Posts tagged Doctor

The Birth Story as Told by Mom

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No turning back

I went to bed Thursday night feeling good, but really tired.  It was the only day since going back to work that I had stayed all the way until 5pm…go figure.  Around 12:30, I got up to go to the bathroom, and was hardly awake, when suddenly my legs were soaked and I realized this was not normal.  Suddenly I’m running the 10 feet to the bathroom yelling, “J, I think my water just broke!!!!”  I sat there in disbelief as I realized that, in fact, my water had broken and that meant there was no turning back now.  Justin came into the bathroom trying to wake up and comprehend what I was saying, and to process exactly what it meant.

We decided not to call our doctor because we knew that we would then be “on the clock” to deliver within 24 hours, but labor had not started at all at this point, and we didn’t want to risk being induced.  Justin called Tanya, our doula, and she agreed with our decision and told us to get as much rest as possible and to text her when contractions started, and to then call around 5am.

We went back to bed and contractions started within 30 minutes or so.  I told Justin to go to sleep, that I could easily handle these early contractions without any help, and I needed him to be as rested as possible in the coming hours.  This lasted probably an hour and then I really needed his help to get through each contraction.

As I was lying there, I was trying to relax every part of my body so that my uterus could take all the energy it needed in order to make the contractions effective.  I pictured my uterus as a piece of machinery that was gaining power with each contraction.  I envisioned it pulling all the energy inward from each of my limbs, which were totally limp.  With each contraction, a little bit more of my uterus would light up, and eventually the whole thing would light up, and that would be when I was ready to push.  This worked for a while, but eventually, lying down was no longer an option.

There were some really challenging contractions, and all I wanted to do was take a hot shower or bath to help me relax.  Unfortunately, our building has a sub-par hot water heater so Justin kept checking for me, but there was zero hot water, so I just had to wait until it kicked in again.  I was really emotional at this point, and kept crying in between contractions about how I wanted so badly to do this labor naturally, but I just wasn’t sure that I could actually do it.  Justin was amazing at keeping me focused on the present and telling me that not only could I do it, I was actually doing it, so just keep it up!  I could feel myself becoming more and more dependent on him with every contraction as the intensity picked up and my energy level was dropping.

Justin helped me sit up and that helped some, but it limited how much I could relax the rest of my body.  We tried sitting on the birthing ball (an exercise ball), leaning over it (NOT a good position for me), and anything else we could think of to help relieve some of the pain and allow me to relax.  Eventually, I ended up sitting on the toilet and that was the most comfortable I was for the next eight hours or so.

Yes I can!

Around 7am, Justin ran to Duane Reade for me to get some drinks and other things I needed.  At first, I was totally terrified to have him leave. He had been with me for every contraction and was so encouraging that the thought of him being gone even for a little bit was almost too much.  I really needed him to go to the store, though, so I decided to get into the shower and thank the Lord we had hot water.  As I stood in the shower, I rocked back and forth and started chanting, “Yes I can!!”  I realized that mentally, labor was getting away from me, and if I was serious about doing this med-free, I was going to have to gain control of my mind and work hard to focus.

While Justin was gone, I started throwing up during contractions, so as soon as he got back he called Tanya and told her this.  She said she was on her way over right away, since this was a change in my labor and indicated that things had stepped up.  When Tanya arrived and rang our doorbell I had just started a contraction and Justin started to head to the buzzer to let her in.  I think it’s a miracle that my nails didn’t dig into his arms to keep him with me until the contraction ended.  He had no more than opened the door for her when another one came and I was screaming from the bathroom for him to come back to me—I think he covered the length of our apartment in about 3 leaps to get to me!

Tanya and Justin talked for a minute and I remember hearing her say, “Oh she looks great, she’s really doing it, this is great” so that was encouraging.  I was really doubting myself because I didn’t think I was doing it “right.”  I told Tanya this and she was so sweet—she said of course I was doing it right, I’m having my baby and I’m doing exactly what I needed to do!

We had arranged for our dog Buddy to go to a dog sitter’s house while we had the baby, so once Tanya arrived, Justin was planning to take him.  While he was getting dressed to leave, Tanya asked me where Justin needed to go, and when I told her 27th street (we live on 196th), her face totally changed and she immediately went to tell Justin that Buddy was on his own because that was NOT an option at this point.  I must say, I was really relieved because I really didn’t want him to leave me.

Next time, have a home birth…

Instead, she said we were going to the hospital because I was in a lot of labor at that point.  Suddenly, I was really scared at the prospect of going to the hospital and really having this baby.  It also didn’t help to think of getting into a cab and driving down the West Side Highway while contracting, but as Tanya explained, “Next time have a home birth, but right now, we’re going to the hospital”.

I think that was what I needed to hear—that we’re going and that we’ll take it one minute at a time, and at the end I would have my baby girl.  I had 2 contractions before we got to the front door of our building so I’m sure the people on the first floor thought some animal was dying in the lobby, but it was really just my moaning.

As we got into the cab, the driver looked totally terrified and started yelling “ambulancia, ambulancia!!” Tanya assured him that I was fine, this was not an emergency and he needed to get us to the hospital.  As we were driving, I was holding my head halfway out the window and Tanya was putting counter-pressure on my hips to relieve some of the tension and pressure.  This was by far the longest car ride of my life and ended with a trip down what I have labeled the road from hell—where potholes in NYC go to die!!  As we pulled up to the hospital I heard the driver (speaking Spanish), giving our credit card number to the dispatcher and he was saying, “Run the number, this woman is going to give birth in my car!!!”

