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Category Archives: lesbian parenting

11 weeks-16 weeks

I’ve been meaning to write this for 4 weeks, but … toddler.

Anyway, things are still going well. The 12 week scan was a giant relief, especially after a miscarriage and then dicey start to this pregnancy.

  • How far along: 16 weeks 2 days
  • My due date has changed a couple of times, just due to different calculations. When I calculated it online, I thought it was February 15th. When my RE calculated it with her IVF calculator, it was February 16th. My OB has me at February 17th (maybe based on the date of my LMP? Who even knows). We seem to have settled on February 17th, which makes the most sense given that I have consistently measured a few days behind.
  • Back at 12 weeks 1 day, I had my 12 week ultrasound. Everything looked good, and the heart rate was 170 bps. Seeing the baby in there, moving around and everything, was such a relief I can’t even describe. The baby was measuring at 11 weeks 6 days, so 2 days behind (at our 8 week ultrasound, the little bean was 3 days behind, but that was using the 2/16 due date, so it’s really still the same amount behind). Given the consistent growth, at this point my OB team is not concerned about it.
  • I also had a visit to my OB sometime around 14 weeks. My actual OB (who I was with during my first pregnancy) has injured her foot … again. She had a broken foot at the end of my last pregnancy, which lead to her not being able to do my C-section (I’m totally happy with the section and really liked the on-call doctor who did it, so no harm no foul). Anyway, I haven’t been able to see her yet this pregnancy. I saw an OB who I have met though, and got to hear the heartbeat again (this time in the high 150s/low 160s apparently). I’m seeing another OB, whom I’ve never met, in a couple of weeks.
  • Food things: The smell of literally all food cooking made me super nauseous from somewhere in the 10/11 week range until maybe a week ago. 11 weeks-13 weeks were the peak (which seems odd and late, but whatever). I’m finally starting to be able to let my poor wife cook us dinner … and even eat it!
  • Other symptoms: Nausea really kicked in around 11 weeks, and didn’t start to get better until 13 weeks (and is maybe gone now? but likes to show up randomly … I vomited while eating lunch yesterday so there’s that). I have only gotten sick 1-2 times, which is far less than with Riley, but I have overall felt worse. The exhaustion is also starting to subside finally! Look at me – it’s already almost 9 pm and I’m happily typing away! Here’s a weird new symptom though … since about 10/11 weeks, my hair has been shedding at an alarming rate. I’m talking at a 4 months postpartum kind of rate. WHY?! The very opposite happened when I was pregnant with Riley and I was really looking forward to the luscious locks … I asked the OB (worried about a thyroid issue or something hormonally off), who said that it’s actually not uncommon. Apparently the hormone changes/surges caused my follicles to all hop on the same shed cycle. She said it’ll randomize itself again, and is a similar function to what happens postpartum. It is starting to slow but definitely is still on the normal or just above side (as opposed to WAY below normal when I was pregnant with Riley), so that’s a bummer. Here’s hoping I don’t develop a noticeably receding hairline …
  • Who knows?: We told our families around 8 weeks. I ended up telling work soon after the 12 week mark so that I could get my schedule sorted out. We had professional photos taken of our family when we were at Family Week in PTown (shout out queer families – totally go if you can ever make it! Such a blast), and had Riley wear a “big sister” shirt so that we could do a little announcement. We aren’t really the type to do a formal announcement with professional photos, but the timing worked out so we used our photo shoot for multiple purposes – why not? We put that out around 15 weeks, so now the word is officially out there! We did tell Riley – she knows that the baby is growing inside Mommy but not Momma or Riley, and that when the baby is big enough and read to come out, (s)he will come home and live with us. She will basically recite that script and I’m confident she has no flipping idea what any of it means.
  • Body and clothes things: I am now wearing maternity clothes. I feel like a full month ahead of myself in terms of my body growing and showing, and I’m not a super fan of it (no one likes the “I just look fatter and not pregnant” stage). I just did an Old Navy maternity splurge today. Mostly I just need maternity pants because anything else feels restrictive or falls down.
  • What’s next?: OB appointment coming up in about 2.5 weeks, with my fetal survey ultrasound about a week later!

Pictures!

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Look at that little bean. They have a head and a body and everything. Yeesh.

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Would you lookit this big sister, contemplating her big adventure? Photo cred: TDM Photography

 

 

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Bumpdate: 9w4d

Alright folks. My posts are going to take a very pregnant turn from here on out I think. Feel free to not read or unfollow, I really get that.

