3 Weeks Postpartum

My little one is 3 weeks old already. It scares me how fast time flies when you are a parent. I can already see so many changes in her. She stares right at me now. She cries when someone else is holding her and she hears my voice. She holds her head up a few seconds longer. She’s bigger, no longer fitting in the preemie outfits and inching her way towards the 0-3 month stuff instead of just newborn.

Why can’t this stage last longer? Why not a newborn stage for a year? We get the toddler stage for a long time, the preschool stage for a long time, the elementary stage for a long time, and the teen years… for way too long. I just want to cuddle this innocent, precious little baby for a little longer.

Her doctor called and wants to go ahead and do a VCUG at the children’s hospital to check out her enlarged kidney. Nothing I haven’t gone through before. But, I hate – HATE – putting my babies through this test. The specialist she spoke to said he didn’t mind the baby not being on antibiotics as long as we rule out the reflux. So, I’m waiting for a call back to find out when she needs to be there.

As for me, I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight!!! I was 118 when I got pregnant with this one in April. However, I was 115 when I got pregnant in October 2008. So, I’d like to get back to that and drop the couple inches of FUN FLAB I have now.

I haven’t taken an aspirin or folic acid since I went into the hospital. I’m not sure how big of a risk I’m taking, but I was so sick of swallowing so many pills a day. I need to do some more research into it all. I think I’d like to get tested again, like getting a second opinion, and make sure I have this MTHFR disorder.

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Welcome Baby!

Wednesday January 6, 2010

After finding out that our baby was on the small side, possibly having IUGR, our midwife had us meet with her two backup doctors. Both doctors suggested an induction the 39th week. We tried every kind of natural induction we could think of at home (stripping membranes, EPO, sex, nipple stimulation, Nature’s Sunshine 5W, essential labor oils, acupressure, etc), but none of it worked. I didn’t like one of the doctors; he was funny, but not midwife friendly at all. The other doctor was more open to anything; he even had been nominated for awards by midwives. So, we went with him.

I was admitted at 7am on Wednesday January 6th.  Upon walking into labor and delivery with my husband and midwife, we were greeted by a bunch of nurses. One of them was someone my midwife knew… another midwife!! She asked the head nurse if she could be our nurse and she said sure. There was also an experienced ICU nurse who was orienteering to L&D and she was able to work with us too. I overheard the head nurse saying to the midwife who worked there that this was a good case for her to see because usually they didn’t get many natural deliveries. This would show her you don’t always have to intervene. It still blows my mind that so many people opt for all sorts of interventions.

Into room #5 we went, had to get into my lovely hospital gown, pee in the nice cup and lay in the extremely uncomfortable hospital bed. This was by far the smallest L&D room I had ever been in. It wasn’t very nice either. Pretty blah. We got started with all the questions and the prepping. After about 2 hours, they hung the antibiotics up and started the Pitocin. They started it slowly… going up by 1s. I was at 3cm and 50% effaced. We had to wait 4 hours for the antibiotic to be in my system. If I delivered before that, we’d be stuck in the hospital a longer time. At this point, I was still hoping to go home that day.

Around 12:30pm, the doctor came in and broke my water. My cervix was only about 3.5cm, but soft and stretchy. So, breaking the water was the next step. Always one I’m scared of because there’s no turning back. The contractions immediately felt different, harder and more painful. The Pit was turned up more and more and more until it hit 24, the max. And the contractions were hard, but not coming close enough. I was in the bathroom and Michael had a little chat with our “nurse midwife”. When I came back out, she asked if she could check me. So, I said sure. This was about 3pm. I got in the bed and she checked. I believe she said I was a very stretchy 5-6cm. She asked if she could keep her hand there for a contraction. Sure. So, during the contraction came and she “played around” with my cervix and when she was done she said I was 7cm. LOL! It was uncomfortable, but not real painful.