As we got into the elevator at the hospital, someone had the nerve to get in with us and press for a stop at the 5th floor (we’re going to the 12th).  Even in my state of semi-awareness I wanted to tell them how annoying that was to me in that moment.  We also stopped at the 2nd floor so someone else could get on, but they took one look at me and decided it was not worth it!  Finally we got to the 12th floor and I was so relieved to be there—the final leg of the journey!

Been here before

The waiting room in triage was packed, but at this point I couldn’t open my eyes, I was just focused on each contraction as it came so I just kept doing my thing.  After about 20 minutes of waiting (and lots of contractions, and throwing up in front of a bunch of strangers), we were called back into triage.

As we went back, I felt myself getting really defensive because our hospital separates the laboring mother from her spouse to do a domestic violence screening (yes, WHILE she is in labor!).  The triage nurse started to tell us that we needed to be separated and at that point I was yelling, “He is NOT leaving me, there is no domestic violence, we have been here before!”  She was not fond of my behavior and said, “Well if you’ve been here before then you know how to put the gown on—last room on the right,” and walked off in a huff.

Once we got settled, Dr. Shulina came in to examine me and see our progress and this is where things went downhill for me, mentally.  She said I was at 4cm (I was expecting 7-8).  I wish I could say at this point that I was brave and courageous and kept my eyes on the prize, but I wasn’t and I didn’t.  I lost it.  I was sure she had made a mistake and was totally beside myself.  Justin was working so hard to keep me calm but I was truly in a state of panic.  Dr. Shulina had to really talk me down and get me to re-focus on what I was doing.  Contractions were really strong and I figured I had a good 8-12 hours to go and was convinced that I couldn’t do it—there was no way.  I told Justin I wanted the epidural and that I wanted it NOW.  I figured I would have it eventually, so there was no need to wait!  Again, I became really emotional, because I was so disappointed that we wouldn’t have the birth we both wanted so badly, but I was drowning in self-defeat by this time.

Justin was amazing—he just kept encouraging me to keep it up, that I was doing great, even though I kept telling him just the opposite.  Finally, Dr. Shulina decided that I was severely dehydrated because I was continuing to throw up all the water/Gatorade I was drinking, so I needed an IV.  She explained that my uterus was not relaxing between contractions because of the dehydration so in essence I wasn’t getting a break between contractions.  Although I wasn’t able to verbalize it, this made a big difference to me.  Knowing that something wasn’t working 100% the way it should made me think that maybe I could do this once my body was back to laboring the way it needed to.

The same nurse who greeted us at triage was responsible for getting my IV ready and in my arm, and she took her sweet time.  Even in my state of labor I knew this was taking a long time, and when she finally came in, it’s a miracle Justin didn’t smack her for not getting there sooner! Originally, I did NOT want an IV because I wanted to be free to walk around between contractions, but at this point I had no interest in walking, so I figured an IV couldn’t hurt.  The feeling of that cold liquid going into my arm was like pure adrenaline going into my body.

I had the IV in my arm for only 5-10 minutes when suddenly the room was full of nurses and doctors.  They were telling me that they couldn’t keep Brooklyn’s heart beat on the monitor and they needed me to turn onto my side.  I told them I couldn’t but the resident looked at me and said, “Your baby is in trouble—get on your side.”  Suddenly, what she was saying clicked in my mind and I rolled to my side and they started me on an oxygen mask.  Again, I really started to panic because I didn’t know what was going on but all of these people in our room made me think something was REALLY wrong.

I HAVE TO PUSH!

They did another exam to check my progress and just as the resident announced, “She’s fully plus two, go get Shulina,” I had the most unbelievable urge to push.  Dr. Shulina came right in and they started to move me into a delivery room (we had been in triage for about 30-40 minutes at this point).  As they’re moving my bed, my arm was lifted into the air because my IV was still attached to the wall.  A nurse told me to keep my arms inside the bed and Justin kindly reminded her that it was because my arm was attached to an IV which was still in our triage room!

As we were moving into the delivery room I told Shulina, “I HAVE TO PUSH”, and she responded with the calmest voice, “So push!”  That was a great comfort to me—I had been in a panic mode in triage and Shulina made it clear that this was the most natural thing in the world, so if I wanted to push then it’s time to push and that was fine with her! 

Once we got settled into the delivery room, Shulina started talking to me about how to push, and preparing me for the “ring of fire.”  I had read a LOT of labor stories and knew a lot about the stages of labor, so I was prepared for this, but I still found that I was scared.  Many of my friends had pushed for several hours and I told her I couldn’t do this for 3 hours!  Again, she was totally calm and said, “You won’t—you’ll be done very soon!”  She probably couldn’t have really known that, but at that moment I needed to hear it, and it helped change my attitude to an attitude of “Yes, I can do this—my body is designed for it!”

With the next contraction, I had the most satisfying feeling of pushing.  Finally, instead of trying to relax into contractions, and allowing my body to take over, I could do something in response to the urges.  I was mostly on my back but sitting up to push when again, Brooklyn’s heart rate was not steady enough for Shulina’s liking, so she had me lay on my right side.  Again, Justin was AMAZING.  My entire upper body was supported completely by him, and from my hips down I was on the bed on my side.  Between contractions I just wanted to bury my face in his chest and hold his hand because it was such a comfortable and safe place.  With each push it was amazing that I could feel Brooklyn moving through my body, and I knew I was so close to meeting her.

As she was starting to crown, Dr. Shulina took my hand so I could touch her head and I remember yelling, “I don’t want to touch her; I want her OUT!” It sounds bad, but what I really meant was that I didn’t want just the top of her head; I wanted to hold my baby girl!

The most beautiful sound

Finally, she was there, screaming bloody murder, and it was the most beautiful sound!  The cord was around her neck once, which was why her heart rate was dropping (it was being compressed), but once she was out everything was perfect!

