This is a long one
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 08:33 p.m.
I never got around to writing about Micah's birth. I never really intended to go into details here (because I know there are things you just can't unread), but I definitely meant to write the story of it down, just so I'd be able to remember it. And then I never did, because Micah's birth was horrible. A lot of things went wrong, and while I was thrilled with the end result of a living baby, the experience and the aftermath for me personally were Not Good. For a very long time. So although I started to write out Micah's birth story, I never finished it because I didn't want to type out every awful detail. I remember enough, thank you, enough that I spent the last month of this pregnancy scared out of my mind and bracing myself for the inevitable.
But this I WANT to remember.
Last Monday, I went in for my weekly checkup. I went alone, because Todd had first aid training, but I didn't expect that to be a problem. A trip to L&D the previous Friday had confirmed that although I was having periods of intense contractions, they weren't doing much to change anything. And actually, on Monday I'd only dilated a bit more. But then Doc got a Very Serious look on his face. He measured my stomach, and his look got Even More Serious. After a bit of thought he told me I was measuring small, only 33 weeks, but the baby hadn't dropped to where he'd expect from that, and he wanted me to have an ultrasound.
We won't talk about my mental state during the ultrasound, except to say it was extremely fragile. The ultrasound showed a healthy baby, but she was measuring a little over a week behind, with a borderline fluid level. Afterwards, Doc sat down across from me and told me he didn't like that she hadn't grown as expected, that sometimes the placenta will just be all "but I am le tired," and he felt it would be best to go ahead and induce before something like that happened, and how did I feel about having a baby that night?
You'll probably guess my feelings on that subject consisted mostly of four-letter words, none of which I could utter because the oxygen level in the room seemed to have dropped to 0. He must have sensed the panic, because he reassured me that she wasn't in imminent danger - if she were, we'd have been headed next door right then - and he gave me the option of coming in the next morning instead. He even said we could come in later, after we'd dropped Micah off at the daycare. In the end, we agreed that I'd show up at 8 AM on Tuesday.
Tuesday morning, we arrived at the hospital at exactly 8, and were ushered back to LDR 4, the smallest delivery room, and one where we'd spent quite a lot of time during Micah's pre-term labor adventures. They started me on the pitocin around 8:45, and my parents showed up not long after that. A few hours later, they moved us to a larger room, and I went ahead and got my epidural. (Sidenote: After Micah's violent exit, I was pretty well aware you don't get a gold star or a bonus check for hurting.) I marveled for a while over the total lack of pain, until things started hurting a bit again. Then I marveled over how not-horrible I still felt, even though I could tell things were moving right along. It was...awesome. I spent a lot of time joking with the nurses, Mary and Tracey.
Sometime right after my parents left for lunch (of course), it was just about time to have a baby. My mom rushed back, and she and Todd talked me through the high epidural freak out and the three short sets of pushes. And at 1:32 PM, our daughter, Aerin Elizabeth, was born.
My birth experience with Micah was not unlike giving birth to an angry velociraptor. Aerin's was totally, completely different, in the best ways possible. The next day, I actually felt good. Like, so good I wasn't sure it was legal to feel like that after childbirth. Granted, I had the help of my dear friends ibuprofen and percocet, but still. Now, a week out, my back and hips are still pretty sore, but that could be because I walked a good half-mile night before last.
Thursday was a bit of a cluster after Micah came down with viral croup Wednesday night. Fortunately, Todd wasn't able to stay at the hospital because they had to put me in a tiny postpartum room without the extra bed, so Micah was at least at home (instead of at my sister's) with his grandmother, the doctor, just down the hall. Thursday morning, my mom stayed with my sister's kids while she took Micah to the pediatrician, and Todd's mother drove Todd to get his very own epidural. With daycare out of the picture, my parents took over watching Micah for the rest of the day. The hospital was also chock full of new babies and women in labor, so things in L&D were moving pretty slowly. But in the end, we finally made it home around 3:30 PM.
Speaking of Micah, he's been fantastic with the baby. He softly strokes her hair and puts his head down on hers. He calls her "Baby Aerin" and wants to see her "tiny hands," feet, and ears. In the hospital, he wanted to share his Cheerios with her. This morning, he brought over his precious Lubby and tucked it in next to her. He seems to have no problem with her at all; his initial ire was reserved mostly for me and Todd. We've dealt with that by trying to spend as much time as possible playing and talking with him. His return to daycare yesterday also helped restore some normalcy. All in all, he's doing much better with the whole situation than I expected.
