Thursday, March 29, 2012

My #1 Baby Items for the First Few Weeks

I was thinking today about the #1 items I couldn't live without during these last few weeks home with my little peanut and I wanted to share them with all of you.

  1. Itzbeen - This is a pocket timer to time feedings, diaper changes, sleeping and one extra.  I use this all the time mostly for feedings and in the beginning I used the extra one for my pain medication.  I would suggest this for any new mom.
  2. Sound Machine - We have a sound machine that plays several different sounds but mostly we use the white noise for her in her room while she is sleeping.  The one we have also allows us to hook up our ipod to play music.  I can't remember the brand but if you want to know just leave a comment and I will look it up.
  3. Lots of Diapers and Wipes - We are going to switch to cloth soon but for these first first weeks cloth would of been just to much to handle on top of getting used to our new schedule.  
  4. Pack and Play - We have a two story house so the pack and play has been a god sent for naps and for changing diapers down stairs.
  5. Hand Sanitizer - We have them at every diaper changing station and in the main living area.  When you are changing a diaper you just can't pick up the baby and go wash your hands so we use the hand sanitizer. 
  6. Halo Sleeper with Swaddle - When she first came home she was getting cold at night so we started using these sleepers and it keeps her all cozy and warm and she feels secure.
  7. Clothing that is easy to get off to change diapers - You never would imagine how much a new baby poops and pees until you have one and they really hate waiting for you to undo snaps so when we are home she is mostly in onesies.
  8. Burp Cloths - We always have one handy for those occasional spit up situations. 
  9. Bouncy Seat - For those times I didn't have anyone to watch her and I wanted to take a shower this was great to put her in and she could sit in the bathroom with me.
  10. Dutailer Rocker - We use this every night to get her to sleep and I love how I can recline on it because in the middle of the night I don't like to put her right down after she eats because I want her to have time to let it settle so I can recline a bit and rest my eyes (I don't fall asleep though).
  11. Bottles - I was glad we had them after finding out we had to start giving her formula
What do I wish I had not bought:
  1.  Arms Reach Bassinet - I would of loved this if it had some sort of way to make it not so cold.  We just found she was getting so cold at night that we ended up sleeping down stairs the first couple weeks to let her sleep in the newborn sleeper on the pack and play because it was warmer for her.  Then we used the bassinet for a week before deciding to just put her in her crib.  She sleep so much better in her room.
  2. Avant Breast Pump - It is an electric breast pump with two pumps but it isn't hands free.  It is a pain to sit there an hold them and really I didn't need them because my supply is low.  Had it been easier to pump I might have and that might of helped my supply.  I just read great review about this pump but in the end I have only used it like 4 times.
I hope you found this helpful!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hormone Changes - Baby Blues

You don't really hear much about this part and I have not posted on this yet so I thought I would write a little something.  First I must say I was on depression medication prior to getting pregnant and I had stopped all medication during my pregnancy.  So it was not shock to myself or Jerry how I had these bursts of crying episodes after getting home from the hospital.

On the way home I got emotional and wanted to go back to the hospital.  I had this feeling of great lose, even though I was looking at my bundle of joy I still felt as though I lost something.  I also missed my nurses and the comfort of our hospital room were everything was right there and we didn't have to worry about cooking or cleaning and if we needed something we just asked for it and it was brought to us.

That night after getting home I cried because I was missing the hospital and I didn't know if I could do this.  Also, I had not slept since the Thursday before I gave birth and it was now Monday the most sleep I had in the hospital was an hour here or there.  I was upset party because I was exhausted and I was worried about being able to take care of Annabelle and worried that she was not getting enough breast milk from me.

The days following Jerry had to see me break down and have a full blown crying fest several times.  I felt swollen to high heaven and I still felt very uncomfortable mostly from the swelling.  Later I found out I had got preeclampsia after giving birth and my BP was very high and even though swelling is normal mine was really bad.

Now 3 weeks after her birth I am feeling much better.  It took about 2 weeks for things to settle down with my BP and swelling and emotions.  I did make sure to get back on my meds. the first day I was home from the hospital and they are kicking in now.  Also, now that Annabelle is eating formula on top of nursing she is sleeping much more which is giving me a break and we are getting on a schedule.

