Two Months

Wow – has it really been two whole months already?  Really?

Looking back from where I am now, I’m beyond amazed that Nathan is already almost nine weeks old.  They aren’t kidding when they say time flies, but I’m also not particularly unhappy about it (even though, apparently, I am supposed to be).  There have been good, bad and ugly moments in our first two months together, and while I will appreciate them as fond memories (and, someday down the road, I’m sure I’ll look back on some of the struggles I’ve had and laugh), I’m really not feeling that wistful lament that he’s growing up on me that I’m apparently supposed to.  I’m really looking forward to moving past the sack-of-potatoes phase, because it’s just been exhausting.  Here’s a few highlights of our first two months together, and the constant learning curve we have been on.

First things first: you guys didn’t knock on wood when I asked you to, did you?  Pretty much right after the post where I had the audacity to brag about how easy he is, Nathan got a cold, and everything kind of went to hell from there.  For a good 10-day stretch, he was so congested and cranky that he was waking up every 45 to 60 minutes around the clock – including all night, every night – because he couldn’t breathe well enough to sleep.  He stopped sleeping in his crib at all because his sinuses couldn’t drain when we laid him flat, so we would have to put him to sleep in his bouncer or swing, which made us paranoid.  I spent a lot of time uncomfortably napping on our tiny, crappy couch so I could be near the swing (and him) to make sure he was okay.  I felt like I was constantly filling his humidifier, putting saline drops in his nose, and using the snotsucker to try and clear him out.

(By the way, get a snot sucker.  You need one.  You don’t know that you do, but – just trust me on this one – you do.)

Anyway, that was about weeks 2 1/2 to 4 of his life – I was so sleep deprived and run down that I could hardly find the energy to keep up with him, let alone do much of anything else.  Mercifully, he got better, and then we had another week or so of easy baby bliss before the gas hit.

Good lord, the gas.  Suddenly, we found ourselves with a perpetually fussy, cranky baby who would spend way way WAY more time awake than he should because he was too uncomfortable to sleep… and he was miserable the whole time, both because his stomach hurt and because he was so tired.  He went from sleeping nearly 20 hours a day to often less than 10.  We experimented with tons of different types of bottles and nipples, various remedies – gas drops, gripe water, you name it – and only last week did we finally figure out the best way to manage his gas/colic and get him back to being relatively agreeable. For us, the answer was two-fold: Bio Gaia probiotic drops (this didn’t actually reduce his gas very much, but made a HUGE difference in his colic – he remained uncomfortable, but he was less uncomfortable, so there was far less screaming and crying) and, further to that, Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow bottles decimated his gas incidents.  He still has episodes once or twice a day, but they are FAR shorter and less severe than they were, and he is doing much better now.  Thank goodness for that.  Colic is hell.  Several days during the worst of it, around week 6, I would cry until I ran out of tears and scream myself hoarse into a pillow.  It honestly felt like it would never end sometimes, and the only thing that kept me from completely losing it was telling myself that, yes, it would end.  Nothing lasts forever: even the worst of days end, and even the crankiest of babies sleep eventually.

The only other large struggle we’ve had to contend with so far is clinginess – insofar as an infant can be clingy, anyway.  Especially in the last week or so, Nathan has made it very clear that he wants to be held all the time (and, when you have a particularly wakeful baby, this can be trying).  We’re managing it the best we can, and he fortunately still sleeps soundly in his crib or cradle on most nights (usually in two blocks of 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 hours, with one feed in the middle), but during the day I’m often not able to do much more than watch Netflix and surf the internet because he tends to wake up less than 20 minutes after I put him down, almost without fail.  Babywearing has made things a bit better, but there’s still a lot you can’t do with a baby strapped to you, especially one as big as mine.  Did I mention he’s more than 14 lbs?!  Yep, 14.  Already.  He is already filling out 3-6 month clothes, and I imagine that he’ll be out of those sometime in January at this rate, too.

