Tuesday, September 17, 2013

One Month Update!

My sweet boy is 5 weeks old! He's adorable and despite the colic, we love him so much. He was 12.3lbs at 4 weeks old, so he is growing fast and furious. The baby acne is finally clearing up, too. I have to admit it made me a bit self conscious FOR him. Dumb, I know! Also interesting to note (and will embarrass him in 10 years) is the fact that he came out lactating. All three of my babies have done so. I figured it was pretty common, but the pediatrician had never seen it! This is a little info on it- http://voices.yahoo.com/help-newborn-son-lactating-5640056.html?cat=25. Apparently 5% of babies lactate and my kids have fallen in that category 100% of the time, ha! The baby acne and lactating are both from my hormones in his body and it takes several weeks for them to dissipate.

Solomon's personality is showing in pieces. When he is awake he wants eye contact and chats. If you try to get him to sleep or take a paci when he wants to chat, he gets really mad until you hear him out. He hates to be wet...like if a diaper soaks through his onesie (this kid can pee!) he is quite the drama queen about it. He absolutely adores his sisters. Eliana's voice really captivates him. He always looks her direction and smiles when she talks to him. He also loves the boobies. Often in the evenings he'll pass out nursing but as soon as I try to put it away, BAM he's awake. The boobs are his best friends.

The screaming sessions have overall decreased in the last week. Fri, Sat, and Sun night we managed to get through the entire night with no horrendous screaming sessions....the first break I'd had in an entire month. Last night was rough from 4am-5am, but that's still an improvement from 2-3 hours of middle of the night screaming. He wakes to eat every 2ish hours at night. I really wish he'd give me longer chunks of sleep, but if he wakes, eats, and goes back to sleep without screaming that feels like an accomplishment at this point. We cosleep, so often I wake up to position him on the boob and then fall back to sleep. I try to put the feeders away when he's done, though, otherwise there's a good chance we'll all wake up soaking wet 2 hours later. I've tried to put him in the crib so I can have a little space (or maybe actually get to spoon with the hubs!), but he lasts about 12 minutes before he's screaming again. So, for now he's my little bed buddy. He sleeps in the crook of my arm, almost face to face with me. So chubby and cuddly! I'm really glad I figured out how to nurse laying down. I tried with the girls but couldn't figure it out well enough. They would always choke or latch weird. Not having to sit up in bed every 2 hours definitely makes life easier this time.

Last blog post I wrote that I believed eliminating red sauces/tomatoes from my diet was helping the colic. Well, I think maybe that was just a big fat coincidence. He seems to have good days and horrible days with zero consistency. Dairy, tomatoes, grains, broccoli, chocolate, etc. Like last weekend, the three good nights? I ate ice cream, chocolate, and red sauce over the weekend and then he slept great. Go figure, right? It seems to me that whatever my little guy is struggling with is not related to my diet. My theories? I have milk ejection reflex/overactive letdown and oversupply. He will suck for 3 seconds and then it's as if a Crossfit buff dude put both hands on the boob and squeezed with every ounce of muscle- the milk comes out THAT fast. There's no suck-suck-suck-swallow pattern....poor Solomon is just gulp-gulp-gulp-choke-gulp. I can hear it spraying and the weird noise of it hitting his gut after he swallows. Often I have to pull him off and spray into the burp cloth because it's just too fast for him. The fast flow means it's hard for him to get a deep latch so I think he's taking in air initially and then taking in too much milk too fast. That all happening can cause colic like symptoms in babies. His tummy DOES hurt, it's just not caused by me eating ice cream. It's the freaking firehose he feeds from. The firehose is the reason I don't pump. I haven't pumped once since he was born. The very last thing I need is to tell my boobs to make more.

We are still doing Gerber Sooth Colic Drops (probiotics) and Levsin Drops (Hyosyne). I feel like the Levsin Drops are making the most difference for him. I did try Zantac after a week of screaming so bad I was really desperate. The Zantac made him scream worse, I kid you not. I didn't even know that was possible! I gave it a couple days and then said forget it. We went back to the ped and she said, yeah, stop the Zantac, keep doing the Levsin Drops, and basically hang in there til he outgrows this. He also caught a bug of some sort that caused a raspy cough- worrisome in a one month old. It's in his lungs, so it's called bronchiolitis and we're treating it to prevent pneumonia or other worse bugs that are particularly dangerous for a newborn.