I’ll consider getting some sort of Bumpdate format going like I did with my daughter, but for now I’ll just free ball it:

  • How far along: 9 weeks 4 days
  • I had my first OB appointment today, with a midwife at the practice (my practice does a combo program for everyone – I get to choose who to deliver with though).
  • I got to hear baby’s heartbeat! It didn’t even take that long to find. I have been sooooo so anxious about this and I remember it taking a minute or two with my first pregnancy so that was a major relief. The little one’s heart is beating at a respectable 177bps today.
  • I got a bunch of bloodwork and tried to give a urine sample but failed. I got like a half centimeter’s worth of liquid in the damn cup so we’ll see if it’s enough. Talk about embarrassing first impressions (new midwife …)
  • Food things: The smell of food makes me nauseous. But also I want to eat all the carbs. I’m starting most days with some kiefer and a sausage/egg/cheese sandwich. That’s been working pretty well (I do get nauseous before that sandwich gets in my belly).
  • Other symptoms: My nausea exists and comes in waves – usually a wave before breakfast, a wave or two at some point during the day, and any time I’m a passenger in a car. I’m also exhausted. I fall asleep most nights between 8 and 9 in my chair, then head to bed at like 10:30 for the night.
  • Who knows?: We told our families around 8 weeks. 3 of my coworkers/friends have known all of the treatment details so they knew right away. I just told 2 of my closest friends this past weekend. I’m going to have to tell work soon because my patient schedule is getting really close (I’m booked through late January at this point). I’m thinking that’s a convo for next week. Sigh.
  • Of note, we have not told Riley yet. Mainly because she’s a blabbermouth/parrot. We’ll tell her when we’re ready to tell everyone.
  • What’s next?: I will get a call in the morning to schedule my 2 ultrasounds (1 at 12 weeks, 1 around 20 weeks), and then will see my OB in about 4 weeks.
  • Right this second, just after hearing the heartbeat, I’m feeling excited and relieved and I’m thinking about the future. I’m sure as time passes I’ll slip back into anxiety mode, but I’m enjoying this for now.
  • Confirmed

    My hcg came back 74 on Friday morning. That’s quite a drop from 1200! It certainly confirms that what I experienced on Wednesday afternoon was indeed a miscarriage. I feel weird for feeling relieved about it. It obviously comes from a place of not wanting to have to have a D&E or experience a miscarriage further into the pregnancy … but still is a weird emotion to be feeling about a miscarriage.

    So this pregnancy ended at 5 weeks 3 days. I feel fortunate to have gotten pregnant on the first try (second time around), and to have felt supported and mostly at peace through this process. I’m disappointed that this attempt didn’t result in a take home baby, and that we have more hoops to jump through. It sucks to be back at the start. I’m going to try to enjoy my “time off” with the breastfeeding/pregnancy no-nos that I’ve been avoiding for like 2 years. A little drinking, a lot of sushi (ok I haven’t been avoiding that one for 2 years but I have for the past few weeks!), etc.

    The plan moving forward? I’m getting my hcg checked again in a week (honestly it feels like it’ll probably be “negative” for pregnancy in sooner than a week? But whatever). Once it’s negative (below 5 I think), they can submit to my insurance for the frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycle. They want to do another SHG to make sure my uterus still looks good and nothing sticks around from this pregnancy. That means a cycle “off” before trying again. I also have no idea when to expect my next period – what was the timeline for those of you who’ve gone through this? While it doesn’t make sense that I’d be having a period right now (2 days after a miscarriage), I did start bleeding in a period-like fashion last night. I do find it odd that the initial bleed from the miscarriage only lasted a couple of hours, but I suppose that my lining wasn’t as thick as it should be given that I essentially had a full heavy period before the miscarriage itself. This shit is weird and I hate not knowing what to expect.

    In happier, non-TTC/miscarriage/IVF news, we are excited for what I think is our first holiday not spent with extended family tomorrow. We usually go to my MIL’s for Easter, but just decided not to this year. We’re not religious, though our families are (my parents are very catholic as is Em’s Mom, and her dad is Jewish), but are excited to celebrate Easter from a cultural and “making traditions” kind of place. We got Riley a cute little basket and non-edible surprises (eggs filled with finger puppets and tiny train cars and stickers), and are gearing up for an it’s-finally-warm-outside Easter egg hunt in the yard.

