Monthly Archives: February 2011

Video – The First Moments After Baby Girl was Born

Even though you were not allowed to take photos or shoot video of the actual birth – Jeremy still insisted on shooting some videos of our time at the hospital.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share some of these or not but this particular video really captured how we felt in our first moments alone with Annmarie.  She was only about 15 minutes old and the staff had left the room so it was just us and our new baby.

He shot some other videos (mostly me saying I was freaking out) and some really sweet ones later but this video got me a little choked up just because.

Oh and we had predicted that Annmarie was going to make her debut around 3pm… not 11:11am.

Annmarie – just born from Charm City Kim on Vimeo.

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Birth: The Aftermath Part 2

While baby girl is napping, I’m sneaking onto the computer to quickly blog the rest of my aftermath story.  A lot of your comments to the birth story and aftermath made me laugh out loud (so thanks for that – and thanks for still reading despite my long lulls in posting) and some of you have indicated that I may have scared the crap out of you.  Don’t be scared.  Seriously.  It really isn’t as bad as it sounds and quite frankly – I can see why women have multiple kids. 

So to continue my story.  Did I ever manage to pee?  Like I said – it was incredibly stressful to have a timestamp on when I needed to pee.  I could feel that I had to pee and always could (I never suffered from being “too numb” or anything as some people have told me).  But I just could NOT relax.  Everytime I sat on the toilet and tried to relax, I would feel my stitches tug and would then freak out.

So for this second round of “you need to pee on your own” – I had a new nurse help me.  She was equally as awesome as the first nurse and suggested/tried the same tricks.  But she had an additional trick up her sleeve.  She told me to bring my cup of water with a straw into the bathroom.  I thought, “Why would I possibly want to drink MORE when you guys said that the original problem was that my bladder was TOO full?!”

But instead of having me drink from the straw, she told me to blow bubbles.  It sounded ridiculous but as I blew into the straw, I could feel my body sort of relax and semi-push down south.  It didn’t work at first but after about an hour, I peed on my own!  The nurse happened to come back to check on me as I just finished peeing.  And the reason I love the staff so much at GBMC?  She high-fived me and did a happy pee dance.  I was finally free of the catheter!

During this time – Jeremy was starting to feel more and more under the weather (and not because he had been overexposed to blood and other things he’d never experienced with me before).  While the hospital is quite accommodating to moms, they’re not so accommodating to dads.  His “bed” was actually the hard-plastic cushioned bench next to the bed.  It wasn’t exactly comfortable and he was on wife duty AND baby duty (since I couldn’t really get up on my own).  All this took quite a toll on him.  So when I spent hours in the bathroom trying to urinate – I would always come out to this:

And because Jeremy had been such a great support to me while I was in the hospital, I would often just let him sleep in my hospital bed and I’d sit on the uncomfortable bench and watch TV.  And on more than one occassion a nurse would come into the room and see the setup.  I’m sure they thought he was an asshole.  But I knew he deserved some good rest (and I couldn’t resist taking photos because it was ridiculously cute).

During my stay in postpartum, I was giving doses of extra-strength Motrin (and at one point I thought that I didn’t really need it… but paid for it later.  My advice?  ALWAYS TAKE THE MOTRIN!) and stool softeners.  So that leads me to my next TMI bit.  Pooping.

Now – I am a VERY regular person.  I hadn’t pooped since I delivered baby girl (haha – I’m still laughing about that) and it had been 2 days.  I could feel it in my tummy that I had to go but was TERRIFIED.  However, the discomfort was getting to me and I thought I had to just try.  Well – it wasn’t that bad.  I think the worst part was my anxiety over what I thought would be one of the most painful experiences of my life but it wasn’t.  God bless stool softener.  I’ve had a few friends tell me that they didn’t poop for days and even weeks after returning home.  My advice?  Don’t let it get that far!  The longer you wait – the harder your poop gets.  Drink plenty of fluids and try to go as soon as possible!

