Candid Chatter

Just Say It

The Last One as Four January 9, 2009

Well, this is it. Every time we are about to have a baby I go through these “last” thoughts. This is our last weekend as a family of four. In fact, this is our last Friday as a family of four. Next Friday I will be discharged (God willing) and we will be on our way as a family of five.

Enjoy your weekend. We plan to do a whole bunch of nothing, truly. I need to rest as much as I can.

You’ll get one last post from me on Monday and then I may not be back on for a few days. Melanie will post on Tuesday when she can to give you all the glorious details about the baby so check in for that fun day of awesomeness.

I will try for internet access from my laptop at the hospital. If I can manage to make it happen, I will post pictures.

Thanks for visiting Candid Chatter. Thank you for the thoughts and prayers. Thank you for being my internet buddies. Thank you for everything.

See you soon!

 

The C-section Experience January 6, 2009

I know some women who are afraid of this particular birthing method. I don’t understand why, but I’m sure they have their reasons. Maybe because it is major surgery? Maybe because of the spinal block? Maybe ORs are scary places? Maybe it’s all the lights and sterile atmosphere? Maybe it’s the big blue sheet all up in their faces? Maybe it’s the fear of having their arms strapped down crucifixion style? Maybe it’s all the tubes and machines and monitors and team of “incase something goes wrong here” nurses from the NICU? Maybe it’s the “we might have to put you all the way under if an emergency arises”? Maybe because of all the waivers that need signed?

I don’t know. Whatever it is, I’d like to explain the c-section experience from my perspective. I’ve had two of them. Both were planned. Both were exactly the same, yet different (I’ll explain so read on). Both were fine. Neither had complications. I healed quicker than a lot of women I know who had vaginal deliveries. Granted, I am a quick healer, but there was nothing to fear as far as the healing process goes.

Since one week from today I will have another c-section, I thought I’d lay it all out. If you are easily grossed out by surgical and/or medical procedures then stop reading here and come back tomorrow for a less graphic post.

This post will be a long one. I am mainly writing this for women who are facing a c-section birth — some of which are scared to death.

Brianna’s birth – 9/1/04 – Columbus, Ohio

Since this was my first experience with c-section I didn’t exactly know what to expect. I had watched my fair share of Birth Day on TV and they showed their fair share of c-sections. I was mentally and emotionally prepared for it and had a rough idea of what would happen. I had several surgical procedures before my first c-section so I had no fear. None.

Upon arrival, I was escorted to a bed and told to take all of my clothes off and put on a hospital gown leaving the back open. My clothes and shoes went into a plastic bag. My husband was given scrubs to put on over his clothes and shoes as well as a hair cover. They inserted one IV tube for fluids and one for anesthesia to use, which was later used for nurses to inject pain meds. Then they gave me a catheter. My stomach was strapped to two monitors. One was to keep tabs on the baby’s heart, the other was to keep tabs on my uterus (just like a non-stress test). They gave me some icky junk to drink which was to empty my stomach into my intestines. It’s sour and yuck, but I’d rather down that than puke after the surgery. I stayed like that for about an hour.

Nurses asked me a ton of questions (which they kept repeating) and I had to sign some papers. My OB came to check on me a few times. I spoke with the anesthesia folks, the NICU folks, and some random scrubby wearing folks. It was funny sometimes and serious other times. During my wait for an OR (busy hospital in a big town) two girls had emergency c-sections. They obviously took priority so my wait was a bit longer than usual.

Once in the OR I had to get my spinal. That was interesting. I leaned over into a nurse (like she was hugging me) in the worst possible posture I could manage trying to push my spine out like a cat. The feeling of the needle being inserted in my epidural space hurt a little — about a 3 on a scale of 1-10 — but I am told I have a moderately high threshold for pain. Immediately it felt like little cold slivery needles were shooting through my legs (this feeling is very unpleasant to me). The nurse caught me and leaned me into the anesthestist and they laid my on my back. I could feel nothing from my chest down. They strapped my arms to the table, pulled the sheet up so I couldn’t see anything below my chest, and started asking me if I could feel this or that and telling me to move my legs, which I could not do no matter how hard I tried. If I remember right, one of my legs slipped off the bed and I had no clue until, along with giggles, the nurse told me.

