Sunday, February 28, 2010

What ever happened?

What happened to my sweet little girl? Evening comes and we have a complete GRUMP on our hands. I had Maddy in my arms, cuddled up. She was good, calm... and fell asleep. Without me moving, without a noise made her eyes FLY open. She looks around in shock, then immediately the face goes beet red, scrunches up and... WAAAAAAAAHHHHH! Or she's sitting contentedly... the fussing starts... pants are clean, food is refused, not warm, not cold, not sitting on anything pokey, not being tortured... and WAAAAAAAAAHHHH!

She started out so calmly, we considered ourselves so lucky to have a sweet little girl. But she's started ramping it up at night, turning on the fuss-a-saur mojo. And now? She's a giant irradiated space crab. During the day she's still awesome fun... for now.

We know she's gassy. Is that it? Or growing pains? I went to a shower yesterday afternoon. The little boy is 4 days older than Maddy. And he's TINY in comparison. Then I held a 2 month old. Maddy is about his size in length and weight. She's half his age! Could it be the evil "C" word - colic. Whatever the reason, we have a grump on our hands. Well, most of the time. Right now she's in my arms... sleeping peacefully. Wait, no... as I type she's stirred and began fussing in her sleep. Little whimpers and her face starting to scrunch... Ah, little Maddy... you make life interesting!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Month one letter

Dear Maddy (or Maddie as your father calls you)

One month ago today everything in our lives changed. After 30 hours (yes, I will keep saying how long it took) you came into this world. With a healthy squawk, our baby girl was born. And nothing has been even close to the same since then. Our days and nights have been filled with watching you, feeding, you, caring for you. You are our little dictator and we are always at your beck and call. And there isn't a thing I'd change.

I thought it would be hard to make the transition to being a mom - not sleeping, not being free to come and go on a whim, or not being able to take a day off from being responsible. But it was immediate and I barely remember a life without you. I don't want to think about a life without you. I was happy before and life was good. But with you here, I am happier than I thought possible. You have filled a part of my life that I didn't know was there and was empty.

Your first week was hard, I didn't make enough food for you and you slept so much. The more you ate, the more you became alert. Now? You are awake more of the day than you sleep, always wanting just a little food, always wanting to be held... and if we don't respond immediately? Instant fussing! You have partial control of your head and have for a week or so - something that the milestones say a 2-3 month old should have. Your little hands are always open if you are awake, as you explore your world. You love to look around at new things, new patterns, new perspectives. You have been smiling for awhile but we're watching for smiles in reaction to something specific. We heard one giggle, when you were about 2 weeks old, and it brought tears to our eyes, the most beautiful sound I have heard yet. You also love sounds. Singing or jingling or talking will calm you. Well, except my singing. That still makes you grimace *grin*. Soon you won't be able to fit in your newborn outfits, you are just getting that long. I see this as an ongoing problem, you are so much longer than you are wide. Like your dad, it will be hard to find pants that aren't too short. In 2 weeks we go to the doctor, to find out how much you have grown. At birth you were 90th percentile for length (at 53cm) and about 50th percentile for weight (at 3460g). Although at your one week visit you were only 51.8cm. So either you shrunk a lot or the hospital or the nurse made a mistake. We'll see which it was at the 6 week visit.

Soon baba and dido will be here, we're having pizza and watching hockey on TV to celebrate your one month birthday. Maybe not what you'd choose, if you had the choice, but we'll also all be taking turns holding you and talking to you and trying to keep you happy.

Your mom and dad love you so very much and we're so excited to have you here and to watch you grow. Remember that fussing I just mentioned? Well, you are doing it again... time to go relieve your dad from dealing with your fussy and take my turn at it. Although today you much prefer his company to mine. That preference changes daily *grin*

Happy one month birthday, my Maddy-girl!



Thursday, February 25, 2010

Off to work we go!

Well, more off we went! This afternoon from 1-330pm Maddy and I went to visit the people at my work. And we had a wonderful time!

I thought Maddy was a little grump - she had to eat a few times and would fuss when she was hungry. Although everyone said she was a little sweetheart, which helps put grump-a-saur into perspective. She really is such a sweet little girl, it's easy to forget how good we have it. And it was nice to see the folks at work and get to catch up with them a little bit. I miss some parts of work - mainly the people there. Some fabulous folks in that area!

