Thursday, September 30, 2010


Wiley is 6 days old and is such a sweet baby.  Very chill.  Barely cries.  Sleeps a lot.  Just a joy.  He is a cuddler.  When you pick him up, he fits himself into the curve of your body and just snuggles.  I have decided that he is little David.  Jackson is little me, Wiley seems to be taking after his Dad.  I am really enjoying him.  As precious as my Jackson is, he was not a cuddly baby.  Too much physical stimulation made him crazy and restless.  He wouldn't sleep on you, didn't want to be rocked.  He didn't want to be held til he learned what affection was all about in his second year.  Wiley is a snuggler.   

I may write more about the c section when I have more energy.  I'll just say that it went as well as it was supposed to but was not a fun experience for a person who is terrified when out of control.  You can't get more out of control than submitting to surgery while awake.  But it was a perfectly executed procedure resulting in a healthy, safely-birthed baby boy. 

Don't know why this pic won't turn the right way : )

His cord was double-knotted like a pretzel.   Not dangerous, not tight, but my doc says he sees maybe one in a hundred babies with one knot and has never seen two.  I thought that was interesting.  The doc was able to hold off cutting the cord for a full minute so Wiley got a good dose of his stem cells and that meant a lot to me.  He came out crying and sounding so loud and healthy, there was no doubt he was ready to be born.  He was a full 8 pounds at 39 weeks.  A full pound larger than Jackson was at 41 weeks 2 days. 

We had a few set-backs in the hospital that lead to a 4-night stay.  First, Wiley was born tongue-tied, which means he couldn't stick his tongue out very far.  Which means his latch while nursing was very shallow and he couldn't get enough to eat and made me very sore.  The tongue is very, very important to breastfeeding.  So he couldn't do it very well and he lost a good amount of weight.  He got down to 7 pounds 1 oz and his bilirubin was high so he was getting pretty jaundiced.  They asked me to supplement with formula (oh horror for a breastfeeding mom!)  so I did a supplemental nursing system by which I taped a tube to myself and he got formula while also latched to the breast and getting what milk he could from me.  He perked  up pretty quickly and gained enough that they let us go on Tuesday AM. 

Wednesday morning we saw an ENT who fixed Wiley's tongue-tie with a super-quick frenulectomy which immediately fixed his latch.  He is now able to get all the milk he wants from me and is busily nursing as much as he can and gaining weight.  At the pedi today he was 7 lbs 10 oz, so he is doing great.

We are getting decent sleep for having a newborn in the house.  My sister was here for a couple of nights and she helped out a lot.  But this baby is so chill and mellow.  I am suspicious of how easy he has been - besides the whole breech thing, failed version, c section and tied tongue...hmmm.

We have had friends bring by food for a few days so we have been well-supplied and cared for.  My pain has been decently controlled.  I have some weird numbness, pain and tingling in the area of my incision that is uncomfortable and disconcerting.  I feel like I have a lot of healing to do in there.  I'm swollen and sensitive and need to keep taking it easy.  I've lost 20 pounds already and feel pretty good about it.  Have about 15 pounds to get back to where I was before.  Seems like a lot, but I am not going to freak out about it.  I'm going to try to be as laid back as Wiley.  He just takes it all in stride and is always happy to get another shot at the boob.  (See, he does take after his dad :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Big Day

Ok, so I guess this is it.  Jackson came into my room about 5:45 wanting to know if it was time to get up yet.  I let him crawl in with me for half an hour.  So that was nice to hold him for a while and give him some attention this morning before I will be gone for a few days and come home with a new baby.

I'm nervous.  I guess I shouldn't be.  I've been through lots of medical procedures;  cancer and chemotherapy that both almost killed me.  This should be a piece of cake, right?  Hell, other women keep telling me that it is easier than actual labor and delivery.  Course I am the freak that enjoyed the endurance test of a midwife birth without drugs.  I never really wanted to be spared from the pain of labor and delivery.  I always wanted to be spared the creepy factor of a needle in my spinal area.  Shiver.  But here we are. 

Here comes David.  The entire family is up now.  Gotta get Jackson ready for school in a few minutes then shower and get ready to go to the hospital.  Bags are packed, I am taking way too much I am sure.  And I wish I had another nursing gown.  I have several two-piece jammy sets, but I didn't count on a section and wonder if I am not going to want to wear pants with the incision.  But I guess that is what hospital gowns are for. 

