Friday, May 30, 2008

My baby has a supercharged metabolism.

That's the only explanation I can come up with. We were supplementing him every second feeding or so, and in the week he only put on the same 3.5oz. So, life is pretty boring for me: Feed, sleep, feed, pump, feed, sleep, feed, pump. He's getting a supplement with every single feeding, and we have another appointment on Monday to see if he's improving. The good thing is he's at least gaining, and no one is pressuring me to formula-supplement yet.

We have a gameplan for the fattening up... now we just have to tackle the sleeping... because it looks like my little prince is already getting spoiled, and he likes my lap much better than his crib. But that's a story for another day.

In the meantime, let's see if we can get some pictures up!

One day old, deep in thought.

Resting with Mommy - his favourite spot.

Sound asleep - this doesn't happen all the time

After our first tub bath, in a homemade hoodie towel from Grammie.

(All images copyright E. Boudreau)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Still behind the 8-ball

N. had his weight check appointment yesterday, and while he's doing OK, he's not where our clinician would like him to be.

In almost two weeks, he put on about 6 ounces. They tell me that they like to see babies put on about an ounce a day, which would've meant he needed to put on 13 oz in the time between visits.

He's feeding at least every 3 hours, and according to the lactation consultant we spent time with yesterday, he's got a really good latch. It seems like it's a supply issue from my end, which is disappointing.

(I know, I know, it's not my fault. But I feel like it is.)

So, we've got another appointment in a week, and we've re-rented the hospital-grade breastpump in order to supplement him again. I'm not sure where I'm going to find time to pump anything significant, since he usually takes nearly an hour to feed, and I need time to rest in between, but we'll figure it out. Hubby will be doing the supplementing via tube, and while it won't actually take the place of any feedings (which would potentially give me a few extra hours of uninterrupted sleep), it's still a big help. Between that and his enthusiastic participation in diaper duty, I hereby decree that he is the Best! Husband! EVER!

(Oh, and is anyone wondering why there are no pictures? Well, they're all on my computer, which isn't playing nicely with the internets lately, so I'm posting from Hubby's. I'll get on it, I promise.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Oh, what a long night.

Just after I told my mother that N. had started to learn the difference between day and night.

Oh, so tired.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Please go easy on the exhausted new mom...

You'd think that this would be something people who work in maternity wards would know, wouldn't you? Unfortunately we got the short end of the stick on the second night we were in the hospital.

When N. was born, they took him to the NICU for about half an hour, just to make sure he was breathing OK. That's where they weighed him, and he was 9 lb, 11 oz, which is his official birth weight. Once we went up to the maternity floor, though, he was weighed on a different scale for the rest of our time in the hospital. Half an hour after he was 9 lb, 11 oz, they put him on the new scale and he was 9 lb, 7 oz. Now, no one should be silly enough to believe he lost 4 oz in half an hour. With me so far?

So, every night the babies are weighed to make sure they aren't losing too much weight (>10%), even though a small loss is normal for pretty much all newborns. The problem with N. was that they were calculating his weight loss based on the first birthweight of 9-11, rather than 9-7. So, the second night when they went up to weigh him, they calculated that he'd lost nearly 13% of his birthweight (when in actual fact it was right around 10%).

I understand that with small babies, and sick babies, weight loss can signal severe dehydration and lots of other problems. N. was neither small nor sick, though, and wasn't showing any signs of anything. The nurse that was on duty that night, though, only saw that one number, 13%, and came into the room at half past midnight with a doomsday attitude. She felt he wasn't getting anything from the breastfeeding, and that we had to make a decision then and there. I was exhausted, Hubby was exhausted, and she was insistent that we start formula feeding him; she made me feel like my baby was in grave danger, and I panicked. I still wouldn't allow them to bring bottles in, though, so we tube-fed him 15mL. I spent the rest of the night lying awake, feeling like a failure.

The next morning, though, the pediatrician came in, and said that N. was doing just fine for the time being. His suggestion was to pump more breastmilk, and feed that mixed with breastmilk via tube, if N. continued to lose weight, and then reassess, although he didn't seem to understand the discrepancies with the scales, and that N. hadn't actually lost more than 10%. No one seemed to listen to us on that one.

