msLaura: Modern Mama Laura Hamilton + Dan Baker = Julian Hamilton Baker & Adrian Hamilton Baker "When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her."
- Adrienne Rich

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Illness in the house

Nursing in the NICU

Julian visiting Mama in the hospital

Discharged

Going home

Engorgement and circumcision

Day Four in the Hospital

Adrian is here!

One more day....

Perspective

Errr....thanks for the support?

Not according to plan..

Awwww....

New baby on the 15th...I hope

Happy New Year 2007

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January 24, 2007

Illness in the house

Damn it.

Julian has rotavirus, Dan might have it too (he spent last night shivering and barfy), and I woke up to Adrian snuffling, sneezing and coughing in the crook of my arm this morning. I just wiped a tiny little green blob out of his nose.

So far I'm still standing, but I'm a little freaked out.

Time to nurse baby, pump some milk for his iron supplement, and take some garlic oil. Ack.

January 23, 2007

Nursing in the NICU

This was me and Adrian, every three hours, for three days. I pretty much lived in this recliner next to his bassinet.

The nurses were wonderful, and I have to say, it was a very interesting place to spend so much time. Lots going on, and I was there at all hours of the day and night. I was in a daze most of the time though. Not much sleep. I did sleep a lot in the recliner though, while Adrian was nursing.

Once he latched on, the Oxytocin Sledgehammer hit me pretty hard, and I would find myself, head back, mouth open, sawing logs with abandon with all the NICU activity going on around us.

See the related blog entry.

Julian visiting Mama in the hospital

This was taken in the afternoon, about 8 hours after my C-section. I still hadn't seen Adrian at this point. I am swollen up like a balloon from the IV, and from bawling my eyes out for hours on end. That's why I couldn't look at the camera.

I am thrilled to see Julian, the baby that I *can* see, hold and touch! But I did get to see Adrian for the first time later on that day.

See the related post with all the details.

Discharged


Family of Four, originally uploaded by mslaura.

I have been home from the hospital since Saturday afternoon, and it's a little rough. Thank goodness my mom has been here to help out or I think I would be REALLY stressed out and sleep-deprived right now.

Julian has been doing just great. He is very loving and gentle with his new baby brother. At first he was so excited that he couldn't stop touching his face and hands and feet, etc. It was tough to get him to back off in a nice way, and that's when I noticed his nose starting to run....

Yes, another goddamn COLD. In its most infectious stage, right when I'm bringing my newborn with respiratory issues home from the NICU. My heart sank, and I had another good cry. Luckily taking odorless garlic oil has worked to keep colds from spreading to the rest of us for the last two colds that Julian has had, so I immediately started pounding garlic oil capsules and praying that the effects would go through my milk to Adrian.

Julian was of course wanting to sleep with Mama after almost a week away from me, and that was a bit tricky. I kept him on one side of me, and Adrian on the other, and it seemed to work out OK. It woke Julian up the first night when Adrian cried, and when I got up to change his diaper. Then he wanted to help, and talk, and pet his baby brother. Very normal, but I just desperately wanted to go back to sleep.

The next day my mom arrived, cooked up a storm, played with Julian, held Adrian, changed diapers, read Julian bedtime stories, and put him to sleep. He did get up in the middle of the night to come to my bedside and cry to sleep with Mommy, which was another heartbreaking moment, but Mom was able to distract him with the promise of a glass of milk, more bedtime stories, and a special bear cave built at the foot of his bed out of covers. That was a fairly decent night's sleep. Adrian woke up to nurse a few times, I changed his diaper twice, but otherwise I slept.

Yesterday we hung out, had breakfast, Julian practiced his golf game with Daddy in the front yard while I tried out my cozy velour wrap with Adrian. (Happily, I LOVE it. It's totally comfortable to wear, and really warm. I am a kick-ass wrapmaker, if I do say so myself! ;-)

In the afternoon Mom stayed in with Adrian on her lap and an emergency bottle of pumped milk by her side while we took Julian out to the playground with visiting friend Laura Knapp and her boys Langston and Lachlan. She gave me some pointers on handling two kids at once. Preschool, mid-afternoon quiet time, etc.

Later on all hell started to break loose again when Julian's two-day tummyache started to turn into explosive diarrhea. His nose stopped running, but then his butt started in. Poor thing. Again, luckily my mom was there to hold Adrian while I wiped up poopy butt and emptied potties. And again in the middle of the night when Julian woke up with more explosive diarrhea, just as I had de-fussed Adrian and gotten him latched on properly

Adrian has this funny thing where he is dying to nurse but can't latch on for some reason. He just won't close his mouth and start sucking.I have had some luck with just pulling him in towards me, but not always. I think it may be due to some lingering engorgement on my part that makes it hard for him to latch. We'll see. I am much less engorged now, boobs are softened up again, but still swollen of course.

So last night Julian's poop episode came just as I had gotten Adrian latched on properly and he was eating like a starving man. Thank goodness Mom was there.

I took Julian into bed with me after that. Poor thing had just pooped his brains out, and I figured he would be sad if I sent him away, so he came in and went right to sleep on the other side of me. I had to switch sides after a certain point because Adrian and I had been laying on the same side all night long, Julian ended up next to Adrian, with my arm acting as a protective barrier, but he was very gentle and good. No kicking, no flailing, he rested his hand next to Adrian very gently and kissed his head. So maybe co-sleeping will be feasible again. It's so easy compared to the other options. I have a little sidecar crib that I can use if need be, but it's so cold in our house at night, and I would have to lift Adrian out of there to nurse him, then stay awake to put him back afterwards...it just doesn't make sense to me.

