Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker

Jul 13 2012

PPA

Hi everyone. Thumper and I have been settling into our routine of being home together and it’s been going very well. I love being able to spend so much time with him. I wish we could afford for me to be a stay at home mommy for good, but it’s just not possible. I could work only part time and still make ends meet, so that’s a possibility in the future. But for now we’re enjoying unemployment and spending lots of time together.

One thing I haven’t mentioned on this blog is that I’ve been struggling with all the trauma surrounding Thumper’s birth and my subsequent HELLP diagnosis. I’ve had anxiety issues in the past, and since Thumper was born they have been magnified. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I have postpartum PTSD, but I do think about his birth a lot, and not in happy ways. It’s not so much the actual birth as it is the week afterward where I couldn’t see straight, stand up, or remember large chunks of time. Just recently my mom and Hubby told me that I was *this* close to having a blood transfusion because the HELLP had destroyed all my platelets. I have no memory of that. And that scares me.

When I drive past the hospital, which I have to do every time I go to my PT appointments for my joints, my heart races and my chest gets tight. Every month that Thumper has a birthday I think about the circumstances of his birth and it brings it all back–the confusion, the twitching, the wondering if I’d ever feel normal again. I can only imagine what his year birthday will be like for me.

In addition, I’ve started having panic attacks and some agoraphobia. A few weeks ago, and the straw that broke the camel’s back for me, was when Hubby, Thumper and I went to the mall so that I could find a new suit for an interview. What should have been a happy family outing was an exercise in panic for me. The entire time we were there I was on edge, tense and unable to enjoy myself. Taking Thumper out to public places was just too much for me, which isn’t fair to him. After we got home, I talked with Hubby about my anxiety and he agreed it was getting worse. He said he wanted his wife back, and that made me feel sad.

So I called my ob/gyn and made an appointment. We talked for a long time about all the trauma I’ve been through in the past 7 months: traumatic c-section with a spinal gone horribly wrong, HELLP diagnosis and recovery, 4 days in the hospital with Thumper for failure to thrive, another hospital visit for Thumper in January for throwing up blood, returning to work and immediately being put on a performance improvement plan, then losing my job and having to continue to work there for another two months. And let’s not forget the health issues I’m battling. My ob was very supportive and said that anyone in my situation would be struggling, and that doesn’t make me a bad mother or a weak person. She prescribed Lexapro, an antidepressant/anxiety drug (an SSRI) and recommended therapy.

That was two weeks ago. Yesterday Hubby told me he wanted to thank my ob for helping me because he can’t believe the difference he’s seen in me in the past two weeks. I’m calmer, happier, less moody. I haven’t even started therapy yet (which I will, because I think it’s important and I need to work through my story), but I’m already feeling so much better.

Postpartum depression gets a lot of press now, but you don’t hear much about postpartum anxiety. It’s a real thing, though. In some ways I’m sad that it took me so long to seek help, because I already feel so much better. We’re even going on an impromptu weekend trip with Thumper tonight. But I am very glad that I was able to swallow my pride (and guilt) and talk to my doctor. Now, instead of feeling overwhelmed all the time, I’m starting to plan for the future. A future with our little family. And that fills me with hope and contentment.


May 26 2012

6 month update

I cannot believe little Thumper is already 6 months old. Time has just flown by!

He’s doing great. All hints of his failure to thrive diagnosis are long gone. He weight 17 1/2 pounds and is in the 50th percentile for all of his growth markers. He is learning by leaps and bounds and it’s fascinating to watch him figure things out. His newest thing is sitting up unassisted. He still topples quite frequently, but he’s getting better at it every day.

Thumper is a joy to be around. He is always smiling and showing off his six(!) teeth. His personality is silly and curious and he is constantly watching everything with his big blue eyes. He loves being cuddled but also likes to explore on his own. He never cries unless he’s hungry or really tired. And the boy can sleep! He usually goes down around 7pm and gets up at 6am. We are lucky, lucky parents.

So I am just thrilled at how well he’s doing. It’s been a bumpy road for each of us and I’m so glad my health issues have not affected him. I am still having a lot of problems with my joints and it’s not getting better. The rheumatologist had a cancelation a few weeks ago so I went in for my intial appointment. He said I’m an atypical case because of the HELLP syndrome and also because I am breastfeeding, both of which can cause all sorts of hormonal imbalances. But blood tests revealed that there is more inflammation than previous tests, and also came back positive for a Lupus marker. I have a follow up appointment on June 12th for more tests.

