the day i almost gave birth to my son

Wow. I am not really sure how to describe this week. I am sitting here in my bed at home trying to rest but I am finding it to be an impossible task. Tuesday morning I was scheduled to go into labor and delivery at my hospital to attempt to turn my baby from the breech position using a technique called External Cephalic Version. If you have been reading my blog, you know that I have tried as many natural techniques as possible including swimming, inversions, and the Webster Technique. On Monday, my chiropractor told me that my pelvis is perfectly aligned and baby boy should be able to turn on his own. So I was hopeful that I would walk into the hospital Tuesday morning and he would be head down and I could go home and eat some pancakes.

After arriving at the hospital early Tuesday morning, I was hooked up to the usual monitors and the doctor rolls in the ultrasound machine to check his position. Turns out, he is still breech. Not only that but he is completely blocked by my placenta which is currently acting as a head pillow for my little man. Adorable and frustrating at the same time, yes? Despite the position of the placenta, my doctor decides to proceed with the ECV. She said that she will try 3 times, 30 seconds each and if he turns, he will turn right away. I am given a shot of a tocolytic to relax my uterus by a stoic nurse of few words. Her behavior was not helping with the relaxation part. Another doctor arrives to assist. I have never met him but I like him already. He squeezes my hand and gives me a warm hello. His friendly demeanor helps me to relax instantly. Before I know it my doctor is attempting to lift my son’s booty and the Dr. Friendly is grabbing baby boy’s head to somersault him into the head down position. Suddenly I can’t breathe. The procedure itself is not necessarily painful the whole time but extremely uncomfortable. I mean, lying flat on your back while your child is being pushed up and around your belly doesn’t exactly allow for a ton a breathing room. Not only that but my doctor keeps saying that my son is stuck in my pelvic bone. Needless to say, I found breathing to be a challenge. Luckily, Dr. Friendly contends that he has a good grasp of my son’s head and he thinks he is moving along nicely. So we continue. The next push is painful. No way around it. The sensitive skin on my belly felt like it was being pulled in several different directions at once. Steady breathing at that point felt nearly impossible and I looked at my nurse and without a sound she grabbed my hand. I closed my eyes, visualized him moving head down and squeezed the shit out of her hand. I feel a sudden shift in my uterus and both doctors announce that he flipped. My eyes immediately start welling up with tears. In that moment, I am so happy that I am that much closer to not having a C-Section.

Per procedure, my doctor sticks around to monitor the baby and as soon as she gets a clear read on the ultrasound, her and the nurse look at each other and immediately flip me over to my side and open the back of my gown. Then the doctor leaves the room and says she will be right back. In what seems like 5 seconds, she arrives back in my room with two more nurses and fully dressed for what appears to be surgery. She tells me that my son’s heartbeat has slowed down significantly and they are prepping me for a C-Section. Immediately, an IV is jammed into my arm and I am looking at my husband with tears streaming down my face. Up until this point he hasn’t been able to be by my side. He is watching as close as he can as the nurses prep me for surgery. I want to say something but an oxygen mask is quickly placed on my face. I am in shock and can’t talk to him. I just look at him and he knows I am scared. The nurse can see my fear and reassures me that they will have the baby out in less than five minutes. Reg and I just stare at each other and immediately I felt better. We were about to meet our son. Just as they are about to wheel me into the operating room, the baby’s heartbeat jumped to 90 bpm, and then increased to 120 bpm. Everyone paused. The doctor announced that she is going to hold off on the C-Section for a little while longer. Because his heartbeat increased to a reasonable rate, they decided to monitor me for the next couple hours. She apologized for the fire drill but let me know that my son’s heartbeat stopped and then jumped to 60 bpm. They had to act fast and get that baby out. They decided to just sit tight and monitor the baby for the next couple hours. Once the hospital personnel left the room, it was just me, Reg, and my sister in the room. I think we were all shaking.

Of course I knew that an emergency C-Section was a potential risk from the ECV but considering how much people kept telling me it was highly unusual, I never thought it was going to happen. And it didn’t but I came pretty darn close. I started to feel guilty like I should have just scheduled the C-Section and not attempted the ECV and avoided all the drama. I still do despite the fact that his heartbeat has been staying in the 140-160 bpm range since the procedure. He is thriving and kicking as much as usual but the guilt is still there. I didn’t know that feeling started before the kid is even born.

At the end of the day, I walked away knowing this. Beyond the guilt, I feel extremely confident with the staff at the hospital and my decision to give birth there. It was a well oiled machine. I had never been more scared in my life or more protective of the child I have been carrying for 9 months. I love this little boy so much already and I am thrilled that I am most likely going to be able to avoid surgery. But if his heartbeat drops again and they want to prep me for surgery, I say “bring it on.” Whatever gets my little guy out safe and sound, is the best plan for me.

xo

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maternity photos

About a month ago, Reg and I ventured out to a local park to take some maternity pictures with our amazing newborn photographer, Emily. The location was a perfect fit because it was beautiful on its own but also provided a blank canvas. Seeing as we wanted a natural, earthy feel with some quirky whimsical elements, Emily could not have suggested a better place. Plus, the whole shoot was so fun. Emily is the type of person that puts you at ease immediately and I felt like I was hanging out with a good friend the whole time. I think having a photographer you vibe well with is so critical for getting images that truly reflect who you are as a person. I think Reg and I both agree we could not be more thrilled with the finished product. Now, even more than ever, I am looking forward to the newborn pictures that will capture those sweet and extra squishy first days with our son.


camp g

Today marks one week without my pug. Once I realized that I might need a C-Section, I knew that having my hyper pug to take care of in addition to a newborn and recovering from surgery was going to add a lot of stress to my life. Fortunately, my parents quickly offered to take care of him for the next couple (maybe several) weeks. I was really resistant to the idea at first because I am very attached to my dog. But, in the end, I knew that it wasn’t fair to him to be stuck in our apartment when I couldn’t be as active with him as usual in addition to being better for my health at the end of my pregnancy. I move slower and all of his pulling and jumping was making me anxious. I still sobbed when they picked him up.

Naturally, my fabulous sisters who live with my parents really tried to cheer me up. They have started referring to his time with them as “summer camp.” More specifically, they call it Camp G. My sister Gingi came up with that one. They are so cute and send me pictures of his daily activities and he looks like he is having a blast.

Learning to swim with the Sam, our family dog

Cuddling with flowers

Backpacking with Aunty G

Note: No pugs were harmed in the taking of this photo

Lots of afternoon naps

I feel so good about our decision, despite missing our daily cuddles. He is a sweet dog but he misses living in a house with a yard and acts out frequently when he doesn’t have space to run around freely.  A couple months after the baby arrives we are planning to move into a house in Southern California to be closer to my family and I can’t wait until our little family is reunited.

xo

full term

37 weeks

Weight gain: About 26 lbs. Somehow I lost a pound in the last week despite the fact that I have been eating everything in sight. Speaking of which…

Cravings: Nestle Crunch bars, Potato Chips (with ridges only, please), Caramelized Onion Dip from Trader Joe’s, Cornbread with butter and fresh strawberry jam

Work Out: I have pretty much become way too uncomfortable to continue my usual gym routine. I am just trying to stay active in my daily activities.

Sleep: I wake up every 2 hours at this point and the leg cramps are more vicious than ever. Several hours after I woke up this morning I still could feel pain from one that woke me up in the middle of the night. I could certainly do without those.

Nursery: Almost done and I am LOVING how it came out! Reggie was a huge help last weekend and hung everything on the walls and I just got to sit on my yoga ball and supervise. Bliss! I will be posting pictures once I have everything finished.

Reggie: Working much less and coming home earlier. He seems so relaxed and calm about the baby’s arrival. He is the perfect counterpoint for my personality. Reg even took it upon himself to read up on how the Ergo works, while wearing it of course. I think he might be more excited about that carrier than me. It is adorable. Love that man. The rest of my time has been spent organizing the baby’s clothes, prepping his cloth diapers, and relaxing. In case you were wondering, the baby is still breech. I am hopeful he will still turn even though my doctor doesn’t seem nearly as optimistic. I have been seeing a chiropractor that has been practicing the Webster Technique to open my uterus and give him more room to turn. She is so supportive and positive. Even if the Webster Technique alone can’t make the baby flip, my chiropractor is hoping that it will relax the uterus enough to make the ECV a success. I am scheduled to go into the hospital for the ECV bright and early next Tuesday morning and if it is successful, then I will be sent home to wait for labor to begin. If not, I will be scheduling a C-Section for 39 weeks because it is just too risky to allow me to go into labor if he is still breech at the end. There is always the slight possibility that he could flip on his own in the meantime.

Honestly, I thought I was just being dramatic when he was breech a couple weeks ago. Lots of babies turn this late, people told me. Mine hasn’t. And despite the fact that I may not have the labor I hoped for, my son has a strong heartbeat and is really active. All signs point to a healthy baby and that, in the end, is what I really want.

xo

hello, i love…BarbersQ

Reggie is not into making a big deal out of holidays and he didn’t have any sort of expectation for Father’s Day, especially since he isn’t technically a father yet. I, on the other hand, tend to make a big deal out of holidays (and pretty much everything else in my life) so I wanted to take him somewhere fun to celebrate how special he is to me. Selfishly, I have been craving barbeque and knew that I wanted to take him somewhere with really kick ass barbeque. I had been stalking the menu at a barbeque spot in Napa called BarbersQ. They have great reviews and I love that they try to use as many locally sourced ingredients as possible. So when I saw that I could make a last minute reservation we headed up to wine country.

We were seated right away and the service was authentically warm and friendly from the moment we walked in the door. Immediately, I ordered some of their homemade cornbread and honey butter to start.

What arrived was some of the most delicious, moist cornbread I have had in a while. The honey butter added just the right amount of sweetness without overpowering. Yum!

Also upon seating we were informed that they were out of several of the barbeque items that I had planned on trying (brisket, ribs) so I was sort of disappointed. They did, however, have some of their special Sunday night fried chicken so Reg ordered that right away. Flustered with the lack of barbeque, I ordered the BBQ shrimp in a hurry. That is a weird choice for me but I am pregnant so unusual eating is sort of expected. Luckily, the choices we made were fantastic.

The fried chicken was juicy, crispy, and perfectly seasoned. Definitely lived up to the hype. Our server presented us with a homemade pepper vinegar to add to the chicken and it definitely enhanced the flavor, without overpowering. I highly recommend adding that if you order this dish. Reggie’s favorite ingredient on the planet is the potato and he loved the mashed potatoes. Surprisingly the gravy was a standout because it was not heavy and overly salted as most gravies tend to be. The collard greens on the side were a first for him and he seemed to really enjoy them. I loved them but then again I love anything cooked with any sort of bacon.

The BBQ shrimp were light and fresh with a hint of spice. At this point in our meal, this is where the service just kept getting better. My dish actually did not come out with the rest of the food because the chef didn’t like how they came out the first time. I appreciated that a lot because there is nothing worse than overcooked shrimp.

My favorite thing we ordered was, by far, the macaroni and cheese. See, I consider myself a sort of mac n’ cheese expert. I was a pain in the ass willful child and I pretty much only ate mac n’ cheese for the first 15 years of my life. My taste has thankfully matured but I still appreciate trying different versions. This one had the perfect amount of the creamy sauce with a hint of sharpness and a buttery crust. I could have devoured it all myself. Luckily for Reg, I shared. This is a must order friends.

I am not even going to pretend that we didn’t finish any of our plates because there was literally not a crumb of food left. Somehow we had room for dessert. I think that has something to do with the fact that both Reg and myself have been eating like a teenage boy lately.

In addition to craving barbeque, I have been craving Key Lime Pie. So when I saw that as an option on their dessert menu, I was sold. At least one craving was satisfied! What arrived was one of the creamiest, dreamiest lime pies I have ever tried. Topped with fresh, homemade whipped cream, I licked the plate clean. On top of it all, I was “mmmming” the whole time. I must be so embarrassing to take out in public. My husband sure loves me a lot. So I gave him the last bite.

Overall, I loved our experience here. We definitely plan on visiting again and hopefully that time I can actually try my beloved barbeque. But judging from our experience, anything you order at this restaurant is prepared with care and talent.

xo

two things

“People smile and tell me I’m the lucky one, and we’ve just begun, Think I’m gonna have a son. He will be like she and me, as free as a dove, conceived in love, sun is gonna shine above.” -KL*


(Photo via A Cup of Jo)

Two things happened this weekend. First, we chose our son’s full name. After my dream last week, his first name made perfect sense and the rest of our list just disappeared. Now I can’t stop myself from giggling and calling him by his name every chance I get. I love this little boy so much already.

