Tuesday, December 30, 2008
(poor guy) and talking to him. I've been giving him a pacifier today - not sure if that is a mistake. It seems to keep him calm, but I don't want to discourage him from eating. He is able to hold it in his mouth all by himself! As DH would say, "He's so advanced." Perhaps Micah isn't feeling well either.
Hopefully being awake will help him sleep better tonight. We're also going to try the secure sleeper and see if that helps. Wish us luck!
Monday, December 29, 2008
The past few nights, he has been unhappy from about 4 am until 8 am. We've been waking him up from a pretty sound sleep, and then we have a hard time getting him back to sleep after the feeding. He'll start crying, and I almost always have to nurse him again . . . we've been cluster feeding for several hours every night, and it is taking its toll on us. It is probably more accurate to say he won't let us put him down after the feeding - he'll sleep on me or DH, but if we try moving him to the bassinet so we can sleep, he starts crying, and since we are too exhausted to stay awake and hold him on us in the bed . . . well, let's just say it has been challenging. We've eventually been able to get him to sleep in the bouncy seat, but we don't want to have him sleeping in the bouncy seat every night. Here is hoping we have better luck tonight!
We are going to attempt to use the playmat tonight - we'll see if he is ready for that. Luckily, he seems to really like tummy time, although he mostly spends tummy time on Mommy or Daddy's chest. We thought we'd try a change of location tonight, so we're off to the rec room in the basement for a change of scenery.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
This year, we weren't sure if we would be able to volunteer - Micah could have been born much later making it impossible for us to attend. Instead, he arrived nice and early, and my mother graciously agreed to come babysit for a few hours so I could run down the street and volunteer. Micah and his Grammy spent the day napping on the couch together, and DH & I got to volunteer. I was only able to stay for 2 hours, but it was so nice to go and participate. One of the women (a Russian lady) yelled at me for abandoning my son to work, but everyone else couldn't believe I was out so soon. It felt good to see this project through, and I'm so glad I could be there!
After volunteering, we went to eat at my cousin's house. We don't celebrate Christmas, but since everyone is off of work, it is a great time for the family to gather. We ate potato latkes and lit the Chanukah candles, and we generally had a good time and relaxed. DH's brother, SIL, niece and nephew were passing through town, so we had a quick visit with them as well. All in all, it was a great day, and Micah was wonderful!
So . . . Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas to everyone!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
We're still using the preemie diapers (and preemie clothing) - the newborn size is just still too big for him. We had him in a newborn diaper the other night - it slid off his tush and he ended up with a mess in the swaddle. We won't be trying that again until he is a little bigger.
We do seem to have a better system in place now. I'm actually getting a few hours sleep at a time at night. DH wakes the baby up, hands him to me, then goes back to sleep. I spend the next hour nursing, and then DH gets back up to change his diaper and dress him again. Lately, Micah has been wanting to nurse AGAIN for another 15-20 minutes after he is swaddled, so we nurse again until he falls alseep and I put him back in the bassinet. This way, both DH and I can get about 2 - 2 1/2 hrs sleep at a time.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
All of our friends and family came to the ceremony - it was their first opportunity to meet our son, and to celebrate such a special day with us. We had somewhere between 60-80 people join us. We started the ceremony with a reading about our wishes for rearing our son. The mohel then spoke about the significance of the ceremony, and invited our mothers to light candles and do another reading wishing Micah a wonderful future. We used my grandmother's candlesticks, and used candles that our niece bought us on her trip to Israel last year. We walked Micah to the front of the room, surrounded by his Aunts, Uncles and Cousins - his "guardians" who will help guide him in the Jewish traditions. Micah was then placed on a special chair, and several blessings were said over him. There were three tallitot (prayer shawls) used to decorate the chairs and being worn during the ceremony. One of the tallit DH and I used at our wedding as the chuppah (the tent we stood underneath during the wedding ceremony), one of the tallit DH bought in Israel, and one he wore at his bar mitzvah.
Micah was then placed on a pillow in front of his grandfather, who sat with him and held his arms during the circumcision. I sat next to his grandfather and stroked his hands to comfort him. Micah was quite calm and relaxed the whole time - clearly, the anesthesia worked, because he didn't make a sound during the entire procedure! After the circumcision, he was wrapped up, blessed again, and then passed to his other grandfather.
The next phase was the naming part of the ceremony - the mohel said a few more blessings and announced his Hebrew name to our friends and family - Micha Benyamin. It is common in the Jewish tradition to name new children after close relatives who have died - we see it as a sign of honor for those loved ones we have lost. DH and I had the opportunity to share some stories about the people in our lives for whom we named Micah.
DH and I selected the name Micah to honor our grandfathers. My grandfather was named Martin and DH's grandfather was named Morris. We did not particularly like either name, so we decided to use the letter "M" and find a name we both liked. Initially, we were thinking of naming our son Max . . . but in the past year, we've had several friends and a bunch of cousins name their sons Max. In fact, there were 6 boys named Max at the bris! We struggled for a long time to find another name we liked that began with "M." We were especially looking for a name that had a Hebrew root (or at least was fairly widespread among the Jewish community). After a lot of discussion and research, we started to like the name Micah.
In Hebrew, Micah means "Who is like." It is believed that the name is a nickname for "Michayahu," which means "Who is like G-d." We thought this was a wonderful name, and that it would be a wish for our son to strive for goodness. I also felt that the meaning "Who is like" could be interpreted another way . . . as unique, or unusual, and I also wished for our son that he find his own unique way in the world and become his own unique person.
Not only was the meaning of the name important to us, but Micah was a prophet, and much of his writings focused on social justice - a topic that is quite meaningful to us. Ironically, my brother's bar mitzvah portion (the part of the Torah and the prophets that he read at his ceremony) was also from the prophet Micah, so there was another connection to our family. One of DH's favorite passages is also from the Book of Micah: "It has been told to you what is good. What does G-d require of us? Only to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly before G-d." DH has always found this passage profound, and wished that Micah live up to these words and the memory of his great-grandfathers.
We did not really take much time to discuss the meaning and significance of the name Benyamin. We gave him the middle name Benyamin to honor my other grandfather, Ben (whose Hebrew name was Benyamin). As many of you are aware, my grandmother also died earlier this year. Her name was Belle, and we felt that the "B" in Benyamin also honored her life as well.