So there you have it.  Since I delivered vaginally, my insurance only covered me staying at the hospital for 2 nights.  So we checked in early morning Saturday (2am) and left the hospital Monday evening.  The hospital provided a bag with all of my healing essentials and we cleaned out the baby supplies as well.  Shit – I paid for it (or at least my health insurance did).  And a lot of my friends had said that they wished they could stay at the hospital longer – but I was RELIEVED to finally leave.  I just wanted to be at home in my own shower, eat my own food (I wasn’t a big fan of the food) and sleep in my own bed. 

At home, the healing wasn’t bad either.  I had to use the sitz bath 3 times a day for 2 weeks (although I’m still using it once a day now because I quite enjoy it).  I no longer wear a monster maxi pad and I feel somewhat normal again.  And this is all before 3 weeks post-delivery. 

I think I can attribute my quick bounceback to staying active throughout my pregnancy.  So that’s what I recommend to you all.  And drink lots of fluids.

I really glossed over a lot of the aftermath mostly because it wasn’t terribly exciting.  So do you have any questions?  Clearly I’m an open book so feel free to ask the super gross questions if you have any.

Oh and now for the name!  Although if you’ve clicked any of my photo files, you’ve probably already figured out baby girl’s name.  We didn’t name her for nearly 36 hours.  We had 2 names we were stuck between and thought that we’d know immediately what to name baby girl once we saw her.  That was SO not the case.  But I started to feel awkward everytime a nurse came into the postpartum room and asked what her name was.  I decided that we HAD to have a name by her last night in the hospital.  So… we decided on Annmarie.  I loved that this name incorporated names from both our families (Ann and Marie), it is feminine and it isn’t overly trendy.   My mom, however, cannot seem to retain 3 syllable names so she calls her Annie and I find that equally as awesome.

I’ll chat about my adventures in breastfeeding next.

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Birth: The Aftermath (aka How My Vagina Healed After Pushing Out an 8 Lb Baby)

Wow – it has been awhile since I blogged, huh?  Sorry to leave you hanging.  As I am typing this, I am hiding in my basement from my mom who is upstairs playing with the baby.  I love my mother, I really do, but oy… becoming a parent has increased her criticisms of me tenfold.  Seriously.  She had the audacity to tell me I was breastfeeding incorrectly when SHE NEVER EVEN BREASTFED ME.

Anywho.  Now to the stuff you wanted to read.  The aftermath.  During my pregnancy, I was a little frightened of labor and delivery but the thing that REALLY scared me was the aftermath.  The post-vagina care.  The pooping after being stitched down south. 

Well clearly I survived or I wouldn’t even be blogging about it but it wasn’t fun and it wasn’t pretty.

Prior to baby, Jeremy wouldn’t even be in the bathroom with me if I had to pee.  It wasn’t that I’m a big exhibitionist or anything, but come on – it was just pee!  This is just a line he never wanted to cross with me.  Well – he had to get over things very quickly.

After they pulled baby girl out (and she was still nameless…), the OB/GYN stitched me up.  And let’s just say that the epidural was either wearing off or perhaps didn’t completely numb things down south because I started to feel it and it wasn’t fun.  Thankfully it didn’t last long.  Another thing that wasn’t fun was the nurses constantly pressing down on my abdomen to check on how my uterus was contracting (and shrinking).  Every time they pushed down, a gush a blood came out.  I felt like a squeeze bottle of ketchup.

They noticed in the delivery room, however, that my bladder was incredibly full and pushing my uterus to the side.  So – they wanted me to go urinate before they moved me to the postpartum room.  And hello?  Trying to urinate after some serious trauma is no easy task.  And I couldn’t do it.  When I sat on the toilet, I could feel my stitches tugging and I just could NOT relax.  After about an HOUR (seriously – AN HOUR), they put in a catheter and proceeded to empty out over a LITER of urine.  Who knew my bladder could hold so much?

They wheeled me to postpartum.  As they wheeled me down the hall, all of the nurses that helped me and the OB lined along the hall and wished me congrats.  I really loved the staff at GBMC. 

