Friday, July 2, 2010

Formula = Failure? I dont think so...

Throughout my pregnancy, I was adamant that I wanted to breastfeed, that I was going to give it the biggest effort that I could muster.  I didn't want to formula feed again, because I felt with Gaby, that I missed out on something special, by not breastfeeding - plus I could do without the costs that formula feeding entails.

While I was in hospital, I really gave it my all - I was so determined to 'learn' how to breastfeed, if it was the last thing I did.  I saw the lactation consultant in the hospital, I spoke to the midwives for pointers & to see if they had any wisdom for me.  We were sometimes able to latch by ourselves, and sometimes Emersyn would have a decent feed, but the other half of the time we couldn't latch, and  both of us would end up in tears - until the midwife came & helped us to latch on.  I felt somewhat confident, on the morning we left, that  I could do it - that I could go home & breastfeed my baby. 

I managed two feeds, before the latching problem became too much for me.  Emersyn was feeding for 3 minutes at a time, and was constantly grizzly - I knew she wasn't getting enough, but hoped that somehow it'd all just mesh & we would be fine.  That didn't come to fruition however... Sunday night, I spent 5 hours crying, Emersyn spent 5 hours crying - while we tried to latch in different positions, I tried my best to stay relaxed, but it just wasn't working.... at midnight I bundled the kids up in the car & we drove to the nearest 24 hour supermarket to get bottles... and formula...

I cried while driving to the supermarket (perhaps not the safest time to drive), I cried while walking through the supermarket, I cried on the way home.... I bawled as I made up the first bottle of formula, and bawled even harder, as Emersyn suckled away ravenously on the bottle, making up for the feeds she had missed out on.  After her first bottle, Emersyn went straight to sleep - exhausted from hours of crying, and I hopped in bed - then cried as I went to sleep, because I felt like such a failure....  I'd made it clear to everyone that I was GOING to breastfeed, and that formula feeding wasn't an option, yet only 4-5 days after her birth, there I was - making up formula again.

The next day I confessed to my Mum, who was very supportive - of anyone she knew how badly I wanted to breastfeed, and how hard I had tried... I felt a little better when she told me that formula feeding didn't make me a failure, but at the same time, I knew that she was saying that because she was my Mum - and she's not the type of parent who would call her daughter a failure.  I had the midwife later that afternoon, and knew for sure that I would get a 'telling off' from her - but was amazed when she told me that formula feeding wasn't a sign of weakness, it wasn't a sign that I was a failure, or a bad parent, or that I gave up too easily - and that the most important thing was that Emersyn was being fed.  Full stop.  We spoke a little about my issues (which were the same I had with Gaby), and about how I was feeling about formula feeding - and she reassured me over and over, that it was okay, that YES, breast is best - but in reality it doesn't work for everyone.

In a text message to my Mum, I told her that since I had started formula feeding, I was happier, and Emersyn was happier - which led to Gaby being happier, and that was the main thing... and it formed my new parenting mantra...

... and at the end of the day, I do believe that is what is most important... I was so tense and nervous while breastfeeding, and anxious about breastfeeding, that it was preventing me from making the most of the early days of my daughters life - as had happened with Gaby, and I decided that I would sooner be able to take it all in, and have a relaxed, happy, calm atmosphere at home, than to have that anxiety, stress & tension, cause a horrible home environment.

Am I upset that I couldn't breastfeed?  Yes.
But am I happy, is Emersyn happy, is Gaby happy?  Yes....
and the latter is what is *the* most important thing to me.  So am I a failure?  No.  I don't think so.  I'm doing what *I* know is best for *my* family... my daughter still has somewhere warm to sleep, she gets lots of love & cuddles, she is regularly fed - and is thriving, so surely, as a parent - I am doing something right...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ovaries doing there thing.. but nowhere for the egg to go!

I realised today that I am having (or about to have) my first post partum ovulation - my first thought was "well I don't need to worry - because I'm single there is no way I can get pregnant!", then it dawned on me... I HAD A TUBAL LIGATION - there really IS no way for me to get pregnant now (well, technically!).  I feel strange knowing that I won't be pregnant again, that that part of my life is over... never again will I get a BFP, or have a first glimpse of my baby, or find out the sex, or complain about pregnancy-related heartburn, or cry when I hear my baby cry for the first time.

I don't feel sad about it, I don't regret it - but it does feel weird.  Might sound strange, but I feel a little more relaxed, knowing that I technically shouldn't be able to get pregnant now.  I have had such bad luck with birth control in the past - that I never really felt safe with ANY of the forms of BC I used.  But this time, with all pathways to the uterus being cut, I feel pretty certain that there will be no more unplanned - or planned, pregnancies for me!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Life with a baby in the house

Life with a baby in the house has taken a little while to get used to!!!!  I didn't realise how settled into our own routine, Gaby & I were - and then Miss Emersyn came home and it allllll got tossed up in the air & mooshed around... that said, it only took a couple of days for me to get back into the newborn swing of things - feeding, changing nappies, keeping on top of housework, going to bed 2 hours earlier than normal at night to catch up on some sleep.  It's kind of like I never stopped!

The only difference has been adapting to life with a newborn & a 3 1/2yo....  For the most part, I think we are doing well, but I do feel that I'm somewhat 'neglecting' Gaby - not in the not feeding, not cleaning, not caring what she does sense, but in the affection sense.  It seems everyday I plan to make time *just* for Gaby, where we can do something together, and I can devote all my attention to her, but once the baby is in bed, there is washing to be folded, dishes to be done, jobs jobs and more jobs - and next thing I know it's time for Gaby to go to bed.  Gaby doesn't seem to be displaying signs of feeling left out, or feeling like she's not getting enough love, but *I* am aware of it.  I guess once Emersyn is a little older, my parents will be able to take her for an hour or two, and we can REALLY concentrate on having Mummy & Gaby time.

Gaby is adapting really well to having a little sister!  I doubt she could love her anymore than she does - as soon as Emery-Boo wakes up, Gaby is right by her side & doesn't leave until she's back in bed... she is always wanting to touch her, hold her, cuddle her, kiss her - it is so heartwarming, and makes all the dramas of the past 9 months, seem totally worth it.  Because I'm bottle feeding Emersyn now, Gaby is able to help out with that - and I think that has helped her feel 'important' - but has also helped her start to bond more with Emersyn.  I think that in a few weeks time, when Emersyn is taking more in, and actually staying awake for longer than it takes to give her a feed & change her nappy, the two of them will really start to interact.  I can't wait!

Emersyn's father was down for 6 days this week, so he could meet his little girl & spend some time with her... he was very much the doting father, and whenever he was holding her (which was most of the time), he couldn't take his eyes off her.  When he had to leave on Friday, he cried - which I thought was really sweet, and is a nice change from Gaby's father, who has never really seemed terribly fussed about spending time with her, or not.  At this point, he is going to try and get down every 6 weeks for a weekend - hopefully he is able to manage that, it will be beneficial for him, and for Emersyn... no matter how *I* feel about him, I still want him to be an active part of her life, and someone she knows that she can rely on.  On Friday Emersyn met her Nana, and she seemed very smitten as well!  It's nice to know that even though me & Jason aren't together, that his family can look past it, and be happy to see me, and excited about seeing Emersyn & spending time with her.  Her Nana lives down here, so hopefully she will be a somewhat regular feature in Emersyn's life.

Here are a few recent pictures of little miss Emmy

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The arrival of Emersyn Lily-May!

ednesday 16th June, at 7am I arrived at the hospital for my elective repeat cesarean. I was taken up to the birthing suite, where they monitored Emersyn's heartbeat for a couple of minutes, and the midwife who was looking after me did some paperwork. I met with the obstetrician who would be performing my cesarean, and soon after that the anaesthetist came in and introduced himself to me. He had to put my IV in, and that was a bit of a mission - he attempted once in my hand and it didn't work - and after he removed the canula (?), I had a big amount of blood come out of my hand, and land all over his pants & the floor. I hoped it wasn't a sign of things to come!

9.30am the obstetrician came and told me it was time! We walked down the corridor, to where the operating theatres were, and it was then that it dawned on me - I was having a baby - VERY soon! My sister was going in with me, and had to wait in the corridor, until they had put my spinal in - I gave her a big hug & in I went. As soon as I was in there, the tears came to my eyes, and I felt very overwhelmed - but in an excited way. The OR staff all introduced themselves, they seemed very relaxed and like nice people, so it helped to keep me somewhat calm.

When they put the spinal in, my midwife held my hands & talked to me - I guess to take my mind of the discomfort of the spinal. It didn't really hurt as such, but it wasn't something I'd want to do everyday! It felt like it took forever to get administered, but it was probably only a couple of minutes. Once it was in the anaesthetist told me I would start feeling warmth in my legs very soon - and almost immediately, on it came. It was such a weird feeling, as the anaesthetic did its job, feeling my legs one moment, and then next knowing they were there, but not being able to feel them.

