Monday, July 19, 2010

The Difference A Year Makes

A year ago tomorrow my life was quite different than it is today.  After having two miscarriages and about 3 months of testing, I was scheduled to have my mutant fibroid removed, in the hopes of ever having a child. 

On July 20th of last year, I was wheeled into the operating room for a myomectomy. I remember coming to in the recovery room, dazed and in pain.  I was just hoping beyond hope that the surgery would do the trick and I could one day have a child.  I tried to approach the surgery and recovery as steps to getting my baby.  I had been initially told we would have to wait until January 2010 to start trying again.

As my hospital stay drew to a close, the doctor told me I only had to wait six weeks to try.  It was so unexpected.  We had even planned a trip to Italy in October to help keep my mind off of not being able to try and enjoying what would hopefully be our last big trip before the baby.  We found out the day before we left for Italy that I was pregnant.

If you had told me on the day of the myomectomy that one year from then I woud have a three week old baby, I wouldn't have believed it. 

I definitely think my experiences of trying to get pregnant have colored my experience as a mother.  I truly feel so appreciative, even during those middle of the night feedings.  It goes so quickly and I know I will miss this time when he just wants to be held.  I will miss how he looks up at me when his pacifer falls out and he wants me to fetch it for him.  I am just amazed by him.

When you are in the thick of fertility issues, it is really easy to believe it isn't going to happen for you.  I definitely felt like that a lot and not even in a self pitying sort of way.  It is more of like coming to terms with the fact that you can only control so much.  Think about my story when you feel like this, because in a year, you could be sitting with your newborn baby.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Two and a Half Weeks in the Trenches

Now that I have been through labor and home with a new baby, here are some thoughts on products I absolutely love and others I haven't needed thus far.
1) Since I ended up needing a c-section, I didn't benefit from this advice but have been told by two friends Dermaplast is a lifesaver.  I bought 2 bottles in prep for labor.  Basically, after a normal delivery it really burns (because of stitches) to pee.  So spray the Dermaplast, then squirt warm water with a water bottle, and then spray again with the Dermaplast.  The product numbs you.   I bought it at Target.

2) If you have a c-section and are in a lot of pain when coughing, sneezing, laughing, ask the nurse for an ab binder.  It looks like an athlete's version of a girdle.  It holds you in tight.  I wasn't given one with my fibroid surgery when I could have used it.  They gave me one on my last day in the hospital, it felt good, but for no good reason, I never wore it again.  If you aren't given one, hold a pillow into your stomach when you have to cough/sneeze to help brace muscles.

3) Breastfeeding: Bring the Boppy pillow to the hospital.  I did, but didn't use it.  So I should say, bring it and use it.  It is really hard to figure out how to position the baby that is flailing desperately to find your boob.  Also, realize they are supposed to latch on with a wide latch.  I didn't know this and got so bruised the first two days, I wanted to cry the following 5 days while feeding. 

4) Bottles: I was doing both breastfeeding and bottles.  Breastfeeding isn't going well so I think I am going to start transitioning to formula only.  I have been using Dr. Brown's bottles.  People say there are too many parts.  It takes about 5 seconds to put it together, I don't see the big deal.  I think they are good, they are supposed to reduce spit up.  Evan doesn't spit up much, so I am going to assume the bottles do the job.  Dr. Brown's also makes a microwave sanitizer.  I sanitized everything pre-baby.  The night nurse we had when I got home said just take a big bowl with hot soapy water to clean the bottles each day (I do about twice a day).  Once a week, I put them all in the microwave sanitizer.

5) Swaddle Designs receiving blankets:  I love these. They are very cute and nice material.  They are much more expensive than Carter receiving blankets but the quality difference explains the price discrepancy.  At the beginning we always swaddled him in these blankets.  Now he kicks out of a swaddle but we use these still most of the day.  They have a normal blanket material and muslin one.  I use the muslin one in the stroller because it is 90 degrees out and I want him covered from sun and germs but want the material to be breathable.  I have about 4 of each material, which seems like a lot, but spit up and pee happens, more than you'd like.

6) Multi-use pads: I got a pack of multi-use pads at Buy Buy Baby.  It is a water proof sheet.  I have on the changing table.  This has saved us many, many times, especially having a boy. Also, I have two kinds, one are fabric on both sides and the other has fabric on one side and plastic on the other.  I don't like the plastic sided one as much.

