Thursday, May 31, 2007
Monday, May 28, 2007
The thing is, the PISA speaks. During the main "expression" phase of pumping, the motor makes rhythmic contractions to which it is easy, in a sleep-deprived state, to translate into words. I admit I was relieved to find this post at A Little Pregnant - some commenters list off what the pump says to them ("Hoover Dam," "yoo-ou suck," etc.). My husband thinks it's saying either "whi.te power" or "bla.ck power," depending upon your inclinations - it's a sort of brainwashing tool, in his opinion. I think it says (more innocuously) either "call them back" or "powdered milk." In any case, this is a feature that they might want to eliminate.
My husband returns to work tomorrow. Scary! My mother has proven herself very adept at soothing the baby, however, which provides some measure of comfort.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
So, like, Friday had been going okay. We went to see the lactation consultant at the hospital, and she pronounced that we were feeding well and also taught me the football hold. After a couple more successful feedings, we dared to go out, by which I mean we went to the house of some friends with a six-week-old. I am totally fixated on the experiences of people who are just ahead of us. I pepper them with questions about when things get easier or funner or whatever. And we had a great time with them.
Except that during the course of the two hours we were there, I noticed that my left boob was starting to feel rather full and somewhat hard. By the time we left, both boobs were pretty full. Simple engorgement, I thought - the result of all that pumping. But when we got home, I realized that the left was pretty lumpy as well, which made me think plugged duct. And our little So.ren refused to latch to either.
Thus began a panicked night of attempted and failed nursing, supplementing with all my stored milk and even some formula, lots of Googling and OBGYN on-call resident calling, pumping, and no more than two hours of sleep total. You just don't want to develop issues on the first night of a holiday weekend, you know? I had visions of formula taking over and my being the rare abject breastfeeding failure.
By morning, the plug seemed to be gone, though engorgement remained. I called the on-duty lactation consultant at the hospital today, and she thought it was just engorgement and recommended icing the area, which did help. And So.ren started latching again. And I finally slept a tiny amount.
We had our latest pediatrician appointment in the late morning, and the good news was that our little guy had gained almost 1.5 oz a day since Weds. He is now over 8 lbs again. We go back on Tuesday, the first appointment I'll go to that my husband won't go to, since he'll be back at work (terribly, terribly frightening). But the good news is hard to read still - does this constitute a real trajectory? When can I cut back, at least on the pumping? It's kind of like knowing you're losing weight by running marathons every day, but couldn't you, like, run 15 miles instead and lose weight and still have time to read Us magazine and shower? Hard to say at this point.
Today, I fed So.ren at the merest show of hunger - mostly selfishly to keep my boobs emptied. I also pumped really often, though I cut back the minutes per pump slightly, since I think most of the milk is out by then. We'll see if it works. I built back up my pumped supply a bit so we are off formula for now. I have decided I will live, though, if we have to do a little formula supplementation. I determined this as I was crying in the pediatrician's office waiting room and it occurred to me that, hey, it wasn't as if So.ren would starve to death, which is how I've been acting.
Anyway, I am off to pump. Happy birthday to me, and happy 13th day to So.ren. When I was a little girl, I thought I'd be long married and long have had my two kids by now. Better late than never, especially when he is so cute! My mom has made us cupcakes. I think that'll be the extent of my celebration, which is fine by me.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
If you happen to be a chef, I highly recommend giving your new-parent friends and acquaintances delicious treats like those pictured above. We were surprised this afternoon to receive these dishes (chicken with couscous, trout with mango) from the chef of our favorite local restaurant. He and his wife recently had a child as well. I can't tell you how amazing it was to receive these dishes. We were already making pizzas (and by "we," I mean "my mother") for tonight, but we'll eat these tomorrow. Amazing! And I should add here that several local friends have brought us outstandingly delicious and gourmet meals lately, and we are eternally grateful for the gift of food.
Today, we went to a breastfeeding support group at a local hospital. I am going to get to know every lactation consultant in town, I'll tell you that. It was definitely helpful. There were women there who were having other problems that I was glad not to have, but most were well adjusted to breastfeeding and it made it seem like there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I was also better today about napping when the baby napped, even if it was just for half an hour. I think that helped my outlook a bit, even though my sleep total is probably just about 4 hours a day at this point.
I also received my bandeau-style hands-free device today, thank GOD. My other one, frankly, was crap - complicated and already breaking. You'd think Med.ela, as the leader in pumps, would have a better solution. But theirs bites.
Finally, here's a little baby, snoozing on the couch, where he snoozes most often. We need to get him into the cradle at some point, but right now it's more restful for the off-duty person to go crash away from him and his baby noises that one must agonize over.
