Archive for August 2012

7 Quick Takes (v. 74)

August 17, 2012

1.  Cassidy had her two-week check-up on Wednesday.  She’s back up to her birth weight plus an extra half ounce.  We can tell that her cheeks and arms and legs are starting to fill out a little bit more.  And her umbilical cord fell off this week, too.

2.  About a month ago, my husband and I each started giving the girls blessings before bedtime.  Last night Sabrina (2) said, “Let me see your forehead.”  Then she took her pointer finger and made the sign of cross,  and I heard her say “Father, Holy Spirit.  Amen.”  It was so sweet.

3.  Bailey and Piper have been preparing for the first day of school on Monday.  They’ve been packing their book bags and setting out their outfits and going over their schedules.  I’ve refrained from pointing out that most of their preparations are unnecessary since they are–um, homeschooled!  Oh, well, at least they are excited about starting back with their studies.  I’m sure that won’t last long.

4.  For the first time since we decided to homeschool six or seven years ago, I am actually nervous about starting a semester.  I don’t know if I’ve finally hit some sort of burn out, or if I’m just feeling slightly over-whelmed at thought of homeschooling with the new baby.  The baby isn’t particularly difficult, but she is by nature time consuming.  Is it bad that I’m already wanting to plan the next year of homeschooling, and we haven’t even started this one?

5.  I usually coordinate our school year with my husband’s teaching schedule.  I’m beginning to wonder if that was a wise move this time around.  Not only will I be upping my workload from what it has been since the baby was born, but on Monday my husband will be back to teaching on campus full time rather than on-line classes from home.  This means that I will be on my own with all of the kids all day long and I may not get to take my afternoon nap on a day when I just might need it the most.

6.  I had a little hiccup with my recovery on Monday that led me to check in with my OB practice.  I weighed in at 135 pounds, meaning that I’ve lost about 12 pounds since the baby was born.  I can’t fit into any of my non-maternity pants or skirts, but it is nice to be able to wear some of my regular shirts again.  But now I am in a bit of conundrum.  Part of me would like to not go any lower than a 130 pounds (I usually tend to be severely underweight while I am nursing), but the other part of me does not want to have to buy a new wardrobe.  Plus, I don’t know how keeping a health weight would effect the return of my fertility.

7.  Lately I’ve really been considering editing my Facebook stream.  With the presidential election looming ahead of us, I am so tired of some of the unfair rhetoric about both candidates.  And then there are other memes and posts that really annoy me.  I think I’m just going to start banning some people from my stream entirely, especially if I’m already hiding half their posts.  I won’t unfriend them in case I want to get in touch with them or check on them from time to time, but I really don’t need to be annoyed by their lack of critical thinking and research skills.

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7 Quick Takes (v. 73)

August 10, 2012

1.  When I got home from the hospital with Cassidy last Friday, there was a package waiting for me on my desk.  One of my best friends from college had sent me a little “baby” gift, ordered the day before I went into labor.  She had apparently seen on my Facebook page or blog about how I was coveting this particular item.  It was a copy of Christoper T. Baglow’s high school theology textbook, Faith, Science, and Reason.  Melissa has always known the perfect gifts for me.  LOL

2. We also had a previously scheduled appointment with Safety Matters to have one old baby gate replaced and a new one installed between the kitchen and living room.  (After several bad experiences with home installation, I decided to turn to the professionals.)

The second gate has been so useful that I wish I had done it ages ago.  It helps keep Sabrina (2) trapped in the kitchen during mealtimes, so that she can’t sneak food/drinks into the living room.  Plus, I can set Cassidy in the bouncy seat in the living room during meal times and know that no one will disturb her while I am eating, too.

3.  All of the girls love their new baby sister, and they keep begging to hold her.  Sabrina even tried to convince her Granny to trade Cassidy for her baby doll last week.  She said, “You take this, and I take Cassidy.”  She pronounces it cass-uh-DEE.  It is so cute!

4.  I basically spend large portions of my day just sitting around feeding the baby, so I’m reading and watching television a lot.  I quickly read through The World of Downtown Abbey companion book to the series which I randomly picked up at the library the night before I went into labor.  It was an interesting but not too strenuous read.

Right now I’m reading both Faith, Science, and Reason and Style, Sex, & Substance, and I find myself making notes about both of them in my prayer journal.  And then I’m watching Switched at Birth and season 4 of Breaking Bad on Netflix; I have to watch the latter, though, where the kids can’t see due to the violence.

