The first days…

By 1 week postpartum the heaviness in my belly (err my uterus feeling like it was going to fall out) was gone. Week 2 the front tearing was healed and the back tearing was just a little tender (not on fire burning like it felt before). Week three all the tearing was healed and was no longer tender. It was around 2 months post that the *whispers* hemorrhoids went down.

As for Oliver we had a little bit of a rough start. Day one and two he wanted to nurse, but never really latched on well. Day 3 he seemed to become increasingly frustrated and by day 4, even though my milk had come in, he would just scream once I brought him up to my breast.  I worked with both my midwives on getting him to latch and didn’t have any success.  They said I wasn’t doing anything wrong, just needed to keep working with him.  Day 4 (Friday) one midwife suggested I start spoon feeding him as he had lost 10 ounces. I did so and he eagerly sucked the milk down.

So my routine began with pumping one breast then attempting to get him to nurse at the other. When he would get upset give him a spoon or two of milk to calm him down and then try again at the breast. I would do that for 20-30 minutes and then pump the other side and spoon feed it all to him.


Friday afternoon I got a call from my midwife informing me that she had gotten Oliver’s newborn screening back and he had tested positive for 2 different genetic disorders, galactosemia and biotinidase deficiency. I was really quite stunned. How could something be so terribly wrong with my seemingly perfect (besides the nursing issue) baby boy? Still quiet numb, I called my parents and as soon as my dad answered I broke down sobbing. Unable to get anything out and my poor dad was left asking “whats wrong? are you ok?!”. They comforted me the best they could, trying to be positive and saying out of all the genetic disorders these were treatable ones. I got a call from the genetic specialist at Children’s Hospital shortly thereafter. We set up an appointment for the next day for an additional blood draw, to confirm the diagnosis and also to define the severity of the cases.


Saturday morning we made our way into the hospital. At the welcome desk we had to get photo ID passes in order to enter the wings of the hospital where the children were located. With Oliver tucked snuggly in a sling over my chest the teller asked me to step back on the “x” and smile. Smile. Puffy eyed from crying, dark circles from not sleeping, and fearing for my baby I numbly looked into the camera as she took my photo. Sticking our passes onto hour shirts we headed up to the genetic floor. After speaking with the doctor for a good while and him throughly explaining the disorders and treatment for them we had to strip Oliver down and have 6mls of blood drawn from his tiny little arm vein. The nurse had to probe around for quite some time and poke multiple times before she finally got a flash all the while my poor Ollie was being held down by another nurse and was screaming. Oh my heart was breaking. Unable to hold and comfort my son he lay there cold, scared, with a bright light shining on him while being restrained and poked. It took all my will power to not yell at the nurses to stop and run out of that place with my baby. After they drew the blood they told us we could go and they would probably have results by Thursday or Friday and give us a call then.

After the appointment Saturday we drove to the camp where my sister would be getting married the next day and I was able to spend about 2 hours with my mom helping me try and get Oliver to nurse. We tried different holds, stimulating his cheeks/lips, holding his mouth open wider, ect.  We eventually got to the point that he would start rooting, sucking a little, but never got a latch.  We did notice that him drinking from the spoon he sucked a LOT of air down with the milk so he was becoming very gassy and fussy. So Saturday night we tried a bottle with breast milk and he took to that just fine and the gassy/fussiness went down considerably.

Monday and Tuesday I started doing a lot more skin to skin with Oliver (several hours a day), trying to show him I was a safe/comfortable place and I continued pumping some, trying to get him to latch for about 20 minutes, pumping the rest and then bottle feeding it to him.  Every feeding was an exhausting battle, he red faced screamed 99% of the time. Doing more research I was finding more on nipple confusion and was so upset with myself that it might be my fault that he wasn’t able to latch.  I didn’t want every feeding for him to scream nonstop. I wanted him to be happy and healthy and if I had to pump and bottle feed for that to happen, I would. But, I really wanted to be able to share the breastfeeding experience with him and honestly, let’s be real, it would just be so much easier.

