Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Post Preggy Body

As I said in my last post, Princess is 3 weeks old. So, my body has had 3 weeks to recover from pregnancy and birth...

...can I just say that I almost feel like a fraud when I say "recover from birth"? My experience was so relaxed and painfree it seems like there should be nothing to recover from. It is only when I go for a walk and develop an ache afterward that I think "Oh yeah, I gave birth the other day! Better take it easy".

As with most things to do with Princess I have been very lucky. When we got home from hospital I was only 4kg over my pre-conception weight, and I've lost 2 of those since. I am not dieting by any means, but I don't seem to have the uncontrollable munchies that other breastfeeding women talk about so the extra weight is gently melting off. If I was to cut out the chocolate, cheese and pate I'm sure I could drop those final kilos easily but a girl needs a reason to get out of bed, right?

I am still in maternity jeans because I can't get into my pre-preggy trousers. They say my hips will have widened to help childbirth... I hope my hips go back into place or I will have to go up a pants size! Or is this a myth and it's a new fat distribution? These trousers have fitted me in the past when I was this weight... I wonder.

My tummy is obviously a bit flabby, but with my bigger hips and boobs it sort of looks ok - it took me a while to get used to a soft tummy again after 6 months of carrying a hard drum around! My tummy muscles are very soft and stretched, but I'm doing a few gentle core and ab exercises every day (when I remember) and I think I feel a little toning happening under the flab. I also do pelvic floor exercises at random times in the day when I think of it, and sneezing is less likely to make me damp myself!

Princess and I go for a walk every few days, but I'd rather be catching up on sleep instead so if she is settled we don't go anywhere. Today I napped. Yesterday she was screaming so we walked around the neighbourhood for an hour. I passed a number of schools as they let out with Princess going "wah... wah... wah... WAH... WAH... WAH... wah... wah...". I felt like handing out birth control pamphlets to all the youngsters!

My lochia (post natal bleeding) pretty much stopped at 2 weeks. I just need panty liners now to catch the smidgen that's still coming. I'll be very happy when I don't need those anymore - pads gross me out. My uterus shrank back very fast apparently - when I was still in hospital they'd prod me and go "wow, that was quick". Excellent.

I still have an episiotomy stitch or two that I can feel when I wash - I assume they will fall out any day now. Everything in that area has healed very nicely. Even in the first couple of days weeing was not a problem, and bowel movements were just fine. Wiping afterward was a problem though! I'd end up squatting in the bath to wash instead, and just gently pat the area dry with toilet paper.

My boobs are not much bigger than when I was pregnant - I seem to be a size D now. I got really hard sore boobs when my milk came in, but since then they're not too bad. Princess doesn't go long enough between feeds for my boobs to get very engorged. I do have leakage - mostly from the boob not in use when feeding - so I'm wearing pads for that. Charming. I love having pads stuck all over my body! Luckily the breast pads have adhesive strips so I can wear them in a vest top at night as I'd hate to have to sleep in a bra.

Weight: 73.5kg
Boobs: 100cm (this varies a lot depending on feeding)
Ribs: 85cm (3 more than pre pregnancy)
Waist: 90cm (3 more than pre pregnancy)
Hips: 102cm (4 more than pre pregnancy)
Thigh: 58cm (same as pre pregnancy)

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Princess Update

Princess is 3 weeks old today.

Wow. It feels like she has been with us so much longer than that!

Average Feeding Cycle: 3-hourly
Average Feeding Time: 45 min including a burp and nappy change in the middle to wake her up again for seconds.
Approximate Weight: 3kg
Average Saffa Chick sleep: 2 hours per night feed cycle, one 1 hour nap during the day. Total: 5 to 7 hours.

In general I'd say Princess is a "good baby". She only cries when she needs something, and mostly sleeps when her needs are met. When she has a sore gassy tummy we have a few rough hours, but that's not constant.

A friend left a comment the other day about how serene we look in the photos I sent out or published. Mmmm, well, I don't exactly take pictures when she's screaming her head off!

She was slipping into a 2-hour feed cycle recently, and I think it was self-perpetuating because she wasn't that hungry so she only ate a small amount before going back to sleep. It could also be that my boobs weren't getting the chance to make enough fatty milk to tide her over a longer period. Yesterday I decided to try to force a 3-hour cycle after Milord left for work. This meant an hour of misery before the first 3 hours was up, but after that she seemed to settle into the timetable just fine! I may be on to something... we slipped a bit in the night but we were mostly on 3 hours, and today I'll aim for 3-hourly feeds as well.

