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Welcome to the World, Emma Lee Brink!!!

Wow, I am way behind on my blog posts (This one took me 5 days to get through too). I am sure that from the title of this post you can see that Baby Brink has arrived and has been keeping me occupied since HER arrival. Yes, it's a girl!

Birth Story:

I had my 39 week doctor appointment on July 10th. At this point, I had gained 20 pounds total (3 pounds in the last week), my belly measured 43 and my blood pressure was 126/73. Even with the large measurement, everything was a-o-k. However, when the doctor checked, I was 5cm dilated, and she had a hard time finding baby's heartbeat. We heard it, but we couldn't hear it loud enough. She decided to have me get another ultrasound, right then and there, and she wanted to be in the room for it.

All this time, Gene was sitting in the waiting room wondering what was taking me so long. He decided he didn't want to go in because the hand checks made him uncomfortable.

Once we got the ultrasound going, we saw the heartbeat and got a rate of 159 right away. Baby B's rate was always in the 130s before. Also, we could see that the lack of space in there was doing a number on the baby and the fluids. She asked me to go with her to her office to talk about some options. Once we got in there she suggested that we go ahead and schedule the induction. I said "okay." She was suggesting the next day, but she was off and I would have to see the other doctor. I said no, and we scheduled it for Thursday the 12th.

Of course I couldn't sleep Wednesday night. We had gotten every last-minute thing we needed, we bought tons of groceries, I finished up things around the house, and we were 100% ready. So my lack of sleep wasn't about not being ready, it was because I couldn't even fathom the thought of what labor would be like.

With 2 hours of sleep, I awoke, took a shower, got Gene up and ready and we headed to the hospital. When I initially woke up, I had a baby poking me in the ribs and it hurt to the point where I couldn't get comfortable no matter what I tried. I couldn't help but think at that point that it was about time to get them out of there.

We arrived on the L&D floor at 7am, filled out some paperwork and answered some questions. Side note here - I filled out 3 pages of pre-registration paperwork for the same info and questions months ago. Makes me think that someone isn't doing their job there.

By 7:20am I was changed and in the hospital bed. I got poked with needles a few times, and I got my I.V. put in. They started my drip, and attached a couple monitors to my belly to watch baby's heart rate and my contractions. Raven was my nurse that first day. After she got me all hooked up she asked me a series of questions and we went though a lot of the hospital's policies and such. After that, she checked the monitors and low and behold I was in labor already. Turns out all the pain I was having in my ribs was contractions!!! They were 2 - 5 minutes apart and coming on faster.

Once she saw that I was laboring on my own, she did the "hand check" and I was still at 5cm so they decided to go ahead withe the Oxytocin (Pitocin). At 8am they started that drip. We went through a bit more information, Gene got me some ice chips, and we settled in the the long day.

Now, I had previously told my parents that they shouldn't go to the hospital until later in the day after they heard from us. Well, they had assumed that since I was at 5cm that it would only be an hour or two before I pop the kid out. Ha! Were they wrong! They got to our room by 9am.

I'm not sure how other hospitals work, but at DePaul each person had a nurse, a "head" nurse, a "vitals" nurse, a Nursery nurse and a lactation consultant. These people changed every 12 hours at shift change. On my labor day I had Raven as my regular nurse, Shelly as my vitals nurse, and Trina as the head nurse. Raven had to come in and check on me every 30 minutes. We got to be very familiar with her.

Moving along, by 9:30am my contractions were 1.5 - 3 minutes apart, and they were starting to really hurt. You know how they say that you know they are real b/c you can no longer smile through them? Well, I wasn't smiling anymore.

At 10am we found that my dilation was not progressing. Raven decided it was time to break my water and get this show on the road (my Dad was saying the same thing as well - he was supposed to be at work at 11:30am). This sounds weird, but the only man I want to be looking south of the border is my husband. The reason I say this is b/c the house doctor that come in to break my water (at 10:15am) was a man. Ugh.

Within minutes of having my water broken the contractions got twice as painful, so I decided to go ahead with the epidural. At 11:30am the anesthesiologist named Kelsey came in to give my my epi. This is where things start to get a bit blurry. There was a second anesthesiologist to come in (a man whose name escapes me) and he stood over Kelsey and "coached" her through giving me my epi. Was she new?!?! Did she not know what she was doing!?!? Anyway, I leaned over a pillow to arch my back, and she cleaned and numbed the area. They say that the worst part is getting the numbing shots, but I quickly learned that all those hospital people are full of it. Kelsey hit a few nerves multiple times. I had my legs jerk, my back tense, and shooting pain down my spine either on the left or the right depending on where she was sticking me. It took literally 5+ minutes to get the spot just right. By time it was all said and done I was sheet white and had tears streaming from my eyes (not crying, just tears).

