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Good news, bad news

9 Mar

Let’s start with the bad news. Michael and I keep thinking of new and innovative ways to mess up Jade’s medications. Last night I got the spoonful of whipped cream out and Michael got out the medication. However, the medication never actually got mixed into the cream, so Jade just got a mouthful of whipping cream. I found the medication still sitting in the pill crusher this morning.

The good news is, that although Jade has been incredibly slooooow this morning, it seems more related to stubbornness (she’s still in her booster seat an hour after starting breakfast because she is refusing to swallow her last pieces of blueberry and I’m starting to give because I’m scared that it’s been too long since she ate all her fat to let her swallow the carb now). Also, since we just moved our clocks ahead on Saturday night, we’re still adjusting to the time change and Jade woke up “earlier” than she normally would. Still no signs of any seizures. Hooray! (She’s singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star from the kitchen, entertaining herself. She clearly does not feel punished.) We’ll have to watch her closely for the next couple of days to make sure this medication screw-up hasn’t done any harm.

In other good news, the spirit moved me this morning to try on my almost-forgotten pre-maternity jeans. And they fit!

Halia’s birth story

30 Nov

I felt the first contraction around 6:40 a.m. on November 11th.  I wasn’t absolutely sure it was a contraction at first, and it lasted only a minute.  Twenty minutes later, there was another one.  I phoned my midwife, Heather, at about 9 a.m. to let her know that things were underway.  She told me to let her know when my contractions were about 3 or 4 minutes apart, or when I knew I was in active labour, or if my water broke.

We made it a pretty normal day, although I can’t tell you now just what I did to fill the time.  Since it was Remembrance Day, Michael had been planning to go to the ceremonies at the Canada Games Centre with Jade, and then for a hike with Nanuq afterward; he abandoned those plans, though, since it was clear that I was in early labour.  We both did a little blogging, made sure Jade ate her meals and snacks on time, phoned our families.  I do seem to remember eating a lot that day.  I figured I should keep my energy up.  I also remember telling Michael that I still couldn’t really believe we had a baby coming. 

I continued to have mild contractions throughout the day, sometimes 20 minutes apart, sometimes more.  I even got a break in the afternoon and napped for at least an hour.  That nap ended suddenly when a particularly strong contraction caused me to leap out of bed.  I found lying down was absolutely the worst position for getting through a contraction.  Instead, I made good use of my trusty exercise ball.  (I have never used it for exercise.  I got it after Jade was born.  It was extremely useful for quieting her cries when she was suffering from gas pains.)

As we moved into evening, the contractions got stronger.  They started to be painful, except that I’d visualize my body opening up to let the baby out.  “Open up, open up,” I was whispering to myself, and somehow the contraction wouldn’t seem as painful that way.

Around 6 o’clock we had supper (my mom’s fabulously delicious homemade jiaozi) and Michael put in a call to Heather’s pager.  My contractions were about 7 minutes apart at that point, though I’d still occasionally have a longer break.  We were both surprised that Heather didn’t call back right away, especially since she’d checked in with me in the afternoon to see whether it was okay to go into town or if I thought I’d need her very soon.  It turned out that she’d started helping someone put up some drywall; for the first time that day, her pager wasn’t right on her.  She ended up phoning us at 6:30 and let us know she was going home to get her things (and shower off the drywalling gunk).

Heather arrived at 7:00 and started putting together the birthing pool.  I wasn’t necessarily set on the idea of a water birth, but I was very excited about the idea of labouring in the water.  A couple of women I know have found labouring in a bath extremely helpful.  (“Better than an epidural!” said one friend who’s done it both ways.)  Meanwhile, my mom started Jade’s bedtime routine, since she always goes to bed after supper.

At this point, I really wanted to concentrate on my labour and the overhead lights just seemed too harsh.  I stayed in the kitchen but turned out all the lights and got Michael to light some candles.  I also changed into a ratty old bathrobe to get my clothing out of the way.

I could hear Heather in our office, assembling the birthing pool.  The contractions were getting a lot more intense and closer together and I was doing a lot of moaning.  (The moaning was helpful, but I remember thinking how unmusical the sound was.  No one would think I’m much of a singer, listening to those sounds coming out of me!)  I remember wishing Heather would hurry up because I wanted advice on how to deal with the intensity!  Sometimes I was on the exercise ball.  Sometimes I would put my arms around Michael’s neck and sort of hang on him.  I tried squatting but that felt like it was hurrying things along a bit too much and I didn’t try it again.

