Thursday, February 23, 2017

Week 3

So much of my life revolves around Lewis, so it's hard not to write from the point of view of a new mom. Once we go out in April, then my blog titles will probably change.

Friday, I had a pretty normal day and hung out with the family (plus James's mom and brother Joseph). It involved lots of laundry. I had to rest a lot because I had a blocked milk duct that really hurt so I didn't get much sleep, but I was able to resolve it quickly with lots of feedings.

Saturday, Melodie and I went shopping with the $50 someone gave me as a gift. I got a nightgown, fruit bowl, chocolate bar, earrings, and pants. Random, I know, but the best shopping trips are ones where you have plenty of money but aren't looking for anything specific. James and I went on a date during the afternoon. We picked out silly things at D.I. and found some mud to drive the car through. We also got a treat at Wendy's. Once the kids were in bed (except Lewis), we played a board game. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. Usually strategy games drive me crazy because they require too much thinking.

Sunday, I went to 9:00 Sacrament meeting while everyone else was home and James at his normal morning meetings. They all went to church at 1:00 while I hung out with Lewis. We both ended up taking naps in the chair. I usually fall asleep at night in that chair too, when I'm trying to get Lewis to bed. I'm often asleep by 9:45 or so, but I can't say I'm terribly sleep-deprived. I could just use a cat nap here and there. The rest of the evening was spent talking to families and eating a yummy dinner and dessert.

Monday, everyone left to go home and there was no school, so we spent the day cleaning and relaxing, a pretty typical holiday around here.

Tuesday through today have been about the same. I've been keeping up with the housework while feeding Lewis what feels like constantly. It's worth it have a kid who sleeps so well at night. He goes to be between 9:30 and 10 and wakes 1-2x during the night, then wakes up for the morning between 7:00 and 8:00...usually. One morning it was 6:00.

Last night was a terrible night for me, but nothing to do with Lewis. I had fed him at 3 a.m. but couldn't get back to sleep. At 4 a.m., I got some terrible afterbirth pains. I had to take both ibuprofen and Percoset and get in a warm bath. It took till 5:30 to get back to sleep. I had pains like that after Kenny - weird, random pain in the middle of the night after a week of no pain at all. It's like all my insides shrinking are having some trouble. Thankfully I feel fine now.

We're getting a lot of snow. I don't care, because I know it's going to melt soon. I can't wait for March to roll around soon, because that means spring and my birthday, and then our quarantine is over.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Week 2

Week 2 with a newborn is always a thousand times better than the first week. This time around was no exception. The first few nights home, Lewis did not sleep well, but he soon figured out night and day and has been doing exceptionally well. Typically, he eats a lot while he is awake (about 2 hours, during which he often eats twice), but then he takes really long naps. Usually he does 3 naps that are 2-3 hours each. The only thing I've done to manipulate his schedule is wake him up around 8 p.m. and keep him awake until 10 p.m. Then, he usually wakes up 2x during the night and is up the next morning around 7 or 8. Last night, he actually only woke up once (around 3:30), so I've been getting really good sleep. The only thing that has really been interrupting it is my random hormonal sweating that is thankfully almost gone.

I have been a lot less emotional this week as well, thank goodness. I have my moments where I cry, but I don't feel like I can't stop. I have been doing some cooking again and some basic cleaning, but nothing too intense. I even went grocery shopping, and it wasn't bad. I do get occasional aches, but nothing that requires medicine. I look okay in my regular shirts and can wear some of my pants (the baggy ones). I don't feel too bad considering what I went through 2 weeks ago.

Everyone is adjusting well to our new little family member. The kids all adore him, and there has been no sign on jealousy. I will be really glad when we can all go out together (at the end of RSV season, which is at the end of March.) I might go a little crazy, especially on Sundays when it's hard to coordinate going to different church meetings when James already has meetings in the mornings. I know it will work out, though, and this is just temporary and necessary for Lewis's good health.

James's mom and brother are visiting. They arrived yesterday and are staying until Monday (I think). It has been really good to have more emotional support and help with the cooking and cleaning. It's not that I can't get it done, I just don't get things done as quickly as I did since I have more interruptions for feedings and such. If anything, my days have gotten longer since I no longer nap - and neither does Katie. That was pretty upsetting for the first few days, but I've since learned to roll with it and hang out with Katie and Kenny more while Lewis takes his afternoon nap. They are pretty entertaining to talk to and are even starting to get along better.

I am certain that I'm going to make it. A week ago, I wasn't so sure. I'm glad that things always get better, even though it takes some time.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Lewis Wade Head

It was a pretty exciting week, to say the least. Warning: this post will be very long.

Sunday and Monday passed pretty normally. I was officially due Sunday, but nothing happening, so I went to church. Tuesday, I woke up with painful contractions, so James stayed home from school. I really thought it was the real thing, but it wasn't. Despite walking a lot, they tapered off by evening. Mom and Myles arrived that day, so we just hung out.

