Lily’s First Days (And Why I’m Still Heartbroken)- Part Two

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We left the hospital around noon. We got home and I lugged her and all my stuff upstairs to our bedroom…and then we just sat down. What now? Being alone with a newborn for the first time is an interesting experience. Lily was silent and content for most of the time, so I wasn’t really sure what to do with her. I put her in her crib. I put her in her swing. I held her. Hm.

This was the beginning of the hardest few days of my life. I had no idea what I was in for! Babies just sleep, eat, and poop, right?! Not Lily!

She started crying around 9PM. I tried to breastfeed her again. She wasn’t latching. I laid her in her swing by the side of my bed and tried to sleep with my finger in her mouth…I should have just put her in bed with me, but I was afraid I’d roll over and smother her! I didn’t want her crying to keep my brother awake, so I took her downstairs with me. My mother was the only one sleeping downstairs, so I figured that was a better place for us.

I sat on the couch in the dining room and tried to get her to latch. Over and over and over again. I tried different positions. I tried expressing milk into her mouth. I did everything I had read about and could think of. My mother sat with me for a few minutes and offered recommendations, then got frustrated and said she didn’t know what the problem was.

I laid Lily down in her bassinet and tried to sleep next to her, on the couch. For hours on end we did this. She’d wake up and cry. I’d try to feed her. She’d get tired of trying and fall back to sleep in my arms. I’d lay her down, and she’d cry. I started crying. I had no idea what I was doing wrong! I kept asking her why should didn’t want to eat. What could I do to help her? After hours of trying, she became inconsolable. I started walking her around, jiggling her…I was crying of course. I was exhausted. I mean, dead tired. I woke my mom up and said that I was afraid I was going to fall over with her in my arms. I honestly was afraid!

My mom, being in a sleepy stupor, took Lily from me and said, “Why did you wait so long to wake me up?! You can’t do stuff like that!” She said it in a rough sort of way. I don’t think she meant to sound like she was scolding me, but it did, and I started sobbing. She put Lily on her chest and they both fell back asleep.

I was heartbroken. I was tired. I was upset that my mother could calm Lily down in seconds and I couldn’t. I was upset that I couldn’t feed my baby. I felt like my mom was mad at me, and I couldn’t understand why.

I have wanted to be a mom since as far back as I can remember. I’ve helped for years with everyone’s children. I did a great job helping, I think. I read ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ front to back. I knew everything I thought I needed to know. So what was I doing wrong? Why was I failing as a parent? I could tell by her cries that she was hungry, and I felt like I was starving my baby. I had no bottles or formula at the house. I wanted so badly to ask my mom to take me to the store right then. I wanted to give up.

I fell asleep on the couch and woke up a few hours later. I tried to breastfeed her that morning. She latched on for a few seconds and I thought, this is it! She’s got it! Our problems are solved!! I wish it had been that easy.

We went to Lily’s pediatrician appointment that morning. He was worried about her. She had lost more than a pound, wasn’t eating, and was glowing orange. So, to the local hospital we went for bloodwork. This was terrible. They pricked her heel over and over again, trying to squeeze out enough blood to test her bilirubin levels. She was crying.

The doctor called us a few hours later and said she needed to go back to the hospital she was born in to be admitted. She needed to be under the blue lights for awhile. I cried. And cried. I called Matt and told him- neither of us had heard of anything like this before, so he thought she was dying and sort of freaked out. I had to explain it all to him in between my sobs. Sad.

Once she was readmitted, I asked to used one of the hospital’s breast pumps so she wouldn’t be fed formula. I explained that we were trying to breastfeed but hadn’t quite got it yet. I pumped there, for the first time. I remember pumping almost 8 ounces! That was more than enough to feed her while she stayed there. I was crying most of the time we were there…the poor nurse was so worried about me that she offered to let me stay the night in the postpartum wing.

Lily had to stay in a special room within the nursery, in a fancy glass tank. She was naked, with only a diaper on and a mask. Everything glowed blue. She actually liked it though- she was warm so she stretched right out and slept peacefully.

I tried to feed her once more before we left. They wrapped her in a bili-blanket so she was still under the lights. I remember laughing and calling her my little baby glow worm. I decided not to stay the night. I would have just sat alone in a postpartum room. I didn’t have any of my belongings. I couldn’t have stayed with her. I would have just sat there and cried.

I should have stayed.

A lot of people have made me feel terrible about leaving her that night.

I went home and cried. Imagine just having your baby and then leaving them with strangers like that. My heart was in pieces. This was not going to help us establish breastfeeding, but she needed to be there. I felt like my baby was sick because of something I did- because I couldn’t figure out how to properly feed her. If I had just fed her formula, this wouldn’t have happened. If I had just tried harder.

I bought a  cheap breastpump the next day after we picked her up. I didn’t plan on using it long-term because I still thought I would breastfeed. I ended up pumping 10-12 times a day for 2 1/2 months.

I wanted so badly to be able to feed her myself, without the use of equipment, but I knew that at least she was still getting my milk. I did try occasionally to breastfeed her, but not often. It seemed like it was a waste of time. She had no idea what to do. I should have tried so much harder. I should have tried on a regular basis. I should have called someone from the LLL and arranged a meeting. There are a lot of regrets.

I stopped pumping when my supply plummeted. We went to visit Matt in mid-November and I didn’t pump very much of the trip. I didn’t want to be a pain. I wanted him to have a great time while we were there, so I rarely asked to go back to the hotel to pump. And I wouldn’t pump in front of Matt’s dad or brother! I didn’t pump for 12 hours straight on the way home…I think that’s what got me. I didn’t know then that that signals your body to stop producing milk. After that trip,  I could only get a few ounces at a time, and I had to start supplementing.

