Birth Story

I totally understand now why other bloggers have gone for months before they post their birth stories. Our reality is so different now, and my time and energy is much more limited. I’d like to save the memory and story on my blog, though, so here is a rough version anyway…

Our birth date was planned because of me being higher risk due to my age but also the polyhydramnios that happened in the third trimester. So, my doctors scheduled me for a C-section at 39 weeks.

We went into the hospital at 5 AM on October 10, as instructed, and I was registered and checked in in one of the hospital rooms. I guess this isn’t normally done in those rooms, but the smaller check in rooms were unavailable or something. The nurse checking me in then attempted to place an IV, but it was a total fail. She tried twice, but it wouldn’t flow, and it hurt so bad I almost screamed. I then said I was not going to go through a third try with her, and they called the IV therapy nurse who was much more skilled.  She had no problem placing it on the first try.

Then, I was visited by doctors, first the anesthesiologist who I initially thought was a little quirky and could’ve had more warmth or compassion, but he turned out to be pretty awesome, which I’ll share later. Then I was visited by my primary maternal fetal medicine doctor, and she was her normal upbeat, kind and jovial self.  She always manages to instill confidence and normalize what you’re going through, which was great at that time.

We found out that the cesarean would be done by both her and the head of the maternal fetal medicine department, who we had met with before and had basically trained and mentored her. He was on call that shift, and she came in special, so they teamed up, which made us feel very secure and well cared for.

Prior to her visit, though, the nurses hooked me up for a final stress test. Stress tests were definitely not my favorite test in the third trimester. They are so uncomfortable and it seems like my girl would always be moving around a lot and they would lose her heartbeat and have toStart over or go longer and I just felt she was pushed around inside me in the process, which I hated. Anyway, this time the machine stopped recording for some unknown reason so they had to go longer but finally got what the doctor needed.

Once all that was done with, I would say the rest of the procedure flowed smoothly and really was a positive, powerful experience for us overall. They wheeled me back to the OR, and RC had to wait in the hallway while they prepped me. He said it seemed like forever that he was waiting. From my perspective, the doctors and staff in the OR worked like a large, well oiled machine, with multiple smaller groups in different parts of the room.

The anesthesiologist gave me a spinal, and that was a little uncomfortable because I had to hunch over like a turtle for a bit of time while he injected it in the specific place it needed to go between the vertebrae. Both he and my doctor were coaching me, however, so I felt supported and it didn’t hurt badly.  When the spinal anesthesia kicked in, it was the craziest feeling. The lower half of my body was total deadweight, and I couldn’t have moved if my life depended on it. I just felt like my legs were hanging there kind of splayed so that was weird, but I trusted the doctors and basically surrendered to the procedure at that point.

Around that time, RC was let in the room, and I was very glad to see him. They put up the curtain in front of me. I remember having some anxiety, and the anesthesiologist suddenly became my best friend. He was super calm and reassuring and best of all kept me informed of everything that was happening as it happened. I truly felt like he was coaching me through the process.

Next comes the best part… I knew the doctors were about to cut into me, so I was very tuned in to feeling any sensation whatsoever, but I never did. She tested first before pinching or poking me or something, and I didn’t react at all. Anyway, I knew they had begun, but I didn’t know  exactly where they were in the timeline, until I heard the head doctor guy, who is a really big, bald former basketball player, by the way, so you have an image, say, “Hi there, Cutie!” Oh my heart. I knew at that point that they had cut into the uterus and could actually see her.  Sorry if that grosses anyone out, but to me it was so beautiful.

Next thing we knew they were taking her out and my doctor held her up and said, “Hi, Mama!” I immediately started sobbing. It was overwhelming and so incredibly beautiful. I definitely loved her immeasurably right away. RC and I were both overcome with joy and love, and I babbled, “I love her so much! She’s so beautiful! etc.”

