Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I grew up wanting a little girl, but...

it's watching movies like "The Sandlot" that make me so excited to have a little boy. 

Btw, I totally had a crush on Benny "the Jet" Rodriguez when I was younger.  

Ham Porter: You play ball like a giiirrrrrrrrl!
Phillips: What did you say?
Ham Porter: You heard me.
Phillips: Tomorrow. Noon, at our field. Be there, buffalo-butt breath.
Ham Porter: Count on it, pee-drinking crap-face!

I mean, how awesome are the quotes from that movie?  Other movies I would want Desmond to see are White Men Can't Jump and Rudy.  Billy's scared that if Desmond watches the Sandlot, he'll want to play baseball as a sport.  If so, then I guess we'd have to become fans...
Point is, there's something about little boys and their mothers...a special bond that's different from the bond mothers have with their daughters.  I hope that he grows up loving me and respecting me, just like my little brother John does with my mother.  He adores her and cares so much about her.  I think that's partly the reason he grew up to be such a great guy.  He never acted out and he always treated every girl he ever dated with respect.  He would do anything for my mother.  I want my son to care and love me that way, too.  So, I do look forward to playing "ball" with desmond and looking at worms and beetles and other gross things kids like to look at.  Ok...maybe I'm really not looking forward to all of that.  His dad can do those things with him, but I do look forward to watching those movies with him. 

What to expect 4 weeks post partum

This has been the hardest month of my life both physically and emotionally.  I'm sitting here, breastfeeding at 6:49 in the morning and listening to Desmond poop after I just changed his diaper.  Billy is sleeping next to me, softly snoring and mumbling something about Christmas.   I envy him his sleep and sometimes...no, very often... I want to shake him awake and have him keep me company while I breastfeed.  There have been early mornings where, after being awake for 4 hours through the night, I hand Desmond over to Billy and put my eyemask on, only to hear Desmond crying 20 minutes later.  I will admit that there have been more than a few mornings that I've been in that situation and had tears in my eyes.  OK...slight exaggeration.  I've sobbed uncontrollably at the unfairness of it all and have thrown my pillow across the room in anger and frustration and have felt that I had made the wrong decision in having Desmond.

Which then ends up making me feel like a really shitty mom.  It makes me wonder if I was one of those people who were hardwired not to be a parent.  It's not that I'm negligent or not attentive...I just love my sleep and I know the type of person I am without it and that's not the type of person Desmond deserves for a mother.  But then, as soon as I finish nursing him and I lie down with him on my chest and he props himself up on his forearms and his head bobbles from side to side as his neck strains to hold his very long head up, he looks directly at me and purses his lips and I melt and think, "this little human being belongs solely to me and I belong to him" and my eyes tear up, this time for happiness.


It's no secret that I've had trouble breastfeeding.  The first 3 weeks were very painful, to put it mildly.  I almost dreaded breastfeeding, which led to me hating the fact that I dreaded it, which led to a huge case of resentment towards Desmond.  I can't tell you how many times I was ready to give up and start pumping.  But, two visits to lactation consultants and several hours of researching later, I am starting to not dread nursing Desmond.  I don't love it yet and there are times when nursing him seems like a chore, but there are other times when I look down at how happy and serene he is when he nurses and I vow to keep it up.  

So, one of the things about breastfeeding is that you have to use both breasts equally.  Once you drain one breast you move on to the other one at the next feeding.  When you're feeding 8-12 times a day (doesn't sound like much but when you nurse for approximately 10 minutes and then take 5 minutes to change a diaper and then nurse again for another 10 minutes so that he could go back to sleep), you're spending more than 3 hours nursing.  Add to that the fact that your brain is already mush from lack of sleep and you can't remember which breast you fed him from the last time...there's another stressor added to your day.  Several websites out there suggest doing something, like wearing a hairband around your wrist that corresponds to the side you nursed from last, to help you remember.  There are even some products out there that achieve the same objective. 

But honestly, just reach up and grab your breasts.  When you get ready for a feeding, visually and manually inspect (one should be bigger than the other and one should feel squishier than the other).  For those that are wondering just how squishy squishy is, right after you finish nursing completely on one breast, that breast should feel like a flaccid penis.  Seriously.  Not that I know what a flaccid penis feels like (Mom, I promise!  :)) 

After the initial whoop of joy I gave when I stepped on the scale and found that I had lost 17 lbs, I am becoming disheartened at my weight loss.  I have been at 133-134 for the past 2 weeks.  I know the saying: it takes 9 months to put it on and it will take 9 months to take it off.  I just can't get over the fact that I'm still wearing maternity jeans and, even worse, maternity underpants.  I went to the Gap the other day with a friend to shop for new pants.  I won't name any names because this particular person has to special order her very small pants online.  I, who a year and a half ago was wearing a size 4, couldn't get my jiggly bits into a size 6 boyfriend's jean.  I'm a dumbass for even trying on jeans this soon. 