At 12:15 they gave my my foley (catheter is what I call it). I've had a catheter before, when I wasn't numbed at all and it did hurt, but it wasn't unbearable. Now, this time, when they said I wouldn't feel a thing b/c of the epidural, it was very painful. Not only did it feel like sandpaper being shoved in, but once they opened the balloon it was constant pain. I told the nurses that it hurt, but they assured me that it doesn't hurt and it may still be part of the contractions coming through.

That should have been sign number 1 that this was going to be a rough day.

By 12:30pm the pain in my ribs was completely gone. However, a new pain replaced it. With each contraction I felt this awful pressure down there. I told Raven and she said it was just b/c I was dilating more. Okay.

By 2pm, and with the help of rotating laying in bed from side to side,  I was 7cm dilated.

At 3pm I was in extreme pain. I told the nurses that with each contraction came this excruciating pain in my pelvis. They told me that I should feel pressure, but it should not be painful. I said again that I was in pain, at a 9 on the 10-scale. They brought in Kelsey again and she gave me the maximum epi dose that I could get.

No help.

4pm is when it all started falling apart. With each contraction I was screaming. Literally. B/c of my pain, the baby's heart rate dropped significantly and I had to be put on oxygen. The nurses came in to talk to me again about the pain, and I kid you not, they said that there's no way I could be in pain at this point. They did not believe me. The head nurse came in, brought Kelsey in and they gave me Lidacaine 1% to numb me down there. It should have worked immediately and it did not. My contractions were 1 minute apart, I had no time to breathe, I was screaming and writhing in pain, and I had these nurses standing there telling me there's nothing they could do b/c I couldn't possibly be feeling the contractions at all.

My parents, bless their hearts, stayed in the room with me as much as possible. My Dad told his workplace that his daughter was going to have a baby and he wasn't leaving the hospital until she did. They left the room when I asked, for all the exposed moments, and then they left to stretch their legs from time-to-time, but otherwise they were there all the way - even through all the screaming. However, when the nurses said that they didn't believe me (in their own words) I started crying hysterically. I couldn't do it anymore. Gene tried to calm me down, but all I kept saying was that I wanted to die. I have never in my life felt any pain like that pain. And to make it worse, I was only at 8cm and I had a way to go still.

4:30 was another check and at this point the oxygen was taken off of me, baby's heart rate was back to normal, I was still at 8cm, and the pain was increasing. With Gene watching the monitor, I would start a contraction, it would last for about 50 seconds, and then I would have about 3 to 5 seconds until the next one was coming on. To me, it felt like a continuous wave of pain.

At 4:45pm I hit the nurse button, I was screaming so hard that my voice sounded muffled and my parents couldn't stand to listen to me in pain any longer so they left my room and went to the waiting room. I did not get a response from a nurse until about 20 minutes later. They even said that they could hear me in the hall. I have no idea why I was neglected.

At 5:15pm they checked and I was at 10cm. The head nurse, Trina, decided it was time to start pushing. The whole room changed in a matter of minutes. Kelsey was not available to help, so a man named Nick came in and gave me Lidacaine 2% to try to take more pain away. Again it was supposed to be immediate relief, and again it was no relief at all. Trina said it would relieve my pain to push. So after she coached me, I tried. And tried. And tried. She was getting frustrated b/c of course it did not relieve pain to push, but it hurt like hell so I was screaming through each push. She just kept saying "Jennifer, you can't be pushing if you're screaming. Push harder. Push like you're going to the bathroom."

Well I am sorry miss attitude but when I go poo I don't push that hard. I told her I didn't want to do it anymore. I told Gene I couldn't. I told them all that I was done. Everyone just kept saying that I could do it. The nurses checked and they said that the baby was at a +2, which means that the head is coming through the pelvis. I said I didn't care. At this point I stopped and yelled at them that I want a C-Section.

The entire room halted. Trina left the room and came back with a telephone. She handed it to me and it was Dr. Cartwright. Poor lady was so upbeat with me, and I just kept screaming through my contractions over the phone. I told her that I was done and that I needed a C-Section.

