I have felt especially anxious these past few weeks and I always feel better when I write, so I am back. This isn’t really about miscarriage, really, so it doesn’t really fit the “miscarriage blog” theme, but, well, so it is.
Things that are making me anxious (part I):
1. Baby E, just like her brother, spontaneously stopped nursing. He did it in one day; she did it in two. I love nursing her and this breaks my heart. I am hoping that we can still have an early morning feed, or that she will have a change of heart, so I am going to still pump. She is 11 months now, so we have had a pretty good go. Still, it makes me sad. I was hoping it would last longer. We spent 4 days on a work/vacation trip to the SW and she did not nurse a single time. I thought perhaps it was a change in her routine, but she still, after 2 days at home, has no interest. She had virtually lost interest before we left, so this is not a surprise, really.
2. Baby E is not a baby anymore. She is little girl E. I do not have a baby anymore. I am SO VERY HAPPY to be past the pregnancy phase of parenthood, but it is a chapter closing, and it makes me a bit sad.
3. I am gaining weight. Oh, and I didn’t lose a single pound while breastfeeding. And my thyroid is working just fine. I need to get to the gym, but I am just too pooped at the end of the day to motivate myself to go.
4. S is super-gifted and, in a nutshell, his school doesn’t know what to do with him. He is developmentally all over the place (gross-motor delay but he can read at 2) so they gave him what I think is a bogus diagnosis so he can get early intervention services. This is good for him, but very hard for my maternal pride. Through all the testing, all they did was tell me where S was behind. I kept wanting to add “but you know he can read, right? You know he can write words, right? You know HE’S ONLY 2 YEARS OLD, RIGHT?” He doesn’t fit the mold. He’s different. The system can’t deal with different. So, yes, on one level, I get it. On another level, though, can’t they at least acknowledge that in some areas, he so beyond their norms that their tests don’t even register this? His skills do not show up on the tests for his age group, so instead we just ignore them?
5. Money. We owe a lot. We are owed a lot. What we are owed is not here yet.
6. My neighbor is bat-shit crazy. She’s a hoarder and owns two houses on our block that are totally full of shit. We are now in a property line-dispute over inches. Also, we own a third of her backyard and I am just annoyed enough to redo the fence so we get our land back. This is mostly amusing, but I had living next to someone who doesn’t like me, even if it is mutual.
7. Work. Tenure. Publishing. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
8. My brother and his wife are going through IVF. I feel like I should reach out to them, but I don’t like them. They are honestly two of the most selfish people I have ever met and last year, the metaphorical straw broke, and I decided it was best for me to just stop trying to have a relationship with them. I know how suck-tastic infertility is, but I just can’t reach out to them. And this makes me feel like a terrible person. But I just can’t.
I am sure there are more, but these are the big ones right now. I would really like my new anti-anxiety medicine (actually, same medicine, higher dose) to kick in soon, please.
At my 35 week OB appointment, I was screened for group-B strep and e-coli. They usually test later, but since I was early with S, they tested me at 35 weeks. My water broke at 36 weeks. Breech baby. C-section.
My OB treated me with IV antibiotics both for the group B strep, which came back positive, and as a matter of protocol for a surgical procedure.
Last week, the yeast infection in my breasts started raging, most likely due to the antibiotics. I was put on an antifungal, Diflucan, and Baby E was put on Nystatin. My colitis, also most likely due to the antibiotics, started to flare last week as well. I was already taking probiotics (the “good” bacteria) but I doubled the dose to try and avoid c-diff (the “bad” bacteria that grows when the “good” bacteria is killed off). I took my anti-inflammatory medicine. Nothing was working. I did what I usually do — I started a course of steroids (Prednisone) on Saturday and planned to call my GI doctor on Monday to determine a medium-term course of treatment.
Prednisone, as luck would have it, encourages the growth of candida yeast.
My breasts were starting to feel better but I woke up this morning and all the burning was back. I can’t believe I forgot about Prednisone and candida. I called my doctor. He prescribed a new type of steroid for me (it dissolves in the GI system so only 10% gets into the blood stream), a 6-day course of antibiotics (irony!), and upped the dose of all my anti-inflammatory medicines. I am probably going to have to stay on the Diflucan for 6 weeks, the duration of the steroid treatment. Baby E will probably have to stay on medicine, too.
