Sunday, December 18, 2005

Cuddles!

Home at last!

Perpetual cuteness

Everyone thinks their baby is the cutest baby in existence.

Post-baby post

Where to begin?
Rebecca Lily Marshall was born on Saturday, December 10th at 1pm. :)
There really isn't an adequate way to describe how this changes your life. In the past week, I have been through more profound physical, emotional and intellectual changes that I would have thought possible. I feel as though Greg and I are worlds apart from the people we were only a handful of days ago.
There are so many details that I don't know where to begin. This blog was originally intended to be a record of my pregnancy experience, but I now feel compelled to delve into the parenting experience as well.
I don't have a lot of free time on my hands, but I plan to update a little bit at a time. Eventually, the whole labour and hospitalization story will be here (with appropriate warnings for the squeamish).
Geg and I used to consider our wedding day to be the best day of our lives, but now, we both agree that nothing can compare to the day our daughter was born.

Friday, December 9, 2005

What happens now and what happened earlier

O.k. now that I have the time, I will give a little more detail about today.
Last night I was at my work Christmas party at the Rideau-Carleton Raceway. Greg and I had a blast and I was very tired. I went to sleep fully expecting to go into work the next morning. At about 2:45am I woke up because there was hot gushing fluid pouring out of me, and I was just soaked. I had a strong conviction of what was going on, but I still wanted to be sure - I woke Greg up, and then I proceeded with a number of tests to confirm the nature of the incident (the reason there could be confusion is that women at the end of their pregnancy sometimes have trouble with their bladders - I haven't, but I still wanted to be sure). First off - amniotic fluid tends to be clear (not yellow). It also smells nothing like urine - it smells like very mild bleach. Furthermore, it is alkaline, while urine is acidic. I did not conduct a pH test though - although, I did consider it. Anyhow, the intial gush was quite substantial, but the amniotic fluid is regenerated, so once you have a tear, the fluid will keep leaking at unpredictable intervals. You have no warning that it is coming and you have absolutely no control over the flow. I have heard it said that the quantity generated per hour is one cup. At any rate, I called the obstetric triage number and we were advised to go in. When we got in, I handed over my precious sheets of paper and was asked to get a drop of fluid on a microscope slide. The alternative was that they would take a sample using a speculum (no thank-you!). Getting a sample was not a problem. The sample was confirmed to be amniotic fluid due to the charactertistic ferning pattern when observed under a microscope. Next, they placed fetal monitors on my belly (basically belts measuring heartbeat) with a dab of ultrasound gel. They also periodically measured my blood pressure. Greg was enjoying every minute and taking pictures. Rebecca was quite active during this time, and my blood pressure was a little high (due to excitement). What the nurses and the resident really wanted were the results from my group B strep test. Since I had the test on Monday, they could reasonably expect the results to be at my OB's (but obviously not accessible at 5am). Once your water has broken, the danger is that the baby could be exposed to infection. Prior to water breaking, the cervix is sealed off by a mucous plug and the baby is further protected by the amniotic sac. If you are group B strep positive, those particular bacteria could pose a risk, and they want to commence labour ASAP. Even if you aren't GBS positive, breaking your water is a point of no return. They want you in labour within 24 hours. Ultimately, since I wasn't having contractions, I was given a choice. I could go home or I could walk the halls for a few hours and see if the contractions kicked in. I opted to go home. If my GBS test was positive, I would go back to the hospital and be induced with oxytocin and antibiotics. If my GBS test was negative, I would wait for regular contractions spaced 5 minutes apart and then come in OR I would come in if there were irregularities in Rebecca's movements OR I would come in if there was heavy bleeding OR I would come in at the 24h mark to be induced.
As expected, my GBS test was negative.
Now I am waiting for contractions to be regular. I am having some, but they are irregular, uncomfortable but not painful. I will probably be induced at around 3am to get my labour going.
So, Greg and I are just hanging out, trying to get sleep, watching DVDs. I have gone through an untold number of pads to account for the amniotic fluid leak, and I am not really able to sleep comfortably.
More to follow when there is more to say.

Deluge

So, I'm packing to go to the hospital. I am about 100% certain that I broke my water about an hour ago. Anyhow, I called the obstetric triage nurse and I have my orders. Update to follow.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Week 36 checkup

On Monday I had my week 36 checkup. When I arrived there was another prego in the waiting room of the clinic. She was far larger than I, which is saying something at this point. As I discovered, she was going to be induced on the next day and was thought to be carrying a 10 lb 4 oz baby. Rebecca seems quite a reasonable size by comparison. The nurse gave us each a urine sample container for whenever we felt motivated to contribute a sample (hooray, no waiting). As a bonus, I managed to take the sample without getting any pee on my hands - this is a real achievement at this point considering: a) you can't see anything you're doing, b) there is a giant belly in the way, c) the relevant anatomical bits and pieces are engorged at this point. As usual, despite my timely arrival, they took me about an hour late. I nearly feel asleep in the waiting room - in fact, although I had the foresight to bring a novel with me, I was so tired that I couldn't concentrate enough to read. The other person in the waiting room was a very young teenager with a very new baby. This girl looked decidedly unhappy, despite having brought a relatively cheerful friend with her. Was she even sixteen? Hard to say. I have met so many women of my own age - jubilant at the prospect of having their babies, that it was an odd contrast to be confronted with someone for whom this might not be the most wonderful or anticipated of events. As usual, my urine test, weight test and blood pressure tests were all fine. Rebecca's heartbeat was 120 bpm, which is also perfectly fine. She remains in the "ready" position, which is good. While I was at the clinic, they were taking a phone call from someone whose baby is transverse (head up) - quite a problematic situation. I had my exciting dual swab test for Group B Strep - results to be divulged at next week's appointment (at which point the baby will be considered full term). Basically, she's good to go. I briefly discussed my birth plan with my obstetrician. Since I don't want anything special or freaky (freaky like preserving your own placenta for later consumption etc.), there really wasn't a whole lot to say. There are two fundamental aspects of my birth plan: (1) I do not enjoy pain and have no qualms about eliminating it - providing the means is not too painful, (2) I will put up with whatever is deemed best for Rebecca. My obstetrician made me the official keeper of my own prenatal records - this will facilitate things when I have to go to the hospital, and gave me the obstetric triage phone number. I also got a requisition for an ultrasound. For some OBs, ultrasound at this stage is standard practice - this one is mostly for my peace of mind. I was worried that Rebecca's movements had really decreased. While I was 100% certain she moved every day, I didn't feel certain that she was moving ten times a day, so the U/S is to check the amniotic fluid level. It is possible to have low aminiotic fluid (for a variety of reasons), including microtears in the amniotic sac (in which case, at this stage, you probably induce labour). Subsequent to my appointment I started logging daily movements and realized that Rebecca easily makes well over ten movements a day. I think my confusion was due in part to the fact that she is very crammed, and both the number and intensity of movements has really gone down. I don't expect that they will find anything amiss. Also, I am sleeping a great deal (though, obviously not at this moment), and I probably miss a lot of her movements for that reason. I am anxious to finish work - the work day just slays me. Sometimes when it hits noon, I doubt my ability to make it through the rest of the day in what passes for a state of consciousness.