Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Friday, May 30, 2008

Random shots in Sam's life

We've started calling Sam our little "lumpia" (a Filipino eggroll) because Joe swaddles him with such precision every time. Look at that perfectly swaddled blanket! Only an engineer could do this...
Here are the two grandmas at Mom's impromptu visit last week. We were getting ready to go to Sam's first Mass.

Here's Amy, a glasses-wearing Noah, and Sam. Noah was fascinated by "Baby Sam eat food" (nursing) and really, really wanted to help run the breast pump.

Here's my mom with Sam. Holding Sam makes her sleepy. She bought this sleeper on her trip and the Gemmers sent us an identical one (the next size up!), too. (Great minds think alike).

Here's how the dogs have adjusted to Sam. Doc follows us from my bedroom to Sam's room and back again faithfully. Sometimes, he just sleeps in the nursery by the crib. Schatzi has been pretty good, but really wants to snuffle in Sam's hair and poke him with her nose. In the picture below, Doc wanted to lay his head on Sam, but I thought that was probably a little much while the poor kid was trying to nap, so I kept my hand on Doc to give Sam a little more space.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Weekly wisdom

I'm learning a lot of new lessons in life as a new mom and thought I would share them. You new moms-to-be might find them valuable and you seasoned moms out there might find them entertaining.

1. Be prepared to cry. A lot. Did you realize The Runaway Bunny was such a tearjerker?

2. Loving my new mom body. While I was pregnant, I lamented every stretch mark and every pound I gained. Now, I'm so thankful to be able to touch my toes, get out of a chair by myself and walk more than a block without resting. Of course, it helps that I'm 25lbs lighter than I was last week.

3. Nursing is an interesting experience. My self-worth seems to ride on how much milk I produce in a day (which, thankfully, is more than Sam needs right now) and how much weight my baby gains. I have the feeling like I'm "cramming" for a test right before we go to the pediatrician's for a weight check. I have more pride in looking at my daily amount of pumped milk than I ever did at graduating with honors, doing well at my job, or any other of my previous accomplishments.

4. That whole "sleep when the baby sleeps" is a nice idea, but not practical. This is why I could never work shift work as a nurse...I can't sleep in the day time. So, right now, I try to put my feet up and close my eyes when he naps, but I'm thankful he sleeps pretty well at night (most nights).

5. Sleep deprivation makes us all stupider...I mean, more stupid. I can't remember the simplest things. So, asking me to time how long my baby had nursed on each side was a monumental task. I'd look at the clock when we started and by the time we finished and checked again, I couldn't remember what time we started! Joe saved the day by getting me a kitchen timer that 1) counts up (so I can hit start when I start nursing and know how many minutes I've nursed at the end); 2) has an alarm (so I can set the alarm for 3 hours after I started nursing and know I need to get Sam going again) and, 3) counts down (not sure what this is used for in nursing, but will come in handy when...if...I start cooking again). Moms-to-be...go out and get one now! It would be useful for timing contractions, too.

6. Dads respond to parenthood different than moms. Joe went into Mr. Fix-It mode and started hanging shelves, fixing doors, mowing the lawn, and organizing our home. It was all a bit overwhelming for me, since he was being so productive and I was spending all my hours feeding this kid. Also, it took him away from the baby and me for long periods of time. We remedied the situation by putting an extra chair in the nursery so he can sit with us while we nurse. It seems like a no-brainer, but it took us several days to come up with this solution!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sams Hungry Face

Here are a few quick snaps we took across the street in the park. Sam was hungry, but not yet really upset about it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

and the winner is...

Jackie Driver! Not only did she guess the right date of May 18, she also guessed the time of 9pm (actual birth time 8:58pm). Not bad!

More pictures, posts, etc to come...this sleep-deprived mom is just trying to get birth announcements sent out before this kid goes to kindergarten.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Got milk?

I really wanted to breastfeed and knew this even before I got pregnant. I also knew, after talking to multiple moms in the area, that while breastfeeding is "best", a majority of moms ended up bottle feeding. In IF, people don't nurse in public and, if they do, they drape like crazy. It's very different than other regions that I've lived in, so I decided to increase my odds of success, I'd attend a LLL meeting beforehand.

I am so glad I did! These are the barriers I've met up with so far:
1. Tuesday, I asked for a referral to a lactation consultant to make sure everything was going okay. The ONLY lactation consultant is on vacation until May 28 and the pediatrician proceeded to tell me that all of my problems were due to poor nipple preparation on my part, as well as give me outdated information on breastfeeding. Fortunately, one of the LLL members came to my house on Wednesday to help me out.

2. The pediatric nurse said, "I never nursed any of my babies". Is that supposed to be encouraging?

3. Thursday, we found out that Sam had lost a pound since his birth (being a new mom, I could have cried) and his bilirubin level had doubled, putting him in a high risk category. The doctor told me I needed to supplement and told me to give him a bottle. He wasn't concerned about nipple confusion at all and I told him that I would like a prescription for a supplementer. Neither he nor the nurse had ever heard of one and he didn't feel like it would offer any advantage. I told him I wanted one anyway and he told me I could tell him where to fax the order.

4. No medical equipment store in Idaho Falls carries supplementers. Most had not heard of them. So, we tried to feed him with an eye dropper placed next to my nipple. Talk about slow progress! It took over an hour to feed him one ounce!

5. After that, I did some research online and asked the nurse for the equipment to improvize this setup: a syringe and a tiny nasogastric tube. The tube goes next to the nipple and I push the syringe when Sam suckles. Again, a slow process. We fed him every 2 hours for the last 24 hours, only getting 7 3/4 ounces down him in 24 hours. This morning, it took us 2 1/2 hours to get 8ml in him. I was so discouraged I wanted to give him a bottle right then.

However, it was all worth it! Today, we went back for a weight check and...
1. Sam had gained 4 ounces.
2. His bilirubin had dropped into a low risk category.
3. The pediatrician told the nurse to tell us, "Well, tell her her idea worked. She can come back on Sunay instead of tomorrow."

So, the moral of the story to you pregnant moms out there. If you want to breastfeed, know your local resources ahead of time. Some people have so much help out there with lactation consultants, a supportive culture, the right equipment, etc. And, others just don't. But, be determined and hang in milk came in today and I've never been so proud. Sam nursed like a champ and I learned how to use a breast pump as well. (Here's a picture of Sam with his Grandma, who was great moral support through all of this, including that torturous feeding this morning).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Family Photo

This is a picture from the new grandma about 10 minutes after Sam was born

Who's who?

Can you tell who is who? (They may be cousins, but they sure look alike).

Sam's birth story (part two)

So, Sunday morning, we arrived at the hospital and I felt sure I was ready to have this baby. But, when the nurse checked me, I was still only 3-4 cm dilated. She told me my body was "really slow" and I was so discouraged. But, I was about 75% effaced, so at least the contractions had done something. We stayed for the NST and an hour later, I was a little over 4cm dilated, so she called my doctor and told him that we were finally in active labor. He wanted her to start pitocin to get the labor moving and he'd be there later to check on me.
Joe and I were hoping to have as few interventions as possible, so we declined the pitocin, wanting to see what my body could do on its own. When my doctor arrived later at 1pm, I'd only reached 5cm, so he broke my water and said we'd see what would happen from there. Almost instantly, I had the most incredible, painful, awful contractions in my back and lower abdomen. I couldn't keep ahead of them. And, I got the shakes, which made me feel even more out of control. We tried coping for awhile and I told Joe I thought I wanted an epidural. By the time Dori came back in the room 2 minutes later, I was *very assertively* saying, "I want an epidural! Get me an epidural!" (I wouldn't recommend waiting this long for an epidural in the was hard to hold still and cope while they placed it).

So, I got my epidural, which was worth every penny. My pain came down, but I could still feel the contractions. I was able to cope with them by breathing and having Joe rub my back and with moaning. When the doctor checked me again, I was 7cm and having good, strong contractions.
I got a new nurse, Nicole (who was amazing!), at change of shift, and she said she felt like my pain was too out of control. She was worried I would be too tired for pushing, so she increased my dose and all of a sudden, I felt wonderful. No pain, no back pressure, nothing for the first time in several days. When she checked me around 5p, I was 9cm dilated and only starting to feel a little back and hip pain on the left side, which never really took the epidural like the right side did. My doctor checked me and told us we could start pushing.

At first, Nicole told us she could see the baby's head and I was thinking, "Oh, good, this will be over after a few pushes." However, when I was pushing, she realized the baby's head was pointed toward the back of my pelvis and he was looking up, so his forehead kept getting stuck under my pelvis when I pushed. I ended up pushing for 2 hours, trying to get him to turn around. Let me just say this: epidurals eventually wear off and 2 hours of pushing is 2 hours too long, especially with back labor. I was very vocal during pushing and had a surprising (to me) amount of vomiting and nausea during this phase. Joe and Dori each held a leg and when I started to get tired, Joe helped hold my chin to my chest during pushes.

At some point, I looked down while I was pushing and was surprised to see my doctor had replaced Nicole at the foot of my bed. He said, "In a few contractions, we're going to have this baby." I didn't really believe him at that point, but he was right. All of a sudden, the head was crowing. Joe said, "His face is out!". I asked, "Is it a boy??" (like, "How can you tell from the face?" but Joe always refers to the unknown gendered as he) and then my doctor said, "Sure looks like a boy to me."

And, there was Sam. They placed him on my abdomen and I cried as I stroked his hair. Dori cut the cord. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to hold him for long, because he was having some trouble maintaining his oxygen level, so Joe took him to the nursery (with the nurse) and Dori stayed with me while I recovered.

An hour or so later, though, I got to see my beautiful son, with his poor swollen and bruised head and face. I'd previously told Joe that no newborn as cute and I doubted ours would be, but I happily ate my words. We got into bed together and he nursed like a champ right off the bat. Later, the nurse offered to take him back to the nursery so we could rest, but I didn't want to give him up more than I already had to that evening, so I settled in for my first night as a mom. I told Joe the next day that there was a point when I'd been nursing and had my gown half off when I realized I had to pee...and then realized that Sam needed a diaper change...and that it was my responsibility to do it all. (Joe sleeps like the dead...this will change quickly, I'm sure). And, that was my first realization that I was indeed a mom.

Sam's birth story (part one)

This is the story of how Sam came into the world. On Thursday (May 15), I happened to not have any patients scheduled and took the day off to just take life easy during those last miserable days of pregnancy. So, Wednesday night, I started walking, hoping to induce labor and was rewarded with some mild contractions that were pretty regular, but became less regular as the night wore on. Thursday, I went for a two hour walk that was more eventful than planned. I had planned a leisurely short walk to try to get things going, but ended up getting chased by a nesting pigeon and getting lost trying to avoid the pigeon on the way home. Two hours later, I was exhausted, but back at home safe and sound. I'd been having contractions every 5 minutes and was hoping I'd be into labor by the time I got to my OB check that afternoon. (On the right: puffy and swollen Jen just after my 2 hour walk).

No luck, though. My doctor was out of town, so the PA refused to check my cervix and give me an update. She did find, however, that my blood pressure was high, so she put me on bedrest and sent me to the hospital to monitor the baby for an hour or so. There, the nurse checked my cervix and I was 1 cm dilated. The baby looked fine, so we went home a few hours later and I had contractions on an off throughout the night.

Friday, we went for another nonstress test (to monitor the baby) and my mom-friend, LeAnne, came to keep us company. The monitor showed fairly regular contractions, but I didn't feel very many. I was only dilated to 2cm and the nurse stripped my membranes to see if that would change anything. We went back home and LeAnne gave me a pedicure and we watched a movie to relax a little. By the time LeAnne left at 8:30p, I was having stronger, more frequent contractions. By 2am, the contractions were strong enough that I needed help getting through them and I woke up Joe for some coaching.

We had contractions every 3-5 minutes throughout the night. In the morning, we'd been in a regular labor pattern for 10 hours and decided to take a walk around the park to see if this was really it. The walk was beautiful and whenever a contraction would hit, Joe would hold me up. The contractions were getting longer and worse in my back, so we decided to go to the hospital. They were expecting us for another NST and Joe took pleasure in telling the nurse, "Nope, we're on our way to have a baby today!"

But, when we got to the hospital, I was only dilated to 3cm and wasn't all the way effaced yet. We stayed for our NST and then went home. I was tired, cranky and overall feeling discouraged. We'd been laboring for a few days and I was exhausted. I went home and slept while my wonderful husband and his friend, Ryan, installed the air conditioner so I wouldn't be so uncomfortable. The contractions eased off for the remainder of the day. (On the right: laboring at home, resting in between contractions. Doc was worn out from all the excitement).

But, by Saturday night, they were back. Dori (Joe's mom) had made it into town at this point. I had a lot of back labor and pretty regular, intense contractions and, again, made it a few hours before I had to wake up Joe to help with them. These were the most intense, painful contractions I had experienced and was struggling to cope with every strategy we'd learned in our birthing class. I didn't want to go to the hospital to just be sent home again, so we waited until about 10am to go to the hospital since we were supposed to have another NST that day.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Its a Boy

Hello everyone. Joe here to give you a quick update: Samuel Frederick Kaufman was born at 8:58 pm on Sunday night (May 18th). He was 7 lbs 15 oz and 20.5 inches long. Both he and Mom (Jen) are doing great and will hopefully be home soon. I came home to grab a couple things and to give all you guys an update, but Jen will post a longer detailed story as soon as she can. Sorry I forgot the camera at the hospital or I would give you a snapshot. I'll remedy that as soon as I can. Just know that he has lots of dark hair and is about as cute as a baby can be.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Back Home Again

Well faithful readers. We went to the hospital this morning when Jen was having painful contractions 3 min apart. They had started at about 8 pm the previous night and gotten closer and more intense all night. Jen only slept about 1-2 hours last night. Anyway...she is dilated to 3 cm today and they sent us home. Her contractions have subsided somewhat and she is resting right now and trying to sleep a little. With luck she will go into active labor soon and we will have a baby before Monday!!! We promise to keep all of you well informed.

Friday, May 16, 2008

One more day

Hey everyone...we are back from the hospital today. Jen's bloodpressure is only slightly less than on Thursday and so we will go back in on Saturday afternoon for another non-stress test. Maybe they will induce her then (we hope) Jen is dialated to 2 cm and appears to be progressing more and more.

We will keep you posted as we can

Thursday, May 15, 2008

39 weeks

I've been walking an hour to an hour half daily this week to try to get things going. Last night, I was even having contractions every 5-7 minutes, but once I stopped walking, they became less regular.

Today, I had my 39 week check and my blood pressure is high, so now I'm on bedrest. I went to the hospital for a non-stress test and the baby looks good, but my blood pressure is still high. So, we're going back tomorrow and if my blood pressure remains high, they are going to induce me. I'm so swollen and puffy (I can't even bend my fingers very well because they are like little sausages), I honestly hope my blood pressure stays high (isn't that awful?).

We'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dropping like flies

I started this pregnancy with 2 other due date buddies: Christy, a nurse I work with, who is due May 24, and my friend, Sarah, who was due (I think) May 23).

Sarah already had her baby, a beautiful boy named Luke.
Christy has been off work for at least a good week and is planning to be induced today or tomorrow.

That leaves me as the last pregnant one. I had a little cry yesterday about my sorry lack of progress and am back at work today. Here's hoping something happens soon. I swear my belly is bigger today than it was yesterday. Thanks for Michelle's labor inducing tips...we'll see what happens. Only four more days at work!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Plotting its escape...

Yesterday, I thought the baby was plotting its escape. How cool would it have been to have a baby on Mother's Day? I picked up Schatzi, my slightly chunky littler Brit, to give her a bath and had some strong, painful contractions. The contractions lasted every 10 minutes for about 3 hours and then dwindled down to every 20-30 minutes. By this morning, they were gone and I was disappointed. So was Joe, who kissed my belly good morning and said, "Come out now, so we can turn the heat back on. I'm cold!". Oh, well. Five more work days to go and then I can put my feet up and nap whenever I want to.

Friday, May 09, 2008

38 weeks

We had our 38 week check yesterday and while there weren't any cervical changes, the baby has
dropped a little (my tailbone can attest to that!)

The belly isn't the only thing that's bigger...

That's right...I have cankles (and I need a pedicure.)
This week, I also had a few learning experiences:
1. I got my hair highlighted and cut in a last ditch effort to feel pretty before the baby comes. Between the cape and the hair dryer, I was roasting! I had sweat pouring out of places I didn't even know could sweat. The only way I survived was by downing two diet Pepsis and 3 cups of ice cubes. Ah, the things we do for beauty...
2. I had to buy bigger shoes to wear to work. One more week to's hoping there's not a huge increase in swelling feet. After next week, I can go barefoot for all I care.
3. Apparently, I've started snoring. If you had a fat neck, you'd snore, too.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Feelin' good

After weeks of discomfort, fatigue, and all the "joys" of late pregnancy, the last 2 days have been a blessing. I've been feeling pretty good--probably the best I've felt since I got pregnant--and had some more energy to get things done. I've also been able to nap (usually I can't fall asleep) and sleep a little better through the night. Tomorrow, I have a 38 week check, so we'll post a belly picture then.

Monday, May 05, 2008

living with a crazy pregnant lady

I'm hot. All the time. If it were allowed, I'd probably live life naked, in a kiddie pool, filled with cold water.

My poor husband is not. Consequently, he's always asking for extra blankets on the bed or to turn the heat up. I typically tell him no. Frankly, he should put some more fat on his body to stay warm if it's really that big of a problem for him.

Last night, when I was getting up to pee for the 4th time, I noticed that Joe was sleeping on top of the covers, instead of huddled down in the blankets like he usually does. I, myself, had been sweating the whole night and felt like I needed to take a shower for the third time that day.

I brought up this fact this morning:
Me: Joe, you were too hot last night. You were sleeping ON TOP of the covers! We need to turn on the AC.

Joe: What? I was too hot? I was not! I was cold.

Me: No! I saw you sleeping on top of the covers!

Joe: No, honest. I wasn't too hot. Really. I wasn't.

Me: Whatever. I know what I saw.

Ah, life with a pregnant lady. Moral of the story? Bundle up when you come to our house. Don't even think about acting slightly warm or I will turn on the AC until I'm comfortable (and you are frozen). And, let the whole world (especially my husband) rejoice that I'm not pregnant in July.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Puppy love

We got Doc just over a year ago, in the hopes he would be a good friend to our crazy puppy. They've always gotten along, but mainly, Schatzi bosses Doc around. If she decides she wants to sleep in his bed, poor Doc has to sleep on the floor.
But, things are a-changin'. Last week, Joe captured this shot of our two dogs, curled up together in the same bed. Maybe Schatzi's decided that, with the baby's imminent arrival, it would be nice to have an ally.

Uncle Noy

Uncle Noy hitched a ride with some friends to IF for the weekend and spent a few days with us. He was the perfect guest: he took us out to dinner, he entertained himself while we were at work, he cooked us dinner and bought us ice cream. In return, his eyes were opened to the life of a very pregnant woman and her ever-serving husband. :) We managed to get a day trip into Driggs and saw the site of where the Teton Dam failed. It was a great trip and fun to have Uncle Noy see our life here.

Friday, May 02, 2008

37 weeks

It's been a hard week for this pregnant woman. Wednesday, I was experiencing some pretty uncomfortable Braxton-Hicks contractions at work that just would not go away, so I had to go home and lay down. By Wednesday night, I was ready to have this baby out and feeling pretty miserable about being pregnant. So, I took yesterday off to recuperate and get in a better mental place.

I had my 37 week check yesterday and here's the stats.
1. The baby is actually 3 cm higher than it was last week.
2. No cervical changes.
3. I'm nauseated and was told morning sickness can return during late pregnancy...great.

Fortunately, while I was waiting for my doctor to check me, I had a mental switch. Only by the grace of God, did I get over my miserable feeling, stop worrying about hurrying this baby along, and resign myself to another 3 or more weeks of pregnancy. Joe noticed my mood was a little sunnier yesterday, too!

I have tried all the natural ways of inducing labor, but the contractions just don't continue. So, Joe said, "Do you know what I think is the best way to induce labor? Buy some new maternity clothes. As soon as the baby realizes you spent all this money, it'll come out!" So, we did. It's nice to have new clothes and ones that I can actually bend over and breathe in. I also got a nursing bra, so we're taking steps toward this baby's arrival.