Once we're happy on 3 hours I'll try to nudge us to 3.5 hours, and then hopefully to 4 hours. That would mean 3-hour stretches of sleep for Milord and me... wish me luck!

I'm having a go at expressing milk, but I have to get the timing right or I end up with half-empty boobs and a very cranky baby! Milord fed her 30ml from a bottle the other day and she slurped it in about 30 seconds... no problem taking the bottle then! Then she wanted boob for an hour afterward anyway - I wonder how much she usually takes in a feed? It's a shame you can't measure what they drink in a breastfeed. I'm going to gather as much milk as I can over the week and we'll have another go on the weekend and see if she gets full. I'd like to know that I can have an evening out with the girls and leave enough milk with Milord to keep Princess satisfied.

Oh, one thing we did about a week ago was make casts of Princess' hands and feet. IrishMILF gave me the kit at my baby shower and I knew I had to use it or it'd never get done. Milord and I spent an hour trying to get moulds of her hands and feet in fast-setting rubber without her touching the sides of the containers. It was a lot more difficult than it sounds! We had a few duds and a very nerve-wracking moment when she wouldn't stop screaming long enough to relax so that we could get her hand out of the mould (that's the blurry fist in the photo)!

I've painted them silver now and we'll mount them in a box frame one day soon. We took them on Princess' "due date", the 13th September. Awesome.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Enjoy Your Sleep

I can't tell you how fed up I got hearing people tell me to "enjoy your sleep" during my pregnancy. Especially towards the end when I was so uncomfortable that sleep wasn't that great anyway.

Nearly 3 weeks into motherhood and the lack of sleep is beginning to really take its toll. Princess has gotten over her fussy phase of earlier in the week and is feeding, settling and sleeping like a model child. Except... we're still stuck in a 3-hour cycle, which means I am lucky to snatch 2 hours sleep between feeds at night. I try to nap during the day but it's hard - I want to have a life too! Plus I feel obliged to have the house clean and organised and meals ready on weekdays. On the weekend when I'd feel OK asking Milord to take over the housework he keeps scheduling DIY projects so messy and noisy that I'm not even able to ask him to watch the baby so that I can have some grunt-and-snuffle-free nap time (babies are noisy sleepers).

Last night was a killer. Princess was in a 2-hour feed cycle all night. This means I was getting one hour's sleep every 2 hours, and I only got her settled at 11pm after hours of trying to get her down. Cluster-feeding's a bitch. And then... Milord was snoring fit to shake the windows. He's tired too. I don't care! I gave him the whole of Thursday night "off" by sleeping with the baby in her room so that he didn't get woken for 9 hours, and get repaid by stereo husband and baby noise in my sleeping time. Not. Happy.

I moved into Princess' room and so managed a bit of sleep between feeds. At 6am this morning when Milord brought her to me again I was totally over it. I'd had 3 hours sleep all night. I settled into my chair, put her on the boob, and burst into tears.

Oh. My. God. This is so hard. All I need is a decent stretch of sleep, and I can't get it. I know sleep deprivation is a tried and tested torture device, and sometimes it feels like my baby is torturing me!

Suddenly Milord appeared from the bedroom. I hadn't thought I was making much noise but he'd heard the sniveling and came to check on me. The poor guy would do anything to help, I know, but the downside of breastfeeding is that only I can do it. He made me a cup of tea and kept me company until we went back to bed... and then I couldn't bloody sleep!

Maybe I'll nap this afternoon. Wish me luck that Princess starts sleeping for longer periods soon!

PS. I'm fine Dad, just tired. Don't worry ;-)

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Birth Story - Part 2

My goodness looking after a baby eats up time! Princess has had a couple of very gassy days (normal, apparently) and she has been fussing from one 3-hourly hour-long feed to the next, leaving me with no time to make myself a sandwich, never mind anything else! Milord comes home to a haggard wife who hands him a squalling child and then runs around trying to do stuff in the time between the evening cluster feeds (Princess likes to feed for an hour every 2 hours in the evening)!

Thank heavens Princess is brilliant at feeding lying down, because then at least I can nap during the night feeds. Milord is still doing the nappy changes before the night feeds, which helps too.

