Friday, January 23, 2015

The Night of Three Times

Life with a newborn is constantly changing. You get few days in a row of sameness, and and you let your guard down. You think to yourself, "Hey! If this is how it's going to be, this isn't so bad." And then, things change again and throw everyone (your newborn included!) for a loop.

Lucy gave us 4 days in a row of good sleep. She'd go down between 10pm-11pm after a couple of hours of fussing and cluster feeding, stay down until around 3 or 4 am, have a quick feeding and be back down until around 7. A really great schedule that made perfect sense, allowing me to feed her until she fell back asleep and letting me get up and ready for the day. I've even learned to start loving the middle of the night feeding  now that I'm back at work, where we get to just cuddle quietly together without anything else to do.

Of course, everything changed last night. She did her cluster feeding a bit earlier than usual, and fell asleep an hour earlier than usual, at 9pm. So, I went with it. Put her down for the night and headed back downstairs for a full hour of hands free, boob free time! "Maybe we are inching towards getting our post-bedtime evenings back," I thought to myself, like the fool that I am.

All was well, even an hour later when B and I came up to sleep. She stayed asleep in her bassinet, breathing heavily. B and I fell asleep at 10, also perfectly contentedly. Of course, OF COURSE, Mia chose this night, this beautiful night, to start screaming at midnight. For absolutely no obvious reason once B went to investigate. And of course, OF COURSE, said screaming also woke our perfectly sleeping baby, messing the whole schedule up.

We may have gotten an hour of freedom, but we certainly paid for it in the middle of the night. Because Lucy's middle of the night wake up was so much earlier than usual, she woke up a second time at 5am, and this time, screamed every time I put her down, which meant we  dozed while she was in my arms for 2 hours (I couldn't even put her down next to me until 7am!).

Thank goodness it's Friday. It certainly makes these prickly eyes easier to bear.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The first week back

B left Wednesday for a work-training in Salt Lake City. It's been planned for a while, and I've been dreading it all that time. Every single time he brought it up in the past few weeks, I'd tell him to please shut his mouth on the subject, as I continue to pretend it is not happening until I absolutely must think about it. Anyway, things went quite well for the first night! Lest you think that I am superwoman, please remember that my Mom is still with us. Though to be fair, I was completely on my own for Lucy's bedtime and overnight care. Really, not that bad. The second night wasn't bad, she wasn't particularly fussy or resistant, but she stayed awake overnight for a good two hours. For the first hour, I didn't see the time go by. I'd look down at her little face and be so happy to have this time to hang out with her, but by the hour and half mark, when there were only 2 hours left before my alarm went off, the niceness of it had worn off. Every time she'd start dozing off, she'd need a diaper change, or the second time, she'd spit up all over herself and needed a full clothing and blanket change... so of course, she'd be wide awake after all the commotion. I'm adjusting to the lack of sleep, but by the end of the day, I'm totally wiped.

Closing out the first week of being back at work, and I am completely exhausted despite not being terribly busy. I'd been working from home the week before, on something that was quite a big deal and took a lot of time but was completely finished last Friday at 4:50pm, so that really made coming back in this week much much easier. I'm not sure where the exhaustion comes in, because physically, it feels like I'm able to rest more here, at my desk, in front of a computer, rather than at home, trying to juggle a baby, laundry, mealtimes, etc.

The thing about being back at work, and not being terribly busy, is that I've been completely focused and borderline obsessing about pumping. By the time I manage to get myself into the office (this should get better by the time B gets back next week), it's already been a couple of hours since the last feeding, so it's time to pump. And while I'm pumping, I try my darndest not to stare at the little bottles filling up ever so slowly. Once I'm managed to squeeze the last possible drops out of myself, I'll clean up, store the milk in those tiny little zip-lock bags I love so much, put them  in the little cooler I love so much, and rinse out my parts. Then, as soon as I get back to my desk, I'll do the math about how many more ounces I need to pump at the next session (and the one after that) to replenish the amount she ate the previous day. It's an obsession. I really hope I can start to relax about it soon, because I honestly don't think about much else during the day. It's exhausting! Mothers who go back to work and manage to do this for an entire year... serious kudos to you.

