Twitter Transcripts from Thanksgiving

After losing tons of audio posts when using a third party podcasting system a few years ago I have become very gunshy about keeping anything really important on any system other than one that I own myself.  Since my Twitter feed has become so critical (I am still thinking about moving that to a system that I host myself rather than using Twitter) I decided that it would make sense to copy over the transcripts from Dominica’s labor process this week so that we would always have them.  The blog itself is interesting but seeing the “as it happens” transcripts will be really neat for Liesl someday to see what we were saying just hours before she was born.

This transcript starts with dad leaving Peekskill after having been on “baby watch” for over a week on November 26 at 11:00am.  It ends in the early afternoon today, the 28th.

Liesl is having her third feeding with Dominica right now. She is doing very well. about 6 hours ago from web

Preliminary results from the blood work and spinal tap show Liesl as being clear. 48 hours until the final results but good for now. about 8 hours ago from web

Liesl has been cleared to “feed on demand” which is very positive. about 10 hours ago from web

Dominica just finished her first meal since the operation. Still on fluids but feeling a little better. Still four nights without sleep! about 10 hours ago from web

Annie says, “It’s like candy for your bowels that help you fart.” I just had to relay that quote! about 11 hours ago from web

Dominica is eating her first meal since surgery. She is recovering well, but is quite sad about Liesl having to be tested already. about 11 hours ago from web

Liesl has symptoms of infection. Bloodwork wasn’t great. She has to have a spinal tap now to see if she has an infection in her brain. about 11 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Back at the hospital. Dominica is doing well. Waiting for our doctor appointment. about 13 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Dominica sent me home to sleep. Have to be back early in the morning. Oreo was so excited to see me! about 21 hours ago from TwitterBerry

@kweenkmatt thanks. You will have to come visit soon! about 23 hours ago from TwitterBerry in reply to kweenkmatt

Dominica and Liesl are hanging out at the hospital recovering. Min’s parents and I are at new city diner getting food. about 23 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Liesl’s birthday: november 27th, 2008 at 6:54pm 7:39 PM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

It’s a girl!! Announcing Liesl Lee Miller. 7lbs 11oz. 20inches 7:28 PM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

It is surgery time. 6:30 PM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

If all goes well in surgery, dominica can come home on sunday. 5:59 PM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

Progression failed. Going to c section now. Baby is fine. Phone is about to die.   5:55 PM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

Dominica has now been in labor for 26 hours. 5:29 PM Nov 27th from web

FB-IMing with Clare in London. Live chat and blogging from the delivery room! LOL 5:29 PM Nov 27th from web

I’ve moved from my BlackBerry to Twittering from my laptop set up in the birthing room at the foot of Dominica’s bed. 5:25 PM Nov 27th from web

Dominica is napping now. In theory she will sleep for another hour to an hour and a half and then we should see something get going. 5:23 PM Nov 27th from web

Epidural is working. Dominica is feeling so much better. 4:24 PM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

Pitosin is working but the pain is incredible. Epidural happening now. 4:05 PM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

Dominica is on iv drip pain killers now. Doesmnt stop the pain but she is starting to relax between contractions. 3:00 PM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

Dominica is starting pitocin now. We are having problems progressing. C section is a very real possibility very soon. 2:20 PM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

Midwife and nurses are prepping for delivery. Might be very soon. 1:03 PM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

Lunch is free today at the hosp. Having a lite thanksgiving dinner here. 12:10 PM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

There was meconium present so the head monitor (that corkscrews into the scalp) has to be attached. 11:50 AM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

Water just broke. 7-8 cm. Real progress now! 11:30 AM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

Tried to get food but the hospital caf has nothing. Literally nothing. I guess that they are closed at 11:15 am!!! 11:25 AM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

Dominicas parents will be here soon to take over so that I can get a bite to eat. 11:07 AM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

Dominica is napping. She is completely exhausted. No sleep in days. 10:18 AM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

And the doppler system predicts…. High chance of baby today. (Doppler is used to listen to the baby.) 9:50 AM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

Showering seems to help but all of the steam makes it way too warm. 9:40 AM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

