Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Birth Story Part 2 - Laboring on Labor Day

I know this took forever, but I was having some serious writers block about the end her of birth story, and other issues about how much I should share.  But since I can't possibly rewrite this for the 100th time, here is her story. It is as honest as possible, since that's what I enjoyed reading as I was preparing for Coral's birth. So basically, if you are a dude, you might want to click away.

Sept. 1, 2014 - I was having Braxton hicks contractions very regularly in my 40th week. Usually for 3-4 hours, every ten minutes during the evening and through the night. They started at 38 weeks, but I didn't realize it was brax until 39w4d. It finally dawned on me that the rock hard feeling on the right side of my stomach + back pain was a practice contraction - NOT my little baby curling up in a ball and sticking her butt up against my stomach. 

Well in the wee hours of Labor Day morning, I kept stumbling to the bathroom mid-slumber as usual. I'd wake up with a rock hard stomach, want relief, then pee to make it stop (going to the bathroom relieves Braxton hicks). I was really out of it most of the night, but at around 5:30 a.m., I realized I felt different. I woke up a little more and thought wait a minute, this is pretty painful.  

I didn't want to make a fuss about it, with the whole crazy cancelled induction thing happening the day before. I went and laid down to see if maybe I was right. After an hour, the contractions still felt painful, so I whipped out the contraction timer app. The contractions were all over the place, but after listening to my body I decided this is really it. I still didn't want to tell anyone, not even my husband, just in case it was another false alarm. 

So. I took a shower, put a full face of make-up on. Straightened my hair, paid my credit card bill and send an email to my brother. Then finally around 9 a.m I woke Matt up. "Babe I think I'm having real contractions." Matthew was very aware of my 'practice' brax contractions.

He looked at me and fell right back asleep. Since I was still half in denial myself, I let him sleep.  He finally got up 30 minutes later and registered what I said. "Are you writing them down?" "Yes, babe. I'm tracking it on an app." "Let's go walk" he said. "Nope, everything I read says to relax and rest." We had this conversation a few times until I snapped. "I'm not walking!"

Then I conked out. And I was out cold. Matt tried to come talk to me and I snapped at him to leave me alone.

I woke up at 2:30 p.m. with drool all over my face and thought, oh no they are gone! The contractions are gone!! I was so pissed at myself for falling asleep instead of walking the neighborhood. I prayed my body was just "taking a rest." I had been googling "what does labor feel like" all morning, and lots of articles said the body knows you need a break before the real deal. Then at 3:30 p.m. again. Bam. Another contraction. And this one felt more intense than the rest. 

I went downstairs and told Matt they were back. This is really it I said! So I laid down some more and kept tracking on my app. Around 3:30 pm my contractions were about 7 minutes apart. Then by 4:00 the famed 5 minutes part. It was time to call the doc. I called and the nurse told me to get in a hot bath, drink 3 glasses of ice water. When my contractions get 3-4 minutes apart to call back. Matt was pissed and wanted me to lie. But I just followed instructions and climbed into the bath.

Meanwhile.. we had plans to eat BBQ with my in laws. 
Funny right? We still hadn't told anyone I was in labor, and when they called us to finalize plans, Matt told them we couldn't make it because I was sitting in the bath tub having contractions.  I think his mom was like "what?! Why aren't you heading to the hospital?!" They headed to our house in a frenzy with BBQ in tow. 

So back in the bath tub....My contractions got down to 3-4 minutes apart, Matt fed me BBQ in the bathtub, (so romantic, I know) and I called the doc back. My contractions were getting really painful, to the point that I couldn't speak, and it was time to go. 


I got dressed and we headed out. I checked into the hospital (in a wheel chair!) and took blurry iPhone pics like a loser. Everything that happened after this was like watching a movie. Our own movie. So incredibly surreal!  We got into my room and I was 4-5 cm dilated. it was definitely time to have a baby. I called my family and told them it was the real deal. Head up to the hospital. 

