Monday, April 28, 2014

Feeling lost

I'm feeling a little defeated tonight. I feel like the perfect thing for me that I wanted - the thing that I thought I was a shoe-in for - the thing I was born to do... it all just kind of slipped away tonight.

I don't quite know what to do now. I can't keep doing what I'm doing right now, because that would make for a lifetime of misery and regret, not to mention a ton of resentment.

But I guess in a way, this new challenge leaves things more open than they've been in a long time. I have more options now. It's just that I'm not sure which - if any of those options - might be what's right for me. Because with any big decision like this, there are life-long repercussions.

I don't want to do something just for the sake of having something to do, but by the same token, I don't want to have nothing to do because the perfect thing just slipped out of my reach.

I guess I feel more than a little bit lost at the moment.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A morning in the life

Hi. Katelyn here. I wanted to show everyone what my day was like today, because I know it must be very interesting to everyone else. Plus, you get to see inside my sometimes devious, sometimes cranky, sometimes food-coma mind. So, without further ado, here you go.

1:58 a.m.
Good morning. I pooped! First feeding of the day (3 oz, thank you), in the entertainment room with Momma. Back to bed at 2:12, when Momma takes her first Norco of the day so that she can go back to sleep. And not want to cry from pain. I was so tired I even let Momma swaddle with both arms pinned.

5:05 a.m.
Good morning again. Time for another feeding (3 or 4 oz - who can keep track?), this time with Daddy. I love snuggling with him. I just hate that he has to go to work all day long while it's just me and Momma at home. Daddy's more productive than Momma, but Momma can handle my body heat better than he can. But I've got Daddy wrapped around my little finger - he would snuggle me all day if I wasn't such a little furnace, he says.

This is me in Daddy's arms, but it was taken last night as he was trying to fool me into falling asleep so he and Momma could have some alone time. Hahaha - I laugh in the face of "alone time"!

5:55 a.m.
Success! I effectively screwed Momma out of any alone time with Daddy. Total score. Obviously, the world stops when I sleep, so they never get a chance to talk or anything.

Momma's note: isn't Daddy amazingly handsome in his new suit? Answer: yes. Also, she didn't screw me out of anything. We got to talk... a little...

6:33 a.m.
Katelyn: 2
Parents: 0
Score again! Momma was just about to turn on the shower when I started my absolutely adorable morning cooing to signal that I'm awake and all attention should turn to me now. It looks like no shower for Momma yet. Don't worry: I'll pretend to sleep or at least play by myself in my play pen crib if she gets too stinky for me to handle.

6:50 a.m.
I'm still not officially AWAKE awake, which makes Momma a sucker! She could've taken a shower, except she didn't want to have to jump out of it the minute she jumped in. Oh yeah, this is the life. I'm surrounded by people I have wrapped around my little finger. And they're all suckers for me. Mwahahahaha!

6:52 a.m.
Dang it! Hiccups again. Why do I always get hiccups?

7:05 a.m.
I'm awake for the day now, and starving! Seriously, people - what are you trying to do, starve me to death? Honestly! It feels like I haven't eaten in days! Feed me feed me feed me feed me! Oh yeah, diaper first, that's good - just as long as I don't have to wait for Momma to get her food ready, too - that throws off my groove, and you do NOT want to throw off my groove.

That darned Momma - always taking pictures of me. As if nobody's ever seen a baby eat (3 oz) before - am I right?

7:54 a.m.
I'm fed (3 oz) and burped - what now? Time to snuggle with mom, of course! This time, I tried to lick her neck. We laughed, because I'm so freaking cute!

Momma proposed her idea that she takes a shower. I laughed.

8:05 a.m.
Momma's first breakfast - it's like she's a hobbit or something, the way she has to eat every 12 hours or so. Geez! And what a breakfast it was, too: chocolate milk! I guess she decided NOT to take that crazy doctor's advice about cutting out all dairy (good thing, too - I don't want to become lactose intolerant)!

8:08 a.m.
I was just put in my bassinet very unceremoniously and dragged into the bathroom to watch Momma take a shower. Nobody asked MY opinion about this, but it's okay, because I kinda wanted some time to myself, just to relax for a few minutes anyway.

