Sunday, May 6, 2012

Now, how do I get to my blog again?

(WARNING: This is long; mostly for my benefit - posterity and all.)

Yes, I'm a slacker.

First off, allow me to apologize for delaying this long in posting - frankly, it's embarrassing. I'm sorry - for anyone still out there. I've waited far too long, so now I must set my pride aside and fill you in ;-)

On the tail of the last post, I was put on modified bed rest for 2 months. That was dreamy - with a toddler at home. I spent all day in my recliner, kicked back, with my laptop on my lap, working from home. My poor hubby had to do ALL the cooking, cleaning, daycare pick-ups and drop-offs, and childcare. I was very grateful to my church for organizing some meals for us, to at least take a little bit of the burden off of him.

Once I got to 32 weeks I relaxed a lot. Following the incident in the last post, I had 2 more bouts of contractions (all within the same week) but they were much more mild. So as the distance grew between the potential preterm labor and my expanding belly ... I felt more and more confident. By 37 weeks I was chuckling that I was worried about her coming early. My OB wanted to induce at 39 weeks, but I convinced her that 40 weeks was OK. We started non stress tests at 32 weeks just to be on the safe side. At 39 weeks, in hopes of avoiding another induction (they induced at 39w0d with Dru) I had my membranes swept and had my second round of induction encouraging acupuncture.

It was the night of 12/23. I was 39w2d. I had had one round of minor contractions earlier in the week that warranted a call to our doula - which did not amount to any progress. Once contractions started this go-round, I wasn't sure if this was go-time. My in laws were in town and Berilac and I decided to take advantage of our more-than-likely last date night in awhile. We were seated, enjoying a DELICIOUS Vietnamese-fusion restaurant when I started feeling tightening in my abdomen. At this point, I had had so much discomfort in my pregnancy that this wasn't registering as anything of note for me. We finished dinner and decided to walk the local indoor mall (oooooh, hot night on the town). On our drive there (I was driving - the belly was too big to fit in the passenger seat, in front of Dru's rear facing car seat) I started experiencing some pretty intense contractions. Oh course, I didn't tell Berilac. I just breathed through them. We got to the mall and briskly indoors (it WAS almost Christmas and a chilly 32 degrees outside). I didn't even make it to the mall interior from the department store, when I sat on a bed and finally revealed to Berilac that I thought we needed to get home - that things were getting intense. (Honestly, we were both relieved as this was not turning into the epic night we had hoped for.) Of course, after getting home, the contractions stopped and I fell asleep (around 12:30, I'm a night owl).

I was awoken at 3:30AM with painful contractions. I tried going back to sleep - with no success. I "rested" until 7:00AM when I finally felt like I could courteously call my doula. We had the in laws take Dru next door to our neighbors house (who conveniently were traveling for the holiday and left us the keys to their place! We couldn't have planned that better!) All morning, I was walking the house, groaning, resting, eating bites of food, hydrating, and groaning some more. By 11:00AM we had the doula come over. It seemed as though anytime we spoke, and when she arrived, everything slowed down (I guess this is normal). But by 1:30PM, I was starting to feel an urge to push with contractions 2-3 mins apart - so we headed to the hospital. I did NOT know how I was going to make the 30 minute car ride to the hospital without having the baby in the car. In spite of the pain, I was with it enough to request that the hubby drive and the doula sit with me in the back of the car ... you know, in case we needed to deliver a baby back there! I like to call this next portion of my story - my kung fu panda maneuver ... I could hardly handle the pain at home, with all the freedom I wanted, how on Earth was I going to stand the pain while having to be sitting on my butt, confined to the back seat? I got into the car, I sat with my head down, and I willed the pain to go away. I was silent for 30 mins - not one cry, groan, or scream.

We arrived to the hospital and I was still pulling out the relaxation up the elevator and into my L&D room. Although the nurses worked as quickly as they could, it wasn't until 3:30PM that I was done being admitted and was finally checked. It was our goal to arrive to the hospital at 7cm dilated - in order to hopefully avoid the epidural. They checked me, I was 4.5cm dilated. I would say that I was disappointed, but instead I was relieved to be in the hospital and no longer en route. I remember one of the nurses saying - we need to staff here, this one's coming soon. And I was thinking ... what gives you this idea? The fact that I'm less than 1/2 way there? or the fact that my last active labor took over 24 hours and we were only a couple of hours into active labor? (I was entitled to my attitude - I was in labor!) I labored as best I could for an hour - the hospital smells were really bothering me. I progressed to 5.5cm. Thirty minutes later, at 5PM I was in serious pain. They checked me again and I was 6-7cm (the same place I stalled last time). I was having so much back labor that I couldn't imagine hours more of labor followed by birthing a posterior baby! (All late term ultrasounds showed a posterior presentation.) I demanded the epidural.

