Monday, May 5, 2008

Until I Was A Mom…..Month One

I never in my life realized just how hard all of the mom stuff was. I didn’t know what it was really like to get up in the middle of the night with a screaming child. I never knew what it was like to be peed on, pooed on, puked on. I never knew about all the little worries, the frustrations, the guessing games. I never knew that I could be so exhausted in one hour. I never had to stay up most of the night with a gassy infant. I never got up every 10 minute to see if a child was still breathing. I never slept sitting up in a glider. I never slept with a baby monitor by my head so that I could listen to a baby just breath and make funny noises. And I have never loved anyone or anything quite this much….. That is, until I became a Mom.

I brought my baby home and thought, ‘ Ok, I know I know how to do this. I have been doing this kind of stuff for years. Ok Sarah, don’t mess this one up.’ Well,

I came home breast feeding exclusively. I had gotten bottles just so that I would have them when Joe reached 4 weeks, from that point on I was going to pump. The first 24 hours all Joe did was nurse. Every 45 minutes to an hour day and night. I wasn’t sleeping, wasn’t really able to eat, couldn’t go potty, nothing. My nipples were so sore that I wanted to cut them off. It was terrible. So I called Joe’s doctor and asked which formula I should supplement with because Joe was not even satisfied anymore. At 3 days old Joe got his first ‘baba milk’. It broke my heart, I literally cried through that silly little ounce. I kept thinking ‘Why can’t I do this ?’ But not every women can, I apparently can’t.

The next day we went to his first Well Check. Let’s just say that the guy was an ass, he walked into the room and I didn‘t want him to touch my son. I didn’t want him anywhere near me. He did his thing and I had expected him to at least let me know what he was doing, not a chance. I had no idea what he was checking as he poked and prodded none too gently at my newborn. I wanted to snatch the boy off the table and hold him out of arms reach. I did not like this guy at all.

Joe was a little yellow around the nose and eyes, something that I had noticed the day before and asked about. Jaundice, something that peeks in breastfed infants at 4 days, became my tormentor. Obviously I didn’t know that at the time. This guy scared the living poo out me, the point of tears. He made it sound like if I didn’t go to the hospital right then to have my son’s levels tested he was going to end up blind and brain damaged. Then there was the formula issue. See the hospitals start babies off on Similac Advanced, that was what the doctors office told me to put my son on, that is what I had on hand. (Free samples fed my son for a week and hey if it‘s free it‘s for me. Ya know ?). The Doc seemed to think that that was the stupidest thing that I had done thus far. I was then informed that I was to put my son on Enfamil Lipil. Like I was suppose to know this because I had given birth.

The more the man talked the more like a bad mother I felt. It was like because I was a single mom at the age of 23 that he felt that he was entitled to talk down to me. By the time we left the office I was so upset that my friend had to carry Joe out to the car. The nurses asking if he had said something too upset me. No, I was crying nearly hysterically because I was uprourishly trilled my son was jaundice. Stupid questions irritate me.

So we went and had the test done. We sat an hour in traffic to sit an hour in another waiting room. I watched and talked to my son as a pair of nurses pricked his heel and took more blood then I thought was necessary. Then we sat an hour in traffic to get home; Joe screamed for the car ride home.

At the end of the day I was a wreck. I hadn’t been able to eat because I had been so worried, my emotions were just all over the place. My breast were so engorged by the end of that trip that Joe couldn’t even latch on. My head felt like it was going to combust, Joe was screaming causing major breast pain, and all I wanted to do was sleep. When I finally got home, my mothers face was a welcome sight. I was able to hand off my screaming son and a baba; escaping to the back porch. I sat there with a cup of coffee, a cigarette and my pump just crying. At that point it was all I could do. That and pray endlessly. I can’t tell you how many times I sat on the back porch in those first few days and just cried and prayed.

Later that same night as I got my son ready for bed I noticed that the yellowing was gone. It had been a hot day and 2 hours in the car had worked wonders. The fear dissipated and for the first time that day I was able to breath. Then the Doc called with the test results at 10:30 pm that same night. It was 10.5, nothing to be worried about the Doc said. Needless to say, Joe no longer sees that guy. I am not going to sit in a Doctor’s office and be belittled and emotionally abused. The day after the appointment from hell, I called my insurance company and reported him as I switched my doctor. No new mother should have to deal with that. Not ever.

