Sunday, March 31, 2013

7 weeks and a tongue tie

Seven weeks.  Time is flying by!  My maternity leave is almost up (only about 5 weeks left, give or take).  This week has been crazy.  Poor Em has come down with strep and Nathaniel has had the sniffles.

The Good
At 7 weeks, I must admit, I still have it pretty easy.  While Nathaniel doesn't sleep as much as he did when he was first born (Thank God!), he's still a really calm baby.  He rarely fusses, and when he does, it's usually when I put him down and he isn't quite ready.  This is usually around 2pm-ish.  I haven't really been putting him down for naps and have been feeding on demand.  He still is sleeping from 11pm to 2:30am and then from 3:30am to about 6:30am.  When he does wake up, he's all business.  Get changed, eat, then back to sleep!

I really don't like binkies but ok...

Breast-feeding has been going a lot better. Since my last post at approximately 4 1/2 weeks old, I have been exclusively breast-feeding (well, pretty much.  I have given him a total of 6 oz of formula or 3 bottles since then).  His latest weigh in was about 8lbs and 9 oz, which was on the 27th when he got his tongue tie snipped (more to come about that nightmare later...).  Currently, I'm on the hunt for a sling that will free up my hands a little while we nurse.

So the challenges are still mostly aimed at myself.  I really struggle to practice good nutrition right now.  On the positive side, I've lost 30lbs since Nathaniel's birth.  On the negative side, I haven't been maintaining a healthy diet like I should, which leads me to be extremely tired.  It's just so hard to find time to eat and with a gluten allergy, there aren't a lot of snack foods that I can just toss back.  I feel like everytime I try to pause and get some food, Nathaniel either has a dirty diaper, needs to nurse, or is snuggled up to me and I don't want to wake him.  

However, I have been looking for nursing sling so that I can potentially wear Nathaniel around, have my hands free, and he can nurse whenever he wants.

One of the other challenges I'm having with nursing is while Nathaniel is a lot more alert, he still falls asleep often when nursing.  This extends our nursing sessions.  He is also cluster feeding and still very much on a two hour nursing schedule.  Hopefully though, if I can find a sling that works for me, this will help out immensely.  I'll be able to get some chores done, hold my baby, feed my baby, and have my hands free to feed myself!  Wouldn't that be nice =D

I'm hungry!  Give me milkies!

The Tongue-tie
So lets talk about the barbaric tongue-tie procedure that poor Nathaniel and I undertook on the 27th.  After seeing two different lactation consultants AND his pediatrician, Nathan and I decided to have Nathaniel's tongue-tie snipped.  His tongue-tie was definitely not HORRIBLE, but it was causing some latching issues and could, in the future, cause some speech impediments.  Everyone said it was an easy procedure best done when they are young because they don't remember it.

Ok.  Great.  The worst that was suggested was that it probably stings a lot.

So, I went to EMMC and met with the pediatric surgeon who detailed how the process was going to go down.  I was horrified.

1. They put a clamp on the frenulum of the tongue.  There is no anesthetic such as lidocaine.
2. The clamp must stay on the frenulum for three minutes.  During this time, it is crushing this site, crushing the blood cells, which reduces pain, essentially numbing the site as well as cutting off the blood supply to the area.
3. During this time, I was told, Nathaniel is going to scream.  It hurts and they don't like it.  They have to hold him down as well as hold his head.  It was suggested that I could wait out in the hall, however, I thought it was pretty terrible to subject my child to this medieval torture and not be there to hold him, so I made the decision to stay in the room and hold his arms in a swaddle.
4. After three minutes, carefully timed by the pediatrician surgeon's iPhone, they would snip the frenulum, and I would be able to nurse him. 

Listening to Nathaniel scream for three minutes, was pretty hard and traumatizing for everyone in the room.  The nurse held his head while I held his arms down.  After the three minutes, the surgeon took off the clamp and had to cut twice to remove the frenulum.  I scooped Nathaniel from the table and nursed him for a good 30 minutes.  He calmed down pretty quickly, but I bet it hurt for a day or so.  Since then, he latches better (but still snacks and naps while nursing.  I swear I must have Ambien in my milk...) and I have noticed a difference in how he uses his tongue.  He sticks it out more, drools a little bit, and blows bubbles.  It's pretty cute...  but now I'm definitely not looking forward to his pediatrician appointment on the 9th... 5 shots is probably going to equal a fussy, screaming child to further traumatize Mommy...

