Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm 25, According to Scientists & My Gym, I'm an Adult

Yesterday I turned 25, which I have always considered to be a "big one." I plan to live to be 100, and now I'm about a quarter there... so I'm a quarter dead. Also, I wanted to have the "big stuff" done by 25: college, married, house, baby. I just barely squeaked by with that one! I can safely make the "big decisions" now, because according to scientists my brain is now fully developed (though Eric may beg to differ). And now I'm supposed to have "big money" because my gym no longer considers me a young adult so they are charging me another $20 a month. Well, guess you can't win 'em all :)

We celebrated by doing one of my favorite things, just going to the warf in Monterey and walking around and getting a drink or something. We've done the same thing 2 years in a row so I think it's officially a tradition.

Last year we had drinks and nachos at Peter B's Pub.

We brought shy girl, Prisilla.

This year we brought our 10 month old pup, Ever, who dragged me all over the place, and of course baby Milo. I definitely had my hands full. Ever wanted to climb all over every person she met, she clearly still needs more work until she'll be able to hold herself together in the show ring.

It was a great birthday, here's to 75 more good ones!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Milo's Birth Announcement

I finally finished Milo's birth announcement. I decided to design it myself since all the ones I liked online were too expensive, and I'm afraid someone else I know will choose the same one and send it out around the same time as me. That's almost as bad as going to prom and someone else having your dress (which happened to me, it sucks). So here is what I desgined thanks to photoshop and half a dozen diet Rockstars.

I wanted Milo to be in sepia, but for some reason Kinko's cannot print clearly in sepia, even if you send it out to be printed.

Oh and have I mentioned that my designing skills are for hire? They are. I'll design nearly anything, just ask... and give me money.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Boob High & Queen TMI

I have a confession. I am extremely jealous of women who use amazing pictures of themselves breastfeeding as their profile pictures on facebook and Myspace. It's both gutsy and gorgeous. When I'm feeding Milo I often think "If I took a picture from here what an awesome shot that would be." He looks so happy, and I wouldn't be revealing anything more than what a bathing suit would show. But for some reason I get the feeling other people aren't quite as fascinated with breastfeeding as I am. But Angelina Jolie did it so it must be cool! I'll think on it some more.

By the way, breastfeeding has been awesome. I've been really lucky and haven't been sore or experienced any pain at all. I didn't get engorged either, I never woke up with giant boulder boobs, that I was kinda bummed about. I don't know if I have super nipples or if it's because I'm VERY meticulous about making sure Milo's latch is perfect. I read a million times that any pain from breastfeeding is supposed to be from an incorrect latch, so I watched videos of correct latches and from the first time I fed Milo I would break his latch over and over until he got it right.

So we know that certain hormones are released when you breastfeed: oxytocin and prolactin. Oxytocin helps the uterus contract and prolactin is supposed to realx the mother. Well turns out how this translates for me at least, is a pretty sweet boob high. I knew that the combination of these hormones promoted bonding, but I didn't know what the felt like of course! It's so cool, it's like the butterflies you get when you really are into someone, and sometimes it makes me giggly. Even at 3am when I'm super tired and I don't want to get up I start feeding Milo and I get that rush. I know this has to be what the "bonding hormones" must feel like, because I haven't once gotten then feeling when bottle feeding. So anyhow, I'm super into the boob high.

The queen of TMI can't go another blog without including something that's... well... TMI! All I have to say is that postpartum pooping is worse than giving birth itself. Even nearly a month later it still is... I should buy stock in Colace, Exlax, and prunes.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mommyhood 3 Weeks In

Milo is 3 weeks old now, and I guess you all deserve an update on how things are going. I did promise to continue blogs, after all. I don't want to make myself out to be a liar.

I have always been thoroughly annoyed by people who, when finding out we were expecting our first, would dramatically tell us how children change everything. I've never thought becoming a mother would be an Earth shattering event for me, but what do I know, right? Well appearantly I know a lot, and I'm SO glad that I haven't had to eat my words and rolling eyes yet.

I really don't feel like my life is different so far, and I am not finding this whole motherhood gig to be a challenge. I haven't called the pediatrician or my mother needing answers about something, I haven't stared my screaming baby in the face and asked what he wanted, I just feel like I can face every challenge. Worse case scenario, I have google! I admit I do have a pretty easy baby, but even so, my life feels almost exactly the same.

Milo is truly an unusually calm baby. Not much bothers him. He sleeps through everything (even band practice), rarely cries at bath time, and sleep for 3-4 hours at a time through the night. I'm going to consider this my reward after a complicated pregnancy and a less than ideal birth.

You should all know by now that I gave birth to a giant baby, but I also gave birth to a scary strong baby. At one day old Milo could lift his head off my shoulder and hold it up. A few days after that, he was lifting it and turning it. That's the strength of a 1 month old, at birth. On his tummy he can also lift it, and when sitting on my lap he will hold it up about 1/4 of the time. Milo also aggressively pushes with his feet into a standing position if I sit him up. It's so weird to have such a strong baby! I kinda feel like we missed the whole newborn stage. Oh and I hate when mothers try to pick apart their baby's actions to try to show how "advanced" they are... that's not my point at all. I would be totally ok with my baby walking late and being chill.... but I have a feeling that wont be the case since Eric and both my brothers were early walkers. Eric never even crawled. Oh God I'm in for it...