I managed to arrange to meet with the lactation consultant that day, and she was amazing. She realized that there was a weight discrepancy, did the calculations herself, and reassured us that we were doing just fine. She did encourage me to pump and supplement that way, but didn't feel that adding formula was necessary. She spent most of the afternoon with us, and then came back Tuesday morning, and spent the day helping us before we were released from the hospital.

Unfortunately, the day we were released, we had a different pediatrician come in to do the assessment, and he was horrible. He felt that I was being foolish not switching to formula right away, and he made me feel about as smart as a four-year-old child. I nearly started crying, but he was so obnoxious that I wouldn't give him the satisfaction. I had been reassured by the lactation consultant that things would be fine if I continued to breastfeed on demand, and I had set up appointments to get N. weighed with our usual pediatricians several times within the first week. We've had three appointments so far, and N. continues to put on weight. He was nearly back up to his birthweight on May 8th, and we're going in again tomorrow.

Now, one thing I've learned (and learned very quickly) is that there's really no point in being absolutely hard-lined about anything when it comes to raising a baby. I know now that I have to be flexible about everything, both for N.'s health and my own sanity. I didn't pitch a fit when I had to supplement with tube-fed breastmilk, and I didn't pitch a fit when one of the nurses gave us a hospital pacifier. I understand that for some people, co-sleeping works, and for others, cribs and bassinets work. Some moms wear their babies all day long, some have swings and bouncy chairs. I'm open-minded as much as I can be, and I try to listen to what the professionals tell me (provided they deliver their message in a professional manner, and respect me as a parent and an adult, and as a scientist who may invest herself a bit more into the research and information).

Let's just hope tomorrow's appointment is a good one :-)

Sunday, May 11, 2008


We spent a good long time in recovery, which was surprisingly quiet. There was one other mom in the next bed, but they were speaking Italian, so we did feel like we were in our own little world. Nurse L. was great, but was run off her feet - since I have drug allergies, they couldn't use the normal painkiller they give to C-section patients, and the pharmacy was dragging its feet in getting my substitute. She kept checking on us, making sure that my spinal block hadn't worn off yet before the medication arrived. Finally, about an hour and a half later, it did, and we were ready to get on the road. I thanked her profusely as they were wheeling me out, and we were on our way.

We were interrupted for a second, though; security measures at the hospital require all newborns to be tagged with an ankle bracelet that locks down the doors when you get within 5 feet of them, until the baby is released from the main computer. Someone forgot to release N.'s ankle bracelet, and we held up traffic for about 7 minutes while they got someone to check him out of the computer. It was kind of funny, and it made me feel very secure (each baby and mom and dad are also given bracelets at the moment of birth with a unique code, which they check everytime they bring a baby to its parents) . So, after all that, off we went.

Like I had mentioned, before N.'s birth I'd never spent a night in the hospital. The most that had happened to me was a cortisol IV for a few hours to bring down an allergic reaction. So, Friday afternoon I found myself in a hospital bed with a newborn beside me in his bassinet, and I was unable to walk around, pick him up on my own, or even arrange my own pillows.

People who know me will vouch for the fact that I can be extremely, well, let's say relaxed. I don't want to say outright lazy, but I've been known to indulge when Hubby wants to do things for me. That being said, I don't like to be helpless. I enjoy knowing I could do things, but don't have to at the moment. So, being laid up in the hospital was really difficult for me.

The nurses and PCAs, though, were wonderful angels. After spending all of Friday in bed, they came in at about 5AM on Saturday morning and told me it was time for me to get up. They reassured me that, even though it was going to be hard, I could do it. I did believe them, somewhere deep down, but it was the most difficult thing I've ever had to do physically. Getting up to the washroom, which was 4 feet away from the bed, took me about 30 minutes. I made it eventually, and they were so encouraging the whole time. I also never once felt embarrassed, or undignified, even though I was pretty helpless.

After that, I collapsed back into bed. I've never been so grateful to lie down ;-)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The adventure begins.

N. is napping, just a little angel face in his crib, and rather than sleeping myself I thought I should start getting everything down before it evaporates into thin air.