Life otherwise has been fussy here. We're trying to figure out what's setting her off. She's just a GRUMP in the evenings. We have figured out she's fussy when she has to poo. She's quite dramatic about pooing, it's a production *grin*.  And we have figured she's likely been too cold. So we've been bundling her up more and always having a blanket on her which is also helping the grump. Although as I type? I hear her waking and fussing. And her eating has changed - she's eating only about 2oz a feed, but wanting to be fed much more frequently. Hopefully she reverts back to big feeds, less frequently. She's a slow eater, so now it feels like we're always feeding her. But she's still really good through the night, which is awesome! Don't change that, please, Maddy... please!

Tonight I am going for dinner with a girlfriend - my first social outing without Maddy. I am looking forward to it, to catching up with a friend, but feel a little sad about leaving Maddy. And bad about leaving Neil with grump-a-saur in the evening. But only a little sad and bad - a mom needs a bit of a life too! :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

"Come meet Maddy Open House"

The open house? It was a wonderful time. We had about 40 family and my parent's friends come to see her. There were drinks and food and visiting. Although mom mad about food for 150 which means MUCH leftovers for us.

Despite how wonderful it was, it was a tiring day for Neil and I though. Maddy was a trooper and napped much of the time as she was passed from person to person. Now that she's on the right formula, she's back to being a sweetheart. But this mom and dad haven't had that much interaction with other people in many weeks now. So we're both a little bushed. Today will be a quiet day. Some sleeping and then some thank you cards - our family and parent's friends were crazy generous in gifting and there are so many people to thank!

I feel bad that I think we missed people that wanted to hold Maddy. Last night I kept having a dream that Ruth kept asking to hold Maddy and I kept not being able to give Maddy to her. And I know yesterday she wanted to hold Maddy, but I am not sure if she did. Isn't it funny, what gets stuck in your head when you are so sleep deprived? It's also so hard to get the chance to talk to everyone you want to, even with just 40 people there. But it truly was a wonderful afternoon. Dad took pictures, I'll have to attach some later. My camera was left in the bag all afternoon. Oops.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Gas... OMG gas...

Well, we tried formula #3 which was supposed to be amazing. For Maddy? It lead to more amazing gas, bowel movements of frightening colours and constant small feeds. So? Back to the one we started with and we are not switching again. I still so wish that I was able to exclusively breastfeed. Even to be able to pump enough and bottle feed her... But my production is not increasing. In fact, I stopped the medications one day, accidentally - it was a sleepy day - and I went down to almost nothing. So back on meds and going to pump/feed until she's at least 1 month old. I can now pump 3oz a session (both breasts completely empty). But Maddy is eating 6oz a feed now. Yes, our little girl likes her food!

But the gas has led to a fussy Maddy. We have been able to eventually calm her, but even for the few hours of fussing and crying both Neil and I were in such pain. The helplessness of knowing your child is upset and not being able to help them... once more I am so thankful that Maddy isn't colicky. And I have even more respect for parents who have had to deal with a colicky baby.

And now for pics!

Fast asleep


First bath! 

Look at those curls

Our little cutie pie - in her first outfit (other than sleepers)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Three weeks ago today...

Three weeks ago today our little one was born. After 30-ish hours of labour, little Maddy came into this world. And everything in my life has changed. I can't even begin to remember life without Maddy. What did we do with our time? Who did we stare at for hours on end? Whose existence did my world revolve around? Whose stomach (and gas pains) did I monitor so closely?

We tried a new formula for Maddy. And? It did NOT sit well with her. She is so gassy and fussy - more than she has been yet. Last night she'd cry out in pain in her sleep. And it's heart wrenching to know your child is uncomfortable. Last night we gave her only breast milk. Even though the quantity wasn't enough, we wanted something comfortable in her belly. And this morning we tried another formula we had in the house (a free sample, from signing up to a program). This one seems to be sitting better, although she's still not her normal self. And the gas coming from her today? CRAZY! Both in volume and in aroma. But the pinnacle? That is the newest bought of explosive pooing. This one made it off the table and onto the chair and floor. Very impressive, little one. After that, though, she was feeling better. Not 100%, but better.

I remember friends telling me that being a mother was the most enriching thing you could do. That the love you feel for your child is overwhelming and nothing like the love you feel for anyone else. And that being a parent completes a part of your life in a way you didn't realize was empty before having a child. Neil and I would joke about people exaggerating, trying to initiate others into the cult of no-sleep. But after having a child, I understand...

Our lives would have been happy and wonderful (and financially richer) without Maddy. But with her here? Even just three weeks in, when all she really does is eat and sleep? Our lives are better for having her here. To hear her first little giggle last night, our daughter's giggle... to look into her face and see me, Neil, my family, his family... to feel so much love for another person that it almost hurts. It's made life better than I ever thought was possible. And now I say those words I heard others say and they almost sound hollow, like platitudes. But they are the most honest words I have ever spoken. I have been initiated into the cult of parenthood and it's the most perfect place to be, for me. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Where has my little baby gone?

