Wednesday, January 28, 2015

One Month & Pregnancy and Parenting Pressures

Baby B is one month old today!  It's hard to believe but I can tell she is growing and changing all the time and I am starting to pick up on what her different cries mean, how to soothe her, etc. (ha - even as I write this I know she is plotting some way to confuse me this afternoon).  I still marvel at her existence on a daily basis.  Her eyelashes.  Her soft skin.  Her skinny legs and tiny feet.  Her long fingers.  Her blue eyes.  Anyway...
The frog legs.  The hair.  Love her so much.
First, I've been listening to "The Longest Shortest Time" podcast and am hooked.  Do any of you listen?  If not, give it a try if podcasts are your thing.  It is all about the early months of parenting and I'm loving the topics and interviews.

In our walks around the neighborhood and late-night feeding sessions, I've had a lot of time to think about pregnancy, birth, being a Mom to a living baby (wow, never thought I'd write that), and just how life is so different.  Yesterday I had a conversation with one of my best friends who is also a pediatrician at a hospital.  We were discussing two things I have found to be totally crazy about giving birth and having a baby: c-sections and breastfeeding.

I had a c-section.  You can read my delivery story here if you'd like, but mine was medically necessary to save Baby B who was having decelerations.  It was terrifying (the decelerations) and I could not have cared less about how she came out of me, as long as she was alive.  That said, I didn't care ahead of the birth, either, except for the fact that I was on massive quantities of blood thinners, so a c-section was riskier for me than it normally us.

What I'm trying to get around to saying is that I have been astonished by the number of people who have expressed disappointment on my behalf because I had a c-section.  She is here safe and sound! Sure, would I have liked to avoid major abdominal surgery?  Of course!  But am I upset because I didn't get to have a vaginal delivery?  No, not at all. I don't feel like I had a worse experience or that I failed in some way.  My baby is alive.  I'm fine.  Mission accomplished.  I've just been really struck by this cultural bias towards vaginal birth and the desire to do so at all costs and then feeling disappointment or guilt after the fact if you end up with a c-section.  Obviously everyone is entitled to feel how they do personally, but do you really need to project your opinion onto other people!

And breastfeeding!  It is going well for us and I am extremely grateful for this fact.  It is so nice to be able to easily soothe her when she is hungry and to feed her on demand.  Perhaps I'd have a different perspective on this subject if it weren't going well for us, but I was astonished by the pressure in the hospital to breastfeed, the number of visits we had from the lactation consultants, and the realization that if B weren't latching, eating enough, etc., I would have been made to feel terrible about it.  I get that there are benefits to breastfeeding, but the pressure and the judgment is just so extreme these days.  Isn't the most important thing a happy, healthy, well-fed baby? If that requires formula, so be it!  I just listened to a great podcast on this subject if you want to hear more.

Just my thoughts on two early motherhood observations.  It would be easier if we could all just be nice to each other.  Everyone is doing their best!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Home, Sweet Home

We've been home now for almost two weeks and it is so wonderful to have little B in our home.  Our first week home, R was also off of work and it was just the best possible week (despite the lack of sleep and spending a lot of time worrying during the night if she had stopped breathing).  We didn't do much, but we were able to just hang out as a family and spend time together and take B for walks. We treated ourselves to a trip to our favorite brewery, we went out for oysters (I've been craving them for months), and we had friends and family visit (and bring meals - amazing).

I have a lot to learn as far as parenting goes, but I have never loved someone in such an all-encompassing way.  Wow, is it overwhelming.  I'll be home with B for 12 weeks and it already feels like it will be much too short.

Yup, I am already one of those moms who dresses her child like an animal.  I cannot get enough of this hat.  We go for walks each day and she rides in the Ergo with the infant insert and all you can see of her are the tiny bunny ears that poke out the top.

On a completely separate topic, I saw this really cool infographic about pregnancy and the development of a fetus that is worth checking out.

Sorry for the seriously random post.  I should be sleeping and then I might be able to write a more coherent post!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 & B's Birth Story

First of all, thank you all so much for the love and support.  I've found it more difficult than I remember to find 10 minutes to myself in the hospital (we are still here), but I just logged in and read comments and was just overwhelmed to receive so much support and love from all over.  Thank you, thank you.

Second, Happy New Year!  Somehow 2014 is behind me and it is a New Year.  R and I were talking about how neither of us really made any resolutions last year.  I am a huge resolution person, but I just couldn't bring myself to strive for much in 2014 beyond my health and trying to get pregnant.  I'm looking forward to a year that focuses on getting to know Baby B, taking good care of her, being  a great wife, and taking care of myself and getting back into the things I love.

Finally, B is here!  Our little miracle is here, safe and sound.  I want to write down how she arrived before I forget, so here it goes...

