Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What I've Learned So Far

A friend recently emailed me asking for some details on the last month. Mostly what I have learned, how we've been coping, what I'm glad we have, and what I wish we had. So I thought I'd share my answers.

Breastfeeding: Going well so far. My milk came in on the 3rd day. For the most part Lena eats every 3 hours during the day. Meaning she starts eating at 8am, and will eat again around 11am. She was feeding 15 mins on each side per feeding. So a total of 30 mins. Plus burping, etc. This week she started eating longer, more like 20-30 mins each side. Night time is different though. She usually does at least 3 hour stretches at night. She has done some 6 hour and 5 hour stretches though. Those are heavenly. 

Pumping: I haven't pumped too much. I have found that I can only pump in the morning after her morning feeding. Because she does longer stretches at night, I have more milk in the mornings. I'm slowly trying to stock up in the freezer.

Formula: I never thought I'd supplement, but Lena started cluster feeding some days. When she has a growth spurt, she wants to eat for hours upon end, mostly in the evenings between 6-10pm. On those days, I was super exhausted, and completely drained. So we ended up researching some formulas. We found Earth's Best Sensitive and Vermont Organics to have the best ingredients. Not every day, but on the cluster days, I will give her 4 oz of formula. It's also come in handy  when we want to go somewhere and know she'll need to eat again, and I don't want to breastfeed where we are. 

Things I'm so glad we have:

A changing table on both floors. So much easier for daytime and night time changes, especially post surgery.

Flat bassinet that fits in the bed. We ended up putting it beside the bed on her toy chest because we only have a queen bed. I also keep a small lamp on at night so that I can see her and keep a constant light for night feedings. 

Fischer Price Rock and Play. Great for when her gas is bad at night. She's slept in that a fair amount as well. The sitting position helps the gas to release.

SwaddleMe wraps. Helps to keep her crazy hands secure while she sleeps. Without it, her hands wake her up.

WubbaNub pacifier. Didn't think I'd be using a pacifier, but it's really helped to calm her down when she's ready to sleep. Saved us on night #1 at home. 

Swing. For the most part, she sleeps in that during the day. I've found it's helped to keep a difference between day and night. We were using the bassinet on the coffee table during the day, but she wasn't sleeping as long at night.

Things I've learned:

1. Get out of the house as soon as you can with your little one. Even if it's just to walk around Target. It allows you to feel human, and lets your little one adjust to being out and about. Especially sleeping, ensures there's unexpected noises that they learn to sleep through.

2. Baby screams for 3 reasons: food, gas or tired. Try each one, if one doesn't work, move on to the next. 

3. Rub baby's back to relieve gas, works better than patting.

4. Stock your freezer with easy cook or ready made meals. There are definitely nights where I don't want to cook. 

5. I shower and get out of the house on M, W, and F. T & Th we stay home, unshowered, relaxing. Let's me recuperate from our previous day. 

6. Get yourself a big water bottle or massive cup, and keep it filled with water all day. Drink drink drink. 
7. RELAX. The best thing you can do is remain calm. Baby will feed off your energy. If you feel like you're going to break down, let hubby take over. And do the same for him.

8. Change baby's diaper before you feed them. This helps to wake them up so they stay awake to eat. Especially at night. Chris usually does the changing, so that I can wake up, and get prepped to feed her. 

9. Take at least one nap a day when baby naps. You will appreciate this at night. Trust me, you'll be exhausted. A nap a day is ideal. Two or three is even better if baby is awake a lot at night. 

10. Join a mom's group. Especially one with babies a few months older than your own. They'll be filled with knowledge and have great suggestions. It will also help to keep you sane and feeling human. And it's another reason to get out of the house. Our group also does Mom's Night Out once a month. So nice to get out of the house sans baby with friends.

11. Buy some inexpensive, non restricting sports bras. (I know sounds like an oxymoron.) They work great for sleeping and night time feedings. And much cheaper than nursing bras. I found mine (shhhhh) at Wal-mart. Danskin, 2 for $10. Super soft, super comfy, and super easy to move for feedings. 

12. Half a glass of wine at night, won't hurt anyone. Hardly any alcohol will get into your breast milk, and it will help to calm you down after a long day. 

13. Shower, do your hair, and put on some make up. Nothing wrong with looking fabulous. Look fabulous, feel fabulous. 

14. Remember to eat. No matter what time your meals happen at, just make sure they happen. Eat well, eat healthy. Everything you consume, goes to baby. It will also help them later on once you introduce solids. 

