Wednesday, September 29, 2010

1 week/Birth Story

It's been one week since Ezra was born. A whole week. It flew by and I'm not sure that I'm liking that.

Ezra Vincent Blaustein officially made his grand entrance at 12:30am on September 22, 2010. Born at home, as planned, and perfect as can be. The following will contain details that most people have no interest in reading or just generally knowing about. You've been warned. If you don't want the details, just scroll down to the photos and pretend that it's just jibberish.

Here's how it all went down...

As evidenced by my previous post(s) I woke up with contractions that were forcing me out of bed around 3:30/3:45am on 9/21. I'd have to roll out of bed quickly and bend over the bed because the cramping was pretty intense. Pretty intense, meaning, I could tell these were much different than the kind I'd been having for weeks. I had also started losing my mucus plug that morning. One big giant clot, followed by some bits. I know...but I warned you. I knew this would be going on for awhile, so I let Jordan sleep until around 8:30am. Woke him up by telling him we were having a kid that day or the next and should probably go ahead and finish up the last minute things we needed to do. He seemed to think I was kidding and took his sweet time getting out of bed to get ready for the day. Typical Jordan ;-)

I emailed Vickii to let her know what was going on. We had an appointment scheduled for that day anyways, so we went to that at 1pm. By this point the contractions were still getting more intense, but I was getting more and more used to them and just slowed down when I felt another coming on. No biggie. I was informed that the passing of the plug was good for a couple centimeters of dialation, so I was pleased. She suggested that since we were about to be in the house for awhile, we should get out and try to relax. It happened that a patient wanted to be seen by Jordan, so we headed to his office where he ended up treating another patient as well. While he did that, my contractions kept coming, getting more intense. This was about when I had to start closing my eyes and just zoning out during them. They were hurting but knowing it was going to get SO much worse, I just kept telling myself that this was the super-easy part.

By the time he was done, maybe around 3-3:30, we were both pretty hungry and decided to find some food. We parked a little closer to University Ave and started walking. Walking got the contractions to amp up even more. Great, but we just couldn't find the right place to eat. Well, I couldn't. Nothing sounded awesome (yeah, I'm a stellar decision-maker). We ended up hoofing it back to the car after many, many blocks and made our way to Baja Betty's. On the way to the car, my body seemed to want to have some fun with me and decided to time the contractions to the traffic signals. Knowing that you've got a limited amount of time to cross the street and trying to get through a contraction at the same time made it all very interesting. By this point, I was having to stop walking during them (except in the middle of the crosswalks) - people staring and all. I didn't exactly care.

Okay, so we make it to Baja Betty's and the waiter looks from my belly to my face and asks when I'm due. I responded "Anytime now...probably tonight." He looked concerned for the seat I was on. I continued having contractions, getting way more intense, while we ate. Well, Jordan ate. I got as much in as I could but when you're stopping every 3-4 minutes to try to get through a 1-2 minute don't get much food in. The people at the table next to us must have thought I was just a big baby since I kept sitting back and closing my eyes. I'm sure they thought this was the first time I'd felt a contraction and was overreacting.

At some point, I just told Jordan that we should probably get home because I was getting way to uncomfortable to do this in public much longer. Walking to the car, Jordan called my mom back and gave her an update. Things pretty much started getting turned up at this point. Took 3 times as long to get back to the car as it did going from it to the restaurant. The ride back was great fun. Let's just say that Hillcrest has a lot of dips and potholes. And I think we hit every red light on El Cajon Blvd. Also a road that I decided should be repaved. Not being able to move around (being stuck in a seatbelt) during the contractions was pretty awful. But we made it home.

I think this is when time gets a little blurry. I know that I said something to the effect of "shit is getting real."

I decided to try getting in the tub. At first, the warm water felt really good. I got through a few contractions before I started getting uncomfortable from the heat. Drained the tub...but couldn't get out. At this point, my body began pushing some during the contractions. At first I tried resisting it but finally gave in. My head kept telling me it seemed way too soon to be pushing. It felt a lot better to go with it, though, so I did. The pain was getting cranked up quickly and Jordan ended up calling Vickii. Like with the pushing feeling, it seemed too early to call her but he insisted.  Kinda glad he did.

