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Saturday, April 28, 2012

I'm a Mommy :)

Monday, April 23rd at 9:27am is when my life changed forever. A little bundle weighing 8lbs 5oz and 21.5 inches long came into the world ... came into my world :) I would like to introduce you to James Thomas Epps, my perfect little boy :)


I spent 26.5 hours in labor. It started when I woke up at 7am on Sunday to use the restroom. When I was about to leave the bathroom I suddenly left a puddle on the floor. I wasn't wearing my glasses at the time, so I went to get them because I couldn't believe that I had just peed on the floor! But, alas, it was not pee ... my water had broken :)  All I could say to Josh was, "It's time."
Since I had not yet started contractions I decided I should have breakfast before heading the hospital because once admitted I would not be allowed to eat, and at the time we didn't know how long I would be in labor for.

The first 13 hours of labor were easy ... I was having some contractions but didn't really feel them. They were light menstrual cramps at worst. Not to mention that was wonderfully distracted by Josh (the best labor and delivery coach EVER!), my parents, whom I couldn't have finished the delivery without and cousins Jeni and Luanne who made the 45 minute drive to hang out through the beginning stages of labor.
The doctor decided at that point to induce my contractions because once your waters have broken you have 18-24 hours before your risk of infections go up.

Dr. Samawi arrived at 7am on Monday and with that being the 24 hour mark it was time to start pushing. I had had an epidural around 3am but sadly they had done something wrong and the feeling was coming back into the right side of my body very quickly. The contractions were becoming very intense and the anasteseologist tried to fix it in time, but it was too late. So I guess I can say that I half gave birth the natural way  :-/   I was pushing for 2.5 hours before I couldn't do it any longer. Little James was very close but just couldn't quite make it out. So we decided to use the vacuum after which he was born about 10 minutes later. I had never felt pain like that before. But once they put him on my chest, it was like the pain had never existed.

The following I will share only so that you know that it's normal and that most women go through this during labor and delivery ... you can, however, chose to skip this part  ;-)

First, the gas during labor was unnatural ... I wasnt aware that the body could produce so much of it! I got lightheaded when they were inserting my IV and drawing blood. I did poop during delivery ... yes it's normal! You might be horrified by this, but by the time it's time to give birth, you wont care ... I promise! I swore infront of my parents for the first time during delivery. I threatened to smack my dad because he was being positive to make me feel better (sorry dad!) and I think I may have growled at Josh for rubbing my leg supportively. I wanted to give up on more than one occasion. On my first trip to the bathroom about 2.5 hours after delivery, I completely blacked out and had to be carried back to my bed. And lastly, I got a 2nd degree perenial tear. I will let you look that one up ... but it ended with me getting many stitches after delivery :-/

I have loved every minute with my little guy. And he is getting fussy now, so I will leave this blog and write again soon!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My extra special boy.

Alas, it has been 48 hours and James has not yet left the building ... uh, body. Sadly, I guess the sweep didn't work, but it was worth a try. The only thing it did do was make the last 48 hours more interesting. I've had blood, mucus (hmm maybe I should have warned about graphic details again), cramping, contracting, pain and emotional highs and lows. The contractions have changed, however. So I am dealing with a new set of sensations and wondering if they are normal ... of course they are. All of it just means that James was not yet ready to greet the world, though I cannot imagine why with this beautiful weather we've been having.

For anyone who knows me, they know that I don't take too well to the 'unknown'. I hate not knowing what to expect, I hate not knowing what comes next and I hate not knowing when something is going to happen. I have always been like this, and I am sure that I will continue to be this way - at least to some extent - for the rest of my life.
But I made a conscious decision today (After being up since 4:30am, taking one walk and two naps) that I am going to let it go. I am causing myself unnecessary stress and anxiety when I should be relaxing. So I am currently sitting in my rocking chair not wondering why he is late and not stressing about every little pain wondering if its a stronger contraction or if they are more frequent ... I am just rocking next to the open balcony door, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. Because guess what, I will know when I am having stronger contractions and my body will tell me when a pattern is starting to emerge. It's not like I can miss the window of opportunity of him being born ... when he decides to come, he is coming whether or not I am ready!

