Saturday, March 27, 2010

March 27, 2010: Welcome to the World, Isaac Matthew!

This is the birth story of Isaac Matthew Cascio - born peacefully in the water, into my hands at 1:29 am on March 27th, 2010, exactly one week "late" according to my original due date - proving that everything amazing is worth waiting for!

Well, if you read my last pathetic post, (which was written within hours of me going into labor) you would already know how much I was suffering in the final stages of what seemed like an elephant's pregnancy (which is like 22 months, in case you are ever on Jeopardy and that comes up). I was MISERABLE. On March 20th, my 40 week appointment, Dr. Fineberg did the dirty deed of "stripping my membranes." If you have ever had this done, you know how pleasant and comfortable this procedure is - HA! Although it takes less than a minute, when you visualize what is actually going on down there...pulling the cervix away from the amniotic membrane in order to produce prostaglandins that are magical hormones said to induce labor, if your body is so inclined to hurts all the more. After, I smiled (winced at the cramping already starting) and thanked her and waddled out to the receptionist to book my 41 week appointment - even though the thought of actually being pregnant that much longer made me want to cry/scream/curl up in the fetal position and beg for them to take him out NOW. You get the idea. I can see how "overdue" women start to unravel around 7 days past due, because I was done a long time ago...but I am really against induction from my past experiences.

We then do what every person does that is trying to go into labor...we went to WalMart to walk around. (In my defense, it was on the way home and we needed Motrin for Josh who had fevers for the past 2 nights, and it's a SUPER WalMart.) I was having some pretty painful contractions, they were really sharp & crampy in the general cervix area, which is something I wasn't used to - my contractions have always been kind of dull and bearable - so I was thinking something must be happening!! I had to stop walking quite a few times, which caused many people to sweat around me - but I held out and walked around the Garden center timing my contractions with my trusty iPhone - yep, there's an app for that, too. We made it home and that night everything fizzled out - so I went to bed pregnant again, hoping for my water to break.

(Skip this next paragraph if you don't like to read about mucous or if you have boy parts) Over the next few days, I started having bloody show and losing my mucous plug...two words that conjure up pictures in your mind that are probably completely accurate. Anyway, for a pregnant woman, it's a joyous sign - things are happening, you might not be pregnant FOREVER! The joy was short-lived, nothing happened until the evening of the 24th.

March 24th, Ralph and Marge came over for dinner, and I was feeling really drained and my contractions were actually regular and coming every 5-8 minutes. I tried drinking water, laying down, nothing was making them stop, and although they weren't really painful, they stayed consistent for 2 hours - so I told Jeff I thought we should go to the Birth Center to get checked. It's 40 minutes away and there is NOTHING (well, except for Super Walmart and some Car dealerships) on the drive there, which made me super-nervous about having the baby on the side of the road. Remember, when I go into labor - it's fast...super-fast, so I didn't want to wait. We got to the birth center and over the course of 3 hours I didn't dilate any further (still at 2.5 cm) so they sent us home...I was a little sad, but they were really nice and kept reassuring me that it would be soon...and to RELAX!

Two more days came and went, and finally on the 26th I mentally broke down. Ralph and Marge brought Fish n' Chips over for dinner and while we sitting down to eat, I was mean to Dylan and Jeff snapped at me - I left the table, crying, and went upstairs to have a big sob-fest...I was already on the edge because I hadn't felt the baby move in over an hour and I had been reading about all these still-born babies that were overdue...(curse the internet)! So, after crying it out, I came back downstairs, apologized to Dylan, ate a little bit and finally felt the baby move. I was having contractions every 8-15 minutes, but I was so tired of timing them and they were just painful enough to be annoying, so I gave up. After everyone left, I had half a glass of red wine (hoping it would relax me), and went to bed, exhausted both mentally and physically.

I woke up to a painful contraction at 12:15 am on the 27th - and then my water broke. It was a tiny gush, and I managed to jump off the bed before wetting the sheets. I was so excited, but scared, too - like the way you feel before running a race or giving a speech - adrenaline pumping, heart pounding out of your chest - and I wasn't even fully awake yet. I told Jeff my water broke, and he was up and moving almost instantly. He called Jason from down the street to come stay at our house until his Dad could get there (the kids were obviously sleeping), and by the time I brushed my teeth and put my contacts in, Jason was sitting on our couch...when I came down stairs I had a tourrette's- like uttering and said "I don't like odd numbers!" and then had a contraction, so I couldn't explain to him that I was lamenting about it being the 27th and not the 26th...the silly things that you think about when you are in labor. Anyway, we were on the road in 10 minutes - the time was now 12:28.

Jeff called his mom on the way, we wanted her to be there (she missed the speedy Josh delivery), and we decided to pick her up on the way. Jeff was urging her to be ready, my contractions were every 3 minutes, and I had to concentrate and breath through them at this point. In between contractions there was no pain at all. I continued to put on my makeup - and called the Birth Center to talk with the midwife and arrange to have the tub room, if possible. I kept glancing at the clock and was mentally timing the remainder of the ride by the number of contractions - "Just 3 more contractions and we'll be there..." At one point, Marge told Jeff he was going 115 and maybe that was a little too fast - to which Jeff replied "Do you know what is going to happen if Michelle feels the urge to push??? We have to get there NOW!" I was just pretending I didn't know how fast he was going and focused on the timer on my iPhone.

We pulled into the parking lot of the Birth Center at 1:00 am. At this point, I started shaking, and I realized I was probably in transition (7-9 cm). I was also very indecisive, which was another clue - answering most of Jeff's questions about what to bring inside with "I don't know, I don't know, whatever..." I popped a piece of luke's bubble gum in my mouth and walked as fast as I could to the door of the birth center (about 25 feet away). They got us into the tub room (YES!!) and I was really restless at this point...getting agitated that they weren't coming in to do all their stuff they had to do before I could get in the water. (They need to monitor contractions and baby's heartrate for 20 minutes.) Finally a nurse came in to admit us - she had me lay down on the bed and I was trying to strip off my clothes, but the contractions were coming pretty fast at this point. She told me she wasn't going to check me because my water was broken - and the midwife would come check if needed. I was thinking "IF needed?? WHAT??" I didn't have time to stress about this, because on the next contraction I felt the urge to push...and I told her and she checked me - 9.5 cm with just a lip of cervix left - holy cow that was the best news ever. She told me I could push on the next contraction if I wanted to, but I was begging for them to fill the tub. They started filling the tub, and it was 1:08 am now.

I kept anxiously eyeballing the tub-filling process - at one point, the hose popped out and went spraying all over the room, which was kind of comical, but I couldn't muster up a laugh...I was trying to hold back from pushing.

It was 75% full at this point and they told me I could get in - as fast as I could waddle my elephantine-self over to the tub, I did, and jumped in and squatted down just in time for another contraction. It was now 1:14 am. I started to push and immediately felt his head. It was such a strange feeling - a mixture of emotions, really. I was starting to doubt this whole birth thing - and then feeling like, okay, it's go one else is going to push him out of there! The room was dark, quiet, and the nurse was there, Jeff and his mom were there (somewhere, I had no sense of my surroundings), and all eyes were on me. I felt kind of helpless, but my body took over and pushed those thoughts aside. The midwife got there and sat in front of me, I was holding on to the side of the tub with one hand, and with my other putting counter-pressure on my girly parts (because I read that would help prevent tearing). The midwife just kept asking me questions like "do you feel his head?" "Is it staying there, or going back up?" She reached in to check me (remember I was squatting, so no one could really see what was going on) but other than that there wasn't any intervention. It was amazing, his head started to come out - and it came out half way and I gave up pushing...I was trying not too push too fast because I didn't want to tear. The midwife said she could feel his ear - that was strange. Anyway, one more push and I felt his head completely out - then I really thought "I don't want to push his shoulders out, I really don't" but then I decided just one more push and it would be over - so I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and pushed him out - as I felt him sliding out, I reached down, grabbed under his little arms, and lifted him up out of the warm water onto my chest. It was 1:29 am - exactly one hour and 14 minutes from the time my water broke!! A new record!! It was crazy...I wanted to cry (I didn't though, I was so happy!) he was so beautiful - and cheesy as ever!! He was breathing immediately, they turned on a light to check his color (he was pink!), and he was blinking and looking around - he was gripping onto my necklace, too - Marge got a picture of that. I was just thinking, "He is finally here - it's over!!" I was so incredibly happy...I couldn't believe everything worked out as I wanted it to - what an amazing gift from God after such a painful prelude...pure bliss!

