Cesarean Delivery

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It was 2:15am and my c-section was scheduled for 3am.  The nurses prepped for my c-section before my doctor arrived.  My room filled with 3-5 more hospital staff members.  My nurse, the anesthesiologist, the resident, and my doctor.  I can’t remember if there were more people…I was dozing in and out.  My epidural medication was in a clear locked box (with an alarm) that went off.  My nurse and the anesthesiologist worked on that.

My doctor explained what was going on and what to expect.  He also did something I never expected…he complimented me on being such a good sport.  He went on to tell me that I shouldn’t feel bad about not having a vaginal birth.  Although I was medicated, I was really surprised by his comments.  I thought it was very nice of him to say.

Well, after everything was ready, I was wheeled out of the delivery room and into the surgical room.  Having a cesarean section delivery is surgery!  In the surgery room, the lights were very bright.  I have no idea how many more people were in the room then.  As I laid on the bed, the staff transferred me to another table.  I tried to lift myself up but couldn’t.  The nurses told me to just lay there and they would move me to the surgical table.  I still couldn’t feel from the waist (what I had of one) down.  So, the nurses quickly lifted me up and over onto the table.  My arms were spread out, each on an individual table.  Not sure how to explain it but it’s like branches of a tree.  It was then that I dozed off.  I heard what everything but my eyes were closed.  I knew my husband and the anesthesiologist were behind me sitting down.

I heard the doctor say everything was ready and then he proceeded to explain how to do a cesarean section procedure to one of the residents.  I dozed in and out throughout the procedure.  I couldn’t see anything because there was a sheet in front of me about 1-2 feet away from my face.  My c-section was scheduled for 3am and our baby was born at 3:31am…I heard that with my eyes closed.  Not too long after that, I heard my baby cry.  I immediately opened my eyes and looked around.  The sheet was still there and I couldn’t see him.  An interesting feeling came over me.  I felt chicken skin (goose bumps) rush through my body from head to toe.  My heart was full and my eyes were overcome with tears.  Our baby – Samuel – was finally here!

Throughout my pregnancy, I called my baby “Sammy Boy”.  When I heard him cry, I decided I wouldn’t call him that anymore.  I would call him Samuel or SJ (I’ll write about that in another post).

My husband brought our baby to me all wrapped up.  I kissed him and then he took him to the nursery.  I later found out that my husband cut the umbilical cord.  I got all cleaned up and then I was wheeled back into the delivery room I had been in for more than 2.5 days.

When I returned to the delivery room my husband was there gathering up all our stuff.  The nurse that was with us going into the procedure was there with us when I came back.  It was a little after 5am and I was doing ok.  I was finally allowed to have a drink of water.  When I could keep that down, I could have more and then some apple juice.  I was ok keeping that down too.  I noticed that the nurse kept asking me how I felt and each time she entered the room, she pushed on the area around my incision.  It was probably every half hour or so.  She reminded me that I had a fever and informed me that we would be moving to postpartum around 6am.  Each time she pushed near my incision she asked me if it hurt.  I was thinking to myself, “really?  You really need to ask?  Hello, of course it hurts!”  I took a deep breath each time she checked the area and told her it hurt.

When all of that was done, I was wheeled and transferred to a postpartum room.  The room was much smaller than the delivery room.  The nurse informed me that they weren’t able to donate my cord blood, as I requested.  Due to my illness, the cord blood bank was not able to accept my cord blood.  I was a little bummed I did all the paperwork and stuff a couple months prior to delivery.  But there wasn’t much I could do about it, so that was fine.

Before I talk about my recovery time in the hospital, I’d like to talk about my son’s name.

Next Post: What’s In A Name?


Inducing Labor

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I’ve been reflecting a lot lately about how people (me) and things change over time, whether good or bad.  Around this time last year, I was angry and bitter after a failed IVF cycle.  I had SO many feelings.  I cried, I was frustrated, I wanted to be alone, and I distanced myself from the Lord.  The feelings of my heart floated around like endless ripples in the water.  The thoughts in my mind crashed like waves on the shore.  I was in no position to help anyone because I was the one that needed help.  I needed to change my attitude then in order to accept the change I embrace now.  Now, a year later, my life has undergone an irreversible change…being a parent.

Inducing Labor

As the days drew near to our babies’ delivery, I knew the plan was to induce labor.  The doctor wanted me to make it to 39 weeks, if baby didn’t come before then.  With twice/week appointments and NSTs plans seemed to change frequently.  Everything depended on my doctor appointments and exams.  In the meantime, I decided to read up about inducing labor to prepare me for that process.  At 38 weeks, I was dilated to 3 cm and my doctor was hopeful for my scheduled induction.  My uterus was “ripening” well so my doctor recommended pitocin to induce labor.  A week earlier he recommended pitocin and a vaginal tablet.  Sorry, can’t recall the name of that medication right now.  The tablet is inserted vaginally and used to help the uterus soften to prepare for delivery.  But, since my uterus was “ripening” I didn’t need the tablet.  Lucky me.

Week 39 arrived – my scheduled induction.  My husband and I had a leisure morning, ate lunch at Zippy’s, and then headed to Queens with all our stuff.  When I say stuff, I mean baby’s car seat & 1 bag – full of clothes for both of us, clothes to dress the baby upon discharge, snacks, toothbrushes/paste, and whatever else we felt was necessary.  I had been warned to eat a good lunch because I wouldn’t be eating anything until after the baby came out.  (I would’ve been fine except being induced took WAY more time and energy than I ever expected.)

Anyways, so once we got there, we got our room, got hooked up to baby monitors, IV, and pitocin…the inducing started.  My husband and I pretty much just cruised in the delivery room until it was time to sleep.  We watched TV, looked at our phones, texted family members with updates, and stared at each other.  Lol.  Actually, it’s REALLY hard to do anything in the hospital.  A nurse or 2 would come in every hour to check the monitors, medications, ask questions, do a vaginal exam, etc.  My doctor came in the evening (and was in consultation with the nurses and doctor on shift) to check on me.  He reminded me that inducing labor is a really slow process.

