Monday, January 18, 2010

We learn as we go...

Random observations from the first 3 weeks of motherhood…
  • Nitrous Oxide gas during labour – gives you a really swollen and sore soft palate and throat for days afterwards. Swallowing really hurts!
  • It’s a cruel joke of mother nature that your baby “wakes up” and becomes hungry and alert about 2 days after the birth, and my milk didn’t come in until about day 4.
  • Public Hospital food was surprisingly good! Porridge for breakfast was awesome!
  • Breastfeeding really HURTS for about 2 weeks after the birth. It felt like razor blades being sucked through my nipples for the first 20 seconds every time, even when she was supposedly attached properly. Using the breast pump hurts the same. Its only been in the last week that its stopped being painful, and its such a relief!

  • The middle of the night, sitting alone in the quiet, dark house - feeding, burping, changing and settling a windy/colicky/grizzly baby is one of the loneliest feelings ever .
  • Every single midwife in hospital has a completely different opinion on how you should do things. They often contradict each other. Eg – one midwife talked to us about Skye’s long fingernails and told us we could nibble the ends off with our teeth. An hour later, the next midwife told us that on NO ACCOUNT should we use our teeth!
  • Baby swings are awesome, at least I can put Skye down and get a few things done, she loves to look around.
  • Some days feel absolutely overwhelming and frustrating. I think Skye has reached her 3 week growth spurt yesterday – she fed almost every hour, with very little sleep in between and lots of wind in between too. It made for a very grizzly baby and an emotional wreck of a mummy. Today though has been great!
  • Having not had any nappy/baby experience before, I cant believe how often babies poo! Skye must think we have shares in Huggies Nappies I think, with the rate that we are going through them. The other day we changed it 3 times in half an hour – the first was wet, so we changed it, then 5 minutes later she’d done a big poo – changed it again and 10 minutes later she finished the poo!
  • Some poos (think American Mustard!) cannot be contained by a mere nappy and I’ve been hammered twice already, once from side seepage from sheer quantity! Oh and I’ve discovered that its crucial to wait until she’s finished… initially I would jump up and change her straight away after hearing the telltale fart of her pushing one out… well I quickly learned to beware of this, as she often isn’t finished and will squirt more out onto you when she’s on the change table! It pays to wait a good 5 -10 minutes!

  • All the days start to merge into one another, and I no longer know what day of the week it is.
  • Press studs on baby clothes. Clearly they have been put there for the benefit of sleep deprived parents because nothing could be easier to fasten, right? However I’m constantly surprised by just how difficult and complicated it is to line up 3 little press studs and get them closed when you have a wriggling, squirming little bub on the table, and you are half dead with tiredness!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

All the gory details

Well I finally have a moment to myself, so I thought I'd share the story of how Skye Lily came into the world.

Hubby has pulled an all-nighter so I could get some sleep, and now its 6am, he’s gone to bed and I’ve just fed and (hopefully) settled miss Skye, so I might get to finish this. She’s a tough one to settle, she just fights sleep like you wouldn’t believe, and is SO alert! I read that newborns don’t stay awake for more than an hour or two at a time – try telling that to my child please!! She can be awake for 5 or 6 hours at a time, so tired but just too interested in everything to sleep. Once she's asleep though she can go for 4 hours or so before waking up, so I shouldn't complain too much. The lack of sleep is really debilitating though, I feel like I'm constantly in a daze.

Anyway… here's the gory details. Warning - its long-winded and probably way too much information!

On Tuesday 29th of December 2009, we had our 41 week hospital appointment. The doc checks me over and everything is normal. Does the internal exam and finds that I am 2cms dilated, so he does a stretch and sweep to try to get things moving. We are also booked in for an induction on 1st January at 4pm, if nothing happens sooner – although he tells hubby that he feels that it will happen before then. We left hospital feeling excited that things might be happening, and then go walk around the shopping centre for a while – I actually bought the first Twilight book “to read between contractions” – humourous now when I think of it, and yes I can see those that are already mothers rolling their eyes at me – I still have not had a chance to open that book!

8pm that night, the period-pain like cramps that I’d been having on and off for weeks start to turn worse – some actually start to take my breath away. I stay calm, assume its more Braxton Hicks, and continue eating dinner and start watching the DVD that we’d hired (Wolverine!). But they start getting stronger, and come with regularity. I start keeping a log of the time, and how long each one lasts. I also give them a “pain rating” out of 10. I tried to be conservative with my ratings, because to my thinking, a rating of 10 was full-on screaming labour pain. I laugh now when I look at how I’d scored some of those early contractions, as a 5 or a 6 out of 10 – HA! Little did I know what real pain was at that stage!!

About 9.30pm I sat forward on the lounge and felt something leaking down below. I assume it might be my “show” (mucous plug which you can lose when the cervix starts to dilate). I sit back, not concerned yet, since a friend of mine had her “show” about 2 days before going into labour, so I’m still not convinced that I’m in labour, and I had a maternity pad on just in case anyway.

