Baby #1: The Birth Story

I promised R’s birth story last weekend, and then a cold came in a kicked my ass while I was trying to finish report cards…. so, that.  I have been in bed/on the couch all day on a rare sick day from teaching.  I almost have to be told to take a sick day, that is how rare it is.  I feel guilt all day.  Oh well.  At least I can talk a bit today which is an improvement.

So, about three years ago I had a sweet baby girl, and this is how it all went down.

I gave birth at 11:59 am on a Thursday.  My mom had been planning to come in to town for the birth and to stay with us for a few weeks to help out.  The Friday before I gave birth I was feeling rather braxton hicks-y and panicked.  I called my mom and she changed her flight to come in that night.  I picked her up at the airport and we waited 5 more days for anything to happen!  I had been on sick leave for about 5 weeks prior to having R because my pelvis felt like it was splitting apart.  I couldn’t teach, get in and out of a car, put on my pants or underwear, cross my legs – you name it, couldn’t do it.

I had an amazing Dr taking care of me for both my pregnancies and she and I joked about picking specific days that would be appropriate for me to give birth based on her on-call days at the hospital  I saw her on Wednesday and she said I was 1 cm dilated (I had been 1 cm for at least a week by then).  I wasn’t due for over a week but my Dr was working the next day so I said I would make it happen.  I was convinced that I could make it happen and so I told everyone I was having my baby the next day.  That night, I visited my friend L, and she gave me some Raspberry Leaf tea which is supposed to induce labour.  At about 9 pm I drank the tea and then …

*Note to my mother and mother-in-law and any squeamish family members – skip to the next paragraph…

I made M ‘encourage labour’ in a way only a husband or significant other can…’wink wink’.

Back to the story.  4 am rolls around and I woke up feeling a bit crampy.  I felt like I had to poop and gave that a go.  I noticed that my underwear was a bit damp, but I didn’t give it much thought.  Silly, I know.  No poop.  Wen’t back to bed and M roused a bit to ask what was going on.  I said “I think I might be in labour” and he immediately became slightly more awake.  I had brought a towel to bed and thank goodness I was sitting on it, because M started cracking jokes and as soon as I laughed I felt that tell-tale gush everyone talks about.  That was it.  I was in labour!

I went down the hall to wake my mom to let her know.  Knocked on the door with the towel between my legs, and said “Mom, I think I am in labour” and I swear she jumped sideways out of bed and started putting her earrings on.  I took a shower and the contractions started.  They were just mild muscle spasms but not too painful for the first few minutes but soon I was having to stop and sway to get through them.  I made my way downstairs and M and my mom had already dressed and were making breakfast.  Eggs.  They would make another appearance in a few hours.  It was about 5 am at this point.  M had packed a bag with banana chocolate chip muffins (remember this detail for later) and iced tea.  They both asked when we should make our way to the hospital and I basically said ‘now!’.

By the time we were in the car I was having contractions about 3 minutes apart and was getting nauseous.  It was about a 10 minute drive to the hospital and the picture of me in front of the entrance is awful and hilarious at the same time.  Take a look:

We went up to the sixth floor and I got admitted.  I got checked and was only measuring about 2 cm so they let me labour for a few hours in the triage room.  My mom and M were hanging out with me as the contractions got worse and worse.  I actually couldn’t believe how quickly they had gone from cramps to excruciating pains in the course of just over an hour!  At some point while I was laying on the bed in a fetal position I started puking.  M placed kidney shaped bowl after kidney shaped bowl in front of my face as I puked up my breakfast.  M has diabetes and at some point in the triage room he must have started feeling some low blood sugar and I guess he got out a muffin.  I took one whiff and I must have half-snarled ‘get that muffin out of here’ with my eyes closed and when I opened them the door was swinging and there was no M in sight.

I was checked again and had made little progress.  The on-call resident (or ‘useless’ as I would like to refer to her) basically told me that according to her text book I would progress at about 1 cm an hour and should come back some time in the afternoon, and I could go home now.  I almost kicked her in the face as I was in such hard labour that the thought of even walking down the hall was overwhelming to me.  The nurses must have overheard this and decided to sneak me in to the shower so I could labour elsewhere, out of the gaze of ‘uselsss’.  Nurse Hazel (or ‘saviour’ as I would like to refer to her) got me in to a shower stall with a bench and also brought in this huge tank.  She said it was antinox and that she sucked back a tank per kid when she delivered her children so she recommeded that I try it.  Basically, it just allows you to completely relax between contractions so the baby can come down and so I could deal with the pain when it comes.  It was amazing.  I sucked that stuff back like my life depended on it.  I actually think it just gave me something else to focus on while I was contracting.  I counted breaths during each contraction.  10 was a hard one.  When I got to 14 breaths per contraction or the counting just never stopped, I asked to be checked again.

I had been in the shower for between an hour and two hours and I had progressed from 2 cm to 7.  I was transitioning.  For those of you who don’t know, transitioning is excruciating.  I was put in a wheelchair with my trusty tank of gas and was wheeled in to a lovely, bright delivery room.  By the time they got me on the bed I started feeling the urge to push.  You know, like when you have a big poop and your body takes over and pushes it out for you?  That, times 10.  I was checked again and I was fully dilated.  It was a little after 11 am. If I had listened to ‘Useless’ I would have been having my baby in my tub or on the highway.  Thank goodness for Nurse ‘Saviour’.

