Sunday, March 13, 2005

Little Miss McKenna can roll onto her side now! Actually it was two days ago that she first did it, but that's okay. And she was on the floor with Noel just a couple minutes ago, and he put her on her side and said (I wasn't watching) that she rolled to her tummy... I guess I'll believe him! She's been doing okay for sleeptimes, except for her morning nap... we had a bit of a struggle going down. Ah well, it'll iron itself out, I guess.
Regarding other stuff, our truck almost broke down on Noel coming home a couple nights ago. He thinks it's the drive train, but is not positive. He's been taking my car, so I'm not getting out and about much for the next few days... I was invited to a poker game (playing for nickels and dimes) but he had to take my car that day and had a meeting right after work, so I wasn't able to go. Bummer - it's nice getting out once in awhile. I told Lydia to keep me in mind for the next game. They're kind of fun. More chatting than playing, and she invites other call center reps, so it's a way to keep in touch with people from work.
Other than that, all's well. The temperature's been in the high 50's to 60's (it was 70 two days ago!) so we bought a porch swing for the front porch. I wanted to go with rockers, but we were pricing them and most come to about $100. each! The rocker we found sits three, it swings, has a canopy, and it reclines into a bed-type thing! All for $100. So I'm happy. Noel's going to put it together tonight, so I can sit out there with McKenna when it's nice and warm. Okay, more later! xoxo

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

McKenna is getting to be quite the self-aware little thing! I'd swear I caught her checking out her nails yesterday! haha

Really, everythings pretty good except we went through a period of screaming whenever I put her down for naps or sleep, so I did some research (called friend and family as well as looked online) to find out what works for other moms. During the course of my research, I learned that I most likely caused the problem, because for awhile I would nurse her and then gently move her so she could nap. Evidently this causes a "negative sleep association" and so she was thinking she needed to nurse in order to fall asleep.

Normally, this wouldn't really bother me since she sleeps really well at night (all the way through), but I knew that if she went through teething or got sick and was waking up a lot at night, she'd need comfort nursing in order to fall back asleep, so I decided we needed her to be able to soothe herself to sleep. (And she'd been doing great for the longest time - I could put her to bed awake and she'd fall asleep no problem) So, we decided to try the "cry it out method" and it has worked! Basically, I'd put her in her crib at bed or naptime while she's awake, after having been read to, fed, and changed, and walk away. If she started crying, I'd come back in 5 minutes to reassure her, then walk away again, each time coming back after longer intervals if she was still crying. Once she understood that I wasn't going to pick her up or nurse her she decided she could put herself to sleep. So she just sucks her thumb and goes to sleep on her own now. I went through a lot of guilt while going through this, feeling like a horrible mom for letting her cry, but it's worth it to have a baby that you can put down and she'll promptly fall asleep for you. So, she pretty much got the hang of it (only took two days vs. a week like some experts say) quickly. Well, that's the update. She's upstairs sleeping right now taking her morning nap and mommy gets some computer time!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Well - I figure nows a good time to write my birth story, since the wee one's asleep.

I had to work Friday night, which was October 1st, 2004... I had gotten up at noon that day and hadn't managed to catch a nap, so I went into work at 6pm and my shift was to go to 6am. My boss, Bill, had a couple extra people there with me "just in case" and as it turns out, I needed them! I had what I thought were Braxton Hicks just shortly after I arrived for my shift (around 9pm). I timed them, and chatted with the others and figured it was another false alarm. About midnight I started realizing that they were about 5-7 minutes apart, but not consistently so. Around 3am, I told Becky that they were starting to get a lot more intense than I'd ever felt them, so I thought I should head for home.

I drove the 1/2 hour to our house, and had a few contractions on the way. Don't worry, they weren't so bad I shouldn't be driving! I got home and got into bed, hoping to get some rest. It didn't happen. I just laid awake timing them. Noel was scheduled to work that day, (now Saturday) so I told him he should probably call in. We went into the hospital at this point. They hooked me up to the monitor and declared me only "almost 3 cm" and asked if I would like to stay or go home to labor there... I was all for going back home. We decided to take my mind off things, we would go out to eat at Elmers. We were there pretty early - I think they opened at about we sat there timing contrations and the waitresses were all very interested. Told me they hadn't had a woman in labor at their restaurant. I figured I'd better eat while I can, because I knew I wouldn't get much at the hospital. So, after that we went back home, where I called mom. Mom and dad were at the Garrity RV park in Nampa visiting us. She came over and sat with us for a few hours... my contractions grew more intense over this time and I remember using the blue therapy ball to sit on and we have a pic of me on it with Noel behind me rubbing my belly.

I'm thinking around mid afternoon, after contractions still weren't really progressing, mom went back to the RV park and we promised to call if things started heating up. Noel and I hung out the rest of the afternoon... I think we took a walk. In fact, I'm pretty sure mom and I took a walk around the block while she was still there... anyway, Noel and I watched a movie and the contractions were pretty bad by that point. I had to sit in front of him and have him lightly stroke my belly with his fingers (called efflurage) and that helped a lot. Around 10 or 11 pm I believe, I finally said we needed to go to the hospital. The contractions were consistantly about 3-5 minutes apart and I felt that I should be at the hospital - I also was in quite a bit of pain/discomfort at that time. So we grabbe the bags that were packed up and I walked in the after hour doors of the hospital (actually the ER) and they sent us up to the maternity ward. I'm pretty sure I remember getting a ride up there in a wheelchair... anyway, they hooked me up to the machine again and I think they told me I was 4 or 5 cm dialited... but things started to get a bit hazy at this point. I remember Noel conked out of one of the lounge type chairs in the room, and I watched my contractions on the monitor peak and just breathed through them... I found it really helpful to imagine they were a wave cresting and breaking. The imagery really helped me out.

