Xander has arrived!!!

That’s right! Alexander John Mills was born on Thursday, March 8th at 8:47 a.m.  He weighed 8lbs, 3 ozs and measured 21 inches long.

LABOR STORY: Labor began on Wednesday afternoon after a nice long walk at the park with Kali (I KNEW those walks would help!). At first I thought I was in false labor, but the contraction pains were 5 minutes apart and continued until Nick came home from work. However, at that point the contractions were painful and I had tears rolling down my face after each 45 seconds of pain. We called the doctor and headed to the hospital at 9:15pm- Nick was a bit panicked, but managed to only run a couple stop signs on the way to the hospital. (I secretly wished he would also run the red lights!) Luckily, it was a short 15 minute drive to the hospital, but my contractions were 1 1/2 minutes apart and lasting a painful 45 seconds. We had to take a couple breathing ‘breaks’ during our walk from the car to the hospital entrance. We were immediately ushered into a labor and delivery suite and I was handed a lovely hospital gown. After some initial questions were asked, I was hooked up to some monitors and the house OB checked my cervix. I was only 2 cm dilated, but 90% effaced. I was worried that they would send me home, but the nurse reassured me: “You’re definitely in labor and having a baby!”

The nurses left our room to call Dr. Clancy (who was on call that night, not Dr. Behm) and gave her a status report. At that moment, everything became very real. We both called our parents to give them a heads up- though I had to pass the phone over to Nick during contractions. They were still 90 seconds apart, but were rating a 10 on the pain scale. I have NEVER experienced such pain. It felt like my insides were being riped apart; they took my breath away. The nurse put me on the labor ball to help my cervix to dilate since I didn’t feel like walking the halls . . . kinda ironic! At midnight I was hooked up to IV fluids and given some Statall which I was told would make me feel drunk. Well, it didn’t. I’ve been drunk. Many times. This crap didn’t work! But, I was able to relax between contractions so I guess it was worth it. Unfortunately, it only lasted an hour so at 1:30am the nurse checked my cervix. I was now 4 cm dilated and my bag of waters was bulging. She recommended I get my epidural now. WOO HOO! Within 10 minutes I was sitting Indian style on my bed, chin to my chest, gritting my teeth through my contractions while the doctor attempted to give me the epidural. It wasn’t going in. For some reason she had a hard time . . . many attempts and sticks later, the epidural was in! The nurse promised that the contractions would get shorter and shorter and soon I wouldn’t feel them. I told her that I didn’t believe her, but alas she was right. Ten minutes later she said, “You know you’re having a big contraction right now?” Uh, really? Sweet. I didn’t know. I’m now in painfree heaven.

Well, the rest of the night was pretty easy. We turned on the TV, Nick fell asleep, and I felt no pain as I went from 4cm at 1:30am to 9 1/2 cm by 5:30am. Around this time, however, I began to feel waves of nauesa (I had no food in my system and my BP & pulse started to go up). Nick kept cool cloths on my forehead and the nurses closely monitored my stats. My BP averaged 130/90 and my pulse was anywhere from 115-130 beats per minute. Luckily, Xander was perfect. The nurses kept checking my bed to see if my water had broken . . . but it never did even though I was 10 cm, 100% effaced, and the baby was extremely low. At 7am the nurses changed shifts and Dr. Clancy walked in. She couldn’t believe I was still in labor! She said Dr. Behm was on the way and wished me good luck as did our labor and delivery nurse. She was disappointed she wasn’t going to see Xander delievered. She also told me that it was rare to actually see a laboring woman walk in the door. Most deliveries are induced and I was laboring completely on my own.

Well, when the new nurses walked in it was decided that it was time to break my water.  (I actually recognized 1 of the nurses as a parent from La Petite! She was a great familiar face and helped me throughout the experience) At 8am Dr. Behm walked in. By that time, my bed had been broken down and my dead- weight- legs put up. As soon as a contraction hit, I was told to hold my breath and push with all my might. And I did, over and over again until Xander was born at 8:47. He was perfect and so beautiful! Nick was able to cut the cord and watch over the nurses as they assessed him. He scored 9 & 9 on his apgar & he was brought back to me. We were able to bond with Xander for about an hour before he was taken to the nursery for vitals, bath etc. Nick & I are so very proud and LOVE being parents. We were discharged from the hospital on Saturday so now it’s back to reality.

Will update with pictures and more about Xander very soon!!!

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39 week checkup- what a relief!

