Andie’s Birth Story

Today my daughter is nine months old and has been officially “out as long as she’s been in”. So I thought it would be really fun to recount her birth story. Idk why, but I’m always fascinated to hear about everyone’s birth stories. I think it’s morbid curiosity. Like road kill. I just wanna look real quick. “How bad was it for you? Ooh really and then what went wrong?” If you’re not into that, I get it. And if you are, I get it!

So my labor and delivery story with Andie Jean is WEIRD. I was so smarmy going into it, thinking this is my third rodeo and that I would know exactly what to expect. NOPE.

The contractions started on a Monday and these were no Braxton Hicks tickles, this was the real deal. At least that’s what I thought. They would come on and become very painful and regular. 5 minutes apart, lasting a minute each. But then they would go away? Honestly, I had never heard of preterm labor like this until I had it myself.

After the first 24 hours of these contractions that go nowhere I called my doctor’s office. “Hi. I think I’m in labor?” So they told me to come in and get checked. My doctor said I was at a three. Which kinda seemed like I was in labor, but also maybe not? She stripped my membranes and I just went home and hoped for the best.

I labored all night and into the next day. Going from okay this is seriously it get the hospital bags to wait never mind they went away. I had NEVER had a labor this confusing. With my boys it was totally straight forward. Pains. Hospital. Push. But this girl couldn’t make up her mind!

Our babysitter came over Tuesday night just in case and Daniel and I walked aimlessly around the neighborhood until eleven or twelve at night. Finally I just got sick of it and told everyone to go to bed.

I had that weirdo start and stop labor all night and into the next day. Finally Wednesday evening I decided just to go into the hospital. By all accounts they were hospital worthy labor pains. Five minutes apart, lasting a minute for a full hour. And sometimes so painful I couldn’t talk or breathe during.

Dan and I got to the hospital at around four or so. We left the suitcase in our car because the labor had stopped again and I was pretty sure they were going to send me home. But when the nurses checked me, I was at a five. They didn’t know what to do either. They said they didn’t dare send me home if I was already at a five with my third child but my contractions mysteriously stopped. (Which I was embarrassed about, but like why though? Haha idk. It’s not like I could control them)

They told me to walk around the hospital a bit. Which didn’t surprise me, because that’s what happened with Casey. Except with Casey the labor progressed instantly when I walked around. This time it started, stopped and then hurt but “not in a productive way” is how I phrased it to Dan.

They checked me again and I was at a six. Which sorta weirded me out because that should be pretty active labor but I had no contractions and I felt pretty “normal”. Because I was so far along they told me that “I could stay and have my baby”.

I got checked in and moved into a birthing sweet at around 7 or so. Since they were starting me on Pitocin I asked if I could have an epidural at the same time. (The prospect of never feeling active labor was pretty encouraging). The epidural went okay. Not perfect like with Jack, but not horrific like with Casey. Just a lot of pressure pain and patience as they tried to get it in right. They did confirm that my spine was crooked like the other anesthesiologist said. But they said it was because the baby was pushing on it from the inside! Mothers are TOUGH dude.

So I laid in bed with an epidural and Pitocin, the nurse said, “Just go to bed and then wake up and have a baby.”
So I slept a little. But that baby was not coming.
8pm. 9pm. 10pm. 11pm. Midnight.
Slowest progression ever.
1am. 2am. 3am. 4am.
I went from a 6 to an 8 on like 10 hours of Pitocin. The nurses called the doctor in the middle of the night like “What do you want us to do here?” I was wondering if it would end up in a C section. But the doctor told them to stop Pitocin for half an hour and then try again.

At 5am I was exhausted and in tears. I was DONE. I had been laboring for 60+ hours and I just felt like I couldn’t handle anymore. I was in sweats, clutching the sides of the bed, cursing and saying I couldn’t do it anymore. It was that moment I told Dan my deepest fear… “What if I resented this child because of the difficult pregnancy and labor I had been through?”

Dan was a great partner, listening to my concerns and validating all my feelings. But right as I was having a melt down I suddenly felt a pain. An intense contraction. As if I had no epidural at all. I started bawling harder. Another contraction worse than the last one. I hit the nurse’s call like a giant NOPE button. I was not about to feel labor right at the worst of it.

They gave me a shot of fentanyl and some kind of adrenaline booster. And that gave me the strength to keep going. Some of the pain I figured out (and this is super weird) was that the contractions were crushing the baby into my ribcage. And I’m not saying this to be dramatic but I legitimately felt that my ribs were going to crack. Like the pain and pressure against my ribs was so bad I felt it through the epidural and the fentanyl.

