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Three weeks September 30, 2009

Filed under: baby! — airingdirtylaundry @ 2:46 pm

Somehow another week has flown by . . . .

Maggie is amazing us every day.  She’s so much more alert and aware of the world around her.  She smiles at us (I don’t care if it IS gas, a smile is a smile) and is interested in the toys that hang over her little vibrating rocking seat and her swing, and even makes motions to bat at them.  It’s so neat to watch her get a little bit more coordinated with each day.

In honor of her being three weeks old, yesterday was the first time that the two of us left the house together by ourselves and we spent the day out and about.  I wasn’t supposed to drive for three weeks after my C-section, and although I had cheated a little by going on a few quick errands by myself in the past week, this was the first time I had driven with her in the car.  We went into my work to get her added to our health insurance and to let everyone I work with fawn all over her.  After that, we went to the mall to drop off some packages at the post office and stopped in a few stores to buy her some more long-sleeved shirts and onesies–it’s gotten really chilly here in the past few days!  It was the first time I used her stroller, which was a learning experience–I’m so used to just zipping through stores and had to learn to navigate the stroller around racks and through narrow aisles.

She slept basically from the time we left the house until we got home . . .I think the fresh air and the car ride really knocked her out!  It took me wrestling her out of the car seat once we got home to wake her up enough to feed her–that was the first time I’ve ever had to wake her up to make her eat!

 

Two weeks September 22, 2009

Filed under: baby! — airingdirtylaundry @ 2:52 pm

I can’t believe Maggie is two weeks old already!  She had her two week well baby appointment with the pediatrician this afternoon, and is back up to her birth weight, which means she has gained 13 oz since Friday!  It seems like she’s hungry non-stop around the clock!  She’s also an inch longer than she was at birth.  They actually re-measured her just to make sure that it wasn’t a mistake.

We’ve been tearing our hair out dealing with her crankiness over the past few days . . .even with a full belly and a clean diaper she hasn’t wanted to sleep or even lay flat on her back.  Instead, she’s been more interested in crying her head off and freaking her parents out.  If we put her on her back and she’s able to roll herself over on her side, she’ll fall asleep for a little while (while I hover over her afraid that she’s going to keep rolling and end up on her belly). She only falls asleep sitting upright or at an angle, and immediately wigs out when you try to lay her down.  Based on that, along with a few other things, the pediatrician thinks she may have acid reflux.  So my little 2 week old baby is starting Zantac today and we should hopefully have a much happier baby by the end of the week. 

As much as I don’t want her to grow up quickly, I wouldn’t mind it if she was able to talk and tell me what’s wrong when she doesn’t feel well.  I’m not very good at this guessing game!

 

Maggie’s birth story September 20, 2009

Filed under: baby! — airingdirtylaundry @ 10:40 pm

Mike and I spent all of Labor Day being lazy . . .lounging around on the couch, snacking instead of eating real meals, reading, watching TV.  We never even showered or got dressed, staying in the clothes we had slept in the night before.  Around 10:15 that night, I went upstairs to get ready for bed, planning to read for awhile and then get a good night’s sleep.  One of the cats had knocked a book off of my nightstand, so I bent down to get it.  As I stood up, I felt a trickle of something run down my leg.  I walked into the bathroom, and the trickle increased a little the more I moved around.  I looked down and there was a very small puddle at my feet.  I heard Mike walking down the hall, so I asked him to come into the bathroom.  He came in, assuming I wanted to show him something that Forrest had done (or destroyed).  I smiled at him and told him that my water had broken.  We looked at each other, a little in shock, realizing that we were on our way to the moment we’ve waited so long for.

I called Dr. L’s service and had him paged.  He called within a few minutes and I explained that my water had broken but that I wasn’t having any contractions.  He told me to come ahead in to the hospital.  We both got quick showers, knowing that it would be awhile before we had the opportunity to do so again.  We already had our bags in the car, so we just had to do a few last minute things, like leave extra food out for the cats, and we were on our way.  Labor day was just beginning for us.

