February 22, 2011

perils and woes

oh man! did it ever get complicated.

so, the little dolphin's tiny mouth, combined with her womb-habit of sucking on her hand (one hand came out pointed upward, leading to three tiny sutures for yours truly) led to trouble latching. i thought i had the hang of it (little flutter sucks they do to let the milk down, and then long sucks and swallows for minutes at a time. she would do this three or four times per feeding. all good, right? wrong).

babies lose weight after they're born, but they are supposed to gain it back by two weeks old.

midwives: she's 6lbs, 5oz. that's nine percent of her birthweight. if she loses more than ten percent we have to consult with a pediatrician.

me: silently freaking out.

so we fed the crap out of her. woke her up to feed. and she gained an ounce! but two days later she hadn't gained any more. then, THEN, my breastmilk dries up. yeah, i kid you not. what the hell? so i'm freaking out, the midwives are giving me herbal stimulants, and the queen is like "screw this - i'm going to buy formula." i was very miserable, but i do believe he made the right choice; the baby needs to eat, and i wasn't squeezing anything out.

the midwives say she has an improper latch, so while she was getting some, she wasn't stimulating my boobs properly to make more. there's a group called La Leche League who will give you hands-on support to help breastfeed - like come to your house. but they don't have a centre in the small town i live in. so i decide i want to move temporarily back to the city to get the support i need, and get dolphin off the formula (though she has merrily gained weight - 5oz in two days! three ounces away from her birthweight and three days to go. at least somthing is going right!

so, all good right? a gaining baby, a plan for breastfeeding support (which the queen totally got behind, bless him) and here we are.

except then i've had brutal diarrhea and a high fever for four days. but i'm not presenting any signs of infection. so the midwives send us to emergency to get some bloodwork done, and at emergency they are all "whew! you are SO dehydrated! we're giving you a bag of saline via IV right now." and then they prod me and take my blood. that was yesterday. when everyone realised how dehydrated i was, they wouldn't let me express breastmilk anymore, so now it's drying up again, but i see they're right. until i can maintain my own hydration instead of voiding it on a regular basis through my rear, it's detrimental. but i was up to half breastmilk half formula and feeling pretty good about it. i just want to give my dolphin ambrosia of the boob.

so she's doing well, and i am doing very poorly. my adivce for any mothers-to-be or someday mothers? make sure you have a support system in place for AFTER the birth. i focused a lot on the birth, which only ended up being five hours (yeah, i get 'er done). i wish i had made a schedule of people to come by and help me afterward.

February 18, 2011

officially a yummy mummy

it has been done.

the little dolphin swam out last friday in the early morning. she's a cutie alright. people say she looks like me; i think the queen was hoping she would look like him. i'm sure she will.

anyway, full birthing story will have to come later - i am exhausted and have stuff to do. this is far more difficult than being pregnant, but i still prefer it. although my body is definitely still in a war zone - ligaments readjusting themselves can really, really suck. like, wake you up in the middle of the night they hurt so much suck. let's not get into the nipples.

worth it? ha! ask me in twenty years. but yeah. it's an experience like nothing else. and then getting this newborn universe on you, with the endorphins rushing like crazy - whew.

February 8, 2011

dum de dum

ahhh, nothing.

had a glorious visit this weekend from the awesomes. they came through treacherous driving conditions to warm our home. we now have drawings, empty beer cans, memories of the muppets, more cloth diapers and a cute little beer stain on our furniture. alas, no birthing while they were here. i could actually feel my body go "no no, not in front of the company." i wonder if i'll be one of those women who dilate and then recede when the midwives show up or the phone rings.

i am getting antsy, it's true. reading, having a bath, eating supper; it's always on my mind. i stare at the belly sometimes, wondering how big the baby is getting, how much longer until it swims out the birth path and into the same world the rest of us (try to) share. it's hard to focus on anything now; i feel like i'm giving so little of my attention to anything other than whether or not i am facing imminent labour.

anyway, i don't want to tell you about the tv we're watching, the food we're eating or the walks we take, and for me these days, that's sort of all there is. ho hum.

