Mama Duck
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Monday, September 29, 2003


Two nights ago we had our best night ever. The Boy ate at midnight, then didn't wake till about 4, then not again till 7. I thought, "woo hoo!"

Then the next night and last night he did not want to go to sleep in his bassinet. When he did, he woke up to eat every 1 1/2 to 2 hours. And given that each feeding session lasts about 30-45 minutes, that's not a whole heckuva lot of sleep for me.

I am reminded continually that I'm no longer in charge. It's difficult and humbling, but there's also the upside, which is why we took this plunge in the first place. My husband and I are experiencing heretofore unknown extremes of joy and love. The Boy is starting to smile and the effect is just astonishing. And when he has periods of quiet alert, when he seems glued on every word we say, I only hope we can be worthy parents.

posted by Mama Duck1:49 PM


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Friday, September 26, 2003

Birth Story, part 1

Monday, 11:56 p.m.

It was a Hollywood moment.

"Honey," I nudged my sleeping husband. "My water just broke."

It was not supposed to happen this way.

Both of us had had long, tiring days. He was stunned. "Wha? No!"

I had leapt out of the bed and made my way to the bathroom, fluid gushing as I went. "Yep. No doubt about it. It's happening." The bathroom floor became slippery, and I finally just stood in the tub till things subsided. I phoned the midwife on call.

"You want to wait to come in till you're having contractions that are five minutes from start to start, lasting at least one minute, for an hour. So call when that has happened, or at about 11 a.m., whichever comes first."

I stayed on the dry side of the bed while my husband lay on the floor, timing my contractions. They started small, so that at first I had a hard time telling when exactly they started and finished. Eventually, though, this was not a problem. They built in intensity, and I got into the yoga pose that's supposed to help with back labor. I was born sunny side up, which necessitated a C-section for my mom at the time, so I was hoping to avoid that scenario.

My husband and I both dozed. I knew that the books and midwives recommened both eating and resting. I struck out on both counts--I couldn't sleep with the contractions, plus I was so excited and hopeful that they were getting closer together. Also, I began to vomit each time I had a particularly strong contraction. I threw up the remnants of dinner, then the lemon water I'd been sipping, then bile. I tried sipping plain water, but I threw that up too. I began frantically emailing work, trying to tie up loose ends, since I'd planned to be at work through my due date of Friday. When I emailed, the contractions lessened. I had some that were close, but others that were as much as ten minutes apart. As 11 a.m. approached, they were ranging between four and seven minutes, but with a ten thrown in here and there. I was nowhere near as regular as the 5-1-1 they recommended, but my water had broken at the onset, so I had a limited window of time, since infection could set in.

At 11 a.m., I called the midwife on call. She said to come in so we could check both my cervix and how the baby was doing. We'd packed the car previously with pillows, a blanket and a vomit bucket, and got the improbably large suitcase too. I put on a dress and we drove the fifteen minutes to the hospital. A book had recommended just going into the birth center instead of checking in, since then I might be put in a wheelchair and look more like a patient. We later found out that in my attempt to be independent we'd bypassed admitting and they had no idea I was there in labor.

Around noon we walked in the front door and made our way to the elevator. My husband whispered that the back of my dress was wet with more amniotic fluid. (Bits leaked out during strong contractions.) I shrugged. It was clear, so it wouldn't stain the dress, and I was in labor, so I didn't have much use for modesty. As we got off the elevator, a nurse smiled at me sympathetically. "Good luck," she said.

"Thanks," I smiled back, hoping that I wouldn't need it.

posted by Mama Duck8:02 PM


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Monday, September 15, 2003


Some key pieces of advice for those of you who are pregnant or thinking about it, or what I would do differently if I could do it again

First, one of the best things I did that I think contributed to my healthy pregnancy was that I had an established exercise routine before I got pregnant, which I was able to continue right up till the day before I went into labor. Don't wait till you're pregnant to start a pre-natal program. Start now, get regular with it, walk whenever you can, and you'll be able to do much more while pregnant. Always with your doctor's consent, of course.

That being said, however, I don't think that going to power yoga and walking home from the gym in 90 plus degree heat on the Sunday before my due date was such a good idea. Then the next day, I found myself through unfortunate circumstances again walking a long distance in the heat. That night at midnight my water broke and labor began. I was never able to progress much naturally, so my birth story is filled with interventions. There's no saying whether I could have avoided some or all of them if I'd been resting more prior to labor. In any case, what I'd do differently is that I'd stop working the week before my due date, perhaps have someone like my mom come out to help get things in order, and spend the time up till birth resting--TV, reading, and only light exercise, if any.

Additionally, I had no idea till I was in it of how much physical recovery I'd need, or the extent of the tumult and exhaustion that the new baby would bring even if I'd had a more straightforward labor and delivery. My husband and I have had both our (out of town) families visit us already. While it was a joy to see them make their acquaintance with the baby, I think I would have those visits be later, knowing what I do now. I could see perhaps having one person, like my mom, come out within two weeks of the birth in order to help with my recovery, then leave other family visits till later. Friend visits, however, were different, since they were very short in duration and provided some welcome contact during the initial, blurry time with other grownups and the outside world.

I will be writing the birth story, but time to write is hard to find. Because I should always be napping instead, which is what I'm off to do now.

posted by Mama Duck8:48 AM


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