With those complaints aside, there are good things, too.  He becomes a little more alert and responsive by the day, and he finally gave me a real smile yesterday, apparently in celebration of his two-month birthday.  I really didn’t enjoy the newborn phase at all, but I am so, so excited for what lies ahead.  I can’t wait for our interactions to be deeper, and for him to do more than cry and eat and poop.  I want to play with him and read to him and help him learn to walk, teach him the alphabet, scrub mud out of his hair after a long day of hard play, carry his backpack home from school while he tells me about his day.  Knowing that all of that is coming is really exciting.

—–

Adjusting to life with a baby is hard, and probably more so when it’s your first (living) child because it’s all new to you; you don’t know what’s normal and what isn’t, everyone seems to have an opinion about what you’re doing at all times (and whether or not you’re doing it ‘right’ or ‘wrong’), and you’re totally not prepared for how different your life is going to be with one, no matter how hard you might try to get ready.  I was ready for the reality of being peed, pooped, spat up and thrown up on, but I never anticipated some of the grittier realities of motherhood, like having to decide whether I want to eat or use the washroom in that five precious minutes of calm before he wakes up and realizes he’s not being held anymore, or how devastating it feels when you’ve finally put your sleepy baby down for a nap and just as you tiptoe out of the room, he has an explosive poop and you need to change him and start all over again from the beginning.

Or trying to rock his swing with your foot to keep him amused while you desperately try to get a pump done, because he’s been awake for 5 hours but still doesn’t want to sleep, is bored if he sits still, and the batteries for the swing are dead.

Or that feeling of sadness when you take him out for a walk in the stroller because you’re starving and you want him to sleep for a little bit while you find some food, he passes out as soon as you leave, but he wakes right back up again the second you get back.  You would not believe how sick I am of ready-to-eat foods like chips, granola bars and cereal.

ANYWAY!  I digress.

So, yeah, it’s hard sometimes.  There are so many things I thought I was ready for, and it turned out I wasn’t because there’s just really no way to prepare for them.  Perhaps the most agonizing is when your child is screaming and you either have no clue what it is they need, or it’s something you can’t help them with, like gas.  We seem to be moving out of the worst of his colicky phase – and thank goodness, because his crying grates away at my nerves in a horrible way – but it’s still awful to hear him cry.

I have other topics to touch on (how having Nathan has affected my grief, things I’ve learned about self-respect and other people’s opinions, and so on) but I haven’t got the time right now, so I’ll leave it at that for now.

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Somewhat Damaged

Things got out of control so fast.

His work partner, who originally sent along the request to check on him, decided to drive over before he even heard anything back.  He arrived about 20 minutes after the police did, and then sat with me for the additional 20 mintues that followed before my husband arrived home.  His mother, and my father-in-law’s ex-wife, was about half an hour behind that.  By noon, the house was packed with a mix of his friends and family, and by 4pm, we’d started talking about the things we would inevitably need to figure out;  little more than 6 hours after he’d been found, half a dozen of us had already started tearing the house apart in search of important paperwork and belongings that would help us deal with the aftermath, like his will.

We drank heavily that night, because of course we did.  I cried on and off, but chalked it up to everything being so fresh and so jarring.  I didn’t think anything of it originally when sleep was hard to come by, even when I was dead tired, or of the fact that the scene just seemed to keep playing on repeat in my mind.  Grief was old hat to me, and I figured this was all part of the process.  It felt similar to what I went through with Brock.

However, over the next few days, things only got worse.  Crying increased, and I began to have more and more trouble staying even relatively stable.  The little sleep I was getting dwindled to almost nothing because I couldn’t seem to pass out unless I was too tired to function or considerably inebriated (or both)… and, when I did, I would wake up again a short while later and not be able to get back there.  I was also completely unable to handle being alone, even for small periods of time, and kept forcing my husband to stay with me until I was able to nod off as a result.  I started to feel that I was losing my grip on things.  I holed up in our apartment and avoided interacting with people because I didn’t want to admit that I was feeling troubled because I thought it was embarrassing.  I felt that, if I gave them distance, maybe they wouldn’t notice that I was falling apart at the seams.

