Posted in birth story

Elliot’s Birth Story

I’ve been meaning to get this down in writing for months now and decided that today was the day.

I went to bed around 10pm with my husband on June 19th after watching an episode of Bones on Netflix.  I remember tossing and turning in bed, insomnia creeping up on me again as it has been doing regularly since I was a teen.  It’s not that I was uncomfortable, I was just restless, my brain refusing to shut off.

I started drifting off when the first contraction hit me.  I looked up at the clock: 11:30pm.  My heart started beating faster as I wondered if this was the night I’d meet my third baby (for this pregnancy, as for the two first ones, my husband and I declined to find out whether I was carrying a boy or a girl).  I closed my eyes, trying to fall asleep again.  Another contraction hit me, it was 11:40.  I waited in bed again, this time keeping my eyes open.  At midnight, I felt a third contraction.

I got up, deciding to go into the shower.  I knew I still had time ahead of me; my OBGYN had reminded me just a few days before to call the hospital once my contractions were ten minutes apart for one hour.

I stopped by the kitchen, my little brother was fixing himself his second supper.  “I’m pretty sure I’ll be giving birth tonight”, I told him.  “What time do your kids get up?”, he asked me knowing that he’d have to set up his alarm clock to be there for Charles and Amélie when they woke up.

I told him the time and went into the shower.  More contractions.  One, two, three, four, five.  I looked at the time in the washroom knowing that I hadn’t just spent 40 minutes under the water.  25 minutes.  My contractions were getting closer together.

I got out of the shower and got dressed.  I woke my husband.  “We’re going to have to go to the hospital tonight”, I told him matter-of-factly.  “Ok”, he answered still half-asleep.  This was our third baby, he knew better than to ask me if I  was sure.

I went downstairs to grab my birthing ball.  I bounced around on it as I timed my contractions.  By 12:45 am, they were 6 minutes apart.  It was time to call the hospital.

“Hi”, I said after the nurse had uttered the usual greeting.  “I’m going to have to come down to see you tonight”, I explained.

“Oh”, she said, sounding amused at the way I had announced my labour “and what makes you say that?”

I explained that my contractions were about 6 minutes apart and had started a little over an hour earlier.

“How strong are your contractions?”, she asked as I was breathing through one.

How is one supposed to quantify something like strength of contractions?

“I have to breathe through them, but I can still manage”, I said.

“And, is this your first pregnancy?”, she inquired.

“No, my third”, I answered.

“Well then, we will definitely be seeing you tonight”, she said.

By 1:00 am, my husband and I were in the car.  When we arrived, he helped me waddle my way through the hospital to the elevator, stopping with me every time a contraction hit.  We were greeted by two nurses, one of whom I had spoken to on the phone.  I followed the nurse to the examination room at her request.

“Oh, you’re definitely staying!  You’re already at 5cm”, she announced.

By this time, it was about 1:30 am.

That’s when I asked for the epidural.  I knew from experience that the more tired I got, the harder my contractions were to breathe through.  Since I’d been awake since 6am the previous morning and my previous labours had been rather lengthy, I didn’t want to take any chances.

I got hooked up and tried to answer the admittance questions.  I remember having to ask her to repeat a few of the questions.  I was having trouble concentrating.  I did, however, remember to tell her that I wanted to delay the clamping of the cord.  This was super important to me as I’d only remembered telling the doctor once the cord had already been clamped with Amélie (oops!) The anesthesiologist came in around 2:00 am.  Ten minutes later, I was all set.

Everything happened so quickly afterwards.  My right side was only beginning to numb when the nurse came to check on me again.  She asked me how long I’d pushed the last time I gave birth.  When I told her I pushed for about five minutes she said something along the lines of “Well, as much as I like you, I’m going to call your doctor now, because if I don’t I’ll be the one delivering your baby”.

My doctor came in and checked me.  She asked me if she could break my waters.  By that time, I was eager to hold my little baby in my arms so I said yes.  I was still only partially numb (almost completely on my right side and not at all on my left), but I was ok with that (not that I had any choice!).  Elliot came out after about five pushes at 2:55 am on June 20th (talk about a short labour!), weighing 7 lbs, 10 oz and measuring 51cm.