If you are expecting be prepared with tissues at hand and to talk to your husband about what might happen so they are not freaked out when you are crying at the littlest thing.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Annabelle is Sleeping In Her Crib

Seeing a though we are Breastfeeding and supplementing with a bottle I figured this weekend we should try and see if she would sleep in her crib.  Last night after giving her a bath I breast fed her then gave her, her bottle and read her good night moon.  We then rocked for a bit with just the night light and her white noise machine on.  After she fell asleep I put her in her crib.  She ended up sleeping for 6hrs and I had to wake her up to feed her.  Normally she should eat every 4 hrs at night but she didn't wake up and neither did I.  Then after her feeding she went right back to sleep.  Her 6:30am feeding was a little more trickier to get her back to sleep, I ended up coming and getting Jerry and asking him to rock her because I was exhausted.  He rocked her a bit and she went back to sleep until about 9am.

All and all I think the night went well.  It was a bit emotional for me as I missed her in our room and well Jerry and I checked on her several times but we both feel she slept better in her room then she did with us in her bassinet in our room.

Tonight is going well so far.  One day at at time!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Breast Feeding Isn't Easy

2 Weeks 3 Days Old
I am sure you have heard this before but breast feeding isn't easy.  Our little peanut does great latching on but I was just not producing enough milk for her.  We were having such a hard time getting on a schedule because I would feed her when she wanted to eat and to me that seemed like it was ALL DAY because she would nurse for 40 minutes at a time and she still seemed hungry after wards. 

Yesterday we took Annabelle to the Doctors and we found out that she is down to 5lbs 7oz she has continued to lose weight from her birth weight.  I felt so bad because I felt like we did everything we could and that I was starving her.  We had been having trouble with her crying for hours every night and we couldn't figure out what was wrong.  The Dr. said we just had a very hungry baby.  They gave her a bottle at the Dr. and she sucked it down so fast.  Our poor baby was starving, how horrible did I feel.

The Dr. told us to let her nurse for 15 mins then to give her 1oz to 1.5oz of formula every 2-3 hours during the day and at night we can go up to 4hrs.

She is finally acting like a baby and eating, sleeping, and pooping vs. eating, eating again, sleeping, pooping and screaming.  I was trying to nurse her so much it was getting very uncomfortable and she was not getting the sleep she needed. 

We are now changing more diapers some of which are 100% blow outs!  It is nice to not have her crying at me all the time and to see her full and satisfied is a great feeling.  Breast feeding was very stressful because I never knew how much she was getting and she would fall asleep while feeding.  The Dr. said she was probably burning a lot of calories just trying to nurse.

We are going to keep trying to breast feed to get her some of that "liquid gold" but for us the formula has been a god sent and now I feel like her and I can have other time together that was centered around nursing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Update and Push Present

First let me say I am sorry I have not been very active on writing and reading blogs.  Annabelle is doing great and nursing like crazy during the day.  She seems to like to sleep from about 1am to 6am which is great because it gives me a good stretch of time to sleep.  Then she eats at 6am and her and I take a nap until about 8am or so.  Today I didn't dare wake her up after her feeding so her and I slept on the couch together.  Jerry found us and she was sleeping with her hands over her eyes.  but then she likes to nurse from 9am to like 4pm with little breaks. 

So turns out I got postpartum preeclampsia.  I am working with my OB to try to get my blood pressure back to normal and the headaches have pretty much stopped but the feet, ankle and leg swelling is still going on.  They almost put me back int he hospital but it turned out the first blood pressure medication I was on can cause headaches so I was switched over to another medicine.  I go see the Dr. again on Thursday.  I just wish this foot swelling would go away as it is so uncomfortable.

One of my push Presents
Ok so the good stuff.  When we got home from the hospital I was having a crying melt down from hormones and lack of sleep and to cheer me up Jerry went up stairs and came back with my "push present."  He is the best at getting gifts.  He got me a little booty charm for my Pandora bracelet and this really nice necklace that has a Mom, Dad and Child in the charm.  Of course I did cry some more after seeing what he had got me.  He is so thoughtful!!
My second Push Present a charm

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Birth Story - She is Here!

