Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fire station field trip

Today I went with The Boy's class on a field trip to the fire station. There is a special place in heaven for pre-school teachers.

First, they lined up outside with their backs against the wall, as is protocol. Ten kids went, and no fewer than 8 parents.  Kids left the wall, parents sent them back.  Parents took pictures. I had BeYoYo in a carrier and kids came over to touch him cautiously like he was a rare species of monkey. These guys did a happy dance:

A bike cop came to escort us on our trek to the fire department. The kids were IMPRESSED already. Everyone grabbed a tiny hand and we crossed the street and started our journey. As we walked, the kids started getting fatigued. They said they were tired. They said they wanted to be carried. They said they couldn't go on. They said they couldn't walk another step. It was a two block trip.

We arrived at the fire station and some cute fire fighters welcomed us and let us in. We passed fire trucks, fire equipment, fire men, and the kitchen. All very impressive, really. Naturally, the kids ran right for.......... the candy machines.

We got a tour of the building. The cute fire fighters started by addressing the parents. "If we get a call when the group is here, maybe everyone can just grab a kid and get them out of the way so we can get ready?"  Maybe we will.  

They sounded the siren and every single child covered their ears. 

The kids got to see their gear and climb in a fire truck. Parents said "don't jump on that", "get your hand out of your mouth", "get your hand out of your nose", "don't run", "stay with me", "take turns" and "no hitting".  


We watched a cute fire fighter put on his gear and the children were invited to touch him. The mamas were not. 

We got to see the sleeping quarters and might as well have taken the kids to Snow White's house they were so excited. It was less that they were excited to see where real fire men sleep and more that they saw a big open space and a beautiful opportunity. The girls stood nicely with their moms while the boys ran in circles around the room. Someone yelled "no jumping on the beds!" and the boys laughed. They ran. They were firemen and ninjas and super heroes and villains. They did 700 laps, complete with jumps and kicks and pushes and screams. We had been there 3 minutes. 

Parents corralled the kids together and the cute fireman asked if we had any questions. I did. "Do firemen hit?" I asked. He stared at me, blankly, searching my face for how he could help answer my question. "So, there's no hitting here?" I asked. "OH!" He said, his face lighting with recognition. "No. We do not hit. We don't hit or kick or pick our noses. And we always, always listen to our chief." Smart man. 

We corralled the kids for one more picture and headed back to school. 

If they were tired on the way there, they spent all their energy running around the fire bedroom and were SPENT on the way back. Kids stopped walking, forcing parents to stop and coerce them to continue. One dropped limp to the ground, refusing to continue. "Wet noodle" her mom said to the rest of us, as if we wouldn't understand. No judgement here. 

They said they were tired. They said they wanted to be carried. They said they couldn't go on. They said they couldn't walk another step. You'll remember these were the very kids who had energy to run like ninjas 5 minutes ago. They complained that they weren't in the front. They complained that they weren't in the back. One fell into a deep slumber one block in. When we were in view of the school, The Boy called out "I see my school!" like it was a desert oasis. 

Tonight when we were doing bedtime routine, we talked about going to the fire station and all the cool things we saw. I asked him what was his favorite part. "Playing outside" he said. That's right. Going back to school and playing on the playground just like he does every other day. There's a special place in heaven for pre-school teachers. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Quotes from Labor

Now that I've had some time to reflect on BeYoYo's birth story and have processed it ad nauseum with the people present, I present to you: Quotes From Labor. You'll remember this is how labor went down, and these gems from The Boy's birth too. I'd been having contractions since 15 weeks.

I've been timing contractions for hours and they've been consistently about 5 minutes apart.
Me: I'm just going to call Anika (midwife) and see what she says.
Husband: About what?

Me (having a strong contraction) Ohhhhhhehhhhh.
Husband (to boy) Let's go play. I think mommy needs a minute.

Me: Anika said to come in if I want, or stay home until I can't breathe through them. Should we call my dad to come get The Boy?
Husband: I'm not sure you're in labor.
Me: Thanks, Doc.

Me: Did you call your mom?
Husband: No, I will once we know if you're in labor.

