Friday, June 18, 2010

Waiting is the hardest part

I have spent my morning waiting to hear from Brett regarding the status of Maggie's ear infection. She has had an ear infection for about two-months, and has undergone three courses of increasingly strong antibiotics. I know it's a relatively minor thing, but it was upsetting me that my baby was sick and seemingly constantly. I know, she's in daycare and it's to be expected, but I also thought that she wouldn't have so many ear infections because she is 100% breastfed. So much for that theory.

Anyway, it just sort of highlights the difficulty for me of having to go to work. This is seriously like a totally minimal issue as difficulties go, I know that, but it's an example of the working-mom guilt that I have. I totally underestimated how hard it would be to be a working mom. This is, again, not news to anyone, but I honestly thought it would be great and that I wouldn't want to be a stay-at-home. Turns out I totally want to be a stay-at-home. I miss my baby when I'm at work, and more than that, the logistics of working and breastfeeding are just a challenge for me.

Pumping is not only time consuming and stressful to perform at work, but it's also consistently led to clogged ducts and inconsistent production that just stresses me out. I understand that a lot of women supplement with formula, and we tried this, but Maggie did not tolerate the formula. She had two bottles one day, and spent the following 24 hours projectile vomiting. I just didn't want to do that again, so I vowed to make sure that all she ever got was my breastmilk. She is seven months old today and that's all she's had. I am proud of this because it's been a huge commitment and struggle on my end. It wouldn't be if I didn't have to go to work.

I'm not a breastfeeding nazi. If Maggie had responded well to formula she'd be having it, but she didn't, so here we are. I'm just having trouble with the concept of having it all. In my situation, having it all means compromising somewhere all of the time. My job is not nearly as important to me as my daughter, so it gets compromised. I am by no means not doing my job, but I'm not going above and beyond and pursuing things in my career that would advance me quickly because I refuse to leave my daughter for any period of time. First of all that would be impossible given the breastfeeding and second of all it would be a huge demand on Brett because Maggie is a two-parent baby. She prefers us both to be there at night and I'm not really sure she would go to bed without us both. Maybe she's spoiled, maybe we're overly doting and crazy, but she is one awesome baby and she's doing so well that I don't mind.

I'm rambling like crazy, but it's hard for me to get a handle on all of this. I never thought I'd be saying that maybe having it all is not really the best goal for me. Maybe I wish I could stay at home with her and feel like I'm really excelling in one area instead of just getting by in all areas. This shit is tough for me.

And now on to a different topic. Health kick. It's off to a slow but steady start. I've cut way down on the sugar and white bread consumption and that feels good. I'm also going to the doctor on Monday and I suspect I'll be starting physical therapy for my back pain/sciatica again. Having a c-section really did a number on my core strength and I need help getting that back.

Oh, and the wait is now over. Maggie is free of ear infection! Hallelujah!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

more on momhood

Sometimes Brett and I say to eachother, "I can't believe we have a baby." It's true, I cannot believe we have a baby and I can't believe how cute she is (I'm not going to try to be humble, my kid is CUTE). I'm her only mommy and I will do right by her. She is a dream. My Maggie.

Having said that, I also cannot believe how much more fragile life seems these days. I worry about her health and well being frequently and feel like disaster is possibly waiting around the corner at all times. This is not healthy, and it's something I need to get control of. After she was born, I had some tough times and was occasionally over come by dark thoughts. Thought of horrible things happening to her and a fear of living a life without her. I am so in love with my baby that I don't think I could live without her. I think of parents who have lost their children and it floors me. Our neighbors lost two of their three children to a terrible, painful disease and I don't understand how they've survived the grief. You survive because that's what you do, but the pain must have felt unbearable. I have a tremendous amount of anxiety, and I think I've dealt with it by eating. I know, that sound so lame, but it's true. It's not like I'm paralyzed by fear, but I think that this sort of under the surface fear and anxiety over something happening to my daughter has taken me by surprise. I have always had anxiety issues, but this is new and I don't quite know how to deal with it. My general way to deal with anxiety is to eat, and so I have, but I didn't know why. But I really think that it's this anxiety over her. I don't know if this one warrants therapy, but I do know that it warrants exploration and perhaps a dose of reality. Hello parenthood, you're a whole new level of possible crazy, but I promise to take care of it for her.

