Sunday, December 19, 2010

Continue if you dare....

I've been contemplating writing this for a while. It's not bad, it's probably just a bit of TMI.

It is mainly about bodily functions, so I would imagine if you are a person who is not in the same situation as me, you may not want to continue from here. IF you are a person who is not going to read past this point, here's a picture to make your trip worthwhile.

If you're still here, cool. Let's get into it. I'm all in to full disclosure, and I kind of wish that I had known about a couple of these things.

So, first. Immediately after Maggie was born, my nurse put a catheter in my bladder to drain it. I'm still not sure why she did this, except to put a cherry on top of the onslaught of vaginal trauma that is childbirth. I mean, I didn't have an epidural. I was capable of walking just 10 minutes later. After she drained my bladder, she was all braggy about the amount of urine I had in there. She even made a BIG DEAL about it to my OB. I got a bladder infection the next week and I blame that! That was a whole other story. Short and sweet: antibiotics gave me what I thought was a stomach virus and I spent 36 hours away from my baby.

The next thing is the episiotomy. The bane of childbirth. My Achilles heel. My doc "gave me the extra room" during the delivery. I was pushing out an eight pound baby with a head the size of a pumpkin, so at the time I didn't mind. After Doc stitched me up (which took an inordinate amount of time), a nurse came and gave me an icy-cold diaper to put on my hoohah. It was amazing. The next day, I felt like I had been hit by a truck. My whole body was sore. Now, usually, when my entire body is sore from my twice yearly attempt at "getting in shape" I don't have to even think about my private parts. This was different because my vaginal area was the sore-est part of my body. I was given prescription strength Ibuprofen every 12 hours, even though I needed after 8. I also was given these pad shaped ice packs to sit on intermittently. They were heaven. (Later, when we were in the hospital with Maggie, I continued to ask for these, even though the nurse told me that they were useless after 12 hours.) She was not smart. It was still heaven. When I was discharged, I was still very sore down there. I didn't know what to expect. I knew how to clean it (squirt bottle...lala) but I didn't know if it was first, second or third degree and I certainly didn't know it would take much longer to totally heal that I figured. (At this moment, 6 weeks later, I'm still not "normal.") Boy, did the whole episiotomy suck hard. TAKE THE SITZ BATHS AND USE WITCH HAZEL PADS. I didn't know about them until later, and I really could have used them.

To say something good about the episiotomy, or at least my doctor, is that I can't see it. I don't know where it is. I can feel it, but not see it. It's weird. But, I'm glad I'm not deformed. I never thought about the aesthetic aspect of my genitalia...but, I wouldn't want it to look different than it ever had, you know?

Another thing that I experienced with my private parts was something that I had NEVER heard of, but feel the need to tell you about is the clitoral bruising. What is that, you say?? When you deliver a baby, your entire vagina gets traumatized, even your clitoris, which you would think isn't even in the way. Well, it's still there, and it's still connected to the rest of it. For weeks, I would have this weird ache. It would hurt more if I stayed still, especially sitting still, for a while and then got up. I thought it was my abdominal muscle attachments on the pubic bone, but I was wrong. I am only sharing this so that the rest of you ladies delivering babies will also know what the hell is happening. I am very glad that that side-effect has faded away.

When we finally got to go home, I was a mess. I was a mess in the hospital, but it multiplied when we got home. I should explain, because I was personally a mess from lack of sleep and my vagina was constantly reminding me of its trauma, but I was also a mess because I worried about Maggie constantly.

I was so paranoid. I was convinced that if I put her down, she would choke on her spit up and die. I held her so much that her head is misshapen because of it. I'm serious. Last week I noticed that the right side of her head was flat just behind her ear. So, instead of getting a flat head from laying on her back alone too much, I loved her so much that I flattened her head. Now, I have to make a concentrated effort to hold her differently so that her head will go back to normal. Thankfully, it will. It's kind of funny after you get over the ridiculousness of it.

My paranoia is much better. I am no longer convinced that she will die if I put her down, so we're working on getting her to sleep in her bed, which is right next to my side of the bed, so I can look at her if I want to. Which I do, even if she makes the slightest movement. I have not slept more than 4 hours at a time in 6 weeks, and that 4 hour luxury just started last week!!

Despite all of my worrying, she's just doing what she should. Growing. She's soo much bigger than she was when she was born. My neck muscles are tight enough to prove it. I have tension headaches and referred pain into my shoulders and my thumbs (at the carpometacarpal articulation) still have this weird tendonitis type pain. I'm falling apart. LOL. Of course, I wouldn't change it for the world. I just have to look at her sweet, adorable, lovely face and I'm completely in love all over again. Even if she's crying, I still look at her and feel this draw to her. A pull that starts at my heart and doesn't end. She's my little baby. My lovebug. My perfect little sweetheart.

The very last thing that I want to laugh at and talk about is just being a mom taking care of a newborn. From the beginning, it's like my body started functioning different. And, by different, I mean it shuts down. If Maggie is sleeping on me, I can sit still for hours and never have to pee or eat. My days consist of deciphering the Navajo code that is figuring out what she wants every day. Which changes daily. So, after I've exhausted all of the things that have previously worked, I have to start trying new stuff. But, it has gotten easier and I find that I am getting better at just knowing what she wants. I did read about something that has proven to be a very very good helper at calming her down: The 5 S's. Swaddling, side or stomach, shhhing, sucking and swinging. Google it.