Monday, November 2, 2009

This is Milo's Story

This is Milo’s story.

After desperately trying to induce labor naturally, Eric and I found ourselves in Labor and Delivery at 6:00am on Monday, October 26th waiting to be induced. I was 3cm dilated, 60% effaced, and though I was unhappy about the induction, I was comforted by the fact that my OB was sure we’d have a baby by that night. We handed over our birth plan and I waited to have my IV started. I hate getting IV’s and I faint easily. I have terrible veins and I didn’t want to start the day with 5 bad sticks and me fainting. The first nurse failed. The second I didn’t trust (she looked like an escaped mental patient). Finally they called the anesthesiologist to do it. It was a rough start.

Pitocin was started at around 7:00am. Our plan was to induce with Pitocin and not have my water broken. We didn’t know that the Pitocin drip meant that we would not be able to use the shower or tub, or that I would have to be hooked up to monitors continuously. We were disappointed, but had a great nurse that had her three children without pain medication. She was very supportive of our plan to go pain med free. Good news.

Contractions showed up quickly, but only on the monitor. I didn’t feel a thing. As the hours wore on I got more and more frustrated. I was starving, I could have broth, jello, and flavored ice cups. I’m not stupid, those are all just various forms of more liquid. By that evening I was a crying mess. I was worried that the lack of food would affect my ability to hold up in labor, that my uterus would get over worked by the Pitocin and have problems contracting after delivery, and about the effects of a full day of Pitocin on my baby. My IV hurt horribly, and I felt defeated before even feeling a single contraction. I shamelessly sobbed in front of the new nurse and OB that was on call. I didn’t think the induction was working. They turned off the Pitocin and said they would try again in the morning.

In the morning my IV was excruciating. The nurse determined that I needed it redone, so the anesthesiologist came back and gave me another. I really liked the anesthesiologist; we could tell he loved his job. While he was there he explained everything about epidurals to us, in case we needed one. We listened politely. He just loved talking about it so much, we didn’t have the heart to interrupt him and say we didn’t plan to have one.

Pitocin was started again. I was checked, and I had made no progress the day before. Before I had wanted to just nudge labor along, but my OB gently helped me realize that I didn’t really have the luxury of letting nature take its course. The truth is that in nature, a mother in my condition would only have a 50% chance of bringing home a live baby. He said that today we are cheating nature. It sunk in. I got it. I finally felt ok about our position. We decided to go ahead and let them break my water.

The next OB on call was not my OB, he was the one OB I did not want to deliver my baby. I believe I had said something like “If he’s on call, I’ll have my son in the parking lot.” He came in and asked if he had seen me before. He had, several times, just the week before actually. I don’t need to be coddled by my doctors, but I do appreciate being looked at when talked to, and having my questions addressed. Both of these skills seem to escape this doctor. I don’t think he said anything else, he just checked me, and then broke my water. I hadn’t told him to break my water, and I was irritated he didn’t even ask. Also, Eric had stepped out to go to the bathroom so he missed it. He was pretty bummed. When I got up I produced a very impressive puddle on the floor. Go me.

The next nurse had also had her children naturally. Another score. She was very sweet and kept saying I reminded her of herself when she had her babies. My contractions could finally be felt around 10:45am, about an hour after my water was broken. They came on fast, there were no polite warning contractions. My uterus started out at a sprint. They started at 2 minutes apart and about 30 seconds long. I labored on the toilet for a bit, since it really felt like I needed to go to the bathroom, it was nice to be there just in case.

Within 20 minutes I really needed my husband’s support. I got on the birthing ball and leaned on the bed. Eric rubbed my back and talked me through contractions. As much as it hurt, it felt great to be doing this the way we wanted to: just me and him. I couldn’t talk much, I would just say “start” for the beginning of a contraction, and then after would fall into him and relax. I kissed him and thanked him when I could. Those little breaks were so precious.

Unfortunately, we were not able to labor like this for long, only another 20 to 30 minutes. When I leaned on the bed I would kink the IV in my hand, setting off a symphony of piercing alarms. Also, the monitors were not picking up baby because I was sitting up and rocking. The nurse told me I needed to lay in the bed. I felt very trapped. The nurse said this OB likes the “express route” and my Pitocin was increased again as I positioned myself on my side. Contractions were now coming at a feverish pace of every one minute. The breaks completely disappeared. It suddenly felt like someone had dropped a piano on me, and as it crushed me I was then being hit with semi truck after semi truck. My options were pain, mind numbing pain, and pain again. The nurse had said earlier that a common complaint of Pitocin induced labor was that there were no breaks between contractions. I kept thinking about what Bradley said in his book in reference to contractions, a truth I expected to lean on in labor: Nature is kind, and always gives breaks.

Against the wishes of the nursing staff, I scrambled to my hands and knees and held onto the headboard. I felt like I was going to throw up and pass out all at the same time. As out of it as I was, at one point as I leaned over the side of the bed I remember thinking, “If I throw up here, cleaning off all those cords will be hell.” I felt bad for losing it, the nurse had been so nice and was so impressed with my birth plan, I felt like I was letting everyone down. I can’t say I remember many other clear thoughts, I just gripped that bed and moaned and cried and shook. Eric said that at one point he had even checked under my gown to make sure a head wasn’t coming out. Just one hour had passed.

The nurses said I NEEDED to turn over, this time on my back. There was no way I could endure all this pain and stay completely still on my back. My IV alarm continued to go off again and again and they couldn’t keep baby on the monitor. I understood it was important to monitor him, that the contractions could cause him to distress and that I did need to stay still, but I just couldn’t. I needed to be in any position other than on my back. Eric was being so good trying to help me cope, but I couldn’t carry on like this. I just cried and cried and said that I would need an epidural. Eric asked me over and over if I was sure. He knew how badly I didn’t want one, and he was right. Even as I asked for it I didn’t want it, but I was physically, mentally and emotionally spent. I just cried and apologized to him over and over, I felt like I was taking something away from him because he had prepared as much as I had for this. I wanted us to do this together and now I was tapping out early. Eric was so wonderful though, he said he knew there was no way I’d be asking for this if there was any chance I could go without it. He went and got the nurse.

They turned off the Pitocin so I could stay still for the epidural. I didn’t say anything for a long time after that. I know I was moaning and trembling, but I felt very silent and still. I never asked what was taking the anesthesiologist so long, I tried to not cry anymore, I just shut down. Half an hour went by and the Pit was out of my system. It wasn’t long before I could feel the tightening waves of contractions, but with breaks in between. I was exhausted and in pain, but I also thought “This I could have done, these I could have worked with.” I’m really glad I had that time with my body, to know that I wasn’t too weak for labor. I believe I could have endured this if it weren’t for the induction. Through all this I never once thought that this whole natural childbirth thing doesn’t work or only crazy people try it, I just couldn’t do it on a nearly maxed dose of Pitocin.

It took two attempts to get the epidural right. Once it kicked in, I didn’t have a “Hallelujuah, epidurals are awesome!” moment. I felt very indifferent to it. The rest of the day wore on. Eric and I watched tv and waited. I texted back and forth with Amy, who was also now in labor. We guessed at when our babies would come. I was now sure my baby would share his birthday with my brother, October 28th. I was happy because 28 is my second favorite number.

At 11:30pm I felt my body start to push, and I could feel baby’s head moving lower. I didn’t tell the nurse right away, I wanted to just let my body push for a while, it felt good to feel something and to be involved. She checked me at 12:15am and said his head was very low and I could start pushing. We texted a friend who was going to take pictures and my father in law who was going to video tape, and I started pushing.

Eric sat behind me for support and the nurses set up the squat bar for me to put my feet against. I could feel most of the contractions so I could push with them, not just when the nurses told me to. I felt the head very low pretty quickly. Our friend, Tina, and Eric’s parents arrived and started taking pictures and video taping. Everything was going well. My only complaint was that the nurses would say “get mad at it” and “push like bowel movement.” I asked them to stop, I said it was distracting.

I pushed for about 2 hours and the nurses massaged the whole time. By now they had figured out that my baby had a very big head. I could tell they were trying to say things to each other without me hearing. The OB was called in and he had me push once. He said, as dryly as possible, I could have a vacuum delivery or c-section. I asked if I could just tear and he said no, that if I tore I would tear in several directions. He would also need help delivering the head and he was concerned about shoulder dystocia. Then he just left. To say the least, I lost it.

I was terrified of an episiotomy, and I thought that even if they got his head out, they might not be able to get his shoulders out. I said I wanted as many drugs as I could have and a c-section. I know Eric was thinking “who is this woman?” I had given up, I wanted out of having to make this decision or be a part of this birth. Eric completely took charge. He told me he knew I’d regret this, and he was sure I could do this. I finally agreed to the vacuum. I didn’t look down for the rest of the birth. I told the nurse to tell the OB to not tell me when they cut me, I didn’t want to know. I just buried my head in Eric, who now was beside me holding me up.

I barely remember the next hour. I was completely lost in Eric. I only heard what he said. He was the only thing that was real in the room, no one else was there. I know that there is no other way I would have been able to get through the rest of the birth. Eric kept telling me he could see his head and that I was doing it. At 3:37am I finally felt Milo come out, and they cleaned him on my stomach. I still didn’t look, but I felt his head through the towel, it was so warm and he was so wiggly… and heavy.

Even though Milo was here and he was supposed to be at the center of this life changing event, I was still barely conscious of anything beyond Eric. This moment was about us, we had made something so perfect and we had done it all together. I finally noticed Milo crying and we looked over at him as the nurses cleaned him off, and my appreciation for what we had accomplished swelled. In the end, I realized that that’s all I really wanted from this birth, it didn’t feel like a medical procedure like I feared it would… it really was the beautiful beginning of our family that I had dreamed of.

In all I was in labor for 14 hours, pushed for 3 hours. Milo weighed 10 pounds, 3 ounces and was 21 inches long. He looks just like his daddy.

Milo's birth videos: