Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tobin's Birth Story - The Finale

Part Four – and FINAL really. FINAL. Figured I better wrap this thing up within Q1 of the kiddo’s life;) Oh, and MORE pictures - worth the wait, right??

So we were staying! I will admit that I was a little disappointed to only be 3 cm, but now that I was completely effaced and I knew my contractions were so close together, I found a lot of comfort in knowing that I was where I was going to be to have the baby. And speaking of those contractions – in the time it took us to get from home to the hospital they had only escalated and in a major way. I was really working now to stay focused and I found myself doing some intense breathing/singing stuff. I would alternate between very loud ooh’s and ahh’s – Ty later joked that it was quite peaceful, like I was running vocal scales before a big performance. I guess I was unleashing my inner diva? 

Now after we were admitted they continued with the check-in process – getting me in to a hospital gown, on the bed for monitoring, etc… We discussed with our nurse that we had a birth plan that had been signed off by our doctor and that we had hoped to avoid consistent monitoring, we wanted to be able to move (Hahahaha, as if I could move at that point!), and all those other desires we had for our birth. We were met with a very snotty and abrupt response of “Well, your doctor isn’t on call. So none of that stands now, I have to get sign-off from the on-call doctor…so till then you’ll have to follow procedures.” 

Oh man. This is where I started to do some major internal panicking. Not that I didn’t have the willingness to be flexible for safety, but the whole purpose of having our doctor so intrinsically involved with the birth planning was to avoid ALL of what the nurse had just told me. Now, thankfully this nurse was just a jerk and it was the end of her shift almost immediately after she said that to me, I didn’t even have time to complain!

Then in walked Sue. Talk about a God-send. I could not have asked for a better nurse. She was much older, had been a nurse for nearly 40 years, and had a very quiet and calm demeanor. She immediately acknowledged our birth plan and started working on facilitating our requests…I just remember thinking – she’s here from 7 pm to 7 am, please let this baby come before her shift is up! She wanted to get us off the monitor as we had requested, but our little guy’s heartbeat was all over the place. Sometimes, very scarily we were trying to figure out what position was best for him to labor in before we took off the monitor. This part was just awful, because at this point all I wanted to do was hold in any position. Movement was horrible and laying on my left side was the worst, but of course, he was doing better when I laid on my left side. 

Now, as part of our birth plan we had written that I did not want to be asked if I wanted pain medication but rather, we would let someone know if I had reached that point. (HAHAHAHA). Sue – angel that she was – totally followed these plans but smart lady said, “Now, I know your birth plan has spelled out some wishes regarding pain medication, which is great, but I just want to let you know how the timing of such medication works at our hospital so that you can make an informed decision if that time comes.” And I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this – but Sue went on to explain that when/if you finally request pain medication it can take a long time to happen. You’ve got to get the anesthesiologist to come over (and they’re not always easily accessible at a smaller hospital like ours!), and you’ve got paperwork, prepping, etc…she said it can take upwards of an hour. I muttered an okay in between my scales as she walked out the door. 

I immediately looked up at Ty and said “I think I’ve got to get the epidural.” I was met with an immediate okay. At this point I think I could have said I wanted a lobotomy and Ty would have agreed. You could tell he had never been so worried for me and concerned about how much pain I was in…I’m sure he was equally as happy that I was planning to find some relief. I knew that if I had continued at the rate I was going, that I wouldn’t have had the energy and strength to push. Remember how I mentioned that my contractions were rolling? Before the epidural talk I remember just looking at Ty and saying “they aren’t stopping.” I wasn’t looking at the machine that monitored my contractions and if I had, I would have known. But Ty had been – and he knew. As did that dear lovely nurse, Sue.
Sue walked back in and I blurted out, “I want the epidural.” Sue very quietly said, “I thought that might be the case and I stopped the anesthesiologist from leaving, I’ll get things ready.” Hallelujah! The epidural was CAKE. I was so focused on the prize of some relief that I was all over what I needed to do, who cares if I was contracting?!? The anesthesiologist actually laughed and said she almost needed me to not “curl” so much over the pillow. I was all about it you guys – you want me to curl over a pillow? I will curl like you’ve never seen! And I seriously thought getting an epidural would hurt – didn’t feel a thing? Not a sting, not a prick, not a single thing. 

Now a word about the epidural, after some debate with the anesthesiologist about where my pain was, she agreed to give me a very low dose – because I was so concerned about losing feeling in my legs. But she did tell me that if I needed to up the dosage, to use my clicker to do so and that if that wasn’t enough because of the low dosage she gave me – that they would have to come in and adjust but that it wouldn’t be a problem to do so if I couldn’t manage the pain with what she had given me. 

