Monday, August 1, 2016


Since Eliza was born we've had some game-changers going on. Everything has been extremely complicated in all fronts of my life. I have hardly had time for anything or anyone and it has been so crazy.

Our car's brakes went to the floor a few days after Eliza was born. We ended up having to have it towed and the brakes bled - to which they swore up and down had no leaks. It worked but starting having small electrical problems again shortly after that. Then about 10 days ago, while visiting a friend 40 minutes away, our car wouldn't start. We had to get a jump to get home. After a few days J finally got the time to go and pull out the battery to charge it, and replace the serpentine belt and alternator. He replaced the battery into the car and it drove. One time. So we had it towed again. They claimed it was the battery terminals (which J also cleaned in the process of the other fixes) and replaced them for us. The car ran again just fine with no electrical issues. The next day - yes...oh yes - J went to drive himself to urgent care for an ear infection.... and the brakes went to the floor again.

So it is now sitting again in the parking lot collecting dust. I am back to biking 30-40 minutes to work, a huge inconvenience as it rains nearly every day where I live and I often don't get out until late at night (between 7:30pm - 11:30 pm) or have to be there very early (8-10:30 am); further complicating the fact that I only have two uniform changes and the laundry room of our apartment complex is closed from 9pm to 9am - meaning I often must go to work in a previously worn uniform since I did not have time to wash and dry it.

My laptop finally blue-screen-of-death'ed me and I know it was the motherboard. I ordered a new motherboard but did not know that with a Windows 7-factory installed motherboard, that version/license key is tied to that motherboard. So I had installed a motherboard that I couldn't even get to work. I can get it to boot, but not to load Windows. It's actually extremely frustrating. I finally came up with a few other things I can try after trying all of the suggested methods I could find on Google.

Additionally, I got a call for an interview for a job in a bookstore as a cafe lead. I went through the phone interview process, and then a physical interview with the cafe manager. She really liked me and made it seem like I had the entire job in the bag, but that we had to continue going through the motions. I was expecting a call from the store manager for my last interview sometime towards the end of the week or the next week; but she called me within 48 hours and asked me to come in the next morning at 10am as soon as she found out I was available. This to me was extremely encouraging. Unfortunately, when the interview actually took place the store manager gave off the vibe that she did not like me, and told me that she already had a candidate in mind in-store and implied she only wanted to offer me part-time work. Unfortunately, the entire point of my applying for a full time position, is because I wanted full time. Better pay, more hours/salary.

That was really upsetting to me because she attempted to make me feel very small and insignificant when I told her this, giving me the run around but basically implying that because I'm younger than she prefers that I don't deserve the full-time position (which pissed off the cafe manager). I'm in my 20's; it's not as if I'm a teenager with no work experience. In fact, my grocery experience highly complements the requirements of the cafe lead position and I was told that they have many grocery-cafe crossover employees by the cafe manager. I actually had to spend $80 in taxi fees just to make it to one interview and to me it was the ultimate insult to imply that my age somehow meant that I shouldn't get a salary and benefits. My work ethic definitely should determine that, but I had excellent references to back me up and she hasn't even called them yet. The entire flow of the interview felt as if she had a steel door between us and she had made up her mind as soon as she saw me that I did not deserve the position which really has me feeling burnt. I work so hard and am willing to work so hard; I learn quickly and apply myself to bettering the positions I work in. It's a really shitty feeling not to even be given a chance by someone who spent 1/3rd the time with me than the person who actually wanted me to be given the position because they thought I was perfect for it.

A little over a week ago my mother took my grandmother to the doctor for back pain. We found out the next day that actually, her cancer is back. Then the next day we found out that it is extensively metastasized throughout her body and she likely had a few months left and treatment would only prolong it. After a few more follow-up tests, we were told less than a week later that it will be more like weeks. I am devastated. Enough said. We are trying to figure out whether or not I should go see her soon (it will be up to her, she is very old school and may not want visitors.) If I did, it would be just me and Eliza as the car is most likely not an option for driving up and we can't afford round-trip air far for all of us and a hotel. I feel so tied about this as she hasn't met Lili nor Eliza and it doesn't seem fair that Lili would not get to meet her yet Maire and Eliza would. I know it all seems so petty but I guess I'm trying to reason my way out of her dying. She can't die because she needs to meet her granddaughters still. She needs to have time to say goodbye to me. I'm not ready to lose her. I'm not ready to be grandparent-less at age 22. It's not fair, when some people's grandparents live until they are in their 40s and they get all that time and memories with them.

