The following is my journey through pregnancy and birth with Lou Who, compiled from journal entries and other places and edited for flow. Lou Who was born in August, 2012.
I have finally been set free from the most difficult 40 weeks of my life.
We were planning to start trying for baby #2 in March or April of 2012. In November 2011 I miscalculated my ovulation date and guess what happened?
I got suspicious very, very fast, because Thanksgiving happened and I found myself so intensely irritable at my in-laws’ over things that ordinarily never matter, AND I found myself thoroughly enjoying the BBC Pride and Prejudice that Mr Pine Nut’s aunt had brought along to watch. I’ve always thought that movie was a silly waste of time, but I was so seriously engrossed that I knew something was off with me and my hormones. Even watching The Biggest Loser was making me tear up when I’d never seen it before nor invested time and emotions in any of the people on it. Also, GooGoo’s birthday cake tasted like tasteless sawdust. And then my mother-in-law had me try out her blood pressure thing she had and my pulse was crazy high. At that point I knew, but was in complete denial, or tried to be.
I got myself a pregnancy test and took it along to Bandon with us when we went there for a weekend with some friends. I took it very early Sunday morning. And lo, it was positive, and I said aloud, “I thought so.” I really felt no emotion. There was a mixture of relief at knowing that there was a reason for my issues and just outright feeling nothing.
I didn’t tell Mr Pine Nut until that night as we were almost home. I asked him if he thought our house would be done by next summer. He thought it might; why? So I just said we were having another baby in August.
It was a lot different from my early pregnancy with GooGoo, where everything was new and exciting and I looked forward to telling people. This time I didn’t want to tell anyone. I told one friend almost right away because we are at their house so much that she’d probably figure it out anyway between general hormonal-ness and food aversions. But aside from her, some relatives, and a few online peeps, i didn’t tell anyone.
Anything sweet made me want to gag, outside of ice cream and chocolate. Lentils made me want to throw up. The smell of sweet potatoes was the ultimate atrocity. In fact, almost everything made me sick, especially by the time evening came around. I spent a lot of evenings in bed plugging my nose against food smells. I never threw up, but I felt seriously nauseous most of the time.
There was also the midwife dilemma. I couldn’t afford the one we had with GooGoo again, so I made some new contacts and interviewed another one. She lived kind of far away. I liked her and she was more affordable, but my gut just kept saying no for some reason, so I kept putting off getting back in touch with her. Finally I chose a midwife and felt it all clicked together then for me and I was glad to have that settled.
I really struggled with other issues too, the primary one being this feeling of total disconnect with this pregnancy and being more frustrated than anything about it. Not resentful exactly, but just annoyed a little, I guess, because our plans had been to wait until March-ish to even start trying, and now we had time crunch to get the house finished and very limited funds and it was really stressful. I had had these high hopes that I could savour the pregnancy experience since this will most likely be our last child, but it was not happening. I felt so disgusting and hormonal and emotionally unstable. I was on the mend from my depression issues of fall 2011 but had hoped to make more headway before diving into pregnancy, and that didn’t happen either. I was not even excited to tell people, as I said, and kind of bugged that sooner or later they’d catch on and then it would be an endless stream of questions and annoyingness.
And I felt guilt like I was a bad mom because I struggled to be even remotely excited, and worried that it would carry over and I wouldn’t love the baby when it was born.
My first prenatal appointment was the 18th of January. Lots of paperwork and routine stuff to take care of, mostly. We figured my due date based on LMP which put me at 11 weeks, 7 days. The most exciting thing about the appointment was that we did get to hear the heartbeat. The little one did a good job of evading the doppler but she said she heard several kicks, so we knew baby was active. Finally she did catch the heartbeat for a few seconds and it was 160. I was very relieved to have heard the heart. It made it seem more real and I was MUCH less paranoid about telling people (though I still didn’t rush out and do so!)
In early March I started thinking I felt movement.
One day I got silly on Facebook and posted a bunch of really strange names to get people riled up.
“Brockholst” has a great ring to it, yes? We can call him Brockie.
On the other hand, there’s always Hildegarde.
Another great girl name: Experience Deliverance.
Another great boy name: Armor-of-God.
Ah, Hortense. Surely any girl would be proud to say, “My name is HORTENSE!!”
Or, if I wanted to name my kid after a craving, how about Pasta? That would work for either a girl or a boy.
Chocolate Pasta. Yeah, that’ll woik.
All throughout the pregnancy Lou Who remained incredibly difficult to locate with the fetoscope. We ended up using the doppler all but about one or two times, because the placenta was in the way and baby was a ninja. Another thing that was very different about this pregnancy was how low I carried this baby compared with GooGoo. Very, very low.
My pubic/pelvic/hip bones were on fire a lot. Sleeping was a miserable experience. I tried a lot of different positions, more pillows, pillows between my legs – nothing helped. Eventually I got the idea to try sleeping sitting up and it really, really made a humongous difference in my sleep comfort as well as my ability to be pain-free during normal daily activities. I’m not sure when exactly I started that but I think it was late June perhaps. I know that I was doing it before going to camp meeting.
Earlier on in the pregnancy I guess I just assumed it would be a boy, but as time went on I not only got a hunch it was another girl, I actually started rather hoping it would be. I can’t really explain all of that satisfactorily to myself, let alone anyone else.
It was the 12th of July when we got our mattress and so forth out of storage, our bedroom put together, and first slept over in our unfinished house.
All day on the 18th of July I just had a hunch that something was up. I was nesting like crazy. I did ALL the things in the kitchen. In the morning I baked two pie pans of cornbread and a 13×9 of brownies; I started some chili in the crockpot; then I ran an errand for Mr Pine Nut in town and found all the stuff I needed to make two pans of the easy baked burritos for the freezer, so those got assembled and they plus one of the pans of cornbread got popped in the freezer. I anticipated the chili and cornbread to be our post-birth meal if the birth took place in daylight hours, since it would be easy to throw it back in the crockpot or even a regular soup pot to reheat, and the bread won’t take long to warm in the oven.
The 17th I had had a number of contractions and they continued through the 18th: still Braxton-Hicks, but definitely becoming more frequent and all the 18th I just felt a little off, like there was a lot more pressure down there and my lower back definitely ached.
11:39 PM Yes, uterus, you go right ahead and hug that baby… i’ll wait here for my turn
11:47 PM a very purry furball has come to snuggle with me
11:54 PM I apologise in advance for the potential flood of labour tweets. I’m timing contractions seriously now – the last 2 were about 10 min apart (14 min, actually)
12:27 AM Cat is like… uber protective beast right now. He’s planted himself at my feet while I sit on the porcelain throne.
12:29 AM Everyone else is asleep still. I’m not waking up Mr B until it’s time to make phone calls.
12:43 AM Shall I bring to the birth,¬ cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth,&shut the womb? saith thy God. Isaiah66:9
1:01 AM Treasuring these little kicking limbs inside while they’re still there. waves seem to be staying pretty regular, though still quite painless
1:26 AM i’m hungry. But last time I just threw up what I ate in the mid-labour, so I’m not sure I’ll bother at this point. Hmm. Do need water tho…
1:53 AM 20 min and no more contractions, just a super active baby. going to try to get some sleep for a bit
7:15 AM Labour seems to have come to a standstill. 😦 I still feel crampy and weird though.
8:46 AM Running to the bathroom constantly is a GREAT way to spend a morning. Try it sometime.
11:34 AM i feel like i’m going to puke… do not want. would far prefer it coming out the other end…
1:22 PM Trying to be patient. Waiting for something to happen besides, ya know, interesting elimination.
7:40 PM If I play music badly long enough, will it make baby come out, or will it make baby stay in?
2:12 AM This tweet is brought to you by The Contractions Are Back, & they’re a bit more intense. Timing again to see if they stick around this time.
6:58 AM Baby Lou Who is still playing games. Not amused.
4:42 PM Yea verily, I waddle.
We stayed home from church on the 21st thinking labour was imminent. But nothing happened. I wondered how much longer it will be. Baby Lou Who was still moving around a lot (not that s/he should not be). I was so hoping it would be that day and kept racking my brain thinking, “Is there something I’ve left unfinished that is affecting my ability to let go?” The day before I had switched the black car seat to be rear-facing and adjusted the straps for an infant, so that was the last thing I knew of that *had* to be done. So, it was just down to waiting. And waiting. I tried to just chill and not care too much, but it was hard when I was so uncomfortable and I just LONGED to trade in my sleepless upright nights for nights that might still be sleepless but in which I could (soon) again be horizontal.
On the 22nd I felt the urge to go hike at McDowell Creek Park, the same place I had gone hiking almost 3 years before hoping to convince GooGoo to come out. It was kind of obsessive and almost like a thirst for punishment, in a way, though I actually did fairly well all things considered.
The 24th rolled around. I was angry, fat, and tired. I didn’t want to deal with anything else; I was just sitting there in a flood of ragey emotions I couldn’t get under control. I wanted to not be pregnant any more. On the flip side, I didn’t feel like going into labour in that frame of mind, either.
On the 30th: I am all for baby taking as long as baby needs to cook, but I also selfishly just need to be able to have a functioning body again. I can’t hold or rock GooGoo even really now. I can barely get down to change her diapers let alone up again afterwards. Yesterday was really bad and ended in tears from the stress over the pain.
Later that night I was having good steady contractions (painless, but steady) and my midwife was about to come out, but as soon as she said that they stopped, so I told her not to bother.
