Archive for November, 2005

I read a lot while I was pregnant and formed a lot of theories as to how things were going to go once I brought my daughter home. She was going to be breastfed only. No bottles, no pacifiers and she was going to sleep in our room in a pack and play so that I could easily wake and feed her at night.

Less than two hours after we brought her home though, she had a bottle full of formula stuck in her mouth because I was afraid she wasn’t getting much to eat. She was terribly fussy and my milk had not yet come in. I was told delayed lactation is a common problem for moms who have a cesarean, but that didn’t make me feel any better.

The formula seemed to fill her up some and we were offered some relief until it was time to go to bed. Nathan and I had not slept much all since I had been admitted to the hospital and were ready to crash. Autumn had other ideas though. She cried and wailed throughout the night. No sooner would we calm her and put he down and she was up again. We tried more bottles of formula and a pacifier that she kept spitting out every few minutes. Eventually her eyes closed and we were able to sleep for a few hours.

One of the problems with having a newborn is that everyone else who ever had a baby also has an idea how things are supposed to go. After that first night of no sleep, I spent the next two nights sleeping upright on our chaise lounge in the living room with Autumn cradled in my arms. She slept well, but I woke up feeling like the worst mother in the world for not putting her to sleep on her back like all the experts say we should to help prevent against SIDS. One nurse at my doctor’s office said we should immediately stop sleeping with her like that lest we create a needy, clingy baby who will never be able to sleep on her own. Another nurse who called on us at home said we should do whatever works for us to get some sleep right now. If Autumn can fall asleep in our arms right now then so be it. Our pediatrician said it’s impossible to spoil her at this point and that I need to get enough sleep to keep my milk supply up.

Speaking of milk, that’s another hurdle entirely. Wednesday I went back to the hospital to meet with one of their lactation consultants who showed me that my latch, while not totally incorrect, was not totally effective. Apparently Autumn wasn’t getting as much milk as she should and in turn wasn’t gaining as much weight as she should. Again I had another terrible mother moment but the LC assured me that things would be fine once we got the latch down. She advised me to pump after feedings to build up my supply because Autumn would soon be hitting a growth spurt and my supply may not meet her demand. Well, that growth spurt seemed to have hit sooner than I thought it would because the girl has been eating like a athlete in training. The constant nursing has taken its toll and I once again resorted to a bottle of formula so that I could finally get some sleep last night.

So, since I’ve been home I feel as though I’ve made every mistake possible with this girl. Maybe there’s a “Parenting for Dummies” book out there for me.


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Where should I start? Time being at a premium now, I don’t want to take too long to tell our story. I’m still in my pajamas and the baby is sleeping in front of the window while the Barefoot Contessa makes a Thanksgiving dinner for two people.

Nathan and I went into the hospital Tuesday night to get things started. The first order of business was to “ripen” my cervix. That sounds strange, like I’m a piece of fruit or something, but it was a necessary step towards a successful induction. I didn’t sleep well all night. Besides my mind racing, it was nearly impossible to find a comfortable position as I was hooked up to two different monitors, one that tracked my contractions and one that tracked the baby’s heartbeat.

By morning things had not progressed that far. I had visions of being in the delivery room indefinitely. I was started on Pitocin around 11 am and Dr. V. broke my water to attach a fetal monitor to the baby’s head. After that my contractions really kicked in. I was asked to indicate how painful they were on a scale from 1 to 10. I was at a 5. Not much more painful than the worst menstrual cramp I’ve ever had, but I was not looking forward to getting up to 10.

After contracting for a few hours the doctor decided to do a C-section. The baby’s heartrate had dropped drastically quite a few times during the night when I would get up to go to the bathroom, any time I changed position and a few times during labor. Dr. V. was afraid that the baby wouldn’t be able to handle the stress of labor. By that time all my anxieties about getting a C-section had vanished. I was relieved to be putting an end to this.

When I was wheeled into the operating room I was scared beyond belief. With the exception of a tonsillectomy when I was 5, I had never had major surgery before. Nathan wasn’t able to be with me until they called for him and I felt totally alone. I started to cry.

