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One Month

Happy One Month, Theodore John!

We’re a little in shock that it has only been a month since Teddy was born. He fills out our family so well it’s like he has always been here.

I feel like I’ve healed pretty well. I’ve only lost about 20 of the 50 (I know!) pounds that I gained with Teddy, which is a bit frustrating to me, but I’ll make it there eventually. I can wear the jeans I bought just before Ben was a month old and have started pulling out my regular clothes again. Most of the weight is stored in my lower half so pants will be a struggle for a while but getting out my old shirts is like seeing old friends after a long absence! I’ve stopped bleeding already (it took 6 full weeks with Ben) and don’t feel the stitches anymore.

I don’t take Teddy back to the pediatrician until he is two months old but I know that he is growing! He is out of newborn disposables and is starting to outgrow his newborn clothes. Many of the 0-3 month outfits are too big yet so we’re mixing and matching until he grows a bit more. We made the move to cloth diapers during the day last week so we aren’t flying through disposables anymore. He seems to be tolerating the change pretty well with no significant rashes to speak of. We weighed Teddy before his bath on Saturday and he clocked in at 9.6 lbs and has the chin rolls and dimples in his knees to prove it. I’m proud of how much he has grown!

We’ve fallen into a good rhythm with breastfeeding. He eats every 3-4 hours during the day and then a 4-5 hour stretch before our first night wake up and then 3 more hours. That’s typically a bed time feeding between 10 and 11, one feeding from 3-4, and a wake up feeding between 7 and 8. His schedule is a lot more fluid than Ben’s internal clock so stupid Daylight Saving Time has thrown us off a little. Ben is now ready to get up before Teddy eats but we’ll eventually get back to Teddy naturally wanting to wake and eat about 30 minutes before Ben is ready.

I think I am FINALLY past the mastitis and clogged duct problems that pestered me the entire time B was in San Francisco and I was solo parenting. I finished my antibiotics yesterday and started taking lecithin (food extract that acts like an emulsifier, sticking to fat in my milk to keep it from sticking together) and haven’t had any super painful clogs since I wrote my last desperate blog post. Astonishingly, Teddy started latching without a nipple shield after I wrote that post too so thank you for those prayers! It was wonderfully encouraging to have something start going right after 7+ days of frustration. We regularly go without the shield and only use it for the one to two night feedings, depending on how tired Teddy is. He has a lot more trouble latching when he is half asleep and when it has been 5 hours since he ate and I’m more engorged than normal. He can be quite stubborn about latching anyway and has spent up to 5 minutes sniffing and licking my nipple instead of latching but we haven’t given up yet. I was a little worried that the mastitis and duct issues caused a dip in supply but since Teddy’s diapers are always soaked and he poops all the flippin time, he is still getting enough to eat.

B is currently back in San Francisco for a second conference in less than two weeks. I dropped him off at the airport yesterday morning and he gets back Wednesday evening so this one is much shorter than the last one. He commented on how much bigger Teddy was when he got home last Thursday. That’s what you get for going away for a week when your son is only 3 weeks old! I feel much more confident about solo parenting for this second stretch even though all three of us have caught colds. I’ve figured out some coping mechanisms and experience coordinating both boys schedules. We’ve watched more tv than I’d like during the last week but I’ll be able to wean us off that once we get more settled. We watch youtube music videos and have dance parties (great for using up toddler energy!), Baby Einstein, and, of course, Toy Story. I’ve gotten really good at playing dishes with Ben with only one hand and figuring out how to shower each day. Baby wearing is more of a necessity this time around and I am so glad I bought the baby k’tan to use instead of the Moby wrap!

Ben has impressed me with his flexibility, maturity (at times), his helpfulness, and his love of his “baby broller Teddy.” I’ve learned that if we talk about what to expect from him during a situation, everything goes much smoother. For example, when we get home from the store, I tell Ben that I’m going to take Teddy out of the car and put him in the house and then I’ll come back for him. He knows I haven’t left for good and he gets attention too. We have started working some of the basic love and logic parenting methods into our daily routines with some positive results. We regularly “take turns” changing diapers and we give him the option to go first or second. He can choose between different shirts every day and chooses from several options for lunch or snacks. We’re working building up his self-confidence by giving him the chance to choose his own path from a carefully constructed set of options. All choice is a good choice because we only give good options but it works! We still spend our fair share of time in the time out chair because he “didn’t use good listening” but I’ve seen impressive improvement in the last month.

