Happy Birthday, Baby E

The adage goes that one should sleep when his/her baby sleeps. After the ordeal that K and I went through to welcome our little guy into the world, I should definitely be following that advice. I can’t help myself, though. My schedule is completely topsy-turvy from all of the excitement.

K started magnesium sulfate, a smooth muscle relaxer to combat his surprise pre-eclampsia diagnosis, on Saturday evening. Fun side effects of this drug include major nausea, vomiting and hot flashes, and since it is such a major muscle relaxer, the protocol includes being confined to a hospital bed that’s been fully equipped with seizure pads, insertion of a Foley catheter, and the inability to eat anything beyond clear liquids. Needless to say, these factors meant that we were automatically in for a complete diversion from our preferred birth plans.

That same evening, they started K on three rounds of a cervical ripening medicine and began pitocin the next morning to stimulate contractions. The nursing staff closely monitored all of K’s vitals and he was hooked up to not short of NINE cords while nurses slowly increased pitocin throughout the day on Sunday.

K was a total champ, naturally managing pain through horrendous, chemically induced contractions, despite being almost completely stripped of the entirety of natural labor coping techniques. Our doula was shocked, stating that she had never worked with a birth parent using pitocin who didn’t also have to use pain meds.

Unfortunately, after all of this effort and a complete lack of sleep for days, K’s cervix wouldn’t budge beyond 4 cm and 80% effaced. Docs tried rupturing his amniotic sac but baby was far too high to safely accomplish this.

In the wee hours of Monday morning, the doc on call decided to turn K’s pitocin all the way down to the minimum dose overnight to try to further ripen his cervix, with the goal of increasing pitocin again later that morning. Our OB started her rotation after a few hours of K being back on the increased dosages of pitocin. She did a cervical check and discovered that there still hadn’t been any cervical progression. She explained that our options were becoming pretty limited and that she believed the magnesium, which was relaxing K to keep his blood pressure from skyrocketing, was working hard against the pitocin, which was trying to get his uterus to contract and progress labor. She gave us the option between continuing on pitocin for the day or delivering the baby via cesarean section.

Obviously a csection was never something we’d hoped for, but after battling uphill for so many days in succession, it felt like an empowering relief to make the decision to go that route. Within a matter of minutes, a flurry of medical professionals were in and out of our room, prepping us. I barely had enough time to call K’s mom to calmly explain what was going on and what we could all expect, before they whisked us back to the operating room.

I sat by K’s head, holding his hand, stroking his arm, and telling him how proud I was of all of his hard work, while a gigantic team of professionals presided over the birth of our son. I was given the option of watching while our doctor pulled our baby from K’s uterus. When he emerged, he sent a mighty stream of urine in an arc above the surgical team. It was quite the momentous debut.

Pediatricians and nurses quickly assessed our little guy’s health (he’s perfect, btw) while the surgical team continued working to deliver the placenta and then close up K’s incisions. They handed me our warm, cooing baby, whom I held by K’s head. We all stared at one another in complete awe.

I went with the little guy to recovery while we awaited the completion of K’s surgery, and he joined us there several minutes later. We were in recovery for two hours before being wheeled back to our labor & delivery room, where K will stay hooked up to the magnesium and related paraphernalia for the next 24 hours.

It has been an ordeal but it makes sense that our little guy fought his way into this world. He’s our kid, after all, and his parents are fighters. I present to you, dear readers, Baby E, born 4/8/2013 at 12:42 p.m., 8 lbs, 2 oz and 18.5″ long:

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I’m also happy to report that K is now slumbering peacefully for the first time in days. I know he’s dreaming about our little guy and finally being able to eat real food again tomorrow night.

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The Best Laid Plans

After hanging out in a hospital room for a very uneventful 24 hours in order to collect his pee, it has been determined that K has pre-eclampsia. Neither he nor the baby are in immediate danger, but doctors rightfully take this stuff pretty darn seriously and K is being induced.

