Saturday, January 29, 2011


Just thought I'd write a quick update. I am really tired right now, so it will be brief.

I have to say that The Bean's been a really good baby so far. There were some breastfeeding challenges in the beginning, but we got help and they seem to be getting better. He typically is sleeping for 2-3 hours at a time. Unfortunately, bedtime seems to be his fussiest time of day. Right now I have him strapped to me in the Moby. He loves being held, and the Moby has been excellent for keeping him cuddled in all nice and close while allowing me to do other things and not strain my back.

After a fantastic two and a half weeks off, I went back to work on Wednesday. Everyone there has been great, but I am definitely way more tired than I was before starting back. It makes sense; I'm still not getting a ton of sleep, and now my days are really busy again. I'm so glad Jen's parents are here to help out with the transition. They've been making and cleaning up dinners, cleaning around the apartment, helping with laundry, etc. They're awesome. I'm going to miss having them around when they go home on Friday.

Even though it's better than it was the first few nights, Jen still doesn't like breastfeeding. I can tell it's exhausting for her. I was really sad earlier today when she said she thought she'd enjoy the baby more if she didn't have to breastfeed him. I understood, but it still made me sad. I've been trying to do more of the other stuff... changing diapers, bathing him, taking him when he wakes up but doesn't need to be fed, etc. so that she can rest and also just enjoy him when he's not fussing, but I don't know that it's really helping. I wish there were something more I could do.

Today we went out and while we were out we picked up a mobile for him. He seems to like looking at it. Very cute.

I'll try to do a better update later. I think I'm going to go lie down on the couch with our little guy and see if I can nap for a while before he wakes up to eat again.

Friday, January 28, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Birth Story (Again)

Well, it's been quite a two weeks for Allison and me. Two weeks ago today, we were packing the car for our trip down to St. Michael's Hospital so I could be induced. It was 38 weeks + 3 days and the doctors and midwives wanted to induce because The Bean possibly had IUGR. They thought it was better to induce labor early in case the placenta was crapping out (not official medical terminology). If the placenta wasn't doing it's job they worried that The Bean wouldn't hold up well during labor, so it was better to get him out early when they knew he would be strong.

It turns out Monday the 10th was a crazy day for the labor and delivery staff at St. Mike's. A few unplanned c-sections, someone having twins, and a full house left us sitting first in the waiting room until close to noon and then in triage until close to 3:00 pm. Fortunately, the triage nurse gave us a wink and a smile at one point and suggested we take a walk down to the cafeteria for lunch. My mom and dad had arrived the night before and were down there enjoying lunch themselves, so we got to see them for a few minutes before heading back up to triage.

While we were waiting in triage, Allison tried some contraction inducing pressure points and based on the monitor results, they worked. After a couple of medical staff took health history and asked questions about the pregnancy the resident came in and examined me. The first step was to check and see if my cervix was ripened - what they call it when it thins out and gets ready for baby to push through. Not surprisingly, my cervix wasn't ready for picking yet so they inserted a medicine called cervidil.

I'd like to take just a moment to explain how medical staff determine how ripe your cervix is. I'm no stranger to a speculum, and undergoing fertility treatments I got very accustomed to medical professionals inserting random medical instruments into my va-jay-jay, and was expecting something similar to happen with the cervical check. Oh, boy was I wrong. Evidently, the way they check your cervix is by touch - meaning they shove their hand waaaaaaaay up inside you and do a poke test with their fingers. My biggest takeaway from that experience (one that I had multiple times during the birth process) is to look for someone with really long fingers to administer this part of your care - unfortunately that feature wasn't common among most of the hospital staff I encountered.

So, back to the cervidil. It comes on what looks like a shoelace with a small tag attached to one end. My doctor folded it all up and got it waaay up in there and said that they'd check in 12 hours to see how much I was dilated.

At this point, they sent us to a room in the ante-natal unit for the night. They also prescribed non-stress tests (they strap you up with two monitors 1 for the baby's heartbeat and one for your contractions) every four hours and would check on us at 3:00 am to see how dilated I was. Fortunately, Allison scored a recliner and was able to sleep beside me in the room. About 1:00 I started feeling some small but regular contractions and called the nurse in. She did a non-stress test and everything was cool so we were still to hold tight for the resident to check my cervix at 3:00.

