Sunday, January 15, 2012

Postpartum Decompression

It's been a little over two weeks since Sammy made his big debut. Life has been pretty crazy since he arrived on the scene. I forgot what having a newborn is like; no free time, lots and lots of sweet and precious time with a baby that doesn't move...I like that.

Most things have been wonderful. Sammy is a sleeper...he doses off and on most of the day and then sleeps pretty heavy at night...going about 3 hours between feedings. For some reason though I am so exhausted all the time I feel like I could fall asleep standing up. His feedings at night take quite a while. I nurse him, then I have to give him a bottle, then usually I need to change his diaper and that time it's almost time to start again. And it doesn't help that I have a hard time sleeping the more tired I's an odd phenomena I've dealt with forever...the more stressed and sleepy I am the harder it is for me to sleep. Oh well.

Eli has dealt with things about as well as can be expected. I can definitely tell he's acting out a little more than usual and pushing limits more and more. Dan and I keep talking about how we can't tell if Eli's getting more attention from us because we're overcompensating for bringing Sam into his life or if he's getting less attention from obvious baby responsibilities. I guess many many older kids have dealt with and survived having a new baby in the house and Eli will too.

The biggest challenge, of course, since Sammy's arrival has been nursing. I really had high hopes this time that things would be better. And things were, for a little bit, until I took Sam to a lactation specialist last week and she told me he wasn't getting enough to eat from me. We did a weigh in before and after a feeding and found he was only getting about an ounce out of me...and he needs at least 2-3 per feeding. So we started bottle feeding and nursing...but to be honest I'm so tired that I may call it quits here pretty soon. I hate to do it. I kinda cry thinking about it....but I am so exhausted I just can't keep doing 45 minute nursing sessions and then do another 20 minutes of bottle feeding and diapers and all that. It's just becoming too much to deal with, especially having Eli to take care of as well.

With Eli I was able to nurse him for about 2 months, supplementing lots with formula. I feel like I'm letting Sammy down if I quit now...but at the same time, as a good friend pointed out, Sammy and Eli really need a sane mommy right now too. Not being able to produce enough milk for my son really takes a hit on my emotions...and I think trying to nurse him every two hours and then having to bottle feed keeps my 'unproductivity' at the front of my mind 24/7. And I've tried everything to boost my supply: pumping round the clock after each feeding, drinking cup after cup of this nasty tea that's supposed to help with production, and so many other things.

I'll have to weigh my options over the next few days and see what to do....I want him to get the best nutrition he can...but formula is just about as healthy as breast milk and it may be worth my sanity to switch over full time.

ANYWAY....enough word vomit. Turns out 5 hours of sleep can make for a pretty rambling me. I love my little son so very very much. I love my big boy Eli so very very much. And I need to give a shout out to my husband...Dan has been...well...there aren't words to describe how much I love him. He has been amazing these last few weeks. He takes my breakdowns in stride, has pretty much been on Eli duty full time since the birth, and does the majority of the house work so I can take care of Sammy. I am one lucky girl.

Life is good. Life is hard. Life is wonderful.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sam's Birth Part 2

Oh my I just read through part 1 and realized I'm going way too slow. At this pace we'll all be here until Christmas. On the other hand, this is my blog so you can all just sit patiently while I recant the events of my son's birth slowly and in painstaking detail thank you very much.

So, Dan had no idea I was going into labor. I called him up after hanging up with the midwife and told him that yes, I may be in labor (I was still very unconvinced) and that I needed to get up to the hospital (a 25 minute drive) ASAP. He had Eli so at that point I was just going to leave and drive up on my own and if there was anything going on he would drive up after putting Eli to bed. When I got off the phone with him I realized driving myself to the hospital while my son was potentially inching himself nearer to birth may be a bad idea. I called up our dear friend McCall who jumped into action and into her car and came and drove me up to American Fork Hospital.

At the hospital they gave me a gown and told me they wanted to check my progress. The nurse hooked up the monitors and I was contracting every 2-3 minutes, but I still felt very very little. She checked my cervix...still at about a 3 but %70 effaced. She said she'd talked to my midwife and they decided to track my progress for an hour and then see if they wanted to admit me. Dan came up about then and we just sat there kind of in shock. Neither on of us could believe a baby may be quickly imminent. I was still sure in an hour they'd find nothing happening and send me home. After all; I needed some time to get this baby to flip around.

In an hour the nurse came in to check my progress. I'd dialated a little and was %80 effaced. She called up my midwife and after a minute came in and told me they wanted to admit me. I was stunned. They moved me into a delivery room and started an IV. Can I stop at this point to tell you that the biggest miracle of the night (apart from bringing a healthy baby into the world and all that) was the fact that the nurse got my IV in in on try. On a good day it takes a nurse usually about 4 sticks to get me. I was elated. So much that I took a picture. Here:
My midwife Jen came in about then and we talked about our options. I was dialated to a 4 but baby was still head up. His heart rate looked great and all our vitals were fine. We decided to bring in the OB on call, Dr. Young, and do what's called and External Version, or EC. This is where they manually try to move the baby around by pushing on your stomach. Needless to say I got my epidural right about then too.

