Thursday, December 30, 2010

Postpartum Adventures - 3 Weeks

It's been almost 3 weeks since my crazy delivery. L'il Dude is healthy and well and eating/sleeping like a champ.

Me, on the other hand, can't seem to get my health in order. I have developed Bells Palsy, high blood pressure and a massively painful clogged milk duct that I can't seem to alleviate. It's been a real roller coaster ride!

The excitement started the morning after coming home from the hospital, the littlest chickadee had to go to the ER too as she had cut her chin wide open by falling on a sippy cup! Stress and sleep deprivation just seemed to compound after that. Especially with the holiday rush and kindergarten Christmas requirements/parties. I was compelled to get all my Christmas cards out WITH a birth announcement and send out all my packages ASAP. Not only that, I felt I needed to start a walking routine and went on an hour and a half trail walk in the rain a few days after coming home.

The next morning after the power walk, I noticed my lip was weak when trying to drink out of a straw and put on my Chapstick. I just chalked it up to sleep deprivation. It continued to worsen that day and that night we went out to see the Metrolink Holiday Toy Express (in the cold rain) and my hubbie started freaking out how my right eye wasn't closing when the other eye blinked and how my eye would roll up in my head when trying to blink. We thought maybe I had a mini stroke and that totally scared me.

That night I Googled 'postpartum facial paralysis' and immediately pulled up info on Bells Palsy and learned everything I could about it. I was almost 100% certain that's what I had. The next morning I called my doctor's office to see if I should be seen or not. They recommended I go to the ER to rule out a neurological condition. Ugh - I dreaded going to the ER. I didn't want to bring the baby with me and I was set on breastfeeding exclusively without supplementing. Spending hours in the ER would pose a challenge I feared.

Luckily, it was a quick and easy trip considering. I was diagnosed with Bells Palsy and got a prescription for Prednisone steroids and anti-viral medicine. I guess I was lucky to get seen quickly as treatment is more successful if you are seen with the first few days of onset.

Now that it's been a few weeks since it first came on, it seems much better, thankfully. Not 100% normal or symmetrical movement of my face, but manageable. Next week I'm going to meet with an acupuncturist to start treatment for this and my other health/stress issues. I hope it makes me feel more energetic, alert and well.

I also have postpartum high blood pressure for some reason. It was never high when I was pregnant or immediately after delivery. My OB isn't concerned about how high my blood pressure is, but it's not normal for me to be above 120/70 range - I'm running about 140/90 right now.

All the advice says to REST, REST and REST some more. But honestly, I feel that I've rested and stayed at home as much as I can stand. Napping is not really an option several times a day, every day. I feel that 45 minutes of nursing time with the baby every 3 hours is considered resting. And not being able to walk or exercise as normal is lame. How many weeks of rest and recovery do I really need? I've always bounced back after my other 2 births and this was my fastest and drug-free, so why should I be so wiped out??

My latest complaint is the clogged milk duct from hell. I've done everything to get it to go away and nothing works. I've had it for over 3 days! I even did a creepy, ridiculous nursing position recommended by LaLeche that involves hovering over the baby on all fours to nurse. Um, yeah, weird. It was like doing a nursing 69 and the baby totally ripped mega farts and pooped in my face while I tried it. All the while, my husband and the 2 chickadees were all milling around. I'm glad the girls didn't ask me what the hell I was doing or that anyone took a picture.

I'm praying that in the coming week that I'll start seeing an improvement in my health. School is starting up again and DH is going back to work so I'll need to be more on top of things again.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Adventures in Labor & Delivery - Deux

My birth story for the l'il dude:

