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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Wesley's Birth Story Part 3: Happy Labor Day

(Continued from Part 1, and Part 2. Disclaimer: this is the labor and delivery part of the story, and while I have attempted to edit out the most gruesome details-- it's still a birth story. And childbirth is not pretty. So while I don't feel like this includes explicit details inappropriate for the public or even those with weak stomachs.. read at your own risk. Thanks!)

So here I was sitting in the hospital bed. They had hooked me up to the monitors. Baby was great, heart rate great, nice strong contractions coming about 3 minutes apart. They were not at all pleasant, but I was dealing. Concentration. Deep breaths. Focus on the end, Valerie. This is what you wanted.
This IS what I wanted. My husband looked at me like I was growing a third hand out of my forehead when I tried to explain it to him-- but even though I wasn't looking forward to the pain, and no one enjoys the pain, I wanted to experience the pain of labor. I wanted to experience my body doing labor on it's own-- because I didn't get to last time. And it was! It was doing labor splendidly on it's own!
As soon as the nurse saw contractions were that close together, she went ahead and checked my cervix. She told me an 8 or a 9 and 100% effaced. We were close.
An 8? or a 9? Last night I was crying because I was a three and not budging. Everything was going so quickly! She told me I was doing splendidly. She even complimented my calm as I slowly talked through contractions giving her all the info she needed to officially check me into the hospital. She went to put my IV in, and I asked her to wait until the contraction had passed, and she just kind of chuckled because she wouldn't have known I was having a contraction if I hadn't stopped her.
Don't get me wrong-- I wasn't breezing through those suckers. They hurt. They hurt like crap. They hurt like bad words I was screaming in my head that wouldn't be prudent to share on this family friendly blog. But I was in the zone. I was focused and feeling every second of this labor and feeling very in control of the situation-- which is funny because labor is pretty explicitly involuntary-- nonetheless. I was doing it. I was there.
Shortly after we got settled in Z asked do you want them to get your epidural? And I said-- no. I want to do this for a while. And the nurse kind of made a face-- "I don't think you have a while to do this. You are pretty much at your decision time, hun. Epidural now or not at all."
"I-- I want to do this for a while. I don't want the epidural right now, I'll tell you later when I am ready for it." And then I was in the zone for another contraction, and Zachary reluctantly repeated to the nurse who was shaking her head, "I guess she'll let you know when she is ready for it."
Now here's where things started getting fun.
If you read Sam's Birth Story you remember that I got all pukey when the pain got too intense at the end. I thought that was just a fluke and a reaction to the pitocin, but nope. Apparently, I'm a puker. You know what I hate? Puking. You know whats even worse? Puking with an audience.
All of a sudden the pain got intense and I yelled at Z, "I'm gonna puke! I need a thing!"
And he looked around for a 'thing' but came up with nothing, and grabbed a trashcan off the floor at the last possible moment before I started puking up that oatmeal. Mmmmm... oatmeal.
And then there were contractions, and puking, and more contractions and more puking and I was no longer in control of anything and I was crying and apologizing for crying and puking on everyone and the nurse came back in the room... oh boy.
She got me a clean gown and some clean sheets. Checked me again, 9 and 100% but my water had not broken, so I could still have an epidural, but once that water broke it was go-time.
"I'll let you know."
I got up to go to the bathroom, and a contraction hit and I couldn't stand or sit and I remember wanting to cry and wanting to scream and knowing that I was in so much pain neither was possible. I walked out of the bathroom and leaned on the bed, and said, "Okay, get me the epidural. I have felt all that I need to." And she said, okay, and hooked up my IV.
It was about 11:30. They finally got the epidural and I was trying to find a comfortable position when the back labor hit and I started puking again and contractions right on top of one another and why wasn't the epidural working for goodness sake??? Then a little alarm went off on the IV drip... and I was all, "Oh my gosh I'm dying! That's the heart rate saying I'm flatlining, my heart has stopped I'm dead I'm dead I'm dead." I was perhaps a little foggy and dramatic from the pain at this point, and the nurse came in and assured me I was in fact not dead at all, and my heart was fine, and that the epidural line was pinched in the case. She freed it and...
AHHHHHHHH! It was like choirs of baby angels singing to me as the instant, warm, tingling relief rushed down my legs. Then she got me some anti-puking meds, and more angels. Then I sat back in my bed and smiled. "Look how great this is going!" I giggled to my husband, who just rocked in his chair and shook his head at me.
About noon the Doctor came in and checked me. She said I was like a 9.5... there was just a little ledge up under the bulging bag that wasn't quite ready. She decided to break my water, then would come back in about a half hour and we would start pushing. Yay! Then she left.
"Wait-- wasn't she going to break my water?" I asked
"SHE DID" Z said. And the nurse laughed at me because I was completely unaware I was sitting on a soaked bed. Oh, HAY Epidural! Thanks for your services. My water breaking was the single most disturbing part of Sam's delivery. Didn't even know it had happened this go around.
Big brother Sam and Grandpa killing time in the waiting room.
We waited the half hour and the doctor did not come back. After 45 mins the nurse checked me. Still not there. I needed to labor down for a while. Okay. I listened to some christmas music. I chatted with my husband. (I think he answered about 15 texts from my mom-- is he here yet? is he here yet? is he here yet?) I looked around facebook for a while. I was getting bored and anxious. I knew we were close, I was ready for my baby!