Today is Friday, and I've never been more excited about it!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Back to Reality

Lucy is 6 weeks old! Or at least, she will be tomorrow. But I am back at work, while Lucy stays at home with my Mom for the remainder of her visit. She leaves January 28th, and I will resume my experiment in "parenting from work" where little Lucy will tag along with me, be worn around my office as I try to get things done in between diaper changes, feedings and keeping her happy. This ended up working relatively well with Mia, at least until she got a bit too big to be content strapped to my chest. I'm hoping Lucy will give us a good 6 months -- once she starts to crawl and be mobile, it'll have to be full time daycare.

But, a bit about my seemingly short break. Lucy's birth was good, as I described in my last post. She's doing very well, feeding well, gaining weight well, no issues of any kind. She's a lovely baby, who is unhappy unless she's held while awake, but will sleep on her own without too much trouble. She was born at 7lbs, 2oz, and now weighs 9lbs, 4oz, so everything is going well there. I'm still breastfeeding, and hopefully everything goes alright with me pumping while I'm away from her.

But somehow, my recovery went a bit off track after the first couple of weeks. First, I had an allergic reaction to the pads I was using for postpartum bleeding - this was very painful and unpleasant, on an area that is already messed from birthing a human baby. The Doctor prescribed some steroids, things got better (though only after an EXTREMELY painful examination on my lady parts, that were already, as mentioned, messed up from birthing a human baby). But then, they got worse again, and evidently the allergic reaction then triggered an infection, which meant another trip to the Doctor. After a less painful examination but multiple viewings by multiple Doctors in the practice which, I have to tell you, did not reassure me that things were going to get any better if they kept on debating what the hell was happening to my angry lady parts, they finally came to an agreement, sent me off with some cream and things did get better. So that will have to do to explain my lack of energy for anything but feeding my baby, giving attention to my 3 year old, and managing the out of town visitors we had. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Lucy's Birth Story

Since my office was closed on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday, I scheduled my maternity leave/vacation to technically start on the Monday following, December 1st. At the time I made my schedule, I thought there was absolutely no way I would make it to then without a baby, and while I wasn't completely off, I was pretty frustrated to find myself sitting in my office that wednesday morning, triple checking that everything I could wrap up was in fact, wrapped up.

That afternoon, I had my 39-week Doctor's appointment. I was fully prepared to get my membrane sweep, which my Doctor with Mia also did at my 39-week appointment, and I went into labor very very shortly after. B kept making jokes that he didn't want me to get it done that day because he wanted to be able to watch the Bears game on Thanksgiving. I told him very nicely to go screw himself, and secretly hoped for my labor to make plain my feelings on the NFL taking over way too many days of the week. But, as my Doctor walked in, she informed me that a membrane sweep was not recommended for someone who had tested positive for Group B Strep (which I did). I was basically enormously pregnant and enormously disappointed that I actually needed to wait for this baby to come out completely on her own. She did tell me though, that as soon as I was in any kind of labor, I should come in to the hospital to get my antibiotics started (because of the Group B Strep).

Thanksgiving came and went with absolutely no signs of labor, and I decided that I would no longer be relaxing. I bought one of those big pilates balls, bounced on it for hours a day, took long brisk walks, went shopping for our Christmas Tree, and decorations with my Mom (she insisted on an all-pink tree this year, to please her first grand daughter and celebrate the birth of her second). On Friday night, I contracted regularly and painfully for a few hours, but they weren't close enough together to be considered active labor. Plus, once I went to bed, they spaced out and let me fall asleep pretty soundly. The same thing happened Saturday, and Sunday night. By Monday, two days before my due date, I was exhausted and decided that if I contracted regularly again, we'd go into the hospital and at least see what they had to say about these contractions that were seriously getting on my nerves.

As predicted, it totally happened on Monday night as well, and B and I headed to L&D. I was fully convinced that as soon as I got strapped to the monitor, they would stop and I would be sent home. They did stop, but I was dilated to just shy of 4cms. My Doctor was on call that night, it was pretty slow, so he poked around down there a bit vigorously, told us to walk around the hospital for about an hour and see if my contractions could get regular enough to be considered active labor. Whatever he did down there definitely put me over the edge, and the contractions started coming strongly and closely while I walked. When I was rechecked, I was past the 4cm threshold for admittance, and I was put in a birthing suite and my antibiotics were started. An hour later, my antibiotics were in and my water was broken, which REALLY made things painful and quick.

I got my epidural after about 3 hours of post-water contractions. I didn't remember the epidural much from last time, but it was an incredibly unpleasant experience this time around. I do remember my first epidural completely numbing my bottom half and legs, so much that I couldn't hold myself up in my hospital bed. This time, I was told that I should continue to feel my legs, and that the only thing that would go somewhat numb would be my abdomen. I should continue to feel pressure, but no pain. 