My contractions started changing at that point. Much harder and much more pressure. She said she’d like to do it one more time and that was fine with me. The quicker, the better.  So, she went in again and just held my cervix for a contraction. By the time she was done, I was 8 and feeling it good. My mom walked in at that point. They called the doctor and let him know I was at 8cm. I guess I should have mentioned that once I hit 7, birth usually happens within 5 contractions and/or a few minutes.

So, yeah, you guessed it… I had a few contractions and went “OMIGOSH, she’s coming!” I could just feel the intense pressure coming, knowing there was no stopping it and no doctor there. LOL! Of course, I wasn’t worried, there were 2 very experienced midwives right there. The nurses started yelling “head on perineum”! LOL! And a bunch of other nurses rushed in. I asked if I could push and my “nurse midwife” said I could do whatever I wanted. So, I bore down and her head came on out. I felt a couple “pops”. And they hurt! As soon as her shoulders were out, they told me to reach down and get her. So, I did. I sat up a bit, grabbed her and brought her up to my chest. She let out a cry not too long after. She was so little and so perfect. She had lots of brown hair, long fingers and was just adorable.

The next few minutes were like a whirlwind. I was trying to hold the baby and bond with her. Some nurse was trying to get some cord blood. The doctor came in and wasn’t looking too happy. He didn’t seem mad either, so who knows exactly what he was feeling. I don’t know if nurses get in trouble for not calling fast enough. She did say to him, “I left something for you to do” – meaning delivering the placenta.

When the placenta came out, I asked if I could see it. He said sure when he was done. I guess there was something “down there” bothering him, so I finally asked what was going on and was told that I had a little nick that wouldn’t stop bleeding and that it wasn’t in the normal area (like where you’d get an episiotomy). They tried to stop the bleeding for a few minutes, and then he said he’d have to stitch it up. YUCK! I hate being stitched up in that area. He did do it quickly, I’ll give him that, but it still hurt.

I know at some point they insisted on taking the baby. I never did find out why. Michael said he thought it had something to do with the cord not being clamped right or something like that. They weighed her and measured her at that point too – 6lbs 3oz and 18 ½”. Then they brought her back to me and put her on my chest – skin to skin. She started making sounds with her mouth, so I put her to my breast and she latched right on. No problems. She immediately started nursing. This was the first time any of my babies latched so quickly and easily.

During this crazy time, someone noticed the placenta wasn’t around anymore and my mom said I had wanted to see it. The doctor got mad! He asked where it was and someone said “we threw it away” and the doctor ordered them to get it out of the garbage because I had asked to see it. And they did. LOL! We got to see it and take pictures. Weird to some, but it’s so neat, seeing your baby’s home for the last 9 months.

We bonded there for a while and at some point we were told they had to take her down to the nursery and do a bunch of things. They said I could go, but at that point, I wanted to get cleaned up and get some pain meds and so on. So, Michael went with them. If I had known it was going to be about 2 more hours before I’d see her again, I would have gone.

I got cleaned up, peed and for doing that, they took my IV out. I was wheeled up to my room. Unfortunately, we were told no children under 14 were allowed at the hospital during flu season. I wish we had been told that before we checked in. It really made me mad. My doctor told me that I could leave from L&D, however the baby’s doctor had to release her too. We chose one based on my doctor’s opinion and found out he was on vacation. So, his backup said the baby had to stay for 36 hours because of my positive GBS status. So stupid. They said the hospital policy was 48 hours, so her policy was better.

The hospital stay was pretty pathetic. I hardly slept at all. I kept getting woken up by people needing something. And if that wasn’t enough, all I wanted to do was cuddle with the baby and I usually sleep with them… well that didn’t go over very well. One of the CNAs had a fit saying I wasn’t allowed to do that and that if nursery caught me, they’d take the baby back there. I looked at her and I said “Tough”. This is my 5th baby and I’ve managed never to roll on top of one or drop one while co-sleeping. Then I told her I’d be happy to check out AMA if they were going to push me. She backed off, but I was paranoid from then on. Since apparently checking out AMA could cost me a visit from CPS a denial to pay from our insurance.