The biggest problem was that my water wouldn’t break. It was in the middle of the night and no doctor would come in and break my water and the nurses couldn’t do it either. My labor nurse kept saying, “If your water would break that baby would come right out.” BUT IT NEVER FREAKING BROKE!

I waited in agony and then finally right at 7 am my doctor walked in to break it. I think I started crying at the sight of her. She broke my water and then announced she was going to see some other patients in recovery. But as soon as she left I had an ENORMOUS amount of pressure. She basically walked out just to walk right back in and deliver my baby.

I think I only pushed maybe five or six times. I had to stop pushing half way through because she had the chord wrapped around her neck. Not sure whether I should mention this or not, but as she was coming out and starting to crown she actually was moving her head around! All the nurses and everyone in the delivery room was like WOOOOOOAAAAAH LOOK AT THAT as they’re staring at me wide-legged. So that was… a life experience I guess.

Another big set of pushes and bloop there she was. They set her on my chest and I swear from the moment I looked at her face I knew I would not resent this child like I had worried. I felt her spirit. What she was like and who she was. I had an instant bond with my little girl. My Andie Jean. And I was so happy. The months I had agonized through to bring her here were worth it for that moment.

So I really wouldn’t trade anything, since I love the person that came from it so much.

PS I will also add that even though I had a crazy long labor, I recovered insanely quickly. I was up walking around not too long after and had minimal postpartum problems. Crazy how bodies work especially with birth.

A Blog Post Literally Complaining About My Fridge

When we bought our house almost three years ago, the fridge “did not convey”. It was the first time my husband and I got to pick out our own appliance, so I put a ton of research into the thing! There were certain features that I was super picky about. It had to be black to match both the existing appliances and my emo heart. I also specifically did not want a water dispenser on the outside because I thought my little toddlers would turn it into a shower. We spent a lot of time browsing until we found the right one. Black, no water dispenser, and the double doors we’ve always dreamt of. There was also this special feature of an alarm that would go off if the door was accidentally left open. Very kid friendly I thought.

Well… yeah.

Don’t get me wrong this is a super nice fridge, it’s just…

First world problems but it doesn’t fill up the space like I thought it would. Which is my fault for not measuring correctly / being cheap and choosing a smaller fridge. I thought it would look okay but as soon as they put it in I was like … ew. The gap was so wide that I tried to utilize it by storing my brooms there but that just looked worse honestly. Plus whenever my kids played around the fridge a broom would slip out from the crack and smack them on the heads like a ghost from an old timey cartoon.

Okay and speaking of ghosts. I guess I should have taken it seriously when more than one review mentioned the “scary sounds” coming from the fridge. Because now every time someone comes over they think the thing is haunted. “Sorry, I know that sounds like the windy whisper of Hannibal Lector eating Fava beans, but it’s actually just my fridge.” One review said he kept getting “scared sh*tless” by the noise of the fridge… but only in the middle of the night. I remember laughing and thinking that guy was dramatic but he was UNDERSELLING IT. This fridge will randomly drop a pound of ice at three in the morning and it sounds like a burglar smashing his way through the wall like the Kool-aid Man.

Oh my gosh that ice tray too. It will fill it all the way up to the top and the freezer is so fricking small that when I try to shut the drawer over the box of Uncrustables, several ice cubes will just shoot out and roll all over the floor.

Also I swear the ice smells like wet dog sometimes? I’ve never heard Daniel complain about this. So maybe I have a brain injury I don’t remember about.

That door alarm that I thought was such a useful feature HAHAHAHAHA. Now it’s just a stressful race to put your groceries away in under ten minutes or get screamed at.

That’s not even all the sounds we have problems with. The waterline in the back is like a freaking wrecking ball or something. When you fill up your kids little plastic cup with water it’s like KaCHOONK KaCHOONK every single time you press the button. And my wimpy little finger can’t hold the dang thing down so it’s KaCHOONKING the entire time which drives my husband nuts. I have a standard size Hydroflask and it takes two entire minutes for it to dribble and kaCHOONK full.

I thought that water dispenser inside the fridge was SUCH a selling point with little kids. But what I forgot is that kids are not toddlers forever. And at some point they’re going to start filling up their own water glasses. But when they’re too small to reach it they will actually climb INSIDE your fridge and stand on the ledge to fill their cup. Then when it takes them too long, that FREAKING DOOR ALARM GOES OFF. And your child is traumatized and crying for you to rescue them from inside the refrigerator.

