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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Out

At this point, the nurse decided to put another monitoring system on me. She pulled off the remaining strap around my belly and inserted a new one to monitor my contractions better. By doing this, she knocked Farrah's monitor loose and had to put in another. My vagina had to have looked like a 1960s television with several different antennas poking out. They never mention women having to experience that in "A Baby Story". I was now at 9+ cm. The nurses told me to let them know when I started to feel pressure in my "bum". That is the term they used. If I started to feel a lot of pressure downstairs, then I would be able to begin pushing. They also said since things were moving along so beautifully, they would raise me up a bit in the bed and allow gravity to do its job and help Farrah down. This way it made it so I wouldn't have to push as much if it worked.

I began feeling the bum pressure. When people were in the room, I would sit there and talk to them and then hope they didn't notice that I was trying to bear down whenever I got a contraction. It wasn't like I felt like I needed to push as much as I wanted to get the show going. The nurse came in and I let her know that the pressure had changed. She checked me one last time and let me know that I was fully dialated and we were ready. The doctor came in and took a look and said, "Oh my gosh, she's ready. Come and look at her head." Mike, who said he'd never look at the danger zone, quickly stood next to the doctor, took a peak, and looked up at me like a kid who just saw every toy he wanted Christmas morning. The look on his face will be ingrained in my mind forever. He quickly left the room and announced to everyone in the waiting room that we were ready to start pushing and that Farrah had a full head of black hair. Everyone was giddy. He came back in.

I had asked that my mom and Mike's mom be in the room. Later, I had also added my father to the list of lucky on-lookers. At some point my grandma snuck in and planted herself down on the couch and made herself comfortable. There was no way I wasn't going to let her stay to watch her great-granddaughter be born. Finally, before the action started, I told Mike that I wanted Evie to be there. She had been so great throughout my pregnancy as a source of inspiration, friendship, confidence, and support. I would not have felt right if I didn't ask her to be there.

So, there we were. The nurses and the doctors were telling me what to expect and when to push and for how long. Mike was at my side holding my head and he kissed my face. We told each other that we loved each other. My mom was holding my left leg and decided since it was just heavy dead weight, she couldn't hold it. Mike took my leg and my head. The first contraction hit, I grabbed both legs in the back, my chin was to my chest, and I pushed with everything I had. Everyone counted to ten three times for three big pushes. I completely broke down in tears. I cried so hard. There was no pain, just a realization that everything that I had wanted with Mike was finally coming. We were going to have a daughter. We were going to have a family. I was going to go home with my husband and my little girl. Mike grabbed me and kissed me. Again, we told each other how much we loved each other. (Getting choked up) We probably kissed 3-4 more times before the next contraction came on. It came, I pushed. I was making some serious progress. I watched the monitor to see when the next one was coming, the nurses weren't paying attention and I suddenly grabbed my legs for another push. They got on board and started the counting. Everyone seemed to think that I was watching Farrah's heart rate. I had no concerns about how she was doing. I knew she was okay. I just knew that I had a job to do and was ready to get things going. With my third set of pushes, after my third count I told the nurses and doctor that I had another push in me if they needed it. No. The contraction was over and therefore, I couldn't push. I had two more sets and finally the doctor told me to look down and see my daughter. Her head was out. She told me to give her one last big push. Plop! That was it. She was out and crying. I was crying, too. Crying hard. Mike got choked up and teary eyed, but tried to keep his cool and not completely lose it. The whole room was up in a sweet roar of "Oh my God, she's beautiful!" and of course, "Oooohhh" and "Ahhhhh". I pushed six times and for 20 minutes.

The nurses took her to her observation bed and made sure everything looked alright. They had to do that because of her heart rate dropping. Mike was by her side the whole time. My mom came over and kissed me and told me that I did a great job and how perfect Farrah was. While all the excitement was going on and she was being checked out, all I could do was watch her from my bed 10 feet away. I kept my eyes on her the whole time. It felt weird. I didn't know how I was supposed to feel yet, because I hadn't held her or truly looked at her. I just kept watching her. It was good that I did so that I wouldn't have to pay attention to what was going on with me "downstairs". The doctor and the nurse were drawing the cord blood for storage and I was getting stitched up. I later found out that I had had an episiotomy. Ouch. They stamped Farrah's feet and added a couple extra stamps on Mike's white t-shirt that we brought along. He now has a shirt with his daughter's foot prints. So cute.

Finally, they wrapped Farrah up in a blanket, put a hat on her, and handed her over to her father. He kissed her and talked to her as he walked her over to me. He introduced her to me and handed her to me. I cried again and laughed. Mike grabbed his cell phone and took a picture of me. I hadn't seen it until hours later. Even now, I get so choked up when I see the picture because it shows nothing but pure joy. That was such an amazing moment. I will never forget it and I'm so glad I get to write all of this because I'll get to read it and experience it over and over. And my little girl will get to know how wanted and loved she was and is. Welcome to our family, Farrah Raquelle Moody.

Out

At this point, the nurse decided to put another monitoring system on me. She pulled off the remaining strap around my belly and inserted a new one to monitor my contractions better. By doing this, she knocked Farrah's monitor loose and had to put in another. My vagina had to have looked like a 1960s television with several different antennas poking out. They never mention women having to experience that in "A Baby Story". I was now at 9+ cm. The nurses told me to let them know when I started to feel pressure in my "bum". That is the term they used. If I started to feel a lot of pressure downstairs, then I would be able to begin pushing. They also said since things were moving along so beautifully, they would raise me up a bit in the bed and allow gravity to do its job and help Farrah down. This way it made it so I wouldn't have to push as much if it worked.

