Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Layla's 3 week birthday

We have been celebrating each of Layla's weekly birthdays with cupcakes from Trophy cupcakes. Here is a recap of the last three weeks.

Week 1:

We spent the first 36 hours in the hospital, getting hassled around the clock by nurses and doctors, including a really scary Russian night nurse that seemed to be constantly yelling at us but we figured out later it was just her accent.

We got almost no sleep, and almost no help from the hospital staff (who was more concerned about taking our vitals than about helping us with the baby, who entered the world pooping and HUNGRY). When they asked if we needed to stay a second night we were quick to say NO.

We had just barely figured out nursing when we left and we hadn't slept in two nights so we weren't really prepared to be at home either. I was especially unprepared for how freaked out I would be - I couldn't sleep because I was so worried the baby w0uld die (obviously she survived). Also the baby was still pooping and HUNGRY and it took some effort to figure out how to get us all to bed when she had so many seemingly complicated demands.

Fortunately for me I was having some sort of awesome baby-high that made sleep completely unnecessary for the entire first week we had her at home. That came in pretty handy because by Tuesday I still wasn't sleeping even though both the baby and the Studly Hubby were sleeping great (the baby nursed nonstop for the first 3 days but after that started taking nice long naps at night to sleep). The doula came for a visit Tuesday night and I asked her about all my deepest darkest fears (will she die if she is too cold? can I suffocate her with my boob?). The doula reassured me that we were doing everything right and showed us some neat tricks to get the baby to sleep even better so that I could go without nursing her for four hours in a row sometimes.

So we survived the first week, but by the end of it I was pretty wrecked. On Thursday, her birthday, I had some Trophy cupcakes and scheduled a massage for myself.

Week 2.

The massage absolutely ruined me. I finally relaxed, which meant I could sleep, and then my body demanded MORE sleep, and I basically passed out for the weekend. Unfortunately the baby didn't agree with that. She preferred to eat all weekend. The Studly Hubby did his best to try to make it work for both of us and by Monday we had all agreed on a good routine and I had caught up on a lot of my sleep. This was mostly due to my amazing ability to sleep while I nurse, something the Studly Hubby helped us figure out in the early days.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were awesome. We had good weather, went out for a bunch of nice walks, the baby was well behaved, and we all enjoyed each other a lot. Wednesday night my mom came into town, and we had more cupcakes on Thursday to celebrate Layla's 2nd week birthday.

Week 3:

The third week was great. Having a mother in town is really helpful. She addressed many more of my fears and helped me work through some of the next big hurdles like taking the baby to a restaurant, putting the baby in the moby wrap, getting the baby in the carseat and driving across town, going out for a walk when it's raining, and bottle feeding (with pumped milk, which I also figured out in week 3). By Wednesday (today) I had accomplished all of this and more, and the Studly Hubby was back to work and cooking dinner for all of us and the house was staying pretty orderly. Tonight we are having more Trophy cupcakes and celebrating getting through Week 3. I have another massage scheduled for Saturday, and I will be going BY MYSELF which will also be a whole new thing (something I haven't done for 10 months!).

Every week is a major adventure!

Here are some pictures from the past few weeks:

Recovering at the hospital

Our first couple of days at home, I wore my pajamas every day!

The Studly Hubby showing off the Moby (with the baby in it)... now he can see what it's like to be pregnant!!

Me with my Studly Mommy at the beach on Saturday... lovely day!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dr. Poops

One of the nicknames our daughter has earned is "Dr. Poops" because of her great capacity for pooping. She pooped 8 times just on her first day in the world!! Her daddy learned very fast how to change her diaper, as quick as possible because she HATES getting her diaper changed, and then cheer her up afterwards.
We've noticed that when she poops, she makes a great and easily recognized 'poopy face'. My mom and I had the brilliant idea of taking pictures of her poopy face.Here she is peacefully sleeping before...

Then she woke herself up, and started making faces.

She let us know when she was all finished too!

Understandably, she doesn't generally tolerate having poopy pants for very long so a big pooping incident is almost always followed by some general fussiness until we get her changed. Thankfully my mom and the Studly Hubby are still happy to do this!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Grandma comes to town!!

The Studly Hubby's rockin' awesome employer gave him two weeks off after Layla was born. I didn't realize before she was born how much we would NEED that two weeks - I was totally not ready after one week. We did really enjoy his time off, especially after the first week when I was feeling better and the baby was finally taking short breaks between feedings so we could venture out of the house. Below is one of our first times out with the stroller, we went to the park in the neighborhood.