February 4, 2011

let down the draw-bridge!

after all the productivity in the last few days, i looked at the list of things i wanted to do today and said "fuck it". i erased the list and rewrote it to include: useless trips up and down the stairs; aimless puttering, and; cups of tea. now i feel good about my day. of course, after i gave up on the list, i was actually able to get some shit done. signed up for curbside recycling (which is a paid service in this small town, but we found a cheap one that donates to schools, so we signed up and now plan to slowly ease out the sacks of un-dealt-with recycling we've been storing in the garage) and have been tidying and writing. i like tidying. wandering around the house with two things in my hand, depositing and re-placing the things from room to room. productivity via small piles. that's my aim today.

i think i have prepared physically for birthing, and now am moving into mental preparations. grounding, focusing, etc. not that i haven't been mentally preparing the whole time, but i have put away trying to prepare physically, which leaves me more energy. it's nice. we have the pile of stuff, we have the freezer full. now i can do this. every day i feel more confident.

also, i can feel my body asking "are we ready yet?" and it's nice to say "yes. yes we are. on your cue."

as i read "the stone gods" by jeanette winterson, i have the strong feeling that i have read it already. hmm. so i look in my little book journal i started for this express purpose (was halfway through slaughterhouse-five when i realised i had already read it - and i didn't even like it that much. oh the chagrin!) and discover i read this book in may of 2008. so not only did i come very close to buying it twice, but i am more than halfway through reading it twice. awesome. well, it's still good.

years ago, i was feeling unfulfilled, and upon some inner searching, decided it was because i was spending a lot of time communicating with people, but not creating very much. that's when i started to make 'zines, do more spoken-word, and generally try and accomplish physical creations. now that i am about to finish/start a very visible creative project (magnum opus?), and have moved out of a social milieu, i find myself spending lots of time communicating with people; i have time on my hands, i feel satisfied about my creativity, and i feel the need for interaction. letter-writing, email-writing, phone calls, they all feel satisfying again. i think i used to nourish a lot of people with communication but not receive much myself. now, because my needs have changed, because i have changed what else i am doing with my time, and definitely because of who i communicate with, it's more of a mutual nourishment process. i like how it has come full circle.

February 1, 2011

still pregnant.

oh my. and how is today.

well, today is another day. we went for one last ultrasound because the baby is presenting so small (they have an optimum growth chart, and i reached the edge of the okay zone on the last midwife's visit. they weren't too concerned, but offered up the ultrasound option as a "better safe than sorry" choice, and we took it since we are know-nothing newbie parents). the eastern european guy who ran the centre popped in while the technician was oozing around with the remote on my blue-goop-covered tummy, and announced everything was fine. he cheerfully pointed out i wasn't the tallest kid on the block, and added that some women just don't show as much as others. the baby is between six and seven pounds, which is a reasonable size. truthfully, not that i would take up smoking to get a small baby or anything insane like that, but i am happier at the idea of birthing a dolphin than a whale. it's my vagina's first time, let's take it easy. the queen's family was all ginormous, and i am very happy i am not birthing a ten- to fourteen-pound earthling through my "pink and healthy birth path" (hey hey, daily affirmations!).

after the ultrasound we picked up some groceries (we're like squirrels, packing away for winter. all the cupboards and freezers are full) and sent off a package at the post office to our friend field in bloom. we also picked up a package (yay!) from the awesomes. it included some microphones the queen had left at their place, things the awesome kids had made, handmade books for writing in that ms awesome is making these days, and the tiniest pair of moccasins in the world. damn, there are perks to having a baby. cute little moccasins is one of them.

when we came home, i was exhausted, and lay down to finally start jeanette winterson's latest, "the stone gods". i am trying to remember to read things other than baby books. one i am very much enjoying is louise erdrich's "original fire": poetry that really rocks my world right now. i like the poems quoted on that link, but my favourite so far is "clouds". also, that link led me to this one, which is good for a giggle. hey, i worked at a bookstore with cats that have their own little pages up on the website, i'm not one to judge. it looks like a great bookstore.

i've subscribed to the "offbeat mama" website, and a redneck photoshoot on it inspired the queen and i. so he put on his headband, i my old north country fair shirt and both of us our cowboy boots and did a little photoshoot in front of the stove at home. it was so much more fun than the cheesy, mom-and-a-bucket-of-love pregnancy photos i see so often. it made us both laugh really hard, which is invaluable as we rocket toward a life-changing event.

i was chatting with a friend who is pregnant with her third. we talked about how the stricter your birthing plan, the more likely things are to turn out differently. she and i were both in a pretty hippie community seven or so years ago when she was birthing her first, and she ended up getting an epidural because the shape of her pelvis didn't allow the baby to descend well, and the pain of the head hitting her pelvis repeatedly made it difficult for my friend to stay relaxed enough to help her baby out. after two days of contractions at home and twenty-four hours of monitored labour, she took the epidural and out the baby came. i relayed to her a very similar story, only the mom was a midwife who ended up going to the hospital and getting an epidural for the same reason and with the same results - out popped little one after the mama was able to relax. my friend said she used to feel a little weird telling the story for fear of being judged by the "natural birthing" community, but that it made her realise there is a place for western medicine. aye aye! so here's a neat link from a woman who made her birthing choice. it reminds me of when i realised that a feminist isn't someone who does or does not shave her legs, but rather, someone who makes the choice to shave for herself, not for society or her partner or the neighbours.

onward, newly discovered freedoms.