22 September 2011

Update: Blog Shift

I know I haven't updated this blog in a while. That's not to say I haven't had oodles of things I wanted to jot down here; there just wasn't the time. But now that I am getting back into blogging, I've decided to shift tack a bit. I've created a new blog that focuses primarily on my son and life as a new mother -- yup, it's my "mommy blog." The blog is called "And Baby Makes Pi" and can be found here. I hope you'll stop by and check it out!

Ok... what's up for this blog? It's not dead yet. There are still things I may want to write about that I won't want to clutter my mommy blog with, notably thoughts about whether to go for baby #2 and some of the considerations that go along with that. And if we DO decide to TTC again, well, then, the game's afoot and I'll be blogging here about that. And there may be other mommy-related stuff I'd like to discuss that I don't need to share with family, etc. (as my other blog will be more public than this one). If there's one thing in my life that's a constant, it's that I'm always anxious about something, so I'll be sure to write about it here.

So please don't forget about this blog. I'll try to make sure to update it from time to time.

In the meantime, I hope your journeys are taking you everywhere you hoped they would, and I look forward to "seeing" you around here again soon!


06 June 2011

7 weeks gone already?!? (w/ pics)

I think about posting updates every. freaking. day. But I'm finding it hard to find the moments to sit down, think clearly, and compose. Baby Boy is doing well, though he does not like to be out of my arms, so it makes blogging and forum posting especially difficult (though my index finger gets a workout sometimes when I have a minute).

So, topics I wish I could write more about:

Reflux - Baby's got it and is on Prevacid. Makes me super paranoid... worried he will choke on his spit up when he's asleep, so I am having major trouble...

...sleeping with him not physically attached to me (or DH or someone). Have taken to doing shifts in the recliner at night with him on our chests. He prefers to sleep on his tummy, and I don't blame him, but our current MO is untenable as a long term sleep option.

Breastfeeding -- has its ups and downs. Latch took several days to "catch" after we brought Baby Boy home, and since then I've been struggling to keep up with his hunger. I am able to provide about 90% of his intake myself, but always seem to have to resort to formula to satisfy him (otherwise he screams after nursing with me, rather than nodding off in "drunken sailor" mode). I'd just really like to feed him breast milk exclusively, so the extra 2-4 oz of formula I need to supplement each day kind of bug me.

Well, he's getting cranky again and it's time to go to my post-partum follow-up appointment at the cardiologist's, so I better run. But not before a couple of pics!

One month old (May 17)

Sleeping peacefully on Mommy

25 April 2011

One week old

Hard to believe it's been a week already; at the same time, it seems like forever since I could feel Baby Boy (though I didn't know it was him at the time) kicking me in the side like he was trying to dig a pipeline through to my kidney. It's been a good week, but a rough one, and I've lost it many times. I think what's hardest, and I summed it up for my husband a few days ago when I was feeling really out of sorts and exhausted, is that for so many months I was intimately linked to my baby, and felt his every movement, and all of a sudden he's not there on the inside anymore, but now that he's on the outside he's somewhere I can't even touch him.

Granted, since that particularly bleak moment I (and DH) have been able to hold Baby Boy for about a half hour or so each day (so three days so far), and that has made all the difference in the world (that and the fact that my milk supply continues to increase such that I'm up to being able to provide him at least four full breast milk feedings per day)! DH and I spend most of the time while he's in our arms just staring at him, or taking pictures, or we talk to him or each other so he can hear our voices, even while fast asleep. Yesterday I sang to him a little, a couple of French nursery rhymes I has sung to him while he was in the womb.

Preemie Land is a strange country. It's one thing to be a brand spanking new parent and have no clue how to do things, but to have the chance to wing it, knowing that after all, it's your baby and you can do what you want (within reason of course). It's entirely another to be a brand spanking new parent with no clue how to do things, and then be restricted from letting your instincts guide you on how to be with your baby. I know that Baby Boy needs to be in the NICU, and the nurses and doctors are doing everything in their power to get him ready to come home as soon as possible, but it's so hard sometimes to know where I fit into his NICU life. The nurses are really sweet and helpful and understanding, but sometimes I feel like I get in their way. Part of it really isn't anything to do with the nurses per se, it's just because Baby Boy's main issue is that he needs to stay calm and unstressed so that his lungs can mature. Whenever he gets upset, or cries, or fidgets a lot, it causes him to work harder to breathe and that gets in the way of his lungs doing the catch-up work he needs to do. So there are times when the nurses don't want him to be bothered by anything, including me.