The epidural took about twenty minutes to really set-in and what a DREAM. Seriously. I could still feel my legs, I felt like myself – and I could still feel contractions but just barely so – no pain, more pressure. Hard to describe, but I felt like I had stumbled across the “goldilocks” concoction – everything was “just right!” And wouldn’t you know it – Tobin’s heart rate totally leveled out and he was also apparently as happy as could be. 
Funny note about this picture - hated that other nurse so much I had Ty go write Sue's name in as soon as she started:) I didn't even want to look at the other nurse's name:)
 Sue checked me out right after the epidural and I was at a six – and now this is where the story takes a boring turn. From then on out, it was just about as wonderful as of an experience we could have hoped for. We were largely left alone, Sue kept our checks to a minimum, and with each check she made I had made wonderful progress. I was dilated to a nine within a couple of hours but Tobin was still a little too high to start pushing. From roughly midnight to 2 am we just let my body “labor the baby down.” Till finally it was looking like it was close to go-time! Sue wasn’t completely happy with the fact that Tobin still wasn’t as engaged as we would have hoped he would be, but she thought a few practice pushes to get things moving would help. She left to let the on-call doctor know we were going to start in the next hour. Ty and I had a few moments of “oh my gosh this is happening” and lots of prayers were said for this next stage – which we knew would be a lot of work. 
This is what those hours in waiting looked like...just listening to my birth playlist and at total peace.
 I so clearly remember the minute we really started pushing, they broke away the bottom half of the bed, and turned on the delivery lights. The on-call doctor was awesome and I couldn’t have loved her more…she kept the lights to a minimum and it was really pretty peaceful. In the beginning of course – and then about 45 minutes into pushing things got really serious. It takes a while to find your groove with pushing and with as low of an epidural as I had, I could feel the contractions but it still took me some time to figure out how to make my pushing the most effective. 

And remember my low dosage of an epidural? The doctor and Sue kept telling me I could up my dosage with my little clicker, but I was so focused on pushing, that I really didn’t make the most use of that. I’m telling you – once I got in the zone of the pushing – I was in the ZONE. It became clear while we were pushing that Tobin was not going to come easily, the doctor was concerned about his shoulder width and even told me that IF it came down to it, she would do an episiotomy to get him out. Man, I tell ya, just hearing the word episiotomy got me focused. All this to say – I wasn’t so focused on my clicker and upping my pain medicine. BIG REGRET. That whole “ring of fire” business – why just a ring? Let’s be honest and call it what it is – a GIANT HOLE OF FIRE. 

Pushing was SO intense. Like I can’t even really sum up into words the effort, and I can totally tell you that more times than once I had images in my head of me being wheeled into surgery with Tobin’s head stuck and not being able to get him out…it just felt like it took FOREVER. My whole face started to feel swollen from squeezing everything together with every push – I felt like one of those roided out guys you see in the gym who have to yell to get out the last set on the bench press. And yell I did at the end, my friends. Yell, grunt, whatever it took – I was going to do it.

I remember when things started to get close to the finish line – I would see just how excited Ty, Sue, and the doctor would be – and they were SO encouraging. And then that was it – all of a sudden all the pain was washed away with a huge push of relief that brought with it our son. 

Our Tobin. The name we had picked out seven years earlier for our once and future son - he was here.
minutes old

Love that face!

This is what pushing did to my, Tobin, and our awesome team!
Getting to know one another
In love
 And of course, that’s really where our story begins…

Tobin – we are so abundantly blessed to have you in our lives. In the short amount of time you’ve been with us, you have already taught us and given us so much. You are a delight. That’s really the best way to describe you. You made us a mother and a father – parents. And for that we couldn’t be more thankful. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

This one's for Ty...

Ty is out of town this week...all! And I'm on my last week of working from home (another boo!) but during my lunch break I stumbled across this and couldn't help but smile at the similarities.

There's something that happens when you have a baby - you look at them and you think - THEY ARE THE CUTEST BABY EVER! And naturally you just want that baby to look like you...maybe to make you feel better about yourself. Or in the mom's case - you did just carry the baby to delivery and you want a little piece of you reflected in that face. SO when everyone else says they look just like your husband, a little part (okay, maybe a big part) of you gets jealous.

But even I couldn't deny it when I saw these pictures...

Tobin - Two Months

Ty - Three Months
And two posts in ONE day - who am I?

I spy...

A little man who's decided his thumb will do just fine...uh-oh!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tobin's Birth Story - Part Three

Part Three and no, we’re not done…I am the most annoying re-teller of any birth story ever. I apologize. Remember this was the short version? But there will be a hideous picture at the end of this post for your viewing pleasure!