The Lipil is just evil. Let me tell you straight off, it’s evil. In less then 12 hours my son was constipated, gassy and screaming. I stopped giving him the Lipil and breast fed all of day 6 to flush his system. He’s been on Similac Advanced with few problems ever since. True, if he goes 24 hours without giving me a poopy, 2 ounces of water and a half teaspoon of Karo syrup helps get him back on track. I hate to see him in pain, I hate to see him struggle.

Since all that it’s only been the minor things. Aside from the fact that Joe will only nurse if he’s uncomfortable. Like, he just went through his 3 week growth spurt. For 2 full days, from 5 am to 12 am, Joe would nurse every hour for 27 minutes then go back to sleep or want to be held as close as you could get him. He would then take 4 ounce bottles at night, one at 2:30 am and one at 4:35 am. Other then that, he’d much rather be in his favorite nursing hold, tummy to tummy (the cradle hold), with the instant gratification of a ‘baba milk’. I have no choice but to pump and put what little I have into his bottles.

He eats so much as it is, 3 ounces at a time every three hours, I don’t know how I’d keep up. I love my son dearly, more then I think is truly healthy. It truly is all about what Joe wants, when Joe wants it. I have literally dropped everything to sooth a fussy face, hating when my son cries. It was just last week ant his 2 week Well Check that he weighed in at 7.8 pounds at 2 weeks and 4 days old. The New Doctor was impressed with that fact, the fact that Joe was doing so well. Mommy’s not that impressed.

I have an appointment with a lactation consultant tomorrow and I almost don’t want to go. I feel as if I’m failing him, like I’m not doing everything that I can and should be doing. I’m bottle feeding my son ! I never wanted to bottle fed my son. I wanted it to be something that went on when I didn’t have to watch it, when I was at work. It was meant to be something that helped the rest of the family bond with my son. But I am the one who not only washes, mixes, stores, and heats the bottles; I have to give them to him too. The only way that I can explain it is that it’s a heart hurt. It feels as if some one has ripped out my heart and danced on it.
It just hurts.

All through my pregnancy I said I was going to nurse. I wanted it, needed it. I leaked through my last trimester, having to wear breast pads to save my clothes. I read everything on Breast feeding that I could get my hands on just so that I had the basics before Joe came. Now, I almost feel rejected. True I can still nurse, but only when Joe wants to. It just hurts.

I can say this about my boy Joe. He has been sleeping in his own bed since he was 5 days old. He sleeps for 4 hour stretches at night most of the time. He’s quiet, content to just sit and watch. I can rock him and sing to him for 10 minutes after he eats and put him in his bed wide awake and he’ll be asleep in 10 minutes. He’s a perfect angel, a blessing. Sometimes he’ll even sleep through the night. What a temper already, my temper. And his smile is just priceless.

Yup, that’s my Joe…..So Far

My Boy Joe : The Birth Story

First off let me just say that when I found out I was pregnant I was neither thrilled or terrified at first; I was numb. At the time it wasn’t something that was good or bad; it just was. It wasn’t until I felt the first movement that it became real. It wasn’t until I looked at the first ultrasound that it really sank in.

This life was no longer about me. It wasn’t just me anymore. It was about the son that I carried and loved beyond reason. The son that quickly became the center of everything that I was.

In the first trimester I was so sick. After having a Gastric Bypass just a year and a half before, the terror set in that my baby wasn’t going to get enough to survive. That I was some how not going to be able to keep my baby alive. At 6 weeks I started taking prenatal vitamins and eating whatever I felt my body could handle. That included a lot of Chinese food, it was the only thing I could keep down. At the time I was working as a waitress and just couldn’t seem to get enough sleep. I was always going, never able to put on the breaks and just breath. That alone almost sent me into the hospital with dehydration and exhaustion.

It took me nearly three months to find a OBGYN that would see me because I was so high risk. Not only did I have the Gastric Bypass to take into account but I am also Hypoglycemic, borderline Anemic, suffer from extreme Migraines, and am an Insomniac. Major things it seemed that needed to be taken into account that I hadn’t really thought about. But I finally called the same OB that my mom had been seeing for years and started seeing her in October, right at the end of my first trimester.

Now when I got pregnant I weighed 160. When I went in for that first appointment I weighed 192. I honestly can’t tell you how I managed that one. I couldn’t really eat and I was getting sick more then was healthy. But on top of that all of my vitamin levels were elevated, my doctor was happy with the weight gain, and my baby had a very strong heart beat.

I heard my son’s heart beat and felt myself break.

