Breakthrough

Today, for the first time in a long time, I feel like myself again.

We decided to spend the weekend at our farm because we hadn’t come here since early January. (I didn’t want to risk being too far from home when I went into labour!)

It feels good to be back here. Sure, it’s harder with a newborn baby, but it’s a refreshing change for all of us. My parents are here too, which gives us two more sets of hands, and we have lots of space to spread out and play.

But the best part of the weekend so far? I went outside for a walk! I put on my (non-maternity) ski jacket and boots. I walked (not waddled or slouched) around the property. It felt amazing! For the first time in ages, I’m not hurting. I don’t have reflux or back pain. I’m not bleeding and my boobs aren’t aching. I can stand up straight. I can put on my own boots.

The sun is shining and it seems like this horrible winter is finally on its way out. I feel like I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough. And it feels good to feel good.

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Big kid activities

Littleman is such a good big brother and is always willing to help us out with the baby. Now that he’s three years old, we feel that it’s important for him to get involved in some activities of his own.  We certainly don’t want to over-schedule him – we see how busy some kids are and we don’t want to fill up all of his free time – but we want him to experience some group activities outside of our home.

This week he started swimming lessons.  We’ve taken swimming lessons since he was a baby, but this is the first time he’s doing it on his own, without a parent in the water with him. There were a few tears when the instructor first called his name, but then he calmed down and was a really good boy.

Swimming is the one activity that will not be optional for our children.  We feel that it’s a skill that is extremely important for them to learn.  It is especially important because we have a pool at our family farm.  I was a swimming instructor and a lifeguard when I was teenager and it was a great job.  Learning swimming and water safety skills will help ensure that they are safe around the water and will also give them an option for summer jobs when they get older.

Other than that, we plan to let our kids choose what they like to do (within reason).  As children, my sister and I took piano lessons.  It was something that my mom always wanted to do but never had the opportunity when she was a child.  Her heart was in the right place when she introduced us to the piano, but it just never worked for me.  I wasn’t good at it, it didn’t come naturally to me and I hated it.  My mom pushed me to stick with it (i.e. forbid me to quit) and, when I finally quit at 16-years-old, we had a pretty good blow-out over it.  Twenty years later, I’ve never touched the piano again and I don’t regret quitting at all.

Littleman is a pretty shy kid, so I think group activities will be challenging for him at first.  But I also think it is important for him to get exposure to different activities and have a chance to be active.  He’s comfortable at daycare now because he knows everyone, but I know he’ll have some trouble adjusting to doing activities with strangers.  In a few weeks, he’ll start t-ball and soccer.  We decided to sign him up for the “parent and child” version so that he can get used to playing in a team environment with one of us with him.  Hopefully that will help make him a bit more comfortable and, as he gets older, he’ll be willing to try some sports on his own.

Whatever he ends up doing, we’ll try our best to keep some balance in his life so he doesn’t end up with his time being completely filled with programs and activities.  D and I both grew up spending lots of time playing outside and it’s important to us that our kids get to do that too.

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Jinxed it?

The past couple of nights, Bo has had a few stretches of “fussy time.”

Just as I had been saying how good he is and how calm he is, he’s started crying a lot more and sleeping a lot less. Way to keep me on my toes, little guy!

I think part of the problem is reflux. I seem to make a lot of milk and it flows really quickly. He gulps like a maniac and then gets really gurgley and barfy after he’s done eating. He’s ok while he’s upright but I can tell he’s uncomfortable when I lay him down.

I don’t blame him. I remember how bad my reflux was at the end of this pregnancy. It was always worse when I got into bed.

Even though he spits up a lot, I know he’s still getting enough to eat. He has lots of wet and dirty diapers. And, he’s gained 2lbs in his first three weeks!

Last night was reminiscent of the early days with Littleman. Bo was screaming after a middle-of-the-night feeding and wouldn’t settle down. I tried rocking in the chair. I tried pacing the main floor. I tried swaying back and forth or bouncing up and down. I tried the pacifier. Finally, D woke up and took over so I could get some rest.

I know that these tough nights will pass but I was sure getting used to having a bit more sleep. I guess it’s time to adjust my expectations. At least he’s super cute!

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Should I keep writing?

I wrote my first post on this blog a year ago.  I was sitting at home, struggling to recover from the biggest hit I’d ever taken.  My body healed pretty quickly after my D&C, but my soul was crushed.  My husband went back to work and my toddler was in daycare.  I sat at home and wondered how I was going to move forward after losing what would have been our second baby.