At 3:00 a very tired looking resident shoved her hand all up in me and said I was only dilated 1 cm and that we had to wait and check again at 3:00 the next day - Tuesday.

When we woke up later Tuesday morning we both got showered and cleaned up. I was still having regular contractions and Allison and I decided to do some laps around the floor. Our nurse, Virginia, noticed us doing the laps and asked about the contractions. She decided it was time to get us back down to labor and delivery. She went down and spoke to them and a couple of hours later we made the trip down to a labor suite. And, let me tell you, the labor suites are to hospital rooms what a penthouse is to a hotel. They were large, with a couple of chairs, a recliner, a private bathroom, a flat-screen TV (you do have to pay extra for cable), and one on one care from a nurse.

My time-line of the next little bit is fuzzy, but it involved the staff doctor doing a check of my cervix, the cervidil being taken out, and around 3:00 a resident breaking my water. That was weird - there was a lot more of it than I expected and I wish someone had given me the heads up to remove my socks first. The water was nice and clear though - no signs of the baby in distress.

They had me walk the floor some more and we only made one lap around because those contractions that weren't so bad before were a real b**ch now. Allison said my knuckles were turning white when I was holding onto the wall railing during the contractions. I also started sweating and feeling kind of weak - like I wanted to lean on something for fear I might topple over.

After these real contractions started, I decided to get an epidural (up until then I was trying to keep my options open to try without meds or with depending on the situation) because we were expecting it to still be some time until I was ready to push and I didn't think I would have the stamina to deal with the contractions for that long of a time period and still have enough left in me to push.

Fortunately, the anesthesiologist was outside our door at this point and came right in to do the procedure. I was still having those nasty contractions and they were good about working during them but waiting to do any ouchy stuff until in-between.

Somewhere around this time, they also put in an IV for saline-type fluids + the pitocin drip that would ramp up the contractions. After this I was strapped to the monitors and in bed for keeps. Oh, but they gave me this thing I called the Happy Button which topped up the epidural if I was feeling pain. I tried not to let the Happy Button stray too far from my grasp.

Unfortunately, at one point the nurse didn't like how the baby's heart rate would dip after a contraction and came in to check on me. We switched my position around and somewhere in there his heart rate dropped for a good few minutes. The medical staff jumped right on it and within minutes there were two doctors and at least three nurses in the room checking on me. They turned back the pitocin and we all had a conversation about the possibility of a c-section if The Bean's heart rate was continuing to drop with the contractions.

At this point I was pretty freaked out, but was reassured when the doctor's watched the monitors after they stopped the oxytocin and said that he was doing okay. The staff doctor recommended that we take a break from the drugs to let him recover and then start them up again but more slowly this time. I have to say, for all of the talk about OB's being interventionist, she was excellent at trying to make sure I could still have a vaginal delivery. When his heart rate dropped, if they had said the only safe way to deliver was by c-section I wouldn't have hesitated to roll on down to the OR. I'm appreciative of Dr. Meffe's efforts to keep the birth vaginal.

So, they cranked back the pitocin and waited for a bit. At one point the nurse came in and said it was probably time to start it back up again, but both doctor's on the floor were in deliveries at the time, so she was going to wait until they were out and start it up then. And that's what they did.

Allison and I had just settled in for the long haul - expecting to deliver sometime in the late night or early morning when a new nurse came in to check on me. My regular nurse was on her break and this woman was her break relief. A former mid-wife, this nurse (who I later just called coach) checked my dilation and to our great surprise said I was 10 cm. She flicked on the lights and started doing stuff to the bed saying it was time to push. Whoa - It was only around 10 pm.

Allison asked the medical intern to find our midwife who was at the hospital with another client. Luckily, she had just finished delivering the baby for the client and in just a few minutes she was in the room with her student helping to do labor support.

Again, there were a ton of people in the room during most of the pushing. At one somewhat comical moment, it was only Allison, me, the medical intern, and the midwifery student. They coached me through the pushing. Around the 45 minute mark (I think!) Allison looked down and said she could see see his head and it was covered with blonde hair! I kept pushing and about 1 hour into it, the staff doctor said that she was getting concerned about letting the pushing go on for much longer because of the IUGR possibility. She also said that part of the reason it was taking this long was because I had very strong muscles that really weren't letting him through. Sooo, they busted out the vacuum and also gave me an episiotomy because of the above mentioned Ms. Olympia-worthy pelvic muscles.

