Thursday, April 28, 2011

Five even blurrier weeks!

Wow, how time flies when your world is feeding, changing and squeezing in an hour or two of sleep when you have a few free moments!  The last five weeks have been an absolute blur. I've never "lost" a month like this before!

Noah is doing great. He's up to 10lbs 6oz and growing fast. We've had our share of ups and downs. He had a growth spurt last week and it nearly pushed me over the edge. He was feeding every 2hrs, super fussy and barely slept. It lasted about 4 days and was hellish (but productive, I swear his legs grew an inch!).  When it was over, my easygoing little guy returned and we breathed a HUGE sigh of relief!

We breastfed exclusively for the first three weeks, and then started adding a few pumped bottles a day so hubby could help. Breastfeeding is HARD! I had more milk than he needed and a lot of times he would get choked up when I let down.  Sometimes he would fight me when I was trying to nurse him, he would push me away even though he was starving. Then both of us would be covered in milk (because it doesn't stop flowing when he pulls off) and nobody was happy. Now I only breastfeed 1-2 times a day and the rest are bottle feeds. Its much calmer and now I can see how much he's getting. The big bonus is that hubby can take the 8 and 11pm feeds to give me a break (and let me go to bed).

He now feeds every three hours and I'm getting 6-7 hours (in 1.5-2hr increments) of sleep a night. I feel like a zombiemom most days, and am optimistic these stretches will get longer over time (they HAVE to right??!!).

For anyone looking for useful baby gear, here's a few of my favourite/most used items:

Medela Pump In Style
I use this 2-3 times a day and I can pump anywhere from 3-6oz per side in ten mins or less. This is a LIFESAVER and I highly recommend! I wouldn't have any time off from feedings otherwise.  I love the shoulder bag (it moves around the house a lot) and cooler bag for storing bottles on the go!

Prince Lionheart Deluxe Drying Station
This thing lives on our counter, and 3-4 times a day I'm loading it up with freshly washed bottles, nipples, soothers, etc.  I love all the little knobs to hang things on. It works like a charm!

Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Bouncy Chair
Noah lived in this for the first few weeks, and still spends a few hours a day chilling in it. He loves the ocean sound and its not too bad on batteries (we keep a stash on hand just in case).  Enough said!

Playtex Drop Ins Bottles
LOVE these bottles and the fact that I only have to wash the nipples (we tried silicone and latex, he prefers the latex). Washing bottles is a pain, and I used the Medela pumping bottles for the first few weeks, which was a total pain! This saves a lot of time (and these days I need all the time I can get!).

Avent Silicone Soothers
I was reluctant to give him a soother for the first week, as I didn't want it to interfere with breastfeeding. Boy am I glad I got over that! Sometimes he just wants to suck after a meal, or when he's settling down, and my breast isn't an option!  We tried a few brands and he refused all but these.

The Baby Whisperer Book
This was a godsend from a friend who's also a new mom. We were having troubles getting his routine sorted out and this book introduced us to EASY (eat, activity, sleep, you).  Now he's much more predictable (most days) and much easier to care for. I highly recommend this one, hubby and I refer to it daily!

Pippalily Baby Sling
For those days when Noah refuses to be put down and my arms/shoulders/back can't take it anymore.  He loves to be squished up inside!

Tommee Tippee Milk Feeding Bibs
LOVE the super absorbent collar that catches his drool and keeps his shirts dry!

Hope these tips are useful!  I'll try to post again soon (hopefully in less than 5 weeks!).

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Two weeks (a complete blur)

Noah is now 2 weeks and 1 day old.  I can't believe how fast the time has flown!  Here's a few highlights:

