Thursday, September 26, 2013

Today in Central Park

Little Ms. Magpie is taking off in the standing and walking department. This morning, she walked across the room unassisted, 8 or 9 steps. And then later today, she went to Central Park where she continued her standing and walking adventures, motivated by the Biggest Bubble Ever! Eleven months and a couple of days, and I think we have a walker. I need to get more video of her crawling while she'll still do it. I will miss her slap slap slap sounds as she crawls rapidly around the apartment.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

10 months update

Baby girl is growing up, and I know I am way overdue for an update in this space. Working and being a mom have been difficult to balance. More on that in a future post, but for now, let me bring you up to speed on how the little one has been. 

What is Magpie's personality like these days?  Magpie is very smiley and bubbly and seems to be an extrovert so far. When meeting new people, she'll tuck her head in to my chest (our only sign of stranger anxiety) but can't resist peeking out to see the other person and smile at them. And then fairly quickly, she's reaching out to them and calling to them. So not a shy girl here... She loves peekaboo. She is very expressive and a bit intense and opinionated, but has a happy disposition overall. She is always in motion, always on the go. Smiling but doesn't like to be constrained for long - quick hug and then she's off to the next thing. I cherish the rare moments when she is mellow and will snuggle against me, which is usually just when she is waking up and right before she falls asleep. 

Motor Skills: Ms. Magpie's been crawling since she was 6 months - we thought she'd be walking by now, and she is close, taking a few unassisted steps before falling, but she is not walking without holding someone's hand for any distance yet. When she crawls, she moves fast, and slaps her hands down on the hardwood floors so you can hear her coming no matter where in the apartment you are (slap, slap, slap, slap, slap). It is a sound I will miss when she's sturdily on two feet : )

Communication: Verbal skills-wise, Magpie loves to babble and seems to be saying a few meaningful words - "hi," "mamamama," "dadadada," and "cat" (which is funny, because we don't have a cat) - in addition to making many other consonant-vowel combo sounds. She loves to make a "spppt" sound (with less spit than it used to include, thankfully!), she does a light fake cough to try to get you to cough back at her (Eh! Eh!), and sometimes she pants (breathes out of her mouth really fast over and over) when she is excited - maybe because her "sister" Moxie is a dog? This is usually in combination with arms outstretched and waving excitedly. She also loves to put her hand against her mouth as she is making a sound to listen to how it changes the volume and sound quality ("Ah-Wah-Wah-Wah-Ah-Wah-Wah-Wah"). She also loves to wrinkle up her face and make a pig face and noise when she is happy and excited.

We've been trying to teach Magpie signs for "milk" and "more" and "water" and "eat" and "mom" and "dad" (all from the baby signs, vol. 1 video, which is her one experience of watching the television), but the only sign she has picked up is the sign for "dog," which is funny and sweet, but not that useful. She waves hello and good-bye and just learned to clap last week, which she loves doing. Here she is on her first day "clapping" with one hand. She's a pro now, clapping excitedly at everything.


Moxie and Magpie: Magpie loves playing with Moxie, "throwing" (more like dropping) the ball for her and patting  her while making ooing and aaahing noises. 

Activities: Activity-wise, Magpie loves the playground near our house, especially the swings and the sandbox (altho she will eat the sand, given the chance!). On hot days this summer, she really liked the water sprinklers they have at the playground. She loves the Manhattan Children's museum and the library as well and also loves all the sights and sounds of the grocery store and just street life in general in NYC.

Napping/Sleep: Sleepwise, she's doing well. She naps for two naps a day, morning and afternoon, for anywhere from 2-3.5 hours total. And then she sleeps at night from 7 or 8pm until approximately 6:30am. She usually sleeps through at this point unless something is bothering her, like a new tooth coming through. Speaking of teeth, she has two on the bottom and four on the top. More are on the way, based on some recent fussiness and drooling. : )

Eating: Magpie likes to eat a bunch of solids now and prefers to feed herself. Last night she had lamb saag and chickpeas and cantaloupe and strawberries and some naan. When she is done, she tends to drop her food off the side of her highchair (much to my frustration), but gets quite a bit in her mouth prior to that as well. She seems to prefer "real" food to baby food purees. She is still very small and so I still give her about 24 ounces of milk a day. This past week I started replacing one bottle of milk with a bottle of formula and she likes it and drinks it fine. My supply is diminishing because I am pumping less, and I'd like to stretch out our freezer stash as long as possible. And I have to admit, I am completely sick of exclusively pumping at this point. I plan to stop at 12 months and cannot wait to be done!

Weight: I still worry a lot about Magpie's weight. At almost 11 months, she weighs just 15 pounds. To give you a sense of how little she is, she still wears size 3-6 month clothes. She was 8 lbs., 3 ounces at gaining quite slowly. Any thoughts on that? Her pediatrician says she isn't worried because Magpie's development is right on time. But I've read that she should triple her birth weight by one year of age and she hasn't even doubled hers. She has dropped from the 50th percentile at birth to the 2nd percentile. Which honestly just makes me cringe inside. I'm thinking we may need to get another opinion to get to the bottom of this, but I'm not even sure what would be the right avenue. A developmental pediatrician? A nutritionist? A feeding specialist? Something else? Please let me know any thoughts or ideas on this. 

OK...enough for now....but better to get this off a little stream of consciousness-like than to have another month pass with no update!


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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Magpie's birth story, part III

...Continued (sorry for the long delay) from Part I....and Part II....

