Sunday, December 15, 2013

Three Month Thrills

Raeyn Drop turned three months old yesterday! How the heck did that happen?

We celebrated by having our first date night out! My good friend from Canada came to visit us this week, and last night after we put the baby to bed she stayed to watch her while T and I went out to a nice dinner. I am so glad that our first "babysitter" could be someone we know and trust, and someone who is so great with Raeyn Drop!

She is still usually waking up 4-6 times a night, but we had one miraculous night last week when she slept from 6:30pm-4:30AM and then went back down easily at 4:45AM until 6:45AM! I am still in shock that we got TEN straight hours, and I have a sneaking suspicion that it won't happen again for a loooooong time. Someone told me this can start to happen when babies double their birth weight (which she did this week), but I'm not super optimistic since the next night she was up almost every hour.

My favorite thing is about this period in her life is that Raeyn Drop smiles and giggles all the time (when she's not tired), especially when daddy plays with her toes or when I sing silly songs and laugh along with her. Also when I first turn the light on in the morning and unwrap her swaddle she shoots her hands up in the air and gives me a giant smile!

She usually takes a nap in her bouncer about an hour and twenty minutes after she wakes up in the morning. Then the rest of the day she naps in her swing or car seat. I always start to try getting her to sleep about an hour after she wakes up, in hopes that I'll be successful before she's been awake for 90 minutes; that seems to be her super cranky tipping point! Getting her to nap generally involves tucking her in with a fuzzy blanket, giving her a WubbaNub pacifier, and swinging or bouncing until her eyes start to close. Naps become more difficult and shorter as the day goes on.

Nighttime sleep is easier to come by. Around 6pm I get her undressed, put some lotion on her chest and forehead (she loves this), put on a diaper, long sleeved onesie, socks, and Halo swaddle sleep sack. Then I turn the lights off, nurse her, and put her down in her crib awake. Sometimes I give her a WubbaNub, but usually she just falls asleep on her own! Unfortunately she usually wakes up about 40-60 minutes later needing the WubbaNub, but at least it gives me some time to cook and eat dinner with T.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Aftermath

Lucie's List had forewarned me about what was to come after delivery. However, the email also indicated that an epidural would make me blissfully unaware of it all. Um, nope. Delivering the placenta, the fundal massage, and the stitches all hurt like hell (especially the stitches... thank you teaching hospital), but it was the beautiful baby on my chest -- not the epidural -- that made it all easily bearable.

At some point (the order of things is a total blur), they took the baby to the warmer to do various
doctor-y things to her, including getting her cleaned up. At some point they brought her back and helped get her latched on to feed. A nurse arranged a bunch of pillows and her to make it easy, and it seemed to go well from what I could tell. I was still in a state of utterly disorienting bliss.

I remember them bringing me food, which included oatmeal. I love oatmeal. Then they called for a transfer and I regretfully had to hand over the baby so we could be moved to our new room on the mother/baby floor. They didn't want me walking at this point so I had to go in a wheelchair, although when I think back to that moment it reminds me of this scene from Princess Bride:

(I must be losing my touch, as I couldn't find it in gif form.)

In the new room, the initial euphoria started to wear off and the pain kicked in. I was very pleased to find that the pain from the actual delivery was not nearly as bad as I anticipated (thank you norco), but breastfeeding was excruciating. My nipples were cracked and every time I nursed her I had terrible contractions. The hospital's lactation consultant told me that Raeyn Drop was eating well and latching beautifully, so my breasts should not hurt. Well, they did -- a lot. The line that breastfeeding doesn't hurt if nothing is wrong is a load of B.S. I just kept trying to remind myself how lucky I was that she did have a good latch, as I can't imagine the unbearable pain people feel when things aren't going well.

Other than the breastfeeding issues, I was feeling pretty well. I guess the nurses could see that I was recovering nicely and they told me I should be able to go home the next day. Wait.. WHAT?? I was quite certain my insurance allowed for at least a 48 hour hospital stay after delivery, and I was definitely not ready to leave the nice safe room with the magic button that brought medical professionals running to help me and answer all my questions.

On Sunday morning, there was more talk of going home. T was in favor of this plan because Raeyn Drop had been crying all night and in the tiny hospital room neither of us had gotten any sleep. But he didn't have an electronic bed that raises and lowers with a remote control. And he didn't have to use a squirt bottle and pain killers to make peeing bearable. I wanted T to be comfortable, but I also wanted to continue being a patient for another night. Anyway, I was unconvinced that there was more sleep to be had at home.