News Flash . . .

Parenting is HARD. I know, it's shocking. But here's the thing, I knew it would be tiring and emotionally demanding to have a baby, but I got it totally wrong. I'm really not all that tired, and most of the emotion comes from how much I LOVE this child of mine. The thing that's hard is that it never stops. There are no breaks. It's constant and completely overwhelming at times. Especially because our child does not even sleep by herself, so there is literally no break. I'm not really complaining here, I'm not, because I wouldn't trade it for the world, but I am stopping to pause and say, "hey, this is different and kind of hard." There's a shit load of responsibility (DUH!) and that in and of itself is HARD. Every parent goes through it, and we are not special.

To that end, I need to take better care of myself because I am fatigued. We sleep great, it's just in a family bed. This is what works for us right now, because I'd rather get 8 hours of sleep with the baby, than 3 with her in her own bed. Plus, she's doing amazingly well, and why fuck with it? I know, I'm defensive, but seriously, you can't imagine the weirdness we receive in response to the knowledge that our baby sleeps in our bed. To each their own, but it's not that weird. Goodnight.

Now, since having this baby, my back and sciatica are screaming at me, and now my knees have started to hurt. I've lost the baby weight, but quite frankly, I really didn't gain that much anyway. The weight I have was here before the baby. The thing is that before the baby I was not lifting 18 pounds on a regular basis, and spending huge portions of my day on the floor and in contorted positions in response to an increasingly mobile infant. It's taking its toll and I need to get into physical shape so I won't need to replace all of my joints. It's ridiculous how old I physically feel. It's unnecessary too.

So . . . here we go with a health kick. And let's hope it's not a kick but an actual healthy forever. God help me, I sort of hate this, but I have to do it for me and my baby. I want to be a physically active mom and keep up with my baby and hopefully her babies. I don't want to be like my parents who cannot (for various reasons, not all their fault) babysit their grand-daughter. I want to feel good and feel energetic.

But how do I do this? Well first and foremost I have got to lose weight. I think that if I lost 20 pound I would feel markedly better, but if I lost 40 pounds I would feel terrific (not to mention probably look a lot better). But how do I do this? Eat less, obvs. The thing that makes me nervous about this is that I'm still 100% breastfeeding, which makes me hungrier than I could ever imagine. It's like having the munchies several times a day. If I don't eat regularly, I literally get sick. I feel dizzy, nauseous, all together awful. So how do I limit my caloric intake without compromising myself and my baby? Eat good food right? No more M&Ms and white bread and butter. So sad, but so necessary.

So, that's that. I have to publically declare that from here on out I am going to make a valid, valid, earnest attempt to get healthy. For my family. Hopefully it will be a HUGE success, but if things don't get off to a good start I may break down and joint WW or something. We'll see, but wish me well on this endevour, however easy it seems to some, it's not for me.

Friday, February 05, 2010

spouting about childbirth

I just have to interject in here (between the parts of my birth story) that the thing I learned about child birth is that there is no perfect birth. My biggest disappointment with pregnancy and childbirth was that there was a ton of misinformation out there and it really feels (at least it did to me) that you have to pick a side. You are either going natural or you are going medical intervention. It also seemed to me that both sides negated the worth of the other side and that was tough. I felt like my doctor did not ever listen to me regarding my wish for an epidural free labor, and I feel like our Bradley coach was a misinformed idiot who spouted a bunch of crap selling it as science. I'm not saying all Bradley teachers are like this, but our's was.

I felt ironically more unprepared for childbirth by taking the class and by discussing things at length with my doctor because I got a multitude of conflicting information. At no point did I feel confident in any choice because I felt like I could never get a straight answer. And maybe that's the problem right there. There just isnt' a straight answer and you just have to choose the course that's right for you. Go with your gut, and my gut told me early on that perhaps this doctor was not the doctor for me. But logically he was because he knew me, he knew my history, he had performed surgery on me the previous year and I sort of credited him for even getting my pregnant (Brett won't appreciate that line) because he helped me with endometriosis and I did get pregnant. But, I should have followed my gut. I'm not saying I would have found a doctor that was into the natural birth, but I certainly would have found a doctor that would have listened to me and talked to me about things like they were real options and not just propaganda from Mothering magazine (which I subscribe to by the by).

Who knows? I do wish things had gone differently. I do, I have to be honest about that, but I also don't, because my Magnolia is here and she is perfect. She is a dream. She is magic. I'm greatful for medicine and for talented surgeons and for anesthesia. I am greatful for baby monitors and relaxation techniques and bonding with my husband during those ridiculous Bradley classes. I am greatful that I have enough presence of mind not to completely drink the kool-aid and mostly I am greatful that I have this little family. A family that has not slept in nigh on 12 weeks, but a family nonetheless. I am not a religious woman, and truth be told, the experience of becoming a mom has made me even less religious (more on that maybe later) but I do believe that nature and the creation of life is some amazing shit. Mind blowing really. Having Magnolia has connected me to the world and to humanity in a way that I feel is a true gift. I am lucky.


gratuitous baby picture

Because I'm at work and miss her . . .

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Birth: Part one

So here we go with the birth story . . . I have to say that I haven’t really recounted this since it happened. Brett and I occasionally revisit it, but we try not to because the main lesson we learned from this experience is that the only important thing is a healthy and safe baby. We got that. I would like to shoot my pre-birth self who claimed that a "natural birth" was the right way to go. The right way is the way that keeps everyone safe and healthy.

My OB decided that he wanted to induce me because the baby kept having these slightly scary tachycardic episodes and he said that once I reached 39 weeks, I was full term and there was no reason not to get the baby out. I was so desperate to have this baby that I thought GREAT!
Thus, on November 17th, my official 39-week mark, Brett and I drove to the hospital with 192 bags of unnecessary luggage and checked in for my induction. I received Cervadil overnight, and then in the morning I got the BIG BAD Pitocin.

So we check in and make it to the delivery room, where we will be spending the night. I get to hang out in the actual delivery bed, and Brett gets to stay on this absurd pull-out couch thing. The room is HUGE and Brett and I are super excited when we see the receiving blankets laid out in the hospital bassinet. OH MY GOD, I think, this is really happening.

Our first nurse comes in and explains the Cervadil to me. It’s this weird tampon like thing that she has to insert in me, without any lubrication. Not painful, but not comfortable either. The nurse also told me that she would be putting in the IV and the external fetal monitors. There ends any potential for sleeping comfortably.

In goes the Cervadil, on go the “interventions” and hereby begins the long slow decent into madness.

Brett and I stayed up and watched The Office, followed by an episode of Dirty Jobs. We read a little bit, we talked a lot. We were excited. Our first nurse left and the night nurse came on. She asked me if I wanted anything to help me sleep. I declined.

We went to “sleep.” The night nurse came in 3,000 times to re-position the fetal monitors and help me readjust my position. Every time I had to go to the bathroom I had to get Brett to help me unplug the fetal monitor and lug my IV with me to the bathroom, wherein I had to pee in a “hat.” Sleeping did not really occur.

Come 6am it the doc on call came in to check me. I hadn’t progressed at all, so it was time to start the Pitocin. I also had to have IV antibiotics because I was positive for Strep B.
Nothing happened for a while, so they decided to break my water. That was not painful at all, but certainly weird. I had some fuzzy socks on and the doctor was strangely concerned about them getting wet. They did not. There was no meconium staining in the fluid, so all seemed to be fine.

The contractions sort of started, but nothing interesting. The doc came to check me again and this time he did it with meaning because that hurt like a mother fucker. I still wasn’t really progressing and there was some talk about how my cervix was doing something weird with the baby’s head. I still don’t really understand. Brett explained it to me and tried to show me with his hands, but I still had no clue. I guess he understands the female body better than I.
Anyway, time kept ticking along and we got a new nurse around 8am. I lovely woman named Rhonda. I heart Rhonda. Rhonda made this whole experience okay. For all of you out there who will someday have a baby in a hospital, I hope you get a nurse like Rhonda. Except for one thing . . . she was really really into me getting an epidural.