About 14 hours into the process (3am) I decided to have an epidural.  I was really hesitant about having an epidural because then I would be bed bound and reliant on a catheter to use the bathroom.  I asked the nurses and residents about the specific process.  I was SO tired but I couldn’t sleep because I was uncomfortable.  It’s funny because every time there’s a new shift a new nurse would come in and ask me what my level of pain was.  For me it was low (2-3) because of the excess fluid made it almost impossible to feel any contractions.  You’d think that since I didn’t feel any contractions, I didn’t need an epidural.  But, I agreed to have an epidural.  Apparently Queen’s was really busy that night and I had to wait about 15 minutes.  It wasn’t long to wait.  I suppose if I was farther along in the process, 15 minutes would feel much longer.  Lol.

The anesthesiologist came in and explained the process of an epidural and what to expect afterwards – possible side effects.  At 3am my husband was already sleeping but was awoken by the bright lights that needed to be on.  The anesthesiologist talked me through every thing, step by step.  She was really good, I hardly felt anything.  To me, if I can barely feel the needle – you’re good.  I’ve had blood drawn that’s hurt more than getting an epidural, honestly.  The anesthesiologist also explained the button…an additional boost of medication that should only be pushed as needed.  Once you push the button, you’d have to wait at least 10 minutes before pushing it again, if you needed to.  Well, you could keep pressing the button but it wouldn’t release any medicine.

The epidural was nice!  I was definitely able to feel comfortable and get minimal rest.  I didn’t feel the contractions before I got it and sure didn’t feel them after either.  Lol.  After that things were pretty mellow until the morning.  Mellow as far as progress for the baby.  The nurses and residents continuously come in and check on you…but at least at night they use the low light so you can a little rest, or none if it bothers you.  Lol.

In the morning, around 7am, now 18 hours into my scheduled inducing, my doctor came to check on me.  He, along with a couple of nurses, pricked my water bag so it would slowly drip out.  He made a few holes using a very thin needle.  I happily didn’t feel anything because of the epidural.  My doctor noted progress – I was dilated to 6 cm.  This was great news to me because I thought we were nearing the birth of our baby.  Technically I was in active labor but couldn’t feel it.

In the early evening my doctor came to see me again and I was still dilated to 6 cm.  I had so much fluid and the baby was still now dropping so the doctor decided to let out a little flow of fluid to help guide the baby down and help me dilate more.  He made a few more pokes to let more fluid drain out.  The nurses changed the padding under me as needed.

Evening went fine, well maybe fine isn’t the right word for it.  I was hungry, tired, and confined to the bed.  We watched TV, talked and cruised in the room.  We got a visit from my sister-in-law and 2 nieces, who brought dinner (for my husband of course).  My sweet husband ate outside the room so I wouldn’t have to smell any of it.  We chatted and then they went to visit someone on another floor.

Everything was pretty calm…until about 1 in the morning.  (I had been at the hospital for 36 hours now.)  My husband was sleeping on a fold up bed near me.  I started to shake and shiver as if I was cold.  I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t.  After 10-15 minutes, I decided to call the nurse.  Unfortunately, the remote had fallen to the left of the bed and it was hanging down that side.  I tried to reach for it a couple times and almost got it.  I felt the shaking getting stronger and out of control.  I called my husband a few times but he didn’t hear me.  I reached one more time for the remote and got it.  Oh, I forgot to mention that besides having the IV on my right hand, the epidural tube came up my right shoulder, I had an oxygen mask on, a blood pressure cuff on my left arm, AND I couldn’t feel from the waist down.  The blood pressure cuff went off every 20-30 minutes.  SO, reaching for the remote to call the nurse was much more difficult than it sounds.  Lol.

I finally called for the nurse.  When she came in, I told her how I felt and she told me to try and relax.  She asked if I wanted some medicine for nausea.  I agreed to take it – via IV.  But before she could give it to me, I threw up on myself and the gown I had on.  My husband awoke to me throwing up and helped the nurse clean me up.  I got a new gown and a warm blanket, literally.  When the nurse left to get the nausea medication, I asked my husband to give me a blessing.  I didn’t know what was going on with me.  I was shaking and shaking.  I couldn’t stop myself.  My husband gave me a blessing before the nurse came in with my nausea medicine.  My regular nurse for the evening came in and checked my temperature.  The thermometer read that I was fine but the nurse didn’t believe it and quickly obtained another thermometer, which showed I had a fever.  I took deep breaths to help calm me but that didn’t always help.  I got the nausea medicine and my shivering slowed down.

It was 2:15am…My contractions plateaued and I was over it.  I wanted the baby out.  I still had a fever and shakes (intermittently).  The nurse called my doctor and a c-section was in the works.

Next post: Cesarean Delivery


Low Risk to More Risk

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Hi everyone!  I know, it’s been a while since my last post.  I think it’s obvious the baby is here, leaving me less time to write.  Lol.

Everything was going smoothly with all my appointments.  I was going every other week on Saturdays so I wouldn’t have to take time off from work.  That was my preference because I wanted to save my leave.  Well at 33 weeks, the nurse scheduled me for additional appointment the following week.  I thought it was weird because I previously scheduled all my appointments to the end – 40 weeks.  I agreed to come in for the appointment even though I was thinking they were mixed up on what week I was on.

