It’s only been one week, but is it possible to be more in love the second time around?

I gave birth to my son last week. I went in hoping to be able to do a VBAC (vaginal birth after caserian). ┬áMy reasons were not only recovery wise, but for my emotional satisfaction. That’s because I was incredibly disappointed during my first delivery. Every experience is different, every mother has different needs and expectations.

His due date was the 23rd. I took leave from work on the 30th hoping for a full three weeks of relaxation and nesting. I have to admit, I kind of want him to come early to give me more time to recover before my cousin’s wedding. I wanted both of us to get acclimated enough to be able to see all the family who would be expecting to meet him.

On Friday morning, I woke to a bit of dampness in my underwear. Over the previous week I had lost huge pieces of my mucus plug so I knew anything was possible. This wetness did not have any coloring associated with it. I suspected it might be fluid. When I called the OB office, they asked if I was gushing. My assumption was no. They asked me to come in to check.

At the office, a strip test confirmed that I was leaking fluid. I had a small break. Unlike the first time, I did rush. I asked how long I had to go home before heading to the hospital. I called hubby and let him know he would need to wrap things up at work. The biggest goal for me was eating! Knowing the last time was days without eating solid food, I want to enjoy a nice snack to make my tummy happy.

We snapped a couple last pictures of my belly in front of the hospital. The funny thing is that we ended up in the same birthing room as the last time. The nurses were friendly. I don’t know if protocols had changed since our last birth or just my attitude was different. Knowing about the impact of health care reform and patient satisfaction scores, I would not be surprised if protocols changed in response to surveys. The best part about the second time is having a better understanding of what’s going on and what I need.

Hospitals are definitely not an fun place. As immediately as I donned my gown, they were preparing me for IV access. It brought flashbacks of last time when it took them four attempts to get the line in and them towards the end of my stay it bled. Every bad experience from my first birth flooded back into my mind. Still, I thought about how much better this would hopefully be.

Again, I was asked if my fluid was gushing and I wasn’t sure how to answer the question. Sure, I felt little spurts of water escape, but I would not define that as “gushing.” Since I wasn’t feeling any contractions, they gave me pitocin. I was wary of getting it knowing all the side effects but I did not know enough to offer an alternative. It took effect pretty quickly and some big surges of fluid came. Now, I understood what gushing water was.

This all started around 2pm. It was very similar to our timing with the first baby. If we followed that pattern, I wouldn’t be pushing until noon the next day. Fortunately, that assumption was wrong. I moved along fairly well to the point where I wanted my epidural by 4pm. Last time, they gave me too much and I could not feel anything which was frustrating when it was time to push. I asked the anesthesiologist to give me a dose that would still provide some feeling of the pain. Well, the first attempt worked, but only on half my body. To make sure that it simply was not a delayed effect, they had me wait a full hour before redoing the epidural. Every three minutes or so (I really don’t know) I had to breathe through a contraction. It was not fun but I got through it with breathing, squeezing hubs hand, and verbal tone release. Once they redid the epidural I was good.

Sometime after 6pm, it was time to take a nap. I only had a few centimeters left and it was good to rest. Grandma had our older one and we talked by phone to explain the situation and assume him Dad would see him tomorrow. I don’t know how long I actually stayed asleep. I can still recall a lot of the beeping from the machines. It’s not a peaceful environment to be sure.

We awoke around 10pm. The doctor came and checked my progress. We were near full dilation so they prepared for pushing. The bed setup was changed to add a space to catch my body waste and the baby. The doctor gowned up and the nurses moved items in place. The doctor knew my wishes from the many talks I’d had with my primary OB (part of a shared pool). There was no disagreement, simply that I would have an opportunity to push for an hour after which we’d move to a C-section. I trusted that she was as determined as I was to make this VBAC happen. The only concern was that similar to the older one, we had a sunny side up issue. It would be a little more challenging to get him out. Having him early hopefully would help in terms of his size.

I have to admit, I was a little concerned that we would have a Friday the 13th baby. Sure, as a teenager, he’d think it was cool, but it was not my preference. I kept that silly concern to myself. I don’t believe in planning births. I want mother nature to do what’s best for the baby. At 10:40, they propped up my legs and encouraged me to push on the next contraction. Hubs helped keep me calm and support my pushing. The pushing was exhausting, especially in the uncomfortable position of being on my back. I wish I could have been in a different position.

Some time before midnight, we made some good progress. The last half hour was crowning. Once the head came through, she has me pause. It was horrible because I wanted to so bad to finish pushing. I could feel him body stretching my vagina beyond its limits. I know she was probably checking that the cord was out of the way but I did not like waiting. It was such a relief when she told me I could finish pushing at minutes before midnight. I felt his body pop and slip out of me. It’s hard to describe the sense of relief and satisfaction that went through me at accomplishing this amazing birth. Hubby and I both thought they’d call the birth at 11:59pm. to our surprise she recorded 12:01am. The time a child is born is so arbitrary. (Now I don’t believe in any of those New Year’s Day baby times.)

The next step was meeting my little boy. They put him on my chest and I kiss his matted hair. He was probably still messy and covered in a bit of blood but I didn’t care. He was here and perfect. I can’t remember if they took him back briefly to clean him. I just remember the best part, having him resting on my chest and like a champ he immediately latched and started sucking. My hormones went through the roof. I was in heaven. This is the birth I had always imagined and wanted. It was what was denied me the first time around and I took it back.

There are times I think it’s not fair to my first born. As much as I love him because he will always be my first, his birth can’t be compared to his brother’s. I cuddle and cradle this baby like nothing else. I feel like we have a special bond because we were together immediately.

We were excited a few weeks ago to discover a robin’s next in the camilia bush outside our living room window. For a few days, this robin would come and go, sitting comfortably in the perfect little nest. After a week, peeked in to see four little blue eggs. It was so exciting to think we’d have a front row seat to see nature in action.

We were out of town over the weekend. On Tuesday morning, I realized I had forgotten to check on the impending brood outside the window. There was no sign of mama bird, so I leaned closer to determine what was going on inside the nest. I couldn’t find the bright blue eggs I had seen just a couple weeks ago.

I immediately started to worry. There were signs of down feathers on the ground. My first thought was that some larger animal had attacked and eaten everything. I tried to get a different angle on the interior of the nest and saw something move briefly. I guessed it was a baby bird.

My husband went outside to examine the area and take a better look around. We made sure not to touch anything in case the mama was simply out gathering food. The babies looked quite lethargic. It’s been warm but with so few feathers it seems unlikely the chicks were meant to be without their mother for too long. A photo my husband shot of the interior showed three babies. Two were okay, but a third looked like a little ball, as if it was still inside the egg shell.

Another day has now come and gone with no sign of the mother. A peak inside the nest showed no movement whatsoever. The babies have probably expired.

As a mother who’s expecting a child, this is just heartbreaking. I know it’s just the way nature goes sometimes, but I can’t help be a little disturbed. My husband has been great about it. He’s looked up several questions on the Internet to see if we could have done anything. We’re not ones to take a huge intervention in nature, but we would have been willing to lend a hand if it was something simple and non-interfering. He reassured me there really isn’t anything we could have done. It’s likely the mama either got killed or she was inexperienced at raising young and abandoned the nest.

I just hope those little ones didn’t suffer too much.

You know you’re in the home stretch when you start feeling belly hiccups. With my first, it happened three times each day. So far, this one is once or twice per day. It is a good sign that he is taking in placenta fluid as is normal for any baby. The hiccups can be annoying but it is nice to know the baby is fine.

I wonder sometimes if I’m giving this child enough attention. Granted he’s in the womb so it’s not like he would really notice. Still, with our first my husband would talk to my belly every night. Not this time around… It is either tending to our toddler, cleaning the house, or off in his man cave on the computer.

I can’t help wonder if this impacts the baby. What can we really influence at this stage. Does it all even out after a matter of months?

At least the baby hears the stories that I read to big brother. Certainly that’s better than all the tube time I used to spend. I really don’t pay much attention to my diet either. All the paranoia around peanuts, alcohol, fish, deli meat, etc. sure, I’m careful not to eat anything that may be spoiled, over processed, or unnatural, but otherwise I don’t really care. I drink wine once in a blue moon normally so I don’t fret over a quarter glass of wine over lunch. Nuts are great source of protein that keeps me full. Free lunches at work don’t have many non deli options, but I do try to avoid the roast beef. My attitude is that my body and my baby need to learn to fight germs in the real world.

Earlier this month, I was in a car accident. I was one exit away from getting off the freeway when I saw the car ahead of me swerve. Once it was out of the way, I saw debris in the road. I remember seeing an upside down box blow across the lane in addition to the object sitting dead center in my lane. My first reaction was to let off on the gas to slow down as I tried to determine what was in the road. I should have guessed that if the other car swerved, it was worth getting out of the lane as fast as possible. Hindsight is twenty-twenty.

I’m sure it was only a second or two, but time moves differently in this situations. Once I was close enough to realize it was not an object I could simply drive over, I hit my brakes hard. It looked like a tv monitor to me and I new the center part of the object that rose up would hit the car. When the impact occurred, I could hear it dragging underneath my car as I slowed.

I had a second to absorb the impact of the collision and decide to slowly get off the freeway when I was hit from behind. In the corner of my eye, I could see a car fly off to my right.That was clearly the car that had just hit me. He moved quickly to pull off the freeway. I managed to shift one lane but took a little longer to get over the last lane as a couple drivers did not slow down to let me off.

The other car was a subcompact car. I dreaded looking at the back of my car. We immediately checked that each other was okay and exchanged insurance information. He also spent a considerable amount of time on the phone. What I didn’t know is that he was on the job and calling his boss to determine what to do with the cargo in the trunk. As I stood there waiting for him, more debris from the items dropped on the road were flying around as cars drove by. I was worried there might be other objects out there that could get hurled towards us or that would cause a car to hit us on the side of the road.

I called 9-1-1 to be safe. The operator indicated that others had already called in to report the debris and our two cars on the side of the road. She said CHP would be coming and asked if we needed an ambulance. Fortunately, I felt fine. The other guy has a small amount of blood (dime size) on his hand and denied needing an ambulance. It felt like it took forever for CHP to arrive. When they did arrive, they asked us both several more times but we each declined medical attention. When the guy mentioned having a headache, I did express to him that if he doesn’t go to the hospital [tonight] to please make sure to see a doctor the next day.

The officers took our statements one at a time starting with the guy. I remember hearing the officer ask him his age. After that I think I answered my phone to coordinate with my husband about what to do next, continue with my trip or come home. The interview with CHP was okay but I really hated answering some of the questions. Looking back, I wonder if I had right to refuse to answer. They kept asking me for speeds and distances. I think it’s ridiculous to expect me to be able to assess these things accurately. It makes one rethink how reliable witness testimony can be. On speed, I’m probably okay, but if you ask me to tell you how far away 500 ft is, you’ll be sorry.

CHP asked what I was planning to do. I was uncomfortable with the idea of driving given that my back end has wires and fixtures dangling. How can that be safe to drive? The object I hit turned out to be a vacuum. The CHP officer pulled back my car to removed the vacuum. I had no obvious engine damage, unlike the subcompact which was clearly leaking fluids on the road. The CHP examined my car and told me it was driveable. I really didn’t agree with them though I understand his evaluation. The car’s engine was still working.

Every moment we stood out there, it was getting darker and windy. It’s also rather frightening to stand on the side of a freeway with cars speeding past at 65+ MPH. You just never know when something really bad could happen. I decided to go home and rest to make sure that I was physically okay.

In the aftermath, you can imagine there were many conversations with the insurance company. They asked similar questions to the CHP in terms of driving speed, distances, degree of impact, road conditions and position of car on the road.

Suffice to say that they are laying blame for the initial collision with the vacuum on me. I find it very frustrating because no matter what story I could have told them, I don’t see that the outcome would be any different. If I drove too close to the car ahead of me, then I’m at fault for improper driving procedure. If I was at a safe distance, then I should have had time to change lanes and avoid the object in the road. The only way I could have avoided fault is if they could catch the person who dropped the vacuum on the road. We know that’s not going to happen.

What I don’t like is that I’m made to feel that it’s my fault. They never asked if I could have switch lanes – how do they know whether or not I even had the option? Perhaps there were cars in the neighboring lanes that prevented me from doing anything but driving ahead. Secondly, someone was bound to hit the object; I’m just unlucky it was me. When you have dozens of cars per second speeding down the road, do you really think everyone will manage to avoid it? I hate that when I talk to the insurance company they constantly have to remind me that the front end portion is MY fault. I know it’s just semantics and business, but I’m a good driver and it really wears on me emotionally to be labeled as such. This is my first “at fault” accident EVER in 25 years of driving.