Today I had an afternoon appointment with Dr. Behm since, alas, there’s no baby in sight. Disappointed to say that the full moon over the weekend didn’t send me any good vibes! Anyway, the appointment started off good- normal BP and urine. And I’m still at 0 weight gain for the 9th month- which is amazing! After a short wait, Nick & I were ushered into a room to await the doctor. Nick decided to attend this appointment since I was worried I might need some moral support! Dr. Behm began by measuring my belly . . . ta da! I’m back at 36 cm!!! What a relief! The doc felt my belly and noted that he thinks the baby has dropped even more- which he has. Xander is now at the -1 station but he still has a long way to go. My cervix has not changed, unfortunately. I’m still 1cm, 70% effaced, and the cervix is not soft but firm. Therefore, my Bishop’s score is pretty low so we didn’t have to discuss an induction for this week. Since my cervix isn’t far along, an induction at this stage would most likely fail and result in a C-section. Uh, no thank you! And Dr. Behm isn’t concerned about Xander being too large. He’ll be a big baby, but nothing that requires immediate attention. So, Nick is my good luck charm! This appointment turned out to be a huge sigh of relief.

Dr. Behm did want to discuss a game plan. He doubts I’ll go into labor this week, but obviously he doesn’t own a crystal ball. In the event I go into labor this weekend, his female partner (Dr. Clancy) is on call and would deliver Xander. Otherwise, Behm will see me Monday, March 12 for my last appointment. If I’m dilated more, we’ll induce on Tuesday. If I need some cervix ripening medicine, the process will begin Monday night. So, Xander could have a b-day of March 12th or 13th. Only time will tell!!

Waiting . . .

Waiting for an upcoming vacation or for Christmas is easy. You know exactly how many weeks, days, and minutes remain before you board that airplane or open that first gift. On the other hand, waiting for labor to begin is the most annoying waiting game EVER! First, you don’t know how many weeks, days and minutes remain. Second, you overanalyze every pain, cramp, kick, and Braxton Hicks contraction: Could this be the onset of labor? Third, some days you want *today* to be the big day (house is clean, having a good hair day, well rested) and other days you *don’t* want today to be the big day (house isn’t clean, legs not shaved, didn’t get enough sleep last night). Finally, panic and fear of the unknown haunt your every thought (how much pain will I feel?; am I prepared?; how will I handle a crying newborn?). In short, waiting for labor to begin isn’t fun. I’m basically an anxious sitting duck until it does.

So, here I am. Tomorrow I cross into the 39th week of pregnancy. The baby is fullterm and my due date of March 11 is 1 week away. At most, I have 2 weeks left of pregnancy since Dr. Behm doesn’t allow patients to pass the 41 week marker. I know there is a possibility that on Monday he may recommend an elective induction aka ‘an end to the waiting game’. After I took Lamaze, I told my myself and Nick that I do not want to be induced because of the risks involved (painful contractions early on, increased chance of C-section). Now that I am 39 weeks pregnant, am I changing my song and dance? I’m as miserable as one can get! I’m as big as a house (even my maternity shirts look like mid driffs), my labor jitters are leading to sleepless nights, and the anxiety about every cramp, pain, and Braxton Hicks contraction even has Nick constantly asking  “Are you feeling OK?” So, should I cave, if offered, and accept an induction date and end this misery? Obviously, that is something Nick and I must decide. There is a possibility that on Monday the discussion about an induction will not be necessary (Xander has definitely been exercising this week!) and the debate in my mind (to induce or not to induce) will be laid to rest.

But, then I’ll be back to the waiting game . . .

Pick the date & win the prize!

Football SquaresAt our baby shower in Orlando we gave shower guests the opportunity to guess the arrival date of baby Xander. Nick constructed a ‘Football Squares’ poster and guests were able to choose and write down when they thought I’d deliver. Dates range from March 1 (today!) until the end of March. Whomever correctly guesses the actual birth date gets a handmade, exquisite football frame! 🙂

PS: This weekend there is a full moon!

Here are the guesses:

MARCH 1: Uncle Logan

MARCH 2: Alicia C.

MARCH 3: Danny M.

MARCH 4: Sara M.

MARCH 5: Grandpa Mills

MARCH 6: Cecilia C.

MARCH 7: Jen & Chris J.

MARCH 8: Mike C.

MARCH 9: Terry V.

MARCH 10: Chris L.

MARCH 11: DR. BEHM (estimated due date)

MARCH 12: Rebecca G.

MARCH 13: Veronica F.

MARCH 14: Andrea F.

MARCH 15: Uncle Gwyn

MARCH 16: Pa-pow

MARCH 17: Mrs. C

MARCH 18: Nikki P.

MARCH 20: Marc T.

MARCH 23: Andy L.

MARCH 25: Mee-maw (thanks alot!! I hope YOU don’t win)

38 week checkup- needed an ultrasound!

Today I am 38 weeks and 2 days for those keeping track. I visited with Dr. Behm for my weekly checkup. I was very disappointment with my last appointment because there was no progress in my cervix… so I did an internet search for ‘old wives tales’ on how to induce prelabor/labor. Anyone who’s been 9 months pregnant can relate here! I must admit that some of the suggestions weren’t exactly appealing- like drinking castor oil. YUCK! One thing, though, that I did begin was walking. Last week we’ve had a change of temperature and it actually got to 50 degrees here in Saint Louis. So, I’ve been spoiling Kali with daily walks at our local park. We’ve been hoofing it on trails in hopes that my cervix would begin dilating or effacing. I also took up a couple other suggestions, one of which actually has some medical proof. But, that’s rated R so I’ll move on. 🙂

Anyway, my appointment began like any other appointment. I lost weight this week (which is apparently normal at this stage), but someone gained weight. More on that in a moment.  Dr. Behm came into the exam room and asked me how I was feeling. I told him the ‘same as last week’ and he asked if I had had any contractions or more cramping. I told him, yes on the cramping, but unsure of the contractions. My cramps aren’t something I can time . . . they feel and last like menstral cramps. I don’t notice them coming in intervals. Dr. Behm then checked my cervix . . . and hey! The tales are true! I’m now 70% effaced and 1cm dilated! He also told me that the baby’s head is very low now. Thank GOD! I’ve made some progress; the end is within sight!

 Next, he got out the tape measure to measure my belly (I measured 36 cm last time when I was 37 weeks- which was nearly perfect). His reaction to the measurement this week was “whoa, you’re measuring big now.”

Uh, what? Well, I have noticed a big change recently. Literally. I can barely bend over to shave now. Last week it wasn’t a problem.

 He asked me if I was a big baby. “If you consider 9lbs, 4 ozs big! And my brother was 10+ lbs.” 

“Did she deliver vaginally??” he asked. I nodded. He then asked if I had time to stay so he could do an ultrasound. I have all the time in the world when it comes to this baby, so I went back into the waiting room for about 10 minutes until the U/S machine was available.

I must admit I got a little nervous at this point. A big baby? Ugh! Before I knew it, my name was called and the ultrasound machine was turned on. After being loaded up with gel, I got to see the larger verison of Xander. Last time I saw him, he was very small at only 21 weeks old. Dr. Behm wanted to take some measurements of Xander in order to get a rough estimate of his weight. It’s not an exact science, but the weight estimate should only be off by 15%. First, he measured the head and it measured large (oh, great). It’s nearly the size of a 40 week old baby! The femur measured 37 weeks, 5 days and the belly measured 39 weeks, 2 days. He checked the placenta and fluid. All A-ok! Dr. Behm inputed all the info and took lots of pictures. Based on the measurements, Xander is approximately 7lbs, 12 oz (or within 15% of that weight so he technically could be bigger!). Based on the u/s, a more accurate due date is March 7. For those of you that remember, my original due date was March 4th. Interesting.

So, now what? Well, Dr. Behm says the baby is measuring only slightly large but is still within normal, average weight range for a healthy baby. However, he doesn’t want Xander to get too big. Babies, at this stage, typically gain about 1/2lb per week. Since I have approximately 2 weeks until March 11, I could easily have a 9+ lb baby. The plan of action is this: he wants to see me next Monday for another checkup. We’ll talk options then, especially if I’m still measuring larger than life. He told me he’s hoping I’ll go into labor on my own, but he may recommend inducing especially if I’m still measuring large and my cervix has opened up more. Of course, he said he may see me sooner . . . he’s on-call this weekend.

37 week checkup- no progress

37 weeksI visited with Dr. Behm this morning. His office was very quiet, so I was in and out within 20 minutes. I like when that happens! After having my BP (120/70) and weight tracked (no weight gain this week), I was put in a room. The doc measured my belly- I measured at 36cm. He also listened to Xander’s heartbeat- strong as usual. He informed me that my strep B test came back negative. I asked Dr. Behm  if it was normal to feel less movement nowadays (ie: I don’t remember feeling Xander kick yet that morning). He said yes. Obviously, there is less and less room for Xander to move around. He can’t do flips and twirls anymore, so I should expect him to move less but I should STILL feel him move. If I haven’t felt him move 5-10 times by early afternoon, for example, I should attempt to get him to move by drinking something sugary and laying on my side.

Dr. Behm then checked my cervix. I’m half way thinned out and not dilated- the same as last week.  Once again, he told me this is normal- especially with FTMs (first time moms). He wouldn’t be surprised if I went 40-41 weeks and needed some pitocin to start labor. Grrrreat (enter sarcasm here)! PS: I think Xander didn’t like the cervix check just as much I as I didn’t like it– he immediately started kicking!

