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Thursday, January 31, 2013

The birth story plus my breast feeding woes

The Birth Story

Okay, so at the risk of judgement, I will admit that both my doctor and I decided it would be in everyone's best interest to induce labour at 41 weeks.  Earlier in my pregnancy I was against being induced and was all for waiting until at least 42 weeks for the baby's arrival, however by the end of December I was thinking differently for various reasons, mostly due to extreme discomfort causing sleep to be nearly impossible to attain. I say 'nearly' because I did grab a couple hours here and there.  I was exhausted and puffy beyond belief.  I could barely move and barely eat because of the heartburn and reflux... I could go on and on and yeah, I decided at my 40 week appointment that I had sucked it up enough to ensure Emily had gestated enough to avoid guilty feelings in the future.  The doctor and I discussed it and decided on the induction for the 16th.  I went home with mixed feelings because I felt like I was cheating my body a bit (however, it cheated me right back later on, but we'll get to that) but I also felt a bit of relief that I only had another week to wait.

So on the morning of the 16th, we went to the hospital to get the Cervidil inserted.  Holy cow was that painful.  Nothing like having something dry being shoved up your vagina to rest behind your cervix while three people watch.  That was around 10:30 in the morning.  I stayed for two hours to be monitored and then we got to go home.  By 2 pm I was starting to have contractions but they weren't that bad so Jules and I managed to nap until 4:30 pm when I had to get up because the contractions were getting a little too strong to sleep through.  For the next few hours I bounced on my ball, watched TV and tried to distract myself from the contractions but by the evening I was having to pace and get Jules to apply counter pressure to my lower back while the contractions came every five minutes lasting for 2-3 minutes.  By 7:30 pm we moved upstairs to the shower where I stood while Jules concentrated the spray on my lower back and belly during contractions that were getting more painful by the hour.  We drained the hot water tank about five times between 7:30 pm and 11:45 pm when we finally decided our coping methods at home just weren't cutting it anymore.

We arrived back at the hospital just after midnight.  I was checked and as I suspected there was no change aside from some softening.  They gave me a shot of morphine and sent a sample of some fluid that had leaked out for testing to double check that it wasn't amniotic fluid (their quick test was negative).  With little change and no water broken, they were debating to send me home but the morphine didn't work and I couldn't get comfortable so they suggested I stay the night.  We jumped at the chance because a never ending hot water supply in the shower sounded like the greatest thing in the entire world to me.  Cut to 4 am and me sitting on a ball in the bathtub with a zombified Jules trying to stay awake to hold the hand held shower on my lower back while I contracted.  She refused to go lay down but I tricked her by getting her to promise to rest for just 15 minutes.  She was out like a light and I stayed in the shower for another hour enjoying the hot water until I was nearly delirious from lack of sleep.  I reluctantly got out of the shower and back into bed where laughing gas was waiting for me.  From 5 until 7 am I sucked on that every 5-10 minutes during my contractions and then would pass out briefly before doing it all over again.  At 7 am my doctor came in and checked me and I was between 3 and 4 cm dilated so he removed the Cervidil and they started the Oxytocin.  

The contractions continued pretty much the same as with the Cervidil for the rest of the morning and into the afternoon.  I had my trusty laughing gas to help me along the way and all was fine until around 2 pm when the contractions started getting really strong.  I started being vocal at this point while breathing through the contractions because they really started to hurt bad.  Cue my water breaking and me starting to sob the place down.  At this point I was 5 cm dilated so they cleared me for the epidural.  The only problem was that the anesthesiologist was tied up in the OR at that time so I had to wait.  Oh my goodness... the whole pregnancy process is about waiting for things, isn't it?  Anyway, eventually they came in and I got the epidural while sobbing.  The nurses were amazing, by the way.  The epidural took forever to kick in and they ended up calling the guy back to top it up two separate times because I kept moaning 'Why isn't the epidural working' for well past the kick in period.  The guy was a real jerk and seemed put off with having to top me up so the second time he REALLY made sure I was good.  My body could have been sawed in half and I wouldn't have even noticed.  FINALLY I was able to get an actual nap in... for about 20 minutes.  

My doctor came in at some point to check me and declared me ready to push.  Great... the only problem was that I was so numb I couldn't even feel the contractions anymore.  So down went the epidural and after a period I could feel them enough to know when to push.  Things were moving along and I could feel the baby moving down.  The nurse and my doctor were very pleased... but then the progress stopped abruptly.  My doctor was reaching up there moving the baby every which way and getting me to push every so often.  At this point the epidural was practically non-existent and I was in agony and practically delirious with the pressure and pain.  They offered me the laughing gas again but I couldn't calm down enough to take the deep breaths needed to make it work.  Finally my doctor stopped trying to maneuver the baby and gave us the news that my pelvis was too narrow for the baby's head to fit through.  Off to the OR we went.