That was when I found the online community of bloggers who had been through or were currently experiencing exactly what I was dealing with (or worse).  I have some amazing friends and family in real life – all of whom were incredibly supportive – but what I really needed were people who had been there.  I needed people who weren’t going to say things like “at least you know you can get pregnant” or “you can always try again.”  I needed to see that other women had dealt with this kind of pain and had survived to tell about it.

When I started writing my story, I was blown away by the kindness of the strangers who reached out to me to show their support (you know who you are!)  These people really helped me to realize that it would take some time – a long time – to come to terms with my loss.  And that it was ok to be sad.

Today, I find myself in strange position.  It’s been a year since my miscarriage. A year since I started this blog. I’m at home caring for my second son, my “rainbow” baby, who is an amazingly sweet little boy.  But that doesn’t mean that I’m over it.

I’m not ready to walk away from this community of support.  I’m not ready to stop writing.  But my life is different now.  I’m not constantly struggling with the pain of my pregnancy loss.  I’m not trying to get pregnant or worrying that something will go wrong with my pregnancy.  In fact, things are pretty darn good. 

I started writing in this space for me, as a way to manage my own thoughts and feelings.  At some point, blogging morphed into more of a conversation with others, which I really love.  So do I keep writing, even though my story has changed?  Does anybody care about life with my two boys?  I guess the answer is that I care and as long as I do, I will keep writing here.  I hope others will stick around for the journey.

 

Finally healing

Baby Bo is now more than two weeks old and I’m finally starting to feel like a normal new mom (i.e. sleep deprived, slightly dirty, forgetful, etc.)

I finished my antibiotics.  I saw Dr. P for a check up and, based on his exam, he doesn’t think my uterus is infected.  My urine showed a bit of infection, so it’s possible that the issue was a UTI all along. The follow-up urine culture was clear. I’m scheduled for a follow-up ultrasound soon, just to be sure that there is nothing left to be concerned about.

My nipples are healing nicely.  I haven’t bled in over a week and my cracks are pretty much gone.  There are moments when Bo still doesn’t latch perfectly or when he adjusts his latch so that he’s not on properly, so I’m not totally pain-free.  I still feel pain in between feedings, which is mainly just annoying. But, I’m not in excruciating pain anymore, so I know that we can work through this.

Now that I’m feeling so much better, I’m really looking forward to enjoying time with my boys.  Littleman has been such a good big brother so far.  Although it wasn’t our original plan, there is something to be said for the fact that he is three years older than his baby brother.  He’s much more mature than he was a year ago, or even six months ago.  He’s helpful and is able to do so much on his own.  Of course, he’s also used to being an only child so he still wants someone to play with him all the time.  We’re doing our best to give him some one-on-one attention whenever we can.

And Bo is such a good baby.  So far, he’s definitely calmer and more laid back than his big brother was.  Although he generally needs to be held to fall asleep, he’s perfectly happy to be put down after that.  He’ll sleep in his bouncy chair during the day and in his bassinet in our room at night.  Speaking of night, he’s slept a couple of 3-4 hour stretches at a time overnight, which is quite lovely.  My boobs are still adjusting to the longer stretches between feedings, but I’ll take it!

All in all, aside from feeling so crappy during the first week, the adjustment to a family of four has gone very well.  I’m sure there will be some blips along the way (especially once D returns to work!) but I feel very lucky for now.

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Trying out my play mat!

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Lounging on daddy!

Baby personalities

I got to meet my new baby niece!  My sister, her husband and their baby came for a visit this weekend.  My niece was born a month ago (exactly two weeks before Bo) and it was hard not being able to meet her right away.

She’s a gorgeous little girl!  She was a lot smaller than Bo was when he was born, so they are now about the same size.  The interesting part was how different their personalities and temperaments are.

I’ve got to say, I feel very lucky that Bo is such a good baby.  My sister is having a harder time.  Her little girl wants to eat all the time and hates being put down.  She is sweet and calm when she’s being held, but fights going to sleep.  She also likes to be walked around and isn’t as happy if you’re holding her sitting down.  The longest she sleeps at a time is usually about an hour, unless she is being held.

My sister’s situation reminds me of our first few weeks with Littleman.  He hated being put down.  He fussed a lot.  I remember spending hours walking in circles around our main floor.  He liked loud noises, so we would stand and bounce in front of the hood fan for our stove.  In the middle of the night, I would bounce on a yoga ball for ages to get him to sleep.

