January 29, 2007

Katie's Birth Story

After almost 12 weeks, I figured it was about time to post the details...


Friday, the 10th of November, I was getting around to head onto campus to print a poster for B. He was headed to Indianapolis on Saturday morning and needed it ready to go before he left. I got out of the shower around 2pm and like always, had to go to the bathroom. Sat down and peed but after I finished I started to get this trickle of fluid. At first I thought I just hadn’t finished but then quickly realized that my water must have broke because the fluid kept coming and coming and coming and coming. I literally sat there on the toilet for 2 or 3 minutes waiting for this trickle to stop. At one point it was gushing hard enough that it squirted between the toilet bowl and the rim!I sat there in disbelief, wondering how I was ever going to get up off of the toilet and call C. The OB’s office said to come in to have them check whether or not it really was amniotic fluid, but to bring my bags just in case. They said it wasn’t a drop everything and come in immediately kind of thing, but to get there as soon as possible. I called B, told him he’d have to take care of the poster himself and then called C, telling him he needed to come home. He had just sat down for a meeting and as soon as I told him my water had broke, he replied “oh sh!t” and I could hear the girls in the background get excited as they knew what was happening. C was home within about 15 minutes and rushed around trying to get everything in order. I put my makeup on, blow-dried and flat ironed my hair, finished packing my bags and off to the doc’s we headed.

We got to the office about 4:30 pm and Susan, my midwife, confirmed that it was amniotic fluid. She walked me over to the hospital to be admitted while C took the dogs to the kennel. At this point I was having some contractions but they were really light and sporadic. They felt more like uncomfortable menstrual cramps than anything else. An internal exam showed I was about 2cm dilated and 50% effaced. Hospital policy is to do continuous fetal monitoring, but Susan convinced the nurses to check me for 15 minutes every hour, giving me the other 45 to get up and walk around. Since the contractions were still so sporadic she wanted me up moving around as much as possible to increase their intensity. Susan went home to get some dinner, said she’d be back later to check on me.

Around 9 pm, I was checked again and had dilated to 4cm and was about 75% effaced. I was excited to be making progress. We continued to walk around the hospital when I wasn’t hooked up on the monitors. The nursing staff was already talking pitocin augmentation but Susan kept persuading them to hold off and let my body kick into gear on its own. She knew how much I wanted a natural childbirth with little intervention. Next check around 11pm showed that I had regressed back to 2cm and the contractions still weren’t coming very regularly. When I heard "2cm" I had to choke back the tears; I was so confident that I was still making good progress. Because my water had been broken for 9 hours already, they were concerned with the risk of infection and we decided to start the pitocin. It was a hard decision to make but I knew that the lack of progress wasn’t good.

The pitocin was started shortly after midnight and the contractions were quite manageable to begin with. Every 20-30 minutes the nurses would slowly amp up the rate on the IV. Due to the pitocin, I was continuously monitored to watch the baby’s heart rate. About 1:30 the monitors showed an erratic heart rate (we’d been having problems all night keeping the probes in a good place to get strong readings). They put me on oxygen, turned down the pitocin and had me lay on my side until the heart rate steadied. After it stabilized, the pitocin was slowly cranked back up again. About 3am the heart rate went crazy again. The pitocin was turned down again to allow the heart rate to stabilize and I was put back on the oxygen. I was only dilated to about 3cm at this point. The nurses consulted with Susan (and the OB on call since I was now under her care as well) and it was decided to put a monitoring probe on the baby’s head and to insert one of the internal contraction monitors. The baby was really high in my pelvis still so this was a horrible, horrible procedure without an epidural. I felt like they were trying to tickle my tonsils and it took 3 tries and two nurses before they could get both in place. About 4:30 the contractions started to get quite strong and were coming much, much quicker. I was using the birthing ball to work through them and Cris and Susan were helping to rub my shoulders and do hip compressions. Every time I would have a contraction one of them, whoever was sitting behind me, would put their hands on my hips and push inwards as hard as possible to help relieve the pain/pressure.

At 6am I was only dilated to 4cm and was exhausted. Pitocon contractions do not allow your uterus to relax between contractions like it does with natural labor so your body doesn’t get much of a rest. With the fatigue, I was having a difficult time dealing with the contractions and opted for a shot of stadol. It took the edge off enough that I managed to sleep for an hour or so. They also started antibiotics at this point because it had been 16 hours since my water broke. By 8am it had worn off and I still didn’t have much energy to deal with pitocin contractions. After struggling through for 2 more hours of contractions coming about every 90 seconds, I opted for the epidural. I knew that I wouldn't have any energy left to push if I didn't get some rest and that wasn't happening with the intensity of the contractions. Upon doing an internal, I was still only at 4cm, almost completely effaced, but the baby was still very high (-2 station). After the epidural, I crashed, barely able to keep my eyes open for anything.

