Carrie's Adventures

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The first week ~ we made it

As we drove home from the hospital, it was overwhelming to realize that we are now parents and this wee person is the visitor who will be staying with us always!

The first few days were all about just getting through the day. It was very little sleep and although you think you are ready for it ~ when you actually go through it, it is way harder than you think.

Sofia's replacement bassinet had not yet arrived, so we were trying to figure out where we were going to have her sleep. Akis was so worried that we would roll onto her if she slept on the bed, that the first night he spent watch both Sofia and I sleep. Sofia wasn't great at sleeping on her own and was only sleeping while held ~ putting her down was a sure fire way to wake her up. This makes it much more difficult to get sleep and we realized that for either of us to sleep we would need to adopt a tag team strategy.

Having visited a Haemotologist during my pregnancy I was made aware that the first 6 weeks post partum that I would be more prone to blood clots. During the first week, I did have a few visits to the Hospital just to get stuff checked out to be on the safe side. As it all turned out, we were good to go, but packing up a brand new baby and spending time in the ER was not necessarily the most restful way to spend the first week as a mom.

By the time the midwife came to visit on day 3 at home, I think we had 2 or 3 hrs sleep per day. A long cry from what I was used to. As it was, we were doing anything we needed to get by ~ car rides to get Sofia to sleep, frozen dinners, alternating napping. Hugo was still with Steve and Aislynn which was a help, but I really missed him and wanted us all to be together.

We did manage to get the hang of the feeding ~ and that is what I seemed to be doing on an hourly basis.

The first few weeks are a bit of a blur and it is true, you need to nap when the baby naps. It took me that first week to appreciate this advice and follow it. It also became very clear that first week that all priorities have changed. It's not about completing my list of 'to do's, but rather taking care of Sofia.

I write more lists ~ cause I don't remember things as well. I cross fewer things off the list ~ cause things seem to take much longer to do now than they did before. I've realized that I need to commit with caveats ~ cause you just don't know what will happen and if you will actually be able to get done what you are promising. These are the lessons I have learned in Week 1.

We received some lovely flowers ~ this arrangement came from Grandpapa Jim
These were from my work.
These were from the folks Akis works with.
Overall, she has been really great and a keeper. She is pretty cute but we may be biased. :)

Akis has been helping out with the bum changes ~ he is getting good!

Sofia Arrives!

It was in the early morning hours of September 2nd that everything started to happen. I was up at 2am for my usual bathroom break when I noticed things were starting to change. I crawled back into bed and wondered if today was going to be the day. A few hours later I was up with some small rhythmic cramps and I sat and pondered if these were the beginnings of the contractions. After resting for an hour, I woke up Akis and said that I thought I was having contractions and we may be in for a long day. Making my way to the tub, I sat for the next few hours in the tub while Akis wandered in and out with his paper, pencil and a watch with a second hand.

With contractions coming at regular intervals, we called the midwife. Speaking with Thea, she said asked how the contractions were on a scale from 1 to 10. I said that it was about a 7, but that I really didn't know what a 10 was, so maybe it was really a 3. In hindsight, I would definitely say it was only a 2.5! We left things that we would call her in the afternoon and let her know how things were going.

I continued to labour at home and by 9:30, the contractions were more intense and closer together. I suggested that Akis call the Doula ~ Vanessa ~ and the midwife. Things then started to happen very quickly as Aislynn and Neva came to pick up Hugo. Kudos to him ~ depsite my labour, he wasn't freaking out and was leaving me to moan and do what I needed to do. Vanessa and Thea arrived shortly after 11am. Thea sat through a few contractions and then suggested she check how far along I was. I was surprised to hear that my cervix was completely thinned out and dialated to 4 cm already. My water hadn't broken, but it was quite clear that today was going to be the day!

With the option of staying at home or heading to the hospital, I opted for the hospital as they have drugs! We got into the car, 4 contractions later we made the 7km drive to the hospital. In true Akis fashion, I had to give directions on how to get there ~ 'Ela, where do I turn???'

Once I arrived, Thea asked for the epidural, however they would not administer this until I had blood work done to check my clotting levels. I was disappointed to know that relief would be longer in coming and tried to figure out a game plan to get through the next half hour. I started to labour in the shower as water seemed to be very soothing and had the support of Vanessa. Akis had a hard time seeing my labour and the pain that was occurring ~ he spent most of the time in the room but wasn't actively involved until the drugs came. After almost 2 hours of waiting, labouring and being somewhat cranky to both Vanessa and the nurse, I was worried that the baby was going to be coming before the drugs would. The contractions were like nothing I had ever felt before and I have a great appreciation for those folks who do this drug free ~ I also realized that this much pain is not for me.

