Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Great Breastfeeding Controversy

My son is 100% breastfed (of course, he gets some solid foods each day now that he's old enough). I am proud of myself for having breastfed him for almost 7 months, in spite of clogged ducts, mastitis with a nipple infection, and thrush. I know that not everyone is able to breastfeed (let alone for this long), and not everyone chooses to breastfeed at all. I just find it somewhat upsetting that any time someone says anything about being proud of how they've been able to breastfeed for x amount of time, there is usually someone around to try to make them feel bad about their decision. Either they will be told that breastfeeding is gross, that not everyone can bf so they should just keep it to themselves and quit rubbing other people's faces in it, that babies should be weaned as soon as they get teeth, that formula is just as good (which is not true- formula is adequate nutrition, and has helped many babies, but not equal to breastmilk), or some similar sentiment will be expressed. No wonder fewer than 30% of babies in this country are breastfed up to the first year, with such prevailing views.

I know that I am doing what is best for my son. I love the closeness of breastfeeding, and was heartbroken when my mastitis was so bad that I couldn't feed him on the left or it would bring me to tears from the pain. But we overcame that, and I fully intend to breastfeed my son until he's 2. I am sorry that not every woman has a wonderful experience with breastfeeding (not like it's been all puppies and rainbows for me, either), and that some women don't get to experience it if their milk never comes in or something. If you choose to formula feed from the get-go, fine. Just don't take out your anger/frustrations/whatever about it on me and make me feel guilty or bad about breastfeeding when I am not judging you for using formula.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happiness is a warm baby

J wakes up early, around 5:30 or 6 every morning, which is no big deal because that's what time I get up anyway for work, or to take C to work. Generally when J wakes up at that time, he's awake for an hour and then takes a nap for a couple more hours. I'm always amazed at how fast a tired baby falls asleep! Literally one minute he was playing with his toys on his playmat, and the next he was sound asleep. I took the opportunity to scoop him up and snuggle, since I rarely get to just hold my sleeping baby. He's so warm and sweet, and perfect, it reminds me that life is truly wonderful.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

J's Birth Story

Blogger is really cool in that I can post things in the past! Here is my son's birth story, actually posted 15 months after his birth. How is that for some crazy...

If you don't want to know the details of my son's birth in all their goriness, I suggest you stop reading now. The times are approximate, as C relayed them to me, since I really don't remember much.

Preface: I'd been told I was in "early" labor for about 2 weeks before J actually made his debut. I'd had contractions consistently every 10-15 minutes during that period. I had sort of given up timing them and just finally decided to go with the whole "can't function through one" guideline rather than anything else for when to go to the hospital.

My water broke at 1am Monday morning, January 7. I absolutely felt J just pop his little hand right through the amniotic sac. Interestingly, I did exactly the same thing to my mother when I was finally ready to be born. For about a half hour the amount of water pouring out was really funny to me (I was walking around with a soaked towel between my legs, laughing my butt off) but then the contractions hurt too much for me to feel like laughing. There was some moaning, sitting on the labor ball and vomiting into a clothes hamper, and then we decided I couldn't handle being at home any more. Good times. We got to the hospital (and checked in) at 3am, and I was 3cm and 90% effaced. I spent some time in the tub, which was fantastic and honestly the best pain reliever/relaxer of my entire labor and delivery, and in retrospect I wish I had stayed in there longer. I labored naturally for a while, until my back started hurting too much and I couldn't relax well between contractions anymore. Basically at this point, every contraction felt like someone was stabbing a knife into my colon from the inside. Lovely, right?

By about 6:30 am I was 7cm dilated and decided I really needed an epidural because I just couldn't breathe and relax through and, more importantly, between contractions anymore. The back labor was a huge part of this decision, as was the 3 hours of sleep I'd had. On a scale of 1-10 I would rate my pain at this point at about a 9, and figured I'd better get the epi while I still felt like not dying. I got my epidural around 7am, they had to give me a bag (a bolus, I think they said) of IV fluid first. For the first few hours of the epi I felt great, and wonderful and relaxed. Then about 11am the epidural started to wear off. I first noticed that my back pain was coming back, then that I could feel contractions in my crotch and my butt (oh trust me, the details get much gorier than this). Within an hour it was to the point that I felt the need to push even though I was only 8 1/2 cm dilated so they tried to get my epidural to work some more, with no success. They ended up having to totally redo the epidural (so yes, I got two of them) at about 12. They also started pitocin at this point to make the contractions more useful in helping me dilate. The second time around was nice for a little while but right around 2:30 it started wearing off too.

