40 Weeks

A mother's seventh (and final) journey through the wonders of pregnancy.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Welcome, little one.

30 minutes old.

When we got to K's office on the 19th, baby was head down, so we immediately headed for the hospital. We weren't going to give him time to change his mind again! I had K call the office, hoping receptionists and the like would pay more attention to a doctor than to a mother-to-be. It seemed to work, and we were told we could go ahead to the hospital as long as we understood that my doctor wouldn't be the one to deliver the baby. Fine, doesn't matter, let's just go! So we did, with me holding my belly in such a way that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for baby to shift again.

We arrived at the hospital and got settled in my room, then waited for the doctor to come do a scan to check the position. Still head-down ... good boy. Risks explained: if we get the IV and the epidural and he shifts again, I either go home and suffer all those punctures for nothing, or we get a C-section. If the membranes are ruptured and he shifts again, automatic C-section. Yeah, I was a little nervous at this point, but being determined (aka stubborn,) I just held my belly more firmly while the nurses chuckled to themselves and went ahead with it. The IV took two attempts, which I hated, but it hardly compared to the five attempts it took with Mina. The epidural is always as bad as I expect it to be, but certainly well worth it in the long run. The anesthesiologist gave me a test dose through the epidural so the rupturing of the membranes wouldn't be so bad. Thank goodness for that, because that part was awful with Maya, and with this baby even higher and less ready to make an appearance, I knew it would be even worse. The rupturing went fairly smoothly, considering, but the doctor had some trouble attaching the fetal monitor to the baby's scalp. He finally got it after several attempts, which left me free of those horrid belly monitors (and better able to keep holding the baby in that head-down position.)

The epidural medication and the pitocin were started, and we were off and running. I felt that it was safe to call my mom at this point and let her know she could come to the hospital after work. I was sure there was no rush, since my babies have never come in under 12 hours, and it was just after noon by this time. By 4pm, I was 4 centimeters dilated, and though I know my body, and it always takes me ages to get from 4 to 6, then I zip through the last 4cm in about an hour and deliver with one or two pushes, I was still hopeful that maybe this time it would be quicker. Silly me. At 8pm, I was still 4 centimeters, so we watched Pride and Prejudice to pass the time. We had to pause a lot for nurses, so it lasted quite a while. Just after 10:30pm, I reached the magic 6cm mark, and I thought I might deliver before midnight. Just before midnight, just about the time the movie finally finished, I started feeling the contractions a lot more than I should have. I really didn't want to feel them, and since I'm an expert pusher by now, I really didn't want to feel anything when it was time to push, either, so I begged the nurse anesthetist to give me more medication through the epidural, which she said she did, though it never did a bit of good. Just after midnight, it was time to push, and I was feeling everything. At least I remembered how to breathe, but I wasn't very happy, and no one was moving very fast to get set up so I could push. Fortunately for everyone around me, I was too busy breathing to yell at anyone. I finally managed to gather the strength between contractions to ask if I could go ahead and push. I heard a "yes" from somewhere, I pushed once (ow ... I really didn't want to feel that,) and Rayan was born at 12:13am on Saturday, May 20, weighing 6 lbs, 14 oz (my first one under 8 lbs ... I didn't know I could have one so tiny!) and measuring 19 inches long. It turned out that all the shifting from side to side the nurses had me doing to encourage baby to come down had dislodged the epidural catheter, which is why I was in so much pain at the end. At least it didn't happen until the very end, although maybe they could have fixed it had it happened sooner. Either way, once the baby was out, it didn't even matter anymore. Upon examination of our little bundle of joy, we could see all the tiny marks where the doctor had attempted to attach the fetal scalp electrode, and from the position of the marks, we could tell that although baby had been head down, rather than tucking his chin down, he was presenting his face, which was why it took him so long to move down and dilate the cervix. One of the marks was frighteningly close to his right eye. K had to point out that we were lucky it didn't damage his eye, the very thought of which nearly makes me cry.

We had agreed on the name sometime after arriving at the hospital. I told my mother the name when the baby was born, she passed it on in her phone calls, and I was content. More on that in a moment.

