She’s Here!

The little fish has made her way into the world. My sweet Colette was born on July 22nd (38 weeks and 1 day) at 9:01 a.m., weighing 7.1 oz. I am so happy to finally be able to introduce her to you all. My heart is pretty much breaking with love.

I want to tell you her birth story, but for now I’m just trying to get through each day. It’s true what everyone says: the first few days are effing HARD. So that post will be along as soon as I am able. Until then, here’s some pictures of the little lady!

37 Weeks: Weekend “Getaway”

I come to you fully refreshed.

After the old hospital scare, I knew I needed to clear my head. Normally, when I really need to get myself in a better mindset, I head out of town for a quick getaway. But I’m not allowed to travel anymore at this point in my pregnancy, even by car, so my options were limited.

A staycation was definitely in order.

Tim and I booked a room at the Hyatt in Old City, packed our bags and headed out on Saturday.

But first, a surprise! My birthday is tomorrow, so on our way to the hotel, Tim stopped off at my favorite jewelry store, Halloween. The store is amazing: every corner is filled to the brim with sparkly things.

I scored some awesome gold cameo posts.

And a little fish necklace!

Upon arrival to the hotel, we surveyed our room. Undoubtedly cheesy, yet clean and very spacious.

And complete with a view of the city.

As soon as we set our bags down, Tim busted out with surprise number two. Flowers! He smuggled them (and a vase) into the room in his duffle bag.

Next was a trip to the pool.

And yes, I wore a bikini at 37 weeks pregnant. And yes, I’m actually posting a picture of it here. You gotta own it, right?

Post swimming, we ordered room service. Look at that spread. Also, check out those two bottles O’Douls! Hilare.

After that we spent the rest of the night watching TV, reading and talking about how grateful we were to have this one last romantic weekend before our family grows from two to three.

The next day, there was yet another birthday treat in store for me—a massage at a cute spa in Old City.

Then a late lunch at a little garden cafe.

And with that, our Staycation Of Awesomeness was complete.

I came away from the weekend feeling very spoiled, loved and rejuvenated. It was exactly what I needed. I so appreciated the time with Tim, and had I not had that hospital experience, I don’t think we would have been motivated to make the weekend happen. The hospital was good for something at least!

So now I am ready. Ready to face the rest of the pregnancy with a clear head and a calm heart. Ready to meet our beautiful, healthy little girl.

…Whenever she decides to come.

Another Day, Another Hospital Stay

Last Monday, I rammed my abdomen into the corner of a table. It hurt, but I wasn’t doubled over in pain or anything. I decided to call the midwives, just as a precaution. The nurse there told me that I needed to go to the hospital to be monitored.

So off I went. I was laughing about it as I left, saying that I’m so clumsy I’d probably be at hospital every three days for a fall.

Ha freaking ha.

I arrived at the hospital around 3 p.m. Once I got hooked up to the monitors, they saw that I was contracting every three to five minutes. And that Baby’s heart rate was dipping slightly with each contraction. Because these things could be a sign of placental abruption, they decided to keep me overnight. They also wanted to make sure I wasn’t in labor, so they checked to see if I was dilated. I was, but only 1 centimeter.

Twice the next morning, once around 6 a.m. and once around 7 a.m. the Fish’s heart rate dropped for a couple of minutes each time, which obviously is not good. The doctor came in and told me that I might have to deliver before I left the hospital. But first, more monitoring. They also rechecked my dilation and it was still holding steady at 1 cm. So that was the good news—I wasn’t going into labor, at least not on my own.

But, um, holy shit.

They officially admitted me at this point and moved us to a (much more comfortable) private room. I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink. I was hooked up to monitors and an IV. There was nothing do but chill.

As one hour bled into the next, I found myself analyzing the rhythms of my daughter’s heartbeat. The sound changed depending on how close to the monitor her heart was. Sometimes it sounded like a galloping racehorse, hooves barreling down a track. I loved this one because it made me feel like she was strong. Sometimes it sounded like a crazy six-beat cadence. One-two-three, one-two-three. This is the one I heard the most often. I realized at some point that I had started putting words to this cadence, like calming chant or a mantra: I-love-you, I-love-you.

And that’s how we passed the night. Tim asleep in a lounge chair. The Little Fish beating away. And me drifting in an out of consciousness in the comfort of her heartbeat.

I-love-you, I-love-you.

In the morning, they proclaimed that she had done so well on the monitors for 24 hours that it was safe to take her off for a while. I was so glad to not have those monitors strapped to me anymore, but I missed the sound of her heart.

They eventually let us go home that afternoon, with strict instructions to come back should I experience any pain, bleeding or contractions every five minutes for longer than an hour. For now, the baby would stay safely inside of me. This was Wednesday.

Fast forward to Thursday. Around 12 p.m., I started having contractions again. I have them a lot, so I didn’t think anything of it. Around 3, they were still going strong, so I decided to time them. They came every five minutes like clockwork. But still, this wasn’t out of the ordinary, so I gave it a while. Five hours later, they were still every five minutes, so I put a call into the midwives. She was like, “I’m really sorry, but you have to go back to the hospital.”

