Monday, June 14, 2010

What I wish I knew BEFORE I had this baby!

So now that the doom and gloom is subsiding, I thought it would be interesting to run through some of the things that would have been nice to know before popping out this child o' mine..... It seems everyone has advice, but really, I think it totally depends on your kiddo.

#1- When everyone tells you when you are pregnant to "enjoy sleep now" and you want to tell them to go shove it up their rears because you don't really sleep when pregnant?? Well, they were right. Enjoy waking up to pee every two hours and then getting to go back to bed immediately afterwards. You can't bank sleep, but you can savor the precious memories of it.

#2- All that cocoa and shea butter crap to stop stretchmarks that I started at 7 weeks pregnant? Worthless!!! Week 37 was universally cruel to me. Not only did I explode in a spiderweb of stretchmarks under my belly, but the Hemmorrhoids hit as well. Horrid.

#3- Wait to buy baby clothes until after baby is born. I was absolutely convinced my child was going to be ginormous, so we purposely did not buy many newborn clothes and predominantly went with 0-3 and 3-6. Well, lo and behold, Mr. Teeny Weenie didn't even fit in newborn and we had to go out and buy 5-8 lb Gerber kimono-style onesies to get us through the first two weeks without looking like he was buried in a sack of baby clothes. :) One quick trip to the Carters outlet and we were set with all the sleepers in the world, which he lived in for the first 5 weeks of his life.

#4 - Buttons rock. When you have a blowout, any clothes that go on via the head result in a dirty baby that needs an immediate bath. Which sometimes isn't fun at 7am.

#5 - Long live the video monitor! Worth the money. Wish we'd registered for the more beefed-up version, because we love it. Derek was in his crib at the 2-week mark because DH couldn't sleep with him in the room in the the video monitor has been worth its weight in gold. (And added sleep)

#6 - Breastfeeding sucks. Everyone says it's fast and free, but I think that's only true if you lucked out. Between the 2 lactation consultant appointments, Boppy, pump, pumping supplies, 1-month hospital pump rental, milk storage bags, nursing tanks, sleep bras, Soothies, and Lanolin, I am likely out $700 from breastfeeding a 7-week old. Insanity!! Breastfeeding is not free, people. Seriously. Once I realized that I could have blister-free nipples, pump, feed, and clean up in less time than I could breastfeed Derek, I decided to exclusively pump. (Except on days when I need to increase supply -- then I suck it up and put him on the boob, and hate every second of it)

#7 - The instant "I'm so in love with my baby" moment that everyone talks about after baby is born? I had a traumatic birth, and I did not have this at all. It was more of a "thank goodness that's over. Can I have more drugs please?"

#8 - Sleep Sheep = best invention ever. Ocean waves equal sweet sweet dreams.

#9 - Square swaddle blankets or bust. And they must be big. Something like the Woombie is preferable to the Kiddopotomus or Sleep Sack with swaddle attachment. But I do love my sleep sacks when I don't feel like swaddling my escape artist.

#10 - Swings in every room -- genius! Derek always kind of like swinging, but now he adores them. We have two right now...we are finding that the small plug-in one doesn't swing as aggressively as it used to now that he's becoming a porker. So spring for a nice big, robust swing IF baby likes it. Start with a travel swing first, that way if they hate it you are only out $50 vs. $150. And you can take it with you when you need to get dressed, shower, use the bathroom, etc... I currently use an infant bouncer, but it's not very exciting these travel swing it is!
#11 - We love our Diaper Genie Elite. So much so that we have one on each floor of the house. No smell at all, and for $5, I am not complaining too much about the refills.

#12 - We use the pack n' play quite a bit to change diapers -- but the changing table "droops." So if you need one, look for a pack n' play that has a robust changing table with supports on both sides!

#13 - Nobody told me that after I delivered, I would swell to gargantuan proportions. It was so painful! The best thing for the swelling was a brief walk around the neighborhood, even though the hoo ha hurt.