The shift changed, I met my new nurse Brandy and requested my epidural. In hindsight, I really wish I had waited, because the epi most definitely slowed my labor down. Otherwise getting the epidural was painless. I felt the cool sensation running down my back. Then Dr. Baird came in and broke my water.  They do this with a stick. how weird. She told Nurse Brandy not to put me on pitocin, that she thought I'd progress on my own. (Ha. that was a joke). 

Then I got superrrrr loopy. I had a blast saying hi to all my family members. We took lots of pics and I was so excited. It was a baby party! 

Being super hyper
It was probably 10 p.m. at this point, family members started to file out and a very long waiting game began.

Around 12 a.m. my blood pressure shot up to 165, and Coral's heartbeat was baseline 175. I was running a borderline fever too. They told me I had an infection, and the nurse seemed really concerned. More concerned than she was letting on. She kept hurriedly walking in and out of the room saying "I'll be right back." I asked brandy if I needed to have a c-section and she kind of deflected. She left again. When Brandy came back, she told me the if Tylenol doesn't bring my fever down "be prepared for things to go in that direction." She wouldn't say the direction, but I knew what she meant. Be prepared for a c -section.
I shut down at this point. I stopped talking, except to ask what the heartbeat monitor read. I'm not sure why I was so anti c-section, but I told them her heartbeat was usually at 150-160, so why was 175 so scary? I look back at this in hindsight and feel guilty. What if Coral was in danger and I was being so stubborn? What if something bad could have happened? But then sometimes I'm proud of myself for not letting them push me in a c-section. There is nothing wrong with c -sections, I just believe they are over performed in modern medicine. 

So.. After I took Tylenol everything stabilized around 1 a.m. The Doctor decided she was having prolonged accelerations after each contraction, and her heartbeat was fine. 
As one problem resolved itself, another problem arose. The epidural was wearing off. Around 3 a.m.  I pressed the button to get another dose and within 5 minutes was puking my brains out. There was officially nothing in my stomach,  and I remember getting so tired after this. Things definitely took a turn for tough, and it wasn't a baby party anymore. Most of our family had left, Except my sister, mom, and none of us were getting any sleep. I had no clue how I going to continue, much less push. was so discouraged at this point, I started thinking about asking for a c-section. Quite the 180 right?? I had been 7-8 cm for what seemed like 4 hours and was so over it.  We all finally decided to get some sleep, and I slept 4 -5:30 a.m. 
trying to hold it together
Before I knew it it was 7 a.m., which meant time for another shift change. I had to say good-bye to Brandy, meet a new nurse and my own Doctor would be able to deliver me. I wasn't 'complete' (10 cm dilated) until 7:45 a.m., and even then there was some kind of 'lip' left.  The epidural was wearing off again, and I was in so much pain. It was all in my back. I did not want to hit the epi button again fearing that I would puke, but did anyway. My sister tried to play Britney Spears music to cheer me up, but I told her to turn it off. I started shivering a lot, which freaked me out but apparently meant my body was almost ready. I remember feeling like a lifeless person laying on a bed. At this point I really wanted her out. Really really wanted her out. 

Then my doctor came in. They cranked up the pitocin, which should have happened a long time ago. "We're putting the car in drive. You're just sitting in neutral" she joked.  I asked my mom and my sister to leave the room (which I regret, because I'm lacking in pictures) and I told Matt I don't think I can do this. I had never felt so depleted and lifeless. On one hand, laboring for forever, then ending up in c-section was exactly what I wanted to prevent going into this. But for a while there, I just wanted to ask if they could just take her from me. Just cut her out were the only words running through my mind. 

So around 8 a.m., I asked if I could just start pushing, and apparently morphed into the crazy pregnant lady you see in the movies. The only way out this was to try, whether my cervix was ready or not. The nurse, whom I had already decided I hated, told me that was fine. She was really rough, had no tact and I could never really get a good read on her. I felt she flat out lied to me at times just to get me to push harder, and she seemed a little lazy on checking vitals ect. But I was a crazy woman in labor, so who knows?! "You can let the uterus do the work and labor down, or try pushing." I said let's push. After a few pushes, we decided to stop and let my uterus labor down. She laid me on my right side even though I told her that position hurt my back. She pretty much ignored my request to not lay on that side (scank). After 30 minutes I asked her to check if the head had come down more. She said not much, and I said let's just push. I was so pissed off and so tired of waiting. 

