24 January 2008


One day old.

So brand new. . .

So completely in love.

Photography compliments of jb-photo, otherwise known as my little brother.

17 January 2008

milk goddess

I have laughingly told you of my new “F cups” and touted how far they came to make that grade. I have mentioned to you that I make the milk to go with it. I was so not kidding. And, since this is my world these days, I want to tell you about being a milk goddess. No, really. I AM a milk goddess.

The morning after Baby J and I came home from the hospital, we had to go back to have his bilirubin counts checked (that story, you’ve already heard). My milk had come in the day before, and that’s all it takes for my poor little ladies to get completely engorged (thus finding themselves a size F ½ with all the pain to go with it). I dread this stage every time. Not only could I barely find clothes to fit my still jellied belly much less the now big boobies, the boobies HURT. Oh joy.

While at the lab, which is in the same section of the hospital as labor and delivery, I stopped into the tiny corner that houses a shop for women—breast feeding accessories and wigs for the ladies undergoing chemo as well as essential oils and a few other items. They carry Bravado bras, which I swear by, and they had lovely cold/hot gel packs to take down the incessant swelling (I bought a set and used them for several days!).

It was during the visit to this little shop that I began chatting with the lady working there, a lactation consultant. I was describing to her how excessively I make milk, that my babies cannot reach the hind milk and can never empty one side in a feeding (ultimately, yes, it just takes a bit of time and lots of work to achieve it). We discussed the many aspects of my milk supply. How horribly engorged I get, that I must pump it off or leak it out in order for my baby to latch on. I told her of letting down on both sides at the same time, using washcloths as nursing pads, and soaking t-shirts to the point of wringing them out. I exaggerate not, friends. All of this is true. Indeed, I had a pile (and a rather large pile at that) of burp cloths, receiving blankets, and wash cloths that I was using to soak up the incessant flow of milk in about 24 hour’s time. See, if it’s pumped off, the body reads it as needing to reproduce it and even increase it, just as with a baby eating it. However, if it leaks out (read: aforementioned cloths tucked into open bra as milk drips and spews forth), it will simply help it to decompress. (Let me put it this way: I pumped 3 ounces - a newborn’s serving size - just to relieve the pressure enough to let Baby J latch on, and I was still terribly engorged and full and after he had his fill.)

This is about when the lady said, “You’re what we call a milk goddess”. I seriously thought she was making it up, complimenting my production. She made a suggestion that I try block nursing—nurse exclusively on one side for 3 or 4 of hours whenever the baby wants, then switch to the other side for the same number of hours. She said one woman she knew had to do 6 hours. If I tried this, I should notice a milk reduction within 48 hours. I laughed and said I’d believe it when I saw it. This was vaguely familiar because I’d tried this with Miss C after reading about it. I don’t recall that drastic of slowing the flow then, but figured I could try again. Anything to speed up the relief.

She then gave me her card and said, “If you need any help or have any questions, feel free to call us. And be sure you tell us you’re a milk goddess because the rules are different for you.” Oh. She really meant it when she said I was a milk goddess. I started to feel pretty proud of myself! She also suggested I’d be a good candidate for donating to a milk bank. I’ve always loved that idea, but we’ll see how practical it is in time.

So, I went home and began trying the block nursing. I started nursing on one side only during 6 hours blocks of time (I figured that made the most sense because he’d easily wait three hours to nurse sometimes, thus defeating the intent), allowing the other to get very painfully full, thus telling it to slow production, then switching to the other side. It has been a week since I started this. A WEEK. Is there a reduction of milk? Absolutely. I still leak and spew; that will last six months, no lie. But, I can actually tell Baby J reaches the hind milk now. How can I tell? By the fact that 4-6 hours into a “shift”, I’m no longer massively engorged. That, and his diapers are no longer dark little poops…instead, they are the right color if not yet seedy enough. Definite improvement!

But they still hurt. And I don’t mean hurting from that first week’s worth of learning to nurse the new baby and teach him to latch on and crying out when he gets it wrong or can’t because it’s just too stinkin’ full; I mean the entire breast is sore from being engorged. I actually took Motrin last night in an effort to ease that just a bit! I still do get very full long before I’m due to switch sides since they both let down simultaneously.

All that said, I’m blessed and grateful. I have friends who cannot produce milk at all or only a little bit for a few months. It’s a battle and a struggle for them. I would much rather work to reduce my milk supply than fight to keep it up. So, instead of resentful, I am thankful for this overabundance. In fact, when Miss C was a baby, I pumped a small cooler full of milk for a friend to use with her baby. It was a gift I loved being able to give.

