Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Birth Story, aka I am Still Mad

So everyone has an idea of how they want to bring their baby into the world.  When I think about my mom (and my friends' moms) things were pretty prescribed and standard.  My mom talks about finding out that she was a couple months pregnant after a vacation and that her doctor appointments pretty much just checked her blood pressure after she walked up a couple flights of stairs, so it was always high.  That was pretty much it for her until she went into labor.

Fast Forward 30+ years, and I found out I was pregnant when I was just over 4 weeks in, had a doctor's appointment 7 weeks in and saw the heartbeat, had an ultrasound at 12 weeks, 20 weeks, 30 weeks and 34 weeks.  I had my blood pressure checked and quite a few blood tests.  I was given lots of vitamins.  I was told what I should and shouldn't do regarding what to eat, what to drink, how to sleep and how/when I should give birth.  I had a pretty uncomplicated pregnancy aside from my "advanced maternal age" at 35.  Part of me really wished I pregnant in the 70s, maybe I could have just enjoyed it and not worried so much since you didn't know there WAS so much to worry about.  As a catastrophizer, this made me one nervous nellie!

From the beginning, I knew I should have done a bit more doctor shopping.  I wasn't thrilled with the nurse.  The doctor seemed nice but a bit cold.  I wasn't thrilled with the hospital where I was going to deliver if I went with her - they didn't do cord blood donation and it was 45 minutes from our house.  But it was close to my family.   When we talked about a birth plan, she said that if I wanted to make sure that the birth didn't go the way I wanted, I should have a birth plan.  I wasn't into the idea of having a birth plan that mandated everything, but it would have been nice to have some say.   But she came highly recommended by my GP.  For goodness sakes, my GP goes to this OB/GYN.  If this doc was good enough for her parts, she should be good enough for mine!  Right????

A week and a half before my due date, my doctor wanted to monitor the baby to make sure he was doing okay.  He didn't like having a monitor on him, so he kept moving.  When we finally got him to settle down, his heart rate was fluctuating too much.  Off we went to the hospital to be monitored.  After an afternoon being monitored, his heart rate was steady.  We were sent home but told to go back to my doctor's office two days later. This all made me nervous and I decided that I need to start my maternity leave a few days early.  Thank goodness I did since when we went to the next doctor's appointment, LWK's heart was doing funky things again and she decided that since I was 39 weeks I should be induced.  I asked if it would end up meaning I would have a C-Section.  She didn't think so.  I signed papers consenting to be induced.  Little did I know those papers also meant that I pretty much lost all choices I had hoped to make about LWK's birth.

Off we went to the hospital again.  This time with all our stuff.  We had a beautiful corner room that looked out on a gorgeous flowering cherry tree.  It was my dad's birthday and I was hoping our little guy would be his birthday buddy and not an April Fool.  They got an IV going and the nurse got my blood everywhere since it took her 3 times to get the IV in. They started my induction at about 3pm.  I was totally fine until about midnight when the contractions hit me like a ton of bricks.  The medicine I could have would only last about 20 minutes and I could only have it three times.  I wasn't dilating.  I couldn't move into more comfortable positions because the baby was being monitored.  I couldn't take a walk to try and speed this process up and relieve the pain.  All I could do was have a death grip on the bed rails and try to breathe.  And cry.  I was able to get up to use the bathroom, so I would just try to make it for an hour when the nurse would check on me and I could go to the bathroom.  They kept checking me and I still wasn't dilating more than a centimeter.  I have never felt that much pain in my life and it was horrible to be told I wasn't far enough to get any more pain medication.  My water broke at about 4 am.  When my doctor came in at about 6:30, I had made it to 3 centimeters.  She didn't think I was dilated enough to be in so much pain.  She reluctantly called for an epidural.

By then it was 7am on April Fools Day.  And it was shift change for the nurses and anesthesiologist.  So I got to wait.  I swore at people trying to help me.  I kept being told to stay still so they could monitor the baby.  When the anesthesiologist came in I was in tears.  I had to be still as she put it in.  I cried and swore as I stayed still.  Then relief.  Sweet relief.  She came back to check on me and I introduced myself and apologized for my previously unkind demeanor.

J and I both slept for a few hours.  It was heavenly.  Everything progressed well and they started pitocin.  Family visited and LWK was monitored.  He did fine until my doctor came in to deliver another patient.  Maybe he didn't like her either.  His heart would fluctuate and she stopped the pitocin.  At about 6 she came in and told my family that it would be a few hours if they would like to go home, have dinner and come back later.  They left.  J and I tried to sleep.

