Thursday, November 15, 2018

Oh Hi, 3rd Tri

"To be pregnant is to be vitally alive, thoroughly woman, and distressingly inhabited. Soul and spirit are stretched -- along with body -- making pregnancy a time of transition, growth, and profound beginnings."
(Anne Christian Buchanan)

My previous post covered this current pregnancy from the beginning through 24 weeks ("More Than Half-Baked and It's A Boy!"); and the timing of that update also coincided with Lila's 2nd birthday. This time, Ava just turned 4 and I'm somehow feeling the urge to post another update to cover weeks 25 through 32.

I love pregnancy, but pregnancy hasn't loved me much this time around. Now that I only have about 7 weeks left, I'm just trying to soak in the moments and memories. I'm looking forward to being pregnant through the end of fall into winter, and over the holidays -- Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even New Year's Eve (which I'm sure will be spent on my sofa) -- because it's such a rich time for family, traditions, and of course food. Oddly, I haven't truly had any cravings. I've always gravitated towards carbs and sweets, so that's nothing new, but in my earlier pregnancies there were definite hankerings for certain foods throughout.

Bucket list of things to do this fall

When I was pregnant with Ava and Lila, I shared the names we chose for them at the end of 2nd trimester. I'm already 6 weeks behind schedule, although it's baby number 3, what can I say? But we have a name: Noel Yehan Son.

Noel is of French origin, derived from Noël, meaning "Christmas," which may come from the Old French nael or Latin natalis, meaning "birth." It was traditionally given to male babies born during the Christmas season. My due date is January 7, 2019, which is just after Christmas; the 1st day of Christmas being on December 25, the 12th day on January 5 -- when Sam was born, so there's a chance they will have the same birthday -- and the Epiphany, also called Three Kings Day, on January 6. Yehan is his middle and Korean name.

I was not at all conflicted about girls' names, but this one, including the Korean middle name, has been the hardest to decide. There aren't as many boy names that are short and simple -- the way Ava and Lila are as girl names -- that hold meaning to me, and that aren't too common or already used by friends. Interestingly, Noel is unintentionally almost a mix of the names Joel and Nolan. If Lila had been a boy, we would have named her Joel, and Sam also liked the name Nolan for our son. And fun fact: If I didn't go the short and simple route, I would have liked long names such as Josephine, Susanna, and Zachary.

25 Weeks

  • Baby is the size of a cauliflower.
  • Sense of equilibrium is kicking in, and he knows which way is up and which is down; also growing more fat and more hair.
  • Symptoms: Dizzy with spotty vision; pinched nerve issues; bad leg cramp (though after regularly eating bananas daily, and trying to drink more water, I haven't had another one); painful abdominal cramping and spasms.
  • We celebrated Lila's birthday with family at the end of this week.

26 Weeks, 2/3 of the way there

  • Baby is the size of a bunch of kale.
  • His eyes will soon start to open, and his eyelashes are now grown too; he's getting his immune system ready for life on the outside by soaking up my antibodies; and he's taking breaths of amniotic fluid.
  • Symptoms: Started feeling movement closer to the surface of skin; feels harder at the surface when baby moves.

27 Weeks, 3rd Trimester

  • Appointment at 27w2d: Drank glucola beverage for 1-hour glucose test. Prenatal appointment followed, which included having urine sample, weight, and blood pressure taken, then met with NP. Blood was drawn back at the lab afterwards. Then I went to the perinatal MD for an ultrasound. She took measurements, said baby looks great and is measuring in the middle of the growth curve; still breech.
  • Baby is the size of a head of lettuce.
  • Lungs are going through major developments, which (combined with the opening of previously plugged nostrils) means he's now able to practice inhaling and exhaling.
  • Symptoms: Sciatic nerve pains.
  • Started drinking raspberry leaf pregnancy tea.
  • Only prenatal massage during this pregnancy (so far) at 27w6d.

