One Month

Dear Benjamin,

You’re one month old today!!  Time sure flies when you’re having fun!!!  I’m so in love and enamored with you.  I love to hold you and cuddle you every chance that I get.  I have missed the baby snuggles so much, and just want to soak up every moment I can with you.  I feel like I’ve waited to hold you for so long, and now that you’re hear I just can’t get enough.  You have made our family complete.


You’re having bouts of colic or reflux in the evenings.  Our pediatrician gave us a prescription for the reflux to see if it will help.  But, from 4 pm to usually when we go up to bed you’re a cranky pants.  Some nights are better than others.  On the easy nights you just want to nurse more, and then cry when you’re off the boob.  On the bad nights you scream no matter what we do.  I hate to see you cry and know that there’s nothing that I can do about it.  Your dad and I just try to hold you and reassure you that you’re fine.  Hopefully, this will get easier soon.  You’re such a happy little guy when you’re not crying.


You’ve started to smile, and it’s the most beautiful sight!  I love your smile.  You smile with your whole mouth.  You don’t just lift the corners, but your whole mouth opens wide and lifts up.  You can’t look at you and not smile back, it’s quite infectious.


You’re breastfeeding so well, and gaining weight.  At your one month well visit you’re up to 9 lbs and 9 oz, and 22 inches long!  It’s such a relief to know that you’re growing so well.  You had your first bottle today, and took it like a champ.  That will be a comfort to me when I go back to work in a few weeks.


You’re sleeping so great too!  At night you’ll usually sleep for 4 hours your first stretch, and then 2-3 hours after that.  However, when you’re going through a growth spurt you nurse what seems like every 45 minutes….During the day we’re starting to get you on a schedule where you eat, sleep, play and repeat.


I’m just so impressed on how well you’re doing, and how easy things have been the second time around (knock on wood).  It seems I’ve remembered more than I thought I would about life with a newborn.


At One Month You Love:

  • Cuddle and snuggles
  • Your swing
  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Showers
  • Walks outside

At One Month You Hate:

  • Diaper changes
  • Having a dirty diaper (the irony)
  • Baths
  • Being hungry
  • Being tired
  • Lotion – just like your brother, you scream every time I put some on you after a bath or shower
  • If there was a “Tolerate” column tummy time would fall into it.  You don’t love it, but for the first few minutes you’ll be ok with it.

I love you so much!  You’re so sweet and just a joy.  You’ve brought such happiness and light to us that I didn’t even know was possible.


Momma

Postpartum and Other Things

I left things off with Ben getting weighed and then us having some quality skin to skin time.  I remember while holding Ben that I told the nurses and my midwife that I was already feeling a lot of pain, tenderness and just quite a bit of discomfort with my lady parts.  They offered me some Motrin, and I accepted.

We stayed in the delivery room for around 2 hours, and then we were moved down to the Mother Baby suite.  Once in there, I had a few stomach “massages,” and then the nurses had me go to the restroom.  I tried to pee on three different occasions all within a 15 minute span.  I could not figure out what was wrong, and why I couldn’t go.  I finally mentioned it to the nurse.  I told her that I really needed to pee, that I had a huge urge, but I just couldn’t do it.  She then informed me that I needed to be cathed…

I was quite shocked at that, and I was desperately trying to convince the nurse that I just needed more time, but she wasn’t listening to me anymore.  They had me lay down on the bed, and she started pressing on my lower abdomen and told me that my bladder was huge.  So, they started setting up for the procedure.  The problem was that I was so swollen down there, that they couldn’t even find my urethra.  Which meant that they really had to spread me apart down there, and that hurt like a bitch.  That whole area was so swollen it was closed off.  They finally got the catheter in, and they drained a liter of pee out of me.  After that I sat on ice packs and the swelling slowly started going down.

I had a lot of trouble getting Ben to latch on in the hospital.  I breastfed my first for two years, and  wanted to repeat the experience with Ben, but he didn’t make it easy in the hospital.  I was really hoping that since I had a natural birth, that breastfeeding would be a breeze this time around, but that wasn’t the case.  I had to call a nurse in almost every two hours to help latch him on.  I also had visits from lactation consultants each day, but I was frustrated with them because it seemed their only answer was for me to use a nipple shield.  I found that dratted thing infuriating.  It never stayed on, I always had I crying hungry baby while I was trying to get it on, and then I could never get it positioned right.  Luckily, once we got home, we had had enough practice that I could finally stop using the dratted thing.

J and I had wanted to leave the hospital early, instead of staying the traditional 2 days, but we were denied that because of my Group B Strep.  I was supposed to receive antibiotics 4 hours before giving birth, but I only had them for less than 2.5 by the time Ben arrived.  Therefore, they wanted to monitor Ben for those two days to make sure that he didn’t get it.  So, we were chomping at the bit to leave until they finally let us out on Tuesday morning.