I just wish I felt better for Thumper’s sake. I’m exhausted all the time, and I have a hard time carrying him or getting on the floor with him. I feel like a 90 year old woman most of the time and I forget what it feels like to be pain free. That in itself is exhausting and depressing. Luckily I have the cutest little boy ever to keep me going. I don’t know what I’d do without him, and without a lot of help from Hubby, who has been amazing thus far.

On the work front, the Dept. of Human Rights filed a charge of discrmination on my behalf on May 11th. My school district should have received it by now. It can take up to a year to decide the case, though mine is a “priority” case because the school is a government agency. Work has been stressful and depressing, but we’re almost done. My last day is June 11th, and after that I’ll be on unemployment. I try to see the good in this situation; I’ll be able to stay home with Thumper for awhile and get paid a little for it. But I still am very angry about it. The other day my school had their Achievement of Tenure party, and my stomach gave a little leap when I heard it announced. I should have been in there. I should have been celebrating, not preparing to sue. I try not to think about it too much, otherwise I’m just depressed and angry. Again, it’s my little boy and amazing husband who keep me sane.

So that’s what’s up in a nutshell. I’m looking forward to a quiet summer with the little dude. What have you all been up to?


Apr 28 2012

Take this job and shove it

Hello everyone. Once again I apologize for not updating sooner. It’s been a really busy six weeks or so, and not much of it has been good.

First off, the job: I’m officially not going to be tenured next year. It has been ridiculous. Luckily my assistant principal is a fucking moron and literally told me that the reason why she never said anything to me about my performance in the Fall was becuase I was “sick from my pregnancy and she didn’t want to upset me.” That, my friends, is discrimination, and the Department of Human Rights is going to file a charge on my behalf. This, however, can take up to a year to decide, which means in about 5 weeks I’ll be unemployed. To say I am angry about this is an understatement. There are times where I literally seethe with anger; at other times, I break down crying at the injustice of it all. But hopefully justice WILL be served, eventually.

Oh, I forgot: I sat down with my head principal the day before they told me they weren’t going to tenure me, and she literally said to me that I “lost focus” on my job because of infertility. I’m serious, she really said that. The fact that I didn’t walk over and smack her speaks to my restraint. What a shitty human being.

In other news, I may have rheumatoid arthritis. Yeah, on top of feeling crappy emotionally, I also feel crappy physically. It all began about a month after delivering Thumper. My joints started really hurting, especially my feet, ankes and hips. I chalked it up to lingering pregnancy hormones, but it never got better. In fact, it’s gotten worse. I can barely do anything without being in pain. Getting up off the floor after playing with Thumper is excrutiating. Getting out of bed, or out of the car, is the same. I went to the doctor a couple weeks ago thinking it was my thyroid. He took 5 vials of blood, and two tests came back for very significant inflammation in my joints. So he diagnosed me with inflammatory arthritis, and referred me to a rheumatologist to get further testing and treatment. I just hope there’s something I can do for the pain while still breastfeeding. I’m tired of feeling awful all the time, and I know I’m not doing my best for Thumper because I don’t feel my best.

And now the good news: Thumper is just doing fantastic! He is 5 months old (!) and is the happiest little boy you’ve ever met. He’s constantly smiling and loves to talk to you. He’s obsessed with putting things in his mouth and he already has two teeth! He has mastered rolling both ways (front to back and back to front) and is working on strengthening his muscles enough to sit on his own. He’s still having reflux and gets meds for that, and recently his pediatrician recommended starting cereal to help him keep his liquids down. So we started rice cereal two weeks ago. He liked it, but we started oatmeal yesterday and he LOVES oatmeal. He’s just a joy to be around, and I still tear up looking at him and realizing that he’s mine, that we made him, and that we are so lucky to have him as part of our lives.

So all this other awful crap is sucky, and stressful, and depressing, but when I get home and see my little boy smiling at me, it all melts away and I remember that this too shall pass. I’ve gone through shitty things before and come out stronger. Fuck the job, fuck those insensitive bitches. They don’t own me and I’m bigger than them.


Mar 2 2012

3 Months and Counting

Hello everyone. I apologize for not posting earlier. A lot has happened in the past month.

I went back to work on February 13th. On my second day back, my assistant administrator asked to talk to me. I thought I was going in to the meeting to learn what happened while I was gone, but it turns out the meeting was actually to put me on an “action plan” to improve my performance. I was completely blindsided by this plan. My last review was at the end of the school year last May, and it was glowing. I had worked 2.5 months before going out on leave, and had had only positive feedback from administration. I had no idea where this was coming from.