After announcing the names, DH and I were given the opportunity to speak about our grandparents. I first talked about my Poppy, Martin. We were very close - we used to get ready together in the mornings and dress alike whenever I went to visit my grandparents. I loved to sit with him and listen to his heart beating against my ear as I lay across his chest. He was very gentle and easygoing, and I never saw him angry or upset. My grandmother always used to say that my grandfather was not only a gentleman, but he was a very gentle man. I wished that Micah inherit some of his great-grandfather's gentleness and kindness.
I then spoke about my Grandpa Benny. He was also a good, kind man, and family was of the utmost importance to him. He was a voracious reader, and intellectually curious (although not well-educated). He always used to ask my brother how many sons he had, and when my brother responded "two" he would say "No, I have three sons because you are my son, too, my grandson." I told everyone at the bris that my grandfather would have been proud to say he now has five sons (my cousin also had a son since Grandpa Benny died). I wished for Micah that he value family as much as Grandpa Benny did, and that he inherit Grandpa Benny's intellectual curiosity.
DH went on to speak about his grandfather Morris. DH did not know his grandfather well - he died when DH was only 2 years old. His grandfather was a civil engineer and built all kinds of great roads around New York from the 1920s-1960s. He was quite proud of his grandfather's accomplishments, and he emphasized how much his grandfather valued family and education, and wished for Micah to grow up surrounded by family and educational opportunities.
Finally, I spoke about my Grandma Belle - whom we always called Grandma "Cookie" for all the cookies she used to bake. Her family was her life, and I also wished that Micah inherit her love of family. I also told everyone that in honor of Grandma Cookie, who would have been baking up a storm had she still been here and able, I baked a few of her best cookie recipes and would have them out at the house for any visitors to try.
With that, we concluded the service with a few more blessings, and invited everyone to join us for a light lunch. It was a wonderful celebration, and we were so thrilled to have our family and friends join us.
I should add that I took Micah into a side room to breastfeed him during the lunch. My little niece came in the room while we were there, and she was very interested in how I was feeding Micah. She kept saying "Baby Micah eating" and she wanted to see what he was doing. While we were there, she found a doll, picked up her shirt, held the doll to her nipple and said "I feeding dolly, too!" We were laughing hysterically - it was SOOO cute!
After the bris, we invited our immediate family and one or two friends back to our house to celebrate the first night of Chanukah. It was low key - we just hung around and chatted, we lit the candles, and we exchanged a few gifts. We were too tired to actually make any of the traditional food to honor the holiday - so we did the next best thing and ordered Chinese food!
Here is a picture of Micah sitting on a pillow on Elijah's chair before the circumcision - he is wearing a kippah crocheted by my mother, and the colored tallit beneath him was the same tallit we used as a chuppah at our wedding:
Saturday, December 20, 2008
We had another doctor's appointment yesterday and Micah weighed in at 5 lbs 7 oz. We're not sure yet what to think about that - I think the scale was off on Wednesday when they weighed him in at 5 lbs 9 ozs - that seemed like too big a jump to make in 36 hours after not eating for almost 18 of those hours. The lactation consultant weighed him in at 5 lbs 4 ozs naked and 5 lbs 6 ozs with the diaper, so 5 lbs 7 ozs would be consistent. The doctor said that babies can plateau at 4/5 days - stop losing but not quite gaining yet. He wants to see a measurable jump in weight when we go back on Monday, so let's hope we are on the right track!
Sunday we are having a bris for Micah. For those of you who don't know what a bris is, basically, it is a religious ceremony for his circumcision and naming. All of our family and friends will be joining us to welcome Micah. We are so excited to introduce him to everyone tomorrow.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Well, it has been another challenging 2 days. After coming home from the hospital, Micah slowly grew more alert. For our 6:00 feeding, he was willing to latch but not nurse, so for our 9:00 feeding, I decided to try the breastfeeding supplement contraption. I was amazed - on his 2nd attempt, Micah latched, took the supplement tube, and he nursed for about 30 minutes and ate all his supplement! I thought we were home free.
Once again, however, Micah refused to nurse at his 12:00, 3:00 and 6:00 am feeding. I had to give up on the breastfeeding supplement contraption and go back to the syringe. My mom and I covered the 3:00 and 6:00 feedings so that DH could try and catch some needed sleep. It was a frustrating time - Micah kept getting so hungry and so upset that he was really hard to calm down, and I just couldn't get a successful latch at all.
We had to do the 9:00 feeding 1 hour early because we had an appointment to see the doctor. Unfortunately, Micah could barely stay awake for that feeding, and the breastfeeding didn't work out again. In better news, however, we got a great evaluation at the pediatrician appointment. Micah had gained about 5 ounces, his color was better and he was quite alert! The doctor asked us to come back for another weight check on Friday, but he thinks the worst of the jaundice is behind us.
We made it home in time for his next feeding . . . and once again, no latch and tons of frustration. We finally gave in and did this feeding by bottle - I tried to nurse him, he refused, then we gave him a combination of breast milk and formula in a bottle. Ironically, Micah rejected the bottle, too - he just does not like to latch! After some pushing and persistence, we convinced him to take the bottle. We tried again to nurse after he finished eating (no luck), then I went on to pump. The feedings continued to follow this pattern all afternoon, so I spent the rest of the day trying to find a lactation consultant to help us out. By 5:00 pm, I scheduled an appointment for early this morning.
The good news is that overnight, Micah did try to latch and nurse several times. He clearly showed an interest in nursing, but just couldn't seem to obtain and keep a latch. Even worse, when he has a good latch, he does not like the feel of it, so he closes his mouth down and uses his tongue and hands to push me out. I was a bit less frustrated because we had a system, but I was feeling disappointed that we just couldn't get the hang of nursing. One of my friends suggested we try a nipple shield, so DH ran out to pick one up at Target, and we tried that. I was so hopeful, but the shield just seemed a bit too big for Micah's tiny little mouth. Again . . . close, but no cigars :(.