Then the pediatrician came and informed us that Raeyn Drop was looking too yellow and we would not be going home after all. They wanted to keep us until the morning and then do a bilirubin test. We requested that it happen as early in the morning as possible so that we could leave in time to pick up my mom from the airport at 1PM. She said that shouldn't be a problem, and we settled in for another night of crying.

Monday morning the pediatrician returned while T was sleeping. She told me that Raeyn Drop's initial test was worse than she thought and we should not expect to be discharged in time to pick up my mom. In fact, it was very possible that Raeyn Drop would have to stay another night as a patient but I would not. Wait... WHAT? She would be transferred to a different floor where T and I would both be relegated to the pull out chair in the corner. Cue panic, as we waited a couple more hours for the results of the blood test to find out more.

Shortly before 11AM, the results came back and we were told they were actually not that bad and we could go home. I was just supposed to spend the next couple days nursing her naked in a sunny window to help with her color.

We were packed up and ready to go in a matter of minutes, half thinking that if we dawdled they might change their minds. In a flurry, I signed all the discharge papers and enlisted a sweet nurse's help getting teeny tiny Raeyn Drop into the car seat. She was swimming in her 0-3 onesie (T didn't have the heart to pull the newborn one over her head for fear of smooshing), but you could hardly see it anyway since the car seat straps basically covered her entire body.

A quick (but exceedingly careful) ride later, and our new family was home! Now what exactly did we get ourselves into?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Raeyn had a baby!

Okay so I guess this is kind of old news now, but it's been hard to find time for tasks that require two hands.

I had a baby!

Three and a half weeks later, I am still in a state of disbelief over this fact. Everything happened so quickly and unexpectedly (yes, after almost 9 months of pregnancy I still wasn't expecting an actual baby), that I hardly had time to think. But I figure I should write it all down before too much more time passes and I start to forget.

Friday, September 13th was my last scheduled day of work (after the HR fiasco that sent me back to work for 4 weeks of this school year despite my approved plans to take the whole year off). I said goodbye to the kids, the teachers, and to my wonderful principal. On the way out the door, my principal asked if I was ready. "Nooooo!" I responded vigorously. I had a hospital bag to pack, a car seat to install, a nursery to organize and finish decorating, a baby monitor to set up, essential baby items like diapers to purchase, etc. etc. etc. Definitely not ready, but thank goodness I was going to have two weeks before my due date to finish preparing. I was feeling good and quite confident that this baby wasn't going anywhere any time soon.

So I went home, ate some dinner, and headed upstairs to watch some TV in bed just after 9 o'clock. About 10 minutes into Burn Notice, I ran for the bathroom.

"What's wrong?" Inquired my dear, sweet husband.
"Um, I think I peed myself," I replied. "I guess I didn't escape the dreaded loss of bladder control that goes along with pregnancy after all."

It was an awful lot of pee, though. In fact, I was quite proud of myself for not getting any on the bed, given how much I had peed. But then I peed again. And again. And every time I stood up or moved around.

"So... I'm not sure this is pee." I called from the bathroom.

A quick phone call to the on-call doctor later, and T and I were frantically trying to pack a hospital bag and head out the door. I kept telling him that surely this was a mistake -- it couldn't possibly be my water breaking at only 37 weeks and 4 days. I wasn't even in labor! Due to my firmly held convictions that I would be laughed out of OB Triage and sent home, I didn't think too much about what I was packing. Things like a laptop power cord and clean clothes for leaving the hospital didn't seem super important when I was operating on the assumption that I'd only be there a few hours. Oops.

On the way to the hospital, I attempted to time my non-painful, totally ordinary contractions (the same kind I'd been having since I was 24 weeks pregnant). Three minutes apart, then nine minutes, then 5 minutes... no particular pattern, which is what they say to look for to distinguish Braxton Hicks practice contractions from the real thing.

We arrived at around 10:30 PM. They had me put on a hospital gown, and it quickly became apparent that I wasn't going home. While I hung out in Triage, T ran out to the car to install the car seat by himself. I think he did a stellar job operating under pressure! He also picked up some Ben & Jerry's Americone Dream ice cream, which was smart thinking for a man whose wife is about to go into labor.

