All posts by Andi

Welcome To The World Lucas!

I haven’t blogged at all being pregnant but I wanted to make a blog telling my birth experience. It didn’t go any way like I had planned or imagined but I feel lucky that we are all doing well.

I went in for my 39 week appointment on Tuesday October 29th. During my previous few appointments my blood pressure had been borderline high but every time they did a retake it was lower. Unfortunately, today my blood pressure was up and not lowering so the doctor said she wanted me to be induced today! She was worried I was developing preeclampsia.

I had been keeping my hospital bag in our car for the past 2 appointments just in case. I’m glad I did that. I went over to labor and delivery triage at 11 am. There they monitored my blood pressure, sent labs, and did an ultrasound to make sure there was enough amniotic fluid. My blood pressure was becoming more normal and my labs were ok so I thought they would send me home. Then I was told the doctor wanted to play it safe and just follow through with the induction. I was nervous and really bummed I wasn’t able to go home at all.

Don made his way from work pretty quickly. Once we realized we were staying he went home and took care of Lina and got his bag. He also picked up Subway since once they started induction I wouldn’t be able to eat for 12 hours.

Once there was a room ready in labor and delivery I was transferred there. Around 4:30 pm the induction was started with Cervidil. It’s basically a drug that is inserted next to the cervix to help soften and dilate it. Once this was started I couldn’t eat solids but I could have clear liquids, broth, and jello.

I had really great nurses. We tried to get some rest that night but it is hard to sleep in a hospital. I don’t remember how much we got. My parents made it up that night and stayed at our place.

At 4:30 am the Cervidil was removed and they started a Pitocin drip to move along dilation. Fortunately, before the Pitocin was started I could have food. I had some yogurt and a breakfast bar. I was dilated 1 cm. At this time I was told I might have to have a balloon dilation to help move it along. I nervous about the balloon because I had heard it was super painful, so I was hoping they would not do it. But like 15 minutes later I was told they would do the balloon soon.

Basically the balloon dilation is a foley catheter inserted into your cervix and then they fill the balloon with water. Once the cervix is dilated to 3 cm the balloon falls out. This was crazy painful, especially because it took the OB resident a few times to get the balloon in the correct position. It was awful. The balloon fell out after a couple of hours.

Around 9 am the nurse came in to help me walk around and I felt a huge gush. I thought I was peeing but my water broke! It was a crazy feeling! And it was a lot! Some people say it’s just a trickle or theirs doesn’t break at all, but this was like a pee you couldn’t control or stop. I walked around a bit and the contractions got stronger and stronger.

My parents arrived around 11 and around then I felt like I couldn’t lay down because of the contractions. So at this point I decided I wanted an epidural. The epidural wasn’t bad itself but for some reason it did not cover my left hip area. Every time I had a contraction is was excruciating in my left hip. It felt like someone was twisting my hip out of its socket. The nurse kept putting me on my side and putting this giant ball between my legs to help open me up. It was terrible and so uncomfortable.

The anesthesia resident adjusted the epidural but it still didn’t work. I guess this happens to some people….something you are never told before getting an epidural! It only worked when they gave me a bolus of who knows what. When I was given the bolus it was amazing.

I was 5-6 cm dilated by 5 pm and my contractions were so bad on my left side. I tried to rest and watch the world series game. It was game 7 between the Nationals and the Astros. The Nationals ending up winning for the first time!

Around 9 or 10 pm I was dilated enough to start pushing. Pushing was not like I had seen on TV. I wasn’t in stirrups; I was on my back and the nurse would hold up my left leg and Don held up my right while the doctor was down there seeing what was happening. Nothing was happening because the baby wasn’t moving down and the doctor said there was an edge of my cervix still not opened up. So she had me sit upright for an hour to try to get it to open. This also was awful. After this hour I pushed a few more times, between pushing my mom noticed there was no urine in my catheter. The nurse tried to adjust and said it was probably the baby’s head pushing on it. The doctor and the nurse tried to reposition it but no urine was coming out. Next they sent labs to check if my kidneys were working. It seemed my preeclampsia was worsening and the baby was not moving down fast enough. The doctor contemplated waiting on the labs before doing a c-section but then she just decided to do it.

I was going to have surgery and I was so nervous. Working in surgery, you know everything that could go wrong. I had never had major surgery before, but I had assisted with many c-sections. I didn’t want one, but I also didn’t want to keep pushing.