Now you see why my heart is still broken. I know I failed to breastfeed. I know I could have tried harder and made a better effort. I know I could have breastfed. But thankfully time has let me understand that I did what I did because I didn’t know what else to do. I did try as hard as I could have. I forgive myself. Now I know what to do in this type of situation. Now I know where to find support. My heart still hurts, but it’s getting better.

I’m trying to stay as positive as I can. I can identify all of the mistakes that I made and what not to do for this next baby. I know I’ll have the right sort of support. I am thankful to have Merideth. She’s heard my story and knows how much this means to me. She promises we will get it this time around.

So, yes, I’m heartbroken. Lily’s first few days were far from easy. I wish so badly that I could go back in time and hug myself. I wish someone would have looked me in the eyes and told me it was okay to ask for help. I know I was offered it…but Lily is happy and healthy, and that’s all that really matters.

It’s time for me to start reading Ina May’s book. It’s time for me to start healing.

 

 

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Lily’s First Days (And Why I’m Still Heartbroken)- Part One

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The inspiration for this post came from me thinking about reading Ina May Gaskin’s ‘Guide to Breastfeeding’. I thought, what if I cry through the whole thing? When I think about breastfeeding, my mind immediately turns into a jumbled sad mess. I feel panicky. I feel overwhelmed. Breastfeeding seems easy, right? You just plop a baby on your boob and they eat. Well, I guess it’s like that for some people, but not for me.

When I tell people I’m still heartbroken because I never breastfed Lily, I often get puzzled looks. Why would it bother me that much? She’s alive and doing well. She DID get breastmilk for a few months. It seems like something someone wouldn’t really dwell on. There are a lot of reasons why this still bothers me…

Lily was born on October 2nd, 2010. I’ve already posted my birth story, so I won’t go into detail, but her birth was easy. We didn’t have an complications. When I pulled her out- yes, me- I set her on my chest and started crying. I was totally overwhelmed. I remember closing my eyes and someone told me to open them and look at my new baby, who was being roughly wiped down with blankets and staring at me. She didn’t cry. She just laid there and looked at me with these giant dark eyes. The nurse tore my gown off me and pushed Lily onto my bare chest. It was all very fast…

I did not try to breastfeed her. I had her on my chest for maybe ten minutes, and then she was whisked away, as are most babies born in hospitals. My epidural was turned off so I was starting to feel a whole lot of pain. The nurse was gently kneading my belly to get my uterus to contract. At the time, I felt like she was killing me. I cried for her to stop! I had no idea where Lily was and what was happening to her. Now I know that she was only a few feet away from me on they ‘baby table’- you know, the one with the giant lights and heating lamp. I didn’t know that she was naked and being wiped down. I didn’t know that she was having tubes shoved down her throat to suction out whatever was left in her lungs. Now I know, and now I’m unhappy.

At that point in my life, I expected  some of this to happen. I thought that this is just what you do- you have a baby. They take the baby. Things happen. Everyone is okay. Well, I know better now.

This is where my guilt starts…if I had known better, if I had been better educated, if I had spoken up…

I remember her crying once in the ‘baby table’. I called out to her and she stopped and turned her head to me. I remember everyone thought that was amazing- firstly, that she stopped and looked at me, and secondly, that a newborn could turn their head like that. Aw.

After Lily and I were both taken care of, she was handed back to me for a few minutes. She was all bundled up and bug eyed. I can’t express how dark her eyes were. They still are strangely dark! Anyway, it sort of freaked me out. She was passed around from grandparent to grandparent, friend to friend. Pictures were taken. She didn’t cry. This all took almost an hour before everyone decided to leave.

Then, nothing. It was totally surreal! All of the sudden my room was nearly empty and it was silent. My mom was there, saying how exhausted she was…Lily was laying in some sort of bassinet. I was sitting up in bed in a bunch of blood soaked blankets. Yay. I asked the nurse if I could take a shower. She gave me a dirty look and said I could if I could walk. Listen lady, I feel nasty. Change my sheets or something. I didn’t even think that I couldn’t feel my legs yet. I got my mom and the nurse to let me hobble to the bathroom and get in the shower. I can’t believe they let me! I barely could stand on my own. The nurse gave me privacy and left me in the bathroom alone. I remember blood pouring down my legs as I maneuvered into the shower. I stood there in the water for a few minutes, then climbed back out. More blood. Yay.

It was around midnight now. I wanted to go to sleep, but my bed was dirty and I knew they’d want to move me to a postpartum room. Of course when I asked to be moved I got more dirty looks. What the hell. Lily was quiet this entire time. Alone.

Once we got to the new room, I remember sitting cross legged in my bed and picking her up, by myself, for the first time. I couldn’t believe that she was mine! I couldn’t believe that now I had my own baby. Like, that’s it? They just let anyone have one of these? You can just leave with one and no one thinks it’s a big deal? It didn’t make any sense to me. Not everyone knows how to take care of one of these! They just give them to you assuming you’ll be a good parent? It was overwhelming.

I did try to breastfeed her then. She was wiggling a little bit. She wasn’t crying. I tried, and she tried. She latched on for a second, then let go. She did that a few more times. A nurse told me that it was totally normal for a baby to not be hungry for the first few days.

WAIT A SECOND. At that point, I was confused but trusted her. My mom agreed with her. I had had an epidural, so I understand Lily being sleepy, but not being hungry? I didn’t think twice about it then. Now, I’ve asked multiple people since then if that makes sense. I know some babies latch on immediately after birth and will eat all day and night. Some people agree with the nurse. Some people are completely confused. Like me.