Today is going well, however. Princess has been asleep more than she's been awake and I've managed to catch up on a few things. We even went out with the pram to do a little shopping and visit the post office. Princess seems to like her pram and the bumpier the ride the deeper she sleeps! I'll be adding that to my arsenal of settling techniques...

So, back to our birth story -

It was now about 3:30am in the delivery room, and my blood pressure was high. Not dangerously so, but too high to send me home. The midwife told me that my obstetrician would be doing his rounds at 7am and to get some sleep. Milord stretched out on a sleeper couch and I lay in the hospital bed and we tried to rest. I could feel my contractions getting stronger and we attempted to time them - about one every 5 minutes, lasting for 30 seconds, but not particularly painful. After 6am they got less painful and less regular and pretty much faded away...

My doctor breezed in at about 7am. He glanced at my contraction trace, checked my blood pressure, did an internal exam (2cm dilated) and told me that he wanted to induce labour as my body obviously wasn't in the mood and I was now at risk.

Damn. I'd heard horror stories about labour brought on by chemical induction. They say it can be very intense and agonising, more so than normal labour.

"Um. I was wanting an epidural anyway, do you think I could have that first...?"
"Oh excellent, a mum who knows what she wants! That will bring down your blood pressure too."

So at 9am (after his morning swim in the sea) the anaesthetist turned up to give me an epidural. I'll admit - I was terrified. He rattled off the risks and asked me if I wanted to go ahead... and I said yes. So he did. Now, I know I'm a wuss, but having the epidural put in hurt. A lot. I was crying out in pain and gripping Milord's hands so tight that he lost feeling! They say that after a period of labour a woman hardly feels the epidural going in because compared to labour it's nothing... and maybe that's why I've never heard that having one takes ages and hurts. That was a bit of a shock, but I didn't move and it went in ok and then they started the sintocin drip to kick off my labour.

Over the next while my tummy, bum and legs slowly went numb and I lost control of my legs. I could still feel pressure if Milord rubbed my feet, but that was all. Oh, and I got really really itchy - a common side effect of the epidural anaesthetic - which lasted until the epidural stopped 15 hours later! Having an epidural lowers your blood pressure, so they ran a few bags of saline into me to keep it up. This has the stunning effect of making you swell up - I didn't realise just how much until I saw photos later! Gah. Oh, and you have a catheter in your bladder because you can't control that either, and you certainly can't get to a toilet.

At midday my body was in proper labour. I only know this because it showed on the monitor - I couldn't feel a thing! Every hour or so a midwife (we went through 4 shifts) would come in and roll me over (I couldn't move below the waist), empty my urine bag (nice) and check my blood pressure (still high). We got meals at mealtimes (a random selection) and every so often Milord would take a walk to the coffee shop for coffees. We set up the laptop and listened to music and read books and sent text messages to friends and family. It was extemely chilled out, and in the background we could hear the beating of the baby's heart falling and rising with the contractions.

At some point in the late afternoon we were startled to hear the baby's heartrate falter. She wasn't recovering properly after each contraction, and it was decided to stop the induction drip for a while - perhaps the contractions were too strong on the sintocin and my body would do better alone. My body had other ideas, and while the contractions continued they weren't nearly as strong as they needed to be and I was only at 4cm dilated.

"You'd better start getting used to the idea of a c-section if nothing improves."

Shit. DO. NOT. WANT. This was turning into a classic cascade of intervention. But it was too late now, right? They told me that by the next morning we'd know one way or the other, fed us a random dinner and turned out the lights.

During the night they started the sintocin drip again as the baby was ok (I was at 5cm at 8pm), and I watched the numbers on the monitors glow in the dark while Milord snored softly on the other side of the room. Contraction numbers would rise and the baby heartrate would fall, then the contraction would fall and the baby heartrate would race then settle. Come on body. Hang in there baby. I'm doing everything I can to get you out safely!

At 10pm I was suddenly aware of a change in my contractions. I could feel them for the first time, and it was like a wave pushing down my body and I felt like I should be pushing with it. I called a midwife and told her, but she said it was just my body finally getting with the program and we had a long way to go. She gave me a topup of anaesthetic as I was getting uncomfortable, and slipped away again. An hour later, at about 11pm, she came back and did an internal exam to see how dilated I was.

"I can't actually tell how dilated you are, because your baby's head is in the way! She's on her way out - let's have a go at pushing!"