I know I'll be saying this for years to come, but this morning I was laying in bed with Maddy and I was struck by how big she is now. Her little newborn sleepers are days away from being too short, her body is filling them out completely, her head? Wow... her head is changing shape daily - and growing too. And her dark blonde hair? It's now RED! Not sure how it happened, but there is definite redness to her hair. Although Neil was born with red hair that fell out and then became blonde. Although his beard is still red.

She's definitely well over 8lbs now and eating up a storm (she had 28oz of food yesterday!). She's more alert and interacting with us. She'll smile and giggle when her feet are tickled. She'll look for us when she hears our voices (although I can walk into a room where she's sleeping and when I speak, she cries. I am trying not to take it personally *grin*). She calms when she hears her dad singing to her (although she has a good enough ear to cringe from my warbling voice). She loves to stretch out and kick and flail and arch and experience her body in space. She's always trying to get her little hands (with the vampiric nails) into her mouth, often leaving little scratch marks on her cheeks. She'll interlace her fingers together and then look at us expectantly. When unswaddled, she'll fall asleep with her arms raised and hands by her face in a little victory cheer.

I keep wanting to take pictures and capture each moment, each sound, each stretch. But then laundry calls, or pumping, or dishes, or the most important - watching her learn her world. But the camera must come out more, before these moments are gone forever.

Friday, February 12, 2010

All about ME!

Yesterday I left home alone (without Maddy or Neil) for the first time. I went to the salon to get my hair cut - thanks for the gift certificate mom!

I left the house looking like this:

How it always looked - up in a ponytail

Messy, but here's a sense of the length

And from the back - this is washed and thrown into a ponytail

And when I came home? I looked like:

 Where is my hair??! 

And from the back

I love it! It's wash and wear. Although it's now pretty much my "natural" colour. Which is? Medium brown with a LOT of grey. The sweet young stylist (damn her) called it "salt and pepper" coloured. But I am only 35!! Salt and pepper already??! So those highlights you see in the after shots? Those are my greys. 

On the way home I bought a box of hair dye too. Can you blame me? 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Weight update

Today has been a busy day! This morning we went to the breastfeeding clinic at the RAH (which I would highly recommend). The verdict is? I have low milk supply. They can't think of a medical reason why. And even with trying Maddy on the breast, pumping, medications... I am just not a producer. Well, there ends any career aspirations to be a wet nurse! *grin* We'll keep things going as they are for as long as we can. At least until Maddy is a month old. But right now she's on at least 50% formula or more. I just don't have more to give her.

But the happy news is what we're doing? It's WORKING! Our little one is now 7lbs, 15oz - a gain of about 12oz in 1 week! She made it to birth weight and beyond and is doing really well now. You can see it in her little chubby cheeks... she's a healthier kid now.

And talking to the nurses and the doctors, everyone has been supportive of me and the journey to breastfeed to date. And everyone is telling me to make the right decision for me and Maddy - there is no pressure to breastfeed exclusively, there is no censure for not being able to. And now that the hormones have subsided, I am feeling better about it all.

This afternoon we went to the doctor, who wanted to get an update on Maddy's weight. The doctor was happy! So no more visits for Maddy until she's 6 weeks old.

So today we went to the breastfeeding clinic, then for Pho, then to the grocery store then home for an hour before packing up to go to the doctor and once more to the grocery store (mommy brain forgot what was on the grocery list this morning). And Maddy was a complete doll for the whole time. We are so lucky to have such an easy going little girl. However, mom and dad are exhausted today. Last night I got 3 hours up for 1.5 hours, then 1 hour sleep. Not enough. I have to go get the dogs from doggy daycare then home for dinner and a nap. Nap... must nap... so sleepy. But Maddy? She's worth every lost second of sleep.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

They FIT!

Today I did something that I thought was pretty silly... I pulled out the 2 bins of pre-pregnancy clothes. I tried on one pair of jeans... and nope. Not even close. But they were my skinny jeans - not the style, just when I wear them. I put on my largest jeans next. And? AND?! They FIT!

Do they look good? Not really... I have a stretched out and flabby stomach hanging over the top of them. But it's a sign that the weight is coming off and one day soon I can wear adult clothes again! Not bad, for 12 days after birth.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

11 days old

Our little Maddy is 11 days old. And I can see so many differences in her already. She's growing and is so much more alert. Today she had her eyes open and was interacting with me (and the dogs) for about 1.5 hours. A new record for her.

