Tuesday, November 19, 2013

All Those Darn Bad Babies

Does that sound ridiculous to you too? A preposterous statement to pair with the equally annoying question "Is she a Good Baby?". As if there is such a thing as a "bad baby". 

I think this may be my soap box as a new mom!

I know exactly what the question means - "Does she cry much?" "Does she sleep through the night?"
Quite honestly, I have probably been guilty of using this exact phrase. I just couldn't help but share...

... This Mom-Rant is brought to you by Sleepless nights & Hormones!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Baby Girl's Birth Story (Part 2)

{See Part 1 Here}

I rode out several contractions in the tub, until the water began to grow cold. I knew that I could always get back in the tub later, as long as my water was intact, so we decided I'd get out and maybe walk around the house. We talked about a possible walk around the neighborhood, but it was cold & the middle of the night. My contractions were lasting roughly a minute each and were mostly four minutes apart, but weren't terribly consistent. John was still a little on the edge of believing that I was really in labor, he kept looking for a more set pattern in the time of my contractions. I knew I was in true labor (finally!) but was also aware that it could be a long haul before our daughter was born. I took a shower, knowing that it could be quite a while before I had the opportunity for another one.

Out of the tub the contractions were much more intense but reduced in time to about 30 seconds each. I was frustrated but was still certain this was it. The intensity was making me nervous about when we should go to the hospital and we wanted to labor at home as long as possible, ideally until I was dilated to a 6 or a 7. Susan, our Doula lives in Fort Worth, which is about an hour drive from our house so we decided to go ahead and call her to give her time to get to us. I called her at 2:47 am, while I was on the phone I had another contraction and was able to ride it out with deep breaths. Susan agreed that I was in early active labor and that she would go ahead and come our way.

The next little while I spent time between contractions stacking our last minute items for the hospital next to the door, making the bed etc. Our room is always warmer than the rest of the house and I was getting too hot so we moved to the living room. We let our dogs come into the house and sit with us in the living room. I just found something nice about having a "normal" family moment in the middle of this experience.

Once settled into the living room, I was under the delusion that sitting on my exercise ball would help me get through some of these contractions. Boy was I wrong! I loved it in false labor, but now that it was the real deal I could have drop kicked the darn ball down the street! (In retrospect, it was because it opened up my pelvis and made the contractions more intense - a good thing but I wasn't prepared for it!)

I knew I needed to be resting through contractions but I couldn't get comfortable anywhere. Finally I found that I could close my eyes and relax in the rocking chair, but sitting through a contraction was painful for me. Each time I had a contraction I would stand up as it began, which made it easier to handle but the movement itself was so painful! I was wearing out quickly and knew I was at a point that I needed Susan to get there. During one of these transitions from chair to standing, I yelled loudly in pain - that was the point John recalls knowing we were really in labor and going to have a baby. (Looking back, this is the only time I would say I was in "pain" during labor. Honestly the majority of the time the physical feelings were "intense" but so different from any other discomfort I had felt at any other time in my life) At some point during my time in the rocking chair, I threw up. I knew that vomiting was just part of labor but it was certainly less than fun heaving during a contraction.

When Susan arrived just before 4 am, I was loudly moaning through each contraction just to cope and I was quickly getting discouraged with our natural approach. I hadn't pulled out the "I can't" words yet, but I had them ready to go if whatever Susan was going to do didn't work. Just after walking in the door, I told her what was going on & where we were at in the process between contractions. She told me she hated the exercise ball in her labors too & that moving in a contraction always makes them worse in real labor - that movement brings on contractions. (WHY is this not common knowledge?!?) The first contraction she watched me in she recognized that I was tensing up in anticipation of the intensity. She gently reminded me to relax, and like a miracle when I encouraged my muscles to release the tension in a contraction, the intensity was much more manageable!

Susan set up her diffuser (Lavender & Geranium) and it was like the best medicine ever! It was so easy to relax my muscles through the contractions and I rode them out in the rocker for a while. At some point I stood through a few of them and Susan taught John how to do hip squeezes. Hip squeezes = amazing! It was so special that John was able to help me through each contraction in such a 'hands on' kind of way.