27w0d baby bump
Bottoms up!
Ultrasound at 27w2d

28 Weeks

  • Baby is the size of an eggplant.
  • Is breathing and showing brain activity, lungs are maturing, and skin is still pretty wrinkly (from living in amniotic fluid) but will smoothen as fat continues to deposit.
  • 3D ultrasound at 28w3d.
  • Received a voice message (which was left the day after my 1-hour test, but I had missed it) saying that I failed the 1-hour glucose tolerance test and had to take the 3-hour test.
  • Symptoms: Nerve issues; terrible abdominal cramping and spasm (lasted all night from 28w4d to 28w5d). 

Looking much larger than corn or eggplant at 28w0d
Pregnancy pillow situation
3D ultrasound at 28w3d

29 Weeks

  • 3-hour glucose test at 29w2d: This was pretty dreadful, not just because of the fasting and all the blood draws, but because I had Lila with me the whole time.
  • Baby is the size of an acorn squash.
  • His energy is surging, thanks to white fat depositing beneath the skin, and he's growing fast (weight will triple before birth).
  • Symptoms: Congestion, insomnia starting up again; heartburn/reflux; vivid dreams.

4 blood draws in 3 hours
The "after" on 1 side
Picking and smuggling pumpkins at 29w6d

30 Weeks, 3/4 of the way there

  • I found out that I passed the 3-hour glucose test! Just in time for Halloween.
  • Appointment at 30w2d: Urine sample, weight, and blood pressure taken. Tdap vaccine given. OB checked baby's heart rate, measured my abdomen (said baby is measuring perfectly; still breech).
  • Baby is the size of a zucchini.
  • He is moving a lot and plumping up; skin is smoothing out; increased surface area of grooves and indentations in his brain making more room for essential brain tissue; his grip is strong enough to grasp a finger.
  • Symptoms: Very congested; on the verge of abdominal cramping and spasms; heartburn/reflux.
  • I celebrated Halloween with the girls, who dressed up as a bumblebee and ladybug and went trick-or-treating for the 1st time.
  • Ava and Lila got their flu shots this week, and Lila had her very belated 2-year well visit.

My appointment buddy
Ava and Lila on Halloween!
Sweater weather and red cup season at 30w6d

31 Weeks

  • Baby is the size of a bunch of asparagus.
  • Going through major brain and nerve development; eye development, as irises now react to light; and all 5 senses are in working order.
  • Symptoms: Continued congestion, abdominal muscle discomfort.
  • Video clips of movement at 31w0d and 31w5d.

32 Weeks  

  • Baby is the size of a squash.
  • He's getting ready to emerge, and has even less space as he tries to fit in my increasingly cramped womb and prepare for his eventual descent.
  • Symptoms: Congestion and insomnia; vivid dreams; abdominal pain; heartburn/reflux.
  • Our firstborn Ava turned 4 years old!
Ava's 4th birthday on November 12, 2018 (when I was 32w0d pregnant)

This week, we took some family photos, celebrated Ava's birthday, and should start to put together the baby's room, which is currently a storage space and Lila's nap room. I haven't had many nesting instincts yet, but must gather items to have at home so we don't run out of postpartum necessities or basic toiletries and household supplies after I deliver. I should also pack my hospital bag, because I have no idea when or if I'll go into labor. I was induced for both Ava and Lila, but it's too early to tell if I'll need to be induced again. On one hand, induction is tough, but on the other hand, at least I'll know when I have to go to the hospital and won't be caught off-guard. We'll find out in a matter of weeks! Next week is when my OB appointments really ramp-up.

Monday, September 24, 2018

More Than Half-Baked and It's A Boy!

"Every child born into the world is a new thought of God, an ever-fresh and radiant possibility."
(Kate Douglas Wiggin)

This is my 1st time posting the news on the blog, but most people know that I'm pregnant again and expecting baby #3... And to our surprise, it's a boy! I'm due on January 7, 2019. We really assumed we would have a 3rd girl, since that seemed to be the trend for us, but of course we're happy and excited to be expanding our family, and somewhat evening out the sexes. Also a trend, apparently: Not updating until I have a huge post to write/read.

I have been highly negligent this time around in documenting the weeks and and now months of growing our baby boy. I've been too preoccupied with life -- raising Ava and Lila, moving from one place to another, settling into our new apartment and community, changing medical practices and everything else, adjusting to Ava's new schedule in preschool and the many challenges that have come along with it -- and just being so tired and uncomfortable through it all. My worst week physically was at 22 weeks, and that didn't even really have much to do with typical pregnancy symptoms or ailments, but because I broke my toe and also had some major abdominal cramping and spasms that were incredibly painful. Thankfully, things have been getting better and I'm just praying they continue to improve. I haven't been as congested during this pregnancy as I was with Ava and Lila, and I haven't been as much of an insomniac, but of course I could always use more sleep!

4 Weeks
  • Baby is the size of a poppyseed.
  • Ball of cells is splitting into the embryo and placenta; neural tube is already formed; and amniotic sac and fluid are forming into protective cushioning.
  • We took a short road trip to Michigan to see family and friends.
Reluctant family photo in Michigan at 4w5d

5 Weeks
  • Baby is the size of an appleseed.
  • Starting to form major organs (heart, stomach, liver, kidneys) and systems (digestive, circulatory, nervous).
  • Symptoms: Started feeling nauseated on Mother's Day at 5w6d.

6 Weeks
  • Baby is the size of a sweet pea.
  • Circulating blood; starting to sprout a nose, eyes, ears, chin, and cheeks.
  • Symptoms: Started feeling hot/cold extremes in body temperature, very fatigued, queasy (nausea and food aversions). Started spotting at 6w3d; slowed down by the next day, but on the 3rd day, became heavier and darker with clotting and cramping. Called emergency overnight line; doctor called me back and said if it got worse to let her know, and to come to the office if possible. On Monday, the office called me. I said going in on Tuesday was better (Sam was post-call).
  • Cravings: Pad Thai or pad see ew.

7 Weeks
  • Appointment at 7w1d due to bleeding/cramping and previous experiences with implantation issues and miscarriages: Filled out forms; had 1st ultrasound where I saw baby and heart beating (140 bpm); had weight and blood pressure taken. Met with OB to discuss bleeding, which had almost completely stopped, future visits, and address any questions. No definitive answer on the bleeding, but could have been subchorionic hemorrhage (hematoma) that resolved itself. OB said to take it easy, no strenuous activity or heavy lifting. Cancelled my previously scheduled appointment for that Friday.
  • Baby is the size of a blueberry.
  • Generating about 100 new brain cells each minute; developing a permanent set of kidneys; arm and leg joints are forming.
  • Symptoms: Nausea and food aversions; still only interested in eating carbs, but wanting more sweets too (bread, brownies, cereal).
1st ultrasound at 7w1d
Before our 6th anniversary dinner at 7w5d

8 Weeks
  • Appointment at 8w4d: Weight and blood pressure taken; nurse history (Ava had an epic meltdown); urine sample; physical exam with nurse practitioner (breast exam, abdomen check, cervix check, etc. No pap smear since it was done when I was pregnant with Lila). Bloodwork. Explained different screening test options; I opted for non-invasive prenatal screening, aka NIPS (after 10 weeks) and 1st trimester screen/ultrasound (after 12 weeks). Scheduled appointment with genetic counselor for NIPS, and scheduled 1st trimester screen/ultrasound.
  • Baby is the size of a raspberry.
  • Taste buds are forming.
  • Symptoms: Nausea worse in evenings; headaches; dizzy spell at the beginning of Sam's graduation party; skin breaking out in chin area.
1st bloodwork at 8w4d

9 Weeks
  • Baby is the size of a cherry.
  • Is now a fetus, and developing more distinct facial features.
  • Symptoms: Nausea especially after 3 PM, constipation.
Strawberry picking at 9w6d

