Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Calling St Joseph

Of course in the midst of everything else, don't forget our house is still for sale. We had a showing on Sunday. They came half an hour early and we were still here. I was surly at their arrival. But apparently we're on their short list. Pray hard, because between the death of the car companies and this news, we'd be nothing short of miracle to sell the house now. And since we need a miracle to remain solvent, it would really come in handy. If you want to drop a line to good old St. Joe re: Katie and Partner's house, we'd be in your debt.


One Month

... and two weeks to go until the magic six week marker that everyone keeps telling me about.

No. Really. We have no right to complain. Our kid is pretty easy-going. He doesn't fuss unless it's to tell us he's hungry. Or when we are changing him. He hates to be naked. But he loves the bath. And oddly enough, he adores to have his hair washed. He can be all squirmy, maybe even crying, and then when we run the water over his head, he stops crying entirely and goes completely calm. At least we know that when we baptize him, he'll be good and calm. But don't ask me where he's getting baptized or when. As a life-long Catholic who pretends sometimes to be Episcopalian, I can't get past infant baptism, so we've decided we'd go for that. But where is another issue. And probably another blog post.

For now I want to focus on "attachment parenting." Cricket is really into this, preferring to be on us at all times. He will, on occasion, be content in his "baby papasan," but generally he sleeps more shallow and for less time in there than he does if he is on one of us. He likes to be somewhat upright in "weevil" position. ("Weevil": Legs tucked up under body, arms tucked down.) I suspect what he really likes is stomach sleeping since even when he's in the papasan, there is a lot of grunting and neighing going on. However, we've been indoctrinated to go "back to sleep," unless he's sleeping on our actual bodies.

It's somewhat surprising to me because certainly during his first two weeks in the NICU, there wasn't someone holding him 24/7 and he was perfectly content there to be swaddled and sleep in the pramette. Perhaps it was the lulling noise of the NICU that made him more content-- the bing-bing-bing of the machines alarming and the constant swooshing noises of ventilators and the bubbling of the CPAP machines is enough to make the most seasoned of insomniacs fall asleep, so I can buy that theory.

But it's not like we are keeping the house all quiet and still for him. The TV is on or the iPod or the radio-- something. We'd like to have a good hearty sleeper on our hands.

The first day home, he was fine in the co-sleeper, but now he has to be in the bed itself with us. Since I like the idea of sleep, this is where he ends up; either sleeping on Partner's chest, or curled up next to me, both of us on our sides. After the "mid" night [moo] (read about 2:00 am) feeding, he prefers for me to stay in the chair I am in, recline it back, and sleep that way. If I get up and try to get back into bed, he wakes and goes all kvetchy, spits up (more than he does in the chair), and requires more time at the boob (which requires me to get back to the chair since the only imaginable position for feeding right now is the football hold).

My back might do me in any day now. Plus, I like sleeping in the bed. I really do. But truth be told, when Cricket is in bed with us, I'm probably never really sleeping in the old way. I'm always aware that he's there and waking fairly frequently to make sure he's breathing and all nasal passages are unimpeded.

While this arrangement doesn't really bother me all that much, I do fear we're setting ourselves up. No matter what I read, I still feel that we're screwing ourselves for the future. At the same time, I think who cares, because as soon as he's bigger, I'll probably be able to get more sleep and worry less. But the daytime napping then worries me: If he ends up so he can't really sleep unless he's on one of us, it seriously limits my activeness. I know, I know: I have the sling, but there's only so much slinging around I can do too. Face it: between my boobs, c-section recovery, and generally poor core strength, the back is nearing its poor limit.

Anyhow, for now I love to cuddle with him, so I don't mind all that much, but only would like to be reassured we aren't screwing ourselves for future sleep. Which supposedly comes more frequently at six weeks?

