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Archive for March, 2014

I know this is only my second time at this rodeo I call parenting a newborn, but I feel like I’ve learned a few things that might be helpful to those coming up on their first or even second experience of bringing home a newborn baby.

1. Take a daily shower. When you don’t leave the house and your days and nights seem to all run together, it’s so easy to just say “screw it” and skip showering for a day or two (or three or four). Don’t do it. Why? Because between the leaky boobs, the baby spit-up on your shoulder and possibly in your hair, and the period-that-won’t-go-away (seriously – it’s like mother nature is making up for all that lost time when you didn’t have a period for 9+ months), you’ll feel so much better after you’ve spent a good 15 minutes in a warm, steamy shower. It’s cheaper than therapy and it’s also the only “me time” I get during the day so you better believe I’m taking it.

2. Don’t put away your maternity clothes. And don’t put on “real” clothes unless you absolutely have to. That’s right. Go ahead and get comfy in those granny panties. There won’t be any hanky-panky with your significant other for at least 6 weeks anyway. Since I had a c-section, I didn’t want anything touching my incision so pants were completely out for the first few days. Or they were pulled up really high, Urkel style. And I’ve already mentioned my undying love for the mesh underwear the hospital gives you. Make sure you take a few extras home for those first couple of days.

3. If friends offer to bring you food, take them up on it. I have some truly awesome friends. Since I couldn’t have sweets, carbs or alcohol, all of my friends brought me candy, cookies, cake, cupcakes, wine, beer, and champagne. My friends just GET ME, man. A few even brought dinner and I can’t tell you enough how helpful that is. I truly feel blessed to have so many amazing people in my life. So if someone offers to do something nice for you, let them. And return the favor when it’s their turn.

4. Stock up on your “new essentials”: nursing pads, Lanolin (hospital will provide a small tube for free), menstrual pads, and if you’re one of those more unfortunate souls like myself, you’ll also need Colace and maximum strength Preparation H. Yeah, it’s all as sexy as it sounds.

5.  Delegate all household chores to your significant other for the short term. (Or mom or sister or whoever is there and capable.) Since I’m not allowed to lift anything heavier than the baby and I’m not allowed to drive for the first two weeks, all laundry, errand running and grocery shopping falls to the hubs. I’ve done a couple of loads of dishes and folded some clothes, but that’s about it. Another tip? Use paper plates, at least those first couple of weeks. I know, I know, it’s wasteful and not eco-friendly but if we didn’t use them, we’d have to run the dishwasher 2-3 times a day.

6. Keep your smartphone handy at all times. My smartphone is my lifeline to the outside world. During my first pregnancy, I made friends with a group of ladies that were all expecting around the same time as me. Most of us were all first-timers and we really leaned on each other, sending middle-of-the-night tweets about fussy babies, sharing tips or advice where we could, but mostly just sympathizing because we were all there, in the trenches, together. Now, I’m a little on my own with #2, so when I send a middle-of-the-night tweet, no one is usually there to answer me, but that’s okay. I catch up on blog reading or Facebook posts. I make notes on my phone so I don’t forget to do things, like who to send thank you cards to, or what the hubs needs to buy on his next trip to the grocery store.

7. Remember that newborns are NOISY. And I’m not referring to their crying. I mean when they sleep, they fidget and snort and gurgle and squeak and squawk. It’s enough to give any first-time mom a heart attack because you think your baby is dying/drowning/choking/etc. As a second-timer and someone who prefers for her newborn to sleep in the same room for the first few weeks, I’ve had to retrain myself to block out those sleeping noises and only get up when he’s truly awake and ready to eat. If you plan on having your baby sleep in his/her own room from day 1, consider turning the volume DOWN on your monitor so you only hear him/her when he/she is crying – and not every grunt that comes out of their tiny mouths.

8. If the weather is nice enough, get out and WALK. This is good for both your physical and emotional health since walking is believed to help the recovery process post c-section and the fresh air is just good for helping you cope with that cabin fever feeling. I was not able to do this until about day 16 but that’s only because this stupid horrible winter decided to stick around longer than usual.

