Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Updates from a sleepy mom

**Please excuse any typos, grammatical/spelling errors...and any strands of thought that don't necessarily fit the writing flow...I'm in a permanent drowsy state.  Kind of like taking Benadryl...all the time :)

We don't have any big news...I just wanted to update so that I didn't end up writing a novella in a few weeks :)

I had another "Mama first".  I felt like one of Carter's collarbones was poking out more than the other one.  I know...it sounds like something every new mom thinks....new moms and fourth graders who want to go to the nurse.  But I really felt like the bone felt strange.  And for the record...Mama and Steven thought that it was different too.  I called the pediatrician.  I've blogged before about the way I don't really go to the doctor.  I hardly ever call the doctor for anything...but this is my baby boy.  So...I called.  My sweet pediatrician said that his bone wasn't broken...it WAS poking out, but it was a "normal variation".  She made me feel like I was a great mom for calling...instead of a silly, over-reactive one.  It made me feel good that I didn't just make up the bone variation...and even better that it was normal and Carter was okay.  In other good news...Carter weighed 8 lb 7.5 oz on Friday...YAY!  He really doesn't eat as often or as long as is generally recommended, but I guess he is quite efficient because he is definitely growing!  I am still so grateful that we are able to nurse...and that he is growing well!

I also went back to Dr. Lattimore on Thursday...he said I was back to being his healthiest patient. :) I'll go back for my six week appointment...but he said I was really improving.  I can really tell that things are getting better every day.  I'm working on gradually building up strength instead of trying to do it all at once.  That, I think, is the hardest challenge.  Having Steven and Mama each spend a week helping me..and letting me take naps made a huge difference in my healing...they were HUGE blessings.

Carter went to church for the first time this week.  We sat near the back...and on the edge just in case...but he slept like a charm.  He really is the sweetest baby.

Carter on his first Sunday at church

Castillo family :)

So the one question everyone is asking, from my blog to the grocery store, is, "How is Carter sleeping?"  Well...he's sleeps like any 19 day old, I think.  A lot.  I am really grateful.  He isn't fussy.  He cries when something is wrong until we fix it.  Then he stops.  That is really great.  Except when we can't figure out what's wrong.  Then he gets seriously ticked off.  Right now, he basically sleeps...and wakes up every 3 hours to eat...which takes him anywhere from 30 mins to an hour, with the burping and changing and spitting up, lol.  Then he sleeps again.  Usually once or twice a day, he has an awake period where he may stay awake for a half hour to an hour after eating.  He looks around, gets really big eyes...and throws his arms and legs around.  He also continues to make the funniest faces!  At night, he is sleeping for about a five hour stretch...and then fusses for about 3 before switching back to normal morning schedule.  The three hours of fussing are confusing to me.  They always come at the same time (except last night, of course), and I have no idea what he wants.

He definitely isn't hungry...he's swaddled...he's clean...he's been burped until he can't stand it anymore....and he doesn't even really want to be held.  Finally, I gave him the pacifier...and that settled him.  So I happily went to bed.  And got up again in 10 minutes to put the pacifier back in his mouth.  Repeat for three hours until it's time to eat again.  We've moved him back into the pack'n'play in our room so that at least I can just pop it back in his mouth without getting up, but it is still not our favorite time of day.  I don't know...ideas?  (Even if I've tried them, it can't hurt you to tell me! :))

Lists are a little easier when you don't have time to form good thoughts and weave them into each other as your write.

10 Observations

  1. Husbands are the very best people in the whole wide world after you have a baby.  If you have a good one like me....it can totally make or break the recovery period.
  2. Mamas are the very best people in the whole wide world after you have a baby.  If you have a good one like me....it can totally make or break the recovery period.
  3. Babies only do two things more than sleep.  Spit up...and steal your heart.  I like the way it feels when my hearts is getting stolen.  I like spit up considerably less.
  4. Baby faces are addicting to watch.  And people who are watching them make similar, funny faces which can also be addicting to watch.
  5. I love the Moby wrap.  Well..I technically don't have a Moby wrap...I made a counterfeit one...but I really like it.  Carter likes it...at about a 7 on a scale from 1 to 10.  It's really a pretty warm situation...so I think we'll both like it more when the weather is cooler. 
  6. Talking on the phone is almost impossible in the first weeks after a baby.  The chances of someone calling when you are not feeding (I'm sure I'll be coordinated enough to feed Carter and hold the phone at the same time one day...but today is not that day!), sleeping, or trying to do "one quick thing"....slim to none.  New moms can return text messages, e-mails, facebook posts...but phone calls...just too hard!
  7. There is a really awkward phase when regular clothes don't fit and maternity clothes are too big when you are first pregnant.  I forgot that you have to repeat the awkward phase in reverse after delivery.  It's a pretty dumb phase whose only friend is speed.
  8. Carter's umbilical cord fell off.  Mama thought it was a button.  We threw it away...and then his pediatrician took out the remaining "gunkiness" when she was looking at the bone that wasn't broken.  I am glad to bid that sucker farewell...and embrace the good, cleansing tub bath.  Carter still hates nakedness...but likes the warmth of a tub bath over the sponge variety.
  9. Greg and Morgan got to visit Carter this past weekend from Tennessee.  Carter was also able to see Rique and Sarah that same weekend.  He really loves all the holding he gets when they are around...and I think they liked the holding business as well.  
  10. Being a mama is my favorite thing I've ever done.  Some things are instinctive...others aren't.  Some things are easy...others aren't.  Some things make you hold your breath...others make you smile.  All of it is good.  All of it is a blessing.  All of it makes up a new part of who I am.
I'm a happy woman.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The rest of the story...

