Tuesday, April 29, 2014

2 Week Stats

(2 weeks old, on April 9th)

Height: 19.25 inches (50th percentile)
Weight: 6 lbs, 11 ounces (25th percentile)
Head Circumference: 35.5 cm (50th percentile)

At his two week appointment Abe was up 10 ounces from his birth weight, and 1 whole pound from when we left the hospital. Good job, buddy! 
We sure love this little, growing guy.

Monday, April 28, 2014

What's In A Name?

I've always been one to have a list of baby names. I probably started this habit when I was about 12. Since then, my names have changed quite a bit (McKinley and Oakley used to top the list), but it's still something I've done. Since Kyle and I have gotten married I've brought up baby names numerous times, so by the time this little babe was conceived we had a small list of names we both liked.

I mentioned before that Kyle and I were both fairly certain it was a girl. We had our girl name picked out and ready to go. Then, we found out it was a boy, and had to "re-evaluate" our boys name, as it were, to make sure we loved it as much as we had loved our girl name.

While pregnant, we were pretty sure this was the name that we would end up going with, but had a few others in mind. We would tell people who asked that this is the name we would be going with, but decided that we would wait until we actually saw him to make sure. (However we did call him Abe quite a few times while pregnant. But mostly we just called him "Baby".) (Other names we considered were Blake, Noah, and Gabriel.)

As you now know, we named our babe

Harold Abraham Hanson

Yes, it's kind of a mouthful. But we like it.
And now, let me tell you about the names.

Harold is a family name on the Hanson side. Harold is Kyle's dad's, grandpa's, and great-grandpa's first name, although only the first Harold went by it. The other two go (or went) by their middle name. Even before Kyle and I were dating, he had told me of his desire to name his first son Harold after the Harolds in his family. This has always been the plan. And I thought it was a great one. My father-in-law and Kyle's grandpas were all great men, and I love that we named our son after them.

Abraham is a name I hadn't really considered until a few years ago, but then it really grew on me, particularly the nickname Abe. Kyle and I also really like Abraham Lincoln (ask Kyle how many books he's read about him sometime...) and so we thought it was a good fit. And, if I might say so, Abe Hanson sounds darn cute.

Kyle made a funny comment about our name while I was still pregnant, something about how much pressure our little one might be under since they are being named after 4 great men (5, if you also count the prophet Abraham). We kind of laughed at that.

So while it's kind of a long name, and he's going by his middle name, it just fits.
And we love it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Abe's Birth Announcement

(Click to see larger.)

Postpartum Recovery - Birth to 3 weeks

I was fairly lucky as recovery goes. As you know, I didn't experience much in the way of active labor, so the only recovery I had to do was from my c-section. (I say only, but recovery from a c-section can be rough!)

In the Hospital:
I was able to eat the night of my surgery, so that was lucky.
I first stood up late the night of my surgery. I had a CNA who helped me stand up, and then she wiped me down and changed my sheets while I kind of just stood there.
The next day I was up and able to shower, and later Kyle and I went on a little walk around the floor.
I was on IV pain meds for about 24 hours after the surgery, and then they switched me to hydrocodone every 4 hours and 800 mg of motrin (ibuprofen) every 8.
For the first 24 hours I was also hooked up to these leg compressor things, to make sure I didn't get any blood clots. (Think the arm band for getting your blood pressure checked, but the length of your calf and continually blowing up.)
My incision site never really hurt - I had what a midwife called "referred pain" which was on my right side, above my hip bone. I could have sworn that was where my incision was. It was a burning, twisting pain. I occasionally got it on my left side, too, but the worst of it was on the right.
I also never really had any "after birth" pains. A lot of women get contraction like pains after they give birth while their uterus contracts, especially when nursing. I only experienced that once in the hospital, and it wasn't very bad.

At Home:
I stayed on top of my pain meds (the same hydrocodone and IB schedule) until I ran out, which was about 10 days. Since then I have just been taking 400 mg of ibuprofen as needed, which has been about once a day.
By two weeks my incision was pretty much healed up, and now at three weeks it's doing great.
The area around my incision has been numb-ish since the surgery - I read online that it's because of severed nerve endings, which makes sense to me! It definitely feels strange though.

Kyle was so great the first week home. I owe my quick recovery all to him! I was able to stay in bed the majority of the time. He would pick Abe up from his bassinet and bring him to me to feed, he changed all the diapers, and he brought all my meals to me, too.

Postpartum Bleeding:
The only heavy bleeding I had was in the hospital. Since then it's just been light, and I am just spotting now. I have heard that when they do a c-section they are able to take out a lot more of the excess stuff that is in the uterus, and that it's not uncommon for c-section moms to bleed less. Not sure if that's true, but it's been the case for me.

