Tuesday, August 25, 2009


This is incredibly hard for me to admit to anyone but you, my mostly anonymous blog readers. I'm completely struggling with breastfeeding. During my pregnancy, I had feared a struggle, but I was much more afraid that my body would fail me and I would have supply issues or something like that. Instead, my struggle is almost entirely emotional. I feel trapped in my home, unable to go anywhere or do anything. I find I can't do anything I want to do because I'm the only one who can give the baby food. I resent my husband, too, who hasn't missed out on hot meals (whereas I've had maybe 5 hot meals since the baby was born), who can sleep through the night if I let him (and even if I don't want him to, he can fall asleep during the hour that it takes to feed the baby every 3 hours or so), who runs to get us dinner (I don't feel like I can leave the house). His freedom just makes me even more aware of my confinement. Add on top of that the fact that he is and will always be the "fun" parent and that I want him to have time with our daughter (and therefore he spends most of the baby's awake and non-feeding time with her) and I just feel like a big old milk machine, like that's my only purpose in life.

All that said, the lactation consultant said we should start offering a bottle at least once a week so the baby doesn't refuse the bottle when I return to work--and that makes me sad, too. Yes, it would be expressed breastmilk, but what if she decides she likes it better? We already have some latch problems (she fights the latch for about 10 attempts each time) and I'm afraid she'll resist even more once she realizes how easy a bottle is. And that would break my heart, too.

I'm a stubborn person. I don't want to take the easy way out (easy in my head--not supposed to be a criticism of formula feeding). I want to keep breastfeeding for a long time. I don't have a goal because I'm afraid if we need to stop before then I'll feel like a failure. But in the back of my head, I'd like to make it to a year so we never have to buy formula. We'll see. I know if I admitted my feelings to my mom, MIL, SIL, or most of the people in my life, they'd say if I'm feeling so trapped I should just stop breastfeeding. That's not what I want. I want to keep breastfeeding and just hope it gets better. DH has been wonderful and keeps reminding me why I'm doing this, but it's just very hard sometimes. I can honestly say I've cried at least once a day since she's been born--mostly because of my breastfeeding frustrations.

Beyond the breastfeeding struggles, I'm happy being a mommy. I love this little girl. I just long for the day when I become more than a milk factory to her.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Must be doing something right!

During the first two weeks of my daughter's life, we were at the pediatrician's office very often (4 times in the first week we were home from the hospital--Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and again Monday). Besides being concerned with some possible jaundice, they wanted to keep track of her weight, as she didn't gain it back as quickly as they would have liked. Yes, they wanted her back at her birth weight by the time she was two weeks old, but for some reason, they were really hoping she'd gain it back more quickly. She was born at 7 lbs 5 oz, was 6 lbs 14.5 oz at her lowest (back up to 7 lbs at discharge). She gained very slowly that first week, but by the second Monday (would be two weeks on that Wednesday), she was back to 7 lbs 4 oz and the doctor was satisfied. We were able to stop going to the pediatrician every other day.

Yesterday we went to meet with a lactation consultant (I want to post about that later) and they weighed the baby when we got there, then again after feeding. Her first weight...8 lbs 6 oz! According to their scale, she'd gained over a pound in just over a week! That must mean we're doing something right :) Makes both DH and me stop doubting ourselves quite so much.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Small Victories

As I've said before, baby spent most of the first two weeks sleeping on people. The only times she didn't was in the isolette at the hospital. We've since been working on getting her to sleep in the PnP in our room overnight, but haven't been putting her down much during the day. It's just so tempting to snuggle her!!!

Today, however, is the first time DH has gone to work, leaving me alone for a longer duration than ever. This means I need to find a way to use the bathroom and eat lunch...which just wasn't going to happen with a baby sleeping on me. My second option was going to be trying out the sling (haven't tried it yet), but first I wanted to try swaddling her after a feeding. DH is typically out swaddler, so I wasn't sure I could accomplish it without her freaking out. Not only did I successfully swaddle her, but she's been sleeping in her PnP in the living room (yes, we have two) for 15 minutes now! Even if she woke at this point, I would consider it a victory :) I've already peed and eaten lunch, so if she decided to wake up, I could hold her until DH returns (he's only working half days this week).

Now to work on figuring out the best tactic to get out of the house (besides for a walk)...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My C-section

We checked into L&D at 5:50 a.m. and were taken to the recovery area. I was told to put on a gown and I was hooked up to two monitors--one to see if I was having contractions (I was, every 4-6 minutes) and the other to monitor baby's heartrate (consistently in the 130s). They took my blood pressure (it was elevated, but I was slightly uptight!) and started my IV. The first two nurses I had were fantastic--incredibly personable and caring. At 7 we had a shift change, where I got two new nurses--one very personable and caring and the other...not so much.