At 6:45 she came back in.  She had delivered her other patient and suddenly decided I needed an emergency C-Section.  They start wheeling me out of the room and make J stay there and they would come back for him.  He called our parents.  I felt so alone going down that hall.  They were talking around me, like I wasn't there.  I asked the nurse to tell J to bring the camera.  She said that was his first test of parenthood, to see if he would remember.  Reasonably, he thought you shouldn't bring a camera into a sterile environment.  I was so mad at the nurse.  The only saving grace was the anesthesiologist who talked to me and told me what was going on.  J looked so scared.  I was just trying to not cry from being so mad that NOTHING was happening the way I wanted.  Then we heard LWK's cry.  He was okay.  He had been face up, so that is why I was having such horrible back labor (validation that I wasn't crazy or a wimp when it came to the pain).  His hands were in his umbilical cord and he was squeezing the cord, making his heart rate fluctuate.  I heard my doctor say "time of birth 7:11pm."  He might have been forced to be born on April Fool's Day, but at least he chose a lucky time.

We didn't get to see him.  He wasn't held up over the sheet separating the patient from the professionals.  I thought it was a given that the parents would get to see the gooey, messy baby.  Especially since he was crying - he had an Apgar score of 9/10!  There was no "congratulations!"  No, "it's a boy!"  No, "Happy Birthday!"  Yeah, we didn't get that.  You know the photos when a baby is first born, when he is on the scale and you get a shot of the weight?  We didn't get that.  No one called J over to see his son.  I asked the anesthesiologist if J could go over and see him.  He said, "of course."  J went over and came back and said "I think we have a LWK."  I asked if he had red hair, J wasn't sure.  J went back over and then brought our little bundle back to me.  He was all swaddled up.  We didn't get to count his toes and fingers or look at his hair color.  I am pretty sure that my doctor was home in time to tuck her kids into bed, how convenient for her.  The only people who saw him when he came into the world were people who didn't care.  We were a procedure, not a family to them.  And that makes me so sad.

This is the closest newborn shot we got, once we were back in our room and the nurse was showing J how to give him a bath.
I know this post makes me sound ungrateful  I am thankful each and every day for for this amazing little boy and I never would have forgiven myself if I had taken a stand against all these interventions and something had happened to him.  I just feel so robbed of what should have been a joyous day for our little family.  Lesson learned - if we have another baby, I will find a doctor who will be more sensitive and will do his or her best to make the birth of our child a joyous event for our family.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

First Thanksgiving

It has been a busy long weekend for little LWK.  He had his first Thanksgiving with Grandma and Grandpa.  Since he is teething, I thought he would be having Sophie instead of Turkey, but he finally had grandma's turkey and liked it!
LWK was all about chewing on Sophie to help his sore gums.

Mom did a quick change out and that turkey in the mesh feeder worked well on the gums too!

Of course he was destined to like turkey since he was wearing a shirt that said "My Grandma makes the best turkey!"  Our little turkey was the same size as Grandma's turkey - a bit over 17lbs!

LWK kind of knows how to crawl.  I have seen him do it, but rolling it still his preferred mode of transportation. This weekend he figured out that an "Army Crawl" is a bit like a Prius, a good hybrid.

Finally, he is getting his second tooth.  Yes, we are back to drooling and grouchiness.  Right now there is a little tooth peeking out and a hole in his gum.  Poor guy!  Aunt J was able to get him to show us his tooth for a split second when it was just a singleton!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thinking Back

As we continue this first year adventure with LWK, I often find myself thinking about what I was doing, thinking, feeling or worrying about one year ago.  Sometimes I remember that I was so worried that things weren't okay with my pregnancy even though it was a pretty typical pregnancy for the most part.  I remember being so worried if I didn't feel him moving or that his hiccups seemed not to go away (okay, I still worry about how often he gets the hiccups).  I am still amazed at this miracle that came into our lives and how much LWK has changed and how much he has changed us.

So for the happy part, one year ago today we braved a freak Thanksgiving week snow storm that cancelled school to find out if we needed to plan for pink or blue!  We had agreed that we just wanted a healthy baby and a healthy mom, but it is hard to shake the idea of who I thought I would be a mom to.  I had always imagined that I would have a baby girl, and I think I wanted to be different and end this baby boy streak in our family.  It took a while for the technician to be able to tell us if we were having a boy or girl, but I remember falling in love with that little baby swimming, touching toes and waving at us.  When she told us he was a boy (and he showed us the goods) J was happy to exclaim "and what a boy!" ala Homer Simpson.
We came home that night and I made a blue cake for the big reveal to the family at Thanksgiving the next day.  As I baked two cakes (the first one turned out GREEN!  I didn't think to leave the yolk out of the egg before adding the blue food coloring)  I worried if I would be a good mom to a boy.  There is such a push in our society to help girls get ahead and I am a part of the first generation of girls that benefited from being able to do all the things the boys could do - sports, college, etc.   But what about the boys?  As a teacher, I see boys falling more behind in school and I worry that LWK won't be able to do all the things he wants to because of the way our society views little boys as wild and unable to have the focus necessary to succeed.  It has really made me think about how I view the boys in my classes and how I want my little boy to behave in school and society.

