Tuesday, July 29, 2008

One month of Munch

It appears Munch is going to be the family clown. Really, I think he's hilarious. I don't recall being this amused by Moppet when she was this age. To be fair though, I was probably too tense and worried about the whole motherhood gig to really enjoy her at that age. But with Munch I'm more relaxed, and able to laugh at all the silly squishy faces he makes, and enjoy the funny squealing sounds he produces without worrying if it's 'normal'.

So I can laugh at all the faces he produced when we were trying to click his passport photo, without worrying about his pronounced baby squint.

Or when he grabs his own hair and squeals in pain, not knowing why his head hurts and not able to do anything about it, I have to admit I laugh heartily before prying his fingers loose. (The memory of Moppet doing this as well came back to me as I saw Munch attempting to scalp himself. It seems there's a good reason why most babies are born bald.)

I was delighted when I got splattered with my first 'fountain' pee. It gets old pretty quickly of course, but the first few times, I was quite fascinated by how far it goes :-) And things that as the mother of a girl, I hadn't considered at all. For example, I realised a little too late that when you lift a little boy's legs to clean his butt, he is very likely to pee on his own head.

He's got quite a repertoire of squeals, grunts and growls, and uses them to best effect while he's feeding. It begins with loud, complaining squeals [what's taking so long? where's my food?], and then once the milk starts flowing, it's frantic gulping accompanied by little squeaks, as if his last feed was 2 days, not 2 hours ago. Then finally, as he settles down, quiet little hums of satisfaction which he keeps up till the end of the feed.

And the other sounds he produces are rather funny too. Like his cough, which sounds like very old person coughing in a baby voice, if you can imagine that. (Oooooooo-uh-uh-uh, he goes, and then follows it up with a big sigh that has me in splits each time). And in the interest of self-preservation when he grows old enough to read, maybe I shouldn't mention his musical farts?

When he's awake, he's happiest when perched on someone's shoulder, bobbing his head up and down and looking around like a curious little bug.

Kodi's Mom has said it far more eloquently than I can, but I need to echo that thought here - until Munch arrived, I couldn't quite imagine what life would be like with a second kid - and now that he's here, I know there couldn't be more perfect little person to complete our family.

*Anti-jinx sign courtesy Dotthoughts

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

MY Munch baby

I know Mama's been blaming me and Munch for not getting enough time to post, but y'all know that's not true, right? I've been extremely well-behaved, really. Sure, there's an occasional tantrum, but give me a break peeps, I'm two, ok?

Gotta say though, this Munch baby isn't all that much fun yet. He sleeps a lot - that's a bad example to set. Everyone keeps telling me, look Munch's sleeping, why don't you go and sleep too? As if! And when he's awake, he doesn't do much either. He's mostly either drinking Mama's dudu or doing potty all the time.

I like to take his photo with my camera when he's being changed, he makes such funny faces! And I also give dudu to my doll, just like Mama gives Munch baby. And when he sleeps, I like to wake him up by prying his eyelids open. I don't know why Mama yells whenever I try that, she's just being her usual Mama self, I guess.

I told everyone in school I'm a big sister and they were all most impressed. Mama's promised that when he's a little bigger, we can take him to my school and show him to everyone.

These days he's been awake a little more. When I kiss him, he sometimes licks me, or pokes me in the face with his hand. It makes me laugh - and seeing me laugh makes Mama laugh too. Fun times.
He's ok, my Munch baby. I think I like him.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The birth story - Part 3

Contd from Part 1: It begins and Part 2: Endless night

Rollercoaster Ride

I had had enough. Over 10 hours of painful labour and just 2 cms dilated? Cut me open, I moaned. Get this child out NOW!

Hang in there, the husband told me gently, stroking my forehead. You can do it. Come on, let's give it another hour or so.

The next 2 hours were a bit of a blur. The contractions appeared to have slowed down and were coming at 10 minute intervals. The pain was intense, but I know it was not so much the pain as the despair I was feeling that brought on tears with each contraction.

At 8.30 am, my doc finally put in an appearance. How're you doing, she asked. Not good Doc, I replied miserably, it's going too slowly. She examined me and looked up in surprise - but you're already almost 5 cm dilated, she said. I almost fell off the bed in shock. The husband gave me a huge grin and a 'see-i-told-you-so' look.

