Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Welcome Peter!

Peter Thomas was born on January 24, 2014.  He was named after my maiden name "Peterka" which means little Peter (my paternal grandfather also went by "Pete" as a nickname of "Peterka") and he has his dad's middle name of Thomas.  We've had him home for a week-and-a-half now and are in love with every inch of him!  

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I wrote up his birth story for a blog written by a local midwife (you can read it here) but I wanted to preserve it on Peter's blog as well.  

Peter's Birth Story:

After a few false starts in the days leading up to the big day, my contractions started for real around 3pm on Thursday 24 January (I was exactly 39 weeks). Things progressed quickly from there: by 4pm my husband was on his way home from work and I made arrangements for my three-year-old daughter to be picked up to stay at a friend’s house. By 6pm my waters had broken and we were ready to head to the hospital!

The cab ride to the hospital had been the source of much anxiety for me during my pregnancy. I kept imagining being stuck in traffic whilst in the throes of labour and permanently soiling our nice cab driver’s new car . . . Luckily the cab ride was fairly uneventful (aside from my moaning and groaning of course). Well, that’s not entirely true. It was uneventful until we were about two minutes from the hospital and my contractions got way more intense and felt like they were coming one after the other. The cab driver got worried and pulled straight into the emergency entrance where a wheelchair was immediately brought over to the car. My contractions were two minutes apart and already more painful than I ever remember them being with my daughter (I laboured naturally for 15 hours with her before eventually getting an epidural. You can read her birth story here). I was wheeled into Labour and Delivery and was promptly parked in the waiting room next to another woman in the throes of labour. That was the moment I started losing my visions of finally having the peaceful, midwife led water birth that I wasn’t allowed when I had my daughter (the area hospitals didn’t allow midwives). I started panicking: “I don’t want to be in the waiting room! I want to be in a birthing pool! I want to get out of this wheelchair! I want a midwife to come help me! Please! Somebody send a midwife to come help me!” Despite my pleas for help (and yet another labouring mother added to the mix) I was still in the waiting room. The pain was so intense and unbearable that I couldn’t fathom the horror of living through another contraction and yet they kept coming one after another after another.
I decided the only way I was going to make it through this delivery without being kicked out of the country for assault was to get an epidural. I told my husband that I wanted an epidural and knowing how adamant I had been about not wanting one, he responded, “we’ll see”. Not what I wanted to hear. By the time I was finally wheeled into a room I had made it my mission to request an epidural from very person I encountered. I continued to get more and more agitated about it and began to demand that someone, anyone, needed to get me an anaesthetist right away. The midwife explained that it was too late. My contractions were on top of each other and the baby was coming. I continued to panic. This wasn’t how I imagined things. There was no birthing pool or low lights or peaceful music. There was just me on a bed, the sound of my voice crying out in pain and yelling for everyone to be quiet and bright lights and lots of people hustling around the room. (Though my husband informed me after reading this part of my story that no one was “hustling “around the room and, in fact, I was the only one making any noise . . . )
Now, I’m not sure what changed, but at some point in the midst of the chaos, the anaesthetist arrived and gave me an epidural. Within ten minutes I was feeling human again. I was finally able to open my eyes and properly meet and apologise to my midwife. It was as if the storm clouds had opened up and the sun appeared. We were able to talk about the birth process and she went over my birth plan (uh . . . just ignore that bit about no epidural . . .) and then she brought Jason and me nice hot cups of tea. Jason and I chatted, snoozed and enjoyed the quiet, peaceful atmosphere until around midnight when the midwife said it was time to get ready to push.

When I gave birth to my daughter, it was a typical American scenario where the nurse gets everything ready and the doctor rushes in at the last minute to catch the baby as it comes out. As you can see our doctor even came equipped with a “splash mask” visor:
image (15)Now don’t get me wrong. Despite my son’s perfect entry into the world, I still regret that I was unable to have a medication-free birth. And if I am ever blessed with a third baby I will again plan a natural water birth. But given how things played out, I was overall thrilled with how amazing and beautiful my son’s birth was.

My experience with the midwife led birth was completely different to my experience in America. No additional people came into our room. It was just the midwife and my husband and me. There was nothing frantic about it. No commotion. No splash masks. Just the midwife calmly encouraging me through my pushes and my husband watching in amazement as our son came into the world — not to a screaming and swearing and a delirious mother — but to a rested, calm, peaceful, mother. Peter Thomas Hungerford was born at 00:45 on 25 Jan, 2014 and weighed exactly eight pounds.

