Thursday, March 26, 2009

It's been real

I've watched several blogger buddies, previously infertile and otherwise, drop out of blogging and wondered when or if I would be ready to call it quits. Over the past three months with Jonas I've watched my posts drop off considerably. Yes, I'm busy being a new mom, but I also just haven't felt the need or desire as much lately.

I looked back over my posts from this time last year when I was dealing with another failed IUI. My post from Feb. 21st 2008 pretty much says it, the disappointment and despair was intense. Now, a little over a year later, that despair has been replaced with fulfillment and joy almost equally intense, though maybe not as blog worthy.

I have appreciated immensely the encouragement and support I have received here. Thanks for joining me on the journey. If you're still reading and wouldn't mind leaving one last comment so I know you're there, that would be great.

If you're interested in Jonas updates I may keep up a very minimal family blog, so send me your e-mail and I'll get you the link.


Friday, March 20, 2009

The Pump Returns...

My return to work date is just 6 weeks away! I am so glad to have had this time with my baby, but am looking forward to going back to a job that I love. There are so many things I thought I'd do with this time. Most of them never got done. The reality of caring for a newborn (and a new mom) all day is not quite like my romantic fantasy. Still, I feel absolutely bonded to my son and have treasured this special time at home with him. MM and I will be sharing childcare starting in May. We'll both be working a reduced schedule so we can be with Jonas most of the time. I'm happy to have a nanny for the other 15 or so hours we'll need to close the gap.

Breastfeeding still isn't as easy and painless as I had hoped it would be, but I'm committed to sticking with it. Yes, it is getting better, still not great though. Now I'm trying to figure out the best way to make sure I can continue to breastfeed him when I go back to work. My job is very breast-feeding friendly, so I'll get "pump breaks" and can go see him at the nanny's on my lunch break the days I'm there a full day. I'm just not sure how much/if I need to be pumping now so I am sure to have enough as he grows. Honestly, I still hate the thing. All the little parts, the noise, the ridiculous feeling of being hooked up to a milking machine...but I'll do it if I need to. If you have successfully managed this transition I'd love to hear from you. It's a little daunting.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Three weeks in baby land

We've had a pretty busy 3 weeks with our little man. I could write a lengthy post about each of the following, but I won't. Instead here's a quick run down of what's been happening in our world with a few of my favorite photos.

Feb. 24th- Evening training at work. Left Jonas with dad. All good.

Feb. 28th- Date night with MM. Jonas stayed home with awesome friend. No tears.

March 1st- Hosted my birth attendants for dinner to celebrate Jonas' 2 months and say thanks for the awesome care.

March 2nd- First IZs. More traumatic for mom and baby than expected. Cried like he's never cried before. Glad dad was there too.

March 5th- Jonas meets his great-aunt on my dad's side while she visits for a conference in SF.

March 6th- Trial run with nanny-to-be. Jonas stayed with her for 3 hrs while I prepared for company. Hard for me. Jonas was totally cool.

March 6-14th-Friends from St. Louis visit. Whirlwind of activity: Redwoods, Winery, Beach, SF. Jonas was great. Nice to reconnect with old friends and introduce them to our son.

March 9th- Scary night. Jonas spit up bright red blood. Seemed like a lot. Brief panic. Rational brain kicked in. Cracked, bleeding nipple was the culprit. Healing well. No more scary episodes.

March 14th- Planted the placenta under our apple tree in the new community orchard.

In and among all these events Jonas continues to grow and thrive. I am amazed at him daily. It's such a gift to know him and to be his mom.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What's that in the freezer?

A few days after the delivery, I opened up the freezer looking for something to eat. I noticed a clear Tupperware container with what looked like frozen fruit salad inside, but I didn't remember freezing any cut up fruit & berries. Before I investigated any further I realized what it was--my placenta. If you think that's gross, I apologize. I think it's a little gross myself, and it's my placenta.

Prior to the delivery the midwife had asked if I wanted to keep the placenta to plant or anything. Apparently it's pretty common with home birthers to save the placenta for some other use. I wasn't sure at the time, so I guess she erred on the side of caution and froze it so I could decide later. For quite a while I still wasn't sure what to do with it. It didn't seem right just to throw it out, but we live in a house we rent, and I didn't want to worry about having to dig up a placenta tree every time we move. So it remained in the freezer.

Now I am excited to report that my placenta will have a new home. A non-profit dedicated to developing a sustainable local food system just started an adopt a tree program. You donate toward the purchase of a fruit tree that you can then name and plant on their farm here in town. I was a little nervous about asking the farm manager if it was OK to plant my placenta with our tree. I left an odd message on her voice mail, but she called back and said she loved the idea and that my placenta was welcome there. So in just a few weeks my placenta will become part of the earth that nourishes a fruit tree that will hopefully provide great fresh fruit to local families for years to come. That makes me smile--even if it is a little gross.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Home Alone

Jonas is 5 weeks old now, and today was our first day home alone together. MM took the first 3 weeks off, then my mom and grandparents came the day before MM had to go back to work. My mom stayed for two weeks and left on Saturday evening (she returned for another brief stint later in the week). It was great to have help for so long, but I also felt like it was time for Jonas and I to get into our own groove.

I know it's different for everyone, but bonding didn't happen instantly like I imagined. I love him deeply, but the feeling of closeness and attachment just wasn't there for a while. The complete dependence of an infant and the selflessness that's required of a mom is intense, and was harder to handle than I thought it would be. Now that we're on our own and some time has passed (and breastfeeding is finally getting easier) The feelings I was missing and wanted at first are coming.

Everything went pretty well today. No major melt-downs for either one of us. I ate, he ate, we walked, he even let me shower while he hung out in his bassinet looking at a book. Not a bad first day home alone.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Unplugged and Unshielded

I am of course referring to my breasts. I know this is not the experience of everyone, but for me, labor pales in comparison to breastfeeding. Things are just now starting to get a little easier (i.e. less painful). Right around the 3 week mark we started feeding without the nipple shield during the day. We were both too tired and frustrated at night to go without it for the first few days, but now we've been feeding unshielded for a little over a week. The good news about that is I no longer have to pump! The bad news is he's destroyed my nipples. Cracked, bleeding, macerated--not a pretty picture. I've consulted with several nurses and midwives over the past week and have some ointment that's helping. I'm also spending as much time as possible au naturale (which MM loves of course). Jonas has a pretty good latch now, but I think I was just so anxious to get him off the shield I didn't pay much attention to his positioning at first. Then by the time I did, it was too late. It seriously felt like a hot knife stabbing me when he latched on. It took my breath away. Then on top of it I got a plugged milk duct. The combination of the pain, fatigue, and postpartum hormones have made me a little crazy, but at least I recognize it for what it is--part of a difficult transition to motherhood.

I don't say this to scare or discourage anyone from breastfeeding--I'm still glad I'm doing it and know it's good for Jonas and for me (even when it hurts). I was just totally unprepared for the challenge that breastfeeding can be. If anyone else is having trouble breastfeeding or isn't having the blissed-out experience you've read about you're not alone, and it does get better.

There's so much more I'd like to say about my transition, but that will have to wait for another post. Most of my time has been full of feeding, baby-care and breast-care lately, with an afternoon walk in the Moby. It hasn't left much time for blogging. This morning though my son is asleep on my chest and is letting me do some catching up. I can't believe he's a month old today!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


MM's mom made this blanket.
She died 4 years ago.
We miss her.
Jonas would make her happy.
She would have been a wonderful grandma.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Home Birth Part II

I thought it was interesting that the two comments about my first home birth post both mentioned the issue of control. One said that home birth felt uncontrolled, the other that the woman seems to be more in control during a home and/or water birth. As someone who likes to plan and control to a certain extent, this was one of my main challenges to overcome. Some of the best advice I got during my pregnancy regarding labor was that it is the ultimate letting go. There's no controlling it, and the sooner you realize that and let your instincts take over, the better off you'll be. Easier said than done, but by the time I was ready to give birth I was in a pretty good space to just let it happen however it needed to.

An OB nurse and friend likes to say that most women spend way too much time preparing for and worrying about something that will likely last less than 24 hours and will happen regardless (the childbirth part). She recommends spending more time preparing for parenting and breastfeeding. Good advice, but back to the home birth stuff...