Because of the polyhydramnios,  a representative from the NICU had to take her briefly over to make sure her airway was clear, which it was. RC went over with him and cut the cord. They lifted part of the curtain for me so  I could see that happening, which I felt grateful about. Then they brought her over to me and put her on my chest. Queue more overwhelmed weeping of awe and love.

Of course, we saw when my doctor  lifted her out that she had a head full of dark hair. I thought all along that I wanted a more bald baby but when I saw her, I could not have imagined anything different. She was perfect. And I love her hair so much, we both do. We play with it all the time, and it’s so soft.

After I held her for a while, and the doctors were stitching me up, we all moved back into the recovery room. I’m trying, but I can’t remember a lot about that time period. Probably, in large part, because I was on pain meds at that point and dozing off and on a little, totally blissed out with her on my chest.  know I held her for a lot of it, but they also cleaned her off and weighed and measured her, which RC accompanied her for. After her measuring on the big side in our ultrasounds and the doctor predicting her weight at around 9 pounds, we were surprised when she came out at 7 lbs. 15 oz.

I will write more about our hospital stay later but will post this much now..,


She’s Here!

She’s here! 🎉😍👶

Ellianna Grace Bennett Cheney
Arrived Thursday, October 10th, 8:04am by cesarean section
7lbs 14oz (NOT Nine or 10 pounds as predicted by the ultrasound/doctors 🙄), 19 inches long, lots of hair! ❤️❤️❤️
Mommy, Daddy, and Ellie were in the hospital until Monday, October 14th.
Now working on breast-feeding and helping Ellie gain weight; not so easy to say the least.

Birth story to follow later…


Pregnancy Update #13 - Ultrasound: big baby! extra fluid...

I haven't been posting regularly. I think, in part, because my energy is going towards dealing with these intense 3rd trimester symptoms. It really is like night and day. Up until 30-32 weeks, I had a relatively easy, smooth time of things, then, WHAM, 3rd trimester swoops in and transforms the experience.

Insomnia got real, and I would find myself awake at 2 even 3am in the morning, then if I did sleep, it would be in short, frustrating intervals. Every time I'd try to lay down, I'd feel hot and itchy and restless, both in my body and mind. I know better than to lie there trying to force it, so up I'd get. RC is working swing shift right now and starts at 4am, so he got a surprise morning greeting a couple of times when he came downstairs. After trying Benadryl to no great effect, the doctor finally prescribed Ambien, which at least allows me to sleep more soundly, though I still don't drop off until 1 or 2am.

The worst new symptom, though, is carpal tunnel. I won't even be able to make this post as long as I'd like because my hands are already getting tingly and painful. Anyone who has had serious carpal tunnel knows what I'm talking about. It's relentless. At the very least, I have tingling and numbness all. the. time. Then it regularly moves into aching and pain. Nothing completely relieves it. Icing, tylenol, and a couple of specific stretches can take the edge off a little but not for long. I'm wearing braces at night but am not sure how much they're helping. My doctor referred me for a cortizone shot, but the hand specialists who do these can't see me until the 20th. Argh.

I've also gained more weight and in addition to feeling overextended with a watermelon-sized belly, I get tired and winded fairly quickly and have to make use of chairs and benches that were mainly installed for the elderly. RC has been kind and patient overall and has helped me navigate these challenges. After I broke two glass carafes for our french press within a few days - thank you carpal tunnel and lack of feeling in my fingers - he took over the coffee making duties for both of us. lol

The news is not all bad, however. Our little Ellie is active and growing, and we are experiencing the thrill of big movement and little feet pushing against the top of my belly, so that I can touch them and give a little push back. So cute! I love it so much. :) She's so long, and, now that she's head down, I can feel kicks at the top and simultaneous churny, tickly feelings at the bottom. I'm definitely blessed with the gift of kicks and pressure on my bladder at this point, which really feels strange. I'm not losing bladder control, though, for which I'm grateful.