Needless to say, I became very angry once I had a chance to look over the plan. There were 17 items on the plan, and every single one of them was something I was doing already. I came in the next day and asked for clarification: was my administrator unhappy with my performance in these areas? No. Then why were they on the plan? She didn’t have an answer, and asked if I would like them removed. I said yes, but then she said she’d like to keep them.

I then asked for particular instances that she felt I was not performing up to her expectations. She couldn’t tell me any. So I asked her when she noticed I had been performing poorly. She said she noticed it from the beginning of the school year. So then my next question was, why didn’t you say anything to me then? Why didn’t you tell me what you were looking for so I could change my way of doing things? She said she knew I was sick and didn’t want to upset me or stress me out. That’s not a good enough answer for me.

So now we were getting somewhere. After talking to a trusted colleague, I found out that some people were talking about me while I was gone. And I also thought back to the Fall and remembered feeling very uncomfortable with how administration handled my bedrest. The word “discrimination” started popping in my mind. I was 9 months pregnant with hypertension and early HELLP syndrome, and I wasn’t performing up to par? And yet no one said anything to me or gave me a chance to fix things? Interesting.

So then I clarified this plan with my administrator. I am up to be tenured this year, and if my administrator doesn’t feel I am performing up to par, I will be fired. No second chances, nothing. I am extremely angry that I went from a very positive review to almost being fired without any interventions in between, and the whole thing just stinks of toxic relationships and pregnancy discrimination.

Every day now, I go into work angry. I do my job, work my ass off, and then my adminstrator will get mad because a parent scheduled a meeting for Friday instead of Wednesday because they had to work (this really happened! Like this is my fault!). I live in constant fear that something I’ll do or say will be twisted to fit their agenda, which seems to be to get rid of me. I am so angry that I have considered just quitting outright. After all, I have a clinical license and plenty of experience, and could find a job pretty easily. But I love what I do, and I want to remain in this district if at all possible. I have 13 weeks of school left and I think I can make it.

Luckily I have another supervisor (a district one, not a school one) who is just as flabberghasted as I about this whole thing. She is supporting me and helping me as much as she can, and has given me a lot of guidance on how to handle the situation. She and I both think that as long as I do what this administrator says, they can’t do much to me. So I am going to keep doing everything I can and hope for the best. But you better believe I’m looking elsewhere for employment.

So yeah, I’ve been just a smidge stressed out by this ridiculous situation. It was such a slap in the face to have this happen on literally my second day back from maternity leave. I feel very disrespected, and if I do end up leaving I will be giving them a piece of my mind.

On to happier things: Thumper is doing very well! He continues to gain weight and is now over 13lbs. He’s such a happy baby and is constantly smiling and cooing. He recently started laughing and it’s possibly the best noise I’ve ever heard. There is no way you can be sad when you hear him laugh.

And so my little guy is keeping me sane by keeping me happy. Every day I just light up at the thought of picking him up from daycare. He’s doing really well there and he has won the hearts of all the kids. I love spending time with him and watching him learn new things. I think our next milestone might be rolling over. Or maybe teething–he’s been a drool monster lately!

I recently passed an anniversary date that was pretty special: February 26th was one year to the day of the IUI that resulted in Thumper’s pregnancy. I remember feeling so defeated this time last year. We had spent thousands of dollars on treatment and had nothing to show for it. We had decided this cycle would be our last one for awhile. We both needed a break from the heartache, the endless appointments, and the enormous stress that infertility brings to your relationship. Plus, we were running out of money.

What a difference a year can make, right? Now, instead of transvaginal ultrasounds and daily injections, I’m nursing my son. He does this incredibly cute thing where he coos while he’s eating, making delicate little sounds of happiness. And then he pulls off, looks into my eyes, and smiles.

It hurts that I’m being treated so unfaily at my job. I don’t deserve it, and if it doesn’t improve soon, I will quit. Because none of this really matters. What matters is my family. What matters is doing right by this little boy who has become my world and who I am so lucky to have in my life.


Feb 6 2012

2 month update

Hi everyone. I’m sorry for not posting more regularly. I’m still getting used to the nonstop schedule of being a mom.

