Resolving Timeline Issues

Archive for May 2009

Two weeks

Posted on: May 31, 2009

As of 6:52pm tonight, we will have kept the poptart alive for two weeks.

Things I have learned:

  1. Yes, your boobs actually tingle when the baby cries. Or squeaks in her sleep. Or moves and you see it. Or think about her. Particularly if you’re engorged.
  2. The baby will wake up to eat when she damn well pleases, not when you need her to because you’re engorged.
  3. The breastpump is a godsend.
  4. Nursing tanks are expensive, but worth it.
  5. The baby will sleep. Eventually. Patience.
  6. You really shouldn’t overdo it the first couple of weeks after birthing a 8lb 9oz bowling ball (who was up to 8lbs 12oz at 10 days of age). Because then on a Thursday night you’ll freak out about the sudden onslaught of blood and take yourself to emergency to get checked out, only to be told its nothing to worry about and your body is trying to purge itself of old fluids, tissues, etc and its normal for the toilet to look like a scene from “Carrie.” Oh and to take sitz baths (and who knew? they actually help!) and to take it easy and put your feet up.
  7. Of course, 6 means that Darren will take the Friday off work to keep an eye on you which means you can go grocery shopping which sort of defeats the purpose of “take it easy”. Note to self: look into grocery delivery service.
  8. Overdoing it is much easier when every trip out of the car and into a building means lifting and carrying a carseat. Or carrying the bassinet up and down stairs. Or the laundry.
  9. Activia is the yogurt that makes you regular.
  10. The hormone crash sucks donkey balls. A baby sleeping on your chest makes it all better.

We had a birth plan. It went out the window really quickly. My plan to labour with only the help of nitrous went to shit when the back labour started. The only part of the plan that held was “we both get out alive.”

Friday 15th – we went to lunch and to see Star Trek (which rawked). My right foot and hand/arm swelled up and I felt absolutely huge. I was rather restless that night and neither of us got any sleep. Darren came to bed at 5am. I got up, went to the bathroom with cramps and found blood. We went to the hospital.

Saturday 16th – early morning I am declared to be in early, early labour and am sent home. Darren goes back to bed. I putter around and do things; in the afternoon the cramps get worse and move to my back. By 9pm I am in full back labour. Darren starts applying counterpressure. We go back to the hospital, and I am 50% effaced and Not Dilated At All. I cry and they give me a shot of morphine so I can get some sleep. I meet the Excellent Doctor who will deliver my daughter the next day.

Saturday 17th – I wake up at 5:30 am in full-on back labour. Seriously would not wish this on anyone. Darren is sleeping on the sofa. I make my way to the bathtub and labour in there for a couple of hours then make my way back to bed. I know I’m supposed to be doing things like walking and moving around but don’t dare try to make it down the stairs by myself. Darren gets up, my mother phones at some point (twice, actually) and suggests a caesarean. I talk her down the second time. I labour on the ball and on the floor on my side (per internet instructions to get the baby to turn around) until noon when I finally demand to go back to the hospital and say that I am Not Leaving Again.

Noon: I am admitted at 5cm dilation. They give me another shot of morphine which doesn’t help and put me on an IV drip later which takes the edge off. They break my water at about 1:30. Darren is applying counterpressure on every contraction with about 75% of his strength and weight. We try nitrous, which doesn’t help. Darren explains to the doctor and nurses that it feels like when a muscle is electrocuted and my muscles aren’t relaxing between contractions (hence, no relief).

3pm: I am at 9.5cm. Excellent Doctor is surprised all afternoon at how fast I am progressing and keeps asking Darren if this is my first.

4pm or so: I am at 9.5cm. Counterpressure no longer works and I am spent, and so very disappointed. Excellent Doctor says he has an anaesthesiologist coming in for a ceasarean anyways and suggests putting in an epidural, he’ll go do the c-section and then I can start pushing when he gets back. I waffle. I really was trying to avoid an epidural. Darren lets me know that its okay and that I just need a break. I consent to the epidural and apologize all over the place to Darren.

The epidural is put in (about 20 minutes – Excellent Doctor says he’s never had an epidural arrive that quickly) and I have a nap for an hour or so.

5pm or so: Excellent Doctor is pleased that I had a nap and just taking a break let my body do what it needed to do.

Me: Well, I guess my dignity went out the window awhile ago. Let me know when we’re ready to go.

Darren: Dignity left with Self Esteem!

Doctor: :snickers: We’re ready to go now. Push with the contractions.

Me: oh, okay. [push as I’m having a contraction]

Doctor: [madly snapping on gloves]

And then there was two hours of pushing and then she was here. And the memory of the last day or so fades and leaves sheer unadulterated joy in its place. 

Also to the doctor who said to me at 34  (or so) weeks gestation that I’d have problems losing the pregnancy weight? Please to #suckit. As of today, I am 5lbs below the weight I was at when I started at the maternity clinic at 8 weeks gestation and I gave birth 10 days ago.

