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Friday Ramblings

April 11, 2014

On Oliver…
It’s 1am. My little man just woke after a 3.5 hour sleep, his longest night stretch in days. I said to him before he went down that he could feel free to sleep for four hours! He almost made it :-)
It’s been a rough week in that department. He’s been waking every two hours at night like clockwork, which is tough on me. I forgot how awful and draining cluster feeding can be! I am lucky though that he does go back to sleep as soon as he’s done eating and isn’t awake for hours on end. He reserves his awake time for the morning, between 7-11am and in the evenings, from 6-10.

On Molly…
We are being tested. She’s being pretty good to her baby brother, though yesterday she tried to get into the baby chair with him, but the real challenge had been getting her to listen to us. She is defiantly doing things she knows she’s not supposed to, particularly while I’m nursing. Yesterday she looked me straight in the eye and grinned at me as she stepped onto the iPad that was laying on the floor. The cheek! We’re working on finding an appropriate discipline method that she’ll understand. She’s a bit young for time outs and threatening to take something away would go right over her head.
She’s been biting, though in a playful way not maliciously, and we’ve found that diverting her action into giving a kiss has been an effective way to correct her behaviour. I’ll have to think of a way to do something similar with other behaviours that need help. Ah toddlers!

On Me…
Dealing with two kids is definitely a challenge! This isn’t the same maternity leave I had with Molly though it’s not as tough as it could be, what with A being home right now. His being here has helped with the transition to a family of four.
While mentally I may be drained, physically I feel amazing! Despite having a ferocious appetite, I have lost 25 of 38 pounds gained and fit into a pair of non-maternity jeans the other day! And can I tell you how sexy I think my ankles and feet are? I had no idea how cute and slim they were until they disappeared for a couple of months!
My water weight eased off last week. Which means I’m not peeing as much either.
I’m still dealing with some discomfort from my episiotomy but otherwise am pain free. It’s incredible to be able to roll over in bed without groaning in agony and get down on the floor to play with my daughter for more than two minutes.

On Home Improvements…
Other than essentials, we are on a spending hiatus but I couldn’t pass up buying a pack of puck lights to mount under our kitchen cabinets from Costco the other day. A pack of six was only $32! And they’re wireless!
You can see them installed at certain angles but I love the overall effect.

On the Weather…
I read something recently that those of us in southern Ontario have no right to complain about our horribly long cold and snowy winter, when other parts of Canada were hit even harder than we were. But as far a I’m concerned, one is allowed to complain when it’s not something you’re used to. We definitely get the negative double digit temperatures like we did but never for as long as we did. Same goes for the snow. We have had a lot in the past, but usually over a short period and then it’s done. This season we had a lot of little snowfalls that accumulated and those little snows wreaked havoc on commuting to work. Not to mention how dangerous a fresh snow fall is to pregnant women, when not everyone is quick to shovel!
But it’s all behind us now. Today was the first day we had positive double digit temps and it was beautiful! We took both kids for a walk and really enjoyed being outside.
Of course this is short lived. Spring is usually short and humid hot temperatures aren’t very far away…

On TV…
It’s the nature of things right now that we’re watching a lot of TV. On my eclectic must watch list:
- Masterchef Canada
- How I Met Your Mother (series now ended)
- New Girl
- Trophy Wife
- Modern Family
- Subergatory
- Elementary
- Chopped Canada
- Walking Dead (over for the season)
- Game of Thrones

We’re also watching Season 2 of Homeland sporadically and season 2 of Heroes on Netflix. During the day my go to shows to have on in the background are Property Virgins, House Hunters and anything Food Network. Molly doesn’t really pay attention to TV, but I’ll put kids shows on periodically. Hopefully now that the weather is nice we’ll be outside more during the day though!

Happy Friday!

Oliver’s Birth Story

April 2, 2014

In the days leading up to the evening I went into labour, I had been suffering from some nasty pre-labour contractions in the wee hours of the nights. They were a consistent time apart and lasting for hours before fizzling. So when I felt my first contraction around dinner time the night before Oliver was born, I was understandably skeptical that it would go anywhere.