So, because the nurse and my mom weren’t concerned, I wasn’t. My mom went to sleep. I tried to. Lily slept in her bassinet for a few hours, but at 4AM, she woke up crying. I tried to breastfeed her. She wasn’t latching on. Any time I held her, she was quiet and happy. She’d doze off. And then I’d try laying her back down…Yeah, that didn’t work. She didn’t want to lay alone. I was terrified of sleeping with her on me- I’m not really sure why, but I refused to do it- so I’d hold her and then try to put her back down. Lily would sleep in her bassinet if I put my knuckle in her mouth, like a pacifier. I started falling asleep sitting up, hanging over the side of her bassinet. I knew not to give her a pacifier if I wanted to breastfeed, but at that point, I didn’t care. At 5:30AM a nurse came in and asked if I wanted them to take her. They did. They gave her a GIANT pacifier, too.

I slept until 8AM, when the nurse woke me back up. Lily was hungry, she told me.

(My mom slept this entire time, FYI.)

We tried to feed her again that morning, with no success. Everyone kept telling me to keep trying. We both needed to learn. She’ll get it. Lily wasn’t really hungry, so after awhile she’d get tired and snooze again. I’d set her in the crook of my knee and let her sleep.

I called Matt that morning to tell him that I had Lily. I had to call the American Red Cross, have them call his sergeant, and then wait for him to call me back. It was a sad phone call. He had just graduated from basic training that morning. I was sad that I had to tell him over the phone. He was sad that he missed it. We both didn’t really know what to do or what to say. Sad.

Then the visitors started streaming in. A lot of different people holding her. She’d just stare at them and hang out. We didn’t try breastfeeding again until later that night. I didn’t nap that day, so I was exhausted to say the least.

My mom fell asleep at 8PM. She had her own bed in my room.

I fell asleep once, sitting up, with Lily in the crook of my knee (I was sitting cross legged) and the nurse came in and freaked out. Co-sleeping is dangerous. What was I thinking.

Also, that night, a nurse came in at 5AM and woke me up. I wasn’t charting Lily’s wet diapers. She NEEDED to know how many wet diapers Lily had. I put her in one of the diapers we had brought with us, instead of a hospital diaper. Evidently that was a big no-no because my diapers didn’t have this fancy indicator line. How was I supposed to know if she peed if I couldn’t look at this fancy, color changing line? She yelled at me for almost 15 minutes. Lily needed to be producing enough wet diapers or she’d dehydrate. They’d have to give her an IV and keep her in the nursery.

Screw that nurse.

She didn’t offer AT ALL to help me breastfeed Lily. She wanted to give her a bottle.

That morning we tried to breastfeed a few more times. A new nurse came in and talked to us about discharging paperwork and all of the tests they had run on Lily. She was wonderful! She was so kind and offered breastfeeding support. We had to watch a lame movie on SIDS.

A doctor(not my doctor or Lily’s pediatrician) came in and discussed Lily with me. Everything was normal, but she was slightly jaundiced. They said that would clear up when she started eating more and digesting.

And then we were free to leave.

Note- There is a breastfeeding consultant that works at the hospital I gave birth in. It was a weekend, so she wasn’t there.

Another vent.

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My mind is a jumbled mess. I have a million things going on and I feel like I can’t deal with any of them!

Last night, I dreamt about Twilight, an ex-boyfriend, and teethers. Um, what?! Yeah. I dreamt about getting a piece of gum from an ex-boyfriend, then waking up in my childhood home with a dude in my room(Twilight reference) and my dad smiling down the hall. Because he ‘caught’ me. And then a blue, plastic teether. Who knows.

I’m started to get nervous about having a toddler and a newborn. Lily has entered a toddler stage that is making me crazy. I can deal with a clingy baby. I think I’m incredibly patient with children. What I can’t stand is whining. Whining is like scratching nails on a chalkboard for me. Please stop whining. Just tell me what you want. Please make up your mind. Not only is she whining, but she’s clingy and grouchy. She’ll hit Tyson when he walks by her and yell “go!” Please be nice to Tyson. She won’t let Matt hold her, or comfort her, or kiss her. Please let Dada help me. Everything that’s even a little bit frustrating turns into a full tantrum. These shoes won’t go on my feet! It’s the end of the world! Not only has all this started, but she’s starting to think everything is hers. I feel like she’d cuss at me if she could. I feel like cussing at her sometimes. It’s my effing iPhone and my effing water bottle. And my effing lap! You have your own stuff! I understand I’m supposed to teach her patience and sharing…but c’mon. That was my doughnut. That’s not very nice.

She fake cries. Enough said.

Being a parent is not always easy. I know I’ve been blessed with a normally well-behaved child. I know that I should expect hard times and even harder times than this. The truth to parenting is that it’s not always easy for anyone. No one vents on Facebook about what a crappy morning they’re having. Well, most people don’t. So, as a parent, you can easily feel isolated. Am I the only one dealing with this? Why are everyone else’s kids acting normally? The truth is that other parents are going through the same exact thing, but they don’t ever bring up the bad times in conversation. Everyone pretends their lives are awesome all the time and they hide the crappy stuff. I’m okay with this. It’s just something to remember. At least Lily isn’t biting me.

I try to vent as best I can to people I’m close to. It’s sad when you can’t tell certain people things because you know they’ll spread your business all over the place. I don’t want everyone knowing that I told Lily I was going to throw her off the bed. I don’t want to be judged on that isolated incident. (Yes, I did say that. I wrote about it on Instagram. She started pulling my hair. After an hour of kicking, slapping, elbowing, and pinching, I had reached my breaking point. See, not everyone is perfect all the time.) The point is that I’m disappointed in so many people I consider close because I know they’ll talk about me. It hurts my feelings. I should be able to trust these people, you know? It’s not fair. And they wonder why I don’t call them every day or want to spend time with them…and what? Make sure I don’t slip and tell you some personal information? Sad.

I hate talking badly about Matt. I hate venting about our relationship to others. I don’t want him to be mad at me, and I don’t think it’s fair of me to be telling people information about him. I think, if you have an issue within a relationship, then you should tell your partner about it first. Well, I’ve done that. About thirty times. And I’m tired. Our relationship is crappy. I feel lonely and disrespected. I really don’t think this is the best time in my life to be dealing with this. I’m supposed to go through the hardest experience of my life in a few months and I feel like I need as much support as possible. You would assume my husband would be a large part of that support system, right? Nope. I don’t know if I can do this on my own. I know worrying about that is a normal part of the process- am I really strong enough? Do I really want to do this? Will everything be okay? What if I start squealing like a wild boar and just get transferred? *sigh* I think, at this point, that I should have people surrounding me and reassuring me. Is it really my job to reassure myself? It just doesn’t seem right. How am I supposed to hold myself up while I’m falling down? I’ve been pretty independent my whole life, so I know I’m a strong person. I know I can do anything by myself. But I really worry about supporting myself mentally…how is a person supposed to even do that?

You shouldn’t have to ask for help. And if you do ask for help, you should get it. And if you don’t…well, that sucks.

And I’m tired. Mentally. Physically. How am I supposed to get up with Lily in the middle of the night when I have a newborn sleeping on my chest? I understand these are normal thoughts, but that doesn’t make them any less stressful.

Oh, and my mother in law is leaving. She’s going on vacation for a month. I know most people don’t like their mother-in-law’s, but I happen to like mine. Sure, she’s not perfect, but she’s good company and she cares about what I’m dealing with. I’ll miss her. I don’t adjust well to change, and this has been bothering me. I see her every week.

In other news, I got my hair cut. Finally! And I spent $80. I nearly fell over when the stylist told me my total. I bought a crapton of Biologic or something…Matrix stuff. Fancy stuff. I really doubted whether it would be worth it, but this morning, I woke up with amazing hair. I feel like it’s silk, imported from Heaven. Seriously, feel free to feel it. Never underestimate the power of good shampoo and conditioner. My hair isn’t a frizzy thick mop. Yay!

I want to eat healthier. I want to plan our meals. I want to take Lily for walks. I want to teach her more. I want keep a cleaner house and get the garden in. I want to do so much. Stupid! There’s no way I can do all that I want to. I need to lower my expectations and relax.

Preston and Forrest are the new baby names Matt likes. I like both, but don’t love both. I wish babies were born with names. Like, here’s your baby. Lemme read his name tag for you…Oh! His name is blah blah. Wonderful! Thanks.

I wish more people vented like I did. Feel free.

Also, Amanda- blog your birth stories. I have a vague overview of what happened, but I was 12 and 14, so. Please and thank you!

 

 

23 Weeks Pregnant- Catching Up

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My computer cord has finally arrived, so that means I can finally blog again.

How far along I am: 23 weeks today. 15-19 left to go! (Read: I’m comfortable going past my due date. I should write a separate post about this…I hate that a ‘due date’ is thought of as in expiration date instead of a estimated time of arrival)

Weight: 130! That’s 10 pounds more than I was when I got pregnant. When I saw 129 on the scale, it registered fine with me. However, when I saw 130 on the scale at my midwife’s home…I sort of jumped. I’m not 100% sure why. I’m comfortable with gaining weight. I know I need to gain weight. I know the weight I have gained is mostly baby. I know that I’m on the right track. I suppose I’ve always sort of obsessed about the number on the scale, so seeing it out of the 120’s was surprising. The weight I’ve always been most happy with is 112. I don’t know why! That’s a few pounds underweight. I like being skinny. I like being that skinny. I saw a picture of myself from last summer and was surprised- I WAS SKINNY. I was bony. I didn’t look good. And I loved my weight at that point. I like having control of my weight. It’s not healthy. Hm. Something to keep an eye on.

What I’m taking: One regular prenatal a day, and 4 1,000IU’s of vitamin D3. I’d like to start taking a magnesium supplement, but I’m going to talk to Merideth first. I’ve read that it can help with leg cramps. I had terrible leg cramps with my first pregnancy- ones that would wake me up at night and make me cry. So, of course, I’d like to prevent them. My calves have been feeling sore lately and  my skin has been tighter, which most likely means that they’re a little bit swollen.

Baby’s weight: 1.2 pounds (544 g) POUNDS PEOPLE. Almost as much as Sam’s chihuahua.

Baby’s length: 8.4 inches (21.3 cm) One app says this, and one app says 11 inches. Maybe 11 inches head to toe, and 8.4 inches from crown to rump? The length of a mango. Imagine having something 11 inches long just hanging out, kicking around inside of your belly. Babers is big.

How I feel physically: Okay. Acid reflux on a daily basis, but not bad. My hips hurt terribly if I carry Lily around. I get sciatica pains down my lower back right into my hips. For awhile it was just on my left side, towards to back of my hip(almost like in my butt cheek!), and now it’s both hips and is bothering both the front and back. Merideth said to call a chiropractor. She told me to get adjusted as often as I need to. She also said it will just get worse the farther along I get…the more weight on my hips and back, the more pinching my nerves will get. If you’ve never experienced nerve pain, its a zingy sharp stabbing kind of pain. It’s bad enough to make me yelp. To a chiropractor I go.

