Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving (and my birthday present!) came early

Week 39 is here and guess what? It's baby's Day 1! B arrived at 6:15am, November 13 2011 on a glorious Sunday morning. Measuring 3.15 kg weight, 53 cm length and 36.5 cm head circumference (that's 7 lbs, 21 inches, 14 inches for you Americans!), he's a beautiful long limbed, big headed baby boy :).

It's our last night (of peace) at the hospital and I'm taking this opportunity to update this blog while hubby rocks our just-breastfed-now-drowsy babe to sleep.

What a past 48 hours it's been--

Saturday, Nov 12:
930a - Mucus plug passed. The bloody show is here! Spotting throughout the morning.
11a - At our regular CTG scan, doc says "labour is imminent"
3-6p - Contractions increase in frequency and intensity, going from 20 mins apart to regular 5-1-1 (5 mins apart, lasting just about 1 min for 1 hour)
630p - After holding out as long as we can at home, we check in at the hospital delivery suite
7p - CTG scan confirms cervix is fully effaced, 3cm dilated, regular contractions every 4 mins
730p - Doc is informed and advises no dinner for me, only one hot drink aka Milo (note to self: EAT before going in next time!) before running an enema
10p - After 7 hours of contractions, I wimped out and asked for an epidural (in hindsight, this was a blessing, as my active labour lasted for a loooooong time)
1030p - Epidural hooked up. Why didn't I take this sooner?!
1110p - Doc breaks my water bag and finds some meconium staining.
1115p - Syntocinin (oxytocin) drip prescribed to help the contractions along just in case the baby is in distress due to the meconium

Sunday, Nov 13:
12-4a - I slooowly progress to the transition phase. Numbness sets in below my hips. Pheew. Meanwhile, hubby checks up on the pending Michigan-Illinois college football game
430a - 9 cm dilated. Almost there, nurses adjust the epidural and oxytocin levels so that I can feel more in preparation to start pushing
530a - Push! Push! Push! Phase 2 delivery starts
610a - Head is visible. Doc comes in with forceps to help get his (big!) head through
615a - He's here. Tears. Cries. Shaking. WOW.

Mom got stitched up. Babe got sent to the ICU for a few hours observation. Hubby chats with the pediatrician. Everything since has been one amazing ride.

Thank you all for the love and support. Let the (REAL) journey begin!

PS Do check my Facebook account for photos as I've removed them from the blog to maintain privacy.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Week 38: Showtime?!

I've been reading others' birth stories lately and while each one is truly amazing, they're also unique - with signs/stages of labor happening anywhere from several weeks to several hours, some felt not at all, some all at once! 

So far, my pre/early labor symptoms seem rather staggered. While this prolongs the anxiety (and excitement!), it's also manageable and has bought precious time for me to get "ready." Just this week, I had a day of severe bladder pressure, diarrhea and constipation; a burst of restless energy for ~48 hours after, sharp abdominal cramps last night, and then this morning --- the much read-about bloody show!

Doc is back just in time evidently.  At our scheduled CTG scan today, she said labor is imminent but sent us out to observe any bleeding and of course, timing of contractions. After that, I snuck in a nice lunch with the hubby, cut my hair and removed my toenail polish (hah, yes important stuff!) before I couldn't take it anymore and headed home. So far the pain recurs every 5-10 mins, lasting 30-45 sec .... but don't feel anything like those Braxton Hicks contractions!  More like major period cramps? Argh.

Let's see how today goes... and wish us and our pumpkin luck!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Week 38: What a pain

I've been napping more frequently to shake off a recent cold.  Unfortunately, my occasional overnight swollen finger sensations morphed into carpal tunnel (tingling and numbness in my arms - hands, wrists and fingers).  This is mainly due to reverse gravity where the daytime fluid accumulation in the legs gets redistributed when I lie down.  At least my ankles and feet are swelling less since I stopped work!

How to alleviate these edema symptoms, be it overnight hand pains or daytime leg pains? Overall goal: Let blood and fluids flow as freely as possible!
  • Drink water early and often, 8-10 glasses a day to detox your system and minimize swelling.   Avoid caffeine, tobacco and excess salt 
  • Avoid long periods of standing or sitting. If you're on your feet a lot, wear comfy shoes (no heels), take breaks and have a seat. If you're on your butt a lot, take a 5 mins stroll every hour
  • Keep your legs elevated when sitting or lying down
  • Avoid tight elastic-top socks or stockings. Try support hose - full or knee-/thigh-highs that aren't tight on top 
  • Take frequent hand-stretching breaks - shake your hands and wrists out, squeeze a soft ball
  • Type gently with wrists straight and elbows higher than your hands
  • Try not to sleep on your hands. Use a pillow to prop up your arms, hang your hand over the side of the bed and shake it at night
  • If swelling persists for more than a day with no improvement overnight, let the doc know, explore braces or acupuncture

Week 38: The Man To Be

Some day the world will need a man of courage in a time of doubt,
And somewhere, as a little boy, that future hero plays about.
Within some humble home, no doubt, that instrument of greater things
Now climbs upon his father's knee or to his mother's garments clings.

And when shall come that call for him to render service that is fine,
He that shall do God's mission here may be your little boy or mine.
Long years of preparation mark the pathway for the splendid souls,
And generations live and die and seem no nearer to their goals,

And yet the purpose of it all, the fleeting pleasure and the woe,
The laughter and the grief of life that all who come to earth must know
May be to pave the way for one--one man to serve the Will Divine
And it is possible that he may be your little boy or mine.

Some day the world will need a man! I stand beside his cot at night
And wonder if I'm teaching him, as best I can, to know the right.
I am the father of a boy--his life is mine to make or mar--
And he no better can become than what my daily teachings are;

There will be need for someone great--I dare not falter from the line--
The man that is to serve the world may be that little boy of mine.
Perhaps your boy and mine may not ascend the lofty heights of fame;
The orders for their births are hid. We know not why to earth they came.

Yet in some little bed to-night the great man of to-morrow sleeps
And only He who sent him here, the secret of his purpose keeps.
As fathers then our care is this--to keep in mind the Great Design.
The man the world shall need some day may be your little boy or mine.
- Edgar A. Guest

Friday, November 4, 2011

Week 37: Stages of labor

Did our first cardiotocography (CTG) scan today which records/graphs the fetal heartbeat (cardio-, measured in BPM) and uterine contractions (-toco-, measuring the mom's abdominal wall tension in % pressure) during pregnancy via two transducers placed either externally or internally.

Based on today's 30 min scan, I'm still in pre-labor -  multiple short (<30sec), mild and irregular contractions with baby's heart fluctuating between 140-150 BPM.  Fetal activity remains frequent though the baby's growth is slowing a little (pheew!). These contractions should grow stronger and more rhythmic with increased cervical effacement (shortening and thinning of the cervix from 0-100%) and dilation (opening of the cervix from 0-10cm) in the next few days - see below. 

Doc is away this weekend but should (hopefully? better?!) be back when I enter the first stage of labor which begins with regular uterine contractions and is generally split in three phases: Latent/Early, Active, and Transitional. We'll check into the hospital when the contractions get to the active phase - regular 5-1-1 (5 mins apart lasting 1 min each over 1 hour) and my cervix widens to 3/4 cm.  This then widens to 8 cm (transitional phase) and finally 10 cm (second stage of labor) aka time to push and DELIVER!

Didn't manage to snag a picture of today's CTG - will try next week.  Meanwhile, here's an example of a similar early stage scan (minus the output row where I pressed a button to indicate any uterine activity):

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Week 37: Children Learn What They Live

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

-Dorothy Law Nolte