#14 - About that hoo-ha. A few days after birth, I did a little exploring and was appalled to find myself swollen and disfigured beyond all imagination! The horror! I was convinced things would never go back to the way they were. And to some extend, they haven't....but it's a heck of a lot better than it was at the beginning.

#15 - Sexy time. I thought I'd want some, but I don't. Something about a still-open episiotomy creeps me out. He can wait!

#16 - Why did nobody tell me that they grow so fast? I should have book a photographer and set up photo sessions when he was a newborn. Now he is clearly NOT a newborn, and all I have are snapshots we took. I'm so sad!
#17 - The diaper bag is a critical piece of equipment. Seeing as how it stores bottles, burp clothes, diapers, wipes, clothing changes, pacifiers, and blankets, it has to be big. The cute small ones don't do it. And a diaper bag for Dad? Waste of money. He just makes me carry mine. So now we have a backpack for nothing.

#18 - The wash clothes with all the cute frog appliques?? Useless! Abrasive! Who does this?? We love our little gerber washclothes the best.

#19 - So many people said that if you don't go natural in childbirth, your baby will feel the effects of the epidural or other drugs and be listless when born. Well, I'm happy to report that not only was my epidural brilliant and quite possibly the biggest positive of my birth experience, but my baby (after his initial Apgar of 3) was wide-eyed and alert for two hours after his birth. Everyone commented on his alterness! So take that.....I felt no pain AND my baby was totally with it.

#20 - I could go on forever. Having this baby had been such a huge learning that has differed from everything I have read and one that I never could have adequately prepared for!
So now I need to run, because the beast has awakened from his catnap and I must entertain him!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

No Miracle this time around....

Well, I'm sorry to say that my cousin's baby is globally brain dead. Per the recommendations of a whole slew of doctors, my cousin and her husband have placed him in hospice care, made him comfortable, and have removed his feeding tube. In just a few days, this nightmare will be over. :(

I'm going to step on my soap box now in hopes people googling things like "home birth," "breech vaginal deliveries," and "the Business of Being Born" will read this. People, it is ultimately your choice what you do with your body, but for heaven's sake, think about the health and safety of your baby. The internet may say that things are "statistically" as safe as vertex vaginal births in hospitals, but who reports the bad statistics? You never read about the horror stories.

Well, this is a horror story. A perfect pregnancy. A perfectly healthy baby. Dying as we speak because my cousin's caregivers persuaded her that trying to deliver him breech, vaginally, was safe. She did what she thought was best for her and the baby, and he died. It's not all sunshine and happiness, and just because someone has a perfect birth doesn't mean they all end up like that.

My OB yesterday was disraught when I told him the news, as we'd discussed this during my delivery. His nurse says she's been doing this for 26 years and she wishes people knew how lucky they are to have uncomplicated, healthy births, because in reality a lot can and will go wrong. My OB himself has seen 10 braindead babies from vaginal breech births. It's horrible.

So there, I said my peace. Do what you will, but know that statistics still involves chance, and there's no guarantee that you won't be the one to deviate. Please research everything you do thoroughly. I don't want this little boy to die in vain. Some lesson must be learned from this.


On a completely separate note, I am now cleared for "all activity." All activity includes sexy time, but there's no way in hell that's happening anytime soon. Part of my episiotomy is still open and healing. He says that the angled cuts take longer to heal, but they also prevent tearing into the rectal muscles, which can cause permanent fecal incontinence. Ew!!! So I'll take the open wound, I suppose.

I've been doing 30 Day Shred at home in lieu of other exercise, mainly because I can't get the time away from the baby and it's way too hot to run outside with him! I still have 14 lbs left to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and it's a slow journey back down the scale. Very annoying. I hope to get my pool card before the weekend so that I can test out the new community pool and see how my swimming endurance is? Should be amusing....

