Wednesday, 29 August 2012

GMQ Makes her Debut: Part 3

If you missed part 1 or 2 (not that you ever would) you can look them up here and here.
The last bump pic.
So, we were waiting at the desk - the empty desk, apparently the only desk in the whole wide world that has staff capable of admitting a labouring woman, even one who is lowing like a cow and terrifying every patient everywhere.  Jimmy was in disbelief and didn't know quite what to do.  I was just glad that I was no longer in a car and could resume my counter leaning and hip swaying routine.  I'm not sure how long we waited, but finally two ladies entered through a door behind the desk wearing their cots and carrying their lunch bags, clearly just arriving for their shift.
"Oh my, have you been waiting long?" They ask.  "Where is Maria?  She is supposed to be on shift now!  No one was here to help you.  Oh my!" They went on and on, until another contraction came and my grunting and groaning prodded them into a very medium paced course of action.
And then the porter, the poor porter arrived.  The man who had to convince me to sit in that wheelchair.  Who came up with this policy?  Don't all the books say a labouring woman should walk and move to bring the baby down?  I tried to explain to him that after this was all over I was pretty sure I'd never sit down again, what with all the busyness of being a parent and the life sentence by hemrhoid I feared was about to be mine.  I told him I was just preparing myself for a life on two feet and would be happy to walk myself to labour and delivery, but he was having none of it.  Sensing I had found a man who wanted to do things by the book, I tried to negotiate.  I said I would get in the chair only if he promised we could pause so that I could stand up if I needed to.  He didn't seem to understand that the world would stop turning if I couldn't stand and sway my hips and he started blathering on about how it would be best to get me upstairs as quickly as possible where there were people who would help me.  Wrong tactic buddy, no one could help me now, no one and nothing but the graceful, hip swaying dance of the tropics.  Clearly he wasn't about to be swayed by a (normally) petite blond, so that's when I went gangsta on him, and he smiled and continued to insist I get in the chair, which I did, like any gangsta would.
Once we arrived in the delivery room, my new obsession began.  Gone was my fixation on hip swaying and here to stay was my fixation on poop.  You're probably thinking I was worried about poop appearing on the delivery table, as so many are, but you would be wrong.  The pressure had become so intense that I felt sure if I could just poop, all my woes would be righted, and we could get on with having this baby.  But no, said the nurse, I can't let you poop, it's not time to push.  She did tell me that I was at 6 cm, and that when it was time to push, the poop would come on it's own, which gave me little comfort, but I was about to find out that "comfort" isn't a word my nurse was familiar with.
To distract me, my doula suggested a nice warm shower, so Jimmy got changed into his swim stuff and we prepared to enter the warm water.  I got in, and tried to do the lean and hip sway, hitting my head on the many safety bars attached to the walls and promptly got right back out.  Jimmy complained about the fact that he had gotten changed for this two second dip, and I felt really, really, bad about inconveniencing him.  Or not.
So, leaving the pint sized shower stall behind, I made my way to the bed where we found we were making good progress.  Nine and a half centimeters!  I nearly leapt with joy at the thought that the poop baby would arrive soon!