Well, I did say that the last thing was the last thing, but it's not...I also want to talk about acid reflux. Your baby has it. My baby has it. Most babies do. THEY DO NOT NEED MEDICINE. Well, some babies do. But, trust your gut and don't give them drugs just because your doc says so. It's still your baby and you have the final say so.

Anyway. That's it for now. I hope that maybe some thing or things that I have said may help you in some way, down the road or now, or you can throw it all out the window.

Happy babying!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Picture post and other stuff...

There's been a lot happening, with Maggie's development and growth. She's getting really big! Getting little rolls on her legs and arms. Her cheeks keep growing....hopefully that doesn't delay her head control. haha

Time is going by so quickly. Most days seem like blurs filled with diapers, bottles, cries (sometimes, me), laughs (me) and brief naps (me).

Maggie still has her days and nights confused, which is taking its toll on Mommy and Daddy, but...she'll grow out of that eventually. She's still so small...she doesn't care much about what time it is or whether it's daylight or night. Newborns really don't care about much at all, except eating and sleeping.

Recently, she's been smiling while awake. That's a big big big morale boost for me. I worry all the time if her brain is developing like it should. (Yes, that's true.) I worry if I'm stimulating her enough, getting those little neurons to fire. There's a large part of every day that Maggie spends crying. She's a little colicky. So, when she's sleeping, I feel relief. But, I also feel like she's sleeping too much and missing out on important developmental stimuli.

I know most of my worrying is for naught - hehe, I always wanted to say that - because right now her brain development is happening mostly on its own, while her physical development takes precedence. But, if I'm not worrying, then I guess I'm just not complete.

It's hard to tell just how much she's grown or changed unless you see pictures from early on until now....I am not going to post old pics of her, just new, to see the contrast, you will have to go to earlier posts. Or, check out the album Maggie Melissa on my Facebook page. If you don't have a Facebook - get with the times!

Ok, here they are....a bunch of pictures.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Today was an important day.

Today, Maggie and I ventured out of the house.

The original plan was to go to the store. We were running low on formula and diapers and other things that aren't as important - like food for Mommy and Daddy. Well, I decided to stop by my place of employment on hiatus, Blue Cliff.

It was an unannounced visit. I think those kinds might be for the best right now, until I know I can promise to be somewhere and not have some crushing bout with anxiety and stay stuck to the couch. Well, it takes a cold front to get me moving, I guess.

So, somehow, everything works out. She's fed, comfortable, wrapped in multiple Eskimo-worthy layers and we're out the door!

I also decided to use a carrier for the first time. The car seat/carrier thingy that comes in and out of the car and is used on the stroller weighs a ton. I am interested in lean and tone arms, but I'm also interested in not dropping my child out of exhaustion. Well, wouldn't you know! That worked out too. Maggie was so comfortable in her carrier that she immediately dropped a deuce. (Pooped.) So, she met some of my co-workers (and new adoring fans) smelling like a poop. I don't think anyone minded.

Well, my plan to stay 10 minutes (stupid plan) turned into close to an hour and a half. It was really nice to catch up with some of them and have a conversation with an adult during day light hours.

After we left Blue Cliff, we headed over to Wal Mart. I re-strapped her into the carrier, where she immediately fell into a deep coma-worthy sleep and I shopped for our needs with little worries. I did worry that she was suffocating herself against my sweat-shirt, so I kept a constant vigil on the position of her head. I got everything we needed, except formula. They didn't have the specific one she likes, and from our experience last week with formula experimentation - you don't change what isn't broke!

Today, I was determined to change some things. I had a mini-meltdown last night - fueled by sleepiness and frustration. I had an epiphany of sorts:

I want to give anyone who is about to have a baby, or who is thinking of having a baby some advice. DON'T READ.

I spent my pregnancy reading and reading. I consumed baby manuals like air. Google and I were communicating telepathically. It's like we were one, I used it so much.

I planned on solely breast feeding, subscribed to the church of attachment parenting and thought about Dr. Sears on a daily basis. I bought cloth diapers and slings and carriers and wraps. I was NEVER going to give my baby a pacifier or let her sleep anywhere but on me or her bed.

NONE of those things have come true. Instead of behaving like she came with a manual, Maggie has been her own, individual, unique baby. Wow, who'd a thunk it??

Because of my initial consumption of knowledge, when things didn't turn out like I planned - like using a pacifier or letting her sleep in the stroller - instead of going with the flow, I felt like a failure. I was allowing compromises in my planning to allow Maggie to happier and more comfortable, but wasn't allowing those compromises any room in my mind. I was blaming myself for things not panning out like the books, magazines, articles and whatever else said they should.

Now, that's the key word - SHOULD. It's really a poisonous word. Nothing about a newborn SHOULD be. Let's make the obvious exceptions of general health and well-being like weight gain and appetite and things like that.

Everything else may fit into the category of "SHOULD" but that "SHOULD" is only for YOUR baby.