10 Weeks, 25% There!
  • Appointment with genetic counselor at 10w3d: Detailed personal, partner, and extended family history taken, family trees drawn out; explained the differences among NIPS, 1st trimester screen, CVS, and amniocentesis, including accuracy, rates of false positives, risks, and which tests are better at screening for or diagnosing which chromosomal abnormalities; asked and answered questions. Blood drawn for NIPS, and should get results in approximately 10 days, including baby's sex. Everything came back negative, and baby is a boy!
  • Baby is the size of a strawberry.
  • Vital organs are fully developed and starting to function; swallowing and kicking.
  • Symptoms: Queasiness in evening; food aversions; hot/cold extremes in body temperature; congestion and insomnia; headaches; constipation; feels like my baby bump has started to pop out this week.

11 Weeks
  • Baby is the size of a lime.
  • Tooth buds, nail beds, and hair follicles are forming.
  • Symptoms: Queasiness all day, and still a lot of food aversions; very fatigued; headaches; stomach aches, especially in evenings; memorable dreams.
Farmers market-ing & picnicking at 11w4d

12 Weeks
  • Appointment at 12w2d for 1st trimester screen: Ultrasound showed active baby with heart rate of 149 bpm. Also took many other measurements (e.g. CRL, nuchal translucency, which I think was 1.3mm, ovary and uterus size, etc.). Bloodwork. Weight, blood pressure, and urine sample taken. No real weight gain during 1st trimester. Met with male OB, who said everything looked great. Explained that since I had already done NIPS, the ultrasound was the important part of the 1st trimester screen. Said that my next appointment at 16 weeks will be bloodwork for spina bifida and another ultrasound.
  • Baby is the size of a plum.
  • Developing reflexes; opening and closing fingers, and curling toes.
  • Symptoms: Still queasy and fatigued; starting to get very congested and unable to breathe easily at night; headaches.

13 Weeks
  • Baby is the size of a lemon.
  • Forming vocal chords and teeth, and already has fingerprints.
  • Symptoms: Headaches.
  • After we found out the sex of the baby, we told family and a few friends, but shared the news more widely a couple of weeks later.
Pregnancy announcement at 13w0d
Cereal was one of the things I wanted, or at least tolerated, at 13w4d

14 Weeks, 2nd Trimester
  • Baby is the size of a peach.
  • Sucking thumb and wiggling toes; breathing amniotic fluid; kidneys are making urine, and liver and spleen are doing their jobs.
  • Symptoms: Headaches, still queasy.
Beach day at 14w0d
Blueberry picking at 14w3d
Sesame Place at 14w4d (they didn't want to stand still)

15 Weeks
  • Baby is the size of a navel orange.
  • Squirming, wiggling, and hiccuping inside, and joints and limbs can all move.
  • Felt baby kick once at 15w0d.
  • This week, we moved from NJ, where we had been during Sam's residency, back to NY.

16 Weeks
  • Felt baby kick once at 16w1d.
  • Appointment at 16w2d: Weight, blood pressure, and urine sample taken; saw NP, who checked heart rate with doppler (150s); bloodwork for neural tube defects.
  • Baby is the size of an avocado.
  • Is listening to our voices, and growing hair, lashes, and eyebrows; tiny bones are forming in the ears and eyebrows.
  • Symptoms: Vivid dreams, exhausted and sore (but most likely from moving), queasiness lessening.
  • This week, I went to see Britney Spears in concert at Radio City Music Hall.

17 Weeks
  • Baby is the size of a pomegranate.
  • Skeleton is hardening as cartilage turns to bone; umbilical cord is getting stronger and thicker; baby is putting on fat; and fingers and toes are now defined with one-of-a-kind prints.
  • Symptoms: Seems like queasiness is gone, but feeling extra fatigued; congestion worsening; not sleeping well, and waking up very early in the morning; skin breaking out; feeling more movement; noticed stretch marks on sides; on the verge of leg cramps a couple of times.
Celebrating my birthday at 17w2d on August 1, 2018

18 Weeks
  • Baby is the size of an artichoke.
  • Yawns, hiccups, rolls, kicks, punches, sucks, twists, and swallows.
  • Symptoms: Congestion getting worse again, especially in the early morning; backaches.
Looking down at 18w0d