We lucked out with the postpartum room we got because it was an end unit and it was HUGE.  The nurse that was on duty when we were admitted walked me through all of the post-delivery vaginal care I would need to do.  And this included:

  1. spraying down my vagina with a little bottle of warm water
  2. wearing a SUPER SIZED ice pack (I had to ice my vagina for the first 24 hours… and that ice was MAGIC)
  3. lining the ice pack with several Tucks pads
  4. squirting some hemorrhoids cream onto one of the pads (yes, I got ‘roids).
  5. wearing all this in some lovely mesh underwear

I was supposed to change all of the stuff ever 2-3 hours.  I was also balancing a catheter tube and pee bag while doing this AND I wasn’t exactly feeling light on my feet.  There were a lot of times where I would stand and blood would just stream down my leg.  I couldn’t exactly bend over and clean everything up… so this meant that I needed Jeremy to escort me to the bathroom and set up my ice pack/tucks pads/hemorroid cream underpants and clean up any blood that may have splattered down my leg and onto the floor.

Jeremy has gotten over the whole blood / pee thing, btw.

Aside from getting up every few hours to change my ice pack/tucks pads/hemorroid cream – I was pretty much bed-ridden for most of the time.  But I have to say that hospital beds are awesome.  I loved being able to adjust to any position I wanted.

While you’re in post-partum, a lot of staff come in and out of the room.  I had a nurse that was in charge of taking care of ME (so she was in every few hours to check my vitals and bring me meds), there was a nurse in charge of checking on the baby and then there was the other hospital staff like the food services people and maintenance that were in every so often as well.  And because so many people would come in and out of the room – a good chunk of the hospital staff saw my boobs.  I felt like it was inevitable that when I would start nursing the baby, someone would come into the room.

The next day, the staff removed the catheter and I was told that I HAD to pee on my own into some container so they could see how much I peed.  I was also told that I was to switch from the ice packs to a warm sitz bath.  They said I could continue to ice if I liked it but that after 24 hours, it wasn’t doing anything to actually help me heal.  They said warmth would help the healing process.

Well – I still couldn’t pee.  I tried.  For HOURS.  A nurse helped as much as she could by:

  1. Turning on the water faucet in the bathroom
  2. Turning on the heat lamp in the bathroom
  3. Using wintergreen oil to help me relax (the scent was supposed to help me)
  4. Suggesting I take a shower to help me go (she said measuring the pee wasn’t as important as me actually peeing)

Still, I couldn’t pee.  I just couldn’t relax and it was incredibly stressful.  So – I had to get ANOTHER catheter.  This time – it wasn’t incredibly comfortable (since I had now had 3 catheters inserted) and I was growing more and more anxious.  I thought that I somehow permanently traumatized some stuff down south and that I’d never pee again on my own. 

The staff had determined that my problem may had been that I let my bladder get “too full” so that it distended and made it difficult for me to pee.  I was ordered to pee within 2 hours of the removal of the new catheter.

So now my mom has decided to join me in the basement so this is where I’ll end this blog post for now.  Another cliffhanger!  Did I pee on my own?  Did I have to go home with a catheter?  I’m sure you’re dying to know!

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Some Additional Thoughts on the Birth

After chatting about my birth story with some people, I realized I forgot to mention a few things from the birth that made me laugh. Seriously, labor & delivery were much easier than I expected.

Apparently when I pooped on the table, I looked at Jeremy and grunted, “I farted” mid-push. I have no recollection of saying this but it was apparent that the fart was a poop.

The OB/gyn declared that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck twice. That was not funny but the doc quickly pulled an Edward Scissorhands and cut the cord. What WAS funny was the OB/gyn telling me that I had a really long umbilical cord and then demonstrating this by holding the cord in both hands with his arms completely stretched out. It was kind of gross and strange. Jeremy said that not only was the cord wrapped around baby girl’s neck, but that her entire body was wrapped in the cord. She was apparently doing somersaults in my womb.