For about an hour the contractions were fairly mild, about 10-15 min apart. Once we got Molly to bed, I was feeling quite achy and decided to take a bath. While in there I felt something leak out of me during a contraction…
“Um, either my water just broke or I peed…” I said to A.

I got out of the tub to find out. No more leaking. False alarm. It appeared I had peed. Never mind that I had peed, in the toilet I might add, before getting in the bath. Pregnancy is so glam :-)

We made our way downstairs to watch some TV and I started timing my contractions. At 8pm they were about 10-15 min apart still but starting to get stronger in intensity. I headed up to bed at 9:30, hoping to sleep, just in case, but they started getting stronger and closer together as soon as I laid down. For the next few hours I timed them, noticing them get closer together and feeling them get stronger, to the point where I had to focus on breathing through them.

I think it was around 1am where the average for an hour was 4.5 minutes apart, 1 min in duration. We decided to go to the hospital and I put in the call to my mom to come watch Molly.

It felt weird to make the decision to go to L&D. With Molly, there was no question as to whether to go in, since my water broke at home and it wasn’t clear (she passed meconium in the womb). But having had false labour the previous two nights, regardless of the fact that my contractions never got as close together or as intense as I was having them at that moment, I was worried this was another false alarm and we would be sent home. Still, I was conscious of the fact that second labours tend to progress faster than your first and I had gone from having contractions 10 min apart to sometimes 2-3 min apart in a matter of just over an hour. Birthing at home was not part of the plan and so to the hospital we would go!

My mom arrived at 1:30 and we packed up the car and headed out, making sure to stop at Tim Hortons for coffee and a snack on our way. By 2:30 am we were in triage listening to the baby’s heart rate as they monitored my contractions. After a half hour or so the doctor on call came in to do a cervical check, my first of the entire pregnancy. I was expecting to hear that I was only 1 cm, blah blah, go home, blah blah blah but was shocked when I heard her say I was 4 cm and that it looks like I would be admitted. I was definitely in labour! The only drawback: baby’s head was still quite high. But there was time to work on that.

The doctor did say something that gave us pause. She asked how big my first baby was. When she heard that Molly was 8 lb 12 oz, she said “oh good, you’re used to delivering big babies” Um, say what? My doctor had mentioned he was a bigger baby but said not to worry, that he was average. The way this doctor phrased things made us wonder if we should be concerned…

By 3:30am we were in our room and I was hooked up to an IV. I realized on my way to the hospital I would want an epidural. I was already exhausted and it just makes labour more pleasant. Why shouldn’t I try and enjoy it? I remember liking the pushing process with Molly and was able to focus well because I wasn’t in pain.

Once we were settled, A and I started walking the halls, hoping to encourage our little man to move down. Turns out I wasn’t a fan of walking and stopping with contractions though, so we headed back to our room so I could recline a bit and relax. I’d been uncomfortable on my feet for weeks at that point, so it made sense.

I’m quite proud of how I handled the contractions for the next hour as they got stronger. I would hold A’s hand and just focus on breathing and relaxing. The great thing about this labour was that there was a few minutes gap between them, giving me a chance to relax and recover. When I was just 3 cm with Molly they were one on top of the other without relief. This time I often felt positively grand between contractions. Still, I knew it would get worse and I was exhausted. At 5 am I asked for the epidural and by 5:30 was living the good life! I can’t say I slept (hubby did though…men!) but I dozed and was able to rest.

At 7am the day nurse came on and told me that because the baby’s head was still high (“that happens with big babies” she said…seriously, how big was this dude going to be??), my doctor had recommended an oxytocin drip. It’s purpose was to strengthen my contractions and help move the baby down. I knew the pros and cons of this drug, but the biggest issue to me was the likelihood of a c-section if he didn’t drop. I was willing to try it rather than risk a section. I have nothing against c-sections, and if I had ended up needing one I would have made that choice with no regrets, but with a toddler at home who would not even remotely understand if mommy couldn’t pick her up, I wanted to avoid it if possible. The oxytocin kicked in almost instantly and I began feeling the pressure of the more intense contractions.

