Saturday, April 18, 2009

Xander's First Days

Here are some pictures from the hospital and our first few days at home.

Xanders First Days

I left in a couple pictures that were on my camera from the belly cast that we did at 39 weeks, so you can see how big I got! There are also a couple of really attractive pictures of me during pushing--I think they are horrible pictures of me, but considering they were taken about 20 minutes before I gave birth I think they are pretty cool anyway.

Little Soccer Fan

Erik sent this email to his soccer team, I thought it was cute so I am re-posting.

Hey guys,

Xander was born last Saturday 4-11 at 2:39pm. Obvious priorities have kept me from email, so this announcement is a bit later than I would have liked.

He watched his first UEFA cup game--Chelsea versus Liverpool--the following Wednesday and seemed to enjoy it, although he was more interested in the crowd noise than debating whether Torres' lack of direct involvement on the ball was a detriment to Liverpool or an effective decoy that created opportunities for his teammates.

I suppose I need to be patient.

Mom and baby did awesome--bloodied (mom) and bruised (baby)--but a healthy normal birth for both. Gwen did awesome. Taking no pain medicine or labor inducing hormones, her labor started slow and then surprised everybody by quickly accelerating. They called it 'spontaneous labor.'

Whoever came up with the idea that slang names for female body parts indicate weakness or a lack of toughness or endurance has never seen a natural birth.

Xander is already starting to gain weight, and mom and dad are getting some sleep!

Was hoping that tomorrow would be his first major outing for our game, but the weather looks likely to postpone that date.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our Birth Story

I think I would have gotten a lot out of reading other people's birth stories prior to having a baby this weekend, so I'm going to write mine up and post it. I expect this to be a long and detailed posting, and maybe a little too much info for some, but I hope someone benefits from finding it!

Friday, April 10th, marked 40 weeks and 6 days of being pregnant. For whatever reason, I really had it in my head that Thursday was going to be the day, so when I woke up on Friday and still no signs of labor, my hormones got the better of me and I cried. I spent the day trying to keep busy and secretly wishing I hadn't been so committed to being drug free, because anyone else would have induced by now. Erik came home from work and we walked to Old Chicago's for pizza and to celebrate yet another night of "this might be our last night as a family of 2".

We got home from pizza, discussed having sex (which didn't work the night before), and got ready for bed. As I was brushing my teeth, my water broke--around 10:30 p.m. FINALLY! I called my Doula who suggested I try to get some rest, so we got in bed and Erik promptly passed out while I tried to sleep through the excitement.

About an hour later I started to feel contractions. They were more than I could sleep through, and I tried to wake up Erik to rub my back or something to make them better. Having had 3 beers at Old Chicago's, he had other ideas, but ultimately I won out.

The midwife had said don't come to the hospital until the contractions are 4 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute, and keeping that pattern for an hour. So we decided to watch a movie. We watched "The Dentist", a predictable and cheesy horror flick about a dentist who is having a bad day. Around 2:45 the movie wrapped up and the contractions were close enough to 4-1-1 that I thought we should leave the house. We called the birth center and the Doula, loaded up the car, and off we went.

On the way to the hospital my contractions slowed down. I only had 2 in the entire 40 minute drive. The hospital sent us to "triage", something we had never discussed. I got very annoyed by their intent to check me and hook me up to monitors. After sitting in the little room for what seemed like an hour (but probably was not), the midwife showed up to check me, this was around 3:30 a.m. I had hardly progressed since my appointment on Tuesday. She suggested I go home. I was a little bit heartbroken. They kept me on the monitor for another 20 minutes and we discussed whether or not to go home with our Doula, who was also in favor of going home.

I was so stressed by the check in process and the drive and really didn't want to repeat them later in the day. Plus, I was so excited that the time was finally here that I didn't think I could stand to return to the waiting game. Another factor was that my water had broken and I had tested for GBS (Group B Strep) which meant that I was "on the clock" to be progressing within 24 hours and they said we should probably plan to be back at the hospital by 10:00. So we decided against everyone's advice to stay (we told the Doula to go home so at least one person would be rested).

We checked into the labor room around 6:30 and they started Penicillin for the GBS while Erik took a nap. At 7:00 the daytime midwife arrived and told me we had a long way to go, as was evidenced by the fact that I could have a conversation during contractions. We walked the halls and my friend Jami visited. I got an email from a friend who is a homeopath suggesting some natural methods to speed things along and we sent the Doula to go pick them up on her way back to the hospital.