Prior to that, my husband had been trying to get me to attend a co-worker’s new store open house.  I kept insisting that I didn’t think it was necessary to go to the open house.  I didn’t want to drive to town when I didn’t have an appointment.  So, when I got an additional appointment, which happened to be the day of the open house, I reluctantly agreed to go.  A few days before the open house, I began to question my husband about this “open house”.  I didn’t feel like he was telling me everything.  He told me to stop asking him about it, so I did.  But I kept thinking about it.  I thought his co-workers were going to have a baby shower at the “open house” but even I wasn’t convinced that was it.  I knew there was something going on but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

A few days before my appointment and the “open house” I thought about calling the doctor to verify that I was on week 34 and not 35.  Well, that didn’t happen.  I figured I’d just clarify with the doctor at that appointment and not worry about it.

The day of my appointment arrived.  At week 35, I was scheduled for an exam and ultrasound.  So, when I clarified it with the doctor, he agreed they made a mistake and I was 34 weeks.  But since I was there and undressed from the waist down, he decided to do an ultrasound.  During the ultrasound he noticed my amniotic fluid was high and was concerned about it.  He asked if we could go to Queen’s Labor and Delivery to complete a NST (Non Stress Test).  I looked at my husband because he wanted to go to the “open house”.  I was thinking we could skip the “open house” and do the NST.  My husband told the doctor we had something so we scheduled an appointment for the afternoon.

We left the doctor and headed toward the “open house”.  He told me it was at Manoa Marketplace.  As we were driving there I told him, “I know it’s been a long time since I’ve been to Manoa Marketplace but it’s it that way?”  I was pointing to the right as we were going left.  My husband shushed me and told me the “open house” was at Waioli Tea Room.  At this point I was super confused but I knew something was up.  We walked up to the front and were greeted by a woman who asked if we were here for a bridal shower or baby shower.  I looked at my husband and he had a big grin on his face.  We both laughed as he turned me to walk toward my group of friends.  SURPRISE!  It was definitely a surprise and a very enjoyable brunch.

After the brunch we headed to Queen’s Labor and Delivery for my first NST.  The NST was for the baby, not me.  If you’ve never had a NST, they do the same thing when you’re admitted.  Let me explain.  Due to the excess fluid, the doctor wanted to make sure my baby was doing well and he was not under stress.  Hence, the NST…Non Stress Test.  In Labor and Delivery, I sat up on the bed and lifted my shirt just to expose my belly.  The nurse placed 2 monitors on my stomach, 1 to monitor contractions and the other to monitor the baby’s heart beat & rate.  The nurse used wide elastic bands to obtain the right placement of the monitors.  It’s like a wrist watch.  The face of the contraction monitor is placed at the center of your belly and then they tighten the band.  The monitor for baby’s heart beat & rate is wherever baby is.  For me he was faced down so the monitor was below the contraction monitor.  Since my baby moved around A LOT, the nurse would often have to adjust the monitor.  My NST lasted about an hour and then I was free to go, not without scheduling my next one.

My first NST was quite painless.  One of the first things the nurse asked me is if I knew why I was there.  Lol.  I sure hope so.  I know there’s a technical name for excess amniotic fluid but I didn’t know it. (It’s call polyhydramnios.)  The nurse gave me water and the remote for the TV.  Ooh, I forgot!  Along with the 2 monitors the nurse gave me a button to press every time I felt the baby move.  The button reminds me of Wheel of Fortune where they are referred as “buzzers”.  It’s easy to grasp and great for pushing frequently.  Lol.

It was then that I realized my pregnancy was no longer “low risk”.  I had to do NSTs weekly until the doctor ordered otherwise.  Another thing to note about the NST, it varies in time.  For example, the first time I went it took an hour.  The next time I went it was longer.  The shortest time for me was half an hour.  The reason for the variation is because the nursing staff needed to contact my doctor to review the monitors and give the “ok” for me to leave.

Well, 34 weeks was just the start of what I call “pregnancy excitement” aka stress.  In upcoming weeks I experienced much more than I ever thought I would.  Twice a week appointments, twice a week NSTs, 2 more ultrasounds, and weekly vaginal exams.  The twice a week appointments, NSTs, and ultrasounds is how the doctor monitor my polyhydramnios.  I got quite use to it, although now that I think about it, it was pretty draining.  Having 2 more full fetal ultrasounds was nothing I expected but I was grateful for them.  Not only was I able to get more pictures, but I was able to see my baby more.  The ultrasounds looked at the fluid and the baby’s growth, including the heart.  One of the main concerns my doctor had about the excess fluid is the umbilical cord.  If my water broke the cord could come down before the baby which would result in an emergency c-section.  I was lucky to have the reviewing doctor present at each ultrasound.  He asked questions and watched the ultrasound technician take measurement.  Through discussion with us he determined that they did not know why there was excess fluid.  He noted that gestational diabetes was one common cause for excess fluid, which I did not have.  I never knew why I had so much fluid but I knew my fluid was about equal to the size of they baby.  I remember at 35 weeks the ultrasound gauged that the baby was 6 lbs 10 oz.  I thought, yikes!  Then at 37 weeks the ultrasound said 8 lbs 6 oz.  That created another concern for my doctor.  Of course the ultrasound has a range – room for error.

So, although my pregnancy began with little risk as time went on risk increased and the doctor induced labor.

Just as a side note….The only thing I will say about vaginal exams as a pregnant lady, is that’s they’re painful.  It’s nothing like a pap smear…at all.

Next post:  Inducing Labor


Invoice

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A few weeks after attending the Baby Expo, I received an invoice in the mail.  It wasn’t something I was expecting but I knew why I received it and had forgotten about it.  It was an invoice from Fertility Institute of Hawaii regarding our 5 embryos.

No, I had not informed Fertility Institute of Hawaii that I was pregnant.  No one called to follow up with me and I didn’t feel the need to tell them I was pregnant.  It’s not a big deal to me, that’s just how it happened.

