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Betrothed Babies Blog

Sometimes about babies, sometimes about us, always cathartic

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pregnancy

Tony’s Birth Story

On Monday, May 3 I had what I dismissed as a passing thought – “I bet I go to the doctor tomorrow and she tells me I’m going to have a baby that day.” I’d had no consistent contractions and really nothing to base this thought on except the fact that at over 39 weeks I was certainly ready to not be pregnant anymore. So, I went about my day. But I made sure to really enjoy my time with Sydney since it was going to be our last Monday together as just us. Tuesday started off well enough. I got observed at work and then walked to the hospital for my 10:00 doctor appointment. I got on the non stress test machine (because at 37, I am “advanced maternal age” and have these tests as a precaution every week from 36 weeks on) and normally baby shows off for these tests, moving like crazy, heart rate doing what it’s supposed to do, just generally being an awesome baby. Well, Tuesday was the exception – he barely moved and his heart rate stayed steady instead of spiking like it should. They called it a non responsive non stress test and sent me upstairs for an ultrasound to check fluid, movement, and baby’s practice breathing. I had noticed some decreased movement in the previous days (he always moved the required amount, but it wasn’t like he normally moved) and I mentioned that to the doctor, along with the fact that I was nauseous and throwing up the past few days. The ultrasound came back fine. He did what he was supposed to do, so when the tech said, “Let me see if the doctor wants to talk to you.” I figured I’d be scheduling an induction for Sunday (his due date) and going home to see if spontaneous labor started prior to then. But she didn’t say that, she came in and told me it wasn’t an immediate concern, but, essentially, because of the non responsive NST and the decreased movement, she recommended inducing that day because the risks of that were close to zero while the risks of waiting increased the chance of complications.

That was a shock. It took me a minute to process before I asked my questions of “are you sure?” And “what’s the next step?” And (probably most importantly) “can I eat lunch before I come back?” (The answer to that was thankfully yes since I wasn’t having a c section.) I walked back to work and called Nick. I told him we were having a baby today, so he should pack that bag that I’d been telling him to pack for weeks now. I called my mom and made sure she would pick up Vinny from school. I went into my principal’s office and said, “I’m having a baby today!” Then I found both boys and explained to them what was going on and what they would be doing for the next few days while I was in the hospital. Then I went home and talked to Sydney, explained everything, and waited until my mom came over to get Sydney before going to pick up Vinny. Nick and I drove up to the hospital, and I’m pretty sure I was still in shock. For some reason, we started off in triage, but I got hooked up to the monitors and was there for a bit before heading to labor and delivery.

Continue reading “Tony’s Birth Story”

My Covid Journey – Day 9

First of all, thank you to everyone for the outpouring of love, prayers, help, and support. This virus is so isolating in many ways, but it also does show that the world really is good, despite all of the chaos.

You feel like such a pariah or a leper. Just…unclean and like you’re a terrible person, even though I’ve been so worried about Covid that every risk I’ve taken has been only within my bubble, and my hands are raw I wash them so often, religiously masking, and literally, I don’t go anywhere besides work. But I know, the virus is out there, it’s unforgiving, and it doesn’t care what steps you’ve been taking. It can still reach you. I know. It’s just… sometimes it takes its toll.

So, updates – my symptoms have significantly lessened. Physically, I’m still feeling some extreme fatigue (Covid and pregnancy fatigue combined…yikes) and my senses of taste and smell are basically gone, although, I’ve noticed that sometimes it comes back in random spurts. I’m still masking in front of the kids, but I will most likely loosen that tonight since Nick goes back to work, and I will be sole parent overnight.

Speaking of the kids, thankfully Z has tested negative. Praise God. Unfortunately, both Vinny and Sydney tested positive. Ugh. But, good news, they both have been completely symptom free this entire time. As a matter of fact, we only got them tested just so we would know. I’ve kept my mask on as just an extra precaution while I still have some, very mild, symptoms.

But, with their positive test comes extra quarantine time – not too much extra since there is some overlap, but, barring anything extreme, January 26 is the day we will be allowed to “get out of jail free” as it were. So, my prayer request is simple this time – that my symptoms continue to get better and that the kids (and Nick who also tested negative and somehow had the antibodies when he donated blood in December) do not develop any symptoms so our quarantine can really be over on January 26.

Now, I’ve heard of people going on vacation or just sort of thinking they can do whatever they want because they survived Covid and have antibodies, but that’s not my personality. As a matter of fact, the mental toll Covid takes is heavy today, and even when we’re allowed back into the world, I will continue to do so with caution. Because, a lot is still unknown about Covid, and if I can continue to do my part to stop the spread, I’m going to keep doing that.

Despite being isolated, we have gotten outside to play in the snow. I’ve walked a bit, but it does wear me out, and I am still overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone. I am grateful and appreciative and so so so so so so blessed.