All this from one dose of an IV antibiotic: necessary, yes, but evil.
Once again, I have a yeast infection in both of my breasts. It is very, very painful. I guess the antibiotics they give you during the c-section can cause the overgrowth of the yeast. Baby E is also on an antibiotic for a clogged tear duct that became infected, so between the two of us, it is not surprising this happened.
If you have never had one, imagine someone pouring battery acid into your nipples and then shoving shards of glass into the rest of your breast. It is worse during let down and then continues to burn for hours after the feeding. I have to rewash all my nursing bras in hot water and hang them in the sun to dry so I don’t reinfect myself.
I am on oral Diflucan and I have to wash my nipples with vinegar and rub Monistat on them after every feeding. Baby E has to take Nystatin after every feeding and she really doesn’t like the taste. Poor girl.
Let it never be said I am not committed to breastfeeding.
My father killed himself, via a massive drug overdose (after a previous attempt about 2 weeks earlier), 5 days after S was born. In the past two years, I have learned to forgive him for a lot and empathize with the illness. Robbing me of my euphoria over S’s birth, however, I will never be able to forgive. I will always hate him for it. It makes me angry that in my mind S’s earliest days are clouded by this event, as much as try to avoid doing so.
With E, somehow I feel like I am getting to do everything over again. They are almost exactly 2 years apart (2y/6 days, to be exact). Both were born early. My labor started with both of them at 36 weeks: S stayed put for a few days longer while E was born just hours later. Both times my water broke announcing that this was “real labor” after Mr.MC was told to go home and get some sleep. To me, at least, they bear a striking resemblance, especially with E in her older brother’s hand-me-down clothes.
Five days after her birth, instead of processing my father’s suicide, I spent the day with my husband, my son, my daughter, and my mom. We sat for hours in the new nursery while S entertained us with his 2-year-oldness. It was perfect.
Instead of breastfeeding woes (poor latch, poor sucking reflex, mastitis, blocked ducts, previous duct damage in my left breast, etc…) I have a preemie baby who nurses like a champ. What my father’s death didn’t undo, hormones and the stress of breastfeeding finished off. I was told I had to feed every 2-3 hours. I had to pump to try and get the left breast working. S wasn’t gaining weight and he wasn’t sucking long or hard enough to bring in more milk. I hated pumping. I was physically exhausted and sleep deprived. My baby was not gaining weight and I had to supplement with formula for a few days. It was crushing.
This time I have a preemie who figured out breastfeeding the first time she nursed. She latches and sucks like a champion (I have to break the seal of her latch to get her off, even when she falls asleep, because she sucks so well). She came even earlier than S but nurses, according to the lactation consultant at the hospital, like a skilled full-term baby. My milk came in without incident. She is already starting to gain her weight back. Even with a clogged tear duct, eye drops, and antibiotics, she rarely cries (only when I don’t get her on the boob fast enough) and is very mellow. I am not pumping; I am nursing completely “on-demand,” even if she goes 4-5 hours between a feeding and, contrary to the warnings of the lactation-nazis out there, she is just fine. She poops and pees the requisite amounts. Her pediatrician proclaimed her, save for the tear duct infection, “perfectly healthy.” Instead of worrying about when I should feed her, I feed her when she is hungry, which means no more setting timers and constantly worrying that she has gone too long between feedings.
This is how it is supposed to be. I am exhausted and still recovering from the c-section but this is one of the happiest times of my life. My son is happy, healthy, and hilarious. My beautiful daughter is here, albeit a little early, but she is healthy. My heart feels like it is going to explode with love for the both of them. My husband is has taken time off of work and we get to be all together as a family.
And my dad is already dead, so he can’t ruin anything anymore.
8w1d and not only does it have a heartbeat but it moves! And has limb buds! Most importantly, it is alive and, presumably, healthy.
I have one more appointment with my RE and then I am transferred back to my regular OB/GYN.
The incubatee is fine; the incubator is still kind of a mess. After nearly falling apart emotionally, I am now on another antidepressant, Wellbutrin, in addition to the Prozac I am currently taking. It will take a few weeks to start working, but at least I am doing something instead of wallowing in my own misery. I am not sure what triggered this particular trough, but here I am.
