Dumplin’: Sleep Training

So the countdown to Mochi is on! DW is just over 34 weeks now, and things are looking good, but starting to feel uncomfortable all the time now. The 3rd trimester insomnia has started for her, and she’s got terrible numbness down her arms from a previous shoulder impingement issue that has just gotten worse with pregnancy. Mochi is head down and has reached his/her birth length already, and is just fattening up now.

  DW at 33 Weeks.

We are still currently bedsharing with Dumplin’ sleeping between us, and we have good nights and bad nights. Some mornings I get up and think “Thank goodness for bedsharing, because I just have to roll over and give him the boob when he fusses”. Other mornings I’m cursing and super sleep-deprived because he thought it was fun to play and chew on my nipple. Little turd. 

Nursing him to sleep has allowed us to survive this long, but it’s now starting to lose its effectiveness as a way to get him to sleep. I can see him frustrated at night because he too, expects the sleep elixir to work. Fact of the matter is that my child doesn’t know how to fall asleep on his own, sans motion (car rides, swing), or nursing. By continuing to nurse him to sleep, I feel like I’m taking away opportunities to let him hone his self-soothing skills. Also- Mochi’s coming, and our little queen-sized bed can barely comfortable contain the three of us, let alone another baby that is even more fragile. We plan on having Mochi in the bassinet, but that’s what we planned for Dumplin’ too, and well, yeah, here we are talking about sleep training.

We dabbled in the modified cry-it-out method mentioned in the Happy Sleeper a couple of weeks ago for naps, but it failed pretty miserably for us, mostly because we weren’t consistent with it for more than the two naps, and also because naps are harder to sleep train than bedtimes apparently. His cries just escalated every time we came in the room and he cried for over an hour straight before we called it both times. So we think we will have to go the extinction route and just let him cry it out without doing the sleep waves.

We were going to start sleep training bedtimes last night but him and I have a nasty cold right now, which we seem to have caught from a friend’s kids. So we thought we’d wait until him and I are both well, to avoid second guessing ourselves like “Wait- is he quiet because he’s sleeping or quiet because he’s stopped breathing because mucous is clogging his lungs?!”. 

So we will wait, but in the meantime, I thought I’d see if any of you have tips for sleep training using a cry-it-out (CIO) or modified CIO method. I’m not looking for arguments against sleep training, since we’ve decided that this is best for us as a family, and it wasn’t an easy decision to make.

Thanks in advance!

Dumplin’ and Mochi: 3 Weeks and 16 Weeks

I have not disappeared into the depths of sleep deprivation. I have however, got about two or three draft posts started and never finished. So my lesson is that unless it’s short, I shouldn’t bother writing it. But anyways, hi friends!

We are surviving (but barely at times). DW has been back at work since 4 days after Dumplin’s birth (over 2 weeks ago). My mom left a week ago. It’s just me and the little man (and the dogs) at home everyday now. 

The days are tough. I wish I still had my mom here- both for the extra set of hands, but also for the company. She was awesome when she was here- she made food and cleaned and made grocery runs- all so that I could focus on Dumplin’ and establish a good breastfeeding relationship. Now that she’s gone, it’s been hard trying to get things done myself, as well as trying to stay sane when cooped up at home. While she was here we went out with the baby- we hit up restaurants, stores, even the mall (Yorkdale mall has an awesome family lounge by the way).  It helped me feel normal again to go out and do stuff, with Dumplin’ in tow. But the more I talk to people, and the more that I read online, it seems like I’m putting him at risk by exposing him to the outside world, especially during flu season. I’ve wanted to go to the grocery store for a couple of weeks now, but haven’t because I’m scared he’ll be coughed on or that I’ll handle something and transfer germs onto his face when I’m putting him in his car seat… The fear and guilt never ends.  

Family lounge at Yorkdale mall.

While I’m so grateful to have my take home rainbow baby, I must admit that motherhood has been really hard on me. Each week has brought new challenges for us:

Week 0-1: no colostrum, milk taking a long time to come in, Dumplin’ losing more than 10% of his birthweight, midwife recommending we supplement with formula.

Week 1-2: Milk and weight are great and he surpasses birth weight, stop formula, but he has really painful gas, and cries inconsolably as he tries to pass the gas. We try tummy massage, different feeding positions, BioGaia probiotics, burping after feeds, and most recently Ovol simethicone, and nothing has helped.

Week 2-3: Gas issues persist and get worse- now he’s spitting up a lot after feeds and is even more inconsolable. We aren’t getting much sleep because he cries on and off for more than half of the night.

It’s funny (not funny) because I thought Dumplin’ would be an easy baby. My pregnancy (aside from external stressors) was really wonderful, and part of me still mourns not being pregnant anymore. But the inconsolable crying…. It’s not quite colic, but every day, he seems to cry more than the previous day. I’m reaching my breaking point. Last night, it got so bad that I daydreamed about walking out the front door in just my underwear, just to escape the crying. There’s nothing worse than not being able to soothe your baby. 

