Happy New Year!/6 months old already!

Happy New Year everyone!

The past few months have been so full that I just haven’t had the energy to keep WordPress updated, but just in case there’s still someone out there reading: hi!

At the end of September we found a house, made an offer and suddenly we were faced with selling our flat and eventually, moving. In between keeping our home clean for open houses, my father and his wife visited us from the States, our baby turned 4 months old and just before moving she learned how to flip over on to her belly. We moved to a beautiful 3 bedroom house, which finally means we have enough space, baby has her own room for when eventually she’ll move out of our bedroom, and we have our own yard, and meanwhile baby turns 5 months. She learned to flip back onto her belly. At five months at her vaccinations she started not sleeping at night: nearly a month of broken nights, at its worst, jumping out of bed every 15 minutes to calm her down. First the vaccines, then a cold and fever, and maybe just developing so quickly have made our previously dream-sleeper into a restless baby at night. In the midst of all of these I attended quarterly workshops for BodyPump and BodyBalance and started preparing to start teaching classes on Sundays again.

We started test-feeding baby things besides milk soon after her 5 month “birthday”: sweet potato, butternut squash, potato, avocado, cauliflower, apple, pear, mango… and she loves it all! My only piece of advice: don’t feed baby mango before bedtime or they will never sleep! The most exciting part of course is that our little mustard-squirting machine is well, no longer that, which means that this cloth-diaper business just got a lot easier: just drop/scrape or rinse the product into the toilet, rinse the diaper a little bit, and voilà! No more endless scrubbing, huzzah!

Baby turned six months on the 21st and is developing so quickly! She’s crawling backwards (only backwards) and whenever she tries to go forward she ends up coming up on hands and knees and rocks her self back and forth. Today I saw her coming up to a plank pose! I’m pretty convinced she’s going to start crawling soon! And what a delight she has become! She’s squealing, yelling, cutely babbling baby talk–testing her voice, developing a sense of humor! She’s nearly sitting up on her own, playing with her toys… she’s growing up so fast! Pretty soon it’ll be summer and she’ll be turning one!

We spent baby’s first Christmas at our new home, and this New Year’s eve as people are shooting fireworks, my wife and I are romantically eating home-made sushi and stuffing diapers in our sweats.

Happy New Year, all! Make it a good one!

One year ago today…

Exactly one year ago today it was a rainy, windy, and chilly autumn day. I had a cold and wasn’t feeling too great except for the fact the day ahead of us would change our lives forever. That morning we drove to the clinic for the last time. Four days prior, seven follicles had been harvested from my ovaries, of which only two had gone on to divide normally, and on that day, Thursday October 1st, 2013, one of those 8-celled emrbyos was placed in my womb.

The procedure was completely uneventful. I undressed from the waist down and climbed onto the table like I’d done dozens (upon dozens upon dozens) of times before. I placed my feet into the stirrups, slid down and opened my legs, but this time there was more on the line. There would be no more inseminations, only IVF. This time though everything else felt the same physically, it was already a beginning of a life that was carefully placed inside me. The doctor found a perfect looking spot and there it was–a white dot on the monitor, the first picture ever taken of our baby.

The two week wait was insufferable as always, but exactly 10 days after the transfer I started experiencing crazy moodswings. It was my partner’s birthday, and I was feeling so off-whack I felt like leaving the birthday brunch I threw for her. I was never one for any crazy PMS, so this was a new sensation that led me to think something could be up. Just as with prior chemical pregnancies (or residual Pregnyl) I had bizarre vertigo, colors seemed almost violently brighter, and I felt like stranger in my own body. A few days later I couldn’t resist not knowing anymore, and on a tuesday two days before I was ‘supposed’ to, I took the test. 2-3 weeks pregnant, it said. There was no going back.

My beautiful girl is 3,5 months old. Motherhood is everything and nothing like I could ever imagine. The love I feel for that little human is something more and beyond I thought I was ever capable of feeling. I am extremely privileged to be able to stay at home until the end of March with her.