Thursday we had a pretty quiet day at home. Just chillin', like a family. Last night baba & dido (the grandparents) and us went out for dinner to Montana's. Neil had plans before the dinner, so took his car separately. Which meant me and Maddy got bundled up, just the two of us, and drove there ourselves! I admit to being very nervous to drive there, but we got there safely and I didn't forget to pack anything. We had a nice dinner out, and Maddy was a perfect little girl. She was changed in the bathroom there (our first public changing!) and was fed from a bottle there too. Otherwise she slept. But she did attract a whole lot of attention! A 10 day old apparently looks pretty small - although I see her as growing so much already. Her little sleepers are almost getting too short - she's a tall one, that's for sure.

Looking at the baby care book, I THINK that Maddy is 90th percentile for height, 50th percentile for head size and 25th percentile for weight, at birth. I think... I'll ask the doctor next week, to confirm it all. And with the breastfeeding and pumping and supplementing Maddy is definitely gaining weight! Our little piglet even ate 4oz in one feed yesterday! For the first 2 weeks, a babe is supposed to get 2-3oz. We are formula rookies and can mix 2 or 4 oz. So? We mix 4 and see if we can get 2-3 in her. Yesterday as Neil was feeding her, she kept going and going... and suddenly all 4oz were gone. Although I don't think that was a good thing...

After coming home from dinner Maddy was fine. But around 11pm? She began to fuss. She wanted to be held sitting up and there was NO way she was laying in the bassinet. When she did lay down she'd spit up. I think she just had too much food in her... I took the first round, and sat downstairs with her. By 2am she was ok with laying in my arms at a slight incline as I laid on the couch. We had another feed at around 3am, sterilized some bottles and then up to bed. She was able to sleep while being held - otherwise she'd fuss - until about 630am, when I passed her on to Neil and he got up with her, changed her and fed her and kept her amused until I was up at 9am. See what I mean about an amazing husband and father?

Today we were supposed to head out and get a few errands done but I forgot I thawed a chicken, which needs to be cooked. And basted every 30 minutes. So we're going to hang at home instead. I was thinking we could do something tonight, but other than a restaurant (and we have chicken for dinner) I am not sure where we can take an 11 day old on a Saturday night.

My mom has also planned Maddy's first "Come meet me!" open house. Sunday February 21st at 1pm, at the Amenity House at their condo. Mostly for family and mom's friends, it looks like 40-50 people have been invited (aack!) and mom is making huge amounts of snacks and drinks for the event. Joc has offered to have a second "Come meet me!" open house, this time at our place for our friends. So more of a chance to show off our little one - but she's going to be SO BIG by that time! If you're interested in coming to meet her, please let me know and I'll be sure that you get an invite.

And some pictures!

Fast asleep in her bassinet

Hanging on the bed with mom and dad - and hamming it up

Sitting on mom's lap, showing off her big blue eyes

Trying to show how small she is, sitting on the couch. With Walter, her little guardian, close by making sure everything is ok

Today we're going to tackle our first bath (not sponge bath). Her little umbilical cord fell off 2 days ago. And I'm going to try to get the house tidied up - we're opening the house to visitors now! If you are healthy and want to come meet Maddy, give us a call.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Random thoughts... things I wanted to jot down before I forgot but wouldn't until the labour story was done. Part three is done. Yay!

I was SO COMPLETELY SWOLLEN from all the IV fluids. My huge cankles from an earlier post? They looked dainty compared to what I came home with (and never got around to taking a picture of). My wedding rings were impossible to wear. My face? Huge. It took about 3 days for the face and hands to go down. About 5 before I saw my ankles again. And now? Normal. However, my once size 9 feet are now about 9.5-10. Anyone want a slightly used shoe collection? I need all new shoes... And clothes are a fun challenge. Pregnancy clothes don't fit right anymore but I am too nervous to try on my old clothes, knowing they won't fit. I am in limbo, waiting for weight to disappear. And with the way I have been eating? I have awhile to wait... *grin*

I weighed myself a few days ago - once the swelling had gone down. I was 20-ish pounds lighter than I was at the last doctor's visit before the labour. And about 14 pounds heavier than my scale, the day after I peed on the stick. Only 7 pounds heavier than the recorded weight on my first pre-natal doctor's appointment. Woot! I want  to get the my pre-pregnancy weight and then drop another 20. But despite the fact I didn't gain THAT much? My body, she not be the same anymore. Things are softer and saggier and... different. It's a little disconcerting, but things are getting better daily. My always tactful mom made the comment a few night's ago "your belly is so much larger than I thought it would be, by now". Ouch. Neil went into damage control mode (he knows the hormones are here). But I just had to laugh and tease her for her tactlessness. Tonight when she came by? She said I looked so much slimmer, and complimented me. Much better, mom!

