Saturday, March 29, 2014
I'd like to talk a little bit about how much I love these two little guys. About how I see my father's bone structure in Theo's face. How Theo calms immediately upon feeling my touch or even my presence, and how amazing that is. How Bumpus has been such a good boy the past few days and how much I once again realize he's a much better kid when we're busy, engaged and connected. How he pets and kisses his brother and how much this makes me happy. How that "if you ever need someone to hold you tight" song in that Subaru commercial where the young girl is changing her tire in the rain gives me chills because it will always remind me of the time my second son was born. How jubilant I am that I am past the giant hurdle of birthing this new and final child, and how the conception/pregnancy/birth portion of my life is now over, and how bittersweet this is. How glad I am I took the leap to have a second child despite all my fears because I truly believe my family is now complete. How everyone was right that having a second child makes you love your first even more. How there is playground sand in my carpet and boogers on my white padded headboard and how I'm ok with that. How I can't wait to see the wonderful men these boys are going to grow into, because of, or maybe in spite of, me.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
I think Bumpus actually cares for his baby brother. Last night as I was singing B his good night song ("Now It's Kinda Time to Go to Sleep", TM) and T was in the carrier on my chest crying, B leaned in and gave him a kiss and patted his head. He often pats his back (as he sees me doing when I burp him), wants to touch his feet and hands, and pet his hair. It's really quite touching. I'd like to think I've done something to foster this in him - but I think it's just B's general kind nature (my former posts bitching about him notwithstanding). Believe me, I've spent a lot of time around other people's two-year-olds the last few days, and yeah...I may think I have it tough, but relatively - not at all. One boy was throwing sharp sticks angrily into kids' faces at the playground today. I don't picture B doing something like that. He may tantrum when I make him do something he doesn't want to do in that moment, but he's not aggressive and mean. For that I am truly thankful!
We have developed quite a nice and manageable routine around here, one that I pray continues, because it's pretty awesome and will be pretty important once my real work kicks in.
Amazingly, my dream has come true - Bumpus is playing alone in his room in the morning, and likes it! So Operation Bumpus Plays Alone in His Room has finally come to fruition, through no effort on my part. So I get myself up around 8-8:30 and shower and get dressed and ready for the day, then get the baby fed and changed and dressed, before even going to get B out of his room, which I do at 9 AM. I get B changed and dressed and then we all have breakfast; I clean up the kitchen, B and I brush our teeth, then I make the beds and tidy up his room before piling us all in the car for whatever our morning activity is.
In evenings I keep B's dinner/bedtime routine pretty much the same, except with a baby strapped to me; then the baby and I hang out in the living room while I have dinner and do work and then finally go to bed around 11.
The whole "middle part" of the day is a bit troublesome - keeping B occupied all day until dinner time is an ongoing challenge. I dread the days much like today when it's only 2 PM and we've done everything we could do and now we just have to sit around the house for four hours...but who knows, maybe I can muster the energy to get us to the farmer's market or something.
On the physical front - have fit into non-maternity jeans today (just). Graduated to just panty liners, and the terrible engorgement is completely gone, thank God. As I had hoped it just sort of went away on its own once my body figured out I don't have an army of babies to feed. There is some soreness but nothing like it was. It's amazing how much better you can focus without chronic pain!
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
So. This is how my days are going. When Bumpus is happy and behaving well, I feel like super mom. When he's miserable and throwing fits I feel like an utter failure. And so it goes.
What about the baby, you ask? I don't want this to sound weird, but Theo is a bit of a non-entity at the moment, simply because by virtue of being a newborn that mostly sleeps, he is incredibly easy. He's kind of like having a cat. Sleeps. Eats. Hangs out on my chest in the carrier most of the time. That said I find myself utterly delighted by him. I love to cuddle, kiss, and stare at him. I look forward all day to the moment I can wrap him up in his little swaddler and cuddle up next to him for the night. Because I have no PTSD from the birth his presence is nothing but joyful for me. But Bumpus...Bumpus!
Yesterday was perfectly awful and I had a horrible dark moment of feeling like an incompetent idiot. Then today he was just a delight to be with all day. Who knows what causes these things? In the morning I stare at his door and wonder what's waiting for me in there - sweet happy personable Bumpus, or horrid oppositional exasperating Bumpus? It's a bit like being in an abusive relationship. You just never know which side of this person you're going to be subjected to - or what you may have done to bring on that side. And in the end it's nothing you've done - it's not you, it's them.
Having an easy newborn has shined a light on just how frigging hard toddlers are...and how completely out of my depth I am being his sole caretaker. I can't believe I once thought I had such an advantage being able to be a stay at home mom. Nope. Doesn't work for me - not past one year old, anyway. Everything that comes after is just hella hard. I'm going to check in with the preschool where he's on a waiting list - even a few hours a week would be so very helpful. He's desperate for the social interaction and stimulation. And mama needs a break.