5.  I put off doing my normal “new baby” hair chop, because it seemed smarter to keep it up in a ponytail when we kept having all those heat waves.  But now I am dying to get it done.  I’m trying to do decide if I want to do just a traditional bob or experiment with something a little more funky (and I do mean just a little).  We’ll see what my hairdresser says when I see her tomorrow.  I am so clueless about what will work with my hair, and I trust her implicitly.

6.  The “boob sock” has made a reappearance at our house.  Right before I weaned Sabrina a little over a year ago, I got a nasty case of mastitis where she kept biting me in the same place.  I don’t remember where I got the suggestion, but somewhere I learned about filling an old sock with rice and tying up the top.  Then you can microwave it for 30 seconds to make a small heating pad perfect for sticking in your bra to loosen up hardened nodes of milk.  Piper named it “the boob sock”.

Well, when I’m pregnant the breast tissue under my left arm pit swells like crazy, and then it becomes hard as a rock when my milk comes in.  I’ve been using the “boob sock” to try to break it up.  Not only does it look like I have some sort of gross arm-pit tumor, but it also just plain hurts whenever any pressure is applied to it.  I know I really should try to contort myself so I can get Cassidy’s chin pointed at my arm pit while nursing, but the “boob sock” just seems so much easier.

7.  The past couple of days the temperatures have been in the 70’s, and it’s been really cool at night sleeping with all of the windows open.  I LOVE IT.  I wish it would stay like this FOREVER.  We’re not sweating like pigs.  We’re not using up a ton of electricity to keep the house barely cooled.  Everyone is sleeping better and in better moods.  But it does have me thinking that I might want to invest in a few long-sleeved nursing shirts/sweaters, at least one to wear at bedtime.

Cassidy’s Birth Story

August 4, 2012

Well, there I was finishing up the last day of my 38th week of pregnancy on Tuesday night.  And I was ready to have this baby.  I went for walk with my husband after dinner, and I asked him to come with me to my midwife appointment the next day.  I also planned on bringing my hospital bag just in case.  The hospital where my midwives deliver is 30 to 40 minutes from our house but only 5 to 10 minutes from my OB office. 

I woke up on Wednesday morning (August 1st) around 4 am for my usual trip to the bathroom. I had slept for about 3 1/2 hours.  My back and abdomen started aching horribly and non-stop.  Then on top of that I started feeling waves of extra pain.  They kind of felt like contractions, but it was hard to tell for sure.  They were really inconsistent in frequency and duration, and I didn’t want to get overly optimistic when it could have just been extreme intestinal cramps.  The constant ache had stopped by 8 a.m., but I felt a little worried that more might be going on then I realized and that any minute I might start having bearing down pains and end up unintentionally giving birth at home.

So, I decided to go on in to my OB office early to have then check me out.  Thankfully my mother-in-law was already scheduled off work, so we just had to go knock on her door to tell her what was going on and leave.  I had my husband run me by McDonald’s for a sweet tea on the way; it’s kind of my trying to get through the day on less than 4 hours of sleep ritual, especially when I’m in labor.  I also got two hash browns, but I only had the appetite for one.

When I got to the office they put me on the monitor for about 30-40 minutes.  I had about three good contractions while I sat there, and when Patti, the midwife in the office at the time, checked me I was at six centimeters.  She sent me on to the hospital where the midwife on-call, Lee, would meet me.  Each of the three midwives has caught a baby for me before, and Lee had caught my last one.

It didn’t take long for us to get to the hospital, but I noticed that my contractions weren’t coming as regularly as they had been.  By the time the they checked me in and poked and prodded me (IV lock and blood draw), my labor had completely stalled just like with my fourth daughter.  For the next hour and a half I only had two or three contractions.  I tried walking and dancing and doing squats to no avail.

So, Lee and I decided to try a little pitocin to get things going again, like we did with #4.  While we waited for that to kick in a bit, my husband and I tried to get some sleep.  He had been up most of the night listening to me breathe through my pains and dealing with our four-year-old who doesn’t sleep well at night.

At first I didn’t feel the contractions start back up even though they were registering on the monitor.  Then I started having to deep breathe my way through them again.  The pain started to get a little more intense, and I started to get that slightly panicky feeling.  I started singing a few of the verses and the chorus of “How Can I Keep From Singing?” in my mind during contractions.

The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,

A fountain ever springing.

All things are mine since I am His.

How can I keep from singing?

That verse especially helped me focus on peace instead of fear.  I knew that being afraid would just make things more painful and possibly be counter-productive physically.