Of course, the irony of it is that, when they do put him in my arms, or DH's, he's perfectly content, and seems ready to stay there for hours. We can't, however, hold him for too long though because it means he's out of his isolette and he needs the warmth of the isolette to help his body stay stress-free.

Okay, pity party's over. He's been doing great, except for his breathing, which remains labored (Respiratory Distress Syndrome, or RDS), so it really depends on him getting his breathing under control before he will be able to take a bottle or breast. Once he can do either/both of those things (preferably the breast, but they won't let him go to breast until he can handle the bottle -- backwards if you ask me, but who am I, just his mom), and can go without the supplemental oxygen, he will be on the road to discharge. So we're looking at another week probably, at least. The tough thing, practically speaking, for me about his stay in the NICU is that, due to the fact that I am still recovering from his delivery, I am not allowed to drive for two weeks. So I am reliant on others to take me to see him. I'm such an independent person, this has proved especially frustrating to me. But, my cousin took me over on Saturday, DH and I went together every other day, and my mom is coming to stay with us for a week this coming Tuesday, so she will be able to drive me the days that DH has to work.

Okies, time to go get some other stuff done before I have to pump again. In the meantime, some more pics of Baby Boy (on his one-week birthday) for your viewing pleasure:

19 April 2011

I have now joined Team...


Baby Boy was born at 1:10 am on Sunday, April 17, 2011. I managed to get him to 34 weeks 1 day gestation, and he weighed in at birth at a whopping 6 lbs, 10.6 oz, and he was 19 1/4 inches long. He's now in the NICU, working on his breathing, and will probably be there for a week or so. Each day is touch and go because his lungs are a bit underdeveloped (despite the steroid shots I was given). At present his doctor is concerned he might have a leak in his lungs, because he is breathing really hard. They will x-ray his chest again this afternoon to see how things are going, but it sounds like all we can do at this point is wait and see.

His birth was, in the end, extremely quick. I remember the doctors who delivered him debating afterward whether they really could put down as record that pushing took only 10 minutes. It definitely was something precipitous like that. But let me back up a bit...

Saturday afternoon, as I mentioned in my last update, the doctors started me on pitocin to regularize my contractions, with the hope that they would become more productive, and start me into active labor. My hope was that this could get my water to break on its own. Well, truthfully, I had hoped to be able to move around a bit and use some of my natural birthing class techniques to get active labor started, but since I was put on the pitocin I couldn't move around (at least I think that's why --- so much of this is a blur, bear with me!). My doctors were sympathetic to my desire to have as little intervention as possible, but the nature of our situation threw most of those desires out the window, understandably. We needed to get the baby out as efficiently as possible.

We had a big discussion about breaking my water. The doctors wanted to break my waters early on in the afternoon, and I really didn't want them to. In retrospect, I think the toughest part about how the delivery proceeded was the inner conflict I felt over wanting to advocate for as few interventions as possible, all the while worrying that by doing so I was getting in the way of what was safest for the baby. But I suppose it was somewhat needless worry, in that, if push came to shove and the baby was in danger, the doctors would do what was necessary.

So we talked about doing an amniotomy, and my doctors agreed to give the pitocin some time to work, and we'd evaluate as we went along. Fair enough.

[Side note: the doctors who delivered me were not my regular doctors, rather a resident of the hospital and the on-call OB who tag teams with my doctors' obstetric practice. Both were great; in fact, the entire team who's helped me since Thursday afternoon has been wonderful.]

They started the pitocin at a very low dose and gradually increased it. I started feeling contractions, and they got progressively closer together, but they were mild, like menstrual cramps, the kind you notice and you feel kind of crampy, but they aren't very distracting. I was able to carry on conversations, check email, entertain visitors (DH's dad, sister and brother-in-law came by to see us after the shower was over), and even attempt to nap. While this was all great and wonderful (I kept wondering if I was going to luck out and have a really mild labor overall, or whether karma was going to come and kick me in the ass at some point), it wasn't helping much. The contractions were regular, about 2-3 min apart, but I wasn't getting anywhere. I maybe went to about 7 cm over the course of several hours.

Just before midnight, DH and I started to drift off to sleep; or rather, DH was already nodding off and I decided to make a concerted effort to get some rest myself, figuring that we were being left alone for a while. Well, shortly after midnight, and basically just long enough later that I felt as if I had been awaken from a really decent sleep zone, my doctors came into the room and announced that it was time to break my water. Seriously it felt like they marched in to make the grand announcement. I'll admit though, by this time, despite the fact that I would rather have napped for a little while, I wasn't opposed to getting the show on the road. So I agreed (not that I think I had much say in the matter) and then the party really got started.

