Sunday, January 31, 2010

Miss Fussy McFusserson

According to this popular child-rearing tome, the Chicklette is scheduled to reach her peak of fussiness this coming Wednesday, i.e. when she turns six weeks old. And let me tell you, Little Miss Fussy McFusserson has certainly been ramping up with a vengeance.

She does well in the morning, and for most of the day (she's started smiling and interacting with the other babies at mom's group, which is So Effing Cute), but starting at around 3:00 we start the long descent into the City of Fussbudgetton. The top of her little head turns red, and then you know you have about 3.7 seconds until you are in for it.

And the eating -- oh, the eating. Apparently there's some growth spurtage going on in Fussbudgetton, because my boobs cannot churn out the goods quickly enough. Well, they actually can, which is lucky I guess, but holy cow. Literally.

So, anyway. You can imagine that we have been in major "let's try and soothe the baby" mode. Here are some things I've learned do NOT soothe the baby:

--Walking around in the Baby Bjorn. The baby starts to scream the second she SEES the Baby Bjorn, much less get strapped into it.
--A pacifier. Unless it's five minutes later, when the pacifier becomes the best thing EVER.
--Dancing around with the baby, and making her shake her hands in the ay-a like she's a big play-a. Although this greatly amuses me, which cannot be underestimated at 3 in the morning.
--The Food Network. Which I don't get, because doesn't the Food Network soothe everyone?!?

I know this phase will end -- at least everyone tells me this phase will end -- but right now it feels like it will never end. Please please tell me it ends.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Are they trying to tell me something?

On a somewhat random note, I find it amusing that the spam in my Yahoo account has morphed from "Last Chance -- 50% off Maternity styles at Old Navy!" to "Join Weight Watchers with no activation fee!"

Are they trying to tell me something? Like maybe it's time to start thinking about switching back from my maternity jeans to something with a waistband?

For the record, the weight is coming off -- almost 25 pounds so far (only 20 or so to go to get back to my pre-IVF weight -- yikes). But the thought of fitting in a Weight Watchers meeting or summoning up the mental energy to count points is pretty hilarious.

I guess my "pull something random out of the freezer and wash it down with a Chips Ahoy cookie" diet will have to do for now....

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I'm always hesitant to post when something goes well, or when it seems like we've made some sort of breakthrough/discovery with one of our baby issues, because it seems inevitable that the universe will construe it as bragging and immediately send some other aspect of baby life to shit. But, since I'm sitting here at 5 in the morning killing time until I'm sure the baby's asleep, I guess I'll take my chances.

In addition to the breastfeeding issues, we've also been struggling with sleep. Not so much that the Chicklette doesn't sleep, it's more that she was sleeping at all the wrong times (like, from say 10 in the morning until 6 in the evening) and in all the wrong places (car seat, swingy chair). And not sleeping at the right times (anytime it was dark) or in the right places (her bassinet).

At first we thought it was a day/night reversal thing, which apparently is pretty normal for a person who's spent the first 10 months of their existence in the dark. But then we started thinking (thanks to a smart mommy in one of my 4 mommies groups -- more on that some other time) that maybe she has a touch of reflux, given that she was sleeping comfortably in any sort of contraption that kept her elevated. Maybe the day/night thing was just a coincidence?

So, a couple of nights ago we tried putting her down in her bouncy chair for the first part of the night, and then in the swing after her early morning feeding. And it seems to be working, although the second part of the plan involves me sleeping on the couch in the family room for at least a couple of hours. But, I'll take it. It beats being awake, or trying to put down a fussy baby multiple times into a bassinet.

The best part of all of this (other than that the Chicklette is sleeping more at night and less during the day, and seems generally happier overall) is that I'm able to piece together 7 or so hours of sleep a night (3-4 from 9 or 10 until she wakes up, thanks to the Mr. doing a bottle feeding or two, 2-3 on the couch, and then maybe another 1 or 2 after she eats at 7 or so). It's not perfect, but it sure beats the walking dead routine I was doing last week on 3-4 hours plus little naps during the day.

