Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Carson Radcliffe

It has been just under 3 weeks now since we welcomed little Carson into our family. At his 2 week checkup, he was gaining weight (and therefore eating) like a champ at 8lbs 1oz (a 13 oz gain in 8 days!)  And our pediatrician said since he's gaining so well, I didn't need to worry about waking him to eat if he's sleeping long stretches.  Alright! Except now and then I do anyway, since the long stretch of sleep only sometimes falls during the night time.  He was also measured at 20.5 inches (compared to his birth 18.5,) so either the hospital or the ped was a little off... Either way, he's in the 40's for height, 34th percentile for weight.

Speaking of weight gain, Carson was a champion eater right from the start.  I nursed Amelie for 3 months, but only made it about 2 weeks with Alisa because it was so painful.  I had vowed I would make it longer with Carson and did everything I could think of to help and motivate me - I bought another pump, nursing cover, reausable nursing pads, used all different holds and tools to help out, corrected his latch over and over... Problem is, he has a very very very strong suck. I was pretty damaged before we even left the hospital.  I tried very hard to stick with it, even though nursing made me tense my entire body, curl my toes and sometimes even cry.  They say it gets better after the first week or two.  I began pumping now and then to give my body a break, but then it just provided a contrast to how painful it was when I nursed.  So, after daaaaaaaayyyss of painful deliberation, I decided to go more with the pump and formula and less nursing.  At first, I would still directly nurse once or  twice a day, but I had an immediate drop in my milk supply and now I don't even make enough to feed my very hungry boy in one sitting.  I am still pumping 3-4 times a day, but Carson is now eating more formula than milk.  I am so very sad about this, but I know that he will turn out just fine.  He is a little more gassy/spitty/fussy, and it makes me feel terrible, but I am just glad that I live in a time where he can still be 100% healthy even though I can not keep up with his eating demands.

So, on a brighter note, Carson is a great great baby.  He is pretty mellow and rarely cries (comparitively - knock on wood.)  I have to agree, he loves his momma (and I love it!)  His sleeping schedule is totally erratic, but every once in awhile I get a long stretch (like 4-5 hours) of sleep at night.  He has a great array of facial expressions, including both smiles and scowls.  Luckily for me, Jeff is on graves again, so 3 nights a week I get to sleep the whole night! He is so amazing at this - the other day, I went to bed at 10, and not only slept til 6:30, but woke to a clean house!  My husband is so amazing!

The boy-rrito. 

I know that most people keep their newborn in the house until 6 weeks or so, but Carson has already been many places.  McDonald's, Chili's, the zoo, a church party, and up the canyon, including a partial hike up Timp.  I suppose I could hole him up with me, but it's just different with 3 kids.  Everyone has somewhere to be and we can't put everyone on hold.  Not to mention, I have been recovering much more quickly, so why not get out and fight the cabin fever!

He is loved!

His sisters still adore him, and Amelie especially is great at helping out.  Thank goodness, too!  It's easy to forget how demanding of your time a newborn can be.  We sure love having him around, though! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Unabridged Birth Story

Well, I had a routine OB appointment Tues, Sept 4th, at which, I was dilated to 4+ish, slightly more effaced, but not much... 

Yeah, done with that rate of progress.  So, we talked more about induction.  I didn't want to be induced because I don't like pitocin.  I thought I could deliver this baby without medication, and I really wanted to have that experience if possible.  From my history, pitocin has me curled up wanting to die with the next contraction, a surefire sign I wouldn't make it without the epidural.  So, we discussed things we could do besides immediate pitocin, and I decided to go for it. (Plus I really wanted my doctor to be delivering that day!)

So, I spent Tues and Wed doing physical things to try and help me along (flying kites, cleaning house, walking, walking, walking.) Once while I was hefting something, Jeff even said "I'd get that for you, but then you wouldn't go into labor." :)  Thurs morning, I called L&D and they had room, so we went in!  (Mallory came over to take care of the girls til Chris was off work.)  Check in was a breeze, and I was all changed and ready by 9.  They had me on penicillin and monitors by 930.  I then had an exam, where they said I was 5/5+ and maybe 60 effaced.  Booyeah!  1cm in 2 days totally beats the previous 1cm in 3 weeks. I found it promising.  I had to wait 4 hrs. for a second dose of penicillin before they could do anything more to move me along, so Jeff and I hung out, playing and catching sleep while it was low-key. During this first few hours, I wasn't having any kind of contractions. At all.  They didn't even do my second exam.

