Category Archives: Pregnancy

Julian’s Birth Story

From Jaeger’s announcement:

Julian Elliot Stone Logan was born at 08:55 MDT this morning. He was 10 pounds, 6 ounces. (That’s 4700 grams, for those interested in metric units.) He’s 21.5 inches long, and his head measured 15 inches. His Apgar scores were 8 and 9. Big brother Calvin is excited, though not quite sure what to make of his infant sibling.

Selected photos are posted here.

Same disclaimer as with Calvin’s Birth: Below is the story of my perception of Julian’s birth. What I remember and what actually happened may not be the same thing. In addition, you may learn more than you ever really wanted to know about me in which case you probably shouldn’’t continue reading :-)

The Pregnancy
My pregnancy with Julian was delightfully uneventful. Off the top of her head, my original OB gave 30% odds that I would have repeat preterm issues1. As my therapist would like me to remember that actually meant there was a 70% chance everything would go normal. I decided the one thing I could do to better my odds was to reduce as much stress in my life as possible. Starting in November I dropped everything that wasn’t strictly work or home related. In addition, I saw a therapist biweekly, and aimed to go to weekly prenatal yoga and prenatal water aerobic classes. While the exercise was no doubt good, I think most of the benefit came from being able to interact with other pregnant woman.

One reason I changed hospitals/OBs for my pregnancy with Julian was because I wanted the option to attempt a VBAC2. My previous c-section went really well but I strongly disliked having to commit to a c-section at the beginning of my pregnancy. Given Calvin’s birth weight, 8 lbs 15 oz, and prior ultra sounds we expected Julian to be large but I didn’t necessarily think that ruled out a VBAC and my OB seemed to think it could be feasible. However, at our 33 week appointment we learned that he was breech. I was not terribly surprised as at my dentist appointment the prior week I felt him “detach” when they leaned me back in the chair3. Thus, unless he swapped places again, I would have a scheduled c-section.

Our next appointment was suppose to be week 36 but Jaeger had to travel for work (during which time I really hoped Julian wouldn’t decide to come early). As a result, my next appointment wasn’t till week 37. At week 37 we learned that he was back in head down position (yay!) and I was dilated 4 cm and 60-70% effaced. My OB seemed dubious when I told her I was walking around at 5cm with Calvin for about a month. However, everything looked good so we decided to go ahead and hire a doula. This was rather late notice but we were very fortunate to be able to find someone quickly.

Week 38 I was at 5 cm and 70% effaced. No baby.

Week 39. Still 5 cm. No baby. I think Jaeger and I were less surprised than the OB. We started talking about what would happen if Julian wouldn’t come on his own. Because of my prior c-section my OB wouldn’t have used pitocin in any case but I didn’t want my water broken either. My instinct said that if he wasn’t coming on his own there was a reason and I felt inducing would likely end up in the same situation as Calvin: a fairly quick labor, a fair amount of pushing, and a c-section in the end. This feeling was so strong that I hadn’t really bothered to run it by my OB and only belatedly realized I probably should. However, while I’m not sure she 100% agree with me she did say it was possible he was having trouble dropping due to head size. In any case, we decided to hope he’d come on his own but schedule a c-section for 40 weeks and 6 days4.

Week 40. Still 5 cm. Still hadn’t dropped. No baby. My OB was on vacation so a partner checked me and seemed surprised to agree I was at 5 cm. I signed the c-section consent form and was dismayed to learn we were the first of the day, at 7:30am and needed to show up by 5:30am. Jaeger and I are not morning people. I was also dismayed to learn that not only was I not to eat for 8 hours ahead of time (I expected that) but neither was I suppose to drink anything, including water.

Sunday, the day before the scheduled c-section, we talked with our doula and discussed how she could help support us during the c-section.

Julian’s Birth Day
Jaeger and I woke up bright and early on March 30, 2015. We groggily showered (I wasn’t sure when I’d get another) and made our way to the hospital. Our doula was already there waiting for us.

I wasn’t sure why we needed to be at the hospital 2 hours early. It turns out that when a c-section is scheduled, they do a much more leisurely prep. We were immediately shown to the PACU. I got into one of the lovely hospital gowns, laid on the bed, and prepared to be prepped. They started out by monitoring Julian to double check he was still moving and his heartbeat was good. The nurse noted it looked like I was having contractions which I tried to explain didn’t actually mean anything in my case. Then she worked on inserting my hep lock (or something similar) and complained I was very dehydrated and apologized profusely that she was having trouble finding a vein. I was not entirely sure what they expected given I was told not to drink water for 6 hours. Various other things were done and paperwork filled out. Jaeger and our doula took pictures throughout.

7:30 arrived and my OB showed up. She had been on vacation the previous week and expressed surprise that I hadn’t gone into labor on my own already. The c-section was suppose to start at 7:30 but the anesthesiologist had been called away by another mother that needed an epidural. A bit after 8:00am the anesthesiologist arrived. I was hustled into the OR. Lots of things were done including giving me my spinal. Unlike last time I didn’t go from pain to non-pain so did not actually giggle my way through the surgery.

I was hoping our doula would be able to come in with us and take pictures but it sounds like the anesthesiologists, as a group, were cracking down on individuals that were allowing more than 1 support person in the room at a time. So, our doula instead stood just outside the door and snapped pictures through the window.

I really wanted to watch the c-section. Our doula had mentioned some hospitals had switched to clear drapes separating the sterile/non-sterile side which sounded great to me. However, the heated air mattress-like device they had on top of me, to keep me warm, would have obstructed my view a fair amount anyway. As it was I could kind of watch parts of it in the lit picture of aspens on the ceiling. Though, the instruments showed up better than anything else which wasn’t the part I was particularly interested in.

As my OB started she asked if I had any guesses how big Julian was going to be. I told her I was confident he was at least 9 lbs and she agreed. Julian was born at 8:55am and weighed 10 lbs and 6oz. The medical staff seemed quite impressed with his size. I think I was less surprised than they were. At least, my ribs had been convinced he was a fair bit larger than Calvin. Julian was taking to the warming table and his basic health was reviewed. His apgar scores were 8 and 9.

It was at this point in the birth that my experience compared with Calvin’s c-section started diverging dramatically. Prior to the c-section they had me put a semi-disposable tube top on. The theory was that if the baby fit he would be nestled between my breasts underneath the tube top. I was extremely skeptical that Julian would fit and hadn’t heard what would happen if he didn’t. After the initial evaluation, which took about 10 minutes, a nurse came over, looked at my tube top and verified that Julian wasn’t going to fit. However, this was apparently easily solved by cutting my tube top off and bringing Julian over and placed on my chest with a blanket on top both of us. I can’t remember exactly how long they left him there but it was a good amount of time.

Once I got stitched up they moved us back to the PACU/post-op room. Julian was large for his gestational age so they wanted to do a blood sugar test. At Longmont they wouldn’t let Calvin eat before his test and I was a bit worried about this. When I asked the Boulder nurse if the same thing would happen this time she looked at me like I was crazy and said they took the test after he first breastfed. Like Calvin, Julian’s latching wasn’t particularly comfortable but unlike Calvin he did seem to suck rather than chew. Julian passed his blood sugar test without any problem.

At around 11:00 am we were moved from post-op to our recovery room. Most of the recovery rooms have queen beds but we had been told that women recovering from a c-section often preferred the single beds (with couch for partner) because they had more positioning options. Jaeger and I had discussed this and agreed that for our case we’d still prefer the queen bed. I was just going to rely on Jaeger helping to position Julian and I as needed.

We spent most of the rest of the day napping and trying to breastfeed. Julian got several more blood sugar tests and kept getting progressively better scores. Medical staff kept popping in and remarking with some astonishment that a woman as short as myself (5′ 3″) had managed to carry a 10 lb baby. Around 5:00pm my mom and Calvin stopped by to admire Julian.

Upon reflection, I’m really glad I ended up with a scheduled c-section. Overall, this has been a much smoother recovery than my first c-section. As far as physical recovery, I’ve had very good experiences with both my c-sections. However, not having gone through labor first for this one, and delivery in the morning, meant I was much more coherent and could really focus on Julian’s first couple of hours of life.

(However, the excitement isn’t over yet. Continue on to hear about our exciting NICU drama.)

  1. These odds were just an educated guess on her part. There really isn’t a good way to predict spontaneous preterm labor ahead of time.
  2. Longmont will not do VBACs
  3. My OB says this is not normal.
  4. This was according to his official due date. According to my dating, he would be 41 weeks and 4 days.

