Sunday, March 31, 2013


Matt and I don't really celebrate Easter. I'm an atheist and he's a Christian - one that is wary of organized religion and highly interested in the Kabbalah. In fact, he insists that I didn't call her dress for today her Easter dress. Either way, we put a fluffy dress on her and trekked her out to the park for her first Easter get together with Matt's family. There was food, and lots of laughter. I really love Matt's family, so it was a great day.

We roasted Peeps on the fire.

I was good and didn't eat one, but I did eat a Rice Crispy treat so maybe I wasn't so good. Also a cupcake. Decidedly, I was not good.

And Lorelai was adorable in her outfit, although the headband got ditched pretty quickly and as soon as we got home, I changed her into a onesie and leggings. But from what I remember, the most satisfying part of Easter was finally getting to take off that damn dress.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Blurry Nursery Pictures! Huzzah!

It occurs to me that I never really put up pictures of the finished nursery. It also occurs to me that it's time for a new pair of glasses because these pictures aren't exactly very sharp. WOMP WOMP.

The changing table corner

Crib corner

Toy/Book corner

The beginning of the book collection

Toys and board books

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Self Worth and Progress

When I spoke to the lactation consultant in the hospital, I reported excruciating pain when pumping. At the time, my nipples were bruised from Lorelai and I learning how to latch properly, and she suggested I go from the 24 mm flanges to the 27. They did feel a bit better, and so I used them. I thought because I was rubbing the side with my right nipple that I needed a bigger flange. It turns out that the 27 were just too big and it wasn't my nipples rubbing the edge, but my areola being sucked into the flange. We got a pair of 30mm, and I've been using a 27 on the left side, but 30 on the right. And pumping has been painful, and I'm fairly certain that I'm still pulling areola in. 

Today on a whim, I tried the 24 again, and I got more milk than I have been getting on my first pump of the day. I got 20ml, wheras yesterday's first pump for the day was only 7ml. Yesterday through the entire day, I pumped 1 ounce, so I'm looking forward to seeing what happens today. It's less painful, and I didn't get a debilitating migraine when I pumped. I could be better hydrated, or it could have been that the headaches were induced by stress or a subneural connection with the pain I was feeling when pumping. 

Either way, not dealing with migraines every few hours has done wonders for the way I feel today. I was starting to break down last night, feeling incredibly depressed. The fact of the matter is that my sense of self worth is intrinsically tied to my progress with the pump and my supply of breastmilk. I have a lifetime of my body not responding correctly. From my childhood when I learned very early that I was lesser because I was fat, to my young adulthood when my painful response to sex made me feel even more broken, to the events of my pregnancy and induction, my body lets me down a lot. I've never wanted anything as desperately as I want to be able to nourish my child. I couldn't do it while she was in the womb, which is why she was brought out early. 

I don't think that Matt understands how detrimental this struggle has been to my mood and ability to stay afloat. I don't think he understands how awful I feel as a person. I'm not proud of the feelings that I've been having over the last few days. 

I'm feeling hopeful with the little progress I've seen with the 24mm flanges, and I'm hoping that by the end of the day, I'll have made 2 ounces. I'm upping my fenugreek dosage to 3600mg from 2400. Tonight we're going to the guys' house and I'll take my pump with me and borrow a bathroom or empty bedroom to pump in, and hopefully we will have good news by the end of the day.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


I've been off my antidepressants for about a week now, I think. It's hard to tell because time moves so strangely these days. Take today, for instance. It feels like I've only been awake for a few hours, but the day is gone. I feel like I've gotten nothing done, no writing, no cleaning, nothing. Yet, my body keeps telling me that I'm overdoing things. The postpartum lochia keeps coming back, strong and bright, the pains are getting stronger, untouched by my prescription of high-dose Advil. I'm exhausted, and I'm feeling defeated.

It doesn't have anything to do with Lorelai, who is brilliant and who I am madly in love with. She's really quite perfect, even when she insists on staying awake all night. She's everything a 3 week old baby should be, which can be challenging sometimes but I am wonderfully happy with the challenges she brings.

How could I not be, watching her make faces into the mirror during Tummy Time, or at the lens of my camera?

