Making peace with my c-section

My baby turned six months old on November 6th. He is a beautiful, healthy baby.  He has two teeth, and can sit up by himself, roll over,  and crawl. He eats solid foods (we are doing baby-led solids), and smiles and laughs. He’s perfect. He was perfect from the moment he was conceived. But, it took me until his six month birthday, to come to terms with the circumstances surrounding his birth.

I believe that my c-section was medically un-necessary. I know that because I allowed my mid-wife to break my water, that I was then on the hospitals time clock in terms of delivery. I don’t think she would have suggested a c-section at the end of those 12 hours, if I had been further along, but I don’t believe I should have been induced when I was. There was no medical reason for it, other than my belly measuring large. But, that is neither here nor there. It just gives me an idea of how much stronger I need to be in my next pregnancy, (if we decided to have a second) if I go post-dates again.

But, because of how things worked out….I was able to say goodbye to my dad. When my dad had his stroke three days before Anderson was born, I didn’t really think about what might happen if he died. It wasn’t intentional, but i’m sure it was sub-concious self preservation. My dad slipped into a coma in the early hours of Sunday (like 2am) I was induced at 5am on Sunday. My mom and brother decided not to tell me that my dad wasn’t going to make it, as I was laboring with Anderson. I will forever feel greatful, that they made that decision, and that it wasn’t me in their shoes. When I ended up with a c-section, it was 3 hours before my dad died. What if I hadn’t? What if I had been progessed to a 9, and still had 3 hours ahead of me? What would my mom and brother have done then?

As it was, Anderson was born, and my brother was able to hold the phone up to my dad’s ear, and I was able to say good bye. Holding my hours old baby is what saved me through this experience. Having a c-section, when I did, is what allowed me to do that. Call it God, or fate, or conicidence, whatever you believe, but as for me, I’m thankful.

My c-section was not medically necessary, but I believe, it was emotionally and spirtually.

Post-partum Body

On sunday I will be six weeks post-partum, and next week I will be cleared for exercise. At least, I assume I will be.

In the past five weeks and 3 days I have lost around 30 pounds. I have 16 more to lose to reach the weight I would like to be at by the end if the calendar year.
Thus far, I have not dieted or been watching what I eat. The first weeks at home with a newborn are tiring and nutrition was placed on the back burner. Don’t get me wrong, I Haver been eating total crap, but I have been eating what is convenient, easy to prep, and can be eaten with one hand if necessary.
And, not to be a total cop out, but my dad died ya know? I have been at my parents house for the last week, adhere is no shortage of treats and good food brought by well wishers.
But…my grace period is over on Sunday. I am planning on getting back into the swing if things with diet and exercise. I am hesitant to say, Anderson is starting to have a pattern to his day…which will make exercise and food prep easier.
I have been documenting my post partum body though. Interested to see how it changes when I cut the crap.

1 week post partim( and still very sore)

20120613-101327.jpg
Two weeks:

20120613-101407.jpg
Three weeks:

20120613-101436.jpg
Four weeks:

20120613-101513.jpg
Five weeks:

20120613-101545.jpg

3 weeks with baby

After a bath, with Grammy

I can’t believe that my baby is 3 weeks old today! I know that as the weeks progress, 3 weeks will seem so little, but right now, it feels like time is flying, and he is already so different than the day we brought him home.

Since bringing him home, he does two main things: eat and sleep. As the weeks progress he has more and more alert time, and I am starting to see a pattern emerge in his sleeping/waking/eating habits, not much of a pattern mind you, but more than the first couple of days.