Ok, I am going to focus on the excitement of meeting this baby and try to forget about my nerves about surgery.  Thank you to everyone who has been sending me good thoughts and wishes over email and facebook.  I think the hospital has Wifi, so I should be able to post something while I am there.  And I am sure David will post on Facebook in near real-time as the baby makes his debut. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Two Days til Baby!

I am scheduled for a section on Friday at 11 am.  Baby is not interested in turning over, in fact he is often lying diagonally.  So we have to go in after him.  I am excited and anxious and nervous.  I am not really excited about being cut open while I am awake and numb.  But I am more than ready to have this boy. 

I've been off work since Thursday last week.  And I've been doing some serious last ditch nesting and retail therapy.  Redecorated a bathroom.  Rearranged my bedroom to create a nursing station.  Tried to keep the house clean and laundry under control and tried to nap every day.  I have one more full day left.  I need to hit the grocery store and might possibly get my toes done since they are in sad shape and I can't reach them at all to fix them. 

At my doctor visit today there was a lady in the lobby waiting for her 2 week postpartum check-up.  She had her new baby boy with her and he was the perfect little tree-frog baby.  My fingers were itching to hold him .  I can't wait to get this boy on the outside so I can cuddle him.

I just hope my post surgical pain doesn't make it too hard to move around. 

Man this is so different from last time. 

I went to the hospital today to do paperwork and get some lab work done so I don't have to do it all on Friday morning.

I asked my doctor about the few things that are important to me to see if I can have at least a couple of things my way even though I can't deliver naturally.  It means a lot to me to not have the baby's cord clamped and cut immediately.  With a section, I feared there was no way around it.  But I decided to ask anyway.  See if the doc could maybe just give the baby a minute or two to start breathing on his own, suction him before cutting the cord.  Let him get some of his own cord blood before being cut off.  To my surprise and pleasure, my doc agreed that unless I am bleeding too much and/or the baby is in distress there is no reason he can't delay clamping and cutting the cord for a minute.  So that makes me happy.  I understand that I will be open on the table and there is risk of infection, but people have 12 hour heart surgeries.  I will assume the risk of a couple more minutes if that means my son gets his cord blood. 

The other thing is not as big a deal.  But I don't want them to put the antibiotic ointment in his eyes before I get to see him.  I know they are going to want to do all the little things they insist on doing to brand spanking new babies while I am being sewn up in the OR.  But I do not want the first time he and I get to look at each other to be blurred by goop in his eyes.  They can wait to do that, if they really need to do it at all, until he and I get some time together.  My doc says that is fine too.  I just have to be very vocal and remind him about not cutting the cord and make sure David, who will go with the baby, keeps them from putting the ointment in his eyes.  He is also supposed to make sure that I get the baby in my arms at the first possible moment. 

So yeah, I am having some control issues to deal with.  I am going to be strapped to a table and can't control every aspect of the delivery and have to let the baby leave my side.  I have to submit. But I don't have to like it, and I know enough to be the annoying squeaky wheel to have some of the important things my way.  And I have a doctor that I trust to carry out my wishes as long as it is safe to do so.  I guess that is all I can control.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Aversion to a version

No dice on the version.  Baby likes where he is and isn't interested in turning over.  We only managed to aggravate him and make me sore.  But I am not really sorry we tried.  I am resigned to having a section unless he turns over on his own, which is very, very unlikely. 

So the version.  I'd heard it described as uncomfortable to excruciating.  I'd say it was somewhere in between.  Painful, but I've had worse - bone pain during chemo could kick external version pain's ass.  Heh, it kicks labor and delivery's ass, as I have said before.  Childbirth is nothing, I have been through chemo.  I doubt c-section recovery can touch neulasta bone pain.  But I'll let you know.

We checked in to the hospital at about 7:30 and I filled out paperwork and answered a billion questions that had nothing to do with my version or even having the baby.  Do I live in a house or an apartment?  Ok.  Let's waste an hour on demographics.  Whatever.  They put me on the monitor to get a baseline reading on the baby.  The infamous monitor.  I have seen and heard much about the electronic fetal monitor.  It is one of the many reasons I avoided delivering my first child in the hospital.  And it was everything I expected it to be.  Two transducers, two belts velcroed to your bare belly sending readings every second to the computer.  Itchy and uncomfortable and limiting your movement, I can see why it would be so damned difficult to labor without drugs while hooked up to these things. 