Susan suggested moving to the bathroom and sitting backwards on the toilet. She explained that it would make the contractions more intense because it would open up my pelvis and help labor along, but it would give me the wall and back of the toilet to relax on between contractions and John would have access to do hip squeezes. I agreed and it was the best idea ever. The time I spent on the toilet (both at home and later at the hospital) were honestly the easiest and best periods of labor! I was able to doze off laying on a pillow propped up on the tank of the toilet. It was quiet, dark and calming with the diffuser sitting just a couple of feet away on the sink. Between each contraction I would close my eyes and silently pray for strength "Strength, Jesus, Strength" as I drifted off until the next contraction.

Somewhere around 5:15 am I knew I was getting close to Transition in labor & Susan did too. We knew that it was time to get me to the hospital before contractions were too close or intense to make the move. I was dreading the 25 minute drive to the hospital, but we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time for the drive, I really didn't want a home birth (nor were we prepared for one) and I sure didn't want to deliver on the side of the road! At 5:35 am John called Kathy, our Midwife and told her my contractions were just over a minute long each with three minutes between and had been going on like this for roughly two hours. Kathy instructed to come on into the hospital we planned to deliver at and she'd meet us there.

I've never wanted a home birth, but it was beyond less than fun moving to the hospital this far into labor. I went to the restroom while John threw the last of our stuff into the van & made sure the dogs were good for the night and into the next day. Susan tied her Robozo around my hips nice and tight to help keep pressure there during the car ride and suggested sitting on the floor of the van and leaning into a seat. I rode out one more contraction in our living room, I remember being very aware that our neighbors were about to be leaving for work and I didn't want to be the crazy moaning lady in my front yard! After the contraction John got me situated in the back of the van & we headed off to the hospital with Susan following. The 20 minute ride to the hospital was honestly pretty uncomfortable. I was much less successful at relaxing during each contraction, I'd read that transitioning from home to the hospital can result in a regression of labor. Thinking about or my nagging worry that we'd get pulled over & I'd get a seat belt ticket sure wasn't helping the relaxation much! At some point, about half way through the drive I shifted and caught a whiff of the lingering essential oils from my hair and was able to relax and resist yelling & scaring the poo out of John for the rest of the drive in.

Once at the hospital, John dropped me off at the entrance to the ER while Susan parked & grabbed a wheel chair to take me up to Labor & Delivery.

{Part 3}

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Baby Girl's Birth Story (Part 1)

The last couple of weeks of pregnancy were less than fun for me, particularly because of all the contractions. We were also trying to do everything we could to naturally induce labor so I could get in the hospital we'd pre-registered at and have our Midwife or her backup deliver our daughter.

Friday 10/18, I took the day off work & went into the Midwife's office and had her sweep my membranes. I'd had the procedure before and each time it would result in some serious contractions that would last for hours. When I had been in her office the previous Wednesday, I was dilated to a 3, she said it was almost a 4. We were so hopeful that this last ditch effort Sweep would push me over the edge into active labor. After the sweep (at which I measured an easy 4, on my way to 5), I went and walked store after store and made my way over to the mall & walked the mall for a couple of hours trying to help the contractions along (it was raining). Unfortunately, my contractions never set up into a pattern. I'd had more intense contractions after the previous sweep, I was so disappointed. I spent the rest of the day Friday at home cleaning house and the rest of the weekend John and I just spent time together at home getting ready for the arrival of our Baby Girl.

Sunday (10/20) evening came & we had plans to go to some friends house for dinner (Brisket & fixings - yum! I ate a ton, which was very unusual for me to have an appetite). I hadn't really had any contractions all day, just one or two here & there. After dinner Momma Betty, Kim & I went for a walk around their farm talking about some of my concerns & nerves about becoming a mother. At the end of the walk, Betty prayed for the baby & I and some of my worries.