Suggested Maternity Shirts for 40+ Weeks

At 40 weeks I’m down to about 2-3 outfits that still fit me. While I’m not planning to buy any more clothing till Julian is born, Jaeger and I have been contemplating useful t-shirt slogans for 40+ weeks. They include:
* My due date is in the past
* I’m just big boned
* No, I am not a twin
* There’s only one of me in here
* Confirmed singleton1
* It’s cozy in here
* Not coming out till I’m good and ready
* My schedule not mommy’s
* Due dates are made up anyway
* You’re going to have to come get me
* Help, I’ve fallen up and I can’t get out.

  1. Are you noticing a trend? I’m to the point where random strangers are asking me if I’m having twins.

Dear Julian

From: Your Mother
Sent: Friday, March 13, 2015
To: Julian
Subject: Proposed Birthday Dates

Dear Julian,

It’s time for you to decide on your birthday date. According to the doctor I’m 5cm dilated and 70% effaced so she thinks you should come any day now. Of course, I know my children better and, as such, don’t expect you to be born just because the doctor thinks it’s time for you to come. However, I would like to propose some auspicious days for you to consider:

March 14, 2015
March 14 is less than a day away so this might feel rushed to you. However, I’d like to point out that it is Pi Day. Not only is it Pi Day, it’s a special Pi Day. You would get major bonus points if you could manage to be born at 9:26:53. Please note: some people are claiming that both 9:26:53 in the morning or the evening are equally valid but daddy prefers using 24 hr time. On the other hand, he’s already fudging by dropping the first two digits of the year and using the US date notation so maybe you could convince him. I promise if you are born on Pi Day I will learn to make a decent pie crust.

March 20, 2015
If you decide not to be born on Pi Day, I’d really appreciate it if you’d wait till March 20. This is because on March 19 Gail Carriger is going to be at The Tattered Cover and I’d really like to go. March 20 is also the spring equinox which might be fun. Another reason this would be a good day is because Grandma will be arriving the previous day and this would allow her more time to adore you before she goes back home.

March 24, 2015
This is your official due date according to the doctor’s office. Personally, I don’t put much stock in this date but it’s not a bad day.

March 26, 2015
This is your brother’s birthday. Being born on this date might be a tad controversial but it could also be fun.

I encourage you to pick one of the dates above. If none of those dates work, please consider being born no later than March 29. On March 31 you hit the magical 41 weeks according to the doctor’s office. At this point they want you out and they’re not going to allow you to delay any longer. Childhood is annoying enough without it starting out with grownups deciding the day you’re born. However, it is your choice whether you pick your own date prior to week 41 or let the grownups choose for you.



P.S. Thank you for staying inside till you were fully baked. That was very considerate of you.

Pregnancy Update and False Labor

I went to see my Dr last Tuesday at 37 weeks. She examined me and said it looks like Julian is once again head down! So, it sounds like a VBAC is back on the table. She also said I was 4 cm dilated and 60-70% effaced. Based on that, she thought there was a good chance I would go into labor in the next week or two. Of course, I was 5 cm with Calvin at this point and he was induced1. So, who knows. That being said, we decided it was probably best to prepared on the off-chance he showed up this week.

Last time we had decided to hire a doula and and found her to be quite useful supporting Jaeger and I. This time I was on the fence because it was so up-in-the air whether a) I’d make it to full term and b) whether I’d be in a position to attempt a VBAC. However, given things look good, I decided to see if there were any doulas with last-minute openings. The instructor for the Thursday night prenatal yoga class I attend is a doula and seems pretty pragmatic so I first contacted her. She already had a full client base for the month (not surprising) but suggested someone else. We contacted her and she came over and we talked and Jaeger and I signed her up on the spot. Normally, we would have interviewed several doulas but given the possible time constraints, it didn’t seem like a good idea to linger.

Around 12:45pm on Friday afternoon I started feeling a little weird. This is not particularly abnormal because Julian gets very active around 1ish each day. However, before stopping work for the day I made sure everything was in a spot where it would be easy to walk away from for a couple of months.

After work I got my eyebrows waxed and the stylist told me of a show called pregnant in heels which allegedly employs armies of fashion people so woman can look perfect in their right-after-birth photos. Personally, I think you need the exhausted/haggard photo so your child can never claim they were adopted.

I took Calvin to the dentist and learned he’s about to lose his first two baby teeth! As Jaeger notes, this means we’re going to need to develop a tooth fairy policy2.

I got home and noticed that my contractions seemed to have become more pronounced. I told Jaeger that I didn’t want to be paranoid but it wouldn’t hurt for him to come home a bit early to eat just to make sure he got supper. I also didn’t feel like cooking so he brought home takeout from our local Indian restaurant. While I was waiting, I kind of paid more attention to my contractions and decided they might be about 5 min apart.

Jaeger arrived home and we ate. I had the Vegetable Thukpa which was fantastic. Things were still feeling weird so I called Jaeger’s mom and asked if Calvin could spend the night. Things hadn’t quite gotten to the point where I was sure I was in labor but I figured it was better Calvin start out the night at Nana’s house rather than potentially get moved part-way through. She had guests over but said we could drop him off if we ended up at the hospital or she could come pick him up afterwards.

After supper I laid back on the couch and continued to contract. The problem is I can usually tell when they start but have a hard time figuring out when they end so I couldn’t figure out exactly what was happening. I decided to take a shower. Jaeger decided I was sounding serious enough he was going to stage the go bags by the door. Possibly due to excitement, he managed to fall down the stairs and hit the back of his head. I was still in the bathroom and heard a big clunk. I leaned out and asked “what was that?” But big clunks are fairly common in our house with Calvin and he wasn’t crying and Jaeger was around so I decided everything was probably ok3 and went back to drying myself off. Minutes later Jaeger appears and asks where our therapy ice pack was. I told him it in the scary freezer in the garage. He did not approve of this because he has an unnatural fear of our outside freezer (ok, probably not unnatural, it is hard to find things when packed).

Jaeger and I both ended up on the couch. Me with weird pains and him with a huge bump on the back of his head and a ice pack. Jaeger put his arm around me and emulated a contraction monitor. While I have trouble figuring out when they end, he apparently can feel it and doesn’t get as distracted by Julian’s random movements. He determined they were still coming fairly consistently 5 minutes apart and were lasting about a minute. I had a lot of dull aching from my lower back down interspersed with the occasional sharp stab but the contractions themselves didn’t hurt. I didn’t feel any sense of urgency so decided it wasn’t worth calling the doctor’s office until/unless we noticed an increase in contraction frequency/intensity.

It was getting late so Jaeger ferried Calvin over to Nana’s house for the night, just in case. He got back and we stared at each other for a bit not sure what to do next. Eventually I lay down on the couch and dozed off. When I woke up a little bit later, the contractions were gone.

Jaeger and I both stumbled off to bed around 10pm not sure if we were going to get woken up in the middle of the night or not. We didn’t and I had about as restful a night as I usually do these days.

This morning I’m back to only the occasional contraction so it seems like whatever was happening last night is over.

  1. Though I finally found documentation that says I was 50% effaced on his due date/induction day so from a certain perspective, I might currently be ahead.
  2. One of the tenets of our tooth fairy policy is that the tooth fairy doesn’t exist. We’re not entirely sure what the rest will involve yet. And yes, we’ve never pretended Santa Claus is real either. I’m sorry.
  3. Jaeger said he did yell that he’d fallen down the stairs but I missed that

More Baby

My life now revolves around trying to get ready for baby’s arrival. It’s probably incredibly boring to listen to me talk these days.

As Jaeger mentioned a couple of weeks ago, he and I liked the name Julian. Unfortunately, Calvin hated the name because he had a prior bad association. We tried to sell him on being able to pick the baby’s first middle name but he didn’t want to compromise. We let the name discussion drop for a while in hopes that he would eventually become reconciled to it. In the meantime, I checked out every juvenile book I could find where the protagonist was named Julian in hopes it would shift his associations. I was starting to worry we wouldn’t have a whole-family-approved name for baby by his birth when Calvin suddenly relented. I was surprised but relieved. So, baby’s first name will officially be Julian.

