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Monthly Archives: December 2013

December Baby

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In hindsight,  it’s a good thing I didn’t go to my 39-week OB appointment alone; I don’t think GP would have believed me when I returned home and told him we were going to have a baby in the next 36 hours or so. As it happened,  he was there,  sitting next to me as my doctor told me that,  because my blood pressure had been consistently high for much of my pregnancy and because I was full-term,  she wanted to go ahead and induce.  At first, I thought she’d set us up to go to the hospital the following week (this conversation happened Friday afternoon),  but nope,  we’d head over that night. So, we heard home to panic a little,  finish packing our bags, and take one last shower before approaching the desk in L&D and telling them we were there to have a baby.  (Yes,  totally nonchalant, not at all the way I expected.)

My doctor had been able to get me admitted because of pre-eclampsia (though I never had any proteinuria…you’re welcome for that detail), which meant that a cavalcade of drugs was in my near future. First came a beta blocker, then the magnesium sulfate, and then the Cervidil to soften my cervix (the insertion of which was…not a treat). Aside from 20-30 minutes during which I felt like hot garbage because of the magnesium, these weren’t so bad. The Cervidil needed 12 hours to work,  so they told us to get some sleep. GP and I stretched out on our respective beds (both uncomfortable,  but it was easier said than done, for sure.

The next morning,  the Cervidil had done its work and it was time for Pitocin. I’d heard alarming things about Pitocin contractions (intense, and with small breaks in between), but I had no frame of reference for contractions, so I was ready to roll without an epidural for as long as I could stand it. As it turned out, I was able to go about 4 hours before I accepted the fentanyl that was offered as a temporary relief, then finally had the epidural put in not long after (maybe 2 hours or so). With the epidural in, I was still aware of contractions but wasn’t crippled by them; the nurses advised us to get some sleep– the big show wasn’t too far off now.

After a nap (oh, I was so grateful for that nap!), I woke up and was told I was complete,  so I could start pushing anytime I was ready. My doctor had arrived, and she, a nurse,  and GP would coach me through the delivery of our daughter. Aside from a few weird interruptions in the epidural line– during which I was so distracted by pain that I count focus on pushing– I would say that this was the most… satisfying (?) part. They wheeled in a mirror so I could see what was going on (an idea which had previously seemed sort of gross to me), and that was a huge motivator. At one point, when we could first see her head (and all that hair!), my doctor told me to reach down and feel my baby’s head. I did, and it was still entirely surreal that any of this was happening.

We had a good laugh when my doctor suggested she might be a redhead, like me. (“Oh, that’s not your natural color?”) And, eventually, we’d done the old three-big-pushes-per-contraction routine enough to deliver the head, and her body tumbled out immediately after. I was vaguely aware of them suctioning out her nose and mouth, and I remember hearing her cry for the first time. (GP confessed to some worry because she was a little blue at first, but she pinked right up and had 9/9 Apgars.) I lost a fair (but not concerning) amount of blood, but was fine after chewing some Cytotec (more drugs, please), and got to “enjoy” the “vigorous massage” administered to help my uterus contract.

I had expected that I would be completely overcome with emotion and absolutely sobbing by the time they placed her on my chest; instead, we just looked at each other. It seemed (and still sort of seems) impossible that she was finally here, this person that I already knew so well,  but was only meeting for the first time.

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Now that she’s been here for over two weeks,  it’s already impossible to remember what life was like before her. Sure,  my life at the moment is loved in roughly three-hour increments, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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This is 30

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I think that, if I weren’t staring down the barrel of a Major Life Change, I might be able to muster more feelings about turning 30. As it stands, it actually seems like a lower-key birthday than I’ve had in awhile– yes, there have been multiple dinners/going-out occasions with family and friends to celebrate, but I don’t feel like I’m whirling around in some insane birthday frenzy. I’ve taken my birthday off of Facebook, so I’m not being deluged with birthday wishes from people that are basically strangers (ask me about my Facebook angst!). Still, 30 is a milestone, right?

I have to confess that I haven’t even accomplished half of the items on my 30 Before 30 list…but I’m actually more than ok with that. Creating that list was more of a “what if…” exercise than a “must-do” one, and I’m so pleased with the things I’ve done. Here’s the rundown of the things I’ve managed to check off:

  • Eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant (The Plumed Horse)

  • Take three weekend-trips to destinations I haven’t visited before (Guerneville, Cambria/San Simeon, Portland)

  • Host a ladies brunch (complete with pajamas and White Christmas viewing)

  • Have a live Christmas tree in my house (it was teeny, but it counts!)

  • Wear skirts/dresses every day for a week (easy to accomplish when you’re traveling, if it’s all you pack!)

  • Save $10,000 (and then some, thanks to monthly contributions to our high-yield savings account)

  • Learn to apply liquid eyeliner well (Eyeko liner, so magical)

  • Watch 12 live performances (Santaland Diaries, Cirque du Soleil “Totem,” Cirque du Soleil “Ovo,” Spamalot, Matt Nathanson, Silicon Valley Symphony Summer Pops (twice!), Christmas Shorts, Persuasion, Avenue Q, Lion King, An Evening with David Sedaris, God of Carnage)

  • Adopt and train a dog (I’m counting this, even though he doesn’t live with us anymore– have I ever told the story of TragiPup? It is…a trying one.)

  • Reread six books that I loved as a kid (The Westing Game, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Giver, Anne of Green Gables, The Witches, Homer Price)

  • Create and send out photo holiday cards

  • Weed my book collection

As for the remaining 18 items on the original list of 30, I’ll be mostly rolling them over into a general “list of things I want to do.” At present, however, my list is a little shorter: casual dinner out with GP tonight, survive my last week of work before maternity leave, somehow birth this baby (it’s not that I’m scared, exactly; it just seems sort of impossible).