Monday, August 27, 2012

Some Firsts

First visit with mummy

First trip to the pediatrician

First smile (that we captured on camera)

First breakfast out with the family

First gift that daddy sent back to sender

First matching outfit with Granny

First bath

Friday, August 24, 2012

Three Weeks

I can't believe Claire has already been with us for 3 weeks.  She's so much a fixture in our lives yet still seems so new.  We are finally getting into a groove, getting to know her, and finding our place in the world as a family of three. 

In the past 3 weeks, there have been so many highs and lows.  Her stint in the NICU seems like a distant memory now.  The things I remember fondly are her amazing birth, the party my dad threw in her honour, the countless visitors, and spending quality time at my mom's house with her, my aunt, and my grandma.

My grandma, who Claire was named after, was such a blessing to spend Claire's first few weeks with.  Her and my aunt doted and loved on the baby so much, and then to add in my mom, make Claire and I the luckiest girls in the world to have these 3 best women I know around.

I've got 7 pounds left to lose, and it's all in my stomach.  And boobs.  But mostly stomach.  I don't know why it's still so big but people keep telling me it's normal so I try not to sweat it.  Dale tells me every day that it's going down and that I'm gorgeous so I can let my focus be on my newborn and not my still-pregnant-looking belly.

Speaking of Dale, my husband is so unbelievably amazing.  I knew he would be a good dad, but there are still things he does every day that surprise me or cause me to count my blessings a bit more.

Three weeks

Friday, August 17, 2012

Two Weeks

Updates on me
  • On the day I came home from the hospital, I weighed the same as the day I went in.  AFTER birthing an almost 7 lb. baby and 2 lb. placenta.  I've already lost half the weight I gained (hello, breastfeeding!) so I'm not worried, but boy was it a shocker seeing the scale.
  • I love getting up in the night with the baby.  I know it won't last, one day I'll start to curse the night-time feedings, but for now I'm just so happy to spend the extra moments with Claire.
  • My hormones and emotions are out of control.  That's pretty much all I'll say about that.
  • Having a daughter makes me so unbelievably aware of how much my mom (and dad) love the shit out of me.  I love Claire so much that it's hard to put into words.  And I love my husband so much more than I ever thought could be possible.
  • I have no shame.  I thought I would care if DP saw my nether-region while I was delivering our baby, but I didn't.  I even had him get my mom to come and talk to me while the doc was stitching me up.  And I have become one of those women who nurses anywhere.  I'm the person I used to say I would never be.
  • One night I opened my eyes to see my sweet little baby shivering and looking at me.  I felt like the shittiest mom ever.  I'll never get that image out of my head.
  • Dale was out of town for a week and I spent that time at my mom's.  She and Gigi slept with me and helped out with Claire until her dad got home.  The next week, we had a random bug infestation and all 3 of us had to stay at my mom's.  I think we're giving the neighbours something to talk about.
Updates on Claire
  • Her dad brought her all this crap from Lambeau Field during his business trip and I think it's funny when he puts it on her.  Even though I hate the damn Packers, she's cute and pulls it off.
  • She loves being cuddled, hates being wet, and can mean-mug the grumpiest face.
  • Her birth weight was 6 lbs. 13 oz. and she was up to 7 lbs. 5 oz. at her first pediatrician appointment, and 8 lbs. 4 oz. at her second.
  • Claire doesn't like formula all of a sudden.  It was the first real meal (after the IV) that she ever ate, but now won't touch the stuff and throws up if she's ever hungry enough to eat it.  She's an exclusively breast-fed kid!
  • Claire can be sitting on her dad's chest, and even though he's a loud talker and could be yelling at the TV, the sound of his voice doesn't startle her.  Ever.  Everything else does though.  A kitten meowing on the next block would startle this baby.
  • Today is her two-week birthday.
Two weeks

Friday, August 10, 2012

One Week

My sweet little baby is one week old.  It's been a hectic few days at home, and I've enjoyed every second of it.  I've been glad to have Dale at home with me too, I don't know how people have babies on their own.  I love nursing and dressing the baby up, waking up with her in the night, and the way she looks up at me with those big black eyes.  She studies my face like she's trying to place my voice.

And I can't believe that she's mine.  That I made her.

And I can't believe that I never wanted this. 