She brings a dimension of joy to my days, however short they seem to be. No, the problem is absolutely not her, but me.

I'm having a hard time piecing together if these feelings stem from my system clearing out from the Prozac or if I could be being hit with postpartum depression, or if what I'm feeling is just a truthful look at myself as a new mother. I can't even really feel comfortable calling myself a mother. I don't feel like a mom. I mean, I have a kid, and I adore her and love her with all my heart, but calling myself "mom" just feels too strange. I hope that's common and my brain just needs a little time to normalize the new status.

The hardest thing is my breastmilk issues. I'm pumping as often as I can, which I feel isn't as often as I should be, I'm taking fenugreek, I'm trying to drink as much water as I can, eating oatmeal, but it all seems like it's for nothing. I don't know if it's because I did better at pumping more often today, but it felt like I was getting less and less with each pumping session. All in all, I got about an ounce and a half today. Yeah, it's an ounce and a half more than she'd get if I'd just given up, and I know that every little bit helps, but it's so frustrating. I can't just blame it on my milk not coming in anymore. It's very obviously milk, and not colostrum.

Oh boy oh boy, breaking news. Amanda's body still doesn't work right. Stop the presses, or not. I don't know why I expected anything differently. And it's harder still to keep the will to pump often up when I get awful migraines every time I pump or nurse. Really, every time I pump. She's stopped latching to nurse, just growing frustrated that my breasts aren't as easy to drink from as the bottle.

I could just really use something going right with me, but it never does. The only good thing to ever come from me is my daughter, and even then my body nearly killed her in it's incompetence to nourish her in the womb. I wish I could take it as a triumph that she's healthy and happy right now, but really I think it's just because she's strong, and amazing, and has in her all the potential to shake the world.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Kraken

The Kraken sleeps for now. She's still a pretty sleepy little thing, but wakes to feed. Ha ha. Yesterday's pediatrician appointment put her weight at 5lbs, 9 ounces. The doctor was pleased to see she'd put on 9 ounces in a week.

One thing that's been coming up, hesitantly, as if the doctors don't want to put it out there, as if once it's said it can never be taken back, is a diagnosis of Failure to Thrive. I heard it first in the NICU, and once at the pediatrician's office. With the great weight gain of the last week, it's slipped back down into the darkness, and hopefully won't resurface. We don't go back until the 10th, for her 1 month check up.

For now my wee beastie will sleep and eat, and hopefully the darker days are behind us for good.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cloth diapering

We're doing cloth diapers, and they make me not really lament too much the fact that the clothes that we have for her are larger. For instance, it makes it to where the butt of the clothes can fit around the cloth diapers, which are a little bulky on her frame. The newborn size prefolds aren't so bad, but the infant ones are kind of hilarious.

I love how she looks like a frog person when she's wearing just a cloth diaper.

We have a follow up for her weight with the pediatrician tomorrow. Last week she was just back at her birth weight of 5 pounds, so I'm hoping for some good growth this week.

Although I do have to say that her face alone looks like she's gaining more weight. Let's go, rolly poly baby!

Monday, March 18, 2013

2 weeks

Time flies when your sleep schedule looks like the pieces of a dish shattered across a kitchen floor. A few hours here and there, 10 minute micro-naps scattered randomly around, and one large piece that seems out of place among the smaller detritus. It works, though, and I'm feeling more and more human as the days go on. I do have a feeling that I might be more emotionally checked-out than I feel, from the way Jennifer and Matt keep asking me if anything's wrong. Ha ha.

Things are good. The kiddo is still doing well, eating lots and having more moments of non-food-driven alertness. I have my best friend here for another week. My baby sister is getting into town tonight for a few days, and there's a strong possibility that my c-section incision is infected. Oh wait, that last one doesn't belong on the good list. Let's just focus on the other things.

Huzzah Jennifer! It's been about seven years since I've seen my best friend in the flesh, and the last five days that she's been here have been fantastic. I loved that as soon as she got here, it was like old times again. I was able to comfortably just spend time with her, and we've had a lazy weekend just watching movies and playing games while we relaxed on my couch. I'm not sure I'll be able to let her go in another week! I guess I have to; keeping her from her husband just seems cruel.

