Friday, April 11, 2014

Adventures in Motherhood: Birth Story and `Packing the Hospital Bag Part 2: Electric Boogaloo!'

Okay...so I had that baby back on February 26th...and I am only now getting around to updating things!  Crazy times.  But awesome fun times.  Anyhow, here is the lowdown on what worked and what didn't and a new updated list.

But first I need to explain the circumstances of the actual birth.  I was a couple of days past my due date and had my morning NST scheduled for 9a followed by the weekly visit to my obgyn at noon.  My mom wanted to come with to see an ultrasound and also to figure out where the hospital is and parking etc.  At this point it is still CRAZY COLD in Chicago...like maybe 5 degrees, so we were still not keeping the bags in the car.  Plus this was my mom's car.  Brian had ours at work down in River North.

NST's were boring as usual and the quickie ultrasounds showed everything was peachy. I had to schedule another NST for friday as I was at the 'twice a week' point.  Based on discussions with my doctor the week before, we figured that if labor had not started by friday, we would induce as she did not want me going past a week overdue.  After the NST, we went to the Golden Apple to carbo-load on pancakes which ended up being a VERY good thing as I would not eat again until close to 7p!  YIKES.  So after breakfast we headed to the doctor and all was fine until they took my blood pressure which was gonzo.  I normally have low low blood pressure and this was nutty.  So, the doctor said I had to turn right back around and head over to the OB Triage at the hospital just to get checked out.  At this point we thought about going back to the apartment to get the bags, but we figured if they did admit me, Brian would have to go back to the house anyway and he could grab them.  I had knitting with me so I knew I could wait for a while and my mom had her Kindle so we headed to the hospital AGAIN.  
Triage was eternal.  The cot was uber-uncomfie.  After like ten billion questions, three dozen monitoring devices, and a supremely uncomfortable hospital gown, they decided to admit me and induce labor asap.  ASAP however, turned out to be a very long time.  I got there just after 1p and was not able to get a room in Labor/Delivery until after 9pm.  My phone ran out of juice around 6p.  Once they put the wretched IV in my hand, knitting proved to be pretty uncomfortable.  I could do it for a little while and then had to rest. I watched a Rizzoli and Isles marathon and tried to nap when possible.  I sent my mom back to our apartment at 4p and my husband got to the hospital at 7p.

So at this point, the three things that I needed the MOST that I did not have were: 

  1. Chapstick...my lips were sahara dry within an hour of being there.  I had left mine in the car but I knew there was some in my bag...which was not going to arrive until my husband got off work. 
  2. A tank top or sleep bra or even a tube top...they made me take off my underwire bra which was a big mistake.  Those hospital gowns are far from soft and within an hour, my boobs were not pleased...a barrier was definitely needed.  I finally gave up and put the bra back on leaving the strap off of one shoulder so I could later take it off and pull it through the arm of my gown when it came time to PUSH (so that we could do the skin to skin thing and nurse easily).  When it came time to nurse, I was already raw and uncomfortable which made for a rough and painful couple of days.  Grumble.
  3. Magazine...something mind numbing and distracting would have been great.  I only had my phone and my knitting...which both ended up not working for me.  I guess I could have sent my mom to the hospital gift shop to get me chapstick and magazines, but honestly it never occurred to me in the moment.
Okay, so once we got admitted, the bags came into the room.  Our labor room was pretty big but there was not a closet in which to stash bags.  We had to stuff them under a chair.  There were a few hooks on doors from which things could be hung...which might have been a better storage option had a packed in an upright tote. The duffle ended up being in the way a lot for Brian.  So this would be something to look for when you do your hospital tour...is there a place to stow things?  Tailor your bags to the space you get as much as possible.  

Now some of the things I packed were immediately negated due to my preeclampsia.  Because I was on an IV drip, taking a shower to deal with the impending labor pains was out of the question.  Grumble.  I was also not able to easily walk around and pound my feet or do things like get on the floor and use the birthing balls etc.  I had several interventions to get labor going (pitocin, balloon thingy) and the pain was fine...then they broke my water and shit got real.  Barfing and screaming ensued.  For a while I managed...doing the breathing, and vocalizing, stomping feet in bed, and squeezing or pounding the birth balls.  I used the heating pad a bit too.  I tried the birth ball but it was too weird and unruly having to deal with the iv and the wretched blood pressure cuff on each arm.  By 5:30a i had only dilated to 6cm and I knew I was not going to make it to 10cm without the dreaded epidural. I waved the white flag and the anesthesiologist was there within the half hour.  

The epidural was scary and horrible but done in a flash and things became more manageable instantly.  The instant relief from the mega pain far outweighed my dread.  Evidently, I should send flowers to that doctor because it was maybe 15 minutes tops and most women I know said it was much longer and harder for theirs. At first it was only working on one side, but a nurse propped me on some pillows and both sides went numb.  Brian and I both got a two hour nap in.  It was glorious.  A nurse came back to check on my at around 8a and bam 10cm!  All I needed to do was relax.  They said to expect deliver around 11 or so.  I shared the info via text with my mom who in turn thought she could take her time getting over to the hospital.  At like 8:30a, the obstetrician came round to introduce herself and check my progress and she was like..."um there's the head".  What time is it?  GAMETIME! 

I sent a text to my mom updating her to get her sweet fanny over here ASAP.  There was some scrambling around the room with lots of people and lights and scrub gowns and gloves etc.  I was keeping pretty calm and Brian, well i don't know....he seemed to be keeping it together. It was time to put all those things I had read to good use.  I had made a facebook post earlier that instead of reading all those baby books in prep, I really should have just hung out naked in front of a lot of strangers.  That was one of the harder things to deal with initially...there is no such thing as modesty in childbirthing.  Also, you can't control all of the things.  Shit happens and it is better to roll with it instead of crying over it.  Do what you can to be prepared and have a plan in place, but also be prepared to have all of that thrown out the window   

We were pushing by 9a.  The doc said I was a pro at the push.  I told her I was using theatre breathing exercises and the "coffee plunger" visualization that I got from the Juju Sundin Birth Skills book (which I totally recommend btw...even though I was not able to have a natural childbirth, this book helped in many ways).  I pushed like four times and whammo...baby at 9:21a.  My mom got there at about 9:31 in time to see him on my chest.  He was a big boy and beautiful and healthy with hair and giant alert eyes.  All was right in the world.  I only needed one stitch and there were no other complications. The epidural wore off at the perfect time (again flowers should be sent) and I was able to get up to use the loo about a half hour after the doctors had finished with my business.  We were transferred to mother/baby recovery by noon.  

Sadly, we got one of the tiny tiny rooms...we are not small people...so it was crowded.  I was fine.  The bed was liveable and the bassinet with baby joe was right there.  The couch/bed thing for Brian was likely going to kill him though and I knew he was going to be a hot mess if he slept on it more than one night.  I sent him home for a part of the day to get a shower and a nap and he came back later that night.  Before he left, I packed up eveything that we no longer needed and sent it home with him which was an EXCELLENT move.  One less bag to deal with when we checked out and less clutter in the room (FYI..this room did have a closet!) 

I finally was able to take a shower and get into my own clothes on thursday morning.  It was glorious.  Brian had an audition that afternoon and then he came back in the evening for awhile.  I sent him home to get a decent night's sleep and he came back on friday morning to pick us up and take us all home.  

Over those days, I attempted to knit some more (again it was hard because of the IV...which they left in until thursday and was then sore for almost a week after).  I read magazines occasionally.  Mostly though, there was not much free time really.  Between feeding the baby and the constant stream of nurses and then feeding myself and diaper changes and bathroom breaks etc...I just wanted to nap or watch tv...not very exciting I know.  

So If you made it through the saga...then you are rewarded with the list again. I bolded the neccessities, added some notes, and put a strike through on the stuff I should have skipped.  I definitely think two bags was over kill.  Yes the winter was messing with things, but one bag and a small train case with toiletries would have worked just fine and kept me from overpacking.


THE OLD LIST:
Bag #1...a duffle with a pull out handle and wheels:

-For Brian: sweats to sleep in, two t-shirts, a hoodie, slippers, a change of socks and underwear, and a bath towel. 
-For Me: Bath robe, nursing tank, maternity bra, disposable nursing pads, old pair of cut off sweats I won't miss, old huge t-shirt I won't miss, pj pants, slippers I won't miss, ankle socks, festive stripey knee socks, black sweatsuit and top, boyshort undies in one size up.
-For Baby: Newborn winter sleeper, socks, knit hat, 0-3 months sleeper with matching hat, cuddly blanket for the car trip home, and a receiving blanket.

-Random Other Stuff: A waterproof disposable mattress pad thingie my sister nabbed from her hospital.  

bag #2:

Entertainment: a couple of magazines, BBC Pride and Prejudice on dvd, a small knitting project with all the needed items to keep me busy, spare cell phone charger, a small notebook and pen
Snacks:  goldfish crackers, granola bars, and three of those GoPicnic packaged meals.  
Toiletries: simple men's travel kit at target for $6 with soap, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, a razor, and shaving cream for Brian.  spare pair of glasses for both him and me. For me, I packed a simple self contained Benefit travel makeup kit, smashbox bb cream, travel cleanser, travel moisturizer, pre-moistened face wipes, contacts, lip balm, cocoa butter cream, deodorant, razor, a really really fancy set of travel shampoo and conditioner to treat my hair nice, a brush that both brian and I can use, a headband, ponytail holders, and toothbrush.

Randomness:  A little plastic massager thingie, a bedazzled backscratcher, my trusty heating pad, ye olde stool softener, and a fold up reusable grocery store bag to bring anything extra home from the hospital, flask of whiskey.

THE REVISED LIST:
*optional...meaning it was nice to have but we could have easily lived without...
BAG #1 A Duffle with wheels 

Clothing:
-For Him: sleep pants, t-shirt, underwear, socks, slippers, sweatshirt/hoodie*. (Your husband can go home and get more to wear...or since he is a man, he likely has no problem wearing the same thing for three days), phone charger (if different from yours).
-For You: Bath robe*, nursing tank, maternity bra*, old pair of cut off sweats, old huge t-shirt, slippers, ankle socks, black sweatsuit and top, boyshort undies in one size up.
-For Baby: Newborn sleeper with feet, plain white onesie with long sleeve mitten hands, knit hat, 0-3 months sleeper with feet, cuddly blanket for the car trip home, and a receiving blanket.

Toiletries: 
-For Him: deodorant and a toothbrush or a simple men's travel kit at target for $6*, spare pair of glasses or contacts and a case.
-For You: hairbrush, basic makeup, moisturizer, cleanser, LIP BALM, shampoo, conditioner, razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, headband, ponytail, glasses, and contacts. ***I really recommend bringing really nice stuff in travel sizes.  This will be the best shower or your life...bring the good stuff.  And makeup will make you feel better. Also, braid your hair and then take it out when it is dry for photos and you will have pretty waves.  

Entertainment: 
-a couple of magazines, (you can always send someone to get more), a small craft project or a puzzle book, spare cell phone charger, a small notebook and pen to jot down memories and important stuff

Snacks:  
-goldfish crackers, granola bars, dried cranberries.


Randomness:  A fold up bag for extras to bring home. Quarters and dollars for the vending machine. an itzbeen....we love it.


Post a Comment