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The Un-Birth Story Part 2

Yes, you read that right. I spent another night in the hospital in labour and then was sent home with baby still in my belly! It’s hard to know how many details to share and what to keep private, but I’ll do my best to walk the tightrope of discretion.

I’ve had contractions on and off for nearly 3 weeks now which really isn’t that uncommon and in fact, having braxton hicks for almost the entire duration of all five of my pregnancies is normal for me, and completely harmless. They don’t hurt, they don’t change my cervix (moving me toward labour and delivery too soon) and they’re totally manageable (they stop if I change positions, hydrate, etc). Prodromal labour, which is what I am having this time, is completely new to me. Prodromal labour does change the cervix but only the tiniest, slightest, little bit and the kicker is that prodromal labour contractions feel like the real thing while braxton hicks are completely painless. Prodromal contractions do all the things that regular contractions do, not unlike what premenstrual cramps do: cause spotting, stimulate the bowel, heaviness/pressure in the pelvis, initiate low backache. While braxton hicks are usually easy to sleep through, prodromal contractions are not.

So you can imagine that a woman dealing with days, weeks, even months of prodromal labour contractions can easily become physically and emotionally exhausted. They’re much more susceptible to being induced (on the grounds of utter exhaustion) bringing on higher rates of further intervention such as assisted deliveries and caesarean sections. Nobody knows for sure what causes prodromal labour, but the most probable theories are poor fetal positioning for birth (the body is slowly working the baby into optimal position with each contraction), and emotional blocks/stress.

I had written a post about how I felt like I had an emotional block, and that this was the reason for my prodromal labour but last night at the hospital, I learned about the most likely reason for all of these contractions!

A few years ago, after I had Katie and before I had Callum, I had a PAP test that came back abnormal. I was sent into Vancouver for a biopsy of my cervix which came back showing that I had cancerous cells and would need them removed through a small operation called the LEEP procedure, which pretty much just burns the cancer cells off the cervix. After I was treated, I went for follow-up PAP tests and have since then had perfectly normal test results putting me at an equal risk of cervical cancer as any other woman. Which is great! Except I learned last night that LEEP causes scar tissue, which can make cervical dilation difficult, which totally explains why Callum’s labour and delivery, my fourth, was the longest, most painful, most involved birth I had experienced. Not only did my cervix not dilate with my own body’s natural contractions, it had difficulty dilating with a synthetic hormone called Pitocin, a drug used to induce labour that causes insanely intense uterine contractions. My body wouldn’t even respond to that strong drug, and so the doctors had to keep upping the levels of Pitocin while monitoring Callum’s ability to recover from each contraction.

THIS is why I am thankful for my athleticism because I have no doubt that my fitness attributed to my ability to withstand hours and hours of intense labour on a scarred cervix with zero pain medication. I am no hero, and some people might even call me an idiot, but at the end of the day(s), I did it, and Callum was born vaginally, and healthy.

Despite all of my contractions (among other signs of labour and delivery), my cervix is still sitting at 3cm dilated, 80% effaced. Sure, it’s frustrating and yes, I’m exhausted, but I’m taking each day at a time. The baby is healthy, I am healthy, and he will come when he comes. I may need Pitocin eventually, and I’ve come to terms with it (I had 12 hours straight of quiet contemplation last night while contracting on my side in the hospital bed), and delivery day will have to be sooner than later because of my age and other factors. So, I’m just hanging in there and getting as much rest as possible!

It’s a relief to finally know the reason for all of these contractions with minimal progression and honestly, if I can put a positive spin on this, my cervical scarring may have even stopped me from having the baby at 36 weeks, allowing him to stay cozy in my womb and develop further. So, there ya go. Perspective is everything.

Here is a picture I snapped just before left for the hospital:

And here is a photo that Andrew took of me during the hours where we were sure we would be meeting our baby!

I hope I’m not boring the majority of you with all of my labour drama! I promise I’ll be back to myself soon.

Have you guys ever had an abnormal pap test? Or know of anyone that had one?

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Deliver Me

When it comes to having babies, I thought I knew it all. I really believed I had heard of everything but experiencing prodromal labour in this pregnancy taught me a little something more, not just about having babies but about the mind and body connection that surrounds the art of giving birth–the art of letting go.

If you know me or have been reading my stuff for a few years you’ll know that I’m a big believer in the paradox of love, that in order to find love we have to first let go of love. And the irony of love is that it feels terrible. If we are deeply in love, we are extremely uncomfortable. It’s amusing, albeit cryptic, that for so long we chase love despite its ability to bring us to our knees, but we do it because we are created for connection. The hunger for other eats away at our organs until we are able to find an outstretched hand.

And so, we do. We do search for connection, because it’s primal. We can pretend all we want that we don’t need anyone but the hunger will come out in other faucets like addiction, or anger, or perfectionism.