That late at night there was hardly any traffic, so we made it downtown quickly and easily.  Within 15 minutes of arriving at the hospital I was admitted, settled in my room, and in the process of having an IV put in.  I had to have pitocin since I wasn’t contracting at all on my own.  Dr. L was on call at the hospital that night, so he came in right after I was admitted to examine me.  I was only at 1 cm. 

By 11:45, the contractions had started.  I didn’t want an epidural, and was a little nervous about the pitocin, knowing that the contractions would come on faster, stronger, and closer together than they would have if I was able to just let things happen naturally.  I had brought a small radio and a few CDs I had made with relaxing music, so Mike started up the music for me and the two fo us sat there and talked about how our lives were going to change.  He dozed off and on while I read a book.  The contractions were getting stronger and longer–at one point around 3AM, the nurse scaled back the pitocin because they got too strong too quickly.  My body had taken over on it’s own. 

By 7AM, the contractions were too strong for me to talk through and were about 5 minutes apart and a minute long.  Dr. L had left, and Dr. B came in to examine me.  I was only at 3 cm, which was disappointing.  I had hoped by that point that things would be much further along.

At about 9:45 that morning, I was getting a little worn out and knew that it would still be a while before the little one made her appearance.  The nurse (who thought I was crazy for not wanting an epidural) offered me nubain so that I could get a little relief from the pain.  I didn’t like the idea of taking anything that would cross the placenta and make the baby loopy, but at the same time I didn’t want to get to the point of having to push and being utterly exhausted.  Since nubain wears off quickly, I elected to take it.  Looking back, I’m so glad I did.  I got about an hour or so of relief–I could still feel the contractions, but they were dulled.  I was even able to doze off and on for half an hour.  By the time the nubain had worn off, I felt refreshed.

By noon, I was at 5 cm.  I was hoping that things would start to progress more quickly from that point, but I think I knew deep down that I wouldn’t be that fortunate.  The contractions had really intensified–during each one I gripped a tennis ball in each hand, closed my eyes, took deep slow breaths, relaxed as much as I possibly could, zoned out, and focused on nothing but riding out the wave of pain.  I don’t think there’s ever been a time in my life that I’ve been so in tune with my body, or able to focus so intently.

The afternoon wore on, and I took the second, less potent, dose of nubain.  Compared to the first one, it didn’t do much, but it at least took the edge off for half an hour or so and gave me a chance to regroup.  At 4:30, Dr. B came in to check me and I was still at 5 cm.  Not good.  He said that he would give me a little more time to see if things progressed, but it was fairly likely that I would have to have a C-section.  After he left, Mike and I discussed where things stood and decided that we might as well go for the C-section.  I had been in labor for 16 1/2 hours by that point and was starting to wear out.  We knew that it would still be some time before I would even get into the OR, so we let the nurse know that we had decided on the C-section.  Looking back, I’m so glad we did that when we did.  The L&D floor was full–they had run out of rooms and were pushing back scheduled inductions in order to accommodate women who were already in labor.  There ended up being a lot of C-sections that afternoon/evening, so it was almost 7:00 that night before I got into the OR.  I was really worn out by this point, having just gone through 2 1/2 hours of contractions knowing that they were worthless.  My mental focus was way gone.

The most difficult part of the day was having a spinal done while still in the midst of frequent, strong contractions.  I was sitting on the edge of a table, leaning forward into one of the anesthesiologists, who hugged me as tight as he could while I wimpered with each breath and the other anesthesiologist did his thing with my spine.  It seemed to take forever.

Once the spinal was done and I laid down on the table, I could feel myself finally able to relax fully as the contractions faded.  A few minutes later, everyone was in place, Mike was brought in and seated near my head, and surgery had started.  This was the first time I had ever had surgery while being fully conscious, and what amazed me the most was the number of people in the room–2 pediatricians, 3 doctors, 2 anesthesiologists, 2 people from the NICU, a handful of nurses, and a number of other people whose roles I wasn’t quite sure of.

