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The Birth of My First Baby

My lovely fellow mommy bloggers have each shared their beautiful birth stories (Nathalee, Natali, and Jennifer). Until now I haven't really been ready to share because I didn't feel my birth story was beautiful...not planned or perfectly put together. But I realize it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. This is an opportunity to share how my precious baby girl was brought into this world and the beginning of my family.

The last night, just the two of us

It seems like a distant memory yet the feelings of anticipation and excitement are still with me. The doctor estimated that Tazzy would be late and we'd likely have to induce labor. I really didn't want to do this so the day before Tazzy's due date Josh and I did all of the things people tell you to do to induce labor (i.e. lots of walking, spicy food, sex). The night before I went into labor Josh and I had Indian food and ordered the spiciest dishes on the menu -- so spicy my mouth burned. Then we went to see Inception and we didn't get to bed until 1 a.m. Like every other night we went out I said, "This could be one of the last times it's just the two of us." And like every other night Josh humored me. Little did we know, I was right!

Here we go
I opened my eyes and saw that it was 3:30 a.m. There was some discomfort in my back, similar to cramps before that time of the month. I remember thinking, "I wonder if it's time?" I woke Josh up and told him I what I was feeling. The pain wasn't that bad so we both went back to sleep. I was awakened an hour later and the pain was bit stronger...the start of contractions. Josh woke up and he started timing how far apart the contractions were. It was 4:30 a.m. and we were both exhausted, half asleep, not really sure if this was the real thing or not.

By 5:30 a.m. I noticed some leaking. I knew it was time. My body and mind went into autopilot. I had been waiting for this day since I could remember and it was finally happening. I excitedly instructed Josh to grab our bags and place them by the door. He took a couple steps back and calmly explained that we needed to first call the doctor to determine if we should head to the hospital. I already knew it was time. He got the okay to head in by 6 a.m. so off we went.

We called our parents on our way to the hospital and asked them not to get in the car (or for Josh's parents, on a flight) as we still weren't 100 percent sure if this was the real deal or not.

The waiting game

Around 6:45 a.m. the nurses confirmed that my water broke and I had a small leak but I was only 2 cm dilated. My contractions were strong enough that they didn't send me home, yet the hospital didn't have a delivery room readily available so we waited in an exam room.

The contractions grew stronger and stronger. I walked in circles around the hospital hoping the contractions would ease up but they never did. Josh was really sweet and supportive holding my hand, massaging my lower back, reminding me to breathe (thank goodness for the birthing classes we took!).My contractions got worse but still by 11 a.m. I was only 3 cm dilated. Finally around noon I was moved into a delivery room. Both my Mom and Josh's Mom had arrived by then and his Dad and step-mom were on their way.

A little jump-start
As soon as I was settled into the delivery room the anesthesiologist stuck me with the epidural. I don't care what anyone says, having a needle, well the size of that needle inserted in my body is damn scary! Once I received the epidural it was smooth sailing...for a while. I was also given Pitocin  to help speed up the labor. A couple hours later a nurse came in to check on me. She jumped back and called for the doctor. They confirmed my placenta was detaching from my uterus. There was a lot of blood. I saw the look on my husband’s face -- eyes struck with shock and fear -- and knew it wasn't good. I had lost so much blood that the doctor warned that if I lost too much more or if there were any more complications they'd have to do a Caesarean section. I wasn't worried and felt fine, more so because I wasn't in pain and I knew that in a short time I was going to get to meet this little person whose been growing inside me for what seemed like forever.

Emergency c-section
It was a little after 7 p.m. when the doctor came to check on me. They were going to give me a second dose of Pitocin. They moved me to one side and my baby's heart rate slowed. They quickly moved me to my other side and they couldn't find my baby's heart beat. I saw and felt panic in the room. All I heard "emergency c-section." Within seconds there was a team of people dressed in scrubs whisking me away. My eyes locked with Josh's and I put on a brave face. His eyes told me not to worry, it was going to be okay. I couldn’t help for a split second think about the worst-case scenarios. As I was rolled out of the room my mom and mother-in-law were shoved aside not knowing what was going on. I took a deep breath and kept repeating, "it's all going to be okay."

Drama delivery
With Josh at my side I felt safe and the CPMC staff went to work and safely delivered my baby girl. I was so drugged up by that point, it's all kind of foggy but I do remember someone in the room saying, "Wow, she's a big girl." It made me laugh because we all knew she was a good size.

I didn't get to hold her immediately but a nurse brought her over to me so that I could say hi and touch her baby soft skin before Josh accompanied her to be cleaned, weighed and measured.