Ben is very helpful with Teddy too, in spite of liking to steal Teddy’s boppy and burp cloth all the time. He likes to give hugs and kisses, is very concerned if he thinks Teddy isn’t going to go somewhere with us, shares toys (Teddy doesn’t care but its adorable just the same), and is tolerant of the time Teddy spends with me nursing.

I’d be remiss if I don’t mention that it has been a year since we lost Baby 2. Time changes the feeling of emptiness that comes with losing a baby but it doesn’t go away, even after the birth of a child since then. We love and miss you, Baby Girl!

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4 day old baby snuggles!

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Our first walk with the double stroller (Joovy Caboose Ultralight)

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Momming

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Ben got a haircut and didn’t act like it was the end of the world!

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The many faces of TJ

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Our first outing without B

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Ben asked for a photo with his chicken nuggets to send to Daddy

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We had one amazingly warm (78) day to play in the leaves before it got cold and rainy

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Ben is a huge fan of leaf piles

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Teddy’s face is priceless

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Baby’s first WP shirt!

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Dressed like Daddy

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Ben refused to nap on Halloween and kept putting his monster socks on his hands like puppets

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The cutest Woody ever

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Buzz Lightyear to the rescue!

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Selfies while building towers

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Ben was sharing toys with Teddy (Woody hat, Mr. Potato Head, Daddy’s glove, and Ben’s burp cloth)

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This boy is full of energy and joy!

 

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Follow Up and Moving Forward

I’ve been meaning to write this post for almost a week now. Ben has been going through another nap strike so any chance I get, I’ve been playing catch-up on housework. Ben is sleeping right now AND I’m done with laundry for a day or two so I have time to post again.

I saw my OB last Wednesday for a 2 week follow up after my D&C. I was expecting a pelvic exam but that didn’t happen. The nurse asked me if I was still bleeding (I was) so that might be why I didn’t have to undress. I wasn’t complaining though, I’d rather keep my clothes on! Although I was still bleeding, I wasn’t having any pain, cramps, or other warning signs of complications. I’ve really been feeling pretty good. After asking a bunch of questions about pain, medications, hormones, etc, I was dismissed with a clean bill of health and don’t need to return to the OB until I am pregnant again. I asked about the timing of the initial appointments. I’m worried about not seeing a live baby before something goes wrong IF something goes wrong. He said that they would definitely see me earlier than 10/12 weeks if that is what I want. Hooray!

We talked a bit more about the findings of the blood test. The baby had Turner Syndrome and all babies with Turner Syndrome are born female. It kills me a little that this was the daughter I was hoping for. There is still hope for more babies in the future so that is something else we discussed. The OB told me that normally he’d recommend waiting through two cycles before trying to get pregnant again but since we aren’t anticipating me cycling, that we can decide to start whenever we are ready after 6-8 weeks post-op, which is sometime between December 18 and January 1. If I was to get pregnant on this first cycle, the baby would be due right around Ben’s birthday. I don’t know if we want our kids’ birthdays that close together but it’s just as likely that I won’t get pregnant this month. B and I will be talking it over for sure. Hopefully we can figure out which we want more, to not waste a cycle or to keep kids’ birthdays apart.

I’m not quite looking forward to seeing family over Christmas because they all know what happened but we haven’t seen them since. I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle it if they try to talk about it. I already know that I’m going to have a difficult time getting along with B’s younger cousin. She is an 18 year old college sophomore who accidentally got pregnant over the summer. There are few things that are more frustrating to me than an accidental pregnancy for someone who had no intention of having kids anytime soon since we have to work to get pregnant and right now, don’t have a very good track record (1 in 3). B doesn’t believe skipping the extended family gathering is an option so this will be an interesting discussion.