Postpartum was harder this time around on me.  I’m not sure it’s because of the lip of cervix that I had during labor, or because labor was so much quicker this time, but my pain level was much higher this time around.  The cramps (contractions) of my uterus shrinking were worse (although they did warn me that with each subsequent baby it’s more painful), but beyond that, my actual vagina just HURT so much more this time, and seemed like it took forever to lessen.  My bleeding lasted for about 2.5 weeks, and then stopped,so at least that was good.

Ever since we were home breastfeeding as been going great.  Ben’s gaining weight, pooping and peeing like he should.  He’s usually sleeping for about 4 hours straight at night, then wakes up to nurse, eats for 30-45 minutes and then goes back to sleep for 2-3 hours.  So, I really can’t complain.  Although, when he’s going through a growth spurt, all bets are off.

He also seems to have reflux…..He’s never actually spit up, but you can hear the milk come up, see him swallow, and then he screams in pain.  It’s awful to know that my baby hurts and is in pain.  He has his one month appointment tomorrow, and I’m hoping the pediatrician can help us make him more comfortable.  So far we try to keep him propped up while resting/sleeping, and to burp him often.   But, I’m hoping there’s more we can do, especially in the evenings when he just seems to cry the whole time, unless he’s hooked up to my boobs.

Henry’s doing great as a big brother.  He’s enamored with Ben, and tries to help us with him so much.  He kisses Ben, hugs him and just generally likes to be around him.  We couldn’t be prouder of him, and how he’s handling being a big brother.

Life with a newborn is always interesting, but I’m really trying to take it all in and just appreciate this time.  It seems to go by even faster the second time around.

Happy Anniversary!

June 7th happened to be J’s and my 4 year wedding anniversary.  I was planning on writing a post about that – a sappy, love filled post about how I married my best friend, filled with pictures from our wedding.  But it seems that life had other plans for me that day.

You probably know that I was feeling sick all week, and on Thursday I started throwing up and not being able to keep anything down.  I already had an appointment to see my midwife, but moved the time up because I was feeling so awful.  J even had to leave work early so that he could take me because I too sick to drive myself.

We arrived at my midwife’s office and we went through the normal routine of getting my weight, urine and blood pressure.  I lost over 3 pounds from last week, I had ketones in my urine and my blood pressure was 150/100 the first time they took it.  We then went into a room to wait for my midwife.  She came in and retook my blood pressure and it was 140/100 – still too high.  She listened to the baby’s heart beat and was concerned that it was running a bit fast.  She also checked my cervix and I was 1 to 2 cm dilated.  We went over my symptoms from all week and her response was that she wanted me to go straight to the hospital to be checked out, and that she would meet us over there in a little while.

We got to the hospital, went through admitting and were taken to a holding room (the rooms they put you in to monitor you before they admit you to the hospital).  They hooked me up to a machine that allowed us to hear the baby’s heart beat the whole time.  I had a bunch of blood drawn.  We then were taken to a different part of the hospital to get an ultrasound of the baby to make sure that he was doing ok.  They were looking for movement and signs of breathing – the movement he was doing fine with, the breathing they didn’t see at all (but we were told that just because they didn’t witness it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t do it).  I had a hard time enjoying the ultrasound because I was feeling so bad.  I just wanted a huge cup of ice water and a nap – and I couldn’t have either.

After the ultrasound we went back to the room and I was finally hooked up to an IV for some fluids and was given a great anti nausea drug (which worked wonders!).  I finally started to feel a little better and my BP was SLOWLY starting to come down.  After a couple hours my midwife popped in and told me that they’re going to let me go home soon, but they have some concerns.  She’s worried about preeclampsia.  She said at this point she doesn’t know if it was me being sick that was causing my blood pressure to be so high, or if my blood pressure being high was what was causing me to be sick.  So, what that means is that I’m now out of work, and I’m on “modified bed rest.”  I also now have 2 midwife appointments a week to make sure that I stay healthy for me and the baby.

For those that don’t know what modified bed rest is, I am basically under house arrest.  I can still get up to take a shower and fix me something to eat, etc, but otherwise I have to be off of my feet.  I was also told that I’m not have any excitement or have people over that will excite me – in other words: No Stress.

My midwife also told me that it looks like I’ll be induced at 39 weeks because of a bunch of factors.  My blood pressure being one and the baby being big the other.  So, now I’m just hoping that the baby comes on his own before 39 weeks.  And I’m really thinking that he will because my mucus plug came out over the past 3 days, and I’ve been having bloody show.  My fingers are crossed that this kiddo will come out on his own in the next 10 days.

