Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Children are terrifying.



Saturday night Kurt and I took our 4 week old daughter Syndil to Carter's, to meet one of her biggest fans- my manager Bekki. And she wasn't even wearing a Carter's outfit! I felt like such a rebel.

Bekki was holding her, and Syndil was loving it- until she realized she was hungry. I had my moby wrap, but I wanted to wait a few minutes before feeding her. I knew it would hurt, and I needed to wrap my head around feeling that much pain in a public place.

A few old ladies heard her crying, and came over to see the little baby.

"What's her name?"

"Syndil."

"Oh, how...unique."

Awkward pause.

"Her feet are blue! She is cold."

"No, babies feet are just sometimes blue. She is fine. But thanks."

"No, she is cold," they kept insisting.

The whole thing was pretty irritating.

I handed her to Kurt to try and calm down, because when I hold her all she smells is milk. After a few seconds, she settled down, and was falling asleep.

I was talking to Bekki and my friend Tami, and we were laughing when I glanced over at Syndil. Her eyes were closed, but something was off...

"Is she breathing?" I stepped away from the convesation for a better look.

Her face was blue.

And she wasn't breathing.

Quickly I grabbed her, and started patting her back. Nothing.

Kurt felt under her nose for a breath, while I started rubbing her back, hard. Nothing.

"How do you do infant CPR? How do you do infant CPR?"

I as vaguely aware that that was my voice asking the question over and over again, but my mind had already answered it. I leaned her back and was about to start rescue breathing when Syndil took a breath. On her own.

"She's breathing. She's breathing again."

I looked around at Kurt, Bekki, and Tami. It had all happened so fast, maybe 20 seconds on the outside.

Longest 20 seconds of my life.

After a few seconds, her color was normal, and she was looking around alertly. Probably wondering why we were all staring at her.

"...Um, I guess I should feed her."

I was fine, until we got into the car. All of that adrenaline, I guess. But then I broke down.

If your baby isn't even safe in your arms...

You are probably wondering why we didn't take her to the ER right then. Honestly? We didn't even think about it.

It wasn't until around 3am when I was staring at my sleeping baby, unable to put her down that I thought "Oh my gosh, we should have gone to the ER. What kind of parent doesn't go to the ER???"

Then the guilt hit.

This was good, I guess, because I had to put the baby down so I could run into the other room and call my sister Amber. I would probably still be up there holding her right now if I hadn't.

Amber is kind of my lifeline. Kurt is great, but sometimes he is too tired to wake up and listen. And sometimes I just need to talk to my sister.

She reassured me that if I had needed to go to the ER, I would have felt prompted to go there. Obviously, it wasn't just a coincidence that I looked over in time to help Syndil. If I had looked over just 2 minutes later... But I didn't.

I had done some internet research, and figured it was either her reflux, or apnea, and if she didn't have any more spells that night, they wouldn't have been able to figure it out anyway.

(I was right.)

The next day she was fine. Completely fine. Until I tried to feed her before bed.

"Kurt, she won't latch. And she sounds like she is choking when she swallows. Do you hear that?"

She pulled away, and screamed.

"It's probably her reflux. I bet the thrush medicine is making her acid worse."

I tried over and over, but we weren't getting anywhere.

"Here, can you hold her? Maybe if she calms down..."

Kurt picked her up. And her feet were blue.

All the way up to her knees.

I ran and called the nurse line at the pediatricians office.

"Hi, my daughter's feet are blue, and yesterday..." I sobbed into the phone.

They sent us to the ER at the Children's Hospital.




The doctor's saw her right away, because she is so little, and blue feet could mean she isn't getting enough oxygen. We told our story over and over- to 3 different nurses, and 4 different doctors. They ran tests and monitored her for hours. It was 4am when the Attending Physician came in to give us the official word.

"She is fine."

Yup. That's right. It's not uncommon for a baby to turn blue and stop breathing.

I'm not being sarcastic.

Babies with reflux stop breathing sometimes. So do babies with apnea. And sometimes babies do it for no reason at all. Sometimes they remember to breathe again on their own. Sometimes they don't. Their best advice was to watch her closely, but not to lose sleep, because it probably won't happen again.

Probably.

And the blue feet? Sandifer Syndrome. She was cold.

Those old ladies were right.

(but they were still irritating)



So for the past few days I haven't slept for more than 10 minutes at a time. And I probably never will again.

We have an AngelCare monitor, but that only helps when she is sleeping in her crib. Not when she is napping in her bouncer, or riding in her carseat.