So today was a good day. Kept us busy, tended to some neglected bills and work issues (such as pulling our band out of a wedding gig next month that's become more trouble than it's worth), Bumpus happily ate dinner (hurrah), kept the baby fed and content. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. At least B is quite interested in his little brother (calls him "bebes" and loves to pet him like a kitty) and does not seem threatened by him; doesn't even freak out when I'm feeding him which is a relief. When they're both in their car seats I can see in the reverse mirrors that B looks over at T the whole time, just watching him.
Some day these children will be older, potty trained, self-entertaining, and enjoy each other. I can't wait for that day-!
Monday, March 24, 2014
So today is Bumpus' 2nd birthday. He has been throwing non-stop kicking, screaming, crying, and whining tantrums all afternoon. I finally just put him in his room because I couldn't take it anymore. Happy birthday-!
Sigh. Life with a two year old is not fun. Not one bit.
This picture is from last weekend when my sister was here, we threw a little party for him.
Friday, March 21, 2014
So....not to bum everyone out, but I woke up to terrible news about a friend today and kind of need to process it.
I popped on Facebook about 7:30 this morning and the first post was an announcement from one of my dance community that their three day old daughter had died in the night. This mom was part of our "March babies" club and we had all been following each other's progress for months, took pictures together, took bets on who would deliver first, etc - just last night there were happy pictures posted with relatives holding the baby girl. And now this.
The only clue to what happened was the father's post that emergency teams couldn't get her heart started again. I know she was born in a birth center, a week late, and went home that day, which tells me everyone thought she was ok. We may never know what happened. The scariest thought is that it was "just one of those things". There's nothing more out of control than that.
I often have this mad, sad feeling when reading fellow bloggers and some of the terrible circumstances these ladies have endured. It's not fair and nobody should ever have to face losing a child. It just shouldn't be allowed.
But we all put ourselves in this vulnerable position of being parents because we feel compelled to do so - we know the risks; we just cross our fingers and hope the cold hand of tragedy doesn't touch our family. Every once in a while, though, it's our turn.
My thoughts are with that family today. I was going to head out and be productive but I think I'll stay home and stare at the baby.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Our first night went a lot better than my first night with Bumpus. This is largely because Theo and I can breastfeed whereas I had to syringe feed B formula the first few nights. I just remember the puddles of foul-smelling formula on my nightstand, the sticky tissues, B finally clamping his lips shut when he just plain didn't want any more, me wracked with anxiety and up literally all night making sure he was still breathing. Contrast this with a very peaceful night with T waking every three hours to eat and me actually sleeping in between, and we have example #5,278 of why the second time is easier!
A couple of things became clear last night - I need a night light (this room is pitch black with the lights off), and as much as I'd love to use the neat looking Moses basket for T to sleep in, I think he's going to be in bed with me for a while. He just slept much better with my nipple in his nose.
The first night there was some screaming and frustration getting latched on (on his part! Although I was screaming on the inside), but last night he did much better. Which is good, because B's bed is just on the other side of the wall, so every time T gets really loud, B wakes up and makes the same noises (he seems to like to imitate the baby's noises).
My biggest problem right now is horrible engorgement, the worst I've ever experienced. My boobs are huge, rock hard, look like they want to launch off of my body, and extremely painful. I had T's follow up appointment yesterday and the LC (different one!) came to see me, and agreed I must do something to relieve the swelling and over supply. She recommended cold packs and pumping. It's like weaning all over again! I think my body thinks I had triplets. But it's really a problem - I'm in lots of pain all of the time, baby wearing (although essential) is hard, and even feeding is hard because my nipples are all flattened out from the pressure, and sleep is tough because just like with the pregnancy I can't sleep on my back or front. I am also leaking rivers and going through several shirts a day. Thanks goodness a friend gave me a box of breast pads. In the meantime, finding time for long hot showers and making ice packs and pumping has been almost impossible. I hope this misery subsides soon.
So I have today and tomorrow with my sitter doing days, then the baby kennel Saturday, then...it's just us. I am scrambling to figure out how to manage our days. How on earth do I keep this rambunctious two-year-old occupied all day and care for a newborn??? This morning was a nightmare of tantrums and kicking and screaming. I almost lost it - felt that old anger rising in me, and wanted to either haul off and smack him, or throw him in his room and leave him there. Thankfully I did neither - I walked away and went about my business and eventually he calmed down and ate his breakfast. I don't know why in those heated moments I always forget that "do not engage" is the best plan.
So I think now would be a great time to invest in some indoor play areas (easier to tend to a newborn in a controlled environment like that). They could really save my butt. I also last night got in a frenzy of social networking - finally answered all the requests from people wanting to visit. I had one look at my completely empty calendar and freaked. I need company, and fast. Since I can't leave the babe with anyone for some weeks, my nighttime activities are pretty curtailed. So I'm just going to need people to come over and entertain me in the long evenings. This will help keep the walls from closing in.
