Baby E turns 3 (weeks)!

To celebrate, here are some random photos:

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Post-bath tummy time. He smells like a vanilla cupcake with orange zest. YUM!

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I had my first (and hopefully only) cloth-diaper pee leak shortly after taking this photo.

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So I changed him into this instead.

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Still swimming

I’ve been clamoring to draft a blog post for almost three weeks but have been too busy to do so. I wanted to check in to say that we’re all still here!

I temporarily suspended my maternity leave after we got home from the hospital because of the large fundraising event that was on the horizon. I knew that my coworkers would have been completely screwed had I decided not to come back to help and, while it would have been my justifiable right to do so, the guilt would have eaten me alive. My decision to go back to work for two weeks translated into the most chaotic mayhem and lack of work/life balance I’ve likely ever experienced.

I felt like I did my very best to maintain as much of the baby-related work as I possibly could while working 50-60 hours in a week. K took most of the nighttime feedings and diapering duties, letting me sleep as much as possible so I could be lucid enough to work. I was able to conduct the majority of my work from home and at all hours of the day or night, but this past week required me to be at the workplace more frequently. I thought that mommy guilt was going to eat me alive – and mommy guilt was pretty much the only thing eating, as I certainly wasn’t consuming food.

The event took place this past Thursday and I’m happy to report that we all survived. I think it went as well as expected. I now have a couple of work days next week that will be solely focused on event wrap-up, then I will resume my maternity leave. I am looking so forward to doing just that – spending time with my guys, bonding as a new unit, taking walks and naps, and learning what the new normal of our family will look like.

Looking back at these past few weeks, I can honestly say that I couldn’t have made it through without my family. Waking up with E’s milky breath in my face, seeing his sweet face and knowing that I could count on my handsome, loving and hardworking husband was my fuel.

Right now, I have a load of diaper laundry in the wash, just completed washing bottles, and am catching a rerun of Law & Order while E sweetly naps at my side. I’m waiting for him  to wake up for his next feeding, then will change his diaper, and run a few errands while he sleeps a few more hours. I’m still very much in a place of amazement about my new mommyhood status, but I’m loving it.

I promise I won’t be such a stranger in the coming weeks!

2 weeks old

C and I have been adjusting well to parenthood.  Because Falco arrived so early, and C is really dedicated to her job, she’s postponed her maternity leave until after the 26th of April.  She works in fundraising/development, and there is a very large annual event that takes place on the 25th.  She plays a huge role in making this event happen, and didn’t want to leave her  co-workers or the agency in a lurch.  I respect how hard she is working, while still doing as much as she can at home to help me out.  She’s seriously worked about 60 hours this week already.  It’s rough.  It’s been a little challenging for me, home alone with the little guy.  I feel cooped up here and a little emotional and miss having her around to reassure me when I’m afraid I’m doing everything wrong.  C is totally the calm one right now….but I’m hoping that is just the pregnancy hormones and I’ll relax a little more soon.

Cloth diapering is going really well.  I have to admit I was a little scared of the poo and the poo sprayer!  (Since we’re bottle feeding the poop is not water soluble like breast milk feed babies).  But it really hasn’t been that bad at all, especially since we have this Spray Pal.  I highly recommend it!

The most challenging thing so far has been feeding.  Falco has some reflux and it’s a slow process to feed him and difficult to watch him uncomfortable and struggle while eating.  The pediatrician isn’t too worried about it since he isn’t having any trouble gaining weight.

And now for some pictures!!

daddy and baby had a rough start

daddy and baby had a rough start

Team Spirit

Team Spirit

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About 1 week old

About 1 week old

2 weeks

2 weeks

1 week old

Baby E is snuggled in his swing, Mama is taking a nap and Daddy keeps thinking about writing a blog post.  There’s so much I want to say about our first week as parents, but instead, I just keep looking down at him and tearing up.  I can’t really find the words except to say that I had no idea how intense this love could be–for him and my amazing wife.

I promise less sappy stuff and more fun photo filled posts soon.

-K

Happy Birthday, Baby E

The adage goes that one should sleep when his/her baby sleeps. After the ordeal that K and I went through to welcome our little guy into the world, I should definitely be following that advice. I can’t help myself, though. My schedule is completely topsy-turvy from all of the excitement.

