November 19, 2014

Thoughts and Ramblings of a 3AM Feed

Now all new moms know about the 3AM feeding.  Whether this is your first child or your 4th child, whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, it is something we all get through.  Those wee hours when you are awaked by those little cries, and the confusion and disorientation sets in.  This is what an average 3AM feeding looks like for me.

Hear stirrings coming from the pack-n-play at the foot of my bed.

Don't move a muscle! .... maybe it's just gas.

First verbal cry.... Maybe he will still go back to sleep...

Second cry... Ok, I'm up, get to the pack-n-play.  He looks asleep.  Wait a minute, hmm I hear nothing... very quietly go back to bed.

Crying. Nope. Ok, guess we are really doing this.

Pick up the baby and make your way out to the recliner.  Try and remember which boob goes in his mouth.. no idea, just pick which every one feels the fullest.

Doze in and out while the precious baby nurses until suddenly you wake up.  Maybe it was from his fussing at your now empty boob, maybe it is from the sound of your own snoring.  Either way you figure out what is going on and you change sides.

This time you are a little more awake, and the baby is a little less urgently hungry. Although you would love to be in your bed, this little baby is pretty amazing.  You guys share that amazing baby mommy eye contact while he drinks happily.  And you might even find yourself thinking... OK, maybe it was worth it to get out of bed at 3AM just to get this moment.

It is becoming quickly apparent to me how fast it all goes.  It seems insane to me that I now snuggle a 6 week old.  While there are times I think getting more than a 3 hour stretch of sleep would be amazing, I am able to look at Ben and Penny and see how fast the time goes.  They are little kids.  There is no baby there any more.  Instead of 3AM feedings I am dealing with sassiness and fighting.  I understand that Judah will only be this small for so much longer.  If he follows the twins, I only have a month or so left before he does sleep through the night.  Don't get me wrong, I will rejoice in my first full night of sleep, but a part of me, no matter how small, will miss those quiet moments.  Those moments when there is nothing to do but snuggle and feed my little baby.  In the fast-paced, quick-thinking world that is motherhood, those quiet moments where nothing else exists except for you and that amazing being in your arms are rare.  So even sleep deprived, I can find enjoyment in the quiet and amazement of those early weeks of motherhood.


November 18, 2014

My Journey and Lessons with Gestational Diabetes

So this pregnancy I was diagnosis with gestational diabetes.  After the shock of the initial diagnosis, I learned how to deal with things.

I was lucky.  Mine was very easily controlled with diet and exercise.  I basically added in some extra walking into my day.  Just simple things like walking around my office and parking farther away and things like that worked for me, and towards the end were about all I could do.

  Diet wise I basically focused on high protein and no sweets.  At first I really watched my carbs and really stressed myself out about it.  After awhile of watching my blood sugar number, I realized as long as I made good carb choices and didn't eat them too late in the night I was ok. Now I was also in Bradley classes, and there is a diet that goes along with those classes.  The main point of the diet is getting lots of protein, you also have to make sure you are eating a variety of food.  So that is the diet I ended up following.  It worked wonderfully for me.

I learned little tricks along the way.  Like if I ate a larger meal I would walk, even just 10 minutes would ensure my blood sugars stayed low.  I think one of the most important thing for me was having a high protien snack before bed.  My fasting number (which is the one you take right when you get out of bed) could sometimes be borderline.  If I had a high protein snack, like a cheese stick or even just a handful of almonds before bed time that number was usually good.

Towards the end I started to think of my diagnosis as even a little bit of a blessing.  It made me change my diet and my level of movement.  I only gained 6 lbs during this pregnancy (and having a high BMI that was perfectly healthy).  And now that the baby has been here I am almost back down to my weight before the twins were even born.  I have been tested since pregnancy and my number are fine, so I am good to go.  I will be tested again in a few months just to make sure, but I feel pretty good about it, even with all the Halloween candy and cookies that have been around.  I will need to be tested more frequently in life now, but with the family history that is probably a good thing.

So over all what I learned was just  a reinforcement of "everything in moderation."  I did cut out sweets, but besides that I learned as long as I am eating a variety of foods and healthy foods I will be healthier and feel better.


