Saturday, September 30, 2006

I have finally posted pictures!!! Go to Flickr and see the "Elizabeth Week 1" slideshow. If you flip through individually, you can see titles and descriptions, too. Enjoy! Feel free to come back here to the blog and tell me how adorable you think she is! ;-)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

e-Babe: 9/24/06, 3:57 am, 8lb 7oz, 20.5 inches, APGAR scores: 8 (1 min) and 9 (5 min). Punctual, overachiever. Brilliantly smart, charming.

10 minutes old!

Sorry about the delay- we've been a little bit busy, but we are home now.

The whole story? No way. Some of the story with some parts edited out for terrifying graphic content? OK.

So yes, early labor (the kind that feel like menstrual cramps) lasted 17 hours. Frankly, I never expected it to last that long. At 2:30 am, I was certain our baby would arrive ON THE 23RD. I imagine the baby expected as much, too. Seventeen hours of early labor was a piece of cake, really. I had a shower, SNG and I walked around the neighborhood a little, we went to the mall with mom and Dianaverse and looked at stuff, went home and had a nice bath, and then we waited to see what would happen.

At 9:15pm we decided to take advantage of the lull in football stadium traffic and head to the hospital. At admission time I was at 2cm. For those uninitiated to baby-making, you start at 0 cm. A baby can be born when your cervix opens to 10cm.

First of all, SNG is the best. birthing. coach. ever. I'd have fainted dead away if I had to do his job. At least my job was one of those can't-run-away-no-looking-back jobs. SNG's was, in some sense, voluntary. He's amazing under pressure.

I got my favorite doctor from the OB practice (there are 6 doctors, all of whom are fantastic, but 2 of whom are outstanding, as far as having personality and medical philospohy that matches me. Your baby is delivered by whichever one is on call. I got one of those 2). The doctor came in and told me that I was there very early in the labor, and that she expected the baby to be born sometime Sunday afternoon, and that I should settle in and just get the epidural whenever the pain got to be too much.

Our nurse, Kate, told me with a sly wink that if she had anything to do with it, we would be finished well before Sunday afternoon.

10:00- water broke naturally. That's when the hospital people consider labor to have "begun" since that triggers active labor. For the next 2 hours or so, the labor got a LOT harder, and went from bearable (can't talk through it but not freaking out from pain) to unbearable. Kate "checked" and said I had only made it to 3.5cm in 2 hours. WAAAAAH! The doctor said that I'd need to be given pitocin to speed up and intensify the labor. WAAAAAH! But wait...

I remembered the Yoda Jedi wisdom of my childbirth instructor who said that sometimes, intense labor is totally unproductive because the pain causes the mother to be tense, keeping everthing "closed up." Literally. I knew the only way I'd relax would be with epidural pain relief, so I asked for the hook up and we decided against the pitocin just yet. Two tries later (first time the epidural went into a vein instead of the nerve) and at about midnight I was juiced. It didn't feel like anything-- it's essentially novocaine for the lower body-- but I could tell when there was a contraction and I'd focus on RELAX RELAX RELAX. Sure enough, I was dilating at last.

A funny thing about epidurals, though, is that they can only keep up with labor pain if it progresses at a normal rate. If it goes fast, the medication has little or no effect at all. The doctor told of a phenomenon known as "outrunning the epidural." All that good relaxing, and within an hour I was feeling the contractions. For real. By 2am I was at 7cm. With no pitocin, I might add. The nurse decided I didn't really need it after all. Fine, as the labor was PAINFUL ENOUGH WITHOUT IT, since the epidural wasn't working. Did I mention that?

SNG was busy busy busy with massage, encouragement and talking to the nurse/doctor on my behalf (they said I sounded like darth vader with my oxygen mask on, but luckily, SNG speaks Dark Side).

By 3:15 am I was at 10cm. Apparently this is kind of fast for a first baby. The nurse had just paged the doctor at about 3:13 to say "we're progressing, you should wake up and be aware it'll be sometime this morning." Two minutes later she had to call to tell her to GET IN HERE WE ARE DELIVERING NOW.

