Thursday, August 14, 2014

Hi Ho, Hi Ho....

It's back to work I go.

I've been back to work for three weeks (two part-time and one full-time) and it has been pretty uneventful.  There was a ton of stressing out in the days leading up to my first day back, which generally caused me to be grumpy with everyone all the time.  Once I actually entered the office, it just seemed as it was before.  No big deal.  I worked Wednesday and Thursday only and was home with the kids again on Friday the first week I went back.  It wasn't until Friday that I cried.  I just couldn't help it!  Dean was all smiles Friday morning and I lost it.  Those precious little smiles were what I was missing out on while I was at work and it made me really sad.  Then he started to cry and I snapped out of it.

The best part of returning to work has been feeling like a full fledged adult again.  The worst part of returning to work has been all the pumping.  All day.  Every day.  Sore nipples.  Breast is best or that's what they say.  I will tell you that I was not completely against using formula to supplement when I went back to work.  I really thought it was going to be really tough to pump enough everyday to meet his needs and I wasn't about to kill myself trying to make it work.  And then I researched formulas that would accommodate a dairy and soy sensitivity....and I renewed my commitment to exclusively breast feeding my son.

Well, that's pretty much all I have to say about going back to work for now.  It hasn't been a whole month yet so I'm not completely overridden with guilt but I'm sure that will come in good time.

See the crazy that these kids have put in my eyes?
What's the hardest thing you have done for the ones you love?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Maternity Leave

I feel like people have always touted the government as having great benefits.  There are a lot of great benefits, however, there are NO maternity benefits.  None.  You can use your vacation and your sick leave but there is no disability benefits or paid maternity time off.  The state of Virginia does not provide any disability pay either.  I have been very fortunate that my family and I have been prepared to allow me to be home with my sweet boy for over three months.

Before Dean came, I had grand ideas of what I was going to accomplish while on maternity leave.  I thought he would sleep for hours at a time and I would be able to organize the garage, organize my craft room, and do some scrapbooking and sewing too.  The last time I had an infant was over seven years ago and clearly, my memory does not serve me correctly.  It's an accomplishment if I shower these days.  This kid needs to eat, be changed, or held ALL the time.  

I have been able to get a workout in every now and again.  Mostly, we go for walks around the neighborhood.  I can't tell if he likes it or not but at least he's quiet.  I also do the Post-natal Boot Camp and it looks a little like this:

The joys of a sleeping baby!
Sadly enough, my time at home is coming to a close.  I'm going back to work a couple days this week and then a couple days next week.  After that, I'm back full time :(  Dean and I were playing after a diaper change and he gave me a couple of giggles.  He has only giggled once before and doesn't really know that he is doing it but it made me cry.  All I wanted was for him to laugh for me before I went to work and he did it.  It made me the happiest mommy and saddest mommy all at once!

It's not all sad this week though because after five weeks with her father, Julia is coming home!!!

Life is a little crazier with both of them demanding my attention but I love them and I'm going back to work so it won't be that bad!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dean's Birth Story

With this pregnancy, I had low platelet levels and I feared that I would not be able to get an epidural when it came time to deliver as I had with my daughter.  So I researched natural childbirth so I could be prepared in case I couldn't get the drugs.  After researching it (and going a bit insane), I decided it was something I could do and was best for me and my baby.  I also chose to not go to a hospital but rather deliver at a birth center (Birth Care in Alexandria, VA) so that I would have the most supportive environment possible to help me achieve the goal of a natural childbirth.
To complicate things further, I had gestational diabetes so I had to deliver by my due date in order to be able to deliver at the birth center.  If not, I was going to have to go to the hospital to be medically-induced.  I was medically-induced with my daughter Julia (also due to GD) and I feared that medical interventions would greatly reduce my ability to have a natural childbirth and bring on a domino effect of other unnecessary medical interventions.