Or sleeping in our arms.

My Dad is getting us a Snuza this week. But I still don't know if I'm ever going to look away for more than a second.

Babies are terrifying.



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Thanks Mama Kat for this weeks prompt- "Tell us about one of the scariest moments of your life." When I read it, I thought "Well, that's easy." I probably would have blogged about this eventually. But not today.




Monday, July 30, 2012

Reasons why I hate nursing.



I was so prepared to love nursing. All my life there had been no question- when I had a kid, I would nurse. My mom nursed, and loved it. It's the best for the baby. It is a great bonding time. It's easy and convenient.

Ah, expectations like these. They are the perfect set up for overwhelming guilt when things don't work out.

And they aren't working out.


1. Nighttime feedings. And feedings in general. When she is crying and saying "Neh" and rooting around, there is no point in handing her off to Kurt. Especially since pumping just isn't working very well for me. This means I get the hungry, angry baby, and all the sleepless nights that go with being the sole provider of her nutrition.

2. The pain. Breastfeeding should never hurt (except maybe for a few seconds when they latch, and mostly just in the beginning weeks). Let me say that again: Breastfeeding should never hurt. If it does, something is wrong.

Something is wrong.

Our latch wasn't great in the beginning. I wasn't kidding when I said that 15 people saw my nipples that first week. Between Kurt, Amber, Jamie (who took our newborn pictures), the nurses and pediatricians and midwives and random people on the street, 15 people might be an understatement.

(Kidding about the random people on the street. I didn't go anywhere except my couch, and that was a painful mistake. If you are a new mom STAY IN BED. For at least a week, if not 2.)

And this bad latch, combined with my baby's need to comfort suck led to:

Cracked and Bleeding Nipples.

Ouch. Actually, it was more like OUCH!!!!!

Once our latch was better, those healed pretty fast (thank you magic breastmilk!)

But then I got a clogged duct.

...Which turned into Mastitis.

So, that was really painful.

Did you know that you have to nurse more on the painful side when you have a clogged duct?? And you have to nurse a lot when you have mastitis? This is because Mother Nature hates us.

That cleared up, thank goodness, and then I got Thrush.

Well, I'd always had it, but hadn't really noticed it with all the other things going wrong. The thing about Thrush is, it just gets worse and worse. So it didn't mind waiting it's turn to make me cry.

I have yet to go a single day without crying from pain while she is nursing.

Which brings me to the whole amazing bond thing.

It's hard to feel any kind of bond when your child is sucking the happiness out of your life, and replacing it with searing pain.

It's not her fault. And I have to keep telling myself that as she sucks and sucks, and I cry and cry .

...and she is only 1 month old. It's been a painful month.

You're probably wondering why the heck I haven't turned to formula feeding. Or at least supplementing. Or at least pumping.

(I try to pump, but with Thrush it hurts me worse than nursing)

These are all great options for other people. I would never look down on someone for using formula, no matter what their reasons. So why am I not using it?

I'm too stubborn. I want to like breastfeeding. I want that bond. I want to win, dammit! I don't want to lose out because I happened to get every single painful condition known to nursing women.

(I know, there are more conditions out there. Like milk blisters. But I'm just assuming that I'll get them all, because I've already had 4 serious ones, and she is only 4 weeks old. That one is scheduled for next week.)

I know some people desperately want to nurse, and can't for a number of reasons. And I know that the fact that I even have a baby to nurse is something to be so, so grateful for. And that that baby is healthy? Is a huge blessing. I really, really have no room to complain when faced with the alternatives. I am truly lucky.

But that just doesn't help when my baby latches on, and I have to bite back a scream.

So that's my list. It is only 2 items long, really. The pressure of being the sole comforter and provider of food for my little girl, and the pain.

Seems like such a small list when I put it that way.

Did you breastfeed? And did you like it?


Saturday, July 28, 2012

How do you spell it?



Doughnut or Donut?

I went with doughnut, because they are made from dough. But then a commenter spelled it "donut" and I freaked out a little, thinking this was another "Cereal Killer" moment.

How embarrassing.

But after researching it thoroughly (we're talking at least a 15 minute internet search), I've discovered that either spelling is ok. Doughnut is the classic, original spelling, while donut is the common, slang, americanized version.

So what are you? Classic, or common?

Kidding.

Have you ever missplelled something in an embarrassingly public way?

And since this is kind of a random post, here:

Cute baby picture!!





