Monday, July 09, 2007

A Baby Story - Baby 1 - Part 1

I have been inspired by the birth story of Miss Baby that Mimi recounted with such wonderful detail and suspense! I have decided that I should do the same thing for Papoosie Girl and Rosebud and while I have alluded to some of the details here and there, now is the time for an official documentation of the wild and wonderful births of my daughters. How the best laid plans fall to the ground while the magic and force of childbirth take over. My births could not be more different, but in the end I got the same thing, a blessing in the form of a daughter in a magical moment that is burned into my heart forever.

Setting the stage

While pregnant with Papoosie Girl, a planned pregnancy following a miscarriage, we were ecstatic. After being married for two and a half years we felt ready to start our family and got pregnant easily on the first month of trying (actually that happened each time I got pregnant), much to Hubby's chagrin, shouldn't we have to try for months he would complain. We told our families on July 1, 2000 which not only was Canada Day it is my Hubby's Name Day so we invited everyone over for a BBQ and put the following sign on a borrowed highchair and didn't say a word, just let everyone figure it out. It was a wonderful day. I have searched high and low for the photos from that day and they remain missing for the moment. The sign has been in Papoosie Girl's keepsake box all this time and I am so glad we kept it. Another sign this was not meant to be was that first version Hubby brought home he mistakenly typed 2000 instead of 2001 and he had to make another one. Our baby was determined to make an early entrance it seemed.

I have a small confession in that I told my Mom ( just my Mom I swear!) the weekend before and there is a photo of the two of us right after I told her that I didn't know was taken. We are both beaming.

I was suffering morning sickness quite badly and was losing a lot of weight, about 15 pounds in total, I would later gain back about 9 pounds. I would constantly joke it was the best diet I was ever on. By about 10 weeks I was getting nervous and even though I knew my dates my doctor ordered an early ultrasound to officially date the pregnancy - although I think he ordered it so I would stop all the questions about how can a baby grow when all I do is throw up and why am I losing all this weight?

At 10 weeks we got our first glimpse of Papoosie Girl (who for the record I knew was a girl all along, either that or I willed it) and she was a delightful tadpole with a tiny black speck of a heart, a heart that was beating strongly right into my own.

Moving along

Things progressed along and by about four months I was much less sick, but still was hyper-sensitive to smells and was eating a very unhealthy diet. I basically could eat things that were white which included, white bread, Arrowroot cookies, poutine (from Harvey's), yoghurt, and grilled cheese. It was the most unhealthy and disgusting diet I have ever followed, what I ate was directly controlled by what it smelled or looked like. Hubby could not eat in front of me at all and the sight of meat in any form would make me ill. Grocery stores became toxic pits of nasty smells and any food smell sent me over the edge.

A friend later told me she knew I was pregnant when we went to The Keg and I ordered a plain baked potato for dinner. The only good thing I ate really was what I drank, and that was lots of milk. I would anguish over the What To Do if You are a Good Person and Pregnant books and the phrase, "making every bite count" haunted me. By about four and a half months I was at least looking pregnant and starting to wear maternity clothes that were hanging in my closest taunting me. I remember the first time I wore maternity clothes it was an August evening and we went to the movies, I could not believe everyone was going about their business, could they not see I WAS PREGNANT AND WEARING MATERNITY CLOTHES!

Throughout this time of nausea and losing weight my doctors were never concerned at all. It took longer to find a parking space, go up the elevator, check-in and wait than any of my appointments lasted. Each month I would lose more weight and each month I would ask in a scared voice, how can the baby be growing? I was always assured the baby was growing just fine. I am quite sure that unless I was lying in a pool of blood, holding one of my own limbs, I would have gotten the same trite responses to any question I asked, " that happens during pregnancy" they would tell me. After about 6 months of constant weight loss Hubby was getting concerned, perhaps I was asking the wrong questions he would suggest helpfully. So at my 6 month check-up I laid it on the line, please doctor tell me what is wrong. After thinking for about a minute this was her reply; " if you were skinny we would be worried." I left the appointment and phoned Hubby, everything is fine with the baby I told him and the doctor just called me fat! It is true I am not a skinny girl, but I was not enormous either, at any rate, I had lots of reserves so no problem losing the weight. Phew.

By about November I was starting to not feel well, although putting a finger on it exactly was difficult and my OB/GYN was never interested or concerned about my feelings. While I was not sick exactly I just felt off. They would assure me it was hormones, and I was tired and all that was true, but this was different. Work was stressing me out and while I worked in a very stressful and busy job, it was not new to me and I could handle it normally quite easily. By mid-November I was dumped another huge project with no assistance or support. In a rather dramatic move I left the office one day and headed to my family doctor and spilled everything. He told me I had a choice and that was to keep going or to leave work now. While he was never really alarmed he knows me well enough to know when I have had enough and that I know my body and my body was speaking to me loud and clear.

I returned to work the next morning to tell my boss I was leaving work early on medical advice and this was my last day of work. To this day I am not sure what was really wrong with me, which I am sure sounds strange. My short-term disability which I was approved for was labeled as Anxiety/Pre-Natal Depression (if memory serves me correctly) and I am grateful I worked for a company with such benefits. I remember talking to the benefit person I was assigned and telling her quite frankly that I wasn't interested in spelling out a huge case for my benefits, if my documentation was not enough I was not going back and they could just cancel my pay. I was in a place mentally that I have never been before, a place where instinct to protect my unborn child and my own sanity took over. I remember the benefit person being surprised at my candor and telling me a story of her own sister's anxious pregnancy - I was approved without any other questions.

