Wednesday, February 15, 2012

One week: A reflection

Levi is one week old today!!!

Thought I'd take some time and reflect on everything that's happened this week and pass along some things that have worked for us and our little one!

Hospital stay:
This is going to sound STRANGE but I LOVED being in the hospital. Mr. Free...not so much. For me, the reassurance of knowing that there are nurses there 24 hours to help me recover from surgery and Levi to make sure he is on track was so nice. I also loved the hospital bed, solely for being able to easily sit up with it while recovering from a c section. Getting out of our bed at home is NOT so easy. At our hospital they had a huge menu and room service all day. If I wanted oreos and milk at 2? Not a problem. Yeah...that was AWESOME. I also loved the constant stream of visitors to see Levi. It was such a huge blessing. We stayed in the hospital from Tuesday night til Saturday afternoon. Mr. Free was itching to get home, but I could've stayed just a little bit longer...

Breast feeding:
Well, this hasn't quite gone according to plan. I just assumed I would breast feed, that it would hurt and be difficult, but I'd do it. Well, right after Levi was born I was SO out of it from all the meds that we just had them give him formula til the next morning when I would be coherent enough to try breast feeding. The next day we tried and he latched pretty well and we went from there. The lactation consultant at the hospital worked with us, and we have GREAT family friend who is the lactation consultant at our pediatrician's office, who came and helped as well. When we were discharged from the hospital, Levi had lost some weight, but well within the normal range. We thought we were good! But the first 24 hours at home, we noticed Levi hadn't had any poopy diapers and only 2 wet diapers. Dr. Google confirmed this to be not normal. I texted for Lactation Friend (as I will call her) and she said he should be getting at least 4 wets a day. We had a pediatrician appointment the next day and we'd come up with a game plan. We decided to nurse every 3 hours and supplement with an ounce of formula afterwards. This seemed to help, but at his week weight check he had lost even more weight. Our Lactation Friend asked about how I was feeling with nursing and I told her how it didn't really hurt, I never felt "heavy or achy". She said she thinks I have supply issue (extremely common in diabetics...our hormones are so screwed up!) So Levi has lost 10% of his birth weight and our new plan is to try a hormonal supplement to try and increase my supply, 20 minutes of nursing followed by as much formula as he would like. I hate that we are having to do that, and feel like a failure of sorts, but know he is getting SOME breast milk and that will give him many of the good things he needs and the main thing is that he is getting all the nourishment he needs to grow. If that means formula, so be it. We tried it out tonight and the little guy chugged 2.5 ounces of formula after nursing! Poor little guy has been hungry! We will see if the supplements work. No matter what, it's important he is fed.

I'm getting used to the whole "sleep in 2 hour chunks" thing. I've had a few breakdowns (I'm a SLEEPER) but it's getting better! I look forward to that snuggly time with him...but that darn 4 am feeding is hard to get up for! But he is well worth it!

My recovery has been going really well. I'm still on some pain meds and can't over do it, but overall I feel really "normal". I had my staples out yesterday (which is nothing, by the way! I totally freaked myself out about it!) and the Dr and nurses kept commenting on how perfect my incision looked! That made me feel good! Diabetics tend to not heal as well, so I was proud that I've done so well! Overall, having experienced labor and a c-section, I'm mostly Team C Section. Recovery is no walk in the park, but it hasn't been that bad! The most important thing is that Baby gets out safe and sound!

Weight Loss:
Immediately after leaving the hospital I had only lost 5 pounds. How could I only lose 5 pounds?! He was 7 pounds?! Plus all the other gunk that was in there with him! Well, once I got home I noticed my feet and hands swelling up. I had NO swelling in pregnancy at all, so did NOT care to see it now! I talked with the Dr and they said from all the IV fluids and pitocin, it is very normal. So just drink water and it'll eventually come out. So yesterday, I chugged water and peed like crazy and lost 10 pounds in 24 hours! My feet are still swollen so I know I still have water weight, but they are better, my hands are better and my belly better. So all in all I'm down 15 lbs the first week and I had gained 25 with pregnancy. With my milk supply issues, the pediatrician wants to make sure I get enough calories, so I'm not counting on being down to my pre-pregnancy weight anytime soon...

Mr. Free:
He has been amazing!!! I can't state that enough! He is SUCH an incredible Daddy! He loves his son so much and I love getting to see him in this role! He has been invaluable at home. I think he got the "nesting" bug instead of me. He's been managing everything while I recover and feed Levi around the clock. I am DREADING when he has to go back to work! I wish we could win the lottery and both be stay at home parents!