One of my first nurses had told me that there was no way I should get the catheter before being numbed. She said it would be very uncomfortable. However, nurse #2 had other plans. She told me it wasn't bad and that they didn't like us to get the cath after numbing b/c they had to lift the patient's legs and the patient is harder to control. Fine. If you say it's not bad, lady, I'll trust you. So she tried to insert the cath. Without much warning. And it hurt. Bad. I screamed louder than I think I ever have. Apparently I also kicked some things off the bed and made people in the hallway pause to see if everything was okay. It was horrible and easily the most traumatizing part of the whole experience. Oh, and she didn't even get it in. I think my screaming made her mad at me, but at least it made her wait until we were in the OR.

The surgery was scheduled for 8:00, but apparently there was some confusion about whether the cerclage next to me or my surgery would go first, so we didn't wheel into the OR until 8:30. DH stayed out in the hallway and put on his gear while I went into the OR with nice nurse and a very nice nurse anesthetist. I had confessed to both of them that I was pretty nervous about the spinal block and about not being able to feel anything, so they were both very supportive. The nurse told me I did a great job receiving the spinal block and the anesthetist was there by my head the entire time, willing to reassure me that I was still breathing fine and that everything was going fine. Oh, and once I was numb they put in the catheter...after trying for about 3-4 minutes (either mean nurse injured me or I was going to naturally have a hard time having it put in).

Once I was settled and beginning to get numb, DH was allowed in the room. He was given a stool right by my head. They had strapped down my arms, but the straps were so loose that they didn't bother me at all. The nurse anesthetist did scratch, hot, and cold tests to see how numb I was before they started cutting. DH just sat and talked to me through the entire thing. I had a bit more feeling than I would have liked on my left side, but it wasn't painful--just not entirely comfortable.

They began the surgery. I don't remember too many of the sensations, but vividly remember telling DH that it felt like when baby would sit on my bladder. Seconds later, we heard my doctor say, "We need to get that bladder moved". DH and I both laughed--we were surprised I could still feel what was going on inside. I remember that it felt like we waited forever for the baby to be born. I heard the resident say "I see a butt", which didn't surprise us since we knew which way she was situated. At that point they told DH he could stand up and look if he wanted, which, surprisingly, he did. He even took a couple of pictures of the baby's bottom sticking out of my belly! Once they pulled her out, she didn't cry right away, which I knew logically she wouldn't (passing through the birth canal naturally clears out the airways, but since they don't do that in a C-section, the doctors have to do it). I was still very nervous and kept asking if she was okay--DH kept reassuring me that she was. They brought her around for us to see--she was beautiful and looked huge.

I told DH to follow her to the warmer. I don't have any idea what was happening to my own body at that point--I was just waiting to hear how my daughter was doing. I heard them announce the weight as 7 lbs 5 oz (DH had thought she would be just under 7 lbs, but I told him the night before I thought she'd be 7 lbs 5 oz...guess it was mother's intuition!). I remember hearing her cry--what a beautiful sound!

Eventually they were able to bring the baby and DH back to me. They even released one of my arms so I could touch her. It was just surreal, knowing this was my baby that I had had inside my body for the past 9 months. Baby and DH got to hang out with me for about 15 minutes while they were putting my insides back together (this part was fairly painful when they were shoving my uterus back up under my ribs). They then wheeled the baby out in a bassinet to take her to the nursery, but not without a stop in the waiting room to meet some grandparents (of course, only my mom was there--DH's parents weren't in town yet and my dad was out smoking).

Toward the end I was able to feel them stitching me up. I asked them how much longer it would be--if it was going to be much longer, I would need extra numbing meds!--and the doctor said just a couple of seconds (she was right).

After I was stitched up, I was wheeled back to recovery where I just had to wait. My parents and DH's parents came back to see me, then DH took my dad and his parents to the nursery to check out the baby while my mom hung out with me, just waiting for me to be able to move my toes. We were in recovery for two hours, first waiting for me to be able to move my toes, then waiting for me to be able to lift my bottom off the bed. Once I could that, I could go to my room and see my baby, so I was very frustrated with how long it was taking the anesthesia to wear off! At some point DH ran the baby book up to the nursery to have the baby's footprints put in there...but I'm not sure when that happened!

Around noon I was finally able to move a bit more and the nurses wheeled me and my entourage up to my room (both the ILs and my parents, plus DH, the two nurses, and me in the bed were all in the elevator together!). While the parents waited in the hallway, the nurses helped me transfer into my hospital bed and DH and I said goodbye to them and hello to our new home for the next few days.

It took another hour for us to get the baby--DH ended up having to go ask for her in the nursery. His parents and younger brother went to lunch and my parents went into the hallway while I nursed for the first time. We both did well :) Once we were done, my parents got to meet her and then DH's parents came back and got to meet and hold the baby. All we wanted to do was hold her and snuggle her--she was perfect.

DH's older brother, his wife, and their daughter came and not long afterwards our friends S & R stopped by (who brought an adorable outfit and some much-craved funnel cake mix!). It was great having everyone meet the baby! Most of the visitors cleared out in the early evening with my parents the last to leave around 8:30. Right around that time was when I was first able to pass gas--thank goodness!!! I was starving at that point (the broth, juice, Jello, and Sprite just didn't cut it!) and that meant I was cleared to eat solid foods. Graham crackers and yogurt never tasted so good!

