July 21, 2011
So, I figured this deserved a post of its own…as many of you new moms have realized, breastfeeding is HARD and SO full of emotion, and we definitely didn’t escape the challenges.
Even though A did great with his feeding in the hospital, I couldn’t escape the fact that I had really wanted one of those natural deliveries where the baby is immediately placed on your chest and nurses within the hour. In fact, at one point S and I were watching tv and he found a breastfeeding program on the hospital channel…thinking that he was doing a good thing, he left it on, until he looked over and saw me sobbing. I think that my worries about breastfeeding ended up being my outlet for all of the hormones and emotions, so every minor issue felt like a really big deal to me.
The first time that we were able to try breastfeeding was on the day before we were sent home, and needless to say, it didn’t go so well (thanks in large part to a crazy lactation lady). Then with everything that we needed to do to get discharged on Sunday, we didn’t breastfeed again until that night at home…and all of a sudden, he just latched right on! I still wanted to make sure we knew how much he was getting, so we just did five minutes on each side and then gave him a bottle (of frozen breastmilk). But by Monday afternoon, I thought that we were home free. I stopped pumping and only gave A a bottle when he still seemed hungry and to top him off in the evening.
All was going well (including his weight gain!) until a visit by another lactation consultant on Thursday. She basically told me that it didn’t matter that he had gained weight, that he wasn’t sucking properly and that my milk supply was probably going down because he wasn’t working my breasts enough. And let’s just say, she didn’t have the best bedside manner to begin with. I took her feedback really hard – partly because I had had enough pumping to last me a lifetime, and she was saying that I had to keep doing it, and partly because I felt like my baby was “broken” and didn’t know what to do about it. She kept saying that he was acting like a preemie (which really pissed me off because it seemed like she was saying it was our fault for inducing him early) and didn’t even give me any tips for changing his sucking pattern beyond “keep pumping to increase your milk supply.”
At our second weight check that Friday, I told my pediatrician what she had said and he reassured me that with the amount of weight he had gained (chart below for posterity), that the few ounces we were giving him by bottle were not where he was getting his calories, that he was getting everything he needed from me. Since she had been right in one respect – that my supply had gone down slightly – I decided to keep pumping a few times a day (after he ate, just to get what he wasn’t), and we continued giving him “top-offs” once or twice a day.
About a week and a half after getting home, I started noticing that he was sucking better – not the “flutter suck” (suck, suck, suck, stop…), but more consistent. I’m not sure what changed, besides the fact that he was bigger and had had more practice sucking. The following week, I met with another lactation consultant and she reassured me that we were doing everything right, but just gave us a few tips for making things better/easier. After he had gained over a pound a week for two weeks in a row, I was finally able to relax and trust that it was “working”.
I have to admit, breastfeeding was something that I REALLY wanted to do, and I was worried that my body would disappoint me once again. So it was really nice that we didn’t have a milk supply issue to deal with on top of everything else…I finally felt like my body was doing SOMETHING right.
So, despite all of the stress and the slow start that we had, things have actually gone really well and A has continued to gain weight like a champ! From his lowest point of 5.5 lbs, he is now over 11.5! And he’s so long that we officially had to move him into 3 month clothing (on his 7 week birthday)! Here’s a more recent picture of my chubby boy:
One piece of advice for new moms or moms-to-be…if you are pumping at all, make sure that the breast shields/flanges are big enough (i.e. not rubbing). I am small chested and just figured that I could use the smallest attachments…until it got to a point where I couldn’t stand under the running water in the shower. Two days after going up a size there was NO more pain! (If you’re in need of any more tips or tricks, let me know…I’ve learned a lot!)
July 18, 2011
I can’t believe that it has been over a month since I posted…sorry friends! I don’t want anyone to think that my blog or our blog community is any less important to me now that I have a child, and I likewise don’t want to fall back on the “I’m busy” excuse (although you have no idea how true that is!). In reality, I have so much to write about that every time I have a half an hour to sit down in front of my computer, I don’t know where to begin!
