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Posts Tagged ‘breastfeeding’

Happy Birthday to Hannah

My day three years ago actually started two weeks before that… (Warning: birth story following)

I woke up on Easter morning, nearly nine months pregnant, the day after my sister’s wedding, to a little trickle that sure felt like my water breaking. I got up, more water. Then I had some bloody show. Anytime I moved around, more water. We called the midwife. She was unsure. “Sometimes this happens and your water isn’t really broken.” So, she came and checked. It certainly SEEMED like my water was broken, but there was no confirmation from that little paper test.

We had two options: 1, go to the hospital and have a more complex test done. If I tested positive, I would be admitted and induced within 24 hours to be safe from infection. I was 35 weeks pregnant (of 40). I would have a preemie. Or 2, I could wait, and hope to go into labor. Midwives in Colorado can deliver babies at home at 37 weeks, but due dates are always a little iffy (although I personally was positive of both of mine) She said every day made a difference, each day I could keep Hannah safely inside is another day for her lungs to develop. I was at a low risk for infection – no internal exams, no ahem…intimacy (don’t want weirdos finding my site), and no baths. I should say here, especially because of the bloody show, everyone expected me to go into labor within a couple of days.

After that everything became a blur. I would absolutely soak a pad an hour, sometimes through my pants. I was vaguely aware that my water must have broken for real, but didn’t know what to do differently. My belly was smaller than it had been. We did an ultrasound every couple days to make sure there was enough fluid. We were fine. I drank more water than I’ve ever drank in my life, to keep those fluid levels up. I would begin having contractions in the middle of the night every other night, and they would get to 5 minutes apart and then stop as the sun came up. Finally, after nearly TWO WEEKS of this, we drove the 45 minutes to Dr P for acupuncture to start my labor.

Dr P does electro-acupuncture, meaning he hooks up a faint electric charge to the needles. It is more powerful stimulation. During that process (which I’d had before and have had since – it started my labor with Audrey, finally), I blacked out. With my history of seizures, everybody got really scared. My blood sugar was low because I hadn’t eaten recently, and I was just so wiped out.

Then we went home and waited. We called the midwife who said since we had done acupuncture, maybe (intimacy) would help speed the process along? That was Saturday.

At 3am Monday morning, I woke up with a bit of a start. It took a while to figure out what had woken me. I got up and went to the bathroom and realized I was shaking and shivering uncontrollably. I was also having contractions that felt stronger than they had before – still not painful, but strong. I took my temperature and it was 103.5! We called the midwife, panicking a little. She had me take some tylenol and get in the bath to hopefully calm things down. An hour later I still had high fever and solid contractions. It was time to go to the hospital.

The day before, we had a spring blizzard. There was about a foot of snow in our apartment parking lot. We weren’t at all sure we could even get out. Nick went and started the car (it was around 5:30am by this point) and worked to clear the car off. In his hurry he didn’t take any gloves. By now my contractions were 3 minutes apart for the first time. I was finally in labor.

We had a normally 15 minute drive to the hospital. The streets were solid ice so it took us nearly 30. Nick’s hands were so cold he was practically yelling with the pain. I continued to have contractions. On the way I vividly remember seeing a picture in my head of me having a c-section. I didn’t know what that would look like, but that was it, and I had a feeling that was what was going to happen. I tried to push the thought aside, but there was also some comfort in knowing ahead of time that’s what might happen.

When we got to the hospital, I walked in and told them I was in labor. I was more afraid of the hospital than the labor. I was very calm so they took their time. When they hooked me up to the machine, there were my contractions. The nurse actually had the nerve to say to me, “do you know you’re having contractions every three minutes?” Duh.

I was on the monitor for about an hour when the doctor came in. Hannah’s heart rate was not doing well with the contractions. I was dilated only to 3. It was time for the c-section.

They wheeled me into the OR, put in the epidural (which hurts like anything when you’re not already hurting) and Hannah was out in seconds with the cord wrapped around her neck. They held her next to my head for a few seconds, and then whisked her away. Nick walked over to see her while they were bathing her and happened to look behind him at my opened-up body. I did not want her to be alone, so Nick went with her while I went to recovery. While in recovery, with the sudden sensation of my empty body, no baby, and no husband, I went into shock. I was shaking uncontrollably again, and crying. They sedated me and I went to sleep.

The midwife finally arrived while I slept. She had been snowed in, unable to get out of her driveway. My family came and I woke up a little, enough to say things that made no sense and make everybody laugh. Five hours later I finally came to and began asking about my baby, who was in the NICU. It took an hour to find a nurse who would say, “oh yeah, as soon as she can get into a wheelchair she can go see the baby.” I was PAINFULLY in a wheelchair in 2 minutes.

