it’s been a while…

i do not actively blog any more.  my passion sort of fizzled after having brian.  also, i went through a lot of muck trying to conceive again last year and just didn’t feel like i had a lot of positivity and encouragement to share.  however, if someone happens to stumble upon this blog, especially for support through infertility, loss, or a difficult pregnancy, i’d like them to know how things turned out for me.  so here goes my update.

most of 2016 was hard for me.  i do not want to rehash my infertility woes in this post, but see immediately proceeding posts to read about the muck.  i was not in a good place.  hubby and i {mostly i} decided it was time to move to a new fertility clinic.  the one we used to get pregnant with brian operates more like a business than a medical facility with the goal of trying to help couples build a family.  i couldn’t take the nickel and diming any more – after having lots of bad luck and feeling like my doctor {and the other doctors and nurses} really didn’t care about me, i could not keep forking over thousands of dollars for fees not billable to insurance.  we had things all ready to move to a new, smaller clinic that was establishing a presence in town.  in the meantime, we had one last ovulation induction cycle at our {soon to be} former clinic as a trial to see if we could transfer a frozen embryo on that type of cycle vs. a classic FET cycle since i kept having allergic reactions to something in the FET protocol.

so, i took letrozole and used gonal-f, triggered with ovidrel, and just had sex.  i couldn’t even bring myself to pay the extra $160 non-billable fee for an IUI.  besides, i knew this drill… we did this type of cycle several times before moving to IVF to conceive brian, and it. just. doesn’t. work.  at least not for me.

well, surprise!!  as sure as i was that my period was coming – sore boobs, cramps before menstruation – we actually got pregnant!  10 days after triggering, something possessed me to pee on a stick, and there were two lines.  hubby didn’t want me to call the clinic that day.  we’ve had so many chemicals, why bother.  a dear friend who had been walking most of the struggle with me last year encouraged me to call anyway.  i did, had my first beta draw that day, and my hcg was 11.  my estrogen and progesterone were also pretty low.  whomp whomp.  nurse denise kindly told me not to expect this to turn into a viable pregnancy.  that was a wednesday.  she told me to double my progesterone suppositories and originally told me to come in the next monday for repeat labs, but then said she would feel better if i came friday.  i actually got a call the next morning saying that dr. wing wanted to check my levels that day (thursday), so that if everything went up, he could administer intralipids that friday.  {side note: intralipids are sort of a controversial treatment – in theory, this IV administration of fat and proteins is supposed to keep your immune system from going crazy and attacking the embryo.}  surprisingly, my hcg, estrogen, and progesterone all experienced a decent increase the next day.  for the next 3-4 weeks, i had a lot of blood draws to keep tabs on hormone levels and a lot of intralipids.  eventually, we had our first ultrasound and saw one tiny little baby, measuring perfectly on track with a strong heart beat.  i still can’t believe it… i got pregnant by having sex {yes, with letrozole and gonal-f too.  but sex.  and no FET}.  this was definitely healing for me.

my pregnancy was scary, and we were high risk… again.  sigh.  i had a bleeding scare at 11 weeks.  my OB’s nurse had me come in for an ultrasound.  i knew it was a bad sign when the tech left the wand in my vagina and walked out of the room to get the doctor on call.  their assessment, a damage to the lining of my uterus that could cause a miscarriage.  i was immediately sent to the high risk doctor {i was supposed to see them the next day anyway for my initial appointment and NT scan}.  turns out my OB’s office just had crappy equipment and the “damage” to my lining was actually a blood vessel that they couldn’t pick up the blood flow on.  my time at the high risk doctor was supposed to end after making sure the repaired separate uterus didn’t compromise the integrity of my cervix, but by that point i had been diagnosed with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), so i had appointments with the high risk doctor for the remainder of the pregnancy.  ICP is a liver issue that can happen during pregnancy.  my liver was too busy trying to process high levels of estrogen and progesterone that it couldn’t keep up with processing bile, so bile acids spilled to my bloodstream.  this is super, super dangerous for the fetus, like causes stillbirth dangerous.  believe it or not, my OB did not want to diagnose me as having cholestasis despite lab results to prove it.  he was acting under one of the four high risk physicians who has a wildly different idea of what constitutes ICP.  so, at 20 weeks pregnant, i set out to find myself a new OB.  the new OB listened to me, explained what he knew about ICP, and treated me for it.  this OB is still in the same hospital network and had to work with the same high risk physicians, but he consulted with a different doctor at the high risk practice who agreed that i should be treated.  the most important treatment for ICP is early delivery, and for me, that meant 36w4d.  there was a lot of swirl leading up to my induction date.  apparently the high risk physicians said the baby couldn’t be born before 37 weeks unless i had an amniocentesis to prove lung maturity, even though my new OB had been telling me all along that delivery needed to happen at 36 weeks.  my OB continued to keep tabs on my bile acid levels during weeks 35 and 36, and they continued to rise.  he decided it was best to stick with the original plan for induction at 36w4d.