It was so special for me to watch as she calmed down and stopped crying as I talked to her saying, “hello precious.” It was like she was thinking, “okay, mommy is here, this place can’t be that bad.”

What felt like an eternity later but really was only minutes, Tazzy was brought to me for her first feeding. And boy did she feed!

That night I felt like the luckiest woman on earth! I had just delivered a healthy beautiful baby girl.

Slow recovery laced with joy
My recovery was very slow. I had lost so much blood that my white blood count was at 20 percent so I was hooked to an IV full of iron for the four days I was in the hospital. I felt awfully weak. When I went home, I was only at 23 percent. None of this really mattered to me because I was elated with joy of giving birth! It would no longer be me and Josh but me, Josh and our little girl.

I walked into the hospital a wife, daughter, sister, friend...and walked out a loving mother. With this new title I feel pride and the pressure of responsibility to provide the best life I possibly can for my baby girl.

Josh walked out a proud father knowing that forever more, his little girl would have him wrapped around her little pinky.

This is my birth story and the start of my little family. 




45 Minute Monster...Not as fun as the Cookie Monster

Tazzy has been going down for her naps like a pro. Recently I noticed that about 40-45 minutes into her naps she would wake up. I would wait 10 minutes and then pick her up thinking her nap was over. I found that she would tire very quickly and begin to fuss. Baby Wise calls this the 45-Minute Intruder. If you're not familiar with this concept, essentially it's around the time babies wake after being put down for their nap. Babies sleep in cycles and their first cycle is about 45 minutes.

I realized Tazzy needed to fall back to asleep after waking up, thus connecting her sleep cycles. Instead of picking her up after 10 minutes I waited a bit longer since she wasn't crying, just hanging out in her crib admiring her hands. After 15 minutes she fell back to sleep for a full hour. I continue to do this and I am finding that she puts herself back to sleep now. Sometimes she is up for 15 minutes and sometimes just a few minutes. It's amazing!

The concept of the 45-Minute Intrudor is interesting to me and I found this post on SmartParentsBlog useful.

Happy nappy to all!


Under the Knife


At 3 o’clock on Tuesday morning, I woke Nic up for a feeding.  I’m usually a strict follower of the “never wake a sleeping baby” rule, but 3:30 am was the cut off for his last meal before surgery, and I wanted him to have the fullest belly possible for the big day ahead of him.

A few days after Nic was born, the hospital pediatrician discovered a problem that would need to be repaired with surgery—the issue was not life-threatening, but was important.  (In order to give him some privacy, I won’t divulge the nature of the issue.)  That day we tracked down and made an appointment with a leading specialist.  We waited three impatient weeks for our appointment.  When the day came, the doctor was smart and personable and told us that we should do the surgery when Nic was over six months old to reduce the risks associated with anesthesia.  He also told us that it would be an outpatient procedure.  We were relieved that Nic wouldn’t necessitate a stay in the hospital, but were still very nervous about the anesthesia and recovery.

On Nic’s seven month birthday, it was finally time.  He would be the first surgery of the day, so we needed to be at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital (the children’s hospital associated with Stanford, and also Shaun’s new employer), at 6 am.  It was a somber, chilly and dark morning as we prepared ourselves and Nic.  I kept thinking that he had no idea what was about to happen to him.  I felt guilty, but knew we were making a decision he’d appreciate later.

I cried when the anesthesiologist took him away for surgery, and couldn’t help but smile after the procedure when I saw him propped up in his tiny hospital bed.  He was so drowsy, but he looked like such a big boy sitting there and waiting for his mommy and daddy.

I knew that we had an extraordinarily good-tempered little guy on our hands, but was afraid that the disorientation from the anesthesia combined with pain from surgery would make him angry and sad.  I was wrong.  He was definitely sleepier than usual, but we had him smiling within a few minutes.  I felt incredible relief that he was going to be just fine.



Baby Beth has Arrived!s

Last Monday, October 11, my husband and I welcomed our little girl into the world. Here is our birth story.

My due date, October 5, rolled by as did the next day and the next. By this point, I was ready to meet our daughter so I was trying everything to boost her arrival. I walked the Lyon Street Steps,  ate spicy foods, exercised on my birthing ball and tried a few other practices that claimed to kick start labor.

My husband and I met with our OB and decided to schedule an induction on the Sunday following our due date. On Saturday night I decided to try one last thing, which I’m embarrassed to admit. I drank two tablespoons of Castor Oil. My hubby Tom, mom and I ventured out to the local drugstore in search of the ancient cure all. We ended up chatting up the pharmacist who said they might have some in the back and returned with a dusty bottle. That should have scared me, but at this point I was determined to try anything (that wouldn’t hurt my baby of course.) So we returned home, I drank the minimum amount and we waited. We went to bed and about 11:30 p.m. my tummy started hurting in a non-labor kind of way. I went back to bed and about 2:30 a.m. I woke up to more stomach pains though these seemed different and appeared to be coming every 4-5 minutes and lasting about a minute. Three hours later, my water broke! Tom and I quickly got our bags in order – this was the night we had been preparing for!