In the birthing center, the midwives take fetal heart tones every half hour as required by regulation just like they do in the hospital.  Except they come to you wherever you happen to be laboring - the tub, the birthing ball, walking around - and they place a hand-held doppler to your belly, listen to  tones and then chart it.  The technology doesn't interfere with your ability to move and actively manage your labor pain.  I can see how hard it would be to lay in the bed strapped to the monitor and cope with labor.  I guess that is one good thing about me having a section - I guess I don't have to attempt to do just that. 

When my doc came in he did an ultrasound to determine that the baby is indeed still breech.  Then he fetched his little brother, which I didn't expect.  They are in practice together, both OB's and apparently they do versions as a team.  And what a team they were.  They are both very upbeat, jolly dudes.  I like them a lot.  They just seem to love what they do and do it with joy and humor.  So in comes my doc's little brother, John and they start discussing who is going after the 'booty' and who will go for the head.  And together they pressed and pushed and tried their best to lift baby's butt and guide his head around.  his head would move pretty well, but they couldn't get his heiney to come up.  After two tries, they decided to give me a shot of terbutaline to relax my uterus and give it one more try.  Terbutaline felt like taking about 6 puffs of my asthma inhaler.  Speedy heart rate, shaky, a bit high.  Then they tried one more time to the same effect.  Nope.  Not going.  It was time to let it go.

They put me back on the monitor to make sure that the baby was still doing well and once they got a reassuring reading they sent me home, very tired and drained, but glad to be done.  I wish he had turned, but none of us were willing to keep pushing the issue when it wasn't working. 

So two weeks from now, unless he turns on his own, we will have to have a section.  Not really what I want to do.  But I am not in control here, and I can't dictate this.  I can only educate myself and ask questions and make requests that seem to be in my and the baby's best interest.  Such as, I want to nurse this baby in the recovery room as soon as possible. 

The thought of being numb, but aware while being cut open gives me the heeby-jeebies.  I have had a lot of procedures done in my time, but I usually can rely on the fentanyl/versed cocktail to render the experience surreal and not so scary.  But in this case, that is not in the best interests of the baby.  So I need to be aware and with it and it seems pretty scary to me.  David is pretty apprehensive about being there too.  I'm sure we'll get through it fine, so many people do. 

I just have to get through two more weeks of being uncomfortably pregnant.  I'm pretty sore tonight from the version attempt, but Tylenol helped a bit and it should be better tomorrow.

And I have to deal with my dear, sweet kindergartner as well.  Times are sure changing.  My boy isn't with me every day.  I feel a sense of loss right now because I feel like he has passed out of my control into a totally different realm that I can't really know all about.  I don't know what he does all day.  I have to rely on the daily interrogation of a child who can't really tell me what I want to know.  He can't answer "Are you secure in your surroundings?"  "Are you getting what you need from the teacher?"  I feel like he has been torn from me a little.  He is now spending more time with the state than he is with me.  I know all the working moms with daycare kids are now irritated with my whining, since their kids have been doing that all along.  But I can't help that this is hard on me. 

And I feel like his behavior is a little different.  He seems a little more worldly already, a little less likely to listen to me, he's a little more irritable and emotional.  Just seems a little resentful.  I could be imagining it.  Or more likely it is because I am getting him back tired after a full day and I have missed his good moods.  I guess evenings before dinner have always been cranky times but before I had him much more of the day and had the better times to even it out.  I dunno. 

Also I have been giving him antihistamines to combat the itchy, runny and stuffy nose he has had for weeks.  And reading around online has led me to message boards populated by parents complaining that claritin and zyrtec turned their sweet children into emotional, aggressive monsters.  Could this be a culprit?  Could I be dosing him with something that is making the transition to full day, all week kindergarten harder on him? 

Why is parenting so damned hard?  I am trying to stop his nose from itching all the time.  He continually licks his palm and rubs his nose with it because it itches, making it red and raw by the end of every day.  So I try to medicate him and put cream on his nose at night and in the morning it is much better only to be red again when I pick him up from school.  I can't be there to put ointment on it 3 or 4 times a day and it must just itch all the time.  Thus the claritin - which hasn't really worked. 

So I tried the zyrtec but it has a worse reputation for behavioral issues and depression, but a better track record on allergies.  Seemed to help his nose, but I gave it to him at bedtime and the next day at school, he got his first 'bad' incident on his daily chart.  And when I picked him up he had a complete breakdown because he left his water bottle in the classroom and it was locked in there.  Could be a coincidence, but I feel incredibly guilty if the medicine is making it harder for him to deal with his emotions.  But the question remains, what can I do about his nose if the meds either don't work or make him a wreck?  I'm not going to keep giving them to him, but I don't want him to suffer all the time with an itchy, runny nose.

