Monday, September 27, 2010

There are no magic socks

The great sock issue of 2010. No baby socks will stay on little Lydia's feet. I have newborn socks but they fall off. My mom found some little socks that seem to work but they also fell off. My mommy friends have told me about the socks at Baby Gap which apparently have two soft elastic bands to ensure the placement of said sock on said tiny feet. Saturday, I feed the baby, and diligently went to the mall to get these magic socks. Eliot stayed with Lydia at home to make the jaunt even quicker. I arrived at the mall which was complete sensory overload for me since I have been home for so many days without external interaction. I weaved through the massive crowds of mall shoppers and arrived to the Baby Gap. I zeroed in on the magic socks. There are only 3 colors: white, blue and pink. I grabbed pink and white not because I feel little girls shouldn't wear blue but because she doesn't really have any blue clothing at the moment and these magic socks were zero to 3 months. I purchased them. I drove home. My mom washed the magic socks. They were dried. They were ready. I put them on her adorable little feet. A moment later, they fell off.

Today's mommy mantra:
There are no magic socks. 
There are no magic socks.
There are no magic socks.

Footy pajamas are the only way to ensure warm feet at night. Good thing we are in Florida, what do the Eskimos do? Sorry..What do Inuits do?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Breastfeeding is hard work!

There are a few things people normally don't really talk about, sorta like Fight Club. There are certain things that happen immediately after birth that aren't mentioned in any books and most girlfriends don't really fill you in on, though I was lucky enough to have a little bit of a clue because my girls had mentioned the unmentionables, but it's still a wild experience. There is also the great mystery of breastfeeding. No one really discussed how difficult the process really is.

You see people breastfeeding either in real life or TV and it all seems so pleasant and effortless, but in truth it is a partnership between you and your infant: an infant that just arrived to the world and your body that now does things that it hasn't before. Moments after Lydia was born she was placed on my chest. Nature is incredible because after a few minutes she began rooting and searching for my breast with her mouth wide open. It was an amazing site but it completely gave me the false sense of security that breastfeeding would be easy. It's not. It's worth it, in so many ways that I could list, but it's hard work.

The success, initially, of breastfeeding lies in Lydia latching on properly and my milk arriving in a timely manner. It is completely normal for it to take a couple of days for the milk to come in (though there should be  a tracking number attached to it for peace of mind) and completely normal for your baby to lose weight the first week. That being clearly stated, logic didn't matter. My baby was fussy and she had lost weight both equal a nightmare for a new mom, particular a new Cuban mom (a baby without food is simply madness, have you met my mother?)

Lydia waking up at 3am to eat.
Peacefully sleeping Lydia
Immediately, I responded in the only obsessive pseudo-type A way I could, I found a IPhone app, Total Baby, which logs your breastfeeding sessions per left and right breast, logs wet and poop diapers, also logs sleep, baths and other. It creates a spread sheet that I can email myself, so I can evaluate major trends and create graphs if needed. I diligently woke her up from a sound sleep based on what her doctor and the lactation consultant at the hospital recommended. It takes a bit to wake her fully, then we can begin the latching dance. Now, I didn't create the graphs, but it did provide a false sense of control. I had never really considered that you can't be sure how much milk your baby is getting. It would be handy to add a measuring valve to your breast or perhaps some sort of keg like tap so you can tap and pour, rather than trusting the unseen, ironically coming from a religion teacher.

Today Lydia turned one week old. We just got in a groove. She latches well. I can tell when she is hungry and I feed her about every 3 hours, sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more. My milk has arrived. My nipples are sore which means she is doing her part. There are diapers that also provide reassurance. We've conquered our first mountain top. Tomorrow we return to the pediatrician to see if she has regain her weight. She did lose more than your average newborn weight loss, but I think, I hope, we will both be okay.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Birth Story

When last I blogged my water had broken about noon on September 15th. There are time lines and such   involved when your water breaks at the beginning of labor rather than later on, actually only 3% of women have their water break first. It turns out that I come from a long time of water breaking women, my mom, my aunts, my grandmother, so no real surprise that mine broke too except of course to me. Anywho, we stayed home for about 8 hours before heading to the hospital because I had to be admitted before the 12 hour mark to get antibiotics to avoid infection. We arrived at Bayfront BayPlace and we escorted to the Labor and Delivery room 4 where my nurse checked me and I was about 3-4cm. Everything looked good. I walked around for awhile and rested. We watched Friends on TV, everything was relatively nonchalant. Until of course, at midnight the nurse checked again and I was only 4cm. Then again at 4am still 4cm. So it was time to get the pitocin. I had to deliver by noon the next day to avoid infection to the baby.

