Wednesday, December 29, 2010

One Month and Counting

Ellie in her Moby wrap
Elliot had her one month appointment yesterday. She's grown about an inch and now weighs a whopping 7 pounds, 12 ounces. Dr. L said she looked great and is obviously gaining weight well, so the breastfeeding is working out. Our next appointment is in a month and comes with all sorts of shots. So, there will be tears and screaming. Not looking forward to it.

In other news, we're still using the nipple shield crutch, but have discovered we can do without in a pinch. I'm debating trying to wean her off of it for simplicity (since it's just one more thing I have to remember and clean), but I'm being lazy about it. Plus, when she's frustrated at the end of a long nursing session or overly tired or hungry, she doesn't seem to be able to latch and just gets more upset. However, my nipples have been sore for about 3 weeks now and don't show any signs of "toughening" up. My mom made the observation that they won't so long as I'm using the crutch. And, since I have the goal of breastfeeding for another 11 months at least, I can't say that that prospect seems at all tempting.
Sporting cute socks from Grandma

Christmas was nice. My family came up from Texas to see Ellie. My mom was up for the second time and seems to be stocking the guest room for a succession of future trips. I didn't get to spend as much time with everyone as I did last year. It felt like I was pretty much just nursing or my mom was chasing me to bed for a nap. I did get to wrap P's presents on Christmas Eve, but my mom and sisters wrapped all the other gifts. Ellie made out like a bandit. She has tons of new clothes. We might have to leave the house more often if she's ever to have a hope of wearing everything. I have a ton of thank you notes to write on her behalf.

I am having a bit of a scheduling dilemma. I can't figure out how to work around Ellie's eating schedule, which is sporadic and irregular. I'm not sure if she's still an inefficient nurser, or just eats a lot, but during the day, she seems to prefer longer nursing sessions (30-90 minutes) which is not conducive to running errands or even just going to the doctor. To give me peace of mind, we've been taking a bottle of breast milk when I think her "stomach clock" will go off in the middle of an errand. So far, she doesn't seem to have any issues going back and forth. I still hope to minimize bottles, but I don't really see a way around it when our doctor makes us wait nearly an hour and then wants to actually examine her rather than see her on my breast. The bottle has also come in handy a couple times when Dad was left in charge while I went to the store and took a bit longer than expected due to holiday traffic.

Also, she's been nursing very little at night. She would have let me sleep all last night if I hadn't woken her at 5:20 this morning because I was worried. She had been fussing lightly all night, but didn't wake up, even when I had to pump at 4 am. Generally, she's been sleeping from about 10 to 2, feeding, and then up again about 4:30 and then 6:30 or 7. She's gone to really light feedings at night too. Usually between 10 and 20 minutes. Which, I suppose is how she was able to stretch out for so long last night. However, she slept a lot better (ie. quieter) after I fed her at 5. So, I may continue to feed her when her chatter wakes me up.
Storytime with Dad.

Our new best friend is the Moby wrap. We were waiting to use it until she was about 8 pounds since that's what the instruction booklet specified, but the tag on the actual wrap says it's for 5-35 pound babies. It means I can actually eat something, use my computer, and do a few light chores. I feel a lot more like myself with some time to do normal stuff even when she won't accommodate my wish for her to take a nap without me holding her. The wrap gives her the closeness she wants and lets me have my arms back. That makes it a win-win. And, Dad can use it to wear her while I snag a nap and they clean the kitchen.

 I'll post some Christmas photos soon, but I'm hoping my mom will send a cd, because she took more with her camera.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2 Week Checkup

Today we went in for Ellie's 2 week appointment with the doctor. It's still weird for me to sign in someone else's name. Not that after 2 weeks it should be old hat by now.... Basically, today was just a weight check. At our last weigh-in appointment, we barely made the grade at 6 lbs. 2 oz. Today, our goal was her birth weight of 6 lbs. 12 oz. We blew past that for an even 7 lbs. It was a little short of what we were guessing, but still plenty pleasing. And, as witnessed by the fact that we guessed Ellie was a boy, we're not super great guessers.... Also, I'm anxious to start wearing her in our Moby wrap, and she needs to be 8 pounds for that, so partly it was wishful thinking. Her newborn clothes are starting to actually fit though, and her belly is HUGE, so we can tell that she is growing. She'll be into her cute 0-3 mos. girlie outfits soon.