Maddy still loves to be held - and just can't sleep alone in her crib for any length of time. But Kathleen, again, saved the day and lent us a Moses basket bassinet and Maddy has been sleeping there. And as long as she's next to us, she will sleep. Although I still wake frequently to check on her, make sure there are no blankets near her mouth and that she's still breathing. Another thing I thought was silly before being a parent - that fear your child will stop breathing. Everything changes, once there is a child in your arms.

Neil is the most loving and supportive and involved husband and father a woman could ask for. Everything seems doable, with his support. Even when I am hormonal and overwhelmed - he's there. He's my rock. And to see how much he loves his daughter... that look of awe on his face when they are together makes my chest explode with happiness.

Really, everything to date has been good with Maddy. There have been no real issues - except one. Breastfeeding. It's a long drawn out story... but the Reader's Digest version is I don't have much milk. Despite the size of my girls, they are not producers. Again, following the same path as my mother did with my birth - we both had forceps deliveries and both have breastfeeding challenges. Maddy was born 7lbs, 10 oz and almost a week after her birth, her weight was 7lbs 1oz (it should have been back to birth weight). Although today, on day 8, she's up to 7lbs almost 4 oz. Yay!! The Healthy Beginnings nurses have been WONDERFUL in working with me to breastfeed. We are pumping and supplementing to ensure Maddy has enough to eat while still practicing the boob thing. And we have a referral to a breastfeeding clinic (next Wednesday) and a prescription for Motilium (medication for increasing the motility of the digestive system - with a side effect of increasing lactation). We are going to give it our all the next few weeks, to see if we can get me working at full steam. But if that is not meant to be, that is ok too. The last few days have been hard. There is so much pressure to breastfeed. "Breast is best" is what they say - although the message often comes across as "Breast is the only option, otherwise you already fail as a mother". And then add hormones? Much crying and feelings of despair on my part. But the hormones are diminishing and sanity returning. I have realized that I could become obsessed with breastfeeding and pumping and schedules and all that. Or? I could focus on my beautiful daughter and take the time to watch her grow and change and learn. And I think the latter is much healthier, for me. But we're not giving up on the jugs just yet! But if the jugs fail, that's ok too.

Maddy's lack of enough food the first week has made her a very sleepy baby. She sleeps for 3-4 hours a stretch at night, will not fuss often - even with a dirty diaper- and is often hard to wake. But now that she's getting enough to eat and is putting more weight on, she's getting more and more alert. The doctor saw her today and said otherwise she's a very healthy little girl. We just need to get her weight up (we go back next week to be assessed) and that will perk her up more.

But I am sure she's already longer than she was when she was born. Her sleepers fit so much better, in length.  And she's stretching so much more - instead of holding her legs up in a fetal position she'll often stretch out as long as she can get. And the smell of her! There is something about the smell of baby that I have always loved. But when that baby if your child? It's the sweetest smell in the world. Even her (considerable) gas? Completely bearable. There was a stretch of time where Maddy did not have a bowel movement. Again, working with the nurses, we figured out it was likely due to lack of food and started the supplementing. That first poo after the long break? It' SMELLED but it was glorious! Neil and I actually danced a little in her room, when we saw it. The poo-dance... how parenthood changes everything!

I can spend hours looking at her. Asleep, awake... it doesn't matter. And as I watch her, I sometimes see my dad in her, sometimes my mom, sometimes Neil, sometimes me. Tonight Neil said he saw his mother in her face. Our little one is perfectly her, but also obviously parts of all of us.

So much writing tonight - so many thoughts I don't want to lose to time and hormones. But Maddy-bear is starting to show the signs of wanting food soon - she's rooting and starting to make sucking motions. Which is my cue to feed! I am a slave to my new boss and I wouldn't change a thing.

Maddy's birth - part three

And the story goes on. Still discussion about girl parts. Scroll down 2 entries for part one

So, Maddy is born and she is named! Neil heads off with her, as they take her to the post-partum unit to be washed and weighed and measured. I get to stay in the labour room, just until they are sure that I am ok. And I ended up staying there for a bit. The bleeding was heavier than they liked and the nurses wanted to get that under control. So, many pads, more sintocin, a re-inserted catheter and about 30 minutes later... and I was off to the post-partum unit to be with my family!