Suddenly all the lights were on, Milord had folded his bed away and was bracing one of my legs, the midwife was bracing the other, and I was gripping under my thighs and pushing with the contractions until I saw spots and had to gasp for breath. I could feel enough of the contraction to know when to push, and I had no trouble with my pushing muscles. I could feel the baby moving along with the pushes - like the biggest poo imaginable! We got the baby to where she was crowning, and then we stopped and waited for the obstetrician who was there shortly.

Now my obstetrician had my right leg braced and Milord had my left leg braced, while the midwife handled everything else. When I felt a contraction I'd warn everyone and then push like crazy. That's as far as I was aware of things, but Milord had a ringside view so I'll tell you what he told me...

The baby was crowning and the obstetrician was lubing around the opening to help her come through. We were taking it slow to let me stretch. Suddenly the baby's heartbeat went quiet, even though Milord could see where the monitor was still firmly attached to her scalp. The obstetrician reached in and found the cord around her neck. He tried to pull it over her head but it snapped back. He tried again. And again. Then he picked up a pair of scissors and cut my perineum - only the scissors were blunt and nothing happened! He grabbed another pair, cut me, (by this time Milord was sitting on the floor so we're not sure of the sequence of events) cut/released the cord and pulled the baby out.

Princess was delivered warm and slimy onto my chest. The midwife was towelling her roughly saying "Come on, cry for me" and then she did and I fell in love in a way that cannot be described. By this time Milord was back on his feet and we were beside ourselves in wonder.

It was 00:25 on the 1st September 2009. The first day of Spring in the Southern hemisphere.

- that's our birth story! I will discuss how my hospital bag list panned out shortly, post pictures of Princess growing like a weed, and be blogging my post-pregnancy body recovery... when the baby lets me, that is!

Monday, 14 September 2009

Birth Story

Monday here. Milord has gone back to work today - I'm sure he'd rather still be here in the baby cocoon! I had every intention of spending today in bed after a couple of shocking nights over the weekend (and visitors during the day which meant I couldn't nap), but we had a good night last night and I feel ok now although I might nap later. I have spent the past couple of hours with birth registration paperwork, paying doctor's bills and filling in forms to claim the Aussie baby bonus (woohoo). Princess has been asleep next to me in her pram and is just starting to stir for her next feed.

Right, time to blog the story of Princess' arrival! This is going to be long, go make a coffee.

I finished work on the last Friday of August at 38 weeks pregnant. Princess was due to arrive on the 13th September so I would have 2 weeks to relax, stock the freezer and sleep as much as possible. I was extremely uncomfortable, everything was exhausting and my belly got in the way of anything I wanted to do. I was thrilled to have finished working, as I was struggling to manage a 6 hour day.

On the last Saturday in August I hit the supermarket for supplies, wrestling a full trolley around the place. I'm sure every expectant Mum feels the same way, but I had a feeling my baby night arrive early and I wanted to be prepared. Milord spent the day finishing off painting walls inside the house. We were both shattered afterwards! That night I cooked 4 lasagnes and froze 3.

On the last Sunday in August I had my baby shower. Ruralchick organised about 10 girls to meet up at a winebar overlooking the water for Afternoon Tea. I got spoiled with lots of lovely little gifts, sipped tea and ate cake in the sunshine. It was a lovely afternoon. In the evening we went to a friend's for dinner. She is a midwife, and as I came through the door she took one look at my belly and said "You've got weeks to go! The baby hasn't even started dropping yet!". Considering that my obstetrician had told me just a few days prior that the baby was 2/5 dropped I didn't take this too seriously, but I was ok with the idea of the baby taking her time to arrive.

We got home after 10 and I couldn't sleep as the baby was very restless and I read my book until nearly midnight before finally dropping off.

At 1:15 am on Monday 31st August I woke up with a strange sensation between my legs... a sort of warm dribbling. I moved and the dribble became a gush! I leapt from the bed and raced to the bathroom where I sat on the loo continuing to leak. Obviously my waters had broken!!!

Huh. Wow. Ok. Here we go then. what?

I had no contractions. I was clearly many hours from proper labour, maybe I should try to sneak back into bed for some more sleep. The only problem was that whenever I moved I got another trickle of water down my legs! I eventually stuffed a handtowel between my legs and shuffled awkwardly back to the bedroom. Milord was asleep and I gently began patting my side of the bed to see how wet it was. Suddenly Milord woke and stared at me in confusion.