Ok, that sounds super superficial, but what woman's body image isn't inherently tied to her self-esteem?  I've got love handles now and a jiggly kangaroo pouch and I hate the fact that I look like I've let myself go.  So, word of advice to all you ladies out there who are pregnant...expect this.  Don't think you could whip out the bag of clothes you stored in the basement when you began showing.  Leave it down there.   Don't even tempt yourself.  Just focus on the fact that this will be the only time in your life when you could eat what you want and not exercise and STILL lose weight because you're breastfeeding all the time. 

 Belly 4 weeks post partum...

I've finally stopped bleeding!  My lady bits aren't swollen anymore (thank GOD) and I figure that's a good sign that my sex life could be resurrected (sorry, Mom...but you DO want us to have 3 or 4 more kids, right???)  Since I'm breastfeeding, the prolactin levels in my body have increased, which helps to dry everything out where it counts, which is a good thing, I guess, since you don't want to get carried away and get pregnant when you're caring for an infant.  Otherwise, it means that I'll have to go to the pharmacy section of Smith's and hover over the condom/lube section of the store, feel hopelessly embarrassed, and pick out a brand of lubricant that I hope will work. 

 I'm intrigued...and the commercials for this brand are pretty funny. 

Thankfully, I didn't tear during the delivery, so the prospect of having sex again doesn't terrify me. 

Also, plan on it taking you an hour longer than you expected to leave the house.  So, if you have class at 11am on a Friday morning, get your ass out of bed at 9 and get everything ready to go by 10:40.  You'll need that extra hour.  Believe me.  If it's not a last minute nursing to help put your child to sleep before you strap him into the carseat, it's driving 6 blocks before you realize that you forgot the sling and have to head home to retrieve it, or your child poops out of his diaper, ruining his cute white old-man pants (which is why, I have learned, you should always keep an extra set of clothes in your bag for the baby). 

I have also developed a high tolerance to bodily fluids.  In our bed alone, there are remnants of baby puke, breastmilk, baby pee, and maybe some watery baby poo stains in the sheets.  Do we change them out every time this happens?  No way.  A few years ago, when I saw my friend Annie changing her daughter's poopy diaper, I wondered how in the world she managed not to vomit all over the place.  She shook her head and told me that you don't care about it when it's your kid.  And it's true...it's like Desmond's urine and feces and vomit are as innocuous as saliva.  

When Desmond peed up the front of his diaper...

To end on a good note (finally), I am happy to report that I've fallen off the wagon!  Yes, I've had a few drinks and it has been wonderfully blissful.  I bought some Chaource cheese from Caputo's and Billy bought a small bottle of champagne and we sat in our living room and ate cheese and drank champagne to celebrate our new parenthood.  I had two glasses and was feeling allllllright.  I slept beautifully that night.  At the LLL meetings, one person (and I have been this one person) will inevitably ask whether or not it's ok to drink while breastfeeding and whether or not you should use one of those strip stick tests that tells you whether your breastmilk should be dumped or not.  Christy gives a great answer: if you can't follow the instructions on the box very well or if you can't adequately look after your baby, you shouldn't be breastfeeding.  But one or two drinks won't get your baby drunk or cause irreparable damage.  

Sunday, August 29, 2010

An Open Letter to Desmond: Week 3

Dear Des:

You have gained over a pound since you've been born. That is the equivalent of me gaining 27 pounds. You are still pretty scrawny, though, and have calf muscles the size of little marbles. You're actually pretty strong, though! You can almost pull your body up from a sleep position, and you can lift your head for a few seconds at a time (this one still surprises you). Your mom is getting distressed that you don't look much like her. You have started staying up for most of the night, and when you sleep, you emit little whimpers every once in a while. Your mom is really sensitive to this, but I'm not, so everyone usually gets the best sleep at night if you sleep near me. You really like to curl up in a little ball and sleep on your mom or dad's chest.

Your Aunt Kseniya bought you your first book this week! It is called "Disappearing Desmond" and I'm going to read it to you as many times in a row as you can handle (in a couple years). You have a lot of bright pictures near your changing table, but your favorite is this one:

Sometimes we let you gaze at it for 15 minutes at a time. You're a pretty laid back kid, but you have bouts of crying that will last for a long time. You scrunch up your face, open your mouth, and screeeaaaam for as long as your little lungs will allow. Towards the end of your scream, your tongue stops vibrating and your scream fizzles out into a low growl. Then you take a big breath and start again.

Here are the things that we try to help you stop screaming that you don't respond to:

*Classical music
*Aggressive pats on your back
*Lying down
*Getting licked by Pirate
*America's Got Talent/Nick Cannon
*Bright colored toys
*Your dad laughing at the futility of trying to help you

Here are some things that you do respond to in these situations:

*A forceful pinky finger in your mouth
*Your new "binky"
*Taking an enormous poop in your diaper (This enormous poop will then be sprayed all over the bathroom by your dad, who hasn't gotten the hang of the water pressure on the poop sprayer.)

Here are some things we haven't tried yet:

*Vigorous shaking
*Better logic/reason

Okay, we promise to never do those last ones.

Ramblings this week:

"Desmond, huh? I really like that name."
-Tony, after returning from Australia and learning of your birth.

"Hey, my little lizard-monkey man."
-Scarlett, developing a nickname based on your facial expression/general appearance.