So much to think about.  New baby, c-sections, my little boy becoming more worldly and not so attached physically to him mommy.  Geez.  And cankles. 

And my car that has been giving me problems.    It is at the shop - probably going to get a new battery.  But that means I probably can't work tomorrow and have to figure out how to retrieve Jackson from school again.  Blegh.  A margarita sure would be nice right about now.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Turn, baby, turn.

Tomorrow at 7 am we are going to the hospital to try to turn this baby.  After visiting with the doc on Tuesday, we decided to give it a shot.  He made it sound pretty easy.  He says that in his experience, the baby either turns easily or he doesn't and we stop.  He doesn't try to force him to move if he doesn't just easily go, thus lessening the risk and the percieved violence of the procedure.  So we felt it would be ok to try.  So we'll see how it goes.  There is the slight chance that it could break my water or something so I'll take my bags with me just in case we end up birthing him tomorrow.  Probably won't happen, but it is possible.  I am not getting my hopes up that the baby will turn, I am just going to go in and try to relax, let the doc try and see what happens. It is pretty much a 50/50 chance of him actually turning over.  But if he does then I can avoid a c-section.  And if not I can feel that I at least tried. 

I just got home from the Palace.  I went in after dinner to do some work on the next playbill which is due next week.  I have a hard time leaving things hanging.  I wish I could be finished with it now but I did at least get the pages set and planned out and figured out what pieces are still needed.  So if I can't go back to work, Sonja can see exactly where we stand on it.  I didn't go in during the day today.  Went to leave and my car wouldn't start.  Battery issue.  This afternoon I called roadside assistance to come jump me so I could go get Jackson from school.  It worked and the car is running fine now.  Maybe I left the door cracked with the light on or something.  I hope that is all it is.  But it meant I didn't get playbill work done today and felt the need to go in tonight. 

So now I am tired.  And ready for bed.  Which is good since I have to get up early to have the version attempted.  Just hope I manage to sleep tonight and not lay awake thinking.  I always get hungry when I do that and I can't eat anything after midnight.

Man, I can't compose a proper sentence right now.  All these little choppy ones.  Guess you can tell I am tired. 

Monday, September 06, 2010

Ready now...

I am so ready to have this baby.  Physically I feel at my limit and I have potentially 3 or 4 weeks to go!  I can't imagine being this uncomfortable for another month.  The previous statement could probably be repeated verbatim for nearly every woman this close to her due day, I am sure.  I don't remember being quite this miserable with Jackson, but I remember it being hard.  And he was 8 days past my due date and I know I was really ready for him to be born.  But 5 years ago I was walking around the neighborhood in the evenings trying to get things going and doing exercises and things.  And I don't remember it being this hard to accomplish daily tasks.  Like picking things up off the floor.  I don't remember feeling so limited in what I could and couldn't do.  Maybe I have just forgotten.  Or maybe I am 5 years older.  And have had cancer.  And have a baby sitting breech, which means he is all up in my diaphragm making most movement difficult, whereas I carried Jackson very low, which was heavy, but didn't really interfere with my breathing, picking things up, or cause the awesome nightly heartburn.

Whatever it is, I am ready to have this baby now.  And if he wants to come a few weeks early and not be an 8 1/2 pound giant baby that would be fine with me.  As long as he is physically ready, that is. Pretty sure he is big enough.  Just want his lungs and such to be ready too.  Course I was on steroids for a few days so I bet he is ready too.  Heh, if he were head down as he should be, all these braxton hix contractions could be putting me into labor anytime now.  But without the pressure of his head down there helping things progress, I wonder if natural labor will take a while to happen.  Sigh.

I have an appt with the OB tomorrow morning.  We'll discuss trying to turn him from breech, but unless the doc is seriously gung-ho and confident and expresses it is a no-brainer and a piece of cake, we are leaning toward not attempting it.  We just kind of feel like it might be too stressful on the baby and on me and that perhaps we ought to just leave him alone.  He may still turn on his own.  Or not.   But we'll deal with that as it comes.  I just have these awful visions of wrapping the cord around him weirdly or causing the placenta to tear.  I dunno.  I guess I'll talk to the doc about it tomorrow.  But I just feel a little unsure about the risks.  Guess I'll see what answers tomorrow brings.

