Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Birth Story

At 4 am Tuesday morning I awoke to the sound of my daughter crying. She had been having a bad night already, crying multiple times at the beginning of the night for seemingly no reason. I now look back on that as her having some psychic clue as to what was about to happen to her mother. Too bad I didn't get the clue! This time, though, she was crying because her diaper had overflowed onto her pajamas. As I lifted her onto the changing table I felt a warm gush, like getting my period, but not much more than that. It occurred to me that perhaps when I lifted her again into her crib the entire bag of water might explode onto the floor of the nursery, but I took that risk and thankfully nothing happened. I put her back to bed, comforted her and headed to the bathroom to check out what happened.

After verifying that my mucous plug had come out AND my water had broken I called a nurse. I left the husband asleep in bed because I figured I had a couple of hours before we really had to head out. Wrong. The problem with me is I was a VBAC (vaginal birth after ceserean) and I was positive for group B strep (which requires more explanation than you need here but is common. It just means you need antibiotics in your system before you pop out the package.) These two things meant I had to get my arse to the hospital immediately if my water was truly broken. The baby could not start coming out without monitoring.

So I woke the husband and called the emergency babysitter. I felt horrible waking her for a possible labor when I wasn't 100% sure but I had no choice. By 5 am we were at the maternity check in. Frustratingly enough I couldn't prove my bag of waters had broken. They have these test strips that should turn blue when the fluid is amniotic and mine refused. Even when they called in a dr and took a sample from way up inside me it didn't turn blue. Bad nurse lady says "well you know there's a lot of pressure on your bladder from all the weight so maybe it was just that." Um, nurse lady? I know when a fluid has exited my vajayjay versus my pee pee. Come on! I did not like that nurse lady. I know a bunch of women think their water has broken when it hasn't but don't act like I'm too stupid to know the difference between urine and vaginal fluid people. Honestly.

I was presented with the choice to go home or walk around upstairs in the labor ward for an hour. I chose the latter. I was so frustrated that somehow I had to prove myself valid. It didn't help that my contractions were randomly regular. In other words, they were there regularly but at random intervals. That does not mean real labor to these people. Not at all. Thankfully, at the end of my hour walk, my doctor showed up to check out the scene. Apparently, his exam was quite positive. The difference in my cervix opening was nada, but the feeling of the cervix was totally different. He was convinced, I was in labor, water broken or not. I was in.

I walked upstairs to the last room available on the ward and sat in what was to be my labor bed. The minute I sat down, I mean the minute I sat down, 8 oceans gushed from my uterus. I mean really? You couldn't have done that in front of the doubting nurses body? Well, at least I was finally sure. And so began the process. The contractions started hitting harder and were only a few minutes apart but they were all in my back. The husband was fantastic at talking me through the contractions, keeping eye contact, reassuring me and letting me lean against him when I needed to. But the truth was I was in trouble. I was only at 3 centimeters dilated and the pain was out of control. We tried the rocking chair, the toilet, and finally on all fours in the bed. Each position gave me one contraction I could stand and then dissolved into hell. The pain was all in my back, it felt like the baby was coming out my rear end for goodness' sake people. This was just not right.

All I can say is that after about 3 hours of that crap, I was done. The husband did his best to hold me to my wishes, he knew I wanted no epidural and reminded me of that again and again. I tried my best but it was just not going to happen. In retrospect, I think it was just not meant to be. This kid fought tooth and nail not to come out of me as it was so doing it all 'natural' was not likely to be. I totally forgive myself for this one because the pain was unbelievable. Those of you who did it without help, I salute you.

The epidural sucked. It sucked differently than the last one but it sucked all the same. Nothing about sticking needles in one's back is fun so let's leave it at that. Plus, it only took on the left side, so I had to lay on my right side for the contractions to be numbed on that side too. Hilarious, no? When I lay on my left side the juice slowly drained out of my right leg and hip and the contractions came back after about an hour in that position. And so began the long wait on my right side. Meanwhile, my MIL had shown up with a bag full of bagels for me to eat. Immediately I was informed by my nurse that I was not to eat a bite. Already starving I started arguing. I had read that this practice of starving people due to the possibility of surgery was archaic and unnecessary. So I took a bite of bagel. Oh holy heck people, the nurse freaked out. She called my dr and called the anesthesiologist back in to lecture me about not eating. I felt like a child all of a sudden and I had no way out. I didn't want another 24 hour starvation birth scenario like last time. I was going to be damned if I was going to starve when I didn't have to. Sadly, this made things awkward with  my nurse, so when she was called away to do a surgery and replaced by a seemingly warmer, funnier one, it was a good thing.

