Week 2

Tomorrow Henry turns two weeks old in the wee hours. The second week has gone so much better than the first week, but i just hate to make these kind of statements because i figure i'm setting us up for a bad night. I mentioned in my last post that i'm beta testing the trixie tracker to keep track of all of Henry's sleeping, eating, etc. details. At the top of this post you'll find Henry's sleep chart for the past 9 days. Yellow represents awake time and blue represents sleep. There might be some patterns in there, such as he does seem to sleep most of the night most of the time, but the days feel all over the map. I actually feel like i've been getting a really decent amount of sleep most nights-- the key is to go to bed early so that i start the night out with 2 hours of sleep or so before Henry's 11 or 12 o'clock feeding. JT stays up with him if he's fussy until this time, or comes to bed if he's actually asleep.

We went back to Dr. G this week and Henry was switched to a stronger medicine to really wipe out the reflux he has. It seems to be working and is much nicer because a) we only have to give it to him once a day (not in the middle of the night) and b) i believe Henry actually likes how it tastes, so giving him 4 ml of it isn't impossible. Also, at the doctor appointment Henry had grown 1 lb 3 oz in 1 week. We were surprised and the doctor was very happy. He's not quite so shrimpy anymore.

Finally, the gift being inducted into the gift hall of fame this week is the baby sling i was given at one of my showers. Henry is almost always fussy in the afternoons and early evenings and usually when i put him in the sling he quiets down quickly and falls asleep. We've been trying to get out and take a walk with him in the sling every day and so far it's worked like a charm. It took a little bit of doing to get the hang of getting him into it, but now it's my secret fussy combating weapon.  Posted by Hello


Gifts of the Week

Two gifts we received were particularly helpful in helping us manage the first week of parenthood. One is the "baby papasan" chair that we like to refer to as the "baby throne." It looks like your standard baby bouncer all done up in fluffy padding. It also plays music and vibrates but Henry appears to detest these features as much as we do so for us it's just a well-padded chair that allows Henry to sleep without pain from the reflux. We set it in his crib at night and during the day we can bring it out in the living room so he's near us while napping or while we're eating dinner or answering the phone or whatever. It's been a real lifesaver.

The other gift was a blank composition book that was given to me to record the details of Henry's comings and goings, as it were. I brought this to the hospital and was immediately glad i did as the nurses ask you every time they come in when he last ate, had a diaper change, etc. Trying to remember this stuff was impossible just after 3 hours so i started writing it down. JT and i referred to it as the log and recorded all the salient details for the first several days.

Then, i found out i was accepted to beta test trixietracker (trixietracker.com) the on-line baby tracking program being beta-tested by Ben McNeil of the Trixie Update (trixieupdate.com). So now we've got this amazing amount of data that we can easily update and add to with the touch of a button. Everything is beautiful designed and the site generates wonderful charts and graphs that keeps a data nut like me happy. But, if it weren't for my beautiful journal-- i would have missed all those first details!

BTW, i posted new pictures on the yahoo site for those that want to check them out.



Here's Henry's first picture. At two days old this was probably the one time during the day when he had his eyes open. Luckily JT was ready with the camera. If you'd like to view more pictures, please visit our Yahoo Photo Album.

I'll be adding more pictures to the yahoo site as Henry grows so feel free to check back at this link often for picture updates. Soon there will be a link directly to the page on the right hand side of this page. Posted by Hello


Hard intro to parenting

We arrived home from the hospital on Tuesday afternoon around 2 pm. That afternoon was quite blissfull. Henry slept really well in between feedings and we enjoyed being home together without nurses, and cleaning people, and meal delivery, and hospital staff coming in and out of our room. We had a great dinner and in general enjoyed a blissfull first afternoon home with our new family. I think after the 8 pm feeding Henry continued to go right to sleep and sleep until we woke him for the next feeding (which at that point was every 2 hours). After he ate at 10 pm he just never really went back to bed until about 5 am.

The kicker is that he was basically screaming bloody murder for the better part of every hour. It seems you would calm him down, he'd doze off for maybe 10-15 minutes and then he'd be awake again really screaming for the rest of the hour. He sounded like he was really in pain (kind of a high-pitched scream) and nothing really seemed to help him much. This was bad for one night even with JT and i both splitting the shifts, but then it happened again the next night even after he had slept just fine all during the day. Facing down a second night of total all out screaming started to make me unravel a bit. Things look very bleak at 3 in the morning when you've only slept in 45 minute increments for days on end. I was worried we'd never get him to sleep at night and already worrying about how JT would be able to go back to work in another week or so.

That next morning we called the pediatrician and after explaining the situation he asked us to go ahead and come in for an appt that we were able to get that morning. We were so glad that we went. Henry was diagnosed with reflux which is also called spitting up, although in Henry's case he doesn't actually spit up very much. The condition is caused by the poor closure of the valve ring at the upper end of the stomach, and has other symptoms besides actually spitting up including lots of painful gas and causing the baby's cry to sound hoarse because of the fluid coming into the throat from the stomach. Dr. G prescribed a really small dose of gaviscon for Henry 20 minutes after feedings 4 times a day. The even more important thing he recommended was having Henry sleep in a baby recliner instead of flat on his back. This way the fluid would have a better chance of staying down while his stomach worked on digesting.

We tried this new regimen that night and were amazed at how well it worked. I think that night after every feeding he went back to bed pretty easily. I came out of the night tired, but it was the kind of tired that i expected more or less with a newborn. At least i was able to sleep some in between his feedings and i tried to sleep a lot during the day when he was napping or JT was with him. Last night was even better with one episode of fussiness after the midnight feeding, but then an unexpected 4 hour sleep stint that left JT and i both feeling a bit better. I'm still a little on pins and needles that this will keep working and last tonight as well, but so far so good.

Henry Abbott Bloch Born 4.17.05

The wait is over, Henry Abbott Bloch made his arrival at 3:07 am on Sunday the 17th of April. He weighed 6 lbs. 4 oz and came after a very speedy labor and delivery. My 40th week of pregnancy i had been feeling slight menstrual cramping and maybe some very, very mild contractions off and on all week. By Friday the cramping had definitely gotten worse and i thought that it was highly possible i was in early labor. I gave our doula, Pam a heads-up. Then Saturday i woke up and nothing-- just nothing. I decided to clean the garage, weed the little plots in front of our house, and still nothing. So, then i went to a movie, went on a walk with JT, and the two of us went out to dinner at a nice restaurant.

That night at 11:02 pm i was laying in bed and had what i knew was my first contraction. I started timing them, and until about 11:49 they were every nine minutes and okay enough that i was able to stay in bed just timing them and focusing on them. Then, suddenly the next contraction was stronger and i couldn't be laying down anymore. I told JT to get some sleep because i thought this was really it and i went to the guest room. I would lay down in between them and then lean over the desk in the office and breathe through them once the contractions came on. I went ahead and called Pam because they were coming every 4-5 minutes and were stronger than i thought they would be so quickly.

She listened to me breathe through them and said i was doing a great job and it sounded like early labor. She suggested i go ahead and fill the bath as that could be a great way to labor through the contractions as they got stronger. She said the bath might slow things down a bit but that would be okay since it was so early yet. She also said to call when i needed her. After laboring on my own and talking to Pam about an hour had passed and i woke JT up. I filled the tub and by then the contractions were extremely painful and coming unbelievably every minute or minute and a half.

I'm not positive how long i was in there with JT talking me through them but i think around 1:30 i told him to call Pam and tell her i really needed her. I was already starting to think that i might ask for the epidural when i got to the hospital. I knew having contractions a minute apart seemed strange and like fast progress but i just couldn't believe my labor was going this quickly. The 30 minutes it took Pam to get there were the hardest. The contractions hurt very much and it's extremely difficult trying to relax everything in the face of great contracting pain. JT was very helpful in talking me through them, but they were just coming so fast that it was hard to cope. Plus, the whole time i was thinking that i would get to the hospital and would only be dilated to 4 cm or something and have hours more.

Pam arrived around 2 am, talked me through about 2 contractions and decided we needed to get to the hospital and quickly. Getting out of the tub, into some clothes, down the stairs and into the car was almost the hardest part. The minute in-between contractions was just not enough to make much progress on those tasks. I even told Pam i didn't need pants, but thankfully she politely suggested it would be a good idea.

Somehow i got into the back seat of her car and labored on all fours on the crazy ride to the hospital. There wasn't too much traffic but enough that we couldn't just run red lights like i kept telling Pam she needed to do. By this time i was really fighting the urge to push and was so scared we weren't going to make it to the hospital on time.

When we finally did get there i jumped out of the car and banged on the emergency room door and started yelling at them to get me a wheelchair for Labor and Delivery. Just as the nurse brought a wheelchair up a contraction hit and i just instinctively fell on all fours in the ER entryway. The nurse was freaking out, clearly a bit ruffled, saying that i couldn't have the baby there and i would have to get up. As soon as it was over i got into the wheelchair and was just yelling at them to get me up there quickly, quickly, quickly.

