three weeks old: stuff

ImageSleeping so peacefully… you’d never know that ten minutes prior, she was screaming her head off because she’d managed to pee all over the clothes behind her.  Everyone warns you about baby poop and no one ever mentions the pee.  I’m here to tell you – they pee on it all.  All of it.

Also, we are in the baby acne stage at the moment, so I’m not taking as many photos.  Poor kid.  She’s still adorable, just blotchy.  Like Mama!  Seriously, I’m still dealing with the aftermath of all those damn hormones – my face is both broken out and dry as a bone at the same time.  Peely flaky uuughhh.  I need a new moisturizer.

Things are still going well.  Her damn umbilical cord finally fell off yesterday, so we can finally give the kid a real bath, which she super needs, but that’s the most exciting news of the week.  So, I thought I might devote this week’s entry to revisiting the Baby Industrial Complex and talk about the gear I got that ACTUALLY was worth it.  Keep in mind, all of my shopping was down to experimentation, so I expected some stuff to be useless.  That’s why I didn’t buy much new.  But there was some stuff that turned out to be freaking awesome.

The Oh-My-God-I’m-So-Glad-I-Bought-This-List

  • Our co-sleeper.  I originally never planned on having Norah in bed with us at all, that was what the pack & play/bassinet was for.  Then, it turned out that I’m a freaking dork that ends up dragging my kid into bed with me every morning.  She sleeps way better with us, and it’s been getting me far more sleep.  However, it wasn’t really safe, hence my investing in a co-sleeper nest that goes in the bed between the two of us.  Was it worth the money?  Um, the first night in it, the kid slept for a 7 hour stretch.  YES SO WORTH IT OH MY GOD.  Best $40 I ever spent.
  • The baby carriers.  So far, she loves them all.  She’s still a bit small for the Ergo, so we haven’t tried that one yet, but she’s been in the Moby and the Mei Tai.  My personal preference is the Mei Tai – the Moby is snuggly but SO freaking hot.  I’ll still use them both, though, since as I said, this kid loves being worn.  She doesn’t like being put down all that much, so the carriers are a lifesaver.
  • The breastfeeding pillows and bottles.  I literally can’t feed her without the My Breast Friend pillow (god, I hate that name), and she loves to lie on it and sleep after we’re done.  And when she isn’t nursing, I found the Avent Natural bottles to be best so far.  The Tommee Tippee ones are good too, but leaky.  And I do keep a Medela nipple in the diaper bag to use with my bottles of pumped milk when we go out.  
  • A nipple shield.  I bought a Tommee Tippee one on clearance months ago, and it was a lifesaver up until a couple of days ago.  She seems to be done with it now, but I still keep it around in case my nipples are beat up or sore or she doesn’t want to latch properly.  The Medela shield the lactation consultant gave me at the hospital was crappy.
  • The crapton of swaddle blankets.  I wish I had a gazillion more of these things.  They’re the best blankets, and she loves being swaddled.  They’re perfect for everything, though, and I don’t freak out if she pulls them over her face at night, cause they’re super duper lightweight breathable muslin.  
  • The cloth diapers!  These get a whooole paragraph to themselves.

I have absolutely loved cloth diapering so far.  Norah started out in the little preemie prefolds I had and the teeny tiny Bummis NB covers, but now she’s in regular newborn prefolds and her Thirsties Duo covers, which are awesome.  I also bought two Rumparooz covers that work really well.  We were using the bikini fold at first to get the Snappi to work on the tiny preemie dipes, but now we’re doing the angel wing fold with the Green Mountain NB prefolds.  I really love them – I managed to snag them during a seconds sale.

Laundering has been easy so far – they are staining (thanks, weird yellow breastfed baby poo), but I can get those out in the sun, I think.  And I recently bought some Bac-Out, which Merry has fallen in love with and is now putting in all our wash loads since it got some stains out of his work shirts.  That stuff is awesome.  So now, the staining is much less.  I love that you can just wash the crap out of prefolds and not worry about ruining things like PUL or whatever.  (We do wash our covers separately.)  