How I feel mentally: Sad. I’ve been debating whether I should go into details or not…right now, I’m not feeling it. I’ve been lonely. I’m not sure how much more hormones are at play, but crying on a daily basis is not normal. I can say that I’m not depressed. I wondered for awhile if I was falling into another state of depression, but I know I’m not. I am, however, worried about postpartum depression. I was surprised I didn’t after I had Lily- I assumed after struggling with bouts of depression for years that it would hit hard after her birth, but it didn’t. At all. I’m not going to risk it this time though. I’d like to have the placenta encapsulated- cue the gross noises. It’s gross but not that gross. Humans are the only species on the planet that doesn’t eat the placenta after birth. Read about it! Educate yourselves. There are a ton of known benefits, and I’m sure there’s a ton of unknown benefits as well. I’m sure Matt will gag when he hears about this…

Preparations: Well, I can honestly say I’ve been productive! I’m not sure what I’ve already written on here. I’ve read ‘Birthing From Within’ by Pam England. It’s a book I’d recommend, but it’s not for everyone. It’s focused around dealing with, and conquering, fears about birth. Finding your inner birth peace. A lot of people reviewed it as too hippie-ish, but I thought it was fine.

I’m currently halfway through ‘Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth’ by Ina May Gaskin. The first half is natural birth stories written by women who birthed on The Farm. The Farm is a small community in Tennessee. It offered women in the ’70s a place to go birth their children safely and naturally, with the support of many women and midwives. They offered support to women who were pregnant but didn’t want abortions. I’m not sure how busy they are now. Anyway, most of the stories are similar. I’m bored. Yes, they’re all positive and empowering to read. But not a single birth that I’ve read so far was a multiple birth, or a water birth, or a complicated birth. Every birth was simple. Hm. The second half of the book is written by Ina May Gaskin. I’m hoping that’s the ‘guide’ part. I plan on buying two more of her books- ‘Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding’ and ‘Spiritual Midwifery’.

I just got ‘The Birth Partner’ by Penny Simkin for Matt to read. I skimmed through it and I’d like to read it myself. It’s super informative! It’s packed full. It not only explains birth from a medical standpoint, but it offers a ton of different ways to support the birthing woman, as well as multiple sections on unexpected situations, like cesarean births. I understand why it has a five star rating on Amazon.

Along with that book, I got ‘HypnoBirthing- The Mongan Method’ by Marie Mongan. Merideth asked me to get this. She is a licensed HypnoBirthing teacher. She offered to teach me herself, but she understands we are on a budget and that we don’t have $200 extra. She said that I could get the book and learn the methods myself. It comes with an audio CD. It’s sort of hard to explain what hypnobirthing is…when I tell people that you hypnotize yourself in labor to minimize pain, people sort of freak out. Like, what the hell is this hippie stuff? It is that, but much more. You just learn to relax and focus internally. Think of it this way- the more relaxed you are, the less you’ll suffer through your labor. If you’re scared/anxious/tense then you’ll focus on the pain and fight against it, which will just make it far worse. Hypnobirthing teaches the techniques to get yourself in a totally relaxed and calm place. You then can work with your labor instead of against it. It makes sense to me! I’m thankful I read ‘Birthing From Within’ first. I really understand this concept thanks to that book. I haven’t started reading the hypnobirthing book yet, but I will. Merideth has a birth video on her Facebook page(Family Tree Midwifery of Central New York). The birth is wonderful. The woman is in a birthing tub and is silent through most of her labor. She’s practicing hypnobirthing. I recommend you watch it.

Other news: I saw Merideth again last week. It was a pleasant appointment. My mother came with me. No peeing in a cup, no internal exam. We listened to the baby’s heartbeat with her doppler, took my blood pressure, and weighed me. Then talked. And talked. We talked about going into early labor. We discussed medicines that are safe and unsafe. We worked through my fear of her not getting to my apartment in time. (I’m a stubborn person, so if someone asks me how I’m doing, 99% of the time I’ll say I’m fine. I don’t know if I have a high pain tolerance or what, but seriously, 99% of the time I am fine. I don’t want her to believe me! I don’t want her to think she has time when she doesn’t. I’m assuming I’ll say I’m fine until transition, and that’s nearly the end! She reassured me and said she would leave her house at my first sign of labor. Even if that means she’ll be hanging out with me for two days straight, sleeping on my couch, and watching tv. She said she promised that she would not miss it! Have I said I love her yet? Well,  I do. She’s a good woman.) We also talked about my diet, my safety(she doesn’t want me falling because of my beloved flipflops), and my hip pain. We talked about the next time I’ll have bloodwork done and why. We talked about testing. She wrote down everything I’ve done so far to prepare, what we want to talk about next time, what to email me…she emailed me information on the flu shot. She has to legally offer it to me. She sent me information that supports the shot and information that is against the shot. HOW MANY DOCTOR’S LET YOU MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS LIKE THAT? Seriously? We even digressed a bunch and talked about how I dislike Lily’s pediatrician.

How many OB’s ask you what fears you may have about labor and birth? How many doctor’s want to address them directly to resolve them? Merideth and I have talked about my heartbreak over breastfeeding. We’ve talked about my fear of bleeding out. We’ve talked about my fear of her missing the birth. We’ve even discussed what will happen if I poo in the birthing tub. Hey, it can happen! I love her.

