Friday, June 18, 2010

Welcome Emmeline Carrie Baker!

When we got pregnant, our plan was to deliver at the Women's Birth and Wellness Center in Chapel Hill, trying for an all natural, low intervention delivery. Well, that's not what God or our baby had planned. Here's the story...

At 41 weeks, which is a week overdue, I went in to the Birth Center for a check, then went home and contracted all night long every 3 mins or so, until about 8am. Then, nothing. No contractions, no nothing. Dang. Having already scheduled a massage for that afternoon at 1:00, I went on over there, and just before the massage started, on my final trip to the restroom, my water broke right there in the toilet. Thankfully it wasn't all over the massage therapists table or floor or couch...or me for that matter. Unfortunately, the fluid wasn't clear but was lightly tinged with meconium, or baby's first poop, which isn't surprising in an overdue baby. It still adds a whole new dimension to the delivery, however, putting you at a little higher risk for infection and the baby at a low risk for respiratory problems after delivery. So I called the midwife to let her know and continued on with my massage.

That night I started contracting again, about every 2-4 minutes, and was getting excited. This could be it! But then by 6am, nothing. One of the midwives came over that morning to check me, and would you believe I was still only 1cm dilated. My heart just about broke. She gave me 3 options: do nothing and wait, try castor oil to see if it would induce labor, or go to UNC for pitocin to induce labor. None of those sounded awesome, but I opted for castor oil as I wasn't quite ready to head to the hospital.

Now castor oil isn't the most pleasant stuff to take, even when mixed with ice cream and root beer, but I managed to get it down spoonful by spoonful. It did start some contractions, but they weren't strong, so at 1:00 on Friday, a full 24 hours after my water broke, I called the midwife again and she said come in to the birth center for some more castor oil and some herbs that can also jump start labor. By 2:00 we were there and contractions were kicking. So were my bowels after so much castor oil, and let me tell you, diarrhea and contractions do not really make for a fun afternoon.

So we went along, contracting every 2-3 for a good 6 hours, and when Jewell, the midwife, checked me at 8:00 Friday night, I was so hopeful for at least a few more centimeters. But alas, I was still only 1. That was awful news. So disheartening. However, it made my next decision very easy. We were headed to UNC for pitocin and an epidural. I was done with this prodromal labor and wanted to kick it into high gear quick as my water had been broken for so long.

We arrived at UNC, also known as "work" for me, and were greeted by my coworkers and friends with smiles and looks of pity as I was hurting so badly with each contraction. My dear friend Lisa was my nurse and she got me set up pretty quickly with an epidural and some time to rest. She made sure I acted like a patient and not a nurse, and thankfully I trusted her to take care of the both of us. The baby's baseline heart rate, which was usually in the 140s, had increased into the 160s, which is a pretty sure sign of impending infection. Not reassuring. Then the baby's heart rate started into a pattern we call "repetitive lates", which means after each contraction, her heart rate would drop some--also not reassuring. The decision was made then to do a c-section.

So that's what we did. Two doctors that I really admire, respect, and call friends did the surgery (thanks Kate and Ashley), and my nurse friends Lisa G and Vite were there to take care of me, Chris, and baby. My anesthesia doctor was Melissa, who was incredible as well. Chris was with me, and so was Jewell, and they kept me reassured through the whole thing. Though a c-section was about as far from my birth plan as you can imagine, it was what needed to happen to keep baby B safe.

One of the greatest blessings we received during this whole process was from my friend Annemie. She's a nurse I work with as well as a budding photographer on the side. She came in to the hospital at 2am to document the whole birth of our baby, something I cannot ever pay her enough for. Here's the pictures of the birth of our baby. I still cry when I watch it. Thank you Annemie for such a gift.

When they finally pulled little baby B out, they held her up for Chris to see and announce if "it" was a boy or girl. When he said girl, I burst into tears. Our daughter was here. She was immediately handed off to the NICU team to get her going and breathing good, and when we finally heard her cry, well, that was the best sound I think I've ever heard.

Finally in recovery I got to hold my baby girl, Emmeline Carrie Baker. She was so small, yet so alert and beautiful--so full of promise and we were so full of love for her. I never knew I could love something some much so quickly, and Chris and I only dated for 9 weeks before getting engaged! This was our baby, something we'd prayed for and hoped for since getting married. Now she was here.