Tuesday night/morning December 7 in L&D with false labor.
Wednesday doctor appointment dilated to 3 cm.
Wednesday night drank 1 cup raspberry leaf tea.
Thursday morning drank 1 cup raspberry leaf tea.
Took 2 power walks around the neighborhood Thursday and big Christmas shopping trip.
Thursday night drank 1 cup raspberry leaf tea.
Went to bed at 10:30 with no contractions or sign of labor.
Friday, December 10th: Woke up with mega painful contraction at 1:50 and got up to pee.
Went back to bed only to have another painful contraction right away.
Got out of bed to try to walk it off.
Took a few steps and my water broke. Me: "UH OH!" (I was trying not to wake or alarm my DH.)
Went to the bathroom and saw blood and fluid on pad.
Woke DH and told him to call the sitter asap and have her rush to our house. (Last time I told her to take her time.)
Contractions were already so close together and so painful I couldn't even time them or think clearly.
Scrambled to find clothes to wear, call doctor on call and grab bags.
Could feel the contractions getting more painful (excruciating) and productive.
I was terrified it was moving so fast that I wasn't going to make it to the hospital in time.
Babysitter was pulling up to the curb 7 minutes later, we were out the door while she was going in and we started driving to the hospital.
we got to the hospital in less than 10 minutes, waited in the ER for what seemed like an eternity for the nurse wih the wheelchair.
I thought for sure the baby was going to be delivered right there.
I paced the floor as the contractions came immediately one after another.
Nurse came and she wheeled me straight to the labor room while I kept asking where the anesthesiologist was and how long to get an epidural. I was still hoping it wasn't too late.
Two nurses worked on entering my info into the computer, checking my urine and pad, getting vital signs, ordering labs, trying to start an IV (took 2 sticks)
They finally checked my cervix and I was at 9 cm.
I could feel the baby wanting to crown.
I was an emotional wreck in so much nonstop pain I couldn't function. I begged for drugs and was denied. Too far along, no time for epidural and narcotics would be bad for baby.
Nurse offered me a local anasthetic around my perineum. Ha!
She tried consoling me that it would be a snappy recovery without the epidural.
I insisted that I'm not a natural kind of girl.
Had to close my eyes to make everyone disappear.
I remember hearing the nurses asking to find out where doctor was, (in another delivery), trying to locate another doctor from NICU, asking for a table to be set up, needing another set of hands.
They gave me oxygen mask and gave my DH a chair to sit in as he apparently looked ashen.
Felt better if I pushed a little with the painful contractions. I didn't tell anyone I was doing it, I just did it.
Told DH he better get ready to catch because the baby was coming and someone better be there.
Doctor shows up, asks me to push with the next contraction, everyone in the room coaching and shouting commands, me feebly attempting to open my legs and lift them to my chest; it hurt like hell.
2 big pushes for the head and a push for some stubborn shoulders and he came out at 3:26 am. Less than 2 hours from start to finish - unbelievable!
I felt instant relief. The residual contractions and suturing were nothing.
The nurses congratulated me and said what a good job I did and how much better I would feel right away without the epidural.
Then they announced that the baby weighed 9 lbs. 2 oz!! WTF?! That really blew me away - not only a natural childbirth in less than 2 hours, but a 9 lb. BUTTERBALL!! Yikes!
I enjoyed holding him, nursing him, learning his APGAR was 8/9 and that he was totally healthy.
I focused on catching my breath and trying to make sense of what had just happened.
It was such a relief to have pregnancy and delivery completely behind me. Very surreal and intense experience.

*Will edit to make complete sentences/paragraphs as time permits.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Adventures in Labor & Delivery

Ugh. I'm so discouraged!

Last night I was so certain I was in labor.  I went to the hospital at 2:30 in the morning with contractions every 7-10 minutes apart.  After monitoring me a while and checking how dilated I was (2 cm), the nurse made me walk the halls for an hour.  The contractions pretty much disappeared after that and no change in dilation.  So we went home at 5:30 am.  What a disappointment!

Labor & Delivery Nurse W/Patient In Labor

Since it's my 3rd, I thought for sure I knew what my body was doing and I was going in at just the right time.  I've never been sent home from the hospital before!  Now, all I need is sleep, but I'm paranoid that I'm going to go into labor in the middle of the night.  Then I'll second-guess everything. 

I think I lost my mucous plug *blech* today though, so labor can't be too far away.  I'm just so damn tired, I don't know how I'll make it through.  I'm so over being pregnant!  I almost wish I could just schedule an induction or a C-section.  This waiting game sucks!!! 

And no - I'm not about to use all kinds of tricks to supposedly start labor: sex, caster oil, spicy food, nipple stimulation... NOTHING!  I'm not about to have painful contractions that ultimately lead to another false labor scare.  The only thing I'm willing to do is walk, bounce on an exercise ball or drink red raspberry leaf tea.  If only my water would break; that's the only sure way to know the baby is going to come no matter what. 

What is just totally shitty is trying to arrange the logistics like a babysitter, getting the oldest chickadee to school, getting the dog out to pee, fed, etc.  I hate that we had the false alarm last night and we're going to have to call on the babysitter again if it happens in the middle of the night again.  I feel so bad.

I certainly hope I can sleep tonight.  I can't deliver a baby with this immense fatigue weighing me down.  SIGH.