Heartstrings

I sat in the waiting room of my OB’s office this morning with a bit of a lump in my throat. I wasn’t there for anything exciting. Just a post-IUD-insertion check-up. Nevertheless, I felt a strange sadness as I sat there.

You see, that hospital is where I experienced the best and worst days of my life. It’s where I lived out some of my scariest and most joyous moments. It’s where I found out I had miscarried baby #2. It’s where I learned that Bo was still ok in there, despite my heavy bleeding. It’s where I felt the worst pain I’ve ever endured. And it’s where I met the two most incredible little boys in the world (in my humble opinion).

I guess that’s why the knowledge that this could be my last visit to this doctor’s office made me a little emotional.

I realize that I have some things to work through with respect to the end of our family building. I never thought I wanted more than two kids but now that the baby is almost one year old, I find myself struggling to accept that we are done having kids. Logically, I know a lot of my feelings stem from the fact that I’m about to go back to work. My emotions are all over the place (I cried during Bo’s first haircut this afternoon!) and I’m sure (at least, I hope!) that I’ll feel differently once we’re settled into our new life as a family of four with a working mom.

While part of me worries that I’ll always wish that we had another child, I know that I need to focus on our current family right now. Things are about to get a lot tougher for all of us as my time at home ends.

My doctor’s appointment ended up being quick and painless. The doc wants to see me again in six months, which means this wasn’t, in fact, my last time there. (More to come about my IUD experience in a future post). I felt a bit lighter as I walked out of there, knowing that I’ll be returning again. Hopefully by then I’ll feel a bit less emotional and be ready to walk away with no regrets.

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Testing, testing, 1-2-3

I took a pregnancy test yesterday.

I woke up at 7am, needing to pee, and stumbled into the bathroom.  As I’ve done countless other times, I reached into the cupboard and fumbled around in the dark for my (dollar store – no sense in wasting big bucks) test and the empty cup that I’d stashed there the night before.  I peed in the cup and used the dropper to add the required amount of urine to the test.  And then I waited.

No, I didn’t think I was pregnant.  In fact, I knew the chances were slim to none.  But, my OB required me to take one before he would insert my new IUD.

Over the past six years, I’ve done the whole pee-on-a-stick routine a lot.  Each and every time, my heart pounded in my chest as I waited with hope for the second line to appear.  I’ve never taken a pregnancy test hoping that it was negative.  And, crazily enough, this time was no exception.  I knew, for practical reasons, that it wouldn’t be good if I was pregnant again.  Financially, it would be bad for us.  Work wise, it would be bad for me.  But knowing I was about to take measures to prevent pregnancy for the forseeable future, I had a brief moment of wanting to be pregnant again.  The test, of course, was negative.

The logical side of me was relieved.  Of course I couldn’t be pregnant.  We don’t have enough space!  We don’t make enough money!  I wouldn’t be back at work long enough to be eligible for a mat leave top-up again!  The emotional side of me felt a bit disappointed, though.  My baby is getting so big!  He’s going to be going off to daycare soon!  He’ll wean from the breast before I know it!

As planned, my OB inserted the IUD that afternoon.  It hurt like a mofo and I bled a little bit afterwards.  I have to get an ultrasound in a couple of weeks to confirm that it’s in the proper place.  And then, after that, we won’t have to worry about birth control anymore.

I know this is a good thing.  Although I’m not totally ready to accept it, I know we don’t plan to have more children.  I don’t expect that our family plans will change but at least I can take some comfort in knowing that we haven’t done anything permanent.  Maybe one day our situation will be different and we will try to have another child.  Likely not.  But, either way, that option is open to us.  For now.

Preventative measures

About five-and-a-half years ago, I tossed out my birth control pills as we prepared to begin trying to start a family.  It took longer than expected to conceive our first son and, knowing that it could take a while again, I didn’t go back on birth control between pregnancies.  After a miscarriage and then another successful pregnancy, we are pretty certain that our family is now complete.

At my eight-weeks-postpartum check-up (way back in May!), my OB asked me what my birth control plans were.  He went through all the options and recommended Mirena (an intrauterine system).  I accepted the prescription from him, figuring I’d think about and talk to my husband and then make the appointment to get it inserted.

Then I procrastinated.

It feels weird.  After all these years of thinking about having babies, planning for babies, trying for babies, being pregnant with babies, losing a baby, birthing babies and nursing babies, it feels really, really weird to be focusing on not having babies.

While we don’t intend to have any more children, I still don’t feel 100% ready to make a permanent commitment to being finished.  D is a little more certain (OK, a lot more certain).  We both agree, though, that having another child just doesn’t make sense for us financially.  Daycare is expensive.  Our house is too small.  If we were to win the lottery, then, sure, we’d likely have a larger family.  But, given our current situation, our family of four is just right.