The first weeks are a blur–I remember mostly breast feeding and being sore. Then I had my little complication, after which recovery seems to have sped up exponentially. We take long walks in the nearby central park (which is really a forest, not a park), attend mommy-baby yoga on Thursdays, visit with friends and wash lots and lots of laundry. All babies spit up some, but some babies spit up much more than others. Somewhere in the last 15 weeks my tiny new born has grown into a little baby who babbles her little head off at familiar pictures and toys (and her parents, of course), grabs things, turns to her side, and lets me know when she needs to burp while eating. We’ve survived some pretty serious poop-situations in very public places (thank goodness for child-care areas in shopping malls, you’ve saved my life!), some very sleepless nights, and even her first vaccinations.

Overall, little summer Solstice baby is very content (her smile is infectious!), sleeps like a dream (usually wakes up only once to feed per night), and is incredibly social and playful. Due to her new interest in turning to her side, diaper changes have become quite a challenge.

Speaking of diapers we switched to cloth diapers about a month ago–it was something I always wanted to do, but considering my challenging last trimester of pregnancy, I only got around to doing my research and buying the diapers after I first got used to this whole baby business. That’s been a whole new world, but as they say, even one cloth diaper a day relieves some environmental pressure. Anyone else doing this?

In other news, we just bought a bigger house! As if having a baby wasn’t enough of a life-changing event!

Complication

So apparently there can be complications from the delivery over four weeks after the fact.

Last Tuesday, four weeks and three days after giving birth to Solstice Baby, I suddenly started bleeding heavily.

We had gotten up about an hour earlier and I was handing the baby over to my partner when I got up from our white leather chair and immediately saw a small pool of blood. I ran to the bathroom and discovered, that not only had I bled through a maxi pad, my underwear and the shorts I was wearing, but I was continuously bleeding into the toilet. It felt like an open faucet, just not with a lot of pressure. So I just sat there bleeding, alerted my wife, asked her to bring me a fresh pair of underwear -and waited. As I rinsed myself off I saw, what looked like a small piece of liver, just outside my opening, and was able to examine it. “Shit,” I thought. “Could this be a piece of placenta?”

So I call the hospital, they say if the bleeding doesn’t subside to call an ambulance, but it had calmed down enough to have my wife drive me. We played the endless waiting game at the ante natal emergency clinic…eventually I saw the doctor who, using ultrasound, discovered another piece of placenta still in my uterus. Partially do to the prodding and probing, another massive waterblood fall happened…so I had blood drawn, they waited wether it would come out on its own during that hemorrhage, but it didn’t. Several hours and another ultrasound later they decided to admit me, and to perform a hysteroscopy under general anaesthetic or a D&C.

So..I spent the night at the hospital, had the hysteroscopy in the morning as was able to go home that evening. They were able to remove all residual placenta and membrane tissue and hopefully I can put this all behind me. And, I am incredibly lucky I didn’t contract an infection, because that would have been much, much, much worse.

My wife went back to work this week after five blissful weeks at home together with the baby. So far so good, but wow everything takes sooo loooong!

The birth story of our midsummer solstice baby

Solstice baby is four weeks old as of yesterday, and I realize I haven’t been very active on here, neither reading nor posting! Taking care of a newborn and breastfeeding really is a full-time job! My partner has one more week left of vacation before going back to work, and after five weeks of having two pairs of hands, it’ll be interesting to do this by myself!

I have really enjoyed reading the birth stories of your lovely babies on here, so now it’s my turn!

Midsummer solstice baby was born on Saturday, June 21st at 11:36am. As I’d written numerous times before, I experienced continues painful contractions for the last seven weeks of my pregnancy. Despite most likely being Braxton-Hicks contractions, I have to say that the day I went into labor and was experiencing once again, regular, painful contractions, I wasn’t especially worried.

For several weeks before the birth, I had been trying all sorts of old wive’s methods of self-inducing labor, from acupressure to walking, from cleaning to eating spicy food..and pretty much anything I could think of. On Friday the 20th, however, I was determined to get this baby out. I started out the day as usual with breakfast and pressing some known acupressure points in my ankles. I was having my very typical semi-painful Braxton-Hicks about 20mins apart, but then again, I had been having them every day for seven weeks. After breakfast my beautiful wife and I had a lovely shower together. I won’t go into any details, but let’s just say orgasms definitely can bring on contractions. Sadly for me, there wasn’t any change in my contractions. I had heard that walking up hills or stairs could also help, so after lunch I started out on a quest: I walked up and down the 11 stories of stairs of our apartment building three times! On the last two times my partner accompanied me and we would run up one flight, then walk up the next. Definitely more intense contractions, but still not really any different than before.

