Plan Everything, Expect Nothing

I would have wanted to post this when the information was still fresh in my mind, since I was admitted to the hospital on March 6, 2017 for a very lengthy induction, but today is the first day that it’s just Jake, Aurora, and I at the house since we brought our adorable baby into the world. The induction we didn’t want, but had to have anyway! My placenta was getting “mature” and calcifying, the doctors were getting angry and upset, and it was just time. After talking to Jake’s sister and mother and everyone that would listen, we decided to go in around 6 in the evening to the hospital to begin what would total nearly 60 hours of induction and labor. I was there long enough to go through four full nursing shift teams and two on call doctors.

Our first overnight was to be 12 hours of cervadil, which morphed into a full 24 hour hurry-up-and-wait dosing of cervadil, before they began the pitocin (artificial oxytocin) drip. And then more waiting. I sent my mother, sister, and husband home on shifts while pretty much nothing happened. Unless you count me nearly breaking the on call doctor’s fingers because I didn’t want her checking my cervix anymore, I guess that’s a little something.

The early hours of the 8th, the pitocin induced contractions became murderously painful. Nothing eased them. There is not a breathing trick in the world to calm down that storm. I was not dilated enough for an epidural, so Jake laid in a recliner beside my bed trying to sleep while I screamed in what he would describe as operatic tones to try to make it through them. Eventually, it became unbearable, and I begged for the stadol narcotic to help relax me. I managed to pass out for an hour or so before it wore off and everything was back full force. The silver lining? I was dilated enough and I could request the epidural! Send in the anesthesiologist!

….he missed the first time. After summoning some sort of magic to not writhe or scream during 3-4 contractions, only my right leg went numb and I had no relief from the labor pain. They sent in a second anesthesiologist (and the first one got a major ass chew by the doctor). After taking his time through 6-7 contractions, I was numb and could relax. After literal days of being 1-3cm dilated only, things finally ramped up and I was 9cm! Practice pushing time! This is the major downside of the epidural: I couldn’t feel fuck all of what I  was supposed to be doing while pushing. I was on my fourth nursing team, and my head nurse was my least favorite person in the room. After several hours of trying to push and move things forward, the doctor came to check on me. My head nurse told her it was time for a stat c-section, and my doctor was having none of it. She put her gloves on and decided to stay for the remainder of the birth to make sure we could avoid any unnecessary surgery.

Lots of pushing, lots of nothing happening, lots of the baby’s heartrate rising and falling, and suddenly something clicked in place and the doctor said “it’s time!” Nothing seemed different for Jake or I, but the doctor was putting on a large smock and getting a table full of tools ready and it only took minutes after that. Jake was amazing during the whole process. He was on my left side, holding my leg, cheering me on, and was the most supportive husband I could have ever wished for. My mom seemed like she was going to faint, and my sister was having sympathy pains, but they were amazing to have with me, too. Aurora’s head was 36cm and a little big for me, so I did have to get a 2nd degree episiotomy (this area does NOT numb with a epidural, by the way) but just like that, we got to welcome Aurora Quinn Atwood into the world at 1:01pm on Wednesday, March 8th, International Women’s Day!

My journey wasn’t over though. We had to stay until a discharge on Friday the 10th, full of the last finger prick blood tests of my pregnancy, bad breastfeeding advice, and some x-rays for Ms. Aurora’s left foot, which I think will be the subject of many blog posts to come. Once her medical team figures out where to refer us and what to do with her bone development anyway. My mother had to leave the first weekend, but my sister had a miraculous flight cancellation and her week long trip was extended for an extra week. She was an absolute lifesaver. Jake immediately went back to work, but Jenn stayed to pick up all the slack that was left while I healed up. She cooked, cleaned, baby soothed, let me sleep in one morning, took us shopping, and was all around the rockstar aunt. I’ve probably missed a lot, and hopefully will remember to fill in the gaps, and keep updating as our little Rory grows. <3


Aurora’s X-ray team was amazing, and their machine was a giant giraffe! She was very relaxed during the whole process on both days she had to be examined, and we have high hopes for a smooth journey on her adorable footy adventure.

Aurora Quinn, born 8March2017 at 1:10pm. 8lbs7oz, 20 1/4 inches long, 36cm head!

“You want to bring home a live baby, don’t you?”

I am still pretty beside myself about our hospital visit yesterday. I am 39weeks+5 days today, and there really is no end in sight for this pregnancy. Our appointment this week was with the doctor who was really mad about the calzone a couple weeks ago. After another flawless non-stress test for Aurora, I was asked by the medical assistant if I wanted the doctor to check my cervix to see if my body was getting ready for this baby. I was curious, I’ll admit it, so I agreed. The doctor told us about the Bishop score, and she would give us a number between 0 and 13 to tell us how ready my body seemed to be. Well, I was a zero. Straight up, my cervix is chilling, the baby hasn’t really dropped, there are no signs of impending labor at all. No dilation, it hasn’t moved, isn’t effaced.

