After Pitocin

At my 20-week ultrasound, we were notified about a slight complication with my pregnancy. The good news was the baby looked completely healthy and was growing just fine. The bad news was my pregnancy would require additional monitoring and a medical induction at 40 weeks if the baby didn’t come on her own. At my 35-week appointment, my doctor told me I was 60% effaced and half a centimeter dilated. I remember laughing and crying out “already?!” Weeks 36-38 didn’t show any change, and I began to accept an inevitable induction. At my 39-week appointment, I learned I was 70% effaced and between 1-2 centimeters dilated. Despite this minuscule progress, we scheduled my induction for Thursday, March 27 – my due date – with our arrival at the hospital scheduled for the night prior.

On Wednesday, March 26, I stayed home from work and finished packing the last of our things. Billy worked a half-day and met me at home to make the trip to the hospital. We stopped at McDonald’s where I got a chocolate milk shake and french fries. I wasn’t nervous, just impatient and anticipating a night of no sleep.

At 4:00 p.m. we arrived at St. Mary’s Hospital and buzzed the door at the entrance of Labor & Delivery. “I’m here for a scheduled induction,” I said into the speaker. We were buzzed in and met by a nurse named Sara. She showed us to LDR Room # 11 – our home until the baby arrived. I was asked a few questions about my family medical history and my preference regarding my IV. I opted to skip it that night, preferring to wait until the next morning to have it done. After a quick blood draw and insertion of Cervadil, we were free to relax in the room. Billy headed down to the cafeteria to grab us some dinner. We watched TV, read, browsed the Internet and called a few family and friends. My bed was incredibly uncomfortable, so sleep did not come easy.

At 4:00 a.m. the next morning, I was greeted by Kay, the next nurse. She brought me a breakfast of Cheerios, applesauce and orange juice (hey – most patients get nothing at this point, so I was overjoyed!) Afterwards, I was allowed to shower before getting hooked up to Pitocin at 6:30. I’d never had an IV before, and the nurse remarked that I have “beautiful veins!” before sticking me with a needle. Typically, I’m OK with this as long as I don’t watch, but this one hurt. Never in my life have I been hooked up to machines in a hospital, so the lack of freedom and feeling of being tethered to something was foreign and anxiety-inducing to me. Despite this, I’d opted to take the “wait and see” approach for pain medication, so I was permitted to move around as much as possible. The early hours from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. were boring. Only at 8:30 did I start having tiny contractions. Every hour they upped the dosage of Pitocin and tried to get my contractions to establish a pattern of one every 2-3 minutes. It was a slow, boring, and difficult process. The monitor that was measuring my contractions kept slipping and a nurse would have to come adjust it periodically. Meanwhile, I was moving around trying to keep gravity working in my favor. At 9:30 my doctor came to perform an exam to assess my progress. This was, by far, the worst physical exam I’ve ever endured. I actually cried out from the pain and had to restrain myself from crawling backwards on the bed away from her. Finally she said “You’re at 3 centimeters and 80% effaced,” which made me burst into tears. The tears came partly from the painful exam and partly from a feeling of frustration. That’s all?! I began to think to myself “She’s not coming today. I’m going to have to go through this all over again tonight.” Billy held my hand and tried to cheer me up. The doctor told me “getting to 5 centimeters is the hardest part. After that, it goes much faster. Just keep doing what you’re doing and I’ll be back to check you later.”

So the process continued: movement, trying new positions every 30 minutes and trying to relax. The contractions got a tiny bit stronger, but the pattern refused to remain stable. There was another nursing shift change, but mostly the staff left us in peace, coming in to check on me every 30 minutes and make sure we were comfortable and taken care of. Finally, around 4:00 I was happy to see Sara’s return. She was my favorite nurse. She had a good sense of humor, and she was calm and patient and encouraging in the best way. At 4:30 she returned to my room with the doctor, who checked me again. At 4 centimeters, I was making incredibly slow progress, but so far had only had minor intervention: Cervadil the night before and a slow, steady drip of Pitocin. It was important to me to maintain a low-intervention induction, but I was growing impatient and seriously questioning how long I could keep up with the lack of progress. My doctor suggested that we could break my water, which would speed things up and hopefully allow my body to take over naturally. They left the room for a couple of minutes so Billy and I could discuss it, but I’d already made up my mind. I wanted to do it. So at 5:00 that evening, they broke my water and I braced for things to pick up speed.

To be continued…

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With all that’s changing, the way I share information is changing too. I don’t know what the future holds for this space, and I don’t feel pressured to make any decisions right now. But today I wanted to take a moment and preserve my thoughts before this little girl comes screaming into the world.

My daughter is due in one week. It’s unfathomable to me that she will be here soon, that the world and my life as I have come to know it will change drastically overnight. Of course, it’s already changed in some ways, but I cannot possibly prepare for what lies ahead. I fully expect my heart to break wide open in a way I never saw coming. I feel like I’m standing on the edge of a cliff, like a tiny breeze could send me sailing over the edge, with no power to stop my fall or protect myself. I simply have to wait to land at the bottom and see what’s there. It’s exhilarating and terrifying.

The other night I was lying in bed watching TV with the cat, both dogs and my husband all sleeping. I stared at Billy, my heart rushing back to every single tiny moment we’ve ever shared over the course of 15 years, and I felt so grateful for him. We’ve been through hell and back together, but throughout my life, he has been consistently there for me, supportive and loving and acting as my cheerleader. During this pregnancy, he has been attentive and sweet, and he has sought out every bit of information he could get his hands on. He attended classes on childbirth, breastfeeding, choking and CPR with me, and thank God for him, because he remembers things I forget! He’s excited to become a Dad and I can already tell that he’ll be wrapped around her finger. Even when he drives me absolutely crazy (and believe me, he does!), I’m just so grateful that I get to go on this crazy ride with him.

