Friday, July 27, 2012

One month old!

Wide awake with very busy hands, in
a dress from B's mom which is still too big
Here is Amelia today, and tomorrow she'll be one month old! On Wednesday she went in for her checkup, not because she really needed to but I had scheduled it because I was sure I'd have questions.  First, about her weight.  At birth, she weighed 7lb 0.2oz and the next Monday she was down to 6lb 6oz so I wanted to see how much she had gained.  I knew she was gaining because of the leg and chin pudge, but I wasn't prepared for how much... 8lb 8oz!  Holy crap!  I have no reason at all to worry about her eating or my milk supply apparently, even though I can't pump much at a time.  She's just far more efficient at getting it out of me than the pump is. She's been spitting up a bit so we're working on that.  She has some baby acne going on, which drives me nuts but there isn't much to do for it and it'll apparently go away on its own. Hormone thing.  Yay.  Overall, she's great!  She's spot on for development and she's working very hard on holding her head up.  Her vocabulary is mostly grunts and squeals and we're slowly getting her hands out of the way for feedings.  She gets overstimulated after some time on her play mat so we need to cuddle for a while to calm down.

My healing hasn't been going too well.  Last week I realized that I had been at the same level of pain for quite a while, no noticeable change for probably 2 weeks.  I went to see Sue to have it checked out and lo and behold, one of my stitches had come out and I had exposed nerves.  No wonder! She got me some topical lidocaine and a sitz bath so now it's finally healing up from the inside.  She didn't stitch it up because it looked like it was trying to brew an infection.  Now the last couple of days I've been a lot more sore again but farther inside so I called Dr. B wondering if she wanted to take a look since she's the one who stitched me up in the first place.  She blew me off again, saying it was probably the stitches dissolving and working their way out and to wait it out over the weekend.  Meanwhile, my limited mobility was halved because my entire pelvic floor is constantly sore, worse when I try to do something like get groceries.  How dare I, right?  I went back to my clinic and the nurse there took a look for me, and she's pretty sure it's another yeast infection.  Thanks again for nothing, Dr. B.  Lord.

We're doing pretty well.  I'm just sick of being in pain after such minimal labor trauma.  We'll see if the Monistat takes care of it so I can function a little.  Dare I ask for such a thing?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Diaper switch time!

Our first attempt at tummy time on the floor,
wearing her Softbums Echo in Lilac
I know many people will think I'm crazy for using cloth diapers.  Honestly, I hadn't even considered it as an option until my BFF/sister Sara tried them a couple years ago for her son, who was horribly allergic to EVERYTHING.  After that, I started looking around at the different styles and found out that a few of my other friends use cloth also.  By the time I found out I was pregnant, there was no question in my mind that I'd go with cloth, and especially after buying a couple weeks' worth of diapers to use while Amelia's belly button healed up (less than a week's worth for $30? excusemeverymuch???!!! how do people afford that?) I was still happy with my decision.  She's never been a fan of diaper changes but once we get it on she's fine, so the only real difference is that when the diaper pail is full (or I'm almost out of inserts, which needs to be remedied soon!), they go in the washer instead of the garbage.  I have some more shells and inserts ordered so we'll be in better shape in a few days and I won't have to wash quite so often.  I had no idea what would fit her so I got just a little bit of everything to get started with.  The disposables I did have didn't fit very well anyway, the newborn ones were getting too small and the size 1s were too big (and resulted in blowouts), so it works out well that I can adjust these to fit perfectly every time.

In other news, she's now 18 days old and we're all doing very well!  We attempted some tummy time on the floor today, but she didn't know what to do with that so her legs were going but her top half was confused lol.  She lifts her head a lot when I'm holding her on my chest, so I thought it was worth a try to get some of those muscles built up a little bit.  We'll try again tomorrow to see if she gets the idea.  I think I got some real smiles out of her today too!  She's napping at the moment and I'm attempting to figure out what we should do for dinner.  She's been doing pretty well with sleeping at night, even if it's not solid sleep yet.  She gets up about every 2-3 hours, but it doesn't take long to change and feed her and get back to bed.  It's about on par with how often I had to get up to pee while pregnant so I'm already kinda used to it.  Once I figure out dinner I'll grab a little nap.  I've been running laundry all day (mostly clothes and sheets, plus a load of diapers) so I at least feel somewhat productive.  Yesterday B and I worked outside, him with the weedeater and me in my garden pulling weeds and harvesting potatoes.

Could that paragraph have wandered any more?  Maybe I'm more sleep-deprived than I thought. :P

Friday, July 13, 2012

36 weeks... and BIRTH STORY!

 A lot of it is a bit fuzzy, but I do remember feeling a lot more tired, achy, immobile, and just generally blah in the week or so leading up to my 36-week checkup.   My belly was hanging pretty low (swing loooowwww, sweet jelly bean!), there was a lot of pressure on the front of my pelvis that made it very difficult to walk some days, and I swear I could feel a "pinching" in my cervix when I laid down.  I got checked by Dr. B on Tuesday the 26th and she checked for dilation, and I was 1cm and 50% effaced.  Getting checked was a highly uncomfortable experience so between that, the 107 degree day, running Mom to her appointments, and mattress shopping (I bought one! It's heavenly!), I was pretty miserable the rest of the day with the pelvis pressure and contractions.  The contractions went away overnight, but I still had to sleep all morning the next day for whatever reason.  

