Archive for May 2013

A much needed update

Sunday, May 26, 2013

As you can see, my blogging has gotten pretty sparse lately.  I knew having a baby would make me have less time for things like writing, but I think I grossly underestimated how much less time I would have.  When I do have a free minute I tend to do things like throw laundry in, do the dishes, make the bed, get dressed, go to the bathroom, call my grandma to thank her for my birthday present 2 weeks late...

The crazy thing is that I have a ton of stuff to write about.  I am going to try to make a better effort to write out all of these posts that I am thinking of writing, but for now I am just going to give an update since I have exactly 1/2 hour before I have to feed baby B and go to bed.

Baby B
I can't believe that he will be 6 weeks old on Thursday.  He is awesome and amazing.  Cute and snuggly.  He smells so good.  He is a great eater, but spits up quite a bit and is pretty gassy.  He is very strong and can lift his head and move it around with almost no support.  He is also extremely fussy!  He loves to be held all of his waking hours.  I went out and bought some gripe water to help with his fussiness.  I am still not sure if it is helping or not, but he does seem a little happier.  He also likes the stroller, taking rides in the car, and being toted in the M.oby wrap.  He is growing like a weed.  At his 1 month appointment he weighed 11.1 lbs (up from 9.5 lbs, 2 weeks earlier) and he is now 22 inches.  He is only sleeping about 3 hours (at the most) consecutively at night.  Needless to say, mommy is pretty tired.  He likes a pacifier sometimes, but tends to spit it out after a few minutes.  His fav paci so far has been the S.oothie, but we introduced the and it seems to stay in his mouth better.  He loves having a bath!  He also loves being swaddled in the S.waddle M.e wrap, which I would STRONGLY recommend.  It makes swaddling in the middle of the night so much easier.  He likes newborn music class!  He will laugh and smile if you catch him in a good mood and squeak his soft rattle.  Seeing his smile makes all of the shit that I went through over the past years worth every last sucky minute.

Still going...!  Things have gotten much easier.  B is definitely getting enough to eat as he has gained quite a bit (78 percentile).  My only real issues, which are opposite of the issues I though I would have...oversupply and overactive letdown.  When B goes to latch I literally make him choke with my fire-hose of a letdown.  Sometimes I pump a little off first, but I can't do that in the middle of the night.  Last night I tried hand expressing some milk before feeding him in the middle of the night and I can shoot a stream of milk several feet in front of me.  The lactation consultant that I saw last Friday told me to lay off the oatmeal and M.other's M.ilk tea.  Oh and the lactation cookies that I made were unnecessary, I guess.  I have started pumping at least once a day to save up for when I go back to work.  It is hard to find time to pump since B is very demanding, but I want to start introducing a bottle to him at 6 weeks.  I don't anticipate an issue, but I guess I have been wrong about everything so far.  We'll see.

I had an appointment at the Endocrinologist last Tuesday and they checked my TSH and A1C.  My TSH was only 1.01, so I am thinking that she will tell me that I can discontinue my 25 mcg of levothyroxine.    My A1C was 4.8, which was pretty good and equals an average glucose level of around 94.  I still have my 2 hour GTT in a week and a half so I am hoping that turns out ok.  I am still pretty conscious of my diet and I eat way less carbs that I did before.  I have cut out pasta and bread almost completely.  That said, I have been eating cereal and having treats here and there.  I was good for so long, I think I deserve some indulgence.

Postpartum Recovery
Physically, I feel so much better now than I did a few weeks ago.  I still have about 10 lbs to lose, but I have heard that you need to keep on some weight to be an efficient milk producer, so I am ok with that.  I don't think I look overweight so I am fine with it.  What I am NOT ok with is my stomach.  It is completely wrecked.  I have serious stretch marks and my belly button is gross.  I could write a whole post about this, and probably will at some point.  I have diastasis recti.  From my unscientific diagnosis, I have about a 4-5 finger separation of my ab muscles. I went from 6-pack abs to a sagging pouch of a stomach with a huge indentation in the middle.  It has caused me quite a but of depression.  I hate looking in the mirror, it makes me so upset.  I did some research online and asked friends for recommendations and I found a physical therapy program that rehabs women with this condition.  I am going for my first appointment in a week and a half.  I can't wait.  My scar looks great though.  It is almost invisible to me.  I don't mind it at all.  I have no traces of the PUPPPs rash...thank goodness.  I have been walking with B and my dog.  My bleeding stopped about 2 weeks ago and now it is just annoying (TMI) yellow discharge.  Enough for liners 24/7.  I will be so glad when I can stop wearing a liner!  I have been through my entire pregnancy, too!  My doctor prescribed me the mini-pill, but I have not started taking it yet.  I really don't want to take it, but I also don't want to get pregnant any time soon.  Knowing my luck, I would get pregnant with a take home baby if we had sex.  Speaking of sex, we still have not undertaken that activity yet.  I am waiting until my 6 week pp doctors visit before we do it, just to be safe.  I am mentally looking forward to it, but not physically.  I am worried that I'll be in pain.