Luckily, God was looking out for me and sent my husband’s old room mate’s wife my way. She encouraged me so much and gave me several suggestions of things to try. One thing she and another mama friend mentioned was a nipple shield, essentially a latex nipple that goes over your own, but its more stiff so you can get it in the baby’s mouth easier. So on day 8, I called Brandon while he was at work and asked him to pick one up on his way home. Once he got home I opened it up and tried it out. Oliver gummed it a few times and then started sucking. My heart was racing with excitement. Could this be it? As per directions I allowed him to nurse a couple minutes and then removed the shield and tried to resume without it. He fussed a bit so I replaced the shield and let him nurse a bit longer. Removing the shield a second time we were finally able to connect and he latched and nursed with no shield!! I could have cried I was so happy. Over the next week I was able to wean Oliver off the nipple shield during the day and then it took another week to be able to nurse without it, day or night.

Back to Wednesday, day 9, I had this urge to get online and check Oliver’s hospital profile to see if his test results had come in yet. I really wanted to know, but at the same time if it was bad news I didn’t. I went back and forth with myself debating if I should check or just wait for the doctor to call, but Lord knows they never call when they say they will. I finally got on and there on the left side were links to the test results. My heart raced, sweat started prickling on my neck, and I felt nauseous. I sat there and just looked at the links. Terrified of what may lie behind them. Trying to calm my nerves I looked down at my beautiful Oliver sleeping soundly beside me on the couch and sent up a quick prayer. Clicking the Galactosemia link I scanned through the results. My eyes widened. NEGATIVE. Quickly backing out the the main screen I scrolled down and selected the Biotinidase Deficiency link. NEGATIVE. Oh my heart. I scooped Oliver up in my shaking arms. Tears threatening to spill over as I kissed his warm doughy cheeks and whispered my thanks. He was going to be ok. My sweet sweet boy was going to be ok.

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Oliver’s Birth Story

Disclaimer : this is a detailed account of the birth of my son. If you are squeamish, or talk of body parts makes you uncomfortable you should probably find something else to read. 

8/1/16- Dune and I laid down to go to bed around 9:30pm. At 9:59pm I had what I thought was a braxton hick, but it was a little more intense, more comparable to menstrual cramps with the pain localized only in my lower abdomen. After that I had 3 more all 17 minutes apart, then 11 minutes apart for a hour. 1am (8/2/16) rolled around and these contractions were gaining intensity and were 7 to 8 minutes apart. I left the bed room at this point as I couldn’t lay in bed quietly anymore and I didn’t want to wake Dune. Around 3am the pain from the contractions was causing me to vomit and then dry heave once I was empty. 5am came around and Dune woke up for work and came in the bath room to find me groaning through a contraction. He jokingly asked me “are you in labor or what?” As to which I responded “I better be!”, thinking if this was false labor there’s no way I’d be able to handle the real thing.

Dune went and found himself some breakfast and I made my way outside as the sun was coming up.  I was freezing between contractions and the sun warmed me a bit, however during a contraction I would get really warm and break a sweat so I moved back inside after not too long. 6am came and contractions had moved entirely to my back I also noticed I had started spotting a small amount. I called the midwife and let her know, she was pleased and told me to call back with an update when I had some changes and to try and eat, drink, and rest as much as possible. Nearing 7am Dune asked if he should stay home or if it would be awhile and he should go to work. With my family being over 2 hours away I didn’t want to chance being caught home alone with a baby we thought would be slower. I asked that he stay home, to which he agreed and then asked what he could do to help. My answer was obviously “RUB MY BACK!”

