Saturday, August 28, 2010

Baby Happened: The Story

"Good grief, kid," I think to myself at 3 a.m. as Emma sucks down a third ounce of breast milk. It's pretty hard to believe that almost two weeks ago I was feeding her five milliliters at a time with a hospital syringe.

To really start this story, we'll have to rewind to Sunday, August 15th. It was a hot day, but my two cousins and I had planned this trip to the zoo a good month in advance, and there was no way we were backing out because of a little sun. I was smart, packing baby carrots and plenty of bottled water in a cooler (which my cousin Justin graciously carried for me through the entire trip). We got to Toledo about a half hour after they opened and stayed until well after 3. Several offers were made to push me in a wheel chair, but I was determined to stay on my own two feet. We toured the entire zoo, visiting the elephants, the penguins, and, finally, the gift shop. It was a great day that I wouldn't have traded for anything.

Needless to say, I slept in the next morning. I got up around 11:30, feeling fantastic. Now, (guys might want to skip a few sentences) as a woman, but especially as a pregnant woman, I am used to fluids and such in the nether areas. So when I found a teeny bit of clear fluid, I didn't think anything of it. I'd heard that pregnancy can make you a little incontinent. Then a teeny bit became a teeny bit more. I made a mental note, but still didn't think much of it. I put on a pad, figuring I'd check in an hour to see if there was more, and then walked down stairs to let my mom know, just in case. The words that came out of my mouth sounded rather like this:

"Hey, Mom, just to let you know, my underwear was a little wet this morning. I put a pad on, just in case, but I don't think-- Oh my." My pants were soaked.

No doubt about it. My water had broken. I still felt fantastic, though, so I called Meng to let him know, hopped in the shower and got myself around before heading to the hospital. At 1:30, when I checked in, I still hadn't felt a contraction.

Around 4 p.m., the doctor decided to give me pitocin to help the contractions along. I was still pretty comfortable when Meng arrived an hour later.

After that point, my sense of time gets a little hazy. I know that by 6 p.m., I was doing my best to sleep between contractions, and that by 8 p.m., I had asked the nurses to stop chatting in my room and rather rudely told my (abused but understanding) boyfriend to stop munching his carrots. I'm told that I started asking to push around 10, and that I was given the go-ahead an hour later. I must have succeeded in resting a little because for me, the two hours between 10 and midnight felt like a half hour.

After what seemed like 10 minutes of pushing (but they tell me was an hour), and quite the episiotomy (they cut some tissue "down there" and had to sew me up later), Emma made her entrance into the world.

Sometime I'll tell you about how my concept of the 1 to 10 pain scale has been altered forever.

She passed all the necessary tests, but from the start, she wouldn't nurse. I found out later that this is a common problem for newborns, particularly preemies, but at the time I just felt like a failure. A talk with the lactation consultant didn't help. Even using the breast pump they brought me, my supply was going out, and we had to switch her to formula. We used a syringe to feed her, in hopes of keeping her from getting too used to a bottle nipple.

The problems continued all night and into the next day. She was completely lethargic, and wasn't waking up even to eat. She wouldn't even cry. The lactation consultant had told us to strip her down to her diaper to wake her up each time we fed her. This might have been good for a full-term baby, but it wasn't effective for Emma. When the nurse came to take her temperature the next morning, she didn't even register on the thermometer.

After an hour under a heat lamp, and a better controlled environment, her temperature stabilized. She still wasn't eating well, but we were given a regimen to follow and they sent us home. Now, thanks to an amazing Medela hospital-grade breast pump (turns out my supply was going out because the pump at the hospital sucked, or rather didn't suck), and the diligent help of Meng and my mom, Emma is the most ravenous of kiddos, and more than willing to wake everyone up when she's hungry.

After those first two nights, though, I really don't mind hearing her cry.


  1. Yay!! I LOVE happy endings!! and this is most certainly happy! =) but not so much ending..
    I'm so happy for you and meng! I can tell your both wonderful parents and really enjoying it =)
    take care sam! can't wait till i see you and Emma!

    *by the way, that monkey makes a great addition to the family. much easier than getting a family dog, with much more character.

  2. So is Emma breast feeding now, or do you still have to use the pump?

  3. I'm still pumping. We never got the hang of latching. I plan to blog about all the reasons when I have time.