So, I'll end this post with a cute picture from Easter!  Found the suit online at!  It's newborn size and super cute!

Sleepy baby

Nate, Grampy, and Em

Everyone is always horrified to see Emma pick up Nat, but really she's very gentle and very careful with him! What a great big sis!

Pretty Emmy
A dapper fellow

What a face!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

4 Week Pediatrician Wellness Check

Nathaniel had a fantastic wellness check at the Pediatrician's on March 12th!  He's put on 2lbs since they saw him last (about 15 days prior).  Last time he was there, he was 5lbs 7oz - now, he is 7lbs 8 oz!  He gained an inch, now 21 inches.

He had to get a shot, which he didn't like (it didn't help that they want you to keep them undressed for the entire visit).  It was the second round of the Hepatitis B shot.  Dr. Adams told me that at his two month (8 weeks) wellness check, he'll have to get five shots AND has to drink some kinda liquid.  I think Nate should take him to that one!  I don't know if my heart can stand it!  We also got a referral for the tongue-tie.  We will see the pediatric surgeon (sounds more severe than it really is) on March 27th.

Here are some candid (angry) shots of Nathaniel at his visit:

Since my last LC (lactation consultant) visit, breastfeeding has been going well.  We are almost completely off the formula (between 0 and 4 ounces a day)!  There are some days that are better than others of course, but I always make sure to pump if I supplement.  I'm also drinking this tea:

It's really helped, in my opinion, with my supply.  I'm also eating no-bake's since the oatmeal also helps with the supply =)

Lastly, everyone in the family is taking well to Nathaniel:

PS: Swaddling is a Godsend....

One minute, I'm awake...

The next, I'm out (literally less than a few minutes later)!

Second Month - First Bath in the Tubby + Meeting Pop'pa and Gigi

On March 8th, my father (Pop'pa) and my step-mum (Gigi), drove up from WV to see and meet the family!  We had a fantastic time.  Nate, Em, Nathaniel, and I headed over to their hotel around 10am.  When we walked in, I saw my Dad immediately, sitting on the couch in the lobby.  I headed over and gave him a big hug before popping Nathaniel into his arms.  Em was a little shy at first, but then she warmed right up to Gigi, chattering away at her.  Gigi and Pop'pa brought up gifts including a beautiful purple wrap dress for me, some fun art/coloring books, a new outfit, necklace, and headband for Em, and some cute newborn clothing for Nathaniel (YAY, finally some clothing that fits him!).

We took them to Dysart's, which is a truck stop restaurant here that is infamous.  Then we went back to the hotel and Em and Nate swam around while the rest of us chattered and sweat to death.  Em had a birthday party to go to, so she left us around 3pm.  We went back to the room and talked.  Nate hadn't met Pop'pa and Gigi yet, so it was nice to see them get to meet and get to know one another.  Then we went to dinner at the Weathervane, and Nate and I took them back to see our house.

It was hard for me to see them leave.  It was a short visit, and we had so much fun.  I really miss them.

Nathaniel's first bath in the tub was on March 9th after Pop'pa and Gigi left to go back to the hotel to get some shut eye!  He didn't seem to hate it =)


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

First Month - Breast feeding is not easy!

Ack!  So the first month kinda absorbed all my energy and attention, so my blog kinda fell to the waste side.  Going forward, I will try to get back on a weekly schedule though!

So the first month was wonderful.  I have loved getting to know my son, spending time with my family, and watching him grow (well grow eventually).

Mommy and Nathaniel - 1 day old

However, this month was also hard as I struggled with breast feeding.

My son was born on Feb 7th. He was about 3 weeks early (was due between the 23rd - 28th depending on the O Date, Last period, and ultrasounds). When he was born, he was a piranha! Oh my goodness. I was so excited. Didn't think he was going to have any issues with breastfeeding. However, just because he was hungry and ready to eat, didn't mean it was going to be easy.  It hurt. A lot. My son was getting frustrated too. He came out starving. He wanted more than what I was giving him. He would get upset when he would latch and get nothing. So he'd unlatch and cry and I'd try to get him to latch. I started to get frustrated too. I thought, well once my milk comes in things will be easier. I didn't time things. I'd try to breast feed for a few minutes or so but then he'd de-latch and I'd stop.