Birth Story

Sorry for the delay in posting this update but things have been crazy busy

How it Started:  On Friday March 2nd we had a scheduled Dr. appointment to complete an NST (non stress test) and have an ultrasound to check the fluid levels before our scheduled induction on the following Tuesday.  This was at 10:45am.  

During the NST test we were not able to get a consistent heart beat on Annabelle because she kept moving so the Dr. said that he felt as though she was ok but she didn't pass her test.  He said we will see what the fluid levels come back as and we will decide then what to do.  We went off to ultrasound and when the tech  was checking the fluid she said that it looked like we would be heading over to have that baby today because the fluid level were pretty low.  

Jerry and I were very excited because we had hoped we could do the induction on Friday vs. Tuesday.  Off to the Doctors office to talk to him about what the plan was.  The Dr. said simply that it looked like we would be having the baby today because she failed her test.  He called over to Labor and Delivery to tell them we were coming.  I asked him if I could go get some lunch before going over there because I knew they wouldn't let me eat and he said "No we don't want you tanking up on food."  Oh man, what?!?!  Me with no food in pain is not a pretty site!

As soon as we left the office Jerry said "Oh no we are going to get you something before we go over there."  I think he was scared for his life... LOL

Shhhhh....  We ended up running to Mc D's to get a snack wrap for me and Jerry had lunch too.  Then we headed over to Labor and Delivery.

Before the heavy contractions set in
The Induction:  After changing into my lovely hospital gown and getting into my bed my labor and delivery nurse came in and had someone start an IV line for both IV fluid and penicillin as I was Group B Strep positive.  She told me Dr. Clark (who was from another practice then mine - as my office shares weekend hours) was on call but was in a C-Section so we got started with the paper work.  Jerry needed to run home to get a few things and to change and shower so I figured it would be best if he went now vs. when they start the whole process. 

While I waited for the Dr. the nurse completed the paper work with me,  I really don't know how I would of answered her if I was actually in labor (man that was a lot of questions).  Then someone came in and handed me a 6 page consent form to donate her cord blood as I agreed to donate her cord blood, again how would someone in active labor do that?

The Dr. ended up coming in before Jerry got back and her and I talked about the best course of action.  I was still at 1.5cm and the baby was still high.  Going for straight pitocin alone would of meant a long very, very hard labor (NO WAY) and using something to soften my cervix was not advised because my fluid was low.  We agreed inserting a Foli Bulb into my cervix and pumping it up with saline solution was the best along with pitocin.  Once I got to 3cm the Foli Bulb was supposed to just come out with a little tug.   I will tell you putting in the Foli Bulb hurt like HELL and I wish Jerry had been there for that part, I had no idea it was going to hurt so bad for her to put that in there. 

Jerry came back about an hour after they started the induction and he told me he did the flight of the bumble bee and cleaned the kitchen and bathroom so when we got home we didn't have to worry about it.  Did I mention I love my husband!  

We had already contacted our Doula when we found out we were being induced and had agreed that we would call when we felt like we needed her to come.

Getting Things Rolling:  You are probably wondering what does a Foli Bulb feel like, well it makes you feel a constant dull cramp like a period and I started bleeding bad with it.  The pitocin on the other hand was HELL once it really got going!!

At 7pm my nurse checked to see if the Foli Bulb would come out with a tug and it didn't (bummer).  During this time I had my new nurses come on and I got a 2 for 1 deal as one of our Nurses was new to REX hospital and was learning the REX way.  Both were very very nice and my main labor and delivery nurse was from Boston and had moved here when her husband was transferred with my company (small world).  She made a joke about "as long as you can understand my Boston accent" and I told her I was from the Boston area so that would not be a problem.

During this whole process they were having trouble getting the external monitors to track Annabelle's heart beat and my contractions.  The contractions were starting to get intense but based on the monitor it looked like nothing.  The Dr. suggested putting an internal monitor in to monitor the contractions so we did that and now my contractions were coming up correctly and I would get credit for all my hard work.

I told Jerry to call our Doula Robin and ask her to head over to the hospital because the contractions really were getting bad.

8:30pm - The nurse was having me turn on my side and move AGAIN to try to pick her heart rate up better on the external monitor and as I started to turn on my side I had a bad contraction and I felt a GUSH!  I said "Someone better check me I'm all wet something just happened."  My water had broken on it's own!!!