Me: We're going to go to the hospital to see if the baby is ready to come out today.
The Boy: I don't think he is.
Me: What's with you people?

At the hospital-

Nurse: what do you weigh?
Me: 700.
Nurse: Do you drink?
Me: No.
Nurse: Smoke?
Husband: Smoke what?
Nurse: Cigarettes.
Me: No.
Nurse: Do you-
Me:-wait. He's kidding. I don't smoke anything.

Nurse: Are you HIV positive?
Me: No.
Nurse: Have you been exposed to Hepatitis B?
Me: No.
Nurse: Have you been exposed to ebola?
Me: No.
Nurse: I'm kidding.

Anika: So, it looks like you're dialated to about a 4.
Me: No. No. No. No. It has to be more than that.
Anika: I'm sorry.

Me: Anika, this beeping is irritating me. I cannot handle it anymore.
Anika: we can turn your baby's heartbeat down if that would help.
Me: Thank you.

Me: Anika, I have an important question.
Anika: Yes?
Me: What percentage of your patients would you say shave their stuff?
Anika (laughs): what??
Me: Labescaping. What percentage?
Anika: I'd say 40.

Me: Anika said she can break my water.
Husband: Are we having a baby?? Are we staying here?
Me: Are you KIDDING ME?

Husband: I just sent a text to my mom with a picture of a baby picture from google and told her he's here. Ha!

Me, to Husband: I'm never doing this again. Do you understand?
Husband: Yes.

Me, to 20 year old sister: this is what happens when you have sex.
Sister: No. Stop it. No.

We had a plastic lime juice bottle that we froze so the husband could roll it on my back during contractions.
Me: Where's the lime? I need it.
Husband: I don't know where it is. Here, this will do. (Rolls diet coke can on my back).

Anika checked my progress.
Me: (Expletives)! I told you there's no more room for anything else in there!

Beast from within me: DID. YOU. JUST. SAY. 'CALM DOWN'?!
Husband: I said [the contraction] "it's coming down."

OBGYN: I'm Dr. Leach, and I'm here to do the C-section.
Me: Thank you for saving Terri's life. She's my friend.

Anesthesiologist: I'm the anesthesiologist, and I'm here to talk to you about the spinal.
Me: I don't really want to hear about it.
Anesthesiologist: I have to tell you about it to get your consent.
Me: Fine.

Mom: I can't believe you told the doctor you didn't want to hear about it.

Sister: At least-
Me: -Just be quiet.

Me: I'm never doing this again.

Me: Is this my last contraction? This is the last contraction I'm ever going to have.
Anika: It's ONE of the last I bet.

Me: Anika, tell us about a vasectomy.
Anika: that's not my end, hon.

Me: Oh, no. That's another conttttttttttractionnnnnnn.

--In the O.R. --

Me: This looks like an alien abduction in here.
Anesthesiologist: But with better company.

Nurse: Don't touch anything blue.
Me: I'm pretty sure I'm not going to touch anything.

OBGYN: Don't touch your leg there! That's sterile! Someone get the straps. (Proceed to strap my arms down).

Anika: We need you to bend over, make your back a C for the spinal. You can hold on to me.
Me: (Expletives) but I'm having another contracTION. That's the last one, okay?

Anesthisiologist: Can you feel this? (pokes all down my leg)
Me: No.
Anesthesiologist: That means the spinal is working. I was poking your leg with a needle.

Me, to husband: I'm never doing this again.
Husband: Okay, you don't have to.
Me: You can get a vasectomy.
Husband: We don't have to decide right now.
Me: There's nothing to decide.

Anesthesiologist, mid surgery: Hi, I'm Dr. So and so, your new anesthesiologist.
Husband: what happened to the other one?
Anesthesiologist: shift change.

After baby was born and doing well, The Boy came to meet him.
The Boy(looking at his brother): Is he born?
Me: Yes, he's here! He's here to stay.
The Boy: Why?
Me: Once you're born you're always born and you can't go back in.
The Boy: Can I get back in your belly? (Lifts my dress to head in)
Me: NO. No you definitely cannot.