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How It Went

B and I dropped Ben off at my parents’ house at 9:30 in the morning so we didn’t need to worry about him or coordinate his care. He loves his Grammy and Grammy loves to have her Ben around so they were happy with the arrangement. We had just enough time to run a quick errand before heading to the hospital.

We navigated the hospital’s very full parking garage and I was hit with memories of doing the same thing when in labor with Ben. The walk from the parking garage through the sky bridge, over to the main hospital building is long but seems even longer when you have to take a break for every contraction that hits you along the way. Instead of heading to Labor and Delivery on the 9th floor, our destination was Outpatient Surgery on 3.

I typed my name into a registration kiosk and sat down in the waiting room. It took only a few minutes for the receptionist to call me up to sign paperwork and receive my ID bracelet. Above our heads was a large monitor with patient ID numbers and short status updates like “prepping for surgery” and “in recovery.” I thought it was cool that the hospital wants people waiting to have as much information as possible. B got a sheet of paper with his instructions as a very important loved one with my ID number, a timeline of when he would be able to see me, and a few other details. We waited a few minutes more before a nurse stopped in the waiting room to collect us.

We walked across the hall into another ward of pre-surgery prep rooms. The nurse got my weight and we headed to the coldest and farthest room in the area. We played 20 questions about my medical history (don’t smoke, drink, do drugs, have any breathing problems, 3 pregnancies, no I haven’t eaten today, yes I know what the surgery is about) before she left me to change into the flattering hospital gown and double sided, grippy slippers. Like I said, it was freezing in there so I wasn’t too keen on losing my layers.

Once I had changed and packed up my clothes for B to take care of, the nurse came back to prep me for surgery. First she had me sign consent forms for the procedure and for anesthesia then covered me up with what she called a “bear hug” blanket. The first layer was a thin, papery blanket. The second layer was like a giant, deflated bubble wrap blanket that the nurse then hooked up to a space heater with a hose. The plastic pockets inflated with warm air and I was quite cozy. The top layer was a plain sheet. I got hooked up to my IV (I need to remember that I should ALWAYS get an IV in my left hand). All meds that I needed to get before the surgery were intravenous because my stomach had to stay empty. I started getting fluids and because of my previous reaction to general anesthesia, the nurse also gave me Zofran and Pepcid to keep me from getting sick when I woke up.

My OB stopped by to talk about what as going to happen and suggest the Maternit21 blood test to check for chromosomal abnormalities. He told me that there is a good change that our insurance will cover it so we agreed. We should have done more legwork and called our insurance company. Both B and I are almost certain now that we’ve had time to think about it that our insurance will refuse to pay for it. I really don’t want to get saddled with a several thousand dollar invoice when the test might not actually answer any questions. My hope is that we’ll get a bill before my follow up appointment with the OB in a few weeks so we can talk it over if it is as high as we fear.

Finally, when all this was done, I met with the resident surgeon who was assisting my OB (one thing I love about my OB is their office is partnered with the hospital I love and all their doctors practice at both locations) and the anesthesiologist. He approved me for the kind I was hoping to have (mac instead of general) and the nurse pumped half of my anesthesia into my IV. Everything got a little soft and fuzzy at that point, partially from the anesthesia and partly because B took my glasses. I kissed B goodbye and was wheeled into OR.

There were people buzzing all over the place. I was as introduced to a nurse practitioner, the anesthesiologist’s assistant, and several people I can barely remember. They transferred me over to the operating table and must have pumped the second half of sleeping drugs into my IV because I remember nothing beyond that point. Since not remembering was the highlight of having to go through this surgery for me, I am thankful that was true.

I woke up in a small recovery room with Brian waiting next to me with crackers and ginger ale. I told him on the way to the hospital that all I wanted when it was all over was something to drink and he had it ready. He told me that once I went into the OR, he had just enough time to run to the cafeteria for a quick lunch before my OB went to find him to tell B I was done. Recovery from a mac anesthetic is shorter than a general so before long, within an hour actually, I was getting dressed and was ready to go home. They wheeled me through that forever-long hallway to the parking garage (so thankful I didn’t have to walk it!) and we got to go home.

