March 29, 2012

One Week*

It's hard to believe that one week has passed since the birth of our little peanut. Where did the time go? I can't believe that we have survived the first week of having this guy in our lives. While there have been so many challenges and times when things have been so frustrating I end up in tears, I wouldn't trade any of this for anything. Lucas is nothing short of a miracle in our lives and while adjusting has been hard, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I love snuggling with my baby every chance I can get and kiss his perfect little cheeks no less than 1,000 times a day. And his sad little cry when he starts to get upset? It breaks my heart every single time. The hormones have been the hardest thing to battle, sending me into fits of tears at the drop of ANYTHING. Most of the time, they are happy tears, because I truly cannot believe how wonderful this all is. But basically, I am a hormonal disaster, good and bad, but dealing with it every day!

Breastfeeding has been a challenge, to say the least. We did OK the first couple of days in the hospital, with some help from an amazing lactation team. That streak continued the first night home. We were having good sessions where he would latch and hold on for a good amount of time. Then day two came, and it all went downhill from there. Nursing sessions became a struggle for both of us, and there were often tears on both ends. It got to the point one day where we had been fighting to nurse for so long, that I gave up and gave him some formula. I wasn't proud, but the kid needed to eat and at that point, I didn't care where it came from. I then called and set up an appointment with one of the lactation consultants at the hospital so that we could get some help.

What we found out was that we weren't necessarily doing anything wrong. There were some basics changes that needed to be made [the way I held the baby, positioning, etc] but after doing a normal nursing session with the consultant, we weighed him on their fancy scale [we also weighed him before hand] and realized that he was, basically, not getting any milk. Like, at all. The LC then noticed that his frenulum [the little flap of skin attached to the underside of your tongue] was way too short and that this is what was likely causing us all of our issues. So, a referral was put in, and tomorrow afternoon we go to get that little thing snipped. Hopefully, all will go well and the peanut and I can get back on track to a healthy nursing regiment. In the mean time, we have continued with our nursing sessions to keep up the practice, but I am also pumping & supplementing at every feeding. My supply is not great due to only pumping so I am looking into starting some herbs to hopefully help with the supply as well as starting a stock pile, since I go back to work in 9 weeks.

Sleeping has been good. This kid sleeps round the clock, to the point where I am constantly checking books and websites to make sure that he isn't sleeping TOO much. But I am quick to remind myself that he is only a few days old and that this is normal. The first couple of nights were rough because a) he was constantly hungry [for obvious reasons!] and b] we don't think the bassinet we have in our room is working out very well. Because he has been getting more food through supplementation [both breast and formula to fill in the gaps for now] he is sleeping for better stretches at night, i.e. a normal three hour stretch vs. up every hour like he was when we first came home. We have also resorted to putting him in the swing at night in our bedroom which is also helping out tremendously. He loves his pack and play sleeper, but we keep that out in the living room since we are there most of the day.

For me, the best part about sleeping has been the ability to SLEEP ON MY STOMACH. Oh man, I missed this so much. The three hour stretches I sleep at night are far better for me than any stretch I got while pregnant, simply due to the fact that I am more comfortable. Stomach sleeping = best. thing. ever.

One Week Post-Partum 
I am, for the  most part, feeling pretty good. The long labor took a lot out of me the first couple of days, and I am still very sore from some of the complications. One week after delivering Lucas, however, I am down to my pre-pregnancy weight, having lost 20 pounds so far. I am pretty happy with this milestone, and am looking forward to getting the OK to start working out again [but will say that those 20 pounds came off all on their own, through delivery, breastfeeding/pumping and my body doing it's natural thing. I have done nothing this week besides a couple of walks and staring at the kiddo!] But for right now I am focusing on eating well, staying hydrated and recovering as best we can. The walks that we have gone on have been slightly strenuous but will get easier with time. Anything more than that is just a glimmer in my eye at this point.

