Monday, September 16, 2013

Birth Story - One year later

My labor with Ribgy likely started weeks before she was actually born. At my weekly appointments with Dr. Chauhan, my cervix was starting to show some changes. At the last appointment on September 10, I was 2-3 centimeters dilated, 80-90% effaced, and baby was at -1 station. I spent that week on “bed rest” because my amniotic fluid was a little low, but I really tried all I could think of to start labor. I was ready to meet this baby!

I had another ultrasound on Thursday, September 13. My fluid was still low (around a 5, same as Monday), and the tech (Tracy) said, “It wouldn’t be bad if you had that baby this weekend.” I was given instructions to continue with bed rest and return for another ultrasound on Monday, September 17. (By the way, Justin had crazy heart palpitations on the morning of September 13, and I actually had to take him to the ER on my way to the appointment. He was totally fine, and the doc gave him a prescription for some anxiety pills. I think the waiting daddy was getting a little nervous!)

Caroline, RJ, and Karen came to town on Friday night (September 14). We went out to eat, and then we all walked down the street with Rory to try to get things moving. No dice.

Saturday morning, Justin and RJ put some of the finishing touches on the nursery. We went to lunch, and then went to Kroger to buy burgers for a get-together that night with some friends. As we walked around Kroger, I had a couple of contractions and was generally uncomfortable, but no real noticeable change occurred. I would characterize my feelings most of the day Saturday as “uncomfortable.”

Justin, Caroline, and I went to our friends' house that evening. Caroline swam and played on the swing set with the other children, the men drank beers and cooked the meat, and the women chatted (mainly about kids and childbirth, given my condition). I held a little baby who was about 10 weeks old at the time. (I had heard that being around infants can give you a little boost of oxytocin, and I was hoping this might be the case.) We had a great time and then headed home.

Karen and RJ had gone to downtown Memphis while we were at the party, and they were at the house when we arrived back home. Austin and his friend were also there. They were planning to order pizza, and Caroline was asking to watch a movie. I just felt “ick,” and wanted to rest. I ate an ice cream Drumstick and then went to rest in our bedroom. I slept for an hour or so, and when Justin came to bed at 10:00, I told him that I was pretty sure that I had had a few contractions. They weren’t frequent or intense, so we both agreed that there was no reason to get worked up yet. He went to bed, and I watched Saturday Night Live for a while. I called our doula, Penny, around 11:30 and told her the situation. She suggested that I take some Tylenol PM or Tylenol and Benadryl and try to get some sleep. She said to call back with any questions or changes. I took some Benadryl and Tylenol and tried to sleep.

I had that kind of “in between” sleep for an hour or so. The kind of sleep where you might be in a very shallow sleep, but your mind is still racing. Around 1:00 or so, I went out to try to sleep on the couch in the living room. The contractions were definitely different from ones I had been feeling in the weeks leading up to this. They started as a kind of cramp, built in intensity (like someone was turning up the volume), then tapered off. I was keeping track of the time between contractions, and they were getting closer together. They were uncomfortable and somewhat painful, but I was able to breathe through them. I felt comforted by the peak of the contractions because I knew that the contraction would ease off after that point.

Our cat kept me company during these contractions. He sat on my lap as I lay on the couch, and I petted him as I breathed through the contractions. At around 3:00 am, my contractions were 6-8 minutes apart. I woke Justin and told him the situation. We agreed that it would likely be time to head to the hospital pretty soon, so he got up and we both took showers. Since my parents live so far away, I called them around 3:45 am to tell them that it seemed to be “go time!” Dad got ready to leave Summerville for Southaven, and Mom left Atlanta (where she’d been visiting Granny Dot) to head this way. Justin and I sat up as my contractions continued and became more frequent. Around 5:00 am, I called the doctor’s office to ask to speak to the doctor on call. Dr. Sullivant called me back shortly after, and he was rather nonchalant about the whole thing. He said that for a first pregnancy, contractions being 5 minutes apart may or may not mean baby is coming soon. He told me I could go to the hospital or not, and when I decided to go to the hospital, I could just go (no need to call him back). This was disappointing. I think that disappointment led to the next step in my labor process: a complete stop in contractions.

