January 6, 2017

Kian’s Birth Story

This took me a lot longer to write and share than I thought it would and I am not sure why. Every time I would think about writing it down I would get overwhelmed, or find something else to occupy myself with. However, I was determined to get it written down for posterity’s sake. So here it is…only 6+ weeks after he was born…

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I was lucky enough to start working from home on November 1st. On November 14th, six days before my due date (November 20th), I went on official maternity leave. For approximately two weeks prior to giving birth every morning I would wake up and wonder if today would be the day. Every night before going to bed I would think to myself “I hope it happens tomorrow”. This was particularly true thanks to the severe pubic pain I experienced the final few weeks, and once my father and stepmother arrived on the 17th. Honestly, with the couple of small scares we had at 29 weeks (bleeding) and 34 weeks (false labor) we thought the baby was going to arrive early. Yeah…no.

At approximately 38.5 weeks I ended up visiting the Birth Center due to decreased fetal movement and fairly regular contractions. I thought for a few moments that they would end up admitting me and inducing, but I was sent home with a nurse telling us she wouldn’t be surprised to see us back within the next 24 hours for the real thing. I am pretty sure she jinxed it. Over the next couple of days my contractions continued, but were no longer frequent nor consistent. They were dilating me but VERY slowly.  At my 39 week checkup with my OB/GYN she did a membrane sweep in hopes of kick starting labor (the pain from the sweep was on par with the pain of pushing the baby out). For the next few days I tried every trick in the book including various foods, prenatal massage with acupressure, vigorous exercise, special teas, and more. Nothing worked. Some days I would have contractions consistently for the entire day only to go to sleep and have them completely stop. Frankly it was maddening. At my next OB/GYN appointment (40 weeks plus 2 days) I still had barely progressed in dilation/effacement; in fact I might have lost progress. I declined another membrane sweep so she offered to schedule an induction if I didn’t go into labor soon. This was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. In severe discomfort and pain thanks to the SPD I asked her when was the soonest she was willing to induce. When she responded with “today” I nearly cried with relief.

After the appointment we headed home to get a few items, let my parents know what was going on, and then headed to the Birth Center. At approximately 1:30 pm on November 22nd I was hooked up to the IV and the Pitocin was started. The first few hours of labor progressed slowly. I could barely feel the contractions, though I could of course see them on the monitor. We passed the hours watching Netflix and Shiraz even left briefly to get some food. At about 4:30 pm my doctor came back and broke my water to move things along further (the weirdest feeling ever, FYI…it legit felt like I peed myself). For the first hour after progress slowly continued. The nurse encouraged me to get up and walk around, while hooked to a mobile IV, in an effort to move things along. After about 15-20 minutes of doing so the pain had gotten bad enough that walking around was difficult (particularly when combined with the pubic pain) so I headed back to bed. Over the next couple of hours things continued moving forward; the contractions getting stronger and the pain getting worse. At about 8:45 pm the pain had gotten to the point where I was ready for the epidural so they sent the anesthesiologist in.

It took a couple of tries to get the epidural right and fully working. It turns out there is a phenomenon where some women get a “window”; a small part of their uterus the the epidural medicine doesn’t reach. When this happens you are numb everywhere except this one small section where you can feel the contractions…and boy does it hurt. And of course this happened to me. They had to send the anesthesiologist back in to move the needle around and rotate me to help the medicine spread throughout. Once they did this and the epidural hit everywhere it was supposed to the relief was instant. I actually felt so good I could have slept…in fact, I probably should have. Instead we watched some Scrubs on our iPad, I talked with my Mom on text message, and we waited for things to progress further. At some point they had to top off my epidural medicine. Around 1 am (this is a best guess because things got hectic toward the end) the nurse came in and checked me and I was finally at 9 cm. It was time to start prepping for delivery…the final countdown, so to speak. For the next hour it was a blur of pushing, intense pressure in places you don’t want pressure, and me wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into. Finally, around 2:15 am they called my doctor in for the delivery.