After she got out of the shower, a couple of funny things happened:
1) She stood on something for a few seconds, then smiled really big and said something about losing two more pounds. Let me get this straight: she's trying to LOSE pounds, while she's trying to make me GAIN pounds. What - am I Snow White and she's the evil queen? Is this a beauty contest? I'm gonna break that stupid mirror mirror on the wall thing!
2) She flipped her head up and down like she was at a rock concert or something, and POOF! All of a sudden, it wasn't Momma there - it was MEDUSA, with snakes coming out of her head! Seriously crazy hairdo, Mom. I hope we're not going out in public with you looking all crazy and me looking absolutely adorable again.
NOTE TO SELF: Maybe she's not the evil queen with the mirror mirror on the wall thing, if she's willing to go out like that, and me like this. Maybe.

9:00 a.m.
Momma's second breakfast. She's a creature of habit, that woman. Plain Greek yogurt, mixed with a little vanilla and some mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. Every morning, it's the same thing. Finally, after being practically ignored for what feels like my entire life, I get picked up and cuddled again while Momma turns on what I'm sure will be another crappy tv show just until I fall asleep. Today, she's determined to force me into taking a couple of naps.
Also among her list of goals for today:
1) Go to Target
2) Go to this salon place (not for her, duh)
3) Pump pump pump
4) Drink lots of water
5) Clean kitchen

9:15 a.m.
Sleeping on Momma. Ahh... this is the life!

9:47 a.m.
Minor meltdown in my sleep, just to keep Momma on her toes. The big joke is that I make her think something's actually wrong, but really, I just don't want her to get too comfortable. Sometimes it's gas, or I'm just trying to poop, but more often than not, it's nothing - I'm just a squirmy worm.

11:02 a.m.
I was awakened once again by my own gas. Real cute. My favorite part of being a baby? The interminable gas. Sheesh. Haha - it made Momma think I had a massive poop, though, so that made for an interesting diaper change (mwahaha)!

Mom didn't seem to think I needed to be fed again, though - she took her sweet time warming up my bottle. And then she had to eat again. How many times can she eat? Those two pounds she lost this morning? She's gonna find those again soon. Heifer!

11:25 a.m.
That Momma - what a crackup! She actually thinks we can get these errands taken care of today. Target AND that salon/spa place? Psh. We'll see about that. Wish us luck.

11:43 a.m.
Momma's running around trying to get ready to go, and wouldn't you know it? I got the hiccups again. Ugh!

Well, I guess that's it for my morning. Tune in... sometime soon... for the next installment: "An afternoon in the life." There will be laughter, tears, smiles, gas, and probably poop, too. There's always poop.

I bet your morning wasn't as eventful as mine was today! What was the most exciting part of your morning? Did you poop too?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ugh... breastfeeding

I'm tired of trying and failing. I think there's no way I can win at this. It's not working, and I'm tired of being told that any woman can do it. That there's nothing wrong with me. That it's not my fault. But I can't do it.

I feel guilty for even thinking about quitting, because I'm not a quitter. I'm one of those crazies that can't just let something go. But it seems pointless. Inevitable. I have to quit.

Doctors say... well, what does it matter what they say? It doesn't work. I'm a faulty model, or so it appears. My body doesn't work like that.

It's such a cycle, though: I can't produce, so I don't try as hard, which makes me produce even less, which makes me more frustrated. So I produce even less.

I'm mad because I just want to be back to normal, and I am, for the most part. Well, actually, that's not true. I have some serious pain from damage to my sciatic nerve. I have ten to fifteen pounds left to lose (not a big deal, but my activity could be restricted based on my MRI results). I haven't run in MONTHS. I interact with great - but very limited number of - people outside of my house.

