Saturday, July 30, 2005

I think we're finally getting the hang of the new schedule. Everything reset when we switched to (mostly) exclusive breast feeding. The Worst Night Yet was on Monday; we were fighting at 3am. We found that we both retain our sanity if we get 3-4 solid hours of sleep in a row. We can then grab naps whenever they come. It's amazing just how little sleep you actually need to function. So now we take shifts. Typically Mr. b will stay up until about 1am and then I'll get up for the second half of the night (especially if he has to go to work in the morning). Apparently my own parents did the exact same thing with me.

Kirk really has a great temperament. He's a very chill baby. But he likes keeping late hours. And he demands being held most of the time when he's awake in the middle of the night. I've started to figure out how to trick him in to napping if he's cuddled up close to Mommy. And so obviously I've had to learn how to safely sleep with him. Then I have dreams about nursing him and I can't figure out if he just ate or what. We were keeping a feeding and diaper changing log, to track how long he'd spend at each breast, how much mommy juice in a bottle he'd take, and how many wet and poopy diapers he was having. But we both spontaneously quit that today. Hopefully I'll be able to mentally estimate when he last ate and whatnot.

I know that "Breast is Best" and all that logical reasoning for nursing your child. And it does make sense. But for some reason it's just massively important to me that this works. When I was having more difficulties I just felt like I'd somehow be a failure as a mother if I couldn't do it. Which is obviously crap and completely untrue. But I'm now pretty sure this is going to work out. I could tell a difference in how full my boobs felt when Kirk started being able to nurse through the shield. They didn't hurt, but they clearly contained a quantity of liquid. He's certainly getting enough to eat. And I'm definitely getting plenty of milk when I pump, too. I'm going to try to start freezing it. I've got a bunch in the fridge ready to go already.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

It seems that despite my quickly reduced stomach size, my old pants still don't fit. My ass is considerably huger. Considering that I already had ghetto booty to begin with, that's going to make it even more difficult to find things that fit. Big hips and small waist are just not what clothing makers have in mind.

I'm trying to be hyper observant of Kirk's behavior. I can tell when he's actually hungry and not just fussy based on how he moves his mouth and head. And I've been looking for all the little development markers that he's supposed to hit. He does the newborn reflexes like hug-the-tree when startled. He laughs in his sleep. And he's just beginning to notice his hands. The other day I caught him following his finger movements like a hippie on acid watching trails.

He makes all kinds of funny noises. Our favorite is when he sounds like a tauntaun. I love watching his face when he sleeps. I always think of Delenn watching Sheridan.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Today I went out with Kirk by myself for the first time. We've always gone out with Mr. b before. We've been out to eat, and shop, and even saw Batman. I took the little man in for a weight check with Doc. He's holding steady (6# 4 oz) and she thinks he looks great. He's plenty hydrated and she said not to worry about his not pooping since we started the breast feeding project; he's just got an efficient gut. Boy can he fart though!

I also went out by myself for the first time today. Granted it was just to the grocery store but still. While driving there I realized I was extremely exhausted and I remembered Auntie G telling me to be careful while driving on limited sleep during these first few months. She wasn't kidding!

My lochia flow had gone to clear but yesterday it switched to light red again. I must need to slow down. But I'm certainly not doing much. Hell, I haven't even managed to take a shower in a couple of days. Maybe I'll get to it later tonight. I'm just annoyed that I have to continue wearing the damn panty liners. I understand now why people say that this makes up for the lack of a period for 9 months.

Mr. b thinks I look Norwegian walking around topless all the time. It must be the braids. I know why so many women get their hair cut short after they have a kid. It really gets in the way when you're trying to nurse. I keep it back constantly. Well, that also helps to hide the fact that I don't have time or energy to shower and wash my hair anymore!

Bath time
Dancin' fool

Friday, July 22, 2005

Breast feeding is hard. During the whole pregnancy Mr. b enjoyed pointing out when TV and movies portray it incorrectly. So his latest bitch is about how in Blue Lagoon Brooke Sheilds couldn't have nursed her inbred baby so easily.

A lactation nurse came to help me out yesterday. We found out that Kirk has gained almost a pound on his birth weight--he's up to 6-3.5! Awesome! That means that we are switching to agressive and exclusive breast feeding. Mommy is still requesting that Daddy do a bottle feeding in the middle of the night for her own sanity however. The nurse said that everything that Kirk is doing (or not doing, heh) is typical and she got me started using a nipple shield. It's very strange navigating this weird boob condom while trying to get the boy to open his mouth but it seems to be working. He just eats a lot more frequently now.

To keep up/increase my milk production I have to try to keep pumping whenever possible. So far if my nip is leaking while I'm feeding him on the other boob, then I'll pump. We're also doing "kangaroo care" which is just naked baby (he gets to keep his diaper on) against my chest. It's super cuddly and warm. I don't know where the name came from. And I don't know why the skin contact triggers milk production. Mr. b is mildly skeptical and wonders, "Do your boobs smell the baby?"