So we started pushing every other contraction. I could hardly tell when I was contracting, so is feel for the ball on the right side of my stomach, in the same spot as my Braxton hicks.  I despised this nurse, and everything about this situation. Matt was all cheer leader, go go go, you can do it, this is the most amazing thing I've ever seen honey! and the nurse was like, "oh that push wasn't good enough. The first push, that was good. The 2nd and 3rd, you lost it. Push like your pooping." I couldn't wait to get away from this devil woman nurse. I finally told Matt, I know you are trying to being positive, but please - SHUT UP. I wanted everyone to just shut up and leave me in peace with my struggle! 

At some point Coral started crowning, and said nurse and Matt were getting super pumped. I was still mad as hell and convinced they were lying to me. I asked the nurse, "ARE YOU REALLY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT ME HAVING THIS BABY VAGINALLY?" I guess my instincts told me Coral was big, and I seriously doubted it would happen vaginally.  "Yes girl! you think I'd be doing all this if I didn't think it was gonna happen?" So I reluctantly took her word for it, and we kept pushing every 3rd contraction. I was too tired to push every other contraction at this point, and would make up weird excuses to skip contractions. I think I was also scared/nervous.. like oh shizz this is happening. 10 months of waiting and preparations were culminating, and I was quietly freaking out in my head. 

Then finally Tiffany announced she was calling the doctor. I was ready. "what, I'm ready? Are you sure?" "Yes I'm sure." Everything after this happened so fast and it took days of replaying it over in my head (and asking Matthew for details) to remember. 

Suddenly 4 people barged in the room and Dr. Leeds introduced me to April, the delivery nurse. "April will catch the baby" she said. I remember being completely fixated on this woman. I've never been so focused on a complete stranger. She looked Hawaiaan to me, and had a stocky build. I pushed for my first contraction with my doctor, and immediately crazy devil nurse mentioned I was farther along than this when she called. I thought oh hell no, this aggressive, lying nurse called too early.  I got so pissed, and on my second push I gave it all had. I made a c position and pushed so damn hard. Apparently that did the trick because everyone starting saying 'okay, okay, okay' and assuming their positions. Then my doctor told me she was cutting my episiotomy (2nd degree, it turns out).

We waited for a strong contraction, which felt like an ETERNITY, and gave it one more go. I pushed 5 times for 10 seconds each, then I heard a loud POP (probably her clavicle fracturing) and saw Coral in my doctor's hands!  In one instant, I felt the biggest relief physically and I could finally focus on something besides discomfort. 

I'll never forget how Coral looked.  So squirmy already! Then I saw April carry Coral over to the baby station. I asked her why she wasn't crying yet. She told me she was ok, and not to worry as she used that blue suction tool to get fluid out of Coral. She used this tool so fast, and carried her like a chicken. After about 10 seconds I heard Coral cry and immediately started crying myself. She was ok. I was ok (debatable). April lifted her up and shouted "my, this is one sturdy baby!" I asked, how much does she weigh?? "oh we'll scream it out when we know!" 


Then April started shouting "4070, 4070!" Everyone else started screaming too. "4070?" "4070!" April repeated back. I said what does that mean?? "Oh we measure them in grams." April said casually. "She's 9 lbs. 9 lbs even!" I'm not gonna lie, I felt proud as hell. I just delivered a 9 lb. baby. And my instincts was right, there was a big baby in there! Trust your instincts first time mamas! (You won't believe how strong they are immediately)

I could hardly focus on anything but Coral, but then my doctor was hollering at me to push one more time. I looked at her like she was crazy, and she said "your placenta. We have to deliver the placenta" So I pushed one more time and it all fell out, which again, felt amazing. Then they stitched me up, and brought Coral over to me. Matt snapped this picture of me, my favorite picture of our entire birth and hospital stay.