Bah. He's fussing again, so I guess I better pick him up. *Sigh*/*Delight*

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Introducing Cricket

Just born. I edited this photo for Cricket's sake. I didn't know that in the future he'd appreciate a big naked photo of himself for all the Internet to ponder. I also didn't know that you'd want to see the photo of where his head is emerging from my belly. (Our nurse took some phenomenal c-section photos, but they are not for the feint of heart.) Bah! Isn't he adorable and red here? Of course this is where they were figured out that he had fluid in his lungs still and he wasn't doing great at the old breathing thing, but I still think he looks robust.

Scary NICU picture. Or How I Would Rather Forget the First Few Days. Or Not What I Imagined. Or This Sucked. Or This Is Why I Would Cry While Pumping My Breast Milk. So, yeah. And after being in the NICU, I know there have been babies who were smaller and had it worse and all those things, but the thing is, at the time, all you can really do is think about your kid. I prayed for all his little NICU mates too, but here was my baby. After a few days of the CPAP, Cricket removed it himself. The CPAP is what is on his head-- I think it says a lot about the kid to note that he took this contraption off. His nurse at the time said she'd worked 17 years in the NICU and had never seen it happen before. At that moment, Cricket became a little NICU prodigy. My boy. Also, at this point, he was still Cricket because Partner and I had not decided on a name. One might think with 42 hours of labor, we could have completed that task, but it didn't happen. So Cricket he remained.

Swollen, Bloated Katie Kangaroos Cricket: If you've been in the NICU, chances are you particpated in some kangaroo care, which is where you do some skin to skin contact with your baby. The first time I got to do this, it was after a day when Cricket had been really struggling all day and the nurse thought KC might help. He was still on CPAP then, and I was so scared holding him. I sat there for three hours: my ass was killing me, my incision was on fire, I had to pee, but there was no way I was leaving until they kicked me out. After that, kangaroo care became part of our daily routine. Here in this picture, it's clearly after Cricket is off all the scary stuff and just on the regular monitors and NG tube.

I think with this picture you can appreciate his full beauty, even with the NG tube in. I loved the little white tee shirts he wore in the NICU. One might think I would hate them, but they were cozy and clean, and cute. As for the NG tube, we kept it and it's in his keepsake box. He repeatedly pulled the tube out, and I could never bring myself to watch them put it back in, but there it was, and since ultimately this tube helped us get our Cricket home, I thought it was important enough to keep, along with his little umbilical stump. (Yes, I will keep this-- It was what attached his little body to mine. How could I throw it away?

I don't know what to say about this picture other than don't you just want to pick him and eat him here?

I wish there was perspective here so you could see how big his feet are, and he has these really long beautiful fingers too. Pretty much, we think he's perfect.
We're all at home now, snuggled in for the winter and watching him grow like a weed already. More on Cricket, who will remain such for the blog-world, although he has a great little Irish man name. We fall in love more each day.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Saturday, December 30

The best thing about waking up on Saturday, December 30 was that no one was bugging me to get up and walk the hallways to bring on labor. Instead, I got to lie in bed and not feel a thing, and remarkably, feel quite alright with that.

The other thing that was remarkable about the day was the announcement that the midwife made that this day would be Cricket's birth day one way or another. On one hand this struck the fear of God into me, yet on the other, it was relief.

On the fear God: It was easy for me to believe, on some level, that this (birth) wasn't really happening, and it became even easier after the epidural. Yes, it's true that my water broke with a colossal swosh, but maybe I just wet my pants? The few contractions I felt on my own were like intermittent menstrual cramps. The contractions brought on by the Pit were almost academic in nature-- There's the drip, there's the contraction. They were artificial; that's not saying I didn't feel them-- Oh Lord, I felt them (especially when that Pit drip was at it's max), but still, they were manufactured. But now they were telling me I was really going to have the kid? I was going to have to push it out? No one was guess how big the Cricket was at this point, just reassuring me he'd be smaller than if he came at 40 weeks. And while I had prepared myself for a natural birth, I was still scared.

The relief: I was pretty sick of the hospital. I was getting worried about the extended length of my labor. I was ready to do something other than walk around, get antibiotic drips, and joke with nurses. With the epidural, the bath was (obviously) history. I was anxious to meet Cricket. I also felt fairly well rested after a night with the epidural. Just like I said above, I had prepared myself for a natural birth, and I was also excited to actually and finally get to do something.