Back to the hospital? Sure, why not? After monitoring me for two hours there, the doctor said her heart rate was dipping again with each contraction. She suspected I had a small tear in the placenta that was causing this. She basically told us that I was on the fence—things weren’t looking bad enough for me to deliver a premature baby, but not good enough to let me go home. She suggested a growth scan in the morning to make sure the Fish was developing normally. If she was small, it could be an indicator that the placenta wasn’t providing her with the nutrients she needed.

So we passed another night. Tim sleeping, this time in an upright chair, and me listening to Baby’s heartbeat.

I-love-you, I-love-you.

In the morning, a new doctor came in and said they wanted to transfer me to labor and delivery to do something called a contraction stress test. This is where they give you Pitocin—a labor-inducing drug—until you get four contractions in 10 minutes. If the baby’s heart rate doesn’t dip at all during these frequent contractions, that means the placenta is giving her adequate nutrients and she’s deemed good to go. If her heart rate drops, that means delivery the same day. Apparently, this is the gold standard of testing. If the baby passes it, they feel confident that all is well.

Tim and I looked at each other, horrified. Labor and delivery? Pitocin? We’d both heard scary-ass things about Pitocin. What if it threw my body into real labor? What if it hurt? What if it hurt the baby? What if we had to give birth to a premature baby? What if, what if, what if. Two different doctors came into talk to us and answer all of our questions. They were great, but I was still scared.

Fortunately for me, the nurse they assigned to us was awesome. She wheeled me into labor and delivery, hooked me up to Pitocin and did her best to calm my fears. She talked to me the whole time. Even though my contractions were more intense with the Pitocin, I was laughing with the nurse and Tim, so I barely even noticed. The doctor also poked her head in to see how I was doing. The whole thing took maybe 45 minutes and Baby passed with flying colors! Not a single dip in the heart rate to be had.

Once they were sure the Pitocin was out of my system and my contractions returned to their normal level, they let us leave. The doctor said it’s likely that I might contract every 5-6 minutes for the rest of my pregnancy. She basically said that frequent contractions are normal for me, and to stop timing them. As long as there is no bleeding or water breaking, don’t come in for contractions unless they hurt so bad I can’t talk and am clutching Tim’s arm in pain.

We’re back at home again. I hope the next time we’re at the hospital it’s for real. I hope the next time, we get to meet our little girl.

The last few days were crazy. Plenty of fodder for an anxious mind, to be sure. But I’m not going to let myself go down that road. Nope. I’m choosing to believe that everything will be ok. And I do believe that. I’m strong, Baby’s strong and I now have a lot of confidence in the amazing doctors and nurses at the hospital.

And I’ve heard Baby’s heart. I know it intimately now. Its fierce little beats assure me that this tale will indeed have a happy ending.

I-love-you, I-love-you.

Broken Record: Anxiety, On Repeat

The Anxiety Monster
[image credit]

35 weeks. Still anxious.

I have to get real here for a moment: I’m really struggling.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some peaceful spells since I last posted about feeling anxious. But the last few days, whew. Doozies.

On the one hand, I have less to be anxious about than I did just a few weeks ago. If the bambina comes now, she’ll likely be totally fine. That is amazing!

But for some reason, that’s not helping me much. I keep imagining worst-case scenarios in my head. Every time I hear of a stillbirth, it puts me in a bad place for days. Mind you, I do not seek out these stories of tragedy, but a few make their way to me all the same.

I cannot imagine losing it all this close to game time. The thought terrifies me.

An anxious mind is a scary place to be trapped in.

Does this sound dramatic? Anxiety is very dramatic. That’s one of the things I hate about it. I dislike drama queens and when I’m anxious that’s what I feel like—a big, ole drama queen.

I’m trying to work my way out of it. I started doing a visualization adapted from Julia Indichova. It goes like this: imagine your worst fear. Think of an image associated with that fear. Watch it be engulfed by fire and a then huge flood of water (how’s that for drama, eh?). After you’re satisfied that the flood and fire have obliterated your worst fear, you visualize yourself taking three steps forward. Then you imagine a successful pregnancy, a smooth labor and holding a healthy baby in your arms. Tim and I have been doing this together. So far it’s not helped much, but I’m hoping that after time and repetition, it will.

I’ve also started talking to the baby more. Today I told her about all the different seasons and what I love about each one. This really helps a lot in the moment. It reminds me that the baby is here with me now and she’s just fine. And it makes me happy to think of all the things I’ll get to watch her experience for the first time.

So I’m working on it. But the fact is that I want to hold this baby in my arms so much I ache for it. I want to know that she’s safe. I want to see proof of it with my own eyes.

And yes, I know, I’ll worry about her even after she’s here, etc. etc. But that is a bridge I’ll cross when I get to it. Baby steps, people.

So tell me. If any of you felt anxiety at the end of your pregnancy, what helped you? Or if you had a non-pregnancy-related anxiety bout, what tricks guided you through it?

And even if you have no pearls of wisdom to offer, I’d love a shout out of support. I could really use it right about now.

Until then, I’ll be taking it one day at a time…