Friday, August 17, 2007

Letter to Bean and Ramblings

Oh little Bean, you are already 4 weeks old. There are many days when I debate adding an "o" to the end of your pseudonym. Why? Because of the surprising, staccato bursts of sound which issue from both ends of your maturing digestive tract. Your other affectionate nickname is Vladimir, as in Vladimir "Pootin'". Yes, your parents are corny, may as well accept that now! Seriously, though you have got to be the gassiest baby I have ever the great fortune to know. And the sheer volume of solid waste that you manufacture on a daily basis? Impressive, my friend, especially for a breast fed baby. There is never any doubt of when you need to be changed, because we can hear you fill your diaper from across the room! I can't believe that I used to fret about your sisters weekly movements, only now to fret that there is nary a diaper change that you aren't at least a little dirty. You are the sweetest little man, though, so laid back. Every time you fuss, there is a solution. You can even fall asleep all on your own! This amazes me. You are also so serious, it takes a lot to get you to crack a smile; however, you are very chatty, cooing and squeaking all day long. I am treasuring this ever dwindling time with you, cuddling you when you sleep on my chest. Too soon you'll be "all grown-up," just like your big sister.

It's been a trying week in Whoo-ville. Last Friday I was practically in tears I felt so horrible, but I had no idea why...until I spiked a temp. Then the vague aching in my left breast took on a more significant role than an after-effect of overaggressive pumping. I had the fantastic luck of getting a rip-roaring case of mastitis. Fortunately for me, I could call in my own antibiotics. Unfortunately, I got really sick really fast. At one point my temp was up to 104.7, and Mr. Whoo was on the brink of forcibly carting me to the ER (I'd really have to be dying to go to the ER!) I knew I was on the correct meds, but when I was on my 24th hour of spiking temps, I must admit I had visions of MRSA dancing in my head. I defervesced sometime between Saturday and Sunday, and I'm still taking antibiotics. The illness took a lot out of me, and I was feeling pretty wiped out until yesterday, when the next great thing happened, we lost power.

Big deal, right? The loss of power in our particular section of the neighborhood occurs approximately every 15 days, and is out for 8-10 hours at a time. The frustrating part is that it is only our street. The other houses in our neighborhood, including the street over never lose power, so this puts us low on the priority list to have power restored. The first winter snowstorm that we had when we moved in resulted in power loss for 3-4 *days*, forcing us to move ourselves and (our then 18 month old) CindyLou into a hotel. When your power is out this long, you are forced to throw hundreds of dollars of food away, and spend your nights either sweltering or freezing cold, oh, and no cooking because the stove is electric as well. Throw in a 3 year old and a newborn and 10 hours of power loss in the middle of the night is just not ideal. We sweat our way through the night, CindyLou came into our bed because her nightlight was out, and Bean wouldn't nurse in the total dark, so we had a flashlight sitting upright on the bedside table, which woke up CindyLou, Bean was too hot to sleep on me, but wouldn't sleep in his bed, either. Mr. Whoo and CindyLou eventually moved to her room and Bean and I stripped the covers from the bed and rested, albeit fitfully, throughout the night. The following morning, poor Mr. Whoo had to go to work. I kept CindyLou home with me, which may have been insane, now that I look sleep and keeping and active toddler entertained all day? Not the wisest of moves.

My hat is off to all of you stay at home mothers out there, especially those with multiple children. It was exhausting trying to keep up with all of the demands of both children. At one point, CindyLou decided that she wanted corn for lunch. Once I was able to detach Bean from the breast long enough to fix her lunch, I complied (I thought) with her request, and opened a can of corn. Oh no, it was meltdown time! You see, she wanted corn in a *line* (ie. corn on the cob) not a bowl! By the time I had her calmed down and eating the much maligned bowl of corn, the Bean had audibly filled his diaper, then CindyLou needed to go to the potty, then Bean needed to on and so forth. Mr. Whoo came home to CindyLou planted firmly in front of her portable DVD player with a movie, the house in utter disarray, and me catatonic on the couch with Bean sleeping on my lap. Mother of the year, I am not. That day did cement in my mind that I do not have what it takes (patience, aplomb, creativity, a will of iron, etc.) to stay home with kids. I think they would be miserable and I would be certifiable. This is a small thing to hold onto as my re-entry into the work fray draws ever closer. *sigh* I have more to post on that at a later date.