It's so perfect and so natural, and I don't think I had any kind of life before Claire came along.  My pregnancy is a distant memory even though it was merely a week ago.  My life with my husband seems trite and flighty before Claire came home to our house.

I'm a piece of work, I know this. 

One week old


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bringing Home Baby

For anyone who knows my husband, to say he has ADD is an understatement.  He's not just hyperactive, he's like Dennis the Menace on speed.

So we get to the NICU with our carseat, and this guy is pacing the room.  Nothing new for him, I'm pretty good at ignoring it.  But he's pacing among the baby cribs with premies.  I know he's excited, he's bringing his baby home finally, but this guy is being "DP" around 3 and 4 lb. babies. 

And he's loud, he's just a loud-talker by nature.  I'm used to it, hell even Claire is used to it.  But he pacing, and he's loudly saying things like, "I hope the fucking doctor says we can take the baby home."  IN THE PREMIE NURSERY! 

He's charming, my husband.

So after we are forced to watch a dumb CPR video, went out to lunch, and cuddled Claire a bit, we are cleared to take her after about 4 hours.  The nurse taught us how to secure her in the carseat and has Dale go get the car.  When he returns, I could hear his heavy footsteps come out of the elevator.  So he comes in, grabs the carseat with the baby, and takes off.

I'm left there packing up the rest of her stuff, the nurse is giving me last minute directions, and my husband and baby are out of the nursery and down the hall of the hospital.  I had to run to make the elevator!  Me and my 6-day post-partum uterus are running to make the elevator.

You guys, my husband and baby are straight running out of the hospital.  I'm surprised he didn't get stopped for trying to steal a baby!  The nurse is out of breath, escorting us out, and she says to me, "Oh Lord, you are never going to see your baby."  Yeah, I know!

Ready to go home

Ella, elevator

Running to catch my family

Claire's sweet going-home outfit
Pit stop on the way home, to visit relatives

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Our Release

I got discharged 3 days after giving birth, on the Sunday following my delivery, but Claire had to stay in the NICU.  Her weight had dropped - 2.5 ounces the first day and 1 ounce the second - so the doctor wanted to keep her until she could get it back up.  She had been on an IV "food" drip for the first few days of her life and then was formula feeding and drinking the colostrum I pumped for her. 

So instead of putting on my going home dress and being wheeled out of the hospital with my new baby swaddled in my arms, with her proud dad walking beside us holding our flowers and balloons, Dale and I solemnly walked out the doors of the hospital without our baby.

Every 3 hours, Dale would drive me back to the hospital to feed Claire.  And every time we visited, something changed.  She got her feeding tube out, then her nasal tube.  We got to get used to holding her and feeding her under the care of nurses, so that was a bonus, but we still wanted her to come home.  Every time we left the hospital, it was with a heavy heart.

Until that phone call this morning.  The nurse called and told me to bring the carseat, that Claire was cleared to come home.  I laid on the bed and cried, and Dale just held me.  You'd think I would have been rushing around, excited, grabbing the things she needed and getting the hell over there.  But all the emotions that I suppressed in order to function like an adult - like a mom - going back and forth to the hospital to nurse our baby, had finally come to a head.  We laid like that for a while, with me sobbing uncontrollably.

Then we composed ourselves and went to pick up our daughter.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Breastfeeding

Claire had been on a feeding tube until today, when the nurses told me that she was getting it out and would be getting a bottle of formula every 3 hours.  I asked if I could try nursing her, at least to establish a latch, because I knew my milk hadn't come in yet.

They led Claire and I to a private room in the NICU and a lactation specialist came in to help me.  She showed me how to hold Claire and then man-handled my damn boob into her mouth.

My breasts don't belong to me anymore.  They are Claire's food now.

Anyway, Claire latched like a champ and all I could think of was how proud I was that was so gifted.  I wondered if she'd have to skip a grade in school because she was already so accomplished at a mere 2 days old. 

After I got her on and she suckled a bit, I went back to my room and checked out the pump in there.  I pumped about 3 times before my colostrum started coming out.  That's supposed to be like liquid gold.  So every time Dale fed Claire he little bottle of formula, he would give her the colostrum first.  She was barely eating 20 mL (less than an ounce) and her doctor wants her to get up to 2 ounces by increasing the amount at every feeding.  In daytime hours I go there and breastfeed her the colostrum myself.