We were transferred over to a less glamorous labor and delivery room, where even less glamorous things occurred to K’s body. He was given magnesium to try to relax his body, as well as meds to ripen his cervix. Early in the morning, he’ll begin pitocin. The magnesium gave him the world’s worst hot flashes and he projectile vomited. The nurse was eventually able to reduce his dose of magnesium and K now feels a lot better.

Since K was already somewhat dilated and effaced, the nurse thinks we will likely be hugging our sweet Falco sometime in the next 24 hours!

Since I won’t be able to personally reply to your well-wishes and words of encouragement, I want to say in advance just how much we appreciate them. I’ll be sure to post photos as soon as I’m able!

Hangin’ at Triage

We went to our 37 week OB visit and were about 15 minutes late due to a terrible highway shutdown. Before we arrived, K received a phone call from the office, saying that our doc was called to the hospital for an emergency situation and that we’d be seeing the other doc.

We started with a repeat ultrasound, since Falco was measuring so huge the last time. This time, Falco measured 8 lbs, 9 oz (95th percentile) with a ton of amniotic fluid.

K’s blood pressure measured pretty high and he had protein in his urine for the first time during this pregnancy. The doc was concerned about possible pre-eclampsia and wanted a repeat blood pressure after the exam and cervical check (still 3 cm, 80% effaced).

Bp was still high, and since it was the end of the day on a Friday and lab work wouldn’t come back in a timely manner, the doc sent us over to the hospital for triage and assessment.

So far, baby isn’t distressed, but K’s bp has been all over the map (including quite a few normal readings). The bloodwork came back normal but the protein in K’s urine was still pretty high, so conservatively, the doc is admitting K into an antepartum room for a 24 hour urine collection and analysis. If those results show that he meets the criteria for pre-e, they’re definitely going to induce labor.

Here we go…?

37 Weeks

I keep meaning to write a post but I feel like all I would be doing would be complaining about being 9 months pregnant.  I’ve felt pretty upbeat and positive most of this pregnancy, but these past two week has really knocked me on my ass.  I keep thinking that I have 24 days until the due date, and as you’ve probably read from C’s previous posts,the doc thinks Falco may be coming earlier.  Here’s a little update from the preggo.

Hard things:

I’ve been so sick these past weeks, probably sicker than I have been in years.  I think the most stressful part was the constant intense coughing which gave me days worth of braxton hicks contractions and kept making me barf and pee myself.  😦

I’m tired as hell.  Walking to my carpool at the end of my workday I feel so weary.  I walk soooo slowly. And I feel HUGE.  It’s seriously getting hard to get comfortable driving (sleeping, sitting, etc.)  Plus I wake up every 45 minutes to pee all night long.  Really….it is that often; I check the time!

I am feeling a ton of early, early labor symptoms this week (cramping, bad lower back pain, extreme pressure (it really feels like I am walking around trying to hold a bowling ball between my legs) lightening/baby dropping, crazy bowel movements, an increase in cervical mucus).  All this stuff is a bit overwhelming emotionally.  I’m trying to just make a note of what is happening, and not pay too much attention to anything or read too much into anything.  Easier said than done!

I have absolutely ZERO desire to wear clothes.  I’ve been sleeping naked and am hardly dressed when I’m around the house.  I no longer give a shit what I look like or wear to work.  Some of my man-ternity pants don’t even fit me anymore, and I don’t even care.  I just cycle through the same 3 or 4 outfits and think to myself, at least I’m still working.

Good things:

The nursery is done!  It’s so cute and cheery and makes me happy every time I pop my head in the room.

Our bags are packed, and virtually everything left on our to-do list is crossed off.  C and I both busted our butts this weekend.