Mom left today and I fell apart a little bit, but Dan is wonderful. He has been watching Adrian this morning while I print out shipping and packing labels for incoming orders. Why I only took a week off, I don't know. Well, I wasn't expecting Adrian to be in the NICU for five days, or any of that stress and strain. At least I can nurse Adrian while I'm on the computer, and Dan has promised to help with shipping and packing up orders. I do need the money, I've spent all my savings on new baby supplies and food reserves and hospital copayments and all that. I need some income and business is booming, I can't really afford to turn it away.

Well, at least I'm settling in here at home and not longing to go back to the hospital where all I have to worry about is shuffling over to the NICU every three hours or so. Sigh...it's so easy in the hospital in comparison with trying to juggle everything at home. I can't even remember to take my ibuprofen every 6 hours. I keep forgetting and then wondering why my incision is so sore.

I slept without my C-section girdle last night and this morning I felt like my guts were about to spill out. Man, I am so glad I bought that thing. I almost feel normal when I have it on. Without it my back hurts, my belly billows out, and I definitely feel myself to be in imminent danger of gut-busting. An incredibly disgusting feeling. Sitting up in bed becomes a painful challenge, whereas with the support on it's just annoying.

Well, I just heard Adrian squirt some poop into his diaper, so better get him changed. Oh, by the way, our fabulous baby boy has already pooped and peed in his potty several times. It's challenging to hold him on the potty since he is small and floppy, plus his penis points straight up and needs, ahem...redirection. But we have saved quite a few diaper changes and eliminated some fussiness by pottying him when his diaper comes off. He poops all the time, not in any identifiable pattern yet, so poops are harder, but he has definitely figured out already that the potty is for peeing in. Mom even got him to pee on his potty this morning. Very impressive! Big pees too...and he hasn't peed on the changing table since we initiated pottying, whereas he was peeing on the changing table almost every time in the NICU.

I'm just keeping our ECing low-key for now and doing it when it's convenient, but I'm glad I have already been through it with Julian and have good experience under my belt. It's nice to have options, and being constantly peed on during diaper changes is the least attractive one compared to simply holding Adrian over his potty after I take his diaper off.

After diaper change and potty, it's time for lunch and then Adrian's first well-baby checkup with Dr. S. After that, shipping...and I think that's a busy enough day.

January 20, 2007

Going home


I am dressed in real clothing after a hot shower. This is the first time since Tuesday that I've been out of a hospital gown or nightgown/robe. It feels weird, like now that I have clothing on I'm not allowed to be a patient anymore. Unfortunately, I have the same slacker nurse today that I had yesterday, so I will probably have to go ask for my medication again. I have only seen her once this morning. I wish I still had Kerry, but she has probably moved on to the newly post-partum moms who really need intensive care. They must leave the slacker nurses to people like me who are past that initial bleeding/immobilized/out-of-it stage and can walk around.

I'm still waiting to hear the official word on Adrian's tests from this morning. I know he passed the PKU test and the hearing test. Unless something else goes wrong, he should be able to come home today, but I'm not counting my chickens until they've hatched.

I was in the nursery at 9:00pm, midnight, 3:00am, 6:00am and 8:15am with Adrian. He wakes up HUNGRY now and latches right on, which is fantastic. That phase where he was just sleeping all the time and never wanted to wake up and eat was really hard, especially when I knew he really *needed* to wake up and eat. Now he's like a little tiger, he wakes up and roars for his food. Hooray!

He is so, so adorable. This morning he nursed like crazy for about half an hour, popped off, gave a big sigh, snuggled up to me and passed out. I couldn't stop kissing his fluffy little head while he slept on me. That sweet little baby head smell is absolutely irresistible.

The baby in the NICU next to Adrian has the same sorts of things going on. Rapid respiratory rate, possible infection, transition issues, etc. He is enormous though, 8 pounds 12 ounces. I guess weight and size are not a factor.

I heard that baby's dad saying that his wife hadn't breastfed their first two kids, but she really wanted to try to do it with this baby. When I was in there last though, she was in there too...feeding him a bottle of formula. Sad. I wonder what happened? Overwhelmed, I guess. I was wondering if I should clue in Ethel, who was her baby's nurse (and Adrian's too), so that she could give her some extra help if she wanted it. But then I felt like I was prying. I would have had to explain that I overheard the dad, etc.

Anywa, it's just sad. When you're all freaked out and don't know your baby yet and there are problems, breastfeeding seems like one more huge hump to get over that you don't need. But once it kicks in, it's so wonderful and so easy. I can't imagine not doing it. But that's just me, and I haven't had any problems with it, so it does seem like the obvious thing to do. I have to admit though, when Adrian wasn't waking up and wasn't wanting to breastfeed, and we were having to shake him up to wake him up, carefully latch him on, etc...it was a bit overwhelming. At that point a bottle would have been waaaaay easier and less intimidating. And after all, anyone can do bottle-feeding. So I kind of understand a little better now where bottle-feeders are coming from, especially if you have no one to help you with breast-feeding and one or more people encouraging you to just give up and give the baby a bottle.

But then what would I do with these boobs? I've got an industrial milk-producing complex here, and a baby who is more than eager to latch on, and latch on just right. So yeah, breastfeeding really works for me. I'm one of the lucky ones.

