Archive for the ‘birth’ Category

I’m still here. Already this second baby is getting the short end of the stick- ahhhh poor second baby. I suppose I’ll probably not even wash off her pacifiers and let her tongue kiss the dog too. Oh the joys of parenthood the second time around. You figure out they are actually kinda resilient and you don’t have treat them like glass. Of course, we’ll see how all of this goes when she gets here.

Which leads me to my update and check in. I thought I’d blog a lot more than I am, but of course, we live with a toddler who actually wants us to pay attention to her *sigh*. And then there’s working and Jim’s still in school and (insert many other excuses here).

I went into this pregnancy already at an anxiety level 10+ and it’s only increased from there. Because of our journey with the last pregnancy- which thankfully had a wonderful outcome- I was a little worried about how things would progress this time. I knew I wouldn’t have my guru/savior/most awesome doctor teammate around this time because she moved out of state (HOW DARE SHE ABANDONE ME!!!) and that made me sad. I stuck with the clinic I had before and took on a new doctor. Immediately we clashed and were not on the same page as to how we should treat this pregnancy. I wanted to go to war with Iraq and she wanted to sit back and have tea with Canada. What I mean by that is, I wanted to be as proactive and aggressive as possible. For me that meant getting a stitch on my cervix to close that sucker up. Traditionally this is most effective if done earlier in pregnancy- 12-14 wks. She wanted to just “wait and see” how things went. That meant doing bi monthly ultrasounds and cervical length checks.  I didn’t like that answer so I did what any good millennial would do and I went to find someone who would give me exactly what I wanted- a “Yes of course you’re right”. I sought out an office of specialists who are supposed EXPERTS in this  sorta thing, http://www.uofmmedicalcenter.org/Specialties/Maternal-FetalMedicine/index.htm.

I made an appointment straight away and went skipping into the appointment expecting to be booked into an OR in a matter of days. Imagine my shock and disappointment when the doctor there mirrored exactly what my doctor at my OB clinic said. Again, not  satisfied with what I was hearing (see, total millennial) I reached out to my old doctor I had with Esther  (so glad I saved that cell number, lol). I shared  with her the advice I was given by the other doctors- which was in contradiction to what we had originally planned- and asked if I should get a 3rd/4th opinion. She put my mind at ease a tiny bit, and said it sounded like a good plan. She was encouraged that I made it to 38 wks with Esther and said I’d probably do fine again and to just take it one step at a time. Only then did I finally accept that maybe the universe was trying to tell me something. So I acquiesced  and tried to walk into this pregnancy with a mustard seed sized spec of optimism.

That bring us to today.  I’ve thrown that tiny spec and ran over it with a semi. We’re on the same road we were with Esther. My cervix is failing, it’s now too risky to do a stitch and I’m bitter and angry feeling like, “I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!”. I’m trying to trust and believe that maybe this is meant to be. Maybe the stitch wasn’t the magic silver bullet and that things will be fine. I’m trying to trust my body and believe that it can do this again, but it’s tough. I’m currently not at a place where I can be hopeful. I hope that’s coming. I need it to come soon. For my sake, and my family’s. I want to be wrong about all of my deep, dark imaginings.

I’ve had several doctors appointments over these past few months. I almost have one a week, for sure one every other. Today’s appointment was a follow up to Monday’s when things looked grim.

Well, the jury is still out but today’s appointment went/looked better than Monday.
The baby looks great, as usual. Moving around and is very active. That’s no surprise if she’s going to be anything like Esther.
The cervix is still measuring short and there still is a tiny bit of funneling, but it’s better than it was on Monday, so perhaps the progesterone I started after Monday’s appt is helping with strengthening the cervix- which it’s supposed to do. So that’s a win.
The doctor today was one I haven’t met before. He was  much nicer and understanding. I told him everything I was told by the other doctors. He seemed upset and said that he wished doctors would stop saying that bedrest doesn’t work. Instead he wished they would phrase it like , “we have no hard evidence that is works, but we also don’t have evidence that it doesn’t work.” I told him that for me, I felt bed rest for sure made the difference and got me to term with Esther. I asked if he felt the current course of action was a good one. He said at this point he feels the risk of a cerclage/stitch is greater than keeping an eye on the cervix and maybe ending up on bed rest again. The surgery itself could either burst my bag of waters- which  of course means demise for the baby at this point, or send me into labor- again with a bad outcome.
So, I still have my appointment tomorrow with Clinic Sofia and another one to measure the cervix on Monday with Maternal Fetal.
Currently I’m not on bed rest, but he recommended very limited activities other than work. I asked for specifics and he said basically evenings and weekends are for resting. No housework- laundry vacuuming etc (Oh bummer *sarcasm*.) No exercising or extra walking (Oh shoot *sarcasm*.) No lifting and anything that causes me to strain my abdominal muscles. All of these restrictions until I’m at least 32 weeks. He said that’s the short term goal. Babies born then have less brain bleeds if any- and tend to have very good outcomes.
I’m trying to be optimistic, I really want to be wrong about everything. I hope I am. I hope that I can make it this time around as long as I did with Esther.
I guess, currently anyway, it’s still just a waiting game.
The only bright spot was seeing the baby and I’m pretty much giving birth to Esther’s twin…just 2 years later.
Here she is in all of her peaceful glory (hope that means she’ll be a baby who barely cries and sleeps ALL NIGHT LONG) Ha! 🙂
photo (45)

