Rolling with the punches

We had two appointments at our hospital this morning. Charlotte’s first pediatrician appointment and a visit with the lactation folks. 

Charlotte is the picture of health. Since she’s getting bottles regularly, she’s gained back some weight and her color has improved dramatically. She is an exceptionally happy, easygoing baby. 

The visit with the lactation folks took about 3 minutes to bum me out. I pulled down my top and the next thing I know, we’re waiting to see an OB upstairs. Diagnosis: double mastitis AND a blazing UTI. Because why not. 

4 hours later, we returned home to discover that the dogs have chewed up and strewn the contents of our bathroom trash all over the house. In case you’re not familiar with the contents of a postpartum bathroom trash can, just picture a mess resembling a TV crime scene. Fun. 

This gets better, right? Please tell me it gets better. 

She’s still worth it, though. 

   
    
 

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Speechless

I have never been more grateful for this community than I am today. I’m still making my way through all of your brilliant, detailed and generous comments on my last post. I can really only read a few at a time because I end up crying so hard (grateful tears) that I can’t see anymore. 

And as if all of you aren’t wonderful enough, my cousin just offered to give me some of her breast milk. Cue more tears. 

Anyway, I just had to say thank you. I feel like I can figure this out now, and it was so helpful to have your words in my head when I woke up to pump in the night only to realize that the little bit of milk I had pumped was pink from blood. Today is going to be a “spa” day for the boobs, and tomorrow we see the pediatrician and the lactation consultants. 

One thing is certain: I will do anything for this face. 

   
 

Nursing Advice

I never thought this would be me, but here goes nothing:

Breastfeeding is going to be the death of me. I need help. 

Charlotte’s latch is awful. There’s nothing physically wrong–no tongue/lip ties. I just cannot for the life of me get her to latch wide enough. Instead, she has basically spent the past 3 days chewing on my nipples which are now so cracked and bloody that the lactation consultant I saw this morning took one look, handed me a hospital grade pump and told me to consider supplementing with formula for a few days. 

I have been sobbing all day (hormones! Fuck!) but never as hard as I did while feeding my 3 day old baby formula from a bottle. This is just not how this was supposed to go. 

My milk has not come in yet. I did pump this afternoon, but I got less than an ounce total from both sides. Charlotte has now had two formula bottles and we’re headed for a third shortly. 

Lay it on me. What do I do? Any tips for the pain? For the latch? For pumping before my milk comes in? I know I need to let my nipples heal, but these bottles are making me feel like a failure and I am not coping at all. I don’t 

Lastly, please be kind. I haven’t stopped crying since about 2 am. It’s been a long day. Week. Whatever. 

Motherhood, Day 1

Our beautiful baby girl arrived at 7:02 this morning weighing 8 pounds, 3 ounces and measuring 21 inches long. My labor and her delivery were absolutely traumatic for me and sometimes for her, but we’re all doing well now (if you count feeling like being hit by a bus as “well”) and so happy to be on the other side. 

   
   

Meet our perfect little Charlotte Louise. She shares her first name with my grandmother and her middle name with Catch’s grandmother. We wanted to name her after strong, influential women in our lives. 

You Have a Great Pelvis

The midwife told me that today. I asked Catch if it was a turn on to know that her wife has good pelvic bone structure.

I was also complimented on my flexibility and told (again) that I have a high tolerance for pain.

These midwives… They sure do know how to flatter their overdue pregnant women. 

The latest news from the stirrups is that I am now 4 cm dilated. She went in for membrane sweep #3, so I’m hoping she has magic hands and this one actually gets us somewhere. She could feel the bag of waters, and also mentioned that baby’s head is stationed at a -2 and that I will have some serious pushing to do. She was very hopeful that things will get started on their own shortly, BUT…

We are scheduled for induction on Friday just in case! Phew. Friday I can handle. That’ll be 41 weeks. Much more reasonable than 42. 

Don’t get me wrong–I would MUCH rather not need to be induced. It just feels so much better to know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It turns out that I won’t be pregnant forever! Who knew?!

Fingers crossed that the midwife’s magic hands get the ball rolling. Think contraction-y thoughts, folks!

40 + 1

Time to return this baby to the library because she is overdue!

Here’s a crazy visual for you. 

20 weeks…

  
40 weeks… 

  
Joking aside, when I woke up still pregnant this morning, I burst into tears. Again. 

I truly admire the people out there who have a zen-like approach to their baby’s arrival. I am clearly not one of those people. 

Here’s how 40 weeks is feeling:

CRAPPY. 

Need more detail than that? Fine. 

