The Sleep Schedule

Yesterday was the first full day of trying to get EH on some sort of sleep schedule.  After finishing Babywise and having such a horrible time hearing him cry on Tuesday, I started reading a book called "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby."  This book is much longer and I haven't gotten very far in it, but so far I like it a lot.  It seems to be a little more flexible than Babywise and acknowledges that not all babies will automatically fall into a schedule.  It's also really educational in that it cites a lot of studies about infants and sleep and I'm enjoying it so far.

In any case, I decided to do a modified version of the Babywise schedule.  I refuse to let EH cry for that long again.  Nobody benefited from it.  But I also acknowledge that rocking or holding your baby until he falls asleep can be habit forming and especially considering that he'll be going to daycare soon, I can't let him get into that sort of habit.

Hmm.. I don't know what I think about this "schedule" to get me to sleep....

So here was our planned schedule yesterday.

8 a.m. - First feeding of the day and diaper change
8:45 - Wakey time
Sometime between 9:15 and 10 a.m. - Nap time
11 a.m. - Wake up from nap for the next feeding and diaper change

And repeat for the rest of the day.

At the first sign that EH was getting tired, I took him to his room.  I held him and sang to him until his eyes started to get droopy. Then I put him in his bassinet (a compromise for right now, since he really seems to hate sleeping in his crib.) Of course as soon as I laid him down he was wide awake again but I sang to him a little and rocked the bassinet until he started getting drowsy again, and then I walked away.  He cried for maybe 3 to 5 minutes (who knows how long it really was? when your baby is crying every minute feels like forever) and lo and behold, he fell asleep!!!

Now granted, he only stayed asleep for 30 minutes during that first morning nap, but that's 30 minutes more than he has been napping so I call it a success!!

I repeated that same routine the rest of the day, following the schedule as closely as I could, adjusting only when he seemed hungry a little early, in which case I just fed him and adjusted the schedule.  He's still so small and probably still underweight that I don't want to make him wait for a feeding if he's hungry.  The modified routine - with some singing and rocking, and sleeping in the bassinet - worked great for the rest of the day.  His second nap was 40 minutes long and his third nap was a whopping one hour and 40 minutes!!!!  I was thrilled!  And DH came home during that time as well and couldn't believe that the baby was sleeping.  It was heavenly.

Last night when bedtime rolled around he a little resistant and it took about half an hour and a couple of visits to his room but eventually he also fell asleep.  And trust me, a half hours worth of work to get him to sleep after what we've been dealing with the past couple of weeks seems like almost nothing. 

I didn't write about it yesterday because I was afraid of jinxing our success.  Had I written about it, I probably would have believed in the jinx when last night after his 1 a.m. feeding he decided to be wide awake until 3 a.m.  He apparently didn't get the memo that nighttime sleep is does not involve "wakey time."  Oh well, I'll give him a couple more days to learn. 

Because of the elongated middle of the night wakey time, he slept longer than usual and so our morning routine was a little thrown off, so instead of a 11 a.m. feeding he got one at 10:30 and I've just adjusted our schedule for the day accordingly.  We're both still learning and we both need that flexibility right now until we get into a groove.  But so far today is going just as well as yesterday - he went down for a nap around 12:15, cried for maybe 3 minutes and then fell asleep.  So far, so good.

And speaking of crying, he's crying right now (after a one hour nap!!! woo hoo!!!) so time to get my baby!

My Baby Won't Sleep

EH's sleeping schedule - or the fact that he doesn't have one - has been our greatest struggle so far.  If he's not getting any sleep at night, that means that we're getting even less, since oftentimes the little sleep that he did get was in our arms while we were holding him.

I've learned that for me, sleep deprivation breeds negativity, and I was having a hard time being positive about anything when all I wanted to do was go to sleep.  I decided that it should be my top priority over the course of the next 5 weeks to get him on a sleep schedule.  Because if he keeps sleeping (or not sleeping) the way he has been AND I have to work a full day I am going to lose my mind. Again. Permanently.

Seriously, you wouldn't want to sleep either if you had this awesome dog to ride around on

So I did a little web research and we decided to conduct a Sleep Study.

On Baby Center I read that infants EH's age should be sleeping approximately 14 to 15 hours a day - about 10 hours at night and 4 to 5 hours of naps during the day.  I started a log to keep track of exactly when EH was sleeping and I let him do whatever he wanted in terms of being asleep or awake (for the most part.)  We learned that at most he was only getting about 12 hours of sleep a day, which was way more than we thought he was getting, but definitely less than the recommended amount for a 24 hour period.

