1 week postpartum

It’s hard to believe our little man is 1 week old today. Time really flies by when you have a baby. Days and nights blur together. Most days it feels like we aren’t even ready for the day until almost noon.

Wyatt is such a calm and happy baby. The only time he cries is if he’s hungry, dirty, or gassy. Either way, it’s always an easy fix. We are very lucky.

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Wyatt – 1 week old

Breastfeeding

We’ve been exclusively breastfeeding. I pumped once, but I’m going to try to avoid it for as long as I can.

Wyatt is a milk monster. That’s the nickname that his Dad gave him. He loves to eat! I met with the lactation consultant when we were in the hospital and she commented that she rarely sees a newborn who eats as well as he does. He gained 5 ounces in 48 hours which the public health nurse said was over double what would be expected. Like I said: he’s a milk monster.

Getting a good latch has been a bit challenging, but we are learning and getting more comfortable with breastfeeding each day. My boobs are slightly sore and chapped, but it’s tolerable. When my milk came in, the flow was overwhelming for the little guy. He seems to be adjusting to it now. Since I have gigantic boobs, the football hold worked best for us to start. Since then, we’ve moved onto the cradle, cross-cradle and laying down.

Sleeping 

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This is what I found after my morning bath. Snuggle buddies.

We had planned on having Wyatt join us in our bedroom in the Halo Bassinest. It only took 1 night before his Dad put him in bed with us. We usually start with him in the bassinet and move him to the bed with us if he fusses in the middle of the night. We’ve been very lucky to have a few good nights where he’s gone 2-3.5 hours between feedings.

During the day, he does great with napping. We either let him sleep on us or in another bassinet in the living room.

As for me, I had my placenta encapsulated which helps with energy levels. I am only taking 1 dose/day which gives me a decent amount of energy. I get tired after supper time, but I don’t actually nap at all yet during the day. I’m sure that will change once Mike goes back to work and I’m up more on my own with the baby during the night.

Visiting

I felt overwhelmed the first few days after we left the hospital. I was sleep deprived and adjusting to motherhood. We ended up having a few too many extended visits including a few unannounced visitors (how do people think this is appropriate?). That meant sitting up for long periods of time which made my lady bits very sore. 4 days after he was born, I asked my husband to kibosh the family visits for a few days. I just wanted to spend time relaxing and healing with my son and my husband. So far, people have respected our wishes. We haven’t seen many friends yet. Everyone keeps stressing the importance of putting myself and the baby first. That’s my focus. I know everyone will get to meet Wyatt when the time is right.

Mike goes back to work on Monday. I’m nervous about being on my own mainly due to how sore I am. I may reach out to some friends/family for more help next week… or I may just lay in bed all day and snuggle with my babe. 🙂 

My Mom is flying out on November 12. I’m really looking forward to having her here.

Healing

Following Wyatt’s delivery, my ankles/legs/perineum/bum were seriously swollen. I had 2 acupuncture sessions this week which significantly reduced my swelling. When I say significantly, I mean it was like a miracle. Within 12 hours, you could see the bones in my feet again! After I did what everyone tells you not to do, I’ve been following a regular routine of epsom salt baths, perineum spray, padsicles, and lots of laying down. The reduction in swelling has helped, but my stitches are still sore. Each day, it gets a bit better.

Pregnancy was good to me. I gained a total of 22 lbs. I’ve lost all of it, plus some. At 1 week postpartum, I’m currently 5 lbs less than what I weighed going into our FET cycle last January.

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I guess it did look like I was carrying a 9lb baby.

Wyatt also had a blocked tear duct which freaked me out. The one lesson I have for all the Momma’s out there is to trust your intuition. Doctor Google said it was simply a blocked tear duct, but I let it freak me out. After confirming with the nurse, the solution was breastmilk. Problem solved.

Family life

We’ve neglected our animals this week. We did let them sleep with us the first few nights, but I was too sore and got frustrated with them. For now, we are keeping our sleeping arrangements separate and will work on spending time together during the day. So far, Max the chihuahua loves the baby, Bella the chihuahua likes the baby but wants more attention, and Oliver the cat could care less; although, he does meow when the baby cries. Last night, Max was a bit too hyper and jumped on the baby. We have some work to do on boundaries. I may have less patience with them until my bottom is healed. It’s hard to take care of myself when I’m so sore, let alone a newborn and 3 animals.

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Meeting the puppies for the first time

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Oliver the cat is not sure about this arrangement.

Overall, it’s been going well. Mike is an amazing daddy and it’s so obvious how much he loves our son.

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN! We had a little skeleton today.

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Wyatt’s arrival: a birth story

On Thursday, October 22, I had my 41 week OB appointment. I was 2-3 cm dilated and 80% effaced. We discussed the possibility of induction and I was added to the list for Sunday, October 25 if I didn’t go into labour on my own before then. The OB did another membrane sweep. Immediately after I noticed less spotting compared to previous sweeps and just assumed it didn’t work. A few hours later, I had some cramping but also didn’t read into it as I’d had it on and off over the previous 2 weeks.

Mike and I went for a walk that night, but I cut it short compared to our usual route. I was feeling extra tired and wanted to go to bed early. As I went to sleep, I noticed an increase in cramping and hoped it would turn into real labour.

Throughout the night, I woke up to contractions. At 4am, I decided to start timing them and they were about 10 minutes apart. I got up to pee at 4:30am and my water broke. I woke Mike up and cleaned up the mess. Let’s just say I had one of those stereotypical water breaking moments. It was EVERYWHERE. In fact, it continued to gush/flow throughout the entire morning. As my contractions grew in strength and timing, I moved to the living room to my birth ball. At one point, I stood up and had another massive flow. Mike just stood there staring which made me laugh. I told him to get some towels. Before we left for the hospital, I had already soaked through 3 pairs of panties and 2 pairs of pants. I decided to wear a skirt and put a towel on the seat of the car.

We left for the hospital around 7:20 am. My contractions were about 3.5-4 minutes apart. On the drive to the hospital, they decreased in intensity and timing – averaging about 6-7 minutes apart. In triage on Labour and Delivery, they offered me the option of going home and seeing if they increased, or being admitted. I didn’t want to risk the chance of something happening at home, so we opted to stay. My OB was in agreement with our choice.

Our doula met us at the hospital and we were moved into our labour and delivery room. Throughout the morning, my contractions followed an inconsistent pattern. Sometimes they were 4 minutes apart, other times 8 minutes apart. I found more consistency if I maintained standing or walking positions. I alternated between pacing the room and bouncing/rotating on the birthing ball.

Up until this point, I had been labouring without pain medication using a combination of breathing techniques and visualizations. This was the most magical part of my birth story. Each time I experienced a strong contraction, I took myself to my “happy place” in my mind’s eye. While there, I was greeted by my children and our animals. With each new contraction, we engaged in a new activity – chasing butterflies in the meadow, watching waves roll in on the beach, climbing a big Oak tree, chasing the dogs through the field. With each contraction, I knew I that I would make it through it. I knew there was something special waiting for me. I knew my children would encourage me to get through it, “Come on Mom! You can do it! Let’s get another butterfly“. So far, labour wasn’t pain-free but it was manageable. I just took it one contraction at a time.

My OB decided to let me labour on my own and didn’t check me until early afternoon. At that point, I was only 3-4 cms dilated. They decided to give me another 2 hours before my next check which would be close to 10 hours after my membranes had ruptured.

2 hours later, I had only progressed to 4 cm. My labour nurse forewarned me that my OB was going to suggest an augment – the pitocin drip – due to the length of time it had been since my water broke and the fact that my contractions were moving further apart rather than closer together. They kept reiterating the fact that there was a risk of infection the longer we wait. Even though my preference was to have a natural birth, my husband and I agreed to the drip. We had already been at it for almost 12 hours and hoped it would bring our son to us sooner.

Every thing they say about induction contractions being 100x worse than regular labour contractions is completely true. Within minutes, the intensity and timing had increased. I lost my ability to get to my happy place. I moved into the tub hoping the warm water would help. My husband held my hand as I moaned and breathed through each contraction. The natural flow of labour was lost. It was forced, it was fast and it wasn’t pleasant.

