Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Baby Dragon

Hello everyone. Last I wrote I was, for the first time in a total of 8 pregnancies 6.5 months along. Now, as I write this time, I have my baby in my lap at ~7 weeks old. 

I gave birth to a beautiful, happy, healthy baby GIRL. In all honesty, we did cave and "peeked" at what baby was in a very late ultrasound around 7 months along at the beginning of May - but we kept it secret, haha. I had such a late follow-up ultrasound after the typical one at 5 months, due to a low-lying placenta. We wanted to see if it was pulled up with the further expansion of the uterine muscles. Why? Well, if the placenta had remained "low" - which means down by my cervix - I would have been subjected to a Cesarean birth to avoid the major risk of hemorrhage that would have been caused by the placenta separating from the uterine wall as my cervix thinned and opened (dilated). Thankfully, baby's head was lower than the placenta which confirmed that the placenta indeed was pulled up and no longer low and a major risk. Which also meant I was free to birth vaginally. 

I debated between (and compared) two birthing classes: Hypnobirthing and Birthing From Within. In the end, Birthing From Within won out - and matched our schedules better. Before we knew it, the class began and then ended. I look forward to our post-partum gathering.

How'd the birth go? In short, here's my birth story:

Just shy of my baby's "due" date, at my weekly follow-up visit, my blood pressure spiked - and with how very, very swollen I was those days, I ended up having pre-eclampsia. To avoid eclampsia, my doctor sent me in to be induced. She wanted me to start with pictocin, but in speaking with her she agreed to let me start with a "ripening" agent called Cervidil. I was 85% effaced (thinned), and ~1.5 cm dilated. Was I happy about being induced? No. Do I have any regrets about how my birth went in the end? Nope. I'd do it all over again. I'm glad that I was able to avoid eclampsia and the accompanying emergency Cesarean birth that would have followed.

In the end, the nurses I had at St. Mark's and my OB were all wonderful. My neighbor was equally wonderful in coming over to assist my husband in giving me a blessing - because I was stressed and nervous... etc - so many emotions! Then, my dear friend a physical therapist came that night and gave me a long full body message. I am eternally grateful for her. I entered laborland shortly thereafter (~2 hours later) stress and tense free. After 8 hours, they pulled the cervidil (took the medicine away), because my body took off and labor was full on. I was 100% effaced and 3-4 cm; they thought it would take 12 hours and then would start pictocin (artificial oxytocin) to get contractions going. The entire time I and baby were monitored. They did let me off the monitors to use the jetted tub for coping technique for ~1 hour or so. In the next 4 hours after the medicine was pulled, I went from 3/4 to 9-10 cm (which is fully open/dilated). At the 12 hour mark, my OB came in. She was happy for me, and was a great support. She did break my water - as it had not yet broken, even though I was already starting to push. I was ready, it was time, and I knew it. It was interesting the change from laboring to open, to birthing (pushing) - I had a renewed sense of energy - which was a good thing. It took 1.5 hours to birth my baby. She came presented vertex (facing sideways). In the end, she kicked me and it helped propel her out. It was intriguing feeling her body being born - after her head had been born. Hubby cut the cord, helped the nurse wipe her off, held her and then laid her on me - skin to skin. She was wide awake, looking at me, and sucked her thumb - all while my OB stitched me up from a tier 2 tear.

No, I didn't stare at the clock a lot - maybe in the beginning, although after awhile the clock didn't make sense since labor has it's own clock. I know about how long everything took since my hubby took note of when the induction began and when baby was born - he slept most of the night - although he did do what he could to support me every now and then during the night (which thankfully ended up being short - though at the time, I didn't even notice in the shift from night to day except for the change in nurses).

All in all, labor and birth lasted a total of 13.5 hours - thank heavens! It was short, quick, intense and incredible! I did not take any pain meds until after birth - I birthed my baby with absolute minimal intervention. I praise God for it all.

Yes, she's a redhead just like me & her daddy's beard. : ) She was little - at 6 lbs 10.6 oz, 18.5 inches long. She had a lovely round head, lovely hair, and dark eyes (now that her eyes are no longer glassy, it would seem they are mix of my & hubby's eyes - I call them Brown Hazel). She's an absolute doll - and still is. I love her smiles. We call her our Baby Dragon. 

The fist picture is her brand new (within her 1st week). The second is her at ~6 weeks old.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Good Riddance 2011... Hello 2012

2011 was tough. A lot of good happened. It was also hell. Glad it's been over for some time. Our new year didn't really begin until Chinese New Year 2012.

Beginning 2011 Princess Frog left us....
Spring 2011 I taught a class. My sister graduated from college and moved in. She also ended up getting a kitten. I also went to an RE and did a bunch more testing that was expensive.... it showed nothing abnormal or wrong as usual.... I was done.
Summer 2011 I ended up picking up a class halfway through... and just before that ended up on Jury Duty (I was sick the entire time which really sucked).
Late Summer 2011 I volunteered at the County Fair and we entered some photos.
Fall 2011 I took the leap to teach the max allowable allotment of classes: 3. I had ~80 students total.... I was also going to work at the State Fair.... but....