Donna is the lactation consultant.
Me: He's getting hungry, and I want to see if his latch is okay. Can you call Donna?
Husband: Hey, ask for the Wolfman!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Greatest Baby Gift Ever

Okay, the greatest baby gift ever was baby Jesus. But the SECOND greatest baby gift ever was this, compliments of my friend Kati:
Yes, that IS a onesie with Gary Coleman's face on it. Winning. 

Also, in an unrelated story, the baby that was born in the room next to us at the hospital was named Kole. We never met Kole but he was my second favorite baby there because he had a sign on the door that said "Kole was born fresh!" No, I am not kidding. Because there's nothing worse than a stale newborn. 
The star to the right of Old King Kole's crown is the one. 

Thanks to his new onesie, BeYoYo is fresh too. Whatchu talkin' about, Kole? 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Birth Story

Saturday morning I woke up with contractions. I'd been having Braxton hicks contractions since 15 weeks, so it was not alarming. They'd been consistent for about an hour so I started timing them around 9:00. By 10:30 I called my midwife because the contractions were mild but consistently about 3 minutes apart. She told me to keep her posted. I was alternating between resting and cleaning/preparing/playing "city" with The Boy. The Husband was not convinced it was labor. We went about our Saturday.

Contractions continued and became stronger. The Boy took a nap. The Husband cleaned the house. Part of me wanted to rest and another part wanted to pace. I took a bath. I got our bags out for the hospital. Around 4:00 the grandparents came for The Boy. I was still talking and breathing through contractions. We told The Boy we were going to the hospital to see if baby brother was ready to come out. He responded that he didn't think he was. What's with these boys not trusting that this was legit? By 6:00 contractions had picked up to the point that I could not consistently talk through them and I told The Husband it was time to go. The Boy's labor was natural, and fairly quick. I expected the same for BeYoyo, knowing second babies often come faster. 

We got to the hospital about 6:30. The Husband dropped me off at the ER and went to park the car. When I walked through the door someone said "ma'am, watch out for the blood!" just in time for me not to step in one of the puddles of blood that led to the registration desk. More specifically, they led to a woman sitting in front of the registration desk and pooled from the streams of blood coming down her leg. I thought I would pass out. I stood in the ER breathing through contractions and waiting my turn. Soon enough The Husband emerged, I got registered and was being wheeled up to labor and delivery. 

We arrived at a small room with my name on the door. I went to the bathroom and emerged with tears in my eyes. "There's no tub!" I told The Husband. "There's not even a shower!" He smiled. "This is only the triage room, honey. We won't stay here. Once we know if we're staying we'll move to a room with a tub." I reminded him that I was in labor and we WOULD be staying.

My midwife, Anika, came in and checked me. I'd dilated to a 4. "No, no, no." I told her. "It must be more than that!" She said I had a lot of amniotic fluid- so much so that baby bounced when she checked me. She recommended that I get an IV port just in case I needed it. I'd not wanted an IV or fluids during labor, so we talked about the pros and cons. She was concerned that with so much fluid baby could come very suddenly once things started progressing and that he could potentially come out arm or cord first. I had an image of a slip n slide party emerging from my nethers. Having an IV port ready meant they could administer meds quickly if needed. I agreed. 

We were moved to a regular room (with a tub!) and we began to wait. My contractions had slowed when we got to the hospital, and they were no longer consistent. My mom and sister came, and the waiting game began. I walked. I bounced on a birthing ball. I took a shower. I laid in the bed. During contractions The Husband rubbed my back. Contractions did not get closer together. I was beginning to get frustrated. During one contraction The Husband said what I thought was "calm down". I nearly cussed him out, but then he explained he'd said the contraction was "coming down". Oh. Sorry about that. 

Around midnight Anika checked me again. She said she thought she could safely break my water. Duh. That should progress things quickly. The Husband asked "so we're going to have a baby?" I glared at him. She broke my water, and was right about the amount of fluid I had. It broke and broke and continued to break. For three hours. I'll spare you the details, but there was A LOT of fluid. 

The contractions still didn't pick up. They were strong but not consistent, and often I was able to talk through them. They were monitoring the contractions and mine and baby's heart rates. Anika mentioned that baby's heart rate was dropping during my contractions but that it was not alarming. He may have been startled by the drastic change when my water broke. She told me to try to get some rest. The Husband, my mom and sister all dozed off and I tried to get some rest too. 