“It’s a little boy” my husband announced.

I was tired, happy, half-numb and ready to hold my baby.  That’s when I heard the nurse tell the doctor that I wanted to delay the clamping of the cord.  I was so happy I’d told her earlier!  I’d been too stuck in the moment that I had completely forgotten to tell the doctor.  For five minutes I waited, Elliot lying on my tummy.  It was the longest five minutes of the whole evening, but delayed cord clamping is what I wanted and I’m super happy to have gone through with it.  There are so many benefits!

That being said, I was happy when I could finally see and hold my new baby boy.  When I first saw him though, I remember thinking “he has a big nose, but he’ll grow into it”.  Hahaha!  Such a silly thought, right?

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Tiny baby!

 

 

Posted in Parenting

Updates!

So today was Amélie’s 1 month check-up.  Since her brother had had a mysterious illness over the weekend, we decided to bring him along as well to get him checked out.  It turns out that the pediatrician took more time with Charles than she did with Amélie.

ImageI commented a couple of days ago about how baby girl suddenly didn’t fit into her newborn clothing anymore.  It’s little wonder though as she is now measuring 54.5cm.  That means that in 14 days she grew 4.5cm (or almost 2 inches).  Holy crap!  Now that’s what I call a growth spurt.  She also gained 780g (or 1 pound and 11 oz).  It would seem that mama has got some pretty darned good milk.

As for Charles, well, the pediatrician was absolutely flabbergasted when she saw him and heard what had happened since last Friday.  She immediately told us that it was a pretty impressive allergic reaction (hives) and urged us to talk about it with Charles’ allergist the next time we go to see her.  She is pretty certain that the reaction is in response to the amox that he took to treat an ear infection as the hives started to appear the morning after he finished his prescription.  She’s asking us to continue to give him Benadryl every 4 h until the hives are all gone and had us meet with a pharmacist to see what was the maximal dose we could give him.

Dada and I are both conked out from the stressful weekend and the little guy (who has always been super good about taking medication) now has to be forced to take his Benadryl (we suspect it’s because he associates it with the intense itch his hives cause).  No fun!

To give you an idea of the progression of the hives, here’s what our weekend looked like:

On Friday, they were just small red spots here and there.  As the day progressed, the spots got redder and larger and had raised edges.

P1000858On Saturday, the spread the continued the spots changed again and became the crater-like spots that turned blue that you see in the picture below and his eyelids became swollen after his nap.

By  Sunday, most of his body was covered by either new or old spots.  BUT at least he started to be in a good mood in the afternoon and started to play so we were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!

Finally, this morning, we’re noticing that there don’t seem to be many new spots and the ugly red-bue ones that were there yesterday are gone.  He also actually had breakfast: his first complete meal since Friday at lunchtime (we’ve been keeping him hydrated and have managed to get him to snack a bit over the course of the weekend).  However, because of the insane amounts of Benadryl he’s been taking all weekend, he now looks like a zombie.

Image 1Oh well, we’ll get through this!  I’m just happy nothing worse happened.

So milk and now, it would seem, amoxcillin.  Here’s to hoping we don’t discover any new allergies.

Posted in Parenting

What the Heck?

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Watching Cars on my computer after I brought him home early from daycare.

Warning: the following post is a rant.

Let’s play a game shall we?

The papa of a sick child with mysterious symptoms that include raised red blotches all over his body that are hot to the touch calls his pediatrician’s office.  What happens?

He gets told to either make an appointment for three days later, go to a walk in clinic or go to the emergency room of a hospital.

What the heck!?

The mama of a sick child with increasingly mysterious symptoms that include raised red blotches all over his body that are hot to the touch and a low fever calls the free health hotline to try to figure out what’s going on and if the child can wait a few days before seeing a doctor.  What happens?

She gets told to monitor said child’s condition and if symptoms get worse, to go to the pediatrician’s office, a walk in clinic or the emergency room of a hospital.

Sound advice

The mama and papa of an increasingly irritable child with increasingly mysterious symptoms that include raised red blotches all over his body that are hot to the touch, a fever of 103F despite the administration of Tempra an hour previously, loss of appetite and the inability to walk because it hurts decide that it’s time to pay a visit to the local walk in clinic.  What happens?