A little after 2:00 the nurse came in and checked me one last time. It's a 10!!! Time to push!
We did a few 'practice pushes', and she was all, oh yeah, this kid is going to get here soon. Rest a few contractions. Don't mind if I do, thanks.
And then the room started filling up, the L&D nurse, the doctor's assistant, the intern that popped in for the show, the nursery nurses.
"Hey it's a party!" I said. And they all looked at me like I was a loon. "A birthday party? Because my son is about to be born?" (crickets...) Tough crowd. Anyway...
The nurses from the nursery did take that moment to come over and view how ginormous my belly was, and make bets about the size of the kid inside. Oh, I see, you are comfortable gambling in my delivery room, but not laughing at the laboring woman's jokes.
And then we were pushing and pushing and everything is going great, and there's the head, it's halfway here, "Oh, crap, stop pushing, the Doctor is not here yet."
Cruelest thing ever. Do they do that to every woman or just me? Because it's happened twice now. And we were waiting waiting waiting for the doctor. She's on her way...
I think it was about 3 minutes but it felt like at least an hour laying there wanting to push waiting for the doctor. I'm not really a screamer in delivery, not even a crier. But sitting there waiting for the doctor at the very most intense part of the delivery process was everything I could do to keep it together. I looked at my husband and said-- "This is not fun anymore." But my voice broke--betraying my attempt at light heartedness, and he just squeezed my hand, tried to be encouraging. I don't remember if he said anything in response, but I remember being overwhelmingly grateful he was there. My amazing husband. My strong, calm, patient, ROCK.
When the doctor slipped into the room, she barely got her gloves on and I was back in business one good push and BAM. There was his head. And push for the body and...
Baby cries!
Beautiful beautiful baby sounds. And my sweet, rolly, baby boy was laying on my chest and everyone gathered around us oohing and ahhing. Someone grabbed my camera and snapped this picture of Z cutting the cord.
Z cuts the cord
(See he's still in his work uniform? Classy!)
Then they wiped him off, and he snuggled down into my chest. His little cries ceased, and he snuggled into his mama whimpering like a little puppy dog. It was a beautiful and joyous moment. Pure perfection. A rush of adrenaline, joy, satisfaction, completeness.

It was 2:35. Just 7 hours after I woke with the first contraction that morning.

(Stay tuned for more details and pictures from Wesley's Birthday in part 4!)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wesley's Birth Story, Part 2: Get me to the Church-- er, Hospital on time!

(continued from Part 1, This is a little text heavy, and maybe not all that exciting recount of the day's events... Just so you know. I warned you in advance, you are not going into this blind.)

I woke up Wednesday morning with a sharp pain in my abdomen. I shifted position, and glanced at the clock 7:20. Sam wasn't awake yet, I could probably sleep a little longer. I wasn't too excited yet, because I'd been having contractions for weeks, but these were kinda intense. I couldn't find a comfortable position to lay in anymore so I got up to take a shower. Might as well. But before I did I grabbed my stopwatch. A little under 10 mins apart. I felt like this could be it, so I went ahead and sent my husband a text, just as a heads up, I figured it'd be a few hours before we knew anything for sure.

I went and hopped in the shower. The contractions were really uncomfortable, but the hot shower felt good. I just stood there in the shower, letting it run over me. It relaxed me. I don't know how long I was in the shower, but when I got out, I grabbed my stopwatch again, because I was certain they were coming regularly now. 7 mins apart. This was moving too fast, so I must be wrong. I kept my watch with me and shook my head because each contraction came faster than the last. This can't be right. I've got hours to labor still.
I went and got Sam up. Usually we eat breakfast in our jammies but I went ahead and got him dressed. Contractions were making me really grumpy, but I knew I still had hours to labor before I should call anyone. I decided when I could no longer take care of Sam I would call my mom to come watch him while I labored at home. I was not going to call my husband and have everyone rush to the hospital just to spend all day waiting, or worse-- be sent home. I took him downstairs and started to make us oatmeal. Felt like I should carb up, and oatmeal was that perfect combination of bland and filling that made me think I wouldn't puke it up when things got serious. (spoiler alert: I was wrong.)
Two bowls of oatmeal in the microwave and me trying to push the kitchen counter through the wall with every contraction.  5 mins apart. Sam was patting my leg and saying, "It's okay mama." "Mama you hurt?" He was so sweet and concerned and I was gritting my teeth and clenching my fists trying not to smack his little hands away as he patted my leg. "Honey, go wait for your oatmeal on the couch."
It was 9:00. I couldn't deal with Sam anymore. I picked up the phone, and dialed my mom's school.
"Middle school office!" The chipper secretary answered.
"Hello, This is Valerie Pogemiller, I need to talk to my mother Judy S immediately."
"Okay... Oh! Okay! Oh my goodness, I'll patch you right through!" You could hear the excitement in her voice as she realized what this call was about. My mom had everyone in the school on high alert for weeks, just for this very call.
The phone rang in my mom's classroom, but the other teacher in the room answered, "Hello?" and I was thrown off.
"Um-- uh, hello."
(awkward silence)
"Is this Valerie?"
"Uh huh"
"OH MY GOSH! Is IT time?"
(And... another contraction hits)
"I think so..."
"Ohmygosh I'm so excited!"
"...I'm glad one of us is."
"Oh I'll go get your mom! Yay!" And I hear her all sing-songy in the background, "Juuuuudy! It's your daauuuughter!" and a few seconds later my mother's voice, "Hellloo?" (With that inflection you use when you answer the phone anticipating good news)
"Mama, I think I need you now!"
"I'm leaving now!"
And she was gone. She told me later that I had called during an all girls class, and she bounded out of the room to many cheers and squeals at a pitch only middle school girls can achieve.

Contraction having passed, I put down my phone, and decided I was going to go up and curl my hair. If I was going to feel terrible today I certainly wasnt going to look terrible. I left Sam watching a movie and munching some dry cereal (I forgot about the oatmeal I had made.)
I pulled some clean yoga pants out of the dryer and turned on my curling iron. Breathed through another contraction (Has it already been 5 mins???) And started curling my hair.
My mom must have sped all the way to my house, she burst through the door, "I'm here! Are you ready to go?"
Go? No, we've got plenty of time. I haven't even put on earrings yet. I can't find socks. I havn't eaten my oatmeal. My oatmeal! I forgot to eat breakfast. I need to sit down and eat some breakfast, then I'll get my bag packed and we'll head out in a little while--
CRAP another contraction.
My mom is watching me concerned as I lean my head against the wall and aggressively tap my foot untill it passes. "How far apart are they?"
"like... 7? or, um, 5 mins?" (lies. They were 4.5 mins apart) "I don't know, I am trying to keep my mind off of it." I think I was trying to fold some laundry or something at this point.
"Is Z on his way to the hospital?"
"No, I haven't called him yet."
"I think it's time to call him." She said firmly. And she was right, I was just putting it off because I wanted to make sure this was the real deal.
I remember standing at the top of the stairs dialing my husband when another contraction hit and I was crying because I was in pain, and excited that this was it, and scared that I had waited too long, and trying to remain calm because I didn't want anyone to panic or know I was panicking because then I would just NOT. Be Able. To Deal.
I don't remember much of the conversation with Z, surprisingly. Probably because it was all through the cloud of another contraction. I think he asked if he should come home and I told him to meet us at the hospital, and he told me it was perfect timing because he was just leaving the station... a few minutes later and it would have been a mess to get to him. I hung up the phone, resolved that it was time to leave for the hospital. My mom was a little frantic and had crammed Sam in his coat and they were waiting by the front door and bless her heart I think she probably wanted to smack me but we were finally loading into the car, a little after 10:00. And heading to the hospital.