So far, we've found some things we've used for either recovery or Levi that have been invaluable. Here's what has worked well for us:
-Depends. Yup, the old people diapers. After my c section, they gave me the infamous mesh panties and pad as big as a slip and slide. Well, with my "shape", my butt felt like a pot roast with that mesh string. Not comfy. I begged my mom to go out and get me some depends, as I'd read about it on some blogs. Holy cow...amazing! They aren't nearly as "crunchy" as I thought they'd be, felt good around my incision and I don't have to worry about messing them up! They are disposable! So anyone about to have a baby...pick up a pack. Seriously.
- Lactation consultant. Seriously USE THEM!! When in the hospital, use her as much as you can. Find a pediatrician with one in house. Our Lactation Friend has been SO helpful with all our new parent questions (and we have a LOT). She has seriously been our ANGEL.
-Soothee pacifiers. At first we didn't want to use a pacy with Levi, but at the hospital he came back from the nursery for a test with one in his mouth : / We noticed later he was trying to suck on his fingers, so we quickly converted to Team Pacy. When he's a bit older it is MUCH easier to get rid of his pacy than his thumb. Plus a NICU nurse at the perinatologist said they are actually the best pacifiers and help them reduce gas and help stimulate their oral development. Bonus!

-Boppy. We brought the Boppy to the hospital with us, which I'm so glad we did. It made nursing so much more comfy in that hospital bed and visitors used it when holding him so their arms didn't get tired.
- Pampers Swaddlers. We are still planning on cloth diapering, but Levi isn't big enough for them yet. We received a few packages at a baby shower and these are by far the best. The other brands leaked out and these have a strip down the front that turn blue when its wet. Nice.
- Iphone. The iphone has been my best friend in mommyhood. During late night feedings it keeps me entertained. Plus has lots of helpful
-iBaby Log app. This is free and looks SUPER cheesy. Like terribly cheesy. But it is actually a great tool. It helps you keep track of nursing, bottle feeds, diaper changes, feedings, doctor appointment, sleep, etc. Every mom needs this app with a newborn.
- Swaddle Me Swaddle. Levi loves being swaddled so we do this at night while he sleeps and it immediatly calms him down. Plus its easy to use. Just velcro baby up like a burrito!
- Video monitor and Snuza. I'm a nervous first time mom, so we snagged a Motorola Video Monitor on Kids Woot for just $59. It had great reviews and awesome features. We can always peek in on Levi with it (has night vision!) and is a 2 way system, so during the day if Im in there with Levi and Mr Free is elsewhere with the monitor, we can still talk. I can ask him to grab me a bottle, etc. And it always displays the temperature of his room so I can keep track if it's too hot/cold. The Snuza is a movement monitor that clips onto his diaper while sleeping. If it doesn't feel movement for 20 seconds an alarm will go off. Now, this isnt to say it can prevent SIDS, but sometimes baby's get into such a deep sleep they "forget" to breathe, and if the Snuza goes off, we can rush in and wake him up. We actually had a false alarm with it our second night home. It had just turned sideways and wasnt on his stomach anymore. Holy cow...we had never moved so fast! I yelled "SNUZA!!!" and jumped out of bed you would never know I just had abdominal surgery! Luckily all was well. It definitely helps me sleep at night.
- Swing. We bought a little travel swing on clearance at Target before he was born and it has been great! It seems babies either love/hate the swing. Luckily, ours likes it. It gives us a place to put him other than his crib so we can do something with our hands for a few minutes. He's a baby that likes his car seat and car rides too. Just likes movement.

So...that's our week! We had a great Valentine's Day with our new little Valentine. We just relaxed, ordered in some sushi and snuggled with Levi. Definitely memorable.

I can't believe he has already been here for a week!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Levi's Birth Story

