Monday, February 26, 2007

WIlliam versus Boob: the saga

Everyone always says to sleep when the baby sleeps, but how does one do that when baby refuses to sleep anywhere but your lap? I may not be able to sleep sitting up, but I can blog. Anyhoo, I promised to blog about William's trouble with boob juice. So here it is.

There's a lot of propaganda going around about the wonders of breastfeeding. A photocopy of "101 reasons to breastfeed" was thrust upon me several times at prenatal classes, and once again at the hospital. They were preaching to the converted. My Mom breast fed me and my sibs, and my sister had no trouble getting my nephew to chomp at the boob. Besides, why would someone who hates dishes as much as I do spend her life needlessly scrubbing bottles?

The breastfeeding propaganda machine has some golden rules about boob-feeding:
  • Give your baby the boob the moment he's born. He needs to get to learning right away.
  • Don't give baby pacifiers or bottles until he's six weeks old. Otherwise he'll get nipple confusion, and never learn to boob-feed properly.
  • Formula is evil.

I broke rule number one right away. When William was born the nurses and doctors were carrying him all around, weighing him and measuring him and cleaning him. I trusted that someone would hand me my baby at the appropriate time, but two hours later he still hadn't tasted booby. When I finally tried to feed him he screamed and wouldn't latch. I figured I was doing it wrong, and decided to wait until baby and I had some some sleep before trying it again. (Birth is tiring business).

Later, every nurse in the hospital had a turn teaching me how to hold my boob and position William properly for a good latch. Sometimes he would latch on for a split second, just long enough for the nurse to go "Good" and walk away. But he always started crying as soon as she was gone.

For those of you who have never breastfed before, I should give some background on how the whole process works. You don't randomly turn into a cow, what comes out of your nipples immediately after birth is a teeny tiny bit of clear gooey nothingness, which is supposedly the best thing to feed your baby. The nothingness is called colostrum and will make a baby immune to everything and will cause him to grow up to be a genius. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to motivate a newborn to suck and suck his little cheeks out for the benefit of less than a millilitre of liquid. Amazingly, most babies do get it. I know this because I shared a hospital ward with three other mothers and got to hear them happily nursing their babies day and night.

One nurse brought me an electric breast pump to try out. Two scary-looking plastic cones with baby bottles attached to them are hooked up via tubes to a serious yellow thinga maggig. All you have to do is hold one cone to each of your nipples and use your third hand to turn it on. When activated the pump will go to town and suck the all-important gooey nothingness out of your boobs and into the bottle below. And since you asked, yes, this process is exactly as uncomfortable as it sounds. And it doesn't work. After fifteen minutes of nipple tug-o-war I was left with barely a drop in the cone, and none in the bottle. I gave the drop to William using my finger, but who knows if he actually swallowed it?

I cried the first time I gave him formula. Not only had I broken the "formula is evil" rule, but I'd waited so long to give him any that he must have been on the verge of becoming a pot-bellied Ethiopia baby. It was one of those "you're a bad mother either way" type of decisions. I had this perfect little baby and I was already ruining him.

The hospital where William was born (also where my nephew was born and where my grandmother spent a two months before getting into a nursing home) has a breastfeeding clinic. The word "clinic" brings to mind a sterile doctor's office, but in fact it's a room full of comfy couches, pillows, and wall to wall breastfeeding propaganda, where everyone knows your baby's name, but calls you and your husband Mom and Dad. They have a clever way of seeing how much your baby is eating by weighing him before and after a feed.

The breastfeeding police gave me a "plan" which was basically what I was doing anyway. They said to give him a little formula or expressed breastmilk to settle him, then try to boob feed. They also said to pump after every feed to keep my supply up (cause, you know, if baby doesn't drink boob, boob dries up). My husband bought me a hand pump, which was a gazillion times more comfortable than the electric pump, but might be giving me a bit of carpal tunnel. Whatever. The point is that the breastfeeding police thought it was okay of me to give formula, so I wasn't a bad Mom after all!