I got out of the tub and moved to the bed. At that point, I starting asking how long I had to make a decision on pain meds. I decided to try the gas and air, but it didn’t work for me. My exhales were too forceful for the hose and it felt like I couldn’t use my breathing to get through it. I made it 14 hours without pain medication before deciding to get an epidural. My doula and my husband ensured me that the deviation from my preferences was well warranted. I still used hypnobirthing for most of my labour. I had always said I would be open to alternate choices if my birth experience required it.

The epidural offered much needed relief. At first, I still had quite a bit of pain on the right side. They had me lay on my right for a while until it dispersed enough that each contraction was numb. My nurse did another check and I was about 5-6 cms dilated around 7pm. When I was labouring without pain meds, I was really inside myself – quiet and calm. With the epidural, I finally felt like myself again. I was talking, attentive and asking lots of questions of my nurse.

She did another check around 9pm and I had rapidly progressed to 9 cm dilated. She said there was only a small ridge left and she suggested we do some practise pushing to see if we could move it. I found pushing to be difficult. When you can’t feel much in your pelvis, it’s bizarre to be told where and how to push. We decided to take a bit of a break and I managed to nap for almost an hour.

Following that, the nurse suggested I relieve my bladder. I had been peeing consistently between contractions all afternoon, but had yet to go since the epidural. I was not able to get anything to come out, so they decided to use a catheter on me. Turns out baby’s head was blocking ability to pee. It took two nurses and multiple attempts to even get the catheter in.

Around 11:30pm, I was 10 cm dilated and it was time to officially start pushing. Over the next 3 hours, I tried a variety of pushing positions, but our little guy was not progressing much. He seemed to be suck at station +2. I did experience some back labour pains even with the epidural. At one point, he was crooked and facing into the right side of my pelvis. We changed positions and they thought he moved into sunny side up. Once again, I changed positions in an attempt to get him in the right position. We succeeded both times, but he still wouldn’t come farther down in the birth canal.

The charge nurse came in and explained that we needed to use additional intervention. I was getting close to 24 hours since my membranes ruptured increasing the risk of infection again. Also, with the amount of pushing I had been doing, I was at risk of haemorrhaging. My OB was doing a c-section but once he was done, we would be proceeding with a forceps delivery. At this point, my husband and I were in agreement as we just wanted our baby boy in our arms safely. We thought a vaginal delivery with intervention would be a better option than a c-section. In fact, a c-section wasn’t even discussed. Throughout the entire labour, our little man had a consistent heart rate. The nurses kept joking that he was happy and comfortable in there. He made us laugh each time they did a check as he squirmed and kicked me.

Once the OB was ready, it was go time. He instructed me to continue pushing through contractions while he pulled with the forceps. He made a small episiotomy incision to help with the forceps. It took 3 big yanks for our not-so-little man to join us. He arrived calm and content requiring some vigorous rubbing before he let out his first cry. He also peed and pooped on his Momma immediately after they put him on my chest. He squirmed and gnawed at his hands as if he was already hungry. We did skin to skin on my chest for an hour before the nurse took his vitals and weighed him.

Wyatt Linden John Bast arrived at 2:47 am on October 24, 2015. He was 21 inches long and weighed 9 lbs.

We were moved to the mother baby unit to settle in for the night – 26 hours after my labour had begun. It was a long, yet rewarding day.

Was it close to the ideal labour I envisioned? No, yet it contained elements of what I desired. I used hypnobirthing. I had my husband’s constant support, along with that of my doula and my amazing nurses.  I felt like we made educated decisions when required. Basically, the lesson learned is that you can be aware of your birth preferences, but you can never control the outcome. In retrospect, I do wonder if we had returned home if things would have been different. Each time a medical intervention was mentioned earlier in labour, it seemed to affect the regularity of my contractions. I progressed very fast once I had the epidural and was able to relax again. This is very interesting if you think about the mind-body connection during the labouring process.

Overall, I think my birth story turned out exactly as it was meant to. I learned to trust in the process and my medical providers. Most of all, we attained our goal: a healthy Momma (minus some tears and swelling) and a beautiful healthy baby boy.

There is only one way to describe the moment you meet your child for the first time: surreal. I found myself crying yesterday morning – tears of joy. I can’t believe he’s here. He’s finally arrived. Our miracle rainbow unicorn. I love my baby so much ❤

I did what everyone tells you not to do

I looked.

Well,  first I lightly patted while in the tub. With just the slightest touch,  I knew it was bad.

