Monday, April 29, 2013


This morning was rough. I convinced myself that Brambo was punishing me for returning to work.

We decided to put him in his crib one feeding earlier, which last night put him there at about 9:30 (yes, we usually don't put him "down" for the night until 11:00 or 11:30). We were unsure about how this would turn out and assumed he would wake us up to eat around 3:30 or so as that would be his normal 6 hour stretch. However, we actually had to wake him up at about 5:45 so that I could start getting ready for work. This was my first Monday and my first day trying to get there at normal time. So he slept for over 8 hours. And let me tell you, the milk was ready and waiting on him. I was so beyond engorged. I should have foreseen the issues, but did not.

So he had difficulty latching on from the very start due to my massive br.east and the steady stream of milk that was spraying. After I finally got him latched, I began using my manual pump on the other side. He soon started popping off, I believe because there was so much milk coming out. I was trying to keep the manual pump suctioned so I wouldn't lose any milk and we were just struggling. Fairly soon, he just started screaming. I gave up on the pump and tried switching him to the other side which by this point was more under control. I wouldn't even try to latch. Just screaming. Max came in to help. He got him calmed down and we tried again. Screaming. Calmed down again and tried again. Screaming.

By this point I was crying. I then remembered that I had forgotten to give his Za.ntac last night. Bad mother. So we gave him medicine and I rocked and sang him back to sleep. He slept like that for about 30-45 minutes and began to stir a bit so we tried again. And he latched on no problems and ate a quick breakfast.

So in the end, all was well. But in those minutes where he was screaming and absolutely refusing to even try to eat, I was miserable. I just knew he would never nurse again. He could somehow sense that I was abandoning him for my job and he decided that he just didn't need me like that anymore.

It's amazing to me that I've been thinking I am so well adjusted and doing well with going back to work. At the first sign of trouble, my emotions and crazy brain go straight to those "mom guilt" thoughts. In the light of mid-day and a few uplifting hours, I know it was just a weird combination of things that caused him trouble this morning and that it doesn't really matter because he was comforted and fed and loved. But in the height of emotion, I decided I was a failure.

When I finally got in to the office, I found a mason jar of flowers waiting for me that a friend across campus had cut from her yard. It included a sweet note about how she knew this week might be tough but she is thinking of me and is happy to have me back. In a quick email exchange she shared some stories about her first week back from maternity leave and reminded me that I am not alone.

I am not the first mother to return to work. It is ok that I am here. It is even ok that I enjoyed being at work on Friday. When I see him in an hour, I will get a giant smile and we will nurse the afternoon away. And I will come back to work tomorrow and all will be well.

Friday, April 26, 2013

back in the saddle

Today Brambo is 10 weeks old and today was my first day back at work. I will be part time for a couple of weeks then go full steam ahead into my insanely crazy busy summer of work.

It was not as bad as I thought it would be. I missed him and wondered what he was doing all day but it was honestly good to be back in the office and feeling productive. I missed my coworkers too so it was good to be back with them.

I also survived my first day of pumping in the office. I hate pumping. It's super annoying. But it didn't bother me as much in the office as it does at home. Maybe because I wasn't trying to take care of the boy too?

I have loved being at home with him so much. It is incredible I spend the day with him nursing and cuddling and chatting. But I am honestly excited about this next phase too. I'm interested to see how real life works with him. Even just after one day, coming home from work and squeezing him tight felt more real than the last 10 weeks. Why is that?

Here is a pic of the gorgeous little man.

Monday, April 1, 2013


Has it seriously been a month since I posted!?!? I can't believe how fast time goes.

To make up for it, here is a pic from yesterday. Then I will go write a real post.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

comes with the morning

I started this post in the early weeks. But it still holds mostly true.

Rough evenings

Sleepy nights

Peaceful mornings

That's pretty much how things go for us. The evenings are the most difficult times. Brambo is fussy and its difficult to make him happy. Max is often at work which leaves me alone with him after a long day. And when Max is home, we are trying to carry on some semblance of a conversation about either how our days went or serious decision topics. That isn't easy with a baby that needs almost constant attention. It's my most frustrating breast feeding time. Honestly, I think I'm just over it by the end of the day. But it's definitely Brambo's hungriest time.

Then we get to nights. When I'm up with him I'm in such a sleepy daze. I'm either focused on feeding him and getting him back to sleep as quickly as possible or annoyed that Max is asleep and I'm not or I'm actually dozing while feeding him. I know those are special moments too, but seriously, I'm just to sleepy to treasure them.

So every day as we move into evening time, especially in weeks 2-4, I would look ahead and hold out hope for the morning. Mornings are amazing. Brambo is sweet and snuggle and sleepy. He is perfectly happy in my arms cuddling or chilling by himself in his swing. So if I want to just hang onto him for awhile, I can. But if I need to sleep or get something done, I can. I feel refreshed from sleep and waking up at a semi normal time. Max is often still hanging around before heading to work. And the sun is coming up on a new day.

It brings a whole new meaning to "joy comes in the morning". And repeating that to myself saved me on some really really tough nights.

two weeks

And just like that it has been too weeks. In some ways, time has gone slowly. But in more ways it has flown by.

I wanted to do a little check in about how we are doing and record some things I want to be sure to remember. This post is so random and disjointed. Maybe the most poorly written post ever. Oh well.

First, on c section recovery. If any of you have to deal with this in the future, take note. It is no joke. They are serious when they say it is real surgery. I think I did really well and it was still difficult. So Brambo was born at 1:41 am on Friday morning. I was on an adrenaline high, to to mention still numb for the next little while. But when the feeling did start coming back, it hurt. For about 6 hours or so (4 am - 10 am) I was miserable. I literally felt immobile. Like I was glued to one spot in the bed. Which leads me to my one and only tip. Move as much as possible as soon as possible. My main motivation was to get the IV site taken out. It was driving me crazy. That couldn't happen until 24 hours after the catheter came out. So, I wanted that out ASAP. They originally said they wouldn't take it out until late afternoon. But for whatever reason, they agreed to go ahead and take it out at 10 am. That was the turning point for me.

Once they take the catheter out, you are forced to get up and use the bathroom. No other choice. And because of all the IV fluids, you have to pee a lot. I mean a lot. And while getting up hurts really bad, each time is a little easier. It will also provide you with an opportunity to experience a new kind of intimacy with your significant other or whatever support person you choose. Seriously, I was thrilled that Max had the opportunity to help me pull up my hospital provided mesh undies. Good thing he loves me!

But seriously, the key to c section recovery is to get moving. I took four separate walks around the floor on day 1 and got out of that bed as soon as I could! And, take the pain medicine.

After coming home last week, I found myself in a pretty predictable pattern. It went like this...good day, bad day, good day, bad day. Sunday, the day we came home, was like a dream. We walked out of the hospital with a baby! Both sets of grandparents were still there and my brother, sister in law and nephew came to town too. Everyone did a great job of celebrating with us but also giving us space. I was feeling great; not in a lot of pain. Then Monday hit. Man I was sore. And emotional. Lots of crying. And the week pretty much went like that. A good day. And then a bad day. At least I know what's coming.

Wednesday we went for our first weight check. So he was born 7 lb 11 oz. When we left the hospital on Sunday he was 7 even. And when we went back for a weight check he was 7 even. Not great. They wanted us back the next day where we would be looking for a gain of at least a half ounce. And on Thursday, that's exactly what we got. Since he gained just what he needed, they said we could wait til Monday or Tuesday to come back. We made a lot of progress in breastfeeding over the next couple of days. I'll get more specific with that in another post. So we went to get weighed on Tuesday and he was 7 lb 10.5 oz. He gained 10 ounces in 5 days. We were ecstatic!

My mom stayed with us for a little over a week. It was so nice having her here and I can't wait until she comes back. Her time here definitely prolonged reality for us. She did lots of laundry, dishes, baby holding, etc. She took nighttime shifts. And in general I just love being with her. Having her here made me more relaxed, confident and stable. Needless to say I cried a lot when she left.

Brambo is absolutely amazing. He eats A LOT! I was totally unprepared for the amount of time I would spend feeding him. But I'm so thankful I am able to. He loves his swing and I can almost always count on it to give me a much needed break. I took my first shower when no one else was here today. He sat silently in his bouncy seat while I showered. Amazing. I absolutely love to watch his facial expressions while he eats. Super cute.

Wow. So random.

Monday, February 25, 2013

his story part 3

Its amazing how "tomorrow" turns into four days. :)

Picking up where we left off... 9:30 pm on Valentine's Day with the lovely gift of an epidural. The pitocin was started soon after. And let me tell you, the few contractions I felt after pitocin and before the second epidural kicked in definitely confirmed my decision to get the drugs!

Around that same time we decided to send our parents to the house. Both sets had made it into town earlier in the evening. Laura agreed with us that it would probably be a long, slow night waiting on progress and that the baby probably wouldn't arrive until morning. Our house is just about 10 minutes from the hospital and someone needed to let the dog out. So they left with our many promises to tell them ASAP if anything changed. At that point, Max and I turned the lights off and tried to get some sleep.

A bit later I woke up to Laura walking in and turning some lights on. As soon as I saw her face I knew we were in for bad news. She had been monitoring the baby from the nurses station and over the last two hours his heart rate continued to drop more drastically during contractions and was no longer recovering well between contractions. She had me move around some and change positions a few time to see if we could get his heart rate to spike up with no success. She called the doc and proceeded to check my progress. How many centimeters? You guessed it....3. So after at least 8 hours of active labor, 2.5 of those with very strong pitocin assisted contractions, I had made zero progress. The doctor came in and confirmed Laura's assessment.

If it was just an issue of slow/no progress they would have let me go for several hours. But the baby was not responding well to the stress of labor. It was c section time. Of course, I was disappointed. I went into this not wanting interventions. And here I was about to check them all off the list. Internal monitoring, epidural, pitocin, and to top it off...c section. But for whatever reason I felt totally at peace. We called our parents...who were not very happy with us for sending them home! The doctor assured us this was not an emergency but he was ready, the anesthesiologist was ready, and they weren't going to take their time. So before I knew it and definitely before my mom got back, they were wheeling me down the hall.