Eventually Nathan came in and held my hand through the entire thing. The anesthesiologist asked if I wanted a mirror propped above my head so that I could see the baby being born. “You won’t see anything gory, I promise,” he said.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the images and sounds of the operating room. The way our daughter looked as she was being born, the glorious wail that followed and seeing her for the first time in her father’s arms. When she was being cleaned off I pointed to her and said to Nathan, “Look, we made that.”

So things did not go as planned, but none of that matters. Sure, I can’t drive for two weeks, have staples holding my skin together and can’t get up without wincing, but the pain is fading fast. I didn’t get to push my daughter out, but she got out just the same.

She’s doing well, a little jaundiced, but otherwise she’s ok. The first couple of days back home have been rough. Yesterday was my first full day back home and I broke down many times. Thank God for Nathan. He’s my rock. He hates to seem me cry and I hate to have him tell me not to cry. “I just had a baby and am gong to cry if I want to!” I say. Most of this stems from sleep deprivation. Those first couple of days in the hospital give you a false sense of security. There are nurses attending to you, the baby is calm and tired from delivery and you aren’t expected to do anything but recover from delivery. If you want to get some sleep, you can just ship the baby off to the nursery.

Our girl, like all babies, has her days and nights mixed up. She is giving her parent’s a rough time of it, but those who have been there have assured us things will work out eventually. With all my impatience of wanting to give birth, I’ve actually had a few fleeting thoughts that things were much, much easier when I was still just pregnant. More than once I’ve thought, “What have we done?” Things will never be the same, but that was the idea behind having a baby in the first place.

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Well, today’s my last day of being pregnant. I’m both relieved and excited. Okay, I’m freaking out a bit, too. Twenty-four hours from now I could be holding my daughter in my arms. Last night was my last night of quiet sleep. Today is the last day I can wonder, “what should I do?” This is going to be interesting.

I’m a little disappointed that I ended up going this far. I had hoped that the girl would decided to make an appearance before this. Ever since I found out I was pregnant, I wondered what the whole delivery experience would be like. I had hoped to go into labor naturally. I was looking forward to being awakened in middle of the night by my first contractions and wondering if they were the real thing. I guess it’s the drama I’m going to miss. I wanted so much to freak Nathan out by saying, “it’s time!” like so many women on TV have done in the past. I know, I watch way too much TV.

In all honesty, scheduling an induction is much more my style. I’m a planner, a control freak to be exact, and knowing when and where I’m going into labor is much more comforting than the unknown I’ve been anticipating. Of course there are still some unknown variables involved here. How big is this child anyway? Is the induction going to work? How long will I have to labor? Is this going to end up in a c-section? Nathan and I have been talking about that possibility. Somehow he knows how all of our neighbors ended up delivering their children and thought it would comfort me to share their stories. Tina next door was late with her first and had to be induced. She ended up having a c-section. Same thing with Tracy behind us, who just had her fifth child via c-section. Rochelle across the street, however, gave birth naturally.

“Was she induced, too?” I asked.

“No,” he said.


Marla recently told me that the day the baby is born is just one day in the child’s life and there will by many more important things to concentrate on later. Not everyone experiences an ideal delivery, but the end result is worth every moment.

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I had my final prenatal appointment yesterday. It was so nice to know that this would be the last time I’d have to pee in a cup and get weighed until my six week check-up after the baby is born. My euphoria was short lived as I had to sit an hour in the waiting room because the nurse, who was apparently the only staff on hand, was behind in her appointments.

So I had to wait an hour for a five minute appointment. I wasn’t expecting much. At this point all they do is check the baby’s heartbeat and ask you if you’re feeling any different, if you’re swelling more, if the baby’s still moving, etc. This time though, the nurse asked me if my doctor had mentioned anything about a non stress test. When I told her she hadn’t, the nurse looked at me thoughtfully and suggested it might be a good idea because I was now over-due.