Once the doctor arrived time seemed to slow. I remember the final hour VERY clearly. They thought it would only take another 30 minutes or so for me to push him out so they didn’t give me more epidural medicine when it ran out, as what remained in my body would get me through to the end. Well it turns out it took me about another hour, which means I felt EVERYTHING during the moments when I wanted to feel nothing. As I was pushing I would want to scream and the doctor would tell me “don’t scream, put it all into the push”. Honestly, I wanted to rip her head off, but then I would do what she suggested and it would make my pushes far more productive. I never actually swore or yelled mean things at Shiraz, though I did sternly tell him he had no idea what I was experiencing during the peak of a particularly intense contraction. At one point the doctor and nurse said something encouraging about how I could do this and I just responded with “I don’t know if I can….” in a sad, pathetic, painful tone. Eventually I did do it and Kian entered the world, with a luscious full head of hair, at 3:34 am on November 23rd after 14 hours of labor. The minute he was out I cried with relief that the unbearable pain and pressure was over…oh and because I finally got meet the spawn I had been baking for nearly ten months. Over the next 30-45 minutes my doctor stitched me up (I had a couple bad tears), and the nurses attended to the baby. We were now parents.

From the beginning of the pregnancy I had no specific way I wanted the birth to go. All that mattered to me was that the baby arrived healthy and safely. Even if I was induced, and even if the epidural did wear off, in the end that is exactly what happened. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Kian Xander Olmstead Khan
Born November 23rd, 2016 @ 3:34 am
7lbs 3oz, 20 inches

December 23, 2016

Kian | One Month Old

Today Kian is officially one month old! Holy smokes time really does fly by when you are sleep deprived and your life is nothing but changing diapers and feedings. It both feels like it’s been forever and like he was born just yesterday. Also it’s crazy how much he has already grown and changed in just one month. Here’s a quick look at what’s happened over the last month…

Statistics

  • Weight – 9 lbs 12.5 oz
  • Length – 21.5 inches

Nicknames

  • Little Man
  • Monkey
  • Squirmy Wormy
  • Boo (by Nani)

Sleeping

  • 16-18 hours per day
  • 2-3 hour stretches during the day
  • 4-4.5 hour stretches at night
  • Sleeps in his Dock-A-Tot between us in our king bed

Eating

  • Breastmilk via a bottle (I exclusively pump)
  • 3-4 ounces per feeding (6-8 feedings per day)
  • 24-27 ounces per day
  • Occasionally spits up a little bit after eating

Loves

  • Nani’s voice (he becomes transfixed when she talks to him)
  • Peeing immediately after a shower/bath before his diaper is on
  • Bright lights and the ceiling fan
  • Water running over his head/hair
  • Sleeping with his hands up in the air

Dislikes

  • Being swaddled or having his arms constricted
  • When he is initially put in the carseat
  • Diaper and outfit changes
  • Being naked when it’s chilly

Milestones

  • First real smile(s)
  • First real shower with Mommy
  • Surpassed his birth weight
  • Starting to wear some of the smaller 0-3 month old clothes
  • Can hold his head up for 10-15 seconds during tummy time
  • First diaper blowout (while at the doctor, at less than one week old)

Dear Kian –

I can’t believe you have already been a part of our lives for one month. The first few days with you were tough. We couldn’t get the hang of breastfeeding because of a tongue tie you had (which we didn’t know until you were 4+ days old). The second night in the hospital I ended up crying a lot because you nursed for 9+ hours but were still hungry. The nurses assured me this was normal, but it was so hard and heartbreaking. During our first night home from the hospital you ended up crying for hours on end. When we took you to see your pediatrician he recommended we supplement with formula since you had lost nearly 13% of your birth weight (up to 10% is considered normal). The minute you got some good food on your tummy you were so much happier and we breathed sighs of relief. Once my milk finally came in (around five days postpartum) I was able to establish a good pumping rhythm and you have been eating like a champ since.

Remember how I wondered if all the pain/misery of pregnancy and childbirth would be worth it? Well, it definitely was/is. We really hit the jackpot with how easy going you are. We are thankful you aren’t particularly fussy unless you are super hungry or if you are struggling to poop. And even though we were pretty sure you were going to “stick it to us” by being a difficult sleeper (because we love sleep so much and that’s how karma works), it turns out you are a fantastic sleeper! You don’t need to be swaddled (which is a good thing since we can’t seem to figure out how to properly swaddle) and even though you startle during your sleep from time to time, you never wake up. Also, you are a very quiet sleeper, which is quite lovely and means we are getting more sleep than expected. We’ve visited restaurants, various stores, and even the mall (for some last minute Christmas shopping). Nothing seems to phase you and you generally just sleep the whole time. Thanks for being so awesome.

