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Category Archives: childbirth

Catastrophizing (not a word)

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By nature, I am not someone who puts much stock in worrying about situations before there is a definite outcome in sight.  As a rule I don’t see the point in causing myself stress when it is anybody’s guess as to what will happen.  This frustrates people, namely my mother and my husband, who would prefer to hash out all possible scenarios of a particular situation and prepare to deal with all of them.  It probably comes off as being lackadaisical on my part, but really, I just tend to be careful about expending my emotional energy.

Knowing the above, you will understand that it was completely out of character for me to go in to full catastrophe mode yesterday when my OB merely suggested that a c-section could be in my future. Until I hashed a ton of it out on Twitter with Arwen, the only words that I heard over and over again were “Likely c-section.  Likely c-section.” They were on repeat, over and over again for the better part of the day. I have clarity now though, so let’s start at the beginning.

This was my first appointment with the actual OB during this pregnancy.  Until now, I’ve seen the NP each time.  NP is great.  Really, the 2 OBs and the NP in this practice are phenomenal.  They took me in with no questions asked about halfway through my last pregnancy after the practice of midwives I had used disbanded.  I have had nothing but fantastic care from them, and I credit their monitoring and really paying attention to my history with Hannah being my only baby who was not hypo-glycemic at birth and the only one who did not visit the NICU. While Eddie was only there for a short while, Cait’s birth and NICU stay scarred me, and scarred me horribly. They listened to my every concern and we came up with a plan together for a healthy birth and healthy baby Hannah, and it worked. But anyway…the NP doesn’t do most of the deliveries and may have led me on about having very good chances of a vaginal birth.

Ed came with me yesterday just on a whim, and of course was keen on discussing the delivery. OB wanted to anyway since she hadn’t seen me. She started off with “So, you know that if both are head down, you are good for vaginal.  Anything else, we usually do a c-section.” To which I replied “NP said if baby A was head down we are good to go.” This resulted in a long discussion.  And I am glad there was discussion even if I failed to remember most of it until the beating of the words probable c-section left my head last night.  So, here is what the OB said:

  • If I don’t go in to labor on my own, I will be induced or have a c-section at 38 weeks–March 13th ish, which is um…13 weeks away.
  • I have a proven pelvis and can likely handle a vaginal birth regardless of Baby B’s position.
  • I have a history having large babies.  If the twins get too large, it is entirely possible to have my uterus completely give out–regardless of my history, there is only so much stretching that can be done.
  • If she were placing bets, she would bet on my carrying the babies to 38 weeks.
  • I have a history of very fast births (Eddie, with pitocin: labor total 9 hours (4 hours was pushing out his giant 10lb head), Cait, no pitocin: labored for maybe 3 hours, and Hannah- full induction: labor lasted 5 hours) If I went in to labor on my own with these 2, the situation could go bad very quickly. Basically, once my water breaks, my babies come full force.
  • I should be prepared that no matter what kind of birth it is, it will not be warm and fuzzy, but rather monitored, chaotic, and will occur in the operating room with her, the hospital specialists and a team for each baby standing by.
  • Even if Baby A flies out with no problems, I could find myself having a c-section to get Baby B out, giving me 2 types of recovery to worry about.
  • Based on all of this, she is committed to playing it by ear and using the sonograms and the direction of the fetal specialists I see at the hospital for the scans to make an educated decision about what kind of birth I will have.
  • I want what is best and safest for the babies first, then what is best for me. She feels the same.

So that is where we stand.  Do I feel better about it all today than I did yesterday? I do.  I am not against scheduling induction as long as I have a say in the way it happens–that is how it worked with Hannah and it was fine.  I don’t particularly want to schedule a c-section.  I don’t want to recover from surgery while being responsible for 2 newborns.  I just don’t. BUT if their position or the state of my uterus or whatever warrants it, I will accept it.  I’m not saying that I won’t panic, but I will accept it.