I think a good place to pick up the story is at our 40 week appointment, which we had on Monday (the day before my due date). We ended up seeing another different OB in the practice, and I fell in love with her immediately. Which is strange, considering the conversation we ended up having. She wasn't the one that ordered the sizing ultrasound, but she'd conferenced with the OB that had, and we had to have a serious talk about what should be done.

N. was measuring +/-10lb, and there were no signs of labour as of 40 weeks. The OB wanted to make sure we understood the risks of labouring with a big baby, and what might happen. Beyond a long labour, there's also the chance of shoulder dystocia, which then often leaves only one option - breaking baby's collarbone to get him out. I can't remember the medical terms for the potential conditions resulting from the clavicle fracture, but we were weighing probabilities pretty carefully. Because it looked like his estimated weight could be over 5000g by the time I went into labour (the cutoff for non-gestational diabetics), I was offered the choice of a C-section, rather than starting labour and seeing what happened.

Hubby and I talked and talked about it, and in the end, we decided to schedule the section. The risks from a section were smaller than those from the possible dystocia and fracture, and tend to affect future pregnancies, whereas the risks of a normal delivery affected *this* baby. We felt that it was our responsibility as parents to ensure the safety of this baby, rather than put him at risk for the sake of future babies (which I hope there are many!). So, I told them to go ahead and schedule the section, which ended up being Friday morning.

Then, of course, the false labour contractions kept on coming. And coming. And I started to worry that I would go into labour *before* Friday. I kept off my feet, and obsessively tracked contractions, but fortunately by the time I woke up on Friday morning, I was still pregnant, so we hopped a cab and headed into the hospital.

I'd spent the majority of the week trying not to think too much about the surgery, because up until that point I'd never spent a night in the hospital in my entire life. I'd never put on a hospital gown and tried to maintain my dignity, never ridden on a gurney, never been hooked up to monitors, nothing. Then, all of a sudden, they're handing me a lovely hospital ensemble in light blue with back ties and telling me to climb up so they can start my IV. I was hooked up to monitors for both Baby N.'s heartrate, and my contractions, and they blew two bags of lactated ringers into me before I could even notice. I wanted to sleep, but I couldn't, so Mom and Hubby kept me distracted.

At 8:45, they walked me into the OR to start the spinal block, and all of a sudden I was nervous. But, I had a terrific nurse, Nurse L., who was funny and kind and talked to me and looked me straight in the eye all the time, so I felt calmer. She held my shoulders and breathed with me while the anesthesiologist put the catheter in, and it was much better than I'd expected. I was still scared of the actual procedure, though; I've had serious dental work before where I was supposed to be both sedated AND frozen, but neither was true and the surgeon didn't bother to check. The anesthesiologist was thorough, and kind, and I guess pretty darn good at her job because all of a sudden I couldn't move my legs. I got oxygen, and they brought Hubby in, and we were ready to go.

I didn't feel much of anything until the demerol took effect, and then I was pretty sick for about 20 minutes. Hubby and the anesthesiologist were right there with cold cloths and basins and everything else a girl needs when she can't do anything but turn her head to the side. Fortunately that passed, and all I felt was pushing and tugging. I kept breathing, and trying not to think about what was happening to my innards on the other side of the drape. Then, they warned me that a lot of pressure and tugging was coming, and I swear it felt like I was in a plane going through the worst turbulence I've ever experienced; even so, I wasn't scared. Then, I heard some suction, a lusty cry, and they told me I had a son, a big healthy boy.

And I cried.

I looked at Hubby, he looked at me, and we were both just so happy that we didn't have to say anything.

They cleaned him up, brought him over, and we spent a few minutes with him while they started to put me back together. He had to spend about a half hour in the NICU because they were afraid of meconium aspiration, and he still had a bit of fluid in his lungs, but he met us back in recovery quick-smart. I couldn't believe I had this big, almost 10 lb bundle in my arms, when just a few hours earlier, he was in my belly kicking and squirming.

I have a son.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Baby N. was born on April 25th, 10:14AM by C section, and weighed in at a whopping 9 lb, 11oz. We're doing great, and will post more once things settle in. The birth story is still fresh in my mind, and I'd like to get it down soon, before I turn into a complete sleep deprived bowl of mush. XOXO