Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Short Update

The week was better. Precious was still mellow, but waking up on her own every 3-4 hours to eat. She'd nurse 40 minutes to an hour sometimes; we had gone back to using the nipple shield all the time because it seemed to help. She still 'clucked' but it didn't seem as bad. She looked like she was filling out, growing more hair, and getting longer. She was definitely awake more, more alert when she was awake, and peeing and pooping appropriately.

At the doctor's appointment--7 lbs. No gain--no loss, but no gain. She was hungry so I nursed her and the doctor wanted to weigh her after that again. But she wet her diaper and the nurse had me change it--I tried to argue with her, but wasn't adamant enough. After eating (and the diaper change), her weight was 6 lbs 14 oz. The doctor said, "that can't be right..." And told the nurse we should have left the diaper on wet. The nurse did say I tried to tell her that.

The plan--come back next week. In the meantime, continue the 3 oz of supplementing. Pump after each feeding to empty my breasts and keep up supply.

It was still really tough--I shed plenty of tears. And tried not to feel like a bad mommy.

The next week, we had answers--that's for another post.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kick Me While I'm Down

The weekend was mellow--too mellow. Precious slept a lot--way too much. We'd try to wake her up to eat. Seriously, we'd try everything--getting her naked, holding her, laying her down, trying to force her mouth open on my breast, using a bottle and squeezing milk into it. Eventually she'd wake up, but sometimes after 6 hours, at least 2 of which was spent trying to get her up. I knew she wasn't eating enough, but she wasn't complaining about it. And we certainly tried.

My mom kept saying, "Maybe she'll just be a bottle baby." Not helpful. I don't know if she was trying to make herself feel better or me. I know that she was disappointed that due to her health issues wasn't able to nurse my sister or me. I wasn't ready to hear that--it hurt too much. I love to nurse my babies...love, love, love it. I know it's not for everyone--and I'm not anti-formula. But I'm good at breastfeeding. Baby Girl was weaned at 15 months; early on in this pregnancy, when I was still not thrilled about being pregnant, my thoughts were that at least I'd be able to nurse again. I had even decided that I'd try to nurse even longer, not be so quick to wean. (Because Baby Girl's weaning was on my timetable, not hers--though she didn't object at all.) I wanted a breastfed baby; I wanted it for Precious AND for me. I admit it; I wanted it for me. I didn't mind not sharing feeding time with anyone else. That was my special thing--the thing only Mommy can do.

Monday at the doctor, Precious weighed....7 lbs. No weight gain at all, none. Now I realize the doctor hid her worry well, but said she wanted another blood test to check thyroid levels and for signs of infection. In the meantime, though, she said continue supplementing with the formula as we had been.

But then she gives me the paperwork to take to the lab which orders the blood test. Diagnosis -- failure to thrive. I just about lost it. Way to make an already weepy, hormonal, worried, upset post-partum mommy feel like shit. No, no, no...failure to thrive, that's what happens to babies in orphanages in third world countries who have no one to love them or babies in traumatic situations like following earthquakes where everyone has so little. My precious girl has more than enough love shown to her, she's loved and cuddled and snuggled and loved some more. There's plenty of milk (and formula too) here for the taking. There's enough. She needs to thrive--I'm not a bad mama; I'm doing my best--but it's not good enough. If it was, she'd be gaining weight. And I do intellectually know that 'failure to thrive' is a medical diagnosis, not about me--and I know my doctor cares because she didn't SAY those words to me. But it's tough, watching your baby scream as they draw a vial of blood from her heel. And then even better, since this was the same lab where they had last drawn to check bilirubin levels, they did that test not the correct one. We were on the way home when they called me to say they realized it. Thankfully I had made a stop, so we were still in the same town. So they had to draw blood again--3 vials full from her itty-bitty heel.

Test results--no sign of infection, no thyroid problems. Keep up the supplementing. Come back in a week.

To be continued...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Blue Bandit

Precious weighed in at 7 lb 6 oz on Thursday night. We were released from the hospital on Friday. She was looking a bit jaundiced, but not horribly so. This isn't unusual for newborns--Baby Girl was too. The doctor wanted to see her early the next week, so we made an appointment for Monday but said to call sooner if she started to look more yellow, particularly in the whites of her eyes.

Precious seemed to do fairly well over the weekend. She didn't nurse great, though it was clear to me that my milk was in. Even in the hospital she made a 'clucking' sound when she tried to nurse. I could tell that her latch wasn't great; I nursed Baby Girl for 15 months--I knew a good latch. We tried with a nipple shield and without and it didn't seem to make much difference. But she wasn't getting enough--I knew--she wasn't peeing or pooping as much as she should. She was getting some--I could tell by how my breasts felt.

Monday morning we went to the doctor and she was down to 7 lbs. Babies all lose some of birth weight but this amount was on the low edge of normal. Doctor wasn't too concerned about that--but Precious was definitely jaundiced. We had to go to a lab for a blood test to find out the level. (Aside--do you know how they draw blood from babies? They stick their heel and then bend their foot and squeeze numerous times to fill a vial. It's sometimes hard to watch as they scream the whole time--except this time Precious was a trooper and didn't cry at all after the first stick!) We drove our 40 minutes back home. She really was mellow--hardly cried at all--ever.

The lab results indicated a high level and so she needed to use a bilirubin blanket--a special therapy device. Which no one in our town has. Hubby thought he'd have to drive back, but the doctor found a way to get this device to us. A bilrubin blanket has a machine that kind of looks like a slide or LCD projector with a bright light bulb. The light shines into a hose that attaches to a flexible flat thing and projects blue light. This flat thing is to be wrapped around the baby's torso (unclothed). The light therapy helps break down the bilirubin in the blood so that it can be excreted. A baby's liver can't keep up with that level at that age. Also, the doctor said to supplement with formula (1 oz, 3 times daily). I really hated to use the Supplemental Nursing System that I used with Baby Girl because it's a pain, but we did. Sometimes we used bottles too--but that also took forever. Precious just wouldn't latch right--to me or a bottle. And we wrapped her in this blanket which made her glow blue in the night. Hubby started calling her the Blue Bandit.

In theory, when wearing the blanket, you can do everything with the baby except bathe them. In reality, with the hose attached that is nearly impossible. For the most part, we left her laying down except to feed her. That broke my heart, not to be able to hold her and snuggle her--or give her the food she needed to beat the jaundice. I would cry and cry when I did hold her and try to feed her. Once I looked at her laying there all alone wrapped up and her eyes were heavy and she just looked sad to me. Hubby tried to make me feel better, but he couldn't. I was so worried about her.

I just wanted to snuggle with her, to hold her close and protect her, to feed her, to take care of her and love her. But I knew keeping her wrapped in the blanket was best. We were supposed to leave it on and then have her blood tested again on Wednesday afternoon.

We were able to have her blood tested in our town. Those results were fine! She was no longer in the danger area for jaundice. But the doctor still wanted to see her the following Monday.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


It's time to write at least some of the posts that have been written in my head over the last six weeks, so here goes...

I've decided on a blog name for the newest one in my family--Precious. Baby Girl may just have turned 3, but she is my Baby Girl and always will be. Though this little one is also technically my baby girl, it's just not the same. Baby Girl made me a mommy. And it seems a bit wrong to use an adjective for one of them and not the other, but over these six weeks, I've found myself calling this little one "Precious" so many times, just as I found myself calling Baby Girl "Baby Girl" when she was tiny. They are both precious and they are both baby girls. And as far as blog names, this is just how it's going to be.

So, now the story of Precious' birth.

Week 36 ~ Doctor usually does a cervix check at this appointment, but as it was Holy Week and she knew how badly I didn't want Precious born before Easter, she waited so as not to stimulate anything!

Week 37 ~ Dilated 3 cm, I had had a few contractions, but nothing real serious, nothing consistent or time-able.