Theo is a week old today, and doing great. Got a clean bill of health from the doctor yesterday, which gives me confidence about starting to take him out soon and not feeling quite so house bound.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
First I'd like to do a little follow up about introducing B to Theo. I hid out in my room until my babysitter had to leave. The baby had gotten hysterical and wouldn't be consoled, so I grabbed a random carrier from my closet and thought I'd do a little experiment and see if it made him happy. I wrapped the little guy up on my chest and bam! Happy, sleeping baby.
This allowed time to hang with B and try to get him fed. He seemed pretty oppositional and weird so I just wasn't up for trying a "say hello to your baby bother!" kind of moment. I had thought of snapping a picture or video of B seeing his brother for the first time, but decided to be in the moment and keep it private instead. So I sat on the bed and waited for him to come to me. And he did. He threw his arm over my leg, and we just sat there quietly. Then he climbed on my lap, reached over the top of the carrier and patted Theo's head. "Soft," I said. He said, "yeah." Then he touched his ear and said "ear," and reached over the side and touched his foot and said "foot". Then he took my hand and patted Theo's head with it. It was a very tender moment. I'm not sure how much he grasps about who this person is - but so far so good!
I had a very pleasant evening with B in bed and me and Theo camped out in the living room. Newborns are so much easier than toddlers, oh my God! You put them somewhere and they actually stay there! They sleep! It's awesome!
I'd like to talk a little about the post partum experience, now that I've experienced it twice and have recognized certain similarities.
It's a very odd, twilight-like time. Even now with us all at home and the world of hospital gowns and scrubbing up to see the baby and wristbands and nurses behind me, it's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that all of that is in fact over, and bizarrely, this makes me profoundly sad.
I want to be back in the hospital where there are rules and procedures and we're the center of attention and taken care of. I want to feel like I'm in the middle of a special time - I don't want to go back to "real life" with the bills and emails and petty annoyances.
I feel that come down after an event - like my own dance event - where there's so much stress and exhilaration and excitement for a few days, and then...it's over. I find myself running the events of the last couple of weeks over and over in my mind, telling myself the story again and again - I was so sick, my sister came, I lay in bed, I felt better, I wanted to avoid induction, I worried about her leaving before the baby came, I worried about going late, I had contractions, I worried about being in false labor for days, I went to the hospital late one night all alone, l was in so much pain, I called the doula, I was in labor, I wanted to die, I pushed the baby out, they stitched me, everyone told me I did a great job, the baby and I went to my room, I slept, the baby went to NICU, I went home, my sister left, I visited the baby, my milk came in, the baby came home. This runs on an endless loop in my mind. I want to talk about how much it hurt. I don't want to forget how much it hurt even though I know it doesn't matter because I'll never do it again. But I don't want to let go of the experience. I threw away all of my old doctor visit paperwork and doula paperwork and felt intense sadness. I cut off my NICU wristband and felt naked. It's not that I have dread about what comes next - now that B has met T I feel a lot more optimistic - but I just can't let go of the whole labor experience. It was so intense that I feel like I'm riding waves of aftershocks from it.
Mostly I just want to sit and have a good, deep cry. Relief that everything went so well when so much could have gone wrong. Relief that the pregnancy is over and it's all downhill from here, physically. Relief that T is healthy and ok and home. But also this odd hormonal sentimentality that is not at all like me but is definitely part and parcel of what these early days post baby are all about. I'd like to remember this because it is pretty profound and something that's hard to explain unless you've been there.
We're home! After an exasperating four hours waiting around to be discharged (did you know they now require a 90 minute test of your car seat to make sure the baby doesn't stop breathing in it, etc? Oy), dealing with being lectured endlessly on how to care for a newborn, heading over to member services to see about insurance only to discover that T will be completely not covered for the last two weeks in April (any policy applied for now can't start until May 1st and he's only covered under me until April 13), and working out the logistics of getting them to let me drive us home without another person involved...we're here!
Bumpus is with the babysitter all day and has been throwing tantrums all day long. I've decided now is not the best time to introduce him to the new baby. We are hiding in my bedroom. I don't have the slightest clue how to do this. Not a clue. I positively quake at the thought of the first time I have to balance the two kids with no help. At the moment it seems utterly impossible.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Another good night in NICU. Went in this morning and this time remembered my nipple shields and after a little screaming and frustration got Theo to feed very well. What a frigging relief! I was almost going to arrange to have my old LC over as soon as he was home - I was very paranoid about getting a not-yet-breast feeding baby home, not being able to feed him, not having any supplies for alternate feeding, and freaking out. But now I know we'll be fine. The LC at the hospital was all weird about the nipple shield, saying I should really avoid using them if I can. What is wrong with people? These things are little silicon miracles, if you ask me.
