attack of the stupid gallbladder

Apparently Gwen’s pregnancy did more than just wreak havoc on my bladder, pelvis, stomach and the usual postpartum fare–it brought my stupid gallbladder* out of hiding, and boy is it pissed! Yes, pregnancy and an admittedly rich diet seems to have triggered gallbladder attacks, something I’d never experienced before, something I definitely never wanted to experience for sure. Ow. Thankfully I’ve only had two short episodes in the last week–I hope that means we caught this early.

You’d think having to push a baby out of my vagina and the subsequent sleep deprivation that goes along with having a newborn would have been punishment enough for one maternity leave, but no. Let’s throw a random medical issue into the mix for good fun. And here I was, feeling all smug for having successfully dodged two c-sections.

I’m seeing a surgeon on Friday to go over the ultrasound and (most likely) schedule a cholecystectomy. Of course, I’ve consulted with Dr. Google enough to have some anxiety about the process. Many people say they’ve had easy recoveries but there are enough horror stories out there to make me worry.

(Truth be told, I’m also worried about how this will impact my future ability to eat pizza without gastrointestinal discomfort. Hey, priorities. And I wonder how I got into this mess!)

Tim will also be out of the country (and by that I mean temporarily not on this continent–not just in Canada!) for a week very soon, so I’m already a little (read: a lot) anxious about that. I’m just a giant ball of freak-out these days, really. Thankfully I’ll have help from my parents (love you guys!) and hopefully I can put off the surgery until after Tim gets back so I have his support if the recovery is rough.

Sucky silver lining: I now have something to hold over Gwen’s head when she’s a teenager and driving me batty. With Ellie, I had a 30-something hour labor–easy guilt fodder there. But Gwen’s labor was only 8 hours–not effective for guilt purposes. Instead, I’ll be able to say, “You gave me gallstones–the least you can do is clean your room!”

It's a good thing I'm cute!
It's a good thing I'm cute!

As if to make up for my pain and suffering (cue overly dramatic sigh) Miss Gwen recently decided to sleep through the night, three nights in a row! Seven hours at a stretch! It’s pure sleepytime bliss up in here. I don’t know whether to celebrate or knock on wood to avoid jinxing it, so I’m just going to shut up about that now.

She’s also started smiling! And this is the part where I say it’s hard to believe she’s already a month old, I lament how fast she’s growing up, yadda yadda yadda. *sniffle*

* From here on out, I’m just going to refer to it as “my stupid gallbladder” because that’s exactly what it is. Stupid, stupid gallbladder.

gwen’s birth story

Miss Guinevere wasted little time in getting here once she decided she was on her way out. My water broke around 11:30 on Tuesday night, after I’d just dozed off (of course!) Unfortunately for our home birth plans, it was tinged with meconium (baby poop) and that meant a hospital transfer. Apparently home birth is just not in the cards for us! Our midwife came over and confirmed, so we made a few calls, updated Facebook (of course!), packed Ellie into the car (Tim’s family agreed to watch her at the hospital since they live in the area) and headed to Ellsworth.

Contractions really kicked in around 12:30 and I did not handle them with grace, to say the least. Due to the last-minute change in plans and the fact that I was over-tired and anxious about Gwen’s health, I was unimpressed with this whole labor/birth business, to put it mildly. I decided that since we were going to the hospital anyway, and since I wouldn’t be able to use the birth tub for pain control, I wasn’t going to be a natural-birthing heroine.

Read: I was grumpy and I wanted drugs. Stat.

The hospital admitted us around 1:30 a.m. and checked everything out. I was dilated to 3 cm. The nurse informed us I’d need to get to at least 5 cm before they would consider an intrathecal for pain, and I was NOT a happy camper.

I begged. I was loud. I swore. I bawled like a baby. I hated every single person in that room. Every time Tim looked into my eyes and said, “you’re doing a great job, love,” I wanted to punch him.

Evelyn, our doula, really earned her keep that morning. She encouraged me to stay upright so I’d progress faster. I kept telling her, “I don’t want to do this. I just need to get to 5. Just need to get to 5 so I can sleep.”

Around 4 a.m., I asked to be checked again and I was at 4 cm. Not good enough. The nurses suggested IV pain medication and at first I declined because I didn’t want to feel loopy or drugged… but after a particularly excruciating contraction, I changed my mind. Evelyn thought the meds might be just enough to take the edge off so I could rest and let my body do its thing. I relented and they gave me Stadol–in the nurse’s words, “It will feel like you’ve had a couple shots of tequila.” And she was right! It still hurt like a bitch, but I was able to give into the pain instead of fighting it. I snoozed a little in between contractions and they eased up a bit–probably because I wasn’t so tense.

Around 6 a.m. I started to feel pressure. The nurse was hesitant to check me again until the new OB came on, so I had to wait… entirely uncool, as the Stadol had worn off and I was still focused on getting that intrathecal. Eventually the nurse checked me and said, “I have good news and bad news! The bad news is you’re not getting your intrathecal. The good news is you’re almost at 10 and you’re going to have this baby very soon.”

I was… pissed. Haha! I still wanted the drugs, but everyone kept assuring me it would be over soon. I didn’t really believe them. I was not feeling very nice. 🙂

They rushed to get the new OB on the phone and she arrived around 7 a.m. Sure enough, I was almost at 10. They had me roll over on my side to help even things out, where I had what felt like the longest contraction in human history.

When they told me I could push, I wasted no time! It took about three pushes, total, over the course of a minute… it would have been less, but they had to keep reminding me to breathe. Annoying! I was not interested in breathing–I just wanted her OUT!

She was born at 7:29 a.m. posing like Superbaby, with one little hand above her head. They put her on my belly and she squawked briefly, then just looked at me, wide awake and alert. She stayed there all warm and cozy until after they stitched me up and Tim was able to cut the cord. Her APGAR scores were 9 and 9, the little overachiever. Thankfully there were no complications as a result of the meconium! I was so relieved–both that she was healthy and that it was over.

big sister, little sister

We’re settling in nicely, with many thanks to my mom for keeping house and entertaining Miss Ellie while we adjust to living on Newborn Time once again. So far life with two is not much different from life with one, just with a bit more creative juggling. I’m sure I’ll have more to write about that later!

the birth story

perplexedSorry this is a bit late in coming–we’re still adjusting to the new routine.

Elspeth is just over two weeks old and just as sweet as ever. Her favorite things include eating, sleeping, bath time, making adorable facial expressions, and pontificating (rather loudly) about the relative discomfort of diaper changes.

As for me, I’m trying to master the art of Motherly Multitasking. Basically, do everything you’d normally do except with one addition–try to breastfeed your kid at the same time! Eating, sleeping, and checking e-mail all become complicated endeavors when you add a boob to the mix, but I’m sure I’ll be a pro by the end of January.

So here it is–the long, long birth story. Elspeth did not make her entrance into the world quickly or easily, but then I’ve always been one to do things the hard way… why would my daughter be any different?

Continue reading “the birth story”