I was looking forward to many things. And one main thing was - and is - breast feeding. My milk is at a current state of "trickle." At this point there is no discernible change when I get some. I did do some research, and it could be because of my hypothyroidism and the fact that a new baby and new routines have led me to not take my meds appropriately. I made an appointment with my endocrinologist and will find out if there is a possibility of building my supply back up. And, if there isn't, I need to let go of the rigid thoughts that breast fed babies are the only healthy babies out there and continue to formula feed. The rigidity of my thoughts are killing my buzz.

We also got cloth diapers. I still plan on using those diapers, but I will begin to use them after she's no longer a "newborn" and is peeing less than 250 times a day. I still have yet to make a judgement call here.

I got a couple of messages after my last posting, and I'm sorry that I didn't respond to any of them. I will here:

Reglan - as far as I can tell from what my OB has told me - is no longer prescribed by responsible doctors because of the side-effects and "bad press" it was getting. I haven't tried any thing herbal yet, but plan on it.

I will always be open to suggestions and advice. So, if you are a mom and are willing to offer it, I'll always have one ear open to it. BUT - my new mantra is this (and I hope that if anyone reads this, may consider it too):

A baby changes your life. Your perspective. Your attitude. Your responsibility is to make sure this baby's life is happy, healthy and good. Don't let your rigidity force your baby to suffer. Don't let your rigidity force you to suffer. Stay flexible and you will stay happy.

So, here I am - a hypochondriac at heart, changing my belief system to accommodate Maggie. I have to. If I didn't, we'd all be unhappy.

Anyway, here's to a successful outing today, and many more to come! Here's to sleeping in the stroller and pacifiers!! Here's to disposable diapers! Here's to newborn formula!

None of it is what I expected, and even though it isn't, I still love every minute.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Part Deux: Bringing Home Baby

In Part 1, I detailed the birth of my Little Maggie. I did actually forget a couple of things....just minor details: during one of my particularly bad contractions, in the flailing of my arms, I knocked Mike's glasses off. And, somehow, during the pushing, my IV popped off and I bled all over the place. Just minor details. :)

So, the delivery is the easy part. It's everything that comes after that's hard.

Seems like pushing an 8 pound kid out of your vagina would be the hardest part, but no such luck. The next couple of days after were basically easy too. Day 3, or Going Home Day, began the challenge.

First of all, for hours and hours after they are born, most babies have no interest in eating. They only have an interest in sleeping, which is good because they are putting themselves in some sort of sleep coma that helps their swelling go down and their alien shaped heads get back to normal. Maggie didn't actually nurse until about 3am the night after she was born. That started it.

I was, and am, very committed to breast feeding. Even through the early days when my nipples looked like beef jerky because Maggie wasn't latching well. I knew that that was part of the drill until both of us got accustomed and acquainted with nursing.

We had her home for a single day when we had to bring her back to the hospital. We tested her bilirubin levels and they were high. Not high enough to cause brain damage, but the doctors didn't want them to get any higher. And - get this - breast fed babies have a more difficult time removing bilirubin from their blood than formula fed babies.

So, for nearly 3 days, my tiny baby had to be separated from me for hours and hours - basically except for feedings - and put into an incubator with blue light to reduce her bili levels. It was very stressful and emotionally draining. It's very hard to see such a tiny person stuck in this plastic box for so long. Especially when that tiny person is your baby. Every day, they had to poke her heel and test her levels and when we admitted into the room, they actually had to draw blood from her tiny arm. It was so hard. Lots of tears were shed those days, all by me. It's really unfair to put an emotionally and hormonally unstable new mother in that situation.

Luckily, after a couple of days, we were able to come home. She was still yellow, but her levels had gone down and the rebound would be easily combatted by her body.

So, we had a second homecoming.

I had continued to breast feed her all throughout this ordeal and into the following week. My mom (Mimi) came Monday and stayed until Thursday. During these few days, Maggie was crying alot, unsatisfied and gassy. I read an article about lactose overload. It made perfect sense to me, that a baby could get only large amounts of foremilk, and not enough hindmilk, which would cause an excessive amount of gas because of the low amounts of fats in the foremilk. I knew this had to be happening to Maggie. So, I tried to slow down and not stress about switching breasts during feedings. It seemed to work.

Breast feeding is a guessing game. I read an entire book and took a class. I also met with a lactation consultant. Nothing really prepared me for the challenges of nursing. No one really tells you how hard it is until you run into problems, then they tell you that while babies have the natural instinct to suck, not all babies know how. And, not all breasts are the same. So, each baby has to get to know its own set, if you know what I mean. When you start having problems is when they tell you that the time it takes to get good at nursing can take days, weeks or months. Or, never.

I was really having a problem with the uncertainty of it. I couldn't tell if she was getting enough. It certainly didn't seem like it. She was always hungry. She cried alot. I was having so much anxiety. I started to dislike breast feeding because of the anxiety it was causing. I was crying at nearly every feeding out of frustration and pain. It was the end of the second week of her life, and she still couldn't latch effectively. Then, late that Friday night, I got sick. I got sick with a stomach virus.