7) Bouncy Seat:  I try to make his crib a night time experience, so when he naps in the day, it is in his bouncy seat.  I have the Fisher Price Zen seat, but it might have been discontinued.  I don't use the music or vibration modes, I am saving those for fussy emergencies.  I also use this when he is being calm and I need to get things done, because I can strap him in.

8) 2 Strollers: We have a nice, expensive stroller (the Uppa Baby) which is fantastic because it handles so well and corners tightly.  It also has good shocks which is great because the sidewalks here are really uneven.  It has a bassinet for newborns.  It also has a sun shade to protect his face and most of his body. I also have a snap n' go that my car seat snaps into.  I keep it in the trunk and it is good if I drive somewhere and don't want to deal with taking the big stroller.  It doesn't however maneuver nearly as well as the Uppa Baby.

9) Cloth diapers: I had bought a ton of cute ones from Swaddle Designs, but I find I just use tons and tons of the cheap generic ones that I got in a ten pack from Buy Buy Baby.  I use about 3 a day.

10) Baby detergent:  I started off using Dreft for everything but it is a waste of money.  I bought a huge thing of the Costco free and clear detergent.

11) Formula: Speaking of Costco, the pediatrician told me to use the Kirkland (Costco brand) formula.  It is made by Similiac and significantly cheaper.  We have had no issues.  He isn't too gassy, sleeps well, and has put on weight. 

12) Video Monitor: We got the Summer Best View Handheld Video Monitor.  Our sound didn't work but I called and they are sending a replacement.  I am so glad I didn't get just a sound monitor.  It really comes in handy because sometimes in the middle of the night I put him down and he is fine, but not asleep.  And then I get back in bed and I hear a little fussing.  If I didn't have the monitor I would get up and check him, which honestly is so hard when you are very tired.  And this dance can go on and on.  But I just watch the monitor to determine if I need to get up.  Plus sometimes I see him flailing when he isn't crying.  So I know to get a bottle ready before he blows.

13) Big Sponge: For the first week or two, you can't submerge the baby in a bath because of the belly button or circumcision.  You have to give a sponge bath to a slippery baby.  They sell at Babies R Us or Buy Buy Baby this oversized sponge that you can lay the baby on.  They have one that looks like a frog and one that is tan.  I got the tan one because it was bigger.  Just makes the process easier.

14) Books: I have a lot of books for a kid starting to read, with one or two words on a page. But I found when Evan is fussy, he likes to hear the sound of my voice, so I read to him.  I have gone through all of our longer books and I am getting bored.  I just went out and bought more today.  I suppose I could read him US Weekly or my book club book too, but at least this way I am growing his library. 

15) Bottle Drying Rack: Bottles don't dry in my dishwasher and also I don't want to wash bottles with soiled plates.  So I hand wash everything and then put it on the dryer.  I bought a Dr. Brown's one, but I don't know if it matters what you use.

16) Soothie Pacifiers: These are the only ones he seems to like and keep in his mouth.  I have heard this from other friends too.  We make a conscious effort not to give him the pacifier when putting him in his crib to sleep.  I have heard from friends this kills you for 2 years because they cry every time it falls out and won't sleep well.  I use it a lot when changing him and it is true, every time it falls out (happens several times a diaper change) he screams.

17) Footed PJs:  I should have bought more of these.  I have a ton of sleep sacks and sleep gowns.  The sleep gowns make it easy to change him at night (I am awful at all the snaps on the footed outfits) but Evan is a squirmer and within two seconds his legs are out and I don't want him getting too cold.

18) Gauze: If your son is being circumcised the doctor will tell you to dress the penis with Vaseline and gauze.  The Vaseline should be in the tube not the jar and the gauze should be 3x3 squares.  I bought all the supplies pre-baby so had no idea how much to buy.  First off, gauze is kind of pricey.  It is between $7.50 and $9.00 a box of 25.  I started off with 2 boxes of 25.  Well it wasn't nearly enough because he goes through at least 10 diapers a day and you switch it with each diaper change.  I think I ended up buying 5 boxes of 25 and 2 boxes of 10, so a total of 145.  I did have to continue using it for 5 extra days because he had some extra bleeding.  So assume you need 100.  I also used 2.5 tubes of Vaseline.

19) Pampers Thick and Sensitive Wipes: I thought all wipes were created equal until we ran out and my delivery of the next batch wasn't in.  I sent my husband to CVS to get some.  I told him I wanted Pampers thick and sensitive, if they didn't have it, get Huggies thick and sensitive.  He couldn't find these two words on either Pampers or Huggies, so he bought a CVS wipes.  They were horrible.  I would need 4 to clean up after a diaper, versus typically one, maybe two of the Pampers.  Plus I had to work hard to clean him with the CVS. 

Things I am yet to use:
1) A Swing: Luckily we borrowed this.  I am sure he would like it but I am saving it as a last resort when he gets really fussy

2) A Pack n Play:  Everyone told me I would have the baby sleep in my room.  I didn't think I would since his room is next to mine, we have a video monitor, and he would keep my husband up who had to work.  But I listened to my friends.  Before the baby arrived, we set it up in our room.  Now it is like a dumping ground for laundry I haven't had a chance to put away.  From his first night home we put him in his crib.  If I didn't have a video monitor, I would have had him in my room.  Some people do it because you are getting up so much to feed the baby, especially if you are breast feeding.  I found it was easier to sit on the recliner in his room with a Boppy then feed him in bed.  Also, until I got the hang of it, he would fall off all the time and cry and no doubt that would have made for a very grumpy hubby. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It's All Good

We got the results back from the tethered chord test and it doesn't look like Evan has a problem.  It is such a huge relief.  I basically stalked the pediatrician for the results.  She said we would just monitor for other symptoms but at this point, she isn't concerned.

I was good about keeping myself off the internet during the scare, because let's be honest, I pretty much feel webmd is the closest I will get to having a doctor in the family.  Now that this crisis is over, I have given myself permission to Google his latest ailment, which is his belly button is bleeding, even though he lost his umbilical chord almost  a week ago.  Here is where the Internet is good.  Apparently this is very normal.

In other news, we went to dinner tonight with another couple and Evan and it was a roaring success.  I am shocked as I have found parenthood to be all about timing.  You have to make sure he is fed, freshly diapered, and calm before going.  A tightrope act that begins an hour before your departure.  And then there is the added element of luck that the feeding will be sleep inducing and not one of his wide awake sessions.

Baby is crying...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Marking his Territory

We just came from the first pediatric visit. Evan marked the occasion by peeing all over the scale.  Guess he learned at an early age, it is no fun being weighed.  He also spit up over the examination table.

The good news, he gained back a lot of the weight he lost after birth.  Also, the heart murmur that was detected in the hospital wasn't heard.  The bad news is she thinks he might have something called tethered chord.  His back isn't straight when it connects to sacrum.  It could be nothing or it could be serious.  We now have to go to get an ultrasound in two days.  If that goes well, we are done.  If it doesn't, we wait a couple months and do an MRI when he is old enough to be sedated.  And if that shows he does have a tethered chord, he would need surgery.  

I am keeping it together better than  I did over the heart murmur and forcing myself to stay off webmd.  It is just so awful to think something could be wrong with him.  I have been a mess over his circumcision, I can't imagine him going through surgery.

The doctor did say the practice sends about 25 kids a month for the ultrasound and only 1 to 2 have the surgery every year.  I am trying not to get ahead of myself.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Evan is Here!

Looking back on the last two years of miscarriages, surgery, frustration, pain, I can safely say it is all worth it and would do it all again just to have my baby.

Evan was born last Monday morning.  Of course he came into this world with  flare for drama.  I was scheduled to be induced on Monday at 12:30am.  Sunday, I woke at 4 am with contractions about 26 minutes apart. This went on for 5 hours.  I never went back to sleep.

At 7pm, they started up again.  I wanted to go out for a big dinner because I likely wouldn't eat for a full 24 hours.  At the restaurant, they were about 7 minutes apart.  Not too painful.  We got home and waited to go to the hospital for induction.

At 1am, we were taken to our delivery room.  The previous Thursday, I had been 2cm.  They immediately started me on pitocin.  Very quickly the contractions got painful. They said I could have the epidural at any time but be mindful I would be stuck in bed for up to 18 hours. 

My husband went to sleep, despite me panting loudly. They came in to break my water.  I thought this hurt, it was like the most invasive internal exam of you life.  And then the flood gates open.  You continue to leak and leak.  They said it would leak through delivery.  They put a towel between my legs to make it more comfortable. Around 3:30 it got what I considered unbearable.  If I could cry during the killer contraction that put me over the edge, I would have.  When it ended, I yelled to Greg who was somewhat far away on the couch to wake up, page a nurse, and get my epidural.