When it was time for my second dose of penicillin, they gave me that, then started getting all setup to break my water.  The exam said I was 5 or even 6, but the baby's head was still totally floating.  She said if she ruptured that far dilated and with the head that high, there is a big risk for the cord to come out with the water, which would be emergency c-section.  I was definitely not down for that (obviously.)  So.... since nothing else was going on, my next option was Pitocin.  It made me really sad, but they started me on just a one so that I wasn't slammed with pain.  I was also waiting for some wireless monitors so I could get to walking.  Somewhere in there, my mom and sisters showed up and then went to have lunch, thinking I'd be ruptured by the time they came back. But, no.

The pitocin picked up the activity a bit, but nothing regular or intense.  After awhile, they upped it to three.  Again, it picked up and I could actually start feeling the action, but contractions were still something like 7 minutes apart and not difficult at all. I tried walking and working the ball, but my monitors wouldn't work while I did so that wasn't very productive. They turned my pitocin up to five and then my doctor, Dr. Gibson just showed up on her own. The team on duty there at the U listened to what she was telling them, but they just didn't know me, my hopes for delivery and my conversations with my doctor.  It just wasn't moving along the way we discussed and I think she wanted to come in and be in charge and interact with me.  I was SO glad she did.  Right when she walked in (maybe about 2 or 3ish,) she took over, checked me, talked with me and we got things moving.  She set up to rupture the bag, made it happen safely, and just like I'd originally hoped, that was the ticket that finally got things moving. (She also told me the baby had already had a bowel movement in utero - awesome!) That happened right about 4:30 in the afternoon. 
This is where things got crazy. Like I said, the breaking water kicked labor right in gear.  The problem was, they still left the pitocin on at 5.  That next hour was everything I had been fearing when it comes to pitocin. My contractions started coming so fast and so strong that I was just not prepared in any way.  I mean, literally.  I was definitely crying, screaming, breaking Jeff's hand and coping in terrible ways.  I had done some preparation, read many books and methods of natural childbirth, setup relaxing music and just mentally prepared myself... but there was a huge gap in the actual application due to the immediate onslaught of pain.  The contractions hurt so bad, and while they were the problem, they were not the main reason the last hour was so unbearable for me.  The problem was how quickly they came.  When a contraction finally subsided, I would try to change to a more comfortable or at least productive position, but I did not even have time to flip from front to back before the next one came.  (And of course, I couldn't do anything during them.)  I couldn't even get my hair up and out of my face in between.  That was the one thing that really sent me over the edge.  Even in all the reading I did about natural childbirth, there was always a big deal about your body needing (and getting) its rest period between contractions... so I was expecting something a little different.  That also meant there was never time for an entire exam between contractions either, so that was just one more pain on top of all the rest of them.

So, anyway, I had one full hour of increasing pain and decreasing resolve.  I don't want to put a bad spin on it, but again, I was simply unprepared and I got to the point where I told them I did not want to do this anymore.  Mercifully, they shut off the pitocin completely and even offered me fentinol (sp?) a painkiller, which I readily accepted.  After another exam, though, they determined I was too far along and gave me only a half dose.  I have to say, I didn't actually notice a difference from either action (decreasing pitocin or the painkiller,) but thank goodness - it only could have been worse without them!  I spent a little time on hands and knees with a great nurse helping me through it and Jeff never leaving my side.  I spent some other time with a squat bar on my bed, and my doc, nurse and spouse (and I think sister - it is seriously a blur) were all amazing at encouraging me and coaching me. I was so focused (consumed) with my laboring that it seems I never correctly heard the results of the intermittent exams.  I was under the impression I wasn't progressing very quickly, and because of that, I couldn't understand why no one was listening to me.  I had definitely started the "I can't do this, I don't WANT to do this anymore" mantra and wanted someone to call for the epidural.  Apparently, in reality, I was about ready to go, but it was totally news to me until I started feeling like I had to push ("or vomit" I said. My doc said "we can handle both." haha)