We tried to get released at 36 hours which would have been 3:25am Friday, but the hospital and doctor fought us. Why say you can go home at 36 hours if you really can’t? So, on Friday January 8th, at 7am, they started getting us ready to go. The funny thing it didn’t seem like GBS keeping us there, it was some bili test for jaundice and the nurse told us it was at 8 and was low risk on her chart. When the doctor came to talk to us, she said it was a little high and she should be watched. Hmmmm… trying to justify keeping us there for that long?

Even though we were kept there for much longer than I had wanted and our kids couldn’t visit, I’m glad we went with that doctor and that hospital. We were able to have 2 midwives and a really nice nurse. The labor wasn’t too long and the delivery fairly easy.

The doctor ordered another ultrasound for the baby’s kidneys because the ultrasound I had done while pregnant showed some sort of dilation. She does have one kidney that is still dilated or something. They sent us home with antibiotics just in case its reflux, but I’m not sure about giving it to her before we know. We’re supposed to see the doctor Monday and find out what the next step is. Another ultrasound or a VCUG.  

So, I didn’t get my home birth. Seeing her size, I’m not sure I did the right thing (being induced). She was 6lbs 3oz. I read online that a baby has to be under 5lbs 13oz at birth to be considered IUGR. The “nurse midwife” told us that she had the physical characteristics of IUGR so that we made the right decision. I don’t know if she was just saying that to ease our minds… but she said she had a small head compared to her body and her limbs were smaller too. So, I guess her proportions are off. Her trunk is normal size, or something like that. I’ll have to research that a little.

Even though I didn’t get my home birth, things went well enough that I’m happy. No crazy doctor or nurses breathing down my neck. No rolling of eyes that it was supposed to be a home birth. No epidural. No c-section.

And the end product…

A beautiful, sweet, baby girl… Bella.

MTHFR

I’m trying to put together a post on MTHFR. It’s been difficult to figure out what I want to say and what medical information is important to give.

Let’s start with my personal brand of MTHFR 🙂  According to my lab work, I am compound heterozygous for MTHFR mutations. “Right…” You say. “What does that mean?” It basically means my body can’t absorb Folic Acid. I can’t metabolize it or Vitamin B9. Does that make any more sense? Not to me. Not even almost a year after diagnosis. I still don’t understand.

What do I do to treat my MTHFR? I take Folic Acid and baby aspirin. Oooohhh, big deal, huh?

From the research I’ve done in the past 11 months and from what the doctors have told me, it seems like something that is life altering. Yet, my life doesn’t seem that different. In fact, most days I wonder if taking this extra folic acid and aspirin are really helping. And helping what? I don’t feel any different. I’m 31weeks pregnant. I can’t stand taking pills. After taking 3 folic acid pills a day, I missed a couple and nothing happened. So, I put myself down to 2 folic acid pills a day (and the baby aspirin). Still don’t feel any different. I guess right now it’s a waiting game. I’m wondering if I should get retested after the baby is born. Maybe there was a mistake? Maybe I really don’t have it?

According to some websites, MTHFR can cause pre-eclampsia, placenta abruption, IUGR, stillbirth, having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities, recurrent pregnancy loss, clotting problems, strokes, hypertension, and heart disease. They say this is all hereditary. Yet, nobody in my family has these issues… except me. And the only ones I’ve had are miscarriages, possibly mild pre-eclampsia, and IUGR with one of my pregnancies. My other three full term pregnancies were fine. I was born with a heart defect, but I don’t think it’s connected.

People with MTHFR are supposed to be on a blood thinner when pregnant. My doctor recommended Lovenox injections. I refused. I took the chance that my body would take the extra folic acid and aspirin and do what was needed with it. And so far, it has.

 So, were my tests wrong? Or am I the only one in my family to have MTHFR? Are there other family members suffering from it, but not sharing the information? And what would happen if after I have this baby, I stop taking the medicine? Do I really want to risk stopping medicine and end up having a stroke? No. But, do I want to keep taking these pills for the rest of my life? No. But, I am lucky that this is the only thing wrong with me. I am blessed to be so healthy.

