Archives for February 2005

Hannah’s Story (2)

This is the second part of the story of Hannah’s birth.
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Monitors and Phone Calls

In the assessment room, we waited for the midwives and the nurse hooked me up to the monitors to ‘do a strip’. This is where they watch my contractions and the baby’s heart rate for a pre-determined length of time. Since the baby was premature, they wanted to make sure that there were no problems. They had a hard time picking up the contractions with the monitor, but the baby’s heartrate was fine, and they confirmed that I was in early labour.

As I was lying there on the monitors, I started to feel the contractions. They were quite mild, but lying on my back they felt stronger than when I was able to sit up or move around. The contractions were coming 4 minutes apart, and they didn’t seem to be picking up steam. The baby was very active at this time, so that was reassuring.

When the midwives arrived, they took me off the monitor fairly quickly, felt my belly, and told me that I would most likely have a baby that day. They told me that my baby’s long-term prognosis was excellent, but that he or she would most likely have to spend 2 weeks or so in the special care nursery. However, they didn’t check me, because they wanted the doctor to make the final call about whether to try to stop my labour, and whether I would need any other tests. Once your waters have broken, too many checks can lead to infection. I was also given IV antibiotics for this reason, and because I hadn’t completed all of the standard late-pregnancy infection screens.

The doctor was late, so at 9:00 the midwives moved me to a delivery room, where they checked me and saw that I was 2-3 centimeters dilated. A different doctor came in, and said that because I was 34 weeks they wouldn’t stop the labour. I would be having a baby, and my labour would be allowed to progress normally.

At this point, since things didn’t seem to be moving that quickly, the midwives suggested getting some reading materials, eating, and relaxing. They left to do some visits, with instructions to page them if anything changed. I ate breakfast, we talked, and then we started making phone calls. The first call was to my fellow Brownie leader, because we were scheduled to have a sleepover that evening. Then we called our parents, to let them know what was up. We got our lives sort of organized, and chatted.

At about 11:00 they hooked me back up the monitor for another ‘strip’. This time, the baby was quiet, but the heartbeat stayed steady. However, they wanted to see the baby’s heartbeat respond to activity, so I sat on that monitor for about an hour. By this time, I found sitting still in a semi-upright position to be increasingly uncomfortable. I complained, and breathed, and finally at about 12:20 the baby started moving, the midwives returned, and I was off the monitor.

By 12:30 the monitoring was done, I was moving, and we had finished making our phone calls and making our arrangements.

Hangin’ Around

Today was Day 3 of having Hannah at home. Today was a particularily good day for a couple of reasons.

First off, Hannah is starting to get the hang of breast feeding as opposed to taking half breast-milk, half-formula in a bottle. The formula would make her fussy and not digest very well, so today she and her parents are much happier with the new arrangement.

Secondly, my parents and auntie Christy came over and brought us lunch, brought gifts for the baby’s room, brought food for Amber and I to heat up later, held the baby, helped us clean up some things around the house, and were all-round wonderful. We have been so lucky to have the great support from everyone in our family.

And, the midwife came late this afternoon and put baby on the scale, and she is back up to 5 lbs, 4 oz; up 2 oz from yesterday. This means that she’s getting the nourishment that Amber and I are working hard to give her, and with the breast milk and the love she’s recieving here, she’s thriving quite well. Right now everyone has been tucked into bed, and all is right with the world.

Hannah’s Story (1)

This is the first part of the story of Hannah’s birth.
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Denial

On Friday, February 18, I started getting cramps while I was sitting at work. They seemed to be coming sort of close together, although they weren’t very strong. I hadn’t felt any Braxton-Hicks contractions yet, which are the non-productive contractions you get during the third trimester when your uterus is preparing for labour. At my appointment on February 8 the midwife told me she could feel them from the outside, so I assumed that these were just some stronger Braxton-Hicks. You already feel pretty crampy when you’re 7 1/2 months pregnant, so it all seemed to be par for the course.

Jon and I made a trip to Ikea that night. I was particularly irritable, and feeling a strong urge to prepare for the baby. Again, this all seemed like regular stuff for a woman who is big and pregnant. I still felt crampy on and off, but nothing really strong or noticeable. So, we brought our stuff home and went to bed, with plans to assemble furniture in the morning.

