10 Things on a Tuesday

1. Mochi is friggin’ adorable. Somehow, despite being only 3oz lighter but the same length as his big bro at birth, Mochi looks so much skinnier than Dumplin’ did. He looks like a little old man, with his wrinkles and skinny limbs, but also has these ginormous hands and feet. Mochi is very long and skinny, while Dumplin’ was a chunky baby right out of the womb. Their faces are totally different too. Dumplin’ has Asian eyes, and a button nose, but Mochi has these big Caucasian eyes and a flat wide nose. I’m so curious what they both will look like as they grow!

2. Tired, so so so tired. Well the mastitis last week seemed to cure my insomnia, but now we’re not getting any sleep due to newbornness. Obviously DW has it worse than me, but I’m only getting sleep an hour at a time. My in-laws are staying in the spare room, so I’m waking almost every time Mochi coos or cries. Dumplin’ also seems to be going through something, which is manifesting in frequent wakings at night. Last night he cried at 10pm, 12am, 2am, 4am, and 7am. Each time, I’m getting up and comfort feeding him for about 30 minutes. I’m running around doing errands and chores that my in-laws can’t/don’t/won’t really do during the afternoon, so no naps are happening either. Last night I was so tired that I went to bed after putting Dumplin’ down for the night, at around 7:15pm, and woke up an hour and a half later because Mochi was crying, but when I woke up it felt like I had slept 4 hours… That’s how tired I’ve been. Poor DW has been up all night nursing Mochi frequently while sitting in one of our living room chairs, because of her c-section incision and arm numbness and general breastfeeding challenges she’s unable to nurse comfortably in bed. 


3. Nursing. There are some advantages to having two lactating moms in the house- one of which is that when your newborn is losing weight or needs more fluids to flush out his jaundice, his other mother can provide him with milk while waiting for his gestational mother’s milk to come in. And what an awesome feeling to be able to top Mochi up a couple of times after he’s fed with DW. Her milk came in last night (day 4), but it’s also nice to offer Mochi a feeding here and there to let her rest a bit too. DW has been working really hard on her breastfeeding. It’s been tough though, as she’s developed blisters on her nipples despite Mochi’s decent latch. It’ll be better now that her milk’s come in though.


4. Workouts. They haven’t happened in over a week, and I am starting to feel like a caged animal despite being so tired. So I’m at the gym right now trying to sneak in a leg workout before Dumplin’s swimming lesson this morning. I feel weak and depleted, but it’s nice to give my muscles a bit of a pump. Once my in-laws are gone, I’m going to try bringing Dumplin’ with me in the mornings again, and letting him play in the daycare that we pay for anyways. 

5. In-laws. They’ve been here helping with things. I’m very grateful that they did come through for us and took care of Dumplin’ while we were in the hospital from Wednesday to Saturday. He survived. We survived. I think that we just have different expectations of what kind of help we need I guess. When my mom was here helping us after Dumplin’s birth, she cooked all of our meals, did shopping for us, cleaned the house, walked the dogs, and basically made it so that my only job was to soak in the amazing newbornness following Dumplin’s birth. She held him when I needed to shower or eat, or when I needed to nap. This is the kind of help that was very helpful. Now, my MIL is very good at babysitting, and my FIL is very good at walking the dogs and doing odd jobs, but they aren’t as big into cooking as my mom was, and I wonder if they’re a bit intimidated by my Celiac gluten-free diet (don’t know what to cook for me). They’ve been trying though, so that’s a recent improvement. We’ve also learned that we need to be more direct with what we need them to do for us. I think part of it is that DW and her parents don’t have a close relationship- there are still social graces in place, and we clean up the house and treat them as guests when they come over. Because of this, I feel like we don’t ask them to do the hard things- like waking up to take the night shift with the babies. I guess it comes down to communication.