After the cord stopped beating, Jeff got to cut it, and then he got to hold him while they helped me out of the tub back to the bed to deliver the placenta (by far my least favorite part of the entire birth process!). After that ordeal was done, they handed Isaac (unnamed still at this point!) back to me and he nursed for 40 minutes - what a hungry hippo!!! He was so perfect, he looked just like Josh to me - he has my forehead, little chin, chubby cheeks! He looked so small to me, we took guesses on how much he weighed - and we were all surprised when they told us he was 8 lb, 13 oz!! He was also 20 3/4" long. Big boy! My biggest baby by 13 oz! His head was 14.5 inches, another record...I'm glad i didn't know that before pushing him out. Amazingly again, I had no major trauma - one tiny tear that didn't need to be stitched!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday, Mar 26, 2010: Melancholy musings of a 6-day overdue Mommy

Surprise. It's groundhog day in March. At least in my world, over and over again...waking up, getting ready because there is a slim chance that "Today might be the day!" (Which has been my mantra since like mid-March - time to change it up, I guess.) So I get everyone fed, clean the kitchen, do some laundry, check my FB, make sure the cameras are charging, check my email, drink some water, time a few sporadic contractions....about as exciting as watching wax melt. Unless your into that whole thing, which I'm not.

According to my original due date - (from my first U/S) - I am only 4 days "over" due - but they changed my due date at my second ultrasound to 3/20, so I could be as much as 6 days overdue...a state which I find myself completely unequipped to deal with, both mentally and physically. I definitely jinxed myself by repeatedly assuring everyone "I always go early"...but I do place some of the blame on those of you who decided to guess late dates - you know who you are (Joy, MOM, Pastor Paul!!!)

So, in light of all this, I finally caved and took down some Castor Oil. Yep, you heard it here first. 3 tsp. down the hatch, mixed into a nice frothy root beer float. That was at 12:15. So far, nothing going on, which is okay - I erred on the side of caution with my dosage because I definitely DO NOT want to get much more uncozy than I am right now and STILL not go into labor. I would settle for the intended affects right about now, because at least that would seem to be preparing for something!

I really think a big reason that I haven't gone into labor yet is because I'm so anxious about getting to the birthing center on time...I've even made sure to research home/car birth procedures JUST IN CASE. I tend to be a bit of an OCD control-freak, so as soon as things seem to be outside of my tiny grasp of control, I begin to mentally unravel. Really, it's comical...after the fact! Okay, I really don't have anything more to type that would be worth your reading, so please PRAY for me, PRAY for a safe, healthy delivery and that we make it to the birthing center!

I'll keep everyone updated, don't you worry!

Friday, March 12, 2010

The waiting game...a TEST in the fruits of the spirit...

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." - Galatians 5:22-23

So there it is. If it was time to "Stop writing, put down your pencil, and pass your test forward." I would surely fail. Most assuredly fail miserably. Lately, you could categorize my demeanor as almost the complete opposite, which I shamefully admit (I've heard it's the first step to recovery!). Unlike the Apostle Paul, imprisoned, beaten, chained, all without much cause - who continued to praise God through his sufferings...I've merely been sleep-less, back-achey, and grumpy...and unable to faithfully read my daily bible. I clearly have a loooooong way to go.