9am I called the midwife, contractions were 4-5 minutes apart and lasting 1-2 minutes each and I had lost my mucus plug. Dune started setting the birthing pool up. 10 am I called again with contractions 3-4 minutes apart and lasting 2-4 minutes. I also texted my mom and she said she would be heading up to our place shortly. Now let me tell you, the 90 second contractions were bearable, 30 seconds to gear up for the middle 30 seconds then 30 seconds tapering off. It was the 2,3,4,5 minute ones that would drop me, rendering me unable to move from any position, my back and legs cramping up, and lots of dry heaves. Dune commented on how during the contractions my back muscles on either side of my spine felt “as hard as bones”. The long ones seemed to double up as well. I’d have a 4 minute contraction with a 15 second break then it would start again for another 3 minutes. I was so incredibly uncomfortable. By this time I was shaking uncontrollably, wether it was from dehydration, no food, the pain, or just the sheer fact of being in labor I don’t know, but it had Dune slightly concerned. Also it had taken him 2 hours just to set up the pool due to me crying out for him to rub my back for every contraction. 11am Dune called the midwife as I was unable to talk and was just moaning like some lone billowing beast on the prairie. The midwife said I was doing well and she would get a hold of the other midwife and they would be out in an hour to an hour and a half and in the mean time I could get in the pool if I wanted. I got in and felt relief (if that’s what you call it…maybe more like 2 hours ago kind of pain) nearly instantly on my back. I mentioned to Dune my concern of regressing, but I couldn’t bring myself to get out and found myself nodding off between contractions. Around noon the contractions had revved back up and I felt as though I was burning up and going to pass out during contractions, but in between them I was freezing. I had a steady stream of sweat dripping off my face, where this sweat was coming from I don’t know as I hadn’t kept any liquid down since the night before.

12:30pm the midwives arrived. They smiled gently, spoke softly, and gave compassionate greetings as they entered. They checked my blood pressure, pulse, and listened to baby. All was well. I mentioned I was feeling a lot more pelvic pain during the contractions and they said it sounded like we would have a baby soon. The one midwife found a spot on the floor in the corner of the room and did the recording while the other quietly gathered her things on the bed next to the pool. The one recording soon made her way over to my side and started breathing and moaning me through contractions.

Nearing 1pm I started feeling much more pressure in my tailbone / rectum area. I mentioned that it felt like I had to poop to which the midwife replied it was the baby’s head moving farther down  giving that sensation. I wouldn’t necessarily say it felt like I “had to push”, but it started to feel different. The midwife listened to baby again and said the heart beat was so low (low inside of me, not low as in rate) that if I felt like I should push I could go ahead and try. So I tried. And tried, and tried. I really felt like nothing was happening. Nothing felt like it was changing. The contractions still hurt, the pressure inside was all in the same area and didn’t seem to be moving downward at all. I mentioned that and the midwife said she could check quick. I nodded and she quickly replied with a “oh honey, the head is less then half an inch away you can feel it if you want”. I really had no desire to move from my position draped over the side of the pool and just said “nah, I believe you.”. She laughed and mentioned the amniotic sack was still intact, but they were going to leave it that way as it would protect his head from bruising and that I could push again when ever I felt ready.

Ya know, I really had been encouraged when I was allowed to start pushing. That ment we were in the home stretch. I’d heard so many people say once they started pushing it was 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes and they were done. Here I was an hour later still pushing. 2pm came and went. With every contraction Dune would push in on my hips to try and help elevate some of the pain while I was dry heaving into an old butter container. The midwives were checking baby with the doppler nearly every contraction to make sure the heart rate was good, which it was. During this time I heard the front door open and the familiar foot steps of my mom make their way in the door.  She stayed in the living room, I didn’t exactly want her in the room with me, but knowing she was there in the next room was encouraging.

Around 2:20-2:30pm I had a very noticeable change in where I was feeling the pressure and this pressure really turned into a tearing/burning kind of pain. Baby was crowning. I was so upset that I could feel the tearing. I didn’t want to tear. I’d heard so many horror stories of tearing, stitches, infection, and incontinence. I had come so far and I didn’t want to go any farther. I didn’t want to push any more.I literally started to try and fight the contractions and hold the baby in to stop the tearing (like that was really going to work). I wanted my baby, yes, but I didn’t want the tearing. I listened to the midwifes I did push… more just because they told me to, not because I wanted to. After several attempts I became light headed and disoriented. It was almost like for a split second I couldn’t feel any pain, like it was a dream and I was watching from the outside. I don’t know, I don’t want to be one of “those people”, but it was weird and let’s just pretend I didn’t mention it. So after that and lots (I mean a LOT) of screaming (I can only imagine what the upstairs tenants were thinking) the head was born with the amniotic sack still intact.