    Speaking of Easter eggs – Riley’s daycare had a little egg hunt. It looked super cute, but this was my first hair pulling experience as a mom to a kid with severe food allergies. I can’t remember what I’ve said here but she’s in a new daycare as of last Monday, which has been SO awesome about her allergies (refresher: peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, gluten, dairy, egg). They are also already peanut, tree nut, and egg free, and all families provide their own food. Great. Perfect. Until Thursday. They had the egg hunt and encouraged families to bring in nut free candies to fill the eggs. We expressed concern that Riley would accidentally ingest or touch (even her milk allergy is contact, so she would likely get awful hives just from touching milk chocolate). They assured Em (who does drop off and pick up) that she would just be picking up the eggs and putting them in a basket and that none of the kids would be opening eggs or eating the treats at school. Okay. I still don’t love it because it’s putting allergens into her little hands, but I trust them and know that they’re super conscientious and on top of the allergies thing so I let it happen. And you know what? She was fine. This time. No accidents happened, and the staff was appropriately attentive and watchful. But accidents happen sooo easily. Next year I think it’ll be harder to keep her from eating things that are already literally in her hands, so I’ll do some education and push for non-edible treats for everyone. BUT this was the thing that really made me pull my hair out: they sent her home with a little Easter bag with a stuffed bunny and a plastic octopus and 6 eggs … all FILLED WITH CANDY SHE’S ALLERGIC TO. Like, how hard would it have been to set aside a few eggs with just stickers inside and stick those eggs in her bag? Also, what toddlers eat M&Ms and chocolate eggs? They hardly have sufficient teeth for those things! I can’t imagine any of her classmates were enjoying the treats. She couldn’t even play with the eggs. I mean, it was nice that I got to eat some chocolate but we had to throw out the eggs because they had chocolate all up in them, so it was just a waste for her. Sigh.

    Happy Easter and a solemn and respectful Passover to all who celebrate/observe. And for those who don’t – happy spring. Here’s to new beginnings and edible-free celebrations.

    I guess I’m going a year between posts now …

    You guys. I can’t believe I fell off the blog wagon for an entire year. Actually, I totally can believe it, but I’m a little bummed about it. I really like going back and being able to see where I was at different points in time. It’s cathartic.

    ANYWAY I felt like I needed to do another update. Let’s see if I get back into the swing of things again. First of all – is anyone still out there? Or is this going into the internet black hole? I’m not sure that it really matters to me, but I am curious.

    Okay onto the goods … Riley is 16 months old. I can’t believe my last update was when she was 4 months.

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    Those blue eyes get me every time

    She’s amazing and I am obsessed with her in every way. I love this transition from babyhood to toddler hood. Don’t get me wrong – I miss baby Riley so much! But it’s so fun to watch her learn new things so quickly. For her first year, I used an app called Moment Garden to hep me keep track of her “baby book” moments. It was actually really great, and I was able to create a baby book when she was 1 using that. Let me see if I can do a quick milestone recap …

    • 5.5 months: first food – sweet potato
    • 6 months: started responding to her name, sitting unassisted
    • 6.5 months: finally rolled over (on Mother’s Day!)
    • 8.5 months: mobile by rolling
    • 9 months: scooting backwards, clapping, understanding some words
    • 9.9 months: crawling! (she crawled literally the day before turning 10 months)
    • 10 months: first tooth (upper right – so weird), started pulling to stand
    • 11 months: pulling up, cruising, babbling up a storm, pointing, waving hi/bye (when she felt like it), first word: “done”
    • 11.5 months: first steps a week before her first birthday!

    Riley is now walking, running, climbing (ugh), and dancing. Her favorite things to play are stacking cups (the Ikea ones = gold) and stacking rings. She loves to read books but sometimes only 3 pages before she’s on to the next. She is so chatty, and this speech language pathologist mom LOVES it. I think she has around 35 words. Her favorites are: all done, more (sign), different (sign), duckie, night night, bye bye, uh oh, baba (bottle), yeah, no, up, down, and agua (she goes to a Spanish speaking daycare).

    So the major update since my last post is that we obviously figured out what was going on with her skin. As it turns out, she has multiple severe food allergies, which is a big fat bummer. Right around the time of that last blog post (4 months), the pediatrician ran some allergy blood tests just to “rule out” food allergies since there is a family history (I am allergic to tree nuts). At that visit, she tested very positive for peanut, milk, egg, and dog, and borderline/unknown clinical significance for wheat and soy. I kept breastfeeding (started to wean at 12 months and fully weaned by about 14.5), and ended up cutting out dairy, eggs, soy, and peanuts. By the time she was 9 months, I was able to add back soy and by 10 or 11 months I added back dairy and eggs. I wasn’t able to add back peanuts per our allergist. We’ve since done further testing and dealt with many reactions to foods as we started to introduce real food, so the current/updated allergy list is: peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, dairy, eggs, wheat/barley (gluten). She is able to eat soy, which is great. But she is definitely a very allergic kid. Sesame was a recent discovery that ended in using her Epi Pen and a trip to the ER. It’s scary and a big fat bummer, but we are learning to live with food allergies. Up side is: she eats a very healthy diet of mostly whole foods (processed foods always have something she’s allergic to in them). She drinks Ripple as a milk substitute, which is a plant-based milk made of pea protein. We love it – it has more calcium, Vitamin D, and protein than most other plant-based milks like soy and coconut. She loves avocado, applesauce, veggie straws (may as well be crack), and homemade risotto.

