Saturday, April 16, 2011

Who's Up For Round Two?! ~Her Story

Within a few short weeks of N5 and I giving up on the nursing I was having to use the bathroom a lot and was having dizzy spells. I realized that I was pregnant. Michael, however, was in denial and it took me two weeks to convince him that I should take a pregnancy test just to confirm what I already knew. We bought a cheap test rather than a digital test. We thought it was positive, but the lines were so faint that we really could not tell for sure. I still knew, however. Vertigo set in the next day and it was really bad; I could only walk if I leaned against walls. Considering how much physical pain I was still in from N5's cesarean and how much I hated my body at that point, we consider J3's pregnancy and birth a complete miracle. I had this huge, ugly scar from the cesarean and had what I have now found out what most post-cesarean moms call cesarean depression (though, I would not figure this out until after J3 was born) and had so much physical pain at the site of the scar I was unable to wear panties and certain pants. In those eight months we had not come together romantically even eight times.

Throughout the pregnancy we debated between a repeat cesarean to repair the physical pain I had been enduring from the botched cesarean or just planning for a VBAC birth which we were given the option of. When it came down to it, we had decided a repeat cesarean would be best so I could [hopefully] be pain free again. 

On the morning of Friday, May 18, 2007, at 39 weeks and 3 days we went in for my scheduled cesarean. During the surgery I'd requested a mirror so I could at least witness the birth of our baby. Michael is quite squeamish so I was narrating to him what was going on. I told him they were about ready to reach in and pull out our baby. Well, they have to do a bit a prying and moving things around; they actually move something (not sure) out of the way, shoving it toward the lungs which makes it difficult to breath. Michael told me my face turned red. He asked me if I was okay and I told him I was fine. He passed out. When he came to, he squeezed my hand (the one with the IV...OUCH!). A nurse helped him up and led him out of the room. There I was at the mercy of the doctor and her surgical team...alone after a botched cesarean just 17 short months ago. While I was happy to see our baby be born, hear the announcement, "It's a boy!" "Wow! Such long eyelashes!" I was still terrified. I was alone. My husband missed the glorious moment of our second baby boy being born. I. WAS. ALONE. I hate to admit, I'd completely forgotten that I was not alone; I had God.

It seemed like the surgical team took forever to get me stitched and stapled back up. Eventually, I was wheeled into recovery and left with two different nurses than I'd previously met. Again, I was alone. My body temperature was not coming back up so I was kept in recovery for two and one-half hours. I requested my husband and my baby, but was denied over and over. I asked how my baby was and was told nothing. I asked how my husband was...nothing. I didn't even know if my husband was with our baby. Finally, after two and one-half hours, my body temperature came back to normal. Michael and J3 were allowed to come see me. J3 had been screaming the entire time; he was not a happy camper. As soon as he saw me he got quiet, opened his mouth and turned his head. He knew what to do and he was STARVING!

At just one day old, I'd realized that Joshua had "that cry." I'd heard it before; I knew what it was. Our pediatrician and the lactation consultant on staff at the hospital both argued with me as if I knew nothing, but I knew. They said it was too soon, that my baby had to have exposure to milk and soy proteins. I felt that me ingesting milk and soy while our baby was still in utero was good enough; not to mention, the colostrum was sure to have milk and soy proteins in it. I called Dietary to see if the hospital offered the MSPI diet. Thankfully, they had recently started working with local pediatrician offices to offer moms the MSPI diet. I began the MSPI diet with the following meal. By the next day, J3 was no longer screaming and was content.

The lactation consultant had come to inform me that our new baby had a "tight frenulum" meaning he was tongue tied and that it would be best if they could have permission to clip it so I would not have trouble nursing. We consented, of course. When they brought him back from clipping his frenulum, they reassured me that there would be no pain to the baby. Sure. Who are you kidding?! Imagine a paper cut under your tongue; I'm sure that's how he felt. I'm not a dummy; I know how sores in the mouth feel. It just needed to be done and I'm okay with that. J3 dropped more weight than the staff liked. Yes, when you cut a baby's mouth, he's not going to want to nurse as much nor as vigorously because it HURTS. I had to begin pumping or they would not allow my baby to go home with us. I would breastfeed J3, pump and finger feed, wash and repeat. We had to track his intake amount for finger feeding and "outgo" times. The four days in the hospital seemed like forever, but he was able to go home with us.

