Thursday, March 20, 2014

Diaper Bag Set

Okay so I ordered a custom made diaper bag from a woman who owns her own home sewing business on Etsy but she couldn't get it to me until Riley was almost a month old so I canceled that and set out on a what to be a very long, strenuous, taxing adventure of making my own diaper bag and matching accessories. I had never made a bag before or made anything from a paper pattern so it was a first time for both. It took me a month! A MONTH!!! I would get so stressed out, quit, and not touch it for days.  Plus I was going through postpartum depression at the time and sewing was the last thing I wanted to do but I really needed my diaper bag done. Here is the final product. My husband thinks I should make them to sell but I am pretty sure it will be a very long while until I even look at my sewing machine again.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

One Month Old!

My baby boy is a month old and I just can't believe how much he has grown. I wish he could stay my little baby forever. He truly is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am going to start monthly updates on him and try my best to record all his little milestones.

  • 12lbs 6oz (86th percentile) 
  • 23 inches long (87th percentile)  {one month checkup was at 5 weeks old}
  • Head circumference was 40cm
  • Smiles in his sleep
  • Loves a good swaddle and his swing
  • Size 1 diapers
  • Does not like baths
  • Wakes up to feed four times at night
  • Loves to grunt
  • Grasps your finger when placed on his hand
  • Lifts head briefly when on tummy (little bobble head)
  • Can focus on a face
  • Responds to loud noise by startling

My Breastfeeding Journey & first weeks home

 Its now been almost three weeks since I gave birth and I still can only walk a few steps before I get really winded and pained. My hemoglobin is still very low so I run out of breath easily. I am still bleeding a lot and that is not helping at all. They don't expect me to be healed by my 6 week postpartum checkup... but maybe that's normal. My husband has been wonderful in taking on the cooking and cleaning. Thankfully I had freezer meals ready for after birth. He always makes me laugh on his little rants on never being able to keep up with the dishes, how we never have any clean glasses, and how he has no idea how I do it, how I keep up with it all. So sweet.

Breastfeeding has not gone well.. but the lactation specialists at the hospital say my situation is not all too uncommon so knowing others have overcome it gives me hope.

An hour or so after birth when I was up in my postpartum room, I had a nurse come in to help me feed my new baby for the very first time. I was excited to learn to breastfeed. I never read a thing on it during pregnancy. I though breastfeeding was going to be the most natural thing I had ever done. I was so naive. The nurse tried to help me the best she could but Riley would not latch. She said the lactation specialists would be here in the morning. I was starting to stress, was she really saying I had to wait until tomorrow to feed my baby? She assured me he would be fine with no food for the first 24 hours of life.. and to only worry when its getting to that point.

The next afternoon we finally got a visit from a lactation specialist who works at the hospital. She also tried every method to get him to latch but still no luck. She said I have flat nipples. At this point I was an emotional wreck. Here I was a new mom and could not feed my baby. Its been almost 24 hours since birth and he still has not eaten. I was so upset that my body had failed me and his first meal in this world was formula. I did not want a bottle, we put it in a syringe and let him suck on my finger and gave him a little bit with every suck so he could still smell and taste my skin and not silicone. The nurses said they its a better way in hopes to not discourage breastfeeding. They finally put a pump in my room to help my milk come in and from there fed him the colostrum (and eventually milk) the same way.  If he wanted to suck, we gave him our pinkies because I refused to give him a binky until breastfeeding was established.

Since I was not prepared to have such trouble, or have any plans to go back to work, I had not even thought about needing to buy a pump. It was now time to take our sweet little bundle home and all I had was a hand pump given to me by the hospital. We frantically called everywhere where there was hope to get an affordable pump or possibly have my insurance pay for it. After two long weeks of pumping every few hours (I eventually was able to keep up with his demand and drop the formula) with a hand pump that was getting so much use that it was falling apart, we finally got a insurance paid pump from The Birth Center. While there to pick it up, I was able to sit in on on their weekly breastfeeding moms group and it was so comforting to hear other women's stories that had the same exact problems as me and had overcome them. I also learned about their lactation consultant and made an appointment with her.

When I finally met with the LC, she put me with a Contact Nipple Shield and I got to breastfeed Riley for the first time. It was such a joyous day. Sure, I needed the shield but we could finally bond more like nature intended a mother and baby bonded. You truly don't understand until you become a mother.

Those first few weeks were so tough on my mind and body. During it all, I was also dealing with postpartum depression. Just about everything would upset me. I cried every day.. really, every. single. day! I never thought I would ever feel better. I felt completely overwhelmed. It helped to have the shield and know their was a way to feed my baby without a pump but eventually the shield became a hassle. It really stressed me out when I could not get the shield on right and Riley would scream and scream because he was so hungry and the darn thing wouldn't stay on.

Every now and then I would try to get him to latch without the shield. It was very discouraging to see my nipples were still too flat. But over time I did notice the shield doing its job and they began protruding little by little. About a month of that, I once again tried to have him latch without the shield and HE LATCHED! It hurt and so I thought it may have been a bad latch. We tried again and again and he was latching every time. In a day I weaned him off the shield cold turkey.

We have been breastfeeding with absolutely no latch problems ever since. I don't even have to guide his head.. he knows exactly what do. I truly believe now that breastfeeding is a learned skill by both mother and baby. I was really naive in assuming it would come natural to me.

"you want me to drink from what?"

On my due date. He is one week old.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Riley's birth story

I want to try and record as many details of the most beautiful experience of my life so please excuse some of the not so pleasant details.

The Monday after I turned 39 weeks pregnant, I noticed I had lost what looked like to be my mucus plug. I remember reading something about that in my baby book and rushed to it to find out what this meant in terms of how soon our sweet baby would be here. All I got was that it means labor could be three days away or three weeks. Not really a good indicator of how soon.