More updates on baby crap as I use various things, because I’m sure that’s what you all live for!

two weeks old: boobs

ImageYes, my child has joined the legions of other babies dressed as ladybugs for Halloween.  And with a damn good reason – ladybugs are cute, babies are cute, and babies dressed as ladybugs are about as cute as it gets.  This is Norah with her goofy dad.

Yesterday was a good day for several reasons – Norah hit 2 weeks old, and it just so happened to be mine and Merry’s 4th anniversary.  4 years of marriage is pretty impressive in my book, especially because we get to mark this 4th year with an adorable milestone.  Needless to say, we didn’t bother with gifts… the poop machine is enough of a gift.  🙂

I had my 2 week postpartum appointment today, and everything is looking awesome.  I got to see my favorite midwife, show her my little squishy, and share some tidbits of my birth story that she hadn’t heard.  The best part was, shockingly, stepping on the scale for the first time in 3 weeks, because I’ve already lost 18 pounds!  Hell yeah.  I am officially 3 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight, and the nurse was shocked.  I really do feel so good, though – I feel lighter, all of my old clothes fit well, and the only weight I really have left is in my boobs, which have kinda exploded due to the breastfeeding thing.  And bigger boobs have made my clothes actually fit BETTER – thanks, clothing designers who don’t understand that not all women who wear size L/XL shirts have gigantic titties.  Growing up with barely a B cup, these big old size D boobs are revolutionary.  I hope they don’t go away.  🙂

Speaking of boobs – breastfeeding.  The next great hurdle after you shove the kid out.

Long story short, Norah’s stay in the NICU set us back super far.  Even just those 3 days apart from her made it so that I didn’t get to really give her a chance to latch, and I had to let them supplement her with formula to get the hell out of there.  Luckily, by the time she was a week old, we were off the formula.  I’m pumping pretty often, but I’m also nursing frequently during the day – she has to use a nipple shield since her latch is awful due to the supplement bottles.  I’m sure the shield will be temporary, but because I know it can hurt your supply, the pumping is important.  Plus, I’ve built up a tidy little stash in the fridge, and that makes me happy.  🙂  I give her bottles at night or when we go out, since nursing is a bit of a process with us owing to needing the exact right nursing pillow, the shield, etc.  I’m not a pop the boob out and go lady yet.  I mean, I may never be – but that’s okay.

That’s kinda the place I’ve come to after all this.  Is my kid gaining weight?  Like a freaking freight train – she’s a pound up from her birth weight already!  She eats like a horse.  Is she getting all breast milk?  Absolutely.  Are we spending time nursing each day, which is good for my supply and helps me prevent things like mastitis?  Yep!  So fuck the rest.  Fuck the people who give me shit for bottle feeding (they exist, and they do give me shit, in fact).  I’ve found a way to nurse that keeps my supply growing, that doesn’t hurt, and that keeps my little monkey fed.  That’s all that counts.

Anyway.  The Boob Saga will continue with us, I’m sure.  I’m paranoid about my supply, but it’s holding so far.

Other tidbits?  We are happily cloth diapering – she finally fits in her smallest covers, so that’s working out.  She’s actually about to bust out of the preemie prefolds, so I have some newborn ones on the way to help transition into the next size.  We scrambled to find her clothes that fit at first (I didn’t buy much newborn stuff), but now she’s getting into the 0-3 things, and I have plenty of those.  She sleeps very well at night – I got a 5 hour stretch the other day!  Usually she will sleep at least 2 chunks of 3 hours at night, sometimes 3.  She doesn’t fuss or cry randomly – only for food or to be changed.  She wants to be held most of the time, but that’s no big deal, cause I don’t wanna put her down.  🙂

So far, this little family of 3 is quite happy.  I think we earned it.

week zero: happy birthday, little one

ImageWell.

I mean, you all KNEW the end result of this blog would be a baby.  Right?  Or at least something resembling a baby.  🙂

Now, I wasn’t aware that I would in fact, with my husband, create the cutest baby ever born.  That came as a surprise.  But there you go.  There are some surprises left in the world, apparently.

This is Norah.  I went in for my induction Monday morning, and gave birth to her Wednesday afternoon.  That’s right kids… over 50 hours of labor.  The induction went as inductions go – however, it got massively complicated by the fact that the baby was sitting sideways with her face in my hip.  The pain level I dealt with was unimaginable as a result – this was not regular labor.  I made it until Tuesday night without an epidural, when my midwife basically sat in front of me and told me if I didn’t get one, I’d likely end up with a C-section due to failure to progress.  And she was right – we all knew it.