On our second day home a nurse came to conduct a home visit. We were settling in well. N5 was angry; he didn't understand why we'd suddenly left him with his grandparents for four days even though Michael went to tuck him in bed every night and brought him to visit each day. We had planned on him staying with us at the hospital, but I was so sick from the pain medications that I could not have him there even just at night. Once the anger had subsided, N5 seemed to adjust well. He climbed up onto the couch each time I'd nurse J3 (a vigorous nurser each hour and one-half) and I'd read him a book. Though I could not lift him, he still accommodated me well and we still got our bonding time. I felt so relaxed while nursing J3 and I was so in love with him that I realized then that I'd had depression after N5. Bonding happened so fast with J3 and was so much stronger. I'd cry happy tears and sad tears at the same time. I was happy to be able to bond with my Snuggly Bear, but was so disappointed that I was cheated out of that bonding with our N5.

One week after J3 was born we attended a family reunion on my mom's side of the family. J3 screamed the entire next day. Michael discovered that the buns for the sloppy joes contained whey which is a form of milk protein. It was confirmed: J3 was MSPI.

Though I was (and am even more now) against using any invasive/medication-type form of birth control, we'd chosen to have Mirena inserted because I felt I could not handle having another baby anytime soon. Little did I know, it wasn't a baby at all; it was that I could not bear going for another cesarean. Because I'd had two cesareans, I'd been told by several doctors I would have to birth any subsequent babies via cesarean. I was cheated, robbed...they'd broken my body.

Friday, April 15, 2011

What Mother's Instinct?

By his third day home, N5 was no longer the quiet, content baby we brought home. He wasn't sleeping, was inconsolable and was using an unbelievable number of diapers! Nursing N5 was just another chore like cleaning the toilets. I had no emotion for my screaming baby. I remember just staring at him, waiting for him to be done. I could never wait to put my baby down. He didn't like me either. I had to call Michael home from work on his lunch hour just to get N5 to stop crying. I could not wait to hand our baby over at lunch and at night. N5 could not wait to see his dad and get away from me. I didn't hate him or want to hurt him, but I certainly really didn't want to be with him. I still wanted to nurse and do my best for him, however.

Every first-time parent hears, "Don't buy any newborn-size diapers; your baby will grow faster than you can use them." That was not the case at our house! We used somewhere around six 96-count packs of NB size diapers before he could move on to the size 1 diapers. I sought advice with my mom and my mother-in-law. I was told that I am a new mom and newborns just cry. I remember thinking to myself, "My brother (6 years younger than me) and cousins (10 and 13 years younger than myself) didn't cry this much when they were new babies." When we took him in for his one-month appointment at the Pediatrician she asked how things were going. My eyes welled up with tears. I told her, "We love our baby, but we really don't like him." It's true. I had told Michael on the way to the appointment that maybe we'd made a mistake; maybe we weren't ready for kids. The doctor decided to test N5. She directed me to nurse him and then they'd take his dirty diaper for testing. After the nurse took the dirty diaper, the doctor was back in five minutes. Diagnosis: Milk and Soy Protein Intolerance (MSPI). My baby's tummy was being ripped apart because he was unable to digest milk and soy proteins. We were given copies of a strict diet I should follow to help my baby's tummy. No dairy, no soy.

Leaving the office, I felt so much better about my mothering instinct. I knew there was something wrong with my baby with all that crying, but I was convinced I didn't have the "Mother's Instinct" every mom talks about and that I was not going to be able to care for my baby the way other moms do. Within two days of changing my diet, our baby was much happier. He was not better completely. He still cried quite a bit and had some bad days with diapers, but we finally got into a routine. My milk supply took a direct hit, however. We'd have been able to work through it and nurse successfully had I not gone back to work full time. I dreaded every moment away from my baby. Alimentum at daycare and nursing at night. After two and one-half months of working full-time and a great promotion, I came home with N5 full-time. Unfortunately, my milk supply was hit hard enough we still had to supplement with formula which eventually turned into supplementing with nursing. By his 8th month, N5 worked for five minutes to get a gulp. I finally gave in and went full-time formula. I'd felt like a failure; completely defeated.

Failing with nursing left me with a lot of guilt, but I did the best with what I had and what help we could afford to seek out. My baby and I were in tune with one another and we communicated quite well by then. We could enjoy one another's company.

We Have a First-Timer Here! ...His Perspective

Wow so much excitement that morning where do I begin!!

I was 24 and my wife was 23 and both of us were thrilled to meet our baby! We took a breastfeeding class and an infant care class where we met our future pediatrician for our boys. Our birth plan was to deliver our baby naturally with no drugs. Unfortunately, we did not take a natural birthing class; we just read "Your Pregnancy Week by Week" book and had that whole "It's not going to happen to me" feeling about a cesarean delivery.

