Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Sad Stripe Tale

When we bought our house we decided that we wanted Elliott's nursery to be striped. Well, I decided that - Dave was forced to agree.

We had the room stripped of all the wallpaper, and painted a cream color (Mascarpone by Benjamin Moore, to be exact). During the weeks that Elliott was late being born I measured, marked, taped, and painted the room in stripes.
When I started pulling down the painters tape that I used to rule the lines, the original layer of paint was coming off as well. Some walls were worse than others, but all 4 walls had problem areas. One wall was so bad that I could just pick at the edge of the peeling paint and pull off a 3 or 4 inch strip of paint. All of that hard work for nothing!

After calling our original painter (numerous times) and sending him an email with photographs of what was wrong, he agreed to send someone out to look at the wall.

The painter was supposed to be here between 9:00 and 10:00am, and showed up at 11:30ish without a phone call or apology. He and I looked at the room together.

"Well, that's what happens when you put tape on the wall".
"Isn't that what painter's tape is for"?
(No response)

You can see the futility of this conversation.

And now, as I type, my hours and hours of hard work (at 41 and 42 weeks pregnant, no less!) are being scraped off the walls. They are repainting the room a solid color, and I don't plan on striping it again. I'm really sad that Elliott's room didn't turn out exactly how I wanted, but now at least he has a bedroom where the paint isn't peeling off the walls.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

9:47pm Monday Night

I had planned on natural childbirth. That being said, I told myself from the get go that I would do whatever I felt was necessary when the time came, and I wouldn't beat myself up for it. I would say I stuck to this rather well, aside from the induction. For some reason the induction is the part of unnatural childbirth I was/am the most bummed about. Funnily enough, the one part that couldn't be avoided.

Once my mom, Dave, and I were checked into the labor/delivery room my contractions were pretty consistent. It took Dave about 10 minutes to fall asleep in the rocking chair in the room. My mom stayed up with me while I went through contractions for the next 3 hours or so. We walked up and down the U-shaped hallway of our floor, chit-chatted, and I stopped every so often to work through contractions. By the time we returned to our room I was in pretty major pain, and thought for sure I must have progressed. I was checked again, and I had only dilated maybe another centimeter. If it took this long, and this much pain to get 1 whole centimeter then I had a feeling it was going to be a REALLY long labor.

My Doctor offered me an IV drug to help with pain. I was studied up enough on this to know that this is only temporary pain relief, it doesn't work for everyone, and it also drugs the baby. I decided to skip this step and go for the epidural. So much for natural childbirth.

Getting an epidural is a crazy experience. First of all, they made Dave and my mom leave the room. I had one nurse holding my hand, and an anesthesiologist poking around my spine to find the proper home for the epidural. They numb you 2 times with injections, and then administer the epidural. Now, before I was ever even pregnant I thought this would be a horrible, terrifying experience. Nope - I barely felt a thing! It was really quite interesting, and it worked quickly. It was probably around 5:00am when I was given the epidural, and I fell asleep for a long time after it was administered. This also meant that my mom and Dave got to sleep as well.

By the time I woke up it was time for shift changes in both nurses and Doctors. My normal Doctor happened to be rounding (a 1 in 10 chance that I would get her!), and Michelle, a wonderful nurse, took over. And then my water broke. This was rather odd because I was quite numb from the epidural, so it was hard to really assess what was happening. I was checked again, and still had made little progress dilating. I think this was roughly around the time they decided it might be best for me to take Pitocin. Again, feel free to google this if you want to know what it does.

My sister-in-law, Jamie, warned me that Pitocin could be quite overwhelming to the system. It forces you to dilate, and can make contractions rather intense. Thanks to my wonderful epidural, I was spared many of the unpleasant side effects. I "labored" (I wasn't really doing a lot of work, but my body was) for the whole day, and the pitocin really helped things progress. Meanwhile, I slept off and on, and drank some apple juice and water (which I later threw up).

