Saturday, March 24, 2012

One month! (begun 3/15,completed 3/24)

I'm afraid Maggie is suffering from second-child syndrome and there haven't been nearly as many photos snapped of her as there were of Charlotte's first month. Fewer visitors. Fewer "welcome baby" gifts. And the universe didn't stop when she arrived- we still go to music class and waterbabies on Charlotte's same old schedule. I can't always drop everything the moment she makes a sound, and sometimes I actually set her down so I can attend to Charlotte's or my own needs.
As a result, or perhaps just because of her own nature, Maggie is kind of an independent little lass. She sleeps in a bassinet beside my bed, so I hear her every movement (seriously- the bassinet rattles and creaks constantly). I've actually seen her lie there, eyes wide open looking around for 5 or 10 minutes before she starts making her little grunting "I need some attention please" noises. I've put her to bed awake-but-sleepy and she's drifted off to dreamland all on her own- who among us was able to do that with baby #1 this early in the game? not me!
The one exception to all this easy-going wonderfulness is a nightly witching hour that appeared out of nowhere a few days ago. From about 6-8 pm, she's exhausted and inconsolable and cries pitifully until C manages to calm her to sleep with his magic (boobless) touch. If she's in my arms during that time, she's convinced she should be eating, but when that doesn't provide the solace she needs, she goes back to yowling and flailing. Swaddling doesn't work at that point. I tried putting her down for a well-timed nap just before witching hour, but she didn't sleep long enough for it to influence the evening.
It's 3/24 now, and I am just getting back to this blog for the first time in over a week. We've escaped the witching hour every night save two since I began this post. I think Maggie just wants to be involved in the action of our nightly dinner routine. As long as we don't try to put her to bed between 6 and 7, she may cry a wee bit,but there's no serious meltdown. Some evenings, she eats at 4-ish and then sleeps right through the witching hour completely.
Maggie had her 1-month visit to the ped. She weighed 11 pounds 5.5 ounces and was 23 or 23.5inches tall. She was squirming and crying by the time the doc tried to measure her, so the height measurement is suspect. I think Charlotte was about this size when she was 4 months old, or older, but I'm not entirely sure. Maggie wears a mixture of 0-3,3,and 3-6-month clothes now. She just bigger enough that none of Charlotte's summer hand-me-downs will fit when summer weather arrives. Oh, well. We have an ample supply of short-sleeved onesies that she can live in when it's hot out. And with the weather we've had already, maybe summer will start early enough this year that she'll get to wear the cute rompers and outfits in April or May (which Charlotte wore in August/September of her first year).
Maggie is an unpredictable nurser- meals can take anywhere between 8 and 35 minutes, then tide her over for 2 to 5 hours. Usually, it takes her 15 minutes to become sated, and she wants to eat every 3 hours. I am trying to get her to eat more less frequently,especially at night. I'm also still looking for a nipple she likes so she'll take abottle (of breastmilk). To date, she has not successfully taken a bottle since we came home from the hospital. She doesn't refuse it; she just doesn't seem to know what to do with it, so nothing comes out. I'd love for C to be able to feed her just once a week in the middle of the night so I can get a weekly full night's sleep.
I started pumping about 3 weeks ago, usually just once per day and I get about 4 ounces each time. I don't have to build up a major supply this time- no return to work on the horizon, and no fertility treatments to dictate the end of nursing. I'm not even sure what we'll do with an accumulated 4-ounces a day, but I like knowing it's there in case something unexpected happens.
Computer's battery is dying... bye for now.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Birth story, part 3- the happy ending

As I mentioned, I was heartened by the fact that I heard a brief cry from Maggie before she and C left for the nursery. I was also encouraged when the nurse brought her over to me before taking her away. That would not have happened if Maggie had been in any real danger. I only wish C were a better photographer. The two pictures we have now of Maggie and me in her first few hours are horrible- I look like hell, and the pics are not well composed so we're not sharing them.

Once C left, I felt like I was essentially on my own in the OR. No one was talking to me, and it was only after repeating "I'm going to throw up" a few times that the anesthesiologist put a puke-bucket near enough that I could almost reach it (then he told me "Try not to miss next time" when I missed with the first round). I was tremendously uncomfortable, and time was still a blur even though I knew Maggie had arrived at 1:32. I could have been in there for 20 minutes or 3 hours as far as I knew. I was still freezing and shivering pretty violently so when a nurse replaced the anesthesiologist, I was wrapped in warm blankets from the arms up. It helped a little, but I was still mostly exposed and mostly frozen while the surgeon stitched me up. Regardless of how long it really took, it felt like I was there for an eternity- still trying not to move so I'd be an easy sew-up, but shivering uncontrollably. I suspect the table was tilted so my head was lower than my feet because I felt pretty upside-down, adding to the awkward uncomfortable-ness. It also felt like a 40-pound brick was on my breastbone- I had a hard time taking more than a very shallow breath and I worried I might pass out, further delaying my chance to hold Maggie for the first time.

After an eternity (where was my baby? where was my husband? was everyone OK? was someone holding my baby or was she untouched and neglected?), the sewing was done and I met the "bear hug," greatest OR invntion I've heard of- a blanket of sorts that hooked up to a low-powered hair dryer which filled the blanket with warm air that was gently pushed out onto my body through a network of tiny vents. Pure heaven, but it still took a good half-hour or so for the shivering to stop. C commented later that he'd never seen anyone shiver as violently as I did in the OR. Unbeknownst to me, I was hooked up to a pitocin IV- I found that out pretty quickly, though, when "after pains" carried on for nearly 18 hours, and not just when I was nursing as I'd read to expect. For that, not for the incision or anything else, I needed pain meds. Seriously, it was worse than labor with Charlotte had been. Morphine was connected to my IV, too, and I actually pressed the dose button 5 times in the first 12 hours or so. The pit was done (three bags, I think) by the next morning, and then Motrin was enough to manage the pain, which was mostly due to a gassy-inflated abdomen once the pit was over. Having a nurse come in every few hours to check on my uterus and do "uterine massage" was pretty painful, too, but that pain ended as soon as the nurse's hands stopped touching my belly.

In addition to the pitocin, I received several bags of IV fluids before the line was removed at about 11 am on Wednesday. I did not count how many bags, but it seemes excessive. Someone said something about making up for all the fluid I lost (blood, amniotic fluid, anythng else?), but that doesn't make any sense to me since you're supposed to lose the amniotic fluid and I didn't have any bleeding issues. In the aftermath, when my legs were painfully swollen from knees to toes, it felt like a sadistic joke to have been pumped so full just so it could puddle in my lower extremeties. If anyone cares to explain that rationale for all those fluids, I'm all ears. But since I will never be pregnant again, it's not something I can improve on "next time."

Once my shivering had quieted a bit and the nurses weren't afraid I'd drop little Maggie, she was brought into my room. She looked exactly like Charlotte to me at first, but with so much more and darker hair than Charlotte was born with. I don't know if there was an issue with her blood sugar at birth, but they were concerned that if she did not feed fairly soon then her blood sugar would drop lower than they were comfortable with. One nurse told me I'd be given a chance to nurse, and then we would give Maggie some formula to make sure she'd gotten enough. The another nurse came in and said it was time to give Maggie a bottle- she was ready to take her away for the feeding. I got mad, really mad. For two reasons- first, I'd been told I'd have the chance to feed her before any supplementation and I was concerned about both nipple confusion and a negative affect on my milk coming in; second, Charlotte had been given her first bottle by a student nurse without my consent on our discharge day, which upset me in so many ways. So, with Maggie, I first expressed my confusion over not being allowed to attempt nursing before the bottle was introduced and then demanded that either C or I feed her. The staff did not cave in to my request to breastfeed, but C was able to give Maggie the bottle. And based on how much she took, I guess she needed it. I think she drank 2oz or something like that, which seemed like quite a bit for a brand-new newborn. The next feeding was entirely mine, and Maggie was given only one additional bottle (also by C) in the 4 days we spent in the hospital. And that bottle was in response to a borderline low blood sugar after I allowed her to sleep a little too long (I was asleep too, and therefore did not wake her when I should have). My milk came in late on day 3, catching Maggie by surprise as she gagged and choked a little when her mouth was unexpectedly filled. To this day, I feel like I'm producing enough to feed 2 or 3 Maggies. Maggie has nursed like a champ since her first time at the boob. All the breastfeeding woes I went through with Charlotte are a distant memory, and my biggest concern now is keeping Maggie's razor-like fingernails away from my very tenderest bits. Mittens or socks on her little hands do the trick, but I sometimes forget at 3 am.

I don't feel like writing more today, but I haven't said much about the recovery. I'll address that in another post. For now, I'd like to annouce that the swelling is nearly gone. There's just a trace left in my ankles and upper feet, but everything looks perfectly normal now. The swelling started to noticeably diminish on day 13. I still had a hard time squeezing into shoes as late as day 18. But things are nearly back to normal now. After the gas, the swollen legs/feet were the worst part of recovering.