It was so weird being a surgical patient, especially being awake and hearing everything. The OR is usually a comfortable place for me, but being on the other side of it is a different story. The bed is freaken small and it sucks. I was so worried I would feel the surgery because the epidural was not working on my left side. The anesthesiologist assured me they would give me stuff so I would not. I remember talking with the anesthesiologist about how I was a surgical tech and where I worked and how I had done c-sections so this was so weird. I felt the q-tip from the chloroprep go in my belly button and that was uncomfortable! So I started freaking out a bit. The resident used a hypo to poke me to see what I felt. I was apprehensive I wouldn’t feel anything.

Then the surgical drapes went over me and I felt them attach the bovie holster near my chest. I didn’t feel the surgery; once in awhile I felt a small pain in my left side or more pressure. It was hard to describe. I started puking during the surgery. I felt so out of it. Don was by my side. Then I heard Lucas cry. It was a strong cry. They quickly took him to assess him. I was so out of it they didn’t even bring him to me. Don left the room with him eventually. Lucas was born 10/31 at 1:49 am. He was 7 lbs 3 oz and 19 and 3/4 long.

I didn’t really hear anything about Lucas other than he was ok. I had a burning in my chest that the anesthesia said was from being anxious. Now I was getting Zofran and starting to feel less nauseous, but I felt so out of it. I was in a haze when I felt them remove the bovie pad from my thigh. Then I was being cleaned up and getting ready to move over off the OR bed. It was scary when they used the roller to move me. It really felt like I was going to fall off the bed!

When I came out of surgery I was back to making urine, so my kidneys were working again. My nurse, Phoebe, admitted she was worried about me. My Creatine levels were really high. Once my parents saw I was ok they went to our apartment to get some rest. I started doing skin to skin and learning how to breastfeed.

We got moved to our room in Mother Baby probably a couple hours after surgery. I was so tired. When they moved me over to my new bed they saw my dressing was really bloody. No one was really saying anything but I could sense they were nervous. I was nervous I was bleeding and would have to go back to surgery. They put a pressure dressing on my wound and had the doctor assess it. This dressing would later rip my skin off very badly when it was taken off.

I don’t remember much else from that day in Mother Baby. I was able to get up around noon and start walking. My nurse’s name was Laura and she was awesome. Every so often a lactation consultant would come in and help me breastfeed. My parents came to visit and we ordered Clark Dog.

During our stay at the hospital people were constantly coming in to do tests on either me or Lucas. It was impossible to get rest, especially because Lucas roomed with us. There wasn’t a nursery. I felt super pressured to breastfeed every minute even though I hadn’t slept since Tuesday and it was now Friday. I was also supposed to pump every 3 hours. It felt impossible. I was exhausted. Don was doing all the diaper changes and learning things while I recovered in bed. Luckily we had an awesome nurse, Sonya, who took Lucas for about 3-4 hours in the middle of the night both Thursday and Friday. If I had to do it again I wouldn’t want to not have a nursery.

We were discharged on Saturday (my original due date). My discharge was dependent upon my hemogloblin level, which had dropped to 7. I lost a lot of blood during the c-section. Luckily it leveled out at 7, but I was worried I would have to be transfused and stay another night. My parents met us at our apartment. My mom had made some food for us. That first night was grueling. We were both so exhausted. I think Don had gotten some rest in the hospital but not much. Don kept waking me up to breastfeed and it was like every 30 minutes to an hour. It felt like he was getting nothing to eat. We decided that night to supplement with formula from the hospital. He had already had some formula in the hospital. I continued to try to breastfeed and pump. I wasn’t getting much. Eventually we decided to just do formula. It was a hard decision but it felt like the best one. I still tried to pump every so often but I didn’t even feel like my boobs were getting full ever.

Lucas is now 6 weeks old as I am finally finishing this blog. It has been a challenge; the hardest thing we both have ever done. We are learning a lot and he is growing! I’m excited to see what the future brings us on the journey of parenthood!

Day 7: Honfleur

Today was scheduled as a free day. Most people decided to take a bus to the town of Honfleur. We wanted to do that also but we woke up really, really late–like between 9:30 and 10. Everyone else was pretty much out the door when we got up. They walked to the train station for the 11:05 train. The next train to Honfleur after that was around 1 pm and the train back was around 4 pm so if we wanted to go we needed to hurry.