Added to the wonderfulness of having Jen here, the last two weeks have shown me something really fantastic: how amazing my husband is.

Between work and school, he hasn't been able to be home as much as he'd like - or as much as I'd like for that matter. But when he is home, he's constantly spending time with Lorelai, cuddling her and talking to her. He reads to her, sings to her, and pitches in with feeding and diaper changes.

It was adorable when he asked me, tentativey and with hope, "Can I wear her?" referring to the mei tai carrier we got from Babyhawk.

I kind of can't help but fall even more in love with him seeing how caring of a father he is to our little girl. I always knew this about him - when we met, he was about to become a father for the first time as his ex was pregnant. Watching the pain he went through with that relationship as he got to see his daughter less and less was awful for me, and I know completely traumatizing for him. The other day before work he caught me in the hallway and gave me a hug, kissing my forehead before saying "Thank you." "For what?" I asked, confused.

"I know you'll never keep her from me."

And of course I won't. Our situation is worlds apart from his last relationship. We're a family, and I don't think that even if the future holds terrible things and we end up divorcing, I don't see a future in which he won't be there for Lorelai. Maybe it's because I know what it's like to have a family broken and one parent just disappear for a few years. Maybe it's just because I can't imagine Lorelai's life without her father, seeing the way he loves her and she's so comfortable in his arms the last two weeks. Either way, those two are inseparable. She already adores the attention she receives from her Dad, and he is already tied around her impossibly tiny little fingers.

I don't think I'd have it any other way. ♥

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Epic Failings

This is a picture I took last week after I got Lorelai dressed for her second pediatrician appointment. We went in, and found that our 24 hours of supplementing formula had been successful and she'd gained a few ounces. We also found that her temperature was low - 94.7 and tried to warm her up. She was wearing her clothes, a hoodie, two blankets, and against my body with my own hoodie wrapped around both of us. A space heater was placed in the room. The highest her temperature got was 96.1 after two hours of this. We were sent to the pediatric E.R. for hypothermia.

There was talk of an infection. They put her on monitors and her vitals kept dipping. We spent 4 days in the NICU. After a couple of days on the warmer, her temperature came up and she was able to maintain it. After working hard to get her to eat more, her jaundice levels were dropping, she was gaining strength and as her labs were coming back negative for infection, we started watching her intake, output, and weight gain for signs that she was ready to come home. We just came home today.

The doctor in the NICU said that she'd been treated as a term baby in post-partum and she really should have been considered premature as she'd just been 37 weeks, and growth restricted. We were released perhaps too soon, and she hadn't been ready for life at home.

I feel very strongly like it's my fault. After I had her, I pushed for us to go home that day, and that morning before Matt had to go to work. If I'd relaxed and spent one more day in the hospital, signs that she was deteriorating slowly might have been picked up, and we could have avoided this. While we caught things early enough to get to the hospital before the situation got really dangerous, it's still difficult to see your baby sick, suffering, hooked up to machines and wires. And in the back of my mind, I know that I caused that with my impatience.

Not even a week in, and I'd already failed her. I've been failing her since conception. My body didn't give her enough nourishment, wouldn't release her to labor, still won't make enough milk to feed her. I'm doing the best I can, but it doesn't seem to be quite enough.

 She looks better, and she's eating fantastically. But I can't help but feel that she deserves better, much better than I will ever be able to give her.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


I planned to breastfeed, but then again I planned a lot of things last week. I lost control over the induction, the birth, the everything having to do with my body, but for some reason I thought I'd have no problem with the whole breastfeeding thing.

 At the hospital, it looked like I was right. I was making colostrum, and despite my nipple tenderness that keeps my boobs a no-play zone during sex, I was able to handle Lorelai latching and feeding without too much discomfort. Despite being early and small, she has a very strong suck, she was latching well, and by the diapers she was producing, we were doing well.

And then we got home, and it all just fell apart. Honestly, the begi9nning of the end started in the hospital. The night after her hepatitis vaccine, Lorelai started nursing for less time. We had a couple of good nursing sessions our last day in the hospital, but it seemed that she was spending more and more time between sessions, and becoming more prone to nursing herself in very short sessions in order to facilitate sleep. We've only had one good nursing session here at home, and I've been seriously anxious and worried about dehydration and malnutrition. She's had wet diapers since we've been home, and one good stool, but not as much as I'd like to see. No more than her first two days, when she should be doing more. So today we had the first pediatrician visit, and I planned on bringing this up.