At my 39-week appointment, the midwives attempted to do a stretch and sweep to get things going, but my cervix was tilted too far back to reach.  The following Monday, I went in for another attempt at a stretch and sweep.  Again, my cervix was too far back to reach and they couldn't do it.  I went home from that appointment 1cm dilated and with two  bottles of castor oil to take at lunch and then again before dinner.  
The castor oil seemingly accomplished nothing but sending me to the bathroom all the time.  So the next plan of action was Cervadil.  Cervadil is a medication that is inserted into cervix that promotes dilation of the cervix and sometimes starts contractions and hopefully puts you into labor also.  I went in Tuesday morning to have the first round inserted and again that night for another round of Cervadil and also a Foley Catheter.  The Foley Catheter is a balloon that they inflate in your cervix to manually dilate it up to four centimeters.  Sounds fun, huh?  The Foley Catheter was soo uncomfortable but it did succeed in getting me dilated to 4cm   
Later that day the next day after pulling the catheter out, I used some essential oils (clary sage oil and geranium oil) to massage on my belly.  I was skeptical of the oils but at this point I was willing to try anything!  Placebo effect or not, I started getting regular contractions about seven minutes apart.  Unfortunately, I went to sleep that night and they stopped.  
The next day (my due date-April 10) I went into the birth center for a third and final round of Cervadil.  The midwife confirmed that I was dilated to a four.  She tried to do a stretch and sweep, however, my cervix was still too far back and slippery for her to do a proper one.  Later that day, my husband and I did the essential oils on my belly again and I started to contract every four minutes.  We called the midwife and she told us to go ahead and come in.  Although I was contracting, they weren't strong enough to truly be in labor and my midwife thought that it was probably because of the size of my baby and the amount of amniotic fluid that was causing the contractions to be ineffective.  So she suggested that we break my water in order to get rid of some of the amniotic fluid and hopefully the contractions would be more effective and we would have a baby!
We got to the birth center and took a walk while we waited for our birth assistant to get there.  Our midwife needed her to be able to push the baby down while she broke the water so we could avoid  a cord prolapse.  Once our birth assistant got there and we broke my water, things started progressing.  I went from being able to talk through my contractions to needing to hang from my husband's neck and sway through them.  
In preparation for my birthing time, I used Hypnobabies.  Hypnobabies really helped me in remaining calm and alleviating a lot of the fear I had around giving birth, however, I did not practice my light switch enough and so that part really didn't work for me.  I did use the birthing day affirmations while I was laboring and during a contraction I would moan "Open" or "Relax" to try and keep everything open and relaxed (duh).  I felt like this was really helpful.
I started laboring on a bed on my side.  I stayed here for a while mainly because I was freezing!  My poor husband tried as much as he could to help by draping his coat and our beach towels (brought for the birthing tub) over me to try to warm me.  Thank god the midwife came in and showed him where the blankets were kept and turned on a space heater for me!  After I warmed up, I asked (read: begged) to get into the Jacuzzi tub.  The tub didn't end up being as magical as I thought it would be, but I was able to spend some time in the tub with both Alex and Julia.  I was a wonderful moment for our family.  Just the three of us one last time.
After a while I got too hot and got out of the tub and thus began my hours of laboring on the toilet.  I tried other positions but nothing else really seemed tolerable.  I remember the midwife asking once if I wanted to be checked but I declined by whimpering "No, I don't want to be disappointed."  Somehow they convinced me to move to the bed and shortly after my body decided it was time to push.  This was a feeling like I have never felt before.  There is no way I could have stopped my body from pushing even if I had tried.  After starting to grunt and push, my midwife asked me what I was feeling and my only response was "I don't know."  I didn't want to tell anyone I was pushing for fear they would tell me to stop because it wasn't time yet.  Afterwards I told my husband that and he laughed at me, "We all knew you were pushing."  
Since the midwives were not fooled by my answers and knew that it was time to deliver the baby, they asked if I wanted to move to the toilet or a birthing stool to push.  I chose the birthing stool since they could bring that to me instead of me walking across the room to the bathroom.  Plus I feel better saying that I delivered my son on a birth stool rather than a toilet.  I mean, c'mon!  Twenty-two minutes of pushing and Dean Alexander was born.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to have my magical new baby moment as I was bleeding too much and had to get a shot of Pitocin and deliver my placenta quickly.  Alex got lots of skin to skin time with Dean while they gave me more clotting medications, an IV and had to clean out my uterus.  It was very scary but somehow I've managed to make peace with it all and can amazingly say I will someday be pregnant again and deliver med-free ....someday....
Enjoy the pics!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

New baby!

I left you and made another blog that was more private.  It  was a flop.  Not only did people not want to sign up with their emails to read it but I stopped posting.  It was a lose/lose situation.  So here I am again.  I am making a new effort to write and I am giving you another opportunity to stalk me in the privacy of your own homes!

What have I been up to?  Well, at least one thing.  Having a baby!  I am now the mother of two.  One boy and one girl.  Dean is a serious little boy that has been demanding things of me all day for the past three months.  Julia has been a great help to me.  She is such a little mommy and loves giving her little brother kisses.  It's so wonderful to see the two of them together.  It makes me feel like I've done something right in my life.

The above picture was taken the morning Dean was born.  That is why Julia's hair looks like something out of the 80's.  That crazy girl stayed up almost until three in the morning waiting for her little brother to arrive before she finally passed out.  Of course, he decided to come at 3:47 a.m.  She just missed it!  I gave birth at a birth center in Alexandria, VA, which I will fill you in on those details in another post.  In short, my pregnancy was pretty uneventful, for the most part the delivery was also, and in the end, I had a handsome little boy to take home.

I have attempted to get back into being active since he was born but it's been a struggle.  Shocking, I know.  At three weeks postpartum, I ran my first 5k.  I have also been going for walks with Dean, occasional runs by myself and have recently started doing Lindsay Brin's Post-Natal Boot Camp.

I am following the twelve week program and so far, I hurt!  I know it's been a long time since I have done a crunch but oh my!  I can't move at all without feeling my ab muscles scream.  I'll be posting later some beginning stats and pictures so I can keep track of whether the program worked for me or not.

That's it!  Just a quick check-in and teaser of blog posts to come!  Here's a couple pics of my little guy to truly make it worth your while: