it turned out great.  I sliced the hearts in half and tossed them in a small oven-safe dish with olive oil, lemon juice, sliced garlic, and parmesan cheese.  Baked them at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes and they turned out fantastic!