Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Nursing Favorites

Rejoining the 5 favorites crowd with some of the things I have found to be absolutely essential in these early nursing days. Sorry I don't have something a smidge more riveting, but really, this is my life now. So here we go! (Warning, some affiliate links ahead!)

1 - First up is Kelly Mom. I don't remember who introduced me to this site but I reference it daily. It has gotten me through numerous breastfeeding woes. Seriously, go check it out. 

2 - Nursing tanks and this sleep bra. I'll be honest here for a minute, my milk machines are ginormous when I'm nursing. And really ginormous when I'm engorged those first few days. Finding a good supportive bra is necessary BUT those early days I am quite content in a sleep bra and a semi supportive nursing tank. For the time after that, I love Anita bras.

3 - Everyone I know usually raves about disposable nursing pads. No thanks. I tried them and I hate them so badly. I have a few sets of cloth that are excellent. Keep in mind, I don't have a terrible time with leaking so maybe I'm not a good judge. (Ok I wrote that a while ago and since then I've been leaking more than usual. I've used a few disposables and sure, they're great but they still annoy me with their crinkliness!)

4 -  Arizona Green Tea is a new thing for me and not really specific to nursing. I can ony drink so much water. I needed something yummier to drink that isn't totally horrible for me. This has added sugar so that's a downfall but it's worth it. It also has ginseng which I believe could potentially have the same affect on a baby as caffeine, so maybe limit it. Anyway, this easily added 3 cups of fluids into my diet every day. 

5 - Coconut oil has replaced lanolin on my nightstand. My babies are shallow latchers, which leads to cracking and all the pains. Lanolin always caused me grief. My nips would stick to my bra, pad or shirt and it was just uncomfortable to say the least. Once I started using coconut oil, things started clearing up much faster. Highly recommended. 

I'd also say some sort of breastfeeding pillow is necessary but I do not think the boppy is that great. It's what I have and it gets the job done but it's not the best so it's not a fave. 

Anything I've missed? Enlighten me!

Linking up with Heather et al.

Friday, July 11, 2014

newborn days (7qt)

I have been unbelievably blessed to have my mom in town for the past couple of weeks. I was given a chance to really recover from Celia's birth without having to worry about the household tasks. I figured I'd recap how this first week and a half has gone with our sweet little squeaker of a daughter...

-- 1 --

She was born, we hung out at the birth center for a few hours, then we went home and she got to meet Michael for the first time. He was a little apprehensive at first but he has since warmed up to her.

Excuse the numerous chins. I birthed a baby 12 hours prior.

-- 2 --

I love watching the dynamics of sibling bonding. He still hasn't held her but he interacts with her on his own terms. He helps change diapers and he'll even giver her a smooch every once in a while. He's not a fan of her nursing but we're working on that. We've decided to take a very apathetic approach to their relationship. If he doesn't want to help, it's ok. If he doesn't want to give her a kiss, it's ok. When he does interact with her on his own it is unbearably sweet and I don't want to ruin that because he's feeling forced to do so, you know?

-- 3 --

My garden is doing so well. I planted everything late and I'm getting jealous of my neighbors who have big green tomatoes but everything I planted is growing and thriving! I've already started making notes for next year's garden but I just can't wait for this year's harvest, even if it will be a while.

They're already bigger than that now - but at the time, blueberry sized tomatoes! Yay!

-- 4 --

We took Celia to her first Mass. Jon has big plans of her going to 1,000 Masses before her first communion. When he said that, I thought, "ok, no big deal" until he told me that's an average of 3x per week (so 2 extra times per week) and holy moly that is a lot of pressure! I'm not saying its impossible but oh what a goal. Should be interesting trying to do it! Anyway, she was excellent at her first Mass, as she's a newborn and slept the entire time. Her brother was pretty darn good too though, and that is a huge feat.

I was so swollen for the first week or so. More swollen than I was before she was born! Yikes!

-- 5 --

Michael learned how to handle being a big brother.

-- 6 --

Baby girl is porking up. She was 7lbs 8oz at birth, then at her pediatrician appointment had dropped to 7lbs 3oz the next day. 5 days later at her weight check, she was 7lbs 15oz. That explains a lot of my breastfeeding woes I had over those 5 days. Also? Enter the pacifier. Clearly we don't have any issues on the nursing front. She doesn't super love it but it buys me some time every once in a while.

-- 7 --

Michael is still a joy to watch grow. I didn't know how my relationship with him would change.  Sure, my patience for toddler antics is a little shorter, but I'm still fascinated by him. The other day while watching a movie he made this lego tower. In true just-like-his-father form, it had to be perfectly coordinated.

