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Birth Stories: When The Unexpected Happens

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Welcome to the Share Your Story event: Childbirth – Your Stories

This post was written as part of the Share Your Story event hosted by Kids in the House. Our contributors have shared their stories, struggles, and wisdom about the unforgettable yet unpredictable event that is childbirth.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had so many thoughts swirling around in my head about what childbirth would be like and the changes that would come with the new addition to our family.

I had very high hopes that I would be able to stick to the birth plan that I wanted but at the same time, I prepared myself for the unexpected. Or so I thought.

Three weeks before “the little hummingbird” was due, I developed preeclampsia and was told I’m being admitted to the hospital that day to have my baby.

My husband and I rushed home, packed in a hurry, and made it back to the hospital.

Part of my birth plan included soothing showers if needed and walks around the hospital floor to help with the progression of labor. As soon as I got into my room, I was hooked up to an I.V. where I was treated with magnesium for preeclampsia. There would be no getting out of the hospital bed for anything.

Things pretty much snowballed from there and everything that happened with my labor and delivery, including an emergency cesarean, was the opposite of what I was hoping for. I really felt like I failed in such a big way. But looking back now, I see that it was out of my control.

An important thing to remember is that while you may be disappointed that things don’t happen as planned with childbirth, try not to be hard on yourself. You do the best that you can but childbirth is very unpredictable. As one of my nurses told me “Babies don’t read the books on what to expect”.

After my daughter was born, things settled a bit but I started to have a nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right. She wouldn’t latch on to nurse and when I was finally able to give her a bottle, she refused that too.

I was becoming more concerned that there was something wrong and told a few of the nurses. I just had no idea what to tell them exactly. There was something in the way she cried and her breathing didn’t always seem quite right. That’s something else to remember; always trust your instincts when it comes to your child and don’t be afraid to voice any concerns that you may have. When it comes to medical care, the best advocate is you.

By the next afternoon, while a nurse was checking on me, my daughter started shaking and crying. The nurse left the room and came back to test her blood sugar. It was extremely low and in an instant, another nurse came in. There was a quick discussion between them and our little girl was rushed to the NICU.

She stabilized by that night but the doctors were baffled at what was wrong.

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The little hummingbird was in the NICU for 3 weeks and many tests were run.

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Despite all of that, they still didn’t know why her blood sugar would be fine for a day or two, and then drop to very low levels.

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Her doctors put her on a medication to stabilize her blood sugar and after a few days of making sure she was doing well, she was finally able to come home.

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We had to keep our daughter on medication for a while and check her blood sugar 3-4 times a day but eventually we were able to stop both of those things. The next five years have been spent trying to find out why she’s had drops in her blood sugar since her stay in the NICU. We’re finally getting closer to an answer which may possibly be Glycogen Storage Disorder.

Becoming a parent is overwhelming enough but when your child has medical issues and has to stay in the NICU, the stress and anxiety can become too much to bear. Having a great support system and keeping the lines of communication open is a must, especially with your spouse.

Despite the difficult beginnings we had, the little hummingbird is thriving and excited to be starting Kindergarten in a few weeks.

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Please be sure to read the submissions by the other Share Your Story contributors, and visit Kids in the House to find out how you can participate in our next Share Your Story Blogger Event!

  • Two Peas in a Pod: A Double Miracle – Rachael at Three Boys and Mom shares how the blessing of an unexpected twin pregnancy saved a woman’s life.
  • Childbirth: the Ache of Love – Sasha at MomLife Now describes how one mom discovered a miraculous beauty she new not existed.
  • Tax Day 2007 – Cheryl at The Pump Station & Nursery looks back on how an easy pregnancy turned out to be a taxing birth experience.
  • Going with the Flow – Bridget at Bridget Bertrand shares how her OB helped to put her on the right course in regards to birth plans, the playlist, and even the recipe to make the day her daughter came into the world.
  • My Not-So Natural Birth Story – Rachel at Mommy Greenest shares a lot of questions with questions with pregnant and new parents through her work, but this time describes what it was like for her, giving birth for the first time – but definitely not the last – time.
  • The (Not So) Perfect Birth Story – Britt at My Life and Kids reflects on how a mom’s life-threatening delivery helped mold her into the mother she was meant to be.
  • Giving Birth: When the Unexpected Happens – Elle at This is Mommyhood shares advice for when your baby has an unexpected stay in the NICU.
  • A New Look at the “Perfect” Birth Story – Melissa at Fill My Cup shares how a crazy delivery gave one mom a new perspective on the ‘perfect birth.’
  • Induction Induced Feelings of LossThe Orange Rhino shares how a planned induction brought unplanned feelings of jealousy, sadness, disappointment and loss.
  • Our Beautiful Birth Story – Lindsay at The Fully Caffeinated Mama reflects on how it wasn’t the feeling of intense pain caused by the epidural wearing off that she remembers, but rather the beautiful baby on her chest for the first time.
  • Jack’s Arrival – Samantha at The Peanuts Gang thought she would have a scheduled c-section, but it turned out that having Jack was QUICK and sooner than expected!
  • Remembering to Breathe – Suzy at Kids in the House explains how with little fanfare, the completely wrong music, and a very distracted doctor, her son Leo was born.
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Guest Post: A military family, traveling with baby, and why road trips suck.