When we were little, Mama would always stay in the car running "on zero miles per gallon" to listen to the end of any Paul Harvey story.  At the beginning of the segment, he would always say, "You know what the news is, in a minute, you're going to hear ... the rest of the story."  You, friends, know the full story of our pregnancy, and I think you've all figured out the end result...so...

Here's the rest of the story...

(PS: This blog is long..and about birth.  Feel free to pick and choose and skim as you please.  That is your reward for being a good reader.)

Steven and I spent the rest of Wednesday before last walking...trying to get my labor going on my own...and then resting because that tired me out, lol.  We went to small group, went to bed...nothing.  I mean...literally nothing.  I couldn't sleep, as much as I tried.  At all.  What a great way to spend the last night of full sleep I would get, lol.  Oh well!  We got up around 3:30, showered, packed and were at the hospital at 5 am in line behind another girl who looked pretty ticked to be having a baby that day.  Steven and I, on the other hand, looked like a couple of teenage girls about to meet Justin Beiber and the entire Twilight cast in one day.  They checked us into our room and got all the IV's started.  Pitocin to get labor going, fluids to keep me hydrated, and two monitors for Carter's heartbeat and my contractions.  I was having some contractions on my own when we started all this, but nothing that would have led to real labor in the near future...and nothing that really hurt at all.  Then we just waited.  Steven surfed through all the cable since we don't have any at home...I watched contractions on the screen.  The screen showed all the contractions from the wing...so I watched mine (which I couldn't feel) and also stalked about 9 other births.  It made me feel a little like a creeper, but...it was boring!  They checked around 7 and I was a five.  Finally, around 9 or so, I started really feeling pain...in my back.  I wasn't even sure it was contractions because they didn't come in waves...and didn't feel like anything contracting.  It just felt like constant, piercing pain in my back.  The worse it got, the more I knew I would want an epidural.  By the time I had gone through the necessary liquid IV and the epidural had been placed, they checked me and I was at a ten at 10 am.  Ready to push!  Except not.  When they checked, they said that my cervix was still really posterior.  Dr. Lattimore wanted me to try to just let my body contract and see if the contractions would push it forward.  So I waited.  With an epidural, that really wasn't bad.  They turned off the Pitocin because my body was more than compensating at this point....by 12:30, we got the okay to start pushing.  I pushed and pushed, but because Carter was posterior (facing up) and my cervix was still posterior...and because he was and 8 lb 1 oz baby...and I'm on the smaller side...we weren't making much progress.  Steven was exactly what I needed in this time.  He acted like everything was going perfectly…and kept me focused on what I needed to do.  He smiled, didn’t look the least bit concerned (even though he could tell things were getting serious) and helped me labor.  Dr. Lattimore ended up doing an episiotomy and vacuuming little Carter into the world after 3 hours of pushing.  I've never been so glad to see a baby in my life!  I’m not a cryer…but tears came in a way I haven’t cried before.  Tears of joy, relief, excitement, and exhaustion.  I had hoped to hold Carter immediately...but he had gotten merconium in his lungs sometime in the labor process and needed respiratory.  I also had a lot of repair work going on...Carter was too big…and in the wrong position…so he tore parts of my uterine wall and birth canal causing hemorrhaging…which was a problem that needed solving before I could hold Carter.  It ended up being almost 45 minutes before I got to cuddle with my sweet boy.  He was 8 lbs, 1 oz and 20 ½ inches of perfect goodness.  His hair was dark, his eyes open and grayish blue, and his skin olive.  It was so, so good.  He was ours!  Steven and I were the happiest we’ve ever been.  We held our sweet baby that we’d dreamed about, prayed over, hoped for…and then invited and shared our greatest little joy with our parents and siblings.  I’ve never seen Steven’s face the way it was in that moment.  It was the happiest, proudest, most fulfilled look…I’ll always treasure that look as a reminder about the way he feels about us.