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Early Friday Morning: January 27

I bet some men choose to become anesthesiologist who specialize in giving epidurals because they want to know what it feels like to be worshipped. To show up in a laboring woman’s room and feel like he’s prince charming. When my prince charming showed up it was like he floated in pushing his white cart of magic juice and everything one else disappeared. At that moment he was the most important person in the room. At one point in my pregnancy I actually thought I would skip the epidural because I was so scared of having something injected/placed in my spine. I feared the pain and what would happen if say I moved or the doctor missed and I ended up losing feeling in my legs. Ya know, totally practical things since I never over worry about anything (: Anyway- I was no longer afraid of any of that. He could have placed the catheter in my iris and I would have been okay with that. Any pain would be better than the pain from the contractions I had been having without any medication. My sweet nurse offered up her hands for me to squeeze as the epi was placed. The entire procedure took about maybe 20 minutes. After the epi kicked in (which took all of 2 minutes or so) labor was a piece of cake. Almost immediately I was a different woman. I could actually think and breathe. It was amazing. I couldn’t feel my legs at all. Well, I could feel  them, but they felt like they each weighed 400 lbs.

After the medical staff left us to labor on our own, Jim and I napped/slept. It was great. We drifted in and out of sleep as nurses came in to turn me, check a monitor or move my blood pressure cuff that kept moving around the entire time. At around 8 or so my doctor came in the room to check my progress. She checked me and said, “Wow, you wanna know how far you are?” To be honest I really didn’t care. I was in EPI LAND and the world was grand. She could have said 4 or 8 and I would have felt the same. Well, she said the latter. I was at 8! My water had also broken without my having known it. They (my nurse and doc) decided to just let me hang out for awhile so baby could continue to put pressure on my cervix. The reasoning behind that was she would slowly and steadily make her way into the birth canal and it would lessen the time I’d have to push. Sounded like the best  idea in the world to me, so that’s what we did. We spent about two hours or so just hanging out. The nurse would come in to turn me it seemed every 30/45 minutes or so. Soon it was time to push.

It was just the nurse, Dr. Roberts, myself (of course) and my husband in the room. We were the dream team. The nurse on one side and my husband on the other. They were my coaches. During each contraction they’d tell me to “PUSH” and that I was doing a great job. Dr. Roberts was awesome too. She would say, “You can see her, she’s right there. Poop your baby out!” Yes, POOP your baby out. Isn’t that crazy! I suppose you’re using those same muscles. To be honest, I felt nothing. I tried to poop my baby out, but I was more so acting. I’d try to look like I was really trying while pushing. I didn’t want to let anyone down, but I hadn’t a clue if my pushes were really effective or not. Apparently they were because I only pushed for just under 20 minuets and then my sweet little angel was out. I remember looking at her and thinking she looked so small. She came out kicking and screaming and I was so relieved. It was as if I had been holding my breath for 38 plus weeks and I could finally exhale. I remember the doctor placed her on my chest for a moment and I just rubbed her little head and said “Hi, Hi…” over and over again. I did shed a tear or two. The whole experience was so overwhelming I cannot describe it. I immediately loved her and was consumed with a feeling I’ve never experienced before – momma bear. I instantly felt a need to protect and care for her at all costs. I feel like I met two  people in that moment my sweet little girl and the woman I now was- a mom. Jim did cut the cord. He’d planned not too and Dr. Roberts insisted that he do it. It had been a running joke (kinda) between those two for weeks. I’m glad in the end he did it. That’s something you don’t want to look back on and wish you’d done it.

This story was going to have a part 3 about our hospital stay and the following days with little E. I’ve decided not to write it because the majority of it would be negative and I don’t want to taint these moments with that. We were so dissatisfied with our postpartum experience at Fairview Southdale. I plan to never set foot in that hospital again. I didn’t feel valued as a patient and I question the medical care my daughter was given.  I LOVED my labor and delivery nurses, however, and I had a wonderful night nurse.

