My Birth Story

Okay, so I haven’t posted since my last post.  We had both sides of the family in town for my daughter’s baptism plus work so it’s been a bit busy.  Things have finally settled down and I’m able to share with you my birth story.

Almost three months ago, I gave birth to my precious-6 pounds and 8 ounces-18 inches-baby girl at 5:35 in the morning.

I talked about having to go in for a schedule c-section after finding out our baby girl was breech here.  After that, I decided to take maternity leave early.  I started maternity leave the following Monday and my c-section was scheduled for that Thursday.  My husband and I thought we’d have a couple of days to go up to the city, go to the movies, etc., basically enjoy each other’s company and do things we wouldn’t be able to do for a while after baby girl arrived, but of course unpredictability happened.

I ended up sleeping in that Monday, so we didn’t go to the city.  Instead, we went to the mall because the hubs wanted to check something out and I wanted ice cream because it was hot.  While at the mall, I started cramping.  I was walking slower and bending over a bit when walking.  I thought it was because I was on my feet but as we were sitting there eating our ice cream, I still felt uncomfortable and just wanted to go home.  At home the uncomfortable-ness feeling wouldn’t go away.  I tried to take a quick nap but was restless and in a bit of pain.  I finally realized that these cramps were contractions because they would come and go every couple of minutes.  I started timing it and tried to ride through the pain.  After tossing and turning for two plus hours, I decided to call the doctor’s line around 8pm and left a message.  The on-call doctor said it sounds like I was in early labor.  He suggested I wait it out and see if my contractions got closer together and more intense.  He didn’t want me to go to the hospital to be turned away nor did he want my to deliver the baby if she wasn’t ready especially before 39 weeks (I was a day shy of 39 weeks) to make sure her organs were fully developed.  So to take the edge off, I took a bubble bath and the contractions subsided.  But as soon as I got out, I started contracting again and could not get comfortable.  I would lay down but my back would hurt.  I’d sit up but my tail bone would hurt.  I’d stand up but I just wanted to lay down.  My husband put the warm compress on my back and it felt great but then it just aggravated my back.  It was just one thing or another.  😦  They say find anything to make you relax, well I couldn’t.  The contractions were further apart than before but they were more intense.  We called again around midnight and the on-call doctor said he’d call the hospital but try to wait it out longer at home.  We were going to until I started feeling ridiculously nauseous.  At that point, I knew it was time to go.  Good thing my bag was packed.

So we made our way to the hospital at 1:30 in the morning.  We still weren’t sure if baby girl would make her appearance that day.  You hear stories about being told to go home because you’re not fully dilated and what not.  I was admitted and got changed.  They started monitoring mine and the baby’s heart rate and my contractions.  They checked to see if I was dilated, which I was.  I was dilated 3cm (It was so great that 3 was the number they told us.  The hubs and I just chuckled and remember the Friends episode of Rachel in labor.  “Three?  I’m dilated 3!”).  My husband asked if there was a chance that baby girl would be making her entrance into the world that day.  The nurse said “Yes, this is definitely happening.”  Reality hit in.  My contractions were pretty close together when we got there but after a while they started to slow down, so they asked if I could hold on for a little bit and wait til my doctor came in before she made her morning rounds.  I said sure because I could handle the contractions.  Odd how being at the hospital helped me relax.  There was a lot of sitting, waiting, calling my mom and sister (both of whom I woke up because it was 5am on the East Coast), reading news, etc. before the doctor arrived.

Getting ready to go to the hospital.  38 weeks and 6 days pregnant. So ready to give birth.

Finally around 5, my doctor arrived and they started prepping me up for surgery.  It was a bit nerve wrecking when they took me to the operating room and as I was getting the anesthesia.  I kept saying prayers as they continued with the procedure.  There’s a lot of waiting and lying around that you do before your life changes forever (sounds dramatic but it’s true).  Finally, I heard my doctor say “she’s here,” followed by my baby girl’s cry.  There were tears.  They took her away immediately to clean her up and check her Apgar scores (the hubs/proud daddy followed her into the room as they stitched me up).  My loving husband and new proud father walked her back to the operating room so I could say hi real quick and kiss her.  They then took her away to do more tests and he stayed with her.

Babygirl’s first picture.

