Sunday, November 30, 2014

Since We've Been Home

Here are some thoughts I've had as we settle into a new lifestyle...

It's incredible how one day, things were totally normal, and the next, things changed permanently.

We are incredibly lucky that the baby is mostly good, at least for a newborn. He has been on a 2-3 hour feeding schedule and generally sleeps in between with some exceptions. Since I was so drugged up at the hospital, it took longer than expected to start a supply going, and it isn't enough still (I'm still working with the lactation folks and a tedious routine at each feed). So figuring out which supplement won't make him so gassy has been a struggle. I'm not sure how long I can keep this up, but I figure whatever I can give him now will help. "The Ukrainian" is going back to work soon, so  I am going to have to learn to somehow balance everything during the day. Terrifying.

I am definitely looking forward to the little one growing and settling into a less exhausting routine. I don't know how people could have more than one kid...

Above is me about two weeks before the baby's arrival.

Below is me about ten days after. I can't believe I feel this way, but I often miss being pregnant. It's taking me a while to adjust to being non-pregnant, which seems like so long ago. I also can't believe that I miss work already. Basically, I miss everything that was normal with my life before that somewhat traumatic time in the hospital.

I gained a bit over 30 pounds at the end, and I've lost almost 20 of those on a diet of basically whatever I want plus whatever my parents have been bringing me. I can't imagine having to actively work on the rest of the weight, since when it comes between sleep and exercising, well duh. Plus, given my slice-and-dice, I need to wait for the doctor to give me the ok in a couple of weeks. I'm off my pain medication, so it's a start. Though I'm not in a hurry (because I do get sad seeing my bump go down), my goal is to fit into my old work clothes when the time comes.

I spend a lot of the time thinking about how amazing it is that our little guy came from me and how lucky I am that he is so perfect. I spent a lot of my pregnancy worrying about what I was doing or not doing correctly, something that is obviously going to continue forever.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Our Baby's Arrival

EVENT: Our Baby's Arrival!
DATE: Tuesday, November 18, 2014
LOCATION: Baldwin Park, CA
RACE BEGAN: 5:00 AM, Monday November 17, 2014
FINISH TIME: 25 hours, 44 minutes (approximately)

***I will try to keep this as non graphic as possible... but this IS a birth story...***

At around 5 in the morning about a week before I was supposed to be due, I woke up from a dream in which "The Ukrainian" was telling me he was worried about the baby. I woke up to a dribble and decided to go to the restroom. I was a bit soaked, and having not had any incontinence issues thus far, I was suspicious. 

Maybe half an hour later, I told "The Ukrainian," who was about to get up and get ready for work, what happened. I was hesitant to call L&D because I wasn't totally sure and didn't want to seem paranoid, but eventually I did. They told me to shower, eat, and come in. We arrived at the hospital at around 7:30 and managed not to get clogged in Monday morning traffic, which had been a fear of mine from the get-go.

It was somewhat surreal when their amniotic test strip turned blue, and the triage nurse said we were having a baby. I was not sent home, which for some reason had been another fear of mine. I had a couple of friends recently have their birth stories start with waters breaking, but I thought that was pretty rare, so leave it to me, I guess.

We got to walk for a while since I wasn't really having a lot of contractions, but I was being monitored more than I would have liked and kept having to get hooked up. Oh, and this IV was inserted pretty suckily, so it annoyed me the whole time but was ultimately my life line in the end. The same nurse also drew my blood, but it had to be redrawn because it hemolyzed or something! =\  Of course, this was just the beginning of my days of being a pincushion.

Around lunch time, I had broth and juice due to the off-chance I would need surgery. I felt so gross all day due to all the leaking. Around 3:30, they deemed that I had not progressed since the morning. Yikes! Although they had said there was no "you must deliver in 24 hrs after your water breaks" rule, they were definitely pushing the pitocin. I kind of resisted because I was worrying about a slippery slope of interventions, but in the end, my paranoia of infection led to my consent.

The contractions got a bit stronger and more frequent after the low dose I was getting. I was not allowed anymore fluid or mobility because of monitoring. So ice chips it was. Needless to say, having had brought a stability ball to the hospital, I was disappointed but in a way, I was so grossed out with my constant leaking and found sitting in the "rocking chair" to be most comfortable, anyway. When I tried to stand, the monitors would lose the baby's heartbeat.

Around 8 pm, they were upping the meds at a faster rate. By midnight, I decided to get an epidural because of the doseage and the anesthesiologist about to get tied up for hours. I was still able to tolerate the contractions at that point, but seeing how they progressed on the monitor later on made me believe it was a warranted choice for me at the time. The actual epidural insertion was pretty uneventful, and of course, given how this ends, I'm glad I made that choice.

The next morning, they said I had not progressed at all since I was admitted and recommended a c-section. My body just didn't want to go into labor, according to the doctors. This was one of my worst fears, so I asked for more time. They could not up my medicine anymore due to the risks to my uterus and my baby. The next check returned no progress, so "The Ukrainian" and I came to terms with what was next.  Honestly, I just wanted him or she to be safe. Within the hour, he was in scrubs and I was being prepped under a bright light. While they went at me, I tried to focus on my husband and our baby we were about to meet.

I felt them kneading something out of me, and hearing the first cry was such a relief. "The Ukrainian" looked over and told me that we had a boy. Could not believe there really was a baby at the end of the long pregnancy finish line! I got a quick look before he and the baby went to recovery while I was being worked on. That part was bad, as I started shaking from all the pitocin earlier and felt pain in my chest, which they said was totally normal.