Well, we spent all day with the epidural. Around 1:00 I started feeling more pressure, which we referred to as "RP": Rectal pressure. Partner spun many jokes about "RP" delighting nurses, midwives, and techs alike. We came up with scripts for television commercials about "RP" and we generally had a jolly time. RP was a positive sign! The baby was perhaps finally making it's way down!

We had minimized internal checks, obviously because of the ruptured membranes and we wanted to keep the risk of infection down. I can't remember when the last check had been, but I know at the last inspection, I was dilated to a 3, 70% effaced, and Cricket was at -1 station. As the afternoon wore on, and I felt more and more RP, I was almost elated: For sure I was progressing.

I ignored that the intra-uterine catheter showed all my contractions at the same strength, no matter the level of the Pit. I think I willing ignored the midwife when she explained to my mom that she'd like to see the level of contractions be much higher. I was having RP! Medical equipment be damned! I even opted to push the button for more "goods" with the epidural at the urging of the nurses. It was best to keep the pain under control for when I got to push.... When I got to push!

My parents came again, along with my brother N and his girlfriend. About 3:30 I'd say, maybe a little before that, I decided that I was feeling a significant amount of RP, enough that I was trying to relax through the contractions again. The nurse asked if I'd like to get the midwife to check me, and I said yes, heartily. I can't even tell you how positive I was that I was dilated to at least an 8, 100% effaced, and didn't have much time to go.

So the midwife came in, checked me, sat down on the end of the bed and told me I was still only dilated to a 3, 70% effaced and at -1 station. She didn't need to say the next sentence, because I knew it was coming. "I think we need to consider a C-section at this point." Unlike our decisions about using Cytotec, starting Pit, getting the intra-uterine catheter, doing an epidural, this one felt easier. We both knew she was right. I was at the 42 hour mark of labor. I felt lucky that during the whole thing, Cricket's heartbeat was strong and unfaltering, but how much longer could we both do this? We agreed, and the midwife went to consult with the ob/gyn on duty (who we were actually thrilled about, since she also was a lesbian, and had just had a baby 7 weeks before. Also, our nurse at this point was also a lesbian, and had started her family the exact same way we had, with her Partner's eggs! It was like a little lesbian kismet!)

No surprise, the ob/gyn was ready to go. Our Bradley instructor had called us several times in the L&D room, and at one point she noted how much pressure our midwife must have been getting to section me much earlier in the process. I feel like the medical staff must have been hovering outside my door because of the speed with which they arrived. Even though it was emphasized that this section was not an emergency, it felt that way. We were apprised of the risks, asked questions, Partner got changed, I got shaved (!), my parents returned for a kiss, and suddenly I was being wheeled down the hallway.

This was a new level of terror. I know that thousands of women have sections, but I was really terrified. As we went into the OR and the cold air hit me, I started shaking and couldn't stop. My teeth were chattering as they strapped my arms down. They put some warm air blanket thing on my, raised the curtain, let Partner into the room, and still, I couldn't stop shaking. They put the oxygen on me and told me it wasn't for me, it was for Cricket. Everyone was calm. And yet I quivered. Everything they said to me was spot on. "You'll feel pressure now," they said, and I did. I remember feeling nausea, and thinking about what would happen if I threw up. I was strapped down and my insides were open.

"Here's the head," they said. And I heard him cry. Crying, and only his head was out! Surely this was a great sign! "Partner!" they called out, "Get down here so you can call the sex," and then I couldn't see Partner, and could hear only crying, and then Partner's voice, "Oh my God! Oh my God! We have a son! We have a son! And he's perfect!" Everyone told me about how beautiful he was, and pink, and crying. He was six pounds, eleven ounces.

And then they wrapped him up and showed him to me, and oh, how I wanted to touch him, his little face, but they were gone, Partner with him, because that's what we agreed-- Cricket would not be left alone. They told us they were going to take him to the NICU because he was having some problems breathing. But, I thought, he was pink! He was crying! His Apgar scores were 9 and 9! Surely the doctors were being over cautious and the NICU was temporary.

