Saturday, October 30, 2010

just a bit more whining

I'm going to bitch just a bit more ... or maybe A LOT more. The whole nursing thing is hard for me - perhaps more difficult mentally rather than physically although I'm feeling pretty physically exhausted and dehydrated as well, which hasn't helped my cankles much.

Baby J doesn't really like to eat all at once. She's more of a grazer like her Mommy. But it results in ultra long feeding sessions. I let her eat off both sides after which she usually falls asleep so I change her and then let her eat off both sides again. After her second feed, I try to get her to go back to sleep or settle down long enough for me to pump whatever might be left so I have a bit extra stored up just in case I am napping and Gus wants to feed her a bottle. It is A LOT of work.

In addition to it being A LOT of work, I don't enjoy nursing. I don't like pulling my boobs out. I don't like having my nips sucked on. I hate the leaking and dripping. I do want Baby J to get all the health benefits of breast milk, but I don't really seem to feel the closeness with her while nursing that some mothers describe. Don't get me wrong, I love to cuddle with Baby J - just not when there is breast milk dripping in places that I would prefer it wouldn't drip. I like my bonding time to be snuggled up under a blanket with Baby J.

I've been pumping and bottle feeding more and more these days. I'm getting to the point where I'd really like to be an exclusive pumper. The only thing I worry about is how it might affect my supply to not have Baby J doing the sucking. Based on the research I've done, there can be concerns with supply, if the mother only pumps. But, I've talked with other mothers who have exclusively pumped and never had a problem with supply. I'm hoping to move towards more pumping and less actual nursing.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

the first two weeks

When we graduated from college, I remember one of my classmates describing her Carleton experience as one of the most challenging experiences of her life. Prior to having my daughter, I would have had to agree with her. But really? The past two weeks have been particularly challenging for me.

The first week, my body was still such a mess that I could barely take care of myself let alone a newborn. Gus did most of the work that week. He changed diapers and stayed awake all night comforting Juliet. It got to a point where not only was I feeling awful physically, but my confidence as a new mom was starting to erode. I would watch Gus with Juliet and he seemed like such a natural and I was setting him as my standard for parenting. He would hold her 24/7, sing and talk to her, play with her, etc. Pretty much all I could handle was feeding her (and I was barely handling that) and trying to get myself to and from the bathroom.

The second week the breast feeding really was sending me to the edge. We had put a chair in the baby's room, but it was so uncomfortable to sit in for hours on end, which is what our marathon feeding sessions were ending up being. I had the laptop in there with me, but our wireless connection is screwed up and would need to be reset often. So if I happened to forget to reset it before I sat down to nurse (which was often by the way), I was stuck sitting in an uncomfortable chair for an hour plus staring at a wall with an infant attached to me. It got to the point where I literally did not want to feed my child and then I felt guilty because I didn't want to feed the baby. It brought me to tears for three days in a row last week.

Fortunately, I think we finally found a plan that works for us. It involves me pumping more often and Juliet getting a bottle every other feeding. Plus we've moved the baby operation to the family room where the comfy couch is located and at least you can watch Netflix on the TV. More comfortable accommodations and less nursing has done wonders for my mental health. I've been getting more sleep because Gus is bottle feeding through the night and that has also helped a ton.

We've made it to week three and I have been feeling much better. However, I did speak with a nurse practitioner yesterday about postpartum depression. She helped me realize that I have been setting my expectations too high. I am doing a good job as a mother and I am bonding with my baby. Just because I don't want to hold my daughter 24/7 or look at her and feel like she is my entire life, does not mean that I am detached or not developing a bond with my child. I love Juliet and I fully intend to keep her safe and feed her, even when I am exhausted and would rather sleep. She helped me see that this is enough and I am developing that bond with my baby. We decided that I probably am not in need of drugs to treat depression, but the nurse practitioner did recommend that I see a counselor, which can't be a bad idea.

So while the first two weeks were really hard for me, I think I'm starting to feel much better and I am enjoying my time with my little adorable one.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

she's here!

Juliet Jean Seri arrived at 8:06 p.m. on October 9, 2010. I've been wanting to start blogging about her, but between nursing, diaper changing, keeping up with the house, and recovering from labor and delivery I've had my hands full. Here's the recap:

October 8, 2010
9:00 p.m.: My water breaks except it wasn't like the traditional gush you see in the movies. It was more like a slow leak that I didn't really realize was amniotic fluid until we did some internet research and called the nurse on call at the hospital.
11:30 p.m.: Check-in at the hospital. doctor gave me a few hours to get my labor started on its own.

October 9, 2010
4:00 a.m. (or so): Contractions weren't producing any cervical change so they started me on Pitocin, which is where the whole thing took a turn for the worse in my opinion. I was able to get a little bit of sleep as my contractions got stronger but I was mostly running on adrenaline.
8:30 a.m. (or so): My contractions were coming about 2-3 minutes apart and they were definitely painful, but manageable. Unfortunately, they were doing nothing for my cervix and so the doctor wanted to start increasing the Pitocin more aggressively.
10:20 a.m.: With the increase in Pitocin every 20 minutes, my contractions went from about a level 5-6 on the pain scale to off the charts in a matter of 10-15 minutes. They started to get so strong that I then knew what people meant when they said it was the worst pain they ever felt in their entire lives. I managed the first 4-5 contractions like this and was continuing to try to "moan" through them like my doula suggested. I was leaned over the bed with either Michaela (doula) or Gus rubbing my back as I moaned, but I eventually could feel myself losing control of the pain and starting to panic. I tried going on the bed on all fours, but it was tough to get there in time for the next contraction and I ended up having one halfway through the transition from standing to the bed. At this point, I was crying because I felt like I was never going to be able to do this and shaking from the pain. I made the decision that I was going to probably need the epidural and so they started me on the bag of fluid that was needed before the epidural could be administered. Well, it takes an entire hour to go through that bag and then you need to wait for the doctor to give you the epidural. The pain is really all a mental game and I think if someone told me that I needed to be in that much pain for a finite period of time, I might have been able to tough it out but I started to panic knowing that it could be several more hours of this.
11:40 a.m. (or so): Anesthesiologist shows up. I was not even bothering trying to relax through these contractions because I knew I was getting the pain meds. I was just tensing up trying to get through each one. I had a hospital gown hiked up to my waist and had to take it off my shoulders so the guy can get at my back. So, I'm naked sitting on a bed trying to do the things they needed me to do - move back on the bed, cross my legs, lift my butt, etc. At one point, when they asked if I could lift my butt up, I just said absolutely not. For crying out loud! Gus was standing in front of me and I had my hands on his shoulders digging my nails into him with each contractions as I struggled to sit still so they only had to poke me once in the spine. I remember the anesthesiologist asking me questions that I couldn't even be bothered to answer because I was in so much pain.
12:00 p.m.: Drugs were flowing and I was lying in bed still feeling the contractions but knowing that they were going to get less and less as the drugs continued their course.
12:15 p.m.: Feeling like a whole new woman. Doctor came into check and found that I had only progressed about 1 inch in dilation, but was totally effaced. So after 8 hours, I was at 3 cm/100%. Seriously? All that pain and I only got 1 cm? Turned out that I had a forebag, which is essentially a second water bag. Because that hadn't ruptured, my labor was not progressing. So doctor ruptured the forebag with what appeared to be a drumstick, but probably wasn't and then said that I should be on my way. He predicted a 9:30 p.m. delivery, which of seemed like hours away ... probably because it was hours away.
3:00 p.m.: The epidural was a godsend and I was able to get some sleep to conserve some energy for the pushing. Nurse checked me and I was at 9.5 cm. I went from 3-9.5 cm in only 3 hours!
4:00 p.m.: My body was ready to push. The nurse suggested I "labor down" for awhile, which essentially means I just lay on my side and let the baby start coming down on its own without pushing.
6:00 p.m.: The real pushing began. Gus holding one leg and Michaela holding the other. The pushing thing was fine in the beginning, but as the time wore on I was starting to get annoyed that it was taking so long. In spite of the epidural, I could still feel the contractions so at least I knew when to push.
7:50 (or so): Apparently, I was stretched to the max and there was quite a bit of blood coming out with every effort to push. I only know this because Gus watched the entire thing and told me later. The whole pushing thing sucked because you could feel how stretched you were and you just had to sit there like that waiting for the next contraction before you could push again. It sort of sucks to have a baby's head sticking partway out of your vagina and then just having to sit there. Anyway, it began to look like an episiotomy was going to be necessary. Gus and I had discussed this procedure at length before we went to the hospital and I had thought that it wouldn't be a good option. However, at this point I just wanted that baby out! That and I was hardly in a position to make a rational decision. Doctor made the cut and baby came out 2 pushes later!
8:06 p.m.: Baby Juliet arrived! I cried. Not sure if it was because I was so happy to see the baby or because I was so happy that pain was over. Little did I know, I had much more pain to deal with but at least that part was done!

Here's a picture of mommy, daddy, and baby ...

It was a long hard road, but we are blessed with an absolutely darling little girl. Sometimes I look at her and can't believe that I have a baby. I love her so much, but don't love the fact that she tore apart my lady parts on the way out. The next morning Gus even said he could see how hard it was for me and that I didn't have to have another baby. He was a champ throughout the whole labor and delivery though. He watched the entire thing and was definitely a participant in the birth process. Our little family is so blessed!

Friday, October 8, 2010

so close yet so far away

I've been waiting for this baby for over a week now. I realize that my due date isn't until Sunday, but for some reason I thought she was going to come early. Every day I tidy up my desk just in case I'm not there the next day. People keep calling, texting, Facebooking, etc. asking if anything has happened yet. I'm so tired of waiting for this. I want to go to Minneapolis so I can go to IKEA, Costco, and Trader Joe's because apparently you can't buy ANYTHING in Duluth. I want to move on with my life. I have been getting lots of positive feedback - doctor said everything looks favorable, doula said that once membranes are stripped that labor usually starts within 24 hours, I'm 1 cm and 80% effaced, etc. But I'm almost at 24 hours since membrane stripping and while my contractions have gotten more intense they have not gotten more consistent. It's such a roller coaster. I feel like it is so close and yet still so v. far away.

Monday, October 4, 2010

i've created a monster

After trying desperately to get Gus to finish certain projects around the house, all of a sudden I can't get him to stop starting new projects. I want to have this baby NOW and I'd like for him to finish up his current projects and then get the house clean for her arrival. I've had to stop him twice today from purchasing more items from Menards to start new projects! Who knew? I think it is his adult ADHD striking again. He simply can't finish one thing before he's on to the next ...

the last weekend of us

Lying in bed on Sunday, the realization hit me that it was probably that last weekend that it was just me, Husband, and Carl. I really enjoy the time I get to spend with Husband and I'm a little nervous of the changing family dynamic. We had a taste of this when we got Carl last winter and it is visibly obvious the shift in family dynamic with just having a puppy. I love to watch Gus play with Carl. Gus is the one that will wrestle with Carl and throw the stick for him for two hours at a time. I'm the one that will cuddle and snuggle with the pup and try to keep him calm. Even just with the puppy, I can see how my relationship with Gus shifted. I imagine it will be similar, but to a much greater degree, with the baby.

I run the gamut of emotions when I think of this baby and how my life is going to change. I'm excited to see what she looks like. Anxious about making sure she is healthy. Scared for labor and delivery. Hopeful that we will be able to give her everything she needs and wants. Unsure of how our life is going to change. I guess it is one of those things you can never be prepared for.

Friday, October 1, 2010

bitchin' kitchen

So the kitchen is about as done as it is going to be for now. And as much as I lamented over the construction time, Gus did a beautiful job. Once he gets the counters cleared of all his nails, screws, tools, etc. I'll post some pictures. We got the kitchen table back in place last night and even went to Home Depot to look at back splash and light fixtures. Unfortunately, we didn't purchase either because we couldn't find any light fixtures we liked and I simply couldn't look at tile any longer. I gave Gus full control over the back splash situation. I just didn't see anything that I fell in love with, but I'm sure that whatever he chooses will be lovely. He's good like that.

Today he is supposed to be removing the carpet from the living room and rearranging what living room furniture we have, which isn't much. We're on the lookout for perhaps a loveseat and a couple armchairs. I think major construction projects will be over by this weekend and then I'd like to focus on maintaining a clean house and nesting a bit before baby gets here!