Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The First Weeks and Stuff

Everyone says "Sleep when the baby sleeps"....seriously, everyone. You know what no one says? "Cry when the baby cries".  Maybe it was my less-than-stellar birth experience, or a surge of hormonal changes, or extreme exhaustion, but every single time Jackson cried in the first few days at home I felt like the worst person in the world and wanted to cry myself. Lots of times I did. 

You know what's hard? Breastfeeding. So many people make it sound like its the most natural thing in the world and like it will come so easily. We started struggling in the hospital but then there were nurses round the clock coming in to see how it was going; including one determined nurse who busted in at about 2:00 in the morning and wouldn't rest until she had a plan for us that involved a shield, a strict schedule, immediate pumping and syringe feeding after letting him nurse for a while. It didn't get better at home. He started to gain weight back, but is not back to his birthweight yet at two and a half weeks which is like a punch in the gut. 

I went to a breastfeeding support group this week. When we walked in, there were women with their babies (all older than Jackson by quite a bit) sitting in a circle on the floor with their shoes off. As is my luck, my kid started crying as soon as the group started. I took him out of the room and tried feeding him. Because even though it was a nursing support group, I am not yet comfortable whipping my boob out in a room full of people. Two women and the LC came out to check on us and encourage us to come back inside. I guess anything is better than sitting on the couch and crying into the boppy wondering if the baby who keeps falling asleep at your chest is getting enough to eat. 

When Jackson was born, the pediatrician noticed and pointed out to us that there was a ridge on the top of his head. He said that it was caused by two plates in his skull that were closing prematurely. This week I stood behind a glass window and watched as some ladies held my screaming infant son down for head x-rays. After that I had to call and make an appointment for him, my two-week old baby boy, with a neurosurgeon where we will discuss options like a helmet or maybe surgery. 

Justin is back at work full time now. Monday was our first day home alone and it was a 14 hour day. The concept of time is pretty much nonexistent to me right now. All I know is "how long since the last feeding?" My days vary from needing to wake him up to eat and being locked to the couch because he wants to eat all the time. If I'm energetic enough to shower at 5:30 am before Justin leaves, I toss one pair of milk-soaked pajamas onto the floor to exchange them for a clean pair that are destined to the same fate. 

Time to make a decision; the baby is finally napping. Looking at the clock, it's only an hour until he needs to eat again and despite how much I wish I didn't have to, I have been advised not to let him go more than three hours without feeding and will need to wake him up. Do I finish my breakfast (a half eaten turkey sandwich that I made over an hour ago, and a coke)? Or watch the episode of Nashville that I've been watching for three days because between diapers and crying that can only be soothed by walking laps around the dining room singing, I have no idea what's happening? I think this time I will take everyone's advice, set an alarm just in case, and sleep while the baby is sleeping. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Birth Story

 I'm sitting in my now quiet bedroom with a tiny human sleeping in the bassinet next to me. As hard as it is to keep my eyes open I can't fall asleep. Jackson's birthday was one of the most surreal days of my entire life. Here's what happened.

I was supposed to be induced Wednesday morning at 6:30 am, but while we were both lying awake with anticipation my water broke at 1:30. I started having contractions pretty much right away and when I got to the hospital was dilated to 6 cm. By the time I reached 8 I was ready for the epidural and it was sweet, sweet relief. I rested for a while until the doctor came in and said I was complete and ready to start pushing. She left me with the nurse and I pushed for three and a half hours. They had turned my epidural down so that I could feel my contractions, and boy, could I. When the doctor came in the baby had hardly moved and the only progress that was made was my exhaustion and frustration.

Finally she said "I know we were really hoping for this to work but he's just not going to come this way". They brought me consent forms for my C-section and I think I cried all the way to the operating room. Justin got gowned up, but when they started the numbing it just wasn't working in the places that it needed to so I had to be put under general anesthesia. Which meant that Justin couldn't be in the room. It's a good thing that gas worked fast because I was a wreck at this point.