Sidestep: over here in Northern Europe, Midsummer is a pretty big deal. Almost everyone in the city leaves to the countryside to their cottages, and many start their long 4-6 week summer vacations from Midsummer. Tourists are always shocked to find almost all businesses closed and a ghost town if they visit this time of year. We had been invited to few of our friends cottages, but considering my due date was just three days away, we decided staying in the city was our best option. My mother and her partner had invited us over for dinner and a sauna that evening, since they too wanted to be around in case baby decided to come.

On our way to my mom’s, we also stopped by our friends’ house for a short while. Since also champagne is known to help with inducing labor, I indulged in one glass. The contractions were seemed to be coming a little closer together now (maybe 15mins apart), but as usual, I paid no attention to them. After a nice chat with our friends, we continued over my mom’s. We had a a nice mild sauna (another labor inducer), where I thought I could have trickled some fluid, but I wasn’t sure. By the time we were eating around 9pm, my contractions were coming 8-9mins apart, and my partner felt like they seemed intense enough to start timing them. And yes, perhaps I agreed that there was something a tiny bit different about them, perhaps a bit more pressure than I had felt before. Still, I have had so many false alarms, that I really didn’t think much of it. At this point though, my partner was sure that this was it.. she thought I was reacting a bit differently to them. We had originally planned on staying overnight, but I had a strong feeling of needing to go home.

We were both feeling a bit restless after getting home, and maybe watched some tv, until I just declared we should just go to bed and try to get some sleep. I still wasn’t convinced there was anything different going on. Then after what felt like just falling asleep, at 01:50 I woke up to a feeling of a pop and I felt my water breaking. As I realized this, I turned to my partner telling her this, and the majority of the fluid ended up on her. She was pretty quickly roused from sleep, and I just sort of hovered there, dripping, not quite sure how to make it to the bathroom without ruining our parquet floors. (One thinks of really relevant things..) I had heard it could often take hours after the rupturing of the membranes before contractions started, so I showered and started to get things ready. But about five minutes later, BAM. Crazy intense contractions that had me bent over leaning on our fitness ball moaning. Again thinking things would start slow, I started doing the dishes (!) and making my partner some coffee (!), but none of which I was able to finish. I had my partner call the hospital to let them know we were coming, and she got the rest of our things together. At this point I had totally lost sense of time, but the first few contractions came about 5mins apart, and immediately escalated to 3mins apart lasting just over a minute each, with only about 1 minute and a half in between. I still foolishly thought I’d have plenty of time to wait things out at home, but I had no idea my contractions were coming that often, and was kind of annoyed at being rushed.

By the time we got to the hospital, the contractions were coming 1,5-2mins apart, lasting for over a minute, and I was in some pretty serious pain. I was still only 1,5cm dilated, but was almost completely effaced. They attached a monitor probe to the baby’s head so I could move around with more freedom, and I stood around contracting waiting for someone to bring me a fitness ball. And now this part is the only thing I regret… after I got the ball and only after a few contractions, the midwife pretty much insisted I get some pain relief. I tried refusing and saying I was doing just fine riding the contractions out with some prenatal yoga relaxation techniques but unable to read me in that condition, even my partner agreed that I could use some pain relief. So, I got a shot of petidine, a morphine-derived drug. After a while it started making me dizzy so I climbed in bed. For the next however long, I used laughing gas to get through the contractions.

Then suddenly I started feeling very nauseous…and started throwing up. Massively. Multiple times. From this point on things get a bit confused. I showered after each time I threw up, hung out in the shower for a bit… but the last time it happened I felt like my whole body just went into panic mode. I stopped being able to relax through the contractions and I was shaking, apparently not making any sense, and when the midwife suggested an epidural, I only felt relieved. After it started having an effect, I was 6cm dilated. Then for the next two hours as I was in pain-free bliss, I slept. Rested. Gathered strength. An hour and a half later I was fully dilated. Time for baby to descend into the birth canal and rotate into the birthing position.