10 days down. It seems like forever, though I'm sure it will seem like nothing in retrospect.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Our little fellow (pictured here in a hip CBGB t-shirt that we were given) went to the pediatrician and is gaining weight. Thank goodness. It would have been nice if he'd kicked ass on the weight gain (like gaining way more than needed) so I could feel good about cutting back, but he was hitting just over an ounce per day. That's good, but kind of just over the cutoff. So the pediatrician told me I could space out his feedings more during the day OR lower the supplementation. I think I might do a bit of the former, but my inclination is to keep feeding a lot to keep his weight up and make me feel that we are on a legitimate trajectory upward. We go back on Saturday for another weight check.
His diaper rash is still pretty bad, but we might not be able to do much about that for a while since he shits 20 times a day and apparently that hurts little baby bottoms. Eventually, he will slow down on that front, it seems.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
Anyway, our pediatrician appointment showed that So.ren remained the same weight. They would like to see him gaining at this point, so now we are feeding constantly, supplementing with pumped milk, and pumping, pumping, pumping. It is literally all I do right now (along with cleaning the pump components, storing milk, etc.). Except for changing diapers - he has developed an angry-looking rash. Bad parents! Anyway, we go back to the ped in two days to see if things are turning around. I really hope they do.
The main lactation consultant from the hospital called me today, and I asked her about 90 questions. She was incredibly helpful and will check back on me in two days. One piece of information she had was that the flanges on my pump might be too small - I need to check on this tomorrow at the medical-supply place, where the guy who works there is ridiculously knowledgeable but also ridiculously disorganized - the desk is piled high with paperwork, so much so that it stresses me out, and I am a piler myself.
My mom arrived today, which was heartening for the moral support. I am getting very nervous about my husband returning to work next week - right now, we are splitting things 50/50. I looked into importing a night nurse today and will do more investigation into this tomorrow, since it would be better to find someone locally. Surely some of the NICU or mother/baby nurses moonlight, right?
In conclusion, I have fixed upon a breastfeeding milestone: six weeks. If I can do it for six weeks, it should get much easier. That seems to be the consensus. And if it gets easier sooner, well, then, great.
Off to catch a few winks....
Sunday, May 20, 2007
But time is passing sloooooooowwwwwly for me now. I am hoping it will seem to speed up at some point soon. Right now, we're trading off shifts with the baby, who is, shall we say, not entirely pleased about everything in his new existence. He's sleeping in his bassinet in his pack-n-play right now while my husband is upstairs getting some sleep. My mom arrives tomorrow, so I am hoping we can transition from our downstairs existence with the baby (which has taken over our living room) to a nighttime, upstairs existence. The nursery still looks good because it has not been used at all. The pack-n-play, however, has been on duty constantly. I recommend buying a full-featured one with the changing table, storage areas, etc. Invaluable!
My sleep is parceled out into one- to two-hour increments throughout a 24-hour period. Normally, I sleep 8-9 hours a night, so the shift to six interrupted hours has been rough for me. After my mom returns home and my husband returns to work, I think I will need to line up some help. There are no night nurses in this area, apparently; at times like these, I wish I lived in an urban center again. I am also acutely feeling the lack of an extensive support network here. Suddenly, I realize why people might choose to live near their extended families! We are hoping to move out of our midsized town sometime in the next year, and I can guarantee that the question of a support network will be prominent in our minds when we choose where to live.
Tomorrow, we have a pediatrician appointment to check weight. On Tuesday, I have an appointment with my psychiatrist, where I assume we will discuss whether medication is indicated. Right now, I feel as if my low moods (which are intermittent) are just a normal reaction to stress and fatigue and the vicissitudes of breastfeeding, but Zo.loft takes a couple of weeks to work, so I expect I will feel as if I need to decide whether to take it before I really feel the need for it.
I'm going to try to catch a few winks before the shift change. I hope you are all doing well!
Friday, May 18, 2007
My mom arrives on Monday for two weeks. I am not sure what I am going to do once she leaves and my husband returns to work. I need to form a support network around here.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
We're back at home now. My milk has come in as the result (probably) of a ton of pumping. At the hospital, despite So.ren's good latch, the pediatrician was concerned he might be getting dehydrated, and she had us start supplementing with donor milk. There is a huge milk bank (mostly for NICU babies) at the hospital, and that was all great, but the rub is that now he is used to a greater quantity of milk than an average baby his age, and I probably won't have that much milk for another couple of weeks, and you can't take donor milk from the hospital. So we will probably be supplementing with formula, which irritates me. The supplements go through this little contraption that feeds them through a straw when he is on the breast, so he thinks he's getting it from me. Sucker! Ha! Double-entendre!
My OB and several nurses made a point of saying that they, too, cried at everything for a couple of weeks. I think my husband is a bit baffled by it. He keeps asking, "Are you crying about something? Or nothing?"
