Nothing better than this (so far!)…


…The Labor & Delivery Story!

(Skip if you don’t like information overshare, because why not share all of it??)



Let’s just preface this by saying that it was never my intention to go “all natural” with my delivery.  I grew up with two anesthesiologists whose life work I have the utmost respect for, and I also know my personal pain threshold and wanted to respect what was going to make me happiest during the process.  I did want to experience labor to as far a point as I could stand, and then have the comfort of knowing that relief was an epidural away.  Mission accomplished.

Another note:  My OB, whose conservative approach to making sure my pregnancy went smoothly had served me VERY well up to that point, wanted an induction scheduled before too many days went by post-due-date because of the velamentous insertion of my umbilical cord to the placenta.  So, she scheduled an induction for Monday, August 17, five days after Junior’s due date.

And so it begins:

Despite many requests put to friends & family for happy thoughts for a drug-free start to labor, a couple of rounds of acupuncture induction and days of increased-but-not-regular contractions, Mr. Social, my belly & I checked into CPMC’s California Campus at 10:00 PM on Sunday, August 16.  We were taken upstairs and given this SWEET labor room (twice the size of the one we had seen on the tour).  Our nurse, Page, settled us in and the attending OB came and stuck a tiny misoprostol pill up-on-in-me to begin softening my apparently bullet-proof cervix.  Because of the velamentous insertion, my Doc wanted me on a monitor through the whole labor & delivery, so I was strapped to that as well.  Mr. Social & I settled in to watch our Netflix DVD of Battlestar Galatica, which happened to be the darker-than-usual, also longer-than-usual Battlestar Galactica: Razor.  This proved a bit much, and about 20 minutes into it we shut off the lights and settled in for the night, assuming that the misoprostol would do its thing and the Pitocin would be started in the morning.

About 20 minutes later, I felt a sudden gush, and oops, broken water!  We called Page, who confirmed that’s what it was and assured us that this was normal.  She left, and about 5 minutes later the contractions started.  And started good…  (It was about midnight by this time.)  I got out of bed and rocked, and breathed, and leaked, and oops, was that a huge blood clot that just landed on the floor?  Page!!  She called the attending OB, who saw by Junior’s heart rate that all was OK.  So, I rocked, breathed, clutched Mr. Social in the “Slow Dance” manoeuvre, and bled.  At that point, Page had gotten someone else to cover her other ladies, and she stayed with us, replacing pads & towels under me on the floor, and getting me a telemetry monitor so that I could move around.  She saw that Mr. Social & I had a groove going, so she left us be and checked in periodically but stayed in the room, bless her.  I sat on the toilet, I sat in the rocking chair, I tried leaning over the bed, I stood and rocked, I sat and rolled on the birthing ball.  I hee-hawed, I moaned, Mr. Social made sure I didn’t get all crazy-eyed and panicky by making me “look to him in his eyeball” (and only cracked up once at my askew eyebrows…).

Let me tell you about these contractions.  Were they typical of early labor: sporadic and tolerable?  No, they were not.  Were they typical of active labor: longer, stronger & closer together, lasting around 1 minute with about 5 minutes in-between?  No, they were not.  They were more like I would imagine transition phase contractions to be – less than one minute in-between and about 1.5 minutes long.  In fact, the monitor print-out showed something that looked like Twin Peaks here in San Francisco – a rise to start the contraction, a peak, a drop of about halfway, then another rise to another peak.  The drop down to the bottom would barely touch and then start to rise again.  I guess the benefit of experiencing this sort of contraction at the beginning of labor is that you’re not exhausted!

After about 3 and a half hours of this, I decided that it was time for some epidural action.  I asked Page to let the anesthesiologist know, and she came back to tell me that he had a few ladies in front of me (busy night!) and would be about 45 minutes.  As my mom always says, you can endure most anything as long as you know there’s an end in sight, so at 4:20 AM the needle went in and I was able to relax enough to get some sleep.  I think that some nurses came in periodically to check the status of my dilation, but it’s all a blur…  I also seem to recall that around 7AM my OB had the anesthesiologist give my epidural a boost to help relax my pelvic floor due to some slow progress.  All I remember is at about 9:00 I was at 9 cm. and the nurse who had taken over from Page, Ann, said that I would probably start pushing at around 10:00.  We called my parents and they made their way to the hospital, arriving just as I was all stirruped-up.  (Side note – I had asked my dad to be photo-documentarian throughout their visit, including the labor & delivery.  I decided to drop any boundaries/skeevishness I may have had concerning my dad taking pictures of the, um, delivery region… and I am SO glad that I did.  Although the photos may not be for public consumption, they are very special and I am so glad that I have them.  Thanks, dad!)



