Monday, March 30, 2009

Introducing... Kate Elizabeth Edelbrock (Baby E)

Today marks the one-week anniversary of Baby E's birth, and I've just now gotten myself together enough to be able to share the exciting news that after nine months of complaining, weight gain, swollen ankles and heart burn, I've given birth to a beautiful baby girl named Kate Elizabeth Edelbrock.

She is, without a doubt, the bees knees.

Everything about her is truly perfect. And, while I'm a tad bit biased, I can literally stare at her for hours and not get tired, or go cross-eyed or even feel just a teensy bit like I'd rather be sitting outside on a patio somewhere, pounding margaritas. I'm totally content to just BE with her. Which is good, because there is going to be a lot of togetherness for the foreseeable future.

I know that many of you want the obligatory birth story, so here goes a rather abbreviated version. Most everything I do for myself (showering, eating, breathing) is rather rushed right now, as Kate rules the roost around here, and my boobs (and self) are called into action alarmingly often. So here is Kate's brief birth story.

On Saturday, I started having a few Braxton Hicks contractions. I didn't have any pain, and I was stoked my uterus was starting to show signs of evicting its little resident. That night, I woke up several times with painful contractions, but without any sort of pattern. Starting around 8 a.m. on Sunday, my contractions started for real as I eased into early labor with them ranging between every 20 minutes to every 5 minutes. Again, no real pattern but each one getting stronger and more painful.

By about 5 p.m., my contractions were regular, painful and I was pretty sure this baby was coming sooner rather than later. Ben was fantastic throughout the entire day. He held my hand, helped me breathe when the contractions were at their worst, and watched an entire marathon of Band of Brothers on the History channel with me. What sacrifice!

By 10 p.m. I was ready to head to the hospital to get checked out. I was tired and my contractions were varying between every 5 and 7 minutes, so I was done waiting it out at home. My parents had just driven into town and were planning to meet us at the hospital later as things progressed. Turns out that once I was checked in, I was only dilated to a 3, so my doctor (SANTA WAS ON CALL!!) told the nurse to have me walk around the hospital for a half hour before I could have my epidural. Talk about incentive... I practically jumped out of bed so that I could get that damn needle in my back. As soon as we started walking, my contractions got much, much worse. By the time I was back in bed and checked, I'd gone from a 3 to a 4.5 or 5. Plenty far along for my epi -- hurrah!

After this, timing and other details get fuzzy, but I got my epidural around 1:30 or so, slept for several hours and then was told around 8 a.m. it was nearly time to push. Apparently, I am a kick-ass pusher because less than 30 minutes after I got started I was told to STOP PUSHING and wait for Santa to get there. He waltzes in and talks about his weekend of golfing while I'm panting and trying NOT to give birth until he is in position. At this point, I hate Santa and everything he stands for. As he jokes with the nurse I'm literally feeling that Kate may make an appearance whether someone is there to catch her or not, and I say a little "Um, excuse me?!" which I don't know if they heard or not, but all of a sudden Kate is being delivered, Santa is laughing in a jolly Santa way, and I get to see her for the first time.

She is perfect.

Ben and my Mom get to go with Kate to get her all cleaned up, and I get to hang around with Santa as he does a little (okay a lot) of repair on my body. I personally blame his inability to get his gloves on quickly enough to gently deliver my baby, but who knows. Perhaps this is a sign of Kate's personality or of things to come. Just as she barreled her way into the world, hopefully she will have that type of fearlessness throughout life.

We've now been home with Kate since last Wednesday afternoon, and every moment is still a whirlwind. Each day ends, and I've accomplished almost nothing to speak of, but have a very happy, well-fed baby and that makes me feel like its been a good day.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Backing down the corporate ladder

I consider myself a fairly maternal person. I'm a hugger. I call people pet names like "sweetie" "hon" and "sugar dimple bottom" (okay, I've never used that last one, but doesn't it sound endearing?). I actually LIKE listening to people's problems and I very rarely roll my eyes at them, unless its after they've left the room. See? Maternal.

Yet, despite all of this, I didn't grow up wanting to be a "mommy." I always knew I wanted a family, but my passion, my drive was never to hurry up, get married, have kids and be a mom. To me, these things would happen in life, but weren't things I focused on. Instead, I focused my slightly (okay, more like extremely) competitive spirit on excelling at first school and then my career. I worked hard early on in my career, waking in the middle of the night to check my blackberry, obsess over one thing or another and had a hard time "turning off."

As I got older, I learned from some great colleagues the benefit of work/life balance. I found I could still climb that corporate ladder and be a leader without burning myself out. But my desire to succeed and be a top professional in my field never diminished.

Which is why it came as such a surprise to myself, and many of my colleagues, when I decided that I needed to resign and take an extended maternity leave of a year or two. I've gotten a lot of questions about my decision, mainly from people trying to understand why I chose to quit my job when so many women are able to work and have children -- able to "have it all." I never felt like I had an acceptable answer.

But I guess the answer is that I still feel like I'm going to have it all. Just not all at one time.

A woman at our church, a virtual stranger, said something to us last week that resonated with me more than any advice I've had throughout my pregnancy. She told me to enjoy the early time with our baby, that "The days are long, but the years are just too short."

She summed it up in such a succinct and beautiful way. While my friends and colleagues may not understand my choices, Ben and I decided that although the days will feel long, and I may not be fulfilled or happy every single one of them, the years are just so short. And in those few short years, I will have an experience with Baby E that I can never duplicate.

