Everything AND the Kitchen Sink!

It’s been a rough month for my little family, so I am a bit behind on any lifestyle changes I have been hoping to implement this year. But I have a pretty darn good excuse…

I had foot surgery on December 18th :/ 

foot 1
December 19th. Day after surgery

Two years ago I tore I ligament in my foot playing soccer. At first they said it would heal on it’s own and had me wear a boot for 8 weeks. Then I started physical therapy, but it wasn’t healed. Then they told me to stay off of it again and give it longer to heal, so I did. But it didn’t heal. Then I got pregnant and ignored it for a long time. I could still walk and run on it without pain, but later in the evening I would get pain and swelling. I also could not go up on my toes at all, the torn ligament was the lateral collateral ligament in the side of my foot by my big toe.

Capture

 

So I was able to live with it, but not able to be as active as I’d like (planks were a no, as was yoga, calf raises, push ups…turns out you flex your toes back for a lot of things).

foot 2
January 14th. Healing underway

 

The surgery was the week before Christmas. I was completely non-weight bearing for the first week and then was able to hobble around putting light pressure on my heel, being sure to avoid pressure on the front of my foot.

Did I mention Baby Doll is crawling???

And pulling herself up to standing?!?!

esme standing
This was taken December 10th

So that has been mighty tricky. Baby Doll started crawling a couple of weeks before the surgery. I knew it was going to be hard, but I wanted to get this over with before she gets even more mobile.

After I scheduled my surgery, my dad was cleared to fly. He is in poor health and was having foot issues related to diabetes. So he, too, had to have foot surgery last year and wasn’t allowed to fly until recently. So he also hadn’t met baby yet and was anxious to come visit. So he came over Christmas and helped out (kind of). He was good at cooking me meals and somewhat watching baby. But he wasn’t great at watching baby because he cannot get up and down off the floor with her. He was also not great at cleaning up after himself in the kitchen – BUT I cannot complain because I didn’t have to cook myself anything (or pay for any of the groceries) while he was in town.

Esme and papa bu.jpg
She’s super interested in faces right now

THEN, On Christmas Evening, the shut-off valve under our kitchen sink broke! On Christmas. The shutoff valve! So water was leaking everywhere and we couldn’t shut it off to that one sink, so we had to shut off all the water to the entire house! On Christmas!

So no plumbers were available. No hardware stores were open. And none of us could shower, or flush a toilet, until we got it fixed… 

Luckily my dad is also pretty handy with plumbing. The next morning he and Beau took a trip to Ace Hardware and had it fixed in no time.

kitchen sink
Dad on the floor. Notice his foot is still in a boot from his surgery.

But beware! If you have one of those faucets that detaches with a hose and lets you spray water around the sink, the loop that hangs down under the sink can snag on the shut-off valves. Yank too hard to pull the faucet out and over time it will wear it down and eventually snap off. On Christmas.

But that’s not the end of it… Boy oh boy…

By the end of the week, Dolly had come down with Roseola. At first we just thought she was teething because she was feverish and fussy but otherwise seemed fine. But by Friday she was breaking out in a rash and so Saturday it was a trip to the pediatrician to see what was going on. Luckily it is self limiting and you just have to let it run its course, medicating with tylenol, ibuprofen or other fever reducers that are safe for babies.

So through that she started sleeping terribly again. Like up every two to three hours screaming and not wanting to be put back in her crib. It was exhausting.

So of course the next week Beau gets pink eye, because we’re whipped and sleep deprived and immunity is low… He finally goes to a doctor last Thursday because it still wasn’t totally cleared but the doc said it was pretty much through so not to worry.

Then that night he starts feeling worse and having G.I. issues. By the next day it’s chills, body aches and fever… Yup. He got the FLU! I know. This is getting to be ridiculous. So he goes to the urgent care clinic and gets on Tamiflu but doctor says he is still contagious for three days. So I had a nice long weekend (MLK Jr. Day) with Beau quarantined to the upstairs and me on full-time baby duty.

Good thing he was no longer contagious by Monday night. Because I thought I was going to die from lack of sleep and just general exhaustion.

