Monday, March 26, 2012

First Month of Mommyhood

I've been trying to decide what I wanted to write about next. I've also been looking for the time. For now, I think I'll just do a sort of review of being a mommy so far. Unlike other blog reviews, however, I do not have a baby to giveaway to a lucky winner (not yet anyway).

For the first week, everything was pretty grand. I had a beautiful baby doing baby things. Eating, sleeping, and so on. Weeks two and three started to wear on me though. As someone who's breastfeeding exclusively, I started to despair at night, thinking about how I would never sleep through the night again. Particularly around the two week growth spurt, he would just eat continually for hours and scream if there wasn't a boob in his mouth for 5 minutes. My nipples stopped aching after about a week thankfully. I couldn't imagine how I would ever be able to have another baby and do this with another child. I can honestly say that for those two weeks or so, I did not like being a mom.

Thankfully, as I've mentioned before, I have a wonderful, supportive husband. I started pumping, and that gave me the freedom to get out of the house for a couple hours. I felt a little bad when I was out at the Tampa Bay Men's Roller Derby bout with my mom and wife, but it wasn't because I felt bad for leaving him. I felt bad that I didn't feel bad about leaving him. I felt bad that I wasn't worried about him. I needed the break. I needed to have some fun without someone latched on to my chest, and I did! I had so much fun! (By the way, have you ever tried to find a private outlet to pump at a roller skating rink? Next to impossible. I wound up hanging the cord over the edge of the skate rental desk and sitting on the floor behind it between games).

It's getting better, though. I am incredibly lucky to have a baby who will sleep anywhere from 3-5 hour stretches at night. I even have to wake him up sometimes (which is particularly hard for me). The current struggle is day time naps. He can fall asleep, but staying asleep is another story. Even our daily walk didn't keep him down for more than 20 minutes.

I can now say that I would do it again. I've developed some amnesia over the birth, and I can see that it does get better. I'm going back to work in just over a week, and I'm confident that he will be fine with his Nana. This mommy thing isn't so bad after all.

4 Weeks Old - 10 lbs 7 oz
In other news, I was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by a blog that makes my mouth water with every new post. Thank you Luminous Vegans! You inspire me to get back in the kitchen!

So I'm supposed to share seven things about myself. I don't know if I can come up with seven new things...

1. I'm so obsessed with cloth diapers right now, I dream about them.
2. I'm also obsessed with babywearing, and even though I have two fully functional carriers, I'm plotting my next purchase (either a Mei Tai or Bali Breeze woven wrap... or maybe a water wrap...)
3. I'm ordering new skates today!
4. I wish I was craftier than I am.
5. I just saw Melancholia. I give it two stars for being super boring.
6. I'm only on 6? Umm...
7. My reading has slowed way down. I want to get a couple more books in before I go back to school though.

I also get to nominate blogs I love, so:

1.  Bella Blogs - I worked with this mama in high school. It's amazing to read her blog because she has changed so much. She's still crazy funny though, and her little boy is adorable.
2.  Vegan Derby Girl - I love vegan derby girls (and boys)!
3. Leslie & Pete - I only met Leslie once to talk about veganism, but I love reading about her pregnancy journey. She also has a pretty cool blog called Salvaged Spaces.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Scariest Moment

I had a really scary moment about a week and a half after Jonah was born, and I thought I would share in case my experience can help anyone else. I'd been feeling better, and I thought I would try out my new Moby Wrap. I was standing there putting it on and blood started flowing out of me, down my leg, and onto the floor.

I hurried to the bathroom to check out the situation, and there was just a puddle. It kept coming too. Mitch grabbed my phone and started getting ready in case we needed to go to the hospital. I called my midwife, and she told me to do two things: 1) Press as hard as I could into my uterus and 2) Get Jonah to latch on.

She said if it wasn't better after 30 minutes to go to the hospital. Jonah was of course up to the challenge. Breastfeeding helps your uterus contract. After half an hour it was definitely better, and we didn't have to go to the hospital! Within a day or two my bleeding was back to where it had been before.

So, if you experience something similar, don't panic. Definitely call your healthcare provider as soon as possible, but let your little one help you out too!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My Husband...

... is the greatest. He's taken great care of us for those all-important two weeks postpartum. He helped Jonah breastfeed the first few times when my arms were too weak from the birth to support him. He prepared or provided every meal (and I'm down 20+ lbs from my heaviest while having been totally satisfied). He fed the dogs the whole time too (which is a bigger chore than in most households). He kept up with laundry and didn't completely destroy the kitchen. He slept on the couch to give us space. When Jonah had a couple of rough nights, and my nipples desperately needed a break, he put up with the crying long enough to get me a few hours of sleep. He was even ready to help however I needed when I started gushing blood one morning.

So if you have a baby, expect nothing less from your significant other. It's going to be interesting learning to get along without him (although he's still planning my meals).

Thank you, Mitch!

(Also thanks to Jim and Mary for helping take care of our dogs while we were at the hospital, my wife Megan and her husband for coming over with chickpea curry and doing a little cleaning, and Mitch's mom for giving Toby some much needed walks!)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Jonah's Birth Story

It's a long one.

As you know, we've been doing all our prenatal care at Breath of Life in preparation for a natural birth. There are so many reasons to choose to birth this way, but like I said, this was a long process. Sometimes things change.

I started feeling very mild contractions around 1 AM on the 15th. When they came, they were regular, but they would taper off for awhile too. At any rate, it was clear that I would not get much sleep, if only for the excitement that something was finally happening. When Mitch got up to use the bathroom around 6 AM, I filled him in, and he joined me on the couch to play the waiting game (or in his case, video games).

We hung out Wednesday just watching things progress. We informed the important people that it looked like things were getting started. Unfortunately, this convinced my mom there would be a baby any minute. Sorry, Mom.

We decided to pass some time by going to get some last minute items at Babies R' Us. We got a diaper pail, some bottles, and cabinet locks. There was only one contraction during our time there, so we drove over to the mall to kill some more time. I texted some with our doula Melissa to keep her informed. We walked around, and Mitch even put up with seeing The Vow with me. At that point, we figured we would head home and keep waiting.

Around midnight or so, I noticed that contractions were more intense and regular. I took a bath to see if that changed anything, and if anything they seemed to become more frequent. I talked to Mitch, Melissa, and our midwife, and shortly after 2 AM, we were headed to the birthing center.

We arrived around 3 AM and Chris checked me out. I was still in early labor at about 3 cm, but since we now live a good distance away from the center, we opted to stay there. I tried to get some sleep in the glider with a heating pad on my back, and Mitch slept in the bed. I decided a shower would provide some relief, and around 7 AM that's where my water broke.

The hours went by. The contractions came and came and CAME. I spent some time in the tub. The first time definitely relieved some pain and lifted my spirits, but it was still a long uphill battle. I paced. I texted my wife that labor sucks. I laid in the bed. I rocked on a birthing ball. I got back in the shower. Eventually I got back in the tub. I spent a lot of time there this time. I started to realize that I may not be able to handle much more. Of course, everyone tried to reassure me that I could, but I was pretty sure I knew my body.

Around 4 PM, Chris had me get out of the tub and onto the bed. In between switching sides, she checked me again, and I was only at 6 or 7 cm. At that point, she told me that I could stay there and keep working, but it was okay if I wanted to transfer to the hospital as well. They gave Mitch and me some privacy, but I knew that I wanted to go. I needed to go.

We gathered our things and got in the car. It just so happened to be rush hour and it seemed like we hit every red light possible, but we arrived at St. Pete General around 6 PM. Even though it seemed like forever at the time, we were in a room and admitted pretty quickly. Most importantly, the epidural came quickly as well.

At that point, things get a little blurry for awhile. When the doctor arrived, I was still only barely 7 cm. She was skeptical that I would get out without a C-section. I was put on pitocin and helped to my side. Time passed, and the doctor checked again; still not much change. She asked to put in a catheter to monitor the strength of the contractions. She was worried that I was actually farther along than Breath of Life estimated because my 20-week ultrasound estimated my due date to be January 29th, not February 13th. I really didn't want the monitor because of how uncomfortable the foley had been (I made her take it out). I caved though and confirmed two things: 1) My epidural was not really working right. 2) The catheter was a mistake because after two (painful) tries, they couldn't even get it to work.

At this point the pain was once again terrible, and I was so tired. The nurse gave me something while we waited for the anesthesiologist to return. In my memory, it didn't actually kick in until he gave me something extra as well, but Mitch says I got a little loopy. Either way, I finally had some peace. I got a little rest, although the pressure was mounting. At some point, the pushing instinct kicked in, so they did another check. I was almost there, about 9.75 cm. The nurse tried one push to see if I could get past it, but no luck. They gave me some more time during which (sorry if this is TMI) I was pretty sure my butt was going to just explode. It was nearly impossible not to push.

Eventually, the pushing started, though. The progress was slow like everything else. His head was at an awkward angle, and he was having trouble making it beyond my pubic bone. When the doctor came in, she tried to redirect him repeatedly without much lasting success. The threat of a c-section was still hanging over us, but she let me keep working. It was absolutely exhausting. I wasn't sure I could keep going, but there was also much more relief in pushing than in fighting it. She performed an episiotomy just to make things any degree easier possible.

Finally, after about 2 hours of pushing, Jonah Eckert Day was born at 2:56 AM on February 17, 2012.

He cried. He was covered in meconium. He was finally here.

As Mitch has said, we spent nearly a year planning for a natural birth, and we ultimately had almost every medical intervention possible. And you know what? I'm not disappointed at all. I think we made every right decision. My experience isn't what I imagined, but I have my baby here in my lap. I feel pretty good. He's perfect.

8 lbs 9 oz -- 21.5 in