My vow of silence lasted all of five seconds. We were literally on the same street as our house when I blurted out, “Now, do NOT get excited…but I think over the last 45 minutes I’ve had two contractions, and I just had the last one before we left the house.” And then I quickly followed up with ramblings about how I just don’t know if they’re actually contractions…they aren’t across my whole stomach, they’re low…blah, blah, blah. I was in serious denial. I mean after ALL the drama and the over-thinking; would it…could it…really just happen this way? The thought was too exciting for me to process. 

But I didn’t get much time to process because another contraction came on, so I told my mom that I thought I was having another one. My mom was WONDERFUL. Like oh my goodness, wonderful. I had always hoped that something very finite would signal the onset of labor, because I knew I’d be able to talk myself out of anything else…and sure enough I got exactly the opposite. 

This wasn’t finite – I couldn’t even determine if these were REALLY contractions or when they started and stopped! My mom started timing them throughout our walk, but in stealth-mode because I was still convinced this was nothing to be concerned about. To deal with my lack of confidence about what was going on, she told me just to tell her when I thought they were starting and when I thought one was subsiding.

Boy did this prove difficult! Most of our walk was spent with me saying “I think this is it…or wait, now this is it…oh now, this is really it.” And then it would be followed up minutes later by, “Okay, I think that it’s over…no it’s not, now it’s over…nope – NOW it’s over.” What I didn’t know yet, but would quickly be learning is that I had rolling contractions. The little breaks I was experiencing now would turn into no breaks within the coming hours, but I’m getting ahead of myself now, aren’t I?

Our walk took a solid 1.5 hours, and I didn’t even make it the full length of the lake. My mom, with her timing of my contractions had seen my contractions start at 15 minutes apart to now having strong and steady contractions consistently eight minutes apart, and the time between was quickly diminishing as the last few we had as we neared the house were starting to jump around from five to seven minutes apart. My face was flushed from the brisk February weather and pale with pain at the same time.

Now a quick interjection about the pain – I was still in denial of how real this all was – we all hear stories of how labor can start and stop and I wasn’t about to get ahead of myself. But by the end of the walk, I was probably hovering around a solid five on the pain scale. I could walk through most of the contraction but had to really concentrate and stop often at the peak of the pain and breathe. I’m sure we looked hilarious while we were walking. 

We got back to the house just as my Dad and Ty pulled up, we brought them up to speed on the progress that had been made over the course of the walk and as my parents left to go home and shower – I yelled that I was still planning on pizza and hot wings for the Superbowl game. They both placated to me and nodded, and then I’m sure they drove away laughing at me. 

I told Ty I wanted to keep walking, because as painful as it was, if this was really happening then progress was what I wanted and walking was doing the trick! He agreed and we started walking…but this time we didn’t even make it 25 feet away from the house. The pain couldn’t be walked through all of a sudden. So, I decided to give my body another test…I told Ty that IF we went back inside and I sat for a while and things still were happening that maybe, just maybe we would REALLY be in labor. Ty agreed. But let’s be honest, who’s not going to agree with a laboring woman? Even if that laboring woman refuses to believe what’s happening!

Here's where things start to get ridiculous. And I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it, but it’s a key part of the story…but Ty was hungry so as soon as I sat down at the table, you know to see if I was really in labor or not, Ty suggested having a nacho. And for those who know me, who am I to say no to a nacho? Ty made up the fattiest nacho you ever did see – complete with hot salsa and extra hot sauce. 

NOW why did I feel compelled to eat said nacho? I wasn’t even that hungry given the contractions I was going through! But I did it. I think to spite myself and prove I wasn’t really in labor. But as I ate the contractions got worse, we had stopped timing during this point…because nacho making is far more important to contraction timing, right? 

Oh, and did I mention that during said nacho making I tried to help out by cutting the avocado? Just the simple act of crossing the kitchen about did me in and I had to grip the kitchen counter with white knuckles as soon as I reached it. But you bet your bottom dollar I steadied myself to cut that avocado!
So where were we? Yes, I was eating a nacho. Complete with lots of acidic hot sauce. You know this nacho will be making another appearance in this story at this point, right? Brilliant. 

So, I sat there, trying to eat, but the contractions would not stop coming. Why I couldn’t just admit to myself that this was the real deal yet, I don’t know. Instead, I decided I would come up with another test to see if I was really in labor. I told Ty I was going to go lay in the shower and IF my contractions kept coming, then maybe we should start to think about heading to the hospital. 

