My Baby Is Born!

Um, yea, I know… it was a year ago.  I’ve been a little busy apparently!  So, in IMG_4739honor of Eliana’s 1st birthday, I thought I’d finally finish the blog post about her birth that I started almost a year ago.  But before I do, just a quick jump to the present day. Having Eliana in my life, has been such a joy. It’s been the best thing that has happened to me.  I love being a Mom, and I couldn’t be happier with the choice I made to go ahead and do this on my own. It’s not easy, but it’s SO worth it. I feel so lucky and blessed that I went forward with it, and have such a gift in my life. Here’s a pic of her from her birthday party the other day.

And, here goes the birth blog post…

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I had a baby!  My baby girl, finally named Eliana Rose, was born on May 6th at 2:02pm at 7 pounds 15 ounces, 19 1/2″ long.  She’s the love of my life.  Now I finally AM Me-Plus-Baby.  I can’t believe she’s mine!  She’s beautiful, and such a miracle. Eliana Rose At her Jewish baby naming ceremony last week, here’s what I said about her name:

Up until the Doctor said “It’s a girl!”, I was really convinced I was having a baby boy. I had my short list of boy names picked out, but I had been struggling with the girl names. In the hospital I had 3 days to decide on a name, and I wanted something that had Jewish or Hebrew origins, and was as beautiful as my new baby girl.  The name Eliana had been on my list for a while, but when I realized that it meant “G-d has answered me”, it had extra special meaning to me.  As a single woman, and as an older woman, getting pregnant is not necessarily an easy task.  She is such a gift to me, and I feel so blessed to have her in my life.  I went through a lot to make my dream of having a baby come true.  So, the name Eliana, “G-d has answered me” seemed perfectly fitting for my miracle of a baby girl.

So, here’s the birth story in the speed version: water broke, got induced, was hyper-sensitive to pitocin so dilated quickly, baby didn’t fit through pelvis, had a C-section.  And, here’s the more detailed version 🙂

My water broke at 6pm (on Sunday 5/5) while I was at my parent’s house. Even though I thought it was funny when other people told me they thought they were peeing when their water broke, I thought the exact same thing! I stood in a pool of water in the kitchen, convinced that I was just peeing 🙂  Once my mother convinced me that I wasn’t, I called the doctor, and she said to just hang tight until I started having contractions.  A couple hours later, I called back and spoke to the new doctor on call, and this time, she told me to come in right away to get checked, and that I’d probably be back home in a couple hours.

When I got to the hospital, I realized that the water had meconium in it, which apparently means you can’t leave the hospital. So I was there for the duration.  Since I was going to be there a while until I started having contractions, once I got settled in the room, my Dad left to go home.

At 1am, the nurse said that since I hadn’t started having any contractions, that they were going to start inducing me.  It would take 12-24 hours to get fully dilated after starting the pitocin.  So I texted my Mom and friend Fawn and told them that it was going to be a while.

After a couple of hours, I started having some pain that felt like period cramps.  It was getting really bad, so I called for the nurse. She was surprised I was feeling any pain because the monitor wasn’t showing any contractions. And she kept saying, “are you really feeling pain??”. She made me feel like I had no tolerance for pain! I was also feeling sick, so got sick in the bathroom a few times.  I asked for an epidural, and the nurse said it was a bit early because I wasn’t even having contractions (according to her, but this whole thing was just ridiculous). But, that we could do narcotics.  I couldn’t remember why, but know that I had decided I didn’t want to have narcotics. But given the pain I was in, I decided to go ahead with it.

Needless to say, the narcotics didn’t end up helping at all. So finally, they decided to do the epidural.  Meanwhile, I was still by myself a the hospital because they said it was going to be a while for me to progress, and I didn’t want my Mom and Fawn to come too early, and then sit around and wait forever. It was hard to go through this alone, and I regretted not calling them earlier.

At some point around 6am, the Doctor came to check my dilation, and I was 9cm dilated. Apparently that was really fast, as the hospital staff kept talking about how fast it was since my last check (BTW, the dilation checks hurt like hell!).  They said I should tell my Mom and Fawn to start making their way to the hospital.  I texted them and let them know to come, but not rush.  Then the nurse checked me again only a bit later, and I was already at 10cm, so I started texting my Mom and Fawn to hurry up because it was really getting close!

They got there around 7ish, so all was well! 🙂

Since I decided I wanted to “labor down” (meaning that I only would start pushing when I feel the need to push, not necessarily just because I’m 10cm dilated), then it was back to waiting again until I felt the need to push!  Well, we waited and waited… just chit chatting and sleeping on and off for a couple of hours.  Finally, the nurse told me it was time to push because it had been a long time.

Right then, I heard a woman screaming bloody murder in the next room. The nurse said that was an example of someone not having an epidural!  I immediately asked Fawn to turn my music louder!  I didn’t want to hear the noise!