At 2:53pm with the next contraction the sack popped and baby slid right out. I tell you what if popping that stupid sack was all that was needed to get that baby out… ugh (I think he could have dealt with a few bruises if it would have saved me so much pushing and tearing. :p)

I rolled over off the side of the pool onto my butt and pulled my baby out of the water. It was wide eyed, sweet and calm as can be. It only started crying when I slipped and it got splashed in the face with water. (way to go mom) I held it to my chest and rubbed it’s spine, my farming instincts kicking in rubbing lambs to get them to breath. The midwife patted my shoulder and said “He’s fine, he’s breathing, you don’t have to rub him.”. He! During the pregnancy I was silently concerned that if it was a boy that I would be disappointed. However, holding this tiny frog legged baby with his arms crossed across his chest and a fist to his cheek I couldn’t have been happier. I didn’t care boy or girl the love in my heart was overflowing for it. I sat there with him skin to skin, kissing his slimy, wrinkly, vernix covered face for 45 minutes to an hour while the midwifes handed me bottle  after bottle of water (they wanted me to pee before they left). He was so perfect. I delivered the placenta and Dune cut the cord after it had finished pulsating. I handed the baby to Dune and he dried him and worked with the one midwife to get all his measurements while the 2nd midwife helped me to the shower.

After my shower the midwife checked me. I did indeed tear. Both front and back, however she noted they were only (only, pftt..) surface tears (didn’t go to the muscle) and that if I stayed in bed the rest of the week and always kept my knees together they wouldn’t put sutures in. So I guess I can be grateful for that. Oh and my sweet little Ollie as well. 😉  By this time I did have to pee so I waddled to the bathroom, gushing blood with every step.  It may sound odd but it was almost a satisfying sensation all the blood and clots (the largest was like a tennis ball, what?!) coming out. Like after you deep clean a room or your car, getting all the dust and grime out of all the vents out and you just feel so satisfied. Kind of like that. Anyways, once I got to the toilet it was a little scary to try and pee. Like it kinda felt like if I relaxed enough to pee that my uterus was just going to fall out into the toilet. lol But, I did successfully pee and I yelled out the door “the plumbing still works!” to which the midwives laughed.    Once I was back in bed and all settled my mom came in with a plate of food she had made for me and she held Oliver while I ate.

As for the name we wanted a name that would honor the important men in our lives. My dad’s middle name is Forrest, so we went with the tree theme. Also my grandfather’s middle name, Frederick, means peace. The meaning of Oliver is “Olive Tree”. What is the universal sign for peace? An olive branch. So we had a first name. Brandon wanted to pass his middle name on so that’s how we came up with Oliver Scott.

Oliver Scott
Born August 2nd, 2016 at 2:53pm
7 lbs 10oz – 21 1/2 inches long – 13 1/2” head
17 hours of labor including 2 hours of pushing (Awake for 40hrs+)
100% medication free – Home birth

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Weeks 20-27: in review

Weather is changing and I am finding myself outside more then posting updates!

Week 20: Baby kicks are becoming much more noticeable!  Dune also felt his first kick. 🙂

Week 21&22: Lots more kicks!

Week 23: Sciatica pain at work. 😦 We started our baby registry and happened upon a diaper bag and high chair at insane prices. Originally they would have cost us $110 and we got them for $30. Score!  Also had a midwife appointment and all is well. Measuring right on. Baby was being a little squirmy pushing the scope away making it hard to find the heart beat. :p  I ended up going into a hospital to get my blood drawn as my veins have been illusive to my midwifes. lol

Week 24: More Kicking.

