The great news is that Al is better! He slept from 3pm to about 7:30pm, then ate some dinner, then we both fell asleep from about 8-ish until almost midnight. We got up and got ready for bed and then went to sleep less than an hour later. You'd think with all this sleep I wouldn't be so tired today. But I'm SO tired. I was really stressed out yesterday, so I'm sure that didn't help.
The parking lot at my school is a complete sheet of ice. I put my foot down to get out of the car (getting out of the car is no fun right now, either) and it wouldn't stay in one place. It really took some doing to get myself out and without falling! I almost called the office to let them know I was stuck, but the bell had just rung and I really needed to get inside AND it was sooo cold. Brrr! It's in the teens today. The sun isn't out, so I'll be risking my neck again getting back in the car at the end of school today. I'm being SO careful but I'm really afraid of falling and hurting Noelle (or myself).
Last night, Noelle had these spastic kicks. It was like I became a very temporary punching bag (boom, boom, boom, boom, boom) and then it would stop. I guess I should ask my birth board buddies if anyone else has experienced it. It was so weird. Today she is standing on my bladder and kicking the crap out of my cervix. I hate it! But I'm glad she's active. It always makes me feel better.
Time is marching quickly, that's for sure. I'm so glad I have less than 6 weeks left. I may surprise myself, but I don't think I will miss being pregnant. I thought I would enjoy pregnancy more than I have, but I realize that I really just want a child. I'm scared of being a mother, also, but hopefully I'll do okay.
I painted letters that spell Noelle's name to put on the wall in the nursery. I still have a little left to do, but then I'll post a picture of them. I think they're going to look cute, and definitely do the job of girling up the nursery a bit.
Fingers crossed for yet another snow day tomorrow!! The forecast is looking pretty grim, so Al and I are already thinking about just taking the day off if the district is stupid and doesn't cancel school (or pulls one of their half day stunts). It just seems like the road conditions are going to be dangerous. I would love to be able to clean the house, too. Yay for snow days!!
Oops, haven't updated in a while. Thankfully, after all the drama and scares from the first trimester, it's been smooth sailing since then (I hope I'm not jinxing myself!). I'll be full term next Friday and I'm just hoping she'll come a little early. Al, however, has different plans. He's about to start a really busy time, from Easter until the end of April. Ideally, Noelle will come right when she is due. If not, he might have to miss a concert or something.
We both have the philosophy that we are welcoming our child into our lives, not shifting our lives to revolve around the child. I will say, though, that I think newborns might be the exception to the rule - considering the constant feedings, etc. I already knew I'd be doing about 90% of the work of caring for her because Al still has to work, but after our conversation last night, that percentage just might be higher. He just agreed to do a service activity for school on April 19 (the Saturday after my EDD). I was slightly pissed about that because I know I'll at least need a break every once in a while, but I have a feeling that once she gets here, he's going to want to spend as much time as possible with her. Right now, he's just determined to keep his life exactly the same.
Anyway, that felt good to type. I think it's useless to argue about it right now because I really do think he'll change. I know him pretty well. If he doesn't, we'll deal with it then. But it's silly to argue about things that we're both blind about, you know?
Yesterday was our last day of school before spring break. Yay!! I'm a little sad that we're not allowed to travel (I'm pretty sure this is our first spring break of not going anywhere) but we're going to clean the house from top to bottom this week and finish preparing for Noelle. I'm looking forward to it!
I seem to miss posting an entry on the big milestone days. Well, Happy FULL TERM to me, anyway!!! It's been a long journey that has seemed short at times. I remember thinking back in August that April would never come and here it is next week!
I'm ready, as ready as I can be. The nursery is finished, except for curtains my mom and I are going to make and a rug and table that we haven't found yet. Because of a trip to L&D yesterday (more about that in a minute), we finished packing a suitcase for the hospital last night and it is in the trunk of the car right now, along with the diaper bag. Many of her clothes are washed and ready to be worn. I've read enough of the babycare books to get us through the first few weeks (I hope). We've met with the pediatrician we selected and like her a lot. I've gotten my students through competitions and performances and midterms. I'm physically ready to be done with pregnancy (to say the least). Now we wait.... hopefully not too much longer!
So I spent a whole lot of Easter on my feet, singing in the choir. I started getting these stabbing pains in my lower belly. They only lasted a second or two, but stopped me in my tracks and took my breath away. It felt like Noelle was trying to pull the placenta away from the uterine wall. I called my OB yesterday morning and of course they told me to go to L&D right away. I knew that would happen, but I also felt like things were probably okay.
Anyway, I got hooked up to monitors that measured Noelle's heart rate and also if I was having any contractions. She kicked the contraction monitor off once. I love this hospital and I'm excited to be giving birth there - I think it's going to be a wonderful experience. The doctor checked me and I'm already 1.5 cm dilated and 70% effaced and she said the head has dropped, too. I was really surprised because I haven't had any contractions or anything. But since she's moving lower and getting bigger and putting more pressure on everything, the doctor said it's normal to experience new aches and pains in these last few weeks. Great.
Since then, I just feel worse and worse. I've been really crampy today and last night was just uncomfortable. It's so odd how quickly I can switch from feeling miserable to mostly okay, then back again. I really hope she doesn't keep us waiting too much longer. Sometimes I'm not sure how much more of this discomfort I can take.
On a positive note, we're getting really excited that we just might have a baby soon!!!! Can't wait!
I'm officially 12 days away from my due date, but my OB said on Friday that she thinks there's a good chance I'll deliver before then. Even if not, she doesn't let her patients go for more than 3-4 days after their due date before induction. So I'm really thankful that conditions are ripe for induction, just in case. I really hope it won't come to that, though.
I'm feeling very heavy today. It's really funny to me how my physical comfort can change from moment to moment. I think part of it has to do with Noelle's position, but I can't think of any other reasons, other than mercy!! So if I'm super uncomfortable, I just wait a while (sometimes hours) but then I'll usually feel better. So on the whole, I'm feeling pretty good, with some bad moments. I wasn't sure how my body would handle late pregnancy, and I'm really happy and thankful to report that I'm doing just fine!
I keep having bad dreams about labor/delivery/babies, etc. I think it's just my apprehension about this monumental task in front of me, with so many fears and unknowns. But Al pointed out that once she gets here I'll have a whole new set of fears so I need to just learn to let go of the things I can't control and stop worrying so much. Good point (although it's easy for him to say ). He's actually been really great, though. I think he's going to be an AMAZING coach when the time comes. Hopefully it's coming soon!
I can't believe after all this time reading other people's birth stories, I'm actually about to type my own. Wow.
A lot of what happened has already become a blur, so I'm relying a lot on Al to help fill in the blanks.
Monday, March 31, I experienced a lot of menstrual-like cramps during the day. That night, I lost my mucous plug. Around midnight, I woke up with what felt like really mild contractions. I decided to just stay in bed and try to sleep, knowing that it could take a long time and I needed to conserve my energy. I contracted pretty consistently until about 10am, when we called my OB and asked when I should go in to L&D. She wanted me to go in right away, but I was reluctant because the contractions were so mild... so I took a shower and they stopped!! I was SO disappointed, because Al only had 3 PTO days left and we had just 'wasted' one of them. But we made the most of it and went for a walk and then I asked him to call my OB to let her know the contractions had stopped and I wasn't going to L&D after all. Nope, she wanted me to go anyway. So we went and the nurse there kind of roughed things up during the internal exam (I was still almost 2 cm) and had me walk around for an hour. She did kick off some contractions, but there was no change after an hour. She started another round of contractions with the second check, which didn't ever stop altogether. So we went home, I had a student come over for a lesson and Al went to a rehearsal.
We went to bed around 11-ish, and I fell asleep right away. I woke up suddenly around 11:30pm and realized immediately that a contraction unlike any I had ever felt was what woke me up. I was in the most unbelieveable pain, unlike anything I had ever experienced. It felt like someone was stabbing me in the back with a knife. Al tried lots of counter-pressure techniques, I sat and rocked on the birthing ball, we tried everything we could think of, but it was unbearable. I quickly realized I didn't want to have one contraction after another in the car, so I begged that we go to the hospital and we left at 1:15am. I had 7 contractions in the car and a few more as we progressed up to L&D.
After all those horrible contractions, I still hadn't progressed past 2cm. The nurses were wonderful and tried to help me relax and not fight the contractions so much, but I was completely out of control. I kept willing myself to relax and the few times I could, it did help some. But my body was shaking so hard and I just couldn't pull myself together. I think being woken out of a sound sleep with intense back labor, I didn't get a change to really brace myself for the assault.
Anyway, I asked for the epi at 3:30 and have never been more grateful!!! It was absolutely the best decision for me, because I progressed from 2cm to 10cm by 7am. They then let me labor down for a while so I wouldn't have to spend hours pushing her out. They also thought it might help since there were some suspicions that she was facing the wrong way. I think that was the best part, because I could feel her moving down the birth canal with every contraction and it was a really neat feeling.
I pushed for 40 minutes and her head literally popped out (like a Jack in the Box!). Everyone was surprised that she came out so easily, considering the fact that she was sunny side up. The most amazing and surreal moment of my life was watching this human being come out of me and be laid on my chest. Just incredible.
The doctor did a small episiotomy and then I tore a little bit further, but that hasn't been a big deal at all (so far). The problem was that I am apparently allergic to the lubricant and the antisceptic solution they used on me during the delivery. As the epi wore off, I started to hurt down there. Really, really bad. Once I had complete sensation, it felt like someone had lit a match down there. I was in so much pain it's almost a blur. They gave me percocet, then demerol. I respond really easily to pain killers and nothing even put a dent in my pain. I remember saying at one point that at least with contractions, there were breaks from the pain. It took most of the day to do a CT scan to rule out a clot, and then for Al to remember that I've had problems on a much smaller scale, when we've used KY in the past. It hadn't crossed anyone's mind that I might be having an allergic reaction, but that ended up being the problem (it's really rare, so I hope no one worries that this might happen to them). Anyway, I think the thing that made the biggest difference was when the nurse was trying to help me pee and gave me a water bottle to spray down there. It felt so good on all my burning parts and I think helped clean off all the stuff I was allergic to.
Because of all the complications post-delivery, poor little Noelle got almost no attention from mommy on her first day of life - aside from a few nursing attempts. Thankfully, she was happy and Al was just phenomenol. He spent the entire day trying to help me cope AND he and my mom took care of Noelle. He changed a diaper for the first time in his life with no one's help but me in the bed trying to talk him through it.
Thankfully, I feel TONS better today. (day 2) Nursing has been a bit of a challenge, but Noelle has a great 'suck' and a big desire to nurse. I'm also producing lots of colostrum, which is helping. She's having some trouble latching and was pretty fussy tonight. But we'll figure it out. It's hard for me to deal with right now when I'm trying to recover and have a gazillion hormones raging through my body. I'm beyond thankful that Al is taking the rest of the week off and that my mom is here, too. I'm a little apprehensive about what it will be like when he goes back to work and my mom goes back to Dallas, but God will help me.
So we go home tomorrow and I guess the adventure continues then!
Stats: Linda Noelle, born Wednesday, April 2, 2008.
Weighed 6 lb. 3 oz. and 19.5 inches long.
A beautiful gift from God!
Noelle will be 2 weeks old tomorrow! I guess at some point I should start a baby journal, but I feel like I'm just getting cozy with this one.
It's been two weeks of ups and downs, that's for sure. We got home from the hospital two days after she was born and walked right into a gas leaking nightmare. One thousand dollars and a huge headache later, our house is hopefully leaking no more gas. It was horrible - we had no heat, hot water, or stove until Monday. Wait, we got the hot water back on Saturday, but the lack of heat was the worst, especially with a newborn. Ugh.
Anyway, she's beautiful. She looks way better than I thought she might - she looks like a c/s baby. She makes the funniest faces and only cries when something is wrong. She's on a 3.5-4 hour eating schedule, and even slept for almost 6 hours last night! In every possible way, she is a really good baby. We're so lucky.
I've been feeling more like myself over the past few days. It was really hard at first, I was weepy and feeling VERY overwhelmed by everything. Our first night home from the hospital, I didn't sleep at all because of every little noise Noelle made. I was out of bed at least once every 5 minutes or less to check on her. It was awful. Wacky hormones, house issues, sleep deprivation, and high-maintenance nursing (I had to pump and use a feeding tube with a nipple shield for a few days) made for a really hard several days for me. But it gradually got better.
So my mom left yesterday and today was my first day alone with Noelle. We ventured out to the library around 2:30pm-ish and Al met us there and then we went for a walk. Now he's at class. He still has 7 weeks of school left. I really hope they go by quick.
Now for my real purpose in writing... I had an important realization today that I don't want to forget and I think I might. One of the things that has been hardest for me is that I felt deep down that becoming a mother meant that I ceased to be anything else. My day today has felt exceedingly unimportant. I nursed several times, ate, did a load of laundry, did the dishes, went to the library and took a walk. And that's just about it. I'm not planning on returning to work full-time, and that has made me feel really aimless. I've been working full-time in one way or another since I started college almost 14 years ago.
But I realized tonight that I didn't stop being me. I'm adding a new element to me: mother. But I'm still a musician, still a teacher, still a lover, still everything that makes me who I am. I think that the low energy that came with pregnancy caused me to take some of my hats off and I've always had the problem of associating my self-worth with the things I do and being busy. Now that I'm anything but busy, it's been a big adjustment. And change is hard.
It's all good, though. I felt so relieved when I realized my old life wasn't over, it's just going to be a little different now. And now I hear a little voice calling...