Thankfully, the day before Maggie was born, Mike and I bought a breast pump. I had only used it once before that day, but I was really glad we had it at that point, so that I could pump and stay quarantined away from the rest of the family. Those couple of days pumping and feeding were wonderful. I could literally see how much milk she was getting.

When I felt better, I let her nurse again, and those same feelings of anxiety and fear came back again. I made a decision and talked to her pediatrician about it the next day. I decided to exclusively pump and feed her.

That helped ease my anxiety for a while, but in the beginning, I was pumping over 3 oz per session. And, gradually, it turned into less and less. So much less that, even with her occasionally nursing to try to stimulate my milk, we started supplementing with formula.

I felt - and still feel, sometimes - like a failure. I keep hearing about people who have flawless nursing experiences and wonder if they were truly flawless or, do they just leave out all the difficult, frustrating and hopeless parts??

As of today, I am still pumping every 2 or 3 hours and only getting about an ounce, sometimes a little more each time. So, it will take about 3-4 pumping sessions to make one bottle of breast milk for her. That's not enough.

I know that our bodies are supposed to be these amazing tools and that our bodies "know" when our milk should increase....but HOW? How long does it take for the body to make more? My body is progressively making less. I will continue to give her whatever my body makes for as long as my body makes it. It just seems like I'm going in a different direction than biology here. All the literature I've read tell me that as long as I keep pumping at a regular 2-3 hour interval schedule, that my milk supply should maintain. I have not found that to be true with me. Very frustrating and discouraging.

Despite all of the nursing troubles, life with Maggie has been pretty amazing. Her and I just hang out together all day and I get to notice all of the things that change about her every day. Like her eyelashes growing. And her head getting bigger. Her sounds. She's grown so much. She's getting baths and can almost fit into clothes that aren't newborn sizes. I've taken about 400 pictures of her.

This past Thursday, for Thanksgiving, my mom, Mema, brother and sister-in-law all came and we had lunch together. Maggie got to meet another great grandmother. We had 4 generations here that day. No photographic evidence. We are waiting til Christmas and getting dressed up before we take pictures.

I'm up way too late. Time to get my beauty/momma sleep.

Here's some pictures of my sweet baby girl.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hey, Maggie!

Well, after nearly three weeks of getting to know my little daughter, I finally feel comfortable enough to put her down for a few minutes to update my blog.

I think this will have to be a Three Part blog, just to cover all the bases from my last posting. I mean, so much has happened. I gave birth to baby, we brought her home. We brought her back to the hospital, and brought her home again. And, since then, we've been getting used to being full time parents to a newborn.

So, I'll start this opus with the delivery. That is the logical beginning to this journey, after the pregnancy, of course.

The basic timeline for my delivery is as follows:
Midnight 11-01-10, arrive at Labor & Delivery
2:30am, pitocin drip is started (let the fun begin!)
7:30am, Doc comes in and breaks water (now, the party's started)
9:30am, ask Nurse Judy (love) for something to take the edge off
12:40pm, begin pushing
1:17pm, Maggie is born!
1:30pm, I meet her
4:30pm, moved to postnatal room
5pm 11-03-10, check out!

Now, don't think I'm going to leave you with such an abbreviated account of that day. That just wouldn't be right. But, at this point, many of the details are a little fuzzy. My natural oxytocin and estrogen and momma hormones have been pumping for just under three weeks, blocking out any unpleasantness. But, not entirely. Some things are still fresh in my mind. Very fresh.

My birth experience didn't happen exactly like I had planned, but I think it came very close. From my previous posts, you should know that I planned a natural childbirth. That came true. I didn't want an episiotomy, but I got one. That's ok...nothing to be sad about. Mike was my "coach" and he hung in there and was the only thing that got me through sometimes. Overall, it was very close to what I had envisioned.

So, I'll start from the beginning. My anxiety levels the day before check in were through the roof. I couldn't sit still. Resting really wasn't an option. So, we went to Target and Walmart and bought some supplies, including a breast pump - which you will find out about more in Part II. I did manage to get a little sleep and at around 11:15pm, I was in the shower, scrubbing my belly with that soap and scrubber they give you. No time for anxiety now.

In fact, at that point, I had reached a certain level of peace. I knew that I was going to delivery a baby and I needed to relax. And I did.

We checked in to a very quiet hospital. They made me change into that lovely gown, took blood and inserted the IV (OUCH, I MEAN, DOUBLE OUCH). I feel asleep. I slept until 2:30 when the nurse came in to start my pitocin drip. I can't remember her name, but she was very nice. Bubbly. I'm glad she was my night nurse and not my delivery nurse. Too bubbly for delivery. Just bubbly enough to wake me up constantly to check my blood pressure and increase the pitocin.

After the pit was started, I felt some cramping, but nothing was uncomfortable enough to keep me awake. So, I slept on and off until about 7. There was a shift change at 7, and Judy came to work. Judy is an older woman. 40 years experience delivering babies. Very friendly, but there was definitely an air of authority and no nonsense about her. She didn't bullshit or mince words. She was perfect.