-- -- --

So that's us in a nutshell right now. We've had a couple days in between parents visiting and I think we managed to survive decently well. Not full throttle well, but well enough considering we have a 10 day old baby. We're a little spoiled with the visitors coming to take care of us and help out. It won't be until she's a month old that we'll really go more than a few days without a grandparent around!

Linking up with Jen (and actually linking up this time).

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Celia Jo's Grand Entrance (Part II)

We left off with me in the tub and things getting more real than I ever imagined...

I labored in the tub for a while. The position I was in was possibly not the best for a posterior baby but it was the only one that was working for me at the time. Jon and Sara poured water down my back during each contraction which helped immensely. Soon I couldn't talk in between contractions (partly because of how short my rest periods were) and I was really struggling. I had started to doubt myself, but I hadn't vocalized it yet. Then I started getting a lot of downward pressure. A lot. The nurse asked if the pressure continued in between contractions. It didn't, but soon it did. So out of the tub to be checked. 4 cms. FOUR. I was distraught. I vocalized everything. If this was hardly active labor, I didn't want to know what transition was.  I got back in the tub for a while but quickly got too hot and too uncomfortable. I kept saying I couldn't continue but Jon and Sara assured me that I could. They kept reminding me that I was actually progressing very quickly, even though it felt like I wasn't. Sara suggested I labor in bed in hopes to get better rest in between. So I did. And I hated it. At some point I got on all fours while Sara applied some counter pressure. Finally, I was in a position to help baby turn. I don't think she turned completely around but we think she turned at least to her side. I was doing my best to breathe and not scream and cry out, but eventually my breathes turned into grunts and moans. I take great pride that in my agony, between contractions I said, "I wonder what cow dialect that was" in reference to the sounds I was making (sadly, only Jon heard the joke but it was a fun moment). 

My pleas to leave and go to the hospital for an epidural became much more frequent and happened between contractions (which was something I had previously noted as a way to take my request seriously). They suggested that we ask about the pain remedies the birth center could offer, which I had totally forgotten about. Kara came in and explained what stadol would do. That I would likely sleep for an hour or two and wake up ready to push. I remember asking about hallucinating and she said I might but that it likely wouldn't be too bad. I agreed that we should do that before going to the hospital (which I had even said sounded absolutely horrible because we would have to pack the car and I couldn't imagine getting even the least bit comfortable for the drive). It hadn't been long since my last check, but they needed to check me again to ensure I wasn't too close to pushing. I was 5cms and fully effaced.

This is where it gets a little crazy. It was around 4:30am, for reference. 

Kara asked if she could try something, but that it would involve her checking me during a contraction. She wanted me to push during it too. It hurt like hell. It hurt more than hell actually. When it was over Kara said that she was able to stretch my cervix open to 6-7 cms during that contraction. I noticed the nurse, Shannon, was setting up some stuff in the corner. Kara said we were going to do it again and that we were just going to push the baby out instead of getting drugs.  With the next contraction she was able to get me fully dilated. So basically I went from 5cms to 10 cms in 3 contractions. I think I took a break for a contraction and then we started pushing. By this point, the baby had turned, we just aren't sure when (but who cares and thank goodness!). Pushing was hard and thankfully didn't take that long. I was not very good about holding my breath and pushing instead of screaming bloody murder (truly, I feel bad for the family in the room next door). I loved hearing that she was "right there" and I didn't believe anyone at first. Then the midwife said she had a full head of hair and without missing a beat Jon and I said, "hair?!?" because Michael was bald until 12 months old. I stalled a little with pushing because of some scar tissue from Michael's birth. As much as it would have been nice to push through it, it's probably very good I slowed down and took my time, if you know what I mean!

Celia's first grainy iPhone snapshot

Finally, at 5:05 am, after 25 minutes of pushing (and no more than 35 minutes since I was 5 cms), Cecilia was born.  Nothing beats that moment when you make that final push that results in a baby on your chest. After all that screaming, I felt nothing. I sighed a big "Oh hi, Cecilia!" and instantly worried about the 5 seconds she didn't cry. It's a moment I hope to never forget.  I wish there were a way to snapshot it into my memory. We lit a blessed candle, I cried out a few prayers of thanksgiving, and looked at my husband with sheer joy and amazement. We did it. We had created this little life.

In case you noticed the lack of me mentioning Jon much towards the end of this labor, rest assured, he was very much there. I noticed every second he wasn't at my side. He feels like he really didn't do much, but I was constantly aware of his presence and that was probably the most calming thing I had in that room. So to my excellent husband: thank you, I love you, never leave my side, you truly are the best.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Celia Jo's Grand Entrance (Part I)

In true girl fashion, our little Celia Jo just had to make an impression upon her arrival. It couldn't just be your standard labor, it had to be grand. Now, don't get me wrong, every baby's entrance is grand and usually has some quirk to it that makes it impressionable. I just so wasn't expecting it. Do any of us?