Weight Loss/Postpartum Body:
When I weighed myself at home 2 days after birth, I found I had barely lost the weight of my baby (6 pounds). I know part of that is because I had so much fluid pumped into me that hadn't come out yet. At one week I weighed myself again and I had lost 10 pounds since coming home. At my 2 week appointment (to check on my incision) I was down to 147 (which is only 2 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight). I think I have even lost a little more since then. I am actually feeling really good about my postpartum body.
The only stretch marks I have are on my hips and a few weird looking ones below my belly button (around the linea negra). My belly button is also stretched out, and of course my abdominal area is extra .... pudgy.

I can't say I've really suffered too terribly from the baby blues. I have been extra weepy though - I cry at everything (and I thought I cried at everything before!). I mostly cry at bedtime, because I don't know how he will sleep and I'm so tired. And I also cry when I sing him primary songs and hymns.

Has been going pretty well. The lactation consultant at the hospital gave me a nipple shield, which has been great. The first week was a little rough - recovering from a couple of bad latches without the nipple shield, but since then I only get a bad latch every once in a while. I feel very grateful about that :)

My bum also fell asleep really easily the first 1-2 weeks. I imagine it is some sort of side effect from the spinal block, but am not sure. It was kind of uncomfortable, as I was sitting down pretty much all day for the first week or so. 
Everyone talks about your first poo after birth - while it wasn't as bad for me since I didn't have a vaginal birth  - I will still say, take all the stool softeners. And expect gas pain.
It was really nice to have all my pregnancy symptoms disappear! And so quickly! No more lower back pain, no more congestion! My inner thigh area was still sore for a few days though, which I found strange. And my upper back started hurting, from getting used to carrying a baby around, I assume.

I think that's all.
Honestly, I feel like I have recovered quickly and very well, and I feel very lucky. And although I didn't get to experience labor and "real" childbirth... That's ok! (The post about my thoughts and feelings is still coming...)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Baby Abe - A Birth Story

(Disclaimer: This is the post where I talk about my labor and delivery experience, and it may or may not include what some people would think TMI. So, read at your own risk.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
(37 weeks and 1 day)

4:00 am -
I woke up to go to the bathroom, and then couldn't fall back to sleep.

5:00 am (maybe a little before) -
I felt 3 little pops in my lower regions. It felt similar to my back popping, except I could tell it hadn't been my back. Not knowing what it was I chalked it up to the fact that I was pregnant, and my pregnant body was just doing another strange things. I remember thinking, wouldn't it be funny if that's how it feels when my water breaks?
Then, within 5 minutes or so, I felt liquid coming out between my legs. At first I figured it was some particularly liquidy discharge, or maybe even some urine. 
Then it kept coming.
I knew that if it was my water if I stood up there would probably be a gush.
So I got out of bed and stood up and definitely felt more liquid coming out. By the time I made it around the bed and into the bathroom my underwear was soaked and I was leaving puddles on the floor. 
After sitting on the toilet for a minute, trying to convince myself that this was really happening, I poked my head out of the bathroom door (careful to keep my leaking self over the linoleum floor) and called Kyle's name, waking him up.

5:15 am -
I called the labor and delivery unit at the hospital, and told them the situation. They took down my name, and told me to come into the hospital.
We spent the next several minutes getting dressed, and packing some things into the hospital bag. Luckily I had most of the things packed already, we just needed to add some toiletries.
(PS, silly me thought I could make the 10-15 minute drive to the hospital just wearing a pad. Not so. I should have taken a towel or two. My underwear and pants were soaked by the time I got to L&D.)

6:00 am -
Made it to the hospital and got admitted, then wheeled up to the L&D unit.
Our L&D nurse was Shannon, who we really liked. She was kind of funny and sarcastic, but obviously knew what she was doing and she took great care of me.
She got a sample of the fluid I was leaking and was going to send it down to the lab, just to verify it was amniotic fluid.

6:30 am -
 She checked my cervix (not very fun) and said I was dilated to a 1 and 50% effaced. Water was still gushing out at this point and she said she wasn't going to even bother sending my sample to the lab because it was obvious that my water had broken. (Also she mentioned that my cervix was still way back and that baby's head was low and in the way - one reason it wasn't too fun for me.)
After hooking me up to the monitors she mentioned I was having some small contractions and asked if I could feel them. I said no.

