Monday, August 27, 2012

First Dose of Mommy Guilt

It's been a rough few days. Guy, who is every bit the champion at gaining in length (2 inches since birth!), is not gaining weight. In fact, over the course of a week, he lost an ounce. We went to the doctor to see what it was all about, and we got a few suggestions, including a couple of scary GI tract issue possibilities.

To try to see if we can rule out larger issues, we have spent the last few days supplementing with more breastmilk. What this means is that at every other feeding, Greg gives Guy an ounce of breast milk from a bottle after I nurse, while I go pump more milk for the next feeding.

It's kind of hard to take, knowing that your baby isn't getting everything he needs from you, when your body is supposed to be designed specifically for this. At least at this point, we are not having to use formula. I'll be really sad if it comes to that.

The weird part is that he seems to be doing well otherwise. He's got plenty of wakeful periods. He seems satisfied after most feedings. He puts out plenty of wet and poopy diapers, which indicate that he is getting food through his system. But for some reason, he's just not getting the nutrition he needs from that food. We're not sure why.

I took him in to be weighed today, and after adding in supplementary feedings and cutting out dairy, he gained an ounce over the weekend. (Well, sort of. He had a full diaper when we weighed him, so I'm not sure if it counts or not.) The doctor said she'd call with further instructions after reviewing his weight gain. I'm doing my best to stay positive, but it's so heartbreaking thinking that maybe he's hungry all the time and I just don't know it. That has to do something awful to his trust in the people taking care of him, if he's spending so much of his time hungry. But, he's not fussing like he's hungry except for every couple of hours, so I have to believe that he's getting most of what he needs, and soon he'll be fattening up and getting the Buddha belly I so desperately want him to have.

Send fat thoughts our way!

Photographic Evidence

Clearly it's time to share some pictures of the little Guy. So, here we go:

Our first walk

A few days after we got home, Greg and I took out the new stroller. Oh, and the new baby. It was nice to do something other than sit on the couch with a child attached to me. And he seemed to enjoy it, though every bump we went over sent his arms flying out to the sides in his startle reflex. Poor thing. 

Napping on Mommy

There's nothing quite like passing out after a full belly of milk. Of course, anytime he's in this position, I start singing this song.

His Lovie

I'm pretty sure this is his lovie for life. The moment I put him down in his crib next to this guy and wind him up to play a little song, Guy immediately quiets and just listens. It's how I manage to go wash my hands after poopy diaper changes.

Guy and his Granny

When Greg went back to work, my mom came and stayed for a couple of days, to help ease me into life without a husband at my beck and call. Of course, she spent plenty of time just rocking Guy and holding him while he slept. He's not spoiled. Not at all. 

Bath Time

See? To ensure he isn't spoiled, we often hold him down and do terrible things to him like clean him. He's not a fan. 

The Future Gourmand 

We escaped the house and went to our favorite diner down the street, Duffy's. We actually enjoyed a leisurely breakfast while he slept. It was really, really nice. And I drank two cups of coffee. Don't tell anyone. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Week 3 - Guy is Successfully Still Alive

Despite my worries to the contrary, we have been able to keep Guy not only alive, but he appears to be thriving. I know - we were as surprised as you are. He's back to birth weight, and he puts out more diapers than I care to think about.

My biggest apprehension about parenthood was the simple challenge that we are required to care for this little squirmer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And it is every bit as scary as I had thought, but it also seems to be getting less so. We are finding routines in the chaos, and learning Guy's cues for his needs.

For instance, a bleating goat-like cry means, "Dude, I'm a little peckish. But give me five minutes and I will suddenly believe I haven't eaten all week." Also, any quiet activity time in which his arms and legs are moving is only a precursor to a windmill-like moment of pure frenzy in which he will simultaneously dig his right index finger into his cornea and also scratch himself in 3 places with his left hand.

It has also become mandatory that anytime we use the best swaddler we have (a pre-fab swaddling blanket called a Swaddle Me, which has easy velcro closures for perfect swaddling every time), he will undoubtedly leak out of his diaper and all over it somewhere around 2-3:00 a.m.

He is a champ at cluster feeding, which means my nipples are about to fall off, they're so tired and sore. I finally resorted to using a pacifier after he's been at the breast for more than 90 minutes. I feel like a bad mom sometimes for doing it, but he can't be getting that much after 90 minutes, and my poor boobs need a break. And I have to think that he's there more for the comfort than for the nutrition at that point.