I began feeling the bum pressure. When people were in the room, I would sit there and talk to them and then hope they didn't notice that I was trying to bear down whenever I got a contraction. It wasn't like I felt like I needed to push as much as I wanted to get the show going. The nurse came in and I let her know that the pressure had changed. She checked me one last time and let me know that I was fully dialated and we were ready. The doctor came in and took a look and said, "Oh my gosh, she's ready. Come and look at her head." Mike, who said he'd never look at the danger zone, quickly stood next to the doctor, took a peak, and looked up at me like a kid who just saw every toy he wanted Christmas morning. The look on his face will be ingrained in my mind forever. He quickly left the room and announced to everyone in the waiting room that we were ready to start pushing and that Farrah had a full head of black hair. Everyone was giddy. He came back in.

I had asked that my mom and Mike's mom be in the room. Later, I had also added my father to the list of lucky on-lookers. At some point my grandma snuck in and planted herself down on the couch and made herself comfortable. There was no way I wasn't going to let her stay to watch her great-granddaughter be born. Finally, before the action started, I told Mike that I wanted Evie to be there. She had been so great throughout my pregnancy as a source of inspiration, friendship, confidence, and support. I would not have felt right if I didn't ask her to be there.

So, there we were. The nurses and the doctors were telling me what to expect and when to push and for how long. Mike was at my side holding my head and he kissed my face. We told each other that we loved each other. My mom was holding my left leg and decided since it was just heavy dead weight, she couldn't hold it. Mike took my leg and my head. The first contraction hit, I grabbed both legs in the back, my chin was to my chest, and I pushed with everything I had. Everyone counted to ten three times for three big pushes. I completely broke down in tears. I cried so hard. There was no pain, just a realization that everything that I had wanted with Mike was finally coming. We were going to have a daughter. We were going to have a family. I was going to go home with my husband and my little girl. Mike grabbed me and kissed me. Again, we told each other how much we loved each other. (Getting choked up) We probably kissed 3-4 more times before the next contraction came on. It came, I pushed. I was making some serious progress. I watched the monitor to see when the next one was coming, the nurses weren't paying attention and I suddenly grabbed my legs for another push. They got on board and started the counting. Everyone seemed to think that I was watching Farrah's heart rate. I had no concerns about how she was doing. I knew she was okay. I just knew that I had a job to do and was ready to get things going. With my third set of pushes, after my third count I told the nurses and doctor that I had another push in me if they needed it. No. The contraction was over and therefore, I couldn't push. I had two more sets and finally the doctor told me to look down and see my daughter. Her head was out. She told me to give her one last big push. Plop! That was it. She was out and crying. I was crying, too. Crying hard. Mike got choked up and teary eyed, but tried to keep his cool and not completely lose it. The whole room was up in a sweet roar of "Oh my God, she's beautiful!" and of course, "Oooohhh" and "Ahhhhh". I pushed six times and for 20 minutes.

The nurses took her to her observation bed and made sure everything looked alright. They had to do that because of her heart rate dropping. Mike was by her side the whole time. My mom came over and kissed me and told me that I did a great job and how perfect Farrah was. While all the excitement was going on and she was being checked out, all I could do was watch her from my bed 10 feet away. I kept my eyes on her the whole time. It felt weird. I didn't know how I was supposed to feel yet, because I hadn't held her or truly looked at her. I just kept watching her. It was good that I did so that I wouldn't have to pay attention to what was going on with me "downstairs". The doctor and the nurse were drawing the cord blood for storage and I was getting stitched up. I later found out that I had had an episiotomy. Ouch. They stamped Farrah's feet and added a couple extra stamps on Mike's white t-shirt that we brought along. He now has a shirt with his daughter's foot prints. So cute.

Finally, they wrapped Farrah up in a blanket, put a hat on her, and handed her over to her father. He kissed her and talked to her as he walked her over to me. He introduced her to me and handed her to me. I cried again and laughed. Mike grabbed his cell phone and took a picture of me. I hadn't seen it until hours later. Even now, I get so choked up when I see the picture because it shows nothing but pure joy. That was such an amazing moment. I will never forget it and I'm so glad I get to write all of this because I'll get to read it and experience it over and over. And my little girl will get to know how wanted and loved she was and is. Welcome to our family, Farrah Raquelle Moody.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Getting Things Going

You know in the movies when the woman in labor is in a car or something and every time she goes over a bump she looks like someone just stabbed her in the back? Yeah, that was me when they were wheeling me places and going over the tiniest bump going into the elevator. From that moment, I don't remember going into my room let alone getting into bed. Finally, the anesthesiologist came into the room while Mike met up with Joe and grabbed our bags. The first thing the anesthesiologist said to me was, "I saw your bags last night around 11:00pm and I've been waiting for you since then. What took them so long to get you down here?" I told my story to her and her face turned almost red with anger. She was pissed. She immediately told Rachel to give me 50 ccs of blah blah blah. Whatever the blah was, it was magical. Although I could still feel everything, I grinned during the process. I called it my unicorn-fairy-rainbow juice. It was fantastic.