November 13, 2014

My Breastfeeding Journey

For me, breast feeding is always a somewhat painful journey.  It never goes quite like it's supposed to go.  I share in the twins birth story a little bit about my journey with them, but basically I never really got my milk in and never produced more than an ounce a day.  I chalked that up to their prematurity and that I could not put them to the breast.  Also that it was just a traumatic birth and really stressful.  I was not really educated and thought it would be much easier than it was.

This time around I was much more educated.  I knew all the steps I was going to take afterwards to make sure we had that bond and give breastfeeding the best start.  I was going to have a natural birth to help.  The birth I had with Judah was so different.  I really assumed my breast feeding journey would be different.

So I had skin to skin right after my c-section with Judah.  And he was in recovery with him and we got him latched.  It wasn't a perfect latch because newborns have such a small mouth... and let's just say, I'm not small, but none the less he was latched. He slept a lot the first two days, but he would latch some.  He was losing weight, but that is what happens, I wasn't too worried.  Then on the 3rd night he was just screaming all night long.  He would fight the latch and when he would latch he would come off quickly and scream.  My nipple hurt so bad due to a shallow latch.  We found out that morning that he had lost more than 11.5% of his body weight and we needed to start supplementing asap, and we also found out we would not be able to leave the hospital until he started gaining again.

So here I am... in the exact same place production wise as I was with the twins.  There is just something heartbreaking about knowing the reason my baby was screaming all night long was because he was hungry and I couldn't feed him.  I am his mother, that is what I should be able to do.  It is such a awful feeling to be unable to do that.  Now I was looking at supplementing.  I knew I did not want to use formula at this point because I was hoping to work through this and still breastfeed, so I put out some feelers with some friends and the Lactation Consultants and we were able to get some donor milk. I am also pumping but only getting 3-5 ml at a time, which is almost literally nothing.

In the beginning we tried so many different ways of supplementing so he wouldn't get nipple confusion.  We did finger feeding.  We supplemented at the breast with feeding tubes. We tried it all.  I would still nurse him but we had to make sure we was getting most of his nourishment in other ways because he was not transferring any milk from me.

I did all of this, but it was so awful.  I think this was so much worse that not getting my VBAC.  There were lot and lots of tears, but I was determined.  So we got his weight up and we went home.  I was in and out of the lactation consultants office for a couple days getting things figured out.  There did some hormone screening to find out why I do not produce.  What came back was that my prolactin levels and low and do not behave like they are supposed to.  Also because of the gestational diabetes there is a big chance I am insulin resistant which can also lead to supply issues.

Let me tell you, there is nothing worse than supply issues.  I hear so often that it is just a supply and demand problem.  All I need to do is just put my baby to the breast and do skin to skin and nurse nurse nurse.  Yeah... I would love if it was that simple for me.  I can do that and many days have, but it still doesn't mean I am able to feed my baby.  My supply has grown, which is promising, but so has his appetite.  I am staying right at about a 1/3 of what he needs.  Although I have started some new herbs and a medication that are looking promising.  I will let you all know about that journey and the life with low supply later.  Let me tell you... I have never taken so many pills in my life, probably close to 30 a day.

So now little Judah is 5 weeks (shut up! There is no way it is going that fast!) and we have a good nursing relationship.  He nurses many times a day for a small amount of milk, but mostly comfort, and I love it.  What is nice is prolactin levels are highest in the late night/early morning hours, so during those late night feeding I don't have to mess with anything, I can just nurse him because I actually have enough milk.  That is the best.  During the day and evening he gets bottles of donor milk.  I have been blessed with a wonderful donor who has given us freezer fulls of milk, so we are still getting all the breast milk goodness.

So that is my and Judah's journey so far.  He happily takes bottle from daddy or grandma or anyone, but he also really enjoys nursing and looks for me and roots as soon as I get him.  As much as I would like to be able to feed him by myself, I am happy with where we are.  I feel like I make enough milk to make it worth it, but I love the nursing relationship we have.  Low supply sucks for many reasons, but we are making it work for us, and Judah is happy and healthy.  So life is good.


November 11, 2014

The Big Question... How are Penny and Ben Handling the New Baby?