30 Weeks

I have hit 30 weeks! I had an appointment with my midwife this week. Everything is fine. I gained 10lbs between 20wks and 30wks and that’s what she likes to see, so I guess I did good there I measured 29 1/2cm so pretty much right on. My blood pressure was good and there was no protein in my urine – so no signs of preeclampsia (I was worried last week with my swollen feet and headaches, but it looks like it was just stress and the trip home for my cousin’s funeral). Baby’s heartrate was in the 140s, she was sort of vertex, but sort of transverse LOL! She’s just like her sisters, she likes to flip around.

I refused the glucose test and she said she’d draw my blood next time for the repeat CBC and all that fun stuff.

Right before we left for NY, I had an ultrasound. I was a little over 28 weeks. They called with the results while I was away. On the phone they told me I was 1cm dilated already. But, the report says .75cm. So, the midwife did look inside and said she could see it was a tiny bit dilated, but not to 1cm yet. So, the good news is that I’m not dilating anymore right now. She said who knows how many people go around dilated at 30 weeks because normally OBs and midwives don’t check at that time.

The second thing the report showed was mild dilation of the kidneys. Nobody is worried about this. It’s something that often clears up and if not, I’ll just take the baby in to have her kidneys checked when she’s born. My oldest was born with a kidney problem and it’s all okay.

Third… the placenta. It’s still only 2.1cm from my cervix, so it’s considered low lying, but not previa. They were hoping it would migrate up, but guess it’s being stubborn. My midwife said it might be because it’s posterior. She wants to talk to some other midwives about it and get their opinions. But, her gut tells her it’s fine and she’s not worried about it. It might be a bit of a challenge with my MTHFR status, so we’ll be keeping an eye on the bleeding in labor. I spoke to my old doula who agrees with her, that as long as it’s 2cm away, a vaginal delivery is fine.

The research I’ve done online seems to go either way… some say 2cm is the cut off. Anything less and it’s a c-section. Other sites say it should be 3cm. Some say you shouldn’t do an ultrasound to check the placenta until 35 weeks or so because it still has a chance to migrate. Some say home births are too risky. But, I’m comfortable right now. If my gut tells me different, I’d be switching. (I also looked up the placenta location in my other pregnancies, they were all posterior, but none were ever marked as low lying).

Anyway, I see her again in 2 weeks at her office and then 2 weeks after that, she’s coming here again! I love when I don’t have to go anywhere. She said something about being full term in 6 weeks! WOW! Just 6 weeks. And being the holidays, time will fly even faster!!!!

Conversation With My Toddler

Me to my toddler: “Can you please put the spoon away?”

My toddler to me: “I can’t. I hurt my back.”

I had to stifle a laugh.

My toddler to me: “Make me lunch, please.”

Me to my toddler: “I can’t. I hurt my feet.”

She looks at me and then at the spoon, she waits a few seconds, goes over, picks it up, puts it away, then smiles and asks for lunch again.

Too cute.

Judging People

Do you judge other people? Honestly now. I do and I’m ashamed of it. I try not to. I really do. But, sometimes, I just can’t help myself. I keep my thoughts pretty much to myself, sometimes I blog about them, sometimes I rant to my husband about them, but mainly I just shake my head and keep moving on.

I know that it’s up to God to judge each of us. I know we’re not supposed to judge each other. And I certainly have been proved wrong before. So, why do I keep doing it? Why does my brain automatically think “bad mother” when I see someone smoking in their car with kids on board? And is it such a bad thing? Isn’t that mother not thinking of her child as she puts both their lives at risk?

I had a conversation with a friend the other day. She is a much better person than I am… or at least I think she is from what she says. She talked about she doesn’t like to be judged, so she doesn’t judge other people. Her mentality was “if you don’t like me, fine”. And I like that about her. It doesn’t bother me if somebody non-essential to my everyday wellbeing doesn’t like me. I know I’m different and that’s okay. I don’t expect other people to be just like me and to think just like I do. Sure would be nice though 😀

I have been judged before and still am to this day. I was judged as a teenager when I wore all black, spiked my hair up, dyed it purple and had a bad attitude. I was judged when I looked like a teenager at 22 when I had my first baby. I was judged as a b*tch when I moved here and didn’t want to sit out in the street and drink. And I’m judged now for having 5 children and for my views on how to raise them. I can honestly say I’m okay with all that right now. Judge away if you must.