This guest post comes from Olivia who writes at Me And Baby E and who you can find on Twitter MeAndBabyE. A few other posts to check out is 10 Reasons To Stop Comparing You And Your Little Ones To Everyone ElseRespect The Play: Validating Play And Self Esteem, and Breastfeeding… One Mom’s Journey. Make sure to go on over and say hello to Olivia!

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We are a military family, and as such very rarely live close to our extended families. This means lots, and lots, or road trips, anywhere from 2 to 7 hours at the moment.

Our daughter is 10 months old, and the first long (7 hour) road trip we took was when she was 3 months old. Yup, we’re completely crazy.

So here’s my advice on a long road trip with a three month old breastfed baby, or formula fed for that matter: Don’t Do It. A 7 hour road trip will turn into a 9 hour road trip between diaper changes, melt downs (both theirs and yours) and feeding sessions. Whoever you’re going to see, barring they have their own baby, can come see you.

My husband and I both had a serious case of PTSD after that fun journey both there and back.

Now that Eloise is more scheduled, although road trips still suck big time with a baby,  they are far more manageable. And by manageable I mean you have a general idea why they are having a complete meltdown in the carseat for, oh, the fifth time that hour, and it’s probably because they are bored to tears and Baby Einstein won’t cut it.

My advice for this situation: Ear plugs for you and your spouse or partner and a really, really good reason to justify once again traveling long distance with a baby.

I imagine that when Eloise is older and we can reason with her as to why she has to stay in her carseat for crazy long amounts of time things might get easier. “Mommy will go to jail and you’ll never see her again if I let you out of your carseat while we’re driving” doesn’t quite cut it at 10 months as a way to explain the whole sitting backwards in a five point harness with a smelly English bulldog breathing on you.

Oh, did I mention we travel with our smelly English bulldog, Meatball? Ya, add that one into the fun mix.

In light of our experiences thus far with road trips and babies, this Summer we will be practicing the short distance trips to nearby family and avoiding the longer, more painful trips that will most likely result in therapy later in life for both Eloise and ourselves.

If you’ve got older kids, or babies, and have mastered the road trip, preferably without the heavy meds, I’d love to hear from you!

*The Proclaimers ~ I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)

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Pregnancy sucks… and then it doesn’t… and then it does… and then you just want that baby out.

littlebird-ballerina1*This post was inspired by Marianna from Snappy Surprise who’s pregnant with her first child. Let’s take a minute to welcome her to the mommyhood club!

Pregnancy is such a magical time. You start growing and growing and getting bigger and bigger. There’s some pretty wicked hormones running through your body that makes you cry over a candy commercial. Not just some crying with a light case of the sniffles… it’s the ugly cry.

And before you leave the house, you’re a bathroom ninja and you check to see where the bathrooms are in the vicinity of where your going. I’ve already written about some things I experienced in the days and weeks following my daughter’s birth. Now, it’s time to tackle pregnancy.

A case of the barfs –

I was puking throughout most of my pregnancy. The nausea would get so bad that I would get the spins. Prenatal vitamins were assholes and I would puke nightly after about an hour of feeling like I wanted to die. That was finally resolved when a nurse told me to take 2 gummy Flintstone vitamins without iron in place of the prenatal.

When I was pregnant, my sense of smell was on steroids. I would be dry heaving at things I loved prior to being pregnant, like pepperoni pizza. I would even carry plastic bags in my purse just in case I would get sick.