By Friday, I had to come to terms with the fact that something was seriously wrong.  I kept almost dissolving into tears for absolutely no reason, no matter where I was and what I was doing, and I very nearly had a complete meltdown at Walmart.  Memories from Monday morning struck me so suddenly and vividly that I began to hyperventilate, and it took me nearly 5 minutes to regather my composure and keep going – and, even then, I was still shaky and anxious.  I ended up leaving the store in such a hurry that I forgot what I had gone there for in the first place.

Even then, I didn’t want to bring it up.  I was ashamed and embarrassed by how poorly I was coping, especially since it wasn’t really my loss to begin with.  I didn’t want to make things about me when it didn’t have much of anything to do with me.  I grew progressively frustrated with myself for letting my emotions mess with me when, logically, I could tell myself it really wasn’t a huge deal, but mentally I couldn’t come to terms with it.  Trying to convince myself that it wasn’t something that should have traumatized me just further stressed me out because, here it was, basically ruining my life anyway.  It seemed crazy to me that I had carried my first son for nine months, only to lose him when I was almost 41 weeks pregnant, went through an awful 3-day induction, and delivered him silently — and come out of that okay — but finding my father-in-law, having died peacefully in his sleep after 55 long, eventful years of life completely wrecked me.  I still wondered if it was just too fresh to come to terms with properly, or if I’d just run out of strength, and this just happened to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.  All I knew, in either case, was that I was all but despondent.

I resolved to give myself a few more days to figure things out, which was a bad idea, and I knew it.  As I have struggled with depression in the past, I know how it works when you should go to seek help with mental health issues: on the bad days, you wonder, “Why would I bother getting help?” and throw up excuses to let yourself stay miserable, and on the good ones, you feel that this might be a turning point where things will start to get better, so you put it off so you don’t have to go through all the trouble and/or admit that you need help.  Fortunately, my husband and mother-in-law – who had both noticed that I was not handling things well at all – had other plans.  On Sunday morning, he woke me to tell me that we were going to drop Nathan off at my mother-in-law’s for a few hours, and then we were going to go and see my doctor to talk about what I was going through.

We did exactly that.  We talked through what had happened over the last few days, about losing Brock, and about how I was handling things with Nathan.  I confided to her that we are not bonding terribly well, for some reason or another; so far, caring for him has been more stressful than gratifying, and I explained that, while I love him, I don’t like him (it’s the best way I could come up with to embody my feelings about him most of the time).  I left with a prescription for antidepressants, the number for a public health nurse, and the reassurance that I would be referred to counseling or psychiatric services as soon as she could find a connection.

So there we have it… apparently, I’m crazy now.  I wonder if I have been like this for a long time and not known it, or if I just snapped somewhere recently.  I even catch my husband treating me like I’m compromised sometimes, asking if I remembered to take my pills and coddling me in silly ways.  I would be more upset, I think, but, you know, antidepressants.  It’s only been three days and I already feel like I’ve lost the capacity for the crushing sadness I felt before – I still get sad, but not to the same degree.  I also don’t get as happy either, though… everything just feels muted.  It’s really strange.

Oh, and of course, I still don’t sleep well, and I still can’t stop thinking about the moment I found him.  Seems we still have a lot more work to do to fix me.

Life and Death

I was just becoming used to the typical daily routine of parenthood – at least, what it was for me for the time being.  My husband and I had finally nailed a schedule down that worked well for us.  While Nathan still isn’t on any kind of predictable schedule, we were finding a sort of rhythm and starting to find ways to get over some of the more awkward hurdles, like timing my pumps and making sure that my husband got a good, solid night’s sleep at the same time.

In this time, and with the sleepless nights that sometimes come with having a newborn, I was also starting to understand my father-in-law’s schedules.  Since we live in the basement, I could hear him going about his daily routine above us; I started to get a good idea about how he lived, and what he did and when.  He would get up every two hours throughout the night, basically like clockwork, to use the washroom.  Every day at 7, he’d get up (which would be announced by the sound of his dogs jumping off the bed) and start his day by going to the washroom, then going to fix breakfast and coffee.  Just before leaving for work at 8:20 each morning, he would turn on the radio in the kitchen to keep the dogs company, go sit on the front steps to put on his shoes, and leave through the front door.