So assuming T does well the next 24 hours - no more weird green puke - he will be home this time tomorrow. They said I could take him today but wouldn't advise it - and I'm with them; let's see how he processes this new breast milk first before I have to pile the three of us in the car at 3 AM and get us to an emergency room. Let's try to avoid that scenario, shall we?
So my boobs are huge and hard and angry. Pumping doesn't do much to relieve it - I'm assuming this will settle down once baby is here and I can feed him regularly. I was all happy to be able to pick up and hug B without my big belly in the way...but now my boobs are in the way, and hurt. Sigh.
I am positively giddy at the prospect of picking out a cute little going home outfit for T and walking him out of there, no more cords and tubes and surgical tape. Let's hold the good thought that he continues to thrive.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Shortly after I hit "publish" on last night's post, I got a call from the hospital. Much to my chagrin they had been trying to call me earlier in the day - I had missed a couple of calls from an "unknown" number and there were no voicemails, so I assumed it was a friend of mine who always pops up as "unknown" on my phone. Anyway, Theo apparently threw up a bunch of dark green fluid and they were concerned - they had brought in the surgical team to run some x rays and make sure it wasn't a bowel blockage/reversed intestine-type issue, and of course ran all other kinds of tests as well. They said they would get back to me. My sister and I then pretended to watch Dateline while I waited for the return call - finally I decided to just head in. I just had to see him and hold him, you know?
So I went in. He was, of course, fine, but they wouldn't let me breastfed him; he was on Pedialyte. And unfortunately this new development meant he would not be coming home today - and probably not tomorrow, either. Ughhhh.
At this point I did feel a bit of despair. Even when you know they're probably ok, it's hard to see your fragile little newborn all hooked up to wires; all I could think when I looked into that sweet little face was that he needs to be home with his family. The nurses are lovely but they can't attend to every baby like a mother would - he would get hysterical crying whenever his paci fell out or he was cold or hungry; it would never get to the point of hysteria with me because I'm the mom. I hate to think the first week of his life is going to be in a clinical environment like that. A couple of days I was ok with...now it looks like this could just drag on and on.
I went in this AM and he had been doing well - once again, all tests clear. His rapid breathing seems to be settling down, too. But the whole thing just makes me nervous as hell - it's great that nothing is technically wrong with him, but it doesn't give me much confidence when nobody has a theory as to why he was struggling to breathe and why he suddenly threw up dark green liquid. What happens when I get him home and he does that...?
They have him on food now (my expressed milk, which I was able to pump this morning) and want to watch him at least 24 hours to make sure he's processing the food properly. I will just keep visiting him in the mornings and evenings until he comes home, which I hope hope hope will be Tuesday. The sitter can watch B during these stints and I can entertain him during the day and get him to bed.
My sister left today and I took B to Travel Town where he had his 1st birthday a year ago. He threw tantrums pretty much all day, but I took it in stride - it's been a confusing two weeks for the little guy. A lot going on and he and I not interacting much which I'm sure affects him. I am looking forward to reconnecting with him over the next couple of days, and making sure I get good solid sleep before T makes his home debut.
On the physical side, my belly has shrunk considerably today - I'm working on a 5 month pregnant belly instead of a 7 month pregnant belly; I'm down to about 151 lbs (from about 165); and I have graduated to normal maxi pads and real underwear. I still hurt a bit and am definitely far from 100% but I will say the physical recovery this time is a lot easier. Or, again, maybe I'm so distracted by everything that's going on that I don't have much time to think about my v-jay.
Saturday, March 15, 2014
So I gave birth two days ago. I feel totally normal (well...except for beneath my waist, which is kind of like Beirut in the 80s) - in fact, it all seems like a bizarre dream I had. Mostly because Theo is not here.
Before you worry, everything is fine. Theo hopefully will be home tomorrow safe and sound. But a few hours after we had been moved to postpartum recovery, a nurse noticed he was breathing a little too rapidly. Many pediatricians came in and checked him out, and the decision was made to start him on antibiotics and run some blood tests - which take 72 hours for results. So after a few hours together he was whisked away and has been there ever since; I came home Friday morning.
Nobody seems worried, so I'm not. They think he may have aspirated some fluid during birth and is just working it out; but they want to rule out pneumonia or other lung infections. Honestly, it's a good thing - when you have another child to get home to, being allowed to rest and recover from the birth, plus spend some last one on one time with your older child, is a great thing. I've now gotten two full night's sleep, which may come to a crashing halt tomorrow when and if T comes home and I'm required to be up every two-three hours every night for months. I'm reveling in the rest while I can-!
So tomorrow is a big day - my sister leaves around two; she probably won't get to see T unless I can get him early in the day which may not happen. I have to try to balance her departure, possibly getting a sitter in to watch B while I go to NICU, and getting him home. It's going to be interesting! Unless they keep him a few more days which could happen.
