Monday, August 27, 2012


Working in the Pediatric ICU, I have seen many things…some really, really good and some nightmarish. Because of the things I have witnessed, I have a very warped view of what’s safe for kids. My poor boy has to wear a helmet to ride his tricycle…in our driveway…in the cul-de-sac we live in…where no more than 10 cars drive in in a day. He’s not even allowed in our street unless I’m two feet away. I’m constantly in fear that, when he goes into our backyard, he will run straight to the lake and drown…with me standing there. I’ve considered making him wear his life jacket just to play in the backyard. Yes, don’t ask, we’re saving for a fence. I’m still checking my one-month olds belly button to make sure she hasn’t suddenly developed omphalitis, an infection of the umbilical cord. Yeah, the same umbilical cord she lost three weeks ago. Seriously. I’ve seen it and it ain’t pretty. The infection, that is, not her belly button. I’m guilty of googling “flesh eating rash” in regards to her baby acne. Don’t even get me started on their safety if they walk within a 100 foot radius of a golf cart or 4-wheeler.
Another scary, hot button for me is co-sleeping. In my ten year career, I would estimate that about every 6-8 months an infant comes in, a victim of co-sleeping. I’ve only seen a few survive and they have all been in vegetative states when they left the hospital. It is horribly tragic and unfair. The parents are usually awesome parents that just didn’t realize how dangerous it could be.  I am not writing this to judge anyone whose kid sleeps with them, but it’s not for us. I understand the bonding involved and I love to snuggle my babies as much as the next guy. However, I am deathly afraid of falling asleep with my baby in the bed. We have a co-sleeper, which I used with E if I didn’t want him out of my sight (after his shots, if he was sick, etc.) I loved that thing. 
We haven’t used it with C yet. Anyway, the result of a sleep-deprived Momma, breastfeeding at 0300, with a deathly fear of falling asleep with a baby beside me results in a crazy sleep deprived, breastfeeding Momma. With both kiddos, I have routinely woken Hom up, grabbing his arm, and panickingly asking, “Why is he/she in bed with us?!?!” He, then, grabs his arm back and states, “Sara, that’s my arm not the baby. He/she’s over in his/her pack-n-play.” At this point, I notice the little snuggled up bundle safely beside me in his/her pack-n-play snoozing away. It’s beyond frustrating for both of us. As if waking up throughout the night to feed her isn’t enough, I also have to wake up to “save her.” Any other Mom’s out there have any fun neuroses they’d like to divulge?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Do you mind if I vent?

If you mind, stop reading because I'm about to... I cannot stand when people use the handicap restroom and don't need to. I don't mean that it's the only stall left and you use it. I'm talking about all stalls open, it's just you and your digestive/urinary expulsion needs, etc. I mean, what are people thinking they're going to do in there? Yoga? The last two days, I have ventured out with both kids to do some shopping. Both days, my boy has needed to use the restroom. Good boy. I go in the bathroom and the only stall filled is the handicap one. With one able bodied person. One of the times, we just waited it out. Today, though, I thought he was going to have an accident so I had to put our shopping bags/diaper bag on the ground, put Baby sister's carrier on the ground by the sinks, and I had to help him pee with the door open while trying to keep an eye out making sure nobody was going to make off with my baby girl. There just isn't enough room even if I held her and him! I adore those places with family restrooms because nobody bats an eye when Hom is able to go in there, change that baby poopy with me, and make sure E isn't licking on the trashcan. This two kid thing is totally a man-on-man job. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Getting big and Getting loved

 Well, we're getting settled in as a party of four. Chaney had her 2 week check-up with our beloved Dr. Joe and she has gained 1 pound, 4 ounces in 12 days since we've gotten home from the hospital! Weight is 75%, height 90%, and head 50%. I'll take it. She is actually a good sleeper and usually starts the night with a 5 hour stretch. Far better than anything E did until he was several months old. She's an awesome eater, rarely cries, and doesn't even wake up when her 2 3/4 year old brother is acting like a...well, 2 3/4 year old. In regards to him, he is CRAZY about her. I was skeptical on how he'd act once she got here. He loved to talk to, kiss, hug, and even give flowers to baby sister when she was in my belly but I didn't think that would translate to the real person she would eventually become. I was proven wrong. While he acts like a little booger at times, he has never taken it out on her. He will be screaming like a crazy person to us and then come over to her and start talking in this little sweet high-pitched voice. "You okay Chaney Claire? Big brother's here. Everything's okay." It's about the sweetest thing you've ever seen. As far as holding her, Lord help us. The boy LOVES to hold her, but only in 20 second intervals. He constantly wants to hold her, we get him set up, then he decides she's "too heavy", "too squirmy" (I would have to agree here), "too cry-ey", etc. Every now and then, though, he'll hold her long enough for me to sneak a quick picture. Check this out...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chaney Claire's Birthday Story