So that's how I'm feeling right now. Just this minute. Tomorrow is a new day, though, and I'll try again. You know the saying about the true definition of insanity is someone who keeps trying the same thing but expecting different results? That's me.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Five random things

1. We took a family trip yesterday to the doctors offices. Each of us had to be seen. Baby got weighed (she's up by five ounces, which is a very good thing). Daddy saw his new doctor (who he thinks will work out nicely). And I saw my Ob/Gyn about some pretty serious pain in my left leg. Yadda yadda, a few hours later and my leg was unsound-ed to check for blood clots. I don't think it's blog clots; I think I injured my sciatic nerve during labor/delivery. It really sucks, though - super painful almost all the time, with no relief whatsoever. (Follow-up appt on Tuesday; "we'll see.")

2. There's so much I need to do! Birth announcements, career-related junk, reading and researching, sleeping... I'm so freaking busy!

3. My brother and his family leave for Taiwan in the morning, and one or both of my parents are going to drive them from the Sacramento area to SFO. I always get nervous when my parents have to drive in big scary cities; I think that THEY get nervous, too, because they aren't used to it.

4. My Love bought me "The Little Mermaid," because I've wanted it for so long and he was afraid that it would go back into the stupid Disney vault. I can't wait to watch it!

5. We've lived in this house for over two years, and just yesterday, we finally got around to buying fans for the upstairs bedrooms. Tim is installing them today, because summer is upon us, and we're hoping that Katelyn will sleep in her upstairs bedroom sometime this summer.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

These things


...makes me feel so guilty for not holding her every second of every day. But then I watch her soothe herself to sleep, and I feel glad that we're so intent on not doing that.

And this!

I don't think I could love it any more. She lives gnawing on my pinky knuckle. Except that it frustrates her to no end. Nothing comes out of it. It's hard, not very chewy. She takes all of her frustration out on my knuckle, biting down as hard as she can, and in so doing, she makes all of these awesome, cute, and heart-breaking expressions.

This one of my favorite things. A video baby monitor. It works in well-lit areas and the dark of night. Although I must say: the night-vision mode makes baby look a little creepy.

This picture one of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite. Doesn't she have the cutest smile? I certainly think so. I think I agree with my cousin's wife, though: I don't think it's gas. Do you smile when you have gas? How is that a thing? Gas = smile? I don't think so.

She so expressive! I love all of her unique expressions. I love getting to know and understand her expressions and cries. Each one is unique and precious. I kinda don't want to miss a single one of them, but at the same time, I know it's best for both - actually all three - of us that I eventually go back to work.

I'm not looking forward to it, but then again, I am. I love this, my babe, so much. But it's better this way. My mental stability and hers. Her growth and mine.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Delayed entry... I'm a failure!

I originally wrote this on April 1st, over a week ago, but haven't had the guts to hit publish since then. But I figure, it's part of Katelyn's Story. I need to remember this. If you choose to read it, please note my use of language, especially "I FEEL" because I don't generally feel those things anymore. I was emotional when I wrote this, but I'm not anymore. I felt a certain way then, but I don't now. With those things said, and nothing further ado...

Well, label me incredibly freaking disappointed! I really did NOT want a c-section. When the doctor mentioned it around 7:00, I think I was in shock - I mean, talk about surreal! I was so mad at myself, and really let down. When the doctor left the room so Tim and I could talk, I completely broke down. I felt like I was such a disappointment. My body would be forever altered now - probably because my pain threshold is so low - because I didn't move around enough in early labor, because I didn't do those exercises they tell you about to get baby in the right position, because I was already so worn out. If I couldn't even give birth the right way, how was I going to handle everything else? Maybe I couldn't. Maybe I'm a failure. A faker. When they put her in my arms that first time, my first thoughts were how/why did someone (a) decide not to keep this absolutely beautiful baby, and (b) choose Tim and me to keep her?

Wow, that was a moment. An HONEST moment, but a real one. A dramatic moment.

Looking back, I wish I had waited a while to get the epidural, and I wish I'd moved around more, so she might have been in a better position. I wish I had done more to help myself have the experience I'd envisioned, so I wouldn't have felt like such a failure. But that's not how it worked out. And now I have a scar (and some mental trauma) to remind myself that I need to work on my pain tolerance and doing what I can to help myself have better experiences.