And I know that no matter what kind of birth experience this turns out to be, I will always have the precious memories of Jackson's birth, when I had pretty much everything my way.  The birthing center was so calm and private.  And the midwives supported me without any feelings of me being the odd one who didn't want pain medications.  Jackson was born in a gorgeous Victorian room on an antique queen-sized sleigh bed with my mom and husband on the bed with me.  Andrea was there and when Jackson was born, he was placed on my chest and we met him and held him without cutting the cord immediately.  I don't think they even weighed him for an hour or so.  And we all went home 6 hours later.  It was awesome.  And I have such a sense of accomplishment from the experience, like I imagine marathon runners must feel.  It was a test of endurance and though it was very hard, it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. 

I'll be at the hospital this time.  My situation is different now.  And if I am able to have a low-intervention birth once again, I will be very grateful.  I know there are some serious pros and cons to delivering in the hospital.  And I am trying to focus on the pros.  Such as staying a few days.  It was very nice to come home to my bed after Jackson was born, but the problem with that is that we were all still on the clock.  My mom rubbed my back for 12 hours of labor and now we were home and still needed care.  Staying in the hospital means that my caregivers can go home and crash afterwards.  And I also won't have to fight my natural inclination against bed rest.  At home, I was up doing things when I should have been in bed resting.  A hospital stay will force me to rest at least for a day.  More if I end up having a section.

We are really getting down to the wire now.  My misery aside, this baby will be born in a matter of weeks if not sooner.  If my feet don't pop from all the edema, I will make it through with too much groaning and complaining to suit my husband.  And much crankiness.  I am definitely cranky.  Poor David and Jackson. 

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Pharmaceuticals and huge breech babies

I had an appointment with the perinatologist today and discovered that this baby is breech.  Still.  Or again.  Cause I swear he turned and was riding low for a week or two.  But he is definitely all up in my ribs again.  Estimated to be about 6  1/2 pounds now at 36 weeks.  Still measuring a week older - 37 weeks and they estimate him to be around 8 1/2 pounds if I go a full 40 weeks by dates.  That is fricken crazy.  That sounds huge to me.  Jackson was 7 pounds and he was a week late.  This is a huge baby!  I can't imagine birthing such a big baby. 

Course if he doesn't turn over I'll have to have a c-section. 

So it is just about decision time about whether we want to try to manually turn him over.  On Tuesday I see my regular OB and we'll discuss whether to attempt a version or not.  It would be done in the hospital because there are risks involved and they would need to be ready to do a section if something went wrong - like the placenta tearing away or the baby not liking it and going into distress and other complications all of which are reportedly pretty rare.  I understand having it done is either mildly uncomfortable or really painful, depending upon who you ask.  And the chances of success are 50 to 60 percent.  And there is also the chance that if he does turn over and I go home that he turns his little heiney right back breech because that is just the way he wants to be. 

Course if successful and he stays head down, then I avoid major abdominal surgery.  So I don't know what to decide.  My friend Google says that a lot of women who have it done are bruised and sore afterwards and the ones who were successful say it was hard but worth it and the ones who were unsuccessful say it was painful and hard and they wish they hadn't bothered trying. If any of you out there have had a version and want to share the experience, go for it.

Blech.  So I dunno what to decide.  I'll talk to the doc on Tuesday and see what he says.  I'd sure like to avoid a c-section.  But not sure if the external version is the right thing either.  Hey, I know.  Maybe this baby should just turn his little ass over all on his own.  That would work too, right?

So the perinatologist isn't happy about my coughing and wheezing either.  I have been on the Augmentin for 7 days and the prednisone for three.  He says they would have worked by now if they were going to.  So I can stop them both and he is switching me to azythromicin to see if that will help.  So third antibiotic trial begins tonight.

He also sent me for a chest x-ray.  He says that pregnant women make internal medicine docs like my pulmonologist very nervous.  And that he has absolutely no problem ordering a shielded x-ray on me to take a look.  Said it would take 100 x-rays to give enough radiation to affect the baby.  And that at his gestational age, they x-ray babies at birth all the time without a problem.  So I did the x-ray this afternoon and they already reported that it looks fine.  No evidence that the lymphoma is coming back.  Just have some resistant gunk in there that may just take some time to clear up.  So that is good news.  Sort of.  It doesn't fix my cough, but at least we know now that it isn't the cancer recurring. 

So the folks at the pharmacy are getting to know me by sight now after our summer of pharmaceuticals.  Between me and Jackson we are buying out the place.