After baby girl was born, I quickly pushed out the placenta. It was like giving birth to a jellyfish. It wasn’t painful, just very very weird. The OB/gyn asked if we wanted to see it and before we had a chance to say, “no thanks”, he held it up. I responded, “that’s disgusting” because it was. It looked like a bloody jellyfish. I don’t understand people that save their placentas…

Lastly, I completely forgot to give baby girl’s birth stats. She was born February 5th at 11:11 am weighing 8 lbs 6 oz and was 21 inches long. My mom’s reaction? “Whoa – that’s a big baby.”

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The Birth Story (aka How I Ripped My Vagina)

Sorry for the long breaks between blog posts but I’m sure you all understand how difficult it is to blog with a newborn.  Actually – I tried to blog from my iPad but it was a pain in the ass (as you can see it posted twice) and I can’t upload pictures since I don’t have pictures on it and blah blah blah… so getting to an actual PC (or laptop) hasn’t been easy.

But enough excuses, right?  Now onto the birth story.

I will say that I was very scared of labor & delivery.  I was terrified of the “aftermath” too.  But in actuality, it all wasn’t that bad.  And if I can survive it thinking it wasn’t that bad, I’m pretty sure anyone can survive it.  Or I just lucked out and had a really good delivery.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may recall how I tweeted on Friday, February 4th that I was being sent to labor & delivery at my hospital.  I had been spotting for 24 hours and since I was almost 40 weeks – my doc wanted me to go get checked out.

When I told my co-workers that I was leaving for the hospital, they all swore that it was it and that I’d have the baby that day.  Jeremy and I knew better but it was better to be safe than sorry.  I had been saying for weeks that I was afraid I wouldn’t know what labor felt like and that I hadn’t had a single contraction to date.

We got to the hospital and they hooked me up to all of the usual hospital gadgets.  On Monday, January 30th – I was still only 1 cm dilated and was 25% effaced.  When I was checked at the hospital, I was 2 cm dilated and 60% effaced.  This explained the spotting (my cervix was dilating) but they wanted to make sure I wasn’t leaking amniotic fluid.

Then at one point, the nurse asked, “Did you feel that?”  I had no idea what she was talking about and she said that I was having some small contractions.  Ooooooohhh… so that’s what those are!

Not surprisingly, we got sent home but Jeremy and I knew that I was probably going to go into labor that weekend.  So we ran some quick errands and relaxed at home.  Throughout the rest of the day, the contractions were coming in steadily (but like 10-15 minutes apart) and were getting a little stronger.

I went to bed that night around 10:30pm but woke up at 11:30pm with strong contractions.  I downloaded a contraction tracking app on the iPad and starting timing my contractions.  After about an hour – I was averaging contractions between 4-5 minutes that lasted about 50 seconds.  It was go time!

Jeremy and I both took a quick shower, Jeremy made me a PB&J sandwich and we grabbed the hospital bags.  We go to the hospital around 1:30am on Saturday, February 5th.  They determined that I was 4 cm dilated and 90% effaced.  Holy cannoli!  I was officially admitted around 2am.

I think my nerves started to get to me and I started shaking uncontrollably.  Holy shit – I was going to be a MOM very soon.  I had no idea what to expect with the labor and was freaking out about EVERYTHING.  The nurse jacked up the room temp so I could stop shaking (and later it would become unbearably hot for everyone else in the room).

The nurses and physician’s assistant all asked me about my “birth plan”.  I said I just wanted an epidural… otherwise, I trusted that they’d all talk to me about any medical procedures that would be performed.

After I was hooked up to everything, my contractions started to slow down.  This was really annoying.  Around 5 am, the physician’s assistant said that they wanted to break my water and start me on a low dose of Pitocin.  I panicked.  I said I didn’t want my water broken and shared all of my fears associated with it.  The PA and nurse were fantastic in addressing all of my fears and I went ahead with the water breaking.

I have seen what is used to break a woman’s water and it looks like a knitting needle!  I was terrified that it would hurt but it really didn’t.  The only thing that was uncomfortable was having the PA shove her hand up my hoo-ha to hold the baby’s head back after the water was broken.  And I felt like I pissed all over the table.