We have been getting in some nice welcome gifts for Ellie. Lots of cute pink outfits, socks, and stuffed animals. A couple notable gifts were the diaper burp cloths and onesies embroidered with the company logo and the jet airplane spoon and runway bib combo that lights up from the company IT department.

Since the last post, Ellie lost her umbilical cord stump, so she has gotten a few real baths from Dad.
He has taken over that duty and loves to get a little Daddy-Daughter belly time in the mornings if our schedule allows for it. He also has started reading her bedtime stories from our little library.

Dad cup feeding Ellie in Week 1. She made cute little slurpy noises like a tiny little frog.

Flower arrangement from Mom's former work colleagues.

Like a turkey button, her arms always pop up when she's about done.

First bath with Dad.

With luck, her body type will not stay pear-shaped...

I have a BIG BELLY! (and independently operating eyelids)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I Can Do It Myself (with a little help)

So, Tuesday and Friday, we went back to the hospital to meet with the lactation consultant. We've been using a counselor offered through the doctor's office, but the hospital LC was off for the holiday and weekend. She gave me a nipple shield with a cutout for Ellie's nose and actually showed me how to use it. She manhandled Ellie for an hour and got her to drink to the point of exhaustion. When we got home, we tried it again with similar results, and again 2.5 hours later. She's nursing like a champ, but hates it since she actually has to work for her food :) Wednesday, she actually cried for her evening meal. That was a first. We've had a timer going to wake her up every 3 hours since we got home from the hospital.

The Friday visit, we worked on latching on. Ellie had developed a habit of fussing and refusing to latch on until she'd worn herself out with crying and spitting out the nipple shield or trying to knock it off. Sometimes it would take 20 minutes to "talk her into" feeding. Which became exhausting. 48 Hours after our latest tutorial, we've had our best night ever. She didn't futz around too long and didn't require much glucose water to persuade her to latch on. I was able to get all her feedings done in about an hour which meant I could get in 2-3 hours of sleep between. Rick didn't wake at all till she decided her 5 o'clock feeding wouldn't hold her and started fussing at 6. In fact, the most time-consuming part of the feeding routine is the 20-30 minutes of hiccups that she seems to get between sides.

Our little girl has already reached her first milestone. She lost her umbilical cord stump last night. So, sometime today, she'll get a real bath. Much as I like her baby smell, she has an undercurrent of sour milk from all the messy eating she's been doing.
Ready to go home from the hospital.

Enjoying a little snooze with Dad.

Not enjoying the bright lights.

Dad slept in this bassinet and now Elliot does too.

With Cousin Sophia.

With Grandma Sharon.

With Mr. Kevin (who built our house).

A little milk drunk.

With Uncle Andy and Cousin Sophie.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Turkey Baby!

So, for those of you who haven't heard, we had a baby. Right after the last post, really. If I'd been thinking, I might've blogged a little during labor. However, since we'd just been told we were still at 1cm for the 3rd week, we didn't necessarily think it was real labor. And, the contractions were fairly distracting, so I didn't get a lot done that day.

The trouble started about 11:30 pm when I woke after an hour and a half of sleep with what I supposed were contractions. Rick was still up, so we googled false labor and figured it could be either. Around 2:30 am, they reached 5 minutes apart and 1 minute in duration, so I called the service. When the Midwife called me back, she said to try to labor at home as long as possible and head into the hospital when they got about 2-3 minutes apart. Shortly thereafter, P got pretty tired and asked if I'd mind if he went to sleep. Although I would have welcomed the company, I figured there was no real point in both of us having a rotten night. And, if he had to drive me to the hospital, he should be alert. So, I grudgingly said no, he could sleep and I wouldn't hold it against him.

Then, I tried a bunch of different things. The birthing ball, pacing, laying down. Around 4:30 I got violent chills. Could not stay warm until I grabbed the queen sized down comforter and wrapped myself up. Then, the contractions would hit and I'd be burning up. It sucked. That part lasted about a half hour. Finally, I discovered if I sat on the couch, I could lay back my head and sleep between contractions and it was easier to get up to pace when they did hit. During this time, the contractions were varying from 4-10 minute intervals. Just when I thought they were emerging in a pattern, they'd change. Around 7, I gave up trying to sleep and figured I'd better get some sustenance while I could. I made a cup of tea and opened a banana. My hunger fled as soon as I took a bite. I made myself eat half of the banana, and about that time, P came downstairs. He poured a bowl of cereal, took one bite and pushed it away. At this point, both of us were beginning to think it might not be a false alarm.

Since it was Thanksgiving, we decided to mostly keep to the original game plan. P made my dishes and we headed over to his parents house around 11 am. Just in case, we threw the hospital bag in the car. I warned everyone that I would not be eating with them and that I'd probably keep pretty aloof. I spent a bit of time in the bathroom and did a lot of pacing. Contractions got longer, but staying pretty sporadic in interval. The closest I ever got was about 4 minutes apart. Finally, about 4, things broke up and we got in the car to leave. P asked me if we were heading home or to the hospital. I voted for hospital because the pain had gotten so uncomfortable and I wanted a professional to tell me if I needed to buck up and bear it or if I was going to have a baby soon.

About 4:30, we parked illegally in the drop off circle at the hospital and made our way to the Labor and Delivery department as instructed. The nurse who greeted us asked what we needed and I said I just wanted to be checked out since the contractions were getting to be a might unbearable. So, she had me strip, put on a robe and get in the bed. After taking a look, she announced that I was 95% effaced and dilated to 8cm. P asked, "So, does that mean you're admitting her?" The nurse looked at him with a priceless look and said, "Uh, yeah." So, he went to move the car and started sending texts to a few people.

Once they hooked me up to the monitors, the contractions became like clockwork at 3 minutes. Apparently, I just hadn't been able to accurately pinpoint starts and stops. I started to notice that my hands were tingling and shook them a little. The nurse noticed and asked if they were tingling and said I was hyperventilating a little and should breathe slower. I tried to, but it didn't work. I asked if maybe they had something that could take the edge off. So, they gave me a shot of Numorphan. Ideally, I wanted to labor without drugs, but I wasn't going to be pigheaded about it. Already, it hurt more than I'd mentally prepared for. However, it wasn't unbearable. I did ask for a hep lock so that it would be easy to get drugs if I needed them later. I directed the nurse to the packet of registration info and birth wishes. She disappeared with them and apparently read them since I never had to correct them about what I wanted later.

About 7, P called his mom when the nurse said I was at 9 cm and she was calling the doctor in. She came in for the delivery. The doctor gave me the option of breaking my own water or having them do it for me. I, in my naivette, chose to try it myself. After about an hour of pushing and listening to the woman next door screaming her baby out, I finally delivered the water, which was like pushing out a water balloon. Once it was out, it burst and I remember hearing a gush hit the floor. There was a pause as it then hit me that I'd have to push out something even bigger.

But then, the next contraction hit and I got to start pushing again. We tried the squat bar, stirrups, and these little foot shelves. In the end, the most effective was using the foot shelves in conjunction with a crunch type action. After another 60-90 minutes, I was getting very tired of pushing but was informed that the head was in view, so I should keep going. With each push, my screams got a little louder. After the fact, my husband informed me that he was super impressed with my volume. Since I'm normally so quiet, he had no idea I could achieve that kind of volume. Honestly, I have to say I never had need of that kind of volume, but that seemed to be the only way I could get the pushing done. Not having much practice at screaming, I did not use my diaphragm, so afterward my voice was rather husky.

Once I managed the last agonizing push to get the head out, the rest was easy. P helped deliver and later cut the cord (something I signed him up for in the birth plan but neglected to discuss with him, figuring he could always abstain if he was uncomfortable). As they were cleaning her off a little, I asked what the baby was. The doctor threw the ball into his court and said, "Dad, what is it?" And so he looked and like me he saw two bulging fleshy bits that could have been scrotum. But, he had a better view of the front and saw no penis, so he said, "I think it's a girl." The nurse said, "You think?" So, he confirmed with an actual statement, which sounded a little disappointed, but was actually mostly shock since both of us had convinced ourselves that we were getting a little boy.

After, they put the baby up on my chest while the doctor sewed up my second degree lacerations. I tried breastfeeding, but in a sign of things to come, she closed her eyes and showed little interest. So, I settled for some quality skin to skin time to supposedly help the uterus contract back down. We had a good hour and a half of quality time before they rolled in the scale to weigh her. Uncle A stopped by on his way home from a Thanksgiving celebration and we called the Texas grandparents. Then, they offered to take her to bathe her while they helped me clean up and transferred me to a post-partum room. A little after midnight, we finally settled in our room and I was able to relax for the first time in 24 hours.