So once we figured out what he was sleeping, he started to try to manage it.  Babies who are sleep deprived have a harder time falling asleep, even though they are exhausted, and thus need more help from us to get to sleep.  I do think that EH has a problem with this.  He's so over tired and hyper-alert that he cries and screams to keep himself awake, even though he's really exhausted.

So, I ordered some books based on recommendations of a couple of other new-ish moms, and I started reading.  First up was Babywise.

People either love or hate Babywise, and I really want to love it.  I read the whole thing (albeit rather quickly) and am trying to implement some of their schedule recommendations but I've been frustrated so far.  The Babywise schedule recommends that during the day you follow a schedule of Feeding Time, Awake Time, followed by Nap Time.  For nap time, if your baby cries when you lay him down, they recommend letting him cry for awhile.  But they don't offer any suggestions for what to do if your child won't stop crying.  When I lay EH down for a nap he cries forever.  He seriously won't stop crying.  He cried for an hour and a half today and finally I got him out of his crib because it was time for his next feeding.  Then after he ate he was wide awake once again. 

He's been up since 8:30 a.m. It's nearly 1 p.m. and he's showing no signs of wanting to sleep.

I've tried the pacifier. 
I've tried rocking him for awhile and then laying him down again once he's calmed down. 
I've tried music.
I've kept the TV off to prevent over stimulation.
I've kept the lights down low, since he lights to stare at lights. 
I've darkened his room.
I tried "shush"ing him and whispering in his ear.
I tried holding my hands over his eyes to force them closed.
I've tried letting him cry.

I don't know what else to try.

I'm not quitting yet, but I am allowing myself to recognize that not all babies are going to fit perfectly into the Babywise schedule.  Maybe EH is one of those babies that does not need as many naps a day as other babies.  Or maybe he does, and he just has a hard time falling asleep because he's so excited about the world.  Who knows?

During the day, he's a fairly happy baby, unless I am trying to make him nap.  He's usually quiet, wide-eyed and gurgly for most of the morning.  In the evenings he's super fussy and that's usually when I feel like he needs a nap but he's still not willing to do so.  I've also read that a lot of babies are really fussy in the evenings. I would even be ok with him not napping much during the day if he slept better at night.  He's getting better at night time sleep, but he's definitely still not where I want him to be yet. 

So we'll just keep trying...

We still have a long way to go, but I know it's only day one and I can't be expecting miracles.  EH may have won today's battle, but I am determined to win the war.  And honestly, I'm hoping that at the end of this we can work as allies and come to compromise to find something that works great for both of us.

Your Daily Dose of Cuteness

Because we all need a little cuteness every now and then....

EH's Birth Story - Part 7 - Hospital Room Healing

When we finally got into the room that I would be spending the next four days in, I was definitely exhausted but still feeling pretty good from the spinal medicine.  I got settled into my bed and had another chance to hold my new little man.

At this point, I was only taking ibuprofen for pain, but a few hours later I was begging for something stronger and they started me on a ibuprofen and percocet combination.  I was worried about taking percocet because in the past narcotics like that have totally knocked me out and made me totally useless, but it turns out when you have a newborn, you're not allowed to be useless and somehow my body was ok with that.

Again with those always flattering hospital gowns

Life in a hospital room is slow moving.  Time is really only marked by mealtimes and by visitors, either friends, family, or nurses.   I actually almost enjoyed the hospital food during my stay there.  For one, you can order breakfast food anytime, which I loved.  Secondly, you are allowed to order so much food as part of your allowance that I chose what I wanted, and then DH chose something as well so that he only occasionally had to pay for food. 

Speaking of DH, he stayed in the room with us almost the entire time, save for two days when he had to go and run errands.  It was incredibly helpful considering I couldn't even really get out of bed until the second day.   The "pull out chair" that he was supposed to sleep in was a joke and so most of the stay he (we, really) got very little sleep.  Of course that wasn't all due to the uncomfortable chair, but it certainly didn't help.

Since I wasn't very mobile, I needed DH more than ever to help take care of EH.  DH had never changed a diaper before in his life but suddenly he was the sole diaper-changer.  He also became the bath extra and jumped up every time EH started crying.  I didn't realize just how much I would appreciate having him there the entire time, and during the few times that he left for a couple of hours, I was incredibly lonely.

Nurses came in every now and then to do a few things:
1. Push on my abdomen (which I heard was painful, but it didn't really bother me)
2. Give me pain medications
3. Take my blood pressure and temperature
4. Take EH for various tests
5. Give me stool softeners

Side rant
Trust me on this one people - if you are offered stool softeners at the hospital after a major surgery, take them. Do not let the stigma of the horrible name embarrass you. Stool softeners are your friend. Don't ask, just take them.
End side rant

Those first couple of days were rough.  I realized how ridiculous it was that I thought I should be able to go home that first day. I felt like crap for most of the rest of the stay.  In addition to the obvious pain from the incision I experienced swelling like I have never known before.  Everything from my chest down was so swollen it felt like permanent pins and needles.  I couldn't wiggle my toes and my lower back and butt were so sore and swollen that there was no comfortable position for me to sit or lay in.  I didn't get a single stretch mark during my entire pregnancy but on the 3rd day in the hospital I got my first stretch mark on my butt from swelling! Unreal... I was so angry.  But I guess if it's going to be anywhere, my butt is the best place. 

All of the doctors kept telling me that swelling was "normal," but I absolutely do not believe that such painful swelling could possibly be normal.  In all of the things I read about c-section recoveries, I never read anything that said swelling to such a degree that you lost feeling in major areas of your body was "normal."  On the morning that I was to be discharged, someone finally came to see me about the pain that I was experiencing, but at that point I was so frustrated that I basically just told them I was fine and would just recover from home.  Once I was home it did get better, and I think that the uncomfortable hospital bed had a lot to do with my pain.

Other than that, our time spent in the hospital was focused on getting to know the new little man in our lives.  The first night he slept like a dream and we thought that maybe we were the luckiest parents ever, but then the next night he cried all night long and we had no idea what to do.  It was a learning experience for sure, and in a way, it was nice to be in the hospital where at the very least I didn't have to worry about cooking my own meals or anything like that.

We had a handful of visitors, family and friends that really helped to break up the monotonous days.  We got tons of balloons and a beautiful bouquet of flowers.  DH and I talked, held our baby, took naps, and took lots of photos whenever EH was looking particularly cute.  We didn't turn the TV on once, except to watch the horrible "don't shake a baby" videos that we were required to watch (and yet we were still billed $25 for TV services, which I will forever be annoyed about.)

Time seemed to pass by slowly, but then all of a sudden it was discharge day!!! Which is where I'll pick up with part 8 of the Birth Story (and which will probably be the last part of this series. Finally!)

Too Good To Be True

I knew that I spoke too soon when I celebrated my amazing night of sleep on Monday night.  Because on Tuesday night, as payback, I got less than 2 hours of sleep.  The shining light is that I was well rested enough from the night before that I didn't totally loose it for a second time.

Sleep deprivation is a crazy thing.  Sometime around 4 a.m. last night crazy things started happening.  I was freezing cold, even though it wasn't that cold in the house at all.  My entire body felt like it was suffering from restless leg syndrome, and as I sat there in the rocker holding EH I was worried that I would twitch so violently that I would fling him right out of my arms.  Around 5:30 a.m. I started feeling sick to my stomach, as if I was going to throw up, which I attribute to the fact that I was fairly starving since I was awake for a significant amount of time without calories.

And now I'm sitting here at my computer at 10:30 p.m., listening to EH fussing on the monitor, holding my breath that he'll wear himself out and fall asleep.

 This is what he looks like when he sleeps... not that I get to see this scene very often

Last Friday a friend of mine from graduate school sent me the nicest email.  Among many other things, she said that when her son was a newborn someone told her "This is the hardest part." 

This is the hardest part.  

I like that so much more than "It will get easier."  When you're operating on almost no sleep, someone smugly (it all seems smug whether they're actually be smug or not) telling me about how easy they have it now makes me want to scream. I vow to never say "It will get easier" to anyone going through the same struggles as me in the future, because even though I know - we all know - that it will get easier, it is simply NOT helpful to hear that in the moment.  I have a feeling that everyone who has had a newborn, who is now saying "it will get easier" will acknowledge the lack of helpfulness that the sentiment conveys.

This is the hardest part. 

It's so true. Or at least, I have to believe that it is, for I also imagine that if things only got harder from here then people would stop having children and humanity would eventually cease to exist. 

And even though right now I'm pretty sure that EH is campaigning to be the only child of this family - and believe me, DH and I are strongly considering giving him what he wants - I also have to believe that a couple of years down the road I'm going to forget about how horrible these sleepless nights are, and I'm going to do this all over again, only we'll also have a toddler to contend with at that point. 

And that's when I'll say to myself, "Oh wait, THIS is actually the hardest part."  And we'll just keep on going, taking things day by day, reminding myself that the easy part - that seemingly unreachable rainbow on the horizon - will someday be within my grasp.