Nathan is usually a fairly good sleeper throughout the night, but has been working through a regression the last few days. Where he’d normally go to sleep at 8 and wake at 11, 2 and 5 for feedings before starting his day around 7:30 or 8, last night he only slept from 11 to 1, then 4, before deciding he was up for the day.  During the 1 o’clock feeding, I heard my father-in-law use the washroom, as he always did.  Nothing unusual there.

I was preoccupied with Nathan being fussy for a long time, so it took until about 6 before I realized I hadn’t heard him get up in a while.  Even then, I figured he was just sleeping more deeply than usual, and I was busy with the baby.  Besides, it was too early to worry yet, but something nagged at me, even so early.  He was so brutally consistent in his routines that it was already odd to see them broken.

7 rolled around, Nathan was still awake and fussing, and he didn’t get up for work.  I began to wonder, but figured he had scheduled the day off and was sleeping in (but wondered why he hadn’t mentioned as much to us).  I finally got Nathan down around 7:30, and had a beautiful 40 minutes of sleep before he woke… again.  I was starting to get really perturbed by the lack of activity upstairs, but wondered if he’d woke, done his routine, and left early in the brief stint while I was asleep.

At 9:30 – Nathan still awake, but starting to seem drowsy – my husband called me and asked me to check on him because his partner said he’d never turned up to work.  When my father-in-law didn’t answer his phone, he asked my husband to check on him.  Since my husband was at work, he delegated that duty to me.  All my fears suddenly validated, I was all but certain I knew what had happened.

I knocked on his bedroom door and called his name several times.  No answer.  Finally, I announced my intention to enter, steeled myself and went inside.

He looked perfectly peaceful, like he had just fallen into a particularly deep sleep.  His dogs still laid dutifully on the bed next to him, showing no signs that they understood what had happened.

I bawled in a way that has become all too familiar to me since Brock died.  I shakily called 911 and they talked me through it the best they could.  They asked me to try and perform CPR, but I would need to get him onto a hard, flat surface to try.  When I touched his arm to make a cursory attempt to try to drag his 250+ lb frame out of bed, he was ice cold.  I recoiled and wailed louder, inconsolable to the woman trying to talk me through the process.

The police and EMTs arrived about 5 minutes later and pronounced him dead.  When the coroner arrived and assessed him at noon, he suspected he’d died 8-12 hours prior.

So, I discovered a dead body.  And, for the second time in slightly more than a year, I’ve had the displeasure of touching a dead person.

—–

He didn’t live well – smoked excessively, drank heavily and ate poorly – and we knew a bad outcome was all but inevitable, but we didn’t expect it so soon.  Not once, in the days leading up to his death, did he mention feeling strange at all (and he was always happy to find things to complain about).  We had no reason to suspect that he was getting ready to check out so soon.

We didn’t hang out often or talk too much (we are/were both rather introverted), but I spent a large chunk of his last evening with him.  It was perfectly routine for him.  He started drinking at 5, as he always did, had 6 beers, as he always did, watched a movie recorded on his PVR, as he always did, ate a late dinner, and was in bed by 10.  Nathan and I watched most of the movie with him, as I brought him upstairs with me while I put a shepherd’s pie in the oven so that my husband could have a nap.  It was a bad movie, called The Caller, and we had fun complaining about it.  We talked about normal shit during commercials, like what age Nathan would get interesting at, the fact I’d forgotten to get rent from the bank for him (and that I would do it tomorrow), and whether or not the dishwasher was full enough to run.

It is heartbreaking how many people I’ve spoken to today have been hurt by his loss, but also admitted that they fully saw it coming.  How sad it is to live in a way where people look on your death – at the young age of 55, no less – shrug, and say, “Well, he didn’t exactly take care of himself.”

 

Love yourselves.

 

 

 

I see another move in my immediate future, and my husband and I now also get to look forward to purging his house, settling his affairs, making funeral arrangements, and so on.  Forgive me if my infrequent writing slows even more.

Yesterday

Yesterday sucked.  No other way to put it.