Labor Day weekend we got our second placement... a newborn baby girl - who we called Duckie. I guess that is what having the hubby take a turn with testing will do. Haha. I was done - there was no more testing I could do. I worked at the State Fair for 1 day and then got a baby. My boss was awesome about it. The fall semester had been underway so I had a new baby and 3 classes with 80 students.... yep, nuts.

Duckie stayed with us for only 5 weeks. I got to meet her biological grandparents. She went to the family that adopted her siblings a few years previous - they had to get their license renewed.... Her caseworker was awesome. It was much smoother going than Princess Frog's case. What did make it hard was having her move not long after my best friend miscarried.... I bawled a lot in a short amount of time.

I ended up off track with keeping up on grading student's assignments... but by darn I survived... despite the affects of slight CO poisoning.... that's right soon as we turned on our furnace it was leaking a bit from it's inner depths... We could smell a small amount of gas, so we opened the smallest basement window.... we called our neighbor that does HVAC... they affirmed the furnace was leaking. Great. It was old... and the part that was leaking... well was the entirety of the inside of the furnace... the new furnaces are made so the inside has separate pieces that can be replaced. So off the furnace was turned... it was cold. They were nice and lent us 2 heavy duty space heaters that got us through until they could get our furnace installed. Good thing I had my job. Around exact same time that our furnace was installed and paid for... we sold our little blue giant (geo metro). That happened a lot faster than anticipated... we had already agreed to sell the little giant so we could buy my sister's car. My sister that lived with us, decided to serve a religious mission. Good thing I did pick up so many classes - we were able to replace our furnace and a car because of it. No debt incurred and no long-term ding to our savings. (We also agreed to take care of her kitten turned cat until she returns next summer.)

In the middle of all of that fun.... After hubby did his test and 5-6 months worth of tracking certain pieces of my cycle and knowing exactly when those pieces of my cycle occurred, we decided to "go for it".... Was I scared? I was beside myself... but my body wanted a baby right now... so scared... so beyond scared... At hubby's follow-up visit a couple weeks later the test was positive, faint and slow-coming but positive. I tested that morning too - same thing. I was immediately put on a natural form of progesterone to help sustain the pregnancy (no guarantee, but hope). Next morning same. I got 3 (faint) positive pregnancy tests! I did a blood test right after the appointment and had to wait.... no call came all day next day.... so I finally called the after-hours doctor and a nurse called me next day.... HCG was 208! RE was hoping for an absolute minimum of 5-10 (or something like that). Wow! Did another blood test 4 days later... 24 hours... result: HCG 1315! Holy whoa! RE was hoping for the 208 to double to 416... it went up just over 6 times what we were hoping.... It was confirmed: I was at that point (as the doctor's count it) 1 month along.

I was also deep into the fall semester... I had ~1 month left. By semester's end I was around to just over 2 months along - barely. No one knew (except me, hubby, and all my dr's). I had 3 ultrasounds, 1 visit to my PCP, and 1 typical prenatal checkup at the end of the year... then they made me wait an entire month for my next prenatal visit! It was nerve-wracking!

Oh, and what made the end of 2011 hell: with ~1.5-2 weeks of the semester left we got a call from a source outside DCFS to tell us Princess Frog was back into Foster Care.... and we needed to get her back because her bio mom's rights were gone (relinquished or terminated - can't remember which).... of course it had to come during the weekend... urg! We immediately left messages for our RFC, and appropriate personnel, including the Ombudsmen.... Long story short: 2 weeks to contact the team as to why and what happened we got an answer of: "you're not involved, so we can't tell you anything." They broke a law by never informing us... yet no one was punished.... a committee was setup to review the case... it took a month... we presented to the committee. They couldn't decide. The whole situation was escalated to the Region Head of DCFS... we meet with higher ups... about a lot of concerns. Due to damn bureaucratic slowness... and holidays it took another month for a final decision.... At this point we learn that Princess Frog has been with her 3rd foster family for ~2+ months and that her bio mom is now deceased. She is more than fully up for adoption - in theory we should be the ones to be able to adopt her without question.... but... it was too late. The system was too slow. We lost her forever. Literally. Our first adoption loss.... we were devastated. We didn't even decorate for Christmas (which has never ever happened... ever). We did spend time with family, do presents and stuff... but it was very painful.... very very few people knew.... and know.

Somehow God's grace let my pregnancy hold through all this. Our new year of 2012 began with the Chinese New Year. It is the Year of the Water Dragon. We are going to have a baby dragon. : ) Thus our theme is Dragons. I have made it to ~6.5 months along! We are very excited. We told our family and friends when I made it to the 4 month mark (plus by then I really couldn't hide the pregnancy anymore). My best friend was told 1-2 months ahead of family and friends - I needed her support since she could relate to what I was going through. People were insensitive at Christmas and questioned me on my weight... I had already begun to gain a pouch at 2 months... I wasn't surprised... but was hoping not to pop until later.... No, we are not finding out what we are having. It's a surprise. : ) It was something to watch the baby go from a tiny blob, to a little bigger blob... to holy wow! That really is a baby in there! Hello, 2012 - we are looking forward to a new beginning. A new life. A permanent addition to our family.