At about lunch time I was still at 5 cm. But my friend Ellen, who was going to be there for the delivery, was too eager to wait and got herself allowed out of work early. She showed up at 3 and brought a new energy to the room along with the new nurse. We started joking and chatting and everyone had their iphone out texting and facebook posting like some crazy internet generation scene out of a movie. But it was great. We were excited and impatient for things to progress. It was weird to have so much waiting. The husband felt odd that we had those three hours of work work work at the beginning and then suddenly sit and wait. And it was so passive. There was nothing I could be doing to hurry the process along. Either the cervix was opening or it wasn't. And frankly, it wasn't.

At 7ish I was still between 5 and 6 cm dilated, but most frustratingly, the boy wouldn't move. In other words, as your cervix opens the kid is supposed to be making downward progress. Kind of obvious that he is supposed to meet me halfway instead of staying stubbornly lodged way up inside me. His head is supposed to be helping make the cervix open, so it stands to reason that if he's staying up high and my cervix is staying at approximately the same opening, we are making no progress. By 9 pm the doctor had to say something. He knew how much I wanted a VBAC but all signs were pointing to failure. We could sit all day and wait but since my bag of water had broken I was at risk for infections and other complications, so it was time to decide. He very kindly said that we would get me all prepared for the surgery but he would check again at the last minute and see if anything had changed.

Apparently a little threat was all it took.

By the time I was shaved, totally numbed with a huge dose of juice making my lower half totally unresponsive, and had signed all the forms, the world had changed. I was 7 cm dilated. Then I was 8 then 9 and by 11:30 I was ready at full 10 cm dilation. Funny thing re-wrapping my brain around a VBAC after only an hour of thinking a cesarean was a given. I was scared again. I had given up and thought of all the reasons it would be better with surgery and now I was back facing the bowling ball coming out of the vajayjay again. It was pretty funny. But I prepared myself again, we all got into position and once the doctor informed me that there was a race now as 4 women were all ready to push at the same time for him I was off and running. I'd be damned if I was going to lose that race.

No, I really didn't think about the race, but I'm happy to announce that I won.

I apparently push like a pro. And considering Mr. Stubborn did not move an inch down the canal on his own, I had a lot of work to do. Not to mention that he was huge. But I grabbed on and pushed like hell and rested in between and felt their surprise at the speed at which I was making progress. I felt far away mentally but kept an ear open, hearing the nurse and the resident making comments about how well I was doing. I knew it wasn't near over until the doctor was near but I could tell they were touching the top of the kid's head already pretty quickly. At one point the dr came in and said he had another woman neck and neck with me but she was on no meds and so I might have to stop pushing for a minute. I thought to myself 'hell no' and pushed harder. He came back in and said 'Let me see what you can do.' I pushed, he said "you win!" and gowned up. It was time.

He moved in and started helping the head come out while I pushed and I thank goodness for all the books I read before I gave birth because I knew exactly what he was doing down there and it gave me a great idea of how far along I was. I could tell when the head was moving out, I could tell when he was pushing the shoulder down to get the other shoulder out. It was fantastic. I couldn't believe how fast it was all over. I only pushed for an hour and 20 min! I would have told you it took 30 minutes tops, that's how fast it felt. The fun atmosphere never left, jokes and sarcastic asides continued between contractions and that, my friends, is how it was meant to be for me. I wouldn't have had it any other way.

You know, it really makes sense in retrospect. I had this dream, based on reading a lot of midwife books, of some earthy, hippy, mellow and deep experience of birthing. But you know, that would not have been me. I am a funny, sarcastic, laid back, use humor to deal with hard things kind of person. And that's how I dealt with this too. I had my husband and my best friend there, both of whom have their own sense of humor that mesh with mine. The doctor was also picked and fit well because of his own great sense of humor. We were the fun room on the ward that day. The resident told us he had his choice of which birth to attend and he chose ours because we clearly seemed like we might be entertaining.