Aside from the obvious discomfort of having a watermelon pressing down on (and kicking, punching, etc) my internal nerves and organs, I have developed a few really fun new pregnancy symptoms. 

1) I have not been able to hear out of my right ear for about 5 days. It’s all just pressure and ringing. I went to urgent care the other day hoping it was an ear infection and they could actually do something about it, but no such luck. I was told its sinus-related and should clear up after I have the baby. It sucks. 

2) Hormones are making me the most miserable person on earth. If I’m not crying, I’m angry. If I’m not angry, I am painfully anxious. Those are the 3 speeds I’ve been operating on for several days now. I have no motivation whatsoever. I’m not interested in doing anything. All I want to do is hide and sleep the days away. 

Catch has to go back to work in a few weeks, and I feel like there’s this tremendous pressure to have this baby NOW so she has more time to be home with us. She’s not saying anything, of course, but I know she’s disappointed that we’re spending all this time sitting around waiting. We really both believed we’d have a baby by now. 

Likewise, I am feeling guilty about taking maternity leave when I did. I feel like every day I don’t have a baby is now just a wasted day. These 4 months will be gone in the blink of an eye, and the point was not supposed to be for me to spend them balled up in bed. 

I truly can’t handle it if one more person opens their mouth to me about how first babies are always late. It’s been non-stop all week, and I am about two seconds from strangling someone. Normally, I’d laugh it off, but you can see that I am clearly just not in a “laugh it off” kind of mood at the moment. 

I know I need to try to snap myself out of feeling like this. I have no control over anything that’s happening, and the best thing I could possibly do right now is just accept things and be happy that sometime in the next two weeks, we’ll have a baby. Honestly though, anxiety is getting the better of me. It’s probably totally irrational, but every extra day she stays put just feels like one more chance for something to go wrong in there. A few days ago, someone on the July due date message boards lost her baby the day before he was due. That terrifies me. We have already lost baby girl’s twin. I really just need my baby. On the outside. Anytime now. 

The Nursery

I started dreaming about our baby’s nursery before we ever even considered trying to get pregnant. When we decided to buy a house mid-pregnancy, one of the most challenging parts for me was not having an opportunity to spend months creating a perfect space for our baby.

We had planned for a long time to do a camping themed nursery, but in the chaos of moving it was proving too hard to pull together for a myriad of reasons. In the end, Catch and I agreed to do something shockingly feminine. I’m truly surprised where we ended up, but I absolutely adore the (mostly) finished product.

When we first moved in, the room was a mess. This is a 60 year old house in earthquake country. We live just over a mile from the epicenter of the Northridge Earthquake, so you know this house has seen some action and the walls tell the tale. (Coincidentally, we also live just a few blocks from the house where I grew up, so I know firsthand what this place probably looked like after that earthquake.) There were lots of cracks in the plaster that were improperly patched and had subsequently re-opened. Some of them were much worse than anticipated.

In case you need some “before” image refreshers:

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Likewise, the closet and cabinets had been painted over so many times with so many layers of semi-gloss paint that I’m pretty sure another layer of paint on them would have caused them to collapse under their own weight.

The work on the nursery began the minute we moved in. Cracks were re-opened, properly patched and re-textured. Baseboards were removed and replaced. Electrical outlets and covers were replaced. We spent a solid two days just trying to remove the screws holding the closet and cabinet doors on so that the doors could be removed and sanded. They were covered with so much paint that it was a total nightmare.

What we thought was going to be a project turned out to be a PROJECT. Tears were shed. I’m not proud.

In the end, we have a room that I am honestly a little bit jealous of. It’s absolutely my favorite space in the entire house. We’re pretty sure Rolo thinks the nursery is actually his very own bedroom. If we can’t find him, chances are good that he’s sitting in there with his ball or taking a nap on the rug.

There are still a few projects in progress. We ordered a mobile from Etsy that hasn’t arrived yet, but will fill the space above the crib. My mom is making a valance for the window over the crib, so as soon as that’s done, we’ll hang it with a window shade. She’s not going to be sleeping in here for a while so I’m not worried about light at the moment. We also still need to re-hang the closet and cabinet doors, but we’re having some trouble finding hinges that will work. For now, the closet is all open, but it’s the least of our concerns!

Also, I swear the carpet is not as brown as it looks in these photos. My camera just really wanted to make the brown pop. Yuck. (I wish we could have replaced the carpet, but we did have it professionally cleaned.)

This is the view when you’re standing near the doorway…

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This is my view from our glider…

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The swing won’t be here permanently, but it was a good out-of-the-way spot for now.

The turquoise cart contains diapering supplies, and the diaper pail is hidden behind it out of reach of hound noses. A single week’s supply of cloth diapers from the diaper service completely fills one of the largest dresser drawers. Crazy!