How do I end on a good note? Well, it’s been 6 weeks since this day and I couldn’t be happier. Motherhood has been so very hard, but so very rewarding. I love Esther so much and I can’t imagine my life without her in it. I’m forever changed and my heart is forever broken apart. I’m raw to all experiences that involve her. It makes me vulnerable in a way I never imagined. I suppose  this is what most mothers feel. I get it now. I GET it now. I’m so happy I’ve been given such a blessing.

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***This is a very rough rough draft as I have to write in 5 minute breaks from taking care of THE little lady of the house. I just wanted to start getting all of this down before I forgot it. I figure I can come clean it up later. There will be a later, right fellow parents out there?? It can’t always be a 26 hour a day job, right!!?? (:***

Thursday January 26th:

Earlier that day we had our 39 week pregnancy check up. Technically I was 38.4, but Thursdays seemed to work out for us so we kept that as our weekly check in day. I was at the point in gestating that clearly was uncomfortable and I was hoping to go into labor at any moment and was even flirting with the idea of taking castor oil to speed up the process. Little did I know that that day would be THE day.  After the doctor checked me and I was only 1 cm dilated I quietly tried to accept the process and know that little Esther would come when she was ready (and God, I did hope that was soon).

Later that evening while watching some bad TV on one of the many channels we pay too much money to Comcast to watch, I felt a pain. I took note of the time and it was shortly after 9pm. It felt like a braxton hicks contraction, but it hurt significantly more. Jim and I continued to watch the program and around 5 minutes later, I felt the same feeling. At this point I figured maybe I had eaten something earlier and now this was the consequence. I shifted sitting positions and continued watching the program and playing “Words With Friends” on my iPhone. Sure enough, around 5 minutes later again that feeling returned. Now it had my attention. I pulled out a pen and paper and decided I was going to official time them in case this was labor.

After and hour of regular contractions, I knew if this wasn’t labor, I need to get to a hospital because something was definitly up! I reviewed the paperwork from my first pregnancy visit that outlined what one should do when she goes into labor. It said first time mom’s should call doctor when contractions are 5 minutes apart and or if your water breaks. For some reason I was hesistant to contact the doctor. Everything the stupid pregnancy books told me that usually first time moms labor slowly. Contractions start, you have time to walk around your home, pack a bag, take a bath-maybe a nap and ride it out. There was none of that at the Andrews household. My contractions started out 5 mins about and didn’t let up. I contacted the doctor and let her know how close my contractions were. She said to time them for another hour and if they were still regular and consistant then we should go in. So that’s what we did. We timed them for another hour and they continued to be 4-5 minutes apart and they increased in intensity and length. I was able to pack a bag and Jim contacted friends to come get Sparky.

On the way to the hospital I was filled with a mix of excitement, fear and anxiety. We parked the car and I told Jim just to leave everything in the car. Again, for some reason I thought they’d send us home.  For some reason I couldn’t believe that this was it. We made our way up to the maternal monitoring center which was right next to the maternity ward. Basically it’s the place you have to go so they can determine that you are indeed in labor. We had been there before when I was 26 weeks pregnant and thought I was going into pre-term labor. There was something comforting about having been there before because it wasn’t a total foreign experience and or place.

We were ushered into a room and I was hooked up to two monitors- one for the baby’s heartbeat and one to monitor contractions. After a few minutes it was determined that I was indeed having contractions and they were 5 minutes apart. Well duh! I knew that (: Even though I had been having contractions for about 3 hours at this point, my cervix had not changed and was still holding steady at 1. Jim and I were told to go walk around the hospital for about an hour to see if that would cause for change. So, off we went.

While walking around my contractions were becoming more intense. So much so that it was hard to walk or move through them. In addition, they were coming closer together. We didn’t make it quite an hour before we had to go back to our room. We returned to the room and the nurse came in to check me again. Still- no change in cervix. At this point fear started to creep in. I was in so much pain and the contraction were 2 minutes apart. I feared that if it hurt this bad already I didn’t even want to imagine what I would feel like dilated to a 5 or 6. At this point Jim and I were left alone for I don’t remember how long. All I remember was trying really hard to focus on breathing and trying to manage these surges of extreme pain. Nothing I was doing worked. I was given some pills to “take the edge off” the pain. They did nothing. They might as well have been cough drops. Again, after some time I was checked again. Still- no progress. I feared they would send us home and I had no clue how I was going to survive the car ride home. I didn’t want to go home, but I didn’t want to stay in that room either. NOTHING I did would bring any sort of comfort. The nurse that last checked me decided to bring her colleage in to check me and offer he opinion. THANK GOD- as she would be my saving grace. She checked my cervix and felt some scar tissue and said to us, “Oh yes, I’ve seen this before. You could go from a 1 to a 5 in a half an hour. I think we should admit you.” And just like that, the heaven’s opened up. Before she could even leave the room to start the admit process Jim already had our stuff packed and ready to be moved to our new room.