I wish I could say all those mushy things about meeting Coral for the first time but honestly I was in a daze. I could barely register what happened, and apparently I told a post partum nurse that she was overwhelming me later that day.  It wasn't until a few hours later when my family pleaded with me to send Coral to the nursery and get some sleep that I realized how much I loved this girl. I cried that I didn't want her to leave me. I loved her too much and didn't want to let her go. 

And the love and happiness just kept coming and coming as I arose from the fog in the next 36 hours. Those two days are the happiest of my life. I can say that with 100% certainty. :) 

The rest of our time at the hospital was a complete circus, but I've never been so excited, so proud, so scared, so OUT of it, and so attached all at once. I felt like pregnancy warrior woman (which I'm sure all moms feel no matter how their babies arrive. you just added a human being to the world, birth certificate and everything). She's my greatest work ya know? My little precious Coral. Thanks for reading, if you actually made it down here.  You must be some kind of blog-reading warrior if ya know what I mean! Over and out. 

Ps. I barely have any pictures of family visitors because day 1 was such a blur. :/ but here are some of my favorites. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Coral's Registry Favorites | Newborn edition

Now that we've been home and have had a chance to test out all our toys, I want to update on our favorite baby products. It's always so overwhelming as a first time mom (or a mom who has not had a newborn for a while) to sift through all the latest and greatest baby products. I'm still constantly searching! 

I have to say, the first few weeks felt like baby Christmas. Lots of items were still packaged up (I'm a chronic returner), so we were turning the house upside on the daily ripping open boxes, reading instructions, placing batteries in ect. Ect. It was kind of hectic, but I am definitely glad I could easily re-package and return all the items that have not worked for us. 

Here are Coral and I's favorite registry items! 

1. Boppy newborn lounger and regular boppy. Homegirl loves to sleep in her lounger,  and does so every night. I use the regular boppy religiously to nurse too! I hated the nursing boppy, and returned it. I found it to be super uncomfortable. 
2. The playtex nurser bottle with drop ins!!! It is the seriously the best bottle for nursing mamas who don't want to spend so much time washing 4 part bottles at the sink. I never thought I'd be so in love with a bottle, but tis true my friends. After a quick bout of nipple confusion, this bottle saved the day, and the pre-sterilized drop ins are my best friend! 
3. Also the playtex bottle storage thing. I have the grass too, but I like this thing better cause it dries pump parts like a champ. 
4. Boppy liners for her changing table. To save you from a an accidental pee or poop. Or to carry on the go in your diaper bag. 
5. Aden and Anais everything. Bibs, blankets, burp cloths, towels. The blankets don't over heat coral, and if I'm swinging a loose swaddle for nap time they are just right. My changing pad cover is also Aden and Anais (picture above) ^^
6. Speaking of swaddling, the summer swaddle sack was a night time must for us since Coral had some wild arms. But now Coral busts out of a tight swaddle, so last night we retired the sleep sack. But we did use it religiously the past seven weeks. If she still needs something, we may try the magic sleep suit, but I'm gonna see how she does without much bundling. 
7. California Baby bath products. I'm obsessed with the calendula lotion. Coral has sensitive skin, and also had a bad case of newborn acne/cradle cap. I wish I had saved myself a headache and used more gentle products from the get go. I don't think less gentle products caused her skin problems, but they certainly didn't help. 
8. Lanisoh breast pads. Other brands are not that good IMO. And this brand can be found at drug stores and the grocery. No trip to baby stores needed. 
9. Babyganics sanitizer wipes. I have them everywhere. Lol. Just fighting those germs on the daily. 
10. A glider you love! I swivel around to hit the lamp switch, noise machine, reach for items in my nursing cart.. And on and on. I spend so much time here. Here's Emmy in it with Coral! 
I didn't register for these items but I love them nonetheless: 

Simple ikea shelves next to her changing table! 