"[purring sounds]"
-Your Abuelita Frances, every time she picks you up.

"Check out the handsome baby. Who is that handsome baby?"
-Me to you, at least 5 times a day when I hold you in front of the mirror after changing your diaper.

"[hiccup souds]"
-You, about 6 times a day. The hiccups scared the shit out of you the first time you got them, but now you handle them like a pro.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Sleeping like a baby": oversupply and the fussy infant

One of the most stupid sayings ever.  Babies don't sleep.  They nap.  All day long.  Especially during the day and then it's party, party, party all night long.  Everybody and their mother would always make remarks about bracing myself for years of sleepless nights; they would smile knowingly, taking some perverse pleasure in knowing that I was to unwillingly join this sleepless club soon.  When I was pregnant, as I suspect most pregnant women think, I thought that these people were full of crap, exaggerating what happened to them just for the sake of interesting, juicy conversation.  I had it in my head that MY baby was going to be different: he would inherit my and Billy's genes for sleeping and sleep for stretches at a time.  Yeah right...that's a big, fat FAIL.  Desmond sleeps for hours at a time during the day, waking up to nurse and then he's back asleep.  He's up for the night at about midnight and stays up until 5 or 6 in the morning. 

Trying to pacify a gassy, poopy baby.

Add to this the fact that if he's awake, he's fussing and sometimes screaming his head off because he's got gas or is trying to poop.  For the first 1.5-2 weeks, he was doing wonderfully.  He was nursing, pooping, and sleeping and wasn't fussing at all.  Now, he brings his legs up close to his stomach and, in between screams, grunts and pushes.  What feels and sounds like a heavy load is actually a very wimpy poop.  And it's green instead of that golden yellow color and it has tons of mucus in it.  Yep.  Booger poops.

 Color of Desmond's poops. 

So, as I scour the internet and the WAB (womanly art of breastfeeding), I find that I may have an issue with oversupply, which means that I produce way too much milk.  Poor little Desmond is finally just figuring out how to latch on correctly and now he has to deal with being bombarded with a ton of foremilk (the watery milk that leaks out when you first go to nurse).  He sometimes starts gulping loudly (which adds more gas to his gut because he ends up swallowing a lot of air) and sometimes looks like he's about to choke!  He ends up getting full quickly on the foremilk and doesn't have a chance to drink the hindmilk (this is the milk that's way up in your milk ducts...this is the "dessert" of the meal.  I call it the ice cream since it's high in fat and acts as a laxative). 

Initially, I was switching breasts as soon as he "finished."  By "finished," I mean if he started slowing down his sucking or doing those flutter sucks or  actually turns his face away.  But what was happening was that he was getting just foremilk from both breasts and none of the hindmilk.  So, after reading WAB and other posts on the internet and getting advice from Christy, I started "block" feeding, where I will feed Desmond as often as he wants to from one breast only for a period of 4 hours and then I'll switch to the other breast.  This gives each breast a break (decreases demand which will hopefully decrease my supply a bit) and allows Desmond to have access to the hindmilk in each breast. 

 How cute is this???  Totally not posed!  For those of you who can't figure out what's going on, Desmond is propping himself up while he's nursing.

We have started seeing a little bit of improvement: last night, after being up with him from 1-4 in the morning, he blissfully slept for 5 hours!  and he had poops that started resembling the golden yellow variety we have been waiting for. 

 Happy well-rested, well-pooped Desmond!

By the way, 3 years ago, I would have vomited all over myself if I knew that I was going to spend a whole blog post talking about a baby's eating, pooping, and sleeping habits.  This has to be incredibly boring for my non-parent friends and relatives.  My younger self empathizes with you :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

An Open Letter to Desmond: Week 2

Dear Des:

You have already grown so much in the last 2 weeks.  You're getting fatter and fatter everyday, which makes me happy because it means that you're getting enough to eat.  Your abuelita calls you an angel, but I remind her that you're guilty of one of the 7 deadly sins: gluttony.  She doesn't have a comeback for that one.

You're becoming a pro at making spit bubbles now, especially when you wake up from a nap.  You make the most incredible faces, especially when you're angry: your forehead wrinkles up (you have 4 big forehead wrinkles), your mouth opens wide (wish you would do the same when we nurse together), and your face turns bright red.  You have the same storkbite on the back of your neck that I do.  Your abuelita says that when I was little and I'd get mad, my storkbite would turn bright red.   The hair that grows out of the storkbite is lighter than the rest of my hair...it's almost auburn red.  I wonder if your hair will grow the same way.

 Example of a storkbite.

Your hair is such a funny color: some days I think it's darker while other days it looks like it's going to turn out blonde like Billy's.  Your eye color is...well...it's hard to explain.  Sometimes it looks dark blue and other times it looks like it's turning brown.  I wonder what color it will be.  I think you'll end up with brown eyes but there is a 13.7% chance it will be blue and a 13.7% chance it will be green.

