Monday, January 20, 2020

Dane's Home Birth

*Do I need a disclaimer with a title like that? Obviously, intimate details and NAKED PHOTOS to come. Read Devin's birth story here.*
Dane Burleigh Rideau

To get to the birth, I guess I have to get the beginning fluff out of the way and go wayyyy back to the beginning.

I got a shoulder injury at work in September of 2018, which caused a lot of pain and interruption in my life. I was going to my chiropractor twice a week, a deep tissue massage that was incredibly painful once a week, and working light duty/partial duty restrictions for 24-36 hours per week. Between all of this, I was not sleeping well and tired all.the.time. I would come home from work and just lay on the recliner with a hot pad on my shoulder, needing to rest. Literally any moment I was at home I wanted to be sleeping and resting through the pain of my shoulder. At some point in December I realized that a shoulder injury shouldn’t be this exhausting...right?! Then the next dot connected: I was having terrible vivid dreams/nightmares just like when I was pregnant. And the next: some foods were making me really sick for the past few weeks. And then the last: WHEN WAS MY LAST PERIOD?! 

I took a pregnancy test and it was immediately positive. I wasn’t ready to tell Vince yet because I had just started a new position at the hospital literally two days before that required extensive training, he was super overwhelmed with both kids at home and having a mini-breakdown about being a stay at home dad (four years into it…) and I just could not handle his negativity if he was unhappy. So I threw the test away, hid the box in the outside recycling, and ignored it. Not for long, though. He immediately found the box when he brought out the recycling because I apparently didn’t hide it and he called me (don’t remember where I was) and asked me if I was pregnant. 

Fortunately he was totally on board with it, and didn’t think it was the end of the world like I did. 

To figure out when my last period was actually took a bit of work. I knew the average date I started my period (every 28 days, and recently it’d been starting the Friday around the 20th), but I also knew Vince and I hadn’t “done the deed” for quite some time because of my injury. The final realization was that since I started my weekly massages the beginning of October, I had for sure only had one period because I was only wildly paranoid about dripping blood on the massage table one time. So in general, I had a roundabout time frame of when I got pregnant that gave me an estimated due date at the end of July/beginning of August.

Why was this such a big deal when I could just get an ultrasound? Because I didn’t want any! This was a huge deal to the OB/nurse midwife I saw to get medication for hyperemesis (oh yes, the beast was back), but fortunately not a big deal to the traditional midwife I chose to do my prenatal care with and be there for the delivery. This is its own story that I won’t get into now, but the gist is that I didn’t really know my dates and had a general idea.

The beginning of July, I started having prodromal or “false” labor. Definitely not Braxton-Hicks, but not real either. Just enough to be very uncomfortable and timeable, only to dissipate. This started around 36 weeks so I thought the baby was coming any time. Then the end of July came, and there was still no baby.

Then weeks and weeks passed, with no baby! I went over and over the dates in my head, and even with the last possible date that wasn’t really possible, I was “late”. I wrote about my feelings on it here on IG

Finally, 4 ½ weeks after I started my maternity leave for work thinking my baby would be here any day, the day arrived where my baby decided to join us Earthside.

Two days prior, I had gotten acupuncture (I had been going 3-4 days a week for weeks at that point) and it kickstarted things. I had a few big contractions while there for a couple hours, but they went away when I got home. That evening around 11pm I started getting some painful ones that were about 10 minutes apart, but I managed to sleep between them. At 3:30am I started having very strong ones that I couldn’t sleep through (same exact time of when I went into labor with Devin!) that were 15-20 minutes apart. Through the early morning they increased to every 10-15 minutes. 

I was a nice wife and let Vince sleep that night, knowing he would need his rest if I were in real labor. He got up to get Devin ready for school and I couldn’t stay in bed any longer, so I got up as well. I had been on maternity leave for the entire month previously and every day I slept in until 9 or 10 because I was dealing with nausea at night that was preventing me from getting to sleep at a decent hour. Vince always jokingly asked me, “Is it time?” every time I called him and randomly throughout the day, so when he asked me that morning I said, “YES!” Then he laughed, looked at me, and said, “Wait. Really? Is it really time?” And I laughed and said, “YES!” Mild panic ensued, he finished getting ready to take Dev to school, and he asked if he should have someone else drive her. I assured him it would still be a long time before this baby was here. Val had a visit with his grandma for the weekend so he was gone already.