We were determined to make it to the the 11:05 train. We got ready super quick and we took an uber to the train station. The line to get tickets was making me a bit nervous because we arrived around 10:45, but we got the tickets and met the others in line. Many jokes were made between us and Kevin pertaining to The Amazing Race. We were the last team to arrive but we definitely were not out!

The bus ride was around 30 minutes. Honfleur is small, cute harbor town. We walked around looking for food and decided to eat at a place right on the water called Le Marin. Here we tried escargot. It actually was pretty good. We also had croque madames. It was funny, while we were sitting at this restaurant we saw almost everyone in our group. They would walk by and we would call out to them. It was like we were seeing someone we hadn’t seen in awhile.

The day was absolutely beautiful, the warmest day so far here in Normandy. We met up with Greg and Patty. They had drove to Honfleur after visiting the town of Bayeux. We walked around a bit and did a little shopping. Then we split up again. I was wanting a snack before we had to leave so we went back to the water and found a restaurant called 42. I had a cappuccino and ice cream. Don had a beer.

We walked slowly back to the bus station for our 4:15 train. This time we were the first to arrive. I’m really glad we made it to Honfleur because it was such a cute little town. Once we got back to the house we prepared a dinner to have outside. We worked on cleaning the tables and chairs, then we relaxed a bit outside since it was so nice out. Dinner was great. There was chicken, salad, green beans, potatoes, and a tart for dessert.

It was getting chilly so Don started a fire for warmth in the grill area but there wasn’t much to burn. We walked to a gas station to get firewood. After hanging out for awhile I was pretty tired so I went upstairs to bed.

France Day 6: Normandy

Today we got up around 7:45. I made some eggs to share and had some toast and coffee. We were preparing to go on our tour of Normandy. Our bus came to pick us up at 9:45. The bus was really nice and it had wi-fi. The driver was very nice too and knowledgeable about everything.

It was about a 2 hour drive to our first stop the German cemetery. The cemetery is located near Omaha beach and is maintained by Germans today.

Next we stopped at Pointe du Hoc. Pointe du Hoc is on high cliffs of Normandy and it was occupied by the Germans until the U.S. army scaled the cliffs on D-Day and captured it. Now there is a memorial and a museum there. You can also still see and go inside some of the original fortifications and bunkers. There are also still bomb craters to see. It was an interesting place to see and the cliffs were very beautiful.

We loaded back in the bus and went on our way to the American Cemetery. The American Cemetery was busy with decorating and organizing for the upcoming 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Next we had lunch. Don had a galette and I had fish and chips. At one point during the meal Greg took a mayo packet, opened it, and sucked out some mayo. I forget what prompted this, maybe the fact we didn’t have a lot of mayo. An older French couple saw this happen and they just looked appalled. We had a good laugh though. I stole a mayo packet to give Greg a snack on the long bus ride home.

After lunch we checked out some intact German bunkers. That was pretty cool to see.

The last stop on our Normandy Tour was a lookout over the false harbor that was created. The British engineered large concrete pieces to create a port or false harbor to help move supplies and men to and from ships. They even purposely sunk some older ships to help create the harbor. The false harbor was essential in the Battle of Normandy.

Flag of Normandy

It was a 2 hour drive back home and everyone seemed tired. When we got back Jim, Doreen, and Don watched the series finale of Game of Thrones. The rest of us just relaxed, sat outside, and talked. It was a nice, sunny afternoon. We had dinner at 8 at an Italian restaurant called Il Parasole. This was super exciting for me because I love pizza and Italian food way more than French food haha. We were able to pick out an appetizer and pizza or pasta, then a dessert. I had calamari with a diavolo pizza, which is basically pepperoni with peppers. I had ice cream for dessert. I am blanking on what Don had right now but we both enjoyed our meals very much! Best food so far in Deauville.

France Day 5: Exploring Deauville & Trouville

Today we slept in until about 9:30 and that was nice. We had some toast and eggs and decided to go out on our own to look around the town around 11. We walked around Deauville. I got a giant pack of travel tissues at a pharmacy because I think I have picked up a cold. The weather does not help because it’s pretty chilly and dreary!

We found a farmer’s market and got some mushrooms and tiramsi. We also saw Greg and Julie here.