I am now going to say something that I’m sure few of you have heard before:  The pushing was so excellent.  Mr. Social had one leg, my mom had the other, and Ann was busy doing her thing in the middle.  Mr. Social was looking at the monitor and would tell me when a contraction was about to start, I would push for 3 rounds of 10 seconds each, and then I got to relax.  Mom & husband & nurse chatted between contractions while I rested, and it was all so great and chill.  I feel so lucky to have been well-rested and pain-free, so that I could concentrate on the task at hand and not be crazy exhausted weird eyebrow lady.  After almost 2 hours of pushing, Ann called my OB and reported that things were a little stuck; the doc ordered another boost to the epidural to relax my muscles some more and that seemed to do the trick.  Junior was also turned sideways (instead of the ideal face-down, his face was turned to one side) and we tried pushing with me lying on my left side to see if we could turn him, to no avail.  My OB came in and decided that she would try getting him out with the vacuum thingie.  And that’s all she wrote!  He came right on out after about a minute of her working on him.

And here’s the magic.  I found that I was so focused on the task at hand, had been so focused for days/weeks leading up to the event on not being pregnant anymore, that I had lost focus of the result (ie, the baby!).  All of a sudden, my OB said to me in a very stern/urgent voice, “Saskia!  Reach down and pull this baby to you!”  And I found myself holding this solid, real, healthy, amazing baby boy.  He was slippery and bloody, and he was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.  I lost pretty much everything else in the room.  I had to pull my eyes away from him and make sure that his father was sharing in this incredible moment.  The rest is all scooping and stitching and the staff staring in awe at my placenta and its funky cord attachment (apparently it was the longest stretch of unprotected blood vessel that my OB had ever seen… yay me!) and all I could think of was the incredible thing we had just been through, my new family and I.




Mr. Social kept saying what a great job I had done, and every time I would say “but I had so much help!”.  This holds true for my entire pregnancy, up to & including the labor & delivery.

The AMAZING Caylie See at Acupuncture Kitchen helped us to conceive by helping me pinpoint my ovulation, and then supported me throughout the pregnancy with bi-weekly acupuncture sessions.

I truly believe that fate led me to Dr. Laurie Green (after it pushed me away from my OB/GYN of 8 years…).  She is businesslike and caring at the same time, and as it turns out totally respected (and maybe even feared?) at CPMC.  As I mentioned, her conservative approach (no traveling, weekly non-stress tests for the last 7 weeks, lots of monitoring, the scheduled induction…) served us all so well, and I am so grateful for what she helped us to bring into the world.

My parents.  Being an only child, they could have been nagging me for years to give them a grandchild, but that’s not their style.  When we told them that there was one on the way, they were nothing but supportive in every way.  It was so great to know that I had caring parents plus medical professionals (in one tidy package!) on my side, to chat with during the ups & downs of pregnancy, and also to know that they would be there for me when the time came.  It helped to know that my father specialized in monitoring during his career, and my mother at one point specialized in neonatal anesthesiology.  What more could a girl ask for??

Pretty much everyone else I came in contact with – everyone was so supportive and happy, even when I felt I was doing nothing but bitching about minor aches & pains.  Thank you all.

Lil Social started his life surrounded by love and support, and I know he will continue to be.

With all my love & gratitude!

Carson!  (aka Lil’ Social)

Brandy newBorn August 17, 2009 at 12:40 PM

8 lbs. 2 oz., 20.5″

His first 2 weeks were filled with lots of love and some adventures:

less than an hour old

Less than one hour old


Adoring grandparents

Carson day2

Day 2

Carson Visit 8-18-09 009

Grandma & Baba’s first visit

Carson day3

Day 3 – first day at home!

first bath

First bath – No Likey!!

Carson day5

Day 5 – getting used to this being at home businessside sleeper

Already a side sleeper by Day 6

Grandpa's feed

Grandpa Ty takes feeding duty

first trip Target

Carson’s first outing, a trip to Target in Colma.  Exotic!!

Carson day9

Day 9

Aunt Nita

In the onesie Aunt Nita gave him – thanks Aunt Nita!