Hopefully this list is helpful for any first-timers out there. Anyone else have tips to share?

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Sam’s Birth Story

7:45 am: D starts stirring in his crib but he’s talking to himself so we ignore it.

8:10: Alarm goes off, and D REALLY wakes up. I’ve got 20 minutes to drink clear liquids before I’m cut off for who knows how long.

8:15: Hubs takes D downstairs for his morning milk and cartoons. I can already hear my FIL making coffee and watching TV.

8:20: Heave myself out of bed and downstairs to take my blood sugar, have some sugar-free jello and drink a big glass of water.

8:30: Chat with the family and check my phone for a few minutes. Make mental notes of what I still need to pack in my hospital bag. Cuddle D as much as he’ll let me because I know I’m going to miss him while in the hospital.

9am: shower, get dressed after debating what to wear for several minutes, makeup, blow dry hair, pack up makeup/daily beauty essentials.

9:45: pack iPad and chargers, fancy camera and new lens. Show FIL which sippy cups are best for D to use (straw cups – not tip/spout cups), and quickly clean up kitchen/bedroom.

10am: Head to hospital. Low gas indicator starts beeping. Of course. Stop to get gas.

10:30: Check in at maternity welcome center. Sign a bunch of papers and release forms. Wait for a nurse to come get me.

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11am: Taken to prep room. Change into this really weird, heavy paper gown. It’s a new type that has vents and a temperature controlled air hose that blows either cold or warm air on you, depending on your preference. It’s a bit bulky so I don’t really like it. Get hooked up to fetal monitors and an IV. Praise The Lord that she got it on the first stick.

11:30: First anesthesiologist comes by to answer questions.

11:45am: Second anesthesiologist comes in and starts prepping me. Hairnet on (should’ve brought a hair tie). I drink a little cup of anti-nausea medicine and it’s a bit like taking a shot of something. So gross.  He has me get into position for the stick but isn’t ready yet so I sit there for about 10 minutes, uncomfortable as hell and starting to have a panic attack. This was possibly the worst part of the whole experience. My mind was just going crazy! I honestly thought I might die that day.

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Nurse walks in and asks if a high school student can observe. My mind is too preoccupied to care so I just say yes before immediately regretting letting some HS kid watch my entire birth experience. Whatever.

12:10: Epidural is in. Did it hurt? Yes. But certainly tolerable. The worst part was having the anesthesiologist dig his finger in my spine to find the right spot to stick me.

The numbness starts setting in and now we’re just waiting for my OB. She’s usually early they say but today she was running late. The anesthesiologist uses a needle to prick my belly and asks me to let him know when I feel it. I feel nothing all the way up to the top of my belly so he says I’m ready. Somewhere in there a nurse comes in to insert my catheter. I barely notice.

12:20: OB shows up and things really start moving. I’m wheeled into the operating room. I’m trying really hard to focus but the meds are making things seem really fuzzy.
I see bright lights and a couple of people (nurses?) in scrubs. I’m instructed to fold my arms across my chest as they transfer me to the operating table. The curtain is raised and my OB says she’ll Ryan know when it’s time to look/snap pictures.

12:30: My OB and her resident doc/assistant (who also helped deliver D, oddly enough) are chit chatting so Ryan and I are just sort of looking at each other. I tell him to put on some music, so he plays some Bob Marley. (We played Bob Marley for D all the time as a newborn and it’s still D’s favorite music.) The music relaxes me a bit and everyone in the OR seems to approve of the music choice, particularly the anesthesiologist, seated behind my head now, as he starts chatting about vacations and Jamaica with Ryan.

12:45: Time seems to be creeping by slowly but the docs are just taking their time “cutting through the muscle” she says. I feel a little tugging but nothing significant or painful, thank God.

And then my OB says it’s time. Ryan stands to look over the curtain and I feel her push down really hard at the top of my belly.

