Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Rest

First: I would like to point out that I am not crying.

Why am I not crying, you ask?

Because my sister is coming to save me from what was quickly becoming a black hole of sleep deprivation, endless fussiness and endless despair. We were planning on heading down to Utah this weekend for sweet Tay's baptism, but after the last few nights? Let's just say that this help couldn't have come at a better time.

Also...this is exactly what Moms are for. Mom would have been here teaching me and helping me and telling me I'm not a huge failure. Cracking inappropriate jokes, cuddling and kissing my baby.

Frick. Right when I said I wasn't crying.

Ok ok ok ok breathe. This isn't going to be a bitter post. This is the rest of Violet's birth story.

I'm sure that bitter 'why isn't my Mom here?' posts will find their way onto this blog...but not right now.


Shaun and Vi went off to the nursery and I got stitched and cleaned up and rolled down to recovery where I kept asking every person within earshot, "WHEN DO I GET TO SEE MY BABY." (said in Will Ferrell's 'voice immodulation' (sp??) character's voice.)

FINALLLLLLY - after like a billion hours (like 30 minutes) - they wheeled me down to the room where my whole family was waiting! After another billion hours (like five minutes) Shaun walked in and right behind him??!?! Da da ta daaaa!! My baby!!

I was so frustrated at how slow and heavy my body was - I wanted to LEAP out of that bed and grab her! The nice nurse helped prop me up and handed that little bundle of blonde hair and chubby cheeks to me. I could barely maneuver myself, let alone poor Violet, so I enlisted the help of one of my sisters to sit her up so I could look at her.

Holy moly, people. If there was ever a question about paternity prior to this child's birth, one look at her little face cleared away ANY doubts. I felt like I was looking at a baby picture of Shaun! All that blonde hair, her eyes and eyebrow shape, her nose, all the way down to that little chin. There's just never been a more precious and wonderful tiny person. Nikki was snapping pictures like crazy and captured the moment I first saw her - I'm crying [again] thinking about that amazing moment. I'll post it here as soon as I get my hands on it!

I felt like I could stare at her all day. I was really happy when the meds started wearing off so I could hold her and cuddle her without feeling like I was about to drop her on the floor. I couldn't believe I was sitting in the hospital with my husband and my baby and my family. It really was a dream coming true - one of my oldest and most wished for dreams.

The next several days were a blur of pain meds, horrible swelling and all night breast feeding extravaganzaaaaas (worst idea ever!!) mixed with so much happiness and fatigue and excitement and anxiety. Family visiting, family leaving, leaving the hospital (which prompted a massive meltdown for both Violet AND me), and figuring things out at home.

For the record: The first ten days of recovering from a c section are NO JOKE. I scarfed narcotics like tic tacs. I demanded refills. I went from looking like a 6 months pregnant gorilla after my surgery (don't ask me why I looked like a gorilla - I just did!!) to looking 3 months pregnant in a matter of days (wooooooo stress = not eating! = weight loss!). I also experienced the most fantastically horrific rollercoaster of hormones and emotions. It was terrifying. I'm actually not sure WHO it was more terrifying for - me or Shaun. I think both of us will be scarred eternally from it.

We also had our battle with jaundice - see earlier post - which we're finally OVER! Victory!

Sweet Vi is now 17 days old! She is getting chunkier everyday and even smiles in her sleep now and then. She loves listening to Daddy's voice and will always turn her head in whatever direction he's speaking from. She likes to eat (and then throw it all up!), but fights sleep like it's her evil nemesis (not my favorite). BUT her  beautiful little face and blue eyes looking up at me - even at 3am - just melts my heart. She is my favorite. She just is.

The hormones and craziness have subsided ever so slightly (in case you were wondering), and I'm continuing to feel more and more like myself every day. My incision still hurts - like someone is burning me with a freaking branding iron! - but I'm down to a couple heavy duty motrin and extra strength tylenol a day instead of handfuls of loritab.

In retrospect, I wish I had spent more time while I was pregnant figuring out the day-to-day routine of having a newborn. Like...what's normal? What's not? What do I want for her? I honestly thought it would just come to me naturally. Like she would just come prepackaged with a little schedule that she'd implement and it would work smashingly for everyone involved and we'd be a happy little family with nothing but giggles and cuddles all around. In reality, trusting a newborn to decide your schedule with no parameters of any kind is basically a death wish. Death to your sanity! Death to your baby's ability to sleep or eat with any kind of regularity!