My OB and the intern assisting walked in, greeted me, and began scrubbing up. My OB walked around the table to tell me a few last minute details and about then I started to feel nauseous. I told her and she looked at the anesthetist who cranked something into my veins and from that point on I nicknamed him “Dr. Feel Good”. I felt amazing. Whatever that drug was, I still want more. LOL!

Rich came in right before they opened me up. I felt nothing. Since my OB was being assisted by an intern she explained in detail each part of the surgery. I was in awe. I love that junk anyway. I heard her say “her head is too big, we’ll have to make the incision bigger”. I heard “her head is out” and Rich jumped up and started snapping pictures. Brianna’s head popped right out when my doctor reached inside my womb. She eased her body out and I only felt slight pressure and a few jerking motions. I heard them suction Bree and the gagging and choking my newborn girl was doing. I didn’t like those sounds, but I knew how necessary it was for her in order not to swallow amniotic fluid as she tried to take her first breath.

My OB brought my naked and screaming newborn around the table to show me. She was gooey, slimy, bloody, and mucousy and it was the most beautiful sight I had ever laid my eyes on. And she was screaming. I know I said that, but our little Brianna hasn’t stopped screaming since that moment. Well, almost. She’s a vocal little thing.

Rich went to be with the nurses who were working with little Bree and I heard my OB explain what they were doing to close me up. I heard the staples going in and I told everyone in the room how much I loved each and every single one of them — esp Dr. Feel Good. It was truly amazing.

I was in recovery for a little over an hour. Once I could dig my heels into the bed and lift my bottom and legs off the mattress they allowed me to go to my room.

Jeremy’s Birth – 3/27/06 – Stuart, Florida

I had been having what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions all morning. I left my 18 month old daughter with a sitter and headed to my doc’s office for a regular OB appt and non-stress test. I told the sitter and my little girl before I left that I’d see them in 2 hours. That was the last time I saw my daughter until the next day.

The nurse monitoring my non-stress test couldn’t have been more shocked when she came into the room 20 minutes after starting the test. “You’re having contractions. Don’t you feel those? I have to go show this to your doctor. You will probably have that baby today. I’ll be right back.” She ripped off the strip of paper showing my contractions and left the room. I was in a state of disbelief which lasted until I got to the hospital.

All the same procedures were performed as when I had Brianna. The situation was a little different, but it was no emergency and I had time to chit-chat with the nursing staff while they got me ready. Even though the c-section for Jeremy was planned, it wasn’t supposed to happen until April 5th. He was born March 27th. He had his own idea of when he wanted to be born.

There was a difference as far as the delivery experience for me. Jeremy must have been a stinker to get out. I felt so much pressure this time around and it scared me a couple of times. No pain. Pressure. They pulled, jerked, pulled, pushed, jerked, pushed more, pulled more and it literally felt like someone was sitting on my chest bouncing up and down until my lungs collapsed (my lungs did not collapse, but it felt like they did because I felt like I could not breathe). At one point I told Rich to “get that nurse off of me”. He looked at me like I was a crazy loon and the anesthesist told me nobody was on my chest. I hated his delivery. I felt like I was being torn apart from my chest to my pelvis. Again, I felt no pain, but the pressure was overwhelming. Once he was out complete peace filled the room and I was fine.

Jeremy choked and gagged on the suction too. But his cry was so much quieter than Brianna’s screams. To this day, he is a much quieter child than she is. Anyway, I got to hold and kiss him for about 30 seconds and then off he went to the nursery with Rich following close behind.

I heard them staple me up and I complimented everyone. Into recovery I went and stayed again for about an hour. They brought Jeremy to me after his bath and he began right away to eat eagerly. After he ate, we went to my hospital room and there we stayed until Thursday morning.