I need to do his newborn photos but this week has been busy with appointments galore. My plan is to do them this weekend while he's still so squishy and soft, and when we have a little more time. It's hard trying to fit them into our schedule when he is eating every two to three hours. But I can't wait for all the things I want to try and hopefully they will turn out great.

Thank you to everyone for all the support that I received both here and via twitter. This week has flown by, and I know that it's just going to go by quicker. We are both so blessed and so happy to have this new addition in our family!

March 27, 2012

The Birth Story*

Baby Boho has made his appearance y'all!

Yup! We had a beautiful bouncing baby BOY!! Lucas Cutler was born Thursday, March 22nd at 12:06 am. He weighed eight pounds on the dot and was a whopping 21.5 inches long! Our birth story is LONG & complicated, but in the end was so, so worth it. I love this kid more than life itself. He is amazing & perfect & so, so wonderful in so many ways.

When I last updated, we were waiting for something ... ANYTHING ... to happen to get things started with this labor process. I was five days past my due date & growing more & more uncomfortable. That Thursday, I went back to my clinic to do another non-stress test & an ultrasound to continue to make sure that baby was doing well [he was]. Unfortunately, there was still zero progress on my end. I was still sitting at 1 cm & about 20% effaced. Blech. My midwife & I started talking about the induction process. I was one week past my due date and we had talked about waiting until two weeks before doing anything, but under the advice of my midwife, we decided to give it the weekend to see what happened. If nothing, then Monday morning [the 19th] I would call Labor & Delivery at the hospital to get in for an induction.

The weekend came & went with not even the smallest of a contraction, or any other indication that baby was coming on his own, so Monday morning at 6:30 AM we called L&D [expecting to go in at 7:30] only to be told they were full. No REAL surprise there. This is a military town. There are two hospitals: civilian & military. We chose to have our wee one at the civilian one which delivers about 400 babies a MONTH. [No joke. There were 11 other babies born the same day as Lucas] So we spent the day trying to stay busy, calling back to check in & all around getting antsy about what was to come. In our minds, our little one was going to be there soon. VERY soon! It was scary and surreal and awesome all at the same time. So as the minutes ticked by before we got the call, it all seemed to move very, very slow.

Around 2:00 in the afternoon, L&D finally called us back, saying that they had a bed available so to come on in. So we looked at each other, had a quick moment of panic and headed off to the hospital. We were taken to our very large delivery room where we set up camp.

The Proud Papa on Monday Afternoon
I should mention that ideally, there was a birth plan. I had a very grand idea about what I wanted to do. Natural birth, no drugs or epidural, saline block only with no IV, monitoring of baby only when necessary, freedom to walk around and labor the way that I wanted to, not cutting the chord right away but waiting until it stopped pulsing. I was completely flexible on all of these things & my midwife & I had talked in detail about the things that were most important to me, but I was going into labor [prior to being induced] knowing that things would likely change and that "going with the flow" would be important to make my delivery as smooth as possible.

It is safe to say that every single thing, aside from NOT having a c-section, was tossed out the window. My birth plan? Now just a lovely stack of papers and a dream of what could have been!

When we got to our delivery unit, the plan from my midwife was to take 25 mg of C.ytotec, a drug that would help thin out my cervix and hopefully get me dilated a little more since I was still sitting pretty at 1cm. We would repeat that four hours later, and then four hours after that, give it the rest of the night to work and reevaluate in the morning.

This is what it looks like when you think labor won't last very long ...
Unfortunately, the on-call doctor had other plans. Since it was late in the day, and I'm assuming because I wasn't his patient, he sort of decided that he didn't want to deal with me. I took one dose of C.ytotec at 4:00 and then our nurse came in saying the on-call doc had cancelled the rest. My midwife explained to me the  next morning that she had a feeling that would happen because he is very "hands off" but it was frustrating none the less. The nurses were kind enough to give me an a.mbien to help me sleep and we called Monday a bust.