So, I’m just going to have to start from the beginning…
A’s last few days in the hospital went exactly as planned, and we brought him home on Sunday, June 12th – our seven year wedding anniversary!
It wasn’t exactly the romantic occasion that it has been in the past, but it was still one of the best days of our lives. Honestly though, if I had had to spend one more night in the hospital, they might have needed to check ME in as a patient!
The first night was comical in retrospect…we thought we were so prepared, but we didn’t even have the diaper pail put together! We woke up in the morning to a pile of dirty diapers on the corner of the changing table, a full load of dirty blankets and burp cloths, and no real idea of who got up with the baby when! 😛
The next few weeks were a blur of breastfeeding (more on that later) and doctor’s appointments and just figuring out how to squeeze in a shower once a day!
June 10, 2011
Wow, where do I start?
I guess I will start with the good news…A’s surgery went beautifully and despite a few minor setbacks, he is doing AWESOME tolerating his feeds, and it’s looking likely that we’ll get to go home on Sunday…which is also our 7 year anniversary!! We honestly can’t think of a better present than being home together as a family, and we’re just praying that things continue to go well enough that we can get OUT OF HERE.
It has been such a whirlwind that I almost can’t believe that he’ll be TWO WEEKS OLD tomorrow…and I’m really struggling to remember exactly what happened when. I tried to write it down in timeline form, and I know that I’m forgetting some things…but for posterity, here goes:
- Saturday 5/28 – A was born!
- Sunday 5/29 – surgery @ 3pm, done around 7
- Monday 5/30 – slept all day, woke up around 8, decreased ventilator support
- Tuesday 5/31 – dozed most of the day, pressure trials w/ventilator, pooped! (expected 4-5 days after surgery and A did it in two!), woke up MAD at 8ish, ventilator removed
- Wednesday 6/1 – started feeding in NJ tube (threaded from his nose through his stomach and intestines and past the repair), lost both IVs, took 2 ½ hrs to put a new one in; I was discharged from the hospital and moved into the “sleep suites” (i.e. a single dorm room)
- Thursday 6/2 – up to half feeds, NJ tube accidentally pulled out (by a nurse who was handing him to me, HUGE disappointment)
- Friday 6/3 – OG (oral-gastric) tube (to remove bile not being processed through bowels) to gravity, tried to insert picc line (central IV, to provide full nutrition vs. fluids) in NICU, veins too small 😉
- Saturday 6/4 – discharged from NICU and moved to surgical recovery floor, IV team tried again to insert picc line, OG tube clamped, added lipids to IV; I was able to move in with him and had my first night of being in charge and feeling like a MOM! (would have been better if he wasn’t so hungry…)
- Sunday 6/5 – continued tests of OG tube residuals (5 ccs at 7pm), vomited twice in afternoon/early evening, lost IV; Mommy’s first meltdown
- Monday 6/6 – picc line and NG tube placed (under general anethesia), started continuous feeding at 1ml/hr, slept most of the afternoon and overnight
- Tuesday 6/7 – increased to 2ml (then 3), first bottle!
- Wednesday 6/8 – increased to 4ml (then 5), slept through the night
- Thursday 6/9 – up to 10 ml/hr in morning (then 11, 12), changed dressing on picc line, hep B vaccine, car seat test overnight, much happier with a full belly
- Friday 6/10 – up to 18 mls by the afternoon (30 ml bottle at noon)
- Saturday 6/11 – will space out feedings to two hours (then three), then we’ll be able to start breastfeeding!
- Sunday 6/12 – hopefully going HOME by the afternoon
So those are the bare bones facts, but they definitely don’t convey the full impact of the past two weeks. I’m sure that not many people would admit to this, but I initially had a really hard time connecting with the baby. I didn’t get to hold him after he was born because of the c-section, and for the first two days, I was in so much pain that it was all I could do to be wheeled over to his bedside…I couldn’t even stand up to see him in his crib, and only got to hold him once (later in the afternoon on the day he was born) in the first three days. It wasn’t until I was well enough to stand up and pick him up on my own that I started to feel like I had a baby…and not until a few days later when I had learned what soothed him that I truly felt like a Mom. Besides the worry of his surgery, the disconnectedness made for a very emotional few days, and S and I were both extremely relieved when I started to feel better, both physically and emotionally.