I called my midwife Valerie at that point, who ended up not being the one I saw during my pregnancy (Maryn with Indie Birth) because she was out of town. Neither one of us planned on me still being pregnant! I let Valerie know the timing of them even though they were still far apart because she lives about an hour and a half away. With this being a second baby, we assumed (haaaaaa) that things would go faster than my first labor of 34.5 hours. I also texted my oldest friend Annika, who happens to be an apprentice with my original midwife and who had been attending my prenatal appointments and planned on being at the birth. 
I was still feeling great in between contractions, so I did some gardening, blanched some beet greens for the freezer, and cleaned and prepped some roasted hatch green chilies for the freezer that I had picked up the day before at the farmer’s market. I tidied up a little around the house, ate and drank frequently to stay full in case things ramped up and I couldn’t anymore, and relaxed a lot on the recliner trying to close my eyes while listening to my HypnoBabies soundtracks (Birthing Day Affirmations and Easy First Stage). Vince ran a few errands, had a friend drive him to pick up his truck from the shop, and then did some housework. I also had him set up some of my baby wraps on our upstairs railing so I could pull on it during labor if desired.

When Dev got home around noon, she immediately recognized it as a swing and had fun on that! By the time she got home, contractions had increased in frequency a little bit and were very uncomfortable. I still felt fine between them, but they needed most of my attention during them. For the most part Devin was really good at listening to me when I told her not to talk to me, and that I needed to focus. 
My contractions were still pretty inconsistent between 5-8 minutes apart, but consistently getting stronger and longer. My midwife stopped by at some point to check on me and I had none while she was there, ha! We decided that she’d go hangout in town and would call me in a couple hours to see how I felt. As soon as she left, they picked up again. A couple hours later around 5pm, I started having contractions every three minutes and they were lasting a full minute. They continued to stay every two-three minutes or more frequently until the birth 11 HOURS LATER.
The last times I tracked contractions.

This is where I confess that I had one breakdown after another. My midwife and Annika showed up around 8pm and I cried because I was relieved to have someone there who could help me through it. But also, there wasn’t much they could do and I thought I would have more relief than was possible. Yes, they could emotionally support me and help me as best as they could, but they couldn’t take the pain away or slow down my contractions!

I consistently went between my bedroom, the shower, and the living room and found absolutely no relief. The contractions were so strong and close together that I found it really hard to regain my composure between them. I had a couple hours feeling like this with Dev around transition, but this was hours and hours and hours so far and it was so unexpected that I didn’t know how to handle it. There were many times I felt defeated, exhausted, and not capable of giving birth again, which I was not expecting. This led to me saying I wanted to go to the hospital, even if it meant an epidural or C-section because I was DONE and didn’t care. I didn’t care!

I told everyone repeatedly to just take me to the hospital, but luckily Vince wouldn’t let it happen because he knew I didn’t really want to do that (I did! I didn’t care! haha). He kept continuously reguiding me, helping me switch positions, and telling me contractions in the car would be impossible. Things kept happening just in time for me to agree to stay home, though.

I felt nauseous and threw up, making a joke about people throwing up while in transition and that I better have the baby soon. I didn’t.

I asked for a cervical check at some point, and was fully dilated with bulging waters. My water still hadn’t broken, and mentally this was difficult for me. I asked to have my water broken with Dev after being at the same dilation for hours, and I was worried that they wouldn’t break this time and I’d get “stuck” again. I voiced my concern many times about the waters not breaking, and Annika asked me a few questions to work through it in my mind, like if I was afraid I couldn’t do it or if I felt like they needed to be broken again. Instinctively I knew I could still have a baby with the waters intact and that I didn’t need to do anything, but I was still afraid it would make my labor even longer and I was so done. Also, the reason I started to lose my shit during Dev’s labor was because my water was broken and the contractions were much worse and I knew I couldn’t handle more difficult ones this time. 

I had a couple heart tone checks and everything was good, so I again agreed to stay home. 

