Tuesday, September 30, 2008

When It's Bad, It's Bad

Will has never really been a good sleeper. Even in the early days, he was much more of an eater. Wake him to eat? Never had to do it. He was always ready and raring to go. I believe that I have had one stretch of four hours of sleep since he was born. Three was a stretch that I would consider good.

The past three nights, Will has had one two hour stretch and then been up every hour to hour and a half for the rest of the night.

I am exhausted.

The first night, I thought it was an aberration. I am still hoping for growth spurt. At each waking, I am trying not to rush right to shoving a boob in his mouth. However, shushing, walking, bouncing doesn't seem to soothe him. And trying to put him back down without a feed isn't working at all. He is also giving all of his usual hunger cues.

I tried giving him a formula "topper" last night, to no avail. This seems to be his newest sleeping schedule.

So, I am tired.

Very, very tired.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Rather Strange Thought

Here's today's random thought. What kind of birth control should I use?

That's right. It's almost time for my six week post-partum check. Friends have warned me that it's best to go in knowing what kind of birth control you would like to use because the doctor will be ready to write the prescription and not so hot on "just winging it". After all we went through to get our Little Man, it seems insane to me to even have to be thinking about preventing pregnancy when achieving it was my whole world not that very long ago. However, since getting pregnant wasn't always our problem, I do have to give this some thought.

There are many options, of course. Since we do want another baby eventually, we could just take our chances. After all, I am almost exclusively breastfeeding, so the possibility of getting pregnant is slim. But it is still there. And we have our hands pretty full with Will for the moment and would like to wait a minute on trying for the second baby. Plus, we have some frozen embryos that we'd rather not waste, so when we do go for number two, we'll probably go that route.

Then there are the progesterone-only birth control pills. But as my readers who were around during the IVF cycle will remember, one of my body's magic tricks is ovulating on BCPs. Of course, the pill combined with the breastfeeding should cover us pretty well. The only problem is that my combination post-baby brain and sleep deprivation lead me to be concerned that I might forget to take my pill. Baby brain is no joke.

Then, there is the injectible BC. I took that when my husband and I were first doin' the wild thang. I gained twenty pounds. Since I just gained and lost thirty pounds and have another ten to fifteen to go, I'd rather not get on that merry-go-round, thankyouverymuch.

But I do have to do something. I just can't take my chances. Not now.

See, it isn't even the getting pregnant that is the problem. If I were to get and stay pregnant right now or in the immediate future, well, that would just be a gift. Perhaps a bit earlier than expected, but really, we'd be okay and consider ourselves incredibly blessed. It's the very real possibility that we would miscarry again that scares the bejeemus out of me. I just don't feel emotionally or physically ready to handle that right now. I don't think it's fair to Will. Heck, I don't think it's fair to me. Or my husband.

My miscarriages just about did me in and I don't think it would be any easier now. I mean, yes, I have my miracle Will. But in some ways, that might make it harder. After all, now I would know what I was losing, not just the abstract. It's hard enough being a new mom without throwing in the physical and emotional insanity that comes with losing a baby.

My appointment isn't until Friday, so I have some time left to decide. But how weird is it to be contemplating birth control?

In a word? Very.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Few Of My Favorite Things

There are a few things that I have loved, loved, loved since having Will. I know that each baby is different and some of these things will not be useful to you or your particular situation. But I loved reading posts like these before Will was born and got some useful suggestions from them. Enjoy!

1) Waffle-weave receiving blankets.

They have these at the hospital, which is probably my first big advice. Take everything from the hospital that you can. Trust me, you're getting billed for it anyway. I took everything from the receiving blankets, to those bulb-like nose destuffers, to the receiving blankets. I will admit this here - I even took a nursing gown with the front ties and wear it almost every night that it is clean! But back to the blankets. The waffle-weave ones are just the greatest. They are a good size for nice, tight swaddling and seem to have a bit of stretch to them to get the snuggest swaddle. If you don't want to be a hospital thief, then you can find these at JC Penn.ey's.

2) Soothies

If you are breastfeeding, Soothies are amazing for those first couple of weeks. I put mine in the freezer and it was heaven to put them on my sore nipples. I am not really using them anymore, but they were awesome in the beginning. I found mine at Fre.d Mey.er, but I think they have them at pretty much any drugstore.

3) These One.sies.

Yes, I know, there are a lot of One.sies out there, but these take the cake. They are made by Ger.ber have arms and cover their little fingernails and protect from scratches. They also have only two buttons at the crotch, which may not seem like a big deal, but it is. They are fabulous. They also make them that snap to the side so that you don't have to pull them over their head. Those are nice, too, but I like these because they don't ride up. At night, all Will wears are these and a swaddle blanket. We got ours at Tar.get.

4) These pants.

The ones that I use are made by Car.ter's. I got them as hand-me-downs and remember thinking, why would I need so many of these? Well, pair them with the above Onesies, and you have a great outfit for bedtime or daytime. If you are like me, you will be forever playing the "is my baby too warm/cold" game and this makes it easy to slip them on and off as you see fit. They are also easy for diaper changes, better than snaps. I have seen them at Tar.get for less money than at this link for Ma.cy's.

5) This Hoot.er Hider.

I just got this lovely item this week. It has to be my new favorite thing. I know, you can use a blanket, but trust me when I tell you that you will be forever readjusting the blanket and worried about slippage. Also, even the lightest blanket gets warm when you have a little baby snuggled up next to you. This is great because it stays put and the best part is that it has wire in the top which creates a little "window" so you can peak down and make sure that the baby is latched on. This also frees your hands to adjust as necessary. It even has a pocket for breast pads! Love. It. I got mine at Tar.get online with free shipping.

6) These diapers.