What else? Tyson tried to hump Lily today and scratched the hell out of her back. She immediately screamed and was hysterical. He scrambled into the kitchen. She has six long scratches from her lower back to the middle of her bum. They were swollen and very red when I put her to bed. I know he didn’t mean to hurt her, but he is really rough. He loses his mind when he’s humping. He’s getting fixed asap.

I started making a baby registry on Amazon. I’d make one at Walmart.com but all of the stuff I want is available through Walmart. There are a bunch of things that I do want that Walmart sells, but not all. I’d like to get things I actually want this time around. Like an amber teething necklace, cloth dipes, and a Sophie the Giraffe.

We went to the zoo. We got lost getting there and that was awful. Lily was terrified of the goat because it was fairly close to her. She screamed “NOOOOOOO” and jumped away. She wasn’t interested in the close animals. The California Condor moved closer to the fence and she freaked out. The bat’s flew around behind the glass and she freaked out. Of course, anything that somewhat resembled a cat was her favorite. She picked out a leopard stuffed animal before we left. She calls it her “baby kitty”.

That male cat that was hanging around finally left- whew. He was spraying everywhere.

Matt got a fourwheeler. And a boat. And a few other boats that he’s selling.

Lily got four new diaper covers.

I need my hair cut.

I keep dreaming of breastfeeding a new baby.

I picked out the wrap I want- a Girasol Amitola. (Techincally I want the yellow one. That link is for only the yellow weft. There’s a ton of other color combos.) It’s expensive but GORGEOUS. I mean, look at that thing. My mom said she’d get me whatever one I wanted. It’s the gold standard in wraps. Woven. Hand made.

I like that I can understand spending $130+ on one long piece of (AMAZING) fabric but I get anxiety when I spend over $10 on a shirt for myself.

 

How has everyone else been?

Baby kicks and a new external hard drive!

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I know, not a very interesting title. But that’s what’s going on.

The baby is kicking. HARD. At the ultrasound we saw that the baby is head down- very, very low- so the baby’s feet are up and kicking. During the ultrasound we saw the legs curled up and then completely stretched out! This baby is crazy! I get a few gentle flutters and then BAM! I get a strong kick. Listen, these aren’t just normal baby kicks. These are kicks that make me jump and say “oh!”  They’re crazy.

Also, Matt bought me an external hard drive today! That means I can start getting photos off of my computer and start putting pictures back on to my blog. Whoo! Belly pictures!

Tyson also head butted our kitchen window and shattered it. Lily got glass in her foot. I hit my kneecap on the bathroom door knob trying to climb over the baby gate. It’s blue. Lily pulled the dustpan off the table (that was FULL of glass shards) and dumped them back onto the floor. I had to continually yell at her and the dog to stay in the living room so I could clean up the glass. Matt’s sneakers are ruined. Lily poo’ed white yesterday. Terrible, painful poos. We gave her a tiny bit of metamucil and today she had tan colored runny poos. She’s been miserable and must be teething again. SO. Today has not been one of our best days.

It was nice out though. I raked leaves and dog poop. Lily drove her cars around outside. Matt bought a boat and waxed his new truck. I made a big dinner and we finally relaxed…

Sunday we are having a ‘gender reveal party’ at my Grandmother’s house. Vicky is making cupcakes to surprise everyone. I asked her to make them with the centers colored: blue for boy, or pink for girl. She called today and said she’s going to make them and she’s not going to tell me what they’ll look like. Fun!

We’re stuck on names again. I’ve been using Nymbler but I’m not falling in love with anything. It’s frustrating. Also, trying to find a theme or products that go with a theme I like is impossible. I HATE THE MONKEY/JUNGLE THEME. I think it’s ridiculous and overused. It looks ‘cuuuuuute’. I’m looking for something earthy and, well, not dumb. I’m pretty sure I did this with Lily too- I’m rebelling against everyone who is trying to help. I think a lot of people get excited about babies and try to help. I’d prefer if everyone left me alone! I’d prefer if I made a registry and told people what I liked and they just got those things. I hate when people try to tell me what themes to do! Especially when I hate their ideas!! Maybe I’m just a grouchy pregnant lady.

I guess I just want privacy. I’m already anxious enough about this baby. I don’t need a million people asking me if I’ve seen that adorable jungle bouncy chair at Walmart. Yes. It’s dumb. Buy my baby some gorgeous wooden toys and organic sleep sacks please. No dollar store teethers that will leak, please. See what I mean? I got SO MUCH junk from Lily’s baby showers. I do appreciate everyone’s gifts, don’t get me wrong! I just wish people would get me what I actually want and instead of what they think it cute. For instance, I said I didn’t want to do anything ‘pooh’ themed for Lily. Do you know how much Winne the Pooh stuff we got?! I understand if someone sees something and thinks its adorable and HAS TO BUY IT. But c’mon, do you even care about who you’re buying for? This isn’t your baby! If you don’t think the momma will love it, then don’t get it!

I don’t need all that much with this baby. I need baby clothes. I need cloth diapers. I need a bassinet. I need boy stuff. I really don’t think that my little man (my only readers already know anyway…) will want to be swaddled in pink all the time. Not that he’d mind right then, but years from now, he’d be wondering. I have a million things on my wish list that I know I won’t get. I know I’ll get a ton of stuff I won’t want but will eventually use. There’s a reason people make registries. Overall, I just want gift cards! Or gifts with real meaning. If someone got the baby, let’s say, a personalized blanket or something like that, I’d appreciate it. But a million cheapo 90% polyester baby socks? Do people know I hate polyester? Do I need to start complaining more? I don’t think a lot of people know who I am.