When John & I got home that night we watched TV & just hung out enjoying the time together. We talked about how we were worried that I'd be like my Mom & labor wouldn't progress the rest of the way naturally & we'd have to end up inducing. I was so frustrated that we were starting another work week and had "wasted" a weekend without going into labor. I was feeling really down that I was struggling to be productive at work because I was so uncomfortable and there would just be yet another wasted week in the office.

Neither of us was very tired but knew that we had to get some rest because Monday morning was quickly approaching. 11:30 or so I got up and gave John two Tylenol PM & I took one myself and we laid down to sleep. At midnight, like clockwork I had a contraction, the first in hours. I was so mad! I always had bouts of false labor throughout the night and I was just sure this was another repeat of every other night from the past few weeks. I breathed through the contraction & did my best to not disturb John. After several contractions I knew that they were much harder and just felt so different than what I'd previously experienced. To get through them I was groaning and John wasn't getting any rest.

I got out of bed and got in the bathtub to see if the hot water would calm them down so we could get some rest. Roughly two contractions into being in the tub I just knew it was real, that our baby girl was on the way! I called out to John and for about the next hour he poured water over my belly through the contractions and timed them starting at 12:50 am. With dark humor we realized we were probably in for a very long night and we'd both just taken Tylenol PM.

{Part 2}

Friday, November 8, 2013

Baby Girl - 2 Weeks Old!

Baby Girl turned two weeks old on Monday. This week John went back to work. It was emotionally hard to have him leave each morning but as far as taking care of Baby Girl, it wasn't too bad.

Last Sunday we took a short walk over to our church & took Baby Girl to Trunk or Treat. I really wanted to swing by and see my choir students since I hadn't been able to go to class the last three weeks (I had doctor appointments on Wednesdays and after Membrane Sweeps I was in enough false labor pain I couldn't make it to choir). We were there no more than 15 minutes, but it was nice to get out for a while (minus the fact that I walked too far and thought I was dying!)

Last Monday my Great Aunt & Uncle came over & helped me with everything. I got a much needed nap and they helped me get the house straigtened up from the crazy weekend. They headed back to Lubbock on Tuesday. Thursday (Halloween) we had to head back to the hospital for Baby Girls second PKU newborn screening and John's Mother came along to lend a hand. I was really nervous about Baby Girl and the heel stick but she did fantastic, she didn't even cry!!

Over the weekend we traveled to East Texas to visit my brother at College. The trip itself went great! Baby Girl traveled like a champ! The trip to Marshall was quite a bit longer than we anticipated thanks to Construction traffic, but even with that she slept most of the trip there. I also learned that my life will be much easier if I can successfully nurse in public. I just haven't quite figured it out.

We also learned just how difficult it can be to get out the door with a baby! I slept through an alarm for one of her feedings, she will sleep up to 5 hours during the night between feedings so she just slept on. I finally woke to her wanting food, over an hour past when we should have gotten up. In the process of feeding & changing her I ended up covered in milk and spit up and needed another shower (I had showered the night before in hopes that it would save time the next day) and Baby Girl peed all over our bed. By the time we made it out the door we were already running roughly two hours late.

Baby Girl is sleeping 4 and 5 hours at a time at night but wants to eat roughly every 3 during the day. Her awake periods are increasingly long & active. Her neck is so strong she can push up from being on her belly & turn her head left & right to see what's around her!

She is vocal about everything! Eating, sleeping, sucking on her passi... Breastfeeding is going great! I'm reducing how much I pump. I know I'll just have to start again soon to get ready for going back to work, but it's just too much for me to manage to pump right after I feed her. It always ends up being almost an hour later that I have time to come back and pump and by then it's so close to time to feed again... it's just not working.

Postpartum wise I'm doing well! Towards the end of the day, or if I'm on my feet too much I can really tell. One dose of Advil a day is all I need, but I still get really uncomfortable from time to time.

At some point each day I think about how old she is getting and how quickly time is passing and then connect the fact that I'm X days/weeks from having to go back to work and I just want to cry. I can't imagine leaving her but me not working isn't an option. However, me going back part time is so we're starting to really consider that for at least a while.