Week 25: Back pain that was only on my work days has turned into a chronic everyday occurrence. I got my blood results as well and found out I am O-. Negative. Rh negative. I knew from growing up that being Rh- was bad. I grew up my grandma making the comment about how she would have never risked having a 2nd child (my dad) had she known she was Rh-.  Now here I sit reading my email informing me of my blood results trying frantically to rake my memory to recall WHY it was that being Rh- was bad.  After researching and speaking with my midwife, essentially if my baby is Rh+ (which is possible beings Dune is A+) and our blood was to mix my body would make antibodies to combat the foreign positive blood and attack my baby. Quite horrifying really.  My own body attacking the little life I have prayed for everyday. Turns out the chances of our bloods mixing is fairly rare. Like if there was a big trauma (ie. car accident) or birth.  There is also a vaccine that can be given up to 72 hours after said trauma that will suppress any antibodies from forming. Scary as it is to think about what harm could happen I choose to sit content knowing every kick I feel baby is here and strong.

Week 26: The end of week 25, beginning of week 26 we made a 9 hour drive down to Dune’s cousin’s wedding.  Carpooling with 6 family members total riding in the back of an Excursion was NOT enjoyable. Every little bump in the road pulled on my belly and back causing a painful stiff pregnant lady.  Also started experiencing braxton hicks this week while on long walks or vacuuming at work.

Week 27:  Appointment with my midwife and we discussed more about the Rh- factor, my daily back pain (severe enough that Dune has to help me up in the evenings and if I lay on my back I can’t lift my legs due to the intense pain) , and braxton hicks. We agreed to not increase my work load and going onto light duty (ie. no carrying vacuums up and down stairs) would be ideal.  Chiropractor, Acupuncture, Massage, and Stretching was also suggested for my back pain.  For now I will be trying some stretches at home and see if my lighter work duty will help alleviate the pain.  Later in the week I went to the hospital again to have another blood draw to ensure that my blood has no antibodies in it attacking the baby.

 

-Pre pregnancy vs Now (27w) Statistics-

Pre: 5’7″ – 147# – Bust:35″ – Waist: 28″ – Belly Button: 30″

Belly Pooch (for lack of a better description): 32″ – Hips/Butt: 42″

Now: 5’7 – 164# (+17#) – Bust:37.5″ (+2.5″) – Waist: 31.5″ (+3.5″)

Belly Button: 37.5″ (+7.5″) – Pooch: 39″ (+7″) – Hips/Butt: 42″ (-″)

20&2122&2324&2526&27

Week 17, 18, & 19: in review

Week 17 not too terrible much went on. First couple days I had some slight RLP, and back aches after work, but besides that week 17 was easy pea-sy.

-Pre pregnancy vs Now (17w) Statistics-

Pre: 5’7″ – 147# – Bust:35″ – Waist: 28″ – Belly Button: 30″

Belly Pooch (for lack of a better description): 32″ – Hips/Butt: 42″

Now: 5’7 – 151.5# (+4.5#) – Bust:36.5″ (+1.5″) – Waist: 29″ (+1″) – Belly Button: 35″ (+5″)

Pooch: 37″ (+5″) – Hips/Butt: 42.5″ (+.5″)

17weeks

 

Week 18 I’m pretty certain I felt a little kick during my lunch break at work on Monday and then maybe one again later in the week, but it’s nothing repeatable so I’m still dubious. This week I did go down to my parents for a few days for my younger sister’s 11th birthday.  I noted a bit of a sore throat one evening and day, but I had been taking lots of vitamins/herbs since Dune had came home last week with an awful cold.  Thankfully, that’s all the longer it lasted (Dune however is currently going on week 3 of this cold, ick).