When the dada arrives with said child, he is told that the schedule is full.  He is told to go to the hospital emergency room if he wants his child to be seen

What the heck!?

The dada drives to the nearest hospital with his child.  What happens?

The triage nurse tells him that he shouldn’t be there with his child,but should have driven an extra half hour to the nearest children’s hospital.

What the f*cking heck!?  Can someone please tell me why the heck i have to give 3500$ in income taxes to our province’s healthcare system if no one is willing to see my 22 month old?

Luckily, she decided that since my son was there, he should probably be treated.

Conclusion?

The doctor didn’t know what he has.

Urgh!

What.

The.

Heck!?

We’re seeing the kiddos’ pediatrician Monday for Amélie’s 1 month appointment.  We’re planning on bringing the toddler along so that we can maybe get an answer to the “what does he have” question.

After some intense googling, my partner and I are starting to think it’s hives.  Anyone else want to wager a guess?

This morning.
This morning.
Posted in Pregnancy

Almost as Planned: Amélie’s Birth Story

The first contraction started at around 9 pm on Thursday evening.  Of course, at the time, I didn’t know that it was a contraction, I thought it was just a cramp.  I went to bed not long after and between the “cramp” that kept coming back and my snoring partner, I was struggling with falling asleep.  By 10 pm, I decided I was going to take a shower.

Oh yeah, much better.

I felt like I could have stayed in the shower all night (that should have tipped me off, but it didn’t), but I decided to get back to bed.  I was extremely tired, but just couldn’t fall asleep.  Thinking that my snorer was the bulk of the problem (sorry honey, my inability to fall asleep had to be blamed on someone 😉 ), I went to the living room to try the miracle couch (which is where I sleep when I just can’t sleep in my bed).

But it didn’t work.  The darned pain kept hitting me again and again no matter what position I was in.

And then, my brain did something wonderful, it decided to play the game of “connect the dots” that my body had initiated.  I started timing my pains.  They were suspiciously regular.

Contractions they were!

A part of me was super excited that my body was going into labour on its own (more on this in Charles’ birth story) and that I would finally be meeting my little boy or girl.  Another part of me was still wondering if I was truly going into labour.  Yet another part of me told me to get up and tell my partner that he would not be going in to work the next day.  I calmly listened to that rational part of my brain.  Then I went downstairs to tell my brother that he would have to watch Charles the next morning until either my parents or in-laws came to get him (it was 11pm by then and I didn’t want to wake the grandparents). 

I called L&D at the hospital and was told to come in when I mentioned that my contractions were about 5 minutes apart.  Of course, the nurse also mentioned that I would not be admitted unless I was at least 4cm dilated, but I wasn’t too worried about that.

I got into the shower again as I waited for my partner to wake up and get ready and then got into the car as he loaded the already packed hospital bags.  We were on our way (after a small pit stop to get some gas in the car).

We arrived a little before 1am and I was checked.  To my dismay, I was only dilated 1cm (the cervical check I’d had three days before had me at 1cm).  A part of me was afraid that I was making a fool of myself and wasn’t really having contractions.  Another part of me reaaaaaly did not want to go back home.  Nonetheless, the nurse hooked me up to the monitor and I was, well, monitored for almost an hour (the L&D wing was full so she kept being delayed before coming back to see me).  Once it was established that I was indeed in labour and that everything looked good, the nurse told me that she was going to have me walk along the hall just outside of the L&D wing for half an hour and see how I’d progressed.  After that she’d decide if I was worth admitting or not.

Well, walk I did and my contractions got closer and closer.  My partner was wonderful and each time one of them hit, he helped me get down on my knees so that I could lean against a chair and he massaged my lower back as I breathed through them.  He also made sure I stayed hydrated by handing me my bottle of icy cold homemade “Labour-ade”.  He and I were both amazingly calm throughout our walk.

We went back to L&D where I was checked again and admitted (yay, the baby was indeed coming!).

In my room, I alternated between bouncing on a birth ball, getting down on my knees against a chair and taking a shower to help me through each contraction.  The nurse had been very supportive when I’d told her that I was aiming for a natural birth and she only came in once in a while to see how I was doing.  Despite the fact that I didn’t hand her the birth plan that I had brought with me, everything was going as planned.