Anyways!  The invoice was to preserve the 5 frozen embryos for a year.  This cost $628.27 ($600 + 4.712% tax) to be exact.  Seems like a lot of money for something that can’t be see with the naked eye.  Lol.  Well, that’s how much it costs and here are our options:

1.  Pay the $600+ to preserve our embryos

2.  Not pay the invoice and choose to discard or donate our embryos

Oddly enough, this decision was much harder than we thought.  My initial thought was that we would discard the embryos.  Paying the more than $600 was not appealing to me and it wasn’t a decision I really wanted to make while I was pregnant.

It’s not any easy decision to make but it had to be done.  In discussion with my husband, we talked about the pros and cons of both options available to us.  It took us 2-3 weeks during various times, to finally make a choice.  In the end, we decided on option #1 and paid to preserve our embryos for a year.  That will take us to May 2014 and we would go from there.  I know there’s no guarantee that we would have an easy time becoming pregnant again.  I suppose the best option for us at this time is to keep our options open, thus preserving our embryos.

I understand that this option is not available to everyone nor does it mean that anything will come of this decision.  We may be able to conceive on our own again or we may need to rely on assistance through IVF.  But since we paid the invoice to preserve our embryos, we have the option available to us.  We will have to see how it goes.

Next post: Low to High Risk


Pregnancy Class & Baby Expo 2013

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Hello All!

Time is quickly passing and I need to catch up on few things.  So I’m going to combine a couple things into 1 post.

First, since we plan to have our baby at Queen’s Medical Center (QMC) in Honolulu, we decided to check out the classes and other information they offer.  That’s how we signed up for the “Understanding Birth and Babies Intensive” class.  It was 9am – 5pm and $80/couple.  You could bring your own lunch, which we did, or you can purchase something in the cafeteria.  The provided some snacks too.

At first, I wasn’t concerned about the class and thought it would be helpful for us to do something prior to the birth of our son.  I definitely wasn’t sold on participating in a particular thing like lamaze classes.  I sought information pertaining to labor and delivery, breast feeding, and any other information that would help.

So, I knew going into the class that I would be bombarded with information.  Interestingly enough, the class kept my attention and I learned a lot.  I watched more birthing videos at that class than I’ve ever watched in my life.  Lol.  The class covered an overview of all the medications available during labor, breast feeding including different positions for the baby, changing diapers and swaddling.  We also practiced various breathing methods for contractions.  I’m not sure how successful I was with that.  The women held a bag of ice in their hands while the instructor timed the “contractions”.  By the end of the exercise my bag of ice was melted.  Lol.  During one of the breathing exercises, the spouses or partners were coached by the instructor to assist the women with a “contraction”.  When I looked at my husband for the breathing, he smiled at me and didn’t say anything.  I shook my head and we just laughed.  Obviously we weren’t taking it too seriously.  Lol.  It’s something we’d have to work on.

We also received a few magazines, a lot of handouts, and a booklet.  The booklet we got was “Understanding Birth”.  I believe you can check it out at seewhatyouread.com.  There was a booklet about installing a car seat, a pamphlet about birth certificates, a pre-registration form for admissions, and general information about maternity services.  All helpful information, of course.  That was not everything we received.  Prior to attending the class, we received an email with ALL the handouts and powerpoint presentations that would be discussed in the class.  We didn’t print them all out but we looked through all of them before attending the class.

The class ended with a maternity tour.  We saw the individual rooms complete with a bathroom, shower, tv, and pull out bed.  It was good to see what things will look like rather than just show up when you’re in labor.  Overall, I thought the class was good and helpful.  It didn’t necessarily calm any of me fears, but it helped me to understand more and be aware and hopefully more prepared.  I’m glad we went.

Baby Expo 2013

I wish I could say the same about the Baby Expo 2013.  I should’ve known better but we still went.  To attend, it was $6 for parking and $5.50 per person.  There was a $1 off coupon for admission making it $4.50 per person.  So, just to get the 2 of us in the door…it was $15.  Typing that makes it seem even more ridiculous that we went.  Anyways!

Upon entry we were given all these ads and papers.  There was supposed to be a free gift for the first 100 people.  We were one of the first people in line because I had an early appointment.  Believe me, we were not there early to stand in line for a free gift.  Besides, you know what the free gift was??  Drum roll….$10 off coupon for “Banz”.  Seriously?  I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining about a free gift, but that’s pretty much what I’m doing.  I thought a little goodie bag would have been more helpful.  Well, that’s just what I think.

I soon realized that the Baby Expo wasn’t going to be helpful to me as an expecting mother. I felt like I was a target for companies.  Everywhere we went, vendors were trying to get us to sign up for a drawing for some kind of baby item or 1st birthday party.  A first birthday, really?  The baby’s not even here!!  I thought that was a bit ridiculous.  Yes, I know I like to be organized and plan things far in advance but entering a drawing for a 1st birthday party was a bit much for me.  Needless to say, I didn’t enter too many of those.

Unfortunately, I was not about to leave after paying $15 to enter.  There were a lot of food booths around and a lot of other meaningless vendors.  Check this out, for example, there were at least 2-3 solar companies there.  Tell me, what do solar companies have to do with me having a baby?  I don’t know who goes to a baby expo looking to install solar panels!  Lol.  That was obviously one vender that was not helpful for me.  It could have been helpful for someone else looking to lower their energy costs with all the laundry they’ll do with a baby.

Of the 100+ booths set up, I think there were only a handful that were meaningful to me.  The Queen’s Medical Center booth was the one I found most beneficial and pertinent to my needs.  Since I would be delivering there, it made sense to stop there.  There was a lactation specialist present and she provided some helpful information about breastfeeding.  I was a little caught off guard by the way she talked about breasts.  I suppose I was not expecting such straight-forward talk.  Lol.  My husband reminded me that it’s her line of work/career.  Made sense.  At that booth they also handed out magnetic picture frames.