I continued to gently murmur through each contraction, keeping my voice at an always pleasant volume.  After a contraction passed, I would exclaim that it wasn't that I was in pain, there was just so much pressure, and when would I be allowed to poop?!  Nurse Comfort, sensing she would have to do something to motivate me to continue, checked things out and confirmed it was time to push.  Halleluah!  So with the next contraction, I pushed.  Nurse Comfort stood at the foot of the bed, arms crossed and eyes narrowed.  And she stayed there until the next contraction when I pushed again.  I looked at her, expecting some kind of encouragement or update on the arrival of the poop, and she offered up a real pearl.
"Shelby, I'm going to need a little more oomph," said she.
Even Jimmy, the man who will, by the end of this tale utter words no man should utter in a delivery room knew that was not the most encouraging or instructive thing to say.
Thanks goodness for my doula, because had I only my nurse's directions to guide me, I would still be in that delivery room waiting for my baby to learn how to crawl so she could enter the world under her own power.  As it was, I ended up pushing for about an hour and a half, and I was exhausted. We all thought this would be a fairly small baby, maybe six or seven pounds.  I don't know why we thought this, based on all the DQ Blizzards I ate throughout my pregnancy, but we did.  So while my mom was holding my hand, giving words of encouragement, her thoughts were not so encouraging.  She told me afterwards she was thinking we were in big trouble if I couldn't push this little six pound baby out!
But we slowly made progress, and soon my entourage was exclaiming things like, "I can see the head!" and "Look at that unibrow!" which motivated me enormously.
And all of a sudden, she was there on my chest.  I remember being so surprised when I heard she was a girl.  She looked so big to me!  She proved our hunches wrong again, weighing in at a healthy eight pounds two ounces.  There were many tears and exclamations when she arrived.  And I thought the hardest work was over.  But no, there was a small issue with the placenta.  After waiting about 45 minutes for it to deliver to no avail, my doctor gave me some laughing gas so that she could call in a large man wearing soccer cleats to jump up and down on my abdomen to "help things along".  So, placenta delivered, there was just one small item left to take care of involving a surgical sewing kit.  
I have never had stitches ever in my life.  I hate needles and am afraid of every and any surgical procedure.  So, still high on laughing gas, I began loudly voicing my fears to the room.  Jimmy, proud new father, comfortably seated in the rocker with his daughter offered some words of encouragement.
"Remember the time I had to get ten stitches in my lip? I did just fine, and you will too."
My doctor (bless her heart) threw him a death glare and said in the iciest tone she could muster, "This is just a slightly more delicate area."
And I survived her handiwork.  
We settled in to get to know our new daughter, Jimmy and I and my burst blood vessels.  Jimmy had a couple of hours to spend with us before he got back on the road to Calgary to win his playoff game, even scoring a goal in the process.  It was fun to watch online in the hospital, and Gracie got several mentions during the broadcast.  Jimmy made it back to the hospital by about two am to spend the rest of the night with us.  I was very lucky to have my family stay with me during the day, and my sister through most of the night so that I wasn't on my own.
Ready to go home.
So Gracie has known how to keep us on our toes from the beginning, but her timing was perfect! Her dad was there to meet her and still got to his game on time.  And it makes for a pretty good story ;)