After my c-section, I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed. No judgements on what other mothers do, for their babies, but it was really important to me that my son was breastfeed, and not formula fed. Again, if it had come, does come down to it, formula is fine, great even. I will do whatever I have to do to make sure my baby survives. BUT, breast feed, so far, has been going really well. As well as breast feeding goes for a new mom, and a 21 day old baby. The first 9 days were pretty rough. My nipples hurt, and I really had no idea what to expect.  Luckily, my midwife’s office, has an AWESOME lactation consultant on staff, and I made an appointment with her when Anderson was 9 days old. I had been feeling a tiny bit frustrated, mostly due to Anderson’s cluster feeding, and my lack of knowledge about if what I was doing was “right,” as in correct. She had me feed him in front of her, and she said that we were doing pretty well. She gave me a few pointers, that have made things better, and having the reassurance that we weren’t totally off base, was a great self confidence booster.  Now, at 21 days, I’m pretty confident in knowing if we have a good latch, and if he is eating, but feel like I’m on a new part of the breast feeding learning curve. I am feeding on demand,  and I feel like I can’t tell when he is eating because he is hungry, and when he is nursing for comfort. The internet  will tell you that babies don’t use mom as pacifiers, that if they are showing signs of wanting to nurse, that they are doing it either because they are hungry, or they know they need to increase your milk supply. Of course the internet will also give you the opposing position, and say that babies do use moms for pacification, and that you shouldn’t let your baby do that. You can find strong opinions on just about every aspect of child rearing, usually conflicting with eachother.

I have decided that if he is rooting around, and can’t be consoled by any means, than he is probably hungry and I feed him. Unfortunately, I think I sometimes don’t read his cues correctly. Last night he nursed for almost an hour (this was from 2:30 to 4:00 am by the way), I changed his diaper and he was fussy. I tried soothing him in my arms, but was so tired and frustrated (he had been fussy at the breast) that I didn’t really have the patience to try to soothe him with out offering him the chance to nurse. I did that, and he was not interested. I went into the bedroom, and told my husband to watch him, that I had to pee.  When I got back, my husband told me, to get in bed and go to sleep that he would soothe the baby and take him in the living room. And what do you know, he was able to soothe him to sleep, and he slept for almost two hours, till he woke up and was ready to nurse again. My point, I guess, is that I need to try other methods of soothing, and not always jump to nursing, i’m sure my nipples will thank me.

As for sleep, he isn’t sleeping through the night, and I don’t expect him to. I think mothers somtimes have too high of expectations for new borns. The past four nights he has been consistently up to nurse every hour and a half (although if you count from the start of a nursing session, to the start of the next, like some people do, then it’s more like every 2 to 2.25 hours). He is starting to have more of a pattern during the day, with a morningish “nap” and an afternoon “nap” although what times these occur are not consistent. Everything that i have read, says not to expect a baby under 4 weeks to have any sort of circadian rhthym, day and night are the same to them.

My recovery is going well. Two weeks ago I started taking short walks around the block, and this week was up to walking almost a mile. I have walked with Anderson in a moby wrap, an Ergo carrier, and his stroller. I am not quite confident or comfortable with the carriers yet, I feel like I either tie the moby too tight, or too lose, and with the Ergo I feel like his little face is smooshed into my chest. But, with both of these, and the stroller, he easily falls asleep as soon as I get him in the carrier and comfortable. I also have a sling, but it’s too small. I am sending it back this week, for a larger size. I’m looking forward to the new size arriving, so I can wear Anderson when we are out and about. Putting him in the sling is so much easier than the moby or the Ergo, at this point.  Ok, I got side tracked from my recovery….I don’t have daily pain any more at this point, and haven’t since week 1. I do have some pain when I sleep on my side for too long, or lift something too heavy. I’m trying not to get too anxious to get back into an exercise routine, so I can feel a little bit better about my body.

I have lost, with out trying, 30 pounds of the 42ish that I gained. I figure that 30 was the baby and fluids etc, from pregnancy, and the remaining 12ish are what I gained from not eating as strictly during pregnancy as I did, pre-pregnancy. Of course, like all moms, even though I have lost lots of weight, things are shaped differently, and my prepregnancy clothes, even my “fat’ clothes don’t fit yet. All in good time.

So, life with baby is good. His sweet little face makes every sleepless hour, and stretch mark worth it.

Pregnancy Update: 40 Weeks

My nephew Ben, born by emergency c-section, 4 weeks early

Today is my due date, according to my LMP. According to my charting, I think that Friday or Saturday should be my due date, but when we are only talking a matter of days, I suppose that is neither here nor there.

Yesterday was my 40 week appointment, and I have to admit, I was once again hopefull that my body had progressed. I’d has an increased amount of contracts in the last week, including low back pain. I thought for sure that I would be 2cm’s dilated. At my appointment, everything looked good, baby’s heart rate was good, and my belly measured 42 weeks. UGH. 42?!?! I swear, this baby better not weight 11 pounds.