Cravings  -

I wanted anything lemony or citrusy. My biggest cravings were anything to do with fruit, potatoes, Taco Bell bean burritos with sour cream, and orange juice. Holy hell, I would stab somebody if they fucked with my orange juice. My poor husband.

Food aversions -

That freaking rotiserrie chicken at the grocery store would give me the biggest case of the barfs. It was awful and I would dread having to go grocery shopping. I must have looked like such a sane person before I started showing because there I’d be, going down aisle after aisle, gagging at the smell of that damn chicken wafting in the air.

The sweet spot. -

It was around 6 months when my pregnancy seemed more real to me and it was also around that time that the hummingbird was really, really active at night. My favorite part of the day was late at night when I would be laying in bed and she would be doing her acrobatic circus acts. I loved that bonding time with her.

I would also love when the hummingbird would get the hiccups when she was on the inside. After she was born, I would hold her close to my chest so I could get that feeling back.

The alien inside. -

One night while watching the alien inside of me move around, I lifted up my shirt and would see her poking through my stomach. Then, holy shit, there was an elbow or a knee that really poked up and went from the left side of my stomach to the right side. My first thought was that my baby was going to burst through my stomach like a scene in the movie Alien.

Nobody ever told me stuff like that happens and I was about to wake up my husband to tell him our baby is eating its way through my abdomen. Then it happened a few more times and since my stomach was still intact and my fetus didn’t eat through it, I was pretty sure I was safe.

Peeing every 5 minutes. -

You pee, and pee, and pee, and pee, and pee some more. One thing that should be very clear is that when a pregnant woman says she has to pee right this very second, don’t respond with “But we’ll be there in 5 minutes. Just hold it until then.” Especially if you want to live. There’s a baby sitting on our bladder and once we have to pee, we have to do it then and there.

I’ll eventually be able to lift myself off the couch between now and tomorrow night -

In my 7th month, I started to slow down more because of my basketball sized belly that would have me waddling like a duck. Once I would sit in a chair or on the couch, I would feel like I needed a forklift to get me up. It was getting more difficult to try to get comfortable whether I was sitting, standing, laying on the bed, walking, and driving.

No, I’m not moody, motherfucker. - 

I was moody through my entire pregnancy which by the way, I admit I would take advantage of sometimes, but in my 31st week of pregnancy, I was done, done, done. I was so ready for my daughter to be born. My mood was certainly helped by people who would say to me “Wow, you’re still pregnant! It looks like you should have had that baby weeks ago!”

Get this damn baby out of me now! -

I couldn’t get comfortable, I couldn’t sleep, I had to pee ALL THE TIME, I wanted to eat soft cheeses again, and there seemed like there wasn’t anymore room for the hummingbird to grow. It was cramped quarters in my uterus and I was so ansty and restless to meet my baby. I finally did on April 15, 2009. Her due date was May 6 and that was when we were able to bring her home from the NICU.

Post-baby breast pump nipples - 

There are so many things I could go on about when it comes to post-baby but one thing really sticks out in my mind. I had been pumping for a few weeks and one afternoon, while my newborn daughter was taking a nap, I decided to pump a little extra longer than normal. When I took off the breast shield, I almost screamed.

My nipple was the size of a quarter.

Let me repeat.

My nipple was the size of a quarter!!

With my pregnancy hormones strong and having first time mom-itis, I thought I broke my nipple and it would never go back to its normal size again. I called my husband at work and as soon as he answered, I was like “Omg, Omg, I broke my nipple. It’s huge! I was pumping and now it’s the size of a freaking quarter! What do I do?!”

The hubby calmed me down (I’ll never know how he stopped himself from laughing at me) and tried to assure me that my nipple wasn’t broken and if I just gave it some time, it would go back down to its regular size.

Luckily it did. After that, I thought it was the coolest thing that my nipples could get so large. What? I blame it on being sleep deprived and the fact that I’m easily amused. If I could have, I probably would have stopped everyone I came across in my daily life and would have told them “Want to know something cool? My nipples can get as big as quarters! Wanna see?”

But then there’s that whole getting arrested for public indecency that I wanted to avoid.

What were some of your memorable pregnancy experiences?

*Yael Naim – New Soul

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From the “I had no clue” parenting files. You will obsesses over your child’s poop for at least the first year. Then again when they’re potty training

This baby is making my uterus twitch. Nooo!

This baby is making my uterus twitch. Nooo!

Even with the parenting and birthing classes I took when I was pregnant with the hummingbird, what I wasn’t expecting was that my husband and I would become crazy about her poop. Yes… her poop.