K started magnesium sulfate, a smooth muscle relaxer to combat his surprise pre-eclampsia diagnosis, on Saturday evening. Fun side effects of this drug include major nausea, vomiting and hot flashes, and since it is such a major muscle relaxer, the protocol includes being confined to a hospital bed that’s been fully equipped with seizure pads, insertion of a Foley catheter, and the inability to eat anything beyond clear liquids. Needless to say, these factors meant that we were automatically in for a complete diversion from our preferred birth plans.

That same evening, they started K on three rounds of a cervical ripening medicine and began pitocin the next morning to stimulate contractions. The nursing staff closely monitored all of K’s vitals and he was hooked up to not short of NINE cords while nurses slowly increased pitocin throughout the day on Sunday.

K was a total champ, naturally managing pain through horrendous, chemically induced contractions, despite being almost completely stripped of the entirety of natural labor coping techniques. Our doula was shocked, stating that she had never worked with a birth parent using pitocin who didn’t also have to use pain meds.

Unfortunately, after all of this effort and a complete lack of sleep for days, K’s cervix wouldn’t budge beyond 4 cm and 80% effaced. Docs tried rupturing his amniotic sac but baby was far too high to safely accomplish this.

In the wee hours of Monday morning, the doc on call decided to turn K’s pitocin all the way down to the minimum dose overnight to try to further ripen his cervix, with the goal of increasing pitocin again later that morning. Our OB started her rotation after a few hours of K being back on the increased dosages of pitocin. She did a cervical check and discovered that there still hadn’t been any cervical progression. She explained that our options were becoming pretty limited and that she believed the magnesium, which was relaxing K to keep his blood pressure from skyrocketing, was working hard against the pitocin, which was trying to get his uterus to contract and progress labor. She gave us the option between continuing on pitocin for the day or delivering the baby via cesarean section.

Obviously a csection was never something we’d hoped for, but after battling uphill for so many days in succession, it felt like an empowering relief to make the decision to go that route. Within a matter of minutes, a flurry of medical professionals were in and out of our room, prepping us. I barely had enough time to call K’s mom to calmly explain what was going on and what we could all expect, before they whisked us back to the operating room.

I sat by K’s head, holding his hand, stroking his arm, and telling him how proud I was of all of his hard work, while a gigantic team of professionals presided over the birth of our son. I was given the option of watching while our doctor pulled our baby from K’s uterus. When he emerged, he sent a mighty stream of urine in an arc above the surgical team. It was quite the momentous debut.

Pediatricians and nurses quickly assessed our little guy’s health (he’s perfect, btw) while the surgical team continued working to deliver the placenta and then close up K’s incisions. They handed me our warm, cooing baby, whom I held by K’s head. We all stared at one another in complete awe.

I went with the little guy to recovery while we awaited the completion of K’s surgery, and he joined us there several minutes later. We were in recovery for two hours before being wheeled back to our labor & delivery room, where K will stay hooked up to the magnesium and related paraphernalia for the next 24 hours.

It has been an ordeal but it makes sense that our little guy fought his way into this world. He’s our kid, after all, and his parents are fighters. I present to you, dear readers, Baby E, born 4/8/2013 at 12:42 p.m., 8 lbs, 2 oz and 18.5″ long:

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I’m also happy to report that K is now slumbering peacefully for the first time in days. I know he’s dreaming about our little guy and finally being able to eat real food again tomorrow night.

The Best Laid Plans

After hanging out in a hospital room for a very uneventful 24 hours in order to collect his pee, it has been determined that K has pre-eclampsia. Neither he nor the baby are in immediate danger, but doctors rightfully take this stuff pretty darn seriously and K is being induced.

We were transferred over to a less glamorous labor and delivery room, where even less glamorous things occurred to K’s body. He was given magnesium to try to relax his body, as well as meds to ripen his cervix. Early in the morning, he’ll begin pitocin. The magnesium gave him the world’s worst hot flashes and he projectile vomited. The nurse was eventually able to reduce his dose of magnesium and K now feels a lot better.

Since K was already somewhat dilated and effaced, the nurse thinks we will likely be hugging our sweet Falco sometime in the next 24 hours!

Since I won’t be able to personally reply to your well-wishes and words of encouragement, I want to say in advance just how much we appreciate them. I’ll be sure to post photos as soon as I’m able!

Hangin’ at Triage

We went to our 37 week OB visit and were about 15 minutes late due to a terrible highway shutdown. Before we arrived, K received a phone call from the office, saying that our doc was called to the hospital for an emergency situation and that we’d be seeing the other doc.