She got here around 8pm. This was right around the time I threw up for the first time.  Do you understand the shame & humiliation involved in throwing up in front of someone you hold in high esteem?  I do now.  The salad I'd enjoyed for dinner was not pleasant as it came up. Black beans = bad. So, after a couple contractions, she asked to check me. I remember her asking, "What would you be happy with?" (dilation-wise) I just answered that I didn't care - thinking I was likely around 5cm and had awhile to go. When she told me that I was 9cm and my cervix was really, really soft, I confessed to being relieved because I felt like I HAD TO push but wasn't sure I should. She said to absolutely go ahead and push if that's what I felt. Awesome.

Thus began the dance. I went from the bed on all fours to on my side to standing and leaning on the footboard to the toilet and back again. A lot. I found that pushing felt the most gratifying and 'successful' on the toilet (go figure) and that I could relax a tad between contractions when I was on the bed. My water broke and the contractions actually felt better once that happened.

I was pretty zoned out. Minimal talking. Certainly no moaning or screaming or anything.  I was concerned I might be one of those howling laborers...but as it turns out, I'm not.

At one point, Vickii suggested reaching down and feeling the baby during some pushes so that I could tell what moved him and what didn't. I did. I was shocked that he was right there. So close, yet so far away ;-)  And he had hair! I also kept getting gushes of water. I had no idea there was so much fluid.

I kept pushing with each contraction but not much seemed to be happening. Apparently there is a correct way to push and I was getting it only some of the time. That's a hard thing to grasp in the throes of a contraction - someone saying push down - when that's what you thought you were doing all along.

Back on the bed, I ended up getting some progress on my back (I know, I know) while pulling my knees up. He kept coming down and retreating back up. Pretty frustrating for me and I started getting really tired. I took a couple spoonfuls of honey and that helped. By this point, I'd been told a few things. One - if I didn't pee soon, I'd be looking at getting a catheter. Two, the baby had pooped about an hour prior. And three - if I wanted to just go ahead and have the baby, I could...or else we'd be taking a forced break so that I could conserve some energy and not get so worn out. I answered her that I wanted the kid out and that's when we really got down to business. With some help/pressure applied during contractions, I was able to get him where he needed to be. During one particularly forceful push, there was a pop. My coccyx. I remember looking up at Vickii when I heard it and knowing immediately what it was. I'm not sure why I'd forgotten about the possibility of subluxating it. (I felt nothing aside from the actual movement of it until I went to get up/move later on. And feel it, I did.) When he started crowning, I started bleeding. There were no outside tears at that point, so it was pretty clear I was tearing from the inside. I was only aware this was happening because Jordan mentioned the blood to Vickii. I was only acutely aware that my crotch was on fire. Being told to slow down once you hit that point seems like a sick joke. All I wanted to do was give it one good push and get passed that firey inferno ;-) I listened and after a few smaller pushes, his head popped out. Oh. My. God. The relief. With the next contraction, which came pretty quickly, I pushed the rest of him out. That was the simple part :-) I couldn't believe he was finally out. I'd just had a baby!

Jordan caught him and put him on me immediately. The cord was only long enough for him to be placed on my belly. According to Jordan, as soon as his torso emerged, he raised his arm straight up to his head. He started crying a little immediately. With a little back rubbing, he let out his first scream. After the initial shock that he was out and here and real...I asked what we were working with and Jordan said he was a boy. I knew he was. The whole time, I was sure he was a boy. Turns out, I'm good.

We stayed like that for about 20 minutes or so until we moved me to a more sitting-up position. I felt another contraction and went ahead and pushed the placenta out. Much easier than a baby.

He stayed attached to the placenta for just under an hour, I think. Jordan cut the cord and we stayed in bed for awhile just enjoying him. Afterward, I took a quick shower and got back in bed to start nursing. It took a second and some help from Darynee, but we got it.

The stitching took some time. There was one big, bad, jagged tear and several not-quite-so-bad tears. Jordan fell asleep holding Ezra next to me on the bed as Vickii worked her magic to put me back together :-)

Once that mess was taken care of, we chatted for a bit about what to expect, etc and then they left us with our brand new baby. With the intention that we'd sleep. Ha. Ezra slept. We stared at him. Jordan slept a little and I dozed off for a couple minutes here and there. I just couldn't stop staring at him. He's beautiful. Perfect.