Pushing was not bad at all!  Seriously, I’m not kidding.  I barely even knew I was having contractions!  The nurse either had to tell me, or I’d say, “I think I’m having a contraction.”  Apparently the epidural worked well!  It wasn’t at all like what I saw in the movies, with women screaming, and the room being really hectic. It was just me, Fawn, my Mom and a nurse. I’d push for a couple minutes, and then we’d just sit there an talk until the next contraction. It was all very peaceful. 🙂

After a while of pushing, all of a sudden, extra people came in the room, and my Mom and Fawn floated into the background. They told me to get on my hands and knees and to stop pushing. Apparently I was having too many contractions, so the baby’s heartbeat started to drop, so they needed me to stop. That was a really scary moment. But after a while  of waiting, I went back to pushing.

Finally, they told me that the baby just wasn’t progressing down the birth canal any more.  The baby’s head and shoulders were just too big to fit through my pelvis, so more pushing wasn’t doing any good.  The recommended a C-section. That was really upsetting to me… not only because I wanted to give birth vaginally, but because I was scared of how the recovery would be as a single mom trying to take care of her.  But, it just didn’t seem like I had a choice at that point.  My theory was that the pitocin pushed me along so fast, that my body didn’t have time to catch up, and open enough for the baby to go through. Too much intervention 🙁

So, they prepped me for surgery, and off we went!  I was only allowed one person with me, so my Mom came.  I was awake the whole time — I couldn’t see what was happening but I could hear.  I remember at one point, I was being pushed and pulled, and

The first moment I saw her

The first moment I saw her

asked “what are they doing?”, and they said “we’re pulling the baby out!” I couldn’t believe it, because I didn’t even know they had made an incision yet.  And, then next thing I know, they had her out, and the Doctor said “It’s a girl!”.  Wow!  2:02pm.

My Mom got to hold her first, and then she handed her to me, and I was looking at my little baby. Such a miracle.  So happy. No words.

T Minus 2 Weeks and 2 Days!

2 weeks and 2 days until my official due date!  I can’t believe it.  In many ways it’s gone so slow… counting the weeks one by one. But in many ways, it’s gone so fast — 1 year ago I hadn’t even started trying to get pregnant yet!  My life has turned upside down in the past year, and I know this past year is nothing compared to what I’m about to face.

Am I feeling nervous?  Yes, but it’s mostly focused on handling having a child on my own going forward, as opposed to childbirth or handling a newborn baby.  Yes, I’m a bit apprehensive about childbirth itself, only because it’s not even close to anything I’ve ever experienced before. Sure, I haven’t experienced everything in life, but many things are gradual (i.e. aging), or I’ve had similar experiences (I haven’t been to Africa, but I have traveled a lot, so I sort of know what it might be like).  Childbirth is something so far from anything I’ve experienced.  So, I wouldn’t say I’m nervous about it — it’s just that I have NO idea how it’s going to be for me.  And, yes, I know handing a newborn on my own will be tough. But I feel confident that I’ll get through those first few months OK.  What makes me most nervous, is going forward…. years of handling a baby on my own: emotionally, financially and physically.  It’s not going to be easy!  I know I tend to take what life throws at me pretty well, but I think this is in a completely different league that what I’ve faced before!Evict the baby

Am I dying to evict this alien inside me?  Not really!  Yes, it’s getting a bit uncomfortable being this big.  Yes, I’m a bit tired of the heartburn and swollen feet.  But, I’m having fun being pregnant, and am not yet at the point where I’m dying to get this kid out!  And, maybe it’s just a bit about avoiding the fears I have about what’s to come 🙂

Am I ready?  I know, everyone says “You’ll never really be ready”, and I agree with that!  But there are certain practical things I’m trying to get done before the baby arrives. I just finished my Will (and related documents) today — woohoo!  The life insurance approval is taking forever, so that’s making me nervous.  The house isn’t 100% ready in terms of my move and construction, but it’s almost there, so if the baby were to come early, I’d be OK with how the house is now! My hospital bag is packed, the plan is set for who needs to bring stuff to my house while I’m in the hospital, and I have all the practical things I need for the baby’s arrival.

Am I excited?  Yes!  I can’t wait to see this little thing that’s been growing inside me for 9 months! I cant wait to see if it’s going to be a boy or a girl.  I can’t wait to kiss the big cheeks I’ve been seeing on the ultrasounds. And, I can’t wait to be a Mom!

Well, this may be my last post before the baby comes, which means it may be the last post for a while, as I get a handle on being a new Mom.  I’ll take any last minute advice you have below!

