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How Old is My Baby?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Expect the Unexpected - Listen to Your Body and Mind

Friday, June 18th around 9:30am I experience my first contractions.

I have tried to look up what contractions feel like many times. Everyone says something a little different which of course leads to the thought that everyone experiences something different. While I firmly believe that people have different takes on situations and events, the fact is that contractions are contractions. Just like a runny nose is a runny nose no matter how it's described. I would describe a contraction as a cramp that radiates across your lower stomach and possibly even down the top part of your thighs. Contractions are also felt in your lower back, it's like a warm, fuzzy cramp. Of course, once they get stronger they get more painful but that's to be expected when you go into labor.

My fiance comes home to visit me around 10:30am or so. I tell him that I think I'm having contractions and he stops working to assess my situation. I was having contractions bout four minutes apart and lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to a full minute. He says he wants to go to the hospital. I was reluctant because I wasn't in that much pain but we go anyway.

We arrive at the hospital somewhere around 11:00am. I'm hooked up to monitors and evaluated. The nurse on duty was very nice and after about a half hour of monitoring we were told I was in fact in early labor but because my contractions were only four minutes apart I was on the fence of whether to admit me or send me home. The decision was made to monitor me for another hour or so before making an official decision. I became agitated because my fiance and I were both told to come to the hospital when my contractions were five minutes apart and lasting about a minute, they were coming faster than that, and they're telling us it's not enough for admittance.

The hospital forgot about us for about 2 hours. I was starving at this point and all I could think about was food. The pain of hunger far outweighed the pain of contractions and all I wanted to do was eat. After a nurse came for us we were told I was still borderline for being admitted and it was up to me as to whether I stayed or left. My hunger made the choice easy: leave and eat.

It's about 3:00pm or so t this point. My fiance and I stop and get food and I made some phone calls. My fiance asks me what I want to do. I wanted to go home. After being forgotten about for so long, being told I was borderline for admittance (I was 3-4 centimeters dilated, still about 90% effaced, and the baby's head was still at 0 station), and wanting to be at home with my fiance for a while before I went back, all I could think about was laying down for a bit. Eating had made me feel about 1,000 times better but I wasn't ready to go back to the hospital.

So we go home. My fiance is wonderful, staying with me, playing a game with me, all to distract me while I feel the contractions getting stronger and more painful. The contractions never got any closer together, but the pain level was at a point where I was hardly able to move. By about 10:00pm-ish, my fiance wants to go back to the hospital. I was finally at a point where I didn't argue.

Upon arriving to the hospital and after assessment I was in deemed to be in active labor and admitted. I was about 8 centimeters dilated, about 95% effaced, and the baby was still at 0 station. I hung out for a while, just letting my body do what came naturally. When I was 100% effaced and dilated (which is at 10 centimeters for those who don't know), I was told to try to push. I didn't quite know how or what to do, so the doctor told the nurse I wasn't ready. I started to get the hang of it around 2:00am. Within an hour or so of pushing, I started feeling these sharp pains in my pelvic region. Shortly after that I felt like there was something wrong. I told the nurse I couldn't do this and she said I could and just keep pushing.

At 4:37am my water broke. More like exploded. There was an audible "pop" and then a serious release of liquid. The baby was still at 0 station. I kept pushing, feeling those sharp, stabbing type pains in my pelvic region. I was exhausted and practically falling asleep between contractions. The contractions were so bad the nurse grabbed this dog-like toy for me to pull on. By about 6:30am it had felt like my body had completely taken over. I was no longer in control of pushing, my body was doing that for me. The nurse checks my status. The baby appeared to still be in 0 station. She calls the doctor in to check on me. The baby hasn't moved. It's worth noting here that the baby was still in the same position from that Monday when I had my doctor's appointment. The doctor started talking about a c-section to the nurse. My fiance and I started conversing with each other. I told him that I was willing to undergo the c-section because this seemed like an emergency scenario; the baby hadn't moved, I was in an immense amount of pain, more so than I thought I should be feeling, and my body was taking over. As soon as the c-section was confirmed, I asked for drugs. I was in too much pain. Whatever they gave me at that moment didn't really work, I found out it was a relaxant and looking back I wish I would have just waited until I was in the operating room.