Several days later, we came home--Chris, tired from long days and nights on the pull out couch at the hospital and having mastered diaper changes, and me, sore everywhere and exhausted and trying to recover from surgery while learning to be a mom. However, I think we've transitioned well. Emmeline is sweet and fairly predictable and just so darn cute. She sleeps well when she sleeps, eats like a champ, and loves to be near us. We can't wait to see the little person she becomes in the future, but right now, we're enjoying just being new parents with a precious baby girl.

Monday, May 31, 2010

lab results

Labs are in from my 24hr urine and it came back "protein too low to calculate". That's good! Pair that with my negative blood work, and at this point I'm OK. So they're calling it migraine, which I'll take any day over pre-ecclampsia, but still, ugh!

My headache is still there but more annoying than really painful, and its managed at this point with a pain med called Fioricet. Hopefully that'll hold me over until this baby arrives and I can go back to my normal "drug cocktail" for migraines.

Thank you to all who prayed and for all the encouraging words the last few days. Its amazing how being "sick" can make you feel so loved and cared for. Chris and I and baby B really really appreciate it.

We'll keep ya'll posted on the blog and facebook/twitter as to what is happening. For now, Chris and I are headed to Guglhupf for breakfast. After a few days laying around, I can't wait to get outside!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

quick, and much needed, update

Wow, its been a week. Actually, its been about 8 weeks since I last posted, which is TERRIBLE, but I just haven't felt like writing much. I guess I figured little updates here and there on facebook are enough, but after the past few days, I think a real good one is in order. So here's the latest.

We are 39 weeks and almost 4 days pregnant. I can't believe its drawing to a close, even though these days are creeping by!

As many of you know, our baby turned to breech (head up and feet down) in the 37th week, and so we opted for an External Cephalic Version, where a doctor manually turns the baby by pushing on mommy's tummy really hard. They don't always work, but this one did, and so far Baby Baker has cooperated and stayed head down. Go baby!

Things looked great for a few weeks, and then week 39 happened. Oh mercy.

Where to start? Throughout this pregnancy, I've had "borderline" blood pressures in clinic, meaning they've been higher than normal but not considered severe, like 120s-130s over 70s-80s. I take my blood pressure (BP) at home and its normal. So it seems I suffer from "white coat syndrome", meaning health care providers make me nervous and my BP goes up. The concern with high BP in pregnancy is a condition known as pre-ecclampsia, which is defined as high BP and proteinuria (or protein in your urine). I've been worried about this from the start since my BPs were always borderline, but I had never been severe, they were normal at home, and I never had any other symptoms like headache, stomach pain, or vision changes.

Now, with my job, I see pre-ecclampsia often. The concern with it is that it progresses into Ecclampsia, which is seizures and a medical emergency. We see patients with BPs of 160/110 or higher and lots of protein in their pee. Yikes, that's bad. They are immediately put on magnesium sulfate to try to prevent seizures and lower their BPs, and they are delivered asap. Its not a fun thing to live through since mag sulfate makes patients feel terrible and it makes inducing labor difficult.

So on Tuesday, my pressures in clinic finally hit that severe range (144/99). Not good. I didn't have any other symptoms, so the midwives drew some blood and I had to collect my pee for 24 hours to test it for protein. I also had to check my pressures at home a little more often. The blood tests all came back totally normal, my 24 hour urine protein was within normal limits, and my BPs at home were lower. Yeah! I was OK. Still, the midwives said no more work, so Wednesday was my last day on L&D until maternity leave is over in August.

THEN, I got a headache on Thursday. It started as a dull, achy thing that seemed annoying at most. Tylenol seemed to help some, and since I'm pregnant, that's my only real pain med option that's over the counter. I figured it was related to the stress of the week. But by Friday night, it got bad. So bad that I called the clinic at 3am almost in tears b/c it hurt so bad and I couldn't sleep. Tylenol wasn't touching it, and Benadryl wasn't knocking me out as usual. The midwife, Sarah, suggested a few other pain options that I had here, and I finally slept for a few hours, only to wake up with the same awful pain. It felt like a migraine, and my BPs were pretty normal, but it was still worrisome. Was this pre-ecclampsia rearing its ugly head?

