Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sort of Feeling Alive

Nighttime is killer, since Loki thinks it is daytime. He is on a bili light, so we are only supposed to pick him up to feed him. But he cries all night if someone doesn't hold him. He sleeps fine during the day, though. Aren't we just so lucky?

His bili levels are dropping! I figure we just have a couple more days of the light and baby straight-jacket combo. I saw my doctor, too, and while I have a chest cold, my blood pressure and labs are okay. The headache was either from the cold or lack of sleep, but fortunately, not from a heart problem. My feet are almost back to their normal size, too.

I'm only pumping about twice a day at this point. Loki is doing well feeding directly. I might go ahead and start offering the one breastmilk bottle at 3 a.m. this morning, but it depends on the shape Alan is in. He has what must be pneumonia and is exhausted. Unfortunately, once I go to bed, it is physically difficult, because of the c-section, to get in and out of bed, so he is doing most of the night shift. We'll see. I'm sore from pumping less, but I just can't keep up the level of pumping I was doing and I'm still overproducing, even without the constant pumping.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Breastfeeding Bumps (Brien's Eyes Might Burn ;))

Breastfeeding is going much better than I ever expected. Much, much better. Still, it has it's problems and I am having some issues.

The hospital staff was TERRIFIC about supporting breastfeeding. I'd heard so many people talk about how breastfeeding is discouraged in the hospital, but I saw just the opposite. Even when I struggled, every single person encouraged breastfeeding, no matter what. The nurses were all willing to help. They would wake me to pump. I gave birth at almost 10 p.m., my baby (expected in my room all night) was moved to the NICU at 2 a.m., and by 9 a.m., thye had me pumping every three hours. I saw lactation consultants every single day I was in the hospital. The only free formula I received was at checkout and it was a laughable amount compared to the huge bag of pumped breastmilk I took home. I was asked if I wanted it before receiving it. It was packed separately. The nurse took it out of the bag it came from and showed me how the bag was great for keeping breastmilk cool. I was amazed at the support.

Of course, at first, my baby was very jaundiced and on IV fluids because of a bowel issue, so he received formula via his nose or nothing at all. But the formula was poured into the drops of colostrum I had pumped, so that he would get that. One nurse, one time, accidently made a formula bottle. When I pointed it out, she looked horrified, apologized, immediately poured out the formula, and put up a bigger sign on the crib saying breastmilk only, so that no one would repeat her mistake. You could tell it really was an innocent mistake, which was understandable considering that Loki had had formula at first because of his problems, then been off all food when my milk came in. The formula was already in his crib, specifically because of his earlier problems. I was encouraged to use kangaroo care, too, so Loki would be used to me.

Once Loki held down 3 small breastmilk bottles, he was able to breastfeed exclusively. Because he was still struggling with jaundice and because the usual breastfeeding solution of feeding more often was just not possible (because mommy was suffering side-effects of delivery and had to drive in for an hour each time to feed him), we opted to supplement half his feedings with breastmilk bottles. Our little buglet had no problem going back and forth between bottle and breast. It was our decision, though. The doctors were clear that I could breastfeed 24/7, on demand if I wanted. What mattered to them was two-fold: use only breastmilk and use a ton.

But I have two major problems. One is overproduction. Once, Loki took both breasts. It was awesome. I didn't have to pump. I fed him and went to sleep. Awe-some. But, mostly, he takes only one breast. Since my production is so high, I make about 5-6 ounces (for a baby who drinks 1-2 ounces). Whatever breast he doesn't feed in gets sore, inflammed, and paiinful. Therefore, the lactation consultants and the doctors (who consulted together on this) have decided I must pump any undrained breasts at least every three hours. Of course, this increases production! But otherwise, I get infections, so that's how it has to be until he can feed from both breasts.

The other problem is that, despite phototherapy, Loki is still jaundiced. We even started to breastfeed and then offer a small breastmilk bottle - and to use natural sunlight - but to no avail. We've been to the hospital twice since getting discharged for testing. Levels are going up and are almost at 20, which means a phototherapy bed at home (if one is available) or the NICU again (since they run out of phototherapy lights). My pediatrician is checking levels again tomorrow and Loki is getting his checkup early. The pediatrician asked if we would be willing to use formula for 24 hours and just pump in the meantime. They think I have breastmilk jaundice. If so, it should go away after 24 hours of formula, and then I can breastfeed again regularly. If, however, he has breastfeeding jaundice instead of breastmilk jaundice, we'll have to breastfeed more than we are doing. Either one of thise, though, is not serious. The more serious problem would be if the jaundice is not related to breastfeeding at all. Given that he was 37 weeks and had a conehead (even though he eventually came out via c-section), that is possible, though not probable. It's also more likely to cause problems than breast-related jaundice. If Lochlan was having issues with going from bottle to breast, I would have said no, but he does fine, so I'm giving them 24 hours. I have noticed that he throws up every formula bottle. Gre-ate. I don't plan to breastfeed for a full year, so eventually (when my freezer finally runs out), he'll need to tolerate formula. Hopefully, he'll outgrow that problem.

I hate going in the other room to pump when people are visiting, but I can't pump (gross, yuck, hate it!) in front of others, even fully covered up.

And while I'm complaining, Loki has only latched on once without a nipple shield. Not a huge deal, but something else to carry around.

In none breastfeeding news, I'm having nosebleeds, my incision and abs are killing me, my feet and ankles are double their usual size, my blood pressure is creeping up, my pulse is creeping down, and my massive headache (which started last night) will not go away, even with the 600 mg motrin I am taking for the surgical pain. I might move my doctor's appointment up to tomorrow. I'm getting nervous that I'm having the same problem with my heart as last time.


