Archive | August 2012

Breastfeeding Sucks

Of all the plans I made for my future daughter, the one thing I most wanted to do was breastfeed her.  It’s something I thought would come naturally!  I have the physical endowments necessary to do such, and I envisioned her immediately latching on to my breast in the delivery room, thus beginning our lifelong bond.

This was not the case.

Initially, the staff did not want me to nurse her because they were going to check her blood sugar to see if my gestational diabetes had any effect on her.  Several hours after giving birth I was given the ok to feed her but she was uninterested in feeding.  She was uninterested for a full 24 hours, which had me extremely concerned.

The next day she began puking up large amounts of froth.  The nurses told me that this was mucus and amniotic fluid that was typical in the stomachs of c-section babies.  Problem was? Mine was not a c-section birth.

English: ameda lactaline personal breast pump ...

English: ameda lactaline personal breast pump breastfeeding breast milk expression Nederlands: ameda lactaline personal borstkolf kolf borstvoeding moedermelk afkolven (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In any case, I was told that the puking was a good thing, and several hours later it had dissipated.  A lactation consultant came to visit and showed me the football hold, got the baby latched on (she has a lazy latch, I was told) and then ordered me a breast pump to use in the room to help get the milk flowing, since my milk had not yet come in.

That evening baby and I struggled yet again and the nurse came in to help, got her latched, and was off again.  The next day another lactation consultant came in with more help.

All in all I left the hospital with a very rudimentary idea of how to breastfeed, and the promise that once my milk came in everything would be better.  I was unconvinced, but hopeful.  I was also armed with some pre-mixed formula

It took almost 3 days from the time I got home until my pitiful colostrum began to turn to milk.  Still, every feeding was a battle that usually ended with her screaming and me in tears.  There were days when she would latch for a couple of minutes, and then there was one epic night where she nursed nearly continually from 9 pm to 4 am.  I was sore, exhausted, crying, and desperate for some sort of relief.

My father came back to stay for a few days around the time she started nursing somewhat normally again.  That lasted for a day or so and then she started refusing my breast completely.  I was devastated by this.

My husband and my father both encouraged me to just give up on trying to breastfeed.  Formula is there for a reason, they said, and it was more important to feed her than to breastfeed her.

Intellectually I understood this, but my heart was broken.  I felt like a complete failure.  I was strapped to a pump or my daughter nearly 24 hours a day trying to keep her fed by my breast and all she did was scream.  I was in physical and emotional pain, and was no longer enjoying my beautiful baby girl.  I could barely even look at her.  I cried for hours on end: in bed, in the shower, while pumping, while trying to breastfeed, while bottle feeding her formula.

The colostrum had turned to milk, but that hadn’t been the magic bullet I had been promised.

So breastfeeding, the thing I KNEW would be easy, was ruining my relationship with my daughter.  I decided to offer her the breast occasionally, but pump as I could and bottle feed her both breast milk and formula.  I’m hopeful that eventually breastfeeding will “click” for her and we can nurse.

It wasn’t easy to get over this hurdle mentally.  There was a lot of crying, and my father and husband were both at a loss as to how to help me.

So what did?  Penny did.

One evening my husband was walking her around the house showing her things out the patio doors.  I walked by the two of them and swooped in to drop kisses on her cheek, and as I walked away she reached out for me.

“She wants her momma,” my husband said.

So I took her in my arms.  It was the first time she’d shown a preference for a specific person, and it was ME, her momma.  I wasn’t just some large human taking care of her, I was the one she wanted.

We may never breastfeed again, but we WILL have a special bond.

* * *

Giving up on breastfeeding wasn’t the worst thing.  At her 12 day old pediatrician appointment (she was born on a Sunday so her appointment was before 14 days) she was back up to 1.5 oz above her birth weight and doesn’t need to be seen again until she is 6 weeks old.

I can look at her now and enjoy her beautiful face, kiss her and snuggle her.  Even when she screams I am so in love my heart feels like it might burst.

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Sense of Loss

I think I had the very common anxiety that strikes a new mom when she is transitioning from the hospital or birthing center back home.  For nearly 48 hours I had been awakened or bothered around the clock by nurses checking my vitals, checking the baby’s vitals, or both.  The baby was nearby but if I needed anything I had that handy-dandy call button and a nurse would appear to assist me.