So, as you can see a lot happened in one day and by the time that we got home I collapsed on the sofa and pretty much stayed there until J hoisted me up to go to bed, and all thoughts of writing that romantic anniversary post sadly disappeared.  It wasn’t the best anniversary ever, but I’m sure it could have been much worse.  And on the bright side, I did get to spend almost all of the day with my hubby – which made it all good.  Despite not having the post, here are the pictures I wanted to post.

 

Short Term Disability Insurance

I found out some interesting news from one of my bosses today.  My company is renewing our health insurance policy on July 1st, and they’ve decided to add short term disability to the policy (which they previously didn’t offer).  What this means for me is that maternity leave falls under short term disability and I can get a paycheck every week that I’m gone.  The only catch is that I can’t have the baby before the policy would take effect.  So, basically I need to sit with my legs crossed for the next 4 weeks and 2 days.  For those of you who watch The Office, it’s like when Pam is in labor and refuses to go to the hospital until midnight so they can get an extra day to recuperate at the hospital.  That will be me, but I’ll be holding out for the disability insurance…

“You’re distracting me from my distractions.”

I’m now torn between wanting the baby to come at 38 weeks so that J and I can have the most time possible with the little man before J has to go back to work, and wanting the baby to come a few days after his due date so that we can have a little bit more financial security.  I guess we’ll see what happens when it happens.  Although, if my midwife wants to induce me at 40 weeks you’d better believe that I’m going to try to negotiate to be induced after July 1st, like the 2nd so I can have that disability insurance.

Maternity Leave

I put in my notice for maternity leave.  I decided to start my time off around the 40 week mark.  I say “around” because I hit 40 weeks on a Thursday, and it seems weird to me to stop working on a Thursday.  So, my plan is to work the whole week of my due date (unless baby boy decides to come early) and start my maternity leave on July 2nd.

I had to give a list to my employers of everything that I do and how many hours a week I spend on a specific task.  They’re trying to decide if they want to bring in someone to cover for me, or if they just want to divvy up my responsibilities to everyone else in the office.  Either way though, it’s not my problem.

Right now I’m hoping that I won’t have to wait long for this baby to announce his arrival, but the worst case scenario is that I’ll have a little less than two weeks off before the baby is born and then 6 weeks of maternity leave before I have to start working from home.  All in all, that’s not too shabby.  Of course, all of this planning will be for nothing if the baby comes before his due date, but that’s ok with me.  I’m actually kinda hoping for a baby that’s born at 38 or 39 weeks.  That will be more time that J can spend with us before he has to start the preparations for the next school year.

It has been a busy day.

I had my cardiologist appointment at 12:30 today.  The frustrating thing is that I have no idea what the results are.  I simply had my heart ultrasounded.  The ultrasound tech wouldn’t tell me anything about what she saw or what she was doing – and the ultrasound took about 30 minutes, so you can imagine that the room was pretty quiet the whole time.  I kinda got to see the monitor.  She had my facing away from it, but if I tilted my head back I could see what was going on.  She took a lot of pictures and sound recordings.  She also kept telling me to “breathe in deep and hold it,” “stop breathing,” “sniff,”and all that kind of stuff.  And I was noticing that it was affecting my heart rate (which was all over the place, ranging from 90 bpm to 130 bmp).  The ultrasound tech did tell me that the cardiologist will review the ultrasound and call me with the results anytime between now and 10 business days.  So, now I’m just playing the waiting game…

I also had my regularly schedule midwife appointment, they had to bump it up to earlier in the day so J couldn’t be there.  My midwife and I talked about my blood sugar readings – which for the most part are really good – she said that my after meal ones are excellent, but that my fasting ones need work (which is true).  I think that I’m starting to figure it out.  If I eat dinner late, I can’t have an after dinner snack (which I usually don’t – even though my diabetes stuff says to) and usually my blood sugar readings are good the next morning.  It’s when I eat dinner early, and don’t eat a snack before bed that my sugar readings are higher – so lesson learned.  Hopefully this will help me keep them under control.

The big thing weighing on me is that if I can’t get my fasting sugars under control that my midwife says that induction at 40 weeks is very likely- because we don’t want a baby that’s too big (which can happen when your blood sugar isn’t under control).  So, now I have even more motivation (not that I wasn’t motivated before) to figure all this shit out.

We also went over my birth wishes, and my midwife was right on board with everything that I had down with a few minor exceptions (most of them hospital policy).  I’ll post my birth wishes probably tomorrow for you to see.

She also mentioned that she thinks that I should stop working at 39-40 weeks.  My plan all along was that I would go on maternity leave when I went into labor.  Since I don’t have maternity benefits, I can’t afford to take a lot of time off, simply because I won’t be paid for it.  That, and I want to spend all my time off cuddled with my baby and not twiddling my thumbs waiting for him to arrive. So, I have some thinking to do on that front.  If I’m induced at 40 weeks then it isn’t an issue, but I’m really hoping to skip the induction route.  I think that a natural birth would be a million times harder if I was induced.