Which leads me to the best part of my post, our ultrasound yesterday. You'll never guess how much little girl weighs now...6lbs 4oz!!! That's birth weight, my friends, OMG! The doctor anticipates her growing to near 9lbs by 39 weeks, and says she is leaning towards a c-section, that being the case. She has told us that with her own pregnancy, she had decided that if her son were over 8lbs, she would choose c-section (she was on the older side, too, around 40). If I were lower risk, I don't think this would be the natural course, but all things considered...including that we discovered I have polyhydramnios or high amniotic fluid, which adds some risk, as well. My level is mild to moderate, and she said they will just keep an eye on it. It makes me nervous, though. Has anyone else had this diagnosis? There doesn't seem to be any particular actions I can take to address it, so I have just recommitted to getting some exercise every day and trying to keep up a healthy diet. I admit to eating chips regularly, but the doctor said it has nothing to do with salt intake. It's probably partly why my stomach feels so huge and distended...

Anyway, all the other news was good. She's still measuring big in the 70-90th percentile on individual measurements and over two weeks ahead developmentally. Her heart and organs look great, and we captured some amazing pictures. I will share a couple of my favorites below. That's all for now. We are going on our babymoon to Bend tomorrow through Wednesday, and I hope to enjoy it and spend some time outside. Baby shower (scheduled on the 28th) is coming along, and my sister generously offered to have it at her house - a great location - so that's exciting. It feels like we have turned the corner and are on the final stretch.😅


Pregnancy Update #12 - Early Third Trimester Ultrasound

We had another ultrasound last Tuesday! Some highlights:
  • Saw little Ellie kicking her feet like she was tap dancing. So cute! I feel this sensation sometimes, so it's fun to see her in action.
  • She's 3lbs 7oz, measuring almost two weeks ahead! Is this common? It was 28wks 5days, and she measured 30wks 3days. Our big girl. So glad she's growing well.
  • I was given my Rhogam shot a couple of weeks ago, since my blood type is O-. Happy to have that done to make sure and protect her, in case her blood type is positive.
  • At the end of Tuesday's appointment, the nurse gave me the TDAP injection. Big needle, a little uncomfortable, but the worst part is definitely the sore arm that lasts for several days. It's gone now, and again, it's worth it to keep her safe.
  • We got a better 3D picture of her face. Such a precious little face. If you can't tell, I'm falling more and more in love! 

With regards to my own symptoms and how the pregnancy is progressing, I will say there has definitely been a shift towards greater discomfort. Here are some examples:
  • My stomach now feels overextended on a regular basis. The feeling is akin to an overblown balloon that may soon pop. lol It really is quite uncomfortable. It's worse after I have eaten or if I'm bloated and/or constipated, which happens regularly. 
  • Insomnia or, as one of my pregnancy apps calls it, "disrupted sleep." I have trouble falling asleep and often end up getting up for another 45 minutes to an hour before I can finally relax and nod off. Then I wake up every hour to two hours for the first half of the night to pee and/or change positions, get another chunk of sleep, wake up once more, then sleep for another hour or so. So. many. dreams. Stupid, overly and unnecessarily detailed dreams. I usually like analyzing dreams. Not these. I wake up and shake my head and try to forget and move on. 
  • Physical limitations in terms of shortness of breath and stamina. We went to Costco today, and I knew I could not traipse all over that warehouse of a store like normal. So, I drove one of those little scooters with the cart on the front. heehee I cracked myself up, but it worked and was just what I needed. We went to the county fair the other day, and we had fun, but I had to take regular breaks to sit down and keep drinking water. 
  • Basically, I feel like I'm past the "cute" pregnant stage and into the part where I look like a walking beach ball. I'm so big! I can't believe I have another 9.5 weeks to go.
Not that we are ready for her yet! We still need to get the room done (we are doing NW forest/forest animals theme), and I was finally just able to schedule the baby shower with my friend who is generously co-hosting it at my sister's house for Saturday, September 28th. I know it's really late to have a shower - my due date for induction/c-section is October 10th at 39 weeks - but it's literally the only date she was available, and I really need and appreciate her being in the hosting role. My sister is just too busy and not really into that kind of thing. I'm super happy she's opening her house for it, though. Anyway, tell me it will be okay to have it that late? Praying over here that I'll be physically able to enjoy it, and that Ellie won't decide to make an early appearance.