The NICU Conspiracy

I'm never a blog slacker, so I apologize for the spotty blogging. Mostly, I apologize to myself. I NEED blogging, especially when I am otherwise weepy and hormonal and need to talk but don't have time to because I'm stressed. Put simply, I need you people out there on the interweb. And if any of you are close friends, I'm up for company. Just call first, to make sure it's a good time. And, well, if my husband and I sheepishly disappear into the bedroom to sleep and you don't hear from us for an hour, well, that's the risk you assume when you visit! LOL.

Monday through Friday were torture in the NICU. First, I was achy from recovering from the c-section with 15 hours of labor and 2 hours of pushing and from walking back and forth to the NICU, which was about a five minute walk from my hospital room. Second, things started to go from "a mild infection and fast breathing" to looking serious and grim.

By Tuesday, I got a call from the neonatalogist. Loki reportedly had a spell of apnea. Apnea, as I knew all too well, is when the heartrate drops and breathing stops for 20 seconds or more. It's pretty scary. It is associated with SIDS. He was put on a five day watch for another episode to see if he needed treatment. His lungs still had fluid and they couldn't tell if he had pneumonia. He was spitting up all feeds and put on IV due to a bad bowel x-ray two days in a row. He had a positive screen for Group B Strep, despite the antibiotics I took during delivery and despite a relatively safe (in terms of contracting Group B) c-section delivery. He was jaundiced and his bili levels were rising.

By Wednesday, though, things were turning around a bit. No more apnea episodes occurred (and, usually, if they occur, they do so in the first 2-3 days of life). The lungs still showed some fluid, but only normal amounts for a c-section and no pneumonia. Lochlan's breathing slowed a bit, so he was allowed to start breatfeeding after three (breastmilk) bottles. He did not spit up a bit of the breastmilk, so the bowel was considered okay and just a scare. The Group B culture came back negative. Yippee. Clearly, he had some sort of infection, but nothing as serious as Group B. His jaundice improved and he was removed from the bili lights. The doctor said he was coming home on Friday.

I wanted to blog. I wanted to shout to the world. From seriously ill - so ill that we had limited visitors and could barely hold him - to going home! I got started on breastfeeding. His latch is excellent. He required a nipple shield (no surprise there), but ate well. His jaundice started up again, just a little, but the doctor said to keep breastfeeding exclusively and not to worry...that's normal with breastfed babies. He could (and still can) bounce back and forth between bottle (with breastmilk - I have a freezer full) and breast with no problem at all. And he was coming home!

Wednesday night went bad, though. We had gone home midday to rest. I wanted to breastfeed in the morning and at night. Had I felt better, I would have tried to stay at the hospital 24/7. But my feet are swelling, I'm getting headaches, and my blood pressure is rising (still, but it started on Wednesday-ish). The doctors put me on meds and are watching me closely. Also, though I'm recovering from the c-section well, I'm definitely suffering. Honestly, the pain level is less than my small tear last time, but I do not feel good overall. I'm weak and lethargic. So we did morning breastfeeding (8 a.m. and 11 a.m.) and evenings (usually 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.) instead of all day long.

We were home with mother in law wednesday afternoon, napping, when the air conditioner stopped working! OMG! So we called the repair people. They would try really hard to come out that night, but Alan had to stay at home and meet them. Sunny said we could crash there. MIL was leaving in the morning anyway (since the baby was coming home), so she would leave Wednesday night instead. She would drive me to the hospital and Sunny would meet me there, while Alan and Ander waited on the A/C repair person.

MIL almost crashed her car! She had forgotten her purse and realized about two minutes from our house. She turned around to look for it - while driving! I saw she was about to crash and said, very calmly and clearly, "Mrs. Rose, look at the road. Mrs. Rose, look at the road NOW." She finally did and pulled into our lane right before we would have crashed. Then she insisted that I look in the back seat for her purse. I explained that, with the c-section, I couldn't twist around. she insisted. I said no. Finally, she pulled aside to look for her purse. I suggested that she just take the two minute ride back to my house and look for it there, but she refused because she didn't want Alan to know she forgot it! WTH? Isn't he going to know, anyway? In the rush of the changed plans, anyone could have forgotten their purses. And, was she really going to ride three hours to home without a purse? Up until this point, she had been easy enough to deal with. But from this point forward, she also took so long eating supper that I almost didn't get to feed the baby and she refused to wear a mask, despite a head cold. I insisted she wash her hands and wear a mask. She refused, because then the NICU nurses "might not let me hold the baby." Um, I informed her that without a mask, I would not let her hold the baby. She has a cold, the baby is newborn and has an infection, and the baby's own daddy was wearing a mask because of the cold.

Finally, Mrs. Rose left and Sunny came to sit with me while I fed the baby. Alan called. The A/C was fixed. (Shout out to RiverCity A/C - lifesavers who went above and beyond because of our NICU baby!) But, despite a record of wonderful, wonderful, wonderful nurses, our NICU nurse that night was terrible. She was a busy-body, wouldn't allow me alone to bath or change Loki (um, it's my son and EVEN NICU PROTOCOL requires that I care for him to the extent I can), didn't look in on the babies whose parents weren't there (HUGE RED FLAG), and was very condescending. I mentioned to Sunny, Alan (later when he joined us to visit Lochlan) and Doris (the next day, when she generously spent the day with Ander in the waiting area so he could be near Mommy and Daddy) how bad she was. Finally, frustrated and ready for Loki to come home, we returned to our house.

On Thursday morning, I asked to the new nurse who came on shift at 6:30 a.m. for the routine report from the night before. "All went well. The night nurse didn't mention any problems." Great. We were still scheduled for release at 2 p.m. on Friday. Since it was our last full day in the NICU, I decided to vary my routine and stay all day, practicing breastfeeding. At 2 p.m., Doris and I were sitting next to Loki, while Alan checked the lost and found for our camera cord. The nurse practitioner came in, sat down, and looked very serious.