While standing up by my dresser insisting on leaving again, my water broke on its own. I said I wasn’t sure if I’d peed or if my water broke, but that I was leaking fluid everywhere. I never felt a big gush, so I think I had a small leak versus a full rupture. This was enough progress to keep me home, thinking that now with the waters broken and being fully dilated I’d have him soon.

But again! No! 

I went back and forth again between the bedroom, bathroom and living room still feeling no urge to push despite being fully dilated for quite a while now. Lots of hip squeezes from my midwife and Annika, spoonfuls of honey and sips of water, a hot rice bag (a huge size my grandma sewed me!) and moaning. I did some pushing just to see if anything would happen, but could never get in a comfortable position for my shoulder or back (remember, still injured!). 

During the pushing, my dad showed up because I told Vince I was absolutely going to the hospital and he needed to take care of Devin. Then, I could feel Dane’s head (very high inside me still) so I stayed. Seriously, so much back and forth!

My dad went and woke up Dev around 2am thinking I’d deliver soon because my midwife said it’d be any minute, but I laughed and said that I pushed for four hours with Devin and this baby wouldn’t be here any time soon.

I pushed, I cried, I yelled so loud that I have no idea why my neighbors didn’t call the police thinking someone was being tortured, and basically lost my shit for a long time. Oh, speaking of shit, I pooped SO much. All over. With every push, I pooped. And Annika gracefully wiped it up after Devin would say, “There’s more poop! Poop is coming out!” 

Finally, Vince insisted that I just go lay in bed. He said I was moving around too much and that I just needed to lay on my back like I did with Devin and be able to support myself. I think he was also just tired of holding my 185 pound body while I screamed in his face. Who knows.

So off to bed we went, and then I had a baby. Yep. Over two hours of pushing elsewhere, and within 20 minutes or so I had a baby in bed.

The head was fully crowning and I had to wait for another contraction, just like with Dev. The head came out and my baby was instantly screaming as soon as lips touched the air. Vince immediately noticed and indicated to the midwife that there was a cord wrapped around the neck, and it was so tight that my midwife couldn’t actually get it over the head and instead had to slide it over their shoulders as I pushed them out. Once the shoulders and hips were out I was like, GIVE ME MY BABY and Vince said they weren’t all the way out and I was like, DON’T CARE, PASS HIM TO ME. I obviously didn’t listen to what Vince actually said, because I definitely thought my baby was fully out. Vince picked them up and the legs came out of me and I said WHAT WAS THAT? So yes, Vince helped deliver the legs and yes it was shocking. 

Vince immediately placed our baby on my chest and I didn’t think to see if it was a boy or girl because I just knew he was a boy. He was so covered in vernix, but also so flaky and wrinkly indicating that he was a post-term baby. He was wide-eyed and seemed to be taking everything in. I think Vince asked what the baby was and he looked to tell me it was a boy. I checked and laughed saying, “His balls! They’re so big! Look at his penis!” We stayed snuggled up for a little bit while my midwife gave me some herbs and tinctures and had me drink water. Vince realized no one looked at the time he was born, so we took a guess and looked back at the video recording that Annika had taken on her phone. 4:27am on Saturday, August 24th! 

Annika asked if I was ready to deliver my placenta, but I felt like I would just die if I did so I opted to wait a little bit. She could see it bulging out and I could feel it, so I knew it had detached itself and that I wasn’t likely at risk for hemorrhage. Eventually I delivered the placenta and asked Annika to help pull it out because I was so sore. It was a beautiful, healthy and super strong placenta! 

After an hour of snuggling and great nursing, I decided to take a quick shower while my midwife was still there because my armpits stank enough that I couldn’t stand myself. We used some sterile string I stole from work to tie off his cord, and Vince and Dev cut the placenta using the same scissors we used for Dev’s birth. We weighed him (7lbs, 8oz - exactly what I predicted!) and measured him (...I can’t remember.). They got some skin on skin time while I showered, then Vince made some food that I never ate because I was too sore and shaky and I just wanted to sleep.

And that was that! 25 hours of labor, which was long but still 9.5 hours shorter than Dev’s. Dane’s labor was WAY harder than Devin’s, though. I’ll post soon about that and how I actually felt about his whole labor other than relief that he was finally here after 42 ½ weeks.