Things were going really well, but eventually fatigue caught up.  Since my contractions had started right before going to bed, I had been awake since 6:30am the previous morning (it was now 4am Friday) and I was exhausted by that time.  Another contraction hit me and I decided then and there that the next time the nurse would come in, I would ask for the epidural.  I didn’t feel defeated by my decision (and I still don’t), it just seemed like the logical thing to do.  I knew that the fatigue would make the pain harder and harder to manage and I didn’t want to get into panic mode and end up fighting the pain and the contractions.  I knew from experience that fighting the pain made the progress of the labour slow down.

Since the nurse thought I was nearing transition (she told me that many moms aiming for a natural birth feel like they can’t manage anymore at around 8 cm), I was checked (and was at a 7) and the anesthesiologist was called in.  Half an hour later, I was all set and it did not take long for the epidural to work its magic.  The nurse told me that she could call the obgyn to have her break my waters and help labour progress more quickly, but I declined and asked to wait things out.  She was very supportive of my decision.

My partner and I managed to get some much needed rest while my body continued its work.  At 6:15am, while my partner called my parents to ask them if they could go grab Charles at our place, I was checked again and was almost fully dilated.  The nurse offered to ask the obgyn to rupture my membranes and though I had initially planned to allow them to rupture naturally, I felt like it was time and agreed.

My partner came back, my membranes were ruptured and then I felt something I did not expect to feel: the urge to push.  An extreme, unrelenting urge.  My body had taken over.  I immediately told the nurse and obgyn who were surprised and told me to hold it in while they got ready (yeah, like that’s easy to do LOL).  I requested to be allowed to deliver on my side and turned to my left side as I waited for my body to tell me to push.

Ten minutes later, I was holding my beautiful daughter in my arms.  I was so enthralled by the moment that I only realized when it was too late that I should tell the doctor that I wanted to wait for the cord to stop pulsating before it was cut.  Oh well (note to self: next time, give the nurse your birth plan instead of counting on your brain to handle everything).

I am very happy with the way the everything went.  Both my partner and I remained calm.  I know that his support and implication were the cornerstones that helped me progress without pain medication for as long as I did.  The staff was also very supportive and despite the fact that everything did not happen the way I had initially planned, I have no regrets with the decisions I made.

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Our little sleeping beauty.
Posted in Pregnancy

13 Signs That You’re Very Pregnant (Besides the Big Belly)

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1.  Your hormones are so out of whack that you are crying like a baby during the last part of the final race in Cars.

2.  Your toddler eats more than you do at mealtimes.

3.  Turning from your left side to your right side in the middle of the night is so complex that it should become an Olympic discipline.

4.  Doing the dishes has become synonymous with “backache”.

5.  Washing the tub has become synonymous with “impossible”.

6.  You’ve been sitting on your exercise ball so much lately that you’re mildly afraid that it’s going to pop.

7.  You’re antsy and borderline irritable because you haven’t eaten sushi in months!

8.  You have to go to the washroom and pee before you laugh.

9.  Your toddler is thrilled that he can use you as a rock climbing wall.

10.  You waddle like a penguin instead of walk like a human.

11.  Two kids ask you if you have a big belly of if you’re just hiding a ball under your shirt.

12.  The innie that you’ve had for so long is striving to become an outie.

13.  Your nursery is done, hospital bags ready, birth plan printed out and infant seat already in the car 😀

Posted in Parenting

To Doula Or Not To Doula?

It’s a question that I’ve been asking myself for a little while now.  In fact, I started wondering about this shortly after giving birth to Charles.

You see, though his birth went well, there are a few things that bugged me about the whole process and now that I’m pregnant again, I would like for Peanut’s birth to be different in some regards.  I know I don’t have control over everything that goes on, but I would like to keep what control I do have when I’m going to go into labour.

For instance, with Charles, I had initially thought of going for a home water birth with a midwife.  After discussing this option with my partner though, we ended up deciding upon a hospital birth.  Since this was our first experience with birth and so had no idea what to expect exactly, we ended up concluding that we’d be safer in a hospital environment in case anything went awry.