When I was in recovery, it was as if I wasn't really there. Did I have a baby? My mom and dad and brother came to be with me, left to see the baby, came back. Everyone was seeing my kid but me. And finally they were taking me to the NICU, and Partner was telling me what he'd look like when I saw him, but nothing could have prepared me. Every parent who has had a child who has been sick knows the feeling. I couldn't hold him, I could barely turn on my side to touch him, and it was just the beginning. But he was beautiful. And he is beautiful.

He's crying now, so I promise pictures right after this-- I think you'll agree with my assessment of his beauty!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Friday, December 29

So, as I said, we started December 29th by walking the 3rd floor of the hospital. Each trip would take us past the NICU and I remember talking with Partner about the NICU. When we came into the hospital, they told us they put the NICU "on alert" since he was early. There was an isolette in the hallway on the labor and delivery wing and it freaked me out. Freaked me out, mind you, but I felt it was a remote possibility. After all, the week before at the midwife appointment I was told that if I went into labor, no one would try and stop it. I even inquired about steriods when we were admitted and was told it was probably unnecessary. (In retrospect, I realize they probably didn't give me steriods because the bag was broken and there was concern about infection. Steroids, if you don't know, increases your risk of infection. Also, one of the most common reasons for early rupture is infection itself, which is why I had to have my temperature taken every hour.)

Anyhow, back to the hospital: walking the hallway of the hospital at 5:30 is not fun. Especially when you feel it isn't doing anything to progress your labor. Also, it's quiet. Eerily so, and let's just say, the nighttime, if I'm feeling at all vulnerable, is impetus for me to feel worse. I just wanted to sleep more.

We went back to the room and I remember looking wistfully at the bathtub. I hadn't taken a shower the day before, something that is incredibly rare for me. I was feeling gross. I wanted to get into the bath, but one of the midwives cautioned me that getting in the bath too early might slow my already slow labor down. And sometime in the middle of the night, my contractions stopped entirely. Besides, I didn't really want a bath-- I just wanted to wash my hair. Rinse off my body. My plan had been to take a good hot shower before I went to bed at my parents house-- Like so many other plans, it was foiled. And when we were in triage, I specifically requested the jacuzzi bath room, thinking I would get to labor in the water, something I really had envisioned myself doing. I held on to the image of the bath and wanted to keep it for when things really got bad. Nonetheless, I still was feeling grimy and loved the thought of a wash, but we had no shampoo/conditioner/soap.

At 7:30 am, the midwife we had the most rapport with came on. She had us up and down the hallways walking, trying to bring on labor. No leisurely walking either-- Really walking. After a bit she came in and suggested we might try Cytotec, a drug to "ripen" my cervix. She'd slip it in under my cervix and the idea was it would help me dilate. We could try it three times, but hopefully we all agreed, we'd only have to do it once. It was the first of our hard decisions. We labored over the decision: remember our aim was to have this kid as naturally as possible. But then again, we also wanted to have the kid, so we agreed.

I threw up several times in the morning, not because of labor, but because I was starved. Once you get into the hospital, there's no more eating. I had popsicles, chicken broth, jello, water, Gatorade, ice chips, but nothing more of sustanance. I was starved and threw up bile. After eating yellow jello, I promptly threw that up too.

Friday I'd say we mostly slept and walked. I had to get a dose of antibiotics every four hours. My parents came that afternoon. The Cytotec was not working. And so the dreaded Pitosin was brought forth as an option. This was not something we wanted, but since nothing was progressing and I was having no contractions at all, we decided after lamenting about it, to go ahead with the Pit. But we declined the intra-uterine catheter-- This would measure the strength of my contractions only, not attach to the Cricket's head. I didn't like that it was going to keep me tethered. Again, this was something Partner and I talked and talked about-- We were heading down a path we didn't want to be on. At the same time, I realized that I was not getting anywhere fast. The water was broken, the Cytotec didn't do a damn thing, and the small contractions I was having had stopped entirely. So another small part of our birth plan was chipped away...