so, on june 14th, i reported to L&D at 7:30 PM for cervadil.  my nurse told me it would cause strong period-like cramps in my low abdomen and back.  when i was induced with brian, cervadil was a nonevent, i was expecting it to be the same this time.  well, an hour into it, the cramps appeared just as described.  they lasted throughout the night, and IV pain meds were not touching them.  at 4:45 AM on june 15th, i paged the nurse begging for more pain meds.  she said no, that the cervadil could be removed and i could get an epidural and they would start pitocin.  one problem, there were two people ahead of me for an epidural, and one of them was a c-section.  at some point in conversation, it came out that the cramps i was having were actually contractions, but they were not regular, so i guess my nurse didn’t take them seriously.  shortly after 5 AM, my nurse removed the cervadil and checked my cervix, it was only 2 centimeters.  i got up to wash my face and brush my teeth in preparation for the epidural – i knew i would be stuck in bed after that.  i was still in excruciating pain, and the epidural was taking forever to show up.  at 5:30 AM, i got up to pee.  after i was done urinating, i felt liquid running down my leg.  i knew i was not peeing on myself.  besides, who pees down the side of their leg while on the toilet?  that seems almost impossible.  i wiped up some of the liquid with toilet paper, it was tinged pink.  i yelled into our room for hubby to call the nurse {i did have to yell as he was still snoozing}.  she causally shows up 10 minutes later to confirm it was indeed my water breaking.  at this point i think i’m dying through contractions.  my nurse still didn’t take me seriously, she said they will hurt worse now because there is no water to cushion the blow.  she didn’t check my cervix again.  she leaves the room, and my only pain coping mechanisms were squeezing hubby’s hand off and swearing like a sailor.  around 6 AM (i don’t know what time exactly as it was all a total blur at this point), my crappy nurse returns and barks for me to get on my side.  apparently the baby’s heart rate was dropping during my contractions.  i was ordered to breathe too.  i told her i couldn’t and that i needed oxygen.  the oxygen didn’t make a difference, but i wore the mask anyway.  at some point i demanded she find a doctor or an anesthesiologist because i knew my pain was not normal.  she snickered at me and asked why.  she still didn’t check my cervix.  she at least stayed in the room to monitor the baby.  finally, around 6:15 or so, i told her something was coming out of me.  she asked if it felt like i had to poop.  the answer was yes.  i was still on my side and she asked to look between my legs.  she immediately told me to keep my legs closed and paged for everyone to show up – extra nurses, a baby nurse, a NICU nurse, a doctor, and a table of instruments for the doctor.  yeah, turns out i was in transition after my water broke, and my inexperienced nurse still didn’t pick up on that.  the doctor on call from my OB’s practice was in the OR with the long awaited anesthesiologist finishing up a c-section.  so, the OB on staff at the hospital had to be found.  she walked in, and several nurses helped me turn to my back because i was in too much pain to do it myself.  they put my knees/legs in the stirrups, i pushed one and half times, and baby austin entered the world at 6:24 AM {along with a giant gush of amniotic fluid, might i add… so the nurse’s explanation about less amniotic fluid to cushion the contractions was not entirely valid}.  the OB on call from my OB’s practice walked in to deliver the placenta.  my OB showed up an hour and a half later – still in shock from delivering without an epidural, i was super snarky and told him he missed the whole thing, that delivery did not go as planned, and that i did not have an epidural as planned.  i can say that recovery after this birth was much easier and quicker than with brian.  austin basically birthed himself, and i had way less drugs and pain meds, which had to be helpful. 