When they handed her to me I couldn’t believe how tiny she was.  I also couldn’t believe that I had gone from 4 cm to holding my daughter in an hour and fifteen minutes (maybe less)!!  They took her away a few minutes later to get her foot prints and do the eye ointment, foot prick etc, and while I HATED being separated from her, it was a beautiful sight to see Justin over there with her with his hand covering almost her whole upper body.  Finally the nurse brought her back and Tanya helped us get started on breast feeding.

By far, this was the hardest most emotional experience of my life, but it was also an intensely empowering experience.  I felt like if Justin and I could handle this, we had a good start into parenthood.  I have never needed another human being the way I needed Justin during those 12 hours, and seeing the way he took care of me took our relationship to an even deeper level.  He was my rock– emotionally, physically and mentally throughout this labor.  I am so deeply thankful that we got the labor we wanted and that we did it together—Praise the Lord!

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The Birth Story As Told by Dad

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Well I’m sure many of you are anxious to hear the birth story, so we have decided to give it to you from two perspectives: mine and Carrie’s. While the overall story will be the same, the details will undoubtedly be different. We’ll start with mine, and Carrie’s will follow.

The beginning

It was Thursday night and we went to bed like any other weekday night, expecting to wake up and go to work in the morning. Although we had pressed some labor inducing pressure points the past couple days, we had no idea that labor was about to begin. Carrie fell asleep first as I worked on an article for my Michigan football/basketball site as is our usual nightly ritual. I finally turned off the computer and went to sleep around 11:30.

What seemed like a few hours later, I was awaken out of a deep sleep by Carrie jumping out of bed, running to the bathroom, and yelling, “J, I think my water broke!!!” I jumped up and ran into the bathroom, stepping in “water” all over the floor along the way. She asked what time it was, and thinking it had to be 3 or 4am, I looked at the clock shocked that it was only 12:30. We decided to call our doula, Tanya, to let her know. Since labor hadn’t actually started yet, she told us to go back to bed, get some rest, and not call the doctor, because they would tell us to come into the hospital right away and we would be on the clock. She told us to call her back at 5:30, or earlier if there was a major change.

We got back in bed hoping to get some sleep and expecting a long road ahead. All I could think of, however, is the Beastie Boys song “No Sleep Till Brooklyn.” About a half hour later, labor started. Since we took Bradley classes and prepared for this moment, everything we learned was that if labor starts in the middle of the night, sleep in between contractions because you’ll need to save your energy for later.

Over the course of the next four hours, the contractions got worse and worse to the point where Carrie couldn’t lay down through them anymore. At 5:30, I called Tanya and gave her the update. She asked a bunch of questions and even talked to Carrie and we decided that she would come over around 10:30. We could make it until then, or so we thought.

The mistake

It became apparent that Carrie needed some items that she had run out of. The drug store, Duane Reade, opened at 7, so I ran out to get those items and some Gatorade right when they opened. This is where I made stupid dad mistakes number one and two. I made the seven block walk, got everything I needed, got to the checkout counter, and realized I had no money. I had forgotten my wallet. So I ran home, grabbed my wallet, ran back, paid, and ran back home sure that Carrie was going to kill me. Mistake number two was that in my hurry to grab everything, I got Gatorade G2, the low calorie kind. Tanya had specifically told Carrie to drink something with calories. But Carrie was fairly out of it by then, and we didn’t even realize until afterward.

The change

At that point, the contractions were getting really bad and the only position that seemed to work was sitting on the toilet. We tried pretty much all the techniques we had learned in Bradley class, but this was all that was working by now.

I talked to Tanya again because Carrie had started throwing up, and she said she would hop in a cab and come over right away. It would take her about an hour to get there. We kept fighting through the contractions and I tried the calming technique that she had told me she really wanted to use: visualizing the beach. Unfortunately, she was having none of it. She even said, “I don’t want to go to the beach; I want this to stop.” I was starting to lose hope (although I would never outwardly show it). I was definitely ready for some reinforcements, and thankfully, Tanya arrived.

The plan had been for me to take Buddy to a house-sitter when Tanya got there, but she quickly decided that Carrie was far enough along that it was time to go to the hospital. Sorry Buddy!

I called the doctor and told her the status, and she said to come in right away. It was 10am at this point. I called for a cab (not telling them that we had a pregnant lady in active labor).

The cab ride

Tanya told us we had to go, but Carrie didn’t think she could make it down the stairs, let alone a 20 minute cab ride. We got her dressed and I frantically grabbed our go-bag and the car seat. We made it outside, after stopping for contractions at the bottom of the stairs and in the building lobby. We climbed into the cab as Carrie was moaning “I can’t do this!” Tanya got in the back with Carrie and I rode shotgun to give the driver directions. When we got in, he wasn’t very happy with what he was seeing and hearing. He barely spoke English and kept saying “ambulancia! ambulancia!” Tanya calmed his nerves by telling him that we were going to make it to the hospital and to just get us there.

Along the way, Carrie was hurting from all the bumps. At one point, she screamed, “I’m going to die!!!!” Tanya was doing a great job of calming her down and reassuring her, while I was reaching my hand back from the front seat and letting her squeeze the life out of it. After we hit a little bit of construction on the West Side Highway, we got to our exit and then hit a road full of pot holes, to which Carrie screamed, “This is the road from hell!!!!” I think the cab driver got a little chuckle out of that, but we were only a couple blocks from the hospital, so he was calling in my credit card number to dispatch. They were taking forever to respond to him, so he was saying (in Spanish), “Run the credit card, this lady is going to give birth in my cab!”

The hospital

We made it to the hospital and Tanya took Carrie inside while I finished paying. As we got in an elevator, Carrie started another mammoth contraction. Some lady had the gall to get on and press the fourth floor (we were going to 12) and hold the door. Carrie screamed, “shut the door!!!” Then things got interesting.

