Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Zachary's Birth Story

A lot of people have been asking me why Zachary came so early.  Sometimes babies are just ready to come out.  Or maybe my body didn't want to be pregnant anymore.  My blood pressure was slowly on the rise month by month, but it wasn't considered "high" yet.  Maybe I lifted something heavy the night before.  I don't know the answer.  What I do know is that in the grand scheme of things, I was extremely fortunate over the last nine months.  I'm pretty slow when it comes to endurance events.  But apparently, my body is extremely efficient when it comes to getting pregnant, being pregnant, and delivering a baby.

Nick's paternal grandma passed away the week before Zachary was born.  Nick flew up to Vancouver to attend the services.  I stayed back for obvious reasons.  I asked him what would happen if I did go into labor while he was away.  Throughout the pregnancy, neither one of us rarely talked to my belly. But he did lean over and say to it, "You stay in there until I get back, ok?"

Fast forward to September 26, I stood up from my desk around 9:30pm to go to the bathroom and then drive to the airport to pick up Nick from SFO.  Upon standing, there was a noticeable gush.  Once I realized I hadn't actually peed my pants, I called Labor & Delivery and told them what happened.  I wasn't in any pain and had no contractions. The nurse recommended I lie down for 20 minutes, make sure the baby was still moving, and if there was any trickling when I stood up again, then it was most likely it was the "bag of waters."  Assuming that was the case (which it was), then I needed to get my husband to drive me to the hospital.  The small glitch in that plan was that Nick was still flying back from Vancouver.

I called my mom.  Then I called Rob and Eileen, college friends of Nick, who recently had a similar experience (water breaking/early baby) to get confirmation that what was happening to me was similar to what had happened to her.  Robbie offered to go pick up Nick. At first I thought it was burdensome.  But then I rationalized that it would be good for Nick to be in the car with Rob rather than in a taxi so that Rob could prepare him for what would happen next. 

Although I still wasn't having any contractions, I knew that labor was inevitable so I threw in a load of newborn clothes.  I was obsessing that I didn't have any washed clothes to bring the baby home in.  I finished packing our bags.  Nick arrived around 11:30pm and we finished up a few things around the house and headed to the hospital.  I had eaten very little for dinner that night and was starving.  Knowing that it could possibly be 24 hours before I ate again, we stopped where everyone else seems to go before having a baby -- In-N-Out -- so I would have some sustenance for the next umpteen hours or so.  

I checked in to triage at 1:30am.  They confirmed it was the "bag of waters" (such a silly name), and the doctor said I needed to be induced (something I did not want so I had to throw that part of the birth plan out the window).  

Emotionally I was mourning the loss of the four weeks that I was about to take off from work.  State of California gives you disability four weeks prior to your due date.  The following day was going to be my last day of work.  I knew the baby was coming and all of the things I had planned for those next four weeks was no longer going to happen (sadly, you cannot add those four weeks on to your leave postpartum).  In addition, Nick's birthday, our first anniversary, and our BabyQ party was planned for that Saturday.  We were going to have to cancel the party.  And, I had just purchased enough food to feed 35 people!  I was shooting myself in the foot for actually being proactive.  Forget the thoughts that a baby was coming.  I was upset about losing disability leave and having 20lbs of meat in my fridge!

The Pitocin started at 3am.  The birthing class we took never mentioned that if you are on Pitocin, then you have to be on a fetal monitor.  I asked for the wireless monitor and it happened to be broken.  So now I was hooked to a machine and no matter which way I turned, the monitor would lose the heartbeat and then the nurse would come back in to re-adjust.  I was annoyed not only with having to constantly adjust the monitor, but also the noise it makes.  In my elevated mental state the sound was equivalent to nails on a chalkboard. I was also on an IV for penicillin (because I hadn't made it to 36 weeks yet), Pitocin, and sugar water.  The nurse couldn't find a vein in my arm, so she went through my hand.  Not only did it sting, but it prevented me from being able to do any hands and knee positions and I had to resort to elbows.  Although it shouldn't be a surprise, what I learned about this experience is that being in labor made me extremely irritable.  Despite those things, I did pretty well for the first few hours and was very appreciative that Nick was there lockstep with me for every single contraction helping me through it. 

