Monday, April 28, 2014

The First Few Days of Motherhood - Part 2

Staying in the hospital was like a dream.  And I don’t mean like a fantasy…I mean like a dream that I experienced but that didn’t really happen.  There’s so many things about the early days of motherhood that seemed unreal to me.  I found myself not asking questions when I should and listening hollowly as medical professionals spoke to me.  I don’t know if it was just the sheer shock of having an actual baby or if it was the result of the chaos that ensued around us.  When I say “chaos” I don’t mean that things got really crazy and out of hand but in my world and my mind things were definitely not going the way I thought they would so it felt very chaotic to me.

I was anxious for the nurse to come and get Baby Girl and take her to the nursery so that she could be checked out by her pediatrician.  I ate breakfast and kept attempting to nurse my little bundle.  The nurses had been in throughout the night giving me pain meds and taking both of our vitals.  Those visits on top of trying to feed the baby did not provide me with much sleep.  Thank goodness for adrenaline.

They took the baby and we waited.  While we were waiting they FINALLY brought me a pump and showed me how to use it.  They said that they could take whatever little amounts I got out with a syringe and feed it to the baby.  I was happy since it was now 24 hours after I had given birth and we still could not get a good latch on my left side.  The Lactation Consultant (I’m calling her Betty) came in and we chatted for a few minutes and then she said she’d come back once the baby was in the room again so we could practice latching and holding techniques.

We were informed that Baby Girl was still having temperature issues so they kept her even longer.  I pumped and waited…and waited…and waited.  Finally the pediatrician came in and started talking to us.  It was the same guy I went to see when we thought there was a problem with BG’s head.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to trust him.  He started out the conversation like this:

Doctor – “We are thinking that she has a hemangioma on her neck.  We’ll want to take a closer look at it maybe with an ultra sound in the coming weeks.  It doesn’t seem to be causing any breathing or swallowing issues right now.  The one on her head, though, might be a cyst of some sort…”

Me – “What?  What’s on her head?  We didn’t see anything on her head.”

Doctor – “We’ll want to take a better look at it to make sure it’s not attached to any brain tissue.  The tech on site might not want to perform a scan on a newborn so you may need to get a specialist.  We’ll also want to check her out to make sure there aren’t any others internally that we can’t see with our naked eyes.  When there’s more than one we get a little concerned that we might have a bigger problem on our hands.”

I don’t remember much more about that conversation because I was again overcome with such worry that I could barely see straight.  I kept thinking things like:  We did DE because I have bad eggs and now my poor baby STILL has some sort of health issue.  How is this happening?  We were so happy when her skull got the all clear from the other doctor.  What are we going to do?  Is she going to have to have skull surgery and/or surgery on her tiny little neck?  Will these things grow and prohibit her from a “normal” life?  I didn’t say any of this out loud at that time.  I was silenced with worry.  The doctor left and BJ and I just sat in silence.

They finally brought BG back to us once she was at a proper temperature.  I pulled her hat off that she had been wearing for over 24 hours (except for the time I took a picture of all her hair) and rubbed my fingers lightly over the top of her head.  Sure enough, there was a big lump on her head.  Her hair was so thick that we couldn’t see it.  We could only feel it.  I was so upset.  Her head was so tiny and this huge lump felt like the end of the world.  Now we had to wait for the u/s to tell us more.
Betty came in and helped me latch BG right away on each side.  I was thrilled.  I was determined to get this child to eat and to succeed at SOMETHING that my body was meant to do.  We nursed and visited and cuddled and it was great.  All the while in the back of my mind I was wondering if something was seriously wrong with my little girl.  I kept asking myself if I was being punished in some way for the method in which we brought her into this world.  I dismissed those thoughts as much as I could because I just wanted her to be ok.  Nothing else mattered to me.

I have already written about my physical trials after the birth so I won’t rehash everything here.  I will say that having the catheter was the BEST part of the birth.  Before the surgery I had to pee what felt like every 10 minutes.  With the catheter in I didn’t have to pee at all.  I just laid around and enjoyed being lazy.

I had a voracious appetite in the hospital and they would bring me 3 meals a day along with a couple of snacks.  I ate like a crazy woman.  I also did not have any more nausea or heartburn.  It was awesome.  I started taking notes when we checked in but as soon as all the bad news started coming our way I quit writing things down.  I had hoped to have a full record of everything that went on but that is not to be.   Coming here and spilling everything that I can remember is going to have to be good enough.

Next post will be more about my emotions and feelings during our time in the hospital and the weeks following discharge.  It is only recently after reading another blog that I realize that I not only went through one hell of a bout of PPD but also PPA (post-partum anxiety).  It wasn’t pretty…and it lingers.  One of my readers suggested that maybe I also have a bit of PTSD and I would not be surprised about that, either.  These feelings and emotions were much more than I ever expected or could have anticipated.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The First Few Days of Motherhood - Part 1

The first few days of motherhood were like a dream and a blur and a whirlwind of emotions.  If you remember, we were told there was something wrong with Baby Girl’s head.  They said it was too small and that it “fused” prematurely.  Hmph.  There were so many emotions during and immediately following her birth that I was completely overwhelmed…so much so that I think I sort of shut down in many ways and totally overreacted in other ways.  It’s hard to put into words but I’m going to try.