i struggled a lot, emotionally, throughout this pregnancy and am still struggling postpartum.  i spent the first 18 weeks in denial that i was actually pregnant and that another baby would be joining our family.  i also hid the news from most of my friends.  once i finally started to share about being pregnant, i was diagnosed with ICP, and spent the next 16 weeks living in constant worry.  now that the baby is here, we’ve had a lot of challenges with feeding.  breastfeeding was not going well because austin was too sleepy to eat, then he was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy, leading to my decision to wean.  a couple of weeks later, his intestines still seem to be a hot mess, and i’m regretting my decision to wean.  i have a few other health challenges that i’m trying to sort through – following up with the GI to make sure my gallbladder and liver are fine/healing post ICP, a small hole in my left retina, i’m overdue for a filling, and i’m trying to avoid a D&E for retained products {again}.  while none of this is life threatening, the combination of all of these issues plus a fussy newborn and a toddler in the terrible twos has almost sent me over the edge.  

to be totally honest, i’m still struggling with these challenges in the context of my faith.  i didn’t get pregnant when i wanted.  when i finally did, i had a scary condition, despite praying that my pregnancy would be free of complications.  i also prayed the entire time that i would be able to breastfeed, and that didn’t pan out either.  i definitely feel removed from God.  i know my expectations are probably too high in terms of living problem free, i am a perfectionist after all.  the Bible promises that we will have trials in this life, and it tells me i should rejoice through all seasons.  i know a lot of women are still waiting to become a mom, and would take small health challenges and formula any day to achieve motherhood… so, i guess i need to be grateful.

i’ll close by adding some of the verses that carried me through pregnancy with austin. to all those who are still suffering through infertility, loss, or a high risk pregnancy… keep running the race and keeping the faith. 

and the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed  {Deuteronomy 31:8}

have I not commanded you? be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go  {Joshua 1:9}

fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand  {Isaiah 41:10}

just like that… i quit.

pumping… it’s over {well to feed brian at least, i’m still removing milk to try to avoid mastitis as i wean}.  this is a hard post for me to write.  my breastfeeding journey was full of highs and lows.  obviously, most recently lows.

brain did not latch initially and needed his tongue clipped.  after we got that taken care of {when he was 2 weeks old} i got mastitis.  i was going to try to get him back to breast, but the mastitis did me in.  it was all i could do to even pump during that time.  i definitely couldn’t handle a {h}angry fussy baby on top of feeling like death between mastitis and zero sleep.

eventually i got into a routine with pumping and taking care of brian.  i consistently overproduced, but i wasn’t too upset because i could stash the extra away for a rainy day.  however, pumping around the clock got old once brian started sleeping through the night.  my last pump of the day was around 10 pm, and i was {still am} always up to pump no later than 5:45 am.  usually my body would wake me up before, but i’d make myself wait it out in hopes that it would eventually regulate.  no such luck.  i would consistently pump 15-17 oz in the morning, and 7-11 oz throughout the day.  that’s just ridiculous.

there was one stressful period in june when my boobs wouldn’t let down.  it lasted for a week.  after that, my let down reflex was phenomenal.

on august 12th, brian started getting green poop that smelled like vinegar.  a couple of days later, he started cutting another tooth so i was hopeful this was related to teeth.  however, the poop continued on so i finally took him to the pediatrician.  since dr. google informed me that the weird poop could be related to lactose overload, i brought a bottle i recently pumped to our visit.  the nurse practitioner we saw is also a lactation consultant, and she instantly said the milk looked a little green and appeared to be mostly foremilk.  so i went back to fully emptying to try to balance things out, but the next evening my supply tanked.  the following morning i wouldn’t let down, and that’s when i threw in the towel.  brian is now getting milk from my frozen stash – we started with april and may when i know the milk was better quality.  he has already gained 4 ounces from Wednesday… the prior 10 days, he barely gained an ounce.  worst.  mom.  ever.  fail.

naturally, i’m second guessing when my supply deteriorated and worry about feeding him anything from the last month or so.  i have an email out to the lactation consultant at his pediatrician to get her opinion and thoughts on maybe switching to feeding 1/2 breastmilk, 1/2 formula from now on.  more to come.