Time continued to 4:30PM I was feeling the contractions again and my doula suggested I get the epidural topped off. In hindsight, I regret this. I wasn't in terrible pain and I was still able to use the bedpan, which was super important to me. But the doula told me that I needed to be able to rest so that I could push later. And that the fact that I was wincing with the contractions meant that I needed a heavier dose of epidural. Anesthesia came in and topped off the epidural, which stopped the contraction pain, but also numbed everything else.

At 5:15PM a new OB on call came in (this would be the third OB on call during my labor, my wonderful OB having long since started....and then finished...her shift). I had never met this OB. She was brusque and told me I hadn't peed enough and would need to be catheterized. It sounds trivial, and as someone who has faced significant medical things in my life, including cancer treatment, I know it IS trivial, but be what it may, I am terrified of urinary catheters. I hate the sensation of them and was worried that the epidural wouldn't numb that awful feeling it causes for me. The OB insisted - I had to have the catheter. She was sure I was retaining urine and that this was keeping the labor from progressing. I cried for awhile, out of fear, and then once I'd gathered myself a bit, a nurse came in and catheterized me. It was as bad as I had expected, and epidural or no, I felt it throughout the remainder of the labor as a constant pain that intensified during the pressure caused by each contraction (so much for any rest, as prescribed by the doula!). Further frustrating me, it turned out I wasn't retaining urine after all and had only a small amount in my bladder. So I would be in extreme discomfort for the duration for nothing.

By this point, I felt that my hopes for the birth were going out the window. I felt terribly out of control, hooked up to so many monitors and tubes, including internal monitors on Magpie, that I could barely move. I felt defeated and overwhelmed and terribly uncomfortable. Anesthesia came in again to give me another top off on the epidural at 6:10PM to try to help with the urinary catheter pain, and around 7:00PM, the OB came in, said I was now 6 centimeters dilated, but the baby was still high. She said I had also developed a slight fever and that Magpie's heartrate was creeping up. The OB told me brusquely (again) that I had until 11PM to get fully dilated or I was having a c-section. She then left.

I cried again. I asked a nurse if the fact that I'd had almost no fluids by IV or by mouth (hence the no urine) could be contributing to Magpie's high heart rate....she said yes, and promptly hung a bag of fluid. The rest of things are hazy, to be honest. Perhaps I rested some. It was certainly not a happy time. I was worried about Magpie, worried about myself. Desperately uncomfortable. Will was sleeping. The doula didn't have much to do since I was confined to bed. At some point, my fever, which was marginal to begin with, began to resolve, and Magpie's tachycardia also went away.

At 10:30, the brusque OB reappeared to check me. I blurt out, "I thought I had until 11PM?!" But she said she just wanted to see where things were at. She pronounced that my cervix was now back down to 4cm dilated, that my cervix was swelling shut. That I had to have a c-section. Would I agree to one?

I looked at Will, who had awakened when the OB came in. He looked just as lost as me. I didn't know what else to do at that point but agree.

And as soon as I did, the room whipped into motion. Anesthesia raced in to consent me, Will was told to gather our belongings from around the room. Within a half hour, my anesthesia had been increased and I was being wheeled into the OR. Will was brought in later before the procedure started.  And the procedure began. I was told to expect a lot of pulling and pressure. And it was intense, but fine. They said she was wedged into my pelvis tightly, and it took them a bit to get her free. On the other side of the blue curtain, I could just feel lots of pressure on my chest and abdomen, and then....I heard....a baby crying. There was no announcement that I recall, no showing her to me over the sheet, just this crying. And this will sound weird, but for a moment, I thought, why is there a baby crying in the OR? And it took me a moment to realize that that was our baby - the baby we'd been wanting for years and years. That at 11:38PM on October 23, 2012, she was finally born. That that was her crying. Everything felt so strange and out of body and not related to me by this point, though, that I don't think the impact of it really hit me. But she was here, and Will went over to the warming and weighing table to meet her.

And then unfortunately, starting a moment later was physical pain. Not just a little bit, but a huge, significant amount. My whole insides felt like they were on the outside. Like air was blowing on a giant raw,open wound. It was fairly terrible. I was screaming. And then I remember Will was back at my side looking worried. The OB told the anesthesiologist to deal with this because she couldn't close with the situation like it was, that when she lightly touched my peritoneum, I screamed. The anesthesiologist said he didn't have enough medications to deal with this and that he would be right back. And he left. (Is that even possible? But yes, this is what I remember). And then the anesthesiologist was back and was talking about putting me under general anesthesia. And I was refusing. Because I wanted to remember this. Well, not the horrible pain part, but having Magpie. I didn't want to be knocked out. They offered me ketamine, which I also refused (because it's an amnestic and would make me forget her being born). Then an attending anesthesiologist came into the OR and was really reassuring and said they would come up with something to ease the pain. The surgeons spread some kind of local morphine around in my abdomen, which helped a lot. And the anesthesiologists injected some more drugs into the epidural. They said if that didn't do it, they were going to have to put me under with or without my consent. But it was. I was ok.

The nurse brought Magpie over to see me while the surgeons worked to close my incision. She was pink and wrapped up tightly, and well...beautiful. I was pretty wrecked. In shock maybe, on each and every level.

It didn't sink in for a while....but she was here. We were parents. I was a mother. Finally, after everything, amazingly.

And now, 10 months later, even after the many years to get here, it is hard to imagine that this was not always the way it was meant to go. I know that I am lucky, so, so lucky, to have gotten through and out the other side.

I wouldn't recommend my labor experience to anyone (and ok, not really our miscarriage history or reproductive travels in general...). But damn, I am one lucky woman.


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