I have more life stuff to share, but I'll save that for another post. Suffice to say, I'm so grateful and full of gratitude and joy for my little girl and getting to feel - and share with RC - all her activity. AND I'm feeling kind of generally anxious and overwhelmed and would love to just hibernate and not deal with the world for a while.  More soon... hope you're having a lovely, fun-filled summer so far.


Pregnancy Update #11 - Ultrasound pics

Bad news first: I was not offered the university job. Boo hiss to them.

I think it was because of my references, and, of course, I'm kicking myself now for not vetting them further. My first reference gave a good impression of me, I think, but may have focused on accomplishments less relevant to this job, such as the performance-based talent show I organized and directed for our student drama club. The second reference may have been unreachable. I had spoken with him within the last couple of years, but when I tried to reach him (after sending the references), he didn't even come up in a search of the college website, nor did he respond to me on LinkedIn. He either retired or possibly even passed away, I suppose. If they were unable to reach him, this reflects badly on me for not making sure my references are available, but also, he was the one reference I had on my list from the college at which I worked the longest. I could have easily provided other colleague references.

So, that sucks, though I don't know for sure that is the reason. After hearing their decision, I exchanged emails with the Director, and he did mention references and "other information" gained during the hiring process, so who knows. Maybe they even somehow found out I was pregnant?

They encouraged me to apply for other positions, but honestly, I don't have it in me. I'm done for now. I thought the odds were with me this time, and I still don't seem to have quite what they're looking for - in addition to the references, maybe my lack of 4-year university experience, maybe my background being weighted more heavily towards career counseling vs. academic advising? The Director told me the applicant pool was very deep at 400+ people, but they were hiring for *24* positions. Come on. If I can't get hired with those numbers, it doesn't bode well.

I'm also done with the community college - part-time at crap pay (I can make that salary with two new career counseling clients a month), and I did not feel good about it when I went in to meet people and review paperwork. Chaotic, draining, and depressing environment, in a nutshell. I felt a strong, inner "NO," and chose to honor that.

Plus, I'm about to enter the 3rd trimester, so it's not a good time. I'm going to focus on my business networking group, making local connections, and gaining new career counseling clients, plus getting ready for baby. RC is working, so that helps, though it does put our hopes of buying into cohousing further on the back burner for now.

On to the good news...24 week ultrasound went swimmingly! Ellie heart is developing well, and she was measuring 14 inches, weighing in at 1lb. 14oz. Almost two pounds, amazing! Her head measured on the bigger side, in the 90th percentile or something, and everything else was above 50%, mostly in 70-80% range. She was moving around a lot during the ultrasound. I've been feeling her kicks and jabs a lot lately, which makes me so happy. They said she was in a breech position, which I've read is normal at this point. Oh, and I passed my Glucose Challenge test, so I don't have to do the follow-up, which involves fasting. Yay! Here's a couple pictures of our little Ellie, as well as a recent bump pic.

Fourth of July was lots of fun, spent with my Aunt, Uncle, cousin and her family out in a nearby small town that prides itself on its Fourth of July festivities. We saw a morning parade with lots of firetrucks and veterans and old-timey clubs, then went to lunch and visited. RC joined us after work, and we barbequed lots of yummy food, with blueberry cheesecake for dessert. We left before the big fireworks because RC's bedtime is now 8:30pm, due to his shift starting at 4am (!). He's leaving for a 3-week training in Chicago this Sunday but will come back for quick weekends, Friday night to Sunday morning. Should be interesting being apart like that when I'm pregnant! Hope I don't get too lonely.