I had this amazing nurse named Pushpa who attended the delivery who was also a midwife and she was wonderful.  She took charge and described very well how I should be doing things.  She changed my position a few times to see what worked best for me and basically led the deliverly.  I was so grateful for her.

My lovely Dr came in and commented on the fact that our plan had indeed worked and she was jazzed to be there for the delivery.  I pushed for about half an hour to 45 minutes and out popped baby R!  Crowning was like nothing I could have ever imagined.  Like pushing a bowling ball out of a teeny garden hose and feeling every single thing.  I pooped on the table, growled like a rabid animal and may or may not have snapped at my mother for trying to mop my brow.  M and my mom were on either side of me, each holding a leg during this event and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.  It was crazy.

And, here is the first picture of my little one:

After she and I cuddled for a bit and I ate the best toast I had ever tasted a nurse asked if I wanted to take a shower.  I certainly did.  I hopped off the table (the adrenaline rush after giving birth is second to none) and made it through the shower without passing out.  As I stepped out of the shower I caught a look at my new, deflated belly and almost shrieked.  What a joke!  I just pushed out a baby and I still have this huge belly, yet grosser because it is all flacid and hangy?  Bullshit!  I will save you the visual by not posting a picture of that.

M dressed me and I got to snuggle a bit more with R before I was moved in to my recovery room.  Here is another picture of me looking super glamorous:

I dropped that popsicle on her head.  Just so you know.  She didn’t flinch.

Here she is on our first day back home:

Perfection right?  I think so.  She still is.

Happy Birthday

Or should I say “Birs-day”?  That is how R says the word and it was her party after all.  My first baby turns 3 tomorrow and we had the party to end all parties yesterday.  I had a lot of fun with a Sesame Street theme.  She has had an Elmo obsession for about 6 months or so.  I took her to see Sesame Street Live over the summer, she was Elmo for Halloween (as you might recall) so it seemed like a logical choice.  She invited her choice of friends and I got started planning a few weeks ago.  It must be said that I did all this while in the midst of a cold that wouldn’t quit, writing report cards, having my mom over (thank God, or I would be a wreck by now), four evenings of f-ing first aid training, a field trip and umpteen other things.  I am amazed I have made it out the other side.

Here are some details from the party:

This is the sign that greeted guests at the door.  I made it with a green foam wreath from a craft store which is usually used for flower arrangements.  I pinned about 320 balloons using straight pins with colored heads.  There isn’t really any rhyme or reason to the technique; I did two rows of two balloons around the outside and inside edges.  Easy Peasy.

I made gift bags containing a bunch of Sesame Street themed stuff.  I had colouring books, little story books, Elmo’s Crayons, Dorothy’s Fish, a Kermit the Frog Pez, Mr. Noodle’s Noodles and a fruit snack.  I made the bag topper using Word and I placed a rounded rectangle over an oval and added colour to the border and text.  I just printed them on my printer at home and cut them out and stuck them on with double sided tape.  I left a tab on the sides to fold over and close the bag with.  I stapled the bag closed first.

Then I made cake.  And cupcakes.  Lots of them!  I made and Elmo cake using a mould and then some cupcakes.  M helped me colour the frosting using gel food colouring.  The intention was to make the cupcakes look like muppet fur and big bird feathers.  Notice how the yellow cupcakes are piped differently?  I knew you would notice.  My mom wasn’t sure anyone would notice all these nuances.  Oh ye of little faith.

I made/served a few other themed foods including Big Bird’s Legs (pigs in a blanket – this was a controversial dish), Kermit The Frog’s Frogs and Cookie’s Cookies.  I also made dip cups with the dip already in the bottom and a hash brown ham bake.  My mom made crab cakes.  Yum!

Here are come pictures from the party including some decor and my little lady at cake time.  The poufs are made from tissue paper stacked 12 high and accordion folded and then tied in the middle.  You then pull the pieces apart and they become poufs.  If you can spot them, I also decorated frames with letters and put them on the mantle next to the poufs and the Elmo piñata that I couldn’t bring the kids to hit.

There is also a picture with M and his Movember mustache.  The guests were egging him on and saying he could pull it off, that he was a young Tom Selleck or Burt Reynolds and other such drivel.  Can’t wait for December!

Full disclosure:  These are not all my original ideas.  I got lots of inspiration from the following websites:

http://guyerfamilyblog.com/2012/06/13/sesame-street-birthday-party/

http://www.allthingsgd.com/2012/01/kates-sesame-street-birthday-party.html

That’s all folks!

If anyone’s interested, I will post R’s birth story here tomorrow.  All the gory and amazing details.

K

Halloween

Boo!  Happy Halloween everyone!  I am enjoying Halloween in a whole new way in this phase of my life.  Halloween used to be all about dressing up in the sluttiest costumes, going to the bars and getting attention.  Total 180!  Now, I am hard pressed to find a photo of me in all this process.  It is all about the kids and how much fun they can have.  R was Elmo.  Her favourite character.  Every time I called her ‘Elmo’ she grinned ear to ear.  K was a Tiny Dancer.  She loved her shoes and couldn’t stop prancing around to show them off.  They were adorable.  It was freezing cold outside so we got like 1.5 trick or treaters.  R went out for half an hour with M and came back with a bucket full of candy which she promptly offered to share with me – what a cutie pie.  K wore her costume all day, to day home, through dinner and all evening.  R didn’t want to take her costume off for bed time.  It was a lovely night.  Now, I have a butt load of candy to polish off.  10 more pounds here I come!  Just in time for fat pants at Christmas!