Bits + Pieces

1. My baby snores. We're talking SNORES. And he has since birth.  How awesome is that?!

2. This week Liam stuck to the same schedule for three days in a row.  And then he got sick and WHAM, we're scheduleless.

3. Even though it's over three weeks away, I am consumed by the fact that I will be separated from my favorite person in the world (Husband being a close second) on an almost daily basis.  Any idea how hard it's going to be to say goodbye to this face? I now know that I could totally be a SAHM.

4. Liam smiles all of the time, and it melts my heart each time.  He smiles the biggest when we sing pat-a-cake and clap his hands together.  I CANNOT wait for that first laugh.

5. I now realize how hard it is to make time/room for working out when there's a baby around.  Sure, I can take him in the jog stroller, but when do I shower?  Sure, I can put him in his swing while I shower, but he'll probably be screaming by the time I get out.

6. I still haven't been apart from him, and I'm not looking forward to the first time (whenever that is). 

7. I still have that sweet tooth that developed during pregnancy.  Much to my chagrin.

8. My dad and his family are coming to town Thanksgiving, and we are SO excited.  My step mom and half siblings haven't met Liam yet, so it's going to be a good time!

9. Liam has his two-month appointment next week and shots are on the schedule.  Not excited.  I'm hoping our Ped will start charting his growth and give us some percentiles.  Very excited.

10. Being a mom is so much better than I ever imagined.

My Road to Recovery

Warning: Boys, you may want to steer clear of this one. I'm just sayin'.

For me, recovery was far worse than labor and delivery.  When I was in labor, I found sanity and relief in the fact that it would END and it would end soon.  With recovery, there's no telling when I'll be back to normal.  And who's to say that I'll ever feel normal again.  Maybe I'll have to redefine my normal. 

The fluids, oh the fluids.  I spent the first week and a half wearing the mesh panties that hospital gave me (they were so comfortable. I wish it was appropriate to wear them all of the time) and a GIANT maxi-pad.  Every time I would nurse, my uterus would contract and cramp, and I would bleed.  That's just how it goes.  Over the weeks, I slowly stepped down the size of the pad.  I'm a tampon girl, so wearing a pad was awful (although the thought of a tampon right now makes me shudder).  I was also given a steroid foam to help with general healing of my lady bits.  For me, putting a pad soaked in witch hazel on the maxi-pad was really soothing.  My bleeding really slowed by four weeks, and it ended by the end of five weeks.  I was SO glad to see the pads go.  G-R-O-S-S.

Luckily, I didn't tear.  I am so thankful for that.  I didn't tear because my doctor massaged my perineum for an hour.  And by massaged, I mean he stretched it.  At one point he told me that I would be screaming from what he was doing if I didn't have the epidural.  I remember him trying to make room for Liam's head by putting both of his hands ALL THE WAY in my lady bits.  Ouch.  All of that stretching left me bruised and battered.  For the first two weeks of Liam's life, I went from the bed to the glider to nurse and back to the bed.  Thankfully Liam only ate and slept at that point, but I missed-out on really enjoying the first two to three weeks at home with my son.  But I'm not exaggerating when I say I couldn't sit down.  When I could finally sit (on the couch and at the kitchen table), I couldn't sit without a pillow.  Even in the glider (which has a cushion) I used a pillow.  It took me four weeks to get rid of the pillow.  After that, I avoided hard surfaces as much as possible or I would sit more on one side of my butt. Today, I am sore at the end of the day.  It's manageable, and more annoying than anything.  At my appointment two weeks ago, my doctor said it can take up to 12 weeks to really start feeling good, and I totally believe him.

Along with my perineum, my right labia fell victim to delivery. We're not entirely sure how it happened because everything happened so fast, but we think it got caught-up in the vacuum.  Sitting forward HURT.  The labia went beyond uncomfortable and into painful.  It would also bleed.  The only comfortable position for me to sleep was on my side (laying on my back hurt my butt until about week five and laying on my baby feeding boobies still isn't an option), but I HAD to have a pillow between my legs.  The pressure on my labia without the pillow was terrible.  I didn't know this until my doctors appointment at five weeks postpartum, but nursing is an estrogen suppressant.  And estrogen is what heals the wreckage that is your lady bits.  So if you nurse, you heal slower.  My doctor barely moved my labia, and I was squirming and saying, "Ouch, ow, ow ow."  He sent me home with an estrogen cream to apply at night.  I've been doing it for two weeks now, and it has made a HUGE difference.  I actually feel like my labia is healing.  I am so thankful for that, because I was worried that I would be something that I'd have to deal with for a long time.

Other than the lady bits issues, I was exhausted for the first two weeks.  Not sleepy tired, but just physically exhausted.  But I suppose that's to be expected with a new baby at home :)

For me, recovery sucked.  I loved being pregnant, and I love being a mom.  I even love having a newborn around who wakes-up every two to three hours.  For those reasons, I definitely want more children.  But to be honest, recovering again terrifies me.  In the end, it's completely worth it.  And maybe next time the birth won't be so traumatic and recovery won't be so hard.  It's definitely not enough to keep me away from having a second... eventually.

Birth Story: Part V

This post should probably come with a warning: It's TMI.

First, let me say this:  Pushing sucked.  SUCKED for me.  I had read and been told that pushing brought some relief to the pain and pressure. LIES.  At least it didn't for me.  When I finally got to 10 cm, I was feeling a lot of pressure in my butt.  The pressure doesn't come in your lady bits, it literally comes in your "bottom," as the PC nurses and doctors say.  The pressure isn't painful, but it sure is annoying and uncomfortable. 