You have a funny little old man butt.  I'm sure it will start filling out soon.  Your grandma Donna wants to run a 5k with you when you're 10!  Hopefully that will bulk up your legs and bum a bit.  We just started using the cloth diapers this week and we're still trying to get the hang of it.  We use the little hose attachment on the toilet to rinse the poops off of the diapers.  At first, we tried wringing the diaper out after rinsing, but found out that it's obviously super gross to do and we just end up throwing the wet diaper in the pail (after spraying bac-out on the diaper).  We call your poops turd curds because they look like you just pooped out small cottage cheese curds.

Example of poops from exclusively breastfed babies: the poops are golden yellow.  Something interesting: if left too long, the color changes from golden yellow to green. 

Everybody says you look just like your dad.  I don't see it anymore: you look just like you, albeit with your dad's lips, of course.   And his hairline.

Ramblings overheard this week:

My mother, pretending to be Desmond while changing him (I guess I was making a yucky face):
"'Mommy, my poop is so great, you should use it as face cream.'"

My mother, to Desmond as she's changing him and talking about his in-betweens: "You don't have to worry about keeping any girlfriends interested."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Postpartum update

So, it's been 2 weeks since I gave birth, but it feels like much, much longer.  I guess it's the whole feeding Des every 2-3 hours that make every day bleed into the next day.  I've been having a helluva time trying to breastfeed, which is incredibly disheartening.  I mean, I did all of my research and read lots and lots of articles on the importance of breastfeeding for the baby's health and for our relationship.  When I was pregnant, I thought I had it all figured out: I would breastfeed Desmond every few hours and be a pro at nursing in my sleep and we would have this beautiful relationship.  Instead, breastfeeding has been frustrating, to say the least.  Desmond's latch isn't the best; he doesn't open his mouth wide enough and ends up just sucking at the very tip of my nipple (he's supposed to take a huge chunk of areola and nipple into his mouth for an effective latch).  He also has a very strong suck; when we put our finger in Desmond's mouth to soothe him, it feels like he's going to suck the fingernail right off.  I've been trying different positions and my mom just showed me how to nurse while lying down, which increases my comfort by a lot, since I usually nurse sitting up in bed at night.  Hopefully, it will help Desmond achieve a better latch. 

Having my mother here, however, has been a godsend.  She is always doing something: cleaning, doing laundry, doing tons of cooking, tending the baby, etc.  She's not the type of mother to just sit around.  She leaves on Sunday and I know that I'll be bawling my eyes out.  Billy's going to take the next week off of work (he's been going in to work while my mom's here) and stay with me to make the transition a bit easier.  She's so great with the baby; sometimes, I feel like she's the mom and I'm just the big sister or the babysitter.  She literally purrs whenever she picks him up.  She's an expert baby bather.  She smiles at him all the time, no matter if he's screaming his lungs out or making cute baby faces at her.  She's got an incredible amount of patience.  Billy jokes that we should put a GPS tracker device in Desmond just in case my mom goes a little crazy and takes him with her to Florida. 

Of the 20 or so pounds I gained during pregnancy, I've lost 17 (really only less than 10 since Desmond weighed 7 lbs and the placenta and everything else weighed a few more pounds).  My stomach is still a bit squishy, which is OK.  I'm still bleeding, but have moved on to pantyliners instead of those god-awful, lousy "extra absorbent" pads.  Every morning I hold my breath in the hopes that I've stopped bleeding and when I see that I haven't, I am reminded of that one South Park episode where Kartman or Kenny remark that you can't trust a being that bleeds for 5 days and doesn't die.  I'm on day 15. 

My mother says that the moment the baby makes true eye contact with you is the moment that your hair starts falling out.  I guess Desmond and I haven't visually connected yet because I haven't noticed any increase in hairs in the tub or on the floor. 

Pirate loves his little brother.  He sniffs at him and has licked his hands and feet.  He'll curl up next to me or Billy on the couch when we're holding Desmond and sort of takes his post.  I feel like he cares about Desmond.  I sometimes fantasize that he'll be Desmond's guard dog, saving Desmond from sudden and imminent danger (a roaming bear, a burglar, or another dog). 

Here's a little secret: In the past 2 weeks, I have brushed my teeth before 4pm a total of 5 times.  I'm in my pajamas until then, too.  Showers are such a morale boost; don't skip on them no matter how tired you are!  It's so much better to be clean and cranky than dirty and cranky.  Oh, and another little secret, make sure you have EVERYTHING you need for the day before you leave the house.  Twice I've been caught without my sling (had to carry the baby in arms around the whole IKEA) and without a change of diapers/clothes (pooped and peed through his outfit in public.)

Monday, August 16, 2010

The cost of giving birth...

Let this one make you think twice before getting pregnant.  Or at least think about giving birth at a birthcenter or at home.  :)

Breakdown of costs for myself:

Ob/Gyn Unit: 1,023.00
NICU: 53.00
Labor and Delivery: 4,232.00!!!
Storeroom: 218.20
Anesthesiology: 136.20
Pulmonary Laboratory: 235.40
Pharmacy: 633.96
Clinical Labs: 36.80
OB Emergency Services: 437.00

TOTAL: 7,005.56

Breakdown of costs for Desmond:
Ob/Gyn Unit: 667.30
Storeroom: 8.00
Pharmacy: 115.00
Clinical Labs: 160.00

TOTAL: 950.30

GRAND TOTAL: 7,955.86 to push Desmond out of my body. 