Actually, this advice came from the lovely Farah in a post rather similar to this one. She recommended these diapers and I love them. They are more expensive, I am not going to lie, but we have had no blowouts with these (and have with others), he seems more comfortable in these for longer, and they have a yellow stripe on the front that turns green when it is wet. This is especially convenient for those early days when they want you to count wet diapers. Our hospital also used these and the nurse was the one who threw them in our bag to take home (see, they encouraged my theiving). I have found them at any major store.

So, that's just a few of my current favorite things. I am sure that I will have more in the days and weeks to come!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Lesson Learned

I had heard this rumor from other Mom friends. That, somehow, babies know when their mothers have reached their wit's end and they have a good day.

Today was a good day.

It could have been Will. Or it might have been me. I decided that a change in attitude was required. My years of being a type A personality and planning my entire future seem to be really working against me right now. Instead of seeing each nap as a nap or each feed as a feed, I am seeing these things as life-long decisions that will change the very course of destiny for my son. If I don't put him in his crib today, am I setting him up for bad sleep patterns tomorrow? If I let him fall asleep at my breast today, will he be on a therapist's couch in ten or twenty years?

I also had a good dose of competitive mothering. Yesterday morning, I talked with a friend who has a little girl two weeks older than Will. Her daughter is only waking up once during the night and is on a nap schedule during the day. And sleeps in her crib. It made me feel as if I was doing something wrong that Will was not doing these things.

Last night, after posting and getting your lovely comments, I was deleting some old e-mails from my inbox and ran across a message from this friend from two weeks ago. In this e-mail, she was complaining that her daughter would not allow her to put her down for a nap! I keep forgetting that there are a couple of rules for parenting:

1) Never, ever compare yourself to another mom. Different baby, different mom, different situation. And half the time, other mothers aren't quite telling the whole truth anyway.

2) In newborn/baby time, two weeks is a lifetime. Even two days is like a year. They change so much each and every day that trying to compare your baby to another two weeks ahead isn't fair to anyone. It also breaks rule number one.

I broke both of those rules and I broke 'em bad yesterday. I deserved the dose of second guessing and tears.

So, today, I decided to play by Will's rules, instead of mine. I decided to do what he needs, not what I want him to do. It might have been that he was simply feeling better today, but I don't think that it's a mere coincidence that things went better today. We took a two hour nap together, I carried him in the Bjorn when he wouldn't be put down by himself, and he even put himself to sleep in his crib for a twenty minute nap. There was a part of me still second-guessing myself, but it felt so much better and he seemed so much happier.

And that's what is really important.

So please remind me of that when I forget it again!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Like Coffee, This One's Been Brewing. . .

So, this post might lose me some readers. I have noticed that my traffic has been decreasing pretty steadily since Will made his arrival. I get that. I think a lot of people saw me through the safe arrival of my son and have moved on. It's a bit sad for me, but once again, I get it. It's hard to read about yellow babies with jaundice and sleeping through the night, when you are so depressed that you are green with envy and sleeping through the day. I've been there.

When I write what I am about to write, I realize that I might lose the rest of you. But I have always tried to be honest on this blog, so I am going going to change tactics now.

Being a new parent is hard.

Yes, I know, duh. Right? Of course, I knew that. I had seen my friends go through this. I knew it would be tough. I knew that it would change everything. I knew that I would have moments where I didn't know what to do.

What I didn't know, what you can't learn from the sidelines, is that I would feel this way every day. I didn't know that I would second-guess myself constantly. I didn't know that the nighttime feedings wouldn't bother me at all, but my son's refusal to nap without be held would reduce me to tears. I didn't know that watching him squirm in pain from the gas and not be able to do anything would make me feel so hopeless. I didn't know that I could feel like such a failure when I can't soothe him and big tears well in his eyes. Tears.

Perhaps it is infertility still rearing its ugly head. Kind of like when I was pregnant and suffering from horrible morning sickness, I would feel bad complaining. And if I did complain, people would say, "Well, this is what you wanted, right?" They were and still are correct. I wanted a baby, I wanted to be a mom. I suppose if I am really honest, I also wanted it to be easy after everything else had been so hard.

I also think that with infertilty, babies take on this status that they could never really achieve in real life. My poor angel babies are revered in my minds eye. They never cry, I was the one shedding all of the tears. I always knew I was a good parent to them in mourning them as I did. Now, my greatest fear is that I am failing Will, that I am not a good mom. This is what I have wanted, fought for, given my everything for, and I am afraid that I am not quite living up to the task.

All of this is not to say that I would go back to my infertile life. Not for every dollar in the world. I love Will and I have faith that this will get easier and that I will get better at it. It's just a lot harder than I thought it would be.

And sometimes, I cry tears, too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Finally! Mellow Not-So-Yellow

Taking Will off of breastmilk for 48 hours did the trick. As of today, his billirubin levels are normal! And he went back on the breast like a champ.

At our one month appointment today, Will weighed in at 10 lbs, 11 oz. The little piggy gained 11 oz. since last Friday! He is still 22 inches long so, as you can imagine, he is turning into a bit of a chub. He has these little rolls on his thighs and arms and they are just adorable. How I wish those same rolls were cute on my thighs and arms!

At five weeks post-partum, I have lost all of my official baby weight. However, there are still ten pounds of what I like to call my IVF weight that seem to be sticking around for the duration. I am trying not to let my flabby stomach and thighs get to me too much. After all, I have handsome little boy to show for it!

My biggest battle these days is the gas monster that has set up residence in Little Man's tummy. We have tried gripe water and My.licon. Neither seems to be helping. I am also pedaling his little legs against his tummy. Sometimes that works to get some gas out, but he still seems pretty miserable. Any advice on gas is welcome. Or anything else for that matter!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Yellow Fellow

So yesterday, I was nursing Will, and I thought to myself, "He is looking yellow again."

Now, he doesn't look as yellow as he did a few weeks back, but the tint was there. And when he opened his eyes after his afternoon nap, I noticed the whites were not looking so white. I tried to tell myself that I was being silly and that jaundice doesn't come back, but I couldn't ignore the yellow tinge of Will's skin.

I called the pediatrician so that the nurse could have a good laugh at my silly first time motherness, but instead, they told me that jaundice can come back. So, we went into the doctor for the first time in two weeks.

Yes, folks, his jaundice is back. Or, more likely, it never really went away. We are still waiting on blood work for the actual levels, but at least I don't feel stupid for going in. I really do love our pediatrician and she is so good about not making me feel silly.

The good news is, she doesn't think it is severe. It is somewhat concerning that he still has any jaundice, but it is actually somewhat common in breastfed babies. The cure is to, once again, take Will off of breastmilk, this time for 36 hours. I pump and store my milk, he gets formula.

I am taking this in much more stride this time - what a difference it makes when the hormone crash isn't happening at the same time that you are dealing with a sick infant! We are really established with breastfeeding now and I am pretty sure that he will go back to the breast at the end of the time off. If not, then I would be okay with pumping, too. I am also going to treat myself to a nice glass of wine for dinner and then dump that milk. It will be nice to enjoy an adult beverage for the first time since I can't remember when. I know the "experts" say that a drink now and then while breastfeeding is okay, but I just don't feel right doing it. No judgment on anyone else! Logically, I think it's fine to indulge every now and then. Emotionally, it just feels weird when I go to actually drink the alcohol and I can't enjoy the drink because of that.

I am not happy that he is still still yellow, but the doctor doesn't seem concerned, so I am going to follow her lead. We have a follow up appointment next week, so I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blue Steel

For those of you that have seen the movie Zoo.lander . . . does this look familiar?

If you haven't seen the movie, I won't bother to explain, but it's still a really cute picture of Will. And because I know that you can't get enough baby cuteness, here are a couple more!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sleep? What Is That?

How is it that I can have an almost one month old baby?! How did this happen?!

I read the developmental books that talk about things that should start happening at six weeks, three months, and beyond. For example, the "experts" say that sleep patterns should start emerging at four months. I read this through my blood-shot, sleep deprived eyes and think, "Four months?! That's forever from now! I have to wait that long to get some sleep?!" And then I realize that it's not really that far away. Little Man will be four months old before I can blink those weary eyes.

I actually don't mind the late night feedings at night. I get Will from his bassinet before his cries can wake up M and then practically sleep walk into our extra bedroom. I have quite a nice set-up in there. . . comfy queen sized bed, t.v. (with cable), and I keep Will's diapers, some wipes, My.licon, and a fresh bottle of water by the bedside. He really is quite easy at night. I don't think he really wakes up, is more of in a partial awake stage. I nurse him from one breast, then he gets a diaper change and re-swaddled, a drop of My.licon, and then the other breast. After a quick burp, we tiptoe back into the bedroom and he goes right back down in his bassinet. No muss, no fuss. It's actually a quiet time and I enjoy those precious moments of it being just the two of us.

The problem is that these late night feedings happen quite frequently. He gets maybe one three to four hour sleep window, then it's every two hours, like clockwork, after that. I'm lucky if I am up less than four times between 8 PM and 7 AM. The cumulative effect is that I am very tired during the day. His naps aren't really as predictable. Some days, he might go down for two hours and I get a nap myself. Other days, the naps are little jags of time, thirty minutes here, forty-five minutes there. I barely have my head on the pillow and he is up again.

Everyone tells me that it gets easier, that sleep patterns will emerge, that his little tummy will somehow stay full for longer than two hours. But it's a double-edged sword. Wishing for those days means wishing these days away. And as tired as I am, I wouldn't trade this time for the world.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Weakness

I have mentioned before that I like to garage sale. I love finding a great deal. With being so huge and lumbering in the last few weeks of pregnancy, I really didn't enjoy the garage sale season much this year. This morning, my best friend and I went to the last large neighborhood garage sale of the year.

Oh. My. Goodness.

To say that there were good deals to be found doesn't even begin to describe it. Goodies at good prices were everywhere. Trouble was, most of the good deals were on bigger kid toys, such as a tool bench with all of the (working) tools for $5 - in impeccable condition. A toy weed trimmer and mower, with safety goggles, for $2. Little Peo.ple garage and car wash set with all of the accessories, for $1.

My problem, my weakness, is knowing that these toys cost a lot of money new in the store. I have been buying toys for my friends' kids for years. I know that tool bench is $145 new. I know the mower alone is $30. I know that garage set that I purchased for a friends' little boy is $40. I did score few baby toys, including some really great soft books with tags that I threw in the wash and are as good as new and some great Le.ap F.rog learning toys for the 0 - 6 month range. But I broke down and bought the big kid toys, too. I couldn't help it.

My husband was not pleased. If you will remember, I am a packrat. During the pregnancy, we worked on de-cluttering the house and garage. We did a pretty decent job. And now, I am cluttering it all up again. . . with things that Will won't use for two years. I made the argument that when he does need these things, they will be even more expensive than they are now. M reminded me that there will be garage sales and grandparents then, too.


I am not allowed to garage sale again for awhile.

Friday, September 12, 2008

They Grow So Fast

I am in tears right now.

No, Will is fine. In fact, he is better than fine. He is amazing. He is precious. I love him to pieces.

I just changed his second poopy diaper of the morning and decided to put a new onesie on him. It is one of my favorite onesies that he has. . . it says "My Heart Belongs To Mommy" on it. Just a couple of days ago, it fit him perfectly.

It is too small.