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As soon as he arrived he was placed on my chest and remained there for at least an hour per my request. (The weighing, poking and prodding happened later). The baby and I were both in good shape so the midwife left the room leaving Jason and me to bond with our beautiful son. It was magical. He took beautifully to the breast and got skin-to-skin time with both Jason and me. The midwife eventually returned and brought us more tea (God save the queen!) and after another hour or so we were moved to the labour ward.
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Now here I could write about how annoying it was to have to share a recovery room with three strangers and their babies when all I wanted was to go home. I had heard so many stories of women giving birth in the hospital and arriving home within a few hours and had been hopeful I could follow suite. However, I was required to stay longer than normal because I tested positive for group b strep so the labour ward was unavoidable. And despite the labour ward horror stories I had heard (including being one bed over from a woman attempting to nurse a baby who was born with teeth!) it really wasn’t so bad and we were back home within 24 hours of arriving at the hospital.
In America we were required to spend three days at the hospital after the birth of our daughter (despite having had a completely normal birth) and were extremely anxious to bring her home. Jason and I were both thrilled to be home so soon this time around and we’ve been so impressed that a midwife comes to our house to check up on baby and me.
We are happily adjusting to being a family of four and big sister Charlotte couldn’t be more pleased with new new brother!
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Thursday, January 16, 2014

38 weeks: ready and waiting

After hitting full-term last week at 37 weeks, I've been thinking every little thing is a sign that I'm going into labor . . . but given that I am still pregnant, I've been wrong.  I've decided, instead, that I'm probably just going to be pregnant forever.

It's funny how the first eight-and-a-half months have absolutely flown by and now that I'm full-term, the days seem to drag by.  I'm just so anxious to meet this little one!  Instead of focusing on having this baby boy, I've decided to try to focus on spending quality time with Charlotte and Jason until the baby arrives.  And if he comes at 40 weeks then we've timed it perfectly for my mom to come help right after Jason's two weeks of paternity leave ends!  Perfecto.

That being said, Jason and I have made guesses as to when this baby will arrive:

Bethie:  January 16 at 4:03pm
Jason:  January 21 at 9:08am

You may have noticed that my prediction is for today (my dad's birthday!  Happy birthday, daddy!).  Given that I'm still feeling like this baby has settled in for the long haul, I'm guessing Jason is probably going to win this one.  Charlotte arrived at 38.5 weeks, and Jason's guess reflects that (smarty pants).  Clearly we're both optimistic that he'll arrive sooner than later, but who knows.  I could still be blogging about being pregnant at week 42!  (Nooooooooo!)

PS:  Thank you to those asking about gifts for Peter!  As promised, here again is the link to our Amazon wish list for him.  xoxo

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

36 weeks: a little scare

35 week belly shot

After all the worry of having a transverse baby in my last post, I'm happy to report that he is now head down and ready to go!  Such good news, but I wouldn't have known he's back to being head down if I hadn't had a bit of a scare last week.

I had been up most of the night from Saturday to Sunday with insomnia and was trying not to worry about the fact that the baby wasn't moving as much as he normally did.  In the morning, Jason and Charlie and I headed to church and I still hadn't noticed him moving very much.  I tried eating sugar, drinking something cold and lying down, but he just wouldn't perk up.  Preferring to be safe over sorry, I decided to go get checked out at the hospital.  They hooked me up to a monitor and the baby immediately got the hiccups and began to roll around.  Such a relief!  E

ver since been back to his normal, raucous self.  A friend of mine said he just wanted to have a lazy Sunday morning and apparently she was right!

While at the hospital, the midwife felt around on my belly and said he was head down.  However, he moves around SO much that I'm not sure he is still in that position.  Regardless, I've decided not to worry given that he will likely continue to roll around until the last minute (presuming he still has the space!).

Other than that, there isn't much baby news to report.  We had a lovely Christmas and Charlie had a great birthday (you can see loads of pics on my Instagram account!) and we've just finished feasting on Jason's homemade New Year's quiche!  Can you believe this baby boy will be born this month?!

Happy New Year to you all!

PS:  I just had another request for gift ideas for he new baby.  We've made a UK Amazon wish list (click here to see it!) that is easy to use and requires no international shipping!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

34 weeks (tomorrow!): spinning baby

I had an appointment yesterday with my midwife and am happy to report that all is well!  We heard a nice strong heartbeat and everything looks normal . . . well, except for his position:  he's transverse.  This means instead of being head down (as he used to be) he is now lying sideways across my belly.  The good news is that he apparently has plenty of room to move around in there and he is likely to go back to being head down by the time he's ready to greet the world.  However, if he hasn't moved by 36 weeks then things get a little scary.  I will be referred to see a consultant who will attempt to turn him the right way around.  If that doesn't work I will be scheduled for a C-section.  Having a C-section is basically my biggest fear when I think about giving birth (second to the baby or me being not well, of course). 
So please pray or send the baby some spinning vibes or anything else you think might work to get this little guy in the right position!  I'll be doing my part by checking out this website that a friend recommended about how to "spin your baby" into position.  It supposedly works wonders!  