19 Weeks
  • Baby is the size of a mango.
  • Vernix caseosa coats baby's skin, shielding it from amniotic fluid.

20 Weeks, 50% There!
  • Appointment at 20w4d (1st appointment with new OB practice): Weight, blood pressure, and urine sample taken. Good heart rate, measuring well.
  • Baby is the size of a banana.
  • Gulping down amniotic fluid for nutrition and to practice swallowing and digesting; taste buds are working.
  • Symptoms: Some abdominal area pain (20w1d) lasting from late afternoon until bedtime; on the verge of very bad leg (calf) cramps.
Finally using one of my milestone cards at 20w0d
At 20w4d, my 1st time at a movie theater in almost 4 years

21 Weeks
  • Level 2 ultrasound/anatomy scan at 21w4d: Sonographer did a detailed ultrasound to take many measurements and view all parts of the baby. Heart rate of 149 bpm; checked cervix and placenta; confirmed it's a boy, and said he has a "very gorgeous" heart; checked brain, facial features, arms, stomach, kidneys, legs, feet, hands, and fingers. Approximate weight of 1 lb. Moving around a lot, flexing arms, and hands and fingers were pointing in a #1 position. Currently breech (but hoping he doesn't end up that way in the last weeks, like Ava).
  • Baby is the size of an endive.
  • As digestive system preps for the outside world, baby is manufacturing meconium.
  • Symptoms: Belly feeling very tight and full.
  • Ava had a pediatric appointment for a physical exam needed before starting preschool. She also got her 1st haircut!
Anatomy scan at 21w4d
Ava's 1st haircut, when I was 21w5d pregnant

22 Weeks
  • Baby is the size of a coconut.
  • Is sleeping in cycles, about 12-14 hours a day; has more developed eyes and lips, looking even more like a newborn.
  • Symptoms: Visible movement, physical difficulties (broken toe and other toe issues, and pain from abdominal cramping and spasms), skin breaking out, nails and hair getting brittle.
  • Ava started preschool -- currently half-days, 3 days/week -- her 1st time ever being away from home, and me.
Oddly looking up at something Ava asked about on Labor Day at 22w0d
Ava's 1st day of preschool when I was 22w1d pregnant

23 Weeks
  • Baby is the size of a grapefruit.
  • Face is fully formed; forming nipples; listening to our voices, my heartbeat, and loud outside sounds.
Apple picking at 23w5d (I know, we do a lot of fruit-picking!)

24 Weeks, V-Day
  • Appointment at 24w4d: Weight, blood pressure, and urine sample taken; baby's heart rate of 150 bpm, measuring perfectly; I got a flu shot, and scheduled my glucose test and next OB appointment.
  • Baby is the size of a cantaloupe.
  • Baby is almost a foot long; skin is becoming more opaque, and has a new pink glow from the small capillaries that have recently formed.
  • Symptoms: Horrible leg cramp overnight (24w3d), the worse and longest lasting one I've ever had; vivid bad dream; increasing back pain.
  • Our baby girl Lila turned 2 years old this week!
Lila's 2nd birthday on September 22, 2018 (when I was 24w5d pregnant)

Only a couple of weeks to go before I'm in my 3rd trimester already. One of the items on my fall bucket list, which I just put together, is to simply take time to enjoy and focus on the rest of this pregnancy, which has proven to be harder than it seems. Ava was born in November and Lila was born in September, and this will be the 1st time I'll be pregnant during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's, so that will be fun!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Final Weeks of Pregnancy and Lila's Birth

"By being yourself, you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before."
(Edwin Elliot)

It's been over 21 months since Lila was born; even longer since my last update. After Ava was born, it took me almost 7 months to write a post ("Final Weeks of Pregnancy and Ava's Birth"), and I thought that was a long time!