My Little Man in growing up.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


How do you write a post about 9-11? The poetic, prolific things have already been said.

Two simple words come to mind. I think they fit better than anything more drawn out than I could think to write.

I remember.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bathing Beauty

Yesterday was tough.

Will would not go down for a nap. Even if I held him, he fussed after a few minutes of snoozing. He was overtired and we won't get into how tired I was.

Finally, I decided that since he was already grumpy, we might as well give him his first real bath. He hated the sponge baths so much that I was expecting a quick in and out, filled with tears on both of our parts. I didn't even grab the camera, thinking that there was no way this was going to be a photo opp.

Well, he loved it. At first, he cried, but when I added a bit more water, the noise of the faucet startled him and then he was fine! He is too little to smile, but he got really quiet and his eyes were open wide. He kicked at the water with his little feet and seemed happy for a few minutes.

Lest the novelty wear off or he get cold, I took him out before he had a chance to start crying. He then surprised me with about forty-five minutes of angelic, happy baby behavior. I put him in his crib to let him kick and play around. This time, I did have the camera handy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Walking With Will

There are a few things about motherhood that are exactly as I pictured them.

One of them is taking my son for a walk.

Yesterday, as I strolled through a lovely late-summer day, I couldn't help but shed a few tears of what can only be described as pure, unbridled happiness. I passed a playground and envisioned days in the future, catching Will as he slides down, pushing him on the swings.

I stopped to check the mail and we got our first piece addressed to him. . . how strange and how wonderful.

I don't hurry during my walks. He loves the time outside and I am enjoying walking without an extra ungainly thirty pounds weighing me down. So, I take my time.

I know he will grow up so fast. I know that life will try to take my concentration away from these precious moments that I have waited so very long for.

So I just take my time. And walk with Will.

Monday, September 8, 2008

First Day Alone - Edited

Well, I won't be alone of course. Will is here with me.

But today is my husband's first day back at work. And I am nervous.

Sunday was a hard day with Will. He is usually a pretty easy-going baby. If something makes him upset, we can usually soothe him by picking him up and cuddling him close. Yesterday, he got into that overtired mode where nothing calmed him. Even our usual standby of a walk only worked for about an hour. Finally, I held him for two hours while he took a much-needed nap. I really cringe when I think about the bad habits that we might be creating, but I am trying to take a one-day-at-a-time approach at this point.

I was lucky to have M home for such a long time, but I am sad that he is going back. I know he is sad, too.

No matter how tough it gets, however, infertility has left me with a gift. I know nothing is as hard as losing babies. Not even when your Real Live One won't stop crying. That's easy in comparison.


So, it's afternoon now. Half way through my first day at home alone with Will. It's gone pretty well, after the initial bout of tears that I had when the door closed behind M. I felt badly because I tried to make him a cup of coffee to take with him to work and then couldn't find the lid for the travel mug. I wanted him to have a good send off, since I knew he was less than excited about going back to work. Instead, it felt very rushed as he said goodbye to Will and me. His last words to me, however, were to take it easy today and that my only job is to take care of the baby.

Of course, I didn't listen.

I have done two loads of laundry, changed the sheets on the bed, mopped the kitchen floor, tossed out all of the dead flowers from the hospital, emptied and reloaded the dishwasher, and cleaned the litter box. All of this while carrying Will in the Bab.y B.jorn - thank goodness for this miracle tool! I am actually quite pleased with myself for getting all of these things done. I want M to come home to a clean(er) home. It still isn't up to what I would like it to be, but it's a start. And my back is starting to hurt from packing this kid around.

I also managed a shower and a bit of makeup. My best friend, C, stopped by with breakfast and it was good to visit with her for a little while. This afternoon, I am hoping to take Will for a walk and enjoy some of the beautiful sunshine we're having. Since I have all of my "chores" done, I can relax this afternoon and savor being a Mom . . .

It's a good day.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mommy Likes . . .

Scratch that title. I don't LIKE showers right now, I LOVE them. It started in the hospital, when I felt all gross after two days of nothing but warmed wet wipes and spitting my toothpaste into a Dix.ie cup.

When I got up to take my first shower, my legs were wobbly, my abdomen sore, my head a bit dizzy. But getting under that warm spray of water counteracted all of that and I felt miraculously better.

My love affair with the shower has continued at home. The warm water pulsating on my sore back muscles feels heavenly. I adore my pomegranate mango bath gel that makes my whole bathroom smell like the tropics. I shampoo my hair twice, just to extend my time under the spray.

My time in the shower is just that. My time. My husband is keeping an eye and ear out for Will and I will admit, I do linger. Once M starts work again on Monday, I know that will change. I will be scurrying in and out of that shower and not taking time to fully lather, rinse, repeat.

In the meantime, however, I am enjoying every single minute of shower heaven. It truly is the little things sometimes.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Will Likes . . .

Things Will Likes. . .

To eat.

Walks in the stroller.

A short amount of time in the Baby B.jorn (less than thirty minutes).

To eat.

To be swaddled with his arms left out.

To be swayed back and forth, cradled in our arms, and patted firmly on the back or bottom.

To eat.

To be sung to - even though I have a terrible voice.

To stay on the breast, long after he is really finished eating, just kind of half nibbling.

To have his Daddy lift him up in the air - and give Mommy a heart attack!

Have I mentioned that he likes eating?!?!?

Things Will Does Not Like . . .

The swing. Argh.

Being put down for a nap during the day (he doesn't mind it at night for some reason).

Diaper changes.