36 week checkup

Today I had my 36 week checkup with Dr. Behm.  After the usual battery of tests, I was swabbed for group B streptococcus (GBS) bacteria. The results will be in next week- if I am positive, then I’ll be treated with antibiotics during delivery so X won’t contract it. My belly was measured (I’m 36cm which is perfect) and Dr. Behm checked the baby’s position (he’s head down. Goooood boy!). In addition, Dr. Behm checked my cervix. I’m currently 50% effaced and I have not dilated yet. It’s typical and normal for 1st time moms to begin effacement (thinning of the cervix) before dilating. FYI: The numbers don’t really predict anything. For example, I could be 100% effaced and 3 cm dilated for weeks before delivering. Kinda disappointing! I wanna know WHEN this baby is coming. I’ll visit with Dr. Behm weekly from this point on so he can check my progress. He says everything appears on-track!  

On a side note, I also met with X’s future pediatrician. Her name is Dr. Daly, and she seems very friendly and in tune to my beliefs and wants. Her office is right next to St. Anthony’s hospital and close to our house. During our meeting, we talked about her office (when they are open, about her 24 hour answering service, next day appointments, separate waiting room for babies etc) and about breast feeding. She told me to skip the books (they are too militant) and instead take advantage of the knowledgeable labor and delivery nurses she personally knows at St. Anthony’s. They can assist me during every feeding while I’m in the hospital. In addition, she gave me a name of a great lactation consultant.

34 week checkup

Today I had my 34 week check up with the OB. For this appointment, I met with Dr. Clancy, the female OB that works with Dr. Behm. There is a chance she may be the doc to deliver the baby, especially if Xander wants to enter the world on a Wednesday or weekend. Overall, the appointment was uneventful (which is good). As usual, my blood pressure was checked, urine tested, and weight tracked. I actually lost 1 pound since my last appointment 2 1/2 weeks ago, which is good since I gained 8 lbs during my trip to Florida (hey, I was on vacation!!). The doc measured my belly and and listened to Xander’s hearbeat. The doc congratulated me on having no stretch marks (knock on wood somebody!) and no swelling.  She asked if I had any problems or concerns– I told her that my heartburn is getting pretty bad, so she gave me a list of medicines I can take besides regular, ineffective tums. Otherwise, I’ve been doing alright. Just tired.

She then sat down and chatted with me about the future. A small percentage of women give birth really early, and only about 5% actually give birth on their due date (so I can’t count on March 11, she said). However, I can count on giving birth within a week of that date. So, sometime a week before or a week after March 11 I should give birth. That’s a 2 week window and it doesn’t satisfy me! I’m a planner, afterall! I hate the unknown! She asked if I’m planning to breast feed (which I am). She told me to keep myself well-hydrated and to call immediately if I think my water has broken or if I get unbearably crampy. Then, I was given some homework. I need to find a pediatrician.

My next appointment is in 1 1/2 weeks with Dr. Behm. I’ll be tested for group B streptococcus (GBS) bacteria, and the doc will check my cervix. I’ll be seen weekly after that. Hey, we had 1 inch of snow last night and the temperature is barely 25 degrees! YUCK!

Top 10 things I miss MOST about my pre-pregnant self

Just for fun: 

10. Sleeping on my stomach

9. Running (I swear!)

8. Spending my extra money on vacations and clothes

7. Fitting into a size 6

6. Sleeping through the night

5. Ability to tie my own shoes

4. My morning coffee- loaded with caffeine.

3. Having a glass (or two) of wine with dinner

2. My healthy pre-pregnancy hair

1. APPLE MARTINIS!

32 weeks and counting

Today I had my 32 week checkup with Dr. Behm. Today I experienced a long wait in the doctor’s office, so I wasn’t pleased about that. The apppointment consisted of listening to the heartbeat (still strong) and measuring my belly (I’m right on track). We discussed the next couple months and what I should expect. I’ll be seen by the doc every 2 weeks until I’m 36 weeks. Then, I’ll be seen every week. Beginning at 36 weeks, the doc will check at every appointment to see if I’m dilated. My next appointment is Feb. 1 and I’ll meet with Dr. Clancy (she’s the other OB).

Baby Xander is moving like crazy! I’ve been feeling great, too. I still get the hip pain if I’m on my feet for very long and my energy level is diminishing. During our hike through Rock City, Nick and Kali had to go ahead of me. I couldn’t keep up! 🙂

In case you didn’t attend the baby shower in Orlando or if you haven’t heard through the grapevine, Nick and I have chosen to name the baby Alexander John Mills. He will be called Xander. Less than 2 months left!