Monday, January 19, 2015

Liam's Birth Story

Oh hey there! Sorry it's been a while but I've been busy--you know having and trying to successfully parent a baby!

I've got much to update you on from the past few weeks as "mom," but first I want to start with my beautiful baby boy's birth story while it is still fresh enough in my mind for me to remember all of the details. (PS - I've been writing this post for a month. Literally.)

Liam Albert Farrell joined the world on December 18, 2014 at 7:25 AM. He was 7 lbs. 1 oz. and 21 inches of perfect. To say we love him is the world's greatest understatement.

It all started on Monday, December 16. To give you all of the gory details, I started losing my mucous plug. I also started having contractions at this point, but they were way too far apart to be able to do anything. The next day, I went to my weekly check up to find out what progress, if any I had made. I assumed some, considering the whole mucous plug thing, but then again, at my last appointment I was told my cervix was "Fort Knox." Thankfully, I was 2 cm dilated and 100% effaced! My raspberry leaf tea and primrose oil worked! The doctor guess that it would be a couple of days before the baby arrived.

All day on Tuesday, my contractions continued to be about an hour apart. But man they were fierce! (Little did I know, I had yet to find out what real pain felt like.) On Wednesday I went on walks, drank some tea, ate some spicy Cheetos…my contractions got slightly closer but still were not consistent, and I had already propositioned my husband to have sex with me that night. (Sorry mom and dad.) In other words, baby needed to get out.

Around 9:45pm, I went to the bathroom. I sat there for what seemed like forever, and fluid would not stop coming out of me. I thought my water may have broken, but I couldn't be sure. The doctor told me that it probably wouldn't be a "gush" like you see in the movies because the baby's head was already pressed against my cervix. I grabbed a cup and tried to catch some fluid so I could test the smell and color. I tried to make Bryan smell, too, but he refused. LOL.

As we debated whether or not to go to the hospital (we didn't want to be turned away), my contractions got stronger and closer together. From about 13 minutes apart to 8 minutes apart in about an hour and a half. Bryan finally suggested we go to the hospital when I began sobbing because of the pain.

We got to the hospital and I was quickly admitted to triage, where there was no question I was in active labor. I was not comfortable lying down and I kept insisting I had to go to the bathroom. The nurses told me I didn't have to go. It was just the pressure of the baby. They tried to get me to lie down and relax, which was impossible with my pain. They did a check and I was 3 cm, 100% effaced. I'm not sure why they kept me so long down there – no one did – but after two hours they finally brought me up to labor and delivery to get my epidural.

Upon seeing how much pain I was in, the nurses suggested we skip all the paperwork and get right to the epidural. I couldn't say yes more quickly. However, it took another 45 minutes for them to access freaking a vein. By that point, my pain was off the charts. I gone from crying to swearing hitting things to now full-blown screaming at the top of my lungs, and convulsing in pain. Pretty much the only part of my labor that was like a movie. Poor Bryan didn't know what to do except tell me to breathe. In response, I'm pretty sure I screamed profanities and told him I couldn't fucking breathe because it hurt too bad. There's nothing anyone can say that will prepare you for how bad labor contractions hurt. It's just one of those things you have to go through to know. Now that I'm on the other side, I will say that I would do it again…But honestly, I don't know how women do it without an epidural and I give them SERIOUS props.

I've never seen a more confused person than my husband when he returned to the room after I got my epidural. The possessed person that I was only 20 minutes prior was suddenly calm and rational. I even had a smile on my face. Drugs are truly amazing.

After I got my epidural, Bryan and I laid down and trie to get some sleep. At this point, it was a little after 4 in the morning, and we had been at the hospital for several hours with no sleep. A short while later, the nurse came in to check on me. When I got my epidural, I had already progressed to a six. And when she checked me this time, I was already had a 10! She couldn't stop marveling at how fast I progressed on my own. She told me that the doctor would be in soon and that I should give myself a little bit more of my epidural because he'll probably want me to labor down for a while.  So I hit that little button and went back to sleep.