Hubby starts getting a bit excited at this stage, but we’re still watching the DVD so he stays pretty calm too – only asking me every 5 minutes if I’m ok.

10pm – I sit forward again, and get another gush. This time I get up and go check. Hmmmm…. I think my waters have broken!!

We ring the hospital – they tell me to come in. I then realize that there are still a bunch of last minute items still not in my hospital bag (make up, mobile phone charger, camera – other daily use stuff) so I madly try to gather everything together between contractions, which are getting more painful.

11.30pm – Arrive at hospital. It is pouring with rain! I get taken into a room and strapped into a machine to monitor bubs heart rate, and my contractions. But the position of the belt isn’t right and it keeps losing the fetal heart rate, and my contractions are barely showing (but boy could I feel them!). I become convinced that they’re going to send me home because I’m not ready yet!

The midwives are reluctant to do an internal because we think my waters have broken (risk of infection if they do it too often) so they use a speculum (the thing they use when you have a pap smear) to have a peek. Its confirmed that my waters have broken, but they cant tell how dilated I am because there is too much fluid in the way.

1am – get wheeled into a birthing suite. I’m starting to really gasp with pain at each contraction, and am cursing the fact that I’d perservered with eating dinner, felt like it was going to come back up for sure.

From this point on, things get a little sketchy as far as time/sequence of events go!

Around 1.30am – in the birthing suite, I hop into the shower because a few friends have told me how heavenly it was to have hot water on your back… it didn’t really do much for me though! The midwife insisted that I should lean on the fitball in the shower, when I much preferred to rest my head on the hard plastic shower seat (so I could grasp the chair legs!). I tried it for a while in the shower, but felt I’d be better off lying on my side on the bed. The contractions were getting stronger, so I asked for some gas. Tried it, felt it did nothing. I found it to be more annoying and frustrating than anything!

The midwife told me to empty my bladder. And the strange thing was, I couldn’t go! I sat on the toilet for a while, nothing… she suggested I hop back in the shower and try… nothing! Yes its hard to pee when you have an audience (hi hubby!!) and harder again in labour – but I just couldn’t go. Midwife said I actually had TWO bumps at that stage, one baby bump, and another BLADDER bump! To my absolute horror, they had to put a catheter in – and I think I was more scared about that than the impending birth!

2.30am-ish – I ask for more drugs. The contractions were feeling unbearable, and the gas was doing jack-shit. I got a pethidene shot in the leg. It took a few minutes to work, and the major relief I found was that I was dozing/drifting off between contractions. It also made me lose sense of time to some degree.

But it could only do so much, and I’d had just about enough, even at this early stage! The gas was useless, I kept telling them so, but every time another wave of contractions started, I kept getting told “Use the gas!! Use the gas!!” and had it thrust into my hand to use. So I would huff and puff into this “useless” thing – just about screaming in agony, and ANGRY that they didn’t seem to be listening – it didn’t work!

At some point I had another internal exam, and I was told that I was 3cms dilated!! AARRGGGHHH!!!! I was horrified, it was so distressing to hear. All that pain for a measly ONE extra centimetre!!

By then I was exhausted. One thing I remember was that between contractions I kept being told to lift my butt off the bed so they could change the padding under me – easier said than done!

At this stage the only words I could utter was “I CANT DO THIS!” – to which my hubby always replied “YES YOU CAN – you are amazing!”.

Eventually I asked for something, ANYTHING to take away the excruciating, relentless pain. Epidural? –yes!! Gimme it!! Make it stop!!

I don’t wanna do this anymore!!!

So they rang to book me in for an epidural – but since it was 6am, I had to wait for an anesthetist, I was told it was an hour away. I remember panicking, thinking how can I endure another hour of this?

But then they did another internal, and I was suddenly 8cms – I’d dilated about 5cms in an hour or so! I got talked into canceling the epidural (since it would probably slow the labour down) and seeing how we went – they told me I was almost there!! But sadly, we weren’t.

By now I had 2 female doctors in the room as well as the midwife and hubby. It was discovered that bub had turned posterior again, which was going to make the next bit more complicated…

I begged for, and got, another pethidene shot…

More of the same, contractions, pain, useless gas – I was panicking, hyperventilating, screaming that I cant do this, and just OVER it! Get this frickin thing out of me!!!

And then suddenly, during these intense contractions, my body did the weirdest thing ever – it started pushing all on its own. I hadn’t been told to push, I didn’t WANT to push, but my body just did it and I found it VERY hard to control. They kept saying “stop pushing!” and I kept saying “I’m NOT!” They told me to breathe through it… and it took all my strength and effort to stop my whole abdominal and pelvic area from bearing down.

These involuntary pushes were the weirdest thing ever, and completely unexpected – I’d never heard of them before.