For the next several weeks though, I’m going back to my usual M.O. I’m simply not going to worry about it, because worrying doesn’t matter.  The result will be what it will be regardless of my fretting.  The result needs to be healthy babies (and healthy me) regardless of how we get there.

SO! Brisk clap! I am done here! Whatever will be will be.

Caitlyn’s Birth Story

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Unfortunately, I don’t have an entire back story about Caitlyn’s conception. Ed and I were not being particularly careful and my cycles were completely erratic. I took at least one pregnancy test a month because after ceasing nursing at 7 months (along with coping with the demands of an infant) I had no idea where I was in my cycle at any given time.

I remember, right after Thanksgiving, telling Ed “I’m sure I’m done ovulating by now…”


There was a work Christmas party on 12/16/04 and I planned on drinking for maybe the 3rd time since I had Eddie. When I woke up that morning I had it in my head to take a pregnancy test before I went to dinner or else I would never forgive myself. For peace of mind, you know. I did not even consider for a second that it would be positive.


I had never experienced a positive home pregnancy test since I found out about Eddie in the doctor’s office. I peed on the stick and continued on with my business. It blared a positive result after about 3 seconds. I, of course, went in to panic mode. I had an 11-month-old. And I was pregnant, again. I was just starting to look normal again. And What was Ed going to say? I woke him up at 6:00am. He’d had no idea I’d even taken the test. I told him, we talked about it a bit, and decided that we were totally fine with it.

We told our families early this time, over Christmas, with Eddie wearing an “I’m the Big Brother T-shirt” on Christmas Eve. We wrapped it up for my mom to help Eddie open on Christmas Day. People were surprised, for sure. But we all knew that Caitlyn was meant to be. My due date was 8/26/05.

Early on in the pregnancy, I contracted a horrible kidney infection and was hospitalized for 2 days. I continued to have urinary tract infections through the pregnancy, but that was my only complaint. In comparison to my first pregnancy, this one was cake! As much as I hated pregnancy the first time around, I just loved it this time. I was never sick. I was no more tired than I had been while caring for Eddie. I felt great!

The cravings were a lot different the second time as well. I still drank my coffee, 1 cup of regular in the morning and a cup of half-caf in the afternoon. I loved on strawberries and whipped cream. I needed to have Cedar Point Corn Dogs and Ed wouldn’t go get them for me. Instead, I wrapped hotdogs in crescent rolls and ate them for lunch and dinner for at least 2 weeks. I went to Starbucks almost daily for the strawberries and crème frappucino with a shot of vanilla.

I knew from the beginning that this was a girl, and we had it confirmed with our 20 week ultrasound. We knew her name already, and until about 3 weeks before she was born it was going to be spelled Catelyn. I changed it to Caitlyn and then we moved on to the middle name, (which to this day, Ed is not a fan of.) Her name would be Caitlyn Renee.

We traveled to Virginia Beach and Richmond when I was 8 months pregnant and it was probably the most miserable car ride of my life. We walked everywhere though and had a really good time. Here is a photo of me 8 months pregnant feeding a giraffe. If you recall the photos from my 1st pregnancy, you can see that I carried her a whole lot differently. She was up high and under my ribs for the entire pregnancy.

I worked up until the beginning of August. The summer averaged about 90 degrees every day and I could hardly walk because my ankles were so swollen. I saw the one doctor at my practice that I hated, and she pulled me, so she was my new best friend. I wanted to nest, I really did, but I could barely move. I had until the end of the month, right? The good news was that we had never put the bassinette away after we moved Eddie to the crib. All I had to do was put the linens back in. I did manage to get her clothes washed and put away in all of their pink and frilly over-abundance.

On August 16th, we went to our county fair. I was having tons of contractions as we walked around in the 95 degree heat. Figuring I was dehydrated, I drank 3 bottles of water. Everything settled down by the time we got home. I went to the doctor in the morning and saw my very favorite midwife, the one who assisted in delivering Eddie. I told her about everything that was going on and she checked me out. I was 2 cm but very thinned out so she stripped my membranes with her finger. (This apparently separates membranes from the cervix…….I can still feel it when I think about it. Not cool.) She was sure I would go in to labor that night.

I was nervous because Ed was working out of town that day, but the contractions held off. I honestly had my first one as he walked in the door at 7pm. They were sporadic all night and I went to sleep in the recliner wondering if I actually was in labor. I woke around 2am definitely in labor. I had the classic feeling of “maybe if I just poop I’ll feel better.” I didn’t. I woke Ed up and told him we had to go. Then I proceeded to do 150 other things to make sure Eddie was taken care of. I called the midwife (the nasty one was on call) myself and she told me that if I was talking to her, there was no way I was in hard labor, but that she would meet me at the hospital anyway.

Ed took this picture right before we left. He’s charming, isn’t he? (to be uploaded later because i don’t have it at work–it’s a miserable picture)

My water broke in the driveway at 3:45 AM. We were at the hospital by 4 and I was in excruciating pain. It took them forever to get the IV started and me hooked up to everything, so I had to wait for the epidural. The anesthesiologist was in around 5:15am to do the epidural asking me all kinds of questions. The midwife was still not there. He finally started threading it through and gave me the initial shot. I started pushing (involuntarily) just was the midwife walked in. The anesthesiologist never even started the drip because Caitlyn was coming. Ed ran back in the room just as they flipped me over to get going. 3 pushes and she was out. (Don’t worry, the epidural kicked in just in time for my 3 stitches)

Caitlyn Renee was born at 5:37am on August 18, 2005. She weighed 9lbs 5oz and was 21 inches long. As with her brother, the NICU was paged because of her size. She was also hypoglycemic, but the doctor also felt an abnormal bulge in her belly. She was taken away before I could nurse her, and just after I held her for a minute.

They were afraid that the bulge was an intestinal problem, and didn’t want her to eat anything, so they started an IV to get her blood sugar up. We were relieved to hear that there was absolutely nothing wrong with her after a few hours, but disappointed to hear that because an IV was started, they would have to wean her off of it. Unlike an adult, a baby couldn’t handle the IV just being taken out and it had to be reduced gradually.

And so began the long ordeal of Caitlyn in the NICU. I could go up there to nurse her, but they were giving her formula to keep her sugar up. Every time they reduced the IV, her levels dropped just enough to be considered “unstable”. Day one turned in to day two and she was still on the IV.

All of my hopes and dreams were shattered in this horrendous post partum state. She was supposed to be in the room with me, and Eddie was supposed to come bounding in, wearing his big brother t-shirt, and climb up in my bed and hold his baby sister for the first time. Everyone was supposed to be there to fawn over my baby girl. Instead, Eddie came for about 30 minutes and played cars with me on the floor in my hospital room. Outside of Ed’s Mom, his Aunt Gail and Uncle Rich, and Marisa and George, nobody came to see me. Why would they if they couldn’t see the baby, right? I gave up at that point. I didn’t go up and nurse her regularly. I stayed in my room, slept and watched TV, checking on her sporadically. Ed and I fought because I wasn’t doing enough. I just couldn’t do it, physically or mentally.

Day 3 arrived and they had no idea if she would be released along with me. Her final reading was scheduled for 10pm. I decided that sitting around the hospital hoping she could come home wouldn’t do anyone any good, so I went home. I pumped. I spent time with Eddie. And then Ed and I went to his 10 year high school reunion for a bit and waited for a call.

The hospital did call just after 10 to say that we could come and get her. Her reading was still low, but nothing that I couldn’t handle, they said. So off we went. I still hadn’t put the bassinette linens on and the car seat straps needed to be adjusted from the last time Eddie used it. I went to the NICU for the final time and put her in her going home outfit, even though it was after 11 by the time we got there, and we took our baby girl home.

Fortunately, this was where any feelings of depression subsided.