She claimed that Loki had apnea, again. At 5 days post-birth, that is a MUCH more serious situation than at 2-3 days. He was going to have to stay at least 5-10 more days and probably have some caffeine treatment and go home on a monitor. Also, his jaundice was back and climbing and he might go back on a bili light.

Red flags went up for me. Then horrible night nurse had noted apnea, but they still had to call her for details. She didn't note how long the heartrate dropped or what it dropped to and she didn't note the length of the halt in breathing or whether she had to revive or the circumstances. The nurse practitioner promised to ask for details when the nurse returned for the night shift.

Hello? She didn't chart sufficently and they were going to wait several more hours?!? My kid might stay another week and they weren't sure what happened? My kid might have been not breathing, but they didn't know?

So I threw a (calm but effective) fit. I insisted they call they nurse immediately. I insisted that NO DECISIONS BE MADE until they spoke to the nurse and consulted with me. (The NICU doctors tend to just decide things without the parents. I would not find this acceptable.)

Three minutes later, we overheard the nurse practioner talking to the neonatalogist.

THERE HAD NOT BEEN AN EPISODE OF APNEA. In fact, the neonatalogist stumbled along, apologizing to Alan and I, the first episode was not apnea, either, and I should not have been told that by the other nurse practitioner! They were just watching. Lochlan had normal heart rate decels. Mild, NORMAL decels while being changed or pooping...like all babies do!

I was relieved, but livid. The doctor had the nurse reprimanded, pulled off the next shift, banned from being around Ander, and retrained in charting. I was assigned two EXCELLENT nurses, including a friend of mine from my mom's group.

We are still struggling with jaundice, and on Friday and Saturday, were facing a possible return to the NICU. That risk is related to breastfeeding, much reduced at this point, and merits a whole separate post.

As you can imagine, I am now a paranoid, emotional mess. With cankles. But at least my baby is sleeping peacefully. Well, peacefully as long as one of us holds him.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

Rock Solid (TMI - You've Been Warned)

My boobies, that is.

Do not let anyone tell you that breast size does not matter in your ability to breastfeed. Small breasts can certainly produce milk. But large breast size DOES INDEED MATTER. My breasts are hard as rocks and big as houses. I'm going downstairs to shop for a nursing bra that fits in the hospital (as I'm too large up there to get one anywhere else) and I'm prepared to spend $80. That's right, Mrs. Didn't-Make-An-Income-All-Year is desperate for a bra that fits and does not hurt like Hades.

I pump. I feel let down. I make plenty of milk for my son. Two minutes later, nay, immediately, hard as rocks! They are too hard and too painful. I cannot drain them and the more I pump, the more I produce. Heck, I cannot walk without leaning forward and that's not because of teh c-section. I just weigh too much on top. (Huh, with my luck, all the childbirth weight loss is back as boob weight.) Any advice? mathochist? EBeth? Someone?

I'll talk to the lactation consultant in the morning. I might need bigger attachments for my breast pump. I might need a wet nurse. Hell, I might BE a wet nurse. (Yah, right!) I don't think I can pump more often. After all, I am pumping every two and a half hours at this point. Alan and his mom are incredibly helpful, with Alan helping with the pump while Mrs. Rose takes care of Ander, but both are getting sick and dragging, a lot. Tonight, I had to ask Alan three times for bottles. "It's not that I didn't hear you or listen, sweetie. My brain just didn't understand." Poor guy...it was true. I'm getting a cold, too, so I'm dragging. And I can't sleep because of all the pumping, and calling or walking down the hall to check on Loki, or cuddling with Ander for even a minute.

I called the nurse and Lochlan has now done THREE feeds without spitting up at all. Oh my gosh! If I get to actually try to nurse him in the next couple of days, I'll be giddy.

Oh, a couple more breastfeeding questions. Everyone talks abotu how calming and nice they feel when they nurse. I cry. And cry and cry and cry. Is that normal? Also, I feel drugged and fall asleep - as in out of my chair asleep - about three minutes in. I've spilled milk that way. I've almost fallen down that way. I've hit my head that way. Will that go away? Or will I drop/smush Lochlan?


Some Good News

Loki ate 15 ccs (which is like nothing, but fine for a baby) for two bottles in a row! And I finally got to feed him one of the bottles. I wanted Alan to feed him a bottle instead of me so that Lochlan will associate mommy with breastfeeding, but Alan is getting sick. Mother in law is getting sick. Ander is almost better, but now I have a cold and a sore throat. Try coughing with a cut in half tummy - ouchie!

My milk has come in, so Loki is getting exclusively breastmilk at this point. I am producing double what he needs, so even if he never nurses well (though, based on his seek, find through two layers of clothes, and bite down on mommy's nipple reflex - double owie - that's not a problem), he'll have breastmilk in the freezer for a while.

It was so weird feeding him. Ander always took about 30 minutes to drink 20 ccs, which was why he was in the NICU. Loki takes about 30 seconds.

Race on.


Loki Health Update

Heart: He had an episode of apnea (stopped breathing with a dropped heartrate for a few seconds). He needs to go five days without a single other episode before he can be released.

Lungs: His x-ray does not show pneumonia, but his lungs still have fluid and he is breathing rapidly. He cannot take a bottle until his breathing slows under 70 breathes per minute (with 40 preferred). He must take three bottles in a row before he can breastfeed. He must keep down all feedings for 24 hours before he can go home.

Stomach: His stomach xray shows a lack of gas in the bowel. However, he is pooping and gassy, so the lack of gas does not seem to be causing symptoms. Therefore, they will do feedings (either by bottle or gavage tube, depending on his breathing) starting today and see.

Infection: He will get the full course of antibiotics, since he is now going to be in the hospital that whole time anyway. So far, the tests are negative, but the test for group b strep came back positive initially, and that culture is not back yet.