At 8am I felt what was like a huge punch from the baby and a gush of fluid shot down between my legs. My water had broken! I woke A to call the nurse. A brief exam confirmed it: my membranes had ruptured. She also confirmed that I was still 4-5 cm dilated but that the baby had come down a bit. She upped the dosage of oxytocin and the next hour was a whirlwind! My contractions got stronger and a lot closer together. Little man also got finicky about what position I was in. Every couple of minutes the nurse had me turn from one side to the other when his heart rate would dip, not an easy feat when you’re partially numb. But we managed. I was given oxygen a couple of times to ensure adequate air was reaching the baby. At 9am I was feeling a lot of pressure in the bum area. Another cervical check revealed I was almost fully dilated and the oxytocin had done it’s job in encouraging our wee man to descend into the birth canal. His head was engaged! I woke A up and preparations began for delivery.

I started pushing at 9:22. At 9:30 the nurses commented that they didn’t think the doctor would make it! But a minute later he showed up. Turns out my own OB was on call. “Where’s the baby?” He joked. Funny man. He did a quick assessment and suggested an episiotomy to help things along. I consented and 30 seconds later at 9:34 am, Oliver Gregory entered the world!

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Because there was question as to whether there was meconium present when my water broke, the medical staff erred on the side of caution; I didn’t get to hold him right away and instead he was taken aside to see a respiratory therapist (this happened when I delivered Molly as well). He was never out of my sight though. Once he was given the all clear, the nurses proceeded with their exams. One of them commented when he came out that he was a big boy. The respiratory therapist actually stuck around to see how much he weighed. They placed him on the scale and A was so shocked he couldn’t speak to me for a few seconds! Finally the nurse said “tell her” and he revealed our little man was in fact 10 pounds 1 ounce! Good god. I cannot believe I birthed a baby that big! No wonder I’d been so uncomfortable towards the end of my pregnancy.

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I was finally able to hold him and they placed him on my chest, skin to skin. A few minutes later we started to breastfeed. He latched fairly well and we stayed that way for a bit. Peace followed. Our family was complete.

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It was sometime before we got our first visitors, my parents and Molly. They came after her mid day nap, around 3:30. Their first meet could have gone better. Oliver was in the midst of having his blood sugar tested and screaming his lungs off. That scared miss Molly and it broke my heart to see her lips quiver and turn down. My poor little girl! She gradually warmed up to him, and to me being in that weird place, and by the time they left she willingly gave him a kiss, though had yet to really interact with him. Which was fine. I was patient. She’s so little and I didn’t want to push her!

We had hoped to go home the day of, but our big boy had some blood sugar issues, apparently common in larger babies. We had to stay until he passed three tests in a row. I’ll be writing a post more about how we managed to get those positive tests, since it involved a bit of a change to my preferred way of feeding.

Luckily by noon the next day his sugars were back up and despite an elevated bilirubin, we were given the go ahead to go home as long as we came in for an outpatient follow up for the jaundice.

And that friends is Oliver’s birth story. Blissfully shorter than Molly’s and with no regrets. I’m left feeling that things happened just as they should have and am confident in the choices I made throughout the process. In the long run,  labour and delivery is such a tiny blip considering the years of parenting we have ahead but I’m so lucky that the birth of both my children was a positive experience for me.