The next little bit was a blur. All I distinctly remember was the nurse anesthetist saying I was his favorite patient of the night because I was so relaxed. He was very impressed that I was joking with them and not freaking out. I will say that I was very thankful for him as well. He was so personable and comforting. He talked to me the whole time, telling me everything that was happening and making sure I was ok. It's always nice to see someone so perfectly suited to the nuances of their job.

I did lose a bit of my relaxation when they started cutting before Max was in the room. On the verge of freaking out, they assured me he was walking in the door any minute and before I knew it he was kissing my forehead and holding my hand. The sensation of the surgery was so weird. No pain, but I could feel everything that was happening. Very very weird.

Before long, the nurse anesthetist told Max that it was happening and he could look if he wanted. Without letting go of my hand, he stood up to peek over the screen. All of a sudden I felt a stillness in the room and then heard that glorious cry. They announced time of birth as 1:41 am as he continued to scream and Max leaned down to kiss me through tears. Almost immediately they brought him around for me to see. The first thing I said was, "He's so little!" Max followed the nurses and the baby and the doctors started the process of putting me back together. Weird.

Every few seconds Max would shout out some information for me. 7 lb 11 oz. 20.5 inches. Lots of hair. Big feet. My nose. Beautiful. And then they swaddled him up and Max carried him over to me. He held him down close so I could kiss him and one of the nurses took our first family picture. Then, Max and the baby went to meet the grandparents.

After they wheeled me to recovery, Laura brought the baby to me for some skin to skin time and an attempt at nursing. Feeling him lying on my chest and watching him explore his new world was amazing. Max and I were exhausted and kept looking at each other in disbelief. This was real life. We made it. We made him. We had a real life, honest to God son. Unbelievable.

I've decided that here I will call him Brambo. It's one of his nicknames.

Boy do we love him!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

his story part 2

So when we left off, I was settled in the hospital room at about 5:30. The nurse worked on all of the preliminary stuff...iv, fetal monitor, lots of questions, etc.

At about 6:30, the the doctor came in and we met for the first time. As I said before, this just so happened I be the only dr in the practice who I had heard bad things about and I didn't want to deliver with. So I will freely admit that I may not have had the best attitude going in. He introduced himself and proceeded to check my progress. When I was with my dr at about 4:15, she said I was between 3 and 4 cm. When he checked 2 hours later he informed me that I definitely wasn't beyond a 3. Awesome. So he had been in the room approximately 10 minutes when he started talking about pitocin. I think I probably bristled a little as I told him that wasn't something I wanted to do unless I had to. After asking me what I had against pitocin but never letting me finish a sentence, he proceeded to lecture Max and I for about 20 minutes about interventions and why they are needed. This included statements like "I don't know what you've been reading", "I'm the expert" and multiple references to the frontier days when "women and children died in birth all the time". Thanks doc.

He left the room with the plan to check back in a couple of hours and see where we were then. In the meantime, the contractions sped up a bit and got more intense and the nurses changed shift. We were so happy when our new nurse walked in as she was the person that did our childbirth class, Laura. It was great to see a familiar face and talk through some things with someone we trusted. From the minute we checked in I had been asking about being able to be up and moving around with intermittent monitoring. Unfortunately, the baby's heart rate was dropping a little much for comfort during contractions. He recovered well in the rest times so they weren't overly concerned but they weren't comfortable letting me off the monitor.

The dr came back about 8:30 to check again. So after 2 hours of contractions 2-3 minutes apart that, to me at least, seemed at least quasi intense, doc says "you have made no progress". I said, channeling my college students, "like, literally, zero progress?" He confirmed, literally zero progress. So, next step, because we were having some issues keeping constant monitoring of his heart rate, doc wanted to switch to the internal scalp monitor. And, he wanted to start monitoring my contractions internally to see exactly how strong they were. Since that bought me some time before pitocin, we agreed.

Over the next hour, Laura checked on us pretty often and kept me posted on what the contraction strength was. Bottom line, not strong enough. It became clear pretty quickly that pitocin was in my future. It also became clear that, while I'm sure I could have finished without an epidural, I no longer wanted to. The contractions were already pretty painful and given the amount they needed to intensify, I just decided that it wasn't the experience I wanted anymore. And honestly, I was scared of the pitocin. I wanted to be calm and I wanted to enjoy the experience with Max. So at about 9:30 I got the epidural. After about 20 minutes, I told Max I was kinda frustrated because I felt like I had given in and I thought I would have gotten more relief. Laura overheard that and said I shouldn't be feeling much at all. That definitely was not the case so they called the anesthesiologist again who first tried a more concentrated dose. When that didn't work either, he redid it. Yep, two epidurals! Thankfully the second worked and let me tell you, it was pure bliss.

Ok. I will finish up with part 3 tomorrow!