We came to home birth out of the desire to have a natural and unmedicated birth in a comfortable environment with minimal intervention. Initially I thought that a birthing center would be the way to go, but when I visited ours I realized that a birth center birth is really just a home birth at someone else's house (assuming the home birth is attended by a professional who has all the necessary equipment and training to handle an emergency). If you were at home or in a birthing center and you needed a c-section, you'd still have an ambulance or car-ride to the hospital.

Fear is another big consideration. For me, I felt safer and more comfortable delivering in my own home, with professionals I know and trust who were committed to being there for me through the whole process and shared my goal for the delivery--a safe and healthy mom and baby with minimal intervention. I realize most people probably don't feel this way, and I'm not against hospital births if that is where you feel most comfortable, but I do think women should have a real choice and not be forced into the hospital because someone scared them into it. The outcomes for attended home births in low risk women are as good as or better than hospital births. I think because of my profession and training as a nurse practitioner, I have more first-hand knowledge about the advantages and limitations of the hospital setting. For me, home just felt right. That said, I was completely willing to go to the hospital if I needed to. Thankfully, I had a positive experience and got what I wanted, a healthy baby and mom.

The other great thing about home birth is you never have to go anywhere. It may sound obvious, but staying home and sleeping in our bed with MM and our baby from the beginning was great, and much different than the hospital. Having control over who was there and when they came was also great. It was just the birth experience I wanted.

I can't think of anything I would have done differently, except maybe turn the hot water heater up. It took forever to fill the AquaDoula.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Home Birth

I read a post from a fellow blogger who was on a rant against home birth. It was disappointing to see the misinformation that's out there. Especially after having had such a wonderful home birth experience. It made me wonder if anyone reading my blog had questions about home birth our our decision to birth at home. It's important to distinguish an attended home birth (attended by a licensed professional i.e. MD, CNM, etc.) from an unattended home birth or a birth attended by a lay midwife. I had regular prenatal care and was attended by licensed professionals with years of experience with labor and delivery in a variety of settings. We had all the equipment we needed to monitor the baby and to manage an emergency (oxygen, pitocin for postpartum hemorrhage, etc.). So this is your chance to get your burning home birth questions answered. Fire away.

Due Date and Breastfeeding Boot Camp

Today is my due date--a date I've been repeating for the past 9 months. It's strange that it's here and I'm holding my one week old son. I'm so glad he decided to come when he did. I think 6 lb 12 oz was about all I could handle. The tax break is also a nice bonus.

I have been in breastfeeding boot camp for the past week, hence the lack of posting. I have had great support throughout the process, from the lactation consultant, MM, my parents, and my midwife. It's not as easy as I thought it would be. It took several days for my milk to come in, and even then, he had trouble getting a good latch. I saw the lactation consultant last Tuesday. She recommended a nipple shield, which has made breastfeeding much easier. Unfortunately the nipple shield can make transferring milk a little more difficult for the baby, so in addition to about 40 minutes of breastfeeding every 2-3 hours, I also have to pump 15 minutes and supplement with the expressed breast milk. So that's pretty much been life for the past week. I breastfeed, MM changes Jonas and gives the supplemental milk while I pump. Between feedings I try to get a shower in, feed myself, and nap. We also spend a lot of time just staring at Jonas. It's truly amazing to see him here after so much anticipation.

It's been so fun to share the excitement of our son's arrival with our friends and family. The support from our community has been great. It's really beautiful to experience the love people share during these important transitions in life. My parents arrived on Thursday and left early this morning. The timing was perfect. It gave us a few days to get settled and be alone with Jonas and they were here to help when we really needed it.

I had a little melt down on Friday. Up until then I had been feeling pretty good (other than a painful perineum). The midwife came over to weigh Jonas and check-in on the breast-feeding. He was looking a little jaundice, had lost weight, and only took 1/2 an ounce in a 40 minute feed (we checked his pre and post feeding weight). I felt horrible about not being able to feed my baby and was so tired I was getting irrational. By the next day though I was feeling better and have made peace with the pump. I still don't like it but I'll pretty much do anything for this little guy.

In other exciting news, I shaved my legs for the first time in months! I almost forgot it was possible. As much as I loved being pregnant, it's nice to have him on the outside now and get my body back.