On The Day You Were Born

Dear PJ,

You know how I read you “On the Night You Were Born” and tell you how special you are? Well, I’m sorry to say that I didn’t get to see the polar bears dancing for you (Mommy was a little busy), but here’s what I did see on the day you were born. Your daddy and your PopPop were with you the whole time, and can I just tell you how much Daddy ROCKED his first day? He took really good care of you so that Mommy could rest a little, wasn’t that great?

Our first visitors were your Nana’s parents, my grandparents. They were already great, but YOU made it official 😉 When Grandma Ann walked in, she had a GIANT teddy bear balloon with her – it was the biggest balloon I have ever seen, about ten of you could have fit in it and I just loved it! She’s the grandma who used to sing our special “You Are My Sunshine” song to me when I was little. And you know how much you love singing and mooing cows? Your Grandpa Pete had a whole farm full of the mooing kind when Nana and Mommy were little girls. Then Grandma LeeAnn came to see us, and Mommy said “thank you for giving me the fast labor gene!” And we didn’t know it yet, but your Grandma LeeAnn was so lucky, she got TWO great-grandsons that weekend – your cousin Jaxson was born the very next day, how cool is that? We all missed your Grandpa Skip, but we know he was watching you from Heaven (who do you think blew all those trumpets on the night you were born?) They were so happy that you joined our family!

I didn’t get to meet you “officially” for a few more hours, while I recovered and they got you all set up in the NICU. I’m glad I didn’t know then that I wouldn’t be able to hold you for another week (as I type with one hand because I hold you as much as possible now!), because all I wanted to do was snuggle you and kiss your little face – like I just did right now! Your weeks in the NICU were very tough for Mommy, but I wouldn’t trade a single minute, because it’s part of you, and I love you so much, just the way you are. 

Love,
Mommy

image

How I Became Your Mother – Go Time!

20130903-123539.jpgI think the best way to take you through the rest of the morning when PJ was born is to do it in an approximate timeline.

7:00 am: Arrived at Lehigh Valley, moved into triage bed in Labor & Delivery because all actual rooms were occupied.

7:15 am: Started giving the nurse as much of my prenatal history as I could remember, because they had no charts for me and my doctor’s office was still closed. Continue reading

How I Became Your Mother (the early hours)

At 1:30 am, I am not the brightest crayon in the box, but luckily I remembered that the list of instructions my doctor had given me included “Call us IMMEDIATELY if you notice a gush or large amount of fluid,” so I called the emergency number expecting to hear “Thanks for letting us know, congratulations you’re now incontinent, welcome to the third trimester.” Instead, a doctor I’d never heard of (remember that shared on-call mess I was so worried about? Yup, that’s exactly what happened) told me “Yeah, your water probably broke. Time to head to the hospital. But we’re really busy here tonight, so if you can find another hospital, that would be better.” Continue reading

How I Became Your Mother (t-minus 1)

On Thursday, the 23rd of May, I received an email from a work contact asking “Did you have that baby yet?!” I laughed it off and replied “Of course not! I’m not due until July 16th.” And then I went back to drafting my maternity leave plan, which included hiring a summer intern to help out in my absence. The plan was, make the offer to our final choice on May 24th, let him start the day after Memorial Day, and train him for the month of June until I went out on leave “sometime in July.” I was feeling sooooo ahead of the game!

20130901-100437.jpg I left the office early to go to my 32-week prenatal visit, which was really standard. Cried a little at how much I weighed, reminded myself it was only temporary, and waited (and waited, and waited) for the doctor to come in and ask me the same few questions we went over every visit. I bombarded her with my opinions about that shared on-call system, and found out that she was not a fan of it either and knew several other patients that were uncomfortable with it too. We discussed the possibility of setting an appointment for me to talk to the hospital administrators in charge of this program to let them know about my concerns as a patient – because, obviously, I am not shy about expressing opinions! We were hoping to squeeze that in before the baby arrived, hahaha.

The doctor also confirmed what Kym had told me about PJ being transverse, and said not to worry about it because PJ had plenty of time to move where he was supposed to be, but if not they could try manually moving him (ouch!) and if all else failed he’d arrive by C-section (uh oh). Funny thing is, as I am writing this I’m watching PJ on the monitor, sleeping transverse in his crib – no matter where I put him down, he spins around to lay sideways!

20130901-101243.jpg I went home, and Paul and I went out to dinner at the new Italian restaurant in the neighborhood (Mannino’s – it’s fantastic!) and then headed home and went to sleep.

