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That baby finally did come out. Ellis Olivia was born May 3 at 3:03 A.M, after about 60 hours of labor. That’s first contractions to me asking Is she still a girl? And if I do say so myself, she’s awfully damn cute. Really, have you seen a cuter baby? (I started this post so long ago, Ellis is now 2 months older than in these photos.)
I think I was in denial when I first began having contractions Wednesday afternoon (was 40 weeks of waiting finally here?? and THIS is what contractions feel like??), and by Friday morning, I was ready to throttle my doctor if she dared tell me I was not in labor.
After hooking me up to the monitor, I was thrilled to hear my contractions were 3 minutes apart. Woo hoo!!
When the on-call doctor first examined me, I was already 4 cm dilated, and I felt like a first-time-birth-super-star. Of course, I had been in labor for 2 days, so it would stand to reason I would be dilated. I made it to 5 cm within the hour, and that’s where the dilation stopped. No amount of walking the hospital corridors or trying a different position would help.
By about 8:30 pm, I decided some IV drugs were in order. And when they say IV drugs just take the edge off, not completely take away the pain, they weren’t lying. It was also about this time that the doctor made the call to administer pitocin to kick the contractions into gear.
Another couple hours of that (maybe I had also entered into the “transition” phase?), and I was begging for an epidural, trying to count in my head how many more contractions I would have to endure before the anesthesiologist arrived on site, and (realizing later) completely misjudging the number because I was high on pain meds.
Pushing seemed to take for-ever. Hours, I think. And lots of me saying I can’t do this! I think the doctor was a little disappointed in my progress, or lack thereof. He may have a medical degree, but has he ever pushed a human being out of his vagina? What? No vagina? That’s what I thought.
Rolling over in bed is an ordeal in itself, and actually getting out of bed? The achy hips, the legs so sore & stiff from the swelling, the ankles that hardly bend anymore…all things that make me wish I could just stay in bed. Except that unless I’m cuddling with Honey, even bed isn’t comfortable anymore.
The baby thinks it’s great fun to head-butt my bladder on a regular basis, and this past week, she has also been putting pressure in my, ummm, posterior-region. I know all you ladies know exactly what I’m talking about, but man, does it feel strange!
It’s difficult to breath, and I find myself emitting a snort when a laugh should be coming out of my mouth. And if I can’t control my breathing when I’m awake, imagine how I must sound when I’m asleep. Poor Honey doesn’t have to imagine. I think he said something to the affect of ~ Honey, you sound like a trucker. But unlike me who kicks him when he’s snoring, he has learned to just let me sleep. Because I told him he wasn’t allowed to wake me up to tell me I’m snoring. But, still, he lets me sleep.
My body refuses to keep up with me anymore, which I don’t like one bit. Doesn’t it know I have things to do? That this baby will be here in 3 weeks & I’m not ready for her? I have a nursery to finish, thank-you’s to write, a hospital bag to pack, and a life to say goodbye to. And I don’t mean that last bit in a negative way, just that I have not yet come to grips with the fact that our life is changing in the hugest way imaginable.
The other day, while looking for more maternity clothes because my work tops barely cover my belly any longer, I came across dog clothes on Old Navy. Adam said that anything that could make me laugh so hard after months of depression was worth buying. And, man was he right!
I can’t say as Doodles liked his new outfit as much as I did, but I haven’t laughed that hard in months. So hard my stomach hurt. Harder than when Adam got his subscription for Fitness Magazine, and harder than when we tried putting socks on Porter and my brother’s dog Kona. And believe me, that was FUNNY.
And it feels so good to feel like me again. The me who doesn’t freak out over idiot drivers. The me who isn’t compelled to throw heavy objects in the general direction of my husband. The me who can’t wait to see Doodles when we get home from work instead of being annoyed at his affections. The me who has the energy to clean my house and get on with the projects that have been on hold for months. The me who is finally enjoying my pregnancy ~ back aches, swollen feet, itchy skin, and all.