When Maya was born, we had missed the grand opening of the newly remodeled rooms and suites by a week, and K promised me that if we had another one, he'd get the suite for me, so he did. We were a few hours late getting there, because the postpartum nurse in charge of me was scary and didn't want to be bothered with me until she was good and ready, but the suite was wonderful. My sleeping area was about the size of a standard postpartum room, with a small flat-screen television and DVD player. Adjacent to my sleeping area on one side was a bathroom of about the same size, with a huge bathtub, a great shower area, and lots of counter space. Adjacent to my sleeping area on the other side was a large living area, with a fold-down Murphy bed for K, a sofa, a rocking chair, a recliner, a large flat screen television and DVD player, and a small kitchen area with a sink, refrigerator, coffee maker, and about 20 different kinds of tea. This particular hospital also prides itself on its room-service menu, which rivals a hotel room-service menu. You call when you're hungry, order whatever you want from the menu, and it's delivered in about 45 minutes. I'm sure everyone will understand why I didn't want to go home.

1 day old.

K went home to get his parents and our children, and wasn't supposed to bring them until they had finished the inevitable battle over the baby's name. It seems they were as afraid to ask as we were to tell them, and it wasn't even discussed. However, K found the name in Arabic, which is the only way to know the true pronunciation, since any English spelling is just a transliteration and could be mispronounced. K informed me that it should be pronounced "ray-AHN," rather than "RAY-un," which I had agreed to. Not a good time to tell me that. I didn't like the new pronunciation, rejected the name, and felt at a complete loss about what to name the baby. Now I had a nameless baby. A nameless baby who was battling jaundice just as much as his sister did. The pediatrician wanted him to stay in the hospital an extra day or two for phototherapy. I insisted on being able to have him in a room with me while he was under the lights, which the nurses agreed to, but only if I left my suite and came down to the floor where the nursery was. Deal. I hated leaving the suite, though!

Baby tanning bed? Blue light special? Nope - phototherapy.

We re-read the baby name books, K looked online again, but we had already done all that, and were no closer to agreeing on a name than we had been before. I lost count of the number of times the birth certificate lady called to see if I had the paperwork ready for her yet. The baby responded so well to the phototherapy that we were sent home a day earlier than I expected, on the 23rd. Shortly after finding out we were being sent home, the birth certificate lady called again to tell me she was leaving at 2:30pm and needed the paperwork by then unless we were prepared to go through all the red tape that would be required if we left the hospital without having turned it in. I was in tears, and K and I were at an impasse. At the very last possible minute, I wrote Rayan on the form, which we had agreed upon, even though we still disagreed on the pronunciation. I've expounded upon that at
Watermelon Roses.

Friday, May 19, 2006

39 Weeks, 2 Days

Baby was transverse this morning, but my breakfast apparently gave him the needed energy to change positions. We're heading to K's office now to check the position. If I don't post again today, things must be starting to happen!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

39 Weeks, 1 Day

Baby is transverse today. Nothing happening, other than Blogger being a brat and not letting me post anything.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

39 Weeks

At 7:15 this morning, baby was indeed head down. K went on to work since I had to wait until 9am to call my doctor (he wanted me to only call during office hours.) The receptionist I spoke to at 9:10 wasn't nearly as excited as I was, and said only that she'd give the doctor the message. Two hours later, K called the office and made an actual appointment for me to go in, since it seemed no one would call back in a timely manner. The doctor did finally call around noon, and said not to bother coming to his office, but to go ahead to the hospital.

I met K there, got settled and attached to monitors, signed all the admission forms, and waited for the doctor on call to come check the position of the baby. I can't say I was terribly surprised to learn that he was transverse again, since he'd had so much time to kill and had been very active all morning. We were sent on our way, stopped for lunch, and since baby was still being very active, stopped by K's office to check the position one more time. Still transverse. This particular doctor said that if baby is head down again in the morning, I can call her right away and come in if the hospital has a room for me.

We arrived home, only to discover that Layth had flooded the entire bathroom and hallway, just as Layla did at our last house at almost exactly the same age. My frustration was more with my in-laws than with Layth, because they are supposedly here not only to see the new baby, but to help me out for a few weeks. In reality, since they've been here, I've had more work and frustration than I usually do. I need an anonymous place to rant ... I think that will be my next blogging project. Let's just say I've been busier cleaning up messes than usual, and I'm tired.

We'll be checking the position a couple of times a day now.

Monday, May 15, 2006

38 Weeks, 5 Days

Not surprisingly, tomorrow's induction has been cancelled. The still-unnamed baby was breech today, and not showing any signs of being in a hurry to escape the womb. My doctor says I'm a puzzlement, because given my age and the fact that this is my sixth baby, my placenta should be showing signs of aging by now and I should be 2-3 centimeters dilated. Instead, my body is acting like it's pregnant for the first time, with no placental aging or cervical dilation. The baby looks healthy and happy, I'm healthy and ... eager, and no one is in any hurry to speed things along.