The only positive game-changer I'm currently experiencing is that my midwife offered to be my preceptor if I decide to go into midwifery. As a long-time dream of mine, J and I agreed that I should go for it. So I did. I applied to a distance midwifery college and have a phone interview on August 2nd, with admissions decisions being announced on August 22nd for the Winter Trimester. I have another school I must register at as well, but this is all pending things going smoothly. Which nothing has. I am hoping that I can be given a beacon to wade through this darkness because the past year and a half have been the worst. I don't know what I'll do if I also don't get into midwifery school.

I feel like everything is falling apart everywhere and I just can't catch my breath.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Rainbow is here! Eliza's Birth Story

Some people have been very upset I didn't announce Rainbow's birth right away. We had a lot of reasons why we didn't announce outside of our family and friends (and Facebook), and many of them were personal and we wanted to work through things on our own. Plus, with my computer down I just really wasn't interested in trying to construct posts from the tiny screen of an iPod.

Eliza Jade was born on 6/5/16 at 10:45 am and was 9lb 6oz and 20.5 inches long. 

One of my two due dates was 6/11 and the other was 6/19-6/20 (depending on who you spoke to) for this pregnancy, but I usually am pretty accurate in my reporting of my last missed period and how my midwife should adjust my due date based on my knowledge of my ovulation dates. They seem to always change it by ultrasound (with Maire my due dates were 10 days apart, and with Lili's they were 4 days apart, and with Eliza they were obviously 8-9 days apart) because they always measure me a week behind. The reason for that is that I have a long cycle (33 days) and their measurements are always off because of that.

I worked the day of June 3rd, a Friday, and was feeling pretty miserable for once in all my pregnancies. It had been a rough pregnancy for us, and the culmination of all my annoyances was really starting to wear me out. I kept getting really painful muscle pulls in my groin/lower abdomen under my belly and even wearing a belly brace only seemed to make it worse. Even though I was wearing shoe supports, my feet were always sore and swollen. My stomach was in the way of everything. I was also experiencing a huge amount of indigestion and heart burn and some days would even end up vomiting once or twice. I was feeling tired all the time and on top of that I couldn't sleep well because I had severe pregnancy carpal tunnel and I would wake up with both of my hands completely numb and gnarled like an elderly woman with arthritis. I had started to lose my mucus plug about a week previous and was getting discouraged about that as well.

I came home from work and I was just wiped. I sat around and cleaned the house but everything was annoying the hell out of me. I went to bed early and just laid there when I got up the next morning. Saturday, June 4th was just the tipping point. I felt like a huge awful mess. It was the one year anniversary of my D&C with the twins. Their angelversary. I tried to remember the few good moments of their short pregnancy and that their sister was almost here, and that I'm sure that they would be very happy to meet her. I did adamantly say that I was not sure I wanted her to be born on that day though - because it was already a difficult day to deal with and I did not want to ruin her birthday with mixed feelings and I was thinking and sending vibes out on that.

Alas, I was still feeling pretty weepy although I managed not to sit in despair. I felt weirdly energetic and I remember feeling the itch to get out and go do something as if I would really want to go like, take a mile walk at 9 months pregnant. I felt like nothing was ready and with emotions so high, I started feeling panicky and anxious. I figured it was just my hormones adding on to the already tough emotions and decided to wash the baby clothes (something I'd been putting off). I had forgotten to fill our laundry card the day before and ended up having to pick and choose what to wash. When I got back from throwing the clothes in the washer, I started feeling like I had to use the bathroom. When I got there though, I couldn't even pee. I had four really strong contractions and couldn't get up or even cry out because they were so debilitating.