Pottery barn baskets and storage: 

I hope to keep updating on our products! And we are off to a fancy lunch, wish me luck! 



Sunday, September 28, 2014

Birth Story Part 1

Coral's birth story starts on Sunday, Aug. 31st, the day before Labor Day in my mind. I was scheduled to be induced that day, and would have been 40w3d pregnant. We were ecstatic, nervous and all other sorts of emotions. It was super trippy to think we were becoming parents the next day. Or so we thought. 

We had a few Saturday plans to get ready for baby, but mostly wanted to relax. I was so ready to be in labor, minus the small fact that I was terrified of pitocin. Not sure why, but otherwise, bring on baby was how I was feeling! 

I walked with Jessie and the girls. My sister, BIL and niece and nephew were coming into town from Austin so we cleaned the house.  I was so excited that a UT skirt from 2006 fit me and took this picture. 


I ALMOST posted it with the caption "we are becoming parents tomorrow!!!" on social media but luckily did not. I decided announcing my induction date to the interwebz was a lot of pressure.  We told all immediate family members, and most close friends what the deal was - and I was happy with that. 

Matt grilled steaks for my last meal since I was instructed to start fasting at midnight. I wanted lots of protein to keep me energized. We watched college football all by ourselves and had a calm night. Bags were packed, and the hospital could call us as soon as 4 am.  If we had not heard back from
them by 6:30 am, we were to call them and get our time slot.

Believe it or not I actually fell asleep at 11. I woke up every hour to check the time, and by 5:30 am I was fully awake. I laid there and waited til 6:30 am. Then I went to the nursery and nervously made my first phone call to the hospital.

"No we dont have a bed at this time, Call back at 9 am." 

Okie dokie. I did just that. 

"No we don't have a bed right now, but things should begin to lighten up around noon. We are working on it, have talked to Dr. Leeds-Richter, and we'll call you." 

Noon came and went, and at this point I was antsy and a bit pessimistic. I told Matt "let's just go to the movies. Let's pack everything up, and wait it out at the movies." He said ok, but then dodged the request which clearly meant, no Tess, that is crazy. I got the hint and dropped it. Finally at 1 pm we cracked and called.  

That's when things got sketchy. 

"It is not looking good, we will check with ginger, and give you a status update. We'll get you a firm answer within 30 minutes." 

1 hour later. Still no call.  We called them again, since they clearly were in no rush to call us.

"We officially need to cancel. There simply isn't any room. Be at your Doctors office at 9 am on Tuesday morning. Resume eating and monitor fetal movement." 

I then shared some not so nice words with said hospital staffers, and hung up on the stupid lady named ginger mid- sentence. 

We called our parents to let them know; nope- Today is not baby day. We texted everyone else.  It was pretty much the most awful news to share, especially while our phones were blowing up with "good luck!" "Can't wait to see the baby," "keep us posted!" ect ect. I didn't want to respond to anyone, but after a few hours I forced myself to let people know. I copied and pasted the same text to all folks who had inquired.  It was all I had the energy for. 

After moping around for a solid 3 hours, we decided to go eat spicy food and see a movie. Just to get out of the house. My picky eater husband chose a Cajun restaurant in highland village. We talked at length about the day. We were both emotionally exhausted, and decided that maybe the scheduled delivery was too much of a production for us. Since everyone would be off for Labor Day, it seemed a parade of people were ready to meet us on what would have been day 2 of our hospital stay. We were feeling overwhelmed by it all, so maybe this was for the best. 

We also talked about how little Coral was probably stubborn and slow like her daddy, and we truly didn't think she'd come on her own. She would need to be evicted on Thursday (the rescheduled induction date).  We weren't even going to hope for anything sooner. 

Well... apparently Little Coral was listening and laughing at us.. Because not even 12 hours later little girl decided she was coming into this world. All on her own... 

Part 2 coming soon! 

09 10