Around 1pm, the baby’s heart rate started to get very erratic again. And once again the pitocin was turned way down. Without the pitocin my contractions pretty much stopped. I was only 5cm dilated at this point and was mentally exhausted. It was such a roller coaster of emotions to deal with the erratic heart rate over and over again. I knew everyone was talking a c-section at this point since I had been in labor for almost 24 hours and just wasn’t making good progress. Susan and the OB were concerned that the cord was wrapped around baby’s neck – hence the slow progress, the heart rate decelerations and the previously breech baby – and it was keeping the baby from “dropping”.

When Susan came into the room to discuss my options, C and I told her we’d already decided to do the section, before she even suggested it. At this point I just wanted the baby safe and the erratic heart rate was starting to worry us. C made 4 phone calls – my mom, my dad, his folks and Kristen (to post an update on here). Everyone was asked to pass the info along to everyone else that needed to know. The anesthesiologist had to be paged (he’s not at the hospital continuously on the weekends) so it was after 2pm when they wheeled me to the operating room. Just as they were wheeling me in, I could hear Susan and the OB disagreeing on Susan being in the OR. Since she’s a midwife she doesn’t get paid to assist during the surgery and the OB was trying to convince her to go home. But she wanted to stay and see us through to the end, pay or not. It made me feel good knowing that she was going to be there and wasn’t just going to walk away so close to delivery. Plus I think she was curious to finally find out if the baby was a girl or boy! I was struggling horribly to keep my eyes open as they opened up my belly. C kept rubbing the side of my face to wake me up. At 2:51 pm, the doctor announced, “it’s a girl”. I looked over at C and he had the biggest grin on his face and tears in his eyes. After I held Katie for the first time, I gave into the exhaustion and closed my eyes, knowing that my little girl was safe and sound.

January 28, 2007

Surviving as a Single Mother

6 days down, 5 more until C comes home. Those 5 days can't go by fast enough!

Over the last 6 days I've come to develop a new understanding, and appreciation, of single moms. I never realized how much I depend on C to help me around the house. We're obviously surviving okay on our own -- I don't have many options -- but it's been a struggle and it's very time consuming. When KT is sleeping my time is occupied by basic things just to keep us functioning around here. There's always something that needs to be done whether it be dishes, making a meal, tending to two needy dogs or getting a shower or just brushing my teeth and getting my contacts in. I'm lucky to get through emails for work and complete basic tasks that my boss asks me to do. I seriously do not know how single women juggle motherhood, jobs and housework while maintaining any sanity or finding any time for themselves.

I have a huge grant application that needs to be completed in the near future. The proposal itself is due to the USDA by February 15th. However, before it can be officially submitted it needs to be reviewed by a gal in my department (which requires 2-3 days) and then 4-5 days for review by the department that handles all of the grant submissions. Meaning we need to have everything submitted to the gal in our department 6-8 business days before the deadline, or about February 7th at the latest. It's been impossible to get any work done on this grant and I'm really beginning to sweat about it. I missed getting any grants submitted at the end of 2006 because the deadlines fell right after the baby was born and I didn't have the time to work on them. So I feel that in order to redeem myself, I need to get this proposal turned in.

The main problem with all of this lies in the fact that the dogs act like complete monsters when C is gone. They get very obnoxious and rambunctious, wrestling around with each other and making a TON of noise. (Anyone who's talked with me on the phone has "witnessed" this behavior and can understand what I'm talking about.) This inevitably happens just after KT gets to sleep and she gets startled by the noise and wakes up. At most, I've had an hour's worth of time to get things done before she wakes and needs attention. I've tried my hardest to give them as much attention as possible but it doesn't seem to satisfy them entirely and they continue to be obnoxious. Kicking them outside to run off energy doesn't help. The cold air seems to energize them and they're worse when they come back in the house. Putting them in their crates doesn't help either. Dakota is docile when in his crate but Logan refuses to cooperate and barks the entire time. He's always been like this, no matter what we try to break the habit. And we've tried everything, numerous times to break him of barking when in his crate. I'm running very short on patience with them and it has turned me into a very cranky, frustrated mom.

To be honest, working on the grant has been difficult too because I have very little motivation to do anything work-related. All of this stuff with my boss leaving has left a very sour taste in my mouth, metaphorically speaking, and I feel very complacent about my job at the moment. It's hard to have motivation when you feel like you're being deserted, especially after we made this move to Idaho, mainly for my job. Why should I want to bust my butt for someone who's leaving in less than two weeks anyways?? The loneliness I'm feeling just exacerbates the situation too. I'm usually okay when C travels for work, staying busy with housework, my job and various sewing/quilting/craft projects. This time has been really different and I'm sure it's because of the baby. After she was born I felt like my family was finally complete, that I was complete as a wife and mom and now it just feels empty without my husband. I just want to hold KT close and magically make it Friday already so our family is all together again.

C is dealing with his own struggles too. This trip has been a mess for them so far. He was detained by customs in Taiwan upon arrival due to visa "issues"; there has been problems with the other travelers' visas; the daily schedules are very demanding and exhausting; luggage has been misplaced as they switch company cars during their travels. He's tired of being away from home and just tired in general since they've been so busy. I don't even mention to him how hard it is around here without him, because I know it will only add to his stress.

As usual, the dogs have woke the baby, so this must draw to a close. Hopefully I find the motivation and strength to make it through the next few days and get this grant submitted.

January 24, 2007

Talk About Timing

Over the weekend I was in the store picking up baby wipes and some other odds and ends. I almost grabbed a couple of packs of D-cell batteries for baby girl's swing. Thinking that it would be best to have them on hand, just in case hers died while C was away on his business trip. That way I wouldn't have to make an emergency trip to the store. But I figured that I'd have to head to Wally World this week anyways and I'd just get them there instead, since they'd be cheaper.

One of these days I'm gonna learn to trust my gut.

C's flight left yesterday at 3pm. The airport here in town is small, with only 3 gates in the terminal. We live just West of the airport (there is a road that runs next to the airport property on the West side and our subdivision is on the opposite side of the highway from the runway) and can hear some of the bigger planes as they land and/or takeoff. If the curtains in the front room are open you can actually see them come up off the runway if they take off to the South. Baby girl and I were standing at the front window, watching for Dad's plane to take off. At 3:08 I heard the engine ramp up but we never saw the plane come up off the runway (C confirmed last night that they took off to the North, not to the South where we could have seen the plane). Knowing that he was in the air, I put KT in her swing--it sits directly in front of the window--and headed to the bathroom. As I walked back into the living room the batteries in her swing died.

Literally, it was about 2 minutes after the plane was in the air. Go figure. So much for waiting until Thursday to head to the store for groceries! I knew that today would be hell if I didn't have the help of the swing.

Let's hope that it wasn't a sign of things to come in the next nine days...

January 22, 2007

It's Not MY Fault!

The past few days have been very frustrating for me in regards to my job. If it wasn't for the fact that we need my income to help pay bills (and of course the benefit of me working from home), I think I would have turned my resignation in as well.

The conference went really well last week. It was nice acting like an adult again--being out of the house and interacting with other adults. It was a good learning experience too. There are new regulations in effect from the FDA due to last summer's spinach "incident" that affect the fruit/vegetable industry significantly. I attended a seminar that discussed these new regulations and felt like I really learned alot. It also sparked my interest to learn more about it. That's one of the parts of my job that I enjoy. I'm granted the ability to continually learn about new things.

It was also a good day in that we (my boss and I) had lunch with the professor that would be the best fit for me to work with. Although her research is slightly different, she works hand-in-hand with us on many of the projects that are already underway. The plan is that I'll continue to coordinate two of the main projects that are underway, acting as a liaison between BYU (where my boss will be) and UI (where the other cooperators are, where the funding is and where the research will actually be conducted). I'll also try to secure more funding to further these projects and to expand some aspects of them. So, in essence, I'll be working for both of them. She understands my concerns and assures me that she won't make me focus completely on her research. Her hope is to initiate some projects that will merge her expertise with my education as the two are interconnected. I will be allowed to continue working primarily from home but will need to come into the experiment station office for staff meetings and will need to check on the projects I'm coordinating once we get research out in the fields. Both of which I should be able to do with the baby in tow.

The problem with all of this lies in the fact that these decisions have yet to be finalized by the department chair and disseminated to the faculty/staff.
My boss doesn't foresee a problem with the decisions made but just needs the official okay from the head honchos. Phone conferences with the chair keep getting postponed due to busy schedules. Because this information hasn't been officially announced, many are unsure of my status. I think the general opinion is that my employment is conditional upon my boss' employment. Since he is leaving, they assume that my position will be culled. Due to this uncertainty there are numerous people who are unwilling to assist me when I ask for help.