They broke my water and it seemed like within only a few short minutes everything changed. Full force contractions started almost instantaneously, and they were brutal. It was so sudden a shift in intensity that I was really caught off guard. Night and day doesn't even cover it. Yup, it was bad.

But, thank goodness it was short. As I'm adjusting to these new ferocious contractions, I kind of panicked that there was no way I could stand many of them... I had no transition, no time to get used to contractions gradually increasing in intensity and pain (was this the effect of all the pitocin without the buffer of the amniotic sac?)... I just wanted to escape my body. My husband DH was great as he coached me through them, all the while I was desperately trying to figure out whether I wanted an epidural... another one of those moments of inner conflict. In theory I really didn't want an epidural, but this pain was more than I had anticipated, so I considered it. The doctors couldn't tell how long I'd need to push, and I worried that I wouldn't be able to handle this type of pain for long. They told me that if I wanted an epi, it was now or never.

I was still debating the epi issue, and about to concede, when I started to feel like I had to poop really bad (sorry, but you know this is going to be full of TMI, lol). Hearing this the resident suggested trying to push for a couple of contractions. I said okay, and we tried. The amazing thing was that the contractions hurt much less when I was pushing, they still hurt like the devil, but within a more manageable realm, if that makes any sense.

After a couple of pushes, the resident checked me and said, okay, you're at about 9 1/2 now... this is it! The NICU team rushed in to get ready to take the baby (they probably were there already but it all seemed to happen at once), the other doctor was there too -- it was chaos and I can't remember all the folks who were there, but I know they were scrambling to get my legs in the stirrups and then they're telling me to push, sometimes up to three times per contraction, and I felt like I couldn't breathe, and couldn't get coordinated in taking breaths and where to hold my legs and pushing my chin to chest and... I was a discombobulated mess and had my eyes closed the whole time... but apparently I got something right, because after only a handful of contractions, I felt this burn, and a whoosh, and then, it was over. And then something was screaming like a banshee down near my feet. Oh, it's my son!

Well, I didn't know it was my son until they brought him up to my chest a moment later and I could see his whole body. Yup, it's a boy all right, and man, was he upset (who can blame him, he just got evicted from a cosy home some 6 weeks early)!

I got to have a brief moment of skin-to-skin contact with him before they whisked him away to the NICU (Daddy/DH went with him), and that was great. But they had already cut the cord so we weren't able to delay the clamping as we'd hoped (and no one had asked us about it before hand --- our birth plan was still in draft form as we thought we a bit more time). Ah well, there wasn't much time for much discussion of anything, and really, the important part is that my baby got out safely.

I won't lie though, I'm super glad there wasn't even time for me to agree to the epidural. The anesthesiologist wouldn't have been able to get my consent and set up in time for me to get it (and the contractions were so close together I can't imagine how they would have managed to keep me still enough). So yeah, if there's one part of my birth plan I'm glad I got to stick to, it was that I managed to deliver without pain meds. Yup, certified masochist here... but seriously, pushing was better than just sitting through the contractions, so I lucked out in that I didn't have much time to wait before I could push. I ended up tearing, so I have stitches, but that happened so fast too that I didn't notice it (other than the general burn of pushing Baby Boy out).

All in all, it was quite the roller coaster ride. I'll have to write the analysis later. They're kicking me out of the hospital today, and I have to navigate this weird space of going home without my baby. But it's indescribable, this feeling of fascinating and wonder at the fact that there is now a little boy in the world who wasn't here two days ago, and that I am his mommy.

And here he is, at about 17 hours old:

16 April 2011

Looks like it's time...

Group B Strep test came back positive, so it's time to get the baby out. I'm on penicillin, and they've started me on pitocin to get the contractions coming at a regular pace. Then I'll probably get my water broken. Not too keen on that, but not sure if I'll have a chance to try to break my waters myself.

So the next couple of hours will just be focused on getting me to a regular pattern. Then they'll check me and see what's next. But we're all hoping baby gets here quickly.

Over and out. Gonna try to rest for a bit. I'll update when I can.

15 April 2011

Evening check-in

Not quite an update, because not much has happened.

I got my second steroid shot at about 6:15 this evening. I've felt slight contractions throughout the afternoon and evening, but never spaced less than 10 minutes apart.

So we wait. I am hoping that I am "safe'" for the night, because I need to get some rest. Only slept about 3 hours last night, and today was busy with updates and phone calls from family making their way here for tomorrow's shower.

We'll see.

Update: looks like April showers will bring an April baby...