Around 8:00pm at night my Doctor checked me; I was fully dilated and she told me that I could start pushing within an hour. It was also around this time that I noticed that my epidural seemed to stop working. After talking to a few nurses, Doctors, and an anesthesiologist it was determined that my epidural had probably been shifted out of place and that I would need to have it replaced. Everyone delivered this news like they told me I was dying. I assured them all that I wasn't worried, and let's get this show on the road.

Right after my epidural was replaced my Doctor told me it was time. A flood of nurses entered the room, and started setting everything up for me and Baby Wall. I was really overwhelmed when they told me they wanted me to start pushing. I was really numb from a spinal injection I was given (I could barely move my legs), I had labor shakes (I didn't know these existed until I was in labor), and I was just a little freaked out. I asked everyone to give me 5 minutes to collect myself. This was one of the best decisions I made in that 24 hours. I asked Dave and my mom to not talk to me, to just let me be alone with my thoughts for a few minutes. I collected myself, and the Doctors and nurses re-entered the room.

When you hear horror stories about women pushing for 2 or 3 hours, it sounds really awful. While I was on pain medication, I assure you it was not that bad. The worst part of all is waiting for a contraction! I pushed for close to an hour, with a room full of 10 women cheering me on. My mom was right next to me, and Dave was up by my head. Everyone was so wonderful and reassuring, telling me how great I was doing.

And then . . .
I heard Dave say, "It's a boy"!

Into this world came Elliott David Wall.

He was born at 9:47pm on Monday, May 2. He weighed 7 lbs, 6.5 ounces, and was 19 inches.

He is perfect.

I created a human. It is completely surreal, and amazing.

Monday, May 16, 2011

8:00pm Sunday Night

Baby Wall was 2 weeks late. I know that this is something most women dread. Not I.

Since Dave and I just moved into a new house, there is not a lack of things to be done. Every day past my due date I would say, "Okay, I just want to get this done, and then I can have this baby". Well, it worked apparently. In fact, it worked so well that I ended up having to be induced.

All throughout pregnancy you are terrified of when you go into labor (or I was anyway). You think your water could break anywhere (really only about 10% of women have the water break at the beginning of labor), or contractions could just start out of nowhere. You hear horror stories of babies born in 3 hours, and you think, "Will I make it to the hospital in time"? While you are terrified by all things labor, you also start to mentally prepare yourself for the unexpected to occur at any moment.

When someone says to you, "Come to the hospital at 8:00pm on Sunday night and we will induce you," it's a jolt to the system. I was so prepared to be unprepared for labor that this scheduling of induction was not so welcomed. I held off doing many of the things suggested to induce labor because I thought that my baby would be born when it felt like it was ready. Come Sunday May 1st, I tried anything I could think of. Well, almost anything. I even went and got acupuncture in hopes that I wouldn't have to be induced. None of it worked.

Dave and I made it to the hospital around 8:30pm. (Hey, if this baby can be late then so can I.) We met my parents in the lobby. My dad was nervously chatting, and my mom said, "Have you been crying"? Yes, mom. All day.

They led us upstairs and I met with the first of many Doctors. I was checked internally (this is, in my opinion, one of the worst parts of childbirth) and I was hardly dilated. Sparing most of the unpleasant details, I was given Cytotec (which sounds like a supplement you buy at GNC). If you feel so inclined you can google what this does. I started having infrequent contractions, some fairly painful. After being monitored for a while I was given the option of going home or staying at the hospital. Who wants to be at a hospital if they don't need to be? Shortly thereafter Dave and I made the trek home. Home, might I add, is about 45 minutes away.

I had contractions the whole way home. I got into bed and tried to catch some Z's, and spend a little quality time with our cat, Wee Wee, before she became a big sister. The contractions kept coming, and getting more painful so Dave started timing them - they ranged from 2 to 5 minutes apart. He called the hospital and they told us to come back in. I was writhing in discomfort for the entire trip back to the hospital, and Dave made sure to hit every pothole on the way just to make me suffer. (Not really, but it seemed that way!) Apparently this induction had worked (not all of them do).

My mom and Dave came upstairs with me into the labor and delivery room, and my Dad stayed downstairs in the lobby. Once upstairs I was checked again, and still was not dilated. And so the longest night in the world began . . .