The only real bit of good news is that my milk is finally in.

Ander refused to wake up this morning because he wanted his mommy.


My Birthstory

Pregnancy and childbirth are wretched and unjust. Let's just consider the pregnancies that make it to live birth and pretend devastating miscarriages never happen.

Some mommies never vomit. Some do. Violently and often, especially that first trimester. Some mommies enjoy the second trimester as a gentle if strong breeze. Some have weirdo eye infections that leave them temporarily blind and swollen in both eyes for months. Third trimester comes too quickly for some to get the shopping finished. The rest of us lie on the couch, unable to work, make money, or care for ourselves or our other children.

Then there's the childbirth. Labor pains six days since 30 weeks, usually for twelve hours or more. On my precious Loki's birthday, labor from 1:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. plus hard, desperate pushing from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. A heartbreaking c-section, not for the pain of the section that will come later, but because you will be seperated from your baby - a part of yourself - for an hour. A mere hour. An eternity.

When that hour turns into four, it becomes unbearable. At hour number five, you can no longer tolerate it. Your epidural is long since gone, the urge to vomit is only from your mental state and no longer because of the drugs you have been given, and you know you will walk - now - staples and pain and all. You drag yourself up and head down the hall, because your very heart is in the NICU. Birth: 9:18 p.m. Arrival at NICU: 2:19 a.m. Sweet agony.

Recovery cannot happen while in the hospital bed. The food is bland and scary. The drugs only mask the physical pain. Your older child cannot visit enough. His chest cold is raging, so he is a risk to the family, especially mommy and baby. Your husband is falling down from exhaustion. He hears you cry at night and jumps to hold you and wipe away your tears, but there's no room for him to share your bed. Your tender abdomen blocks the space. The bathroom means chills during your hot showers, bloody pain, and mind-numbing fear that your bladder will fail and put an abrupt stop to your precious NICU time.

Visitors are both too many and too few. You cannot be alone with your thoughts. You count every second of distraction as a blessing. Then you mourn every second. Could you have spent that fifteen minutes of football gossip on your NICU visit, your sleep, your toddler? The joy of showing off your precious baby is tempered with the guilt of denying daddy that visit, since only two people can be in the NICU at once. Grandma wants to - nay, will - hold the baby. Her flesh and blood, but twice removed. You struggle to share and not share at all. Time is too precious, too limited, too much like the droplet of breastmilk you barely produce after 20 minutes of hard work and then spill onto your bedsheet at the last moment.

Pumping is the ultimate injustice. You smile at your nurse, your lactation consultant, your mother. You grimace at feeling exactly like a diary cow as the machine makes your nipples look abused. You get that bit of milk and feel proud. You get that phonecall - he's on pure IV fluids and we'll freeze your precious antibodies and destroy them with the cold - and you plan your revenge. Your smile becomes your razor, cutting across the room at whoever says to keep pumping. But you dare not stop. Someday, someday soon, he'll need you to feed him. Someday soon, when he turns toward you, you'll be his best defense against the infections that are right now, with blood tests to confirm it, wracking his body. Nothing serious, they say. He be fine in a week, maybe two, they say. He's strong and will be okay, they say. So you hook your body to the torture device, every three hours. You thank God for the formula he does get and for the fluids when the formula is ripped away from him. You hope that the massive amount you produced tonight, probably a hundred drops instead of the usual four, means it will all be worth it. You learn that if you are crying with the heartbreak of missing your baby, you produce more. The injustice grows.

The doctors and nurse practioners call. You understand that you are, coldly and ironically, blessed to have nurse practioners call. It is the healthy sick babies that merit the NP. Really sick babies get the neonatalogists. You know, for real, that one day, this month or early next, your baby is coming home. You know, because you merit the almost-a-doctor-doctor. They report fast breathing, so no bottles. The goal - respiration under 70 per minute and three bottles and then the breast. The second xray rules out pneumonia. It's just fluid. Nasty, choking, if he had only turned face down and vertical if would disappear, fluid. The bowels aren't gassy enough. No bottle yet, because his tummy is rejecting them. No explanation, as the bowels appear healthy enough but not gassy enough. IV only - not a drop of the precious breastmilk or the live-saving formula - until the xrays are gassy enough.

The older child understands brother is out. Where is brother? No visits until the older child can not cough. No truly explaining it. Older brother cuddles with mommy. Mommy cuddles back, then rips away from him with claims of staples, the baby that isn't there, and hunger.

The NICU nightmare. Baby cries if mommy enters room. Mommy holds baby until her arms are falling asleep. But placing baby on the open-air crib leaves him screaming. All he wants is mommy. Mommy needs to rest, to eat, to tend her broken heart. Mommy needs to hold baby and never rest, never eat, to mend her broken heart.

He's not coming home at least until a week after birth. Tomorrow, on Tuesday, the hospital kicks mommy out. Mommy will no longer share the same roof with her own flesh and blood. Older brother will suffer 5 a.m. wake-up calls to avoid traffic on the way to the hospital. He'll play in the hallways and earn bitter looks from the weary patients and staff at his audacity to be the two year old he happens to be. Tuesday is the real nightmare scenerio. Tuesday, I go home without my baby.

Every person tells the truth. He is well-taken care of by the nurses. Pumping is so good for him. You get to rest.

Every person tells the lies. He is not loved by the nurses. Pumping is useless when everything sits, broking apart in the freezer. No mommy rests without her heart.

I miss Ander. I miss Loki. I miss lying in bed next to my husband. I miss chit-chatting with friends and walking by a lake and solving a difficult court case. I miss owning my own body with dignity. I miss french fries. I miss living a life. There is only one solution - my dream, my future even, but not my today. Sometime, next Friday? Next Saturday? Three weeks from now? Sometime, my toddler will sleep in his big boy bed, my baby will cuddle in his crib, and my husband will sleep by my side. Finally, my dreams will return to dreams and the nightmare will end.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Yup . . .