In essence, for a 50 hour stay, it cost us approximately 159.12/hour at the University of Utah Hospital.  Upside: The U has excellent L&D service; the nurses and midwives took great care of me and Desmond.  They were extremely respectful and so nice.  I'm going to be sending them some sort of thank you gift for taking care of me (maybe an edible arrangement?  People love that kind of stuff...chocolate-covered strawberries...mmmm....).  Also, they gave me a delicious turkey sandwich anytime I wanted (the Turkey sandwich I got after delivering was the best thing I have ever tasted). 

There was this great health care aide named Sofiya from Bulgaria.  She had shocking dyed red hair and spoke with the best accent.  She always came in and asked if I needed anything.  When I shook my head no, she would offer cold packs for my in-betweens, food, snacks, drinks, etc.  I said yes to each thing she offered; I didn't know I wanted a cold pack or food until she offered it.  She worked the night shift and managed to get me everything I wanted/needed despite the hour.

Anyhow, the U was a great place to give birth.  But almost 8,000 bucks for something that happens 245 times a minute?  Craziness.  

Sunday, August 15, 2010

An Open Letter to Desmond: Week 1


What a crazy first week!  The nurses all said how expressive you are; you make the funniest faces!  Our favorite is your pucker face:

We are having some trouble with breastfeeding, but it's ok.  We'll figure it out.  Your dad says that you have "landing gear legs;" you bring them in close to you as soon as you realize we're about to change your diaper. 

We love it when you're awake, although it's only about 3 or 4 hours of each day; at these times, you open your eyes really wide and just look around without saying a peep.  You turn your face when I call your name and sometimes, we make eye contact. 

You've peed on me and your dad 4 times so far.  It's really quite funny and sometimes it gets on your face.  You hate that part.  You like being swaddled; we call it "burrito-ing," as in, "Honey, can you burrito him?"

You have dry, flaky skin on your hands, feet, and tummy, but this is totally normal, so don't think you were a freak baby.  You always sneeze three times in a row.  When you nurse, sometimes you place your little hand with those long fingers on my chest and I melt (I'm not sure, however, if you do it on purpose or if it's an accidental caress stemming from your startle reflex). 

We are falling more and more in love with you each day.  We're becoming the type of parents that we used to make fun of: we take tons of pictures of you every day and actually think people are interested in what your burps sound like and how cute it is when you toot.  Your breath is starting to smell milky and it's all I can do to keep from covering your tiny little thinking-man's face with kisses. 

Ramblings overheard this week:

Sergio, Desmond's uncle, looking at Desmond's face:
"Oh, he's got some luscious lips.  Is that normal?"

Billy, remarking on how fussy Desmond was being one morning:
"God, he's acting like he's going through withdrawals: he's shaking, moaning, crying, and shitting himself."

Billy, to Desmond at the pediatrician's office:
"Are you trying to remember what the womb was like?  You loved it in there...but you were really gray and now you're really yellow."

"Little Des is excited about getting to poke other girls.  He's just worried about his baby acne, but I told him that other baby girls had baby acne, too."

"Do you wanna poop again?  You could go ahead and poop.  Just like this (Billy grunts)."

"(Desmond starts crying) Des, you sound like a baby girl crying!"

"Des, if you don't cry, they could see how manly you are."

My mom to Desmond after I complained about breastfeeding:
"You just gotta tell her, baby: 'Those boobies are mine now, mama.'"

Bye, everyone!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Post-delivery stuff I wish I had known when I got pregnant

You will have to wear pads.  For weeks.  So, it's like revisiting 1992 all over again (most girls who start their periods start off with pads and move up to tampons).  I remember the first time I got my period I was 11 years old and I was in class at my Catholic school.  Alex Jurado, who was sitting right behind me, said, "hey, you got a ketchup stain on your shirt".  (In Catholic school, we wore our PE clothes underneath our uniforms.  On PE days, we'd take off our jumpers and shirts and hang them off the back of our chairs in the classroom.  Unfortunately, I was sitting on my bright yellow shirt when my period decided to pay its little visit.  Thank God for Alex Jurado's tact in telling me, surreptitiously, that I had started menstruating.  I'll always be thankful to him for that :)).  Mrs. Brown, our teacher, sent me down to Sister Carol, our principal's, office.  They handed me a pad that was like 2 ft long, told me to put it on, and then had me lie down to wait for my mom.  Wearing a pad now brings back all those awful memories.

The first pads they give you at the hospital are called "pads" but are really diapers.  All that's missing are the side tabs to attach them to each other.  They also make you wear these mesh panties that look cute when you hold them up, but are built to stretch and cover every inch of your bottom while showing every dimple of cellulite you accumulated during your 9 month haul of "eating for two."  This is not a pretty sight.  I would make Billy close his eyes every time I got up to go to the bathroom to pee.

Not that this isn't bad enough, but this model is like a size 2.  Imagine this on someone who gained 20+ lbs and who, after having a stomach stretched to all imagination, has a hanging skin pouch for an abdomen...Scary, scary, scary.  