Well, at least there are more things that he likes rather than dislikes.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Birth Story Part 4 - Baby Makes Three

It seemed as if we had been in a holding pattern for the past few hours . . . waiting to dilate, waiting to labor down, waiting for Little Man to stop being stubborn and come on down the birth canal. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Once we made the decision to move forward with the c-section, things happened fast. M went to tell his family that we were going to do the surgery and to prepare them that I was a bit upset about it. He was gone less than five minutes and by the time he came back, our room was filled with a lot of medical professionals. The anesthesiologist had come in to introduce himself and told me that he was "sorry" that it had come to this. That made me feel bad again and I almost asked to try pushing for a bit more, but it seemed futile and I was really tired. He explained that he would be using the same epidural, just adding more medication, so it would be really easy for me to be prepped for surgery once we got to the OR.

A nurse handed me a small cup of the nastiest stuff in the world to reduce stomach acid in case you should vomit from the anesthesia. She told me to take it in one gulp, and I did. It tasted like a raunchy Sweet.Tart. Not pleasant. Then, they put a surgical cap on my head and slid the side bars up for my transfer. I had to sign a few waivers and the OB explained the procedure and risks to us. That's always fun, signing those papers, feeling as if you are signing your life away with the stroke of a pen. With the paperwork out of the way, it was time to go.

With M and three nurses by my side, I was wheeled down the hallway. The hardest part was probably being wheeled past all of M's family on the way. His grandmother, mother, sister, and three cousins were all standing there. I felt like such a failure just lying there having failed to push Little Man out on my own. I started to cry again as we passed them, and they all patted my arm and wished us luck. Before I knew it I was in the OR and getting prepped for the c-section.

I was transferred onto the operating table - it took three people, talk about feeling that Baby Weight! The big blue "curtain" went up and my arms were strapped down. I had the "baby shakes" again, this time so badly that they were unable to get a read on my blood pressure and heartrate without someone holding pressure over the cuffs. They kept bringing warm blankets to drape across my chest and arms, but they did not seem to help whatsoever.

The anesthesiologist gave me something through the IV that was supposed to reduce the shaking, and it seemed to a bit, but not for long. He also gave me more medication through the epidural port to numb me. About this time, I started to feel nauseous. I asked for a pan and just barely got one in time. It was really disgusting, throwing up that bitter stuff that I had taken just a few minutes before. I thought that they would make me drink it again, but then the doctor gave me something for the nausea and I felt better. He even apologized for not giving it to me sooner. I felt badly because he had to hold the pan for me while I threw up, but he was really nice about it.

Things then got a bit crazy after that because the epidural didn't take on the right side of my stomach. I could easily still feel the pin prick as pain and also the alcohol wipes as cold. So we had to do a spinal block. And I could still feel the pin prick! The anesthesiologist was starting to talk about putting me under a general, which I did not want, but then the OB grabbed and pinched my abdomen where she would be cutting and I couldn't feel a thing. So, she made the first incision.

As a result of the problems with getting me numb as well as my nausea, they didn't even bring M in until after they had started. Suddenly, he was by my head, wearing his oh-so-sexy surgical garb. I don't know what came over me, but I leaned into him and whispered, "I want to go home." And I really did. All of a sudden, I was so tired, so scared, so done, that even the excitement of meeting Little Man couldn't overcome it all. M was very good, he didn't even laugh or smile, just patted my forehead and said, "I know you do, but just remember, we're going to meet the baby soon."

Later, he said it was really tough not to laugh at my remark, because they had already cut me wide open and there was really no going back now. But he said that I sounded and looked so pitiful that he didn't dare crack a smile. What a guy, I laugh just thinking about it now.

The c-section itself was not at all painful. I did feel some tugging and a bit of pressure, and then all of a sudden, the anesthesiologist said to M, "Got your camera ready?" M barely had time to pull it from his pocket when the doctor said, "Stand up, Dad, get a picture of your baby!"

And Little Man was born.

His cry filled the air and I heard the doctor say, "He's coming out peeing!" He peed all the way to the incubator, where they cleaned him up. His Apgar scores were 8 and 9 and although I kept asking if he was okay, he was crying loudly as if to reassure me that he was just fine. Before he was born, I had told M to go immediately to the baby and he did. I watched from my pinned down position as M stood in awe and took pictures of our son. He won't admit it now, but his mask was stained with a few tears of joy. They asked if he wanted to cut the cord and I smiled at his enthusiastic, "I would love to."

A few seconds later, M came with Will all bundled up. I touched his tiny cheek and said, "There you are." But I was still very shaky and didn't trust myself to try and hold him. I was worried that I was going to bash him with my unsteady hands.

M said that his life was changed in the moment that he first held our little boy. I know that I saw the change instantly. M likes babies but had never really held one for long, changed a poopy diaper, swaddled a baby, or comforted one when it cried. All of a sudden, he was holding Will, making soothing noises, and completely engrossed in our precious child. If there is one blessing from having had a c-section, I truly believe that M got into the parenting game a lot sooner than he would have otherwise. He got to hold Will first, got to calm him first with a clicking noise that still works to soothe him, changed quite a few diapers before I could even get out of bed. And he truly became a Daddy so much faster than either of us had anticipated. I do believe that he would have done this either way, as he is such a natural, but I think I would have rushed in to do everything and not given him the space to learn.

One weird thing about a c-section is that most of it is done after the baby is born. So, there you are, lying there with your baby crying, and all you can do is just listen to the OB and her assistant talk about their weekend plans. They are pretty nonchalant about the fact that they are pawing through your reproductive organs, but then again, they do this every day. The OB did tell me that she did a little "extra" liposuction for me and also complimented me on how I was "all baby" and "so tiny." I am not sure if she was kidding or not, but my belly did seem to shrink pretty quickly and I have already lost all 30 pounds that I gained during the pregnancy - though I still have a lot of work left to do to get back to pre-infertility weight and shape! But post-partum recovery is a whole other blog entry of its own!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Birth Story Part 3 - Not So Textbook

Within about five minutes of getting into our room, I was hooked up to a much "fancier" monitor for contractions and the baby's heart rate. The nurse left the monitor on just loud enough for me to enjoy the sounds of Little Man's heart beating. I also got a visit from the anesthesiologist, who explained the process of getting the epidural, risk, benefits, blah, blah, blah. I pretty much tuned him out about all of that as another contraction settled in. I had wanted to "feel" labor for awhile and had even played with the idea of not having medicated pain relief. . . three hours into labor and I was ready for the good stuff! To those women who do go without drugs, my hat is off to you, but for me, I was all about medication!