It’s sad because I do really love this kid, but with DW at work full-time and 16 weeks pregnant, and with me slowly spiralling into what I worry will be post-partum depression, I feel utterly helpless. Even the dogs (who are low maintenance), have felt overwhelming to care for with Dumplin’ in the picture. DW’s parents would likely come and stay with us if we asked, but as good as their intentions are, they (her mom) create more work and stress for us than they resolve. Her dad is really helpful, but how do you invite one and not the other? 

Anyway, on a positive note, Dumplin’ is getting huge. Everyday, I notice that his hands have gotten bigger, and that his body feels a bit heavier. So at least there’s that. He has a great latch and we feed well together now. 

  
Our chunky monkey this morning.

Things with Mochi are good. With the arrival of Dumplin’, DW often forgets that she’s pregnant. I feel bad that she isn’t getting more sleep, since she’s growing a tiny human inside her. And did I mention that she’s starting to show? She’s definitely got a baby bump, and she suspects that people at work are starting to notice too. We need to start doing bump photos for her. We haven’t announced her pregnancy yet, but will probably do so today when she gets home from work. As introverts, we have to brace ourselves for the mass of attention that comes with such an announcement. 

DW has also switched midwifery practices too. We were so happy with the practice that I was with, as well as the hospital that I gave birth at, that she’s now with the same midwives I was/am with. The drive is longer for her, but is totally worth it. This past Wednesday she broke up with the other practice in person- right after she heard Mochi’s strong heartbeat of 153bpm, and got a requisition for Mochi’s anatomy ultrasound (2 weeks from now! Exciting!).

Anyways, please pray for us and keep us in your thoughts. We could use some help getting over this hump. We’re so sleep deprived and want to enjoy this newborn phase. Send Dumplin’ some good digestive and happy vibes! 

I’ll leave you with some pictures:

   
 
   
   

A Reflection on My Hospital Bag 

I realized a while back that I am not really good at writing “how to” or information-based posts, but having just gone through a stay at Labour and Delivery, I thought I’d document which hospital bag items were useful and which were not, for me in an Ontario (Canada) hospital. I know a couple of my blogger friends will be meeting their babes soon, and hope this helps. Also, this’ll be a handy post to look back on when DW is nearing Mochi’s due date.

At 37 weeks, we started packing our hospital bags. I packed for myself and Dumplin’, and DW packed her own bag. Rather than go through everything we packed, I will just include things we actually used and found helpful.

Let me start off with what we received from the hospital. We gave birth in an older Toronto hospital, which apparently was undergoing major cuts in their L&D department. Instead of receiving unlimited supportive consumable items, we had waiting for us in our private room, a bag full of supplies that were supposed to last us the duration of our stay:

– mesh undies, ginormous pads, and thick pads

– some Pampers and Huggies diapers 

– a little tube of Vaseline

– a small sample of baby wipes

– a set of sample baby wash and lotions from Shoppers Drug Mart

– a box of tissues

We were also provided with a bassinet, several cotton baby gowns, and receiving blankets- which were for hospital use only. I know people often take the receiving blankets but we didn’t want to steal from a department that was so good to us and going through financial cutbacks.

Since our stay was a bit longer than the regular vaginal births, we found that we ran out of supplies quickly. So on our second day, DW collected extras from home: baby wipes, diapers, Depends for me, and coconut oil for Dumplin’s dry skin.

Partner’s bag:

DW packed herself an extra change of undergarments and lounging clothes- t-shirts and sweatpants, cozy socks. 

My hospital bag had a lot more stuff:

– 1 change of clothes for me: loose yoga pants (depending on whether you’re having a vag or section birth, you want to b mindful of where the waist of your pants sits. For example, right now I can’t wear any pants that sit low, because of my incision), a t-shirt, underwear and bra, a cozy pair of socks (sufficient) 

– elastic non-slip headbands to keep your hair out of your face (they also helped me look less dishevelled  when we had visitors)

– Crocs were awesome for me. I could wear them even though my feet swelled up unbelievably, and could be worn in the shower if I wanted, and were slip in, so I didn’t have to bend over to do them up

– refillable water bottles and electrolyte drinks (I got really thirsty during the induction); Gatorade type bottles were perfect because I could drink from them lying down and not spill.

– toiletries for both of us (I never ended up showering at the hospital, so toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, moisturizer, and lip balm were sufficient for us)

– lip balm… I repeat… Lip balm! Pack a couple of extras too. 

– face towel (very useful- as during labour and during recovery I felt so nasty (but couldn’t wash my own face) that I asked DW to sponge wash my face for me. It was amazing.

– 2 full outfits for Dumplin’: sleeper, hat, scratch mitts- one in NB size, and the other in 0-3 months size (he ended up being too long for the NB size sleeper, so we’re glad we packed both)

– phone chargers

– battery operated tealights (these were originally packed to establish a nice ambiance for my L&D experience, but ended up being really helpful in recovery because our private room lights were so bright, so it was nice to be able to maintain a dimmer light level when checking on the baby at night and breastfeeding. 