Which brings us to the headline of this post.

That is straight up what this doctor asked me and my husband when she began to fret about the fact that I declined a 39 week induction. She continued where every other doctor has left off about all of the risks and things that don’t apply to my pregnancy, and rattled off statistics for DIABETIC patients (as in Type II prior to pregnancy), and then asked, “you want to bring home a live baby, don’t you?” I am grateful that my husband joined me for this appointment since we anticipated some pushback from the medical team. I’m honestly surprised I didn’t burst into tears.

We did get a real moment of clarity with this doctor, though, when she said “well do you want the induction or not”, and Jake and I began to ask additional questions. When we still weren’t sure or ready to commit to an answer, she told us it was becoming a legal issue by this point because I was not following the hospital’s standard of care. Then, all of the pressure started to make sense. So Jake said, “we accept legal responsibility for our choices from here forward” and the doctor was satisfied. So, what was supposed to be my last week of ultrasounds and non-stress testing has pushed out until Monday, when I get another ultrasound and non-stress test. I will be 40 weeks + 1 day at that point. Come on Aurora, don’t you wanna meet me already?

When in doubt, bring a buddy!

I missed a week!

I am 39weeks+1day now and I really hope we are on the home stretch. I missed updating last week after my ultrasound (7lbs 11oz then) and non-stress test. It mostly just another doctor telling me he wanted to induce me Monday, which happens to be today, because of “risks”. Aside from doctors saying empty things like “still birth” or “intrauterine fetal death”, they don’t have much else to tell me about the risks. My blood sugar is still doing alright, and as of today, Aurora is measuring 8lbs4oz, which is just about on track. Measuring two days ahead size wise doesn’t really seem like a particularly huge red flag to me, and one of my doctors supports my decision to just wait and see when the baby wants to be ready.

I don’t feel like there is a health emergency for either of us. A lot of mothers with gestational diabetes have a much rougher time of things, especially this far along. The support group is full of women on insulin and glyburide still unable to control their blood sugar even with the proper diet. Their fluids are low or too high, they have pre-eclampsia, they have aging/failing placentas. I think I might be able to approach this from a “we better hurry this along” perspective if any of those things were the case for me, but as long as she keeps passing the tests, I will keep wanting to wait.

Jake and I got colds over the weekend, and I’m hoping at the very least that Aurora can wait until that all clears up for me before she decides to make her debut. We spent our weekend pitifully locked indoors, playing video games, musing about starting our own babywearing lending library, and eating hot soup.

Photo from our last ultrasound (!!!). Tilt your head to the right and squint, she’s making a kissy face.

The Road Goes Ever On

37w+4d, another non-stress test completed and passed, and another doctor with different opinions seen. As you can see, I did opt to go to this appointment despite the stress of last week’s non-stress test (is that irony? I’m bad at irony, but this feels ironic). This doctor, let’s call her Dr. Z, actually has a diabetic husband and seems much more sympathetic to a pregnancy affected by gestational diabetes. She didn’t care about the calzone, she didn’t care that a couple of my fastings creeped up to or just over 100, or that I had a cheeseburger with my husband for Valentine’s Day. In fact, she had the opposite opinion about inducing than the doctor I saw for the last two weeks. She doesn’t believe in rushing it unless there is a direct threat to the baby, like blood sugar I can no longer control with diet, or falling heart rate, or pre-eclampsia symptoms. That makes me feel a LOT better, and a lot more relaxed. She said there was no point in inducing the baby if my cervix wasn’t ready, and that most women by 39 weeks are just done being pregnant so that’s why they usually move forward. She said she was willing to continue monitoring Aurora, and if 39 weeks hits and it’s still “not time”, then we can keep waiting.

However, next week I see another doctor (I’ve seen 5 total since beginning this journey), and he could have a third totally different opinion than the two I have seen during the high risk monitoring. I might ask Jake to go with me for week 38 non-stress testing just so I have some backup. My experience is this is a more aggressive doctor when it comes to medical opinion and having things done their way.

16 days left until my due date!

Back in the hot seat for the non-stress test!

She shrank!

Nothing major to update, just my 37w+1day growth scan showing Aurora at 7lbs4oz, 3oz less than last week. Considering the lecture I got for eating a calzone and being told I was making the baby massive, I’m feeling a LOT better about her growth.

Aurora’s profile facing left, eyes closed, cheeks as fat as ever.

The Saga Continues!

You blink and a thousand things happen in barely over a week – we are at 36w+5 days today!