pumping was a lot of work, it came with a lot of sacrifices for me.  my goal was to make it {no set amount of time, just make it}, and i did.  for 4 months.  i never thought i’d stop this abruptly, but i don’t trust my body any more.  i’m done.  i’ve read that PCOS can cause oversupply, or maybe it was because i exclusively pumped.  of course i want an explanation, but i really just want to put this behind me and continue on with a healthy baby.  this has been hard, but i’m trying to focus on the positives with brian.  i just hate to think he wasn’t getting all that he needed, breaks my heart.

d&c

i always try to post updates in case someone in a similar situation stumbles upon my blog and wants to know how things turned out.  my d&c was a week ago, 11 weeks postpartum.  the leftovers were removed from my uterus, and i heard from my doctor today that indeed they were “retained products from conception.”  i’m still bleeding. seems it may never end.  my doctor’s nurse said it could last another week.  at this point, blood is just part of my routine.  when it actually stops, i probably won’t trust it.  i do have a post-op appointment 2 weeks from today.

for anyone lactating and undergoing general anesthesia, i didn’t have any issues with milk supply.  i did try to maintain my same pumping schedule, which meant i had to pump in the pre-surgical area before heading to the OR.  and i did set my alarm for 2 am to guzzle water before the no water cutoff time prior to surgery.

oh, and i should mention that i only pumped and dumped once after surgery.  apparently i didn’t even have to do this as new recommendations are as long as mom is awake and coherent she can breastfeed.  i did receive 4 different kinds of anti-nausea drugs {first 3 didn’t work}, so i figured i didn’t want to pass all of these along to mr. baby.

crazy things are happening

well, i’m 8 weeks postpartum, and bleeding still hasn’t ceased.  i had about 3 days last week with little to no blood, then on sunday bleeding returned.  but this time, it was a darker blood, almost resembling my period.  it stained one pantiliner, then took a break.  so yesterday i followed up with the OB since bleeding still hasn’t stopped and i still feel as though something is “stuck” down below.  the pelvic exam went well, but my OB ordered an ultrasound just to make sure there’s nothing hiding out in my uterus.  ultrasound will take place next week with my colposcopy.  then this morning, the dark blood is back, and there’s more of it.  if it’s not my period, i don’t know what it is, but guess i’ll know for sure in a few more days and then again in a month or so.  i feel ripped off – lactating women usually don’t see the return of their menstrual cycle for 6 months or so after delivering.  i wonder if stupid PCOS is to blame.  so much for hoping my body would “reset” after having a baby and be normal.  oh well.

in other news, the babe has slept through the night the past two nights.  sunday was such a horrible day {poopy blow out on hubby during our first visit back to church, little rifts with the hubs, bleeding again, fussy baby not sticking to my “schedule,” body image issues, and the list goes on}, by the end of the day i was convinced i was depressed.  we fed the baby much earlier than usual, and then we went to bed {me feeling very defeated}.  the next thing i know, i hear a few whimpers over the monitor, i feel like my boobs are going to explode, then i check the clock to see that it’s 4:45 am!  brian went from 9:30 pm to 5 am between feedings sunday night.  after such a horrible day on sunday, i viewed this as a glimmer of hope, but fully expected brian to revert to his old feeding schedule with an overnight feed the next day.  last night we fed him at 10 pm, and he lasted until 6:15 am this morning.  i sure hope the trend continues – it would be just in time for my birthday next week :)  he hasn’t been napping well recently, but is today, so i have no idea what to expect.  brian’s schedule change has definitely rearranged my day a little, but i’d rather get 6 hours of consecutive sleep at night and figure out the day time stuff as it comes.

in my google searching for “breastfeeding period returning PCOS”, i did run across a few sites that say when baby starts sleeping longer at night and the breasts aren’t emptied, the menstrual cycle can return.  so maybe the two are related?

postpartum recovery

well, i’ve mentioned before that i was a wreck the first two weeks of brian’s life.  i seriously thought i may be dying.  i barely slept, and when i tried, i just laid in bed shaking.  eating was a chore.  so much so that i lost a ton of weight and was already back down to my pre-pregnancy weight 1.5 weeks after delivery {i did only gain 16 lbs, but the weight loss was still too fast and pretty scary when trying to make milk for a baby}.  after living off smoothies and protein bars for longer than i desired, my appetite finally improved.  the positive to rapid weight loss is that i was able to wear my non-maternity jeans 3 weeks after delivery.  although i definitely still have a pocket of flab on my belly – i’m assuming from my skin being stretched for a 7 lb baby or maybe my insides getting rearranged.