How on earth is this related at all to prodromal labour?

I stood against the side of the hospital bed and rocked my hips around in circles with each surge but while I could manage the pain, I couldn’t manage the panic. My belly would start to ball up and then my heart would begin to pound in my throat. I really didn’t know where this was coming from because I’ve always felt safe in the hospital and I’ve never doubted my body’s ability to give birth with control, and with power.

Once we came home, I researched prodromal labour and the one thing that kept coming up was that quite often the cause of extended early labour is an emotional block of some sort. Maybe the woman had a previous traumatic birth, or she had some stress going on at home, or some other psychological, spiritual stressor that stuck like a fog or like a dam in the middle of the flow. I shook my head and laughed it off because I of all people wouldn’t have an interruption like that now, after all these years of having babies, of learning big life lessons on the art of loving, of letting go.

But that’s what love does, doesn’t it? We just get used to living a certain way of being in a rhythm, in a flow, in a well-lit area where when we reach out in a certain direction we know what will be there because it’s always there. And love comes along like a fog, or like a dam in the middle of the flow and once again it asks us to surrender, to sit in the darkness, in our discomfort, and then it teaches us something new.

I want to control this birth experience. I want to run a certain amount of miles to bring along a certain amount of contractions on a certain day at a certain time with the perfect childcare, with a certain OBGYN on-call, with my favourite nurse. I want to do it soon, so that I can get back to training for my sub-3 marathon.

You guys know what I’m going to say, right? For Love’s sake, Suzy… LET GO.

So, I will. I’ll let go. Not to manipulate love, not to trick her into giving me the birth experience I want as if it’s some sort of transaction, but to let her change me into someone who can pass love along to my husband, to my kids, to my family, to the sweet boy growing inside of me who is already teaching me about love, and he’s not even here yet. Maybe love doesn’t show up in the delivery room; maybe she was here all along. In the fog, in the dam in the middle of the flow. In the surges, in the pain, in the panic.

Rocking hips, rapid pulse, deliver me.

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Pregnant and Running: 38 Week Update

Weh heh hell…. what do we have here? Suzy made it to 38 weeks! I’m having a text conversation with my mom right now and she tells me she thinks I’ll have the baby on the next full moon… ON SEPTEMBER 6TH. I’m like, MOTHER. NO. That’s an entire day after my due date. She also thinks that I’m carrying this baby like how I carried Jake, and he was only 7lb 1oz, so… I’ll give her that much.

Mothers know everything.

A couple of years ago, my friend Cora texted me to tell me that while she was sitting at her desk, my son Jake (who was 15 at the time) swung open the door to their office and yelled in, “How much for a brazillion?” and then ran off with his friends. He thought he had opened the door to the beauty salon, but accidentally opened the door to where Cora works instead. Jake doesn’t know Cora, so when I texted him and told him that I think it’s about $50 for a brazillion, he was flabbergasted! I then texted him, “Mothers know everything.

So, my mom is probably right. I’ll just keep having these fake contractions all day every day, all night every night, until I give birth a zillion weeks from now. I’m actually getting used to them! I’ve also figured out a way to manage the epic diarrhea caused by constant uterine cramping. I stopped eating fruits, veggies, and whole grains (I’m dead serious) and now I survive on crackers, cheese, and pancakes. I wish I was kidding. I’ve also been applying hospital-grade bum cream to my ain, which feels super soothing and has calmed the area down quite a bit. Hemorrhoid foam has been a lifesaver, as well as Tucks moist pads. My arse hasn’t had this much attention since high school.

I managed to run a respectable 50 miles last week with some tempo work thrown in on Friday, I think. Here’s the link to last week’s Mileage Monday.

I’m still 140 lb. WHATEVER. At least I’m not losing weight anymore. My doctor isn’t thrilled, but isn’t too concerned about it either. When he checked my cervix he said it’s still the same, but that the baby’s head is RIGHT. THERE. Eeeeeeeep! My next OBGYN apt is tomorrow, so we’ll figure out a game plan when we see her. She’s been away for a few weeks, and my favourite nurse/friend Tammy is back from her vacation and back at work tomorrow too. Plus, Andrew’s parents are back home from their camping trip and they live a couple minutes from our house so they’re close by if we need them to watch Callum. YAY!

Okay, baby. We are ready now! How about NOW! Now? Orrrrrr…… now?

now?

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Mileage Monday and Week in Review

It seems to be easier to just combine the two posts, mostly because my mileage isn’t really too noteworthy, and I’ve been slacking on taking pictures for my week in review. If I combine them, it’s a bit more meaty.

I ran 50 miles this week, which is great. I think I definitely could have squeezed out 60 but I was confined to the treadmill and just didn’t feel like being on that thing for that much time. Plus, I run so much slower now so really I’m probably running for as long as I used to run when I was running 60-70 miles/week while only running 50 now. Make sense?

Monday– I’m 37 weeks now, so let’s take care of business. Seven miles on the treadmill.

Tuesday– I picked up the pace a bit for this one. 8 miles on the treadmill at an 8:30 min/mile pace with the last mile at an 8 min/mile pace. It felt good!

Wednesday– 6 miles at 9:40 min miles with the last mile divided up into quarters of 9:13, 8:30, 8, and 7:30 pace for 7 miles total.

Thursday– Another early morning 7 treadmill miler at about a 9 min/mile pace.

Friday– I did an interval workout on the treadmill for 8 miles total, with the fastest at a 7:30 min/mile pace.

Saturday– Well… I didn’t run first thing in the morning and I didn’t run on the treadmill, and those two decisions were bad ones. I barely ran and I contracted nonstop the entire time in the middle of a trail in the middle of nowhere. NEVER doing that again.

Sunday– Oh man, that was a slogfest although much better (and safer) than yesterday’s run! I stuck to the treadmill for 5 miles and then ran the last 2 outside. I’m probably going to run/walk some more today but not enough to really document.

Alright, so as far as the week went in other areas of life besides running, it was pretty decent. Katie was at camp, Freddy stayed at his friend Gabe’s for a couple of nights and I was able to finally get some sleep at night with the help of Gravol. It’s an anti-nausea medication that the doctor and nurses told me to take to help with the constant (useless) contractions. It worked, but it made me feel really groggy during the day. On a positive note, I was forced to lay low and just take it easy which is probably what my body needs right now.

I don’t really venture too far from home, but we did go into Fort Langley one day and it was so cool because the trains that Callum loves to climb on were actually open to the public! So we toured those bad boys while Freddy and I sipped our coffees. Callum and Freddy are best buds right now. I love it.

We picked Katie up from camp on Friday (Freddy came with me for the drive up) but by the time we got home, Callum was asleep so he didn’t get to see Katie until Saturday morning. But boy, oh boy did he ever make up for lost time. He didn’t let Katie out of his sight! I stuck a video on my Instagram story of Katie holding Callum in the rocking chair, and he’s sprawled across Katie’s lap, clinging to her for dear life. It made my heart melt. The two of them pretty much spent the entire day latched onto each other like koala bears. Well, Callum did, and Katie was nice about it. She’s amazing like that.

Here’s a random throwback picture of Jake holding Harley, my favourite cat in the whole entire world. Jason bought him for me on my 16th birthday. I miss Harley so much. Jake is two-and-a-half here, and he’s turning seventeen next month. WHAAAAAT?!?

Okay, I guess that’s about it. I’m sad now though. If I close my eyes I can feel Harley’s fur and hear his purr-snorting in my ear, his kisses against my face. WAHHHHH!!!

Thanks to Meghan from Clean Eats Fast Feets for hosting this week’s Week in Review! Muah!

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of nowhere and panicked? How did you deal?

Favourite pet ever?

Where do you clip your toenails? In the bathroom? On your partner’s side of the bed?

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Birth Stories

I’ve been reading birth stories like crazy lately, so I thought I’d jot down an overview of each of my four kids’ births in case anyone was curious!

Jake

Jake was born a week past his due date but he tried to come early at 32 weeks. I was transferred by ambulance over to a hospital better suited for preemies. I stayed there for a week and they halted my labour with medication. I stayed 50% effaced and 2cm dilated until the night I had him! It was the morning of September 20th and when I went to the bathroom, I had some show. I had it when I was in labour with Jake at 32 weeks so I knew this was probably going to be the day! All through the day I had Braxton Hicks contractions but this was normal for me so I didn’t really freak out about it. Jason and I watched Sports Page at 11pm every night, but on this night while Jason was watching it, I rocked in the rocking chair in Jake’s nursery and timed my contractions. They were every 5 minutes, but although they didn’t hurt, I was so frustrated with being pregnant that I marched downstairs and told Jason to drive me to the hospital and that I was not going to leave without a baby in my arms.

We got there at around midnight and when they checked me, I was 4cm dilated. I walked around the labour and delivery floor (our families all showed up so it was quite entertaining) and slowly progressed to about 6cm (probably at around 3am).

The contractions started to feel uncomfortable and I found myself rolling my head around and vocalizing (moaning or “mooing” sounds) to get through them. The pain never really got that bad at all. I didn’t experience transition and I never had the urge to push. The nurse had simply checked me and told me that I was 10cm dilated and that it was pushing time.

The nurses assumed because it was my first  baby that I would be pushing for 1-2 hours, but Jake’s head crowned on my first push. The OBGYN on call didn’t make it, and the nurse and a resident delivered Jake on the second or third push. I didn’t know I was supposed to go slow; I treated it like a 100m sprint! So I had some stitches, but nothing too bad. Jake was quickly taken over to the other side of the room because he was struggling a bit. He came out so fast that he had a hard time re-grouping. Once they saw that he was stable, they put him in my arms and I held him while he looked up at me and just blinked. We stared at each other, and I fell in love. Jake weighed 7 lb 1 oz and he was born at just before 7am on September 21st, 2000.

Freddy

We had just moved into our brand new house and had yet to get blinds installed in the windows. I was 2 weeks away from my due date and my pregnancy had gone by super easily without a hitch. No preterm labour, no annoying Braxton Hicks contractions, nothing. Jason was at his friend’s house playing poker with a bunch of guys, and I had spent the evening putting Jake to bed (he was 20 months old) and visiting with my mom. My mom left, I had a warm bath and then climbed into bed at around 11pm. As soon as I lay down, I heard and felt a pop. I stood up and my water broke all over the floor! I completely freaked out! I was naked, and all the lights in the house were on and we had no blinds on our windows, so I tore around the house looking for the cordless phone all while leaking water all over the carpet and laminate floors. I called Jason and he sped home, picked me up and we drove to the hospital. On the way there I felt Braxton Hicks contractions that got stronger as we got closer and once I was checked, they told me I was 4cm dilated.

It went fast after that. I was ready to push by about 2:30, and Freddy was born at just before 3am on May 22nd, 2 weeks before my due date weighing 8lb 7oz. He came out quietly, but healthy. I was terrified that there was something wrong with him because he didn’t cry! But he was just quiet and content which fits his personality perfectly. I definitely worked harder at pushing Freddy out and felt the size difference between him and Jake. YOWCH.

Katie

Katie’s birth was totally different. I went for my 37 week OBGYN appointment and my doctor checked my cervix and told me I was already 4cm dilated with my water bag bulging. Her head was still up high, and he was worried about my water breaking and then having the umbilical cord prolapsed (dropping out before the head and then her head would be pinching off the cord). So he sent me next door to the hospital where he controlled my labour and delivery. It was busy on the unit and so they didn’t have a chance to break my water until 11:45 pm. I laboured in bed on my left side, silently, not moving, until all of a sudden I flipped onto my back and started to make pushing sounds. The urge to push was UNCONTROLLABLE. I hadn’t felt that with Jake or Freddy’s births. The nurse ran over and frantically ordered me to stop pushing, as she had to check me first (she was incredulous to find that I was already fully dilated and Katie’s head was crowning). They paged the OBGYN, who never made it, and Katie slid out into the nurses’ hands at around 12:30am. She was born on July 26th, 2005 and weighed 6 lb 3 oz. She was so tiny! At first I was scared that she was too tiny but the nurse assured me that she was great!

Callum

THIS birth was BRUTAL. I had such a complicated pregnancy with the subchorionic bleed and hematoma. The placenta was close to my cervix (it finally moved over by the third trimester) and I bled ALL THE TIME. Every time we had sex, every time I sneezed, every time I did anything, I bled. It was terrifying. I had so many Braxton Hicks contractions. Triage was so sick of me and by 36 weeks and 6 days, when I went in with more bleeding complaints, the doctor there decided to just induce me as I was one day away from being term.

I went in at 1-2cm dilated. They figured that because it worked with Katie, all they’d have to do is break my water and my body would go into labour. It didn’t. They also didn’t fully break my water–there was a bunch of water stuck behind Callum’s head and so there was still a bit of a cushion keeping him from pressing directly on my cervix. I didn’t dilate at all overnight and then the next morning, because my water was broken and I wasn’t contracting, they had to start Pitocin.

OMFG.

IT WAS AWFUL.

They started out at the lowest dose thinking that because this was my fourth baby that my body would just take over and know what to do. Nope. So they upped the dose. No dice. They upped it some more. And more. And more. And MORE until they reached the maximum. My body was just not ready to do this and my baby was just not ready to come out. Each time they cranked the dial on the Pitocin, the nurses had to get a signature from the OBGYN. I can’t count how many times they had to get the signature to crank the dial.

Let me just say this: that Pitocin contractions are a completely different animal than regular, natural contractions. THEY ARE INSANE. I never had a single drug/pain medication with any of my deliveries and I didn’t want to start now. But holy shit, it hurt.

It took HOURS for me to go from 2cm to fully dilated. Maybe about 16 hours? Something like that. I felt every crazy god-forsaken second of transition (when the cervix goes from 8-10 cm) and really struggled to maintain control over the pain. I started to yell “I need something! Give me something! I can’t take this! Please help me!” Tammy my nurse correctly assumed that I was fully dilated and ready to push.