Last week, I was lectured for eating a calzone (subsequently lectured by the same doctor this week for the SAME calzone as noted in my blood sugar log). I had a fantastically cozy baby shower on Saturday, complete with horrific games like melted chocolate bars in diapers and “pin the sperm on the egg”, and even snuck in two cupcakes and managed to not faceplant on my sugar readings afterwards. Monday was another growth scan with another ultrasound technician, reading my super chunk in at 7lbs 7oz. Yesterday was another non-stress test where my blood sugar and weight and overall health is assessed as fantastic, punctuated by absolutely infuriating conversations with one of 3-5 doctors who can’t remember what we spoke about the week previous.

I spoke to my sister in law, who happens to have done this childbirth thing 5 times AND is an amazing RN, about my frustrations with my situation. She’s had gestational diabetes, as recently as last year with her newest son. It’s nice to have someone who is on the inside and ALSO has gone through something similar. She suggested I take next week off from my appointments and non-stress testing to just let myself relax and take things one step at a time with the baby. I’m not really sure how I feel about skipping, which surprised me. I thought I would be all the way on board with dodging the appointment. Trying to balance my desire to not be bullied and pressured by a medical team and also stay on top of the health of this baby is feeling pretty impossible right now. My sister, the MPH/RD, says she doesn’t think I should miss a data point when we’re this close to birth.

But, on the sunny side, 2 days until FULL TERM and that much closer to meeting little Aurora.

The most stressful non-stress tests of all time.

Oh baby!

35weeks+2 – less than 5 weeks to go, and technically we will be full term in less than 2 weeks!

I went to a neighbor’s baby shower last weekend. She’s due a bit after I am and our husbands work together, so I awkwardly ventured out with a small cloth diaper and soft bamboo swaddle blanket gift. It made me a little more grateful and less anxious for the shower that is being thrown for me this weekend. It will just be a handful of the wives that work in my husband’s detachment, there will be food I can actually eat, and it should be a lot more laid back. I appreciate more intimate gatherings and don’t need a large crowd to feel like the occasion was celebrated appropriately, and that’s been true since I can remember my mother throwing birthday parties.

Jake joined me for the ultrasound this week and I always love having him there. I already know he is a good dad, I see him with his older kids, but soon I’ll get to see him with a newborn and I am so excited for that part of our journey. The baby only appeared to have gained 2 ounces in the last week, which hopefully will leave the physician with less to make me feel terrified over at my appointment on Thursday. I was prescribed metformin for my gestational diabetes fasting blood sugar numbers and I have been a very bad patient. I have taken exactly zero of the pills. It’s a hard thing to juggle: taking the pill scares me because of what it might do to the baby, and not taking the pill scares me because of what it might do to the baby. Either way, on Thursday I’ll be in trouble with the doctor.

I’m pretty proud of myself for updating so recently to my last post! Nothing major to talk about, just routine. Next week should have a baby shower report, another picture from my next weekly ultrasound, and hopefully no mention of induction from my doctor yet.

The weekly shot of Aurora. If it looks like a Rorschach test, I understand. This is her profile, facing left, eyes closed.

All the Baby Showers!

34 weeks and one day – less than 6 weeks to go!

I’m almost tired of the weekly ultrasounds. Not the ultrasounds themselves, because watching the baby is fascinating. Today Aurora played with the umbilical cord, got bored with it, and set it directly on her nose. I’m mostly tired of the guessing and the estimates and how it affects the future of my “high risk” care. Once a week, an ultrasound technician fires up the machine and measures her skull, her femur, and her abdomen then guesses how much she weighs. Then they compare these sizes to the “average” size of babies at her gestational age and tell me if she’s ahead or behind the curve. Her first measurement said she had a huge head at 32 weeks but now it seems less huge at 34 weeks, but I have a new tech who might measure differently. Her femur is measuring at a week ahead, but they use her abdomen to measure weight and they’re guessing she’s 6lbs 9oz, up from 5lbs 4oz last week. If she keeps this up for 6 weeks until her due date, I’ll have a 13lbs baby. Most estimates are high, usually off by 2lbs or so, and I’m not letting myself worry yet.

Unfortunately, this gives the medical team at the hospital grounds to use their scare tactics to freak me out. They’ve already whispered the word “induction” and made mention that they don’t “let” patients with gestational diabetes go past 39 weeks, but I’m armed with information and printouts, and I will be a very hard sell on medical intervention when my blood sugar has been under control. I am also incredibly grateful for my husband’s full support in everything, including telling the doctors that we are going to do this my way, and that means no unnecessary inductions or C-sections without a very damn good medical reason. I read a fascinating article about gestational diabetes and big babies on a website called Evidence Based Birth which has made me a lot more confident about keeping my medical decisions as MY medical decisions.