6. Mental health. I’m still struggling with the anxiety, but now with a bit of depression too I think. The anxiety seems to be masked by the endless tasks that seem to need doing around here- I feel like I’m busy all day walking up and down stairs, fetching things, preparing meals, picking up crying babies, putting away dishes, opening doors for dogs, etc. I lie in bed and still can’t sleep, and when I do, I’m woken up by Mochi’s stirring sounds or Dumplin’ fussing in his room. I waver between missing my life before TTC (when I had zero anxiety or sleep issues) to smothering Dumplin’ with my endless love for him and being sad that he’s growing up so fast. As I thumb-type this post, I just feel like crying because I feel so guilty for not being overjoyed with life- I mean, we got our two take-home babies, and I should be happy now right? But instead, I am beating  myself up for being ungrateful and for complaining at all. 

7. Connections. I feel like I will get flack for this, or that I will upset people, but please understand that I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I am struggling to feel connected to Mochi. It’s only been 5 days, and I remember feeling overwhelmed when Dumplin’ came along too, but I kinda feel like Mochi is this stranger in my house. Maybe it’s my anxiety talking, maybe I need more time, but I worry that I won’t connect with him as much as I do with Dumplin’. Part of it is that everyone (including DW) has been referring to him as her baby. Like Mochi isn’t my son in the same way. I never ever referred to Dumplin’ as my baby. He was always our baby, who developed for 9 months during our pregnancy. That we were pregnant. Someone asked me today which baby was “mine”. I said both were our sons. What they really meant was which baby did I carry, and after correcting them, I felt kind of unsettled about it. When I got home and talked to DW about it, she made me feel even worse, when she was all proud about Mochi being her baby. I’m sure she’s just proud that she carried him and gave birth to him, but I felt like my role in his life was insignificant. That she was his mom and I was just her understudy. I’d sign his permission forms at school only if she couldn’t. It makes me feel like shit, not because I want recognition, but because in some weird way it makes me feel like it makes the divide even wider. Like I’m holding a friend’s baby, and not my son. It doesn’t feel the same as with Dumplin’, and I’m not sure if it’s just because I didn’t notice, or if because I carried him that I feel so secure in my relationship with him, but either way, I’m sure that I encouraged much more inclusive language surrounding our pregnancy and birth with him, and language frames things.


8. Dumplin’. This kid is doing so much learning these days. He is sitting so well by himself, and is making more and more connections every day. He’s learned how to make the faucet water come out stronger, so baths in the sink are chaotic now. He loves playing while on his tummy and reaching for things. He pets his dogs and watches as they play, giggling at their silliness. This is such a wonderful age, and I’m trying not to let it slip away due to the sleep deprivation and mental health issues. But he’s also been fussier recently- some separation anxiety- he doesn’t like when we’re not actively paying attention to him, and he has been waking up a lot more at night. Last night he woke up crying about 5 times, and the previous night about 4 times. He used to only get up 2-3 times maximum. DW has been focused on Mochi (understandably), so I think Dumplin’ notices the difference in attention that way as well. It’s so hard. I’m sure she wants to spend more time with Dumplin’, but with the c-section, she’s definitely not able to lift him. His grandparents are here for another day or so, and play with him and read him books, so he’s getting more attention that way.


9. DW’s recovery. Like I mentioned before, after 22 hours of labour, Mochi still had not descended, and was born via c-section. DW is up and moving around a lot, but her hands, legs, and feet are still super swollen. She still can’t bend at the ankles because of the swelling. She’s keeping mobile though. Yesterday we went out for a short bit to run errands. Her belly has gone down quite a bit every day, which is kind of neat to see. She’s got a rash on her back from the tape that they used to secure her epidural. It looks really really itchy!

10. Clementine. Our poor little chihuahua-pug was at the vet today because she has been limping pretty badly for the past couple of days. The vet suspects that she may have torn her ACL (ligament in her knee). She’s been quiet and not herself lately. I feel terrible for her, since she’s normally such an adventurous and spunky dog. He wants me to check in with him in two weeks to see if she’s still limping, and that they’d do a scope to see what the damage is and if they’d need to do surgery to repair it if she continues to limp as much as she currently is. Fingers crossed that she heals up quickly and that it’s only a sprain and not a full tear. 

