Friday, August 26, 2011

One Whole Month!

As of this past Tuesday, Tycho is a month old. A month! That is crazy!

He's doing very well. So well, in fact, that I'm kind of just waiting for the shit to hit the fan. After such an easy pregnancy and labor and birth, you think I'd get dealt a shitty card somewhere in the past few weeks. But really, he is awesome. Breastfeeding has come pretty easily to us. My letdown can be kind of overpowering, but it hasn't stopped him from getting appropriately fed, and at the very worst it's just a little bit messy. No big deal.  He does spit up all the time, but I don't think that's really that out of the ordinary. Sleep is still tricky, as he seems to still be semi-nocturnal, but it's improving, and that's all I can really asked for.

So much has changed in a month. He is growing like a freaking weed. He's in his 3-6 months clothes already. I'm glad I didn't really buy very much newborn or 0-3 stuff. He's getting much more interactive. He can stick out his tongue. And he's smiling for real now and it's amazing. Especially when you give him big sloppy kisses, which is my favorite thing in the world to do. And it seems to be his favorite thing, too.

Tycho had his one month doctor visit today. He weighed 12 pounds, 2 ounces, if you can believe it. That puts him in the 92nd percentile. And he's in the 95th percentile for height. I never would have guessed I would produce such a big baby, but I love how chubby and robust and healthy he is. Perfect.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Birth Story, Part Four: The Aftermath

They wanted me to try and pee before they stitched up my nether regions, so Tycho and Kyle settled in for a nap while I made my way to the toilet. Once I got there I was feeling very light-headed and nauseous. No wonder, since I had barfed probably fifty times during my labor. (I apparently won the award for barfiest labor ever, hurrah!) I am an expert at fainting (see: every time I donate blood), and I could feel it coming on, so I laid down on the floor next to the tub with a cool wet washcloth on my forehead.  After resting there for a while I tried sitting up again, but that quickly proved to be a bad idea, so back to the floor.

Nicole was really sweet and was trying not to be pushy at all, and asked me if I wanted some IV fluids. YES, PLEASE. While that was going on she fed me some yogurt. She asked if I ever imagined that my birth would end with me lying on the bathroom floor being spoon fed by my midwife. I said no, but if you had told me that, I wouldn't necessarily have been surprised. They did Tycho's newborn exam on the floor next to me while Kyle was napping. He was perfect.

After a bag and a half of fluids I was feeling much better, so after finally attempting to pee (great success!), I made my way back to bed to get my lady parts stitched up.  I had a second degree tear in my perineum, and two first degree labial tears. I think I got five stitches in total. It was very bizarre feeling. Not painful, as I was numb from the lidocaine, but I could still feel the thread getting pulled through me.

We attempted nursing one more time while they cleaned me off and he managed to suck for more than a few minutes. I cuddled with my new family in the quiet of the morning while Nicole and Tara cleaned up the room. They dressed Tycho while Kyle loaded up the car, and then we were on our way home, as three.

Tycho is amazing, and I'm really loving my new normal.

Prologue | Part One | Part Two | Part Three

Seven Years!

Something a little bit different...

Today is exactly seven years from the day Kyle and I met, like, for real, in person. I am normally not one who celebrates anniversaries of inane bullshit, and I haven't made any effort to remember this one, but August 19th is stuck in my head.

Seven years isn't really that long, but it is my entire adult life, so it's significant for me. Anyway, I'm really happy that Kyle took a chance on an internet romance and did really come to see me in Seattle seven years ago. It changed my life.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Birth Story, Part Three: The Pushening

I pushed for just under three hours, alternating between the birthing stool, and various positions on the bed. Most of the time Nicole had her hand all up in me, pushing back the lip of my cervix. It was not fun. I had heard from a lot of  people that after a tough first stage of labor pushing was a relief or even felt good, but for me it was the worst part. I was still puking through all of it, but it actually felt better and helped make my pushes stronger. It was all water by that point anyway, which makes me feel better about it splashing out of the bowl onto Nicole.