We got a lot of handouts – some helpful, some not.  We also attended a class or workshop on how to keep your baby safe.  There were 4 couples total in the class and it was free.  The class touched on how to keep your baby safe in a crib/play pen.  The instructor had a crib set up and we, the participants had to tell her 7 things that were wrong with it.  So, pretty much the baby should lay on their back with nothing else in the crib – no bumpers, blankets, nothing.  She explained risks for SIDS, answered our questions, invited us to receive free texts about caring for baby, and that was it.

I think we spent more money on parking, entrance, and food than anything else!  Of course there were vendors selling items such as hooded towels, blankets, clothes, etc.  None of those things appealed to me because if I made the time, I could make them myself.  Lol.

Well, I probably won’t be going to another Baby Expo but it’s ok.  I’m sure it can be helpful for someone else! 🙂

Next post: Invoice


Free Breast Pump

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Hi everyone!

I’m pretty confident many will recognize the picture below…

targetYup, it’s from Target.  In the bag is my free breast pump I picked up in March 2013.  

If you’re like me, I was baffled when I heard I could get a FREE breast pump.  Here’s how it started…My husband came home from work one evening telling me about a conversation he had with a co-worker.  The co-worker (male) had become a new, first-time father and had some tips for my husband.  One of the tips he shared was information about the free breast pump.  When my husband explained it to me I didn’t believe him.  I thought it was crazy and sounded ridiculous.  Nevertheless, I heard him out.  I soon found out how easy it would be to obtain a breast pump at no cost to me.

The next day I called my insurance company to find out if I qualified for a free breast pump.  I received confirmation by phone that I did, in fact, qualify for a free breast pump.  I was amazed and still in disbelief.  According to my conversation, I also found out that I was eligible for a free breast pump, under that insurance coverage, for every pregnancy.  I was like, what?  I thought, so that means I could become pregnant 6 months later and get another FREE breast pump.  Just to be clear, that’s not the plan.  Lol.  I was just floored by the thought that I could get a free breast pump for every pregnancy, not annually or as necessary.  All this new found information boggled my mind.  I learned that through the Affordable Care Act effective July 1, 2012 is the reason behind the free breast pump.  If you google “free breast pump hawaii” you can read all about it on HMSA’s website.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful to have a free breast pump and it’s important to promote breast feeding.  But at the same time it doesn’t seem right.  I suppose that’s my own conflict.  Anyways!

My husband shared more information from his co-worker and we went with it.  In search for my free breast pump, it was suggested that I get the Medela breast pump from Target.  I later learned that there were certain stores that I could get my breast pump from.  Since we live near Target, we obviously chose to go there.  We found the Medela brand breast pump, which everyone I’ve talked to said is the best, and took it to the pharmacy.  I picked the most expensive Medela brand breast pump, which here in Hawaii is about $430 (before tax).  Crazy expensive, huh?

Here is a picture of the Medela Breast pump box (Freestyle):

medela

I wasn’t familiar with the process when I took the breast pump to the pharmacy, but in my opinion, it was hassle-free.  I filled out a one-page paper, provided my insurance card and ID.  We were told to come back in 15 minutes in order give the pharmacy time to process the prescription.  Yup, you read that right, prescription.  We walked around the store and then returned to the pharmacy, to this…

prescription

That’s my prescription label on the top of the box.  It even came with additional prescription papers.  The only thing the pharmacy said was that if I were to open the box, I would not be able to return it.  It was unbelievable to me how a breast pump could be a prescription.  Lol.  Of course, I was ecstatic to have a breast pump.  It’s one less thing to add to a registry.  It’s one less thing to worry about.  Despite my enthusiasm, I left Target still thinking, “this is crazy.  I don’t believe it.”  Lol.

At home, I opened my new breast pump to check out all it included.  The box shows everything that’s in it, but here’s a picture anyway.

inside

It’s really awesome!  Besides the instructions, it also includes coupons and a registration card.  So, I registered my breast pump online.  The bag has 4 total pockets.  1 outside pocket and 3 on the inside.  Of the 3 on the inside, one is zipped, one is on the side, and one is fastened with a velcro thing.  The bag zips at the top, I guess for privacy.  Lol.

So, that’s how I got my FREE breast pump!! 🙂

Since we’re on the topic of breasts, I thought I’d take this time to share a little personal tip.  Early on in my pregnancy, 1st trimester, I decided I didn’t want to purchase new bras.  I know, that may sound a bit weird to some but I knew the baby would cost a lot and I didn’t want to spend money on unnecessary things, such as bras.  So, I bought these bra extenders from Walmart.  There’s 3 in a pack for about $7 + tax.  They were such a life saver and provided comfort without me having to spend $10-$30 on a new bra.  Here’s picture of what they look like:

bra

I used these extenders until my bra didn’t fit comfortably with the extender.  I believe it was in my 2nd trimester that I bought a couple of new bras that were the right fit.  Now, I used the extenders with the new bras I purchased.  It still helps!  And I’m prepared to use the extenders for nursing bras as well, if needed.  I did read somewhere that suggested purchasing nursing bras 1 cup size larger because your breasts are bigger after birth to provide your baby with necessary nourishment though breast milk.

So, if you’re in need of some relief…try the bra extenders, it may help you too!  Oh ya, you can try them on first before purchasing, I did.  I’ve learned that during pregnancy it’s important to be comfortable but comfort doesn’t have to be expensive. 🙂

Have a wonderful day!

Next post:  Pregnancy Class


Gestational Diabetes Testing

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Hi everyone!  I didn’t realize it’s been over a month since my last post.  I’ve been thinking about writing for a couple weeks and am only now sitting down to write.  I’m pretty sure you’re not dying to read my posts and if you are, I apologize for the delay!  Lol.