15 January 2008

birth story

*** this could be “graphic” and/or “TMI” for some***

I was 39 weeks exactly (no over-due business this time, though some of you may recall they'd planned to induce if I hit my due date).

I had started to feel "twinges" around 8:30pm, roughly 7 minutes apart, but almost entirely in the pelvic floor, so I just kind of monitored it casually for a while. I recognized this to be early labor which can come and go as it pleases for days or even weeks.

Around 10:30pm, I got some “bloody show” and gave my mom a heads up before she went to bed "just in case" since she lives a little distance away--better to have her come unnecessarily than not have her in a pinch. I called her back around 12:30am and suggested she shower and come on since nothing had stopped or eased up. I was feeling a little skeptical, but beginning to think maybe it would really happen. I rested a bit, one eye peering at the clock every few minutes when I felt the twinges which were gradually getting more noticeable. If nothing else, I knew I’d made some good progress toward having my baby before the due date, and that made me very happy.

At 1am, I glanced at the clock and about the time I decided I’d “skipped” a contraction and it was probably a false alarm (I was mentally trying to figure out if my mom would already be too close to turn around and head home; she actually was almost here), I felt a contraction that beat the others. Still not that bad compared to what I was waiting for, but suddenly they were 5 minutes apart; definitely a good thing my mom was on the way! I got up and piddled around, putting a few things away, laboring more comfortably on all fours as needed, and chatted with my mom some when she arrived. (Something you have to know about me: I chat and visit with anyone around while I labor. I’m happy to be having a baby, and I know that if I stay relaxed it will go easier. So, I keep mentally busy so as not to dwell on the contractions and such.)

By 2am, I had a few random "tiny" contractions (still all in the pelvic floor as far as "pain") at the 3 minute mark, in between the more noticeable ones. After checking in with the doctor on call, I woke my husband about 2:30am -- I'd let him sleep while he could since I knew one of us needed to...he was asleep before the bloody show and the less he knew the better he'd rest anyway, so he was pretty surprised when I told him to get up. I was a bit unsure about how much progress I’d been making, but knew I needed 4 hours of antibiotics since I tested positive for Group B Strep and I knoew I’d be fine laboring at the hospital for a while if necessary. After John showered, we headed out (he asked my permission about the shower, and I said if he was fast he could; then I laughed at him because he acted like he was going in fast-forward, so I told him to slow down just a bit).

We arrived at 3:30am and it took a half hour to check in; being a natural childbirther, I am adamant about relaxation during contractions and I’m guessing they didn’t think I was very far into it since I just kinda slumped onto their counter every 3-5 minutes and breathed slow and deep, then resumed our paperwork. So, I was in a triage room by 4am where they said I was at 6 ½ cm. At this point, I figured I had timed it really well since it took me almost 4 hours to go from 8 to 10 cm with my daughter. I got moved to a delivery room shortly after that, but didn’t get my antibiotics until 4:30am (they brought the wrong one and took forever getting the right one)! My midwife had said she’d be there for me (she delivered my other two), and came even though she wasn’t on call. She was there by the time the antibiotics were, and I was thinking she was so nice to come "wait it out" with me. When I told her that, she said she didn't think we'd make it four hours.

Around 5am, she checked me since I’d begun laboring pretty hard (though STILL only having 30 second contractions that were not nearly as intense as I was waiting for). I was at 9 ½ cm. HUH? She did clarify that since my bag of waters had not broken (which is one reason the labor was not so intense), it might be a little off since it could bulge through the cervix and make it seem more dilated than it really is.

I spent the next while cross-legged on the bed, leaning on my elbows. Something about dropping my belly low felt so good this time around. At home I’d been on all fours or squatting a good deal.

I transitioned in about ten minutes white sitting on the toilet, then squatting down in front of it. The contractions were suddenly on top of each other and my body began to feel like it was “pushing” of its own accord (though not to the point of a baby falling out).

My midwife checked me again and I was 10cm. I stayed on all fours on the bed, letting my body push for me for a while, as he finished dropping, It was so much easier. Also, my water broke very near the end of the laboring, as with my daughter. I didn’t have to put forth pushing efforts until he was trying to deliver himself, and then I pushed as I needed to, no one counting it out, not on telling me when or how. Once his head showed, I pushed for two and a half minutes. At the end of two minutes, my midwife was calling for a doctor to get in the room. She wasn’t as panicked as when I was delivering my daughter, but this was also the first time anyone directed me to push harder (and I kept thinking, as with my other deliveries, “HOW am I supposed to push harder than THIS??”). I learned a few minutes later that Baby J had been stuck, just as Miss C had been. Apparently, I have very difficult deliveries; at least it’s not my pushing abilities since I was starting to feel down on myself about that! Haha!