Tuesday morning we resumed the baby producing activities. I was given another dose of C.ytotec at 8am and was started on p.itocin at 10am, since I was still, shocker, at 1 cm. And not just a little dose of pit, but over the course of an hour my dose was knocked up to 42ml. Eventually the contractions started, and we barreled our way through it. They were slow and steady and far between, definitely in no way comfortable but they were there and to me, a good sign. Unfortunately, my body did not get the memo, despite the drugs telling it what to do. At 4:00 we checked me again to see what kind of progress had been made after being on the p.itocin all day and the help from the c.ytotec. The hope was that I was progressing enough that my midwife could come in and break my water for me to help things along.

Two whopping centimeters. And maybe 30% effacement. Essentially, after all day of being on a high dose of p.itocin, my body did nothing.

So. We regrouped. The nurses talked to my midwife and we decided to take me OFF the p.itocin to give my body a rest, and to give me some c.ervidil overnight to again, HOPEFULLY, help my cervix progress a little. Another ambien was taken. Another night was spent in the labor and delivery unit.

Another night wasted. Upon being checked first thing in the morning, I had only dilated to 3cm. To say that I was incredibly frustrated at this point was a HUGE understatement. It was more than annoying that things were not progressing. So once again, we started me on some more p.itocin and waited for things to take off. This time around, I reacted much better to the pictocin and the contractions picked up. Quickly. Almost too quickly. I was having contractions about 30 seconds long every five minutes apart. Because of the p.itocin, they were a little intense and somewhat painful. Obviously, contractions are meant to be painful, but this was at a level much higher than what they would have been at 3cm without. Around 11:30 my midwife came in and broke my water for me, which we discovered was full of meconium. We discussed the idea of an epidural, for the pure fact that not only was I starting to be in intense pain at only 3cm, but PRIMARILY for the fact that it may have been just what my body needed to relax and really get going. She suggested waiting an hour to get it, but left it up to me to think about and decide.

I made it 20 minutes after she left before I asked for it. At this point, my contraction were almost a minute long and about 2-3 minutes apart from one another. And INTENSE. On top of the quick contractions, I was also shaking violently every time I had one as a side effect of the drug. My body was being forced to do something it wasn't wanting to do, and I wasn't reacting well. Once the epidural kicked in, it was a welcome relief. Although I could still feel the pressure of every one, the pain for the most part was gone.

However, we then came across our next hurdle. Every time I had a contraction, little man's heart rate would plummet. Because my contractions at this point were so close together, he had no time to recover before the next one would start. For good reason, we were worried and after a lengthy time of watching his heart rate pattern, we decided, once again, to take me OFF the p.itocin for the time being, to let the little guy get better. We watched his heart rate closely making sure that even though it dropped a little when my contraction started, that by the time the contraction was over, his heart rate was back to normal. It was a couple of hours before the nurses [mainly our AMAZING nurse, Katy, who was beyond fantastic the entire day & night] were happy with what they were seeing and agreed to put me back on the p.itocin. At this point I had SUCCESSFULLY dilated to about 5cm so we knew things were moving along.

Then shit got real, real fast. I started to dilate faster and within the next couple of hours, I had reached 10cm with some incredibly intense contractions. Even with the epidural, I was in some pretty intense pain and the urge to push was more than I could handle. Insert next road block: although I had reached 10cm, my cervix had not dropped to where it needed to be. At 10cm dilated I was told, you cannot start pushing yet. You need to wait.


Other moms out there will probably tell you that when your body hits that point, the urge to push is uncontrollable. It is what your body is naturally wanting to do. So at a moment like this, fighting nature is hard. And painful. And for an HOUR AND A HALF, I "didn't push." And by didn't push, I mean I suffered in some pretty extreme agony for that hour and a half. I would make it halfway through the contraction and then all hell would break lose. Every time. At one point, I was given a booster for my epidural because the pain was more than I could tolerate.

