Tag Archives: due in may

My Type A Journey to a C – A Birth Story

15 May

Good morning friends! Happy Weekend!!! 

Oh my goodness, this is my first Saturday morning waking up as a mom. Yes. A mom!!!! My heart is melting as I type this on my phone while simultaneously staring at my beautiful daughter all swaddled up and dozing off. I am spellbound by her every movement, face, sound, gesture…

And then it hits me. The sudden reality that I am a mother. Proof that being type A doesn’t mean much as far as game planing goes. Trying to get pregnant at precisely the right time (yeah right), trying to arrange when the baby comes, crafting a birth plan(s)…With planning I’ve learned that something will happen making a muck of your neatly arranged, tailor-made itinerary. (I didn’t have a birth plan but I’m still bemused over my birth story.)

This whole “embracing motherhood” thing started in August 2015. But motherhood materializing into something other than a hashtag on Insta got real on Tuesday, May 10th. 

On May 10th I went to my routine weekly pregnancy checkup. This was the 39th week appointment! The doctor and I discussed how I was feeling and talked about dates for a scheduled induction in case baby girl didn’t debut Sunday, May 15th. 

On my way to my next appointment at Maternal & Fetal Medicine I phoned Andy. I was stoked to tell him that if baby girl doesn’t come on her own they plan on inducing me Wednesday, May 18th. I shared the news in a quick flash as the next set of doctors whisked me away and hooked me up to the non-stress machine.

After 40 minutes of what is typically a 20 minute monitoring session of baby’s heartbeat  and movement I was escorted to the sonography room. This was after the intermittent intervals of nurses coming in and asking me to drink orange juice topped with what felt like aggressive poking of my belly. *Side Note: I visited Maternal & Fetal Medicine weekly due to baby girl’s risk for SGA (small for gestational age). Nothing was ever too alarming. Images and testing always revealed that my amniotic fluid levels were perfect, baby girl was measuring petite but proportionate in the 12th percentile, and her heart rate was top notch. Except on Tuesday, May 10th, something was off kilter. 

When the sonographer wrapped up she told me she’d be back after she shared the images with the doctor. This is normal. Fast forward 10 anxious minutes and the dapper Dr. Akoma greeted me. She was beaming. My panic had immediately frittered away.

Dr. Akoma, again, beaming, had bright eyes with a sparkle. I was admiring her composure. She made me feel settled. Worry-free.

She spoke. “Looks like you’re having a baby!” 

Me: “I know!” In a pitch like a 5-year discovering she’s going to Disneyland.

Dr. Akoma: “Well alright, let’s get you induced!”

Me: “Oh, yes. I am scheduled for Wednesday, May 18th.

Dr. Akoma: “No, dear. You’re going to be induced today. Your baby, although her heart rate is great, she isn’t moving like she should and you don’t feel her enough to reassure us that your pregnancy should continue. At 39 weeks she is term. She is ready. Are you ready? Call your husband and tell him to get here. Your room is being prepped.”

Me: “Oh my gosh, okay. Is she okay? Oh wow, so we are doing this. Today? I get to meet my baby girl?! What do you mean my room is getting prepped? I have to wrap up work. I mean I don’t have to but there are things I need to do. Can I go home and get my hospital bag? ” My furor was extraordinary muffling my speech. Dr. Akoma was probably unable to make a thing out or thought I was delirious.

Regardless, I was about to have a baby!!!! 

I called Andy. “We’re being induced, TODAY!!!” This communication string was priceless. Emotional. Exciting. Inexplicable. It was an exchange of words and enthusiastic cries that will be forever etched in my heart. A private dialogue between two parents-to-be preparing for the best day of their lives.

I was accompanied by a lovely nurse who gave me red carpet treatment all the way to the labor and delivery wing. The experience was surreal. Not at all as I had envisioned. 

Labor and delivery. 

Wow.

Fast-forward a few hours. It was 3:30p. I was intoxicated by my emotions and the realness of “having a baby!” I laughed a bit, too. I was anxious. Nervous. Excited. Our lives were about to change in a matter of hours.

Side Tangent.

