Tuesday, October 27, 2009

for the record

Pre-pregnancy weight: 134 lbs
41 weeks preggo weight: 176 lbs
9 days post-partum weight: 157lbs
Goal weight: 130 lbs

Gotta Walk Before I Run.

Gotta Walk Before I Run.

Turns out, this isn't just a metaphor. Nine days post-partum: My birth went well, no damage to my plumbing, I've been up and moving, well...since giving birth. I delivered at a free standing birth center and was sent home just 6 hours after my boy's arrival - and I was happy to be back in my own bed.

My mother came into town 2 days later. Now, my mother means well, but at 69 years old, her body isn't what it used to be. In fact, she's a wreck. Plagued by manic-depression, she gave up living years ago. Long story short, she can't stand for more 10 minutes, she shakes to much to write, and gets lost going to her mailbox. Frankly, she needs to live in an assisted-living facility, but refuses. What makes it tragic is that she'd rather have a hundred ailments listed on her gravestone than try to take care of herself. This week, I took care of two "infants."

I made her dinner while trying to teach my 2 day old to breastfeed. I helped her buckle her seatbelt after I hooked in my 3 day old into his carseat in order to pick up my 4 1/2 year old from preschool. I unsuccessfully tried to get her to shower while re-diapering my 5 day old.

I'm thankful my birth went well enough that I could keep my family going AND care for my mother. But I'm exhausted. I'm tired and sore and angry that I couldn't take it easy during my son's first week of life. I'm upset that she invited herself into my home for 8 days knowing full well that she couldn't help walk our dog, drive my son to school, help with meals or even clear her own dishes. I'm furious that she came with a runny nose and loud cough - and now my 4 1/2 year old and I have it.

I want to run. I want to strap on my running shoes and refuel with each step. I want to erase my bitterness by sweating it out but I can't. I should have been healing, but I've been up and moving non-stop. After driving my mom to the airport, I'm just now realizing how sore I am. I know I have to walk before I run, but I didn't think walking would be such a challenge. I know it's only been 9 days since a major event - giving birth - but a 20 minute walk shouldn't have been so hard. Maybe I'm just aching because I've lost my mother.

My birth story

I wrote this down the day after giving birth in order to remember it - and I can't bring myself to re-write it more poetically. My apologies for the blandness.

Baby's Name: Graham
Date of Birth: 10-18-09
Original Due Date: 10-10-09
Weeks Pregnant: 41w1d
Baby’s Weight: 6lbs 12oz (guess he needed that extra time)
Baby’s Height: 21"

Contractions began Saturday at 5pm, were 10 minutes apart. By 4am, they were 6 minutes apart. I wasn't supposed to go to the Birthing Center until 5 minutes apart, so I thought I'd wait it out in my tub. The tub slowed the contractions back down to 10 minutes. Bummer. I waited till my husband and 4 year old woke up at 8am and had them take me in. Contractions were back to 5 minutes apart and I was dilated 5cm. After laboring through stronger and stronger contractions for 4 more hours, I was devastated to learn I hadn't progressed at all.

I was pretty tired by now - I'd been walking around for nearly 15 hours straight (at least a half marathon, right?) and had so much farther to go.

My midwife said, you can take the hard, faster route or the slow, easier route: let me break your water and bounce you on the birthing ball for some intense contractions or wait it out. I broke down crying at the thought of choosing for it to get harder or been seemingly never-ending.

Before labor, I told my husband that there is going to come a time when I'm going to say that I quit and that I can't go on. I asked him to remind me that I'm strong enough and to help me through it. He totally came through.

She broke my water, manually stretched me from 5cm to 7cm. I bounced on the ball for 20 minutes or so through the intense sensations. "Contractions are only 1 minute - I can survive one minute of this" became my mantra. One step at a time. Even with only a 1 minute "break" in between.

I got into the warm tub, labored for 20 more minutes and felt the urge to push. I was only dilated to 8 or so. Again, my midwife helped manually stretch me and move the rest of my cervix. I pushed for about 20 minutes and out he came! What's remarkable is that from the time I had to chose my path until he was born was only 1 hour, and despite the assisted stretching, I didn't tear at all.

I'm very thankful for a knowledgeable midwife and my supportive husband. It was hard, but we did it and I'm so very happy with my decision to go natural.

Friday, October 9, 2009

thoughts at 39 Weeks and 6 Days Pregnant

These last 9 months or so have developed a new pattern in our household: I'm usually awoken in the morning by my 4 1/2 year old climbing into bed with me at 7:15, when he rearranges my pillows and blankets so he can lay down and pretend to sleep for 10 minutes; then he gets really close to my face and whispers "I'm ready for my breakfast now."
He's a natural snooze button: the initial wake up, then 10 minutes until his announcement, then he gets up to get his bowl and fill it with cereal giving me about 10 more minutes before I waddle over to pour the milk. The other morning, I woke up long before anyone else and enjoyed the stillness and solitude of dawn, like I used to on my early morning runs...only minus the run. My boy kept up his ritual, but whispering to his dad instead when he realized I was missing. Soon enough, he stumbled upon me in the living room, saying sweetly "When I saw you weren't in bed, I thought you were out running." It was such a lovely reminder that my old routine wouldn't be traumatic to reinstate once the baby is born. I'll adapt to our changing family yet be able to keep the frame of who I am. And it gave me hope that, no, the strains of pregnancy aren't forever - I will become strong and invigorated soon enough. And my family will help me.

flow of thought, in the short time before I meet my new baby

It's October 9th, one day before (in theory) I'm due to have my 2nd little boy.

  • I'm trying to enjoy this pregnancy, each movement, and stretch and punch because I don't suspect I'll ever be pregnant again. I really miss the freedom of my own body (and all the vices I have to cover up its faults), but I appreciate the strange sensations and the relative safety/ease of growing someone inside me.

  • I won't crave pregnancy again once it's done. Last night, I tried to roll over and sit up at the same time and feel like I pulled a muscle in my stomach. My poor husband - the look of terror when I yelped out in pain and couldn't vocalize that I was going to be okay in just a few moments.

  • I've never been a 'damsel-in-distress' kind of girl, nor have I ever demanded ridiculous things of my husband just because of the baby, so it's nice to lay on the couch this rainy Friday morning, sipping coffee....and take advantage of the fact that it's too dangerous for me to drive my son to school during this monsoon.