Kyle and I just hung out for the next couple of hours. We watched a couple informational movies that the hospital wants you to watch before you take your baby home. I also ordered up some breakfast from room service. The whole time we were hanging out Kyle was really sweet, rubbing my back and holding my hand. He also texted our family members to let them know what was going on. He ran to his work for about a half hour (it's next to the hospital) to finish somethings really quick and to do a couple of things on the computer. At one point I got out of bed and Kyle and I started walking around L&D, as an attempt to really start contractions coming and to avoid having any Pitocin. However, after just one lap, Shannon called me back into my room and said that baby wasn't really tolerating that well and that she would feel better if I stayed in bed for a while.

9:30 am -
I started feeling contractions, although they were still just small ones. Shannon told us that she was concerned about baby's heart rate. It wasn't too alarming, but she was monitoring it closely. She also mentioned that my OB should be in soon to check in on me and baby.

10:15 am -
My OB showed up - it was her day off and she came after doing a workout with her personal trainer. I was grateful she came to check on me, even though she could have turned my care over to the on-call doctor. She echoed what Shannon had said, and then said she wanted to insert internal monitors so she could get a better read on baby. It took a few minutes to get that done. She said it was one of the hardest placements she'd done in a while (probably because of what Shannon had said earlier about my cervix). She also said I was probably about 75% effaced now, but still at a 1. Once the monitors were placed Dr. McCrummen said she was going to hang out for a while and watch mine and baby's stats. She also mentioned that a c-section might be the best bet, but again, she'd monitor for a while to see how baby did, and then she'd come back in and go over options.

My contractions started getting a little stronger at this point and I could tell when I was having them. But they still weren't terrible.

The anesthesiologist, Rich, also came in during this time, to discuss options with me, and go over risks of each, like they have to do. He was a super nice guy, probably in his 50's or so.

11:00 (ish) am -
Dr. McCrummen came back in and said that although baby wasn't doing terribly, he still wasn't doing great, either. Again she mentioned that she thought that a c-section would be the best option at this time. I was still only having small contractions, and so they weren't helping my cervix to open and progress at all. At this time they would have probably started giving me some Pitocin, but since baby wasn't doing well with even these small contractions, Dr. McCrummen didn't think that would be a good idea because that would bring on stronger contractions (the point, obviously) and baby would probably go downhill relatively quickly. So - opting for a c-section right now would be the best bet. We could do it under controlled circumstances, instead of me trying to labor and then baby really going into distress and having to have an emergency c-section.
Kyle and I agreed, and Dr. McCrummen went to get changed.

They left Kyle and I alone for a few minutes, and I will admit I cried a little. It was just a little overwhelming. First my water had broken at only 37 week, so I wasn't really mentally prepared to have a baby yet anyway, and then after being at the hospital only 5 hours, here we were, deciding to have a c-section. And I hadn't really even experienced labor. (I didn't really have a birth plan, I had talked to Dr. McCrummen and told her I was pretty open about whatever needed to happen, in order to keep baby and I safe. That being said though, Kyle and I were prepared to labor at home for a while, and not come in until my contractions were strong, lasting at least 1 minute for one 1 hour, and 5 minutes apart. So again, it was a shock, even though I was pretty laid back about the birth anyway.) But we knew that this was the best option for both baby and me. I just needed to get out a little emotion.

The next few minutes were a blur of nurses. About 3 or 4 came in, along with my nurse Shannon. They started wiping down my whole body with anti bacterial wipes, one shaved the area where the incision would be, one put on some TED hose on my legs to prevent blood clots, one made sure my IV bag was full, one handed me a hair cap thing, etc. Then they walked me into the OR. Kyle stayed behind putting on his OR gear, and waiting until they were ready for him to come in.