A few moments later, I hear the most beautiful cry in the world and my eyes instantly fill with tears. The docs hold him over the curtain for me to get a good look at him before handing him off to a nurse to clean him up. It’s the first time I’ve been able to see his face since the little stinker would never show it in his ultrasounds. He’s still crying, so angry about being taken from his warm and cozy home. I can see him on the infant bed on my left and can’t stop looking at him. Ryan walks over to watch and it isn’t long before they wrap him up and hand him to him. Still crying. So unlike D who barely cried at all.

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1:15pm: Docs finish putting me back together and staple me shut. I still don’t feel a thing and even though I’ve been shaking a bit, it’s nothing compared to the shaking from the first time. And I can feel and move my arms this time so that’s awesome.

I’m wheeled back into the recovery room, but unlike last time, I’m wide awake and don’t pass out. Baby is still crying. The hubs and I exchange fearful looks and say how this one is going to be our high maintenance baby.

I hold him for a bit and we try nursing. He’s showing promise but it’s far too early for me to be producing anything yet so I consider it practicing.

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Nurse gives baby his first bath, right in the recovery room with me.

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A couple of hours pass before I’m transported to my long term recovery room. It’s smaller than last time and clearly hasn’t been remodeled yet. It’s fine, and private, but I’m already not looking forward to spending 4 days here. And that’s before realizing that half the buttons on the bed (for lights and bed adjustments) don’t work.

The first 24 hours post-op is a blur of nurses checking vitals and blood sugars. After not eating all day, my blood sugar dropped dangerously low a couple of times which got me two forced servings of juice each time. But I was more worried about baby’s blood sugar. Since I was gestational diabetic, they had to monitor his sugars more than usual (meaning more foot pricks), but he only had one low reading which corrected itself after his first real feeding. I wasn’t thrilled that he was already being given formula from a bottle, but if my choices were a bottle or the NICU with IVs and such, I just had to go with it.

We still practiced nursing about every 3 hours. This, plus the every 2 hours of checking mine and baby’s vitals (which never coincided) plus the administering of my pain meds and IV bag replacement basically meant that we did not sleep – AT ALL – that first night.

By day 2, I was really feeling the lack of sleep. Ryan stayed pretty busy running back and forth to the house to check on D. Having a toddler at home already definitely adds a layer of complication to everything. My FIL and his sister (Ryan’s aunt) stayed at our house to watch D, but Ryan tried his best to be home each morning before D woke up and every night to do his bath and put him to bed before coming back up to the hospital to sleep on the weird, folding couch. What a trooper.

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On day 2, my catheter was removed and I was forced to get out of bed and walk to the bathroom on my own. I still had my epidural line in, running Demerol pain medication through me, but the nurse went ahead and clamped off my IV so that was one less cord to worry about.

The hubs, my FIL and aunt-in-law brought D up to visit. I made sure to send the baby to the nursery so that when he first saw me, I wasn’t holding the baby. Instead, D and I cuddled in my hospital bed, watching videos on the iPad, while the adults went down to the nursery to see the baby. It wasn’t long before it was time to feed the baby again though so my FIL and aunt went to get something to eat while our little family of four hung out in the hospital room. Every time the baby would cry, D would run over to look at him and then hug my leg. Cutest thing ever.

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That afternoon, little baby S received his circumcision. Poor little guy. Just 24 hours old. At least it didn’t take long to heal and we were told we could stop using gauze and A&D ointment on it before we even left the hospital, since it looked so great.

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On the third day, Saturday, my epidural was removed and I was started on a low dose of Motrin and Vicodin. I could definitely tell a difference and some achiness started to set in. A few friends visited, which made the day just fly by. I still wasn’t able to get much sleep so when the OB on duty said I could leave on Sunday instead of Monday, if I wanted, I thought that sounded like a fantastic idea. So on Sunday, we finished up all of our paperwork for the birth certificate, safety waivers, and discharge papers, packed our things and checked out around 4pm.

On the way home, we had to stop by Walgreens to fill an order for my pain meds. While we waited, I talked the hubs into swinging by Dairy Queen for a little mini cookie dough and Oreo blizzard, despite the fact that it was barely 40 degrees and windy outside.