After that hour and a half, I was finally told that I could start pushing. YAY!!!!! Now we were talking! Except this is me we are talking about ... one hour into pushing and the little guy had not budged. Not even a little. At this point his soft spot was swelling through the cervix [he still has a lovely bruise] but the rest of his head decided it didn't want to make an appearance yet. I fully believe at this point, any other medical team would have sent me in for a c-section because I had been laboring so long & so intensely. Not to mention my kiddo's unwillingness to descend. But you know what guys? My team was amazing. The OB from my clinic was on call that night [at this point, we are WELL into the evening] and he let me keep going.

And it was here that the little guy finally started to do what he needed to do to come down that birthing canal. Unfortunately [again, this is me] I had spiked a fever of almost 101 degrees, so I was put on antibiotics [which I stayed on through Thursday night] and oxygen. But we were making progress! PROGRESS! And one hour later [yes, another whole hour of pushing!] at 12:06 am on Thursday morning, Lucas Cutler made his appearance into the world.

Little Man, getting some work done. Poor baby!
Lucas came with his own set of problems in all of this as well. It's suspected that he had three or four bowel movements while hanging out inside. I mentioned the meconium in the water earlier, but towards the end of my pushing, I am told that it was essentially straight  meconium that was coming out with him. It's safe to say that he was a lovely shade of green upon arrival. His chord was also wrapped around his neck upon exit. I had already been told in advance that because of meconium alone, the NICU team would be standing by waiting to whisk him away, and that's exactly what they did. The chord just made things worse not to mention he had swallowed a ton of the meconium fluid which needed to be sucked out. On top of those two things, his breathing was elevated and his color was a little pale. He was given an IV right away as well as some antibiotics because of my fever. My husband did not get to cut the chord because of the meconium but the NICU team was in the room with us so he was able to stand by the side of our little one through the whole after process.

After about 30 minutes, they brought my little green monster over to me and it was of course, love at first sight. Hearing "It's A Boy!" was completely surreal. He was beautiful and wonderful and everything that we had worked so hard for over so  many years. Having him in my arms, despite EVERYTHING that we had gone through over the last three days was worth it. The pain. The misery. The tears. Worth every single minute of what we went through. My husband was a ROCK through the whole thing, telling me to keep going when there were MANY moments where I wanted to give up. Same with my friend Jenny, who was there with us the entire afternoon and evening, through the thick of it. Without them, I would have given up. There was a brief moment where I thought a c-section would be a welcome relief!

What almost 48 hours of labor looks like! Worn but so, so happy

The proud, proud papa!

But this guy? He makes my heart melt. I love every piece of him.

March 14, 2012

Still Waiting*

Due dates are a tease, ya'll.

It's really no surprise that first time mom's often go past their due dates. So the fact that I am sitting at five days past isn't really shocking. As I type this, I am sitting on my yoga ball, bouncing, hoping to help speed things along. Whether it's an old wives tale, or something that might actually help, I don't care at this point. As long as it helps. Along with the yoga ball, we've done everything else as well: long walks [which included two hours of laps around the mall the other day], spicy food every chance I can get, eating pineapple in large quantities, red raspberry leaf tea, and lots of extra lovin' time with my very lucky husband! [TMI? Sorry!]

But, the simple fact of the matter is that this kid isn't coming until he/she is ready! Last friday, on my actual due date, there was zero progress. My cervix still hadn't done anything & I was as closed up as one could get. At Tuesday's appointment, I had FINALLY [wooohoo!] dilated to 1cm, which while it's not a LOT of progress, it's progress none the less! The baby is still looking good on the non-stress tests and in the ultrasounds, but is apparently quite comfortable & not quite ready to make it's grand appearance yet. I go back in tomorrow morning [Thursday] to repeat everything for a third time and make a decision as to how we want to proceed. IF, by some magical wonderful miracle, I have dilated a little more [3 or 4 cm] then we may just say screw it & admit me to the hospital while throwing in a couple of aides to help the process along i.e. cerva.dil as well as possibly going ahead and breaking my water. Although breaking my water is only an option IF I have hit 4cm. If there is still no substantial progress tomorrow, then we will likely give it the weekend and reevaluate things on Monday.

My goal through all of this was to go as natural as possible. To let things happen on their own and refrain from using any drugs in the process. My midwife has been amazingly awesome through all of this, supporting my decision, but making sure that I am aware of all my options. She has never once pushed us to do anything that we don't want to do [i.e. be induced already] and is totally supportive of whatever we decide. I am trying to remember why I wanted to do this naturally, but the farther along I get, the harder it is to remember that. The idea of being done and meeting our baby is one that we really want to happen. Honestly, if it was up to my husband, they would be inducing me on Thursday after our appointment. But I'm just not there yet. Monday, however, might be a completely different story. There's also the fact that I am essentially wasting my maternity leave. I stopped working last Friday and am OK with one week of waiting and doing what we can to get baby out, but two weeks of my 12 isn't quite as appealing.

Either way, whatever happens, I hope my body realizes that it needs to speed things up. I am so ready to meet this kiddo! As is my husband. As he continually reminds me :) I love how excited he is! I'm still nervous/anxious/terrified of everything that's about to happen, but at the same time, I feel a little more calm about all of this. The closer I get, the more ready I am. The fear is definitely still there but subsiding a little more. I just hope I remain this way when the time actually comes. I know my body was meant to do this, so I have to trust that it knows what needs to do and WILL do what it needs!

Hopefully next time I post, I will have good news! In the mean time, I'm just going to keep bouncing on my yoga ball!

March 6, 2012

39 Weeks & Some Change*

This Friday, March 9th, we will officially hit 40 weeks in this pregnancy.

Holy cow.

I wish that I had any kind of news that things were progressing, but as of today [Tuesday] there has been nothing aside from the occasional Braxton Hicks contraction. And I've been having those for a while. So here we sit. Waiting. We've finished the nursery. The bags are packed & in the car. The car seat is installed. I have cooked, and cooked, and cooked some more until my freezer cannot handle any more meals. I have reached new levels of discomfort. The house cleaners came today & did a deep clean on the house, so I don't even have that keep me busy.

So instead, I'm still working [although Friday will most definitely be my last day, baby or not] and I fill my evenings with The Bachelor [trash TV at it's FINEST. I mean seriously. Weren't we all hoping for a complete & total meltdown on Courtney's part at last night's Women Tell All? Meow, ladies!], Big Bang Theory & How I Met Your Mother reruns and Season One of Arrested Development on DVD. All in all, things are pretty lame around our household.

Unfortunately, with all that time on my hands to do nothing, it leaves my brain with time to wander. And I'm pretty sure I've hit a full-fledged panic mode about this kiddo making it's appearance. I know that it has to happen, and we most definitely WANT it to happen -- this is what we have spent the last four and a half years of our life waiting for. THIS moment. But I can't believe how fast these past 39 weeks have gone. June seems so far away, but at the same time, I can't believe we're already here and our lives are about to change so much. Despite all of our planning, preparation & dreaming for this moment, it has brought on a whole new set of emotions that I wasn't really prepared for.

Primarily, utter fear. Something clicked this week and I hit a couple of moments where I was completely TERRIFIED of what's to come. It was somewhat unexpected. While I know I can do this, because it's what my body was made to do, there is still that "I can't do this" feeling that creeps in. I know it's the fear and the worry, but I just can't help but let it take over for a little while. There is so much anxiety about everything and I'm trying to just relax and let nature take it's course. But not knowing when this is going to happen, I think, is aiding to all of this. The fear. The anxiety. The excitement. The worry. It's so many emotions rolled into one package. And it's a lot to deal with.

But it is what it is. And soon our mini-human will be here. All the prepping & planning, not to mention dreaming & crying for things we thought we couldn't have will be worth it.