All in all, the procedure lasted somewhat over half an hour. I got to join my husband and son and got some pictures taken, all of which I look really bad in. The rest of the day, my memory is spotty and I remember drifting off a lot even as people visited and I was nursing all day. It was icky to be completely bedridden and unable to eat for the second day in a row. So much vomiting from all the drugs, too. Definitely not the birth experience I had imagined.

But, in the end, my son is healthy and my husband and family have been amazing. I can't believe I grew such a perfect little human being! I mean, I know pregnancy results in a baby, but I had no idea how life completely changed all so quickly.

Now for getting used to being a parent... And recovery. Yep, gonna need a lot of that...

Monday, November 10, 2014

Review: BackJoy StandRight Bliss

I have blogged about posture before, and here's another way of helping it!

I am kind of reaching a point where no shoes are comfortable on me.  I spent my last days at work in grey tennis shoes during lunch or commuting times and wobbled around in heels the rest of the time.

Thankfully, I quit super-tall heels long ago, but any heel height was a feat.

I didn't spend a lot of time wearing flats, although I should have.  I simply did not have a pair that fit anymore.  My harder, normal flats got tight, and then even my "forgiving" flats got tight.

I wish I had had these BackJoy StandRight Bliss shoes around earlier!

From their website:

Created for women on the go, the Bliss Ballet style offers classic simplicity with all the benefits of our patented Natural Gait Line System™. The Ballet guides your foot during walking while a neutral position keeps your head, hips and feet balanced in good posture. Shock-absorbing materials cushion the foot and heel at impact and disperse energy for extra comfort and support.

Basically, these are the only flats that fit on my swelling feet without pain.  My feet look semi-normal in them, and the sides expanded beautifully even though I was skeptical at first.  The loops in the back make slipping them on very easy!

And actually, they feel very supportive inside, unlike most other flats.  As you can see, my 9-months-preggo legs look semi-normal while wearing these.  Also, standing for prolonged periods of time isn't as bad with these on, and anything that can help my posture at this point is much-appreciated.  These will definitely be getting a lot of wear!

If you're used to wearing popular flats like Tom's, these are WAY more comfortable, and frankly, nicer-looking.  If you're looking for a holiday splurge or gift for someone, these would be a good choice.


FTC Disclaimer: I was provided a sample of this product from BackJoy (#GiveBackJoy) and was otherwise not compensated to provide a positive review.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Some Thoughts on My Last Day of Work

It's no secret that I miss my previous job and the days when I had the option of telecommuting.

However, it has been a full two years since I was laid off and another year-and-a-half-plus since I've been working at my current job.  Since then, I've kind of just been working just trying to get to that next vacation or even the next paycheck, not worrying about progress or the future or anything like that.  Perhaps it was because I knew we'd be starting a family in the foreseeable future and didn't want to get myself into an unideal situation.  Looking back, that was kind of an irrational way to approach things, but that's where I was, mentally.  I knew that I'd have to face the whole family vs. career thing sooner or later, and with this week being my last before maternity leave, I find myself having mixed emotions about that.

Working during the pregnancy has been, well, rough.  I was lucky that I wasn't running off to the toilet all the time... well, until the end, hah.  Still, the exhaustion and nauseated feelings made it hard for me to concentrate.  Plus, let's face it -- the prospect of having your first baby in itself is pretty distracting, anyway.  It was a huge relief when I started telling people, just at the point when it couldn't really be hidden anymore.  I wasn't wanting or expecting any special treatment, though there were days when I WISHED I could lay down just for a bit or have my car readily available to nap in during lunch.  As I approach the end of my pregnancy, people have just been too kind in asking how I'm doing and all that.  It's a little much, as an introverted person, for me to keep saying I'm doing okay when I feel steamrolled, but I think for a lot of people, it sort of brings back their own memories and a bond of some sort between us.  I feel a little guilty that everyone has been so kind to me, even though I generally didn't want to come in at all.  I'm pretty sure I am going to miss all these casual interactions when I am at home.

This is pretty much the last "normal" day I'll have.  I have never been away from work longer than six working days, and now I'm about to do something completely different for the next few months.  Months ago, I was undeniably looking forward to my last day at work.  Originally, I thought I could work up until the end, but at some point, I realized there is definitely a reason pregnancy is legally considered a disability (holy discomforts! totally admire people who go longer!).  As I got my away messages ready and backups trained, though, I started to feel a little sad, almost like I was leaving for good rather than just a long vacation of sorts.

Everything is about to change, and the next time I'll be coming in, I'll hopefully be physically normal again (a feeling I can barely remember) but will have a whole new home life to go home to each night.  There will be no more sympathy or excuses, not like I wanted any, but still.  I will have to balance my own ambitions, which sort of have been on hold during my pregnancy, with the needs of my evolving family.  I think my feelings are a combination of nostalgia for how my daily routine was before pregnancy and the unknown of what is coming.  I'm definitely ready for the new challenge of motherhood and excited to meet my little passenger... and finding that new daily routine and "new normal" I keep hearing about.  At the moment, I don't know whether it'll be about picking up the pieces, going for my ambitions again, or simply a game of survival in 2015.  I do know, though, that coming back will be difficult, but I'm sure it's the best decision for everyone.

As for how I'm going to be spending my time, well, assuming the baby stays put for a while, I hope to walk more in the Fall air, enjoy quiet time to myself, have weekday lunches with my friends, and get some last things done at my house (cleaning!) and my parents' house (packing!).  Oh, and celebrate our anniversary, probably just us two, for now.