i was also sore for a solid 2-3 weeks post delivery.  sore muscles, sore back, sore vagina, just sore.  for the record, stairs and recovering lady parts don’t mix.  too much activity the first few weeks made me think my lady parts were going to fall out.  also, apparently itching is part of the recovery process – who knew.  of course there was bleeding {6+ weeks of fun}.  i already mentioned the golf ball-sized clot i had early on.  i was certain my uterus fell out or that i was hemorrhaging.  then at my postpartum appointment, my doctor removed another clot that was hanging out of my cervix.  light bleeding continued for about a week after that.

breastfeeding {pumping} has some interesting side effects.  for instance, night sweats.  really, i should call them sleep sweats as they happened anytime i’d try to sleep.  i would wake up totally drenched, hair matted and shirt all stuck to my chest.  gross.  i started sleeping in a tank top instead of a t-shirt and with the fan on to try to alleviate the issue.  i hate to type this as i know the sweats will return again, but they seem to be on the decrease now.  also noteworthy, breastfeeding makes my appetite out of control.  like ravenous.  i’m confident that i eat more than hubby these days.  kind of embarrassing, but oh well.  final breastfeeding comment… my boobs are ugly.  real ugly.  crazy stretch marks.  i hear they get real flat after weaning too, so i look forward to that.  flat, zebra boobs sounds awesome.

aside from being ravenous, my appetite has returned to that of my pre-pregnancy days – too many carbohydrates and too much sugar and chocolate.  i’m trying to choose healthy snacks with protein and to limit myself to two junky dessert snacks a day {after lunch and dinner only.  believe me, i would demolish a brownie at 10 am if someone told me it was ok}.  also noteworthy on the eating front, apparently my body hates high fat dairy products like cheese and ice cream now.  sucks because i like cheese and ice cream.

emotionally, i think i’m doing well overall.  no depression, but a few drama queen moments.  one of them being over the realization that i live in running shorts, old t-shirts, and sports bras everyday.  i just feel very blah.  even if i get out of the house, my outfit is exactly as listed above.  jeans are a special treat, but it’s way too hot for those now.  if i have to go somewhere requiring better attire, i have a mini meltdown thinking about what in the world to wear.  my main issue centers around bras.  the one bra i have that fits is not conducive to pumping, even though it’s a nursing bra.  and as long as i’m pumping every 3 hours, getting dressed in anything requiring that nursing bra can only be temporary… and needing to change outfits that fast gives me anxiety.  thus, living in running shorts and old t-shirts is just easier.

sleep could improve.  brian can’t go more than 5 hours between feedings at night, usually he only makes it 4.  that means i get maybe 3-3.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep for the first stint.  then usually just 2 hours for the second stint of sleep before i have to get up to pump and eat breakfast before his morning feeding.  eventually he will sleep longer, right?

well, that’s all i have for now.

baby brian

baby brian arrived on monday, april 6th at 8:38 pm.  he weighed 7 lb 2 oz and was 20 in long {thank you Jesus that low papp-a turned out not to be an issue for us}.  we think he looks like hubby, and he’s absolutely precious.  it’s hard to believe he’s ours.  he does have a sacral dimple, which could impact his leg development {crawling, walking}, but for now all we can do is pray and continue our faith journey.

there’s so much i want to write about… my labor, his birth, and his first few weeks of life.  time seems to be limited now, so i’m sure this post will be in draft mode for a while {maybe i’ll get to finish it up during all of the frequent feedings}.


let’s start with labor

we arrived at the hospital at 7 pm on Easter sunday {when i was 38 weeks 6 days pregnant}.  i needed cervidil to help further soften the cervix as the most progress i made on my own in that department was 85% effaced, 1.5 cm dilated, and -2 fetal station.  baby brian appeared to be quite comfy in there because at 37 weeks i was 70% effaced, 1cm dilated, and -2 fetal station.  sunday was the easy part.  the doctor on call inserted a “tampon” like device containing this medicine right up against my cervix.  i had to lay for 2 hours as the medicine started to take effect {kind of a challenge for a full-term pregnant lady who pees a lot}.  after my two hours were up {around 11 pm}, i got up to pee and get ready for bed.  then i received a sleeping pill that was horribly ineffective at putting me to sleep.  i asked the sweet nurse what we could do about that, and she recommended adding a pain med she was authorized to give me.  that one definitely helped with sleep, but i needed two doses to make it through the night.