The doctor came in the room and they got set up while I writhed around on the delivery table. Because I was being induced, Callum had to be monitored the whole time so I could hear his heartbeat on the machine next to me. All of a sudden, I heard his heart rate drop. The doctor called out a bunch of orders and then told me that I needed to push with all of my might, to not hold back, and get that baby out as fast as I could. I pushed once, with all of my strength (breaking all the blood vessels in my face and chest), and Callum was born at just after midnight on March 3rd, 2014 weighing 7lb 12 oz. He came out with his head turned to the side, the side of his face and neck all bruised, his eye swollen shut (it took a few days for his eye to open!). He wasn’t ready to be born, and we forced his entry, and it sucked. But the important thing is that he was healthy and that it all worked out okay. My friend Tammy was the best nurse I ever could have asked for, and I don’t know how I could have done it without her.

Now to add just one more birth story!!!!

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Pregnant and Running: 37 Week Update

I’m up with contractions (it’s 11:30 pm on Monday night) so I figured I may as well type out this post while I have the time! I don’t think Andrew would really appreciate me turning our bedroom lights on for a bump pic, so a bathroom selfie will have to do.

I’ve pretty much internet-diagnosed myself with something called “prodromal labour” which is labour that changes the cervix, but not enough to push through into active labour. It’s almost like early labour in super slow mo. I thought I had heard of everything, yet I had never experienced nor even heard of prodromal labour… until now.

I don’t want these posts to come across as super negative, but I also don’t want to leave out anything for the sake of staying positive. I want you guys to know that I feel incredibly fortunate to have a healthy baby in here, and that I’ve been able to have such an active and happy pregnancy! This is a bit of a glitch, but totally doable.

Because all these contractions are stronger than Braxton Hicks, they stimulate my bowel (like regular labour contractions do) and so I’ve been pooping non-stop for days. Which, of course, has irritated my bum to no end, and also taken away my appetite. I had gone down to 138lb as of Sunday morning, but I weighed myself tonight and I am back up to 141 lb, which translates to probably 140lb tomorrow morning. I eat my middle-of-the-night cereal with coffee cream, and snack on peanut butter and chocolate ice cream whenever I can.

I’m nervous about going into active labour and giving birth in the car. I’m also stressed about constantly contracting and worrying about where I am with Callum and how I’d get from wherever we are to the van and to the hospital if my water were to all of a sudden break.

I’m pretty much just nervous, worried, and stressed. BUT… that’s pregnancy for ya, especially near the end.

I only ran 3 days last week, but I ran again today because I’m technically term now, which is great! So I’m not scared of delivering early anymore, and running really helps to curb my anxiety. I stick to the treadmill in the garage, just to play it safe.

So… my contractions settled down (for now) so I’m going to try and get some sleep while I can!

Have you guys ever eaten cereal with coffee cream? It’s SO YUMMY.

Favourite flavour of ice cream?

 

 

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Mileage Monday and Week in Review

Yep. It was one of those weeks. If you need to get caught up on the drama, here’s a bit of it in this post.

Since my hospital gig, I’ve been having contractions on and off for days, keeping me awake and giving my arsehole a run for its money. I’ve lost 3lb in four days from poo alone (and being afraid to eat because I’m afraid to poop). Just this once, I’d slap a granny to be constipated for a day. An hour, even. I’d take anything. I’m certainly living up to the nickname given to me by my loving father (“Poo Sue”). It’s actually come to the point where I’ve chopped up my post-birth maxi pads into sections, soaked them with water, froze them, and applied them directly to my balloon knot in sorry attempts at shushing the heat.

Sorry, I don’t have pictures.

As far as running went, I managed 8 smoky miles on Monday morning, 8 more on Tuesday morning, and then 10 on Wednesday before the shit (literally) went down.

I’ve just been doing my best to stay positive, and sleeping when I can, drinking as much water as possible, and eating whenever I have a window of an appetite. Andrew and I and Callum went to Red Robin on Friday night (I love their cheese sticks there, which are WAY better in Canada than in the States) and I took a bite of one of the hot wings and while swallowing it, I noticed that there was red blood on the inside near the bone. I pointed it out to Andrew and he brushed it off as one of those squiggly veins, while he slammed down 3 wings himself. I spat out my second bite, made him look closer at what he was eating and convinced him that they weren’t cooked. Then I spent the next 12 hours talking myself off the edge. I didn’t make myself throw up like the time I ate the plastic bag because I had only swallowed a small bite, but more so because the communicable disease that I would no doubt contract from the toilet seat in the Red Robin bathroom would be far worse than a touch of salmonella from the chicken.

Then, because Andrew’s parents were back from camping for the weekend, they watched Callum for us while we had (probably our last) date night on Saturday. We got all gussied up and went to the Cactus Club. Don’t forget though that between days, my nights were filled with insomnia, anxiety, poo, and contractions, so before I put on my dress, I had myself a giant sobbing session and then promptly pulled myself together.

