Thursday, November 30, 2006

daily life

cookie "bouquet" sent by tina (thanks tina!)

ryan and jack

my daily life seems so hard now. i think its mainly because i experienced a huge drop in hormone levels and as a result, i literally sweat with fear that something is wrong with jack. some moments are better than others.

i learned he was losing weight yesterday so the breastfeeding thing is officially over although i still pump. i'll see how long that lasts. i have make sure he eats a certain amount and its just not possible to do that while breastfeeding.

my mom is here now so i can sleep some during the day and don't have to worry about household chores. this is such a godsend. i wish i'd known how much help i'd need and why. when my mom leaves, i'll be alone during the day. but i will make it. on the occasions that i do get out, i think about how all the people i see driving and living their daily lives were once small like jack, and here they are now -- adults. this comforts me.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I tried

One of my favorite CD's ever is Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville. It's filled with melancholy and sadness about a woman not measuring up to all the standards set for her.

From Canary:
I learn my name
I write with a number two pencil
I work up to my potential
I earn my meat
I come when called
I jump when you circle the cherry
I sing like a good canary
I come when called
I come, that's all

When they discovered Jack had hypoglycemia, they took him away and immediately began giving him formula. He had to eat a certain amount every 3 hours whether he wanted to or not. I tried to breast feed but he would always fall asleep. The staff at Group Health told me I could not sacrifice his nutritional needs for my desire to breastfeed. They gave me an industrial pump which I used religiously -- 8 times a day. When we were released, I felt like I needed to continue to supplement because I was so afraid of the condition returning. I know exactly how much milk I produce and I know it is way less that than formula he was eating. I continued with the pump and breast fed in addition to the bottle. It became apparent I could not do the bottle and breast feed. Breast feeding is harder for a kid and they won't do it if they don't have to (at first anyway). So yesterday, I just breast fed him knowing there was no way he was getting enough to eat. It worked ok during the day, but starting at 11 Jack just screamed. He screamed and screamed and would not take the breast. This went on for several hours.

Today, breastfeeding is proven to be the best way to feed an infant. There is a great deal of pressure to do it. If you don't, it's because you didn't try hard enough. What would you do if you had a baby screaming in your arms and you know they were hungry? Should I have just let him scream all night? If I didn't have the fear of the low blood sugar problem in the back of my mind, I may have. The lactation consultant I talked to several times yesterday said I wasn't starving him. But she wasn't around at 1am when he was still crying.

Ryan suggested we give him formula and I knew that would end my attempts at breastfeeding. My milk supply has never increased much and I would have to sacrifice Jack's comfort in the short term (maybe another week?) to get the supply to increase. I gave him the formula and he immediately stopped crying and went to sleep.

I got through natural childbirth and my body has always been really strong. Yet, I couldn't get it to produce what it needed to feed my child. I know I will be judged and questioned by the same seattle hippies who thought natural childbirth was a good idea ( a group I counted myself in just 9 days ago). I am so sad about it because I know all the benefits for him in the long term. All I can say is that I gave it everything I had but I failed.

Jack on his actual due date

We took this on Friday 11/24. Jack is basically the same size his was at birth but this was his estimated birth date.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


It seems I cannot talk about my labor without injecting how I felt about it. I will try to separate the two as I write. Here is the timeline: at 11:30 pm Thursday night I was laying in bed and felt a strange sensation.. like a snap. I went to the bathroom and I suspected that my water had broken. I wasn't sure. I laid down again and started to feel mild cramps. These went on all night. At 7 am, I called the midwives who advised me to go into group health so they could check if my water had broken. I went to group health, they checked me and put me on a fetal monitor. They determined my water had broken and my contractions were happening about once every 5 minutes. They asked me if I wanted to check in. I didn't. I said I'd return once the contractions were closer together.

I went home, packed my things and cleaned the house. By 11:30 the contractions were about every 3 minutes and I couldn't talk very easily through them. So ryan and I went back to the hospital and we were admitted.

The contractions moved along until about 3pm when they basically stopped. By that time, my doula, tami, had arrived. We waited around until about 7 but still nothing was happening. Tami and Ryan went home. Leslie the midwife decided that at 10pm they would give me cervidil which she hoped would make things pick up. It worked.