We talked to our pediatrician on Friday, and he's fine with this plan. Basically, anything you can do in the first couple of months to get the baby to sleep is OK -- it's a little later you have to start worrying about setting bad habits. (Or so he says -- I'll let you know if I'm still falling asleep to the dulcet tones of the Fisher Price My Little Lamb Cradle Swing when she's in high school.)

So, it's still a work in progress. But, as they say, baby steps.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

4 weeks

I just realized, as I sit here in the dark in the family room at 4 in the morning waiting for the Chicklette to fall back asleep after a feeding, that today is 4 weeks and Saturday will be a month. It has been a LONG month.

If you read this blog, you know that, obviously, I really really wanted to have a baby. I'm grateful every day that I was able to. And I love my little pork chop more than anything in the world. BUT.

This newborn thing is hard. Harder than anything I've ever done. And I don't even think I have a difficult baby! But the combination of constant and unpredictable demands, lack of sleep, physical recovery and hormonal fluctuations is pretty brutal.

And the breastfeeding.....oh, the breastfeeding. I've been hesitant to post about it, since I'm still working out how I feel about things and what the plan is going forward, but let's just say it hasn't been smooth sailing. I'm happy to report that she's getting all breastmilk (sometimes from the breast, sometimes from a bottle), and that my nipples are no longer sporting open, bloody/pus-y cracks, but it has been a long and painful process. And while I've had lots of "support," let's just say that "support" doesn't always come in the most helpful forms. And it's a horrible feeling to be so frustrated with your itty bitty baby that the supposedly transcendent experience of providing sustenance for your little one devolves into wincing and cursing.

But anyway. Enough bitching. Things are getting better, slowly but surely, and I'm focusing really hard on enjoying her and the process of her growing up. I realize that there will be good days, usually followed by bad days. I've learned that things ALWAYS look brighter after a good cry (and maybe a glass of red wine and a bath). And that my husband is a rock star, even though sometimes he's so cheerful that it makes me hate him a little bit.

And thus is my state of mind very early in the morning on just a couple hours of sleep. Aren't you glad you stopped by? ;)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Maybe I should go live in Alaska

I have so many things I want to blog about, but just either don't have a long enough stretch of time to do it, or when I do have a chance to sit down I'm too tired to collect my thoughts.

But I did have a breakthrough moment last night that has me kind of excited. I've discovered that if I stop paying attention to whether it's dark or light out, staying up with a hyper-alert Chicklette in the middle of the night doesn't bother me nearly as much. And sleeping during the day doesn't seem nearly as "wasteful." It's made the last 24 hours much more pleasant!

Of course, 6 hours of fragmented sleep still does not equal the 8-ish hours of semi-uninterrupted sleep (in the dark) I was getting before the baby. But hey, I'll take what I can get at this point.

And now, time to put my boobs back in my shirt before Grandma and Grandpa get here.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


I've come to the conclusion that the only thing less sexy than a pregnant me is a post-partum me. I could tell lots of stories about bleeding, trying to poop, and the lovely sweatsuit ensembles that are my daily uniform, but I think I can make my point much more effectively by listing the items currently on my shelf in the bathroom:

--4 different sizes of maxi pads
--Disposable underwear pilfered from the hospital
--Polysporin ointment (for cracked nipples)
--Giant bottle of ibuprofen (also for said nipples)
--Senokot (natural laxative)

And just think, in 4 weeks my doctor will clear me for sex!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Birth Story

I've finally gotten my act together between feedings and changings and loads of laundry and visitors and naps and crying jags and gotten my birth story down. Overall, I have to say I feel very happy and lucky with my birth experience. I didn't really have any expectations going in, but I was definitely starting to get a little scared towards the end about how things were going to go. Hopefully this will be helpful to anyone facing a possible induction.

Prologue: The Final OB Visit

We had our final OB visit on Tuesday, December 22nd -- six days past the chicklette's due date, and also my birthday. We were expecting to talk induction with the doctor, since she had told us she'd be willing to induce at 41 weeks, and would probably encourage it if I was already starting to dilate.