Other Stuff
I officially signed up for the NYC Marathon.  Yes, I am nuts.  My husband got me a personal running coach and class for my birthday, along with a new pair of sneaks!  I am waiting for my 6 week pp appointment to get the go ahead, but I am not sure they will even let me start running yet and I am not sure I want to run yet.  I feel like my organs might migrate out through the whole in my abs.  Gross.

The dog has been great with the baby.  He is protective and watches B when I leave him in his swing and have to run upstairs.  He likes to lick his head, which we don't let him do often, but occasionally.  :)  The cats have been a huge pain in the ass, though.  They have already scratched up his lovely glider and love to climb in his crib and pack and play with any opportunity that they get.  We have to keep the doors closed, which sucks.  I hope they get better, but I have a feeling this is just cats being cats.

Lastly, I got my medical bill from my 6 days stay...$55,000.  Wowzers.  Thank goodness I am only responsible for $500 of it.  Can't imagine what would happen if I didn't have insurance.

Alright my grace period has expired.  My boobs are telling me that B is hungry.  He is still asleep so he doesn't know it yet, but he will as soon as I pick him up.  Now I need to catch up on my blog list!  I still read when I am breastfeeding, but do it on my iPad, so it is hard for me to comment.  I am still following along with you ladies though.  :)  I hope you are all doing well!

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Every day is a learning experience

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I can't believe that little B is already 20 days old.  It seems like just yesterday we were watching him wiggle around on the ultrasound screen.  Time really does fly.  I think that sleep deprivation makes things go even faster, if that is possible.  The days and nights are all blurred into one long never ending  day.  I LOVE the weekends because I have my husband home to help me.

Even though I am only 20 days in, I have already learned a lot.  I know every baby is different, but I'll outline a few of the main things that I have learned already.  It might help some of the new mommies or soon-to-be mommies.  Having different perspectives is always helpful!  These are my experiences and may not be what you will experience so please keep that in mind!

1.  Nothing can prepare you for the lack of sleep that you will experience.  All of those silly people who told me to "rest up" and "bank my sleep" seriously had no clue what they were talking about.  You can't stockpile sleep and if you could, being huge and pregnant doesn't lend well to sleeping anyways.  Once the baby is born, you can say goodbye to more than 3 hour stretches of sleep at a time, at least for the first few weeks.  Napping during the day doesn't really help, in my experience.  I wake up groggy and confused.  During B's first few days, I had to wake him up to feed him so he could regain back to his birth weight.  Once I stopped setting my alarm every 2 1/2 hours, he started waking me up every 2 hours on his own, go figure.  It is actually quite amazing that one can function with 3 total hours of broken sleep a night.

2.  Hormones are a BITCH.  I can go from so happy and grateful to angry and upset in 10 seconds.  I wake up at night drenched in sweat.  I have a very short fuse.  My hair is falling out, but not as bad as it did after my first miscarriage.  My beautiful pregnancy skin (yes, this was one area where I was lucky) has given way to a greasy broken out mess.  I look at B and I cry sometimes because he is so perfect and I feel like I don't deserve him.  I feel like I am not nearly as good of a mother as my mother was.  I never heard her complain about getting up in the middle of the night with any of my brothers or sisters.  I never heard to cry over sleep deprivation and when a baby would not stop crying.  My mother was a saint.  God bless her.

3.  Nursing is hard and good nursing friendly clothing is hard to come by, apparently.  During the first few days of nursing, when my milk came in, I was in a tremendous amount of pain.  My boobs felt like painful rocks.  I even ran a slight temperature.  I called my mom crying and she told me it was all normal and that it would pass in a day or two.  She was right.  Then came the sore nipples and scabs.  Yes, sounds gross, but this is what happened to me.  My nipples felt like they were going to fall off so I alternated feedings with the nipple shield.  Yes, it was a pain in the ass to clean and make it stay on, but it helped when I felt like throwing in the towel.  The scabs caused some clogged ducts, which felt like huge painful lumps.  Massaging and hovering over the baby to feed for a few sessions helped with this.  Rock hard boobs, calloused nipples, and clogged ducts gave way to a crazy milk supply.  I was worried about not producing enough when, in fact, I have a great supply.  I even have an overactive letdown which sometimes causes little B to choke because the milk comes spraying out!  This brings me to nursing clothes.  I bought a few nursing tanks at T.arget that I love and then a few more online.  Regular shirts are just useless right now, even if you have a good nursing bra (I recommend the B.ravado seamless bra).  I ordered a few more from T.arget the other day and they cancelled my order saying they are no longer in stock even though when I look online it says that have them.  I would recommend nursing tanks for wearing to sleep and around the house.  Buy a bunch because you'll find that you need to change 2-3 times a day for various reasons (baby spit, milk dripping, explosive poops, etc.).

4.  C-section recovery sucks.  I still am angry and feel cheated.  Please don't judge me.  I know I should just be happy I have my baby, but every time I think about my awful birth experience, I cry.  My husband keeps telling me to get over it and he is right.  I need to move on.  I think I might need to go back to see my therapist.  Similarly to how I was when I was having trouble staying pregnant, I am jealous of other people's seemingly perfect birth experiences and easy recoveries.  I know that this probably is not normal.  Physically, my incision is healing well, but all of my past rub right at that spot.  I haven't found any that are comfortable.  I also still look pregnant.  This is the most bothersome to me.  I have lost 35 lbs, but yet I still have this swollen belly that is covered in stretch marks.  I have no idea if this is normal and if it will go away.  I can't lift more than 15 lbs. so that really restricts what I can do and where I can go.  I just want to feel normal, look normal, and enjoy my baby without all of the restrictions.

5.  You'll never love anything as much as you love your baby.  This one is so very true.  My friends did warn me about this and I wasn't sure I believed them, but now I know that they were right.  No matter how much they fuss or cry or spit up or pee/poop all over you the love that you feel for them is so unconditional and immense.  I look at him and I cry because I love him so much.  It is so amazing to me how much you can love such a tiny little human so much.  He really makes everything else that sucks so bad, worth it.  I would go through all this crap 100 times over if I had to do it to get him.                  

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B's birth story part 4, "The Hospital Recovery"

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Can you tell that I have been a little preoccupied in the past few days?  I was cranking this out and then got so busy with B now that he is starting to stay awake for longer periods of time.  Here goes the hospital recovery part.  This may take me several days to finish!

After my surgery I was wheeled back into the room where I had labored for many hours.  One of the nurses tried to take my blood pressure and was having no luck because I had the shakes so bad.  No one warned me about this.  I could not control my body, at all.  My husband said that he tried for almost 2 hours before he finally got it to take.  Someone came in and drew blood from me.  Another nurse wheeled the baby in and tried to help me breastfeed him for the first time.  Breastfeeding immediately after birth was one of the top items I wanted to accomplish from my birth plan, but at this point I was having trouble remembering where I even was or what had happened.  I had absolutely no idea what time it was or what was going one.  They kept trying to force my baby to latch and I had absolutely no interest in it.  I could barely keep my eyes open let alone listen to them try to instruct me on how to feed my baby.  I think that they finally gave up on the breastfeeding because when I woke up, it was about 6:30 in the morning and they were ready to move me to recovery.  Luckily I didn't really know what was going on because I think that I would have been really upset.  What a total failure.  I couldn't nurse my own baby.  My nightmares were now a reality.  :(

Once I was wheeled up into my new room, I started to wake up a little.  I had a catheter and massaging calf wraps on both of my legs to prevent blood clots.  I was fairly immobile.  I was also insanely itchy from the PUPPPs and very swollen.   I was also very thirsty, but they would not allow me to have ANY liquids other than a few ice chips every 1/2 hour.  I was so annoyed and upset.

Nurses and doctors filed in and out, checking on the baby and me.  I was taking oxycodone and Tylenol/Motrin every few hours along with other things like antihistamines to try to control my spreading rash.   My poor little B had to have his foot pricked every few hours to test his blood sugar.  Luckily everything was normal for him.  They also checked my blood sugar, which was within normal levels (albeit high-normal) so they released me from further diabetes testing in the hospital and the diabetes menu.

That first day was kind of a blur.  The things that stand out most are walking down the hallway with a nurse who applauded my efforts at walking several hundred feet without being dizzy or fainting.  I also met with a lactation consultant who instructed me on how to feed the baby.  She was awesome.  Very nice and understanding and gave a ton of good advice.  She explained that my milk would not come in until day 4-5 so that I should be patient with myself until then and try to pump colostrum, if possible.  We had a few visitors on Thursday, which was nice.  I felt like I had been in the hospital forever at this point.  That night we let B sleep in the nursery for a few hours.  I NEVER wanted to do this, but then again I never thought I would have needed a c-section, either.  The 4 hours of sleep I got made me feel so much better, physically.