Then between the setback of the NJ tube being pulled out, and their inability to place a central IV to give him IV nutrition, we started to get very discouraged. He had been doing so well and it felt like a huge weight being added to our shoulders to have those few days of backwards progress. And in addition to that, because the tube had been pulled out, he needed several additional procedures and needle sticks that just broke our hearts. We knew that he needed the nutrition, but listening to him cry through every IV attempt was torture. Luckily, by then I knew how to soothe him – and that he recognized my voice and my touch – so I just focused on doing what I could to make him feel better through each procedure. Once we finally got the picc line placed on Monday, things definitely started looking up.
Luckily, his feeds have been going great the whole time, and with each increase, he becomes a happier (and sleepier!) baby…amazing what a full tummy will do. 😉
And as a reward for getting through this long update, here are some new photos:
June 1, 2011
Warning, this is LONG…but I really wanted to record what happened before I forgot!
On Friday morning, I drove myself into Boston for our last round of OB appointments, and a decision as to when we’d be induced. We were expecting to receive confirmation that our induction would be scheduled for Tuesday night…but I guess I should have known that something was going to happen, purely because S couldn’t get away from work. (The only other time he hadn’t come with me for a major appointment was at the one where we found the baby’s stomach issue.)
At 8am I was scheduled for a BPP and for the first time, during the one ultrasound where they actually wanted the baby to move, baby boy slept so much that they had to buzz him twice in order to measure movements. He continued to be quiet for the rest of the morning (still moving, but was not as spastic as usual) so by the time I saw the OB at 10am, I was feeling a little nervous. And after hearing the words “decreased fetal movement” – combined with the fact that I was now 1 cm dilated, with all the extra fluid and slight separation of the layers of the placenta (chorio-amniotic separation, not a new issue apparently but the first time it had been mentioned to me) – the OB decided that the time had come. I was going to be induced THAT DAY.
So at 11:30, they walked me upstairs to L&D and checked me into triage. I called S told him to GET READY and come join me!! I told him to take his time though – shower and pack the last few things in our hospital bags – so you know what he did? Went shopping for a new pair of shorts and sneakers so that he would be clean at the hospital. LOL!!
At 12:15 they placed Cytotec to soften my cervix and get me ready for Pitocin, and literally a half an hour later I started having cramps and contractions. The cramps were pretty constant and not fun, and by the time S got in (around 2), I was pretty miserable. My dad had driven him in (so we’d only have one car at the hospital), so the three of us went for a walk to get some fresh air, and frozen yogurt. 😉 We came back at 3:15 for a cervix check and I was unfortunately still at 1 cm…but my contractions were so close together that they couldn’t give me another Cytotec and didn’t want to start Pitocin yet.
There was talk about another amnio to take some of the extra fluid out (so that the baby’s head would be closer to my cervix), but they wanted my contractions to calm down a little, so for a while, they just gave me IV fluids and monitored us. After another hour or so (and actually getting checked into L&D), they checked my cervix again so we could decide what to do next, and I was all of a sudden at 3 cm! My body had actually kicked into real labor by itself (!), so they left me to continue on.
Instead of an amnio, the doctors decided to do a slow leak of my fluid in order to bring the baby closer to my cervix, not by rupturing the bag, but by using the internal fetal monitor to make a small puncture. They called it a trickle, but let me tell you, it sure felt like a gush to me. 😉 Soon after, my contractions started coming much stronger and so close together, that I literally couldn’t take a breath. I had gotten permission to get an epidural when I needed one, and although I really didn’t want one, I only lasted through thirty minutes of non-stop contractions before I asked for the anesthesiologist.
My epidural was placed around 6:30, and along with blessed relief came a change in shift and a nurse straight from heaven. I felt a little bit like I had caved too soon, but I knew that I just couldn’t keep up with the pain if I wasn’t going to get even little breaks in between the contractions. The epidural ended up being a really good decision in hindsight.