Around 3:45am, I was prepped.  At this point, my body was uncontrollably shaking, which they said is normal.  The epidural was no big deal.  He said it could take between 3 minutes and 45 to get it in the right place.  Luckily, he got mine in relatively easy.  First they give you a shot to numb you.  It barely hurt and I didn't care at that point.  They it feels like this weird pressure but doesn't hurt. 

Once it was done, they let Greg back in the room.  I could still feel my legs in a good way.  Each hour you turn from side to side because the bottom half gets more medicine.  Since I had some feeling in my legs, it wasn't too hard to turn. I could feel contractions to the extent I knew they were happening and was slightly uncomfortable during big ones, but it was totally doable.

At this point  I had been up for 24 hours.  I tried to sleep now since  I had pain relief.  It didn't happen but I was resting.  Around 6 they came and put oxygen on me and said the baby's heart was dipping with contractions and this should help.  Apparently it did.   I had heard this was common, especially with induction.

At 7:30 the doctor came in.  She said she had a c-section at 8 and would come by after.  She said I was 5cm and 90% effaced.  She said if there were any issues, another doctor from the practice would come in to see me.

At 8am, I had just dozed off and the nurse screams, "Dana, turn on your other side!".  I do.  And thirty seconds later she shouts, "go back to the other side."  In the next couple of seconds, 8 people literally run in the room, including the back up doctor.  I was so scared, there aren't even words.  Greg wakes up to this stampede.  They shouted to me, "get on you hands and knees now!"

Apparently the baby's heartbeat dropped to 56.  It should be between 120 and 160.  I started pleading with the doctor to just take him out now, I don't care about a c-section, just get him out.  She just rubbed my back and said, let's try this first.  They had me in this modified child's pose for 30 minutes, while his heartbeat got up to an acceptable range.  Pitocin was stopped.

At 9am, my original doctor came back and said she wants to give it another hour but he hasn't dropped enough, I am not dilating fast enough, and we are expecting a large baby which she didn't think would fit through me, but she wanted to give it a shot.  At 9:45  I hadn't progress and he wasn't tolerating contractions very well.

She said I could wait longer but at this point my c-section would bump other people scheduled for one and didn't want to make it an even more critical process.  I said get him out.  Within five minutes,  I had signed consent forms, my meds were adjusted for surgery, Greg was in hospital garb, and I was being wheeled to the operating room.

Once inside, I internally freaked.  At this point my legs were completely numb and they make you move yourself onto this skinny board of a table.  Then they adjust you by people holding sheets up in the air to roll you.  I thought I was going to end up on the floor.  I thought I was going to hyperventilate and asked for something for nerves.  They said they could but the baby would get it so I said forget it.  They put up a drape so I couldn't see my body and they brought Greg in.  They have your arms outstretch on these tables, so we were able to hold hands through the surgery.  I heard a couple scary things during the surgery, such as "I am having trouble getting him out" and even more alarming, "they are donating the cord blood as a benevolent act, I am not sacrificing their care for the blood, get back here".  At that point I was freaking again. 

Meanwhile you don't feel pain but you do feel pressure. When the pressure got intense and the baby wasn't out yet, I got nervous.  A minute or two later a nurse said, "he is coming soon".  About a minute after that, Evan Carter was born crying.  I started crying too.  I was so relieved and so happy.  They put him on the warmer which I could kind of see to the left of me.  But I was so tired and dizzy from sleep deprivation it was hard to stay focused.  Greg got up to cut the cord.  He took pictures so he could bring them back and show me.  The baby cried the whole time and then they swaddled him up and gave him to Greg.  He immediately stopped crying and looked at him with wide eyes.

They finished me up and at this point I could care less about what was being done to me.  Once I was transferred to the bed to wheel me to recovery, I got to hold Evan.  He is so adorable.  Oh, and the kicker, he weighed 7 lb 14 oz, not the 9.5lb they were expecting.  How crazy is that?

We stayed in recovery for 2 hours and then got transferred to my room.  I stayed four days.  He has been such a good mellow baby. And shockingly, we have been pretty mellow too. 

For those who have had a myomectomy, the pain of that surgery is about 10x worse then a c-section.  It is completely manageable and the pain absolutely pales in comparison to having a fibroid removed.

Here are some pics.
And here is one of the two of us.
And him in all his cuteness: