Archive for the ‘Pregnancy’ Category

Nasrin’s Birth Story

June 30, 2010

Hey all, sorry this took so long, but I’ve been pretty busy!  I’ve figured out how to work my laptop with my toes, but until I figure out how to type one-handed, these blog entries are going to be pretty slow.  We are doing awesome.  There’s so much to say about being a mom, but I can’t really come up with words.  Yes, it’s tiring, yes, it’s overwhelming, yes, I go for days without brushing my teeth or showering…but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Like I said in my previous post, the birth was overall much easier than I anticipated.  It went by quickly without any complications.  I was however pretty stressed in the week leading up to her birth.  I started having issues with my doctor, I had told him all along that I wanted a natural childbirth, but only two days past my due date he started pushing me to have a c-section.  I didn’t want to be pushed into a c-section if there wasn’t anything wrong, and there wasn’t.  Me and the baby were both perfectly fine, and technically you’re not “post-date” until you’re past 42 weeks.  I seriously suspect that he wanted to do it because that would have meant more money for him.  He was already going to charge us more than doctors normally charge for childbirth, plus extra if I had to have a c-section.  So on a the Wednesday of my 41st week I went to another doctor for a second opinion.  This doctor was an old friend of my husband’s mom, and had been an OB/GYN for years but had stopped delivering babies to become a gynecological oncologist.  He did an ultrasound and told us that I was NOT overdue and that he didn’t see any reason that I couldn’t have the baby naturally.  He asked who my other doctor was, and when he heard he told us that my old doctor did have a well-known reputation for pushing c-sections onto patients.  He also agreed to charge us about a fourth of what the other doctor was going to.  He told me if I didn’t go into labor within the next ten days to come back and see him.  I went into labor the next day.

Thursday morning, (April 8th) my mom and I had breakfast at a little cafe, and then walked around town a bit.  I had sporadic contractions throughout the day, which really just felt more like cramps.  Around 6 pm we started to time them, sometimes they would be 20 minutes apart, sometimes 5.  They hurt, but they weren’t awful like I was expecting.  I wanted to put off going to the hospital as long as possible.  I didn’t want to get there and find out that I was only a little dilated or not at all have to spend hours there.  Laboring at home was much more comfortable, took a shower, meditated and even was able to sleep a little between contractions.  Sitting was the only thing that made the pain worse.

Around midnight the contractions started to speed up, so we called a taxi and headed for the hospital.  We had picked a small private hospital, the same one I had gone to the day before to see the new doctor.  In the middle of the night it felt like we where the only people there, and the room was surprisingly large, but very basic.  The nurses were nice…except for one, we nicknamed her “Nurse Pain” because every time she came near me it was to inflict pain.  Unfortunately she was the head nurse (or so I assumed from her uniform and no-nonsense unsmiling demeanor) and I think we got on her nerves.  Nobody spoke English.

Hooked up to the fetal monitor. Hubby is an anxious blur.

They gave me the usual barrage of saline IV and enema…woo, no need to go into detail about that…  I didn’t feel the need to walk around very much, which was a good thing because the IV bag wasn’t on one of those nice rolling IV racks, I just had to carry it with me to the bathroom which was rather annoying.  Good thing the only thing I wanted to do was lay down.  The main thing I needed was silence.  I couldn’t stand talking or anyone talking to me while I was having a contraction.  I even yelled at my mom and hubby a couple of times to, “shut up!”  Haha, not my proudest moment but the lady in labor gets a free pass…a couple free passes actually.

Nurse Pain checked me for dilation more times than I cared for.  Man, that hurts.  They always show women on those birthing shows being checked and they don’t make a peep, maybe because they’re under epidural or something, but last time I checked getting fisted by an angry nurse hurts.  The good news was, I was already dilated to 8 cm when I got to the hospital.

So about two hours passed, although with all the time distortion you experience during labor, it felt more like 30 minutes, and they kept asking me if my water had broken yet.  I just wasn’t sure.  Between all the trips to the bathroom and not knowing what it felt like, I couldn’t really tell.  I wish I had made up my mind, because sure enough, in comes Nurse Pain to “check”.  That bitch proceeded to break my water with her fucking hand!  Ahhh, I wanted to smack her so hard.  I guess I was about fully dilated at that point because they were getting ready to move me down to the delivery room.  I wasn’t really in on the loop of what was going on, between the contractions and the fact that I don’t speak Turkish, I was pretty much in the dark.  But then it comes to my attention that the nurses are telling my husband that they’re not going to let him into the delivery room with me.  He dragged them out into the hall and informed them that this was NOT how this was going to go down.  Basically he demanded to know if any of them spoke English (of course not) and how the hell were they going to communicate with me if he wasn’t there?  I can’t believe that women here are expected to go into delivery rooms with no support.  How 1950s.  Thankfully they relented!