I didn’t stay that way for long – around 1:30 am, I woke up and realized I was soaking wet. My first thought was, “Oh my God, did I wet the bed?! How embarrassing!” Turns out, I didn’t. PJ was on his way, and the fun was just getting started.

A Necessary Indulgence

My last few days of being pregnant were actually pretty relaxing, except I did call out sick on Monday because my lower back pain was so bad and I needed rest. Now, I think that this may have been the first sign that something was wrong, but even with hindsight I’m not entirely sure. I was in a car accident a few years ago and have a compressed disc in my spine, and I did not start out as slim and trim as I would have liked, so my back pain started early and was pretty steady throughout my pregnancy. I exercised as much as I could throughout, but it was really uncomfortable and I ended up spending the last few weeks sleeping in our guest room because I would toss and turn and never get comfortable, which would keep my poor husband awake all night too.

Luckily for me, I know the wonderful Kym Berrien of Berri Healthy (such a cute name, isn’t it?) who is a licensed massage therapist, doula, and all-around expert on all things pregnancy. We had bartered services, I helped her launch Berri Healthy’s social media program and in return she answered my approximately 8.5 billion questions and scheduled me in for a prenatal massage that was a little slice of heaven. Seriously, if you are expecting, you NEED to take the time to do this. Kym has special cushions like these so you can lay face-down on the table – that alone would have been worth it for a stomach sleeper like me who never got the hang of sleeping comfortably on my side or back when the belly got too big!
20130831-083850.jpg And the massage itself was just magic. Relaxing, and the first time my back didn’t hurt in I couldn’t remember how long. Another friend told me that she got a “prenatal massage” that was basically a shoulder rub, in a chair, because the massage therapist didn’t have the special cushions or the training in how to work with a pregnant client. Do not settle for this! If you are unlucky enough to live too far away to go to Kym herself, then make sure you ask questions and get yourself a real prenatal massage from someone who is properly trained.

At the end of our massage appointment, Kym mentioned that she had noticed that PJ was lying transverse – sideways, instead of vertical, like this: 20130831-084406.jpg (I mentioned this to Paul later, who immediately said “Oh, you mean like an engine!” Mechanical analogies were vital to a shared pregnancy experience!) With what Kym told me and what I found later on the internet, I learned that a transverse baby that doesn’t turn either head down or breech requires a C-section. This made me nervous, and would have made me hysterical if I had known that I was only three days away from PJ’s arrival!

Can’t I Just Have A Home Birth In A Hospital?

I would imagine this is pretty common for first-time moms, but one of the worst parts of being pregnant for me was being terrified of what it would be like to go through labor and delivery. About a week after I found out PJ was coming, a colleague’s wife gave birth to an 11 lb 8 oz baby. Yes, you read that right. He was the cutest little toddler I’ve ever seen all swaddled up, but there was some serious hyperventilating “Oh my God, what have I gotten into here!” on my part when I got that announcement. Every time I freaked out like this, I reminded myself that I had already told my doctors to put it in big red letters on my chart “YES TO DRUGS” and that they were talking up this shiny new hospital where I would be tortured with all the comforts of room service and on-demand entertainment (and drugs. Did I mention the drugs?) So, I scheduled myself and Paul a tour of this high-tech torture chamber at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery.

I won’t dwell on the facilities, which are beautiful, because as it turned out I never got to try a single one of them. I thought I hit the peak of crazy when Organifreak joined our tour group (oh silly, silly pregnant lady).
Continue reading

What the heck happened?!

The question I have heard the most often since becoming a mom in May is “What the heck happened?!” (in various uncensored forms). Not surprising, since I wasn’t supposed to become a mom until July 16th, and that I had a pretty uneventful pregnancy. Checkups were great – in fact, I had one less than 24 hours before he was born and there were no indicators that baby boy was about to make an appearance.

The short answer is, we don’t know what happened. No tests came back with answers, there were no “ah ha!” moments of realization that I or the doctor had missed something, it was just listed on both my and PJ’s charts as “spontaneous precipitous delivery” (more on that precipitous part later!) and earned me a spot on the high-risk list if we ever have another baby.

If you know me well, it won’t be a surprise that I will also give you the long answer – which includes how we ended up at the “wrong” hospital, how I went from calling out sick for a day to calling out on maternity leave for the summer in less than an hour, and how this tiny little man showed us over and over again that he was going to play by his own rules!

I’ll start the long story tomorrow, and be prepared, because it kicks off with one of the scariest people I’ve ever met – Organifreak (da da duhhhh…)

20130829-071822.jpg

Maternity photo by: M2 Photography