Around 10:00 they came in to dose me with Penicillin again and the contractions at that point were more than I could chat through. There were no plans to do another check until around 12:00, but the nurse told me later that I was probably around 4 c.m. at this point. At almost every contraction, I felt like I needed to poop. I figured I should have gone before, and there was no way that this was the "urge to push" since the contractions were just barely getting intense. Our Doula suggested sitting on the toilette during contractions and we had a nice setup with her rubbing my back and Erik holding my hands in front of me during the contractions.

And then things changed. I had one or two really intense contractions. I mean really intense. And then I felt something coming out, which really freaked me out. Everyone kept saying "it's just a blood clot" and I was thinking, that was the biggest freaking blood clot ever. Since I was kind of panicing they paged the midwife, who took a peak and informed us that it was actually the rest of my bag of waters. I was a little too wrapped up in the moment to look for myself, but apparently it was about the size of a softball. She did something to get it out and the contractions got about 10 times stronger.

I think it took 3 people to get me to the bed for a check, where the midwife sounded surprised herself as she checked me and realized I was at a full 10 c.m. I was too far along to have time to set up the birth tub I'd been so excited for. They filled a regular bathtub and we pushed in there for a while. At one point I made a comment about changing my mind, "Sorry Speck you will be an only child", etc.

Then we got out of the tub and experimented with a variety of positions. Most of this is a blur. I remember making all kinds of grunting and howling noises during the push contractions. The baby was hung up on my pelvic bone and it took a lot to get him past it. In the end, the baby was delivered with me on the bed, lots of support behind me and holding up my legs. They set up a mirror so I could see his head which they later pushed out of the way (I realized that they were doing this so I didn't watch myself tear).

Pretty much everything from the toilette on I did with my eyes shut. It felt like pooping out a big rock. And finally (after about 2 hours of pushing), everyone said to me "Gwen, open your eyes here comes your baby!!". I opened them and peeked down to see his greyish/white goopy body being pulled from me. They gave him to me for just a second and several people seemed very concerned with towling him off. Then they whisked him away. I was so exhausted I had no clue what was going on. Xander was born at 2:39 p.m.

The midwife came back, I asked if I had torn and she said yes, second degree (which means some muscle had torn too). I have to say that the tear itself I didn't feel at all--during tearing or after. The stitches, on the other hand, were something else. I think they did some sort of a shot that was supposed to numb me, but I was so sensitive and tired that I know I squirmed with each stitch. It didnt make matters any better that she kept saying "I need to go slow so I can make sure I sew the right parts together".

I later found out that my baby had come out with his cord around his neck and that they had to cut it before he could come out all the way, which was the reason for all the chaos. As they sewed me back together I watched Erik on the other side of the room, getting to know our son as they did his tests and took his little footprints.

Then they took me to a recovery room where we all stayed for the next 2 nights. For the first full day, I felt like I was on some very intense drugs. I guess this was the hormones, as I still get a little whif of it from breastfeeding. We are home now and recovering well. I will post a "recovery" story as not to take away from the birth story.

So that is it, Alexander "Xander" Edward Kubec's birth story. I'm pretty impressed with myself for how clearly I can remember everything. I'll get pictures online later today or tomorrow and post some recovery details as well. I'm going to post this without proof-reading, since there is a little baby boy who is due for a feeding now.

The wait is over

I'll post in more detail soon (including pictures), just wanted to let the world know...

Alexander "Xander" Edward Kubec was born on April 11th at 2:49 p.m.
He was 7 lbs 14 oz and 19.5" long

And I am proud to say we did it drug free :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Still waiting...

Well, tomorrow marks 41 weeks and still no baby. Waiting gets harder every day.

I had a really strong gut feeling that it was going to happen yesterday. I woke up at 3:30 a.m. with contractions that were happening every 10-15 minutes. I was so excited. I finished packing my bag, made myself a little snack, woke up Erik... then I decided that since they weren't too intense I better get some rest, and when I woke up a few hours later they were gone. I tried to get Erik to stay home from work anyway, convinced they would come back, but he didn't and neither did they.

We did go in for the "non-stress" test. That was actually kind of interesting. They strap two monitors to your belly, one that looks for contractions and one that monitors the babies heart. They are looking for the baby to respond to contractions by an increase in heart rate. The good news is that Speck passed with flying colors...I knew he'd be a good test taker! They also do an ultrasound to make sure he's got plenty of fluid in there with him and that test resulted well too.