Then things really got moving - by 9 am, I was 7 cm dilated and the doc told me that since we were trying for a VBAC, I had to have an IV inserted and be hooked up to the fetal monitor for continuous monitoring from this point on. That effectively left me strapped to the bed, a terrible position for dealing with the contractions.

Having almost killed the husband by crushing his neck with my one free arm for the next few contractions, I finally gave up and asked for an epidural. I was exhausted from the all night labour, the puking, the lack of sleep, and being tied up on the bed was making it worse. Also, I knew that if for any reason I had to go in for a C-sec, having an epidural block already inserted would ensure that I could have the procedure without general anaesthesia, even if it was an emergency.

I got the epidural and though it was a low dose and I could still feel the contractions and slight pain, what blessed relief! The doc estimated that in two hours time I should be ready to push and left with a cheery I'll be back. The husband and I grinned at each other like maniacs and settled down to chat, get some updates from home on how Moppet was doing (absolutely fine, like the meltdown of the night before had never happened) and generally relax for the first time in more than 12 hours.

After an hour, the nurse came in to check on me and left looking rather unhappy. Not much progress, she said. The doc came in another hour and left looking unhappy too. Still at 7 cms, let's give it another hour, she said.

The third hour was tense. The husband watched the monitor and kept up a running commentary on my contractions in an effort to raise my flagging spirits. Wow, that's a big one; ooh that one hit 100; I bet you'll be ready in another hour; man, this kid's a strong one - look at his heartbeat etc...

The doc came back and there was still no progress. The contractions were strong, but the cervix was refusing to open further, and the baby's head was still high. The doc said that this could be an indication of CPD (cephalo pelvic disproportion) - and that we'd wait one more hour before taking a call on a C-sec.

Hour 4 seemed like it would never end. The husband was still trying to cheer me up, pointing out how strong the contractions were and reminding me of how quickly I had progressed from 2cm to 7cm, but my hope was fast fading. My body was failing me, and I felt a deep sense of disappointment.

When finally the doc came back, I knew even before she examined me that there had been no further progress. We should consider a C-sec, she said. Continuing this will put unnecessary strain on the baby, and increase the risk of uterine rupture.

I agreed. I had been mentally preparing myself for this over the last hour, but once I signed the forms, I couldn't help being consumed by bitter disappointment. The husband wiped my tears and held my hand in silence, instinctively knowing there was nothing to say at that point.

The rest was a familiar routine for me. Being prepped for the surgery. Lying in the operation theatre, staring up at the light, numb from the waist down, arms spread out like I was nailed to a fallen crucifix. A tug and a push, the sound of a baby's wail. Congratulations being offered. The husband's masked face hovering concernedly over mine. A pink squalling bundle laid next to my cheek. Tears. Joy. Relief. Exhaustion.

My son. Worth every single second of the pain and more.

Then someone turned up the morphine and I slept.

Coming shortly: Recovery room reflections.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The birth story - Part 2

...Contd from Part 1: It begins

Endless Night

So anyway there I was, convinced I had been labouring all day, and just 1 cm dilated. This did not look good. With Moppet, I had very mild contractions and yet was already 3 cm dilated by the time I reached the hospital. I had thought the second time around would be easier, but obviously Munch was determined to destroy all my preconceptions about second kids, beginning with labour!

The husband and I discussed going back home versus staying on in the hospital and finally decided to stay on. The nurse contacted my doc who suggested pethidine for the pain because it looked like it would be a long labour and the hardest part would probably only happen the next day. The pethidine would let me get some sleep, she said, and help me conserve my strength for later.

So we headed to our room, and I took the shot, which might have been water for all the good it did. Really, it was absolutely useless as pain relief and the contractions just got worse and worse. The birth unit nurse figured that I certainly wasn't one of those pop-in, pop-out cases, and left the husband and me to our own devices for the rest of the night.

It was the longest 7 hours of my life. I spent most of it pacing up and down the room, hanging on to the husband during each contraction, soft moans turning into loud cries as the pain got stronger and stronger. Wave after wave of nausea would hit after each contraction, keeping me busy till the next one came along. I filled a large basin with puke, but long after my stomach was empty, I continued to retch after each contraction.

Finally, at around 6.30 am on the 26th, I begged the husband to get the birth centre nurse. I'd been in really painful labour for another 7 hours, I must be at least 5 cms dilated by now. Right?