We just got back from a nice walk (I walked, he napped - he's a genius, but not THAT advanced) through the neighborhood, and he just realized (without opening his eyes) that his is neither outside nor does he have a boob in his mouth - the only two acceptable states at this juncture. The jig is up.  I better get a boob ready, STAT.

- Jennifer

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Planning The Guilt Trip

It is no secret that I wanted a natural birth. There are many (and good) reasons for this. But one random reason was purely for the guilt trip it creates for your child. This is the conversation I imagined with my son someday:

Me: Please take out the trash, Guy.
Guy: I don't really want to.
Me: Yes, well I didn't really want to spend 14 hours in a hospital room trying to force your melon head out of a hole the size of a plum, but I did. So take out the trash.

I mean, it's the ultimate argument winner. And true, I can use the fact that I had major surgery to have him, but somehow it's just not as weighty as the labor I had expected.

But then, I realized that every mother has the ultimate argument after the first few weeks, because labor can't be any more exhausting than weeks on end of sleep deprivation. It's brutal. So I think I'll just trot out this schedule whenever Guy wants to get out of hard work...

Around 8 or 9:00 p.m. G gets fussy and tired. We change his diaper, clothes and begin night time prep. This includes me locating my nursing pillow, lanolin cream for my chewed-up nipples, water mug filled with 36 oz of liquid that I will proceed to drink all of during the night, my iPhone and headphones for entertainment, and a swaddling blanket. I quickly try to brush my teeth and put on PJs, because the moment G is soundly asleep, I will attempt my first shift of sleep as well. Once G is in a fresh diaper, we get into bed and I nurse him, usually for about 45 minutes before he falls asleep. You would think this would be followed by putting him in the crib and blissfully passing out, but no. If he is put down too soon, he either spits up violently or he begins making a strangled sound akin to a large chipmunk choking on a walnut. This, of course, also wakes him up. So I hold him upright against my chest to ward off that unpleasantness.

After 10-15 minutes, I can risk putting him down, but this only means its time to swaddle him. I do it as if I'm wrapping a bomb, but it still wakes him partially, so afterward I spend another few minutes rocking him back to a deeper sleep before I can try putting him in his bassinet. By the time I do put him in the bassinet, he's been sleeping off and on for about 20 minutes. I lay him on the mattress gently, turn his head to one side or the other and then retreat to my place in bed as fast as lightening. I basically throw myself onto the pillow, and shut my eyes in hopes that I will immediately pass out (which I often do). Because, chances are, I will be woken to start the whole rigmarole again in about 45 minutes.

 This goes on at least 4 times during the night, if not more. And if he's on a 2-hour feeding schedule, I get a glorious hour of sleep each round. Sometimes, he's nicer to me and he stretches the feedings to 2 and a half (or, as in the case of one amazing night, almost 3 and a half) hours. So, at best, I usually get about 5 hours of  intermittent sleep.

So, when Little G complains that he's too tired to do the dishes, I'll bring this out, read it to him, and remind him that I was never too tired to feed him, so he can do me the tiny favor of scrubbing a few pots and pans. So THERE.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Things I don't want to forget: Week One

I'm told how quickly it all leaves you, so I want to write down some things that I've loved about the very first week with Guy.

- The way his little body curls into mine when he's nursing, which signals that either a burp or other bodily functions are forthcoming. It's especially funny when it leads to a giant burp while he's still firmly latched and sucking. I feel like its the best compliment he can give me right now.
- How excited he gets when he's about to be fed. Fists go flailing, often hitting him in the face, and followed by the confusion of tiny knuckles for a nipple. His head bobs back and forth and he just can't seem to contain his excitement.
- The milk coma face. (See photo) And the way his little body flops around after a feeding and he's in total relaxation mode.
- Seeing him laying all tiny and sweet on a pillow in Greg's lap while he programs at his computer. I love how Greg bonds with him.
- My first (but definitely not last) encounter with a fountain of pee at a diaper change. It was impressive and very confusing at 4:00 am.
- His bubble squeak. When he has a gas bubble, he makes a tiny squeak that sounds like a little mouse. It is both cute and disconcerting.
- Beginning the tradition of reading before bed. Our first book was l Love You Forever. We both cried. But I'm pretty sure he was just hungry.

- Jennifer

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Midnight Feeding

Books recommend keeping the baby upright for 20 minutes after a feeding to prevent reflux , so here I sit. And while I'm tired, I can't say I mind that much when there's a sweet face like this one involved. (His, not mine.)