I was very excited to receive my Boob order over the weekend. Based on their sizing chart, I ordered three tops in size small. I assume the size chart is based on your current bust measurement (some manufacturer tell you to go by your pre-pregnancy size). My order included the following:

– Nursing singlet tank in black

– Nursing v-neck with short sleeve in mint

 

 

 

 

 

– Nursing v-neck with long sleeve in watermelon

The colors were just as I had expected from the online photos. The organic cotton felt good with a nice stretch. I can see how the overlap will make nursing very easy and discrete.

My one concern was that there was a lot of excess bunching along my back. I am a petite 5’0″ so I expect a little imperfection when ordering EU sizing but this was too much. It’s hard to know how much my bump is affecting this. I also found that the shoulder width is big and causes a gap in the back neck area. I’m hoping a couple washes and hot dryer runs will lessen these issues.

The biggest disappointment was with the nursing tank. Even though the size is small, the length felt more like another size up compared to the two shirts. The two straps of the tank top literally fall off my shoulders. I doubt that any hot washing and drying will be enough to make this tank fit properly. It’s really ashame because I think I would have worn this the most out of the three pieces.

Overall, I would highly recommend Boob clothing (minus the fact I have yet to actually nurse in one). For summer, the breathable cotton will be very comfortable and the quality of the material should hold up well over time. The challenge is that their products are pricey and not easily found in the U.S. My order was from Boob in Sweden which means the shipping was quite high and one must be careful about staying within the U.S. customs quota on purchases. If you can, try a few pieces at a local store before ordering so that you’ll be more confident of the fit.

I’ve been doing a bit of online shopping the past couple weeks. Since my last child was born in the winter, most of my maternity collection is long sleeve and warm. That’s probably not going to work in the peak of summer with the next bundle of joy. So I’ve been debating how much to invest in new clothing (or gently used is possible) that I can wear for the next 3-6 months (including some post-partum time). For some inspiration, you can peek at my collection of pins on Pinterest .

There is one wedding I will be attending in August. Nothing I own is going to work for that so I did decide to invest in one dress. I found this Singaporean designer, Dote Studio, who has some great looking styles. I just received my order for the Madison dress in burgundy and I think it looks great. The style has enough tummy space for me to wear it now, and, I’m hoping, it will still be wearable well after nursing has ended. That would definitely give me my money’s worth.

Another piece that seems pretty flexible is the Old Navy fold-over skirt. It comes in several colors and styles but the blue stripe is my favorite. So many of my maternity clothes are solid colors that this is a nice change and feels much more fun and flirty. You need that when you feel like a waddling whale.

I can’t tell you how many online stores I’ve visited in the past two weeks. There are definitely a few gems out there which I’ll share another time. The other important thing to consider is how much you want to spend and what kind of quality you expect. Places like Old Navy and WalMart will get you some affordable basics, but if you want something that’s better designed and may hold up better after many washings you’ll want to look clothing brands such as Boob Design and Japanese Weekend.

In many careers, people are required to continually educate themselves. One profession where this is true is people who are in healthcare. Nurses, pharmacists, and doctors must regularly earn continuing education credits to maintain their licenses.

There’s no such thing for my profession. But I must admit I’ve been very lazy about doing anything to refresh and challenge myself to use new approaches and grow circles. Attending seminars and professional meetings is as much about learning as it is about connecting.

I’ve spent this past week at a seminar learning about how to better do analysis. Some of it was common sense that I’ve learned from grad school and my years of working, but there’s always a new way to approach projects. I love doing these group exercises to put the puzzle pieces together and anticipate behavior.

The group exercises helped me better pinpoint one of the reasons I’ve been dissatisfied with my current job – I’m not being challenged to think more strategically. Everything I am involved in is rather short term or tactical. It can be fun, but I’m getting bored because I feel like it’s getting repetitive and not exposing me to the broader picture of our industry and the company strategy. There have been times I’ve felt completely left out of the loop and unable to contribute because I lack insight into management’s vision and objectives.

So the question now is what to do about it?