Everything has been going well for the most part. Thumper is two and a half months old, growing like a weed and is changing every day. He coos and smiles constantly right now, and I’m convinced he’ll be laughing within a week or two. It’s just amazing how quickly he is growing and changing and it’s so much fun to watch him learn about the world.

We had a scare a couple weeks ago. After his 4am feeding he spit up on his sleeper, so I put him on his changing table to change him. I started putting a onesie over his head when suddenly he vomited a profuse amount of bright red blood all over his onesie and sleep sack. And when I say profuse, I mean insane amounts. It covered his onesie and dripped down onto his sleek sack. I literally stood there with my mouth agape for a moment. I was in shock and terrified. I woke Hubby up and asked him to hold Thumper while I called the nurseline for our pediatrician. My immediate thought was that he had cut my nipple and drank some of my blood, but an inspection of my nipple showed nothing. The nurseline asked us to take him to the ER, so we packed him up in subzero temperatures and made our way to the hospital.

When we got there, Thumper was acting just fine. He flirted with the nurses and doctors and everyone kept saying just how cute he was. An x-ray showed nothing wrong with his stomach. I pumped some milk and it didn’t show any signs of blood in it. But I was still the most likely culprit. We were discharged and told to watch him closely. He vomited a couple more times that day, but it wasn’t red. Finally the next afternoon I noticed a small cut on my left nipple. We haven’t had any problems since then, so we’re hoping that was the cause. But I hope I never have to see my baby vomit blood again, even if it was mine.

The cut on my nipple turned out to be from thrush. Thrush is so painful! Both of my nipples feel like they’re on fire, and I have shooting pains in my breast. Luckily Thumper doesn’t have any signs of it. My OB gave me some nipple ointment and it’s been helping. I guess it takes awhile for thrush to fully go away. We’re doing better, though.

I feel like breastfeeding is just one challenge after another. Frankly I am amazed that I’ve lasted as long as I have. Between the HELLP syndrome, flat nipples, using a nipple shield, very low supply, mastitis, and now thrush, I’ve hardly gone a week without something going wrong. It’s very hardto stay positive about it when everything keeps going awry, but I am determined to give Thumper my milk as long as I can. My goal is one year. If I make it to then, you bet I’ll be celebrating.

Next week I have to return to work. I’m mostly dreading it, though there’s a part of me that will be happy to be back in a routine and having adult conversations. But I will miss my little boy terribly. Last week we did a trial run at our home daycare and it went very well. Thumper flirted with the provider and was on his best behavior. I felt very comfortable leaving him with her, and I know she’ll keep him safe. But when I left for the short time away from him, he was literally all I thought about. It’s going to be very hard for me to concentrate at work these first few weeks.

I’m very lucky, though. Because I work for a school, I get to have a spring break in a few weeks, and I also get my summers off. So I’ll still get to spend a lot of time with Thumper. There’s a part of me that wishes I could just stay home with him, though. But I wonder if I’d get bored quickly.

Oh well, there’s nothing I can do about my job right now. I will just have to make the most of the time we have together. And on that note, I’m off to cuddle with my little boy. I’m a lucky, lucky woman.


Jan 11 2012

Birth Story

Well, here it is–I finally got around to writing my birth story. It’s not a pretty one, so feel free to skip it if you get traumatized easily. But I want to write it down for posterity, and to remember just how strong I can be.

On Monday, November 21st at 7:30pm we checked into the hospital for the induction. Earlier that day, I had had my final OB appointment was was told I was 1cm dilated and 60% effaced. My BP was still having issues, so at 40 weeks 2 days it was time for Thumper to join us so I could get better. Check-in went smoothly and soon they were placing the Cytotec to soften my cervix. The plan was to have up to 3 doses of Cytotec during the night and then start Pitocin in the morning. Hubby went home to try to catch a few hours of sleep before the show started, and my mom stayed behind for moral support. But at midnight I went into labor on my own and started having contractions 2 minutes apart. It was slow going and my cervix wasn’t changing very quickly, so I wasn’t able to get an epidural for 6 hours. During that time, my contractions went from manageable to very painful, and my mom had to start coaching me through them. At one point in time I got some Nubain, but it didn’t touch the contraction pain. It did help me rest between contractions, however.

At 5:15am, right after a contraction ended, my water broke. We knew then that we’d be having a baby that day. We called Hubby, who raced back to the hospital. Finally at 6:15am I was 4cm and able to get the epidural. Sweet relief! I was a human being again and able to rest and enjoy labor.