It was 12:30 before a doctor came to check on me. I was just 1 cm dilated and still not having painful contractions. They told me that as soon as a labor and delivery room opened up, I would be getting pitocin to kick-start real contractions. I finally got a room around 2 AM, and had been having painful contractions for an hour at that point. Rather than do another cervical check to see if I'd progressed on my own, the nurses insisted that I start pitocin right away. I was really hoping to avoid it, but since I had already ruptured they wanted to move things along as quickly as possible to avoid infection. We asked if it was our decision and were basically told no.

Oww. I lasted about 20 minutes with the pitocin before the nurse convinced me to get an epidural. I knew I was going to get one eventually, but I was trying to hold out for a while. She basically pointed out that it was silly to wait, given that I couldn't get out of bed anyway now that I was hooked up to the pitocin and about to get a catheter.

The epidural was awful. I was expecting it to hurt, or to be freaked out by the needle, but neither of those were my issues. When they put it in and gave me the test dose, my blood pressure dropped and I became extremely nauseous. I threw up a couple times and pretty much felt like I wanted to die. I was far preferring the painful pitocin-induced contractions to this horrible feeling. They gave me Zofran and did something with the epidural to help, and it was soon feeling bearable again. Based on my reaction to just the test dose, the anesthesiologist decided to give me just half of what she usually gives. Unfortunately this didn't do much and she had to come back to increase it a short while later.

The epidural started working, but primarily on my left side. My left leg was completely dead and I couldn't lift it at all. My right side was mildly tingly, but I could still feel everything. The nurse told me to lay on my right and let gravity do the work of evening out the medication

At 5:30 AM a doctor came to do a cervical check and found that I was 5 cm dilated. When she left, I was able to somewhat drift off despite still feeling the contractions on the right. At 6, the nurse came rushing in because the baby's heart rate had dropped (when I looked at the computer screen after I realized what was happening, it said 100). She had me roll over to my left side and gave me an oxygen mask. I asked about the gravity theory of the epidural, but it was clear that the heart rate issue trumped my desire for the epidural to even out. Fortunately the shift worked and the baby was fine. T miraculously slept through this portion of the evening, and was very confused to wake up and find me with an oxygen mask.

Somewhere around 8 AM, Dr. P (the on-call doctor I'd spoken with the previous night) arrived and said it was time to start pushing. T was charged with the task of holding back one of my legs and counting to ten during each big contraction. He was so focused on being supportive, that he kept stopping mid-count to tell me what a good job I was doing. The nurse holding my other leg took over the counting, probably fearing for T's life should his counts of 10 continue to take more than 10 seconds!

At some point when it felt as though I'd been pushing forever and making no progress, Dr. P asked if Dr. B and I had discussed episiotomies. I said no, but the reason we hadn't discussed them was because Dr. B said she pretty much never does them! Freaked out, I continued pushing and apparently made some progress after all.

At 9:10 AM, Raeyn Drop finally made it all the way out and they put her on my chest. For a moment, nothing hurt and everything was utterly perfect. I have never felt that kind of complete happiness before.

I suppose after that absurdly long post, I'll leave it there and write about our postpartum experience another time.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

34 Weeks

Last week my doctor sent me for an ultrasound because she was mildly concerned that my belly was measuring small. Dr. B seems to think an ultrasound is the answer to everything, and I'm perfectly happy with that as it means I've gotten to see my little one six times so far this pregnancy! So as of Friday, Raeyn Drop was 4.9 lbs and in the 45% percentile. Everything looked great!

Due to a mess up with human resources, I unexpectedly had to go back to work this week. I thought I was taking the whole year off, but apparently I'm required to start the school year and work until September 16th. As a result, I will not have much time to finish getting everything ready for the baby. Fortunately, I was able to get the nursery mostly finished last week. The lesser priorities may have to wait until my leave officially begins. Hopefully the baby doesn't come too early so I still have time to finish everything!

Here's my outstanding to do list (or at least what I can think of right now):

  • Organize nursery closet
  • Hem curtains
  • Nursery artwork
  • Make a mobile
  • Pack hospital bag
  • Install car seat
  • Figure out baby monitor
  • Buy outstanding registry items
  • Buy diapers

Monday, August 12, 2013

Drawer Organization

I'm 33 weeks along now and things are starting to get real! I've had a few panicky moments when I started to think about how I'll be full-term in less than a month and there's still so much to do.