Another thing that was greatly stressing me out was Josh's paternity leave time. Unfortunately it's something that he had to put in for ahead of time to make sure that he was covered ... after all, he is the big boss man and not just anyone can cover his time off. So he started his two weeks of paid time off on Monday since that was the due date. So every day that James hasn't arrived is another day on the other side of Josh's two weeks that I will spend alone with our newborn. I'm not going to lie, the idea scared me. While we are both going to be brand new parents, Josh has more experience with babies than I do.
The reason the two week thing scared me, I think, is because everywhere you read that the first two weeks are the toughest as there is a huge adjustment in the family dynamics as well as routines etc. Not only that, but I will still be recovering from labor and delivery, will be sore from learning how to breast feed and may be over whelmed at the huge demands in my sleep deprived state. Not to mention that I'll be dealing with the mother of all periods after not having one in ten months and re-adjusting to my settling hormone levels. Yeah, lets just say that a new momma needs her support.
But regardless of whether or not Josh can be here for a two week period after the birth of James, I know that I will still have his support for the times of the day that he is here and the times that I call freaking out over something or other hahaha.

If nothing else comes of these two weeks with Josh being home, I think that we got some much needed quality time together which may prove to be more beneficial to our changing relationship and family in the long run. Now that I have chosen to join Josh in vacation mode, I think that we will be better prepared for our bundle of joy. No baby can be soothed by stressed out parents. And not to mention that it has been amazing having Josh here during the most difficult time of my pregnancy because, let me tell you, the last month is a roller coaster ride!

So to those of you who have told me to enjoy my last days of naps and relaxation and to have patience ... I am finally listening. All the extra time in the uterus just means that James is going to be extra special ... after all, Rome wasn't built in a day :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Quite an exciting doctor visit.

**** WARNING: This blog entry may be graphic ... I am really not sure yet, but I wanted to give you a heads up just in case  ;-)  ****

Today's doctor visit was quite the exciting one. After spending yesterday dealing with back labor and other pains for almost 9 hours I was praying that my cervix had made some progress in the dilation area. If the doctor did an exam today and told that my cervix was still completely closed I probably would have cried. Nobody should have to go through all that cramping and throbbing pain and discomfort for nothing!

So the doctor did an internal exam, which is always pleasant  :-/   and gave me the good news ... I am dilated 3cm and 50% effaced. So I am well on my way. Just in case pregnancy is new for you: You need to be 10cm dilated before you start pushing the baby out. Of course there is no way to know where you are without an internal exam, but chances are that you will already be laboring fast and hard before you get to 6cm or 7cm ... don't quote me on that one, just because I do believe it is different for everyone. I think some women even get admitted to the labor and delivery ward at 5cm ... so I suppose it really depends on whether or not you waters have broken and what your contractions are like.
Effacement was something I had never heard of until a few months ago. This is the thinning of your cervix. So with mine being 50% effaced, it means that mine is half the thickness that it was to start with. But before your cervix starts to efface, it goes through a period of softening.
There is no set time for any of this process ... every single woman and every single pregnancy is completely different. This can all happen over a few days, a few weeks or even a few months! ... For me it all happened within 2 weeks. So those were two pieces of good news :)

Since I am 40 weeks and 1 day pregnant, my doctor offered me the option of having my membranes stripped (aka sweeping). Since it can be quite painful and uncomfortable (as are internal exams right now because James is putting so much pressure on my nether region) I said that we could revisit that idea when he was in there checking my cervix ... sorry, this is where it gets graphic :-/ 
I ended up deciding on a yes. I figured whats 5 more seconds of pain and discomfort if it brings the pregnancy to a happy end. So in a nut shell (if this is new to you), the doctor basically sticks one finger inside your cervix (so into your uterus) and gently ... though it didn't feel very gentle ... removes part of the membrane from the inside wall of the uterus. By doing this a hormone is released that makes the uterus think that you are in labor and can start the contractions. For more information: http://www.midwife.org/ACNM/files/ccLibraryFiles/Filename/000000000669/Stripping%20Membranes.pdf

Unfortunately stripping your membranes is not a guarantee. It will work if your body is already getting ready for labor. But after hearing all of my symptoms from the past week he decided that it was definitely worth a shot for me. If it does work then labor will kick in within 24-48 hours after the stripping. Though some women go into labor as soon as during the night because they are relaxed, or the next morning after a good night's sleep. I am very much hoping that the procedure worked for me because I don't want to be induced (that would happen at 41wks 6 days ... so April 28th) and I really don't want to be pregnant for that long!