They got me set up on the operating table, and then my sister came in - and it was time to begin!!!!! I was in a rather happy mood, and laughed with my sister, and my midwife, and chatted with one of the nurses. I could feel pressure on my stomach, and my abdomen moving around, but I had no idea what they were actually doing. It seemed to be taking a long time, and my midwife told me that I had a lot of adhesions in my abdomen, from my first cesarean, so it was taking a bit longer than normal, for them to get to the uterus.

Then the time come - my midwife said to my sister "if you want to take photos of the delivery, you can stand up now and get ready" - as soon as she said that, tears came to my eyes again, I couldn't believe my baby girl was going to be born in the very near future! Again I could feel pulling and tugging, and pressure - but had no real idea what was happening, then my midwife said "here she comes Em" - and the next thing I heard was the cutest little, almost meowing sound, I heard it again, and again - and then I heard an extremely loud, hearty newborn crying.

And the tears started flowing... I was lying on the OR table bawling my eyes out - almost more than Emersyn was!!!!!!! The midwife told my sister she could go over and take photos of them doing the initial post-birth check, and that she could trim the cord if she wanted to, I lay there continuing to cry, so anxious to see my baby, and so relieved she'd arrived. The anaesthetist told me I could move the curtain out of the way a little, and I would be able to see them doing the check. As soon as I did this, and had my first glimpse of my baby girl, a whole new set of tears came.

After her check was done, the midwife brought her over to me, for a kiss, and to have a look... I could barely see her, through the tears - but even with my blurry tear stained vision, I fell immediately in love with this little bundle, who was then being placed in my sisters arms, for a cuddle. Terri sat beside me, holding Emersyn, and I couldn't take my eyes off her... it was then that I noticed that Emersyn had hair!!! Not something most parents would get excited about, but Gaby had no hair until she was 18 months old, so it was quite the novelty for me!!!!

My midwife asked the surgeons if it was okay for me to have skin to skin, and they said it was fine, so my midwife placed Emersyn inside my gown, and I had my first cuddle - and first proper look, at my baby girl. I couldn't stop kissing her soft little cheek, it was an amazing moment... and one that I wish I had been able to have with Gaby, when I had her (the hospital didn't have a skin to skin policy for cesareans, back then).

Around 11.15, I was deemed stable enough to go to recovery. In recovery we continued with the skin to skin, and as the anaesthetic slowly wore off, I was able to take in more of the details of my beautiful daughter.... the fact she had the same lips as her big sister - and the same chubby cheeks.. her tiny little fingers, with the perfect little finger nails, her long eyelashes poking out from underneath her closed eyelids... It really was one of the most blissful, happy, amazing moments of my life.

12.40 we were taken up to the maternity ward - I was a little sad because 1pm-3pm were no visiting hours, so my parents & Gaby weren't able to come up until 3pm. It was lovely seeing Gaby with Emersyn - you could see that she fell in love with her immediately! We were discharged from hospital at midday on Sunday... it was great to finally get home, and to be able to get on with our life as a new little family.

Emersyn Lily-May Oakden
16 June 2010, 10.10am
8lb0oz, 21.7"
little sister to Gabrielle Jayda-Leigh

waiting for it all to begin

seconds old

skin to skin, in recovery

my little family is complete!

the proud big sister, having her first cuddle

asleep on Mummy's bed

ready to go home

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Two days to go!


I cannot believe I am at the point in my pregnancy, where Emersyn's arrival is close!!!  Two days and my baby girl will be here - hopefully this time in 48 hours she'll already be here, meaning I have less than two days to go!  Technically....

Today I have to go to the hospital, for my pre-admission appointment with the anaesthesiologist & hospital midwife - and I will be given the actual time for my cesarean!  The appointment apparently takes an hour, and it should by all rights, be my last appointment - while pregnant, at the hospital!  They will be giving me some forms to get bloods taken tomorrow, and then after that......... it's all go!  I just need to make it through tomorrow in one piece, and attempt to sleep tomorrow night (that may be a mission!).

Tomorrow my sister also arrives, so I will be picking her up at the airport, and then we are going for a pre-baby coffee at the mall!  Gaby doesn't know that Terri is coming up yet, so when it is time for pre-school pick up, I am going to just get my sister to go in - lol it will blow Gaby's mind to be picked up by her Aunty Terri!!!!!!!!

I'm trying to make the most of my last couple of days of pregnancy - trying to pay as much attention as I can to how it feels when Emersyn moves, how my body feels in general... the anticipation and excitement... the nerves... because I'm never going to experience any of this again!  As much as I am sad about that, I don't suddenly have the inclination to say "no, I don't want a tubal ligation anymore" - so I know that it is the right choice for me... but as I said - still sad.  I am feeling right now, as if my family will be complete, once Emersyn is safely in my arms - and to be honest, it feels great.  

I don't think I'll be taking anymore belly photos, so here is my last one, taken at 38w4d...
by rights, the next photo of Emersyn that I post - should be OF Emersyn, in the flesh - not hidden by all my flesh!

... and for good measure, a recent picture of my BIG girl!

Gaby is starting to get excited too - I think realising that it is only two days away - a concept she can actually grasp, has made it more real to her... I truly cannot wait for that moment when she first lays eyes on her little sister... nor for that moment when she kisses her for the first time.  And like a true emotional, pregnant woman - I am now crying, so shall sign off..........

Sunday, June 6, 2010

False alarm.. home & pregnant!

My contractions on Saturday, turned out to be fake labour.. or practise labour.. or my body getting half way there & thinking "na, can't be bothered doing this today".  I had all the signs of labour, however my cervix didn't dilate at all.  I knew it wouldn't - I'm sure my cervix doesn't KNOW how to dilate!!!!

The staff at the hospital, for the most part, were lovely - but I did have a couple of doctors on the Saturday, who made me feel stupid, and as if they thought I was pretending to be in so much pain.  At their 'worst', the contractions were 3 minutes apart and lasting for 90 seconds, and i have to say, if my writhing around in pain wasn't convincing to them, then it must take a LOT to convince them, that someone is in pain!   I felt as if they bullied me into getting a shot of pethadine - they assured me it would make me go to sleep, and I'd wake up without contractions... instead the peth didn't make me go to sleep, and the contractions only served to get worse!!

However by about 8pm that night, the contractions were settling down, still painful, but not as painful, so I was admitted onto the maternity ward for the night.  My contractions carried on, irregularly during the night, and when I woke up on Sunday morning, they began picking up... but only for a couple of hours.  By about midday, I was having one contraction an hour, and they weren't painful.  Eventually at 7pm I was allowed to go home!  The one great thing through all of my experience in hospital, was that Emersyn handled everything perfectly - she remained active, and her heartbeat was showing the variations it should, when it should... that helped me feel a lot less worried about the whole thing!

Was a crazy weekend, but I do have to admit that I'm glad I got to experience some form of labour & contractions...  I am 100% sure about my decision to have a repeat cesarean, but seeing as this is my last baby - it is nice to be able to say that I experienced a little bit of labour/contractions, something that 'normal' women go through.  If it wasn't for my epilepsy, perhaps now I would be a little more likely to try for a VBAC, but the risks of labouring with epilepsy, are too scary for me... even though I'm sure I'd be monitored well.

So now I'm home - Gaby has been at her Dad's since yesterday morning, and will be home in 2 hours, it's been nice to have a whole day to rest up, but I am really really missing my baby girl!  I got her father to ring me at the hospital yesterday, so I could talk to Gaby & ended up bawling my eyes out afterward.  She's going to get tonnes of cuddles tonight when she gets home, that's for sure!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

potential early labour - hospital here I come!

Woke up at 1am with wierd diarrhoea like pains, but managed to sleep on & off until 5.45am, when I woke up - still with the pains, but worse.  While I lay in bed worrying because Emersyn wasn't moving, I realised slowly, that these pains were coming somewhat regularly, and that whenever I had them, my whole uterus was hardening.  I decided to start timing them 'just incase' - and it didn't take long to notice a pattern!!!

I got out of bed after I'd had 4 contractions, 5 minutes apart - to see if the change of position would help, but it didn't.  I rang my midwife, who advised me to take some paracetamol & see what happened in an hour - or to ring her before the hour, if things got worse.  I then rang my parents & put them on potential-baby-arrival-warning.  The pains did get a bit worse, and started being closer together, so I rang the midwife, and she has asked me to meet her at the hospital at 9am.. which is RIGHT NOW.. but my Dad is taking his sweet time getting ready, so they still aren't here!!!!

The pains are still here, and still regular - I really have NO idea what is happening, it's not as bad as I imagined it would be, but then again, this is probably just EARLY labour, IF it is labour at all!  A lot of the pains I can feel in my back as well, and I have started having very loose bowel movements, so maybe it IS the big event!  If it does happen that I'm in labour, i will be having a repeat cesarean - as planned.  Because of my epilepsy, I have been advised against trying for a VBAC, but now that the time has (possibly) arrived, I think if it weren't for the epilepsy & risks associated, I would maybe try for a VBAC!!!!

My Mum scared the heck out of me, when she said that Emersyn could be here by lunch time... No way jose!!!!

I am presuming I am going to be sent home, but you never know :)  I will update when I can, dear blog... hopefully in a few days time, when I'm home from the hospital!!!!!!!!!!

Wish me luck!