Let’s not forget that I am still limited with my foot. And it’s my driving foot so I can’t drive. And I can’t carry a baby down our porch steps even if I could drive. So I didn’t leave my house from Friday after work until Tuesday morning. Rough.

Get your flu shots. Even if they are only 30% effective. 

I got mine. Dolly got hers. Both of us avoided flu. Beau did not get his shot this year and we all suffered because of it.

So you can see why I haven’t attempted to take on anything else in my life right now.

Sorry this turned into such a long post! How was your holiday? Hopefully better than mine…

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Colic and Acid Reflux

So Baby Dolly turned out to be a little bit tricky.

crying esme

(Beau trying to soothe Dolly bouncing on a fitness ball with her)

She wasn’t sleeping well and definitely did not like being put down on her back to go to sleep. She slept well on my chest held upright in my arms. Which was amazing, but also I needed to sleep sometime. 

Oh, and nobody warns you that newborn babies make weird breathing noises in their sleep. They grunt and gurgle and it can be soooo exhausting if you are a light sleeper like me. 

But aside from those normal grunting noises she was definitely having trouble being put down. So after discussing her symptoms with the pediatrician we were sent home with a diagnosis of acid reflux and a prescription for Ranitidine.

Her improvement was night and day! SO so glad we started the Ranitidine. She almost immediately had a easier time being put down to sleep without arching her back and crying. I even noticed a reduction in the amount of grunting noises she made in her sleep. It was a miracle drug.

BUT – she was still a bit of a fussy-butt every evening. Most nights she’d have a crying spell that was only quelled by bouncing on a pilates fitness ball while singing to her for upwards of 45 minutes to an hour.

Beau and I would take turns trying to coax her to sleep but regardless of what we did she had a crying spell most nights. Beau refuses to admit, even now, that she had colic. I, however, admit it fully (I also believe this is why we’re still having a bit of trouble sleeping at 8 months Confused Face on Samsung Experience 8.5 (Galaxy Note S8)).

Sure, I’ve heard of others who had WAY WORSE cases of colic. I thank my lucky stars it wasn’t worse than it was. Still, it was NO FUN and definitely made “Healthy Sleep Habits” hard to form.

I think the only way I survived this phase was with Beau’s help. We made the decision to introduce a bottle when she was around 2 weeks old. She took to it like a champ and still took my breast. No nipple confusion!

This did mean that I had to find some time each day to pump enough for one bottle to be given each night. But this was a small price to pay for 4 straight hours of sleep! 

She was still waking every two hours to eat so I’d feed her and then head to bed super early (like 7pm, no kidding). Then Beau would take the first shift and give her the bottle around 9. Then he’d hang out with her until she woke again around 11 and then he’d come get me and I’d take the rest of the night. Those four hours were essential to my sanity, and Beau still got enough sleep to function at work the next day.

We are lucky enough to have a spare room so one of us could sleep with Dolly in our bedroom (she slept in a bassinet of course) and the other would sleep in the spare room upstairs so as not to be woken by the cries. I realize this is a luxury not everyone has.

In all though, she did eventually grow out of both things. So if you are dealing with either of these issues. I feel for you. Hang in there, it does get better!

Birth Story

It’s interesting thinking back 8 months later on my birth and writing it out now. I think this post would have looked different had it been right after giving birth, but with a little perspective I hope this post just highlights the important moments and decisions along the way.

Like all first mom’s-to-be, I had a well thought-out birth plan that I intended to stick to. It wasn’t anything crazy. Just a few reasonable requests:

Labor:

  • Skin to skin immediately and for first hour
  • Heplock in forearm rather than hand or elbow by phlebotomist
  • Please do not offer pain relief unless I ask for it.
  • As long as Baby is doing well, I prefer that fetal heart tones be monitored intermittently with an external monitor or doppler
  • No routine cervical exams. Prefer not to be told how many centimeters dilated I am.

If a C-section is necessary:

  • If C-section is being discussed, please have Beau and Hannah (Doula) get in scrubs
  • Suture not staple preferred
  • I’d like Beau to stay with me when possible, then stay with the baby. If Beau goes with the baby, have the Hannah come stay with me.

Postpartum:

  • I’d like a room away from nurses’ station
  • Please do vital signs for baby and mom at the same time when possible.

