Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The first 3 weeks

I've heard mixed reviews about Lucile Packard. Some people felt like if you don't have a baby with some sort of medical issue they kind of brush you aside while others felt their stay was pleasant. Luckily, my experience was the latter. Part of the reason may have been that I didn't have to share a room.
Us coming home.  I didn't realize how scared I was until I saw these 2 sitting in the back together. AHHHH! 

I was so set on just having this baby that I forgot about all that happens afterword.  Like having to wear a pad the size of Texas because you bleed for the next 2 weeks.  Or the contractions that come from your uterus getting smaller (it was worse this time than it was with Henry). 
Or the worst (warning, I go into detail about this so stop reading if the word nipple offends you), that I wasn't expecting this time- breastfeeding.  I knew I was going to do it, and that it was going to happen.  I just wasn't prepared for how painful it was going to be.  I didn't remember it being this bad with Henry.  She always eats and sucks really well (although, they did snip the extra skin under her tongue- while it was hard to watch it was surprisingly quick and after she ate it was like nothing had happened).  Regardless of her great eating style, my nipples were just not on the same page.  Holy smokes they hurt so bad.  I figured it would be bad the first couple days so I kind of just took it.  But about 3 days after it was beyond what I could handle.  I would dread any feeding (which was happening every 2-3 hours) because it meant my poor cracked and bleeding nipples would have to be cut off (it's a pretty accurate metaphor for what I was feeling).  I started to feel a very similar feeling I had with Henry- inadequacy.  But that word doesn't do it justice.  There is something so devastating about not being able to provide for your child.  Especially when you're hormonal, have just given birth, your breasts are beyond huge, and you're prideful like myself.  We went and talked to the doctor who suggested pumping for 24 hours to give me a break.  That's when I lost it.  Well, I made it to the car, where I had to breastfeed because she was hungry and crying but I broke down.  It just feels like if breastfeeding is so good for babies and women have been doing it for all of time then why was I sucking at this so badly?!?  I obviously was a stupid mother and I didn't know what the hell I was doing and I should just give up (these are not my thoughts now, but it's honestly how I felt then).  Really though, why couldn't I provide for my daughter just like every other woman does?  Why was I being such a wimp?  Those were my thoughts that left me crying that whole day and the next morning.
I took the doctor's advice, rented a really nice pump, and did it for 24 hours.  It hurt to pump but not as bad as Kate sucking on them.  I was putting warm compresses and ointment on them, leaving them open to let them heal.  I was still pretty discouraged just because they weren't feeling that much better.  After the 24 hours were up though, it was a little better.  It still hurt but not as bad.  And we slowly got to the place I am now.  She still eats every 2-3 hours and the initial latch is slightly uncomfortable but I can feed my daughter without crying and wincing in pain.  We have other issues such as her eating too fast or how often she wants to eat but we're in a lot better place than those first few days.  Did I mention we didn't have anyone here to help for the first couple of days?  That probably contributed to how down in the dumps I felt but we made it through and we're getting the hang of it!
Woah, that was serious.  Glad that's over.
She didn't like her first bath so much... Henry apparently did though.
 But she's a good sport :)
 And looked really cute afterwords!

 If you didn't see the pictures I posted on facebook- go look now.  This was just a little bit of what my husband put Kate though one day.  So funny :)

 We're so happy!!!  Here's a funny.  Yesterday I set Kate on the couch so I could go get a drink.  As I walked away she started screaming really loud and it didn't sound like her normal cry.  I ran back to her to see one of her hands flailing while the other was right by her head.  The hand by her head had grabbed a chunk of hair and the more it hurt the tighter she was holding on to the hair she was pulling.  I had to carefully unfold the white knuckle grip she had on her own hair.  Silly babies ;)
 The nice thing about pumping is that little brothers get to help feed!
 Anyway, we got a ton of help from my mother in law who came when she was a week old and stayed for a week.  It was a pretty nice gig.  I would feed Kate and then Jane would take her in the middle of the night until it was time for her to eat again.  I love sleep and I love Jane for how good she is at helping out.  Really, she always knows just what to do to make things better.  Plus, she took care of Henry, made awesome food, and made sure we were all taken care of.  Thank you Jane, your presence is sorely missed in this house!

Have I mentioned that Kate is a great baby?  Because she is amazing.  She eats and sleeps beautifully.  When she is awake she loves to look around and just likes to be held (as opposed to Henry who spent most of his waking hours screaming).

I am a very lucky woman with and incredible family.  MT is so good to get up in the middle of the night to be with Kate when she wants to be held.  He adores her with everything he has and smothers her with kisses.  Henry has gotten a little more sassy with me but I actually think it's more based on the fact that he can communicate his wishes to us now.  He LOVES Kate and always asks to hold her and also smothers her with kisses.  I've got a very good life people.  I don't quite know how I got so lucky but I thank God every day for how grateful I am to Him for having all that I do.

Ok, that was a lot of blogging.  Now time to go be a mom.  Peace out.

Epidural or no epidural?

