Monday, January 31, 2011
Saturday, January 29, 2011
- The other night she fell asleep in the shower, snuggled up close to Charlie.
- She has this thing where, if she's feeling particularly mischievous, she'll tuck her chin to her chest, raise her eyes to you, and grin with her eyebrows raised. Hilarious.
- She has favorites. A favorite blanket, a favorite toy (her elephant, Horton Hears a Whoozer), favorite songs.
- Feeding her little bites of bananas has been so fun.
- We discovered when my friend Bethany was here that she loves (loves) playing with a glass of water. The only thing is that she gets over-excited way too fast with it, and ends up dissolving in a puddle of tears and water because she just.can't.hold.it.yet!
- I had to go through and sort out all her clothes into 6-9-12 months. All her 0-3's are put away, which is both great and painstaking. I washed all of them one last time and put them in bins, not to see the light of day again until we have another little girl, or until Lydia or her subsequent siblings have girls.
- She fits into the Carhartt overalls I bought her in Alaska. So cute.
- Charlie and I got her to cackle and giggle by bouncing her around the house going "bum-bum-bum-bum...". She loves the noise and the motion, and one of us bounces her while the other chases...it's our first family game that she's absolutely delighted with!
- She fell asleep on my chest yesterday and I realized that I couldn't hold her little butt in one hand anymore. It took two. Wait, this made me cry, not smile.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Doula support has multiple (and unique) benefits for both moms and babies.
I couldn’t say it any better than this (from DONA International):
Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth
- tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
- reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
- reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction and cesareans
- reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals
Research shows parents who receive support can:
- Feel more secure and cared for
- Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
- Have greater success with breastfeeding
- Have greater self-confidence
- Have less postpartum depression
- Have lower incidence of abuse
In a word, doula support is truly invaluable for a woman and her partner!
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Saturday, January 15, 2011
My preemie was my second child – I am a mother of 4 children – 4 ½, 3 ½, 2 and 4 months. My pregnancy was not out of the ordinary - some mild morning sickness and fatigue but an overall healthy pregnancy with no complications. When I was about 30 weeks pregnant we went to the Boundary Waters camping and had a great time. We came back and about 3 days later my knee locked up and I had meniscal knee surgery at 33 weeks pregnant. The baby was monitored very closely through surgery and did extremely well. I did fine after surgery and felt great. I did not take any pain meds in fear of what side effects they may have.
About 5 days after my surgery at 34 weeks pregnant I started having some cramping/contractions and bleeding. I called my midwife and was told to come in. I was in the hospital having my contractions monitored. I was not dilating and my contractions were not regular. Being at 34 weeks I was in the gray zone for trying to stop labor. After about 3-4 hours of monitoring they were preparing to send me home when I suddenly started having much more intense contractions and I suddenly dilated to a 3. My husband and one year old child were in the hospital this entire time with me. I was immediately admitted and told that I was going to have this baby today. I was in tears immediately and didn’t know why this was happening. What had I done wrong? What was going to happen? Would my little boy be okay? I felt like a terrible mother.
I knew I had to make it through labor and delivery and my little guy maintained well through the entire process allowing me to avoid an emergency c-section. The only issue I had through the entire labor process was that I spiked a fever but I was already receiving IV antibiotics since we did not have a Group B Strep result.
I delivered in the OR in the event that an emergency c-section would need to be performed and since the NICU staff needed to be on hand. As he delivered, the cord was immediately cut – my husband was not even given the opportunity – and my little boy was whisked away. I only had a quick glimpse of him as he was run through the doors. This was nothing like my first experience or any of my experiences for that matter. He did not cry for a little while and I was experiencing shock. I was taken back to a room to recover and left alone not knowing how my baby was doing. About 2-3 hours later I was finally taken to the NICU to see my baby. He was laying there with so many cords, an IV through his umbilical stump and was on a ventilator. I was only in there for a brief moment before I was again separated from him and told I need to rest. I still could not believe my little 4 lb 3oz, 17 inch baby boy was in this world. It all seemed like a bad dream.
Like Melanie, I was left with a breastpump and told to pump every 3 hours to get my milk to come in. I did so faithfully still blaming myself for Bradley’s early arrival in this world. At about 12 hours old Brad was overbreathing the ventilator and was able to breath on his own, but we were still far from out of the woods. At about 3 days of age he was found to have some common heart defects in preemie babies and needed to be put on meds to help take care of them which was going to delay milk feedings by another few days. Finally on day 5 I was able to hold my precious little boy, but only for a little while before the nurses made me put him back since he was not able to maintain his body temperature. Day 10 he was finally given breastmilk through a tube but was still not allowed to nurse since he has started having apnea episodes. He was sometimes having up to 13 episodes a day. I pumped for him every 3 hours around the clock. It was very emotionally and physically draining. Even though I was told this wasn’t my fault I blamed myself. I was made at God. Why was this happening to me? I had a one year old at home that needed me. I had a baby in the hospital that needed me. The nurses are telling me I don’t need to be there all the time, but it’s my little boy laying there. I was so torn. Finally at about 2 weeks of age, I was allowed to nurse my little boy for the very first time. He was a champ!! He did absolutely amazing right from the start. I was so happy. We had been told it may not go well but he did great. I was only allowed to nurse once a day since he was still having multiple apnea episodes daily.