Yes, another shoulder dystocia. However, there was more time, a doctor handy, a somewhat smaller -- okay, considerably smaller -- baby (everyone keeps saying he's big...but I know better), a different birthing position, and as before, God's mercy. I pushed on all fours (a very, very funky way to deliver, I must confess), and both shoulders were behind the pelvic bones. It took two minutes from "head to dystocia", the doctor at the desk rushed in as I was told to flip to my side (his head was already out), my leg was shoved way up (as in I didn’t know it could go that high) and everything is a blur, but the doctor did something and out came Jonathan as I pushed a last time, without so much as a tear! (Compare that to my hour and a half of stitching through 5 layers with my daughter…whew!) He had the very short cord around his neck as well, so in spite of the super short labor and almost nonexistent pushing time, he managed to combine some drama from both my other births into one (Little B had a long cord wrapped three times around his neck!). I'm very thankful it was so fast... I wasn’t actually aware we’d had a dystocia situation, so when my husband kept happily saying that Baby J was moving both arms around, I kept thinking, “And why wouldn’t he be?”

Baby J was born at 6:30am, a mere two hours after getting my antibiotics (three hours after getting to the hospital) versus the four I was supposed to get. So much for making it to the hospital with plenty of time! They did keep us 48 hours to make sure he showed no signs of infection since his blood kept clotting and they didn’t want to repeat the blood work anymore. My mom told me later she had worried about me delivering at home and having to call 911. I guess she took my signs of labor more seriously than I did!

My sweet baby is an absolute wonder...I'm just as in awe of new life as I was with my first two.

For anyone reading this who is curious about the references to my daughter's birth almost three years ago, you can find that story here.

13 January 2008


Baby J is off the light table!

Saturday morning a nurse came out and drew his blood. His bilirubin had dropped 3 points, so they told me we could stop using the lights, but the nurse would return to do more bloodwork yesterday. If it was consistent and not going back up, they would consider his "phototherapy" complete. (If only phototherapy meant adorable pictures instead of isolating a baby onto a tiny table with blue lights radiating from it.)

I waited all afternoon for that phone call. Finally, at 5pm, I called them and the lady was SO apologetic -- I think she'd overlooked my name on the list of people to call. Anyway, the levels had dropped another point, so he was in the clear. Can I just tell you how wonderful it is to hold that sweet Baby J?? Scrumptious.

I will try to polish my birth story and post it today or tomorrow.

11 January 2008

small update

Yesterday, I turned 32 years old. For many weeks now, all I have wanted is to hold my baby in my arms on my birthday. Nothing else quite mattered. I was able to do just that and any time it actually occurred to my that it was indeed my birthday, my heart was so full knowing I had my baby available to hold and love at a moment's notice.

Our day was filled with blood work for his bilirubin levels and later an on-demand appointment because the levels were rising rather than dropping. Late in the evening, my birthday ended with my sweet Baby J on a "bilibed", crying his heart out while mine broke as it longed to comfort him more. We had a very, very long night. I am so tightly bonded to this little sweet boy. He is more restful and peaceful this morning, so I managed to make up for a bit of the lacking sleep earlier.

This picture is of him in his straight jacket that velcros to the Bilibed....boo hoo...he was chilled, so I put a folded blanket over top him for while. Later, he was too hot on his back while his feet and hands were cold.

In spite of the jaundice and the not being able to hold him as much as I'd like since late yesterday, I am still abundantly thankful for so much. He's home versus in NICU, he's generally healthy (jaundice aside, obviously), he's out of my belly at last, he's desparately loved and at least acts like he loves us back. :)

I do have my birth story almost ready to share since a friend asked for it via email a few days ago. I simply saved what I sent her and need to double check it. So, I promise it is coming soon. Oh, and for you ladies who could appreciate my abundant milk supply and severe growth after the milk comes in, I've one upped myself! A lactation consultant at the hospital measured me yesterday (when I stopped by after having Baby J's bili levels drawn). I was contemplating buying one more bra in the size I expect to be in a few weeks since I have very few. She warned me that being my third baby, I might stay bigger, not "drop back" to a D...therefore wait to buy the correct size in a month or so. My new measurement? 36 F (and a 1/2!!). I must look hilarious to those who know I'm truly an A, if that!!!

08 January 2008

baby j!

He's here!!

8 lbs, 13 oz

20 1/4 inches

and absolutely wonderful, of course

more in the days to come. . .