Second: Epidurals are great because they take away the pain.  That is until your Nurse and Doctor decide to TURN IT DOWN.  Yeah, they don't tell you that in the birth classes.  Many doctors like to turn down or turn OFF the epidural to create more urgency for the mother to push.  NOT COOL.  At one point, DES looked at me and literally said, "Since it's you, I'm being nice and I haven't turned it off yet."  So not cool.  With the epidural almost turned off, things started to hurt, even the pressure. 

By the time I started to push, I was exhausted.  I hadn't eaten anything since the afternoon before.  I don't know about you, but I'm that person that gets light-headed and weak after four or five hours without food.  So I was hurting for some sugar/calories.  I pushed in an inclined position on my back.  When I started to feel the pressure/pain of each contraction, DES wanted me to lift my head and shoulders off the bed, put my chin to my chest, pull my legs back with my hands, and push.  Husband was holding the right leg and Awesome Nurse Pam was on the left.  I pushed three times for 10 seconds during contraction, taking one deep breath in between each push.  With my second, I will refuse to pull-back on my legs on my own.  I was pulling back so hard that my arms would start to shake.  I feel like all of my energy and concentration was wasted on the wrong action.  Next time, I'll use the Nurse and Husband ONLY to bear-down against.

For whatever reason, I couldn't focus on pushing in the correct area.  In short, I wasn't a very good pusher.  I was a quiet, focused laborer, but a terrible pusher.  Well, maybe terrible is a strong word.  I wasn't very skilled.  I only had a handful of pushes that were REALLY concentrated in the right area.  Also in hindsight, I don't know if pushing on my back was the best position for me.  Maybe laying on my side or squatting would have been better.  With the epidural, however, I was limited to my back.

Pushing was also hard because Liam was big.  He weighed over 8 pounds, and he had a big head (at 37 weeks, his head was measuring 42 weeks.  YEAH.  Feel sorry for me).  And I'm not the biggest/widest person in the world.  DES kept saying that I only needed to get him 1 cm further to get him past my pelvic bone and then he'd be free!  I just couldn't do it.  At one point, ANP told me to reach down and feel his head.  She kept saying, "It's right there, it's right there. Come on Betsy!"  I had zero interest.  She wanted me to be motivated by the fact that he was so close.  After I continued to refuse, Liam continued to be stuck, and Liam's heart rate continued to drop with each contraction, she finally grabbed my hand and put it on his head.  It felt wet and mushy.  Feeling his head didn't do anything for my motivation.  I was exhausted, I was in pain, and I wanted him OUT. 

And then he his my perineum.  HOLY CRAP.  It hurt.  It hurt so badly.  I can't even explain the pain.  This is when I started screaming.  Literally.  I'd been SO quiet and focused through the entire experience, until the last five minutes of pushing.  I remember DES tell ANP to get the vacuum.  I'm pushing and screaming and making all sorts of animal noises.  I kept repeating, "GET HIM OUT.  GET HIM OUT NOW."  I was done.  I was exhausted, frustrated, in pain, and now I was scared.  Things were getting serious, fast.  DES told me that during the next contraction he wanted me to take the oxygen mask off and push until he told me to stop.  He was going to use the vacuum to get Liam out.  I wasn't getting the job done, and his heart rate was getting really low.  At this point, I shut my eyes, and I shut them TIGHT.  I knew I didn't want to see what was about to happen.  It would scare/traumatize me.  I didn't see any of it, but I sure felt it.

It all happened so fast.  The contraction came, and I bared-down.  I felt DES get the vacuum in place, and I felt him pull.  The feeling of Liam coming out is hard to explain.  I swear I felt gushing fluid, but I'm not sure because my eyes were closed.  It hurt. It hurts bunches.  It felt like it took forever for him to get out. And all the while I'm screaming (I swear it was like something from a movie.  I just couldn't control it.  I wouldn't be a very good Scientologist).  When he was out, I opened my eyes.  DES was holding him upside down and suctioning his mouth and nose.  Husband got really emotional, but I was really out of it.  My brain and heart couldn't connect with what had just happened (read: my son was just born!).  Liam wasn't crying, and he looked purple.  I kept saying, "He needs to cry.  He's not crying.  He just needs to cry." The nurses (more nurses came to investigate when they heard my screaming.  I wish I was joking, but I'm being totally serious) whisked him away to the warming station to work their magic, and he finally cried after what felt like an eternity.  Really it was just 10 to 15 seconds.  It took me a while to bond with Liam and the fact that I'd just given birth because I didn't get to hold him right away.  I had dreamt of Liam being born and put on my chest immediately.  Of Husband cutting the cord.  Of him taking his first big breath right there in front of me.  But it didn't matter in the end because he was healthy.

I remember asking DES why it still hurt.  Oh yeah, the placenta.  It didn't take long for me to deliver the placenta, Liam had cleared a path for it.  Husband said it was the funniest thing seeing DES holding/tugging on the cord that was hanging out of my lady bits.

After the placenta was out, it STILL hurt.  Why!?!?!  Oh yeah, I'd just given birth.  I guess I expected all of the pain to just go away.  Also, the vacuum snagged my right labia and tore it. Yeah, chew on that one, Ladies.  It wasn't something that could really be stitched-up either.  Thankfully I didn't tear, and I have DES to thank for that.  He spent the entire hour+ of pushing stretching my perineum.  Husband said at one point he looked down and saw both of DES's hands in my lady bits and he was PULLING down.  I was sore for WEEKS from the stretching (I'll detail my recovery in another post), but I am so thankful that I didn't tear.

Eventually, I got to hold Liam and my entire world changed in a millisecond.  I will never forget how he looked up at me and just stared when he heard my voice.  I was a mom, and I was my son.  It doesn't get much better than that.