DH & I went upstairs to try and sleep around 2:00 am. We had just fed, and Micah had latched and nursed for about 1-2 minutes after that. I still had this feeling he was hungry (he was not in his usual food coma) but we were trying to avoid increasing the formula, so we figured he didn't need any more and was probably just more alert because he was feeling better. We crawled into bed, and I had about 2 hrs to sleep before the next feeding. Just as I drifted off to sleep . . .. . . the wailing begin! We tried comforting him, we changed his diaper . . . still crying. I told DH to go down and get an extra 10 ccs of formula (we had been giving him 30 ccs ~1 oz - total combined with breast milk, and we were told he could take as much as 60 per feeding ~2 ozs) and we fed that to him. We figured with the extra food we could push his big feeding back 1 hour and get a bit more sleep. WRONG! He went right back to crying. He did much better when DH was cuddling him, but he still wouldn't sleep. We guessed he must be hungry since at that point we were just over 2 hours from his last real feeding, so I tried breastfeeding again. He latched and suckled a bit, but nothing substantial, and then DH went and got another bottle and he sucked that down. At this point, it was about 4:30, so we returned him to the bassinet and went to bed.
Naturally, 15 minutes later, the crying started again! I told DH it was my turn to sleep and he should stay up with the baby. He was great! He didn't get much sleep, but he spent the night cuddling and rocking the baby and keeping him quiet. The lactation consultant was scheduled to arrive at 8:00, and I was hoping to stretch Micah's feeding until she arrived. Because I was too tired (and it was too close to my last session), I skipped the 4:00 am pumping session, so I went downstairs before the appointment and pumped. I got over 20 ccs this time, so my milk is definitely increasing!
Luckily, Micah stayed quiet until the consultant showed up. She was a HUGE help - she evaluated Micah, took his weight naked and with a diaper, she evaluated my technique, and we tried a few different approaches. Nothing was working. She quickly realized (like the others) that Micah does not like to latch. I mentioned to her about the nipple shield we purchased last night, and she said she thought that would be a good option to try. I told her I wasn't sure if it was too big, and she told me she had smaller if we need it.
All I can say is who would think a little piece of silicone that covers your nipple needed special training to use? She showed me how to put it on, and she showed me how to get him to latch with it. It took us quite a few attempts, and we were just about to give up on the bigger size when he latched! He fed for over 1 hour! She showed me how to move into a more comfortable position (the LCs at the hospital told me I had to keep my breast mushed the whole time I was nursing and couldn't "relax" at all).
In even better news . . . he has continued to latch and nurse at every feeding since the LC left! We had a rough time getting latched at the 1:00 pm feeding, but we did it, and he nursed for about 1 1/2 hrs! We nursed again at 4:30 and again at 7:30, and so far, each time it has gone perfectly. I tried supplementing after the 1:00 feeding, and he took maybe another 5 or 10 ccs. I pumped again, and got about 12 ccs. He was in a food coma after the 4:30 feeding, so I didn't bother supplementing, and got just a little more from the pump to store. At this point, I can't decide if the pumping after each feeding is necessary/a good idea. If we don't need to supplement, it seems a bit much. Because I'm getting so little, I think Micah is doing a good job right now of draining my breasts, so I'm not sure the pump is really doing more to increase my milk supply. A "normal" breastfeeding mom would not need to pump with these feedings, so I've been a bit unsure what to do. I did just give Micah an extra 15 ccs after his 7:30 feeding because he seemed very alert after his last feeding, and last night that was a sign that he got famished about 30 minutes later. The extra breast milk has nicely placed him back into his food coma, so I think it was a good idea. I got so distracted, however, that I got all re-dressed and forgot to pump. I think I've decided to skip pumping this feeding - I'm just too darned tired and I've been pumping every 3 hours for 3 days straight now, and well . . . I'm SORE. I hope I'm not making a bad decision.
In other news . . . Micah's umbilical cord fell off tonight. Well, it might have had a little help . . . thanks to kisses from the dog. It looks fine, but I'm a bit worried that it had a little help falling off. We're planning to give him a bath tonight - should be interesting!
Tomorrow we go back to the doctor for another weight check. He is doing much better, but he is still pretty yellow. Hopefully all is progressing as it should.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
With the help of the lactation consultant, Micah fed for about 1 hour at 10:00 yesterday morning. I was ecstatic - I thought it meant we were over the hump. Unfortunately, he was too tired to do much more than latch at his 1:00, 3:00 and 4:00 feedings. Then, right at 6:00 pm, he woke up angry and hungry, and we got a good latch and he nursed for about 50 minutes. I was thrilled - I thought that perhaps we were over the hump. At 8:00 pm, he fed again for about 45 minutes, but his latch was not perfect. We tried again at 11:00 pm, and he kept latching and then pushing away and crying. I couldn't get him to actually nurse and he kept getting frustrated. This same thing kept happening throughout the night - at 1:00, at 3:00 and at 5:00 am. By morning, I knew there was an issue, and I spoke to the nurse about meeting with the lactation consultant.
Right around 7:00, they came in to test Micah's bilirubin levels. The lactation consultant came in at 8:30, and quickly realized that he was dehydrated and could see that he was too weak to breastfeed. After much discussion about options, we immediately got me a breast pump so we could see how much milk I had. I was able to pump about 5 ccs, and we decided that we would "fingertip/syringe" feed Micah with my breast milk combined with an additional 10 ccs of formula. He took all the food, and seemed a bit more alert. At 12:00 pm, we did our 2nd feeding - this time, 8 cc of breast milk and 12 cc of formula. We have to feed every 3 hrs, and I'm supposed to practice latching and breastfeeding before each feeding. Once he perks back up, I have a contraption to supplement his feed while we are breastfeeding - I'm hoping to be able to try that tonight.
We have to go back to the doctor in the morning to check his levels. We need to get him peeing and pooping again, and hopefully he'll bounce back and we'll be able to stick with the breastfeeding. Wish us luck! I'm off to the breastfeeding class now, but I will probably come back on to complain about the lack of support for breastfeeding here. I really believe that if when I started having problems yesterday they encouraged me to pump and add the pumped fluid to the breastfeeding, Micah never would have gotten so weak and we would not need to rely on formula now. Regardless, I'm just hoping we can get him over this hump!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
As you all know, I've been experiencing contractions for weeks - 14 1/2 days to be exact. I've had several episodes when I thought I was in labor, but no such luck. Thursday night was the last time I thought I was in labor, and I was SOOO disappointed on Friday morning when the contractions faded. Nothing much was going on Friday, and things stayed quiet all Friday night. I woke up on Saturday, and I did not feel well. My stomach was bothering me, and the baby was sitting so low that I was really uncomfortable. All day, I felt as if I had really bad gas . . . except I didn't. I kept thinking I had to go to the bathroom, and I would run to the bathroom . . . and nothing. I just felt awful. After having a breakdown on Thursday on the phone with my midwife, we decided part of the problem was that I felt a bit house-bound. Because of all of the contractions, I have not felt comfortable driving, and DH has been so busy that he really hasn't been able to take me anywhere. I had been stuck at home for almost a full week, except for my doctors' visits. Anyway, I scheduled a day out with my mom - she came to pick me up around 11, and a day out we had!
