Archive | April, 2006

I’m Leaving On a Jet Plane

29 Apr

Tomorrow, I will be taking Madelynn on her first plane ride. Right now, I find the task of packing for her daunting. What to bring with me, and what baby essentials I’ll need for the next 6 days is truly mind boggling.

I’m also afraid that I’m going to be one of “those people” with a screaming baby on a plane.

Lord help us.

I’m also debating… Is it gauche to pump in public? I say if breast feeding is accepted, than pumping should be, too. I have a nursing shawl I could use to cover up, but am not sure I’ll have the guts to do it.

I went to work today for a five hour meeting. I got to experience what it is like to get Madelynn ready for the day, drop her off with a sitter (her aunt Audra in this case), and then make it to work on time. Wow, it is a lot of work. It was a short day, and still, I was absolutely exhausted by the time I got home around 4:00. This has me really dreading working full days back to back. Tick tock… Only seven more working days of maternity leave left for me!

Healing My Wound

26 Apr

The reaction to The Birth Story has been interesting for me. My Mom said that I shouldn’t show it to Madelynn, as she may never want to have children. Others say it is one more reason NOT to have kids.

That’s not what I was trying to do. When I look back at that day, the main thing I remember is meeting my daughter. The freakiness and pain are honestly fading in my memory, as I knew they would. That is why I made a point to write down my recollections of the birth soon after it happened, because all my Mom could ever tell me is that you forget about the pain.

I told my Mom, though, that I think The Birth Story is something that Madelynn should read about the time she might start to consider having sex. Seriously, what better birth control is there than to tell a young teenager what it’s REALLY like?! That way, having a child becomes more of a conscious choice when they’re older, rather than an “oops” when they’re too young to handle the responsibility. Or at least that’s my theory.

I digress.

Having been through a c-section and recounting my experience for all of you, there is still no doubt in my mind that I’d do it again for the reward of a second child. Honestly, what scares me more than the birth itself is having to get back in shape again, as I am struggling to do right now.

Interestingly enough, I did have one close friend say that my birth story sounded much more preferable to her than the birth of her own child, which was a traumatic vaginal birth. I guess it all depends on your point of view.

I wasn’t trying to scare anyone. I guess I just don’t believe in the code of silence that women seem to have followed over the ages. I think I would have wanted to hear what a c-section was really like before I went through it myself.

Anyway, Oprah had a great episode on Monday. Ha! Yes, I watch Oprah almost every day! Monday’s episode talked about how mothers have such a strong influence on their daughters, and any mental “wounds” that you carry around with you in life will be passed on to your daughter, and will be magnified.

Anyone that knows me or that reads this site could probably guess that my biggest “wound” has been body image or weight issues. I went on my first diet at age eleven, and have struggled with my weight ever since. It is one of my worst fears to pass this obsession on to my own daughter. On the Oprah show, she featured a 4 year old that was obsessed with becoming fat.

What has our society come to where 4 year olds are concerned about their weight?!

It is my goal to convey to my daughter that it is important to eat healthy and workout in order to have a healthy body, not so that you can fit into the mold that society expects of women now-days. But that will be hard. I know it will take a conscious, constant effort to watch what I am saying and doing in front of her so that she doesn’t inherit my negative body image.

On the show, daughters talked about how they learned to hate their bodies by watching their mothers complain about their own flaws. Knowing this, I hope to instill a positive self image in my daughter. But really, if the girls at school start discussing weight issues in pre-school, I think this will be a hard battle.

One of the quotes that struck me during the show went something like this:

“The best thing a mother can to do innoculate her daughter from having a poor self image is to love herself.”

Amen, to that, and I’m working on it! Yesterday, I signed up with a trainer for three sessions on nutrition and exercise. My trainer had a baby herself six months ago, and looks amazing, so I’m sure she’ll provide a lot of motivation for me. It’s hard to love my body right now as I lug around the extra baby weight and look at my belly, which sags like a beer gut. I pledge to regain my body the healthy way, and learn to love it more as I go, both for my sake and my daughter’s. Afterall, I do have an amazing body — amazing in that it grew another human being. That fact never ceases to amaze me!

Final Retrospective Thoughts

23 Apr

I think I really have just one last topic to address in the aftermath of having a child. It involves breast feeding. For my male relatives, there is a lot of talk of breasts in this entry.
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Quote of the Day

21 Apr

Last night, as we were about to go to sleep, we had this conversation.

LB: Today on Oprah, she said that you should tell your loved one something you appreciate about them every day, and it should be something different every day.
JB: *grunt*
LB: I appreciate how you came home and spent a lot of quality time with Madelynn, and how you changed her diapers and fed her tonight. OK, now your turn.
JB: I appreciate that you don’t watch Oprah when I’m home.

What can I say — the man has a way with words!

Retrospect on Birth and Early Motherhood, Continued

21 Apr

Here are some more of my thoughts that have been brewing for the past few months.

On The Next Time:
After my birth experience, I think it is natural to think what I would want to do next time, if I’m blessed with a second child.

And before you get excited, I strongly believe that I want a good recovery period between kiddos. I want to have my body back for a while… All to myself, without worrying about what I’m eating for the baby’s sake. I also want to get a chance to get back in shape. But more importantly, JB and I still have a lot of learning and adjustment to do as parents, so we should at least wait and see how this next year goes before we start thinking about trying for number two.

But, let’s say we do. First of all, when I’m ready, I’m just going to ask for the double dose of Clomid that worked like such a charm with my first pregnancy. Then, when it comes to the birth, I think I’m going to opt for a scheduled c-section.

I know I could try and do a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section), but that would require that a doctor be with me the entire time I’m in labor. That’s not such a bad thing, but I really think I prefer to just schedule the surgery and not have to deal with 13+ hours of labor leading up to it. Besides, it’s probably very likely that I’d be in a similar situation the second time around, because if you look at JB and I, we’re not going to make any small babies. We are big people. Hence, baby number two will most likely be just as big.

And, if I do go with the scheduled c-section, I’m mentally prepared this time around. Yes, it still scares the you know what out of me, but I know I can get through it. Part of me is tempted to ask to be knocked out completely so that I don’t have to experience the freakiness of the surgery, but that is overridden by the desire to hear my baby’s first cries, see him/her for the first time all covered in blood and vernix, and hear that everything is OK. So, I think I’ll just soldier through it.

But next time, I’ll hope to stay in the hospital one extra night (this time I stayed 3 nights after the surgery), and I know to demand to have Percocet for when I go home. I actually only needed the pain meds for about a week, but knowing which ones work for me I think will make the whole bringing baby home and first week afterwards much more tolerable.

On Motherhood Today
Things are starting to get easier for me, which has been primarily because my daughter has been sleeping through the night for over a week now. It is absolute heaven, and I feel like a fully functioning human being now. I feel like everything is completely in control, which I’m sure will fly out the window the day I go back to work, because that will be a whole new ball game.

Products I Can’t Live Without
There have been some products that have really made my life easier over these past few months, and I highly recommend them to anyone expecting a new baby. They are:

  • The Miracle Blanket — We refer to it as the baby straight jacket, but trust me, this thing is awesome. Sure, they’ll show you how to swaddle a baby in the hospital, but we never mastered that trick with a normal blanket. This blanket is designed for a tight, secure swaddle, and works like a charm. In fact, I highly recommend having two of these around just in case one gets puked on. Madelynn has turned into a baby Houdini of sorts, as she has been waking up with her arms free of the swaddle, but that has taken her almost 3 months to figure out.
  • The Easy Expression Bustier — Being that I am exclusively pumping, having hands free pumping capability is key to my quality of life right now. I can pump and feed Madelynn at the same time (by propping her in a bouncy chair next to me), and I can pump while reading, working the TV remote, surfing the web, or driving. Yes, driving. If I have a good road trip ahead of me, I hook up before I start, and am completely hands free, so that it doesn’t detract from my attention to the road. I usually can pull my shirt over the pumps so that no one gets a cheap peak. The funny thing about the hands free pumping bra is that when I’m hooked up, I feel a bit like Madonna during the cone boobs period, and I also feel like I have torpedo tits that can take down the universe. Bam!!!
  • Desitin — Madelynn has very sensitive skin, and gets horrible diaper rashes. I’ve tried everything from Butt Paste to Lotrimin, Vaseline, and Bag Balm. The only thing that has cleared up her diaper rash has been Desitin.
  • The Ocean Wonders Swing — Having a swing with a newborn is a must if you ask me. That first week, it was one of the only ways I could get the child to fall asleep.
  • Baby Bjorn — This is a wonderful invention. It never ceases to calm Madelynn when she is in a crying fit, and it frees up my hands to continue cooking dinner or doing household chores. Having her on my chest also provides a great workout when we go on walks.
  • Kick and Play Bouncy Chair — Having a bouncy chair is a MUST. The vibrating feature is very calming for Madelynn, and it props her up in a good position for feeding. Every time I switch on the vibrating feature, I say, “Baby’s first vibrator.” Ha!!!

And, while I’m talking about products, I have to say to stay away from Huggies diapers… Madelynn has been having some crazy blowouts in them… Yesterday we had THREE blowouts, neccessitating three complete outfit changes. I am very sad I bought these in bulk, as I’m stuck with them for a while.

OK, well, I’d better go tend to the babe now. More later!

Retrospect on Birth and Early Motherhood

20 Apr

To follow up on the Birth Story that I posted yesterday, here are my retrospective thoughts:

On The First Week:
Our first night home from the hospital was a living hell. I’m not going to gloss it over for you. When I checked out from the hospital, they switched my pain meds from Percocet to Vicodin, and within hours, it was obvious that the Vicodin was not helping AT ALL. At about 6pm that night, I called the doctor on call, begging for a prescription of Percocet. I was told if the pain was that bad, I should just go to the ER.

Now really, I had just left the hospital, and the last place me and my new baby needed to be was the ER, so I decided to tough it out. That meant that basically any movement caused me sheering pain in my abdomen. I couldn’t get out of bed by myself. Getting INTO bed hurt. I couldn’t turn in bed at all. Add to this a screaming baby that wants to be fed about every 45 minutes, and maybe now you can understand why I call it a living hell. Madelynn would cry, JB would pick her up, and I would struggle to sit up and try to get into position to nurse. Once she was done, I couldn’t move to put her back in the bassinet. I actually got trapped in a chair that night, as I couldn’t get back up when Madelynn finally went back to sleep, and I couldn’t rouse JB from a deep sleep. About halfway through that night, I broke down crying, saying that I wished I had stayed in the hospital longer.

The next day, I luckily got my prescription for Percocet, after calling and talking to a nurse. I was crying as I begged her for the prescription, having dealt with the pain for over 12 hours. Things started to look up once I had better pain management, but the second night was still very rough. Luckily, it got better from there, and I started to get a rhythm to things. I actually slept on the couch that first week because it was easier to get onto and out of.

On C-section Recovery:
I knew that recovering from a c-section sucked. I just didn’t know how painful that first week would be. Imagine trying to sit down, lay down, or get up without using your abs at all. It’s hard, and every time you do engage your abs, it is a searing pain. My doctor had told me that I would be “up and walking around the day after surgery”. What she didn’t mention is that I’d actually be hunched over, clutching an IV pole, and barely able to shuffle 50 feet down the hall. When I first came home, I was able to walk about 50 yards down our street. I was slowly able to increase that to about 30 minute walks over the next two weeks, but I had to take it slow. I’m not used to taking it slow. I couldn’t even pick up my baby in her car seat, or climb the stairs in our house (I had been warned that my uterus could fall into my vagina, which would neccessitate a hysterectomy — YIKES!)