Right before our appointment, my husband took me out for a fabulous Italian lunch. We lingered over our food, talking about how excited and nervous we were for what was coming, and remembering some of our favorite times together pre-baby. It was really special. Thinking about what came next, it seems even more so!

At 2:15, we got to the doctor's office and learned that she was back after being out a week with swine flu. Maybe that's why the chicklette waited? Anyway, she checked my cervix, and I was 1 cm dilated and "moderately" effaced. She asked how we felt about induction, we told her we were ready, and she said that she thought I'd probably head into labor soon so we might as well get her out before Christmas. Her plan was to check us into the hospital that evening, give me some meds to ripen my cervix, and start Pitocin in the morning.

Act 1: Cytotec, A Pain in the Ass

After our appointment, we ran home to get our things together and get ready to check into the hospital. Promptly at 6:00 p.m., we checked in to Labor & Delivery and got settled in our very large and somewhat fancy room.

What I didn't really think about or anticipate was that they'd be hooking me up to an IV and monitors RIGHT AWAY. I mean, I guess I should have known that, but I thought they'd give me the ripening agent and kind of leave me alone for the night. Not so much. I got set up with the IV (which was put in by a 12-year-old nurse who didn't really seem to know what she was doing). Next came the monitors for the baby and for contractions, which were strapped around my waist. Then came the fun part -- my doctor and her oh-so-delicate hands came and shoved a Cytotec pill up my hoo-hoo. She left with a "well, we'll see if that puts you into labor -- otherwise, see you bright and early in the morning!"

My mom came by after that, and hung out for a couple of hours. I started to have some mild contractions, just like I'd had at home for the past week or so. My mom kept watching the contraction monitor and giving me the play-by-play, which was kind of annoying. The nurse came back and gave me an Ambien at about 9:30, and I drifted off to sleep. The Mr. and my mom left -- it was weird being alone, but it made sense for my husband to get some rest in case the next day was a long one.

At 1 a.m. or so, another nurse came in to check my cervix and give another dose of Cytotec. I was still only about 1 cm dilated, which was kind of disappointing. I fell back asleep.

At about 2:00, I woke up with some lower abdominal cramping. When the nurse came by to check on me, I asked her about it and she said it was normal with the Cytotec. I drifted back off to sleep.

Act 2: Active Labor?

Shortly after 3:00, I woke up yet again, this time with some back pain added to the lower abdominal cramping. It felt an awful lot like period cramps, but like 10 times more intense. The pain seemed to come and go every couple of minutes. I checked the contraction monitor, but didn't see anything too interesting. I made a few trips to the bathroom to try to distract myself, but the pains continued to get more intense. I tried breathing through them, which helped somewhat. It took about 6 breaths to get through each pain, which calmed me down. Just 6 breaths. I can do this, right?

By 4:00, I was REALLY uncomfortable. When the nurse came back in to check on me, I reported that the pains were progressing, and asked if there was any way I could be in labor. She looked at the monitor and said "no" -- and kind of laughed at me a little bit. I started to get annoyed. I mean, I'm not a pain champion or anything, but I think I would know when something felt different, right?

By 5:00, I was on my side, gripping the bed rails with each contraction. They were now lasting 10-11 breaths each. Another nurse came in and I asked again about labor, and about any pain relief. She said that since I wasn't dilated, they couldn't start an epidural but could give me a narcotic called Stadol to "take the edge off." I thought about how Pitocin was scheduled to start in a couple of hours, and how it could take a couple more hours after that to dilate to where my doctor would let me have the epidural, and I said "yes, please."

Now, if I had been thinking clearly, I would have made the connection that they hadn't checked my cervix in over 4 hours. But I wasn't thinking clearly. I was getting sick of having to fight with the nurses, though, so I called the Mr. and asked him to come in early. I needed an advocate for pain management, and I was, well, in too much pain to do it for myself.