For lunch we stopped at a place called La Morny-pizzeria and creperie. I had a pizza with ham and Don had a galette. A galette is a type of pastry made from buckwheat flour. Think of it like a savory crepe I think. It was a pretty good lunch.

After lunch we did some more walking towards the river/canal. On the other side we could see more buildings and a ferris wheel. It was getting colder and raining more so we were thinking of going back, but then we saw a water taxi that would take us across so we thought we might as well check it out!

The water taxi was only a couple euros. On the other side was the town of Trouville. There was a pretty cool fish market right when we got off the taxi. Trouville was really cute. We stopped at a place called Les Artistes for a cappuccino. It was like a French hipster bar.

After hanging out out here for awhile we walked back to the house, it was around 4 pm. Don decided to take a nap while I socialized a bit in the kitchen. Kevin was making white trash punches for Greg and it was pretty funny.

We had to leave for dinner around 6:30 pm. We were planning to take the water taxi over to Trouville, how weird! When we got to the river though the tide had went out and the water was so low! You could see the bottom! So crazy considering a few hours earlier the water was super high. There was a temporary bridge we could use to walk across to the other side.

We had some time before dinner so we walked around with Greg and Patty. We saw our first cats of France here!

We ate at a creperie called Le Vieux Normand. Here we had fondue and crepes, both things I haven’t really had before. This place was also known to have many local ciders. The fondue was interesting and unique. There were savory crepes and sweet crepes. I was really craving a sweet one so that’s what I got. Don had a savory one with salmon. It was a nice dinner, so far French food though has not been my favorite. It is kind of a bummer that I can’t partake in the wine, some cheeses, and some meats. Oh well! Hope baby is enjoying his time in France!

We walked back to the house after dinner. It’s so crazy because it stays light out here right now until around 9:45 pm. We hung out for a bit then went to bed around 11.

France Day 4: Traveling to Deauville

Today we woke up around 7:30 and got out of the room by 8:45. We wanted to eat at the hotel but it was crowded! There was a wait for breakfast! So we decided to go down the street and try a breakfast place since we were a little short on time. The restaurant was called Le Pre aux Clercs. It was ok, just an average omelet breakfast. If you’re in a hurry though going to any cafe in France is not the place to be.

Once we were done with breakfast we took an uber to the train station to meet Greg. We all took the train to the airport to pick up a rental car to drive to the house in Deauville. We got a manual van haha—so thankfully Greg had driven a manual in college. The drive to the house was about 2 hours. We really enjoyed the signs on the side of the roads for the towns. It seemed they depicted things the towns were known for. I wish I had gotten a picture of the town with all the science stuff like beakers. Here’s one though:

When we arrived at the house we could not get ahold of the owner to check in early, so we loaded back in the van to meet everyone else at the train station. We put everyone’s luggage into the van and we all went to look for some food, except Greg, he went to get groceries.

We walked around town for a bit and I was getting pretty hangry. Finally we decided on a bar called Le Morny’s Cafe. Everyone started ordering drinks, which was a bit depressing because I could have used one. I had a croque madame which was recommended by Julie. A croque madame is like a grilled ham and cheese with a white sauce and a fried egg on top. It was delicious. Don had a cheeseburger.

After lunch we walked back to the house with Julie. Everyone else stayed behind to look around the town. Greg was at the house sitting outside and he had picked up a few snacks. He still was unable to get ahold of the owner even though it was 4 pm. Julie and I walked to the beach to check it out. It was very pretty, but with the weather only being in the 50s and 60s I don’t see it getting much use! When we got back to the house Greg said someone was coming to let us in.

The house is pretty cool. We drew names for the 3 bedrooms the couples would be sleeping in. We got a pretty sweet room. It has a giant bathroom.

For dinner we walked about 20-30 minutes to a restaurant on a boat called La Peniche. It was nice because the menu was set. We could choose from a few appetizers, main dishes, and then desserts. I had a mozzarella tart for an appetizer while Don had Foie Gras. For main courses I had the steak fillet and fries and Don had chicken with mashed potatoes. The steak was done perfectly. Dinner was very good. Don had creme brulee for dessert and I had something that reminded me of chocolate lava cake and vanilla ice cream.

The walk home was rainy and cold. I went to bed when we got back because my nose was very stuffy and I had a headache.