So my last day in the hospital was the usual frustrating ordeal of just trying to get the heck out of there and people constantly bugging me with unimportant shit - the world's most condescending lactation consultant who kept lecturing me about crap I already know (hello - I breastfed a child for fourteen months) and patting me on the shoulder and telling me I have "mommy brain" until I wanted to punch her in the throat; the social worker who came to see me because of that one time I mentioned to the midwife that I was scared of the upcoming birth, who spent over an hour grilling me about my support system and have I been suicidal and how do I manage stress (all of which is none of her damned business); the nurse who pursed her lips with disapproval when I said no, nobody was coming to pick me up. Then well meaning friends brought bag after bag after bag of giant, heavy groceries all needing to be refrigerated, which I couldn't possibly carry, much less lift, so then I had to get someone to wheel me down the block and through the giant parking lot...and nobody would give me a straight answer about Theo's condition...and I was wearing a maxi pad the size of a Sleep Number bed...and I had just had it! As much as part of me kind of dreads being all alone here with a two year old and a fragile newborn, part of me is kind of looking forward to just being home living our lives with nobody all up in our business.
I've been trying to formulate in my mind some kind of schedule or at least way to balance our lives - maybe make sure baby is fed and sleeping before getting into B's wake up or bedtime routine; using the carrier a lot, using the baby monitor a lot, making sure T is safe from B's enthusiasm. I definitely will not be able to sit quietly and nurse while B is around, so this will have to happen only overnight or in the car or while he's strapped to my body. I figure I will be back to nighttime showering for a while, and will be liberally using the Baby Kennel for B on weekends so he can run around and be rambunctious.
I have no illusions. It's going to be tough working out the logistics of all this - and the sleep deprivation is going to be a major problem. Also, T has not officially breastfed yet, so we need to spend time trying to get that going. I'm assuming my milk will come in tomorrow or the next day, so hopefully at least when he gets here I'll have some food for him.
Today at the NICU he was all plump and content looking - he has gained a lot of weight (about 7 oz I think?) although this may be just the IV fluids and formula. But he is definitely losing the alien newborn look and starting to look more like a squishy baby. Here's a shot from this morning:
Thursday, March 13, 2014
So while it's fresh in my mind, and nobody is coming into the hospital room to bug me every few minutes, here is how it went down. As usual this will not be a story of rainbows and puppy dogs but you know me - I call it as I experienced it.
I will start by saying that yes, it was a far better birth experience than before. I definitely got everything I had hoped for - no induction, no emergency c section, no going too late, no complications, no logistical problems surrounding getting Bumpus' care covered. It really all did work out, and in probably the best way(s) possible, because just sometimes the universe is cool like that.
So Tuesday night I was awoken by regular annoying contractions that radiated from front to back, mostly resting in my spine. They weren't too bad but did keep me from sleeping. I timed them and they were 7-8 minutes apart, way too far to even call anyone about. By morning they had passed, and I of course googled all the stories of women who have this go on for weeks. I started to feel real despair at that point.
By dinner time Wednesday the contractions had returned, but were a lot more painful - and I mean take-your-breath-away painful. Still, they were seven minutes apart. But in terror of passing a whole night in that kind of pain, and not knowing if I was indeed dilating, I called first my doula and then L&D, both of whom pretty much told me that unless they were five minutes apart to not bother coming in (!). By ten o'clock I couldn't stand the pain anymore and made the executive decision to drive myself to L&D even though I was 90% sure I would be turned around home in an hour.
So they got me hooked up to monitors and did the painful cervix check and did an ultrasound. Although I was 2 cm dilated and about 50% effaced, since they had no baseline for me (I had not been checked before) they couldn't determine if anything was actually happening, and told me I should go home. But then the contractions started in earnest, and they checked me again and I was at a 3. They still said I should go home, but thankfully one doctor offered for me to hang out for an hour and then be checked again. I am so, so glad I didn't drive myself home! During that hour wait the contractions shortened to three minutes apart and I was in absolute agony. I started sobbing because I just couldn't take it. There was no position, no walking (walking? what's that?), no amount of breathing through these things that would even remotely help. I felt like someone had gotten a hold of a large steel mallet and was smashing it against my spine. Or alternately, there's a scene in the science fiction film Species where an alien pulls someone's spine out of their body through their skin in one big yank. It felt like that. Every three minutes.
When they returned to check me after I lay sobbing in the kind Ghanian nurse's arms, I was at a 5, and hurrah! Finally I was no longer the high maintenance crazy person with no pain tolerance, I was a person in active labor. It was such a relief to be listened to and believed.
I begged for the epidural and got one, just as my doula showed up. I'm sad to admit she did kind of try to talk me out of it - said, "you know this is all going to be over really soon, right?" But I said, "oh, I know, but I've had quite enough of this bullshit," and that was the end of that.
Still...epidural didn't do much. I think it only took on one side, because my right side felt dandy and my leg was numb, but my left I was still in a torrent of pain. Everything was happening so fast, though, that I didn't care to have the anesthesiologist back to try to "fix" it; and everyone said what I was feeling was pressure and not pain and couldn't be helped anyway (I actually don't agree with that - I know the difference between pain and pressure). This was at about 3 AM.
There were some concerns about my blood pressure and talk of magnesium being administered, but it wasn't. Theo had pooped in the sac and they were worried about this...at one point a whole NICU team flew in in a panic because of this and his dropping heart rate, and for a second I wondered if I was headed for an emergency c section. But really - I was in so much pain all I cared about was it being over. I knew it would end one way or the other and I just wanted to get there.
The next three hours was nothing but pain. Agonizing, horrific pain. I found myself chanting to no one in particular every time a contraction started, "I need this to be over now I need this to be over now I need this to be over now", as if all I had to do was submit a change order to someone in triplicate and make it so. There is nothing worse than being trapped in an experience like that and knowing there's nothing you can do to help yourself and make it stop. It's just awful. Or maybe I'm just a big pussy.
They wanted me to push finally, but unlike with Bumpus it was not at all cool or empowering. I don't know where my friend the Mexico City restaurant owner was who helped me push the baby out last time (odd hallucination I had with Bumpus' birth!) but this time it was all me, and not working out too well. I just kept pushing and pushing and nothing was happening - it was hard to do in the midst of painful contractions, too, which again was not an issue last time.
But at last we found a good position, I got my breathing while pushing rhythm going, and I felt his head and knew it was just about over - and pop! Out he came, screaming heartily and covered in tiny little baby poops, at 6:20 AM.
So it's hard to say how long of a labor it was - active labor only about maybe six hours, but if you count in the maybe six hours leading up to that, twelve. He came right at 40 weeks and was 7 lb 2 oz (smaller than B who was born a few days earlier).
And much to my surprise - he looks nothing like Bumpus! Brown hair and what appears to be brown eyes (?) and not at all the plump Gerber baby thing B had going on. Genes are wacky!
I had called my sister when we went to the delivery room to see if I should call in the babysitter but we both decided to just let her stay home and take care of B, which I think was the right decision. The birth went quickly and was fairly uneventful, and I had the doula and her assistant there for the requisite handholding and moral support. I feel a lot more secure knowing someone who has the whole house/feeding/bathing thing with Bumpus down pat is there. He loves her and I don't think has even noticed I'm gone. I haven't been much fun the past few months!
So now my poor battered body has to heal itself, and little T and I have to get this whole breast feeding thing going. I will be here overnight and probably head home Friday.
I forgot how teeny tiny newborns are, even full term ones! How were we ever this small? And even at this small, how was this person inside my body? And how did he come out of the smallest hole in my body???
Right now I feel pretty ok - not utterly exhausted and starving and shell shocked like last time; there's a lot to be said for having experience, and knowing how messy and bloody and unpleasant it all is at this stage, and just going with it. It will soon be over and we'll both be clean and fresh again. But not today.
I don't know how on earth people do this with no pain meds. I wondered this aloud often during the labor. It did make me question my pain tolerance compared to other people's...and also made me wonder if I just have a shitty attitude about childbirth...or if everyone kind of does but I'm one of the few people who comes out and says it. I wonder about some of my first timer friends who are due around now who have their whole natural birth/birthing center/hypnobabies thing going on, how that will go for them - maybe if you're just determined to make that all work for you, it does, because after all this stuff really is what you make of it. Maybe my "let's just get this crap over with" attitude isn't the best way to have a "magical" birth experience. But...none of that matters now because I will never, ever ever, have to do it again. For realz this time.
And neither will my boys. Hurray!
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Not much to report around here but I don't want my lack of blogging to be misinterpreted as birth taking place. Had a very good NST yesterday and was once again sent home with my hospital bag on my shoulder. And after some major anxiety have reconciled myself to a few points.
One, the baby will come when he wants. I would still like to talk about the benefits vs risks of induction if I pass 41 weeks with my midwife at my next appointment Thurs, but I am trying to take in stride the fact that we may just be headed for a late delivery. I feel ok - not being nauseated makes the sun come out and the birds sing, so I can handle every day life again; I'm definitely not "so miserable" that I want to force the baby out. I'm still carrying that 30 lb toddler up three flights of stairs, still driving, still loading the dishwasher, cooking, and doing laundry. So, I can function. That's all I ask.
My sister is leaving Sunday which means I am most likely on my own for labor and postpartum. I did talk to my babysitter about helping during the postpartum period - just a few hours here and there so I can rest, which seems to be a possibility. I can always hire a postpartum doula as well although I'd rather it be someone B is comfortable with since I mainly need someone to help entertain him. So yes, it absolutely sucks that I wasted all my sister's available time now and she'll have to leave before anything even happens. But what can you do? This is life and I'm just going to have to deal. Last time I was thrown into the frying pan all alone with a newborn and I did it. At least this time I know what to expect and am emotionally prepared. We are all stronger than we know.