Levi Patton Freeborn
February 8, 2012
7 lbs. 10 oz.
20 inches long

The long story:
An induction had been decided due to my blood sugars hitting major resistance since 34 weeks. The plan was to do an amnio at 37 weeks and if lungs were mature, induce. If not ready, wait and week then induce.
We did amnio (NEVER AGAIN!) and sure enough, not ready.
So the doctor scheduled the induction for February 8 at 6 a.m. at 38 weeks 1 day.
Had weekly appointment that week at 37 weeks 6 days and hadn't made any more progress (1 cm, 70% effaced) so OB decided for us to come in the next night for Cervidil before beginning pitocin next morning)
So, on the 7th I went to work like normal (which was strange), had the car packed and after work headed to the hospital!
We checked in at 6 p.m. on February 7th and got the Cervidil placed in at 6:45 after blood work, the IV put in and to be checked (again no more progress).
At around 7:30 my mom and sister visit and we hang out for about 15 minutes, and then I puke. Pretty sure it was from nerves.
Right after the barf fest, our best friends the Clarks come and visit. Nathan carefully monitors my contractions and gives his expert opinions : )
At this time I get really crampy and ask for some Tylenol.
At 8:30 I get the Tylenol and around 9 our guests leave so we can rest.
At 9:30 I get a sleeping pill to rest up for the big day.
Though the sleeping pill helped, I think nerves kept me awake.
And then I got even more crampy and rhythmic contractions.
At midnight I can no longer sleep through them so I was given some morphine to help me rest.
This did help me sleep, but baby didn't care much for it.
Nurses came in and had me switch positions to sleep in and baby was fine.
At 5 a.m. we are awake and the Cervidil is removed.
I feel woozy and throw up (once again) and hop in the shower.
At 5:45 I was allowed to eat a light breakfast (since Im of the few perks!)
and given nausea meds.
Again, at 6:00 am, I puke.
After that, the OB comes in and begins pitocin with the antibiotic since I'm Group B Strep positive.
I'm still feeling woozy.
At 6:30 the OB breaks my water (not very comfy...)
Around 7 I heard Anesthesia at the door, so I go ahead and ask for my epidural while they are there.
At 8 oclock I begin eating Popsicles and ice chips, getting very thirsty.
Not feeling any pain at this point, but still woozy and now itchy.
I'm able to sleep for 2 hours.
At 10:30 I am checked and now at a 3. Making some progress
At noon, still a 3. I start to get major pain and pressure down there, so they give me a bolus of pain meds.
At 1 I'm feeling nausea again so given more Zofran.
At 1:30 I am now between 3 and 4 cm, baby very low.
At 2:20 I am in lots of pain "down there" and ask for more pain meds, which they gave me another bolus.
At 3:30 I'm checked again and still no progress. The nurses start to talk about possible C-Section. They are concerned about baby's size.
My contractions had been inconsistent the entire time. They are thinking body just isn't cooperating.
At 4:45 the pitocin is upped to its max in hopes of pushing me beyond a 4.
At 5:30 I have this huge amount of pressure, like I need to take the biggest poop ever. Nurse is encouraged that I may have made some progress.
Nope...still a 3-4.
At 5:45, the pressure is unbearable. I asked for more meds and they gave me a morhpine boost.
At 6:15, I talk to nurses and OB about C-Section. They said that I've had the most Pitocin I can and still can't get past the 3-4 cm range, after 12 hours of Pitocin.
I have had irregular contractions the entire time.
The OB (who is VERY anti- c section) starts to think its going to happen at some point.
That if I'd like to continue laboring into the next day, I can and see what happens.
I am so miserable, I was telling Brian "never again, this is our only child".
We decide to give it another half hour and if I've made even a little progress, decide to keep laboring.
If no, progress, go ahead and proceed with C-Section.
At 6:45, get checked.
No progress.
OB declares it "Failure to Progress"
C-section here we come!
At 7 the anesthesiologists come in and prep me for spinal.
By 7:15 I am wheeled back to O.R.
Because of the pain meds and morphine boosts I'd had, I am having a very hard time staying awake.
They do the "poke test" on me to see if I'm numb and I can feel everything. Luckily they upped the meds and I'm fully numb.
Brian is suited up and comes into be with me.
Through out the procedure I am falling asleep and trying to wake back up....not wanting to miss the good stuff!
I feel LOTs of pulling and tugging. Very strange feeling.
He had gotten pretty low in the canal so they were having to yank him back out.
A heart monitor had been on him the whole time and I just kept listening to the heart beat for reassurance that our baby was OK.
Suddenly I don't hear the heart beat and start to worry. I ask Brian if Baby is Ok. He responded, " Can't you hear the baby crying?!"
At 7:35 p.m. the OB holds him up and proclaims, "It's a boy!!!"
Everyone is so excited!
Right then I fall asleep.
I saw a glimpse of him and was out.
Brian asks, " Did you hear that? It's a boy!"
And I responded "Yup."
(Have it on video...pretty funny)
After that I was out.
I remember feeling them stitch me up a bit and saying "Ouch. That hurts. Ouch" But then I'd fall back asleep.