I already feel like LWK is a "boy's boy" on his way to becoming a "man's man."  Last week he started laughing when he burped.  He manipulates things with his hands and I can see those little wheels turning in his mind trying to figure out better ways to do things.  He feels the need to lick everything lately - the carpet, the tile, the linoleum.   He WILL NOT sit still.  He bounces all the time if given the opportunity.  He is an incessant flirt already!
My favorite times by far is when he is my baby boy.  He is cuddly first thing in the morning and as we put him to bed at night.  When we feed him a bottle, his little hands search for our fingers to hold on to.  He touches my necklace gently and has started stroking my hair.  He smiles at me (not just the flirty smile) and it melts my heart every time.  Yes, I am always going to worry if I am going to be a good mom for this little boy.  I hope I can let him be rough and tumble, but I also hope he will be sweet and caring (like his Daddy) and always love his mama.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Family Photo

Last weekend we got the whole family together for family photos.  It is always interesting to try and get small children to look at the camera, smile and generally behave, but our boys did well!
Our little family

The proud grandparents

The whole S-K-K family!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


LWK has been a bit fussy, not liking having his photo taken.

Drooling a lot.

Putting everything in his mouth.

That can only mean one thing - he has his first tooth!  Of course he won't let mom get a photo of said tooth.  It is on the bottom right side and is SUPER sharp.  Oh yeah, and we have our happy baby back now that it broke through!  Enjoy those blue eyes!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Box

Like all children, LWK has discovered that the box that the toys came in is far more fun than the toys themselves.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

We Have A Crawler!

So LWK was playing on the floor tonight and wanted a truck that was out of his reach.  I have been working hard to not just hand him things he wants.  He got up on his hands and knees and rocked like he has been doing for a few weeks now.  Suddenly he got his knees and hands going together and he took three good strides.  As soon as he got to the truck, he flopped on his tummy and started rolling - his usual mode of transportation!  Maybe we should be happy that he doesn't quite realize how much power he now wields!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Busy Weekend...

It was a big weekend for LWK.  On Saturday we started our parent/baby sign language class.  He had a great time checking out the other babies - especially the ones that were VERY mobile.  J and I had fun too and it was nice to do something as a family.  We have been using the signs for milk, change, eat, sleep, more, all done, toys and play.  I think LWK things we are just crazy, but he does watch us so I think there is something making connections in that little brain of his!

He got to stay with Aunt Julie, Cousin Joel and Uncle Chris for the afternoon on Saturday while mom and dad went to he car show in Seattle.  He was having too much fun to take a nap, so he played with Aunt Julie and helped cousin Joel get used to the idea of having a little brother around!

On Sunday we went to brunch and he sat in a restaurant high chair for the very first time!  He did a great job playing, checking out the other patrons, screaming....  Yes, screaming is his new way to communicate.  I swear it's because he likes the reaction that it gets from me - picking him up, looking frantically for a toy that pleases him, apologizing to other diners.....

Mom and LWK - blurry but proof of the restaurant high chair milestone!
Cozy sweater from a former student's mom.  Perfect for a fall day!
Why it's perfectly normal for me to explore this with my tongue, thank-you-very-much....
Today was the end of daylight savings time.  LWK did good sleeping in a bit this morning, but was totally confused by the new bedtime.  Poor guy didn't understand why we were keeping him up and he was a bear to put down since he was overly tired.  It took mom about 3 attempts before she pulled out the big guns of dad to get him down.  Dad has the magic touch, thankfully!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

7 Months Old

It's hard to believe that we are over half way through LWK's first year!  He has definitely become more roly - poly this month - it was difficult to get un-blurry pics!

This month LWK is:
  • Is wearing 6 - 9 month clothes, more for length rather than width
  • Wears size 3 diapers
  • Eats 30 - 35 ounces of formula a day
  • Eats one or two small meals each day
  • LOVES his high chair and wants to be a part of meal/snack time at home and at daycare
  • Can sit up for short spurts of time
  • Is no longer the master spitter-upper!!!
  • Has Hair!  Well, he always had it but it was so light he looked bald
  • Is rolling everywhere, no more trusting that he will be where I leave him anymore
  • Can "inchworm" - he gets his rear in the air and flops back down to move
  • He gets on his hands and knees and rocks.
  • He loves his Sophie, anything that crinkles and the chime ball at Grandma and Grandpa's house (that mom loved back in the day too)
  • He has graduated to the big boy carseat.  Funny how my back hurts far less now that I'm not lugging the infant seat around anymore.
  • Had his first big cold (boo)  I think he is FINALLY over it...
  • Due to his cold, his sleeping though the night has regressed a bit (but he has slept through the night for the past two nights!
  • Ate his first solid foods.  In order of most to least favorite:

  1. Carrots!
  2. Pears (this is a new one, the love may wear off)
  3. Applesauce (a good "mixer" for the things he likes less)
  4. Banana
  5. Squash (he likes this mixed with applesauce or pears)
  6. Sweet Potato (he likes this mixed with applesauce or pears as well)
Definitely my kid - he chooses the sweet first!

Really, could we love him anymore?  Every day he changes and I love to see his personality come out.  He still loves people and will flirt shamelessly to get attention.  I'm not looking forward to him being afraid of people since he has always been so social!  I think about him all day and look forward to spending the evenings and weekends with him.  I am out the door of work by 3:31 each day and don't look back.