She explained the whole process of getting an epidural and how it is much safer now than it used to be. I just nodded and gave her the green light to go ahead and stab me in my spine. Mike finally walked in and she went over the whole process again with him so he too had a clear understanding. When she walked behind me and got me situated, I asked Mike to talk to me. He said, "Okay." That was it, though! Looking back, it was so funny. I wanted him to talk me through it by getting my mind off of what could be painful. The fact that I was dumbfounded by the fact that he didn't say anything after saying okay, took my mind off of everything. It was very funny. Actually, the only thing that I felt at all was whatever she put in my back to numb me. It was nothing at all. She said my epidural was very easy for her because of how my back was. My spine was very easy to work with apparently. She gave me what she called, the "Jet Fuel". The Jet Fuel was for the first hour or two and it would slowly go to the standard strength. Sounded good to me. It took only minutes before it kicked in. Ahhhhhhhh. I shook her hand when she was leaving and thanked her profusely.

I got all strapped in and was given a catheter. Yikes. It was probably a good idea, though, considering I wouldn't be able to feel a thing had I needed to take care of business. The doctor on call came in and broke my water. That was weird. I was told I couldn't eat or drink anything with the epidural. That sucked because I was horribly thirsty and starving since I hadn't had anything to eat since 7:00pm the night before. Only allowed ice chips. Mmm delicious. We made our various phone calls to family members and friends. Mike and I got all settled in, pulled out our blankets, and tried to get some sleep. We both napped for a while, but it was difficult for me at times because I'd have a nurse check on me constantly. A couple hours went by and my nurse's shift was over and I had a new nurse, Alicia. She was new and always had another nurse shadowing her. It was fine. She was quite lucky to get me, too, because we were banking Farrah's cord blood. This was a totally new experience for her and I was happy to help.

At some point, it started to feel like the epidural was wearing off a bit in my left leg. I mentioned it to the nurse and she said that I needed to roll from one side to the other from time to time to allow the medicine to flow evenly through my body. So, I went from lying on my right side to my left. About 10 minutes later, my nurse was rushing in and monitoring Farrah's heart rate which apparently had dropped from 140 to 53 beats per minute. Suddenly, there was a huge rush of nurses in our room. There was probably about 7. The doctor was being called and I had several women around me. They told me they were going to help me get up and flip onto all fours in order to help Farrah move out of whatever bad position she was in. My nurses were flipped out when they watched me get up immediately on my own and stand on my hands and knees with all my glory showing for the world to see. They couldn't understand how I was able to do it when I had no feeling. Determination, to make sure my baby was okay. That's all. I don't know how I did it either, but all I knew was I wasn't waiting for those ladies to flip me over. Farrah's heart rate went back up and I went back to lying on my right side. At some point when all that was happening, a nurse asked Mike if anyone had talked to us about having to possibly do an emergency C-section. I didn't hear about that little conversation until after we got home. Thank you for sparing me, Mike. That freaks me out.

Family showed up one right after the other. I felt bad because my labor was progressing slowly. People were sleeping out in the lobby waiting for anything. At one point, we had so many people in the room it was difficult for the nurse to get around. Luckily, people were hungry and decided to get breakfast so Mike and I had some time alone to get some rest. When they came back, everyone sat in my room eating Jack in the Box breakfast sandwiches. Jokingly, I called them all assholes. I was STARVING and I was SO THIRSTY. Mean. At some point, my mom became Stalin and ordered everyone (gently) out of the room to allow Mike and I some more rest. At this point we were running on pure adrenalin with no rest. We'd barely napped. Mike slept on the fold out couch. My mom sat between us reading her book and monitored the door.

I was awoken again when the nurse came in with a new monitoring system for Farrah. They removed the monitor from my belly and stuck one on her head. That was a little unpleasant. Didn't feel anything, but the thought alone made me uncomfortable. No one but Mike was in the room when that happened. My nurses were great to make sure that I was able to save some dignity by not allowing people in when I was fully exposed. Thanks ladies. After we'd all been waiting, the doctor decided to pump my IV full of patossum to get my contractions moving along. It felt like the epidural was wearing off on my left side again so I was told to roll over onto my left. 5 minutes later, the nurse came running back in. She quickly had me roll back to my right side. I had asked if they needed me up on my knees again, but she said no. They figured that with the water being broken, the cord was no longer floating around inside me and when I'd roll on my left, Farrah's throat was resting on the cord. That was good enough for me. No more lying on the left. I had the nurse contact the anesthesiologist on duty. He arrived, I told him the situation and he pumped me with more drugs. I was now completely paralyzed. Awesome.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Treacherous Triage (This is a long one)

So, Mike and I were on our way. We were super excited. I was smiling and laughing the whole way there even with the contractions getting stronger and a bit more painful. We arrived at the hospital and Mike helped me unload the suitcase, cooler, and cameras on the sidewalk so he could quickly go park the car. As I stood there waiting for him, I had three more contractions and it was getting cold outside. I watched Mike pull out of the parking garage and throw his hands up in the air in frustration while he quickly zipped around the corner to find a different place to park. About thirty seconds later I laughed as I watched him run down the sidewalk to me. We grabbed our stuff and headed in. We went to the 4th floor for triage. We checked in and took care of all the necessary paperwork. I waited for a nurse to see me for a good 10+ minutes. The people that were sitting there started to say something about me having to wait. As soon as they did, a nurse popped her head out and called my name. The nurse, Sharon, walked me to my station for observation. She had long brown hair and looked like she worked as a clerk at the local 7-11 or equivalent to who would be serving you at a smoky old tavern. You'll understand my hostile description shortly. Believe me, I'm not being a bitch.