Needless to say, the shower felt great but I was definitely in labor. By the time Ty came up to check on me not only was I still having contractions but they were now sometimes five and three minutes apart. Ty urged me to think about getting ready for the hospital. Now that I was admitting I was in labor, I wasn’t about to rush off to the hospital. No, I was going to do my hair and makeup! 

This was when things got really bad. I remember clinging to the walls in our bedroom and bathroom to move about and all those Bradley classes I took? BULL. Just a big bunch of bull. I did every single position in the book to try and alleviate the pain, there was NO alleviating the pain and there were no real breaks. That’s what was most alarming to me – where were those windows of reprieve they promise you? There was only extreme pain and less extreme pain at this point. But I was still determined to not run off to the hospital, so during the times of lesser pain I would try to “get ready” – this gave me something to focus on. And in times of extreme pain I couldn’t stand so I would sit on the closest available option. 

During one such time of sitting, I was on the toilet (it was closed, I was just sitting there!) and Ty was rubbing my legs and helping me get through it, when all of a sudden – THE NACHO. It was back. 

Now to paint you the full picture, we have a very narrow master bath where our shower stall and toilet all are located, so there’s just enough room for me to be sitting on the toilet and have Ty face me. But of course, Raleigh was worried about me so Raleigh had shoved himself between where Ty was squatting and I was sitting…just one big happy family! I signal to Ty that I’m going to be sick and he grabs our waste basket. I start heaving into the waste basket over Raleigh’s head while Ty tries to move my hair out of my face and hold the basket steady. It was priceless. 

After that little bit, I looked at Ty and said what he already knew – it was time to get a move on. It was now or never as far as I was concerned, I didn’t know how far along I was in the labor process but I knew that if we waited any longer I would not be able to walk down the stairs and into the car.  As we were getting ready to leave the bedroom upstairs, Ty suggested we take one last picture. I agreed and I don’t know how but I manage to smile. This was the last photo of me pregnant with Tobin, right before we took off for the hospital – 

Outrageous, huh? There was no containing my stomach at that point. Yikes!
How I eventually made it into the car, I really don’t know. Walking down the stairs was incredibly painful and climbing into the car was hideous. As we drove, I started leaking, a lot. I believe this is where my water broke, but we’re not sure because there was never ever a large “gush” for me but they didn’t have to break my water either…who really knows? 

We got checked in at the hospital and I was “checked out.” The nurse who was admitting us said they would most definitely be keeping us – I was 3 cm dilated and contractions were now 1.5 minutes apart.

How appropriate that it was the Superbowl, because it was game on!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Two Months

I feel like the tag "watch me grow" couldn't be more appropriate for these monthly check-ins on our Tobin, because (as I'm sure I'll feel many times in the future) he literally grew in front of my eyes from one hour to the next. It is so crazy to me to see someone day in and day out and still be able to recognize how much change they're undergoing!

After the blur of the first month, the second month started to feel more like a rhythm...a beautiful dance of eat, eat, play, poop, eat, play, poop. Notice the lack of sleep? Actually I can't really complain, because he's a great sleeper at night. Underscore AT NIGHT. During the day...uh, notsomuch. All those books and websites that say how much an infant at this stage should be sleeping...I guess Tobin missed that memo!?

Overall, this month can be marked by the emergence of Tobin's personality and from what we've seen so far - this guy is just loads of fun! He's so social - and as part of that, he continues to be very expressive and oh my goodness - is the kid vocal...I wouldn't go so far to declare he's going to be verbal because right now his favorite sound to make resembles the cry of a we'll see if he can corral that noise into something more verbal down the road. Here's a snapshot of Tobin at two months:

  • Per our two month doctor appointment yesterday - Tobin weighs in at 16 pounds exactly and is 24.5 inches long. 
  • He loves, loves, loves his hands! And is constantly trying to get his fist to his mouth to munch on it...and if he can't find his fist, his swaddle will will my arm. He'll just lean over and start munching/drooling on it. Fun!
  • He loves tummy time and holding his head up - he raises his eyebrows while he's at it (like it helps him?) and it often makes him look like a very surprised and old man...cracks me up every time!
  • His favorite thing is the bath...we can't wait for summer over here! I see many pool days in our future.
  • He's top-notch at cuddling and if he had his way, he'd always sleep cuddled next to someone. I can't say I hate this one, but I know I've got to watch it...or else we may have a two year old who doesn't want to sleep in their own bed. But while he's just two months, I'm loving it!
I could go on, but that would get boring, right? So here's some more fun pictures because he wasn't really feeling it our first time around due to those crummy vaccinations at his appointment. But when we tried again later in the day, I realized just how much harder they are already getting to take! If he's not staring at his feet, he's trying to move, and if I hold him back from moving...well, that's just so upsetting! So, we did our best and got some hysterical outtakes...

not impressed with my shenanigans...

now he thought I was funny, but laughter creates blurry pics

laughing or decide

hahaha, love this face

classic Tobin

my boy

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tobin's Birth Story - Part Two

Part One is here.