6 cm now. Moving forward well. 8:54 AM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

5 cm dilated now. Progressing well. Dominica is really holding up. 6:49 AM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

Happy anniversary to bennie and francesca   6:31 AM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

Midwife predicts that the baby will arrive by noon – less that six more hours. Contractions have been going on for 14hrs already. 6:23 AM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

Happy tofurkey day! 4:35 AM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

Nurse says that we are staying this time. This is the real thing. Currently 3-4 cm. Doing well. Show time. 4:17 AM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

Okay, found someone to let me in. We are in room 4. Same room that we had on Monday – we know this room well. Min is having tests now. 4:15 AM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

I am locked out of maternity…. Can’t get to dominica. 4:12 AM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

Getting ready to head on out to the hospital to try this baby thing again. 3:03 AM Nov 27th from TwitterBerry

Heading to bed. No baby on the 26th. Will try to get some rest before the labor really starts. Dominica is very uncomfortable. 10:51 PM Nov 26th from web

@kweenkmatt At $1.57, I believe that once you adjust for inflation this is the cheapest gasoline in history – beating the 1999 prices! 10:17 PM Nov 26th from web in reply to kweenkmatt

Contractions are speeding up. Very likely going to the hospital in the next few hours. Thanksgiving looks to have been a good guess. 8:33 PM Nov 26th from TwitterBerry

Baby is progressing. Might be off to the hospital again in a few hours. 8:07 PM Nov 26th from TwitterBerry

@ClintonSkakun Yay, tofurkey day! 7:03 PM Nov 26th from web in reply to ClintonSkakun

Dominica’s contractions are pretty constant now. Every few minutes. 7:02 PM Nov 26th from web

@_calla_lily_ Have fun in Columbia. New baby by the time that you get back! Westchester Population + 1 7:02 PM Nov 26th from web in reply to _calla_lily_

Dad arrived home safely. No snow until Dansville. Toccos have now arrived in Peekskill. 6:01 PM Nov 26th from web

Check at the midwife’s went well. 2cm dilated and progressing appropriately. No schedule yet 😉 3:46 PM Nov 26th from web

Dominica’s appointment is done. No news. Going to pick her up now. 2:59 PM Nov 26th from web

Just did the dishes and finished off unpacking another box. Minor house progress. 2:55 PM Nov 26th from web

Dad is in Elmira. No baby news so he is continuing on towards home. 2:53 PM Nov 26th from web

Dominica’s dr appt got pushed back. She has to wait until 2 just to get in but is already sitting there just reading a book. 1:09 PM Nov 26th from web

Dad just left for his long drive back home. Dominica’s dr appt is in two hours.   11:10 AM Nov 26th from web

November 27, 2008: The Baby Is Coming

Dominica is now 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant…

We had really been hoping that the baby was going to decide to come last night.  When Dominica’s contractions started at three thirty it seemed pretty likely that we were going to be heading to the hospital pretty soon.  Not so.  Dominica decided to see if it would be possible to get some sleep before the contractions got so bad as to send us to the hospital.  She needs some antibacterial medicine at the hospital that is going to force us to go there long before we would go there otherwise under more normal circumstance.

Liesl Enjoying the Nursery

Dominica ended up getting no sleep at all last night and I got only a smidgen more.  I may have gotten two hours at a stretch but one hour is far more likely.  It was a really rough night.  I’m not sure that the sleep that I did get was valuable at all anyway since it was interrupted so often that I really felt pretty ill after not too long.

At roughy three in the morning, almost exactly twelve hours after Dominica’s contractions really started, she decided that it was time to get into the hospital.  I carried Oreo in and set him up on a pillow in the nursery with Dominica’s parents.  He was very drowsy but would panic if we just left him all alone without knowing where he was supposed to go.

We got to the hospital and were checked into delivery room four, the same room that we had on Monday for several hours.  Not our favourite room.  It does have the more comfy chair for me, though.

For the first hour Dominica was getting tests run.  At a quarter after four the hospital said that they were confident that we were staying this time and really having the baby.