Me: “Babe, you know what’s wild?! I’m so happy I ran yesterday! I logged at least one run in in my 39th week of pregnancy! Whoop! Whoop! Which really means I can say I ran my whole pregnancy!”

Andy: “Val, you’re out of control. You shouldn’t have run. You’re done. You can’t run now for 6 weeks. You’re going to listen to me and the doctor.”

Me: “Yeah. I’m well aware. But seriously, I would’ve been so disappointed had I not ran yesterday.

But back to having a baby!!!

At 3:30p on May 10th I was only 70% effaced, 1cm dilated and feeling painless contractions. To begin the induction they gave me Cervidil. It is designed to ripen the cervix to 100% to begin active labor. The process using Cervidil was expected to last no more than 12 hours. 

After several hours my contractions were back to back about every two to three minutes. They were painful. Painful. Painful. I told Andy and the nurses that I wanted to shake the hands and kiss the feet of every woman out there who had a natural birth because these contractions were tempestuous! I recall thinking that I must be 100% effaced and super dilated if they hurt like they did!!! I was ready to keep them coming because each one meant we were closer to meeting our daughter.

Around 11pm three + nurses came rushing in. They were fixated on the monitoring screen. They gave off panicky vibes and were speaking quickly in a language foreign to me. Andy took one look at me and saw my fear. He grabbed my hand to comfort me. He proceeded to ask, “What’s wrong?”

After they assessed everything they informed us that our baby’s heart rate fell drastically with each contraction and it had been too low for too long. She had not yet recovered from the last few contractions.

My heart stopped. 

No tears formed but I was crying on the inside. I was scared. I tried to stay calm. Relaxed. Strong. I was everything but.

Cervidil, although a mild drug, created stronger than expected contractions for me and our baby was distressed with each one. They feared it could be due to prolapse of the umbilical cord. “If this occurs, the umbilical cord may become compressed between the fetal head and the walls of the mother’s pelvis, thereby cutting off the blood supply to the fetus. Unless a vaginal delivery is expected to occur immediately, cesarean section must be performed to save the baby’s life.” The staff couldn’t delineate which one was influencing our daughter’s low heart rate. Was it the Cervidil or prolapse of the umbilical cord? Either reason behind it, fetal distress was not good and the alternatives were looking dour.

They removed the Cervidil. 

That’s all I’m going to write on that.

Roughly an hour later I was given an epidural. Finally!!!

They exercised some caution before administering it. I didn’t give a care that I was only 1cm dilated, my body was in labor even though it appeared I was failing to progress.

Within 30 minutes of receiving the epidural my already low blood pressure plummeted. In turn, baby girl’s heart rate fell to its lowest and was not recovering timely. It was a spectacle. After careful monitoring and continued guests rushing in and out, the doctor on call came in to discuss a cesarean with me. I obliged that if it’s necessary, it’s necessary.

Then our daughter’s heart rate took a turn for the better. Yay! The cesarean was an afterthought, for the time being. But with that being the third time they flirted with it, I began to think it was highly likely.

It was finally dark in the room. The machines weren’t yelling at us anymore. We finally had some semblance of peace and quiet. It was as tranquil as it could be. It was as tranquil as it would ever be. The nurses continued to monitor me. Hours went by with faint beeps in comparison to the alarms. The conversations being held by the medical staff echoed in the room but the epidural helped me zone them out. They told me to relax because I’ll need all my energy for pushing in a few hours. I was beginning to feel reassured that we could have our daughter vaginally. I breathed deep. Looked at Andy. Smiled. 

But there was no chance to relax once they began the IV drip of Pitocin at 7a. I was surprised they were giving me this drug since it was a lot stronger than Cervidil. But who am I to question the doctor? Oriana’s heart rate was steady again at 130 and had been for a while. I didn’t feel the need to challenge them. The first of the Pitocin dosage was small and it was gradually increased.

Then there was a repeat of the noise that flooded the room a few hours prior. Alarms were ringing, medical staff  were avidly speaking in doctor-tongue, and I was being asked incessant questions about my health, allergies, fetal movement…

Our daughter was experiencing, yet again, serious fetal heart rate deceleration. I was still only 1cm-2cm dilated. The Cervidil and now the Pitocin, although they acted catalysts to make the contractions stronger, weren’t working to dilate me. 