Sharon began to ask all the typical questions that get asked: What blood type are you? Any history of diabetes in the family? Are you an organ donor? To the last question, the answer was yes. Her response? "That's good, because should anything heinous happen, it would be nice for you to help another needy family out." What the fuck? Did she just say that? She had walked out of the room and Mike and I looked at each other with disbelief. Moving along, she came back in and strapped the monitors on my belly to observe the intensity of the contractions and the baby's heart rate. She "checked" me and informed me that I was 1 1/2cm -2cm dialated, 60% effaced and Farrah was at +2. Not exactly what my doctor said at my last appointment. She started talking about this being false labor. Okay. My stomach dropped. There's no way that I can be having false labor. She had asked me where the pain level was at that point. Between a 1 & 10, it was at a 3-4. So, Sharon sent Mike and I back to the lobby for an hour to walk around and get things moving. The pain was beginning to get a lot more sharp and extremely uncomfortable. I had to go to the bathroom two more times in that hour. Sitting on the toilet made the contractions not as intense. If I had had my way, I would've stayed on the toilet that whole night. After an hour went by, we were back in triage to get checked out again. There was a little more progress, but she refused to admit me. I was getting pissed at this point. So was Mike. She, very non-chalantly, said we could just go home and come back when it starts to get worse. Unfortunately, she had to "convince" her charge nurse that I was in labor, but nothing was indicating that I truly was. Really? How about the fact that I was now at a full 2cm +, I was now effaced at 70%, and the contractions were clearly coming on stronger and more frequently. She sent us out, yet again for another hour. This time the pain was pretty much unbearable. My body began to shake almost violently from the huge adrenalin rush. You'd think I had just come out of a major winter storm. I hit the bathroom again, walked around, did squats up against the bars on the walls and it was all awful. Mike laid down on the little couch and I had grabbed a couple of pillows from triage so that he could lay on one and I could crouch down on the other during a contraction. I had a big one while squatting down next to him. This one made me cry. I was crying due to the pain but also because of the sheer frustration of our situation. I was so angry that I seriously was contemplating punching my nurse square in the face. I hated her. Every time I would walk around, I'd have to stop in my tracks, stand on my toes, and put all my weight on one leg. Somehow this was just how my body tried to shift the pain. My breathing was loud and long. I felt bad for Mike because I knew he wanted to do something, anything to make me more comfortable, but there was nothing he could do. On top of everything else, I was starving. I walked back into triage to grab a poptart. When I came back out, Evie was sitting there with Mike. She walked up and gave me a big hug. She and her family packed up at around 9:00 pm and started to head North to be with us. They rock.

It was time for me to go back into triage for yet another check up. Some to little change. Many colorful words escaped my mouth at that time. I was now reaching my breaking point. Evie came with me for this check up because she knew that if Mike heard that I still wasn't being admitted, he would probably kill someone. The nurse was completely not compassionate. She had the attitude that I was wasting her time. She kept talking to me about Mike and I going home and that she still saw no sign that I needed to be admitted and she wasn't convinced that I was in labor. I could see in Evie's eyes every time the nurse spoke that she wanted to jump across my bed and scratch her eyes out. Evie just went through labor only months earlier and understood how this was supposed to have worked. What was happening to us was unbelievable. Finally, I said to her, "I have crapped 8 times today and I usually go only once every other day, I am in a lot of pain, there is clearly change happening to my body, and I don't understand why My husband and I can't simply get a room to try to relax in. I know I'm in labor, it's very late, my husband who is my coach is out in the lobby sleeping on a small couch and I need him well rested for the inevitable. Why can't we just be admitted? I have health insurance that I pay for every month. Why can't you do something?" Her response was that she had to, again, convince her charge nurse and the doctor on call. She didn't want to get into trouble. This was the following dialogue that took place:

Me: So, if you send us home, which by the way is in Arlington, a good 40 minute drive home and another back here, how will we know when to turn around and come back. What signs should we be looking for?

Her: (Laughing at me) Ah, when you're in labor!

Me: (Livid) Really?!! BECAUSE HERE I THOUGHT I ALREADY WAS IN LABOR!!! So what would be different from what I'm experiencing now?!

Her: (Bewildered by my subtle hostility) I don't know what you want me to do.

Me: I want you to call the doctor or the charge nurse and ask them if we can be admitted. This is ridiculous.

Mind you, while all of this was going on, I had a couple of doozies of contractions. So my wonderful retarded nurse went behind my curtain and called the doctor on call. She explained to the doctor were I was with my changes and expressed that it would be terribly inconvenient for my husband and I to drive all the way back to Arlington. She also said that my pain was at a 3-4. What the hell?!!! Let's see here, she asked me where my pain was at 10:30 at night. She never asked me again. I was at an 8-9!!! That bitch. She came back and told me that the doctor had said that I was welcome to crash in triage for another 2 hours, but they wouldn't admit me. Immediately, I hated the doctor. However, I was so out of sorts from the pain I didn't say anything about what I had heard her tell him. Had I thought of it then, I would've flipped out and demanded that she call him back and give him correct information. So there I was, lying there with the lights out curled up on my uncomfortable bed. Evie had left and let Mike know what was going on and he came in to be with me. He was so mad. He held my hand through every contraction for two hours. On top of that bullshit, there was another thing I had to deal with that some might think is trivial, but I couldn't stand it. The sheets smelled like almonds. Very strong smelling sweet almonds. It was gross. And then my lovely nurse decided to pop some smelly popcorn. I HATE the smell of popcorn. She sat in her seat 5 feet away from me munching on her stinky popcorn. So, every time I had a contraction, I'd have to inhale all of the icky smells. Could it be any more of a perfect storm of bullshit?