I am still taking daily progesterone, HCG shots every 3 days, and Lovenox/baby aspirin every day. It’s quite a routine. I can stop the HCG at 10 weeks and the progesterone at 12, so only a few more weeks to go.
I went into the RE today because I am falling apart. I vomited last night, after 3 days of debilitating nausea. I am so tired I can barely function. My OB’s office called in some Phenergan suppositories (fun!) so I could sleep without fear of puking. The fatigue, in particular, is much, much worse this time. I also am now very proactive about taking the anti-emetics and those, as luck would have it, also cause drowsiness.
The progesterone is also triggering a major depressive episode.
There is nothing to do but wait. I am within the parameters for “normal” but just experiencing “higher than average” fatigue and nausea.
So there you have it. Nothing to do but wait.
The good news is that there is a perfectly-sized embryo in there with a little heart just thumping away.
I held Baby S for the first time one year ago. I had a quick labor, about 5.5 hours from water-breaking to the three-push delivery. I lack the words to describe how much I love him. I am more proud of him than anything else I have done.
And yet, as I predicted, his birthday and that joy will always be tainted for me.
Yesterday was Father’s Day and I have no father. On 27 June 2008, my father committed suicide, five days after my son, his first grandchild, was born.
Sometimes Baby S looks like my dad when he smiles.
Me to my CNM: “Uh, yeah, I was wondering if I could get a thyroid cascade done this week?”
CNM: “Are you symptomatic?”
Me: “Well, my carpal tunnel is acting up and I am tired, but I am mostly asking because I just got on the scale and I have gained almost 30 lbs. while breastfeeding.”
CNM: “Wow. . . . Yes, I will have the orders ready for you at the lab tomorrow morning.”
Baby S is 9 months, 2 weeks, and 6 days old. (We have a ticker on his blog; I am not actually that anal retentive).
I am still breastfeeding and plan to continue until he is at least a year.
It is my gift to him. As I mentioned before, the risk of developing colitis is cut by up to 75% if one is breastfed for 12 months. We are only nursing 3-4 times a day, so it is really not so bad anymore in terms of time commitment.
Except for one thing: the weight gain.
When Baby S was born I weighted 181 lbs. I got on the scale this week and weighed 209 lbs. HOLY FRACK!
I was never hungry when I was pregnant but breastfeeding makes me hungry all the time. I eat almost everything put in front of me, even my veggies. It is an even more intense hunger that when I was on Prednisone (steroids for treating colitis) and my CNM told me just to listen to my body as it is determined to make high-quality breastmilk. She also pointed out that I did not eat well at all while pregnant, so my body is just trying to replenish lost nutrients.
But almost 30 lbs of weight gain while breastfeeding?
I joined a gym this week because if the apetite is going to be like this, something else has got to change. I had to go out again and buy more “fat” clothes. I read somewhere — and I am too lazy to go find it again — that 22% of women gain more than 15 lbs. while breastfeeding. I was never told this. It would not stopped me from breastfeeding, but it would have made me feel like less of a freak.
The fucking wee yeasties are back.
For like the 5th or 6th time.
If you have never had yeast, it burns like someone is pouring battery acid on your nipple after you nurse. For me, it is more painful than mastitis.
So, I am back on the Diflucan. Double the regular dose for two weeks with two more months of refills. Baby S is on Nystatin for two weeks to make sure he stays clean. I have to go wash all my bras in hot water and vinegar and continue to boil everything that touches my nipples, i.e. all of my pumping stuff.
Baby S’s doctor and I decided that I will pump ‘n’ dump for a few days and give him formula. Since we have passed this infection back and forth while I was exclusively pumping, she is assuming that there is yeast in the breastmilk itself.
None of this sounds so bad, right? I mean, it doesn’t sound like fun, but the worst part is the actual feeding part. It nearly makes me cry to give him formula and dump breastmilk down the drain. I know it does not make rational sense but it just feels so very wrong. My breasts ache to nurse him and I realize now how emotionally invested I am in the nursing relationship.
Yet, on the other hand, it is strangely freeing. Knowing that he can eat whenever he wants, have as much as he wants, and be fed by anyone is oddly liberating. My goal is to make it to at least a year: 4.5 more months to go.
It’s not bad news. It’s not good news, either, but I am trying (and mostly failing) to focus on the fact that it is not bad news.
Baby S had to go and see a pediatric neurologist today. At his 4-month check up, his pediatrician noticed that he had some shaking when he sat up. He thought they may have been mild seizures and requested an EEG and pulled some strings to forgo the usual 6-month wait to see the specialist.
The EEG was normal. He is not having seizures. The neurologist confirmed this today.
Mr. MC and I had both noticed the shakiness, or “trembling” as the doctor called it today, but we assumed it was just muscle fatigue. The trembling began when he started holding his head up and then moved into his shoulders and arms when he began to hold his torso up. It is worse when he is tired or has been sitting up for a while.
The neurologist said it was not muscle fatigue. He does not know what it is, exactly. The rest of his neurological exam was normal, so we are to come back in four months and by then it will either have resolved itself or other symptoms will have presented themselves and he will be better able to make a diagnosis.
I hate to wait. HATE IT. I waited so long for this baby, my beautiful baby boy, and now I have to wait to see if there is something wrong with him?
Fuck, fuck, fuck.
I want to cry. I want to hold him and never let go. I want the doctor to call back and tell me that Baby S will be fine and this is nothing to worry about. I want my baby to be fine and perfect and healthy.
Instead, I am going to take a shower and go teach a class. Baby S is with my mom, who is no doubt showering him with her usual love and affection. I really want to cancel class, but I think I need to get my mind off of this for a little while.
I thought it was gone. I am on my last day of Diflucan (oral medicine) and have religiously applied Monistat cream to my nipples for 7 days. I pumped exclusively and carefully washed all the pump parts with hot, soapy water while Baby S dined from bottles with sterilized nipples. My symptoms went away! I was optimistic! Then I started nursing again yesterday and, to quote the ever-annoying Emeril, BAM!, right back to the burning nipples today.
I blame the stupid NP at the pediatrician’s office two weeks ago who told me Baby S did not need to be treated if he was asymptomatic. She was wrong. I knew she was wrong, but she is an NP with years of clinical experience and I followed what she recommended, which was not to treat Baby S for yeast. Did I mention I knew she was wrong? My midwife said she was wrong. The nurse I spoke to this morning said she was wrong. I should have not been so complacent and insisted on medicine for Baby S, too. (I just got a call back from the doctor: he says the NP was “not correct” about discontinuing the medication. So I will not be charged for that visit, right? She will be reprimanded? Told not to be such a smug beeyotch next time? Encouraged to research chronic yeast infections before opening her “I-Have-Years-of-Clinical-Experience-and-You-Don’t” mouth?)
Oh, and my hair is falling out. I had, according to Mr. MC and my hairstylist, thick, shiny, gorgeous hair during my pregnancy. At exactly 3 months post-partum, my hair started falling out. I knew this was normal, so initially I was not alarmed. Except that it kept on coming out. Like a LOT. Like ALL THE TIME. It is really thin now, especially around my face. I know my thyroid is okay, so here’s hoping the book is right and this resolves itself by 6 months, because I shudder to think how awful I would look bald.
Here is Baby S at 4.5 months, who somehow manages to make thin hair work.
The fucking yeast isn’t gone.
Now, just to add to the fun, I have the beginnings of mastitis.
Antibiotics can cause an overgrowth of yeast; yeast makes your nipples burn like hell; burning, yeast-infected nipples crack and split; nipples get infected; a course of antibiotics is given to stop the infection.
Does anyone else see a real problem with this?
I am taking both the anti-fungal and the anti-biotic simultaneously and swallowing as many pro-biotics as I can. I am also trying to cut out (or at least down on) sugar, as sugar feeds the nasty little wee-yeasties.
Two years ago, I went in for my 10-week ultrasound and discovered I had a blighted ovum. Today, I am watching my son try to suck on his thumb and blogging about pains in my boobs. All things considered, life is good.
UPDATE: And now, due to the anti-biotic, the yeast is back with a vengeance, even though I am still taking the anti-fungal. Baby S and I are both now back on the topic anti-fungal. I can’t win, I swear.