When Lee checked me again I was still only about six centimeters, but the contractions were definitely more intense and coming about every two minutes.  Since my last baby was born two years ago, the hospital had added a new wing which included the new maternity floor.  Each labor and delivery room now had a birthing tub, which I asked about using.

The hot water felt good, but it didn’t relieve the pain quite as much as I expected.  But it also could have been that the pain got a lot more intense once I got in.  (It’s like the old question about why so much bad stuff still happens if you have a guardian angel looking out for you.  Answer:  just imagine how much worse things would be if your guardian angel wasn’t on the job.)  The pain probably would have been even worse if I wasn’t in the tub.

I was only in the tub for about 30 minutes; the water never had a chance to get cold.  But I transitioned completely during that short time.  I started feeling the desire to not resist pushing, even though I knew that it wouldn’t be smart to actively push until I was fully dilated.  I went from just blowing air out to making deep guttural noises with each contraction.  And I really started to get that panicky feeling.  I wish the tub had some bars to hold onto during contractions, but I think one of the perks of the tub was being able to lift my butt up in the water, kind of like a crab crawl position, during some of the contractions without gravity adding extra pressure.

Finally, Lee told me I had to get out of the tub.  I really did not want to do this, even though she had warned me that she would get mean if I didn’t get out when she told me.  I got on my knees and leaned over the side of the tub during a contraction.  Lee was like, “As soon as this contraction is over, you have to get out.”  I said, “I don’t want to.”  Lee was adamant, “You can not have the baby in that tub.”  My reply:  “Why not?”

I barely made it to the bed in an all-fours position.  Lee raised the head of the bed up as high as it would go and suggested that I hang over the top of it.  That actually worked really well.  I would start each contraction at the top of the bed, and then start bearing down the bed as I pushed.  I’ll be honest and admit that by that point I was squeezing and even biting the top of the mattress and being very loud.

I remember Lee checking me once and saying I had an anterior lip (basically a little section of my cervix was kind of in the way).  Then I vaguely remember her moving it over.  Then she said that the only thing stopping the baby from coming out was the water bag, which still had not broken.  She went into break it; she wasn’t sure she had done it but I could feel that she had and hollered for her to get the probe out.  Almost immediately, I was pushing out the baby.  At one point, I started to move back to my pre-contraction starting position, and Lee and my husband started yelling “Don’t do that!  Just  stay down and push!”  And then she was out!  It was 5:04 p.m.

They had to help me roll over onto my back amidst the tangle of the baby, the umbilical cord, and my IV tubes.  It was a few minutes later that I noticed that I had actually pulled my IV lock out of my hand.  Lee started to panic a bit about that.  She had been really concerned about the possibility of my hemorrhaging after delivery due to a post-partum complication I had 8 weeks after my previous child was born.  She had counted on a continuous drip of pitocin after labor to help my uterus contract faster.  So until they could get a nurse to insert a new IV lock into my hand, Lee administered a fast dose of cytotec, which is like extra-strength pitocin except they don’t insert it through an IV or give it to you orally (ugh!).

The next forty-five minutes were just as miserable as labor.  I was so cold and tired and my legs were shaking, but they were trying to administer the cytotec and they kept pushing on my uterus really hard.  Then I needed one stitch and the anesthetic shot didn’t seem to be working.  I just wanted everyone to let me put down my legs, bring me warm blankets, give me my baby, and leave me alone.  I had tried to hold her as much as I could while they worked on me, but it was getting so painful that I had the nurses take her to wipe her down and diaper her.

Finally, they were finished with me, and I snuggled up with Cassidy Veronica and let her start nursing.  She weighed 6 pounds and 12 ounces and measured 20 inches long.  While my husband left to go get the rest of the family at home, I devoured a cold turkey sandwich and french fries like a wild animal.  Then the nurse helped me get cleaned up in preparation for the arrival of the family and my eventual move to the post-partum section.

I could hear my party coming down the hall, and before I knew it my bed was crowded with four big girls who just couldn’t stop touching and fawning over their new baby sister, especially Sabrina (2).  My husband commented on what a large family we were in the room:  three grandparents, two parents, and five kids.  The nurses had to interrupt and kick everyone out temporarily while they moved me to my regular room.  I was tucked in my new bed when everyone was allowed back.  Sabrina looked at me happily and then got this perplexed look when she realized I didn’t have the baby in my arms.  Then she saw Cassidy lying in the bassinet and forgot about me for awhile

They couldn’t stay long because it was getting late.  Katie (4) got upset when she realized that I wouldn’t be coming home that night.  The other three girls just wanted the baby to come home as soon as possible.  As they left a nurse commented about how the girls would be too wound up to go to sleep that night, I just laughed and said, “Well, it’s not my problem!”