The two hours passed, but not soon enough. I was in so much pain, there were several times that I thought for sure I was going to throw up. I started to cry again to Mike saying that I never wanted to go natural. I know there are many women that want to experience everything, but not me. I know I'm not that strong. The other nurse that was working triage kept checking on me and I asked Mike if it would be inappropriate at this point to ask her to be my nurse. That's when Sharon came in for the final check. I was now at 4 1/2cm. My words, "About fucking time. I WANT AN EPIDURAL!!!" She got on the phone and called my nurse from the labor and delivery floor and the anesthesiologist. The one thing that I can throw a kudo at for Sharon was her skill with putting in the IV. Not too shabby. Didn't feel much of anything. Now, to some it may seem by reading this, the experience with triage wasn't so bad, but it was really one of those moments when you needed to be there or I'd have to share my facial expressions and use hand gestures to fully give you the true experience. To help put things in perspective, Mike and I arrived at the hospital in triage at 10:30pm and was admitted at 5:30am. Most women are there for only an hour and are either given or at least offered some sort of pain reliever such as Advil or Tylenol. Others get the magic unicorn juice. I wasn't even offered a hot pack for my back. Ultimately, after sharing my experience with my doctor (who by the way was livid with what we went through) we had three different head people from the hospital come down to talk to us including the hospital director. I explained to him that had it not been for my experience in the labor and delivery department, I would never recommend Providence to anyone. There are several hospitals and it is just like any other business and I wouldn't send anyone there. However, as you'll see in my next entry, I would recommend Providence to anyone based on my experience with the rest of my time there. It truly over shadows those 7 previous hours.

Contractions Begin

Continuing...

On Sunday, the 17th, Nick was spending the weekend with us and I had made plans to take him to Target by our house to by his dad a Xmas present. After I got off the phone with Evie, I decided to take a L-O-N-G shower. I basically prepared myself for having my goods being viewed by several strangers and family members. Had to make it look pretty down there. Shaved my legs too, because I didn't want to be prickly for those that would need to hold onto my legs. Mind you, at this time I wasn't in labor. I simply had a "feeling".

Nick and I went to Target. While there, I knew I was picking up frames for Mike's body building photos from the boys, but I seemed to leave with much more than that. I had picked up more newborn diapers (because I had been stressed that I didn't have enough), cotton balls for bath time, travel size deodorant, travel size shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, even waterproof mascara so my eyes would still look bright and lively even after pushing a bowling ball out of my vagina. See, I just had a hunch. This whole time, Nick and I had been walking and walking around the store. We finally left and once I got to the parking lot, what had been Braxton Hicks all day had suddenly shifted. I had to stop for a second and take a deep breath. Whoa, that wasn't Braxton Hicks. That felt like...MENSTRUAL CRAMPS!!! Menstrual cramps = labor! That was 4:00 pm. I was a little excited, needless to say. It was time for me to take Nick home and by the time we reached his community, it had been 10 minutes and I started having another cramp. I went over a large bump in the road and it hurt. I walked Nick into his house and gently told him, "I want you to tell your mom that I might be in labor right now. I don't know for sure, but just in case, I want her to have a heads up so she's prepared to bring you to the hospital. So, I might see you again tonight or tomorrow." Nick had a huge grin on his face and his eyes were beaming. It was awesome. I was a little nervous for saying it outloud because I was new to all of this and I wasn't 100% positive.

When I got home, Mike was watching TV or he was on the phone. I honestly can't remember which. I do know that I interrupted what he was doing by saying, "I think we might be going to the hospital sometime tonight." Really? I explained what was going on and what the whole day consisted of. Mike played it down a bit because he didn't want to get all excited and ultimately get disappointed. After a little bit, the contractions started coming every five minutes. Each time, Mike would make me laugh which made the discomfort even worse because I was laughing through them instead of breathing through them. Our friend Gavin wanted to swing by so we had him pick us up dinner. "Dinner" consisted of a cheese burger for me and two tacos for Mike. I suppose we should've titled it "snack" instead. He hung out for a while and Mike shared with him that Kathy thinks she might be in labor. I finally asked him why he was so mean. Mike said he just didn't believe me, which, again made me laugh so hard that the contraction made me laugh silently because that's all I could get out. I snuck away upstairs and called Triage at the hospital. I explained what was going on, how far along I was, and my concerns of heading that way and being told it's false labor. She told me to come in anyway to get checked because the worse thing that could happen is simply being sent back home. No big deal. This was about 8 pm. After talking with Mike, he said let's go at 10:00 pm if it doesn't seem to be changing.

Something changed. By that, I mean more intense and more often. At 9:30 I began checking everything I had in my bag and told Mike that we needed a bigger suitcase in order to pack both our things. The box for the Cord Blood Banking took up half the suitcase I was already using and I hadn't even packed Mike's and my blankets, yet. We grabbed the larger suitcase and finished packing everything. Mike suddenly said, "I don't know if I'm ready for this. I didn't go to Lowes and the closet isn't done yet." I thought this was very cute. 10:00 was creeping around and we had what we needed down stairs. Suddenly, Mike had a panic attack. His blood sugar dropped and he thought he was going to throw up. I almost freaked out and asked, "WHO'S GONNA DRIVE?!!" We began packing some snacks for Mike while he quickly ate two cookies and downed a glass of milk. Not until we got to the hospital did we notice that everything we packed was Reese's peanut butter cups, M&Ms, cookies, fudge, caramel pop corn, pop tarts, and a bag of Doritos. Oops. When what you crave is sugar at the time, probably not a good time to pack food.

The contractions started coming on faster and stronger. As we were walking towards the car, I had to stop walking and breathe. Once I got to the car and started putting things in, I had to stop again. During all of this, Mike was taking pictures of me having my contractions. I took a picture of him getting the car seat all set up. We wanted to document everything. The garage door went down, we backed the car up, and we were on our way...