At 4:26 pm little Emily was born.  I sent Jules off to stay with her while I was sewn up.  It seemed to take forever (although admittedly I was too spaced out to really know how much time passed) and I later found out that was because my doctor found a large cyst twisted around one of my ovaries so he was so kind as to remove it without cutting out my ovary (like what happened with Jules earlier last year).

After laying in recovery for however long, I was finally taken to my room where apparently everyone in the hospital had already held my baby.  The baby daddy met my parents I was told and people showed me pictures of Emily's trip to our room via the nursery and all the people she met along the way.  I was really out of it and I honestly don't remember holding Emily for the first time (the picture I posted on Facebook) or anything else that day.

Since I could barely hold her for the first day or two, I wasn't able to even attempt breast feeding until around day 3.  Epic failure.  Emily had next to no sucking reflex.  I took a look and saw she definitely had tongue tie and possibly lip tie.  The pediatrician disagreed with me.  I wish I could punch him in the face multiple times a day.  Anyway, in the four days in the hospital, I managed to pump a grand total of less than an ounce from both breasts while Emily was formula fed.  Once home I managed to start pumping between half an ounce and an ounce per breast per session while trying a nipple shield on my breast for feeding.  That was semi successful but she usually fell asleep within five minutes.  Yesterday we had an appointment with a lactation consultant and she immediately noticed Emily's bad tongue tie.  She managed to clip about 2 mm so now Emily can stick her tongue out to the edge of her lip but in all honesty she probably needs a plastic surgeon to clip it more.  Not sure how to go about getting that set up.  Anyway, the lactation consultant prescribed me something to attempt to get my poor milk supply up and told me I need to be feeding her at the breast every three hours and she needs to drain my breasts at least eight times per day.  She supplied us with a feeding tube and some syringes to sneak in pumped breast milk or formula while attempting to get her to latch.

When we got home yesterday, we tried out getting her to latch with a syringe and we had pretty good success all evening.  I was feeling pretty optimistic about getting her going on breast feeding before Jules goes back to work next Wednesday (because I almost always need Jules' help to get her situated - my breasts are ENORMOUS right now).  She was bottle fed pumped breast milk in the middle of the night when Jules was on baby shift and I slept and then at 6 am Jules brought her upstairs to breast feed and that's when we saw our baby girl lost all her new skills.  She refused to latch even with the syringe... okay fine, so we tried the nipple shield... no go.  Okay, on to the formula in a bottle... nope.  She shakes her head back and forth when the nipple (of the bottle) or the nipple shield is in her mouth.  Then she rolls it around her mouth and holds her mouth open.  WTF??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?  She's been like this all day.  I've managed a few very brief sessions with the nipple shield and giving her a few bottles today but they've all been a ridiculous production.  I'm so frustrated tonight... to top it off, I can barely get anything pumped out now.  Jules is trying to stay positive but I've asked her to let me have my pity party for just one evening.  I know breast feeding doesn't come naturally and it is hard work but COME ON... Why couldn't I get lucky and have one of those babies that started latching like a champ at five seconds old?  Oh wait, never mind... I couldn't even hold her to my breast for three days... Sigh... Okay, I'm done feeling sorry for myself for the evening.

Wish us luck!  We definitely need it...

(hopefully this post makes sense when read... I didn't proof read before publishing)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I want my sweet baby back!

I want my little angel back!!

We brought home a baby who had minimal fussing periods throughout the day, who slept on our chest at night, who woke at regular intervals for feeding... Where that baby went, I don't know. :(

Since Sunday morning, little Emily has been really cranky.  Yesterday evening/night was insane... She was red as a lobster, screaming the place down.  Her zombie moms went through the list of things that could be bothering her and then some but to little avail.  I had to throw in the towel around 8 am due to pain around my cesarean incision and delirium from lack of sleep so my super hero wife took over and eventually got Emily sleeping around noon.  She's been out ever since!

Now before she wakes up, I better pump... 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I would update but...