Heather came out and said, “Fawn, do you feel like you have to push?”  She waited a moment.  “Because it sounds like you want to push.”  I think I was on the exercise ball at that point and I kind of moaned a question about when the pool would be ready.  There were just a few centimetres of water in there; the pool normally takes about 20 minutes to fill.  She could tell there wasn’t that kind of time.  “You’re not going to make it,” she said.  “Where do you want to be?”

My mom had prepared the upstairs bedroom for me, laying out a shower curtain liner to protection the mattress, with some old sheets on top.  At that moment, though, the last place I wanted to be was in a bed.  Actually, I’d spent a good part of my day visiting the bathroom.  (Loose bowel movements are common during early labour; it’s one of the ways the body gets itself ready.)  If you haven’t heard this before, you’ll hear it now: the toilet is a wonderful place to get through contractions.  The supported squatting position that doesn’t put pressure on your delicate bits is, well, comfortable, if you can call being in labour comfortable.  When Heather asked me where I wanted to be, everything in me said I didn’t want to be in a bed.  No, I’d much rather be on the toilet.  And I said so.

“Okay,” said Heather.  So she and Michael helped me to the bathroom and onto the toilet.

Things were really starting to roll.  The contractions were very strong, there was a lot of pressure happening down below, and I was feeling out of control.  I think the moaning turned into something more like screaming at this point.  I was holding onto Michael’s hands (perhaps cutting off his circulation, I might add) and Heather was kneeling in front of me.  “Slow it down, Fawn” said Heather, calmly, soothingly.  “Try to pant through the contractions.”  (The idea here is to let the tissues of the perineum stretch so that less tearing will happen.)  I think I managed to pant through two contractions, but I couldn’t rein in what my body wanted me to do. 

Suddenly I felt an explosion.  Perhaps you can imagine how disconcerting it is to feel an explosion between your legs.  (Well, this kind of explosion is.  Heh heh…)  I screamed something like, “I felt something go!”  I was honestly a bit panicked at this point.  I realized how fast things were going and I wasn’t really mentally prepared to be at this stage of labour yet.  I could actually feel the baby’s head about to crown; I knew it was happening because remembered what this felt like with Jade, except that with Jade it had taken a bit of work pushing to get to this point.  Things couldn’t possibly be going this fast!

Once I’d announced that my water had broken, Heather told me I had to stand up.  I got up and turned to face her, with Michael behind me.  It took just push to get Halia’s head out.  One more push, and out came the baby!  I didn’t see it, of course, but Michael is still extremely impressed with Heather’s spectacular catch.  (Truly, she “caught” the baby.  And if you’ve never seen a newborn, babies are extremely slippery when they’re newly delivered!)  I heard the baby crying in the first seconds after she was born.  I sat back down on the toilet and Heather handed her to me.

I don’t know if Michael ever said it on his blog, but he was convinced from quite early on that we were going to have a boy.  He was so dead sure of it that by the last couple of months, he had me convinced, too.  So it was a huge surprise when I looked down at the tiny squirming thing in my hands and realized, “It’s a girl!”  I wonder how surprised I sounded, because I sure felt surprised.  “Oh!” Michael said.  “I was so wrong!”

After that, Heather filled up the (regular) bathtub for me and I got into it with our new little baby girl.  We shut the lights off and Michael brought in some of the candles that had been burning in the kitchen.  Heather busied herself getting some things ready for me.  I believe she offered me some arnica, and also a small amount of herbal tea.  She explained their function to me at the time, but I don’t remember those details very clearly now.

I do remember thinking my poor mother must have felt pretty stressed being downstairs and listening to me scream.  I told Michael, “Why don’t we bring Jade upstairs now to meet her little sister?” Then we suddenly thought to wonder what the time was.  It was just before 8 o’clock.  (I hope poor Halia never gets too much into astrology, since we don’t know the exact minute of her birth.)

Jade was absolutely enchanted by the new baby.  She also really wanted to get into the tub with me and the new baby girl (who, as you may recall, remained nameless for several days).  The bathwater was pretty bloody, so we decided we should try to finish filling the birthing pool, which would fit all four of us.  Unfortunately, a few minutes later the hot water ran out.  Then the bathroom sink sprung a leak, probably from the pressure of the hose running to the birthing pool.  Since it was clear we wouldn’t get to use the pool and Jade had already stripped all her clothes off (by herself), we decided to let her get in with me so that she could really meet her little sister.  And she’s been helping us to look after her ever since.


If only they could sing…

16 Nov

We’ve all gone through a lot of changes since Nugget was born on Tuesday, including the organs in my body.  This is the soundtrack of my body parts this week.