My fiance couldn't be in the OR with me because of the cutting open of my body factor, it would have made him too nauseous. I understood completely and was wheeled into surgery. I had another few contractions before being able to successfully have the epidural, but once I had that, on top of other IV medications, I was much better, if not still ready to pass out. My anesthesiologist was giving me updates on my progress as it was going on, my sight was blocked by a curtain. I was trembling from a combination of the medications, exhaustion, and the surgery. After a few minutes, I felt my body literally lifting off of the operating table. I later assembled what happened: the baby's head was literally wedged in my pelvic bone, not able to go further. This explained the sharp pains I had been feeling.

The baby was officially born at 7:30am on Saturday, July 19th. After he had been cleaned off he was shown to me. He is beautiful. I was asked if he could be taken to my fiance. I said that would make him so happy. I was sewn up then taken into the post-operation room where my fiance and the baby were. The baby was recorded as being 8 pounds, 5 ounces and 20 3/4 inches long. (I would love to mention here that he is not diabetic.) We started breastfeeding right away. He was already a pro at this, however, it is common for c-section babies to be very good at first latches and then have slight difficulty on subsequent latches (which did happen, he's a good eater now). I was wheeled into a regular OB hospital room for recovery after the initial assessment.

Moving after a c-section is hard. You have a catheter because you can't move from the waist down for a while, you've been split open and lost a lot of blood, plus your body is working on milk production for the baby not to mention trying to go back to "normal" size after giving birth. It was very, very hard for me to move around after I regained feeling in my legs.

Despite having a c-section, I felt good knowing my baby was in perfect health. We slept together due to frequent feedings, (it wouldn't have made much sense for him to sleep elsewhere), and we were in the hospital from that Friday to the following Tuesday. I love my little boy so much and I'm thrilled that he's doing well. We are having some trouble sleeping during the day, but he sleeps most of the night with the exception of feedings. I can't believe he's already almost a month old... how time flies! It seems like only yesterday I found out I was pregnant, what a journey this has been.

I'm doing well. Nursing is hard and it continues to be, but it does get easier with time. It's frustrating sometimes when the baby doesn't sleep during the day because he gets so tired he starts screaming, and I'm perpetually tired so this doesn't help me. But we're working on it (he seems to like his swing). My fiance has been very helpful, giving me the occasional break when he's not working or if he gets a few minutes to help. Plus he is helping with the household chores which is amazing.

I will be posting all sorts of baby things in the coming weeks and months but for now I want to give a few pieces of advice for new mothers. For one, it's okay to let your baby cry for a bit. Not forever, but it's not a bad thing to put the baby in a swing or a crib and let them cry for 10 minutes. Especially if they're tired and unable to fall asleep. It will help you and your sanity. The second piece of advice is babies are not as fragile as they appear. Provided you don't shake or throw your baby, and provide them with head support, don't worry so much. Lastly, sleep when your baby sleeps. Many mothers hear this all the time but it's no joke. Get help with household chores and sleep whenever your baby sleeps. It will get better as time goes on but get as much rest as you can while your baby sleeps.

The last piece of advice being said, I'm going to hopefully take a nap now. I usually wait about 20 minutes after my baby falls asleep to ensure he won't wake up and thus wake me up leaving me groggier than before. Thanks to everyone for your caring and support. I can't wait to watch my little guy grow up!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Rebuttal About Butter - Time Magazine's "Realization"

Hi.

As everyone can see from the pregnancy ticker that's still ticking, I'm officially over my due date, no matter which date you're looking at. This baby has decided to be like his parents and prove everyone wrong... the last predicted due date by anyone was yesterday. So here I sit, typing yet another blog post before labor, in hopes to both distract myself and entertain all of you.

First, some pregnancy news. By now, some of you know my status. I'm about 2-3cm dilated, 90% effaced, and the baby is sitting at 0 station. For those of you who don't know what any of this means, I will elaborate briefly. Those three bits of information are indicators as to how close you are in the labor process. Dilation is the number most people know and understand, the opening of the cervix, ranging from 0cm (closed) to 10cm (fully dilated). Active labor, the labor that I will be in the hospital for, starts around 6cm, give or take (depending on whether my water breaks or not and other factors). So while I'm not very dilated, I have shown signs of progression. Effacement is the thinning of the cervix, which is very important because the cervix is normally fairly thick and if it stayed that way, labor would be even harder than it already is. Effacement ranges from 0% (none) to 100% (complete). Since I'm sitting at about 90%, that essentially means not much is in the way of the baby exiting. Now the most interesting part, station. I've seen a variety of numbers to determine the "station" of the baby, which is basically where the baby is sitting in relation to the hole of the pelvic bone. I'm going to use -5 (not at all dropped) to +5 (crowning) as my numbers. Zero means that the baby is literally sitting right in the hole of the bone, on the line between birth canal and uterus. As many of you have probably deduced from this information, I could go into labor at any moment. I have a biophysical profile tomorrow to check on the status of the baby, which basically means they're going to ultrasound me and make sure the baby still has everything he needs. Oxygen, enough amniotic fluid, etc. Of course if I go into labor before then, it's not really necessary, is it? I'm playing the waiting game.