We got off the elevator and walked into triage waiting room, which was filled, not with people in labor, just with people. We barely made it into the room when another huge contraction started, wailing, moaning, and all, so Tanya and I threw down our bags to support Carrie. A triage nurse had the nerve to say, in mid contraction, “You need to clear the way.” Tanya said we would do it after the contraction, but the nurse snarkily said, “one of you can hold her and one of you can move the bags.” Again, we said we would do it after the contraction, but she said something about it being for safety, to which Carrie yelled, “SERIOUSLY?!?!?”

The contraction ended, we moved the bags, and Carrie sat down in a chair. It took about 15-20 minutes for the nurses to call her in to a bed. Her contractions were almost non-stop at this point. When they called us in, Tanya told me to go in with her. New York has this awesome (as in, not awesome) law where they don’t let the male go in right away. They have to ask the patient questions about domestic violence first. Well, we were prepared (since we had already been there twice for early contractions). I went in with her and when the triage nurse started to say something, Carrie said, “He’s coming with me. There’s no domestic violence. We’ve been here before.” So the nurse then said, “Well if you’ve been here before, then you know how to put the gown on.”

We got to the little room in triage and made it through some more contractions. The doctor came in to check the cervix and our worst fears came true. She was only at 4cm. At that point, I didn’t think I would be able to keep Carrie going any longer. We had prepared for nine months to have a completely natural birth, she had stressed that she really didn’t want an epidural, and in our meeting with the doctor a couple weeks ago, she told her that. But at that moment, hearing that she was only 4cm when she expected to hear 8 or 9, she lost it.

Thankfully, the doctor was awesome. She encouraged Carrie and did just what she said she would do in our meeting: asking Carrie to just go a little longer. She also informed us that Carrie was dehydrated and needed an IV. Even if she got an epidural, she would still have to have the IV because the dehydration was keeping the cervix from relaxing in between contractions, which explained the extreme pain Carrie was in. She wasn’t getting any kind of rest in between.

We were in there for about 20 minutes and the IV really seemed to help, but Carrie was still really hurting and still asking for the epidural. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could hold off. This whole time, every chance I got, I had been texting back and forth with Tanya, who was still in the waiting room (they only let one person in at a time in triage). She was giving me encouragement and saying that Carrie wasn’t really 4cm. Everything pointed towards much more than that.

All the sudden, two different nurses came in saying the baby’s heart rate was declining and they needed to check Carrie again. Just as they started to check her, Carrie screamed, “I have to push!!!” The nurse said that she was now 10, plus 2, or in other words, 12cm., so they called for the doctor. The doctor came in and told Carrie it was okay to start pushing and that it was a good thing because the baby was coming, so they were going to wheel us in to labor and delivery.

The triage nurses started wheeling the bed away and I noticed that no one had remembered to grab the IV pole, which was still attached to Carrie’s arm. If I hadn’t yelled at them to stop, they would have ripped it right out, but they stopped and grabbed it and then wheeled her into L&D. I ran into the waiting room to grab Tanya and then went back to the room, which was right across the hall.

The birth

She started pushing at about 11:40 and eventually, the doctor told her she had to lay on her side. It all happened so fast that the way she laid, her top half was off the bed and I was completely holding her up. Tanya was on her left side holding her leg up, and a nurse was holding her right leg up, while the doctor was monitoring the pushing.

At first, Carrie was really screaming when she was pushing, but the doctor told her to focus that energy downward instead of outward. She really seemed to respond to that and did a great job of pushing for the next 10-15 minutes (if that). I started to see the baby’s head come out and the doctor had Carrie reach down to touch it so she knew it was almost out. As it came a little farther, the doctor reached in and unwrapped the cord from around her neck (it was only wrapped around once, so it wasn’t a huge worry). Then, Brooklyn came out and it was the greatest feeling in the world.

Carrie was exhausted and incredibly relieved that we had done it. I couldn’t help but tear up as she pushed her out and the doctor sat Brooklyn up and she started crying. I don’t really remember much during those first couple minutes other than hugging Carrie and then standing with Brooklyn underneath the heat lamp while Carrie pushed out the placenta.

The lesson

If you or your wife is pregnant, or you’re planning to get pregnant down the road, and you want to do a natural birth, I would strongly recommend getting a doula for your birth, especially if it’s your first one. We felt so comfortable with Tanya because she had witnessed so many births and really understood all the signs to look for in the process of labor. Obviously, I had never done it before, so having someone who we both felt comfortable with and trusted was invaluable.

A few days before that, we met with Tanya for a final time to go over any last fears, questions, or requests and she told us a couple of stories about recent births where they didn’t trust her instinct and ended up not getting the birth they wanted. I don’t really remember the details of them, but was right in both instances if she had only trusted her instinct instead of giving in. That told me that I could trust her, and boy am I glad I did. I don’t think we would have made it to the hospital if she hadn’t been there because by the time she got to our apartment, Carrie was a lot farther along than either of us thought. She was still coherent in between contractions, which all of our training told us she wouldn’t be.

I’m so incredibly proud of Carrie. I knew that if any woman in this world was capable of a natural birth, it was her, and even though I almost gave up while she was asking for an epidural, I never doubted that she could do it. The biggest challenge was helping her believe that she could. Thankfully, that worst period, where she was saying she couldn’t, was really the period of self-doubt, which is a the final stage of labor.

The funny thing is that we had wanted so badly to give birth in the birthing center, but didn’t even need it. We had wanted to spend as little time in the hospital as possible, that our hope was to show up, be checked, and be admitted to the birthing center for the birth. But because of how far along she really was when we got there, even though the initial exam didn’t reflect it, we were in the hospital barely an hour before Brooklyn was born. I had gone to bed that night expecting to wake up and go to work, but my daughter was born before lunch time. Carrie obviously won’t say it was easy, but from nothing to born in less than 12 hours, with only about 20 minutes of pushing is not too shabby.