Right now our lives together consist of tiny moments: making coffee for each other; debating the merits of omelettes versus pancakes for Sunday breakfast; playing with the dogs outside; arguing over who does things the right way, from unloading the dishwasher to folding towels; binge-watching Breaking Bad on the couch; sweet talking him into another trip to Dairy Queen for a banana split. In just over a week, it will be filled with dirty diapers, breastfeeding, and playing rock-paper-scissors over who has to wake up in the middle of the night next. Right now, Billy is my world and I lean on him for everything from humor to advice to a reality check. Next week, this little lady will be the center of both our worlds.

Everything is changing – our marriage, my friendships, our priorities. Weeks or months from now when things get hard, I want to remember this feeling of gratitude and love for everything we’ve been through together. This blog has a thick layer of dust on it, and I don’t know if or when I’ll be back. That’s why I sit here today, sharing one more story. This is the story of what was, what is and preparing for what’s to come.

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35 weeks five things

1. My birthday card from Billy: I walked in the house on Tuesday night to find quite the surprise – Billy baking me a chocolate cake! He poured me a half glass of wine (my doc says it’s fine to have one every once in a while) and gave me my birthday card. He always writes the best messages in cards, plus I’m a hormonal pregnant person, so that really brought on the waterworks.

2. My J’adore Influenster Vox Box: I completely forgot this was arriving, and it is the best one I’ve received yet: Boots Botanics Clay Mask, a family-sized bag of Hershey’s Kisses, Frizz Ease Flat Iron Spray, KISS Lashes, Red Rose Tea, and Vaseline for Men Spray Lotion. It has a great mix of items that make me feel pampered and indulged, which is very much appreciated at this stage of my pregnancy. Plus the item for Billy to try lets him see why I look forward to these boxes when I’m selected. (Disclaimer:  I received these products complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster.)

3. Fresh flowers: I took home tulips from my baby shower and placed them on my dresser, where they cheered me up every single day for about a week. Then, on my birthday, I arrived at work to find more tulips from my manager. Lesson: have fresh flowers around more often. Happiness ensues!

4. Checking things off our to-do list: The guest bathroom has been renovated and this weekend we’re wrapping up the storage closet overhaul. We got everything put away from the fantastic baby shower that my friends threw for me. I washed all of Baby Girl’s clothing, blankets and bedding. Her dresser arrived, and we’re wrapping up her room preparation. I anticipate one big trip to Target and Costco a couple of weeks before she’s born to purchase the remaining things, then we’ll be ready. Here we go!

5. Reconnecting with friends: Between my baby shower, my birthday, and dinner plans next week, I’ve reconnected with so many girlfriends over the last few weeks. I don’t get to spend time with all my girlfriends as much as I’d like (and I know it will only get harder!), but I’m reminded constantly that the ones who matter make the time to stay in touch. Now, more than ever, I need support from these ladies, and I know how lucky I am that they love me and my daughter.

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On maternity photos and the best kinds of friendship

February 3, 2014

Tweet Over the weekend, I had a maternity photo shoot. I debated doing them at all, but I figured it was time for Billy and I to have some pictures done since we hadn’t had any taken since our wedding in 2009. It was the best decision. Here are a couple of preview (read: not [...]

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31 Weeks & the Role of Fear

January 24, 2014

Tweet Let’s get real and talk about fear. Time is going by very fast. I’m 31 weeks along into this journey, and that means that I’m down to single digits on the countdown: 9 weeks left! (Insert panicked face here.) Things are going well, but my to do list is rather long, and I’m having [...]

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What was, what is & what is to come

January 1, 2014

Tweet My, how times have changed. Last night we had a few friends over for appetizers and board games. They sipped wine while I guzzled water, and we all got our fill of pizza, bruschetta, cheese and crackers and a few desserts. It was perfect. And what’s even better is that I didn’t even have [...]

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{Listed} Baby Stilly, 25 weeks!

December 14, 2013

Tweet Whenever people ask me how I’m feeling, I usually respond the same: “Pretty great. I can’t complain!” I find it annoying when women constantly whine throughout their pregnancy and never have anything positive to say. The truth is, pregnancy does not last forever. It is also not meant to be easy. You’re growing a [...]

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Four

November 14, 2013

Tweet Photo Credit: Kristel Poole This fourth year of marriage has been hard. Billy and I have been handed a difficult series of situations, and we’ve come out of it with a few bumps and bruises, that’s for sure. One thing that we’ve learned is this: the rest of the world can go to shit, [...]

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On raising a daughter

November 7, 2013

Tweet I’ve always wanted a daughter. Sure, baby girl clothes are adorable, and how fun is it to dress them in tutus and ballet flats?! But it goes deeper than that. I lost my mom when I just 8-years-old, so I never got to experience a deep mother-daughter relationship. Growing up, it was by far [...]

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Can Old Wives Tales Predict Our Baby’s Sex?

November 4, 2013

Tweet This Wednesday, Billy and l find out the sex of our baby. It’s quite possibly the most anticipated milestone of pregnancy, next to the first ultrasound. Needless to say, we’re really excited to go and find out whether we’re welcoming a little boy or a little girl into our family. Everyone asks me “what [...]

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