I had also filled out a birth plan in which I had decided that I wanted the least amount of interventions.  I was gunning for a med-free birth.  However, when my water broke during the night at 40 weeks, I followed hospital procedure, gave the labour and delivery wing a call and we made our way there at 3am.  I started to have very weak contractions for the first time in my pregnancy (no Braxton Hicks for me, it seems) on the way there.  Upon arrival, I was checked (I was 1/2 a cm dilated!), strapped to monitors and told to try to get some sleep until 8am when the first ob/gyn would start their shift.

I listened to the nurse and managed to squeeze in a few more hours of shut-eye that night.  Then, at 8am, when the nurse realized that my contractions had become weaker and more spaced out, I was started on the hell that is Pitocin.

Had I known that I’d be leaving the comfort of my bed to go to a hospital bed, I probably would have stayed home.  In fact, had I known that moving about was likely to get my contractions going naturally, I probably would have stayed away from my bed and done just that: move (cleaning the house or even going out for a walk).

I pretty much stayed strapped to my hospital bed during labour as I tried to work through the pain of the contractions.  By 1pm, I was going into shock from the pain and was given an epidural (poor anesthetist who had to get his job done through my uncontrollable back muscle spasms).  After that, it was pretty much smooth sailing until I delivered at 6:26pm.

Now this time around, I can’t have a midwife.  You see, out here in Quebec, there are only 15 midwifes that graduate annually.   Here is a great article about the reality of natural birth with a midwife here.

Anyway, that got me thinking about having a doula this time around.  A doula, or labour coach, can be hired to help a mother/family before, during and after delivery.  Befor labour, they can help with a birth plan and preparing older children to the arrival or a new sibling.  During labour, they can provide physical assistance by the means of massage or just suggesting different birthing positions and emotional support.

I’ve actually started researching doulas and have found a few that have experience, references, a doula certification and other types of training (massage, rebozo…).  Now, I just have to call to see how much a doula costs.

I still haven’t made up my mind yet though, because I *did* enjoy having just my partner (and medical staff that kept popping in and out) with me during my son’s birth.

Did you consider a doula for one of your births?  Did you ever consider hiring one?

Posted in Blogging

Emergency Vet Visit

Sooooooo our little Abby fell rather ill the other day.  Friday, to be exact.

On Thursday, she hadn’t really been eating but I wasn’t too worried because she was still drinking and was rather energetic.  Then, on Friday, things took a turn for the worst.  She didn’t touch her food at all and hardly drank.  The day began with loose stools and as the day progressed she became more and more listless even refusing to go outside for a walk.  She was thirsty but couldn’t keep anything down and she was just plain miserable.  I was starting to worry a bit, but really went into panic mode when…well…details aside, lets just say that I call the emergency vet clinic and was told to bring her in right away.

I put her crate in the car and got her inside to drive the 30 minutes to the clinic.  While she was in the car, she did not whine at all, a very odd behaviour given that it usually takes her quite a while to calm down in the car.  She perked up a bit when we arrived at the clinic because of all of the new smells and she sniffed around as I registered her (she is part Beagle after all, her nose is at the center of her life lol).

Because of the rapid progression of the symptoms, she was quarantined and a Parvo test was issued.  I sat in the room with her, hoping that she hadn’t contracted the very infectious (to dogs) virus as she lay down on the floor and trembled while she tried to sleep.  Luckily, when the vet came in after about a 90 minute wait, she announced that the test had come back negative.  We discussed treatment options and possible causes (that raged from swallowing a large object to gastroenteritis) and I opted for treating the symptoms at home instead of an (200$) x-ray (an overnight stay – as was recommended – would have cost me 2000$!).

She was given some fluids and was injected with an antibiotic, anti nausea medication and antacid and I was sent home with the same medication in pill form plus some mushy easily digestible food to give her.  I got home a little before midnight and Abby didn’t protest when I put her in her crate for the night, nor did she wake at her usual 4:30 am to go outside.  The next morning, I was only just able to give her her meds (hidden inside two small meatballs of special food), however, by midday, she was already feeling much better.

She is now back to her usual playful, curious self and I am relieved.  It seems as though it was a stomach bug after all.

I also learned that I should have become a vet; it is a very lucrative business.  Our little visit cost us a nice half-grand…

All better!
All better!