Breastfeeding hurts (me).  It's not supposed to, but I may have something that Christy refers to as "rusty pipe syndrome," meaning that my mammary glands and milk ducts aren't used to being opened up.  When I breastfeed, it feels like pins and needles are pushing through my breasts and it emanates all the way up to my armpits.   I know that sometimes breastfeeding can make your breasts a little tender at the beginning, but this is crazy.  It may have something to do with the fact that I had a breast reduction, but I'm not sure.  Breastfeeding also helps to contract the uterus and, although it's good for me in the long run, it's not exactly the best feeling in the world.  As your uterus is contracting back down to size, the contractions feel almost like labor pains.  

I've been bleeding nonstop for 8 days.  I'm not wearing the diapers anymore, but I'm still having to wear pads day in and day out.  Here's a tip: Soak the pads in witch hazel and store them in the fridge.  They'll feel AMAZING when you have to put them on. 

Also, don't bother bringing your own clothes to the hospital with you (except your going home outfit).  Wear the hospital gown they give you because you will stain whatever article of clothing you're wearing.  Also, don't bring any of your pre-pregnancy clothes to wear on the way home.  Scratch that, don't bring anything you wore early pregnancy for the way home.  Stick with the big stretchy pants you were wearing the week before.  You'll be so puffy down there, you'll be glad for the extra room.  I wore a stretchy skirt for my trip home.

Take everything they give you at the hospital: epi-foam cream (to decrease swelling), witch hazel pads, pads, those absorbent cloths that you could put in your bed, baby booger-suckers, etc.  Give away to a charity (I gave my leftover bag to the St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Relief Society) what you don't need at the end. 

You WILL look about 4-5 months pregnant once you get home.  You're gonna have to get over it.  I'm actually taking it quite well.  I haven't been this svelte in months!  Additionally, it's so nice to have skin-to-skin contact with Desmond and the fact that I have a little extra here and there means that it will be a nice, warm, SOFT place for him to cuddle up next to.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I can't wait until Desmond hears us having sex...

OK, not at all.  I hope that never, ever happens.  I almost may turn to celibacy if I knew that there was any certainty that Desmond would hear us in the future. 

BUT, if he ever does, I hope, hope, hope that I'm there with my camera waiting to hear him explain what he heard.

Just like this little girl did to her parents:

It's a BOY!

Desmond John Thomas was born at 3:19 am, August 5th, 2010 at the University of Utah Hospital.  He was delivered by Deb, a nurse midwife, and assisted by Courtney.  Billy and April were also present for the birth. 

He weighed 7lbs even and was 20 inches long.  He also, of course, scored a 9 on his 2nd APGAR (as former tutors ourselves, Billy and I are very proud that little Desmond did so well on his test.  HGL may branch out to APGAR test prep for parents-to-be :))

For your viewing pleasure, here are some pictures of our little man:

3 hours old.

Desmond meeting his dad for the first time.  Look at those lips!  Ladies, watch out!

Sucking his thumb (subtle breastfeeding cue!)  

Des looks like such an old man!  It's quite funny to breastfeed him and see this miniature old-man face looking up at me.

Close up of Des sucking his thumb.  I'm surprised that he didn't come out more wrinkled than he did.  How does skin not prune up in all of that amniotic fluid for so long.

Sleeping on his uncle Gabriel.  It's crazy how much a few ounces of weight gain can fill a baby out.  

Our first nap together the day we got home.  He was born with his hands up around his face and he does the same thing when he sleeps.

Honestly.  How cute?

His favorite nap-time hand position. 

Sometimes, during the 6 hours of the day that he's awake, he'll quietly look around and just take the sights and sounds in.  He also makes the craziest faces.  This is his pucker face.  Btw, head is nicely shaped for a baby born vaginally.  Just sayin'...because I'm enamored with the shape of babies' heads.  

Sorry for the barrage of baby photos.  I'm probably the only one that's really interested in all of them (well, me, the grandparents, and Billy), so you'll have to forgive posts like this from now on. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A labor of love...

"Waking up when you got a baby, you feel like you drank a bottle of whiskey the night before, except the shit's in someone else's pants."
~Shit my dad says

It's late Tuesday night and Billy and I had just settled in our bed to go to sleep.  He was checking up on some emails and I asked him to look at a twitter feed called "Shit my dad says."  We were reading it and I was laughing so, so loudly.  I mean, I used to be a loud laugher (ask anyone who knew me in college what my most defining feature was and I'm sure they'll say my laugh), but I haven't laughed a good laugh lately.  That night was an exception.  Every post I read on that website, I almost wet myself I was laughing so hard. 

And, I swear to God, this is what caused me to go into labor. 

I get up to try to make it to the toilet before I peed all over the bed and, as I'm peeing, I get the weird stomach rumble pangs that accompany the kind of poops you don't want to have.  To make a relatively long story short, it wasn't intestinal distress.  It was the start of labor.  Yes.  Labor.  At 12:45 in the morning on my due date.  I mean, who does that?  I was sure I had at least 3 more days left as a childless woman. 