However, our stuff? Left in the room. I was too weak to pack it up. The nurse didn't even let me grab my purse before popping me into the wheelchair and off we went. Our stuff was laying all around the room - jackets, luggage, purses, clothes... They said Neil could go get it later.

There was a full house on the unit - so I was put in a semi-private room. Not ideal, but I didn't have much of a choice. I had an IV in my left hand with the pole on the left side of the bed, the catheter bag on the right side of the bed... I felt kinda trapped in there. Again, it was nearly shift change so I had a nurse come in and settle me down. A young thing, likely quite new. She took on look at the girl parts and said aloud "Oh my gosh you are swollen!" and went to get me an ice pack, which I was instructed to use constantly. Dear young nurse, saying that to a woman who just went through labour? Not nice. But I had to laugh *grin*. I was settled in, medicated, while Neil was with Maddy who was getting cleaned up - and my folks showed up. You can't keep baba and dido away!

I realized it had been over 16 hours since I last ate (fruit only) and longer than that since my last meal - so dad went off to get food. On the way, both mom and dad stopped at the nursery to see Maddy (and fell instantly in love). Mom came back to me, dad went off to get a burger (HUGE burger craving from me!) and we waited for Maddy and Neil. And waited. And the food came. And we waited. And we ate. And we waited. And I stopped feeling like death warmed over. And we waited...

Neil said the nurse was moving at a glacial pace, all the while complaining about how swamped she was (with the 2 babies she had in there). To hear him  tell the story and act it out? Hilarious! No, I can't do it justice myself. Ask him for a show, next time you see him. But finally, they made it to the room. We were a family for the first time.

This is when I asked Neil if anyone told him he had to go to the labour unit and get our stuff. Of course not! So up her went. Where he found all our belongings piled in a wheelchair, in the middle of the hallway. Yes, my purse and wallet included in there. *sigh* Then Neil was chastised for bringing so much to the hospital - we had too much stuff. Fun, fun.

Neil made it back, all our stuff was still intact. Baba and dido stayed for awhile then left. And Neil and I sat there and stared at our daughter... the person we made. The person who had been kicking for months, stretching inside me, having the hiccups... she was here. I remember watching Neil hold Maddy - the first infant he has ever held - staring at her. And the look of pure love on his face... the joy of being a father... I felt my heart explode with love and happiness inside my chest. I fell even more in love with him that moment.

We made a few calls, to let some friends know about Maddy's birth. And then later that evening a friend, Kathleen, came by with a gift and for a visit. Kathleen, an experienced mom and nurse, knew that the food situation would be lacking and brought fruit and muffins and juice (and wine) so ease any late night hunger. Her gift? A godsend!! I could not have made it through without the snacks. And apparently all the breakfast food the hospital had has corn in it... the woman who brought the tray complained to me about my corn allergy. So they gave me rice krispies (with 2% milk), rice cakes, a bun and OJ. Well, I can't do milk either. So? Muffins for breakfast! It was perfect.

Back to the evening - because I was in a semi-private room, overnight guests were not allowed. So Neil was sent home to get a good night's sleep and Maddy and I settled in for the night. We also working on breastfeeding (with the help of the nurses). I was able to nap some, as long as I was holding Maddy. But as soon as I put her in the bassinet? Crying! And with a roommate and her child next door, I couldn't let her cry long. So Maddy and I hung out, talked and I tried to sleep while gently holding my daughter. Yes, co-sleeping the very first night! It was challenging, though, since sitting on my tush was agony, I was bound on both sides with medical equipment and the rails of the bed prevented me from getting the bassinet close. Finally, I called the nurse for help with swaddling at 5am and the nurse offered to take her for a bit, to hang out with the nurses at the front desk. At that point, I had been up for essentially 48 hours. I was exhausted and took her up on the offer. And I got a vital 1.5 hours of sleep before Maddy was back with me. Then I continued to hold her and the both of us slept together until Neil came in the morning. By the time Neil was there, I had the IV taken out (ick ick ick IV ick) and the catheter. And I had even shuffled to the bathroom myself! Peri-bottle? I fell in love with it just a little that night...

My roommate was a Tonya. She had a c-section and her and her daughter we settled in about 30 minutes after I arrived. I tried to be discrete and not bother her. Not make noise, give her some privacy. Although the curtains? While you can't really see through them, they don't to much to muffle sound. It's strange to hear about someone else's private functions (and talk about your's, with an audience).