Second, I felt a serious transition in my own thinking. For the last nine months, my emotions have gone from really scared to moderately scared. We were as ready as we could be as a couple to be parents when we started trying to have a baby. But once I found out I was pregnant, I became really nervous. What do I do with a real live baby? What was I thinking when I assumed I could raise another human being? Don’t get me wrong, I was excited. But I would lying if I said I hadn’t thought about my own upbringing and how I would bring those emotions, anxieties, and memories into my parenting. My husband is such an amazing partner and really helped me work through my anxiety. He reassured me that once we meet him, we will only be looking forward, not back. I am sure that the years ahead of me are going to be filled with uncertainty and even guilt. But mostly, they are going to be filled with love. Over the weekend, as I was floating in the pool trying to get my precious babe to turn, I truly felt weightless. I have a clean slate with my child and together, with my husband, will build our home for our family. We will create a home filled with warmth, adventure, open minds, and lots of love. All of my anxiety turned into a peaceful feeling and the transition feels amazing. We are ready. Can’t wait to meet you baby J.**


*I am an unapologetic Kenny Loggins fan. I met him once when I was 13 after one of his concerts in Boston. He told me I had a beautiful name and I have been smitten ever since.

**Name hint 😉

xo

a lesson in patience (continued)

Yesterday I went to to the doctor with a hopeful but realistic attitude. If you recall, 2 weeks ago baby boy was in the breech position. I go to a group of women doctors and the doctor I met with last time was hopeful that he would turn by the time of my next appointment. I spent a lot of time in downward facing dog to give him a little extra push to turn. This kid is on Hawaiian time I swear. Fast forward to yesterday’s appointment and I am sitting in the exam room getting ready for a different doctor in our group to check the heartbeat and I casually mention that I hope he is still not breech. Her mouth drops. Apparently, Dr. Hopeful didn’t put it on my chart that little dude refuses to get his head down. She hurries out the door and comes back wheeling in the ultrasound machine. But I didn’t need to see the ultrasound to confirm what I already knew–my baby is still breech.

At this point, she claims, we need to talk options. The first option is to schedule a c-section for 39 weeks since my practice does not perform breech deliveries. I think my morning sickness came back at that point. I felt like scheduling a c-section for my first pregnancy was a little rushed and I wasn’t willing to do so until I knew it was my absolute last available option. She said that my second and final option (through their group) is to try External Cephalic Version. This is a procedure that is done at the hospital in the Labor & Delivery unit in case I go into labor. Once he is confirmed to still be in the breech position, the doctor will give me a shot to relax my uterus and try to physically turn the baby. Ouch. She told me the procedure is low risk but naturally there are some things that could potentially happen to the baby including:

  • Twisting or squeezing of the umbilical cord, reducing blood flow and oxygen to the fetus.
  • The beginning of labor, which can be caused by rupture of the amniotic sac around the fetus (premature rupture of the membranes, or PROM).
  • Placenta abruption, rupture of the uterus, or damage to the umbilical cord. The potential exists for such complications, but they are very rare.

My doctor did say that she has never had any complications with the procedure other than the baby just refusing to flip. But combining those potential risks and a 50% success rate, I am scared. At this point, my husband and I have discussed how we want to procede, and because I really don’t want to have major surgery unless there are no other options for a healthy baby, I am going to try the ECV.

In the meantime though I am going to be trying my best to work on some natural methods of turning a baby in the breech position including:

The Webster Technique: There are a few chiropractors in my area that specialize in the Webster Technique. This procedure focuses on releasing stress on the pregnant woman’s pelvis thereby relaxing the uterus and surrounding ligaments. The relaxed uterus makes it easier for a breech baby to turn naturally. The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported in the July/August 2002 issue that 82% of doctors using the Webster Technique reported success. (Source) I plan on calling to make an appointment today for this much less invasive procedure.

Cold at the top of the uterus

Heat and music placed at the bottom of the uterus

Getting in the pool and inverting my body with handstands and somersaults (seriously people, I am desperate)

Hopefully by the time I show up for the ECV next week, he will have already flipped and I won’t even need the procedure. But I am realistic. He may never turn. I already feel pressure to schedule a c-section but my hope is that the doctor won’t push me to schedule surgery if the ECV and my other techniques are not successful. Maybe he just needs more time on his own. That way, when I go into labor on my own and he is still breech, then I will feel like I have exhausted all options and given the little guy plenty of time to get in the right position. Wish me luck!

xo