It’s hard for me. I want to me so thankful. I really, really do. But when someone close relatives know I dislike the monkey theme and buy me a blanket with monkeys on it because THEY thought it was adorable…well, THEY are making me feel like they don’t really care at all about me. This is MY baby!

My MIL always says, “you’re not going to turn into one of those hippie only-feed-my-baby-organic-food moms, are you?” I always say that’s silly…Matt loves boxed mac n’ cheese too much. The truth is, if I could move to a more desolate location, grow a HUGE garden, sew my own clothing, and feed my children food that is never processed I WOULD. And I would love that. I would love to live in my own sort of world. I would love to not be judged anymore. I made a status a few weeks ago about how I’m not a “crunchy” momma, but that’s not my choice! Honestly, I love all that the crunchy granola munching moms represent. I love cloth diapers. I love not filling landfills. I love not exposing Lily’s bum to chemicals. I love the pride I feel when I’d folding clean diapers. I love the person I’m becoming…weird.

Sorry, I didn’t mean for this to turn into a rant. I’m surrounded by so many people that don’t actually listen to me.

Goodnight all.

Weeks 16, 17, and 18!

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I didn’t know I was so far behind! Woah. Sorry about that one.

How far along I am: 19 weeks today…oops.

Weight: 126 last week. My starting weight was 120.

What I’m taking: My prenatal, and I just recently started taken 4,000 IU’s of vitamin D3. Merideth said my levels were very low, so I’m supplementing until they are nice and high.

Baby’s length: 5.2 to 6 inches (12.7 to 14.2cm) at 18 weeks

Baby’s weight: 5.25 ounces (149 grams) at 18 weeks

How I feel physically: Once again, I’m tired. I felt better for so long! The wave of fatigue has me dragging my butt around the house. I feel like I need caffeine or something to give me some energy. Not cool. Also, I’ve been experiencing some round ligament pain. I think that the pain I experienced a few months ago, the one that sent me to the hospital, was really round ligament pain. I have no idea why it was so severe and lasted as long as it did. I don’t know why I couldn’t relax to free me from the pain. Strange. I’ve been having a bunch of sharp twinges when I get up quickly or move the wrong way. Lastly, I’ve been feeling a TON of baby kicks! Yay!

How I fee mentally: Sad. Incredibly sad. Not about the baby, but about everything else. I’m an emotional wreck. I’m not sure if it is all hormones or if I’m not entirely to blame, but either way, things have been rough around here. I am ridiculously sensitive. I feel overwhelmed with emotion. I’m so overwhelmed that I don’t even want to tell Matt what I’m upset about because I can put it into words. I doubt he’d understand anyway. IT SUCKS. I’m anxious to go back to my care-free nature. I’m sure being so tired doesn’t help. I should be taking a nap while Lily naps, because I know she won’t go back to sleep until like 9PM. She’s full of energy and I’m on E.

Preparations: We met with Merideth again. It was an easy appointment. She took my health history, Lily played with blocks, and Matt sat silently on the couch. She did a breast exam and took a urine sample. She also gave me the requisition for the ultrasound. I started reading “Birthing From Within” by Pam England. She encourages women to make birth art. I hope I can get around to it. I need a new sketch pad. I also have Ina May Gaskin’s “Guide to Childbirth” that I’ll read.

Other news: I have an appointment for an ultrasound on March 2nd. I invited my step-mother, Vicky, to come with us. I’m not sure if Matt will be working on not, so she might actually need to bring me herself. We’ll see. I have an appointment to see Merideth again mid-March.

Lily has been staying up later and later. We’ve officially baby-gated her into her room after 8PM. She has to stay in there and play quietly until she’s ready to sleep. I have no idea what’s going on! She only naps once a day, for maybe an hour. She gets crazy towards bedtime. We have a routine, but she’s been ignoring it. I’m ready to hit the sheets as soon as she lays down! Last night she fell asleep at 9:45PM. Yeah.

We didn’t do anything for Valentine’s day. We got our taxes (yay!) and I bought two new diapers covers and some silly hats for our new baby and Kaia and Tim’s. Matt bought a fourwheeler. I got some new shirts and yoga pants with a gift card from Christmas. Tyson got a cage and broke out of it. He bent the bars, scratched his belly on his way out, and then proceeded to head butt the back door to the porch and break two window panes. He’s got a scratch on his nose. He’s an idiot. Other than that, not much has changed.

My consultation with the Midwife

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Last Thursday, Matt and I drove and hour and fifteen minutes to meet Merideth, our homebirth midwife.

She lives out in the middle of nowhere. Driving to her house made me dizzy- farm, farm, another farm, cows… Her website refers to her as the ‘central New York midwife’ but she is at least an hour away from the central part of New York. We thought we were lost multiple times. It was a scenic drive, though.

The road she lives on was dirty. It wasn’t a dirt road, but instead a regular paved road with a bunch of dirt everywhere. You could tell it didn’t see much traffic. We pulled onto her road, which was rather steep and curvy, and we immediately see a giant house on the left hand side with a huge white cross on the side of it. Oh boy.

It’s not that Matt and I are judgmental towards the religious folks. Instead, we’ve found that the religious crowd tends to be pretty judgmental against us. So. We avoid.

We didn’t know the house number, so I’m scrambling with my phone looking for it, while he drives slowly and scans the area. Thick woods, a barn, a STRANGE number of yaks (seriously! what would someone do with a bunch of yaks?!), and some old worn down houses. We drove a mile and a half before turning around. We passed an entrance to a state forest. We passed a shack. We were a little sketched out. What midwife would decide that this was the best area for her business?!