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The sketches in the larger frames were done by a good friend of ours. On the left is Rolo, busy thinking deep thoughts and solving the mysteries of the universe, and on the right is Twix, queen of the universe. The little lamp is an antique Hummel piece that was given to us by my grandmother at our baby shower.

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Now you can see our missing closet doors… oh well–they’ll be finished eventually!

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We bought the mirror hanging over the bookcase in Cabo San Lucas on our honeymoon. It was hanging in our hallway at our old place, but we didn’t have the right place for it in the new house and I was so happy when I realized it would work in the baby’s room!

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(I swear the bookcase won’t be this empty for long!)

So there we have it. Not too bad for something we pulled together in four weeks! Now if only we could add the main component we’ve been working on for 40-ish weeks… I’d be a very happy camper!

Week 39

I figured maternity leave would have provided me an abundance of time to sit down and write, but so far that just hasn’t happened.  Thank you so much for your comments on my last few posts. I apologize for not taking the time to respond to everyone! The days are just getting away from me.

We have made really great progress getting the house more settled in the last 10 days or so. We finally have living room furniture, there’s some art on the walls, and the best part–the nursery is almost finished! Yay! The closet, cabinet and bedroom doors are all still being sanded and painted, but the room is totally functional without them, so I’m calling it good enough. I’ll do another post with pictures because I really love how it all came together.

I am currently making my way through week 39 of pregnancy, and I am feeling every last moment of these 39 weeks. I have absolutely nothing exciting to report. No painful contractions, no dramatic loss of a mucous plug… just a string of very uncomfortable days. Some days I have tons of energy, and some days I have very little. Yesterday, I woke up feeling fantastic. Today, I woke up feeling like a slug. Poor Catch never really knows what she’s going to get.

At my OB appointment last week on Tuesday, I was almost 1.5 cm dilated and she said I was 80% effaced. Today, I was 3 cm dilated and 70% effaced. I’ll cut her some slack on her over-estimation of last week’s effacement… hopefully she wasn’t exaggerating the dilation today! She was very pleased to see some progression, but it could be pretty meaningless. We still have no clue whether it will be hours, days or weeks. (Please, please, please let it be the first two.)

I will say this about cervical exams: it pays to have a doctor with tiny hands. Man do those things hurt. Today was exceptionally painful as she did a stretch and sweep while she was down there. Not fun. At all. BUT, she did say that I’m pretty tough because she was really rough with me and I didn’t make her stop. Why does it feel like such a compliment to have your OB tell you you’re tough when she’s got her hand far enough into your vagina that she can feel your unborn child’s head?

(Notes from the stretch & sweep: Lots of cramps and bleeding in the hours after, but it’s been about 8 hours now and things are feeling reasonably normal at this point.)

I have really mixed feelings about everything right now. There’s a huge part of me that is just SO READY to meet our baby… but there’s an equally huge part of me that is terrified. Labor scares me. Parenting a tiny human scares me. Thinking of how our lives are about to change really scares me. I’m honestly doing my best to just stop thinking. It seems to work better that way.

So, baby watch continues. We would REALLY love for her to come tomorrow while my OB has a 24 hour shift at our hospital (otherwise, we get whatever doctor is on call), but I’m not holding my breath at this point. I honestly have a feeling it’s going to be another week.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an exercise ball to go bounce myself to death on.

Long Story Short

I had a blog many years ago (12, maybe? something like that)–before I even met Catch. I made a blog friend back then. Carly. When I stopped blogging, we became Facebook friends. 

I have watched over the years as she married an amazing man and gave birth to two beautiful little redheaded daughters. I looked forward to the day I’d have my own little redheaded daughter so we could compare notes. 

I got word last Friday through Facebook that Carly passed away very suddenly. She was 35. Her daughters just celebrated their first and fourth birthdays. 

I could say a lot about Carly. She was truly a beautiful person. Mostly though, all I can think about this week is those two tiny little girls who will never see their mother again. I am heartbroken for them, and for their father. 

Carly’s blog was called Long Story Short. Just like her life–a long story cut way, way too short. 

I am wishing their entire family much comfort and peace as they prepare to memorialize Carly tomorrow. Sometimes, the universe just takes my breath away in all of the worst possible ways. 

Nursery Advice

There is furniture in the nursery! Hopefully I will be ready to show you some photos in a few days. In the meantime, I’m seeking some organizational advice. 

Next to the glider, I have a very small little table that has 3 small basket-type drawers in it. I’m trying to decide what I need to have at arms reach for nursing/feeding/anything else. I figure burp cloths for sure… What else? Any suggestions?