And Like That… Two Weeks Are Gone

Ahhh! I meant to write before this. To make sure the memories and thoughts got out there in the interwebs. But here we are. Two weeks ago I was laying in a hospital bed, bored and excited and waiting for my water to break. Tonight little dude is laying next to me on the couch with his hands up in super man pose (one of his favorites). I thought babies liked to be scrunched up. Not this one. He likes being streeeetched out.

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So, because I can’t remember everything from the past two weeks I am going to try to get snippets of thoughts, good times, bad times, and all that. Here we go!

The hospital was hard. Everyone was perfectly lovely but I was never so ready to leave any place ever. We were interrupted every 2 hours by a nurse or doctor coming to poke and prod at Henry or me. Sleeping was difficult for that reason, plus getting used to Henry. We did send him to the nursery over night while we were there to try and get some sleep. I don’t feel guilty about that and hope that everyone would take advantage of that service. Being away from friends and family during this time was hard. Most people are flooded by visitors. We only had visitors once (and it was amazing and I was starved for conversation with people and they brought pizza and GIANT AMAZING cupcakes). That was hard in a different way. We longed for distractions from time and feedings and being tired. Needless to say, when Wednesday rolled around we rejoiced in it being time to go home.

Home was amazing. We were in our own space getting to know Henry. We got to be the three of us for a day before my mom arrived. Having her here was both helpful and challenging. She cooked and watched Henry so we could rest and shower, but it was difficult navigating being a family of three when a fourth person was around. And that isn’t just about my mom, it would be about anyone. In the end, though, I am so thankful she could be with us for a week and get to know Henry. I know it is hard on her to be far away from him. We look forward to this next week of us time before welcoming Allen’s mom on Friday.

High points!

  • Henry’s fake smiles are amazing. They make my heart swoon. SWOON. I tell you. I don’t use that word lightly.
  • Allen giggling and laughing, sometimes hysterically, at Henry’s startles and sounds. I adore the way he handles Henry. I could watch the two of them interact for hours.
  • Watching Henry grow and change already. He’s already not the same baby we brought home.
  • I am thankful that Henry is a pretty quiet and chill baby, for the most part (to be addressed in the next section a little more…).
  • Henry sleeps well in the cradle!
  • Baby hiccups (I used to feel those inside me!).
  • Dog walks with baby and husband.
  • Healing fast and well.
  • Breastfeeding going amazingly well. I feel very lucky. Henry and I took to breastfeeding ridiculously easily. This is not to say I haven’t had a sore nipple or that I haven’t woken up in a puddle (PUDDLE!) of milk despite having pads on, but Henry knows what his job is and he does it well.
  • THIS FACE:Image
  • Baby snuggles. Lots and lots of baby snuggles. Even when they happen at 1am and 3am and 5am and all hours in between.
  • Being a mom is awesome.
  • Friends and family who keep telling me everything is going to be okay. Who let me vent. Who say they did and thought the same things. Who understand. Who listen. Who are there via text and phone and e-mail and facebook and in person. I would lose my mind without you. I really really would.
  • Quite alert time. When Henry is awake and interacting (sort of… in his unfocused not really knowing what is going on kind of way). Like this:Image

And the low points!