Birth is a solo experience no matter how many people are in that room with you. In the end it's just you birthing this new person who is not separate from you yet. It's you letting go and doing this incredibly primal thing - the most primal thing you have done since it was your turn to be born. It's the closest you'll ever be connected to the sun and the moon and the stars. All the support team / music playing / aromatherapy / cute birthing gowns are nice extras but really don't compare to the magnitude of the experience. So I'm going to put all the logistical concerns aside and just go with it, no matter what ends up transpiring.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
As if by magic, all stomach upset disappeared yesterday afternoon. It was like a light switch flicked off. All of a sudden it was, "oh, I feel much better. And I'm hungry!" It reminded me of my old 1st trimester nausea with Bumpus - every once in a while it would just vanish, leaving me struggling to even remember what it felt like. All I can say is - dang hormones! I'm glad these crazy hormone shifts will officially end with the weaning of Theo. And then I can enjoy the hormone shifts of menopause!
So after a day and a half of normal meals, water, and taking my iron again, I feel like a human being. We did a big grocery trip today and then traipsed around in the heat and sun at the LA Arboretum. If you had asked me Friday morning if I felt I could handle labor I would have said hell no - now I feel more up to it as my strength is back. So, bring it on, right? Right??
Just read up (via google) about inductions at 41 weeks. Of course The Hippies say don't induce ever under any circumstances, certainly not for just being past your due date. That all babies know when they want to be born and our bodies know best, etc. Perhaps it's my odd religious background but I rarely agree that our bodies are so brilliant. Our bodies give us cancer, for crying out loud. Sometimes they don't know what's best for us-!
It does worry me that what if my body does not and will not go into labor on its own (an irrational fear, but one I've had. Kind of like when I was weeks from turning 14 and hadn't had my period yet - I was fairly convinced something was wrong with me and I would just never get it). That if I were super stubborn (I'm not) and just waited and waited that the baby would just die and that would be it. And I'm not one of these people with a miscalculated due date that's weeks off. No, my due date is absolutely next Friday. But what this means to the baby, my placenta, my blood pressure, and my body in general, remains to be seen. After aaaaalll this...all these months, all these hurdles passed, now down to the very end...am I really going to be one of these people that goes way past her due date and ends up with an induction or scary emergency c section? Is that my fate?
There's no answer to this. It's out of my control, which of course I hate. But I do have faith that I'm in good hands with Kaiser and my doula, and that they will help me if decisions have to be made.
I will say, though, that I am tired of thinking about this stuff. It is completely all-encompassing at the moment which makes me feel very boxed in and short sighted, like there's no future beyond two weeks from now and no past beyond yesterday. Even talking with my sister today about plans for updating my kitchen years from now was so refreshing; that yes, there is life past having this baby, that there is something else going on in the world other than having this baby. I'd like to get back to the real world now, please.
Friday, March 7, 2014
Had my NST and midwife appointment yesterday; +1 protein in the urine again but nobody seemed to care, and the kind NST nurse took my blood pressure when I was lying down, so it was low. She said we "cheated a bit" but I'm ok with it since it bought me more time! The midwife office was all disorganized and frantic so I only met with her for a few minutes and then left - I of course told her about how sick I've been but she had nothing to say about it other than "did you eat anything weird?" I'm amazed that none of these health care professionals seem hipped to the fact that nausea and diarrhea are so common at this point in pregnancy - my WTE app is full of women complaining of the same thing.
At any rate, I crab walked out of there (my sister had B at the park - what a relief to not drag a toddler to an NST for once!) to find by the time I got home that nearly all of my symptoms had disappeared - and as of now I feel completely normal. What the-? I hope this keeps up; if I could just start eating normally again and getting back to my routines I'd feel a lot more prepared for labor than I do even now.
Today we're going to attempt a trip to Third Trimester Park and the grocery store. It's amazing the sheer volume of food two adults and one child can blow through in a few days.
Speaking of two adults, can I just say how bizarre it is to have actual help with this child? Now I realize most married women don't even have a full time child care taker in the house 24/7 like I do right now - but oh my god. To actually not be "on" every second of your life - to be able to leave a glass of water on the edge of a table - to be able to shower without someone screaming and pounding on the door - to not have to change every diaper - wow. It's my first glimpse of not having to be mom 24 hours a day, and it's awesome. Unfortunately this will all come to a crashing halt soon when not only will I be back to being 24 hour sole parent but be recovering from birth and have a newborn. So...rest up now, huh?
Our big concern at the moment is now that my sickness crisis is over, the baby still not being born for ages and my sister having to leave. It would be so great if he came in the next few days - but let's face it; I could still have two more weeks of this. I'll tell you one thing, though - I won't let it go past 41 weeks. I'll try any and all methods of induction first - membrane sweep, whip out the breast pump, walk like a mo-fo - and then happily consent to an actual induction at that point. I mean, really - enough is enough, you know? That's my plan, anyway. And we all know how well plans around babies being born work out, don't we?