On the evening of December 13th right before I left work Jessica called me to let me know "tonight might be the night!" So when I got home Jessi called L&D at the hospital we were going to deliver at and told them that her bag of waters might be leaking so they had us come in. While we were in the waiting room it is like our baby knew, Jessi had a couple strong contractions and at that point Jessi knew.."this was it". So we got admitted to our L&D room and Jessi got hooked up to all the monitors. They laid her in bed and made her feel relaxed. At this point I am in a awe thinking wow this is really happening!! A nurse came in checked to see if Jessi was dilated at all, and she was. The nurse said Jessi was "1 finger and a wiggle".  I called my parents and told them this is it, I think we are having this baby tonight!! So a little while later in comes my parents and my brother. Our labor stalled having extra people in the room making things less relaxing for Jessi. Jessi's OB came and gave Jessi some Visceral to help her sleep and sent us home around 2:30am.

I slept pretty lightly when we were sent home from the hospital and woke up every time Jessi would move or had a contraction. Around 6:00am Jessi woke me up and asked if I could go get her a breakfast burrito, I asked for five minutes, then probably 10 minutes later she woke me up again, I again asked for 5 more minutes and so on until 7:30am(ish) then Jessi's water breaks, so here I am looking for a puddle of water on the bed, she hurries to the bathroom and asks for a new pad (we had the car all packed from the night before for our hospital stay) So I go out to the car and bring back a pad, thinking that just 1 will be fine. Jessi says "Just one?!?!?!" So back to the car I go and bring back the whole pack. 

I could not drive fast enough to the hospital, although the hospital is only 2 miles away it seemed like it was 200! So we get to the hospital and I can not find a close place to park, so here I am driving around this parking garage trying to find that close spot to the door which did not impress Jessi at all! So finally I find a place and we get into L&D. We get settled into our room and the nurse comes in and checks to see how far Jessi has dilated. The nurse then says "uh-oh, I think I violated the baby", Jessi and I look at each other and nurse gets another nurse for a second opinion, and sure enough our baby was breech! Our OB came in and told us that we are going to have to deliver this baby by c-section. What we absolutely did not want was now going to happen and at the time we did not know we had a choice whether or not to deliver by cesarean; we were the rookie, uneducated parents that did not know we had any rights. So before we knew it a nurse came in and gave me my scrubs and off to the operating room we went to deliver this baby.

The c-section seemed like it only took 5 minutes, we were so awe-stricken by the fact that we are going to meet our baby!! The c-section went smoothly during delivery, our baby came out at 10:07am with open eyes and very alert. I heard "It's a boy!" Jessi and I cried with excitement and while the nurses and our OB finished up with Jessi, I got to cut the umbilical cord and show off our new baby to my parents and Jessi's best friend. Throughout the day I could not take enough pictures of Jessi and our baby, I held him all evening and night long until 5:00am the next morning when Jessi convinced me to take him to the nursery so we could get some sleep.

All though we did not want to deliver our baby c-section it seemed like everything went okay except for a couple "bumps" along the road. Little did we know. It all started when Jessi was getting the epidural and the doctor was way too aggressive inserting the needle. Then 9 hours after our c-section the staples started to back themselves out! A nurse removed the center ones and replaced them with steri-strips. The rest of the staples were removed the day we got to go home. By the time we got home and somewhat settled in the incision had opened up to the fundus layer. Jessi had made an appointment for the next morning to go to her OB and get the incision checked out. Her OB comes in and is surprised that the staples did not hold which she then tells us that we were pretty much her "test dummy" and these were experimental staples. (WHAT?!?!) We were not impressed to say the least, we were not informed that they would be using experimental staples on us nor would we have even signed up for that! Had the incision not opened up we would have never known we were a "test dummy!"

Jessi had to get a ride from my brother to our OB's office everyday for the next week to have her incision packed as she could not drive for 2 weeks and I could not take all that time off work everyday. Luckily no serious infection set in and we got it checked right away. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

We Have a First-Timer Here! ...Her Perspective

What you'll find that we'll be writing about for the next few days, weeks and/or months is the journey we, Michael & Jessica, taken into parenthood and how it's affecting our decisions we're making for our family now. I am so thrilled to say that Michael is completely on board with giving his perspective so this blog is not just for moms, but also for dads as well.

To clarify, we have two children: N5 and J3. We're also expecting another baby very soon.

We were 23 and 24 when N5 was born. We wanted a natural birth, to be defined as a birth with absolutely no drugs and no induction. We took a breastfeeding class as well as an infant care class, but did not take a single class to prepare for a natural birth. Other than our, "Your Pregnancy Week-by-Week," book we didn't educate ourselves about pregnancy and natural child birthing.