Then today,  the public health nurse checked it for me. Before she even got close, she cringed and said, ” Oh my! That’s a LOT of swelling.

After that, I HAD to look. I’m just that kind of person.

I got a mirror and placed it on the bathroom floor. I stood over top, took a deep breath and glanced down.

She ain’t pretty.

She’s actually more comparable to horrific right now.

My poor perenium. 😦

No one recorded what degree my tear is. The public health nurse thought maybe someone had told me. I think they just wanted to spare me the graphic details.

My bum hole seems intact even though it doesn’t seem to have much control. When I gotta go,  I gotta go… And lucky me, that’s been twice since delivery.

I guess that means it must not be a 4th degree, maybe not even 3rd degree tear. The nurse couldn’t tell from all the swelling. She could barely find the stitches.

I just assumed I needed fixing up due to the episiotomy. My OB took way longer to stitch it up than I had expected though.

After looking, it’s obvious I tore to the side way beyond the small incision the doctor made to allow the forceps to enter and baby to come out.

I’ve got strict instructions from the nurse to stay off my ass (how often does someone hear that?), soak in the tub as much as possible, ice it, use perenium spray and padsicles.

I guess that’s what happens when your baby drops and engages weeks before labour begins, gets stuck in the birth canal after you push for 3 hours and then, requires a forcep delivery.

Ouchie.

Oh well…

He was worth it. ❤

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Trusting in the process

I’ve come to a big realization lately.

My thinking that our little man would arrive early was primarily driven out of fear. I wanted him to arrive early because the sooner he is earth side, the sooner he is in my arms and the sooner everything is safe.

This fear derived from years of failing to conceive, followed by a successful IVF conception which resulted in an ectopic pregnancy loss. Every time we thought we were almost there, it was taken away from us. Call it PTSD. Call it crazy. Call it whatever you want. The point is: the past few years have been emotionally traumatic.

In the infertility and pregnancy loss community, we support each other, but we also are too familiar with each other’s stories of grief and despair. It continues to fuel our own insecurities. I keep thinking back to a woman I met through a friend a year ago whose son was stillborn. She was due to be induced, but was sent home due to the labour and delivery unit being full. When she returned 48 hours later, their son had passed on.

As I made my way through the 3rd trimester, this story sat in the back of my mind. I convinced myself that my son HAD to arrive before 40 weeks. There was NO WAY he was coming late. There was NO WAY I would face what this other woman did.

In all honesty, I do believe that he will arrive safely. I can’t predict how or when – especially since I’ve turned my intuition down to protect myself during this pregnancy – but I know that he will be in my arms, crying, breathing, eating and being the little human being that we have created.

I feel very fortunate to have many friends in the medical and holistic wellness communities that I can turn to for support. Even though the old wives tales aren’t helping me to bring on my labour, I have been reassured by many friends that it’s completely normal for a first time Mom to go overdue. Since I have zero medical reason for an early induction, our local hospital would not even consider it a possibility until 10 days past my due date. That being said, I know that induction labours can be lengthy, have increased pain and also increase the risk of requiring a c-section. One of my nursing friends highly recommended I wait as long as I can before agreeing to induction.

Tomorrow afternoon, I have an OB appointment. I’ll be 41 weeks. I keep hoping my son will arrive naturally before this weekend, but I know tomorrow is an opportunity to discuss my options with my doctor. I guarantee he will do another membrane sweep and hopefully that does the trick.

My acupuncturist reminded me today that it’s ok to be happy. It’s ok to let go of the fears that have been deeply rooted in me due to past traumas and open myself up to joy and love as we bring our son into this world.

She’s right.

Sometimes when you’ve spent so long being pulled down, you almost expect something to go wrong. It’s hard to let yourself experience true happiness.

As I approach the birth of my son, I’m ready to accept it whichever way its meant to unfold. I will embrace it. I will own it. I will make it the best experience possible for my husband, my son and myself. Although there will always be fear during times of change, I will not let it steal my joy.

We’ve come so far. We’ve worked so hard to get here. We deserve it. It’s our time and I’m ready.

Motherhood awaits me.

Overdue and over it

Today I’m 40 weeks, 4 days.

Still no baby…

I did lose my mucous plug over the weekend, but that doesn’t mean much.