36 Weeks and We Made It!

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Well, we finally made it to 36 weeks and now we’re ready for you to be born! Mommy is off bed rest, so we spent most of the day out enjoying the perfect weather. It was her first time outside the apartment in five or six weeks (aside from walking out the front door, hopping in a cab, going to a doctors appointment, getting back in a cab and coming home), so we took advantage of it. First, we slept in for what might be the last time (if you’re born before next weekend) and I made some killer blueberry cornmeal pancakes. The recipe is on the new food page on the dropdown menu up above. I can’t wait for mornings with you in a couple years when I can make you pancakes.

After we ate, we went for a nice long walk in Ft. Tryon Park with Buddy, up and around the Cloisters. We came home and relaxed for a couple hours, watched some basketball and golf and then went out to dinner. I surprised mommy by taking her to one of her favorite restaurants, Ivo & Lulu (thanks to Restaurants.com for the awesome $25 off gift certificate). Ivo & Lulu is a great little French Caribbean restaurant down in Tribeca, right near the entrance to the Holland Tunnel. I’m talking maybe 20 people can fit in this place, but the food is fantastic. We had an appetizer of a baked avocado stuffed with spinach and mushroom vinaigrette. Mommy (and you) had the roast duck leg confit and I had the boar and sage sausages in blueberry sauce. It’s all amazing.

Enjoying her first day off bed rest...we've always wanted to get a picture by this mural around the corner from our apartment

After dinner, we went to church for the first time in a few weeks. The great thing about our church, Redeemer, is that it has five services every Sunday at three different locations, so if you aren’t able to make it to one, you can catch another one. There, we just so happened to run into a former classmate from Taylor who I didn’t know very well, but had some classes with (small world), and we also ran into the guy who married us three years ago, John Bowen. I lived with him and his wife on Roosevelt Island when I first moved to the city, and he served as a great mentor for us throughout our engagement. He did our marriage counseling and married us, so it was great to see him again.

It was a good day all around, although mommy’s back and legs are pretty sore from all the walking, which she hasn’t done in a few weeks. She’s going back to work tomorrow, though she probably won’t work a full day. We’ll see how it goes because she’s been used to taking naps throughout the day and just taking it easy. Luckily, she’ll just be sitting down doing research, so it’s not like she’ll be walking around in court all day.

We have our next doctor appointment on Thursday afternoon. This will be our sit-down meeting with the doctor to go over our birth plan and ask any remaining questions. We’re pretty much ready to go. I plan to install the car seat tomorrow, and we have our “go-bag” packed and ready for when we have to go to the hospital.

Can’t wait to meet you soon!

Love,

Dad

35 Weeks and No More Meds!

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Well we finally had an uneventful week as far as you are concerned. After the craziness of last week, it was nice to have a normal week with no problems.

The highlight of this week was your Pappy coming to visit. He was a tremendous help, allowing me to go back into the office for work, and just taking care of mommy. The contractions settled down and while she’s still having them, they haven’t been as bad. Tonight is the last day she has to take the meds to slow down the contractions. The doctor said she could stop taking them today so it doesn’t slow them down too much since this is the last week of bed rest.

I must admit, she’s been handling the bed rest really well considering how hard it is to just sit/lay around all day. It helps that the weather hasn’t been great so there’s no real incentive for going outside, but Friday was in the mid-60s. It was an early dose of spring and that was really hard for her to not be outside. We have one week left though and tonight we’re supposed to get 3-5 inches of snow, so she won’t want to go out tomorrow at least.

Pappy was such a great help when he was here this past week. He ran Buddy ragged with a few walks a day so mommy could rest and work from home all day without distractions. It was also great for her to spend some quality time with someone other than me…a rarity in the past few weeks.

Since I was able to go back to work for a few days, I was able to participate in the 8th Annual Marketing Werks Chili Cookoff. It’s one of the best traditions at my company and every year about 25 teams compete. This year was the first year that the New York office participated (since it just opened last March) and I’m proud to say that I won. This year’s theme was superheroes, so my team name was Chili Pepper Potts and now I get my name on a plaque in the office. I can’t wait to introduce you to my famous chili someday.

The winner of the Golden Crock Pot from the 8th Annual Marketing Werks Chili Cookoff

I also took a quick day trip to Chicago last Wednesday for some training meetings. The training was supposed to last Wednesday through Friday, but because of the “baby situation” as I have dubbed it, I only went for one day. It was good to meet the new people on my team at work and get together with everybody to get ramped up for the rest of this year.

This morning, I went to a Father’s class at the hospital. It’s one of the optional classes that the hospital offers and I found out that it’s the only class for expectant fathers in all of New York City. That’s pretty amazing that in a city with 8 million people, there’s only one class for expectant fathers that meets once a month, and on this Saturday I was one of only five men in the class. That really goes to show that society still views fathers as second-rate parents, which is something the teach of the class harped on. We aren’t the on-call parent; we’re the other parent, he said. We talked about a lot of topics and he said his favorite acronym is:
Dependability
Availability
Dedication
If you have those three things, you’ll succeed as a father. He wasn’t the greatest teacher in the world (he went off on tangents off of tangents off of tangents), but I definitely got some useful information and it was good being around other soon-to-be dads who had some of the same questions/thoughts I have.

This week is back to working from home, but it’s the last week we have to do that. Next Sunday, mommy will be able to go back to doing pretty much whatever she wants. We have another doctor checkup on Tuesday afternoon, so hopefully everything will check out well.

Stay in there for a couple more weeks and then we can’t wait to meet you!