Something I appreciated about the resident using the vacuum (which Allison says looks more like a suction cup than a vacuum) is that she told me that I still had to do the work of pushing, she was just using the vacuum to guide him out. Saying that let me know that I couldn't slack off on my job, and also helped me realize the vacuum wasn't as scary as some people make it out to be. Afterwords The Bean only had minor bruising on his noggin.

So, on the next set of contractions I pushed and Dr. Gen (AKA blonde doctor) guided. At one point, someone told me to look down and I could see The Bean from the torso up as someone was pulling him out of me. It was awesome.

They didn't put him on me right away because of the IUGR concerns. They wanted someone from pediatrics to examine him immediately. So, over to the warming station he went. Allison went over with him while I stayed to deliver the placenta and get stitched up.

Over at the table, the pediatrics doctor and some of the midwives cleaned him up and did his apgar score - a resounding 9! (The highest you can get is 10, but no one ever gets it.) They administered the vitamin K shot and put erythromycin in his eyes to prevent infection.

The pediatrician came over after a few minutes and told me that he was a healthy little boy. He clocked in at 5 lbs, 10 oz and 19 inches long.

At this point, care was transferred back over to the midwife team. They brought him over and gave him to me to hold then one of the midwives helped him latch onto my breast for the first time. Allison went down the hall to the waiting room and got my parents. They had stayed later then intended when my mom came to say goodbye and noticed that all of the lights in the room were on and it was filled with medical staff.

Mom and dad didn't get to hold him that night, but they were both super happy to see him. We hadn't told anyone his name before this point, so we announced it to them. His middle name is my dad's first name and he appeared to be touched.

Kristen, our midwife, discussed discharging me and asked if we preferred to stay overnight or go home. I wanted to go home so I could try to get a better night's sleep, but my dad piped up and informed her that we live in a 3rd floor walk up. Given our apartment location, my stitches, that the weather was pretty bad, and that we'd been through a lot the past couple of days, Kristen thought it was better that we stay the night.

So, off to the ante-natal rooms again we went. I got to be chauffeured down in a wheel-chair, though to tell the truth I got one kickin' hemorrhoid from pushing and may have preferred to shuffle down on my own.

This time Allison didn't have a recliner, so we both slept in my hospital bed (we fit much better that night than we would have had my belly still had a baby in it) with The Bean. It was amazing to doze and wake up with him snuggled between the two of us.

Overall, the experience felt very long but the hospital staff was unbelievable and I'm ecstatic to be home with my wonderful wife and our beautiful and healthy new son.

Friday, January 21, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama

Due Date

Today is the day The Bean was supposed to arrive. It's kind of strange to imagine that if Jen hadn't been induced that he may not have been here until now... or even later than now. The past ten days we have been soaking up as much of this tiny person as we can and giving him all kinds of love and attention. It has been amazing. I am SO glad that the three of us have had this time together. Going back next week is going to be hard, but I'm glad to know that I have breaks coming up. I can't get enough of this guy!


We went in to hospital on Monday the 10th at about 10am. We waited until about 3pm for the resident in triage to administer a medication (Cervadril) to make the cervix shorten and soften. They kept us at the hospital overnight because they wanted Jen to be at the hospital when labour started in case the baby wasn't handling things well. They also wanted to check Jen's vitals every 4 hours. By around 1:00am on Tuesday Jen was having some mild contractions. She woke me up at 1:30am and we timed them for a while. At about 2:30am we called the nurse and she checked on things and then at 3:00am a doctor came by to take out the Cervadril and see how things were progressing. She was slightly dilated, and we were told to try to get some sleep until the morning.

By about 2:30 in the afternoon Jen's contractions were getting a lot stronger. She had to stop and breathe through them and if she was up walking around she had to stop and hold on to something. The pain was very intense. When the doctors checked things again she was about 3cm. After having spent most of the night awake we were concerned with the strong contractions and estimating that it would take about another 6-7 hours to get to 10cm plus an hour or two of pushing that she would get too tired to continue with a natural delivery, so she asked for the epidural. They put that in at about 4pm and the relief was significant. Around that time they also started the Petocin. We were both able to lie down and rest for an hour or so, which was wonderful.

