6 lb. 2 oz.
born June 10, 2011
Night before, I go to (regular, not prenatal) yoga and notice that the class is a lot harder than usual.
5 p.m. getting ready to leave farmers market, felt bowels go soft inside (like bad diarrhea out of nowhere)
6:30 p.m. sitting at computer, toddler in bed for night. Sat down to finally finish writing plan for who was going to help care for toddler during labor and delivery and wrote down his schedule etc for helper/s. Sent husband out (for first time in 2 pregnancies) to pick up some fake ice cream.
7:30 p.m. finished ice cream, got up to put bags together for hospital and noticed cramps (duh, contractions) that I had been getting on and off for the past few weeks were happening all the time. Try usual technique of ignoring them in hopes of them stopping (had been having them for a month).
8 p.m. husband takes note I am saying "owie" and stopping packing quite frequently. He gets excited and starts timing. Consistently 4 minutes apart and 30 seconds long. He tells me to call advice nurse. I tell him I am not in labor.
8:30 p.m. finish packing, and moving from toilet often, emptying bowels. Lay down in bed.
9 p.m. husband convinces me to phone advice nurse. She tells me to drink water and lay down and call her back if it gets worse. Husband is timing contractions and excitable; I make him stay in room and read a book while I try to close eyes. He pretends to read.
10 p.m. notice they are longer and stronger. Call advice nurse. She says it sounds like she will be seeing me tonight, but not to rush in. I call toddler helper and warn her to be on alert. Then I call step-dad, who is doctor, who tells me it sounds like I am in labor and should go in sooner than later, since 2nd babies come faster. We call helper back and she packs her overnight bag and comes over to sleep in guest bed.
11 p.m. leave for hospital with husband. Entire ride feels bumpy and like he is racing the car. Streetlights are bright and hazy. We arrive at Kaiser Walnut Creek and it takes us 10 minutes to walk from parking lot to triage. The world is dark and it is hazy and all the lights are too bright. Stop multiple times to catch breath and exhale long and slow. Find restroom and spend more time there.
11:30 pm at triage. They set up fetal monitor to get 20 minutes of a continuous reading. I lay on my side and breathe deeply. Husband answers questions. They turn off most of the lights at my request. As soon as the fetal monitoring is over, she checks me and I am 5 cm dilated. I go to toilet as soon as I can and stay there for a bit. I finally concede to taking my clothes off and switching to a gown.
Midnight: we go down the long long long hall from triage to a room. I have to slip out of my shoes and go barefoot. Husband picks them up and we prod along.
In the room, a nurse introduces herself and I head to the bathroom. She turns the lights down at my request.
Instead of long exhalations, which had been working to calm me, I switch to low moans. The nurse lures me out to check me. 8 cm. I head back to the toilet. I keep husband close by.
After a particularly loud moan, a doctor comes in and introduces herself, saying the midwives are all busy and that she can help me. She tells me not to have the baby on the toilet and to come out.
I try all fours on the bed and moving my hips. I feel pain. Pain, and like I need to use the toilet. Time passes. Checked again. 8 cm.
Back on toilet. They lure me out to check me again. 8 cm. Doctor mentions that the baby's head could be on a bit of a cushion of the bag of waters and offers to break them. I accept.
1:50 a.m. Doctor waits until between contractions, then reaches in. I feel warm water gushing.
1:55 a.m. I feel the urge to push. I am checked and at 10 cm. I push. Nurse tells me to push through the burning sensation, because that is the baby being delivered, and not to be scared of it. Doctor asks if I could lift a leg (I am on my back, leaning to the left) to help the baby's head pass through my pelvis. I tell her no. The nurse asks if she can do it for me and I tell her that's ok. Husband is close, handing me water and I am gripping his arm. I try to keep my mouth loose instead of clenched. They ask if I want a mirror to see the head. I tell them no.
1:58 a.m. I push again and push through the burn. The baby wiggles out and is handed to me. I slip off my sports bra so he can nurse. He latches right on and nurses. Doctor asks if husband wants to cut the cord and I ask her to wait until it stops pulsing.
It stops, and husband says he doesn't want to cut the cord. She asks me, and I go to cut it-- it is thick and white- then ask her to do it. There is a pediatric nurse hovering, watching the baby as I hold him. They ask if I want his vitals now or later, and we opt for later.
