Wednesday, March 25, 2009

present day...

A lot has happened in 6, nearly 7 weeks. Not really in the grand scheme of things I suppose - but Angus is much more like a baby and much less like a newborn. He weighs about 10 pounds now, his eyebrows and eyelashes have grown, he smiles, he enjoys his play mat, he follows things he wants to look at, he has more hang time, he loves taking baths, he has a bedtime...etc, etc.

It's been truly amazing watching all this stuff happen, and the little changes in his personality and day to day life and habits. He really is how own little person, quirks and all.

He will be 2 months old in a couple of days and time has really flown. I am fully recovered from my c-section and I feel good. We're going to Canada soon to see my folks, so that will be's first airplane ride! Soon after we return from that, I will have to go back to work, which is MOST unfortunate. I am dreading it and wondering how I will make it work with the breastfeeding/pumping etc. I don't want to stress out about it too much yet but I can't help it. I really dread the thought of someone else looking after him...he needs SO much attention right now, he hardly naps and I can't imagine anyone but a mother doing this all day for him. I'm working on finding some appropriate caretakers for him, but I am procrastinating a bit because the last thing on earth I want to do is leave him. Tears come to my eyes when I think about it :(

Friday, March 20, 2009

the first couple of weeks

I need to try to catch up to present day, but I feel like I have some holes to fill here! So.....I will talk about the first couple of weeks. They were pretty hard, and starting to become blurry. This must be one of the benefits of having a child...making you forget the difficult parts so you want to have more!

I was so bloated and my feet were giant when I got home. I also had stretch marks! None of those things happened while I was pregnant. The bloating and swelling was from the fluids they pumped into me, and I went down fast. After just a few days I had lost much of the water and thankfully the water weight! The c-section didn't make life very easy. I had a hard time getting up and my husband had to get everything for me. It was slow going for me. Thankfully my parents came to visit and they were a great help. Every day I felt a little bit better and became a little more mobile though. I tried to get outside for walks, but the weather didn't cooperate much and we had most of our coldest days right when I got home and needed to be outside!

I definitely didn't realize how time consuming a lot of things would be. Someone told me "newborns sleep a lot" and they failed to also use the phrase "some newborns"...MY newborn never sleeps! Well, he sleeps now, but initially he didn't sleep at all. Not even in the hospital after he was born. He was too worried about getting food to be concerned with sleep. Once we got home, he barely slept...I mean a few hours here and there, and gradually it got better, but anytime we got him to be asleep after a feeding, he would wake up as soon as we transferred him to his bassinet. I *think* he slept better at night, and for the first 2 weeks we were home so did I. Since we were supplementing with formula, my husband could get up and do one of the feedings and I could stay asleep - luxury!

Although that was nice, I had a LOT of anxiety about formula. I am a big breastfeeding advocate, and it broke my heart to have to give him least we used the organic stuff. The supplementing started in the hospital because he got a fever due to dehydration, so we had to keep doing it for a while, and then wean him off. That stuff is like baby crack. After he had the formula he would sleep SO deeply. I guess because it's higher in fat than breastmilk, so it takes less time to go through him, whereas especially in the early days of milk, I was producing skim and it went through him FAST. Anyway - I was very worried about how we would wean him off, and we started to just give him less and less, but then one day we just gave him none. It had been long enough that my milk was satisfying him more and he didn't seem to miss it or really notice.

Angus liked to eat ALL the time...I literally mean 18-20 out of the 24 hours in a day this kid would be on the boob as I like to say. It was VERY draining and I think I assumed he would eat, we would put him down and then he would sleep for a few hours. No dice. He would eat, sleep for a short time, wake up, eat, poop, etc. And in the middle of this he would be swaddled and unswaddled numerous times. Inevitably, once he was perfectly swaddled, he would take a giant poop and we would have to do that again. It was tricky...but it got and continues to get much better.

I got a good breastfeeding book, and it said that after about 40 days, things improve and you and your child figure each other out. That timeline was spot on. I've got many of his habits figured out and those first few weeks were nutty and sleep deprived and stressful....on top of my hormones working themselves out - many tears were shed - tears of joy and tears of stress. I haven't cried in a couple of weeks now though and it's been 7 weeks!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


So, if you read the story of my labor and any of my previous posts about how I wanted my birth to be, you may recall that I wanted a natural childbirth. So how do I feel about the events that took place? How do I feel about what became the most unnatural birth? I don't know really. In a way I am still processing what happened. Everyone says that you can plan and hope for whatever you want, but childbirth can be like Murphy's law. Ultimately my husband is right though. In short, by signing up to have a hospital birth, you also sign yourself up for the likelihood of many interventions that "may help you progress" or "are best for the baby" and it can be hard to avoid them. Of course though, every hospital is different, every town is different and every caretaker is different.