We went to Babies 'R Us (BTW - I will NEVER go there again - but I'll save that story for a different day). We went to Target to get a few more things to organize my kitchen pantry. We went out to lunch, then we went to visit my grandmother. Our next stop was another baby store, then off to AC Moore to return some yarn. My mom dropped me back at home around 6 pm. It was a nice day out, but I was definitely tired and my stomach was bothering me.
I got home and was a bit frustrated that DH had forgotten about taking me out to dinner. By the time he was ready for dinner, it was 8:30 pm, and I had been snacking and no longer wanted to wait for service at a busy restaurant on a Saturday night. Instead we spent the night watching tv and hanging out. I was pretty uncomfortable, and I couldn't figure out what I wanted to eat, or what I wanted to do. I crashed on the couch around midnight and woke up at 2:30 and headed up to bed. When I got to bed, DH was already asleep.
For the life of me, I could not fall back to sleep. I couldn't even sit still - I was SOOO restless and uncomfortable, and could not find anything on tv to watch. So I decided to wake DH up to keep me company! He wasn't pleased, but I was persistent. When I finally got him awake, we decided to watch a movie on demand. Around 3:00 or so, I was STARVING, and tried to convince him to go downstairs and make me macaroni and cheese. No such luck! I ended up saying I would wait and eat it for breakfast in the morning.
DH stayed up with me for about 1 1/2 hrs before he fell back to sleep. At this point, it was around 4:00 am or so, and my contractions were kind of picking up a bit. Not to the point I thought it was labor, but just enough that I was experiencing a lot of discomfort in my back again. I tried to get DH to wake up and massage my back, but I did not have much luck. I eventually fell asleep around 5, but I was waking up every 20 minutes or so and I was tossing and turning. At 6:00 am, I woke up with a contraction, tried turning over and . . . . my water broke! It caught me totally off guard. At first, I thought I'd wet the bed. After a few seconds, I realized what was going on, and I yelped to DH that my water broke.
Surprisingly, DH sprung to life! He hopped out of bed immediately, he started talking about calling the midwife, and I asked him to get me a towel so I could get to the shower and clean off. He went downstairs and called the midwife, and I took a shower. She called back, and told me that we did not need to rush to the hospital. She said we could come in immediately if we wanted, or we could hang out at home for up to 8 hours or so or until the contractions were intense and close together. Initially, the contractions were not particularly strong - certainly not as intense as they had been on Thursday night, so we decided to take our time. I took a leisurely shower, then DH took a shower. DH stripped the bed and ran a load of laundry (BTW - I am SOOO thankful that I thought to put down one of those children's pee pads under my half of the bed!), then he made himself some breakfast. I wasn't sure whether or not it was a good idea to eat anything, so I ended up waiting. By about 7:00 am, my contractions were regular and stronger - not as strong as they had been on Thursday, but strong enough that I decided I would feel better at the hospital where I could just put on my head phones, settle in and get comfortable, and really work on my hypnobirthing relaxation techniques. DH took the dog for a walk, and we waited for the laundry to finish, and about 7:30, we hopped in the car to head to the hospital.
On the way to the hospital, my contractions started to increase in intensity and were running 2-4 minutes apart. I would say these contractions were about as strong as the ones I had been experiencing on Thursday (and the other 2 times I thought I was in labor). I needed to close my eyes and try to relax and breathe through them. I was a bit worried because ALL of my discomfort was in my back, and I knew that back labor is supposedly the toughest kind of labor.
We got to the hospital around 8, and at 8:30 I was checked in, settled in my room, and getting checked by my midwife. The news . . . I was 5 cm dilated! I was so excited that I'd actually made some progress in addition to my water breaking. She was in the midst of another birth in the room next door - told us she thought she would be a bit longer (the other woman was already 8 cm dilated). We were told that an average person dilates at about 1 cm per hour, so we were figuring our best-case scenario is that I'd be at 10 cm around 1:30 pm or so. Knowing how slowly things had been going, I thought I'd probably be in labor all day long, and possibly into the night.
I set up my ipod with my hypnobirthing recordings, and I started to try and relax. My back was really bothering me, so I had DH massage my back through the contractions. They were coming about every 4 minutes, but not all of them were horribly intense. My parents showed up around that time, and we let them join us. I had sent text messages to a few of my friends, but I really wasn't feeling up to talking to anyone at that point. I was in enough discomfort that I just needed to close my eyes and try to lose myself for a bit. At some point, my brother joined us in the room as well. I think my father could not sit still - he kept disappearing to the waiting room to watch television (and he did run a few errands for us that were quite helpful!).
Unfortunately, the next issue came up - IV antibiotics. My midwife came in and asked me what we decided to do about IV antibiotics, and I said that after much thought and consideration, at this point we were going to turn down the IV antibiotics. I told her that if at any point I ended up with an IV, we would do the antibiotics, or that if my labor was prolonged I would revisit the idea. I felt comfortable with the decision because my Group B strep swab was negative, I'd been on oral antibiotics, and I had been able to take my medicine that morning before we arrived at the hospital. Of course, when the midwife shared my decision with the OB on call, a swarm of doctors descended on me - the OB on call, the hospital neonatologist, and someone else I cannot even remember. We spent about 20 minutes discussing my decision, my needle phobia, etc. Of course, the OB on call started to look at me like I had 3 heads, and asked what I planned to do about a c-section (yay for positive thinking, right?). I told her I was well aware that if an emergency happened that required a c-section that I would be a challenging patient, and that I knew an IV/spinal/general anesthesia would likely be required, and that I wasn't sure how we would get through that. Again, I got the stare indicating I had 3 heads. The hospital neonatologist was actually far more understanding and he seemed to think it would be okay. He talked about the protocol they would use post-birth to make sure he was ok. I told him that if at any point I ran a fever or if my labor was prolonged and my risk factors increased, I would be completely open to revisiting how we could get an IV into me to give me the antibiotics.