He was born 6lbs 7.8oz. We went home on Friday the 8th. I exclusively breast fed (EBF) all weekend. My son was a sleepy baby and I was told in the hospital that babies are like dogs. Let a sleeping baby lie. So when he slept through feedings or fell asleep immediately on the boob, I didn't think much of it and let him sleep. He wasn't very fussy but I did notice that he was not pooping and there were orange spots in his diaper with his pee (and the pee area was yellowish). When we went to the Pediatrician on Tuesday the 12th, my son had lost a lot of weight. About 15%. He was down to 5lbs 7 ounces.  Other than that, the doc said he was perfect.

3 days old

The pediatrician said that I should try keeping my son on one side for 20 minutes then switch for 10 minutes on the other side just to stimulate the other nipple. Then when it's time to feed again start with the 10 minute side. I asked about pumping but he said he didn't feel I needed to. So I didn't. The pediatrician told me that if my son hadn't gained weight or lost more weight by Thursday the 14th, I would need to either hospitalize him for IV fluids or supplement with Formula.
I wanted to EBF, but hospitalizing my son seemed very unnecessary, so I agreed. I went home, bought a timer, and started timing my feedings. I fed every 2 to 3 hours in the day and 4 at night. His urine seemed less orange and he started having poops. I was excited. I was getting it.
But when I went in on Thursday, he had lost another ounce. I agreed to start with the formula (they gave me Enfamil Gentalease) and told me to supplement every other feeding. Offer breast first, let him eat, and then offer him the bottle afterwards. This sounded pretty reasonable, so I agreed.

2 weeks old!

She still loves him <3

So the first supplemented feeding, I got about an ounce into him and he immediately had major diarrhea. I didn't think much of it at first... but when I supplemented the second time, the same thing happened at almost an ounce. I called the Pediatrician who told me to come in and he'd give me samples of Enfamil Nutramigen. I went in and he told me since my son had diarrhea that I should now supplement every feeding and come back in the morning. I asked again about pumping and he said it couldn't hurt.
On Friday the 15th, I came in and he had gained an ounce. He was 5lbs 8 oz. The pediatrician told me to come back in on Tuesday the 19th and we'd weigh him again.
Obviously at this point, I had lost a lot of faith in myself and breastfeeding. I was dehydrating and starving my child. I was so upset. I did as the doctor told me but when Monday came, I called the hospital and got a lactation appointment. I met with a nice specialist who told me that right now we needed to work on getting my son back up to weight. We spent a lot of time together. We identified a few issues.
  1. My son is slightly tongue tied so he doesn't have the best latch.
  2. My milk supply had taken a dive and I need to work on increasing my milk supply by offering the breast and pumping after feedings to drain the breast.
  3. My son was a sleepy baby and with the weight loss, he needed to get the calories back to be able to breastfeed effectively and efficiently.
She told me not to be scared of the F-word (formula). She told me to offer the breast, pump afterwards, and feed him the pumped milk or supplement with formula if need be. She said he may grow out of his tongue tie, however if I continued to have issues, I should get it snipped.
I was so worried at this point that he wasn't getting enough that I started pumping 8 times a day and feeding him the milk. I bought Yogi Nursing Tea to help build my supply with galactagotes (sp?) and started eating lots of oatmeal!  (See my recipe for Gluten-Free No bakes which serve as excellent lactation cookies)!
On Tuesday the 19th, I went to the Pediatrician and my son had gained weight! He was up to 5lbs 12 ounces. I was overjoyed. My Pediatrician said that if I was still having problems with bfing at one month (March 12th) he'd give me a referral to get the tongue tie evaluated.
The next few weeks from Feb 18th to March 7th, I pumped and really only offered the breast once a day. He just would fall asleep as soon as I put him on the breast. I wanted to make sure he was eating so I relied on pumping. Things were going great. Before I knew it, he was only taking 3-7 ounces of formula a day and I was pumping 14.5 ounces a day! He had a growth spurt which is why he switched to more formula (closer to 7oz a day) when I had almost caught up with him with my supply. I was getting the most around 2 to 3am and 6 to 7 am. He was having regular poops and pees. Everything was going nicely.