The epidural, while helpful, did not at all help with pushing, due to the baby’s position.  Because my midwife is once again awesome, she got me in positions that helped turn her so that in the end, she did twist and come out properly.  However, I had pushed for almost 5 hours at that time.  I nearly gave up so many times – if it hadn’t been for my midwife and my absolutely fantastic husband, I would have.  As it stood, I opted for a vacuum assisted delivery just to be sure she’d come out, and it only took one pull of the vacuum in the end.

As a result of the traumatic labor, Norah came out in pretty bad shape – lethargic, very badly bruised head, and very limp.  She was breathing on her own, but she was so listless that she got rushed away to the NICU.  It was a long week as a result, guys.  She got INSTANTLY better, however, and by day 2 after the birth when I was ready to go home, truth is, so was she.  We’re still trying to figure out why she had to stay 2 more days – but eh, such is life.  🙂  The pediatrician said she was shocked at her immune system and the fact that she made it through the entire thing without even getting more than slightly jaundiced.  She had an IV for a few days, which prevented her from coming to our room – I think otherwise, she would have been able to.  But what’s done is done.

So.  Went in Monday, gave birth Wednesday, went home Friday, got my kiddo today (Sunday).  It’s been the longest week of my life.  🙂  But, obviously, also the happiest.  This little girl is the light (literally) of my life, and she lives up to her name in every way – she is the brightest, happiest newborn I’ve ever seen.  There is no way she’ll ever be able to bring anything but joy to my life and to her father’s.  Merry is literally smitten with his little girl.

And now… we are three.

40 weeks: baby? baby.

Well, hello there, due date.

So, obviously, there is no baby.  There is also no labor which will bring on the baby.  What there is, however, is apparently fluid that has gotten quite low.  That, in combination with my hypertension label (still super excited about getting slapped with that, guys), has earned me a Golden Induction Ticket for Monday, the 14th.

Yes, there shall be a baby this week, and she shall finally be on the outside where she can torment me much more efficiently, I’m sure.  I knew this was a very likely possibility, and with some battling, I managed to get to at least 40 weeks and 2 days before my time was up, which at least makes me postdate – I’ll take what I can get.  All attempts at natural induction or moving my body along have completely stalled, so here we go.

I was upset at first.  Very upset.  And now, honestly, I’m feeling so much better.  I got to meet with my favorite midwife today, who unfortunately doesn’t have her delivery privileges yet at the hospital, but has promised to stop by on Monday and see me (she is so awesome), and was super encouraging.  She told me getting induced is not an automatic sentence for an epidural and that I can absolutely manage the pain if I believe in myself.  Which I do.  So here we go.

Gonna meet my daughter.  Right after I go buy the new Pokemon game, cause I’m really going to want something to do during those million middle-of-the-night breastfeeding sessions.

39 weeks: anytime now, kid

Alrighty, kiddo.  You passed the official (according to whom, I’m not sure) “full term” marker at 37 weeks two weeks ago.  But as of today, you’re what Mommy considers to be full term.  So you go ahead and feel free to come on out whenever you’re ready.

39 weeks!  I can’t believe it.  More importantly, I can’t believe that I have a maximum of two weeks left to be pregnant, and that I’ll be, well, un-pregnant very soon.  I will tell you the truth, I have completely forgotten what it’s like not to be pregnant.  I’m pretty sure it’s easier to move, and I remember being able to take things like Advil for a toothache instead of being stuck with Tylenol which doesn’t bloody work, but other than that… huh.  Oooh, I do miss my own clothes.