I had zero contractions during our dinner, but then they started up right again once we got home. I woke up that night at 3am to more show, so I totally thought today would be labour day! But, nope. Not yet!

Oh! And so Jake broke his arm again! We realized that we’re tied 5-for-5 when it comes to broken bones and babies. Jake and I go big or we go home. So I brought Katie and Callum to the hospital, dropped Jake off in the ER (he was okay–just needed X-Rays and a cast) and showed Katie and Callum where we will be when we have the baby. I think it eased Katie’s anxiety a bit. It was tough for her the other night when we left in a panic, no doubt; I don’t blame her one bit. Katie is off to camp tonight until Friday so if we have the baby, we’re going to have to wrangle her back for a visit somehow.

Andrew’s parents are back across the line (about a 2 hour drive from here) all week until Friday, but my sister Tracey is about a half hour away if we need her.

As usual, Meghan from Clean Eats Fast Feets is the sexy host for the Week in Review, but those posts don’t usually go up until Monday, so make sure you come back tomorrow and check out what she’s been up to. She’s a little bit awesome.

As far as I know, I should be putting up a Running and Pregnant: 37 Week Update post on Tuesday, so come back for a visit then! If you’re on Instagram, make sure you find me there for super current updates.

Alright? Okay. I think that about covers everything for now. I hope you guys are doing well!

Have you ever had food poisoning? Over what?

Insomnia? How has your sleep been?

If you’re awake in the middle of the night, PM me on Instagram! Misery loves company.

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The Un-Birth Story

Well THAT was interesting.

The start of my 37th week came and went, and Wednesday was spent with the kids, doing our best to avoid the heat and smoky air. It was my dad’s 28th sobriety cake but we couldn’t make it to my sister’s that night for the actual cake so we drove out to my parents’ place during the day and took respite in their pool for a couple of hours.

My dad had to stay close to the porcelain throne (he’s on the other side of colorectal cancer and a stroke) but we saw him long enough for a hug. He looked at me and was like, “Whoa you look tired.” I felt it. I really felt off that day.

We met my mom and my niece in Fort Langley but there was no air conditioning anywhere and way too hot so we drove to McDonald’s and Callum tore around the play place there with Katie and Holly while my mom and I sat and talked. I had contractions the entire time we were there, but this is normal for me (I have an “irritable uterus”) so we didn’t think too much of it. Katie, Callum and I were almost home and I pulled into SaveOn Foods parking lot to pick up some milk and things for dinner but while I was looking for a parking spot, I had a contraction that made my toes curl.

Real contractions are different than practice contractions and for me, the difference is found in my bum. Yes, you read that right. When I am in real labour, I have SO MUCH PRESSURE in my bum that I can’t leave the bathroom for hours. It’s Poo War. Poo Land. Poo Fest. Poo-a-Looza. (like father, like daughter). It’s like menstrual cramps, kinda, because when I have my period or when I’m ovulating, I often get a bit of diarrhea.

I’m assuming you guys know what you’re getting into when you read the title of my blog.

Braxton Hicks, or practice contractions (contractions that don’t change the cervix or help deliver the baby) are all up front in my uterus, while real contractions are deep in my bottom, in my back, in my groin.

So, I had one of those and I looked at Katie and said, “Uh oh–I need to get home, like RIGHT. NOW.” We sped home and I beelined it for the toilet, felt better, and then forgot about it. But then besides my usual Braxton Hicks contractions, I’d have a real one about once an hour from 3 o’clock, on. I walked into Freddy’s room once and had one and he looked at my face and was like, “Ew… don’t let your water break in my room.

I put up my Hospital Essentials post while I was having contractions because I had this hunch that this was going to be my last chance.

I put Callum to bed and then had a doozy of a contraction, went poo again, and decided to have a shower and get ready just in case. It was so hot out and we don’t have A/C, so after my shower I sprawled out in bed in front of the fans and tried to relax. No dice. I had another doozy of a contraction, and then other one, and by the time 9pm rolled around I knew that this could be it. I texted my friend Tammy (she delivered Callum) but she was camping, so she coached me through what I should do via text messages. I do not poo at night. I just don’t. And each time I had a contraction, I felt so much pressure that I had to sit on the loo. Once we decided to go to the hospital, we panicked about what we’d do with all the kids. It was the absolute WORST TIMING EVER to have a baby that night because:

  1. I was only 36 weeks pregnant (term is 37 weeks), so there’s a chance the baby would struggle a bit and need to be in the nursery.
  2. Andrew’s parents were camping in the States, 2 hours away.
  3. My sister Tracey, who is able to help us with Callum, lives 30 minutes away and had her kids all week until Friday at 5.
  4. We had all our kids all week long (it’s very rare that we have all of them together for a long stretch).

We decided to hold off on Andrew’s parents until we knew for sure this was it, so my sister Tracey drove out here to stay the night until we figured out what was going on. Her partner Jim was home with the kids, but Tracey would have to leave here by 6am to get back for when he leaves for work. IT WAS SO HECTIC. Add in the fact that the older kids were nervous and scared and confused, so we’re trying to manage and juggle all the logistics and emotions and schedules all while I was contracting and pooping my brains out.

We got to the hospital and they see me right away because this is my fifth baby, but the nurse we got kept tossing around “preemie” and “scrawny baby” and so when another nurse walked in to help, I begged her to switch with the negative nurse because my anxiety started to really spiral. I’m talking like, I was losing it. I haven’t had that much anxiety in a very, VERY long time. My heart was pounding with each contraction. Then the OBGYN on-call came in and eased my fears about having a 36 weeker, and I felt comforted. They admitted me because I was contracting regularly, my cervix was changing and I wasn’t yet term (they’d need a pediatrician in the delivery room).

I laboured and pooped all night long, but my contractions were irregular and although they were changing my cervix, it wasn’t by much, but just enough to keep me there. Because this is my fifth baby, they kept warning me that all of a sudden my body will go for it and three contractions later, the baby would be out. Word for word. I hadn’t slept a single second all night long because the contractions and pooping and fluids they were giving me were all keeping me awake. I had to be hooked up to antibiotics and the monitor for the baby’s heart rate and contractions because I was not yet term. A new OBGYN saw me in the morning and when he checked my cervix he said he’s keeping me there, and that he will see me later to deliver my baby. We called Andrew’s parents and told them to drive up here, and that it was baby day. The doctor issued Immodium so that my poor little bum could have a break and heal, and I refused morphine when he suggested it to help me sleep. I snoozed for about an hour at 2 o’clock, but that’s it. My contractions stayed irregular and my pooping stopped, THANK GOODNESS.

At 4pm, he came back to check my cervix but it hadn’t changed since he checked it that morning, so he sent me home with lots of warnings to get childcare lined up, emergency phone numbers, and the reassurance that the baby would be fine if he were to be born now. He was so good for my anxiety.

After the nurse unhooked me from my IV, I went pee and lost my show. <– click on that link if you don’t mind gory medical details (Gretch, don’t do it). Still having irregular contractions, we came home, showered and then went to bed (after a major snuggle-fest with Callum). I slept in Katie’s bed beside Callum so that I wouldn’t keep Andrew awake (I couldn’t sleep through the big contractions). Katie stayed at Holly’s and Freddy stayed at Jason’s (thank goodness for peaceful relationships with exes! So thankful for Jason and Natasha!) and pieced together in segments, I ended up having about 9 hours of sleep.

I know it’s a long story seemingly about nothing (baby is still baking in my belly) but I just know how much it helps other pregnant women and their partners to read about other people’s experiences that aren’t technically “normal.”

At the end of all this, I’m actually really thankful that we were able to have a dry run because I had no idea how much anxiety I have/had pulsing through my veins, and being in the hospital with no kids, no housework and no other distractions really helped me to face my own demons and work through them. I feel like I’ve got my mind in the right frame now for when it really is time to deliver this baby. My first three births were so straightforward but Callum’s was traumatic and I hadn’t realized the impact it left on my psyche until now. I’m just really thankful that I was/am able to deal with it beforehand.

As always, love teaches us about letting go of control, and nothing teaches us more about love and losing control than having children. It sounds like a bad thing but it’s not–it’s every thing. You don’t have to have kids to know love!!! I’m not saying that at all. There are plenty of things, people, circumstances that teach us about letting go, and then when we do let go, love is born.

 

 

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Hospital Bag Essentials

Well, I had my OBGYN appointment yesterday and I’m 1cm dilated and 50% effaced which really means a whole lot of nothing. He told me though that the baby is head down and facing down (the best position for delivery) and that when it happens, it’s going to be quick. But, what does he know? Every pregnancy is different and every baby is different. We’re really all just making wild guesses here, but nevertheless, I figured it was time to have my hospital bag ready.

Now you’d think by the fifth go around I’d have this thing down pat, but it’s pretty much guaranteed that something will go sideways and all of my careful planning will be rendered useless but, hey–I have to give it a shot. Here’s what you will find in my hospital bag, already packed and ready to rock and roll:

  1. A phone charger, a spare set of cheap earbuds, and an extension cord because the outlet is always way too far away from the bed.

2. Super loose pajama shorts, tank top and a thin robe.

3. This is the first time I’ve ever purchased disposable underwear but I keep seeing it on everyone else’s hospital bag checklists so I’m going to give them a try this time, because the crime scene that follows a birth demands something a little beefier than a pad.