The whole fog I had been in clears. I can see the doctor clearly, and the nurse, and the room, and the white board with my information on it.
I deliver my placenta. The doctor tells me I tore, and starts stitching. She also starts pitocin to ease my bleeding after she palpitates my uterus. I ask my husband to take a photo of the placenta.
4 a.m. They say they need to take the baby to the well baby nursery to observe him, as per the prenatal doctor's instructions. I tell them that the doc told me he would have to be observed, but did not mention it would be away from mom (side note: this is because of a medical condition that I have that they recommended I change my medication for at 24 weeks but that they usually tell women to change it at 20 weeks; since they recommended it to me later than they usually do, and since I hadn't changed it with my toddler and he is fine, I opted to keep it as it was). They tell me it is routine to take baby to nursery. I send dad along, and they wheel me to my room, promising to wake me in 2 hours to nurse. I sleep fitfully.
5:30 a.m. I find well baby nursery, and send dad for a nap. Skin-to-skin with baby, but he doesn't latch. I figure out how to get the baby out of the nursery and into my room, and we head off (I don't remember what I told them, but it involved returning him later).
6:30 a.m. Friend with toddler calls husband, telling him that toddler awoke at 1:30 a.m. and didn't fall back to sleep. Husband heads home to help toddler.
That was the birth part of the story. The recovery took significantly longer- we stayed in the hospital for 5 days.
The baby was born at 36 weeks but was still 6 lb. 2 oz. but they didn't want him to lose "too much weight" so the time in the hospital was spent pumping to stimulate my supply, then nursing him every 3 hours for 30 minutes only and giving him pumped milk as he nursed through a tube at the breast attached to a syringe.
In addition to their concerns about the baby's weight, they found him to be Coombs positive, which results in abnormal jaundice that must be resolved by using blue lights on the baby. It is caused by blood type incompatibility (I am O and he is B and my blood crossed the placenta and created antibodies that he wasn't developed enough to fight on his own). It would have also happened had he gone full term, and likely would have also resulted in being under the light box. Their solution took 4 days in an isolette with triple light therapy and little goggles on his eyes. After two days, we were moved into pediatrics, where the care improved tremendously, and the isolette was moved into my room (instead of being in the nursery and me being in another room). After going home, we had to go back after 2 days to have his biliruben levels re-tested, then again the next day.
They sent us home with the pump and directions to keep feeding him in the same manner, unless he could stay awake and interested long enough to have a satisfying feed on his own. We have been home a week now, and are no longer using the syringe. We go back in 2 days for a weight check/ normal appointment, and I am confident that Eli is larger and stronger than he was when we left the hospital. He is feeding for 40 minutes consistently, and every 1.5-3 hours. I was told to wake him if he goes for 3 hours without wanting food, and have been needing to wake him less and less. I no longer need to keep him awake during feedings.
I thought the care at Kaiser Walnut Creek was not all it was touted to be. I felt there was a huge difference between giving birth at Alta Bates in Berkeley (which I did with my toddler) and at this facility. The prenatal care was reactionary and slow, though thorough once you ended up seeing the right person. The birth itself was what I had wanted. The immediate care after was a far cry from what I had experienced at Alta Bates. The lactation support recommended me to add formula to a feed, and I had to show her my breasts getting harder to convince her to let me wait and that my milk was coming in. What I saw of women nursing their babies in the well baby nursery over the course of my days there was enough to convince me that Kaiser is all about marketing and slogans and not about what works-- i.e. for moms to nurse or to eat healthy (I had to send my meals back and back before they stopped bringing junk food-- they were quite nice about it though. The trick is tell them you are vegan, they then supplied Amy's vegan meals). I thought their nursery was full of formula and if a new mom were to come in there, tired and believing the nurses and not knowing that she could make milk and breastfeed, then she would leave with a case of formula and believe she was not capable of nursing her baby. I was pleased with the care in pediatrics-- the nurses were great, I actually saw a pediatrician daily (I had to beg to see one in L+D and kept being given the nurse practitioner), and the atmosphere was calm and friendly.
We are so happy to be home with our baby. The next bit of time should be a challenge-- and it seems now that the challenge will be in managing the toddler and his relationship with mom and the baby rather than managing the newborn period as it was the first time.