Pain and discomfort aside? I will remember this day as fun. It was scary at times, sure. When they pulled him out of me and set him on my stomach he just flopped there like a doll. They realized pretty quickly that he needed a bit of help and the magic button was pressed somewhere in the room. Suddenly 87 nurses swarmed the place and my kid was being rubbed and smacked and encouraged to yell by all of them. No one was talking to me telling me what had happened, what was happening or that it was all going to be ok. I was in a state of shock that it was all over that fast. The kid was apparently 'stunned' and just wouldn't yell. I have found out in later days that he is just not a yeller. But they tortured him until he yelled enough, and slowly the nurses filed out one by one until a normal amount remained. I was given back my kid and he was fine.

I was done. I had done it. The magic IT. I gave birth the way I wanted to (mostly) and it was great. And that's my story. Since then I have struggled and had good days, cried happy and frustrated and overwhelmed tears, and felt like I have it together only to be knocked down the next day, but that's motherhood for you. I'm happy to report that the kid is still alive and well. And I am sure done making babies.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Oh yeah I did it

The entity to be known as R

Oh yeah I did it, I did it, I really really did it. (imagine some rhythm behind that) I pushed a 9 lb 2 oz reluctant baby into the world through my vajayjay all by myself (kinda) but with an epidural on board due to unbelievable pain and the aforementioned reluctant child.

Yep. It's nuts. I feel like a first time mom all over again because I've never done this taking care of an infant 24/7 thing off the bat before. The triplets went to a NICU for a month. I feel like my life has taken an unimaginable turn and made a huge change and I have not even begun to comprehend it. I'm terrified and excited. I'm amazed and proud of myself.

Birthing story will follow when I have time and energy, but lets say that NOTHING goes as planned when having a baby. NOTHING. It's nuts.

Off to sleep or eat or something. Delirium.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A birthday picture

Fine, a birthday picture for you all. Just so you don't think that I never remember to take pictures of my children amidst my ever increasing misery and self centeredness due to an overdue infant. Of course I didn't take this picture either. So, perhaps I never do. Thanks nanny for taking some birthday pics! More to come from our Sunday birthday party at grandma's! To which I forgot to bring my camera so grandma has them all. So, once again I forgot.

Sue me. Or just cut this thing outta me.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Two years ago today

Two years ago today I was sitting in a hospital bed after a traumatic night that finished my resolve to hold those triplets inside me until 36 weeks. I met with the doctor and told him my last ounce of strength was gone and if he wanted them out I was ready.

Two years ago today I took pictures of my gigantic belly, not even realizing how gigantic it was, but documenting for all time the strains and stresses my body went through to make those gigantic triplets of mine.

Two years ago today I had no idea what kind of adventure I was embarking upon but I thought I could still be a stay at home mom without a nanny. I thought I could handle it by myself since I would have no job other than mom to handle.

Two years ago today I knew I wanted to be a mom desperately, I knew I wanted a large family, and I knew I wanted to be 'only' a mom, the working world wasn't my game long term.

Two years ago today I went into surgery and came out a changed woman, having survived a terrifying cesarean and blood transfusions and complications unexpected. I didn't even get to see or meet those triplets of mine until the next day.

Two years ago today I saw a side of my husband I'd never seen before. The guy who can handle me being incapacitated and seemingly take control and reassure me and never act as scared as he felt. The guy who put it all aside to stand by me during a surgery wherein people cut me open and reached up inside me within his visual range, while surgical fluids coursed through a tube right in front of him, then 7 hours of a scary recovery, watching his wife struggle to come back to the strong, healthy, take charge woman that she usually is while desperately wanting to meet his own children who had been whisked away to the NICU in their premature state. I fell more in love with him that day.

Two years ago today I popped out the coolest, funniest, best looking set of triplets anyone has ever seen. Sure, they were pretty strange looking at first, being all old looking and hairy:

But they have sure turned into some good looking children with fantastic attitudes, interesting personalities and stubborn independence that bodes well for success in this crazy world. Wouldn't be our children if they weren't pains in the butt.