4. Before I bought the disposable undies, I purchased some big cheap gonch and giant pads, which I’m sure I’ll use once things settle down a bit.

5. My cosmetic bag:

6. Clothes to wear while still at the hospital but after having my epic shower: Nursing bra, loose tank top, loose shorts, loose soft comfy hoodie.

7. A comfy pair of jean overalls (over a tank top) to go home in (I also packed a pair of comfy loose track pants in case it’s not hot that day).

8. Okay, so this involves a bit of an explanation. After pushing a baby out, the vag gets a bit trashed and so it hurts to take a wee for a few days following the birth. It stings. Plus it’s important to keep the area as clean as possible for optimal healing! The hospital provides a squeeze bottle but as you can imagine, it can get a bit tricky to squeeze the water up, so I ordered this fancy contraption that will help me not fall over in the bathroom while bathing my girl parts with soothing water. I haven’t tried it but the reviews are amazing and it looks brilliant.

9. Other things: plastic bag for dirty clothes, a nursing sports bra for labouring in (last time I didn’t wear a bra and my National Geographic nipples made cameos in all of the photos), soft socks, comfy shoes.

10. All of my things can be found packed neatly in this little suitcase with a handle and wheels:

If I think of it, I’ll throw in one of my pillows at the last second, not because I care so much about the feel of hospital pillows but because I like my own smells.

I hope I’m not missing anything!

 

 

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Pregnant and Running: 36 Week Update

I wrote a little bit about how anxious I’ve been feeling in yesterday’s post. I’m sure it’s a mixture of hormones and lack of sleep on top of an already underlying anxiety disorder but it still sucks, even if I can pinpoint why it’s happening.

I wasn’t going to mention this but I decided to anyway because I’ve never done anything normal, so why start now? So… on what, Friday? Yeah, Friday morning, I woke up to an ingrown pube. Because, you know, since I’m getting so close to the end here, I’ve been making sure that everything is groomed and ready for the big day, right? Things like tweezing my stray brows, clipping and filing my nails, painting my toenails, dying my greys, and shaving my legs, armpits and coochie. I used to wax, but ingrown hairs were much more frequent with that method so I stick with the razor. Anyway, so on Friday I woke up with an issue down there and by the afternoon it had turned red, was throbbing, and swollen. It was so bad that as soon as I got home, I sat on an ice pack.

But then because I’ve had anxiety issues, I started to imagine that the angry lump would spread inward, infect the baby and we’d all die during childbirth. My funeral would be tense and awkward (do people die of ingrown pubes?) and I’d never get around to publishing my book. You know what? If this happens, will one of you kind souls graciously leave this part out once you find my book (it’s printed out, snapped up in a zippered binder in the crawlspace, tucked between the rejected artwork Andrew’s ex quite thoughtfully passed along to us and the sticky spider trap, a graveyard of sorts, filled with hairy legs and eyeballs). No, the irony isn’t completely lost on me.

The baby is the size of a melon, weighs 6lb, nearly 19″ long, blah blah blah.

Okay but anyway, everything worked itself out and nobody is going to die. I even gained a solid pound this week, bringing me back up to 141lb. It helps that the sun (and its heat) is being blocked by the smoke from the wildfires so although we’re all contracting emphysema, we’re all comfortably cool which makes it easier for me to once again consume large quantities of food.

Running has been going well, although the bathroom breaks are quite intrusive (more poo breaks than pee breaks, which is normal, I think, when the baby is bigger and lower, putting more pressure on the bowel, but I’m also a poo machine so there’s that, too). If you’d like to check out my 60 mile week details, it’s in this post here.

I’ve had a crazy amount of Braxton Hicks with a few hours here and there of some solid contractions that take me aback a bit. I even rang my sister one night and told her to keep her phone on in case we needed to make a hospital trip. But I knew what I did wrong that day–I ran in the morning and didn’t drink a drop of water, only coffee, until the afternoon sometime–so for all you preggies out there, HYDRATE LIKE A FRIGGIN’ BOSS.

We have our OBGYN appointment today and I’m going to ask her to check my cervix. I’m going to make a guess that I’m at about 2cm dilated. Let’s see if I’m right (here is a post that explains the whole dilation thing). I’m also curious to see what my uterus is measuring. I know I’m still measuring small, but I can’t wait to push this baby out and blow everyone’s minds, because I can feel the immense size of this boy. I just know these things. I’ll give you guys an update tomorrow or something.

I’ve got a post ready to rock and roll on what I packed in my hospital bag (it’s all ready to go!) and I’m working on a newborn essentials post too, that I hope I’ll be able to put up later this week.

I’m almost there! Tell me your thoughts! Ask me your questions!

Have you ever had an infected ingrown hair? If you died from one, would you tell people? Wait–uhhh–never mind.

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