After struggling on the bed for a while I asked to move back to the stool, because my pushes felt much more effective there. Gravity, and things. Kyle sat behind me on the bed and made sure I had access to water and chapstick.  After a bunch of contractions we finally got him past the lip of my cervix. Nicole kept asking me if I wanted to see his head in the mirror or reach down and feel him and I was completely uninterested. I just wanted him out of me.

It was really intense when he was actually in my birth canal. At that point I stopped waiting for contractions and was pushing pretty much continuously because it hurt too much not to. My moans were turning into screams, and Roxanne had to remind me to keep things low. It felt like my clitoris was ripping in two! I was not prepared to feel pain there, and I was scared that I might be doing permanent damage to it. But in between all the pushing and the screaming I would look around at my birth team and my mom and Ashley and I felt very supported and amazing.

It was such a relief when his head was finally out. His cord was around his neck, so Nicole had me breathe through a contraction while she slipped it over his head, no big deal. The rest of him was easy in comparison.

He had apparently passed some meconium during labor, so they had to suction out his mouth before they handed him to me. I was totally agog. Looking down at him he seemed way too big to be a newborn baby, and instead of love I felt disbelief that something so huge had just come out of me. He didn't cry at first, but after a few seconds of holding him and stroking him and talking to him he started whimpering and then let out a healthy wail. He was born at 2:30 in the morning on Saturday, July 23, 2011.

I barely even remember birthing the placenta, but it certainly was no big deal compared to my enormous baby. We got into bed with our son, and my mom called my dad and my sister to announce Tycho's arrival and have them make their way over to the birth center. Kyle called his parents to tell them the news.

Everyone was shocked by how big he was. (Two days previously they had written in my chart that they expected him to be around seven pounds.) We all made our guesses on how much he would weigh, and Nicole was right on the money: nine pounds, two ounces.

I apparently had a pretty huge placenta, too. Nicole did her examination of it and showed us all of its parts. We tried to get Tycho nursing, but he must have been overstimulated, because he would only latch on for a minute at a time.  After some more visiting, everyone left to go home and get some sleep. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Birth Story, Part Two: Centered

We ended up driving to the birth center with me kneeling over a yoga ball in the back of our SUV. It's about a 25 minute drive, and in the back of my mind I was worried that  we might get pulled over. Kyle talked me through the drive, telling me how close we were and reminding me to breathe. My midwife Nicole and the student Tara met us there. BFF (and photographer!) Ashley and my mom made their way in as well.

I was still doing pretty well when we got there, and everyone was worried that I wasn't really that far along. After listening to the baby through a contraction Nicole checked me and I was 6cm dilated, and my cervix was paper thin. Victory! It was so reassuring to know that my instincts were right and I had already done most of the hard work, and I was still under control. I could totally do this!

I got into the tub almost immediately after they checked me. It felt wonderful, and reset me a little bit. I was breathing through my contractions, in a world of my own. I was mostly doing well, although baby boy had a mean habit of thrashing about just as my contractions were dying down and I started to relax. Everyone laughed  when I kept shouting at my belly for him to cut it out. But besides that, things remained manageable for me. We had spent so much time in class talking about when you can no longer handle contractions and your partner needs to swoop in with his take charge routine, but I never really got there, and I kept wondering when it was going to happen. 

After a while of peacefully lying in the tub and breathing through my contractions, I think I hit transition. I suddenly NEEDED to change positions, and started to vomit at every contraction.  I leaned over the side of the tub, and Kyle made sure that I was drinking in between my contractions to keep hydrated.

I was starting to feel kind of push-y but I tried to ignore the urge. I did okay for a while, but all of the sudden it was getting to be too much, and I wanted OUT. OF. THE. TUB. Nicole checked me again. I was almost completely dilated, but I had a small stubborn lip of my cervix. I tried to breathe through a few more contractions, but the urge to push was getting really strong.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Birth Story, Part One: Handling it at Home

I slept pretty well that night after my midwife appointment, although I started waking up in the early morning to pee an awful lot, and looking back, it was probably contractions that were waking me. Friday the 22nd, I finally really woke up and realized what was going on around 8:30. I got out of bed around nine and started counting contractions. In the next hour I had seven, and while they were still very mild, they were definitely a completely different ballgame then any of the "practice" contractions I had felt before.