But scars aren't necessarily bad things. Scars are lessons. At least for me, they're reminders of experiences I've had, and lessons I've learned, so that maybe I won't need to repeat those lessons again. (This is speaking in general, not necessarily about the birth and c-section specifically.)

I have smaller scars and bigger scars, more prominently displayed and hidden ones. Each one is so personal. It's my body. Nobody else has the same scars as I do. Nobody else has the same stories as I do. And that's what a scar is, for me. It's a story. The time I rode in a recycling bin on top of my skateboard down the driveway, and landed splayed across the road, scraping my foot and knee. The time my nephew getting so mad at me that he clawed my hand. The time I made a difficult decision about the method that brought my daughter into the world.

At first, I thought that this newest scar would tell the story that I'm a failure. I didn't do what I could to avoid it, and so I'd have this mark forever proving my inadequacies. I feared it would show that I'm a failure. That I lack the mettle that makes "just some chick" worthy of the title of "mother." That I'm weak.

But I don't think that now. My scar shows that I did what needed to be done (tough decision and a ton of pain included) to bring our little girl into the world. It says that I can roll with the punches. I can make tough decisions. I can sacrifice myself and my body for someone I love. I'm tough. I'm strong. Or at least, I can be.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Time for pictures!

My last pregnant-with-Katelyn picture:

[This image censored at the request of the OTHER subject in the picture, but rest assured that Tim and I aren't the ONLY ones that held her in those first few hours and days]

He wasn't really asleep here - I promise!

Ready to go home!

The time we spent in the hospital sucked. Like, a LOT. I hate staying in the hospital. Still, there are parts of it that I want to remember, so I'll save that for next time. There are a few highlights, for sure.

Katelyn's Story, Part Three: Delivery

My doctor was amazing. She said she understood that it's not what we had in mind, that although it's a difficult one, the decision to go for a C-Section was for the best. While she prepped for (my first-ever) surgery, I went through so many emotions. Poor Tim - he was the only one in the room with me - no buffer at all, no one to help absorb the crazy (little did I know that both of our moms were in the waiting room, chatting, stressing, and wondering).

At around 9:00, the doctor came back in, ready to wheel me into the OR. Tim asked her to check me just one last time, to see if anything had changed, if by some miracle I had dilated that last half of a centimeter and could start pushing instead of having the surgery. She submitted, saying that if that's what we wanted, and if that's what we wanted, she would do anything. After all, it's better to have all the knowledge available, right? So she checked, and no such luck; actually, that extra half centimeter had swollen to the point that vaginal delivery would NOT be an option.

And so they wheeled me into the OR. Tim was busy packing our stuff from the labor and delivery room to move it to the recovery room, and putting on the disposable scrubs. While the staff in the OR prepped me, I just kept wondering where the bloody hell Tim was. I knew it had to be time, but I could NOT do this without him! Hellooooo, SHOCK! Get. Me. My. Husband!

I remember bright lights overhead. Everything had that sterility-senility look to it. It smelled like the rest of the hospital: bodily functions and extra-strength cleansers. It made me think of Alexander in the ICU a little more than two years ago; but I couldn't dwell on those images. This was a happy occasion. This was such a different situation.

Doctors and nurses quickly got me all set up, with my arms splayed straight out and a curtain cutting off my vision so that I could only see above my neck. There was one of the nurses that had helped so much in the labor room - John - and that was somewhat comforting. At least there was one familiar face. But where in the world was Tim?

One of the doctors, a look-alike of one of the aliens from Men in Black - the tall guy from the restaurant with the pierogis - kept poking me with something a little sharp. "You should feel touch, but not the scratch." Okay, that's what I feel, exactly. Great. Perfect. Let's get this done. Just as soon as Tim shows up. Speaking of which...

FREAKING FINALLY! There he was, after what seemed like an eternity, there was Tim, in some sort of Breaking Bad getup (white scrubs, a surgical hair net, and face mask, the last of which I think was pulled down to his neck).