I was really happy to see the 'drug' lady and once the epidural came, things were looking much better. The nurse even commented that I was quite humourous. It is amazing what can happen when you have drugs to numb some of the pain.

I had been 7cm until Thea broke my water and then receeded to 4cm. It would seem that the water had been stretching things out and without that pressure, we had a bit more work to do. It took about 2 hrs to get to the full 10cm and Akis and I spent some time resting.

It was around 5:30 or so when we started to push. I was pretty numb but was getting the hang of what needed to be done. We had pushed maybe half a dozen times when the heart rate dropped and didn't come back up after the contraction. There was also some challenges in reading the heart rate, so they put a probe on the baby's head. With the problems with the heart rate, the OB was called in to evaluate the situation. She arrived with someone in tow, and the next thing I know the room went from being 3 excluding Akis and I to 12. The was a lot of rushing, a lot of talk about heart rates, some attempts to resolve things by rolling me back and forth, and a final decision that we are looking at getting the baby out ASAP. The options were to try forceps and failing that it would be an emergency C-section. I received a LOT more drugs in anticipation of the C-section. I was quite concerned about how things were with the baby as there was a lot of discussion about the heart rate. Randal had replaced Vanessa as our Doula and she was fantastic ~ she stood next to me and let me know what was happening, what the plan was and that the baby was OK. Akis was also quite distressed during this time as he wasn't sure what was happening or what to expect.

I was rolled into the OR ~ Thea and Akis were there with me and there was a lot of prep. Being numb from the chest down, I can't actually tell you what they did, but I do know that there was some prep work done and then a request that I push. I'm not sure how effective I was but it was with about 3 pushes and the baby had arrived. She was placed on my lower belly with her back to me and the thing I noticed was her huge head of dark hair. She was taken away quite quickly to be checked out ~ and ironically enough no one told us if it was a boy or a girl. Thea asked Akis if he wanted to see the baby while I was being 'repaired' and it was then that I asked what we had ~ seems even the midwife didn't know.

The following moments were quite overwhelming with emotion and relief that Sofia had arrived, that she was safe and by all accounts healthy.

And this was our introduction to parenthood!

Our Midwife Thea
Back in our room

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My pregnancy

I haven't been very active in posting during my pregnancy. I think a lot of my 'hibernation' was due to the my constant need for naps. In the early days, it seemed like my days consisted of heading to work, coming home and then spending the whole evening on the couch in a semi nap like state... Often with Hugo joining me!

We did learn very early about the pregnancy and of course it was over the holiday season. It was while I was at the Christmas lunch for work where I was first outed by two ladies from the office ~ specifically the glass I was drinking from was not of the alcoholic variety. I had thought that the Club Soda appearance would lead people to think I was on the hard stuff, but these girls were good. Of course, the guys didn't notice.

The Christmas holidays I did spend much of my time napping and it was a bit of a kick in the pants going back to work in January. Around 2pm, I would want to curl up and take a nap under my desk. Of course I also hadn't told anyone, and the 2 girls who had it 'figured out' work remotely so that bode well for keeping my 'secret'. I waited until the end of January before letting the office know, at which point the news spread like wildfire.

I was very fortunate with this pregnancy in that I didn't have morning sickness, I didn't have weird cravings or much in the way of discomfort ~ no backaches, huge swelling or other crazy things you hear others experience. I did however have heartburn ~ and given the amount of hair Sofia has, I think I know where that came from!

I must say however, after the miscarriage last year, the first 15 weeks of the pregnancy both Akis and I were on pins and needles hoping that each time I felt a twinge, or small cramp that things were not heading in a bad direction. Having lost a baby previously, you lose some of that 'pregancy innocence' and ability to be excited. You worry about the heartbreak that may be coming should things not turn out in your favour. After hearing the heartbeat at our first midwife appointment, I did feel somewhat reassured and things were much easier once I was able to feel Sofia move about. These small movements served as a reminder that things were good.

The bigger I got, the more real the pregnancy and our life change became. When people started to offer me seats on the bus, ask about my due date and in my final week ask 'when is that baby coming??', I realized that my life in fact was going to change.

Looking back, I enjoyed my pregnancy. Even going over the 40 weeks, I wasn't in a rush for Sofia to come. Many women at the end of their pregnancy are anxious for it to be over. Other than not being able to sleep on my belly and my arms and hips falling asleep, I had no complaints. I enjoyed being pregnant and wouldn't have traded the time for anything in the world. I am more than thrilled to have met my little girl, but also did enjoy the process leading up to her arrival ~ in particular once I knew she was safe and sound.