We’ve survived week 3

Knock on wood. She’s still alive. And I’m still alive. and the dogs are still alive.

This week was much easier than the previous two weeks because my mom was here. I didn’t have to think about cooking, or unloading the dishwasher, or loading the dishwasher, or laundry, or storage of food. And now that she’s left I feel like I’m back to square one.

It’s 4:30 pm  and I just changed out of pajamas and into normal clothes. I keep looking at my hair and all I can see are inches of roots that are exposed. My make up game has seen better days.

I GET IT. I just had a baby, I’m not supposed to be concerned with these things, but..I’d like to at least put in an effort for my husband. I highly doubt he’s all “Oh hey lady with your breast milk stained shirt and same yoga pants since Monday, you’re looking GOOD.”

Trust me he isn’t.

This week I will tell you about the saga that is called Anna and Melissa and breastfeeding.

First of all, I guess this is what I get for having an easy pregnancy and a relatively easy labor. I get trouble with breastfeeding. And I know I’m not alone. I’ve literally searched hundreds upon hundreds of articles to prove that I’m not alone. I’ve talked to my girlfriends who confirm that I’m not alone. But I still look in the mirror and give myself the despair face.

1. There is no latching with Anna. Something about the way my boob is and the way her mouth is make it difficult. So right away the lactation consultant provided us with a Nipple Shield. I use the 24 mm and I highly recommend it to any one else who has this problem. Basically it is like a nipple, for your nipple. Anyway, it helps, it works, she’s gaining weight and feeding, and doing all the things that she is supposed to. Which great, but as a human, I sort of feel like “woe is me” because my boob doesn’t work.

2. I’ve tried weaning from the shield–just for my own pride and because certain nurses have made me feel like “I need to”. The left side she accepts about 55% of the time. Which is great and rewarding and I feel sort of like mission accomplished, but if I try to give the right side, Anna throws some serious shade my way. And she needs to eat, so I throw my pride out the window and shield it up.

3. I’m trying to do this whole parent directed feeding thing. I think it’s working. I mean it follows the basic guidelines of feed the baby every 2.5-3 hours. She should eat about 15 minutes on each side per feeding, with some burping in the middle. It’s working-of all the things I am doing this at least is one of them. Except for the 15 minutes per side. I would say we are a solid 12 minutes one side, and 9 minutes on the other. And she’s full after each feeding-but I internally have panics because WHY AREN’T YOU EATING FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES ON EACH SIDE? Are you starving yourself? (no she is not).

4. Last night she slept for four hours straight. I skipped a feeding. Am I the worst mother in the world?

5. At 3.5 weeks, according to BabyWise, I’m supposed to go to a “structure” of morning feedings and night time feedings to help with a night time merge. However, I think I am going to skip this step (insert hands over mouth). My only reason for skipping this one, is because she already does one night time feeding. TYPICALLY, her last feeding is at about 10:30-11:00 pm. Then she wakes up at 2:00 or 3:00 am. Then her next feeding is morning time feeding. I don’t really think setting a 7 am wake up call is necessary at this point. However, according to the same book, at 6-8 weeks I get to skip the middle of the night feeding all together (praise Allah). So she will be fed at 11:00 p.m. and then fed at 6:30ish am. This is something I THINK we can handle. FINGERS CROSSED.

Overall, she’s really predictable and easy. She gets fussy about 8-9pm, which is pretty common with babies. She has the hiccups a lot. She sneezes a lot. She grunts a lot. She smiles a lot (unrelated to gas). So she’s cool. The feeding thing is more me, my head, why can’t we be like a normal mom and daughter Anna?

But nothing is normal now is it?

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Things they don’t tell you about labor

Well, it’s been two weeks and I’ve managed to keep Banana alive. This is a big win for us. (I kid, I kid).

I survived the first week mostly by myself. We came home late Saturday night and Sunday/Monday night, Phil was still on night shift (so he was basically useless), and then Tuesday-Saturday he left for Florida and Washington. I did it though. With the help of my mother in law, a few friends here and there, I finally got the swing of things. I also became incredibly overwhelmed with all of the help, to the point that I had to say stop. So..my 100% honest advice is to just dive right in there. Don’t get help from people until week three. Establish routines. The hustle and bustle of people makes you feel like you need to be “on” and causes you to be even more tired. Tell people thanks for the help, but I’ll see you in a month. The baby will still be a baby in a month.

Anyway–on to the point of this post.

There were things about labor I knew (it hurt), and things about labor that I didn’t know. I’m sure I read about it, but it wasn’t until I actually experienced it that it made sense.

1). When your water breaks you don’t have to go in right away. I’m so grateful I asked how soon I had to go in. The sooner you go in, the higher the chances that you won’t progress naturally. If your water breaks and you don’t have contractions, hang out for a while. I told my story to my girlfriend who delivered at an inferior hospital in Richmond, and she was told to come right in, hooked up to pitocin right away, and was confined to her bed her entire delivery. And this was just two years ago. Also, don’t get antsy like we did. Take a nap. Relax. It will happen in due time. If we had taken a nap we might not have been so exhausted.

2) When they check to see how far you have progressed, it hurts. A LOT. This is a great time to practice your breathing and relaxing techniques. Because they will come in handy for when the real “trouble” begins. It’s not like a regular pap smear exam. This is like a whole hand in their jabbing around, I actually don’t even know what’s going on in there. A finger puppet show?