I have finally finished my contingency plan for my leave after Falco is born–A detailed 5 page document outlining the status of all the projects I oversee, coverage plans, and alternate contact info, etc.  I have a draft of my work email away message ready to go!  This makes me feel so much better.  As much as I want to spend a ton of time home after the birth it’s going to be really stressful for me to be away from work.  I really love and enjoy what I do and it is going to drive me a little nuts to feel disconnected from the studies I manage and work on.

I’m 3 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced at about 37 weeks.  This means nothing EXCEPT it makes me feel like SOMETHING is happening.  My body is getting ready and sooner or later we will meet this little one.

 

Our Birth Plan

I originally password protected this post because there are family members who now have access to this blog and we were waiting until the birth of our child to announce his sex… which is male. Yes, readers – you now know that we’re having an amazing, deliciously imperfect little boy, whom we plan to encourage to express his gender however he wishes/decides. This post, which contains the finalized version of our birth plan, specifically mentions Falco’s sex.

Our Birth Hopes

Gestational Parent/Father-to-be: K
Non-Gestational Mother-to-be: C
Doula: Marie
Location: Our Hospital Birthing Suite

Hi there and thank you for your care and expertise during this exciting moment in our growing family! We’re K and C and this is our first baby. We appreciate you taking the time to learn about us and our birth preferences.

It is really important to us that you know that K, who is delivering our child, identifies as a man, uses male pronouns such as he/him, and will be our child’s father. We’d like you to also be aware that C is our baby’s mother. While we know that mistakes and confusion can occur, we hope that you will do your very best to refer to us using these terms.

Birth preferences:
We know that labor and delivery are unpredictable. Ultimately, we want the health of K and our baby to take precedence. Whenever possible in non-emergent situations, we’d like to discuss all procedures, including their risks and benefits, before they take place.

Labor:

  • We would like only necessary people in the room during labor and delivery. This includes C, our doula, a nurse, and our doctor.
  • K wishes to be able to move freely in order to naturally manage his pain. To this end, he would like a port to be inserted upon our admission, and for an IV to be used only if it is determined to be necessary. He would also like intermittent monitoring instead of constant monitoring techniques, when at all possible.
  • K wishes to be able to utilize natural comfort measures, including but not limited to the use of a shower or tub, changing positions, and the ability to walk to stimulate/progress labor.
  • We are aware of the availability of pain-relieving medication, and will request it if the father feels it is necessary. Please do not offer pain medication.

Delivery:

  • K would like to be able to push as he feels naturally compelled to do so (i.e. spontaneous/patient-directed pushing style). Please do not direct his pushing by counting.
  • We would like the ability to try different pushing positions, including but not limited to squatting, hands and knees, and toilet sitting. Please do not limit K to birthing our baby while he is on his back.

Cesarean Section:

  • We wish for both C and our doula to be present if a cesarean section is necessary.
  • So that we feel involved in the process, we would like for the doctor or nurse to describe what is taking place during the cesarean section.
  • While K is recovering from the cesarean section, our infant should remain with C, unless he is experiencing a medical emergency that requires immediate medical care.

Newborn care:

  • Cord cutting: We wish to allow our child to continue to be attached to the umbilical cord until it has stopped pulsing. At that time, C would like to cut the cord.
  • Temperature regulation: We wish for our child to be placed, skin-to-skin, with C or K, immediately after birth.
  • Eye treatment: We wish to forgo the antibiotic ointment in our child’s eyes.
  • Rooming in: We wish for our child to remain in our room at all times, unless he is experiencing a medical emergency that requires immediate medical care.
  • Circumcision: We do not want our child to be circumcised.
  • Feeding: We are unable to breastfeed our child and would like to use bottled formula.
  • Bathing: Due to a risk of severe maternal allergy, please do not bathe our infant with any product other than what we have provided.

The Long-Awaited Nursery Reveal

It’s official: the nursery is now mostly complete. I say “mostly” because we are still waiting on the crib skirt to arrive and, because we recently ordered it as a part of our massive Amazon nursery completion order, it likely won’t be here until after our Little arrives. K is trying to convince me that Falco won’t mind.