As all the literature says the pitocin intensifies the contractions. Having your water break also intensifies your contractions. One plus the other created a great deal of pain. This may be putting it a little lightly, the bruises on Eliot's hand and the complete and utter sense of panic in my mother's eyes were perhaps a better indicator. I was cursing in  multiple languages and beginning to want to eat people's faces off. So I decided that in order to take the edge off I would use a narcotic called Staydol, still in hopes of avoiding the epidural and doing this naturally. The Staydol is an opiate and many folks have immediate reactions to it, normally it is vomiting. For me it was full on hallucinations. Everyone had an afro and was wearing Welcome Back Carter era shorts, my midwife was a bouncing bunny rabbit. At one point, I actually had visions of my contractions as massive blobs that were dancing towards me and latching on to my back. The Staydol, for me, did not serve it's ultimate purpose and at times was creating a greater sense of panic. At one point, I could still feel the pain, and I looked over at Eliot who had taken a nap on the loveseat provided in the room, and screamed "Your sleeping is pissing me off!!" He immediately jumped up and returned to my side.

My next decision was whether or not to get the epidural. The pain was intense and though, it is hard now to put into words, I remember grabbing on the side of the bed, the bed rail, and shaking it to hard that it made a cracking noise. I asked the nurse to return to see how far along we had gotten, and figured I would make my decision then. Statistically the further along you are in your dilation the less complications there are with the epidural. I just kept thinking that if I wanted to have a c-section, I would have preferred to schedule it and have the benefits of it, I certainly had no intentions of having to go through both. Before the nurse even was able to check me, I asked her to put in the order for the epidural. It turned out I was 6cm dilated which was my mental bench mark. It took about an hour for the epidural guy to get there, which solidified those 6cm.

The process of getting the epidural is no picnic either. There is some one sticking a hole in your spine, not my idea of fun though desperately begging for it. The thing was that just as he started to get the area ready for it I had another contraction which caused me to jump, so we had to wait it out. After that it went swimmingly. The pain subsided from then on I could watch the monitor and see colossal sized contractions and smile happily knowing that I could not feel a thing. At 10am I was only 7cm, I still had to be ready in 2 hours to give birth, no pressure on my cervix.

You may imagine that because you can not feel the pain that it may be difficult to determine when it's time to push but that is not the case at all. When it was time, I knew it. I looked at Eliot and said it was time to push. He went to get my swarming day nurse who came in and said, well we really aren't suppose to check you until your midwife returns. I insisted it was time and that I was going to push regardless of who was there and who was on board. She checked me and sure enough (surprise) it was time!

The pushing portion of the experience was certainly the most animalistic. I just needed her out. I could zone out everything else and just push. Everyone left the room except the nurses, Eliot and my midwife. Eliot was an amazing coach! Encouraging and supportive. Within 45 minutes, Lydia Violet Gaurkee came into the world. It was the most miraculous blessing! My eyes were crying with joy to the point that they were almost squirting out the tears.

After Lydia was checked they immediately placed her on my chest, such an amazing gift. Eliot went to get the grandmas first! I have never experienced a prouder moment. My mom came in and she saw her and she saw us and it was the pure joy. Lydia Violet Gaurkee had instantly captured the hearts of all of us. We are so thankful for all the support, prayers and love, it's hard to express how much. We are so blessed!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Water has Broken

Last night I woke up several times feeling some harsher contractions but honestly I kind of thought it was indigestion. I was uncomfortable this morning so I just stayed in bed which made me feel better. When I finally crawled out of bed, I was sitting on the couch chatting with Kim and suddenly "GUSH!" Thanks to the trusty AT&T our call dropped. I went to the restroom and sure enough, I had wet my pants. There was goo involved too. Kim called back and we discussed the plan. I would call Eliot and then my trusty midwives.

Eliot was on his way home and the midwives told me to come in the office to check out the situation. I was a little nervous that maybe my water hadn't broken because, frankly I have never done this before. Turns out, I was right. Water was broken! I am still only dilated 1cm which was the same as yesterday's verdict, so we came home and are now watching a Top Chef marathon with my folks who had swung by earlier. Contractions are coming...certainly not pleasant but bearable at this point. Soon she will be here!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Still Pregnant!

Baby Girl Gaurkee is still in my belly. Recently a friend of mine told me that the average gestational period is about 41 weeks. Some how this simultaneously makes me feel better because my child is not late or stuck, on the other hand, completely freaks me out because I don't want to wait another whole week! Waiting sucks!

The thing is that I am not horribly uncomfortable which I have always thought I should be at this point, I simply want my baby already! I did notice today that when I shaved my legs the last couple of times, I apparently missed the same spot because there is a very long hair behind my knee that really shouldn't be there. I could use it to hang things on it, like my keys or something. Handy really.

Beginning in the wee of the morning hours (just in time for the 4am pee break), I was having light contractions. Fairly consistently for several hours. I was thinking that perhaps it would warm up like a jalopy in the winter up north, you turn on the engine, let it warm up while you finish getting your coffee ready and then it eventually roars up and takes you where you need to go. Unfortunately, my contractions faded way about mid-morning and didn't come back. My midwife assures me that I will know when I am in labor. She always looks at me with a smile when I tell her about these "light" contractions as if to say,  "Isn't she cute folks? Ah so new at this."