At 730, Dr. Russell came by to break my water. I forget how many centimeters I was at that point. I think I remember that I hadn't changed much. I think I was about 3. I remember being very disappointed. I thought I'd be like 6 at that point. No such luck. I do remember that breaking my water was no big deal. I didn't even feel wet. I went back to sleep.

It didn't take long from there for my contractions to increase. They were still at levels I could control with breathing, but I knew that I would need to rest more and I was beginning to wonder if that was going to be able to happen.

The pain wasn't something entirely unfamiliar. I had had period cramping that was around the same intensity, but the pitocin magnified everything. By 9:30, I was very uncomfortable. The kind of uncomfortable that made interactions difficult and I had to concentrate very hard on my breathing. I barely have any recollection of visitors. I know my brother got there some time around then. Sorry, Jeremy, but I don't really remember too much from that morning.

Shortly after that is when I asked for something to take the edge off. Judy went and either got someone to give me Stadol or she did. Again, I don't remember the details. I remember Judy told me that the Stadol would be like having a margarita.

It didn't take long to take effect, and honestly, it did nothing to ease the pain of the contractions. I DID, however, knock me completely out. The last thing I remember saying is "I've never had a margarita that made me feel like this."

So, I got my rest. I don't know how long I was out. But, I know that when I was lucid again, everything happened really quickly, but not quickly enough.

The contractions started coming hard and strong and there was no break in between. I was getting desperate. I could feel my hold on sanity slipping and slipping quick. I could control most of my contractions, but only if I could physically emote as well as breathe. Let me explain. If I lost my concentration for even a second, the pain was enough to make me get the urge to jump out of the bed. So, I had this method. It worked 85% of the time. I would inhale with my head back and exhale by throwing my head forward. But, the best method for controlling the urge to run or climb the walls was to combine the head movements with this arm/pull/push thing. I'd grab a big handful of Mike's shirt and inhale by pulling him forward to me, and then exhale and push him away. Poor guy was pretty manhandled by the end of the birth.

It's difficult to organize my thoughts about the entire delivery. I can tell you that so much of it was just like people tell you. The labor is hard. It takes some serious resolve to go through it. I've been through it and I can honestly say that I still don't know what true labor feels like. I had augmented labor. Augmented labor is harder. The contractions are relentless, no breaks. At some point around 8 centimeters, Judy offered the epidural. I thought hard about it. I was nearing the end of my rope. I was shaking. I was tired. I was in some serious discomfort. I had literally said at least twice that I wanted it to be over. That I was ready. But, I still couldn't get over my fear. Even at the end of my rope, I couldn't allow some one to put a needle into my spinal cavity.

Luckily, those last two centimeters went in about 10 minutes. I felt each one. That's one thing about going natural. I was hyper aware of each and every step. I knew that even though I was at the end of my rope and I was shaking, I knew that I was close to the end. I knew that I was in the worst part and that soon, I would be pushing. But, the worst part was really bad. I couldn't sit still, but I couldn't get up. I wanted to push, but couldn't. I wanted to sit up, but it hurt. I wanted to lay down, but it hurt. I wanted to do a lot of things. I was boiling hot. I ripped off my gown. Judy covered my breasts with a towel. I did NOT care if I was butt naked. Nothing mattered at that point but getting that baby out!

The pushing. Wow. It's just like they say. Everything gets better. The contractions practically go away. But, it's hard. For the first few minutes, I couldn't tell if I was making any progress. Then, her head started to pass under my pubic bone. And, I could feel it. It was crazy. There was a lot of pressure. I stalled a little here. It was hard to create the pushing pressure needed to get her out. I couldn't tell if I was pushing in the right place. Judy literally had to put her fingers on my perineum so I could have a goal. But, when it worked, it worked. I could feel her head pass under my pubic bone, and come out. I could also feel my doctor numb up the area. I didn't initially want the episiotomy, but my doc said "I don't want you to tear up by your clitoris" and I didn't protest. I felt him cut me, and she came right out at that point.

I reached down and touched her. Her head looked alien and she was all bloody, but she was amazing looking to me. My little baby. The baby nurse took her at that point and her and daddy went to the other end of the room to weigh and all the other stuff they do to babies after they come out. I got stitched up. I started active labor around 9 am and all was said and done at 1:17pm. Pretty dang quick! And, I slept through so much of it!

The first time I held Maggie, she was wrapped in about 4 blankets and had that little hat on. Literally a little bundle of joy. She didn't want to nurse, just sleep. I was starving. She was exhausted from her journey

Judy told me that I could eat after I got up and peed twice, so I got up and peed both times. I was up and walking very soon after delivery.

Maggie continued to have difficulty getting the hang of breast feeding, but at 3am that night, something clicked and she drank for the first time. I wonder if that's why she's fond of being awake at 3 am now. Ha.

Those hours after she was born are hard for me to remember. I do remember that everyone kept telling me to put her in the plastic baby bed, but I slept with her on my chest the first night, and next to me the next night. I was so nervous to leave her alone. She was so small. Leaving her alone in that plastic box seemed so horrible. So, I didn't. :)

She's still most comfortable passed out on my chest. And, I like it like that.

TO BE CONTINUED....Part II, Bringing Home Baby will come soon!!

Here's pictures of her Birth Day.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The end of an era...