For first time mothers our midwife said it could take two hours at the fastest, so we settled down to wait. I got down from the bed to sit on the ball, and we even tried watching some Netflix. But the contractions were starting to get more intense again, and very different, The most intense pressure I have ever felt. Not the urge to push, but just crazy intense pressure. About an hour and a half into it, the midwife came to check on me, but baby hadn’t budged! Worried that the descent might take many more hours, I asked for some added epidural. However, 20mins later… baby’s heart rate suddenly dropped below 70, and the midwife came rushing in. She checked, and baby was ready to come, it was time to push! I almost regret having that extra epidural, but it did allow me to be very present during the delivery of our daughter.

We had to get baby out pretty fast, so her heart rate would go back up.. so I had to push lying down, which was pretty much the one thing I didn’t want to do. Pushing seemed very natural, directing the pressure towards the pubis. I was able to push the head out further each time, but it just wouldn’t come out all the way, so our midwife called in for some help, just in case they needed to use a suction cup. My contractions faded, though I still felt the pressure, so the other midwife manually helped cause them by manipulating my abdomen. About 24 minutes into pushing, she snipped a small cut, and I was able to push baby out completely with the next contraction, in one relieving push. Instantly the burning sensation from the stretching stopped, everything stopped. Our baby cried as soon as her head was out. They announced it was a girl. She was rubbed down, placed on my chest, and we all just cried and stared at each other while I was being stitched up. Just one tiny minor tear, plus the partial episiotomy. Well, the baby didn’t cry, that was just my partner and I. And it was amazing.

Labor from when my waters broke was 9,5 hours. And then we had a daughter. Three days inpatient, getting to know eachother, learning about breast feeding, feeling bewildered and the happiest ever.

And that was that story 🙂 More to come soon!

Still intact (38 weeks)

I’m starting to get the feeling I’m one of those people who get to experience weeks on end of painful Braxton-Hicks, and has all sorts of pre-labor symptoms but when the time comes for labor to begin, nothing happens and I’ll be induced at 42 weeks. Sigh.

I’m 38 weeks and 4 days and feel gargantuan. I continue to contract but nothing aside from water breaking or near-death contractions will make me think I’m in labor anymore. I’ve had on and off super intense tightening the past few days, and baby has been putting on the craziest disco show since 1995. Today I’ve felt immense pressure in my pelvic floor, tail bone and cervix and I have a feeling the pinkish discharge I’ve noticed a few times since the weekend means that I’ve effaced and dilated more.

I know that the worst case scenario is that I could be pregnant for another 2 or so weeks, but I’m still hoping for showtime in the next few days.

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No change (36 weeks and 2 days pregnant)

My situation with in again off again early labor is as stagnant as ever. A week ago Tuesday I was certain this was it: I started getting regular and continuously more painful contractions around 6pm, which by 10pm were only getting more intense. So we called the maternity ward and they told us to come in. After 30 minutes on the CTG machine tracking the contractions and baby’s heartbeat I had an internal exam which revealed I was still (STILL!!) only 1,8cm dilated, which I had been a week and a half prior. The midwife concluded that though I was obviously in pain, I wasn’t in active labor so we were sent home with painkillers. Thanks to them I was able to sort of sleep and the next day I was contraction free.

Then last Thursday I started getting regular contractions again in the afternoon. And the next four days this went on in 3-20min intervals. The closer together, the more intense and painful, and vice versa. This time I decided I wouldn’t take any painkillers or call the hospital unless I was in total agony. But…no dice. Just as soon as it seemed like yes indeed the contractions were getting closer together and this might be going somewhere, a few hours later they would subside again.

On Wednesday I started seeing what I interpreted as the mucous plug… Thick, light brownish/bloody slime which came out in small amounts over just over two days. Supposedly that means labor isn’t too far off…

So. Effing. Frustrating!

I’ve had a day and a half mostly without painful contractions and I’m just waiting for things to get moving and for baby to come out. I cannot handle three and a half more weeks of this.

On Monday my prenatal yoga teacher commented that my face looks different from a week ago, my lips swollen somehow. She also said my belly was clearly lower and that he guessed I wouldn’t be in class next week anymore. I really hope so!

I’ve been stimulating acupressure points for inducing labor, but so far they only result in Braxton-Hicks. Now to the gym. Let’s get this baby out!