Anyway, I think I’ve rambled on long enough.  It’s time to go home and put my feet up!

Thing to Know or Do Before You Have a Baby

These bullet points have come about through my experience with my pregnancy and could differ greatly from your experience.  Most of these I’ve had to learn the hard way (but thankfully not all).  When you think that you’re ready for a baby, it’s easy to miss all of the hidden fees and fine print until you get hit in the face with them.  This is my attempt to help others, so that they won’t be in the same position as I was (and I thought I was ready to have a baby).  If you can think of anything to add, please share!  I think that we can all benefit from each other’s experiences.
 
  1. Have insurance – and good insurance if you can get it, the lower your deductible and percentage that you have to pay, the better.
  2. Know how much your insurance deductible is, and have that money on hand ready to go.  Your doctor might have you pay it upfront (mine did), or after the baby is born, each practice is different.
  3. Find out if your insurance deductible will cover all of your doctor costs, if it doesn’t, find out what the difference is (usually it’s not much more than your deductible or at least mine wasn’t).
  4. Estimate the type cost for the type of birth you’re having:  i.e. a hospital birth (around $7000 before insurance for a vaginal birth, a C-Section cost can go anywhere from $14,000 – $25,000 before insurance) or Birthing Center (around $4000 before insurance) or home birth (I have no idea what that cost is) and have that money on hand ready to go.  Your doctor’s or midwive’s billing center should be able to tell you a rough estimate (they don’t like to be specific), and all the birthing centers that I’ve seen list their costs online, and if they don’t you can easily call and ask.  These are rough estimates that don’t include things like epidurals or other medications, and it can often differ greatly depending on where you live.
  5. Find out your maternity benefits (if any) and plan for your maternity leave.  If you don’t receive any benefits make sure you will have enough money to cover at least 6 weeks of unpaid leave (or more if you can afford it), no matter what, by law (in the US) you’re allowed to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave, and more if your employers are awesome.
  6. If you don’t have any maternity benefits, look into getting disability insurance on your own, so that you can be covered after the baby is born.  I’m fairly center that if you’re already pregnant, it’s too late to get this.  Also, it’s fairly expensive so be sure to weigh the cost to see if it’s worth it. Also also, be sure that your state recognizes maternity leave as a disability (some don’t).
  7. Estimate the cost of the birthing classes that you want to take (and yes, you NEED to take them).  The ones offered by your doctor’s office or hospital are way cheaper than ones like Hynobirthing, Lamaze or the Bradley Method.  However, those aren’t as in depth as the higher cost classes, and therefore may not prepare you adequately, or help you achieve the type of birth that you want.
  8. If you want a doula, find out how much they cost (usual range is $500 – $1000).  If you can’t afford a doula and want one, most will be glad to work something out with you.  Most (if not all) strongly believe that any woman who wants a doula should have one, regardless of their ability to pay.
  9. Watch “The Business of Being Born,” followed by “More Business of Being Born.”  I found these documentaries really informative and honest and I learned a lot from watching them.
  10. If you want a birthing pool that the hospital or birthing center or your home don’t have, you need to factor that cost in as well.  You can easily rent or buy them, but if you’re renting you’ll have to get a liner for it, so keep that cost in mind as well.
  11. If your current doctor does not do obstetrics or you don’t like your current doctor, you need to start looking for one you do like that does obstetrics or find a midwife.  Be sure to interview them too, to find out what their beliefs and practices about birth are (if you want a natural birth and they look down their nose at it – you know you’re in the wrong place, and visa verse too).  If they don’t do interviews, scratch them off the list.  If you’re not on the same page, scratch them off the list.  If there is anything about the appointment that makes your weary – even if you can’t name what it is, scratch them off the list – you will be working very closely with this person and you want THEM on YOUR team, not the other way around.
  12. This one is kinda morbid, but if you and you’re partner don’t have life insurance, get it, and enough to cover all debt and then some.  You’d want enough to pay off your mortgage, student loans, car loans, credit cards and any other debt you have.  You probably also want to have enough so you can set some aside so the baby can go to college.  Once you have that figured out, add on a little more, because you just never know.
  13. Also along the same lines as number 12, is to have a will made up.  Not only do you need a last will and testament, but also a living will (yes, you really do need both).
  14. I know that this one applies only after you’re pregnant, but if you become unhappy with your health care provider, you can always switch.  It doesn’t matter if you’re 10 weeks or 41 weeks pregnant, if you’re high or low risk.  It’s never too late to find a doctor or midwife that will be your cheerleader.
  15. This one may also only apply after you’re pregnant, but write out your birth preferences.  If you know you want a natural birth, that will give you a direction in which to research different birthing methods etc.  
  16. I can’t stress this one enough: RESEARCH, RESEARCH RESEARCH!