Well, this is officially the last post as a pregnant woman. I haven't quite accepted that yet. Though, I'm very ready to see my baby and end the pregnancy, I am very anxious about how she'll get here.

For the last few months, she has been growing ahead of schedule. These last few weeks, Doc has been monitoring her twice a week to make sure she isn't in any distress. She's been fine, but her ultrasounds have shown that she is very large. Well, after much consideration, I have decided to induce. So, this Monday, November 1st, I will be a mom to a baby girl, Maggie Melissa Conner.

It was a tough decision, but it made me feel good to make it. It did actually decrease the anxiety that I was having, which at times was nearly paralyzing. I even convinced myself that she would come this weekend, now that she has a deadline. It doesn't look like that's going to happen. While I have been having contractions, nothing has been steady.

I am tired. I have been resting, not washing ceilings or anything. But, I'm still tired. My body is a freak show. Haha. I consider myself lucky that all these weeks and months have gone by and I have had very little to complain about. I haven't suffered any back pain, leg cramps, lack of sleep or incontinence. I was able to work until this past Tuesday. I haven't been too uncomfortable to drive or eat. That was until these last 2 or 3 weeks. Now, nothing I have experienced in the last 3 weeks has been intolerable, but I guess I was spoiled to the normalcy I had been feeling.

I haven't been sleeping as well as I was before. I toss and turn to get comfortable and get up to pee about 4 times a night, but that's not so bad.

I even had a little twinge in my lower back for a few weeks that hindered my ability to lay flat on my back. Well, that only happened at the doctor's office, so that wasn't a problem either.

The largest problem has been my stomach. No pun intended. Nothing else grew on my body. I have the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. This is been my downfall. What has caused my greatest discomfort.

There is a huge physical change that occurs in your abdomen while you're pregnant. Most prominently, the diastisis recti. In the non-pregnant anatomy, your rectus abdominus (the 6 pack) bellies are neatly stacked parallel to each other. In the pregnant anatomy, as the uterus grows, the abdominal muscles separate to allow for expansion. The larger the uterus, the larger the separation. That's why no one should believe the Octo-mom when she says her abdominal muscles went back to the way they were before she had a litter of 8 children - without medical intervention. Google it. It's a freak show.

The rectus abdominus is a large muscle, spanning from the base of your sternum all the way to your pubic bone. My diastisis recti has been pulling mercilessly at the attachment on the pubic bone. It HURTS. I can't stay idle for too long because using my abs to get up or lift my legs after a period of rest is very uncomfortable.

Other than that complaint, my overwhelming anxiety has been my biggest challenge. I tell myself every day that women all over the globe go through this and they all have their fears and worries, and it all turns out ok. Then, I think of pushing a child through my vagina.

Well, enough about the bad's the good stuff!

I have packed my bags and am ready for the hospital. I brought like 8 outfits to put Maggie in. Just in case. :)

The house is on its way to being clean - thank you, Jackie, in advance for your help.

My marriage hasn't imploded from my anxiety. In fact, Mike and I just celebrated our 1 year anniversary last weekend. He took me and my Great Pumpkin out to dinner. It was wonderful. The food was incredible and we had a nice, private table.
He also surprised me with jewelery. A matching necklace/earring set. He's got a good eye for stuff I'll like. :) Then, we watched Cain Velasquez become the first Latino UFC Heavyweight champion, beating out Brock Lesnar. It was like baby Jesus himself had a hand in making our anniversary perfect.

I am almost done organizing Maggie's room. It's not much. Just putting clothes where they belong. No big deal there.

I'm on the edge of the cliff, about to jump. Before I do, let's take a look back at the many months of pregnancy and the progression of the Great Pumpkin.

I threw in a shot of me doing the laundry last night, from the rear. Just to brag that I don't look pregnant from EVERY angle. :)

The next blog post will be about my tuned....this baby has finished brewing!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Too much paranoia....

Yeah, yeah, I know I posted yesterday, but I've been saving up some good stuff for the last month.

On our September 14th ultrasound, Doc measured her up, and calculated that she was 5lbs 4oz. At 32 weeks, that put her about 2lbs larger than most babies her age. It explained a lot. Mainly, why people are constantly telling me how huge I am. Now, at least I can blame it on the baby!

Well, that news started a little fire. A little fire of anxiety. Most babies gain about 1/2lb each week in the womb during the 3rd trimester. So, I calculate that at this time, she weighs 7lbs, 2oz, which means by her due date, she would weigh 10lbs, 2oz. Whoa. I mean, seriously? All along, I've had this idea that I would want a natural childbirth. But, do I want to naturally push out a 3 month old??? So, I start to panic. What if Doc wants to induce early? What if I actually make it til the due date and she's huge and gets stuck (shoulder dystocia)and I have to have a C-section?? What if, what if, what if??? I get heart palpitations writing this.

Well, no sense in getting too scared, right? Talk to me after you push out a 10 pound baby out of your vag.

Luckily, Doc wants at least one more ultrasound, and we're going next week. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that her growth has slowed and that she's not reaching Godzilla-type proportions in there.

And, save your faces. Don't tell me how huge I am. No more free passes. I will claw out your eyes.