So, that leaves us needing birth control.  I’m still breastfeeding and my period hasn’t returned, although I know that doesn’t mean I can’t get pregnant.  We’ve been using condoms since Bo was born, but that’s not our favourite solution.  I really don’t want to go on the pill again, after being off it for so long.  Plus, after two kids, my memory isn’t what it used to be.  I don’t love the idea of having to remember to take it everyday (something I was excellent at before having kids!)

I had coffee with a friend this week who is having her second baby by a scheduled c-section a few days from now.  She’s trying to decide if she should get her tubes tied at the same time.  That wasn’t an option for me, having a vaginal delivery, but it made me wonder what I would have chosen to do if I was in her situation.

We’ve talked about D having a vasectomy and it is something we’ll probably look at more seriously in the future but, for now, I bit the bullet and called the OB.  I scheduled an appointment to have the Mirena inserted.  I have an appointment for January.  When the receptionist was booking the appointment, she told me that I’ll need to take a pregnancy test the morning of my appointment to ensure I’m not pregnant.  Just the thought of that makes me feel strange.  I’ve never taken a pregnancy test hoping it would be negative.

For many reasons, I know that I’ll need that test to be negative. But, I also know that a little part of me will feel disappointed to see only one line.

 

Postpartum check-up

I had my postpartum check-up with my OB last week. It always feels a bit weird to be back at that office and NOT be pregnant. I noticed that none of the other patients in the waiting room were noticeably pregnant, so I’m guessing the gynecological appointments are scheduled on a separate day. Makes sense, I guess. After my miscarriage, I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to see a bunch of pregnant ladies at the doctor’s office…

Although I’m happy to not be pregnant anymore, the one part I used to love about my regular pre-natal check ups was listening to the heartbeat. So, I think I’ll kind of miss this stuff:

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Anyway, back to my appointment. Everything checked out just fine and I got the “all clear” to resume exercising and sexual activity. Good thing, because Bo and I have signed up for mommy and baby fitness, which starts tomorrow! (And the sex. Of course, there’s that. Maybe when I’m not so tired. Or flabby. Huh.)

We talked about my birth control options going forward. D and I don’t plan to have anymore kids and we’ve discussed vasectomy at some point, but we just aren’t really there yet. I’m not super keen on going back on the pill at this point in my life so I’m considering IUS (Mirena). My doc gave me a prescription to fill whenever I feel ready and then I can make an appointment to have it inserted. It sounds like the best option for me right now but I’ll probably do a bit more research before I make a decision.

I’m glad that everything checked out ok and that I’m feeling good physically. I’m pumped to be ready to start working out again because it feels like ages since I’ve done so. I was in the best shape of my life during my last mat leave so hoping I can get close to that again!

Finally healing

Baby Bo is now more than two weeks old and I’m finally starting to feel like a normal new mom (i.e. sleep deprived, slightly dirty, forgetful, etc.)

I finished my antibiotics.  I saw Dr. P for a check up and, based on his exam, he doesn’t think my uterus is infected.  My urine showed a bit of infection, so it’s possible that the issue was a UTI all along. The follow-up urine culture was clear. I’m scheduled for a follow-up ultrasound soon, just to be sure that there is nothing left to be concerned about.

My nipples are healing nicely.  I haven’t bled in over a week and my cracks are pretty much gone.  There are moments when Bo still doesn’t latch perfectly or when he adjusts his latch so that he’s not on properly, so I’m not totally pain-free.  I still feel pain in between feedings, which is mainly just annoying. But, I’m not in excruciating pain anymore, so I know that we can work through this.

Now that I’m feeling so much better, I’m really looking forward to enjoying time with my boys.  Littleman has been such a good big brother so far.  Although it wasn’t our original plan, there is something to be said for the fact that he is three years older than his baby brother.  He’s much more mature than he was a year ago, or even six months ago.  He’s helpful and is able to do so much on his own.  Of course, he’s also used to being an only child so he still wants someone to play with him all the time.  We’re doing our best to give him some one-on-one attention whenever we can.

And Bo is such a good baby.  So far, he’s definitely calmer and more laid back than his big brother was.  Although he generally needs to be held to fall asleep, he’s perfectly happy to be put down after that.  He’ll sleep in his bouncy chair during the day and in his bassinet in our room at night.  Speaking of night, he’s slept a couple of 3-4 hour stretches at a time overnight, which is quite lovely.  My boobs are still adjusting to the longer stretches between feedings, but I’ll take it!

All in all, aside from feeling so crappy during the first week, the adjustment to a family of four has gone very well.  I’m sure there will be some blips along the way (especially once D returns to work!) but I feel very lucky for now.

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Trying out my play mat!

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Lounging on daddy!

Bo’s birth story – part one

I’ve finally had a bit of time to start writing down the story of how Baby Bo came into this world.  When I left off two weeks ago, I was at home waiting for a call from the hospital so I could go in to be induced.  I was 41 weeks pregnant and 3cm dilated.  My OB said that I probably just needed a little “nudge” so the plan was for them to break my water to try to get things going.

Of course, that was a busy day in the birthing unit and by the evening, I still hadn’t been called in.  I tried calling triage around 8pm to find out whether I should expect a call anytime soon or if I should just go to bed as usual.  The nurse said that I should go to bed and try to rest and that they’d call me in the night if any space became available.

So off I went to bed.

I didn’t have much luck sleeping, though.  Shortly after getting into bed, I started having contractions.  And not just the uncomfortable, tightening contractions that I’d been having off and on for weeks.  But full-blown, painful, don’t-touch-me-or-talk-to-me contractions.  I started timing them and they were pretty consistently 10 minutes apart, lasting for just over a minute.  I tried to stay in bed, but it hurt so much.  I tried hanging out on the couch, but that hurt too.  I tried standing.  No way.  It all sucked.  Around 11pm, the contractions got closer together and were 4-5 minutes apart.  I told D that it was time to go to the hospital and jumped in the shower.

The hospital – luckily – is only a couple of minutes away so it was a very quick drive at that time of night.  I knew I didn’t want to suffer through too many contractions in the car.  So uncomfortable.  It was also handy that Littleman was already sleeping at Nana and Nonno’s house because of the planned induction.  We didn’t have to worry about calling someone to come and watch him.

We made it to triage and checked in.  I was a bit worried that they would think I was being a drama queen, given that I was supposed to be induced.  Instead, the staff were all pretty impressed that “the induction” had arrived in labour!

The nurse hooked me up to the monitor right away and the baby’s heart sounded good.  Contractions were pretty strong and still around 5 minutes apart.  The on-call OB checked me out and I was 5cm dilated and 100% effaced.  She told me they’d be admitting me and asked me my feelings about pain relief.  I answered, “I want it.”

We had to hang out in triage for a bit while they found me a delivery room and called the anesthesiologist.

When our labour/delivery nurse came for us, I was in the middle of a contraction.  I heard her ask D if I could walk to my room or if I would need a wheelchair.  He answered that I could walk.  I remember grunting and shaking my head: no way.  When the contraction ended, I jumped into the wheelchair and off we went.  It was probably around midnight by then and it took until 1am before the anesthesiologist was available to do my epidural.  The nurse was great and kept having me “breathe through the contractions” which was kind of like hell.  I’m actually not sure how people manage without any pain relief.  After 4ish hours of horrible contractions, I was miserable and was pretty darn relieved when it was time to get the epidural.

The squeamish fainter in me totally disappears when it comes to epidurals.  I guess my intolerance for pain outweighs my fear of needles!  I got into position on the edge of the bed and the doctor started his business.  They told me to warn them if I was getting a contraction, which, of course, happened exactly in the middle of getting it done.  I had to stay perfectly still and “breathe” which was very hard.  Finally, it was in and a couple of contractions later, I was pain free.

Now we just had to wait for me to dilate a bit more and we’d be ready to go.  I felt pretty good at this point, other than the fact that the epidural made me extremely itchy.  Like all over my entire body.  It was rather annoying but better than pain!

Stay tuned for the rest of the story – coming soon!

We have a plan

I had my weekly OB appointment today and I don’t think anyone actually expected me to make it to this one.  It’s also my 36th birthday today and I just assumed my baby would be here to celebrate with me.

In terms of my body, there hasn’t been much change from last week.  The baby is in the same position and I’m dilated to almost 3 cm.  The doctor could feel his head when he examined me (weird, right?) and the heartbeat still sounds great.

I will be 41 weeks pregnant on Wednesday and my doctor recommends we move forward with inducing.

Induction is something I always wanted to avoid, if possible.  For the most part, I’ve only heard negative stories about it.  Most people I know who were induced had horribly long, miserable labours that ultimately ended in C-sections.

Of course, after going into labour naturally at 39 weeks with my first pregnancy, induction wasn’t something I had really considered this time around.  Now that I’m overdue, I’ve had to shift my thinking a bit.  But, surprisingly, I’m feeling OK about it.  At this point, I’m more than ready to have this baby.

So, we have a plan.

On Wednesday (assuming baby boy hasn’t arrived on his own before then!) I will be induced.  Since I’m already a bit dilated, they will start by breaking my water.  Dr. P thinks this should be enough to get things going.  If not, then they will put me on Pitocin.

Am I nervous?  A little bit.  Mainly because it’s different than last time and I don’t really know what to expect.  Am I excited?  Hell yes.  We’ve been waiting for this baby for a long, long time.  I can’t wait to meet him!