-Pre pregnancy vs Now(18w) Statistics-

Pre: 5’7″ – 147# – Bust:35″ – Waist: 28″ – Belly Button: 30″

Belly Pooch (for lack of a better description): 32″ – Hips/Butt: 42″

Now: 5’7 – 153# (+6#) – Bust:36″ (+1″) – Waist: 29″ (+1″) – Belly Button: 34.5″ (+4.5″)

Pooch: 36.5″ (+4.5″) – Hips/Butt: 42″ (+0″)

18weeks

Week 19 started out with some brown spotting.  I spoke with my midwives and beings I wasn’t experiencing any other symptoms decided to just monitor for the day. By the next day everything had cleared up and was back to normal, apparently the cervix becomes much more vascular during pregnancy and light brown spotting isn’t out of the norm. I did Take the day off of work just to make double make sure nothing started up again. It didn’t. On Monday, March 7th I tried playing some music to baby by placing some earbuds on my belly.  After a few songs I started feeling little taps like the ones I had felt before, but was unsure about, and then I got one big kick that I literally saw from the outside. Oh baby. That was reassuring after the spotting the day before. 🙂  Thursday I then had another midwife appointment.  This time I got to hear little one. I was so amazed at how quickly she found it, literally placed the doppler on my belly and the speaker came to life with the most perfect little heart beat thumping away. I was also surprised at how high up baby was, I mean I know I’m growing, but wow I remember back when my uterus was below my pubic bone and having it pop above that was something I was so excited about.  Now uterus is at the top of my belly button!  That evening I felt baby move around a lot and Friday as well. Hoping this is the start of an everyday occurrence. 🙂

-Pre pregnancy vs Now Statistics-

Pre: 5’7″ – 147# – Bust:35″ – Waist: 28″ – Belly Button: 30″

Belly Pooch (for lack of a better description): 32″ – Hips/Butt: 42″

Now: 5’7 – 153# (+6#) – Bust: 36″ (+1″) – Waist: 29″ (+1″) – Belly Button: 36″ (+6″)

Pooch: 38″ (+6″) – Hips/Butt: 43″ (+1″)

19weeks

DIY Dog Bed

I have been on the look out for a cheap yet quality dog bed for YEARS.  I’ve yet to find one. So yesterday I decided I would just make one.  I was shopping and found 2 King size extra firm pillows that were on clearance for $8.24 a piece.  I was just going to buy some polyester fill at a craft store however after price checking I found it cheaper just to buy some pillows and use the filling from those. I also grabbed a cheap mattress pad, egg crate material, for 14.99 and a King sized flat sheet on clearance for $5.68. My total coming to $37.15 and I have enough material for beds for BOTH the dogs. Less then $20 a bed. (I’m sure you could even do it for less shopping at a cheaper store or waiting for all your items to be on sale/clearance)  Here’s how I did it.

Pillows:Pad

padcut

First I rolled out my mattress pad and figured out how much I needed to be able to double it over and have it the same size as my 2 pillows.

I then laid out my sheet and figured how much I needed to cover my “bed”.  I essentially made a giant pillow case. I  cut enough to make 2 pillow cases.

I folded my piece in half, rough side out,  then pinned and sewed 2 of the sides. Leaving one side open, like a pillow case. The open side I made sure to use the side that was already hemmed on the sheet so I didn’t have to worry about sewing a hem or it fraying.

I then turned the material right side out and viola! A giant pillowcase.

I then stuffed my pillow case with my pillows and mattress pad, leaving the plastic on the pillows and wrapping the pad in plastic as well to avoid doggy smell transfer. Remember, I did make 2 pillow cases, for durability, so I put the 2nd pillowcase on the opposite way. I think Duke approves! Plus its super easy to strip it and throw the cases in the wash.

My remaining mattress pad it was just the same size as a regular pillow. So I found an old stained pillow we had in storage and used that as the filling for Keysha’s bed. I also had enough material left over to make a pillowcase for her bed as well.  I did, however, with Keysha’s bed add a tie to the opening because she is a digger before she lays down. I didn’t want her pulling the inside out as she dug around to make her bed.

Easy-peasy, mac-and-cheesy. 🙂