Unfortunately William had started to really love the bottle and really hate the boob. It got to the point where just lying him next to my breast would cause him to freak out. He would get so mad that even his toes looked angry. The breastfeeding clinic gave us some stuff to try: a syringe to inject milk into his mouth while he was latched on to trick him into thinking he was getting more milk than he actually was, a "shield" to put over my nipple to make it more like the bottle. The syringe didn't work at all because William never latched long enough for me to inject the milk. The shield worked a little but not consistently, and it was awkward trying to hold it on. Plus it got all gungy and caused me to leak milk all over my hand.

Sometimes, randomly, William would just get it. He would latch, drink for a good forty minutes, and I would think our problems were over. Then the next feeding we were back to freak out baby.

The breastfeeding clinic also noticed that William has a tongue tie. This means that that bit of skin that attaches your tongue to the bottom of your mouth is too far forward and makes it hard for William to stick his tongue out and feed. The breastfeeding police said that this happens in four percent of babies (lucky us) and that midwives used to keep one finger nail longer than the others so they could cut it (very hygienic). It might sound weird, but I felt relieved to hear about William's tongue tie. It meant that his difficulty with the boobs had nothing to do with my waiting too long after birth to introduce him to my nipple, and wasn't related to my getting an epidural. My boobs weren't too big, my nipples weren't too flat, and my technique wasn't flawed.

One thing I did that I think may have helped, is I laid him next to my boob after he had finished feeding from the bottle. I figured he would begin to associate the boob with being all full and happy instead of being all hungry and frustrated. Who knows if that worked, or if it was something else, but last Thursday, when William was exactly one week old, he began feeding from the breast tongue tie and all. It was also the day his umbilical cord fell off. My little baby's growing up!

So there you have it, my baby is a genius. We're still waiting for a referral for an ear, nose and throat doctor (with long fingernails) to look at the tongue tie. Now that William's feeding, though, there's really no urgency.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Super Happy Mom

I know you're all dying to hear about my motherhood experiences. I tried blogging about them a couple of days ago but couldn't get past one sentence before William demanded my attention, loudly. Loudest baby in the hospital ward. I'm so proud.

Not sure if I'll finish this entry before feeding time, but I'll try. I've had so many of those life experience thingies people talk about since I last posted.

The Labour

Since I've been blogging about my labour terror for ages, I'm sure at least five of you are dying to know how it went. All of the following statements are true: It wasn't that bad. It sucked. It was the bizarrest experience of my life.

Everyone always asks how long labour was. I can't really answer this because I'm not sure of the official beginning. I woke up at around 3 or 4 am, with mild contractions, but was I officially in labour? I dunno. I went to the hospital at 8 am, my induction appointment time. The moment we got there my contractions had miraculously stopped and I was like the girl who cried labour.

So my doctor stuck his finger way up where a finger should never go to check my cervix. Just to put things in perspective, I find these internal checks to be way more uncomfortable than contractions. Anyway I had only dialated a finger width, not offically a centimeter.

So he put in some magic gel to get things going, meaning he had to keep his fingers up my woohoo for an extra long time. Fun. After that my contractions started up again with gusto.

Be right back... I gotta go check on my baby. Still sleeping soundly in his rocking swing. Now where was I?

Contractions. The are like strong period cramps (if you're a guy, period cramps are somewhat similar to bowel cramps). The pain is not as bad as the marathoness of them. They come every 2 minutes, last 30 seconds, and it goes on like that for hours. After the gel they monitered my contractions for a bit using the same contraption used for the non-stress test then they sent me home.

A few slices of pizza and some episodes of Voyager later we went back to the hospital. They had told us to come back at 4, and it was only 2:30. But my contractions were so ouchie that I felt better being at the hospital. I watched some Deep Space Nine on a portable DVD player and got visits from my entire family. They checked me and I was 2 centimetres.

Gotta check on baby again... That swing is brilliant.