Around 3am my midwife and three nurses came bursting in the room like storm troopers. One carried an oxygen mask and another an IV. They began hooking me up, even as my midwife explained what was happening. The baby's heart rate was dropping with contractions and having difficulty climbing back to where it needed to be. They inserted a catheter to return some of fluid I'd lost and to try to reduce baby's distress. She checked me again, and said that baby was in brow position. That meant he was trying to come out face first instead of head first, which was likely the reason for his heart rate dropping. She recommended that we try some different positions to try to get him to turn. For the next hour and a half we tried different positions to get him to turn naturally. My contractions were getting stronger and closer together. Because I was hooked up to the IV, catheter, and oxygen, I couldn't use the tub or movement strategies I'd used for pain management when I was in labor with The Boy. We waited to see what BeYoYo would do. When his heart rate did not improve my midwife reported that not only did he not turn head first, but he had moved his head back more in the other direction and was now chin first. What we did not know at the time was that the cord was wrapped around his head and shoulder, preventing him from being able to turn. 

It was 6am. Contractions were strong. I'd been in labor all day and night, and I was exhausted. Even though my midwife spoke confidently, I was concerned about my baby. Anika said since labor wasn't progressing and baby was chin first, she thought my labor would likely end in a c-section. She gave me the option of continuing to try re-positioning. We talked about the pros and cons of both and she felt the c-section would be less risky for baby. We waved the white flag and surrendered. If we weren't going naturally I asked how quickly I could get some meds. 

Anika had the surgeon and anesthesiologist paged to come in for an emergency c-section. The nurses started prepping me for surgery and explained what was going to happen. We were wheeled down to the OR. The Husband had to wait outside while everything was prepared. I was nervous about the spinal, which they had to administer twice, but I was ready to meet my baby. They strapped my arms down and let The Husband back in. 

Anika remained with me. I asked if the baby could still be placed on my chest after birth. "No, hon" she said. "We'll give him to dad and dad can hold him and show him to you and you can hold him in recovery." I nodded my understanding and began to cry, my tears flowing down my cheeks and into my ears. The Husband sat by my head, a blue screen and 10 minutes the only things separating us from our baby. 

I felt pressure on my midsection but no pain as the nurses and doctors talked while they worked. A few minutes later they announced BeYoyo was born. We did not hear a cry. "Is he okay? IS HE OKAY?" I pleaded with Anika. "He cried." She said calmly, "did you hear him?" She looked at him and asked him to cry louder for his mama. He did not. We still had not seen him. I looked toward The Husband, tears rolling into my ears. "Is he okay?" Anika spoke. "He's okay. He just needs to go to the NICU to get a little help." I was worried, scared, wanted to see my baby. It turns out the NICU nurses were right in the OR with us, and he didn't have to go far. It wasn't as bad as it sounded. They worked with him for a few minutes, and Anika told us he was getting oxygen and a little massage. I couldn't see anything, but momentarily we heard a little cry and Anika told us he was fine. They invited dad to come and hold him, and The Husband brought him to my side so I could see him, before being whisked to the nursery. He was here, and he was healthy. 

Anika told me then that the cord had been wrapped, and that he had emerged from the c-section chin first. I lie there, relieved. My child was here safe, my husband was now with him.  Whew. I announced to no one that I was going to throw up. The anesthesiologist brought me a bed pan and told me to turn my head to the side. I did, the emotion of two days coming out. We were through. I closed my eyes and said a prayer of thanks as they sewed me up. 

I was able to see and hold BeYoyo in recovery. He was the most beautiful thing I'd seen since The Boy's birth. I cried. At some point Anika checked on us and said "I'm sorry this wasn't the birth story you'd wanted. We didn't have much of a choice there at the end." I laughed. I told her that I was not at all disappointed in the birth of my son, and thanked her for getting him to us safely. It was not ideal, but I was as proud of his birth story as I was of The Boy's. How could I be disappointed in anything that brought me a healthy baby boy? 