I love the feeling of nursing my baby.  The way her chipmunk cheeks move when she eats is the cutest thing in the whole wide world.  Sometimes she opens her eyes and looks up at me, and I just never thought I could ever love another person like this.  I gave her life and now I'm giving her food, and yet it's her who has all the power over me.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The NICU

When Claire was born, I was concerned about her tiny size.  She weighed the same as I did at birth - 6 lbs. 13 oz. - but she was 5 days late and I was 2 weeks early.  The nurses wheeled in the scale and I whined, "Is she too small?  Is she normal?"  I was assured that she was, albeit on the small side of the healthy range.  I had been worried about her weight gain since I didn't gain weight the way I wanted to during my pregnancy.

But then the nurses told me they were going to take her to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) for monitoring for a couple hours - unrelated to her birth weight - so I kissed her and sent her on her way.

Dale told me later, that when I was pushing our baby out, she got stuck under my pubic bone.  The doctor used a vacuum to pull her out, but when he stuck it to her scalp and pulled, the vacuum popped off and left her head in an extreme cone-shape.  He had to do it again and successfully pulled her out the second time.  She had a small scab on the top of her head and a red, scaly rash as a result of this, and she had a headache for a few days following her birth.  She flinched when her head was stroked or caressed.  It was heartbreaking.

When she finally did come out, the umbilical cord was wrapped around my baby's neck.  Twice.  She didn't cry and the doc had to clamp and cut the cord off her pretty fast.  She had fluid in her lungs, which she immediately got out from crying, but she was still at risk of infection.  The on-call pediatrician put her on a 3-day dose of antibiotics to be administered by an IV drip.  My poor little 6-pound baby had a needle in her arm as big as her hand.

I wished I had hugged her properly when I had the chance.  I couldn't walk down the hall to visit my daughter because I was groggy and sore.  I knew she was being taken care of and that I could visit anytime I wanted to, but I didn't want to have to "visit" my kid.

Dale and I finally got to hold Claire, 15 hours after she was born.  As soon as she started fussing, which was immediately, Dale said we should put her back in her crib because we were disturbing her.  I think the tubes and machines scared him a bit.  But it took no time at all for Claire to feel comfortable, let out a little exhale, and settle comfortably in my arms.  Like she knew her parents.

My beautiful baby girl

Friday, August 3, 2012

Birth Story

I was 4cm dilated when I started having contractions naturally at 6pm on August 2.  Two hours later, the anesthesiologist came to give me my epidural, and as I leaned over the side of the bed, I started peeing.  I had heard about the epidural needle and was somewhat nervous, but even though I knew it would be better than the pain from contractions and childbirth, I was still freaked.  Apparently scared enough to pee the bed.  My mom was holding my hand, my dad ran out of the room, and Dale was pacing...and I said to the nurse, "I'm sorry but I just peed.  I can't stop.  It's still coming."  She laughed and told me that my water broke.

So it wasn't in a public place like Walmart, but it was still somewhat dramatic.  Dale told me I sprayed the nurse, so that's pretty cool.

At 5am on August 3, the nurse came into my room and told me we were going to practice pushing.  I was 9 & three quarter centimetres dilated and had laboured for almost 24 hours.  We kicked everyone out of the room and DP and the nurse had to hold up my legs because they were too heavy (water weight) for me to lift on my own.  I could see DP peeking "down there" and then he'd make a sour face so I told him to stop looking if he knew what was good for him.  About half an hour into the practice pushing, my doctor showed up and we started it for real.

I pushed for close to two hours, taking 5-10 minute breaks in between.  My nurse said that Claire's blood pressure was dipping after every push so we wanted to make sure we didn't stress the baby and cause any problems requiring a c-section.  So it was probably only about a dozen pushes total before that last one where I knew she was coming out.  By this point, my husband who previously was disgusted by my nether-regions had taken a position next to the doctor, all up in my junk, and was openly cheering me on like he had money this game.

I was overcome with emotion and cried loud, outrageous cries as my baby was born.  They put her on my chest I couldn't compose myself.  Claire Margaret Patricia Grinstead was born on August 3 at 7:41am and weighing 6 lbs. 13 oz.  She was 19 inches in length.  And she was perfect.

Claire Grinstead

Hospital - Day 3

The cytotec worked, and in the 4 hours I had to lay there hoping to start dilating, I started having contractions on my own.  At my cervical check, I was 4 cm dilated, so I got orders for some pain management medication and an appointment with the anesthesiologist for my epidural.

There was a problem with my pain med prescription, so it took longer than needed to get to me, and by then the pain from contractions was so bad that I cried and DP called my mom to come to the hospital.  It was very scary because although I'd been labouring up until then, I hadn't felt how terrible contractions were.  I had some really bad ones until my medicine finally kicked in and now I know what women are talking about when they say how horrible childbirth is.  I'm almost glad I got to experience it though because right after my pain meds went through, I got my epidural and my labour experience became a piece of cake.

Even the epidural itself was no big deal.  The nurse made Dale sit down and even though both my parents were there, my dad practically ran out of the room.  (He said it was because he didn't want to hear me scream but I know for a fact that he just doesn't do needles very well.)  First she numbed my back so I didn't even feel the epidural needle go in, then they threaded a tiny catheter through to my spine so that they could give me a continuous drip rather than a single shot of the stuff.

From then on, it was gravy.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Hospital - Day 2

I woke up this morning at 6am, after an uninterrupted and blissful 4 hour sleep. Ambian is lovely.

My nurse took the Cervidil out at 12:30, after its 12-hour stint, but I was still only 1cm dilated and 50% effaced. My doctor put in an order for Cytotec. It's a pill to be inserted behind the cervix for a 4 hour treatment. I am excited to be moving along, albeit slowly, because I really have a chance to process things as they happen.

My parents came to visit, and DP's mom and sister, so I welcomed the distraction from the cramping that the different medicines had caused. The pressure in my butt is definitely the weirdest feeling.

The monitor in my room says I'm having contractions, so it's neat to see that they're happening without feeling them. There's a second monitor in my room that projects Claire's heartbeat, and I really think it's my favourite sound in the world.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hospital - Day 1

As we picked up my cousins from the airport at 6:30, we got a call from the hospital asking us to come in at 10 rather than 8.  I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't disappointed, but we had dinner and drinks at a pub, and it turned out to be kind of a neat Last Supper.

We got to St. Rose at 10:10, and the nurse at the desk said, "Are you my induction?" To which Dale replied, "Are you our inductor?" Claire is just going to love this guy!

Our room is fabulous and just for us. I got into my gown, got a cervical check (1cm dilated, holla!) and then my IV.

I have some pretty cool pics but am having a hard time posting from my phone, so I'll have to put them up sometime later.

It was after midnight by the time I got my Cervadil inserted and I felt wide awake. Luckily the nurse had an Ambian as part of my order so could take that for a good night's rest.

Until tomorrow folks!

The End

I woke up this morning with some pretty significant groin pain.  It felt, from my belly button to my knees, like I had just run a half marathon.  My lower back, butt, groin, and thighs seriously throbbed all night.  So I called my doctor's office and asked about inducing this baby on out.

Unfortunately my hospital didn't have any openings for today, tomorrow, or this weekend.  So I went back to bed and cried.  Luckily another hospital had an opening and so my doctor called me within an hour to ask if I could make that.  The hospital is just up the road from our house so it kind of worked out and I agreed.  We go in at 8 tonight to start the induction (into the Hall of Fame, as my mom calls it.)

It should be pretty uneventful, beginning with Cervadil to start the dilation and then Pitocin to start the contractions.  We are in the process of charging our computers and phones, and DP has gone to place some bets on the games tonight so he "has something to focus on" while I'm in labour. 

You should have seen my face.

Then he tells me that he's scared of the needle.  I'm thinking, do husbands gets some type of shot I'm unaware of?  No.  He was talking about the epidural.  The one I'm supposed to get.  The one I'm already scared about.  Thanks for the support.  Jackass.  My husband is very lucky that he's cute.

In any case, we aren't too nervous.  Mostly relieved.  And excited.  And ready.

We are picking up some cousins from the airport who get in at 6:30 tonight, dropping them at my parent's house, then going to the hospital.  I am hoping to be able to update everyone as it goes along, but if I don't, then the next time you see or hear from me, I'll have a baby!


DP's last meal. (No seriously, look at those guns.)
Right before I become a mum.