Wrong again! The nurse arrived and said most matter of factly - 2 cms dilated. If I'd had the strength, I'd have kicked her in the face. Instead I burst into tears and told the husband, just cut me open and get this child out.

Contd in Part 3: Rollercoaster Ride

(Apologies to readers who're in a hurry to find out what happens next, but it's not just that I get very little time to write what is a rather long story. It's also that this way, you get to feel a little bit of my pain too! ;-)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The birth story - Part 1

Warning: This post contains references to female body parts and bodily functions that one generally doesn't talk about in public. It is also loaded (far more than usual :-) with sappy emotion, so if you are the owner of a y chromosome and / or a delicate sensibility you are advised to give this set of posts a miss.

It begins

Despite my resolve to be all zen if Munch didn't arrive by his due date, I must confess to feeling rather antsy as the 21st of June came and went with no excitement other than a particularly agile housefly that confounded my efforts to kill it for most of the morning.

Bouncing around on the birthing ball, performing allegedly labour-inducing accupressure on myself, walking, swimming, visualizing going into labour, talking to the baby - nothing was working. (And no, don't tell me about orgasms - at almost 41 weeks pregnant I was NOT going to try that!)

It seems my body liked being pregnant so much it was refusing to give this baby up.

By the 24th, I was so desperate, I even considered castor oil, something I had sworn I would never do again. The next day, I was due for a checkup and a non stress test - to check if the baby was still doing ok and if the placenta function had started to deteriorate. If all was well, my doctor had said, it would just be a matter of waiting for another week. Ha, so easy for her to say!

(A word of explanation here - having had Moppet by C-sec, I was trying for a vaginal birth this time. This meant that labour couldn't be induced by the usual drugs since that has been shown to increase the risk of uterine rupture in VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean section) cases. It had to happen naturally. If it didn't, I'd have to go in for a repeat C-sec at 42 weeks.)

So anyway, on the morning of the 25th, as I was getting ready to go for the checkup, I realised that I was getting some mild contractions. Didn't tell anyone for fear that they might go away (it seemed a most reasonable fear at the time :-) and headed to the hospital. The doc did an internal exam and declared the cervix firmly closed.

But I'm having contractions, I burst out. The doc was not particularly impressed and told me to go on and take the test which would give us a clearer picture.

The birth centre nurse's reaction was far more gratifying. As the machine I was hooked to spat out a nice graph showing the baby's heartbeat and below it, my contractions, she looked at me in surprise. Oh, you're getting good contractions, she said. Yes, I grinned happily and added proudly, they're even hurting a little bit too.

Convinced I was cuckoo, she sent me back to the doc clutching my precious graph, but the damn woman was still unimpressed. Oh, she said with chilling casualness, they sometimes go away. But she was not entirely heartless, for she looked at my disappointed face and said, maybe you'll have the baby tomorrow, okay?


So I called the husband and proudly announced that it had started, but that he didn't need to head home just yet; he should soldier on earning our daily bread (and medical coverage) and I would let him know when. Although after that bit of news, I doubt he really earned his daily wage that day :-)

Anyway, I came home and spent the day pretty much as normal, even heading out for a walk in the park with the husband that evening. The contractions were getting stronger but not coming any closer together. For most of the day the contractions were coming at 6-7 minute intervals, lasting for 35-40 seconds each.

By Moppet's bedtime, the contractions were so painful that I'd have to stop reading / talking / singing every time one came along, prompting Moppet to ask tearfully - Mama are you okay? I had wanted to put her to bed before I went to the hospital, but I realised it was beyond me. And worse, it was frightening Moppet to see me like that.

Eventually, it was Ammamma who put her to sleep, while the husband and I debated whether we should go to the hospital or not. I didn't want to go too early - somewhere in the back of my head, I felt my first c-sec was because I landed up at the hospital too soon - but staying and hearing Moppet cry for me and not being able to go to her was stressing me out even more.

Finally around 11 pm, with a whispered word to Ammamma, we headed out to the hospital. I was relieved that Moppet was finally asleep, and confident that I would be at least 3-4 cms dilated by the time I reached. After all, the pains were coming fast and furious and they'd been really strong from around 8 pm that evening. Right?

Wrong! We reached the birth unit and the nurse examined me and announced that I was 1 measly cm dilated. What?!!!

Contd in Part 2: Endless Night