Of course, simply talking about everything got me very tense, so my contractions worsened and became very uncomfortable. After I finally got everyone to leave, I tried to go back to relaxing. About 5 minutes later, in walks the anesthesiologist. Once again, we had to discuss my phobia. Luckily, the anesthesiologist was very kind and understanding, and we developed a plan if I needed to get an IV or if an emergency c-section became necessary. We realized that in all likelihood, there was a good chance that general anesthesia might be necessary if I had to have a c-section, but we decided to have a "plan A" and "plan B" to try our best to get me a spinal. Despite his kindness, just having the discussion about needles and possible c-sections got me quite worked up. As predicted, my increased tension and stress made the contractions hurt far more. I couldn't get him out of there fast enough so I could go back to my relaxation plan.
At this point, I am not exactly sure what time it was. I had my mother call one of my friends who wanted to join us at the hospital to tell her that I was not in a place to have company, but we would call again later. I really needed to try and relax through the contractions, and the back pain was increasing. DH took up a position massaging my back through the contractions - that REALLY helped me a lot - so much so that I wouldn't let him take a break. I was SOOO dependent on the massage - I could not have gotten through the labor without his help. My midwife came in and out a few times to ask me how I was doing - she stayed and talked me through some of the contractions, and spent time massaging my legs and back. She apologized for needing to step out, but there was another woman in labor next door who was already 8 cm dilated. Around 10:30-11:00, the woman next door was clearly ready to push - we could hear her shrieks. I saw my brother turn a shade of green, and about 5 minutes later, he was out the door! I think the noise upset him, and he couldn't handle the thought I might start screaming, too.
Around 11:30, my contractions were definitely intensifying - the back labor was quite uncomfortable. I was not getting a ton of time in between the contractions, and if the massaging stopped or let up, I could not remain "relaxed" and I started to curse my needle phobia. Of course, when I thought about the fact that I could ask for an epidural at any time, I knew that I would never let them give me the epidural - that I would still rather deal with the discomfort than the needle. That kept sharpening my resolve to get through things. I did toy for a while with the idea of getting an IV, doing the IV antibiotics, and maybe getting some IV pain relief - I was thinking that the pain relief might lessen the back discomfort I was experiencing, especially if that pain was being caused by the fibroid. I think around 11:30 or 11:45, I was definitely feeling uncomfortable, and I started to experience extreme nausea with each contraction. That part was horrible - I think I threw up a few times. I was also extremely hot and feeling dehydrated - it was not a good combination. My mom was there with a cold wash cloth, cooling me off and soothing me. I was having trouble getting comfortable, and I just didn't know what to do with myself. I was definitely having trouble keeping my relaxation focus, and I was having doubts about whether I would be able to do this naturally, and starting to panic because I didn't think I could get through an epidural either.
A little while later (maybe 11:50 or so?), I started to think I needed to push. The nurse who was there told me I could push if I wanted to, but I could tell from her tone that she basically thought it was pointless, that I had a way to go. All I kept thinking was that if I still had another 2-3 hours of this, I was getting worried. Right at 12, my midwife came back in and really helped me calm back down. The contractions were intense, and I kept saying that I needed to push. She told me to go ahead and push, and when I pushed that time, I felt this big huge gush - I can only assume it was kind of bloody and nasty, but I couldn't see anything. I was wearing one of these diaper pad things, so nothing was hanging out, but my father was sitting at the foot of the bed, so I'm certain he saw the aftermath of the mess. He excused himself to step outside, and they checked me again.
At that point, the midwife asked me where I would like to be. I thought I was going to cry . . . I thought she was trying to break the news that I had barely progressed at all, and that she was trying to gauge whether I still had the energy to hang in there longer. I am certain I gave her a pitiful and woeful look and said something to the effect of "I'm ready to push this baby out" or "I'd like to be at 10 cm." I braced myself for her apology and her pep talk, but instead I heard "Good - you are ready to go!" Next thing I know, I was being turned into a different position, and the midwife was "suiting up" for delivery. She asked me who should stay in the room - my dad was outside the door, and I sent him packing to the waiting room, but I decided that I wanted my mom to stay. She was really soothing me, and I felt like I needed the extra help.
At this point, every time the contractions hit, I was feeling the need to push. In some ways, this stage was much easier than the previous 20-30 minutes - the pain seemed to shift away from my back, and I really was feeling relief in between the contractions. I seemed to want to be a bit on my side, and I felt the need to pick my leg up to push. For those of you who do not want too much information, you may want to skip ahead a bit! It mostly felt like I was extremely constipated and was trying desperately to clear my bowels. I couldn't really think about the hypnobirthing recommendation of "breathing down" the baby, but I think I did something kind of close. It was a more gutteral sound, and I sort of pushed down through my breath on the exhales. I could feel him coming down, and I even got to reach around and touch his head! He kept coming close, but then the contraction would stop, and he would slide back up again. I remember turning a few of my gutteral grunts into "Ow it is stinging" a few times. After about 15 minutes of pushing, his head actually came all the way down and stayed there - I can only assume I was "crowning" at this point. The contractions were almost continuous at this point, and I think it was only a few more pushes until we passed the shoulders. I know that DH went around to "catch" the baby, and my mom stayed up with me to soothe and encourage me and wipe my brow with a washcloth. Once the head came down, the pushing stung, but it also surprisingly brought relief as well. I felt him slide right out, and I knew it was all over, and I felt wonderful!
We were amazed at what a full head of hair he had! It is thick and black, and he looks beautiful. He was a tiny little thing - 5 lbs 14 ozs, but quite long at 20 inches. I got my skin time with him, and we nursed for a while. I was quite lucky and had only one minor tear that did not require any stitches. My bleeding quickly got under control, so no shot of pitocin was required.
Oh, and to top it all off . . . as soon as things quieted down, DH made me macaroni and cheese! My dad had run out to pick up one of those easy mac in a cup packages, so DH ran to the snack room and cooked it up for me! He felt bad I did not get my macaroni and cheese in the middle of the night - how cute is that?
