28 December 2010
22 December 2010
Before Lyla I didn't understand why many women give up on nursing. Sure it's demanding but it's better nutrition for a baby than formula (as well as cheaper, more convenient, etc). Shame on me for feeling this scorn; there are elements to nursing that can easily be too much for a woman. Even I, who have passionately committed myself to nursing my kids, have contemplated giving it up in the last few days. Let me explain~
Every nurse and doctor who has seen Lyla has commented on her tongue. She was born with a congenital anomaly known as ankyloglossia or tongue tie. Basically the membrane connecting the tongue to the bottom of her mouth (called the frenulum) was unusually short and thick- her tongue pretty much tethered down. 2 in every 100 children are born with this. It can stretch itself out in time but also affect speech, oral hygiene, and breastfeeding. Nursing seemed to be going well in the hospital and after, so it seemed reasonable to leave it alone.
Last week I realized something was really wrong. They tell you nursing can hurt at the beginning before your nipples toughen up, so I thought that any pain I was feeling was normal and would go away. But that pain should only occur at the beginning during letdown; I was having pain all the way through, especially on my left side. It was increasing every day to the point where I was wincing, bracing, even crying. Not normal. Last Friday morning I was in so much pain (and no end in sight- I have to feed her) that I was seriously considering quitting and switching to formula.
I scoured books and the internet for information and I was brought back to the tongue tie, the short frenulum. When Lyla opened her mouth you could see how short it was, and she couldn't stick out her tongue at all. The tongue is very important in the nursing process and she couldn't use it. Basically she was biting down, gumming my nipple in order to eat. She was getting food and gaining weight, but was hurting me a lot in the process.
The solution: a frenotomy, an in-office procedure performed by a pediatric ENT to clip the frenulum and allow her tongue proper movement. It's a pretty common procedure; the nurse practitioner who assisted told us they do at least one per week in that office alone. Lyla was given a bit of sugar water and some numbing medicine before the clip and was able to nurse immediately after. Successful procedure, excellent. And I thought things would immediately be perfect- no more pain and she'd know exactly what to do right away. I'll blame this silly notion on sleep deprivation. I have enough nipple damage that it couldn't be pain-free immediately. And my infant has a new muscle in her mouth that she needs to learn to use! We saw a wonderful lactation consultant yesterday to help both of us- some tongue exercises for Lyla to learn how to use it, and help for me to properly position her and also to relax myself.
Today things are a little better. I can tell when she is positioned correctly and sucking as opposed to gumming, and she's becoming more familiar with her tongue and its role in helping her eat. If she doesn't latch properly, I take her off and try again. I'm trying to relax more, and while my left side is still sore its not getting worse each time and its more bareable now that she's not biting me all the time. Hopefully it's healing and will continue to do so.
I've heard there are women with tongue-tied babies who elect not to have a frenotomy and nurse through the pain. I have to say from my perspective that it was totally worth it, for both of us.
18 December 2010
She loves to fall asleep on our chests, especially after eating.
09 December 2010
They don't tell you how rocky the first month is with an infant. Plenty is said and written about labor and delivery, but info on surviving the first few weeks is painfully slim. I argue strongly that it's much much harder than giving birth, an extremely short period of time in comparison.
The way to survive seems to be to plow through, keep your heads above water and try to see how much has improved in that time.
On this side of two weeks, I still struggle a lot to get through the day. But we have improved on a lot of things since Lyla was born:
1. Nursing is easier. Our start was more difficult from the C-section, but her and my instincts were good and we improved quickly. We'll keep tweaking things for a little while- I've recently started flipping her on her side so she can control the flow better- but we're in a good spot.
2. Lyla's night sleep schedule fluctuates from 2-4 feedings. Last night for example we did 11:00pm, 2:30pm, 5:30pm, and 8:00am. Yesterday she went back to sleep after a 6:00am meal, today she did not. Last week she had two nights in a row of waking just twice and that was awesome. I wish it had stuck, but it should someday.
3. She fusses most first thing in the morning and around dinnertime. Bouncing around and pounding on the back helps. For some reason her immature digestive system gives her more trouble at these times.
4. She still doesn't love tummy time, but she can lift her head 45 degrees which is excellent, what we'd hope she could do by 1 month.
4. Lyla has had some big spit-up/vomit sessions, and while it's normal for babies to spit up this was a little excessive. The symptoms she shows- gulping and sputtering at the beginning of a feeding, coughin while eating, gassy burps- point to an oversupply of milk. I'm not surprised from all the pumping the nurses had me do in the hospital. Changing her position, as I mentioned above, has really helped with this issue.
5. She's starting to show glimmers of social development- holding your gaze, watching toys and her mobile, involuntary smiles, a few coos here and there. These moments are the best.
05 December 2010
04 December 2010
However, while I was pregnant I did wonder what it would be like to not be pregnant again- what would change first and how fast, what permanent changes there might be and how I'd feel physically. Well, here I am on Thursday, almost two weeks postpartum:
I'm back in a lot of my regular clothes, although right now just jammie pants and sweats for comfort. High waisted is preferred because of my incision. I won't be wearing jeans for a few more weeks! My tummy still has a gelatinous quality to it but it's shrinking. Nursing assists a lot with that!
Physically the hardest thing is sleep deprivation. I've never been one to go with little sleep so this is tough. But I can sleep on my back again! I've gotten so used to sleeping on my sides that I've continued until last night and it felt so good! I was a tummy sleeper too but I won't try that until I heal more.
I can't resume my regular work out routine for another 4 weeks, so I'll post another picture then to see where I'm at.
02 December 2010
30 November 2010
The day started normally. The weather was poor so I went to the mall to walk around and complete my Christmas shopping. After lunch I started feeling pretty crummy- almost flu-like, hot and cold. I had been having Braxton-Hicks contractions on and off for several weeks and none were stronger that day. I felt like something was off, and I hadn't felt a lot of movement that day. I laid down to do some kick counts, but any movement I felt was small and I couldn't distinguish between what might be her or just intestinal disturbance. I called my doctor to check in; she said to continue counting, drink something sweet and wait a second hour before coming by the hospital for a nonstress test. Monitoring heart rate and movement, they are fairly common and a good way to evaluate a baby's condition at the end of pregnancy.
Ray was amazing and outwardly calm and reassuring; I remained fearful until they got her out. He left me to see and cut the cord, and when he came back he was crying and said over and over how beautiful she was. (I've seen him cry once before so it was powerful to see.) They laid her on my chest wrapped in a blanket and we were nose to nose. I've never been so afraid, then had it melt away so completely.
28 November 2010
25 November 2010
And she's beautiful. So very beautiful. Tiny and sweet and precious. All the nurses in the hospital adored her, and I can't help some disbelief every now and then that we created such a perfect little human.
We were discharged from the hospital yesterday so this is our first morning at home. I'm snagging a miraculous 10 minutes to post this and will likely be absent for some days as we get to know each other more and some semblance of a routine begins to form. However, when I do return I will share her birth story and more. For now:
- Nursing is going well despite a rocky start for both of us, due in part to the C-section which impaired my movement in the beginning. We've both learned and improved a lot now and my milk has come in, so she's eating well.
- I'm adjusting to the lack of sleep- the first night was very difficult but my body is adapting to being awakened throughout the night.
- We've been home less than 24 hours and already had to do a load of laundry due to a few diaper accidents.
- 'Getting back in shape' is the 735,875th thing on my mind right now, but I'm amazed at how much my reflection has changed in the past few days- more like my old self than I would have thought. All this nursing is leaching calories out of me and into her.
- Lactation and L&D nurses are wonderful people, just about everyone we met at Sequoia was extremely kind and helpful.
- It's really true- this is a kind of love that you've never experienced before, and it's stronger than anything too.
18 November 2010
Chickpea hasn't budged. More than 50% of first-time moms go past their due date, so while I would have loved to have given birth already, there's nothing wrong or remotely unusual about my current state.
I do have a stinky head cold, maybe she is waiting until I'm better?! The body is so complex, perhaps it is holding off on the green light for labor. Besides my cold I had an excellent doctor check-in yesterday. She has plumped up a bit more, and I have all symptoms heading into labor. Just need the actual labor part.
Enough on that this week~
I'd like to share a few new things that have shown up for baby recently that I really really love.
15 November 2010
Every other day of my life I get out of bed, put on my workout clothes and exercise for an hour. That includes the whole time I've been pregnant.
But now, 2 days before my due date, I need to be smart. I went to bed with a sore throat last night that disturbed my sleep and woke this morning to a lot of congestion. Yuck! I feel ok except for congested and tired, so I suspect it's less of a cold and more of a hormone surge causing mucus to build up.
I'm tired, but it's more comfortable to sit up than lay down, so I'm camping on my couch in front of the telly with my laptop and a big glass of water. Sudafed is permitted for congestion so I took two of those. Depending on how I feel this afternoon, I may or may not go for my afternoon walk. My only agenda today is to conserve energy and improve the congestion.
11 November 2010
Tying my shoes and putting on socks without great effort and discomfort
Wearing my wedding and engagement rings (huge one- they got too snug about 2 weeks ago)
Rolling over in bed without feeling like a beached whale
Tummy rumblings will return to gas and intestinal distress (as opposed to zero gravity sommersaults and hiccups)
Fitting myself over the sink to do the dishes
10 November 2010
I'm 3 cm dilated and 50% effaced, and feeling more cramps and contractions. I've also lost 1 1/2 lbs which is common (less amniotic fluid + loose stools + body getting ready for labor + all this extra walking I'm doing). She and I are hopeful that this baby could be born by the weekend so I'm keeping the calendar open
and walking as much as I can muster. The weather is sunny but brisk, perfect for lots of strolling!