Caitlyn was a great baby, came home sleeping 4 hours at a pop. She fit right in. Eddie wasn’t thrilled with her at first, as she took up a lot of my time, but he quickly became a good big brother. We got in to a routine right away because Ed worked a lot. I kept her in the front carrier quite a bit so that my hands were free to tend to Eddie and housework. She came to the park with us, on the car ride while I took Eddie to school. I think the most important part of integrating her in to the family was keeping everything very much the same. She did what we always did.

Our family was, and is, perfect.

****On a side note, I know this is really long…I know****

I spoke briefly about this in my 100 facts list. When Caitlyn was about a month old, she spiked a really high fever and was hospitalized with suspected meningitis. A ton of tests determined that it was just a viral infection; however, they kept her hospitalized because a baby that young should not have a fever. I spent three days in the hospital with her, nursing her, hanging out and taking care of her. At that point, I felt like we finally bonded. Ed said it to me then, and I truly believe that this was sent from God. No, it is never fun to have your child hospitalized and it was certainly stressful. But I spent the time with her, just me, alone, that I should have to begin with. And somehow, I finally felt complete. He does work in mysterious ways.

And Now the Rest of the Story-Eddie’s Birth

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It was January 6th, 2004 and I was officially 2 days overdue. Other than having spent our entire dinner at Applebee’s the night before in the bathroom, I was feeling pretty good. I had a routine doctor’s appointment to discuss exactly how long they were going to let me be overdue before they induced. My appointment was around 11am so Ed and I had a quick breakfast at home and headed over there.

At my OBGYN office, anytime you are seeing the doctor over the midwife, there is a wait. We waited nearly two hours before we saw her. She asked a lot of questions about how I was feeling before she even checked me. When she did check me, she looked up in amazement and asked if I was sure that I wasn’t having contractions. I told her that I didn’t think so, and she said “well you’re 5cm!!” She decided to do an ultrasound to see what was going on with the baby, and again there was a wild and surprised look on her face.

“This baby is at least 9 lbs.”, she said. “You need to go to the hospital!!”

She then gave me a 15 minute lecture about how my worst fear might come true; I may have to have a c-section. I felt all of the color drain from my face and I felt like I was going to throw up. When you’ve been told since you were 15 years old that you have “the perfect hips for birthing”, the thought of a C-section never comes in to play. For my entire pregnancy, I never even considered that I would have a c-section. Much like the day that I was told I was going to have a baby, I was in shock. I walked out of the doctor’s office barely hearing her call after me “Make sure you don’t eat anything in case we do the c- section! Have them call me when you get to the hospital!”

As soon as we got in the car, I lost it. I sobbed hysterically. I couldn’t breath. I made Ed call Marisa at work to tell her everything, and then I got on the phone and blubbered to her. I know that I called my parents, but I can’t remember speaking to either of them. I was sure that I was having a nervous breakdown. I had just about calmed down when we got home, but as soon as we got in the house and started getting my stuff together, I was hysterical again. I went in the bathroom to compose myself, and Ed took this wonderful picture of me:

We left the house around 3:00PM and had to run a few errands, stop at the bank, etc. It was going on 6 hours since I had eaten and Ed was hungry too. He grabbed some food and we were at the hospital by about 5:30 PM.

As soon as we were checking in, they got me hooked up to the pitocin, which immediately gave me intense contractions. It was about 2 hours before I was in tears and needed the epidural, the greatest invention I know of. Marisa and George, my parents and Ed’s mother were in and out of the room. Marisa had to work the next day, so when things weren’t happening, they left around 10PM. Very soon after that it was time to push. I can’t remember anything that happened during the pushing phase other than telling Ed that if he put one more FUCKING ice chip in my mouth, I would strangle him. I pushed until about midnight before I overheard the doctor saying she wouldn’t let me push much longer. I had a renewed strength at that point because there was no way I was going through all of this crap just to be cut open, and started pushing like a crazy person after that. The problem: Eddie was posterior or sunny side up. After another 2 hours, his head was nearly out but we needed some help. (Apparently, all of the tearing didn’t help at all) Ed describes my episiotomy with great detail. “They both had a pair of scissors in each hand! They snipped you everywhere!” They ended up using the vacuum and finally, after 4 hours of pushing, I had my baby boy!