The Birth Story: Or How I Got Filleted - Her View

On Wednesday morning, I was apprehensive, but prepared. We were going to the hospital to have an external version done to flip the baby from breech position to head-down. I was trying to think good thoughts, and be positive that it would work.

We arrived at 7:30, and were taken up to labor and deliver. They perform all versions there, in case it leads to a c-section. That, of course, wouldn't be me -- or so I assumed. They took us to a recovery room across from the c-section suite and started trying to thread my IV for the medicine that would relax my uterus. There was a little confusion, as it appeared the orders hadn't been put in. The doctor arrived at 8:15, and wheeled in an ultrasound to confirm the position of the baby. He was still head up, of course. Then she did a quick check of my cervix. She had told me a week before that if I was dilated to more than a 4, they wouldn't be able to perform the procedure.

When she finished the check, she looked up at me and said, "Well, you're between a 4 and a 5, and I can easily make you a 5. I usually want to wait until 39 weeks to do a c-section, but I'm not comfortable with you walking around at a 5. You would probably go into labor naturally in the next week, and he is situated so far down, he's actually dilating you with his butt. There is no chance this baby is going to turn on his own, because he is really wedged down in there. So, if you guys are ready, we can go ahead and do this today."

I'm not sure "stunned" really covers it here. I mean, we knew it was a possibility, and the car was packed with everything we needed in case we did end up with a c-section. We thought that warded us against having one. The more prepared you are for a situation, the less likely it is to come true, right? That was my strategy, anyway.

After thinking about it barely a second, both of us agreed. Labor meant possible cord prolapse, depriving the baby of oxygen, which could lead to brain damage. Much as I wanted a natural birth, any harm coming to the baby terrified me. The doctor turned to the nurses and said, "How quick can we do this?"

It was only 8:30 at this point, but they were able to settle on an 11 operation. Only two and a half hours later. At this point, I turned to Greg and said, "Why don't you go get some breakfast?" Greg is notorious for skipping breakfast, as he had that morning. My first thought was of getting into the operating room and Greg collapsing from low blood sugar. I would not be delivering this child with my husband passed out on the floor. He agreed, and ran off to find something to eat. I got out A Feast of Crows, which I had conveniently placed in my purse that morning.  Nothing prepares you for childbirth like stories of war, incest and blood lust.

Greg came back quickly, and the next couple of hours passed so fast, I can't really remember them. The next thing I know, I was being walked into the operating room, hospital gown flying open at every opportunity and sharing my ample backside with the world. The room was freezing - probably 60-65 degrees. They sat me on the table and immediately draped my front side with warm blankets. The back had to stay exposed for my spinal block.

The block itself was highly unpleasant. It began with the application of what seemed to be a giant sticker that said "Start Pain Here." The anesthesiologist called it a "plastic drape." I like my description better. She then gave me a shot ("It's nothing - just feels like a wasp sting" she says. Seriously?) to numb the area. Then, and I can't confirm this since I couldn't see anything, but I'm pretty sure she started digging around in my spinal cord with a rusty butter knife. A nurse stood in front of me to keep me from passing out or falling forward off of the two-by-four they wanted me to lay on for the operation. I'll admit that this is the point when I became the biggest baby in the room. Tears filled my eyes, because all I could think was that I wanted Greg holding me up and not the nurse who had just passed her boards that morning at 3 a.m. (seriously - she told us). But they had told me he couldn't come in until after I was ready for the surgery. So I didn't whine, but I did start bawling like a baby, while staying completely still since I didn't want the rusty butter knife to sever my spinal cord and leave me paralyzed.

A few moments later (or an hour, I'm not sure), they finally finished (after much discussion between anesthesiologists which involved disconcerting phrases like, "Are you sure?" and "I think you should probably try it again over here") and my feet immediately warmed as if I had stuck them in a bath. Then the warmth traveled along my legs and they had me quickly flip around and lay down on the "bed." At this point, everything went so fast, I hardly remember any of it, other than the constant thought of, "I want Greg. I want Greg." Someone put an oxygen mask on me, probably because I looked like I was about to pass out, the drape went up in front of my face, so my out-of-body experience could begin, and people talked about vacation plans.

At some point, Greg finally came in, wearing scrubs. I would have normally commented on how ridiculous he looked, but all sense of humor abandoned me at this point. I was laying as if crucified, arms straight out to either side, and Greg grabbed my hand. From my vantage point, I could only see him if I turned my head at an excruciating angle, but it didn't stop me. Someone said, "Okay, Jennifer. We're getting started." And then the weirdness really started. I could feel my body being moved, I could feel pressure here and there, but I couldn't identify where anything was coming from. Behind the drape, I imagined them doing a conga line on my stomach, or perhaps just playing it like bongos. I would never know.

The doctor said, "Almost there," at one point, and I braced myself for something to hurt. Or feel. But instead, a few second later, I heard this strangled, choking cry. A fluid-filled cry. And I had my own fluid-filled cry that went out to him. I wanted to see him, but Greg was able to stand up and look at our vernix-covered baby. For the next few minutes, I ignored what was happening to my body and my ears strained to hear that cry in the next room where they were quickly cleaning him up to go to the nursery with Greg. Now and then, I'd hear it and start laugh/crying again.

Someone appeared behind Greg holding a package, and after first thinking, "Why are they going to give him that here? Can't it wait?" I realized that it was our baby and got his attention so he would turn around and take it. He was wearing a little cap and looked totally shocked. I don't blame him. That wasn't how either of us had envisioned him coming into the world. I stroked his tiny cheek and put my hand on his warm little head. About 3 milliseconds later, the nurse asked Greg to follow him so they could take our little Guy Lawrence to the nursery for initial testing and cleanup. I would have followed them, but I was kind of strapped to the table and numb from the chest down. Puts a damper on escape plans.

I'm not sure what they did after that, because all I could think was, "I want Guy and Greg. I want Guy and Greg." I'm sure they did some sutures or something, probably put humpty dumpty back together as best they could, etc. They took down the drape, and I watched fascinated as they manipulated the giant weights on the bottom of my body. I had ceased to have any feeling whatsoever in my legs. A team of five or 20 people did the transfer you always see in the movies, "1, 2, 3!" and I'm moved from one "bed" to an actual gurney with room for all of my body parts.

I was wheeled into the recovery room (the same room where I was supposed to get the version only hours before), and waited. I was groggy from the loss of blood and the spinal. I did my best Kill Bill impression as I tried to move my legs for the nurse. The sooner I could wiggle them, the faster I could get upstairs to my room and have some serious time with my little boy. Luckily, they brought him back down only a few minutes later, and handed him to me. They laid him skin-to-skin on my chest and let him work his head around to find my nipple. He found it, attempted to latch, but kind of made a mess of things. We kept trying, and he whimpered, missed the nipple, whimpered and missed again. I mostly just laughed at him and tried to memorize his little hands and feet and ran my hands over his waxy hair.

I'm not sure how long we were there, how I made it up to my room or what happened for the next two hours, because I was lost and in love. Guy Lawrence Tatum weighed in at 6lbs 13ozs at birth, and was 19 inches long, born at 11:42 on August 1. I spent 48 hours in the hospital and then went home with our new family. Those 48 hours were filled with visits from family and friends, but mostly I just gazed at the baby, and agreed with every wonderful thing said about him. I took copious pictures with my iPhone and marveled at the view out of our hospital windows - all of downtown Tulsa. It was a beautiful two days, but I was ready to go home at the end and start our life.

So now here we are. And I'm going to stop typing here, because Greg has been holding my Guy way too long, and I think it's time for some snuggles from Mommy.

- Jennifer

PS - Greg's story is yet to come!

One more daddy skill

Learning how to type one handed.

(8:24:53 AM) Greg: yeah, it was crazy how quick he was born
(8:25:33 AM) Greg: at the hospital at 7:30, told we needed c section at 8:30, then baby was crying at 11:42
(8:25:47 AM) Ian Zedalis: yeah that's pretty fast
(8:25:55 AM) Ian Zedalis: it took me about that long to get my oil changed

Thursday, August 2, 2012

In the hospital with our little Guy

Well Jennifer has bugged me quite a bit to post something on our blog and I still haven't done it. I'm sitting in the hospital rocker with Guy sitting in my lap, and didn't manage any pre-birth posts. We weren't really expecting him to be born yesterday, but I am so glad he was. I'll write a bigger post about that part later.

So far I'm learning some of the daddy skills like swaddling and changing poopy diapers. I'm working on mastering the cuddle (Guy is swaddled on my lap at this very moment.)

Things are going amazing so far! Oh and we also have a great view of downtown Tulsa in our top floor corner room.