One Week

March 28, 2014

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Oliver is one week old today! We had a bit of a rough start, dealing with him having low blood sugar and then jaundice. The jaundice was bad enough that he and I were back in the hospital for 24 hours Monday to Tuesday where he was given light therapy.
But his levels went down and now we’re trying to get ourselves settled and oriented at home. I’m almost done my birth story and will post that in the next few days, but first, a few thoughts on the past week:

Molly
So far, Molly is handling the transition to big sister quite well. She’s expressed a bit of jealousy, mostly when I’m nursing, but on the whole is quite loving towards her brother. She loves giving him kisses and just today we had her holding him (while on daddy’s lap). When she came home from day care on Wednesday the first word out of her mouth was “Oliver” (more like ah-ver) and she just had to see him. But the novelty is still there and A has been around to side track her if she’s desperate for mommy; it’ll be another story I’m sure once he finds a job and is gone again during the day. We’ll see how things progress as she realizes Oliver is here to stay!
The crazy thing is realizing how big she is in comparison to Oliver. My baby is growing up; she’s not a baby anymore :-(
I’m trying to give her some one on one time each day, even if it’s just a few minutes and even if it’s just playing on the iPad together.

Breastfeeding
We’re doing pretty good! My milk came in on Sunday night. My nipples are sore (applying coconut oil helps), but I expected that. We are working on perfecting his shallow latch, an issue I had with Molly. Sometimes it takes five minutes or more to get him on right, but we do it.
He spits up a lot more than Molly did. It’s not a lot of spit up but more frequently. And he’s a tooter! I bought some Ovol drops to try because he seems uncomfortable from gas sometimes.

Sleep
We aren’t doing too badly. At least I don’t think so. Our first night home was rough. Oliver and Molly woke at the same time and A and I spent 2.5 hours switching kids. Definitely an “FML what have we done moment”. But Molly has slept through since thank goodness.
I haven’t really felt the need to nap much during the day, though on Wednesday morning Oliver and I slept from 7:30 to 11 (Molly’s day care day…our Molliday as we call it). He is of course up in the night, sometimes for two hour stretches, sometimes every hour but I’m handling it. I was prepared I guess from the pregnancy insomnia leading up to his birth.

Me Post-Partum

On my counter in the bathroom sits my post-partum care kit. In the basket you’ll find:

A peri-bottle – for rinsing down below during or after a pee. It helps ease any discomfort if you have stitches, which I do

Tylenol and Advil – I wish I wasn’t still taking them but it’s still quite sore in my lady parts area and I sit a lot nursing, so drug me up!

Pads – I prefer Kotex Natural Balance.
Hemmhorid meds – I stocked up on these before delivery, knowing from prior experience they’d be needed. They are prescription strength.

Breast pads – I’m not leaking as much as I did with Molly but they help reduce sensitivity and keep my bras from getting gross from the coconut oil

I haven’t lost much weight at this point, only 10 pounds of the 40 I gained. That seems crazy considering Oliver was 10 pounds alone, never mind the weight of the placenta, but I’m retaining quite a lot of fluid. My calves, ankles and feet resemble tree trunks. Partly anesthetic, partly IV fluid and partly just excess pregnancy fluids that have nowhere to go. It’ll go down in the next week or so.

The first few days post delivery, with trips back and forth to the hospital etc meant we were eating out and on the run a lot. Not particularly healthy options either. Now that we’re home, we’re making a conscious choice to eat better, which is good because I’m hungry ALL THE TIME. I wasn’t this hungry my entire pregnancy. I forgot it was like that when nursing. We made a trip to Costco and stocked up on fruit, yogurt, granola bars etc. to snack on and since we’re home are able to meal plan a bit more efficiently than if I was working.

I’m thrilled that my ligament pain is easing. I can roll over in bed now without much discomfort and groaning. What sleep I am getting is a lot more comfortable.

Emotionally I’m good. Great even! The days at the hospital when Oliver was under the lights were rough on me but now that we’re home I’m ok.
Overall I’m thrilled he came at 39 weeks. I was miserable and completely done. Plus, can you imagine how big he might have been if I’d made it to 40 weeks or beyond?? Good lord.