The contractions stayed pretty regular and didn't really get worse, but I started to feel uncomfortable between them. And I got all shakey. And I puked up the pizza (which is good because I found out later that you aren't supposed to eat during labour. Something about choking yourself with vomit in the event of a C-section).

I think it's time to feed the baby. Before he starts wailing is good...

...Well that took a long time. Like, hours. I basically just spent the entire day with a baby at my boob (more on that later).

Five hours went by. I was so fed up with the contractions that even Star Trek trivia and Deep Space Nine couldn't console me. The nurse checked my cervix and I was still only 2 centimetres! Then the doctor's intern checked and she said I was 3 centimetres. It had been forever and I hadn't progressed more than one centimetre! I was so discouraged, I thought the baby would never come! This is when I asked for the epidural.

They had to give me an IV for the epidural. So they bruised up one arm trying to get the needle in, and ended up putting it in the other arm. Now I have a hideous, and unnecessary, bruise on my wrist. No biggie.

Adam had to leave the room for epidural time and the nurse and anesthesiologist and I had to wear shower caps, so I knew this was serious business. I sat on the edge of the bed with the nurse sort of holding me while the anesthesiologist washed my back, then she (the anesthesiologist) stuck me with a needle. This was the freezing needle. She said it was going to feel like a bee sting. It felt like a needle, which when you think about it is really the same thing. Then the nurse and the anesthesiologist made a big deal about how I wasn't to move while they put an even bigger needle into my spine. Duh, thought I. So in it went. I flinched. I couldn't help it. It hurt. The anesthesiologist got a bit annoyed at this. She had to try again. Don't flinch, I told myself, then flinched anyway. Finally it worked, and caused no permanent paralysis I might add.

For any of you ladies who are about to go through this process, I gotta tell you, get the epidural. Get the epidural as soon as you can. Like, if you can get it a month or two before your due date, go for it. But seriously, the moment that epi kicked in I wanted to kick myself for not getting it earlier. Whoever invented this stuff is a genius. It numbs the pain from the belly down, without taking away the feeling. As a test, Adam put an ice cube on my leg. I could feel it, but it was like it was mad of plastic or something because it didn't feel cold.

By this time I was so tired I was able to sleep even though I had more tubes coming out of me than a borg drone. Since I couldn't feel any contractions at all, the doctor chucked some magic juice in my IV to turn them into super duper kick ass contractions. A glance at the machine that was monitering me told me that my contractions were off the scale, with barely any time between them.

They woke me up at about 1:30 am to check my cervix. Do what you like, said I, I can't feel anything down there anyway. I was 8 centimetres. Sweet! Around this time I started to feel like I had to take a big poo (only it was really a baby, disguising himself as poo).

Dinner time... For me not baby. Back to blogging later...

Ah delicious manocotti courtousy of Mom (or should I say Omi).

Anyway a half hour later they checked my cervix again and I was ten centimetres. Five hours to dialate one centimetre, half hour to dialate two. Thank you magic juice. For those of you who have never watched television, ten centimetres is when it's time to push out that baby.

I really really felt like I had to go poo. I didn't feel that urge to push people talk about, though. Think about it, no matter how badly you have to go, most people don't feel the need to go all over the bed when they can't make it to the toilet. So I didn't push until the nurses told me too. When it was time to poo out the baby, the nurse brought in a big mirror so I could see what was going on. Odd. I have never seen myself from that angle before. But then, oddness is the name of the game at this point. Giving birth is by far the bizarrest experience of my life.

As I started pushing I could see a little bit of hair, presumably the top of my baby's head. I knew it was a baby coming out, but in the same kind of back of my mind way that I knew all through pregnancy that he was coming out my woohoo. The kind of knowledge you have without really believing it. Anyway. I looked away from the mirror a moment and closed my eyes and pushed. When I looked up again there was a head between my legs. A whole head. A real human head sticking out of my privates. Surreal. I don't really remember pushing the rest of him out, I must have because he isn't there anymore. Seeing that head was just too bizarre.