I had really feared the epidural and heard some horror stories about it from some friends. For me, it wasn't that bad. They had me sit on the edge of the bed and lean over the bedside table topped with a pillow. My husband held my arms and I had to kind of push my back into a hump. I felt the cold iodine and then a poke that made me catch my breath - but was nothing compared to the contractions. I then felt a sharp tingle settle over my left lower back and into my upper left leg. It wasn't painful, just kind of sharp. Unfortunately, I also had a couple of contractions during the procedure and did shift without meaning to, so that meant that the doctor had to reposition and try again. By that point, however, I didn't feel a thing. They then had to tape everything into place. The whole thing, even with the reposition, took maybe fifteen minutes.

The epidural was supposed to take about twenty minutes to take effect, but I would say within five minutes, I wasn't feeling the contractions at all, just pressure. By twenty minutes, I felt nothing but sweet relief! They did give me a patient controlled button to get more anesthesia if I needed it, but I would only end up pressing that button once when they were having me labor down. Other than that, I was completely numb over my entire abdomen, back, and bottom. I could still feel my legs, but they felt like rubber and it took all of my concentration to move them.

After I was resettled in bed, I had another dilation check and had dilated another centimeter. In "textbook" labor, dilation should take place at approximately 1 cm per hour. I was chugging right along at exactly that pace. Following that check, the nurse put in my catheter, which I didn't feel at all. I did feel the dilation checks, but only as a dull pressure, not with any pain to speak of.

In between checks and the nurse coming and going, I tried to get some rest, but it was pretty difficult. I was excited, nervous, and just a jumble of emotions. I also felt drugged from the epidural, which was something that I was not expecting. I have talked to some other friends about this and some felt it and some didn't, but I definitely felt a bit "out of it" and light headed. I also got really bad "baby shakes," which were worse when I was lying flat. Once the nurse propped me up a bit, they got better. It also helped when she used pillows and rolled up blankets to keep my legs in good position.

I was only allowed ice chips during this time, so even though I was getting fluids through my IV, I felt thirsty and dehydrated. My husband was really good about keeping my lips well covered with lip balm. I would highly recommend some for your labor bag!

About three hours after getting the epidural, I developed a fever of 101.4. I had to start an antibiotic through the IV, which did sting a bit going in, but was otherwise painless. I was vaguely nauseous throughout labor and eventually, they did give me something for that, although I fought it for awhile, not wanting to feel any more drugged.

My husband was great throughout the whole process. My in-laws arrived in the early afternoon and I felt good enough to chat with them for awhile. The nurse was great about having people leave the room when she did exams. Every time she did one, we were happy to hear that I had dilated the appropriate amount since the last time. My contractions were quite regular and strong according to the monitor, but I felt nothing throughout them. The nurse told me that I was having a "textbook" labor and should be ready to push before her shift ended at 3:00 PM. She said she would even stay a bit later to see the baby delivered.

My regular OB was on vacation, but the on-call OB came in to see me. The first sign that maybe things weren't as textbook as the nurse had kept saying was when the doctor did her first exam. She frowned as she felt around and then felt around for a long time more. She said that the baby was turned incorrectly, facing my back, and had his ear pointed down against my cervix. I was about seven centimeters dilated at this point and was 0 station. Although we had been shifting positions every hour, she wanted me to start shifting every half hour and try to get up on all fours. She didn't seem concerned, however, and patted me on the leg before leaving.

The next three hours, we concentrated on shifting positions. I tried to get up on all fours, but my legs weren't too cooperative. I was still not feeling anything from the contractions, which was great, but I was a little frustrated that I couldn't do something to help the baby turn.

Finally, I was 10 cm dilated, with just a tiny bit of cervical lip. The nurse and doctor suggested that I "labor down," since the baby still hadn't moved from 0 station. This meant that although I was fully dilated, they didn't want me to start pushing with contractions. This was fine by me, as I still couldn't feel a thing and wanted one last chance at rest before starting to push. After about a half hour of this, the doctor tried to move the baby's head so it wasn't ear down, but Little Man was not feeling cooperative. She was able to reposition him, but at the next check, he was right back to where he had been before.

After a little more than an hour, the nurse suggested that we start pushing. In my mind, I remember thinking that it was too soon. I had read on another person's blog that they didn't know that the urge to push would be so strong and that they pushed before they felt that urge. I wanted to protest, but I also wanted to get the show on the road and didn't want to be a difficult patient. Looking back, I kind of wish that I would have waited a bit more to push. I wonder if I didn't waste some of my energy with pushing before my body was truly ready.

Pushing is really hard to describe and also difficult to do. It takes a few pushes to get the hang of it. One thing that the nurse did to help was to put her fingers in my girly bits when I was pushing, so I could feel where to concentrate my efforts. It felt kind of weird but it did seem to give me the focus that I needed. I would say that the first twenty minutes of pushing were kind of a waste, simply because I was learning how to push and also didn't feel anything whatsoever, no urge, no pressure, no nothing.

Then, I did start to feel the pressure and the urge and could tell when I was about to contract. I gave those pushes everything that I had. It actually felt good to push against the pressure, so push, push, push I did. A bit of advice here. . . pushing can be a bit. . . messy. I'll leave that part up to your imagination, but let's just say that more than a baby can get pushed out. I had brought a bottle of lavendar scented room spray, more for the calming effects than anything else, but I ended up really liking it during this part, simply because I got a bit embarrassed. So, perhaps something else to add to your labor bag and have handy when the pushing starts.

I kept push, push, pushing. After an hour, I was getting tired and the nurse kept checking to see if the baby had moved. She kept telling me that he had moved, but I could tell that he wasn't moving as much as she expected. Another nurse came in with a bar that they put on the bed and then wrapped a towel around so that I could grab onto that and curl around it. I found that to be helpful as far as positioning my upper body for the pushes.

At two hours of pushing, the doctor came in again. By this point, I was getting really tired. The nurse had said that we would push for about this long total and I was frustrated that we seemed no closer to meeting Little Man. After the exam, my frustration grew when the doctor had to give us the news that his head was still facing the wrong way, ear down, and he had slid backwards to -1 station. The doctor had me do about fifteen minutes of pushing with her. By this point, I was crying, simply because I felt as if I had to be pushing wrong. How could all of this work be sending the baby the wrong way?

The doctor assured me that I was pushing just fine. She said that she would sometimes turn off an epidural if she felt that a woman wasn't pushing effectively. She said that I was a champion pusher but that the baby just didn't want to come out. She said that with his current position, she couldn't use forceps or a vacuum to assist with getting him out. She offered a c-section, which I promptly refused. Little Man was tolerating the contractions and pushing just fine, so I saw no reason to rush into major surgery, even though my exhaustion was starting to get to me.

We struck a bargain that I would push for another half hour and if no progress had been made, it would be time to do the c-section. I pushed my heart out for that final half hour, but when she checked me at three hours after I had started pushing, there had still been no progress. I turned to M in tears and said, "I'm so sorry, I think I'm done."

I felt like a failure, as if I was giving up too soon, but the fatigue was incredible and I was frustrated. I also felt as if the doctor was basically telling me that Little Man wasn't coming on his own. I do still have a lot of disappointment regarding this, since it was ultimately my decision to make, but as my husband said at the time and since, "It doesn't matter how the baby got here, just that he is here."

Things went pretty quickly after that. We would be meeting our Little Man soon . . .

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Birth Story Part 2 - No Going Back!

By the time that M joined me, I was already well into the admissions process. What I have never understood about that is why it takes so long. First off, we were "pre-registered," which I thought would save time. Secondly, we had just been there the week before for our non-stress test. The information hasn't changed, people, and I am in labor!

The lady checking us in was all cheerful, and I was getting nervous, and still quite distracted by my contractions. Every time that I would get one, she would ask another question, almost as if she was doing it on purpose!

"It's a good sign that you are losing concentration," she chippered as I breathed my way through another contraction. I kind of wanted to hit her.

After admissions, we went and sat on a bench waiting to be called back to triage. Although I was excited, I was still very nervous. I just wanted to know that everything was all right with Little Man.

Luckily, we didn't have to wait long, and soon I was being weighed, leaving a urine sample, and getting into a gown. They hooked me up to the heartbeat and contraction monitors. I told them that I was pretty sure that my water had broken and they took a culture to confirm that. I calmed down a bit once I heard the baby's heartbeat going nice and strong. It was also interesting to see the spikes on the little paper showing regular contractions every two to three minutes that were lasting 60 seconds. With contractions that close together, the nurse told me that if the test showed that my water had broken, I would be admitted for sure.

While we were waiting, they did an internal exam and found me to be dilated to 4 cm! And the test came back positive for my water having broken. There was no going back now! And just to prove how committed I was to delivery, I immediately asked when I could get my epidural. Those contractions were no joke!

The final step in triage was to get my IV for fluids and such. I was a little nervous about it because the nurse that did it was in training and I have had some bad experiences with that, but it went without a hitch. Once that was done, I met my nurse that would be taking care of me during labor and delivery. She asked if I could walk to my labor room or needed to be wheeled. I wanted to walk, so off we went. We had to stop twice for some serious contracting, but we finally got to room 303, where I thought Will would be born. . .

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Birth Story Part 1 - To the Hospital

Warning: This blog entry will not be edited for gross-factor. It's a down and dirty look at labor and delivery, so please don't read if you are squeamish. I have found that as the days pass, my memories of these moments are starting to fade, so I want to make certain that I have them written down for posterity.

Prior to Will's birth, I had last written in my blog that nothing was happening. But what I didn't know (and a few of you smart readers out there had suspected) is that the NP at my last OB appointment had stripped my membranes and a lot was going on. . .

I felt very restless as I went to bed on Tuesday night. I was tired, but I couldn't fall asleep, as I mindlessly flipped through the channels on the tv. I planned out a busy day for myself the next morning, wanting to get the last minute things done. My lovely neighbors had just installed his closet organizer, so I wanted to get going on hanging up clothes and putting things away. I wanted to do a few things around the house so that it would be more company-ready. Little Man had other plans for me.

I finally drifted off around 11:00, but woke up several times during the night. I just could not get comfortable and the restless feelings continued. At 3:24 AM, I woke up and felt this gentle pulsing wetness. I thought to myself, I think my water has broken, but of course, I couldn't be sure. I quietly got up, went to the bathroom, and found a lot of pink staining and very wet underpants. The toilet bowl was filled with more pinkish water. I did smell it, and it definitely lacked the amonia smell of urine. It didn't smell sweet, as some had said, it really lacked any odor at all.