On the evening of Tuesday December 13, 2005, I felt like I might be "leaking" so I called L&D at the hospital we'd chosen to birth at. They advised me to come in. Mind you, we'd been drilled by our doctor to go to the hospital as soon as my water broke and so we were well-trained patients by then. At exactly 7:00 PM we were sitting in the waiting room and I felt it. I knew what it was and it was the real thing. My first real contraction. We got in the L&D room and I was hooked up to the monitors and made real cozy, lying on my back. <Note: sarcasm> Within half an hour I'd dilated to half a centimeter and they'd determined that my water was not leaking. Michael's parents came to the hospital. Even though I did not want any other males in our room other than my husband, his dad and brother strolled on in. I became very uncomfortable and labor ended up stopping completely. My OB came in and gave me a Visceral to take and sent us home. Visceral is a smooth muscle relaxer. We went home and went to bed about 2:00 AM Wednesday, December 14.

At 5:30 AM I had a really strong contraction so I got up on my hands and knees to breathe deep breaths through it. When it was over I switched sides to sleep on. Another strong one at 7:35 AM, back to hands/knees/deep breathing, switch sides again. I asked Michael to go get me a breakfast burrito so I could eat before we got to the hospital. "Five more minutes, he said." Five more minutes became five more and five more an so on. At 8:10 AM another strong one. I got up on my hands and knees and heard the sound of a needle to a water balloon. Whoosh! I looked at a happily sleeping Michael and told him, "Well it's too late now. My water just broke." He looked on the bed to find nothing. He asked me, "Are you sure?" to which my reply was, "I'm pretty sure I'd know when my water broke!" See, I'd armed myself with a pad in my panties upon coming home from the hospital just in case.

We got to the hospital at around 9:00 AM. When the nurse checked me I was 4cm dilated and she says, "Uh-oh. I think we've got something." She called another nurse in for a second opinion. Our baby, at 41 weeks, was indeed breech. Our OB was called in and we were told we're having a cesarean. I didn't want a cesarean whatsoever, but I didn't know I had a choice. Doctors just love parents who don't educate themselves! They get to do whatever is easiest for them. They don't offer out that moms can refuse cesareans.  N5 was born in a jiff at 10:07 AM on Wednesday, December 14, 2005. Healthy, alert and came out with his eyes open.

The next several hours are a bit of a blur and there's really not much I remember; there are also pictures of us in the hospital to which I have no recollection. I didn't react well to the Demorol or the epidural. I remember trying to nurse my baby and it not working well. The lactation consultant grabbed my breast and my baby's head, shoving them together which was no help. She was getting impatient with me because I was not holding my baby correctly, but the epidural made it impossible. I could barely breathe and I could barely hold my baby at all.

Within nine hours of the cesarean the staples had backed themselves out of my skin incision, only in the first layer of skin. No, this does NOT hold a skin incision together. A few staples at the center of the incision were removed by nursing staff and I was steri-stripped together as best as possible. The remaining staples were removed the day we left the hospital and by the time we got home, the incision was open to the fundus layer. I had to go to my OB's office every day the following week to have the incision cleaned and packed with gauze. Mind you, I could not drive for two weeks and had to rely on my brother-in-law (Thank you, David!) to drive me to the office every day. I remember that first day in her office. When I showed her the incision she said, "Wow. It's open all the way to the fundus layer. I used experimental staples. You're so tiny they should never have done that. Guess I'll be saying, 'No,' to those staples."

Up until this time, I'd had a close relationship (as close as a patient can really be) with my OB. She was nice and she was doctor number five in four years of trying to find out what was going on with my body. She was the only one who listened to me. She revealed to me I have endometriosis, mainly on my right ovary which causes a lot of pain as well as a septated uterus. She also knew how much I did not want a cesarean. I felt so violated, so used, so betrayed. I had been her lab rat and was not asked for prior consent; nor was I informed prior. I still would not know about it if it hadn't gone so miserably wrong.

Beginning Our Journey

Hello all!

Thanks for stopping by. We are new at this whole blogging thing, but have been wanting to get one started for quite some time. We just could not think of a name which would be appropriate for everything we'd like to include. Because we don't have just one passion and we don't have the desire to try to maintain several different blogs, we wanted a name suitable for meshing everything that is us. We came up with "In Our Shoes" last night. "In Our Shoes" is a play on the old adage: "Before criticizing a man, walk a mile in his shoes." So, here we are! We'll actually be giving you our unique perspectives along the way; sometimes even both sides to the same stories. This blog isn't just for moms, but for dads as well. We hope you enjoy and that we will be an encouragement to you out there.