The last thing that the doctor told me was that all the cramping etc that I am feeling is no longer false labor. He strongly believes that it is early labor now that I am 3cm. So that's awesome :)  Though early labor can last for a few days.
Since the doctor visit today I have been quite uncomfortable with cramping and some pain near the cervix etc. I have also had some bleeding which is normal. So I cleaned the house a little bit to keep moving and stay distracted. I also showered which made me feel tons better (the doctor's exam made me sweat!).

So with any luck, my next post will be a while from now and it will be about the birth of our little boy :)  Unless I feel the urge to blog during labor .... yeah, probably not going to happen.  ;-)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Who am I?!?!

I know I am in the homestretch, but that doesn't stop the hormones from ruining my day. There are moments when I don't recognise myself ... I don't understand how hormones can change one person so much, and so quickly. Unless something majorly stressful is happening in my life, I am only used to feeling like this maybe a day or two (tops) out of every month ... but 9 months of this has been ridiculous and I'm coming to the end of my rope.

I guess it would be okay if it only effected me, but that is not the case. My sudden change from happy to sad, to angry, to downright depressed, to excited, to anxious effects those around me too. The fluctuations cause me to snap at people I love, cry over the dumbest things and get overly excited about the smallest things and I cannot seem to control it no matter how much I try, and sadly I feel like it is taking its toll on some of my most treasured relationships.

The most difficult emotion for me is the sadness and crying. I have always been a person to keep my tears to myself whenever possible because once I've cried out whatever the frustration is I automatically feel better and move on without anyone ever knowing. I still have my private crying moments to allow for some of the hormonal craziness, but unfortunately there are still loved ones that get caught up in the cross hairs of my tears. Sometimes I feel like the tears are just sitting there waiting any dumb reason to get out, and sadly it seems to be when there are others around to witness the break down. Not only is it frustrating, it can be downright embarrassing to have to explain the dumb reason that I am upset.

It also seems that the tears like to stick around until I am completely dry. I could seriously cry for hours, especially if it's night time. The darkness and silence of the night can swallow you whole if you're careful ... I hate night time on nights like this ... I am already assuming that I wont get much sleep. But that's okay, because I'll just sleep all day tomorrow.

There are women out there that seem to enjoy every minute of pregnancy ... or is that just what they show in public? If they really are happy the entire time, why cant I be like them? I wish I could have spent my whole pregnancy being happy, comfortable, feeling beautiful, and getting along with everyone. I just want to be done. I want my beautiful son to be here, I want my body back and I want these emotional break downs to disappear.

I want to be ME again ... I want all my friendships/relationships to go back to normal ... and did I mention that I just want to be me again?

Friday, April 6, 2012

From one concern to another.

So for those of you who have been pregnant, you know that pregnancy can be one worry after another, especially when it comes to the first pregnancy because you don't always know what is normal and what is not. As new moms-to-be we spend a lot of time looking up all the aches and pains on google and calling our doctors about our new found symptoms.

Now that I have reached full term most of those worries have gone away. Reaching week 39 has alleviated a lot of concerns as I just sit back and wait for those telling signs of labor. Last night, however, I found myself laying in bed surrounded by a whole bunch of new concerns.

I often go back and forth between feeling ready for labor and delivery and completely terrified. Of course its the fear of the unknown ... I have no idea what is going to happen in that room. Every mom in the world could share her experience and I could still experience something very different. The pain that I might feel also scares me, even though I plan to have an epidural. Also tearing scares me for obvious reasons. But I am also aware that I will be surrounded by the best support I could ask for. Josh's hand will be in mine for as long and as much as I need it, my parents and sister will be there to cheer me on and encourage me to keep going when I am completely exhausted and my doctor, whom I trust beyond words, will be there to talk me through the whole process. So while I am scared at times, I am also confident that I can get through the whole labor and delivery without a problem.

Something new that I have started worrying about as the big day approaches are my abilities as a mom. Babysitting was never really my thing, though I did it often. Crying babies have always made me uncomfortable. What if James has a crying day ... how do respond if he doesn't respond to any kind of soothing? I know that it will be different because he is my child ... but I want the best for my son and wouldn't want to see him sad or uncomfortable.
I know that these are common concerns among new moms, so I am trying to let it go and understand that it will be a learning process and as I get to know James I will learn what soothing techniques work and what don't.

Having said all of that ... I am ready for James to arrive ... so James, we are just waiting for you little buddy :)