30 November 2010

Lyla's Birth Story

Friday, November 19th~
The day started normally. The weather was poor so I went to the mall to walk around and complete my Christmas shopping. After lunch I started feeling pretty crummy- almost flu-like, hot and cold. I had been having Braxton-Hicks contractions on and off for several weeks and none were stronger that day. I felt like something was off, and I hadn't felt a lot of movement that day. I laid down to do some kick counts, but any movement I felt was small and I couldn't distinguish between what might be her or just intestinal disturbance. I called my doctor to check in; she said to continue counting, drink something sweet and wait a second hour before coming by the hospital for a nonstress test. Monitoring heart rate and movement, they are fairly common and a good way to evaluate a baby's condition at the end of pregnancy.

By evening when Ray came home, I was still not 100% sure but thought I was probably paranoid- she had been very active a few days before so the change was probably worrying me. We ate dinner and were watching TV, but by 7:30 I decided not to ignore my doubts no matter how silly they seemed. I called Labor & Delivery and we drove to the hospital for the nonstress test. I insisted we take our hospital bags and the carseat just in case.
The nurses hooked me up with a monitor for her heart beat and another for my contractions, then left us in the room for the hour the test would take. Partway through they returned and one of them said "you may have just bought yourself a ticket to Sequoia (Hospital).": I was having 5-6 mild contractions in a row, less than a minute apart. Every time I had one of these very mild, early labor contractions, Lyla's heart rate would drop. Normal contractions at the beginning of labor should have a much longer break in between. Because they were so close together, she wasn't getting enough oxygen and the break she needed in between. They'd spoken to Dr. R (my OB) and she wanted to admit me and induce labor so Lyla's condition could be monitored.
Ray and I were really surprised- we figured we'd just make a silly trip to the hospital and be back home that night. Seeing her heart rate drop made it an easy decision to follow my doctor's orders, despite my fears about induction. At 11:30 pm, they checked me in and took me to a labor and delivery room while Ray went home to collect the rest of our things.
I was 3cm dilated and 50% effaced upon entering the hospital. Dr. R knew my wish to have a natural birth and my fear of the drugs, so we started by giving me the lowest dose of pitocin possible. Two nurses put in an IV as well as the external monitors I had been wearing before.

The IV and monitors made movement very difficult, especially going to the bathroom because they were on opposite sides of the bed. I also had to lay in one particular position so her heart beat would register on the monitor.
I wasn't on the pitocin for very long because Lyla didn't react well to it; the contractions were only a little stronger but her heart rate dropped more. They turned off the pitocin for a few hours, put it back on once more in the middle of the night before turning it off for good.


Saturday, November 20th~
At 8:00am Dr. R arrived and first mentioned the possibility of a C-section. I was distressed by the idea, couldn't believe that I was in the position that I'd feared. I wasn't in active labor yet, and Lyla was already showing stress. Dr. R felt that we could try for a vaginal birth a bit longer, but to be prepared that it might not be possible, for Lyla's sake.
Then she broke my water (very little amniotic fluid left, though no sign of meconium which was good) and inserted internal fetal and contraction monitors for better readings. At this time we also decided that I would get an epidural; with the real possibility of C-section, this was the better option. If I didn't get one, I'd receive general anesthesia at the last minute, which is much worse for Lyla. Plus I'd be out and groggy for her first few hours of life. So hands down, give me the epidural!

~Between the breaking of my water and getting the epidural was horrible- it wasn't more than 90 minutes, but the contractions were much stronger and I was chained to the bed in one position, so all I could do was writhe and howl with the pain. I couldn't relax the tension, which only made it feel worse. I felt weak, that I was barely having active labor and couldn't handle the pain. Maybe it would have been better if I could move.~
The anesthesiologist came in at 9:30am and gave the epidural, which wasn't as bad as I expected. The preparation was worse than the shot itself. When it took effect I felt much better, was able to relax and rest for a while after a sleepless night and painful morning. With the epidural comes a catheter, which on the one hand is gross but on the other- no more peeing a million times an hour, woo hoo!
Ray and I watched TV for a while while they continued to monitor us.

At 11:00am Dr. R returned and said she would like to do a C-section now; Lyla wasn't any better and while she wasn't in danger now, I'd be in labor for a vaginal birth at least another 6 hours and we still might need to do a C-section then- and she may not be in such good condition. I felt sad to lose that whole experience, but it wasn't worth the risk and we agreed. My nurse began prepping me for the surgery. She had to shave a bit down there, a cap for me and a full suit for Ray, removing all the monitors I had. A few other things too that I can't remember, I was feeling anxious and trying my best to remain calm.