Because we were at a teaching hospital, we were all waiting for the attending doctor to arrive. I didn't get my epidural until 5:30 and because I told them that I had experienced a drop in blood pressure during my last epidural (at Dru's birth) they decided to start with a low and slow dose. I.was.freaking.out. The pain was incredible and having to labor on my back in a bed was NOT OK. I could feel the baby making it's way to the light, trying to escape through the exit. The pain relief did not come until 6:00PM a full HOUR after I demanded an epidural ... perhaps I should have planned better? At 6:10PM my OB encouraged me to start pushing. I pushed for less than 15 mins and at 6:24PM on Christmas Eve our beautiful daughter Dimple (not her real name but her LOTR name, like the rest of us have) was born. She was 8lbs 3oz. and 20.5 inches long. (Just shy of her brother's measurements.)

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas in the hospital, struggling with recovery and breastfeeding. Dru did not come down and meet his sister, as he had a runny nose and they wouldn't let him in. He stayed with Nana and Papa at home and called us to check in. Dru and Dimple are 2 years and 5 days apart.

Recovery was pretty brutal - with everything that can happen down there. But I will say that recovery this time was MUCH quicker and more tolerable. I felt back to normal by 3 weeks. I was able to lift her while moving in and out of a chair (like I wasn't able to with him 2 years prior). My milk came in earlier. Breastfeeding stopped hurting MUCH earlier (a few weeks vs. 2 months with Dru) and overall, I did not experience PPD like I had with Dru. But it didn't stop there! Dimple started sleeping 9 hours a night by 5 weeks. At almost 6 weeks we found ourselves back in the NICU with RSV (same thing happened with Dru at 7 weeks!). She was admitted for 3 days and upon release, because she dropped from 60% to 40% in weight, they asked us to wake her at 6 hrs. So she would go to bed around 5P, we'd wake her at 11P, and she'd sleep until 5A for a quick meal and then back to bed until 8A ... AND she napped 2 out of every 3 hours during the day (similar to Dru, but better) ... I'll say, I believe God knew what we could handle and based on how easy both of our kids were - the answer is - not much! So because prior to going into the hospital she was sleeping 5P-2A and then again at 5A ... we thought that perhaps it would be better for her if we just let her wake on her own in the 12 hour window between 5P and 5A ... knowing she would only get one feed, we stopped waking her at the 6 hour mark - assuming she'd wake at the 9 hr mark ... well, she didn't and that girl was sleeping 9-12 hours a night between 5-11weeks, if we didn't wake her.

At 10 weeks we realized we NEEDED to get responsible about a childcare solution for our kids. I still had 10 weeks left of leave, but I wanted to make sure we found the perfect fit for our family (especially, given the fact that in our nanny search in August of last year when we lost Dru's nanny of 14 months, we interviewed FIVE nannies and didn't find anyone even close to suitable!) We started interviewing and the second nanny we talked to - we fell in love with! The only problem is that she wanted to start employment THAT next week, when Dimple turned 11w. So we decided to cut my maternity leave short (I returned at 15w rather than 20w); we started the nanny part time at 11w, paying her full time while we accrued hours to use in the coming weeks as comp time for date nights, etc. It was that week that we started giving Dimple a second daily bottle (all other feeds were nursing) however, during that time instead of pumping, I was so excited about my new found freedom that I got caught up in being able to go to the grocery store and stuff - and I inadvertently dropped a pumping/nursing session ... needless to say, my supply plummeted. By 12w (St. Patrick's Day no less, how can I forget?) instead of sleeping 9-12hrs overnight (without waking to feed!) she woke up every 3 hours. At first I thought it was a growth spurt, but three weeks later when we were still waking up 3x/night, I was moving on to considering it the 4 month sleep regression! It wasn't until later that I started to piece together that it might have been both of those combined with a falling supply. The other thing we considered was reverse cycling; since I had started back to work and since Dimple was getting a bottle from a new caregiver - we thought perhaps she was also eating less during the day and wanting mommy at night. Over those four weeks we got desperate and decided to only give bottles overnight; we were providing bottles more frequently in hopes of tracking how much she was eating, and by the time I returned to work, she was being fed almost entirely bottles of expressed breast milk. So I was (and currently am) nearly entirely exclusively pumping (not my preference). By 16w, her longest overnight stretch turned into 6 hours and even 8 hours. We were giving her LOTS more milk in the bottles at longer intervals and she was consuming much more in a 24 hour period than she had been. We are now 19w, and although her brother was already sleeping 12hrs/night consistently by this time, we believe that because she is smaller, and because she only wakes to chug 5-6oz. immediately putting herself back to sleep (no fussing, no crying, no diaper change, etc.) we believe she definitely still needs the overnight feeds and soon she will naturally extend that longest stretch. I even think that over the past week she's upped her intake from about 24 oz/day to more like 30-32oz./day ... and I will definitely have a hard time keeping up!