Twenty minutes after the spinal was administered, we heard one of the doctors exclaim “Look at that head” and another one said “Look at those shoulders! Huge!”  It was then that they told us we had a baby girl.  Mike and I immediately started crying and blubbering to each other.  They held her up to show us, and then quickly cleaned her up and weighed and measured her before swaddling her and handing her to her proud papa.

She was 10 lbs 2 oz and 21 1/2 inches long.  As one of the doctors said, I could have been in labor for a month and she would never have come out as originally intended! 

So even though just about every aspect of my birth plan was shot from the second we set foot inside the hospital, I was so happy with the care I received and that I was given options and detailed explanations and allowed to make informed decisions.  The most important thing was to have a healthy baby . . .

And she is!

Almost 2 weeks after her birth, I sit here now and wonder how we ever lived without her.  She has completed our family and has made us both see everything around us in a different light.  We’re loving every minute of our time with her!

 

More visits from family

Filed under: baby! — airingdirtylaundry @ 6:32 pm

My Dad and his girlfriend came to visit this weekend, along with my brother and his fiancee.  Maggie is my Dad’s first grandchild, and my brother’s first niece, and they were both so excited to meet her.   It’s times like these where I wish we lived closer.

 

Love for Dr. F September 19, 2009

Filed under: baby! — airingdirtylaundry @ 3:31 am

I didn’t give much thought to choosing a pediatrician, other than finding one that was near our house.  I got a recommendation from a friend, called them about 6 weeks before I had Maggie, and that was about it.  My philosphy was that once I had the baby, I’d go to them for the first few appointments, and if it didn’t work out and I didn’t like them, then I’d switch to someone else.

Last Thursday, when we were still in the hospital, Maggie had jaundice.  Her bilirubin levels were high enough to warrant her undergoing light therapy overnight Thursday night and most of Friday.  So instead of being released on Friday morning as scheduled, we spent the day staring at her in an incubator.  It was heartbreaking, but we knew that it could be something much much worse.

She was allowed out of the incubator only to eat, and had to be on a bili blanket while I was feeding her.  We had to start supplementing with formula so that we could get as much food in her as possible in an effort to get the bilirubin out.  With her being a bigger baby, it would take more than my body could produce at the time in order to flush out her system.  By early evening on Friday, her levels were low enough that she was able to be released but had to come back for bloodwork on Saturday.  The pediatricians at the hospital were fantastic to deal with and spent a lot of time with us.  And the OB that was on rotation that day was kind enough to NOT release me until Maggie was released so that there wasn’t a chance that I would have to go home without my baby.

On Saturday morning, we went back to the hospital for the bloodwork, and got a call a few hours later that her levels were up again and that we’d have to have more bloodwork done on Sunday as a precaution.  Of course, being first-time parents, we were a little freaked out.  All I could think was that the bilirubin levels would get high enough to cause brain damage, and that something as “ordinary” as jaundice would escalate to something much much worse.

We went back to the hosiptal on Sunday to get additional blood drawn, and Mike and I decided to hang out in the cafeteria for the hour until results were available.  Just in case something was wrong and she would need additional treatment or to be readmitted, we didn’t want to drive the whole way home just to have to turn around and come back.  The pediatrician called us to tell us that the bilirubin levels were still high, even higher than the day before, but not quite high enough to treat with a bili blanket or additional light therapy.  I talked to her for about 10 minutes, asking questions about the likelihood of a problem with her liver and other questions I had about jaundice and what to expect/look for over the next 24 hours until we saw our pediatrician for the first time.