Saturday, 25 August 2012

GMQ Makes her Debut: Part 2

If you missed part one and its cliffhanger ending, check here.  Otherwise, the saga continues.
I'm lying in bed, warm water soaking me, and I can't believe it.  Tonight, of all nights! I'm home alone, and Jimmy is three hours away.  I got out of bed, grabbed my phone and walked like a bow legged cowboy towards the bathroom.  Because in my mind, walking like a bow legged cowboy was somehow going to keep me from getting myself and the floor wet.  Oh-kaaay.  I clearly wasn't thinking straight at this point.  I sat down on the toilet and dialed Jimmy.  It went to voicemail, so I hung up. I couldn't string the words together in order to leave a comprehensible message.  I was shaking like a leaf and could barely hold on to my phone.  Jimmy, woken up in his hotel room in Calgary, of course saw that I had just called, and probably wet the bed a little himself.  He immediately called me back and I told him we may need a new mattress.  I clarified and said that my water had broken, but that I was fine, and wasn't feeling any contractions yet.  He told me he hadn't even unpacked just in case and that he'd be in the car in minutes.  
Next phone call, my mom.  Having been told that my water had broken, my mom uttered words that shouldn't be retyped on a family blog.  Something that rhymes with "Oh, spit, spit!".  I remember that calmed my nerves, because it was kind of funny to hear my mom swear.  She assured me that as soon as she located some pants, she'd be on her way over.  I hung up, still unable to move myself from my perch on the porcelain throne.  As I was trying to gather my resolve, I got a text from Mama Hughes, PR agent extraordinaire, wishing me luck.  Clearly, Jimmy had notified her that he was leaving Calgary for the big event.  (On a total tangent, you could watch this interview with Jimmy's assistant coach early in the day that I went into labour.  Neither Jimmy or I knew about it until after Gracie arrived, so knowing how things turned out, it was funny to watch.)
My mom arrived at my house around 1 am, and I was still feeling fine.  I waddled around, checking my bags and packing the last of the snacks, talking a mile a minute, my mom all the while trying to convince me that I should lay down and get some rest.  Finally I relented, and laid down on Jimmy's side of the bed since my side was a little damp.  Not long after laying down, the contractions started.  I remember thinking, I can handle this!  This was also the beginning of the kazillion trips to the bathroom that continued through the night.  I've never had to pee so much in my life!  Not even after drinking a Big Gulp while 9 months pregnant.  So. Much. Peeing.
Jimmy arrived home after I had made the thousandth trip to the bathroom, right around 3 am.  Things were getting more intense.  He promptly tried to use the hypnobirthing techniques we had been practicing, and I told him to cut that something-that-rhymes-with-spit out.  One of only two times I swore in labour.  It wasn't the hypnobirthing itself that was annoying, it was his voice.  Not his real voice, his hypno voice.  We agreed he could still say the hypnobirthing stuff, just in his normal voice.  Having solved that matter, we moved on.  I tried laying down, and that was a no.  I tried sitting on the exercise ball, and that was a definite no.  Finally, I found a comfortable spot sitting back on the couch, Jimmy rubbing my shoulders, and my mom rubbing my legs.  We had called our doula to come over, and I remember thinking, thank goodness she'll be here soon, because I need a drink, and if either of these two move from their posts, I'm going to get cray up in here. Because when I'm in labour, I get a little thug like that.  I told the porter at the hospital who was ordering me to sit. in. a. wheelchair I was going to bust a cap in his something-that-rhymes-with-glass (second time I swore in labour.  True story. Or is it?).
The doula arrived and I got my drink, scotch on the rocks.  Or just cranberry juice. On the rocks.  The contractions were definitely getting more intense, but I wasn't watching the clock.  I let other people do that for me, because A) it's hard to tell time on an analog clock on an ordinary day, and B) I didn't want to be clock watching. I'm not even sure how long I pushed for, but I do know that it was not a short amount of time.  But I digress.  More on pushing later.
This was the point at which I declared loudly that I didn't want to do this anymore.  A classic hallmark of  transition.  Things were gettin' serious, yo.  It was about 6 am and our doula suggested we start making our way to the hospital.  But I didn't really like the sounds of that either.  Getting properly dressed and having to be in a car sounded about as appealing as spending an evening with at karaoke with the Chipmunks.  But I did it, and we arrived at the hospital, me moaning and swaying through each contraction, ready to be checked in at Emergency as it was around 6:30 am.  
So there I am, gracefully swaying and moaning not at all like a cow, and the teenage girl already being checked in looks back at me, terrified that I'm about to deliver this baby in front of her.  
"Umm," she stammered, glancing nervously at us, "I think maybe they need your help!" She exclaimed to the woman behind the desk.
"No, no," says the kind emergency desk woman without even looking up, "I'll finish checking you in first."
"No, I think she's in LABOUR!" Say the panicked girl, pointing out my bovine song and dance.
"If you're in labour, you go to that desk there," says the ever helpful emergency desk lady, pointing towards a desk where there are no people and no lights on.
Jimmy did tell her there was no one at that desk, but she cared not and told us to wait.  Yes, wait.
As you will have to do for the third and final installment in this epic tale!
Soonish, I promise!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Surprises Abound