It's over really trivial stuff as well. I've got some questions about a deadline for a grant I'm working on and questions about some of the specifics of the grant. I get very terse, ambiguous answers when I try to resolve these questions. In other matters I've been told that nothing can be done until the "situation" has been resolved. It's such crap. I NEED to keep working until all of this is hashed out and announced. I'm not at liberty to just sit here and twiddle my thumbs. If anything, I'm swamped with the work that B is trying to push through before he leaves. When I encounter this mentality from people it drives me insane.

I know that many are upset that B is leaving and are concerned about how it will affect the department. It's going to be a big adjustment, especially because he was one of 5 faculty that put in resignations within a month's time. But I think that everyone is forgetting that I'm affected just as much, if not more so, as everyone else. It's my direct boss! It's my job that's on the line.

I just wish that until an announcement comes from the department that everyone would continue on like nothing was different. Because until he officially leaves, we are both still employees and should be allowed to continue on with our jobs without any interference or hindrance.

January 14, 2007


Wednesday and Thursday of this week is the Idaho Potato Conference, which the University sponsors. I was in the midst of organizing/planning when my water broke and I went into labor. I recruited C to "babysit" on Wednesday so that I could at least attend one day of the conference. Problem is that none of my dress pants fit. There could be worse things in life, but they're all too big. There are a couple of pairs that I could wear but I think they look too sloppy because they're too big through the hips and thighs.

I ventured to the mall today to do some quick shopping. Figured that I'd hit GAP and grab a quick pair of dress pants and perhaps the Buckle for a pair of jeans (they're almost all too big too). I used to absolutely hate shopping for pants. By the time I found something big enough to fit through the thighs, the waistband was too big. I would usually end up in tears in the dressing room and head home empty handed and dejected. Today was such a different story. I actually enjoyed shopping because just about everything I tried on fit! I ended up buying a new pair of dress pants from GAP and 2 pairs of jeans from the Buckle.

For the first time in as long as I can remember, MY SHOE SIZE IS A BIGGER NUMBER THAN MY PANTS SIZE.
And yes, I did buy a new pair of shoes too. Hahaha. Just couldn't resist.

January 2, 2007


A 90 minute phone call with my boss this afternoon gave me no concrete answers, or any more direction, than what I had last week. If anything, I'm even more confused now than I was before. The only thing that has changed is that I'm no longer as shell-shocked. I've resigned myself to the fact that my job is going to change dramatically. I'll be working for someone new, focusing on perhaps a whole new area of expertise (and probably one that isn't as interesting to me) and changing my job description completely. None of which I'm particularly happy about. But he promises that he'll do whatever he possibly can to allow me to keep working from home. I guess we'll see what comes of the situation.

This whole thing has me so taken aback. Perhaps it was naive of me to assume that he'd never go looking for a new job. I suppose that I just hoped it wouldn't be until Baby K was a little bit older and I had a little bit of experience under my belt. This was my dream job. Working for a fantastic scientist/professor; working on the forefront of the research in this discipline; working from home; using almost all of the skills I learned in college. My main responsibility was to take all of the research he is so swamped with and turn the data into something useful. It was going to allow me to help him build his research program and pack both of our vitae with journal publications, awarded grants and meeting presentations. At least I figured it would be a solid, 3-5 year commitment that would be a huge benefit to both of us.

I feel like someone has pulled the rug out from under me. This perfect dream job, which appeared to be too good to be true, apparently has vanished in a cloud of smoke. I feel stupid and ashamed for making the decision to move to Idaho for this position. We sacrificed and altered so many things in order to make this job work for me. I'd waited on this specific opportunity for 3 years -- we'd talk about the two of us working together before I'd even graduated with my Master's degree. I'm mad at myself for not seeing it coming. And I'm extremely concerned about what the future holds.

There really isn't anyone else that I want to get involved with here. No one's research appeals to me the way that my boss' did/does. And I'm not willing to follow him to his new job (and still work from home) even though his new employers have agreed to that condition.

I feel like I've just been wandering around since I read his email last week. Hoping that it was all a bad dream and that I'd wake up and find that everything was still the same. That my dream job still existed in its entirety. But that's certainly not the case. This is not a dream. I just hope that some decisions are reached in the near future so that I can find my place again and not feel so lost.