Nursing was tough. Hannah was only 6 lbs, 2 oz, and she just didn’t get it. It didn’t help that I had to try to nurse for the first time in the NICU, with screens set up for privacy. The lactation consultant kept hovering saying things like, “if she doesn’t get it, we can always give her a bottle of formula.” I know she was trying to help, but I eventually snapped, “This is how we’re doing it.” After that she left me alone. My mom was there helping coach me. I couldn’t sit there all day, so I had to leave my baby alone in that room. They kept telling me to sleep and let them take care of her, but I got up every 2 hours while we were there and went to the NICU to nurse her. When I couldn’t, I was pumping with the awful hospital pump. (Crying for the first time here.) We had lots of wonderful visitors and flowers and the nurses were kind for the most part.

On the third day we were going to go home. They had to take the staples out of my incision. They were training a nurse who was in school and she pinched me with the pliers and I screamed. Repeatedly. Then the results of Hannah’s culture and the placenta’s culture came back. The placenta was totally infected, which was the reason for the fever. Hannah had no infection whatsoever. That was a miracle. They had given her antibiotics preemptively but took her off when she turned out to be okay. We went home, finally. C-sections and particularly recovering from them, stinks. We slept a lot. With all that trauma, bonding with Hannah was tough. I remember the feeling, “where did this baby come from and why do I have to take care of her?” I missed being pregnant! It was many months before I didn’t cry every time I thought about it, and I don’t think I fully healed until Audrey was born – a VBAC at home. I still wish it had been different. I am thankful though, that we were healthy and safe. It was quite the ordeal. And it didn’t really end there. Hannah was back in the hospital with RSV at 5 weeks old. But that’s another story.

This is a long story – I had lots to tell! Thanks for reading it.

So, happy birthday to our Hannah. In spite of her tough beginnings, she is an incredibly sensitive, thoughtful little girl. She watches out for other people. She loves to think about things and do projects. She is already a worshipper. She is the baby I prayed for and longed for. We knew her name was Hannah Kay before she was even conceived. Her name means Grace of God, rejoice!

Today we are opening presents and having cake. Tomorrow (when the snow melts) we’re setting up her new swing set and playing outside hopefully. Happy Birthday Hannah!

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Diet for moms

Betcha thought this post was about how to lose weight. Well, it’s not.

Kim at Starry Sky Ranch posted a series a while back about Home Management Notebooks. This, I have found, is a secret of moms with lotsa kids. They don’t keep it all in their heads – they write out everything they know. 🙂

Anyway, this morning I was looking through the info I downloaded from her. One of the things she included was a “WAP diet for pregnant and nursing moms.”

Before copying it here, I want to make a couple of observations. First, midwives all over know that this diet keeps pregnant women from getting eclampsia. The high blood pressure issues that cause doctors to induce labor to “keep the mom and baby safe,” (even though these inductions often end in c-section, but that’s another post) these issues can be solved through just a couple of days with a diet like this. You must have protein and fat to make a healthy baby. Nursing is a similar story.

I ate similarly to this during both pregnancies, gained about 30-35 pounds both times, and lost it easily by four or five months postpartum, partially thanks to breastfeeding. I had no swelling whatsoever, and my blood pressure never went above 118/80 ish.

So, here’s the diet, straight from Kim’s download:

Diet for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers

Cod Liver Oil to supply 20,000 IU vitamin A and 2000 IU vitamin D per day

1 quart (or 32 ounces) whole milk daily, preferably raw and from pasture-fed cows

4 tablespoons butter daily, preferably from pasture-fed cows

2 or more eggs daily, preferably from pastured chickens

Additional egg yolks daily, added to smoothies, salad dressings, scrambled eggs, etc.

3-4 ounces fresh liver, once or twice per week

Fresh seafood, 2-4 times per week, particularly wild salmon, shellfish and fish eggs

Fresh beef or lamb daily, always consumed with the fat

Oily fish or lard daily, for vitamin D

2 tablespoons coconut oil daily, used in cooking or smoothies, etc.

Lacto-fermented condiments and beverages

Bone broths used in soups, stews and sauces

Soaked whole grains

Fresh vegetables and fruits

AVOID:

  • Trans fatty acids (e.g., hydrogenated oils)
  • Junk foods
  • Commercial fried foods
  • Sugar /White flour
  • Soft drinks
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Cigarettes
  • Drugs (even prescription drugs)

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Interesting

A news story I came across today. I have to say, I like that she won. If she wants to continue to breastfeed, she really can’t go for 9 hours without it. Nice to see courts supporting her decision to do that. If you ask me, the fact that she is taking a medical licensing exam when she has a 4 month old might not be the wisest choice she could make, but that’s another blog for another day.

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Breastfeeding

Did you know that even if you have adopted, or allowed your milk to dry up, you can still breastfeed? I came across this really interesting page today that tells how to reestablish milk supply after it is gone or almost gone. (It also has links to lots of other fascinating info!)

I have so much sympathy for women who have had a tough time breastfeeding – all odds are against them in our culture. It seems like MOST women have never seen it done. I had the blessing of growing up with it in my home and in my extended family. I remain convinced thus far, that anyone who wants to can breastfeed IF they find the right support system. Even if you have to start from scratch, it can be done!

And by the way, kellymom.com is just generally a fantastic resource when it comes to breastfeeding.

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Ha!

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