A look at our week from my phone -

Friday, November 1, 2013

Baby Girl - 1 Week Old!

A few hours old
Baby Girl turned one week on Monday of this week! We spent the first few days in the hospital with some respiratory issues, but we got out days earlier than anticipated and came home on Thursday afternoon (and I bawled all the way home that we were finally leaving the hospital & getting to take our baby home). 

She hasn't lost any of her hair that I can tell, she is vocal about everything! She "talks" to us when she eats, sleeps - everything. There are very few times she isn't making a noise of some kind! She sleeps wherever we put her! Crib, bassinet, pack & play, swing & bouncer! She loves her Boppy infant positioner & that will make her happy when nothing else will! While she loves her Bouncer she hates the vibration feature on it! I never knew it was possible to love anyone or anything as much as I love her! And seeing John with her makes me love him all the more!

Having a newborn has overall been easier than I honestly expected! The first night we got to room-in at the hospital, it was really rough! We were transitioning off of formula supplementation & to breast milk supplementation only, so she wasn't feeling full and wanted to cluster feed all night long. I think we may have slept a whole hour, maybe two out of the entire night. Now that we're home, night time feedings are difficult, I have trouble prying my eyes open & sitting up to tend to her needs, but the more I heal the easier it is! At night, she sleeps at least 4 hours between feedings, sometimes as much as 5 hours! Her awake periods during the day are more & more alert and lengthy as each day passes.
40 hours without sleep!

Nursing is going great! I was really concerned about it at first since we didn't get skin to skin contact after delivery (with the complications) and we couldn't hold her for over 24 hours. My first time pumping we were able to get a few ml of Colostrum for her to be fed by syringe but after that I  couldn't much of anything while pumping ... until my milk started coming in & now I swear I could feed twins! She only had to have supplementation with formula for a few feedings and we haven't had to use any since we came home! We've also gotten the okay from our Pediatrician to exclusively breastfeed & not supplement anymore. I'm having to use a nipple guard to get her latched well, I'm attempting to wean her off, but she only latches well without it about every one out of four times. It's slow, but it's progress!
She has become a pacifier baby. I *really* didn't want that, but since we moved her off the passifier that the hospital put her on {(without my permission... grrr...) Part of the reason the first night rooming-in was so awful} we've fixed her latch & suck with the help of the amazing Lactation Consultant at the hospital. I've put her on Mam passifiers & we don't seem to have any new suck/latch problems.
Coming Home!
When we took her to the Pediatrician last Friday, she was down to 8 pounds, 3.5 ounces from her original birth weight of 8 pounds, 12 ounces. It is considered an acceptable weight loss, but I'm hopeful that she is putting some of it back on before her next appointment this upcoming Monday (I really don't want to revisit supplementation or formula!).

We had a busy, busy first week with lots of visitors! We truly loved seeing everyone, but it's been nice that this week it has slowed down some & we have been able to scheudule our visits less often & with fewer people at a time. It has made life much easier on this Momma and I've done better emotionally now that I get more cuddles with my little pumpkin and am not just having her passed back to me when she is crying or needing something just to have her being cuddled by someone else the moment the need was met. 

Tomorrow we're taking Baby Girl on her first day trip! My brother is the Drum Major at his college & when we went to see him a few weeks ago the football game was rained out so I haven't gotten to see him conduct this year. Tomorrow is the last game of the season so we're headed to Marshall (3.5 hour drive) - wish us luck!

Postpartum: Day 1 - 3 was really rough! I had a natural vaginal delivery with no complications. I can't imagine the added soreness if there had been issues or stitches or anything really. In a lot of ways I found recovery way worse than the actual labor or delivery! With contractions at least you get a break between them, recovery pain is constant.
Medication wise, one dose of Advil usually does the trick & gets me through the day.

 (It's not a great picture, but I love it - My Dad's family that gathered on Saturday to meet Baby Girl. In true form, we couldn't get the timer feature to work on the camera & couldn't really reach the corded shutter release.)