  • Noah is a pretty easy baby.  He only screams when he wants to be fed (and I didn't notice the time or his cues), burped (which the cry sounds like someones torturing him) or changed.  Slowly but surely we're figuring out the differences in the cries so we can soothe him faster.  He typically has 1-2 fussy hours per day.  Until the last few days, it was from 8-10pm, but now it seems to be 4:30-6:30am, which totally sucks!  Last night I brought him into bed to settle him, I couldn't take the screaming anymore!
  • Noah took to breastfeeding right away.  We went to the lactation consultant on day 3 because it was a bit painful, and she showed me a few minor adjustments which make it much more comfortable.
  • Noah feeds every three hours.  During the night, I feed on one side (during which he usually passes gas and poops), then I change him, then feed on the other side to settle him back down.  Typically the whole routine takes 1/2 an hour, so I'm getting 2-2.5 hours of sleep at a time.
  • I weighed myself last Friday (a week ago) at the doctor's office and I had lost 26 pounds!!!  I only gained 20 pounds with this pregnancy, so I'm slightly below pre-Noah weight (and about 10 lbs away from pre-Olivia weight).  Hubby loves being able to wrap his arms around my waist again (and I'm loving not having to wear maternity bottoms!).
  • Speaking of weight, Noah was born at 9lbs.  Four days later he was at 8lbs 8oz, 1 week later 8lbs 13oz, and yesterday (2 weeks later) he was 9lbs 9oz.  Talk about a little bruiser!  At least we know the breastfeeding is effective :)
  • Noah started out in our bed in a Snuggle Nest Sleeper, but since we only have a queen bed, it was really uncomfortable and tight.  He's now sleeping in the UppaBaby stroller bassinet on a Jolly Jumper bassinet stand beside the bed (on my side).  This way he's within reach if he squeaks during the night.  Unfortunately he's a very noisy sleeper (he grunts, squeaks and cries a lot as he's settling) so it's sometimes nearly impossible to fall back asleep after a feed.  He may be going to his crib in his room sooner than later!
  • Hubby is amazing with Noah.  He really is a proud papa.  He went back to work on Monday so it was just Noah and me for most of the week, and we did great.  I have to admit, I feel a big sense of relief when he walks in the door from work and scoops up Noah and smothers him with kisses!
So far things have been going really well.  The only bump in the road was being diagnosed with mastitis yesterday.  I thought it was engorgement but my left breast got so sore I couldn't put any pressure on it.  On Thursday night I woke up to chills, and when I was changing Noah I got really dizzy and thought I was going to be sick.  When I got up on Friday morning, I felt like garbage and had a wicked headache.  Thankfully Noah had a doctor's appointment, so I was checked out at the same time.  The doctor prescribed an antibiotic and told me to keep nursing and drink lots of water.  We came home and slept for a few hours, and I woke up feeling much better.  I'm still not 100%, and woke up soaked in sweat a few times last night, but I'm a lot better than I was!

Thanks everyone for your warm wishes, we're really enjoying this time as a family!

Here's a few more pictures of our little man:

Second bath was a hit!

Our little slugger

Who could resist this face?

Mommy and Noah

Nurses Grieve Too

Thanks to Dana for posting this video, "Nurses Grieve Too" (  I never thought about how Olivia's birth would affect our nurses and doctors, but I'm sure it was difficult.  It can't be easy to be a positive support to a couple when you know the outcome won't be positive.

Thank you to the doctors and nurses at Mount Sinai, particularly Michelene, who stood by us for most of the two days we were there.  We couldn't have done it without your support!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Noah's Birth Story

On Thursday, March 24, hubby and I went out for dinner, nothing out of the ordinary.  I was craving fajitas and, after stopping at four restaurants, we got lucky!  We had a nice dinner and went to visit his parents briefly before going home.  We went to bed like any other night, and I was looking forward to a haircut and lunch with friends the next day.

At 4:30am I felt a mild cramp in my lower abdomen.  I thought it might have been the fajitas upsetting my stomach, so I dismissed it and rolled over.  At 4:43 the same pain came again.  I began to think it was contractions but didn't want to wake B until I knew for sure.  I decided to wait and see if it came again.  Sure enough, at 4:53 it came again.  I woke B and told him I thought I was having contractions.  We lay in bed for another 20 minutes and timed them.  They were coming every 10 minutes.  We decided to get up and finish packing our bags (which were about 80% done already).  As I was packing, they began coming closer together...strong ones every 5 minutes and milder ones every 2-3 minutes.  I thought my water broke because I was in the bathroom a lot, but I found out later it hadn't.

The contractions became strong pretty quickly, they had me doubled over and hanging onto furniture while I was puttering around getting packed and dressed.  B started to worry about the frequency and had me call the hospital.  The nurse was very nice, asked a few questions, and suggested I come in to get checked.

Thank goodness we only live 5 minutes from the hospital!  On the way, we called both sets of parents.  He dropped me at the doors to the Emergency Room while he went to park.  I walked in and immediately had a contraction.  The nurse at the registration immediately knew what was up and told me to go straight to the maternity ward.  They offered me a wheelchair but I was determined to walk, especially because I thought it might help my labour progress faster.