I believe that I have rambled long enough for now, my poor sleep deprived brain doesn't know when to stop the literary diarrhea. Maybe it is related to lack of adult interactions during the day? I'll spare you more painful minutiae for today. Thanks for all of your comments, I am reading and posting them when I can, and I appreciate everyone's advice!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

3 Weeks Old and Searching for a Routine

Oh, who am I kidding? We definitely have a routine, it just isn't the most productive routine. My life is incredibly boring right now, a far cry from my usual life, so if you snooze easily you may want to skip this post. My days since all the company left have shaken out something like this:

7am - 8am CindyLou barges into the room, wakes me if I'm sleeping, ignores me if I'm not, and searches immediately for Mr. Whoo. Mr. Whoo and CindyLou get ready for work and school as per as normal routine as they can manage. (Yes, she is still in school, especially this week while I am adjusting to being alone with the Bean), we are trying to keep her life as normal as possible and not to break routine.) It goes without saying that sometime during this period we are nursing, changing diapers, etc.

8am-10am - Variably spent napping, nursing, and lazing about in bed with the Bean. We have mastered side-lying nursing, which I highly recommend for maximum sleep. When I'm not sleeping, I am composing the day's to-do list in my mind. You see, I *have* to be productive if I'm staying home.

10am-1pm - The Bean's usual morning "awake" period. I have managed to shower (once) during this time and at the very least am able to attend to some basic self-care like the brushing of teeth, changing of clothes, using the bathroom, and even, sometimes, eating! I can usually entertain the Bean with the bouncy seat or swing while I attend to basic personal needs, and sometimes I am even able to get some chores done. It is this time of day that I am usually contemplating on writing/typing out a to do list. It is day 4 of this not happening yet. Nursing happens toward the end of this time period to put the Bean into a "milk coma."

1pm- 3pm - The Bean is sleeping. I'm finding it very hard to put him down when he sleeps because he is oh so very snuggly and sweet. I usually will compromise and hold him for a bit before putting him down and working on the day's to-dos and, more likely, surfing the internet.

3pm-5pm - I eat my second lunch because I am hungry *all* of the time. This is probably why my weight loss has plateaued this week. Then there is dinner planning, chores, nursing, and napping (both Bean and myself). Did I mention that I am a rotten housewife?

5pm-8pm - Mr. Whoo and CindyLou come home. We have dinner, a little play time, CindyLou has her bath, if I haven't showered, I get a shower, and CindyLou goes to bed. Mr. Whoo gets some Bean time, and Bean sometimes will have a little fussy period at this time.

8pm- 11pm - It is nurse-a-thon time. The Bean is at the breast every hour, cluster feeding like crazy, drifting into light sleep, awaking and nursing again. Once he is sated, we both tend to pass out on the couch until Mr. Whoo rousts us up to go to bed.

11pm - 2am - My blissful, longest sleep period of the day.

2am - Nursing, diaper changing, dozing, watching Disco.very Health, TLC, Brav.o, and WE. I even saw my own OB on one of the "Special Delivery" shows on Discovery Health. Awesome.

4am- Nursing, diaper changing, dozing, watching only Disco.very Health or one of the news channels because all of the rest of the cable channels turn to infomercials after 3 am.

*Aside* Let me just say that DH and TLC need some more commercial sponsors, or at the very least, they need to run different commercials for the same shows. Some of their commercials are burned into my subconscious - The Last Days of Diana (where they have made some kind of dirge out of "Modern Love." Mightily depressing.) and Diagnosis X (where there is an equally depressing snippet of song playing over and over in my head.) I am also convinced that the lead singer from Cake is the vocalist for the Coc.oa "cereal straws" jingle. That's just *sad* y'all.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Why yes, I *am* slowly losing my mind, why do you ask? I am having a hard time putting the baby down to sleep 1) because he doesn't sleep very well on his back 2) he sleeps great on his tummy, but I can't sleep worrying about SIDS 3) the kiddo is a very noisy breather, squeaking, squawking, and snoring (I have made the totally non-professional diagnosis of laryngomalacia) making me think that he is awake when he is not, and 4) selfishness, he's only going to be this little and cuddly once. This results in me sitting semi-reclined in bed, propped up on pillows, with Bean sleeping on my chest.