Here are my previous updates on this pregnancy:
  1. Half-Baked... and It's Another Girl!
  2. Bye-Bye, 2nd Tri {PinkBlush Giveaway}
  3. Full-Term Update with Baby Girl #2
  4. Plus: Our Maternity/Family Photo Session at Liberty State Park

Now Lila is a walking, talking toddler, and just an all-around adorable daughter and little sister! And a handful -- no luck on the thought that our 2nd would be easier. Being a writer and documenter, I'm glad that I kept notes throughout pregnancy and even during labor and after delivery, otherwise I doubt I would remember much since it's been a blur. I won't even attempt to recap her more than 1.5 years, but without further ado, please see below for weeks 37, 38, and 39 of pregnancy, and Lila's birth on September 22, 2016.

Pregnancy from 8-39 weeks, and holding Lila at 40 weeks
Lila at the hospital, FOB (fresh out the belly)

37 Weeks
  • Baby is the size of romaine lettuce.
  • She is full-term, gaining about 1/2 ounce a day, and getting her first meconium ready; she's also brushing up on skills for the outside world: inhaling, exhaling, sucking, blinking, and gripping.
  • Appointment at 37w0d: Weight, blood pressure, and urine sample taken. OB measured me and checked baby's heart rate (138 bpm); said Group B strep test was negative; said I needed to stay for an ultrasound because they wanted to take a growth scan since baby seemed small. I had an ultrasound with many measurements taken (heart rate of 146 bpm during ultrasound). Met with OB again, who said that baby was small at approximately 4 lbs. 15 oz. (under 5th percentile; should be average of 6 lbs. now). He said I need to go for Doppler studies with a high-risk doctor at the hospital within the next 2 days and come back for a non-stress test. If baby seems fine, just small, I'll continue to be tested/monitored twice a week; otherwise they recommend immediate delivery.
  • Appointment at hospital with high-risk doctor (37w1d): Ultrasound; said baby looked fine.
  • Appointment at 37w3d: Weight, blood pressure, and urine sample taken. Non-stress test for approximately 30 minutes. OB said I would get a call to schedule induction for 39 weeks.
  • Symptoms: Congestion, insomnia, increased pressure noticeable especially when walking or moving from a still position.
Snacking on rainbow cookies at 37w2d

38 Weeks
  • Baby is the size of a winter melon.
  • She is slowly shedding vernix caseosa and lanugo; her head is about the same circumference as her abdomen, and may have an inch or so of hair.
  • Appointment at 38w0d: Ultrasound to check measurements, growth, heart rate (133 bpm), intrauterine environment. Weight, blood pressure, and urine sample taken. Met with OB very briefly to reconfirm final non-stress test and induction date.
  • 38w2d: Sam and I got flu shots, and Ava got hers the next day.
  • Appointment at 38w3d: Weight, blood pressure, and urine sample taken. Non-stress test for approximately 30 minutes; said baby looked good. NP checked my cervix, which was not dilated, and said baby's head was really low; gave me paperwork to bring to the hospital for induction -- scheduled to arrive at 8:30 PM, have Cervidil administered around 9:30, and Pitocin at approximately 6:00 AM.
  • 38w4d: My mother-in-law arrived. She had planned to come later but fortunately was able to change her ticket when we found out I would be induced 1 week before my due date.
  • Symptoms: Congestion, insomnia, acid reflux, pressure from baby being so low, on the verge of leg cramps.
  • Cravings: Brownies.
Pack 'n Play temporarily set-up for Lila in Ava's room (which they now share)
Ava kissing my 38w2d belly
Brownie craving fulfilled at 38w3d
Packing for the hospital at 38w6d, the day before being admitted

39 Weeks, Induction Time!
  • Baby is the size of a pumpkin.
  • Her brain is still rapidly developing; her skin has taken on a paler shade thanks to a thicker layer of fat around the blood vessels; she can now flex her limbs; and her nails might extend past her fingertips.
  • Symptoms: Episode of dizziness/light-headedness/difficulty focusing eyes/headache.

Labor and Delivery

I gave birth to Lila Yena Son on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 2:53 AM. She weighed 6 lbs. 1.5 oz. and measured 19 inches long. I had arrived at the hospital on the evening of September 20, so the whole process took a very long time. Still, this experience was like night and day compared to my experience when Ava was born. No drama in the delivery room, no repeated drops in baby's heart rate (last time, it could have been due to the fact that Ava was born with the umbilical cord around her neck), and yes, an epidural! I highly recommend one, now that I know what it's like. I also had problems during my healing after Ava was born, but this time around was much more normal. And breastfeeding -- which I was successful with for over 15 months with Ava, being determined to exclusively breastfeed even though the first few months were very difficult (for common reasons, as well as that Ava was tongue-tied) -- was so much easier. My milk does not fully come in until after 5 days or so, which is longer than most, but I knew not to stress out about it, and I never had even a clogged milk duct over the 15 months I exclusively nursed Lila.

But back to September 20-22. Disclaimer: The birth story below is long and boring. I'm sharing it since I took notes and want to preserve the memories. Read if you're interested in what it might be like to be induced, the 2nd time for me. (Read Ava's if you want more excitement.)

September 20, 2016: We got to the hospital, and waited a while before being admitted and given wrist tags. I undressed, changed into a hospital gown, and was hooked up to a fetal heart rate monitor and contraction monitor (Lila's heart rate ranged from 120s-150s). I was asked multiple questions, and then the nurse took my blood and put in an IV around 10 PM. She came back with the OB at 11:20 to talk about the induction, check for dilation (2 cm), and insert Cervidil.

September 21, 2016: Another nurse came in at 12:50 AM to have me move to the side, off of my back, and take a set of vitals. She asked if I had any cramping, to which I answered no, but afterwards I realized I might. I stayed on my left side with the finger mitt on. She returned with a technician around 12:45 to draw more blood. At 3:15, the machine started beeping and a nurse came, and she checked the machine and changed the paper. I went to the bathroom for the 2nd time after getting the IV. At 4:40, the machine started beeping again, and another nurse came to change my IV bag and check my blood pressure. Around 6:45, I had another blood draw and went to the bathroom. A little after 7:40, another nurse came to take my vitals, and explained the timeline of Cervidil and Pitocin. Sam went home around 8 AM to check-in on Ava and his mom, take a shower, and pick-up some sweets for the L&D nurses. The nurse came back at 9:17 to check if I needed anything. Just after 9:40, the next OB on call came in to let me know they would take the Cervidil out in a few hours and let me shower or wash up, as long as I wasn't too far progressed. Cramping/contractions intensified. Another nurse came in just after 10:20 and said that she would check with the doctor if I can eat or drink anything, and put a "fall risk" wristband on me. She came back at 11 to adjust my fetal heart rate and contraction monitors, and the OB took out the Cervidil, which was a little painful, and checked for dilation (3 cm, also painful). She said I could order food, shower or wash up, eat, and then they would start with doses of oral Cytotec. The nurse returned at noon to remove my monitors, disconnect my IV, and cover it with plastic. I went to the bathroom. After lunch (an egg white omelet with veggies and cheese, berry yogurt parfait, coffee, and water), I went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and changed my gown. A little after 1:45 PM, another nurse came to reconnect me to the IV drip and monitors, take my vitals, and change the IV bag. She said she would check the orders for Cytotec. At 2, she gave me 1 dose of Cytotec. She came back at 2:23 and 2:54 to check on me. A nurse came in again to check on me around 3:50, and yet another nurse came at 4 to take my vitals and give me the 2nd dose of Cytotec. I went to the bathroom around 4:15. I talked to Ava on the phone at 4:30. A nurse came in a little after 5:40, saying she would give me another dose of Cytotec at 6. She returned at 6 to give me the 3rd dose, then I went to the bathroom, and the doctor stopped by to check on me. The nurse came back at 6:53 to check on me. My parents visited around 7:15. After the shift change, another nurse came at 7:50 to introduce herself, and returned at 8 to give me the 4th dose of Cytotec. She also gave me graham crackers and cranberry juice as a snack. At 8:40, I called for a nurse because my contractions were getting stronger, closer, and more painful. She came in at 8:53, took my vitals, and I went to the bathroom. She said I could try waiting until 10, when the doctor would be in to check on me. At 10:05, she asked if I wanted the epidural then, and I said yes. The OB came back at 10:15 to check for dilation (4 cm, -2 station). The anesthesiologist -- who was very experienced and skilled, and even showed Sam her techniques -- came to give me the epidural around 10:25. The nurse placed the blood pressure cuff on my right arm, which remained until delivery and went off every 15 minutes. Then she inserted a foley catheter at 10:50, and said that the OB would be in to break my water.