Sunday I woke up convinced Julian was going to come sooner rather than later. This was probably paranoia brought on because Jaeger was going to be in San Diego till Wednesday and I had visions of going into labor and Jaeger trying to get back in time. In any case, I decided not to argue with my paranoia. I went to prenatal yoga and then went on a huge grocery shopping expedition hitting the Indian Bazaar, Vitamin Cottage, and King Soopers. Then, I finished ordering any remaining baby items I felt were essential. Fortunately, baby did not decide to come while Jaeger was away. In addition to shopping, I mostly finished packing the “go bag” this week.

I was suppose to have my 36-week appointment on Wednesday but rescheduled it so Jaeger could come with me. It’s now scheduled for next Tuesday at which point we’ll see if Julian is still breech. I’m getting mixed signals. On one hand, my ribs are very unhappy and I swear the hiccups are coming from the right-side of my ribs. On the other, most of the “movement” I’m feeling is above my belly button which, according to some websites, seems to indicate he might be head down. I guess we’ll see in a couple of days.

At long last, our “nursery” is also mostly organized. For now, it’s living in our bedroom but I’m not sure how long it’ll stay there. Last time our pediatrician told me to move Calvin’s crib out of our room around month 2 (I think??) and I ended up getting less sleep because I was straining to hear him breath through the monitor. So, I’m tentatively in favor of keeping Julian in our bedroom longer. Jaeger is still uncertain how long he wants Julian in our room so we’ll see how it turns out. It probably depends a lot on what Julian ends up like.

Master Bedroom Nursery

The picture contains the following:

DaVinci Emily Mini Crib – This will be our primary crib. I think it’s a much better size than the full-size crib we had for Calvin. However, finding a mattress for it was a bit tricky. I originally ordered the DaVinci Sleepwell Crescent Mini Crib Universal Fit Waterproof 50-Coil Mattress. Sheets were hard to find for it but it was suppose to fit the mini crib really well. I ordered from Target and it was delivered. Then, I discovered that it was way softer than I felt was appropriate for an infant mattress. Jaeger confirmed I wasn’t imagining things so we returned it. My next attempt was the Dream On Me 3″ Extra Firm Portable Crib Mattress which I’m much happier with. It fits snugly inside the crib and is nicely firm. The American Baby Company 100% Cotton Percale Fitted Portable/Mini Crib Sheet fits the mattress well and has the side benefit of somewhat coordinating with the rest of our bedroom.

Co-Sleeper – One of the few things we kept from Calvin’s infanthood was our Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper. When Calvin was first born his official crib was at the foot of our bed. However, I, being the paranoid sort of person I am, kept getting up in the middle of the night so I could go make sure he was still breathing. Because of safety issues I was dubious about any type of co-sleeping. However, after looking it over we decided that it would probably be ok until Calvin started moving around more. It was very nice for the period we did use it as a co-sleeper because it allowed me to open one eye and see that Calvin was still both sleeping and breathing. It also worked well as a bassinet. We kept it to either pass on to one of our siblings or use it as a bassinet in case anyone visited with children.

Changing Table – This is a random changing table we got off Craigslist for $100. I was leaning toward either the tiny Ikea changing table or just using a cubicle but Jaeger wanted a real changing table. I do have to admit the dresser aspect is pretty nice. So far, I’ve been able to fit in diaper supplies, blankets, and all the 0-3 month clothing in it. The changing pad is suppose to arrive today. Weirdly, the changing pad cover I got for it almost matches the crib sheets even though it’s a completely different brand. I think at this point, Julian has more color coordination than Calvin ever got.

Diaper Pail – I know some people swear by those fancy diaper pails. I haven’t used one so perhaps they are wonderful but I’m dubious they reduce smell as much as some people claim. Honestly, I think you just get use to the smell. With Calvin, we used some cheap garbage cans which I felt worked fairly well. However, because this changing table is so big, we wouldn’t have space for the three we needed: disposable diaper, cloth diaper, and laundry. Jaeger suggested I look up stackable trash cans and we found these from the Container Store which, so far, look like they’ll work well.

La-Z-Boy Rocker/Recliner – This is another item that comes from the early Calvin Era. I used it a lot when Calvin was young and had trouble sleeping. Then it wandered around our house sometimes in our bedroom, sometimes in the basement, sometimes at Jaeger’s parents apartment as supplemental furniture. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been having a harder time sleeping. When I’m lying on my side for an extended period of time, my ribs start hurting. However, I can’t lie on my back at all anymore because my lungs are compressed enough I have trouble breathing. Eventually I decided to try the recliner and so far it’s working pretty good. I lay it out till it’s almost flat. I put my down pillow on the seat and then lie on my side with my lower belly against the pillow. Then both my legs and upper torso/head are slightly elevated. It’s hard to explain but it appears to be working pretty well. It’s also reducing the terrible heart burn I was having.

Things are progressing. Should be interesting to see when Julian decides to show up.

Hugos, Au Pairs, Babies, and Neil Gaiman

Yes, I’ve been very bad at posting. Also, I’ve read almost no books since Christmas. The exceptions are a couple of baby-related non-fiction books. Most of this is because I’ve been going to bed about the same time as Calvin. This is proving problematic for Hugo nominations.

Speaking of Hugo nominations, at the moment there are three novels I’m going to nominate: Ancillary Sword, The Martian (which may or may not be eligible??), and Lock In. My thoughts on these three novels mostly mirror Jaeger’s but I suspect I liked Lock In better than he did just because I read mysteries more than he does. There are several more I feel like I should read before nominations close but I’m not sure what the odds are.

I have been listening to audiobooks but mainly as a way to go back to sleep in the middle of the night. There’s so much stuff going around in my head about baby that it would be very easy to spend the whole night panicking/planning. Fortunately, the audiobooks are working out wonderfully. I start the audiobook and within about 10 minutes I’m out. Unfortunately, the audiobook keeps going. I really wish I could hook it up to some sort of wearable that would shut it off after I was obviously sleeping. I’ve only been listing to old favorites, mainly books by Bujold and Pratchett.

So, what has actually happened in my life for the past month? The most exciting thing really is what hasn’t happened. I’ve passed the infamous 32 week and 2 day mark without going into preterm labor with this baby. I’m now well into week 33 and still feeling pretty optimistic about my chances of making it to full term.

Since I did not go into preterm labor at the 32 week mark, I did make it to my church baby shower this time. Heidi, who hosted the shower, did a huge amount of work and it was a spectacular shower. We also got a lot of much-needed items. This week I’ve been going through the list and figuring out the remaining items we know we’ll need and the best place to get them. Things are coming together. The one thing I’m stuck on is the changing table. You will find countless websites saying that changing tables are useless. I beg to differ. While it is true I ended up changing Calvin on all sorts of surfaces, in the middle of the night it’s really nice to have a changing table next to the crib where you know everything you need is in a specific place. My first thought was to go for Ikea’s Sniglar changing table. It’s very basic and doesn’t cost too much. The downside is it has very little storage and, for some reason, Ikea is no longer selling the changing pad that fits it. It is very small so standard changing pads don’t fit. My next thought was to repurpose some of the cubicle pieces we have lying around the house. We could use a standard changing pad on the desk and could fit diaper pails and garbage underneath the desk. In addition, we could hang additional storage baskets from the cubicle. However, Jaeger seems dubious about this solution. So, that’s one item I’m still wrestling with.

Jaeger and I are also seriously looking at getting an au pair. We’ve had two interviews with potential candidates so far. I think we can see the clear advantages but we also find the concept a bit intimidating. On the other hand, it’s less intimidating than actually moving to China/Taiwan so it might be good practice for us. I think what’s particularly hard for us at the moment is trying to bridge language, culture, and time zone issues to figure out exactly how to properly screen and select an au pair from China. We’re still working on that.

Back to baby, he’s been head down and in perfect labor position since at least week 28. This is good but a bit uncomfortable as he was firmly planted against my bladder. I went to the dentist’s office a week ago Friday for my annual six month checkup. The dental hygienist leaned me back in the chair and I actually felt baby detach and float “down” toward my ribs. When I went to my OB appointment last Tuesday she confirmed that he had moved and was now in breech position. My next appointment will be at 36 weeks at which point my OB will check and see if he’s still in the breech position. If so, I’m looking at a scheduled cesarean. My OB says she won’t try an external cephalic version (where the OB tries to change the baby’s position from the outside) because of my prior cesarean due to worries that it could result in a uterine rupture1. After my latest ultrasound and the comprehensive Boulder hospital tour I had been strongly leaning toward attempting a VBAC. However, this changes things again so I guess I’ll just get to wait and see.