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Weighty Issues

March 26, 2014

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I don’t know about everyone else, but I thought that having a bigger baby would mean that issues like low blood sugar and jaundice wouldn’t be as likely as they are in babies with lower birth weights. I was also under the impression, probably because we had no feeding issues with Molly, that larger weight babies had solid digestive systems.

Apparently I was wrong! We’ve encountered a few problems in the three short weeks that Oliver has been with us.

Problem # 1: Despite the fact that I did not have gestational diabetes, Oliver’s sugar levels were checked automatically at birth because of his size. In order to pass the test and allow us to go home, he needed to get four readings above the recommended level. The testing began a few hours after his birth. He did fine on the first three, but the fourth was low. A low reading meant we had to start the testing process all over again. Unfortunately the tests continued to be low.
Quite frustrating, since I was nursing him frequently but as it was explained to me, my body might not be producing enough colostrum for such a big baby.
We talked about it with our nurse and decided to supplement with formula until my milk came in.
I had intended to breast feed exclusively and didn’t want to upset the bacteria in Oliver’s gut with formula, but this was one of those times when I’m glad it exists as an option.
We discussed the plan with our nurse:
Step one – nurse him on both sides
Step two – cup feed him 20 mls of formula. Cup feeding would avoid nipple confusion.
Step three – pump to encourage my milk to come in faster

We started doing this the night of his birthday and by the following morning his sugars were back up and we had our positive test result! It worked! We did decide to switch to doing tube on breast though, as the delivery method for the formula. He was able to consume it a lot better since he wanted on my breast anyways.
The positive test results meant we were able to go home. We needed to keep up the process until my milk came in, so we took the necessary supplies with us. As soon as my milk came in (day 3) we stopped using the formula. Problem #1 solved. Onto problem #2.

Upon discharge, Oliver’s bilirubin levels were elevated, indicating jaundice. We were able to leave but had to come back the next day for outpatient testing of his levels. Not a big deal; we did the same thing with Molly. The follow up test showed his levels were still high but not enough to need treatment. Since my milk had come in at that point, I was confident that would solve the issue (by encouraging him to poop more) but at the second follow up test on the Monday following his birth, his levels were quite high and we were told he would need light therapy.

I was devastated. Of course I knew that jaundice wasn’t a big deal in the scheme of things, but I wasn’t prepared for the fact that we’d need another night back in the hospital. A had to go home, deal with Molly and come back withy overnight bag. I was allowed to stay with him and we were given a private room with a bed for me. We didn’t want Molly to be away from both of us again for the night and so for the second time in three years (the first was the night before our wedding), A and I spent the night apart.

Oliver was amazing the whole time he was under the lights. Stripped down to his diaper, he was warm and cozy within the confines of the light therapy unit. I was able to take him out to nurse and change him, which I did every couple of hours. He slept pretty much the entire time, for which I was thankful. I was a hot mess of post partum hormones and don’t think I would have handled it if he’d been fussy and I was on my own.

After almost 24 hours he was tested again (and again…the lab lost the first round of blood taken…argh!) and the results came back that his levels were in acceptable limits. Yahoo! We could go home!

The last couple of weeks we’ve seen his jaundice gradually disappear. His eyes are still a bit yellow but he’s fine. He’s nursing like a champ and we have corrected earlier shallow latch issues (I had similar problems with Molly at first) but we’ve encountered problem #3: gas and reflux.

Our little man is a spitter upper. Sometimes he’s a happy spitter, sometimes not so much. He spits up after almost every feed. And it’s pretty much a guarantee that within a half hour after he eats he’s fussy with gas, be it from needing to burp or toot. I’ve done some reading and it could be from any number of things: immature digestive system, fast let down and over supply of breastmilk, allergy or sensitivity to something I’ve eaten etc.

I’m certain he’s gaining weight and he has ample wet and dirty diapers, so I’m not too concerned about whether he’s getting enough. It’s more that I hate seeing him suffer and it’s frustrating to deal with for hours at a time. It’s a vicious cycle: he eats, spits up, has gas and then is hungry again. Repeat. Molly had an iron stomach and I can count on one hand the number of times she spat up as an infant.