Wondering Where I've Been?


Clearly, it has been some time since I last entered anything into my blog. Well...there's a good reason. Little Farrah is now here. Mike and I focused long and hard to get her here early, and low and behold, it worked!. My plan here is to share everything that I can possibly remember about my entire birthing experience. As most of you know, due to the style of my writing, it could be a very long drawn out blog. Therefore, I will share pieces at a time.

So, let's begin...

Saturday, December 16th, was my extended family's Xmas eve party. By the name, you would assume it would've been on Xmas Eve, but I protested because of my upcoming event. I didn't want it to get in the way. Days leading up to the party, I had been practicing almost everything I could to help her move down the birth canal. Walking on the treadmill, stair climber, squats, sex, eating somewhat spicy foods and not really getting a sense of accomplishment. So, Saturday night, I bought a jar of peperoncinis in hopes that the intense spice would help agitate my system. I ate the traditional ham, scalloped potatoes, beans, and rolls with the family, but also popped a peperoncini from time to time. It was uncomfortable. They were very spicy. I got pretty tired that night so Mike and I decided to be the first ones to bail. When we got home, I continued to munch on the peperoncinis. Nothin'.

The next morning...somethin'. I woke up in the morning and lost my plug. To those that know what this is, sorry. To those who don't, we'll just leave it alone. In any case, I called Mike on his cell and let him know that I lost the plug. He asked if I was sure and it was a whole hearted yes. He was in with a customer when I called so he had to quickly get me off the phone. I was so excited, you'd think my water broke. I knew that when you lose your plug it could be days or even weeks before anything happens, but something just felt different about that day.

I called my mom to let her know that I lost the plug and she followed my announcement with information she neglected to tell me before. She said, "Ya know, I remember when I lost my plug with you, three hours later I began getting contractions and 4 hours after that I had you." WHA?!!! That's good to know. I got a message from Evie that said that she woke up that morning and felt like something was going to happen. She wanted to know how I was feeling and if anything strange had happened. From the time I got that message she had already talked to Mike who shared my plug story. When I called her, we talked for a while about the excitement of it all and I suddenly realized I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for the past hour every 3 minutes. I knew that Braxton Hicks were false labor, but I also knew that they were a means to help soften up my uterus. I had already crapped 3 times and it wasn't even noon yet. I had shared all of this with Evie, and she said, "Oh my god, Kathy, I think you might be in labor right now." GIDDY. I started laughing hard at her comment, because I told her about when my mom was pregnant with Steve how she was having all this little signs and my Great Grandma said to her word for word what Evie said to me (only she said Jan instead of Kathy). Evie got online to look up signs of labor vs. false labor. There were things that were going on with me that could've easily been classified as both so it was somewhat confusing. Evie kept telling me to let her know when I knew for sure, because she would pack up the car and she, Joe, and Oliver would be on their way immediately.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Pampers

I decided to get some girly things done for myself before the big day. I know I'm going to be pretty exhausted when Farrah arrives and the thought of getting the nails and hair done will seem like a joke. Tuesday, I had a manicure and a pedicure done. The nails are pretty. Last night I got squeezed into a last minute appointment with my hairdresser and had the blonde put back. Love it! The blonde gives the illusion of a softer side of me. I had briefly mentioned to Mike about just letting my nails grow out and pull off the acrylic and just have my normal nails for a while. He at that point suggested that I also go ahead and cut off all my hair and go become a mom. I laughed so hard. He reminded me that he plans on being here for both me and Farrah, so when I need to get away and do things for myself that I can. He told me just to make sure I have plenty of milk stocked up and he'd be happy to hold down the fort while I pamper myself and go get made pretty. She's not even here yet, and he's a huge support system in my life. Thanks, Mike.

I had some pains last night. I told Mike that I knew we were getting very close because I was experiencing sharp pains in the pelvic region that I hadn't felt before. The Braxton Hicks have been coming on stronger, longer, and more frequent. They come and go, though. It's definitely not constant. I could go a good hour or two without Braxton Hicks, but then out of the blue it could be every 5-10 minutes for 2-3 hours. Mike called me earlier today to let me know that it would be very convenient if I were to go into labor either tonight or tomorrow. I reminded him that we do have a party to go to Friday night, but he said we could miss it if we absolutely have to.

Things to do today to help move things along:
1. Do squats at work when no one is looking
2. Eat spicy Thai food for lunch
3. Do more squats at work when no one is looking
4. Go to the gym and walk the treadmill and stair climber
5. Do squats at home when Mike isn't looking
6. Eagerly wait

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Keep Up The Good Work, Farrah!

I've been doing some research on moving this thing along. Like I had mentioned in a previous entry, my doctor recommended walking and lots of sex. I learned that the swaying of the hips helps open the pelvis floor a bit and helps the baby move down. So, Monday I spent about 20 mintues on the treadmill and decided to also try out the stair climber for 15 minutes. I felt like I got a great workout in and had made some progress. Yesterday, I didn't make it to the gym because I decided to get my nails done one last time before the big day. My nail gal told me that I should do squats. Well, that makes sense. When I got home, I moved from the couch in a sitting position to the floor in a squating position. When Mike wasn't in the room to see, I would squat down, hang onto the couch to balance, and bounce a bit. I didn't want him to have to see that awful site. I had read last night that eating spicy food or pineapple was good, too. Well, we didn't have any spicy food, but we happened to have some freshly sliced pineapple that Mike bought a few days ago. How often does one buy pineapple? Weird. Anyway, I ate some and continued my squating throughout the night. Well, I didn't get much sleep because I had Braxton Hicks contractions ALL NIGHT LONG. I would get them pretty much every 10 minutes. They don't hurt as much as they are just irritating.