This is Alan. We are in Labor and Deliver (it is now 9:45am). The doc said there will definitely be a baby today as he will not discharge Kristy at 4 cm, even if he has to break the water and introduce pitocin.

It's Talk Like A Pirate Day

Hey, if the baby comes today, maybe we could name him Pirate. ;)


2:30 a.m.

I woke at 1:30 a.m. exactly. I don't think the contraction was any harder than the bad ones I've had, but it hit while I was sounds asleep. Surprise. There's nothing cool about waking up like that. I went to the bathroom and tried to go back to sleep, but it kept coming, every ten minutes or so. I could not sleep.

So I'm up in the living room, timing these suckers. If they go away, I'll go back to bed. In the meantime, I figure Alan needs some sleep, because he might not sleep tomorrow night. If they stay the same or only get a little worse, Alan and I will go out for breakfast around 5 a.m. and then call Sunny and head over to the hospital. If they get too much worse, we'll head straight to the hospital at 5 a.m. But I sure would like to have had breakfast before being admitted.

Of course, now that I think about it, I feel like I might throw up and I'm not hungry at all. So we shall see.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I never know if it's i before e after a ch or not. :/

Today I had breakfast with my son at McDonald's. We got OUT of the car. That's a really big deal for him, because while we occasionally have McD's for breakfast (the only decent meal at the place), we rarely get out of the car. He was very excited and acted very grownup! I thought making today special was important since it might be our last Mommy/Ander day alone together for a long time.

I noticed he has an eye infection and I needed to speak to the pediatrician about the new baby anyway, so Alan called and got us an appointment.

We bought two gifts at Target. Both are wrapped and ready to go in the car. One is for Ander's friend's birthday and one is for a storm (a shower for the male/the couple) next weekend.

We went to the doctor. Ander was adorable! He was very excited that it was his turn and not mommy's. :) We practiced letting the doctor look in his throat and he said ah! I told him the doctor would listen to his heartbeat, but he didn't believe me, because "I'm not a baby, mommy!" Clearly, he understands that we are listening to heartbeats at my doctor's office, but thought only babies had heartbeats.

At the doctor, she put him on the exam table to listen to his lungs, and he scooted to the edge a put his feet in imaginary stirrups! The doctor and I were cracking up! He needed a chest xray, WITHOUT MOMMY because I am pregnant. He did great. He said they took pictures of him and then gave him two suckers and stickers!

She said he either has a cold, sinus infection, or allergies. Normally, he wouldn't get antibiotics because she is not totally convinced it is an infection. But seeing as he might have a new baby in a couple of days, she told me he earned antibiotics just in case - not so much for his sake as a precaution for the baby.

She also said she likes to do the circ for the baby, so to have the nurses call her and she'll come to the hospital and take care of it.

We had lunch with Aunt Sunny (Serrano's Jamacian Shrimp...delicious, BTW). I had a granita latte at Highland Coffees. "Ander, you want a milk." "No thank you. I share your coffee with you." Apparently, he meant it. I let him sip it about three times, and each time, he would suck and suck it. My child loves coffee. I know how it's not good for him, but I guess I didn't care today.

We picked up his meds and got home. We both took short naps (about an hour) and then I unloaded the baby's clothes while he built a fort (with empty boxes) and played on his computer.

Still, no contractions yet. WTH?!? I've been moving like crazy. I'm supposed to contract like everytime before. I do feel the baby in my pelvis (OUCH!!!) and I'm crampy, but nothing regular.


Guess I'll Nest

I need to get contractions going. My plans? Well, I woke at 5:30 a.m. (despite wanting to sleep...I'm just too uncomfortable). I processed work documents for an hour. I plan to buy a couple of gifts (a wedding gift and a birthday gift) this morning. I think Ander will be excited to actually leave the house with his mommy! I also plan to work on the baby's room a bit, unpacking baby clothes into the drawers and getting ready for baby's arrival. I might clean out the bottle/sippy cup cabinet. I'll still nap, because frankly, I am 9 months pregnant and dragging bootie. But I'll get some things done.

I think Alan will take tomorrow off to help me get into labor. We'll drive around and walk the mall.



The induction will be scheduled for on or before September 30. In the meantime, if I start contracting again, the doctor will use pitocin and break my water, starting Friday. FRIDAY!!! He said, and I quote, "if you get yourself contracting again, I'm willing to meddle." He then clarified that meddling included pitocin and water breakage. He also said that, even if I don't try to start contractions, he expects me to likely go this weekend, based on my dialation (between 2 and 3), effacement (now 60%), baby position (engaged), soft cervix, and anterior placement of the cervix (was posterior on Monday). All good signs for success without a c-section!

Can I say panic attack?


Part A Does Not Fit Through Slot B

The sonogram (at 36 weeks and 5 days) estimates the baby's weight at 8 pounds and 4 ounces!
That's WAY OVER the 90th percentile. WAY OVER. Holy crap.

My blood pressure was high (which has never happened before) and my weight, which hasn't changed in weeks, was up since last week by 8 POUNDS!!! I will get checked for protien (which would mean preeclampsia) this afternoon. Hopefully, that will be negative. Otherwise, it's probably off to the hospital tonight for monitoring.