Today I am slightly crampy, very bloated, and uncomfortable but not in pain. It’s tough to pick up Ben’s 20+ pounds of dead weight so B has been helping for diaper changes and meals. Most importantly though, I am no longer nauseous and can eat again! I’m enjoying having energy and enough willpower to get things done around the house.

As bad as this experience could have been, the staff made it bearable. Everyone knew why we were there and expressed their sympathy when we met them. The nurse told me that after the surgery, the lab will analyze to the best of their ability to find out any information about why I miscarried. After that, the baby will be buried and we will be notified when the service will be so we can decide if we want to go or not. I told this to a friend of mine who also had a late first trimester loss and she was surprised. They didn’t have the opportunity to bury their baby and she had never heard of a hospital that offered something like this. This is just one more reason that this hospital is my favorite and we are blessed to live so close. I hope with all my heart that I never have to make the choice to go through a D&C again but if that has to happen, we will be in good hands with our staff.

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Sometimes Things Don’t Go as Expected

The OB’s office called me back this morning and we scheduled a time for me to come in during the early afternoon for the nurse to scan again and this time the doctor was available for an ultrasound if necessary.

The nurse listened with the doppler, the doctor listened with the doppler and they still didn’t find anything.

One short wait that felt terribly long later and the ultrasound showed the baby but no heartbeat. Baby 2 measured right around 9 weeks so something happened a week ago and I had no clue. I haven’t had any cramps since 5 weeks or spotting at all this pregnancy.

We’re still in shock and are mourning our little bean. Part of me can’t believe that we’re going through this again! Why me? What is wrong with me that my body can’t grow a baby?!

We have to decide what to do next, either wait for a natural miscarriage or schedule a d&c. I’ve been through a natural miscarriage and it’s not something I’d like to repeat. I’m starting to think it will be worth paying the ridiculous copay to be put under and not have that memory this time around. Either way, we’re waiting over the weekend because there’s nothing that can be done until Monday.

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8 Weeks

8 weeks! It’s already been a month since we found out Baby 2 is on its way.

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Baby 2 is the size of a cute grape who is looking less and less like a tadpole every day. Baby Grape has fingers and toes and breathing tubes and eyelids. It’s hard to believe that at this point with Ben, I had already seen the doc and had an ultrasound whereas now, I have several more weeks to wait. Part of me is afraid of waiting for the ultrasound and 10 week doppler scan because what if something is already wrong?! I have to remind myself to breathe and relax because everything seems to be going textbook perfect so far.

I constantly feel nauseated and have had trouble eating and keeping things down this past week. The only things that have tasted good enough to not upset my stomach were Mrs Grass’ chicken flavored noodle soup with egg dumplings, popcorn, and a black bean quesadilla. I haven’t been able to drink much either but am working on that.

I’m fairly certain my milk production has dropped significantly due to my decreased water intake. Ben isn’t suffering so much as just frustrated he can’t have as much milk as he used to drink. He has started biting me after nursing for a while and I think he’s trying to tell me there is nothing left for him. I’m getting ready to be done nursing him though, as much as we’ve both enjoyed it. Trying to sustain both Ben and Baby 2 has caused me to drop a bit of weight already so I’m keeping a close eye on the scale.

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6 Weeks

We are to 6 weeks today and have crossed a mental barrier for me. I miscarried my first pregnancy between 5 and 6 weeks so I definitely feel more confident after reaching the 6 week mark.

This week Baby #2 has a beating heart and pumping blood and is working on forming a mouth, ears, and eyes. Baby is about the size of a pea!

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I’m still feeling pretty good. My appetite has basically disappeared so I’m struggling to eat enough. I’m concerned about dropping too much weight too fast since I’m growing a little pea and nursing Ben at the same time. I’ve had a few bouts of nausea but haven’t thrown up yet. I think I was ok at 6 weeks with Ben so maybe the worst is yet to come? I had some pretty awful cramps on Friday and Saturday but didn’t spot at all so I’m chalking that up as normal.

We told both sets of parents within the last week. Ben and I went to see my parents on Friday since we had previously arranged to borrow their van for an Ikea trip. B’s mom came into town for a day trip with some of her friends so Ben and I met them for lunch with this very obvious shirt!

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All of our parents were very surprised and very excited.