(Before this, I did get the wash-- a sponge bath-- with my own soap and shampoo and conditioner that my friend M brought to the hospital for us, along with other sundries. We had her raid our house with a list. I would have been hard pressed to find some of the things she found and brought to us. Thank God I got that clean when I did.)

When the Pit was brought in, I was aghast at the size of the bag, but the nurse told me that I probably wouldn't get through the whole bag, so not to worry. I have to tell you, the Pit was almost a relief-- Finally, a contraction! It felt like we were going places. At the start of the Pit-drip, I was dilated to a 2-- about 70% effaced. All afternoon we kept upping the dose and I felt those contractions getting more and more intense. We just had to be moving forward. I think I threw up one more time in here, after trying the yellow jello again. That was the end of that. I can't remember when Partner left to get something to eat, but I do remember that we finally convinced her that she needed to take care of herself too.

The labor and delivery room was very comfortable-- not so much my bed, but the atmosphere. We could dim the lights, we had a cd player, we put the iPod on with my "relax mix" for labor, there was a recliner lounger, the "couch" pulled out into a twin bed for Partner to sleep on. There was a rocking chair, a birthing ball (or egg), and aromatherapy, and of course, the prospect of the bath.

As the day went forward, I started to fret that "our" midwife would be off at 7:30 pm, but when I expressed this concern to her, she reassured me: She was on a 4 day call. She'd be with us until the end. I also worried with each shift change of nurses. Each shift, I'd be worried about the new nurse, and then I'd end up liking her so much, I'd start to worry again at the shift change. It was a stupid worry: Every single nurse we had was fantastic.

I'm already forgetting details! But I do know that as the night wore on, my contractions were feeling much more intense and lasting longer. No one had mentioned the intra-uterine catheter again, and there was some small talk about epidurals, but I felt no pressure. I'd say that the contractions were about every three minutes again, and lasted two to three minutes. This sounds really great, eh? I was checked again, and sure that I had made dazzling progress, I remember trying not to feel dismayed that I was only dilated to a three. The midwife and nurse cheered me on: it was some progress! It was okay! Just keep going!

I envisioned all the images I had conjured up before labor: A flower opening, a wave building, the way the land rises up before slicing out to sea on the Slea Head in Ireland, the wind blowing my hair away from my face as I rode a bike down a hill outside of Dingell town. It all relaxed me and helped me though contractions, but none of it helped me progress. Around midnight that night, as I sat on the toilet, and Partner held my hand, the midwife explained that she thought I should have the epidural and intra-uterine catheter. Partner and I felt very alone-- We knew were getting pressure, and we knew we didn't want the epidural. Yet as our midwife pointed out, I had been in labor for more than 24 hours at this point, and if things went according the textbook, I would dilate a centimeter an hour, which would be seven hours, and then I'd have to push for two hours. I was exhausted, and we had at the very least nine hours to go. We both needed rest before the hard part came.

Before this I had been on the birthing ball, or in the reclining chair and falling asleep between contactions. Thinking about sleep was the most compelling argument. The pain? Well, yes, but mostly the sleep option sounded good.

We asked her to leave us alone for ten minutes, and we cried. We cried, cried, cried. This was nothing like we wanted. Partner felt she couldn't protect me from the type of birth I didn't want, and I was just tired. I remember saying to her I was worried we were heading for a section. And in the end, we decided to trust our midwife's advice and I opted for the epidural, telling them they could only do the catheter after the epidural. Even though I was assured I wouldn't feel the catheter, I told them I thought that was bullshit: I felt the catheter well enough when we did the transfer.

I'm telling you, I was more scared of that giant needle going into my back than a vaginal birth, but the epidural happened. I think after the spinal I had a drop in pressure-- I can't remember the number, but I do remember someone saying, "Pressure's dropping" and then the number and I thought "Oh, shit" and grabbed the pillow our midwife had in front of me harder. I was given some adrenlin, and that worked its magic as quickly as the epidural. I felt full of bliss. I didn't remember that feeling pain free before labor had started... The intra-uterine cath was put in, and cath for urine, and I didn't feel a thing. I started to re-evaluate my opinions about epidurals.