Since I've now experienced giving birth with and without an epidural a lot of people have asked me which I prefer.  I say both.

With Henry, I was being induced.  The pain was severe early in labor and meant a lot of hours in lots of pain.  The epidural was the most heavenly sent gift of modern medicine that could have ever been created.  However, the time it took to get the epidural and the risks that are involved with sticking something in your spine are not ideal in my book.

With Kate, I was far enough along when the pain got intense that I needed a little time to relax and recuperate before the actual birth.  It was perfect because I got relief just before the most painful thing I've ever been through.

So, with the next one (which won't be happening for a while) I'm going to keep my options open.  However, I would highly recommend going into labor naturally.  It's much more exciting.

Baby Kate's Story

Most of you know that I'm a fairly straight to the point kind of person.  With that, this story may contain information that you, your husband, your kids, or your friend may not want to read.  So please take this as a warning that this post will contain words such as cramping, poop, bleeding, tears, etc. and will depict an actual birth.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Monday, January 21st (my due date)
My mom and sister had been visiting for the long weekend and were planning to leave the next day, Tuesday.  I was dilated to a 1 for two weeks and my doctor appointment on Friday the 18th showed I was dilated to a 2 (I give credit of my progress to Ali who came, walked with me, gave me a mani/pedi, did acupressure, and helped me eat pineapple).  Since my mom was planning to leave the next day, she suggested that I schedule a doctor appointment for that day so she could see if there was any significant progress (she was deciding if she should stay longer or not).

I got in to my doctor where she found the same results as Friday.  She stripped my membranes again and gave me labor vibes.  I had pretty much decided I was going to go 8 days late like I did with J Henry.  Around 1 in the afternoon my mom and I went on a brisk 20 minute walk to ColdStone and walked the 20 minutes back.  It's not easy walking that long at 9 months pregnant for those of you that don't know.

So, normal day right?  MT and I decided we'd go out to eat that night and then hang out with some friends because it may be a while before we got to do that again.  About 5:30, while sitting on the couch I started to feel some... feelings.  haha.  I don't know how to explain it.  The only reason I even thought twice about the feeling was that it felt slightly similar to when I was induced with JH.  It was just a little tightening but not painful.  Just kind of weird.  The tightening feeling would start and grow a little and then die out.  Sorry, those of you with kids probably are like- duh- but I'm trying to paint a good picture so I remember what happened.  The feelings were on average 5-7 minutes apart but again, not painful.

Since I wasn't in pain we went on with the night as planned.  Although, we decided if I really was in labor, having a really nice huge dinner wouldn't be the best thing to have in my stomach.  So, naturally, we went to McDonalds.  I'm kinda disappointed that we went there- it wasn't really that great.  Big surprise eh?  The "feelings' got pretty irregular when I would walk around but the longest I went between them was 7 minutes.

I should go through this quicker right?  Too many details.  Whatever.  This is a record for me- not you.  So just be patient. 

Then we headed to our friend's place where we watched a movie.  The Carr's introduced us to a really good film, or so I'm told.  I was there, and I watched it, but I was distracted by timing my "feelings" that I now decided were contractions because they were becoming increasingly painful.  On average, about 5 minutes apart.  But it wasn't really bad pain.  It was a little cramp that would build and then go away.  Anyway, all I really remember from the movie was a knife, funny cub scouts, Bruce Willis, and an awkward beach scene.  I want to watch it again so I can follow along better.  By the end, I was glad to be leaving.  It was getting a little more painful but still irregular.  The contractions would be coming every 5 minutes, then 3, then 7, then 5 again.  I was just confused because I wasn't in MAJOR pain but they were coming often and not at a definite interval.

We got in the car to go home and the contractions got painful.  It must have been the way I was sitting because MT started driving and all of a sudden it was very uncomfortable.  This was around 11pm.  I adjusted my seat to lay back and MT freaked out.  I guess he heard a pop and thought the baby popped out.  haha.  We laughed for a minute about that.

I was definitely in labor at this point.  I made MT time contractions because I was sick of only focusing on the pain.  When we got home I started getting my bag ready and making sure I had everything together because I figured at some point in the night we'd be heading to the hospital.  Around 11:30 I laid down to try and get some sleep.  ha.  I didn't get sleep but I "rested" for a good hour and a half.  MT read a book next to me, still timing contractions.  They were coming consistently 5 min apart and very painful.  I called the hospital to ask when I should come in.  Once I told them it was my second child they said to come in right then.

Tuesday, January 22nd

My mom, hubby, and I got dressed and started to head out the door.  My mom asked for some scissors to work on a project while we were hanging out in the hospital.  It took us a little bit to find them and she kept saying, "Never mind, I don't need them.  It's all good.  Don't worry about it."  But I didn't mind, it was a way to pass the time.  I'm not sure why that sticks out in my mind.  Weird.