So, with my doc, Jeff, a couple of nurses, my mom, two sisters and an entire pediatrics team, I began to push.  I made all sorts of terrible noises, but again, had good coaching reminding me to channel all the energy from my voice and scrunchy face into my pushing.  My team would count with me and say "now right back at it" but it took me awhile to realize that they meant keep going, because the contractions were never ending!  It was so painful!  Finally, after a few less-productive pushes, I had a moment sentient enough where I realized I could do better and was only prolonging the agony.  I was able to lean back, get a huge breath and push warrior-style.  That was it - I felt the head bust through, and then even more vividly, the awkward shape of his body following after.  Jeff said he has never seen or heard so much relief in a person as in my face and exhalation at that moment!  He had to be rushed to the pediatrics team because of meconium and group b-strep, so I only caught a vague glimpse of him at first.

I finished up the business of labor (afterbirth, stitches) and finally saw that Jeff had our baby, and I called "can I see my baby?"  At that point, I finally got to see the gorgeous face that justified all the chaos.  Carson Radcliffe North, born 9-6-12 at 5:28 pm, was 7 lbs. 8.8 oz. and 18.5 inches long.  His first apgar was an 8, and he had no problems at all while we were at the hospital.  He was born with a fair amount of hair and a fun crease across his nose that makes him look stern.  He actually has slept fair amounts at night, which is my saving blessing.  He still wakes up to eat, but goes right back to sleep and allows mom to be less of a zombie for her other kiddies.

The girls got to come meet him the next day, and they are totally in love with him and continue to be enchanted with everything that he does.  They spent the 3 or 4 days between grandmas' houses and were very tired out (and spoiled!) by the time we got them Sunday night.

Heading into Labor and Delivery

The few peaceful (/boring) hours to ourselves in the morning

Everyone commented on how I didn't look like I had a baby - it is because my stylist sister was there to pin my hair up amidst my misery.
There we are (looking like I had a baby yet? Uh yeah!)

The munchkin of the day

 Great size!


He didn't like it.


In love!

Going home outfit - finally one for daddy's team! 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Patience is a Virtue...

...that I am actively learning and cultivating these days!

A little over two weeks ago, I had my first exam, where my doc told me that I was already 3cm, 60% and baby boy was head down and engaged.  After that, I was having contractions and other labor signs every single day, so we expected our appointment a week later to show fair progress.  I had that full week of miserable "Is this labor" analyzation every single second.  Jeff and I even placed our guesses. We went in and the report went like this... 3cm, 60%, and head... NOT engaged.  So, despite all the false labor, there was "No Change" or really, what seemed like regression.  She said if the last exam was during a contraction, the head would seem engaged when it really wasn't... which it wasn't. That was the most frustrating doctor appointment I've ever had!  Although, I did remember to ask if she could guess how big our boy was.  She said high 6 or low 7 lbs, so that was at least reassuring that I didn't already have a 10 pounder in there.  In the week since that appointment, my false labor disappeared almost completely (even though we were trying walking and other labor stimulators,) and then I got to the point where I no longer wanted to deliver, because we were just days away from my wedding anniversary. So, I went back to taking it easy. Plus, I was glad to be able to make it to Alisa's first day of gymnastics, take Amie to school and dance, being sentient for Jeff's first day of school. Strangely, it wasn't as miserable as the week before.  Though I still think about starting labor all the time and am very uncomfortable, I am no longer in the same kind of rush to get to sleepless nights and juggling the family schedule minus momma.  I really am getting better at living in the moment and appreciating now.
After a loooong 9-day wait, I went back in for my 38(.6) week appointment, never more curious as to what the results of my exam would be!  Jeff was working, but was able to come in his uniform.  After a greeting of "You're still pregnant?" and an exam, we were told that I was now almost at 4cm and something I thought very strange.  She said I was more effaced in the front, but no change in back.  So weird - I am surprised with some crazy new tidbit each pregnancy. We talked about induction, though I am really hoping to go on my own this time.  I told her to try to get me in the next day she's on call, but only because she said that there may not be room on the schedule by my next appointment.  I'll decide at next week's appointment if I really want to do it or not.  So far, I think I still want to wait.  Although, the longer I wait, the bigger he'll get.  That means I'll be less likely to go all natural, which is the only reason I'm waiting anyway.  Oh, the Catch 22.

