Thursday, May 30, 2013

The womanly art of breastfeeding?

The first week with Rosabella has flown by.  She is amazing.  So beautiful, so perfect, so MINE.  I made her and now here she is her own little person.  I see Grace in her so often, and it makes me feel like Grace is here with us again.  However, not all is sunshine and roses.  There have been panic attacks, crying jags, flares of anger at my husband, the animals, friends, the world etc.  I have felt off kilter and afraid and just plain sad sometimes.

My biggest source of anxiety has been oddly enough breastfeeding.  Something that I thought would be so simple and natural has turned my world on it's ear and scared me to death.  At first I had crazy bad nipple sensitivity, literally toe curing pain when she would latch, or attempt to latch on, then constant pain while she nursed.  Then my nipples cracked, even more pain with a bad latch.  Then I became terrified to let her latch.  Then she realized that I was anxious and she became anxious.  Also the hospital wanted me feeding her every 2-3 hours, but she would be asleep and I would spend an hour waking her up to eat.  I gave up that since it was impossible to wake her up anyway and I would not get any rest at all.  Then I was waiting for her feeding cues, rooting in her sleep, opening her mouth like a baby bird etc.  However she would go from these cues to screaming with hunger in literally seconds.  She would then flail her arms, hit me in the sore nipples and not even try to latch when I would get the courage up to put my nipple in her mouth.  My DH would have to hold her arms and I would have to shove my nipple in her mouth and wait until the screaming stopped and she would try to nurse.  This could take 30 minutes or more of trying with my anxiety getting worse every minute.  We called her "red devil baby" and when she would have a bad latch, she would sometimes have my blood on her lips further adding to the devilish effect.  The whole process left me exhausted, sad and worried.  It was taking 2 hours for a feeding and she was wasting so much energy that she would then not be able to nurse long before falling asleep.

Then our first pediatrician visit.  I am terrified that they will find something wrong with her, that I am not feeding her enough, caring for her enough, that my babies die and I am doing something wrong.  Rosabella is well, but she lost 14% of her body weight, so she was not getting enough calories.  He says to pump my milk and feed her 2 oz every 2-3 hours, supplementing with formula if I do not have enough.  I was devestated to think that I would not be able to completely breast feed my baby, worried about my milk production, etc.  I was also relieved to feed her from a bottle and have her eat and be happy and not screaming and biting and just.... well just happy.  I guess I am not very good at this womanly art, and it has been really hard on me.  I have been feeding her any expressed breast milk that I have: usually 1 to 1.25 oz, then try to get her to latch on and nurse, if I can let her nurse as long as she would like, then offer 1-2 oz of formula, then pump each breast for 20 minutes.  I am exhausted.  I have been reaching out for support since Tuesday and finally starting to get some. My doula came by last night to help me get her latched on, she referred me to a lactation consultant, who will be at my house tomorrow at 9 am, I have started Fenugreek capsules to boost my milk production etc.

I know that babies can be raised on formula and be healthy, but I really believe that breast milk is significantly better than formula and part of my dream of motherhood involves breast feeding.  I have some good support and I know that I can do this.  Of course talk tp me at 4 am, when she is screaming and won't latch and I am crying and you will get a different answer.  I love this little girl so much, even when she is screaming, she is my girl and I love her completely.
At the pediatrician we found out that she had lost 14% of her birth weight, too much for a healthy baby.  We talked about out breast feeding issues and he recommended that we supplement with some formula.  He felt that she was not getting enough calories and then would not rouse when she was starting to get hungry and would only wake when she was completely starving.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rosabella Grace is Here!!!!

Baby Bear, now called Rosabella Grace, arrived May 22, 2013 at 5:56 pm, crying and perfect.  She was 7 lbs 10 oz at birth and 20 inches long.  My beautiful baby overwhelms me with emotions: love, wonder, gratitude, fear, but mostly love, pure deep baby love.  It is our first night home, and I want to write more, and will later and with pictures!  Love to you all for all the support you have given me.  I know that Grace was watching over us the entire time, my love for her is ever expanding, just as it is for her baby sister.

Snoozing with Dad

Just finished eating

Two minutes old

Monday, May 20, 2013


I am getting the feeling that these last few weeks of Bear's pregnancy are going to be really hard.  I feel like I am on the edge of a break down all the time.  Everything makes me want to rage or cry or just be unhappy.  Our friends are pissing me off, my FIL is pissing me off, my closet is pissing me off.  I want to go into seclusion until she is home and safe and we are all doing well.

I have been fussing around the house trying to make everything perfect for her, like if everything is perfect then she will live and get to come home with us.  But then that brings on strife with my husband.  All the accommodations that need to be made seem to be on me.  I lost 1/4 of my side of the closet for a file cabinet that was in Bear's room, but obviously could not stay there.  He wants to put tons of his stuff in there, but it takes up my side of the closet.  He also has complete use of the closet in the guest bedroom, so it is not like he is wanting for storage space.  I asked him to get rid of some things to make room and it is like I am asking him to cut off a limb.  So today I am going through stuff and getting rid of a ton of things, some mine, some his to just feel free of these possessions.  They hold you down and I don't want to be held down by anything.

I also just miss Grace so much.  I see pictures of her and I just cry and want her here in my arms so badly.  The grief mixed with the overwhelming fear that it could happen again are just wearing me down.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Scare at the OB's Office

I had a completely terrifying OB appointment yesterday. Bear was moving up a storm and I thought that was a good thing, but her heart rate was too high at 180. Her ultrasound was normal, my blood pressure was improved from last week (112/84), UA normal, but because she had a high heart rate we had to go to triage at the hospital for an NST. Our OB said that this was just protocol and that she was moving and active and looking great. However it was the first time we had been back to the hospital since Grace died. I drive by it every day I work, but I have not set one foot in the building (I had my OB take the donations we made for other BLMs). I was in the same admitting room (they only have 2), thank god I was not in the same triage room for the NST. We listened to her heart for 45 minutes, it sounded so fast the whole time as she was moving NON-STOP. I was begging her to calm down for a little while and let her heart rest. We were so afraid that this was it, she was in distress and we would lose her. I honestly almost wished for a C section so that she could be out and monitored even more. After the 45 minutes were up, our OB came in, she passed. Her heart rates were at the high end of normal, but still in the normal range (180 was her absolute high,her low 150). She had great movement and good accelerations and decelerations. We were sent home. I had a chiropractor appointment afterwards which I went to (the hospital bed and stress did a number on my mid back and I already had the appointment scheduled). She said that the baby was in a strange position (head down, face turned to my right hip) and she thinks that maybe she got into this weird position and panicked a little bit. All I know is that it was a LONG evening. She is moving good now, not crazy baby, but back to normal. I am glad that we went for the test and that she was okay, but can I take up to 5 more weeks of this?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Almost there

Survived another Mother's Day.  I got a 2 phone calls and an e-mail from 2 friends acknowledging me as a mother which was nice.

I am kind of obsessing about the house now.  I keep working in the nursery, but it never seems quite done.  I want the whole house to be ready for Bear.  Like if everything is perfect then she will come home with us.  I know that I am being silly and superstitious, but honestly that is kind of all we have.  I do kick counts almost hourly when I am awake and I do one before I go back to sleep every time I get up to use the restroom during the night (4 times on average).  I know that I am doing everything that I can, but I just need her to come home so badly.

Last night my FIL, the jerk called.  Not to wish us a happy Mother's Day, just to ask if we are getting anxious about the baby.  WTF, of course we are anxious, we HAVE been anxious.  Then he criticized the name we have picked for our girl.  The DH has a new name for him, Steamer (when he is acting like a steaming pile of dog poo).  We love the name we have picked for her and I could give a flying fig if he does not like it.  I know that he is not worth my ire, he is not a normal person and he acts poorly, I just hope he never says stuff like this around Bear and hurts her self esteem.  Then he will meet Mama Bear and he had better take cover!

Here is a pregnancy photo from a few weeks ago, I look HUGE, but it was a happy moment!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day #2

So this is my second Mother's Day as a Mother.  It is better than last year, but the missing of my first born just echoes inside me today.  There should be a little 15 month old toddling around for me to hold and kiss and love, as well as a baby about to be born.  Baby Bear does help so much to take the soul shattering sorrow out of the day, but she is not Grace and I want BOTH.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Caption all photos please

As many of you know I am the responsible person for my Grandmother with Alzheimer's disease.  She turned 88 on Sunday and we had clown cones with her.  She loves chocolate ice cream and asked about the baby and generally had a very nice time.  Such a difference from last year, when she was strong enough that we took her out for hamburgers and root beer floats.  I always want to make it a nice birthday since I am painfully aware it could be her last with us.  Caring for her in her later years has been hard, choosing the right assisted living and then memory care facilities, watching the Alzheimer's steal so much from her, watching her body deteriorate with the ravages of time.  However it has also been the greatest gift I could ever give her and I am proud and honored to be able to do all the things I do for her.

My Grandmother was a bit of a hoarder.  She liked to shop, at dollar stores and the like, and HATED to throw anything away.  I have literally spent years getting rid of what to her were treasures and what to most of us was junk.  She also collected nurse figurines, dolls and stuffed animals.  She has probably 800-1000.  She loved photographs and always got doubles, or triples of any roll of film she had developed.  She then would get dozens of reprints of favorites.  The vast majority of these pictures are not captioned.  None are organized, they are just in box after box in my garage with the nurse collection.  I have spent the last year slowly sorting her pictures, throwing away the myriad of duplicates, throwing away hopelessly damaged pictures, ones where I could not identify a single person as a family member and finally hundreds of pictures of flowers, snow storms, the same crab apple tree flowering year after year.  It was hard and sad at first and by the end I just wanted it DONE.  Two weeks ago I thought I was at the finish line, I had sorted all the boxes of pictures and organized them into one storage box.  The box was then subdivided into folders of who was the main subject of the picture.  I felt so accomplished.  I knew there will still likely doubles or triples in there, but I could enlist the folder's person to help sort and it was manageable.  Then we finally had our doll sale.

We have been trying to have a yard sale to sell some of the nurse collection for the past year, but something had always come up.  Finally this Saturday we did it.  We did not sell that many items, but we sold some and were able to consolidate the collection from 15 boxes down to 10.  It was nice to see people enjoying looking through the nurses and laughing at the funny ones and genuinely having fun with them.  My Grandmother loved them so, looking for them, buying them and then decorating every room of her house with them.  Over the years they have become more of a burden to me and I have stopped seeing the joy in them.  I got some of that back Saturday.  Except when we were getting the boxes of nurses out to put on display in the driveway I discovered, to my great horror, that 3 of the boxes I thought had nurses had more pictures in them!  I felt so deflated, the never ending project was seriously never ending.

For any of you with older relatives with boxes and boxes of pictures here are my suggestions: sit down with your older person and start to sort the pictures while they are alive and not senile.  I should have started this with my Grandmother when she could remember more, now I am on my own and it is really hard.  Suggestion number two: caption and sort all the pictures you are taking so that no one has to do this for you in 50 or 60 years.  Be selective about what you keep, even though with todays digital pictures you have like a million on your hard drive, none of us needs 300 pictures of our cat, or photos of every snow storm to hit our town, or pictures of every flower that ever bloomed in our garden.  Pictures of family, especially kids and babies are the exception, but still CAPTION them!

Two more boxes to go through, then really organizing the photos in them..... Bear maybe in college before I am done with this project.