We started with a repeat ultrasound, since Falco was measuring so huge the last time. This time, Falco measured 8 lbs, 9 oz (95th percentile) with a ton of amniotic fluid.

K’s blood pressure measured pretty high and he had protein in his urine for the first time during this pregnancy. The doc was concerned about possible pre-eclampsia and wanted a repeat blood pressure after the exam and cervical check (still 3 cm, 80% effaced).

Bp was still high, and since it was the end of the day on a Friday and lab work wouldn’t come back in a timely manner, the doc sent us over to the hospital for triage and assessment.

So far, baby isn’t distressed, but K’s bp has been all over the map (including quite a few normal readings). The bloodwork came back normal but the protein in K’s urine was still pretty high, so conservatively, the doc is admitting K into an antepartum room for a 24 hour urine collection and analysis. If those results show that he meets the criteria for pre-e, they’re definitely going to induce labor.

Here we go…?

On privilege

[This post was written on December 28, 2012, but since we weren’t yet making Falco’s sex public, I couldn’t post this until now.]

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it will mean to be parents of a small person who, from the time of his entry into the world, will already be gifted a whole lot more privilege than either of his parents received and experienced. Falco’s privilege gift basket includes but is definitely not limited to:

  • Being a cisgender male. Sure, Falco, your daddy walks through the world as a man and, as such, receives a lot of unearned privilege as a result. It is so very different to be a cisgender male, to have your biology and body match your gender identity, and to have a penis in a world that seems obsessed with the phallus. How in the hell are we going to deal with this when neither of your parents can relate?
  • Being a white person in a world that values whiteness, equates beauty with white standards, and routinely and systematically oppresses people of color. Your mommy and daddy believe that parenting around white privilege will be quite a challenge, but as people who have experienced white privilege their entire lives and actively and carefully work to consider and address issues of racism, we feel prepared for this particular challenge.
  • Being a person whose parents are perceived to be a heterosexual couple. Nevermind that you were birthed through your papa’s vagina, Falco, or that your mama will not yet have legal recognition as your mother, as the majority of the world will never know this. Once you are here and in our arms, the public will see what they perceive to be a mama and papa wearing you, carrying you, and loving on you. They will interpret our family unit as “normal,” which is gross and unfair. Luckily, you will have a lot of people in your life who are queer, have queer parents, and love queer people. Your father and mother also grew up with parents who were perceived to be heterosexual, and we will make sure that you have access to all sorts of family structures and thoroughly understand that family is not about biology, gender, sexuality, or number of adults that one might have in their lives.

Everytime someone tells me how I will soon see that raising a son is “easy” – and trust me, it happens with shocking frequency – I want to scream at them, “If raising a son is so ‘easy,’ you’re fucking doing it WRONG!” One of our friends, badass feminist blogger Cristy C of UpRoot fame, has uttered the following many times and it really resonates with us: “It is easier to teach someone to resist their oppression than it is to teach someone to refuse their own privilege.”

Raising a son who understands and rejects the nuances of the privilege he is handed simply for being born who he is will quite literally be the largest challenge we will ever experience. Bring it.

37 Weeks

I keep meaning to write a post but I feel like all I would be doing would be complaining about being 9 months pregnant.  I’ve felt pretty upbeat and positive most of this pregnancy, but these past two week has really knocked me on my ass.  I keep thinking that I have 24 days until the due date, and as you’ve probably read from C’s previous posts,the doc thinks Falco may be coming earlier.  Here’s a little update from the preggo.

Hard things:

I’ve been so sick these past weeks, probably sicker than I have been in years.  I think the most stressful part was the constant intense coughing which gave me days worth of braxton hicks contractions and kept making me barf and pee myself.  😦

I’m tired as hell.  Walking to my carpool at the end of my workday I feel so weary.  I walk soooo slowly. And I feel HUGE.  It’s seriously getting hard to get comfortable driving (sleeping, sitting, etc.)  Plus I wake up every 45 minutes to pee all night long.  Really….it is that often; I check the time!

I am feeling a ton of early, early labor symptoms this week (cramping, bad lower back pain, extreme pressure (it really feels like I am walking around trying to hold a bowling ball between my legs) lightening/baby dropping, crazy bowel movements, an increase in cervical mucus).  All this stuff is a bit overwhelming emotionally.  I’m trying to just make a note of what is happening, and not pay too much attention to anything or read too much into anything.  Easier said than done!