     After about another hour, they got us ready to move to the recovery area where we would stay the rest of our visit.  As they got ready to move me and the epidural and adrenaline had more of a chance to start wearing off, I started noticing how tired and uncomfortable I’d felt.  I knew it was normal…but that didn’t change the way I felt.  When I got settled, nurses started pouring in…showing me a million different things I needed to do to take care of all the work they’d done on me…checking me and exclaiming on how sorry they felt for me (seriously, it wasn’t a shining moment of sanity for them…that totally freaked me out), and checking on Carter.  Then, they realized that things weren’t really going to work correctly because of swelling and organ displacement, so they inserted a catheter.  Finally, all the nurses left, our parents took a break for supper, and I totally and completely lost it.  I was tired, in pain, medicated, overwhelmed, emotional, hormonal…it was the perfect storm.  Steven never missed a beat.  If I would have seen me, I would not have known what in the world to do to make things better.  Steven asked the nurses to come back and write down everything they’d told me to do.  He re-explained all the medicines to me and when I needed to make sure they were bringing them to me.  He basically carried me to the bathroom over and over….and took care of Carter’s first diaper, holding him when he cried, talking to the nurses when they came in…and acted like I was totally normal instead of an unstable, unsightly woman.  That was absolutely my ugliest, barest, and most vulnerable moment of my life…and Steven looked at me in the middle and said, “Teri Lee, I have never loved you the way I love you right now.”…and on with some mushy stuff that just for us but that made me feel like the most treasured wife in history J  In turn, I have never felt so much respect and love for another human being as I felt for him.  That day changed our marriage forever.  Marriage bonded us in way that brought us together for life.  Bringing Carter into this world added something to that bond I haven’t been able to define yet…but I know it’s good.

     Carter and I got to cuddle some more…tried to breastfeed…but he was NOT having that.  So we finally transitioned to our first night.  The night that we didn’t sleep at all because we were watching to make sure he was breathing, cleaning up his mucus spit up, staring at his funny faces, feeling his soft, little hands and feet…and taking medicine.  The next day, I still literally felt like I had been hit by a train repeatedly…and Carter was still not eating.  At 3:30…the 24 hour mark, they told us we needed to start supplementing with formula.  I know this isn’t the end of the world…but it seemed like nothing was going well.  The devil temporarily distracted me from the fact that I had a beautiful, healthy baby boy…an unbelievable, supportive husband, and a family and community willing to do whatever we needed to help us.  All I could see was this long recovery I had in front of me…and a little boy that just wouldn’t eat.  So began the syringe feeding.  In an effort to not give Carter a bottle and ruin him on breastfeeding for life (or so they said J ) we put formula in this little syringe and laid the syringe on our finger.  When he sucked on our finger, formula came out of the syringe.  Sounds easy.  In reality, Steven and I loathe the day we ever saw that ridiculous thing.  I know it helped us in the long run, but after that, we started every feeding (every 3 hours) with me trying unsuccessfully trying to get him to breastfeed, and Steven syringe feeding while I pumped.  Blugh!  The whole process took up to 2 hours on average…so we would start it all over again an hour after finishing.  That made the rest of the hospital visit and our first days at home totally exhausting.  They let us go home on Saturday…by then, even though we were still in pretty much the same condition, the Lord had taken my lack of faith and thankfulness and filled me with His Spirit.  I felt the care of the people around us…and the extreme grace that had been extended to us in giving us a healthy, beautiful son.  We didn’t do anything to deserve these things…it was a gift from God…and I felt that fully as we brought home sweet Carter.

     In the days that followed, breastfeeding totally stalled out.  Carter was so mad about it, he wouldn’t even try.  Steven stayed up through the night with me, helping with that forsaken syringe….sitting with me while I pumped so we’d have something to put in the syringe, and helped clean up the spit up that the formula caused.  During the day, he kept the house picked up…because he knows that clutter truly messes with my sense of balance…was okay with the fact that I spontaneously cry while explaining that I was fine…just at a loss of tear control.  He didn’t act like it was strange, but just acted like he totally understood….which I know he didn’t.  J  On Tuesday, we went to the pediatrician…Carter weighed 7 lb 8.5 oz.  I knew he was going to weigh less…but it hurt my heart so badly…the syringe was NOT cutting it.  The pediatrician wasn’t terribly worried…but did want to reweigh him the next Monday.  That afternoon we visited the lactation consultant.  She was AMAZING.  She had Carter eating in a matter of minutes…and he hasn’t stopped since.  (PS: We went back to the pediatrician yesterday…and he weighed 7 lb, 15.5 oz…just an oz and a half from birth weight..perfect!)

