Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A bitter-sweet goodbye

This weekend was the beginning of a new chapter for Z and I. With much hesitation (and a few tears) I made the decision to end our nursing relationship. I am fortunate to have been able to nurse her for the first 3 months of her life and give her the precious nutrients that keep her healthy, strong and beautiful.
After her 2 month shots

Unfortunately, with my return to work, my supply has taken a huge plunge and I simply cant keep up with her demands. Things were beginning to get very frustrating for both Z and I. I started to wean this weekend and one particular moment that broke my heart was when baby girl was laying on me almost asleep and she turned her face into my chest looking to nurse =(.
Until I completely dry up, I am pumping at night to aleviate the engorgement.  I'm going to miss that special bond and how easy it was to do middle of the night/early morning feedings but this was a decision made with our peace of minds in mind.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Happy 3 months baby girl!!

My happy child turns 3 months today!
Zoe is a little lady who knows what she wants and when she wants it. She gives plenty of warnings when she is hungry/sleepy/wet but if you ignore them, she'll go from 0 to 100 in the blink of an eye. She is eating 4 ounces per meal alternating between breast milk and formula since my supply has gone down significantly. She is finally starting to tolerate tummy time and will hold her head up at a 45 degree angle until she gets tired (usually 2-3 minutes). She loves to smile even when I wake her up in the early morning hours to get ready for the day. Her vocals are also starting to develop and she'll coo and scream when she gets excited. She spends her days at Ita's house (my mom) since I've gone back to my job in downtown. When ita leaves for work (3:30 PM) she goes to daycare until M or I pick her up. She is sleeping through the night! Usually we put her to bed around 9 P.M and she will wake up around 5-5:30 AM.

Zoe's Birth Story

I did my best to document the week leading up to and including Zoe's birth. Unfortunately, unless you blog all of these thoughts within 1-2 days, they become a blur. Here is my best attempt at recalling exactly what went on during the whirlwind week that was December 7th - 16th 2012:

Zoe's Birth

One week before
At my 39 week checkup (December 6th) my OB and I began to generate concern after finding out that miss Z was still very high (-2 station) with little effacement and less than a finger tip dilatation. Even so, the signs of labor (or lack thereof) were not what were truly concerning, it was her weight. Our last measuring ultrasound (done at around 35 weeks) Zoe was estimated to have weighed over 7 Lbs.The doctor was concerned that if she continued to grow, she would not be able to fit through my "narrow" pelvis (doc's words, not mine). He was also concerned that after weeks of mandated walks around the mall, Zoe was still very high and rolled up in a little ball underneath my ribs.

 My last day at work was on Friday December 7th. My intentions were always to work up until the first contractions, but as my due date got closer (and I got bigger) it was impossible to imagine having to get up one more day to endure the grueling traffic into downtown Miami.I was lucky to have saved enough vacation time to afford the luxury of leaving work a week early without having to start my maternity leave time.

Last day of work

God's birth plan
The doctor asked me to spend the weekend walking and to see him on Tuesday (December 11th, my due date according to them) and so I did. This appointment was less promising than the last. Z was still high and the chances of labor starting on it's own within the next few days were low. At that moment, my OB and I discussed scheduling an induction. I really wanted the opportunity to have my baby vaginally and an induction was the obvious choice at the time. The doctor agreed and set me up with an appointment to do a stress test and one last weight ultrasound at the hospital. As we were wrapping up the appointment, we discussed the process of the upcoming induction. In that, he briefly mentioned that the only reason why he ordered one final weighing ultrasound was to ensure that Zoe had not grown past 8lbs.5oz (the maximum weight that he felt comfortable with me delivering). My mom (who graciously accompanied me to all of my appointments) and I went to the mall to grab some lunch and pick up a gift then she was off to work and I met my dear friend Kelly at the hospital for the tests.
Stress test at the hospital

I arrived at the hospital around 4:00 P.M. They must of been having an active day because everything seemed to be taking so long. Once I was strapped in, the stress test was fairly quick and my active child passed with flying colors. It wasn't until around 8:00 P.M that I was wheeled over to have the ultrasound. I was so annoyed and hungry by that point. To make matters worse, at the conclusion of the scan the tech asked me: "What did .you eat? Baby is weighing 9lbs 10oz!". I broke down. For many reasons, for one - How could the tech be so ignorant and think that what I ate affected my baby's weight? I had barely gained the recommended 35lbs the doctor asked of me. Irritated and trying my best to keep on a smile, I explained that my husband was born at 10lbs and has a family history of big babies. Second and most important, I broke down because I knew what this news would mean to my doctor. I was discharged from the hospital and told to wait for a call from my OB the next morning.

I cried myself to sleep and when morning came I pretty much cringed every time the phone rang. At around 9:00 AM I received a call from my doctor's office saying that the doctor would like for me to come in and speak with him in person. I was seen soon after arrival and my angel of a OB said what I anticipated him saying "Due to the information at hand, I have to recommend a C-Section". I tried to keep my composure but the tears instantly rolled down my face. He pulled me in for a hug, a gesture that honestly made me feel as if I was with family. We talked and I expressed my fears of having surgery and the recuperation. He took the time to explain the process of a cesarean from beginning to end and assured me that he would do everything within his powers to make sure I was comfortable. He comforted me without any regards to the full lobby of patients that I'm sure were waiting on him.

When I left the office I called my hubby and my mom and told them the news. My family was so supportive and kept giving me encouraging words. One of my aunts sent me a wonderful passage (Joshua 1:9) about courage which I kept referring to. Although I was still nervous, on Thursday (the day before) I realized that I needed to let go and let god do his will. This was his birth plan for me.