January 19, 2007

Engorgement and circumcision



Engorgement has set in with a vengeance. My boooooooobs! They are hard as bowling balls, start right under my collarbone and extend all the way under my armpits around to my back. CRAZY, and quite painful too. They are stretched so tight that the skin is shiny. I have to rub a soft spot into them around the nipple before Adrian can even attempt to latch on. My nursing bra is stuffed with cabbage leaves, which contain a chemical that helps decrease milk production. It is helping a little bit, but not too much. I think I am going to have to do an ice pack later on, like Jennifer the hip Lactation Consultant/Nurse recommended (she had on a very stylish scarf today). It's bad. Boobs feel like they are about to explode. I tried to pump, but that was a wretched idea, it just made things worse on the rebound.

Adrian was circumcised tonight at 5:00pm and it went just fine. I couldn't watch, but Dan was there with Dr. S. My favorite NICU nurse Ethel was assisting. Ethel looks JUST like my best friend Angela's mom, and sounds just like her too...a good omen. There were a few bystanders there to watch too, one of whom was my lame-ass post-partum nurse this afternoon. She wasn't an evil nurse like the breastfeeding-unfriendly nurse from the NICU, she was just kind of stupid, or forgetful, or something. I had to go ask for my medication every single time today. I had to go take my tray to her when I was done eating. I had to ask her to get me some water twice before she remembered.

But she was there to see the circumcision done, which I thought was ironic. When I need Motrin, or water, or someone to take away my tray I can't find you, but cut the foreskin off my baby's penis and you make sure to get a front row seat! Weird. And she was supposed to be on duty while she was there too. With me as one of her patients!

I was standing by outside for post-circ comforting and support. I was sort of trying not to listen, but couldn't help myself. I only heard two little squeals though, not even any crying. Dr. S is very gentle and very careful to anesthetize completely, so I wasn't as worried this time as I was with Julian. I saw how well he did, so I know Adrian will be fine too. He didn't even bleed. Ethel checked him every fifteen minutes for an hour afterwards, and there wasn't even a spot of blood on the gauze.

Adrian came out of the circ room and got his hepatitis B vaccine (which he DID cry over, but only for a minute), then we had to give him the iron supplement mixed with some pumped breastmilk (which he sucked right down) and THEN I got to nurse him and hold him finally. He chugged and gulped from my bowlong ball boobs and then cuddled up and went to sleep. Considering all the stuff we did to him though, he was absolutely fine. He cries more when you change his diaper than he did for the combined circumcision and vaccine shot.

Speaking of which, I can't wait to go home and start doing EC. Adrian pees every time you take off his diaper, so he is a perfect candidate for pottying. I did mention that to the NICU nurses when they were commenting on how he peed on them EVERY SINGLE TIME, but I don't think they took me seriously. I said that's what I did with Julian. Anyway, I have Adrian's little newborn potty with me, I might just bring it in and hold him over it next time I change his diaper. The NICU nurses know me well enough now that they probably won't think I am a total freak. And who knows, he might even pee in it! Or poop, which would be especially impressive. If he doesn't I guess I will look pretty crazy, but considering that his post-wakeup pees are so regular, it's worth trying. What am I afraid of anyways? Do I honestly care if the NICU nurses think I'm weird? Not really.

Last night in the hospital...I should really try to get some sleep. But I talked to my mom on the phone for a while, ate dinner, now I'm attempting to update this journal...and it's pretty close to Adrian Time again already. He should be waking up hungry pretty soon. When I come back though...straight to sleep.

Day Four in the Hospital

I can't believe that I've only been here three days. It seems like forever. Not in a bad way necessarily, it's just that I've fallen into the rhythm here. Sleep, eat, go to nursery to nurse, rock, and kiss baby, repeat.

It's not at all like my experience with Julian, where we just melded into one blob of mama/baby love in the hospital bed, but I'm still thankful to be able to stay here for five days and not have to focus on anything except recovering and taking care of my new baby. Food arrives, dishes go away. I see Julian and Dan at least once a day, but I don't have to worry about dressing or bathing or entertaining Julian. He comes and cuddles with me in my hospital bed during visits, but so far he hasn't had to share any time with Adrian.
I have been able to see Julian every day and still get in special mama/baby bonding time with Adrian in spite of all the barriers. I have spent hours and hours in the rocking chair with him by the side of his NICU bassinet, nursing him or just holding him. Today his shirt was wet so the nurse took it off and then handed him to me...we got to snuggle up skin-to-skin and it was just bliss. Sweet warm little baby body next to mine. Mmmmmmm, I love him soooooooo much! Such a delicous adorable baby bird...I can't believe I am mama to TWO delicious adorable children now. Talk about double your pleasure!

When I first got to hold Adrian, he was still a stranger to me. I was handling him awkwardly, and I was nervous about touching him, afraid that I wouldn't do it right, or that I would pull out his IV or something. The IV was *definitely* a barrier to bonding. I'm so glad that I just kept coming back and spending time with him every few hours, even when I was really tired, or there was a lot going on in the nursery and I felt like I was in the way. I do feel like I know him now. I can just pick him up and cuddle him so easily, and he relaxes into my arms right away to tell me that he knows me and loves too. When he is full he pops off the breast and cuddles his face into me and holds me with his little hand, just like Julian did. Unbelievably sweet. I don't understand how people can walk around with their little babies in carseats, or put them in cribs at night, and not want to cuddle them close all the time. So soft and fuzzy and cuddly! Those little sighs, and newborn baby bird chirping noises. I am going to savor every moment of this.

Every time I hold Adrian I get hit hard with the Oxytocin Sledgehammer and just pass right out in the rocking chair. It's amazing how powerful those new mama bonding hormones are. I literally can NOT stay awake. My head starts nodding, my eyes close and there I am, passed out in the NICU with people walking past me, holding loud conversations, alarms beeping, phones ringing, babies crying, etc.