I cried on the way down to the car carrying my new bundle of joy.  My husband was waiting by our chariot with a huge smile on his face and a brand-spanking-new car seat to carry our daughter home.  He was so excited.

I was relieved.  And anxious.

That night we placed her in her bassinet beside the bed, and I climbed into bed next to Irish.  I lay there in the dark, one hand on my distended belly, and I began to sob uncontrollably at the loss of my pregnancy.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy (Photo credit: jess.g.)

I’m sure this seemed incongruous to my husband.  The object of my affection was an arm’s length away, bundled in a muslin blanket, her pale red lashes fanned down against her cheeks.  And yet I cried.

My only other pregnancy had resulted in an early second trimester loss.  I went to the hospital and when I came out I was no longer pregnant.  For days after I felt phantom flutterings of the baby I didn’t get to raise.  This moment, two days after the birth of my healthy daughter, brought back intense memories for me.

I felt phantom kicks, felt the strange way my uterus continued to fill up my torso and push it out.  My belly was no longer hard, it was a mushy shell that had once been my sole focus.

I missed being pregnant.  I missed feeling my daughter inside me.

My throat was tight and dry as tears poured down my cheeks, and I tried to explain to my husband that the feeling of loss was an entirely separate issue from the new baby sleeping peacefully nearby.  I had “lost” a second pregnancy, and the emptiness after so many months of fullness was nearly unbearable.

Being pregnant had made me feel special, sexy and powerful.  I loved having this unique bond with my daughter, feeling her move inside me.  I had wondered many times if I would miss that when it was gone, and I did.  The longing to have her back safe in my womb nearly took my breath away.

It took a couple of days before this feeling completely went away, but I’m left with the lingering feeling of a part of me now living outside my body.  I’m just able to gather her up in my arms now and hold her until it goes away.

 

Change of Plans – Penny’s Birth Story

It all started on Friday night.  My husband was going out to a pub to play darts with friends from work, and I wanted to go but had been feeling a bit under the weather.  He left and I began to get crampy, and started losing my mucus plug.  I was elated to see any sign of impending birth.

When he got home at 1 am I was sleeping, but woke up to greet him.  I woke him again at 3:30 am laughing because I had started having contractions.  Why was I laughing?  I was due to be induced in 5 days, and this was the first time in my pregnancy I felt like she might be ready to join us.

We went to the assessment center (at the old hospital – the new hospital didn’t open until the next morning) Saturday morning when my contractions started coming 4 minutes apart.  They monitored me for an hour and a half and then sent me home because I wasn’t dilating.  They were very nice, and the resident on duty said he expected to see me again later that evening for “the real deal”.  I was unhappy about being sent home and wondered if I would know when it was “time” because I didn’t want to be that woman that goes to L&D every day and gets sent home.

Contractions fizzled out long enough for a nap when we got home, then picked up again around dinner time.  The contractions were strong, but stayed consistently 6-7 minutes apart for the next 6 or 7 hours, not close enough together to warrant heading back to the hospital.  I wanted to hold out until the next morning but the pain was intense and I was frustrated.

Contractions fizzled out again overnight allowing for a few hours sleep, then kicked in around 5 am Sunday morning, painful but inconsistent at 6-10 minutes.  I writhed on the bed in pain, thinking that I didn’t want to be in this sort of purgatory of labor until my induction date on Thursday.  I also still hoped I might have the baby before being induced.

Just after 7 am a particularly painful contraction hit and I curled on my left side, drawing my knees up to my waist.  POP!  There was a loud noise and then a huge gush and I jumped up saying “Oh my!” and ran into the bathroom.  My husband called out “What’s wrong?” and I hollered “My water broke!” and his response was “I’m up! I’m up!” and he was up and dressed before the words were even out of his mouth.

We called my doctor’s office and were told the doctor would call back, but my contractions were now incredibly painful and coming 1-2 minutes apart so we headed over to the new hospital.  The same triage staff from the day before was working in the assessment center, and they checked me and sent me straight up to labor and delivery.

We were having a baby!

Once up in the room the most wonderful doctor came and gave me this magical thing called an EPIDURAL and it was wonderful.  My husband called my dad to tell him we were delivering that day and he promised to be on his way.

For the next several hours I experienced my contractions via monitor.  Baby girl continued to move inside me, which was wonderful and comforting.  My L&D nurse buzzed in and out of the room checking on me and taking care of me, reporting on my progress and advising that the on call OB (not my doctor – it was her son’s birthday so she had the day off) was delivering the last baby at the old hospital and would be done there before coming to deliver my baby.

We were hoping to be the first birth at the new hospital but were beat out by three other babies that same morning!  I actually didn’t care whether we were the first or not, I just wanted my rainbow.

My dad and sister arrived mid-afternoon just in time to catch me puking up everything I had eaten that day – a handful of Tums and a half cup of water.  Quite the greeting!  They were happy to be there and my dad asked if I wanted him in the room during delivery.  I said I did, then he asked if I wanted my 16 year old sister there. I told him that it was up to him whether he thought she could handle it or not, and it was decided that she could.

The L&D nurse told me that my cervix was still pretty high, so they started me on pitocin.  The contractions got more intense, so much so that I could feel the pressure of them building and then feel the contraction itself pull through me.

About an hour later the L&D nurse announced I was at a 9 and called the OB.  She then got my husband to help her and they held my legs while I did some pushing to get baby’s head into the proper position.  The nurse informed me that she could see the baby’s head and that “she has a lot of hair!”  She demonstrated by reaching in and pulling some out to show my husband.

I pushed several times, and then the staff began to pour in and set up for delivery.  The sheer number of people made me nervous, but it was comforting that everyone was so efficient.  It began to really sink in that the baby was coming, right then, and I got very emotional.

I was draped and my legs were lifted into stirrups, and then the pushing began in earnest.  I pushed for perhaps half an hour, reaching down occasionally where I could still feel my daughter’s feet near my belly button.  She wasn’t moving much now, but the feel of her reassured me.

There was a then felt a pop as the baby’s head came loose from my pelvis, then she was crowning.  The doctor cleaned her nose and mouth but she didn’t cry yet and the doctor said “She’s not born yet, almost!”  A couple more pushes and I felt her body sliding through me, out of me.  I thought the doctor was pulling her but I was told that the doctor didn’t do much of anything except guide her out.

She began to squawk then, just these short, sharp reports that sounded like an annoucement: “I’m here!” but no real crying.  They asked if I wanted her on my chest and then put her on me, creamy, stretched out and bleating.  I was vaguely aware of her father being coerced into cutting the cord while she lay on me, but I was mesmerized by this little blue-tinged creature with the huge dark eyes and sweet red lips.

I said “hi sweet girl, I’m your momma” and she suddenly went silent, and I felt my eyes fill with tears.  I’d heard of that magical moment when baby and momma are introduced, and it was better than I could have imagined.

She’s here! She’s really here.

Penny was born 8/5/12 at 5:34 pm.  She weighed 7 lbs 2 oz, measured at 22 inches long and had big dark blue eyes and a full head of red-tinged dark hair.  Best day of my life.

Here She Comes

I’ve been dealing with a bit of disappointment recently with regard to the impending birth of my daughter.  As you may already know, I’ve had both gestational diabetes (GD) and high blood pressure this entire pregnancy and have been managing both to the best of my ability.

Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) has been monitoring my GD and my regular OB has been keeping an eye on my blood pressure.  They’ve been working pretty well together.  I see my OB every week  and MFM about once a month, though I turn in my blood glucose readings every week.

Last Monday I had what was to be my last appointment with MFM.  They did a detailed ultrasound and biophysical profile (BPP) to check her growth and everything looked great.  As we were wrapping up the doctor asked when my induction date was and I told him we didn’t have one.  He seemed surprised because he could have sworn we had talked about it at our last visit.  We had not.

Gestational-Diabetes

Gestational-Diabetes (Photo credit: Adams999)

My GD has been very much under control, so I was feeling pretty good about myself.  He told me that yes, this was true, but in cases of older mothers with high blood pressure, he recommends induction between 38-39 weeks.