The benefits of having a "planned" Cesarean is that you know exactly when it's coming and have the opportunity to take care of important last minute errands - like my hair, nails, and eyebrows. Hey, there's no rule on being to fabulous for surgery! That evening, hubby and I went to Friday's to have my last meal before becoming a mommy.

My Princess's Birthday
On Friday, December 14th, M and I woke up around 4:45 AM and started to get ready to head out to the hospital. We arrived around 6:00 AM and my sister and her fiancee were there waiting for us. My sister wanted to be there for the check in process and to give me support as she knew how nervous I was. We went in to registration and then I was wheeled up to the OR waiting room where M and I said our good-byes and got ready.

Being wheeled to the pre-op room
Being silly to help me calm down
Last pregnant picture
Mark suited up and ready to meet his princess
Last minute calls

 I changed into my hospital gown and socks and the nurses hooked me up to the first IV bag (they gave me 2 bags in total). They also gave me this awful tasting sour drink.. they didn't even try to sugarcoat how awful it would taste when they described it. The operation was due to begin at 8:00 AM but the doctor was running late. It wasn't long after he arrived that I was wheeled into the operating room where the sweetest anesthesiologist performed a spinal and numbed me from the waist down. I was then laid back into a bed that resembles Jesus's cross (with both arms out) but was not tied down. Once the anesthesia set in, the urinary catheter is inserted.M was then brought in to sit by my side and the official start time of the operation, 9:20 AM, was announced. As soon as the doctor began to make an incision M stood up and started peeking past the cover. I kept telling him "babe sit down you're going to get sick" but he wouldn't listen. The doctor over heard me and invited M for a closer look if he felt he could handle it. I was shocked by how brave my hubby was; he watched and photographed the entire c section.
The operating room had such a happy and relaxed atmosphere. I was laughing because as I was being cut open the doctors and nurses were talking about golf and making jokes. At one point the entire room broke out in laughter because the doctor mentioned to his assistant that he "found another" and I thought he was talking to me, causing me to scream. A few minutes after that I felt an immense pressure (not painful but I felt winded, as if a 500lb person had sat on my stomach). M came back behind the tarp with tears in his eyes "SHE'S BEAUTIFUL BABE, OH MY GOD SHE'S BEAUTIFUL" he kept saying. Then I hear the doctor say "Time of birth: 9:39 AM".

Give me my baby
A nurse came behind the tarp holding a tiny little being, swollen and with purple lips. Before I could register and get a good look at her they took her to the other side of the room where the warmer was. I remember thinking, "why isn't she crying?". I was relieved when I heard 3 small cries. M was standing next to the nurses and cutting the umbilical cord. After a few minutes (and no other cries), the nurses put her on the wheeled bassinet and left the room with M following behind. When the doctor was finished closing me up he said his good-byes and told me he'd be back during the weekend to check up on me. The nurses carried me from the operating bed to a regular hospital bed and wheeled me to the recovery room just outside the OR. Mark stopped by maybe 30 minutes later and updated me on Zoe's health. Baby girl had swallowed Meconium during delivery and it had made it's way into her lungs. She was admitted into the NICU so that her breathing could be monitored and clear everything out.

 At around 12:30 PM I was finally brought to a hospital room where they placed me on the bed and began to press down on my stomach to remove any blood clots (which hurt immensely!). I was missing Zoe but M was really good about bringing back pictures of her and voicing our choices to the NICU nurses. In the later part of the afternoon, they had to give her sugar through an IV because they did not want her to attempt to nurse and strain herself just yet. At the same time a lactation consultant came to visit me and teach me how to use the hospital breast pump. Much to our surprise not only was I able to extract colostrum, I produced 13 milliliters of that liquid gold! I was so proud and the LC was pretty shocked (our goal for that session was simply to stimulate). M was able to bring that colostrum to the NICU and feed it to our baby, which made me so happy.

I was getting really anxious to see Zoe and kept begging the nurse on staff to give me an opportunity to see my baby. On top of this, I kept begging her to at least give me some water (It had been almost 24 hours without any food or water). That evening I convinced her to give me a cup of ice chips and around 10:00 P.M, she finally brought in a wheel chair to transport me to the NICU. I was so elated to not only see my princess but to be able to nurse her.

She has nursed without any problems since day one
The next morning I woke up in an excruciating amount of pain. The nurse informed me that the pain medicine will no longer be administered via IV and that going forward all medicine would be administered orally. At 5:30 AM they removed the catheter and gave me my first dose of Oxycontin. Since I had done so well with the ice chips (no nausea) and had even held down some juice, the nurse gave the OK to serve me breakfast. It was bland and tasteless but it did feel good to put something in my stomach.
That afternoon, they finally brought me my baby girl and she was able to stay by my side for the remainder of our stay. The next few days we spent greeting visitors and taking care of our princess. The drugs were heavenly and I was only in discomfort when I had to bathe (which I did with M's assistance). The nurses gave us lots of tips on how to care for Zoe. One that I wont forget was a Russian RN who was really aggressive with her tips but had great stuff to share. She showed us how to position baby comfortably to nurse and not hold down her arms. As she put it "the boobs are like baby's sandwich and no one likes to eat a sandwich with their hands held down". LOL. My friend Kelly spent the night with Zoe and I on our last day since we wanted Mark to get home and get some rest.

Coming home
We were discharged on Monday December 17th in the late afternoon. The gentleman who wheeled us out was sweet enough to stop for a photo-op with a few Christmas trees that decorated the hospital.
Zoe was alert the entire car ride home, completely mesmerized by her surroundings.
We thank god for trusting us with this precious angel. She has brought so much love and light into our homes and our hearts. I am so excited for the years to come.