Things went very quickly after that, the doctor arrived and they wheeled me down to the delivery room.  The contractions were getting pretty intense at that point, but I still didn’t feel ready to push.  Looking back though, I was probably more than ready.  This is also when the fear started to kick in and I came to the realization that I was no longer in control of this situation, ready or not this baby was coming.  The delivery room was straight out of the 50s too.  Bright lights, green tile, freezing cold, nothing but a table in the middle of the room with stirrups (at least that’s all I saw, I pretty much kept my eyes closed the whole time).  I did NOT want to be strapped into those stirrups, but like I said, like it or not, this was happening, and this was how it was going to happen.

The next fifteen minutes where insane.  There was no coached breathing, or coached pushing.  There was just me with a death grip on my husband while I screamed my head off.  At one point they asked if I wanted some pain killers and I screamed, “Yes! yes!  EPIDURAL!!” even though in the back of my pain-addled mind I knew that’s not what they were offering, and we were way past that point.  I just would have said yes to anything at that moment.  “Sell my soul to the devil?  Sure, where do I sign?!”  Hubby did a great job.  He removed my claws from his chest, got me to hold onto the base of the stirrups, and told me to close my mouth and stop screaming so I could use that energy to push instead.  After he got me focused, it only took a few more pushes before she was out.  That instant relief of pain was amazing.

I’ll never forget the first glimpse I got of her.  I looked between my legs and all I could see were her two long feet and her skinny legs because the doctor was holding her upside down by her ankles.  Then they took her over to the warming table to get her to cry and get cleaned up.  I always thought that I would cry or be emotional when she was born, but I really was just in shock.  The only thing going through my mind was, “I can’t believe she’s really here.”

All I'm thinking is, "Wow."

They gave me some stitches down there, and then me, daddy and baby all went back up to our room where my mom was waiting.  Then I got to hold her for the first time and really see her face!  I just sort of looked at her in wonder.  Even though I thought mom would get to be in the delivery room, in the end I’m glad she wasn’t.  I think my mom would have fainted in the corner.  By that time the sun was about to come up.  If I hadn’t had an episiotomy the would have actually let me go home right away, but since I did, they wanted us to wait until 9 am so they could keep an eye on me for a little while.  I was surprised at how ready I was to go home.  Hubby left to go get me some treats from the bakery and also to pick up the car seat we had forgotten at home.

That's Nurse Pain in the middle, probably right before she pinched my nipple for no reason...

Now it seemed like time was moving so slowly.  We were all so ready to go home.  Eight AM finally rolled around and the nurses had a shift change.  The new head nurse was this sweet, pretty, gentle woman who came in and oooh and awwed over the baby and delicately took out my IV.  Oh how I wish I could had my baby on Nurse Sweetheart’s shift!


Nine o’clock finally came and the doctor released us.  Got home and was able to get some pretty good sleep before real mommy duties kicked in.

Over all it wasn’t so bad.  I got exactly what I wanted: a quick natural childbirth, and most of all, a healthy child.  Even though there were things that happened that weren’t in my control, that’s just how these situations go.  The challenges helped me to soldier through and get it over with quickly.  I think if I had been totally in charge it would have taken longer.  In the end I’m glad there were people, yes even bitchy nurses, to push me.  I may have been doing the pushing but I needed to be pushed too.


She’s here!

April 12, 2010

April 9th, 2010

Nasrin Ayla was born at exactly 3 am on April 9th.  I had her naturally, after about 9 hours of labor and mercifully only 15 minutes of pushing.  Overall I have to say that labor was easier than I thought it would be, however the hospital/delivery room experience was fucking crazy.  I’m working on writing up the full birth story for my next post.  Looking back, some of the most horrible parts make me laugh now, and hopefully they will make you laugh too.  I’ll try not to take to long posting the story but blogging is hard to make time for these days!  I’m loving being a mom, it’s all the story book cliches come true, I don’t know what life would be like without her now and it’s only been four days.  She’s my little angel.

Just a quick update

March 28, 2010

No baby yet! My due date is still 5 days away, and she’s not giving any signs of wanting to come out. That’s okay though, I’m willing to be patient. I’ve been to the doctor each week and he says my cervix is not even close to dilating. I thought I would be more anxious in these last weeks, but I’m feeling quite calm and relaxed which is great.

I’m sorry I haven’t been replying to your comments on my last blog post, but I read and enjoyed each one. I’m happy to have so many friends that are so supportive and loving, thank you all!

My mom has been here for the past two weeks and it has been so fantastic to have her here. She’s been a huge help in getting the house organized, man I never realized how overwhelming trying to organize baby clothes could be! It’s starting to come together though. Hopefully by the end of this week we’ll have our room totally “baby-ready” My poor husband has been busting his ass trying to get his work projects done before the baby arrives. I really admire his work-ethic, he barely gets any sleep.