They continued to monitor Jen's contractions and the baby's heart rate as they increased the dosage of Petocin to make the labour progress. After a contraction the baby's heart rate would dip a little, which they weren't too happy about. Then, at one point, the baby's heart rate really dropped after a strong contraction and didn't pick back up. The medical and midwifery staff all rushed into the room. I was pretty scared, but the doctor was fantastic. She calmly turned back the dosage of Petocin and explained that if the baby continued to react that way then she would recommend a cesarean. I have to give her a lot of credit, at that point if the she had said she thought we should have a cesarean we would have done it without a second thought. Instead, she decided to give us a time to continue to monitor things before making that decision. The baby's heart rate stabilized after about three or four minutes and we were able to continue with the vaginal delivery.

At about 10pm a nurse came in and checked Jen. She was 10cm and the nurse encouraged her to start pushing with the next contraction! We were very surprised. Our team of doctors, midwives and nurses came in and encouraged Jen to push through her contractions. Right towards the end they used a vacuum and administered a 2nd degree episiomity to help him on his way out. After a little under an hour The Bean was born. It was absolutely amazing to watch him come out and look around and start to cry. They cleaned him off and checked his APGAR response (which were great -9/10 at both the one and five minute marks). Then they let us hold him. One of the midwives helped Jen start nursing right away. Jen's parents were in the waiting room and came in shortly after the birth to visit.

We ended up staying in the hospital overnight so that they could keep a close eye on both Jen and The Bean and on Wednesday we went home. Jen's parents stayed in the city until Thursday. They were very helpful -watching the baby while we rested, going to the store and getting some things we needed, preparing and tidying up dinner, etc.

The first couple of days (well, more nights) were a little tough. We were very concerned about The Bean's size and he wasn't nursing well. Fortunately we were able to get a lot of support from the midwives and from a doula we hired just so we could have that extra little bit of reassurance. He's now eating like a champ and packing on the weight. After a drop down to 5lbs. 2oz. on day three, today he weighed in today (day ten) at 6lbs. 1oz.! We're all starting to figure things out a bit and get into a little routine (eat, diaper change, sleep, repeat). The Bean's had lots of visitors, but we're trying not to overdo it. I think my favourite moment so far was when the four of us (cat included) cuddled up on the couch together.

I cannot express how wonderful it is having this little guy in our lives. I love our little family so much!

Friday, January 14, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Birth Announcement

We are happy to announce the birth of our son. Born January 11th, 2011. Weighed 5lbs, 10oz. at birth. Baby is healthy and doing well.

Longer update to follow when Mom and Mama are a little better rested. For now, we're enjoying falling in love with this little boy and figuring out this whole parenting thing.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Coming Soon...

We had our second ultrasound appointment with the high-risk doctor on Wednesday morning and he made the recommendation that we induce early. Right now baby is still looking small but healthy and there don't seem to be any other issues. The doctor said he thought it would be prudent to induce after 38 weeks (which is considered full term) to avoid any of the complications that are often associated with IUGR. So, we go in on MONDAY. It's not exactly how we had envisioned things going, and I expect that the labour will be more difficult for Jen (especially as she really doesn't like needles/IVs), but after listening to the doctor and talking to our midwife, we feel like it's the best route to go.

Wish us luck.

The next time I post it will likely be with the birth announcement!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Waiting for Baby

Happy New Year!

I'm excited for this coming year. There is a lot to look forward to.

Our nursery is nearly ready for baby's arrival...

... and it's a good thing, because this past Wednesday we were given an official diagnosis of IUGR and were told that we will potentially have to induce early. Perhaps as early as next week. For now everything looks fine but the baby is small. If future tests (yes, more tests) show that the baby is continuing to drop off in size (he's now in the third percentile) or that placenta isn't functioning as it should, that's when they would induce. We are now under shared care, meaning we still have our midwives but we are also under the care of a doctor from the hospital. From now until the bean is born we will have ultrasounds on Wednesdays and non-stress tests combined with our midwife appointments on the weekends. It's a lot of appointments, but I'm glad that a close eye is being kept on the bean to make sure everything is okay. I'm looking forward to meeting him, but hoping he can stay inside as close to his due date as possible.