Thank you to Annika for the labor/postbirth photos and birth support, and my midwife Valerie! 
So much love for those two amazing birthworkers.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Books! And the sound of my soul crushing.

Hello there, ol' blog. This may have been my longest blogging break - over five months! I actually forgot what my blog looked like, yet it feels like I just wrote my previous blog post a couple weeks ago...

I figured I'd be very noncommittal and set the bar very very low with my first post of the year, and will just talk about books. Much easier than figuring out my feelings of having an unexpected baby (now toddler!) in the house, going to court and the overall stress of dealing with terrible government workers on a weekly basis.

This year, in between buying a house, caring for the previously mentioned baby in addition to the terribly headstrong two-year old Devin, starting my master's degree, and working full-time as a nurse, I finished 36 books as part of my 2017 reading challenge. This was a total of 12,577 pages! My goal was 30, so I felt pretty great going over it. I'm setting my goal this year at 30 again, because I'd rather overachieve than underachieve.

I can easily say my favorite book this year (or rather, two books) was The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear, which is part of the Kingkiller Chronicle. I came across this series by complete accident, and looking back it seems like they were the most "meant to be" books I've ever read. A coworker had recommended a book to me, saying I would love it. I wrote the name down, but I accidentally washed the paper and months went by with me forgetting to ask about it. One day after rating a book on goodreads, I saw a comment from Patrick Rothfuss saying something along the lines of "I'm a really great and accomplished author of an epic series and I have a beard and this book made me cry," so I meandered over to his page to see what this asshat looked like and to see if he really was accomplished. Lo and behold, I came across his insanely accomplished and successful series and recognized the name as being the one my coworker recommended, or so I thought.

I refuse to read books that are part of a series unless all of them are out because I hate being left on a cliffhanger and have learned my lesson one too many times (namely, Harry Potter. A million times over.). Diligently, I looked up all three of his books on goodreads to make sure they were out and they each had thousands of reviews, so I figured they were all released. WRONG.

Anyways, I started the first book and wasn't completely taken in within the first few chapters. I told my coworker I finally checked out the book he recommended, but I couldn't remember the name so I said, "Ya know, the one about the wind and it's like a story within a story? You said it's good, right?" He was adamant that I'd love it so I pushed through. Well, I ended up finishing all 662 pages in about a week. And then when I checked out all 994 pages of the second book, I finished that in a week. While dealing with three members of my family having norovirus, with two of the three shitting allllll over my house.


So as you would imagine, I was SO ready for the third book and when I went to check it out from the library, it wasn't there. Oh well, off to Amazon to pay whatever amount they want because I'd pay a million dollars to know how it all ends. But. BUT. IT WASN'T THERE. Because there IS no third book yet and I don't think I've ever been so enraged in my life? Just ask Sara, I probably texted her 9,000 times telling her how deeply upset I was and I could just feel my soul being crushed. And this went on for monnnnnnths, you guys! Months! I'm not even kidding! I just couldn't get over it.

My first course of action upon not finding the book was to go to goodreads, and guess what all the reviews were? People asking when the book was going to be out. I dieeeeeee.

When I went to yell at my coworker for recommending an unfinished series, he said he had no idea what I was talking about because the book he recommended wasn't part of a series. What?! Turns out, he recommended Shadow of the Wind, which is also a story within a story but a very different story than I read.

Anyways, on December 31st of this year, while thinking of all the books I've read, I figured I'd see if there was an update for a release. Apparently Patrick has been promising for seven years to release the book and I was hoping 2018 would be the year. But no. It's not and he's already said it won't be released in 2018, so I'm angry once again about it. Ha! So all this to say that this trilogy, what's released of it, is easily in my top five, maybe even top two, favorite books (behind the seven Harry Potter books). Read it if you don't mind cliffhangers, otherwise don't. Just don't. I still feel the crushing pain like it was yesterday.

Cheers to more books in 2018!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Potty training, IUD, and a menstrual cup.

Warning, period talk ahead. 

Devin is mostly potty trained! And she did it completely on her own.