Tom, my mom and I all piled into the car and headed to the hospital. After checking me out and confirming I was indeed in labor and that my water had broken, they admitted me about 6 a.m. I was 1 cm dilated and about 80-90 percent effaced. It was 10-10-10 and we were told we would most likely have a baby today!

We quickly set to work on getting this labor to progress. I rocked in the rocking chair, sat on the birthing ball and took walks. Tom was incredible throughout the whole experience, monitoring my contractions, massaging my back, keeping my mind off the pain and helping me to the restroom (I had an IV in and a number of monitors so it wasn’t easy.)

By 5 p.m., my contractions were becoming very painful. Tom and I had a great strategy in place on how to manage the pain and were working through it well.

About 7 p.m., they became extremely intense so I requested the epidural. Minutes after receiving the epidural, my contractions slowed and became longer – not a good sign. I was checked around Midnight for the second time to see how far I had progressed. I was at 6 cm, one cm away from 7 when the transition phase begins which is super fast. At this point, they started bringing up the fact that the baby was probably going to be really big, which is why my labor hadn’t progressed. After two more hours and no progress, it was clear that a cesarean was in our future.

My husband dressed in his scrubs and walked alongside the gurney with me to the operating room. He had to stay outside while they got me prepped. Before I went in, we kissed and he squeezed my hand. We knew we would see our little girl very soon.

Once in the operating room, they set to work prepping me. Unfortunately the speedy epidural they put in place earlier wasn’t properly executed so I had to get a second epidural. I was shaking uncontrollably. Tom was in the room by now and I could tell that he was so sad to see me this way.

Having a cesarean was unlike anything I had imagined. I had no idea you could feel them pushing and shoving to find your little baby. I was elated though when I heard her first cries and I couldn’t wait to lay eyes on her.

Tom went to the warming table to greet her. He later told me he was worried whether he would feel an instant connection, but upon seeing her, fell instantly in love and knew that this was his little girl and he loved her more than he could have ever imagined. This still melts my heart to this day. He is so good with her and is such a proud father.

They brought little Beth over to greet me after a few minutes. She was so beautiful. I can’t even begin to describe the love and happiness I felt snuggling with her and seeing her with Tom. I couldn’t wait to hold her in my arms.


It was a long journey and wait, but definitely worth it.

**Friends and family reading this blog please know we are using the name Beth as a substitute for privacy.  



Working Girl, Non-Working Pump

I forgot the shields to my breast pump. I thought I was so organized when I left for my first day back to work this morning. Baby fed and changed, bottles ready in the fridge, burp cloths washed, pacifiers at the ready, Mommy's lunch packed, etc. Then two hours into my day, I realize my pump is lacking crucial components. Blast! So much for having it all together! For those of you who may not be familiar with the trials of breastfeeding, not pumping after a few hours is bad. Your body keeps making milk even when you are away from your baby. If you can't pump, not only will you not have milk to leave your baby the next day, you risk ruining your clothes with leaked milk. Or just have really engorged and sore boobies! (I don't usually talk about my breasts on the Internet but this is a mommy blog after all!) Other than that embarrassing blunder, I was mostly okay on my first day back. I did cry. Before I left for work, Baby Mo decided to be extra adorable and give Mommy a huge toothless smile. I left him in his Daddy's arms and walked to the elevator with tears streaming down my cheeks, feeling like an absolute jerk. I was better by the time I got to work but I did Facetime chat with Baby Mo and his Daddy to help ease the separation anxiety. And woe to the person who welcomed me back because goshdarnit, they were going to be subjected to 12 weeks worth of baby photos plus hear all about how Baby Mo is a genius who can hold his head up like a 6 month old. That will teach people to make small talk with me! Besides the breast pump blunder, I felt like a fundamentally new woman in my career. My tolerance for incompetence and disrespect is lower. I was hoping motherhood would help me make this change. I handled a situation at work with more confidence and straightforwardness than I would have before. I was frank with coworkers about a situation that would have made me feel taken advantage of and insecure in the past. I know it has only been one day so I will try not to be hyperbolic but I do think that motherhood lowers your tolerance for crap. I guess that happens when you are literally weighed down with milk laden breasts. I'm a no-nonsense mommy! I like this new me! But I will bring the whole pump tomorrow.