Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Juni says ROCK ON!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

first dirty diaper change

10:41pm tues

daddy magic

latched on

first photo by bob

Juni was weighed when she was 2 hours old

19 inches
6 lbs 8.2 oz

Born 1:21 pm and in perfect shape

Juniper Joy W.
Born April 29, 2008 at 1:21 pm

Vaginal birth! No pain meds, induced with Pitocin.

Regular intense contractions started at 6:30 am this morning. The induction was started 8 pm last night. It went smoothly. I labored some and pushed (more like my body pushed without my control) in the warm labor tub of water. Then climbed out of the tub, and pushed Juni out while kneeling on a mattress on the floor. Bob caught the baby himself, coached by the midwife Emily. Juni was put on my chest right away. She latched on within half an hour. She's a great sucker! The placenta was born pretty quickly without complications. The baby's Apgar score was 9 at 1 minute and 9 at 5 minutes (A+). She cried pretty quickly and let us all hear her beautiful voice for a bit. Bob got some skin to skin contact, too, pretty soon after the birth while I pushed the placenta out.

We are so grateful. We are blessed.

Monday night/Tuesday morning 4/29/08

Shortly after I posted the last blog, I lost my dinner. I vomited and then went to the bathroom and gave birth to the foley ball. That was probably at about 9:15 pm. The foley ball is a small balloon, filled with 40 mL of water, with a diameter the size of a half dollar coin. So that means that my cervix dilated to 3 or 4 cm, though I haven't been checked again. I felt a lot of relief when the water balloon fell out. The surges (contractions) stopped being so intense instantly. It was like a mini-birth and it gave me an idea of what is in my near future.

Ever since then the surges have been very tolerable or hardly noticeable to me. Just like mild to moderate menstrual cramps. I've been staying relaxed, mostly laying down and sometimes standing and moving my hips around to make my sacrum feel better (it is a little achy) and also to encourage the baby to drop further down the path. Currently I'm sitting on the birth ball (yoga ball) and eating a meal we brought from Cafe Gratitude called "I am Accepting". It is 3:10 am. Bob is sleeping. I slept a little bit off and on from midnight to 2 am. They've increased the Pitocin twice in the last 2 hours. Before that it hadn't been increased since 7 pm or so. The contractions are frequent enough (2 to 3 minutes apart). I'm just lucky enough at this point to handle them easily.

Monday, April 28, 2008

9 pm Monday... feeling contractions!!!

I'm typing in between contractions. Julie midwife put in the foley bulb at 8 pm. She checked my cervix and said it was 75% effaced which is thin and good, it was 2 cm dilated and moderate to soft consistency, and tilted way forward (anterior) which is good. When she inflated the foley bulb I started to feel sensations in my lower abdomen. At first it just felt like I had to pee really badly, but I'd just emptied my bladder 5 minutes earlier. Then the sensations started to feel like menstral cramps. I got very uncomfortable suddenly, and the midwife pointed out that she could see from the monitor that I was having a contraction. So the foley bulb changed my labor in that now I'm feeling the contractions. Hopefully that means the contractions are also more effective.

Now contractions are 2 to 3 min apart and lasting 30 to 60 seconds. I sat up for a bit and now I'm laying on my side with Bob behind me.

7:30 pm Monday 4/28/08

I passed the stress test (OCT). The baby responded "beautifully" to the Pitocin-induced mini-contractions. Change of shift and the new midwife is Julie who seems great. Onward with induction. I'm eating dinner now and then they'll check my cervix and probably put the foley bulb in. The Pitocin continues to enter my veins at a slow pace, and I don't feel anything in my uterus except for the baby's occasional movements. Bob is reading People magazine quietly. Before sitting down for dinner I did some yoga stretching and squats to encourage the baby down and stretch my muscles. Things are good.

5 pm Monday at the hospital

We got here at the hospital and while talking to Sue the midwife we learned that because of my asthma, prostaglandins are contraindicated. So if they induce, they'll use Pitocin and a foley bulb in the uterus right above the cervix. They pull the bulb downward and it will help my cervix dilate to 3 or 4 cm. The last time they checked it was 1.5 cm at 10 am.

I have an IV now in my left arm. At 4:15 pm they started the pitocin drip for the OCT. It is very slow and I don't feel anything yet. It is now 5 pm.

I'm laying down and Britt (doula) is about to do some relaxation with us.

Induction today?

I had a non-stress test this morning as scheduled at the hospital. Got there at 8:30 am. Bob went to work and I was there by myself. The NST was normal with good fetal activity. It seemed like all was well and they rescheduled me to come back on Thursday, but then they did the AFI and found the amniotic fluid level to be 4.6, which is too low. They recommend an induction today. They are concerned that the placenta isn't functioning. They wanted to admit me right away, but I negotiated to be able to come home and get my bag and get my husband and doula and go back to the hospital later. So I'm home now.

The plan as the midwife described it to me is that they will first do a Stress Test, or an OCT (Oxytocin Challenge Test) to see how the placenta handles the contractions. They can tell by how the baby's heart rate responds during the uterine contractions. They will give me an IV with low dose of Pitocin to cause the contractions. If that goes well then they will start the induction by first giving me a prostaglandin to ripen the cervix (probably Cervidil), and then waiting a few hours or so for that to take effect, and then eventually starting a Pitocin drip to induce contractions. If the OCT is bad and the baby goes into distress with contractions, then they will want to do a C-section. If the test is borderline then they might choose to induce with Pitocin right away instead of starting with the Prostaglandin.

The midwife (Sue M., who is one of my favorites in the group because I am familiar with her and she is nice and clearly explains things) checked my cervix and said it is 1.5 cm dilated, 3/4 cm long, moderate consistency, -2 station, and anterior position (that means the cervix is anterior, not the baby). Sue said my cervix is "not bad", and that it is probable that induction will go smoothly.

Bob just got home from work. I called him from the hospital to let him know what we are planning. We are getting ready for the hospital now, and I am making a few calls. I'm considering trying a homeopathy remedy to assist with the induction. We plan to head over to the hospital for the OCT about 2 pm. Our friend Christina will go with us, and our doula Britt will meet us there. Thank you for your positive thoughts, prayers, and love vibes.

ps. I took a cab home from the hospital, and when I got into the cab there was a red rose sticking out of the back of the driver's seat. It was a pleasant and unusual welcoming into the cab. After I told the driver that I was being induced today, he gave the rose to me. I put it in a vase when I got home. It's pretty. Here's a picture:

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Here's a picture of me and JJ Schultz at Burger Joint on Valencia Street. I ate a hamburger today. I think it was the first time since highschool. I got the idea in my head that I wanted to try eating a burger, and so Bob and I went to the mission and invited JJ to eat beef with us. I surprised myself by enjoying my meal and eating the whole thing! We had a nice, relaxing time at Burger Joint. Afterwards, Bob and I went to Herbivore and I had a vegan strawberry shake and some steak fries. (We didn't get the fries at Burger Joint because they are fried in peanut oil, and Bob is allergic to peanuts.) It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day. On the way home we stopped by Rainbow Grocery store and stocked up on some food and drink items to have ready for when we are new parents.

Tonight I tried the breast pump again and it had no effect that I could notice. Now is the time that we wait. We saw this stencil on the sidewalk today in the mission.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mellow Saturday

Here's a picture taken from UCSF. Bob and I went on a brief walk in our neighborhood and in Golden Gate Park today. We had lunch at Cafe Gratitude. We tried using the breast pump today, but I didn't feel any contractions. I used the breast pump as the midwife directed: 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off, repeat for 2 hours. Nothing happened in terms of any sign of labor. But it has been a pretty nice, lazy day.

Friday, April 25, 2008

No news Friday

We are hanging in there. No signs of labor yet. Baby is low in the pelvis. Walking happens only slowly today. Bathroom breaks are many. I had an acupressure treatment and I walked the steps. I did 5 loads of laundry and am feeling prepared for labor to start soon. I've been considering trying nipple stimulation with a breast pump to see if it will help labor to start, but so far I haven't felt inspired enough to do it. Though I did clean all the parts of my new Medela pump so it is ready if I decide to try it. I didn't sleep very well last night, and I'm hoping to sleep longer tonight. Sometimes I feel extrememly excited about the baby's expected arrival. I'm working on staying calm and relaxed because that is a better way to be in labor, and labor is more likely to start if I am calm. Thanks for checking in!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I got some advice today from our post-partum doula and childbirth education class teacher. She suggested I try swinging on a swing to bring on labor. So I went to the playground in Golden Gate Park this afternoon and was swinging for 30 minutes. It was fun. I saw a lot of little kids. And at one point, another pregnant woman joined in on the swing next to me. She was 7 months pregnant so she wasn't swinging for the same reason I was.

This morning I cleaned the kitchen and swept and mopped the kitchen floor on my hands and knees. I've heard that cleaning like that can help prepare the body for labor. I put some cards and sonogram photos in a scrapbook that I've started for the baby. My list of things-to-do before the birth is getting very short. I'm almost ready.

Tonight I pressed on a sequence of acupressure points for an hour and a half. Then I watched a new episode of "Grey's Anatomy". Although my guess for the birthday was incorrect (it was today), being able to watch one of my favorite shows tonight was my consolation prize.

I've been singing a song to the baby that I wrote the other day. The lyrics are: "Juni, Juni, come out to play. Juni, Juni, how 'bout today!?"

Here's hoping that labor will start tomorrow or Saturday. We'll see...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

This bun is still baking

I listened to a PregTASTIC podcast today and they talked about their favorite slogans for maternity t-shirts. "This bun is still baking" was one of the slogans mentioned. It is true that our bun is still baking.

Today was a good day. Early in the morning I went on a 20 minute walk, including the climb of 225 steps that are in our neighborhood. Then I had an acupressure treatment from Susie. Then I took a nap, which was nice. My doula suggested that I rest every afternoon so that I will be prepared and always well rested no matter what time of day I go into labor. Good idea!

My wedding ring finally got tight enough today that I took it off. My fingers are more swollen than ever, though the midwife thought they look fine and isn't worried about me. I just don't want the ring to be uncomfortable and incase I swell any more before I give birth I decided to take off the ring while I still could. I had an appointment with the midwife late this afternoon. It was actually a great appointment! It was very reassuring. I gained 3 pounds since last week, and my belly is 1 cm larger. So the baby is growing! The midwife explained that they OFFER to induce women after 41 weeks, but don't strongly suggest it until after 42 weeks. And they don't induce any woman before 41 weeks unless there's a medical reason. With a little help from my friends, I'm finally realizing that the medical professionals don't really WANT to induce me, they just want to make sure the baby is okay.

After the midwife appointment I went on a 30 minute walk. Then Bob and I had dinner at one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants, Cafe Gratitude. I am so happy to have an appetite again and to feel more space in my stomach for eating regular sized meals instead of mini-meals. On the walk home from the restaurant, we ran into a couple who was in our childbirth education class. They had their newborn baby girl with them, and she looked so sweet! It was great to see them and hear about their experience.

Thanks very much for all the comments and emails! All the support has been super comforting.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Happy Anniversary to my brother Jason and his wife Lee Ann!

So far no signs of labor. Today I went to a prenatal yoga class, and there were 2 other women there who were past their due dates. We did a lot of squats to encourage the baby down.

My appetite is good and I continue to be able to eat comfortably. How nice! It no longer feels like the baby's bottom is squishing my stomach.

I had another check-up for the baby at the hospital today. They kept me on the fetal heart monitors for a long time--maybe an hour. The nurse explained to me that they monitored me longer today because they noticed "variable decelerations". That means that when the baby moved, the heart rate would go up and then drop down below baseline, and then return to baseline. They think that happens because the umbilical cord is being compressed temporarily when the baby moves. It could be squeezed by the baby's body, or it could be wrapped around the baby. The heart rate returned to baseline in less than 15 seconds and so it isn't harmful to the baby, and they aren't worried about me at this point. I asked if today was the first time this happened and the nurse told me that it has happened every time I've been in. (I'm wondering why she chose to tell me about it today, and/or why it wasn't mentioned to me earlier. Probably it wasn't mentioned because it is not something to be worried about.) My friend MPX went with me today, and she thought the nurse's message was that everything is okay and I don't need to be induced. However, because the nurse used the word "induce" several times while talking to me, it is hard for me to feel like they think everything is okay. It is confusing. I was frustrated tonight. The next time I have to go in for the monitoring is next Monday, so if something was wrong they wouldn't let me go that long. And I have an appointment to see the midwife tomorrow afternoon for a check-up. Hopefully it will be uneventful. The nurse encouraged me to go on long walks to bring on labor. I told her about the acupressure I've been doing, and she encouraged that, too. She also mentioned trying nipple stimulation (but to stop if it started strong contractions) and keeping the pelvis tilted back to allow the baby more room to move down. She said squats are good.

So I walked home from the hospital (an hour walk) and I also stopped by the gym and walked for 30 minutes there, and did the elliptical machine for 5 minutes. When I got home I was upset and feeling a lot of fear in response to the hospital visit. Bob soothed me and told me to call my doula which I did. She reminded me that as far as we know at this point, everything is perfect. They haven't found anything wrong, they have just been monitoring me closely to make sure nothing is wrong and they've found that I am fine. My ideal birth is still the most likely possibility.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Belly Cast!