I know I’ve said this before, but if you have Facebook, please feel free to add me. I update it on a daily basis and it has all the pictures of my belly bump, kitties, and also pictures from my mom’s visit. And of course it will soon have a million baby pictures 😉

39 Weeks

Natural Childbirth…Who ME?!

March 13, 2010

Once in a blue moon, we are all capable of surprising ourselves.  In the past, whenever I thought about having babies or even when I found out I was pregnant, I was whole-heartedly against the idea of natural childbirth.  I always heard pregnant women insisting that they wanted to go all-natural and I would just laugh to myself and think, “WHY?”  Even the pregnancy “Bible” (What to Expect When You’re Expecting) doesn’t exactly promote natural childbirth, it clearly states, “You don’t have to be a martyr to be a mother…” in the birthing chapter.  But that makes me pause, is giving birth really on the level of martyrdom?  That’s exactly like saying giving birth is like death!

These days I’m singing a different tune.  Yes, I want a natural birth.  If the me now had been able to tell the me of a few months ago this, I would have told myself to shut the fuck up.

So what changed my thinking?  It kinda started when I watched the documentary The Business of Being Born.  It’s a very well put together movie that really shines a harsh light on the hospital system and how women have been convinced over the past few decades that they are simply incapable of giving birth on their own.  We’ve brainwashed ourselves with scary birth scenarios from movies and TV shows in which a birth is always an emergency situation, heightened dramatically for the purposes of entertainment.  When you approach any situation with fear and dread, of course there’s going to be a negative outcome.

Fear does physiological things to your body as well.  Your body goes into fight or flight mode and your blood is redirected towards your arms and legs and away from other ‘unnecessary’ organs, uterus included.  Your contractions are less productive and more painful and also your brain is unable to produce endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller.  When your uterus and surrounding muscles aren’t getting enough blood flow, your labor inevitably slows down and that’s when drugs or surgical intervention comes onto the table.

I think what changed my way of thinking the most was finding out more about the negative side-effects of the drugs, Pitocin and epidurals, and specifically how the counter-act each other.  Pitocin is given to induce or speed up labor, and it makes the contractions very powerful and very painful.  Epidural is almost mandatory at that point because your body is no longer controlling the contractions, the pitocin is.  The epidural tends to slow down labor, so when that happens they up your pitocin drip, the contractions become more painful again, thus more epi is given.  It’s a vicious cycle, and all the while your poor baby who doesn’t have the luxury of being numbed-out like you do is feeling the intense overload of drugs and being squeezed by the too-powerful contractions.  The baby more often than not goes into distress and that’s when a C-section becomes the only option.  Close to 50% of all births in the United States are by C-section.

The other scary thing is they have not bothered to do much research on the effects and safety of these drugs on either baby or mother.  It seems ironic to me to avoid every drug in the book during your pregnancy, only to figuratively have the book thrown AT you and your baby in the end.

The way I hope to approach it is to be as calm and relaxed as I can possibly be.  I’ve even been reading up on Hypnobirthing techniques (yes, the same technique that I scoffed at a few months ago) which is really a meditation technique rather than hypnosis.

I don’t want to jinx myself and declare that I WILL have a natural childbirth, it is simply the goal.  I give myself permission to do whatever I feel I need to do when it comes right down to it.  We will just have to see what happens!

34 Weeks

February 15, 2010

Man, these weeks are ticking by so fast! I’m starting to feel like an over-inflated balloon. I’m lucky though, I still don’t have any stretch marks (thank you baby Jesus) and my belly button has not popped out. I keep wondering if it will at all, I’d be happy if it didn’t – the idea still kinda freaks me out.

I had a doctor’s appointment last week and it went well.  All of my lab tests came back normal, and the ultrasound looked great. We weren’t able to get an ultrasound picture because she kept holding her hands over her face. We got a couple of quick peeks though, and wow, the detail is amazing. You never get a sense of how much you can see when you look at people’s fuzzy ultrasound pictures, but when you’re seeing it live the quality is actually remarkable. They gave us a DVD of all the ultrasounds up to this point, but when I got home I realized that all the DVD players we have (in our computers) are zoned for the US and they won’t read the turkish DVD. Bummer. I’m sure I’ll figure out a way to get it off of there eventually.

She has a big head and long femurs. Last week, over all she measured at 33 weeks, which is right on track, but her head was measuring 35 weeks and her femurs were at 37 weeks! Holy crap. I hope she’s not too long for her onesies, or you know, doesn’t kick me in the throat before she even comes out.

Three weeks ago - 31 weeks

Three weeks ago - 31 weeks

My mom is coming in four weeks, and I’m almost more excited about that than anything else!  I haven’t seen her since June.  She’s going to stay for a month and I am happily going to put her to work, which she will happily do!