Around the time we moved she was starting to become interested in going on the potty, but then with all the changes she had zero interest. I tried to push it for a few days and then decided I didn't actually care because diapers are way easier than managing a public bathroom. Gross. But, we continued to read the potty book at bedtime because she loves it and now I attribute it to her learning. She'll basically recite the whole book while in the bathroom and loves shouting, "Hooraaaaaay! Pee pee in the potty! I did it! Undiiiiiies!!!!" Yes, it's freaking adorable. She had a couple accidents the first few days, but has been good since. She does still wear a diaper for bed and naps, though. I have no idea how to go about night training!

Because she's so excited about the potty, she insists on going to the bathroom with me. She often went with me before, but now she is VERY interested in every aspect of my bathroom functions. This is how she came to learn about my menstrual cup during my very long eight day period last month. I got a copper IUD put in at the beginning of May and as any woman who has one knows, your period is a lot heavier and longer the first many months. I didn't notice anything about my flow because of the cup (just that it was fuller than usual when I emptied it) but definitely noticed the length of time. Which was forever.

Anyways, every time I went to the bathroom Devin insisted on watching as I put in/took out the cup. Many people are probably fuh-reaking out right now, but hello. She's a female. Someday she'll have to go through this. It's normal, it's natural, and there's nothing to be weirded out about. Moving on. So she insisted on watching me and I explained that I was on my period, this was my "period cup", and I put it in my vagina to collect blood that I'd dump later. (Ok, maybe this is kind of something to be weirded out about. Ha.) I would leave it out at night and each morning she'd see it washed and on the counter and would say, "Put in period cup, mama!"

We are now two weeks past the end of my period and she still talks about it, you guys! I'm just waiting to embarrassed about it in public with her talking about it. She saw one at Sprout's and excitedly identified it as a "period cup", which totally had me laughing. I'm glad to educate her so young and even more glad that I won't have to have such an awkward talk when the time comes. Now if only I could easily sneak in the sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll talk so easily...

*update because I wrote this last month and forgot to post - I had my IUD period again this month and it was shorter than my normal period with minimal cramps. Hallelujah. And Dev got wayyyyy excited when I pulled out my cup and cloth pads shouting, "Yay, mama period! Put in the cup!" I'm still laughing about it!

And now here's my PSA - if you haven't tried a menstrual cup, ladies, do it! You can leave it in for 12 hours, no worry about getting TSS, more Earth friendly, and less toxic to your body than bleached and drying cotton. Pair it with a reusable pad and you're good to go. Put A Cup In It is an awesome resource and they even have a quiz to help figure out which cup you should try. I have the Lunette Cup and cut the stem off, which I love it. Not a sponsored post, just a cup lover. I'm going to buy a second one to keep at work in case I start there, though as of now I feel comfortable putting it in around the time I'm supposed to start because it's not drying/irritating like a tampon is if you haven't started yet.

Also, it's so awesome for workouts! I never worry about leaking and it's great for when I swim. A couple weeks ago I went on a seven hour hike up Humphrey's Peak (big group, took a lot of breaks) and was away from a bathroom close to 9 hours. I wasn't conceded about TSS, leaks on the heaviest day of my period, or finding a place to change a tampon. Totally awesome and a hike I would have cancelled previously if using tampons. I'd have missed this 12,633 foot view from the top of Arizona!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Two kids under three. Luckily not two under two.

Most parents have 9 months to adjust to the idea of bringing another person into their home, but us? Two hours. TWO. We got a call at 1pm saying a baby needed a home and Little Dude was dropped off at 3pm without so much as a diaper. Luckily we had cloth diapers on hand. So now that we're two months into parenting two kids, I feel like we're doing pretty good.