As far as trying to treat the issue,
gas drops don’t seem to be effective but gripe water seems to help a bit. An after he eats, we burp him extensively and I hold him upright for at least 15 minutes.

We have an appointment with our doctor on Monday, but in the meantime I’m beginning to phase out cow dairy from my diet. It’s the most likely sensitivity, if that’s the issue, and I eat a lot of cow dairy. Cheese, butter, yogurt, sour cream; All are a regular part of my diet, so it’s not going to be easy but if it means our life with baby is a little less demanding and it eases his discomfort, then it’ll be worth it. I’m hoping it’s just a case of his little body needing some time to catch up.

If anyone has any suggestions for reflux and gas, I’m open to hearing them!

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Home and Complete

March 23, 2014

We were able to come home from the hospital on Saturday afternoon. Just after dinner (take out Swiss Chalet), A was sitting on the sofa. Molly and I were at his feet sorting shapes and Oliver was asleep in the bouncy chair next to us. All of a sudden a huge wave of emotion came over me and I started to cry. I looked at A and said “I have my babies”. All I have ever wanted, a family to call my own, has become a reality.
Oliver completes our family. A is in the process of taking steps to make sure of that. Even if he’d been a girl, we’d still be stopping at two. We want to focus now on raising our family.

There’s a sense of peace with that decision….Even when it’s 1am and both our children are awake (Oliver I expected. Molly, I did not)!

Spring Arrival

March 21, 2014

We are so happy to announce the arrival of our son, Oliver Gregory, this morning at 9:34am! At 39 weeks exactly, it was a fairly fast (14 hours from first contraction to delivery) and smooth labour!
Oliver weighed in at a whopping 10 lbs 1 oz and is 22.5 inches long!
He’s just wonderful and completes our family perfectly!
Birth story to come in the next few weeks :-)

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38 Weeks Baby #2

March 17, 2014

If you had asked me a few weeks ago when I thought I’d have this baby, I would have for sure said I would go past my due date.
Now, I’m not so sure.
I’ve been having pre-labour symptoms for about a week now I guess: mild contractions lasting for a few hours then subsiding; period-like cramps; flu-like symptoms. These can go on for weeks, I know, but something tells me this little man is eager to meet the world!

I begin maternity leave this week! My last day of work was Thursday. I’ve already applied for EI and managed to get the 600 hours I need to qualify again!! Here’s to a great year off!!

How Far Along? – 38 +2

Size of Baby: around 7-7.5 pounds, 20-22 inches long

Gender – It’s a boy!

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None this week. I look like I feel….achy and exhausted

Maternity Clothes – I picked up new nursing bras last week, so I’m set there. I also picked up a couple of stretchy tanks that are easy to pull down when nursing.

Stretch Marks – No more than I already have.

Weight – 40 pounds gained, with a lot of water weight added in the last couple of weeks.

Sleep – A bit better over the past few days but my pelvic pain is getting worse as baby gets lower.

Movement – he’s slowing down a bit, with movements that aren’t as strong. Completely normal as he runs out of room!

Symptoms – Ligament pain, sleeplessness, achy lower back, swelling of my legs and feet and I’m hot all the time.

Cravings – iced tea! Yum!

What Do I Miss – My body is big on my mind this week. Though I know it’ll take time to get back to my svelte self, I have visions of my post baby body and it’s pretty hot (haha). I’ve been pinning outfits on Pinterest and hope to be able to invest in a new wardrobe once I’m back to my goal weight. I haven’t bought new clothes (other than maternity or things appropriate for nursing) in almost three years! I’m definitely overdue!

Nursery – nothing new this week.

Emotions –Frustrated that I’m so uncomfortable and can’t do anything useful (as mentioned above)

Best Moment of the Week – I had a massage Saturday and it was bliss! She really helped reduce the swelling in my legs and feet….I can see ankle definition this morning!!

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