They took the foli bulb out and checked me and I was now at 4cm.  Wooohoo!!

Now it gets Hard:  As time went on they continued to increase my pitocin and with that came more pain.  Robin got there shortly after my water broke and it was so funny I remember her poking her head around the equipment and waving and saying hi to me I was on my side and not looking at anything but the side of the bed, I could hear people talking but I wasn't focused on them.  

I wish I had a picture of contraction monitor to show you what this did to me.  I was having 4 back to back contractions with only 1 to 3 mins of a break between.  When I took my baby class no one mentioned this might happen!  To get through these I would grab the side of the bed and Jerry's hand and squeeze.  Then Robin would push on my lower back as I was having horrible back labor.  We ended up using the tens unit on my back during contractions and that really helped take the edge off the lower back pain. 

It's true I did forget how much it hurt but it was BAD!  I didn't swear once as I am what they call a "cave mom" I didn't want to look at anyone all I wanted to do was breath, squeeze Jerry's hand and stair at this one little spot on the side of the bed or close my eyes.  

After several hours of these 3 and 4 hump contractions I just couldn't do it any longer.  I told Jerry I needed something.  I talked to the nurse and we agreed to take the narcotic to try to take the edge off, NO SUCH LUCK!!  All this did was make me feel relaxed during my 1 to 3 min break but the contractions were still coming just as hard.  The nurse said I needed to get some rest.  REST?!?!  How do you expect me to rest because last I checked my uterus was going to explode and you keep poking at me for my blood pressure or to change a monitor.  

At some point during all this the Dr. inserted a internal heart rate monitor to monitor Annabelle's heart beat so we could make sure she was ok.  

My Epidural:  After finding the narcotic was just not going to cut it I said "I NEED SOMETHING".  I had held out all I could and had tried to make it through but with the pitocin continually being upped and these out of control contractions I couldn't do it.  Robin had suggested that we check and see how far along I was and then I could decide.  The nurse checked me and I was STILL AT 4cm!!!!!  As soon as they said that I was like "Get me the Epidural!"

The nurses worked fast to get things ready for the epi.  During this time Jerry and Robin helped me through the contractions.  

When it was time for the epi only Jerry was allowed to be in the room and he had to stay back and in front of me and Robin had to leave the room as only one person was allowed.  

When the first epi was put in I right away got a REALLY BAD headache in the front part of my head and my ears felt like they had water in them.  The anesthesiologist said every thing for her looked good but she would take this one out and go up one more.  The headache didn't go away but man that was nothing compared to labor pains.  

Right away I felt the labor pains start to go away.  When the nurse had checked to see how numb I was I had lost some feeling in my legs but not total, the only place I lost total feeling was in my belly right where it needed to be.  I still had control of my legs to move myself around with help.

Time to Rest:Yeah right how I am I supposed to rest when everyone comes in every 20 mins to tell me to turn on the other side or to check my Blood Pressure or try to find Annabelle's heart beat or figure out why the internal contraction monitor was not working.

Jerry was able to lay back and get some sleep though and I am glad he did so he could help me later.   

Pushing Time: Even though I had an Epi I was starting to feel a lot of pressure in my bottom, like you would if you had to go #2.  With every contraction I could feel the pressure.  I had no control over anything and the funny thing is a few times I farted and I was like "Oh man sorry guys I have no control" ... LOL  The nurse said "That's what they want to see and not to worry about it."

4:30 am the nurses had said Dr. Clark wanted them to check me at 5am however the pressure was getting to be more and more so at about 4:45 am I asked them to check me and I was 10cm and 100% effaced and ready to push.

The nurses worked to get things setup for pushing and then we started pushing.  Thankfully I was able to feel the pressure to know when to push because they were not able to monitor my contractions.  Once I got the hang of it they told me I was a GREAT PUSHER.  They did notice that Annabelle had pooped and that their would be a change of plans and she would need to go right off to special care to make sure they suctioned her out really good.

Jerry and my Doula would hold my legs when I was pushing and Jerry was right down there watching her head start to show more and more, it didn't phase him at all.  The nurses and everyone kept telling me I was a great pusher and doing a fantastic job. 