In the time between when I called the Mr. and when he showed up, I got my Stadol. It made me loopy and delirious and slightly hallucinatory, but did nothing for the pain. By the time the Mr. arrived, I was in full clench with my bed rails, and taking 17 breaths during each contraction. (I had tried some other positions to try and work through the pain, but they just were not cutting it. I don't know if this is a back labor thing, or I'm just a big pussy.)

We decided a shower might help (and plus, I figured this would be my last chance to take one for a while), so he walked me over. I don't remember much, except having to sit on the little shower stool and moan a lot. Oh, and there was some bloody show.

Act 4: Sweet, sweet relief

At some point around 7 or 8, one of the nurses got ahold of my doctor, and the doctor gave the go ahead for an epidural. I don't remember specifially asking for it, but I think either the Mr. or my mom (who had arrived by this point) took care of letting someone know that I really really wanted it. The anesthesiologist arrived and was great -- they sat me up on the bed and rigged me up to this massage chair-type contraption. He talked me through everything, and while the needles didn't tickle, they were nothing compared to the contractions.

It took about 10 minutes, but I started to feel some relief. I was still feeling a LOT of pressure, so the doctor topped me off with a little more juice. And let's just say at this point that I became a Very Happy Person. I mean, really happy.

Oh, and guess what? They checked my cervix right after the epidural, and turns out I had already dilated to 4.5 centimeters. Guess I was in active labor after all. Idiots.

At some point my OB arrived and said -- "let's have this baby by lunchtime!" I think it was at this point that she broke my waters, but the timeline is a little fuzzy. It didn't hurt at all, but it did feel really funny to have all that stuff gushing out. Oh, and they started Pitocin somewhere in here, although I don't remember that at all.

Act 5: Push it real good!

I spent the next hour or two in a very happy place. I dozed a bit, which was nice. My blood pressure apparently dropped, because they gave me some oxygen. But it's all a little hazy at this point. I could feel the baby's head moving lower and lower, but not in an unpleasant way. I was laying on my side, and it sort of felt like I could just lift a leg and she would come out. I'm not sure if this is what they call the "urge to push," but getting her out didn't seem like such a bad idea.

At around 10, someone checked my cervix and pronounced me 9 centimeters. They called my doctor, and we waited. A bunch of people came into the room and started moving things around. When they started switching on the baby warmer, we realized that things were getting seriously moving!

At around 10:30, my doctor arrived, checked me again, and declared that the baby was "right there." They whipped out the crazy full-leg stirrups, rigged me up, and one of the nurses gave me a quick tutorial on pushing. Basically, pull my legs in, lift my head and bring my chin to my chest, hold my breath and push for 10 seconds. We were supposed to try and get 3 pushes in with each contraction.

And then we started! It was pretty neat -- I had the doctor and the nurses down below, and the Mr. right next to my head, holding my hand and quietly urging me on. My mom was still in the room, but back a ways by the window. I could feel the each contraction come, and would alert the doctor and nurses, and they would coach me through the pushes. It was very surreal, because there would be these breaks in between pushes where we would just chat and wait for the next one. We did about 5 rounds of pushes when the doctor said that she could see the head, and that it wouldn't be long.

(By the way, just a note on how great the epidural was -- at one point during the pushing, the doctor somewhat loudly asked one of the nurses to prep sutures for her, because I was going to tear, and I DIDN'T FREAK OUT.)

At this point, I could definitely feel her head, but not in a painful way. It just felt very stretchy. I started one more round of pushing, and then all of the sudden she was out! She cried right away. They wiped her off a little bit, wrapped her up, and put her on my chest. That moment was everything I had hoped it would be -- my husband right next to me, and my beautiful miracle of a baby looking at me. The Mr. cut the cord, and we just enjoyed life for a minute.

Of course, then they snatched her away to weigh her and do her Apgars and all of the other crazy crap they do to newborns. At some point I delivered the placenta, but seriously, I don't even remember. My doctor stitched up my second-degree tear (Public Service Announcement: If your doctor wears glasses, you will see WAY MORE THAN YOU WANT TO if you make eye contact during this process), and I continued to enjoy my epidural.

