Friday, August 14, 2020

My advice? Have so many babies they just come out on their own

On Tuesday at 1pm, I had my first baby appointments for the week: my 38-weeks midwife visit and my first of 4 scheduled non-stress tests to make sure my decrepit old placenta could continue to support the baby.

The  midwife visit was uneventful, although I did find out that my total weight gain was 34 pounds. GAH.

The NST sounded great to me. I had a pretty OK thriller and an hour in a room by myself to read it, hooked up to a couple of monitors, listening to the baby's heart galloping away.

The nurse told me that I would likely be home in 20 minutes instead of the required hour, but then there was a late deceleration in the baby's heartbeat when I had a very mild contraction, so the midwife asked me to stay hooked up the whole time.

At the end of an hour, the nurse cam back in and read my final strip, leaving me hooked up while she took it to the midwife. She came back to tell me I was free to go and then glanced down at the tracing from when she had been out of the room.  "Oh no," she said and took the strip with her back down the hall.

She came back within minutes to tell me that one late dip could be a fluke, but 2 could be a pattern and I needed to go to triage and be monitored there for two hours.

It was 3pm, and I ran by the house emptied the dishwasher (WTF?) and grabbed Ben and my suitcase. He decided to take me to triage, come home and get dinner for the kids, and then come pick me up.
The triage nurse assured us that while the clinic was keeping people hooked up to make sure they didn't need L&D, L&D's goal was to watch for the shortest amount of time necessary to send me home.

Except, the baby had another small decel, and the midwife on call, in consultation with my OB, who happened to be the doc on call, recommended induction.

I was in my labor room by 5pm, and the baby's heart rate was all over the place, leading to c-section talk. So breakfast on Tuesday? My only meal of the day.

Step 1: COVID test

Step 2: Super scary 6-8pm session spent watching the baby's heart rate stay in the 180s-190s listening to the OB and the midwife talk c-section some more before finally getting an IV and a quick bag of fluids. This slowed the baby's heartbeat, and e could officially start (from total scratch) an induction.

Step 3: 9pm-9am: Cervadil and sleep, light on the sleep. Ben stayed home with the kids, on call if we needed him.

On Wednesday morning, I was 1cm dilated, but my cervix was still pointing off to the side like an "I'm with stupid" T-shirt. I got the ok for some peanut butter toast because the baby's heart looked fine, and we went ahead with a Foley bulb, which, like Cervadil, could be removed if baby's heart couldn't handle it. I also had the genius idea to TAKE A SHOWER since it finally dawned on me that there would be no baby soon.

The Foley was fine-- I napped while it was in there and then woke up to use the bathroom and found that it had fallen out, leaving me with an anterior, mostly effaced, 3cm cervix.

Next up:  the dread Pitocin

I passed the time writing in the baby book

Pacing my room
And feeling fresh faced after my shower.

I had a little bit of Pitocin, and I walked laps around my room for HOURS reading books, since I couldn't go outside. 

 In the early evening on Wednesday, the baby was again tachychardic for a long time. Eventually, another midwife called in another OB to consult about a c-section, and they pushed another huge bag of fluids and turned off the Pitocin.

I called Ben, who was in and out and tried to be home with the kids as much as possible especially at night. He drank a shit ton of coffee and jumped in the car, thinking we were going to the OR.

By the time he got to the hospital, the baby had calmed down again, and the OB said she would recommend we keep going with Pitocin. At this point, I was like listen if she can't handle Pitocin, then I'm just going to end up in the OR anyway, so let's do that now as opposed to when I am even more exhausted.

They were both like get it together, lady, so Ben went home, and I went back on Pitocin.

I was up all night hypnobirth breathing my way through increasingly awful contractions as my nurses stepped up the meds every 30 minutes. I paced the room. I ate popsicles and drank Sprite. I did NOT sleep.  AT ALL. ALL NIGHT  LONG.

At 6 am, I asked the midwife to check me. 4 effing centimeters ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I told her I thought I wanted an epidural. She suggested I get in the tub..

I spent 2 hours in the tub and waited just a bit too long getting out, distracted by the shift change, meeting my new nurse, etc.

My contractions were scary bad when I got out of the tub. Like, panic bad. 

The new midwife was the same person I saw in the clinic two days before, and the minute I saw her, I said "I either need a baby or an epidural RIGHT NOW."

She checked me and was like, oh great you're 5 cm, and I screamed EPIDURAL. Amazingly, the anesthesiologist was there within 10 minutes. This was honestly the worst part-- having contractions-- scary bad ones-- while he did his thing and I held perfectly still.

By 9:15 am, I was numb and pain-free, texting friends, and waiting on Ben.

He arrived in time to help the nurse turn me over, and we all chatted happily for awhile.

Here I am full of fluid but so darn happy.

At 11:05 am, Ben took this picture of my bra on my IV pole (getting out of the tub problems, obvi)

Our lovely nurse went to get some lunch, and shortly after she left the room, I became really uncomfortable on my right side. Ben called another nurse to help me roll over, and this new nurse asked me if I had a special kind of epidural because I was moving my legs. That made me notice that I could all of the sudden FEEL my legs and also a ton of vaginal pressure. 

