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Alisa. 37. New Hampshire. Married for almost three years to this wonderful, funny, smart guy. Previously married. Went through in-vitro fertilization to have my five year old magical son Keegan. Stepmother to the charming Isabelle (6). Gushingly in love with our baby boy Harper(1). Policy Wonk and dreaded bureaucrat. Lover of fine cuisine, honeybees, truly romantic moments and the underdog.
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Curried Beef Short Ribs

Note: I found this was more realistically four servings.

Finishing this dish with lime zest and juice brightens its rich flavors.

Yield 6 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces ribs, 2/3 cup rice, and about 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce)

2 teaspoons canola oil
2 pounds ...continue reading

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« Post Partum Checkup | Main | 3 Weeks »

Birth Story

Here it is and I don't think I left anything out. Then again the amnesia part is supposed to be a blessing.

So it all started on Thurs. the 22nd when I was given Misoprostol and then sent home for the night. We returned the next morning at 9am and I was given an actual room instead of having to hang out in Triage. I got the Nutfield birth suite, which was my first choice. I liked the room theme and it has a single bed which means it can be adjusted into different positions. They put me on monitors and started a pitocin drip. I named my IV stand “Stan” and we ended up spending a lot of quality time together. I was on the pitocin all day and tried to walk the hallways to help bring on contractions. Tom took the dogs to the kennel and ran some errands in preparation of us bringing home a baby. One of the nurses also tried a counterpressure technique to get the baby to face backwards, which would make delivery easier. We weren’t sure if it worked. By the 5pm they had given me all the pitocin for the day and they stopped the drip. I was given more Misoprostol and checked after an hour. No real progress was made in either dilation or thinning. So they put more in and I decided to stay at the hospital in order to keep my room and in case I did make progress during the night. They didn’t check me again before I went to sleep. I was offered Ambien to sleep. The pills hit me in ten minutes and I was drugged to the gills. Tom was concerned as he watched me stumble through my bedtime hygiene routine.

The next morning I was put back on the pitocin. All this time I still had the IV inserted and was attached to monitors. It was like dragging an octopus around. The day went on with very light contractions and me watching movies or walking the halls. The baby’s heartbeat appeared high up so a portable ultrasound was brought in to make sure he hadn’t gone breech. Sure enough he was head down but facing forward so the re-positioning hadn’t worked. My cervix had finally dilated to 2cm and thinned to 90%. But I wasn’t having regular contractions. Tom was going stir crazy so we had Jay come up to go to the mall with him. Right after they left around 5:30pm my midwife came in to break my water. Almost immediately afterwards I had strong, fast contractions. When the guys returned I was on the birthing peanut having my lower back massaged. At one point I was back in bed and felt like I was going to vomit. I knew from childbirth classes that this was normal. They didn’t get me a basin fast enough and all I could see was Tom right there so I held it in to keep from throwing up on him. The contractions continued to come strong and only a minute and a half apart. I couldn’t believe how hard they were. We played yoga music the whole time and I had my aromatherapy. They were helpful but I was getting tired. I decided to try the Jacuzzi tub and had some painkillers in my IV to take the edge off. Even with the warm water and rose oil drops in the tub I couldn’t get a break. At this point I had been rocked with contractions for six hours with no relief. I was dilated to 5cm, which was good progress. My goal had been to make it to 8 cm before asking for an epidural, but I knew I had reached my limit. The anesthesiologist came within a half hour and I remained perfectly still as three contractions passed while he inserted the catheter. The relief was instant and I could hardly believe it. Exhausted I went to sleep for the night and was checked every hour or so. I remember asking if I was still having contractions. The nurse assured me that I was. I was so afraid that I had slowed my labor down.
Around 5am they checked my cervix and told me I was fully dilated. I couldn’t believe it had happened overnight. A half hour later they wanted me to start pushing. There was a shift change and my new nurse just happened to be our childbirth class instructor. The epidural was light enough that I could still use my legs. I was able to try several different positions during pushing. I pushed for an hour and then they backed off the pitocin and let me rest. It was during the first hour I finally was able to vomit and felt so much better. I curled up for around 25 minutes and then it was back to pushing. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. The contractions were close together and I tried to get three good pushes in each time. I got a headache from the pressure on my face. Each time everyone would say how good I was doing and how much progress was made. After a while I stopped believing a them. They encouraged me to watch in the mirror and at first it was working. But then I got discouraged by him going back in after each push. Switching positions was helpful especially those where gravity could help out. Towards the end I was encouraged by equipment being brought in the room and the baby nurse showing up. That made me take the encouragement more seriously. My midwife told me to get mad and put that into pushing. It worked and I squeezed my brains out. During the crowning, which is aptly called “the ring of fire”, my midwife poured vitamin E oil on me and helped stretch. I credit this with getting me through without an episiotomy. All the sudden his head got through and the rest of him slid out. My mom helped catch the baby. It was the greatest relief I have ever felt. And then I was crying and not really believing he was here. They put him right on my chest and everyone helped dry him off. Tom was offered the umbilical cord to cut and he did it. Beforehand he hadn't been sure if he would make it through without fainting. But he did a great job holding my hand and helping me push. Erika was on one of my legs and I gather got a view of everything. She had also been worried about fainting. But she was awesome helping me breathe and focus the whole time. It turns out I pushed for four hours. I am so glad that no one told me at the time or I would have felt like giving up. Apparently he was still facing forward and that slowed the progress until he turned in my pelvis. Even through all of it I still couldn’t get the idea that a baby was actually coming. And then there he was. I held him for as long as I wanted and they waited to do the measuring and weighing. Later in the day the nurse showed Tom how to bathe him. What a sight that tiny baby all naked in Tom’s big hands. I had him with me the whole time in the hospital except when they took him for his hearing test and his circumcision. I actually cried when they took him for that because I thought he’d miss his mom and dad. He came back exhausted and slept for eight hours.
I was up and able to rinse off in the shower an hour later. I was definitely sore but didn't feel too bad. I only needed five stitches because my midwife did such an awesome job. They gave me ice packs, cooling spray and refrigerated witch hazel pads. All things I highly recommend. After the first 24 hours switch to soaking in warm water and keep taking that ibuprofen. Also sleep as much in the hospital as possible. It won't happen too much when you first get home. The toughest journey of my life but what a reward. It was the first time something turned out beyond what I hoped.

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