So I'm spending even more time topless. Which I like because frankly I've always wished that women could go topless in this society. I just have to remember to put a shirt on when I get the mail or take out the trash.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I'm really surprised at how quickly my stomach has gone down. I'm betting regular pants would fit me, if I'd bother to unpack them and try them on. Maternity things are certainly too big, except for the two low rider transitional pairs I bought in the fifth month. This weekend a friend told me that if she didn't know, she'd never guess that I just had a baby. I wouldn't go that far! I know that the attempt to nurse and the constant pumping has helped. I sure am hungry all the time. I could actually feel my uterus retracting while I was still in the hospital. It felt kind of like that undefinable tummy ache that you get with the flu. Now I just want to know when my stomach muscles have moved back into their normal place and I can start doing sit-ups.

And have sex! Dangit, this sex restriction is no fun. I'm not allowed to "put anything in [my] vagina for 6 weeks." The nurse explained that means tampons and then she circled the No Sexual Intercourse section of my discharge paperwork. Both Mr. b and I keep having sex dreams and are starting a sex countdown.

The psychadelic jaundice box
Sleeping little beauty

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Labor and Delivery

I need to get this down before it fades any further. I always thought women were bullshitting or promoting a conspiracy of disinformation when they said that you forget the pain of childbirth. But it's totally true! I can intellectually remember it hurting like a sumbitch, not thinking that it would ever end, being too tired to go on. And yet, it's like it happened a lifetime ago.

When I came home on Friday the 1st I took a nap. I dreamt about breathing to a count of 3. When I woke up at about 5:00pm, my contractions were suddenly extremely regular. But Mr. b wasn't home from work yet. I paced and danced and paced and danced and stretched and moved and took each one as they came. Mr. b got home about 6:30pm and I attacked him with an impatient, "I've been waiting for you!" He thought I was making it up. Even after timing the contractions (2 and a half minutes apart, about 40 seconds each), he still didn't think it was real. I wanted to go to the hospital. Obviously we didn't have a labor bag packed yet so Mr. b got that together and we got to the hospital about 8:00pm. The contractions were intensifying already.

Once I was registered and in a room, they had to put me on an IV right away. I hadn't yet had the strep (of the butt, frenchtoast(tm)) test and so they gave me antibiotics just in case. I wasn't too amused about not being able to be on my feet but they had to have me on a fetal monitor since it was early. I was already dilated to 3cm and 100% effaced. Mr. b asked the nurse if that meant I'd be having the baby. She chuckled and said yes. Then he believed it was really happening.

I dilated 1-2 cm every hour after that and the contractions got steadily more and more painful. For a while they were more bearable because I figured out how to relax through them (think of Kira Nerys) but that didn't last. I felt poop starting to slip out as I was starting to wonder how much more of this I could take. The nurse helped me to the toilet and asked if I wanted some Nubain to take the edge off. They could just add it to my IV. I said yes very quickly. That made it so both Mr. b and I could doze off in between contractions. I was dilated to 7 or 8cm at that point and just entering transition. There was a lot of "bloody show" this whole time but my water still hadn't broken. When the nurse checked me again it broke and came gushing out, very warm, and startled her. I was almost fully dilated, just a small edge remaining, but Doc hadn't arrived yet. It must have been about 2:00am at this point.

Then the urge to push came. I was told to fight it because of that tiny amount of cervix still not dilated. That was impossible. How do you fight an animal urge that basic? I had a vague recollection of Teacher talking about animals panting while delivering so I switched my breathing to that and clung to the edges of the bed. It was probably only 5 or 10 minutes but it was the longest time of my life. Finally Doc arrived, they tranformed the bed to traditional pushing position, legs in stirrups and whatnot. I had wanted to try squatting but was way beyond caring or fighting. It's not like we had a birth plan. We were supposed to write that out at the next Ob appointment.

Pushing really does feel just like the urge to take a giant dump. Only you have to push harder than anything you've ever done in your life. I kept shouting during each push and they kept telling me that I was wasting my energy. But I felt better yelling. Mr. b said that he could tell a difference when I didn't groan and I tried to be quiet. Doc said they needed to do an episiotomy and I cried, "I'm sorry, I'll push harder." She let me try 2 more pushes and then said the baby wasn't coming fast enough and his heart rate was slowing down so she cut me. Mr. b says that was the hardest thing to watch. When I finally felt too exhausted to push anymore, the nurse put my hand down to feel baby's head crowning. It was squishy and weird. But I somehow managed to find the energy to get his head out. Two more much smaller pushes and his body wriggled out. They put him on my chest and Mr. b cut his cord and then they went to weigh him and do the Apgar test.

I was for some reason really concerned about the placenta and asked Doc what I was supposed to do next. She said she'd let me know when to push. It was a very short time later and I barely had to push at all to expel the afterbirth. Then Doc had to sew me up and Mr. b held our son. It was all extremely surreal. And I was suddenly so hungry.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

My life is almost entirely centered around my tits right now. Perhaps even more so than when Diablo was stripping full time. "Did you boob him?" is Mr. b's way of inquiring how the latest nursing attempt went. I'm milking myself after each feeding because we need to have bottled boob for the little man. I'm fascinated watching the milk come out of my nipples. It comes out of more than just one spot! There are lots of tiny holes. I don't know why I thought it was just one in the center. And sometimes it spurts out in a fine jet.

But wee Kirk has gained weight! Yay! A whole 2 ounces in fact. We had a home visit from a nurse on Sunday and he was up to 5# 1oz. Mr. b and I are hoping for birth weight at today's clinic check-up. It'll probably depend on if he poops. The home visit nurse had to "stimulate his rectum" (slide a vaseline coated thermometer in and out of his butt) because he hadn't pooped in 36 hours. Later that day I changed the most massively poopy diaper I've ever seen in my life.

Some random observations:
Apparently duckies and froggies are gender neutral animals.
Puppies are for boys and kitties are for girls.
Mr. b and I both now refer to ourselves as "Mommy" and "Daddy" in the third person.
Kirk is the cutest baby of all time.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Free at last!

We're finally home! I was so happy when the neonatologist told me we could leave that I started to cry. Mr. b was waiting in the room because he gets bored while I try to nurse and so he was going to just meet me in the nursery after a half hour and give the little man his bottle. He was so surprised when I came back pushing Captain Baby in a hospital cart instead. We still have to try to hit specific feeding marks (minimum of 35cc every 3 hours) and of course he still doesn't quite have the whole breast feeding thing mastered. But we're home!

Every time the nurses would talk about early babies as premies I kept thinking about those horrible extra small Cabbage Patch Kids they were making after the Cabbage Patch craze started to wane.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

It's so frustrating not being able to bring our son home. Yesterday he had his Darth Vader arm (that's what Mr. b and I called his IV) removed and they took him off the heat monitoring. So he was on track to go home today. But then this morning we found out his billirubin levels were too high so he's now in the phototherapy bin like some kind of home grown weed. And it'll be a minimum of 24 hours for this jaundice treatment. It was a bad morning for both Mr. b and I.

Emotionally, I've been mostly okay. I've definitely done some crying, and clearly the separation is adding to the normal post-partum blues. I've decided that the reward for going through pregnancy and childbirth is not necessarily the child; it's breast feeding. The view of my baby's face nestled against my skin is amazing. Sure, he hasn't really figured the nursing thing out yet since he was early. But it's already darling. I thought it would be weird to be food. But logically, the Mommy Juice is tailor made so I definitely wanted to try it. I hope he figures it out better soon. Pumping all the time is tiring. But he takes a bottle pretty well. He does best when Daddy feeds him--or Grandpa.

Nose to nose

Monday, July 04, 2005

July 2, 2005 2:39am

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He's 3 weeks early and is still in the Level 2 Nursery. I'm discharged but am a Boarder Mom so I can feed him. Hopefully he'll be able to get out by Thursday.
5 pounds 4 ounces
17.5 inches long
12.75 inch head

Friday, July 01, 2005

I talked to Doc. I figured 12 hours of contractions was plenty long enough to warrant an informational phone call. She said to give it another 12 hours. If they become more regular or even more intense, then call the labor people at the hospital and just go in. She said that if I'm really in labor they'd "let me" have the baby now. Was that a joke? Can you even stop it if you're in labor too early? But Doc said that it could be my body just needs more fluids (considering how much water I drink I highly doubt that) or maybe these contractions will just ebb away. I hope so. I hope it's just because Child Person is dropping, getting his head into position in my pelvis.

I really should do some pelvic rocks and belly dancing to help ensure he's facing the right direction just in case this is real labor. Then again, I'm so tired I'm going to take a nap instead. Because if it's not false labor, I'm going to need some energy. I came home early when I realized I could barely concentrate on work anymore. I figured I needed to leave while I could still muster up enough concentration to drive safely.
Last night at about 2am the Braxton Hicks contractions turned painful. I was doing circular yoga breathing just to deal. And even though Teacher said that changing positions usually alleviates them, sitting, standing, stretching, nothing worked. I might have gotten another hour, hour and a half of sleep. It's just not fair to have contractions when the baby still hasn't dropped so I'm also still fighting to keep him out of my ribs! And to think that earlier this week I was thinking it wasn't fair to wake up just as sore as when I went to bed, only in different places....

And these stupid practice contractions don't even have a baby at the end of them. Yeah, yeah, my uterus is getting ready to do its thing. Yeah, yeah, I'm practicing breathing. But really, this is just pointless and annoying pain. It seems to have lessened in intensity since I've been up this morning but they're still coming. There is no way I can stand 3 weeks of this crap.

I'm convinced that Child Person will be making his grand debut early. Teacher mentioned that a full moon is a very common labor trigger. So if your due date (7/24) is near a full moon (7/21), you should be prepared. But hell, at this point, I hope that fireworks are a labor trigger. C'mon 4th of July baby! Mr. b is a Presidents nerd; he'd love to have a son born on the death anniversary of three of the Founders.