Another midwife (Katie) suggested a "rescue cocktail" of tylenol, sudafed, and coffee, which helped for a few hours, but the pain always returned. I kept thinking, if I go into labor now, I'm screwed b/c I won't be able to handle it with this headache, and I just want to sleep. She prescribed a pain med called Fioricet, but that didn't touch it.

Finally, this afternoon she brought into the clinic for the same blood work and to start another 24 hour urine, as long as my pressures weren't in the severe range, which they weren't. She dipped my urine there at the Birth Center, and it was negative for protein (awesome), but still wanted a 24hour collection again. The baby looked good on the monitor, thankfully, but mommy still had a real bad headache.

I left the Birth Center with a script for Vicodin and Phenergan and orders to sleep. Yes ma'am. Please! I asked a few friends to pray for rest and peace and for normal blood work and normal BPs.

Kate texted me an hour or so ago with my lab results, which were ALL NORMAL! Yeah, thank you Lord. That's great news. I was actually asleep when the text came in, which was also great news. Now we just wait on the 24 urine collection to end and be tested. I'll let ya'll know the results tomorrow night. If they are normal, then we can keep on as usual. If not, I guess we'll have to start talking about other options for delivery. Until then, I'll keep taking the pain meds and continue to pray for healing and a normal end to this pregnancy.

That's the update for now. I'm OK at this point, but have definitely had a pretty hard day. If you are a praying person, please lift us up (Chris too, b/c he has to put up with me being really out of it, and I know he gets worried). I'm trying to really lean on our Lord for strength and know that I can trust Him in this.

On a lighter note, since I've stopped working, I've lost 3 lbs of water weight. My legs have gone way down...I have knees again! Alright!

So now, more Vicodin and more sleeping.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Almost 31 weeks

In 2 days, I'll have reached 31 weeks pregnant. Oh my how time flies! It seems like just yesterday I was buying pregnancy tests that kept coming up negative even though I KNEW they should be positive. Yes, Chris thought I was having a hysterical pregnancy, but I wasn't...obviously. That was over 6 months ago.

Now its the 3rd trimester, and I'm feeling it. I'm feeling big. I'm feeling curious. I'm feeling freaked out (but just a little and not too often).

Let's start with feeling big. A nurse friend that I work with told me this week that she thought I was growing a big baby. Fabulous. Here I am, all about pursuing a natural, out of hospital birth, and now I have to consider pushing out a mega-baby? Thankfully I passed my glucola test at 28 weeks, so I don't have gestational diabetes, which predisposes you to big babies, but still. My boss made me feel better when she said she thought it was going to be a long baby. I'll take long! Its wide that makes me squeeze my legs together and tremble slightly.

On to feeling curious. Another nurse friend, who had two birth center deliveries, asked how I was feeling about the actual delivery, mentioning that she had felt excited about the first one b/c it was something so new and unknown. I agreed with her, but more than excited, at this point I'm super curious--about everything. How will I handle contraction pain? How bad will it hurt? Will I be a screamer, a moaner, the silent type? Will I shake, puke, poop? Will pushing feel better or worse? Will I go fast or slow? So many questions about the delivery!!!

Then there's the curiosity about the baby. Boy or girl? (yes, we still DON'T know). Lots of hair? What color? What color eyes? I'm guessing yes to lots of hair b/c of the ridiculous amount of heart burn I've been having, and I'm guessing light colored eyes b/c I have green ones and Chris has green/brown ones. Hair color remains a mystery to me. How big will this little one be? How long? How many fingers and toes? Hopefully 10 and 10. Will baby Baker be a good sleeper? A good nurser? An easy or hard baby?

This moves us into curiosity about motherhood. What will I love? What will I fear? What will I hate? Are cloth diapers worth it? Will baby Baker take a bottle when the time is right? Will pumping at work be strange or a nice break? How often will I get peed on/pooped on/spit up on every day? How will my priorities change? How will I lose the weight I've gained? How do I buy groceries? Etc. etc. etc. etc.

And this segues nicely into feeling freaked out, sometimes. If I start to think about how much will change in 2-3 months, it can get overwhelming. Thankfully, I have lots of great friends, family, and resources to find answers to my questions and help with I need it. My sweet husband will dutifully take on diapers and grocery shopping and his turn with the baby so mommy can go on a bike ride, and he'll be great at it all. We both have so much to learn, but we're looking forward to figuring it all out together.