First of all, I just wanted to say that I am ok!  Really, I am. I was actually ok on Friday afternoon when I wrote that post, but I guess I didn't make that as clear as I thought I did.  Thank you to everyone who commented on that post, sent me kind emails, and helpful Facebook messages.  They meant a lot to me and were really thoughtful!

In other news, last night was the first time in a looooong time that I got a full 8 hours of sleep!!! Granted, it took 12 hours to get it (10:30 p.m. to 10:30 a.m.) and it was definitely not uninterrupted, but it was much needed and I feel so much better.  It's the first time I've gotten that much sleep in one night since before EH was born.

 I know!! We were BOTH shocked!

It's only 1 p.m. and I've already eaten lunch AND have dinner cooking in the slow cooker.  That may not sound like much, but trust me, it's a huge accomplishment and perhaps the most productive I've been in all of my maternity leave time.  And it's only 1 p.m.! 

I know it's probably just a fluke and that I'm probably jinxing myself by celebrating this little victory, but it's just so nice to finally feel like we're making small steps towards getting EH on something that resembles a sleep schedule.  I've ordered two different books about baby sleep training and I can't wait to start reading those.  He'll be 6 weeks old on Thursday and that's usually when you can start that sort of thing.  And with only 6 weeks left of my maternity leave, I'm hoping it's enough time to get him on a schedule before I have to go back to work. 

Thanks for the sleep EH!

I Lost My Mind

Last night I had a true meltdown.  It was the not the first, but certainly the worst. 

EH hasn't been a great sleeper lately. He's a newborn after all, and he definitely has his morning and his nights confused.  But this past week was a lot worse than the previous four.  Instead of just being awake at night, he's started screaming and crying at night unless I am holding him.  On Wednesday night I hardly got any sleep, but usually I can make up for it the next morning, when EH tends to do his best sleeping.  But on Thursday morning he was wide awake and he spent the remainder of the day screaming and crying unless I was holding him.

That evening DH came home and watched EH for awhile so that I could go to Target, make dinner, etc.  He let EH sleep on his chest during the time that I was gone and of course he was a quiet, sleeping angel.

But then evening hit.  At 9:30 DH went to bed and I fed EH for what I had hoped would be the last time for the night.  But after eating, EH started screaming and even when I would hold him, he wouldn't let up.  I set up camp in the spare bedroom with his little portable sleeper thing but he just kept screaming.  At 10:30 I decided that he might still be hungry, so I gave him a bottle, but that didn't help either.  He just kept screaming.  I was trying to hold him on my chest while laying down, because I was so exhausted that I kept dosing off and I was afraid I would drop him if I was sitting up.  But he just screamed and screamed and screamed in my ear. 

At 11:30 I gave him some gripe water which is supposed to help with gas, since I thought maybe he was having gas pains.  That didn't help either.  I put him in his bassinet thing and set a timer on my phone, telling myself that I needed to let him cry for at least 5 minutes to see if he would calm himself down.  But his screams just got more intense and his voice started to become hoarse.  At 12:30 I decided to feed him again, and after that he seemed drowsy. I had to hold him for awhile before he actually fell asleep but by 1:30 I was able to get into my bed and get a some sleep.  Of course, at 3:20 a.m., he woke up ready to eat again.  I fed him and he seemed drowsy afterwards, so I put him in his crib and went to bed.  But two minutes later he started screaming again so I got back out of bed and picked him up. 

This is when things started to get ugly. 

I do not function well without sleep.  At this point it was 4:30 a.m. and I had gotten about 2 hours of sleep.  On top of that, I hadn't gotten much sleep the night before and I was reaching my exhaustion point.  I was holding him, rocking him, whispering in his ear, trying to get him to calm down.  But he would not. stop. crying.

I was so frustrated. I was freezing cold, and I was also really emotionally cold.  I didn't want to hold him anymore.  I didn't want to soothe him.  I just wanted to lay him in his crib and walk far, far away.  I was filled with resentment - I resented him for keeping me awake, for ruining my life.  I had so much regret and couldn't remember for the life of me why I ever thought having a baby was a good idea.  I had no heart or love left in me.

I started crying.  I was sobbing.  Huge, hot wet tears streaming down my face.  My nose became so stuffed up that I couldn't breathe through it anymore.  I sobbed for 30 minutes.  Somewhere in that time, EH must have sensed my frustration and he fell asleep.  At 5:20, I put him in his crib and went int othe bedroom.  DH usually wakes up at 5:30 but he woke up when I came into the room. It was dark so he couldn't see my face, which I'm sure was a mess.  He told me that he was going to get up then, and I just lost it. 