In terms of positive news, the little guy is very cute, and also my recent investments in stool softeners and Milk of Mag.nesia have paid off, biologically speaking. Phew!
Keep your fingers crossed we can keep the little fellow alive overnight. And then the night after that. And so on.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Anyway, he is here! So.ren Tho.mas (sorry, I don't want my parents googling that and finding the blog) weighed in at a robust 8 lbs, 4 oz and 20.5 inches. He has a full head of dark hair and blue eyes that may or may not be "real" blue eyes. He is devastatingly handsome, of course! I would post a photo, but I am posting from my husband's computer, and the photos are on my computer. Later on, I'll log in through that.
Let's see...the c-section went pretty well, although the spinal took a while to get going. As I have mentioned, I go to a huge teaching hospital, and so two residents were in charge of the spinal, overseen by the staff anesthesiologist. Apparently, they used too small of a needle, but I have a hard time faulting them because their bedside manners were excellent. Anyway, it just took a while for the spinal to go everywhere it was supposed to go, but it eventually did.
The c-section itself took a while longer than expected because little So.ren didn't want to come out. They tried to pull him out butt first, but eventually they had to bring out his feet one by one, then his butt, then his head. While his butt was coming out, he took a big crap. As our friend Brando put it, this shows excellent innate comic timing. My husband watched the surgery itself and kept saying, "This is so wonderful!" and crying. It was very sweet. I then heard the little boy cry, which was amazing. I couldn't see anything, however, since I was behind a screen and also tilted back. It wasn't the most comfortable thing ever - lots of tugging and pulling - but it did go by pretty fast.
Our son was whisked off to transition to fix some oxygenation problems and a glucose issue, both of which are now solved. And no clubfoot! I was away from him for three hours before I got a really good look at him, but he is a champion nurser (or so it seems so far - knock on wood). The sewing-up part of the c-section was rather tedious because I had major shoulder pain (referred pain from diaphragm, I guess), but it went away quickly.
We are very tired but also very smitten with our little fellow. Yesterday was a little rough, pain-wise, but today is a million times better, and I'm up and at 'em. Our little guy has taken six (6) shits in the past 24 hours. Yes, I'll now be one of those people who talks solely about my child's bowel movements. Or not.
The nurses and doctors have all been incredibly nice, and the digs here are great. The food is disgusting, but so be it. At least you can order whatever you want.
Oh - I had my doctor check out my ovaries during the c-section sew-up process, and she saw no endometriosis on them right now. Sweet!
Anyway, I am dashing this off, but we are totally in love with our little So.ren (who is making pterodactyl noises right now - someone call a paleontologist!), and I'll post photos when I can. Thank you so much for all of your kind comments!!!
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Also, on Friday, our glider arrived. The rocker/recliner is now elsewhere in the house, and the glider is assembled and placed with an ottoman we already owned. It is incredibly comfortable, and since I personally was soothed by sitting in it, I have high hopes for its powers over cranky babies.
Here's the last belly shot you'll get of me pregnant, though I will probably take some of my post-baby belly in the name of intellectual honesty. I'm curious as to how the belly shrinks, and I expect the initial results will not be pretty. But post them I shall. By the way, this dress is one of the few things I bought instead of borrowed, and it has been amazing - a polyester Liz L.an.ge number from Tar.get. $26.99 or so. Great for work or social events. Today, I wore it to a mothers' day brunch at a local restaurant, then to Tar.get, which seemed to be a place that entire families were celebrating mothers' day. Hmm.
This little fellow has no idea how his life is about to change. Of course, neither do we. He'll be going on vacation tomorrow at the doggie day care place for a few days. Godspeed, little hound.
I am not sure what else to write at this point. A million things have gone through my head lately, but I have nothing intelligent to say about them. It is surreal to think that at this time tomorrow, we'll have seen our little boy (if all goes well, knock on wood, etc.). I'll post an update as soon as I can. Thanks for all of your support throughout this pregnancy, for commenting regularly, and for keeping up much better blogs than I ever could!
Friday, May 11, 2007
Today was my last day at work until mid-August. I'll probably do some work over the summer here and there, but I don't have to be in the office, and it feels great. I set my out-of-office autoreply and changed my voicemail greeting. I also checked out a key to the lactation room and took a look at it - it's pretty good (sink, fridge, pump, chairs), if not super-cushy.