My milk is officially IN as of this morning. I'm surprised that it took a whole four days, but considering that yesterday was my first real day of nursing Adrian regularly, I guess it's not so strange after all.

The latest news is that Adrian and I are coming home tomorrow. All of his problems have been resolved except for the anemia, and he will be getting a multivitamin/iron supplement for that starting this afternoon. The neonatologist has no idea why he might be anemic, it's all a mystery. He had no loss of blood, no cord wrapped around his neck, I didn't have gestational diabetes...none of the typical reasons apply. It's just one of those things. But again, I just finally started breastfeeding him yesterday for real, and the iron in breastmilk is very bioavailable, so I'm sure that will help as well.

January 18, 2007

Adrian is here!

Adrian is here!

The last few days have been a roller-coaster ride, to say the least.

The night before I came to the hospital was hectic. I had a million little things left to do, of course. No one major thing, just lots of tiny little things that I had forgotten about. So I wasn't able to lay around and rest all afternoon as I had planned, and by the time I got my bag packed and went to bed I had jacked up my back again and it was killing me.

I slept for 2-3 hours, then woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. Just too worked up, excited, scared, nervous. And since I had to wake up at FOUR-THIRTY AM in order to get to the hospital by FIVE-THIRTY AM, I was afraid that I would sleep through my alarm, and that kept me awake too. I laid in bed next to Julian and obsessively checked the clock.

Actually I *did* sleep for tiny stretches at a time, but in each case it was just long enough to have a mini-nightmare, at which point I would wake back up. First I dreamed that I woke up and Dan was already awake and eating breakfast. Out of absolutely nowhere he started acting completely hostile and irrational, basically picked a huge fight with me. We started yelling and I was crying, "I can't believe you are acting like this the morning that we are going to have a baby!" At which point I woke up and realized that it was all just a bad dream. Huge relief, but geez. Stress!

The next two mini-nightmares were the same, just different in the details. The alarm went off and I woke up, but then Julian woke up too and started crying and melting down, asking where I was going, and why I was leaving him. Since I had to calm him down, I wasn't able to get ready to leave, and I was late. Waking up from those mini-nightmares to find a peacefully snoozing Julian next to me was a huge relief.

In the end I just got up out of bed before the alarm went off. It was FREEZING, literally, but I couldn't turn on the heater for fear of waking up Julian. I got dressed as quickly as possible, grabbed my bag, and went out to my ice-covered car. Brrrrrrr.

I got to the hospital and checked in, got my IV started, my gown and cap on, and signed forms. Dan came in at about 6:45am and got suited up. At 7:30am it was time to go.

The operating room was unbelievably cold. I walked in and started shivering right away. They put warmed blankets over me as I sat on the table curled over to get my spinal block, but I was shaking, and then I started crying. It was all just too freaky and scary. Dr. B was really sweet and held my shoulders tight while the anesthesiologist finished up. He asked if I was OK as I splashed him with tears. I told him I was scared, and he patted me and said that it would all go just fine and I had nothing to worry about, he would take good care of me.

The spinal block hit and my lower body went numb and warm. I laid on the operating table and the anesthesiologist piled more blankets over me, complete with a special little heater, like a blow dryer. I felt like a bounce house with the warm air blowing on me under the blankets. Dan came in, sat down next to me, and held my hand, and then we were ready to go.

I felt nothing, just a lot of tugging and pulling. No shaking this time. No scary numbness. The spinal block went up to my ribs and that was it. It was much denser than the epidural was, but since it didn't go so high up I had no breathing or swallowing issues. Dr. B told me that I would feel one big push down on my abdomen, and then we heard Adrian crying. His official birth time was 7:49am.

I couldn't see him, as there was a big drape between my upper body and lower body, but Dan got up and went to go inspect our new baby son. I heard Adrian crying and everyone exclaiming over how big and beautiful he was. Dan came back and reported that he was nice and big and healthy, not wrinkled at all. And he looked JUST like Julian, which surprised me. I had an idea that he would be darker. Dan took a digital photo of him and showed it to me, and it was true. He looked round and pink and healthy, and just like Julian, but a little bit blonder than Julian was.

Before they whisked Adrian away they waved him in front of my face for a few seconds, but I couldn't really get a good look at him. I was laying flat on my back and they zoomed him up right in my face. I got in a quick peck on the one little non-swaddled section of his face that was exposed, and then he was gone before I could even really focus my eyes on him.

I laid on the table for 10-15 more minutes while they finished sewing me up. As requested, Dr. B put some stitches in to hold my abs together to help them heal up properly without a big separation. He sutured me up beautifully and did NOT use quick-and-dirty staples like most other doctors do. He excised my old C-section scar too. He was great.

All done and ready to hold my baby! They moved me into the post-surgery area to await the return of feeling to my legs. The nurse was a doll and gave me a cup of ice chips right away to relieve my thirst and cottonmouth. But where was my baby? My healthy, pink, beautiful, 7 pound-9 ounce, 20-inch baby? Why couldn't I hold him? I got to see Julian right after my C-section last time, hold him as soon as the feeling returned to my arms, and nurse him right after that. From the moment I left the operating room he never was more than 10 feet away from me, and was in fact ON me skin-to-skin about 99% of the time, except for brief visits to the bathroom. Where was my sweet baby THIS time?

That's when things really started sucking. It's all a little hazy, I was kind of out of it from the surgery, but someone (Dan?) told me that Adrian's breathing was too fast and they needed to run some tests on him. But he would be in shortly. Maybe another hour or so.