In the middle of the night, my Pit drip ran out. They took me off for half an hour before starting me on my second bag. What was that the nurse had said earlier? Hardly anyone goes through a whole bag? Yet here I was starting my second...

And that's where we'll end Friday, December 29-- Since by this point, we were headed into the early morning hours of Saturday, December 30...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Thursday, December 28

Really, all through the month of December, I thought to myself all I have to do is make it through the last couple weeks of our classes and then get the Christmas shopping done. Every moment I was pushing myself forward, I thought about January: I would sleep in. I would read and re-read some of the best pregnancy and birth books. I would mediate on the birth I was hoping to achieve for at least fifteen minutes a day. We would start the perineal massage so I wouldn't tear. I would finish up Cricket's room-- We had even decided on a paint color. Which is huge for us!

So when we got home from Christmas at my parents house, we started to dismantle the office that was to become Cricket's room, but the truth is that we got fed up with the amount of shit we had in that room and the closet attached, so we ditched our lousy effort and went to the movies. We reasoned that we had all day the next day in order to get things seriously under way, and really, the project didn't need to be done overnight, right? Because we had five weeks before Cricket was due, and also, I was almost 100% positive that he was going to be late, born in February like his grandma, grandpa, great-grandmother, uncle-- In fact, I was almost positive Cricket would be born February 2nd, the day my grandmother died. Cricket's middle name would then be Gallagher, her maiden name. It was about the only thing I knew for sure.

So, Thursday morning we woke up and Partner decided she should go do some work and meet with a potential customer and do some general errands. I was tired. I knew I should go work on the office, but all I really wanted to do was be prone in bed with my book. So I did do that, for a bit. But then I was having these horrible gas pains, so I thought getting up and working on the office would help move the gas about. I went downstairs and found that some cat had peed on the floor. I freaked out and called Partner, crying. Eventually we got a little done on the office-cum-nursery, but we had to leave to venture up to my parents house.

See, my parents usually go away to South Carolina for their respective birthdays in February, but since this was so close to Cricket's due date, they decided to go after Christmas. We were put out since this meant they'd be gone for New Year's Day, the day we traditionally feast on lobsters. And lobster was a serious craving I'd been having. However, since this was an essentially selfish position, we put our petulance aside and agreed to watch the dog for them the first night they were gone. One brother, N, was in Louisiana, and the other brother, K, just had surgery two days previous.

The whole drive up, I squirmed a little with the gas. We bought some dinner, and when we were walking around the market, I commented on how I felt that the baby was dropping a little. When we got to my parents' house, we settled in and felt incredibly cozy, snuggled up on the couch, eating shrimp cocktail and watching a movie. At one point I got up and leaned over the side of a chair in order to make that irritating gas move. My parents called at 8:30 pm before they got on the plane to make sure everything was okay. And it was. We were blissed out.

And, oh round about 9:30 or 10:00 I felt a little leaking. Maybe I'd held it too long? I mean at this point in the pregnancy, I was going about every hour. I said to Partner, "Can I put this on pause? I dont' want to freak out or anything here, but..." and then I stood up.

Now, when we took our Bradley class, our instructor said to us, "Nobody's water breaks like it does in the movies. Or it could happen, but mostly it never happens that way. You might get a little leaking, but no gush."

Hey man-- maybe I was destined to be in pictures, because when I stood up, the flood gates opened. My socks got wet. I was frozen for about a minute and then I started to cry and walk to the bathroom with my legs squeezed shut. You know that shuffle-shuffle-walk-walk? And when I sat on the toilet, more fluid. It wasn't urine. As much as we wanted it to be. I remember just saying, "Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod-- I'm not ready!" over and over again. We called the midwife, we called our Bradley instructor. I tried not to think about the cord coming down with the gush and looping over Cricket's neck. The midwife said "Come in," and all I could do was freak about who was going to watch the dog. We felt horribly, awfully alone. And while I know there are ten thousand people I could have called upon to come watch the dog, at that moment, it was all I could focus on: My mother's favorite-- the dog-- all alone in the house. Partner said, "Forget about the dog-- We need to leave." And so we packed back up. I changed my pants, put on a pad and sat on a load of towels. We were 45 minutes away from the hospital, compared to our usual 10.