When I woke up this morning and realized that YET ANOTHER night had passed with no labor, I was pretty disappointed. Today's been dull, with intermittent leg pains. I got brave enough to walk to the mailbox and return a couple videos, but I've also gotten stuck several times from my hip locking up. I discovered that a heat pack on my hip during the hip locks helps, but of course I have to be able to get to the microwave to heat up the pack in order for that to work. So knowing this I have at least been able to walk around the house and go up and down the stairs a few times.

Tomorrow is Erik's day on the baby pool... apparently the numbers 9, 10, and 11 are always good numbers in soccer so Erik has hopes that the baby will be born on the 11th.

I am trying to keep in mind that the original due date wasn't till the 13th anyway. If they had never changed my due date, I'd still only be at 39 weeks. I just need to be more patient.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

40 Weeks and 4 Days

Ok, I give in, I am finally counting.

Yesterday we had an appointment with the midwife. She did a cervical exam and the good news is that we are making progress. At the clinic I have been going to, they are not crazy about doing cervical exams because the numbers really mean nothing in relation to when the baby is going to be born. Every birth is different and some people go straight from no progress to birth, whereas other people hang out partially dialated for weeks.

So as of yesterday afternoon, my cervix is soft but in the posterior position, I am 70% effaced, 1 CM dialated, and the baby is at -3 station. Basically, there is a lot that needs to happen still. I've had some contractions, but they are random with no pattern and not very intense. Today I've started to have some "bloody show" (I really wish there was a less gross term for it) so hopefully that means little Speckers is on his way soon.

If I haven't had the baby by Friday, I have to go in for an "NST & AFI". The NST is a non-stress test, just to make sure that the baby is still responding correctly to external factors. The AFI is a measure of how much amniotic fluid is still in there. Assuming those test results turn out OK, Speck gets to keep on hanging out till he thinks it's a good time to make an appearance.

In the mean time, leg cramps are still torturing me. Today I seem to be able to make it a little bit further before they flare up, but they are bad enough that I'm letting the mail sit in the box which is only about 3 houses away for fear of having leg cramps on the way to the mailbox and having a neighbor think I'm having contractions.

Tomorrow is a full moon. They say lots of babies are born on full moons, and frankly, I think it would be kind of cool to have the baby on a full moon. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Past Due & Still Waiting

Well, my due date has come and gone and we are now quickly approaching the original due date of April 13th. All along I have been very committed to giving birth naturally and letting the baby and my body determine when the time is right, but I have to say I am starting to see why so many people cave and do inductions.

The leg cramps I was having problems with a couple of weeks ago have returned full force. I can make it about 5 steps before I get a charlie-horse like pain in my leg and need to sit down. 5 steps, by the way, is not quite enough to get from my bed to the toilette so by the time I get to the potty the cats are following me looking concerned. So I guess I'm pretty much on self imposed bed rest today. It's disappointing, because I had envisioned I would spend these final days before birth out walking, but I'm nervous to leave the house. When I'm NOT having leg cramps, my hip seems to be spontaneously dislocating itself. I've literally gotten "stuck" several times in the last week and had to call Erik to come help me get from point A to point B.

Every little ache or pain, I find myself hoping that it is a pre-labor sign. I suppose that they probably are. I've had some small and random contractions over the last week or so, but nothing to get excited about.

To make matters worse, it seems like the whole world is waiting for me to have a baby. Every time I make a phone call, the person I'm calling answers all excited thinking I've got news. I can barely even keep up with all the FaceBook comments from friends checking in. I'm starting to feel pressured!!

Speck, I don't know what you are still waiting for, but your Mom is ready! :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Waiting Game

Well, depending on which due date I go by, we are almost there! The "official" due date is the 4th, which is this weekend. Personally, I think the baby will come on the 7th or the 9th, but we will see.

At this point, I've pretty much got all my ducks in a row. I'm still working on picking a pediatrician and have 2 more interviews this week. I finally found day care that will take my cloth diapers (thank goodness) and got her locked into a contract. I gave up on getting the detail house cleaning done and have a cleaning lady working on it right now. Still need to pack the hospital bag...for some reason I am resisting that one, but I do have a list of what needs to go in it!

I decided to start my maternity leave a little early. I thought I was going to be a super woman and work all the way up to delivery, but I've been so distracted trying to get all these other loose ends taken care of that I decided to just give myself a break. So today is my second day of leave.

Earlier this week my grandfather died. I know it has been rough on my mom and aunt, who were both close to him. My best friend said to me "oh you are having a 'replacement baby'". If this is the case, then we can look forward to Speck having a sweet tooth, a love for animals, and an uncanny ability to fall asleep during movies. These are the things I remember most about my Grandpa!