"What the hell are you up to?!"
"Uh... my waters have broken."

He sprang from the bed in a panic. The only thing we could remember from our antenatal classes was that we should call the labour ward to give them a heads up, so he found the number and called while I mopped up the bed and started finding the outstanding items for our hospital bag. Luckily we had a printed list to work from, as we were both pretty rattled! Milord spoke to a lovely midwife at the hospital, who said that as I had the Group B Strep infection I needed to come in for antibiotics, but they'd probably send us home again until labour was fully established, which could take over 24 hours.

Milord was all for galloping to the hospital in the previous day's clothes and without the hospital bag, but I argued him into a shower and clean clothes, and got him to throw a change of clothing into the fully packed bag just in case, which we put into the boot of the car. At 2:30am we sedately drove 20 mins to the hospital.

At the hospital we were greeted by the same cheerful midwife we'd spoken to on the phone, and she ushered us into a delivery room. She strapped a couple of monitors to my belly and gave me an antibiotic pill. On the monitor we could see the occasional contraction which I was starting to feel as a vague period pain, and we could see the baby's heartbeat which was a good 145bpm. She stated that my labour was a long way off and that she would be sending us home, and then took my blood pressure. "Ooooh. That's high. Stay there for a bit and I'll take it again in half an hour."

...and I didn't leave that room for the next 24 hours!

- Princess is having a very gassy day. I have had my hands full all afternoon and I don't think I'll get to finish this today, so... To Be Continued -

Thursday, 10 September 2009

All Good

Hey everyone...

We are all very well, I just find that when I have a spare 5 minutes where I don't want to fold laundry or make a meal that a nap takes priority over blogging or even reading blogs! I haven't quite got the hang of feeding Princess one-handed in front of the PC without getting amazing backache either, so we are stretched out in the breastfeeding chair for that instead. I am (re-re-re-)watching Season One of Buffy the Vampire Slayer through the night - OMG how 90's is that show? I love it.

Princess is thriving - she's already made it back to just past her birth weight at 10 days old. That would be good going for a normal sized baby, but for an undersized one we're doing fabulously! She's feeding superbly and still hasn't hurt mummy's boobies so that's just brilliant. I wish the feeding cycles were longer - we don't go past 3 hours yet, and sometimes we're stuck at 1 hour for half the day/night - but as she and her tummy get bigger that will come.

Milord is my rock. He's taken 2 weeks off and has made it his job to get up to Princess when she calls and change her nappy while I prise my eyes open, visit the bathroom and settle myself in the chair, where he delivers Princess before heading back to bed. He's been doing jobs around the house during the day... DIY, not the cooking or cleaning but I have a handle on those at the moment and I know he'll step up when the time comes. He's loving being a Dad - he's already completely wrapped around that tiny finger! ( am I)

I'm doing great - I feel better than I have in yonks in spite of being tired. New-mummyhood beats pregnancy any day! Geez I hated being pregnant, and I wasn't even ill with it.

I'll blog the birth tale soon. Princess' arrival got surprisingly complicated and we missed having a C-section by a whisker. I'll tell you all the gory bits soon.

Monday, 7 September 2009


It is 7am and I saw the sun rise as I fed Princess for the 4th or 5th time of the night... oddly enough I don't mind waking to feed her although in my pre-mummy life waking me was never a good thing! I will be off back to bed in a minute, but here's a very quick update on this, Princess' 6th day of life:

We are doing extremely well. She generally sleeps unless she is dirty or hungry, and she's feeding about every 3 to 4 hours. Except when she feeds every hour of course! I am one of the lucky women out there whose baby took to breastfeeding like a duck to water - painlessly and with no fuss within an hour of birth! My nipples are fine and I thoroughly enjoy the experience.

Apart from a little discomfort from the episiotomy stitches (sneezing BAD!) I feel brilliant. Better than I did just over a week ago at 8.5 months pregnant, certainly. I'm tired of course, but it's a happy tired, like jetlag on the best trip ever.

Ok, a couple of photos, and then I must go get some sleep (I've been averaging 3 hours sleep a day since my labour started!).

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Introducing: Princess

It seems my baby girl could not wait two weeks to join our family! [Princess] Grace Elizabeth Black@dder was born at 00:25 this morning, the 1st September. She weighs 2.45kg (5lb 6oz). Small but perfectly formed!

Details to follow when I'm not quite so tired ;-)