Next thing I knew, the doctor was in the room and asking me if I was ready to push. I was so unprepared - I expected to be in pain or to at least feel contractions and not to be so calm and rational. Like I said - drugs are amazing. In any case, we started to push. Because I had just given myself a little more of the epidural, it was very difficult for me to feel the contractions or how hard I was pushing. That's why they like you to be numb but not completely. After about an hour and half of pushing, the doctor told us that the baby was becoming distressed. His heart rate was low and he was in meconium (he pooped in the womb), which can be dangerous for baby. The doctor said if I couldn't push him out in the next few pushes, he would suggest using forceps to help get him out quickly. Bryan and I agreed that we would do whatever got him out safely.

A few more pushes and I knew I needed help, so forceps it was. About 6 pushes later, Liam entered the world!

Because of the delivery and meconium, they took him away right away to get the meconium out of his mouth, etc., and check all other vitals. Bryan and I got to hold him for a couple of minutes before they took him down to the NICU to monitor him. I also spiked a fever during deliver, which meant that he also had a fever and infection. 

At this point, all was good. We weren't concerned about the NICU because it seemed "old hat" to everyone in the room. And at this point, I was fine, too. We were happy and exhausted and spent the next couple of hours calling family and letting them know the good news.

Part 2 of the labor story coming soon: The complications (don't worry, there's a happy ending.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

39 Weeks || Bumpdate

There is a very real chance that this is my last bumpdate! Completely crazy to think about and actually makes me kind of sad...but not that sad. Hopefully you don't find me back here next week eating my words.
We are just 3 days away from our due date today. I'm officially working from home until the action starts, which is so nice of my employer. I work about 45 minutes away from downtown Chicago, where I'm delivering, so we thought it was best I stay close to the homefront these last few days.

Today is also the day the psychic told me Baby Farrell would arrive. I suppose there is still time for that to happen, but I'm not holding my breath. I can tell you that I have made progress since my appointment last week. Considering my OB told me my cervix was "Fort Knox," any progress makes me completely excited and seriously improves my state of mind.

For some reason, I just kind of have a "feeling" that labor is in my near future and I am so excited and terrified. In any's where we are at these final days!

Baby's size: A WATERMELON! you know the line from Dirty Dancing?  can relate! My OB says baby is a little more than 7lbs. It's tough to tell how long he is, but the apps tell me he's probably 20-21 inches. Eek!

Baby's progress: He is basically good to go! At this point, he is just comfy inside my belly, continuing to gain a little weight and getting ready to make his big entrance. They say he's stretching his limbs and his little brain continues to develop.

Weight gain: It has really been fluctuating these past few weeks. I'm eating less because there is not much room anymore, but I'm also retaining more fluid. I think a safe guesstimate would be a total 45 lb weight gain.

Sleep: Not great. I'm in a lot of pain these days, especially when I get up from being in the same position for a long time. I still get up frequently to go to the bathroom and lately I wake up at all hours of the morning and can't fall back asleep for hours.

Movement: He is still SUPER active in there, but quieting down a bit as he gets ready to arrive, which is normal! I can feel his little feet at the top of my belly and I like to give them a little tickle from time to time.

Best moment this week: Bryan and I had our last official "date night" over the weekend. On Saturday, I pampered myself by getting my hair done and then I got a 90-minute massage. It was FANTASTIC! 

Bryan met me afterwards and we went to the Chriskindl Market downtown, where we lasted a very short while due to the MASS of people there. 

And then we just went to a nice dinner and it was so lovely! We ate leisurely and talked about how excited we are for this next chapter. It's just really nice to soak up these last moments where it's just us two. Oh yeah, and my husband is crazy and booked a trip to South America for next September, so that's fun! 

Looking forward to: Obviously, meeting the baby and introducing him to the world! Also, Christmas is coming up, and we've got family coming to visit us for the next few weeks. I'm also looking forward to maternity leave! It will be so nice to have 12 weeks with the babe getting to know each other.