I'm sure there will be lots of prayer, some tears and confusion, and then more prayer. I KNOW there will lots of love and joy amidst sleepless nights and poopie diapers. And thankfully, by August, most of those questions that drive my curiosity will be answered. And hopefully by Christmas, most of the "bigness" that I'm feeling will have melted away after months of breastfeeding and a return to triathlon training that I SO look forward too. (I never thought I'd miss running this much).

So until sometime in late May or early June, I'll keep getting bigger, keep being curious, and will still freak out periodically. And that is OK.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Things I've NOT loved during pregnancy (be sure to read through the end).

1. Rhinitis of pregnancy (i.e. a stuffy nose almost all the time)
2. morning sickness (99% resolved at this point. Yeah!)
3. Prenatal vitamins
4. Calcium pills.
5. Food aversions for 4 months--salad, vegetables, coffee--but now I LOVE these things.
6. Sleeping on my side.
7. Mood swings.
8. Crying at commercials...and most anything else remotely sentimental.
9. Gagging when I brush my teeth.
10. Exhaustion.
11. Being out of breath from walking up the stairs too fast. Seriously?
12. Feeling like I have no idea how to deal with a newborn.
13. Gaining weight in all the wrong places.
14. Underwire bras.
15. Wearing 20% of my clothes 100% of the time.
16. Not being able to button my coat anymore...its cold ya'll!
17. Hot flashes at night.
18. Waking up before my alarm. That used to never happen.
19. Round ligament pain.
20. Heart burn.
21. Not drinking wine or eating sushi.
22. Not taking Ibuprofen (oddly enough, I kind of miss it. Maybe I have a problem.)
23. Costochondritis (inflamation of the cartilage in my rib cage.)
24. Not being able to "suck in" to squeeze through things or by people.
25. Worrying about what might go wrong and having to shut those thoughts DOWN.

This list is shorter than the thing I've loved during pregnancy, but its still a pretty good size list. Regardless of how long or short it is, I have to say, I really do LOVE being pregnant.

Its a time like no other. I've never felt more loved, more feminine (even though I can barely shave my legs on my own), and more excited about what lies ahead. Despite the aches and pains and emotions and sickness, seeing baby Baker rolling around in my tummy is just incredible and thinking about being a mom and Chris being a dad makes my heart beat faster. Praying that our baby will be blessed by God, will grow up to know and love Him, and trusting Him for this baby's life has deepened my understanding of what it means to be a child of God. The idea of unconditional love becomes more and more real with each passing day.

Things I've loved during pregnancy

1. People rubbing my tummy.
2. Watching baby Baker turn flips in there.
3. Seeing Chris's face when he first felt baby Baker move.
4. Flintstone's chewables
5. Bella Band
6. Wireless bras
7. Eating organic
8. Tall coffee from Starbucks (I tried doing decaf but kept drifting off)
9. Goddess dressing from Annie's
10. Zofran
11. Bran muffins
12. Fiber One bars
13. "Secrets of a Baby Whisperer" by Tracey Hogg
14. The Birth Center
15. Talking with Chris about names and finally deciding on them...I think.
16. Other people's opinion about whether we're having a girl or boy.
17. Not knowing whether its a girl or boy.
18. Long walks with Katherine and Jena Marie.
19. Getting bigger.
20. So far, no stretch marks. Please stretch marks!
21. Praying for our baby.
22. Wondering if he/she will be blond or brunette.
23. Refinishing a crib.
24. New water bottles that I carry everywhere.
25. Wondering how I'll cope with labor and delivery.
26. Talking with my patients about being new parents and about their pregnancy.
27. Seeing our parents get excited about being grandparents.
28. Registering (target/ and, in case you were wondering).
29. Boppy body pillow.
30. Cutting back on working out. I still do, but not 2-3 hrs a day like before.
31. The prospect of going part time at work after maternity leave.
32. Prenatal massage.
33. Tom's Natural Toothpaste and Deodorant.
34. Indulging food cravings..thankfully they aren't completely unreasonable.
36. Getting over morning sickness.
37. The awesome support of friends, coworkers, and family.
38. Anticipating being a mommy.
39. Maternity jeans...they make such a difference.
40. Tums

Anyone else have things they LOVED during pregnancy?