Active labor was happening but at slow rate. Despite back to back contractions, transition aka pushing was guaranteed to be hours away. This was not good. With the fetal heart rate decelerations continuing as frequently as they were, baby girl was not getting the oxygen needed to sustain labor. Therefore, the doctors did not want to risk continuing as it would jeopardize baby’s health. In every effort to avoid an “emergency” they wanted to conduct a cesarean for immediate delivery.

They asked me how I felt about it. I had no feelings about it. I was prepared for anything in labor and delivery. My type A personality took a backseat. I did not try to govern the process of delivery. My birth plan was this —> epidural. I was prepared to be game for anything. And I was.

I knew far too well that you can’t plan for labor and delivery. I didn’t plan on being induced. I was told I was going to be induced. I didn’t plan that my body would fail to progress in labor. But my body failed to progress. When vaginal birth was no longer an option, I was already prepared for the invasive procedure better known as a c-section. I didn’t plan on a cesarean. I was told it was medically necessary. 

My type A personality accepted the substandard and dreaded C. Honestly, I would have accepted anything to ensure the health and safety of my unborn daughter.

Within minutes I was being rolled out to the operating room. It was May 11th at 11:15a. I had no time to really conceptualize what was happening. They turned Andy away to another room to change. I was there, in the mix of all these doctors, anxious inside. Crying inside. Thinking my body failed. Thinking I failed as a woman. But then something switched. I couldn’t stop thinking that I’d be holding my daughter in an hour. The crocodile tears fell down my face.

The operation was something else. To be numb but tugged around like a rag doll. Hmm. I held Andy’s hand and griped tightly. In a matter of minutes, literally, the doctor said, “Your daughter will be here in 5 minutes.” 

I turned to Andy. This was the last time I’d look at him as a man not yet a father. My eyes bigger than ever filled with tears. I was Excited. Nervous. Anxious. Already in love. I froze the moment in my memory bank. 

Then…

Doctor: “She’s got so much hair! Congratulations on a beautiful baby girl!”

May 11th, 12:04p we became parents to Oriana Yoshie Shreeve. A bundle of perfection weighing in at 6.5lbs and 19.6″.

Just like that I saw my daughter in a flash of a second while they transferred her from my abdomen to the table behind me. They took her to do the Apgar testing and invited daddy. I was left there on the table alone. I was literally paralyzed from the chest down unable to get her in my line of sight. I turned my neck as much as I could to try and catch a glimpse of her.


Tears were perpetually falling from my face. I was thinking, “I have a daughter. We have a daughter. We have a little girl!” 

My sweet fiancé transformed into a daddy. I watched him in those precious moments overwhelmed with emotions and falling in deeper love with him. This is our family now. I spent 39 weeks waiting to meet this little soul and there she was – a few arm lengths away with her daddy whom was and continues to be captivated by her.

When they finally placed her in my bed, I nuzzled her warm skin. I stared at her. I breathed her in. Life stood still. She was all I knew existed.

The way I felt in that moment was new but familiar. She is my heart. She has always been my heart. In that instant I couldn’t recollect life without her. She fills me completely. She is proof that love is not something you search for. Love isn’t something you dream for. Love is something you do. And she, our baby girl, is a result of the love between her father and me. She is the best part of us. She is our greatest gift. 

Everything in my life like the nonsense, the stress, the chaos, the opinions of others, the friends that have come and gone, the what-ifs, it all became preposterously irrelevant when I met Oriana. She obliterated it all. She has opened me. 

Today she is 3 days old. She’s sleeping peacefully near me. I catch myself staring at her in complete awe that she is mine – all mine. Staring into her eyes and seeing her fixate on me eliminates the pain from the cesarean. Her very being reminds me not to feel ashamed of my body post-cesarean. 

Of all the things I’d done wrong during my journey through life, in getting myself here tells me I’d done something right. The severe swelling (thighs, calves, ankles – entire legs), my likeness to Frankenstein with the wretched staples, the extreme discomfort, the inability to get in and out of bed without it being a 10 minute ordeal, while it doesn’t sound ideal, is something I’d do all over again. Life doesn’t need to be so complicated. Oriana has shown me how simple it all is. And it’s astounding.