After what felt like forever I woke up being wheeled to a recovery room where people were poking and prodding me and telling me that my son was healthy. Soon after that I was groggily brought into the post-partum room and Justin wheeled in the bassinet with our 8 lb. 5 oz. Jackson Henry in it. 

Thanks to new-mom euphoria and pain killers, I smiled as my parents and Justin's parents passed our baby around and welcomed company while nurses and doctors filed in and out checking my vitals and incision. The next three and a half days in the hospital though, weren't as sunshine-y. Between the hormones, exhaustion, and recovery from major surgery I cried a ridiculous amount in those few days. 

When my doctor came in to take the dressing off of my incision, the tape got caught on my IV  line and ripped it out. I had a big itchy stripe of redness from my epidural tape that ran from the back of my neck down to my butt--which was only made worse by sitting in bed against a sheet all day. Nurses were coming in on their shifts all telling me different things; walk here during the day, you can't walk down here, I can give him a pacifier if you want, he shouldn't have a pacifier, I don't know when you're going to go home, you can choose when you go home...it was crazy. 

I was feeling really helpless and terrible. I needed help getting in and out of bed. Justin had to put my socks on for me. I couldn't lift Jackson out of the bassinet or walk around the room with him so people had to bring him to me. It killed me watching other people doing everything for my baby while I couldn't and the one thing that only I could do--feed him--has been a huge struggle for us. 

After surgery when things had calmed down a little bit, the doctor came in to talk with me about everything that happened. I still struggle with a lot of feelings of missing out. I didn't get to deliver my baby the way I always dreamed I would, I didn't get to hear his first cry or have him placed on my chest right away, and it breaks my heart that Justin couldn't be in the room. She told me that she did not regret letting me try pushing, but that the likelihood of me having that kind of delivery in the future is about 10%. It was an overwhelming day and I'm still processing quite a bit of it but in the end I know that it was what needed to happen, and even if it didn't go how I had planned I still have a healthy, beautiful baby boy who makes it all worth it.
   This might be the longest post I've ever written. If you made it all the way through, thanks for reading! 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Stuff and Things: The Waiting One

I'm on official maternity leave. I anticipated this glorious week of finishing all the household chores, crafty projects, and relaxing.

In reality, it has been ridiculous amounts of Golden Girls and wandering around  the house looking for things to do so I don't sit on the couch going crazy. I've washed a thousand dishes, taken out and washed all of the shelves and drawers of the refrigerator, and folded mountains of laundry...because already the baby laundry never ends.  I've also been getting all kinds of facebook posts, texts, and questions asking if there's "Any baby news yet?!" and it's driving me nuts. I. Will. Tell. You. When. He's. Here.

Last week was hard. I ended up having a doctor's appointment on the due date anniversary of my baby in heaven, and it happened to be the only doctor's appointment that Justin missed. Sitting on the cold table by myself brought back a crazy wave of memories and I ended up crying through the appointment and talking to the doctor about how scared I am for this baby. Praise God that I have a wonderful and caring doctor who kept handing me tissues and talking me down from hysteria.

I had my last appointment yesterday (no tears were shed). Last week I was dilated to 3-4, and yesterday was 4-5. She kept joking "I can't believe you're walking around like this and nothing has happened...you're just not normal". So we she decided that if he doesn't come on his own I will be induced on Wednesday. I'm not crazy about the idea of induction and am still holding out hope that things get started naturally.

Now I'm sitting around waiting for labor signs and over-analyzing every little twinge and cramp wondering if this is "it". Over the course of about a day I have gone from wanting this kid to stay in and cook as long as he needed to (after all, he's not due until Saturday...plenty of time!), to being completely over it and ready. So I'm waiting. And trying hard to practice patience and trust; neither of which are strong points of mine, so I'm really looking forward to this path being straightened out.


Stuff, Things, etc.