I called Penny and told her the latest development. She was very supportive and suggested getting more sleep since the contractions had stopped. I also called my parents to tell them to keep driving west but not to go to the hospital just yet. Justin and I went to sleep for a few hours.

When we woke up, Karen and Caroline were in the kitchen playing a game and eating doughnuts that they had picked up. Again, I felt uncomfortable and cranky. I ate a doughnut, and rested on the couch. When I got up at one point, I groaned and Caroline said, “Do you need to take your baby out?” Yes, sweet girl, I sure do!

I called Amy to talk to her about my experiences the night before, and I walked up and down the street again. My mom arrived around 11:00, and Karen, RJ, and Caroline were preparing to leave at the same time. My contractions also started to pick back up at this time. I ate some cheese toast and chatted with my mom. It was so awesome to see her! She brought a present from a co-worker and Rigby’s baby book from Granny Dot. Justin needed to go to the plant to submit payroll since it looked like he might be missing work on Monday. Mom and I stayed home and sat in the nursery. I rocked in the nursing chair, and when I had a contraction, I’d breathe and sometimes let out a low moan. I decided that two rules I wanted to have during labor were minimal talking during contractions and no laughing/jokes during contractions.

Justin returned home and suggested that I eat some soup. I had a few bites and a little more cheese toast. I heard my dad pull into the driveway, and right about that time, I knew I was going to lose my soup. I ran to the bathroom and was sick, just as my dad was coming in the house. After I cleaned up, I came out to say hello to my dad. I could tell from the look on his face that I looked rough. Mom informed Dad and Justin of my labor rules, and I was glad that she did. It was still tough for my dad not to joke, but he tried his best.

My contractions progressed and became closer together and more intense as the afternoon went on. Around 4:00, it felt like it was time to go to the hospital. I called Penny and asked her to meet us there. We loaded up the cars and set out for Methodist Germantown. Justin and I rode together, and I was very aware of the fact that this was the last time we’d ride in the car as “just us two.” (I knew we’d ride together without the baby in the future, but she’d still be “with” us in the sense that she would be waiting for us somewhere.)

We arrived at the hospital at the same time as Penny. I checked in and was taken to a room in Labor and Delivery. It was quiet that evening, as only one or two other mothers were on the unit. The nurse went over my birth plan with me, and she put in my hep lock (instead of an IV). I was allowed to labor in the clothes I wore from home, just as I’d requested. Penny spoke with the nurses on duty (they were about to be ending their shifts at 7:00), and one of the nurses showed her how to make the cute “bow” baby hats for baby girls. We set this baby hat aside for the little girl who would be joining us soon!

I was 4 cm dilated and 80-90% effaced. Since my water hadn’t broken yet, Penny suggested that we walk. And walk we did! We walked laps around L & D. At first, I’d need to stop about once a lap to have a contraction. I’d wrap my arms around Justin’s neck, put my forehead on his chest, and sway/slow dance through the contraction. At various times, Penny, Justin, and my mom and dad walked with us. Once an hour, the nurse hooked me up to the monitor to check my progress. During these checks, I ate popsicles and breathed through the contractions in the bed. Karen and RJ drove back up from dropping Caroline off, and they went to dinner with my parents. They brought dinner back for Justin, and he went to eat it in the lobby (so the laboring woman who couldn’t eat solids wouldn’t have to watch him!) while my parents stayed with me. When Justin returned, we resumed our walks around L & D. After the second contraction or so, I asked Justin if he’d eaten something with lettuce on it. He said that his burger had had lettuce, and I told him that I could smell the lettuce on his shirt. Penny couldn’t believe that I could smell lettuce!