3) Moan with your contractions. I don’t even know how I knew how to do this, but good golly. Think of going into a man’s voice and repeating “low” like “looooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwww”, over and over and over again. I don’t think I ever did any lamaze breathing. The moaning was more helpful.

4). Labor on the toilet. I know. Weird. But when you are sitting on the toilet, your body relaxes more and the contractions aren’t as painful (hahahahha). But seriously, they aren’t. I guess it’s just a natural thing to relax when you’re on the toilet. Whatever it is, it works. At one point I was just begging to go sit on the toilet.

5) You will try to bite your partner’s hand off. Don’t do it.

6) You will want to give up. You will curse the world. You will wish you weren’t pregnant.

7) More painful than birthing the child, is birthing the placenta. The doctors or midwives will push down very hard on your stomach. They call this a “massage”, I called this the death of me. I ended up having to do more moaning and breathing just to get through this part. It doesn’t last very long, but you feel like there is no end in sight. I had no idea about this. Silly old me just thought the placenta kinda..fell right out. Nope. It is forced out.

8) They really need to provide women who birth children with those silver blankets that marathon runners get. Within 20 minutes of delivery you will be shaking all over. Convulsing. Uncontrollably. Motrin doesn’t help. You just shake. And there is no solution. Except to keep shaking.

9) You might need a catheter to go to the bathroom the first time. It doesn’t hurt. It’s just weird seeing all that pee inside of you in a bucket/bag.

10) The next day you will be sore. Like physically uncontrollably sore. Not just your lady bits, but your whole body. For me it was my arms. I couldn’t lift them up at all. I had to have Phil brush my hair because I psychically could not.

Anyway, those are the highlights. Be prepared.

Introducing…..

Well, actually, I’ll wait on introductions and tell you the story about a birth that is so crazy even I don’t believe it happened.

Last Wednesday (1/29/2014) my water broke. As every other blog will tell you, it didn’t feel like what it does in the movies. It just felt like a constant stream of water. Pouring down my legs. I would say that my water breaking is even more gross than birth. So, at 3pm my water broke in the middle of a meeting. I stood up, alerted the office, everyone was concerned that I needed someone to drive me home, and I assured them–I had a towel in my car, I was fine.

I called Phil. I called my new Doula, I called Labor and Delivery. And I was cool as a cucumber. I wasn’t having contractions, so Labor and Delivery told me it wasn’t urgent to come in, but if they hadn’t started to come in between 6 and 12 hours later. So, we sat around the house and waited. And waited. And waited. And contractions never started. At about 11 pm we went in, because we didn’t want to go in at 3 am.

Luckily we had that dress rehearsal, so we were more prepared, and more comfortable this time around.

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They wanted to hook me up to pitocin right away, but I asked if we could wait until we were officially at 12 hours. And we did. Long and short of it, no matter what we did we couldn’t kick start these contractions. So starting at 5 am we started the pitocin drip. And we increased it every few hours by 2 measurements, until 2 pm. And nothing happened.

I’m serious.

Nothing happened. I would have contractions for like five minutes and then they would stop. But because I was pitocin I had to be monitored constantly. Luckily MCV offers wireless monitoring, so I could walk around, but because I was so round they wouldn’t stay. Basically every time I moved or switched positions the monitors fell off. And the nurses and doctors would freak out. It was a long boring 22 hours.

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At 2 pm I asked if they would check me (oh, I forgot to mention when I checked in I was the same stats as I was a week and a half ago, 4 cmts, 100% effaced and -2). The Dr’s (who were the same doctors as before, bonus!) checked me.

One thing no one tells you is how painful it is when you get checked. Is it more painful than birth? Probably. So they check me and I’m the exact same stats as I was 18 hours ago. WTF.

I turn to Phil and start crying that they are going to make me have  a c-section because I wasn’t progressing. He reassures me that I won’t just relax and let’s get through this.

Within 30 minutes, I go into serious contractions. It turns out I had two bags of water (which is totally normal, but I am too sleep deprived to find an article to explain it better!). Basically when the dr checked me she broke my other bag of water and I was on level 18 pitocin. So I went from nothing to, it’s go time.

And holy hell. I now know why they tied women up when they had babies. Mind you I haven’t had an epidural because I still wasn’t dilated enough and at this point I didn’t want anything that would slow this process down, I was over it. I cried, I moaned, I thrashed, I tried to bite Phil’s hand. I stressed out, I screamed. I went animalistic.

So they gave me a painkiller, that put me to sleep and I only woke up every now and then to moan.

And then I screamed “I feel like something’s coming out of my butt!”. Phil ran and got the doctor, I screamed “Give me that epidural now!”. They check me. Doctor says, “Honey, no time for an epidural, it’s time to push.”

So push I did. Six rounds, of five pushes. Everytime I would get to the fifth push they would say, the baby’s right there. RIGHT there. One more push. And then I would quit. I turned to look at Phil and he had pleading eyes and said “please, just one more push..” and I pushed.

They said reach down and pull your baby out (once the head and shoulders were out, I was told to reach down and pull it up). So I reached down, they said what is it, and I looked and couldn’t focus and finally came too…

And It’s a girl!!!

Anne Rae Taylor was born at 5:15 pm on January 30, 2014. She was 6.14 lbs and 20 inches long. And she’s beautiful. And we love her. And I’ll tell you all about the what to expect when you’re in labor another day. But for now. Look at my beautiful daughter.

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PS. In case you were wondering. D finally pooped/threw up all the underwear. She ate three full bowls of food today. She will be the death of me. 🙂