The next few hours went by uneventfully. Pitocin was started because the epidural made my natural contractions slow down. The hours get all mixed up for me, so my timeframe might be off, but I think I was at 6cm by lunchtime. My in-laws, dad and sister showed up to visit. Then things stalled. I was having lots of contractions but things weren’t moving, so an internal monitor was placed to see how strong the contractions were. After that, my pitocin was increased. We labored longer, and still nothing was happening. I started showing signs of a fever, and my heart rate increased. At the same time, baby started having some decels, and there was worry of an infection. I was given tylenol and this helped my fever and was put on oxygen which helped Thumper’s decels.

Around 4pm my actual doctor showed up and checked me. I knew when the nurses told me she was coming that there would be talk of a c-section. And there was. I was still 6cm and hadn’t changed in hours. Thumper was having decels, and my blood pressure and heart rate were getting high. Any of these things in isolation wouldn’t be a big deal, but they were starting to add up. I had two options–wait another couple of hours and see if things would get moving now that the pitocin had been increased, or go directly for c-section. The doctor had a frank talk with me and said we were most likely headed for a section, but that she wanted me to be able to feel like I’d done everything I could for a vaginal birth. She also had hope that the increased pitocin might work some magic, so we chose to wait another couple of hours. I asked everyone but Hubby to leave the room and then he and I had a very long cry. It was heartbreaking to have started the induction so well and labor for so long only to end up with a section. But we just wanted me and Thumper to be safe.

Two hours later, the nurse came in to check me. We had resigned ourselves to hear the worst, so we were flabbergasted when she said I was a 9 and just had a lip of cervix left before I could push! We got cautiously excited, and the nurse flipped me over to one side to get that lip to dilate. It was around then that my epidural started wearing off. I could feel contractions again. The anesthesiologist was called up to administer a bolus, but even that didn’t work. I was only in mild pain, though, so I figured I could get through it.

An hour later, the doctor (the on-call one since mine had left for the day) came in to check if I was complete. We were devastated to hear that my cervix had thickened and swollen and I was back down to a 6 or 7. This made up our minds for us–by this time I had been in labor close to 20 hours and was exhausted. We knew there was little chance of a vaginal birth, so we went for the c-section.

I was prepped for the section and Hubby and I went down to the OR. We kissed goodbye and I was wheeled into the room. The anesthesiologist was there and decided my epidural wasn’t working correctly, so he decided to do a spinal block. He had to try 3 times before he got the spinal in place. I was laid down and then the sheet came up. People were all over prepping me.

This is when it gets scary. I could feel the spinal taking over my legs and abdomen. But then it started creeping up higher. I asked if my arms were supposed to feel numb. The anesthesiologist paused and then said that sometimes happens. Then my lungs started feeling numb. I felt like they were being squeezed from the bottom up. I told them I was having some trouble breathing and they said it’s okay and that I just needed to relax. I tried to relax, but the numbness kept creeping up. Pretty soon I couldn’t feel anything from the neck down. I started panicking. I told them I couldn’t breathe and they kept saying it was okay and that my O-sat was at 100%. But I couldn’t feel anything. They put an oxygen mask on me to help me calm down, but it wasn’t working. Eventually I couldn’t get any breaths in or out and my throat completely closed up. I couldn’t even talk to ask for help. That’s when I heard the anesthesiologist say, “bag her.” They put a bag on me and told me to relax my throat and they started breathing for me.

I could hear people debating on whether to bring my husband in, and eventually the anesthesiologist went out to talk to him. He came in and I was in tears. He told me it was okay and that I would be okay. Then I heard them say look over here, and on November 22nd at 8:05pm I heard a huge scream. The baby was out. I motioned for Hubby to go to the baby, and what helped me through the next few minutes was listening to his exclamations of delight and amazement at his newborn son.

They must have turned off my spinal pretty quickly, because as the baby was being looked over, I started regaining some feeling in my throat. I was still bagged, though, so I didn’t have to breathe on my own yet. Then a few more minutes passed, and I was able to take shallow breaths again. Hubby brought the baby over to me and I started crying. They unstrapped one of my hands and I was able to touch and look at him. We named him together. Then I started crying more and told Hubby in broken sentences what I experienced. He was horrified and didn’t know what to do. It was time for them to stitch me up, so Hubby left with the baby and the doctor got to work.