The Aftermath

We got booted pretty quickly from Labor & Delivery to our much smaller post-partum room. I got to push the little button on the way that plays the lullaby chimes all through the hospital. At some point I started bleeding a LOT, and freaked out a bunch of the nurses, and had to have my bedding and gown changed several times. Yuck. The epidural took a while to wear off, so I ended up with a catheter for 24 hours, which was actually awesome. I mean, when was the last time you got to drink 37 cups of water and not have to leave your bed to go to the bathroom?

Overall, I feel very happy about my delivery. I'm happy that the induction was quick, happy that the epidural worked, happy that I didn't tear horribly, and most of all happy that the chicklette came out in one beautiful piece. I'll post a bit more about recovery later (and our lovely readmission to the hospital about 4 hours after our discharge), but long story short is that two weeks out, I physically feel pretty darn good. Emotionally, I'm a bit of a mess, but I think that's more sleep deprivation than anything else.

Whew!! Sorry for the novel. And for the hazy parts post-epidural. I don't mean to be a drug pusher or anything, but OMIGOD that epidural was the bomb. The post-partum Vicodin wasn't bad either.

And on that note, I shall sign off. Time to go pump and watch some more Gilmore Girls.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Two weeks old!

This past two weeks have been both the shortest and the longest of my life. I can't believe the chicklette is already two weeks old, but each day seems so long and action-packed (seriously -- even though it couldn't be further from the truth!) that if someone told me she was two YEARS old I wouldn't argue.

I'm still working on my birth story -- not that anyone really cares anymore, but I want to get it down so that *I* don't totally forget -- and probably a post on the wonders of breastfeeding. It is a THORN IN MY NIPPLES.

Tomorrow we may actually try to get out of the house with the stroller. You know, that thing we just HAD TO HAVE because we weren't going to be one of those couples who holed up in the house with our baby? Yeah, not so much.

And then I plan to curl up in a fetal position and rock back and forth in terror at the prospect of my husband going back to work on Monday and leaving me ALL ALONE. With another human being who is totally dependent on me for everything (including making sure that Netflix keeps episodes of Gilmore Girls arriving at a regular clip).


Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy new year!

Apologies for being so delinquent in posting here and commenting on your's been, unsurprisingly, a very busy week.

I have been riding the emotional roller coaster. Like, I love the chicklette to death, but sometimes I'll just start crying for no reason. I know it's the hormones, and the fact that I'm sleep-deprived and recovering from, you know, CHILDBIRTH, but it still catches me by surprise how I can go from perfectly happy and content to a snorting mess inside of 5 minutes.

I have every intention of getting my birth story up soon -- before I forget what happened completely -- but for now, just a few random observations:

1. My favorite time(s) of the day are when the chicklette is awake and alert. I look in her eyes and the whole world just stops. Stupid baby songs spontaneously erupt from my mouth.
2. Baby gas is really funny. Sometimes you can hear her toot all the way across the house, and it's effing hilarious. Even if she does smell like a sulfur factory.
3. It's so nice to be able to see my feet again.
4. Pooping for the first time was so much more stressful than giving birth. And still I battle, as I sit here eating a bran muffin and drinking coffee. (You really didn't think I could get through a post without talking about poop, did you?)
5. Being out in public not pregnant is WEIRD. No one smiles at me anymore. I'm sure when I'm out with the baby it will be different, but I kind of miss the attention. The same attention I hated when I was pregnant. I tells ya, there's no pleasing me these days.
6. Confession: I went to Babies R' Us on Monday and parked in the "Stork Parking." I won't do it again, particularly now that my stitches feel better and I can walk somewhat normally, but it felt deliciously subversive.
7. Breastfeeding is hard. I'm sure I'll have much more on this later, but it confounds me that something supposedly so natural can be so difficult.

And speaking of, I'm off to wake the baby with a a diaper change (which, in case you didn't know, is apparently CHILD ABUSE judging by the amount of screaming it induces) and whip out the boobs. Which are taking over the world.

Happy new year!