Saturday, December 04, 2010

Welcome, Little Lady!

Mr. Lyrehca, Preschooler L and I are thrilled to tell you that our daughter, Little Lady, was born on Monday November 22 at 12:47 pm. She weighed six pounds, ten ounces, came out screaming and feisty, and calmed down when she heard her Mama's voice just after delivery. She is also partial to the ABCs and has a full head of dark hair.

As mentioned previously, I'd been leaking fluid for a few weeks, but my docs weren't able to determine it was amniotic fluid until that Monday morning. After the Mister dropped Preschooler L off at school, the Mister then met me at the hospital. I'd packed a bag because my OB was like "there's a small chance your baby could arrive today," but I thought that it might be another false alarm. It turns out that I had a slow but intermittent leak of amniotic fluid for at least two weeks, and on that Monday, the fluid FINALLY proved it was amnio and not pee. (For those that are following along, I did not have the "blue dye amnio" test my doc had scheduled me for, but instead, just got a fluid sample onto a slide. Under a microscope, the fluid showed a pattern like ferns, which is a sign of leaking amnio fluid.

"Your baby's coming today," our OB said.

Because of this small possibility, I'd fasted that morning and therefore, was physically ready for my scheduled c-section two weeks ahead of schedule. Mentally, though, we still wanted to figure out what was going on. The Mister and I immediately asked a ton of questions, like why today and not two weeks prior? (Not sure why the fluid two weeks ago didn't look like amnio fluid.) What were the chances of having problems because the baby was just at 37 weeks and two days? (Slim, we were told. Thirty-seven weeks is considered full term, whereas 35 weeks, where I was when I first noticed major fluid leakage, would have necessitated a full NICU stay). Why not just keep the baby inside despite the leakage? (This increases the possibility of infection, which isn't healthy for me or the baby, but thankfully, there had been no sign of infection so far.)

The next hour was spent meeting many docs (anesthesiologists, endocrinologists, and the fellows working with my OB) and nurses (who put in two IV drips, and answered additional questions). The Mister and I also made a ton of calls to cancel appointments for later that week, figuring out who would pick our son up from school that afternoon, and, because I am an Internet addict, updating this blog and making a Facebook status update ("Baby has a mind of its own and is coming today. Stay tuned!").

My blood sugars were pretty steady at this point--I was in the low 100s and my OB insisted that I not go any lower. By now, I was connected to an insulin drip (standard operating procedure at this hospital, and fine by me to disconnect from my pump). I kept comparing things to how they were when Preschooler L was born, and this time, the tech who inserted my IV lines was much better (got them on the first attempt), but the person inserting the spinal was NOT as good--that person stuck me a few times and I kept saying "I can feel that and it feels weird!" FINALLY, the spinal was inserted properly, and Mr. L. came into the operating room. I noticed that while I was getting the spinal inserted, my OB sat off to the side, checking her smartphone.

The whole C section began later than it had with Preschooler L, and while I felt odd ("Try to move your feet! You can't, right?" asked the OB), I felt otherwise OK, both physically and mentally. The docs put up a blue drape in front of me so I couldn't see a thing, and Mister L., being queasy, didn't peek. I felt no pain at all, just some odd pressure here and there. After a bit, my OB announced that we were "five minutes to baby!" Around the same time, she commented that the umbilical cord was "gorgeous," with lots of loops, which signified the baby had been active in utero. (Something I could attest to. At one ultrasound, the baby moved 90 times in 20 minutes). I also heard that my left kidney looked beautiful, my fallopian tubes were great, and that my ovaries maybe had some small cysts on them (which maybe explained why I conceived this time while on metformin).

And then Little Lady came out, loud and yelling the whole time. Mister L. held her next to me, and I began talking and she calmed down at the sound of my voice. I also sang the alphabet a few times, which she seemed to enjoy.

I never felt nauseous or otherwise yucky during the stitching up, and when back in the recovery area, I insisted on breastfeeding the baby as soon as I could. While her Apgars were great at 9 and 9, her blood sugar at birth was 38, which was a bit low and attributed to her early arrival and not my blood sugars during the c-section. (The cutoff for normal is 40, I was told.) Little Lady had to go to the NICU because of the low blood sugar but also to get a few tests because she arrived so early (37 weeks and two days) and because she may have been exposed to something with the leaking fluid. Happily, her sugars rose to the 60s just by my nursing her, and she never required any formula or anything else while in the NICU. (Plus, she came back to the nursery in a few hours, around the time I was brought to my room on the maternity floor.)

The rest of the hospital stay went really well. Because it was the week of Thanksgiving, and because LL's arrival was so early, I actually had very few visitors the time I was there, and the Mister was home with Preschooler L a lot of the time. (With the c-section, I had a four-day stay in the hospital). This gave me a lot of time to focus on breastfeeding and trying to stay on top of it (i.e., nursing every three hours and not letting it slip to four or five hours if the baby was napping) to avoid the low milk supply issues I battled with when Preschooler L was a baby. I told every nurse, every lactation consultant, and just about anyone who came to my room while I was in the hospital that I was trying to breastfeed the baby and feed her mostly if not all breastmilk, and I got every nurse's advice and insight about how to do it. Despite one late-night session where I was in total pain and full of gas from having drunk one can of diet ginger ale at dinner (I haven't drunk any soda since), nursing has surprisingly gone much better this time around.

LL's weight dropped, though, and she battled jaundice bad enough that I had to supplement her nursing sessions with either pumped breast milk or a tiny amount of formula. Once again, I insisted on hydrolized (broken-down) cow's protein formula, and a recent study has proven that I was on the right track when feeding Preschooler L only this kind of formula when he was an infant. Little Lady gained some weight, and had to stay in the hospital an extra day to go under special lights to help her fight the yellow, but today, two weeks later, she is doing great.

As of yesterday, she has more than gained back her birthweight (she's now six pounds and 14 ounces), her jaundice is finally on the way out, and she still nurses like a champ. She is tiny but mighty, I like to say.

Knock wood, she hasn't been much of a fussy baby and pretty much gets annoyed when she has a dirty or wet diaper, or needs to eat. Balancing the two kids has been OK so far: it entails a lot of planning ahead to make sure that I have everything I need whenever I leave the house (because life certainly doesn't stop just because there's a new baby at home, which is sort of different from when the first baby arrived), and I have been able to function on very little sleep. Photos of me aren't so hot these days, as you can clearly see I look exhausted in the more recent photos. (While I look really well-rested in the photos taken the day LL arrived.) And Preschooler L has, so far, been very sweet to his new baby sister: he likes to kiss her head as I am nursing her, and he has been telling people that he's a new big brother.

Thanks to everyone who checked in on my last post, or who has commented or read this blog as I've tried to chronicle this second full-term pregnancy. I will definitely continue to post updates, but need to think about what new direction this blog might take as I am pretty much done with writing about my own pregnancies. I have a few other percolating writing projects/ideas that may influence the focus of this blog, and need to consider my kids' privacy as I never intended to become a Mommy Blogger. But please stay in touch even if things go quiet here for awhile--I'm an active Facebooker and emailer and love to hear from people who have followed the blog at any time, or are interested in my book, or just want to stay in touch.