After hours of walking, my water still hadn’t broken. We discussed having the doctor break my water, and I told Penny that I was really scared that I wouldn’t be able to handle harder contractions after they broke my water. We ended up having the doctor break my water around 10:00 or so, and the contractions really intensified then! At some point (I don’t remember if it was before or after the water breaking), my mom came back to the room from the lobby. It was really perfect timing because right as she got there, I became nauseous. I knew that Justin would have a hard time watching me throw up (and might start vomiting himself), so it was nice to have my mom and Penny there with the evening nurse (who was calm, quiet, and awesome) while I went through my nausea. At one point, I had to go to the bathroom, and they helped me waddle in there. I felt like I couldn’t even remember how to pee, so Penny turned on the faucet to help stimulate the urge.

As I labored through these much more intense contractions, we tried different labor positions. I remember leaning over the upright back of the bed going through a contraction and asking for medicine. The nurse said they would have to check my progress, and if I was more than 8 cm, I couldn’t get an epidural. While we were waiting (for what? I don’t even remember), I again asked for medicine. By the time they checked me, I was 8-9 cm, so it was too late for an epidural. I was actually pretty happy about this because I wanted a natural birth. That time during transition was just SO hard, and I didn’t know if I could go on.

Penny suggested I squeeze combs in my hands during contractions (one of her many Jedi doula tips), and that was amazing. From that last time of checking me until the baby was born, I felt like I had my eyes closed the entire time. Penny would talk me through contractions: “Relax your forehead,” “Stay on top of this one.” When I felt out of control, she helped me feel in control again.

I think I started pushing around 12:00 or 12:30. At first, I had no idea what I was doing. The nurse and Penny would tell me that I had done a good job pushing through a certain contraction, I didn’t know what I had done that was particularly good. I kept my eyes closed, and just remember feeling SO hot! Between contractions, Penny fanned me and my mom fed me ice chips. Penny and the nurse kept telling me to breathe through my nose and breathe for my baby between contractions, which I knew meant something was up. As it turns out, baby’s heart rate was dipping during contractions, and they wanted to make sure she was getting oxygen. I was a little scared, but I was doing all they were telling me to do. Through this whole process, I feel like my eyes were closed. Early in the pushing, the nurse said they were going to bring in the “delivery table.” I thought, “If you think I’m getting off this bed and getting onto some table, you’ve got another thing coming!” Turns out, they just meant the table with all the tools for the delivery.

As the baby began to crown, Penny asked me if I wanted the mirror rolled over so I could watch. I VERY quickly replied, “NO!” and kept me eyes closed and my breathing focused as I continued to push. At 2:30, I gave one more push, and Dr. Pickens caught sweet Rigby Anne Reed. He quickly removed the cord from around her neck (the reason for her decelerating heart rate), clamped it, and handed her to me. She was crying, and I was in awe! Oh my goodness! Here’s a baby! MY baby! She’s right here in my arms! What just happened! How is this possible?! We have a BABY?! It was amazing, incredible, and unbelievable. All the medical staff let me hold her for what felt like 15 minutes. The room was quiet and calm, save for Rigby’s cries. It was the birth experience I hoped and prayed for, and I felt so blessed to have a happy, beautiful baby girl.

One year later, I am incredibly thankful for my birth experience. There were really hard parts, but the end result was worth it all a million times over. Happy birthday, Rigby! You have made the last year of my life one of the best. I am so lucky to be your mommy. I love you!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It's a...


Well, Baby Buttercream is officially a girl! We are so excited! We were just certain that this baby was a boy, and we had a boy name all picked out. Unfortunately, we weren't so decisive about the girl names because we didn't think we needed to be. Well, Little Girl proved us wrong, and we are busy discussing possible names for this sweet baby. As I told Justin last week, it's so much easier to name a dog than to name a baby. (Dogs can't complain about it later. Dogs' friends don't make fun of them in middle school because of their name. Dogs only have to live with their name for, maybe, 20 years, max!)