I've been using this last (never-ending) trimester as my excuse for my behavior, but I want to apologize right now. So, I apologize to my husband, who has had to endure the brunt of this complaining and miserableness on my part...and my children - who have been watching far too much PBS lately because mommy doesn't feel like entertaining them...and my friends, although they probably haven't noticed too much of a difference, I'm definitely not focused on serving others right now! My birthday cards for March are still sitting in a pile over there (as if you can see that I'm pointing to the top of the kid's kitchen!).

Anyway, I'm not terribly motivated today to do much of anything, yesterday I cleaned the bathrooms (which I absolutely LOATHE), organized under the sinks (because that is the FUN part!!), cleaned the swing we just got from my neighbor (thank you), and mopped the floors. (Of course the usual chores are in there, too - laundry, dishes, kitchen cleaning...) I also returned the library books and checked out some "new" movies for the kids (Jimmy Neutron and Speed Racer). Then I met up with Jeff, Ralph, and the kids at the Duck Pond and took a walk around, fed the ducks (even the Chernobyl ones that are all crazy looking and mean), and walked back home up two ginormous hills. Seems like enough work for a few days to me!!

I made a couple of observations while I was waddling around yesterday. #1 - there are two kinds of people in the world - and, #2- 39-week pregnant women make both of them nervous, but they have very different ways of dealing with their emotions - the "Type A" person eyes you anxiously out of the corner of their eyes, ever watchful, should you fall, or suddenly go into spontaneous labor and deliver a baby...."Type B" people clearly don't have know the type - "ANY DAY NOW, huh???" "Jeez, YOU'RE HUGE" or my favorite, "Oh wow, I never got THAT BIG when I was pregnant" to which I would LOVE to respond, "Well, you're pretty OLD now, and you know what they say about an aging memory..." (I've never said that, honest. Sorry God, I know you know all my thoughts, so I apologize for that) I guess that I don't help the matter by having these annoyingly almost-painful enough for me to stop walking contractions every 10 minutes or so.

Also had what I hope was my LAST prenatal appointment yesterday, accompanied by Marge - and this time around, I didn't manage to side-swipe any cars while parking, tee hee. (When I went to my last appt. while pregnant with Josh, Marge came with me and I merely miscalculated the size of the front of my white van in relation to the proximity of the black car parked right on the line beside me...minor damage.) Once safely inside, the midwife checked his heart rate (145), measured (40 cm), and we just chatted about the impending internal checks (they don't like doing that b/c it doesn't really hold too much significance as to when labor will begin...I really wanted to know, but I refrained from pleading. She did say that he didn't feel "Super big, maybe like 7 - 7.5 lbs" and that I had lots of water around him so it's not like I'm harboring a 10-lb fugitive in there or anything. (We'll see!) She said his head is definitely engaged in my pelvis now, and he doesn't feel OP (posterior, aka, sunny-side up). All good news, since Josh was sunny-side up (facing up when born) and it caused some serious back labor.

I feel "ready" but my thoughts about this newest arrival are contradictory, at best...scattered would be more like it. I can't wait until he is OUT but there is no putting him back IN once that happens!! I'm wondering how this labor will go in comparison to the others, hoping I make it to the birth center, hoping I progress quickly on my own without the need for intervention, hoping I don't bleed/tear excessively after...(I've been blessed with fairly uncomplicated deliveries, but that doesn't ease my anxious heart!) It is just such an amazing process, and I want to really "be there" and remember the miracle of it all. Josh came so quick we didn't have time to tape - and I really would like to have this one recorded. Part of me was hoping that my water would break at my appt. yesterday (My labor bag travels with me!) and then I could just happily walk on over to the labor problem! Of course that didn't happen. I'm just curious to see if my water breaks this time around, too. I'm really terrible at timing contractions, even these "false" ones I've been having. I'm also running through every scenario in my head, like if Jeff is at work, and I have the kids here, if I don't make it to the hospital...I've pretty much exhausted all possibilities here. If you would, just pray that I make it to the birth center!!