Packing my Hospital Bag

I packed my bag for the hospital bag today! Wow, that really felt like a big milestone…. I’m ready to go! When I was at my hospital tour, they said you truly don’t need to bring anything with you, because they have everything there for you at the hospital. But, that you may be happier to have some of your own comforts from home — clothes, toothbrush, etc.  They also recommended having 2 separate bags: 1 for labor and delivery, and 1 for recovery, so they’re seperate. I ended up just packing one bag inside the other.  So, here’s what I packed:

Labor & Delivery

  • Birth plan
  • Chapstick
  • Hair bandpregnant woman with suitcase
  • Nightgown
  • Slippers
  • Sweatshirt
  • Lozenges
  • Advil (for birth partners — they can’t get medication in the hospital)
  • Balance bars
  • Camera and charger
  • Docking station to play music
  • Tennis balls in tube sock for massage
  • Water bottle (I love my water bottle)
  • Phone charger
  • Handheld fan (I’ve heard this is amazing during delivery)
  • Fuzzy socks

Recovery

  • Computer (and charger)
  • Bath towel (better than the postage stamp ones at hospital)
  • Sanitary pads (hospital ones are apparently uncomfortable)
  • Magazines
  • Dollar bills (for food machines)
  • Tank top (nursing type)
  • Ear plugs
  • Eye mask
  • Flip flops
  • Underwear
  • Toilet Paper (again, bad at hospital, and it’s not a time when you want to use sandpaper)
  • Makeup
  • Bras
  • Sweatpants
  • Pillow
  • Baby outfit
  • Baby blanket

Is there anything I’m missing? Let me know!

Facebook Post About Choosing Single Motherhood?

 

I recently saw a post on Facebook by BabyCenter.com about making the choice to become a single mother. Actually, the article posted was a bit ridiculous — it was all about celebrities becoming Single Mothers and asking “would you consider it?”, which I think is a completely different question than “regular people” becoming single mothers due to financial means, full time assistance, etc.  But, the 245 comments that followed about single motherhood were very interesting, so I thought I’d give my thoughts on some of them).


sandra bullock

“I’m a single mom, I didn’t chose it. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would actually chose it over a 2 parent family. Unless they are totally insane and live off of copious amounts of stress and frustration…”

Um, OK then!  So, did I choose this?  Yes, absolutely.  Would I have preferred to have a 2 parent family?  Absolutely. But, would I regret waiting until the “man of my dreams” came along, only to find out that it was too late for me to have a child?  Absolutely.  Might I be insane?  Absolutely! 🙂

“I don’t think I would choose to be a single parent. It’s difficult enough with me and my husband… Plus I truly believe children need a mother AND a father. I can’t imagine not having a dad.”

I agree completely that children need male and female role models. (see my post The Importance of a Father Influence). Whether it’s a boy or a girl, both influences are important.  For me, I DO plan on getting married, and hope it won’t be too long before that happens!  But in the meantime, I will need to find a plan to ensure that my child has enough male influence in his/her life.

“If the choice was to have a child as a single mother or not at all, then OF COURSE I WOULD! Couldn’t even imagine not being a mommy!! It’s such a blessing and unbelievable experience that nothing can replace!!”

Well said!!

“Being in a relationship where your significant other is not around much physically is not the same as choosing to be a single mom. My ex and I have a good relationship and our son is great, but looking back, I’m sorry for all the times he asked why daddy wasn’t home. I don’t mean to offend anyone who made the choice have a child as a single mom, but I believe it’s selfish to knowingly do that to a child.”

“You’re making a choice for the child. every child needs both parents for their development and self esteem. I grew up with mom and no dad, I wished my dad would have been there more!”

Divorce is VERY tough on children, and even tougher when one of the parents is not reliable.  I think this creates trust issues in relationships. So in an SMC family, while it’s not ideal to not have a father figure around on a regular basis, I do believe it is less harmful to children because they KNOW there is no father, rather than being disappointed when he may be unreliable or not around a lot.

Selfish?  I’ll go back to that in a second. But, technically divorce was ALSO a choice!  But, selfish, really?  I’m going to be doing so much for my baby, physically, emotionally, financially, etc., that I don’t even understand know it can be perceived as selfish.  The woman below said it well actually.

“I conceived my son with a donor after a year of trying because being mama was so important to me. So it’s selfish of me that I chose to devote my entire life to being the sole provider for my son? Is it selfish of me that I happily gave up some of the activities and lifestyle I had before pregnancy to be a loving mom to my son? Is it selfish of me that whatever I need or want either comes last or not at all because my son’s needs and wants come first? Is it selfish when I am up at 4 a.m. feeding and playing with him when I know I have to get up soon to start our day? I think a woman who chooses to build a family without a partner is FAR from being selfish.”

Again, well said!

“Statistics prove that without a father in the life of a child, children are more likely to not graduate, get pregnant, have low self-esteem, and even have higher suicide rates. What good mother would choose that for their child?”