When I wake up I'm in recovery and they are hooking me up with a morphine booster pack.
My incision is really burny and stingy at that point.
I look over and Brian is giving Levi his first bath and dressing him.
They said he weighed 7 lb 10 oz. (we were shocked! Everyone thought at LEAST 9 pounds!) and 20 inches long.
He got an 8 then 9 on his apgars and his first blood sugar was 71!
He was a healthy baby boy!
This whole time we have our family and friends filling the waiting room and I realize Brian hadn't gone to tell them the baby's sex yet!
(I asked that we tell the name when they come see him, so I can be there!)
Brian goes out and tells everyone it is a healthy baby boy and everyone is so excited!
We then get wheeled to our Mom and Baby room.
I am still so out of it, that the nurses asked to give him a bottle to ensure his blood sugar stays up as they are concerned of it crashing. I consented that he get formula until the next morning when I am more with it and can try nursing.
We first bring the grandparents in and Brian has a birthday cake he decorated

(We ordered a blank chocolate balloon cake from Costco and bought pink and blue icing to decorate appropriately!)
This is how we told people our new little man's name.

Levi Patton Freeborn
Levi- Brian suggested this name years ago when we first started "trying". We both loved it.
Patton- My maiden name. In honor of my Dad who passed away when I was 6.
After the grandparents we had everyone else fill the room.
Everyone took turns loving on Levi and sharing our extreme joy.
I couldn't believe he was here!
He was healthy!
He was adorable!
I am SO exhausted I fall asleep around 11 with a room full of guests. I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.
We stayed in the hospital for 3 more days and had constant visitors.
It was SUCH a blessing to see just how many people love Levi already!
We came home yesterday and have been adjusting to being new parents.
Brian is SUCH an amazing father.
It makes my love for him grow to a whole new level.

Thank you everyone who has prayed for us and with us during a journey to parenthood. It had its ups and downs but the end result is amazing. We are so blessed God chose us to be Levi's parents!
He is such a good and adorable baby!
We love him SO much!!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Last post before Baby!!!

How far along? 38 weeks!!!

Matenity clothes? Most certainly. However...I have rebelled in my last few weeks against maternity shirts. I am so over them. I HAVE to wear maternity pants, no way around that, but luckily I have lots of LONG pre-pregnancy shirts that I have been wearing. I just miss my old clothes.

Sleep? Not so much. My left hip (which I've always had problems with) has been hurting SOO bad. It hurts to sleep on it, it hurts to sleep on the other hip, even with a plethoria of pillows. I think it's just the nature of this stage of pregnancy. Preparing me for being up with a newborn. : )

Best moment of the week(s)?

- Everything is set up for baby. Everything is hung on the walls, the bags are packed, house is clean. We are ready!

- Got my "mom" haircut. My best friend and I had a girls day and went to the salon, shopping and Indian food! My hair was SO long and thick that it took forever to dry! I knew that with a newborn, something easy is what I needed! I really like the change!

- Knowing FOR SURE when Baby Free will be here! We are scheduled for induction at 6 am on February 8 (my best friends birthday!). Baby's lungs weren't ready for induction last week, as originally scheduled, but Baby WILL be here no later than February 8!

What I miss? I truly have enjoyed being pregnant. I feel very blessed to have been able to carry this child. But, now that the end of pregnancy is drawing near, there are a few things I told Mr. Free I am looking forward to, including:

- Sleeping on my tummy. Oh have I've missed that!

- Deli meat. I have already "ordered" a Mr. Goodcents sub after delivery!

- Non-itchy skin! I have a horrid rash on my stomach that itches SOOO bad! Dr. said it should go away after delivery.. I can't wait!

What I'm looking forward to?

- Meeting Baby Free! I can't believe Wednesday we will meet him/her! And I can't wait to find out if it's a him or her as well!!! I am so looking forward to seeing Baby's face for the first time. I can't wait to see if Baby has lots of hair like the ultrasound techs have said, and to see if the hair is red, brown or blonde! I can't wait to see if Baby Free has super chubby cheeks like they look on the ultrasounds. I just can't wait to meet this child! I'm also looking forward to seeing Mr. Free as a Daddy. I know I'm going to fall in love with him all over again.


Being full term!

We are going in TONIGHT to start the induction!!! So crazy! We will begin with Cervidil at 6, give me a big ol sleeping pill. Early tomorrow morning get an epi, pitocin and break my water. My OB is confident Baby Free will arrive tomorrow sometime!

I'm pretty nervous about the whole labor thing but know that God has brought us through this incredible and often scary journey to parenthood and that He will see us through to the other side! Can't wait to meet this precious child He has planned for us. It's so crazy...I'm going to be a Mommy!!!