I'm not sure how many of you know this, but if you request something other than what the hospital is doing, they have to stop everything and wait for you to confirm your requests (if logical and ethical). I didn't realize this. So, b/c I said it, they stopped. But, I had to wait 30 minutes for the doc to show up. I had to suffer through the pain even longer. All I wished for was to pass out.

Gene helped me breathe through each contraction. He told me when it was coming, when it peaked, when it was going down and when it was over. Now, for some reason, maybe the previous pushing, but I had a good minute between most contractions. I could breathe. I could think. He held my hand which I squeezed each time it hurt. He put his head on my back to show support. He was great. *I'm crying now as I type this from the thought of how helpless he must have felt.

Somewhere around 6:15pm Dr. Cartwright showed up. She checked the strength of my contractions, she checked my dilation and she checked baby's head in my pelvis. To her surprise it was not a +2. It was at zero, or maybe even -1. The nurses were wrong. And with me being 10cm she could get a better feel of my pelvis. It wasn't stretching, and it was too small for a baby. Right then and there she said I made a good choice by having them stop.

**It was later explained to us that my pelvis is so small that only a baby the size of a barbie doll would ever be able to fit through it. So, supposedly with each contraction my body was trying to break my pelvis to get the baby out. My pelvic bones were literally trying to rip me apart. I never did see the nurse that didn't believe me again, but if I had I'm sure I would have said some not-so-nice things to her after the doctor told us that.

Dr. C ran through all the risks of the C-Section, compared them to vaginal so that I could understand a bit more, and the last thing she said to me was that if this was "way back when," I would have died.

Dr. C left the room and within minutes the room filled with different people. Taking vitals. Giving me shots through my I.V. Going over risks again. I'm not sure what all they gave me, but my head started spinning. They gave Gene scrubs to put on over his clothes, and they wheeled me out.

Everything gets patchy here.

Gene was gone. I was in the room with about 10 other nurses and doctors. I had to take out my earrings and nose ring. They had my arms spread out on boards. They put oxygen in my nose. They gave me more meds through IV. Gene showed up. They put the sheet up. I fell asleep. I woke up to pressure (severe pressure) on my belly. I fell asleep. Woke up to pain from the pressure on my belly. Heard a baby noise. More pressure. Felt like I went to the bathroom all over the table. Heard the doctor say "Oh my goodness." Pressure was gone, I could tell the baby was out. Heard my baby's first cry. Fell asleep. Woke up to Gene showing me our beautiful baby girl.

Fell asleep. Woke up and Gene was gone. Fell asleep. Woke up, Gene still wasn't there, I was in pain. I had asked what hurt and they said they were trying to get everything sewn up and back in it's proper place. I got fussy. With each pain I whined or made a noise. I tried not to talk or to complain b/c I was sure this was all normal and that I'd be fine. They gave me more meds after I whined a bit more and I fell asleep again. Woke up the last time when they moved me from the operating table to the bed again and they wheeled me to my room.

Gene was still missing, but I never did ask where he was. I knew he was with our baby. As we approached the room I heard my Mom. She must have heard them bringing me down the hall and she popped her head out of the room to see if it was me. I was wide awake at this point. She said "Well, what is it?" And before I could answer her the nurse blurted out "It's a beautiful baby girl. Oh, was I not supposed to tell?" I said "It's okay, she's here now so they can know."

Even though I was awake I was still very out of it. Before I knew it Gene was back. He had said that they'd bring her to my room so that I could hold her, but a nurse chimed in and said that I couldn't see her b/c it hadn't been long enough. My Mom wanted to see her so Gene asked if he could take her to the nursery. Before we went to the hospital I told him that besides the hospital staff and him, I get to be the first person to hold her. Well, it didn't look like it was going to happen. I wasn't going to tell my Mom she couldn't hold her first real grand-baby. So, I said yes. But, as they got to the nursery, they were bringing Baby Brink to me!

They got back in the room and I held my baby girl for the first time. I was in shock. She was so gorgeous. She looks just like Gene actually. Perfect hair, beautiful dark blue eyes, cutest little lips and nose... I could go on and on. I just stared at her. Then, out of nowhere the nurse asked if I was going to breast feed and I said pump only. She said she'd have to take the baby back to the nursery then to feed her and I couldn't bear to part with my new baby, so I said I'd go ahead and try breast feeding.

I don't remember too much here actually. I know Mom and Dad left, and Baby Brink latched on great, but I have no idea how long I fed her. I'm assuming she ate well b/c it didn't seem very long to me before she was done and we were letting people in again.