Edmund Mason, Jr. was born at 2:13 AM January 7, 2004. He weighed 10lbs 2oz and was 23 inches long. We couldn’t believe how much he looked exactly like his daddy.

I had never been happier. Ed held him while I was being stitched up and then the neonatal doctor took him to be checked out because of his size. His blood sugar was a bit low, so they took him upstairs and gave him some sugar water in a bottle. By the time I was in my room and slept for about 30 minutes, he was ok, and ready to nurse.

Now everything that I ever read said that babies are not hungry at birth; it takes them a few days to have that kick in. Eddie was ravenous when he was born. He nursed every 2 hours like clockwork the entire time we were in the hospital. So I would nurse for an hour, sleep for an hour nurse again…and so on. I couldn’t believe what I had signed on for.

Our second night in the hospital was the worst. First of all, I was more sore, and sore in the oddest places, than I had ever been in my entire life. Then I was more exhausted than I had ever been, and in the middle of the night, my 1-day-old baby forgot how to nurse. I couldn’t get him to latch on, he was screaming, and I was crying hysterically. I called the nursery and sobbed/screamed in to the phone that someone needed to come and help me. I think they thought I hurt the baby because they were down there so fast. And there I was, half naked on the bed, trying to get him to take a boob, just defeated. And you know what? The nurses acted like I was normal; like it was no big deal. They brought in some sugar water and helped me get him going. The whole nursing thing went reasonable well after that.

I loved staying in the hospital. We had tons of visitors, and Eddie was a hit. I had my fill of hospital food (which I love because I’m a F R E A K) and also my gourmet dinner. The nurses in the nursery loved him, and my favorite one, an older Indian woman, showed him off to all of the girl babies and thought about which one would be his girlfriend. (She kissed him on the head on her last shift before we left and whispered “I will see you back in a year or so with a baby sister” which is just way too weird) Nurses and doctors from all over the hospital came to meet me because I was the girl that pushed out the 10 lb posterior baby. In fact, on our way out to go home, our delivery room nurse introduced me to the patient she was walking out as “the girl I told you about, with the 10 lb baby.”

And home we went to start our life as a family. Having a baby was the best thing I ever did, and I had never felt more fulfilled as a person than when I became a mother. All of the misery of pregnancy and the horrendous delivery were worth it; worth it enough to do it again……and maybe even again some day.

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I started this post earlier and hated how it sounded. Here is the revised version.

Ed and I discussed the possibility of having more children last week.

I’ve always wanted 4. My mind has pretty much been made up since I was, like, 12. Ed isn’t opposed to actually having 4 children, but rather, the idea of having 4 children; the looks and the comments and the general stigma that seems to be cast upon people, in this day in age, who have more than 2 children. You know, the “what the hell is the matter with you” stigma.

It was just a quick conversation, nothing controversial, but it really got me thinking.

It has to be biology at work because although the logistics of having a third child right now would be ridiculous, when I even think about it for a second, I have an overwhelming desire to have another baby. I’m stressed to the limit with Eddie and Caitlyn being toddlers on their own, and outside of it all, introducing a newborn would be complete insanity. Then there’s the money……I pay $352 a week for daycare. We would need to make major life changes in order to add a third right now that would come down to one of us quitting our job and losing either money or health insurance. It’s not the right time at all, but the desire sure burns.

In the end, we decided to try for # 3 once Eddie is done with daycare, and we would like to get him in to public school when he is 4 (almost 5) instead of waiting until he is 5 (almost 6). I don’t want to be pregnant on my 30th birthday either, or nursing for that matter, because I am not the “pump and dump” kind of girl.

In the end this boils down to about a year or so of waiting. And if #4 comes after that, so be it.

As much as it is “the right” thing to do, I just don’t want to wait.