By 11am the mom-care doc was there and checked me over. Catherter out, I peed all by myself, I was doing ok on the breastfeeding (more on that saga later), Maddy had a wet and soiled diaper... we could go home! We thought by 1-ish we'd be ready to jet! I got up, got dressed, got packed. And my nurse Jan? Well, she was special. Easily flustered, a little passive-aggressive and a lot slow. She had 4 discharges in total. Neil and Maddy and I? We were bumped to the last discharge, since Neil paid for a full day of parking just in case. So we waited. And changed diapers. And looked at Maddy. And fed her. And fell more and more in love with her. Finally, at 2pm the nurse came back. She had a seminar to attend from 2-3 and couldn't do our discharge - it would have to wait to the afternoon shift. *sigh*

At 330 Hong (the afternoon nurse from the day before) came into the room. Hong was everything Jan was not. Hong brought us the paper work to fill out did her work, explained it all to us, checked Maddy in her car seat and had us gone in less that 30 minutes.

I said goodbye and goodluck to Tonya. This was her third child, and her husband was home with the other 2 kids. But we had a short conversation, and she admitted she asked for a semi-private room. She didn't want to be alone, and her husband couldn't stay. I wish I knew this before! To have her to talk to, to offer support and advice, would have been wonderful the first night as a mom. But it was too late. We were off! And it was rush hour.

I don't think either of us were as nervous driving as we were the first time with our daughter in the car. But we made it home safely (no thanks to the bad drivers of Edmonton) and we were home. Our family of three. Well, five if you include the dogs. We do.

The dogs... we were worried. Neither are known for being gentle. And Walter gets jealous quite easily. Neil had taken a blanket home the night before that was Maddy's - for the dogs to smell. Would that be enough? From the second Maddy came home, though, Walter was in love. I have never seen him more gentle than he is with Maddy. He sits and stares at her, kissing her lightly if he's allowed close enough. He gets upset when she makes noise, and looks at us accusingly - why aren't we helping her?! In the morning he rushes to see her and dances his happy dance when she's there. He is completely smitten! Sherm is gentle with her, but isn't as enamoured. So far, the boys have been amazing with her and for that we are grateful.

And now our Maddy is 8 days old. She's been here a whole week! And I can't imagine life without her anymore. So many parents we have spoken to say that the love you feel for a child is miraculous. That despite  it all, nothing is more fulfilling than being a parent. And I just couldn't understand or believe it. And now? Now I am beginning to understand. I know we have so many challenges ahead of us. But I am filled with love when I look at her and every moment I fall even more in love with her. She's my Maddy.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Maddy's birth - part two

Sit back, this is a long one. Girl parts are mentioned - and what happens to them in labour. More warnings!! To read part one, scroll down to the entry below.

So... where were we? It's 5am, I have just had a top up on the epidural and I am fully dilated. The nurse asks if I want to push... I have no desire to at all. There is supposed to be a pressure that I just didn't feel. They checked, Maddy's station was still -1. Zero is at my pelvic bone, +4 is her head crowning. I had about 5cm to push her before she was out. So they let me rest, waiting for the desire to push.

And as I rested, Neil rested on his torture chair. I was actually impressed that he was able to sleep a wink! The nurses and doctors kept checking me, waking me (although I did get some sleep) so we were able to have many conversations about Neil's sleeping ability. Everyone was impressed.

We had shift change and a new nurse. Whose face I see, but name I can't recall... maybe Neil remembers. Nurse was awesome and supportive. At around 7am my doctor came in again (she had been visiting many times already). Coincidentally, it was Dr. Loiselle - the first doctor I saw after peeing on a stick and the only one I saw for the first few months - that was on call that night! She came in, looked around... and decided to break my membrane. With a painless gush my water broke. And Neil slept through it *grin*. They thought that would get the pushing started. And? Nope... still no desire at all. The epidural was turned way down so I could better feel the contractions, in hopes of getting me to push. And nope. We moved around, changing how I laid. And nope. So we waited. At about 9am they finally started me pushing. Nurse (damn, I wish I remembered her name!) told me what to do, where to push from and to and the route Maddy's head would have to take. And we started!

I had to hold my breath, bring my chin to my chest, legs spread wide apart (with Neil and Nurse helping to hold them) and PUSH for 10 seconds, while holding my breath. Then breathe, and push for another 10 seconds, and breathe and a final 10 seconds. Apparently I was using all the right muscles and things seemed to be going really well. Maddy was in no distress and she was starting to rock her way out. It was explained, her coming out wasn't one solid push - it was a rocking. Like getting your stuck car out of a snow drift. Push forward, she rocks back when pushing stops, but hopefully not to where she started. And slowly she was to move forward, under my pelvic bone, and out.