I laid there for what seemed forever.  My doctor revealed at that time the reason why baby girl was breech.  Apparently it was because she had a short umbilical cord.  So even if she wanted to move down head first, she wouldn’t be able to move that way since the umbilical cord was holding her in place.  When they were finally done, they wheeled me into the recovery room.  There I saw the doting dad hovering over the nurse as she checked my baby girl’s vitals.  Ten minutes later, I got to hold my baby girl.  Best.  Feeling.  Ever.  I got to breastfeed her right then too, which was one of my concerns when I found out I was going to have a c-section.  It felt weird and it didn’t hurt then because of the anesthesia (another post will come about breastfeeding because that’s an experience in itself, both good and bad), but I’m so glad we established breastfeeding within an hour of giving birth.

First time holding my little girl

At first glance she looks like her dad.  Those thick eyebrows and long lashes are all him.  Those chubby cheeks and round face are mine.  Her personality depending on the time of the day could be either one of us or her be her very own.  She started cooing and smiling back at us a couple of weeks ago and it makes my heart melt EVERY DAY.  I love her so much!  A different love from that I have for my husband.  I can stare at her all day and am just in love.  She’s just perfect.  I don’t want her to grow up!

Back to my birth experience, I’m a bit happy I went into labor before the c-section.  It didn’t feel like we “forced” her to come out.  Plus I was able to experience what labor was like even though I felt like I didn’t get the complete and “real” experience.  I consider myself fortunate that we knew that I was going to have a c-section ahead of time instead of laboring for hours and then being told I’d have to have a c-section.  I think I’d be more disappointed and devastated.  Plus not to mention extremely tired when I met my baby.  Luckily, I knew ahead of time and talked to a couple of friends who shared their experiences with me.  I then came to terms that I wasn’t going to have the birth plan I wanted (but not all women do, regardless of that written or mental birth plan you have).  But I still would like to have a vaginal birth.  Will I opt for a VBAC in the future?  Maybe.  But I think we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.  Research would need to be involved as well as ensuring the next baby and I are in the best healthy state.  Right now, I’m enjoying my beautiful baby girl, Eva (prounounced Ay-Vah).

Not exactly a birth story

So I really didn’t mean for the last couple of posts to be pregnancy related, but since my due date is approaching the baby and preparation for her arrival are constantly on my mind.  Yes, it’s normal.  It’s called nesting.  I was planning to do a pregnancy lookbook post but 1) the fabulous heels that I wanted to wear (which completed the look) do not fit me right now and 2) I forgot to take a photo.  I do have a couple of recipe related posts, but I haven’t uploaded the pictures yet.  I’m hoping to put these posts together soon because my maternity leave started today.  The original plan was to work up until I delivered, but things never work out the way that you’d like it to.

Pardon me yet again while I pour my heart out.  This is a pre-birth story.  While I don’t have exactly high risk pregnancy, my desired birth plan will sadly not be happening.

Last Tuesday, we went to my doctor for a weekly check up and ultrasound.  Going into the appointment we thought they’d measure the baby, listen to her heartbeat and we’d be in and out of there within 30 minutes.  We were wrong.  We were excited to see how big the baby was and confirm that she is indeed a girl.  As soon as the ultrasound tech put the instrument on my belly, he said “Oh the head is up.  She’s breech.”  My heart SANK.  I wanted to ask him are you sure, but I refrained from doing so.  How could this be?  I thought that firmness at the top of my belly was her butt.  As he continued to take her measurements, I sat there quietly and tried to keep the tears in.  So many thoughts were racing in my mind.  “She could still turn around.  There’s still time (even though I’m almost 38 weeks at this point).  But what if she doesn’t, I’ll have to have a c-section.  I don’t want one.  This is not what I planned.  I want the labor and delivery birth process.  I want to hold with my child as soon as she comes out.”  Fortunately, my husband was there with me so I felt a little stronger, but he could see it in my eyes that I was holding back the tears.