I woke Kyle up because the internet was down and I needed to do something to distract myself. I let him know what was going on, but then let him go back to sleep, because he had a very late night and I wanted him to be well rested and not grumpy later. When he finally got up around one or two we went to the store to get provisions for the birth center, and tuna fish sandwich makings for me. (P.S. By the time I got around to making the sandwich I no longer wanted a sandwich. It made a great post-partum snack, though.) Contractions were still super manageable and I was feeling really good and really excited.

When we got home we started getting the house in order, doing laundry etc. I decided perhaps I might want to time my contractions, and they were between 3 and 5 minutes apart, and getting closer together. This was when I was supposed to call my midwife, so I did. I apparently sounded super calm on the phone, so she was pretty incredulous that anything major was happening quite yet. I was told to call back when they got more intense. We called our doula, Roxanne, around 5pm, and she said she would start to make her way over, but she told me later that she didn't think I was super far along yet, so she took her time getting to us.

Can I just say that I was LOVING labor? At this point contractions were contractions and I had to stop what I was doing and breathe through them, but it all felt so natural and it came easy to me and after each one I had this natural high. I am so not all crazy-hippie-fertility-goddess, but that's how labor made me feel. It was pretty awesome.

Around 7:30pm I felt my water break with a pop. Very very strange. I didn't have tons of gushing fluid, as baby's head was probably corking me up, but the intensity of my contractions really started to ramp up. We called the midwife and made plans to meet at the birth center at 8:30. Roxanne arrived just after we got off the phone with the midwife. She watched me through a contraction and told me that I looked like I was handling things really well, so well that she was worried that they would send me home from the center because I hadn't progressed enough. I shrugged her off; I had been doing this all day and I knew that things were changing.

Prologue | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Birth Story, the Prologue

I guess we should start well before my labor actually did. My due date was July 13th, but I was so sure I was going to go early. Kyle and I were both early babies (3 weeks, and one week), as was my sister, and my dad and all of his siblings. There was NO WAY I was going to make it. Emotionally either. By 39 weeks I didn't think I could handle another moment of pregnancy. But my due date came and went and I was still pregnant.

I was on a cycle of about two days of acceptance, one day of complete breakdown. Kyle said it was like I was going through the stages of grief, except that I couldn't hold on to the end, and always broke down and started over again. I tried to keep myself busy with one active, out-of-the house thing everyday, but it was hard to get myself going, and find people to do things with, and not just retreat into bed for the rest of forever. I was sure that if I made it to my 41 week, 1 day appointment, that I would be a complete and total sobbing mess, and made Kyle take the day off so I wouldn't have to go alone. 

But when I lost my mucous plug at 41 weeks I started feeling much better. I knew it didn't necessarily mean that I was going to go into labor like, RIGHTNOW, but it was a sign that my body was still in fact working up to birthing this baby, and had not completely abandoned me. I was pretty sure that I would have a baby before the end of the weekend.

At my midwife visit the next day I had my first vaginal exam of my entire pregnancy. (Side note: thank goodness my midwives don't do them on the regular, because they are TERRIBLE.) It was so reassuring to hear that I was 50% effaced and two centimeters dilated. I was thrilled, but the midwives were slightly less optimistic, as I didn't have much blood in the mucous I had passed, and scheduled me for a biophysical profile ultrasound and then an appointment to discuss natural induction options for the next week. But I was in such a good mood I even let Kyle take me to lunch at the Olive Garden afterward. (I would need another whole blog post to explain his obsession with the Olive Garden.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

2 Weeks!

Tycho is two weeks old today.

I can't really believe it.  So far motherhood is very surreal. I feel like this is all make-believe, or maybe some kind of lovely dream.


Things are simultaneously  far easier and far more difficult than I expected. Even though I've never been a baby person, caring for him just seems natural and organic.I'm lucky that he seems to be an easy-going little man, and that we've gotten underway with breastfeeding with only minor hiccups.

At the same time, though, I seriously underestimated how much this would take out of me. Between labor and being his sole source of nutrition, I am spent, and not in the sleep deprived way I was expecting, either. My body just feels totally run down, and even small excursions are leaving me exhausted.

I'm working on typing up my birth story, but it's slow going when I only have one hand 90 percent of the time.


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