The nursery is yellow and grey with chevron details. We opted to paint the nursery a cheery but not juvenile looking yellow (Sherwin-Williams Harmony low-VOC Acrylic Latex paint in Lantern Light Eg-Shel). We did this for several reasons:

  • Grey paint is notoriously difficult, as it typically reads as either blue or mauve, depending on the undertones and light in the room.
  • We wanted the paint to be able to easily transition as Falco gets older.
  • We wanted the paint to read as neutral, since we’re renting and didn’t bother to ask our rental agency if we could paint the room (yep, we’re total rebels).

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Crib: babyletto Hudson 3 in 1 in grey, purchased via Zulily for a $60 reduced price. Woot!
Rug: Mohawk Yellow Ziggidy, again purchased via Zulily.
Baby quilt: Designed and constructed by an amazing friend.

mobile, crib and picture

Fitted crib skirt: Sewn by me using a free online pattern with Keepsake Calico Gray & Yellow fabric.
Mobile: Designed and constructed by me
, using various fat quarters, polyfill, ribbon and a yellow yarn-wrapped embroidery hoop. It was inspired by my favorite song I sang as a child (and can’t wait to sing to Falco), “You Are My Sunshine.”
Print: Purchased and framed by K’s Aunt K (the one who hosted our family shower), designed by Ellen Crimi-Trent. K’s Aunt saw that I had posted a similar print to Facebook with the intent of creating a craft that was inspired by it, tracked down the artist, and placed the order via her Etsy store.

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Shelves: IKEA EKBY TONY/EKBY BJÄRNUM (previously purchased, used at my former job and repurposed).
Piggy banks: The Sponge Bob one was gifted to us by my mother at our family shower. It belonged to my late grandmother, who used it for her Bingo winnings, which are also enclosed. The other one was hand painted by me during a holiday outing with my coworkers. One side says, “[Falco’s] 1st Car Fund.”
Sign: Designed and framed by a friend. It says, “E is for… [Falco’s intended name, masked for privacy/anonymity.]”
Bunny lovey: Gifted to us by K’s cousin at our family shower. It matches an adorable stroller blanket.

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Dresser: IKEA HEMNES 8-drawer dresser, purchased by K’s parents as a Christmas gift.
Changing pad cover: Aden + Anais 100% Cotton Muslin in Safari Friends Giraffe.
Afghan: Handcrafted by my mom and gifted to us at our family shower.
Garbage can turned diaper pail: iTouchless Deodorizer 13 Gallon Stainless Steel Automatic Touchless Trash Can with Carbon Filter. There’s also a yellow wetbag inside.

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Vintage diaper pin decor: Ballard Designs, gifted to us by my parents as a nod to our intention to cloth diaper.

new cat bed slash changing pad

Kis thinks this changing pad is a kitty bed. Can’t say I blame him.

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Floor lamp: Nickel-plated IKEA ALÄNG. We also purchased a matching table lamp for later use when Falco is in a big kid bed and has nightstand that we also purchased.

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Rocking chair and matching ottoman (previously shown): IKEA POÄNG, birch veneer with Lockarp gray cover, purchased for as a Christmas gift from my parents.
Bookshelf turned “diaper tower”: IKEA HEMNES in white. Shown is only a small portion of our cloth diaper stash, just enough for Falco’s smaller sizes.
Throw blanket: Frost chevron gray by THRO, purchased via Zulily.
Diaper bag: JJ Cole Mode in Mixed Leaf, purchased by a family friend.
Toy bin: Purchased by K’s mom and filled with an assortment of toys we purchased and acquired as gifts.
Philly LOVE ornament: Purchased for us by a dear friend.
Vintage rolling curtain: Came with our glamorous home rental.

elephants from Grandmas

Elephant plushies: Purchased, separately and independently, by each Grandma-to-be.
Baby book: Purchased by K at a local boutique.

prints

Prints: Designed by a dear friend (the same one who designed, “E is for…”).