At approximately 4am that morning, after laboring 2 hours with April and Billy at home and after having minute-long contractions 3-4 minutes apart, we drove up to the hospital.  I went to the labor and delivery triage and they checked my cervix.  I was 100% effaced (yes!) and 2cm dilated (what?!?!).  I felt defeated.  The contractions were making me cry out in pain.  I couldn't look at anybody in the face and kept my eyes closed.  They sent me home but not without some morphine for the pain.

As dawn approached, I lay down in bed to get some rest.  The morphine did nothing for the pain of the contractions but helped me blissfully sleep in between the contractions.  Billy, who downloaded a "contractions" app to his phone to time the frequency and duration of the contractions, said that I would zonk out for the 10 minutes or so in between the contractions and then automatically begin to get up on my hands and knees to rock back and forth and work through the 45-second contraction.  That was the most sleep I've gotten in the last week :)

My water ended up breaking at about 2 in the afternoon.  I got up in between contractions to go pee and I just kept peeing.  I know this is gross, but it really is the weirdest sensation to feel that your bladder isn't working at all and you can't control all this fluid that's leaking out of you.  Ladies, word of advice, if your water breaks at home, bring a towel with you wherever you are, especially the car.  Plan to wear something dark: for my labor at home and drive to the hospital, I wore a shorter black maternity skirt and white tank top. 

Once my water broke, I was clear to go to the hospital.  The nurse midwife on call was Sarah.  She was absolutely darling.  I wish I could say I was a great patient, but at that point I was at like a 7 on the pain scale and I wouldn't open my eyes.  April and Billy were fantastic and made sure that I had my "labor of love" playlist playing, my scented lotion rubbed on me, and the lights dimmed.  Billy even put up a copy of the ultrasound image of Desmond giving me a thumbs-up sign in the bathroom so I could look at it while I labored in the water.  At around 6, Sarah checked my cervix again.  At this point, I was 5cm dilated!  Progress!  Thank God, because I was starting to feel disheartened and had told April a few times by that point that I thought I wanted some drugs.  During our sessions together, April had told me that she would be aggressive in reminding me that I wanted to do a natural birth and would discourage me from getting an epidural as long as I didn't give her my password: windowsill.  The password is the word that I would say if I was damn sure that I wanted drugs.  Windowsill is one of the prettiest words to me and, when I said it, represented a graceful acquiescence to a pain-free birth. 

I couldn't bring myself to say it.  So, we labored for 3 more hours and through another shift change.  At this point, it's 9pm, I've been in labor for 21 hours, and I'm to the point where I start crying in between contractions because the thought of going through another one felt like an ordeal I couldn't keep on shouldering.  I kept thinking that I would not let my goal of a natural birth make giving birth to my baby a horrible memory; I wanted to be in control of my birth and that meant saying, "enough is enough" and letting medicine take over. 

The nurse midwife's name was Deb and the nurse attending my care was Courtney.  Sweetest, kindest, most amazing ladies.  They set me up with an IV for extra fluids in preparation for the epidural, which made me really cold and I couldn't stop shaking uncontrollably.  The anesthesiologist came by (who, by the way, looked like he was maybe 22 years old) and gave me the epidural.  For those of you who have no idea how an epidural is given, they insert this long cord thing into your spine and deliver drugs into it.  While they're putting the long cord thing into your spine, you have to hunch over a table and put your head on your forearms and stay.  really.  still.  Try doing that naked while shaking uncontrollably and breathing through the most monstrous contraction in your life (and for those of you who don't know what a contraction feels like...imagine overeating at Thanksgiving and then, imagine someone (for me, I imagined that red-headed bully from A Christmas Story) pulling a belt along the lower half of your belly tighter and tighter...couple that with some intense back pain and maybe...just maybe...you'll understand the place I spent an entire day in). 

But...as soon as the epidural started to work, I forgave everyone and everything and drifted off blissfully in and out of sleep.  Billy was exhausted as well, so was happy to see me relieved of the pain.  He laid down on the pull out couch and caught a few hours of sleep.  April stayed up with me, talking me through the contractions that the Pitocin was causing (I chose to have the Pitocin because, at the rate my contractions were going, I wasn't going to have Desmond anytime soon.  The Pitocin would cause my contractions to increase in frequency and duration, hopefully dilating my cervix even further). 

Finally, at about 2:00 in the morning, I started feeling intense pressure in my bottom.  It was the weirdest thing!  As soon as I felt it, I notified the nurses and I was given the go ahead to start pushing.  God, what a relief!  I breathed deeply through each push, being careful not to hold my breath.  I didn't feel any pain up until one point when Deb pressed against me with her hand (in an area VERY close to my urethral opening).  I thought, God, if I weren't doped up, I bet this would BURN like hell.  I looked over at Billy, who was holding up my leg and staring in horror at what I assume to be the new view down under and I started laughing.  The nurses looked at me with this look on their face and said that they had never seen a woman laugh through the pushing. 