Now Brett and I were pretty adamant that I wasn’t going to have an epidural. Nope. Not for us. But then I got hooked up on a thousand IVs. I had one IV for fluid, one for Pitocin, one for antibiotics. Then there were the monitors that had to be on all of the time because of the Pitocin. Basically, I was strapped to the bed and could not really move around at all.
The not moving around thing was fine, until the contractions really started in earnest. They hurt (shocking, I know). One hit while I was on the way to the bathroom and therefore standing up. That was a lot easier to take, but once I had to return to the bed, they were really really painful.

Rhonda kept telling me not to wait too long for the epidural. Then she told me that the anesthesiologist was making his rounds, and really we should grab him now, and basically it was now or never. At this point, I really felt like I could continue without an epidural, but it also seemed like maybe I couldn’t take this pain if it got much worse. I didn’t know what to do. I was totally confused and I felt like the entire hospital was going to make me get an epidural no matter what.

I got an epidural.

The anesthesiologist was hysterical. His name was Dr. Tooma for starters, and he was this very dorky, middle aged guy who was incredibly, perhaps overly, friendly. But thank god he was so nice, because that procedure is just weird. So weird. I don’t remember it being particularly painful, but it was very bizarre. However, I must say that after the epidural started it was bliss. Pure relief. For a few minutes.

After the epidural was in and I was comfortable (I have to say, it was wonderful) Rhonda suggested that Brett go get some lunch, and that I try to take a nap. She was going to go do some paperwork. I was left alone. Unfortunately, that’s when I had what they call a vasovagal attack in response to the epidural. My blood pressure dipped way down (I don’t remember the exact number, but it was frightening and all sorts of alarms started going off) and I pretty much passed out. I was also shaking severely because when your veins expand like that, you tend to get very cold. It was severe enough that they had to stop the epidural for fear that I would go into cardiac arrest and give me several epinephrine shots in my thigh. Brett came back from lunch and really wished he had never left, obviously. My blood pressure sort of returned, but then would go back down again. The baby was reacting not so well to this hospitable environment. This kind of thing can have severe consequences on the baby, so my OB (who arrived specifically for me) decided that it was time to get baby out. A C-section was imminent and Brett and I were both crying out of disappointment and fear.

Everything happened so quickly from then on. Brett was given scrubs and went to put them on. I already had a catheter in preparation for the epidural, but Rhonda needed to shave me. A few other nurses came in to get things ready, and in about 10 minutes we were on our way to the OR. Brett had to go wait in another room while they prepped me for surgery, and thus I was alone. I was so freaked out and I don’t think terrified really conveys what I was feeling. Thank god for Dr. Tooma. During a c-section the anesthesiologist stays up by your head and monitors how much anesthesia you need and how you’re reacting. So while they were prepping me he was telling me that he was going to take good care of me and that after the surgery he had a whole bag of “good stuff” and I could have whatever I wanted. He was like a drug pusher on the street, which I found oddly charming and hilarious. He also put a bunch of warm towels around my head (I was still shaking pretty violently) and called me his “babushka,” which is what my Polish grandma used to call me. I heart Dr. Tooma.

So, Dr. Tooma tested my pain level, and by test I mean he asked if I could feel it when my OB began slicing into my abdomen. Thank goodness I couldn’t feel it. Eek. Brett was brought in and seated next to me, a sheet was draped across my chest so that I couldn’t see anything.
Here’s the weird thing about c-sections, the baby is born like right away. I don’t know how long it was, but maybe 5 minutes and out comes baby. Brett was wearing a mask over his mouth and nose, so all I could see were his eyes. When the baby was being pulled out, Dr. Tooma asked if he wanted to watch. Brett stood up to watch and I watched his eyes, but I couldn’t see his mouth. Brett was so emotional that he couldn’t really speak, but I needed confirmation that everything was okay. I needed to see Brett smile or tell me something, but I couldn’t see his mouth and he couldn’t speak. That was the most terrifying moment for me. But soon I heard our baby cry and the doc and nurses said she was beautiful and healthy. Relief.

The NICU docs were standing by because of the vasovagal attack and as a result Brett did not get to cut the cord. That sucked. They checked her out and she received a very high APGAR score. She was fine, she was perfect, she was HERE. The nurses cleaned her up a bit, wrapped her in blankets, put a hat on her and brought her over to me. She was rooting like a champ and I was so desperate to nurse her that I could barely stand it. The docs were still working on me, but in all honestly, I couldn’t feel anything and I didn’t even care. I had my baby and all I wanted was to get out of the OR and get her onto my boob.

But they had to sew me up, so Rhonda, Brett and baby went out to the OR recovery room and waited for me. I cried and cried and smiled and cried and listened to the “thwump, thwump” as they stapled my stomach back together. Then they finally wheeled me out to Brett and our baby and there she was. Beautiful.

Rhonda handed her to me and helped me get her latched on to my breast and she immediately went to town, eating that good colostrum up. She was amazing. A real natural.
I was on top of the world. All that crap they say about only vaginal births give you that hormonal high is just that, crap. I was flying and so in love with my baby. The bonding hormones were coursing through my veins and I thought was going to burst with love and happiness. Brett, on the other hands, was not the beneficiary of such hormones and looked completely shell shocked. I don’t blame him.

And there ends part one. Part two will come soon enough, and includes such highlights as the nurses asking Brett to go “deal” with my mom because she was pestering them so much, and the night a very evil nurse told me that I wasn’t capable of feeding my daughter. Oh hospitals, they are so much fun.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hey, I had a baby a while ago!

Oh, HI! Guess what . . . my baby is 10 weeks and 2 days old. How did that happen?

Also, it's a lot of work to have a newborn! So much work that nothing else gets done (including updating one's blog).

Anyway, Magnolia Rose was born November 18, 2009 at a healthy 6 lbs. 12 oz and 20.5 inches. She was born via c-section and mom and babe did well from the get go. The worse part is that I am at work and therefore have no pictures available for posting. Not to fret, they will be incorporated shortly.

Being a mom is completely awesome and ridiculous and heart expanding and heart wrenching and utterly exhausting (especially now that I'm back to work). Let me assure you that this baby is loved and cherished and AMAZING.

Birth story to come one day too . . .

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Still ever so pregnant

And apparently I might stay this way for a while. I got all excited about my dilation and mucus plus (never thought I'd type that statement) and then it turns out that it's totally normal to be all dilated for weeks, and perhaps my mucus was more the result of an internal exam and nothing to get worked up about. Of course, I got worked up.

Then again, whatever, this is my first baby and will allow myself a few transgressions into the world of overly excited.

I still don't really know if what I'm feeling is, or has ever been, a Braxton-Hicks contraction. I suspect that yes, I've had these contractions, but I can't really tell when it's her moving, or when it's a contraction. The past couple of nights though, I've felt some serious tightness all over my uterus and that has got to be the contractions. It think. Christ, this shit is not as easy to identify as I feel it should be.

I have also pretty much outgrown ALL of my maternity clothing. Now my shirts don't quite contain my enormous belly, and I routinely flash a bit of lower abdomen to the poor unsuspecting stranger. I have also made a possibly permanent enemy of pants. I abhor spending any time in pants. The maternity ones just don't stay up for shit, and obviously there are no other options at this time. I spend most of my days in some variation on the yoga pant. In fact, on Friday I actually wore flannel pajama pants to the office, but I disguised them as part of my costume (pregnant lady in her pajamas, obviously) so it was fine. Plus, the were candy corn pajama pants.

Nevertheless, I am epically uncomfortable and I would like to go into labor as close to my due date as possible because I really would like NOT to go back to work before Christmas, I am ready now. In fact, I'm so uncomfortable that Brett and I went out and bought an enormous recliner yesterday. It's so big and poofy that it kind of looks like a Muppet. I love it. I fell asleep in it last night and let me assure you, I don't normally fall asleep easily these days. Plus, it's a rocker recliner, so it will be crazy useful for rocking baby. Yippee.

And now I must go attend to my ice cream. We had a very healthy dinner of a vegetable stir-fry, so I believe ice cream must be had to make up for the lack of fat and cholesterol.