Our first many hours were spent with Dominica going through light contractions.  She really did really well.  She didn’t really need me at all for the first several hours until she needed to start walking around the birthing area trying to push things forward.

Around six thirty the midwife on duty predicted that the baby would be coming around noon based on Dominica’s progress and contractions.  She was at 2 centimeters dilation when we arrived and was up to 3-4 centimeters about an hour later which but everything on a pretty good trajectory.

She his 5 centimeters just before seven.  At this point she was getting rather uncomfortable.  We spent quite a bit of time walking around the halls of the maternity ward trying to keep her in an upright position to let gravity help out.

Around nine in the morning Dominica was up to 6 centimeters.  She was in quite a bit of pain now.  She wanted to try the whirlpool to see if that would feel better but the midwife didn’t want her to get into too much of a non-upright position so, instead, they got us a postpartum room that had a shower and a rail to grab onto.  The warm water on her back helped and we probably did that for half an hour or more.  It allowed her to stand for much longer than she would have been able to do simply walking around the halls.  The hard floors were really taking a toll on her back.

We had to stop using the shower because there wasn’t enough ventilation in the room for Dominica to be able to really breath after very long because the room got all steamy and hot.  So we headed back to “room 4” and Dominica tried laying down for a little while.  At a quarter after ten she managed to get in a tiny little “nap” between contractions.  This was really important as she was so worn out that she was running out of energy.

Dominica’s parents came around a quarter after eleven.  I tried to use that opportunity to grab some lunch because I was running on empty, but the cafeteria was not open.  So back to the delivery room for me.  It turned out to be good because I was around for when Dominica’s water broke at eleven thirty.  At that point she was measuring 7-8 centimeters.

At eleven fifty we got the bad news that there was meconium in the amniotic fluid so that raised the level of concern about the baby’s health.  This is not uncommon but it does mean that we have to be careful about how long the baby remains inside.  Meconium can be aspirated which can cause infections and other potential issues.  They have also had some concerns about the baby’s heart rate which has been slightly high.

Because of these concerns the midwife decided on the need for a “head monitor” which is a device that uses a small, metal corkscrew and goes into the baby’s head.  They claim that it doesn’t hurt but we are pretty sure that it really does.  We saw one of these monitors in our Lamaze class and thought that it was pretty nasty.  It is necessary, however, because they need to really know what is going on with the baby’s heartrate and the external monitors just aren’t giving us very good information.

Just after noon, Dominica’s father and I were able to get away for a quick bite in the cafeteria.  Dominica’s mom stayed with her while we ran down there.  It turned out that as today is Thanksgiving the cafeteria was doing a free Thanksgiving dinner.  I had stuffing, sweet potatoes and green beans.  The vegetarian selection is not exactly the best.  You tend to get lots of carbs and practically no protein, but at least I was no longer starving.  The food was all very good and there was pecan pie as well.  Frank, of course, had turkey as well.

Dominica is into the serious pain now and at one in the afternoon the midwife and nurse began to prepare for delivery as it could happen pretty much anytime.  We waited and waited.  After almost an hour and a half the midwife decided to get Dominica’s doctor because the labor progression had halted and the baby was not getting lower nor was the cervix dilating additionally.

Dominica’s doctor concurred that things were not moving forward as they had hoped and, with concerns about stress on the baby, they decided that we would try Pitocin (a labor inducing drug) for one hour and, at the end of the hour, decide to whether or not a Caesarean section would be necessary.

The Pitocin definitely had an effect almost right away.  After about fifteen minutes Dominica’s labor pains increased dramatically and she was in extreme anguish.  This is the “desired” result of the Pitocin because it meant that the contractions were really pushing the baby hard.

With half an hour of Pitocin contractions Dominica needed to move to pain killers.  Up until this point she had done everything without the use of any drugs at all, but this was just too much for her.  I can’t believe how much she had handled already.  She was losing the ability to focus and becoming exhausted extremely quickly.