Being in the OR was kind of a blur and a little nerve-wracking. Everyone was wearing the paper gowns and masks, and it was freezing. They had me sit on the operating table, and hooked me up to some monitors. Rich came in and started to administer the spinal block. They gave me a pillow to hold onto, told me to arch my back, and Shannon kind of held me by the arms/shoulders. My contractions had started to get stronger as well, so that was not pleasant. Rich drew on my back for a minute and then he administered the numbing medication, which was a short,  brief, stinging pain. Then he administered the spinal block. It wasn't necessarily painful, but it was a lot of pressure - it was like when you get your gums numbed at the dentist in preparation to get your cavities filled - it was pretty uncomfortable.
The spinal block took effect in less than a minute. Shannon and another couple of nurses helped move me around on the table, put my legs up, and laid me back. Shannon inserted a catheter. Rich hung up a curtain so I couldn't see below my chest. He put on oxygen, and put a thermometer type thing on my forehead. He also strapped my arms down by the wrists - so they were straight out from my side. He then covered me with a blow up blanket heater thing. He was so nice the entire time, making sure I was comfortable and doing ok, and he was always explaining to me what he was doing and why.
I couldn't stop shaking. I think both from the cold of the OR and also from the anesthesia.
After I was all situated Dr. McCrummen came in along with Dr. Woods, the OB who was on call. Shannon and who I assumed was a type of scrub nurse did a count of medical supplies and also named all who were in the room. There were the 2 OB's, Shannon, Rich, another nurse or two, and a pediatrician from the nursery in case Abe had a few troubles, since he was a little early. They might have been a couple others, I can't remember.
Then they brought Kyle in. He sat kind of up by my head and left shoulder. I was so glad to see him. They started the operation. I couldn't feel any pain, just some tugging and pulling. At one point I felt some non-painful pressure up by my rib cage, and the next thing I knew, baby was crying!
Someone said, "what are we saying, 12:05?" And Dr. McCrummen said, "12:04."
(Side note: it was weird being in the OR with the hospital employees - this was just another work day to them - they were talking about their pets and joking around with each other, etc. while here we were about to have a baby!)

Kyle went over to where they wiped him off, and he was able to cut the cord. They weighed him, then wrapped him up and gave him to Kyle. Kyle brought him over to me and I got to look at my baby's sweet, squishy face. Rich unstrapped my right arm so I could reach over and touch him.
Dr. McCrummen stitched me up very quickly, and before I knew it, they wheeled me to the recovery area of the hospital. I can't remember her name, but one of the baby nurses, who was in the OR with me, brought the baby to me.

(At this time we still hadn't decided on his name. Well, we had one in mind, but I wanted to really be able to see his face better before I made the final decision. Kyle was basically leaving the decision up to me.)

My nurse there was Connie, I think. She monitored me, and fed me some ice chips. She tilted my bed up a bit, and kept checking to see if my spinal block was wearing off by putting a cold wipe on different areas of my body, and by asking me to try to move my feet, legs, and toes. It was the most bizarre feeling to try to move my toes and not see them moving. SO weird. The baby nurse gave Abe his Vitamin K and Hep-B shots, and I think pricked his heel (although that might have happened after). I was still shaking, and my nose was so itchy (both from the anesthesia). They put Abe on my chest and we had skin to skin time and attempted nursing for the first time. After a while the nurse took Abe to the postpartum unit to wash him. I stayed in recovery for about a half hour more.

2:00 pm -
They wheeled me to my postpartum room. I was able to wiggle my toes a bit, but still couldn't really move. Kyle had been waiting for me, and had been able to be there when they washed Abe.
(FYI, they had this cool inflatable mattress type thing which they had been using to get me onto different beds since I couldn't move at all.)

So there we were, Kyle, Abe and I in the room we'd live in for the next couple of days.
I was able to eat dinner Wednesday night - so I am lucky I didn't have to go too long without food.

The rest of the time we were there (until Friday afternoon) was a blur of snuggles, catnapping, learning to breast-feed, pain meds, getting my vitals and bleeding checked, nurses feeling around my belly to make sure my uterus was shrinking, getting Abe's vitals checked, and slowly regaining my feeling and starting to walk around a little bit. We had some great nurses, and I really enjoyed my time at the hospital (as much as you can enjoy it, anyway).

Although things didn't go as expected, we are so grateful he is here, and that we are both healthy! We love our little Abe, and are so blessed to have him in our home.

(I'll probably do a follow up post a little later, about my thoughts and feelings on having a c-section, and having him come early! And I'll also do a post about postpartum recovery from a c-section.)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

1 Week

Birth story is still in the works - I'm writing a document with everything in it, and then hopefully will downsize it for the blog. It's taking a long time though, especially between naps and eating and snuggling the babe.

 At one week baby Abe:

- likes sleeping in momma's arms the most
- makes the best faces
- is so snuggly
- likes hearing daddy read to him
- still has adorable peach fuzz sideburns
- is doing pretty good when it comes to sleeping
- is just adorable
- makes pretty great grunting and snorting sounds
- was so good on his first outing
(we went to the doctor's and a couple more quick errands (Abe and I stayed in the car) and he hardly made a peep the entire time. he was also awake most of the time, just so content to be in his carseat.)

We love him so much. 
As cliche as it sounds, this has been the fastest week of our lives! Tomorrow is the last day of Kyle's paternity leave, and Abe and I will be sad for him to go back to work. But, tomorrow my mom and sister fly out for a week, so that will be fun! Looking forward to seeing them and having them be able to meet Abe.