Saturday, October 30, 2010

It's a bird...

it's a plane...

no, it's a huge ass moose in my backyard!!!

I had to do some fancy photo editing to be able to actually see the moose so it has a "I'm looking at a UFO on the front of the National Enquirer" quality about it. My husband and I were standing in the kitchen when he glanced over at our window. This huge female moose was just beyond our deck about ten feet from our window. By the time we grabbed the camera this was all we could see. Wow, I really do live in Alaska!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010


After having fantastic nursing afternoon yesterday with great latching and no soreness, baby E took a whiplash inducing 180 and wouldn't nurse with any type of suction in the evening or through the night. I just don't get it!

He would show signs of wanting to eat by rooting but then would simply soothe himself instead of eating. At first I wanted to give him a bottle because I don't want my babe go hungry! (Yes, I'm a sucker.) However, my hubby pointed out that he knows where to eat and how to do it. If he is hungry, he'll latch on and eat. So we gave him his pacifier to help him soothe himself (instead of making me sore) and put him back down. He happily went back to sleep. I passed out eventually but remained worried and frustrated.

He did the same thing this morning but eventually ate for about ten minutes during each session.

I'm trying not to freak out about this change....ideas?


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Free 5x7 Holiday Cards for Bloggers

A perk for bloggers!

Shutterfly is offering 50 free 5x7 holiday cards. Sign up HERE!


The baby weight... gone! Yippee! From the start of my donor cycle until delivery day, I gained sixteen pounds. For once in my life, I set a weight goal that I managed to keep which made me beyond happy. I would have gained as much as I needed to for the pregnancy to have a healthy kiddo, but since I porked on the pounds during the infertility treatments, I really didn't need to.

Most of the weight has melted off with just some consideration to my diet. But now that I've hit my pre-pregnancy weight, that has stopped. :) Go figure. Now I'm going to work on the 20 odd pounds gained during my fertility treatments. After that will be another goal, but I'm just taking it in steps.

And for your viewing pleasure, this picture cracked me up.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Booby Juice Continued.

To continue the discussion on breast feeding...

My main point about breast feeding is that it's just not as straight forward as some of the books and lactation consultants can make it seem. If you've read my blog, you know I've had a 'take it as it comes' attitude about pretty much everything! With breast feeding, the book I read really made it a point to talk about how expectations and stressing about breast feeding just makes it more likely to be hard for you. So I approached it with the same open attitude. I believed the book when they clearly said, if it hurts, you need to adjust what you are doing. 

However the reality of any situation is that a variable can throw a wrench into your plans. My main variable was anatomical - my child's mouth did not match up with the size of my nipple. So in trying to make it work, my nipple developed a blood blister and then cracked. Despite the cracked nipple, I kept trying which made it worse. Finally I had enough and started pumping that breast instead until it healed. Now, I just have to wait for the anatomical situation to work itself out. Already it is much better. 

So essentially, while the book is correct in that you need to adjust what you are doing if it hurts, trying to recover from something like a cracked nipple while still feeding your child is not straightforward. I think this kind of thing happens to a lot of women who are not prepared to deal with it. It's probably like being infertile. You should be able to get pregnant or breast feed without any problems, but that's not how it works out for some of us.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Breast feeding...not for the faint of heart

During my stay at the hospital, a lactation consultant stopped by to talk and also passed along a book about breast feeding. The gist of the book is that breast feeding is a natural process that industrialized society has overanalyzed to make more difficult. According to them, breast feeding should not be painful. If it is, you are doing something wrong and need to correct the latch, position, etc.

All I can say about my experience in comparison to what the book describes is that -- it's a bunch of bull! Breast feeding HAS NOT been easy. The struggle to make it work combined with a bunch of assvice from the various nurses and practitioners about feeding in general drove me to tears several times over the last three weeks. (Can you believe my little man is three weeks old - cartwheels!!!) Most of the 'advice' was accurate to babies in general just not in relation to my child who was a late preterm baby.

Shortly after baby E was born, the nurses took his glucose level which was just one point off of the target. Because of this, they wanted me to try to feed him immediately which is fairly typical to do with newborns anyway. Baby E was not quite ready to nurse and made no attempt to suck or latch on. My body wasn't ready either as nothing was coming out! The nurses quickly went into crisis aversion mode and started telling us that feeding him formula was necessary at this point, but simultaneously trying to keep us from freaking out as I expect some parents do. We cut them off midstream to let them know we just wanted to get our child fed if that's what he needed. I think because so many things have been screwy in trying to get and stay pregnant, that I just didn't assume I would be able to breast feed. My hubby is really good about keeping us focused on the goal--in this case, getting E's glucose level up. So formula feed from a bottle (gasp!) ensued.