Finally at 5 weeks old we were able to take him home! He left the hospital with an apnea monitor but he was home. We were told to allow him to nurse and then supplement with a bottle after every feeding to be sure he was getting enough. The bottle was to be formula – Neosure. Why? For extra calories?!? I was pumping about 12 ounces every morning and was able to pump 3 ounces after a feeding and about 5-6 if he wasn’t eating. There was plenty of milk for him. At a check up 2 days after coming home he had gained 4 ounces and we discontinued the supplement. He was doing well. We did end up having the apnea monitor for about 3 months but he did well!
My Bradley is now a strong healthy boy but I still get very emotional over the entire thing. There are some things that happened during his stay that bring up other points for another topic but for now this is enough. This was a very emotional experience and very challenging for me as an individual and for us as a couple. I spent a lot of time blaming myself. There are days I still ask why? Or what could have I done differently to prevent this? But then I look at him and realize he is a perfectly normal, healthy little boy and I did everything I could for him despite the circumstances.
Friday, January 14, 2011
I had the perfect pregnancy; no morning sickness, minimal weight gain and enough energy to stay active my whole pregnancy. I was also planning on having the perfect delivery, snuggling into the big double hospital bed with my husband and new baby and trying to breastfeed (although I must admit this was the part of motherhood I was most nervous about).
However, Adam arrived about three and half weeks early. After 30 hours of labor (I finally got IV pain meds at hour 27), I was able to have a normal delivery. When Adam was born he didn’t cry when they placed him in my arms and the doctor said to my husband, “Dad hurry up and cut the cord, we don’t have time. “
Soon after I was all put back together, my parents were able to come in the room and then we heard that Adam was making grunting sounds, was on oxygen and would need to be transferred to another hospital. Later (much later), I found out that my baby was quite critical. About three hours after birth I got to hold my boy before he received his very first ambulance ride to Omaha. My doctor told me I could be released in the morning so I could go be with Adam-thank goodness she is an anti-c-section doctor!
So my first night as a mom I was left alone with a breast pump instead of my baby and was told to start trying to get out some liquid gold. I pumped faithfully for the next few days because I knew it was the one thing I could do for Adam since I couldn’t hold him or cuddle him.
About 5 days after birth the nurses came to me and said that Adam could try to nurse. Trying to feed Adam was very difficult. He wouldn’t latch on and eventually I had to use a shield. We tried hard for three or four days, seeing a number of lactation consultants, but Adam just wouldn’t stay awake to nurse. After trying for at least an hour and a half each time, I would usually ask the nurses to come and get him and then they would supplement him through his feeding tube. I then had to leave to pump because he didn’t eat enough to empty me out.
About a week after his birth, Adam nursed good three times while in the hospital so I didn’t pump that day. The next day, I felt my right breast becoming hot and hard. I showed the lactation consultant and she instructed me to try hot packs, pump every 2 hours even during the night and call my doctor for antibiotics. I did just that and the pain went away within 5 days. Trying to avoid putting antibiotics in Adam’s milk, I stopped the antibiotics-advice-don’t ever stop antibiotics!
Adam was able to come home at 2 weeks. We decided in the hospital that he would receive a bottle at night so he could get the feeding tube out of his nose. The plan was to bottle feed and pump and work on nursing when we got home. Adam did okay but was just seemed to be a much happier baby when he got his bottle.
The morning after Thanksgiving, I woke up with terrible pain, was shaking and almost passed out. I knew my mastitis was back and I knew there was no way to take care of my baby. I called my family who just happened to be here to visit to come immediately. Thank goodness for them because I was so sick I could not take care of Adam. I continued to pump and started my antibiotic again and headed to the doctor.
This cycle continued. It seemed like every Thursday I would have a flare up, especially if my antibiotics were gone. I wanted to stop pumping so bad (by this time I had given up on nursing-he just wasn’t interested), but I didn’t know how because I was so afraid that giving Adam formula was the wrong decision and I was very afraid of how my body would react if I stopped pumping. I was full of guilt for hating pumping and for wanting to give formula. Everywhere I looked I saw the breast is best saying and the tears would come rolling down my face. This happened on one of my many trips to the doctor and she told me that I would not be a terrible person for giving Adam formula. She told me that what Adam needed most was a HAPPY mom.
Finally, I began to hear stories from moms who stopped nursing. I thought I was the only one who was not successful. This also helped me to realize that whatever decision I made would be okay.
It seemed that just as I would think about stopping pumping or pumping less often, I would heal up and life would be fine. However, on December 17, two days before I was to be a bridesmaid in a wedding, I got the worst bout of mastitis I had had. It was so bad I pumping out pus and was told to go straight to the ER to make sure I didn’t need to be admitted to the hospital, and of course to keep pumping every two hours. By this time I was really in tears because I knew this had to be it, I could not handle this pain anymore. If I kept pumping wouldn’t I keep producing? I was given a large does of antibiotics, so strong I had to start pumping and dumping. This had to be the end. I very slowly weaned myself off during Christmas while I was taking my antibiotics. That was my last bout and now I am finally happy to say I am done. The last time I pumped was probably one the happiest days I had since Adam was born. I may have done a little dance.
I don’t know why I had so many problems, but I can honestly say I have never been so sick in my life. Not feeling well physically, the stresses of being a new mom and being full of guilt did not make the first weeks of Adam’s life very enjoyable. All of us need to remember to take care of ourselves and remember my doctor’s advice…a happy mom is best for our babies!
By the way, my 5 pound 12 ounce boy now weighs in at 9 pounds 12 ounces at 2 months and is perfectly healthy. We never did figure out the cause of his breathing problems, but we’re happy that he is thriving now.
Thursday, January 13, 2011