– Fleece blanket to tuck over Dumplin’ in his car seat 

  

Things we had to grab from home:

– travel pillow and fleece blanket for DW (partners can sleep on a pull out chair, but they’re not provided with anything to keep warm or comfortable)

– a mini cooler with food (DW made sandwiches which were handy in the middle of the night when there was no food service. The food kept well because she was continuously replenishing the ice.) Also find out if your ward has a communal fridge. Ours did, so DW also stored meals that my mom had made for us in there and microwaved them when we wanted to eat.

The one item I wish we had packed:

– a light robe or long cardigan (I basically went naked the entire time aside from my sexy mesh underwear + monster pad and hospital gown. I wish I had packed my robe because it would’ve made transitioning to nursing easier, and would’ve protected my modesty a bit when nurses and midwives were popping in and out of my room all of the time. My incision, and catheter made it impossible for me to wear pants.)

It Wasn’t a Kidney Stone… Dumplin’s Birth Story¬†

Dumplin’ is sun tanning with my mom right now, so I have a little time to post. 

Today he would’ve been 39 weeks gestation, and I’m sad that I don’t have a bump photo capturing our last moments being physically bound to each other at 38 weeks 2 days. But things kinda happened really quickly…. And unexpectantly.

So you remember that flank pain that confused the bejesus out of all of my health care providers? First we thought back labour, then we thought posterior presentation, then on Wednesday night I thought kidney stone. Well Thursday morning the pain changed from being only at night and only when lying down to pretty much all positions and all the time without a break. I was in such agony that I had DW take me to the hospital, where the L&D OB on call just gave me morphine, did an ultrasound of my kidney, and then sent me home with a prescription for oxycodone and told me to come back if the pain got worse. Overnight the pain continued to be unrelenting, and did get worse. My mom flew in at 7am Friday morning, and I couldn’t drive to pick her up. So she took a cab, and then had a nap at our house until she woke up to me wailing at the top of my lungs and puking all over the top of the toilet… Red from all the Gatorade I had been trying to drink to stay hydrated. 

I asked her to take me to the hospital, where a different OB took a look at the ultrasound results which found that my left kidney was dilated (swollen), and that it suggests that something was occluding (cutting off) it’s drainage- but that there was no identifiable kidney stone. The OB hypothesized that maybe the obstruction was Dumplin’ himself- that he was squishing my ureter and cutting off the drainage from my kidney. She did a vaginal check- I was already quite effaced, and about 2 cm dilated, so she figured that with the pain getting worse, and with Dumplin’ already being term, maybe it was time to do a stretch and sweep and break my water. So I consented, and off we were….

I called DW at work, and she met us at the hospital after grabbing a few things from home. I called her dad and he drove 2 hours to stay at our home with our dogs.

Then over the next 21 hours I was induced to 10cm, while hooked up to an epidural and given occasional shots of some “super strength” anaesthetic not usually given for L&D, but for the most extreme cases of pain. The anasthesiologist said he only gives this med about once a year. “Winner winner chicken dinner” I thought, “Lucky fucking me”.

Then it was 2 hours of pushing, which yielded no progress. Dumplin’ stayed at a station 0 the whole time, despite excellent pushing, so they figured something was wrong with his positioning, and my midwives consulted with the OB about maybe doing a vacuum or forceps delivery. This next OB (there had been 2 already because I had been there so long) did a vaginal exam to see how far up Dumplin’ was and said that he was too far up to get out via forceps or vacuum, and that this would need to be a c-section. Concurrently, Dumplin’s baseline heart rate was climbing, as he was becoming distressed with the pitocin.

So in a matter of minutes, consents were signed, I was moved to the OR, was prepped and strapped to the operating table which always freaks me out because it’s like being strapped to a cross, and I was cut open. 

They didn’t let DW into the OR until they had already started cutting into me, so there were a few minutes where I was alone behind that blue sheet, scared as hell. But then there was a hand holding my right hand, which was strapped down, and I looked over to see my midwife and her consoling eyes. 

Soon, DW was beside me, holding my left hand and then my midwife disappeared to the other side of the blue curtain. 

Within seconds, I heard the OB and nurses exclaim “my goodness it’s gotta be a 10 pounder!”, and tears ran down my face as I heard Dumplin’s first cries. 

The second midwife then appeared, showing me Dumplin’ for a split second, and then asked DW to come with her and the baby. They measured (53cm or 21.5inches long) and weighed (8lbs5.6oz) him, did his APGAR (9/9). DW also got to do skin to skin with him, and they brought him over so I could be cheek to cheek with him as they sewed me up.

In the recovery room, I was allowed to do skin to skin with him and was encouraged to start him latching on. Dumplin’ was a pro! Over the next two hours, we were moved to our private room, where we had a mandatory 48 hour stay. 

More on our stay and my feelings about everything that went down over that period of four days at the hospital in my next post. There’s an adorable screaming baby that beckons…