In the car, when Partner was talking to her best friend, I realized I was indeed having contractions. About every 3 minutes. They really just felt like menstrual cramps and weren't so bad. I can do this, I thought to myself. I can do this. I tried centering myself. But all the while thinking over everything we did not have for the labor and birth. The car seat! It would need to be installed! We had no diapers! I hadn't washed any of the clothes yet! The office... Uhg! I had made a whole mix of music to play in labor, but the iPod was out of juice...

Around 11:00 when my parents' plane was due to land, I started calling them on repeat and finally my dad answered the phone. He thought I was joking. They were still taxing on the runway. My mother announced the fact that my water had broken to the plane. Okay, he said, they'd try to figure out how to get home. Me, being me, felt guilty immediately; I had ruined my parents trip. But I wanted my mom. I needed them to be home, so I couldn't say, "Oh stay there." Instead I said, "I can't wait to see you."

At the hospital, the resident was unsure I had really ruptured my membranes, but I showed her-- literally-- she had to change her pants. The fetal monitor when placed on my stomach made me feel better-- There was Cricket with a heart beat as strong as ever. The contractions were weak, but indeed were every three minutes. I was admitted.

I asked to not be tethered, but had to have antibiotics every four hours. The hep lock was placed in my wrist and it hurt. I asked them to change the location. I hated they way it felt in my hand too, but it was better than the wrist. We were advised to get some rest, and about 3:00 am, we both finally felt we could put our head down. Not for long though, as the day dawned on Friday around 5:30 am, one of the midwives from our practice woke us up and told me I should get up and walk, and so began Friday, December 29th.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Another Very Small Update

We're home again for the second night now. I'm amazed how good my own bed feels. It almost makes me forget I've left my baby in the hospital alone. How did any of you who have traversed the NICU manage this time? I'm there all day and then spent when I get home. And guilty.

Partner has a raging cold-- or flu-- or something. She comes with me to the NICU but wears a mask and doesn't touch Cricket at all.

Tonight I'm terrified the back of my throat is starting to feel sore. What if I get sick too? Then will Cricket get sick also? For a kid who has really just started to figure out this breathing lark, I worry incessantly how getting a cold/flu will effect him. Partner is even wearing a mask to bed and we haven't kissed or hugged in days, which could be precious support at a time like this. Monday she starts school, so I'll be flying even more solo in the NICU, without even having her there for support. My mother will come and help me, but still. I'm dying to just snuggle up to my girl, and her to me. Please let her get better soon. And please don't let Cricket get sick too.

For now, Cricket is staying. He just got off photo-therapy for the jaundice, and he can't quite wrap his sweet little lips around the concept of eating. He prefers, it seems, to be fed via the NG tube, even though we daily tell him about the glories of actually tasting his food rather than have it wind up in his gut via almost magic. Or gravity, as the case may be.

I want to tell you the story, and I will. I just feel like I need to get sleep. Desperately. But I am definitely taking NICU survival advice and sure fire ways to avoid Partner's sickness.

Thank you so much for your good wishes-- If you keep sending them our way, we'd all so much appreciate it.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Fast, Because I Have to Pump Again

And from that you might be able to extrapolate that I've had Cricket. Who is alive, and doing well. Even though I am sobbing when I am writing this. I'm having my first trip home after having Cricket on December 30, at 4:11 in the afternoon after 42 hours of labor. I eventually had to have a c-section. The Cricket is a boy-- who is beautiful, and was six pounds, eleven ounces.

I'm heading back to the hospital now. He's in the NICU-- we don't know when he's getting out.

And I love him so much, and this is the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life.

I can't wait to show you pictures and have you see for yourselves how wonderful he is. I'll be home again tomorrow.