Yesterday, Jaeger and I went to a Neil Gaiman signing in Fort Collins. We’ve been to two Neil Gaiman events before. The first one was back in 2005 at the Tattered Cover. Gaiman spoke a bit and then started signing books. We had to wait a couple of hours but were able to wander around the bookstore in the mean time. The second time we went to a Gaiman event was 2008 in Boulder. He wasn’t doing any personal signing but had pre-signed books available to buy. This time was only going to be a signing, no speaking. The Old Firehouse Bookstore had won a contest to have him do a signing of his new book, Trigger Warning, due to selling the most copies of his last book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. My understanding is this is the only promotional stop he is making for this book.

Neil Gaiman is a fantastic author and an amazing library supporter but his adult fiction isn’t my favorite. I much prefer his juvenile books. However, both Jaeger and I bought copies of the newest book explicitly so we could each have 3 additional books we brought from home signed. I was particularly interested in getting The Sleeper and the Spindle autographed which has both Gaiman’s great storytelling and Chris Riddell’s fantastic art.

The signing started at 4pm and Jaeger and I left home a little after 2:00pm. I arranged for Jaeger’s mother to watch Calvin while we were gone. I did tell her I didn’t know how long the signing would last but we’d probably be back a little late. We arrived at the bookstore about 3:30pm and the zooish situation we were walking into quickly became apparent. I mean, we knew it was going to be a zoo but I think you had to be there for the reality to sink in. At 3:30pm, the line already snaked around several alleys and streets. We ended around 300 meters from the front of the line. The line continued to grow for at least the first several hours. I don’t know how long it ended up. Not surprisingly, the line did not progress particularly fast. Fortunately, the weather was amazingly good for February. Possibly it was too good. Jaeger didn’t bring a coat and I only brought a thin coat. This was fine for the first couple of hours. As I was standing in line, it occurred to me that standing for several hours in line while pregnant can be problematic. For instance, there isn’t a large quantity of bathrooms facilities available.

About an hour and a half from when we first joined the line I took a hiatus and went to a cafe. I bought some coffee cake for Jaeger and myself (I wanted to avoid liquids) and used their restroom. As it got darker, it got colder. Jaeger had it worse at first due to having no coat. I think about 3 hours in Jaeger left to get coffee and try to warm up a bit. It kept getting colder. Another hour or two later Jaeger left line to go get food from Chipotle to bring back for supper. By this point it appeared we were nearing the “home stretch.” That is, we finally were in the parking lot next to the bookstore. However, the line slowed down so we made very little progress over the next hour. By that point I was also shivering and the shivering was bringing on constant contractions. I was starting to wonder if I was going to need to bail due to baby reasons. I had a horrendous vision of almost making it to Neil Gaiman and having to abandon the whole thing due to my water breaking or something. There was a Starbucks within a block so I took a break. I went there, ordered some hot chocolate, and sat down inside a somewhat warm store for a while. When I got back the line had barely moved. Jaeger and I tried to huddle together for warmth but the size of my belly made that extremely hard. Eventually, we got to the door and then the line stalled again, within sight of the warmth within the store.

We finally got into the store and met a bookstore employee about 7 hours after we first joined the signing line. It was a little before 10:30pm when we were greeted by the first bookstore employee. He went through the standard spiel about how many books could be signed and then he noticed I was pregnant. He looked somewhat aghast and called over another employee to shepherd us to the front of the line. The second employee apologized continuously for not spotting me earlier in the outside line. Jaeger had explicitly told me to wear something that made me look pregnant but just the prior week someone had told me it looked like I was harboring triplets so I didn’t think there was any way to avoid looking pregnant. Jaeger suggested, as the employee herded us outside and around to the back entrance, that next time I needed a t-shirt that said “I’m pregnant” in large letters with a couple of neon signs to emphasize that point. The store employee agreed that would be helpful for “next time.” You may think that skipping line at that point was fairly pointless. However, the line in the store would have taken at least another half hour, quite possibly more. While I would not have asked to skip to the front of the line, I was extremely grateful they let us.

Jaeger and I had each brought three books from home as well as the new book we got at the store. So Gaiman was signing four books each but due to time constraints he was only personalizing one. I decided to get Fortunately, the Milk personalized for Calvin. I had explained the concept of author signings to Calvin and he seemed fascinated by the idea. Neil Gaiman was amazingly coherent when I got to him. I really have no idea how he does it. At that point I was almost completely incoherent but he still was able to make excellent small talk and mentioned that Chu’s Day at the Beach was going to be out in a couple of months and the plot was “starting to get complex”2.

We left Fort Collins and I texted Jaeger’s mom to let her know we were finally on our way home. Sometime around 9 she had taken Calvin back to our home and put him to bed. We got home a bit after 11:30pm. We were lucky. Gaiman didn’t finish at the bookstore until 3:12am. His patience and endurance are amazing. In retrospect the whole thing feels like something only college kids would do. I can’t believe we actually stood in line that long. Possibly we were just trying to recapture the feel of freedom before 2.1 changes our life again :)

UPDATE: Here’s the picture from Old Firehouse Books’ Flickr account proving I was actually there.

  1. I have found some people claiming the risk of a uterine rupture with ECV and a prior cesarean is unlikely. However, given I had such a good cesarean with Calvin, I’m not interested in the risk and am not going to push the issue with my OB.
  2. I had the 2nd Chu book in my stack of books to sign which is why he mentioned it.

Vacation-Related Ramblings

The peak of my ILS migration has passed. On November 11 we successfully finished migrating from our old ILS to our new one. I ended up working 50 hrs that week which isn’t a lot for some people but it is for me. The project isn’t finished yet, there’s still a lot of mopping up to do. However, I’m back to working straight 32 hr weeks. Overall, I’d give the migration a B+. Things went wrong but the two relatively major things that went wrong were things that we couldn’t have tested easily ahead of time.

Now comes the part of customizing the new system as fast as I can to replace all the customization I already did for the old system. I always find it a bit amusing when staff lament a feature that our old system had when the old system really didn’t have the feature, I just messily hacked another application in to compensate. I’ve been reminding staff I had ten years to customize the old system and the new system will get there too, it’ll just take some time.


Last Sunday, Jaeger and Calvin flew out to California and left me by myself. The Logans have a family reunion every-other-year in northern California (at least, I think it’s considered northern California, my California geography is bit incomplete). Normally, I would go but the location is up in the mountains, off main roads, and I was nervous about the possibly of getting snowed in and then having a pregnancy-related emergency of some sort. So, I decided not to travel this year for the holidays. This was also a great opportunity for me to be by myself. Calvin was out of school for the whole weak so Jaeger got ambitious and decided to go early and swing by Legoland prior to heading up north for the reunion. From all accounts (and pictures) Calvin had a blast.

I dropped Jaeger and Calvin off at the airport on Sunday and then went back home and contemplated the family room. Overall, we do a fairly good job of keeping Calvin’s stuff limited to the family room or his room. However, it still can get a bit overwhelming. So, I spent most of the rest of the day Sunday watching TV while re-organizing the family room. I took apart the many, many lego structures that had accumulated over the past months and deposited their components into the appropriately colored bins12. I don’t insist that Calvin take apart his (or Jaeger’s) structures immediately so they tend to hang around on the entertainment cabinet for weeks. This makes it hard to clean around. So, after evaluating the situation, I removed my china from 2 of the 3 shelves in the china cabinet and have them reserved for new Lego structures. After that, I moved Calvin’s desk from the corner where it usually resides to instead jut out by the entertainment cabinet. This left the corner available for the tree that I planned to put up later in the week. It doesn’t sound like much but I got through 4 TV episodes before it was all done.


I didn’t take Monday off from work. However, without Calvin to get ready I could sleep in and still start working early. I quit at my scheduled time of 2:30 and contemplated what I wanted to do for the rest of the day. Even though I was working, it was already like I was on a mini-vacation. I decided to do a bit of research on pregnancy-related exercise options in the area.

Up till I was pregnant, I exercised almost every day3. However, when I was only a few weeks pregnant, I started feeling a lot of cramping when I walked. Being perhaps overly paranoid, I stopped exercising almost entirely. Once the morning sickness set in, I wouldn’t have been exercising anyway. I think I basically just laid down on the couch for about 2 months hunched up in a ball of misery4. The morning sickness was way worse this time than it was last time.