Tomorrow morning I will see my darling midwife again. Can't wait to know the update.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ultrasound Update

Yesterday we dutifully went to the sonogram appointment to determine what was going on with Baby Girl Gaurkee. We learned several things: she is just fine up in there! She has hair! (Which I have to say completely amazes me that you can see that on an ultrasound!) As you can see in the photo to the left, the tech even typed hair. Her heart is beautifully formed with four chambers that were pumping as we looked with glee. The tech told us she looked well and she was positioned super low. She kept trying to get a close up of her profile which I have also posted but it's a little blurry. She told us she had chubby cheeks and thighs. Eliot was very excited that she was built to have a powerful kick for her future as a soccer superstar. We also got a super confirmation shot, the money shot if you will, of her being a girl but I rather not have such pictures of my daughter on the internet (I figure you should start having those standards fairly early, so they follow suit when they get older. ) She also told us that she is approximately 8 pounds and 6 ounces which is right on the money.

Today we go see our midwife to determine what her recommendation is with regards to inducing labor. My guess is that she will want to wait until the due date before making any decisions since the baby is doing fine and at this point no indication of being 15lbs. I have been having more contractions but still fairly mild and inconsistent. There was a bit of time last night that I thought well maybe we will get some momentum with these, but as soon as I got myself all prepped mentally for the event and made a to-do list of things that I could do to distract me like taking a shower, eating a sandwich, rolling the suitcase into the dining room, the contractions subsided and I feel asleep.

So we wait. We wait for her arrival with great anticipation!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It's my turn!!

Officially I am 39 weeks today! I can not believe it has flown by and there is little I can say against pregnancy. It really has been a lovely 39 weeks even through the Florida summer heat, the Charley Horses (which by the way have seriously decreased since I have been drinking Power-aide Zero which provides extra potassium and electrolytes but no sugar/carbs), the multiple sugar testing and the perpetual waddling.

Tomorrow mid-morning I will have an ultrasound to determine how big she is. Since my sugar testing throughout did not ever clearly state that I had gestational diabetes but was always slightly elevated, my midwife felt it was best to be sure that I haven't suddenly grown mammoth baby. If she is ginormous than we will discuss inducing. I am hoping against this option because pitocin seems to led to more painful contractions and opting for the epidural early statistically has led to more complications, so my preference is to wait until she is ready. That being said, I wish she was ready!

I keep giving her pep talks and trying to push her gently down, hoping that she sees the light. May be she got turned around in there and can't find the exit. I was thinking I could shine a red light near there kind of like an exit sign to help. She was really wiggly last night so I was trying to reason with her that she would have so much more room on the outside and that I too like to nap in cave like conditions. But to no avail. She's hanging out in there. Chilling. Cozy.

Two friends this weekend had their babies and I am so happy for them! Everyone is healthy and well. But I can't help but have a little only child voice in my head that is bellowing "It's my turn!!"

Friday, September 3, 2010

About Face--Effaced!

The Gaurkee family went to the midwives on Wednesday. It was our second weekly appointment marking our official 38th week of pregnancy. I like how I use the plural, so to include Eliot. All vitals were good. I am progressing well and she said that my cervix was thinning and that Baby Girl was 60% effaced! At that point there was no dilation. Though, this news was exciting in the land of labor it means very little. It could still take a couple of weeks, my dad put his money on Sept. 13th, or it literally could be any day now. I was thinking it was going to be about a week early...don't know why, just a thought.

The waddling has become very pronounced. It's become a little difficult to lay on my back in any position because the weight of the baby crushes my lungs and I find myself out of breath. It's a little hard to sit on a hard surface chair for an extended period of time. Somehow, though I still feel pretty good. I have felt a few more contractions, small but insignificant. The car seat is strapped, the bag is packed, it's on like donkey kong...not sure I know what that means...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cord Blood Donation

It is super popular these days to bank your infant's cord blood. In every pregnancy and early parenting magazine, and almost every pregnancy website has a bombardment of ads promoting this practice. And though, I am sure there is a reason why parents would choose to do this, but for me personally it seems as if you are bracing yourself constantly for your child to become very ill. Instead of banking my baby's cord, I began to wonder what if we could just donated it. There are so many people out there that could benefit from a match.

First, I asked, my birthing instructor but she had no idea. I took the liberty of emailing a contact at the Florida Blood Services organization because he and I have had a good relationship over the years since I was in charge of planning the dates for the blood mobile to come to school. He looked into a couple of options but there is no system in place for such a donation. As a last resort I have done some light googling on the subject and it turns out that this is highly dependent on the facility that you give you birth. Through the information provided by the National Marrow Donor Program, Florida only has 4 hospitals that will accept a cord donation and there are no additional cord blood banks. There is no way to donate it from this state. The national organization actually just recommends a financial donation if there are no available banks to receive your cord blood.

Can you imagine the impact if there were more venues for donation? I imagine that we are not the only perspective parents that would happily donate our infants cord blood and there are so many children in need.