After a couple hours, they moved us into our main room... that's were I was going to have the baby. The first thing I did was get into the jacuzzi tub that was provided with the room. It felt really good, but didn't help as much as some women claim. I was in there for about 1/2 hour, I think. Noel had rearranged himself on the chair/bed and was sleeping again. I guess at this point, the contractions were bad, but I didn't feel like it was necessary for him to be awake, so I just let him get his sleep. I didn't know how long this would take. I started getting concerned about how long I had been awake (almost 40 hours at this point) so when the nurse came and asked me if I wanted pain relief, I told her I just wanted something that would help me get some rest. She told me Stadol would take the very top edge off the peak of the contraction and should make me drowsy. At this point, I felt that if I had been well rested, I could have done without the pain meds, but I went ahead and gave her the go ahead. I was hoping to do without any pain meds at all, but I wanted to be able to go into the pushing phase well-rested, so I had her give me the Stadol.

I'm not sure I actually slept, but I remember drowsing and I could tell that the very peak of the contractions were dulled by the meds. Things got a bit exciting pretty quick, though. I'm thinking the time was about 3am, so we'd been at the hospital for roughly 4 hours or so... I was enjoying my Stadol-fog when I decided to try to turn onto my left side. Now, I had the external fetal monitor hooked up to me, so this was no small feat. I had just gotten myself comfortable and had started to doze off again, when two nurses came rushing into the room and shook me awake. Evidently McKennas heart rate had dropped really low about the same time as I was getting onto my left side. They turned me back to my right side, and when that had no effect, they had me get on all fours and press my chest to the bed and keep my butt in the air. I knew at the time that they most likely thought her cord had gotten pressed between her head and my cervix, so they were hoping that by putting me in this position that her head would drop back and release the pressure. I was concerned enough about her that I really didn't notice that my butt was bare to the world until someone threw a sheet over me. (thanks whoever you were!) I know at this point, Noel was awake - I doubt he was able to miss the commotion! So he was by my side.

They finally got her heart rate settled, and I was able to get back into a less ignoble position... after this things got really hazy. Some of the following was filled in by people who weren't writhing in pain. My contractions were pretty intense. I remember mom showing up around this time (maybe 5am or so?) and then things got a bit wild. The doctor showed up and nurses filled the room and I had an oxygen mask put to my face... Dr. Kaiser sat by my side for close to 1/2 hour, and most of the time his hand was inside feeling for McKennas head. Her heart rate was really low with every contraction and it wasn't coming back up as it should after each contraction. He put in an internal fetal monitor, so they could get a better fix on what was going on, and that's basically a little metal hook they hook into your babies scalp. I didn't want one in the birth plan that I'd created, but by that time I knew her health was endangered so I consented to it. I believe most of the time he was trying to make sure she wasn't pressing on the cord... my contractions were really bad now and it was around this time where my visualizations weren't helping like they were... I started to feel like I was losing control. I wanted the damn mask off my face, but it was for the baby, and not me, and they kept putting it back on. Noel was right by my side encouraging me and I had a nurse doing the same thing. Mom was on and off by my side too, but I found out later that she wasn't feeling so well watching me go through this. She'd have to sit for a bit, then come back to me. I heard the doc say I was at 9-1/2 dialated and to start pushing... I gave two pushes before he told me to stop and said her heart rate was dangerously low and it wasn't coming back up to normal, so he said we'd need to do a C-section. He also said later that it seemed like her head wasn't fully engaging with the cervix. I said fine, just make sure she's okay! So he gave me some meds that stopped my contractions... well, the contractions were still there just very weak and further apart. But my!

Sweet relief!

There had been a lot of yelling about emergency this and that for awhile, and I guess at one point there were ready to rush me up to the OR STAT, but because the meds did their work and her heart rate stabilized, they didn't have to rush me up so quickly.

All right, so it's time for the operation! They gave me a spinal block in the OR and I remember it just feeling like a pinch and they a cold sensation along my spine. It kicked in immediately and I felt little pins and needles all over my legs... They shaved me, of course, and I remember giggling so much I got the nurses laughing because tickled so much with the pins and needles sensation still there. So at last, they ask, 'can you feel this, that, etc' and I say no and they start cutting. Noel was in his OR scrubs and sitting by my side. He was able to look over the partition to see what was going on, but I think he mostly just looked as they were pulling her out. I remember someone saying "Her eyes are open!" and then she was born! They wiped her off and Noel was immediately over at the table looking at her while they fixed her up. I was crying at this point, because I wanted to see her and it felt like they were taking forever! When I heard her cry, I felt a tremendous relief! They brought her over to me to see and then I was being taken into recovery where I stayed a whole hour! She was born at 8:10am Sunday morning.

When they wheeled me back into my room, I heard my mom say, 'she's rooting around, ready to eat, honey!' So I had my opportunity to attempt breast-feeding which seemed to work okay the first time, (can't really remember) but I remember looking into those big blues thinking, "this is what it's all about" and I still think that to this day, every day, when I look at her. We love her so much. So until the next one, farewell!