I had some unwelcome excitement this weekend, as well. I woke up Saturday morning feeling kind of puny, which is not all that uncommon on an empty stomach. I ate breakfast, and it reappeared in short order. As the day progressed, I found that I couldn't keep anything down, not even water. A call to the on-call doc landed me with a scrip for anti-nausea medication, but I kept getting sick. (Even waking out of a nap twice to vomit...yuck city!) On top of things, Justin was on his way to and from Jackson to get the Comanche, so I spent most of the afternoon sick and alone. When he arrived home late Saturday afternoon, I told him I thought it would be best to go to the hospital. We trekked up to Methodist Germantown where I will be delivering, and they admitted me to get some IV fluids (because I was very dehydrated) and some additional nausea meds. That seemed to do the trick! The nursing staff was so great. After I dressed back in my regular clothes and the nurse was wheeling me out to the car, she commented on how pretty I looked. Let me assure you, this was NOT a true statement! I looked like death warmed over after being sick all day, doing nothing with my hair, and wearing no makeup. However, this woman's sweet lie compliment was just want this mama needed to hear. I spent Sunday and almost all of Monday re-hydrating and recuperating. I'm back at work today, but only operating at about 85% capacity. Fingers crossed that I'll be more myself tomorrow.

On the positive side, Buttercream has been a little gymnast all weekend. She is doing all kinds of somersaults and flips, and I can feel her quite frequently throughout the day. She usually wakes up around the time I do, and I feel her little movements as I'm still in bed working up the gumption to face the day. Last week, Justin tried to feel her move as I was standing in front of him. I told him that she usually moves more when I'm reclined, and as soon as I lay down on the bed, she was moving up a storm. The look on his face was priceless.

We can't wait to meet you, Sweet Baby Girl! You are already loved beyond words, and our love will only grow once we have a living, breathing, precious girl with us out here in the world!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Okay, so I don't keep up with this blog

at all

so this is a pretty random thing to post about since I haven't posted in over a year.

Justin and I are expecting our first child in a little more than four months. September 26, to be exact. We are VERY excited. The baby has been making movements that I can feel for about three weeks, and the baby is finally big/strong enough to make some kicks and punches that can be felt on the outside, too. It is the strangest, coolest feeling. At first I couldn't decide if I was feeling baby movements or food digestion. However, one day a few weeks ago I was sitting at my desk, and it was like, "Wha-bam! Take that, Mama!" It was incredible!

We have our anatomy ultrasound tomorrow, which means we'll hopefully find out the sex of the baby. It will be nice to have a pronoun other than "it." As much as I've always wanted to be a mother, it has been a little different than expected to be pregnant. I thought I'd be comfortable talking and singing to the baby all the time, but it has been kind of strange to do so far. I'm thinking that as the baby gets bigger and it become more and more obvious that it (See? There's that pronoun!) is always with me, making its presence known, it will feel more natural to communicate with the baby.

There are a lot of exciting things in our future, and tomorrow is just one of many. I can't wait to find out if this is Baby Buttercream or Baby Flat Tire! (Although, regardless, I think my new favorite nickname is Baby Buttermilk Biscuit.)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It continues...

So I'm continuing to follow my new home organization guru, the FlyLady, and I've done pretty well keeping up with her. I've been "FLYing" since a few weeks before Thanksgiving, and I really think I'm making progress. Sometimes I look around my house and think, "Really? I still have all this junk and crap?! What have I been doing? I feel like I'm always doing a little something, yet there's still so much more to do." I might start to beat myself up for not doing more or not having time to get it all done at once.

But then I get one of my daily e-mails from the FlyLady about taking baby steps, doing one thing at a time, a little progress is better than none, the house didn't get dirty and messy overnight so it won't be all put together in a day, etc. Those little reminders are a God-send.