We had our doctor's appointment this morning and as soon as my doctor began to measure my belly she noted that the head had clearly moved down quite a bit. Last week Farrah was just at the beginning stages of dropping, sitting at a -3. Now, she was sitting at a +2 and she needs to be at a +4 to come out! Yay! We're almost there. The doctor also said she could strip my membranes next week if nothing has happened, yet to help move things along some more. I'm glad she used the word "strip" instead of "scrape" like other doctors. Anyway, there is my latest update on the final days of this pregnancy. Go, Farrah, go!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Lil' Baby Jesus

I made an odd observation this weekend. Last week and this weekend I decorated our house with the various Christmas decorations we have accumulated over the years. One of my favorite items is, of course, the Nativity scene mom and dad bought Mike and I for our first Xmas together. It is a very attractive and sturdy manger with very detailed animals, people, and angel. However, I had to remind myself of the story of this scene. This was the day Jesus was born, right? Well, according to the size comparison of Jesus to Mary, Jesus looks like he's about 2-3 years old. His body is literally half the size of Mary's! Not only that, he has perfectly long and feathered hair. According to the old-wives tales, Mary had some serious heartburn during her pregnancy. By looking at this, I would guess that Jesus weighed about 35 pounds and was about 2 and a half to 3 feet long at the time of his birth. That freaks me out a bit. Mary didn't have an epidural for that delivery. Not only that, did she have boiling water and clean sheets?!! NO! Quite honestly, I'm surprised she survived. I think maybe the person who made my Nativity Scene just used a bad mold or something. Mom has a Nativity scene that shows a newborn as Jesus. It was certainly more realistic or at least not as frightening.

Okay, Saturday, we had Nick and Noah decorate the Xmas tree. I suppose I should give a "Shout Out" to Alex for putting up his ornament. Thanks, buddy for the help. ;) We video taped most of it and we made sure Mike captured me putting my perverted elf up and my Santa that straddles the Xmas lights. We want to make sure we do a lot of video taping. We feel like we've missed a lot of things that we wish we had video taped. Yesterday, we also filmed Mom & Dad's tree getting decorated. Jeff wasn't there, so that sucked. The rest was fun, though. We started off by placing all of the dog toys and Grandma's shoe on the tree when mom wasn't looking. And like always, Mom was right behind us undoing everything we had worked so hard ruining. It was fun. Their tree was so tall they couldn't put the angel up which, unfortunately meant no pervert elf. Oh, well. Mike put up one of mom's birthday balloons as the tree topper. We all agreed that since it was for Jesus' birthday, it made sense and therefore, would work just fine.

Friday, December 08, 2006

My Ears Are Bleeding Tinsel

I've been forcing the people at my office to be in the spirit of Xmas whether they want to or not. We have a radio in our office and I have been bringing in some of my Xmas CDs. Some are great, some are listen-able, and the rest are just crap. However, crap or not, it warrants a listening from the people in my office. Well, all of us, including myself, started to get sick of the same music on repeat for the past two weeks so we shifted to one of the Holiday radio stations. While listening, I was reminded of a song that I think completely blows and confuses the shit out of me. That would be "Do They Know It's Christmas Time" by Band Aid. WHORE-ABLE song. Sorry to those that think it is what Xmas is all about, but I beg to differ. Let me share some of the lovely lyrics from the song:

There's a world outside your window,
and it's a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing
is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there
are the clanging chimes of doom
Well tonight thank God it's them
instead of you

Hmmm, doesn't that fill your heart with Christmas joy?

And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life(Oooh)
Where nothing ever grows
No rain or rivers flow
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

Okay, this one has always bothered me. No shit there's no snow in Africa. If I recall the video of this song, they are filming Ethiopia. No snow...EVER. I don't want to sound cold or callus, but I'd move if where I lived nothing ever grows and no rain or rivers ever flowed. By the way, perhaps they don't know it's Christmastime, because they aren't Christian and therefore do not celebrate Christmas. Did the writers of the song even think about that?

Anyway, this song has always got on my nerves. The people who wrote the song, wrote it because they were sick of the idea of people starving in Africa while the people in Europe were getting Fat. Okay, I get that but I love Xmas. I love getting together with my families and spending time together. I don't want to feel like crap about being happy. That song usually gets turned off whenever I hear it. I just think it sucks, but that's just me. I like a good "Home For the Holidays," "Let It Snow!" and even some of the more religious ones like "O Holy Night" which is one of my favorites. Some people are going to hate this entry, but I had to put it out there, so there it is.

Puff Town Races

Yeah, only one other person knows what that even means, but I had to put it in here to make him smile. Puffy. Yes, I am puffy...in the face. I have what every pregnant woman ultimately gets. The look of chipmunk cheeks. My cheeks look like they're filled with marshmallows. Mmmm, marshmallows. Mike and I were laughing about them this morning. It's really weird. I've looked at prepregnancy photos and I compare my face shape and have noticed that I really had a Skelator face. Pointy nose, pointy chin, and pointy cheeks. Now, they're all filled with water and fat, kinda like a Christmas ham. I didn't quite have the Maria Shriver look, though. My ankles are almost unrecognizable, but still not cankles. I was blessed with my mother's ankles that forever remain small. Thank you, Mommy. My mom had also warned me that I might need to consider removing my rings from my fingers. They aren't getting stuck just yet, but there's always that fear that I could go into labor, swell up, and then have to have the rings cut off. That would kind of put a damper on things. To avoid ruining my fun jewelry, I am not wearing the rings.