Let's go back a ways here... My first bout of false labor was on June 10th, my last day of work. Looking back, that was nothing compared to what was to come, but timeable, regular contractions are what they are.  Fast forward a couple of weeks to June 22nd, another bout of false labor, but this time a little more real. Then the 23rd, I was up all night with what I stopped calling false and started calling early labor, but it fizzled out after a few hours. It came and went for about a week. On the night of the 28th it was intense. On the night of the 29th, I actually called the midwives. The contractions were intense, but not quite intense enough. The midwife on call suggested I give it an hour or two. So I did, and it fizzled. I was totally discouraged and depressed. I was officially at my due date on June 30th and my 40 week appointment was later that day. 

Still pregnant.

I cried to the midwife about how tired I was. She offered to do an internal check. She said if I were 5 cms, she'd take me downstairs to a birth room, start me on antibiotics (because I was GBS+ again), get me on the breast pump, and potentially even break my water. Sadly, no luck. I was only 1cm. If you want to know discouragement, go through prodromal labor for a week and then be told you're hardly dilated. She felt the baby's position and said she was posterior. Another thing I didn't want to hear. She prescribed me some Ambien and was confident I wouldn't be pregnant much longer.

I cried. A lot. I asked our doula Sara for advice. Sadly, most of the info out there is about accepting that labor will be different than expected. On the drive home from the appointment, I was having contractions from the exam. This time I didn't want them though. I officially wanted labor to hold off so I could try to turn baby girl to an anterior position. 

So we went about the evening and ended it playing Yahtzee with my mom while watching Indiana Jones and eating chocolate ice cream and popcorn. It was glorious. Around 9 or so, I decided it was time to go to bed. Jon and I headed upstairs, did some extra spinning babies exercises and watched an episode of House of Cards.  I took the Ambien and crashed quickly. 

But not for long. 

I was restless for a little while having contractions, but being on the Ambien meant I couldn't quite wake up. I finally did when I had a weird hallucination involving Michael having a cut up bloody face. Very strange. So I went to the bathroom and Jon followed me in. I was still a little high so I don't remember much, but I had some bloody show. So I called the midwives while Jon called the doula and we were out the door as soon as possible. Driving into town while having contractions wasn't nearly as bad as I had worried, but we did run nearly every light imagineable. (I am eternally grateful that the drive happened in the middle of the night again, getting into town during the day takes forever!)

Side note: I have 0 pictures of us leaving or during labor. Things were already too intense for me to say "oh lets take a picture!" So sorry if these posts are a little scarce of relevant photography. This was taken the day before my due date, so its pretty accurate as to what I looked like at the end there...

We got to the birth center and waited for the doula. Contractions were hard but bearable. I spent most of them standing by the bed and leaning over it with Jon rubbing my back gently.  The nurse took all of our vitals without interrupting our flow and got my IV started. There was a couple in the next room that has a baby shortly after we arrived. In the last few days of the pregnancy, I had become so detached from the idea of a baby, I just wanted to be done being pregnant (and being in early labor). Hearing that baby cry gave me some motivation and brought things back to reality for me. I was getting my baby soon! Shortly after, the midwife came in to do an internal exam. 2 centimeters people. TWO.

Sara arrived and I was still laboring standing up with Jon behind me. In between contractions we talked and told funny stories. Somehow we were talking about Jon's favorite radio show, Coast to Coast AM and then that led to Sara talking about different cow dialects (this is somewhat relevant). Obviously, I was still in early labor.  However, things were starting to get far more intense and I knew I needed to try a different position. We grabbed the birth ball because that had worked so well for me last time. As I sat down a contraction started and I instantly knew it was not happening. Given that the baby was posterior, something about the sitting position just made it unbearable. We asked if it was too early to get in the tub. Kara, the midwife, said to give it a try but to get out if things slowed down. So while the tub filled we timed contractions to get a reference point. Once I was in that tub it was wonderful relief on my back. Almost immediately, I had a 5 minute break between contractions, the longest I had had since we arrived at the center. Looking back, I still remember how unbelievably peaceful and comfortable that break was. But I paid for it. The next contraction was nearly 3 minutes long and double peaked.

... and that is where my memory starts to fade.

Stay tuned for Part II!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Welcome to the world!

Sweet Celia Jo graced us with her presence on July 1, 2014.

More details to come, but for now we're a little busy loving on our little squeaker.

Thank you for all the prayers!