The nurses immediately hooked me up to a monitor to check the baby's heartbeat and severity of the contractions.  The baby was doing well, and moving around lots.  The contractions continued to come every 5 minutes or so, and gradually grew in intensity and duration.  After an hour on the monitor, the nurse checked my cervix and confirmed I was 3-4cm, so they would be admitting me (thank goodness, they told us at the tour that most women are sent home a few times before they're admitted!).

I asked about the epidural because I didn't want to miss my window of opportunity.  They said they would do it in a few hours, once I got to 5-7cm.  We were taken to a delivery room and I was hooked up to an IV.  For the next few hours, B, the nurse and I were in the room, waiting for things to progress.  B was a trooper and let me hang onto his arm during the contractions (when I held his hand, he squeezed back so it was starting to hurt). 

At 10am the nurse said I was ready for the epidural but the anaesthesiologist was in surgery and I would have to wait for 30 minutes.  I thought "ok, that's ten contractions, I can do this" and began to focus on the relief that was within reach.  Finally he arrived and began the procedure.  It took a lot longer this time than it did with Olivia, I'm not sure why.  All I know is that fifteen minutes later the pain was a distant memory as the epidural kicked in.  Unfortunately because they had me on my side, all of the freezing was channeling to my right side, so I was numb all the way up to my breast.  They had me switch sides and the technician made some adjustments to the catheter, and the freezing evened out.

For the next three hours I was relaxed and fading in and out of sleep while my body prepared for delivery.  The doctor broke my water at 12:30, and told us things would start to move faster from that point forward.  Around 1pm I started to feel a lot of pressure in my bottom, which puzzled both of us.  Our nurse was tied up in the next room delivering a baby, so I just breathed through it as the sensation grew in intensity.  At one point the anaesthesiologist came in to check on me and I mentioned the pressure, and he concluded that I might be further along than they thought, and it was likely the urge to push.

Finally at 2pm B was able to get the nurse.  She attempted to check my cervix and said "oops, I just touched the baby's head, you need to start pushing!".  She told B he would need to grab one of my legs to help her.  His face was priceless, he said "but I'm supposed to be at the head!".  The nurse said we couldn't wait for the doctor and needed to start pushing.  We started pushing at 2:30 with every contraction (I could feel the pressure).  At first I couldn't feel anything, but as the baby descended, the pain got more intense.  I closed my eyes with every push, trying to visualize the baby coming out.

When the head crowned, it hurt more than I could've imagined.  B said I was swearing a bit, all I remember was the burning pain.  They asked him if he wanted to see if or if I wanted to touch it, both of us quickly said no.  I just wanted it over with!  I tried to push through the pain and get the baby out as quickly as possible.  Eventually the head popped out, and the rest of the body slid out in a gush of fluid.  The doctor announced "it's a boy!" and we were both shocked (we were both convinced it was a girl).

They put him on my chest and we were immediately smitten.  B cut the cord and they whisked him away quickly to weigh him and clean him up.  Boy were we shocked (again) when she announced he was 9 pounds!  On Monday the doctor told me she thought the baby would be 7-7.5 pounds, boy was she wrong!

At the same time, the doctor delivered the placenta (huge feeling of relief once it was out) and stitched me up (apparently my tear was a 2 out of a 4 - ouch!).  Then they cleaned me up and put a warm blanket on top of me, which was heavenly!

They brought him back, all snuggled up, and gave us a few minutes alone as a family.  We were both in awe of this little angel, trying to figure out how he fit inside my belly!  The nurse returned and helped us nurse.  He latched on immediately (he looked like a piranha with his giant open mouth attacking my breast!).  It was a wonderful and peaceful moment for all of us.

Eventually we were taken to our recovery room to relax and meet our little one.  We had a few visitors, but it was mostly family time, which was nice.  After a few hours I got up to use the washroom and get cleaned up/changed, which made me feel so much better.  I was sore from the stitches but on cloud 9.

We were released the next day after Noah passed all of his tests and had his first bath.  We were so excited to get home and settled as a family.

So all in all, it was a pretty fast and relatively uneventful labour.  Would I do it again?  In a heartbeat....but not for a few years! :)