Through all of this I am trying to remember that he is having a hard time, he is not trying to give me a hard time. I know that sounds like a serious DUH since he is so little, but when you haven't slept longer than an hour in a month, you are frayed on every edge. Thinking rationally is very hard to do when you are SO exhausted. Eliana's colic was at least twice this bad, but I didn't have a 4 and 2 year old to raise also. I could sleep during the morning and day when she was calm. I don't have that option now, so it's interesting working to juggle my puzzle pieces so everyone is fed, healthy, and feeling loved. It's been a huge adjustment. Even just the 'dumb' stuff....I miss my cute dresses. I miss doing my hair and putting on makeup. Yeah I can do those things a little, but usually there's a baby in a bouncer screaming while I do it and then I end up having to throw on an outfit that's breastfeeding friendly or won't be ruined when milk sprays all over it. And my cute jeans don't quite fit right yet. Ya know? Just part of life with little kids, but it's a piece of me as a woman that likes fashion and looking pulled together that gets sacrificed in babyland...along with sleep, cuddling next to hubs in bed, having nights out with friends, etc. I'm not saying this as "poor me" in ANY way. I love my little Solomon and the life that comes with having him. I'm saying all of this because I'm not the only mom thinking it and sometimes reading that another mom misses her dresses and heels and lipgloss makes us not feel so awful that we miss it, too. We can realize that it's OK to miss those things. You feeling me?

I also want to/need to get back to eating Paleo. I want to lose the last few lbs of baby weight and lose the other 20-30 I was on my way to losing when I got pregnant. Paleo takes time and thought, though. It's not as simple as feeling hungry and grabbing some Wheat Things from the cupboard. It's proteins and veggies and no processed crap. I need to eat that way, but it honestly feels a little overwhelming taking that on with a colicky newborn and toddlers. It's my future though, I think about it every day. I do NOT want to gain back all the weight I lost. I also know that eating Paleo does wonders for my PCOS.

So anyway, I keep trekking on in Babyland. I sleep when I can, in the pieces he allows me. I'm doing Pre-K schoolwork with Eliana and trying to give the girls attention and validation throughout the day. We haven't quite hit our stride with new baby, but things are typically better each week than the one prior.

He screamed this ENTIRE day. I kid you not. It was enormously frustrating.

All except the three minutes he napped. Yes, 3 minutes....Good thing he is so adorable, right?
I don't have a nice camera...or even a decent camera ($99 Kodak, anyone?) so I took these on the iPad, totally unedited. Not horrible, right? I want an iPhone SO bad for the nice camera!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Colic; different baby, same screams

My sweet Solomon is 3 1/2 weeks old now. He's over 11 1/2lbs and a great eater. Seriously, the easiest time I've had nursing out of all three babies. However, the screams....oh the screams! The first few days of life my little man was so chill and peaceful. He slept, ate, pooped, and went back to sleep. I thought I had a 'normal' baby, woohoo!!!! Then something happened a couple days later. He became miserable. He would eat, scream, poop, scream, sleep, wake up screaming, and on and on and on that went day and night. No one else could hold him or he'd just scream worse. At night he'd be up to nursing every 1 1/2-2 hours and then stay up another 1-3 hours afterwards, screaming again. That was our all night routine. And yes, the girls still get up around 6 something every day. I mean, really, this was not a sustainable pattern for me. Never sleeping and always screaming with 2 other children to raise? Lord, help me!!!! So we started trying some things.

Gripe Water: Basically just ginger and fennel.
Works sometimes to calm him, other times it's like I didn't even give it. Not a cure by any means. Mostly just helps when he gets hiccups.

Gas Drops: Simethicone.
Seemed to help the first day, but then after that seemed to actually make it worse. There are some studies* out there saying Simethicone only has a placebo effect and sometimes actually truly does make gas worse in babies :( So yeah, we pretty much don't use these anymore.