While it was nice to breathe again, turning off/down the spinal meant that I was feeling everything that the doctor was doing while she sewed me up. I could feel her putting my guts back in place, pushing into my abdomen (which had way too much gas in it from being bagged). Then I could feel her stapling my abdomen closed. I told them a couple times that I was feeling a lot of pain. I think they gave me something for it, but I’m not sure. I do know that I cried a lot and was a hot mess by the time they took me upstairs. The doctor said she had to cut my uterus a bit more than usual because Thumper was positioned strangely (which most likely explains why my cervixed swelled) and that it took her longer to sew me back up because of that and all the gas in my abdomen. My belly was huge and rock hard from all the gas.

I was wheeled upstairs in an enormous amount of pain. I was begging for painkillers and it felt like a million years before I was able to get something. Hubby brought the baby in to see me and we finally got some time together, but it was hard because I was so upset from the surgery and in so much pain. Eventually the painkillers started kicking in and I started feeling better.

The anesthesiologist came in to talk to me about the surgery. Unfortunately I was pretty drugged up at this point, but I do know that he said my reaction to the drug was “rare” and that I shouldn’t get a spinal again in the future. And he basically admitted that it was a total fuck up, but of course he didn’t apologize or anything.

The next couple of days were spent recovering from the trauma of the surgery and the actual surgery itself. We were told we’d be able to leave on Friday as long as things went well. But I was feeling off and my blood pressures kept going up. Eventually on Thursday night I started seeing visual disturbances. Some labs were drawn and my liver enzymes were way off. My hemoglobin was 7.9. And my blood pressure skyrocketed. It turns out I’m one of those lucky people who developed HELLP syndrome after delivery.

I was immediately put on magnesium sulfate for 24 hours to prevent a stroke or seizure. Let me tell you, mag is a shitty, shitty drug and I felt awful. I was completely out of it and could barely even hold the baby. I needed help standing up to use the bathroom because my knees were jello. But by Friday night my labs stabilized and my blood pressure wasn’t getting any higher, so I was able to come off of the mag.

Saturday was spent recovering. My doctor came in and talked to me more about HELLP and told me she’d like to put me on blood pressure meds for the next few weeks. I was more than willing to do this since it was still safe to breastfeed. My milk still hadn’t come in and we were having to supplement Thumper with formula because he was losing too much weight, so I wanted to build up my supply and make sure the meds wouldn’t compromise this. So I started those on Saturday.

On Sunday, my blood pressure finally stabilized enough that we were able to be discharged. I cried the entire way home from the hospital as I sat in the backseat next to Thumper. I felt like I was never going to leave the hospital, and that drive home was a rebith of sorts for me. Once home, I was finally able to get some sleep. My blood pressure was still too high, so I ended up having to go on a higher dose of the meds. But slowly and surely I started feeling more like a human being again.

Looking back, it’s amazing I was able to make it through the first few weeks of Thumper’s life. I was so incredibly sick, and I think if I had realized just how seriously ill I was, I never would have made it. It took until the 6 week mark before I really started feeling more normal.

And I’ll let you in on a secret–I didn’t bond with Thumper right away. Hubby did–it was love at first sight for him, and his life changed the moment he laid eyes on his son. But I was so traumatized by my birth experience and postpartum health issues that it was nearly impossible for me to bond. I could barely hold my baby, let alone develop strong emotions about him. There are many things that happened in the hospital that I simply don’t remember. Hubby has told me about conversations we’ve had, but I have no recollection of them. And there were gifts given that I don’t remember opening. It’s frightening to think about.

But I distinctly remember being out of bed at 3am in the hospital, against doctor’s orders, and going to the bathroom without waking Hubby up. While in there, Thumper woke up crying. I dragged myself off the toilet, and on shakey legs made my way over to his bassinet. Then, for the first time since he was born, I lifted him into my arms completely by myself. I looked down at him and he was looking up at me with big blue eyes, and in that moment I realized I was holding my son. My son! It wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns, but it was a beautiful moment, and it kept me going the next week or so as I struggled to produce enough milk for him and tried to recover from HELLP.

Now, things are incredibly different, and I can’t imagine my life without my little boy. He has grown and changed so much since I first saw his little face in the operating room. I feel so incredibly lucky that both he and are are home together, healthy and strong. Things could have gone so differently for both of us, and it’s too scary for me to think about.

So there you have it. My birth experience was absolutely nothing like what I wanted or planned for, but in the end, we’re all home safe and sound. And I got the best prize of all: a beautiful baby boy. My son.


