Tag Archives: baby

I’m a mom again

We went, we delivered, and we are home. 🙂

It was quite an interesting saga, the lead-up to the birth. Because I have (albeit mild and easily diet-controlled) gestational diabetes, my midwives were itchy to get the baby out, and started talking an induction if I didn’t go on my own by my due date, as I have previously chronicled. I did my research and was OK with postponing any induction until Thursday, if needed. Well, Monday I had an appointment and midwife Sue was generally OK with the few days’ postponement, but we both agreed it would be reassuring to have a biophysical profile done (an ultrasound where they specifically check baby’s well-being, blood flow from placenta, amount of amniotic fluid, stuff like that). So I had that done on Monday as well, and while the baby was looking very healthy and everything else looked good, I was apparently low on amniotic fluid… which mostly means it makes it easier for the baby to accidentally wedge up against the cord in utero and cut off its own oxygen supply. Combined with the gestational diabetes, it was a good reason to not wait until Thursday, but given the baby’s otherwise very healthy status, Sue let me wait until Tuesday morning which also gave me an opportunity to drink lots of fluids and try to get the amniotic fluid up a little. I was told to report to the hospital at 6:30 a.m.

Well, long story short… some strong contractions woke me up at 4:30 a.m., and we left for the hospital at 6:15 a.m. I was, quite fortuitously, seemingly in labor, all on my own. Called the midwife from the car, told her we would be just a little late (there had been a little snowfall and the roads were a little slick) but that I was pretty sure I was in active labor.

Got to the hospital, got checked in and changed into hospital garb, my very awesome OB nurse checked, and I was already at 6 cm. That was about 7:30 a.m.

Continued to progress, got the all-clear to push around 8:40, which was good because I really really wanted to push. I think I was still only in transition because the contractions never let up. I JUST HAD TO GET THE BABY OUT. NOW. Her head emerged almost immediately, they got me to pause for just a second because she had the cord loosely wrapped around her neck, so they slipped it off, and I went about the very quick business of pushing out her shoulders. The midwife had me reach down and grab the baby and finish delivering, and lift the baby onto my own chest. So awesome!! She also asked me to do the identifying… “Lisa — what do you have?” she asked. My first delirious thought was “It’s a baby, duh!” but then I realized she was talking about looking for gender!! I took a very hard look, because even delirious I knew I didn’t want to make a misidentification, certainly my husband would never let me live that down. And once I was incredibly certain there was no penis to be found, declared “She’s a girl!”

She cuddled skin to skin with me on my chest until her cord stopped pulsing, then the midwife clamped it off and Frank did the honors of cutting it. I delivered the placenta and was just exhausted. I knew I’d torn a little (how could I not have, I delivered her way too fast…) and while my labor wasn’t very long, it was very intense. The OB nurse took the baby while I started to get stitched up and did all the weighing and measuring and other requisite birth things, and I took her back about 20 minutes later. She latched on at that point and nursed pretty well. I also decided, in an odd fit of whimsy, that we were going to keep the placenta and buy a new tree and plant it under the tree in the spring. Never even hearing of anyone doing this before, let alone with the complete absence of any discussion between us, my dear husband took these new plans in stride. 🙂

And our baby is, in a word, awesome. She’s a great nurser, she sleeps pretty well, she has amazing periods of quiet alertness where she just does her best to look around and see as much as she can (before her eyes cross from the strain, but then she just blinks a couple times and tries again). She is crazy strong, too… even the pediatrician at the hospital commented on it. If she’s laying on your chest, semi-upright, she can lift her head and chest up and do a little push-up. It took her about a day to pick up that little trick, mostly because it helps her look around better.

Since I avoid using real names for my kids on this blog I shall only give you her nickname, and that is Catie. She is perfect and I am in love. Her birth was a great experience and I am so happy and proud that I got to have another drug-free birth… but I am also quite pleased that I never have to do that again, since we have no intention of having any more kids.