The yeast is still here. It is better, but it still burns after I nurse and Baby S is still not himself. The Nystatin is not very powerful, but is the first anti-fungal that is used. Now, I think, it might be time to move onto something more powerful. Baby S continues to grow like a weed and, based on our crappy home scale, is about 16lbs (!!!!).
I hate yeast.
Really, really, really.
I thought that I hated yeast in my bajingo, but it is nothing compared to yeast in my nipples and poor Baby S’s mouth. It burns like crazy and makes my poor little guy super gassy and fussy.
I have to smear anti-fungal goop all over my breasts after every feeding and swab Baby S’s mouth with the stuff several times a day. We also have to sterilize all his pacifiers and bottles, and I have to wash all my bras and then stick them out in the sun to kill any lingering yeast.
Oh, and did I mention it makes my nipples burn. like. hell ?
p.s. Mr. MC, as you can probably tell, was way more upset about Maggie’s comment than I was. As far as I am concerned, she can kiss my burning nipples ass.
I don’t know who first said that, but they may be onto something.
I went to the dentist for what I thought was a cracked filling. It was not a cracked filling. It was a cracked tooth, split right down the middle. Cue the endodontist, the emergency root canal, and the Novocaine. I now know where the expression “… about as much fun as a root canal” comes from as root canals are not, it turns out, any fun.
Thanks to my colitis, I can not take ibuprofen, which is recommended as it is an anti-inflammatory, and Tylenol and swishing warm water (!?) were just not cutting it for the pain. I called back the next morning and they were apologetic that they had not given me anything stronger. I immediately got a prescription for Tylenol with codeine, but by this point, the pain was really out of control. I actually could feel my pulse in what was left of my tooth because it was so badly bruised from the procedure. I called back again and they wanted to see me in person as “something was amiss.” The nice young doctor, who I am sure just looked really, really young but was perfectly certified to be doing what he was doing, shaved off more of the tooth as it was hitting on my bite (I didn’t ask for more details, which seemed to disappoint him; I just wanted them to fix whatever the heck was wrong) and they gave me a few days worth of Vicodin to get me through the worst of the pain. (As an aside, you can nurse on these medicine, as long as you give your body enough time to metabolize the stuff. I would pump, wait four hours, and then nurse or pump again. After three hours, the narcotics are mostly gone.) I have another follow-up next week with the endodontist and then I have to go back to my regular dentist to have a crown put on.
Now, you ask, what the heck does this have to do with an epidural? I must sheepishly admit that I had been feeling, well, like kind of a major wimp for begging for getting an epidural. I really thought I would be able to do it naturally, but the pain proved too much for me to handle. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I felt like a failure, because after all I birthed a healthy baby, but I felt like a wuss. I read natural childbirth books, I watched “The Business of Being Born,” and I really did want to try and have a go at it, so I surprised myself at how quickly I gave in and asked for pain medicine when I was in active labor.
At my 6-week appointment with my midwife, it was still bothering me, so I asked her if all women experience labor the same. If everyone felt what I felt, I have no idea how they could make it. It was honestly like my body was being ripped apart, the contractions were just coming one on top of one another, I had to stay on my back, and I was only 3cm dilated, so I had hours and hours of this ahead of me. My midwife was very reassuring and told me two things that made me feel better. First, everyone experiences labor differently. It depends on your pelvic size, the size and position of your baby, how many nerve endings you have there, and your individual pain tolerance. Yes, it hurts, but how much it hurts can vary quite a bit. Second, in her opinion (and 25+ years of experience with laboring women), the single most important factor regarding how women tolerate labor is how much sleep they had the previous 72 hours. “MC,” she said, “we were gong to admit you that night because you had not slept for days due to the contractions. Anyone who has not slept has a markedly — and I mean markedly — decreased tolerance for pain.” That made me feel better and much less wussy-ish.
It wasn’t until I was writhing in pain waiting for the endodontist to work on my tooth that I stopped feeling weird about having an epidural. As soon as that Novocaine hit and he whipped out that drill, I said a silent thank-you to the universe for anesthesia. For Pete’s sake, this man drilled out the nerves in my tooth and I didn’t feel a bloody thing. The tooth, even though it needs a crown, was saved. If I had asked, I could have done it without anesthesia, but why? (The awful pain I felt afterward, in case you were wondering, was due to bruising in the surrounding tissue.)
