Friday, August 14, 2015

fiona's birth and the bed-in

Introducing, my daughter, Fiona Ruth; born at 3:14am, July 29th.

 She was 7lb. 4oz., 19 in. with lots of fight in her!

Birth Timeline:

July 13th - Cervical cerclage removed at 36.5 weeks. Go out to Buffalo Wild Wings after. Leave the restaurant, and realize baby has DROPPED. Looks like that little stitch did it's job!
July 17th - Doctor declares me 3cm dilated, 80% effaced, with baby's head engaged! We expect to go to the hospital any minute.
July 18-27th - Nooooothiiiiiiing haaaappeeeeens.
July 28th 7:30am-1:00pm - What a nice chill day. Maybe I'll shave my legs and blow-dry my hair for the fun of it. Heck, let's paint our nails. Huh, I'm having more Braxton-Hicks than usual.
2:00-3:00pm - Yeaaaah, I should start writing these down. And maybe clean the kitchen.
3:00 - Call Zach on his way home from work to say I hope he wrapped everything up cause they might tell me at my doctor's appointment today that this is it. Contractions are 10 minutes apart but completely painless. Just a tightening and release. Jaina and I speed-clean the living room.
4:00 - Put bags in car on the way to doctor's appointment just in case.
4:20 - Doctor doesn't think I'm in real labor yet, but, hmmm, blood pressure is elevated... we're gonna send you to the hospital anyway.
6:00 - Meet Dad at York Hospital, say goodbye to Jaina, head upstairs. Contractions are 6 minutes apart and utterly painless.

6:30 - My good friend, Meredith, is my nurse. Yay! Labs for possible preeclampsia all come back negative, as expected, but they decide to have me check in anyway. Contractions are 4 minutes apart, moderate intensity, but still just feel like a blood pressure cuff tightening. What the what?
8:30 - We get set up in our own room. I find out that because of my prior c-section I'll need to be hooked up to a monitor constantly to record Baby's heartbeat. That's kind of a bummer cause it means I'll have to stay within steps of the bed rather than shower or walk around which I had been planning on to manage pain. I bounce on the birth ball for a while while Meredith holds my monitor in place since Little Lady was being stubborn and making it difficult for us to hear her heart.
9:45 - Midwife comes in and breaks my water. Woosh! Here we go.
10:00 - Um, yeah, this isn't comfortable.
10:05-11:45 - I AM EARTH MAMA, HEAR ME ROAR!!!! Do. not. touch me.
11:45 - Still only 4.5cm dilated. Epidural requested.
12:15 - Anesthesiologist arrives
12:45 - Aaaaaaaaaahhhhh..... Dim the lights. Zach falls asleep immediately. I close my eyes and settle in for the night.
1:15 - Nurse switches me to my other side and has me put on oxygen to help Baby's heart rate stay where it should be. I sleep between each contraction, but they're getting uncomfortable.
2:00 - Why does my butt hurt?
2:15 - I think I'm supposed to call if my butt hurts. If it still hurts at 2:30 I'm calling. ZZZzzz...
2:30 - Heyo! Baby's very ready to come out. Wake up Zach. He basically has a heart attack.
2:40 - My bed magically transforms into a piece of gym equipment, and they watch while I do a practice push. Midwife and nurse immediately gown up. For some reason I become very concerned about Zach and keep asking if he's okay.

3:14am - Roughly 10 contractions later I manhandled this baby out of me. Seriously never been prouder of any accomplishment. She was born face up (!!!!), and presented forehead first which is supposed to be quite a bit harder to push out. She also had her cord over her shoulder and across her body - Miss America sash style.

I had the most amazing epidural. I couldn't feel any pain, but I felt all the pressure and knew right where she was. That helped so much. Also the handles. Once they brought the handles up on the bed I rocked it.

She was so healthy and ALIVE when she came out, and it was pretty amazing to have her right up on my chest immediately. There were lots of perks with Jaina's planned c-section, but man, nothing beats that immediate contact with your kid.

3:30 - The midwife calls an OB in to do my repair stitches, and - yay! - it's my favorite doctor at the practice. So I got to see her while she fixed me up.

4:00-5:30 - After they finished with me and got Fiona all weighed and cleaned up she came back to me and nursed like a champ. Baby instinct is pretty incredible.

6:00am - We got to our room over in maternity and realize a new day just started. Only we didn't get to sleep the night before... It's gonna be a long day.

It took me quite a while to get over pulling that all-nighter. The highlight of that day was watching Jaina meet her baby sister. She was so sweet and basically clobbered her with kisses.

I didn't get to sleep much that night either. It felt like people were coming in my room all night long. And never while we had Fiona up to feed her. Grr.

My fancy homemade hospital gown. ;)

Then the next night Little Miss wanted to eat literally every hour. Friday morning I finally had a nap for an hour and a half. That was my longest stretch since Monday night. Yuuuuuuck. 

 Her profile is already so different since her face has come un-smushed.
That's what coming out forehead-first will do to ya.

I saw a mom online compare that first post-partum week to John and Yoko's bed-in. I totally agree, except with a lot more bodily fluids. ;p I was only steps away from a bed or couch for over a week. You're in a whole different dimension. It's uncomfortably intimate, tender, and intense. You can be deliriously happy one second and in the very depths of despair the next.

We've been this new family for over two weeks now, and I just feel like I'm crawling out of the postpartum bed-in cave. I finally returned all the texts I received. I'm beginning to be interested in what's going on in the outside world.

I don't know if other women experience this, but I feel like my mind was operating on over-drive the week after Fiona's birth, but I had no strength or will to express all the thoughts I was having. What this results in is whole essays written in my head while I sat nursing Fiona all night and day but then not being able to get any of those words down even if I got to a notebook or computer moments later. You'll just have to trust me when I say I had so many glorious thoughts on motherhood, birth, mortality, and pain. I think I mentally solved a few women's rights issues too. Too bad the world will never know... ;)

 Dressed and ready to go home!

Here's one snippet of something I was trying to work out:

People often look on postpartum women as angels. These serene madonnas holding court from their hospital beds. But what if we changed our perception of new mothers from angels to warriors? Wounded warriors who've just fought the biggest battle of their lives. Madonnas are silent, stoic; a sweet facade against which a precious baby sits. 

Warriors have a story worth hearing. People ask a warrior about the wounds received in battle! A madonna sits there LITERALLY BLEEDING, in a haze of hormones and maybe narcotics, muscles aching, body alternating between sweating and shivering, and sweetly answers questions about her baby - glossing over any of the unpleasant details of her birth.

Not sure where that was headed, but that's just a glimpse of what a brain high on adrenaline and every other hormone sounds like. There should be a nursing app that also has a voice recorder to capture all of the musings women have while they feed their children. ;)

So that's Fiona Ruth's birth story! I was soooo happy with how it went. She's doing so well. Jaina's doing great. Zach and I are getting there. ;) I'm trying not to be impatient waiting for our routine to fall in place. We'll get there.

More about Fiona's name to come. It took me two weeks to write this, so don't hold your breath. ;)


  1. Kara, you have such a way with words! I love hearing Fiona's story over and over but what I loved most about this post was the excerpt you put in about postpartum women warriors. Love it!

  2. Well done Ezer Kara. Love it when sibling first see the new family member. Your mom & dad look over the moon ecstatic with your tiny Fiona. Linda

    1. Thanks, Linda. Good to hear from you!

      I'm honored to be called Ezer - one of my favorite words!