Feeding:

  • I would like to meet with a lactation specialist after birth

 

I wrote this up and printed it off about a week prior to my due date. I was all ready (or so I thought) with my bags packed and my birth plan and my doula. My story begins two days before my due date, April 24, 2017

4/24/2017

12:00pm: Two days before my due date I decide to treat myself to a labor inducing massage. I didn’t really believe that it would put me into labor, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to have a nice massage and if it sped things up then great!

But man oh man, it was a little more intense than I anticipated and that night I felt a little bit sore.

4/25/2017

7:30am: I woke in the morning to find that I had lost my mucus plus. So naturally I Googled it and saw that it could be hour to weeks after loosing the mucus plug before you actually go into labor.

I texted my doula to let her know. She responded advising me to go back to sleep and take it easy as much as I could the rest of the day.

Oh had I only listened to the person I was paying to help me through my labor, who had assisted in over 300 births. But the internet said it could be weeks! So I didn’t want to take any precious sick time. Hindsight is 20/20…

So I go to work and I work on getting all my stuff squared away and tidied up, just in case my labor really begins.

12:00pm: I think I am starting to feel contractions… kind of. They aren’t painful but they are different from the Braxton Hicks contractions I had been feeling for weeks.

They are still very sporadic and far apart and I am starting to get a little excited, but also trying to not get my hopes up because again… women can feel sporadic contractions for a long time before true labor begins…

3:00pm: I think my contractions are getting closer together. I am trying not to time them closely. Trying not to obsess about it, because apparently that can slow things down. I decide to leave work early because my boss was out of the office anyway.

I call Beau and let him know that maybe, possibly things are happening and I am going home but he doesn’t need to rush because things aren’t REALLY happening but he should definitely pick up some food on his way home, and extra for left overs.

6:00pm: Beau brought home Pho from one of our favorite Vietnamese restaurants. The rest of the night is very uneventful and my (non)-contractions slowed down to a stop.

So surely nothing was really happening yet.

10:00pm: I had sent Beau to sleep in the spare room because I wasn’t sure if I was going to be up and down with sporadic contractions all night and didn’t want to keep him up. I wanted him well rested in case something happened. Well… something happened!

My water broke! Just as I was laying down to sleep – woosh!

So much for well rested!

I go downstairs and wake up Beau (yes, he falls asleep when he hits the pillow – bastard).

Me: “Hey, my water just broke”

Beau: (a bit disoriented coming out of sleep) “Okay. Okay, okay…. okay” as he climbs out of bed and starts putting on his shoes.

Me: “Wait, we don’t need to leave for the hospital yet. Let’s call Hannah (doula).”

Beau (now waking up a little more): “Oh, okay. I thought we were supposed to go if your water broke.”

Me: “Well, yes but not really. Let’s call Hannah and see what she says”

Hannah said to hang tight and let her know when my contractions are close together and I think I need some help. And no, I didn’t need to rush to the hospital just yet.

Beau and I decide to bake some cookies to take our mind off my contractions – which started pretty light and easy.

4/26/2017 (my due date)

1:00am: I feel like I am ready for the doula. My contractions are getting stronger and closer together. A lot of the pain is in my back and Beau has been massaging my back while I bounce on a pilates ball.

Hannah arrives and I ask her to check my cervix. I don’t want to be checked a lot, but I am curious where I am at. I am starting to leak a lot of fluid with each contraction. Hannah thinks I am dilated to a one or a two. Still a ways to go – but it hasn’t been long.

As the night wears on my contractions are getting stronger and closer together. Still a lot of pain in my back, which I had failed to mention to Hannah (second mistake). At one point she asked if a lot of the pain was in my back. “it’s all in my back” I said.

I labored for a while on my hands and knees, trying to do the belly lift to change her position, didn’t work.

I labored in the shower with Beau rubbing my back. No help.

I labored in the tub, but that was the worst decision of all. We don’t have a big water heater and the water was not hot enough. It was cold. Beau and Hannah started boiling pots of water on the stove to dump in the tub for me. It wasn’t great.