I have a daughter. The amount I love her cannot be qualified. It’s all-encompassing. I don’t know who I was before her.

I welcome my new life. I may be type A but the C has taught me to accept all things. You can’t know beautiful without knowing a bit of brutal. The C was brutal. But it is a temporary state of brutal/discomfort. My scar will be a beautiful reminder of my daughter and our time together as one. Oriana is my forever. She is my blossoming soul. She is my kind of beautiful. She always will be.

I love you, Oriana. Thank you for making me a mommy.

Thanks for stopping by!

Valgal

XO

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A Walk/Run Sequence- Who Am I?

22 Apr

Fitness for two:
This Garmin snapshot of a walk/run sequence may not make me look like a Boston bound runner – but training 20lbs more than my race weight has surely got to give me some kind of advantage. Riiiiight?! Post-Partum Expectations – compliments of Runner’s World.

Excerpt:

There’s a theory as to why some runners have a good post-partum running experience – it’s called the “remodeled” heart. “During pregnancy, the heart actually changes to accommodate for a higher level of blood circulation,” Mottolla said… The result? The heart likely doesn’t have to work as hard at any level of exertion following the process of giving birth. It’s something akin to the benefit some runners might experience from training at a low heart rate—eventually the heart adapts and helps move runners forward at less effort.

***Less effort -💪🏼😜✌🏼️ helllstotheyes!!!

Many runners speculate that their increase in oxygen-rich red blood cells helps boost post-partum performance. This is true, but only for a short period.

***💪🏼😜✌🏼️ I’ll take it!!!

James Pivarnik, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology and epidemiology at Michigan State University said there is the possibility that the hormone relaxin, which helps prep a woman’s body for delivery, might play a role. “If relaxin makes a woman more flexible and that increases her stride length by even a small bit, she might benefit,” he said.

***💪🏼😜✌🏼 I’ll take this too!!!

New moms might also experience a psychological boost from the delivery process. “There are women who might realize that if they can give birth, they can tough it out in a race, too,” Pivarnik said.

***Oh my gosh, I don’t know if I’m ready for this. I can finish a marathon no problem regardless of pain, fatigue, exhaustion, legs heavy with lactic acid, but birth? Epidural please!!! ✔️ Anyway, with relentless focus, hard work, and baby in tote (we got the BOB stroller!!!) my dream will come! Boston will happen!

How are you managing your goals during pregnancy?! Let me know by leaving me a comment!

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

Dreams of Boston: From Chasing Boston to Chasing Baby

22 Apr

Today was the 2016 Boston Marathon. I planned on BQing this year to secure my spot for 2017 but life happens – literally. My body is not my own.

I find myself 9 months pregnant and determined to not let my fitness and fitness goals get derailed.

I’ve had a wonderful pregnancy but let me tell you this – pregnancy is hard. I will be honest and say I miss my body. The body that carried me through many races. Fit, trim, lean and light.

To date, I’m sporting extra pounds that have found a new home in my thighs and arms aside from the belly. I’m very accepting of this. Yes. But the change is still challenging.

I don’t want to sound vain – only honest. For those of you pregnant mamas that scroll through feeds that showcase the ✨ glowing claims of how fab it is to be pregnant and you just don’t feel it – I’m telling you that sometimes we filter the ugly (the thoughts, the feelings, the emotions, the symptoms). It is most definitely not all rainbows and butterflies. At times it is a stab to your ego. I’m not trying to undercut the miracle of pregnancy – because I do love it, but with it there are accompanying struggles.

Struggles of self-acceptance. It’s normal.

There’s some boilerplate bullshit out there shaming women who admit to feeling insecure with their pregnant bodies. Don’t listen to them. Embrace the #hormotions. The highs and lows. It is part of the journey. Enjoy the marathon. It might not be Boston, but it is #40weeks of training!

Hopefully in the next few years I’ll look back on today with a BQ under my belt – back to the fit, trim, lean and light #runnergirl I am with Ori and daddy waiting for me at the finish lines!