September 22, 2016: The OB came in around 12:05 AM to break my water. At 12:23, the nurse came to shift me from my left side to my right side, wedging a pillow underneath me, because my contractions were dipping (every 4-5 minutes apart). She returned at around 1:30 to reposition me on the left side with a peanut ball between my legs, and took my temperature. She said to call her if I felt any pressure to go to the bathroom. I called for a nurse around 1:55. She came to check and asked if I wanted to start pushing or if I wanted to wait about half an hour until the pressure increased. My contractions were between 2-5 minutes and I was fully dilated, at +1 station, but it would be best if I were at +2 station, so she said she would come back after 2:30 unless the urge to push became too strong before then. She changed my position to more of an upright, seated position (without the peanut ball).

I started pushing around 2:43 AM. I pushed through 3.5 contractions for just over 10 minutes. I saw Lila's head emerging in the mirror. Immediately after she was born, she was placed on me for skin-to-skin contact. The placenta came out at 2:57. Lila had her umbilical cord cut, her weight checked, and her vitals checked. Like Ava, she scored 9/10, 9/10 Apgars.

The nurse had another delivery, and there was a delay in the nursery coming to get Lila to do additional checks on her, so Lila stayed in the L&D room with us for a while, starting to breastfeed, and had her vitals checked again. My epidural was removed at 4:55. I had my vitals checked and uterus massaged. A catheter was inserted at 5 to empty my bladder to make room for my uterus to shift. I changed my ice pack, pads, and mesh underwear. The nursery came to take Lila and Sam at 5:20. I was wheeled to the postpartum recovery room, and had my blood pressure taken by a technician while a nurse checked my uterus and bleeding, and reviewed paperwork and other information. It was 6 AM by the time we were all done and ready to rest, but I ate a fig bar and drank some pineapple juice. And believe it or not, I have many more notes on my hospital stay all the way until I was discharged a couple of days later, but I'll spare those details and wrap this up with some photos.

Spending quality time with my baby kangaroo
Babies always look so bruised up after birth. They go through a lot too!
She cleaned up nicely
Getting ready to go home (nurse cutting off tags)
Nursing Lila in my hospital room before we left

Going Home

I was discharged from the hospital on Saturday, 2 days after Lila was born. Sam and I drove our new baby girl home, where 22-month-old Ava was waiting with my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law stayed for several weeks, helping us a great deal. We didn't have to worry about meals that entire time, which as a new mom is one of the best gifts you can receive. It allowed me to focus all of my energy and attention on Lila, and also on Ava and my recovery.

Baby's 1st car ride
Welcome home, baby girl!
Daddy, big sister & new baby sister

Having a toddler and a newborn -- who are now 2 very active and demanding little girls -- has been exhausting always, crazy often, and wonderful overall. The nights and days... and weeks and months... feel like an eternity sometimes, but that little baby is now 3 months away from turning 2 years old, and her big sister is less than 5 months away from turning 4!

That's my very lengthy but long-overdue account of the end of my pregnancy with Lila and her birth. So much has happened since then -- and I haven't even touched on any details of her infancy or toddler life or milestones -- but if you follow me on Instagram I post about Lila and Ava there quite often. I'm not sure when it will happen but I have plans to revamp my blog in the future, so please stay tuned. In the meantime, we're moving in a couple of weeks and I am not ready!