So, by about 8am we got to 10cms dilated, and I was finally given the ok to start pushing with the contractions. We tried all different positions (easier said than done) but I preferred lying on my side. Hubby had to get one leg in an arm lock so I could bear down against it. I ended up on my back though, this was the easiest to push against.

All during pregnancy I was so worried about everyone looking at my “girly bits” during birth. I was worried about being naked in front of strangers, and I was worried about pooing when I was pushing. I’m a bit shy, so it was a concern…

And just like everyone tells you, when the time came, I didn’t give a shit. All I cared about was getting this thing out of me. And make the pain stop!

Anyway, 2 hours of pushing… bub still posterior and not turning. They can almost see the head. But its just not happening, and to make it worse, the head is also on a crooked angle. They start talking as if I’m not there, might have to do a Caesar? She’s too exhausted to keep pushing like this, the heads not turning

I’m hyperventilating, freaking out. Doc says I’m pushing so well – not many people can push this hard, for this long – she knows I can do it… if I want, we can do an episiotomy (cutting the perineum) which should see this baby out within the next few contractions (yeah right!)

So I get the snip. I didn’t feel it (it was done in the middle of a contraction) – but I HEARD it. It sounded like someone cutting gristle with kitchen scissors… ugh! There are some things you cant unhear!

It took another 2 or 3 contractions (each contraction having 3-4 pushes) to get the babys head out. The biggest push of my life!

Baby was face up, and at an odd angle. Someone says “heads out!” – everyone looks, except me of course!

She opens her eyes… suddenly nobody cared about the woman on the bed, everyone was oohing and ahhing at the baby looking up at them, whilst still half inside me!! I felt like screaming “HELLO!!? Remember me??” LOL!

Had to wait for the next one or two contractions, and at another big push this hot, purple, slippery little being landed on my chest and was being quickly toweled dry… I was in awe… our baby!

I was dazed and relieved that the worst of the pain was over – time was called – 10.17am. I kept touching the little body on my chest, not quite believing that this was once our “tic tac”!

Hubby came around the other side of the bed and said “it’s a girl, we’ve got a baby girl!!” and I went “Oh yeah, that’s right – we didn’t know!!” I wonder how long it would have taken me to ask!

Funnily enough, when theydid my stitches, the doc said to breathe in the gas while she gave me a local anaesthetic. I thought “whats the point?” but sucked on the gas anyway… and woah! - instant light head, I guess it did work after all!

Its an amazingly empowering feeling... you feel like you can do anything! I cant believe that I managed to push my little girl out, I look at her now and wonder how on earth she managed to fit inside me! You feel proud of yourself too - especially when the doctors said that in 90% of cases, when the baby presents that way, they have to do a caesar. Man am I glad that we avoided that!

So that’s the gory details!

We are slowly adjusting to life with a baby. You dont realise how much it consumes your life. I cant just go to bed anymore when I'm tired. If hubby stays up with her I have to make sure I've expressed enough milk for them. I do a load of washing and it might be 4 or 5 hours before I get to hang it out! We havent eaten dinner together since the night of the labour, one or the other will usually be trying to settle Skye.

Recovery wise, I'm great. The stitches feel like they've healed well. Going to the loo has been a challenge, its scary when you have stitches and you're worried about tearing them down there. Consequently you "put it off" which just makes it harder when you DO go! My stomach has shrunk pretty well too, and amazingly I'm back to within 4kgs of my pre-pregnancy weight! I'm loving being able to sleep on my back again too. Breastfeeding is a whole new challenge, but we're getting there. I think Skye is going to be hyperactive, like her daddy!

Anyway, I'll stop boring you now with all this! Thank you all for your beautiful comments, texts, emails and gifts! This parenting thing is going to be a challenge, but I'm up for it! (just need a little more sleep!)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Its a girl!

Our beautiful little tic tac has finally arrived, and its a girl!!

Skye Lily was born on Wednesday 30th December 2009, at 10.17am. She weighed 8lbs 2oz, 51cms long and had a head circumference of 34cms.

Thanks to everyone for so many beautiful facebook comments, texts and emails - its been overwhelming and quite an emotional ride!

We had a natural delivery (unfortunately with an episiotomy) and managed to avoid the epidural, had gas (didn't help) and pethidene. She was born posterior (came out face up!) and head at an odd angle - they were starting to think we'd have to have a caesar to get her out, but after 2 hours of pushing we got there in the end.

I will be blogging about the birth in detail, but not just yet as I'm still struggling to string sentences together properly! We are just over the moon and so excited to have our little girl, she is so precious to us and I just love her to pieces! (and here I was, worried I wouldn't feel maternal!) Hubby is the proudest dad you could imagine, you cannot wipe the smile off his face :-)

Here's a few photos of our little one...

In the birthing suite, getting measured (and not happy about it!)

First bath in hospital

Awww... sleeping
At home testing out the new bassinet
Will be back sometime soon with lots of gory birth details!
PS - belated Happy New Year to everyone too, we kinda missed it this year :-)