Well, between 24-28 weeks, the doctor ordered a blood test for me, specifically to test for gestational diabetes.  I wasn’t worried about how the test would go because a few of my co-workers explained the process to me.  I was a little worried about the results because I have diabetes in my family history.

At 25 weeks, which was mid-April, I went in for the test.  I knew I had to be there for an hour, which is not the most exciting thing to do, but it had to be done.  Prior to my blood test, I was instructed not to take my thyroid medicine and that I had to be fasting at least 8 hours.  So, I did.  The phlebotomist gave me 5 oz of a sugary drink of my choice – lemon, lime, or orange.  With no particular preference, I went with orange.  She told me I had 5 minutes to finish it but instead I drank it as fast as I could.  I felt so disgusted afterward.  It was as though I drank pure syrup.  It was so concentrated, it reminded me of the Malolo or Hawaiian Sun syrups.  Yuck!  Upon finishing the drink, I was informed that I was allowed to take sips of water while I waited an hour.  I was also instructed to remind the phlebotomist 5 minutes before my hour so she could be ready to draw my blood at the exact hour mark.

While waiting, I took sips of water here and there.  My poor baby was active.  I felt so gross from the drink and so sad for my baby.  I also went for a walk to distract myself from feeling so gross.  The walk and sips of water helped ease my discomfort and calmed my active baby.  When it was time, I notified the phlebotomist, she drew my blood, and I left.  Luckily, I had taken the day off so I didn’t have to rush anywhere.

The next morning, early into my work day, the nurse called me about my test results.  She told me the results came back high so my doctor wanted me to do the 3 hour test.  I hesitantly agreed.  At the time, she didn’t tell me what the actual value was and I didn’t ask because I was too overcome with worry that I might have gestational diabetes.  I told her I would do the 3 hour test the next day.  I adjusted things at work so I could take half day.  I later found out that my blood glucose was 165, which was high.  The range was 70-140 mg/dL.

I looked up information on gestational diabetes to get more educated about it.  Then my husband and I went on a walk to talk about gestational diabetes, how it would affect our baby, what it would require of me, and all the risks involved.  I was so overwhelmed with information it was if I assumed I had it.  I was definitely worried, in fact, it was my first pregnancy scare.  I decided that night that I would take my thyroid medication in the morning before the test.  I also made sure to fast for at least 8 hours.

So, the next morning I went early to start the 3 hour test, 7am to be exact.  This test was a little different from the first test I did 2 days prior.  The phlebotomist took my blood before giving me the glucose drink.  I again went with orange flavor and then I was given 10 oz, the entire bottle, to drink.  Yuck!  After I finished drinking I came back 3 more times (every hour for the next 3 hours) and got my blood drawn.  In the meantime, I sipped water and walked.  The phlebotomist alternated arms and in the end, I received 4 pokes.  My poor arms.  I left with both arms wrapped in colored stretchy tape.  I was anxious about the results but hoped it would come back normal.  I knew I wouldn’t hear back until the next day so I tried not to think about it too much.

The next day, I expected to hear back about the results so I waited a few hours before calling the doctor’s office.  I spoke with the nurse, who confirmed that the results came back normal.  I asked her for the specific values and wrote them down.  I knew I would receive the results in a day or 2 via mail but I wanted to know the break down.  Here are the values she gave me: 74, 134, 124, and 116 mg/dL.  The 74 was the baseline value, no glucose drink.  134 mg/dL = after 1 hour, 124 mg/dL = after 2 hours, and 116 mg/dL = after 3 hours.  Phew!  It was such a relief and I was really grateful not to have to worry about that anymore.

I think I now truly understand why pregnant women do not look forward to the gestational diabetes testing.  Although I was impressed by the choices of glucose drinks, I was not a bit excited to drink it, twice.

This experience, although briefly stressful, helped me remember that this pregnancy is a gift.  It helped remind me to take things slowly and enjoy the experience of being pregnant.  Not that I haven’t enjoyed it, but this experience was just a little reminder for me.  It was also a reminder to me to exercise more to prepare my body and mind for labor.

My husband found a short video on You Tube for me – on stretching.  This meant that I would have to wake up 10-15 minutes earlier each day.  Not what I desired to do, but knew that it was important.  My husband offered to stretch with me, which helped, until he got sick.  Then I needed motivation to stretch on my own.  And now, he’s not sick, but I’m still stretching every morning on my own.  I tease him that it was a trick.  Lol.  There have been a few instances when I’ve stretched right after returning home from work, especially if I’ve been sitting a lot and my back is sore.  The video has helped me.  Just as a side note, it’s about 10 minutes, only instrumental, and calm.

Here’s the video!  Check it out if you want.

Next post: Free Breast Pump


Weight Gain!

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Hi everyone!!  Hope you’re all doing great.  I have so many thoughts but not enough time to express them all.  So, I’ll have to spread them out through a few posts.

In recent weeks, my baby bump has grown to the point where it can no longer be hidden.  I’m not trying to hide it, but I have noticed I get asked the same questions by different people.  Here are the 2 questions I’ve been bombarded with:

  • How are you feeling?
  • Do you know what you’re having yet?

I typically answer that I’m fine and/or good.  I tell people we’re having a boy and that’s about it.  The questions don’t bother me, I think I’m just surprised at the number of times I repeat myself.

Anyways!  When I saw the doctor after my screening tests were complete, he explained the results and that I was low risk, not no risk.  I don’t know why, but that stuck with me.  It made total sense to me.  I was very grateful to be low risk because prior to being pregnant, I assumed I would be high risk.  With all the things my husband & I went through to try to become pregnant, I figured being pregnant would be difficult for me, especially with my thyroid.  I recognize that anything can happen during pregnancy.  Everyone I know desires for their baby to be healthy.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.  During this pregnancy I have tried to keep my excitement realistic and somewhat controlled.  Yes, I’m excited and taking it day by day.