  • Being a mom is exhausting and stressful and worrisome and full of feels. Some good some not good.
  • I have never been so tired.
  • I cry because I am so tired and can’t handle small missteps.
  • Allen and I accidentally baked Henry. We both wanted to die. It was a 60 a degree day and we drove to Olathe to pick up a pack n’ play and go to Sam’s club. We left the fluffy soft car seat inset in and had him in a hat and socks but a short sleeved onsie. When I pulled him out at Sam’s Club to change and feed him the little guy was SOAKED. Front to back. I felt like child protective services was going to sweep in and take him away from us. I am not sure i have ever felt more guilty and upset with myself about anything else before. We survived. Henry survived. Especially after he went naked and we took out the inset.
  • I am now uber paranoid about Henry’s temperature. Turns out he is actually a warm baby. He sweats easily (even before the baking incident). I keep trying to cover him up because… babies like to be in blankets! That is what I have been taught! But, he just needs to be naked with one thin blanket and he is good to go. I have to keep remembering that.
  • Not sleeping. Getting up every 2-3 hours for 30-40 minute periods. I keep thinking I must be taking way too long to feed him. But he eats for 15 minutes at a time, needs to be burped, he needs his diaper changed, and then he needs to be reclothed and swaddled. And many times he pees on himself so that the pajamas he was wearing need to be changed.
  • The first three nights when he did not want to sleep in his cradle (who would after sleeping in arms and on chests and in snuggly swings?!?!) and I thought I really would never sleep again, even for 20 minutes.
  • The night he peed through two pairs of pajamas and 3 diapers before any of those items had been fully secured to his body.
  • Last night when he exploding pooped all over me, the changing table, and the floor (small victory – I did not cry! And this was at 2am!). I took it all in stride, cleaned him up, and got him fed. I did have to dive into (for the first time) the notes that I was given from a baby shower to read when I was in need at moments just like that. The first note was from Allen’s cousin Alyssa and it was perfect and helpful and we are not alone even in the middle of the night.
  • Henry is a little gassy but it gets backed up so he gets uncomfortable and sometimes he just cries and cries after being fed because we can’t get it out. We are trying a bunch of different holds and learning how to help him effectively. Combo of gas drops and the colic hold (reverse football hold) seem to be helping.
  • Feeling like you do not know a single thing and you have to know things to take care of a tiny human being. Most of the time it feels awesome taking care of and holding him, but sometimes I feel helpless and incompetent and I cry. And Allen is there to make me feel better and take Henry out of my arms and make me feel like I can do another day.
  • Being away from work and people. I already miss daily interactions and using my brain to solve problems like I do at work. I always knew I would want to go back, so this is not really a surprise to me. However, I am very thankful for this time with Henry and it will break my heart the day we have to part and he has to go to daycare. Can’t I bring him with me to work? That would really be the ideal solution.

There is so so so much more… but I don’t have the memory or the time or the energy to get it out. We are all happy and healthy and that is what matters at the end of the day. Allen goes back to the office tomorrow and it is Henry and I on our own (for at least a half day). I am excited and nervous to be on our own.

And… pictures!

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Grandma Sam!

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Sunbathing!

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Family picture!

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Baby’s first Casbah outing! Everyone needs burgers and fries. And beer.

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Put your hands up!

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Arrival

No surprise to readers, but Henry Owen Eastlund has arrived! He joined us at 1:28am on February 10th coming in at 7 pounds 9 ounces and 19 inches long, two and a half weeks early. On Friday the 7th I woke up at 2:00 in the morning, uncomfortable (of course), went to the bathroom and saw that I had bloody show (still the worst possible name for anything that ever existed in the world). My heart dropped with excitement and fear. Bloody show is a sign of impending labor with most mom’s reporting labor beginning 24-48 hours after. Holy. Crap. Henry was getting close. Before I continue, can I just remind everyone that a few blog posts ago I mentioned that Henry would not make it to his due date. Lucky? Maybe. But maybe somewhere deep down my body really really knew. Allen was sleeping in the guest room that night because I was again not sleeping well and feeling guilty about keeping him up. I went in around 4:00am, after having read maybe everything the internet contains about bloody show, to tell him the news. Which was essentially… nothing is happening, but something COULD be happening soon! In retrospect, probably not a good reason to interrupt someone’s sleep. Oh, well. 

So we spent Saturday doing last minute baby prep things. All the things I thought I was ready for suddenly became abundantly clear were not ready. The car seat base wasn’t installed, the baby mirror for the car wasn’t installed, we hadn’t packed hospital bags, suddenly nothing felt clean in the house (and truly, the house was a bit of a disaster), got more dog food, etc. 