Here are a few pictures to start you off - I'll do some editing and post more pictures tomorrow!
CIVIL COURT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK
COUNTY OF QUEENS: HOUSING PART
Petitioner-Landlord, Index No.: _____________
NOTICE OF PETITION
John Doe, refers to that infant child who is
currently using and occupying the uterus of
Petitioner named herein and who is in possession
of such uterus for which the license of
Respondent-Tenant has been revoked by
Petitioner despite his use and occupy of the subject
Premises and subsequent use, in whole or in part, of
all appurtenant organs, tissues, and
other anatomical and physiological appurtenances
thereto and herein described.
Uterus of Petitioner
To the Respondent above-named and described, in possession of the Premises hereinafter described or claiming possession thereof:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a hearing at which you must appear will be held at the Civil Court of the City of New York, County of Queens located at 89-17 Sutphin Boulevard, Jamaica, New York 11435 on ___________________ at 9:30 am in the forenoon of that day, on the annexed Petition of TKEYS dated December ___, 2008 which prays for a final judgment of eviction and revocation of any license to occupy the premises, awarding Petitioner possession of Premises described as follows: all organs of Petitioner including, but not limited the uterus as demanded in the Petition, which you must answer. Your answer may set forth any defense or counterclaim against Petitioner, unless such defense or counterclaim is precluded by law or by prior agreement of the parties. Demand also is made for a judgment against you for the sum of at least One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars And No Cents ($1,500.00) for the attorneys’ fees of Petitioner.
TAKE NOTICE also that if you fail to immediately vacate the uterus of Petitioner, even if you interpose and establish any defense that you may have to the allegations of the Petition, you may be precluded from asserting such defense or the claim on which it is based in any other action or proceeding, your failure to answer and appear may result in a final judgment by default for the Petitioner against you for the relief demanded in the Petition.
TAKE NOTICE that this Court has personal jurisdiction over the parties mentioned herein because counsel for Petitioner lives in the City of New York, Borough of Queens, State of New York, and is happy for the Petitioner.
TAKE NOTICE also that under Section 745 of the Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law, you may be required by this Court to make a deposit of use and occupancy, or a payment of use and occupancy to the Petitioner, upon your second request for an adjournment or if the proceeding is not settled or a final determination has not been made by this Court within thirty (30) days of the first Court appearance. Failure to comply with an initial deposit or payment order may result in the entry of a final judgment against you without a trial. Failure to make subsequent required deposits or payments may result in an immediate trial on this issues raised in your Answer.
Dated: December 13, 2008
Queens, New York
Clerk of the Civil Court
Attorney for Petitioner
IMPORTANT TO TENANT: If you are dependent on a person in the military service of the United States or the State of New York, advise the Clerk of the Court immediately in order to protect your rights.
CIVIL COURT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK
COUNTY OF QUEENS: HOUSING PART
Petitioner-Landlord, Index No.: _____________
NOTICE OF PETITION
John Doe, refers to that infant child who is
currently using and occupying the uterus of
Petitioner named herein and who is in possession
of such uterus for which the license of
Respondent-Tenant has been revoked by
Petitioner despite his use and occupy of the subject
Premises and subsequent use, in whole or in part, of
all appurtenant organs, tissues, and
other anatomical and physiological appurtenances
thereto and herein described.
Uterus of Petitioner
THE PETITION OF TKEYS , owner and landlord of the Premises shows that:
1. The undersigned is the sole owner of the Premises.
2. Petitioner is married to DH.
3. On or about March 2008, Petitioner and DH conceived the Respondent in this matter.
4. Since this time, the Respondent has used and occupied the uterus of Petitioner by, among other acts, attaching himself to the wall of Petitioner’s uterus, developing bodily organs, bone, skin, and other tissue necessary and proper to the development of a human body.
5. Upon information and belief, Respondent understood and agreed that he may use and occupy the premises for a period of nine (9) contiguous months and that at or about the end of such nine month period, depending on the comfort level of Petitioner, Respondent should vacate the premises.
6. Upon information and belief, the vacatur of Respondent was to occur by either natural or artificial means.
7. Regardless of the method of vacatur, Respondent and Petitioner agreed that Respondent’s license to use and occupy the premises was to be revoked at our about the ninth month of use and occupancy or at or about the time that Petitioner could no longer tolerate Respondent’s use and occupancy.
8. To date, Respondent has engaged in conduct that has included, but has not been limited to:
a. Causing Petitioner to vomit incessantly;
b. Causing constant nausea;
c. Sleeplessness and irritability;
d. Irregular eating;
e. Loss of work and consortium; and
f. Such other and further conduct that amounts to nuisance.
9. Respondent holds over and continues in possession of Premises without Petitioner-Landlord’s permission.
10. The Premises occupied by Respondent-Tenant and/or Undertenant is not subject to rent control as defined and described by the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). The Premises is a two-family home.
8. The Premises is not a “multiple dwelling.”
9. Petitioner requests final judgment: awarding possession of the Premises to the Petitioner-landlord; and issuance of a warrant to remove Respondent from possession.
10. Petitioner lacks information or notice of any address where Respondent/s reside or are employed or have a place of business or principal office in the State of New York, other than the address of the Premises sought to be recovered.
11. At least thirty (30) days before the expiration of said term the Respondent tenant/s were served in the manner provided for by law with a verbal warning, that the landlord elected to terminate said tenancy and that unless the tenant removed from said Premises on the day on which said term expired, the landlord would commence summary proceedings under the statute to remove said tenant therefrom.
WHEREFORE, Petitioner requests final judgment awarding possession of the Premises to the Petitioner landlord; issuance of a warrant to remove Respondents from possession of the Premises; a judgment for the fair value of use and occupancy of the Premises after October 20, 2005; a judgment of at least One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars And No Cents ($1,500.00) for the attorneys’ fees of Petitioner; and the costs and disbursements of this proceeding.
Dated: December 11, 2008
New York, New York
Counsel for Petitioner
100 29th Street
New York, New York
Friday, December 12, 2008
While some of you are lauding my efforts about hanging tough for this baby through the contractions, I also should confess that my phobia is also playing a significant role in the decision-making process. While I do have a genuine desire to put my baby's interests first, I also have a genuine desire to avoid needles and a c-section at all costs.