Ultimately I am very thankful that I have a happy, healthy baby and in short that outweighs how he got here - BUT - if there is a next time, I will do it quite differently. If I am still in NYC, I would go back to St.Luke's-Roosevelt, but I would be in their birthing center under the care of a midwife. It's nice to know that if there were to be an emergency that it can be handled a mere floor away.

...or maybe I should just go to The Farm!

Monday, March 16, 2009

after the delivery....

After the delivery, I was wheeled into a recovery area where we re-met up with our doula Shana. Angus was brought in briefly, and we put him to the breast and he latched on right away - which was awesome. Unfortunately, a really bitchy intern came and told us we had to let Angus to get all his tests and everything done. We tried to get her to delay for 10-15 minutes so we could bond and he could continue to nurse, but she wasn't having it and - well - she was a TOTAL BITCH. No way to treat a new mom. Anyway, I sent Johnny with him to the nursery, and eventually I was wheeled to my room. I wasn't going to be able to get up for a couple of days...I had a catheter, IV's with pain medication and fluids, and these weird things on my calves which were like electric boots. They vibrated on and off and I guess since the medication takes a while to wear off, and during that time I can't feel anything fro the waist down, they massage me to avoid DVT.

Eventually Johnny and Angus showed up and we nursed some more and tried to sleep a bit. Things were fine, but eventually night came and Johnny had to leave, which was sad. Angus was very fussy all night (he roomed with me) and I had problems getting him to latch again. He hadn't really slept, and he was only getting colostrum and it was an all night battle. What really sucked was that he was in a bassinet next to my bed, but I couldn't physically take him out of it or out him in it because of my limited mobility, so I had to keep buzzing the nurses to do it. Also, the lady next to me had a vaginal birth and was clearly disturbed by Angus' crying and my inability to stop it - which stressed me out.

Over the next couple of days the nursing got a bit better, but he was still a little fussy and continually on the boob. My catheter and my leg machines were removed, and I was up and walking...albeit uncomfortably. Eventually Angus developed a fever, so they had to give him some formula because they assumed he was dehydrated - which he was. I felt really bad about it - but I guess it was just because my milk hadn't arrived. Looking back, I would have benefited greatly from having a lactation consultant come see me - which my husband suggested, but I didn't. The nurses all give you different opinions on breastfeeding, and there are no lactation consultants on staff. We also have conflicting blood types, which caused elevated billirubin levels (which is what causes jaundice) and that may have contributed to the fever too. The fever went down quickly after the formula was given, so after breastfeedings it was recommended that I continue to "top him off" with the formula.

So....I gave birth on a Tuesday and went home on Friday. My parents had arrived in town the night before so they were there to help, which was wonderful. We left St.Luke's Roosevelt and were left to our own devices to start our journey as parents

Friday, March 6, 2009


I hope to return to more frequent posting on Monday, but in the meantime - here are 2 great/interesting/funny articles I came across today...

NYTimes...flying with a baby

NYTimes...nursing and drinking

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

my birth story

Ok...finally. Here is the story of my labor as told by my husband Johnny with help from our doula Shana. The ones in italics & bold are the text messages he sent to a small list of friends and family. It's a LONG story and was a LONG labor. Enjoy!

Friday - 1/23
13:30 - normal OB GYN appointment - Sonya is 2cm dilated and 40% effaced. They send us to St Luke’s for a sonogram and some fetal monitoring. We walk through Central Park from 93rd and CPW to 58th & Amsterdam....30+ blocks! The resident on duty sends us up to Labor & Delivery to get further monitoring (for no real stated reason). We stay there for 4 hours. Sonya sees some minor contractions on the monitor and feels them a bit when we get home.

Saturday - 1/24
07:00 - I get up for work, Sonya is definitely feeling some contractions. I go into the job expecting to be called away by mid afternoon. The call never comes. I get home around 3PM. We finish off the day pretty normally. Sonya gets some napping in, and we go to bed kind of early.

Sunday - 1/25
00:00 - Sonya wakes up to full-on contractions. They start about 7 min apart, and fluctuate between 5 and 8.
00:45 - Sonya goes to the bathroom and has a bit of bloody show and notices mucus discharge is increasing.
01:00 - Contractions start to weaken a bit.
02:00 - Contractions intensify.
04:00 - I make Sonya an omelet.
05:00 - Things slow down a bit, we go back to sleep.
10:00 - We wake up, contractions are about 10-15 min apart, they stay that way most of the day.
17:00 - We take a long walk around the neighborhood. When we got home, things kick back in heavy. Contractions are about 3-5 min apart. We ride them out at home, eat some donuts we had bought on the walk, and start trying some positions to help Sonya deal with the pain.
22:30 - We call our doula Shana to give her a heads up, and call our OB Dr. Langer to tell her things were happening, but we decide to stay home for a while.
22:30 - Sonya takes a bath for about an hour.

Monday - 1/26
01:00 - We ask Shana to come over. She helps Sonya with pain and soothe her. We slowly get gear up for the hospital.
03:00 - - Sonya’s water breaks.
05:30 - We head to the hospital.
06:00 - Sonya is admitted to St. Lukes/Roosevelt.
07:00 - Sonya is checked. She is 3cm dilated and fully effaced. We are sent to our room in Labor & Delivery - Room 26. When we get there, we ask for intermittent monitoring. This is not greeted kindly, but eventually we get our way, and Sonya is free, on her feet again, and contracting on the birthing ball.
09:00 - Sonya is checked and is 5cm dilated. She takes a bit of a rest and lies down “As long as we have her lying down we should get her on the monitor”, they say...we reluctantly allow it.
09:21 - At the here around 6AM. She’s 5cm and totally effaced, with pretty much non-stop contractions. This girl is AMAZING.
11:00 - While I was calling my folks, Dr. Lurie (our on duty OB) had come in and explained that she felt like Sonya’s contractions were “not strong enough”. She wants to introduce a intra-utero compression monitor to more accurately measure the contractions. We don’t feel we’re being given much of a choice, and it happens quickly. Sonya lies down for a bit more, and her contractions remain frequent, but weak. Dr. Lurie wants to start Pitocin. I ask for a bit of time to work with her on her feet, which I do. We begin taking contractions standing and on the birthing ball, and her contractions intensify greatly, but Dr Lurie does not like being unable to monitor the fetal heart rate (our movement had rendered the external monitor unreliable). So, she shortly insists if we were going to move around, that we apply the internal heart rate monitor. We’re uncomfortable with that, and talk her out of it.
12:30 - Sonya’s mobility is severely limited with the internal compression monitor, and she is pretty much forced back into a supine position on the bed. Things stall again, and Dr. Lurie says we need to get Pitocin going. She also recommends a Foley to empty her bladder, since she can’t get up or really move around much at all. We allow the Pitocin to be introduced slowly, and it is ramped up over the next few hours.
15:30 - The baby’s heart rate is dipping with each contraction, and they insist on the internal fetal heart rate monitor. A resident inserts it and screws it in.
16:00 - The Pitocin is reintroduced. Sonya’s contractions are now spaced out more, and still fairly weak.
16:27 - Still in fucking labor. Things have not gone as we had hoped them to. One
thing is certain, though. It cannot be underestimated how overwhelmed I am by the strength, will, and selflessness of Sonya. We are all lucky to know such a
creature...seriously - holy shit.

17:15 - Sonya is checked by Dr. Lurie and has dilated to 7cm. There are also traces of light meconium in the water but not enough or dark enough to worry about. Dr. Lurie feels like a Cesarean is around the corner, but knows Sonya wants a vaginal, natural birth. Since she will have to get an epidural to have a Cesarean, she suggests getting that first and seeing if that will relax the cervix enough to open up that last bit.
18:45 - Sonya is administered an epidural.
19:15 - Sonya nods off a bit, the Pitocin is increased, and I step out to get some food.
19:19 - After 44 hours spent riding out steady contractions without a drop of medicine, fetal heart rate issues have forced SK under an epidural. If this relaxes her cervix enough to push our baby out in the next few hours, we can avoid a c-section.
22:00 - Sonya is checked again. She is still 7cm, though the baby has dropped a bit more and is engaged.
23:15 - Depending on Sonya’s position in the bed, the fetal heart rate continues to dip severely during contractions. Dr. Lurie has an amnio-infusion administered to help relieve any pressure on the cord. The Pitocin is stopped for a bit, then reintroduced once the fluid has drained into the uterus.

Tuesday - 1/27
01:00 - Sonya is checked. She is 8.5cm dilated.
03:00 - Sonya is checked. She is 9cm dilated.
05:00 - After HOURS of lying on her back with an epidural on Pitocin, Sonya is finally dilated enough to attempt a push. There is still a lip to the cervix, but Dr. Lurie feels like she can push it aside with her fingers, if Sonya can push the baby through. Sonya’s natural labor has died by this point and the contractions are being created by the Pitocin alone. This is not a sufficient force to work with her, and her attempts to push fail.
06:30 - Sonya is taken to prep and to the OR, and I scrub up.
07:00 - I joined her in the OR for the cesarian.
07:03 - Suited up, and heading into the OR for the C.
07:24 - Angus Anton North is surgically removed from his mother and introduced to the world.
08:26 - Angus Anton North came out into the world at 7:24AM. He weighs about 8
lbs, and has reddish hair.

Wednesday - 1/28
20:45 - SK is asleep and snoring for the first time since Saturday afternoon...YAY!!!