I put on a pad, a new set of pants, and went downstairs to call the triage nurse. I explained what happened and that I thought my water had broken. After taking me through a set of questions, the nurse said that it probably had, but to see if I soaked two pads with the clear fluid before coming in. I had a vague back ache, but nothing that I could call a contraction, so I wondered if it was a false alarm. I lay down on the couch to watch more t.v. and to wait and see what happened.

At 4:00 AM on the dot, I felt my first contraction. It felt just like a period cramp, down a bit lower, and definitely coming from my back. I got up, changed my first soaked pad, and started writing the time of the contractions down. They started at 12 minutes apart, but rapidly went to 6 minutes apart. Just around 5:00 AM, a few came at 5 minutes apart and I went to wake my husband.

WHAT? Yep, I had let my husband sleep til this point. I was worried that it was all a false alarm and that we would get sent home from the hospital and he would have to go to work that day. I wanted him to have as much sleep as possible. Now that the contractions seemed to be getting stronger and closer together, I figured it was time to get him up.

I crawled into bed and gently tapped him on the shoulder. When he opened his eyes, I told him, "Honey, I think I am in labor."

His response? "How far apart are the contractions?"

I told him, "Five minutes." (This being the threshold that my OB had told us we should come in to the L&D).

I've never seen a man jump out of bed so fast!

He was actually a bit irritated at me for waiting to wake him, but with the day that we had ahead of us, I am still glad that he got that extra sleep.

After that, things got a bit rushed. We already had a hospital bag "packed," but once you realize that you are actually heading in, it becomes essential to review the contents and add a few more things. We both took quick showers and cleaned up a bit around the house. We were able to get our dogs situated at the boarding kennel where we normally keep them so that we wouldn't have to worry about them while we were in the hospital. Since the place doesn't open until 7:00, we had to wait a bit once we were actually ready.

By this point, the contractions were still about five minutes apart, but becoming much more intense. I was getting distracted by them and would start doing something only to have to pause for one and then forget what I had been doing. At one point, I went to the bathroom and felt something slide out. I looked in the toilet and there was a small, dark red lump, that looked exactly like a plug - my mucous plug! I was a little concerned because it was so dark and bloody looking. I guess I had been expecting something clear. All of a sudden, I started to get worried. Was that really my plug or a clot? And in a weird way, the little plug sliding out felt like when I had lost one of my seven-week pregnancies. It brought back some strange memories, that this cramping and discharge could equal something good and not bad. After that happened, I was pretty much ready to get to the hospital and be around professionals that could tell me that the baby was okay.

The drive to get the dogs to their boarding place and then the time to get to the hospital seemed to take forever and mere seconds all at once. I felt perfectly fine in between contractions, but once a new one hit, I was pretty speechless. They were starting to come closer, more like every three to four minutes apart, and were pretty intense. I remember telling M that if this wasn't labor, I was in big trouble.

There were a lot of things that I wanted to do in that drive, like take video and pictures, but when it was actually labor time, I found that I needed my concentration to get through the pains. And though I had thought that I would never need the cheesy breathing exercises that we had learned in our birthing class, I found myself using them to focus and breathe. In between contractions, M and I held hands and tried to get our minds around the fact that this was actually happening. I kept saying to him, "Can you believe this?! We're going to have a baby today or tomorrow!"

When we got to the hospital, M had to park the car. They do have valet parking at the birthing center, but it is set up kind of funky where you have to drop your car off and then walk to the building. . . seems to kind of defeat the purpose. So M dropped me off with my pregnancy pillow and bottle of water. I was going to wait downstairs for him, but the contractions were getting worse, and I knew admission could take awhile.

I texted M . . . "Going upstairs to get started. . ."

Monday, September 1, 2008

Already Spoiled?

First off, I just want to say that my thoughts and prayers are with those that are currently in the path of Hurricane Gustav. Here is the northwest, we don't have hurricanes, so I cannot imagine how dreadful it would be to face leaving your home and never knowing when and what you might return to.

Life with a newborn is hard. I knew it would be and I don't think that I had rose colored glasses. I knew that there would be sleepless nights, piles of laundry, diapers galore, etc. I expected all of those things and Will hasn't disappointed. He goes through laundry and diapers like it's his job. Oh, wait. It is!

See, I don't mind those things at all. I don't mind all of the things that I do for him. I promise that I don't even mind getting up with him at night. He is so precious and I know how fleeting this newborn stage is. I don't mind milking every second that I have with him. He still can (and often does) reduce me to tears just by looking my direction with his deep blue eyes. When my parents were here, they kindly offered to take a night shift, and I just never really felt it necessary. I like being with him, even when I am so tired that I fall asleep standing up.

What is getting to me is the fact that every little thing I do will impact him for the rest of his life. I feel a tremendous amout of pressure to "start things off right" as far as his sleeping patterns. During the day, he hates to be put down for a nap. I have tried putting him down half-awake, full asleep, and everything in between. Sometimes, he will settle for a bit (five to fifteen minutes) but then the crying starts. He really likes to be held while he naps. But then I wonder, "Am I spoiling him? Will he ever sleep? How will I ever get anything done? Can I take a shower today?" The pediatrician has said that you can't spoil a newborn, and I am taking her at her word for now. But I still do wonder.

Nighttime doesn't seem to be as bad. He has a brief fussy period between 9 - 11 (ish) and then a last feed before bedtime. He seems to settle down for bed all right and last night, only woke up once last night, at 3AM for a feed, then again at 7:30, ready for breakfast. Not too shabby, I feel like a new woman after that many hours of sleep. But don't ask me to repeat that magic show tonight or tomorrow or the next.

I read in all of my parenting books about "starting as you intend to go on" and getting Baby on a schedule from Day One. We don't really have that right now, and it makes me nervous. Am I setting myself and Will up for a lifetime of bad sleep patterns?

Assvice, advice, and anything else gladly accepted.