"DH, I can't do this anymore..." I sobbed.  "I am losing my mind." I fell into bed and my body was shaking from the crying.  DH hugged me and held me and tried to calm me down, but it was hard.  I have never been so tired in my entire life.  DH took the monitor to let me get some sleep but I was so worked up at that point that I couldn't fall asleep.  Plus, EH was next due to eat at 6:30, less than an hour away at this point. 

I layed there for awhile, hugging Murphy, asking him why in the world we ever thought that just having a dog wasn't enough love for us.  I did eventually fall asleep, and I am feeling better now, but I am also emotionally exhausted. 

Nobody tells you just how hard having a newborn is.  People say it's hard, but then they also say things like "But it's just amazing.  It's great. I love being a parent."  Etc, etc, etc. 

But the truth is that it during these early weeks, it's a lot harder than it is great.  Infants don't give a lot back.  They eat, they cry, they sleep, they poop, and they turn your life upside down. They don't care how tired you are.  They don't thank you for your effort and most of the time you don't even get a smile in return.  They don't hug you back when you hug them.  They just scream incessantly in your ear and basically break you down until you crack. 

Sometimes it's hard to love something that is so innocently selfish.  It's impossible to know what they want, and they can't tell you.  You have to figure it out or just put up with the crying.  If you're breastfeeding, you don't get more than an hour or two of sleep at a time so you're physically as well as emotionally exhausted.  You forget to eat, and when you eat, it's not healthy.  You're dehydrated because you don't have a free hand to drink water.  You're dirty because you don't have time to shower and showering just takes so much time.  People tell you to "sleep when the baby sleeps," but that is the most frustrating advice ever because most of the time the baby is sleeping on you and you can't sleep without being afraid of dropping the baby. plus you use the few extra minutes that you have to do things like go to the bathroom or brush your teeth.

Maternity leave is not about giving moms time to enjoy their babies - it's about giving moms time to survive having a baby. 

There is no time to enjoy anything, and yet all the time in the world.  I get nothing accomplished during the day, but I am constantly busy.  The work is mind-numbingly boring.  I have never felt so useless in my life.

Which is why I have such a hard time asking DH for help at night.  After all, I'm home all day long, and as far as he can tell, I do absolutely nothing.  At night when EH is crying, I want so badly to wake DH to help, but 2 things always stop me: 1. There's nothing that he can do for EH that I'm not already doing and 2. He has to work the next day; I do not.

But now I realize that asking for help is essential to keeping my sanity.  I don't want to resent my baby simply because he's worn me down to the point of exhaustion.  I know that it will get better, but please don't tell me that - it's not helpful.  Right now, only sleep and time will help.  He will get older, he will get bigger, he will be able to go longer between feedings, he will learn how to sleep on his own.  All of this will happen.  But it's going to take a long time, and in the meantime I need to keep my head up, sleep when I can, and remember to ask for help before I go over the edge again. 

Otherwise, I'll wake up for a second morning with a nightstand covered in dirty tissues.

Postpartum Weight Loss

During the course of my pregnancy with EH, I gained a total of 34 pounds.  It should come to no surprise to anyone that I did not birth a 34 pound baby (thank god.)  In fact, he weighed a measly 7 pounds.  Most statistics say that the average mother loses around 10 pounds during childbirth, and I didn't weigh myself until 1 week later, but at the 1 week post-partum point I had lost a total of 10 pounds, so it doesn't seem like I lost at 10 at birth.

In any case, it's really true that when you leave the hospital after having your baby you still look like you're 6 months pregnant.  Here's proof (in the form of two equally blurry pictures.

First, me at 23 weeks pregnant. 

Then, me at 1 week postpartum.

Pretty similar, huh?
That was at 10 pounds lost, 24 pounds to go.

At 2 weeks post-partum I was down to 17 pounds lost - half of the baby weight lost!!! At the two week point I made the statement that I felt that was the "easy" part.  I was fairly confident that the rest of the weight would take more work to lose.

And boy, was I right.

At 5 weeks post-partum I had only lost 2 new pounds for a total of 19 pounds lost so far.  That means I still have 15 pounds to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and I have a feeling it's not going to be easy.

For one my eating habits have not been very good.  I frequently forget to eat until I'm absolutely starving and then I binge on not-so-healthy stuff.  I need to get myself back into a better eating routine, but routines and newborns do not go hand in hand, so I'm at the mercy of the little one's chaotic and needy schedule. 