Thank you, all. I know we’re not quite out of the woods yet, but I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

My Covid Journey – Day 5

Yes friends, it’s true. I have Covid. Covid sucks for many reasons, but Covid on top of pregnancy is it’s own special form of hell. Granted, my symptoms are mild, thankfully. They started Sunday, January 10 in the evening with a slight cough I didn’t even think twice about, then the next day my runny/stuffy nose got worse – ok, but still, who doesn’t have a runny nose in January in Cleveland? – then Tuesday morning I had body aches added to the list. Shit. Maybe it’s pregnancy? Maybe it’s sore muscles from working out? But, I knew my body, and I could differentiate between the pregnancy aches, the sore workout muscles, and this which felt for sure like I was getting sick. So, I call the doctor. See, we were already quarantining after being exposed to Covid, but we’d been symptom free in our house for 10 days – we were at the tail end! 2020/21 strikes again. I had a virtual visit with the nurse practitioner, she said I should get tested, I went to the Cleveland Clinic testing facility. I don’t know why but the movie ET kept sticking out in my head when they’re in the hospital and everything is white and roped off and sterile. That’s what I felt like. I swabbed myself, and it wasn’t terrible, but the nurse was in full PPE (which is a good thing, I know, but man does it make you feel like a leper) and I pulled my mask down, keeping my mouth covered while I administered the test. The entire experience including the walk in and back to my car was maybe 5 minutes, and again, I get it, only symptomatic people are coming in here and there’s no need to unnecessarily expose anyone else.

So, I drive home and the waiting begins. The kids were both up very early on Wednesday morning, Sydney to the tune of 4:00 (she fell back asleep) and Vinny around 5:00. Well, I grabbed my phone when I came back from the bathroom, and saw I had a MyChart test result that was in. And then I saw the positive test result. Fuck. That was the first word I said (in my head because my kids were in bed with me) and the tears started. I knew it was a possibility, but I really wasn’t expecting it, and when you see that positive result it hits you in a way that’s hard to explain. There’s incredible guilt when thinking – who was I around? Thankfully I was quarantining, but Nick was still going to work (as a matter of fact, I texted him my results because he was at work when I found out), and my stepson went back with his mom, step dad, and young twin siblings that Sunday.

I called my stepson’s mom crying in the morning and just apologized to her so many times. To her credit she told me that she’d “wash my mouth out with soap” if I apologized one more time. I really do love her, but that’s a subject for another blog. I called my principal and cried to her. I didn’t stop crying nearly all day. I told Vinny because 1. I was crying and he wanted to know why and 2. he’s a perceptive kid, he knew something was going on, and I’m not going to hide this from him. I texted some friends and family. And I cried. I zoomed with some of my students that day to try to keep some sense of normalcy. I took our dog for a short walk outside, wearing my mask the entire time even though I didn’t see any other person the entire time. But mostly, I cried.

My physical symptoms are not that bad, and I’m praying they stay that way – it feels like a bad cold – cough, runny/stuffy nose, some body aches that come and go, but today I woke up with a sore throat (it’s better now after continuously drinking water) and I’m very tired. Plus, I’m pretty sure I’ve lost my sense of taste and smell. I can distinguish between bitter/sweet/salty, but everything sort of tastes dull. I rested a lot today which was nice. I will zoom with my students again tomorrow for some of their lessons.

It’s really the anxiety, the guilt, the mental turmoil that gets you. I want these days to go by fast, and they just seem to drag on and on. This virus is no joke, and I’m very thankful to have mild symptoms, and I’m even more thankful that my kids and Nick are ok. But, it’s only day 5 for me after the onset of symptoms, and so I just have to wait and take care of myself and my family as best I can. Being pregnant adds another layer of anxiety into the mix. If I needed it, there’s only certain medicines that are safe to take while pregnant. Every time the baby kicks is like a reassuring “Hi Mom, I’m doing ok.” My OB told me to rest, drink lots of fluids, and make sure I eat at least 3 meals a day, you know, in addition to all of the other Covid things I’ve religiously been doing – washing hands, masking, distancing, etc. Our master bedroom/bathroom has become my “sick room” where I can take off my mask, and when I’m anywhere else in the house I mask and try to keep my distance. It’s especially hard when my kids are 4 & 5 years old, and, let’s be real, no one loves you like your mom.

SO MANY PEOPLE have reached out to me with phone calls and texts and flowers and food and care packages and prayers…I am grateful in ways I cannot adequately express with words. Honestly, yesterday I didn’t stop crying except for maybe 30 minute stretches at a time, and today I cried because of the goodness of the people in my life. Many people also have asked how they specifically can help, so I wanted to make a little list because when I’m typically asked I just say “we’re ok,” but I know many of my friends are just as stubborn as I and won’t take “we’re ok” for an answer, so here are some ideas I was thinking of that would be greatly appreciated and helpful:

  1. Prayers – Any prayers will be the greatest thing you could do for me and my family, but I’ve specifically been praying for 2 things: That my kids and my family stay safe, healthy, and happy and that I don’t get a fever. So, if you’d like to add those to your prayer list, I’d appreciate it.
  2. Text, phone calls, emails… – Yes, I’m resting more, but even if I can’t answer a text or phone call right away, know that they don’t go unappreciated. I love voicemails. And honestly, any distractions to keep the days from dragging will make me so so so happy. If you know any good, mindless shows to binge-watch, let me know because I’m spending more time in my room by myself, and I can watch shows that aren’t cartoons.
  3. Food – If you’re someone that wants to bring food, trust me, I’m Italian, and even with my lack of taste and smell, food will not go to waste. Kid friendly items and things that are pre-made/easy to prep would be best because I don’t feel much like cooking. I know Covid isn’t necessarily spread through food, but even with obsessively washing my hands and masking, I just don’t feel comfortable yet preparing food for other people, so if it’s something I can stick in the oven or microwave, that would be best.
  4. Cleaning products – It’s amazing how many things you touch in a day, even when you’re trying hard not to, so if there’s a non food item you wanted to drop off, we’ll take pregnancy friendly cleaning products like lysol or clorox wipes. The kids actually really like using them!
  5. Anything you can think of – Honestly, if you think, “maybe I’d like to do this” I guarantee it will be appreciated. We are so so so so grateful for the amazing village we have. It’s not nearly enough, but THANK YOU!!!!

I know we will get through this, and I know with the vaccine on the horizon, it feels hopeful – the beginning of the end of this terrible pandemic. I may blog again about it, or this might be my only post, I’m not sure. But, please know that I’m grateful for all of the prayers and well wishes the most. Keep them coming, they are being felt. Covid sucks, but God is greater.

Never Underestimate the Power of a Good Nurse

I had heard some horror stories about giving birth. Many women don’t get the labor/birthing experience they want because of any number of factors…the hospital wants to speed things up, the doctors are pushing an epidural, c sections happen instead of natural births… The list goes on and has been different for different people. My birth plan was fairly simple – I wanted a natural delivery. I wasn’t sure about the epidural/any type of pain medication. And I wanted to be able to walk around.

You know who helped me stick with my birth plan? My labor and delivery nurse Lori. Continue reading “Never Underestimate the Power of a Good Nurse”

The End of Maternity Leave

Being away from your kids is hard. This isn’t news to anyone who is a parent. This probably also isn’t news to anyone who is not a parent either. But what they don’t tell you is that instead of getting easier with every child, it gets harder. And not just harder relative to the number of kids you have. No. It gets exponentially harder with each child.

I go back to work tomorrow, and I’m pretty sure I’ve cried every day this past week whenever I’ve thought about it. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my job, and I love where I work. It’s a supportive, positive atmosphere where I truly believe the staff really cares for one another. And you can’t have a much better job then making music with kids every day. Except for being a mom. Continue reading “The End of Maternity Leave”

The Difference Between Bonding and Love

Before Vinny’s adoption was finalized, once a month we would have a social worker come out to our house to make sure everything was going ok. She talked to Husband and I together and separately. She also talked to Z separately when he was there. One of the questions she always asked was, ‘How’s bonding with the baby going?’ And I always responded that it was going very well, but I didn’t quite get what she was asking. Did I love the baby? Absolutely. Did I want to keep him? YES! Did he feel like my son even though I didn’t give birth to him? 100%. So, sure, I was bonding just fine.

Now that I’ve been pregnant and given birth, I think I understand the question a bit better. Bonding and love are not mutually exclusive. They are both important when raising children, but they don’t necessarily happen at the same time, and that ok. Continue reading “The Difference Between Bonding and Love”

How DID you get pregnant???

I realize that I touched on, but never really went into detail on how I went from having a 1% chance of conceiving to giving birth to a beautiful baby girl. Don’t worry, this isn’t a birds and the bees ‘how babies are made’ blog, this is a blog about acupuncture. Continue reading “How DID you get pregnant???”

My daughter’s birth story

So, finding time to write a blog entry with a newborn and a toddler and a 9 year old is difficult. Who knew? I’m taking middle of the night feedings to put together this blog, so bear with me if it doesn’t flow as nicely as others I’ve written.
As Bridgette said, baby Cotton Blossom, now known as Sydney, has arrived! She’s beautiful, and life is certainly different but definitely richer. Here is Sydney’s birth story: Continue reading “My daughter’s birth story”

40 weeks

File this under the ‘be careful what you wish for’ category.

Today, I am 40 weeks pregnant. Today is my due date. And today I feel I am no closer to meeting this baby than I was three weeks ago.

To preface, I know I’m blessed and I know I’m lucky and I 100% do not take this baby or pregnancy for granted. So please don’t take this blog as anything less than a super stressed out, very pregnant woman sharing some real thoughts that I’m sure are not specific to me.  Continue reading “40 weeks”

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