Weight Gain

As promised, I’m going to tackle the topic of weight gain.  Well, I’ll do what I can.  Lol.  When my husband & I first met with the doctor, we were informed about A LOT of stuff.  One of those things was weight gain.  Based on my height and pre-pregnancy weight, the doctor told us that he would expect me to gain 25-30 lbs during pregnancy.  Seriously?

My initial reaction was, “he can’t be serious!”  Of course, I didn’t express that out loud, just to myself.  I kindly nodded in agreement but in fact, it was quite crazy to me.  I knew the weight gain was for a good purpose but the number seemed so absurd.  I quickly added it in my head and yikes!  I’ve never weighed that much, ever!  To top it off, I would weigh more than my husband toward the end.  At the time, I just couldn’t imagine that.  Oh dear!

I was almost 3 months when first saw the doctor.  He explained the break down of the weight gain.  I was to see him monthly for the 1st & 2nd trimesters, bimonthly in the 3rd trimester, and weekly for the last month.  So, with that, he went through the expected weight gain at each trimester.  In the 2nd trimester, he recommended I gain 2-4 lb every month or 1/2 lb – 1 lb per week.  In the 3rd trimester, he recommended I gain 1 lb per week.  It was all so overwhelming at the time.  Now, not so much.

1st trimester – I gained 5 lb (ended in January)
2nd trimester – I’ve gained 9 lb so far. (ends soon)  I gained 3 pounds in March and 6 pounds in April.  At my last appointment, when I got on the scale, the nurse said, “Wow, you gained a lot this month.”  As you can imagine, that just made me feel so great!  Lol.  I restrained myself from saying something, like shut up.  When we met with the doctor, he said, “just because you’re hungry doesn’t mean the baby is hungry.”  OK, I get it!  I understood that to be his way of telling me that I gained too much this month.  He added how it could change my overall weight gain and that I would still be in the 25-30lb range.  I suppose that made me feel a little better.  But really, it was quite the downer.  I knew I was stewing over it because I kept bringing it up to my husband.  I decided no more M&M ice cream sandwiches and more water at work instead of a snack.  Lol.  So far, it’s been good.

Just as a side note, my husband & I have been married for 8 years.  We’ve never owned a scale until now!  Lol.  Now I can keep track of my weight gain as often as I want…which is not that often.  Lol.

I think that’s it for weight gain right now.  I’m sure I can talk about it again in the next few months.

In my next posts, I have a few different topics I’d like to talk about…gestational diabetes testing, birthing class, & breast pump.

Next post: Gestational Diabetes Testing


Screening Tests!

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I realized after I completed my last post, I didn’t tell you my due date!  Well, here it is: July 30.  The ultrasound revealed that I was pregnant with 1 baby.

Alright, moving on to screening tests.  Oh ya, I forgot to mention that on January 1st, my insurance changed making it necessary for me to find an OB/GYN.  I searched and got information from family and friends.  I wanted someone nearby but that option was not available.  I didn’t prefer having to drive to town but it was better than the doctor that was only available every Tuesdays.  Plus, starting a job, I didn’t have time to take off nor did I want to take unpaid leave.  I was looking for a doctor that was available on the weekends as well.  So, we decided to see on of my sister-in-laws OB in town.

At my first appointment, the nurse asked me a lot of questions and I filled out some questionnaire as well.  When I met with the doctor, we went over all the information and he asked if I wanted to participate in a screening.  I told him that it didn’t matter because either way, we would be keeping the baby.  The choice was up to me.  So, I agreed to complete the screening.  I thought it was only one but as we talked about it more, I understood that it was 2 screenings.  He gave me the time frames for when they’re completed and then said he would send a requisition to Queens Medical Center (QMC) because they do the screenings.  I agreed and that was it.  I left and had lunch with my husband.  While we were eating I got a call from QMC to schedule my 1st screening.  I was really surprised at the  prompt response, very impressive.  I scheduled my first screening.

First Screening

I really wish I could remember the names of the screenings but I can’t.  All I know is the first screening was an ultrasound and blood work for down syndrome.  I completed it at 11 weeks, almost 12 weeks.  I thought everything went well.  It was pretty cool that I had my own bathroom, adjustable lighting, and a curtain for privacy.  Also, the jelly they use for the ultrasound was in a warmer.  Lol.  It was thoughtful, rather than it be cold.  I liked the fact that the technician gave me a USB to put all the ultrasound pictures on.  She reminded me to bring the USB to the second screening as well.  Having the USB is really cool and quite up-to-speed with the technology available now.  I’m grateful to have that, in addition to the 8 pictures the technician put on it.  Also, the technician printed out all the pictures she placed on the USB and gave them to me before I left.  I remember her telling me that now I will have the pictures forever and I can put them on facebook or wherever.  I told her her I was happy to have them but probably won’t be placing it on facebook.  Lol.

A week or 2 after my first screening, my OB/GYN called and shared the results of the first screening.  He explained that I was low risk.  Phew, that was a relief.  After all we experienced trying to become pregnant, I figured I wouldn’t get too much relief when I actually got pregnant.  So, hearing the doctor tell me the results showed I was low risk, was awesome.  I was so relieved and at the same time, still not convinced that my pregnancy would be smooth sailing.  Nevertheless, I was grateful.

