Monday, January 6, 2014

Postpartum, Placenta Pills & Pumping

I've had lots of people ask me how the postpartum period is going, with this being a different situation than a typical pregnancy so here it goes!


Physically, my recovery has been going very well.  I was fortunate enough to not have any tearing in the perineal area (yes, despite birthing a 10+lb baby) so that has been a breeze.  I've had some swelling and headaches the first few days but other then that, things have been great!


Emotionally, it is typical of women to have a bit of a hormone crash after childbirth, this is actually caused by the birth of the placenta which carries all the hormones that supported the pregnancy.  When the placenta exits the body, so do the hormones, at a very rapid pace! This is one of the reasons that I decided to have Crystal at Injoyable Birth encapsulate the placenta for me.  Placenta encapsulation is something I have never done before but I had read about all the benefits, listed here and knew that it was something that could be very beneficial for this pregnancy.


So day 2 and 3 after the birth, my hormones were going crazy...I was overly emotional, crying over literally NOTHING, quick to get upset about things that otherwise wouldn't bother me (as much)...think PMS to the extreme! This had absolutely nothing to do with "missing the baby" or anything of the sort - baby Adam is right where he belongs and I'm so, so happy about that - it was simply my body reacting to the situation.  I felt like I was a beast to live with (though my husband insists I was not, that's how I felt!) and then on day 3, Crystal brought my placenta pills over and I noticed a difference immediately! They are called "happy pills" for a reason and though I didn't experience that kind of emotional swing after my own pregnancies (or maybe I did but was too busy taking care of a baby to notice it??), I definitely think placenta encapsulation would be a huge benefit to any woman postpartum - so if you are pregnant, consider it, the placenta is a powerful thing!


The other thing I have been busy with is PUMPING! Around the clock actually, I'm pretty much a slave to the breastpump.  I've been pumping every 2 hours during the day and 3 hours at night, at 2am, 5am, 7am, 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, 9pm, and 11pm WHEW! Each pumping session is 20 minutes long but by the time I prep everything before hand and clean pump parts afterward, it takes 40 minutes for each session.  So, if you do the math, I am devoting over SEVEN HOURS per day to pumping. It's a lot of work (I've breastfed my own children, from the tap, and trust me it's a thousand times easier than exclusively pumping) but, from what I have read, it's important to put in the work in the beginning to get a good supply established and then around 12 weeks postpartum (when supply and demand takes over production instead of hormones, which control breastmilk production up until that point) I can back away from the breastpump a bit.  My plan is to gift breastmilk to baby Adam for the time that I am off work, I dropped 100+oz off with M & C today!


When I go back to work I will be donating to a milk bank that compensates for breastmilk donations to help offset the time commitment that pumping takes.  I knew, going into surrogacy, that I would definitely be pumping after the birth - there are many benefits of breastfeeding/pumping for myself as well - and I couldn't imagine giving birth and then letting my milk dry up and have such a great opportunity go to waste! So if you see me around and I look tired despite not having a baby - now you know why!




Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Adam David: A Birth Story

Adam David
December 31st, 2013
3:35am
10lbs 3oz
21 1/2"



Oh Adam, how you kept everyone waiting and guessing! I will be honest, I did not really love that about you for those last couple weeks of pregnancy but I sure love that about you now.  I'm so happy that you got to choose your birth day, that you got to join your Daddy and Papa earthside in YOUR way, on YOUR time, and that you were kind enough to go easy on me too! What a thoughtful little guy :) You waited until 41 weeks and 5 days to show your precious little face but I think everyone would agree, you were worth the wait!

 
Your birthing day began with a typical middle of the night trip to the bathroom, I woke up at 1:00am and as I got out of bed and walked to the bathroom I felt fluid trickling down my legs the whole way. I wasn't sure if it was amniotic fluid or not at first, this had never happened to me before, I have always had the bag of water ruptured artificially so I definitely was not expecting this! At any rate, I wasn't having contractions so I decided to get back in bed and wait to see if contractions would start.  It didn't take long! I had a couple contractions that were ten minutes apart, then 7 minutes apart, then 5 minutes apart and by then I just couldn't lie down through them anymore.  I asked my husband to get me a towel so I could get out of bed without getting amniotic fluid on the floor again and he just laid in bed next time me, half asleep, and said he was looking for it.  I suggested that he look in the bathroom ;) I got out of bed and stood up and swayed through a few contractions before I decided that these were getting intense enough that I wanted to be in the water.  At 1:50am, I called our awesome midwife, Stephanie, to let her know what was going on.  She asked if I was ready for her to come and I told her I thought it would be a good idea. And then at 2:00am, my husband called your Papa to let him know it was time! He said your Papa sounded very calm and by 2:20am he texted me that they were on the way! I floated around in the birth tub, with the jets swirling the water, and breathed deeply in and out through the contractions.  I could feel you moving around inside me and remember smiling to myself as I enjoyed those last kicks.  By 2:30am, Stephanie had arrived and quickly checked on your heart tones and got to work setting up the birth supplies.  I talked and laughed with Stephanie and my husband, breathing through the contractions which were coming closer and closer together.  I remember a few of the contractions I started feeling a little "pushy" but kept breathing through them, I did not want your Daddy and Papa to miss this... and maybe I was in a little bit of denial that it could be happening so quickly! Around 3:15am, your Daddy and Papa arrived - I was happy to see them there but was deep in my work by then, I could feel you moving further down with each contraction and soon I told my husband that you were coming.  I think he was a little surprised! Within a couple of contractions, you were crowning and then I pushed your head out and said "ooh that feels better!" - which sounds so funny, but it did! And with another push, the rest of your body slipped earthside into your Papa's hands. He lifted you out of the water and just like that, at 3:35am, you and Daddy and Papa officially became a family.  They ADORE you Adam, you are one lucky little guy!


I held you while we waited for your cord to stop pulsing, since we were still attached, then your Daddy cut your cord and we got out of the tub.  While Stephanie tended to me, your Daddy and Papa cuddled with you, skin-to-skin, and got to know you a little better :)


Soon, they were ready for me to nurse you so you could get that very important first milk - I think you liked it because you nursed for quite awhile! When you were done, Stephanie weighed you - 10lbs 3oz - measured you - 21 1/2" - and checked you out from head to toe.  You checked out perfectly in every way!


When we were both stable, Stephanie and her assistant (Crystal, who didn't make it in time for the birth but who we all love!) left but I was so happy that you and your Daddy and Papa stayed for a couple more hours and that each of my children, as well as myself, got to hold you and love on you before you went home to start your life together! What a precious little blessing you are and I feel so honored to be part of your story, which is just beginning! Thank you Adam, and thank you M and C - I love you all so much and can't wait to watch you grow together.

P.S. Adam, it looks like you are settling in nicely at home!
 


Saturday, December 21, 2013

"I Am Patient and Waiting"

"I Am Patient and Waiting"...or at the very least, I'm good at repeating that mantra until I've convinced myself!

We are now 40 weeks plus 2 days into baby baking and waiting patiently for Baby A to make his arrival.  In addition, I've managed to come down with a terrible cold including a nasty cough/congestion/headaches/the whole nine yards.  So at this point, I'm grateful that Baby A (and my body) have decided to wait, maybe until I'm feeling well enough to better cope with labor - three cheers for my body's innate knowledge of when the time is right!

So for those who have been asking...

YES! I'm still very pregnant! And I'll be sure to update when that changes, it could be awhile, and that's ok! :) Love you all!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Watched Pot

Baby A has now been baking for 38 weeks plus 5 days, and as I'm growing increasingly uncomfortable (and larger), I'm feeling like the watched pot! Our estimated due date is only 9 days away but a "due date" is just that - an estimation - and my body really likes baking babies, so I suspect that date will come and go with Baby A still nestled snuggly in his comfy spot.  But this fast approaching date often presents the question "will you be induced?" - luckily, my favorite midwife wrote a blog post on this very topic so rather than hash it all out again, I will let her say it more perfectly than I ever could - please check out her blog post on Induction of Labor.

While some days leave me feeling more miserable than others (directly related to how much sleep I managed to get the night before!), I'm fine with that, really, because it's a bittersweet thing to see this journey coming to a close.  I have loved every minute, even the hard ones, of bringing this miracle to life for M & C - and while the journey is coming to a close for me, a new, more fabulous journey is just beginning for them! So the birth supplies are gathered, the birth pool is filled, Baby A and I have been soaking in the warm water as I find the time, and we will continue to wait until he decides on the perfect time to join his daddies earthside!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

36 weeks!

Today, Baby A is officially 36 weeks - full term! And yesterday, M, C, our amazing midwife and her wonderful assistant came to our home for the "home visit", signifying that Baby A is now far enough along that a homebirth is safe.  All the birth supplies have been gathered together in one place and the birth pool will be delivered on Monday! Of course, I'm not expecting any baby action for 4-5 more weeks but we are all prepared for when he decides the time is right.

M & C have had several baby showers, it is really fun for me to see all their friends and family so excited for them - what a loved little guy Baby A will be! They have taken baby-wearing classes, carefully selected baby gear, researched cloth diapers, watched birth videos, decorated the nursery and are so excited for their impending arrival! I couldn't be happier for them or more proud, they are going to be such amazing daddies, I can't wait to see them in action!

As this pregnancy is winding down, I'm experiencing many common end-of-pregnancy conundrums, maybe some of you can relate! So without further delay...

#thirdtrimesterproblems

When turning sideways to fit through tight spaces doesn't work because your front to back is wider than your side to side...

When rolling over in bed at night requires concentrated effort and rearrangement of pillows...

When, much like a potty training toddler, a trip outside of the house must be planned around the availability of restrooms...

When any change of body position is likely to result in a snap, crackle or pop...

When every random stranger you happen to speak more than 3 words to, asks when you are due and what you are having...

Happy end-of-pregnancy, friends! I can see the finish line!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

3rd trimester, 3D ultrasound & a wedding!

It's been a long time since I've updated but things have been moving along smoothly so there hasn't been much to say! We are now in the 3rd trimester, I'm 31 weeks pregnant with just 9 weeks (give or take) to go and, of course, the aches and pains that come along with it. M & C have been busily planning and preparing for baby A, they are an adorable combination of excited and anxious. We went for a 3D ultrasound at 28 weeks and wow, technology has come a long way, it's so amazing what they can see with ultrasound these days! At the time, baby A weighed approx. 3.2lbs (he's likely close to 4.5lbs now) and he has been consistently measuring about a week ahead, I'm not expecting him to be a tiny little guy!

Baby A in 3D

In other news, M & C traveled to southern California this week to exchange wedding vows - congratulations you two! So very excited for your growing family!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Halfway!

Today marks 20 weeks of pregnancy, the halfway point.  I met M & C at Precious Predictions (Sunny is amazing, by the way, highly recommended if you are local) for the big mid-pregnancy ultrasound.  They surprised me with these:


You can try to tell me that's not the cutest thing ever, but I won't believe you.  Love them, they are so sweet.  Thanks guys!

The mid-pregnancy ultrasound is really the fascinating one, in my opinion, it's so amazing the things they can see during an in-depth ultrasound...from the brain, to the spine, to the nostrils, to the heart, to the kidneys, to the bladder, to the tips of his itty bitty toes - Baby A is looking perfect and healthy, which makes us all happy! And he doesn't have a huge head, which makes me happy :) Pictures coming soon!