However, even though I’m okay with being judged, I am mad at myself for judging others. I will continue to try and change… but I don’t have much hope. People will still make me shake my head. And I’m sure, as always, I will blog about it.

Cervical Cancer Vaccine Warnings

Schools & Money

I’m venting. I’m venting here because I don’t want to vent to my neighborhood and start something. So, here I go… We send our kids to school to learn. We entrust them to teachers. And we do pay. When we buy a home, we pay school taxes. In fact, I pay up the nose in school taxes.

We pay for school supplies. I don’t mind paying it. Although, I would like to know who compiles this list – this list of supplies that our children need. I prepaid for my middle schoolers supplies this year and she didn’t use all of it. Not only was 1/4 of that box left over, but the teachers wanted other things! Specific color folders, binders, assignment books, and don’t forget to add in what the electives need – orchestra supplies, sewing supplies… UGH!

If that wasn’t enough, we are asked at the beginning of the school year for just about everything. School lunch money – not a big deal – I put so much in my children’s accounts so they can get lunch once a week. I think it’s neat how they have an online website where I can see what my girls are eating and how much money is left. I can deal with that one.

But, then there is PTO – this is something I wouldn’t join except that is the ONLY way to get a student directory. School spirit shirts. This isn’t something that is required, however most of the school has them and I don’t want my kids to feel left out every Friday when it’s spirit day. So, I buy the overpriced shirts.

Take a deep breath, that surely has to be it, right? Right? Noooooo. My 7th grader needs a gym uniform! Why is it that they can’t change into shorts and a t-shirt like we did in school? I need to spend $25 on a uniform? And NO, it can’t be the same one from last year!

School officially starts – oh, did I not mention that this was all stuff that needed to be purchased BEFORE school even begins – and YEARBOOK forms go out!!!!!!!! Yes, lets order a $40 yearbook in September! Don’t forget the extra money to have their name engraved!!!

My 7th grader decides to join cross country and all of a sudden I NEED to buy her a t-shirt and a jacket. Wonderful. Then this week, the elementary school wants money for Field Day shirts. Um… Field Day isn’t until SPRING!!!!!!!!!!

Don’t forget to buy from the Scholastic book paper! The schools need books, ya know. And picture day! Spend $50 on a picture package you can’t see before paying for it. We skipped that. We’ll do holiday pictures instead.

So, what set me off now? Why am I venting now? This music thing came up at school, the teachers are playing music in the classrooms and some of it’s not appropriate. The neighborhood is in an uproar. But, the people who are close to the teachers defend them by saying “Well, if you don’t like it, then you need to provide the money for the CDs we should be playing your children.” Um… what???????????????????????? (This topic is a whole other post)

I realize that teachers don’t make a lot of money. I realize that the schools don’t give them money to decorate or buy things for their classroom. But, I take a mean approach. If you don’t have the money to provide what your classroom needs, don’t be a teacher. I was in elementary education when I was in college. I knew what I was getting into. I knew I’d need my own money. And after completing 3 years, I decided that’s not what I wanted to do with my life. Maybe I’m a horrible person for saying that. I don’t think it should be MY responsibility to provide the teachers with extra stuff or CDs. I pay more than enough in taxes that the teachers should get some money to help them.

My 1st grader’s teacher is brand spanking new and her wish list was LONG. I actually don’t like any of my daughters being in a brand new room because they don’t get what the other kids get. The kids who have teachers who have been teachers more than a month actually have more toys, more supplies, on top of the experience the teacher has.

I wish I could homeschool. I wish I had the patience and the  knowledge to homeschool my girls. In fact, I came up with my own great plan 🙂 I think if you are going to homeschool your child, you shouldn’t have to pay school taxes. I could use the thousands of dollars I pay in taxes and all the money I’d save not having to pay for PTO, t-shirts, wish lists, etc. for the supplies needed to homeschool and have enough to hire a tutor for the things I can’t teach!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I’m overprotective.