And so I began my roughly 40-hour vacation.  As usual, the nurses poked and prodded me all through the first night.  But once I got my IV out the next morning and was able to take a shower, I was able to just relax and enjoy quiet time with Cassidy (except for when the family came for another manic visit).

Overall I’ve been recovering pretty well.  I was up and around well by the next morning.  I took my Motrin pretty consistently for the first 24 hours, but now I’m just taking it as a I feel like it for general muscle ache.  My milk came in really gradually this time which has made things a lot less painful, but it still hurts a lot when Cassidy first latches on. I know that will pass, as it always does.

The girls adore their baby sister, and I have to be really careful that they don’t maul her with affection.  It is an adjustment for everyone, though.  Right now I’m just trying to get/keep everyone back on our feeding and sleep schedules and then get as much rest as I can (sleeping or relaxing on the couch) while I have a lot of help.

7 Quick Takes (v. 72)

August 3, 2012

1.  These are going to be really quick takes since on Wednesday, August 1st I gave birth to Cassidy Veronica.  We got home from the hospital around noon today, just in time for lunch-time chaos.  This is of course just on top of the other chaos that has been going on since I left for the hospital Wednesday morning.  The older four girls have been thrown off their food and sleep schedules by the arrival of their new baby sister, the visit of their Memaw and Papaw, and my absence.  And this mini-heat wave is not helping matters either.

2.  The hospital where I deliver just built a new wing with a new maternity floor.  Some of the changes in the labor/delivery and post-partum rooms I really liked.  There are other things that I wish they hadn’t changed.  But I was happily surprised last night when the massage therapist showed up in my hospital room for my free 15-minute massage session.  I was scared that was something they had done away with in the renovations.

3.  They do have this new thing as they wheel you through the double doors from labor and delivery to the post-partum rooms.  At the push of a button a Kenny G. version of “Brahm’s Lullaby” plays to welcome and announce the new mother and baby.  After the trauma of childbirth, I really didn’t give a crap about pushing the silly button, but I didn’t want to be a curmudgeon, either.  When the music started up, though, I seriously regretted doing it; I just wanted to hide my face under one of my warm blankets and die from embarrassment at the cheesiness.  I started thinking it would be much cooler if the button played one of the two notification songs for the emergency room ambulance bay at their sister hospital in my town:  the theme song from MASH or the Imperial March from Star Wars.

4.  Do you have any idea how much I loathe having an IV?  Well, every single healthcare provider in that hospital does, because they had to listen to me complain about the “stupid IV” non-stop for about 24 hours.  I hate the way the tubing makes me feel trapped and is always getting tangled, and I can’t fully use whichever hand they put it in.  For extra fun this time, I seem to have some sort of residual nerve damage that keeps making my wrist and thumb go numb where the nurse unsuccessfully tried to insert the IV lock the first time.  Then I accidentally ripped out the correctly inserted lock right after delivery, so I got a third puncture when they switched the IV to the other hand.

5.  The girls are really wound up over their new sister.  They keep begging non-stop to hold her, and they keep climbing on me to get to her.  I am scared to set Cassidy down for five seconds without an armed guard lest one of them should try to carry her off or accidentally catapult her from the bouncy seat.  They they are constantly poking and prodding her.  Hopefully some of the newness will wear off in a day or two once they realize that while she is extremely cute she is not really going to be that entertaining for awhile.

6.  So far I am digging the My Brest Friend nursing pillow.  I wasn’t sure that I would like the little strap around the back, but it actually feels pretty good on my sore muscles.  And I’ve been using the pocket to keep my new Udder Cover nursing cape.  I just wish I could remember where I packed up my little tube of nursing cream I got from the hospital.  I forgot just how painful the first few weeks of nursing can be even when you know the tricks of good positioning…and I’m just waiting for my milk to come in fully.

7.  Well, I think Cassidy and I are going to head upstairs to bed and see if we can get a few hours of shut eye.  Of course, Cassidy will probably have some weird wide-awake period as soon as I try to get to sleep.  But a girl can hope.  We’ll see when I can get around to writing up Cassidy’s birth story.  I will say that her birth gets the awards for “Best Transition” and “Fastest Pushing”.  You’ll just have to wait for all of the gory details.