During your first month you got to spend time with ALL of your grandparents; Gramma and Granpa flew in from Vermont, Dadi and Dada have been over many times, and even Nani came in from North Carolina. You’ve also met some family friends, and many of Mommy and Daddy’s friends too! Pretty much everyone loves you and dotes on you so much. You’re gonna have lots of people who want to babysit you. We will have to take them up on the offers!

All of your fur siblings are getting used to you being around, which is good. Of your doggy siblings Ursa and Jackson of course took to you right away (I think Ursa loves you the most). It took Chance a little time, but the other day he even gave you a kiss on your feet! Of your kitty siblings Watson seems to be the most fond of you, even cuddling up next to you on the bed. Merlin is curious but mostly sticks by your Dad. Gabby, well I am not even sure if she has noticed your arrival. It’s probably because she is older.

The last few days you’ve been starting to smile more in response to us and it’s been awesome. You have such a cute smile. It makes us melt pretty much every single time. I think you are going to be a happy and smiley kid. I can’t wait to see more of your personality develop. You’ve also started focusing your eyes more. You like to look at people, as well as the big ceiling fan in our bedroom, and any kind of bright light. You’ve got a good little stare and can really focus for long periods of times. It makes us wonder what’s going through your head.

We are very lucky to be your parents, and we are so excited to have you as part of the family. You’re so cute and cuddly and we already love you so much. We look forward to watching you grow and become your own little person. Until next month…

Love,
Mommy

August 30, 2016

Pregnancy | Second Trimester Thoughts

Sunday marked 28 weeks for my pregnancy, which means no matter what guidelines you are using, I am now in the third trimester and on the final stretch. WOOHOO! In comparison to the first trimester (and then some), which as I detailed was extremely difficult for me, the second trimester was a piece of cake (I will take peeing 100 times a day over wanting to throw up all day). That being said, it wasn’t without its tough moments and “annoyances”. A few thoughts on the “magical” second trimester….

20Weeks22 Weeks

WEIGHT GAIN: Once my severe nausea finally subsided around 18-19 weeks, and I was able to start eating with some regularity, I slowly started regaining the 10-12 pounds that I had lost. By the time I hit my 22-week appointment with my OB/GYN I had finally reached my pre-pregnancy weight. Since then I have gained another 7-8 pounds. While my total weight gain is at about 18-20 pounds, thanks to the weight I lost, the net gain is only the 7-8 pounds. While I am still significantly behind where the average person is in terms of pregnancy weight gain (recommended for a woman with a normal BMI is a net gain of 25-35 pounds), my doctor is not concerned, which is what matters. Thanks to the way society has conditioned women to think about gaining weight, it’s tough for me to think of this weight gain as healthy and necessary. That being said I DO know it is necessary, and I am happy to tell society to stuff it, particularly while I grow this little alien critter. Speaking of that alien critter…

BABY’S MOVEMENTS: I started feeling little kicks/movements around 16 weeks. In those early weeks it felt like it could be gas or stomach rumblings. By 19-20 weeks they were much stronger, and it was much more obvious that it was the baby moving. Despite the fact that they felt incredibly strong to me, Shiraz wasn’t able to feel them from the outside regularly until about 25-26 weeks. Now these kicks and movements are constant and incredibly obvious. Sometimes I will be sitting at work and will see my stomach suddenly move out of the corner of my eye. Despite that I have been feeling movement regularly for almost 12 weeks, it is still jarring every single time. I know a lot of folks really enjoy being able to feel the baby move around in-utero, but to me it quickly goes from feeling neat to feeling….odd. I am seriously waiting for the baby to burst out of my stomach “Aliens” style. I can only imagine how it’s going to feel once there is even less room in there for the baby to move around. The first time I see a clear outline of its foot or hand on my stomach, I know I am going to be creeped out….and then feel the urge to poke it.