At 4:48 am on February 19, I was startled awake when I felt a bit of a gush. I ran for the bathroom, and didn’t completely make it. I worried that I had finally lost bladder control. Part of me thought that this didn’t feel like my bladder, but it was still far too early for my water to be breaking. I decided to sit up for a little bit, and maybe look some stuff up on the computer, to reassure myself.

At the computer I couldn’t find anything that would help me distinguish between my bladder and my waters breaking, but I continued to feel leaking. At 5:00 am I went in to consult with Jon, to see if he thought that I should call the midwife. He sleepily suggested that I wait 3 hours, and that I try to go back to sleep.

There was no way that I was sleeping, so I went to lay down and watch some TV, making a couple more bathroom trips on the way. Finally, during a bathroom trip at 6:20, I had bloody show. I realized that this was not normal, so I paged the midwife, and told her what was up. She asked me how far along I was, and I told her 34 weeks exactly. She told me to listen carefully, that we had to leave immediately, and go to Royal Columbian, because I was in preterm labour. She asked if I was pre-registered, and I told here that we had planned on delivering at a different hospital. At 34 weeks, though, we had to go to Royal Columbian, because they have the special care nursery.

I woke Jon up, we got in the car, and we pulled up to Emergency at 7:00 am. Still in denial, I was admitted, and taken up to the assessment room.

Hanging with Baby

Today was the first full day of having Hannah home. So far we’ve managed to settle into a routine of eating every three hours, with a change of diaper, a cuddle, and a sleep. She is getting more alert and getting more fussy if her immediate needs for food and burping are not met. Her weight was good today, and we’re getting the hang of the routine.

Yesterday I poked my head back into the world of work in order to work the Kelowna Rockets/Vancouver Giants broadcast for Shaw. The game was excellent entertainment, who needs the NHL when you have this kind of junior hockey to see. But worth mentioning was our excellent commentary team took time out to welcome Hannah into the world. Not a week old and she’s already a part of the family business 🙂

You can check it out here:

Hannah Comes Home

Last night I went into the hospital and did the 9pm feeding, changing, and cuddle. At that point we did the carseat test which was one of the last hurdles before Hannah would be discharged. She did the carseat test perfectly.

This morning we phoned to make sure the doctor did the discharge inspection, and Hannah was cleared to come home. We went in at noon and did a feeding, bundled her up in the carseat, and very carefully brought her home. Amber and Hannah are now resting comfortably on the couch downstairs.

I’m feeling a lot better now that the whole family is together in one place. The hospital stay was hard, but we’re so glad that we had the help that we needed in getting our little preemie off to a good start.

Flexibility

I am a planner. I like my world to be organized. I like to know what’s going to happen next. I like to imagine that I am in control of whatever events may arise. This way, I feel like life is manageable, and understandable. Organization helps the universe to make sense.

Right now, though, I am learning about flexibility. I am learning how to take things as they come, how to accept situations that I cannot predict or control. This is very hard, particularly because I don’t always like what is handed to me. I would very much like some control, and I’m not all that keen on flexibility. However, the person who has arrived to teach me these lessons makes it all worthwhile.

Someday soon I will write more about how I met this person, my daughter, my Hannah. How my world changed with an early-morning dash to the bathroom. For right now, I am just struggling to live in the moment, because I know that these moments will never come again. Wonderful moments, horrible moments, and everything in between.

Amber Home

This afternoon Amber was discharged from the hospital and is now resting comfortably at home. Hannah is almost up to full feeding at the hospital. Today she had to go under the lights for her touch of jaundice, as is to be expected with babies who show up as early as she did.

Amber and I had a good meeting with the doctor this morning in order to get a good idea of what kind of things Hannah has to show them in order to be able to come home. If her jaundice clears up and she continues to eat the way she does, she should be able to come home in the next few days, although if her condition changes or she misses a milestone that could change. But she’s so far been doing, and especially eating, everything they want her to, so we’re hopeful. Amber and I figure that if we’re there pestering to be very actively involved in her care that they’ll get sick of us and send us all home. 🙂

I also posted a new video from tonight. Here it is:

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