The truth about cesarean

  • The sooner you start walking the faster you will begin to heal. This is not a myth. Walk and walk as much as you can.
  • It hurts to laugh and to cough, but if you hold a pillow to your incision area before you do either it eases the pain considerably.
  • Catheters are great for the first few hours and then they become a real bother.
  • IVs suck after about 5 hours when you start to want to rip them out yourself.
  • Take pain meds. Just take them. You’re welcome.
  • If you don’t poop you don’t eat solid food and you won’t be discharged. Ask for stool softeners and laxatives. Your nurse will probably offer them to you, but if not ASK.
  • You will bleed from your hee-haw like you’ve been shot. Be prepared.
  • Staples look bad. Don’t look if you can help it. It’s like Frankenstein.
  • Staples sometimes hurt when removed and sometimes not. I think it all depends on who stapled you and how gentle the nurse is who removes them. Both times (2 diff hospitals in 2 diff states) my staples were removed right before I was discharged.
  • You will be in the hospital a minimum of 3 days.
  • Once home try to take it easy. However, the day I was discharged my daughter fell off of my platform king sized bed and I jumped off the bed, scooped her up, and ran to her bedroom. My husband ran after me, made me sit down, and I held her until she stopped crying. Guess what? Nothing happened and I was fine (she was too by the way).
  • By the end of week one I was walking and functioning and feeling almost like myself. By week two I was dying to start exercising. I didn’t do that, but I felt like I could have. By week four I felt totally normal and the bleeding was pretty much gone. By week eight I was normal and couldn’t believe they made me wait that long to heal. I felt fine by week 4.

The benefits of cesarean

  • No sore hee-haw
  • No torn hee-haw
  • No stretched hee-haw
  • No bladder control issues
  • No troubles down below whatsoever
  • Your hee-haw stays the same as it was before you got pregnant

Cesarean cons

  • Long hospital stay
  • Bye bye flat stomach no matter how tiny you get post-partum (I wore a size 4 about 10 months after having Jeremy and still no flat stomach)
  • Itchy abdomen as the incision heals
  • More complications can happen — hopefully they won’t happen
  • It’s major surgery
  • You are physically limited for 2 weeks, at least

One more week and I’ll have my third, which I’m sure will have a story all its own. And you know I’ll post about it.

If you’re facing a c-section, be not afraid. It’s not as bad as you might think and it’s definitely better, in my not so humble opinion, than trying to squeeze an 8 pound baby out of a quarter sized hole. You’ll be fine. You will.

 

You’ve Got Male December 30, 2008

So according to me I am 38+ weeks pregnant. According to my flawed doctors and their reliance on ultrasound at 7 weeks gestation (yes, that’s sarcasm) I am 37+ weeks gestation. Doesn’t really matter though — both get me to full-term (a full-term singleton pregnancy is one that reaches 37 weeks — that’s when baby lungs are fully developed).

Ok. So what. Right?

Well I am here to tell you that I have made it this far — inches from giving birth — and the gender “secret” has been utterly ruined. People just aren’t used to keeping gender a secret in our current times. Now, I thought my Mother-in-law had spoiled it awhile ago when we thought there may be a cyst on the baby’s brain. She was (besides my medical crew) the only one who knew the gender b/c she went with me to the ultrasound and I told the sonographer that it was ok to tell her. But I was certain she’d keep her lips shut. So certain that I allowed her to come. Well when I got the news she did the whole “he, him, his” thing as she was trying to console me. Unbelievable.

Then came the series of ultrasounds (nine) and echocardiograms (three) on the little wee one. I still didn’t know the gender. I refused to look at the screen during examination near the nether regions.

The perinatologist, an unemotional guy I’m sure due to the nature of his job, slipped once and called the baby “he”. He didn’t react, but ever so slickly went back to calling the baby “the baby”. Hmm.

Out of about 100 people, I kid you not, all but 3 have said “it’s a boy” and a few were complete strangers (remember Home Depot guy?).

Well I had a regular OB check and non-stress test Monday. The midwife decided to examine me in the NST (non-stress test) room. During a NST my baby and my uterus are monitored. I can hear the baby’s heartbeat the whole time. It’s my job to click this button thingy whenever I feel it move. The goal is for the baby’s heart rate to go up during movement. If it goes down, there is trouble. All three of my full-term babies have repeatedly passed this test. Thank God!