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    Can you even handle the cuteness that is kids being tossed in the air? 

    So I think that’s our update! Oh, the other fun thing is that we are working on making her a little sibling … I just saved that for the end there 😉

    We had planned to start trying for number 2 when she was about a year old. I knew we’d be doing IVF again, and am lucky enough to have coverage for IVF this time (now that I spent 2 years proving I’m really for certain infertile), so we needed to wait until Riley had weaned to get anything started. We didn’t have any frozen embryos from last time (Riley was our only frozen embryo from that cycle), so had to do the whole thing again. I knew it would take a while to get the ball rolling, but didn’t know how long it would take to wean, so I didn’t call for an appointment with my RE until I had actually weaned. They didn’t have anything until the end of April! Luckily I’m a good squeaky wheel and she was able to squeeze me in that week.

    Long story short, this process has been the polar opposite to our last process in every way. Mostly in that it is happening in a timely manner. In fact, it’s all going VERY quickly. I think I’ll make a separate post for those that are interested in the facts and figures. If there’s anyone still out there, that is. I hope a few of my old buddies are still on here – give me a shout if you are! And happy Friday 🙂

    4 months

    4 months

    Riley was 4 months old on Saturday. I CANNOT believe it has been 4 months. It simultaneously feels like she has been a part of our family for my entire life, and feels like I was squinting at a line on a pregnancy test literally yesterday (side note: that was actually just over a year ago! Holy shit!).

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    The thing that is at the forefront of my mind this month (or maybe just this week? Today?) is her skin. She has always had super sensitive skin. She’s just kind of a rashy baby, and clearly would get contact dermatitis whenever someone who was wearing a fragrance or wool or anything irritating would hold her. Over the past month or so, she seems to be having more significant allergic reactions to something and I CANNOT FOR THE LIFE OF ME FIGURE OUT WHAT IT IS. I think about it all day long and my gray hair is spreading rapidly because it is all I think about and I worry all the damn time. The rashes come and go and this is a kind of dramatic picture because it is basically the worst it’s been plus I took the pic right after I rubbed lotion all over her so it’s kind of extra red.

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    We tested her poop for the possibility of an allergy to something I’m eating (apparently if that were the case there would be blood – possibly not visible) and it was negative. I don’t think that means that it is definitively NOT something I’m eating, but I think it is less likely. She has also been having liquid poops (like, not that “seedy” look, just the yellow color and totally absorbed into the diaper) for a full month as well. The doctor isn’t concerned about the poop given that she doesn’t seem dehydrated and she is gaining weight, etc. She has never had a fever. I think it could be the dog? But we are being super vigilant about vacuuming all the time and keeping Riley’s things off the floor etc etc etc. I also cut out dairy anyway and that hasn’t helped at all (it’s been almost 3 weeks). My working theory is that it’s the dog and we just have to get an air purifier and be even MORE vigilant, but the poop changes throw me off. Ugh. Anyway, that’s all I think about so, any theories are welcome. Of note, we have already done the following things:

    • We use a free and clear detergent for her things and ours (duh)
    • We use an “extra rinse” cycle on the laundry
    • We bathe her twice/week and use a sensitive soap (Aquaphor baby wash)
    • We hydrate her skin multiple times/day. We used to use Aquaphor but the doc said it has lanolin in it which sometimes irritates skin because it is a sheep product, so we switched to Hydrolatum at her suggestion. That actually helped for like 2 days – she totally cleared up. And then it came back. We use coconut oil on her head for cradle cap/dry skin there
    • I vacuum a lot
    • We got the dog groomed
    • We try to only dress her in 100% cotton and only wear it ourselves.
    • I cut out dairy

    Sigh. Anyway I’m sure you didn’t come here for an obsessive mom waxing poetic about baby skin. So let’s talk about Riley at 4 months old.

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    She is at such a fun age! She’s learning so many new things

    • She is WAY more aware of everything going on – and very distractible (especially when nursing)
    • She can reach and grab toys and loves to play with her O-ball and little dangling animals on her play mat.
    • She has her hands in her mouth all the time. She has taken to sucking on her index and middle finger and it. is. very. cute.
    • She brings her toys to her mouth and tries to eat them too.
    • She can almost stay in a seated position all by herself, and really likes sitting up (between our legs, in a Bumbo for a few minutes)
    • She likes tummy time for about 5 minutes and then she doesn’t anymore.
    • She is almost ready to roll from front to back. She can do it if I tuck her arm under and kind of coax her to start (she’ll kick her leg over and roll the rest of the way).
    • She smiles and giggles and is just the most fun baby to talk to in the world.
    • She has full-on conversations that are passionate and serious and full of eye contact and awesome facial expressions.
    • She loves music and songs.
    • She is mesmerized by sign language.
    • She loves to facetime and seems to actually recognize people on video chat?? Or at least, she smiles at people on facetime despite not being the type of kid who smiles at the phone when it’s not on facetime. And she’ll have little vocalizing conversations with the phone too. GUH.
    • She recognizes and prefers her moms 😍