The plan at the moment is more of a holding pattern than a plan. The doctor is willing to wait up to 2 more weeks before doing a C-section, but doesn't really want to wait longer than that because of the increased risk of having to do an emergency C-section in the event of spontaneous labor with the baby in a bad position. K is going to check baby's position every morning before work at this point. If baby is obviously transverse (sideways,) I can go back to sleep. If baby is not obviously transverse, we'll go down the road to K's office for a sonogram to determine with certainty which end is down. If baby is breech, the day will proceed normally. If baby is head down, K will call Dr. Powers, who will call the hospital and see if they have room for an induction. If not, the day will proceed normally. If they have a spot for me, we load up the car and head for the hospital. The doctor will determine whether baby is still head down, then attempt to rupture the membranes (break the bag of water surrounding the baby,) though this promises to be difficult and painful considering the fact that the baby is still high and my cervix has not even begun to dilate. Why not wait for it to change, then? Because if baby changes position again, which is likely, I may end up with a C-section. The doctor says that since my crystal ball works just as well as his, I can make the call whether to come in or wait. He doesn't mind the C-section nearly as much as I do, but I've had to recover from an abdominal incision before, albeit not a C-section, and I don't relish the idea of doing that again, especially with 3 small children at home who love being picked up.

Assuming the successful rupture of membranes, I'll be left alone for a while (I'm hoping this means no permanent attachment to restricting monitors, but that will depend on whether they've already inserted the epidural) in the hopes that labor will start on its own by morning, at which time the pitocin would likely be started to speed things along.

Friday, May 12, 2006

38 Weeks, 2 Days

We're ready when the as yet unnamed baby is. We'll be checking his position on Monday afternoon, and if he's head down, we'll continue with our planned induction on Tuesday. I'm trying not to get my hopes up, since at this point he seems to only go head down for a few hours per week. He seems to be head down as I write this, but I don't expect him to stay that way for long. He's very wiggly today, and almost every other day.

We had a little scare on Tuesday. I had been suffering from nausea and vomiting since Monday night, and realized at some point on Tuesday afternoon that I hadn't noticed the baby moving all day. At that point, I started paying closer attention, just in case I had missed it, but I still felt nothing. I called my doctor and went to the hospital for monitoring for a couple of hours, just to be sure everything was ok. Not knowing was nervewracking! As it turned out, it was just because I was dehydrated and hadn't been eating, but he was fine, so we're still hoping for a Tuesday delivery.

I'm feeling very unprepared, so if the delivery is postponed, it won't be the worst thing in the world. K hasn't sorted out the minivan yet, I haven't sorted through Layth's baby clothes yet (and we've bought very little,) and I haven't rounded up Layth's old bedding, which means he'll be sleeping with pink and purple at this rate. I also wanted a second rocking chair for nursing the baby in our room while K's parents are here so I wouldn't have to take the old chair from Maya's room. I know it will all work out in the end, I'm just anxious to know when the end will be, exactly!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

37 Weeks, 1 Day

Since this is a high risk pregnancy, I had a biophysical profile done at my last prenatal visit, and they'll continue to do them weekly until I deliver. Everything looks fine, although the abdominal circumference is measuring about 2 weeks behind the rest of the baby. No one seems terribly concerned about that. He supposedly weighs about 6 pounds now and is at the 30th percentile for height and weight. K is concerned that the baby is a little small (for one of mine, at least,) and hasn't grown as much as expected since the last ultrasound he did, combined with my lack of recent weight gain. I'm quite happy that I haven't been gaining, but I understand the concern.

The biggest concern for me is that this baby, like Maya, has no intention of staying head-down for delivery. Maya was transverse off and on right up until the end, and we even had a C-section scheduled. Having K around to do periodic exams and sonograms was handy, since the day she went head-down he was able to call and talk Dr. Powers into inducing. Even then, she shifted into a transverse position after they had hooked me up to the IV and the epidural, but before any medication was administered. I sat there begging her to turn while they went to get an ultrasound machine, and literally seconds before they came in, I felt a big shift and she went head-down. I know Dr. Powers won't hesitate to do a C-section if the baby is transverse when he thinks I should deliver. He wants to induce about a week early to avoid either an emergency C-section or my delivering of the baby so fast that I can't even get to the hospital in time. Not that any of my children have ever taken less than 12 hours to be born. I don't really do spontaneous labor before my due date, either. Justin was 10 days late, Mina (induced) and Layla were 2 weeks late, Layth and Maya were both induced about a week early. Even the two spontaneous labors needed Pitocin to move things along.

And still no name!