Drive-by post to share about my conundrum...sooo, the damn university has STILL not made final decisions/offers. I continue to feel optimistic because one of my references said they contacted her yesterday afternoon, and she shared good things about me. My phone call with the big wig a week ago yesterday went well: the conversation flowed, I asked questions that showed I had researched the job and reflected on the specifics, and my answer to the one interview-type question he asked at the end was strong, I think (maybe a B as it could have been a little longer and better articulated, but the content was solid).

The conundrum emerges from the reality that I have interviewed and been offered a half-time job at the community college, and they have been moving the ball forward in processing hiring paperwork and even starting a little training yesterday. The big wig had said he thought the hiring committee at the university would come back with decisions/offers last week, so I hoped Friday was safe to schedule a meeting with the community college. I could just cancel it and bow out if I was were offered the other position. Not a great feeling or something I would relish doing, but manageable and understandable, I think, considering the university pays twice as much and is a full-time job.

Now, I'm in this crap situation where I am heading full bore into more intensive training next week, starting at 9:30am Monday morning. The head Arts & Communication Department counselor, for whom, and with whom, I would be working, has already created my schedule based on my availability Monday through Wednesday and is clearly really glad I'm starting there. Argh, I feel super guilty and disingenuous.

I talked with my brother today, and he thinks I need to keep going forward with the community college until I hear from the university. He made a good point that it's not really disingenuous because I WILL work for the community college if the university offer doesn't come through. It still feels yucky, though, and, because I'm optimistic about the university position, I am afraid that I'm wasting time and energy going forward. What do you think? I'm so tempted to develop an illness before Monday morning.

I'll end with a brief positive update on Ellie from our doctor check-up yesterday. She's still doing great! Same heart rate at 140 - 150s, and the nurse measured my belly for the first time, saying it looks perfect. I'm also *finally* gaining a little bit of weight and am now eight pounds above where I started. The top part of my belly seems to be popping out a little more, and I'm feeling her move quite often. It's so awesome!!!


Pregnancy Update #10 plus job search news

I am super lazy just lately, so I'm going to do a bullet post. 😊 Developments and events of interest:
  • I had my first two-week check-up visit with my maternal-fetal medicine doctor. I asked her about the Cereb (Hill) measurement and she said it was totally fine and that, with her pregnancy, she was hoping to measure in the 30th percentile. Ellie's heartbeat was 140-157, which is perfect! I will see her again a week from this Friday, and I need to remember to request the handheld ultrasound!
  • I am finally feeling little Ellie moving around - hallelujah! It's not all the time, but definitely regularly. I feel less of a swish or swipe now and more of a bump or flip; just a bit more solid feeling. Instead of questioning all the time whether it might be digestion or gas, I have a sense of a living being in there moving around - so cool!
  • Finally gaining a little weight! I guess this is the only time in my life when I'll be excited to gain weight, but it reassures me that Ellie is growing and my pregnancy is progressing normally. I think I've gained around six pounds at this point, and I will be 22 weeks tomorrow.
  • I told my Dad what we decided to name her and showed him a couple of the ultrasound pics. He reacted positively and appropriately, so that feels like progress. I know he will love her when she gets here. He better! lol
  • Here is my most recent belly pic. I feel amazed at how dramatically my belly size and how it feels from the outside changes from morning until night. Do those of you who have been pregnant remember that happening? I guess I'm weird, but I prefer when it's inflated and harder (with food and gas I guess lol) later in the day. In general, though, it's getting bigger and harder to hide, even if I wanted to.

Lastly, I have some amazing news on the job front: I finally received news yesterday that I am invited to the final round of interviewing for the Career and Academic Advisor position at the university! Hallelujah! I will be speaking for a half hour over the phone with the big wig advising director at the new building where all the new advisors will be working. The head of the interview committee asked my top three preferences of Flight Paths (we each will be working with students in a specific Flight Path or career/major grouping), as well as a list of references - that seems like a good sign, doesn't it? Everything crossed!

Hope you all are enjoying the start to summer. Our weather has suddenly turned hot as Hades, and we are going to get some fans asap. I much prefer it to rain, though!