I have to admit I hated the thought of yet another appointment. I was already cranky because of the wait and told the nurse I had to get back to work before the office closed because all my stuff was there and that I hadn’t really counted on waiting an hour to see her. She said, “Am I that far behind? That’s pretty bad.” I wanted to say something along the lines of “no shit” but kept my mouth shut.

I asked the nurse what the purpose of the non stress test was and she told me that at about 38 weeks the placenta starts to gradually break down so that it can easily separate from the uterine wall “which it’s supposed to do” after the baby’s born. They become concerned when the mom goes over her due date and want to make sure the baby isn’t under any stress. “But we really don’t consider you past term until 42 weeks,” she said.

The nurse asked me if the baby was still moving a lot and I said yes, that she had in fact been squirming around quite a bit as I was in the waiting room waiting to be seen. She said that she wanted me to monitor the baby’s movement carefully over the next few days and that if I noticed any change or decrease in movement to call the office right away.

“Well I can probably come in for a non stress test on Monday,” I said.

“Oh, we don’t do them here,” said the nurse. “I’ll talk to Dr L., but if Dr. V. (my doctor) didn’t say anything to you then she must not have thought it was necessary.”

I really hated this nurse. First she makes me wait, then she scares the crap out of me until I agree that maybe the NST is a good idea after all and then says not to worry about the test.

I left the office wanting nothing to do with medical personnel for a very long time. I drove back to work feeling somewhat apprehensive and guilty that perhaps I wasn’t doing what was best for my child. I only had two days left of work, the weekend was approaching and I was going to be admitted to the hospital on Tuesday no matter what. Did I really need that test?

Nathan called me when I got back to my desk. He had been to the doctor as well for his horrible cold, which it turns out is the beginning of bronchitis. I was surprised that he sought help at all. He hates doctors as much as I’m starting to and usually will opt to suffer and take over-the-counter meds until he feels better. I was proud of him and told him so. Of course I felt even more guilty for my own selfishness after that.

Unless the doctor’s office calls to insist on the test, I’m going to sit tight, monitor the girl’s movements and try not to freak out. Hopefully she’ll decide to make her appearance before Tuesday.

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Best laid plans

Last night I thought I might finally be heading somewhere. I woke up at 2 a.m. with the worst stomach cramps and nausea. I remembered reading somewhere that these two things together could be an early sign of labor. I spent the next 2 hours alternating between the bathroom and lying on my bed watching Nick at Night. Finally, after taking a bath, I became comfortable enough to turn off the TV and fall asleep until my alarm woke me 2 hours later.

When I got up to get ready for work, I asked Nathan if he had experienced any stomach problems too and he said he had. Since I doubt he was having sympathy symptoms, we’re blaming the Costco take and bake pizza we heated up for dinner last night. Apparently the pizza is delicious in the quantities they dole out during sample time at the store. Any more than that and you’re reaching for the antacid and wishing your throat was coated in Teflon.

So we’re now at 2 days past due and no sign of an impending arrival. The good news is that there is an end in sight. I have an appointment to be induced on the 15th should the girl remain stubborn. While this wasn’t my ideal scenario, I am happy to know something will happen in the next seven days regardless of what the baby has planned for herself. I’m hoping the threat of an eviction will get her moving out on her own. My mother-in-law was quick to point out that the 15th is opening day of deer hunting season and I’ve already been told I’d be out of luck for company should I have the baby during that time. Nathan’s father and brothers are all big hunters.

It just goes to show that in spite of all your preparation and fantasies about how you want things to go, the baby always has other plans.

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Not yet

In spite of what the ticker at the top of the page says, I haven’t had the baby yet. I may have to delete the stupid thing sometime this week. I already feel like it’s mocking me.

My prediction is November 11. Any later than that and I will have to have a talk with the girl about courtesy and punctuality.