Over the next few days we were told all of these things by various hospital staff:

  • Your son does not need to eat regularly within the first 24 hours.
  • Your son was early, so he needs to eat every three hours within the first 24 hours.
  • Colostrum is liquid gold so any drop you get is better than nothing. 
  • 1 ml of colostrum is great!
  • Oh, you only got 1 ml?
  • Your son needs to eat 15 ml of formula past whatever you are able to pump.
  • Your son can eat as much as he will take in a sitting (Massive spit-up ensues).
  • You just need to try a nipple shield to be able to breast feed.
  • Use a nipple on the formula bottle.
  • Don't use a nipple on the formula bottle because he won't latch on later! You should use a syringe and a feeding tube.
  • Don't use a syringe and feeding tube, use it only through a nipple shield (S&S) so he gets the sucking idea.
  • Let your son go to the nursery at night.
  • Don't let your son go to the nursery at night because they'll feed him formula (duh duh duhhhhhhh!)
It seemed like every person that came in had a different opinion on what we should do to feed our son. Meanwhile we are sitting there in the hospital thinking, "aren't you the professionals?" A lot of the conflicting information was because he was early and didn't necessarily have the skills to act like a 40 weeker. Also because the hospital is certified "breast feeding friendly," all of the nurses have some sort of training in facilitating breast feeding which means a mess of different opinions and options. Sigh. They meant well, but the advice didn't mesh well together. Finally, we got a plan going with the lactation consultant that we felt comfortable with before we left the hospital.

Then, at our four day weight check at the military hospital, the VERY pro-breast feeding nurse adamantly insisted that I didn't need any of the above feeding methods and could just breast feed. Lo and behold she showed me a different type of hold (australian football hold) and wouldn't you know, he latched right on and was able to sustain his feeding without passing out from exhaustion. Go E!

Of course the fun just got started as I discovered that breast feeding is not for the faint of heart. Blood blisters, cracked nipples, white blood deprived nipple line, bleeding nipples, sore boobs, dripping boobs, engorged boobs combined with tears streaming down my face from pain followed. While breast feeding is great in terms of bonding with your baby and providing good nutrition for him, the pain of the first month is severely glossed over! Everyone assures me it gets better, but the first few weeks have been pretty tortuous for me. I'm so glad I have stuck it out thus far but seriously, I never understood how truly difficult it can be. 

Of course, I am incredibly glad that I am able to even go through the craziness of breast feeding as it's not always an option for women, especially those that have gone through IVF. However, I would feel remiss in my truthful blogging if I didn't tell you about the reality of wading through feeding in the first days and the pain of breast feeding. 

Now I must go feed my son. :) 


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stank Eye

Bad mommy. Bad daddy.

This would be my son giving us the the stank eye after being circumcised today. Since he was early, the docs wanted to wait a little bit to allow him to grow so it took until now to get it done.

I asked the doc if he had done a lot of circumcisions. He laughed and said "four this morning...I stopped counting after 500." That helped me feel confident about it. Even thought we couldn't go back with him during the procedure, I was really calm about letting my little man go.  Of course, when he was screaming bloody murder when we changed his diaper for the first time at home, I burst into tears.

Poor baby.


Monday, October 18, 2010

The birth

The days are already flying by as baby E is already two weeks and three days. I could gush for quite awhile about how much I love him already, but I figure I should get the birth story down first! So here it goes...details and all!

Thursday, September 30

Going into Anchorage for my weekly doctor's visit had shown that my cervix was shortened to one centimeter and despite the stitch had dilated to one centimeter. We planned to take the stitch out at the following visit next forward to eleven o'clock that night where I started having a contraction each hour. No big deal right? Unless I was having six contractions in an hour, I didn't need to go in.

Friday, October 1

I awoke about 2:30 am to some medium grade contractions. Whipping out my iphone, I used an app to start timing my contractions. Lo and behold I had eleven in thirty minutes. Gingerly, I woke my husband up.  In my hesitation to cry wolf, I began my conversation something like this...

"I'm having contractions...I think we should go to the hospital but I'm not sure...Do you think we should go to the hospital?" My husband's reaction was a resounding yes.

So we grabbed our last minute stuff, woke my dad up and took the hour drive into the hospital. During the drive I kept wishing we lived closer because I was feeling some pain! Of course about fifteen minutes down the road, my hubby turns to me and asks if I got my wallet. Um, whoops. I don't really need ID to go to the hospital right? We said 'screw it' and kept going.