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Mochi Is Coming

Mochi’s due date was last Sunday. She was still fully closed and Mochi had not yet dropped.

Apparently dilating my wife’s cervix is like trying to break into Fort Knox. She went into the hospital for her first dilating gel on Tuesday night, and they had her return to the hospital on Wednesday morning, but then turned her away because they didn’t have any beds available. Wednesday afternoon they called her in and inserted another gel. At 4pm, I went to pick her up from the hospital, and we went though the Harvey’s drive through and then sat in Starbucks to enjoy some Frappacinos. She joked around about the Starbucks employees giving her a hard time about eating a Harvey’s burger in their establishment, and about how she’d threaten her water breaking all over their floor…. Walking back to the car, she had a strong contraction, and then while she breathed through another contraction seated in the car she felt a big guuuuuussssshh! We checked her pants and they were wet, despite the giant pad she was wearing. On her next contraction, she felt another guuuussssh! 

Clearly, her water had spontaneously broken. 

I downloaded a contraction-timing app, and we started timing them. They became more regular, and were lasting about 45 seconds on average. I drove home and she took a hot shower, changed into some clean dry clothes, and I gathered some last minute items and packed our pre-made meals.

 At home, DW sat on the toilet and experienced another big guuuussssh, complete with bloody mucus. She must’ve lost her mucus plug. 

Her contractions were consistently 2 minutes apart and lasting 50 seconds, so we thought that we should head back to the hospital. 

At the hospital, and she was admitted at 6pm. They hooked her up to an IV of antibiotics because she’s GBS+, and then we didn’t see a doctor until 2am, at which point she was 1cm dilated.

Late night hospital selfie

To recap:

Tuesday 8pm: cervix closed, gel inserted afterwards

Wednesday 1:30pm: cervix closed, second gel inserted

Wednesday 4pm: water broke

Thursday 2am: cervix 1cm dilated

Now, I was wiped from the weeks of sleep deprivation, and not a lot was going on, so I went home to nurse Dumplin’ and had a cat nap. It was nice getting to snuggle my boy and even take a little nap with him. I missed him so much. I felt so torn between being at the hospital with my wife, and home with Dumplin’. As it turns out, he had been doing really well with my MIL and FIL. He went down nicely for naps and for bedtime, and took milk from his sippy cups and MAM bottle. He also took some tablespoons of puréed peas and pears. They went out on walks, played lots, read books… Overall, I’ve been relieved with how well Dumplin’ is doing being taken care of by people other than us. 

Missing my boy.

So here we are on Thursday, now on a pitocin drip and an epidural. At 11am her cervix was 5cm dilated, and we’re just waiting for it to keep dilating. So much waiting…. 

DW’s hooked up to a catheter draining her bladder, and the bag is sparse but contains dark, bloody urine. They think that Mochi’s head is finally starting to come down, but that it’s ginormous (like Dumplin’s was), and stressing her bladder, hence the blood and low volume of urine passing through. What is with our babies and injuring our urinary tracts!?!!


Update

So it’s 3pm, and DW is fully dilated, but Mochi’s head has still not descended beyond a station -2. 

It’s been called- we’re waiting for an operating room for a caesarian-section.

Stay tuned.

Today is Mochi’s Due Date

Just a quickie to acknowledge that today is Mochi’s due date. Still no signs of labour or anything, and we are waiting to hear from the hospital about what time they will be inserting a cervical dilation gel on Tuesday evening. The plan is gel on Tuesday night, home for the night, then cervical check on Wednesday morning. Rinse and repeat until DW’s cervix is favourably dilated and effaced for a pitocin drip. 

Also- We bought a minivan. The paperwork goes through tomorrow, and hopefully we can pick up our new wheels on Tuesday before the hospital. I’m a bit sad to say goodbye to the Subaru, but I’m happy to have more space and more comfortable seating! 

I think DW is more at peace now, knowing that Mochi will be in our arms soon. Her arms and feet just can’t take it any longer. 

Last night I started the Remeron (the sleep med that is supposed to cause weight gain), out of desperation. It made me drowsy within an hour, but I had interrupted sleep and woke up really drowsy. I also woke up feeling like I’d been run over by a truck- flu-like symptoms and a fever. My whole body aches, sore throat, headaches, and my breasts have been sore. I’m pretty sure it’s mastitis, and have been trying to get Dumplin’ to nurse more frequently to dislodge the clog or infection, but he is so distracted and not interested in nursing much these days. I’ve taken Tylenol all day, and am taking 4800mg of soy lecithin, hoping that I wake up tomorrow feeling much better. I guess the sleep deprivation and emotional stress finally took its toll on my health. I feel like ass, and need to be well before Mochi comes. Right now I can’t even lift Dumplin’ or hold him against my body without pain. And sleep…. We all need more sleep.

An All-Around Update

Anxiety:

It’s been 4 weeks since I’ve had a normal sleep. Sleep is still nowhere to be found in the Mama et Maman household. After 14 days of Cipralex/Lexapro, I was still sleepless and my anxiety was over the roof. My family doctor recommended that I stop the medication and has prescribed another medication- Remeron, which is often used for anxiety in people with eating disorders because it causes a significant increase in appetite and in fat storage. I’ve read that even in the short-term, and at low doses, people can gain upwards of 10-30lbs in a month. Obviously, this freaks me out. It freaks me out enough that I am considering not taking it even though the prescription has been filled. 

I’m currently dealing with the withdrawal symptoms of coming off the Cipralex cold turkey (as recommended by my doc). Headaches, heart palpitations, feelings of dread/anxiousness, insomnia, and a little bit of depression. I took an Ativan three nights ago and had a great sleep, but the last two nights, I’ve gone unmedicated at night and sleep is not happening. To make matters worse, my in-laws are over right now (which is normally fine) and there was a big fight last night. But more on that later…

Mochi:

Mochi’s due date is this Sunday (in two days!), and at yesterday’s midwife appointment, DW’s cervix is soft, but still closed. Mochi’s head also seems to alternate from being engaged to floating up near DW’s round ligament, so baby doesn’t seem to want to come out to play anytime soon. DW is super uncomfortable- with feet so swollen that they no longer fit into Crocs, and hands that are painful and feel like they are on fire all the time from the nerve impingement. She’s so uncomfortable lying down that she’s only able to sleep for about 3 hours at night, then spends the rest of the night with her hands hanging while seated watching British crime dramas on Netflix. She’s so ready to be done, so that unfavourable cervical status was heartbreaking for her. 

Yesterday, the midwives called us to discuss scheduling an induction, since DW is 40 years old, and unlikely to go into spontaneous labour anytime soon since her cervix is still closed and baby hasn’t dropped yet. They discussed the significantly increased risk of stillbirth after 42 weeks (2/1000), and explained how induction would be done after prostaglandin gels to soften her cervix. Since DW is so uncomfortable, we are thinking of getting the ball rolling sometime early next week…. So Mochi might be on this side of the womb before May, which is exciting and terrifying both at the same time.

We have a “to do” list of things we need to accomplish before Mochi arrives though, one of which is minivan shopping. We know we want a Dodge Caravan with 4 captain chairs, stow and go, and automatic rolling middle windows. We also intend to trade in our Subaru Impreza, since it is no use to us if we can’t fit the babies and the dogs both at the same time for drives to the cottage or to the conservation park. Right now we’re taking two cars whenever we need to have Dumplin’ and the dogs in tow. Also, I have two old disc herniations in my low back, so bending over to do up the kids in their car seats in the low Subaru is aggravating. Basically, it’s time to become a minivan family.