Bo, on the other hand, is a totally different baby.  He’s very laid back and calm.  He cries, but pretty much only when he’s hungry or if he’s mad that we’re changing his diaper.  When he’s awake, he likes to be held but he is als0 pretty happy in his chair or on his play mat.  He’s pretty easy to get back to sleep after nighttime feeds and he’ll sleep in his bassinet in our bedroom for 2.5-3 hour stretches.

I spent the first week or so after Bo was born feeling jealous of my sister.  Breastfeeding was going really well for her and she wasn’t having any pain.  Her physical recovery from the birth seemed to be going so much faster.  She felt good.  I was hurting and felt horrible.

Now, I realize how lucky I am.  I know that Bo can change at anytime and we could end up with a more challenging baby.  But for now, he’s so good.  I guess it helps a bit that I had my harder baby first.  My experience with Littleman made me expect things to be harder, so I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Bo’s temperament.

Don’t get me wrong, though.  I am still tired.  And sore.  And I need a shower.  But, if that’s the worst of it, I’ll take it!

Bo’s birth story – part two

A little while later, the on call OB and resident arrived to check things out.  They decided to break my water and I remember glancing at the long, crochet hook thing in the resident’s hand.  At that moment, I was sure glad I’d had the epidural because I didn’t feel a thing.  They noticed that there was a bit of meconium in the fluid so they decided that a respirologist would be present for the delivery in case Bo breathed any in.

I think I was about 8cm shortly after that.  The nurse told me to let her know when I started to feel pressure or the urge to push.  Then, I could start pushing any time.  I was definitely feeling a bit of pressure down below but not an urgent need to push so we decided I would rest a bit longer.

Finally, a little before 4am, we decided to give it a go.  I did a couple of practice pushes with the nurse and then the OB and resident came in.  I did about 3 pushes with each contraction.  It’s funny because, although it wasn’t easy, it felt a lot less intense than my first birth experience.

The resident said I was pushing really well and that she expected the baby to come pretty quickly.  I didn’t believe that for a second.  With Littleman, I pushed for 2.5 hours, so I assumed this one would be tough too.

After a few more pushes, the doctors stopped me and said that they could tell I was going to tear in the same spot where I had torn last time.  They asked if they could make a small cut to help it along.  Since it was going to tear anyway (and I couldn’t feel anything at that point!) I said sure.  We moved on and kept pushing.  Shortly after, they stopped me again.  He was coming!  A couple more short pushes and he was out!  His cord was around his neck, but the OB stepped in and sorted that out quickly.

They had warned me that Bo may not cry right away if he aspirated any meconium.  The respirologist was on standby across the room.  But, as soon as Bo was out, we heard his cry immediately.  What a great sound!  I watched as D cut the cord and then the respirologist checked Bo quickly before he was wiped down and placed on my chest.

It really was amazing.  After pushing for so long during Littleman’s birth, I feel like I was too exhausted to pay attention to a lot of things that happened immediately after. He didn’t cry right away and had to have some oxygen.  Also, since he had some heart issues in utero, he was whisked over to a NICU team to be fully checked before I was able to really see or hold him.

With Bo, it seemed a lot calmer.  There were fewer people in the room and I felt a little more “present.”  I actually saw him right when the doctor pulled him out.  And it was amazing to have him in my arms so quickly.

I delivered the placenta and then got all stitched up (from the episiotomy and tearing).

One thing I’m really happy about was the chance to try breastfeeding right away after Bo was born.  We were skin-to-skin and the little guy latched immediately.  It was so cool to see him eating so soon after being born and I felt good that I could actually see that there was colostrum there.  With Littleman, we didn’t try until a bit later, he was reluctant to eat and I struggled to even hand express any colostrum.  It felt so much less stressful to be getting off to a decent start with feeding.

D and I spent the first couple of hours after delivery getting to know Bo and trying to decide what his name would be.  We had narrowed it down to three names but wanted to see him before we made a final decision.  It turns out it was harder than we thought it would be.  We wavered between two names for a while and finally gave ourselves a deadline of 6:30am.  We knew our families would be (anxiously) awaiting news about our status and we didn’t want to make any birth announcements without a name.  Once we decided on his name, we shared our exciting news with our families.

So that’s it.  The story of how little Bo arrived on his own on his induction date, instead of waiting to be evicted!  (For part one of Bo’s birth story – click here).