Aside from twice weekly medical appointments, the wonderful spouses at my husband’s office here on base are throwing me a small baby shower on the 4th of February, and I just received a virtual invitation to a webcam baby shower on the 19th of February with my dad’s side of the family. The lesson here is: don’t say “I won’t be having a baby shower because I live in the middle of nowhere with no friends” out loud or you’ll get three baby showers. We had one in November with my mom’s side of the family at Thanksgiving, too. I feel very loved!

The Rabbit Hole

I’m a bit terrible at this. My last post was November 7th, still in my second trimester. I’m currently 32 weeks and 2 days along, with less than 8 weeks to go. I probably should be more frequent with this, and it’s not like I haven’t had the time, but I’m easily preoccupied with other things.

I have been crawling the internet, integrating myself into various “mom” communities, researching, trying my best to figure out preferences for things I can’t possible fathom until I’m actually done with the being pregnant part. The Mom Side of the Internet is fascinating, and there’s a Facebook group, twitter hashtag, and blog for just about every interest you could imagine. I found myself in a group for women who are extremely passionate about buying a specific brand of baby blanket (I now own a couple and think they are pretty fabulous), several for moms who like buying pretty woven wraps and fastening their babies to themselves in various positions, almost a dozen just about cloth diapering, and an especially useful support group for people with my newest diagnosis – gestational diabetes.

I think I’d prefer a different name for the condition, because it’s temporary (hence the gestational) and it’s a hormonal issue between my body and my pancreas. Unfortunately, the diagnosis has landed me in the High Risk Pregnancy category at the hospital here. Thank GOODNESS my sister is a registered dietitian and all around food wizard otherwise I would be lost. Although I manage blood sugar numbers effectively with diet and going on walks, there is a fuss being made already with twice weekly doctor visits and weekly trips to a Certified Diabetes Educator, and everyone telling me that they will probably want to induce me early. The baby is on track to weigh something normal, although my weekly ultrasound so far has indicated the baby has a huge head in the 99th percentile. I am trying not to let the physicians and nurses and techs scare me or talk me into doing anything I am not interested in doing. I still have almost two months to figure out what feels right.

We are just about set up as far as baby stuff, I think. Crib? Check. Stroller? Check. Outfits? Check. Carseat? Check. I’m probably missing a million useful things but I really don’t think I’ll know exactly what I need and it’s hard to think about right now with all of the blood sugar management and strict meal schedule I’m on. I barely have time to think about being ready when all I think about all day is counting my carbs.


Coming Soon! <3

The Journey Already Began but I’m Beginning It Again

23 weeks pregnant isn’t too late to get to recording the whole experience, is it?

We conceived our little Aurora-to-be on or around June 11, 2016, which just so happened to be our wedding day. We were ready. I’ve had baby fever pretty much since I started talking to Jake back in December 2014, and the clock has been ticking pretty loudly as well, since I’m not in my 20s anymore. Jake is already a wonderful father to two children, who I absolutely adore, so I knew he was the right one to make an even bigger family with. I can elaborate more on how in love I am and on being a bonus parent later, that almost needs its own blog.

Jake has wanted to name a baby Aurora pretty much forever, and I was hesitant about it because it didn’t flow off of my tongue and has a billion syllables. I had a whole list: Charlotte, Margot, Arya, but when I saw her on the ultrasound and she no longer looked like a gummy bear with a tail, Aurora just felt right. I still have a few months to change my mind, but right now it’s really what we both want.

The first trimester was weird. I could probably list dozens of more adjectives, but weird is the most succinctly I can put it. I wanted to be touched, but didn’t. I cried plenty and often. Weeks 4 through about 7 were not very fun, mostly emotionally. I am blessed with an iron gut, and the nausea of morning sickness never amounted to anything but just a general malaise that I could quell with large stacks of flapjacks and bacon. I may be one of the few women who actually gained weight in the first trimester because I was more motivated to eat than normal to make the nausea go away. Jake and I enjoy telling people how much I could pack away even while groaning that I didn’t feel well at the breakfast table.

I’m only 5 weeks from the third trimester and only 17 weeks to go total, which is crazy to think about! This trimester has been pretty sleepy, aside from an awesome ultrasound appointment where we found out we were expecting a girl. I first felt the baby moving about a week ago, and she has kept me updated on her antics with kicks and bumps. Everything else is pretty uneventful, aside from the growing bump, the inflating weight, and this round ligament that I’m surprised isn’t the #1 thing pregnant women talk about because it is the actual worst. My third trimester is supposed to bring out the whiniest in me, so I’m sure my round ligament will get overshadowed by some other painful drama queen.

This seems like a good summary for my first post, and I look forward to elaborating more, ranting some, and seeing where this new life takes me.

Aurora @ 20 Weeks