Second trimester arrived and, like magic, most of the morning sickness disappeared and I started feeling pretty good again5. However, anytime I walked more than 5-10 minutes my uterus would tighten up and stay tight until I sat down. Given our fun with Calvin, I’ve been taking the paranoid approach and continued not exercising. However, not exercising has its own health risks. Walking isn’t very comfortable but I decided I should try to find something I could do.

When I was in preterm labor with Calvin I was flown down to PSL. A lot of that experience was very stressful. However, the one thing I really enjoyed was PSL’s therapy pool. Twice a day many of the pregnant patients were allowed to go down to the therapy pool to just sit in the water or paddle around. It felt really good having a temporary release from all the extra weight I was carrying around. Given my past positive experience with a therapy pool, I decided to see if something similar existed around Boulder. Boulder hospital does have a therapy pool and they use to have prenatal water aerobics but that class no longer exists. I contemplated checking out their regular water aerobics class but it’s smack in the middle of my working day, starting at 11:30am. If I was a normal worker, I could just take a long lunch break but to get my 6 1/2 hrs in every day, I eat while I work. Going to a mid-day class would mean I’d have to make up the work time either early in the morning or after Calvin is already out of school. I kept looking around for other alternatives. After some browsing I noticed that the Boulder rec center closest to us offered prenatal water aerobics Monday nights at 7pm. Since my evening was completely free, I decided to give it a try.

A bit before 7 I wandered down to the North Boulder Rec center and figured out what it took to gain entrance to the class (it’s just a drop-in class but that was only the 2nd time I’ve been to that rec center). After finding the locker rooms and changing I headed out to the lap pool. A random staff member greeted me and noted that she was subbing for the regular teacher. I wasn’t sure what to expect. At PSL, we didn’t do any exercising, we mainly just floated, and I’d never been in a water aerobics class before. We got in the pool which was quite cool. The instructor had us grab kickboards and do several laps the length of the pool. By the second lap I was warm enough the pool’s coolness no longer bothered me. After the kickboard laps, she had us change to using pool noodles. They were curved and we straddled them so one end of the pool noodle was in front of us and the other was behind and we were in kind of a seated position. Then, using our arms, we did a couple more laps. We spent most of the time in the deeper part of the pool with the pool noodles and doing various exercises. It drove home to me how very out of shape I am. However, even though the exercising got my heart rate up, I didn’t contract at all which seemed like a good sign. Towards the end of the class we transitioned into the leisure pool (which is much warmer) and finished with stretching. The next day my arms ached really bad but presumably that will lesson as they start getting back in shape. Overall, I was quite pleased with the class and am going to try it again.

Tuesday, I again worked but took a break for a prenatal appointment with my OB. I was suppose to have this appointment on Thursday but the OB had to cancel, after I was already there, due to an emergency c-section. I know they didn’t have any warning to call me because the assisting doctor was leaving as I was walking in (I hoped she was going to assist another OB but no such luck). Anyway, I showed up on Tuesday and this time there wasn’t any emergency to delay my appointment. The nurse took all the normal readings and everything seemed good (my weight is probably a bit much but she didn’t comment). She told me to schedule another gestational diabetes test with the lab between 24-28 weeks 6. The doctor arrived and noted that she’d had yet another successful VBAC the previous day. She knows one reason I switched from Longmont to Boulder is because I wanted the option of a VBAC so every visit she makes a point of telling me about the successes they’ve had recently. I’m not going to be heartbroken if I end up with a c-section, I mainly didn’t want to commit to one at the beginning of my pregnancy, but I do appreciate the doctor remembering VBACs are something I’m possibly interested in. The doctor listened for 2.1’s heartbeat which was nice and clear. Then she sat down and asked if I had any questions. I talked to her about my concerns of preterm labor (I think I mention this every visit) and she said unless I start feeling a lot of pain or pressure I shouldn’t worry too much. Then I asked her about exercise options. She was quite enthusiastic about water aerobics. She was also of the opinion that I didn’t need to worry about the tightening while walking as it was probably just braxton hicks contractions. I’m not quite as sanguine but I have started taking short walks around the neighborhood because I do think it’s healthy to get outside more than I have been. Lastly I asked about prenatal yoga which she also endorsed as a good thing to try. I do appreciate how the OB sat down and answered all my questions thoroughly then went on to ask about holiday plans and stuff. Most prenatal visits tend to be fairly short but I feel good that the doctor didn’t feel rushed and sat down to talk. Small things but it makes a difference in my emotional comfort :)

On Monday, while researching prenatal exercising, I ran across Yo Mama’s website which is a yoga studio (and more) that specializes in pregnancy and early motherhood classes. I was already aware of it because I had gotten several prenatal massages from Faith Davis who works there7. I looked at their schedule and they had a 6pm prenatal yoga class on Tuesday. Given Calvin was away, I figured this was a great time to experiment and see if it worked out for me.

After work I decided I’d go thrift store shopping, eat an early lunch, and then go to the yoga class. Unfortunately, Savers, which was my preferred thrift store, closed unexpectedly in Boulder. However, I heard there was a fairly new Goodwill which I figured was worth checking out. Well . . . I wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t nearly as nice as Savers was. It wasn’t a bad thrift store, just not great. I wandered around for a while then decided to go to the Greenwood Wildlife Thrift Shop. It’s a smaller thrift store, I rarely find any clothes I want, but last year I found several nice Christmas decorations there. I wandered around and found a couple small things I wanted. Just as I was getting ready to leave, I noticed a small sign noting they had maternity clothes. I asked the volunteer about it and she said they did, but didn’t have room for them in the main store area. So, she went out to the back and brought out three fairly large bins full of maternity clothes. They were really nice quality, mostly brand name clothes, and were going for $3.50 a piece. I sat down on the floor, sifted through the bins, and came up with a stack to try on. As expected, quite a few of the clothes didn’t work but I still ended up with quite a few items that fit with room to grow. I walked out of the store with a stack of clothes and a couple of ornaments for $19.

By that point is was about 4:30, a little too early for supper but not a lot of time for thrift store browsing. So, I decided to go to a kids consignment store and see if they happened to have any Legos for sale at a decent price. No luck with the Legos. However, I had completely forgotten that they also carried maternity clothes. There wasn’t a lot that spoke to me but I found a maternity swim suit. The swim suit I had worn the day before barely stretched to fit me and I knew it wasn’t going to last my pregnancy. However, I hated the idea of paying real money for something that was only going to be good for a couple of months. The maternity swimsuit was not particularly flattering but it was only $6.50 and I figured there probably wasn’t much point in holding out for something really nice looking just for water aerobics.

I went and ate supper at Native Foods, which is my favorite fast casual restaurant in Boulder, and then headed off to try out the yoga class.

In general, I’ve always avoided paying money for exercise classes. Up to this point, I’ve gotten along fine with walking, a treadmill (recent addition), and exercise DVDs. I’ve also never really gotten into Yoga. A lot of it is a bit too . . . mystical for me (in fairness, it doesn’t take a lot to get too mystical for me). I’ve tried a couple Yoga DVDs and with the exception of one I’ve always lost patience with them. So, I was a bit nervous trying out a prenatal yoga class, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect.

Other than the instructor, I was the first person to arrive. It turns out she was a sub but she took in my deer-in-headlights expression and figured out this was my first time in the class. Then I got to explain that I had never actually been to a Yoga class either. She appeared delighted to have a complete newbie show up and showed me where everything was and what I needed to grab for the class.

The room itself was dimly lit, I assume this was to provide a calming atmosphere and it did work. There were only four other people besides myself and the instructor. I’m not sure if this is normal turnout, if it was light due to the holiday, or if evening classes are just less popular than mid-day classes. It started out with some stretching warmup. During the warmup we were all invited to talk about how our pregnancy was going that week, any issues we were running into (emotional, physical, anything), and also something positive that had happened that week. In many ways, it seemed like a mini group therapy session. The class was long, an hour and a half, but everything was slow and relaxed. If I had been doing this as a DVD at home I would have been bored out of my mind but somehow it wasn’t as boring doing it as a group. My arms, and my right leg, had been aching all day, probably due to the unaccustomed water exercising. By the end of the yoga class the aching had mostly disappeared and I felt very relaxed. So, this experiment was also a success.


Wednesday I worked and then organized some more. On Monday I had started organizing Calvin’s room but hadn’t finished. I finished up on Wednesday. I’ve now packed away all his 3T clothes, discretely recycled much of his artwork (something that’s hard to do when he’s around), and put all his Lego instructions into a binder. Calvin loves looking through the Lego instruction booklets but it’s hard to keep them from sprawling everywhere. I’m not sure if the binders will work but it seems worth a shot. Based on the instruction booklets I also took the opportunity to make a master list of what Lego sets he currently has so we don’t accidentally buy him duplicates.