Keep growing!

Love,

Dad

32 Weeks and You’re a Blonde (maybe)

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Week 32 on bed rest

Well you’re 32 weeks along now and what a week it has been. We went to our scheduled doctor’s appointment on Monday and mommy mentioned that she had been feeling some contractions. The doctor checked her out and said that everything seemed okay, but if they continued or got worse by 24 hours later, to come in to Labor & Delivery. I had to fly to Chicago that next day for work, while mom stayed home from work, and sure enough, the contractions continued, so she went in to the hospital on Wednesday.

The doctors put her on an IV and monitored the contractions. She was there all afternoon and they determined that the contractions weren’t actually causing anything to happen, so she was put on three weeks of bed rest and sent home with

Your room (half of our room)...crib on the left, mommy's chair, and changing table on the right

instructions that if they got any worse she should come back in right away. Fortunately, her friend Amber was gracious enough to go to the hospital and come stay with her while I was stuck in Chicago for a couple extra days due to anther big NYC snowstorm. And Amber’s fiance Chris was gracious enough to come get Buddy and watch him for a couple of days until I got home.

I got home on Friday and worked from home while helping out mommy. I have now officially become “Mr. Mom” for the next few weeks. Cooking, cleaning, taking care of Buddy…you name it, I’m doing it while she’s on bed rest. The last thing we need is for her to think she’s okay enough to do something and then the contractions get worse and we have to go back to the hospital for pre-term labor or hospital bed rest. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait until you’re born…but I want you to be fully developed when you’re ready to come out. So give it another 4-5 weeks and then you’re free to come out!

On Thursday, when mommy went back in for a check-up, they did an ultrasound and said that you are perfectly healthy and progressing perfectly. You weighed three pounds, 10 ounces, which was right on target, and they also pointed our your hair (the white stuff in the bottom right of the picture). Looks like you’re a blonde!

32 Weeks

It has only been about four days of mommy’s bed rest so far and she’s already starting to go crazy from just sitting/laying around all day. Yesterday, I went out and bought a Blu-ray player (because our old DVD player stopped working a few months ago) and we signed up for Netflix (because DirecTV is terrible when it comes to ordering movies on demand). So she’ll have plenty of movies to watch in the coming weeks.

We have another doctor’s appointment tomorrow to get everything checked out again, and my work is letting me work from home for at least the next couple days so I can be here to help out mommy. Next Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday and your grandparents are officially opening a new church in Tipp City (where I grew up). It should be exciting for them.

We’re not expecting your for at least another month, so keep on growing and developing until you’re ready to meet the world!

Love,

Dad

31 Weeks and Kicking Like Crazy

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Well, you’re 31 weeks along now and you weigh about 3 1/2 pounds. Your eyes can now respond to light and you are moving around like crazy. Your kicks are getting a lot stronger and we can see you moving around from the outside of mommy’s belly.

Mom had a baby shower in St. Louis last weekend and everyone was so generous. We are really excited about everything we received for you. While she was there, I spent the weekend moving some of our extra furniture and clutter into storage so we could make room for you. Big shout out to our friend Topper for helping out.

Your swing in the "Buddy-free zone"

Sorry to disappoint you, but you don’t get your own room yet…it’s half of our bedroom. We completely rearranged the room from they way it’s been since we moved in and set up half the room for you. It’s still not complete yet because mommy’s chair hasn’t come yet and we haven’t set up the crib yet, so I won’t post any pictures until those things happen. But it’s looking great and I’m really excited about it.

This weekend, we went to Babies R Us and got to park in the “For expecting mothers” space, which was fantastic, and we got some more stuff for you. We got a gate to put up around your swing (pictured) in the living room to keep Buddy from jumping on you. We also got your stroller and a lot of clothes, including a Jets outfit. Unfortunately, the Jets just lost in the AFC Championship game, but you’ll be able to wear it next football season when they win the Super Bowl. We also hit up Marshalls and TJ Maxx for some amazing deals on outfits for you. You’ll definitely be the best dressed baby in NYC.

Last week was our last Bradley class. One of the girls in the class who already had her baby brought her to the class. She was so cute and just laid there and nursed a lot. I can’t wait for that to be you in just a few weeks!

We have our next doctors appointment tomorrow afternoon, and then I’m going to Chicago for a couple days this week for work. Hopefully we get some more ultrasound pictures of you tomorrow. Next week, we have our tour of the birthing center, and in a few weeks we’re taking some classes at the birthing center. It will be a busy next few weeks as we count down the weeks until you’re born!

Keep growing and developing!

Love,

Dad

Since there was no Week 30 post, here's last week's picture, from the baby shower in St. Louis

29 Weeks and Lots of Hiccups

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Well you’re 29 weeks along, which means almost three-fourths of the way here! You’re now the size of a squash and weigh about two-and-a-half pounds! Apparently now your brain is busy developing millions of neurons, which basically means you’re going to be a genius. You’ve also been training for the Olympics in mommy’s tummy. We can actually see you move now, which is all the time. Sometimes it even makes mommy light-headed. You’ve also been getting the hiccups a lot lately and it tickles mommy’s belly.

Over Christmas weekend, New York got hit with a huge snow storm. We were stuck in Chicago for an extra few days, so by the time we got back it wasn’t too bad. Still, we got to take Buddy to the dog park for his first experience with snow. He loved it and kept running full speed and then skidding to a stop right at our feet, as if he were on a snowboard. I can’t wait to introduce you to snow for the first time next winter!