We've got the placenta in the freezer. Not sure what we are going to do with it. There's always encapsulation. Or planting it. We'll get around to doing something at some point before we forget that it's in there.

Having him at home was great. I simply cannot imagine doing it any other way. Or having had a different midwife. She was exactly what I needed at every single point in this process. Present but not overbearing when I was needing to be on my own and then completely there and reassuring and calm and nurturing when I needed it. It's clear that she is our midwife for the next one (or two, three...). She's seriously awesome.

So there it is. That's how I came to have this amazing little guy that I'm currently staring at as he sleeps next to me. I couldn't have asked for a better pregnancy or labor or delivery. And I certainly couldn't have asked for a more more perfect baby. I am in love.

Monday, September 20, 2010


I'm trying to be patient. I think I'm doing a pretty good job, actually. Prior to the 15th, I knew it was not set in stone that I'd have had the kid by now. I knew that it'd be completely normal and very likely that I'd have the kid at some point (likely) prior to October. But I went ahead and got a date stuck in my head and now I have a hard time not expecting it at any moment.

I walk, I have contractions. I sit, I have contractions. I lay down, I eat, I breathe, I have contractions. I even let myself give in and time them sometimes when they don't let up. But then nothing ever comes of them. Mostly, I just ignore them as best I can.


I do have some pumpkin spice oil burning right now. This makes me happy. Maybe the kid will catch a whiff and want to experience it on the outside. Maybe.


I wrote all that early this afternoon with the intention of adding pictures tonight. After a walk around the block with Brodie and a trip to Balboa Park with Jordan and the dogs, followed by an adjustment for my aching hips, I've been having steady contractions again for a couple hours. 10 minutes to 5 minutes within 2 contractions and they are certainly not the same as the ones I'd been having. Pretty constant pressure and tightness between contractions....and they are a lot more uncomfortable than before, too. I mean, I just made dinner and am picking up around the house, so we're not talking about anything crazy. But, this could be something. I'm letting myself get excited, kids. Not so excited that I'm calling anyone quite yet. That would suck to get a call in the middle of the night after everything has stopped and I'm finally sleeping. But, my fingers are crossed that I'll be calling people in the morning ;-)
I think I'll save this again rather than publish...just in case. I don't want to jinx anything.

Okay. It's a little after 10am. Contractions slowed enough for me to sleep for a couple hours last night and started back with a vengeance around 3:30am. They got to 3-4 minutes apart, then spread out a tad again. Definitely more of the real thing now. Some other things have happened that lead me to think that it's happening today/tomorrow. I'll leave those things out because I'm sure most people reading this could do without that knowledge. You're welcome.

This kid has begun putting it's party pants on. I think. Cross your fingers ;-)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

40 weeks + 1 day

So our (mostly arbitrary) due date has come and gone. The baby is still not here. Well, it's here, just not ready to come out yet. Perhaps it's shy. Maybe it's waiting until I make Jordan pick up some Bronx pizza on his way home from work. It's really, really good pizza (the best we've had here in San Diego), so I'm thinking the kid is holding out. I mean, this is my kid.

There's definitely some pressure happening now, which is new and exciting. Uncomfortable contractions and cramps alone were getting a little commonplace, so it's nice to have the new addition. I'm also attracting all kinds of comments from people in the past 2 days, strangely enough. Way more than normal. Apparently I look like I'm ready to go, according to lady at Michael's. And the lady in line at DSW looked concerned for her own well-being when I answered the due date question with "yesterday." That, along with the unsolicited but funny advice from the dad at the zoo has proved that being a little late isn't so bad.

Here's how the dogs are handling the situation:

Lucy wants to take out her frustration by exercising with her ball.

Brodie is clearly very stressed out.

Here's some pictures for this week. Do not be alarmed. I don't expect the baby to fall out of my stomach, despite it appearing that way in the head-on pictures. Seriously. It worried me when I saw it, but I'm pretty sure that no baby has ever spontaneously been birthed that way. It really does look bigger from the front, I think.

Let's all say a little prayer for my skin. It looks like it's screaming and begging for help.

Since not much is happening on the kid front, I'll update you with a few things I've made that aren't the baby.