The nurse kept asking if I wanted an epidural and I said no because I wanted to walk around.  She told me the only place I could walk was the little 2x4 space near the machine because I had to stay hooked up to the fetal monitor.  At that point (7:30am), I asked for an epidural.  If they were going to confine me to the bed, then there was no point to try to "work through" the contractions with position changes and breathing exercises.  She checked me and said I was only 1/4cm dilated and said I could not get an epidural until 4cm.  She offered me fentanyl, to "take the edge off", but that it would only last an hour. The fentanyl was great.  It makes you feel drunk and I think I managed to sleep for 2-3 minutes at a time in between contractions. 

My mom called at that point.  Mark was on a 6am flight back from Phoenix and she was going to pick him up at 8 from San Jose and drive up to Walnut Creek.  I told Nick to tell her not to come until around noon.  If I was only 1/4cm, then it was going to be a very very long day and I didn't want them sitting around. 

At 8:30am the drug had worn off and I was in increasing pain.  A new shift of nurses came on.  At one point, my vocalization must have changed significantly.  She looked at me and asked, "Jessica, where does it hurt?"  I told her the pressure was in my rectum.  She immediately checked me and said, "You're at 9cm.  You're going to have a baby in a few minutes."  Total shock and awe.  How did I go from 1/4cm to 9cm in only an hour?  This meant I was not going to have an epidural after all.  I told Nick to call my mom to get up to Walnut Creek immediately.  Everything started changing in the room.  More people came in.  The bed shifted.  All the baby stuff came out.  The midwife arrived.  I did not want to deliver on my back, but once again, that fetal monitor was a hindrance and they informed me it was the only way I could deliver while hooked on a fetal monitor.  Around 9am, the pushing began and all of it was a blur. 

The pushing part was overwhelming for my mind to process.  There were too many things to remember at once.  For each push, I would forget at least one of the things I was supposed to be doing.  At one point, the nurse grabbed my face and said, "Listen to me" and then told me what to do.  At another point, I remember an oxygen mask being put on me for a minute because I wasn't breathing correctly. The weirdest thing of all was pushing without making any noise.  At first I thought she was going Katie Holmes on me (the silent birth). But she told me she needed all of my energy to go to the baby and that if I made noise, then I was wasting energy out of my mouth.  Smart lady....

At 9:24am on September 27, little Zachary was born.  I'm not going to say it didn't hurt. But it was not as bad as I expected it would be.  Of course, with him being pre-term, he weighed only 5lbs 5oz so there's no doubt his small size made things easier than a full-term baby. 
I envy the woman who has a photogenic picture within a few minutes of delivery...
After delivering, I was shaking uncontrollably and I asked the nurse why I was shaking so much.  She said, "Because you just did a marathon in record time."  The irony is that it took me longer to complete a marathon than it did to labor and deliver.  

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thankful Thursdays

Fri - Family Giving Tree

Sat - A beautiful wedding in Woodside.  

Sun - Kitchen starting to look like a kitchen!

Mon - Sold our table and chairs on Craig's List.  And he even paid full price.  Score!

Tues - Makeup - Natalie's sister always teaches me and introduces me to something new

Wed - Celebrating my Uncle Rick's birthday in SLC with family and friends.  And Natalie for being my personal taxi and driving me all over town to run errands. 

Thur - The St. Regis Deer Valley - a ride up the funicular to the top, champagne sabering at sunset (where they slice the top with a knife), and a delicious meal with coworkers and partners. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thankful Thursdays

Each week I update this blog a few times with what I'm thankful for.  And each week, I forget to actually publish it on a Thursday!  Go figure....

Fri - Fridays...it was a tough week and so happy it's over. 

Sat - Lake del Valle with friends and family

Sun - Craigs List - I think I've been thankful for CL before for selling my things on it.  This time I'm thankful because I found the crib I wanted on there.  I'm sorry, but I'm not spending more money on a baby's furniture than I did on my own bedroom furniture. 

Mon - Hilton Garden Inn - finally got a good enough rate to stay at a hotel near the office (thanks to using another company's corporate rate....ssshhhh).  I always found it ironic that I could stay at any hotel I wanted in Los Angeles -- from 3 star to 5 star for $125 a night.  Yet in Minneapolis, all the hotels start at $159.  

Tues - Gel nail polish - totally worth the extra $10 to not have to wait for them to dry

Wed - Otis Spunkmeyer - damn he makes a good cookie.  It's a good thing Nick and I weren't dating when he used to work there.   