I’ve been lucky to have minimal swelling during this pregnancy – even throughout the summer. Yesterday morning, I was on my feet doing some baking and cleaning in the kitchen. In the afternoon, we went for a walk at the lake. The result of both activities = I’ve officially got cankles. The swelling is starting to go down after elevating them and drinking a ton of water. I also convinced my husband to rub them and stimulate some of the acupressure induction points. This morning they looked decent, but by this evening they were swollen again.

Baby is moving well. Whenever he’s awake, I joke that he’s beating up my insides. I get a ton of cervical pressure as he moves around. A few nights ago, Bella our chihuahua was curled up against my belly and he kept kicking her. She didn’t move at all, so baby gave up. I found this quite amusing.

Tonight, I discovered my first hemorrhoid! WTF! I thought I would be able to escape without experiencing ANOTHER lovely pregnancy side effect. On that note, any suggestions for remedies? Surprisingly, it doesn’t hurt at all yet. I read that it should go away after delivery, but what else can I do?

Other than that, it’s starting to get really annoying when people ask, “No baby yet?”. I can handle, “Hey we’re thinking of you!” or “How are you feeling?” or “Hope your little guy comes soon!”. But, “No baby yet?” is the stupidest question. If he was here, we would announce it. :/

I saw my chiropractor and my acupuncturist today. I also ate an entire pineapple (core included) hoping that might help. My plan is to just take it one day at a time until my next OB appointment on Thursday. I don’t have any other practitioner appointments scheduled. If I haven’t gone into labour by the end of the week, I’ll try to get into chiro/acupuncture on Saturday.

Here’s my latest bump pic – all low and lumpy bumpy. 🙂

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Here’s a comparison from last week to this week. Note: I was wearing my Bella Band last week which tends to smooth things out and give my belly more support. You will notice a significant drop in the belly though. I’m not sure how much further this little guy can get before he’s actually making his way out my vagina.

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Please continue sending birthing vibes my way. I’m aiming to naturally go into labour before the end of the week.

Please universe! Let’s make this happen! I trust in the timing and believe everything will unveil the way it’s meant to. 

40 week OB appointment

Today, I am 40 weeks, 1 day.

I just got back from an OB appointment. He did another membrane sweep. As I expected, it was more uncomfortable this time and it lasted a lot longer than the previous time. Following the sweep, I had some pinky-red discharge, but since then it’s turned to brown. I’m also a bit crampy, but not too bad.

He estimated me at 2cm dilated, 60% effaced and baby at a station of -1.

He booked me in for my next appointment at 41 weeks, but doesn’t think I will go that long. Ughhh I really hope so. 

Following the appointment, my husband and I went for a walk around a lake in a subdivision near our house. I’ve been walking a minimum of once a day. There’s a tobogganing hill in a park near our house that I’ve been doing side squats up and down as well. We ate some spicy Thai food again this week. I also have been going to Acupuncture 2x a week and Chiro 1x a week.  More than anything else, I’ve been using my birthing ball to bounce and do hip rotations. It actually feels nice to get on there and relieve some of the pressure.

I’ve noticed I’m a lot more tired each day. I still get up to pee every hour or two all night long. Since baby got even lower this week, it’s almost harder to pee though, seems like it takes forever to come out. And even though you think you have to go, there’s barely any in there compared to what my bladder used to be capable of holding.

As for back and pelvic pain, I’m actually moving a lot better than I was when I was working. I think being more active is helping. My SPD pain is still there on my right side, but I’m learning to manage. Night time is my most uncomfortable time though. I dread climbing into bed. It’s super hard to roll over and get out of bed these days.

I’ve been experiencing false labour every night for the past 3-4 nights too. I wake up about midnight when the cramping/contractions start. Typically, I’m only up for half an hour to an hour until I can sleep through them. They are always gone by morning though. My OB said this is a good thing as my body is getting ready.

It’s just a waiting game now. I hoped the baby would arrive today to celebrate his Daddy’s birthday with him, but it looks like we will be waiting a bit longer. My OB is on-call tomorrow. It would be ideal if the baby came then as we are both comfortable with our OB (and he isn’t on call again until late next week).

But as I said before… clearly this decision is up to our little man and not us.

Please send me positive birthing vibes! ❤