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Thursday, January 20, 2011

A few things about labor, delivery, and postpartum that surprised me...

1. My hormones wreaked havock on my emotions for about a day and it really did come out of nowhere! Although you do hear about this, it still took me by surprise. I had been in such a great mood after the delivery for a couple of days and then BAM!! I really thought PPD was rearing its scary head. Thankfully, I felt much more like myself the next day.

2. My legs and feet were super swollen for a few days after delivery from all of the IV fluids pumped into me. My feet looked like bricks and it was uncomfortable to flex my toes. I was supposed to stay off my feet as much as possible after delivery to help reduce the swelling but it was so difficult to do so. I thought this only happened during the end of pregnancy not after!

3. The fantasy of a totally pain-free delivery just because I decided on an epidural blew up in my face! I felt it people!

4. My belly button did NOT pop out.

5. Losing pregnancy weight doesn't mean you will fit into your old clothes automatically. I lost all of my pregnancy weight in about 2 weeks but my body doesn't look the same. I am wearing a postpartum girdle to try and get my belly under control. I will start working out soon but honestly, I rarely get a chance to just sit and relax so I'm sure I am burning calories with cleaning the house, preparing bottles, doing laundry, etc.

6. Thanks to my mom, I did not get stretch marks on my belly even though I am pretty prone to strecth marks on other parts of my body. I actually developed stretch marks on the backs of my knees. Such a weird place to get strecth marks :(

7. My first post delivery BM didn't make me see stars. I actually went without a problem.

8. My first post delivery pee was super long!!! I was in the bathroom with a nurse and I was embarrassed by how much pee I had in there. And I totally didn't even feel like I had to go that badly.

9. No matter how committed I was to breastfeeding, it just didn't work for me. We had a ton of help and support from the hospital but...nope. My emotional breakdown once we were home also contributed greatly to me quitting breastfeeding. Formula feeding has worked fine for us.

10. You really do start to worry about the baby's well-being pretty much immediately. Is he breathing ok? Is he eating enough? Too much? Did he poop today? Was it too soft? Does he seem gassy? Should we do tummy time for longer amount of time? Did that bib get washed? Is his gas too smelly? Lol...ughhhh!! When does it end???

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Breastfeeding woes

Hubbs and I were so committed to breastfeeding our boy. I was so excited to have the experience of providing nourishment to my son I had even literally dreamed about it. As soon as Ryan was born and they gave me a quiet moment with him to do skin to skin, I immediately tried to have him latch on. He nuzzled and looked super comfy but that's all. I had read and researched enough to know that that was ok. I was just trying to introduce him to the breast. I didn't expect him to actually feed that soon. It was lovely.

Once I was in the postpartum suite and they had finished doing all of their tests and whatnot and they brought him to my room, they had a nurse come in to help me get Ryan to latch. Over the next 2 days right up until we were discharged, we tried and tried to get Ryan to effectively breastfeed. I say we because it really did take a team of dedicated individuals including me, hubbs, lactation consultants and nurses over several shift changes.

According to the lactation consultants, they believed that Ryan was just too sleepy due to the epidural and Fentinel (sp?) meds that I was given for the labor. They assessed my nipples (good), production of colostrum (good - I was clearly able to hand express some each time we tried to latch him), Ryan's sucking reflex (good), positioning (good)...he was even able to latch effectively many times. Ryan was able to suck 2-3 times but then would do one of two things: he'd fall right to sleep (we tried undressing him and all of that) or he'd detach, throw his head back and scream his little head off.

I should say that while in the hospital, we did have about 3 decent breastfeeding sessions where he'd go 10-15 minutes without a problem. He was even clearly swallowing.

Unfortunately, even though Ryan had the right amount of poop and pee diapers, they were still concerned about his intake based on the amount of time he'd been able to feed. They mentioned a few times that they might need to supplement but they'd give me a chance to try yet again to get breastfeeding going.

Thinking back on it now, I feel bad about the times that we tried getting him to latch. It felt like we were forcing him over and over to do something he just did not want to do. It was an ordeal to say the least.

We were discharged on Wednesday 1/5 with the personal cell numbers of a couple of lactation consultants that's how much they wanted to help us. My nurse at that point gave us some formula samples just in case. We took them gratefully but had zero intention of actually using it.