And then it was time for my internal check. I don’t find these as painful as some people have described them to be, mostly just uncomfortable, still better than going to the dentist in my opinion. And the midwife announced…..1 centimeter. Still. Damn.

She asked me what I wanted to do. I told her that I wanted to wait on induction as long as she would let me. She said, that based on my belly measurement, she is sure that the baby is large. Duh. She suggested that if nothing happened (ie going into labor naturally) we induce this weekend. And I was crushed. Tears welled in my eyes, as I asked question, but I was able to keep them in, at least until she left the room.

The plan is to check in to the hospital on Saturday night at 5pm, insert cervadil, and then in the morning start pitocin.

Here is the thing, I’m sort of a situational hypochondriac. Have I written about that before? Even though we only made the plan for induction, in my mind, I was already in the Operating Room getting a C-section due to failure to progress. Even though we still had 4 days for me to go into labor naturally, all I could think about was, what was in my opionion, the worst case scenario.

After the midwife left the room, my husband hugged me and I burst into tears. Damn. I hate crying in public. I pulled it together, and went to the check out window and made an appointment for this Friday for a non stress test, and one final cervical check. I also made my 6 week post-partum appoint, which sort of tripped me out. 🙂

Ever since everyone around me started having babies, and I started reading pregnancy and birth blogs, I knew that my ultimate hope was for a natural, non-medicated birth. Yesterday, I felt like I had already failed, like my body had failed, and what I so firmly believe it was made to do. I let my self have a pity party, and call and cry to my mommy, and then I started talking some sense into my self.

A) there was (is!) still time for me to go into labor naturally.

B) even if I don’t go into active labor, my cervix could dilate and efface more, and by Sunday, an induction might be easier.

C) having an induction, doesn’t necessarily mean my hopes for a natural birth are off the table. It might be harder, and I might chose to have an epidural, but the option has not totally dissappeared.

D) having a c-section is not the end of the world. People survive them all the time, babies survive them all the time.

E) and at the end of the day, and most importantly, the only thing that matters is that the baby (and I) come through this alive and healthy.

There are only three “givens” in pregnancy: an egg was fertilized, you are pregnant for 37-42 weeks, and then there is a baby. Everything else is a guessing game, and while births usually follow a typical pattern, there is no way of knowing how YOURS will go.

So, today, I am working on letting go. What ever will be, will be. I am not trying too many crazy “natural” induction techniques, just bouncing/ hip swivels on an exercise ball. Not having the birth I dreamed of, does not make me a failure, nor negate how easy and healthy my pregnancy has been.

Plus Size Pregnancy Fashion

Today is laundry day, and I as I was hanging up a shirt, it hit me for the first time, just how much I miss my non-maternity clothes! I haven’t reached the point where I want to throw out my maternity clothes, but I def miss having a variety in my closet!

Being plus sized, and trying to be fashionable is enough of a challenge as it is. I knew, in the event that I ever got pregnant, it would be even worse.  At the very least you can find plus size clothes in almost any town, if it’s big enough for a Wal-Mart, it will have plus size clothing. The options might suck (let’s be honest, they do), but at least there is a physical place to buy something if you need it. Plus size maternity clothes? Fat chance. Prior to moving to Wyoming, I lived in an area with 500,000 people. Not a roaring metropolis, but big enough that shopping in brick and mortar stores is possible. In this area, there was one, ONE store that carried plus size maternity clothes. Motherhood Maternity. I should throw out the caveat,that prior to getting pregnant, I was on the cusp of plus-size, and non plus-size in certain stores.  Old Navy’s xxl size (straight size) was usually swimming on me, but the XL was just a little too snug.  Of the three Old Navy stores in my area, only ONE carried maternity clothes, and even then the selection was paltry.

I knew that I didnt want to spend a fortune on maternity clothes, and I knew that I was going to have to order some of them online.

Here is what I ended up purchasing:

3 pairs of maternity slacks for work

5 pairs of maternity jeans (2 that didn’t work for me past the beginning on the 2nd tri, just felt wierd around my belly, so I had to buy two more).