I was actually in okay spirits at the start of the day, but as it went on, the displaced feeling started setting in again.  It’s something I try to avoid thinking about and, subsequently, feeling too much, even though I think it’s always kind of there in the back of my mind, but yesterday there was no getting away from the feeling that I am not where I’m supposed to be, that I might have been able to change things if some things had occurred differently (those ever-persistent ‘what-if’s), and that I would be somewhere else, doing something else, if October 19th of 2014 had gone differently… if I’d seen a different medical professional, or if I’d asked for a second opinion, or gone to a different clinic.

DifferentThat word came to mind a lot.  I hesitate to say better or worse, because I don’t know where I would be if Brock were here, and I don’t know for sure if that reality would be better or worse than this one. I just know it’d be really different from where I am now, whether or not that’s a good or bad thing.

I know I’d be raising a different baby, one that would be celebrating his first birthday instead of being a mere 15 days old, and that Nathan would certainly not be here.

I wouldn’t have had a bunch of milk with no baby to appreciate it if Brock hadn’t passed, so I never would have been a milk bank donor.  Did my donations help any babies pull through who might not have otherwise?

I don’t think I would have felt the same frantic emptiness and need to better myself if I hadn’t lost Brock, so I probably wouldn’t have gone to finish high school (I formally graduate on the 12th of November), or found the time and money to finally go to driving school and earn my G2.  I wouldn’t have started volunteering for a local blood donor clinic, and my husband likely never would have begun donating regularly, either.  I wonder whose lives his donations have touched, too.

I would never have gone to loss support groups or struck up conversations with other loss mothers and fathers on online forums, and therefore there are a lot of great people I know now that I never would have met.

There are so many other little things, too.  I wouldn’t live where I live, or have a lot of the things that I now have, probably.  I envisioned a different baby, a different nursery, a different life.  On days like yesterday, it just hits me again, all over, that this was not what I envisioned at all.  It makes me wonder if there was ever anything I could have done to change the outcome, and it makes me feel woefully out of control of my own fate (which, to be fair, I know that I am – but the illusion of power is totally gone, which leaves me feeling awfully vulnerable.)

My husband and I took the day to just feel bad for ourselves.  We cried, we talked it out, we snuggled Nathan a little bit more earnestly, we got expensive takeout for dinner, and I had a couple of glasses of wine for the first time in 10 months (another advantage of pumping – if you get ahead, you can take a little time off.  Score!).

The other thing about the day that really upset me was that a lot of people didn’t even seem to notice that it was Brock’s birthday.  I received condolences and well-wishes from a few friends, acquaintances and family members, but I heard nothing from most people… and, in particular, a few I really expected would have reached out said nothing.  I’m pretty sure even most of my close relatives (my mom and dad, and in-laws) didn’t even notice the date; it was just another day for them.  It wounds me to think that he could be so easily forgotten by most people when he’s almost all that I think about on many days.  Perhaps it’s my fault for letting him be forgotten, I guess?  I don’t really know how else to look at it.  Maybe I should have made a huge deal out of his first birthday and thrown a big party or something, but I let the opportunity evade me, so now I’ve just got more what-ifs to think about.  Hooray.

Happy birthday, Brock.  I can at least promise you that your father and I will never forget you. ❤

The Latest / Old Habits Die Hard

Okay, I’m going to knock on wood as soon as I say this (please do the same for me!), but I think I might have the easiest newborn on the planet.  When I referenced him being fussy and difficult in my last post, it turns out that it was literally just some kind of stomach upset that was making him so hard to handle.  He was up half the night screaming from gas pains, but as it turns out, that’s not his norm.  As soon as that passed about 24 hours later, he went back to being almost exclusively sleepy and happy no less than 90% of the time.  I am not sure what got to him on that particular day (could have been germs he picked up at one of our two Thanksgiving dinners, or a bad reaction to the formula we had to supplement with for the first couple of days) but he’s been really great ever since.  He’s even stopped being fussy about being held/touched constantly and will sleep through the night in his crib without complaint with 3-4 wakes for feedings.  I honestly feel so blessed; I almost feel like he knows that I need him to be easy for my sanity’s sake because I have so much emotional baggage, especially with Brock’s birthday coming up on Friday.  I really feel we’re finding a rhythm and I am so grateful for it, even though I realize it might change at any time… for now, it’s great.