I was almost certain it had to be just dehydration so when I got up I downed a huge glass of water and sat down on the couch with my feet up. I let J know because we still had stuff to get (J and my midwife were in denial I'd go any sooner than the 11th but I definitely know myself) and I wanted to be ready even if we were weeks out. I called my midwife and let her know because she was due to come over that Wednesday for an appointment anyways and I needed to confirm it. After resting a while the urge to clean took over and I folded and put away the laundry, tidied up, and encouraged J to go to the store since I still felt crampy. He didn't feel like cleaning or going to the store and we were both still in semi-denial, so instead we watched some Netflix. Just before midnight I went pee and when I wiped, I had bloody show. I told Jeff to be prepared for me to go into labor the next morning. We went to bed literally right after that at about midnight.

I nodded off a few times but as soon as I laid down, contractions started. They were pretty annoying and uncomfortable, and coming pretty consistently every 10 minutes or so, so I didn't get any rest. They started to get really uncomfortable by 1:30 am on June 5, and I got up at 2 am very frustrated as I actually was genuinely tired and wanted to sleep. I tried to relax on Facebook on the couch, now having to breath through the intensity a bit. I don't remember what time I ate, but I had a pb & j sandwich at some point between 4 and 5 am. I kept drinking water and at about 5 am I took a bath, with my contractions coming at about 3-5 minutes apart. I was hoping for relief but when I found none, I got out and by 5:30 I was having to really moan through my contractions.

I woke J up moaning at about 6-6:30 and he was upset, we weren't prepared and he hadn't gone to the store for groceries or anything. I texted my midwife to let her know, thinking she might be up. He calmed down after a bit and he told me to go ahead and try another bath because my contractions were suddenly coming every minute, but for just about 15 seconds and they were pretty "painful" actually. Then he interjected that before I jump in, I should call my midwife just in case. She chided me for not calling earlier (my text had gone unanswered because she was asleep still) and let me know she was on her way. I jumped in and they slowed back down to 2-4 minutes apart and I felt a fresh burst of energy and felt great. Since we didn't have the birth pool (it wasn't due to arrive til that Wednesday, when my next appointment was), Jeff set up the bed in preparation for a land birth.

My contractions had nearly stopped by the time the midwife showed up at around 7:40 and she checked me, letting me know I was at least 6-7cm. I stayed in the water, not really wanting to get out. When she arrived my contractions started coming back (prompted I think, by my dilation check) and were fairly intense suddenly. They were only coming either every 5 or 10 minutes and I was able to talk and laugh through my contractions. It was fortuitous that the birth pool had arrived early and gotten to her just before she left to come to my house, so she ended up having it with her. It was my poor fortune that by the time she had arrived, we had no time to set up the pool. So even though we had the pool in the end, I couldn't use it.

After what seemed like just a few more contractions, they spaced back out again to around 15 minutes apart. They were also super mild and hardly hurt at all. I joked with J, although I was serious, that I thought my labor had stalled because there was no way I could progress like this and maybe I should start to walk around or something. He laughed and told me to listen to my body, and asked if I really felt like I needed to get out. I said no, and he said right, my body probably was just resting before the big time.

At 9:30 am I suddenly felt extraordinarily tired. I felt annoyed and flustered although I managed to keep my excitement going. I told my midwife I wanted her to check me as I felt the exact same feeling before I felt pushy with Lilija. She told me I was a really big 9 with just a lip left and if I wanted to, I could start pushing when I was ready. I didn't feel ready to push yet and wanted to give my body time to get rid of the lip so I told her I'd wait. She said that was fine, and I'd definitely have a baby within the hour anyways. My contractions started to pick up again (probably due to the cervical check again) and were really intense and 4-5 minutes apart. Jeff had to keep coming to provide counterpressure to me rocking on my hands and knees in the bath.

I was really fed up with waiting and ready to get the pushing over at about 10:30. I had waited a full hour and still didn't feel like pushing. I asked my midwife to break my water, thinking that was impeding my labor (it did with Lilija, and my water had to be broken while I was pushing for her to descend). When she went to check me one last time to get ready to break my bag of waters I felt a lot of pressure and a decent amount of pain - as my water broke. She had asked if I were peeing and I said no, so she didn't even end up getting the chance to break my waters.