First smiles or gas?  2 weeks

During this time, February 26-28th, I got a nasty norovirus. Diarrhea, chills, fever, puking, killer migrane. It was horrible. During this time, my pumping slacked and he had more formula, however, when I recovered, I got right back to pumping regularly and feeding him. As of the 7th, I was pumping 15 ounces a day and he was eating about 22 ounces a day.
I set up another lactation appointment and met with a different specialist on the 7th. She evaluated him and agreed with the tongue tie and that I should get it taken care of. However, she said his latch was much better than was it sounded like it was. She said he nursed great. And it seemed like he was doing a great job. She told me to always make sure I pulled his bottom lip down, made sure he had those fish lips. She suggested that it was time to get back to breast. Told me that I could increase my supply by pumping after feedings but also told me that I could get away from the bottle and formula WHICH IS WHAT I WANTED. She told me that he gets most of what he is going to get the first five minutes on the breast so don't feel like I need to keep him on for long periods of time or that I need to pump for 20 minutes +.

3 weeks and he looks bored!
I walked away feeling determined and encouraged. He was latching. I was going to be able to feed him. I am getting his little tongue tie snipped after I get my referral.
But when I got home, he'd suck and suck and I could hear him swallow but he would fall asleep after a bit. When I moved him, he'd wake immediately and start rooting (tongue out, hands in the mouth, furiously nomming on his hands). So I pumped, but barely got anything. Now obviously, my fear was that my milk had already dried up and that I had screwed everything up again. Logic told me that my milk couldn't dry up that quickly. I would go from getting 2 to 4 ounces per pumping session and suddenly only getting about .5 to an ounce. He was draining me or almost draining me... however he was still hungry. So, I gave him some Formula. Now the specialist said if I was going to supplement for a bit still, I had to make sure I was pumping. So I fed him from the breast, then pumped the excess, gave him that, then offered him formula. He had about an ounce of the formula (He usually gobbles down 2 to 4 ounces).
That same day the traveling nurse came by.  She weighed him in at 7lbs which was 1lb more than he was 15 days ago!  I was excited.  I had an appointment on Tuesday the 12th of March for Nathaniel's one month appointment.  I was nervous that if I EBFed all weekend that he might lose more weight.  I decided to supplement at night (and pump), and breast feed the rest of the day.
1 month!
Through all these nerves this first month with breastfeeding, I am happy to report that on March 12th (today), when I went to the pediatrician, Nathaniel weight in at 7lbs and 8 ounces.  He had also grown an inch (21 inches long!).  This may have seemed like a depressing post, but I wanted to chronicle the first four weeks of hard work that I put in to get me to today.  I will continue to work to EBF and hope to wean Nathaniel completely off of the formula by 6 weeks!  YOU CAN DO IT!  Don't get discouraged!

Nathaniel's Birth Story - FYI TMI

37 Weeks - My last bump picture!
The one thing that annoyed me during my entire pregnancy is when I asked questions like "How will I know if my water breaks?  How will I know if I'm in labor?  How will I know if I'm having contractions?" everyone told me, "Oh, you'll know."  And unfortunately, I did not know.

Let me start at the beginning.  So my step-daughter's birthday was on Feb 5th.  We spent the afternoon after school at the Maine Jump.  Emma ate cotton candy, popsicles, candy and jumped around like a maniac.  I, on the other hand, kicked back and read my book.  I felt fine, other than the minor cramps I had been having for over a week at that point.  Cramps that reminded me of my period.

I went to bed that night with some minor back aches, but nothing different or more intense than the rest of the pregnancy.

The next morning, I got up to help get Em ready for school.  At about 7:30am, I was talking to my husband in the kitchen when I felt some icky.  I went to the bathroom and sure enough, I had lost my mucus plug.  I had lost my mucus plug previously, back at 33 weeks, but the plug does grow back, so I didn't think all that much of it.  Previously when I lost my mucus plug, it was just heavier discharge with some old blood coloration.  This time, however, it was like a glob of snot.  I figured labor could happen today or two weeks from now.  I was 37 1/2 weeks so I didn't put much thought into it.  I put on a pad just in case more started to come out.  And more did come out.  Every five to ten minutes, I'd feel something come out.  A little bit of liquid or something wet.  I had always heard that your water breaking (or membranes breaking) was either a gush of water or a slow trickle.  So again, didn't think much of the fact that stuff was coming out.  So I called my OB and let them know.  They asked me if I wanted to come in early, but since I had an appointment for my 38 week checkup at 3pm, I figured I'd wait.