I found my new go-to brownie recipe. Here it is. It's so good. The brownies turned out chewy and fudgy, as opposed to dry and cakey. This truly is the way they were intended. If you want cakey brownies, make a chocolate cake. Jordan was a big fan. Big fan. A few points of interest:
1. Based on many years of faithfully watching Alton Brown's show on Food Network, I always sift dry ingredients. This recipe (like most) doesn't specifically say to, but you should do it. Makes for a finer texture. Duh.
2. I used 1 bag of milk chocolate chips and 1 bag of semi-sweet chips. Ghiradelli, because they're better. It was worth it. The semi-sweet ones were the first bag to go into the mix and the milk were the second. I did this so that any chips that didn't melt prior to or during baking would be yummy milk chocolate chips. I just thought it would taste better. And I'm sure I was right because they were ultra delicious.

I made this for breakfast yesterday. I had some yellow nectarines that were getting on time to eat or toss and decided to mix them with some strawberries. Yum. Things I did different with this recipe:
1. I was lazy and didn't really measure anything. Eyeballing didn't hurt a damn thing. It's a pretty thrown-together recipe according to the poster, so it's cool.
2. I used a few tablespoons of honey in place of maple syrup. Yes, I'm one of 3 people in the world that doesn't dig on the maple syrup. I even order honey for my waffles when we go out. Sue me. I also didn't use nuts. Jordan is allergic and I don't like them in my food. I think coconut could have been a nice addition, though and I'm thinking I'll try it next time.
3. I used a mixture of brown and turbinado sugars. It's what I had. I also used less than what the recipe called for. It seemed a bit overkill to be sweetening up fruit AND sweetening with syrup (or in my case, honey). I'm just sayin.
4. I added cinnamon. It was lovely.
5. I had no milk, but I had both half & half and heavy cream (don't ask). So I winged it and used both, hoping that it would make it even more fattening and delicious. And I was right.

It's just a quick and dirty, oven-baked oatmeal. Couldn't be simpler. But considering the instant nature of all things breakfast, it was a nice departure from a smoothie or bagel. And it gets rid of some fruit that may be on it's last day.

I also made veggie pot pies. Well, not so much pot pies, more like pot-pie pouches. I don't have small ramekins, so I just stuffed puff pastry with a delicious filling that I threw together and baked. I'd just like to point out that they turned out really good. I have no recipe for this. It was born of a desire to have Mimi's chicken pot pie (it's glorious), minus the meat and meat broth. Clearly that cannot happen, so I had to take matters into my own hands.
We'll be spending a lot more time at the zoo until this kid comes. Seeing as how it's in a canyon and can make a fit person huff and puff, it's a good way to try to walk this kid out of me. We've actually run into another couple from our birth class there - she was a week overdue at the time. It's a popular thing to do, I guess ;-) Plus, the elephants and meerkats are great. I did get shit on by a bird yesterday between the big cats and the elephants. I was hoping it was good luck. Turns out, it was just shit.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"I've got heartburn radiating to my kneecaps."

Remember that line from Juno?

I had a short stint of heartburn early on during this pregnancy. It was completely easy to deal with and each bout didn't last long. Really, it was a learning experience for me as I'd never had heartburn before. Figured it was as good a time as any to see what people were complaining about ;-)

These past few nights have been getting progressively worse. Heartburn is back. With a vengeance. I'm talking, waking me up once I finally fall asleep and forcing me into a seated position quicker than I've moved in weeks despite the belly pain that accompanies such a movement. Between 2:30 and 4:30 this morning was the worst. I ended up giving up on sleeping in my cozy bed and tried the recliner in the living room to see if I could catch a nap. Ever been afraid you were going to vomit lava? I was. I'm convinced this is just a little payback for having the easiest pregnancy ever and not being afraid to admit that I've enjoyed it. Even right now, I can feel it bubbling up like an angry cauldron. I'd take it all day, everyday if it would just go away and let me sleep :-/

Friday, September 10, 2010

39 weeks

Nope, no baby yet. Apparently, plenty of people were thinking that I'd have had the kid by now. No such luck. We've still got a few weeks until I'm allowed to really crank up the complaining. Until then, I'll just continue with my mild whining to Jordan about being uncomfortable and crossing my fingers that the kid has a calendar in there to keep track of the days ;-)

I have had a couple instances when I thought things might be getting started. Clearly those were not real, or else I'd be posting photos of a baby instead of my ginormous, stretched-out belly where the kid is currently residing. It's all National Geographic-looking now.