When I started my second trimester the headaches and insomnia set in. I just couldn’t get any relief. The headaches the Doc couldn’t do anything for, for the insomnia I was told to take Unisom. It helped for a while, then the insomnia seemed to just vanish. Around that time I got my first bout of the Flu. For 27 weeks to 31 weeks I was just so sick. I was vomiting everything that I ate, water wouldn’t even stay down. I lived on hot tea with lemon and toast or crackers. Sometimes I could eat cheese, but not always. In that time frame I dropped in weight to 183. I was then put on Raglan, that only worked for about a week and I ate everything I could get my hands on. I didn’t care what it was, I ate it. I hated that stuff.

At 31 weeks I went back to see my OB and I told her everything that was going on. I was vomiting everything again, I wasn’t sleeping at night, I felt like I had been hit with a MAC truck and left to die. I felt like I had been shot at and missed, pooed at and hit. I was sent to L&D with a script for Zrofran, and an order for bed rest, to be rehydrated.

When I reached L&D I was hooked up to an IV and pumped full of fluids. I was there for about 20 minutes and had gotten through my first IV bag when the nurse informed me that I was having preterm labor contractions. I had to be shown because I didn’t believe him. Sure enough, I was in preterm labor and didn’t even know it. I was 31 weeks pregnant, this wasn’t happening. It was too early. My son was not ready. I panicked on the inside and turned off on the outside. It was all just too much to deal with.

I was checked, I had dilated to 1 centimeter and was 60% effaced. Then I was given two shots of Tributaline to stop any and all contractions. After four hours, two bags of fluids, and one terrifying experience later, I was sent home shaking and quaking from the shots with strict orders not to do anything.

February 14th at 5:35 pm I started having contractions again. This time I could feel them. I was laying down to nap and it was just a twinge, so I waited. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t making anything up. I wanted to make sure that what I thought was happening, was really happening. I waited for three contractions until I called my mom. They were coming every five minutes and lasting for a minute at a time. I was just two days since I had gone into preterm labor in the hospital, now I was trying not to panic. When I panic, I get snappy to cover my fear. It wasn’t needed.

SO I did what all the books tell you to do. I sat up and moved around; that only made them pick up intensity. So I called my Doc. The books say nothing about answering services that are idiots and send the message to the wrong Doc. Then I went to take a shower, that didn’t stop them either. So by 6:30pm, we were on our way back to the hospital. Inside I was panicking, outside I was trying to stay as calm as I possibly could.

My son did a summersault as we drove down the road. I felt my son lighten, I was terrified.

When we reached L&D I was in a full blown panic. I was put into a room, hooked up to another IV and left to just sit there. Once again I was being treated for dehydration. I was still 1 & 60, nothing had changed there, there wasn’t really much that they could do. It took four hours and three calls to the nurses station for any answers to be given. Once again I was given two shots of Tributaline, a script for Procardia and was sent home. The battle had been won, it wasn’t time yet.

I spent 6 weeks on bed rest. I was going crazy. My house was my own personal hell. The silence my main tormenter. I was alone 99.5% of the time unless someone wanted something from me. It was just my son and I and Jack the Dog. I honestly thought by the end of the third week that I was going insane. I was so frustrated with everything that all I could do was sit and scream and cry. I was helpless, useless. At that point I felt like I was an oven or an incubator; and in reality I was. I went from an active, moving, dancing, DOING ANYTHING 23 year old; to bed ridden. It was my personal hell.

At 36 weeks I was taken off the Procardia. The rebound contraction were then my tormenter. I would sit and contract all day and all night. I put in calls to my Doc, talked to RN’s. It’s normal they all said. Well I wasn’t told that one of the side effects of taking the Procardia in the first place was rebound contractions. I felt like I was in a corset (Which I don’t think I will ever wear again.) and the laces were being pulled as tight as they would go. Or like I was being squeezed through a straw.

Over the course of three weeks I dilated to 5 centimeters and was 90% effaced. So, being tormented was doing something. It just wasn’t what I wanted. On top of the contractions that seemed to lead to nowhere, there was the pressure. MY son was fully engaged, with every contraction the pressure in my groin would become so intense that I couldn’t walk, sit, stand, lay down, noting. By 37 weeks I was more then ready for it all to be over with. I wanted to hold my son and not carry him any more. I wanted to look into the little face that was making me hurt so badly.