In the recovery room I was nauseated and tired.  I had been up most of the night with contractions and stress and then had the emotional let down of having to have a c-section and then the elation of giving birth.  I was all over the place.  BJ and the on call pediatrician came in to see me to talk about what they found while examining the baby.  They found nothing wrong with her.  Not only was her head not too small but it also was not fused.  Everything was as it should be and I could not have been more relieved.  My anger at those technicians has not subsided.  I blame them for the worry and the stress and for basically ruining the last week of my pregnancy.  I also blame them for the urgency my doctor felt to get the baby out instead of giving me a few more days to see if I would go into labor on my own.  I know there is no sense in carrying this anger but right now I just can’t let it go completely.

BJ brought BG to me and I cried but I didn’t cry.  There were no tears.  I was too emotional to cry.  I held her close and looked at her little face in awe.  She had the Vaseline on her eyes and she was a little discolored but she was perfect and her warm little body felt so good in my arms.  I did a little skin to skin and tried to get her to latch and eat but we didn’t have much success on that front at that time.  There is much more on breastfeeding ahead.  I just held her and kissed her.  My sister in law came in and we ooh’ed and ahh’ed over our little bundle.  BJ was starving so he headed down to the cafeteria to get something to eat.  Just after he left the nurse came to take the baby to get her first bath.  I was upset because BJ was going to miss it.  My sister in law said she would take some pictures for us.  I also learned that the Little Guy and his mother had arrived and would be watching as well.

I drifted in and out of sleep until it was time to go to my room.  Everyone converged in our room shortly thereafter and they brought BG to me.  We tried latching again and had a brief moment of success on the right side but the left side was not really working.  I asked if I should use a pump but they said I didn’t need one at that time (early afternoon) and that we would try again later.  Hindsight is 20/20 here ladies.

I was holding the baby in my left arm and there was a nurse standing on my right side.  She said, “oh, does she have a bruise from the birth?” and pointed at a spot on her neck just under her chin.  I saw it and was immediately worried that the stress of the birth had been too much and she was somehow bruised while being taken out of me.  I touched the spot and was horrified to feel a huge lump under her skin.  The nurses touched it and so did BJ.  I was so upset at this new development that I could barely speak.  After all the worrying over her head that we did now we have this new condition to contend with.  The staff told me that BG’s pediatrician would look it over in the morning during his usual rounds and that we’d have some answers then.  Great…more worrying and stressing over the health of my child that was only a few hours old.

Everyone left and BJ and the Little Guy stayed with me for a while.  The Little Guy’s grandfather came for a visit and to take the Little Guy back to his house for the night.  I convinced BJ to go home and get some sleep in our own bed.  He didn’t want to leave but I knew how tired he was and that he’d never sleep in the chairs in the room.  I promised that I would call the nurses if I needed help getting the baby out of the bassinet (I was still confined to my bed).  Just as we were talking the nurse that was checking BG’s vitals told us that her temperature was too low and that she needed to go under the lights in the nursery.  What?  So they took her from me.  I sent BJ to look after her.  She was gone for so long that they had to finger feed her some formula…and I still did not have a pump.  We had 3 semi-failed nursing sessions by now.

She finally came back to me and we tried nursing again with little success.  The nurses promised me that the LC (lactation consultant) would come see me in the morning.  We’ll call her Betty.  BJ went home and I cried…big crocodile tears.  I was afraid to be alone with the baby.  I had never spent the night alone in a hospital.  It had been years since BJ and I slept apart.  I was a mess to say the least.  I made the best of it.  I laid her in the bed with me on her boppy and we dozed and nursed every 2-3 hours.  I was exhausted but running on adrenaline.  It was awesome.  She was so adorable in her little hat that I kept taking pictures of all her cute little faces she was making.  She had the hat on most of the time since she had been born.  I took it off and admired her full head of thick black hair.  No wonder I had heartburn so bad.  J  I put the hat back on to make sure she stayed warm and I went to sleep.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Welcome to ICLW!

Hi there, and welcome!  I haven’t participated in this event in quite a while.  I’m trying to get back into a regular groove of blogging but it’s been a struggle because I’ve been away for so long.  I have MUCH to say and I’m starting to get my butt in gear but it is very slow going.

You can see my journey over on the side bar but in case you don’t want to trudge through all of that here’s the short(er) version.

It took me over 10 years, 2 husbands, several IVF’s, lots and lots of tears and money but I FINALLY have my miracle Baby Girl.  She is the light of my life and my reason for getting out of bed in the morning.  I’m not exaggerating, either.

This blog is about my life, my daily struggles, my family, step-parenting and basically a place where I come to vent, cry, laugh and appreciate.  I’m contemplating some changes but never seem to have enough brain power to really decide what I want to do with this space.  For now it will remain and I will keep coming here to tell our story.  There is a lot to say.

I have noticed that the blogroll for ICLW is really short now.  I think that may have something to do with Reader going bye-bye last summer.  I know it affected me and how I read and follow blogs so I’m sure it affected many others as well.  If you have a resource to recommend for organizing/storing/reading blogs these days…please share.  I’d love to figure out a better way to stay connected to folks again…on my desktop and my phone.

Thank you for stopping by!