Again, this is another arguement I hear a lot. But those numbers are for divorced parents!  There aren’t enough SMCs to affect that data yet, and no SMC-only studies have been done to my knowledge.  I don’t see how a woman who makes such a major life choice to become an SMC is going to allow those things to happen to her child (yes, we can’t control everything, but I just don’t see it happening more than in the general population!).

“Becky, those stats do not account or disseminate for those children raised by CHOICE by a single mother who was situationally able to do so and those raised by a single mother who was abandoned by the father-often times unable to provide for the needs of her child. I think there is a huge difference. I almost made the choice myself: 35 years old, unmarried, career in place, head on straight, supportive family, and stable home. Women are told that our “choice” to have children later in life is irresponsible (due to possible health issues for mother and child). But, if we don’t have a proper partner in our life at the time, does that mean we should remain motherless? Relationships can come at any time, the window to have a child is so much smaller.”

Agree!

“Even though I am married, I feel like [a single mom]. Work full time, do all the house work and all of the cooking. Nothing would change – except I could have cereal dinner every night and no one would complain that there wasn’t a hot meal.”

I’ve heard a lot of people say this to me.  Not that I think it’s incredibly common that the husband does NOTHING to help (including financially), it IS a possibility.

 

So what are your thoughts on the above? I know I’ve expressed some opinions that not everyone will agree with!

 

Acronyms, Acronyms and more Acronyms!

 

I feel like every day, I learn a new acronym in this process, so I thought I’d start an ongoing list. Let me know if you have any to add!

Acronyms

AF = Aunt Flow – that’s your period!

AFC = Antral Follicle Count. It’s the number of follicles you have in your ovaries.  A low AFC indicates a poor ovarian reserve.

AI = Artificial Insemination

B2B = Back-to-Back IUIs (one the day of the LH surge, one the day after)

BFN = Big Fat Negative (negative pregnancy test)

BFP = Big Fat Positive (positive pregnancy test)

CD = Cycle day

CM = Cervical mucus

DE = Donor Egg

DI = Donor Insemination

DPO = Days past ovulation

DS = Donor Sperm

EDD = Estimated Delivery (Due) Date

EWCM = Egg white cervical mucus

EWS = Egg white substance – helps tell you when you’re ovulating

HSG = Hysterosalpingogram. It’s an X-ray test that looks at the inside of the uterus and fallopian tubes and the area around them. It checks to ensure your tubes are open

ICI = Intracervical insemination

ICSI = Intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Per About.com, ICSI may be used as part of an IVF treatment. In normal IVF, many sperm are placed together with an egg, in hopes that one of the sperm will enter and fertilize the egg. With ICSI, the embryologist takes a single sperm and injects it directly into an egg.

IF = Infertile

IUI = Intrauterine insemination, places sperm directly into a woman’s uterus to aid in conception

IVF =  In vitro fertilization — adding sperm to the female eggs in the laboratory to produce embryos

KD = Known donor

LP = Luteal Phase (part of your cycle between ovulation and period)

OPK = Ovulation predictor kid

OTD = Official test day (the day you take your pregnancy test)

POAS = Pee on a stick

SMC = Single Mother by Choice

TTC = Trying to Conceive

 

Single Mothers by Choice Group (SMC) – Join It!

 

If I haven’t preached about Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) yet, allow me to do so.  This group was invaluable in helping me make my decision to become a Single Mom, and I know it will be invaluable for what it offers after I become one.

There are 3 areas of SMC that I have used:

1) Local Group

The local group meets on a monthly basis in my area. Each time we meet, I learn something new about daycare, getting pregnant, managing as an SMC, etc.  It’s also a great way to just meet other women who are going through what I’m going through, which makes it all feel so much more normal :-).  I know that once I have the baby, we’ll all start leaning on each other a bit more for hand-me-downs, babysitting help and general advice.

Yesterday we had a potluck for Mother’s Day, and it was great just to be able to chat with women and get to know them a bit more.  There’s no way I would be where I am today without the support of this group.

There’s also a group of “Thinkers & Triers” who meet monthly at someone’s home. That’s a more intimate group, and we’re more focused on getting to motherhood, rather than being a mother. These are going to be the women I’ll probably support the most, and get the most support from later on.

SMC logo

2) National Forums

When you become a member of the national SMC group, you get access to the online Forums. This is also an incredible resource. It’s VERY active — I feel like every time I post a question (my latest was about choosing a sperm donor), I get about 10 answers within a day.  It’s VERY helpful, and comforting to know that I can reach out and get help so quickly.

3) Book

The founder of SMC wrote a book by the same name Single Mothers by Choice. I read this book while I was in India, and it was great to raise some of the issues I hadn’t thought of, and put me at ease about others.  I highly recommend it.

It costs $55 to join SMC, and is well worth it.