Can I just say that this was one loooonnngggg week? I still can’t hardly believe it’s Friday and I can finally exhale. We arrived home from work to find a care package from Adam’s parents (baby clothes & some Valentine’s goodies) AND my diploma! After working my ass off for 5 years, taking about 5 years off, finally finishing my last two classes a couple years back, putting of submitting my graduation application, battling with my so-called advisor on whether or not I had fulfilled my degree requirements, I officially have a degree in Bachelors of Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting. All would be grand if Honey weren’t currently caccooned on the couch with a fever of 101.
And finally, your requisite Doodles picture:
Play with me!
This trip, there were 3 other couples, 3 dogs, and one toddler named Meadow ~ named for these meadows. Six of us slept upstairs in the loft while the couple with the toddler slept downstairs. Between the crinkling of sleeping bags, pacing dogs, the fear of a mouse coming into my sleeping
If intuition had anything to do with the sex of the baby, we’d be having a boy. I think because I had convinced myself of that fact, it came as quite a shock to hear the ultrasound technician say the opposite.
I always thought that those women who said I don’t care what the sex is as long as the baby is healthy were full of it. How could they not have an opinion on the sex of their child? Now I know. My feelings toward finding out we were having a girl couldn’t compare to finding out she was developing properly & that she looked healthy. As I lay there, the anticipation I thought I would feel about knowing whether to shop for pink or blue never materialized. Instead, I found myself more worried that something would be wrong. Every time the technician would pause and hmmmmm to herself, I was convinced she was seeing some sort of abnormality. Thankfully, though, that was not the case.
Other observations about my ultrasound: the baby was moving around a lot, including taking breaths and waving her little arms. I was apparently also experiencing Braxton Hicks, but I never would have known had the technician not told me.
It’s going to take some getting used to referring to the baby as “her” or a “she” instead of “it”. It was somehow easier when she was still an “it”. It was less real before, and now she’s this little person that I’ve seen with my own eyes.
22 weeks and counting:
First off, an update on Tanya: she is back home from surgery & all appears to have gone well. Phew.
I wish I could say all has been merry & bright these past couple of months in terms of my pregnancy, but alas, I cannot. And since a while back I wrote about being honest, I feel compelled to be honest again now. I have felt myself drifting away again, but since I tend to get somewhat melancholy around the holidays, and because I am often affected by seasonal affective disorder (and because this winter has been particularly gross without much snow), I ignored it. I ignored my frequent feelings of just wanting to be alone (offset by my neediness & feeling completely lonely when Honey falls asleep before I do) and my feelings of slipping back into depression. I think I just always hope ~ tomorrow I will feel better. And sometimes I do. And then sometimes I wake up angry at the world, pissed because Honey’s snoring has woken me up countless times during the night, or because Riley-cat has decided he needs to get into the bathroom cupboard. (And let me clarify that I’m not pissed directly at Honey because I know he can’t help that he snores when he sleeps on his back). This is all exasperated by little things like my curling iron cord getting stuck on the bathroom cupboard knob, or not being able to find the sweater I wanted to wear; the one non-wrinkly item of clothing I had because I don’t have the energy to iron. I often dread going to work, not because work is bad, but simply because I have to leave the house. It sucks to leave the house even more when you’ve started your day out crying & you now look as crappy as you feel.
This weekend, I fell back into a very dark place. A place where after a few very minor setbacks which were anything but minor at the time, I spent nearly the entire day Sunday in bed. I did get up, for a very a short time in the morning, and after throwing a container of Pledge dusting wipes at the front door and then seeing the look on Porter’s face, which can only be described as concern & confusion, I calmed down a bit. I took down the Christmas tree, and as that had wiped any energy I had right out of me, I laid back down on the couch. Honey woke up and told me he didn’t appreciate being told he was going to be left out at the end of the road with the rest of the animals (yes, boys & girls, this was the first thing I said to my husband, before even setting my feet on the floor), so I decided I wasn’t fit to be around anyone & crawled back into bed.