I bought some Ikea Scubb drawer organizers ages ago, but I've been putting off the actual organizing part. A post from Svenny today inspired me to get started and I'm so glad I did. I washed all the clothes, towels, blankets, etc. with All Free & Clear and got to work. It took about 5 hours, mostly because I kept scrutinizing all the clothes and sleep sacks trying to figure out sizes of things. It would be super helpful if different companies could agree on how big each size should be, but apparently they think new moms need an added challenge.

In my pinterest/google search for tips on organizing a nursery dresser, I noticed that there aren't many good examples out there that really describe what to put inside. I found several great blogs with photos of open drawers to use as inspiration, but I thought I would label everything in mine in hopes that it can help others in their organizing journey. I suspect that I will make changes as I go, but for now this system made sense for me.

The canisters on top of the dresser will hold things like nail clippers, nasal aspirator, thermometer, and creams. All other clothes will be hung in the closet, which still needs a lot of work. But for now, I'm happy to get a big job crossed off my list!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Diabetes Debacle

Yesterday I had a meltdown and cried at the lab when I arrived for my 3-hour glucose test. I got my way because of it and I don't feel bad in the least.

I flew back from Miami in the morning and called the lab when I landed. I asked if I could come in for the test at 11:30 and they said that's fine. Fast forward to 11:30 -- it had been 12 hours since I'd eaten and I was operating on 4 hours of sleep. I had just trekked across the city on a train, a bus, and another train to get there. I arrived at the lab, waited 30 minutes, and was then told they don't do 3-hour tests that late in the day so I would have to come back tomorrow. Apparently they don't want pregnant women fasting for that long during waking hours. OH HELLS NO.

Cue hyperventilating and tears. I thew a bunch of logic at her too, like the fact that I had ALREADY fasted so it would be worse to make a pregnant woman fast for that long two days in a row. But I'm pretty sure it was the tears that got her to call her supervisor. A few minutes later, I had a refreshing sugar-loaded drink in my hand and I gulped it down before they could change their minds.

Lab protocol: 0
Cranky pregnant lady: 1

The waiting wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. I didn't feel nauseous at all, and the tired/shaky feeling was just as likely due to my lack of sleep as to the sugar. I believe that years of practice consuming entire pies by myself in one sitting prepared me for this experience. Coming down from it later that evening was a trip, though. I had to take a nap and when I woke up it felt like I had a killer hangover.

The nurse from my OB's office called me today to give me my results. This time I had the presence of mind to ask for my actual numbers.
Fasting: 72 (95 is passing)
Hour 1: 160 (180 is passing)
Hour 2: 161 (155 is passing... how did I go up??)
Hour 3: 118 (140 is passing)

Apparently three out of four ain't bad, and they declared I officially do not have gestational diabetes! Huzzah! I'm still waiting for my celebratory pie.

(For anyone interested in practical information about gestational diabetes, I found this blog post to be very helpful:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mmm, mmm glucose!

Last week I finally finished school and I went in for my 1-hour glucose test before packing up my classroom. The sugary orange drink wasn't nearly as bad as I'd feared, and the sugar rush actually made me feel great! (Until the big sugar drop later that afternoon, but chocolate fixed that.)

The nurse from Dr. B's office called me back on Monday and explained that I had failed the test. She didn't say what my number was, and I didn't know enough to ask at the time. Personally I think there must have been a mistake, as I am generally the KING of anything related to sugar. Baking with sugar? No problem. Eating sugary things? I have no equal. Regulating blood sugar? Er, apparently I need to work on that.

After my initial panic that this may cause problems for my vacation to Miami, the nurse assured me I could eat as usual during my trip and do the follow-up 3-hour glucose test the day I get back (July 9th). Little does she know what "eat as usual" means...

I didn't anticipate that the personal-trainer friend we're staying with is glucose-free and stocks her fridge with nothing but fruit and quinoa. Please someone come bring me a giant piece of blueberry pie with ice cream while I'm still allowed to eat it!!!

So here I am in Miami, 27 weeks pregnant, doing aqua-fitness and eating healthy. Fingers crossed that next week I find out the glucose results were a fluke so I can go back to my sedentary pig-like ways.