So, I do know that I’ve got some real-life friends who read my updates here – I warn you, the rest of this entry may be just a bit TMI.  The great part about being at the end of the pregnancy is that it’s all talk about cervixes and dilating, which is potentially interesting for a few, but unlikely to thrill my RL buddies.  You’ve been warned.  🙂

Had my weekly prenatal visit on Thursday, and it went without a hitch as usual – NST was good, fluid levels are just enough (I reeeally need to drink more water, though, I should focus on that today).  Talked to my midwife about newborn procedures, which was very reassuring – we went through the big three (eyedrops, Vitamin K, Hep B vaccine), and she agreed with our plan to go ahead and say yes to the Vit K, but refuse the eyedrops and delay the Hep B vaccine until her first month appointment.  The eyedrops specifically protect against eye infections from chlamydia and gonorrhea ONLY, which Mer and I have been tested for, so no need for that – and while we are veeeerry pro-vax, neither of us see the need for a vaccine at birth for something that is communicable via bodily fluids only.  So, I need to add those things to my birth plan, but the midwife assured me that I can deny those procedures easily, no big deal.  As for having the baby skin-to-skin right after, she also said that I can have the kiddo essentially as long as I want, and that even though they might try and gently persuade me to give up the baby to be weighed, etc., as long as everything went well with the birth, they can check the baby while I’m holding her. 

Then, the midwife mentioned that I had asked to have my cervix checked at this stage, just to get a baseline for where we were at at 39 weeks.  Turns out, I am in fact 1 cm dilated already, and 50% effaced, which is pretty good!  It shows that progress has started.  The baby has already started to drop so much that I measured only 36 weeks in fundal height, which she assured me was normal and specifically due to the baby’s head being more in my pelvis.  I’m pretty sure she’s dropped even MORE since that appointment – yesterday, I all of a sudden realized that I could eat a TON at a time, and I’m freaking starving.  I haven’t been able to eat this quantity at one time in a super long time.  I’m at 13 pounds gained now, which is still 7 pounds below what they set for my top limit, so I think I’m okay to eat my fill.  😛

So, things are progressing – midwife said to have lots of sex to keep it going, which Merry was of course distraught about (yeeeah), getting checked was only somewhat uncomfortable, not really painful at all (hell, at 31, I’ve had a LOT of yearly exams, those things aren’t any big deal to me anymore).  She stretched things a little while she was checking, and I’ve been losing mucus plug in small pieces since then, so I’m hoping we can get all the way to having my membranes swept by Monday.  If that’s the case, then I may get this kid on her due date after all! 

Baby purchases… we’re done, really.  I want to pick up that Mei Tai carrier I’ve been wanting, but that’s pretty much it.  I think I’m set even postpartum-wise, but it’s not as if I can’t pick things up after.  The lovely part about having a husband that works at a superstore type place like Fred Meyers is that they have everything you might need and then some. 

Baby soon, please?  Yes.

38 weeks: nearly there, kids

I mentioned to Merry this evening that I am in fact 14 days away from my due date, to which he replied, “Nope nope nope.”  So it’s good to confirm that the panic is still there in some form.  😛

I have no idea why I’m awake – I was SO tired three hours ago.  Zombie-like, in fact.  Actually, I know why I’m awake… I was persuaded (mkay, it didn’t actually take much persuasion, to be honest) to indulge in a little hanky panky with the husbeast and it had the result it always has for us – him snoring away, me bouncing off the walls and full of energy.  Real funny, Mother Nature.  Thanks for that.  Wish it could be a magic sleep potion for me like it is for him, but no such luck.

I have become an eating MACHINE this week.  Still, at my appointment on Friday, right at the exact same weight I was at 32 weeks.  It’s getting ridiculous, mostly because they insist on weighing me at each biweekly visit, including the ones where I’m just having an NST done.  I think they do it to check for sudden weight gain, which can indicate pre-eclampsia due to swelling.  But seriously – I’ve been at a 9-10 pound gain for a month and a half (it fluctuates by a few ounces depending on what I’m wearing and whether I’ve eaten beforehand).  It ain’t for lack of trying, kids.  I’m packing it away like a freaking pro wrestler trying to make a higher weight class.  But nothing doing.  This actually makes me think that when I give birth, I’ll be able to start some good weight loss momentum, meaning if I’m clever, I can drop below my pre-pregnancy weight without even really trying at first because of breastfeeding.  Crossing my fingers.