Mr Pine Nut’s mom came out on the 31st while we waited for something to happen. Nothing did. She spent the night and then went home the next afternoon. (Midwife walked me through giving myself a cervical check over the phone on the 31st and I was at 1cm and soft.)
I went to bed with a very stuffy nose and feeling like I had a cold on the 1st, which was really annoying. Morning of the 2nd I loaded up on fruits rich in Vitamin C. Still kinda surreal about the baby to me, I guess. I’d mostly gotten over the struggle to really want the baby… because I was looking forward to its arrival… but it just didn’t seem real nonetheless. At any rate, I just hoped my nose would unplug itself quickly. I had no idea if I’d labour differently this time around but breathing was my lifesaver with GooGoo.
Common annoying conversation with church people:
“When are you due?”
“What are you having?”
“Oh, you’re not finding out? Good for you!”
The 4th of August: the hottest day of the year, and the most intense afternoon I’ve ever spent in my life. After making me utterly miserable for the last 40 weeks, it seemed a fitting final prank from the little one to not only pick the hottest day but to come charging out like an express train. 3 hours of labour.
The morning of the 4th I had the faintest of faint bloody show. I’d been shedding my plug now for days but this was the first time I’d seen any pink. So, I deliberated whether to even go to church, but after praying about it decided to go ahead and go if there was no more show before time to leave, and there wasn’t, so I went. I was glad I did because it would have been a tad boring to just sit around at home alone (Mr Pine Nut was going to go anyway). I hid out in the mothers’ room to avoid the ceaseless and annoying queries from well-meaning but annoying old ladies and for the most part it worked.
I took one final belly shot in the church bathroom (CLASSY. Because that’s how I roll.)
For the record, my final measurement was 43.5″ around. I’m not sure what my total weight gain was since for several weeks I’ve had no access to a scale.
So we got home from church. GooGoo had fallen asleep in the car and Mr Pine Nut transported her in to her bed since it was too hot for her to sleep in the car, and she stayed asleep. We waited aeons for the lasagna I made Friday to be warm enough to eat. I worked a puzzle for a bit – it was miserably hot and stuffy in the trailer and the A/C didn’t seem to be doing much good. I was also really lightheaded, and then just started feeling totally icky about right after we finished lunch/blueberry teasecake.
So I came over to the house. I think it was probably around 3, and GooGoo was just waking up from her nap, so I sent her over to the house to have Mr Pine Nut get her lunch while I timed a few contractions. They came on really suddenly, almost as if my body knew I was in the place of birth and kicked in. There was no easing in from gentle tightening contractions, it was BANG the real kind that feels like period cramps, starting at about 30 seconds long. So I knew this was the real deal.
I have to admit that I had this vision in my mind of myself playing music topless in my room between contractions while everyone around me was oozing love and positivity. Nobody was around yet, so I figured I could at least get started on the topless music part, so I sat and played on the harp for a bit and rocked through two contractions, and then ran to toilet again. I called the midwife, and she said we probably still had many hours to go but to call her as soon as the contractions were lasting a minute. Then I emailed a friend at 3.40:
Very funny baby…
…does indeed think labour on a hot day is what i always wanted. will call with news. waiting for the ctx to get to 60 sec before calling midwife. currently about 40 sec. not saying anything on fb.
I also texted my mother-in-law to come because I needed Mr Pine Nut to be available for me and someone to occupy GooGoo. Takes her an hour and 20 minutes to get here from her place.
So, while I waited for our extra support, my cruncho vision for the birth flew out the window completely unnoticed by me as I alternated between the bathtub full of hot water and the glider rocker until contractions hit 60 seconds, right about 5ish. I should add that these contractions were SO intense right from the get-go. I don’t remember them being like this with GooGoo at all until closer to transition, whereas this entire labour pretty much felt like transition. I was doing my very best to not tense up but that didn’t work so well. Anyway, Mr Pine Nut timed contractions for me and when they hit the magic 60 second mark, he called the midwife to come and she said she was on her way (she was about an hour away). I was counting the number of times I inhaled/exhaled – each breath I calculated was about 3 seconds, and at that point I was living for the 15th breath because I knew that meant I was halfway through the contraction and it would get easier from there. They were averaging about 2 minutes apart (which I think is comparable to labour with GooGoo). Arching my back helped some, but my back was still on fire every time. In the back of my mind I was thinking, I canNOT endure this for hours more. Just cannot.
GooGoo sat quietly and looked at books until Grandma arrived, but then I had to tell Mr Pine Nut to have her take GooGoo out to the trailer because she was excited to see grandma, and clumping around in her flip-flops, and the noise was more than i could take, which also should have been a clue-in for me that I was definitely in transition at this point. I sat in the tub again while the contractions got still more wild – they were at about 90 seconds by this time and I was in such misery. I knew it was almost over because I was reaching that point of unbearableness, but was also in denial because it hadn’t been very long. I thought I probably had another hour or two at least and was trying to not think about having to deal with this that much longer.