1 maternity skirt

2 pairs of maternity work out pants (one was legitimately maternity, the other was just two sizes up from my normal, they were huge at first, but fit now, 4 days from my due date, I call that a succcess)

2 maternity workout shirts (again these are just regular work out shirts, but two sizes bigger than my non maternity. I never thought I would get big enough to fill them out. Ha freaking ha).

3 bigger bras

3 maternity ribbed tank tops

1 maternity white tank top for layering

and about 13 maternity tops.

All told I probably spent about $600.00 on clothes. Ugh. that number frustrates me, but you essentially have to re-build your entire wardrobe!

Now, I have to disclose that my sister-in-law did give me some of her maternity clothes. She and I have different styles, and she is actually a size smaller than me, but most of the stuff she gave me fit through my second trimester, and some of the stuff fits now. She didn’t give me any bottoms though.

Here are some tips for plus size women, who are going through the hell that is maternity fashion:

  • side ruching is your friend, and is incredibly hard to find. I almost always chose my maternity tops with side ruching over those that don’t have it, because I just find them so much more flattering.
  • Full belly panels are also your friend. Mid-level panels often have a THICK band of elastic, and I found that very uncomfortable once my belly started hardening and rounding out.
  • DON’T DISCOUNT YOUR NON MATERNITY WARDROBE. I have 2 pairs of pajamas, 3 shirts, and about 6 camis that are all non maternity. And all of them still fit. Thank you clothing industry for insisting on putting spandex in everything. Once my belly dropped, the camis became too short, so I could no longer wear them with just a cardigan, but they still work well for layering, since everythign insists on being big up top (and I have big boobs! what gives!).
  • Embrace cardigans. I was never really a cardigan girl until about two years ago, but they have become a staple during pregnancy for me (as most of my pregnancy was during the winter). I was able to make my outfits go further, and have certain tops do double duty (liked the ribbed maternity tanks) since they are wearable both with and without a cardigan.
  • If you are a size 18/20 don’t ignore straight size maternity clothes. Due to the generous nature of maternity clothes, and the presence of spandex, lots of straight size XL’s might fit. I had straight size maternity clothes that either still fit, or fit up until about 36 weeks from: JCPenny, Old Navy (and their XXL’s are sometimes still too big–not in the belly!), Motherhood Maternity, and H&M.
  • Maxi dresses are your friend!!  I wore a dress on Easter, almost 37 weeks pregnant, that I got at Ross last year, when I was at my skinniest. It fit, and looked great. These would be ideal for women pregnant in the summer
  • Don’t buy something that you wouldn’t wear if it were non maternity, and you weren’t pregnant. You won’t wear it, and that will just be money down the drain!

Most importantly, don’t get frustrated, and be patient.

 

Pregnancy: Final Two Week Must-Haves

Well, I am 38 week and 3 days pregnant, and I suppose I could “go” at anytime! I think that is the worst part of the end of pregnancy, the constant apprehension and wondering of every twinge means it’s time.

I have discovered a few things that I cannot do with out lately.

20120421-172033.jpg
First: a pedicure. My toe nails are growing at an alarming rate, and I cannot reach them. I really do want janky feet in the delivery room, so for the first time in my life, I have been getting regular pedis. I sure once I am pushing I will not give two craps about my toes.

Second: a place to put my feet up. I am finally having some swelling in my feet and lower legs and having them elevated feels best.

Third: the black jersey skirt you see in the picture. It is Old Navy maternity and has one of those fold over waist bands. It is great for my sporadically warm climate, infinitely comfortable, an should work post-partum as well.

20120421-172638.jpg
Fourth: green smoothies. I am feeling very apathetic about salads lately. I can’t tell if it is true food aversion, or laziness, but I can’t stand the idea of making my own salad (prepared by others…no problem). This smoothies contains: 2 cups spinach, 1 orange, 1 green apple, one banana, and a dash of ground ginger. I have also added carrots with success. Throw in a splash of water if you like more thin consistency.

I am also happy to report that every task on my pregnancy to-do list is now complete! Just hoping the cloth diapers arrive before the baby so I can get them all sorted!

Pregnancy: packing for the hospital

20120418-173446.jpg
I started packing my hospital bag today. My plan is to take a bag for me, a bag for baby, and I haven’t made a plan for my husband!