Also Excellent Doctor has agreed to become our family doctor.

I had been trying to avoid an epidural, but in this case, I expect that if I hadn’t had it in this case, I wouldn’t have had the energy or the focus to push. I never once felt pressured into any sort of interventions.

Because really the last couple of days have been rough (thank you post-partum hormone crash), I’m going to cheat on the grace in small things and just do this one:

1. IMG_0815

Crossposted at my Grace In Small Things Blog

Have one of these:



The Poptart (Shannon Cynthia)
8lb 9oz, 22 inches.
And really big shoulders.

This is her getting VERY VERY ANGY about her first bath.

This morning I woke up at 4:45 to bright red blood (it was a small amount). So we trucked off to the hospital where they proclaimed me and the baby healthy; by then the blood had switched to a brownish colour. It was determined to be my mucous plug leaving.

Added bonus: I was having mild contractions. Go baby!

I spent the morning eating two breakfasts and surfing the web. At about 1:30 I went to have a shower.

Around 2 the contractions started getting closer together and I was having a lot of back pain. By 7:30 the contractions were cascading together with not much (if any) break between them. So we trucked off to the hospital again.

I was checked and proclaimed not ready to give birth. NOT DILATED AT ALL AS A MATTER OF FACT.

Because those contractions? ALL in my back.

When they told me I was not dilated at all, I burst into tears because those contractions are fucking painful (and I was having one). Darren applied counterpressure, but had to use most of his strength. After the first one at the hospital, he noticed that my back muscles weren’t relaxing in between contractions – which would explain why it felt they were cascading into one another.

There were two thing that scared me about labour: epistomy (especially after reading about the Frankenvulva) and back labour.

I am 1 for 2. I thought I might be an excellent candidate to have the joyful experience that is back labour, because I don’t really get menstrual cramps. I get back pain. Go me.

They gave me a shot of morphine and gravol to take the edge off and gave me the option to stay at the hospital or go home. Since we’re only 5 or 7 minutes away from the hospital, we went home. I can still feel the contractions but really? I don’t care.

I am going to bed now.

I thought I should get this posted before I, oh I don’t know, go into labour.

anytime, kid, anytime.

One of the dilemmas I’ve been having is diapers. I’ve been reading quite a bit about cloth diapering here and here. And I like the idea of cloth diapering. I really like it. Its good for the environment. Its better for your baby. The diapers are cute beyond belief. But I am lazy and it just seemed so much easier to throw out a disposable diaper, than to spray down diapers, wash them put in any inserts and how to use the damn things. And I was overwhelmed anyways because of a various ISSUES that made me want to drink, but oh hey, pregnancy and CAN’T.

Ice cream is a good substitute, however. Until your intestines disagree with this.

Oh and the scariness of Braxton-Hicks contractions didn’t help.

But I digress. Sort of.

I went out and bought some diapers because hello, baby on the way and I had coupons.

And then I had a shower and got a diaper cake, lovingly prepared by Sunshine. Which leads me to the current stash of disposable diapers:









And I thought, that’s not too bad – should last awhile. And then I realized that newborns go through up to 10-12 diapers per DAY. And my inner green person started feeling guilty. Because all that plastic and shit (Ha! get it?!) equals billions of years of biodegrading. Or something like that to my pregnant brain.

And there’s an extra half pack of diapers in the hospital bag along with some loose samples I received from various companies.

And so cloth diapering reared its head again. But again I am lazy and cheap. And when you’ve got more than one kid who will be using diapers, I’m positive cloth diapering is cheaper when you buy your own diapers. One kid? Not so much.

I was at the doctor’s office. There’s this counter I go past on the way to the bathroom – and there was a pamphlet for a diaper service and a sample of the diaper they supply. So I took a flyer, fondled the diaper (soft, cute, yellow) and showed the flyer to Darren, who as usual was exceedingly helpful when it came to making a decision on diapering: “So how do you feel about cloth diapering?” “You’re the one who’s going to be home. Its up to you.”

Thanks, hon.

So I crunched some numbers: disposable diapers = about $20/week. Diaper service = about $25/week. Oh and they pick up and deliver clean diapers once a week. THEY CLEAN THE DIAPERS FOR YOU.

I think it goes without saying that it appealed to my inner green lazy person.

So I ordered the diapers. They have this pre-birth delivery that consists of this:

Reusable Diapers 001

Diaper pail with charcoal filtre.

And inside is a wetbag with diapers. You line the pail with the bag, put the diapers in your changetable and done.


Reusable Diapers 005And they’re yellow and adorable.

Now I just need some diaper covers.



This shipment arrived the day I was writing my last post about how adequate and accessible pre- and post-natal care for expectant mothers and their babies make for healthier communities.

In the industrialized world, we’re very much aware of the environmental impact of our actions. Its just unfortunate that the costs of making better environmental choices, community choices (and if you want to get all political-sciencey, choices in the interest of the public good) are a damn sight more expensive than the disposable choices. If you’re having to pay for medical insurance, or god forbid, medical care because you have no insurance, you’re not able to make those choices.

That $5/week difference may mean the difference between:

  • cloth diapers and food on the table
  • cloth diapers and medical insurance
  • cloth diapers and medical care.

This may be a bit of a weak link, but I can tell you now that if I had to pay for medical insurance vs. cloth diapers? I’d choose the medical insurance.

Because I don’t have to worry about medical insurance, I’m in a position where I can make the choice that is better for my community – I can afford that extra fee and make it easy on myself to make that choice.

There are many direct and indirect benefits of providing accessible medical care. And this might just be one of them.

Since I’ve been on maternity leave, I’ve fallen into a habit in the mornings. Darren wakes me up when he needs a ride to the train, I drive him there, come back and flake out on the sofa for awhile. From 10-11am the Space channel shows one of my favourite shows of all time: the original Star Trek series.

Yes, I know how much of a geek that makes me. And I really, really want to see the new movie that opens tomorrow, but I refuse to go to a movie on opening weekend. This means I should see it sometime around Christmas.

Today’s episode is called “Friday’s Child” and involves a very pregnant, alien (although human-appearing) woman, whose culture allows no man other than her nearest male relative to touch her. Of course the good Doctor McCoy ends up delivering the baby, yadda, yadda (click the last link for a full, painfully detailed synopsis). My point is: she gets medical care.

Over the last 6.whatever months I’ve seen the doctor more times than I ever have in my life. Because my pregnancy has been astoundingly normal, I’m on the usual schedule of once a month for the first two trimesters or so, then once every two weeks from 28 to 35 weeks and once a week from 36 weeks onwards. I expect if I go longer than 40 weeks, it’ll be once every couple of days until showtime.

Add in there a trip to the clinic when I spiked a fever, and a diagnostic ultrasound at 20 weeks and I imagine this is a fairly costly process.

Yes, I said I imagine. Because really, I have no idea how much each visit costs. I know the ultrasound, had it been performed in California, would have been in the $2000 (US) range. All of those visits have cost me not one red cent. And I could have gotten genetic testing as well.

What I paid for out of pocket: 3 months of prenatal vitamins (because my extended medical didn’t cover it) at about $35/month (or slightly more than $1/day – because I’m in a high enough income bracket that I don’t get government assistance and my extended medical doesn’t cover vitamins) and a 3D ultrasound at $185 after taxes (because it was for “entertainment purposes” and therefore not covered by either basic or extended insurance).

When I give birth, its at a hospital with the latest medical equipment. If I go into a ward, there’s no cost for the room – its billed back to the province. If I want a private room its $180/night (including meals of course!) – which I can claim back from the two sets of extended medical insurance we have.

I shouldn’t say that this hasn’t cost me one red cent. It has because I pay it through my taxes. Because I’m in a high enough income bracket, I also pay a premium to the province for my medical care – its around $60/month; when we become a family of 3, it goes up to about $130/month. This is for basic care. My employer pays 75% of that – even though I’m not working for the next year.

Yes, I have a really good contract.

My employer also pays for my extended medical premiums; Darren’s employer pays for his and between the two we have nearly 100% coverage on everything. I think my extended medical premiums for the two of us are somewhere around $15-$20/month. Those premiums are low because provincial medical care offsets the true costs of medical care.

My point: we don’t have to pick and choose what kind of medical care we want. We don’t have to worry about being bankrupted by medical costs by doing something that is absolutely natural for human beings: having a baby. Every time I go into the hospital or doctor’s office, there’s no copay.

This is because it is my right, embodied in Canadian law, to receive medical care. Put another way, I cannot be denied medical care because of an inability to pay.

Why does this matter? Well, because there are women just south of the 49th who are denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions – or what their insurance companies have deemed to be pre-existing conditions. Like pregnancy.

And all over the world:

Every minute a woman dies in pregnancy and childbirth. Each year more than 536,000 women die due to complications developed during pregnancy and childbirth1 and 10 million more suffer debilitating illnesses and lifelong disabilities. Seventy-five percent of maternal deaths occur during childbirth and the postpartum period. The vast majority of maternal deaths are avoidable when women have access to vital health care before, during and after childbirth.

The old saying: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is worth listening to. With proper prenatal and postnatal care, you not only get healthy mothers and babies, but healthy communities.

The MOMocrats are asking for assistance:

MOMocrats support Mother's Day Every Day

High quality and accessible medical care for expectant mothers, mothers and their children make for less economic and social strife. Its pretty simple; Maslow said as much in his Hierarchy of Needs.

Except my story doesn’t stop there. The next post* will be about what extra benefit I’m able to provide because of the low cost of my extremely generous health care and my good luck in being Canadian.

*No promises as to when it’ll actually be up.

May 2009


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