Just the whole delivery process in general is giving me serious anxiety. I thought that if I educated myself to all possible scenarios, watched videos, read the books, took the classes that I would be more ready. I am ready, don't get me wrong, but I don't know if I'm ready ready. It's this huge event that I can only prepare so much for. The rest is out of my hands, and I have a hard time accepting that. Who's a control freak?? ME! Just ask anyone who helped me plan my wedding. My way or the highway, even if I wasn't Bridezilla, I was still very adamant on how I wanted it to be. I never compromised my vision.

Birth isn't like that. You have to give in. Go with the flow. Meditate. Relax.


As if that wasn't enough, there's the different viewpoints, family traditions, historical data and styles of parenting. I think I've found something that I truly like and believe in. It's called Attachment Parenting. It's like the opposite of how most of us were raised in the Dr. Spock era. Now, for all you baby-boomer Mommas out there, this is NOT an attack on how you raised us. I just like this new philosophy. In 30 years, they'll have Detachment Parenting, or Umbilical Parenting or Conjoined Parenting or some such nonsense and my daughter will be schooling me.

Among other things, Attachment Parenting advocates babywearing. Simple explanation, the closer baby is to mom/dad, the more confident she becomes in her "need signals" and therefore grows up to be a more independent child. One of the ways you can wear your baby is with a sling.

The sling has always made me nervous, so instead, I registered for a carrier.

Well, the more I read in my book about the sling, I decided that it is a must have item for my little baby and I to have a good relationship. As I'm reading about the benefits of sling-wearing, I get to the "HOW TO" section. I'm reading up,looking at the pictures, all the while my heart is beating faster and faster. I have successfully stressed myself out reading about how to put a baby in a sling. Well, the directions are written half in Latin and half in some physics language I can't understand. All I know is that I'm not smart enough to successfully put my baby in the sling without serious damage to her neurological function.

So, I email my friend Joan. She's a lawyer. She's smart enough.

And, boy, am I glad I did. She did not disappoint! She sent me links from YouTube that demonstrate how to put the baby in the sling, and no Latin or Physics was involved. Some regular lady put her baby in a sling with no diving, flipping or triple salchows.

Joan, thank you. The anxiety is still there, but at least I have the self-confidence again to at least give it a shot! :)

As the delivery of my baby nears, I'm getting very anxious to meet her. I'm very ready. I dream about breast-feeding some kid (and sometimes animal) every night. The nursery is done. All of her laundry is clean. I'm packing her hospital bag tonight. Mine too. I'm not sure there's anything left for me to do but wait.

And, in the words of Tom Petty: "Waaai-aaai-tin is the hardest part."

Friday, October 8, 2010

The finish line approaches....

Seems like nothing and everything has been happening. We've had a busy month!

Isabella turned 3! I'm sure she had an incredible birthday. I mean, it lasted more than a week! It started with Mimi coming down to the Bayou for Labor Day and lots of arts and crafts and "getting away with murder" occurred. I'm exaggerating, but Izzy sure does love her Mimi. The following (her actual birthday) weekend, she had a party at Chuck E Cheese. And, even though she was scared witless of the big mouse, she had a great time dancing, playing, slurping down cake icing and reveling in all the attention. At home after the party, as her father and I tried to figure out how to get her toys out of the boxes (it's like safe-cracking), she sat on the couch, surrounded by Disney Princess Barbies, eyes drooping, very content. When it was time to go to bed, she didn't even argue. Just grabbed Belle and headed upstairs. She was pooped!
The next day, her daddy and I went to Academy and bought her a swing set!

She spent some of that day with her mom, so we had the set partially assembled when she got home. After we finally convinced her it was a swing set, she ran up to her daddy, wrapped her arms around his legs and said "OH MY GOD! Daddy, I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU!" Daddy was smart and gave credit where credit was due, and informed her that it was my idea, so I got big hugs and loves too. :)

Well, that was the end of the lovelies. All hell broke loose very shortly after. In the form of poop. Yes, poop. And we all know how I feel about poop. Especially 3 year old poop.

Poor girl, this story may haunt her for the rest of her life. Briefly, there were 3 outfits involved and waay too much Clorox.

Her and I were sitting on a blanket, watching Daddy put the finishing touches on the swing set. Izzy never seemed uncomfortable, but suddenly she was very sad. I asked her what was wrong and she said that she couldn't tell me. I was confused. Since when does a 3 year old know how to keep secrets. So, I switch modes, letting her know that it was ok and that she could tell me anything. That didn't work either, she still had her head down, and she couldn't tell me. Then, I got a whiff. I asked her if she poopooed in her panties and she said yes. So, very calmly, we went in and cleaned her all up. It wasn't pleasant, but it was very quick and calm. That was the last time I could use the word calm to describe this evening.

We go back outside, and I tell her to help daddy because I have to start dinner. I tell her to tell her dad if she has to poop again. She was cool with that. So, now in outfit #2, she heads over to her daddy and I go to begin dinner. She had this "sign" that happened when she was about to poop that night....quick crawfishing into the garage. I'm not sure why she picked that, but it happened. I hear crying and I go out and she's upset, so I know she pooped again. So, I inform Daddy that it's his turn, and we all go into the bathroom, where Mike promptly begins taking off the dirty panties. I see this all going down, but there's nothing I can do to stop it. The poop begins to fall out of the panties, backwards onto the floor. On it's way down, it takes a detour down Izzy's leg. This is where the fun begins. Izzy doesn't like to get dirty. She will use 25 napkins at a meal to avoid anything being anywhere. So, she was HORRIFIED to have POOP on her leg. She starts wailing. Mike is prostrate. She gets plopped on the toilet, where the wailing gets worse. Round #2 comes to a close. Two pairs of panties are now in the trash, the poop has been cleaned from all parts and the floor. We put on her favorite PJs and she and daddy go back outside to play on the newly finished swing set, again telling her to let daddy know if she has to poopoo.

Thinking that she couldn't possibly poop anymore, I continue cooking and Mike and her get some play time in. I take some pictures and go back inside. Very shortly after, I hear "I HAVE TO POO! I HAVE TO POO!" and Mike comes running inside, Isabella tucked under his arm like a football. Well, the effort was valiant, but too late. Mike doesn't know this yet, but I do. He pulls down her pants, and all I see is poop, but his only interest is to get her on the potty and doesn't check for poop. The next thing happened in slow motion. As he's putting her on the potty, her panties stick the the toilet, poo side out. I try to stop him, but it's too late. My toiled got stamped, and stamped hard with that poop. But, being the wonderful husband that he is, he listens to me and pulls her away from the toilet again, but only after the entire front had been coated with a layer of poop. At that point, all I could do was laugh, grab a roll of paper towels and the Clorox.

The rest is history. Isabella got a bath, we all ate dinner, and kept our fingers crossed that our evening of poop was over. Thankfully, it was.

Unfortunately, Isabella seemed to have some more anxiety about pooping and gave a repeated performance for her teacher and mommy in the days to follow. No offense guys, but glad it wasn't me.

Fate intervened and we were able to keep Izz for the majority of the month of September. This past week, she pooped THREE times all by herself. I had to "instigate" it by pretending to poop myself once, but it WORKED, and poop ON THE POTTY followed. Hopefully, we'll never have an evening like the evening of her third birthday. It was memorable. For sure.

Luckily, the weather is getting mild enough for her to actually PLAY with her new swing set. One evening, I was at work, and Mike and Izz were playing outside. She had brought one of her Princesses outside to swing and slide with her. She took such good care of her Barbie, carefully holding her on the swing so she wouldn't fall down or mess up her hair. Izzy gently placed her on the seesaw so Barbie and daddy could seesaw together. Barbie even got a ride down the slide. Izzy was so sweet and took care of her little friend while they were playing. Mike said, at that point, Izzy saw a mosquito and proceeded to smack that mosquito to heaven with her Barbie's perfectly coiffed head. Afterward, she smoothed her dress and her hair and asked her Daddy was he was laughing so hard. What does Izzy hate more than getting dirty? Bugs.

I could tell stories about that child all day....she's the funniest thing I've ever met.

Two days after Izz's birthday, we had an ultrasound. And, for the first time in 32 weeks, we legitimately got to see our baby's privates. The first thing I saw when Dr. Russell put the US wand on my belly was a nunee! No doubt about it, we're having a girl. All I remember is feeling this weight lift off me. I didn't realize how I had stressed not knowing what was in there. I couldn't wait....I immediately went to Old Navy and bought some clothes!

Now that we know it's a girl, there's the process of naming the baby. Naming a human is difficult. I will admit that I cause most of that difficulty. I do not want to name my child anything in the top 100 names, but I also don't want to name her something that she'll get made fun of for, either. I do some research, and nothing is really grabbing me. Luckily, I have Mike. In one evening, he had read the entire "girl" section of the baby names book and written down about a dozen that he liked.

Well, there's one we like, but we're not telling. :) p.s. If we told you, keep it a secret!

As if that week couldn't get any busier, that Saturday, I had my shower. I think I had the best shower on the planet, but I'm sure most new mommies feel that way.
I had some great food (desserts!), great company and a nice haul to help me get my life in order before my baby comes!

I finished up September with a couple of 40 hour work weeks, which led to some tears and exhaustion, but got through it. After, I had an entire week off with NOTHING to do, NO responsibilities for Blue Cliff College. There was a whole lotta nothing happening that week.

Well, we did start our Prepared Childbirth classes. I was really worried that I was going to be delivering my baby on a bail of hay in a barn. Let me explain. I have made up my mind several times over that because I live in Houma, and I was unable to find birthing classes that fit my "birth personality" that the hospital I will be delivering in was some backwoods, 1950s era death trap. Well, since I've been attending classes, I feel much much better about my options. Houma isn't THAT far down the bayou. Seems like I will be given many options for labor and delivery and no one will really look at me all that crazy since I'm not going "the norm".

These last few weeks have been stressful. For me, and our little family, but thankfully, things are looking up. I mean, in about 5 weeks, we will be welcoming a brand new addition! So, despite some of the curve balls we've been thrown in the last 10 or so days, things truly are looking up.

Even if I can't see my toes anymore.