It's funny; when I was in labor with Eli I was in so much pain I didn't notice the epidural going in at all. With this one, even though I was having contractions ever 2 minutes or so, I was still feeling very little pain so the epidural experience was a little more (hahaha) nerve-wracking.

Once they got me all dosed up Doc Young came in and they started the EC. Let me tell was awful. Jen stood on one side of me and Dr. Young stood on the other and they pushed and pushed...and I don't know how anyone could every do this un-medicated because I was in tears with the epidural. I actually blacked out at one point and they had to stop and give me some oxygen because my heart rate was bottoming out.

After two attempts baby hadn't moved much at all. They stopped and took a break while checking some thing out on the ultrasound. I told them I wanted to try one more time so they gave it one more go and...!! it worked! The ultrasound showed little guy's head just about at the bottom of the uterus. It was like being in one of those space movies where they show mission control after a big rescue and everyone is clapping and shaking hands. Dr. Young broke my water immediately to move baby's head down closer to the cervix and then turned the labor over to Jen. She put me on pitocin to speed things up now that he head was down and ready to go.

She checked me about twenty minutes later and said his head had moved a bit and now his elbow was presenting before his head at the cervical opening. They had to move it before they could deliver, so she tried some things to push it up and told me they'd check my in an hour.

I tried to get some rest, knowing big things were ahead, but I just laid there and thought about the craziness of things. Dan dozed on the couch and I tried to mentally prepare myself for the reality that I was going to meet my boy tonight. In any fashion, he was coming and I'd better face that reality. My brain was still three weeks behind. I had so much I wanted to do before he came. The Christmas tree was still up for pete's sake!

Jen came back in around 1:30 am and checked me out. I could tell by her face that things were not good as she did the exam.

"Robynn, we've got a hand out of the cervix. I can actually feel fingers in the birth canal. We have to do a cesarean right now."

She explained that because the arm was stuck in the birth canal we had to get him out right away. Birthing him vaginally would put too much strain on his arm and he could have permanent damage in his nerves. We had to hurry before he descended any farther.

I was having a hard time processing this new information but things were moving fast so I just had to roll with it. I was nervous. Very very nervous. I'm not a pain kind of person. The thought of scapels and what not while being completely lucid was hurting my brain. I kept asking over and over if they would make sure I couldn't feel anything before they cut in.

Before the took me in the the OR Jen gave Dan a rubber glove and asked him if he'd like to feel the baby's hand. Dan reached up (yes...he's not the sqeemish type) and was able to hold the baby's hand before anyone else got to. Neato.

I babbled at the anesthesiologist about giving me lots and lots of extra doses. I started to shake pretty hard as they wheeled me into the OR and lifted me on to the table. I asked the anesthesiologist if most of his patients were this wimpy. No, was his wry answer.

A cesarean is a weird thing. I could feel the pressure and sensation of the doctor cutting through the layers, but I, obviously, didn't feel the actual pain of the incision. I kept asking Dan (who was at my side by my head) if he could see the baby yet.

Finally I felt a lot of pressure and then Dan said "there he is!" and I heard crying.

At this point I lost it. I started sobbing uncontrollably. The weight and sheer emotion of the night's events finally caught up with me and I just couldn't control my tears. I sobbed and Dan beamed and I laid there and heard the first cries of my sweet new son. Dan kept coming back to me and telling me what he was seeing. He brought me over a picture of our baby while they cleaned him up and started stitching me closed. I cried through it all like a wimp but I didn't care. I was so tired, but all I wanted to do was see my baby. Dan told me he was healthy and strong.

So here are the stats: Grant Samuel Garfield (Sam or Sammy he shall be called) was born at 2:01am December 30th weighing in at 7.4 lbs and 19 inches long. He was/is beautiful. They had to take him to the nursery while they cleaned me up but they brought him over to me and let me see him. I kissed his head over and over again and told him I'd see him soon. It was amazing.

After Dan and the baby entourage left I suddenly felt so tired. I lay on the table while they stitched me up (which was surprisingly painful) and thought about all that had just happened. My son, my Sammy, was here. I dozed and waited for them to finish up.

The days since Sammy's birth have been surreal. I can't believe he's here already, but I can't imagine him not being with us. My stay in the hospital was mostly pleasant. Sammy was so peaceful. Even now, while I write this, he's just sleeping away next to me. My incision is healing up very nicely and to me honest, if I had to say it, so far this recovery has been easier than Eli's birth. I'm on lots of meds so we'll see what I feel like when I go off those but other than a bit of pain in my scar and lots and lots of fatigue I'm feeling pretty decent. AND...nursing is going very well. He's a great latcher and I seem to be producing more and more milk every day.

So that's that story. I know it was long...but I wanted to try to get in every detail in case I forgot things later. Now I just get to enjoy life with two amazing sons. Eli has seemed to take everything in stride. He's a little more wound up than usual but I think he will be an amazing older brother.

Head over to our family blog HERE in the next few days to see lots and lots of pictures of Sammy. For now, here's one of my favorites I took in the hospital.