My abs:  “There’s a hole in my middle, dear Liza, dear Liza.  There’s a hole in my middle, dear Liza, a hole.”

My left nipple:  “Love hurts. Love scars. Love wounds, and mars.”

My right breast:  “Like a rock, standing arrow straight.  Like a rock…”

My bladder:  “We’re talkin’ about freedom! Talkin’ about freedom!”

Two cents to the first person who identifies all the songs correctly.  Googling is cheatin’, now. 😉


This post was written using Michael-matic Voice Recognition Technology.

Nugget gets a name

15 Nov

I know everyone’s been checking into Michael’s blog to get news about Nugget, and I’m so glad I have a husband who blogs, since I’ve hand my hands full (literally).  I don’t remember Jade being so attached to my boobs for the first few days, but that may just be poor memory.  Now that the milk factory is up and running, Nugget is able to get a full belly and actually sleep a bit between feeds.  Which means I can do important things like go to the bathroom and eat at the table and blog.  You know, the essential things.

It also means that Michael and I have had the opportunity to be in the same room together and have an actual discussion for longer than 3 minutes.  Thank God my mom is here.  Jade requires constant supervision because of her drop seizures, so with one adult watching her and one on milk-production duty, it leaves one adult to run the house, cook the meals, clean up, prepare medications, and so on.  I don’t know how I can ever thank my mother enough, but in a way I feel like I am incurring a debt to my own daughters, to be there for them the way that she has been for me.

Anyway, Michael and I have been having the Nugget-naming discussion in stolen moments over the past few days, and finally really settled on one today.  Actually, it doesn’t feel quite real for me yet, possibly because I hadn’t heard of the name a week ago, or possibly because Nugget is still Nugget to me.  But Michael has tried it out a few times and he swears it’s a perfect fit. 

So, I don’t think I know the Melissa who commented on Michael’s blog and suggested the name, but Michael and I both felt it was fitting.  Melissa suggested the name Halia (pronounced ha-LEE-ah), which is a Hawaiian name meaning “remembrance of a loved one”.  To go with it, we’ve picked the name Rose; we’re not sure why, it just felt right.  So Nugget finally has a name!  Halia Rose.

(Incidentally, as I was searching for links for this post, I found this page, which says “Rosemary” is the emblem of remembrance.  Since Rose Mary was on our list, I feel the meaning of Nugget’s name was somehow meant to be.)

Welcome to the world, little Halia.

The polls are closed

11 Nov

I am thrilled to tell you that as of 7:50 tonight, Jade has a little sister.  She weighed in at 7 lbs. 5 oz. after an incredibly quick delivery.  Details to come, but for now I’m going back to bed to cuddle the little girl. 

Thanks for all your good wishes!

Now taking guesses

11 Nov

Michael is collecting guesses for Nugget’s arrival.  If you head over to his blog, you can place your bet on the following:

  1. What will Nugget’s sex be?
  2. How much will Nugget weigh?
  3. When will Nugget be born (date and time)?

And he’s even offering a fabulous prize!  Well, he’s offering a prize, anyway.  I have no idea what it is.  But it would be fun to see who wins the guessing!  So go on over and leave a comment.

The last belly pics

11 Nov

I hit 39 weeks last Friday.  Yesterday I saw Dr. Gudapati because she wanted to follow up after my Vancouver hospital stay.  Why is it that I always weigh more on the doctor’s scale than at home (180 lbs on her scale, 175 at home)?  It can’t possibly be that my home scale isn’t particularly accurate, right?  Nugget’s heartbeat was a happy 145 bpm and after talking briefly with the doctor, I was on my way to finish running errands.

I felt so great when I got home last night that I got Michael to do some long-delayed belly shots; it’s the first time in a while that I’ve really felt like smiling.  I’m pretty sure these are the last ones because there are signs this morning that Nugget will make his or her entrance later today.  Including that contraction I just had…


When Michael took it, I said I wouldn’t post the naked belly picture, but that I wanted it for myself and for Nugget.  I told him it was because I didn’t want to traumatize any poor women who’ve never been pregnant; that war zone of stretch marks might cause them to run, screaming, from their computers.  But really it’s because all these months I’ve felt self-conscious about those stretch marks, which have gotten steadily more spectacular week by week.  I’ve never had a bikini-worthy midriff, but with this pregnancy, there really is no hope of that, ever.  Looking at the picture, though, my belly doesn’t look so bad to me.  This is what happens when I carry this kind of precious cargo.  And I wouldn’t trade that for the world.