Grandma Penelope

Fantastic cuddles with Grandma Penelope

He met lots of new friends as well – the crew at Flora Grubb Gardens, Uncle Chrissy & Auntie Alysia, and mama’s acupuncturist Caylie.

Next week, a visit from Grandma & Baba!

(Why child #3?)

To state the obvious, I haven’t blogged about my pregnancy.  Bo-ring.  It was (and still is, @#$%!) a pregnancy, with its ups & its downs, and mostly when I felt like talking about it, it was to complain.  And who wants to hear that?  Wah, acid reflux.  Wah, restricted movement.  Wah, crappy sleep patterns.  Poor Mr. Social bore the brunt of the whining, as I was generally DONE for the day by the time he got home from work each evening around 7:00.  Of course, there were moments of wonder, which balance it all out in the end.

Today, however, is different.  I am four days past my due date, and have an induction scheduled for tomorrow morning.  A yummy, Pitocin-filled induction.  Of course, I was hoping to avoid that and experience the joys of laboring at home until it was “time,” etc.  But with the “funky” cord attachment that I have paired with a nice, big, full-term babe the Dr. wants to do this.  And hey, no protests from this end.  (As the Dr. said when I told her that I wasn’t trying to be a Natural Woman and would welcome any interventions that she deemed necessary, she said that my “willingness to bail” was noted!)

There have been glimmers of hope that the “blessed event” would come around naturally – everything is progressing as it should (we’re thinking of naming the kid Low-Rider at this point…) and my contractions have been increasing for WEEKS now, shifting where they should, and apparently are simply not enough.

The point of all this:  this weird, limbo state waiting game.  Physically I feel great, better than I did a month ago.  Mentally, totally different story.  I am an active person.  I work, run my own business in fact, I multi-task, I run around town frantically getting things done.  These damned nesting hormones have gotten in the way, and I feel very one-track-minded and frankly, imbalanced.  And, as with everything hormonal, there ain’t a freakin’ thing I can do about it.  Resistance is futile, Borg-style.  Of course, they are very helpful when it comes to the actual nest, and let’s just say that it is feathered as well as it can be in anticipation of its new occupant.  Now what??  My parents are here, hanging out waiting with us, ready to welcome their first grandbaby.  (I must say that a benefit of this “extra” time has been that chilling with them in such a low-stress situation has been wonderful.  Everyone’s relaxed and out of our “normal” contexts, with not much else to do but eat, walk the dog, and get little things accomplished each day.)  As one wonderful friend who called to check up on us yesterday said, we will most likely look back on these days/weeks as very precious time.  I hope so, because mama’s not feeling so precious at present.

So, let’s take this time to get a little precious and provide a retrospective:

BABY 1-21-09_3First sighting of Junior

week 19Week 19:  Is she bloated, or is she pregnant?

week 24Week 24:  The “cute” stage…week 28Week 28:  On a visit to the in-laws

week 33Week 33:  Gettin’ beeeg…

week 37bWeek 37:  A month later

week 40Week 40:  Aaaaand we are go!

In a couple of days:  Baby pictures!

I’m talkin’ to you!


There has been so much rallying around the travesty of Prop. 8 passing here in CA on these here Interwebs that I thought I’d jump on that fantastic bandwagon.

Here’s one way: Let Freedom Ring, and show the blogging world exactly what you think of Prop. 8 and all it stands for.  This gentleman started it, this lady is perpetuating and documenting it.  I love what Swistle has to say:

I want to say for the record that I realize the way I expressed my feelings on this subject was highly disrespectful. I would be equally disrespectful about a decision to, for example, ban black citizens from voting in elections, or invalidate heterosexual marriages, or make it illegal to worship God.

Some bloggers are wary of posting a photo of an obscene gesture on their sites.  Well, in my opinion Prop. 8 is a big, hairy middle finger aimed towards basic human rights in this country.  Which, lest we forget, was FOUNDED on those rights.  Inalienable, I think was the word.

I won’t even start ranting about what a personal affront to so many people the passing of this ridiculous measure is (or even the fact that it made it onto our ballot in Anno Domini 2008) because the weapon used by the supporters of the measure was personalization.  As one wise blogger put it, your kids are going to find out about homosexuality regardless of whether or not some school decides to put it on the curriculum, or heaven forbid a gay teacher sport a wedding ring.  Sorry.  A commitment band.

As for so blatantly stating what I think of this on my personal site and risking p***ing off friends and family, ya’ll know me.  You know that I’m going to get my panties in a knot about something so human.  And, just be thankful I’m getting this off my chest here, and not at Thanksgiving dinner.