Week 38, 1 day ~ times are approximate

9 a.m. appointment ~ dilated 3.5 cm, doctor says that my amniotic sac is really really low and that she is pretty sure I was having a contraction while she was checking me. She wants to monitor me for a while before letting me leave. (Reminder--I live 40 minutes from doctor/hospital city--she doesn't want me on the road!)

10 a.m. ~ hear hubby in waiting room as I'm being monitored. This is one of the week days that he works in doctor/hospital city. He was late into town following a meeting and knew my appointment should just be ending so had stopped by to check on me. He wondered why I wasn't out yet. I was having contractions every 4 minutes, feeling some of them. Doctor says to go walk a few hours, have something to eat, and come back.

We do. We go to the mall and walk it. We never have time together like this. We go to one of our favorite lunch places. I have contraband caffeine (I love cherry pepsi!) with lunch, deciding that if I'm in labor, I can have it! I am having regular contractions--I don't feel all of them if they are really 4 minutes apart and they aren't horrible, but I am sure we aren't headed home today!

1:30 p.m. ~ We go back to the doctor. I'm dilated 4 cm and after being monitored, I'm still having contractions every 4 minutes or so. She sends me to the hospital. We take both our vehicles there, knowing that when hubby's parents come to see new baby, one of them will drive his home. He's a bit worried, but it's only a drive of a few minutes.

2 p.m. ~ Check-in at hospital. During registration, we start process and it's moving slowly. They get to the question of why I'm there, I say..."I'm in labor" and they start to panic and try to rush. "Are you okay? Do you need to go right up?" No, I'm okay. I'm certainly feeling contractions, but no big deal. We do get into triage, I change into the gown and we wait....and wait...

3 p.m. ~ Nurse finally comes back. Another woman had come in and hadn't felt baby move and so triage nurse finds baby heartbeat, etc. to comfort the mom before coming back to me. As she checks me, my water breaks all over. And I mean, all over! Triage nurse jumps and manages to avoid most of it. "Well," she said, "you are being admitted for sure now!"

During this time, we get to our labor room. I'm monitored a bit, we walk. Contractions start to be ones that stop me so that I can't walk through them anymore. We call my mom to let her know that Baby Girl will be having a "campover" at her house that night. We tell her we'll call her when baby comes but that they should plan to wait until morning to come see us.

5 p.m. ~ By now I've decided to stay in bed because that really is the most comfortable as I breathe through contractions. Doctor comes to check on me. I'm dilated 8 cm. She asks if I want to push. I say no. Doctor says she isn't leaving, but she'll go and change into her scrubs. Next contraction, I think..."pushing might not be bad idea." Doctor comes back and I tell her.

5:40 p.m. ~ I start pushing. It's very different than with Baby Girl--in a good way. It hurts differently. I don't have pitocin-induced contractions on top of one another; I get a break between contractions. I know I scream when I'm pushing at different times. I have hubby's shirt in my hand twisted and tightened. He's putting cold washcloths on my head and neck. I'm grateful not to have an oxygen mask that made me feel like I couldn't breathe. (I know--that's backwards, but it's how I felt!) No tearing, nothing.

5:55 p.m. ~ Precious is laid on my tummy. I look at her beautiful body and smile. They take her to wash her and I'm pretty sure they said her Apgar's were 9/9. I remember thinking that they were better than Baby Girl's whose were 8/9. Deliver placenta--and actually look at it. It's pretty amazing and much bigger than I pictured. I'm glad I looked even if it was gross. I watch them clean and weigh Precious and check her over. I feel great! Even better after a shower.

I'm making calls shortly after to announce her birth. She's beautiful and I feel amazing. It's a surprise how much easier this was. With no drugs, no IV, no tearing, I feel incredible. I can't believe that I just gave birth. Thank God for that for so many reasons. Because if I had known what the weeks to come would bring, I'm not sure I'd have been able to handle them having to recover from labor too.