5:00am: Now my contractions are really intense and they are coming every minute if I am lucky, but a lot of them are coming on top of each other. Things are escalating. Hannah says it’s time to go to the hospital.

This baby is on it’s way! I think to myself.

Trying to get my dressed was a challenge. Each time I put on underwear I would have a contraction and more fluid would come out and wet my pants (glamorous, I know). Finally I was able to get on a try pair of underwear and pants with a giant pad so I didn’t leak everywhere.

I can barely make it into the car because my contractions are coming so close together I am convinced I am going to have one in the driveway. Good thing it’s 5am and dark out and no one is around.

Beau pulls up to the front doors. There’s no valet at 5am at the hospital so he parks illegally by the front doors to help me in and intends to go back and move the car once I am settled. Hannah has followed in her own vehicle.

We go up to labor triage to get checked in. They check me and let me know that my water has, indeed, broke (It was pretty clear it had, but they have to check anyway).

Then they check to see how far dilated I was….

wait for it…

1

One

ONE?!!?!?!

You have got to be fucking kidding me!

I tell Beau that I can’t do it. I feel so defeated. My contractions are giving me no breathing room, no chance to catch my breath and regroup. It’s rough.

Apparently when your baby is posterior, or sunny-side-up (the cute way of describing a NOT CUTE AT ALL situation), baby’s head is pressing against your tailbone causing a lot of back pain. Baby’s head is supposed to be pressing against your cervix to help it dilate open. So with no pressure on the cervix and lots of pressure on the tailbone, there no progression and lots of pain. And apparently no real good way to fix it.

There are lots of internet sites out there claiming to have strategies for fixing this scenario, but unfortunately the research says there’s not much to be done.

Of course I didn’t know this in the middle of labor, else I would have asked for the epidural MUCH sooner. Instead I went on to labor at the hospital in their tub for several more hours before finally asking for the epidural.

10:00am: I get the epidural. And it helped. Too well. I almost immediately feel comatose from the waist down. This was better than the pain I’d been having before, but it was still uncomfortable enough that I wasn’t able to sleep (which they told me to try to do).

At least Beau and Hannah got to nap while I lay there resting.

Around this time my OBGYN comes in and checks my cervix. I have made it to a 4. Boy am I glad I went for the epidural. I will be even more glad later – but we’ll get to that…

I am so uncomfortable from the waist down that I ask if they can lower my epidural strength. They start everyone at a 10.

The anesthesiologist comes in and is reluctant to reduce the dose, saying they don’t want my pain to come back. They do lower it to an 8. I still can’t feel anything

2:30pm: Around this time my OBGYN comes to check me again. She informs me that I have dilated to a 10 and can start pushing!

Hooray!

OBGYN: “Try pushing against my fingers”

ME: “What fingers”

OBGYN:”Can you feel anything?”

ME:”Nope, I am completely comatose. I asked them to reduce the dose and they did but it didn’t help”

OBGYN: “Let’s get them back in here…”

In all the anesthesiologist comes back three times to reduce me to 2 before I start getting feeling back and can start pushing.

and pushing….and pushing….and pushing…

4:30pm: They want to start Pitocin because I am not progressing fast enough. I am reluctant because I’ve heard it makes everything more painful. And if I increase my epidural I am afraid I wont be able to feel to push. Finally though I relent, because I fear that we will end up in emergency c-section if I don’t get this baby out faster.

They start the Pitocin and increase the epidural to a 4. This seems to be the perfect balance. I can still feel but it’s not painful.

I have, however, at this point been awake for 33 hours. And I am starting to feel exhausted. 

But I keep pushing… and pushing… and pushing

and FINALLY….

8:05pm: She’s here! She finally makes her screaming entrance into the world. They lay her on my abdomen and she poops on me. It was perfect. 

They cut the cord so I can hold her higher in my arms and get to work on stitching me back up.

I think we’re home free, but here’s where the real fun begins…

My placenta isn’t coming out. It’s not budging at all.

9:00pm: They finally say that the placenta NEEDS to come out. Like NOW. And they proceed to un-stitch me, and reach in to manually extract it.

in pieces.

several pieces.

This part was the most acutely painful part of the entire experience. They were ripping my placenta away from the wall of my uterus with their fists.