I would like to sit down and update on the birth of our daughter, Emily, but in between healing, pumping and getting distracted by this cute thing... it might take a while.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Still Waiting

It is amazing how many degrees of discomfort there actually can be in pregnancy.  There was the cramping very early on and then there was the all day and night sickness for four months and the not being able to get comfortable for what seemed like no reason then the round ligament pain and sciatica and then the heartburn and acid reflux and finally the swelling and general whale-like feeling with the inability to get comfortable AT ALL in bed.  Oh, I forgot to mention the 7 months of feeling like I'm just getting over a head cold.  I've gone through more tissues in the past 10 months than I have my entire life.

What is my point?  I've almost forgotten... Oh yeah, the reason I'm sitting here in front of the computer instead of being tucked into bed upstairs with my wife.  I'm so done with this pregnancy.  Between the acid reflux of death and not being able to get comfortable enough to sleep more than an hour or two at a time, I'm just so frustrated and down about everything right now.  Yes, I know baby will come when baby is ready to come.  I know this is my first time (eventually) giving birth.  I know that a lot of babies are born after their EDD.  I get that, I do.  But seriously, I would give a lot of things right now to be able to be semi comfortable right now and the only way I can see to get more comfortable would be to get rid of the huge watermelon (or is she now as big as a freakin' pumpkin?) that feels attached from my throat to my thighs.

The doctor says she's now probably nearly 9 lbs.  NINE pounds!  Oh my freakin' god.  This is the first time he's mentioned anything about her size other than to say she's measuring right on for weeks.  I think my pelvis shuttered at that news.  I know I did.

As of Wednesday I was 1/2 cm (he probably made that up to make me feel better) dilated and my cervix was 'getting softer'.  Wednesday and Thursday I had some promising back pain and a lot of cramping but by Friday that had all stopped.  I had a bit more last night but again, it went away.  I've been going down the list of usual things to try to move things along but so far no luck.  I'm kind of at the acceptance stage now... that eventually, at some point in 2013 I will have a baby exit my body in one way or another.  Until then, I'll continue to medicate for the acid reflux of doom and catch the odd nap throughout the day and walk the house and bounce on my ball and try to enjoy the fact that at least I'm not still working through all of this.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

39 weeks and probably a lot of counting...

Finally, it's January!  Finally it's the month we're going to welcome our baby girl.  When she'll come, nobody knows of course.  Not even the doctor had a guess today when he informed me that she's still bouncing her head off my bladder and my cervix is nowhere near preparing for her to come out.
39 week belly
I have been having menstrual-like cramping every day for a week along with the usual constant Braxton Hicks contractions and pelvic floor pain (ie feeling like I'm being kicked between the legs while walking).  The past few days the cramping has been after every bathroom trip, regardless of what kind of bathroom trip it is.  Unfortunately, that means that when I am roused from bed by the need to go to the bathroom, I cannot go back to bed afterward and I have to either walk around for a long while or sit and rock for a while until the cramping goes away.  Jules has started saying things like, 'I'll see you when I see you.' or 'I miss sharing a bed with you' because of how much I'm not in bed at night. :(  

One night I tried out the glider we have in the baby's room and ended up falling asleep for three hours.  It was wonderful except next time I think I'll use a neck pillow.  I can see that glider getting a lot of action this year - it was a wonderful sale purchase from Walmart.  95% of the baby items/furniture we have were either deeply discounted, purchased from Kijiji or from a garage sale.  We made the purchases over several months so we could wait for good deals.  Our end goal for this year was of course to purchase a house so we wanted to make sure we didn't spend too much or put items on credit.  We also received a couple of gently used items from Jules' co-workers.  It is wonderful when people are willing to pass on these items to others who can use them.  We fully plan on paying our items forward in the future, whether privately or through the church or dirt cheap through Kijiji/garage sale.

The wonderful glider
Another corner of the room
Crib + change table = $90 on Kijiji! 
Our most cherished baby gift from my dear friend Stacey
Baby girl has a larger closet than we do.
The only problem with having taken care of the majority of the baby items ourselves is we constantly get asked, 'Well, now what are people supposed to get you?'  Um... nothing?   I didn't realize that we were putting out friends and family by taking away options for baby gifts. I thought people would be happy that we took care of the majority of items.    In my family a baby shower is held after the baby is born so what were we to do, sit on our hands and wait for items we needed that might be gifted by friends and family a month after the baby's born?  Sorry, I'm a planner by profession, I don't operate that way.  

Well, I see it's now 1 am and I should probably try to sleep.  Thank goodness I'm now on mat leave because my sleep schedule is so messed up now, I don't know how I'd be able to drag my sorry self into work at this point.  Yay for naps and the time to take them!