I was uncomfortable all day, but no contractions. Then in the evening a real contraction hit me. It was not comfortable, but it wasn’t painful like I had imagined it would be leading me to be uncertain about whether or not it was real. I can only confirm it was real in retrospect. I was supposed to cook that night but totally copped out and we joined some friends for dinner at a restaurant, followed by games at their house. By the end of the night I could no longer sit in my chair I was so uncomfortable. So I spent the better part of games kneeling in my chair or standing. 

We got home and to bed around midnight. I got up very soon after and moved to the guest room because I was tossing and turning. Around 12:30am on Sunday I was certain I was having contractions and began timing them. Every 10 minutes I would get them for anywhere between 30-50 seconds. I stopped timing them around 2:30am and tried to get some sleep. It didn’t work, but it was a little restful. I started timing them again around 4:30am and eventually got Allen up around 6:30am. “Something is happening. But we can’t go to the hospital yet. Contractions are every 8-9 minutes a part.” Allen got up pretty quickly. I showered, we brought down the hospital bags, and I began texting all my parent friends to ask questions about labor. We tried to watch some TV but I soon needed to get up and walk around every time a contraction hit. For me, the contractions started in my lower back and wrapped around low in my belly. It felt warm and tight and they got to a point where I needed to practice some slow deep breathing. I called the hospital around 10:30am (10 hours in to labor…ugh) and let them know that my contractions were 5 and a half to 6 and a half minutes a part, and never reached a full minute. (They tell you to come when they are 5 minutes a part and a minute in duration.) I was instructed it would probably be a good idea to come in anyway. 

All through this I kept doubting whether or not this was real labor. I was terrified we were going to drive the 40 minutes to Overland Park and they would send us home. In some pretty bad weather. It was snowing and icy, the roads were not good. Almost the instant we got in the car it seemed like my contractions went away. I kept apologizing to Allen for wasting time. They were going to send us home. I was going to be that lady. The instant I stood up out of the car I had to grab the door and stand there for a minute. It was like all the  contractions over the last 40 minutes were built up and released all at once through my body. 

We got up to labor and delivery and I kept telling the nurses that I was worried we wouldn’t be admitted. After checking on me, Henry, and contractions, it was determined that I was 5cm, fully effaced, with a “bulging sack of water.” WE GOT TO STAY! I wasn’t crazy! The last 12 hours were real labor!

So, we were admitted. I wanted to be up walking around but that bulging sack of water, the thing I would grow to detest over the next 12 hours, meant that I had to lay down. The water was preventing Henry from fully engaging in my pelvis and my doctor was too worried about the cord prolapsing (coming out in front of the baby’s head and therefore cutting of his oxygen), which is an emergency c-section, to let me be up walking around when the water broke. This is the same reason he did not feel comfortable breaking my water. So, we waited. Figuring that the contractions would eventually break the water naturally.

I got an epidural around 3:30pm on Sunday. The nurses were really impressed with me getting as far as I had without one. But that might be something they say to everyone to make them feel better. I couldn’t take the contractions laying flat on my back. The epidural was way less scary than I had made it out to be in my brain. The worst part was getting the numbing shot prior to the epidural. Also, I was surprised that the epidural didn’t paralyze me, but rather just made it so I couldn’t feel. My legs were sluggish and difficult to move and warm and weird, but I could move them somewhat on my own. We certainly did get to a point where I’d have to ask Allen to help me move a leg, though. After the epidural they gave me petocin to try to increase the strength of my contractions to break the water.

Every time the nurses or Dr. Proffitt checked me it was the same story “I can’t believe that water hasn’t broken. It was really unbelievable. Any minute. It is going to happen. And we’ll know because everything in this room will be swept away in a flood out into the hallway.” I heard that for 8 more hours… during this time I was fairly comfortable, so it was okay, just frustratingly slow. Poor Allen must have been bored out of his gourd. 