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One decision I’ve made that has caused mild to moderate controversy is the decision I made, after a week or so of trying, to give up on attempts to breastfeed and instead transition to exclusively pumping.  I have several reasons for it that I think are perfectly valid, but none of them seem to be good enough for most people.

Our issues began on day one before he was even born, unbeknownst to me at the time: because I ended up delivering him sunny side up and a vacuum was used, his head really hurt for the first couple days of his life (go figure).  It makes it hard to encourage a good latch when you can’t touch your baby’s head at all lest they start screaming bloody murder.  He was too distracted by the pain to be able to focus on trying to eat, and every attempt to get him to ended in both of us crying tears of pain and frustration.  When I was dispatched the day after his delivery, I was sent home with very little information on what I was doing after only one sort of successful latch – he tried to eat, which was the goal, but my milk wasn’t in yet and it was extremely painful for me. He has a high palate and a slight tongue tie, which, in combination with the vacuum aftershock and some significant lethargy because of slight jaundice, didn’t really instill faith out of the starting gate, but I tried to remain optimistic.

I resolved to keep working on it at home, but we continued to have issues.  His hunger finally kicked in shortly after we got home from the hospital, and, since my milk wasn’t in and we couldn’t get him to latch, we had to supplement the first couple of days with formula while I kept trying to get him to latch and pumped to stimulate my supply.  The couple of times where I got him to latch on my own still ended badly because he was still so groggy and lazy (and, perhaps, already spoiled by the bottle at this point) that he got mad when the milk didn’t immediately flow freely – he was not interested in working for it – so he’d give up and start crying again in a big hurry.  Around this point, I was pumping enough to feed him and get off of the formula, but pumping for 30 minutes every 3 hours with a single manual breastpump was getting tedious, and picking up an electric pump was getting more and more tantalizing.  I decided to grab one on Saturday night, figuring that it would at least come in handy for occasional bottle feeds in the future.  I still kept trying to get him to latch once in a while, but admittedly probably not as often as I should have; the stress bothered both of us immensely, so I usually just went for the bottle because it saved us a lot of heartache.

On Sunday afternoon, we met with a pediatrician to double-check his bilirubin levels, weigh him, and discuss our other questions and concerns.  At this point, I met with a really fabulous nurse who asked about his eating habits.  I explained that I wasn’t having luck with breastfeeding and I didn’t feel I’d been given enough information to be successful at it, and she spent a good 45 minutes helping us work on our latch and explaining what I could do to have more success.  She empathized with the lack of information that new moms often get about breastfeeding, and how, a few decades ago, women would stay in the hospital for a full week after delivery and get much more direct, hands-on help from the staff to make sure they were well-equipped to deal with new parenthood.  She also said that one of the few benefits that she had observed as a NICU nurse was that there was no shortage of time for the mothers of NICU babies to get professional, hands-on help with breastfeeding; there was always someone available to help them out if they were having issues while they were there.  She ended our short little class (the only time where I managed to get him to successfully latch and eat [a little] at my breast) by explaining that she didn’t mind what path I chose, and that they were all perfectly valid, as long as I felt I had the ability and knowledge to choose for myself rather than feeling like I was forced into one, or that I had ‘failed’ at breastfeeding.

I appreciated all her help immensely, and it got me to start thinking seriously about what it was that I actually wanted to do.  Did I want to breastfeed, or did I want to bottle feed?  Either way, I knew I wanted him to get milk, and both methods have their benefits.  Bottle feeding would give me the freedom to share feeds with others and not be tied to our son 24/7, whereas breastfeeding was ‘natural’ and would, presumably, strengthen our bond.  We kept trying to get a latch over the next few days, but it continued to be really hard for us to figure out , especially while I was so sleep deprived.  When you’re exhausted after 2 hours of sleep and you wake up to the cries of a hungry baby, it’s hard to not want to just go to the fridge and grab a prepared bottle when you’re still trying to figure out the logistics of breastfeeding and it’s a complicated science to both of you (especially because, if I waited until he cried of hunger, he lacked the patience to give latching any real effort).

