Tuesday, April 03, 2007

How I'm doing

We have had a lot going on the last two weeks, and I have taken very little time to post, or even read my email. So far, I've posted a couple of times about Trystan. There's quite a bit more I could mention, but first, I think I'll answer a question that I get a lot: How am I doing? :)

Let's start with Trystan's birth. As I posted previously, I was hoping to have a VBAC this time. To this end, I didn't want any induction, or drugs to help contractions, or pain relief, as all of these things can make you more likely to end up with interventions. After going in and out of labor for a week or so (including a couple of false-alarm trips to the hospital), I finally went into real labor Wednesday, March 21. Early in the day, I took Charlotte to the zoo with a friend and her son, hoping to enjoy the beautiful spring weather, and to walk myself int labor, and it worked. By evening I was having contractions that were pretty regular. Around 2:30AM the contractions were strong enough to keep me from sleeping, and I labored at home on a yoga ball and walking around until closer to 4. We drove into the hospital, and I was told that I was at 4cm dilated, but that the baby's head was still pretty high. I labored all morning, and by 10AM, they checked me again, and I was still 4cm dilated, with the baby's head not at my cervix. At this point, I talked to my OB, and he suggested that we go ahead with a C-section, as my contractions (which were painful and regular), were not successful at moving the baby down. I think that was a good decision, as I was tired but not yet exhausted, and I'd been laboring for like 6 hours with no discernable change. I remember this C-section a lot better than I do Charlotte's because I wasn't as exhausted to start (not having labored for 17 hours and pushed for 2 more). Trystan was born at 12:52PM. I think my hip bones are not built to allow a baby's head out...a 6.5 pound baby got stuck, and the 7lb 12oz one never even made it to the birth canal.

The first 24 hours went pretty normally--I was a little nauseous after the delivery, but was able to nurse Trystan fairly quickly (we didn't yet know that he shouldn't be eating). By morning, my OB stopped by and OK'd solid food for me, so I didn't have to spend a day on "clear liquids" like I did last time. Mid-morning on Friday, they removed my catheter and I was able to hobble to the bathroom without assistance--I felt MUCH better and stronger than I had after Charlotte was born. That turned out to be a huge blessing, as one of the nurses discovered Trystan's lack of an anus around noon, and he was on his way to St. Louis Children's hospital by 1 or 2pm, and I could ride in a wheelchair down to the nursery to say goodbye to him before he left. I cried a lot Friday afternoon. My husband and my mom rode with Trystan to the other hospital, but I had my baby sister (she's 10) to keep me company until my mother-in-law came with Charlotte around dinner time.

Friday night, I took a shower and put on a fresh nightgown of my own, and slept OK. The nurses had brought a breastpump into my room as soon as Trystan left, and I took comfort in pumping for my baby since I couldn't hold and nurse him. Saturday morning, my OB came by and discharged me so I could go to Children's for Trystan's surgery. He, along with our family pediatrician, and all of the doctors and chaplain at Missouri Baptist were all wonderful. The nurse loaded up a cart with diapers, nursing pads, bottles, and pads for us to take home. My in-laws brought me clothes and drove me to Childrens.

I spent the next couple of days being wheeled around Children's in a wheelchair, relaxing in the recliner in Trystan's room, hobbling down the hall to the NICU's pump room, and sleeping in my own bed at night after kissing my daughter goodnight. By the Tuesday after Trystan was born, I was in good enough shape to walk (slowly) in from the parking garage instead of taking a wheelchair. By Thursday, I was able to skip the stronger painkiller and just rely on ibuprofin, so I could start driving myself to the hospital.

I am beginning to feel like a milk cow. I was instructed to pump 6-8 times a day to help my milk come in, including at least one time overnight. I have a good breastpump at home from when Charlotte was still nursing, and I can use the hosptial-grade ones in the NICU while I am there. Like my general speed of recovery, my milk supply has been a bright spot during the last two weeks. I nursed Charlotte until she was nearly 20 months old, and my milk came back in quickly, and with a vengeance. I am currently getting 6-8 ounces at every pump, which is probably twice what Trystan would be eating. I'm afraid to back off of the pumping too much, because it will be hard to rebuild later. In the mean time, we've dedicated a whole shelf of our deep freezer to the milk that I'm pumping at home. I also have a lot of milk at the hospital that I pumped while Trystan was not yet eating. I guess I won't have to stress about having enough stored milk when I go back to work in a couple of months... Now that Trystan has finally started breastfeeding again at the hospital, I'm not pumping as much there, and what I do pump is stored in a refrigerator for overnight feedings. Amusingly enough, I didn't start leaking any milk until he started nursing again, and now I have to watch my shirt after I feed him to make sure I'm still decent.

In general, I'm feeling pretty good. I am not crying all the time--I won't pretend that I'm happy-go-lucky at the moment, but I don't seem to have the baby blues. I'm able to walk and drive and am getting better at bending and stretching every day. My milk is not a source of stress. I'm able to spend my days sitting next to my baby, holding him and nursing him, much like I would do at home. I am looking forward to spending my evenings and nights with him also, which will hopefully be soon!

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