Dumplin’:

   
 This boy is my everything. He makes even the most sleepless nights bright in the morning. He is so smiley, happy, funny, and adorable right now. Our boy turned 6 months this week and I feel like this past month has been super sweet so far, aside from a weird week where he was super fussy and going through what I suspect was the beginning of leap5. He is very active, always rolling or wanting to Jolly Jump, so much that he’s actually lost weight this past month! He’s back down to 19lbs 12oz at last check. He sleeps happily in his own crib from 7pm-7am, with 2 or 3 nursings at night. He plays in his crib in the morning until we get him at 8am. We just started transitioning him from the swing to his crib for naps, and he still fusses a little bit, but will eventually fall asleep for a short 40 minute nap a few times a day. He loves watching and petting his dogs and front-facing in the Ergo360 during walks. He’s extra cuddly these days, which we love. We have started giving him “tastings” of food- chicken bone broth (loves!) avocado (loves!), peanut butter (loves!), butternut squash (unsure?), but don’t plan on really starting solids for real until Mochi has arrived and settled in a bit. It all just seems like a huge undertaking, and I’m a bit scared of what his poops are going to be like. He’s also super distracted these days (must be all the learning), so his intake of breastmilk has dramatically decreased, so I don’t want to exacerbate that either. Anyone delay feeding solids? Pros/cons?

The In-Laws:

I don’t even know where to start with this. Basically, my niece might have mono and her parents dropped her off at my MIL and FIL’s for a couple of days because she couldn’t go to school, and the next day my MIL and FIL at our house for a planned visit with Dumplin’. Being concerned parents, DW and I jokingly (but not really) said just “don’t be kissing him”, which seemed to set my MIL off on the meanest drunken rant I’ve ever witnessed from her. She was downright nasty, saying things like “well it’s not like your parents come and help” (my parents live across the country), and “how [we’re] such know-it-alls” regarding our concerns for Dumplin’s health, how “[they’ve] often complained about how taxing the drive is, and how [they’ve] commented on how [they] can’t keep doing the drive” as a sort of threat to say that they won’t be coming over to visit Dumplin’ anymore, how we “make it difficult for her to be with the baby”, how we are “hypocrites because he goes out into public and into daycare” so he’s exposed to worse than the potential mono that she’s exposing him to, and so much more. She also verbally attacked my FIL because he was trying to talk some sense into her (she was truly being irrational), and for the first time ever, picked on me. I was sitting quietly as she was ranting away, just listening to her, and she singled me out with personal insults for no reason. Her intentions were simply to be mean, and it took everything in both DW and I to respond kindly and with kid gloves because her mother twists the truth and has a tendency to go all emotionally unstable when criticized. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very appreciative of their efforts at coming for visits, and recognize that it is a 2 hour drive, but everytime they come over, she gets piss drunk and starts fights with DW. Last night my MIL and FIL polished off 2.5 bottles of wine and at least one beer in 4 hours. And the damage that her words have cannot be erased. Both DW and I spent the night talking through her insults, taking turns crying because we were so hurt by the mean things that she said. Neither of us slept, and both of us considered alternate childcare plans for Dumplin’ while DW is in labour at the hospital, since my MIL threatened to pull her support for us. It all made me really sad. Sad because the reality is that we really have no one. None of our friends have kids or the ones that do already have their hands full. We don’t have a village. We are alone. I even thought about possibly paying my massage therapist who is a doula to come over and stay with Dumplin’ when we have to go to the hospital. Or even one of the daycare workers at the gym because they know him. It all makes me want to cry. Anyways…. Today is a new day, and I just hope it’s better, but I still feel really wounded by the harsh things that she said to us, and in particular that I was singled out and picked on.

So yeah, lots of drama going on here. Just in time for Mochi’s induction. Ugh. 

Right now I need some reassurance- people that don’t have help with their kids- how do you manage? 

Treating Anxiety: Days 3, 4, and 5 of Lexapro/Cipralex

The past three days have been the worst so far. The medication has made it impossible for me to fall asleep at night, even though I’m so tired. Night 3, I didn’t sleep a wink. By 5am, I was a desperate wreck and finally took 0.5mg of Ativan (lorazepam) to help sedate me. It took a while to kick in. I laid it bed until 8am when I heard Dumplin’ singing, and then I went to join him and DW as they played in the living room. By about 10am, I felt groggy, so I laid down again and fell asleep finally. I didn’t wake up until 1pm, when we had to get going to a friend’s going away party downtown. 

Night 4, I decided to take the Ativan in the evening with my Cipralex so that I had a chance at sleep. It worked, and I slept okay, but not deep enough to not notice Dumplin’ fussing for his regular 3 nighttime feedings. But, unlike all other nights, I returned to bed and was able to fall back asleep fairly quickly. The next afternoon, exhausted, and feeling really flat, I decided to bring Dumplin’ into our bed for a nap. It was the best nap we’d had in a long time. It was the perfect combination of both of us being tired, and both of us needing each other’s comfort. I woke up from the nap before he did, which is always nice compared to being woken up by him when I’m still needing more sleep. However, that nap involved an all-you-can-nurse buffet for Dumplin’, which may have been confusing for his nighttime sleep that night….

Night 5 sucked badly. Since Ativan is super habit-forming, DW and I decided that I should try sleeping without it. Again though, with the Cipralex coursing through my body, I got zero sleep. By 8:30am, I called it when I heard baby boy playing in his crib, and got on with our day. We went to the gym, came home, and then everybody napped. Again, I could not fall asleep!!! It’s so frustrating. Tonight, I’ll be sure to take the Ativan. 

Some key points about this transitional period:

– it sucks balls

– my insomnia is worse, but I’m not laying in bed with my mind racing. I just can’t seem to fall asleep

– being super sleep-deprived, I haven’t been doing my regular workouts, which has been hard on me too. I’ve snuck in a run on the treadmill at home, and some quickie weights here and there

– Dumplin’ has been sleeping like crap too- he’s in leap 5, which is termed the “world of relationships”. He is noticing the distance between us, and just wants to be close all the time, especially bedtime. Last night he cried from 7pm-10:30pm (previously minimal crying at bedtime), and kept rolling into the crib bars, peering between them and looking longingly for us. During nighttime feedings, he’s clutching my back and my hands while he nurses, and when I unlatch him, he starts wailing like he’s been hurt. He just doesn’t want me to stop holding him. It’s heartbreaking.

  
– DW has been my rock, and has been super supportive throughout this transitional period. She’s been watching Dumplin’ despite her extreme 38-weeks-pregnant discomfort. She has a hard time getting around because her feet are sooooooo swollen (she can’t even cram her feet into Crocs!), and struggles to carry the 21+ pound Dumplin’ because her hands and arms are so numb and painful from the shoulder impingement and carpal tunnel. I am so glad Mochi isn’t here yet, since I’m not through this transitional period with the Cipralex. 

Warning: freaky pictures of DW’s feet below.

   
 

Treating Anxiety: Days 1 and 2 on Lexapro/Cipralex

I started the meds two nights ago, and I definitely feel different already. It’s not necessarily a good different, just different. The first night, I slept better, only waking to go to Dumplin’s room to nurse him three times. The next day, I felt like I do when I’m depressed- seeking comfort in cozy warm blankets and clothes, carbs, and quiet spots on the couch or in bed. I was so unmotivated to go to the gym, but I did. When I was there, I could barely muster up a 30% effort, compared to my usual 90-100% effort. I think my regular anxious state helps to push me to challenge myself physically. 

That night, we watched a little Netflix, and then talked about how we need to do our taxes. Clearly, that was a bad topic to bring up before bed, because I laid in bed for 3 hours, with my head spinning. I eventually fell asleep, but again, the hours added up were not many, since Dumplin’ wants to be nursed every 2:30-3hours. 

During the day today, I’m super tired and lazy. DW was willing to watch Dumplin’ so that I could go to the gym, but I opted to take my second nap of the day instead (it’s only 2pm). This is how tired this medication is making me.

So far, side effects that I’ve noticed are: tiredness, nausea, feeling cold (temperature), and a lack of motivation to do anything.

I’m not as anxious, which I guess is the purpose of taking this medication. But I hate feeling this way.

Like I mentioned in my last post, my day times are fine- minimal anxiety then. It’s just nighttime when I’m trying to go to sleep. If I weren’t breastfeeding, I would’ve opted for an Ativan at night as needed, rather than a whole course of antidepressants. 

Ugh. 

Now, I’m off to nap.