I was shaking really badly. My water broke in the tub – I felt the pop really strongly! I think I had another contraction and when that was over I got out to poop, because I still hadn’t had any massive diarrhoea or vomiting and I was expecting to do both. I didn’t have the presence of mind to try checking myself. Sitting on the toilet I had Mr Pine Nut hold my hands. I was squeezing his so tightly for support and mine were going tingly and numb. Next thing I knew something primal roared out of the depths in me, completely involuntary, and I felt my body expelling a head while i got really loud. I definitely felt the ring of fire this time but it wasn’t so bad; I put my hand down there to see if I could feel anything, and the head was out in one push to my total shock. I kept my hand under the head and Mr Pine Nut flushed the toilet to get rid of yuckies in the water below between contractions. Then we decided it would be better to relocate rather than try to keep baby from dropping into the toilet. So Mr Pine Nut helped me off the toilet to the floor while I kept saying, “Come on baby, come on baby!” and with the next contraction the rest of the baby slipped out into our hands. I think we were both holding the baby. I honestly don’t remember. I do remember it took a bit for her to start breathing. I was on my hands and knees looking at her between my legs and trying to see if she was a boy or girl. I was pretty sure it was a girl but with the umbilical cord in the way I wasn’t 100% sure. Mr Pine Nut ran for the suction bulb thingie out of the birth box and suctioned her mouth and soon she did start crying. He told me we had another little girl!
The midwife literally arrived like… 2 minutes after the baby was born. She said she drove 90 on the freeway all the way from Eugene, but all the Sweet Home Jamboree traffic held her up a bit once she got off the freeway. (Mr Pine Nut’s mom had only been there maybe a half hour herself!) So the midwife was totally shocked that it had all happened so fast, but she was great to help us get moved to the bed and such and proceed with checking everything out. Took a lot of hands because I had to be helped up and the baby was still attached to me, so Mr Pine Nut had to hang on to her. We got over to the bed and spread out a bunch of chux pads for me to sit on while we waiting for the placenta, which took about 4 more extremely intense contractions to come out. They were so strong that we had a listen for a second baby (there was no second baby :-p) and I had to lean on Mr Pine Nut because they were still very sharp on my lower back. It was instant relief when the placenta did come out though.
The midwife stayed until all the measuring and paperwork was done, baby checked, vitals taken, etc. We left Lou Who attached to the placenta for a little while while I held her. She figured out how to latch on quickly, which was a relief, because GooGoo lost a lot of weight in her early days due to total lack of interest in nursing. After a little bit we looked over the placenta, which had some calcification from our water, which the midwife said was normal. It was almost heartshaped with cord attached on the edge rather than the centre. Mr Pine Nut cut the cord this time.
So GooGoo missed the actual birth, unfortunately, but it happened SO fast there was no time to fetch her inside! We didn’t get video either, sadly, but that’s how it goes. I had no tears though! Just some skidmarks/bruising. I was SO relieved, considering how fast she came. Lou Who also came out super clean, which was a sign she was right on time. (Lots of vernix would have indicated she was early – she had a little on her head and of course in all her cracks and crevices, but GooGoo did too). She is definitely darker-skinned, with dark hair, just like I had jokingly predicted she’d be. She did have wide awake alertness right after birth much more than GooGoo had had.
I’m just still amazed and somewhat shocked at how speedy the delivery was. Mr McFeely couldn’t have done better. I took a wash afterwards and had to wade through poop and amniotic fluid to get to the tub… ew. The floor was really quite drenched. The two bath towels we’d had available just weren’t quite enough or weren’t quite in the right spot.
We don’t really plan to have more children, but all I can say is, if we do, WHOA THE NEXT ONE WILL BE HERE IN LIKE 45 MINUTES. And I will DIE.
It’s just interesting because with GooGoo’s birth I was so chill. It wasn’t fun, exactly, but I dealt well with it. This time I kind of get a little panicky thinking back on how fast everything happened, which could just be the result of the depression/anxiety stuff I’ve been dealing with in general since last fall, but it’s nonetheless there. I wasn’t afraid while birthing but I was very shocked at the force, swiftness, and strength of the process. I had to keep willing myself to be calm and relaxed as possible. I’m not sure I want to do it again anyway just based on how difficult this entire pregnancy was for me, but now I also am a little bit dealing with uncertainty that I could cope with another labour this fast or faster.
She was 8 pounds even, 22″ long, 13″ head, 13.5″ chest. This is the same outfit that GooGoo first wore when she was born. 🙂