Yesterday, I got a pedicure (pictured). It was prom-preparation day at the nail salon - aside from me, there were two other women in their 30s and then fifteen or so teens who were trying to decide what nail polish would match their dresses. I did not envy them. Sometimes, I might like to be 27 or 28 again, but high school? No, thanks.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
My blood pressure was something like 104 over 60-something or 70-something. My uterus measured 38 weeks. The baby's heartbeat was in the 140s. I had lost a half a pound since last week, which is baffling to me, given that I have consumed no fewer than six (6) ice-cream floats during that time, as well as a great deal of straight ice cream. I have been rationalizing this by saying that I might have to give up dairy while breastfeeding (since the lactation consultant told us that it's the most common thing that actually does seem to irritate a BFing baby's little digestive system), even though I probably won't. It is actually quite remarkable how much dairy I eat at present - it would be hard to go cold-turkey. Also, we now have about fifty different varieties of ice cream and frozen yogurt in our freezer. What am I supposed to do? Throw it out? Pffft.
After consulting with the OB about the c-section, we got to the most important question of all: what sort of Internet access is available in the mother/baby unit? The OB didn't know, so we cruised over to mother/baby to ask. It turns out they have ethernet access there - sweet! So we'll hope to post news and photos relatively soon after delivery. One thing I must, must, must remember for Monday is that I am to call labor & delivery before we go - if there are no beds available, they will have us wait at home. I don't want to forget to do this, since waiting in the hospital, having not eaten or drunk anything since midnight, would be undesirable.
Last night, I had a hard time sleeping. The baby was very active and I seem to have the beginnings of a cold. Also, it was hot until I turned the a/c down. But I think the insomnia is coming from nerves, really. I only have four more nights (max) of good sleep. I must take advantage of it. A nap may be in order today.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Update: Jamie at Sticky Feet has the latest. Congrats, Emmie!
Monday, May 07, 2007
A few things to note:
Sunday, May 06, 2007
And now, the gallery, which I tried and failed to get into chronological order - I was thwarted by Blogger. So the order should go: blue shirt/black skirt Monday - shown for comparison to last week's shot in same ensemble; brown shirt/black shorts - Wednesday; green shirt/brown shorts - Friday night before bedtime.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
A MOTHER reads a magazine while her SON (approximately four years old), holds a pen attached to a clipboard by a metal chain. SON, holding pen, proceeds to spin the clipboard around as if it is a tether ball, the chain is the tether, and he is the pole.
MOTHER: (not looking up) Stop that.
SON: (continues spinning clipboard, says nothing).
Repeat this "exchange" 9,000 times.
A MOTHER and SON sit in chairs side by side. In a reversal of stereotypical roles, the SON is reading a book. The MOTHER is playing a GameBoy.
NURSE: Anne Smith?
MOTHER and SON stand up. SON neatly tucks book beneath arm and makes polite eye contact with NURSE. MOTHER, not removing her eyes or thumbs from GameBoy, stands up and continues to play game as they follow the NURSE into the exam area.
As far as my actual appointment went, I had gained zero pounds, even though I definitely look WAY more pregnant and have been STARVING for the first time this whole pregnancy. The little guy must be getting all those calories and also stealing nutrients from my body. I am being very indulgent with all ice-cream-related impulses of mine of late. Mmmm! I took some belly shots and will aim to add them later tonight. The heartbeat was at 136, and I measured around 37 weeks, meaning I'd caught up a week from my usual. Blood pressure was something like 113 over 76.
Now, I love the hospital I go to, and, believe me, I have hypochondriacally used many, many clinics there. People are always nice, and I've found it to be very patient-focused. But get this - today, I asked for all the pre-op info that they give out before a c-section, and they DON'T HAVE ANY. The OB said the OB clinic is very disorganized relative to the IVF and other clinics. All you get is a verbal spiel when you show up for the c-section. So I grilled the OB with all of my questions instead, but come on - I am very informed (or "insane") and could do this, but what about lower-maintenance, less-neurotic patients? I worry on their behalves.
After that appointment, I met with the main anesthesiologist for OB. We discussed my propensity for puking when confronted with anesthesia or any other stimulation of the vagus nerve. The upshot of our conversation is that it is likely I will experience nausea during my c-section (since the vagus nerve gets overstimulated due to all the hijinks occurring in one's abdomen) and may well puke some afterwards, but it can be managed so that it isn't severe. He then inspected my spine and said that its weird non-curvature is actually an asset for a spinal and that it should be easier to do one on me than on a normal person. He also indulged my many queries about freak anesthesia-related accidents I have accumulated over the years, such as my friend who had an inadvertent spinal tap with her epidural and had to get four blood patches before the crushing headaches would go away, or my other friend whose delivery involved a series of mishaps that culminated in her receiving ketamine and enduring a consequent psychotic episode. He was reassuring and also made a note that, should I be the rare case where ketamine is considered, I am not to receive it.
Yesterday, I had my last pre-delivery appointment with the PPD specialist. I am glad I did some therapy with her ahead of time - I'm probably still more likely than the average person to get PPD, but I don't feel doomed to have it at all. We will keep a watchful eye on the situation, however.