Friday, July 27, 2012

I've eaten 13 doughnuts this week.



(sorry, this also isn't Syndil's birth story. But I think you already guessed that, since "I've eaten 13 doughnuts this week." would be a terrible birth-story-title, even for me. It's coming, though. I promise.)


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Kurt bought a box of "Study" doughnuts for finals week. When he walked in with them, my whole face lit up and I started smiling really big.

...Too big, I guess, because Kurt got an alarmed look on his face and announced that these were his doughnuts, and I was only allowed 2. The other 10 had to last him the whole week.

Then he set down a box of Chips Ahoy! cookies. Which are also just for him.

REASONS WHY THIS IS A BAD IDEA:

1. I'm breastfeeding. Which means I'm constantly hungry.

2. I have Thrush. And the yeast that has taken over my body is demanding sugar. I didn't know it then, and when my body starts craving sugar like a diabetic maniac, I usually listen. Which might be why I have Thrush.

3. You can't plop cookies and doughnuts on the counter and tell me I can't have them. All that does is create a bitterness and hostility in our relationship, which will only get worse when I lose it during a 3am feeding, and eat the whole thing out of spite.

Two days later, me and Syndil took a trip to the store, and bought our own damn doughnuts. And cookies. And a bunch of candy, because this yeast infection has taken over my life (again, thrush is a yeast infection. I'm talking about my boobs here). I can't say no to sugar right now.

That night,we were plopped down on the couch nursing, and Kurt walked by eying the doughnuts with disapproval. A minute later he came back from the kitchen, looking confused.

"You bought your own doughnuts?"

"Yes. Because I'm only allowed to have 2 of yours."

"I was kidding. I can't eat an entire box by myself! They will go stale."

"...Oh."

I'm pretty sure that was a lie. He wasn't kidding. Or if he was, it was with a serious look in his eye, which implies he wishes he wasn't kidding. Either way, I know what I saw.

Anyway, now we are stuck with 2 boxes of doughnuts, 2 things of Chips Ahoy! cookies, and a whole lot of candy.

And a (now) known yeast infection. Which means I shouldn't be eating any of it. Because my boobs hurt so bad.


So if you are in the area and you want a doughnut, you know who to call.





Monday, July 16, 2012

She's not a baby. She's a newborn.



Hey guys. Sorry about the silence- Been a little preoccupied :)

I'm working on my birth story. It's a lot harder to write than I thought it would be. How detailed should it be? Should I include pictures? (yes, I have pictures)

So many things to consider.

So while I'm working on this, let me just share a list of things I've learned since having a baby. Some of them I "knew" before- but it all took on new meaning once my pooping, screaming, loveable little bundle of joy became a reality.



Things my baby has taught me

  • "Sleep when the baby sleeps" is not just advice. It's the only way you will survive.

  •  Burps and gas and poop that won't come out- these things are the enemy. "I wish I could just have your gas for you!" is a sentence I never thought I'd say. Especially not at 4am, while we are both sobbing. 




  • Poop sometimes shoots out like a cannon, and almost hits you in the face. Without a cough or a sneeze or any kind of warning. You must always be on guard. 

  • The Sneeze & Sigh. That's when a baby sneezes, and draws in a big breath to sneeze again- but then turns into this adorable little girly sigh. There is no way to prepare for this level of cuteness.

  • Cracked and bleeding nipples. And I thought labor was painful.

  • Everything is worse at night. Especially anxiety. There are times I can't put her down in her bassinette because I just know she could stop breathing. This gets better. And an Angelcare or Snuza monitor helps in a BIG way.

  • Newborn baby eyes do weird things. Especially when they are sleeping.

  • All those newborn outfits? Might not be worth it. They still fit just fine, but if we are staying home (and right now we are mostly staying home) I prefer her naked. She is just so soft and cuddly.

  • Having help for the first few weeks is insanely important. Healing from having a baby can be delayed if you aren't taking it easy. You may feel great and have so much energy, so you go make yourself a sandwich at noon, and then do the dishes- but by 3pm you will be crashing and in pain and unable to walk to the bathroom without help. And you will know if you are overdoing it, because your body will bleed more and pass giant clots as revenge.

  • THE BOPPY. Get one. It is heaven to sit on.

  • No matter how curious you are in the days following birth, don't look down there. You can't unsee that image. And it will haunt you.

  • "Kurt, can you go buy me some more Depends?" - I thought I'd have a good 4 or 5 decades before asking that question.