Jeremy got a little faint witnessing all of this.  And just because he gets a wee bit defensive when I tell people he almost passed out – it was incredibly hot in the room, Jeremy hadn’t eaten anything and he was EXHAUSTED.  It was still hilarious.

Around 7 am, the on-call OB/GYN checked me and I was 6 cm dilated.  He said that if I was going to get an epidural, NOW was the time I should get it.  He also “recommended” it to help my body relax.  I was just hoping I could maybe get some sleep but here is where I learned a valuable lesson.  Don’t allow visitors.  While I appreciated the visitors that came and I know they meant well – I felt like I couldn’t go to sleep because they were there.  I was deliriously tired.

I was afraid of the epidural as well but was surprised that it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought.  It probably helped that the anethesiologist was AWESOME and had the most soothing voice.  It was kind of creepy to feel the little “pop” of the needle going into my spine AND it was also creepy to know that something was IN my spine… but it was worth it.

I stopped feeling my contractions but still couldn’t sleep.  At one point, I started to feel this immense pressure building in my pelvis.  I thought that the epidural wasn’t “taking” and sort of freaked.  I had always heard that you go numb from the waist down but I was able to feel my feet and wiggle my toes.  The anethesiologist came back to give me another “boost” but I still felt that pressure.  It was getting worse and worse.

The OB/GYN came in around 10 am to check me and I was fully dilated.  Then he said, “You’re ready to push.”

And OHMYGOD I freaked out again.  I started shaking uncontrollably.  Everyone told me I’d be fine (oh – I forgot to mention that we had a room full of hospital staff because we allowed nursing students in the room.  And if I had to do it all over again, I’d do the same thing.  The nursing students were a fantastic support as were their teachers that were also in the room!).

The staff broke down the bed and set up the room and I sat there terrified staring at Jeremy like, “holy shit – this is it!”

I started pushing at 10:30am.  It was such a bizarre setup.  I was laying on my back and there was a nursing student holding each of my legs up.  I was told to push like I was pooping.  NO joke.  And that’s exactly what it felt like.  My OB/GYN told me to push like I was angry.  Not sure what that meant but I definitely pooped on the table.  Kudos to the staff because they discreetly cleaned it up.

At one point, they all told me they could see my baby’s “beautiful dark hair” and that I was getting close.  Then the OB/GYN asked if he could perform an episiotomy (another one of my fears after pooping) and I was getting so tired that I just yelled, “SURE!”.  Jeremy said the episiotomy was gross and that it sounded like cutting a very stretched out rubber band.  You’re welcome for that sound/image.

At 11:11am she was born.  That’s right, I only pushed for 41 minutes.  It was ridiculously exhausting and I didn’t think I could continue much longer.  I was started to contemplate asking for a c-section.  I STILL don’t know how some women push for several hours.  I would die.

I wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming sense of relief I felt when she came out of my body.  It was like I hadn’t pooped in years and I took the biggest poop of my life.  They quickly placed her on my chest but I was so overwhelmed by EVERYTHING that I didn’t really get a chance to look at my daughter.

Oh – and we were still between names when she was born!  So when one of the nurses asked what her name was, I responded with, “Crap!  I don’t know!!”  We actually didn’t name her for another 36 hours or so… and I’ll share that name later.

The staff whisked her away to do the usual cleaning, testing, etc.  Jeremy ran over to snap some photos and count her fingers  & toes.

I’m not sure if Jeremy will be happy that I wrote this but he cried when she was born.  And it was the sweetest thing I had ever seen.  I was still feeling overwhelmed so I didn’t really cry – but seeing him cry and declare how perfect she was got me all emotional.

I am apologizing now if this was the most poorly written post of my life.  I’m sure it is filled with run-on sentences, typos, grammatical errors, etc. because I am TIRED!

Coming up next… the “aftermath” or “post-delivery vagina care”.  Let’s just say that my relationship with Jeremy has gotten a lot stronger…

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I am still here!

