Sunday, November 18, 2012

Rough Start

Sleep Deprivation Unit activate!

Motherhood is a magical experience. Normally it's a lot like playing The Sims. So long as baby's hunger, bladder, sleep, social, and entertainment meters are full -- baby is content. Little toothless smiles up at you after a good nap and happy cooing when baby notices you've entered the room are priceless. That said, it's not all adorable. Being a mom is hard fucking work. For every good day you and your newborn have together, there's bound to be a bad one around the corner as he adjusts to life in the world. I could just spew all the good tales at you, but that's not fair. It's not honest. So, here's the story of this morning.

I've been battling a cold for the better part of a week now, and this morning was no different. Around seven AM, after having only been asleep in his bassinet for thirty minutes or so (par for the course), Jude wakes himself up farting, realizes he's not in mommy's arms and that he has wet his diaper and decides this combination of things are the worst that's ever happened (circumcision aside). Sniffly and exhausted I get up to soothe him so that I may wash my hands, but he is far too sleepy and upset to be truly soothed. So I just have to wash my hands while he fusses and cries about life in the living room.

Hands germ free, I get him on the changing table and alert enough to realize dingos are not eating him, so he's finally calm and content. Until... he pees on himself. The world ends when you pee on yourself. Lets be real, this isn't mere crying like before, this is a true wail fest. He's also peed on me, so I have to go wash my hands again before I can finish the diaper change. Now he's crying even harder to the point of near screaming because not only has he peed on himself but mommy is gone. Dingos must have eaten her. It's a dingo apocalypse up in here.

I return, hands germ free again, and try to soothe him but he is so worked up by this point that it cannot be done. I can't be mommy! I must be the ghost of mommy because dingos ate her two minutes ago! I proceed with the diaper change while he's flailing and crying, cleaning him up, applying the Vaseline to his healing incision, and finally closing the diaper (after several tries due to kicking legs). Once I scoop him back up into my arms everything is right in the world and the wailing instantly stops. I take him back out into the living room and nurse a smiling little boy as if none of this morning really happened and maybe I'm just a crazy person.

Lets hope this isn't an omen as to how the remainder of this day will play out.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I write this under the same disclaimer as my last post.

The days following the birth of our son are hazy to me. Many encounters I had, I've forgotten entirely while others manage to remain in my mind fairly clear. For instance, I was completely unaware that I had partaken in a rather thorough explanation of the hospital's food services and menu options with a cafeteria representative. I thought you just received whatever was on the menu for the day and it was a complete surprise.I didn't know you could order food beyond breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and even change your entree from what was on the menu to whatever you wanted so long as you notified them in time enough prior to the meal's serving time.

I do remember shaking uncontrollably after birth, probably from pain, adrenaline and blood loss. No amount of warm blankets helped. I remember how proud Aaron was. I remember that the nurse who weighed Jude had to weigh him a second time because she couldn't believe it. I remember not being able to move my right leg from the epidural for a long, long while. I do not remember Josh and Melina being in the delivery room with me for a little bit after birth before I was taken upstairs to the recovery room. Which means I also didn't remember the photos they had taken -- thankfully I was wearing clothes!

I remember that all of the nurses were amazed by how long my delivery took and even more in awe with how long I pushed. They also kept warning me that Jude would be a night owl and I should not expect him to sleep much during the night, only for him to sleep like a champ. Had nurses not come to wake him up for a feeding, he would have slept the entire night! I remember they wanted to give me a room mate but (thankfully) decided not to because Aaron was rooming with me in a cot. I do not recall the social security representative or the birth certificate one coming in to brief us on how to receive official copies of each. I do not recall the vaccinations or the speeches preceding them, only that I received two and Jude received one. I vaguely recall the hearing screening a-okaying Jude's hearing.

I remember a day or two later that my doctor came in surprised I stuck it out so long. The average birth takes six hours and the average time spent pushing is roughly an hour. I labored for twenty-nine hours and pushed for four! I remember him saying that after two hours most women opt for an elective c-section. I was far too stubborn for that though. I remember a pediatrician coming in but I do not remember what he talked to us about.

I remember a nurse briefing me about when I am finally checked out, how I'd receive a prescription for two different types of pain killers. I also remember how, when it came time to check out a day or so later, that one of those prescriptions magically disappeared and they were going to send me home with Motrin alone. After a bit of confusion they finally sent me home with a new prescription for a lesser pain killer, but at least it was something. I still have no idea what became of the original prescription (it was being kept at the nurse's station), I don't think anyone does. I don't remember the process of checking out, only the journey down to the car escorted by a nurse.

The car ride home was nerve wracking. It seemed like every other car on the road was driven by a mad man. The first twenty-four hours at home were spent nursing and napping with absolutely no time for anything else which left me sleep deprived and starving. Jude had developed an appetite but I was still only expressing colostrum. A combination of my milk coming in late, and little time for rest leaving me with little supply once it had, meant by Jude's Monday doctor appointment he'd lost an entire pound from his birth weight. Far more than the acceptable ten percent that's expected. So we had to introduce him to a bottle and formula supplement. Luckily introducing him to the bottle didn't effect his ability or desire to breast feed.

I had planned on remaining enrolled in classes after birth, doing my work from home for a few weeks and going in for exams and such. Unfortunately I did not consider a difficult birth of a large baby. Ultimately, I wound up needing to drop them. After merely taking a casual stroll with Aaron and Jude a week later, I passed a blood clot the size of a chicken egg followed by an increase in bleeding. Nurses instructed me to get as much rest as possible and if the bleeding didn't begin to taper off again in twelve hours or increased at all to go straight to the emergency room. So that ended that. Only now, nearly five weeks later am I beginning to feel any better physically though lack of sleep certainly hasn't sped along my recovery, that's for sure.

My pregnancy anemia is worse due to the amount of blood lost during childbirth, resulting in spontaneous bruising, fatigue, and headaches. My hip can barely support my weight, making walking painful and difficult. Naturally, it goes without saying that it feels like someone kicked me in the uterus and the rearrangement of one's organs is never pleasant. We'll see what the doctors say on the twentieth. Hopefully it's all going well, even if slow. Still wouldn't trade it for the world.

Jude's up to ten pounds as of his circumcision, having regained all of his birth weight and then some. As such, we've weened him off the supplementing to see if I'm producing enough milk to sate him now. I think it may be ideal to continue giving him one bottle in the evening so that he sleeps a little longer, so I don't deteriorate due to deprivation again. Breast milk is easier to digest than formula, so babies get hungrier faster. Jude only sleeps for a max of two hours after breast feeding, usually less. He'll sleep for four or so after a bottle of formula at night. We'll see how he's doing post circumcision tomorrow at his one month well-check. I'll keep you posted.

Other than these things, I don't recall anything else. I know Jon and Sean came to meet Jude when we got home from the hospital, but I don't actually remember this taking place. It's all very surreal.