An hour? Ugh, I want my baby now! I can't possibly wait an HOUR to see him! But wait I did.

Yes, dear Reader, I waited. I waited all goddamn day long to see my baby. First it was the breathing...too fast. Could be some fluid in his lungs still, could just be a longer-than-normal transition adjustment from womb to world. Either way, as long as he was breathing so fast, no one could hold him. I was too out of it to go to the NICU, but I sent Dan in to hold him skin-to-skin and he was refused.

We were expecting a short wait, but kept hearing worse and worse news about our baby. Dan questioned the doctor and nurses, and since he wasn't overcome with post-partum hormones he was able to hold himself together beautifully and reassure me that everything would be OK. I, on the other hand, fell apart as one person after another came into the room and told me progressively scarier news about Adrian. His mysterious breathing problems. Wet lungs. A long transition period. A possible infection of some sort. Then he was anemic, on top of everything else. He was stable for now, but sometimes babies in his situation spiraled downwards very quickly. Perhaps he could get out of the NICU by the time I was discharged, but maybe not, He might have to stay longer.

I cried my eyes out that first day. I sobbed so hard that my eyes swelled up like a prizefighter. I think I managed to scare all of the nurses with my crying outbursts...I was just so heartbroken at not being able to see or hold my new baby. They were very kind and did the best they could for me. As soon as I was able, they wheeled me in to look at him, but I was only able to lightly hold his hand, not pick him up or anything. In a way that was worse...being right there and not able to hold him in my arms. Poor little newborn baby with a big IV planted in his scalp, wires sticking out all over. I petted his fluffy blonde little Woodstock baby bird head, held his tiny hand, then went back to my room and sobbed some more.

The days all blur together. As I write this, it's Thursday night. Tuesday was the miserable day of No Adrian. Late on Tuesday night I was able to go in again and sit in a wheelchair to hold him finally. He was rooting like crazy, mouthing his shirt sleeve, his hand, everything that he could brush his face against. I had already asked if I could nurse him and was told no, even though the only reason not to nurse him was that his respiratory rate was too fast, and I saw on the monitor that his respiratory rate was normal. So here I have a wildly rooting baby in my arms who is breathing normally, and I'm being told not to nurse him.

Too bad! I whipped out a boob and put it in his mouth. He latched on and sucked. The nurse (the only icky one so far) came over and told me that I was going against doctor's orders and I had to wait. "Call the doctor NOW then, and ask her if it's OK. I can't wait. And if it's not OK with her, then let her come and tell me so." Crabby Nurse called, and it *was* OK with the doctor.

That same nurse warned me against "feeding him too much" and kept trying to get me to stop nursing Adrian and put him back down. My milk hadn't even come in yet, so all I had was colostrum in small teaspoon amounts. How could he possibly get "too much" to eat from that? Plus, he hadn't had a thing to eat since he was born, just an IV. She was bizarre. Like I said though, she was the only bad nurse, the rest have been really wonderful.

All day long Tuesday I had been having the same 30-second nightmares every time that I dropped off. I just wasn't able to rest because of it. Some horrible and strange scenario would play itself out in my mind as soon as I drifted off, and then I woke back up. While Dan was there I was telling him some of the mini-nightmares. In one I found myself in a rowboat tied to a dock at low tide. The dock was up high, and the rowboat was down very low in the water because of the tide. I tried to climb out, but realized that I had just had a C-section and couldn't even walk around yet, much less climb out of a rowboat. I was trapped there. Then I woke up.

I was so exhausted after not sleeping the night before, the surgery, crying all day long...but I just couldn't sleep. Too freaked out. After I held and nursed Adrian though, I went back to my room and was finally able to sleep for most of the night.

The next day I got my IV and catheter out, took a shower, and felt much better. I was still very wobbly walking around, but I was at least able to be mobile, instead of being tethered to my bed and wheelchair.

I spent most of the latter part of the day in the NICU with Adrian, but the news was confusing. He was responding well to the antibiotics, but they weren't sure that he had ever had an infection. Now that his breathing had stabilized, what was the problem? Well, he was still anemic. Later on in the day his blood sugar became dangerously low. His calcium was low. Just as I was being permitted to nurse him, he suddenly needed a dose of formula to bring his blood sugar back up...but he had never even been given the colostrum that I had pumped for him.

The whole situation was intolerably frustrating and confusing. I demanded that he be nursed by me at least every three hours, take away all pacifiers, no more formula unless medically necessary. The nurses were mostly cool with that, but at some point in the middle of the night his blood sugar slipped again in between feedings and he was given formula. I didn't find out until the next morning, after waking up to feed him at 5:00am and finding a sleeping baby who didn't want to nurse.

Right now the situation is this...he is done with antibiotics and will receive his last dose of supplementary calcium by IV at 6:00am. After that the IV should be taken out.

Then it's just a matter of monitoring his blood sugar and doing another blood test to make sure that everything else is normal..calcium, iron, etc. So hopefully he will improve.

I think so. My milk is coming in, slowly but surely, and he is eating more and more at every feeding. I am going in every three hours to feed him and he seems to be getting stronger and more alert each time. Yesterday the problem was that he was was so sleepy from low blood sugar that he couldn't wake up to eat. A vicious circle. But that doesn't seem to be a problem at this point. He is starting to want to eat more often than every three hours, which is a good sign. After all, Julian was eating every 1-2 hours for several weeks after he was born. He put on weight like a champ. I hope Adrian does the same.