Just before the Studly Hubby had to go back to work, my mom (Layla's GRANDMA!) arrived in town for 10 whole days to help me out.

She was thrilled to finally meet her granddaughter.

On Grandma's first day here we gave Layla a bath and then went directly out to buy her a pretty bow for her hair and some other nice things.

We went on so many adventures that I got all worn out and so did Layla - she actually slept 6 hours in a row on Saturday night! I couldn't believe it.

Having Grandma here has been GREAT. She is helping me figure out how to take care of her on my own and she is helping with all the housework and many diaper changes. She is also making sure I get out of the house a lot so I don't get bored and worn out from nursing.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I heart my doulas

My doula is kick-ass. And she had a pretty kick-ass apprentice too. Below the doula is on my right and the apprentice on my left.

Not only were they both great labor coaches, which was all I was really hoping for, but they were also there for me right after the birth to get me warm blankets, water, a cool washcloth, and a barf bag. The doctors and nurses did not think of this. Then to top it off I got some MUCH needed post-partum attention too. Our hospital was great in many ways but post-partum care was not one of them. They sent us packing about 36 hrs after the birth (although we were happy to leave - don't get me wrong). When I called the lactation consultants a few days later for some help nursing (little Layla caught on a little TOO well and has become somewhat of an addict) I got totally useless answers, like "it's legal to nurse anywhere in Seattle" (GREAT but can you help me figure out how to stop nursing long enough to go to the bathroom?) and "this will get a lot better after six weeks" (FANTASTIC, but how do I deal with the blisters that I'm getting right NOW?). My favorite: when I asked how/when to introduce the bottle, her answer was 'but why would you want to use a bottle?'. I need an answer, not an opinion! argh.

The doula, on the other hand, gave me practical advice that I could actually use. She showed us how to figure out the difference between real nursing and 'comfort nursing', and how to stop nursing at that point and comfort the baby other ways. She also had helpful suggestions for dealing with the blisters. Then she called back a few days later to check in - and offered even more helpful advice. The blisters are finally healing, and we have a lot more tools in our toolbox for dealing with a boob-addicted baby. Thank you, doula(s)!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Layla's glam shots

Yesterday our awesome photographer came over to shoot some early newborn pics. Layla was not very cooperative! She is supposed to go to sleep so that the photographer can maneuver her without protest, but she was way too excited. The poor photographer had to hang out with us for a few hours before Layla finally grew weary and dozed off (and then we only had about a half an hour). Also Layla was butt-naked and she peed and pooped all over all the photographer's props! We were assured this is part of the process and there would be no hard feelings.

The Studly Hubby, being completely taken with his daughter and wanting to capture every minute of everything, put together a little video of it which is below.

The photographer's pics can be found here. These are a few of our favorites:

Monday, March 15, 2010

Meeting Layla

"I love you even though I just met you" -Up, Pixar Movie

Dad met Layla first, after the Newborn ICU team checked her over and declared she was ok. Here he is touching her for the first time.

They bundled her up and handed her to the Studly Hubby (who was VERY Studly throughout all of this). I think he was pretty thrilled.

Then he brought her over to me. I cried when I saw her. I can't believe I still had my glasses on!!

After the initial meet and greet, they weighed her...
And they measured around her head for some reason...

And she showed off her awesome self-calming technique, sucking on her fist.

After we moved down to recovery, I really finally got to hold her. She's amazing!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Layla's big day (night)

"Layla" actually means "dark beauty" or "night" so it made perfect sense that her mom and dad had to stay up all night for her big arrival. The following is the story of her birth. It's not graphic. It was actually only about 10% horrible, 70% totally fun, and a HUGE relief after waiting and worrying about it for so long!!

At 10 days past due, we went in for our weekly doc appointment and found yet again that I was having regular contractions that I couldn't feel (every two minutes) and the baby was very low. The doctor checked her out with an ultrasound, and saw that her amniotic fluid was almost gone (they gave it a value of '3') - a sign that the placenta was petering out - so they decided to induce right away. There was a bed open in Labor and Delivery so they sent me straight up there to start a Pitocin IV. Derek jetted home to grab our bags and I updated my Facebook status on my iPhone.

Up in Labor and Delivery, they did another exam before we got started and the baby seemed to know the gig was up because she was even lower and I was already starting to dilate a little (2 cm, baby was at +2 which is where babies usually are at the END of labor). They started the drip anyway to make sure things got going and told me I would probably sleep through the night and start labor the next morning. They gave me a benedryl and tucked me in, but then I started feeling my contractions.