The high risk doctor saw me this morning, measured the baby (estimated at about 6 pounds) and discovered that I am now 6 cm dilated and 100% effaced, so all bets are off. He wants this baby delivered. So I'm off the meds that try to stop labor, and they're watching to see how I react. The second steroid dose (to help baby's lungs mature) is due at 6:30 pm, so we're hoping to make it to that and then I'm not sure how long they will wait for my body to react before wanting to induce me. I don't have much further to go, lol, but my water hasn't broken yet. The reason they don't want this to go on any longer is because there is risk of infection with me being dilated so much for too long. I'd so much rather augment labor through natural means if I can, or at least have the option to try, but I won't get in the way of what's necessary.

Overall I'm a bit nervous but trying not to freak out about it. I know we're in really good hands, but we still could use all the good vibes and prayers for a healthy outcome for both of us that can be spared. Thanks!

April showers bring May babies? If we're very lucky... :(

Soooooo.... um, yeah. icon_rolleyes.gif I'm actually writing this from a hospital bed. I went to my OB appointment yesterday at 1:40 pm, waited for what seemed like hours on the table for my OB to see me, and finally had one of my shortest appointments on record. I was scheduled for another fFN test and my Group B strep test (lovely), and so my OB did those first. I told her how I've been wondering if the baby has dropped or majorly shifted or something, because I've noticed a lot more pressure whenever I am on my feet. She said the baby might have, but let's take a look. The verdict:

4 centimetres dilated --- WTF??? (or What the Faggioli/Farina/Fruitcake)

And with that, I was packed up and sent to L&D. My OB was convinced that I was going into labor. YIKES!

I get to the hospital and for the first time, my visit did not end in the triage area. They did my intake, vitals etc., strapped me to the monitors that showed I was contracting but with no consistency, but they also had me sign a delivery consent form and went through all the steps to admit me to labor and delivery. Then I got set up in an L&D room, and got an IV where they started me on fluids and then soon after magnesium sulfate. They gave me the first of two steroid shots, and I've had 3 doses of procardia so far.

So what is actually going on? It's anybody's guess. Actually my day nurse, who I just met a short while ago, had the smartest answer I've heard so far. It's probably my fibroids, which have been remarkably quiet and stable on the whole, having a passive aggressive hissy fit (my words, unfortunately; would have loved it if she'd said that herself, lol). The nurse called them "muscle hogs," and they obviously are feeling like they need some attention. No one's ever mentioned the fibroids as a cause before... they've only said, oh you've got an irritable ute... yah, but WHY??? Okay, the fibroids make sense. Granted they may not be the reason, but it's something I can wrap my head around, and also explains why it's all fuss but no action except the dilation.

In about an hour my MFM doctor will be making the rounds, so I'll know better what happens from here after then. But from the looks of it, I may be here for a little while. And yeah, that may mean through Saturday. My shower is Saturday... BOOO HISSS FRIGAFRACKAFOOOOOOO! icon_angry.gif

Okay, got that out.

Of COURSE, I'm not going anywhere if it will hurt baby's chances of hatching at full term (and at this point I don't think my doc will let me anyway; at this point I'm not even sure if she'll let me go home before I deliver)... but geez, really??? Now??? Well, I was the one who pushed for the weekly exam this week, and not a two-weeker as my OB had originally suggested, because I wanted to make sure I was okay to go to my shower, but I certainly didn't expect events to go as they have. And probably good that I did push for the visit, because then I might have gone another week (or not) and not known... eek!

Well, the nice thing is that I will have lots of visitors this weekend, as the family (and friends) are pouring in from all over the East Coast to celebrate. I think we will set up Skype or something for those who can't/don't come to the hospital.

They all do say that if I deliver even now, baby will be fine... passed all the major milestones (or just about to this weekend), so there is some comfort there, but just WOW.

Operation Keep Baby Cookin' continues...

NEWSFLASH: They'll be moving me to an antepartum rooms (much better bed they say) sometime today. Gertrude is just being super irritable I guess because there are five tenants (baby + four fibroids). And I'm off the magnesium sulfate drip (yay) AND I've been given clear liquids... jello, juice, ginger ale, tea... woo hoo!

08 April 2011

Can I bring my recliner to the courthouse?

Because that's what I'd need to do if they really insist on summoning me for jury duty.

Yup, I got a jury summons, for May 4. Now, don't get me wrong -- I seriously would like to be able to experience being a juror someday. It just seems that, whenever I get called, I have some reason I just can't make it (like the time I got summoned in California months after I had moved back home to Massachusetts -- slight residency issue there). This time, I have a pretty good hunch that, when my doctor's note shows up and they see that I am on bed rest for threatened pre-term labor, they probably won't want me anywhere near the jury box.