I was so annoyed to have had such a brief respite from discomfort, so I asked the nurse to ask the midwife if my epidural had fallen out or something and to check on my catheter because something was wet.

The midwife came in and told me I probably felt tingles because the baby was moving lower, and she said she'd check my cervix but she thought it was probably almost time to push.

Ben figured we were gearing up  for the last leg of the marathon, so he said he was going to run to the bathroom.

"Better use the one in here," the midwife said, glancing between my legs. "Otherwise, you'll miss the baby."

Ben and I exchanged incredulous glances. In our experience, pushing took a hot second.


I had been really worried about pushing with an epidural and hurting my 42-year-old pelvic floor, so when the midwife told me the news, I laughed.

"Laugh again," she said, "And you are going to have a baby." So I did.


Minnie Marigold

11:59 am 


6 pounds, 13 ounces

19.5 inches long


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Nesting, so much nesting

 Digital nesting:

Summer class: graded

Adjunct online classes: synchronous sessions planned and PPTs done, grading up to date

Fall classes: PREPPED all content built, ready to roll, students emailed. TAs staffed, etc

TA training: Done-zo. Just waiting to have live sessions via Teams

Nest-related nesting:

Dorothy's room, Cooper's room, baby's room: moved and ready

Living room and kitchen: painted, cleaned out, and reorganized

Storage room: totally purged after 9 years of hoarding shit; Ben;'s office is in there now

Baby gear: bought and assembled

Hospital bag: packed

Baby clothes: washed and stored by size

Wardrobe nesting:

Maternity clothes: packed up to return to friend, except for the shirts I am still wearing

Postpartum capsule: bought (4 swing or peplum t-shirts, a ton of nursing bras, nursing nightgowns, 2 nursing tanks, 3 pairs of stretchy pants in various sizes, one button down waffle knit thermal, one ridiculous kimono)

Postpartum capsule: curated (2 pairs of shorts that have fit all pregnancy, all of my nursing-friendly dresses, all of my stretchy skirts, a couple pairs of jeggings, 2 optimistic pairs of fat jeans, 3 pairs of leggings, some button-downs, several open cardigans)

Miscellaneous nesting:

Garbage cans: bleached

Pantry: organized

Bedding: Washed and fresh with backup sheets and blankets for everyone so changing sheets is easy. I EVEN WASHED DUVET COVERS.

There is nothing left to prep, you guys.  Unless, did I miss anything?!?

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

The office that wasn't, really

A couple of weeks ago, right after the kids' school said it would be virtual for at least the first quarter of the school year, Ben and I decided we needed a dedicated office space.

Most of our basement is finished, but we have a large storage room that was filled to the brim with bullshit. And also a fridge, a printer, kitchen appliances too big for upstairs, and my beloved elliptical machine which I have used almost every day of Cooper's entire life.

We decided to make an office in there-- like a real one with drywall and lights and maybe even a cozy little place to watch TV. (Because we only have 4 TVs in the basement; clearly we could use another).

Step 1 was the great garbage clean out. Ben set himself a goal of TODAY to have the space taped off and cleared out because today is large-item trash pick up. Between then and TODAY, we donated SO MANY van loads of stuff to our local St. Vincent DePaul thrift store. SO MANY, you guys. We also put a lot of miscellany on the curb on Monday, and most of it has been salvaged, which is awesome. The true recyclables and trash go out today, and we are down to JUST storing the things we use like fancy dishes and luggage and Christmas decorations, a blow up movie screen and a bounce house LOLOLOL. (But seriously). We maybe could have used a dumpster, but I guess that will be a special treat for SOMEDAY.

But!! Even though we taped off storage and also an 11X12 room and places we wanted outlets and light fixtures, we could not give the go-ahead on the reno project. It was when there were actual OTHER PEOPLE in our house that we started to get cold feet and when it came time to schedule the work that we chickened out.

We do not go inside stores.

We are all sporting home haircuts. (Except me: Duggar hair all the way).

A baby is coming ANY DAY.

So then we thought about what we need from another work space.

1. Lots of light because this part of the basement has no windows.
2. Room for my elliptical machine.
3. A place to set up the printer and scanner (WE ALSO HAVE A FAX, so don't worry we are still cutting edge).
4. Room for a comfy desk chair because the thought of months and months in a kitchen chair is silly especially when we have SPENT months and months on kitchen chairs.
5. A place to shut the damn door and take a Zoom call without BEDROOM FREAKING FURNITURE in the the frame. (Seriously, you guys. pen floor plans were not meant for the pandemic. It is SO HARD to take a call anywhere in this house because both floors are COMPLETELY OPEN CONCEPT. I predict a new architectural trend: lots of small rooms with DOORS).
6. Seating for a worker and maybe a kid or two of they also want to work somewhere quiet that's not their bedroom, the kitchen table, the kitchen counter, or the games table.