I stopped working the last week of November and at the time my January 27, 2001 due date seemed safely far away. I had a surprise shower to keep me busy, then there was Christmas to get ready for and a special New Year's Eve - it was the year 2000 and we planned to go out for dinner and a movie with our friends that night. What is funny now while I am reliving and remembering, that so many signs were there for me to figure out something was happening - I just didn't have clue what I would have been looking for at the time.

My entire pregnancy the baby was breech at all of my check-ups, but also still small enough to move around a lot. The baby was not in "position" at what would be my final check-up on December 21, and the doctor told me that we would have to talk about options at my next appointment the first week of January. I was terrified about the prospect of a c-section, but I also knew that I had a month to go and the baby still had time to get into position.

Christmas Day was busy and hectic and we did more visiting on Boxing Day. I remember thinking I felt funny on Boxing Day and while I couldn't really put an actual reason to it, I knew I felt funny. We headed out on the 27th to buy a new camera at Henry's, we were getting it as a Christmas present to ourselves before the baby came. That night we were looking forward (well, the girls were anyway) to seeing the Nutcracker and for dinner at Le Papillon for crepes.

We finished our shopping and got ready to pick up our friends. We drove and we all piled into our Volkswagen Golf diesel that we drove at the time. About ten minutes into the Nutcracker both of the guys were dosing and while the show was spectacular I was so distracted. Right before the intermission I felt some movements so huge I nearly had to leave my seat. I am quite certain now that the baby turned and that turning somehow broke my water. We finish out the Nutcracker and head to dinner. The crepes were delicious and I was feeling strange, but again could not really come up with a concrete reason why, so I kept quiet. The discussion of course made it's way to the upcoming arrival and the fact that I had not yet packed my bag. I remember saying, "I have plenty of time, the baby is not due for another month" little did I know I would be packing one in a matter of hours. I have not eaten crepes since that night. I am aware that they could not possibly cause early labour, but I take no chances - even when obviously not even pregnant.

Dinner was finished and we drove home around 11pm that night. We dropped off our friends and headed home. I was showered and in bed by midnight and fell quickly asleep. I awoke at about 3am to go pee, since the bathroom is attached to our bedroom and the door is about three feet from my side of the bed I rarely put the light on or put on my glasses. After a quick pee I washed my hands and got a drink of water. As I was standing at the sink running the water to get a bit colder, warm water started to drip down my legs. Sleepy, disoriented and in the dark I thought I was still peeing. I quickly put on the light and grabbed my glasses and in those moments of confusion I was standing on our bathroom carpet which is blue so I was unaware of the colour of my pee that I thought was dripping down my legs.

After getting my glasses from the night table I noticed that the pee was not exactly a normal colour, it was pink. Pink drips covered my bathroom floor, in that moment I remember thinking what could this be? At that moment I still did not figure out this could be my water breaking. They say that time stands still during certain moments of your life. At 3am on December 28, 2000 I stood in my bathroom alone wondering for a moment what was happening to me. I woke up Hubby with the delicate and touching words, "I'm leaking" we were both in the bathroom when we decided this must be my water breaking despite being a month away from my due date and no apparent signs of labour. No huge whoosh of water like in the movies, no hee hee haw breathing during contractions, just pink drops and two people who had no idea where this night would lead.

Here is where the story ends for today....I am having such fun recalling all these moments, but I am worried the minute I hit Publish I will remember something else. How did Mimi do it?

Stay tuned.


bubandpie said...

I love birth stories. Just reading the words "Make Every Bite Count" is enough to make me see red. How intolerably manipulative all that rhetoric is!

Eagerly awaiting the next instalment...

Omaha Mama said...

Oooooooh, I like the cliff hanger aspect of your post! Can't wait to hear what's next. The best part is knowing you've got a healthy girl -so no worries about a happy ending! The leaking comment made me laugh - "I'm leaking". Ha!

Beck said...

I HATED THAT BOOK SO MUCH. ("What To Eat When You're Expecting", correct?) At one point during my pregnancy with the boy I could hold down exactly two things:
1) gingerale
2) nacho-flavoured dorritos.
And then I would read that book and sob with guilt. My midwife came over and threw it out.
Great story! I can't wait to hear tomorrow's installment.

Alpha DogMa said...

I had a copy of "What to Expect When You Want To Scare Yourself Silly With Guilt and Worse Case Scenarios" and decided that I could not relate to the cover illustration of the peaceful/lobotomized, fashion-victim in a rocking chair. So I chucked it.

This seems like a the genesis of a meme, don't you think? We should all tell birth stories. Though, maybe some one should warn Flutter - we don't want to scare her off.

Haley-O said...

Wow! The suspense! And, it's so true...time does seem to stop when you realize you're in labour.... :)

Lainey-Paney said...

I love birth stories!

Mimi said...

I love birth stories! Hooray hooray!

Weird: my mom only ate white food when she was pregnant with me. And I flatter myself that I'm not the worse for it. Those books are bossy and stupid. They assume that the baby needs to be protected from the mother, and that ENRAGES me.

I love the leaking bit: sounds a lot like me, eh? At least Hubby didn't go back to sleep. It's funny how clueless we can be about what's going on, eh? How in retrospect, you're all like, 'of course!', but at the time its very confusing.

I love also how you got all Momma Bear on the HR lady. Very self-protective. Must've felt good to be so clear of purpose and heedless of protocol.

I'm so sad about your experience with you caregiver. I had such a great time with my midwives. I felt very supported and very safe, and they answered every last one of my five million questions. And the parking was plentiful ;-)

I can hardly wait for the next part!

NotSoSage said...

I'll have to read the next part later, but I'm loving this so far. I have to second mimi that this is what I love most about midwifery care: the long appointments. It got to the point that Joe and I were fishing for questions to ask to fill up the 45 minute allotted time.