I was finally 10cm (completely) dilated at 3:10pm (14 hours after labor began in earnest). Pushing is really really hard. I had no idea how hard it would be. We tried a whole variety of positions, the most effective of which ended up being with me flat on my back (which is usually the least effective and worst position to push in). Any other position I tried just sort of reversed what progress I'd made. Finally at 5:15ish (I think, my mind was obviously elsewhere at this point) they paged an OB (not the one I'd seen for ultrasounds, he was out sick) and we talked about the possibility of a forceps delivery (which my mom had with me, too). The doc and I decided that forceps was the best thing to do, and he mentioned that there was an increased chance of tearing, but I said that was fine, just don't give me an episiotomy. He fortunately shared my views on those. Since at that point it was pretty apparent that the baby was facing straight up, the anesthesiology department was called to revamp my epidural (one of my legs was still totally numb, but my crotchal area (is that even a word? Oh well, you know what I mean) did not feel very numb. The extra epidural medicine helped somewhat but holy lord does pushing with forceps hurt. I honestly am surprised I didn't tear more (but we'll get to that later...). Finally after pushing harder than I've ever pushed in my life and hurting more than I thought possible with or without an epidural, J's head finally came out. This part felt like my pelvis was going to break in half, I kid you not. As I've said, he was facing up toward my front rather than toward my spine, which was the cause of my horrible back labor and probably the slowness of my dilation (though I think that the limitations imposed by the epidural, had something to do with it as well). The midwife asked if I wanted to feel his head. I said "No, just get him out." As C put it, his head just kept coming and coming, and when he finally was all out I didn't even get to hold him. They rushed him over to the warmer, where his APGAR scores were 7 and 8- 7 at 1 minute, 8 at 5 after birth. No babies in CO get 10. In the meantime I was being prodded and delivering the placenta (a very very weird feeling by the way). They finally brought J over for me to hold while I was having my 2nd degree tear stitched up. All that and only 1 little tear, and it didn't even hurt as much as I thought it would. Then C took the baby and they started trying to get me to stop bleeding, which had I been more in my senses would have been really scary. C was totally freaked out. After all, if a little blood looks like a lot, a lot of blood looks like you don't have any left. Overall, during pushing and post-delivery, the midwife and nurses and OB were estimating that I lost 1200 ccs of blood (1.2 liters; this is about 1/4 of my total pregnant blood volume). I was very white. I only remember feeling really really weak and that they massaged my uterus which hurt a whole lot (worse than the contractions, I think, because I was so sore and exhausted anyway) and sent blood spraying all over. They gave me Pitocin and a couple other things to make me contract so the bleeding would stop, which eventually worked. By the time they were done the delivery room looked like a murder scene, and my midwife had to go change out of her blood covered scrubs before going to see any other patients and lead the tour of the L&D ward. I finally got to go to the recovery room at about 9pm, meaning it took about 3 hours to get me stable enough to go there. And by the way, in case you were wondering, a Tylenol suppository does not make your ass stop hurting after delivering a baby in the posterior position.

For my recovery I was put on bed rest for 16 hours every day, along with taking copious amounts of iron supplements and iron-rich foods. I think that the iron supplements and their after-effects were seriously the worst part of the recovery process. Hemorrhoids made their first appearance in my life, and my poor perineum was so sore from pushing and being stitched up that the last thing it needed was hemi's on top of that, but alas. Such is life, I suppose.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I have never written a blog before, but I figured it might be good for me to start writing a journal again. I'm not entirely sure what on earth possessed me to make a public blog, but here I am. The title of my blog is of course taken from the lullabye, my son's favorite (well, I don't actually know if he likes it, but he stops crying when I sing it). I realized that there are so many levels of that song, but obviously, the whole premise of it is to bribe your child to stop crying. I sing the song, knowing that I can't actually buy J anything right now that isn't baby food (or otherwise fairly essential). Not that he really needs anything, we use cloth diapers, have a huge stockpile of wipes, and he's breastfed. We got most of his clothes from my brother-in-law and his wife, since their son is a year older than J, so that worked out well.

I may as well introduce myself a bit, at least. I am 25, live in a suburb of Denver, and work in asthma research. I have a BA and a MS. I am married to my high school sweetheart (C), and we just celebrated 4 years of marriage (9 years together total). We have two dogs, and own our townhome. Our son J is our only child so far, and he was born January 7. I used to do a lot of short fiction writing, but lately I haven't had the time/motivation to do so.

I have struggled with depression for a very long time, since I was at least 12 and maybe a little earlier. When I turned 23 I finally did something about it, and started getting treated. I am on a low dose of sertraline, and generally it does a good job of keeping my depressive cycles on the upward swing, my panic attacks at bay, and my OCD under control (not that it ever got too bad, I wasn't washing my hands repeatedly or anything). One of my clues that I was/am beginning a downward part of the cycle is that I feel the need to compulsively clean. I have been doing this for the last two weeks, hoping and praying that it wasn't going to go any further. Well, it seems that tonight I've made some further downhill progress. I feel...empty inside, lacking motivation to do anything. My temper has had a shorter fuse than it normally does. My heart starts pounding out of nowhere, I can feel the anxiety building and I live in dread of when it will actually burst into a panic attack. The visions that come with the OCD have begun to frequent my days once again. I fortunately never feel like hurting anyone, but I hate this. We've already increased my dosage once since J was born. I desperately want to be normal again, like I was when I first started my meds and everything was under control.

I am going to go clean the kitchen now.