the next morning, the nurse removed the cervix softening medicine, unhooked me from the fetal monitors, and let me get up to shower.  then it was time for pitocin.

the same doctor on call checked me the next morning and i was either 2-2.5 cm dilated {can’t remember}.  she was ready to break my water, but i panicked {i counted on progressing a bit more and having the epidural so i didn’t feel a thing}.  by that time, it was shift change time and i learned that my OB was on call that day and should get to deliver brian!  he was supposed to be on vacation, but was sick the previous week and apparently took someone else’s shift to repay them for covering for him.  this obviously worked out very well for me, so i wasn’t complaining.

i saw my doctor briefly, but then he got whisked away to a c-section.  both doctors left orders that i could have an epidural whenever i wanted {guess they weren’t concerned about slowing down labor since they could just kick up my dose of pitocin}.  i decided i was ready for it, but had to wait for the anesthesiologist to finish the c-section and start one other person’s epidural.

eventually it was my turn.  i expected that inserting the epidural would hurt, but it was a breeze.  the anesthesiologist was a woman who had two epidurals before, so it was great to have her talk me through the process.  and thankfully my epidural was perfect.  i could feel the tightening of my uterus with contractions, pressure when it was time to push, but no pain.  the only real side effect i experienced was that my legs were super warm to the touch.

a bit later my doctor stopped by to break my water.  all i have to say is gross.  there sure was a lot of amniotic fluid.  and it kept dribbling out until i gave birth.

from that point i would get occasional cervix checks between naps.  the rest was definitely a good idea since delivery and the first week of a baby’s life are no joke.  i did snack on ice chips and an orange popsicle before things got super serious.  the closer i got to pushing, i started getting the body shakes.  apparently that is normal.

of course my family was blowing up our phones as i labored all day.  they wanted very detailed updates, but hubby did a good job of sticking to sharing the minimum amount of info possible.  at one point my dad offered to “relieve” hubby and come sit with me.  what part about the fact that i’m naked under a hospital gown, leaking amniotic fluid, in labor, getting a hand stuffed inside my lady parts every so often and not wanting anyone other than hubby around do they not understand?  leave me alone people!!

the last thing i’ll say about labor was that the day time nurse the day i was induced was terrible.  and i had to deal with her from 7 am to 7 pm.  i had to remind her when it was time for medicine {seriously, who is the nurse?}.  my IV alarm went off several times and it took her forever to show up to fix it.  really, it took her forever to do anything.  one time i heard the baby’s heart rate dip after a contraction.  she was in the room so i asked her if she heard it too.  she replied with the typical “it’s common for the baby’s heart rate to drop during a contraction” response, to which I played dumb and replied “was that during a contraction?” {knowing that it wasn’t}.  she then decided i should change positions in bed.  it was her first day back from maternity leave with twins, so i’m sure she was distracted, but she was really awful.


delivery

my doctor checked me maybe around 6:30 pm.  i made significant progress, but his instructions were to let me “labor down” and get through shift change at 7 pm {part of me would like to think he knew how terrible that crappy l&d nurse was and he didn’t want to deal with her either}.  however, the constant pressure and urge to push kicked in a few minutes before 7 pm.  i called the bad nurse to my room and she talked me through how pushing should go.  we may have done a practice push or two, it’s all kind of a blur now.  the heart rate dropping incident happened right around this time and i lost it.  i didn’t trust her one bit and needed a second set of eyes on the situation.  luckily a good friend who works in postpartum was just finishing up her shift.  i texted her and told her i was about to lose my stuff and needed a good nurse.  she was so sweet and came over right away, stayed for a few pushes, and ended up staying for the delivery {it sure was nice to have another helper holding a leg}.

anyway, after shift change, the sweetest l&d nurse i could possibly imagine came in.  we started pushing more seriously around 7:15 pm.  my doctor wasn’t in the room yet, but apparently they don’t come in until right before the baby is going to pop out.  i had several good pushes, everyone could see hair!  but i did the typical ‘now you see him, now you don’t’ thing with my first few pushes.

eventually my doctor stopped by to check on my progress and watch a few pushes.  he ended up staying and helping coach through delivery.  i’ve said it before, but my OB is seriously the nicest and most patient doctor on the planet.  i’m so thankful he was there to deliver brian.

after pushing for about an hour and twenty minutes total, baby brian entered the world!  when the doctor held him up and put him on my chest, hubby and i were shocked at how big he was!  he then proceeded to wail for literally two hours as we did skin to skin and tried to get him to nurse, all while the doctor was delivering the placenta and stitching me up {somehow i managed to only land a 1st degree tear}.  finally a lactation consultant came in the room – she tried latching brian and spent what felt like an eternity talking about skin to skin and everything under the sun.  i finally lost it.  as my baby was screaming, my tears just started flowing.  i was exhausted and felt utterly helpless at being a mom.  at that point i think the lactation consultant finally got it – she just needed to feed my baby.  so she spent probably the next hour hand expressing colostrum into a medicine cup and feeding it back to brian with a feeding spoon.  not what i pictured his first feeding to look like.

brian then got his footprints made, weighed, and received his first bath while my l&d nurse helped me get up to pee and clean up.



postpartum

we finally got to our postpartum room around 12:30 am following delivery.  our sweet night nurse did a quick check of me and baby, then my parents {who had been camping out in the waiting room for quite some time} came to meet the baby.

my good friend works in postpartum and set us up with an awesome room with a view of uptown {where we used to live} and great nurses.  but the next day and a half are a blur in my memory.  every single muscle in my body hurt from delivering {back, abdomen, neck, arms, calves – you name it}.  i don’t think i slept more than 4-5 hours total while at the hospital.  there was always someone in and out of the room – doctors, nurses, lactation, housekeeping, nutrition, birth certificate, financial, photographer, etc.  after breakfast on the first day in postpartum i lost my appetite – it was a struggle to eat anything, and it stayed like that for the next 5-6 days.

feedings continued to be an issue for brian.  latching was hard {impossible without a nipple shield}, and i was instructed to pump and feeback after every nursing session to further stimulate my breasts since i have PCOS, which can sometimes cause an issue with milk supply.  i was frustrated, but lactation and our nurses kept encouraging us to put brian to breast.  he was peeing and pooping, so he must be getting something.

eventually we were discharged for the fun to continue at home.


life at home

the first week was rough.  i seriously thought my body was going to quit on me.  as i mentioned before, i couldn’t eat or sleep, and i was still so sore.  on top of it, brian was starving and feedings continued to be a challenge.  the first night home, he wanted to be attached to my boob for literally 3 hours.  my milk still hadn’t come in, and for my sanity we resorted to formula.  we went to the pediatrician the next day and discovered his tongue needed to be clipped, which is likely why he had a hard time latching.  he lost 9% of his birth weight at that point, jaundice was getting worse, and he was dehydrated {as evidenced by red crystals in his diapers}.  we all decided it was best for me to pump, feed back whatever i got, and then supplement with formula until my supply was established.

i’m happy to report that mother’s milk tea helped with supply, so now brian is drinking all breastmilk.  but i’m still pumping.  i had an outpatient appointment with the lactation consultants at the hospital where i delivered, and they wanted me to latch first, then pump, then feed back the remainder.  that took feeding times from 30-45 minutes to 1.5 hours+ and i quickly decided that’s not for me.  i know that eventually  he won’t eat every 3 hours, so i won’t be connected to my pump all day long.  we still had his frenulum clipped as it can impact speech development, which would require general anesthesia later vs. a quick clip now.

sleep has improved greatly, although i still wish there was more of it.  hubby is back at work, so daytime naps are impossible as i’m always either pumping or feeding or cleaning bottles or doing laundry.

seems as though i’ve developed mastitis today, so that’s lovely.  really, i feel horrible – sore boob, red boob, fever, the whole 9 yards.  my OB prescribed an antibiotic, and i’m praying it works quickly.



family

what made the first week even harder is that my mom and dad would not leave me alone.  i got constant texts {most of which i didn’t reply to – heck i didn’t reply to anyone} and requests for them to come visit with more family members {which i had to turn down}.  no one seemed to understand that i literally felt like i was going to pass out all day long – no sleep, no food, and wacky prescription drugs will do that to a person.  they all thought i was crazy i’m sure, but i really couldn’t take care of myself, so didn’t want to deal with anyone else.

well, that was quite the lengthy update.  who knows how long it will be before i blog again.  thank you to all who have provided support throughout my {in}fertility journey.  and thank you Lord, for my beautiful baby boy.