Yeah, I know this isn't a birthday pic. Give me a day at least people. 

Congratulations to the best triplets in the world on making it through 2 years with me in charge!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ah insomnia...

Ah insomnia, thy name is pregnancy. Whether it be 3 am or 5, or even 12, it still sucks as I have much to worry about these days and given one inch of leash my brain will go on a tear around the whole neighborhood peeing and digging up gardens wherever it may roam.


It hit me during date night that I have not even considered what it's going to be like caring for an infant and three toddlers on days when I have 'no' help. I suppose I rarely have none, I'm going to have to really get over my asking for help issues with my husband and wake his butt up to help me when I need it. And I am going to need it. But how does one breast feed one kid, prepare breakfast for three others and get them all dressed and out of the house? Seems a little overwhelming right now. Not something I should be thinking of at 5 am. There is no solution until I'm in it making it happen.

Then I start thinking of all the areas in my house that need cleaning up, reorganizing and so on, so we can have a nice place but also because we are going to start the 'finding a new house and selling the old one' process pretty much immediately after I get home from the hospital. We can not afford this house any more, we have delayed long enough, and it's time to get outta town. So I have to get paint touched up, all surfaces emptied, all clutter donated or stored and then find time to look at houses elsewhere. That sounds doable while incapacitatedly pregnant right?

Taxes. Ugh.

Taking the kids to the dentist. This I have been talking about for a year. I know I'm delinquent. I suck at caring for my own teeth. I need to do better for them. I am not feeling like it's going to go well, but what's new. And they could surprise me.

Breastfeeding and all that goes with it is another minefield. Let's not even go there.

Is my cat Piglet sick or just old? How many times am I going to take her into the vet thinking something is wrong only to have no findings supporting it? I have never had a cat make it to 13 before. They all got cancer or something terrible much earlier on. Witnessing the aging combined with the guilt of them having to adjust to triplets is wearing on my usually great animal wellness radar. I have lost faith in my ability to tell if she's healthy or not.

Is that a contraction? No, wait, is THAT one? No. Dammit.

I'm hungry. Do I have the energy to get out of bed and do something about it? No.

What have I done by deciding to have a large family? I obviously can't turn back now. Am I going to really be able to do this? Will I ever have the energy to feel like I can keep up with the kids and keep them happy and entertained and healthy and not be dragging myself around like I have for the past year or two? Have I really just been sick and overwhelmed or is this who I am? Oh, to have a weekend on my own without kids and see if I really miss it. I mean, was I happier single, reading my paper with my cats and watching TV alone? Sure seems delightful now. I'm sure I must have been bored. And these amazing personalities I have created could not be returned but still, lord it's hard to consider the next 17 years.

Am I capable of ever living in the present and just dealing with today? Not looking back at what used to be or forwards at what might be but really just sitting here with my current life and experiencing it? This is what I need to practice. My guess is the insomnia might just go away too.

Thanks for listening to my list of worries. Feel free to add your own!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Just in case you all thought my radio silence meant I was in the hospital giving birth, um, no.

I'm just pretty much cervically obsessed and no one wants to hear about that anymore. I mean obsessed. Any quiet moment I have I sit and imagine that sucker opening up it's great yaw and spitting this kid out. Every time I get nauseated, poop more than once or have some back pain I get excited. It's just that there is nothing else on my mind right now and I shall spare you the details beyond that.

Please keep your fingers crossed that I get the opportunity to at least try out laboring even if it ends in a c-section in the end. I have 2 weeks left to get going on my own. Burn me some incense, pray me some rosaries, I will take any and all spiritual and universal efforts on my behalf. I want this experience. I will be fine if I don't get it but I WANT it.

Updates as progress is made.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fantasy Island

On to more fantasies straight from the crazy pregnant lady's brain.

As I'm sitting here eating a bag of cookies while watching the Biggest Loser (because there is no other way to watch this show other than with a bag of some fat or sugar laden objects) I begin to entertain my post pregnancy body fantasies again. When I was pregnant with the triplets it was the same way. I couldn't wait to work out again. I was going to kick ass and take names at the gym. Take long walks with the triple stroller until all the fat disappeared and then I was going to get the 6 pack.