Intense. That is the best way I can describe your birthday, Chaney Claire. It all started around 5:30 when I woke up for work. I was exactly 39 weeks pregnant. I was to work three 12-hour shifts in a row and was slightly dreading it. I hadn’t worked 3 in a row in several weeks and certainly not since my two weeks of bed rest. I wondered how in the world I was going to avoid going into labor for three days based on how hard we work, how long we are on our feet, how few breaks we get, etc. However, since bed rest, my co-workers had been awesome in attempting to give me a lighter assignment. I showered and lathered my cocoa butter on my belly thinking how little time we had left together. I also remember looking in the mirror at a bunch of different angles of my belly, shocked at how big it looked. I ate a quick breakfast of corn flakes and a banana and was treated to Wade actually waking up to visit with me during breakfast. He usually sleeps straight through me getting up and out the door. I left for work around 6:20 and talked to Mom on the phone on the way. She inquired about my contractions and I assured her that they were still coming but continued to not be consistent. We hung up and I headed into work.
            My patient assignment was quite busy and I was told that one of my patient’s was headed to surgery by 1000 and the other was likely to need surgery that day as well. Awesome. I sent my first patient off to surgery and ran around trying to get caught up on the other one before she left for the OR. Soon after I readmitted my first patient, around 1130 or so, I started having pretty strong contractions while I was trying to chart. I would just breathe through them but it seemed they were slightly more intense than the ones I’d had in previous weeks. I was fine between them and they didn’t seem consistent so I continued to work, give meds, assess my kiddos, chart, etc. Every so often, I had to stop what I was doing to have a contraction. Soon, my neighbor, Candise, who was helping me, took notice. “Are you having contractions???” she asked during one rather painful one. “Yeah, but just let me finish it. I’ll be fine,” I replied. She seemed a little skeptical. It was decided around 1230 that maybe I should go sit down and eat lunch, take a break, and just make sure this wasn’t real. At lunch, we laughed about how we’d had two previous co-workers go into labor at work. I joked that I wanted to do that because I didn’t want to waste one second more of maternity leave on the couch. I wanted the max amount of time with my baby even if it meant working until I pushed her out (be careful what you wish for!) I think I freaked out my lunch buddies because I had a few pretty hard contractions during lunch that I had to breath through. However, as soon as they were done, I was fine and back to chitchatting. At some point, two of our docs came in and my co-workers jokingly asked them if they remembered how to deliver babies. Both stated that they probably remembered how but would prefer not to have to use those skills today. Lindsay, who was (thank God) working that day, came in to check on me because someone told her I was in labor. I laughed it off but was soon met with another contraction. I had to stop eating my Fudge Round to breath through it. She laughed at me because, as soon as the contraction was over, I finished that bad boy up. At some point, someone asked me what Wade was doing. I remembered that I hadn’t actually told him yet because, again, I didn’t think I was in “real labor.” I didn’t want to be that girl that went to OB Receiving only for the contractions to go away like they had been for the past few days. I decided to go on and text Wade. Here was our convo:

June 24, 1247
Me: Having bad contractions. Considering going downstairs soon. Maybe 5-10 minutes apart. Keep forgetting to time them.
Him: Time them and let me know. I’m sitting on pins and needles.
Me: Been 4 min since one now.
Him: Let me know the next one.
Me: Just had one. 5 min apart for maybe thirty min.
Him: You hurting?
Me: Bad.
Him: You should go downstairs.

I decided that maybe he was right and went out to inform the charge nurse. I needed to finish up my 1200 assessment stuff and give a few meds before I left though. I considered staying and trying to finish up the day anyway (after all, I was already halfway finished with my day) but everytime I attempted to do something, I was quickly stopped by another contraction. I couldn’t seem to get any work done anyway so I decided I might as well go on and get checked out so that my mind would be at ease. Worse case scenario, I would get down there, not be in labor, and head on back to work. I went ahead and got charted up, made sure the kiddos were getting their 1300 and 1400 meds (thanks, Candise!) and grabbed my bag. I, then, remembered I hadn’t brushed my teeth after lunch and opted to go do that. I don’t know why that felt important but I do remember that my teeth felt nasty. By this point, I had quite a crowd around timing my contractions. I went to let Lindsay know that I was, indeed, going downstairs. I clocked out at 1311.
            My friend, Courtney, was assigned to walk me down there and carry my bags. I made a little fuss and assured them that I was not an invalid. I agreed to let her “walk me down” but I refused a wheelchair. We got just outside the unit and I was hit with another contraction. I was in the hall and right in front of my OB’s husband (a pediatric neurosurgeon.) He looked a little freaked out and asked, “Is she okay?” Courtney grinned and said, “She’s in labor!” I finished the contraction and walked a few more feet before being met with one of my sweet patient’s moms. She was telling me the updates on him and all I could think about was, “How can I nicely get away from her?!” I think she sensed my urgency and, thankfully, stopped talking. We headed down to OB receiving and signed in. The nurse took my vitals and we went through some insurance questions between my contractions. I was still not sure it was real and informed the nurse that I didn’t want any pitocin. I asked about what the criteria would be for keeping me there if I wasn’t in active labor. She said, “Well, if you are 4 cm or greater, that’s considered active labor and they will want to keep you.” “Umm, I was 4 cm in clinic yesterday,” I told her. “Oh, well, they’ll probably want to keep you.” By 1345, Wade had arrived and relieved Courtney. I was taken back to a holding room to await a doctor’s check. We called Mom and informed her what was going on. By happenstance, she was actually at UMC at a focus group, so she finished that up and headed down. The doctor came in and asked about my being 4 cm in clinic yesterday. “Why weren’t you admitted then?” she asked. “Well, because I don’t want to be induced, I’m 39 weeks, I needed to work today, and my contractions weren’t consistent.” She also asked if I was interested in an epidural and I told her that I was not interested in an epidural, Pitocin, her breaking my water, or anything else. She nodded her head like I was crazy and informed me that she was going to go ahead and check me to see if we’d made any progress. She told us that I was now 6 cm, 80% effaced, and that my “bag of fluid was bulging and would likely rupture soon.” I looked at Wade and Mom and was shocked to finally realize that maybe we were having a baby today. I texted Lindsay and a few co-workers to let them know that I would not be coming back to work after all. 
Still in my scrubs but I guess this is real!

The doctors and nurses scurried around to try and get me admitted to the labor and delivery floor. By about 2:15, I was allowed to walk up to L & D, though an actual L & D delivery room wasn’t available yet. I, again, refused a wheelchair because I didn’t want people gawking at me (though I’m not sure how “normal” I looked in two hospital gowns and tennis shoes, stopping every 4 minutes to have a contraction.) I joked with the nurse that I was terrified that my water was going to break enroute. I asked her what we would do if that happened, “I mean, what? Do you call the housekeeper and say ‘Clean up Aisle 4’?” She laughed and said, “I’m sure they’ve had to do it before.” We made it up to a regular room on the L & D floor and three nurses came in to ask me questions, start my IV, and draw lab work. I reiterated that I wasn’t much interested in an epidural, Pit, etc. and, as another contraction came and they stood over me, I said, “I know, I’m crazy.” She asked if I minded an IV. I told her that I definitely wanted an IV. I’ve been in bad situations at work where we didn’t have an IV and it is not good. She gave me the option of not having IV fluids and I did take her up on that. I was having to stand up beside the bed or sit on the side of the bed, with Wade pushing on my back, to get through the contractions so I thought the tubing would get tangled anyway. 
I was about 8-9 cm here. Sweet hubs.

I started to feel like things were progressing quickly and panicked that my dad hadn’t arrived with our camera. We snapped a few shots with our phones just in case. After about 20 minutes, Dad arrived with our bags from home and settled in the waiting room. I was contracting every 3-5 minutes consistently at this point and really starting to hurt badly. I did not remember it hurting this much with Ev so I guess you truly do forget. By about 3:30, they told me Dr. Shiflett had just delivered one of her patients down the hall and would be in my room soon. She came in and I asked her what the plan was. She stated that she would check me, head back to finish up at clinic, then come straight back to deliver me. I asked her when she planned on checking me and she said, “Right now.” “Oh, hang on, I feel really nauseous.” I assumed it was because I had just eaten lunch but in hindsight, I assume it was because I flew through transition labor. They pushed some Zofran, waited for another contraction to pass, and Dr. Shiflett began checking me.
Here’s what I remember from our exchange:
She, quickly, looked up and said, “You’re complete!”
“Complete what?” I asked nervously.
 “You’re 10 cm. You’re having a baby soon.”
“I guess that means that, if I changed my mind, it’s too late for an epidural?”
”Uh, yeah, Sara. You’re having a baby SOON.”
“How effaced am I?”
”Sara, there is NO cervix left. I’m about to break your water and we’re having a baby.”
“Dr. Shiflett, we agreed you wouldn’t break my water!”
”Sara, you. are. about. to. have. a. baby. In minutes. I’m breaking your water.”
All the sudden, I flashed back to Ev’s birth and pushing for 3 ½ hours. I totally freaked out.
“Dr. Shiflett, I can’t push. I don’t want to push. I’m scared.”
“You’re doing fine. She’ll be here before you know it.”
”I can’t push for 3 hours this time. I’m too tired and hurting too much. I don’t think I could push for 3 minutes!”
“Sara, I don’t think you will push for 3 minutes if you try! Are you ready to push?”

I refused and said that I wanted to labor down for a bit longer. She agreed and said she was going to step out to give me some time until I was ready. She assured me she was right outside the door and, if I felt the need to push, needed to tell someone. My sister, Mom, and Wade were holding my hands and talking me through each contraction. Lindsay was on my right and Mom and Wade on my left. I felt another contraction coming and, while I did NOT want to push, all of the sudden my body had other plans. I found myself pushing anyway. It was so bizarre. Mom told Lindsay to go get Shiflett and I told her not to. Poor Lindsay was going back and forth “Don’t go get her!” “Go get her!” “Don’t go get her!” “Go get her!” I was scared she was going to make me push. Dr. Shiflett and the nurses came in about that time and everyone was scurrying around. I looked around and thought, “Where are they going to put the baby?” About then I heard Dr. Shiflett asking what the status was on the real L & D room. I remembered I was in (what I’m assuming) was a regular antepartum room. I was on a regular hospital bed, no stirrups, no crib in the room, no overhead lights, etc. They said it was being cleaned right then. Within a couple minutes of more scurrying, it was about 1550, they said the room was ready. I was pushing (against my will) at this point when I was run down the hall into a regular delivery room. I was, then, told that I needed to scoot over to the labor bed. It looked miles away. Between my contractions/pushing I scooted over, got set for the next contraction and pushed about three good times. 
Almost there.

The excitement was palpable. They told me I was really pushing good. I felt so exhausted but, unlike with Everett’s delivery, I did feel like I was accomplishing something when I was pushing. She, somehow, gave me one final kick to my right rib, almost a farewell kick as that’s where she kicked me ever since I could feel her moving. I told them, “I can’t push anymore. It hurts too bad.” I, then, heard her heart rate monitor dropping and the nurses shared “that glance.” Dr. Shiflett said, “Sara, look at me! We HAVE to have this baby NOW. Next contraction, you’ve got it. We’re putting some oxygen on you.” “Oh God!” I prayed I would have it in me. Within 10 more seconds, not long enough to even get the oxygen and with one final big push, out she came at 1606. (Exactly two hours and 55 minutes from when I clocked out at work.) She had a nuchal cord times one, tightly around her neck, which was the reason for the decels. I looked over at Lindsay, who was sobbing and said simply, “It’s over. I did it.” 
Relief and pure joy.

Cutting the cord.
Wade was able to cut the cord and she screamed from delivery until about 20 minutes later. Her cheeks had a slightly blue tint from the cord (I would later learn her Apgars were 9 at 1 min and 9 at 5 minutes, she lacked the one because of her color.) She also had petechiae on her forehead from the brief lack of oxygen. It was all a blur after that as I waited for Dr. Shiflett to finish up. I watched, in amazement, as my sister, husband, and Mom crowded around our new daughter and I. She was 7 lbs. 9 oz and 21 1/2 inches of pure perfection. 

The only family that made it in time was Dad and my friend, Mollie. So unlike the 15-20 people in the waiting room for Everett's ten hour labor! After delivery, she nursed with ease (that always amazes me.) They took her to transition to get the full assessment, shots, etc. while I greeted our arriving family. By 1645, I got up out of bed, put my tennis shoes back on, and walked up to the postpartum floor, again refusing the wheelchair. What a ho-hum morning that turned into one of the most magical afternoons of my life. Intense, I tell you, Baby Girl. I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come!
Our girl!