I finished out the day by watching a movie and going to bed.

Thursday I woke up and made myself biscuits and scrambled tofu for breakfast. Then I prepared my Thanksgiving meal for later which was stuffed squash. I always love taking a squash or pumpkin, stuffing it with something, and then baking the whole thing in the oven. It always looks so festive to me. Afterwards, since I was now officially on vacation, I took a nap.

After the nap, I decided to start making Christmas candy. I got the coconut and peanut butter filling mixed together, put them in the fridge to chill, and then switched to pulling out Christmas ornaments. Technically, neither candy making nor Christmas decorating should be done till the day after Thanksgiving but I decided I could fudge it given I was alone. I got the tree up and decorated and then went back to roll the candy filling into balls and dipping them. That took most of the day.

I ate my stuffed squash, watched another movie, and went to bed.

Friday I continued with the Christmas decorating. In addition, I met with a lactation consultant. I believe my breastfeeding experience with Calvin could properly be described as a fiasco. Breastfeeding didn’t work and I didn’t give up pumping nearly as quickly as I should have. I’m stubborn and had trouble admitting this wasn’t something I could deal with. This time, I’m going try to be more realistic. However, I do want to try breastfeeding. I don’t believe formula is evil8 but breastmilk is ideal and is usually cheaper9. Anyway, this time around I realize that breastfeeding isn’t necessarily easy so I want to be more prepared ahead of time.

My therapist recommended a lactation consultant who she feels is very good. I decided to email her, explain that I had trouble last time, and ask when she thought would be a good time to do an initial consultation. A little bit to my surprise she suggested Friday on the basis that we could get all the history out of the way and so be more prepared regardless of when 2.1 decided to show up.

My experience with Calvin took a fair amount of time to explain so it probably was just as well we did this early. I keep forgetting how complicated everything was with him until I start trying to tell it to someone else. I was fascinated by the lactation consultants extremely negative reaction when she heard I had been on Reglan to increase milk production. She mentioned something about being amazed any doctor would prescribe that to a postpartum woman even five years ago. Yet, at the time, several lactation consultants and my OB seemed to think it was quite reasonable to try so I have to wonder if additional research has come out about it in the last five years. I’m not entirely sure what this lactation consultants reaction was due to but I suspect it’s probably related to Reglan’s known depression side effect (both therapists I have talked to since felt it is very bad for postpartum women to use Reglan because of an increased risk of postpartum depression, which I did get but I tend to blame on lack of sleep).

The lactation consultant took pages of notes while I talked and then asked me what my goals this time around are. I appreciated how tactful she was at asking what I was willing to try this time. I explained that while I didn’t mind pumping briefly at the beginning and while I work, I felt I made a bad trade off pumping so much while Calvin was present. I still remember being hooked up to the pump, with Calvin in a bassinet, while I tried reading to him to provide some sort of interaction. I don’t think that was good for me or Calvin.

After all the questions, she discussed and wrote down a plan with me. She even labeled it a plan. I like plans. Her initial thoughts are, given we can’t know for sure at this point, that probably most of the problem had something to do with Calvin’s inability to suck properly and if he had sucked properly, I probably wouldn’t have had low milk supply. Pumps aren’t as efficient at extracting milk as babies (or even husbands ;) ). She had a long list of suggestions, mainly on how to start things off with the best chance of success. She said to give her a call or email when I first go into labor so we could setup an in-home first visit with her. In addition, given Calvin’s problems, she suggest a fairly early oral-motor exam for 2.1 to make sure he doesn’t have any physical issues that would make breastfeeding harder.

Overall, I felt pretty good after talking to the lactation consultant. I have a plan. I always feel better with a plan. In most cases, I don’t get overly stressed when circumstances diverge from my official plan. However, I do tend to get stressed ahead of time if I don’t have a plan.

I spent most of the rest of the day puttering around the house either chatting with Jaeger online or finishing Christmas decorations.

I woke up this morning and decided to attend first service at church, which starts at 9am. First service is the contemporary service and, among other things, they have the lights dimmed. This turned out to not be particularly good for me. I got extremely sleepy during the sermon. After church, I skipped Sabbath School, headed home and took a nap. I slept for two hours before surfacing for lunch. I chatted with Jaeger a bit more, puttered around the house, read, watered our two delicate trees (one new and one that’s trying to die), and then decided to document my vacation. Naturally, the documenting took way longer than I expected.

  1. Though I did not destruct the castle set or his brand-new Lego Movie mech.
  2. Yes, I’m that mother, the one that feels a compulsion to keep her son’s lego’s organized by color. Type would probably be better but color is an easier concept to explain to Calvin at the moment. Plus, organizing by color makes it easier to explain to Calvin how to divide a large task into smaller pieces. Such as picking up Legos one color at a time.
  3. I adore eating so it seems prudent to balance that with a reasonable amount of exercise.
  4. Since I work from home, I also worked hunched up on the couch in a ball of misery. I can’t imagine how bad it would have been if I would have had to go work in an office constantly. Honestly, I keep being amazed people keep procreating given the fun of pregnancy and early infanthood. I’m also not always sure why I decided to attempt it a second time.
  5. Though I still have this weird quirk where brushing my teeth or coughing makes me throw up. No nausea, just suddenly I’m throwing up. When I told my OB this, she just looked at me for a moment and then noted pregnancy does weird things to people.
  6. I’ve already had one due to family history and the doctor wanting to be extra careful given my complications last time. On the upside, the nasty stuff they make you drink seems to have improved since my last pregnancy. It’s still vile but not as vile as last time.
  7. On the off chance anyone is looking for a prenatal massage in the Boulder area, I’ve been very happy with Faith. I keep meaning to write a review but I always have a hard time writing good reviews.
  8. Breastmilk is ideal but formula these days is a very acceptable substitute. There are a lot of studies talking about the benefits of breastmilk but the benefits are often exaggerated.
  9. I say usually because I’m pretty sure last time I spent a couple thousand dollars attempting to breastfeed once you add up the lactation consultants and hospital breast pump rentals (and that doesn’t even count the psychological cost I incurred).


I have a good reason for my blogging silence recently: I’m pregnant. I spent pretty much my entire 1st trimester either sleeping or curled up in a ball trying not to throw up. Morning sickness was a lot more intense this time and towards the end I ended up taking meds to keep the vomiting under control (though I know I got off a lot more lightly than some women). Now that I’m at 13 weeks, the vomiting mysteriously disappeared which was a relief1. I planned this pregnancy carefully to make sure my migration (big project) at work happened before I was likely to hit any preterm labor problems in case I have a repeat of last time. However, I hadn’t counted on being incapacitated during my first trimester. I was still able to get in all my hours but I don’t think I was operating at my normal level.

Below is a post I wrote the morning I found out I was pregnant back on July 8, 2014.

It turns out that it’s a bad idea to take a pregnancy test at 2:00AM. It seemed like a good idea at the time because I didn’t want to avoid going to the bathroom all night just to make sure I had concentrated enough liquid.

The test shows the very faintest plus symbol. Technically, I took the test one day before the instructions recommended. I got it confused with the non-generic brand I used last time and didn’t notice the difference till after I had already tested. So, I was a little surprised to see a faintly positive result. My understanding is that if you see any plus at all, no matter how faint, you are pregnant. However, according to at least one study, 22 percent of “chemical” pregnancies never become “clinical” pregnancies2

Now I am sitting down in the family unable to go back to sleep.

Coincidentally, I interviewed an OB today. I really liked my Longmont OB but the Longmont Hospital won’t do VBACs. It’s not that I necessarily want a VBAC. I had a great c-section the first time and due to various factors my odds at a successful VBAC aren’t great. However, I dislike not having the flexibility to choose a VBAC. The OB I interviewed today delivers at Avista Adventist Hospital. It’s 20 minutes away from my house but has a Level III NICU3, vegetarian food in the cafeteria4, and does VBACs. However, the main reason I’m considering this particular OB is she is very close to one of the libraries I can work at. The OB answered my extensive list of questions and I felt pretty happy with her responses.

I have an interview scheduled with a Boulder OB next Monday. Boulder Community Hospital also does VBACs and is only 12 minutes away from our house but prenatal appointments would be slightly more inconvenient than the Avista OB. They also have a lower level NICU though I’m not sure how much importance I should place on that.