Reader, we could make that happen in a matter of HOURS. Seriously, since the clean out was done, the thing that took the longest was waiting for our Target curbside order of power strips, lamps, and a chair.
Ben used that time to also paint a wall for Zooms.

Bam! The fauxffice:

(I WANT to say that my favorite thing is the drop light, but it's hard to pick just one.)

My real favorite thing: the view from the desk. DREAMY.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

37 Weeeeeeeeeeeeeks! Let's have a darn baby!

37 weeks and 2 days, ACTUALLY.  If you are COUNTING.  WHICH I FREAKING AM.


Also, shout out to FALL WEATHER yesterday so I could wear my favorite onesie.

Speaking of fall weather:
Pool to ourselves!!!


Monday, August 03, 2020


In anticipation of virtual learning, we finally got a new router! And now! You can use the internet in every room of the house again!

We upgraded our service a couple of months ago, and we definitely saw a boost, but our old router was just limping along. Then we fell down a rabbit hole of which new router to get, and then school was out and we almost never all needed to be online at the same time, etc. 

But then my internet was so bad during a family Zoom the other day that I was just all frozen and pixilated while everyone acted out the dial up modem noise and made fax jokes, and also when we cleaned out the storage room in anticipation of making an actual office in there, we found the box from our current router. FROM 2003.

So, one Target pickup later, IT IS THE MID- TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY in our house. Although I hate the description on the box of being blanketed in wifi (YIKES), I do like the fast speeds. I have shaved MINUTES off my mindless scrolling.

Bring it, virtual learning!

Speaking of, this is my favorite meme of the pandemic SO FAR.

Read this! Out loud to your kids-- SO GREAT. It has definitely held up well.

OMG she was so scared of the dog in the mirror.

Do this with me on Instagram!

The baby had hiccups, and this was the sweetest!!
Pool to ourselves! She has lost another tooth since this picture, BTW

Saturday, August 01, 2020

July: What I Read

13. Behind Every Lie by Christina McDonald: This is a perfectly nice thriller, and I read it one single pool visit. It's just not remarkable.

12. The Last Resort by Marissa Stapely: Exact same review as above.

11. Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me by Adreinne Brodeur: Meh. I wanted to like this, but it is always so hard for me to feel sorry for someone with so many advantages.

10. These Women by Ivy Pochoda: Dude. This is a Good Book, but there were others on the list that I enjoyed reading more.

9. A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight: Not her best, but still a pretty good page-turning thriller.

8. Beach Read by Emily Henry: I heard GREAT things about this, but it was not my favorite.

7. I Was Told it Would Get Easier by Abbi Waxman: Such a fun, breezy read. She's great.

6. Sea Wife by Amity Gaige: THIS IS SO GOOD-- total page-turner and the kind of unlikable people I actually like.

5. We Wish You Luck by Caroline Zancan: LOVED this book about a low-residency creative writing MFA.

4. All Adults Here by Emma Straub: I am a Straub fan, and this one did not disappoint.

3. A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler: THIS IS WONDERFUL and so, so, so sad.

2. Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano: YES YES YES. This is devastating.

1. Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld: So, I preordered this and got it the day it came out and then just stared at it for over  a month. I was worried that it could not possibly be good. BUT IT IS WONDERFUL. Read it. The end. (And read American Wife if you haven't already).

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Elderly Pregnancy Update: Extra Monitoring

When the midwives talked about the extra monitoring I would need at the end of my pregnancy, it sounded very far away. But now, I have N I N E appointments on my calendar between August 5 and August 21. THAT'S AN APPOINTMENT LIKE EVERY OTHER DAY. 

In weeks 38 and 39, I have four appointments a week: 2 NSTs, 1 midwife visit, and 1 ultrasound.

You guys. That's a lot.

I really, really, really hope the baby comes on her own before her due date. If I were seeing an OB, I would likely be induced at 38 weeks. The midwife group will do an induction on my due date assuming all is good during those 2 extra weeks.

I re-read my Hypnobirthing book, and there's this awesome chapter about letting go of all of the pre-birth anxiety and realizing that not all of it comes from the anxiety of childbirth. But for me this time, I think that is EXACTLY where my anxiety is coming from. I really want a gentle, natural birth, but because I am so old, this just might not be the way my birth process unfolds this time, and it's hard to come to grips with this reality.

It has been ridiculously hot here, but then we had an awesome night of rain (see Dorothy dancing in it), and now it is 80 and sunny and peeeeeerfect.

My neighbor is an amazing photographer, and she offered to take some maternity shots.  Yes, PLEASE!
I am running out of clothes that fit me. The kids recently commented that I am always showing a little bit of my stomach, and it's generally true. Nevertheless, I got dressed before 8 am for a midwife appointment:
Even Beatrix is like day-um lady.

The baby is pressing on my organs, and eating hurts (reflux! now I know why babies cry!) But I STILL managed to gain 3 more pounds (for a total of 32!!!). So, yay me?

I really will miss being pregnant, the discomfort of the third trimester and all. We are in the home stretch!!