It was actually kind of amazing. I could move my legs, not so much that I could walk, but I could shift in bed as I wanted to, lift my legs as needed, etc. I could feel that two hours later, my contractions were close enough together that I wanted very much to push through them, and alerted my nurse. Of course my labor would choose that specific moment to want to push, since it was shift-change time at the hospital and my Doctor (who had the overnight shift) had just left, so his partner (who I had met, but didn't particularly like) was now on call, but was in the middle of a scheduled c-section at a different hospital about 20 minutes away. 

Based on my history (with Mia) of a nurse delivery, quick pushing, and significant tearing, my Doctors wanted absolutely no pushing or pressure of any kind until he was in the room. I sat there, breathing through but not pushing through the strong (but not painful) contractions for AN HOUR AND A HALF before he came in the room at 9am.

He was as unfriendly as he was in the office, but he turned out to be really great at his job. He had me push once, during which I tore an inch (1st degree tear) along the line of my first tearing scar, and he immediately stopped me, gave me very specific leg positioning and pushing instructions, had me push three more times and by 9:05am, Lucy was born very gently into the world! I could feel everything but pain and felt very much in control of the whole situation. 

Within 2 hours of delivery, I was on my feet and going to the bathroom with a bit of help from my nurse, who was also awesome. Somehow, I got her all to myself and she was basically with me at all times which was really great. I felt like I got such better care at this hospital than I did for Mia's delivery across town. On that first day, I felt absolutely great, declined the stronger pain medication (until that night... when things were not AWFUL but pretty painful when sitting up). 

Lucy was wide awake for a few hours following her birth, she latched several times and was taking really REALLY strong and painful pulls almost immediately. Around 2pm, B left the hospital to pick Mia up, we did the initial introductions and Mia was absolutely thrilled and sweet. Lucy brought Mia a "big sister" gift, which was an Elsa doll (since Elsa is the big sister and all), and Mia was totally charmed and impressed. By the end of Mia's visit, we had Elsa glitter all over the hospital room, but it was worth it. 

We were discharged from the hospital the next day, and while we had a rough first night, we've settled into a pretty good sleeping and feeding groove, so things are going well. At Lucy's first visit to the pedia (and during our meeting with the lactation consultant in the hospital), we found that Lucy had a tongue tie that was snipped right then and there, with absolutely minimal bleeding and 100% improvement on the painful latch. Other than that, I've felt so happy and fulfilled and incredibly satisfied with my two girls. More on her first days soon!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Lucy Catherine

A quickie update to share that Lucy Catherine was born on December 2, 2014 at 9.05am. After a weekend of contractions, I finally started contracting at regular enough intervals to go into labor and delivery. Lucy was born a few hours later, and we are now home and resting. I'll do a birth story post in a few days!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Still no baby, folks!

While Baby #2 is not quite late yet, she sure is taking her time to make an appearance. I am however, officially on maternity leave, so at least I am not sitting at my desk staring at my computer wishing I wasn't there. Part of me feels pretty silly for taking these couple of days off, but in the grand scheme of things, I think these two days will be most appreciated now, rather than starting on a Wednesday or Thursday when I come back.

Thanksgiving was nice, but pretty low key. We were hesitant to commit to anything since, yeah, but of course in the end we were cautious for nothing. On Wednesday, I had my 39 week appointment, at which I had made no actual progress. I asked for a membrane sweep, but evidently this is not allowed when you have tested positive for Group B Strep. The first time around, I didn't test positive and didn't actually think much of it, but the membrane sweep is what put me into labor the first time, so I'm starting to get discouraged that my body doesn't know how to go into labor without one.

On Saturday night, I was absolutely convinced I was legitimately in labor. I had contractions between 4-5 minutes apart, some were very painful and some were not, but they eased up after an exhausting 5 hours. I've been contracting on and off since then, which is also exhausting, but they are neither regular nor painful enough to keep me from talking through them. 

So! That's the update, non-update. 

Meanwhile, I've taken my "extra time" off to spruce up the Etsy Shop for the Holidays, so take a look at my new listings and share them with anyone you think might be interested!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Not much of an update

My Mom flew in from China and arrived in Las Vegas yesterday, so that is a relief.

39 weeks tomorrow, a few painful contractions last night that stopped as soon as I went to bed.

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