Still having a relatively happy pregnancy, although my hips are trying to kill me.  I suppose it means she’s dropping, which is good, but it’s not as if it’s helping things up above my uterus – my midwife said that I’m not getting the same relief from the rib kicks and the heartburn that other women get after the baby drops because my little brat of a daughter is mega stretched out in there.  Great.  Make yourself comfortable, kid.  You ain’t got much longer to beat up my insides, and then you can have the whole world to stretch out in. 

I had pretty much no Braxton Hicks contractions today, and I usually have tons.  I’m going to assume it’s because I stayed home all day and barely got up off my ass to do anything – rest must have helped them.  Still, it makes me nervous, and I have no idea why.  In my ridiculous brain, I keep thinking it means she’s, like, moving back up somehow?  And I’m never going to go into labor?  WTF, brain.  You’re dumb.  Also, I’m having a BH as we speak, so I think my body is trying to prove me wrong now.  It does that sometimes.

Hospital bag is half packed.  It’s hard to put clothes in there when I want to keep wearing them – if I put my yoga pants in now, I can’t wear them every day!  Hell with that.  And if you think I’m waddling around 24/7 in a hospital gown for 2 straight days, you got another think coming.  I’m not even giving birth in a hospital gown – I was told clearly I could wear my own clothes and that’s what’s happening.  But I figure labor takes so long, it’s not as if I can’t pack it when things get started.

Augh, this snore machine next to me.  Sigh.  I doubt I’ll even notice my lack of sleep after the baby comes.  As I’ve said before, when you’ve had insomnia for as long as I have, and when pregnancy makes it even worse, you don’t dread the sleepless baby nights.  Bring it on.

37 weeks: full term yeahYUH

Hell yeah, you guys.  I made it to 37 weeks.  I’m so happy.  I mean, I really still want to make it to 40, just because I’m nervous about potential lung development issues, etc., but I know that chances are, she’s totally ready and good to go.  So let the process at least begin, says I.

And I’m pretty sure it is in fact beginning.  I get crampy literally every night now and most mornings, my days are riddled with Braxton Hicks contractions (although a good portion of those come from when I bend down or pick something up), and the midwife confirmed that the baby’s head is in fact starting to slowly come down – it’s right above my pubic bone now, which is freaky deaky.  Next week, I’ve agreed to let them start checking me, mostly because I’m curious.  So fucking exciting.

We had another talk about induction stuff, and the midwife confirmed that yes, she and the other midwives had had a conference about me and they’ve decided to go ahead and let me go as far as 41 weeks despite the UW’s insistence that I be delivered by 39.  HALLELUJAH.  I’m so happy that I’m being given every chance to go into labor naturally.  I was born 4 days after my due date – my mom went into labor the night before at 3 days past and I was born in the early morning.  So I am relatively confident that I’ll deliver before 41.  As I’ve said before, all I wanted was the chance to get to 40 on my own if my body wanted it.  I just don’t want an early baby UNLESS my body wants to deliver her early. 

The midwife said that what they want to do is follow me very closely, watch for signs of labor starting, and then use some low-key type things to help labor along, like stripping my membranes if I’m dilated enough, etc.  I am a-ok with that. 

My blood pressure was 100/68, which was awfully convenient considering that it helped make my case for why I should be able to avoid induction.  I mean, for shit’s sake, tie that in with the ZERO other signs of pre-eclampsia, and I’m still not worried.  I need to get better about my water intake, though – I am worried about my fluid being on the low end of average, so I’d like to get more hydrated and help combat that.

There is a very persistent knee poking at my belly nowadays.  I have to constantly coach it back in, but I’m not winning the war, if you know what I mean.  Boy, there really is a point where the baby moving kinda loses its magic and just becomes so fucking uncomfortable.  Grargh.

The to do list!  Let’s see.  We did MOST of the dining room, it’s looking a lot better.  Again, the bedroom is rearranged, the linen closet is done, and the house has had a general clean-up, although it still needs vacuuming and scrubbing in random places.  I have a giant bag of hand me down clothes to sift through today, because I totally didn’t already have enough.  😛  Lunch with Merry will happen at some point, and then I think I really ought to take photos of the nursery – it’s so cute, and I haven’t shown anyone yet.  🙂

And there you go.  Gotta hit full term running, otherwise the panic will set in and then OHMYGODHEREITCOMES.  See?  I can go crazy, or I can clean.  The choice is obvious.  😛