Thereafter, we went to see my doctor.  She came into the room and asked how we were doing?  I gave her a half smile and said “Good until we heard the baby was breech.”  She was going from patient to patient since she had a delivery earlier that she didn’t get to review my file before coming in.  She knew we were disappointed, but she gave us our options.  Try to flip the baby around through an external procedure which was 50-50 successful or schedule a planned c-section.  She checked to see if I was dilated which I wasn’t and continued to say that if the procedure worked I could deliver the baby vaginally; however, she wasn’t optimistic that I would be able to since my pelvis was small (who knew!  I thought these wide hips were for perfect for birthing a baby!) and we may end up having a c-section.  My heart fell even more.  I still wanted to try.  We schedule the procedure (called External Cephalic Version) for the next day to see if our little one would turn.

As soon as we walked out of the office, the tears fell.  I hoped the procedure would work so I could try delivering our little one naturally.  I’ve always (even before I was pregnant) set my heart on delivering naturally.  My mom did it twice without medications and inspired me to try also.  I dreamt of the moment where they would put my baby on my belly as they were cleaning her up.  Then have that skin-to-skin contact, bond with her and breastfeed shortly after that.  It’s the maternal instinct.  I continued to cry as I called my mom and sister and told them what was happening.  My husband wanted this experience for me and was disappointed as well.  We called his family to inform them.  Then we called his uncle who’s an obstetrician and told us he’d give us the same options and said to go with the external procedure to see if it’ll work, so that was reassuring.

The next morning we got up really early and made our way to the hospital.  We went through all the administrative stuff (which by the way is so dumb since I pre-registered.  WTF! could you imagine what happens if you’re in labor?  just pacing in front of the nurses desk.  GEEZE!), switched into a hospital gown, had an IV administered, got hooked up to the baby monitor, and had blood drawn all by 6:30am.  I was EXHAUSTED and was starting to get hungry.  I sat there watching Modern Family on my husband’s tablet, which put me in a lighter mood.  By 7:30am my doctor came in along with her partner and they were ready to start the procedure.  They gave me a shot to relax my uterus so it would be easier to to move the baby, but the medication also made my heart race.  My doctor pushed on my stomach, while the other doctor was holding the ultrasound instrument (to see if the baby was moving and monitor her heart rate).  She pushed firmly (and I mean FIRMLY) on my stomach.  It was not comfortable and I had to concentrate on taking deep breaths.  My doctor was able to push her a quarter of an inch.  When she paused and tried to move her again, my little one would not move and her heart rate decreased, so they stopped the procedure because they did not want her to go into fetal distress.  So she’s still sitting head up.  My doctor mentioned that there may be a reason why she won’t move into a head down position such as a cord wrapped around some part of her body (not necessarily her neck) that’s holding her in place.  Or maybe she’s too big to go through the birth canal (although they said she’s an average size).

So we have a planned c section for this week.  My doctor does not want me to go beyond 39 weeks (which is this week) because if I go into labor after that there may be various health issues with the baby.  I could always go into labor between now and the scheduled c section, which wouldn’t be bad because we know that little one is ready to come out on her own.  But if labor doesn’t happen before my planned c section date, my doctor wants to wait until that 39 week mark and have the little one’s lungs fully develop.

So with all this news, I’ve decided to take my maternity leave early.  To relax and mentally (if though it’s a bit daunting to go into surgery) be ready for the procedure.  I’m still disappointed and sad that I don’t get the birth experience I wanted, but I’ve come to terms with it.  I know they say that when you have a child forget making any plans and be flexible, but I didn’t realize that it would happen this soon (before she was even here!).  Whatever it takes to get her out safely and healthy is all that matters at this point.  Everything happens for a reason.  And it won’t no matter how she makes her appearance in this world, whether by c-section or delivered vaginally, we’ll be the happiest parents in the world.  She’ll be ours and we’ll have started our little family.

Pregnancy Must Haves

As I’m approaching my final weeks of pregnancy, I wanted to share with you my Pregnancy Must Haves.  These products have helped me with my skin, style, lifestyle, etc.

Elemis Camellia Japanese Oil – I’m sure you’ve heard of Mama Mio and their Tummy Rub Oil or Boob Tube.  I’ve heard it works wonders and prior to purchasing Elemis, I was really thinking about buying this.  However, during my New Year’s cruise the Masseuse convinced me to purchase Elemis (I’m a salesperson’s dream.).  I put this on after I step out the shower.  It’s supposed to last you 3 months but somehow I’ve stretched it out for 6 months because I didn’t always use it everyday.  And I haven’t had any stretch marks!  I know it’s partially a hereditary thing (my mom didn’t have any belly stretch with my sister or I), but I’d like to think using this has helped.  Plus the moisture keeps the belly and my breasts from getting ridiculously itchy.  I noticed during the days I didn’t use it, I’d scratch all day.  Plus Victoria Beckham loves it.  LOL!  You can purchase this at Amazon.