At 11, ryan and tami returned. I was having continuous contractions with no breaks so Leslie removed the cervidil. Tami and Ryan sat with me as I moved around in all different positions trying to endure the pain. A few hours later, we went to the tub where I stayed for several hours. Around 3:30am, I started to feel a lot of pressure. I got out of the tub, went to the bed, and started to push. I pushed for a long time and I wasn't really progressing. At 5 Leslie decided to give me Pitocin to help the force of my contractions. That also worked although I didn't really feel the increase. I pushed and pushed and pushed and finally, another hour later, jack emerged and they put him on my chest. He cried and cried and so did I.

I was prepared for the pain of labor. Between the birth classes and many years of yoga, I knew if I just stayed focused and did not resist the pain, I would get through it without drugs. I also chose an amazing midwifery group, a great doula, ryan, and then had the luck to get a phenomenal nurse. I knew I would need them and they supported me every moment of the process.

I was not prepared for pushing. The most difficult part of it was that I did it for so long and I didn't progress. I never felt fear. I just felt despair. During the pushing I asked for surgery, an episiotomy and forceps. During the pushing, I decided natural childbirth was not the right way to go. However, at that point, it's too late to give any drugs.

When it was over, I didn't feel joy. I felt nothing but relief that it was over. Only a few hours later, Jack was diagnosed with hypoglycemia and words like "brain damage" and "intensive care" were thrown around so I can't separate the feelings I have for the labor with the fear I felt once they told me he was sick. The only cause they could come up with for the hypoglycemia was the stressful labor. (Probably as a result) I wish I'd scheduled a C-section. I don't see any value in the way I went through the labor. I wouldn't advocate for it and I resent people who are so militant about it. I wish I felt differently.. and maybe later I will.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

First Pictures

Jack raising his "eyebrows"

Ryan and Jack just after birth

I plan to write in more detail about the labor but that will happen later. For now, here are a few pics of our little one. We are calling our son Jack even though his legal name is joaquin. Although now we are kind of on the fence about what to call him because we really like the name joaquin. He might just have two names. Why not?

Friday, November 17, 2006

In labor

Well, I was right about one thing -- I am going to deliver early. My water broke last night around 11:30.. then I had what felt like cramps all night -- but not at any regular interval. I called the midwife this morning around 6:30 because the books say when your water breaks you should call. I had put it off because the contractions weren't that bad and I didn't want to get stuck in the hospital. I went in around 8 telling the nurse and midwife that I had a chemistry test at 10 I was hoping to make. They stuck me on the monitor for a while to see what was happening. As I sat there for around 30 minutes the contractions started to come more regularly and by then end were around every 4 minutes. They said I could stay if I wanted to but I wasn't ready for that. So now, the contractions are around every 3-4 minutes.. seem to be getting stronger. I had to come home to pack and clean the house. We will go to the hospital when the laundry is done. Also, no chem test. The midwife said it was crazy to think I could take a test having contractions every 4 minutes while amniotic fluid is almost gushing out of my body. It's like a flood. It's weird.

thats all for now..

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Stations of the Pelvis

On Monday, I learned that the baby is at the -1 station of the pelvis. From a baby website:

The concept of "station" denotes the degree of engagement of the fetal head as it navigates the maternal pelvis. Station is the relationship of the presenting part to an imaginary line drawn between the ischial spines of the pelvis. The ischial spines are two bony prominences that demarcate the middle of the pelvis.

At the 0 station, the baby is even with the sitting bones, and once its at +4 it is just about to crown.

This only means the baby is headed (ha!) in the right direction. My midwife isn't making any predictions because based on medical evidence, there are none to be made. But I am going to make some predictions. I predict the baby will come early. I predict it will be a boy. This is all I have any feeling about. I feel more cramping now and less movement. Officially, I have two weeks to go.

Also, if you were raised catholic, does the phrase 'stations of the pelvis' remind you of anything? Maybe the 'stations of the cross'? A coincidence? I think not.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Journey - a pictorial


5 months

7 months

8 months

It is strange when your stomach just gets bigger and bigger. Sometimes, I find it very hard to believe there is a little person in there. However, here is proof from my 20 week ultrasound: