Saturday, 27 July 2013

Cohen's Birth Story

It was Wednesday, June 17th, and I had my 37 weeks check up with my family doctor. Jon was in Clarenville, an hour and a half away, working. It was going to be our last night away from each other before I moved fully to Clarenville. Jon wasn't comfortable with me driving back and forth from Clarenville to Gander on my own so late in the pregnancy, so he had dropped me off in Gander the night before. My good friend Alicia took me to my appointment, where they checked me out and told me everything looked good. For the rest of that day I slowly packed a few boxes, and read the manual of our new fancy camera that had just arrived in the mail. The above pic was taken with the self timer on the new camera that afternoon. A few people came to pick stuff up that we were selling on Kijiji. That night I talked to Jon on the phone for a while, then went to bed early, at around 10 pm.

I woke up at around 2:30 am to use the washroom. Something felt a little different, but I went to the washroom as usual. When I was flushing I realized there was water everywhere, to the point where I was standing in a huge puddle! My adrenaline started pumping. I knew this must be my water breaking. I debated calling Jon. Our physician friend had recently told me that sometimes labour doesn't really start up for a day or two after your water breaks. Two seconds later, I realized I had to call Jon. I tried to act really calm. I told him I was sure it's not a big deal, but I thought my water broke. He was like, I'm on my way. I told him he might as well bring the baby car seat, even if this is not the real thing. He told me to go to the hospital. I threw on some leggings under the dress I was sleeping in, and ran downstairs and to the driveway. When I got to the driveway I realized I didn't have a vehicle, so I went back inside to call a cab. I texted my friend Alicia. I figured if she was up, she could come keep me company until Jon arrived.

The cab dropped me off at the hospital. At admissions, the young girl said I was the second woman in labour that night. She made some calls to try to find me a bed. She asked if I had planned on a private room or a ward room. At that point I had really no idea what the difference was, and had not thought about it. I told her I didn't care, just give me whatever you have. She took me up to labour and delivery. A nurse settled me into a bed in a room with one other bed. She examined me and told me I was 2.5 cm dilated. I was not feeling anything except my usual back pain that had been with me since week 35.

As I waited for Jon to show up, I tried to distract myself. I played solitaire on the ipad. I listened to the sounds of the nurses working. I listened while a woman in a room nearby laboured hard for an hour, then I listened to the sweet sound of her baby crying. It brought tears to my eyes. I was starting to feel like we were really going to meet our baby soon.

The resident who I had met at my 36 weeks checkup came in. He was very young, and very kind. He told me I would probably have slow contractions for many hours, and that we expected to head into active labour sometime in the late afternoon/early evening. It was 3 am. So at least 12 more hours. I asked him if I had done anything wrong to make my water break three weeks early. I had been packing up our house, but been sure to avoid lifting anything heavy. He assured me that I did nothing to make it happen. He said 37 weeks is full term, and baby is ready, which is why my water broke. Made me feel so much better

Jon arrived a little after 4 am. I was so relieved to see him. I had been updating him every 15 minutes. He had realized he was out of gas when he left Clarenville, and had to go to three gas stations to find one that was open. He said it was the most intense drive of his life. When he arrived, the nurse gave us a tour of the ward. She showed us where Jon could get me ice chips and unlimited popsicles. She showed us where the delivery room was. It was big and bright with a huge bed in the middle. I made a note to myself that I didn't want to spend too much time in there. It wasn't very inviting to me. Jon requested we switch to a private room.

We were in our own room (228, I will never forget) around 5 am. There was a view of the Gander river, which was nice. For the next 5 hours or so, Jon and I hung out, texted with friends and family, called our parents. I talked to my brother and sister, and my best friend Shannon on her way to work. I texted with Alicia (who got my texts from the night before when she got up for work at 7 am) and my friend Sarah. Jon called work to tell them he couldn't make it in that day. The nurses told me to call them if the contractions got out of hand. I was only feeling the contractions in my back, and the nurses told me they would slowly wrap around to my belly. The back pain continued to get intense. Sometimes Jon timed them, just to give us something to do. They slowly got more close together.