Afterwards a bunch of stuff happened. I birthed the placenta. I got stitches in the naughty area. Turned out the sneaky student doctor cut my woohoo with scissors when I wasn't looking, that made me sore later, let me tell you. My doctor came in five minutes after the kid was born and pretended he had delivered the baby. Anyway the whole time all this was happening I was watching my baby being cleaned and carried all around while he screamed and screamed. I kept telling myself, this is my baby, this is my baby. But it was all too surreal.

Okay, so I was going to blog a bit about motherhood, particularly William and my difficulties with boob feeding, but I'll leave that for another time. Mainly because this blog entry is getting to be almost as long as the labour itself! In the meantime check out for some pics of my new kid. Oh, by the way, William was offically born at 2:41 am on February 15th.

Friday, February 16, 2007

More Pictures

Everyones doing well
Jen will hopefully be home tomorrow (Saturday)
Here is another Pic!


PS. Sorry im not as wordy as Jen.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

It's a Boy!

Would like to introduce

William Adam McNicoll Filipowicz
Born Feb 15, 2007 2:42 AM
Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital in Burlington
8 lbs 13 Oz.

More details coming soon.
but this will do for now

now for some sleep


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Last Night in the Womb

So today was my last day to not be a mother. While technically I suppose I'm a mother already, seeing as I have a full grown baby inside of me, but I haven't done much mothering. The placenta is a darn good baby sitter and the poor thing is about to be cast aside like a gross mushy organ (because that's what it is, don't get all sentimental).

You'd think we'd do something special to commemorate our last day as a couple before we become a trio, but not so much. I did apply for mat benefits today (finally got all my records of employment in order to do that). I only mention this so I have a written record of when I applied, so I can measure the government's response time.

The whole thing feels so surreal. I can't believe that tommorrow morning I'm going to the hospital, and leaving a few days later with a baby and an empty belly. I'm going to be a Mom. That's craziness.

Here's my last preggers belly shot:

Monday, February 12, 2007

V-day induction

Since I'm still as pregnant as ever, I went to see my doctor this morning. We talked about induction. I said before that I wanted to wait, but that was before I felt all sore and uncomfy. So on Wednesday, which is Valentine's Day, I'm going into the hospital to have my son evicted.

Of course, I could go into labour on my own before then, but I've lost faith in my body's ability to ever go into labour on its own. Thoughts about this decision to induce:

Valentine's Day is a good day to be born. He'll be my little Valentine.
Am I being an impatient wimp to have given up the waiting?
It's really going to happen. Oh dear.
Maybe I'll go into labour before then. How 'bout now. Or now. Or now.
What if I'm not ready?
What if my baby's not ready?
What if it hurts more because my body isn't ready?
What if it takes longer because my body isn't ready?
Now I'll never know if I would have ever gone into labour on my own.

So that's it. I'll have baby pictures to post sometime soon.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

New Hair

Today's project to keep my mind off my impending labour was to get a fabulous new hair cut with some subtle highlights. It's been a while since I've got my hair done and I want my baby to brag to all the other babies about how beautiful his mommy is.

So here's the before picture:

And here's the after picture:

Hey, I said it was subtle. Anyway my husband thinks I'm pretty. Now I just have to change my shirt to get all the itchy hair bits off of my neck.

And here's a pic that just happened to be in my camera of Adam holding Becca and Drew's son Aedan. Doesn't Adam look like a natural Daddy-type? I can't wait to see him holding our baby.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Non Stress Test

So I've been having this pain ever since I went to the doctor's on Thursday and he poked up my woohoo. The pain could be from that, or it could be from walking too much in the last couple days, since I walked all the way to the supermarket on Wednesday and yesterday I walked Sputnik and my parents. The pain is sort of at the bottom of my belly and it only hurts when I get up, bend over, walk, cough, laugh, move, or the baby moves. Of course when people hear I'm having pain, and I tell them how preggers I am, they get all excited and say "Oooh! ooh! You must be in labour" even though this is nothing like any labour pains I've ever heard about.