It's a girl! She returned from the nursery today with this bow on her hat!
We checked into the hospital at 8 AM on December 27th.  R and I treated ourselves to breakfast at a favorite neighborhood spot beforehand and then we got settled in the room.  My cervical check revealed that I wasn't dilated or effaced, so we started with the Cytotec.  Things were very slow going until the late evening on the 27th when I finally dilated a little bit (after 3 rounds of Cytotec), so my OB inserted a Foley catheter into my uterus to speed up the induction.  The day was otherwise uneventful.  R and I responded to e-mails and read and continued to clear our to-do list.  It was kind of a weird way to start things.  My nurse was one I had twice when I was hospitalized with L and she was one of my favorites, so it was so nice to see a familiar face.

Around midnight, things finally started to get interesting.  I started having some pretty intense contractions and eventually the Foley catheter fell out (this is supposed to happen), meaning I had dilated a bit.  At this point, we switched to a Pitocin drip and things started to move.  Around 4 AM, I was sitting on the labor ball and super uncomfortable, when the anesthesiologist stopped by to talk about how I could have an epidural since I'd been off the blood thinners long enough.  Yes, please!  He gave me one, but oddly I could still feel my legs and, frankly, it didn't help the pain much at all.  I said something, but I felt weird complaining about it and thought maybe friends who had one had oversold how awesome they are!

Random aside - we were walking the halls at some point on Saturday when I realized that the room next to me had a purple ribbon on the door, which signifies someone laboring for a child that has died.  It stopped me in my tracks and I had a bit of a meltdown just feeling so very sad for this woman (we were in the exact same spot last year).  I wanted to talk to her and to tell her that I understood, share resources, etc.  Obviously I didn't, but it just caught me so off-guard and made me so very sad.

The next morning (Sunday, the 28th), I was having incredibly intense contractions and was in excruciating pain.  The nurses and doctors were confused because I had an epidural so we called the new anesthesiologist and she came by to discover that the doctor from the night before had given me one, but dosed me at 1/100th of what he ought to have (certainly just an oversight, but seriously?!).  So, I basically hadn't had one at all.  She re-did it and I instantly felt better -- and at this point I was 8 CM already!  Just an hour or so later, I was fully dilated and the nurse could feel B's head easily.  We got the table ready for delivery and started practicing how to push with contractions.

But then the contractions slowed and B's heart rate started dropping along with contractions (she was having "decelerations" according to the internal fetal heart rate monitor).  They were terrifying.  I could see them on the monitor and was starting to freak out a bit (as were the nurses - I could just tell).  My OB arrived and we re-group and she recommended we just have a c-section.  She felt like the decelerations were worrisome and I have a very narrow pelvis apparently so she was nervous about the birth anyway.  She said we'd been through enough and she thought this delivery was going to be stressful so why make it more so?  Rob and I couldn't have agreed more so into the OR we went.

The c-section went smoothly but was pretty intense, despite the lack of pain.  I loved that at the beginning (it was all women except my husband), my OB asked everyone to introduce themselves and let me know who they are and then told me that everyone in the room was a Mom (except R, of course) and were so excited for me.  It made the whole thing seem a little less medical and sterile.  Rob put some music on and we got to work.  For those of you who haven't had one, there is a LOT of tugging and pushing and pressure on what you can tell are your insides and you can hear everything being said so even though I couldn't see what was going on, I know my bladder was super full and in the way (and thus knew the doc was looking at all of my organs - weird).  They had to use a vacuum to get B's head back out of my birth canal.  And I know that as they pulled her out and told me she was okay (but she wasn't crying yet), they said that the cord was wrapped around her neck (thus causing the decelerations) and that her umbilical cord was abnormally short - at the time I heard 4 cm (ha), but it wasn't that short.

All of this occurred in a matter of minutes, but it felt like ages.  Finally I heard B cry from across the room (R was with her) and she was wrapped up and laid on my chest while I was stitched up.  She was quite bruised on her face from getting squeezed as she tried to get out and she has the most incredible head of dark hair.  The moment took my breath away and both R and I started crying while she just looked at us in surprise (well, probably just in our general direction).  We didn't get much time with her before we were wheeled away to recovery (R went with her again) and then we all were reunited in a recovery room while they did B's newborn checks, gave her a bath, etc.

Officially, she arrived at 5:47 PM on December 28th.  She weighs 6 pounds, 4 ounces and is 19 1/2 inches long.

My OB joined us in recovery and commented that I could not have had a successful vaginal delivery and we were all just so grateful that we hadn't tried.  She also said that she has never been happier to have a patient no longer be pregnant!

So... here we are now.  Unfortunately, B has had spells of jaundice and has had to spend time in phototherapy, but we are really, really hoping to take her home tomorrow.


I've been feeling pretty good since delivery and B and I are figuring out breastfeeding and doing pretty well so far.  I have to admit that I have been overwhelmed in the best way possible by how much I love her.  It really is overpowering and add some post-partum hormones into the mix and things are a bit out of control.  I worry all the time that something is going to happen to her, but mostly I just stare at her in awe and R and I talk about how incredible it is that she is ours.  I kiss her cheeks and smell her head (she really has this incredible baby smell).  We talk about her full head of dark hair.  We made her and she is here for us to hopefully love and care for for years to come.

Sorry for the extraordinarily long post!