In other baby-ish news...insomnia has recently taken over. Tossing and turning in bed is both comical and sad at this point, considering it requires an act of congress to roll from side to side. Mostly it's just me groaning, trying to use some stretched-out abs and the weight of this belly to throw myself to the opposite side. That causes a bit of pain. You can see how this is not productive. Last night I was up till 4:30am. I watched a morning show that I didn't even know existed. It was awful, by the way. I did manage to cut up both an entire watermelon and a pineapple for today and played about a million games of at least it wasn't a total bust.

These photos just got taken today, so technically, they are 39.5 week photos. But we tend to be late every week, so what's new? Yes, I see the wet spot on my jersey. No, I didn't want to take it off for the picture. I wasn't sure that it would fit over the belly, but I had to support the Skins. We won and I'm proud of my team ;-) Great start to the season and I'm so happy it was a win against the Cowgirls.

Let's all cross our fingers this kid finds some time to grace us with it's presence this week. It'd be a good week and I'm ready ;-)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

38 weeks

I'm late taking these photos (again). This seems to be the trend for me. Wait till the very last minute and make sure I look like I've been doing housework in a very warm house all day. Both happened again today. I have no excuse for the hair. It didn't get any attention today. Maybe I'll be smart and remember to have Jordan take a picture (when I'm not sweaty and nasty) to prove that it truly does look good. I may keep it short for a little while.
I also have no excuse for the clothing. You know, besides being extremely pregnant.

And what the hell is going on with my belly button? It's not normal. I look like I have a giant bruise where my belly button should be. There's also a bit of a popping out happening...I'm guessing it's a minor herniation of my (seriously) weakened abdominal wall. If I remember my OB/GYN notes correctly, these things happen (both the discoloration and the protruding abs), though I'm concerned for the fate of my belly button, post-baby. Keep your fingers crossed for me, people.

Oh, and no. I'm not a hairy ape. The linea nigra, while dark and not cute, is confined to skin discoloration only. Have no fear. I'm pretty sure I'd have gotten that mess taken care of by now if it weren't ;-)

Pretty big, eh? I'm feeling it. It's a good thing we're close to the end here because even the maternity shirts I bought are getting dangerously close to not covering me as well as I'd like. I mean, they do their job. I'd just like a little extra length, just in case.
We made PW's Spicy Mac and Cheese again tonight. It was glorious. The first time I ever made it, Jordan decided he was not a fan of Ree's recipes and refused to even call it mac and cheese. He thought it would be sacrilegious to do so. I'm not sure what happened, but now he is the reason we make it when we do. He's obsessed.

I'm realizing now that I tend to only mention the highly fattening food that I make. Rest assured, most of my diet consists of fruits and veggies. Mostly raw. But if I mentioned, "Hey! I just had the best bell pepper ever!" it wouldn't really be too exciting. Delicious, fattening foods? Those are exciting.

And because this is supposed to be Of Dogs and Babies, I suppose I should mention the dogs once in awhile too. Here's a couple shots of Brodie at his most favorite place in the whole world:

Naturally, Lucy had to stay home. She's too much of a liability to take to the beach. Her brand of crazy just can't be contained.

I really like the second shot because it looks like Jordan and Brodie are having a little talk. Very cute. Really, Brodie is a ball-fetching, swimming machine when he's at the beach and Jordan was likely just trying to get him to take a little break. I mean, the dog cries like you're beating him if you make him wait between throws. People stare. It's uncomfortable.
In other baby news, we had to admit defeat with the car seat. The one that we researched, loved, and subsequently bought is simply too big to be rear-facing in our car. Despite the impossibly low, deep seats in the back of the Matrix, it just wouldn't work without completely sacrificing the passenger seat. Even then, it had to be squeezed right up against the back and we'd have to have several inches of padding beneath it to tilt it to the correct angle. It just wouldn't have worked. So, we got an infant seat. Of course we're still losing some leg room in the front seat because of it, but at least this way we HAVE a front seat. I think we're keeping the convertible seat for later, though. The price was right and this way it's one less thing to have to buy later on. Now we just have to find a place to store it for many, many months. It's not like this place has an abundance of closets or just space, in general. Perhaps we can use it as another seating option in the living room, you know, should a midget happen by for a bit and require a place to sit.