Here I am, 38.7 weeks - officially more pregnant than I have ever been! This boy will be a big one, I fear.

Now that we've passed the anniversary and the weeks of all the firsts, I am back on board to deliver this little guy!  Here's hoping I can hold onto those lessons in patience I learned...

Five Years!

This year (Aug 30) marked five years of Jeff and I being married.  We had wanted to do something special, but of course ended up about 8.7 months pregnant.  So, you may remember, we decided to take an early weekend trip to Wolf Creek while we had the chance, but still, we couldn't let the day pass by without something.  We made contingency plans for an anniversary at home with a brand new baby, for one in the hospital and for one very pregnant with no babe.  Turns out, we were not in the hospital, and still babyless, and our plan was to do sealings at Salt Lake (where we were sealed) then go to the Utah game that night (it was special staff pricing day, woo!) and then our favortie restaurant Franck's. However, since I was hesitant to purchase game tickets so far in advance, by the time I was willing, they were sold out.  (Well, they had standing room tickets... yeah right!)

So, we shuffled everything and this is how the day went.  We all got up and got ready, then dropped Amie off at school.  Jeff, Lisie and I went to breakfast at Mimi's Cafe (always delicious) then spent some quality time with her feeding the ducks at Liberty park.  She loved it.  We then picked up Amie and took the girls to McD's.  We had early dinner too, so we just wanted to eat small and let the girls have fun.  We dropped everyone off at grandma's then headed to the temple for some sealings.  It was really great, and they got us in and out in perfect timing.  (That was one of my main wishes for the day - go do sealings where we were sealed.) We went from there to Franck's, where we had a delightful experience.  It was 5 on a Thursday, so there was only one other party there.  I have to do it - here's a description of what we got.  I am still baffled as to why no one knows about Franck's, so I have to convince you through imagery. I got herb-scented southern fried chicken with whipped potatoes, house made ricotta, pickled peaches and peach-something emulsion. Jeff got brandy-reduction wagyu steak medallions with smoked strawberries, saffron pudding, and pommes frites.  Don't forget the very legit cheese plate and our soups - Jeff had plum black pepper dijon and mine was porcini lavender. Seriously to die for!  They also gave us a free dessert for our anniversary (chocolate tort and lemon sorbet.)  We totally love that place and someday we'll actually take people with us!

From there, we made perfect time over to the show at Desert Star theater, opening night for Wicked-er (a last minute decision.)  This is also one of our classics, though we haven't been forever.  The show was funny (much better in the second half than the first) and we were way too stuffed to eat anything, but they announced our anniversary, and we got to stand up to dance to "Let me call you sweetheart" before the olio. 
Honestly, we could not have asked for a better day.  The past 3 years have all had some big debaucle, so we were expecting problems, or of course, a baby delivery.  This year was great, though.  We had a lovely night, and got to spend lots of great quality time together. Love you babe, thanks for the five best years of my life!

Good times

We went to a Family Fun Fair at my mom's church a few weekends ago (I could never have done this without my mom and sis being there!) and I got a few cute pics.

 Face painting and cupcake faces.

 Sis (as always) couldn't wait to get on the train, then cried the whole time.

 Cow milking? Interesting fair activity. They were both pros.

And, I loved last night's bath time game.
"We're mermaids!"

Then, there was my mom's birthday!  Jeff wanted to take her out for dinner, so we did that (she chose Red Lobster) and gave her a movie gift card.  Then, I hosted Sunday dinner when we were celebrating her, since she does most all the work for every other Sunday dinner.  My house was super hot due to a swamp cooler on the fritz, but other than that, everyone (except Jeff) was able to come and I had a really good time.

One day while Jeff was working outside and the kids were "helping," they encountered some grasshoppers and fell in love.  Before mom caught wind of any of it, they each had their own pet in holey Olive Garden cups.  It was adorable, though.  For about a week, they each had their grasshopper pets (Amie's was Harold and Lisie's was Grasshopper - who only had one hopping leg) and Amelie even took hers to show and tell at school. She liked telling people that when they grow bigger they throw off their skin and grow new ones.  When we finally decided we should let them free, they just sat there on the pavement for a long time, even walking, before finally remembering how to hop. :/

Finally, Amie requested I take a pic of them in their favorite white flower shirts. They sure love each other!