Now, I am not going to argue that a shot of Novocaine is the same thing as an epidural. The risks are not the same and the administration for the Novocaine is a lot simpler. They are there, however, to take away the pain. Why is it socially acceptable to get Novocaine but somehow I felt like a complete wimp for getting an epidural? Yes, childbirth is “natural” but it still hurts like hell. I also get migraines, which are also “natural” and also hurt like hell. Why does taking away one kind of pain, be it from a migraine or a cracked tooth, seem the logical, rational thing to do and yet having epidural made me feel conflicted?
Women who give birth without pain medicine often say that they feel proud of themselves for doing what was best for their babies and themselves. Yet if I had asked for the root canal sans anesthesia, people would think I was insane. Why is there such a double standard?
(And why when I re-read this do I do it in the voice of a post-partum Carrie Bradshaw?)
My boobs are lopsided. The right breast — Rochelle — is a real champion at milk production. She is cranking out 1.5 ounces every 2-3 hours. The left breast — Lucielle — is not keeping up. I thought it was the clogged duct but that has cleared and she is still underproducing, even after days of extra pumping time.
Is this normal? If you have pumped or breastfed, does one boob out-produce the other?
Baby S was back to his birth weight in only 10 days, and is the picture of health.
I was also back to my pre-pregnancy weight a week after giving birth. As of today, I even managed to lose 2 pounds. It is easy to lose your pregnancy weight when you only gain 11 pounds, right? Not an ideal situation (I was worried sick about Baby S’s growth), but it sure is nice to have one less thing to worry about.
Thank you for all of your kind comments regarding my father’s death. I am, all things considered, doing okay. Cuddling Baby S makes it easy to focus my priorities and not to dwell in my negative emotions. I appreciate everyone who stopped by and offered support.
My dad was released from the psychiatric ward on Tuesday (they said he was a “model patient” and “no danger to himself”) and successfully committed suicide last night/early this morning by once again overdosing on prescription medicine. He was found in his hotel room and pronounced dead on the scene today. I am coping by focusing on my beautiful baby boy and the immeasurable joy he has brought into my life. My father knew Baby S was born and never asked about him or even wanted to see a picture. I think, although this sounds cynical, that this was best for all. This drama, played out over the course of my thirty-three year life, is finally over. He got what he wanted in the end.
I am determined not to let this cloud my memories of this early weeks with my son. Even with a plugged duct, which is making breastfeeding difficult, and round-the-clock feedings, I am having the time of my life. He is so beautiful and I intend to fully celebrate the wonder of his life.
When I was admitted on Friday to L&D, I got to preview first-hand the luxurious birthing rooms. I am sure if you are in active labor you probably would not be concerned with all of the aesthetic details, but the rooms really are very nice.
After they put a liter of IV fluid in you, even when you are dehydrated, you really have to pee, so I got to spend a lot of time going back and forth to the bathroom. The bathrooms have beautiful tile work, a large tub/shower filled with jets, a towel rack stocked with plush towels, and the sink was deep with lovely fixtures. They had luxury hand soaps, scented hand lotions, and a tube of lavender bath salts.
Even in the midst of everything, I had to laugh. Lavender bath salts? Really? Obviously they were intended for the tub, which is large enough to labor in but is not a delivery tub. Do they really think that in the midst of a natural labor, because you would not be lying in a warm tub (the “midwives’ epidural”) if you had an epidural, the lavender bath salts are going to contribute to your overall comfort? “Oh, these contractions are just AWFUL! PAINFUL! ARGHHHH!!! The warmth of the tub, however, is so very, very soothing. Wait, they have LAVENDER BATH SALTS? Sprinkle away! Why … I can barely feel the contractions now that I have used the LAVENDER BATH SALTS.”
In other non-toiletry news, my father is still alive. In fact, he has been extubated and is conscious. My brother will call with an update as soon as he talks more to my father’s nurse. That being said, I can not think any more about it because it causes me to either cry, feel nauseous/gag, have Braxton-Hicks contractions/cramping, or raises my blood pressure. None of these things are good for me or he-beastie, and so, per my midwife’s orders, I am only focusing on what I can control and my father, three states away in a who-knows-what kind of mental state, is far outside of my control.