Letting go

My daughter Lane has rarely been an easy-going child. I saw it coming, basically from the first day she was alive. Not content to ever, ever be alone, I didn’t get any sleep in the hospital until I brought her into the hospital bed with me. Then I figured out really quickly if I was going to get any sleep once we got home, she’d have to be in bed with us there, too. Naps happened more often than not on my lap or at the breast, or in the Baby Bjorn. And I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. The baby books warned me not to let her sleep too long, but she wouldn’t sleep more than 45 minutes at a stretch. The baby books warned me not to let her to go too long between feedings, but she wanted to nurse every hour.

I think she was a couple weeks old when I sort of came to terms with things, with accepting our version of normal. Finding the Dr. Sears books and website really, really, really helped too. Discovering the term “high need” and realizing Lane was not the first baby to just need a bit more of her parents than might be average.

Having a baby attached to you, in every sense of the word, might seem like it’s a pretty big burden to bear. And I won’t lie about it, there were many times I wished she would just let SOMEONE ELSE help her, even for ten minutes, without screaming like a banshee. But I gotta admit, there are some wonderful things about having a child bonded so closely with you, with such high needs. We had so many precious, intimate middle-of-the-night snuggle/nursing sessions, when the house was quiet and dark and cool. Feeling the pressure of her in-and-out breathing in her sleep as I would wear her in the Bjorn or sling as I finally got a chance to do some laundry or dishes. How she’d be glued to me for a good hour after I’d pick her up from day care once I went back to work, where she just insisted we sit still and cuddle and nurse and just be together to reconnect after a long day apart.

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New baby and the rapture

I spent yesterday and today a couple hundred miles north of home, doting on my friends Amanda and Dave and their new baby, Irene.

Oh my gosh.  Irene is just beautiful!  And sooooo tiny!  But no tinier than either of my babies were; I can barely believe that my kids were that small once.  They are all doing great, and I had a really, really great visit.  And, I got to sleep a solid seven hours straight without being woken up by a toddler or a preschooler or a snoring husband or a wacky dog.  That in itself was worth the trip.  🙂

As I drove home tonight, I was flipping through radio stations and came across some guy talking about the rapture.  It turns out, according to this guy, that it will be on May 21, 2011.  I wasn’t aware they’d picked a date.  So mark your calendars.  If for no other reason, to know when the crazies are going to start coming out of the woodwork.  I wonder, on the day the rapture is supposed to happen and having advanced knowledge, will people who believe it’s coming still go about their normal business, or will they wait in their houses or churches?  Because I’m thinking,  seeing as I’m not exactly god-fearing, it would be a GREAT day to run errands if all the Christians are going to stay home.

How to overcome obstacles: Breastfeeding Narrative #5

There’s so much that can go wrong when you’re breastfeeding.  You start out with those idealistic fantasies.  You know the ones that you have in your head:  you and the baby, nursing together, snuggled in a chair, stylish Boppy pillow, gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes, ethereal glow around you, birds tying ribbons in your hair.

Trouble is, for a lot of people, it doesn’t quite go like that.  First of all, I ordered those ribbon-tying birds in advance and they couldn’t even do a simple square knot, let alone a pretty bow.  All they did was crap all over the place.  Total ripoff.

I personally have dealt with a lot of obstacles — blistered, bleeding nipples, milk imbalance and an overactive letdown, a couple biting phases — and somehow managed to nurse Lane ’til she was about 3 1/2, and Jake’s still nursing strong at 15 months.  These things can be overcome!  Not ALWAYS, but usually.  Your best bet is to be prepared with some information in advance.  Read about some of the common problems at Kellymom.com.  Find yourself a La Leche League meeting BEFORE the baby’s born, and attend a meeting while you’re still pregnant.  Get the leader’s phone number.  Read a couple good books before the baby arrives.  Read this article at CNN.com and bookmark it.

So, I’ve had my share of issues; let me tell you what I personally did to overcome them.

1)  Blistered, bleeding, sore nipples.

Lane came out of the womb READY.  TO.  BREASTFEED.  She got latched on an hour after being born, and nursed like a crazy little sucking machine for a half hour straight… while I was completely prone on my back, legs in stirrups, getting a mystery tear in my vagina located and stitched up.  It was not a position conducive to getting a well-positioned latch, and despite assurances from the OB nurse that she was latched well… she wasn’t.  It didn’t hurt that much, but that first nursing session she sucked a pencil eraser sized blister on my right nipple.  Yeeeow.