I was not really all that cognizant of much, as by now the epidural was little more than a tube in my spine delivering something as effective as saline. I pushed. I don't want to talk about it. The nurse and the doctor were blown away that I pushed for 42 minutes, as this is very quick for a first pregnancy. They said it was all a matter of strong muscles, overall fitness, and cardio endurance. PIC, my wise Yoda-Jedi advice is to continue exercising somehow-- anything-- through the whole 3rd trimester, unless you aren't allowed to.

The bottom line, for the curious, is that other than the epidural not working, there were no complications, no forceps, no vacuum, no episiotomy, no pitocin, no c-section. Just a few stitches and the doctor told me I could start jogging again the next day, if I felt up to it. Hahahaha. She's such a funny lady (she did also say that I wouldn't feel like it for a week or so, but whenever I want to is safe).

SNG stayed with me at the hospital, and the baby slept in the room with us. We were initially told we'd be in for 2 more nights at the hospital, but Monday morning the doctors all said that she and I were fit enough to go home after 24, if we wanted to. So we came home at noon on Monday, and we're home now.

She's absolutely, totally, completely perfect in every way that a baby can be perfect. Pink, plump, and beautiful.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Today's the Due Date.

At 2:30 this morning, early labor began.

Early labor typically lasts 7-8 hours, but can take much longer for 1st babies.

It's now 5pm. Still in early labor.

Darn well better not be false labor.

Update will follow when there is more to tell.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Here are two people who look a lot more relaxed and patient than they really feel:

We took a walk down to Reedy Creek Lake today (in the state park by our house) which was a little longer than most of my walks have been lately. My bladder generally can't go more than 2 1/2 - 3 mi at a time, and so 4 1/2 miles this morning was pretty good. It's a far cry from the 8-10 miles a day I was doing before pregnancy (jogging), but my 2 walks a day are still adding up to at least 3-6 miles overall. They say that walking in the last week before the due date can induce labor. So far, no dice.

But it was a terrific walk. The mushrooms this year are more varied and interesting than I've noticed in the past:

We also have a lot more green tree frogs than usual, including this guy who has decided to take up residence in our car-washing bucket:

Actually, I found him in the laundry room, collecting lint off the floor. He was so covered in lint that it was tying up his legs so I caught him and put him in the water to rinse it off. When I tried to set him free in the backyard, he returned to the bucket. I guess it's a pretty nice oasis for a frog. Most of our green frogs live on the front and back porch glass doors, where they can catch bugs by porchlight at night. Some are as big as kumquats, and others are as small as raisins.

It was 64 degrees when we woke up, and by noon it had soared to 71. I love fall in North Carolina.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Have y'all heard this song and seen this excellent video? SNG just sent me a link to The best song I've ever heard. I will be singing it for weeks. It's just so good.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I'm sorry to report, still no baby. I'm starting to lose faith that she'll come early. I feel FINE. I have ENERGY. I'm SLEEPING NORMALLY (which, for me, means insomnia for about an hour a night on average). I don't fit into half of my maternity clothes anymore, but I'm not gaining any more weight. Since the weather has cooled off, my swollen ankles have returned to near-normal size. I'm not fanatically nesting (although since the dog passed away, I've kept the house meticulously clean Because I Can). I don't even have heartburn all that bad most of the time.

None of this bodes well for an early labor, does it? You'd think I was still happily in my 2nd trimester. Dabnabbit, give me some backaches! Braxton-Hicks contractions! Sleepless nights! Anything to suggest that I might actually give birth sometime this fiscal quarter.


I've asked mom to check into what it would cost to push her itinerary back by 5 or 6 days so that she will definitely be here for at least a month of baby time. I love her company, but there's not a lot of point having her here for a week or 2 when I'm still at work all day waiting to have a baby. So we'll see.

And yet, who knows? It could still happen tomorrow....

Monday, September 11, 2006

Fun weekend! But not very productive.
Saturday was our baby shower at Peace and Fuzzy's house, and it was really great to see everyone and to eat a whole tray of rice krispie treats and another whole tray of petit fors.

But that didn't induce labor, in spite of what everyone told me.

Sunday was my birthday, and again we had a great time. After a birthday breakfast of sausage and grits, we did a little shopping and walked around at the museum. Sunday night we had a quiet dinner at home of lobster and shrimp (both cooked in Zatarain's, of course), corn, green beans, grits, and petit fors for dessert. Mmmmmm.

That meal didn't induce labor either.

Of course, as we do every day, we walked several times.

Still no labor.

Today I walked in the morning, had an Irish lunch of roast beef with cabbage and potatoes, went to water aerobics after work, and walked after dinner.

Yeah, you know the chorus of this song by now.

But tomorrow I'll visit the doctor again and hopefully she'll have good news for me.

Unrelated: SNG had the jingle from that beer commercial with the song "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me" going through his head all day Saturday, so from time to time he'd bust out with his silly dance and sing the song. Laughing that hard might, just maybe, induce labor.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Change Happens, Life Moves On.
Everybody's been so caring about Goofch. I can't tell you how much it means to us-- thank you. We'll be OK- just sad for awhile. He was a terrific friend.

In the interest of cheering us all up, I have added some new belly pictures to the old belly picture page (scroll down to see the newer ones). I have one with the same outfit and pose (sadly, no melon this time) at 37 weeks as the picture taken at 27 weeks. What a difference 10 weeks makes. There's also a scary-belly picture, so if bellies scare you, please don't look. I don't want to scare anybody.

We've taken to calling her The Passenger lately, but I think I'll call her The Boarder. And her eviction notice is coming. She'd better pack her bags and take down all those rockstar posters from the walls because moving day is approaching. No squatters!!

The doctor told me yesterday all the stuff I usually hear: blood pressure is fantastic (thanks, mom!), hemoglobin is "One of the best I've ever seen in a woman at this stage of pregnancy!"--Doctor's quote (Thanks, dad!), weight is good, protein and sugar are normal, and Baby Is The Right Size! (what? Did I hear you right?) Yes! 38 cm fundus measurement! Go me and the Boarder!

Unfortunately, I am NOT 90% effaced, 3 cm dilated (more like 10%, 1 cm) so it doesn't look like the baby will be coming this week, or probably next week either.

I'm telling you kiddo, I don't want you squatting. I know it's a fantastic rent-controlled all-bills-paid flat you've got there, but I WILL send an eviction crew in there after you if necessary. Then all your CDs and Manolo Blahniks will be out on the lawn for the neighbors to see. And you'll be crying for mama.

And she'll come running. ;-)

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

This afternoon at 4:30, SNG and I will be taking The Goofch to the vet for one last time, and coming home without him. His health took a very bad turn over the weekend and he lost about 10 more pounds in just a few days. His doctor doesn't think it's humane to let him die of his disease, because he is in a lot of discomfort. His liver appears to have completely failed him, and he's just not a happy dog.

We adopted Goofch around October 1998, when he was nearly a year old. I saw him through the window of my hairdresser's salon, riding in the back of a pickup truck, looking skinny, but really cute. I said "Oh, what an adorable boxer!" Chloe (the hairdresser) told me that the lady who brought him, a client of the salon, had rescued him from the back lot of a puppy farm and was trying to find him a good home where he'd have a dog-buddy to play with, a yard to run in, and people to love all over him because he had been abused and would need extra care to socialize him properly. He was scared of men, mostly, but also tentative about new surroundings and loud noises. At that time, Modean was about a year and a half old and HIGH ENERGY, and needed a friend. We had a big yard. We love to love on dogs. I met the Dog Rescuer and arranged for Goofch and Modean to have a playdate, to see if they'd get along.