How much, what color, the consistency, how many wipes it took, did she have a diaper blowout? We knew the dates of certain poops and even the times filed away in our heads.

Yes, shit took over our lives that first year in particular.

When we would be talking about it, sometimes I would think to myself, fuck, I’ve become “that” parent because I could give you hours of talking about my daughter’s poop.

I had no idea that shit would take over my life so much.

The poop talk died down a few years ago but now, since we’re still in potty training mode, the talk has come back with a vengeance.

I am simply amazed at how such a ginormous poop can come out of such a little girl.

As happy as I am that the hummingbird has been doing really good with potty training, the one thing that sucks is I have an extremely weak stomach. I am the dry heave master. Anything can set it off.

So when I hear MOMMY!!! Come wipe my booty!!”, I admit I cringe a little. For some reason, poopy diapers didn’t bother me as much as wiping the butt of my 3 year-old.

But I’ll take it over the endless amount of diapers that we’ve been through.

Btw, the hummingbird has been doing so good with potty training at school as well. No accidents there. She has had a few at home and seeing her face broke my heart. I could tell how embarrassed she was but I try to push it into her head that accidents are okay.

Now excuse me. I have a booty to go wipe. No, smartass, not mine.

Did poop take over your household when you had kids?

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The Day The World Groaned And Said “Oh, Fucking Hell!! The Mayans Were Right!” Surpringly, There *Is* A Bright Side.

First off, Happy New Year!

While I’m happy it’s finally the new year, I’m really superstitious of the number 13 so having it be 2013 is a little freaky to me. Yes, I’m a weirdo.

So, Kim “Water Sports” Kardashian shit all over my happiness with the new year by announcing she’s preggers with the anti-christ. I thought she was finally fading away and now we have to hear about Ms. Queen of the Golden Showers’ pregnancy for months and months and everything that follows. Double fucking UGH!

Then my world quickly went back to a double YAY!! upon hearing the news that Mariannna from Snappy Surprise is pregnant with her first.  This makes me so, so happy and the world is right again.

This is soooooo exciting and by far the best pregnancy news I’ve heard in a while. Congrats!!

Don’t know who she is? Haven’t read her blog? Well then, I suggest you skedaddle on over there. Yes, I just said skedaddle.

Marianna’s blog is like meth. The good kind…. and without the pesky meth face.

By reading her blog, she taught me the phrase “dick pickle” and I also learned that television is delicious. You can’t go wrong!

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What the hell? I’m a mom?!

Even after 3 years, sometimes I still don’t feel like a mom. I’ll feel like I’m just pretending to be one. When my little girl calls me mommy, it can make me pause at times and I’ll think “what? me?!”

I used to think once I had a baby, BAM!… my mommyness, whatever that is, would come out instantly.

Ummm, nope, that’s not the way it worked with me.

The first year was especially hard for me. I was dealing with Postpartum PTSD and felt somewhat disconnected from my child. I would think to myself “what did I get into?”

My husband seemed to be a natural father but I felt like no matter how hard I tried, I was a failure at being a mom to my daughter.

While seeing my husband be so at ease with the little hummingbird, I felt so inadequate.

Even after a few years, I still don’t feel like I’m up to par with other moms. I read blogs and see how other moms appear to be the ideal mom. Homemade and nutritious meals, no television, crafts and activities galore, etc.

I used to try so hard to be that kind of my and it drained me. That’s not who I am. It makes it harder that my sister-in-law is that type of mom which make my mother-in-law even more critical of me.

Then I feel even more inadequate and I’ll push myself more to be someone I’m not which is downright exhausting.

I can’t put this pressure on myself anymore. So what if my daughter doesn’t have a homemade Halloween costume since I can’t sew.

So what if I’m too tired to read more than one book at night before bedtime.

I’m not supermom. I’m anything but supermom and that’s okay.

Let’s get it in our heads that what we are is good enough for our children.

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Postpartum PTSD

*Please excuse any writing errors. This was a post I couldn’t read back.

It was the third week that my newborn daughter was in the NICU. I was waiting for my husband to get home so we could visit her in the hospital when I started feeling nauseous. Anxiety came crashing down on me and my heart started racing. The more I thought about the drive to the hospital where I gave birth to my daughter, the worse I felt and I ended up getting sick all over the bedroom carpet.