Also, until recently, I was still fairly sore from the c-section.  I know that healing takes time, but when healing gets in the way of weight loss, it's frustrating.  I still don't feel like I can exercise.  In fact, we've been trying to take walks in the evenings and although I'm able to finish them, I can't go very fast and I'm usually sore in my incision area afterwards. 

My goal is to lose all of my baby weight by the time I go back to work on November 1st.  I have/had nearly 12 full weeks, and originally I thought that would be no problem at all.  In fact, they say that one average, it takes most women 6 months to get back to their pre-baby weight, and that seems like such a long time!  But now, understanding how significant the healing time/process is for a c-section recovery and understanding how unpredictable life is with a newborn, it's seeming less and less likely that I'll meet my goal. I know I have almost 7 full weeks left, but I'm not sure when I'm going to be able to start exercising and eating like I need to be, and really, that's not a lot of time. 

But in any case, I have to try.  So, my diet*** starts on Monday. 

*** I'm breastfeeding, so I can't really "diet" in the traditional sense, but I can start walking/exercising more and I can stop eating like I'm in college.  That's a good start.

EH's Birth Story - Part 6 - Recovery

For the next 30 to 45 minutes (I think) I laid there while I was being sewn back together.  That part of the process actually takes a whole lot longer than the birthing part of it, as there are multiple layers of muscle and tissue that need to separately be stitched together.  During most of that time, DH held EH, and the nurses also took him for awhile to give him the Vitamin K shot (we said ok to that) and to do whatever other things they do to newborns. 

Laying there while I was being stitched up was very "Grey's Anatomy"-esque.  I could hear the nurses talking about their plans for the weekend.  A resident doctor and student were stitching me up, one one each side, and I listened as the student asked questions and the resident explained things.  For example, I learned that although most c-sections are closed with staples, they were closing me with stitches instead, and that there is apparently no medical evidence showing that one way is better than the other.  It is apparently still fairly uncommon for c-section incisions to be closed with stitches as multiple people asked me over the next few days and weeks when I had my staples removed, and some didn't even believe me when I told them I had stitches!

Anyway, after that, the next step is usually to be moved to a recovery room (the labor/delivery/recovery rooms) but there were no recovery rooms available so they decided that I had to stay in the operating room to recover.  They moved me off of the operating table onto a bed, not a stretcher, because they were apparently all of our stretchers.  Of course....

One of the major complaints of Magee Women's Hospital is that it's basically like a big baby factory and that there is little time for personal attention because they're so busy.  I felt like I got plenty of personal attention from all of the doctors and nurses that I encountered, but I was annoyed to keep hearing things like "oh, we dont have a room for you," or "Well, there aren't any stretchers left" all day.  I believe that the hospital is expanding (based on construction that I've seen going on there) and that is definitely much needed.  Hopefully they'll get some more equipment as well.

Once I was settled onto my recovery bed, I got to hold EH for the first time.

And one of the nurses took the first picture of our family of three.

Happy Hartman Family!

I think we were in the recovery/operating room for about an hour after they were done stitching me up, although everything was still pretty hazy.  And then at some point they took us to an actual recovery room.

Once we were settled in there, they put EH under a warming lamp because his temperature was low. My sister arrived a short while later.  I was awake and aware and feeling great, and I made a statement that I laugh about now that I remember it: "I can't believe I have to stay here for 4 days! I feel like I could go home tonight."

HA! Little did I know.  A mere few hours later I would be begging for percocets when the pain became unbearable, but we'll get to that later.  In the meantime I was hooked up to that annoying blood pressure cuff, and nurses kept coming in and pushing on my stomach to help contract my uterus.  Apparently this can be painful, but since I was still so drugged, I didn't mind it at all.  They tried to clean me up a little - oh my god, so much blood - and then I had switch beds again, once they realized that I wasn't on a regular stretcher.

My parents arrived and a short while later they notified me that my inpatient room was ready, so it was time for yet another room change!

My Little Peanut

EH had his one month check-up today, and he's still a tiny peanut!  He weighs 7 pounds 15 ounces, which is a full pound up from his visit with the lactation consultant a little over 2 weeks ago.  However, he's only in the 8th percentile for weight based on his age.   He's earned the nickname that everyone has seemed to adopt - Peanut.

His favorite two fingers to suck on!

But it's actually not that big of a deal.  After all, he was born 2 weeks early, so other babies his age had two extra weeks in utero to grow.  If EH had been born on his due date it's likely that he would have been a solid pound or more bigger.  Additionally, I told the doctor about my clogged duct and he said that that definitely can impact a baby's weight gain but that it was good that I kept nursing. 