Also during this time we discovered a bit of a complication. The nurses tried to sit me up after my epidural to get Henry to put pressure on the water bag and within a minute I was lollying my head to the side and trying to tell Allen “I don’t feel good… I don’t feel good…” The nurses came rushing in as my blood pressure was tanking. 67 over 30. Eeek. Not good at all. They laid me down and within 5 minutes I was good again. This happened a total of 2 more times before they called in the anesthesiologist to check my epidural for being placed to high. After some highly sophisticated testing (i.e. poking me with a sharp thing), it was determined placement was not the problem. 

Around 11:30 they checked me again and thought maybe Henry had moved far enough down that prolapsed cord was not as much of a risk. Dr. Proffitt came in and he was about to break my water when it burst and gushed all over him naturally. Poor Allen saw the whole thing. He should describe what it looked like since I didn’t see anything. Everyone got really excited because I was 10 cm and ready to go. They decided to let me labor for about an hour to try and get my contractions to push Henry down (flat on my back, remember) so that I wouldn’t have to push so much.

After an hour we did a test push where, flat on my back, the nurses asked me to curl my head to my chin and push. I simply picked my head off the table and two things happened: 1) didn’t feel good, blood pressure no good 2) they told me stop! stop! stop! “You will have no problems pushing – he’s right there.”

They got Dr. Proffitt and set everything up. They turned off the epidural because, by now, it was clear that my system was having trouble with the drugs. Don’t worry, the epidural’s effects lasted through delivery. So, flat on my back and 3 contractions later, Henry was out. Pushing was unbelievably… easy? I liked having a job to do, despite being half passed out. With every push I felt better (pushing tends to increase blood pressure). I have a vague memory of people giving me instructions that I could not exactly follow. “Okay. It’s time! Go!” — “Time for what? Do you want me to push?” — “PUSH!” — “Okaaaaay….”

25 hours after I started timing contractions, the little man was out in the world. While I wouldn’t call any of it fun or enjoyable, it was also not as bad as the picture I had painted in my head. 

Things that I didn’t think would be true that were totally true:

  1. I didn’t care where Allen was or what he saw.
  2. I didn’t care who was in the room or what they were doing to me. 
  3. I didn’t care how naked I was.
  4. I didn’t care how splayed I was. 

I got to hold Henry as they cleaned me up and stitched me up (I know I have stitches, no idea how many). I was so tired (40 hours no sleep) and so happy. Here Henry is about 15 minutes old:

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This is ridiculously long already, so I will end this. But I hope in the next couple of days I’ll get a few more thoughts and memories out about staying in the hospital (preview: we were so excited to leave) and the first few nights at home (preview: HARD). So, I’ll end with some pictures: 

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Worst Night Yet

Closer. And that makes it harder. Full-term on Thursday. Last night was the worst night so far. I’ve had shaky legs in the past few weeks. I’ve needed to shake it out for a good hour before falling asleep. I started sitting on the floor and wiggling while watching TV in hopes to get it out before getting in bed. Limited success. The shaky is primarily in my left leg in my calf. Sometimes I think if I just stabbed my calf with a fork that it might bring some relief. I am not new to restless legs. Even before pregnancy I would get them, albeit seldom. But this is a whole new level of hell. Every. Night. EVERY. NIGHT. I dread going to bed. It is the absolute worst part of the day. And now that I know it is the worst, I psych myself out before sleeping which only makes it that much horrible. But now this past week the shaky seems to have reached an all time high. An hour of shaking is no longer good enough. Two to three hours is par for the course. Get up to pee, shaky is back. I’m sleeping about 4-5 hours of crappy broken sleep a night. I keep trying to remind myself that this is the absolute worst thing that has happened in my pregnancy – everything else has been like a dream. No nothing that everyone says you get have I got. Spoiled. Yes. So, I kinda deserve shaky legs.