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
According to Kaiser I am 39 weeks today. According to my WTE app I am 39 weeks tomorrow, and according to me, I am 39 weeks Friday. But hey, maybe Kaiser knows something I don't.
This was the day I was induced last time. So as of now I have no experience with pregnancy past this point. And certainly no experience with pregnancy like this - the nausea drags on (although I do believe the meds are helping a little), but now I have progressed to explosive diarrhea. Everyone says this is a sign of impending labor, but googling tells me for some women this lasts 24 hours, for others it can drag on for weeks.
Last night I felt a few twinges and had a little hope, but naturally it was nothing. I have to say, though, the thought of going into labor right now does not thrill me, only because I am so sick and weak. I can't imagine having the strength to cope with birthing a baby after days of this crap, having barely eaten anything and being no doubt dehydrated. If this is all nature's way of "preparing you for labor" that's a pretty fucked up way of doing it, if you ask me! What about that pre-labor burst of energy you hear about? What about all my dance friends who were out dancing the night before they gave birth? Yup. That's not me. Not one bit. I am lying stinking in bed with un-brushed teeth and a churning stomach watching Ghostbusters. Somehow...not how I pictured 39 weeks looking-!
I have a midwife appointment tomorrow. I will ask about options - membrane sweep? Acupuncture? Massage? See what we can do to jump start this puppy now that I feel within the safe zone for delivery. Man oh man is it going to feel good to feel good again! I'll take all the squalling infants, jealous older siblings and sore nipples in the world over this crapola.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
So "the troops" arrived not a moment too soon last night. My sister got in around 8 PM and is currently occupying B up in the play room for hours while I lie in bed in a nauseated stupor.
I woke up so sick today - convinced I was going to throw up, several bouts of diarrhea, the whole she-bang. I finally took an old Zofran out of sheer desperation. Did it help? Maybe. I at least choked down some water and toast and a pear. But boy would I be miserable and anxious without the help! Calling her in early was definitely the right thing to do, consequences of her leaving early be damned.
Surprisingly my NST went well yesterday. Blood pressure totally normal (huh?) and no issues with urine test or baby movement - although my two year old baby did manage to tip over his stroller twice. I was very nauseated the whole time and apologized for not being very pleasant to the nurses and asked if they thought it was ok to take the Zofran, which they did. And they were very sweet and understanding. God bless the nurses of the world!
So now we just wait. My next NST/OB appointment is Thurs, if I make it. I don't know how long this intestinal distress will continue but it's really a drag. It's making me so miserable I can't focus on anything positive - during this time when I'd love to get myself amped up for labor, excited about the new baby, and treasure the final moments with my only child, all I can do is think about how awful I feel and wonder if I should try to eat something and wonder when I'm going to feel better (if ever).
At least yesterday I did get a nice moment with B. We got home from the hospital and he had fallen asleep in the car and was super cranky, and I just didn't have the energy to try to force him to eat dinner or rip off his diaper, so I just lay him on the bed and lay down next to him. Parents of boys this age will know that they never lie still - I mean never. So cuddle opportunities like this are almost non-existent these days. So I smoothed his hair and he put his arm around my waist and we just lay there for a long time. That was it - one of the last moments of it being just us. But I'm ok with that. I hope he is, too.
Monday, March 3, 2014
So I survived the weekend...but barely. I spent all day out on Sat, got home very late. Felt pretty good up until about lunch on Sunday and then crashed - this weird nausea that's been plaguing me hit me over the head, hard, and wouldn't let up. I had a horrid afternoon of trying desperately to take it easy and/or lie in bed, but poor B kept jumping on me wanting to play. I didn't know how I was going to make it through his whole bedtime routine - I was so sick I could barely function. But somehow I did, as mothers do.
Still I could not stomach an ounce of food or water and felt myself descending into a pit of despair. In trying to watch the Oscars, when a winner got on the mic and sang, "I Sing Because I'm Happy", I burst into tears. I knew then I had to admit to myself that I can no longer cope, and I need help.
I first called the doula to talk about this horrible nausea and see if she could recommend any safe remedies - she said she'd never heard of late term nausea (although a quick google shows this is very common) and said it was imperative I make my NST appointment today, even if she has to drive me. Then I broke down and called my sister and asked her to come out ASAP rather than waiting another week. I hate to jeopardize the time I was supposed to have with her when the baby's actually here...but I'm desperate. If I go on being this sick to my stomach I am simply not going to be able to function. And that's that. I'd also like to note I took my blood pressure all day and it was very high, even when resting, even after several re-dos. So something is up.
So hopefully I can somehow crawl through today, get to my appointment, see what's what, and then my sister will be here tonight. Thank God for family, is all I can say!!!