We were admitted into OB Triage where they gave me a bed and some anti-contraction medication. My doc figured that we would try one shot to see if it would stop the contractions and then go ahead and deliver if it didn't work. It didn't. On to labor and delivery we headed. They stuck me with an IV and hooked up the monitors while my pain ratcheted up quite a few notches. Finally, the doc arrived to take out my stitch and get the party started. Unfortunately when she stuck the speculum in, I felt like I was being ripped in two. With the contractions coming a few minutes apart, it was impossible to do it without contracting around the speculum. OUCH!!!!! The doc decided to give me an epidural before we proceeded. I felt like such a wimp but there was no way I could have her remove the stitch without it.

Since it was shift change for the anesthesiologists, we had to wait about forty-five minutes for him to come. He asked me, "Do you want to discuss the procedure or for me to go ahead and do it?" For the love of god man! Do it already! The prick of the stick wasn't bad at all and before I knew it twenty minutes had passed and I was feeling no pain. Let me tell you, it was the best thing EVER!

So the doc went back in only to find out that I was already dilated to nine cm and had ripped most of the stitch already. Unbelievably she pulled out every contraption that has ever been made from the weighted speculum, forceps and chopsticks (not really) to try to snag what remained of the stitch but had absolutely no luck in the forty-five minutes that she tried. Finally she threw her hands up in the air and decided to let me labor with what was left of the stitch and repair any damage afterwards. Game on!

At this point it was seven thirty and time for the nurse shift change. In walks Lauren, a nurse who took care of me several times during bedrest. Since she is in her training phase at the hospital, she worked in all of the maternity sections before settling down for her year long training in L&D. I loved her so I was so happy to have her familiar face with me. So besides being able to have one of my favorite nurses, I also got the experienced nurse working with her, the rock star anesthesiologist, the actual doc I had been working with since 27 weeks, and then found out the NICU doc we favored was on call for us. The cast of players was just stacked in our favor. We couldn't have been happier.

The nurses had me put my legs up in the air and hold them in my hands with support from my hubby on one side and Lauren on the other. Lauren would watch the monitor for my contractions, since I couldn't feel them, and then would have me hold my breath for the count of ten while I pushed. I would do this three times for each contraction which left me gasping for air in between my contractions. My sister called during this time. My husband was like, "you realize she's in active labor right?" The two of them crack me up.

The epidural ended up slowing down the intensity of my contractions, so they hit me with some pitocin and gave me about forty-five minutes to relax. Once we kicked back into gear, I could actually feel the pressure of the contractions but still felt no pain! Lovely! A great side effect of the epidural is that mothers often puke. Did you know that when puking, you push like you do for a contraction? My four heaves gave me a nice leg up on the pushing. It was great that my green slime managed to rebound out of the small little tray and hit my husband too. Lucky man. Hee hee! More pushing until almost noon and out he came with a little slide and slush.

Because he was early, he was whisked over to the NICU team where he was inspected and given an 8/9. Whoo! No NICU time needed for my little man. During this time, I had yet to actually catch a glimpse of my son other than to see his dark head and skinny little limbs as he was being whisked away. So barring any view of him, I watched my husband. I didn't know that it was possible to love my husband any more than I already did. But in those seconds following E's arrival, I saw the relief of his safe arrival and pure joy pass across his face. I thought he would immediately go to him, but he didn't. He clutched my hand and then leaned in to gather me close to him. It sounds so cheesy but it was literally the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Finally the nurses realized I hadn't seen my son yet so they some of the paraphernalia away to give me a glimpse of him. There was my little monkey.

It's only been two weeks, but I can't imagine life before him. We are so grateful that he is here, and he is safe in our arms.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How do you thank a person for this?

Just a few minutes ago I received a card from Fairyegg's mother. During this whole journey, we have had not only had the incredible gift from Fairyegg's herself, but the support of her whole family - hubby, mom, dad, and sister. They have literally been cheering me on through cards, texts, emails, and happy thoughts from the very get go. You can see clearly how her generosity and love have come naturally to her as it is clearly demonstrated in the words and actions of her family.

Now that I hold baby E in my arms, I am more humbled and thankful for her gift from a depth in my heart that I didn't know existed. How do you thank a person for something that can't be adequately expressed through words or gifts? How do you thank an entire family for what they have shared with you?

All I know is that I will not squander this gift that I have been given. The gift is more than my son, it;s also the love and bond between our families.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm in love...

...with a man who is not my husband.

Baby E born 10/1/10
11:50 a.m.
5 lb 15 oz
20 inches long

beautiful and healthy 
born at 35 weeks 5 days

loves from a very happy family