Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Labor Story: Part II

I went to sleep fully expecting for some contractions to wake me up so when I did wake up having some nice regular and intense contractions I was really glad I had finally gone into labor. I decided I would try and sleep in between them so I could get as much rest as possible. So I was a little disappointed when I woke up the next morning and realized that I had slept through the rest of the night and nothing had happened :-( That meant we needed to head to the hospital to confirm that my water had broken.

During the pregnancy I had mused over how the drive to the hospital would be. With Quinn we were in New haven and delivering at Yale. All we needed to do was drive less than 5 minutes down one street to the hospital. With James we were delivering at St. Raphaels which is also in New Haven and on average about 15 minutes away. However, the freeway can get really busy with rush hour traffic and so I had hoped we would be heading to the hospital at a time when there wasn't a lot of traffic. What do you do if you are stuck in traffic and are in labor? Do you honk a lot? Do you drive down the shoulder? Maybe you just have the baby in the car???

Thankfully it was early on Sunday morning and I wasn't in labor so we didn't have to worry about that one. It felt kind of surreal driving to the hospital knowing we were going to have a baby but without actually being in labor.

We headed up to Labor and Delivery and they hooked me up to the monitor to check the baby's heartbeat and to measure any contractions. Nancy's shift had ended by the time we got there but Melanie was now on call. I was really glad.

The practice we went to had four midwives that you saw for your prenatal visits. I loved all of them except for one. Not that I didn't like her just this particular midwife we had only seen once and that was to confirm we were pregnant. She was nice enough but we just didn't really click. We randomly rotated through all of the midwives throughout the pregnancy but it just so happened we never saw the first midwife again except at the hospital tour where again I didn't feel a great connection. She had also delivered a friend's baby who didn't have the best experience with her. Then there were three other midwives that worked at the hospital, one of whom I had only met briefly at the hospital tour and had never seen for prenatal visits, so there was a chance that there could be a woman we had never met with previously delivering our baby. We were really pleased to hear that Melanie was there and that she would be on call for a while.

After they had monitored me and the baby for a while they checked to if my water had broken. And the test was positive. There was no turning back now. Melanie explained to us that in general when you water breaks you have 24 hours to have the baby. Now that there was a hole in the amniotic sack there was a high risk for infection. However the doctor that was currently on call was more of the opinion that you had 24 hours to go into labor. So that meant we had some decisions to make. I could go ahead and be induced then and there with Pitocin. Or we could try a more mild induction called Misoprostol. Or we could try walking, massage, sitting on the birthing ball etc to get things rolling. As I wanted to have as natural a childbirth as possible this seemed like a great option. I had been starting to have a few contractions and was hopeful my uterus would realize it was time to start working harder. We were officially omitted and started walking!

And walking and walking and walking....that hallway was not very long and it wasn't the most exciting walk. At one end there was the NICU, on the other the OR. Now normally I would be super excited about both of those places...from a medical point of view. But not today, I didn't want me or James ending up in either one of those rooms. ( I think that they should have an indoor track on the Labor and Delivery floor. )

It turned out to be a pretty fun morning. We walked, talked and laughed and then alternated the walking with resting, massage and sitting on the birthing ball watching some football. The contractions would start to pick up and be nice and strong and then they would stop again. Then they would be pick up and then die down. At some point in the morning Melanie came back to check how things were going and as we weren't having much luck asked if would like to try 'breaking my water" some more to see if that would help get things going.

No one really knows what causes a woman to go into labor but one thought is that the change in pressure from the loss of fluid when your water breaks can trigger it. As I really just had a tiny pinprick there hadn't been enough of a shift in pressure to get labor going. I was all for trying this. Sadly it didn't work. James' head was so low down that even though there was a tiny bulge of the amniotic sac in front of his head it was hard to get to. And man did it hurt! After trying to get it for a few minutes Melanie announced that she had gotten through the first layer, the Chorion but not the second, the Amnion. She said that hopefully though the procedure had released a few prostaglandins (the hormone is released when your membranes are stripped) and that even though she hadn't been able to let out any more fluid that maybe the hormone would get things going.

Around 1:00 we decided we would need to try something else. We were getting close to 5:30, the 24 hour mark, and so we thought we would step it up a notch with the Misoprostol. When we checked in I was at 2 cm and about 50% effaced. We hoped that the Miso would help me dilate a few more centimeters and become more effaced so that if we did need to induce with pitosin I would be more ready. The Miso seemed to get things going. The contractions became a little more regular and more intense. We kept walking for a while and then they put me back on the monitor to see how things were picking up. Melanie came in and said that things were looking very good.

And about 20 minutes later the contractions died down again. It was now 6:30. You can do Miso once every four hours and in general it takes about 2-4 rounds to get things going. You also can't be having too many contractions to be able to have it. By this point we were getting very tired and emotionally drained. If we kept doing the Miso it could be another 12 hours before anything happened and we didn't want to be so tired that we couldn't get through labor. That and for no other reason than it just felt right we decided it was time to try Pitocin. This was a big decision, Pitosin really scared me.

Now I have to mention the nurse that was assigned to us during the afternoon. As I want to be a nurse I have tried to make a mental log of things that I like about the nurses I have had and the things that I don't. The first nurse we had was great. Friendly, interested in us, good at what she did but kept a professional distance. The second nurse was nice but super opinionated. After hearing we were from Utah she made some very rude and snotty comments about our religion. This left me feeling uncomfortable around her. I didn't think she needed to agree with us or believe as we did but here was a person that might be helping bring our second son into the world yet obviously didn't respect us. Later on she bluntly told me that she thought way too women receive epidurals. Pain management during labor is a very personal thing, I don't think there is any right or wrong to it. Every labor and person is different and you have to make the decisions that are right for you. As a health care provider you should never express an opinion like that. I was a little offended. I was hoping to go through labor without an epidural, but what if I decided to get one? I didn't feel she would be very supportive. After we made the decision to start the pitocin she asked why we had made that decision in a tone obvious that she didn't approve. There I was feeling feeling very nervous about being induced with pitocin and she is questioning that decision.Thank goodness her shift ended a few minutes later. Compare her to Kira our third nurse of the say, who was completely supportive, was friendly and made us smile, spent time getting to know Peter as well as me (I feel husbands are often neglected during labor) and a great labor coach who stayed an hour after her shift ended to see things through to the end. I hope I am a Kira one day.

For all our Utah readers!

Remember these fantastic newborn pictures of Quinn?

These pictures were taken by our friend JoDee. Her pictures are super fun, candid and creative. We absolutely love them! She took some of little James this week and we can't wait to see them.

JoDee will be in Utah booking mini photography sessions September 9th-11th. Her pictures are fabulous, don't miss out!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Labor Story: Part I

Note: Gushing fluids, bodily functions, goop, pain, more gushing fluid, more pain, tender moments, football and love are discussed in this series of posts. After all it is a labor story :-)

The week before James was born had been really busy! Lots of fun activities for Quinn which we both enjoyed but when Friday came around it was time to have Mommy and Quinn time! I also had a feeling that James would be here really soon and I wanted to make sure I snuck in those last few precious one-on-one moments which I knew were going to be more rare in the up coming weeks. We had a fun relaxing day which was sorely needed. I was so big and tired it felt good just to lay on the floor and play. I had been having intense Braxton Hicks contractions for the past couple of nights and a couple false alarms and was feeling a little emotional as well as physical exhausted.

Saturday I felt pretty sick. Just nauseas and weird. I spent a lot of the afternoon sleeping. I remembered that the day before I had Quinn I had felt sick also and wondered if this was a sign James would be here soon. And maybe this is TMI, but as this is a true story I will mention that I had to go #2 a lot. something that I knew could happen before labor starts. That, the nasueas and the feeling that labor was coming made me sure it would be within the next couple of days but after feeling like I had been going into labor for a week I definitely did not think it would be that night. Especially since I still had two more weeks to go!

Around 5:30pm I was standing in the living room talking with Peter when all of a sudden I felt a little gush of fluid. I said "uh-oh!" and raced to the bathroom. Peter came running behind me. "What is it?"
"I think my water just broke" I replied but I felt stupid even as I said it. There was barely any fluid. It was probably just some lost bladder control, which made me feel even more stupid. I had been thinking I was going to labor so many times that week that I was jumping on every little thing. Yet at the same time it had felt a little different. I wasn't sure what had happened.

We discussed calling the midwives and decided that maybe we would wait a little just to be sure. We were supposed to be babysitting our friends' kids in about a half hour and I wasn't sure whether we should call and cancel. I would have hated to have called and said that we couldn't come to find out it really wasn't my water that had broken and that they had missed out on their date because I had no bladder control.

I decided to take a quick shower and as I was getting dressed noticed that there was a little more fluid. I ran, well waddled into the living room and told Peter I was pretty sure that it was my water that had broken. We called to cancel babysitting and worked on making some dinner. Bangers and Mash! I know England doesn't have a great culinary reputation but you can't beat bangers and mash, its awesome! Almost as good as fish and chips and probably just about as good for you.

After dinner I noticed, well ...nothing! We put Quinn to bed and turned on a movie. It was a great distraction but after it was over I was feeling really foolish. I wasn't in labor, I wasn't even feeling crampy like I had constantly all week. I went to the bathroom again because at 38 weeks pregnant thats pretty much all you ever do. This time however I noticed a lot more fluid. I was so relieved that I wasn't crazy and felt a lot more confident that it was my water that had broken. We called the midwife who was on call, Nancy. Yay for Nancy, she was one of the midwives I felt very comfortable with. The call was slightly discouraging though. She said that it sound a little suspicious that it really was my water that had broken as there was so little fluid but we should come in and be checked. She said we could come in that night or wait until morning. We opted to wait until the morning. We still had Quinn at home, and while Nancy had put a little doubt in my mind that my water had broken I was still sure that that was what was going on and was pretty sure I would go into labor if I just gave it a little time.

We were both getting pretty excited. Our little Jimmy bean would be here soon! We started putting some last minute things into the hospital bag, packed a bag for Quinn, put the last of the dishes in the dishwasher and tried to get things as ready as possible. I found our cell phones so we could charge them and I noticed we had missed a call from Jodee, the friend we were supposed to be babysitting for that night, offering to take Quinn for the night in case I did go into labor. We decided this was a good idea and took Quinn downstairs to their apartment. (Note to self: Always live in an apartment building with awesome friends with awesome kids that you trade babysitting with. Its fantastic!) I felt sad as I gave Quinn a hug goodbye. I was so unsure of how our family dynamic was going to change. I felt worried that I wouldn't be able to give Quinn the time and attention he needed. Even though its hard to stay home sometimes I wouldn't trade it for anything and I loved him and me just hanging out doing our thing. I was going to miss that, even if I was excited for another little son. I also didn't want this to be the last time I held him. It sounds so pessimistic but even with modern medicine things can go wrong in labor. It is one of the hardest things your body can do and even though the possibility is small women still lose their lives giving birth. I let myself be sad until Peter got back from taking him downstairs and they told my self to snap out of it. Everything was going to be fine. We were ready for another baby, we could do this! We went to bed feeling calm and excited, me still a little sad but happy at the same time and convinced that in a few hours I would be in labor.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

James Benjamin Bracken

August 8, 2010
5lbs 15oz

Friday, August 6, 2010

Ten signs your baby is done baking

You are no longer sure of the color of your toe nail polish

You need a crane to turn you over in bed

You are eating twice as much as your husband

Your baby's feet can reach past your bottom ribs

You are constantly 10 degrees hotter than everyone else

Even your husbands shirts are getting tight

Your bathroom trips exceed the number of hours in the day

You have scrubbed and reorganized everything in your home, including under the bed

You can no long bend over so you resort to picking things up with your toes

You can use your belly as a table

Like a thermometer in a turkey, your belly button has popped out

Monday, August 2, 2010


Running, I miss you. We haven't been friends in a while. Swollen feet and belly have kept me away.

I miss the endorphin rush, you made me happy :-) I miss being in shape, that made me happy too!
I miss the feeling of pushing through the hard parts, of trying to stay ahead (or trying not to be lapped as the case may be).

I miss the pounding heart, the red face, the sweat
I miss the sense of accomplishment and triumph.

Give me a few more weeks and I'll be back out there, pounding up those hills, muscles burning, trying to catch my breath, feeling the world fly by and pushing myself once more. I can't wait!

Quinn and Daddy

19 Months

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Too small? Nope not at all. This little guy is estimated to be in the 51 percentile at 6lbs 7oz.

But yay for a reason to do another ultrasound. Peter wasn't able to come to this one so I asked the technician if she could get try and get a couple of good pictures I could take home to show Peter. She took these awesome 3-D pictures. I thought maybe it would ruin things to get an idea of what he looks like before he was born but it didn't. The first picture she did was so amazing. It brought tears to my eyes. As soon as I saw it my heart went all soft and mushy. But for some reason she wasn't happy with it and took these instead which I still think turned out fantastic.
So cute and smushy!

3 more weeks little guy!

37 Weeks

I love reaching this point in pregnancy.

Mainly because I know that if the baby is born now that he is full term and will be okay. I also love the anticipation and excitement of expecting a new born.

Yes, its hard waiting and wondering when he will get here. Getting stuck in bed and having to have Peter push me out. Making Peter rub my feet and ankles because they are swollen. (I think this is a hard time on my poor hubby too!) Wondering if each set of Braxton Hicks will turn into the real thing.

But I love knowing that a new little person will be joining our family soon. Its so fun to put the finishing touches on things. To fold all the sweet tiny clothes. To strap in the car seat and marvel that soon it will be holding a special little boy.