On the way to the hospital, my nerves start getting worse and by the time we enter the hospital parking garage, I got sick again and couldn’t stop shaking. The closer we got to the NICU on the 6th floor of the hospital, I was in such a panic and started crying.

My husband assumed it was because of our daughter being in the NICU for 3 weeks because of low blood sugar. I didn’t say anything like I should have but it was that day that I knew something was very wrong. It wasn’t until a year later that I first heard of postpartum post traumatic stress disorder.

I had always assumed that when it came to PTSD, it was something only soldiers got when fighting in a war. Then the pieces started coming together.

I wasn’t happy with the prenatal care I received but couldn’t do anything about it. My husband is in the military and at the time we were in close proximity to a couple of military hospitals. If that’s the case, our insurance won’t let you see a “civilian” doctor.

Every time I had a prenatal appointment, I had a different doctor and was never able to put my trust in one. That was when I started to feel like I had little control over the care I was getting and would be very frustrated that there was never a time when I could actually sit down with one of these doctors and discuss my first time mom jitters.

At 37 weeks, I had my monthly appointment and the doctor was really concerned about my blood pressure. She was worried that I was starting to develop preeclampsia and by that afternoon, I was checked into the hospital, waiting to have a baby. I was pretty reasonable about my birth plan. I was hoping for a natural childbirth but there was no way in hell I was going to say no to an epidural.

During my labor, I had several medical interventions and was very frustrated that most of the medical staff coming in and out of my hospital room seemed to be burdened when my husband or I would ask questions about what they were doing.

I ended up having an emergency c-section and while they were pulling my daughter out of me, it felt like a cement block was starting to crush my chest. Then my daughter was brought to me and the joy of that put the way I felt physically on the back burner.

I was wheeled into a recovery room and across the room, my freshly baked babe was getting her first bath while my husband stood there in awe while filming it.

I started to have trouble breathing and my nurse got the oxygen mask. The cement block that I felt I had on my chest turned into a cement wall and I was having more trouble breathing. It was getting more difficult to talk with the nurse and that’s when she said it appeared that my lungs were filling up with fluid and I had pulmonary edema.

She told me she was going to get medication for it but first she needed it approved by a doctor. I still have absolutely no idea who delivered my daughter so I didn’t have any idea who my doctor was supposed to be.

Medical staff was walking in and out of the room and finally the nurse spotted a doctor that I’d never seen in my life. My nurse rushed over and quickly told him the situation while I was trying so hard to stay conscious. It was at this point that I couldn’t even say a word because I felt like I was drowning.

The doctor sauntered over and started asking me several questions. I was trying to keep my shit together because I was absolutely terrified over what was happening to me. I couldn’t answer any of these doctor’s questions so he stood there beside the hospital bed I was in and was waiting for me to answer.

Some of the last things I remember was hearing my gorgeous new baby crying across the room and my husband comforting her. I was feeling so dizzy and knew I was losing conscious and couldn’t stop it no matter how hard I tried. I remember the nurse leaving my side and the same damn doctor kept on asking me to describe my symptoms to him.

I truly believed this was the end for me. I don’t mean for it to sound so dramatic but I thought I was going to die right there in the recovery room with my daughter just several feet away from me. My husband had no idea what was happening in my corner of the room as he was understandably so wrapped up in our beautiful baby girl.

That’s when everything went blank and I remember the nurse shaking me and saying my name. When I came to, that asshole doctor was still there but standing farther away from me. I don’t know if the nurse gave him a piece of her mind or what happened but after I came to, that doctor just walked out of the room without saying a word.

When I was finally able to speak again without the oxygen mask, I said “Please tell me that wasn’t a doctor but instead a janitor”. The nurse replied “I wish I could tell you that”. I don’t remember the nurse’s name but I will forever be so thankful that she didn’t put up with this doctor’s bullshit and instead jumped into action.

It took me nearly a year to tell my husband what happened after I gave birth. I didn’t want to ruin the experience for him by letting him know what happened but was so relieved when I finally did.

I’ve been trying to write about my experience with Postpartum Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for 3 years and 2 month but would panic each time. It wasn’t until I read this by Tricia that I finally felt “safe” enough to go through the emotions of my experience. Even as I type this, my heart is racing and my hands are shaking.

I’m currently in therapy and finally getting more control over this but it’s still a struggle each day. One I’m finally getting strong enough to fight.

Have you experienced Postpartum Depression or Postpartum PTSD? If you’d like, please share your story in the comments.

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