After that my body immediately began pushing, the pressure was once again super intense just like with Lilija. I kept pushing and my midwife told me I still had the cervical lip, and if I wanted her to hold it out of the way. I told her no, but I'm pretty sure she didn't see me shake my head because she did in fact hold it out of the way during that contraction. During the next one, Eliza crowned and I was able to feel her head momentarily; but the next contraction happened so fast that I was pushing again before my midwife could tell me to keep pushing. Right after she had said that though, she exclaimed that I needed to get out. I started to stand but before I could even get all the way up, I found myself lifted out of the tub and onto the floor by my midwife. She told me that I needed to push right now, and I did. It was an incredibly painful push, but Eliza was out in seconds.

She put her right on top of me, and I got to hold my wet and purple baby, and just as I wondered it my midwife confirmed that she was actually a girl (since it was still a bit unclear until then). She explained that she could see the baby's shoulder was stuck during the push before that, and knew she needed to unstick it because the baby started to go back inside of me during the push, when she should have come sliding out. It was a quick push in to my push out that ended up untucking her but that was why it was so painful.

I laid there and held her, feeling nothing but love and relief. I told my husband to take some pictures, which he did while I elevated my legs. My placentas always stop pulsing and detach pretty quickly, as this one did. My midwife attempted to help me push it out because of my position, but a portion of it was still stuck to my uterine wall so she massaged my uterus (more painful than birth, for sure) while I pushed. Finally it came free and J was able to cut Eliza's cord. It was then put in tupperware that went to my freezer immediately. We called time of birth to be 10:45, about 2-3 minutes before the first picture was taken. My midwife helped me up and into bed, and I wiped off on a towel and with baby wipes for the mean time as I was way too tired for another bath or shower anyways.

We laid in bed and I attempted to get Eliza to nurse, which she did for a tiny little while but was mostly still uninterested. Since she was uninterested, my midwife did stats while we were relaxing. After stats were done and Eliza was fussing in my arms, she suddenly erupted into wails. We noticed that it sounded like she was gasping loudly for air with each breath and it was suddenly a question of whether or not we needed to call 911. My midwife ran and got the oxygen tank and I held cupped oxygen to her nose and mouth while she assessed if there were other symptoms. Everything was happening very quickly.

Once Eliza was calmer and nursing a bit, the noises calmed down a little also. It was confusing to us at the time since when nursing she was not gasping but was still making gasping-like noises, and also when she was simply relaxed she was making noises. Assessing her tone, pulse rate, and breathing itself seemed fine so my midwife pulled out the pulse ox (which needed a quick charge) to measure her oxygen levels and all the while I continued keeping oxygen on her. We both decided that before making the decision to go to the hospital and transfer, we should call the pediatrician and get their opinion because everything else was actually perfect. I called Eliza's pediatrician and my midwife called her back-up pediatrician and we consulted with them both. They both thought that a transfer was unnecessary pending pulse ox measurements. As we spoke with them, we took pulse ox while she nursed, while she lay calm, and while she cried and it stayed a steady 99 even when the noises got very loud. The back-up pediatrician could hear the noise and immediately recognized it as Stridor sound, a symptom of a few underlying causes but nothing we needed to rush to the ER for. (You can find out more about Stridor here.) We were advised that a trip to the ER or a call to 911 were not necessary unless anything changed.

We watched and waited for a while tuned into Eliza in case anything changed. Over the course of a few hours, it didn't. So with everything else checking out fine for me and for Eliza, my midwife left. Just after that, my friend and her wife arrived to visit. I was so tired, but felt so much better after eating at about 3pm. I was in awe of this tiny little baby. She is so perfect. She went the first day or so without being interested in nursing and had lost a full pound by day two (10% of her weight). She gained it back for her two week appointment and has since thrived. We have an ENT referral for her Stridor, which they believe to just be Laryngomalacia. Also, although my midwife and two different pediatricians checked her collarbones for fractures and breaks after needing help out following her dystocia, we noticed a very large bone callous at her two week appointment so she did indeed have a fractured clavicle. She didn't complain or favor it for more than a few days (which we figured it would be bruised, anyways) so we had no idea. There is no treatment for it except to let it heal though, so there's the upside on that.

And at the end of the day, it feels like every moment was meant to be.

Photo Property of AroundtheMillstone 2016