Lorelai woke me at 4, and we snuggled on the couch while I was amazed at how gorgeous she is.

We cuddled and played and I offered the breast, but each time it would upset her. She wanted no part of nursing, no matter what holds I tried. I tried hand-expressing colostrum to coat the tips of my nipples and try and entice her to latch with a taste, but it was no go. The inside of her mouth felt dry, her lips were more cracked than they had been the night before, and each unsuccessful attempt made her more and more angry at me. By the time we needed to get ready for her doctor's visit, we were both crying and frustrated on the couch.

At the visit we found she's fallen to 4lbs, 6oz. She appears to be growing more yellow, making me wonder if her jaundice levels are increasing because she's not eating enough to help break down her bilirubin levels from birth. The pediatrician (who is phenomenal, by the way!) took a heel stick to check her bili levels and talked with me about supplementing formula. She mentioned that Lorelai's frustration with nursing could be stemming from her getting tired, and working for the colostrum isn't helping the fatigue levels.

Here's the plan. I'll still offer the breast. If she refuses to nurse or if I don't feel like she is getting enough, I will be giving her formula, and pumping in between nursing sessions/when nursing gets refused to help bring my milk in and build my supply. When my milk has come in strong, we'll start working on weaning her from formula to breastmilk.

I worry a little about nipple confusion and what will happen if she just stops taking the breast. However, I am open to pumping and feeding breastmilk from a bottle if that's what it comes down to. My main concern is that she keeps her strength up so she can focus on growing. We didn't go through all the craziness and pain of this past week of taking her early because of non-growth just for her growth to stall further outside of the womb. *shakes fist*

Those clothes engulfing her? All newborn size. With a little luck and some supplementation, she'll soon fit them the way she should.
And hopefully be a bit less yellow.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Recovery: Part One

The hospital stay of my recovery has been nice, I must say. The first day post-section I was on narcotics with a button that would give me a dose on demand, complete with a computer to keep me from overdosing. How lovely. The nurses who would come to check on me always remarked how little I'd been pressing my button, even though I felt like I was using it before doing anything, ha ha. Once the epidural came out, and they downgraded my pain medication, things got harder, as I knew they would.

First, let's take inventory of my body after the C-section. My back is completely bruised up from the failed epidural attempts, from my hips down are swollen nearly beyond recognition, and I have an incision from major abdominal surgery across my lower stomach (just under the fat fold, as one doctor so kindly reminded me).

I hobble more than I walk, which each day is a little more. The swelling is slowly getting better, although I can't stand straight yet which I think is just from the bruising around my spine. My back aches so terribly when I stand for a while. However, I am walking and staying active, which I think will help. The swelling and stiffness has gone down enough that I can wipe my own ass, a setback that made the first two days post-surgery awkward and only affirmed how much Matt really loves me.

By the time Jennifer gets here next week I should be able to move around without much problems. My medical restrictions: No lifting anything over 10 lbs (good thing my baby is half that) and no driving for 3 weeks.

I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight, but we'll see if I'll be able to get out of it in the morning, ha ha. A lot of pain, a lot of fear over an infection in my incision site... but was she worth it?
Oh lord, yes she was.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Lorelai's Birth Story

While I've made a couple of posts since we came to the hospital, I'm going to recap for those who just come to this blog entry for the first time.

On Friday morning, we had an ultrasound scheduled at 8:40 am to check on Lorelai's weight. I knew that if she'd fallen under the 10th percentile of weight for her age, then my induction would be scheduled sooner rather than later. However, I was pretty confident that she would be fine, maybe even gaining some on her previous estimate of being in the 14th percentile. When we got in, she was measuring an estimated 5lbs, 6 oz, which put her under that 10th percentile. The ultrasound tech, tight lipped and worried, went to talk to the doctor. Dr. Lanni came in and took a look at the cord and while it looked like the flow was good, there was serious talk about how her lack of growth could mean that she wasn't getting what she needed in the womb.