At 3:19am, Desmond John Thomas was born.  Billy said that it had looked like all that was coming out was head, head, and more head.  Then, the shoulders came out and immediately slithered out the rest of my baby's body.  My stomach immediately deflated and my first thought was, "YES! I could sleep on my tummy now."  I looked down in between my legs to see if I could catch a glimpse.  Billy was given the job of announcing the sex.  I waited with bated breath...I could tell that everyone already knew the sex and were waiting for Billy to say it.  He tilted his head, scrunched his eyebrows and I thought, "shit.  it's a hermaphrodite."  I guess the cord was in the way and he couldn't see whether or not it was a boy or girl.  He finally saw a very large pair of testicles and announced the sex. 

The cord was cut and the baby was whisked away to the warmer and the pediatricians because of the presence of meconium in my amniotic fluid.  All was OK and he was given back to me quickly.  They lay Desmond on my chest, skin-to-skin, and I took a look, for the first time, at what Billy and I had created.  He was beautiful.  And the pain became a vague memory.  I kissed his misshapen head, held him close to me, and closed my eyes. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

It's SNOT there anymore!

I passed my mucus plug tonight!  It happened right before dinner (and, unfortunately, at Billy's parents' house).  I went to go pee, pulled down my pants, and almost passed out at what I saw in my underwear.  I reminded myself that this is a normal part of pregnancy and not the indication of some weirdo infection and took a piece of toilet paper and wiped it off. 

It was mostly clear in color and there was no blood.  I think all the blood may have come out after Leissa, my midwife, checked my cervix (which, as of Thursday, was 1cm dilated and 70% effaced).  I bled for about an hour after that.

Anyhow, I called Billy excitedly to come over and check my plug out.  We decided to keep it to ourselves until at least after dinner. 

Anyhow, it's anybody's guess how long it will be now.  I'm starting to feel a little bit crampy in my lower abdomen, but I keep thinking it may be gas. 

I will keep y'all updated with my progress.  Hopefully, it will happen AFTER our due date since someone has to be here at home to let the couch guys in to put our couch in the living room.  Cross your fingers for me (I'll keep my legs tightly crossed until then.)

OK, I think I'm ready now

Today was a busy day for me and Billy.  Thanks to Karen Schliep and her husband, we were given a fish tank with fish for Higher Ground.  Billy installed that this morning.

We also bought a new couch from Sofa Mart (right across from Ikea).  We went to Ikea to look for a new couch (our old Ikea one is about as comfortable as sitting in a pew at church).  We left, mourning the lack of comfortable couches and, as we were leaving, spotted Sofa Mart (cheesy name, I know, but it was like a sign.  I mean...c'mon) right across the way from Ikea.  So, we went in and found a couch within our price range that we really liked.  It's microfiber and it has two reclining seats.  The microfiber is good for those who have kids and pets since you can clean it up pretty easily.

We got this in a camel color.

But the biggest thing today was that I actually got my hair cut!  I have had this appointment since April, when I last cut my hair, and this was going to be the day that I chopped 10 inches off to donate to Locks of Love.  (BTW, I'm NOT donating to Locks of Love because, when I looked into it a little bit deeper, I found out that Locks of Love does not automatically provide free wigs to the kids (who mostly have alopecia and not cancer, like everyone thinks); instead, they provide the wigs at no cost to a very few and on a sliding scale to others.)  Instead, I've decided to donate my hair to Pantene's Beautiful Hair wigs program, which provides FREE wigs to women who have cancer.  I have been so excited for today because 1) it's really too hot outside to have hair past your shoulders, 2) I haven't had short hair since 2002, and 3) I didn't want strands of my hair (which falls out a lot more after you give birth) choking Little Nacho or cutting off the circulation when it gets wrapped around the fat creases in his wrists.  I also didn't want to constantly pry my hair from his grubby hands.  

I needed to lob off at least 8 inches of hair, which meant that I was going to have to go bob-length short.  I used these pictures as inspiration:

I liked Audrey Tautou's hair.

Billy liked Alexa Chun's hair. 

I liked both styles since they showcased their waves, but I also thought that this could be more of a sexy, fun mom haircut and not a mom-jean-wearing, soccer mom haircut.  

Here is the progression (hair done by Kellie Montoya at Landis Salon.  My entire haircut, which is usually $25 at Landis (new stylist price) ended up being 17.50: $5 off coupon and 10% off because I donated my hair).  

I could feel her starting to snip at this point.

I could HEAR her starting to snip at this point.  I think I almost puked out of nervousness at this point.

10 inches of hair lobbed off!  I kinda want to keep the ponytail now as a memento.  Just so that I have something to show the colorist if I start growing the not-so-flattering kind of gray hair.  

My poor ponytail...but hopefully, it will help to make a beautiful wig for another woman.

The final product: a wavy bob.  I LOVE it.  I do kind of feel like a bobble head since my head feels like 10 times lighter than before.  

So, we have a comfy couch, a rocking chair, a swing, a car seat, a place to put nacho's cloths, a changing table, a bath hammock for Nacho, colostrum, onesies, hats, pants, receiving blankets, diapers, and a new haircut for me.  Plus, my mom is due to come in on Thursday.  Now I finally feel like I can go into labor.  Bring it, Nacho!