I guess I can cross fisting off my bucket list (joking).

Thank God I got the epidural. I cannot imagine what that would have felt like un-medicated.

MIDNIGHT: We finally make it to the maternity ward sometimes around midnight after they removed my placenta, re-stitched me back up, and made sure I wasn’t going to hemorrhage.

I had been awake around 40 hours. I was exhausted.

But I had a healthy baby that was finally here. I would do it all again…

Differently…. I would do it all again differently. Hindsight is 20/20

 

 

 

 

 

SO…Motherhood is no joke y’all

Wow… sorry I have been MIA for the last 8 months. I don’t know how I thought I could be a full time mom with a full time job and keep up with a blog. I apologize to anyone who was reading my blog and worried about me at any point in the last eight months. I am doing great – mostly. There’s a lot to catch you up on and I will backtrack and post some more detailed entries of what has happened and what I learned over the last 8 months. Here’s some highlights:

Esme newborn

4/26/2017: My sweet baby girl came on her due date! I know that never happens, but it did for me. Relatively few complications but man it was still rough. Details to come.

May-June: Many trials and errors with a colicky baby with a sensitive stomach. Not a lot of sleep. Luckily I have the sweetest husband ever who helped with night shifts so I didn’t go crazy.

July: Back too work much, much too fast and trying to figure out the whole pumping at work thing.

September: Changing daycare – I love the one she is at now. Plus learning to roll over

October: Supplementing with formula – my milk supply couldn’t keep up with pumping at work 😦

November: Solid foods, crawling and hand, foot and mouth disease

December: Merry Christmas to me, I need foot surgery and my baby can crawl and pull herself up to standing! Plus meeting Grandpa for the first time.

Now: Recovering from foot surgery, still not sleeping through the night. Baby has Roseola and husband has pink eye!!!

This shit is crazy

 

But I love it

 

Now excuse me while I try to get caught up on some of your posts out there to see what else I’ve missed these last 8 months…

Full Term! 37 weeks 2 days

So we’ve reached FULL TERM! Hooray!

I keep going back and forth, depending on the day, feeling like she could come any minute and we still have some time to wait. But every day I think I feel just a little more ready.

I haven’t “dropped” yet. I am feeling more pressure in my lower abdomen, but I don’t look like I am carrying any lower. This is a bit discouraging as what I am reading on line is that this happens ‘a couple of weeks’ before going into labor. I really don’t want to go past my due date (who does??) so I am hoping this isn’t something that is always true.

I also haven’t had any bursts of energy where I want to scrub my floors at 2am. Apparently this is another sign that things are getting “close” and they say it is part of “nesting.” I have been feeling pretty motivated to get everything checked off the to-do list, but I wouldn’t say that this has come with any extra energy, unfortunately.

Last night Beau and I went to the baby store to buy the rest of the “necessities” off the registry and use up the gift cards we accumulated from the baby showers. Which, of course, turned into buying just about everything that was left on the registry even though much of it we don’t need, or at least won’t need right away. Oh well, we are overly prepared now I think! But boy was that exhausting… so glad to have it done.

It seems like we have a task on our to-do list every day. Tonight we are packing the hospital bag. I am nervous about this task becoming a monster too. The more lists I look at the longer my list becomes… and it’s starting to feel a bit daunting. And then I think, am I even going to open the bag once I am at the hospital? I am sure there’s about 2 things I will end up using. Better to be over-prepared than under-prepared, right?

 

Mom’s out there:  Did you “drop”?  Did you get a sudden burst of energy and clean your whole house? How long from getting these ‘signs’ until labor started? 

Baby Shower! 35 weeks 6 days

OMG. Tomorrow I will be 36 weeks! One more week until “Full-Term” and 4 more weeks until due date. I can’t believe it’s coming up so quick!

This last weekend my friend and neighbor threw me an adorable baby shower. I felt so much love from my friends and family who helped me celebrate. I really felt spoiled by all the stuff I received.