Case in point: we've decided to expand our family by adding a cat to the mix. Although we had bad luck with felines last year, we are trying again. Well, we needed a place for the fella to go, and especially a place for his litter box. It seemed the laundry room would be a good place, but there was a bunch of junk on the floor and everywhere. I got in there and started flinging. Old bags, a pillow case of batting/stuffing from a project from Christmas two years ago, a bunch of aprons, and a "mystery bag" of things that had been sitting on the floor since I fully moved into the house (2.5 years ago!). That mystery bag contained my rain coat (I've been borrowing Justin's when it rains), my hand mixer (I've been wondering where it was...and frustrated over the 2 sets of beaters for the one hand mixer we could find), an old and dingy bow from when C was much littler (would have been 2 years old), and a bowl of dried-on mystery food (complete with spoon stuck in there). What a relief to get that off the floor and out of there! I literally get scared to go through those mystery bags, mystery food containers, etc., but this experience shows that it won't kill me. Better to just do it and get it done!

Since I was on a roll (and it is the zone room of the week), I set my timer to declutter the entry/dining cabinet for 15 minutes. I put things in Justin's car that needed to go there, threw away maps of hunting spots around Starkville (Justin hasn't been in probably 3 years or more), tossed lemons that had dried up beyond recognition and shoes that have needed to be repaired since I first moved to Memphis (3 years ago!), and generally got rid of junk!

Sure, there's still plenty more that needs to be done around the house, and I need to get the Christmas decorations put away this week, but what a relief to have these two scary things taken care of! If I can go through and toss things that have been lurking for 2-3 years, I can definitely take on the new stuff in the house: little by little.

Glad to be making some sort of positive progress...

Friday, December 3, 2010

FLYing now

I haven't posted in forever, so I really should post a more substantive blog. However, I only have a minute, and I want to capture this before it leaves my brain.

About 2 weeks ago, I discovered the FLYLady. I first heard about her in a book that I perused in a bookstore in Starkville, and then I read about her again on the blog of a friend from high school. I decided to check out her site, and it really rang true for me. Some other time I'll go into all of the connections between her site and recommendations and my background in psychology. It all fits together quite nicely.

But for now, I will just say this so I won't forget it! Last night, I made soup for a co-worker and her husband because the husband had surgery yesterday. I was home along because J was out of town for work, and I get really lazy when I'm home alone. I ate a ridiculous supper, just out of laziness. But in any event, since I've been FLYing with the FLYLady, I've had a nice, shiny sink for two weeks. After cooking the soup, I filled the soup pot with hot, soapy water. I was so tempted to leave it overnight and just get to it this morning. However, my habit of cleaning out and shining the sink each night has taken hold! I had to wash that pot and put it in the dishwasher before I could go to bed! I guess those baby steps really do build up into a habit over time!

More later!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Why I won't be adding it to my WW Points Tracker for today

I think if you walk up AND down 3 flights of stairs to buy a Snickers bar from the vending machine, it totally cancels out the calories of consuming the Snickers bar.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I am trying feverishly to get everything done at work before heading out of town for a whole week for a much-needed vacation. And what am I doing instead? Writing in my oft-forgotten blog, of course! Duh!

Justin, his family, and I are going to Florida for some R&R next week. I've never taken a week-long vacation to such a relaxing place (well, I've taken week-long trips to Maine before, which my mom says completely restores her soul, but this is different because I'm a grown-up now), and I'm really looking forward to it. Before we can go, though, I have to finish up three reports, start a new therapy client, and do countless odds and ends both at home and work. Let's hope I can get them all done in time!

Yesterday, Justin informed me that our travel plans have changed. We're still leaving on Saturday and coming back the following Saturday, but our mode of transportation has changed somewhat. At first I was a little bummed, but then I stopped to think about it and I said, "Hey, lady, you're going to the beach for a whole week. Don't go complaining about how you're going to get there!" That's when I realized how quickly I've become spoiled by the luxury of traveling often and quite comfortably. I need to step back and examine all of the many blessings in my life and show the appreciation that they deserve (rather than pouting - however briefly - about things not being exactly what I had thought they would be).

Well, I suppose that is all for now. I really do need to get some work finished before the end of the day. Perhaps I will start to post more once I re-charge my battery on vacation.