     Since coming home, our small group and family have filled our refrigerator…making it possible for Steven and I to focus on Carter and each other.  I am convinced that one way the Lord is healing me is by having this care from those around us so that I can rest and recover.  We were also so thankful that everyone honored our wishes and waited to visit until we were settled.  Can you even imagine visitors in the midst of all that chaos in the paragraphs above?  Carter has loved meeting all these new faces…including his Great Grandpa, Great Aunt, and Great Grandma who traveled to meet him.  He’s looking forward to meeting all the friends and family that have yet to cuddle with him…I can just tell these things…I’m his mama J 

     If you’re still reading…which would be quite impressive…there are a few things we still need prayer about. 

§         Some of my stitches are infected beneath the surface…I’m taking an antibiotic.  Please pray they clear up and heal correctly. 
§         I have, in an effort to have the weirdest recovery ever, broken out in hives on my legs.  It’s not that big of a deal…but I’d really like to not have them. 
§         Please pray for Carter’s continued success with breastfeeding and gaining weight. 
§         Steven and I in an emotional marital high.  Please pray that we will continue to seek Christ and each other first in our marriage as we travel further into parenthood.  Pray we will be filled with wisdom beyond our years as we seek to guide and protect our son. 

And I’ll leave you with a final list:

Things I’ve learned in the past 11 days:
§        God’s undeserved favor can look like an easy delivery…or a husband’s heart and help in your pain afterward. 
§        It doesn’t take a village to raise a child…but it sure makes it a better, more wonderful experience.
§        Just like God multiplies loaves and fishes…He can also multiply hours of sleep.  I can make it on SO much less than I could…however, He also provides Mamas and husbands to give you time for naps so that your body can heal the way it should.  Both are good provisions.
§         Carter hates to be naked.  This includes but is not limited to sponge baths, diaper changes, and clothing changes.  He lets this be known by crying until he makes himself spit up…which usually just extends the time he has to be naked due to clean-up.
§         Newborns can make the neatest faces.  Carter has so many faces that sometimes Steven and I just watch him.
§         Your husband’s face in your baby is about the most handsome thing you’ll ever see.
§         Not being allowed to lift anything over ten pounds is really limiting.  Everything weighs more than that.  Except Carter…which is a really great thing.
§         Cuddling with a newborn is easily the best thing in this world.
§         The smell of Johnson and Johnson shampoo and lotion is addictive and makes me want to just eat Carter up with a spoon.
§         Parents are incredible people.  They get even better when they become grandparents.  They same is true of grandparents becoming great grandparents.
§         If you don’t have time to blog about big events…it makes more an unforgivably long blog.

     This begins a new chapter in the blog.  Now ends the story of pregnancy and begins the story of the Castillo Party of Four: a dog that needs more attention, a daddy that loves his wife and little boy, a mama who can’t stop staring all this love in the face, and a sweet baby boy just entering into this adventure of life.

And that, my friends, is the rest of the story.

Good day.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Eviction Notice: Served

40 weeks

     Well, Carter seems to have gotten the hint!  Today, Dr. Lattimore said that I was between 3-4 cm, 80% effaced, and at around a -1 station.  He thought, from the contractions he felt and the things that he saw during the examination, that I was in early labor!  If not, he predicted I would be tonight!  Even if that doesn't happen, he is going to go ahead and induce me tomorrow morning.  So...one way or another, we will have a little boy sometime tomorrow!  Steven and I are beyond excited...bordering giddy.  It's such a mental game to think for so long that he "might be coming" every day...and then transfer, in a matter of minutes, to "he's coming IN THE NEXT 24ish HOURS!  Dr. Lattimore said the induction, if necessary, should be no big deal since I am already so close.  He said it would probably just be a nudge in the right direction :)  Steven and I are praying that I will naturally go into labor on my own today or tonight so that no induction is necessary at all..please pray with us that that will be the case!  One wonderful thing about blogging this journey is that I have felt the prayers of so many that would have not necessarily been privvy to all these details had I not written.  I have been blessed by them...and I ask that you would continue to wrap Carter, Steven, and me in prayer as we go through the next day of bringing Carter into the world!
     So...now my mind is racing, thinking of all the things I need to double-check and do before he's here.  I think it's all pretty much done....I'll probably run an extra load of laundry, make sure everything is picked up...and maybe take another walk to see if I can't spur this on a bit.  I'm going to try to rest...I have no idea how.  But one way or another...Carter is coming...and I CAN'T wait to hold him in my arms.
     Next time I blog...it will be about my new family.  A daddy, mama, baby boy and, of course, fearless pup.