By day 7 of his life, my husband confided that he loved the system we had worked out – not only could he share the bonding time by taking some feeds, but I was less stressed when I wasn’t trying to fight with breastfeeding, Nate seemed to prefer cold milk anyway, and I was functioning better with the freedom to step out for an hour or two here and there – and we made the mutual decision to stop trying to force it.  I might still give it the occasional attempt over the next few months, and, who knows, maybe it will eventually ‘click’ for us… however, in the meantime, I’m happy with the system we have going.  I’m currently a little bit concerned about my supply (I’m only about 50 oz ahead, which is maybe a day and a half of food) but I’m really working hard to improve it, and even if I find I need to start supplementing somewhere along the way, some is better than nothing, right?  This is the best solution I can come up with for now, and it’s what works for us, so I am trying to hold my head high and be proud even when others seem to think I should feel shame.  I think the best response I’ve got so far, from people who seem to think it’s their business, is ‘at least he’s getting breastmilk’.  Ah, so judgemental.

Anyway, that’s enough out of me for now.  I’m sure I’ll be back to post on Friday, which will be a doozy of a day.

Baby Nathan is Here

Please forgive any incoherence and poor sentence structure – I’m terribly sleep deprived, and while coffee can keep me from nodding off (for the most part), it can’t make me function at full capacity.  Life with a newborn is hard. 😉

Sorry for the cliffhanger on that one – I am sure that a few of you have been itching for an update.  Unfortunately, I like to blog when I have time to myself, which means limited distractions and no husband (or anyone else) around, and when I feel I am in good head space and can feel confident I will have a reasonable amount of uninterrupted time to write.  One of those still isn’t satisfied at the moment (I have a sleeping baby in my lap because he won’t let me put him down), but I feel the need to at least chronicle a few of my thoughts and feelings about what’s happened in the last week, and to update those of you who were following.

My induction didn’t end up getting moved to directly after my appointment on the 6th… instead, it got moved to the 7th.  The results of my last ultrasound remained consistently bad and my OB decided she would rather have him out than in.  Since she was going to be on call the following day for the whole day (a 24 hour shift… how terrifying!), she decided she would make sure to get me admitted and have him that day so that she could oversee his birth.

We arrived at the hospital for a pre-admission NST at 9am on the 7th, but there weren’t any L&D rooms available until quite a bit later.  It took until almost 6pm for them to find me a room, and we didn’t start the induction (beginning with breaking my water) until 7pm.  A little over 12 hours later, after a fairly uneventful but somewhat stressful labour (including a suggestion of a c-section around 5am when he wouldn’t properly descend because he was positioned sideways), I did manage a vaginal birth with the assistance of a vacuum, and Nathan George was born at 7:42am on October 8th.  At 38 weeks’ gestation, he was 8lbs 3oz, and 20.5 inches long.  I guess they were on to something with all of the speculation that he was on the larger side; he would have likely crested 10lbs if I’d carried him to term.

I might write more about the delivery at a later date, but right now, only two things really stand out to me: one was when my husband and I simultaneously started bawling the second he began screaming – something I suspected would happen from the very beginning – and my OB having to eventually tell me that I needed to stop crying long enough to deliver my placenta.  Ah, the joys of delivering a live baby after a stillbirth…

He and I are both doing really well health-wise (I somehow didn’t tear, and I bounced back from delivery in astonishingly good time) and he presently seems to be completely healthy, despite the whole fiasco with his kidneys in utero.  He’s on an antibiotic to make sure that an infection doesn’t develop and has a follow-up ultrasound on Friday to check on the condition, but right now it seems as though he will be perfectly fine and complication-free.