24Weeks24 Weeks

HORMONES! EMOTIONS! MOOD SWINGS!: I was wondering when these would hit. Well, over the last month it has finally happened. I definitely have significantly more limited patience than I used to, and find myself more easily frustrated by the stupidity/ignorance of others (this seems especially true when in the car…so many bad drivers on the road). In addition to this, I have started experiencing these so called…EMOTIONS.  Most who know me well will tell you that I am not one who often experiences “emotional moments”. I don’t cry easily (I believe I may have done it once for 2 minutes in the last year), I rarely get excited, and while I can get annoyed, I move past it quite quickly. Basically, people joke that I am a robot. Well now this robot has had an emotion chip installed and I am struggling to figure out how it all works. While I have not yet broken out into tears over seemingly random and small things, I feel as though it is only a matter of time, especially with 12 weeks still left. I find myself feeling sad for no good reason at the most random times (and when I felt like I was on top of the world only 15 minutes earlier). The other night I was so physically tired that I felt like crying as I was trying to fall asleep. At some point the emotions will bubble over, I am sure of it, and I might actually shed a couple tears. And the trigger will probably be something to do with puppies/kittens, I would bet money on it. Shiraz seems to be a mix of concerned and amused that I am suddenly experiencing these….feelings. Me? I am just annoyed. How do people deal with experiencing emotions on a daily basis their entire lives?

SWELLING & PHYSICAL DISCOMFORT: The swelling started about halfway through the second trimester. I would start the day off with my body feeling ok, and my joints/body parts at a normal size. By the end of the day I would notice a bit of swelling in my ankles and feet, all of which would disappear by the next morning. As of 3-4 weeks ago the swelling is around the clock and everywhere. I stopped wearing my wedding ring about six weeks ago (I had nightmares about it getting stuck on there). I tried to put it on a couple days ago and it wouldn’t go over my knuckle. Womp Womp. I now wake up with my ankles and feet already swollen and it gets worse as the day goes on. Most of my shoes are now too tight (width, not length) and I basically live in those few pairs that are still comfortable, like my Converse and Birkenstocks. In addition to this I have started to to experience the usual myriad of aches and pains that come with a growing stomach. Bras have become my arch-nemesis (seriously, I want to burn them all), my upper back and the area between my breasts and stomach are constantly in pain (which makes sitting at a desk quite tough during the work day), heartburn occurs almost daily, I tend to have a waddle no matter how hard I try to walk normally, I move significantly slower regardless of what I am doing, and doing simple things like getting out of bed or trying to put pants on has become laborious. I can’t wait until I am no longer able to get dressed by myself or stand up without assistance.

26Weeks26 Weeks

JUST A MINUTE, I HAVE TO PEE…AGAIN: If you need me and are unable to locate me, I am probably peeing, for the umpteenth time that day. I knew this was going to be a problem for me as I had a smaller bladder prior to pregnancy (I would wake up at least 1-2 times every night to pee). Well now it’s just ridiculous. To keep myself sane (and from crying), I have made a game of it, to see just how many times I wake up during the night to pee. So far my record is six times in an eight hour period (after going three times in the hour before falling asleep). Sometimes I pee and then immediately feel like I have to go again after I am done. At some point I might just take up sleeping and working while sitting on the toilet. Or perhaps I will invest in adult diapers.

OH HEY, YOU’RE PREGNANT!: Around 22-23 weeks it became undeniably noticeable to the average person that I was pregnant, rather than just having consumed too many burritos and burgers. What this means is that people now are more likely to offer me seats on the BART (that’s a whole other post for another time), more and more people are asking when I am due and what the sex is (and then try and make conversation with me about the pregnancy), and the occasional person will now look at me and ask if they can touch my stomach (which is met with a resounding NO, luckily this has only happened a couple times). I have also been getting more comments/compliments about how I am “glowing”, how I still look great (why wouldn’t I still look great), how I should cherish the time I have now because once the baby arrives it will all change (duh), and how once it is all over I will miss being pregnant (NOPE).

28Weeks28 Weeks

Now that I am in the final trimester and the countdown has begun, I am trying to stay focused on not letting the growing discomfort and pain get to me, which is no easy feat. There are still some things around the house that we need to get done before the baby arrives, which with how slow I move, might take some time. We also have to put the final touches on the nursery, purchase the final items we need (such as a car seat, diapers, etc.), and of course do a tour of the birthing center and attend a childbirth class. For the most part, as my mobility becomes increasingly limited, we will probably stick close to home on the weekends, and keep it low key on weekdays after work (I intend to work up until the final week or two before giving birth). We are definitely excited (and anxious) to meet the baby, but if I am being completely honest, I am most excited to no longer be pregnant. I know I am not the only pregnant person to feel this way, but I still do feel a bit bad that I haven’t enjoyed this experience as much as others. I guess pregnancy truly is different for each person.