I have absolutely ZERO desire to wear clothes.  I’ve been sleeping naked and am hardly dressed when I’m around the house.  I no longer give a shit what I look like or wear to work.  Some of my man-ternity pants don’t even fit me anymore, and I don’t even care.  I just cycle through the same 3 or 4 outfits and think to myself, at least I’m still working.

Good things:

The nursery is done!  It’s so cute and cheery and makes me happy every time I pop my head in the room.

Our bags are packed, and virtually everything left on our to-do list is crossed off.  C and I both busted our butts this weekend.

I have finally finished my contingency plan for my leave after Falco is born–A detailed 5 page document outlining the status of all the projects I oversee, coverage plans, and alternate contact info, etc.  I have a draft of my work email away message ready to go!  This makes me feel so much better.  As much as I want to spend a ton of time home after the birth it’s going to be really stressful for me to be away from work.  I really love and enjoy what I do and it is going to drive me a little nuts to feel disconnected from the studies I manage and work on.

I’m 3 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced at about 37 weeks.  This means nothing EXCEPT it makes me feel like SOMETHING is happening.  My body is getting ready and sooner or later we will meet this little one.

 

Our Birth Plan

I originally password protected this post because there are family members who now have access to this blog and we were waiting until the birth of our child to announce his sex… which is male. Yes, readers – you now know that we’re having an amazing, deliciously imperfect little boy, whom we plan to encourage to express his gender however he wishes/decides. This post, which contains the finalized version of our birth plan, specifically mentions Falco’s sex.

Our Birth Hopes

Gestational Parent/Father-to-be: K
Non-Gestational Mother-to-be: C
Doula: Marie
Location: Our Hospital Birthing Suite

Hi there and thank you for your care and expertise during this exciting moment in our growing family! We’re K and C and this is our first baby. We appreciate you taking the time to learn about us and our birth preferences.

It is really important to us that you know that K, who is delivering our child, identifies as a man, uses male pronouns such as he/him, and will be our child’s father. We’d like you to also be aware that C is our baby’s mother. While we know that mistakes and confusion can occur, we hope that you will do your very best to refer to us using these terms.

Birth preferences:
We know that labor and delivery are unpredictable. Ultimately, we want the health of K and our baby to take precedence. Whenever possible in non-emergent situations, we’d like to discuss all procedures, including their risks and benefits, before they take place.

Labor:

  • We would like only necessary people in the room during labor and delivery. This includes C, our doula, a nurse, and our doctor.
  • K wishes to be able to move freely in order to naturally manage his pain. To this end, he would like a port to be inserted upon our admission, and for an IV to be used only if it is determined to be necessary. He would also like intermittent monitoring instead of constant monitoring techniques, when at all possible.
  • K wishes to be able to utilize natural comfort measures, including but not limited to the use of a shower or tub, changing positions, and the ability to walk to stimulate/progress labor.
  • We are aware of the availability of pain-relieving medication, and will request it if the father feels it is necessary. Please do not offer pain medication.

Delivery:

  • K would like to be able to push as he feels naturally compelled to do so (i.e. spontaneous/patient-directed pushing style). Please do not direct his pushing by counting.
  • We would like the ability to try different pushing positions, including but not limited to squatting, hands and knees, and toilet sitting. Please do not limit K to birthing our baby while he is on his back.

Cesarean Section:

  • We wish for both C and our doula to be present if a cesarean section is necessary.
  • So that we feel involved in the process, we would like for the doctor or nurse to describe what is taking place during the cesarean section.
  • While K is recovering from the cesarean section, our infant should remain with C, unless he is experiencing a medical emergency that requires immediate medical care.

Newborn care:

  • Cord cutting: We wish to allow our child to continue to be attached to the umbilical cord until it has stopped pulsing. At that time, C would like to cut the cord.
  • Temperature regulation: We wish for our child to be placed, skin-to-skin, with C or K, immediately after birth.
  • Eye treatment: We wish to forgo the antibiotic ointment in our child’s eyes.
  • Rooming in: We wish for our child to remain in our room at all times, unless he is experiencing a medical emergency that requires immediate medical care.
  • Circumcision: We do not want our child to be circumcised.
  • Feeding: We are unable to breastfeed our child and would like to use bottled formula.
  • Bathing: Due to a risk of severe maternal allergy, please do not bathe our infant with any product other than what we have provided.