Moisturizing Lotion – After slathering Elemis oil on my belly and bust, I would put moisturizing lotion all over my body after that (I do this regardless of being pregnant).  I found the more I moisturized my skin (especially my belly and bust), the less irritated and itchy I’d be.  I personally like Cetaphil (winter) or Aveeno (spring/summer).

Rubber Bands or Elastic ties – When I didn’t want to buy maternity clothes (up until the 6th-7th month timeframe) and could still fit in my pre-pregnancy jeans/pants minus buttoning or zipping them up, I’d take rubber bands or elastic hair ties and place them on my button and loop them through the hole and hook it back onto the button.  This helped keep my pants up and I didn’t have to buy maternity clothes until I got a bit larger.  To hide this imperfection, I’d wear a long tank over this area or use the Belly Band.

Belly Band – To keep your pre-pregnancy pants in place and cover the rubber bands/elastic ties holding your pants together.  There are a ton of brands that sell them.  I know Target and Walmart have their own version.  But I’ve heard good things about the Ingrid & Isabel BellaBand.  I went with the Tummy Sleeve by Motherhood Maternity.  Or you could DIY and if you have a tube top lying around use that.  While it probably doesn’t have as much elastic as the Bella Band or Tummy Sleeve to keep your pants up, it helps conceal the zipper and button area.

Gap’s Maternity Maxi Skirt – This skirt is so soft and comfy.  I live in mine!  A bit pricier than other options such as Liz Lange for Target, but I got mine during a friends and family sale.  LOVE IT!!!

H&M Fitted Dress – This isn’t maternity wear, but it’s stretchy and grows with you!  I’ve learned that during these last couple of months of pregnancy, you should wear body hugging clothing.  Enhance that bump because it actually accentuates your curves and makes you look smaller than wearing something that’s loose… well at least for me.  For $12.95, it totally helps keep the maternity clothing budget within reach.  You can easily dress this up with a blazer or a necklace and heels or dress it down with loafers or ballet flats.  It’s such an easy and affordable piece to add to your wardrobe.  I did end up getting a size up and bought two.  I figured if they’re a bit baggy after the pregnancy, I could belt it and make it more casual looking or donate it.  I’m not crying too much over $12.95.

Lush bath bombs – Bubble baths were totally necessary after the first trimester.  They helped me relax and to ease any aches or pains I was feeling.  I fell in love with Lush Bath Bombs and use them for every bath I take.  Definitely heed with caution when taking baths and follow appropriate guidelines in terms of how hot or warm the water should be.

Epsom salt – This is a recent must have item.  Within this last month my feet and hands have began to swell, but I feel fortunate as it’s not as bad as other women I’ve seen around my OB/GYN’s practice.  But it does become unfortunate because my shoes are tighter and I can’t wear my engagement or wedding rings.  After a recent prenatal massage and me complaining about my fingers (I feel more pain in my fingers and hands than my feet) due to pregnancy induced carpal tunnel, the masseuse suggest that I soak my hands in cold water with epsom salt.  It totally helped too!  These are daily pains (which are usually bad in the morning) and I do this ritual when my hands are really hurting or it’s hot outside.  But I also do this if I’ve been on my feet for long periods of time.

The book “Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn” – I was going to read the so called pregnancy bible “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” but I read that it’s somewhat pessimistic and if you’re a worry worm like I am, it isn’t the best book to read.  So after much research, I purchased this book.  I have found it informative.  The book concentrates on both what happens during a normal pregnancy and if you’re at risk and what you should expect without being daunting.  The book is available on Amazon.

Fit Pregnancy – Love this magazine!  I’m a fan of Women’s Health, Self, Shape, etc. so something related to pregnancy and fitness together was perfect!  The con – the publish date is every other month so you have to wait a while for a new issue.

So those are my pregnancy must haves.  I’m at my 38th week at this point and just waiting for the little one to make her appearance any day now.  I’ll keep you all updated.