Yes, I *know* this isn't the best arrangement. Actually, I slept with CindyLou this way for the first 6 weeks of her life due to her horrible reflux, but we slept out on the couch, not in the bed. I am attempting to get the Bean to sleep on his back during his daytime naps in preparation of trying to get him down at night. It's sad that I get better sleep with him on me than in his own bed.

I'm trying desperately not to think that my maternity leave is just about half over (sob!) because right now I'm just not ready to go back to that chaos. I am seriously considering cutting my schedule as much as I can and cutting back deliveries for a while until we adjust to the two child family. There is nothing I can do about the call, unfortunately. Also looming on the horizon is the Oral Boards. Argh. I don't even want to think about this. Thank you all for your congratulations and compliments on the Bean. You guys are the best, and I promise that I will get back to more witty, interesting posts as I become more witty and interesting. I am starting to think this is directly proportional to the amount of continuous sleep that I get. Back to the laundry for now....

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Delivery (Long and unnecessarily descriptive...consider yourself warned!)

Eeek. Sorry guys, for leaving you hanging for so long. I fully intended to post this post later the same day, but life got in the way. I guess the picture kind of gives away the ending, huh?
Ok, so where were we? Oh yes, it turned out to be a very good thing that I had packed my bag prior to my office visit. I, however, was fully convinced that since I had the foresight to pack the bag, it would not be needed, as is often the case in my life. My mom and I stopped for lunch at the Oliv.e Gard.en, a rare treat for me as the restaurant is in UniversityCity, about 40 minutes north of MyTown. Then it was on to the office where I had the great news of gaining 5 pounds (and I only had soup and salad at the restaurant!) in the past 4 days, a BP of 150/90, and trace protein in the urine. On recheck the BP went back down to 130/72, and there was no question that I had mild preeclampsia and needed to deliver, there was merely the question of when to do it. I had an ultrasound which showed good fluid, an estimated fetal weight of 8 pounds 10 ounces, and a very, ahem, mature looking placenta. My cervix had actually become more favorable changing from closed/thick/high to 2cm/50%/ -2 station. My OB was on call on Friday 7/20 and I liked the date of 7/20/07, so we "set the date." Then it was time for my NST, where we found that the Bean had other ideas. He was having spontaneous, repetitive variable decelerations in his heart rate, and I thought my heart would stop every time his slowed down, because I wasn't even having contractions yet. Sometimes it sucks to know too much. In between the variables, his heart rate was reactive with fantastic variability, and he was moving all over the place. It was apparent that the Bean had designs on a different birthday other than the one that I had planned. The decels were the last straw, arrangements were made for my induction to begin immediately...and I was scared.

Mr. Whoo went to pick up CindyLou at daycare and leave her with SuperNurse, and also to go home to pack a bag for himself. My mother stayed with me while I got checked into Labor and Delivery. It took some time to get into the room and to be assessed by my nurse because the unit, I could tell, was extraordinarily busy. It was about 6 pm before the pitocin was started. My admission labs, apparently, were starting to bump, as well, and somehow I was able to talk my OB out of magnesium as long as my pressures were stable and I was asymptomatic. They placed me on high dose pitocin, and to be perfectly honest, I didn't feel a thing. I was contracting every 2 minutes, and I didn't feel them at all. It was bizarre. His heart rate remained fairly stable. He did have occasional variables that I could hear, but the monitor was in the cabinet next to my bed, so I could not easily see it (frustrating, but probably by design!) Once the nurse and all of the residents came running into the room together, which is never a good sign, and he was having late decelerations for a period of time. I was a measly 3 cm dilated. The possibility of C-section was seriously discussed, but luckily kiddo decided to straighten up and behave himself with reposition and oxygen.