Then, after those few short years I can start clawing and scratching my way back up the corporate ladder. Because ultimately, that is where I want to be -- I want it all.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Eviction notice

Last week, I really thought I could just not feel any more pregnant. That is why I was SO SURE I would be having the baby early. Because there was just NO WAY for my body to feel more alien and uncomfortable.


This week, I've both RUN MY HUSBAND out of the bedroom with my buzz saw like snoring and FALLEN ON MY FACE in public when bending to pick something up. Both equally feminine and graceful, and I just keep thinking that "It just CAN'T get any better than this" (heavy on the sarcasm there). However, if I say that out loud, I'm fairly certain that next thing you know I'll have hemorrhoids and backne and just have to head slap myself for foolishly tempting the fates to deal me a few more hormone induced insults before Baby E makes her appearance. So I'm staying mum and just thanking my lucky stars that at the VERY LONGEST I'm only going to be pregnant for three more weeks before my doctor evicts her from my uterus.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Me and My Lazy Cervix

Yesterday was my doctor appointment with Santa, and the jolly old guy did not disappoint. He gave me a few high-fives during my appointment (which can be awkward when he is also in between your knees) and basically told me I was doing great. I think "great" is a technical term, but if you want me to get really detailed, here is what I learned.

(By the by, if you are of the male persuasion and NOT my husband, or if you are female and girly/pregnant-y type details gross you out, you may just want to skip this post and continue to think that Baby E is going to magically appear thanks to Leprechauns, space aliens or the Tooth Fairy. It will just be easier for all of us involved.)

I'm about 50% effaced, which means my cervix is thinning out -- and although the medical details for why this is necessary is still slightly fuzzy, I do know that it has to happen for the baby to be born and I'm halfway to 100% so that has to be good.

Next, Ben and I were right... Baby E HAS dropped. A lot. As in, when Santa was doing my internal exam he told me he was TOUCHING HER HEAD. As in, well, if HE could reach in and touch her head, I probably could too if I were so inclined to try (I'm not by the way). She is at a station minus-2, on a scale of -5 to 5 (5 being when her little head is popping out). A zero means she is "engaged" which means I'm in labor (hopefully) so I was thrilled that she really is starting to get into position.

Finally, the not so exciting news. I'm not dialated at all. Even with these other great pre-labor signs, not a darn thing is going to happen until I start dialating, so I'm trying to mentally coach my cervix to GET WITH THE PROGRAM. My doctor suggested walking at least 30 minutes a day. If that is going to get me to have this baby sooner rather than later, I'M ON IT. I sacrificed today at lunch and walked around the mall with a colleague who wanted to shop and I stood by while she purchased adorable clothes that didn't have waistbands made of ELASTIC and I turned green with envy at her ability to fit into clothing that doesn't look like a circus tent. It was torture for me, but it was also me standing and walking around for a good half hour, so that should tell you something about how badly I want this baby OUT OF MY BODY.

However, to keep this positive, Santa did tell me that he felt I would have the baby naturally and close to my due date, and hopefully I won't have to be induced (yeah!) Then again, he also guessed I was having a boy when he listened to the heartbeat (um, wrong there buddy) so Santa may not be the MOST qualified to guestimate my delivery. My next appointment is with THAT WOMAN (my actual doctor) next Thursday, so hopefully my lazy cervix will have done something by then and I'll have more news to report!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Week 37: A Wish for Santa

Today marks the start of week 37 for me and Baby E. For my troubles, I received a massive kick in the ribs this morning as a wake-up call and then for good measure, a little bouncing on the bladder. Apparently Baby E is a morning person.

This Thursday, I FINALLY get to go in to see the doctor again. Most everyone I know goes to see their OB-GYN every week from 35 weeks on, but not my practitioner. OH NO, she apparently is getting no "it could happen early" vibes from me, so I'm still on the every two weeks cycle. Which is completely FREAKING ME OUT. Because, how do I know that I'm not totally dialated and ready to have this kid? In fact, she even has me scheduled with her colleague this week instead of with her. Apparently, she doesn't feel the need to see me, since, you know, I have, like, a FULL TERM BABY INSIDE ME.

I'm almost hoping my doctor's colleague is on call for my delivery instead of my doctor anyways. Her colleague in the practice has been named top OB-GYN in Dallas for like, 30 years running. He is extremely calm and comes across very caring, lovable and father-like. And, I don't know why this delights me so much, but he has this great tuft of gray chest hair that peeks out of the tops of his scrubs. His eyes even twinkle. Seriously, they TWINKLE. Its like if Santa Clause decided that delivering gifts to ungrateful children everywhere was no longer fulfilling, and he decided instead to care for the vaginas of the world. Now THIS is a man I could have deliver my child. I'm thinking of asking for his on-call schedule and by sheer willpower having Baby E while he is working.

But until that day, Baby E and I are just trucking along. Ben and I are almost positive she's dropped, which is something that typically happens to first time moms soon up to a few weeks before the birth. Ben says my belly looks lower, which I can sort of see, but MY telltale sign that she is lower is my need to run to the bathroom every 20 minutes since she is using my bladder as a recliner. Oh, the joys!

A few pictures so you can marvel at the week 37 belly. The OMFG HUGE week 37 belly.