So, after all of that we had visitors of course, which I shooed them out pretty quickly b/c all I wanted to do was sleep. They took baby back to the nursery and then brought her back each time she was hungry but didn't leave her that night with us b/c they knew I needed sleep. I still only slept 2 hours though b/c all I could think about was the fact that I had a baby. I, had a baby. It was (and still is) so surreal.

We finally decided on her name somewhere in the middle of the night.

So, ladies and gentleman, introducing to the world...

Emma Lee Brink

Born July 12, 2012 at 7:08pm. 9 pounds, 14 ounces. 22 inches long.

All because two people feel in love.



Too Comfy

While I sat pondering, yet again, why Baby Brink hasn't made their arrival yet, a co-worker of mine mentioned this one good point... I've made it too good for the baby in there. Could that be it?

I've done my best (for the most part) to avoid things I shouldn't eat.

- No lunch meat to avoid listeria.
- No fish at all (only b/c I can't remember which ones are okay) - I ate tuna once, and it turned out to be canned albacore which is a no-no apparently, so I decided to avoid it altogether.
- No bean sprouts.
- No Caffeine at all - with the exception of a few sips here and there when I shared a drink with Gene or had a headache, but never more than an ounce or two a day and that really only happened a handful of times the entire 9 months.
- No alcohol, not even red wine.
- No artificial sweetner of any kind (can't remember the good from the bad).
- No frozen tv dinners. I was trying to avoid super processed foods completely, but sometimes hot dogs and pizza rolls consumed my mind.

However, I did eat 2 things that I shouldn't have supposedly.

- Raw eggs. I had mayo on quite a few occasions, as well as frozen custard a handful of times.
- White Mexican cheese. I forgot and ordered enchiladas in the third trimester which were with white cheese instead of the cheddar cheese Chevy's uses. Instead of switching with Gene I ate it anyway.

Also, I drink 80 to 100 ounces of water a day, and I rub my belly a lot. I think that because I can feel the baby, I rub it like I'm comforting the them. Maybe this is like a massage to them and they think it will stop when they are out here.

Okay, okay. I know that it's not the baby who decides when labor will start. To be honest, all websites and professionals say that nobody knows for sure what makes a woman finally go, but speculation is that it all has to do with hormones. If that's really the case, then I don't see how walking will help, or sex, or spicy food, or any other wives tale out there.

I've walked a ton, and baby is still as low as it has been the last 3 weeks or so. The whole sex thing would be way too awkward I think at this point (have you seen my belly?!?!). I tried some spicy food - not spicy hot, just spicy in general, and nothing.

So, long story short, I think I'm just stuck waiting it out. I don't think anything can be done at this point, which I guess I'm okay with since baby is healthy. But, I can't help but think now that my awesome pregnancy and my determined nature to not consume anything they say not to, has made my baby too comfy in there.

You'd think the baby would try to get out just to stretch!



Is There An End In Sight?

We all know that once you get pregnant, the baby has to come out eventually, right? I hate to say it, but some days I wonder.

I went to my 38 week check on Tuesday, July 3rd. We had an ultrasound done right away, and here's what we learned:

- Baby is the same sex as before. Ha ha, I thought the sex might have been wrong the first time around and all the clothes we bought and washed would have been off. But no, it's the same. :-)

- Baby has 2 legs, feet and toes. Yes, I'm going to count every finger and toe when baby is out.

- Baby has at least one arm, hand and fingers. Because of the way they were laying we couldn't see the other ones.

- Baby has giant chubby cheeks. The ultrasound lady kept talking about how big the cheeks were. Lol. I can't wait to squeeze them!

- There IS only one baby. My family has a history of "hiding twins," but not for me. Everyone thought for sure there would be like 5 in there because my Mom and Dad are both twins, but not this time around. Maybe next time. :-)  *Yes, it should have been me because the generation it skipped was theirs. Meaning, my grandmas had twins, my parents didn't/shouldn't, so it was my turn.

- Baby has hair. She didn't say how much exactly though. And, we couldn't get the top of the baby's head because it was in my pelvis, so all we got was the back, and unless our little one only has a ring of hair like George Castanza, there will be some hair right away.

- Lastly, the baby's weight. Baby is at 8 lbs, 6 oz. That is just an estimate by the measurements they could take. So, it's a give/take of 1 lb, 4 oz. With that bit of info, our baby could be at 9 lbs, 10 oz! Yowza! And keep in mind that every day the baby grows more!

After the Ultrasound we sat in with the doctor. As far as my check went, I'm still at 4cm and 80%. Pelvis has still not budged. She asked me if I was ready to go now. I said yes, I'm dying to go now, so then she asked when I wanted to schedule something. I paused, I stumbled, and I said that I still wanted to go on my own. I know, crazy, right?

I started to think that since the baby couldn't drop much b/c of my narrow pelvic opening that maybe that's why I hadn't gone into labor yet. But the doctor assured me that it's not necessarily the baby's position, but hormones and body "balance" that will make me finally go. With that said, we have decided on the 16th - 2 days past my due date.

I really want to go into labor on my own. I want to experience the whole enchilada. The whole sche-bang. In my daydreams I can see me calling Gene at work and telling him it's time, he rushes home, loads the bags and car seat, and we head off on our adventure. This is ideal to me. Now, if it's past my due date, I'm sure I will be ready to be induced if needed, but for the time being, I thought I'd leave it alone.

Since I've made that decision I've been less miserable. In a way, anyway. I feel like it's on my terms now. There's nothing wrong with baby to need to go right away, so why not wait it out. Why not let nature take it's course.

So, here I sit. Typing. Waiting. Working. Waiting. Eating. Waiting.

1 week, 1 day until due date. Think good thoughts for me to go into labor. :-)



My Support Group

Well, the weekend is over, I'm back at work, and I still haven't had the baby yet. Yes, I'm getting more miserable with every passing day. It's not the July heat, it's not the fact that I'm getting bigger, it's not the never-ending bathroom breaks... it's just that I want to see my stinking baby! Hold them, rock them, sing to them, stare at them for hours on end.

Ugh. Anyway.

You know how doctors, hospitals and classes tell you to find a support group? In my case, they mean a Mommy-and-Me type of group, or a Post-Pardem group. Well, I think I have mine. I call them my Twitter gals. One I know from high school who is due a week after me - Megan Steinmann (previously Houlihan) - and the other two I've never met but Megan is freinds with... I don't know what they prefer to be called, but when I talk about them I call them Aly and Liz.

It's funny to think about the fact that 3 women who talk to me only through Twitter and blogs could be so wonderful to me. I try to think about what my pregnancy would have been like had I not had them to confide in. I think I would be even more miserable. Lol.

Aly had her baby first. A girl. She calls her AR (Autumn is her first name, her middle name escapes me). I read her tweets during her labor and then read her detailed blogs (and tweets of course) that came after she got home as well. Through her I've learned a lot more of what to expect during "regular" childbirth, and then so much about after you get home and breast-feeding as well. Her blogs make me cry almost every time I read one. I think it's the details... the new mom details. When I read her blogs I want my baby even more.

Liz had her baby I want to say two weeks after Aly. A boy. She confirmed that Mercy does in deed have a wait for a L&D room sometimes. I've heard that before and always wondered if it was a rumor, but nope, it's true. Through Liz I learned more about a C-Section, which is more in my head than anything else now. I also read her infant care class blog, seeing as they rescheduled mine, and her blog about what she needed at the hospital which was helpful for packing my bags. Side Note - Her grandfather just passed away. He was like her father figure growing up, and through her blog and tweets I relived parts of what Gene went through when his dad passed away a few months ago.

Megan (who I've known since high school) and I are so close with our due dates that it seems like we go through all of the same stuff at the same times. I hate to admit this, and it may sound bad, but I love it because when I'm miserable, chances are so is she, and when she's miserable, so am I. Lol. Misery loves company. We occasionally bounce stuff off of each other, to see if it's normal. It's helpful, really. Her blogs, while they contain a lot of CrossFit info which is over my head, are more like her diary. They list everything going on with her pregnancy and I like to see how we compare. It seems like we both have had pretty mild pregnancies.

These three girls are exactly what I needed. I would have been lost without them. Even though I don't really know Aly and Liz I still ask them questions, and for advice. I'm sure it will be even more so after Baby Brink is here. Without them all, I don't think I would have held together as well.

So, Megan, thanks so much for introducing us!

I didn't know why I got back onto Twitter, and I had no idea what it had in store for me, but low and behold, it gave me the support and strength I needed to make it through this new, exciting and scary chapter of my life. And look, I also have a blog now to keep track of everything so that one day my child(ren) can see what I was like.

Megan, Aly, Liz... I'm very grateful. :-)