Last night was complete misery, though. For me. For Allen. For everyone. Well, except Henry. I bet he slept like a baby last night. I am going to poke him for a week straight when he comes out, in spite. Mother of the year, right here.

We were watching TV and I moved to the floor to get my shake on (while singing “shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, yeaaaah, it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back so shake him off” another shaky leg song is “wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle yeah, do the wiggle man, do the wiggle”). At this point I was beyond tired and emotionally unstable from being so tired and from being late in pregnancy. Allen put me to bed with my head flopping about in sleepy delirium. i asked him not to come to bed because I knew that would heighten my shaky fears, thus just ensuring that I would need to shake. He put me to bed as I began to cry and quite literally started to yell “I don’t want to be pregnant anymore! I don’t want this!” And I feel guilty because so many women want nothing more than to be pregnant and aren’t. Please don’t mistake this for I don’t want Henry. I want nothing more than to hold him in my arms, see his little face snuggled up in something adorable and soft, and hear his little noises. But I am so very over (as if I was ever okay with it…) being pregnant. Allen started to laugh at me. I started to laugh. And then I was laugh crying as he crawled in next to me and tried to get me to calm down. There are no words for how I feel about my husband in moments like that. He just knows what I need and does it. The way he cares makes me cry. Last night was no exception. Just as I got settled down and he was starting to leave he said something comforting and amazing and I started to tear up again. I yelled for him to leave immediately as I covered my face with new tears falling. People. Pregnancy is hard. I will admit, it scares me for what is coming with parenting. So…

Sleep did not come. You know what did, though, right? SHAKES. I shook. I flailed. I picked my legs up and slammed them into the bed. I yelled. I groaned. I growled. I got mad. I mean… MAD. I was so mad! And then I was mad and frustrated and overwhelmed and tired and you will never guess what happened then. I cried. Allen came to bed about an hour and a half later and I was just beginning to fall asleep. Though he was quiet, I was not asleep enough to escape being woken with a new round of shakes. Thus a new round of delirious emotional crazy. This time Allen had to coach me through breathing to get me to calm down. The man is my own personal hero. Then he went and slept in the spare room so as not to stress me out about my shaking. I was up until 2:00am with shaky legs. Then I got up and just wandered around the house, finally settling on the floor of the living room floor in my green fuzzy robe shaking my legs around.

Then, I felt something. And you know what? Gross thing happened. Stop here if you don’t want to read about gross things. WARNING. GROSS. THING. HAPPENED. You’ve been warned.

I lost part of my mucus plug. At least to the best of my self-diagnosing knowledge. The awesome part about this is that it sent me into a research/excited/terrified phase and totally distracted me from the shakies. Turns out, passing the mucus plug is not a reason to call your doctor nor an indication of labor. DAMMIT. It is certainly a good sign that things are happening, but you can pass the plug hours, day, or weeks before real labor begins.

I climbed into bed, maybe the most exhausted of my life, and fell asleep for four glorious hours. Of course, that was the limit of my bladder, but I slept on and off for four more hours, getting up at 10:00. I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a truck – unsure if that effect was from the lack of sleep and emotional drain of the evening or if I was genuinely coming down with something.

I’ve never been so thankful for a snow day on a Tuesday. I have sat around ALL day today. And it has been amazing. And then I took a 2.5 hour nap. And that was glorious. I woke up and made dinner and I feel pretty darn good. Allen, Cash, and I even went out to play in the snow which was delightful (except at the end when we realized Cash ate so much snow he had made himself sick… don’t worry, he’s blissfully sleeping now after emptying the content of his stomach). AND. We just got word that the university is shut down tomorrow, too! Yay! One more recovery day. I told Henry that he is not welcome to come until Saturday. But Saturday, he best get out.

And now, picture! This is from last week, 35 weeks 6 days.

Still in heels!