Later, grandparents brought The Boy to meet his brother and my whole family was together. What a blessing. We sent all our visitors out so the boys could have their first few minutes alone together. Then The Boy introduced his grandparents and our friends to his new brother. Our lives were changing again, and I will forever be amazed by that day. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Ninth Month

The ninth month of pregnancy is the longest. It's at least twice as long as any of the other months. And while we're at it let's talk about the mean trick of calling pregnancy 9 months in the first place. The average is 40 weeks. 40 weeks divided by 4 weeks in a month = 10 months, right? Plus, that's only the average, meaning some people are pregnant for 10 and a half months. Lord, please don't let me be one of those.

Meanwhile, everything's done in there. The baby's just sitting around getting fatter. No, really. Look at our last ultrasound pic. This is a close up of fat rolls, labeled "fat rolls" by the ultrasound technician for clarification. The ninth month is the fetal equivalent of that one summer in college where you just binge drank, ate Poptarts and watched Snapped marathons on Lifetime. Just like you, he's got nowhere else to be till August.

PS- We think this is his side. 

In the ninth month you are tired. Maybe you are too tired to care if batman wears cowboy boots to swim lessons or a long sleeved spiderman suit to the library when it's 110 degrees out. You are making a new person, for goodness sake, and that trumps wardrobe decisions. That explains why you are down to wearing glorified muumuus and chacos everyday too.  You may also become less organized and together in the ninth month. Yes, less than you were just a month ago. Maybe you get to the grocery store and have to put shark slippers on your kid because somehow you lost his shoes in the last 10 minutes. Then, as you put the groceries in the back of the car, maybe you realized one shoe rode on the tailgate all the way there. Maybe you'll find the other in the parking lot of swim lessons, I don't know. 

In the ninth month things get messy. If your three year old cries in frustration that he didn't quite make it to the potty and peed on himself just a little, you can respond "me too" with all sincerity, and get everyone a fresh attitude and pair of undies. One of you may or may not have to waddle to your room, past the front door which you left open so that The Boy could watch the pest control guy try to get the bats out of your attic, just before said pest control guy sticks his head in to say he's done. Whatever. Your OBGYN appointments will morph from "how are you feeling?" to intrusive questions about the appearance of a "mucus plug" and "bloody show". Girlfriends will also start to think these are appropriate topics for conversation, and you will not care. These are obviously terms reserved for Insane Clown Posse lyrics, sci-fi movies, and of course, the ninth month of pregnancy. 

In the ninth month, strangers stop you in public bathrooms, where you spend much of your time, to ask you how far along you are and to tell you that you must be close to your due date. They will tell you that you are having a boy or that you are carrying low or high or backwards. They touch you without invitation. They talk to you like you have not noticed that you are pregnant. It's not that you want to be rude, but you want to wear a sign that says "2 weeks. August 10th. Boy. 2nd one."  Also, you will feel the urge to mention something inappropriate and obvious about their bodies too ("And you, ma'am, have bad breath." "You are forty pounds over weight", or "sex change operation?"). Resist. 

You might have all the feels. You may alternate between feelings of frustration and isolation, feeling like the first person on earth who has ever been pregnant and having NO ONE understand the plight of carrying another human internally for 24 hours a day; being angry and frustrated with all of humanity; and being grateful and tearful over each blade of grass you see, each opportunity you have to connect with others, each healthy checkup with your midwives, each time you put gas in a car that reliably works. I don't mean to complain but this cycle is exhausting. 

In the ninth month you are hot. You are swollen.  You feel bigger than the side of a barn you used to make out behind when you were a teenager. Your back hurts. You are tired. You have a pregnancy swagger that can only be described as a waddle. 

You appreciate the miracle of life that you are carrying, and understand that people pay tens of thousands of dollars to be in the condition that you're in, while you did little more than make out behind that barn. And while you appreciate these things, also you don't always love the condition that you're in. You are ready to get that fat baby out of your belly, even if you don't always feel ready to bring him home. The ninth month is like baby purgatory and you are stuck between being fearful that you'll be pregnant forever, and fearful that you won't. It's pregatory. 

The only thing worse than the 9th the 10th. Come on, baby.