We finally made it to a “real” labor and delivery room and the nurses began to start my IV bags of fluids, including the penicillin (because of the previous positive group b). I didn’t care about any of that. What I most cared about at that point was the epidural and WHEN it would arrive. My doctor ok-ed it and I could have it as soon as I wanted it.  Well at that point I wanted it about 30 minutes ago! I told them I’d like it as soon as possible. At this point I had been gaving contractions that started 5 minutes apart right away and progressed at that same rate to now 2 minutes apart for 6 hours. I was DONE! One of the nurses said that I’d be able to get it in 45 minutes.  I looked at her and said, “Are you kidding me, 45 minutes.” I’m not sure, but I probably had tears in my eyes, but attitude in my voice. She responded, “Well, you’ve been doing it this long, what’s another 45 minutes?” In my head I imagined myself leaping from the bed and drop kicking her in the side of the neck.  I knew labor would be hard and I knew it would hurt. I’m no dummy. What I wasn’t prepared for was for my contractions to start so intensely and close together. I never really got the chance to recover from one before another one started. So when I said I was beyond ready  for an epi, I was REALLY ready!

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Edited to Add: I actually wrote this post yesterday and just now got the chance to post it.  So, yep- welcome to parenthood.

Whew! First… Hey (:

For those of you who don’t know, our little angel arrived on Friday morning kicking and screaming (although you wouldn’t know it from this serene face, would you?). I’ll tell ya all about that later, but wanted to update the site.

Esther Irene Andrews
10:45 am
6lbs 6oz
20.5 inches

By the way- no castor oil needed. She started giving me contractions on her own at around 9 pm on Thursday eve.

I was feeling a bit disconnected from the AWESOME community that was here to support us at each step of this long  and often times- terrifying journey. It’s a love and support that I’ve never felt and I am confident that it was because of your prayers that we made it almost to the end of a 40 week pregnancy.

(So if that’s so true, Tanisha, how come you are being a huge meanie and hogging her all to yourself?)

I also wanted to come here to explain why we kept people away at the hospital and wanted to wait until we were settled at home for visitors. About a week before pregnancy I started to really process what giving birth would feel like and how I (and Jim) would feel upon first meeting our daughter. I knew that I wanted our little family to have, at the very least, a few hours to just get to know her- uninterrupted. Secondly, I knew breast feeding would probably take us some time to get down and I don’t know about you, but I’m not comfortable whipping my breasts out in front of even my closest of friends. Breast feeding is not like bottle feeding. You literally have to be engaged in it around the clock. I don’t even know why I even bother to wear a shirt. Seriously, ask Jim, for the past 3 days I look like I could be a double for one of the mommas you might see in National Geographic. I’m thankful that I fought for this privacy because we’ve needed it. Breast-feeding has indeed been a challenge for Esther and I. I know we’ll get it, but it hasn’t been an easy road (again, I’ll talk more about it later).  This difficulty has contributed to Esther developing a pretty bad case of jaundice. They almost didn’t let us come home today. She just barely made the cut off.  They delivered a “billibed” to our home and we were told she MUST stay on the bed whenever she’s not being nursed or changed. It breaks my heart, literally, as I could hold her all day long. Adittionaly, if you’ve had a baby recently you’ll know this. They jam pack all they can into the short hospital stay these days. Tests, shots, doctor visits, photos, nurses checks and questions.

Of course we want you all to meet our daughter. She’s the best! I’m not just saying that because I’m her momma. We’re just gonna need more time to get our groove down. Trust me, it will be more fun to visit her anyway when you can actually hold her and really give her a good once over. You couldn’t do that now-

We do thank you for all of the offers of visits and food and just overall a showering of love and support. WE DO APPRECIATED. And maybe I’m only speaking for myself, but I feel like a huge meanie and I wanted you to know why we’re cocooning for a bit. We promise to let you know when you can crowd our door and enjoy this little lady as much as we are. Right now, I’m being an aggresive momma bear and making she medically in a good spot.

We’re seeing the pediatrician tomorrow to make sure he jaundice is getting better, as well as a lactation consulatant. I’m still committed to breast feeding and I’m determined (now more than ever) to make it work. I’m currently taking a quick, relaxing tea break willing my milk to come in (: TMI? See?? told ya!

A special shout out to the ReyesLewis family for watching Sparky (and keeping him a bonus day) so we could deliver this girl and get settled a bit before Jim has to figure out how to juggle being a parent of 2 and a new MBA student.


Jim, Tanisha and Esther.

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