They were only mildly uncomfortable and I was still hoping to get some sleep so I got up and got in the bathtub and chilled out for a while. The contractions stayed manageable but were getting progressively stronger so we called the doula and told her to come over but to take her time. This was about midnight. They did another exam and I was at 4 cm and everyone was thrilled that I was clearly moving right along. Then between 1 am and 2 am, the contractions suddenly progressed to full-strength, which was FULL STRENGTH. I was getting the shakes and decided to get an epidural. The doula and the anesthesiologist showed up right at about the same time, which was 2 am. The epidural was wonderful, although when the epidural was going in was the only moment of weakness the Studly Hubby had (he almost passed out - but he was a trooper for the rest of it). After that they did another exam and I was at 9.5 cm. So I had gone from 4 to 9.5 cm in 2 hrs, which would explain why the contractions had gotten so bad so fast. After the chaos of the past two hours we decided we should all have some quiet time so we turned out the lights and took a little break before the pushing stage.

That's when things got really fun. The baby's water still hadn't broken, and if a baby comes out still in her amniotic sac it is extremely rare and considered a big event at the hospital - the attendings all have to buy the resident a bottle of champaigne and our doc had never had that happen before. So we decided to go for it, and not break my water before pushing. Everyone in the room put on plastic masks just in case and made their bets and then I started. Pushing was kind of like those sit-up tests you do in P.E. class, it starts out feeling easy, rapidly gets tiring, then becomes impossible before you are finished with your goal. Plus I have a low back injury, so they had me in some strange positions that made my arms and upper back REALLY sore the next day - that was actually my biggest complaint afterwards - although I avoided re-injury so I guess it was worth it.

I ended up pushing for 3 hours. The first hour was easy and mellow. The second hour we got more serious. The doctors were changing shifts and didn't want to miss it if she came out inside the amniotic sac, so they stayed a little late and cheered me on. At the end of the 2nd hour the amniotic sac broke, the doctors decided to switch their shifts, and a new shift came on that wanted me to get even more serious and push her out. We all got serious, and I pushed her out. It was painful (the epidural was wearing off) and it was a lot of work, but there was a pretty awesome reward at the end.

The baby had shown some signs of stress (there was myconium, aka pre-birth poopy, in her amniotic sac) so the Newborn ICU team had to stop by and do their thing before I could see her. They had warned me about this but it was still pretty weird. As I was in the final stages of pushing, about 30 people showed up and set up the room, and right after she fell out they whisked her off and did a bunch of things (I found out later they aspirated her lungs, gave her some oxygen, measured her vitals, and wiped her off). Then they wrapped her up, handed her to Derek, and Derek brought her over to me to see her for the first time. I cried. I think I held her. We took some pictures. She screamed bloody murder at us the whole time, but we thought it was adorable.

Then Derek helped bathe her, measure weight, length, etc, and I got some sitches and after-birth care, and they took us down to Recovery around noon. We immediately started on the Recovery circus - nurses and doctors stopped by every hour or so to check on me, the baby, our progress nursing (it progressed, but not without help), our diaper supply (always low), and go over important matters of baby care with us. We were recovering well and ready to go by noon the next day,so we were discharged and sent home.

Layla Rose

Born Thursday, March 11 at 8:01 am. 7 lbs, 13 oz, 20 inches long.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How to induce labor

At 10 days post-due, I've gotten some great suggestions for inducing labor that I thought I'd share. I have to tell you up-front that we have not ignored these, but clearly they have not worked - so I'm on the fence about whether to recommend them. Perhaps for some other person, or at some other time, they would be useful - but not for me right now, unfortunately.

First, I'll start with the well-accepted ones (from the baby book and birthing classes) - these are accupuncture, accupressure, cod liver oil, walking, sex, and nipple stimulation - sorry to get you with those last two but they are big ones, and I've gotten a lot of whispered suggestions regarding those so I thought I'd just put them in and say that WE KNOW, so don't worry.