So yesterday Adam was all worried about me cause I was hurting so I finally agreed to go to the hospital to get checked out. I went to labour and delivery and they asked if I was in labour. I said no, I just wanted to be checked out. So they hooked me up to a monitor to do a non-stress test. This test is to make sure the baby isn't all stressed out from being cooped up in the womb too long. Honestly, I could come to the hospital with a severed arm and as long as the baby was okay noone would care. Well my baby isn't stressed. He loves the womb. He's never leaving.

The test also confirmed that I am still not even a little bit in labour. Duh. But I still have ouchies.
So today's project to take my mind off my fun new pain, and impending labour, is to create a flash representation of the non-stress test. Here it is:

The number on the left measures the baby's heart rate. The number on the right is meant to measure contractions, but since I'm not having any it only jumps when the baby is kicking. As you can see, I have a gameshow buzzer that I'm pressing every time I feel the baby move. Insead of buzzing, it marks a musical note on the paper. The baby's movements match up with a rise in the heart rate, because he's having fun doing his excercise routine.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Original Series Klingon Woman

So my Mom says I need a project to keep me from thinking about my impending labour. My project today was to find a picture of a klingon woman from the original series. This is because yesterday my Dad said that there were no klingon women on the original. So this is for you Dad. The klingon on the right is Mara, Captain Kang's wife and also his science officer. Here's another shot of her:

You can tell she's a klingon because of her generous application of self-tanner and her creative use of eye-shadow. That's the warrior's way.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Dr. Cervix Poker

So I went to the doctor today and he had a gay old time poking around my cervix to see if it was "ready". While this might seem like a party, it actually isn't very pleasant. Anyway, he told me he thinks that I'll go into labour this weekend. So of course I got all freaked out and got into to one of my "I'm so terrified of labour that I'm going to cry" moods. Adam had to drop me off at my Mommy and Daddy's house so I could get hugs.

I'm out of that mood now and I'm onto the "I hope I go into labour this minute, but I don't think this pregnancy will ever end" mood. My mother-in-law's birthday is Saturday, so that might be fun for him to have the same birthday as his grandma.

Well maybe by Monday I'll have some baby pictures to post. Of my own baby, I mean. No promises, just hopes.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Aedan and His Parents

I told you I had photos of Becca and Drew's new baby. Here are a few:

Isn't he adorable? And doesn't Becca look pretty? She just gave birth to a nine pound baby and still manages to look glamourous.

In other news. Today is my due date according to my obstetrician. My family doctor originally told me the 5th. Nobody knows what my baby thinks the due date is. I'm hoping he'll come sooner rather than later. Not only am I super excited to meet him, but now that Becca's had her baby I have nobody to be pregnant with!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Becca had a Baby

Aedan Robert Scott Painter
9 pounds, 4 ounces
Born February 1st, at 12:52 pm.

Adam and I went to the hospital this morning figuring she must have had her baby by now! I mean, they broke her water at 4:30pm yesterday. But the big show had yet to happen. Adam had to leave for work so I hung around the hospital, watching reruns of Star Trek and old sitcoms until I got the news that Becca had pushed out a baby. Then I had to wait like, a whole episode of the Cosby Show, while Becca and Drew bonded with their baby, and other relatives got to visit. Then I saw him. What a cutie. He was certainly worth the wait.

Becca did so well, she ended up having an epidural because she was way too exhausted to push. When I saw her after, she looked so beautiful. Tired, sure, but also glowing with the satisfaction of a job well done. She said it was a lot of work but it was so worth it. Drew had tears in his eyes. I couldn't believe that the baby I was seeing had been living in Becca's belly this whole time! And I have a similar infant living in my belly! Gah!

Anyway, I do have pictures, but I'll have to get the parents permission before posting one. For now, just imagine an adorable pair of chubby cheeks and sleepy blue eyes peering out from under a wooly green hat (the rest of him burrito-wrapped in a cozy white blankie) .
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