Then it popped and scabbed over.  Double yeeeow.  But having done my homework, and very personally vested in making breastfeeding work for us, I knew it was important to let her nurse on that breast, despite the discomfort.  (Did I say discomfort?  Ahh, how time dulls the memory.  It was like a hot poker being jabbed into my nipple.)

So how did I manage?  Ibuprofin to cope with the pain, and Lansinoh brand lanolin cream.  (Lansinoh is AMAZING.  I cannot say enough good things about this stuff.  It is dreamy on sore nipples… not only does it help heal them, it also serves as a lubricant to prevent irritation in the first place.  And it is great for so much more than nipples.  It kicks diaper rash to the curb.  It softens hard, dry skin on your feet.  It is the only thing I’ve found that doesn’t sting to put on a chapped nose when you have a bad cold.  Spend the $10 and get a tube; it will last forever and you’ll keep finding new uses for it.)  Anyway… despite Lane’s near-constant nursing during our first few days, the nipple was all healed up in about three or four days.

2)  Milk imbalance & overactive letdown.

Let me take a minute to explain what this is first.  I’m going to be brief and if I’m any way unclear, you can always read a longer explanation.  Basically, when the milk starts flowing, it’s like skim milk.  It’s got more protein, not as much fat.  This is called “foremilk”.  As baby nurses, the milk gradually becomes thicker, more opaque, more fatty.  Like whole milk, really, and maybe even more rich than that.  It gets downright creamy.  This is called “hindmilk”.

So, you know how if you eat a meal that’s a lot of meat and little else (basically a lot of protein) it sort of messes with your digestion?  You get gassy (and STINKY) and get gas pains and let’s not even talk about the resultant ugly bowel movements.  Well, if a baby gets all foremilk and no hindmilk, he’s getting almost all protein in his diet… not too much sugar and like no fat at all… and boy do you know it by the diapers.  Breastmilk bowel movements are yellow and almost pleasant-smelling.  When you’ve got a milk imbalance going on, the poop looks green and frothy and loses that pleasant smell.  And baby gets gassier, and grumpier as a result.

This happened with Lane, starting around the time she was about 3 weeks old.  I had an overabundance of milk, and she was satiated on mostly foremilk, without getting to the creamy, fatty hindmilk.  The solution I found, and what worked, was ‘block feeding’ – basically, nursing on only one side for a few hours at a time.  I think I did four hour blocks, where Lane only nursed on one boob.  After four hours I would switch to the other boob.

Related to this issue, I also had an overactive letdown.  When my milk starts flowing, it REALLY starts flowing.  My letdown could shoot milk 4-5 feet and soak an entire burp cloth.  Eventually I started catching it in a bowl, and it would often equal 1.5-2 oz. in 20-30 seconds’ time, which is a crazy amount if you think about a little tiny one-month-old baby trying to keep up with this onslaught.  Lane simply couldn’t nurse that fast and would gag… so we learned that as soon as I felt that letdown coming (it is a distinct tingling sensation) I would unlatch her and let that initial letdown pass.  She didn’t get that I was doing it to help her and she’d get all pissed off for those 20 seconds I wouldn’t let her nurse, but it was worth it to not have her gag.  (Either my letdown eased up with Jake, or he was just more capable of keeping up, because I don’t recall having to go through that rigmarole with him.  Each baby is so different!)

3) Biting.

Both my kids have experimented with chomping down on me… and funny, both went through the phase at about six months old.  When Lane was six months old, she didn’t have a single tooth.  Jake, however, already had four.  OUCH!  Don’t think for a second that Lane didn’t hurt me though… that little baby could gum you to death!

The solution that worked best for both babies was simply creating a negative consequence to the biting.  With both, if they bit, that was the end of nursing for a minute or two.  I said, “Ouch, that hurts!  No biting!” and immediately stopped nursing.  Also what helped was simple attentiveness.  I always got bit when I wasn’t paying attention… trying to do other stuff while we nursed, daydreaming, talking to someone else.  I reverted to making breastfeeding that intimate, bird-ribbon-tying affair for a while.  Once my baby didn’t feel like he or she didn’t have to vie for my attention, biting became much less of an issue.

Our children are nocturnal

Tapeta lucidum and all!  (OK, not really.)
Jake decided 7:00 pm. was a good time for a nap.  He took a long-ish nap in the early afternoon, so I thought today would be a one-nap day.  (Most days are two-nap days.  But not all days.)  And now, it’s a bit after midnight and he just will not fall asleep.  And I can’t say I’ve tried very hard, but when you do the sure-fire things like lay in bed with him and nurse in a dark, quiet bedroom and every two minutes he pops up and starts giggling hysterically and shows absolutely no sign of needing sleep, like, ever, you kind of throw in the towel on the effort pretty quickly.

So now he’s up, waddling around the living room while Frank watches whatever he’s watching, eating Goldfish and saying “Dog” over and over again.  Oh, and the giggling too.   The nonstop, joyous, beautiful, endearing, adorable giggling.  I only wish I sort of didn’t know the giggling meant he is nowhere near tired.

The unfortunate bit is that Lane has already been asleep for two hours.  I swear each week these two make a schedule.  “Ok, Jake, you want to stay up late Tuesday and Thursday, and I’ll cover Monday, Wednesday, Friday?  Sounds good!  Go Team!”

Life happens, sometimes

I haven’t been writing the last couple (few?) days, and it’s not from lack of desire.  Life has just been busy!  There’s been lots of running around and playing with offspring and dinners at the in-laws’ and Frank and I actually went on a date on Friday.  It’s been months.

And, to my amazement, I went on a run Saturday morning and didn’t die.  Now, please keep in mind that for me, running is not “running”.  Running is intermittent jogging and walking.  But I like doing it and it makes me dodge that feeling of inertia you get when you don’t exercise for awhile.  I prefer to do it outside, but I’m sort of wussy when it comes to weather, so if it’s too cold, or too wet, or too windy, I won’t be out there.  I totally enjoy running on a treadmill but since right now I don’t have a gym membership, and don’t have a treadmill, that hasn’t happened since October when I did have a gym membership.  We have a gym picked out, and/or once we’re in a house we’ll probably buy a treadmill.  But I ran, honestly for the first time since October.  Egads.  I’ve started the last couple springs with the idea that I want to be able to run a 5K.  Three springs ago, I started out decently enough, and then got three different really bad colds right in a row and that sort of took the wind out of my sails.  Two springs ago, I ran for a couple weeks and couldn’t figure out why I was sucking wind so badly… and then I took a pregnancy test.  Jacob’s pregnancy had me sucking wind if I just looked at a flight of stairs, so any sort of serious working out made me feel lightheaded and ill so that didn’t happen.  Last spring I did pretty well.  I didn’t get to 5K levels, but I was able to increase the jogging intervals from 30 seconds apiece at the start of the spring to 5 minutes at a stretch by the time October and the total life upheaval came about.  Hopefully, I’ll find a way to stick with it again, and maybe push myself even more.  Again, I’d love to run in an honest-to-goodness 5K race, and actually run the whole thing.  Someday!!!

The running got started with me when I stumbled across this training plan, called the Couch-to-5K plan.  It is sooo for me.  I did find that I needed more than a week at each level, so I spent 2-3 weeks at each “week” until I was doing 5 minutes at a time.  Hopefully with a gym membership here, and/or a treadmill, plus the resolve to get outside to run whenever I can, I can get to a point where the idea of running in an actual race won’t seem so daunting.

In other news, Jake’s language has started happening.  Up until now, his communication has pretty much centered around our dog.  He would say “Duh” for dog, and if he saw a dog, or heard a dog, or played with a stuffed dog, he would go “woo woo” which was him barking like a dog.  In the last couple of days he’s gotten the hang of signing “milk” when he wants to nurse, and has also started saying “mum mum” for me, and “ba” for ball.  He may have also said “car” too but it only happened once and I couldn’t get him to repeat it.

My birth stories

Patty is participating in a contest where you share your birth stories, through this blog. Well, I love my birth stories, and I love contests, so why not?!? Here are the birth stories for both Lane and Jake’s births. Enjoy! (Just note, they aren’t terribly graphic, but they are a little graphic… so don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

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