  • Padsicles became my best friends. This is a giant pad soaked in water and witch hazel, and then frozen. You put it right in your depends. And it is heaven on your lady parts. You can never have enough of these.


  • Nothing prepared me for the squishy leftover stomach. Not even Santa. It just hangs out and swings when you move. But it does go away, especially if you nurse (this causes your uterus to contract). Shapewear tank tops- that's where the real magic happens.


  • Speaking of tank tops; take a tight one, and cut holes for your boobs. Now every shirt is a nursing shirt. Just pull the overshirt up or down, and you are covered. 

  • ...Not that you will care. I think 15 people saw my nipples in that first week. And after birth? It doesn't even matter anymore.

  • The heel prick test- don't do this one alone. I cry just thinking about it. She was in so much pain.

  • Waiting to announce the name- best decision I've ever made. Besides Kurt. And having this baby. And not getting that perm. If you tell people before the baby is born, they think it's ok to give their opinions and alternative suggestions. If you wait until the ink is dry on the birth certificate, all they can say is "How cute!" etc. Unless they are jerks. But you didn't really like them, anyway.

  • Hot shallow baths with witch hazel. These also became my best friends. I can have multiple best friends.

  • Turns out the things that make mommy gassy can also make the baby gassy. Fiber cereal, dairy, dark leafy greens, broccoli, beans, caffeine. Caffeine doesn't bother me, but apparently it's a thing. This is according to my pediatrician. Basically, my baby wants me to be constipated.

  • Apparently Gripe Water and Colic Calm and cutting dairy out of your diet can help with the baby's intestinal pain- depending on the kid. I haven't tried these yet. But I CAN vouch for the Qtip trick. She filled 2 diapers and finally stopped screaming, thank God. (that is not blasphemous. I really am thanking God. This poor little baby was in so much pain).

  •  When she does get a poop out (and you will know- it's so loud and squishy sounding) it's cause for a happy dance celebration! You'd think she just got into Harvard or something. "Yay!! I knew you could do it! I'm so proud of my little girl!! Where's the camera??"



  •  There is no way to prepare for the bitterness that washes over you at 4am, when you are trying to feed your fussy baby, and your husband is sleeping peacefully next to you. Dark thoughts go through my head, and I start plotting my revenge. He doesn't know the pain of back labor, childbirth,  tearing, stitches, recovery, cracked nipples, or endless nighttime feedings- BUT HE WILL.

  • To be fair, he gets up and helps whenever I ask. I just don't ask often, since his day  starts at 6am, and ends with a diaper change at 1am. Like I mentioned above- everything is worse at night.

  •  ...especially the sweat. Holy dripping down my legs! I heard someone mention that you sweat out the puffiness and extra fluid, but I honestly wake up in a puddle. Every night. You do not want to be in my armpits right now.

  •  Sometimes you have to put the crying baby down and walk away. Especially if it's been hours since you've peed. And that's ok.

  • Lactation consultants can help. So can Post Partum therapists. And Pediatricians. And they all want you to call them if you have any questions. No matter how silly you feel- they will not make you feel stupid. 

  • She is not a baby. She  is a newborn. And newborns are hard. They are little balls of needs who cry and scream and sometimes you can't help and it is really, really hard. But they need you, And they will grow into babies, who smile and giggle and hug your neck and plant slobbery kisses on your face and love you so much. You just have to love them first. Even though it's hard. Even though you sometimes want to give up. Because they are worth it, and so are you.



  • And if you feel like she isn't, or like you aren't you need to tell someone who cares. Even if you are ashamed. Because Post Partum Depression is real, and it's dangerous, and it's hormonal, and it's not your fault. And it's sneaky. You might not feel sad. You might not feel "depressed." You might just feel angry, or sad, or hopeless, or full of anxiety. Or you might not feel any of these things. You might just not love her. And it might fill you with guilt because what mom doesn't love her child?


  • And it's ok to feel like this, as long as you don't hide it. Talk to your partner or your mother or your pediatrician, or your healthcare provider. Because talking helps. And a Midwife or a Doctor? Has heard this before. And they care. And they know how to help you.

  • And then it will get better. And you'll realize that you loved her all along. 



  • And finally, that squishy little face she makes when she stretches? It melts my heart. And suddenly everything is worth it again.

That's my list. That's what I've learned so far. And she is only 3 weeks old.


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What are some things that surprised you when you had a baby?


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hello, my name is...







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