So I would say the number one question I get when people find out we had the baby is "How are Penny and Ben doing with the new baby?"  And to that my answer is "Great!"  They really are doing good being big brother and sister.  They love to hold Judah and help feed him.  They love to bring me diapers and through them away.  They are even really good when I am nursing Judah.  But that is not to say the transition has been seamless.

Penny has gotten really sneaky.  There has been piles of shampoo and handfuls of hand sanitizer.  But the big one was this.

In the bag is Penny's hair.  Will found her behind the curtain with piles of hair.  She said she was trying to cut her curls off.  She later told me Elsa doesn't have and curls so she didn't want any curls.  Oh Frozen... Luckily she just cut some off in the front and just a little in the back, so it actually looks like layers.  She may have a career as a stylist.

Ben has been pretty good, but he has been quick to melt down.  So we are just trying to be patient and explain things as they are happening.  There has also been some potty training regression here, but not too bad. I kind of expected that too.

Overall things have gone smoothly.  Judah is an easy baby so that helps.  I do wish I could give them a little more attention than I can, but newborns do take up a lot of time.  Over all we are settling in nicely to being a family of 5.


November 6, 2014

Judah's birth story

I already introduced you to the new little guy.  I already shared part of it about my journey to trying to get a VBAC.  That was an uphill battle.  This story is not about that.  This is the story of the day my precious Judah.  This is the birth story of Judah Michael.

Because of the pressure for multiple reasons to have him early I was busy trying all of the labor inducing tricks I heard of.  From essential oils to pumping to long bumpy car rides (honestly I would say for me the the long car ride helped the most.)  The day after the long bumpy car ride I started having contractions.  They started around 7 on Saturday night.  This was actually my due date, October 4th. They were not super strong, but they were staying about 15 minutes apart.  Will was at work so I let him know what I was feeling.  After they lasted for a couple hours I called our doula and let her know I didn't think I was close as all, but I did think I was in labor.  For the rest of the night the contractions stated about 10 - 15 minutes and got a little stronger.

I decided that morning I needed to have my mom come and get the babies.  I believe it should also be noted that our house was a disaster because 2 days prior we had learned the we had a rotted sewer pipe in the foundation on our home, so the had to jackhammer and replace the pipe in the floor of our pantry and the kid's room.  Great thing to have happen two days before your due date.

So back to the story, my mom comes to pick up Penny and Ben and I continue to labor. Now on Sunday the contractions start to slow and get less painful, I even begin to question if I am actually in labor. My doula comes over and we work on some positions. She also had me doing some curb walking, which is just walking around outside one foot one the sidewalk, one foot off. This is actually much harder than it sounds. It helps get baby down. After she left labor gets back on track. So now I was sitting on my birth ball, walking, and trying to relax. 

We tried to go to bed, but by that time contractions are getting worse and coming faster.  So I am in and out of the shower and trying to lay down. Around 12 they are about 4 minutes apart and very strong. I found I really liked to labor in the glider in Penny and Ben's room. Will has been intouch with our doula this whole time. 

Around 1 or 2 I lose all sense of time. I know my doula came over at some point and we labored at home a bit longer. During this time I thought I was pretty far along because I was shaking and even threw up, which tend to be signs of transition. So we decided to go to the hospital. 

The hospital was about 30 minutes away because of the change in providers, so I somehow managed to get in the back of the van to go. I do remember that on the way over we got stopped by a train where I had never been stopped by a train before (of course.)  So we get to the hospital and the ER people panicky and take me on what seemed like a very bumpy ride to the labor and delivery floor.

Once there I was hooked up to the monitor.  My doula had to hold the monitor on my stomach the whole time to keep his heart beat.  Those monitors do not work well for me and Judah!  Then they came in to check me.  I was really unhappy to hear that I was only a 3.  I thought I was going to be so much further along.  So Will and I talked about it, then we asked the doula what she thought.  We decided I would go home and try to labor longer at home.  I knew that if we stayed at the hospital I would have to have that monitor on me all the time.  Meaning it would have to be held on me all the time.  I was going to have internal monitoring, but my water needed to be broken for that, the Dr had a meeting and said he would not break my water until after his meeting was over around 8.  So that meant for 3 hours I would not be able to move and someone would have to hold that monitor on my stomach.  None of that sounded appealing to me.  So I told the hospital staff we were going to head home.  The Dr found us and told us that he thought that was a bad idea.  I explained my choice to him.  He then proceeded to tell me that his heart rate had a slight dip once (one the monitor that needed to be held on) so my baby might die if I went home.  Looking back I am really angry that was said, because it isn't fair.  I really don't think my babies life was in danger, I think the Dr drove to the hospitol at 4 O'Clock in the morning and didn't want it to be for nothing.  Anyway, I decided to stay.  It ended up not being a problem because on the walk to the room my water broke, so the monitoring issue was moot.  