Monday, December 2, 2013

31 weeks: hiccups

All ready to sing the second half of a concert at 30 weeks!

Only three more days until I'm at 32 weeks!  Between Thanksgiving (which we hosted the weekend before the 28th), a holiday in France, my 33rd birthday and general busyness, things are still absolutely flying by.  I'm so glad I started preparing for this baby early because I'm running out of energy and time in this home stretch.  

All is well with baby and mama.  The one real update is that we've both got hiccups like nobody's business.  His hiccups come about two to four times per day and feel like the belly equivalent of an eye twitch.  I try to think of it as a gentle, persistent reminder that he's happy and well in there.  My hiccups on the other hand, are loud, aggressive and totally random.  I usually have about three at a time and they are far from being lady-like.  In fact, they sound more like a croak than a hiccup.  I never had these with Charlotte and have no idea why I've gotten them this time, but hopefully they will soon pass.  All-in-all very minor things at this point which I'm quite happy about!

Monday, November 11, 2013

28 weeks: ducks in a row

Even though we still have eleven-and-a-half weeks left, we're already getting the house ready for the new baby.  We just set up the crib in Charlotte's room and have moved the dresser/changing table into our room for now (their room is too small to accommodate both!).  The baby won't be sleeping in the crib until he's sleeping through the night, but we figured it was good for Charlotte to get used to having it in there.  We'll have a co-sleeper in our room which is essentially a little crib that attaches to my side of the bed for easy overnight feeding and safe sleeping.  He'll be sleeping in that for the first three to six months.  I've also already washed and organised all of the baby clothes and they are now in their new home in the dresser/changing table in our room.

Overall I'm feeling very prepared!  The only big thing left is to get a comfy chair to nurse in for our room.  I looked into getting comfy cushions made for the wooden rocking chair in Charlotte's room, but decided a new chair would be most practical.  I'll be sure to keep you all posted once we get it all figured out!


PS:  Family and friends have generously started asking what else we need, so I've made an Amazon Baby Wish List for the remaining things we could use.  You can find it by clicking here.  It is through the UK Amazon site so you don't have to pay ridiculous shipping!  Thank you!!

PPS:  While I was at it, I also made an Amazon Wish List for Charlotte for Christmas and her birthday for those who've been asking!

Monday, November 4, 2013


I am thrilled to report that I am now in the third trimester of my pregnancy!  Wahoo!!  We are slowly but surely getting ready for our new little one's arrival and are still a bit in shock as to how quickly this has all gone the second time around!

I owe you all a few updates.  First of all, I posted earlier about needing a dress to wear to sing the Messiah solos in.  By the time I was this big with Charlotte, all of my gigs were requiring black so I didn't need to invest in a colorful gown.  This time around black wasn't going to cut it, but I also couldn't stand the thought of spending a fortune on a dress I was going to wear one time.  Enter my local mum's Facebook group.  This group has been amazing for buying and selling baby/kid things and plugging into the local mum/kid community around our neighborhood.  I posted a request for a maternity gown and, amazingly, a lovely woman offered me the use of this dress and asked absolutely nothing in return!  I still can't believe it.  I offered to pay her or to repay her in some other small way and she has decided not to say no to some freshly baked cinnamon rolls.  Not only was the dress gorgeous, but it was also SO comfortable!  It felt like pajamas!  No joke!  If you are in the UK and in the market for a dressy maternity gown, check out Tiffany Rose.  I promise they won't disappoint!

Lastly, an update on my sciatica.  I am happy to report that since returning to London, my sciatica has more or less gone away!  I think the problem was going from the very active lifestyle I have here in London to a very sedentary lifestyle for the ten days I was in Miami.  I had two massively long plane flights and then lots of sitting for rehearsal and even more sitting to drive two and from rehearsals and performances.  I noticed the sciatica was always much worse after sitting for a long period of time and I was mostly sitting while in Miami.  But the good news is that I'm back to walking around a mile a day and chasing my toddler and it seems to be just what the doctor ordered!  Let's hope things continue to be comfortable as I still have three months left!