At my OB appointment today, we'll talk about induction. High risk doctor says no more than a week or two left, at the very most. Alan says Friday. :) Either way, the baby passed the biophysical profile with an 8 out of 8, so that's good.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Things are really about to change, aren't they? I realized this morning how "easy" Ander is to raise. He woke up. I gave him a sippy of milk (he can and does drink out of a big boy cup, but sippies are so much more spill-proof) and put Lady and the Tramp on the portable DVD player in his room. (This does not constitute a tv in his room. It is totally in our control, easily removed, and he cannot watch MTV or watch movies all day long. Or, at least, that's what I tell myself.) Then, I spent nearly an hour in the tub and getting dressed. I checked on him every 15 minutes. Actually, once, he checked on me. "Hi, mommy. You getting dressed? Why do you have boobies? Baby, come out of mommy's belly?" And then he toddled back to his room. He made a pillow fort and played with a toy phone.

I made us breakfast of waffles and bacon. He ate the same thing I did. He fed himself. It was zero extra effort on my part. Now I'll change his clothes, but he'll put the dirty diaper in the diaper pail and put dirty clothes in the hamper. He'll pick up his toys and then cuddle with me until Beth gets here.

Then, in a few...um, couple...um, don't know how long...weeks, I'll have a baby. And by 8:30 a.m., I'll have worked my bootie off.

Am I ready for this?


Monday, September 15, 2008


Or should I say, Dr. Charming?

My contractions yesterday started around 5:30 or 6 p.m. Around 9 p.m., they got really serious and we started paying attention. I tried to sleep from 11 p.m. until after midnight. Nope, waking up every 4 minutes. We timed them. 2-3 minutes each, 4 minutes apart, and really strong. (Author's note: This means that I only had about a one minute break when I wasn't contracting.) At 2:30 a.m., we called BIL to pick up Ander. At 3 a.m., we arrived at the hospital.

I dialated from 1 or almost 2 to 2 to 2 1/2. I am very soft, 50% effaced, but posterior. What does this mean? From Amazing Pregnancies:

"The Bishops Score generally follows this scale:

Score Dilatation Effacement Station Position Consistency

0 closed 0 – 30% -3 posterior firm
1 1-2 cm 40 -50% -2 mid-position moderately firm
2 3-4 cm 60 -70% -1,0 anterior soft
3 5+ cm 80+% +1,+2

A point is added to the score for each of the following:
Each prior vaginal delivery

A point is subtracted from the score for:
Postdates pregnancy
Premature or prolonged rupture of membranes

cesarean rates: first time mothers women with past vaginal deliveries

scores of 0 – 3: 45% 7.7%
scores of 4 - 6: 10% 3.9%
scores of 7 - 10: 1.4% .9%"

This means I get 1.5 points for dialation, 1 point for effacement, 1 for station, 0 for position, and 2 for consistency. That's 5.5 points. Add one point for prior vaginal delivery and I'm at 6.5 points. With that score, if I am induced, my chance of a failed induction/c-section is only .9% - 3.9%. Considering I've been contracting seriously for weeks now (with yesterday's "incident" involving screaming, cussing, and crying), I like those odds okay. Not that most doctors will induce until 37 weeks, which is this upcoming Friday.

Still, my contractions slowed and over the two hours I spent in the hospital, I didn't dialate anymore. So I knew I'd be sent home. The nurse knew I'd be sent home. The on-call doctor know I'd be sent home.

But the STUPID hospital doctor insisted on explaining it to me. Like I was five years old! And despite the nurse's assurances that she gave him my whole history (and her eye rolling behind his pompous back...LOL), he explained that I really should come in unless the contractions were closer together (than a one minute break between then?), over an hour (what about the five or six hours they lasted, huh, dimwit?), and stronger (than crying and screaming pain?). IDIOT. I tried to tell him they were like that, not in any attempt to stay in the hospital - who wants to not eat and stay hooked to monitors when you knwo nothing is happening - but in an attempt to clarify exactly what I should come in for. He restated his criteria - close together, over an hour, and stronger. SERIOUSLY, DUDE, WAS YOUR MEDICAL SCHOOL IN CARTOONLAND? He was oh so charming.

On the ride home, the contractions got even worse. I was in so much pain. I slept this morning. Now, they are mild and annoying, but not strong or consistent.

My sonogram and doctor's appointment is on Wednesday. For a really big baby, we'll likely have an induction date set. Otherwise, I'll probably get augmented with pitocin the next time my contractions come like this, after Friday, when I'll be 37 weeks.

This is getting old and horrible.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Baby's Room

Things aren't unpack into it, but the walls are painted (thank you Jake and Doris), the crib is up, the changing table is in place, and the room is ready!!! I am very excited. Today is my sister's baby shower, so I will be very active, riding down and eating and greeting people. Hopefully, all will go smoothly and I'll not have the baby until after my appointment Wednesday. I had a contraction scare yesterday morning, but they subsided after lunch. The problem if I contract now is not the baby's well-being, but that the doctor won't help me along or stop them until Friday, and that means that I could suffer for hours again and not have the baby.


Friday, September 12, 2008


Ander is clearly loving his computer.

"What's that mommy? That's the screen. And the mouse. And the screen."

"Yes, Ander, that is the screen and the mouse."

"Can you go to cyberspace?"

"No, Ander, play Reader Rat."

"Okay, I will not go to cyberspace."

How the heck does he know the word cyberspace?


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Home - No Baby Yet

What to say? I feel like a broken record. "We're in the hospital. I'm in labor! Opps, no I'm not. I'm home again." Oh my, this is getting old.

At 8 a.m., after a breakfast of veggie broth and yellow jello (um, no thank you...but I was listed the night before as in labor and not progressing, which could mean a c-section if the baby has trouble, so no solid food for me), they released me since I stopped dialating. I'm almost a 2. Almost. My cervix is 50% effaced. But the baby is not locked and loaded, which seems to be the trouble with progressing despite the contractions that where OMG F'ING TERRIBLE AND CAN I PLEASE HAVE AN EPIDURAL AND WHY THE HECK NOT IF I'M TRYING TO SLOW LABOR ANYWAY SURELY THAT WOULD FREAKIN' WORK AND ALAN WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO SLEEP ON THAT COUCH WHEN I AM SCREAMING IN PAIN AND NEED TO YELL AT SOMEONE AND YOU DID THIS AND MY LAMAZE TEACHER IS A LYING LIAR BECAUSE EACH CONTRACTION DO NOT, IN FACT, BRING YOU CLOSER TO HAVING A BABY AND IF SOMEONE DOESN'T GET ME FOOD NOW I AM TOTALLY SNEAKING IN A SNICKERS BAR.

But I digress.

I'm home. I'm 36 weeks tomorrow! 36 weeks, people! My baby is going to be okay. He likely won't need the NICU. He is expected to, gulp, room-in and come home with me! My bags are now packed (hastily, by my poor sister last night) and I'll probably get to attend my other sister's baby shower. We pick up Ander tonight, but he was excellent in the hospital room with me until family could come and get him yesterday.

My doctor says at 37 weeks, if I contract like yesterday, he'll help me along. My bishop score is about a 4, so it just needs to get to a five and induction should work. We're not inducing, of course, unless there's a medical need or I'm already contracting every three minutes for hours, like yesterday, but my body cannot take active labor like this anymore.

My car is struck at the hospital (they wouldn't let me drive it home and with the traffic lights all out from Hurricane Gustav, the 20 minute hospital trip takes an hour and a half to two hours). Baby is active and with a strong heartbeat that is unaffected by my contractions.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

In The Hospital

My doctor sent us over after the morning checkup. My dialation went from barely a one to almost a two. My cervix is fifty percent effaced. This morning, the baby was engaged a bit, but now he is blottable (floating) again. I have contracted, hard, about every four minutes since 8 a.m. ish. It is now 9 p.m. ish.

However, I am not progressing. They will watch until tomorrow morning (24 hours) and then either send me home, stop the contractions and send me home, keep me in (if I dialate overnight), or keep me in a mother/baby room (if the contractions won't stop but I don't dialate, since 35w6d is not far enough along to induce, though I am getting much more favorable for an induction).

This blows. Supper was broth, jello, popsicle, and juice. Oh, and gummy bears, but I hate gummy bears. At least Woman's Hospital lets you eat in labor and delivery now (unless you are a high c-section risk). But no solids.

I am one unhappy, no-baby-yet, hungry lady.


My Baby

I mean my two-year-old baby, of course. He went to work with daddy today at the state capitol. How cool is that? He wore his little button up shirt. He helped me count the buttons. We packed him a little sippy of water (because, yep, water in the capitol is currently suffering from a sewage backup). He's only spending a couple of hours today. Then he and his daddy are joining me at the doctor's office, for lunch, and to take Ander to the doctor for a chronic cough. He went with daddy so I wouldn't have to do all this running the roads AND take care of a child, which is a sure recipe for contractions.

Too bad we haven't bought him a tie yet.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Dear Friend Suffers After Gustav

When the electricity was turned back on after Gustav, it caused a fire in a friend of mine's house. She (and her husband and three kids) lost everything.


Isn't That How Every Kid Is

My cousin, a high school senior, is staying with me for a couple of day to help out. Her school is closed because of the hurricane. She babysits all the time, so she has been an incredible help with Ander.

She also noticed that Ander listens. He cleans his own toys up before he goes get another toy. He says please and thank you, with little or no prompting. He knows that he needs "knees or bootie" instead of feet on furniture. He goes get his diaper and then discards it in the diaper pail when he is done. He empties the food out of his plate after eating and then places the empty plate in the sink. Once yesterday, I had to threaten time out. Otherwise, Ander just did what I said.

My cousin seemed surprised. She reports that other kids don't do this.

What?!? It must be horrible for those parents. And what about the kids? Ander is never overwhelmed by a messy room; his toys are put away. He knows what he can do, so he's not stressed by constantly being fussed at for not listening. (Honestly, I rarely have to fuss or raise my voice.) He knows when food is coming, when nap is coming, and when bedtime is coming. His life is comfortable and predictable.

I'm very pleased so far with how he is turning out. People keep telling me that not every kid is like this. I like to credit my parenting skills and constant attention to teaching self-sufficiency, but what if I am wrong? What if Baby Box the Sequel is less cooperative?

That would be so unfair.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

One of the bloggers that I read regularly wrote an article about Palin, the GOP VP nominee, having here family pass around her 4-month-old among family members at an evening speech in a stadium full of people. (I am including a link to the whole article, for those interested, but I don't necessarily agree with the author. I just thought she brought up an interesting question.)

WorkItMom Blog

I'm a working mom. Generally, I do not bring Ander to work events, including any presentations that I make. On the other hand, running for vice-president is historical, exciting, and children are expected at the events. I try not to judge other parents, although I must admit that bad parenting is a reason I won't respect someone. But what Palin did - bringing a baby to a political event - is not what I would consider bad parenting; it's just a choice that some think she shouldn't have made. I wonder, though, would I have made the same choice?

Except for being liberal (which is the reason I won't be voting for her), Sarah Palin reminds me of myself. She is articulate and comfortable with public speaking. She takes her kid with her to work sometimes. (I like that, even if I'm unsure of whether I would have taken my own baby to the stadium. But I must admit, at four months, Ander would have slept through anything. So if only family would have held him, I probably would have.) She values giving back to society (even if what she gives back is a conservative agenda that I mostly disagree with). She even looks sort of like me.

As a working mom, I often wonder if others judge me when I drop off Ander at daycare. What would that be like if I were a VP candidate? Will a working mother candidate result in more understanding of working moms? Or will watching her make more people, including the blogger above who is a working mother herself, more critical?

I hope that, if anything comes of this VP run, it's that Sarah Palin shows the world that you can work and be a good mother. But if people are judging her for bringing the kids to work, and if we assume that others a judging her for leaving the kids at home in childcare, can she really succeed at showing how healthy and happy kids can be if you balance both choices?