Also, I’m planning on attempting an all-natural birth, something I wouldn’t have even fathomed a few months ago, but more on that in another post… 😉

30 Weeks

January 21, 2010

Feelin’ good and lookin’ good thanks to a huge care package of maternity clothes from mom.  Only 10 weeks to go!  It’s crazy…

Brain Food

January 4, 2010

Something very strange happens to me whenever I try to read up on labor and delivery-related topics lately.  I get dizzy, so dizzy that I have to literally stop and put my head between my legs to make it go away.  I think part of it is because I start to unconsciously hold my breath and my brain isn’t getting enough oxygen but the rest I can’t really explain.  I’m not usually like this with medical stuff, but it’s probably because I know this stuff is going to happen to MY body and my subconscious panics.  The only other person I know who also gets this way is my mom, but she is much worse.  Once when my step-father broke his knee cap, she nearly fainted at the hospital when the doctor was showing them the x-rays.

The first time I experienced this was when I was reading up on episiotomies a few months ago.  I was looking at medical illustrations, so that was kinda hardcore, but tonight I was just reading the side effects of epidurals (fairly mediocre stuff) when suddenly the room started to spin.

On a totally unrelated topic, since I’ve started my third trimester, I’ve been trying get a lot of DHA rich foods (aka Omega 3).  Enriched eggs, chicken, fish, and walnuts.  DHA helps big-time with the baby’s brain development in the last three months.  I just bought half a kilo of walnuts yesterday from a street vendor.  There are nut vendors everywhere in Turkey, selling anything from pistachios to acorns.  In the winter there are even carts that roast chestnuts on the street corners.  As romantic as that sounds, whatever they’re burning to roast them smells completely toxic and fills the street with smoke.  I can’t wait until they stop roasting chestnuts, it’s vile.

Anyway, so I’m eating walnuts yesterday (dipped in peanut butter, wut?) when I start noticing how much walnuts look just like brains.  How is it a coincidence that food which is known for helping brain development looks just like a tiny brain?

Tell me I’m not crazy…

New Year, New Kitty

January 2, 2010

Our New Years celebration was pretty low-key.  We went and had lunch at his grandma’s apartment, and as we were walking back we spotted a little fuzzball playing in the dirt in between the buildings.

Reading my mind as usual, hubby said, “Do you want to take him home?”

“Let me see if I can catch him first.” I said.

Strays usually run, but this little guy didn’t even try to get away.  I knew he was a stray though because he was filthy, his eyes were crusted and his stomach was all swollen with worms.  I scooped him up and managed to keep a hold of him until we got back to our apartment.  He immediately got a bath, he didn’t seem to mind too much, more just confused at what these strange people were doing to him.  The water coming off of him was almost black.  After the bath he curled up on my neck and wouldn’t move.  Hubby went out to get him food, litter and worm medicine.  I eventually pried him off my neck and fed him a can of tuna.  We’ve been bffs ever since.  He’s already a total lap-cat.

We named him Mavado, after one of my husband’s favorite reggae singers.

(BTW, if you’re worried about a stray cat being harmful to my pregnancy, fear not.  I’ve had outdoor cats my entire life and I worked at an animal shelter for two years.  I’m sure I’ve been exposed to Toxoplasmosis and therefore have an immunity to it.  Even so, I don’t handle the cat litter as a precaution.)


December 29, 2009

This idea comes straight from GingerMandy’s post about her annoying pregnant relatives.  Even I’m not immune to how annoying constant prego-chatter can be.  I have a lot of pregnant/new mom friends, which is awesome, but sometimes it’s a topic discussed into the ground over on Facebook pages.  Also known as TMI, and mommies can be some the worst offenders–no, I do not want to know what your baby’s poop smelled like!

So GingerMandy and her friend have invented LolFetus, just like Lolcats, only with fetuses.  Brilliant.  I had to Lol my fetus asap.

Don’t make bebeh angry…

Sonogram picture (finally!)

December 9, 2009

Got another peek at the little princess today!  Yes, she is definitely a girl (woohoo!) and she is healthy as can be (double woohoo)!  The doctor also said she has long femurs so she’s probably going to be tall like mom.  I also finally found some maternity jeans and they rock.  Miracle of miracles, they actually make my ass look good!  Hubby even called them ‘sexy’ haha…  But seriously, I had almost forgotten that pants could be comfortable.

Now for the big name reveal:

Introducing Nasrin Ayla

24 weeks (I put in the labeling)

A little more about the name:

Nasrin is a Persian name that means ‘wild rose’.  My mom was really happy to hear this and pointed out that her name, Sharon, also means ‘rose’.  My husband’s maternal side of the family is Persian.

Ayla (pronounced i-la) is a very old name that is both Turkish and Hebrew.  In Turkish it translates roughly to ‘aura of the moon’ and in Hebrew it means ‘oak tree’.