Once we got home, we chatted with my FIL and aunt-in-law for a few minutes before they headed out to spend the night at Ryan’s other aunt’s house. Then it was just the four of us. Our new little family unit.

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Meet Sam

There’s something strangely symbolic about having a baby as spring arrives. New life surrounded by new life.

My original c-section was scheduled for March 20, the first day of spring, but given various complications, my c-section was moved up to March 13. Which means this baby is already a week old!

I’m still working on his birth story post, but in a nutshell, this c-section experience was WAY different than my first one in almost every possible way. Some good, some bad. The best news is that S didn’t have to go to NICU. We had only one low blood sugar reading, but after a feeding, things stabilized and we no longer had to test his sugars after the first day. Hallelujah! All those appointments and pills and dieting and testing and insulin shots and finger pricking actually worked! And because of that, I can now say it was all so very worth it.

Having him here and part of our family has been nothing short of amazing. Having already gone through the newborn stage before, I appreciate these early days so much more. I have a hard time putting him down, even though my entire body aches. He’s so much smaller than D was and I both love it and hate it. Love it because we can actually use newborn size clothes and diapers and it’s all just so freakin’ cute. Hate it because he’s SO TINY and fragile and I worry about how much he’s eating, if it’s enough, and how to fatten him up faster.

Speaking of D, everyone’s been asking me what he thinks of the new baby. The fact of the matter is, he doesn’t think much at all of him, except when he cries. When he cries, D will run to him to check things out. If the hubs is changing the baby’s diaper and he’s crying, D will hug my husband’s leg. But unless this baby is making his presence known, D really doesn’t pay much attention to him. And it took almost an entire week before D finally stole one of S’s pacis. I consider that a pretty good run.

I’ll try to get the birth post up in the next few days, while it’s still fairly fresh in my mind.

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Now that I’m nearing the end of my second pregnancy, I feel like I have a lot of experience (practically 20 months worth) about what is and is not appropriate to say to a pregnant woman. Most of us have read (or even written) the articles and blog posts schooling people on this topic too. We’ve heard the complaints from friends and can’t believe some of the things that come out of the mouths of co-workers, acquaintances, and complete strangers.

But in my experience? The most offensive people are the ones closest to me. My family and my husband’s family. And it’s even more infuriating because when it’s family, I CAN’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. With strangers, I could come back with a snarky comment, ignore them, or just flat out lie to them to get them to shutup. “Are you sure there aren’t two in there?” Actually, there’s three.

But with family? You can’t lie. And depending on who it is, you also can’t yell at them for fear of coming off as the crazy, hormonal pregnant lady that’s overreacting. And sometimes you’re even more pressured to share otherwise-private and privileged information, which then opens the gates to even more unwanted commentary.

Here’s just a sampling of some of the things that have been said to me by our relatives:

“You’re pregnant? Oh no…”

“You’re pregnant AGAIN?  Oh no… Well, I just hope this one is a girl.”

“It’s a boy? Aw I really wanted a girl!!”

“The next one better be a girl!”

“You should name him <insert a bunch of horrible names here>”

“What will his name be? Oh. I had an uncle with that name and he was nuttier than a fruitcake.”

“What will his name be? Well why would you name him that when neither of those names are family names?”

But the one thing that’s ruffled my feathers more than anything else happened today when a well-meaning relative posted a comment on my Facebook page, using my future son’s name. As in “Can’t wait for <NAME>’s arrival! Hope you’re feeling okay!”

Sounds harmless, right? But we haven’t announced his name yet and I have zero plans of doing so until he’s born.

If you’re privileged enough to know the name ahead of time, don’t go posting it on social media for everyone to see when it hasn’t been announced to the whole friggin’ world yet. Just because I told you (or another relative told you) doesn’t mean we’ve shared it with everyone.

I immediately deleted the comment. And now I know why people keep the name a secret until he/she is born.

What’s the most offensive/annoying thing someone has said to you while pregnant?

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