We talked to the nurse about doing a pain killer via the IV drop (Dominica was on the drop since the beginning because she was Group B Strep positive and had to have antibiotics right from the beginning and then because of the Pitocin.)  She had the option of using either a normal “pain killer” through the drip or to get an epidural.  The drip did not preclude the epidural and Dominica couldn’t decide what she wanted to do because she was already in too much pain so I made the decision to go with the IV drip and to consider the epidural later on.  I would come to regret this decision as the drip did almost nothing for her and made her incapable of telling us that she needed the epidural later.

The drip pain killers did nothing or nearly nothing to ease the pain of the contractions.  What they did do was allow (or force) Dominica to sleep between the contractions.  So she got a minute or two of “rest” here and there.  But one of the most important things that Dominica had to concentrate on was breathing heavily to keep the oxygen levels high so that the baby’s heart rate would stay down.  The drip made her incoherent and she was unable to remember to breath and there was no way for us to remind her.  She would find herself gasping for air in a panic and immediately forgetting to breath again.  So the baby’s heart rate climbed dramatically.

Because the drug made Dominica “pass out” immediately upon the end of the contraction there was never a time in which she could tell us anything.  We were very much mislead to believe that the drug was a pain killer but, as often is the case, that is just a generic term used in hospitals to mean a drug that makes you stop complaining.  Often narcotics are given and you are told that they “take the edge off” or “make you not worry about the pain” which, of course, they don’t do and, in fact in my experience, make you deliriously panicky about the pain but just unable to communicate it effectively to anyone.  This was a similar case.  Dominica was in more pain because she couldn’t concentrate on anything but the pain and kept her from telling us that she needed help.  So for an hour and a half she endured without any actual painkillers at all while on the Pitocin.

Finally, after many contraction cycles of trying to figure out how to reach us, Dominica feebly called out for the epidural.  I went right out and got the doctor who was waiting right outside.  She came in in five to ten minutes and gave Dominica another examination.  They called for the anesthesiologist who was there relatively quickly.  Dominica’s mother and I had to leave while they did the procedure.

It was four o’clock when they started the epidural and it took probably twenty minutes before we were able to go back into the delivery room with her.  She was immediately feeling so much better.  She had been in just incontrollable pain before doing nothing but writhing and screaming but now was sitting up and happy.  She was extremely glad that she had gotten the epidural.

Once the epidural was in there was a chance for Dominica to sleep.  They did about forty five minutes of monitoring and labor work with her but at a quarter after five she was clearly exhausted and needed time to rest.  So she napped for forty five minutes.  The thought was that she would sleep for an hour or more.  So I set up my laptop so that I could respond to people and do some blogging thinking that I was going to have quite a while of just sitting with Dominica as she slept.

Just before six they did another exam because the baby’s heart rate baseline was beginning to climb and this was cause for concern especially with the known presence of Group B Strep in Dominica and the knowledge that there was meconium in the fluid.  At the exam they saw that all progression had stopped and that the baby just was not going to be able to fit.  There was no choice but to do a Caesarean section.  It was five fifty five in the evening when they officially decided to head to the operating room and prep for surgery.

Surgery started at six thirty.  Dominica was extremely fortunate that her epidural was working and that operating room anesthesiologist was able to use that for the surgery.  Had that failed she would have to have been knocked out entirely which would have been much more stressful and she would not have been able to have remembered anything about the actual birth later after twenty seven hours of work!

At six fifty four, Liesl Lee Miller was born.  They brought her over next to us to be checked out by her pediatrician.  Her eyes were open immediately and she was looking at us.  She was extremely active – which Dominica could have predicted as Liesl was very active all throughout the pregnancy.

Liesl was taken out to the NICU after about five minutes.  Dominica had to go through another half an hour or surgery before she would be done.  I went to the NICU with Liesl and her nurse where she was weighed, 7lbs 11.6oz and measured at 20 inches.  She was so active.  I was not expecting her to be so active so quickly.

I went out to the waiting room to tell Dominica’s parents who were waiting there about their granddaughter.  They had heard her crying and thought that is might be her.  They went over to the NICU to see her.  I went back to the delivery room to get my phone so that I could call dad who was with my family at Thanksgiving dinner and let him know that everything was okay and to tell him about Liesl.  Then back to the NICU.