TLDR Pros: keeps food from rotting, can hold 2 gallons of milk if you push the shelf in. Cons: whispers like the souls of the damned, throws ice at you, sounds a fire alarm when you’re trying to put away your cream cheese, freezes your child to their pull-ups as they kaCHOONK water.

Getting Vulnerable About My Antepartum Depression

Hi so this is sort of awkward but I don’t know why. It shouldn’t be. I wouldn’t have really said anything except that I felt like if more people (especially other creatives) had told me their experience I might have acted sooner. Or at least have been willing to act sooner.

I knew I always had anxiety, but the anxiety also dictated how I managed the anxiety. As in, I was too scared to do anything about it. Particularly when it came to medication. In college, I may or may not have once taken my boyfriend’s prescription pill. (For legal reasons I may not have lol). And you know what? It sucked. I don’t recommend taking prescriptions that aren’t yours. (For legal reasons I especially don’t recommend it) It completely inverted my personality. I had no emotions one way or the other. No joy. No crazy anxiety. Nothing. I was this empty robot. I actually felt empty. Like walking around with a spotlight and a skull in my hand lamenting that I lost all my mirth and what is this quintessence of dust? So that really misshaped my perception of psychiatric medicine. I felt like all meds would make you robotic and weird and passionless.

I also had this other fear about my writing. Would meds interfere with my creativity? Because writing is a massive MASSIVE outlet in my life. It’s so deeply a part of my person that I would rather suffer indefinitely than have my creativity taken away from me.

So when I got pregnant with my daughter, I was unbelievably sick. I think I had to have a total of four emergency IVs? Maybe five. Just sick as a dog. And I didn’t recognize the depression that was creeping in on me. until one day I started crying uncontrollably. And I remembered that sort of feeling after I had Jack. After Jack I had gone through PPD/PPA without realizing what it was. Because when it’s your first child you don’t realize crying for 24 hours straight isn’t normal. But this being my third child, I realized that I was experiencing something out of the norm. And I hadn’t even had her yet.

After I recognized something was wrong (which is the first really hard step) I called my OBG and told her my symptoms. They ended up giving me a survey over the phone and when I heard the questions I was like “ohhhhh…. yeah.” Sometimes you don’t realize how bad things really are when you’re silently experiencing them yourself. I was eight months pregnant and suffering from antepartum depression, which I had never before even heard of.

My doctor prescribed me Sertraline on the spot over the phone and I was so nervous. I read the pamphlet front to back and felt panicked that I was about to lose my ability to write. My husband is a Pharmacist and he comforted me. He said if the medication didn’t work for me I could always go off of it. So I decided to give it a try and this was the important thing I learned:

The medication didn’t stop my creative process, the depression did.

Suddenly, I had my energetic ability to write again. And other surprise side effects that I hadn’t realized were related to my depression/anxiety.

Growing up I always had panic attacks about getting sick. Legitimate panic attacks. And the first week I was on the meds, I got a terrible virus and was throwing up (plus pregnant sick, so that required another IV). But for some reason I was like “oh darn I just threw up in the Bobby Que parking lot. Whatevs lol.” THAT HAS NEVER BEEN MY MO.

Another one was suddenly I could watch Forensic Files with my husband. Before, even just hearing that narrator’s voice and cadence gave me heart palpitations. And now suddenly I’m not terrified of true crime. I read about The Toy Box Killer and the West Memphis Three crime within days of each other. And was like “Yucky, that’s disturbing.” And then NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT IT AGAIN. No ruminating details for the next week or feeling like I was gonna puke late at night thinking about it.

After that I realized okay… probably shoulda been on this medication a way long time ago.

Suddenly I had all this motivation to get things done. Unfortunately for Daniel that meant a butt ton of Amazon purchases as I started fixing up and decorating my house. I also started dressing up. Even if it were for myself in my house and my newborn spit up on me. I’ve honestly never felt more aligned with my true self.

I will add, because I think it’s important, I also was doing “the work”. Being honest about some difficult things that had happened to me in the past and giving up things that didn’t serve or work for me anymore. But all in all I think I’m in a much better space and that was in part the medication.

So that’s it. In all my vulnerability. I wanted to talk about it just in case someone else had the same fears or concerns about meds that I did. Or even if someone is having a really difficult pregnancy and didn’t know that antepartum depression is a real thing. Sertraline really did work for me if that helps.