Little man still isn't on any sort of schedule. I'm exhausted and worried about work. I may try to contact my boss today and ask for 2 weeks unpaid leave so that I can make it an even 10 weeks off. Going back at 8 weeks when he's still unsettled just isn't going to work for me. :(

Anyway, there's my update. Thanks for the kind words! They definitely helped with the grieving process, but like the saying goes, time really does heal all.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Life is Fragile

I've been absent moreso because I've been busy than anything else. But this past week, my cousin gave birth to her firstborn son, Owen. And everything since then has been a blur.

Last summer, we decided together that it would be fun to have children close together in age. As in, as close to the same birthday as possible. I got pregnant first, and then I shared my "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" book and sperm-friendly lubricant with her, and the next! It has been so much fun to go through this whole thing together. We were 5 weeks apart, but it was so exciting to think that our kids were going to be playmates and friends for life.

She had an uneventful pregnancy until the very end, when she found out her baby was breech. All along, they'd been having midwife care and were planning a home birth. Obviously, the midwife couldn't deliver a breech baby at home, so they sought out one of the only doctors in the state who would permit a breech vaginal birth. He did an ultrasound and attempted a version...then told her that she should show up at the hospital at 8cm and that they would allow her to attempt a vaginal birth at that time.
Fast forward to Wednesday morning. She waits too long in the birthing tub and they speed through a 39 minute drive to the hospital. She shows up fully dilated, and as she is wheeled into the OR, two feet emerge first. Bad. At that point, the clock starts. Owen's vitals degrade and it quickly becomes clear that the cord is wrapped around his neck twice and his head is far too big to make it through the birth canal. The Dr. had to reach in and physically pull him out, breaking his shoulder in the process. My poor cousin did this all med-free, so apparently it was excruciatingly painful.

We don't know what happened after he was born, aside from the fact that his brain had gone 9 minutes without oxygen. They rushed him to the NICU, and his brain began to swell so they put him on hypothermic treatments. They lower his body temperature and cool his brain for 72 hours in hopes of helping stop the brain injury and give it time to recover. He had to be on a respirator. He never cried. :(

It's now been 4 days. The first and 2nd day of the treatment, Drs told my cousin and her husband that Owen was brain dead. Yesterday, at the 72-hour mark, they removed the body cooler and brought his body back to body temperature. They switched ventilators, and he took a few breathes on his own. All his vitals have stabilized, he is pinking up, gaining weight, and having plenty of wet diapers. But they don't know if his brain has any activity. :(

They were able to hold him for the first time yesterday, and I guess when they started talking to him, he opened his eyes and followed their voices? So part of us hopes and prays for a miracle and that his cognitive functions have returned.... Miracles do happen, right?? It's just been so hard, because he was a perfectly healthy and perfect baby boy. He has loving parents. But the birth trauma just seems so unfair. I guess this is something I will never understand.

So if you can spare a few thoughts and prayers for a miracle, we could use them. I've been totally disraught and suffering from survivors' guilt. Why do I have the perfect, healthy baby boy when hers is suffering so much? How can we get together for holidays when Derek will constantly remind them of their lost son? I know I am jumping the gun, but I am being realistic so I don't get too heartbroken. I'm assuming tomorrow, after their neurologist meeting, they will decide if they should take him off the ventilator or not. Tomorrow may be a very bad day. :(

My boy is doing really well. We've had our second night of a 6 1/2 stretch of sleep, which is phenomenal. He doesn't sleep during the day, but it's okay because the nighttimes are looking great. He is smiling a lot now, and he loves to coo. I am enchanted. It took a while, but at 6 weeks, I cannot imagine life without him.

I'm signed up for a mock triathlon on June 27th....I am not cleared to exercise yet, but I have done some run/walking. Not so fabulous! Still waiting to swim -- not sure he will let me yet because the episiotomy still stings. I'm afraid to think of the bike.
Here are a few pics of the past month.