26 Weeks

The days seem to drag on and yet fly by. I often think about updating my blog and then I get sidetracked. I don’t have any real news to report. I saw my midwife last week for an appointment. She actually came to me! It was wonderful not having to drive anywhere, to wait in my own home, watch tv or be online while waiting. Not that I have to wait at her office either, but compared to waiting at the OB’s office, this is a dream.

My blood pressure was perfect for me, I gained 4 pounds since the last visit, no swelling. My belly finally measured accurately! I was 25 weeks and measured 25 weeks. The last visit had me a little scared because I was only measuring 15 week and I was 21 weeks. It reminded me of my pregnancy with NKJ. They had to induce me because she wasn’t growing anymore. My baby girl’s heart rate was good and she was moving all around. I see her again in 4 weeks and then the appointments will go to every 2 weeks! I can’t believe it’s already that time!

I will be having another ultrasound in a few weeks to check on my placenta. I sure hope it has moved up so it doesn’t cause any problems in delivery.

We did have some bad news on our insurance. It seems they were going to cover the midwife out of network, but our insurance switches January 1st! So, if the baby is born in December, that’ll be awesome money wise. If the baby isn’t born until January, we’ll be paying the whole thing.

Having a Homebirth

It’s amazing how the fact that I’m hoping to have a homebirth brings out the ugly in other people. I read a comment in a forum recently that wasn’t directed to me, but it felt that way. This person said something like “I don’t understand how anyone could risk having a homebirth when there are facilities to deal with birth.”

So, basically, if they build it, we should all go. I wonder if people really forget that it wasn’t so long ago that homebirth was normal, that doctors came to people’s houses and took care of them, that midwives took care of laboring mothers. This was normal. C-sections weren’t normal, inductions weren’t normal, natural childbirth at home was!

Then came along my grandmother’s generation. She tells stories on going into the hospital to give birth, the doctors would give the mothers some sort of gas mask they would have to hold up to their nose and mouth, this would knock them out until their hand dropped and then they’d wake back up again. Boy, that sounds fun! At the end of the labor,  mothers were basically out of it as the doctors yanked babies out. My grandmother says how she woke up hours later and was told she had a girl or a boy. Fathers weren’t in the rooms. She would then have to stay in the hospital for weeks!

And now look at where we are. People actually get to say “Gee, I think the 5th of January is a good day to have a baby” and they ask their doctor to induce them that day and the doctor says sure. Of course, that’s a whole other blog post.

My point today is that people rush to the hospital to have a baby now. They WANT the induction, they WANT the epidural, they WANT the meds… but I’m not sure why. Why would someone choose to be put in a hospital with all the bacteria and viruses floating around? Why would someone want to be hooked up to machines? Why would someone want an IV? Why have all these medical interventions if you don’t need them?

I completely understand if you are high risk that you would  need some intervention. But, for a perfectly normal pregnancy in a healthy mom, why?

However, I don’t normally tell someone who is having a hospital birth I think they’re nuts for doing so. I usually keep my opinion to myself. I wish other people would.

My reasons for hoping to have a homebirth?

  • Giving birth in the comfort of my own home.
  • Having as many people around as I want.
  • Not having any interventions unless absolutely needed.
  • Being able to eat or drink.
  • Being able to videotape and take pictures.
  • Being able to give birth in my tub if I want.
  • Having control over my surroundings.
  • Not having to leave my children with babysitters.
  • Not having to say goodbye to my children at the end of the visiting hours.
  • Not having my newborn taken out of my sight ever. No hospital mixups here.
  • Not having things done to my newborn that I don’t want.

I pray every night that it works out for me. That even though I have some things going against me, that I am able to try for a homebirth. I pray that when that time comes that my body does what it’s supposed to do and everything goes smoothly. Of course, I pray for a healthy baby and a happy outcome.

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