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

The Anatomy Scan & Baby’s Little Runners Foot

16 Dec

Hello lovelies,

I hope this post finds you feeling as radiant today as I feel! Who knew a little weight gain and a growing belly would have me all jolly and dazzling to match the season! I’m loving these days. But I did not love last Friday afternoon.

Last Friday Afternoon – The Level 2 Ultrasound:  – The Anatomy Scan

I was counting down to December 11, 2015 at 2:30p for weeks. This was going to be the big reveal of little baby macaroon’s gender. Boy. Girl. Either one, it was another day to celebrate! December 11th was going to mark the day where daddy and I get to bond a little bit more to our growing baby *cough cough* my growing belly.

But God had other plans like he often does. And hey, I’m okay with that. But what I’m not okay with is the lack of courtesy and bedside manner that I’ve quickly become aware of from other “first-time mamas” that is the apparent norm for ultrasound techs. (I know this is a huge typecast and I know there are several ultrasound techs that are darling – my first one was! Anyway, I’m sorry if you’re in the profession – I’m sure you’re the exception to the rule. I do not mean to put you in such a box…I’m only speaking from experience.) Newsflash Tech: This is my first pregnancy – could you meet me with some grace?

The Anatomy Scan: Part I

The appointment was at 2:30p. I drank 32 + ounces of water between 2:00p and 2:30p to make sure my belly was nice and full for the ultrasound. 3:00p and we were still in the waiting room. 3:15ish – yup, an “ish” we were walked to room number 2. I desperately had to pee. I was uncomfortable.

We were greeted by the tech. “Hello, so you’re here for the first trimester scan?” Me: “I sure hope I’m not in the first trimester! We’re here for the anatomy scan!” Tech: “When are you due?” Me: “May 15th!” Tech: “You’re two days too early. You’ll have to come back.” The tech lacked any empathy in her tone. She was cold. As cold as the room. Me: “I’m sorry but my doctor advised me I could’ve come as early as Monday. I chose today because today’s my day off. I don’t get maternity leave so I’m being as conscientious with time off as possible. Today fit my schedule otherwise I would’ve been here Monday had I not wanted to be so conservative with time off.” Tech: “I’m sorry, you’re too early.” Me: “No. I’m sorry. We’re here because the doctor said we could be here.” Turn on waterworks. Streams of tears rolled down my face. I wasn’t making a sound but the tears were loud enough for her to hear my disappointment. Tech: “I’ll go check with Dr. Rafael if I can do the scan. I hope you know we probably won’t see gender parts. You’re too early. I’ll be back.”

Me: I thought to myself, homegirl is a bitch. Capital B. Who the f*ck is Dr. Rafael. I glanced at Andy. I could tell he was just as put-off. 5 minutes later the tech returned. Tech: “Okay, lay down. We will do the scan. But again, we probably won’t see anything.” Me: “Okay!” Then I thought to myself that it would be okay if we don’t get to know the gender, at least I get to see baby! Tech: Didn’t even look at Andy who was standing near me and with a dictator tone instructed him to take a seat at the back of the room. Me: I was unable to even see Andy at that point. I thought this tech was a passive-aggressive bitch. Capital B x B. Power tripping fool.

For approximately 45 minutes there was silence. The one question I asked was interrupted by a snarky remark. I figured I’d mirror her lead so I kept my mouth shut. That’s right – Valerie kept her mouth S.H.U.T. The tech didn’t tell us anything. She didn’t say what she was doing, what she was looking at – absolutely nothing. It wasn’t until we were nearing the end of what was the first part of the session when she said, “This is the baby’s brain. This is the baby’s foot.” The tone of her voice was detached and unfriendly.

I thought silently but my face probably gave away my annoyance, “Thanks for the excitement lady! I mean shoot, it’s every day I get to see pictures of my growing baby – thanks for making this moment so remarkable!”

Ugh. Her lack of enthusiasm wanted me to slap some sunshine on her cold ass face and then top it off with glitter and more sunshine. I wanted to triple layer it on. Frostbite doesn’t hit as hard when it has to work through layers. I mean, her cold shell would be bound to emit destruction and I only wanted to slow down the freeze of her glance and bitter tone.

Break

The tech instructed me to pee. FINALLY! Dear god I was holding it like a champ. I wanted out of that cold room and her frosty presence. She also told me to walk around a bit to see if I could get the baby to open its legs.

Whaaaaaaat?

I didn’t know she even saw the legs!!! Why didn’t she tell me? She toggled through screens at such a rapid speed I had missed it.

I returned from peeing and it felt glorious! I then proceeded to dance like a fool for 10 minutes willing baby to wake up and to spread open those little leggies!

The tech came in.

Anatomy Scan: Cold Encounters Session 2

Baby didn’t open legs.

The tech wrapped things up and told us that we would have to come back because she didn’t get images of the heart chambers. She then advised us that perhaps during the next visit they could determine baby’s sex. I asked, “Is baby measuring okay? Like average for gestational age?” Tech: “Yes. The doctor will give you a report later.” She printed off pictures and handed them to us and walked us out.

The End with the Ice Queen

Post-Anatomy Scan

Andy and I walked out. We were slightly disappointed about not knowing the gender but more upset about the ice queen. I left feeling anxious and scared. To not even be spoken to had me miffed. To not be given any peace of mind like, “Baby’s brain is measuring average” etc. I know there are liability issues but there are also medical charts that spell forth what is average. From speaking with other moms I am told that techs can speak a little about measurements especially when they fall in the average range. I was so uneasy and shaken up. The day I was looking forward to with such elation ended up enveloping me with uncertainty. I remember thinking, is she avoiding telling us things because honesty is tough? Oh my gosh, honesty is tough – it’s a difficult pill to swallow. Shoot. Something’s wrong. Something’s wrong because there’s news we may be uncomfortable with.

I took to Google.

Shit! Never take to Google. Google is bad. Bad. So. Very. Bad.

I had a whole lot of feeling and I had no clue what to do with it. I crammed a bunch of heavy, ugly news in my mind. Not good.

We called our family to report the news. Gosh were they worried because they expected our phones calls so much earlier. Remember the 45 minute delay and a pregnant girl’s super full bladder who desperately had to pee? Oh yea, I was so doing the pee-pee dance in the waiting room. Did I unintentionally omit that? Anyway, we gave family peace of mind and informed them that we would know the gender soon. I felt like a liar. How could I be giving peace of mind to others when my mind was distressed?

I planned to call my doctor Monday to make a follow-up appointment. Monday couldn’t come fast enough.

Monday

When Monday came around there was another blow. The ice queen said the anatomy scan report was complete. No redo would be ordered. You can’t have an anatomy scan for gender only. I was astounded by the size of this woman’s balls. What a liar! Yes, she was an ice queen but a liar too? I talked to the nurse about my issue with the news. She apologized and said she’d discuss it with the doctor and that they’d call me by close of business. She then proceeded to tell me the results of the scan – Good! No anomalies. Everything is measuring and looking good! Oh thank gosh!!!

I hung up the phone both frazzled and delighted.

Delighted: First thing I thought: Baby is okay!!! What a relief. My heart warmed.

Frazzled: I was frazzled because most importantly, how do the doctors know baby’s heart is okay when there are no images of the heart?  Not knowing the gender wasn’t as pressing.

Monday: Close of Business

5 o’clock took forever but there she was. My doctor was calling me. To save you time the news – we get a redo!!! Commence happy dance. I haaaaaaappppyyyyy daaaaaaanced allllll theeeee wayyyyy hooommmmme!!! I had the sunniest disposition coming home I could’ve melted the ice queen if she took one glance at me. 

Baby Macaroon: Pictures

Until our next appointment I stare at these pictures daily. I haven’t met baby macaroon yet but my how attached I am to this little love nugget. I can’t get over the experience of this little babe growing inside me. I am changing every day. I am appreciative of the things I never knew my body capable of. I never knew I could find peace with growing in size. I’m enchanted by my abilities (and women’s really) to create life.

And this little life, just look!!!  Baby macaroon clearly wants to showcase that s/he will be a runner just like mama! Look at that runner’s foot (Dubbed by my good friend, Bryant )!!! I can’t get enough. These pictures keep my heart at peace.

Wishing your heart at peace, too. Today and every day.

Do you have any pregnancy stories? Do share!

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal and baby macaroon

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