Saturday, September 6, 2008

6 More Days

On Friday, I will be off of bedrest. Freedom, sweet freedom. I feel so cut-off from society. A week of hurricane did not help. No computer. Friends are scattered all over. I want a tasty dinner and a two hour coffee shop visit. I want to play a board game. I want to watch a live sporting event (even if it's kickball ;)). I just cannot wait to get out of my own private jail.

Instead, I'll be catching up on work, cleaning my house, and getting ready for the baby to get here.

If Hurricane Ike cooperates.


Friday, September 5, 2008

My Hurricane Gustav Experience

Monday - noon

The storm really blew up. The winds were bending all of the trees sideways. The sounds were terrifying. It looked like a tornado was outside my home, except that the winds all blew in a single direction. There was a huge bang. Our tv satellite (not currently in use since we have cable) crashed into our bedroom window. Alan rushed outside in the rain and wind, to keep the satellite from bursting through our window.

A chimney tumbled across our neighbor's yard. It was about to crash into things. Alan went outside, gathered the pieces, and put them out of the way. There was a huge hole in my neighbor's ceiling.

Tornado warning near our home.

Monday - 2 p.m.

We lost electricity. It started to get hot. Suddenly, we heard a huge crash. BOOM! Alan shouted, "Ander, RUN!" We saw the branches of our HEALTHY tree, smashed against our kitchen window. We looked up, but no tree came through the ceiling. Ander and I tucked into the hallway to wait out the next two hours, while Alan checked. By a MIRACLE, the tree did not damage our house or car at all. Had it fallen a few inches in any direction, there would have been extensive damage.

Monday - 4:30 p.m

The storm dwindled to rain and light wind. We went outside and surveyed. Debris was everywhere. My friend's roof was seriously damaged. We lost shingles. Our gassed up car was stuck, because of the huge tree in the driveway.

Monday night

It was hot and muggy. We put batteries in the walkman and listened to the news. Ander was very upset because the tree took his lights and "tt" (tv). We knew the milk was getting bad in the fridge. We ate junk food. It was like the end of the world.


My family was on their way home. No one could get near my house. Our cell phones weren't working. And I was contracting. We had Easy cheese, crackers, and apples for lunch. It was sweltering hot. My contractions got to 1 to 1 1/2 minutes long, every three minutes. But no phone. Only a half tank of gas in the only vehicle we could get out of the driveway, considering the downed tree. And no way to know how to get to the hospital around the downed trees.

Finally, my family showed up. They took Ander, consolidated cars, and left us a vehicle with more gas. Alan packed for the hospital and to evacuate from home. He dumped all food in the fridge and the freezer. We boxed the dry food and bottled waters and took baths with candle light and a washcloth and soap. We headed for the hospital.

It took an hour to get to the hospital, because there were no working red lights. The hospital had no power, except in critical sections like the NICU and to power monitors and computers. It was sweltering hot. They hooked my up. At first, the monitor wasn't right and it showed no contractions, though I was having some. They fixed the monitor. My contractions were still every 3 minutes and regular.

Finally, they checked me, but I'm still not dialating more. Without electricity, there was nothing else they could do. I did get a hot cafeteria meal and then they sent me home. We drove out to my sister's, closer to New Orleans, because, frankly, Baton Rouge was really hard hit. There was 0% power in our area, including Baton Rouge, except for generators at the hospitals.

We sleep in my sister's camper, hooked up to a generator, so we had air. I still had regular contractions all night, but the went away.


Things went better. We ate well. Everyone had to cook the meat from their freezers, or it would rot. So we had jambalaya for lunch and fried fish, shrimp, and chicken for supper. Using camping supplies and a propane stove, we were able to cook. Wednesday afternoon, because my sister lives next to a hospital, she got power! Thank goodness, because we were running out of gas for the generator. We were running out of ice to keep milk and water cool. 75% of her parish does not have power still today, and some parts will not get it until 3-4 weeks from now.


I started having strange pains. My doctor was in the hospital, but unavailable by phone. I called my aunt, a nurse. Apparently, I have a bladder infection. No pharmacies near us were open, of course, so we thought we'd have to drive for an hour (without much gas) to get meds.


My house has power. (Still, most people don't). A pharmarcy by my house has power, so I get my meds. I am not contracting. I slept last night.

Things are not perfect. There's not lots of food. Grocery stores are coming on, slowly, but lines are long and perishables are hard to get. Alan can wait in line, or he can take care of us. It's impossible to do both.

But we are healthy and safe. We have a home. We can invite friends who don't have power and don't expect it anytime soon.

Please, though, if you are not from here, realize the New Orleans was spared, but BATON ROUGE WAS NOT SPARED. It is bad. People are getting sick, from everything from food poisoning to heat exhaustion. We are limping through.

I am 35 weeks today. Just one more week of bedrest...not that I can do much anyway because of the discomfort. And I have internet!!!


Monday, September 1, 2008

So Far So Good

It's 8:15 a.m. here. We still have electricity.

I started having contractions again last night, but we were able to stop them with the medicine and hot bath ritual. I hate the way I feel after taking benedryl, but it's a simple way to tell if the labor is false labor.

At one point, our parish was under a tornado warning (because of a tornado in another part of the parish) and two people called at the same moment to check on us.

The hurricane has, in the past couple of hours, turned away from us a bit and weakeded in strength. We are still getting hit and most of the hit is from the bad side of the hurricane, but it's looking less dismal than before.

Ander co-slept with us last night. He kicked me in the face. Sleeping with Ander is no longer a sweet and cuddly treat. Next time, I think I'll need to wear football gear to bed, just to protect myself.

I'll update the blog as I can (meaning if there is electricity).