Side note, I pulled my jeans out of the dryer too early this morning and discovered a little trick. When jeans aren't completely dry, they are easier to get on. The fabric isn't so tight that you have to jump on one leg and then the other just to pull them over your ass. However, there is a down side. I feel like I've had an accident that went up my hips rather than down my legs. It's cold, too. BUT, my jeans fit!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Walking Around The Christmas Tree

We had our doctor's appointment yesterday. Everything looks great and on track. I asked the doctor at what point can I say I'm sick of this and how to "help move things along." She told me after the end of this week (week 37) I can start going on long walks and have lots and lots of sex. The walks will help because of the gravity and sex creates some chemical reaction that at times triggers contractions. Yesterday, I went Xmas shopping at the mall for a couple hours. I decided to stop once my feet began to feel like I had rocks in my socks. As soon as I got behind the wheel, pain. It was not cramping or contraction-like. It was sharp. Earlier in the day, the type of exam that I had during my doctor's visit was kinda invasive so I wasn't too surprised that I would eventually experience some discomfort. In any case, Mike had me call the doctor's office today for peace of mind and I was given peace of mind. Everything is A-okay. However, for the last two days now, my back has been KILLING me. Nothing is helping it. The one thing I can think of that will help it is the LONG walk I intend to take next week. I'll walk around the mall, walk on the treadmill, walk around the neighborhood, whatever it takes to get her to make her way towards the light. As for the sex, I don't see that being a problem. Mike will be very cooperative in that department. Wish us luck because honestly, I am sooooooo done. I want to get on with motherhood. I'm ready to meet my daughter. I'm sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. Whew! On that note, I think I'm ready for a nap.

Just to add something funny...Mike had to tie one of my shoes today because I couldn't reach it. He did a great job. Thanks sweetheart.

Friday, December 01, 2006

I Can't Drive...55

Today's entry is going to be a bit all over the place. Yesterday was my mom's 55th birthday. Dad arranged for a bunch of us to meet at mom's favorite Chinese restaurant (Taster's Wok) at 7 pm. He neglected to tell anyone, particularly me, that it was a surprise. Oops. I had called her earlier and wished her a happy birthday and started asking her questions about what we were doing. She quickly let me know she didn't know what was going on which clued me in that dad was attempting a surprise. Usually when you want something to remain a secret, this is how it works: Be sure to tell the people involved in the secret that it is a secret. That usually helps in keeping things hush hush. Otherwise, you can count on someone slipping up and spilling the beans. That someone was me. Sorry, Dad. Next time be sure to tell me and I can pretty much guarantee that I won't say anything.

Yesterday was an off kind of a pregnancy day. I was a freakin' zombie. I had no energy or strength to dry my hair. The blow dryer felt like it weighed 50 pounds. It was exhausting. When I got to work, my arms still felt weak. I could barely lift them the 4 inches off my lap up to my keyboard to type. It was almost too much for me to handle. Finally, around noon I felt very jittery and loopy. I felt like I'd had 10 cups of coffee but without the physical energy. I hadn't had any caffeine. In fact, I was drinking water like crazy hoping it would help me with my energy deficiency. I decided to hop in my car and get something to eat and see if food would help me. I scarfed down my Gyro and shortly there after, had to run out to my car for a good hour long nap. I'm usually good after 20 minutes. Not this time. I got back in the office and had to use the little girls room. At this point, I discovered what I believe to be the prequel to what is about to come in the pregnancy. That woke me up real fast. The night before when I was in bed, I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for 2-3 hours straight! I've never experienced the contractions while lying down. I even woke Mike up to let him know. In any case, that helped explain my discovery. Sorry, I'm not giving much more info than that. Some things are just too personal. (Obviously, not all things).

On Wednesday, I think I began that little ritual of "nesting." I don't think I'm very good at it, but I tried. I finished the remaining laundry for Farrah. I took everything out of her dresser and wiped it all down and rearranged everything. I put the changing pad on top and re-did how I had all the clothes set up. I took all the level one diapers out and stacked them and put together a basket of diapers, diaper rash cream, and wipes next to the changing pad. I cleaned the kids bathroom and wiped everything down where Farrah's towels, wash cloths, tub, and cleansers would touch. She now has staked claim in the kids bathroom and the boys don't even know it, yet. I took a lot of items out of their boxes and started finding places to store things. The baby monitor is currently charging. All the binkies, bottles, nipples, bottle lids, teether toys, and anything that will make contact with Farrah's mouth has soaked and been cleaned. Her bottles are in the dishwasher. There is a drawer in the kitchen that is dedicated to her bibs and some of her burp cloths. You know what's sad? I still have sooooo much to do. As I type this all out, I have another list forming in my mind that I need to wrap up this weekend. I plan on finishing EVERYTHING this weekend. I will finish all my purchases needed for her and finish all the cleaning. I want to be prepared for her as if she could be here in a week which is possible.

Finally, this morning I looked puffy. I knew it, too. I put on dark eye shadow and dark lip stick. It was my way keeping the focus on my eyes and mouth and away from my chipmunk cheeks. Mike had pointed my cheeks out to me, too. Thanks, sweetheart. We have a picture of the two of us in Germany on our piano. I showed Mike that my features were sharper and my smile lines were deep. Now, they look more like dimples. I don't have, nor have I ever had dimples. It's all just too weird for me. The water is sitting in my face. Neat.