I was floored, because this was the first I was hearing about it.  I was expecting to go into labor in the middle of the night sometime in the next few weeks and go to the hospital and have a standard delivery just like most other moms.  In fact, I was counting on it.

I cried all the way home and then for most of the night.  I wanted the authentic labor experience, and I didn’t want to force my daughter out of me earlier than she was ready

The next day I had an appointment with my regular OB and she told me that she agreed with the MFM doctor’s recommendation and wanted to schedule an induction.  I had already prepared myself for this after talking with my husband and my father, but it still made me cry.

I know that the most important thing is to get her out safely.  A week and some days early is really not going to make that much difference in the grand scheme.

We scheduled the induction, and I’ve had a few days to think about it.  Here is what I’m feeling now:

Disappointment – I’d still like to go into labor on my own, when my daughter is ready.  I’d pictured waking my husband up in the middle of the night to tell him “it’s time” and watching him panic a teensy bit.

Relief – I’m a planner, so letting baby girl decide her debut was hard for me.  Having an end date is a relief.  I know when this will be over and the fun part (parenting) begins.

Excitement – This is really happening.  She’s coming!  No more empty bassinet, no more strict diabetic diet, no more aching hips.  I will get to kiss those tiny little toes and see who this little person is who has been hitching a ride inside me for the last 9 months.

I’m not publicizing the induction date for my own personal reasons.  I’ll be around with the birth story as soon as I can.

My Stash

When my husband and I first started talking about cloth diapering, we really didn’t know what we were talking about, we just knew that we wanted to try.  I did some initial research online and found some cute all-in-ones (AIOs) but we didn’t buy anything because I wasn’t far enough along, and then there was no need to.

Diaper Central

Diaper Central (Photo credit: girlonthewire)

With this baby I’ve had plenty of time to research.  My initial decision was the Econobums would be the way to go.  We didn’t want to spend a ton of money, and the idea of spending $100 or so on enough diapers to last us through toilet training was a very attractive prospect.

For some reason, I just couldn’t seem to pull the trigger.

I found out that there was a cloth diaper store very close to my house, and that allowed me to go, poke around, and see what was what. I had already spoken to my grandmother about cloth diapering and she told me what she had done – flats and rubber pants.  So while I was at the cloth diaper shop I checked out the AIOs, the pockets, the Flips, and everything in between.  I also bought a sample pack of the Econobums – one prefold and one cover, among other things.

I’m so glad I bought that sample pack, because once I prepped the very thick insert, I decided they probably weren’t for me.  The prefold is nice, but it’s so bulky I’m not sure I can work with it.

So here is my stash as it stands right now:

24 birdseye flats (gift from grandmother – these have all been prepped and folded origami [or bat wing] style)

3 Gerber rubber (plastic/training) pants – size 0-3 months, purchased from Babies R Us (clear/white)

3 rubber/plastic/training pants – purchased on clearance from the local diaper shop – size S, cute patterns!

20 solid color Alva pocket diapers, purchased as a package directly from the website (with microfiber inserts)

4 print Alva pocket diapers, purchased from the website (with microfiber inserts)

3 Kissaluvs organic cotton/hemp fitted diapers (size M/L) purchased from Ecomom using a discount certificate from PlumDistrict

1 Econobum prefold/cover purchased from the local diaper shop

5 Alva 4-layer bamboo/microfiber blend inserts purchased through a co-op (arriving soon!)

10 Alva 3-layer bamboo inserts purchased through a co-op (arriving soon!)

3 Alva wetbags purchased through a co-op (arriving soon!)

3-pack of Snappis, purchased from the local diaper shop

All told I think my entire stash has cost about $225.  It probably could have been less if I’d purchased the Alva pocket diapers through the co-op rather than from the website, but I was undecided before the deadline had passed.  The co-op also didn’t include the inserts with the diapers so I think I may have broken even on that deal.

All of the above should supposedly last me from birth until potty training with this baby.  $225 would last me 3-4 months with disposables.  Logistically I’m sure this is going to be difficult at first, but I’m excited to have just about everything ready for baby’s arrival.