That evening B and I made some stuffed-crust pizza, which was amazing, and while I was cleaning up the kitchen later I started to feel something that felt like a period gush, which I thought was strange, but I thought I should wait it out.  It kept happening, and a couple of times it felt like I had peed myself, but to rule that out it happened while I was on the toilet also so it obviously wasn't that.  I started to think that maybe my water had broken, but I was torn because it started at 9:30pm and I didn't want to drag everyone up to RC Regional an hour away in the middle of the night for nothing.  I called Sue to get her opinion on it, but it took her a while to call back so I woke B up, called Mom, and started packing a bag.

I resigned myself to not panic.  At all.  I'm no expert on any of this, but everything I had heard and read pointed to the fact that staying calm made everything much easier, so if it was time, it was time and freaking out would do absolutely nothing.  Sue called back and said that it did sound like my water had broken.  I could wait until morning if I wanted to, but instructions from Dr. B were that if I thought my water had broken that I needed to go to the ER because if it had, they want delivery to happen shortly afterward.  As the little gushes kept happening and filling pads and I started to get semi-regular contractions, I decided we should go.  Mom stayed behind to get some rest and clean out her car and B and I packed up my car and got on the road at about 11:30pm.  While we were on the road my contractions became more regular and were about 3 minutes apart but not painful yet.  When I finally got checked in and everything, I was dilated to 2cm and 70% effaced, but my contractions had stopped.  Once they were sure my water had broken, I got moved to a delivery room at about 2am so they could start the pitocin and get my contractions going again.  Once the water breaks, they want delivery within 24 hours to avoid infection.  Unfortunately, this put the kebash on my birth plan because I had to be on monitors and an IV the whole time, mostly stuck in bed, couldn't get into the tub or anything, and didn't get to do any of the laboring at home.  I wanted to stick to med-free, but because of the pitocin I left my mind open to IV pain meds if it got too rough.

I had two nurses because one was training for her RN, so I was lucky there to have all that help.  My blood pressure was a little high when I checked into triage, so the automatic blood pressure cuff thought it had to squeeze my arm to death every time it checked me.  Honestly, the pain from that was worse than the contractions until the back labor started.  The IV in my hand was At first, they had me on external monitors, one for my contractions and one for Amelia to make sure she was tolerating everything okay, but the contraction monitor wasn't picking everything up like it should have so they put in an internal monitor instead that went between her head and my uterine wall.  That was horribly uncomfortable and made it difficult to get to the bathroom without making me worry about pulling it out accidentally.  They kept upping the pitocin so that my contractions were at the intensity level they wanted and the nurses helped me to breathe through it all.

Mom got to the hospital that morning and she and B were the best support tag team ever!  They took turns rubbing my back and helping me get to the bathroom and relieved each other for lunch and such.  B had helped me smuggle in some craisins since I knew they wouldn't let me eat, so he'd help me sneak a handful here and there.  I get that they don't want you to throw up during labor and for an emergency c-section they need an empty stomach for anesthesia dosage, but I'm far more likely to get nauseous and sick on a completely empty stomach than if I have a little something in there.  That did kick in later though, when I was fully dilated and involuntarily pushing, but at that point the only thing in my system was water and it just wouldn't stay down.

The labor wasn't too bad, except for the blood pressure cuff and the internal monitor, until about 2pm when I was dilated to about a 7 and the back labor was starting to kick in.  At that point I was exhausted to the point of tears and asked for IV pain meds so I could get back on top of it.  That helped immensely, since I was able to get a few cat-naps between contractions for the next hour or so.  I got another dose a little later on, but that ended up being all.  I thought about getting an epidural, but at that point it was probably too late and the back labor was so intense that I didn't think putting something else in my back would really make my back feel better anyway.  Amelia wasn't completely face-up, but she was turned enough that the contractions wrapped around my back.  Mom and B helped by pushing on my lower back during the contractions and we found a couple of positions that helped.  My favorite was sitting on the edge of the bed leaning slightly forward, but the problem with that was that it made my feet swell worse than they already were so I couldn't do that for long, unfortunately.    That whole stage felt like an eternity.  I kept asking if it would ever end.  But, I never yelled at anyone during the whole thing.  I'm pretty proud of myself for that. :)

When it came time to push, I had one nurse on each leg and Mom and B helping lift up my shoulders.  In my original plan, I didn't want to do all the pushing while laying on my back, but at that point my legs were too shaky to do anything else so I didn't fight it. Laying on my side meant that what little water I'd managed to drink would come right back up, so that didn't work very well either.  I pushed for an hour, which I'd compare to the worst constipation you've ever had in your life.  I know I pooped on the table a little about 6 times, but I had tried to pass that earlier and it wouldn't happen with the contractions.  I know it happens, and I didn't care much at the time, but it was annoying and I felt bad for the nurses.  Apparently Amelia had hiccups while in the birth canal, which I didn't notice but Mom told me about it later.  Dr. B was called too early so she was just kinda hanging around until the last 20 minutes or so of pushing.  Proof again that the nurses really do all the work.  B snuck a peek while I was pushing her out and his jaw dropped!