I didn't know that, though. But I know it now. And hopefully Violet won't be permanently damaged from all the things I DON'T currently know, but that I'll figure out with her (and myself) as the guinea pig(s). I know a lot of this will just come with time and experience - but I really and truly believe that having someone who's done it before to help answer all the questions makes a huge difference. Things I never thought to ask. Like - how often should she be awake? Isn't that random!? I have no idea, though! How much should she be eating? What's the weird yellow eye booger thing all about? How do I bathe her without hurting her?! I'm serious - I feel like I'm either going to drown her or smash her tiny little body every time I give her a bath. It's pretty scary. That's probably why she smells like barf a lot of the time. Well, THAT and she throws up all over everything constantly. Not a good mix.

Anyways. I have about twenty minutes to take a quick shower before baby girl wakes up and needs a snack. I go.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

March 21st, 2013

I could hardly sleep the night before March 21st, 2013. I spent most of the night staring at the pack n play in our room...the pink fuzzy blanket inside it, the changing table with diapers and wipes all lined up, hand sanitizer, mobile...thinking how crazy it was that the next time I spent the night in my bedroom there would be a baby sleeping in that pack n play. (note: she hasn't slept in that pack n play one time. haha. mostly because she choked on some spit up while we were in the hospital and now I can't sleep unless she's propped up in her swing [just in case!]).

One of the best and worst parts of having a scheduled c-section is knowing when your baby is coming (unless you go into labor early or something). This means that I had weeks and weeks to be neurotic about scheduling. Scheduling when I would deep clean the bathroom for the last time, when I would need to sweep and mop and vacuum to ensure optimum cleanliness upon returning home with a baby, when I would need to pack my hospital bag, her diaper bag, nag Shaun to death about this and that. You know. The usual.

On Wednesday the 20th we registered with the hospital and they told us to call at 11ish the next day to make sure all the other labors/inductions had gone according to schedule, so we wouldn't have to sit at the hospital waiting if our 12pm surgery time got bumped. When I called at 11ish on the 21st, the response from the nurse was,"Oh! We've been waiting on you! We thought you'd be here at 10:30! Can you get right now??" And ALL of my last minute cleaning plans flew out the window. My blood pressure shot through the roof and I found myself being whisked down the stairs of my apartment building, car seat, hospital and diaper bag(s) in tow. I had honestly hoped and wished for our surgery to get bumped. Til like...after Christmas. Haha. But NOPE. It was GO time. And I was late.

We stopped to take a quick picture outside the hospital. A part of me wanted to run away in that moment. Run away from the hospital with it's knives and IV's and needles and life-changing, reality-altering, baby-producing surgery.

I didn't run away though. Mostly because running was out of the question - I could barely waddle, let alone attain a speed anywhere NEAR "running". So I walked in those doors and got on that elevator and faced that uncertainty with what I can only describe as thinly veiled terror.

(Luckily for everyone involved, they had a dozen nurses jump me as soon as I walked into my room - so I didn't have a lot of time to plan my escape from that point on.)

Turns out my Dr had some kind of family emergency :perfect!: so he had to bow out of my surgery and left it to his partner - who's humor and bedside manner was just irreverent enough to keep me feeling at home. I'm pretty sure I had a heart attack when they started wheeling me into that OR. I waved goodbye to my family and kept focusing on Shaun and told myself it would all be over soon.

NOTE: Thank you to the friends who told me how freakishly cold the OR would be. Like...did we warp to Alaska?! Why, for the LOVE, is it -30 in there?! Holy cow. At least I was completely naked. That helped.

Back to the story: The nice anesthesiologist popped in to walk me through the process of giving me my spinal. Which was terrifying. I wished no one had told me and that they'd just stabbed me while I was distracted. I was afraid of the pain, and it turns out I was justified in that fear. I had a couple super intense hip spasms when he put the needle in my back and if I could have, I DEFINITELY would have run at that point. The good news? It was aaaaaaalllll gravy from there! (except for the catheter. didn't I SPECIFICALLY ask for that bad boy to be placed AFTER my spinal took effect...??? umm...yeah. thanks for holding off on that one...not. o-u-c-h.)

Let me tell you something, you know how amazing it feels to lay on your back, completely pain free, for the first time in months? AMAZING, PEOPLE. My whole body was warm and comfy and fabulous. I didn't experience the whole "my spinal made it feel like I couldn't breathe" phenomenon (thank heavens). I just felt...warm. And sleepy. Incredibly, incredibly sleepy.

"They've started," the anesthesiologist said. "That's horrifying!" I thought happily as I imagined my insides being cut open. So comfy! Didn't care.

I watched Shaun's face when the nurses prompted him to look over the blue sheet dividing our blissful ignorance from the gore of a c-section. He only looked a couple times. I can't say I blame him. Kristina got to come into the surgery, too! To take pictures. Long story - turns out I'm a little anatomically weird (hence the scheduled c-section) and they made an exception to have two family members in surgery! She watched the whoooooole thing. And was excited about it. Too much Grey's Anatomy for SOMEone...