It was not too long before Dominica was wheeled back into room 4 to begin her recovery process.  She was doing pretty well.  At nine thirty I got to bring Liesl in to visit with Dominica.  Dominica and Liesl began their first feeding.  At that point we decided to give them some time together so Dominica’s parents and I went out to dinner at the New City Diner – it was probably the only thing open really late on Thanksgiving night.

At eleven I returned to the hospital to check up on Dominica.  The original thought was that I was going to spend the night in our room there.  We have postpartum room 212 right next to the NICU, but I was exhausted and it would take an hour to get the bed set up in there and to set up my CPAC (it turns out there was nowhere to plug it in actually) and then Dominica would be wheeled in and I would never sleep because they would be monitoring her all night long.  So Dominica sent me home to sleep.

I was home and in bed by a quarter after eleven.  Oreo was quite excited to see me come home.  He definitely had a long day.  We were both really ready for some sleep.

November 26, 2008: Changing of the Guard

Dominica is now 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant…

Dominica got practically no sleep at all last night.  She has been having contractions fairly regularly but not enough to send her to the hospital with the “baby coming any minute” but often enough to keep her from sleeping.  I got some sleep but not a lot.  It was a long night.  I don’t think that Oreo got too much sleep either.

We got up and went to Pastel’s for breakfast.  We stopped by GameStop.  Dominica is on a constant hunt for stuff to do while she is stuck in labor.  She looked around for PlayStation Portable (PSP) games that she might be interested but just couldn’t find anything at all that looks interesting.  The lineup of games for the PSP still remains incredibly weak.  Just a handful of interesting games almost all covering the same ground as each other.  She ended up picking up a Nancy Drew game and a Mahjong game for the Nintendo DS instead.

We got home and saw dad for about half an hour before he left for his long drive back home.  His plan, which is, of course, subject to change, is to get home this afternoon and to return when the weather permits early next week around Monday or Tuesday.  Dominica’s parents are coming this afternoon or evening and are probably staying until Sunday night.

At twelve thirty I drove Dominica downtown to the clinic for her appointment with her midwife to get a status and another check on how everything is going.  Her appointment was supposed to be at a quarter until one.  At ten after one she called to let me know that she was stuck not getting in to see a midwife until two but, luckily, she had a book with her so it wasn’t worth running home and back down.

I had some time while Dominica was at her doctor’s appointment and while work was really slow to do some organizing so I did some video game “housecleaning” and updated my video game lists and posted new ones, as everyone has probably seen.  You can only have so many video games so using SGL as a repository for them works really well.  It also makes it extremely easy for other people to look up what games I have in case they want to play something.  I figure that it was also be interesting for my child and potentially for future generations to look back and see what games I played.

While Dominica was at her midwife appointment I got a chance to do some cleaning.  I did the dishes and finished unpacking another box from the dining room and assembled the lamp that has been in the basement waiting for someone to take an interest in it.  I also figured out where the Nintendo DS and Kodak digicam chargers were – sitting on the dining room floor!  They were in the handful of eletrical cables that I had set aside as “most haves” for right away and then a box had been set on top of them so we had lost them.  Now we have them and know where they are.

I picked Dominica up around three thirty and brought her home.  As we arrived at the house her two books, the last two of the Twilight series, arrived at the house.  She has been desperately looking for these to arrive before she has to go to the hospital because she wants to be able to read them while in the hospital.

It is the day before a major holiday so the exchange closed early today.  The afternoon was very slow at the office which was good because everyone was trying to leave early.  I managed to put in pretty much a full day covering all kinds of stuff even with my out of office assistant turned on.  Thankfully tomorrow is a holiday.

Since things were so slow as the afternoon wore on and since Dominica really wasn’t up to doing anything but sitting in the living room reading her book “New Moon” I got a chance to play about an hour or possibly two of Fable 2 on the XBOX 360.  This is the first that I have had a chance to play either the 360 or the PS3 at all in about a week.  It was a nice break.