My contractions weren't super regular, so they added Sintocin to my IV (first IV ever... ick). As an aside, I HATE needles. Hate the thought of them. The IV in my left hand? That bothered me SO MUCH MORE than the needle in my spine. That I was ok with. Yes, another sign of weirdness on my part. So contractions were more frequent, pushing more often. I was pushing past the 10 seconds if I could and pushing a fourth rep, if I could still feel the contractions.

And I pushed. And pushed. And... pushed.

Nurse tried different positions of how I was laying, she helped me with visualization work, she was encouraging. Neil was nothing but supportive - he never left the room or my side. And two LONG hours later, Maddy was at +1. She needed to get to +4. She was still in no distress at all, but I was getting tired. Contractions were 2 minutes apart and I was pushing for 30-50 seconds. And the epidural? Worn off by then... the contractions were intense and it was hard to push through them. I have a vague memory of whimpering as I pushed. My doctor, and the resident - Dr Hussein who I had seen the week before and mentioned, came in to talk to me. I had the option of continuing to push. Maddy was just fine. Or I could have an assisted birth. Because she was still so high up, likely forceps. It's hard to make a decision like that when you haven't slept, were in crazy pain, and exhausted from pushing. But I just wanted to be sure Maddy was ok. So? We went with an assisted birth. Forceps.

The room became alive with activity.

The OB/GYN on call was brought in to do the forceps delivery. She brought in the Chief Resident. Because it was a forceps delivery, NICU had to be called in. Dr Loiselle and Dr Hussein were there. The new anesthesiologist (Dr Dupuis was off shift) was there, to top up the epidural. Neil was there. Nurse was there. And me? I am laying on my back, legs wide open and pushing with everything showing to the world. And I did NOT care a bit that my parts were showing. Although Nurse, afterward, when I was leaving the unit, commented that I was the first (and likely only patient she'll ever see) to apologize if I farted while pushing. I just felt so bad... farting in someone's face. Damn, I am so Canadian!

I didn't know this - or at least I don't remember hearing until after the forceps delivery team was in place. If this didn't work? It was time for a c-section. The thought of all this labour THEN the pain of a c-section after? Great incentive to get me to push the hardest I was able to.

The room was ready, and I looked down to one arm of the forceps... it appeared to be about 1.5 feet long. And it was moved into place. Second arm, moved into place. And I was told to push with everything I had. And I pushed once. Fast breath. A second one. Fast breath. A third one... then I was told to stop pushing hard and push small, almost grunt-like pushes... and then the last big push. And Maddy was out!

That is most of what I remember. I was exhausted and didn't have the best view. Neil has the other details. They are more graphic.

The NICU nurses grabbed her to assess her, Neil went over to watch her getting cleaned up and weighed. And the Chief Resident started stitching me up. And she kept working, and working and working. I have vague memories of her talking to the OB about how OHS had spoken to her, since she had a third needle prick injury in 5 years recently, from stitching someone up. And the OB saying something she was working on was an abrasion, not a tear. Resident said she found 2 edges and sewed. And I stared into the corner of the room, where Maddy was being assessed.

Finally she was laid in my arms (and they were STILL stitching - in the end 1 large stitch for the episiotomy and 6-7 small stitches for tears to the left and right). She was so small, so beautiful, such a perfect little one. Her little chubby cheeks were pink and rosy, her dark blonde hair showing a bit of a curl. Her hands though? So blue... which they assured me was normal. First blood goes to the core and head, last to enter the hands and feet. And the doctor commented that her hands and feet were wrinkled and dry - like that of a post-term baby. But she was still a few days from her due date. The questioned the dates... well, if she was late it was a few weeks post-term. And that is unlikely. As she was in my arms, her one hand peeked out of the swaddling. And this little blue hand? Gave up the finger. For an extended period of time. Yes, we have a pic!

Neil and I started talking about names. What did she look like? Neil's first pick was Astrid (I heard "Ass-turd" teasing in juniour high), mine was Nella (which he said sounded like a cookie - there is a vanilla wafer cookie called Nilla). We didn't like each other's enough to go with it. And, really, she was just Madeline.

And there will be a part three... I didn't realize I was so verbose. But I really want to be able to remember the details of the birth of my little one. Part three will be post-natal care and coming home. And? I need to get ready! We're taking Maddy on her first car ride (from leaving home) today!! Yes, there will be pics *grin*