Maybe I should post some pictures!?

haha jk. don't be gross.

Let me just say... That little cry? The little howl of disapproval a baby makes when she's brought from her dark, comfortable home into the bright, cold world? Best. sound. ever. (after coming home from the hospital? that sound now gives me a heart attack haha). I wanted to see her so bad!! But they took her off to the nursery, Shaun in tow, and left me to get all stitched up and put back together.

Oh dear. Time to feed little friend. There's not a ton left to tell, but I'll blog the rest later :)!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Holy Moly aka the Evil Jaundice Monster and Hysterical Zombie Woman

I'll write our sweet baby Violet's birth story after this post, so it pops up on top of this one. I'm not sure how many of you are THAT excited to read it, but I know I LOVE reading birth stories - so I just thought I'd throw that out there in case anyone is disappointed that this is not a post about that.


The last week and a

I'm writing this because in the last few minutes I wrote messages to a couple friends and it made me feel better to get it out. So I'm writing it here now. And hopefully I'll feel even better after sharing with you.

On Violet's second day of life, the doctors told us she was jaundiced. She was breast feeding like crazy (for hours on end in the hospital...why didn't even ONE nurse tell me how horrific that would end up making my poor nipples?? Cracked. Bleeding. Searing pain. For days.) We have a history three generations long in my family of women who are unable, for one reason or another, to breast feed. I was elated when I heard one nurse comment to me,"Wow! You're doing so great (with feeding)! You should come teach the other moms how it's done!" I had anticipated NOT being able to breast feed, so the excitement and joy I felt was overwhelming. I can do this! I thought.

And then we came home.

That's when the cracking and bleeding started. That's when her billirubin numbers started escalating (jaundice). That's when she started sleeping for alarmingly long periods of time without waking to feed (4-6 hours and I'd STILL have to wake her up). That's when we got a phone call that we needed to pick up a special light pad to put on her 24/7 because her numbers were too high (called a billiblanket). That's when I started feeling so stressed and panicked about my baby that I forgot to eat, forgot to drink, forgot to sleep, even forgot to take pain meds for the huge incision from my c section. Shaky. Hurting. Terrified.

I became Hysterical Zombie Woman. <--my alter="" anxious="" deprived="" ego.="" miserable="" p="" sleep="">
People told me to just not wake her - "She'll wake up when she's hungry enough!"
People told me to wake her every two hours - "Or the jaundice will never go away!"
People told me to supplement with formula. Don't supplement with formula.
Give her a bottle. No, don't, it will ruin your ability to breast feed.

People = pediatrician, nurses, lactation specialists, blogs. Haha. Seriously. So many blogs.

I hate the internet.


Last night I had it.

HAD IT!!!!

The nurse from the hospital had called with the results of Violet's latest blood test and had told me they believe her jaundice was being perpetuated by my breast milk (called breast milk jaundice). When I had started supplementing with formula her billirubin numbers started decreasing.

So...basically...what she was saying was...I was waking my lethargic baby up every three hours, forcing her to latch on to each side for fifteen minutes, while trying my hardest to keep her awake - feeding her skin to skin, bringing her into the bright lights in the living room, tickling, talking, putting music on, cool paper towel on the bottoms of her feet, etc... - then supplementing with a bottle, then PUMPING FOR TWENTY MINUTES = over an HOUR to feed her each time and it's MY BREAST MILK THAT'S MAKING HER JAUNDICE STICK AROUND?!!??

I'm seriously crying as I'm writing this.

So I gave in. I didn't latch her on first like every single freaking medical person had told me to. I just popped a bottle in the warmer and gave it to her.

Then she woke up 2 hours later and ate another two ounces.

Then again. And again. And again. All night long.

I latched her on again this morning and told her, "Ok...let's just try this again." But I only latched for a couple minutes, and then gave her a formula bottle. She's been waking up every three hours today now. Blessed formula. Blessed, blessed formula.

I don't know if there's really a point to this post, other than to express how difficult the last twelve days of my life have been. I'm so tired and I love sweet Vi so much. I want to do everything right, and it turns out that I'm kind of the only person who can decide what that is (which is so much harder than someone just TELLING me what the right thing is!!!!!).

My husband is nagging me to go to sleep - which I know I need to do.

In closing...if you have any extra time in your prayers to spend on our little baby and family, I'd truly appreciate it. That Violet's jaundice numbers will continue to come down (she's been in the high teens since leaving the hospital), and that my anxiety can lessen. I struggled with anxiety for years (high five for therapy!) and between these post pregnancy hormones and no sleep and worry over Violet - let's just say that the term "basketcase" was invented for people who feel/act like I do right now.

Words of encouragement and/or love? That's what the comment section is for. Use it, people.


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