Yesterday (Saturday) we went to a partners prenatal yoga & massage workshop. It was 3 hours long and it was great. I felt so happy and relaxed afterwards. Bob did a good job massaging me into bliss. We learned some acupressure points that are good for encouraging the start of labor. We've been holding those points with good intentions.

Some people have been asking me lately if I have "dropped" yet. I usually say that I don't know. I was told it happens gradually for most women. Yesterday Bob told me that my belly does look lower, and I've noticed that I am able to eat more comfortably lately. So it does seem that the baby is working her way down the path. We are feeling ready for the baby to join us this week. She will be a taurus.

Today we had some arts 'n' crafts fun and Bob made a plaster cast of my belly on our due date! Happy 4/20!

Friday, April 18, 2008

No news

There's a beautiful Juniper tree at the corner of Valencia & 23rd streets. I took this picture of it yesterday after my prenatal yoga class. Bob and I had a visit with the midwife yesterday. It was calm and uneventful. At this point, no news is good news.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Diapers Delivered

Today we received our first bag of cloth diapers from Tiny Tots. It came with the diaper hamper and the diaper covers that we ordered. Here's our bag of 80 infant sized diapers.

And we found a place for the diaper hamper to fit in the bathroom.

I've been noticing Juniper trees a lot more lately. It makes me feel happy whenever I notice another Juniper tree or bush. Here's one that Bob and I passed on our walk this evening.

If you aren't familiar with what Juniper looks like, here's a picture where you can see the blue Juniper berries. (Click the picture to see it bigger.)

This is a staircase that Bob and I have been climbing regularly lately. I climbed it twice today. There are about 225 steps, and I take them 2 at a time. I heard that it can help bring on labor to go on walks and climb stairs. It is also helping me to be fit. About 3/4 of the way up, I usually feel pretty tired and I start asking Bob for the epidural.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Today's hospital visit

I called the hospital this morning in attempt to cancel my NST/AFI appointment today, but the nurse talked me into keeping it. She recommended that I come in today at least and then talk to the doctor about not coming in anymore for the tests. She offered to change the time of the appointment and so we did. That way I was able to go to the yoga class this morning and then go to the hospital in the afternoon.
So today my amniotic fluid level was 10.5. The baby showed good activity but it took a bit longer than it did on Friday. I talked to the midwife who had consulted with the doctor about me, and she said that they aren't worried about my fluid level at this point. 10.5 is good, and I've proven that the fluid level isn't a problem, it was low last week because I'd been sick. They are however concerned that the baby is on the smaller side of average and that's why they want to monitor me. They determined the baby's size by an inconclusive sonogram they did last Friday. They weren't able to get a measurement of the baby's head because she has her head too far down in my pelvis. So their guess is based on the abdominal circumference and the femur length, and that says the baby is in the 16th percentile for size. If she were below 10th percentile, they would recommend immediate induction or c-section. So for now they just want to make sure the baby is still thriving and they recommend I go in weekly for the testing until the baby comes. I agreed to that. Once a week is much better than twice a week! So the next hospital visit I'll make will be next Tuesday 4/22, provided no surprises happen before then. I feel much better about the current arrangement. If the baby really is smaller than average, it could be because of genetics. Both of my parents and Bob's parents are all on the shorter side. Anyway, I will do my best to hydrate and eat well in these last weeks to support the baby's growth. I'll also continue to work on staying calm and positive, so that the baby can thrive on my love vibe.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday 4/14/08

I saw my chiropractor today and told her about last week. She suggested that I don't go for any more NST/AFI* testing now that everything is fine. I did have that thought myself at one point, like since the AFI was up to 15 on Friday, doesn't that prove that it was only low because of the dehydration and now that I'm better do I still need to go twice weekly and expose my baby to the ultrasound waves and risk exposing myself to the medical-fear world. So, I plan to call tomorrow morning and cancel my hospital visit. The time conflicts with a yoga class I'd like to go to, anyway. A prenatal yoga class taught by my doula will serve me better. I'm committed to decreasing unnecessary stressful situations and increasing calming ones.

Eating has been slow going in that I can eat only small amounts at a time. My stomach is being squeezed smaller by our baby's bottom which is tucked under my ribs on my left side. The nervousness which I've had related to last week's events also contributes to my difficulty with eating. So I am drinking a lot of fluids and eating a lot of small snacks throughout the day and even during the night, if I wake up hungry. I still feel hydrated and generally healthy, but I hope to be able to feel more relaxed soon.

* NST = Non Stress Test which is when they put an external fetal monitor on the mom's belly and record the baby's heart beat for at least 20 minutes to determine the baby's activity level
AFI = Amniotic Fluid Index which is when they use an ultrasound/sonogram to measure the size of amniotic fluid pockets in each of the four abdominal quadrants

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Warm weather

Saturday was hot! It was warm weather like an East Coast Spring day. Bob, Lori and I went for a walk on Ocean Beach. This is a photo of my belly bump shadow on the sand. Bob's shadow is in the picture, too, and if you can't tell he gets the photo credit for this one. I wasn't able to walk very far before I got pretty tired and wanted to turn back. We spent some time sitting on a log on the beach and watching the waves. I learned for the first time that those Ice Plants bloom flowers. I've admired these succulent plants for years and I never knew they blossom!

We spent Sunday indoors today. I worked on doing chores around the house. I'm feeling healthy, I'm staying hydrated and noticing the baby's movements a lot more. She is getting bigger, and so I'm feeling big. Her bottom is tucked under my ribs which is uncomfortable unless I sit up very tall or lay on my side. I'm becoming more aware that there is a real baby snuggled up inside there. Could be any day now that we get to meet her.

Friday, April 11, 2008

All is well

Good news! I went in for the monitoring today and I am normal. Everything's fine. The baby was active (such a good girl!) and my fluid level was back up to what it should be. Yay! It was a quick visit to L & D today, and I was such a happy woman after hearing the results. My friend Christina went with me for support, and it was great to have her there because I was nervous about the visit. Christina said that I didn't seem nervous, and that's probably because I was taking a lot of deep breaths and thinking positive thoughts. Also, I listened to one of the Hypnobirthing guided meditations this morning and that helped relax me and it got me into a positive and calm state of mind.

After the hospital visit I went to my friend Susie's house for an acupressure treatment. She is helping me to recover from the dehydrated spell, and to get my body in balance and ready for birthing in the coming weeks. Now I'm back at home and ready for resting. Resting, drinking good fluids and eating small, healthy meals. That's the plan.

Thanks for all the warm wishes and support! I feel so lucky to have the friends and family that we have in our lives.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Something I ate...

I had food poisoning Tuesday night. I think it was because of some contaminated vegetables on the cheeseless pizza I had for lunch on Tuesday. The pizza had tomatoes, spinach, artichokes and garlic. I also ate a side salad. By 5 pm I was extremely nauseous and by 8:30 pm I was vomiting (and more) every hour. It was so bad that I couldn't even keep down one sip of water. I tried a sip of water at 1 am or so, and it resulted in me vomiting that tiny sip as well as any bile in my stomach. It was gross and concerning. The point of the details there is to explain how dehydrated I was by Wednesday morning when Bob and I went to our scheduled OB visit. It was clear to me that my entire intestinal tract had been completely evacuated. I was literally out of juice. And didn't feel too great, either.

So when we saw the doctor, she could feel that my belly was smaller and she used an ultrasound to determine that the amniotic fluid levels were lower than normal. She sent us over to the Labor & Delivery unit of the hospital where I was given 3 liters of IV fluids (the technical term for the fluids they give is lactated ringers, which is water and electrolytes). I was hooked up to (external) fetal monitors so they could check the activity of the baby. The baby's heart beat will speed up suddenly during her movement. At first she wasn't moving much since I was dehydrated and hadn't eaten anything in 22 hours. (The baby tends to be more active after mom eats.) However after getting a liter of IV fluids and eating a little bit ( 1/2 banana, 4 ritz crackers and 8 oz of apple juice) the activity of our little girl picked up. Soon she was hitting the fetal monitor with her arm or fist and making a "punch" sound come out of the speaker. Our little drummer. (Bob is already planning for her to have drum lessons.)

So we were at the hospital on Wednesday from about 11 am until 7 pm. It was a long day. It was pretty emotional for me, too, because the doctor was using scary words to prepare me for worst case scenarios and to explain why she wants to monitor me. After getting the IV fluids over the course of about 4 hours, the level of amniotic fluid did increase, but the doctor said she wanted to see a bigger increase. I think my body just needed more time to recuperate after the massive fluid loss from the food poisoning. The plan is for me to go back to the hospital on Friday to monitor Baby's activity and to check the AFI, or the Amniotic Fluid Index (level). Then she wants me to go to the hospital twice a week for monitoring until I go into labor. After researching on the internet, from what I've read, my lowest AFI level on Wednesday morning was still within the normal range. So I think the doctor just wants to make sure it stays there. I'll write again on Friday to let you know.