Gerber Soothe Colic Drops: Probiotic Supplement with L. reuteri.
These are supposed to help normalize the gut flora and help baby be able to digest and handle things better in the gut. There is newish research* showing probiotics to be helpful for colicky babies. I noticed he was gassier but more chill within a day. We've been on them a week now and overall the screaming is less and he seems more peaceful, although this has not by any means been a cure either.

Levsin Drops: Hyosine Drops (rX)
These are a 40 year old rX for colicky babies that work to slow down the gut just a bit so baby is having less painful belly flare ups. The rX is for 4 drops 4 times a day, literally just 'drops', it's a super tiny dose. It does to seem to help some as well, but we still have some unpredictable screaming sessions.

Also tried/trying: Sound machine, swaddling, not swaddling, car seat, bouncer, swing, baby wearing.......and on and on it goes.

It's been a journey trying to figure out how to help him. He doesn't really spit up at all, although does seem to have stuff come up in his mouth that he has to re-swallow and makes a face that says, "that tasted nasty". He may have silent reflux and we have an rX for Zantac but are waiting to see if the Levsin Drops will be helpful enough. Zantac reduces the stomach acid which is needed for fighting bacteria.

At times I feel rather resentful of my lot; the fact that I've gotten two babies with colic when others can have 7 children and never have 1 like this. I've blogged about this before, but I'll say it again; I think as mothers we have to fight internally between our expectations and what is our reality. My expectation was that life would not give me two colicky babies. Well? Life is pooping all over my expectations. When the baby is screaming his head off and I've had a cumulative 2 hours of sleep the night before and nothing will calm him, it's hard just to put on clothes, let alone play with my other children, make sure they are eating nutritious foods, laundry is caught up, the house is livable, and there is food to eat for dinner. My focus and attention, 100% of it, goes to the screaming newborn in my arms. It's rough. It's hard seeing your baby so miserable, knowing he's not comfortable or happy, and nothing you are trying is working. I cried in Costco a few days ago. Like actual tears and my face turning red. It was awful and embarrassing. I was so exhausted and frustrated and I cried. In public. Ugh.

Solomon's colic also looks differently than Eliana's did. She screamed every single day at 5pm and didn't stop til 2am at the soonest, often much longer. It was a hellish nightmare. Solomon will have a semi good day and then a horrible day and it's just really unpredictable. Eliana was predictable down to the minute. Luckily Solomon does love the Ergo so when we go to the store, birthday parties, etc I just wear him and then we're mostly ok. I wear him a lot at home, too, but it's not practical for every second of the day or for my back. With Eliana I only had a Bjorn....I think if I'd known more about baby wearing and had some other carriers that could've helped us a bit.

With Elly's colic I cut out all dairy for a couple months and didn't drink milk or eat ice cream for a year I was so paranoid, but it seriously made ZERO difference. I just kept hoping it would. So after all of that hassle I really didn't want to have to cut it out yet again for no reason, especially because we have no history of any dairy allergies. Kellymom.com and the ped both assured me that with colic, cutting out dairy won't be a magic cure. I knew that (as evidenced with Eliana), but it was good to hear it again. I had been avoiding milk, ice cream, and yogurt out of fear. The ped did say that colicky babies tend to be sensitive to caffeine and tomatoes/tomato sauces. Oy. I've only had caffeine maybe 2 times in 3 weeks but I've had a crapload of tomato stuff! Then I started to think back to the worst days and nights and yup, sure seems like those were the days I had pizza, manicotti, more pizza, sloppy joes.....Oops! So, for now I'm avoiding caffeine and tomato-y stuff. Usually babies outgrow those sensitivities around 3 months when their gut can handle it better, so I'm not writing off pizza forever, but will be going light on the red stuff for a little while. I might test it out in a couple weeks and see what happens. It's also strange that my girls HATE tomatoes. They eat almost anything, but both of them can't stand tomatoes. Even the tiny sweet ones fresh off grandma's tomato plant. Craig and I also hate tomatoes. Weird, right?