Instead of getting offended by some of the "you'll forget about the needle when you are in labor" comments, or the "you can't see the needle so it won't bother you," statements, I decided to take this opportunity to blog a little bit about phobias. I'm sure that my phobia won't make sense to most of you, and I can honestly say it defies my own logic as well. My phobia is actually overwhelming to me right now, and I wish it was not part of my reality. I understand that it is totally irrational and yet . . . it still controls me. That is particularly difficult for me because I like to believe I am a fully rational being with control over myself and my decisions. Control over myself and my emotions is very important to me, and with this phobia, I really do not have any sense of control.
A phobia is defined as an irrational, intense fear of an object or situation that poses little or no actual danger. Like a needle. At first glance, a phobia may seem similar to a normal fear, however "fear" is the normal response to a genuine danger. With phobias, the fear is either irrational or excessive - it is an abnormally fearful response to a danger that is either imagined or irrationally exaggerated. This is my problem - and no amount of "logic" seems to help the brain comprehend that the perceived danger is either nonexistent or irrationally exaggerated in the moment.
It is the degree to which a person is affected that determines whether that fear has become a phobia. Phobias are emotional and physical reactions to feared objects or situations. Each person’s symptoms are a little bit different, but may include the following:
- Dizziness, rapid heartbeat, trembling, or other uncontrollable physical response
- Sensation of terror, dread, horror or panic
- Reactions that are automatic and uncontrollable, practically taking over the person’s thoughts
- Preoccupation of thoughts; inability to change focus from the feared situation
- Fight or flight response - need to defend against the perceived danger and/or an intense desire to flee the situation
- Recognition that the fear goes beyond normal boundaries and the actual threat of danger
- Extreme measures taken to avoid the feared object or situation
I pretty much have all of those symptoms. My phobia manifests in an actual uncontrollable physical response in addition to the terror/panic. I shake, I have difficulty breathing and can give myself an asthma attack from the panic, and my heart rate skyrockets. I am currently preoccupied with the possible needle encounters that an induction could bring, and I can't really seem to let it go. My desire when exposed to a needle is either to run, or if I feel trapped, my instinct is to fight. And fight I do - it is like I leave my head and I am fighting as if my life depends on it. I hit, scream, kick, and generally wreak physical panic on anyone who is unlucky enough to be in my path. It is embarassing because I do not really know that I am doing it and I seem to be powerless to stop myself from behaving that way.
It is generally accepted that phobias arise from a combination of external events and internal predispositions. Many specific phobias can be traced back to a specific triggering event, usually a traumatic experience at an early age. That is actually my problem - I had two traumatic needle encounters as a very young child, and as a result, I have created this ridiculous, overexaggerated belief in the danger of needles that, despite all logic, I cannot seem to release.
Phobias are more often than not linked to the amygdala, an area of the brain located behind the pituitary gland. The amygdala secretes hormones that control fear and aggression. When the fear or aggression response is initiated, the amygdala releases hormones into the body to put the human body into an "alert" state, in which they are ready to move, run, fight, etc. This defensive "alert" state and response is generally referred to in psychology as the Fight-or-Flight response. Phobias vary in severity among individuals. Some individuals can simply avoid the subject of their fear and suffer only relatively mild anxiety over that fear. Others suffer fully-fledged panic attacks with all the associated disabling symptoms. I fall into this latter category. To the extent I can avoid needle encounters, my phobia presents no problems in my daily life. I do not have issues with seeing needles, or medical procedures performed on others, or even seeing a needle injected into someone else - my fear is solely focused on an actual needle touching ME.
Most individuals understand that they are suffering from an irrational fear, but are powerless to override their initial panic reaction. This is how I feel - I know my fear is irrational, and I start each encounter with the best of intentions to have my logic govern my responses, but somehow, the panic reaction always sets in, and there is nothing I can seem to do to stop the panic once it starts.
Over the years, I have come a long way. I can usually have blood drawn, but I've created a lot of "rules" for the phlebotomists that help me avoid my initial panic response. For example, I can only have blood drawn with a butterfly needle. Why? Somehow, I believe that the smaller needles cause less danger. They also have to be able to draw blood with one stick, and not move the needle around once it is inserted. Somehow, I believe that they are more competent or I am in less danger if the stick is done once and the needle isn't moved around. Speed is also important to me - the stick needs to be done quickly, the blood needs to be drawn immediately, and they need to get the needle out fast before wasting time labeling the vials or separating the vials from the tube. If the phlebotomist fails somehow to draw blood this way, the panic still sets in, and I turn into a holy terror.
Shots are another issue for me. I still haven't figured out how to get a shot in my arm. I have not had any vaccinations since I was 15 years old. I won't get a tetanus shot and I won't get the flu shot. I have refused allergy testing and allergy shots, choosing instead to suffer. I've been able to justify my fear with issues of scheduling and time commitments, but the bottom line is I'm too afraid of the shots to even seriously entertain the idea. I have recently discovered that I can handle some subcutaneous shots if I have to . . . as long as I can use numbing cream first. Ridiculous, right? It isn't like the shots actually hurt, but somehow I need to not feel anything in order to distance myself from the panic response.
IVs are a whole other level of panic for me - for some reason, much worse than a blood draw or a subcutaneous shot. Yes, I have a hierarchy of danger for needles. My second traumatic experience with needles related to the placement of an IV, so I have a particular fear of IVs. I have yet to figure out how to get beyond that one. I had surgery earlier this year, and they were unable to get an IV in me while I was awake - ultimately, laughing gas was required. So, while I'd like to say that for the good of myself and my baby, I can "get through" the uncomfortable placement of an IV, I think the greater likelihood is I am going to panic out of some ridiculous and exaggerated belief that the IV is a threat to my safety.
For those of you that are still here, you probably now think I should be checked into the closest psych ward somewhere. I can understand that - I don't understand phobias that other people have, but I do know that phobias are real, and right now, my phobia is making my life quite challenging. So, I guess I would ask that before you tell me about how I won't even see or feel the needle, or I'll get over it in the moment, or it is no big deal, try and remember that I am dealing with an irrational, overriding fear. Just know that in my head, it IS a big deal. Your support is welcome and much appreciated, but the reassurances actually create more anxiety for me. I do not find ANYTHING reassuring about not being able to see the needle - inability to see somehow makes me believe that the needle poses an increased danger to me - probably a control thing. Even hearing it didn't really hurt, or it was over quickly, or it only hurts for a minute also does not reassure me - it isn't really the pain I fear - it is the process itself.