My recovery is going great so far. Dr. B did a great job, as I said. As long as I take my ibuprofen and Percocet on time, and get enough rest, I don't have much pain at all. The incision hurts much worse when my medication is late, when I sit upright too much (as I do in the nursery), and after a visit from Julian, when I bend and lift too much. If I can lie down and rest regularly, it feels fine. So I'm trying to go see Adrian every 3 hours, come back to my room, and either eat or sleep in between. I spend an hour or two in the nursery at a time, so that's a surprisingly full schedule. I'm turning away all visitors except for Dan and Julian right now.

Speaking of which, I am way overdue for some sleeping. I only have an hour before my next baby feeding. I took a good nap this afternoon, but I am still pretty sleep deprived, and I have a long night ahead of me. So time to sack out while I can.

January 14, 2007

One more day....

I go in on Tuesday morning for my C-section. AT FIVE-THIRTY AM. Did I mention that I'm pretty pissed about that? Well, whatever. It beats having one at 4:15am after being awake and in labor for several days, I guess.

I been busting my butt trying to get everything ready and organized and stocked up. I think we're there, barring some minor little things. I need to get a few more groceries. I'd like to pack up some lunches and snacks for Julian, to make things easier for Dan when I'm gone. I need to pack my bag for the hospital.

I'm going to get a chiropractic adjustment tomorrow afternoon and knock my pesky tailbone into place, where it will hopefully stay and not cause me any more back or pelvis trouble. After I get that done, I'm going to try to take it easy.

I've gotten my legs and underarms waxed and my toenails painted and my hair cut. I've got 20-some dinners pre-assembled and put away in the deep freeze. I don't have side dishes or veggies to go with all those dinners, and some of them need actual preparation, but I do have a circle of very kind and generous family and friends offering to help. Last time around I was in no shape to make anything. I could barely scoop food out of Tupperware containers and heat it up in the microwave. But this time won't be like last time.

I guess I'm over being nervous. I'm still trying to imagine what it will be like to have a newborn again, it has been so long! We're very excited to meet Adrian...will be nice to be able to put a face to the kicks after all this time.

I remember feeling this way with Julian too...sitting in his room folding newborn clothing and putting them in drawers a few days before I went into labor, and trying to imagine what it would be like to actually hold him in my arms instead of in my belly. It's impossible until it actually happens. I'm surprised that it's just as impossible the second time around. I mean, I already know what it's like to bring a baby home and be a mom, and I still can't imagine this new baby yet. I can't imagine what it will be like having TWO kids. Just no comprehension. It's like when people tell you what being in labor feels like. They can tell you until they're blue in the face, but until you're actually there yourself, you simply can't understand it.

Yesterday I was in bed and I had Julian snuggled up to me on one side, and Bugs snuggled up to me on the other, and it was so warm and cozy and sweet. Bugs had his nose resting on Julian's hand. I was able to imagine what it would be like to have one more little warm body there, and how much better that would be. I could picture a warm body, but not what it would look like. I couldn't imagine what Julian would look like either. I had one brief dream about him before he was born, but he was still pretty abstract.

I'm trying hard right now just to imagine what it will feel like to not be pregnant anymore, and I can't even imagine that. After all, I've been pregnant forever! To be able to sit up and bend over, and lie down flat on my stomach. To be able to go for a walk, a long walk...and move around without grunting and groaning from the effort. To wear normal clothing again!

This time around I will have only gained 42 pounds, so I will hardly have anything to lose afterwards. Hooray! That definitely beats having 35 pounds to lose, like I did last time. Of course, it did eventually come off, and I didn't really even try to lose weight, so that was good. But it took a while (a year?), and in the meantime I had no clothes to wear. So this time around I'm hoping to be able to wear my regular clothes again pretty quickly, and not have to deal with a whole transition set of clothes that are ugly and cheap. I'm just planning on wearing my early maternity stuff until my belly goes back down to normal. Or whatever the new normal is.

Well, time to watch a movie with Dan. While we still can!

January 05, 2007

Perspective

This article helped put things in perspective for me today:
Iraq's Woes Are Adding Major Risks To Childbirth

While I was reading, I discovered why I'm a crappy runner too:
Why (Most) Women Shouldn't Run

And I finally found a really good search engine for compact fluorescent bulbs, so I can figure out what to replace our current energy-hog bulbs with that will still give comparable light, be the right size and shape, and not give off a nasty greenish glow. Our energy bill was ridiculous this month, gotta do something about it. Thanks Environmental Defense!

Errr....thanks for the support?

I got my Abdominal Brief Recovery Kit the other day by FedEx Expedited Delivery. No messing around, they must figure that if you order this stuff you need it FAST.

It's nicer than I expected, especially since I got it in black, which makes it look less like an Abdominal Brief Recovery Kit and more like a Retro Fetish Gear Kit. Wish I could try it on, but this belly isn't fitting into *anything* at the moment, especially not a garment designed to compress it.

But the best part is the Bonus Garment. I didn't pay much attention to this when I was ordering the kit, since there were no photos of it and it just says this: "The Thong Support Garment is provided as a bonus free product that normally sells for $12 outside the Kit. This garment helps minimize swelling that can descend downward to one’s private region.". I mean, what is that all about?

Well, I get my kit and "Thong Support" is actually a euphemism for the real name of the garment, which is Labial Support Thong.
Labial support? Holy frijoles, has it gotten as bad as that? But really, it's just a black mesh thong, a little stiffer and less stretchy than normal.