*I'm not a fan of people not citing sources. For reals. But here I am really sleep deprived and barely finding time to blog, let alone dig up the sources I found at 3am last week. So, no sources today :(

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Solomon's Birth: Worth the Wait, a TMI post

My body likes to be pregnant and my babies like staying put! I really wanted my body to go into labor on it's own. I didn't want to rush the process or rob myself of the experience. Yet 41 weeks came and went and the midwife said we'd need to do a non stress test and another liver panel if he didn't arrive by Monday (41w3d).
41 Weeks
I figured I'd give it the weekend and see what happened. I was also uncomfortable and growing restless to meet my baby! And in a strange way, the more time that went by the less I wanted to experience a birth again....all the days past 40 just gave my brain too much time to think about the what if's and I was starting to pysch myself out. Baby just needed to come, plain and simple.

On Monday (40w3d) my chiropractor did an adjustment and acupressure. On Saturday (41w1d) my midwife did an internal check (2cm and still high) and stripped my membranes, which irritates the cervix and causes a release of prostaglandins. Saturday night hubs and I gave it the old fashioned try (another way to get prostaglandins). Sunday morning I woke up to a blob of my mucous plug. But it was totally clear so I figured it was a good sign, but didn't mean a whole lot since it wasn't bloody. We took the girls to church and I had contractions during the service, but only very mild and mostly not painful, but yet stronger than Braxton Hicks. It seemed things were very slowly brewing. At 12:40pm on Sunday I drank an almond butter/apricot nectar/2 Tbsp castor oil shake in hopes of getting contractions to pick up more so labor would start. An hour later I was having very crampy contractions. I bounced on my exercise ball and timed them for hours, they were puttering along slowly, about every 5-7 minutes. I snapped a picture at this point, hoping it would be the last of me pregnant-

I emailed my mom and told her it wouldn't be a bad idea for her and my dad to head on over to help with the kids. Craig had been chasing them and trying to keep them busy and out of my hair all day.
My midwife came to set up her stuff and check me at 5:30pm. I was 3cm, very soft, and definitely changed from the day before- but still a ways to go. After that I had Craig grill me a hamburger and then got out my Lansinoh double breast pump and pumped for 1 hour and 20 minutes to try and amp the contractions up. Basically you pump until a contraction starts, then stop during the contraction and then resume. I knew I needed to do it at least 30 min and me being the over achiever I am just kept going. My boobs hurts and the contractions hurt, but I wanted the baby out! Contractions were regular while I pumped, but got pretty sporadic after I stopped. So then Craig and I went for an hour walk and the contractions were very regular, every 2-3 min, and intense the whole time. I walked through them without stopping because I just wanted things to really crank up. We headed home as it was getting dark and I got back on the exercise ball at home. My every 2 1/2 min contractions then spaced out to 5 and even 7 minutes :( I was so mad! I told my mom she could go home if she wanted....I was really pissed to still be pregnant and not in intense labor yet. I told my mom and Craig I was going to lay down since nothing was happening. My mom stayed, thankfully. Around 10:30 I went to bed and then woke up shortly after with very intense contractions. I stayed in bed and talked myself through them (in my head), "I am open, my cervix is opening, I will meet my baby boy soon, etc". I wanted labor to happen so bad and I was trying to stay positive at this point and wish labor into really roaring. By 11pm I thought, "ok, I think we're doing this!" I asked Craig to fill the birthing tub and told him to call the midwife. I got in the tub shortly after that.