This is what I am planning on taking to the hospital in my bag:
Sleep/nursing bra
Cheap nightgown that I can breast feed in.
Yoga capris
Nursing tank
Maternity jeans
Maternity tank and cardi
2 pairs of large cotton underwear–incase I want to ditch the hospital provided ones.
Crocs–I use these as slippers
Toiletries– travel size shampoo, conditioner, body wash. Toothpaste, toothbrush, powder, blush, brush, headband, hair tie….etc
Nook
Camera
Phone charger
Camcorder and charger
Snacks for my husband
Two cloth diapers(flats)- for anything that might come up.

In diaper bag( that is my diaper bag in the picture. It is a Dakine laptop bag that I already owned):
4 sleepers. Two newborn size, two 3 month size. A light weight and fleece one in each size–depending on weather.
Wipes
3 burp rags
1 receiving blanket
Nipple cream
Nipple pads

And a you can see in the picture I will be bringing my boppy as well.
Some of the things in the diaper bag I don’t expect to use in the hospital, but thought I would put in there for the future.

What major thing am I missing?????

Pregnancy Update: 38 weeks

I totally did not mean to let a week go by with out posting! I am still pregnant…here is a quick update:

Weeks pregnant: 38
Weight gained: 38lbs
Bp at appt: 102/72
Swelling: a tiiiiny bit in my feet, but nothing that prevents me from wearing my regular shoes.
Workouts: about 3 or 4 a week. The baby has dropped, making walking harder and less comfortable
Contractions: yes! Don’t know If they are Braxton Hicks or real…but they are low and feel like period cramps.
Dilated: 1 cm!!! Hoping this bodes well for me and I can avoid induction.

20120417-134948.jpg
I made this mobile for the baby room yesterday. I am not super crafty, so I think it turned out pretty well. We only have two things left on our baby to- do list: put up wall decals and order cloth diapers! Oh, and pack the hospital bag. But I have all of my postpartum stuff and I have planned what is going in the hospital bag. I suppose since my midwife told me this weekend is a good weekend for me to have the baby ( she is on-call) I really should pack that bag!

Contracting or not?

Last night I woke up with what felt like menstrual cramps around 4 am. In my sleepy mind…I thought maybe I should see how long this feeling lasts…so I started counting. It lasted about 20 seconds and then I went back to sleep and didn’t experience any thing else like it for the rest of the night.

So…was that a contraction? I think so. Sometimes I get really low pelvic pain, but I am pretty sure it’s just the baby grinding his head around. It only lasts a few seconds. People have described Braxton hicks to me as a painless tightening of the belly. Well…my belly feels tight all of the time so….

I have my 37 week appointment tomorrow and I dying to know if I have made any changes to my dilation status. At the same time…last nights possible contraction opened my eyes to the reality of labor. It’s coming and we are now on the soon side of sooner rather than later!

Stretch Mark Realities

When I got pregnant, I knew I was going to get stretch marks. KNEW IT.

I have had stretch marks since I was 13. I have them on my breasts, upper thighs, arms, hips, and a few on my stomach from when I was at my heaviest weight 6 years ago. Now most of these are already faded to skin tone. They are a part of me and I am used to them. I never used products to reduce them or get rid of them (mostly because I don’t believe they work).

So, back to pregnancy…when i got pregnant I bought some Burt’s Bees oil, and used it on my stomach and hips. I didn’t use it regularly, and wasn’t really worried about it. I have to admit I was surprised that my stretch marks took so long to show up. They arrived at about 32 weeks. They are just on my lower belly aside from one, about an inch long adjacent to my belly button. Since 29 weeks I have been using some stretch mark lotion that I received at my baby shower…mostly just to keep moisturized, since again, I knew I was going to get stretch marks.

Last weekend my belly was itching uncontrollably. I tried my lotions…no help. Finally I thought about coconut oil. Duh. I love coconut oil for cooking, and I have read a little bit about it’s benefits as a moisturizer. Last summer I used it on a sunburn and had really good results. I tried it to stop the itching… And it helped a little bit, but moreover, and call me crazy, but I think it faded my new stretch marks a little.
So…I have used it every day since. My skin is super soft and we will see what happens in the next few weeks with my marks.