They did, wheeled me to a L&D room and told me i had to lie down on my back to get checked. I didn't have a problem with this except that right when they wanted me to do it another contraction hit so i was just yelling "no" at them while i was trying to get through the contraction. This scared the resident out who thought i wanted to have the baby standing up. Finally the contraction was over, i got on the bed and she declared that i was completely dilated and ready to start pushing.

They got the doctor in (the one doctor in my practice i hadn't met) and after breaking my bag of waters we started pushing. I don't know how many it took but everyone told me i did a great job bringing the baby down quickly. At the very end his heart-rate was really decelerating and they turned me on my side in between contractions and gave me an oxygen mask-- then with the next push i brought him out. He was born at 3:07 am after we had arrived at the hospital at 2:45 am.

Obviously a speedy and incredibly intense labor and delivery. Recovery has been a little slow but by the end of the week i'm feeling much better. More to come on experiences from our first week with Henry.


Waiting is the hardest part...

Depending on which doctor you ask, my due date is either today, tomorrow or Monday. I've used tomorrow to base all of my weekly assumptions on since it was the mid-point but have otherwise used Monday as my DD since it gives me the most time.

My last day of work was Friday and now i'm truly in this surreal time when all the plans i make are contingent upon me not going into true labor. All this uncertainty is hard on a girl though-- especially a structured girl like me. I've been having some cramping and very, very mild contractions all week and they seemed to pick up in strength yesterday so we were hoping that was really the start of something-- and it may be but i didn't seem to have any more activity last night and so far this morning nothings happening either. We know we're having a baby soon, it's just nerve-wracking not having a clue whether that means today or Tuesday or Friday. In the meantime i'm trying to stay as busy as possible without tiring myself out which is not an easy balancing act. I sincerely hope that soon i will have more exciting news to share!


Labor Readiness

In your last month of pregnancy, you visit the doctor once a week. Because of my thyroid condition, i also have what's called a Non-Stress Test (NST) once a week where they monitor the baby's heartrate. I've had plenty of chances to be examined and told of my "progress" towards labor.

First a primer in the factors that mark a readiness or entry into early labor-- primarily the baby's position and the state of the cervix. As the baby moves lower into the pelvis different stages are noted -4, -3, -2, -1, 0, +1, etc. The cervix starts to soften up and thin out (efface) and dilate. Now the reason the word "progress" is misleading is some women can start moving through these factors weeks before they actually give birth and some move through them only when they're in active labor. So while all babies have to eventually get to a +3 before they can enter the world, and cervixes have to dilate to 10 cm (for vaginal deliveries at least), there's no guarantee that if you've already started the process you'll have the baby anytime soon.

So, now that that's out of the way, at my 39 week Dr. appt yesterday my doctor told me that there had been "significant change since last week." The baby is now at -1 and i am dilated to 2cm. She seemed to think that because i've been closed up tight, this change in a week was important. She seems confident the baby will come in the next week and we won't have to be induced on the 22nd which is plan B. So we'll see. I admit it would be nice to go ahead and keep making some "progress", but i'm also fairly skeptical. Maybe we should start a pool on when the baby will actually arrive.


39 Weeks

39 weeks, big with child. I'm due in 8 days and would be happy if the baby decided to come a bit sooner. When i went in for my doctor appointment last Monday we talked about when i'd be induced if the baby didn't come on his own. Looks like i'll be able to wait until Friday the 22nd to medically induce, but we're all hoping that i go into labor on my own first.

I have another Doctor appointment tomorrow morning so we'll see if i'm making any "progress" or not. Friday is my last day of work, so i'm definitely wrapping everything up. Posted by Hello


38 Weeks

Holding on here at 38 weeks. I'm referring to this time as the "wider than i am tall" period which happens to us short girls at the end of the pregnancy. I remember noticing it when a few of my fellow short friends were at the end of their pregnancies and now i have most officially hit that period as well.

With two weeks to go, the baby could come at anytime, or not at all (before the 18th). Waiting and not knowing is not particularly easy for me, but really i'm trying to enjoy the time and the current nice weather and the start of baseball season (tonight!) I have doctor appointments tomorrow so we'll see if i'm making any more progress.

Although the baby was quite low at my last appointment i swear he's moved lower because a whole new world of strange aches and pressure have opened up to me. My bag is packed and most of my work projects are transitioned, so now we're just in a wait and see kind of holding pattern. Posted by Hello