Ok so the midwife is coming into the room saying all loud and proud “that little boy is so active, I can hear his heartbeat all the way down the hallway, he’s a happy little guy in there”. For crying in your Cheerios!!! Are you serious? I have gone an entire pregnancy without knowing for sure if it’s a boy or not until exactly 2 weeks from my c-section. Aaaaahhhhhh [me screaming]!!!!! You have GOT to be kidding me!! Someone who shall remain nameless (Dorothy the midwife) apparantly did not read the part of my chart which said “gender unknown to Mom by choice”.

So the slips were slips and could very well have meant nothing because a lot of people say “he”. However, “little boy, little guy” is waaaay more than a slip.

I know it’s rare to not know gender these days. I am well aware of that. But it was so cool hearing Rich call out Jeremy’s gender in the operating room. I just wanted that experience one more time. This is it for us. Once our newest baby boy is born I will have no more pregnancies. Tubes tied. Snipped. Burned. Kaput!

Am I mad? No. I had a feeling it’s a boy too. Lots of similarities with the end of my pregnancy with little Jay-Jay. But I didn’t know for sure.

Am I disappointed? Greatly. I feel like my moment of hearing that excitement in Rich’s voice as he gets to tell me we just had a little baby boy has been robbed.

I won’t dwell. I won’t. What can we do? Nothing.

But [sigh] I just think that sucks a little. Ya know?

newborn-boy
Google Images
“newborn boy”

 

Hypo vs. Hyper November 13, 2008

Gestational Diabetes is nothing to mess around with. I’m sure any form of Diabetes is dangerous when the Diabetic ignores his or her diagnosis and diet. Right now, as I type this, I have gone hypoglycemic. It is a terrible feeling. Since I have started diabetic meds it is important that I eat regularly, including snacks, throughout the day.

I got home from picking up Brianna and within minutes I was shaking and dizzy. Uh oh. I took out the glucose meter to check my blood glucose levels. Before I left to go get her it was 99. That’s a check 2 hours after breakfast and it’s a good number. Just an hour later it was all the way down to 68. Not good. Hypoglycemia starts at 70 for a diabetic. I knew something wasn’t right.

Immediately I popped open the jar of mixed nuts and started munching. Then I got the strawberry yogurt out of the fridge and slurped it down as fast as I could. I’ll recheck my sugar levels in 5 minutes. If they’re still too low I’ll eat an apple or maybe a peanut butter cookie. I don’t want to spike it, but I also need to get a bit above 70.

It happens fast. If hypoglycemia is left unchecked a diabetic person can lose consciousness. That’s not in the mix for me. Who would help? It is important that I am aware of the signs at all times.

Hyperglycemia is a bit more dangerous as I understand it. This is what fits me in the category of Gestational Diabetic. When I don’t eat right and take meds my blood sugars are elevated. Two hours after each meal my magic number needs to be below 120. If I have 2 slices of pepperoni pizza, for example, my number is usually around 175 as a diabetic. That’s a major no-no. Pasta, potato, rice, anything high in carbs or white flour or sugar will all make my numbers escalate.

The problem with this, besides the dangers to my health, is that it could affect the unborn baby in one way or another. The most obvious is high birth weight. The other problems that are much more serious are low blood sugar in newborn infant, trouble breathing, and still birth.

So it’s a bit complicated and takes some getting used to. I don’t like checking my blood levels 4+ times a day. It hurts and it’s inconvenient. I’d rather eat a baked potato with my steak rather than a side of broccoli. I want the occasional sweet treat.

It’s not just my good health that is a concern. When the health of another person depends on you and what you eat and how you monitor “things” then a new determination surfaces and you gain a self-control you may not have realized you have.

Strangely, I’m sort of thankful I’ve had this disease 3 times now. I have learned so much about how the body uses food for fuel that the transition from being a pregnant diabetic to a non-pregnant woman who needs to lose 50+ pounds is smooth. This is why I love the South Beach diet. Its menu is centered around the glycemic index — a very important tool for a diabetic.

My number after all of that drama is 91. The nuts and yogurt worked like a charm and I feel back to normal now. Off to eat lunch — a healthy one of course.