The whole thing didn't take very long. Except for looking at Tim, I don't remember anything until someone said, "it's a girl!" and I snapped back to reality. My first thought, when I looked at Tim in that moment, was, "oh good - the ultrasound tech was right - we can use all of that pink stuff after all!" Then they whisked her away, weighed and measured her, cleaned and wrapped her up, and showed her to me, just a quick glance, before they called Tim over to check her out up close.

She was born at 9:45 p.m.
She weighed 7 pounds and 13 ounces.
She was 22 1/4 inches long.
She was (and remains) beautiful.

Again, this next part is fuzzy. Even though at the time I thought it was taking forever, they stitched me up quickly and as soon as I knew it, I was in a small, dimly-lit room. Tim was seated about ten feet away, Katelyn in his arms and a huge smile on his face. John stood next to me, typing at a computer. Behind Tim was another nurse, also typing into a computer.

The next thing I remember was baby's bath time, and I pushed Tim to participate in that. He did, taking plenty of cell phone pictures. We were in that room for over an hour, but soon enough, we moved into a recovery room, where we would stay until Monday morning at around 2:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Katelyn's Story, Part Two: Labor

When last we left our duo that would soon become a trio, they had just entered the hospital to a security drill and an adorable triage nurse named Kaitlyn.

We once again got situated into the empty triage room, got dressed in the awkward hospital gown, and attached to monitors. It wasn't long before I was checked, dilated to 3 cm, and 50% effaced. At least there was progress (on Monday, at the false alarm, I was 1.5 cm dilated and 0% effaced)!

Soon, they told us to walk all around, feel free to check out the arboretum, keep walking so labor can progress, etc. We walked and walked, for about an hour and a half, then went back to triage to get checked again. Then, I was 4 cm dilated and 50% effaced.

Somewhere around 3:00 a.m., we were transferred into our own room, a labor and delivery room. I couldn't stop thinking of the line from Titanic: "I believe this ship may sink" (which, in retrospect, takes on another meaning, a new level of understanding that I hadn't realized). I didn't want to admit to myself that this was actually happening. I wanted it to be finished, but I didn't want to go through it. I wanted the prize, but I didn't want to play the game.

After that, things are something of a blur, because I was just laboring, living life in three-minute increments. At one point, a nurse tried setting up my IV; first, she tried the back of my hand, and my vein... exploded?... I don't know the proper word, only that it didn't work, and I still have the bruise.

Someone else came in to talk about pain control options, and I decided to try the first, non-numbing option. It. Was. Blissful. Ever since we found out that baby's due date was so close to my birthday, I said that all I wanted for my birthday was drugs (I'm not very pain tolerant). Unfortunately, that option can only last two hours total (one dose lasts an hour, and the body develops a tolerance to it after the second dose). So, after my second dose, I asked for an epidural (against advice to the contrary, which I wish I'd heeded).

The epidural kicked in, and soon enough, a doctor came in to check me. Again, progress: 4.5 cm and 90%!

At some point during all of this, I just got used to being naked, exposed from the waist down to a room full of people, complete strangers. Whatever. I didn't care anymore.

We kept everyone informed of what was going on, mostly just close family and friends, by text. A friend came to say hi (and, whether he knows it or not, to help me relax). It wasn't surprising when Tim's mom showed up late-morning, and mine showed up in the early afternoon; they must've figured that SURELY baby would have been born by then! Nope. But that didn't stop all five of us from visiting, talking, and laughing. But when doctors kept having to up the pitocin, and time kept moving along, up went the stress levels as well.

Around 1:00 p.m., the doctor once again came in to check me, and her announcement gave me hope that it would all be over soon: 9 cm and 90%! Yes! I could do this. "One step at a time" may have been my most effective mantra of all time! I was almost giddy. Just a centimeter and 10% to go until push-time!

The doctor gave me two hours, increased the pitocin, and we would just see what happened. The next time I was checked (at around 3:00), I was 9.5 and 100%; she gave me another two hours and again increased the pitocin. At 5:00, I was still 9.5 and 100%. Frustrated but not ready to give in just yet, we have it another two hours and another increase in pitocin. At 7:00, there was still no change, and she wanted to talk about "options."