(Now is where I should have some sort of preshus sibling picture, but I've been focusing more on keeping Micah from hitting Aerin's reset button as he lovingly pats her head, and less on documenting his attempts to hug her and kiss her and squeeze her and call her George. Moving on!)
So, here we are. It's been a week since Aerin was born, and I honestly couldnt be happier. With Micah, I was exhausted from weeks of worry and lack of sleep, weak from blood loss, and mentally just shot. With Aerin, I've been reasonably well-rested, I feel strong, I don't really hurt, and I'm actually enjoying these first few days. The two experiences are worlds apart, and this is nothing at all like I expected. It is so, so much better.
Sometimes Micah tells me stories
Monday, June 27, 2011 - 09:13 p.m.
"When I was at home, my mommy was gone and I was all alone down there in the street, and I couldn't find the lion, but there was a moose in the trees and he bit me, right there on my foot. Then he ate all these books. But I had my blanket and it makes me better. Can I have a band-aid for my foot?"
My 2:15 doctor appointment turned into a 5:45 appointment after my poor doctor had to do one emergency C-section at Huntsville, then deliver another baby at Crestwood on his way back to the office. I almost left, since I have another appointment scheduled for next Monday, but decided after three hours of waiting, what was another 30 minutes? And I'm glad I stayed, because it turns out I'm 80 percent effaced and 3 centimeters dilated. Doc said this kid could be born tomorrow or three weeks from now, but on average, he'd expect four to five days. That's funny, considering a while back I started joking about putting me down for June 16th in the office pool.
So. Now it's for real. This baby is coming out, sooner rather than later. I guess I am officially a ticking time bomb. Woo.
Maybe it's because I'm having a girl. Maybe it's because this time around I'm not on bedrest and have nothing better to fuss over. Maybe it's because I don't expect to be doing this again. Whatever the reason, I've actually put some time and thought into this one's bedroom. It's nothing fancy, but I think it'll do.
T minus 18 days
Sunday, June 12, 2011 - 01:10 p.m.
So! June is here, and by the end of the month, we will be a family of four. This baby is currently taking up the same percentage of mental space as she is abdominal space, which is to say it's pretty much all I can think about these days - the nursery, how Micah's going to react, what else we need to do to get ready, did I wash all the newborn clothes, what about the blankets, oh shit this baby has to come out somehow, OMGWHEREISTHEBOPPYPILLOW.
The nursery is more or less done, and as soon as the light hits the backside of the house, I plan to take pictures. (Duh.) Todd is currently out purchasing the last few items on the baby list, namely a new monitor and a CD player/clock for the room. Arrangements have been made for Micah, complete with not one but two wildly successful test overnight stays at his aunt and uncle's house. This coming Friday is my last day of work before starting maternity leave, and most of the paperwork is complete. A new, roomier car has been purchased, and the infant carseat has been installed. My hospital bag is packed, repacked, and repacked again. There's a short list of things that will need to be tossed in at the last minute, but we're pretty much.....ready. For someone whose first pregnancy went kaplooey at just a little over 33 weeks, this whole preparedness thing is significantly luxurious. I'm left with nothing to obsess over but the blue/pink balance between the left and right sides of the baby's room, instead of, you know, bedrest and possible NICU stays and premature deliveries and please tell me my baby going to be all right. I like this way much better.
I've even got my Birth Plan all prepared. It consists of, "Please get me and my baby home, together and healthy, within a reasonable time frame." I think it's pretty solid, and covers all the bases.
Oh, and we finally picked a name. But I'm not telling.
I was thrilled, back at the beginning of all this, that I wouldn't have to once again experience pregnancy in August in Northern Alabama, which was something like being stuck in an oven while wearing a heating pad strapped to your middle under two layers of ACE bandages and one layer of small angry badger. Mother Nature, though, thought that was hilarious, and decided to send August along a full two months early. It's approximately 160 degrees outside right now, and yesterday I went to an outdoor wedding. All I can say is, if I show up at your outdoor wedding during a record Alabama heat wave while 37 weeks pregnant, you ought to be pretty secure in where you rate on my friend scale.
And now it's time for me to go vacuum before Micah wakes up. LOOK, a completely unrelated picture!