So, I kissed my husband and daughter goodbye and sat down to plan out my day.  I had a large bowl of oatmeal (two packs) which was super delicious.  It was suppose to snow later that day, so I figured I needed to get things done early.  I needed to get gas, pick up Ni No Kuni at Bull Moose, return Ni No Kuni to Best Buy (I had one on order at Bull Moose that was taking forever to come in...), and grab some groceries at Wal-Mart.  On my way, I called my mom to tell her about the mucus plug and then called my step-mum.  As I wandered around, doing my errands, we chattered.  I wasn't feeling that off, other than some minor cramps and the gross feeling down there.  I was still losing what I thought was more of my mucus plug every so often.  Again, one of those glamourous parts of pregnancy that no one told you about.

I started to get a little more suspicious as I noticed my pad getting wetter.  It wasn't a slow trickle (I imagined a faucet being left on a tiny bit) or a gush though.  And I didn't want to "jump the gun".  So many women jump the gun, thinking their water broke, only to get sent home.  Maybe it was incontinence?  My step-mum, however, was telling me to stop shopping and go home!  So I hung up with Cyndie and headed home.  At this point, I had an inkling that maybe, just maybe, that something was up.  Maybe it was my water?  But so many women jump to the conclusion that their water broke and instead it's just pee.  I gave my Mom a call and she agreed with Cyndie.  That maybe it was almost baby time.  So I called my husband and told him that I was trying to "not jump the gun" but maybe we should start cementing our plans on where Emma should stay if I did go into labor.  So Nate called his sister, and I went home.

After getting home, I noticed my pad was pretty wet.  I asked my cousin who had a baby Nov 2011 about it, and she suggested that maybe it was definitely time to just check in with the doctor.  I gave them a call and was encouraged to head in for an 11:15am appointment vs my 3pm appointment.  It had begun to snow so I took it slow.  Of course the OB office is right down the road so no biggie.

So I got in there, got poked and prodded by a med student, before the actual LPN came in to check me out.  They listened to the baby, who's heartbeat was fine, and then they checked inside.  The LPN, Jen, who is not my favorite LPN at the office, made a face and said "Oh yeah... your membrane's are ruptured" in which I responded "So, you mean we are doing this thing?"  She said "Yeah, we are doing this thing."  And then I started freaking out.  She also told me that I was actually only about 60% effaced (which is weird since the last two visits said I was way more effaced than that) and 1cm dilated.

My doctor, Dr. Smith, came in an reassured me that things were going to be fine, and we were going to have the baby.  He told me to go straight to labor and delivery.  Still no "contractions" no "gush of water or steady trickle" but my water was broken so I headed to the ER.  I contacted Holly who started to plan to fly into town from PA.  I tried to call my husband, but he was with a client, so I told Deb that my water had broken and that he needed to call me.  I called my Mom and Step-mum and started to cry.  I was nervous but not really scared.

I got to the hospital around 1pm.  Holly had called to tell me she'd be here around 6pm.  My husband called to tell me he was leaving right away.  I checked in at registration who sent me up to Labor and Delivery, yet I still was not having contractions (or at least noticeable ones).

They got me into a room, I met my nurse who got me into a gurney, and then they started my IV.  It took two tries to do my IV.  The first time, the nurse blew a vein and my left wrist puffed up like crazy as the IV fluid was pumped directly into the tissue.  She got it the second time, and told me she was going to start the pictocin that the doctor ordered.

Now, I wanted a drug free natural birth, so hearing that my doctor had ordered pictocin through me off.  My husband had just arrived (2:30pm) and I questioned the nurse about why I needed the pictocin.  Because my water had been broken since 7:30am and I wasn't having contractions.  I had not progressed past 1cm dilated either.  I told her I still wanted to wait on the pictocin.