We got home and I tried over and over to get Ryan to latch and feed. I started to feel even more overwhelmed, scared and stressed. I felt that I was starving my baby. We were so unhappy. That day...our first day at home...I about lost my mind.

I could not stop sobbing. It actually started in the hospital when the pediatrician came to do his checkup on Ryan before discharging him with us. He allowed us to come into the nursery with him to see the checkup. Everything was fine until he got to the testicles. Ryan had just the night before had his circumcision done (which I was already feeling guilty about) and here goes the pediatrician squeezing on his little balls making him cry. My eyes watered up and as soon as hubbs and I were in my room alone I started crying like an idiot. I did recognize how loony I sounded because I started laughing while I sobbed. Yeah...lol.

But getting home with Ryan, realizing we were alone, and trying (and failing at) breastfeeding was so stressful and overwhelming that I just could not hold it together. Hubbs' family came over that evening and I couldn't come out of my room to face them. I just wanted them all to leave. I wanted them to leave us alone. I wanted to do skin to skin in peace and attempt breastfeeding without them here listening to Ryan screaming. I begged hubbs to make them go away. I did come out of the room to say hello. My eyes were bloodshot and watery from crying so I know they knew something was up. I had a little soup that my mother-in-law brought for us but I felt like crying the entire time. I ended up going right back to my room to sob quietly some more. After a short while I decided I could cry freely in the shower so that's what I did. Hubbs came into the bathroom to check on me and found me sobbing in the shower...I was a sorry sight. He then had a word with his mom and as I was coming out of the bathroom, his family was getting their things together to go home. I felt bad but more than anything, I was so relieved.

I continued to cry even after they left. I cried like a baby...like I hadn't cried since I was a little girl. I sobbed into hubbs' arms and he attempted to comfort me. I felt so dependent on him in those moments...like he was going to save my life.

In the middle of the night, we tried breastfeeding again and again. And Ryan screamed and screamed. Hubbs and I decided to use the formula for the night feedings and reassess in the morning. So that's what we did. Ryan ate very well, finally. By the time the sun came up, I'd decided to stick to formula. I'd had it with feeling like I was trapped in a depressed state. I felt so much better about our decision. We were going to formula feed and that was that.

I have not looked back. I did start pumping a couple times per day and I give Ryan whatever I can of breast milk. At least I can say that he did get colostrum and breast milk. I still wish I could have done more but I had to think of my emotional health. I was unable to be there for my son while I was sobbing uncontrollably and now I can relax.

He's such a good boy. He eats, sleeps and poops just like they say. He doesn't cry much except when he's hungry. Actually, he squeaks a couple of times before he actually cries so we can usually avoid a full on cry. I am so in love with him. He is so perfect and awesome. It hurts to think about going back to work so I try not to think about it. My mother arrives from Florida tomorrow so I'm so excited about that. I just can't wait to see her and see her reaction to Ryan!!

That's all for now everyone. Thanks to those who are reading!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ryan was born on 1/3/11: Birth Story

Hello everyone! Ryan Gabriel was born on Monday January 3rd, 2011 at 4:33pm weighing 6lbs 12oz and measuring 19.5 inches long!!

My labor began at 1am on January 2nd. I felt my first mildly painful contraction which was the start to 24 hours of 10-15 minute apart contractions. For the most part, they were mild enough to breath easily through. I even slept through some in spans of about 1.5 hours. Unfortunately I was awake for most of those 24 hours.

At about 2:30am the next morning (January 3rd) the contractions were still about 8-12 minutes apart but much more painful. Finally I had such a painful contraction that I felt the need to call my doctor. She advised me not to go in yet because they were still far apart and they'd probably have to send me back home. Right after that call I started bawling...I just couldn't imagine going through more of those strong, painful contractions at home.

Hubbs was fantastic through this. He rubbed my back, told me I was doing great, hugged me while I cried...

Right after speaking to the doctor, no more than 2 minutes later, I stood to go to the bathroom and that's when my water broke. It was 2:40am. It felt like I had just gotten my period and it was heavy. It wasn't a gush but I definitely felt the trickle. After that, the contractions started coming fast and strong...every 4-5 minutes. With every contraction, more fluid leaked out.