I was given the option to keep the catheter in overnight or have it taken out. I didn't want to have to deal with getting out of bed overnight to use the restroom, so I opted to keep it in until the next morning. Once it was taken out (not painful at all), the PCA helped me get out to bed to go to the bathroom. I had a bit of cramping in my bladder, but otherwise it wasn't too bad.

Some notes about my recovery:

~ I wish I would have taken more walks in the hospital to get myself moving. We had so many visitors that it seemed like it was never a good time between chatting with people, feeding the baby, and sleeping. I think I only took three walks total before heading home.

~ That first poo wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Definitely take the stool softeners, though!!

~ The bleeding was never horrible. I had a HUGE maxi pad that I wore for almost 7 days (different ones, of course), then switched back to normal maxis and my own undies about a week after she was born. It came and went--some days heavier than others.

~ I had cramping whenever I peed for almost two weeks afterwards. It's cleared up on its own, so it doesn't seem that it was a UTI or bladder infection.

~ I got really tender after napping on my side 9 days after she was born. It made me nervous (was a Friday, so I missed out on calling the doctor), but I think it's normal to feel some tenderness whenever you do something new.

~ DH took really good care of me throughout. I think sometimes he wishes he'd made me do more for myself so I would have healed better, but it felt right to me. I was scared I would pop a stitch or something and took things fairly slow. It was over two weeks before I was getting up and moving much more than to use the restroom.

~ Showering at the hospital wasn't bad. I was nervous I would get woozy and DH was hovering outside the door the entire time, but I had no problems. It was nice to feel like a real person!

~ We slept on the living room furniture (a recliner, a reclining love seat, and a reclining sofa) for the first two weeks of the baby's life. During this time, she slept on us. Our first night in our own bed was Thursday night two weeks after she was born. It was nice, but I had a heck of a backache when I woke up. The best thing I've had was one of those video game pillows so I could just sit up and nurse right in bed. I have also been prepared with many pillows in case I need support under my belly or behind my back.

~ I took almost all of my pain meds. My pain never really got over a 4 on the pain scale while in the hospital, so while I was okayed to have two pain pills every six hours, I never took more than one, plus my ibuprofen. I continued with the pills once I got home and think that helped immensely, especially once I was moving better. I was also very happy to have gas meds and stool softeners at home (had to send DH out for them when he got my prescription filled).

I may come back and edit this post if I come up with anything I've forgotten. I just wanted to get a lot of this documented before I begin to forget!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Two Weeks Later

Baby is here :) She arrived July 29, 2009 at 9:04 a.m. and was 7 lbs 5 oz and 19 inches. She's beautiful and her daddy and I are totally in love.

The last two weeks have been a total blur of feeding, hospital stay, sleepless nights, C-section recovery, and just loving our beautiful little girl. We were in the hospital Wednesday morning through Sunday around 3:00 p.m. We had fantastic care by the nurses, PCAs, and lactation consultants. We had some visitors, which we really appreciated.

Since we've been home, baby has been ruling our lives. We've been to the pediatrician four times for weight checks and to check her bilirubin levels, as they were elevated when we left the hospital. It's been a struggle and VERY hard on Mommy--I feel like it's my fault that she wasn't gaining the way the doctor wanted her to. We did meet the goal of getting back to her birth weight by the time she was two weeks old (well, we assume so, as she was 7 lbs 4 oz on Monday).

Feeding started out great. My colostrum was readily available and the lactation consultant told me I shouldn't have any concern about a low supply and she's been right. I think my supply has been pretty right on. Baby's latch has been a concern, but we're currently working on fixing it with the help of a nipple shield. Feeding has, in general, been full of highs and lows and quite a bit of discomfort, but I love being able to bond with my baby and am really glad we've pushed through it (and I do say "we" because DH has been awake with me for almost every feeding, helps burp her, helps position her, etc.).

The best anecdote of the first two weeks would be about a diaper changing DH was doing around 6 a.m. I had just finished feeding on one side and she had pooped. DH had baby on the floor to change her when all of a sudden, we heard the noise...and then DH groaned. Baby had pooped all over him. It was disgusting, but hilarious at the same time. He finished the changing and handed her off to me while he went and showered. Gross.

To date, I have only changed TWO diapers. Wow. DH has been absolutely incredible and has been taking care of both of us in ways I never could have imagined. When baby wouldn't sleep by herself, we traded off having her sleep on us. He does just about everything for me. He changes her diapers, burps her, soothes her, and just gazes at her with more love than I ever thought I would see in his eyes. He's completely infatuated. We've just recently been getting her to sleep by herself in the PnP we have downstairs (since we're still sleeping on the couches), but DH has the hardest time letting her lay in there by herself. The minute she makes any noises, he's begging to pick her up. It's the most adorable thing.

I never want to forget this time, but at the same time, don't want to take the time to write about it because I just want to take it all in!