Speaking of the waiting game, while I was in the waiting room at the doctor's office, there was a copy of June 23rd's Time Magazine sitting on the end table. I had actually already seen the cover of the magazine because it's also sitting in our laundry room, but it didn't stop my thoughts. It's really a perfect example of what I was talking about in my "Gripes About Grapes" post from last week. Here is a picture of the cover:
Alton Brown covered this issue years and years ago in his show "Good Eats" in the episode entitled "The Case for Butter." Why was butter ever labeled the enemy in the first place? Because "science" swooped in and did some "analysis" that said it harbored this scary substance known as cholesterol? Are we as a society just afraid of big words? Eggs were seriously injured by the science industry as well for similar reasons. Remember the 1940's and 50's? Those people lived forever eating not only butter and eggs but also lard, red meat, unpasteurized milk, and plenty more. But of course science came along and to "protect us" from bacteria and other "harmful" substances they preached about fat, diabetes, and cholesterol scaring everyone into "eating healthier." Now, suddenly, it's revealed that margarine has these horrible things called "trans-fatty-acids," milk digests the best when it's in its entirety and not altered, eating eggs actually lowers cholesterol, and to replace some of the things removed from our food for the sake of health is shown to be more harmful. Like how sugar is now consumed at a rate that is sickening for our country and carbohydrate intake is also up as not only a filler but as an "energy source" causing problems because they are not high in other nutrients for the body to work off of. So instead of eating whole foods that no one ever  complained about or had issues with and having a complete diet, Americans in particular are suffering from an incomplete diet being fortified with artificial vitamins and minerals which the body doesn't know how to effectively process. Using margarine never made any sense.

What's funny about the butter issue is quite simply the responses I've seen on the internet about it. I saw someone comment that maybe we should eat butter in moderation. Hmm. Does anyone know how old Julia Child lived to be? 91. How much butter did she use? A lot. I'm all for the usage of butter but we need to be aware that the butter this is being commonly consumed in America today is not the butter your grandparents or great-grandparents actually grew up on. With the advent of artificial growth hormome (rbgH) and antibiotics that are routinely given to cattle today our milk supply (as well as our meat supply) has been tainted with these additives, not to mention that oftentimes the conventional butter you will buy at the store will have other ingredients listed in it besides cream and salt. On the Land O'Lakes website itself is a great example. The unsalted butter they have has two ingredients: sweet cream and natural flavoring. What is wrong with the cream that makes it so you have to add additional flavoring? What unfortunately is happening that no one wants to talk about is that the addition of rbgH and antibiotics have not only filtered through to our meat and dairy but is also affecting the taste. On top of that we are what we eat and what we eat, eats. So if our cattle is being forced to eat corn (genetically modified at that), a substance they do not naturally eat and living in sloppy, tight conditions what we consume off of the cattle will show through us in taste and in health. (Note: they noticed that once cattle were switched from corn to grass that the prevalence of e. coli virtually disappeared. Why then are we not grass-feeding all of our cattle? Corn is way cheaper.)

Before you read this blog post and think that I'm going on a "convert to organic" rampage, I'm not. What I'm saying is quite simply the truth. Whether or not you choose to eat organic or whole foods is completely your choice. In our country today each aspect of the food industry, organic and conventional, has been tainted somehow and what it boils down to is power and money. I choose not to eat additives and pesticides as much as possible and eating locally sometimes helps with that, although many local farms will still use chemicals. Finding a local organic farm is ideal but let's face it, it's not always an easy find. Do your research. Learn about what foods you're eating. You might be surprised how you feel if you make a dietary lifestyle switch. And in my opinion, organic butter is a whole food.

On a completely different last note I did finally do a craft project that has turned out shockingly well. It's a wolf made from strips of magazine pages with my child's name on the bottom. I have to do two or three quick things to it before it's completely done, but then I will share a picture of it with you. In the meantime hopefully I go into labor soon!

Give me rebuttals about butter!