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That Woman

Yesterday was not a good day. I woke up cranky and pretty much stayed that way. I called my doctor’s office just before noon needing a little advice for a problem that has been vexing me for a few days. The nurse I spoke to took my info and said she’d call me back after she spoke to my doctor. Nearly four hours later I still had not heard back from her. I was livid. I called the office back and pressed “4” for the nurse again as the message instructed, only to wait through 5 repetitions of “Thank you for waiting. Our nurses are busy with other patients.” I was finally transferred to another voice mail system that apologized for their inability to take my call and to leave a message. Another voice came on instructing me what info to leave and then that voice changed to another instructing me to leave the message after the beep.

And then I turned into the woman I hate to talk to.

I really dislike leaving voicemail messages of any kind because they tend to leave evidence of my occasional stupidity. I rarely leave pissed-off messages, but when I do they’re a thing of beauty. Yesterday was no exception. I left a detailed messaged explaining my problem yet again and how I was very irritated with the office and that I hoped someone would call me back before my baby decides to emerge from my womb yadda, yadda, yadda….

I spend a good part of my working day taking calls and can’t stand talking to people like the person I was yesterday. I can blame it on hormones, and I certainly was hormonal, but I have to be honest and admit I’ve never been the nicest person on the phone when things don’t go my way. You’d think I’d have learned something after answering thousands of calls over the past four years, but no. I guess my attitude has been fueling my karmic comeuppance because I certainly get as good as I give on some days.

So when did I become this demanding phone woman? I think I turned to the dark side in high school in response to an incident that involved my brother and a tube of toothpaste on a school bus. Some kid on the bus decided to empty his tube of Crest all over my brother’s jacket. I witnessed it, but most importantly the bus driver witnessed it and didn’t do a thing.

I’ll be the first to admit that Sean was a little shit when he was a kid. I know that bus driver didn’t like him and probably had a tube of Colgate at home she would have gladly contributed to the pasty graffiti that was smeared all over his back. On that bus though, she was the authority figure and I felt she should have put a stop to what was going down. I saw her smirk reflected in that panoramic rear view mirror and it made my blood boil.

Partly out of wanting justice and partly out of feeling guilty for my own inaction on the bus, I called the school’s transportation office when I got home. I pretended to be my mother. People were always mistaking the two of us on the phone anyway so I figured I could get away with it. I remember trying to sound convincingly angry, and I was angry, but I wanted to sound adult angry. I wanted to be the kind of angry you didn’t mess with. I remember the fear I felt that I would be found out, but the person on the other end was politely apologetic and assured me that the bus driver would be spoken to.

Regardless of whether or not I was truly convincing as an angry adult, I also remember the power I felt once I hung up the receiver. For the first time I felt as though my voice had been heard. I was a kid and had actually made someone else (I thought) feel like a subordinate. It was so cool! It was a high like none other I’d ever felt before. If I could have spent the rest of my life dressing down people over the phone I probably wouldn’t have gotten as fat as I did.

I realize this is probably not the best attitude one should have when she’s getting ready to bring another life into this world. After all, does the world really need another bitch? I’ve spoken to many a bitch on the phone and they’re not fun. They’re always mean and they always think they’re right. But they get results. That’s the kicker. The bitch gets the job done and gets what she wants. I received a call back from the doctor’s office within a half hour of leaving my message.

I’m not saying it’s good or right to be “difficult”, but people do whatever works for them. I truly wish I could be more like my mother. She’s the most docile and easy going person I know. Ghandi would have looked up to her. Unfortunately my father also figures into the mix and he has a bit of a temper and isn’t always patient with people. I’m a mixture of them both, though I’m sure Dad wouldn’t appreciate me attributing my more unpleasant personality traits to his chromosomal contribution.

So what’s in store for my kid? Will she take after me and have a temper or will she follow Nathan’s example and quietly stew in her anger? As a parent, I could say I would want my daughter to be nice and polite all the time, but chances are she’s going to be an only child. She won’t have the older silbling to take care of her, nor will she feel the need to protect a younger sibling from harm. She’s going to have to learn how to stick up for herself and channel the bitch from time to time. Hopefully she’ll be able to learn how to do it without leaving a voicemail.

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