After Dominica’s midwife appointment this afternoon she pretty much immediately started having contractions.  Probably the stress of the travel and the appointment kicked things into gear.  They were pretty irregular until her parents arrived around sixish and then they started coming pretty frequently and more or less regularly.

For dinner, Dominica’s father and I drove over to the Beach Shopping Center and got Italian take out from Nonna’s (hopefully I got the name correct) and brought it back to the house.  Dominica’s parents have not yet seen that part of town and did not know where the hospital or the shopping center (with the grocery store) were so we figured that taking the drive would be a good idea now.

After dinner it was an evening of waiting.  The contractions continued to get more frequent and more regular.  I kept checking in with the office until ten o’clock when I signed out.  With tomorrow being Thanksgiving there is very little to do tonight.

Katie posted that gas in New Jersey at WaWa was down to $1.57 per gallon tonight.  I can’t remember seeing gas that cheap since I was first working in South Carolina around 2001.  Once, when traveling through Georgia, in 2001 or 2002 I saw gas for $.99.  Gas was over $2 when I was born in 1976 since I was born during the high fuel priced post-OPEC embargo years.  Gas was in between $1.50 and $2 for almost all of my childhood all through the 80s and 90s and had just one or two major dips around 1999 and 2002 (when I saw the Georgia price.)  Since then the prices have skyrocketed.

Now they are back down to levels similar to those seen when I was ten years old – except when you adjust for inflation the gas today is practically free.  When adjusted for inflation, fuel today is the cheapest that it has been for about thirty-five years and maybe for much longer than that.  From looking at the charts and price adjustments on Wikipedia, it is very clear that today’s petroleum in the United States is only a fraction fo the cost that it has ever been since at least 1919!  Our current price is about half of what it was in 1919 in adjusted dollars.  It is amazing that after having gone through two or three years of fuel price panic to now be living in a nation of such fuel surplus.  Now everyone is thinking about fuel costs all of the time even though we have never needed to think about it so little.

At a quarter till eleven Dominica decided that she was exhausted and that it would be better to attempt to get some sleep than to try to stay up until the baby comes.  Her parents decided to stay up for a little while watching shows on Hulu and Netflix over PlayOn on the PS3.  Her dad really likes that service.  They are all set up to sleep in the nursery.  There is an airmattress all blown up and ready in there.

We discovered a crack in the crib tonight so when we get back from the hospital we will need to deal with getting that front piece replaced.  One more thing that needs my attention.  🙁

Well November 26th is over and no baby today.  With the intensity and frequency of Dominica’s contractions there is no way that this is going to last for very much longer.  We were pretty sure that we were going to be going to the hospital tonight and that is still possible but right now it is looking a bit more like it is going to be in the morning.

Keep a look out on the Twitter feed for the latest updates as they happen!

November 25, 2008: It’s Showtime!

Dominica is now 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant…

Dominica Very Pregnant

Damp.  That is how things are around here today.  It rained all night and it is raining very steadily this morning.  We are pretty sure that there is some minor roof leakage coming down to the living room ceiling.  It is nearly impossible to tell but I think that the “wet” area is slightly cooler than the rest of the ceiling indicating trace amounts of current water there.  That is better than the plumbing being the problem; I think.

I started work at eight thirty this morning.  Dominica slept in until almost eleven.  She was really exhausted after spending the entire afternoon and evening at the hospital last night.  Nothing like adding stress and exhaustion to the woman who is past due to have a baby.

At eleven this morning, Dominica’s water broke.  It looks like the baby has finally had enough and is ready to come out and greet everyone.  Dominica called the midwife and we need to go in early for a few things but nothing urgent.  Could be a long time before labor really starts but because Dominica needs an antibiotic we need to actually be at the hospital.  News will probably be rather slow as we will be just reading and relaxing for quite some time.

Bob’s delivered our dressed at twelve thirty.  That was the last thing that we needed to wait for.  My out of office assistant is turned on and I have signed out from work.  The announcement has been emailed out and we are heading to the hospital!

I don’t know if I can update SGL from the hospital or not.  But I can update Twitter so keep checking in either here (Twitter in the top left) or go directly to Twitter for the latest news.

Posting just before we leave.