Wednesday at my doctor's appointment, I got my membranes stripped. Long story short, that didn't work either. I went in Thursday morning to get induced, something I thought I'd never do, but I actually felt pretty peaceful about it. I got a pretty good night of sleep, and we headed to the hospital at 7 a.m. for my induction. I was having contractions, but they were still just 10 minutes apart and not progressing at all. My induction felt a lot like my other labors, because they have all required Pitocin anyway to help speed them along. Everything went pretty well until I got to 7 cm. The baby's heart rate kept dropping and taking a long time to recover. They actually turned the Pitocin off by this point because the contractions were strong enough. They also put some internal monitors on the baby to make sure he was really okay. It was pretty clear that he was distressed by the contractions.

At 9 cm, I signed a consent form for a possible C-section and they got the OR ready. A few minutes later I was at 10 cm, so I ended up delivering in the OR. I had to get unhooked from the epidural at this point to transfer rooms, and they couldn't hook it back up because it was no longer sterile. Needless to say, I had a pretty horrible time with pushing. The dr. used several vacuums to assist, because the baby really needed to come out quickly. His head was turned a little the side, which explained why he wasn't coming out easily. After about half an hour (I was in too much pain to really know), Lewis was finally born at 10:04 p.m. Once his head was out, his whole body came with it. I'm just glad he didn't end up on the floor. He was 7 lbs. 7 oz. and 20 1/2 inches long.

I started shaking uncontrollably at this point. The OR was freezing, and I had literally been 1 cm from a C-section, and the pain was so great I just wanted to quit and get knocked out. I'm glad I made it, though.

Lewis was a little pale and not quite as responsive as they would have liked, so they whisked him away to the nursery (which is also the NICU, but I didn't know that till a few days later) to be hooked up to oxygen and a couple other things, but I'm not sure what. I was too out of it. Despite the difficult delivery, I didn't feel too terrible after some sleep and a few meals - and a shower. I also didn't tear, but I have no idea how that's even possible.

Friday, I felt a lot better physically, but not so much emotionally. Lewis made huge improvements and was off everything except oxygen. I was finally able to nurse him for the first time around noon. (Delaying made me more emotional, but it did not affect his ability to learn to nurse, in case anyone was worried about that.) My family came to visit around lunch and see him through the window. Children under 13 weren't allowed back at all because of RSV season. I kept on feeding him every few hours morning and night, and he did really well.

Saturday was mostly the same (feeding, family visit, and some paperwork and lots of rest). I got officially discharged but decided to stay put so I could be available for feedings. Saturday night and all of Sunday were the most emotional time because of my milk coming in and not being able to go home with Lewis. I went home for a little bit on Sunday to see the kids before church, but it was heartbreaking to be there without my baby. James was good to stay with me every single night on that uncomfortable couch-bed.

Monday morning, I finally got to keep Lewis in the room with me! He was off oxygen and just had one monitor on his foot. That one monitor was pretty stressful, though. It kept beeping every few minutes, and my first thought was, "My baby is dying!" every time. I returned him to the nursery for night time so I could sleep. I ended up feeding him 4x, so not much sleep happened, but that didn't matter.

Tuesday, we finally got to come home! It was so wonderful to have a baby with no monitors attached and to eat real food, take a nap in my own bed, and have everyone finally get to hold him. I've been playing catch up today with paperwork and bills, but not too much cleaning yet. I've been recovering really well and don't need pain meds anymore. Lewis is completely healthy, eating and sleeping and pooping all the time. He is seldom awake, but when he is, he is very calm and alert.

One of the nurses said she would have sent us home Saturday or Sunday, so that really didn't help the experience. It seemed that they were very strict on what he had to do to break out of the NICU - like stay warm, gain weight, etc. which shouldn't be a problem for any full term baby. He didn't have any problems with those things at all. He is already heavier than his birth weight, and he not even a week old.

How I survived, really: Mom and Myles taking care of the kids, James being able to stay with me night and day, and spending lots of time in the nursery/NICU talking to the nurses. That's not to mention many prayers and several blessings to be able to cope with everything. It was impossible to stay alone during this trial. I'm really glad he got good care, and I know I did the right thing in having him, but it certainly doesn't make me excited to have another baby any time soon. I have already forgotten a lot of the physical pain because my recovery has been pretty quick, but I know the emotional pain will linger longer. I know that many women have much worse experiences than I do, but this was definitely my worst birth story. Despite all that, the fact that I can write this story without sobbing (still a few tears, but not too many) shows how powerful that Atonement is when it comes to healing. I'm grateful to have this little boy. I am sad for my friends who have experienced outcomes that were not as favorable as mine.