It was at 36 weeks when I was told to start walking to induce labor. I couldn’t get 40 feet without limping and slowing to a snails pace. So I cleaned and danced a little, I cooked and cleaned some more. I think at one point I was scrubbing walls. As I said, I was very active before I got pregnant that didn’t change with the bed rest order. I did anything that I could think of to try to induce myself. I did everything to try to get my body to do what I wanted it to.

Nope, my body had other ideas apparently.

On Tuesday April 7th, my Doc ruptured my membranes. I had real contractions for most of the day before they stalled out at sunset. My contractions always stalled out at sunset and turned into more pressure then I could deal with. There were even times when I had to be helped to the bathroom because I just couldn’t walk. That didn’t work, just fully effaced me.

April 11th I went in to have my membranes stripped again, but the Doc wasn’t there she was in surgery. I saw the midwife that day and like my Doc she couldn’t believe that I hadn’t gone into labor yet. I told her what I was feeling as I sat there and cried. I was 5 and 90% and my water was bulging that day, another centimeter in two days. She told me to just go home and relax that all the walking was doing nothing but stressing me out and it wasn’t doing anything. So I went home and laid on my butt.

That night at 7:50 pm I went into labor.

Granted that labor stalled out or seemed to at 9 pm. I was up at 2 am calling the Doc on call because I was really frustrated with all the pressure. We had decided that I would go into L&D that next morning. I then went back to bed, setting myself up in this elaborate propping system just so I could sleep. Well, I slept through 6 hours of active labor, not that I felt anything. I kept telling my mom that I was going to be one of those women who just didn’t have labor pains. She would just sigh, but I was right.

At 12:30 pm April 12th we arrived at L&D for the finial time. I was checked again and was still at 5, I was hooked up to the monitor and left to contract. Only this time it was all very different. There was a pattern to the contractions, they were all evenly spaced at 5 minutes apart, and I was really starting to get uncomfortable. I knew that I was going to be sent home. It’s just the way it goes at the hospital I delivered at. If they didn’t think that you needed to be there they sent you packing. That’s when the midwife that was on call that day came in and put her foot down. I was admitted not 5 minutes later.

Once I had gotten into my room, my mom and sister went to get my bag out of the car as I was hooked up to IV’s and filled out paper work. Well, it never got that far. No sooner then mom leaving the room did the midwife come into check me.

My water broke and the poo hit the fan so to speak.

Well I entered Transition Labor in less then 30 seconds after that. THAT is when the pain started and the cursing. Needless to say after that all I know is that I wanted to push in less then a half hour, but I had stopped dilating at 9 and the midwife had to stretch my cervix over the baby’s head as I pushed. I felt it as he tore me. And his cord was wrapped around his neck twice.

I know that he was facing my sister as he came out and that she was the first one to see his beautiful face. I know that my mom cut the cord. I know that the first thing that I said to Josiah was ‘There you are, I’ve been waiting for you.’ I know that I couldn’t stop shaking from the strain. I know that all I wanted to do was hold my son. I know that the first question that I asked was ‘It’s a boy right ? ‘ I know that I was only in labor for 45 minutes. And I know that it went far too fast for even impatient me.

What I don’t remember is the pain. I don’t remember the level of pain that I went through. I hardly remember going to my room and saying good bye to my family for the night. I remember the contractions after I breast fed and having to just move, to walk. I remember the pain from the tear. I remember being starving in the first 24 hours. But the labor pain I guess I have blocked out totally.

But the first time he opened his eyes and looked at me. The first time he latched on to me and was contented. The first time he fell sleep in my arms. It was then that I finally felt like I was good enough for someone. That I felt like I didn’t have to be anyone but who I was. It was the first time that the world melted away and I was totally alone with my heart living and breathing outside of me.

At birth my son weighed 6 pounds and 14 ounces and measured at 18 inches long. His 1 minute APGAR was 8 and his 5 minute was a 9. He doesn’t scream endlessly. He is contented to just be talked too. He loves to listen to music. He loves his mommy most and his Grammy second. He loves hugs and kisses. The closer you hold him the happier he is. Swaddling comforts him greatly. Now at 16 days he weights around 8 pounds and has to be 23 to 24 inches long. He is growing like a weed and eating like a pig. As for the mommy, I walked into the hospital at 181 pounds and in a size 16 and I walked out 2 days later 167 pounds and in a size 12. I feel great and am happy to hold my son. Sometimes I still cry for no real reason, get frustrated over little things. Then I look into his eyes, my eyes, and he is all that I see. He is my world, my heart, my everything. He is my son…….