Once in the tub the contractions stayed consistent and were very intense. Within 10 minutes I had to vocalize through them, just like I did in Evie's birth. Low moaning sounds- like a cow in labor, I presume. The midwife arrived shortly and checked my blood pressure, temperature, and listened to baby's heart tones. Everything was perfect. My bp was actually 130/60, which was weird....she said I was very relaxed during contractions and that was great. I could still chat and talk with everyone in between contractions at this point, too.
 Pandora was on on my iPad, the lights were off. I was in the zone. The midwife asked if she could check me about 30 minutes after arriving, I think based on my vocalizing she was thinking the birth assistant might not make it in time if she didn't call quick. She checked and I was 8cm! I thought, "wow, I'm in transition? Sweet, he'll be here in like 10 minutes!" Based on his sister's births I figured he'd be out quick. Not so much. The contractions kept coming and got more intense. I could feel the bag of waters bulging and it was driving me crazy. It just would not pop! I could feel it, it was very thick and strong. I tried poking it with a finger nail, but it was Teflon, that puppy was not gonna give! It was a horrible feeling, I hated the bulge. I also figured once it was broken, he'd arrive shortly. This whole time I was basically sitting in the tub but leaning back.
The midwife suggested getting in a squatting position in the tub to see if my water would break. I changed positions and oh man it hurt way worse. All of the sudden I could feel the contractions in my back and it didn't feel very manageable anymore. I think I cried. I tried poking the bag of waters again...nothing. It was very thick. I  pushed during a contraction and felt a small POP...finally it broke! The team eased me back into the sitting/partly reclining position to birth him. The contractions never let up, but I did get at least 45 seconds in between to rest. I wasn't laughing or chatting in between by now, though. Another contraction came and I started pushing. It was hard, intense, and nothing like Evangeline's birth (she flew out with no pushing). By this time I'd been in transition for nearly 2 hours....I was so ready to be done. It took a few more contractions and me screaming like a cave woman- which I have never ever done in labor before- to get him out. His head crowned and then he went back in and totally rotated his body! He had been on my right side, but rotated to my left side. Then another contraction and I pushed his head out. There wasn't much burn, it just felt like a big head and I wanted it out. Then a weird thing, for me, happened. I rested in between contractions while his head was out. Normally once the head is out my babies just plop right out, no big deal. This guy required more pushing and much more effort than I'd had to do before.Craig told me later he was worried because he'd never seen that happen in labor before- a minute rest with the baby's head already birthed in the tub. It's totally normal for probably most women, I'd just never birthed that way before. A final contraction and his body was born at 2:18am on Monday morning at 41weeks3days gestation. I saw him in the water and pulled him up onto my chest. I immediately felt total and absolute love for him. He was perfect. Covered in vernix, dragon lady long finger and toe nails, dark hair matted with vernix, and the yummiest fat rolls. He was moving around on me and lifting his head up and holding it up, something he's done since. He is so strong! He didn't want to breathe at first, so we rubbed him and moved him around and he gurgled a bit and then finally cried.  His cord was long and very thick. It only pulsed a few minutes and then was done and Craig cut it. The placenta came out easily a couple minutes later.

The cocktail of hormones that occurs in a natural, unmedicated birth is absolutely amazing. I've experienced birth both ways and there is a huge difference, for me anyhow, in how I feel about myself and the baby immediately after the baby is born. The body's own oxytocin, the love hormone, is a really special thing. Synthetic versions can actually shut the body down from making it's own.

We were all a little surprised at how chubby he was. The midwife guessed 10lbs, I had no idea, but thought closer to 9. He was 9lb 4 1/2oz, 21" long, with a 36 1/2cm head (his head was a little smaller than both of the girls), 38cm chest. The midwife did his newborn exam and worked on me a bit. I kept bleeding a bit more than we wanted to see so she gave me a shot of Pitocin and massaged my uterus to get it clamp down (ow!). I took a shower while Craig held the baby and then I sat on our bed and nursed him. He latched so well and nursed right away. He was pink and obviously so healthy.
Little chubster only a couple hours old!

He was still nameless, but we were tired and decided we'd sleep and figure it out later in the day. I laid down with him in bed around 6am to sleep for a little bit and Craig slept on the couch so he'd be there when the girls woke up. Around 9am I got up with the baby to nurse him and then went out to the living room so he could meet his sisters. Eliana saw me and went right back to cartoons, she thought I was holding a doll! :) The girls loved him and both held him and said how cute he is.

Craig and I talked through names during the day and kept coming back to the one that had come to mind a week ago. It wasn't on our birth lists and it wasn't one we liked or talked about during the pregnancy. But in my last week of pregnancy I just really liked it. We wanted his middle name to reflect strength. We went back and forth between 3 names, but really felt like only one fit him. Around noon we decided his name: Solomon Pierce Frazier. Solomon means "peace" and Pierce means "rock" or "as strong as a rock".
He is perfect and we love him so much.