Yes, she thinks she might be able to get a 6 pack at almost 40 with a body that is apple shaped, meaning the only place I will NEVER lose all the weight is on my stomach.

Oh well. Then the reality of triplets. Sure I took a lot of walks at first. I found that the solution to any time they refused to sleep was to pack them all in the stroller and walk. That way I wasn't actively trying to make them sleep, didn't even have to look at them while they cried, and, even though I was also not sleeping, we all got a break from each other. So I lost all the pregnancy weight. It was nice.

But then I went insane. I had to hire help because otherwise? I'd be dead. Electric chair or self induced, whichever. So I outsourced the walking. She walked them every day, not me. I sat on my arse and tried to regain my sanity. For some reason this involved cookies.

By the time I got pregnant again I was back in boot camp. I was trying. I went to work out boot camp 3 or 4 mornings a week. I was going to get back in shape, but why was I so so so exhausted that I could barely drag myself there only to end up coming home and shoving more food in my face? Oh, that's right. I was pregnant and had no stinking idea. So much for that.

So here we are again, in the end stages of a pregnancy thinking "I can't wait to get back to boot camp." Riiiight. I might do it. There's only one infant this time. My sanity may take a lesser blow, but because I'm having to spend all of our money on help right now since I can't lift my kids I will very quickly have to give up many nanny hours to conserve what money we have left to buy a new house and move. That will leave me a lot less time to work out. Now, I will be running after triplets while carrying an infant, no doubt larger than the average as we seem to produce, strapped to my chest, but that does not make 6 pack abs. And time shortage pretty much guarantees bad eating habits. At least with me.

So why do I dream of the 6 pack still? Why not just dream of getting down to my average weight, which I haven't been in 3 years? Oh the fantasies. Will they never end? Just give me a few weeks at the Biggest Loser ranch people. Just a few. And fewer fried chicken ads on tv. That would help too. And a mother in law who didn't like baking cupcakes and cookies quite so much. yeah. And, maybe, just maybe, a different set of genes.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I'm ready!

How many aches, pains and sudden cramps can one have in the last two weeks of pregnancy that mean absolutely nothing? Apparently a thousand. I have been alternating excited and disappointed with every strange happening in my belly. I have been pleased with pain and discomfort thinking it could only mean progress towards labor and that's just weird. To sit there and endure what probably is an intestinal cramp thinking "maybe my cervix is opening" is just pathetic.

I want to have this baby. I want to have him the 'natural way.' I want my chance. I have read every stinking book out there on childbirth, the history of, being a midwife, meditative practices while laboring, medieval torture of laboring women in the 1950s, and keeping an open mind about what happens at the hospital. I have seen nekkid pictures of women giving birth that have truly convinced me that boobies are like snowflakes and not one pair looks like anyone else's. I have seen more crowning heads and hippie chicks giving birth in communes across America because they are the ones who allowed themselves to be photographed at the moment of birth. The haircuts, especially on the men? Hilarious.

I am ready. If I get screwed out of my VBAC I will kill someone. If I don't even once get to say 'no, no, no epidural for me ma'am' I'm gonna be pissed. I'm so freaking ready!

What's agonizing is that there is no predictable pattern that gives you even a hint of how close you are. Doctor exams on your cervix may give you hope because the cervix is opening or something is changing down there, but truth is? That means nothing. The kid could drop first. Or not. Your water could break first, or not. The 80 other 'signs of labor' are meaningless in that one could happen and it still could be weeks away from the actual labor. Or you could still end up never going to labor in time and getting a c-section.

Meanwhile, I have become incapacitated. The cankles have finally arrived (that means no differentiation between calves and ankles due to swelling.) The least little thing gives me contractions. Useless ones. Lifting my children? Almost impossible. Lap left for children to sit upon? None. Number of children wanting to sit on it simultaneously? 3. Plus 3 cats. Not doable.

Ok, boring post. I'm done. Someone send me some labor vibes. Get this kid out of me and get me on to the next phase. I just am ready to begin recovery. I want to return to the land of the useful. I want to return to sleeping in whatever position I feel like. I'm done! I'm ready!