Suddenly there were 7 or 8 nurses and doctors around me, pulling me in different directions, lifting me on to another gurney and quickly wheeling me down the hall. None of them addressed me, just lots of hurried commands and checks back and forth to each other.
What Ray knew and I didn't was that her heart rate had plummeted suddenly- very low, scary low. Our procedure had become emergency. In the OR, two unknown doctors told me that she was looking good (she recovered from the drop) and would be out shortly. They said this in a reassuring way I noticed but didn't understand since I didn't know what had happened.
I was scared then, being in the OR was pretty scary- I knew I was about to be cut open. And I was alone, Ray had to stay outside until they were ready to let him in. This all happened in probably 6 or 7 minutes. The whole blue curtain thing was set up, with my arms outstretched and the anesthesiologist behind me, and when Ray came in he held my right hand. I remember feeling no pain, just the pulling and stretching of my tummy as they opened me up.

Ray was amazing and outwardly calm and reassuring; I remained fearful until they got her out. He left me to see and cut the cord, and when he came back he was crying and said over and over how beautiful she was. (I've seen him cry once before so it was powerful to see.) They laid her on my chest wrapped in a blanket and we were nose to nose. I've never been so afraid, then had it melt away so completely.

It was such an amazing moment- nothing like what I imagined, but it was our amazing moment and we weren't robbed of that. I was sad when they had to take her away; she and Ray went to the nursery to be checked out while they stitched me up. It seemed to take forever because I was so anxious to see her again and really hold her. When the doctors were done I was taken to a recovery room where I had to stay for an hour for monitoring. There Ray brought Lyla to me, and the previous events no longer mattered. We were together, as a family, and we were all well.


My recovery surprised the nurses throughout our stay. Lyla was brought to me about 45 minutes after birth and I was able to hold her and attempt nursing. We did pretty well our first try, considering how impaired my movement was. We were finally taken to the postpartum room that was our home for the next 4 1/2 days, and my parents and brother Chris were there to see us. Ray's parents came later in the day.
Lyla stayed in the room with us the entire stay, save for getting tests done and an hour or two sleeping in the nursery so I could nap. Nursing was tough at the beginning because I couldn't move well right after the surgery. The first night was really difficult; my mom stayed with me and her knowledge helped so much, but I couldn't get out of bed or get in the proper position to nurse so it was awkward. But we made it through. The rest of the nights Ray stayed with me, and each day and night we got better and better.
Learning to use a breast pump in the hospital helped a lot with my milk production; it came in pretty quickly and thus far I've had no engorgement. It's funny looking back on the first nights when I was desperately trying to pump 10 mL of breastmilk in 20 minutes. Our first night home I pumped 44 mL in less than 10 minutes- what a difference! My body is adapting to being up several times a night too. The first two nights were painful but I'm getting used to it, and a short nap here and there during the day helps.

Recovering from the C-section is a pain, although I'm healing well. The IV and catheter were removed Monday and I was able to eat solid foods midday Sunday. Slowly I moved more and more during my stay. Now, I'm still on one of my pain medications, Motrin. I've stopped taking the narcotic Percocet because it made me incredibly constipated and I don't desperately need it. I am careful getting up and sitting down because I've strained myself a few times. I can't drive for 2 weeks because of the Percocet, as well as the danger of any quick twisting and turning. That's annoying, I need rides to the doctor and won't be going to the grocery store myself until then. I have my first postpartum check-up tomorrow; I'm hoping I might be given the go ahead to drive earlier since I've stopped taking the narcotic, but we'll see.
So that's it, that's our story! I'm very thankful we listened to my intuition and went to the hospital that night. In the end it doesn't matter what your plan is and how you pictured your labor experience. For us, Lyla's plan was very different from mine. The only thing that matters is a healthy baby.

28 November 2010

Lyla is 8 days old today

Ray returns to work tomorrow so we shall be on our own for the first time. I'm excited but a little more terrified! I'm sure we'll be fine, and heworks very close by in case we need anything.
Birth story to come tomorrow I hope!

25 November 2010

She's here, she's finally here!

A quick post to say that our baby girl is finally here with us.

Lyla Grace Carroll arrived on Saturday, November 20th, at 12:05pm. She weighed 5 pounds, 14 ounces at birth and measured 18 inches.

She was delivered by emergency C-section due to fetal distress- she didn't tolerate early labor, let alone active, transition, or pushing.
Not the start we were planning on, but she's here safe, sound and doing well.

And she's beautiful. So very beautiful. Tiny and sweet and precious. All the nurses in the hospital adored her, and I can't help some disbelief every now and then that we created such a perfect little human.

We were discharged from the hospital yesterday so this is our first morning at home. I'm snagging a miraculous 10 minutes to post this and will likely be absent for some days as we get to know each other more and some semblance of a routine begins to form. However, when I do return I will share her birth story and more. For now:
  • Nursing is going well despite a rocky start for both of us, due in part to the C-section which impaired my movement in the beginning. We've both learned and improved a lot now and my milk has come in, so she's eating well.

  • I'm adjusting to the lack of sleep- the first night was very difficult but my body is adapting to being awakened throughout the night.

  • We've been home less than 24 hours and already had to do a load of laundry due to a few diaper accidents.

  • 'Getting back in shape' is the 735,875th thing on my mind right now, but I'm amazed at how much my reflection has changed in the past few days- more like my old self than I would have thought. All this nursing is leaching calories out of me and into her.

  • Lactation and L&D nurses are wonderful people, just about everyone we met at Sequoia was extremely kind and helpful.
  • It's really true- this is a kind of love that you've never experienced before, and it's stronger than anything too.
Happy Thanksgiving! See you soon~

18 November 2010

40 Weeks

Posting a day late (although these pictures were taken yesterday). 40 weeks, I'm still here!

Chickpea hasn't budged. More than 50% of first-time moms go past their due date, so while I would have loved to have given birth already, there's nothing wrong or remotely unusual about my current state.

I do have a stinky head cold, maybe she is waiting until I'm better?! The body is so complex, perhaps it is holding off on the green light for labor. Besides my cold I had an excellent doctor check-in yesterday. She has plumped up a bit more, and I have all symptoms heading into labor. Just need the actual labor part.

Enough on that this week~

I'd like to share a few new things that have shown up for baby recently that I really really love.

My mom knits beautiful pieces, and her most recent gift to our baby girl is this sweet bunting. This green is one of my favorite colors (one of our wedding colors actually), and this particular yarn shade is 'bok choy.' Love that! Our weather is turning very cold this weekend so I know she'll be wearing this right away.

My friend and neighbor Jenise gave her a cute fleece jacket with bunny ears on the hood and a little toy bunny in the front pocket. But even cuter- these bunny boots! They are for a bigger foot than a newborn's, for to wear in January-February.
Another neighbor gave her this cute lamb stuffed animal. I think I've mentioned before that I love lambs for babies.
I'm not the knitter my mom is, but I can make a few things. I recently finished her first scarf, using scraps of lavendar and pink yarn left from other projects.
Finally, we just hung this picture over her changing table. It's the first gift Ray gave to me when we were dating in college- two little boys dressed as bees and a little girl in a ballet tutu. It was hanging in the hallway but is much better suited to a baby's room.
I've been making my own flower barrettes for a few years and I made a slew of new ones for baby when she has enough hair to wear them. I don't like the stretchy handbands that are fashionable on babies these days, but I do love barrettes. Hers were all cluttered in a drawer until I hung a piece of ribbon on the wall and clipped them all in a row. I'll be able to reach over and grab the right barrette while I'm dressing her without rooting around in the dresser.

15 November 2010


It's 7:00am and I'm on the couch in my jammies. This is NOT like me.

Every other day of my life I get out of bed, put on my workout clothes and exercise for an hour. That includes the whole time I've been pregnant.

But now, 2 days before my due date, I need to be smart. I went to bed with a sore throat last night that disturbed my sleep and woke this morning to a lot of congestion. Yuck! I feel ok except for congested and tired, so I suspect it's less of a cold and more of a hormone surge causing mucus to build up.

I'm tired, but it's more comfortable to sit up than lay down, so I'm camping on my couch in front of the telly with my laptop and a big glass of water. Sudafed is permitted for congestion so I took two of those. Depending on how I feel this afternoon, I may or may not go for my afternoon walk. My only agenda today is to conserve energy and improve the congestion.

11 November 2010

More Things

Forgot a few very important things that I'm looking forward to in the return to normalcy (such as it will be)

Tying my shoes and putting on socks without great effort and discomfort
Wearing my wedding and engagement rings (huge one- they got too snug about 2 weeks ago)
Rolling over in bed without feeling like a beached whale
Tummy rumblings will return to gas and intestinal distress (as opposed to zero gravity sommersaults and hiccups)
Fitting myself over the sink to do the dishes

10 November 2010

39 Weeks

Not much to report today. My doctor said to 'walk walk walk,' so I need to get back out there after this rest!

I'm 3 cm dilated and 50% effaced, and feeling more cramps and contractions. I've also lost 1 1/2 lbs which is common (less amniotic fluid + loose stools + body getting ready for labor + all this extra walking I'm doing). She and I are hopeful that this baby could be born by the weekend so I'm keeping the calendar open

and walking as much as I can muster. The weather is sunny but brisk, perfect for lots of strolling!

Off I go!