But sure enough, three days later, on Wednesday, I woke up at 5 to be me peeing the bed. I got out of bed as quick as I could and rushed to the bathroom. I tried stopping the flow like I was instructed to see if it was urine or my water breaking as well as smelling it to see if it smelled sweet or like urine. Both indicators did not help me at all in trying to figure out what was happening. I called to my husband and told him to go to the store to buy me pads because I am leaking and I don't know what it is. He didn't want to leave me and said we better go to the hospital. I really didn't think I was in labor, I felt just fine, so I decided I was going to hop in the shower to shave my legs and get some makeup on. I thought I better get dressed and just get ready for the day since they would surely send me home. Once in the shower I shared having pressure on my lower abdomen like indigestion. It wasn't painful but uncomfortable. I got out of the shower and noticed I was still leaking something and it now had blood in it. I knew that if I wasn't in labor, then something must be wrong with the baby and I got real in a hurry to get to the hospital. I got dressed and put the last few things I needed for my hospital bag in it. In the hustle and bustle of it all, I was the calm one while my husband was so anxiety ridden and in a hurry. He wanted to get to the hospital right away and apparently I was taking my time.

On the drive there, I started to get a little more uncomfortable with this supposedly indigestion. It did not feel like cramps or the braxton hicks I am used to in a contraction. These little indigestion pressures were 2-3 minutes apart from the time I was in the shower until now. I started getting really hot and rolled my window down to get some air. Of course, leave it to Murphy's law, it wouldn't roll back up and we had to sit there in the parking lot at the hospital and jimmy it back to its position. The poor thing froze since it was so cold out. When I got out of the car, I then noticed my legs were wet and it had hit me that my water had for surely broken. We got to the hospital at 5:45am.

We checked in and they examined me to see how dilated I was and if my water had actually broken. It was then, as I laid on the table that I started to actually feel pain and it didn't feel like indigestion anymore. I asked how soon I could get an epidural and the nurse told me she had to see if I am even going to be admitted first. After they did their checks, a lady came in and told me I was dilated to 9cm and that I was having this baby now. Its only been an hour since my water broke and here I was almost completely dilated.. and just now getting a real pained contraction. I had to consider myself blessed. They wheeled me up to labor and delivery and I was surely in pain by then with contractions very close.

I was in such great pain that I was begging for an epidural and the nurse said it was too late to get one. I started bawling, half from pain and half knowing I would feel everything when he came out. I was scared.They had me push through a few contractions to see where we were at and he was teetering underneath the pelvic bone. It was obvious he was going to take his time coming out so they finally agreed to give me an epidural.They told me it may take the edge off but there was no guarantee it would take any pain away when I delivered. I was just too far along. My husband was such a blessing, he would rub my hips during a contraction and it helped so much with the pressure. He never left my side and would start telling  me old Army stories to take my mind off of the pain. He would pause it once the contraction is over and resume on the next one so there was always something to listen to through it.

After what seemed like eternity, the anesthesiologist finally showed up and gave me an epidural. The contractions did seem to not be as bad but it was as they said, it did not take the major amount of pressure away. I could still feel every contraction. At this point the doctors had me just relax and let my body do the pushing. I laid in bed for a few hours (maybe four) to let the contractions push him down as far as possible.

Then I started having some serious pressure. I kept asking for more epidural probably every 15 minutes but it was not touching it at all. He was starting to get real low and the pressure was me feeling him in the birth canal. It was time to push. I pushed for about an hour when I finally felt a slimy little body come out at 12:45pm. The nurses wiped him off and placed him on my chest for skin-to-skin. I was so happy to have him. He was really sticky and feeling his body on me made everything real. He was so interested in the world and looked around and finally up to stare up at me. I just let him be, to explore the world with his eyes. After that everything was all a blur. My first words to Riley were "I love you". I didn't even remember that, my husband later told me while helping me remember what happened after birth. I don't remember a whole lot. I do remember looking up at my wonderful husband and see him crying with pride and joy.

Daddy cutting the cord

Little cone head

Our beautiful baby boy

Daddy holding his baby for the first time

With my sweet little one on my chest, I began to feel not so well. The doctors were pushing on my stomach to get the placenta out and it was so painful. I could feel liquid gushing out of me and when I looked at my husband, he seemed worried. I learned later that I had a Hematoma (internal bleeding) and was losing blood. I asked if I tore at all and I learned that Riley came out with his arm up above his head and so I tore pretty bad because of it. They sat there for about 30 minutes putting stitches in. My husband later said they put two full rolls of stitches in me. I was not looking good and my husband later revealed he really didn't know if I would make it. He was standing by my head and could see all the blood I was losing. I was turning white and was very weak. He actually thought for a while that there was a chance he would have to raise Riley on his own. Hearing that just broke my heart.

When it was time to go to my postpartum room after I was done being stitched up, I could not even lift myself from my bed to the transport bed. I was so weak. But I managed to get over to the other bed and I immediately felt dizzy and lightheaded. I was put on bed rest until the next afternoon. That first night was horrible. My right leg was still numb from the epidural and I could not get up and get to my baby at his every whimper. I had to call a nurse for every diaper change and it killed me. My husband had to leave to stay the night at home with Gunyr, our dog, since he couldn't be boarded at Dogtopia until the next morning and I didn't want him home alone all night.

I stayed at the hospital for three nights. Its usually two nights but I had to get a blood transfusion from the high blood loss and they had to monitor me. Riley also got Jaundice and had to stay under the UV light for our last night there as well and thank goodness, it cleared up in time so he could go home with us.
Taking a break from the UV light with Mommy.