It was like peas and carrots, as they say. Or maybe more like beans and rice. The two of them exchanged butt-sniff-greetings and took off like brown blur across the central Texas farmland. Two days later I took Goofch home and he & Modean spent the next seven years together every single day and night.

The day I brought him home was the first time he met SNG. Goofch had jumped the fence and was confused and standing in the front yard when SNG drove up the driveway, and Goofch wouldn't let him out of the car (Bark! Bark! Bark!). I came out and Goofch ran and hid behind me while SNG got down low and introduced himself slowly. That night (and for a few nights), we put Goofch's kennel in our bedroom at night, and I slept in a sleeping bag up against it. I still remember hearing his hyperventilating every time he'd wake up and wonder where the heck he was, and what all these smells were. I'd reach in and scratch him and he'd go back to sleep.

Some funny Goofch stories, oddly all involving bodily functions:
The first (and last) time we used a kennel service with him was in New Orleans that Christmas. We drove to NOLA with both dogs (Modean was old hat at kenneling, and always made lots of friends) and left them with a kennel on Broad street near our hotel in the Quarter. Two days later, when we went to check on them, we learned that Goofch hadn't gone to the bathroom the whole time he was there. We took them for a walk and the first thing he did was POOOOOOOOOOOO all over the median outside. He never liked to poop around strangers.

Goofch could never turn down a free drink. One time, he drank the Illinois river. We were canoe-camping with my brother and sister-in-law just South of Tulsa, along with Modean and their crazy dog Eddie. Goofch drank and drank and drank every chance he got. He kept drinking and drinking as we were paddling and paddling, and then a terrible storm came our way. As we paddled like mad for safe shelter, I guess none of us realized that it had been about an hour since we last stopped to let the dogs ashore. Goofch whined and whined, and I told him to hush up. He whined some more, then stood up, looked at me with The Most Apologetic Look I've ever seen on a dog's face, and began to PEEEEEEEEEEEEEE the ENTIRE ILLINOIS RIVER onto the floor of the canoe as we dashed for shore and tossed him out, mid-stream (so to speak) and he peed for what seemed like about 5 more minutes.

When we moved from Austin to Raleigh, all the strange movers and moving equipment freaked him out a little and he, once again, didn't "go" for a few days. When we drove cross-country to Raleigh, the 2nd day of driving, in Memphis, Goofch started crying and whining and POOOOOOOOOOOOOed all over the cushion that he and Modean were sharing. In the truck, mind you. We pulled right over and tossed the cushion into a nearby dumpster, frightening the frightening-looking junkies on the corner with our terrible stench. That evening, we let him run free in a field, and he'd RUN and POO and RUN and POO and every time he'd POO he'd get this very JOYFUL look about him and run a little bit faster.

Even with all his anxieties, this dog had no agression in him at all. Over time, with a lot of coaxing, he made friends with everybody, and became the (slightly portly) loverboy we all knew. He transformed into a confident, happy, sweet dog over the next few years. He'd even go to the bathroom in strange circumstances and became a terrific traveler. A lot of it can be blamed on Modean, who was completely fearless and really loved EVERYONE. Goofch had no choice but to go with the flow, so he learned that most people were his friends, too.

That dog LOVED children. The number of times I've caught a child torturing him one way or another, by using him as a pillow (#1 Goofch trick, by the way), pulling on his ample lips and cheeks to make him "smile," trying to climb on him like a pony, painting his nails with smelly nail polish, wrestling with him, chewing on him, you name it. And he was in heaven the whole time! The dog just couldn't get enough attention from the little ones. They loved him and he loved them.

After Modean passed away, G was a wreck. He didn't sleep at night for several months. He finally recovered (forgot??), but he never felt the same way about the dog-room without his Modean.

Everybody loved him very much and he had a better life than he would've had at the Puppy Farm. This is a terribly difficult decision to make, and although we trust that the vet is right, SNG and I both feel ripped wide open.

SNG helped Goofch post a farewell letter on the Dog Blog- please check it out.

There will always be Goofch- and Modean-sized dog-cushions in my heart.