So I get hooked up to the monitors and settle into the hospital room and start the hard work of labor.  I do a lot of side laying.  I was even able to sleep between some contractions.  I spent a lot of time on the birth ball.  It felt really good to do hip circles and things between contractions.  During this time the back labor was getting bad.  I had some heat compresses and had Will or my doula apply pressure during the contractions.

I'm not sure on the timing of things, but I feel like I got to a 7 relatively quickly and 7 to 10 took a long time.  During this time the back labor was almost unbearable.  I actually asked my nurse when no one was around about pain medicine.  She was wonderful and explained that the option I had since even then I did not was an epidural would only be able to help at a certain time and on certain contractions, so it was pretty easy to turn it down.  During this time my doula encouraged me to push just a little if I felt the need, but not push too much.  That helped a little.  I did not want to move at this point.  Everything hurt my back so much.  Side laying and sitting on the edge on the bed with the bed almost straight up and with the end dropped off and the squat bar up were the only positions I wanted to be in, but my doula encouraged me to move a bit.  I begrudgingly did from time to time.

So I was checked and I got to a 10.  I could now "officially" push.  So I started pushing on the edge of the bed with a squat bar.  This seemed to be working.  My doula helped me and Will would help hold me up.  We tried on all 4's on the bed.  My midwife came on to check on my and also encouraged me to try other things.  So I tried squatting on the floor holding onto the bed.  I tried kneeling.  I tried asymmetrical kneeling.  I didn't seem to be getting anyway.  At this time my midwife told me I should not be drinking and hooked me up to fluids.

Later the OB and my Midwife came in and told me they were concerned because I hadn't been making any progress and they were going to give me until 7 (I think, a certain amount of time anyway) to make some kind of progress or less I would need a C-section.  So I tried so hard and pushed as hard as I could.  Also in this time my doula needed to leave so her replacement came, who I was also very comfortable with.  So she suggested I get on the floor on my back and push.  This was actually the most comfortable thing for me because of the crazy intense back labor.  During contractions Will would hold me up and the doula and a nurse would hold me feet and I would push.  I gave it everything I had and push with all my strength.  When the time had passed the OB came in and checked me.  Even with all of that I still made no progress.  He told me it was time to have a c-section.

I was oddly at peace with this.  I had worked so hard, and I was very disappointed, but atleast I was going to meet my baby soon.  I did know that I had tried everything in my power to have a good birth, and I was proud of the way it had happened up until this point.  Will was more disappointed than I was.  He was just as invested in this journey as I was and really wanted me to have the outcome I wanted.  I would say the worst part of this was the hour or so between knowing I was going to have a c-section and having it.  Those contractions were awful because I knew they were for no reason and I just had to deal with them. That sucked!

The c-section itself was just fine, then I heard Judah cry.  No one can describe that feeling.  At 7:48 on October 6th 2014, I gave birth to Judah Michael, a beautiful 8 lbs 5 oz 20" boy.  We were able to have skin-to-skin right there in the in OR.  It was not optimal, but it was important to me.  I remember seeing him for the first time, I was amazed by the amount of hair he had.  When we went into recovery the baby never left my side.  We tried to latch him right away.  We gave him his first bath and had very little intervention with the baby.  We said no to the eye gunk but he did get his vitamin k injections.  It was actually a very positive experience.

My recovery from this c-section was night and day from my last c-section.  I was very aware and able to focus on the beautiful baby in front of me.

So if you made it through this post I think you may deserve a medal, but 48 hours of labor is a lot to write about.  And this is way I can remember the wonderful day I met my baby for the first time.

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