Second Screening

At my second screening, my husband came with me.  It was around week 18-19.  I knew this screening would be looking at the physical development of our baby.  For instance, a cleft lip.  Also, the screening looked at kidney function, blood flow through the heart, the blood flow from the umbilical cord to the baby, etc.  I gave the technician my USB and she loaded the pictures on it.  It was so interesting to me to watch the things she looked for.  One of the coolest things I saw was my baby’s nose and lips.  I know you may be wondering why I think that’s so cool, but I find it neat.  I knew she was looking for any physical concerns like a cleft lip.  This was the 3rd ultrasound I’ve had during my pregnancy and it was neat to see the growth.  But seeing my baby’s nose and lips was cool because at that point I knew our baby was still very small but the technician could zoom in for a closer look, something that would not have been as successful in previous ultrasounds, for obvious reasons.  Of course, there are a lot of cool things to see during an ultrasound.  I remember while my ultrasound was going on that the lab technician came in and drew my blood.  Either she was really good or I was too focused on the ultrasound to feel anything.  Lol.  I think she was good because she drew my blood from a different arm and found my vein right away.

Towards the end of the ultrasound, the technician asked if we wanted to know the gender of our baby.  I told her we did and then she proceeded to move the probe all over my stomach.  She did mention that she would try her best.  I knew that meant cooperation from the baby would be necessary.  Lol.  As we looked at the screen, it didn’t take long for her to scan our baby’s gender.  The technician said, “Well that’s pretty obvious, no questions there.”  I tried not to bust out laughing, instead I let out a little chuckle.  I immediately turned and looked at my husband.  We smiled and then I looked back at the screen.  We’re having a BOY!!

At the end of our ultrasound, the technician wanted to try the 3D probe.  We agreed.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with the 3D probe, it’s a little more rounded with something that looks like a ping pong ball at the tip.  Not sure if that helps.  The 3D probe was quite entertaining for us.  The technician tried so hard to get a good picture but our baby didn’t make it easy for her.  Each time she got a good view, he would move his hand and block his face.  We just laughed.  She printed pictures for us, 11 pictures to be exact.  Soon after, we left.

I was relieved, not because we’re having a boy, but because we were able to find out the gender of our baby. For my husband and I, we didn’t have a preference.  You know, when you wait so long (or what feels like so long) you take what the Lord gives you/trusts you with.  I was also relieved to be able to refer to my baby with a gender.  I read that it’s important to talk to your baby early in pregnancy and all this time, I’ve referred to the baby as it or baby.  Now I could say he!  Lol.  It seems so minor but it was definitely a relief for me. 🙂

Next post: Weight Gain


Our First Ultrasound

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Thinking back on our first ultrasound, I have to take you back to December 2012.  I remember it like it was just recently.  Prior to our first ultrasound, we discussed the best time to share the news of our pregnancy, with our families (immediate).  It was actually harder than I thought, but we both knew they would be happy whenever we told them.  Of course, there’s the first trimester risk for miscarriage.  That weighed heavy on me because I knew my mom experienced miscarriage, which meant that I could too.  My husband would remind me to “take it easy” and most of the time, refused to let me lift things.  I know he was just being cautious and it was his way of supporting me.  It was difficult for me, at times, because I wanted to do things.  Also, we didn’t want to tell our family too early.  Hope that makes sense.

When we discussed when to share the news with our family, we decided on 2 options…Christmas or New Year’s.  We ended up choosing New Year’s because of the date of our first ultrasound.  Our ultrasound was in between both days, which made our decision easier.  Although I wasn’t quite at 12 weeks, New Year’s made the most sense and we would have evidence to show – our ultrasound.

The purpose of our first ultrasound was to determine a due date by taking appropriate measurements.  So, that’s what happened.  I remember seeing a side profile of our baby and being simply amazed.  I didn’t have any words, nor could I believe that baby was inside of me!  I think my heart skipped a beat, or 2.  It was SO cool and very interesting to view.  It was awesome.  At that point, I couldn’t wonder about being pregnant, I had evidence!  We received 2 pictures from our ultrasound.

After our ultrasound we talked about how we would tell our families.  Hmm.  New Year’s Eve is my sister-in-law’s birthday and we spend it with my family.  We have a tradition of making toasts at midnight with sparkling cider.  Our toasts are pretty much resolutions for the new year and/or something we’re looking forward to in the new year.  We go in order according to age, oldest to youngest, starting with my dad.  Oh ya, we make 2 toasts each, so we waited until the 2nd round to say our clever toast.  Also, after each person says something, we lightly tap our glasses together.  When it was our turn, we decided I would say, “to our little baby” and then my husband would follow up with, “to a healthy pregnancy.”  We would see how this would go!

In sharing the news with my husband’s family, we decided that he would call his parents before midnight and then send texts to his siblings at midnight.  So, during the evening my husband went outside to call his parents.  He went outside so no one else would hear before it was time to toast.  🙂

Midnight approached and it was time for our toasts.  My husband came inside after talking with my in-laws but he wasn’t able to talk to me about it because of the timing of things.  Then he told me his phone died.  He used up his battery and needed to use my phone to send the texts.  He tried at least 3 times to send the texts with the picture but it wouldn’t sent.  Lol.  So he ended up sending the texts and emailing the ultrasound picture.  He later told me that he had to do the same thing with his parents.  The picture wouldn’t send.  Lol.  I should have known that was a foreshadowing of things to come.

The glasses were ready and filled with cider.  Everyone made their toasts and we completed the first round.  The second round came and it was our turn to go.  I went first, because yes, I’m a few months older than my husband, only months.  Lol.  I said, “to our little baby.”  We all tapped our glasses and took a sip of cider.  Then my husband went, “to a healthy pregnancy” and the same thing happened.  We were about to move to my nephew when my dad leaned over to my mom and said, “did I hear that right?”  My mom confirmed that he had and there was a little pause.  I decided to intervene because I realized the news had gone over everyone’s head.  LOL.

I got up and brought out our ultrasound to share.  Before passing it around, I told everyone I was 10 weeks pregnant.    We passed the ultrasound around and everyone was surprised, except my mom of course, because she’s the only one that knew.  Our clever attempt to share the news didn’t exactly turn out the way we planned, but it’s ok.  It was definitely entertaining.  I know we’ll remember it for a long time. 🙂

Next post: Screening Test