And what am I supposed to do with it? Wear it over the girdle-thingy? I guess so, if I ever plan on going to the bathroom successfully. I don't remember having any "swelling in my private region" last time around, but then again a C-section is a bit different from a tummy tuck or liposuction, so maybe those types of surgeries have a greater chance of giving you a fat lip, so to speak. Or fat lips, actually.

The whole thing is just too funny. I have the thong on my dresser and I can't seem to put it away because I chuckle to myself every time I see it. And lord knows, I need a good chuckle right about now.

January 04, 2007

Not according to plan..

Well, the 15th is out for Adrian's arrival. Dr. B already has surgery that morning, and he only does one per day. So now I'm scheduled for the morning of January 16th. AT FIVE-THIRTY IN THE MORNING.

These surgeries are obviously not planned for people who have children. If I have to BE THERE at 5:30am, then that means we have to get Julian up in the middle of the night to take him over to Grandma Ida's. Which is going to make everyone miserable.

I think I'll just have Dan take me to the hospital and drop me off, then come back and feed Julian breakfast and take him to Grandma's house. That way he can get another hour or so of sleep. The C-section doesn't actually start until 7:30am...I guess it takes two hours to check in and prep? So as long as Dan gets there by 7:00am, I think we'll be OK.
Aaargh, stressful. What the hell? They can't do C-sections at a reasonable hour?

I am already stressed out about being in the hospital for four days. I have never been away from Julian for more than 6 hours, and have never spent the night away from him before. I don't want him to start out with his new baby brother thinking that a baby brother is something that makes Mama go away and abandon him. Of course I'll still see him every day, but ....ugh. I'm excited for a second baby, but I'm not ready to leave my first baby!

I'm sure Dan will do fine single-parenting for four days, it just stresses me out enormously thinking about this whole situation. At the same time, I'm not willing to rush home from the hospital or anything. I remember coming home one day early last time, and I was so sore and miserable. I really needed that extra day.

OK, relax, relax...

January 02, 2007

Awwww....


By George, I think he likes it..., originally uploaded by mslaura.

Every time I look at this photo of Julian I get really excited about having a new baby. He was such a little sweetheart, and so much fun. He still is!

Little babies are CUTE. Julian was 3 months old in this photo, and full of personality. And those deliciously chubby little cheeks and arms and legs...yummy!

New baby on the 15th...I hope

Change is inevitable, right? I am now hoping to schedule my C-section on January 15th. It's currently supposed to happen on the 22nd, but my OB thinks that's too late, and I'll go into labor before that, even though my due date isn't until the 25th.

I was worried that Adrian wouldn't be fully cooked, but now that I've thought it over, why push it? No, I probably won't go into labor before that, but if I do I'll feel really stupid, and besides, I really *don't* want to go into labor and have to do another emergency C-section. So what the hell, might as well do what the doctor wants.

Besides, I am soooooo sick of being THIS pregnant. Every little movement is a chore that I have to steel myself for. Bending over. Walking any distance. Lifting anything. Getting out of bed or standing up from a seated position.

Standing up hurts. Laying down hurts. Sitting hurts. And changing positions hurts especially. So no matter what I do, it hurts, and that pretty much sucks.

Adrian is kicking and poking the crap out of me 24/7. I feel like my belly is about to tear open sometimes. Or else he digs his head into my bladder. I'm certainly glad that he's a healthy, strong baby...but geez kid....lay off your poor mama a little bit, would you?
I am afraid of the C-section. Ick. Major abdominal surgery is so not appealing, no matter how routine it is. I hope it goes OK and I don't get an infection or nerve damage or anything creepy and horrible like that. I'm also not looking forward to any of the anesthesia side effects.

I re-read my account of Julian's birth, and Jesus, I left a lot of stuff out or just glossed over it. Seriously, it was HORRIBLE. I mean, I had to just get it written down, and I suppose at the time I didn't want to dwell on all the nightmarish aspects of it, but I also skipped a lot of details. Like I was practically convulsing on the operating table, I was shaking so badly. And at the same time I was paralyzed. It was like being possessed by a demon. Very frightening.

And then not being able to breathe freely, or swallow. The paralysis finally started dissipating, starting at my face and moving downwards, so I was able to breathe somewhat freely by the time I got wheeled out, but then my mouth was so dry that I couldn't swallow. I cried and BEGGED the recovery nurse for water, which she was not supposed to give me. She did take pity on me and slip an ice chip or two into my mouth when no one was looking, which pretty much saved me, since it allowed me to unstick my tongue from the roof of my mouth and swallow finally.

I'm sure that most of these horrors were caused by being in labor for several days beforehand, and degenerating into a really bad place physically and mentally before I went into surgery. I was really dehydrated, for example. I couldn't drink a drop of water or juice while I was in labor. I hadn't slept in days. I was a complete wreck. Not a great time to be operated on.

But still, I am freaked out. Bad memories burned into my brain.

So I decided to move things up a little. I bought one of those "Your birthday" kind of books, where it tells you what kind of person you are based on your birthday. Yes, it's a load of crap, but what else do I have to go on? Nothing. And really, it's scary how accurate the listings are. They are quite specific too.

The 20th looks good in the birthday book, but that's a Saturday. Bad scheduling for doctors. I liked the 17th, but the birthday book basically said that the January 17th person would be overwhelmed with desire for food and drink and would have lifelong struggles with obesity. No real redeeming qualities listed, just a person struggling hard with their obsessions.
So um...that's out. ;-)

That leaves the 15th. Good scheduling, good birthday reading (extremely witty and delightful person, very attractive to both sexes), early enough to make my OB happy, without being TOO early and therefore make me freak out about the baby not being ready yet.