This is when I went... maybe I should take pictures today? This is the only one I have.
Precious memories.
I had grabbed my oatmeal off the counter and was sitting cross legged in the passenger seat of her car timing contractions (4 mins or less), eating oatmeal, and chugging bottles of water. I was kind of manic nervous-laughing. She was shockingly calm, and alternately concerned mother and elated anxious grandma.
Z beat us to the hospital. He was waiting at the emergency room entrance when we got there. They took me to registration, and the lady asked if I was in labor. I nodded through a contraction. She asked how far apart, and I told her 5. (Lies, 3.5 mins) She told me to have a seat, and I told her I was more comfortable standing as contractions were easier to deal with that way. She started typing some things in her computer and watched me skeptically as another contraction hit, then called up to L&D, and sent Z to get a wheel chair to get me up there.
When we got up to the 6th floor and into a room, they had me change and hooked me up to a monitor. it was about 10:30.
"Oh, yes! You are definitely in labor." The nurse said. (3 mins apart)

Part 3 coming soon!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wesley's Birth Story Part 1: Now We Wait

On Tuesday night I was sitting on the couch crying and exhausted.
I was 40.5 weeks pregnant, but the doctor had led me to believe that my child would have arrived weeks ago. Though I am generally on the petite side, and I had gained only a reasonable and healthy amount of weight this pregnancy all I had heard for the past month from strangers and friends was how monstrously huge I was... how far past due I must be... and was I sure I wasn't having twins? I'd been 'ready to pop' for months, and miserable my entire third trimester. As soon as we reached 36 weeks, I started walking.
33 weeks pregnant

Literally, walking MILES every day trying to get that kid out. I bounced on an excercise ball for hours. I ate two whole pineapples, but only succeeded at burning my tongue from the acid. I started involved projects that needed to be finished in a timely manner hoping to tempt fate into not letting me finish. Nothing, nothing, and nothing. I would have BH contractions every night. They'd start around 7:00 and taper off around midnight, and I would punch my pillow in frustration. I was dilated to a 2 and 70% effaced. At 38 weeks, it was 3 and 70%. At 39 weeks, 3+ and 80. So I was making progress... but baby could still be weeks away. And despite my Doctor's prediction that this kid was large and ready to go at any time (at 36 weeks!) my due date came and went without any indication that he was planning to budge.

37 weeks pregnant
At the doctor past my due date the doctor asked if I wanted to set an induction or if I just wanted to wait it out. I told him, well, I wanted to let this kid do it on his own-- but I DO NOT want to be 49 weeks pregnant. He laughed at me and assured me he would not let that happen, but I was discouraged and exhausted from all the running around like a crazy lady and miles I'd been logging trying to make a kid move. He went ahead scheduled an induction for the following thursday-- I'd be 41 weeks pregnant. And I went home to continue my labor-inducing olympics.

Sam and his 'hosta-pital' bag.
So Tuesday night found me sitting on my couch crying to my husband. I had just gotten back from the doctor-- oh don't be excited for me, it wasn't because I was experiencing any signs of labor. I had  UTI. Could the world be any more cruel to this over-sized over-due pregnant woman? While I was there the doctor checked me and still 3 and 80. No progress for almost 2 weeks now. I was angry and exhausted. I had given up hope. I told my husband that I was just done. I didn't want to be induced, but that seemed to be the way this was going down. I told him the following day-- wednesday-- I was going to do nothing. Just relax to prepare for labor on Thursday. I was so disappointed. Z tried to console me, but I just wanted to wallow. I went to bed early. I slept through the night. This was pretty monumental because at this point I was so huge and uncomfortable I was barely sleeping at all... in between the 5 or 24 times a night I got up to pee. I woke up briefly when Z left for work. I rolled over and kept sleeping.

39 weeks, and way too pregnant to be photographed.
I got nervous every day that my husband went to work. We'd been running through everything for weeks... every possible scenario how it might go down. Z works for FedEx as a courier so he is out on the road all day. He told me that when 'it was time' I needed to give him plenty of advance warning because he would have to come in off the road and he could reasonably be an hour or more away. This stressed me out, because who knows if I would have an hour? Who knows if i called him to the hospital and had hours and hours that everyone had to wait. I didn't know. I was worried.
I also had my mother on call. She works at a school just accross town and would be the caretaker for Sam when this baby thing went down. She had alerted all the secretaries and various people at her school to patch my call through no matter what... but I was just nervous about that. What if it happened in the middle of the day when my mom was at work and zachary was at work and I couldn't get ahold of everyone? Or what if I called everyone for a false alarm? Or what if... I didn't know when to call? Every day when Z left for work I felt a little stressed, and I breathed a sigh of relief every day when he got home. Immediate access to my husband-- my cool, calm, and collected ROCK-- was comforting. I couldn't imagine being in labor and going through some or all of it without him. Could. Not. Do it.
40 weeks pregnant
So even though for several weeks I woke up to worry for a bit when my husband left early in the morning for work... this Wednesday I kept right on sleeping.
In the 'nursery'.
Everything all ready, now all there is to do is wait.

(Part II coming soon!)