There are many things that are surprising about being a new mom, many things no one talks about or thinks to tell you.  Until I was pregnant, I had no idea that contractions would continue after giving birth during every nursing for the first few days.  Surprise!  I'd have preferred a nice bundt cake instead, but beggars can't be choosers.  There are those things that everyone talks about, such as the lack of sleep.  Can we please all agree to stop telling expectant parents to stock up on sleep while they can?  It's so annoying, and not scientifically possible to stock up on sleep.  Sleep is not like a casserole - you can't throw it in the freezer and pull it out after a really rough day.  Although maybe eating a lot of casserole could make you feel sleepy . . . 
But do you know what has surprised me most about being a new parent?  I am trapped in my house.  Now that Gracie is almost three months old, she no longer sleeps on the run.  We have to be home for her three daily naps.  Yes, three! Another surprise.  I thought there were only two naps.  Apparently there will be only two as she gets older, but for now, it's three.  I know I can't complain because there are parents out there who struggle to get their baby to take one nap, and my girl goes down very easily.  And yet here I am, still complaining.
Even though I had a vague idea that there would be naps, and we would have to be at home for them, I had no idea how tight the timeline would be.  There's only about an hour and a half window between the time Gracie wakes up and the time she's ready to wind down for the next nap.  And in that hour and a half, she needs to be fed and changed.  How is a woman supposed to get groceries?  And see other people who speak words?  I've tried going out to the mall, which is only a few blocks away, but I still end up running through the back alley home, trying to pinch Gracie's toes so she'll stay awake until we get home and I can lay her down.  Because she will fall asleep in the stroller, but only for a half an hour or so, which will turn her into a fire breathing dragon for the rest of the day.  A cute, fire breathing dragon,  but a dragon nonetheless.  
So it's a trade off in which both options seem unappealing: Do I want to lose my sanity because I'm trapped in the house, or lose my sanity because my child is in a foul mood?  I knew stay at home moms stayed at home, because I am fluent in English, but I just didn't think it was this stay at home!  And I'm a homebody - I like to be at home!  I guess I just don't like feeling trapped at home by the napping schedule.  And is it just me, or are all those mommy and me classes, which are supposed to be designed to get moms out of the house, scheduled at the two times of day the majority of babies should be napping?
I'll stop complaining now.  I just saw a woman on TLC who already has two sets of twins and is about to give birth to her third set.  She's going to need a casserole or two. 
So, if any of you other moms out there have ideas on how to take my mind off of being stuck at home, I'll take them.  I've been doing some baking.  Just yesterday I made a chocolate loaf with healthy beets "hidden" within.  Surprise!  The beet loaf was gross.  Sigh.
Shelby, Pity Party Planner Extroadinaire

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

GMQ Makes her Debut: Part 1

Let me take you back, waaaay back, 107 days back, to be precise.  What was happening 107 days ago? It was May 4th, my due date.  And it seemed like nothing much was going on.  Which was okay, because Jimmy was hitting the road and heading to Calgary for a playoff game.  We were both nervous about him being gone, but we figured the odds of this baby coming on her due date were low. Which is why we are not statisticians, because it turns out the odds were pretty good.
But back to the story.  We had decided Jimmy would go to the game, and should anything happen, he would only be three hours away by car.  Jimmy spent the morning at work, then came home for lunch.  I made him a delicious steak quesedilla, then waved from the back door as he drove off.  The afternoon was spent doing important things, like napping and catching up on old episodes of Ellen on PVR.  I got a text that afternoon from Mama Hughes, who does PR for Jimmy's team.  I asked her to take special care of Jimmy that weekend, as he was anxious being away from me.  Her response? 
"Don't worry. This baby is a boy and will definitely be late!" 
HA! Oh the foreshadowing! 
So, I was napping and watching reruns, letting the time pass until I could meet up with my sisters-in-law and mother-in-law at a local craft fair.  These ladies are serious craft show browsers.  We go twice a year, and it often takes four or five hours to browse all of the always well made items, after which we have a late dinner out.  I knew I would not last that long walking, and it was very likely in my whale like state that I would pass out long before the late dinner began, so I planned to give them a head start on their browsing.  When they phoned to say two hours of browsing had passed with less than half of the wares seen, I decided to pass on the crafting and join my parents for dinner and then join the crafters for dessert.  After some fortifying chicken fingers and ceasar salad, and one call from a nervous expectant father, I finally met up with the crafters.  I had felt a couple of sharp kicks throughout the evening, but didn't think much of it.  Jimmy called again just as I was getting in the car having finished a delicious chocolate sundae.  I assured him nothing was going on and headed home to bed.  Having locked the doors, gone to the bathroom for the millionth time, and said a prayer, I laid down, surrounded by the three million pillows required to support my girth for a comfortable night's sleep, when my water broke.
Cliff hanger, or what?