It was then that I really began to appreciate a good pediatrician.  We had been released from the hospital 2 days prior, but this woman was willing to spend as much time as necessary with me.  Technically her “job” was done since we were no longer patients at the hospital and she could have easily blown us off with “Your regular pediatrician will answer any questions when you see her on Monday.”  But she didn’t.  She cared about us even though her obligation had already been fulfilled.

We went to Dr. F on Monday for Maggie’s 1 week well baby appointment and also as a follow up for the jaundice.  I liked her immediately.  In addition to having 2 children of her own–the youngest only 10 months old–she goes to the same OB as me and delivered at the same hospital.  She also has a great personality and really listened to what I was saying, and I felt so at ease with her.

She spent a lot of time with us, answered the big list of questions I had, told us that the jaundice was clearing up and to keep doing what we were doing, and reassured us that we weren’t making a big mess of this whole parenting thing.

Maggie’s birth weight was 10 lbs 2 oz.  When she was discharged last Friday, she was at 9 lbs 2 oz.  At her appointment on Monday, she was 9 lbs 6 oz.  Dr. F was very pleased with the rebound in her weight gain at only 6 days old.  She asked us to come back on Friday just for a weight check and to further monitor the janudice.

We went back yesterday expecting to just see a nurse for the check.  When the nurse weighed her, she was down an ounce from Monday, when she should be gaining half an ounce to an ounce a day.  Dr. F made a point of coming in to talk to us, asked a lot of questions about how often she eats and how breastfeeding was going (not great so far, but that’s a subject for another post), and how much formula we were supplementing with.  She could sense that we were struggling before we even said anything.  Maggie had been sleeping in only 20 minute increments for the past day or so, crying a lot, was struggling to eat but acting ravenous at the same time.

Dr. F mentioned that her youngest had been the same way, told us how she personally had dealt with it, gave us additional suggestions, and most importantly, she asked us how we felt and what we were aiming for.  I explained that ideally I’d prefer her to be breastfed exclusively.  But since her blood sugar was low at birth and she had to be fed immediately in an effort to avoid the NICU, and then having to supplement with formula to get rid of the jaundice, that was shot from the beginning.  Even now that my milk is in, I’m still not yet producing enough for her to maintain her weight, let alone gain any.  She was able to reassure me that once Maggie gets back to her birth weight, I should be producing enough to support her needs and gave me some suggestions to help with switching between breastfeeding and supplementing to make things easier for both Maggie and me.  All of this without having an appointment with her.

With her suggestions, today has been such an improvement on the past few days.  Maggie is eating more, eating well, and sleeping so much better.  We actually had to wake her up to eat a few times, which we haven’t had to do before (because she was always awake!).  We go back to Dr. F on Tuesday and we’re hoping to get her weight up 4 to 6 ounces by then.  If the next few days are anything like today, I don’t think that will be a problem.

The past week has taught me the value of having a good pediatrician.  When we leave her office, all of my questions are answered and I feel confident that we’re able to take care of Maggie.  With all of the stresses that go along with being a parent, it’s great to know that we have such a caring doctor!

 

A visit from the great-grandparents September 16, 2009

Filed under: baby!,family — airingdirtylaundry @ 11:49 pm

My grandparents came to visit for a few days and to help us out while we’re adjusting to the newest addition to our family.  They’ve been such a big help with meals and housework, and of course, showering little Maggie with tons of love!  My grandmother has some kind of magic touch–every time Maggie cries, she’s instantly quieted when Grandma picks her up.  They leave tomorrow, and I know Maggie will miss them as much as they’ll miss her!

 

I’m officially a “mommyblogger”

Filed under: Uncategorized — airingdirtylaundry @ 11:05 pm

As much as I hate the term, I’m now officially a “mommyblogger”.  Now that Maggie has joined our family after such a long wait, she’s quickly taken over every aspect of our lives–and we love every minute of it!

I have a million blog posts swimming around in my head, including her birth story, but I’m running a little short on time and also have no inclination to spend time on the internet when I could instead be staring in amazement at my beautiful little girl.  So bear with me!