Here is the list of not-so-conventional methods of inducing labor (some are kind of logical, some not so much):

- Watch the Sound of Music
- Watch any movie with Johnny Depp
- Do 10 squats and then go to bed
- Walk backwards up the stairs (thanks Grandma! that was the best one!)
- Drink lots of water
- Drive over a bunch of potholes
- Eat spicy Indian or Thai food (has the same effect as cod liver oil - irritates your bowel)
- Take a hot bath/shower/drink hot tea (e.g. RELAX - but according to birthing class this can also slow down early labor, so beware)
- Play basketball (I personally don't recommend this)
- Play loud music and dance
- Drink cranberry juice
- Clean the shower
- Clean out a low cupboard

I gotta say, playing the waiting game is not fun. It's like being loaded up on a plane and then getting stuck on the runway for a week. NOTHING you do while you wait provides enough distraction or gets your full attention. And it is a hard transition going from 50+ hours a week in an established routine at a job I really enjoy to hanging around the house waiting for something that continually does not happen - I am grateful I was able to stay at work as long as I did (until 3 days post-due, when the doctor killed it by telling me I was going into labor) - 'working from home' is not nearly a good enough distraction, although at this point eating cake and watching awesome '80s movies wouldn't be a good enough distraction either, so I am doing whatever I can.

Thankfully neither the Studly Hubby nor I have super-strict leave time. I know one woman who had to go back to work 1 week after a C-section, which seems illegal but wasn't, because she had really unusual circumstances... and I am REALLY grateful that isn't going to happen to either of us. A deadline had to be moved, but that was it.

Well thanks everyone for all your support and sympathy - hopefully in the next week or so we will actually have some news to report!

Good Advice

"No matter where you are and who your spouse comes to be, always let your wind blow freeeeee!"

-source unknown

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The tragic lack of pizza in Seattle

Seattle has a huge problem:

There is NO GOOD PIZZA here.

And when you are 9 days past your due date, you need some good pizza.

The Studly Hubby grew up eating good pizza in Iowa City, at the locally owned Pagliai's pizza (with a truly secret tomato sauce and home-made sausages!). We scouted around for good pizza in Minneapolis for a long time before we finally discovered Punch Pizza, a traditional Neopolitan pizzeria that is so crowded at dinner time that people wait outside in below-zero weather for hours for it. Punch is so good that I have declared it the Restaurant I Would Go To if I Could Go Anywhere in the World.

Although the real Restaurant I Would Go To if I Could Go Anywhere in the World is actually right here in Seattle (I don't count it at the moment though since I live here). It is not pizza (let me remind you again: there's no good pizza in Seattle). It is a tiny sandwich place that serves sloppy delicious Caribbean sandwiches out of an aluminum hut crowded with about 4 tables and a sign on the wall that says "Hippies use BACK door". The sandwiches are so fine they will ruin you.

Paseo on a nice day, the doors are open and people are waiting outside for their sandwiches. If you want to guarantee you get a sandwich you have to go before 6 pm because they often run out of bread and then you are screwed.

Friday, March 05, 2010

We rode the labor induction roller coaster... and then we went to Ikea

Somehow I kept my wits about me after my due date (Sunday Feb. 28) came and went... but on Wednesday afternoon my doctor ruined everything.

She told me I was in pre-labor! I had no idea.

Apparently I was having regular contractions that I couldn't even feel, which they detected when they had me all hooked up to make sure the baby isn't getting stressed out by her own insistence on continued lodging in the Hotel J-funk (as I suspected, no baby stress). They got very excited and then informed me I was also 1 cm dilated, and 70% effaced, and according to the doctor the baby is so low she is about to fall out.

We rushed home to wrap everything up and get ready to go to the hospital. The doctor told me to keep moving, so I did all the laundry, the dishes, went for a walk, checked over our hospital bags, and then started sorting through books and cleaning out some shelves. I was hoping maybe doing some nesting would trigger labor (rather than the other way around). But by Wednesday night it was clearly not happening so I gave up to get some sleep. Thursday morning we leaped out of bed with renewed motivation and doubled our efforts - we tried EVERYTHING in the book and even went to Ikea in the afternoon, which, as we all know, is the ultimate in labor-inducing stimulation - if that didn't work, nothing would.

Unfortunately, none of it worked.

But, I did find a really stellar outdoor rocking chair for our patio, and a totally rockin' alligator bath mat at Ikea.

Thursday night I fell into bed at 8:30 pm completely wiped out from the day's adventures. Baby anticipation is exhausting. Since I still can't feel those contractions, and don't feel any different otherwise, I can't help but blame the doctor a little bit. If it weren't for her, we would have had a pretty normal week - much easier on the psyche. Today I am taking a new approach: find my post due-date zen again, try to get some work done (or put together that rocking chair), take it easy, and assume the baby is not coming unless I hear otherwise. And maybe I'll have some curry again for dinner.