3rd trimester – week 34

yet another week has passed, and we’re 5 weeks 1 day until full term.  crazy.  especially since i don’t look like it {i’ll get to my complex in a bit}.  as always, this week was busy.  here are the highlights:

  1. i had my first NST this week, and it went well.  little boy was pretty active.  the nurse walked in and said “holy happy baby” after he’d only been on the monitor for 10-15 minutes.
  2. i finished all of my thank you cards from the baby shower, which i felt like i needed to do before i could continue to focus on prepping for our boy.  i knew that once i mixed up all the gifts, it might be harder to identify who gave what as i tried to write thank you notes.
  3. i took a half day off work on thursday afternoon, and my mother-in-law and i went to a big consignment sale.  my goal was to score an exersaucer and an infant play mat.  i met my goal and then some {with a few cute little boy outfits}, but i’m not sure i’m thrilled with the infant play mat.  it’s missing some of the toys that hang down and make it fun.

this weekend was supposed to be 100% dedicated to baby preparations.  we did a lot of things for bitty, but of course, i didn’t get as much as i hoped accomplished.  his first load of laundry is going now {you have no idea how hard it was for me to start taking tags off to start washing little teeny clothes}.  hubby just installed bitty’s car seat, maybe we can get it inspected next weekend.  i bought a few nursing friendly bras/tops so that i can start packing my hospital bag.  speaking of nursing, hubby and i took a breastfeeding basics class at the hospital on saturday morning.  i’m glad we did.  it was very informative.  in fact, so informative that i learned my PCOS diagnosis will haunt me for life.  as if getting pregnant were not hard enough, apparently women with polycystic ovaries have a harder time establishing their milk supply.  awesome.  and apparently if your breasts haven’t grown that much throughout pregnancy {yeah, that’s me… well nothing’s really grown that much}, that can also be a bad sign.  really awesome.  oh, and flat nipples aren’t the best for breastfeeding either.  think i have those as well.  really super awesome.  one day at a time.

here’s my update for week 34:

  • weight gain: are you ready for this?  minus 1 lb.  i had to do a double take.  kind of concerning.  my doctor didn’t seem too worried as long as it doesn’t become a trend.  surely i still have normal “water weight” fluctuations right?  i just find it hard to believe that over a two week period i lost a pound while growing a baby.  if i gain a pound a week until full term, then i will gain a total of approximately 20 lbs.  seems easier for the post-baby weight loss aspect, but still doesn’t seem right.
  • food aversions: i should stop putting this category here.  there are certain things i don’t love, but that was the case before i was pregnant.
  • food cravings: starbucks’ strawberry banana smoothie {they tried to slip one past me and not put a banana in it this week.  you really think a pregnant girl won’t notice that?}.  walnut chocolate chip cookies {from just fresh}.  fun fruit like kiwis and strawberries.
  • symptoms: here are some new ones: wetting myself ever so slightly while sneezing, waking up several times a night/not sleeping well {takes being sleepy to a whole new level}, real bad pregnancy brain {we almost stood some friends up for brunch today – oops}.  ones i haven’t mentioned in a while: charlie horses in my calf muscles {yikes}, tight belly skin.  otherwise the same ones: indigestion/reflux {although i don’t think it’s caused by dairy – maybe it’s just caused by pregnancy}, constipation, pregnancy gingivitis, rib pain, occasional pressure/tightening, shortness of breath.
  • emotions: anxious, excited, afraid.
  • baby bump: according to the universe, too small for 34 weeks.  my OB also skipped the measurement this week.  please keep growing, little boy.
  • movement: presses {that seem to be getting stronger}, lots of stirring, lots of baby hiccups.
  • stretch marks: still the left breast.

i have an ultrasound with the high risk doctor on tuesday to check in on the baby’s growth.  he is now just monitoring to make sure low papp-a doesn’t cause growth restriction.  since my belly seems to be a bit on the tiny side, i’m a little anxious for this appointment.  but really, what am i not anxious about?  also, if bitty is still breech/transverse, my OB will likely go ahead and schedule a c-section for 39 weeks.

for now, i’m grateful for how far we’ve come.  i keep praying Jeremiah 32:17.  God is mighty, so i’m going to focus on not worrying this week.