At this point, around 8:30, I was about 5 cms dilated and comfortable enough that S and I were able to doze a little bit. I was still able to feel the contractions, but they were manageable…not pain, just a lot of pressure in my backside. Around 11:30, I told the nurse that I really thought I needed to poop and she was like “umm, why don’t we have the doctor check you?” Turns out that I was FULLY DILATED, and had progressed from 5-10 cms in three hours!! This was the second moment when I truly appreciated having the epidural…no way would I have been able to make it through transition that quickly.
By midnight we were ready to push, and I was getting really excited about how well our labor was going. I should have known better. We pushed until 2:30, when the doctors gave me a 45 minute warning – that I only had until the 3 hour mark before we had to move to plan B, and either use a vacuum or do C-section. I didn’t want to do either, so I pushed my heart out until the deadline, but baby boy just did not want to turn or come down (he was sunny side up and despite several attempts to reposition me and turn him, he wouldn’t budge).
So I agreed to the vacuum extraction, thinking that was the lesser of two evils, and just prayed for my poor little boy’s head. We were allowed two “pop-offs” of the vacuum, and after the second one, you could feel the whole room sink in disappointment. We literally had no choice but to move to a C-section, and at that point, I was heartsick but too exhausted to fight it. I just resigned myself to the fact that this was what needed to happen, and put all my trust and faith in the team that had been by my side for hours.
They wheeled me down, and after everything that I had been through for the past 16 hours, my exhaustion and emotions won out. I dozed off and on while they got me prepped. In fact, when Shane was allowed in, he asked them if I was drugged because I almost couldn’t keep my eyes open enough to respond to him.
After one more minor dramatic episode – (the doctor urgently called for the table to be lowered and when they told her that it was as low as it could go, asked for a stepstool…turns out that we had pushed so well that he was literally stuck in my pelvis and someone had to help push him back up and out) – our little boy was born at 4:37am.
He came out with the cutest little cry, at which point tears just started pouring down my face. S gave me a quick kiss and ran over to be with the baby while he got examined. And I have to tell you, listening to S talk to his son for the first time was the most amazing moment of my life. He was telling him how much we love him, and why did he give his mommy such a hard time… 😉 And he jumped right in when they were ready to cut the cord and asked one of the nurses to take a picture of him doing it so that I could see it later. He was just instantly a dad and it was beautiful.
S went with the NICU team to bring the baby to the adjoining hospital while they sewed me back up. And let me tell you friends, that is NOT a quick process, nothing like what you see on the tv shows! The rest of my surgery went well though, and after a few hours in recovery, we were brought to a postpartum room. Then after a meal and a long nap, S wheeled me to the Children’s Hospital so that I could see (and hold!) my baby for the first time.
More to follow…
May 31, 2011
So, Bailey definitely must have known something was going on. We were induced on Friday after my morning OB appointment, and our little boy – Aidan – was born at 4:37 Saturday morning!!
6 lbs 2 oz (I made my goal!) and 20 inches, completely healthy and perfect (besides his belly issue), with the cutest strawberry blond hair! 🙂
He had surgery late Sunday afternoon and everything went great, just as they expected. It took him a while to come around – he finally woke up last night around 8 – but he’s hanging tough and doing really well.
Labor story to follow…I’m off to visit my boy! 😀
November 23, 2010
I’ve decided (I think!) that I want to decorate our nursery around a children’s story – just keep the bedding neutral and pull together the accessories myself – since I can’t seem to settle on any of the sets-in-a-bag!
Some of the ideas I’m liking right now:
Noah’s Ark …
And that’s as far as I’ve got! Help me!! I don’t want anything too commercial, but I still want it to be fun and fresh…any ideas??
What were your favorite stories, fairy tales, or nursery rhymes?
August 25, 2009
I don’t know whether it’s good or bad karma, but take that universe! This is the FIRST time I’ve been willing to buy ANYTHING, so maybe that’s a sign?? 😉