She is adorable; she is rolling over from front to back and *almost* rolling over from back to front. We are still swaddling and plan to use the mer.lin ma.gic slee.psuit to help transition her from swaddle to no swaddle - but we're waiting for a string of cooler nights - those things are like mini snow suits!! She babbles and talks a ton (just like her mama ;-) she squeals and laughs and is the happiest little baby. I love when she wakes up in the morning how she talks to herself to let us know she's up. She's currently on three naps a day, her schedule looks something like this:

Don't start the day until at least 6AM.
Wake by 7:30 if she hasn't woken up on her own.
Eat, 1 hour awake time, change, down for first nap.
2-2.5 hr nap
Eat, 1 hr 15 min awake time, change, down for second nap.
1.5-2 hr nap
Eat, 1 hr 30 min awake time, change, down for third nap.
1-1.5 hr nap
Eat, 1 hr 45 min awake time, change, bedtime routine - off to bed!
Wake once or twice before the next morning.

It's weird to find ourselves in the same position, only two years later, with a little girl instead of a little boy, and having to go through the newborn stage with a toddler underfoot - although I'm exhausted, I consider myself VERY fortunate.

Dru is proving to be a great big brother. Of course, he's feeling a bit dethroned, but given how much she sleeps, he gets a lot of sole attention. I see it surface when I'm feeding Dimple, if Dru is having a rough time, he will start crying and ask to be held like Dimple. So we set her down and get in some good ol' cuddling.

Dru is doing amazing. In my opinion, he's brilliant. Today, while my husband was serving himself the last bit of tortilla chips from the bowl on the table, my son said, and I quote! ... "Daddy, can you save me some chips and save mommy some chips? Because if you eat them all, I will be sad and mommy will be sad" ... not only does that include complete sentences and multiple sentences strung together - but also cause and effect AND being in touch with his feelings!! We've been working on those ;-)

Because Dru is home (no longer in a daycare setting with his peers) we have set up some structure around social activities. We've joined a weekly playgroup that we're planning to host monthly (on the days I work from home). There is an every other week children's focused church event that we attend, complete with themed rooms and circle time. The local library is a stroller walk away with an active story time. We will get passes again to the nearby kitty amusement parks - along with other friends that are cardholders.

Being a working mom of two has proven to be quite challenging and leaves little room for me-time, much less brushing my teeth or showering (don't stand too close ;-). I am fortunate enough to have a nanny that comes into our home each day. I work from home Mon & Fri. I take the train to and from work and leave my car here (complete with properly installed rear facing car seats) for the nanny to use on adventures with the kids. I wake, nurse, eat/drink/pee/pump, pack, commute via foot/train/bus (50 mins for a 10 mile distance), eat/drink/pee/pump, work, eat/drink/pee/pump, work, eat/drink/pee/pump, commute home, unpack, take care of the kids, cook, eat/drink/pee/pump, clean, get ready for the next day, watch 20 mins of TV and hop into bed to repeat! I find that I need to eat and drink a ton to keep my supply up, and with all that consumption I'm hitting the restroom a lot. And of course, I'm pumping all the time (3 times over 7 hours in a day at work) ... I'm leashed to that pump! ... But all for good cause. Things will get better when she's sleeping through the night and when I can reduce the pumping sessions.

Now I must go to bed ... this post has taken me HOURS to write ... and it won't be long until she's up again ... rooting for some more liquid gold.

Thanks for checking in. I hope not to go so long between posts. Take care.