After about two weeks, I started to feel more normal. I was walking more and more, and by four weeks, I felt good enough to try kick boxing, which is when I managed to split open my incision. OK, so that was a bad move. At my six week post operative appointment, I received clearance to do any and all physical activity. I have been lifting weights, swimming, walking, running and doing aerobics. I feel pretty good, but REALLY out of shape. It has amazed me how much strength and endurance I lost, despite the fact that I worked out up until the day I checked into the hospital.

So, now that it has been two and a half months, I feel good, and am actually kind of thankful that my nether regions didn’t get torn to bits.

My Thoughts On My Birth Experience:
At my two week post operative appointment, my doctor told me that Madelynn was too big for me. She never dropped down into the birth canal, and that is why I never dialated past 3cm. The doctor said that when she made the incision, Madelynn’s head was right there, proving that she never dropped.

I guess I have to trust her on that analysis. In retrospect, I don’t think I would have induced labor. I did the induction mainly to have my doctor present, and I didn’t see her all day, until she actually performed the surgery. So out of about 14 hours, I saw her for 45 minutes. I probably would have had to have a c-section anyways, but at least I wouldn’t have been confined to bed for so long.

On Pain Medications:
I was on Demerol and an epidural, and still the pain was intense and horrible. I cannot imagine doing this au natural, and if you are one of those women who could do that, hats off to you. I’m all for the epidural. In fact, I was restraining from telling my anaesthesiologist that I loved him by the end of the day. I did tell him that he did a wonderful job, as I was never denied an increased dosage when I complained of being in pain.

On Maternity Leave:
I cannot believe how fast two and a half months have flown by. The days are gone in a flash, and I’m trying to come to terms with having to put Madelynn in daycare in the very near future. While on leave, my number one priority is her. I make sure to hold her, take naps with her, and when she is alert and happy, I drop everything to sit by her and enjoy her. This means that getting things done around the house is a challenge, which has caused some friction around here, but I’m willing to deal with that. I will only have this uninterrupted time with her once, so I’m going to make the most out of it.

I think it is a shame that Americans don’t stand up and insist that mothers get longer maternity leaves, as they do in other countries.

One luxury I have enjoyed while on leave is my gym, which accepts babies in their daycare at six weeks. It is great to get one hour a day to myself to workout, and then afterwards, I am treated to a long, uninterrupted shower.

Well, my number one priority is now demanding attention. I’ll continue my thoughts later.

The Birth Story

19 Apr

Now that my daughter is two and a half months old, I’m finally getting the time to sit down and type out her Birth Story, as I promised to all of you soon after she was born. I have been keeping a pregnancy journal (the old fashioned, hand written kind) for Madelynn ever since the day I found I was pregnant, and I wrote the Birth Story in that a few weeks after her birth, while it was all fresh in my head. So, I’ll be copying some text from that writing, and censoring it as necessary.

I must predicate all of this by saying that there seems to be some unspoken rule among women NOT to talk about labor and anything bad that happens. Furthermore, I was absolutely shocked at the experience of a c-section, as I assumed you couldn’t feel anything during the surgery, which is completely false. I couldn’t believe how many women I know that have had c-sections, and they never bothered to tell me what a freaky experience it can be.

So, Internet, I am about to violate the silence rule. If you are like many of the women that I tell about my c-section experience, who act shocked and like they didn’t want to know any of the negative aspects, then please, DO NOT READ THIS. This is a free country, so you have every right to live in denial if you want.

But if you’re the least bit like me, you want to know what it’d be like so that you can mentally prepare yourself. If that is the case, click on the link below to start reading. I’ll type as much as my daughter will let me today (she is due to wake up any time now).

One other disclaimer… For my male relatives, if you were offended by my mention of nipples on my site last month, you may want to skip the Birth Story.
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