We turn around. We pass all the homes, scanning the house numbers(many of them weren’t even on the mailboxes), until we reach the huge house on the end. The one with the big fat cross staring at us. There is no sign for a midwifery practice.  Matt tells me, “You know, there’s no shame in just going home.” He did NOT want to go into that house! I insist, saying that if she’s some sort of ‘jesus freak’ then I just won’t talk to her anymore. This was a consultation after all.

Our car barely makes it up her steep dirt driveway, and then almost doesn’t make it up her even steeper path to her dirt ‘parking lot’. We were nervous, to say the least. I guzzle down some water and we head it.

And then, something amazing happened. I opened the door to the most serene, loving, welcoming face I could have ever imagined. Merideth smiles at me and shakes our hands. To the left of me, there was a large window with the sun coming through the light white curtains. There’s stained glass in the window, along with a table topped with more. On the table are teacups and saucers, a teapot, and multiple kinds of tea. To my right, a large open room. The lights were dim and comfortable. A woman passes me on her way out, smiling and thanking Merideth. There’s another woman in the room. I later found out she was a midwife-in-training, and had asked Merideth if she could sit in on one of her sessions. We were invited to sit on a large couch.  This place looked nothing like a doctor’s office! It was a sight to see.

Once on the couch, I noticed a huge hearth. There was a wood stove in the room! It popped away and was so comforting. In front of us was a coffee table covered with books about birth, labor, and pregnancy. Merideth sat in a chair across from us. I could peek a little into the adjacent room- an exam table was in there, but I couldn’t see much else. It wasn’t covered in paper, or made of metal. It was a gorgeous wooden table, with a leather topped cushion. I never actually went into that room, but I assume I probably will soon. There we’re book cases everywhere! It made me fairly excited- I’m a huge fan on libraries.

Merideth soon began her introduction. No papers to fill out. No intrusive questions. Just “what made you decide you wanted a homebirth?” We watched a short video that another midwife had made and shared. Homebirth patients shared their views on hospital births and why the loved their homebirths. After, we learned all about Merideth’s credentials. I even saw her high school diploma- haha 🙂 We discussed how passionate we both are about birth. We talked about how many births she’s attended. We learned what sort of equipment she carries on her to every birth, in case of any sort of emergencies. We cleared up Matt’s fear that she wouldn’t be able to make it to our birth on time. We even discussed breastfeeding, and of course I started crying.

When I was trying to breastfeed Lily, it was something I wanted to do, not something I needed to do. It was what I had planned. I was upset that I couldn’t but I wasn’t heartbroken- not then. My feelings on breastfeeding have changed dramatically. My heart is sad. I wish so badly that I could have had that bonding experience with her. I now know exactly why we failed to breastfeed. Merideth said that  it was ‘wonderful’ that I pumped for as long as I did. She told me that she was ‘proud’ that I was so committed. No one has ever said that to me before! Well, maybe someone has, but no one has ever said it with such compassion. So, yeah, that sent me over the edge. She promised to be right there when I needed her, to help with any breastfeeding issues I may have. She said she would be there from the moment of birth until I don’t need her anymore. My heart swelled.

We also talked about insurance. This is the hardest part about having a homebirth- affording it! It’s ridiculous. Merideth asks for $4,500 for her services. That covers every appointment, multiple home visits before and after birth, and the birth itself. She also asks for $500 for her assistant’s payment. If you want to rent a birth tub, there’s $200 more. I’m sure there’s going to be a birth kit in there, too. Now, insurance does cover midwives. They will pay for homebirths. However, if you are going with an out-of-network doctor, like Merideth, you have a file a claim, instead of just having your doctor’s biller do it. Merideth asks for the money upfront. If you pay it in full before 36 weeks, she will give you a %10 discount. After the birth, you can file a claim with your insurance and be reimbursed. The problem is, I don’t have $5,000+ sitting around! Matt and I can’t just drop that kind of money and wait for the insurance to reimburse us.

On top of all that, the insurance company I had doesn’t like to accept claims. They also like to only pay for $1,200. So. I have to switch insurances.

Now, Merideth did say she can work with us. She said if we can pay a $500 down payment, then she can wait until our insurance pays the rest. That is if I can switch to the better insurance. So we would only need $1,000+ out of pocket.

We discussed all of this while sitting on her couch, petting a very fluffy friendly cat who decided to join us. Matt stayed quiet for the most part. It’s not that he doesn’t care or isn’t interested. I think it was more of him listening and agreeing. He knows little about pregnancy, labor, and birth, so it was all kind of out of his realm. We all chatted for 2 and a half hours. When we left, Merideth hugged me and we all promised to see each other soon.

Needless to say, I am happy that I’ve found her. I now have a well qualified midwife to take complete care of me throughout my pregnancy and beyond. Not only is she extremely passionate, she is also educated and certified. She is constantly going to conferences and meetings. She makes me feel like I can completely trust her with this. There is no doubt in my mind that she would make the right decisions and help me birth this baby the way I want to. How many doctor’s have you met that honestly care about you? That respect your decisions? That educate you? That give you many options for care? That really listen? Merideth is wonderful. She offers all the support I would ever need, including emotional support. She is motherly, which I think I really need. Her eyes are loving. I feel confident that I could have a homebirth without fear. She is truly a midwife, in all aspects of the term.

Oh, and guess what? She’s not a jesus freak! Well, at least from what I can tell. Once or twice there were mentions of ‘our creator’ or ‘faith’ but nothing that bothered us.

I plan on calling her soon and arranging our first prenatal visit.

If you would like to see her website, it’s here.

 

🙂