Assuming this pregnancy continues, my due date is March 24, 2015. Does this date seem vaguely familiar? Calvin’s birthday is March 26. This was unintentional. I’ve been trying for a while to get pregnant and I guess this was just weird coincidence. Perhaps something about summer makes me more fertile.

UPDATES: I decided to go with the Boulder OB. Both OBs seemed great but Boulder Hospital appears to have a dedicated vegetarian menu which is hard to beat (particularly if I end up there for several weeks). I also got the fancy MaterniT21 genetic blood screening done since I’m “elderly” at a whole 35 years of age. It came back negative for the major chromosomal abnormalities it tests for. In addition, it was able to determine that I’m having a boy. So, Calvin will get the little brother he’s always wanted. Of course, I’m not sure Calvin really realizes how long it is before babies become interesting humans.

  1. With Calvin I had much milder morning sickness that lasted significantly longer.
  2. I’ve been seeing a therapist for the last couple of months for stress-related issues. She would no doubt like me to point out at this point that only a 22% loss means that it’s more likely than not that I will stay pregnant.
  3. I thought I saw they were a level IIIB but the OB said they take babies at 28 weeks or later which implies IIIA.
  4. I thought PSL in Denver had bad vegetarian options till I delivered in Longmont. They were worse. I could get frosted flakes for breakfast at both locations but at least at PSL, the moderately “healthier” options, such as a whole wheat bun instead of snow white, required the approval of a dietitian.

Birth Story

Disclaimer: Below is the story of my perception of Calvin’s birth. Labor is a very confusing time so what I remember and what actually happened may not be the same thing. In addition, you may learn more than you ever really wanted to know about me in which case you probably shouldn’t continue reading :-)

Calvin was born on March 26, 2009 at 10:02 PM. He was 8 lbs 15 oz and measured 21 inches long. Those facts are very easy to relate. However, getting to this point was more complicated than I expected.

Originally, both Jaeger and I were astonished by how my pregnancy proceeded right on schedule. However, my by-the-book pregnancy abruptly changed on January 31 when I went into preterm labor. Since then it has been a roller coaster ride alternating between active terror and expectant boredom.

Much to the medical staff’s surprise, Calvin was not born the instant I was taken off my preterm labor medications. However, they assured me he would be born any day since at that point I was dilated 5 cm. A couple of weeks later, my obstetrician started making noises about inducing me. After some compromises, we decided that I would go in for an induction on March 26, Calvin’s official due date.

On March 25, Jaeger and I ran last minute errands and made sure that we were as prepared as we could be for Calvin’s arrival. As previously instructed, I called the hospital an hour before I was scheduled to be admitted to make sure they still had time for the induction that day. Everything was still on scheduled so Jaeger and I arrived at the hospital around 7:45 AM and went up to the labor and delivery floor. Our first labor and delivery nurse introduced herself and helped us get oriented. I had to sign a bunch of paperwork and then they administered my penicillin IV.

Since I was GBS positive, one reason the doctors had pushed for the induction in the first place was because they wanted me to be able to get a full 4 hours of penicillin before Calvin was born (one of the Denver doctors predicted I’d have a 2 hour labor and thus wouldn’t have time for the full dose). Penicillin is delivered via an IV every 4 hours while in labor. However, once the dose has been delivered, it is okay to remove the IV. The previous day, I had started panicking about the IV because I was concerned they might put it in and leave it instead of giving me a heplock to make it easy to take off and on. However, Jaeger reminded me that we had already discussed this with my doctor and learned it shouldn’t be a problem to go off the IV at the hospital once each dose had been delivered. While I was on the IV, they monitored my contractions and the baby’s heart rate. I had my normal amount of contractions and Calvin was as happy as ever.

Our doula arrived an hour before we expected my water to be broken. This freed Jaeger up to run out and grab some lunch before all the excitement was scheduled to begin. While waiting for the doctor, we chatted with her a bit about how we met and our families.

Around 1:00 PM, Dr. B showed up to break my water. She started with a cervical exam which is never very pleasant. I was 5 cm dilated, 50% effaced and at -1 station. Then nurse then passed her the little crotchet needle-like wand. Somewhere I had heard it hurt when ones water was broken so I was very surprised to all of a sudden feel a warm gush of liquid. Dr. B seemed surprised by the amount of water. After the doctor left, we settled in to wait and see if anything happened. To pass the time, we paced the room and wandered around the halls. I was attempting to stay active in order to help promote labor. A little bit later, my contractions started to get more intense and actually started to be a little uncomfortable.

At 3:00 PM, the nurse checked me again. At this point, I was still 5 cm dilated but effaced 80% and Calvin had moved to station 0. The nurse reported the results back to the doctor who suggested that just a bit of pitocin might send me over the edge into full blown labor. Neither Jaeger nor I was very fond of the idea, especially since not much time had passed. We asked to put off getting pitocin for a little while and I got up and walked around a bit. A couple of minutes later our first nurse told us that she was leaving (she was a sub) and introduced us to her replacement. Her replacement stuck around and said that she heard we were reluctant to use pitocin. We told her she was correct. She then looked at us for just a moment and said something like, “should I be bold? I’ll be bold. I’ll be back in just a moment.” Jaeger, the doula, and I all just stared at her departing in bemusement. A moment later she was back with a very warm folded blanket. She told me to put it up against my breasts as it acted like mild nipple stipulation. I’d never heard of this method before but it didn’t seem like it’d hurt anything. I’m not sure if it was the warm blanket or just coincidence but it did appear that my contractions picked up after that.

At 5:00 PM, I started really feeling the contractions. At this point, they were noticeable and uncomfortable even when I was standing up. I told Jaeger that he needed to go get supper immediately if he wanted something for the rest of the night. He wandered off and our doula stayed with me. Not too long after he was gone they got even worse and I started feeling nauseated. Jaeger arrived back from picking up supper just as I threw up. Once I really started labor, I think I went straight to the transition stage. The labor nurse suggested that the Jacuzzi tub might be soothing and it seemed like a good idea since I’ve always liked warm baths. However, I got in and couldn’t get comfortable. The tubs were quite big which originally seemed like a good idea but there wasn’t a way for me to prop myself off (they might have been designed with the idea of accommodating the husbands too). I ended up sitting cross legged in the tub which wasn’t as relaxing as I had hoped. About this time I was deep enough into labor that I had lost all my inhibitions and was completely naked. Our birthing instructor had told us that this might happen but I didn’t believe her. As a side note, when I was in labor I really didn’t care about any of my surroundings. My world shrunk to be just big enough to accommodate Calvin and I. During birthing classes you learn about all sorts of embarrassing things you or your body might do during labor. Trust me, when the time comes, you really don’t care.

I remember thinking that the contractions really hurt but they were survivable. Our doula was great. She helped massage me and also gave suggestions to Jaeger on what I might like to try. We tried a couple of positions. I don’t remember much of this time period except I was on the birthing ball a bit and I really liked it when they would rub my lower back really hard. The next time I was checked, I had dilated to 8-9 cm. Fairly quickly after the nurse had checked me, I mentioned that I wanted to go to the bathroom. I didn’t think I wanted to push but the nurse said that I really shouldn’t go to the bathroom as dilated as I was as I probably wanted to push without realizing it.

Just a little bit after 6:30 PM I started pushing. I don’t actually remember anyone telling me I could. I’m pretty sure they never double checked to make sure I was at 10 cm which confused me at the time. I started out on my hands and knees which was one of the most comfortable positions for me. However, over the next 2 ½ hrs we tried a lot of positions. I remember hands and knees, on my side, classic C, and squatting. There might have been other positions but those are the ones I remember. Without a doubt, this stage was the hardest part for me and I quickly lost coherent thought. I could no longer really feel my contractions as contractions. It felt more like constant discomfort that occasionally peaked. I kept telling them that I couldn’t really feel my contractions but they said that I must feel them because I always breathed heavier when the monitor said I was starting to have one. (They had put me back on the monitor once I started having the contractions but I don’t know how that all worked because by then I was completely out of it. I have a vague recollection of our doula holder the monitor onto me so I would still have enough freedom to keep moving around.) All I know is when I was pushing, I was never entirely sure I was pushing at the right time. I also never felt that my contractions were rhythmic. To me, they felt like they were completely random. Sometimes it felt like I had a couple of minutes between contractions and sometimes they seemed to come one after another. I did learn that I pushed much more effectively when the nurse put her fingers inside of me and gave me something to aim for (it sounds really weird but it worked for me). Also, I remember that at one point when I was in the squatting position our doula and Jaeger were on opposite sides of me applying pressure as hard as they could. That felt as good as pretty much anything could at that point.

I think they had called Dr. B when I first started pushing. Periodically she would pop in and take a look. At some point, they realized that Calvin’s head was rotated 45 degrees from where it should have been. His head kept banging up against my pubic bone and we couldn’t get him over it. I remember both the nurse and Dr. B trying to turn him without success. Their attempts didn’t feel good. I started losing energy. I could feel my pushing getting weaker. Jaeger tried giving me honey sticks which our birthing instructor had recommended as a good source of quick energy. However, I couldn’t stand them. They were way too sweet. The next thing he tried was giving me Gatorade. To my surprise, because generally I loathe Gatorade, I was able to tolerate that much better than the honey. At one point, I remember asking the labor nurse what all my options were. She started listing options but none of them sounded good to me. One of the things she mentioned was augmenting with pictocin in hopes of strengthening the contractions. To me at the time, that sounded like an awful idea. However, looking back with my head clear, I can see how stronger contractions might have made it easier for me to distinguish what was going on. As a side note, I was surprised that I never asked for an epidural. I had given Jaeger elaborate instructions on how he was to determine if I really meant it when I asked for an epidural. I seriously thought about it several times but never actually opened my mouth to say I wanted one.

About 2 ½ hours after I started pushing Dr. B came in to check up on how I was doing. Apparently when I pushed they could see his head but he wasn’t even close to crowning. I think she said something to the nurse about him not having moved much since she last looked in but I could have been wrong. I don’t know exactly how the conversation came to be, but she did offer that a cesarean might be an option at this point. (I don’t remember her exact phrasing. It was very vague, something like we can go in and get him or something like that.) He wasn’t close enough that they could try any other type of intervention. By this point, I had completely lost hope that he was ever going to come out. We had tried several different pushing positions in hopes of shifting him and neither that nor the medical staff trying to turn him appeared to be working. I suppose it’s possible that if I’d continued longer he might have come out vaginally but even looking back now, I doubt that would have happened. When I talked to Dr. B about it later, she seemed to think that there was no way he would have come out vaginally.

As soon as Dr. B offered the cesarean option, I jumped on it. As incoherent as I was, that was really what I had in mind back when I asked the nurse for all my options. I just couldn’t bring myself to ask for it. I must confess, I didn’t even double check with Jaeger to see what he thought about it. I feel bad about that now. Given the state I was in, I probably should have first consulted my more coherent half. Once I indicated I wanted a cesarean, the medical staff jumped into action. There was a consent form that I had to sign (I have to wonder, would it really have been binding if I contested it later? I can’t imagine any woman on a jury who had been through childbirth would have said I was in my right mind at the time.) and staff to hunt down. Unfortunately, this was all in the middle of a snow storm so the hospital was a little shorter staffed than usual. At this point, there wasn’t any sense in me pushing but little pushes felt better than nothing.

Eventually, everything was ready and they wheeled me into the labor and delivery operating room. Jaeger and the doula were instructed to wait outside while they prepped me. The anesthesiologist apologized that numbing the area before giving the spinal would sting and be pretty uncomfortable. If I would have been in a condition to laugh, I would have. I’ve had IVs that feel worse than the numbing for the spinal. The spinal took effect almost immediately. It was amazing. Up until that point, I hadn’t realized how much pain my body had been in. I spent the rest of the operation near giddy with relief.

Naturally, my view of the caesarean was almost nonexistent. The anesthesiologist was to the left behind my head the entire time. He spent a lot of time talking to me telling me what was happening. Jaeger and the doula were to my right. It seemed to me that they were removed Calvin quickly. Once he had been removed, he was whisked over to a table to my right. I could kind of see what was happening but it was a little bleary because I didn’t have my glasses. However, I remember thinking he looked really big and his head was strange (very conical on top). Previously we had discussed the remote possibility of a cesarean and Jaeger and I had agreed that he would stay with Calvin to make sure at least one parent was with him as soon as possible. Jaeger went over to the table where they were taking care of Calvin. Once their initial assessment of Calvin was done, they let Jaeger carry him over to me so I could take a look. Then Calvin and Jaeger went to the recover room. The doula stayed with me as they put me back together. For some reason I was surprised by how much longer it took compared to getting Calvin out. However, eventually they finished and I was wheeled into the recovery room.

In the recovery room, they finished working on Calvin and brought him over to me so I could hold him and try breastfeeding. He seemed alert and very interested in trying to feed. Breastfeeding felt uncomfortable but having never experienced breastfeeding before, I couldn’t tell whether or not it was normal. I think they kept me in the recovery room for about an hour to make sure I didn’t have any unexpected side effects. I was very fortunate in that I seemed to have skipped all the side effects, even nausea which the anesthesiologist had told me about 50% of women get. From recovery, Calvin and I were wheeled into our postpartum room. Jaeger was there when we arrived.

I don’t remember much of the night after that point. Jaeger attempted to sleep on the dreadful sleeper sofa in the room. It was exceptionally noisy every time he turned over. Nurses kept popping in and out taking Calvin and my vitals to make sure we both survived the experience.

It wasn’t the birth story I expected but I was really happy with the outcome. Our goal had been healthy baby, mother, and father and that’s what we got.

Induction Week

I already mentioned that I have an induction scheduled for March 26. As the time gets closer, I haven’t managed to completely resolve my conflicting feelings.

Originally, Dr. L suggested induction at 39 weeks. At the time, it seemed like one of the major considerations was that she would be on vacation at 40 weeks and wanted to make sure she was around so I wouldn’t have to be delivered by a stranger. This wasn’t a sufficient enough reason for Jaeger and I to feel comfortable with an induction. We talked about it further at our next appointment and the two main medical reasons Doctors L & B gave were: 1) I’ve been dilated 4+ cm since January 31 and even though my water hasn’t broken, they are concerned about infection and 2) I’m GBS positive and they are concerned that since I’m already so dilated they might not have time to give me the full antibiotic course before Calvin comes. 3) After 41 weeks there is a high risk of fetal demise.

While I love the advances western medicine has given us, I also usually prefer to do as much preventive care as possible to avoid needing medical interventions. Thus, a part of me wants to wait for labor to start “naturally.” There are risks to inducing labor. In my case, they probably aren’t as significant because we are past the 39 week mark and I have a “favorable” cervix.

Being a librarian, I tried to find research on inductions for situations similar to mine. I couldn’t find anything. Of course, the research might exist somewhere but if it does, I’m using the incorrect terms to find it. Because I can’t find any research for or specifically against induction in my situation, I felt a compromise between my preferences and my doctors’ preferences was reasonable to take into account anecdotal evidence they have gathered over the years. After talking with the doctors, we compromised by pushing the induction to 40 weeks (assuming normal blood test result which I did have).

Jaeger and I have been trying some gentle “natural” methods of inducing labor. For instance, I’ve been making sure to exercise at least an hour each day and then often will go on additional walks. You might wonder why I’m trying even natural induction options if I’m dubious about inductions. Most natural labor inductions have very little research supporting their effectiveness (nipple stimulation is one we haven’t explicitly tried due concerns about its safety). In addition, I’m not going to try any of the “herbal” remedies. I feel much less comfortable with herbal remedies than I do using western medicine for a variety of reason (mainly because I feel in many cases, herbs are just very poorly regulated/researched versions of standard drugs). As such, I don’t think it’s likely any of the natural induction methods I’m willing to try will start labor unless my body is already ready to go into labor.

Ironically, even though I’d like to go into spontaneous labor, for several reasons I really hope it doesn’t happen at night. First, even when I went into preterm labor, I never had painful contractions. As a result, I think it’s very possible I could start having regular contractions while sleeping and not wake up until an hour or two after it starts. Considering that one doctor in Denver thinks I could have a 2 hr labor, this doesn’t seem ideal. (Note, I am fully expecting contractions to hurt at some point, it just obviously hasn’t so far). Second, if I go to the hospital in the middle of the night, I’ll be even less coherent than I would under normal labor circumstances and as such, may not be able to make my wishes fully understood.

Now that I’ve got most of that out of my system, I think it’s time I go grocery shopping to stock up on essentials we’ll need for the next several weeks.

As an aside, I was induced and I turned out mostly normal :-)