Here’s a picture with some of my family members who attended the shower:

baby shower

As I get closer I feel less ready for the labor! I am sure all mom’s to be go through this… I thought I was ready – and I AM ready in a lot of ways. But goodness, the thoughts of labor can be overwhelming. I am taking a birthing class, that has been labeled as a Hypnobirthing class, but when I read descriptions of what Hypnobirthing is, I don’t think this class 100% fits the bill. I am under no delusions that I will be able to hypnotize myself into a trance during my labor that will allow me to not feel pain or experience my birth. I have only been to one class so far, but this class was really great. I love the instructor.

A few take aways from that class:

  • She does not like the term “natural” to describe an un-medicated birth. It implies that if medicine is used, it somehow becomes an un-natural birth. So instead she chooses to just call it an un-medicated birth.
  • She rejects the “birthing without fear” methods because she thinks it’s okay to acknowledge our fear and birth through it, not try to deny it is there.
  • Women should follow their birthing instincts and not feel inhibited from using movement, vocalizations, etc… as they labor.

I still can’t help but wonder how I will handle it. You never really know how your labor/birth experience is going to be. I hope I can handle it without the medications, I am trying to have confidence in my abilities…but doubts are creeping in.

Any advice out there from mom’s? However you chose to birth (medicated or un-medicated) I am open to any assuring words you can offer me! 

A Day Without A Woman. 34 Weeks

Last week I participated in Day Without A Woman on International Women’s Day by attending a rally at my state capitol, wearing red, and not making any purchases that day.

Closed4__1_.1488987464

I did not strike. I was lucky enough to be able to work from home, hoping that my physical absence may be felt, but my work would still get done. There are two reason I chose not to strike. One, being that I am pregnant, I will need the time off for maternity leave. My company offers FMLA leave, which allows me to be out for up to 480 work hours without risk of losing my job (roughly three months). But any pay I am to receive during that time comes from my accumulated sick and vacation time, so using it now means I don’t get to use it later. Some may say this is exactly why I should strike – to show that this policy is inadequate to meet the needs of new moms and dads. That we should have better paid leave policies for maternity/paternity. These are things that I agree with and would fight for. But my second reason for not striking is a bit more compelling…

I work with all women. My team is all women, and though we work for a larger organization that has these maternity leave policies, the work I am doing right now affects the long term careers of these other women. They were relying on me to meet a deadline with my piece of the project so they could continue with theirs. Our failure on this project would not affect the overall organization we work for very much, but it would affect the careers of these other women. It simply did not make sense to me to hold these other women back in any way. 

Striking was a good choice for many. In a different circumstance I would have participated in the strike. Not because I think that I suffer injustices at work for being a woman (like I said, working with all women eliminates a lot of the discrimination other women suffer). I feel I am adequately and fairly compensated and am encouraged in my career growth. However, it is not for me that I participated in the rally.

It is for all the other women who could not rally

  • women who do suffer injustices at work
  • women who are paid less than a man for the same work
  • women who cannot take personal leave without the risk of being fired or reprimanded
  • women who are sick of a mostly male government deciding what she can and cannot do with her body
  • women who are accused of “bringing it on themselves” when they have been assaulted or abused
  • women who are told they aren’t pretty enough, skinny enough, curvy enough, tall enough, short enough, funny enough, smart enough, nice enough or good enough to meet our impossible standards of women
  • women who are sick of being ignored

I rallied because I wish for a better future for my daughter. As women we have all felt at least some of the things I listed above. There are certainly more things that could be added to this list, these are just the ones that come immediately to mind. I know I cannot shelter my daughter from all of these cultural injustices and she will some day experience some of these. My hope is that it gets better as times wears on. I did feel an energy at the rally that was really encouraging. We need to keep the energy alive and not let it wane.

The saddest part of the Day Without A Woman protests were the attacks from other women. The last thing we need is to tear each other down for standing up for what we believe. Even if it isn’t something that you care about or believe in, we should be proud that we are even allowed to have our own opinions that can be expressed publicly! It’s the women who came before us that have allowed us this expression. How you use it is your choice, but isn’t that a beautiful thing too!

In pregnancy news I am 34 weeks today! Only 6 short weeks to go. I cannot believe we are getting this close!

Did any of you participate in any of the Day Without A Woman activities? How did it go?

Anyone with daughters have advice on raising them to be confident and secure? 

I hope everyone is having a fantastic week!