Thur - CLEAR membership - Hertz lost my driver's license.  It's a long story.  Even though they don't have the CLEAR program at MSP, they somehow were able to look me up, validate my identity, and let me go through Security without all the extra pat downs. I am grateful because I would have missed my flight otherwise.  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thankful Thursdays

Fri - The hole in the kitchen wall -- so much fun to use this "entrance" before it gets patched up in a few days. 

Sat - Kaiser classes -- today's was on breastfeeding.  I can't decide if it's genius or impersonal to get all your information through various classes rather than from the doctor.  I suppose if I was a doctor, I would not want to be repeating the same stuff to my patients all of the time, day in and day out. 

Sun - Celebration of life - A family friend will be passing on soon.  We used to go camping every summer with them where we would dive for abalone and then cook it all up (my job was to pound the crap out of it because abalone is very tough).  Anyway, he wanted to have a big party and see everyone while he was still alive.  How can you say no to that?

Mon - Breakfast at home -- the eating out thing is getting old with the lack of kitchen.  But at least breakfast is super easy. 

Tues - Pulled an 18 hour work day and was actually ok with it. Not that I like working that much.  But just the fact that it was an extremely productive workday with many accomplishments. 

Wed - Only 10lbs gained so far -- I was avoiding the scale at home because I feel and look as if I've gained 30 lbs. So it was a happy surprise at the doctor's office. I'm hoping it's not because I have lost a ton of muscle, although I'm sure I have. I'm supposed to gain 11 more lbs between now and the due date, so I'm right on track. 

Thur - Another class -- this one was learning all the things that no one likes to talk about -- like that you may not poop for 3-5 days after giving birth, what a sitz bath is, or that you will need to wear diapers for awhile.  The winner was that you only need to call your doctor if you happen to pass a blood clot larger than a lemon (but I guess you don't if it's the size of a lime?).  Seriously?!?!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Thankful Thursdays

Fri - Signed the papers on our house!  Buying a house you already live in so very anti-climactic. 

Sat - Napa with college friends - I can't partake in the wine, but food and company are still really good!

Sun - Finally watched The Queen.  I have this weird affinity toward Princess Diana and can't believe it took me so long to finally watch this movie. 

Mon - Trader Joe's dark caramels

Tues - Barnes & Noble - While I do most of my book buying on Amazon or just straight through a Kindle these days, it's still nice to visit a bookstore sometimes and I really do hope they can remain in business. 

Wed - Demolition of our kitchen - A demolished kitchen isn't really anything to be thankful for, but I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to get rid of it and to design a new one!

Thur - 1st day of August!  Birthday month begins! :)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thankful Thursdays

Fri - Body pillow to support baby - I didn't bring my pillow to Tahoe and slept miserably, but Costco has fancy ones they are selling for $12.99 right now.  Score! 

Sat - Cooling off in Lake Tahoe - Nick ran 34 miles in 95 degree weather.  I was so hot and I was just sitting on a bleacher under a tent.  But after he was done, we went to Zephyr Cove to cool off in the water and sit on the beach.  I also got to build a hole in the sand so I could lie on my stomach.  It was glorious!

Sun - Fresh vegetables from the farm

Mon - Natalie was here to help me start packing up the kitchen.  Remodel begins July 30!

Tues - Colosimo's sausage (courtesy of Miss Natalie)

Wed - Awesome results on SanDisk project - I was hired for a really short term project to improve the amount of time they were spending in the system and it's an 80% reduction in work for them now!

Thur - Zucchini - I really should just start growing my own. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thankful Thursdays

Fri - Summer rolls - I really enjoy making these for summer parties, but I don't know how you can possibly make them in only 70 minutes.  I swear it takes 70 minutes just to prep and then 2 hours to roll the dang things!  Maybe it's because I usually triple the recipe, so it takes 3 times as long...

Sat - Had to take the 3 hour glucose test and passed well under the range.  *sigh*

Sun - No traffic driving in to the City and found parking immediately, which happened to be right in front of the restaurant!

Mon - Started some consulting work for Intel again.  Thankful that I still have relationships with so many people there and can help them improve their processes.

Tues - Yoga.  It was actually quite humbling considering my uterus is the size of a soccer ball and I'm extremely limited in what I can do. But I'm inspired to go to pre-natal yoga now so I can learn how to properly modify the positions. 

Wed - a local client.  The traffic is AWFUL.  But at least I am not on a plane. 

Thur - Being 4 hours away from Tahoe.  One of the most beautiful places in the US!