Around 6:30 am I called the nurse. I wanted something for the pain. My options: hot shower, demerol, nitrous gas. I ruled out nitrous because it meant going to the big bright delivery room. The nurse decided to check my dilation at that time. I was only 3 cm, but she could feel the head very low in the canal, so she recommended demerol. She gave me a shot. It might have taken the edge off, though things were getting pretty intense by then, so I am not sure. By then, I was dealing with the contractions by walking back and forth in the room, or having Jon massage my back while I was on all fours on the bed. I was still only feeling them in my back.

At 9:30 am, I sent my last text. I told Alicia that things were getting intense. At that point I decided to call the nurses again. I knew I wanted an epidural, so I thought maybe it was time for that. The nurse said she would check on me soon. I went into the washroom, and suddenly got an intense urge to push. I couldn't fight it, and began the moaning that I had always heard about and seen in movies. I became so focused on how I was feeling, I felt like I was almost in a trance. I couldn't get out of the washroom, and told Jon I needed the epidural.

Around 10:30 am the nurse came in. She was not convinced I was very far along. She told me to come lay on the bed so she could have a look. I actually could not get out of the washroom. The next moments are a blur to me, but I do remember a few nurses helping me to the bed. I remember the nurse examining me and then calling to the other nurses that I was fully dilated. She told the other nurses to call the doctor, and told me it was much too late for an epidural. She said she could see baby's hair! The nurses helped me on to a wheelchair, and took my dress off, and wheeled me into the delivery room.

When we made it into the delivery room, I was so focused on what the nurses were telling me. I had to keep from pushing until the doctor arrived. It was so hard! The urge to push was very hard to resist. When the doctors arrived, they started talking to me, and explaining that I needed to push for 10 seconds whenever I felt the urge. The doctor said to expect to push for 2 hours. I was so ready. I tried to listen very carefully to what everyone was telling me. At one point I told Jon I didn't think I could do it. Maybe every woman in labour thinks they can't do it for at least a moment? The doctor said I could do it, that I was doing it. Everyone in the room seemed totally focused on me, giving me positive feedback. I pushed through four contractions. Every time, the doctor told me how great I was doing. The doctor told me I should look down to see the baby coming. I couldn't. I was so in the zone.

Something that surprised me about labour is that I wasn't hooked up to anything. I didn't have any monitors on, and no IVs in my arm. It was just me lying naked in the big bed, with one nurse holding one heel, and Jon holding the other heel. I think part of the reason I wasn't hooked up to any machines is because my labour moved so fast. I actually loved the feeling that it was just me, Jon, the staff, and the baby working together.

Suddenly I felt a huge sense of relief, and then the doctor lay the baby on my chest. He was purplish and crying and tiny and beautiful. I felt shocked. I had been expecting hours of pushing, but it felt like I had only been pushing for 10 minutes. It turned out that I had been pushing for 45 minutes. I held him and immediately felt so close to him. So in love. Jon cut the cord, then got to hold the baby. Jon says the look on my face was priceless. He said I looked so thrilled and amazed. Jon also told me later that I seemed so strong, determined, serious in the delivery room. He kept telling me how proud he was of me, and thanking me for being so strong. Such an incredible moment in our relationship. Cohen Jon was born at 11:35 am.

The few hours that followed are also a bit of a blur for me. There were some complications that I won't get into writing about, because they are super rare. The main thing is that Cohen is perfectly healthy, and so am I. We got to leave the delivery room around 2:30 pm, and quickly called our family members  to announce that we had a boy!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

some pics from our hospital stay

(my man eating the quality cafeteria food)

(fisherman brewis- the Gander hospital special on fridays)

(some quality time with the little man)

(the view from my hospital bed)

(one of the nurses makes name tags for all the new babes on medical tape)

(we were soo excited to head home!!)

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

our new baby!

little baby surprised us by coming 3 whole weeks early!! we are so happy to have baby cohen jon home with us! lots more posts, including my birth story coming up over the next few weeks. we are all doing great. the picture was taken just a few hours after his birth, before his first bath. so sweet

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

a day trip to puffin island

we had jon's best friend visiting our nearly empty new house on the weekend. he was super gracious about sleeping on the only piece of furniture (our new couch), and cool with drinking his water out of ramekins, since ramekins are somehow the only glassware that has arrived thus far. he even made us supper one night, which i was very impressed with since we have next to no utensils, pots, etc in the kitchen.

we had such a good time, as you do with people who have known you for many, many years. tim and jon have been close since their early years in university. tim and i worked together in a lab before jon and i became "jessnjon." tim has been the third wheel on many of our dates over the years. not to get too sentimental (pregnancy hormones), but we are so lucky to have friends like tim. as a bonus, tim has delivered many babies during his medical training, so he was able to answer all my questions about labour and delivery. i feel so much more mentally prepared now.

we took a little road trip out to elliston island, aka puffin island. i would highly recommend a visit if you are doing a newfoundland road trip. the viewing site to see the 200 puffin pairs costs only what you want to pay, and you can have a look at the many, many root cellars in the area while you drive around. we were treated to a major whale sighting. they were smacking their tails against the water in such a way that i really felt like they were putting on a show. it was incredible. also, there is a nice sandy beach to hang out at, and an ice cream truck. you can't go wrong.

more pics after the jump...

(puffin viewing)

Monday, 15 July 2013

our last twillingate visit sans the new sidekick

(contender for top brownie at canvas cove bistro

(beauty sunset) 

(at crow head in twillingate) 

(viewing tiny icebergs)

j and i love twillingate, and have committed to monthly visits for a while. but, next time, we will have a little bubba with us. during our visit last week we made sure to visit the restaurants we love, since we really have no idea what fancy-ish restaurants plus baby equals. 

Friday, 12 July 2013

our little bubba's baby shower

(the florist and the party planner)

(gender neutral candies)

(slightly creepy ice cubes)

(my sister and i)

(the amazing cake)

(our baby will be a newfoundlander!!)

(dirty diapers from one of the games)

i had such a great baby shower last weekend. my close friend hosted the party at her house while my sister and mom did the games and prizes. i felt so lucky to have all these ladies who already love our little bambino! it was so fun to talk about babies with the ladies. i shed a few tears when my old assistant showed up, and a few other times too. i am fairly weepy these days :)

Thursday, 11 July 2013

8 month bump

less than 4 weeks to go! i think i get noticeably bigger every day. i love it. some notes on the past few weeks:

- doctor tells me baby is super duper low. i am not sure what that really means in terms of when we get to meet the baby, but i do know i am feeling a lot of pressure (not painful at all, just weird). i had some extreme back pain a week or two ago, but it is so much more manageable now.

- i am done work really soon. since i have to travel pretty extensively all alone on roads that have no cell service for work, our decision for me to finish work 3 weeks early was obvious. if i had a more traditional job, where my work is close to home and jon, i might have stayed on until the end. still, the work-oriented part of me feels a teeny tiny bit guilty about taking these next few weeks to myself.

- so looking forward to setting up our new house. i officially move in tomorrow, and i can hardly wait. i want to set up the baby room some more, start making normal meals again, get unpacked.

- sleep is not the same anymore. i usually sleep really good all night, but lately i am up, making lists in my head, having back pain, etc. some people say trouble sleeping gets you ready for sleepless nights with a newborn.

- i just read bringing up bebe by pamela druckerman. loved it.

hotel review: toulinguet inn, twillingate, NL

last week i spent a night at the toulinguet inn in twillingate for work. 

price: $95 per night. decent for twillingate
bathroom: small, but there was a full tub. no shampoo and conditioner though. i am used to B&B's having toiletries, so of course i had to wash my hair with liquid soap. perfect. hehe.
pool: no.
breakfast: i hate to say it, but stingy. i had cereal, a little orange juice, half a piece of toast, some fruit salad. i left hungry, which is not the usual at B&Bs. maybe i got them on a bad day
wifi: yes, but spotty
tv: yes, in the room, though i never used it.
location: really good. close to all the touristy stuff in twillingate
parking: free.
- the hosts don't live there, so you have a bit more privacy. i liked that
- there is a sweet rooftop deck that you can sit out and have a beer and watch the water. this place is right on the water, so really beautiful views.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

hotel review: landwash lodging, joe batt's arm, fogo island, NL

we stayed at landwash lodging last weekend while we were on fogo island. 

(shannon's little room)

(our little room)

(homemade bread and blueberry jam)

(living area)

price: $100 per night. pretty cheap
bathroom: small, older bathroom. full tub and lots of toiletries, though
pool: no
breakfast: the host brought us a basket with a loaf of bread, some jam, coffee, apple juice, instant oatmeal, etc. sort of like a continental breakfast.
wifi: no
tv: no
location: really close to a few restaurants and the fancy new hotel. and right on the water.
parking: room for 1 vehicle, maybe 2.

- this cottage is old. the beds are super hard, and the decor is super dated. we were totally fine here, but i can see some people preferring something a little more comfortable. this place could use a little facelift.
- the hosts were super nice. they told us all about the island. they also gifted us with some toutons and molasses as we were leaving, which was incredibly nice.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

a few pics from the weekend...

some pics from my weekend with my sister and mom. we had the greatest time...

(always overpacked)

(at my baby shower)

(iced coffees at the airport)

(my sister's first trip to gander)

a few more pics from the shower later...

on hiking while 8 months pregnant + pregnancy aches and pains

we hiked brimstone head last weekend with shannon. this is a super short hike, mostly stairs. for j and shannon, it was super duper easy. for me, a little harder. since i have been experiencing back pain from the bump, walking for longer than 10 minutes, can get pretty painful for me. but i really wanted to see the top of this trail. we stopped every 5 minutes or so and i sat and rested. we also brought a heating pad, so when we were done, we went back to the cottage and i heated my back for a while. worked perfect.

for me, the big difference in the way i deal with this back pain is all mental. i talked to a trusted doctor, who examined all the possibilities for my intense back pain. the truth is the pain is simply a mechanical thing. my muscles are being strained from carrying an extra 30 pounds on my belly. the baby is also positioned on my nerve sometimes. knowing that, all i can do is take it easy and accept the back rubs and pampering that my husband offers me. i have learned certain positions that ease the pain a bit, and i know what makes it worst. more on my recent pregnancy experiences later

Monday, 8 July 2013

possibly the most expensive meal of our lives

last weekend when shannon was visiting, i knew i really wanted to check out the inside of the fogo island inn. we decided to bite the bullet and have supper there, knowing it would be really expensive, and that we would probably never eat there again. 

(shannon with the amazing view behind her)

(j and i and bump)

(my starter)

(j's main meal)

(cool light installations)

ok, so the first thing is that you are supposed to make reservations 24 hours in advance. we were winging it a bit, so i only called an hour before we wanted to eat there. they were able to accommodate us, which was good. 

when you get there, you have to park your vehicle far from the actual hotel, and call a shuttle to come get you. the shuttle pulled right up to our car in about 2 minutes. it was a fancy big white denali. lux. 

inside you walk through the lovely lobby. it is super bare. very minimal, very cool. when you are seated you get a tiny menu. there are maybe 5 starter choices, and 5 entree choices. that's it. i think this is normal for super expensive places. you pretty much have to order something from each menu, because you get the idea that the servings are pretty small. 

we all got different things so we could look at everything. shannon is a vegetarian, but she'll eat some seafood, so she got the only options that didn't have red meat. i got the duck. it was all really tasty. to me, it was nothing really special. really good, but not amazing

we all had dessert. j's was the best: some type of donut with cream inside and carrot sauce on top. 

in terms of price, plan to spend around $100 per person for starter, entree, dessert. 

i am so glad we got to experience this place, and try all the cool food with foam and drizzle and edible flowers on the plates. i really don't feel compelled to go back, though. nothing we tried made that much of an impact on us. i can see j and i coming back to stay at the hotel sometime so we can enjoy the hot tubs and the saunas and the lovely rooms. 

Friday, 5 July 2013

it's friday

in a few short hours my mom and sister will be arriving. we last saw each other on our annual trip to vegas in april. this time they are here to celebrate the little bubba at my baby shower being hosted by a close friend/coworker. they will be here for a less than 40 hours, which is totally normal for our family. always on the go. i am so lucky that they are making the trip, and i can't wait to see them! they both hope to come back for the arrival of baby in a month. i am feeling so grateful right now.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

and then we went to fogo

we hopped on the ferry to fogo. lots of pics of fogo after the jump....

we love twillingate

(still waters)



(fancy camera)

(our haul from the beach)

(me, shan, the bump)

we really love twillingate. so beautiful
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