Friday was a weird day.  Without saying too much, I'll just say that outside events made this day quite surreal.  It was a total out of body experience.  To make things even weirder, I came to find out that I had lost 2 liters of blood during the surgery, which explains why I felt so bad and had completely white lips.  Apparently my hematocrit levels were extremely low (I was now anemic) and the doctors were recommending a blood transfusion as soon as possible.  I was totally stunned and upset.  Why was my body failing me??  I sucked it up and did the transfusion, which took about 5 hours total.

During the transfusion I tried to feed the baby, but it was not going very well.  My nipples hurt and he seemed very hungry and cried a lot.  He was not having wet or dirty diapers as he was supposed to.  When they weighed him in the evening he had lost 10% of his body weight and was down to 8 lb 3 oz.  I had tried pumping and the first time, after pumping for 20 minutes, nothing came out.  The second time I pumped was in the middle of the night and I actually got almost an ounce of colostrum from both breasts.  I was so excited to feel the baby this, but then I accidentally knocked the whole thing over on the floor.  I was devastated.  I cried for a while because I had worked so hard to get that.  They ended up recommending that I supplement with formula to get the baby's weight to go up.  I was seriously upset by this, but knew it was what I had to do to help my baby.  EVERYTHING that I had wanted out of this birth (except for a healthy baby) was just not happening.  We used SNS with the syringe and tube which we stuck in the baby's mouth while he was trying to breastfeed.  He sucked that formula down so fast.  I felt terrible.  My baby had been starving because I could not feed him.  I felt terrible, but was glad that he was getting what he needed.

Besides the feeding fiasco, my PUPPPs rash decided to get worse instead of better and the swelling that I had experienced immediately following the birth was now also 10 times worse.  I didn't want to look at my feet or legs because they were so gross.  The PUPPPs rash had spread to my entire body.  I was itchy and burning at the same time.  It felt like a bad itchy sunburn.  From between my fingers and palms of my hands to now between my toes and the soles of my feet, I was covered from shoulders to toes with a gross blister like rash.  The only place that I did not have it was my face.  Several doctors came by to look at it.  They even called in 2 doctors from a neighboring hospital, who took pictures of me and agreed that this was one of the worst manifestations of the rash that they had ever seen.  They prescribed me a steroid creme and some fenofexadine, but nothing helped.  I cried quite a bit out of desperation   My husband, who is really the best man ever, scrubbed me 2 times a day with Grandpa's Pine Tar Soap and then slathered me with Sarna.  Honestly, the only thing that helped me was the soap.  God bless my husband and God bless Grandpa.

Speaking of my husband, he has taken to being a Dad like second nature.  He quickly became the lead on diaper changes, burping, and swaddling, since I could not do it.  He was also able to use the knowledge that he learned from "The Happiest Baby on the Block", and soothe our fussy little guy.  You never would have been able to tell that, at one point, he did not want to ever have kids.  This man is a natural!

See?  How totally gross.  :(

With regards to the swelling, I would tell every nurse/doctor that walked in to look at it because I was convinced that it was not at all normal.  They assured me that it was and told me that it would get worse before it would get better.  I could not even believe that they were correct, but they were.  Edema turned into pitting edema, GROSS.  They told me to walk as much as possible, but I had trouble in between pumping, feeding the baby, eating, and getting checked out by medical staff constantly.  My husband and I would take the baby in his rolly crib and visit the nursery to get "exercise".  Man those babies were tiny compared to my big boy.

As the days went by, I started feeling a little better.  I was able to walk more.  I was able to use the bathroom without assistance.  I was so worried that I would not be able to take a poop, since the doctors told me that it would probably be days after I came home from the hospital and that it would hurt like hell, but to my surprise (and theirs) I went on day 3 and day 4 and it was only minimally uncomfortable!  Thank you Colace!  I think my post c-section diet had a lot to do with this, as well as the amount of water I was consuming.

By the morning of my discharge day, 4 days post c-section, I was feeling a lot better, but was still very swollen and itchy.  It was chilly outside, but I could not squeeze into my U.ggs.  I ended up wearing my showering flip-flops home.  One of the doctors came in and removed my staples before we left.  I was really worried that it would hurt, but it was totally fine.  They put little pieces of tape over the incision and told me that they would fall off with time.  I had a few more checks (as did baby B) and left with several prescriptions including oxycodone, Mortin, Colace, iron, and steroid cream.  I also left with several goodie bag items (haha) including: mesh panties (so hot), huge pads, some castile soap, formula (just in case), and a bunch of other random items.  The doctors told me no driving, no housework, no stairs, and no lifting more than 15 lbs for several weeks.  How realistic is that?  They also told me no getting pregnant for at least a year if not 18 months.  The perks of a c-section just keep on coming.

It was almost a week that I was in the hospital and being outside seemed so weird.  It was just like one big long day to me.  I was ready to start my home recovery and had no idea what to expect.  No books or manuals could have prepared me for all of this.

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