Thanks for listening!
Unfortunately, I was right. After 7:15, I was able to doze off a bit. The contractions have still been going, but they did lessen in intensity a bit. Our biggest concern is that I won't actually know when I'm in labor, and that we won't be able to get to the hospital in time.
We woke this morning to deal with Verizon and Vonage - because AGAIN, they screwed up my phone service. It is amazing how easily these companies get it wrong, blame each other, and then claim to be unable to resolve the problem. Thanks to DH, we were dealing with the executive offices for both companies. After spending the past five hours fighting with them, we finally have the phone service issues resolved. I've been SOOO frustrated that I've been missing all my doctors' calls today.
So, here I sit . . . contracting, uncomfortable, and unsure what to do. I'm SOOO ready to have this baby, but just don't know if I should rush him out or hang in there. This part is miserable, and I just don't know how much longer I can do this.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
We actually got some fantastic pictures today - I'll go downstairs and scan them when DH gets home (he took them with him). The doctor came in to see us, and after I whined he decided to do an internal check on me. The good news is I'm over 3 cm dilated (yes, progress!) and still at 80% effaced. He stripped my membranes to see if that would stir anything up. I'm actually not hopeful, but if it is going to work, we should see something in 24-48 hours.
Here are the ultrasound pics from today:
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
She decided to "stretch" my cervix a bit to see if she could kick things up a bit. It has - I've now had my "bloody show" and the contractions have kicked back up a bit. She thinks I won't last more than another week on my own, so we'll see if she is correct.
C'mon baby . . . let's go!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Today I'm baking cookies . . . trying to make my Grandma's chocolate streudels and rollies . . . we'll see how I do! It is the first time I'm doing this on my own! I just wish I felt better today. I'm trying to decide if I should go meet some friends for a "girl's night out" dinner - not sure I'm feeling up to it, though.
Friday, December 5, 2008
We had another ultrasound this morning - baby is looking great, and he passed his biophysical profile with another perfect score! Apparently, he is having a good ole' time in there. He spent most of yesterday and today with a big case of the hiccups . . . it makes me laugh every time he hiccups! My amniotic fluid is much lower than it had been . . . not sure if that means anything yet. I keep thinking that I'm leaking some fluid, but I'm not really sure if it is just wishful thinking. We got another 3D picture of him, and I'll try and post that later.
So, I'm still on track to hang in there until Monday. I'm wondering if I'll have another round of big contractions in the next few days . . . the past hour or two, the contractions do feel a bit more intense, but I'm not really sure if it is progressing at all yet. I know that every day he stays in is good for him, but I just really wish my body (and the baby) would make up its mind - in or out - and then commit to that plan. If he is staying put another few weeks, fine, but can I get a break from the contractions, please? If he is coming out, well, let's get to it!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
In good news, at today's appointment it looked like he'd repositioned himself in the "correct" position again - no longer sunny side up. I'm supposed to take it easy, try to rest, and we'll see where things stand on Monday. She would prefer not to try any induction techniques until next week (37 weeks) if I can hang in there. She still thinks there is a good chance the contractions will disappear altogether in the next day or so, and I'll go to term. Actually, if the contractions stop, I don't mind waiting it out, but I really can't handle contracting for the next few weeks like I've been doing. Her best guess is that I'll make it to 38.5 weeks, so still another 1.5 - 2 weeks left. We'll see what the next few days bring!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
I spent all day yesterday contracting despite continuing the terbutaline. They were not intense, but they were 4 minutes apart. I finally stopped the terbutaline around 6 pm . . . and my contractions seemed to disappear. I was SOOOO disappointed. I had some, but they were fairly spread out, and not gaining in intensity. DH & I went to bed around 2:00 or so, and I was so sad that labor was not imminent for me.
At 4:00 am, I woke up with contractions. Not the mild ones, but fairly intense, radiating around to my back kind of contractions that were 4 minutes apart. I was SOOO excited. I went downstairs and got my ipod so I could listen to my hypnobirthing recordings and relax. The back pain was intense, and I really couldn't seem to get comfortable. I woke DH up to tell him . . . and of course, he started puking again! His timing with the puking is just horrible. I don't think he still has the stomach flu, but I do think the stomach flu has aggravated his very sensitive stomach. Now, if I could just convince him to take his stomach meds . . . . then he might be helpful to me through these contractions!
Anyway, I tried relaxing in bed for about 1 hour, and then the pain in my back was making me quite uncomfortable. So, I decided to fill up the tub and climb in the jacuzzi. I was SOOOO excited. I got in the water, I put on my ipod, and I hit the button . . . . and nothing. Yup, the jacuzzi wasn't working AGAIN! I was so upset! DH came in and tried to help get things started (in between trips to the other bathroom to throw up). We eventually gave up, and instead I took a nice warm bath. I listened to my recordings, and was feeling much better. After the bath, I took a shower - it was about 6:30 or so by the time I was done. I crawled back into bed hoping to get some sleep. No such luck, but I did manage to relax until 8 when we needed to go to our appointment.
DH & I drove separately to the appointment. It was rather uneventful - we just talked about what happened this weekend, when I should come in, etc. My belly was measuring perfectly at 35 cm, and she said I am 70-80% effaced, over 2 cm dilated, and the baby is at -1 station, so all is well! She said this could be today, or it could be weeks. I'm hoping the baby decides to make an appearance this week.
After the appointment, I went to get our car seats, and have one installed in my car. That should have been so simple, but the people at the car dealership were being SOOO difficult. I had to drive to 3 different locations before they would help me. And I was cranky because I was having contractions every 4 minutes. I then went over to the baby store and picked up a preemie outfit (just in case) and then went to my parents' house to drop off the 2nd car seat and trade them for their base to put in DH's car. While at my parents' house, I ran into their cleaning lady - who has been working with my family for at least 25 years. She was so excited to see me, and we had a nice little chat before I left.
I came home to relax a bit . . . and, of course, I'm now frustrated because the contractions seemed to have slowed a bit. I want this guy to come OUT, not play games!! Let's hope they pick back up again.