Around midnight the contractions were starting to not only register but hurt like a mother. My mantra for this delivery was that I had wanted the epidural placed before my membranes ruptured, because with CindyLou they ruptured when I was only fingertip dilated and man, did contractions hurt worse after that happened. I requested the epidural shortly after midnight, but, since my bloodwork was "borderline" I needed an updated platelet count prior to anesthesia blessing me with their presence. Once that was drawn, I knew I wouldn't be able to hold it long enough to have the foley placed, so I wagged myself and my IV to the bathroom. Once I used the bathroom, I couldn't help but think about how my water broke in the bathroom with CindyLou, all over the slippers I was currently wearing. I'm not sure how that visualization affected my body, but as I got ready to leave the bathroom a contraction hit. I held onto the IV pole to breathe and sway through that contraction when, with a pop and a gush, my membranes ruptured all over my slippers...again. "Um, guys?" I called from the bathroom, "My water just broke." The nurses laughed at my puddles as I schlepped back to the bed. Dammit if the contractions didn't start hurting worse, just as I had feared. I think I waited another 30-45 minutes for anesthesia, and even though the resident didn't have the warmest or fuzziest bedside manner, I was ecstatic to see her. I warned her that in my previous delivery, the anesthesiologists had a very difficult time placing my epidural and had mentioned something about small spaces between my vertebrae. She totally blew me off and proceeded to speak to me as though I were mentally deficient. Ok, whatever. She was soon singing a different tune once she felt my intravertebral spaces. She struggled for another 20-30 minutes, grudgingly admitted that I *did* have small spaces, and, mercifully, successfully started the epidural. As unpleasant as her personality may have been, her epidural worked like a dream, and for that, I was grateful.

It was beyond strange to touch the bottom half of your body and for it to not feel like your own. The pain from the contractions was totally gone, but I still had a bit of "pins and needles" feeling at the periphery, almost like my body was lying on a flat board and I could only feel part of it. My OB came in around 1:30 am, placed an IUPC and delivered the utterly depressing news that I was 4cm/100% effaced/0 station. I had been hopeful that I'd progressed farther in proportion to the pain I was feeling. It turns out I'm just a big puss. I tried to settle in for a few hours of sleep, and made the mistake of pressing my bolus button. Immediately I knew something was wrong because the bolus went on for-ever. The medicine just kept going and going. I rang for the nurse to let her know, but by the time she made it to the room, the bolus was in...too late to do anything. Within 5 minutes my pressure was 90/50, I was shaking uncontrollably, and kiddo's heart rate took a dive. What followed was kind of a blur, because I felt seriously out of it, but I know I got ephedrine, 3 liters of fluid, oxygen, and flipped side to side to side. At last the pressure stabilized, and I was then too scared to try to sleep. I positioned myself so that I could see the monitor and waited.

Around 4 am I started to feel the tiniest bit of pressure, but nothing overwhelming, so I continued chatting with Mr. Whoo. Close to 5 am I was really not feeling any more pressure than I had an hour ago, but I knew shift change was coming up and I was curious to know how much progress I had made. The resident came in to check and informed us that the baby was about to fall out (!!!!) Whoa! I was expecting 7 or 8 at the pace I had maintained previously. Since I wasn't feeling an overwhelming urge to push, they took a bit of time to get the table (and later I found out they had a 33 weeker moving back to the OR to deliver, as well) and get organized. My OB was there, but I had consented that the intern could deliver if he was close by and did any sewing/operative delivery that needed to be done. (Seriously, it was mid-July, people!) I think that I pushed for 3 contractions, about 10 minutes, and baby Bean Whoo came into the world at 5:33 am on July 19th. He weighed 7#4 oz. and was 19 inches long (the exact same measurements as his sister, so much for late trimester ultrasound measurements!) and had a double nuchal cord to account for most of his misbehavior. Oh, and he is gorgeous and perfect (of course!) After delivery my blood pressure improved significantly, and I have already lost all of my pregnancy weight. Unfortunately I have 40 extra pounds to go, but I am hoping that breastfeeding will give me a head start on that.

Bean is now 2 weeks and 3 days old. He is a sweet boy, very relaxed and laid back. He pretty much eats, sleeps, and soils diapers. He also is having more alert periods where he contemplates the world seriously and quietly. He rarely fusses, which is so different from CindyLou, who was (in comparison) extremely high maintenance. I'm not getting more than 2-3 hours of sleep at a stretch thanks to breastfeeding, but it seems easier this time around. We shall see as time goes on. Today we just said goodbye to the last of the company/help for a few weeks, so I'll see how well I will fare on my own. CindyLou loves her baby brother and seems to be adjusting very well. I find that my patience with her is shorter than it should be, and I'm trying not to be so impatient with her. I want to thank you all for checking in on us and for all of your great support and comments! I will do my best to update when possible, but forgive me if I don't respond to comments individually for a while. It is almost time to open the dairy bar for lunch, so have a great Sunday and I'll check in soon!