    Also, on a less exciting note, she is certainly struggling to learn how to sleep effectively as her little brain grows and grows. I hesitate to use terms like “4 mount sleep regression” because I really feel like those things are kind of made up and in general serve more to give parents anticipatory anxiety than to help describe a developmental phase but… Her sleep has suddenly taken a dive. (and she happens to be 4 months old…). She has always been such a good sleeper! And she still does an awesome job of falling asleep- I don’t have to nurse her or rock her to sleep or anything. She goes down awake and swaddled with a binky (my least favorite part but ya win some ya lose some I guess). So she’s still doing that, but now she’s waking between sleep cycles and having a hard time getting back to sleep on her own. We are kind of sort of if starting to sleep teach? We’re doing some extended waiting before going in to give her the pacifier at night. So far I can stand to listen to the fussing and crying for like 7 minutes before I cave. About 50-70% of the time she will fall back asleep in that time, but will often wake back up crying again like 20 minutes later. We’re working on it. She’s also added back in a 2am wake up which I am so not having. She was on a pretty good steak of sleeping about 6:30-10 or so, then nursing, then back down until 4 or 5, eating again, and back to bed until about 7. I know we’re lucky but also that’s our reality so this new habit of crying and walking up in the middle of the night is rough and I don’t really know what to do about it. Sigh.

    So aside from my current all consuming worry about her skin (oh, and did I mention she might be coming down with something today? Her little cry is all hoarse and scratchy, her lymph nodes are swollen, and she has a low grade fever of 99.7), this is such an awesome age. She learns new things every other day and is generally so happy and playful. I’m so happy Wednesday is finally over because I get to spend the next 4 days with my little love before I have to go back to work. We are looking forward to her 4 month doctor visit tomorrow (maybe we’ll start to figure all this out) and my parents visiting this weekend! Grandma is on daycare duty next week. Any and all positive thoughts about her poor skin are appreciated! Happy hump day. 

    Riley’s birth story

    I keep meaning to write out Riley’s birth story before I forget it. Given that it has been 13 weeks already (edit: it’s been like 16 weeks and I take forever to do anything anymore), I’m quite certain that I have forgotten many of the details I wish I could hold onto, but better late than never right?

    OK so quick recap: at my 37 week OB visit, I was measuring ahead (around 40 weeks), so they ordered an ultrasound. The ultrasound tech’s measurements estimated that baby at 9lbs 12oz at 37 weeks 4 days, so my OB recommended a planned C-section at 39 weeks. I was scheduled for a c-section at 10:30am on Friday November 4.

    Em and I were SO nervous and excited and terrified and all-of-the-feels that morning. We also probably forgot when they told us not to bring everything in with us right away, so we showed up with a suitcase, duffle bag, pillows, etc … it was a little excessive. I actually don’t think what we packed was excessive but we didn’t really think through the fact that it wouldn’t be too hard to go out to the car and bring everything in once we had a room. Apparently Riley was born on a busy day/weekend, because there weren’t any recovery rooms available. So I ended up in a monitoring room for both pre- and post-op until I was ready for a hospital room.

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    The last picture of Riley on the inside! This was the little room we were in before and immediately after the c-section.

    In terms of the actual delivery, once I knew I wouldn’t be going into labor (unless, of course, I spontaneously went into labor before 39 weeks, which I didn’t), the thing I was most nervous about was the spinal. It was a silly thing to be nervous about, it was totally a walk in the park. Just a little prick for the local and then I didn’t even feel the spinal going in. Em wasn’t in the room for the spinal, and didn’t come in until I was already on the table all rigged up with an IV and numb from the chest down. The anesthesia felt warm and kind of pooled in my feet first and then spread upward. The sensation of knowing my body was there but not being able to control it in any way was really fascinating and gave me a new respect for folks with physical disabilities (what a weird thing to be thinking when you’re about to give birth, right?!). It took maybe 10 minutes or maybe 30 minutes for them to prep me. At the time, it felt like an eternity and also the blink of an eye. Then all of a sudden the OB told me they were starting. I couldn’t feel anything but movement and pressure. It kind of felt like they were taking my pregnant belly and just pushing it back and forth. I remember feeling really nauseous at one point, and the anesthesiologist tweaking something which apparently helped as I felt better within a couple of minutes. I think it took about 15 minutes for them to get to the point where they were ready to deliver Riley. Once she was out, the OB asked if we wanted to know the sex, and when we said yes she asked if we’d like to just look. I have to say that I LOVE that the first words spoken to my child weren’t “it’s a girl!” She held up the baby for Em to see, who took a second and then turned to me and said “it’s a girl?!” kind of incredulously. Em had been so convinced it was a boy for the last couple of weeks. Also apparently she took a second because she couldn’t actually tell if it was a boy or girl – the umbilical cord and swollen genitals were throwing her off haha.

    Once she was vacated from my uterus, Em left my side to help the nurses weigh her, get her footprints, etc. Riley came into the world a whopping 10 lbs 4 oz! Our pediatrician later said that c-section babies sometimes have slightly inflated birth weights because they take on some of the fluid that is given intravenously to the mother, which makes a lot of sense.

    Although I wasn’t able to do skin-to-skin right away, they brought her back to me and put her on my chest as soon as they finished weighing her and checking her APGARs, etc. I have never experienced such a rush of emotion as I did when I met her.

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    The best moment of my life. LOOK AT THOSE CHEEKS.

    Overall, I am a little bummed I didn’t have a vaginal birth or go into labor only because I’m super curious. I experienced the whole pregnancy and didn’t get to experience a contraction. But overall, I’m glad I had the c-section. I have really narrow hips and I’m just not convinced all 10+ pounds of her would have come out that way – especially without doing some serious damage. Really, I’m so happy that she is here and that she came the way she did. And I hope that next time I have an opportunity to experience labor and vaginal birth, if it’s in the cards. I guess I really expected to be more disappointed that I ended up having a c-section, but I just can’t bring myself to want it any other way.

    Quick aside: I’m pretty sure these are the first pictures I’ve ever shared of my face. Obviously we are not really “in the closet” about any of this anymore so the need to be anonymous has kind of dissipated. Still, feels crazy after 3 years.

    Anyway … after she arrived I don’t remember too much of the physical/medical things. Actually all I remember was my nurse coming in to do uterine “massage” which should obviously be renamed “uterine murder” or “uterine punching bag” or something. Basically she put her whole body weight on my uterus and pushed all of the extra crap out. Disgusting and also (mostly) very painful. I had Riley with me in the OR recovery room, where we were for about an hour I think. Then they rolled me down to our hospital room. I got SUPER nauseous and told them so, apparently right as we arrived to the room. Instead of just bringing me through the door and into the room, they stopped rolling the bed right in front of the doorway to let me get less nauseous, which I thought was so weird. Like, just take me into the room – it’s right there.

    We were in the hospital for 4 nights (standard for a c-section). For the first 24 hours, I still had an IV, compression things on my legs, and a catheter. Once those were gone, I feel like my physical recovery went really really well. I was able to be up and walking to the bathroom right away, my incision didn’t give me any trouble at all (until around 8 weeks when I started to really up my activity level – then I had a little bit of bleeding here and there for a few weeks). In fact, whenever someone came into the room (a billion times a day), Em and I swear there were more compliments on my incision than the baby. I remember the hardest thing about recovering from the surgery was waiting for the morphine (part of the spinal cocktail) to leave my body because it was making me SO itchy. They gave me Benadryl for it, which helped a  little bit but not a lot. It probably took 2 days to stop itching actually. In terms of pain meds, I just took Tylenol and Motrin for 3 or 4 days and then stopped. I was really surprised at how well the recovery went overall.

    Most of my memories from the hospital are obviously about Riley. I was just so in awe that she came out of me and that all of a sudden we were moms. They were testing her regularly for all of the regular things, but also for her sugar levels, which is typical for bigger babies. Luckily, hers consistently stayed normal (apparently they sometimes drop really low?). Our hospital encourages rooming in, so she was with us pretty much the whole time. We did have them keep her in the nursery one of the nights for about 3 hours between feeds so that we could sleep. Other than that, all I remember is feeding/trying to feed her!

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    Still my favorite picture of Em and Riley. I love how similar their coloring is, despite the lack of a genetic link.

    OK, so the breastfeeding journey … here we go. Her bilirubin numbers were slightly high early on, so they wanted us to supplement with formula as my milk hadn’t come in yet. Our hospital has a wonderful lactation consultant program, and the LC suggested we use a supplemental nursing system (SNS) for the formula – that way Riley was learning to latch and suck at my nipple but also getting the formula. In general, she had a really hard time latching right away. She would get on for a couple of minutes and then pull off/stop. I noticed on the first day that she had a tongue tie. BUT I totally didn’t want to be that person (tongue ties are sooooo trendy, and I know this because I’m a speech pathologist and everyone wants to tell me that their child’s tongue tie is the cause of all of their woes). But seriously, it was significant – her tongue is STILL heart-shaped because it was pulled back by the tight frenulum. And wouldn’t you know, the pediatrician actually noticed it too and had the pediatric surgeon consult. They clipped it when she was just a day old, which is amazingly early (especially given that most pediatricians don’t think revisions are necessary). Anyway, I am quite certain that her tongue affected her latch early on, but so did my nipples and so did the fact that we were both so new at this. Looking back, I wish that I had asked for another day before they had us supplement, because my milk ended up coming in early and I really think that using the SNS affected our nursing relationship. After that, Riley would just get SO frustrated trying to latch onto my nipple without the SNS because she wasn’t getting instant gratification. It took 3 weeks to really get to the point where she would latch on and eat without me enticing her with a bottle first or getting her suck reflex going with my finger.

    Anyway, in addition to the tongue tie, my nipples are apparently not protrude-y enough (::eye roll::), so I was also using a nipple shield. For those of you keeping track at home, so far that’s: tongue tie revision, nipple shield, and SNS. Of course, when you are using a nipple shield, they want you pumping to stimulate supply as well (apparently nipple shields can decrease stimulation), so I was pumping every two hours as well as trying to feed her with the nipple shield and SNS. The one thing that went right is that I was able to pump my own milk really early on, and we only supplemented with formula for less than a day. After that, I was able to use my own colostrum and breastmilk in the SNS. Then, on our very last night, we had the night nurse from hell. I asked her to come in and help us get Riley latched (I was having trouble even with the shield and SNS), and she did not even try to help. Instead she lectured me that my baby had lost close to 10% of her birth weight and I just needed to feed her with a bottle or else she was going to lose more weight and blah blah blah I’m a terrible mother. So, obviously, that night I cried for hours on end and ended up feeding her a bottle, which she actually refused later in the night and we had to finger feed her with the SNS. It was just terrible. And we were so overwhelmed with all of the interventions! Pumping, nipple shield, SNS, and now a bottle – it was crazy. That night left us scarred for days! Thank god for the wonderful lactation consultant, who was the first person we saw when nurse-from-hell went off shift in the morning. Our LC helped us make a plan to get her fed and also work toward breastfeeding. We went home feeding her bottles of my pumped milk, and attempting to breastfeed 3 times per day. We also went home with a follow up appointment on the books, which was really the best part. I felt like we had a plan and a check in and everything was going to work out.

    Now, everything totally did work out, but it took weeks, and breastfeeding/learning to breastfeed successfully was the single hardest thing I’ve ever done. Obviously Riley had some hurdles to overcome (newly freed tongue, etc), and there was no shortage of intervention which I honestly think served to only confuse Riley. If I could go back and do it again, I would ask for an extra day to try to get her eating from the breast before supplementing with formula. I really think that getting used to the instant gratification of the SNS was the hardest thing to overcome when trying to go back to the breast. For the first three weeks, I couldn’t get her latched onto my breast without first enticing her with a bottle and stimulating her suck reflex. Eventually, I was able to get her sucking on my finger instead of a bottle first, which was great. And then she finally started latching on her own and breastfeeding successfully (still with the nipple shield). After all of that pumping early on, I ended up having oversupply. I was pumping close to twice what she needed, so I was able to get a good freezer stash going early on. But with a good supply sometimes comes an overwhelming let down, so even though Riley was able to feed successfully she would often pull off and cry or get excessively gassy from the crazy let down. We definitely had a rough go of things early on! Thankfully, I was able to wean off the nipple shield at about 11 weeks, and she’s now doing great on her own.

    Phew – that was quite a bit of verbal diarrhea. I’m glad I could get it all written down though. I feel like I could write a novel about how hard breastfeeding is but that story has been told (just not to me prior to doing it myself …). All in all, November 4, 2016 was the best day of my life and I am so grateful for every single part of our journey so far. And if you read all the way down to here – good for you, you’re a better blog reader than I!

    12 weeks

    I’ve officially stopped being surprised at my total lack of blog writing. When I’m home with Riley, it’s just really hard to motivate myself to do anything other than play with her, take care of her, or snag some me time. It really doesn’t help that I don’t have a computer. I hate blogging on my phone.

    Which brings me to today, my very first day back at work. Y’all, I feel like I left a body part at home. It is so so emotionally hard. And I really really love what I do. I am happy to be a working person. I want to have a routine and see adults and speech pathologize my patients. But I also feel like I’m missing something major when I leave my baby behind. Yeesh.