We began to get dressed to leave for the hospital. Our bags had already been packed so it didn't take long. The drive to the hospital was quick since there were no cars on the road at that time. It was difficult to ride in a car with that pain. All of the potholes added to the pain and hubbs thought it would be better to drive slowly through some of them. I told him to "just DRIVE!!". Lol.

When we got to the hospital, we checked in and I was checked at triage. They confirmed my bags had ruptured and I was at 3cm. I was admitted and brought to my labor and delivery suite. I labored a little longer in that room. They asked if I wanted the epidural right away and I decided to wait a little longer until I was at least 4 or 5 cm. I was afraid to get it too early and slow down the progress.

A couple hours later I was at 4-5 cm and I asked for the epidural. That was definitely different than what I expected. It felt very strange. I felt the pinch that they say feels like a bee sting (I hope I never get stung by a bee!). Then all of these other sensations I felt related to the epi...they were all so strange.

The nurse started Pitocin to speed up the labor. Immediately after, the baby's heart rate dropped. Before I knew it, about 5 doctors and nurses were in the room. A nurse was turning me from my left to right side...the heart rate monitor was in her hand and she was searching my belly for the baby. She shut the Pitocin off and the baby's heart rate came back up. It was such a scary experience. They found that if I leaned to my left and kept an oxygen mask on, the baby was ok. So I stayed in that position for most of the rest of the labor. Eventually, they slowly started up the Pitocin again a little at a time.

Being on my left made the epidural numb my entire left side and I started feeling sensations on my right side. When I got to about 8-9 cm, I was feeling a burning sensation on my right hip and the surrounding area. I was also feeling the contractions again but I felt it in my butt. Each contraction made me feel like I had someone stabbing me with a flaming poker in my butthole (sorry for the image).

Finally, I was at 9+cm with a tiny lip. The doctors were saying I'd have Ryan in a matter of a couple of hours (since I suppose they expected me to push for a long time). They predicted by 6 or 6:30pm, I'd have him. Right after the doc checked me at 9+cm, she stepped out and I immediately felt the urge to push. I started telling the nurses I had to push. Then all of a sudden I felt like I had to throw up (even though I didn't).

The nurses said I could go ahead and start to push. The OB wasn't there but they were going to get her. So they set up the table and helped me get my feet onto the feet rest thingies (not stirrups which I had expected). They told hubbs to grab my left leg which I couldn't feel at all. I was telling them all that I was scared to push because I felt like I had to poop lol. Of course, they encouraged me to push just like that. So I did. I pushed hard but I was so scared. I felt like I could NOT possibly do this. I felt it all and it was hurting so bad! Even when they told me to stop pushing I felt him slipping out of me. The doc came in and Ryan was already crowning. She was shocked at how quickly he was coming out. By the way, I didn't poop!

After only about 10 minutes of pushing, Ryan came out kicking his little feet in the air! It was so awesome and surreal. I couldn't believe my eyes...he was really finally here!! They wiped him up a little on the table and then plopped him right on me to finish up the delivery of the placenta (which I don't think I felt at all). All I could remember was thanking God about a million times and saying how perfect and beautiful my son was. He really is perfect everyone!

By the way, before he came out, they had to do an episiotomy. I heard a snip, snip, snip...but I did feel it when they were sewing me back up. They ended up having to give me a couple of injections in my vag to numb the area a little more. After they took the baby to be weighed and checked out, they started pressing on my stomach really hard...almost like a scooping motion to squeeze out any blood clots and tissue still remaining in my uterus. That hurt like a bitch! I thought the pain was over!! At that point, they had handed Ryan to hubbs for their first interaction.

It was painful and scary but the feeling that came over me when I saw him and saw how beautiful and perfect he was, was so worth it!

Once I was all sewn up they passed Ryan back to me for skin to skin time and I tried to get Ryan to latch on. He just nuzzled in which was just fine with me. We got to have a nice time together before they took him to the nursery for more check ups and a bath. Hubbs went with the baby and I was swept off to the postpartum suite upstairs. I actually had to get out of the bed and into a wheelchair. It wasn't too bad although my left leg was still pretty numb in the thigh area.

That's all for now. I have my breastfeeding story to tell and it involves lots of tears and me feeling like I was about to enter the world of PPD (which didn't happen thankfully!).