Friday, 17 August 2012

Griswold's Family Vacation

We made it out alive.  We've survived our first family vacation with bébé in tow.  We spent one week in beautiful Victoria, just the three of us, then joined up with seven other Griswolds in Kelowna.  What makes us the Griswolds, you ask?  Some highlights, just for you:

  • Arriving in downtown Victoria dressed for winter on a record breaking 30 degree day (record breaking!  It was freezing just two days before) and having to buy a completely new outfit before I melted in front of the historic Fairmont Hotel.
  • Waiting in line an hour and a half for Victoria's best fish and chips, then having to run to the car twice (once to pay for more parking minutes, a second time because we forgot to take the keys to put the newly purchased parking pass in the car) just as the (well worth it) fish and chips were served.  Ok, Jimmy tells me they were worth it.  I don't eat fish.  Only chips.  Which makes the wait even more mind boggling.
  • Jimmy nearly running over my foot as I tried to retrieve our first born from the back seat of the rental car.
  • Finding, upon our arrival in Kelowna, that the airline handled our play pen so delicately, they managed to break every spring loaded joint in its frame.  Jimmy recommended we just lay our baby on THE FLOOR OF A RENTAL HOME to sleep.  Did I mention Gracie just learned how to roll over?  So I came up with a much classier solution: buy a playpen and return it at the end of the week.  What?  We decided the colour palette didn't work for us.
  • There were many more incidents that qualify us for the Griswold standard, but I'll spare you and give you just one final escapade.  We arrived at the airport for the flight home, and as I picked Gracie up to go through security, I felt moisture.  I realized instantly that I had forgotten to pack any extra clothing in our carry on and spend the next several minutes praying it was just a pee leak. Withe bated breath I opened the diaper to see it was definitely not a pee leak, but Gracie more than answered my prayers by providing a pee fountain seconds after I opened the diaper.

Nothing says Griswold like a naked baby in an airport.  Nothing.
There were also many un-Griswold like moments.  The beautiful Butchart Gardens were absolutely incredible.  Knowing it's taking them 100 years to create their garden makes me feel better about the state of my own.

There was naked rolling over.
The naked roll over stage 1.
The naked roll over stage 2.
And because I know you can't tell on your own: The naked roll over stage 3.
And swimming.  Or swim-sleeping?  Either way, very safe, I'm sure.
Birthday parties.
And of course, spaghetti.  Spaghetti that had to be inspected, strand by strand, before being eaten.
I'll be back soon with the promised and much anticipated birth story.  The story that I swore I wouldn't want to talk about with everyone.  But now?  You couldn't shut me up if you tried.  Actually, you could, if you had ice cream, or chocolate, or cake.  Or chocolate ice cream cake.  Anyway, I've become the annoying woman who won't stop talking about pregnancy, birth, and her child.  I guess that's ok.  It's kind of a big deal.  At least to me!
To tide you over until my return, a Gem from James, vacation edition.  We were walking in downtown Victoria when I made mention of the idea of a push present, and my gratitude that my husband was blissfully unaware of this recently created tradition.  James' response after I explained the significance of a push present? 
"I'm glad I had never heard of a push present!  Sounds like a giant scam!  Where's my "I got one past the goalie present?!"
Until next time, much love from the Griswolds!