    All of that said, it is crazy to feel like I have some time to sit and write a blog post. Work suddenly seems so uncomplicated – I  just have to do my job and pump. Simple as that. Being a mom involves so much less structure! And let’s talk about pumping. Do any of y’all get crazy different amounts at different pumping sessions? I haven’t pumped more than once a day (in the evening) since her first few weeks of life so I don’t have a great barometer to go by, but it feels weird that my 8:30am pump I got 8.5oz and then my 11:30am pump I got 4oz. That’s less than half! Is my 2:30 about to be even less? (Update: I got a little less than 4oz in the last pump session). I know that I’m pumping enough overall to make up for what she is eating but I’m worried about her having enough anyway. Like is my supply decreasing while I’m away from her all day? Will she have enough to eat when I get home tonight? I’m probably overreacting. Emotions. Bleh.

    So here’s the deal. I have a plan to write a post about Riley’s birth and first few days, and potentially a couple of posts about her development at 1 month and 2 months. But no one wants to read a monster post like that, so I think I’ll start with a post about my sweet Riley at 12 weeks.

    fullsizerender

    I can’t believe this sweet baby girl is 12 weeks old. Time literally just flies like a jumbo jet. So fast. Slow the eff down, please!

    This week Riley …

    • Is super smiley, especially when looking at faces up close. This usually means when she’s facing you in your lap or hanging out on the changing table.
    • Once or twice I’ve even heard a giggle. I shit you not. I have a human child who giggles.
    • She doesn’t love being in a half awake state on the changing table. Once she’s fully awake she’s all smiles. It’s weird.
    • Loves her playmat! During her awake/activity time, she can hang out on her back on the playmat for a good chunk of time, wacking away at her animal friends. (Our best friends’ 3-year-old son refers to the hanging toys as “decorations” lol)
    • Eating: She is super predictable and eats every 3 hours during the day. We get one chunk of 6+ hours between feeds overnight, and then another 4ish hour chunk, which is awesome.
    • Sleep: Riley sleeps like a champ at night, in a bassinet in our room. We put her down sometime between 6:30 and 8pm (depending on her rest-of-the-day schedule), and she falls asleep on her own with minimal fussing. She is napping in her crib (!!) about 3 times a day, and will fall asleep on her own then too (swaddled, with music and a binky). We haven’t gotten a nice long nap in a while. She usually caps out at about an hour and a half, but averages 45 minutes. Is this normal? I wish she’d take a long nap like once a day. It would be superb.
    • Play/communication: Her favorite thing to do is coo and babble like she’s having a conversation. Lots of vocal turn taking and even some imitation (ooo vs. ahhh). She’s also figuring out how to make the “attend to me now!” vocalization that is not actually crying. This speechie mom loves it. She’s also really into her hanging toys – mobiles, playmat, etc. She’ll wack, stare at, and talk to them all day long.
    • Motor: Riley loves tummy time, but only for maybe 10 minutes at a time, then she’s ready to not be holding her head up anymore. She’s starting to refine her arm and leg movements to play with her hanging toys, and has even grabbed on a few times. She’s also getting excellent at bringing her hands to her mouth (she puts them together like she’s praying and then brings them up to suck on) as well as to her head where she scratches. Ugh.
    • Health: Poor thing has the most sensitive skin. She has never really not had a rash somewhere on her body. Currently, she has a very persistent neck rash that is sometimes a yeast infection (smells gross ugh), dry scalp that is maybe hedging on cradle cap, and some itchy dry skin that is perhaps in the eczema family (per the pediatrician) on her head and arms and feet. I just hate that she’s itchy. It’s also a bitch and a half to keep her nails short enough that she’s not constantly mauling herself. ALSO she has already had her first ear infection, last week. She didn’t show any symptoms aside from maybe slightly more fussiness than usual? She is NOT a fussy baby so this presented as minimal fussing that I just assumed was her finally being a normal baby. But then she had stuff coming out of her ear so it was certainly an ear infection. She had a couple of days of antibiotic ear drops that cleared it up, thankfully. I constantly worry about her poops. At the moment, I’m worried that they seem more liquidy. Sometimes I worry about their color. Sometimes I worry about their frequency. I wish I could just chill. She’s also a spitter, which is not helping the neck rash because she’ll spit up while she’s lying on her back, no matter how much burping we do or how long we keep her upright after eating. Anyone else have this issue?

    Honestly, she is the. best. baby. And she is my baby. And I can’t wait to leave work early right now and go home to her because I miss her so damn much it hurts. Here’s some more pics because I know that’s what you’re really here for. Now that I’m back at work I play to actually blog, as it’s an excellent procrastination tool 🙂

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    Loving her tummy time mirror. Who’s that cute baby?

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    Seriously, she loves tummy time. 

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    Can’t wait to get home to these smiles

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