Symptoms: Still pain; there's a lot more pressure in my lower abdomen and pelvis. My hips hurt. I'm having lots of contractions that I can tell aren't BH because they hurt, but they are really far apart and inconsistent. There are some other unpleasantries by way of symptoms but I'll spare you the details.

Workouts: Walking pretty much covers it. Does it count when I walk around Target for 2 hours?

What I miss: Sleep, feeling my fingers, not being in pain, eating without feeling nauseous...

Things that suck: This waiting game is seriously the pits. Am I labor, aren't I in labor? Was that a contraction, wasn't it? All of these unknowns are driving me insane! Oh yeah, and my OB had a baby over the weekend, which means I don't know who is delivering my own child! 

Things that don't suck: Knowing I'll meet our little dude in a few days! I'll also say, I've been pleasantly surprised by my size these last few days. I imagined myself LARGE with the most swollen feet and ankles and face you could imagine. Needless to say, I don't think I look good, but I think I could look worse. and that doesn't suck!

Keep you posted....

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The End of Pregnancy

Anyone who says that the first trimester of nausea and extreme exhaustion is worse than the last few weeks of pregnancy is lying. 

The end of pregnancy is, in a word, brutal. 

Mostly because I find myself in a weird place, physically, mentally and emotionally.

On the one hand, I am miserable. I am uncomfortable, huge, swollen and in pain most days. I am tired at all times. I can't really eat any more. I live in the bathroom. The prospect of being pregnant another two full weeks (the earliest my OB will induce) is terrifying and makes me want to cry. At the same, being pregnant another week or so doesn't seem like it will kill me.

So there's the feeling of just wanting the baby to exit my body for the sake of my own sanity and comfort.

On the other hand, I have no idea what's waiting for me on the other side of this. And that is terrifying. Yes, we will have a beautiful, healthy baby boy (God willing), whom we are BEYOND excited to meet. I know that the moment I hold him in my arms all of these thoughts will seem like a distant memory. 

But until then, we are dealing with so many unknowns. When will it happen? Where will I be when it happens? How much will it hurt? Will my epidural work? How long will labor last? Will I need a C-section? Will he really be healthy? What will his temperament be? Will he latch? Will he sleep? What will happen to our marriage? Will we be good parents? WHAT ARE WE DOING? 

Life as we know it is about to change. These last days are a mix of wanting to do nothing but sleep and relax due to the discomforts and all that I referenced above. But also wanting to take advantage of the few childless days we have left by continuing to see friends, going on date nights, seeing movies -- all of the things that in a matter of days, we aren't going to be able to do anymore on a whim. I've had many friends tell me, "You want nothing more than for them to come out, but once they are here, you wish they'd go back in for a bit longer!"

So, I say the last days of pregnancy are brutal because emotionally, physically and mentally, I am all over the place. My husband is cool as a cucumber, like he always is. I appreciate that he always remains calm and has the attitude of "We'll figure out like we do everything else." It provides me with some stability when I feel like a crazy person for feeling all of the things. He also makes a good point that people way less capable than us have raised children for years, and sadly, he's right. So there's that for comfort. :)

I know I'm not the first person to feel/experience any of this, and I know I won't be the last. I know that everything I feel right now is normal. I also know there is a village of people waiting to love our baby and support us however we need through this most amazing journey we're about to take. 

So as I enter my 39th week of pregnancy, I'm trying to stay positive. I'm doing my best to take advantage of "me time" while I can. As much as is physically possible in these semi-dark days, I am trying to relish the last days of pregnancy. I'm eating cookies and pizza because what's 1-2 more pounds at this point? I'm staying in bed on Sundays, only getting up to eat and pee, because there will never be another time in my life for me to do so without interruption.

I'm thankful for the pregnancy I've had, and that these last few weeks have been the worst of it. I already know I will miss the baby hiccups and the kicks and living with life inside me. I will miss this baby bump. I will want to do this again someday.

I know it will all be worth it.