We got to Lucile Packard Children's Hospital around 12:45.  When you go in you have to check in, get your picture taken, put an ID sticker on, take an elevator up, and walk inconveniently far to labor and delivery.  Who designed that?  I remember thinking I was glad I wasn't one of those women who deliver 2 seconds after they get to the hospital.  I would have killed the security guard for making me check-in.  Anyway, we made it to labor and delivery where they checked me- 4cm dilated and fully effaced.  I was pleased- I had this horrible thought that maybe it was false labor and I was still at a 2.  Because I was group B strep positive, I needed to get antibiotics so they admitted me.

Then the boring stuff happens.  I lay in the bed being monitored, having contractions every 4 minutes.  My mom did some stuff on the other side of the room (this is where I preferred her to be.  I like having my mom there but not all up in my biness).  MT sat close to me, holding my hand if it was a particularly bad contraction and working on a little bit of school I think.  I was allowed to walk around for certain periods of time which was nice.  The hubs and my mom fell asleep at one point so I started a movie.  It was with Drew Berry More and that guy from the Office about saving whales.  Once again, I can't remember much of it because it's hard to concentrate when a human is making their way out of your lady parts.

Around 4am I was having really bad contractions every 1-2 minutes.  I threw up at some point- I don't think that people know it's common to get sick in the later stages of labor.  MT was holding my hand constantly through this because it was so bad.  At one point, he reached with his other hand into his backpack and started eating oreos.  I let him eat about 3 before his chocolate cookie breath put me over the edge.  He reached down for the 4th one and I said in a very even and loving tone, "That's your last one."  He stopped. :)

I got checked and I was at a 7!  I was really impressed because when I felt that way with JH I was only at a 4 (that's the difference between induction and natural childbirth people).  I decided I wanted an epidural to get me through the end.  When I asked the nurse she convinced me to first try a drug that could be given though my IV since I was so close.  The benefits were that it could be given immediately and  I still had the option of an epidural if I didn't like it.  It didn't take the pain away but made me feel it differently. Now that I think about it, it was probably a medical way of getting me drunk (although I've never actually been drunk so I guess it's a long shot).  It was just weird.  Within a minute of her giving me the drug I felt dizzy and really funny but SUPER happy.  Really, it just made me feel so good.  It helped me sleep a little and I got to relax.  I remember having some really weird dreams.  I wanted to roll over and tell MT and my mom about them but then realized what I was dreaming was nonsense.  Whales were involved...  Anyway, the drug lasted for 45 minutes and I could get 3 doses.  So, the first one was amazing!  I got the second dose an hour later and it still felt good but I could feel the pain more than with the first dose so I didn't get much sleep.  And an hour after that I got the third dose.  Again, I still felt a whole lot better but was still feeling pain with the contractions.  I threw up at some point again.

The third dose wore off at around 8:15am.  I was feeling the contractions every minute.  And they were bad.  Like really bad.  Remember the tightening I said earlier?  It was that times 100 and then bad cramping from a period times 100.  Although, cramping isn't the right word for it at this point.  It was more like trying to poop a redwood tree out.  There was just so much pressure and I could feel her getting lower.  Oh man, just talking about it makes me hurt.  I got checked and I was at an 8 or 9 dilated and the doctor broke my water.  They said to let them know when I felt like I had to poop and then it'd be time to push.

The contractions were just so draining.  They were coming so quickly.  I just wanted it to be over.  And the whole poop thing- I pretty much felt like I had to poop the whole time so I kept telling the nurse and she was trying to convince me that I wasn't ready to push.  Looking back I think I kept telling her that because I thought she would come out quicker if I started pushing sooner.  It turns out the nurse was right to wait a little longer... but man it hurt.  I remember thinking REVERSE! REVERSE!  She needs to go back up because there's no way she's coming all the way out!  This is not happening!  Finally the pain and pressure got really low and I told the nurse I was ready to push.  She checked me and I was at a 10- finally!  It took the doctor like 10 minutes to get to me but at this point I'm like, whatever, I'm gonna die anyway.

The doctor gets to my room.  She says to push with the contractions and I think I was crying when I told her I didn't know when to push because it just hurt bad all the time.  It feels semi-good to push but also gets more painful.  Man, it's all just so weird.  But I pushed so hard because I knew I wasn't allowed to reverse like I so badly wanted.  There was one push that I'm pretty sure I was getting her shoulders out because it hurt soooooo bad.  But after that push- oh man, it was like the best feeling EVER!!!  Seriously, so much release and relief.  So much happiness.  So much not baby inside me.  So good.  Like after you've been holding your pee forever and then you finally get to go- that feeling times 100 (sorry for all the bathroom references, they just work really well in this scenario).

They gave her to me right after she came out (which didn't happen with Henry) and that was amazing.  I was barely even aware of my placenta being delivered.  And... dun duh daaaa... no tears or stitches or anything.  Kate Emily Pope, 7lbs 12oz.  I'll let the pictures do the talking now.

Don't worry, they are all appropriate :)

If you made it this far you're either super bored, you really love me, or you have an odd obsession with labor and delivery.  The first 3 weeks of life post coming soon.