We haven’t heard the last of this, thank God.  Let’s take it as far as it will go.

…I have drunk it.

I would not call myself a politically-inclined person, by any stretch of the imagination.  I wasn’t raised talking politics around the dinner table (much to Mr. Social’s chagrin), and whenever I talk about anything political that I feel strongly about, I become adamant, tongue-tied and downright inarticulate.  Truth be told, the “political” things that I feel strongly about are things that have been politicized but that are at their core about human rights – a woman’s right to choose to have a child or not, gay marriage, war, etc. (Don’t EVEN get me started on how I feel about the rest of California right now, passing f’ing Prop. 8.  I mean, did we really TAKE AWAY a right?  On our State CONSTITUTION?  Do we need a refresher on Constitutions??)

Nor would I call myself a patriot.  I was raised to be a “citizen of the world” (my parents’ phrase), and until I lived in France my junior year of college never found myself really thinking about my country and what it means to be a citizen of it.  Let’s just say that the upshot of those thinking sessions put me back here in the States, and not in any other part of the world.

I remember, eight years ago, sitting with my roommates glued to the TV on election night.  Going to bed with the thought that the fate of our country (not to mention the vast corners of the world that its influence reaches) rested upon the re-count of Florida’s ballots (what, I ask you, is a CHAD???  I mean, I know now, but why had we never heard of this phenomenon before??) was nerve-racking.  And waking up the next morning to the news that the results had gone in the direction that they did made me downright depressed.

Fast-forward 6.5 years (let’s skip over the ’04 elections and the weak choices therein), and the start of another presidential campaign.  They are always, in my mind, annoying – marketing campaigns rather than forums to tell us what a person is really like and what they are truly capable of.  The dissent within the Democratic party between the two perfectly viable candidates made me even more disgusted by what our political process has become, further weakening an already weakened party and draining me of hope.

So I kind of tuned out.  In this monumentally important election year, I tuned out.  Even though I was terrified of what might happen if…  I just couldn’t deal.  So, not politically-inclined.  More head-in-the-sand inclined.

Then, a couple of days before November 4th, I decided to take things into my own hands (well, really, my head.)  I decided that instead of fretting and feeling powerless, I was going to envision Barack Obama as President Obama.  Positive vibes instead of negative ones and all that hoo-ha.  When I went to the polls, I literally triple-checked that I had cast my vote for president correctly.  When I walked away, I had a lump in my throat that I am chalking up to hope (is there such a thing as desperate hope??)  Then, as I sat glued to the computer (what a difference 8 years makes!) watching the results come in, I felt myself getting lighter and lighter (no, I wasn’t having a cocktail…).  When Mr. Social called to me that McCain had just conceded, I started to cry.  And I have been crying on and off for two days now.  The relief I feel is palpable.  I feel, for the first time in a loooooong time, a sense of national pride.  I believe that this man will make rational choices that benefit the citizens of his, nay, our country.  That he will not hide behind buzzwords like “Homeland Security” and will actually deal with the roots of the issues that have put this country in the situation it is in today.

I am a little in love with Barack Obama, or at least with what he stands for.  Let’s see if this man has the power to make me politically-inclined.


Life gets just that much easier with each passing week, especially when that week contains the second round of Parvo shots.  For the un-initiated (like me up until a month ago), that means it is that much safer to interact with other canines, starting with ones whom you know have their up-to-date innoculations.  You can also go to a wider range of places without as much risk of picking up this lethal virus.  Places like… the beach!  And… puppy play group!

He is a rock star at both of these places, instantly assuming the “hey let’s play!” pose with every new dog he meets, and learning the attendant lessons of their responses.  It is such a relief to me to be giving him something that he innately needs, my being a complete newbie to all of this.  Yesterday at the beach we met a one year-old Vizsla named Lucas and they played for about 15 minutes, which was so awesome to see.  He loves to be rolled, and crinkles up his nose and bares his razor-sharp puppy teeth when he really gets into it.

He’s learning that when Mr. Social or I is at our desk, then a really good place to hang out is his nap chair, and he immediately goes to hang out on it when we’re not paying him any attention.  In the morning when the sun is spotting the floor at the back of the house, he wanders around from sun patch to sun patch and flops down in them.

He is enrolled at puppy class starting October 1, and I am excited to start learning as quickly as he is!  In the meantime, we’re making do with all the new adventures that each day brings.