I cried for a long while, slept for a short while, and mostly just laid there thinking. It’s almost too painful to even write the things I was thinking, but if I do write them, maybe it will help me to realize that I didn’t really mean them, because I didn’t. While in the midst of despair, it’s impossible to see that, but I can see it now. At the time, I wished I could un-do everything: I didn’t want my house, my husband, or my baby. It was all too much to deal with, and I felt I was not, nor would I ever be, able to handle it all. If I can’t handle the cats waking me up, how would I ever be able to handle a crying baby? What if I didn’t get back on meds soon enough after the baby’s born? Would I want to drop it off out at the end of the road, too? Would I be one of those mothers you see on TV who went completely berserk?
More things got thrown (2 remotes, a bottle of water, and my alarm clock; nothing broke), and every time Honey came in to see what was wrong, I just screamed at him to leave me alone. He has had to deal with many, many things in his life, but as far as I know, depression is not one of them. And for that reason, he can’t, and may not ever be able to understand how I can feel this way when, in his mind, nothing is really that bad. And he’s right. The things that set me off are not really that bad, but I guess that’s what sets a person who is hormonal apart from someone who is not. I don’t fault Honey for not understanding; I couldn’t possibly when I hardly understand why I am the way I am.
I finally got back out of bed around 4:00 pm, and fell asleep around 9:00 in my comfy chair. Since I was sleeping pretty well, and because Honey wasn’t snoring (he had fallen asleep on the couch), I stayed put. Around 4:00 am, when I was too uncomfortable to fall back asleep, I crawled into bed where I laid wide awake for about an hour. I realized that I hadn’t felt the baby move all day, and that both worried me and made me realize that I didn’t want it un-done. I laid my hands across my belly & rubbed it until I could feel the baby squirming around.
When I heard Honey’s footsteps coming down the hallway, I was so relieved, and it felt so good to have him in bed next to me. I don’t think I’ve ever felt safer than in those moments with his arm wrapped around my belly. He said he hadn’t felt the baby move yet; that he keeps waiting for it. I told him that while the baby does move quite a bit (mostly at night when I’m laying in bed), I’ve yet to feel it from the outside either. And then I was finally able to fall asleep, a really good sleep.
I wasn’t sure if I would be up for dinner at my mom & step-dad’s tonight as planned, or up for game-night with my brother & Michelle ~ even though a big dose of Hunter-snuggling is probably just what I needed ~ but I’m feeling much better now. I don’t understand how I can feel like my life can be falling apart in one moment, and feel good a few short hours later. I know some therapy would likely do me some good, if for no other reason than to have someone to talk to (someone who won’t feel frustrated because they don’t understand why the hell I’m so weepy), but my insurance policy isn’t very kind to those with mental health issues & taking on another expense at this point would just cause more anxiety. I do know something has to give, I just don’t know what.
I just wanted to say a big thank you for listening & for being in my life this past year. Although many of you are strangers in the sense that we will never meet face to face, I consider you all my friends & it is so very comforting to know you are out there & that you care. I hope you all enjoy your New Year’s holiday with your friends & family. I know I will.
And purely by chance, this is my 100th post. To celebrate, I will draw a name at random from those who leave a comment to receive a special hand-made gift.
Edited: I realize that this is a very depressing post to leave a comment on, and perhaps one that some people wouldn’t want to comment on or wouldn’t know what to say. Thank you to Jeru & Jeanetta who have already left me sweet messages that I’m taking to heart. To anyone who wishes to comment for the giveaway, feel free to just say hello, or to comment on any other post I write this week. I promise they will be more lighthearted, and tomorrow I will hopefully have some very good news to share. Thank you again to everyone for your support. I will draw a name on Sunday! TG
And there’s not much more to say than that Wendy, Michelle’s mom was at the hospital visiting when they had brought in the doctor, and she just called my mom to let her know that baby was born & that he had all his fingers & toes. They hadn’t even weighed him yet. Now I have to wait the excruciating hour & a half until I get off work until I can see the baby and give my brother a big hug. I don’t think I can stand it.