Last week, we had quite an experience at the doctor. I was in Pittsburgh for work and took a really early flight back. I landed at 6:40 a.m. and went straight to mommy’s appointment. The waiting room at this office is pretty much the size of mommy’s womb. There are about 10 seats and nowhere to stand. So we got there and I had a suitcase and backpack and the waiting room was full. Not only was it full, but most of the women were there for their sugar tests. They were drinking these orange and red sugary juice drinks and clearly not happy. So I’m one of only a couple men in this room full of angry, hormonal pregnant women (even mommy agreed…this isn’t just me exaggerating here). We had to stay there for three hours (she had to take a blood test, drink the juice, wait an hour, take another blood test, wait another hour, and take another blood test). Thankfully, I left after the first one and after we met with the doctor because it got even more crowded and tense after I left. Pretty much the most out of place I’ve ever been in my life. I’ll remember this someday when you’re complaining that your parents are embarrassing you.  🙂

Right now, I’m watching the National Championship game and realizing that it’s my last one without you. Tonight could also be the last night without Michigan’s new head coach! Remember a few months ago, you predicted that Rich Rodriguez would be fired. You’ll never get to experience Rich Rod at Michigan, but hopefully you’ll bring us some luck next season with our new coach!

Keep developing those brain neurons!

Love,

Dad

25 Weeks and Over a Pound

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Wow, I can’t believe it has been a month since I’ve written you. I have been really busy with traveling and so much has happened in the past month. Work threw us a baby shower and gave us some great gifts that you’ll love in a few months. We got some onesies, some toys that you’ll love playing with, and some books that I can’t wait to read to you. You’ll have to remember to thank them once you’re able to talk. 🙂

It seems like every day you get more and more real. Mommy’s belly is really growing and you’re dancing around like crazy. It’s so cool to feel you move. Sometimes when we’re laying in bed and mommy is sleeping, I like to just put my hand on her belly and feel you moving all over the place, imagining what it will be like when I can actually hold you and see you.

You now weigh between a pound and a pound-and-a-half and you’re past the week of viability. Supposedly, your ears can now hear, but I’m not sure I like what you’re telling me. A couple of weeks ago, you were kicking like crazy, so I asked you if Michigan should keep head coach Rich Rodriguez. All the sudden, you stopped kicking. I even held my hand there for longer than I anticipated, but sure enough, no kick. So then I asked if Michigan should fire him, and right away, I felt a big kick. You must not be reading my other blog, Maizeandgoblue.com, because I’m still supporting him. That, or you’ve already been corrupted by mommy. Thankfully, my secret Santa at work got me a great gift, one that you’ll be wearing a lot. A Michigan onesie and socks.

A great secret Santa gift. Thanks Kara!

A couple of weeks ago, we had a little bit of a scare. Mommy was having really sharp stomache pains, but decided to try to go to work anyway. By the time she got there, it was really bad. She called her doctor who told her to give it an hour and if it doesn’t go away, to come into the hospital. It didnt’ go away, so we went in and they ran some tests and everything checked out okay with you and her. She ended up getting a couple bags of IV fluid for being dehydrated, and then the pains were gone. The doctor gave her strict orders to drink a gallon of water a day, which she has been doing a great job of. The only problem is she has to go to the bathroom a LOT. But we’re both glad that you’re healthy and growing perfectly.

At Thanksgiving, your great-grandma Bush brought us a cradle that her dad had built from a tree in his front yard. We can’t wait for you to use it. What a great family heirloom! She also knit a really nice blanket for you that will look great on you.

We went to Chicago last week and got to see your cousin James. He was born this past spring and it’s so crazy to think that this time next year, you’ll be that size. He was rolling around and sitting up and even crawling a little bit!

Your other cousin Gavin came to visit us this weekend and we had a great time. He’s four years old and his prayers for the past couple of years have consisted of “please let me ride the subway train with uncle Justin and aunt Carrie. Amen.” Well, he finally got his wish and loved it. Seeing his face when the train was coming and while riding it was great. I can’t wait until you’re here so I can experience those kinds of joys with you…seeing you light up at the things that you like and showing you the great parts of this world.

Our friends from college, Nate and Kate Miley just had a baby girl a couple of weeks ago and we’re really happy for them. It’s fun to look at their pictures and live vicariously through them for a few months until you come. Just thinking about those first few days and weeks with you is so amazing to think about. I still have no idea what to expect, but I know it will change my life forever.

Bradley class is going well, but it’s almost finished. One of the girls in our class had her baby a couple of weeks ago as well, so it’s exciting to start seeing these couples that we have been in class with for the past few months start to actually have their babies. The next one is due on Christmas day, so we’re praying that all goes well.

This weekend is our first weekend at home together in over a month, so we’re going to relax and enjoy it. We’ll probably start getting your room ready (and by your room, I mean half of our room…welcome to New York!). We’re going to rent a small storage unit to put all of our non-essential furniture in for the next few months so we can free up space for you.

Next week, we’re going back to Chicago for Christmas…our last Christmas without you! While it might be more relaxing than future Christmases will be, it certainly won’t be as enjoyable. We’re really looking forward to welcoming you into the world in 15 weeks!

Stay healthy.

Love,

Dad

18 Weeks and a Note from Mom

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This week will be a little bit different because it’s the first pregnancy pic with an actual background (the beautiful view of the Hudson River from the park right by our apartment) and we have a surprise guest…Carrie! She wanted to take a week to post her thoughts to Pablo, so here she is:

Hello Sweet Baby-

I decided it was time to say hello, and give you a little insight into life from my perspective 🙂  So far, you and I have been getting along pretty well, but when you don’t enjoy something I eat you make it clear–which is fair I suppose, since you most likely get your picky eating habits from me. 