Jan 1 2012

Happy New Year

Hello everyone. I hope you all had a fantastic holiday season! I’m sorry for not updating much recently. Life has been a bit hectic recently.

In addition to me developing HELLP syndrome after delivering Thumper, we’ve had some other problems. In mid-December, Thumper was hospitalized for 5 days for failure to thrive. At first the doctors suspected pyloric stenosis, but his ultrasound was clear. They did a lot of bloodwork checking for metabolic disorders, but it came back normal. So eventually they decided it was a combination of poor sucking skills, sleepiness, and bad reflux. He was put on baby prilosec and I had to supplement him every 2 hours with either expressed breastmilk or formula (because I wasn’t able to pump enough breastmilk). Luckily that did the trick and he started gaining weight rapidly.

Since then we’ve been slowly backing off on the supplementing. He’s down to an ounce and we’re able to go up to 3 hours between meals. But he’s eating really poorly at the breast. I think he’s lazy now because the bottle is so much easier. We have to use a nipple shield as it is because I have flat nipples, and I constantly worry about my supply and whether he’s getting enough. We did do a weigh in at the doctor where he was weighed before and after breastfeeding and he gained 2 ounces which the doctor said was great, but since then his eating habits have changed. I think Hubby and I will eventually get a baby scale so we can monitor his weight more closely at home. I worry that this is the beginning of the end for breastfeeding for me and I want to hold on to it as long as possible.

To make matters worse, I was just diagnosed with mastitis on Friday. After Thumper’s 3am feeding I went back to bed and just could not get warm. Turns out I had a 101 degree fever. My right breast was killing me and was hot to the touch. Luckily some antibiotics from the doctor and some comfort measures at home worked quickly on my fever and breast pain. I still feel like I’ve been hit by a truck, though. I just wish I could have a couple of weeks where both Thumper and I were improving, not getting worse.

But all that said, it’s been great having Thumper home so far. He’s already changed so much in his short time in this world. He’s big on eye contact now, and loves following your hand or an object if you move it in front of him. He’s also smiling, though rarely. And his movements have become much more controlled. He’s even able to suck on his own hand now, instead of randomly flailing it about.

He’s a very good baby overall. He rarely cries, and when he does there’s usually a reason for it. He’s very curious and wants to be awake and looking around as much as possible. He also loves to snuggle and would rather be in your arms than anywhere else. He’s learning to like the bouncy chair and swing, and now sleeps in his big boy crib (out of necessity–we have to have the crib mattress at an angle to help with his reflux). He has big blue eyes and a cute button mouth that he loves to purse. We like to say he’s practicing his “Blue Steel” look like Zoolander. He has a decent amount of hair, but it’s a different color depending on the light. Sometimes it’s brown, other times a strawberry blond. There’s definitely a hint of red highlights in it.

So other than the nagging health issues for both of us, things have been going well. I go back to my doctor for my 6 week appointment this Wednesday. I’m hoping my bloodwork will show my anemia beginning to clear up (the hemolysis of my red blood cells from the HELLP syndrome made me really weak). I’m also hoping to get the okay to start weaning off my blood pressure meds. Thumper goes back at the end of the week for a weight check; I think he’ll be doing just fine, but of course I worry. But his fat little cheeks tell me he’s doing pretty darn good.


Dec 3 2011

He’s here!

Just a quick update: Thumper was born on 11/22/11 by cesarian section after 20 hours of labor. He was 7 lbs, 2 oz and 20 inches long. I developed HELLP syndrome 48 hours after giving birth, so it’s been a rough recovery so far. But I’m finally starting to feel like a human being again. Thumper is perfect in every way and other than some weight issues from me being so sick, has been doing marvelously. I cry nearly every day our of sheer happiness. I can’t believe our dream finally came true and I’m holding my son in my arms. We are so very, very lucky and everything–all the treatments, heartache, HELLP–everything I’ve went through has been worth it. I’ll post more later–but now it’s time to nurse him!


Nov 19 2011

The Big 4-0

Well, the induction didn’t happen this week. I went in Monday for my appointment, and my blood pressure was looking really good. Then Thumper got an 8 out of 8 on his biophysical profile. Then my doctor checked my cervix and found no change for the last 3 weeks (fingertip dilated, 50% effaced). So it was decided that I’d be given 3 more days to see how I could do. They ran some PIH labs in the meantime and told me to keep doing what I’m doing (which is nothing, seeing as I’m on bedrest!).

I came in on Thursday and my blood pressure was still pretty good. My labs all came back within normal ranges. The bedrest is definitely working. But it’s working a bit too well–my cervix has not changed at all. Not one bit. If I get induced, I run a high risk of a c-section since my cervix is so unfavorable. So now we’re letting me go until Monday with the hopes that Thumper will either make his debut, or my cervix will finally start changing.

My feelings have been all over the place this week. On Monday when I was told we weren’t scheduling the induction after all, I was actually disappointed. I had gone from being sad we were choosing Thumper’s birthday to excited to finally meet him. And then the plans changed and I had to wait three more days to schedule the induction. On Thursday, I had a feeling going into the appointment that they wouldn’t induce, so I was more prepared for it. But it’s been an up and down week for sure.

What’s crazy is, today is November 19th and I am exactly 40 weeks pregnant. I reached my due date! If you would have told me 3 weeks ago when I was put on bedrest that I’d have a 40+ week baby, I’d have told you that you were nuts. I figured it was only a matter of time before my BP got out of control or some labs came back abnormal and we were rushed into an induction. And now I’m going “late”!

Thumper isn’t coming any time soon, if I know what I’m feeling. I’ve barely even had Braxton Hicks contractions the last few days, and I feel perfectly fine. I think Thumper is content to hang out a little longer in his nice warm home. I, of course, am so anxious to meet him that I wish he would come out, but deep down I’m fine with him staying in as long as he needs to. I’m uncomfortable, sure. Three weeks of bedrest will make anyone achy, bored and frustrated. But it’s working, and now I have a big, fat full term baby who is getting to call the shots around here. I’ll meet him soon enough.

My next appointment is Monday. My doctor claimed we’d schedule an induction then, but when I asked her how long they’d let me go past my due date, she was very vague. So I really don’t know what to expect at this appointment. If Thanksgiving wasn’t this week, I’d have guessed I’d be given a few more days, then have an appointment Thursday, with an induction Friday if he hadn’t shown up. But I doubt any doctor wants to work on Thanksgiving, so I can see them going either way–either taking him on Tuesday, or waiting until Friday with no follow up appointment. I can’t see them letting me go past 41 weeks, but you never know, I guess. I’m just staying flexible and as positive as I can.

But I have told Thumper every night this week that he can come out whenever he wants. ;)


Nov 11 2011

Induction

I can’t believe I’m going to type this: we’re having a baby sometime next week!

My blood pressure continues to fluctuate, and while my bloodwork is still within the normal ranges, it’s slowly creeping up. So next Monday, after my last biophysical profile of Thumper, we’ll be scheduling an induction for sometime Tuesday-Friday based on availability.

It’s both exciting and terrifying at the same time. There are so many thoughts running through my head right now that it’s hard to put it on paper. First and foremost I worry about the induction–will it go smoothly, or will it end in a c-section? How will I handle pitocin? What if I’m not good at pushing babies out? What if something goes wrong?

Secondly, I think every woman has an idea of how labor will go–her water breaks, contractions start, she shows up at the hospital and is admitted right away, and a few hours later she pushes a few times and a perfectly healthy baby is born. Key to all of this is that she doesn’t know when it’ll happen. With an induction, now we know down to the minute when my contractions will start. We’ll know our son’s birthday before he does. A small part of me is mourning the loss of a “natural” birth, one where Thumper chooses his birthday. It feels awkward to know that next Monday, I’ll look at a list of doctors and dates and choose when he comes into this world. It seems so sterile.

Now don’t get me wrong–I agree with my doctor on this process. I think we’ve been playing with fire and the longer I go, the more likely it is that I or Thumper will have some major problems. I think we’ve been very lucky to make it as far as we have. And I know he’ll be just fine outside of the womb.

And I’m not really a stickler for how he’s brought into this world. If I need a c-section, that’s okay, as long as he’s okay. If I need an induction, that’s okay too. One thing I’ve learned throughout this process–from conception to now this birth–is that there are many things in life that I cannot control. It’s a hard lesson for me, but a good one. We thought we’d get pregnant right away. We never thought we’d have to go through fertility treatments. We never thought I’d have so many bleeding episodes, or blood pressure issues. We never thought I’d be on bedrest for 3 weeks.

But it’s all okay. Flexibility has been key, and I have a feeling that learning to be flexible will be a great asset as a mother. So, bring on the induction. We’ll survive–no, we’ll do better than that. We’ll celebrate with joy the arrival of our son, who we fought so hard to have.

As John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy. We’ll see you next week.