Jerry asked the nurse "When does the Dr. come in?" and she held up her hand and said "When we can see about this much of the head."  Jerry said "Do you ever have a baby come popping out?" The nurse said "That hardly happens ever especially with the first baby."

About now my body started shacking and I couldn't control it.  Everyone told me this was totally normal.  It was more like shivering and it didn't bother me much.

Then my pushing started to result in a pulling, stretching, pain feeling and my quiet controlled pushing went to pushing while saying "That hurts, oh that hurts.....".

They must of decided that the baby was coming soon now because after about 40 mins of pushing from the start and only two sets of painful pushing they called in the special care nurses and the Dr.  My nurse came up to me and told me "Just to breath that this was good for me and the baby" they didn't want me to push.  Then I looked up and saw Jerry there and the special care nurse and my nurse by my head and I told them "I'M NOT PUSHING I'M NOT PUSHING BUT SHE IS COMING SOMEONE BETTER CATCH HER!!!!"

My little pumpkin poor baby had her poop all over her
A contraction must of pushed my little peanut right out and she came sliding right out and the special care nurse jumped to catch her as the Dr. wasn't fully dressed yet.  I bet you the nurse didn't expect that when she came over to see how far along we were.  My Doula took pictures for us as things were happening so quickly.  So after only 45 mins of pushing our little peanut was born at 5:55am on March 3rd.

Jerry didn't get to cut the cord because she had to be taken right away over to the warmer to get suctioned out and cleaned up.  Her umbilical cord was so long the Dr. looked like a magician pulling an never ending string of handkerchiefs from his sleeve.  The Dr. told me that the cord had 2 knots in it (amazing), and my Doula told me it isn't often that they see one knot let alone two knots.  Shortly after I birthed the placenta and that was so easy. 

The sounds of her cries was music to my ears and bought tears to my eyes.  I couldn't really see her and everyone was telling me she had a lot of hair and was beautiful.  I kept trying to see her but it was hard as the warmer was in the corner off to my left.
Getting all checked out and crying like a champ

I love this picture!
Before taking her off the nursery for testing and to make sure she was ok they brought her over to me to say hi and let me hold her skin to skin.  Even though I look pretty beat up I love this picture of my little family.  What a great moment!!

Jerry went off with Annabelle to the nursery so she could be checked out.  She did great on her apgar score getting an 8 then a 9.
In the nursery for test
While in the nursery they wanted to give her a bath but Jerry knew that if she had a bath the likely hood she would want to nurse was slim and we didn't want her bathed until after I had tried to nurse.  So he had to fight with the nurses not to bath her.  He called down to my Doula to make sure that is what I wanted and he stuck to his guns and they agreed to wait.

Jerry kept asking them when they were going to bring her back to me and they kept saying "just one more test"  or this or that.  I didn't get to see my baby again until after they had stitched up a small tear, cleaned me up and moved to a recovery room.

Then Jerry came back to the room with our baby girl!  I was able to try to nurse her for the first time and she did great latching on.  Our Doula headed out and Jerry, Annabelle and I all spent some time together as a family for the first time.

Later that day Jerry went off with Annabelle to the nursery for a bath while I took a shower and cleaned up.  They were not able to give her a bath right away because her temperature had dropped a little and they needed to get her temp back up, so Jerry came back to the room to order some breakfast with me.  Then he went back up to the nursery for Annabelle's first bath.  I had recovered from my epidural fast and was able to walk on my own, but I still had a headache.
I am not liking this bath thing, where is my Mommy!!
This is not fun at all!
Then after the bath she was brought back to our room for some quiet family time.

Jerry was beaming with joy and he looks good as a Daddy if I do say so myself.
Daddy's little girl

Annabell and I
What a great day! I will say that my headache was the result of the epidural and leaking spinal fluid.  On Sunday evening the Dr. had agreed to do a Blood Patch in the hopes it was an epidural headache and I felt better right away when they did the Blood Patch.  That headache was the worst and my ears felt like they had water in them.  Other wise my delivery was perfect!

All ready to go home!
Home sweet home
 When we got home from the hospital from the house was freezing because the temperature had dropped greatly while we were in the hospital and we didn't have the heat on, so Annabelle had to wait in her car seat for the house to warm up.

We are in love with our beautiful baby girl.