I find myself becoming more and more protective of you as we get closer and closer to meeting you, and you really start to feel real.  I haven’t felt you move yet, but when we went to the Dr. last week your heartbeat was beating perfectly at 140 beats/minute, so it will be only a matter of time till you flip over hard enough for me to feel it.  I’m not going to lie, I really can’t wait for that!  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it will be like to actually meet you on your birthday, and your dad and I have made the decision to switch hospitals.  Now you’ll be born at St. Luke’s Roosevelt hospital in NYC rather than NYU.  We switched so that we could deliver at the Birthing Center.  We’re not very “granola” people at all, but we are adopting some more granola habits when it comes to you.  Who knows, maybe this is a sign of things to come.  I mean come on I gave up caffeine….me, who got a job a Starbucks in grad school because I couldn’t afford my habit so I needed the discount!! Everybody tells us how our lives will change dramatically once you come along and rock our worlds, and I know they’re right–I’ve seen it in your Uncle Kent and Aunt Lisanne’s lives, but it’s different when it’s your own life.

My mom and dad (Nana and Pappy) were here this weekend and we all realized this was our “last hoorah” before we add you to the mix.  We enjoyed lots of leisurely meals and naps in the middle of the day–2 things I know will be gone this time next year.  I’m excited to see how our lives change and how we adapt once you join the family.  I think about that a lot–how my and your dad’s roles will change and it makes me so excited to see a whole new side of your dad.  He’s amazing with your cousins and he’s so excited about you–he kisses my belly goodbye before work each day and it’s adorable.

We keep talking about what kind of things we want to do with you, and of course at the top of our list is introducing you to the wonderful world of football.  Now, you are going to be born into a bit of a firestorm: I love Notre Dame, Dad loves Michigan, and Grandpa Potts loves Ohio State.  This is a recipe for disaster my dear.  Don’t worry though, we’ll keep you on the straight and narrow towards the golden dome of the Irish.  This is a major source of contention in your dad and I’s conversations, but I just keep playing the “I am creating life, I choose the team” card….It’s not working, it’s going to be an uphill battle 🙂  Just remember–I got up 30 minutes early so I’d have time to get sick and still make it to work on time–keep that in mind when you’re choosing which jersey to wear.  I’m just sayin…

But I must say, regardless of your college football team status, you’re ours and I will love you forever.  4 years ago I couldn’t have imagined saying that, but then I met your cousin Gavin, and that changed.  Oh my gosh how I love that little man.  Then his brother Eldon joined the mix and at first I wasn’t sure I had enough love for him since I loved Gavin so much–I couldn’t imagine loving 2 kids that much.  And then I met Eldon and now my heart aches when I see pictures of either of them.  And then sweet James came along and it’s a minor miracle I’m not back in Chicago every weekend to kiss his sweet cheeks.  Now I’m going to have you–a piece of me and your dad, and that is the most incredible thing I can imagine.  I love your dad more than words can possibly express, and knowing that we are going to have something that we made together makes my heart so full I think it might burst.  I know that sounds cheesy but there is no other way to put it.  I feel so blessed I think my heart may overflow with gratitude.

I love you sweet baby, and I cannot wait until November 4th to find out if your a boy or girl!!!  By the way, if you could do me a favor and give me a little kick or a flip here in the next few days that would be great–I’m just sayin….

Love you-

Mom

Pablo Gives us a Wave

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The 12 week pregnancy post is a little bit delayed and will probably be posted in the next day or two due to my being in Buffalo all weekend. However, to kick off the 12th week, we do have a nice surprise for today…more pictures!

We decided to go back to the doctor today to get everything checked out again because we had a few concerns. Thankfully, the doctor said everything looks great and healthy with no complications.

We were really happy to be able to get another look at the little one, who we are now affectionately calling Pablo. Yeah, that’s right, Pablo (more on that in a minute).

We saw it moving and heard the heartbeat again (Carrie said it was a fast heartbeat, which usually means it’s a girl…is that true?). It was moving both legs and arms and the doctor said it’s about three-and-a-half inches long, which is three times bigger than it was two weeks ago in the first ultrasound! That’s amazing that it can triple in size in two weeks.

The best part of the visit was when it gave us a wave (left). We were excited to see all five fingers and I’m pretty sure I even saw it give a thumbs up for Michigan’s win over Notre Dame on Saturday.

You can’t really tell in these pictures, but from the way it was moving, it’s legs look really long. I’m convinced it’s going to be a 6’5″ receiver in about 18 years.

The other really cool thing is that you can see the facial features…eyes, nose, mouth and ears already and it’s only been around for 12 weeks!

Now onto the Pablo story. It has nothing to do with the national immigration debate (although maybe fitting, since I was born in Arizona) and everything to do with food.

Carrie’s first real pregnancy craving has been tacos. We make them all the time (and no I’m not talking about Taco Bell; I’m talking real tacos with doubled-up corn tortillas, fresh cilantro, lime, etc), which is fine for me, since I like tacos too, and our neighborhood is all Dominican, so the grocery store on the corner sells pretty much all hispanic food.

The inspiration for the baby-in-womb name...doesn't that make you hungry?

A couple weeks ago when Carrie’s cousin Travis was in town, we made amazing shredded pork tacos and when Carrie went to bed that night she couldn’t sleep because she wanted more tacos. She woke up and wanted more tacos. Pretty much all she could think about was tacos, so we decided the baby must like tacos, and therefore, should have a Mexican name (in the womb). So we settled on Pablo.

I’m not really sure why that was the one that stuck out, but it also fits since one of the best players on my favorite baseball team, the San Francisco Giants, is Pablo Sandoval. That also means the baby’s nickname is the Kung Fu Panda, since that’s Pablo Sandoval’s nickname.

So anyway, we are excited to end the first trimester and move onto the second. I know Carrie is for sure, since everyone says the morning sickness and constant tiredness get better in the second trimester. Stay tuned for the next pregnancy pic and note to the baby in a day or two. Time to go make some tacos.

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