15. And last but not least, take care of yourself. Cry when you need to. Just remember to smile and laugh as well. Get out for a walk. Change your clothes. Wash your face. Do whatever you need to to stay sane.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lena's Birth Story

Friday night, (June 28th) I spent in the tub not feeling so hot. All night. My lower back was cramped up and my stomach was in knots. I assumed it was the not so healthy food I ate the night prior at Red Robin (oops). The whole time, I was waiting for a contraction to start. I did have a couple Braxton Hicks contractions, but nothing that was increasing in pain or longevity. I ended up crawling into bed sometime around 4am, and sleeping for a few hours.

Saturday morning I woke up still feeling ill.  The discomfort was so bad, that we spent the morning at my in laws, soaking in their pool. Thankfully it helped to relieve some of the back pain, but I still felt awful. I ended up calling my chiropractor and snuck in a quick adjustment to hopefully help the knot in my neck and release my back. And although my neck felt a million times better, my back would not stop cramping. I was also worried that I was leaking cervical fluid, so I called our OB. We ended up stopping by the hospital for a quick check. All clear, no fluid. Everything seemed to be fine.

Sunday morning I felt a lot better. The back cramping was easing up and my stomach was finally able to handle some food and fluids. Chris and I headed back to his parent's house to lounge in the pool for the day. As the day continued, I began to feel better and better. And Monday day was exactly the same. Monday night however, is a whole other story.

Around 9pm, I started to get the same cramping in my back and complete all over discomfort. My stomach was so upset and I ended up vomiting several times. I had heard that some women's bodies start to clean themselves out before they go into labor. So I waited like last time, for contractions to start. There were none. The entire evening though was spent in the tub or in the bathroom. When it hit 4am and the tub soaking no longer seemed to help, I knew I need to call the doctor. Our 38 week appt was scheduled for that morning at 9am. I made it until 6am, and called the OB. She suggested heading to Labor and Delivery to be examined. I felt like the neurotic first time expectant mom, yet again calling the doc. But she assured me something was up and it might just be a GI bug.

So at 6am, I went to go wake Chris, who was sound asleep. "Hunny, we need to go to the hospital." His response: "Now? Do I have time to shower?" I gave him probably the dirtiest look and said very calmly "Yes, NOW! And no you can't shower." So off we went to Emerson. I had taken out my hospital bag in hopes to write a post of it's contents for you all. So we grabbed the bag just in case and made our way to the hospital. One of the best things about Emerson, is that they take you in immediately. We walked through the doors and right into a room in Labor and Delivery.

The nurse began taking my vitals and asked for a urine sample. I barely had any to spare since I couldn't keep anything down all night. A little while later she came back and drew some blood. On her third return, about 45 mins into our stay, she handed me a johnny and said to put it on. At this point we weren't really sure what was going on, but my blood pressure was elevated higher than before. So I assumed they might induce me. So I asked if we should get my hospital bag since I had my own gown I had hoped to wear. Her response was "No, you have to wear a johnny." Being half awake from the lack of sleep, I didn't think too much of it. Just assumed I was told wrong about being able to wear your own gown. She also said my doctor was going to be heading down to talk to us. Again, didn't think too much of it, just assumed they'd start inducing me, or wanted to chat since we would be missing our 38 week appointment.

Dr. H walked in about 10 mins later and informed us that I had developed preeclampsia, and more so HELLP Syndrome. Which stands for Hemolysis, elevated Liver Enzymes, Low Platelet count. I encourage you to click the link for further explanation. Basically my liver was spitting proteins into my urine, my blood pressure was elevated and my platelets were half of what they should be (usual is 150k). His exact words "Things are going to move quickly. You unfortunately need to go in for a csection. Dr. K is calling the pediatrician, anesthesiologist and booking the OR. You're having a baby today." Thank goodness we didn't know what HELLP Syndrome was at the time or how severe it could potentially become, because I would have lost my shit.

At that point both Chris and I were a little in shock. I had been so uncomfortable that the thought of having her, and finally feeling well was definitely welcome. At that moment I truly did not care how she was coming out, but that she and I would both be okay. The nurse made Chris order breakfast before going into the OR and gave him a pair of scrubs to put on.

I had to put on a johnny and prepare for surgery. This was taken about 5 mins after being told what was about to happen. Smiling because there's an end in sight!

Still giantly puffy with water retention
At about 9:30am, the anesthesiologist came in and thoroughly explained how everything would go. I thankfully had enough platelets still so that I could have a spinal instead of local anesthesia. Between him and Dr. H I felt very confident in how the procedure would pan out. It helped that Chris and I understood the importance of having the csection and why it was needed.

Around 10am, I walked into the OR and they began prepping me for surgery. Within 10 mins I was laying down, numb from my chest down, waiting for Chris to join us. Dr. H began cutting a few minutes before he entered, which to be honest, I thought Chris might hit the floor once he saw me. Instead he walked in smiling and said "I'm going to cut the cord!" I looked at him shocked, since the entire pregnancy he said he didn't want to see a thing "down there" nor cut the cord. But he was happy and confident and determined to be part of it. 

At 10:39am our beautiful little girl entered the world! Her little squeaky cries were immediate. 

The pediatrician called Chris over to be with her as they checked her out. She was still crying softly until she heard his voice. She started to settle down and focus in on him. It's amazing that for 9 months she's been listening to us, and as soon as she comes out, she knows who Daddy is. 

They didn't bath her right away, but instead rubbed the vernex in (the white substance covering her little body) and wrapped her up so Chris could hold her and I could finally see her. And of course I immediately started crying. 4.5 very long years and we finally had our family! 

They did take her down to the nursery for some further monitoring after I got to see her. Chris was able to be with her the entire time. I however was stuck sprawled out on the table being stitched up. 

After she was bathed, which Chris got to help with, they brought her back all swaddled up so we could spend our first hour as a family. I began skin to skin time as well. It seemed to keep her calm and peaceful as she spent her first day adjusting to the outside world. I was also able to breastfeed right away, which she immediately took to. 

For the next 24 hours I was on a magnesium drip to help keep me from developing any seizures. My blood was drawn every 3 hours and as they continued to monitor my platelet count, they continued to fall. All the way down to 38k. (Had I reached 30k, I would have had general anesthesia.) I was stuck in bed that entire first day. Chris was amazing, helping with all diaper changes, burping after each feeding and even snuck in some skin to skin time. 

Healing was slow and the first 2 days were really difficult. Moving around was slow and cautious. The second day we were finally moved from Labor and Delivery to the Postpartum floor. All the nurses in both departments were beyond amazing. Our night time nurse on the second night was by far my favorite. She was able to get me positioned to sleep more comfortably and gave us so many helpful suggestions with Lena. We ended up requesting her for the rest of the stay! Our daytime nurses were just as fabulous. We were given plenty of privacy and time alone to get to know our little girl. Many of the nurses from Labor and Delivery continued to check in on us even after we were moved. Apparently my HELLP Syndrome had everyone extremely concerned.

We spent a total of 5 days at Emerson. Each day got a little better, and a little less painful. Not to gross anyone out, but I don't think I showered until Thursday. Between the csection and the magnesium drip, I was spent. Never mind trying to care for our latest addition. Hubby however managed to sneak in a shave and removed the beard. Finally.

So that's how our little Lena entered the world. She of course was perfectly healthy. Mom, not so much, but I quickly healed.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Photo Shoot Offer from Deirdre Rakus Photography!

Last month we spent a Sunday evening with Deirdre from Deirdre Rakus Photography. We really wanted to document the end of our pregnancy, and Deirdre was absolutely amazing to work with. Below are some of our favorite images she captured of Chris and I before we welcomed our daughter.

We also met with Deirdre this week for Lena's first newborn photo shoot! And with that, she wanted to extend an offer to you, my readers:

 For the month of July, anyone that books a maternity photo shoot or newborn photo shoot with Deirdre, will receive 10% Off her fee! All you have to do is mention Eat Scream Cry when you book. 
You can contact Deirdre through her website, by clicking here.

And here's a sneak peak at the newborn photo shoot!

Don't forget, mention Eat Scream Cry and get 10% off Deirdre Rakus Photography fee!

Monday, July 8, 2013


Celena Marie
nickname Lena
Born July 2, 2013
At 10:39am
6lbs 14.5oz
21" long

Lena was born exactly 2 weeks early, very unexpectedly and very quickly. I will be sharing her full birth story soon.  Things did not go as planned, or should I say "prepped" for. But as many of you know, you can not plan a birth. There were many things  that happened that were completely out of our control. But I must say that I was thoroughly impressed with our doctors and their willingness to explain each and every step and the importance of delivering our little one as quickly as they did. 

And although I did not get to Hypnobirth, I will say that the techniques learned in that class truly helped to keep me calm and composed in the emergency situation we were faced with. Never mind the days after, and dealing with the pain and discomfort.  

To those of you who have already shared your congratulations, Chris and I are so very thankful! Your words of love and support mean so much to us. It has been a very long journey and words can not describe how truly blessed and elated we feel. We finally have our miracle. 

For all those hopeful mamas out there, don't give up! No matter how you are able to start your family, I promise it's worth it. I hope in some way our journey has given you the faith and strength you need to continue. 

All our love.