Sunday, June 26, 2011

Right on Time

Here is Tallu's baby brother, otherwise known as Samuel Lenox Green Hull.

Now that two months have passed since his birth, which happened on June 18th, 2011, let me tell you what happened.

Friday the 17th I decided that I needed a belly cast kit, and Tallu's big sister gift from Samuel, and Samuel's welcome gift from Tallu. So the family went shopping, then had dinner at a fast food restaurant. We got home, put Tallu to bed, then my husband and I got to work on the belly cast. I think we finished some time after midnight, got washed up and went to bed.

I awoke at 7:19am Saturday morning with menstrual cramps. I waited a little while before telling my husband, just to be sure. Around 9 am I called my mother-in-law to let her know the day had come. Tallu was supposed to go to a neighbor's birthday party and then Sesame Place with a friend, but she had to skip the birthday party. My husband caught our neighbor and his family before they left for the party site to make our apologies and to give the gift. I was in early labor when my MIL arrived, and we chatted for a while. We gave Tallu big hugs and told her to have a great weekend, and we'd introduce her to her baby brother when she came home!

I spent the rest of the day laboring at home. My husband timed contractions, I walked around, sat on my exercise ball, and did lots of deep breathing. My instructions were to call when contractions were two to three minutes apart, lasting a minute OR when my water broke. I called before either of these thing happened, because I was anxious to get to the birth center and take my antibiotics and labor there. I also talked to my doula friend and texted her while she was at a fair in New Mexico. She warned me that my water could not break until minutes before birth, as hers did.

Let's go back to the antibiotics. I tested positive for Group B strep, which is harmless to mom but dangerous and potentially fatal to baby. Baby is exposed to the strep bacterium as he comes out of the birth canal into the world. The laboring mother takes antibiotics to protect the baby. So, my labor's progressing steadily, though erractically, but I'm not meeting either requirement. I don't care though, because I know I need the antibiotics, so I call around 3pm. The midwife says to call when the pattern is better established. Husband and I time contractions and wait. At one point I did say aloud "Maybe we should just go to the hospital." But I waited it out because I really wanted to give birth in the birth center.

Finally at 5pm I call back. The contractions are not as close as they want but I'm feeling ready. Midwife says she and the nurse will meet us at the center at 7pm. *Sigh* I keep on the ball, breathing and living through the contractions. By the time we get in the car at 6:30, I'm singing "Wait, baby, please wait!" through strong contractions. I really felt as though I could have had the baby in the car. The midwife, nurse, and we were all driving from Mt. Airy to Huntingdon Valley to get to the birth center. The nurse arrived first, then us. We greet each other at the door, but the nurse doesn't have the key to the building, and the midwife is on her way. Luckily, another door was open, and we three were able to get in a few minutes later.

I get the IV after a contraction, and when the midwife arrives she washes her hands and checks me; seven centimeters dialated. I'm laying in bed but the contractions are too strong, so I ask to get in the tub. I didn't stay in long, but it felf good while I was there. I had to get out because with each contraction I felt like I needed to push. The midwife checked me again once I dried off, and I was 10 centimeters. It's 8pm, and I'm ready to push. My water hasn't broken, by the way.

My options at this point are to push and hope the pressure of the baby's head will rupture the sac, or the midwife can break it for me. I felt like pushing anyway so I opted to give it a try. That push did the trick. My next few pushes were, in hindsight, pretty weak. My husband says the nurse said something about a vacuum or going to the hospital, and the midwife said that the baby's heartrate was slowing as I was pushing. She felt inside and said he was hiding behind my pelvic bone, and that he needed to come out now.

My problem was that I couldn't see him in my mind's eye, so I couldn't focus on moving him out. Once she said he needed to come out, now, I focused on pushing out a baby that I couldn't see. I know it doesn't make any sense, but with Tallu I could see her in there, so I could focus my energy on moving her down and out. This time I had to push and pray I was working hard enough. On that last push I remember screaming "Help me, I need help!" because I didn't understand what I needed to do. But help came, and so did Samuel Lenox, at 8:26pm.

The nurse weighed him and measured him. 6lbs, 8 oz, 20in. The midwife checked me. An ugly tear that needed to be stitched. It took some convincing, but I laid kinda still for it. My husband made me a ham and cheese sandwich, I had some apple juice, fruit salad, and laid in bed to relish the sight of my son in my husband's arms.

The nurse checked Samuel and me every hour until 12:30am. Then we packed up and went back home, four hours after the final push. It was a little strange, but also wonderful to drive home that night with our tiny baby to spend our first night together in our home. The pic at the left of the entry was taken on June 19 in our bed. We were able to spend time alone, the three of us, until Tallu came home Monday.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"In an auspicious hour"

A friend was kind enough to drive from South Philly with two boxes of cupcakes, a gift each for CharlieGuy and Tallu, and some welcomed company for my kid in the form of her four year old son. She blessed me with the words "B'Sha'ah Tovah," a traditional blessing to pregnant women in Hebrew, which means "in a good or auspicious hour." It has been a calming thought and a simple prayer since I learned the phrase Friday.

It has also helped me to talk to my doula, who is in NM and is coming back to Philly two days before my estimated due date. I wrote a quick note on her Facebook wall late Friday night: "I am silently freaking out. Talk me down :-D" She called me that night (which was 1 AM my time), and left me a message. Hearing her voice calmed me, and chatting on Facebook Sunday felt good, too. I told her I thought her next godchild was waiting until she's in town to emerge. We'd both love for that to happen, though if I were rich I would buy her a plane ticket out here now! She did say she would understand if he couldn't hold out another week.

We are anxious for the birth mainly because of the impending family vacation that happens two weeks after my estimated due date. My husband's siblings and their families will converge upon Hilton Head, and I don't want him or Tallu (or myself!) to miss seeing everyone all together. However, the longer CharlieGuy stays inside, the better it is for his health.

"Not my will, but Thy will be done." "B'sha'ah Tovah" This baby will come when the time is best. We will work together in that transition whenever it happens, and then I won't be pregnant anymore! I won't be able to sleep on my stomach for a while, but I will no longer wish for a forklift to help me in and out of bed.

Monday, June 13, 2011

No, THIS is the most pregnant I've ever been!

I am typing this post from my bedroom as I sit on a blue exercise ball, feeling queasy and uncomfortable as I tend to these days. At the stroke of midnight I will be 39 weeks pregnant. I have survived two mini-heatwaves, a tumorversary party, and the Odunde festival without going into labor.

My husband has been a force of nature in this house, painting our living room, putting up pictures, moving books and bookshelves from what will be the nursery down to the living room (with the help of our neighbor/friend), and restoring the walk-in laundry basket to a large bedroom. We've bought some clothes for CharlieGuy at yard sales, and received some in the mail from our pals in Seattle. I've washed the new stuff, and old things like the baby car seat, the swing cover, and the seat to the activity center. I guess this is the nesting phase people talk about, which I totally missed last go-round. Our bags are not packed for the birth center, but Tallu and CharlieGuy's car seats are in the car.

Last Wednesday was my 38 week appointment. I found out that my iron level is normal, but I have tested positive for Group B strep. Group B strep lives on the body in the gastrointestinal, genital, or urinary tracts. I just happen to be colonized right now (carrying the bacteria). I'm not sick, but during the pushing phase the baby could be exposed to Group B strep, which could lead to a blood infection or meningitis. Odds are that won't happen, but as a precaution the midwife will give me antibiotics while I am in labor, same as she did when I gave birth to Tallu.

My instructions are to call the birth center when I have had strong contractions four to five minutes apart for an hour, OR if my water breaks, whichever comes first. If my water breaks the midwife wants to give me the antibiotics as soon as possible. [I just looked at the clock, and it's 12:01AM- Happy 39th week of gestation :-D]