I totally feel ready to pop. Adrian was simultaneously poking me up under the ribs *and* twiddling my hipbone last night. I am REALLY ready to get this baby out and hold him in my arms instead
of my belly.

Yesterday I went to a post-plastic surgery website and got a set of compression undergarments that are used for post-abdominal surgery. This time
around I am going to be PREPARED and have everything nicely held in and supported afterwards so that I can heal properly and my abs can knit back together. My doctor said he can do some repair work on my abs when he is sewing me back up (not a tummy tuck or anything, just
very minor stuff), but I will have to be really careful and not strain myself for a good 6 weeks, hold my abs together carefully so that they can heal, etc.

I had no clue about any of this the first time around. I was jack-knifing out of bed and attempting crunches and completely blowing my abs apart.

One advantage to a planned C-section is the repair work...and then of course I'm happy to not have a bowling ball rocketing through my vagina either. That's another plus. I'm just freaked out about having my innards cut open.

I'm pretty much ready, at least mentally. We need to go to IKEA today and get a queen-sized bed for Adrian's room, a dresser/changing table, and then I need to go up in the storage attic and pull out all the newborn stuff from Julian and wash it. Other than that, I'm set. I'm pretty relaxed this time around. As long as I have a comfy place to sleep with the baby where Julian can safely cuddle in too, and my boobs are working OK, I'm pretty much set. I've made myself two sweet wrap baby carriers, and hello...I OWN a business that deals in baby stuff, so I don't think I'll be missing much.

Anyway, apart from all the technical and medical concerns, I am really excited to meet this new baby, and I'm looking forward to having a little one again. Julian is so much fun, and he is REALLY excited to have a baby brother. I think it will be a blast to have two kids. Not all the time, of course, but I can't wait to go hiking and camping and
traveling around with them. Kicking soccer balls, playing tennis, swimming, picnicking, making cookies, riding bikes, decorating for holidays...I love all that stuff. I love doing it with Julian, and it can only be more fun with two, right?

Christmas was really fun this year. Julian was smitten with the colored lights, snowmen, Santa, our tree, everything. It was all so magical for him. I didn't tell him that Santa would come down the chimney with presents for him if he was good, or any of that. No use setting him up for disappointment later on. He actually didn't even get that many presents, just 4 or 5 total, but it was plenty for him, not too overwhelming.

Tomorrow is our 4th wedding anniversary. I'm not sure if Dan and I have any real plans yet...maybe go for an early dinner somewhere, or a late lunch? It's hard to believe that it has been four whole years since we were on the beach in St. Martin getting married, but having a 3-year-old son is kind of unbelievable too, as is the fact that we are expecting our second child! Wow, time goes by really quickly.

But life is certainly good. I couldn't ask for a better husband, or a better son, and I don't have many complaints about anything else either. Sure, there are some sad or less-than-ideal circumstances, like what's happening with my grandmother...but that's sort of under control for the moment. Overall I am blessed with a happy, healthy home life, good friends, a satisfying work/life balance, and the future looks bright.

So fingers crossed for an easy recovery and a healthy baby boy, and continued good luck and happiness with the rest of it.

January 01, 2007

Happy New Year 2007

It's midnight, a brand new year, and our neighbors are setting off bottle rockets to celebrate. Assholes.

First of all, Bugs is completely phobic about fireworks of any kind. He heard the first little "pop pop" from outside and started quaking uncontrollably. Then some bigger explosions happened and he flipped. Right now he is alternately hiding in the closet, running back over to me and trying to sit on my non-existent lap, trying to squeeze under the bed, running out to the living room, and then he goes through his Freak Out Routine again. Back to the closet at the moment. Oh, now he's back and running in circles crying, with his ears flattened back against his head. And farting. Poor dog.

This is the same dog who RAN AWAY for the first time ever this summer when he heard a loud popping noise. I can't remember what the noise was, but Bugs was outside at the time and he apparently just freaked out, took off down the street running and kept going. We finally found him three streets away, after almost losing our minds with worry, of course...posting "LOST DOG" signs and photos and all that.

So he would probably be in another county by now if he weren't shut in the house.

Nice, there's some kind of Piccolo Pete action going on right now and I think Bugs is going to throw up.

I just heard Julian yelp in his bed a few minutes ago too. But I guess he went back to sleep. Oh well, actually he just walked into the room. Bugs is practically attacking him, pouncing on him and licking him. Sigh. Julian said he woke up scared from the loud noises.

Dan just called me from Ray and Lisa's New Year party. I decided to stay home and have a quiet NYE, and get Julian to bed early. I'm not so into socializing lately. No one knows what to say to an extremely pregnant woman. Once they've covered, "When are you due?" and "How are you feeling?", then people slink off elsewhere as fast as they can. And the physical discomfort I'm in doesn't exactly inspire me to exchange glib, witty banter with my fellow human beings. I just want to hole up with a good book and some cookie dough and count off the days until this baby comes. So I sent Dan off to have fun, got Julian in bed on time (and took a little nap with him), then I got up and read for a while until the fireworks started going off and the dog went nuts and now Julian is awake and out of bed....

On that note, time to get this boy back into his bed. Maybe we'll have a midnight snack first. Might as well. Dan is coming home soon and then Bugs will bark and wake everyone up anyway, so might as well eat. We went to Buca di Beppo this afternoon for lunch and brought home meatballs and chicken cannelloni for dinner so I wouldn't have to cook, but then we never ate it. So it's still in the fridge...waiting to be eaten. Here we come!


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