Nate—–

I’m not going to lie, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to have a baby physically or emotionally, but I didn’t prepare myself for this level of involvement, especially from a being that is supposed to sleep for 20 hours a day.  It’s been really hard, and I am having a hard time finding any kind of rhythm… many, many tears have been shed by both my husband and I over the various complications of life with a newborn.  The first couple of days were actually surprisingly easy, but it has been a bit of a downhill slide from there, as he’s now in a state where he basically refuses to be put down for more than 10 or 20 minutes at a time.  This means constant shift swapping, having to schedule and co-ordinate each and every little thing (finding opportunities to pee, figuring out who makes meals, etc.) and a lot of time wasted sitting around and doing nothing.  He seems to have picked up a bit of a stomach bug somewhere along the way, which has given him serious gas and diarrhea and only adds to his fussiness.  I’m glad that I’ve finally realized that he sleeps more soundly if he’s being touched, but again, it leaves me pretty tied down and makes it really hard to get anything done when I’m on shift, aside from mindlessly surfing the internet and trying not to fall asleep in my chair.  Thank goodness I at least have my husband for respite for the time being… I’m already terrified of what will happen when he goes back to work on Monday.

I realize this post has been scatterbrained and really hasn’t touched on anything of substance, but I’m incredibly tired now and finding it hard to form even relatively coherent thoughts, so I’m going to leave it here for now.  I will try to find time to update and add more in the near future.

Five Days (or one)

It’s crazy to think that, good outcome or bad, this pregnancy will be over in no more than 5 days.  By the end of the week, I’ll be done being pregnant (again) for the foreseeable future.  Some women say that they dread the last days of pregnancy because they don’t know when, or if, they will get the opportunity to do it again… not me, nosiree.  Especially with the emotional stress of pregnancy after a full-term stillbirth, I cannot wait to have a break from carrying babies.  I had a dream where I went for a nice, brisk fall run, and even in the dream I was just so darn happy about the freedom that dream-me wept a little.

I had a pretty great weekend, not going to lie.  I decided to treat it as a last hurrah of sorts, and spent it shopping and hanging out with several people who are near and dear to me.  I even went to the movies two days in a row (after not going once for… at least 8 months?) and a friend and I did a miniature maternity photo shoot, which was awesome to get done.  The caveat, of course, was that my husband wasn’t able to make it, and it strikes me as a little odd that it’s a bunch of photos of just me… also, I felt some strange guilt at getting maternity photos this time when I never did any with Brock, but there’s really no getting around that.

On Sunday, I had my scheduled NST at the hospital in my hometown.  It was a bit triggering, to be sure, since it was the same hospital that Brock was delivered at, and the same room where we had Brock’s last (live) NST (and then, two days later, found out he had passed).  There was a particular cubby that I was worried about being put in because it was where both of those things happened, and where we were put when we had to call our families to break the news while we waited for a room.  Fortunately, we were put in a different bed this time, which made things slightly more bearable.  It still wasn’t pleasant to be back there.

Mercifully, the NST went very well.  Nathan was very active throughout with a good, stable heartbeat and no decelerations.  In 45 minutes, there were no incidents and very typical coverage – and, this time, we had the results reviewed and signed off on by a doctor, no second guessing here.  The only surprise we had throughout the scan was when, at one point, the nurse who was looking after me informed me that I was having quite a few Braxton Hicks.  I have very rarely ever noticed any contractions at all, but the monitor was picking them up once every 10 minutes or so, lasting 45 seconds to a minute each.  I spent the rest of the time trying to pay more attention to what my body was doing and realized that I have been mistaking BH contractions for baby movements – usually, I’d just mistaken them for him stretching or moving slightly and pushing against my belly when, in reality, it’s the opposite (my belly shrinking and contracting around him).  It was also easier to notice them on the monitor because his heartrate would typically accelerate a little whenever I had one.  I’ve become more aware of them since and continued to have quite a few last night… though I’m pretty sure they’re not doing much of anything, so I’m not too worried about it (not to mention that, with an induction date looming, it would actually be ideal if they were doing something).

Anyway, now I’m just counting down the hours until my next OB appointment, which might very well be my last.  If things don’t go well, I might be admitted that day.  If things do go well, my appointment on Friday might be cancelled, which would just leave us needing to go in for our induction on Saturday morning.  Either way, we’re very much in the home stretch, and I should probably be working to finish setting up the nursery instead of writing!  I could write so much about how nervous/anxious I am that I will be admitted tomorrow to have my baby, and how I feel completely unprepared for how inevitably emotional this will be, but neither of us has time for that. 😉  If all goes well tomorrow and I get sent back home, I’m sure I’ll find time to ramble about it between then and Saturday.