The biggest thing I've struggled with is questioning myself about treating him like he's my own. There is an endless supply of love, but I wonder if I'm giving him the same amount of attention as Devin and I'm not sure if it's because I didn't give birth to him or if it's because he's a second child and they always seem to get the shit end of the stick? Like with Dev I didn't want to give her grains until a year old and didn't get a walker for her because they can be bad for development. But with Little Dude we dump a handful of Cheerios on the ground and let him crawl around to eat it, and I just bought a jumper last week so that I can have two seconds without chasing a baby to clean the house. (Though Dev claims the walker as her own...) I'm 99.9% sure that everything about my parenting towards him is because he's a second child, but I still question it!
I'm finally starting to feel okay going places with both kids. The second week we had him I took them both to the gym daycare which is a long walk through the parking lot and up a long, steep flight of stairs, and it was so awful. He was falling asleep so I brought him in the carseat and Devin had a meltdown and needed to be carried, plus I had my gym bag on. I for sure thought we'd fall down the stairs. Then after my workout Devin had another meltdown when she saw me and refused to walk or be strapped into her carseat and Little Dude was screaming because he pooped and needed food. I swore I'd never leave the house with them again. But alas, in the past week I've taken them to a concert downtown (my step sister was a finalist in a regional talent show) that was past their bedtime, to Target, and to the gym. And we survived!
Some things that have helped us get out: baby wearing (duh), baby wearing both of them (not ideal, but you gotta do what you gotta do), a carabiner for my keys, getting Little Dude into his seat fed and diapered before dealing with Devin, ignoring crying baby/toddler by turning the music up, using a backpack as a diaper bag, getting Devin excited to help me, e.g. "You would be such an awesome big girl if you feed Little Dude for a minute," and bribing Devin with chocolate and popcorn in the car. Parenting at it's finest.

Sleep has gotten much better. Norovirus finally pooped itself out so Little Dude just wakes at 1am and 4am, then 6am for the day. He was waking up a lot more than that so I did some sleep training and it helped a lot. Not totally cry it out, just fuss it out? Again, something I never did with Dev until she was like two, so is it because I'm not worried about him crying or because I'm so fucking tired? Pretty sure it's the latter because I'M SO FUCKING TIRED. It's just not sustainable to be up all the time and I'm pretty sure I'd have to do it with any subsequent children. His naps are all over the place, though. He has visits with his parents right around nap time and it throws him off for the whole day, and he often won't take his second nap on those days then goes to bed early then wakes early and that leads me back to so fucking tired.
Luckily everything is really helped by the fact that Dev is over most of her jealousy and just loves the Little Dude. She now understands that sometimes his needs have to come before hers and she isn't needing to be so involved to the point of it being difficult, like when she was insisting on putting him to bed with us. She still tries to be the boss of him though, as pictured below. Ha! They also both love being outside so it's perfect timing that summer is here and we can be in the sunshine for hours at a time most days. Having two kids definitely makes me get way more stir crazy staying in the house!
Overall, this has been quite the journey so far and we're happy to have a family of four for now!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

7QT: New baby edition.

7 Quick Takes

1. A month and a half ago we acquired a five month old little dude. I will not speak to how the acquisition of said child occurred on social media, but I felt the need to at least share such major and life-changing news. A BABY! We expect to have him for a while with the hopes that he'll be reunified with his parents.

2. The transition to two kids under three is huge. Evvvvvverthing is effected! Naps, diapers, feeds, bedtimes, sleeping arrangements, car seats, who holds who, babywearing jealousy, etc. Obviously adding another human into our home changes things, but we didn't realize quite how much of a change it would be.

3. Devin has also needed time to accept such a large transition. She was waayyyyy excited in the beginning, so much so that she insisted on changing his diapers, feeding him, putting him to bed and smothering him. Luckily she has calmed down and isn't quite so overbearing, but she still smothers him with love and is a little rough.

4. Devin started sleeping through the night (8pm-6am) two nights before we got him so it feels like salt to a wound now that we're back to every three hour wakings for diaper changes and feeds. I am trying a sleep training routine which has somewhat worked, but then he got norovirus and was pooping up a storm which put a halt to things because he would end up getting shit all over his bed and clothes, stinking up our room.

5. I am happy to have another baby to wear! I still have all my wraps/carriers and wear Devin, but not super often. Well I wear her often now because gets a little jealous of him.

6. Vince is the real MVP because he cares for both kids while I work nights, meaning he's practically solo parenting for three nights and days in a row. Devin was demanding enough, but add in another mouth to feed and butt to change and he's a little frazzled. I'll be switching to days soon which will allow me to break up my schedule, which hopefully will help.

7. Raising someone else's child is incredibly difficult, frustrating and sad, but also so rewarding. I'm glad we're able to give this guy a happy safe home while his parents figure out their lives, and glad that he can get the emotional attention he deserves at such a developmental age.