Dr. Lanni asked, "How do you feel about having this baby today?" And for some reason I was calm about it. Calm, but terrified all at once. As Matt and I walked to Labor and Delivery, it was sinking in more and more. I was shaking and excited as we got there. They were really busy, so I was put in an exam room to wait while a room was readied for us. Several hours later, I was in one of the labor rooms, with an IV and a doctor talking about my options for ripening my cervix. A cervical check showed that I was tightly closed and not very soft. We went with Misoprostil - two doses over the course of the day. The next morning when my cervix was soft, the doctor inserted a Foley bulb.

The procedure was awful, mostly due to my issues with vaginismus. Despite being sedated for cervical checks with IV pain relief, they were difficult at best. I was put on Pitocin that was steadily increased to 20ml/h and 6 hours later, a rough check revealed that I wasn't dilating. They gave it another 6 hours, saying that they didn't like to keep the Foley in past 12 hours. When that 12 hour mark passed, it was removed and I was at a 3. The contractions I felt on the high dose of Pit plus the Foley bulb were incredibly intense. I was sure that there was progress being made. They increased my pitocin from 20 to 30, the highest dose that one of my nurses had ever seen.

24 hours later, and there was no change. I was still at 3 centimeters dilated, with Lorelai floating at -4 station. I was also completely miserable. We'd tried walking, showering, squatting, everything in our power. Finally, the doctors made the decision to break my water on Sunday. I wasn't able to tolerate the internal needed to get to my sac of waters so I decided to opt for the epidural.

That's when we found out that I have pretty bad scoliosis. Not only is my spine curved from side to side, it's also rotated. The anesthiologist tried for 20 minutes to place the epidural and kept hitting bone. When he finally got it placed, it didn't do anything. I had zero pain relief from it, but one hell of a bruised back. My water breaking was excrutiating. I was completely miserable. Still I attempted to bring her down. Now that I had the epidural, I was confined to bed, even though it wasn't affecting me at all. I squatted in bed and did what I could to let gravity and movement bring her down. Sunday night we checked and absolutely no progress. Still -4 station, 3 centimeters dilated, 60% effaced.

A C-section got brought up and honestly, I was so ready to just be done. The weekend had broken me, completely obliterated me. However, I didn't feel pushed into it. One thing I can say for MCV is that they have the lowest C-section rates in the state and they really did try everything to get me to go into labor on my own before we went into surgery. When we went in there, the plan was general anesthesia because the epidural wouldn't work. However, the night anesthesiologist decided to take another look at my spine and go for a spinal block. It was easy and painless. He found a place that not only took a block, but also had room for an epidural. I was able to stay awake through the procedure and also have Matt there holding my hand.

And then, an hour later I was holding my little girl while we were being wheeled back to the room. I never thought that losing out on the natural birth I had planned and needing a C-section (what I desperately wanted to avoid) would have been so positive. From the moment I entered that emergency room, everything was positive and happy. It's still positive and happy. It was C-section done right.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Long waits

I've been at the hospital for two days now and it feels like we're not making much progress. In fact, it feels like I'm not making any at all. Yesterday I had a Foley bulb in my cervix after the Misoprostil softened things up and the contractions were excruciating with that. After 12 hours with the bulb in, it hadn't fallen out, and they needed to deflate it to remove it. tocThe good news is that removing it brought my mucus plug out. I got some pain medication, but the cervical check didn't go well enough for them to see how much progress I had made. I went to sleep, and woke up to a check that revealed that I was dilated 3 centimeters.

This morning I went walking for a while until my back was aching so badly I couldn't anymore. Now I'm just waiting. Waiting for the doctor to check me, waiting for Lorelai to get here. The nurses all seem to feel that she'll come today but I'm not so sure. All I know is that I'm exhausted and this baby is perfectly happy to stay where she is.

Friday, March 1, 2013

In like a lion...

Cheers from labor and delivery! We went in to our measurement ultrasound this morning and found out Lorelai is under that 10th percentile now. She's estimating about 5lbs, 6oz and so we're starting the induction process tonight.

So far we're just working on ripening my cervix, no Pitocin just yet. Hopefully sometime in the morning she'll be here!