At 3:30pm, my doctor arrived and we discussed the pictocin.  He informed me that once the membranes break, you have about 24 hours to give birth before things start to get risky.  Bacteria starts to cause problems and at 24 hours, if you haven't given birth, the doctor would call for a C-section.  At this point my membranes had been broken for nearly 8 hours, so I agreed to the pictocin to speed things up.  The doctor did recommend that I get an epidural because the pictocin brings the contractions on hard and fast which is painful.  I told him I really didn't want an epidural.  He told me that that was fine, but it was better to get it before I was in a ton of pain.

He also wanted to put a sensor onto Nathaniel's head, so they could monitor my contractions better, but Nathaniel would have none of that.  They tried 3 times, and then just put some strange cord up through my cervix (which hurt like hell) to monitor the contractions better.

Things went ok after that.  Pictocin was started and I started to have contractions.  Nothing major at first, because the pictocin was still on low.  I was crampy like I was having my period, but other than that, I didn't have any major issues.  I read my book while my husband played games.  After an hour, they came in an turned up the pictocin.  By 6pm, my contractions were 10 seconds apart, and I was really feeling it.  Again, the doctor suggested the epidural as I was only 2 cm dilated.  I agreed, thinking it was better to get the epidural so we could turn the pictocin up more than having to have a C-section.  I was really scared though.  I really don't like the thought of anything being put in my back.  Also one thing to note, during my birthing class, they told me that getting an epidural before you are 5 cms could cause labor to stall which could lead to a C-section.  My doctor said this is old information and getting an epidural doesn't cause labor to stall.  Just something to think about.

Holly arrived during my epidural.  I will say this.  It wasn't as bad as I thought.  It really didn't hurt that much and most of the discomfort that I felt was because I was so freaked out by the epidural.  However, there was a med student assisting and she was super annoying.  She kept asking all these questions which was making me even more nervous.  I suggest saying no to a med student while you get a needle jammed into your back.

After that, well everything was a breeze.  Holly came in and showed Nate (my husband) and I pictures of her wedding that we attended in October.  They came out beautifully.  The epidural was amazing.  I didn't feel any of the contractions, and had fun just sitting and watching my contractions map out on the computer screen.  We chit chatted and waited for me to get more dilated.

Which took forever.

At 10pm, I was finally 5 cm dilated.  1cm to 5cms takes the longest amount of time.  Once at 5cms, I was considered in active labor (vs pre-labor).  It was late, and we wanted to conserve our strength for pushing, so we all decided to go to bed.  I ended up waking up around Midnight in a lot of pain.  It was all on my right side though.  The nurse came in and checked and I was 9cm dilated.  She turned up my epidural which sorta helped but it was still pretty painful.  At this point I was in what they call Transition (which is basically going from active labor to "time to push" mode).

At 1am, I was 10cm dilated and it was time to push.  This part was pretty much cake.  With the epidural in, I didn't feel any pain but I did feel a sensation to push.  Like I needed to.  It felt kinda like a pressure.  I HIGHLY suggest, if you have the stomach for it, to watch while you push at first.  During a contraction, I would feel the need to push three or more times.  But if I pushed really hard, then relaxed, his head moved back inside me.  When I watched with the mirror, I could see the progress I was making.  So I would push, hold it, then push again.  Obviously, the first push was the easiest while the third push was really hard and I didn't have much energy.  I'd then have a minute or so to relax before the next contraction.

The nurse called my doctor who arrived around 1:30am.  At that point, we put up the mirror (I didn't need to see the rest)!  He saw that I was going to tear so he gave me an episiotomy (which I did not feel).  Then we pushed some more.   Once the head was out, he just wiggled him right out of me and I didn't need to push anymore.  It was actually super funny because I said to him "Are you pulling it out of me?!".

Nathaniel was born at 1:49am on February 7th, 6 lbs 7.8 ozs, 20 inches, 14 inches head circumference, and covered in cream cheese vernix.  I watched the doctor pull him up out of me and nestle him into my arms.  It was amazing.  My husband was wonderful and supporting and having Holly there was truly a blessing.

The doctor was wrong!  I glared at him when he guessed that Nathaniel would weigh 7lbs 12 oz.

Chubby baby face with vernix!

Holly and Nathaniel!


Kangaroo time.  He's under my gurney against my bare chest.

Time for rest for Mommy and Baby!
Big sister and baby brother

She just adores him.

Eyes open!

Our happy little family!

Grampy and Nat.

Nanny and Nat.

Grammy and Nat.

Eyes open!

And I adore her.