09 November 2010

Looking Forward To

#1 right now- knowing I'm truly in labor!!!

le sigh. ok after that . . .

my daughter laying on my chest for the first time

looking in Ray's eyes for the first time as parents

introducing our baby to my brothers and parents

those few sips of celebratory pink champagne

that wonderful baby smell

waking in the middle of the night to visit and feed her . . . over. . . and over. . . and over again

the gurgles, the smiles, the burps

the crying, the fussing, the mystery discomforts . . . yes I'm looking forward to those too

going for a walk through the neighborhood and park- not by myself anymore!

sleeping on my stomach!

salmon sashimi- so close I can almost taste it

Thanksgiving weekend with all my brothers home

finding a group of new mommies to play with

putting my socks on without a struggle

wearing my old clothes again

08 November 2010


What a weekend. Lots of action and no action, all at the same time.

Let's start with the 2nd Annual Foodbuzz Blogger Festival. It was this weekend in San Francisco; I attended last year and had a great time. This time I had to make a decision whether or not to attend, since it's so close to my due date. I opted out, and I'm still going back and forth whether it was the right choice. On the one hand I'm tiring easily and don't have tons of room in my tummy; on the other hand I'm still pregnant! I was feeling a little down about it over the weekend, but it's over now so I just need to let it go.

Saturday morning I woke up at 4am and could not fall back to sleep. I got up at 7am and did my usual exercises. My mother-in-law came to visit and took me to get a pedicure at 11am. It was a pleasant way to spend the morning; I had hoped for a little more of a foot massage, but my toes look cute and red now. While getting lunch at Whole Foods, I picked up the ingredients to make this tofu chocolate pudding in the afternoon. I took the liberty of licking every utensil I used to make it with, and posted it over on Suite Apple Pie on Sunday.

We had plans to go out to dinner that night, but I was so tired that I elected to cancel my favorite plans of the week in favor of Chipotle takeout (their salads have been one of my favorites treats the past few months) and episodes of Grey's Anatomy- followed by a nice bowl of chocolate pudding. Ray couldn't finish his, so of course I helped him out.


Sunday- after some pretty weird weather this fall, it's finally getting more normal for November. We woke to pouring rain and cool temperatures- in fact we didn't leave the house all day. But Ray was sick- possibly from the pertussis booster he grabbed Saturday afternoon, possibly from dinner the night before :(. At any rate, he had an upset stomach, threw up in the morning, and couldn't eat all day. While he lay comatose in our bedroom all day, I was on our couch having the first series of serious contractions. It lasted about 2 hours and were more powerful than any I'd felt, still irregular but continual enough to make my abs start to fatigue. For a little while, I thought this might be it!

With Ray sick, I was actually praying that I wasn't going into labor. After wishing for it for so long, I was scared of being alone and not having my partner there for help and support. Outwardly I was peeved with him, but inwardly I was terrified of going through this without him. He was checked out all day, and fortunately the contractions subsided. In the evening the contractions switched to aggressive kicking and squirming from the chickpea who now resembles an oversized Mexican jumping bean, so my middle felt pretty black and blue well into the night.

Monday morning- Ray had a 24-hour bug of some kind and feels back to normal and at work. I feel as normal as I can right now. I was able to do some light exercise as usual, with 3 mild contractions during the hour. Doesn't mean it's imminent, but we'll see how the next two days go before my 39-week appointment.

03 November 2010

38 Weeks

I feel like a ticking bomb; the counter is on but the clock is hidden so we have no idea when I'll go off. Le sigh.

The fuzzy lanugo that has protected her skin for weeks is shedding fast this week, and brain cells are multiplying like mad. She could be bald or could have more than an inch of hair. I love when newborns have a bit of hair so I'm hoping she has a nice dark mop. Her bowels are preparing the first poop, a sticky greenish mess called meconium, made from all the amniotic fluid she's been swallowing. Excellent.
My 38 week appointment~ I'm measuring 36 weeks now- Chickpea has gotten bigger! I gained a pound this week, for a grand total of 29 lbs. I'm dilated to a 2 which is excellent news.
If she could drop any lower I think she has. It's getting heavy, and I feel more tired each day but in a good way. I have a very pre-game day feeling.

I took this same picture 2 months ago, I can really tell the difference.

At 38 weeks . . .

At 30 weeks !! ---->


The past few days we've had nice weather and I've gone for a 30-minute walk in the afternoon on top of my morning exercises, and I think that's helping with dilation and her dropping. I suit up in my sneaks and comfy clothes (it's a pain to put on those sneakers let me tell you!), and throw my iPhone in my camera bag and listen to music. I've been playing my 'Baby Motivation' playlist. It's like a workout playlist, and I walk and imagine the different parts of labor and delivery. It's like I'm mentalling prepping for a marathon. It's never appealing right before I go, but I gotta do it again today.