When it was finally over at 5:39pm 6/28/12, Amelia let out a little squeal and arched her back the way she had done a thousand times in utero.  I was amazed by how strong she was already, but thinking about it I wasn't very surprised.  B cut the cord and followed the nurses over to the warming table while they checked her out and she gripped his finger right away.  She was 19 inches, 7lbs 0.2oz, and her 5-minute Apgar test was a 9 out of 10!  Meanwhile I delivered the placenta, which was nothing compared to delivering her, but it was a strange sensation anyway.  I ended up with a few little grade 2 tears so Dr. B had to stitch me up.  She said I did great, made one last comment about my weight, and they put Amelia on my chest so she could nurse.

She latched on pretty well right away while Dr. B and the nurses pushed on my belly (painfully, I might add) to help shrink my uterus back down.  They did that every half hour for a while in the hospital too, but it got less painful each time.  After nursing, the nurses took her up to the nursery (lol that sounds strange) to get her cleaned up or do some blood work or something, so I got to take a shower.  It was heaven.  It hadn't been that long since I had showered, but after 15 hours of pitocin it felt amazing.  I got wheeled over to my recovery room, B went home to get some rest (he had tried to nap on the couch-thing in the delivery room but it was hard as a rock and he worked hard with me through the whole labor) and Mom got some food then met me in my room before going home.  She would've stayed if I asked her to, but I felt comfortable enough there that I let her go home and get some rest herself.

I let the nurses keep her in the nursery overnight so I could get some good rest and take advantage of the help while I had it.  They brought her in to feed and worked with us on her latch and I slept as much as I could.  Mostly, I just slept as much as I could, which was hard to do since they kept coming in and checking my vitals and pushing on my uterus.

Amelia's blood work turned out great, except her bilirubin levels were a little bit high so she had a touch of jaundice.  It wasn't enough for them to recommend treatment aside from feeding her as much as I could and sitting in a sunny window with her occasionally.  She bruised pretty badly on her head during delivery so that was a lot of it.

Isn't she beautiful?  We had joked about her having red hair because we both have redheads in our family, and here she is with dark strawberry blond curls!  She has my lips for sure, but aside from that I can't really tell what she got from who.  I can't wait to see her eye color when it comes out.

I opted to stay at the hospital one extra night to get more help from the nurses and lactation consultant on her latch since it was still hurting.  The lactation consultant didn't help a whole lot, and each nurse had a different technique, but I'm glad I stayed because my overnight nurse on Friday night got us to make some real progress so I felt a lot more comfortable going home.  Amelia stayed in the nursery for a little while that night too.  B came up to take us home around noon on Saturday, but he brought the convertible carseat that came in the mail from my cousin Jon a few days earlier instead of the infant carrier and he forgot the infant insert... oops!  I sat in the back seat with her holding her head up and praying that nothing happened.

Mom is beside herself finally being a grandma.  She's been bugging me about grandbabies for years, but partly because when I was little I promised her my firstborn in exchange for something I wanted... probably a popsicle or something similarly banal.  She never let me forget about that... so now when I leave Amelia with mom to run to town, I remind her that I held up my end of the bargain!

Yesterday Amy turned 2 weeks old already.  Her first doctor visit the Monday after she was born went very well, but her weight was down to 6lb 6oz and she was still a little yellow.  I took her with me to my WIC appointment the other day and now she's back up to 7lb 2oz!  Once she really figured out how to latch on nursing has been pretty smooth sailing.  She will have some chunks of time where she can't seem to eat enough, but then she'll sleep for a good while so maybe those are mini growth spurts, but I can still pump enough for an occasional bottle feeding with daddy or grandma.  

Here she is at 2 weeks old, my lovely daughter.  It took me almost this long to make sense of the fact that a short time ago she was inside me, and that she's a whole brand new person that I grew from nothing.  It's pretty incredible and sometimes I choke up just from looking at her.  Does that ever go away?  Or is that just the name of the mommy game from now on?

My feet are back to their normal size, but the skin is still a bit tender from being stretched so tight for so long.  I'm only 6lbs from my starting weight, which considering all the flak I caught from Dr. B about that makes me feel good.  I want to rub it in her face... if I had gained way too much like she kept saying I had, would it all come off so quickly?  I'm sure a good 10lbs of it was just from extra water weight in my legs.  From the knee down my calves, ankles, and feet were tight like sausages.

I'll try to keep updating, it's just hard to do when she's this little and nursing as much as she does, but I'll do what I can do.  I'm officially a mom... and really, it does just come to you.  It's not as hard (at this stage) as I thought it would be.  Newborns have very low expectations. ;)  Hopefully in a few more days her belly button will be all healed up and we can switch over to the cloth diapers!