What do you think? I’m pretty excited about it and can’t wait for our Little to join us!

Note: the following post, Our Birth Plan, is password protected as some of our future posts might be. We would love to continue sharing details with our treasured followers, so please request a password by emailing us at thefalcoproject (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!

Hot Date: Packing our Bags

We had our weekly OB appointment this afternoon and, despite my continued insistence that the end is coming soon, it took the frank delivery of information at today’s appointment to really shake K out of denial. The doctor confirmed that Falco has descended and informed us that K is 3 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced. Sources on the internet are unsurprisingly conflicted about the value of this information, saying that a pregnant person could be dilated and significantly effaced for weeks, or conversely, that this could indicate quickly impending labor. Our doctor seems to fall on the side of the latter, lecturing us because we still hadn’t packed our bags (“Hey, we made a list!”), and saying that it was highly unlikely that we will make it to our due date of April 26th and could even be unlikely that we’ll make it to next week’s scheduled appointment with her.

We’re feeling quite the range of emotions. K had a massive hot flash after we left the office and also felt pretty teary. I felt slight panic but also felt vindicated. I’ve been trying to convince K that, at the end of this week, Falco will be considered full term, and that labor and delivery could really occur at any time. Two things are certain: this baby will come when this baby is ready and, within the next few weeks, we’ll be parents.

Needless to say, our hot Friday night date consists of packing our bags (and, of course, updating this blog). Fingers crossed for an April Fool’s baby, y’all!

Allergy update

When I referenced a potential horrible allergy to an ingredient in baby formula, so many of you have reached out to me with support, great ideas, and lots of love. I can’t even begin to express how much that means to me.

I figure I owed you all an update after my self-inflicted patch test. I am thrilled to report that none of the formula patches reacted in a notable way. Similac and Enfamil Newborn left a minor and temporary red mark, but nothing that lasted or itched in the way that tocopherol typically causes. Similac Sensitive and Gerber Good Start had no effect whatsoever. Ironically, because I am also allergic to adhesives, the only itchy reaction of note was the round outline of the bandages covering the patches.

My allergist was hopeful that this would be the outcome of my patch test because levels of tocopherol in food products are so much lower than that in beauty products. I’m still planning on being cautious and limiting my exposure as best I can, but I’m not going to freak out about it or go hog-wild in my paranoia.

In other news, so that this blog doesn’t turn into C’s Allergy Tracker 5000, I had a really nutty nesting urge over the weekend that translated into me hauling ass, organizing a bunch of stuff, doing chores, and getting much closer to the completion of our nursery. (I truly think that this world would be a much happier place if it was biologically possible for the more Type A person in a relationship to be the non-gestational partner. It’s so wonderfully practical!) As of today, the two finishing touches yet to complete are the purchase of a crib skirt and the construction of my “You Are My Sunshine” inspired mobile. I can’t wait to post photos! I’ll be really happy to have everything ready for our little one, especially since our estimated due date is officially one month from today.

It’s getting real, y’all!

Being a new mom makes me feel old

Until now, I hadn’t considered my age (34) as particularly old or young. More neutral, I guess. Going through the process of preparing for our little one has made me feel so incredibly old. K and I are typically among the oldest parents-to-be at any baby-related class or event, and it baffles me. I can’t imagine having our kid any younger than our current age and I feel like this has been a well-planned and appropriately timed decision for us.

I just got another reminder about the rarity of our age as first-time parents-to-be when Everyday Family sent our weekly pregnancy update. This week’s email contained a poll about the age we are or will be at the birth of our first child. Woo! I’m squarely in the 9% category. Thanks for reminding me of my new mom-to-be unicorn status, Everyday Family.

old?

*shrug* I wouldn’t change a thing.