Saturday, February 4th

After a very emotional Friday and a nearly sleepless evening that followed due to restlessness on my part about being induced, I woke exhausted and was a general mess. I had never been so tired. I had never been so plain worn out – emotionally and physically. I didn’t know what to think anymore and to be honest – I was tired of thinking about it all. As I’ve documented plenty on this blog of mine, I tend to over-think whenever given the chance…and oh how I had overthought the entire process of being induced, my pending labor experience, and just how our baby boy would be brought into the world. And seriously, thank goodness for a husband who really stepped in big-time and was able to pull me back to reality.  How he did it, I don’t know, but after a big cry and letting me verbalize all my worries, I was better. Still apprehensive, sure! But I was back on track. 

That night we promised each other to take full advantage of our last Saturday as just a couple sans kids…and it was the kind of night we love. The one where, had I not been pregnant, I would have likely wound up drinking one too many drinks in the safety of my own home. Which, if you ever really want to see me cut loose, let me play yahtzee and drink wine in my own home. It’s sure to get me wasted. SO random, yes. But apparently the homebody in me prefers getting crazy in the comfort of my own home;) So, that’s exactly what we did. Without the alcohol, obviously!

Rusted Root blasted from the speakers, I showed off a couple HAWT dance moves, and we played some serious yahtzee. And there was tons of laughter. Margot got in on the action and Raleigh sat there like the general lump he is – a cute lump – but a lump all the same. It was perfect and exactly what the doctor ordered. I went to bed happy and content. 

Sunday, February 5th

I woke up feeling the most energized I had in a long, long, long time. In fact, I remember the first thing I said to Ty that morning being – “I feel like a new person!” In the last 24 hours I had come full circle. Feelings of exhaustion and anxiety from the day before were replaced with a sense of calm and excitement for the next morning – there was something SO amazing about knowing that our time to meet our baby was imminent. The guessing was gone, and we would be on our way the following morning to start the process that would introduce us to our son.

Ty woke just as energized as I did – he was just as excited that it was REALLY all going to happen now. After a leisurely morning we put our energy to use and with our big cups of coffee we went about packing up the rest of the labor bag and hospital bag, loading the extra pillows in the car for what would be an early start the next morning! 

Feeling like we had reached a good stopping point – we couldn’t pack everything in the car at that second – we had planned to work out. And by work out – I mean I was going to go on one last walk around my “loop.” The “loop” was about a 3-3.5 mile walk down to the lake by our house and back, and I can’t tell you how many times this pregnant lady took that walk. It was a total source of comfort, stress relief, and exercise all rolled into one. So it seemed appropriate that I go one last time.
My mom was planning to meet me at noon, so at 11:45 I went upstairs to get on my shoes. Yes, at this point it could take 15 minutes to get my shoes on! Just kidding… I gave myself the extra time, because I would have to go to the bathroom like 7 times to make sure I could make it that whole distance without peeing myself. That’s the honest truth:)

I remember sitting down on the bed, winded from the simple task of walking up our stairs, and bending over to put on my shoes…and then IT happened. All of a sudden I couldn’t breathe – a tidal wave of pain rocked over my body. I thought I had possibly moved too fast in trying to put on my shoes, so I threw myself back on the bed thinking I had strained something…only that didn’t help, the pain was still there! So with one shoe on, I did the only logical thing there was to do…I ran myself to the bathroom. And that’s where Ty found me – with one shoe on, sitting there with a confused look on my face. He did the obvious and asked me what I was doing. To which I replied, “I don’t know…I think I may have had a serious contraction, but then I thought I was going to crap my pants!” 

At this point since I felt fine, we just were hopeful that if it had been a contraction – that would mean things were moving along and that it would only improve our chances of a successful induction the next morning. But as we waited for my parents to show up, one more happened…now our hearts were racing a little bit – but there was NO WAY this was happening, right? I remember telling Ty – DO NOT GET EXCITED like a million times, when really I was just telling myself those words since Ty is by far the calmer of us two. I also made him promise to not say a word to either of my parents, because I didn’t need them to get excited either. 

My parents showed up and as Ty went to leave with my Dad to the gym, my Mom and I turned down the road to begin my “loop.” Little did I know what that loop had in store…