So, they're not concerned at all, since he is growing and still eating good.  The bad news for me is that I need to still keep him on a eating-every-3-hours schedule during the day, whereas if he was bigger they would let me back off of that.  It's not a big deal though - I'm still at home so I can dedicate the vast majority of my time to feeding him, so I'll just keep doing that. 

He grew 1.5 inches since his last visit and is now a long 21.5 inches! He's in the 46th percentile for height and and 45th percentile for his head circumference.  So, overall, he's a perfectly average baby and we just need him to keep on growing!

EH's Birth Story - Part 5 - We Have A Baby!!!

Have you ever had major abdominal surgery while awake?  I can't imagine that it's too common outside of cesarean sections.  After all, who really wants to be awake during surgery unless there's something good to see, like in the case of a baby.

So at this point, my doctor has started cutting me open.  I don't feel any pain, but I definitely do feel the pressure and pulling.  It's a weird sensation, and because everything had happened so fast I was having a hard time processing it all.  I had my lips in an "O" and was taking deep breaths in and out.  I don't think I could have breathed normally if I had tried.  I was also shivering like crazy, which is apparently a side effect of the anesthesia.  DH was there the entire time but I don't remember much about what he did or said during this time (perhaps he can the story from his perspective!) - I was focusing too much on just holding myself together. 

The student anesthesiologist was on my left side, talking in my ear.  He was looking over the curtain that they had put up so that I couldn't see what was going on, and keeping me updated on the progress.

"They're almost ready," he said at one point.  "You'll know when they're about to take the baby out because the doctor will say 'drop the table.'"

And not a few moments later I heard the doctor say, "Ok, drop the table!"

The table was quickly lowered and this is when the fun began.  The doctor (actually probably multiple doctors) started pushing high on my abdomen, just under my chest.  Previously all of the pressure and pulling that I felt was down lower, where they were making the incision.  But now there was intense pushing downward as they tried to get the baby out.

"I see a butt!" the anesthesiologist said, excitedly.  More pushing and pulling.

"I still see a butt!" he said again. Apparently this baby was stuck with just butt out.  The pushing and tugging intensified, and the table was literally bouncing up and down.  (Again, this would be a great thing for DH to  write about, since I have a poor memory of most of these events.)  I continued taking deep controlled breaths in and out, in an effort to hold myself together.  I was overwhelmed with emotions and had tears rolling down the side of my face, although it wasn't because of pain or anything like that.

Everything is about to change, I thought to myself.  Thought only because I don't think I could have spoken a word out loud or else I would have lost it. 

"He's almost here," the anesthesiologist said, and I heard the doctor say something about how the head was stuck.  They rocked the table - me - back and forth, up and down, and I just stared at the ceiling or closed my eyes..

And finally there was a weird release, where all of the tugging and rocking stopped and there was no longer crazy pressure.

He was out.

I don't remember much about the moments after, only that I was listening intently waiting to hear him cry.  DH could see over the curtain now that they were holding the baby up higher, and he could see him being fussed over by the nurses.  It felt like forever before I finally heard his tiny baby cry and at that point the tears started up again.  I am not generally a crier, but there is just something so incredibly emotional about having a small human come out of your body after being there for 9 months, and hearing his first sounds that I think would bring almost any women to tears.  It was crazy emotional.

After a few minutes, the nurse brought the baby over to DH to hold.  At this point we still hadn't settled on a final name.  I don't remember most of the conversation, but I do know that at some point I said something like, "I think Evan is still my favorite name."  DH agreed, and suddenly our little boy had a name.

Part 6 is up next - Recovery.

For The Birds!!!

Newsflash - Life with a newborn is crazy hectic!!!

How can one little cutie cause so much trouble???

And ongoing medical issues have not helped at all.  Want to hear the rundown? (TMI warning!)

First off, my incision is still not healed properly.  The right side of the incision is still oozing and bleeding.  It's not as bad as it was a few weeks ago, but the fact that I'm almost at the four week post-surgery point and this wound isn't healed is concerning.  I was at the doctor yesterday and she cleaned it up for me and removed some of the stitches.  She thought that it was weird that the stitches still hadn't dissolved, and she thinks that maybe I was having some sort of weird reaction to the stitches.  Hopefully now that they're removed, the bleeding and oozing will stop.  If it's still not healed within the next 10 days, I'm supposed to go back.

I also have tennis elbow is my left arm, something that is apparently common for new moms.  It's caused by stress on the joints from carrying around your baby and feeding.  It's pretty painful and it makes it harder to hold him, particularly when I'm feeding him.  I've been using lots of pillows to use as support instead of my arms, and that's been helpful.  But it's still occasionally painful.  How ridiculous is it to have tennis elbow from a baby???

Then, as if that wasn't enough, this past weekend I was diagnosed with an infected nipple and a breast infection.  I was prescribed an antibiotic on Saturday and started taking that immediately.  Do you know what they tell you have an infection and you're breastfeeding?  "Just keeping nursing through it!"

Are you kidding me!??!?!  It felt like I was being electrocuted every time I tried to feed him on that side.  It hurt soooo bad, I can't even describe it.  I thought about stopping breastfeeding altogether right then and there, but fortunately within 24 hours the electrocution pain stopped and it just felt like something was chewing on my nippled (oh wait, there was something chewing on it.) 

Sounds like enough, right?  But THEN, overnight Sunday I developed multiple clogged milk ducts.  I'm not 100% sure what caused this but I think it's because I was feeding him more on my right side due to the soreness on the left side, but then once the horrible pain on the left stopped, I went back to using both sides evenly.  Within that time, my right side thought there was more demand, so it increased supply, but when I stopped feeding more on that side, there was too much in there.  This happened at night, when I often go longer between feedings than usual because he's sleeping, and I woke up Monday morning in incredible painful, with a rock-hard right breast. 

It SUCKED!!!  I was useless all day Monday and all of a sudden EH wasn't getting anything from that side.  Ugh.. Seriously, this breastfeeding thing is FOR THE BIRDS!!!!***  I wanted to quit really badly.   But all of my online research said that one of the only things you can do for a clogged duct is to keep nursing through it. It was super frustrating because he was even fussier than usual since he wasn't getting as much food as he was used to getting.  And did I mention it was painful?  I was useless.  I was so uncomfortable, so miserable, so sad....

I had a doctor's appointment on Tuesday and she confirmed that really all you can do, other than use warm compresses, is to keep nursing through it.  *Sigh.*  I guess I'm stuck with this, at least for now.

The good news is, last night when EH was eating, I suddenly noticed that he was going for longer than normal and seemed to be getting a lot of milk.  Later than night I noticed that the hardness had decreased and by this morning, the clogged seems to be completely gone!!!  I am thrilled, and feel so much better. 

And of course, the general lack of sleep hasn't help with any of this.  BUT, I hear there's always a light at the end of the tunnel!

At least now I finally feel like I can get on with my life.  Hopefully, for all of you, that will mean more blog posts this week! I know that I'm behind!!!

*** In case you haven't noticed, whenever I say that something is "for the birds," it's usually something that I am currently doing and will probably continue to do, but sort of wish I wasn't. 

Oh, Come on....

I've talked at length about how stressful August was for us.  I was looking forward to September 1st for awhile now - a new month, a new start, and hopefully a lot of quiet. 

But then September 1st came and I realized about mid-morning that our water wasn't working right.  I flushed the toilet an hour later and the water stopped running altogether. I tried to wash my hands - nothing.  Just air coming out of the faucet.

Great.  September is starting off with a bang.

We have well water, which is super annoying and I absolutely hate it, particularly because the people across the street and the people up the street all have city water, but we're just a little too far down and so we're stuck with well water.  Our well water sucks.  It's chock full of iron and the iron build up clogs everything it comes into contact with.  Our toilet and tub is stained with a layer of nasty brown filth that's nearly impossible to get rid of.  We spends hundreds and hundreds of dollars each year on various water filters - UV light filters, rope filters, weird chemical filters that involved a beet-juice colored powder that stains everything it comes into contact with.  Seriously, our water goes through so many filters it should sparkle like diamonds.

But it doesn't.  It's brown - or sometimes purple, if the iron filter malfunctions - and today, it decided that it doesn't want to come into our house anymore.

I was lucky enough to get a guy to come out within a couple hours of realizing the problem.  After over an hour of trying to figure out the problem, it turns out the motor in the well is bad.  The motor in our 105 foot deep well.  So I think we're looking at a repair bill of at least $500, probably a lot more.  But what can you do when you have a newborn baby, lots of dirty diapers, dirty dishes and a toilet that needs flushing??? You suck it up and pay whatever you need to pay to have the problem fixed.

I've said this before and I will say it again and again and again a thousand times over - RENT, people!!  Homeowner-ship is for the birds!!! 

(And if you're going to insist on buying a house, at least make sure it has public water and public sewage!)