I just remember being so confused. What does that mean - "options"? What are "options"? I didn't understand.

"Well," she said, "we can give it another two hours and increase the pitocin again..." Oh crap. Suddenly, I knew what she was going to say. I understood. "...or we can do a C-Section." While I tried to hold back tears, Tim asked about the process of a C-Section. How long does it take? Risks? Recovery? Scar? etc. His questions helped to distract me, but I was still freaking out.

The doctor and nurses left the room to allow us a chance to discuss... and to let me break down for a few minutes. Eventually, as if it were actually in question, we concluded that a C-Section would be the best, and so we told them our decision: C-Section it would be!

Once again: to be continued...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Katelyn's Story, Part One: Thursday


Thursday nights, as everyone in our inner circle knows, is date night. It's our time. We never go out. We do a very simple meal, most often bread, cheese, olives, hummus, maybe a salad. We talk at the dining room table, decompressing from the week. There are candles and dim lighting. It's all about us - nobody and nothing else. A very calm environment. We love it, and look forward to it all week. For the past few years, this has been our routine.

Well, Thursday (March 27th) was our last of these... at least for a little while. We had a simple dinner, like normal, at the dining table while we talked and decompressed from the week (it was more him than me, though, since I had started my leave on Monday and didn't have much to discuss other than my contractions).

I had been home all day, trying every natural and old-wives-tale remedy to try to coax baby out: eat pineapple, take a walk, go up and down stairs, eat spicy food, etc. ("etc" of course not including the one method unavailable to me at that point, at least until after 5:30 or 6:00, when Tim would get home). From the beginning, I said there was one thing I absolutely would not do: castor oil. No, they'd have to induce me before I'd do that! But, try as I might, nothing seemed to work.

I settled in on Tim's recliner, feet raised to help reduce swelling in my feet and ankles (almost pointless since week 35, but oh well - it felt good), and I watched my own Netflix "Breaking Amish" marathon (a reality TV show that doesn't necessitate my taking a cold shower at the end? Sign me up!).

Around 3:00, I started getting stronger, take-your-breath-away contractions, and I started taking them. They started at around seven minutes apart, but were irregular. Some seven minutes apart, then three, then twenty. It was like that until around 9:00, when they started getting pretty regular:

"Thursday night" usually starts at 6:00, and ends whenever we get tired and decide to head to bed, but this night was different. Because of the contractions, we decided to chill on the couch for a little bit before we moved the party to a candle-lit bathroom to take a shower and see if the contractions were "real" (which of course they were - I just didn't necessarily want to face my reality of labor and, eventually, delivery).

It was a very long day for me: I really didn't want to go to the hospital. Instead, I thought laboring in my sleep sounded like a pretty good deal. I called the birthing center, told them what was going on, abd that I would let them know when I decided to come in. I set an alarm for 12:15, and we went to bed.

Lucky Tim - he slept for a couple of hours before I woke him up. I, on the other hand, slept in about five-minute increments. At about 11:55, I started feeling really uncomfortable; all I could think was, "15 minutes... 15 minutes... 15 minutes..." (yes, I realize it was really 20 minutes, but I was rounding off, pushing myself to stay home as long as possible, because I've done the hospital thing before, and I hated staying there).

11:58 was another contraction, and I was next to tears with that one. I started trying to get in a different, more relaxed position, reminding myself of the 15 minutes, but that didn't work. I couldn't. I hated that I couldn't, but I just...couldn't. I woke Tim up, probably a little more hastily than necessary, but I want in the mood for a nice, calm, "how ya' doin' there, my Love?" It was more of a "We gotta go! I can't take this anymore! Can we just go, like, NOW? Let's go. Is it okay if we go?"

We couldn't get out the door fast enough. It felt like everything was in slow motion. Everything except the contractions, of course.

Finally, we left. We talked on the drive, but with contractions coming every four to five minutes apart, it wasn't exactly the normal flow of conversation; it was more disjointed and a little on the schizo side. We got to the hospital just after 1:00 a.m., greeted by a birthing center drill and a really nice triage nurse named Kaitlyn. It was a good omen.

To be continued...