I know I’ve been MIA lately but if you follow me on Twitter, you know that baby girl has arrived!

Last week was all about inducing labor. I’m not sure if any of that worked or what exactly may have triggered labor, but I was in early labor on Friday, February 4th and baby girl was born the morning of Saturday, February 5th.

I’ll post pictures (oooh do I have pictures… I have a camera with me all the time to capture EVERY little thing) soon.

Motherhood still hasn’t hit me and I definitely feel like I’m winging things as I go. But I do love every little thing about baby girl ranging from the sweet little faces she makes to her stinky farts and even her cries.

Pictures and birth story coming soon! Also – I fully plan on writing in full TMI about the aftermath (trauma area care).

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I know I’ve been MIA lately but if you follow me on Twitter, you know that baby girl has arrived!

Last week was all about inducing labor. I’m not sure if any of that worked or what exactly may have triggered labor, but I was in early labor on Friday, February 4th and baby girl was born the morning of Saturday, February 5th.

I’ll post pictures (oooh do I have pictures… I have a camera with me all the time to capture EVERY little thing) soon.

Motherhood still hasn’t hit me and I definitely feel like I’m winging things as I go. But I do love every little thing about baby girl ranging from the sweet little faces she makes to her stinky farts and even her cries.

Pictures and birth story coming soon! Also – I fully plan on writing in full TMI about the aftermath (trauma area care).

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Still No Baby

I realize that long absences from blogging may make some people think that I’ve had the baby. Sadly, that is not the case.

Although I haven’t hit my due date (February 7th) – the countdown is definitely on. And I am now in operation natural induction right now.

I had my 39 week appointment with my OB/GYN on Monday and she noted that I am still only 1 cm dilated. This really isn’t that big of a deal since women can not be dilated until the day they deliver. But it is nice to know that my body is at least somewhat prepping for birth. I’m also 25% effaced (I don’t know if this is a good or bad number at this point) but that my cervix is still “firm”. It was not soft enough to chat about induction just yet.

Now here’s where I worry (oh who am I kidding – I worry about everything medically related). I had a LEEP procedure performed a little over 6 years ago. This means that I’ve had some of my cervical tissue removed. How this complicates things is that my OB isn’t sure if my cervix is firm from scar tissue.

My OB said plenty of women are able to deliver vaginally after a LEEP and that oftentimes, this will break up the scar tissue. However, there are also instances where the scar tissue prevents a woman’s cervix from dilating and they need a c-section.

So now I’m in fear of a c-section. It is always a possibility but for me, I fear that it is a bigger possibility. My OB said my best chance at avoiding a c-section is going into labor naturally but that she doesn’t want me to go beyond 41 weeks pregnant. So that means that if I haven’t gone into labor on the 7th, I’ll be talking induction with her. And I really really don’t want that. (and yes, I am perfectly aware of the many successful births that were induced. I’m not judging YOU if you were induced but this is something that I don’t want. I’m kind of crazy when it comes to chemicals… just ask my husband. Plus hearing that it increases my chance for a c-section scares the pants off of me.)

I bumped up my chiropractor appointment yesterday in hopes of having her induce me via acupressure. She did some accupressure and also handed me a print-out of some natural induction methods. She said she couldn’t condone the enema or any of the herbal remedies but suggested I try most of the other items. She also suggested sitting on an exercise ball and bouncing around a bit (but nothing crazy). She said that this motion helps to put pressure on my cervix from the babies head bouncing down. I’ll try ANYTHING.

And I have.

Eating pineapples like its my job? Check.
Primrose Oil? Check.
Walking? Check.
Naughty stuff? Check.
Raspberry Leaf Tea? Check.

I’ve been feeling a bit crampy all day (all over crampy, ab tightness and it feels like perhaps they’re sore from doing 1000 crunches). I wonder if this is in my head but I really really want to go into labor naturally.

COME ON BABY! What are you waiting for?

Any recommendations for inducing labor?

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