Friday, December 26, 2008

Questions at 3 weeks

Baby turned 3 weeks old yesterday and each day is proving to be a new kind of challenge. Feeding schedules are turning out to be different each day - the sleeping schedule even more awry. Only thing that's been consistent is the 3 hour odd deep slumber after the massage lady does her thing at 12 noon and that is the one thing my pediatrician wants me to stop right away and take in my hands. He doesn't know what he is asking for as it means changing the only constant factor in my life these days - a two hour uninterrupted post-lunch nap for me in the afternoon.

First I thought demand feeding would be good as my baby's demand was coming in once every 2-3 hours. Then when he would sleep for 3 hours in the afternoon, there would be a gap of almost over 4 hours between two feeds, which would make me wonder if I should wake him up in the middle for a quick feed. Last night was such that he was waking me up every 90 minutes for a 30 minute plus feed, which meant I was up for over an hour feeding, burping and nappy changing every one and a half hours - and this continued upto 10 in the morning when he has finally gone to sleep. I did read about growth spurts that happen at certain weeks in babies when their demand goes up suddenly for a few days. I hope it is just that and it is a matter of a few days only - as I don't know if I can really handle the nightly sleep stretches being cut short by half from 3-4 hours to barely over an hour.

In the beginning when we brought baby home, I thought it was only feeding that was the big deal, so promptly kept a feed diary to make sure I was clocking in the said 8-12 feed sessions in 24 hours, which I was and baby would go off to sleep soon after every feed, without me having to fuss over him. Since the last 3 days I have added the sleep column to the diary to make sure he is not turning into a sleep deprived infant. In fact I worry so much about his sleep getting disturbed that I am scared to change his wet nappy in the middle of a snooze, waiting for him to wake up before I do it. The doc again has advised that i change him as soon as I notice and do it unobtrusively if he is sleeping! Yeah right.

As regards the massage and bath, after much dilly dallying I finally said yes to the massage lady who is charging me quite a sum for just massaging and bathing baby once a day, which takes her exactly 20 minutes. As it put baby to a peaceful sleep, I found her totally worth it, especially after I took the necessary precautions of asking her to wash her hands and feet with soap before starting on her mission and placing a clean washed sheet on her legs before she puts baby on it - especially as my baby is a lick-happy one. She comes in at 12 noon and so far I managed to finish feeding baby by 11.30 am, so that he can sleep undisturbed post the massage for as long as her wants to. The last 3 nights or so have been so hairy that both S and me are wondering if it will do good for us to give a warm water bath around 6 pm to put baby in restful mode. Given that we are in Bombay and even December is not really cold, should a repeat bath at 6 pm be alright? Even if we wanted to shift the massage and bath to around 9 am, the massage lady has too tight a schedule to adjust. I would really like to know the experience of the other moms on this. Is my baby having very short sleep stretches at night because of the 3 plus hour nap in afternoon, as I have read on some sites that baby shouldn't be sleeping more than 1 - 2 hours. So does that mean I might as well wake him up in the middle of his long nap for feed and nappy change, let him be awake for a while so that he manages to clock in more sleep at night than in the daytime.

Any answers from moms reading my blog will be highly appreciated :)

Apart from these issues, I am able to recognise 4-5 of baby's stock expressions, which always bring a smile to my face. More about this in my next post.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The birth story

Our baby boy of 3.045 kg was born on 4th December, 8.07 am by an elective C section. While I was always pro normal labour, I gladly went with my doctor's decision of scheduling a C section as the baby's head in the 38th week was pretty HIGH up, in complete contrast to what he thought in the 30th week (that it was somewhat low down). In addition to this my BP had hiked up a bit and the ultrasound showed reduced liquor. Definitely not the kind to take foolish chances, we happily selected 'good dates' for the C section which happened to be 3rd Dec, 4th Dec and 6th Dec, out of which 4th, the Thursday was found good for the operation theatre booking at Breach Candy Hospital where we were registered for labour. Being Avittam nakshatram and the morning hours being the most auspicious, it couldn't get any better.

I got admitted in the hospital on the evening of 3rd (Wednesday), accompanied by my mom, in laws and S. We were all in an upbeat mood and in good cheer - it is kind of odd when you know the date your baby is going to be born, well in advance, and one cant help but feel elated at the prospect of holding baby on that date. Though this was to be my first ever major surgery, I was feeling quite relaxed and happy and enjoyed a full dinner later that evening, with hubby fondly looking over what I called my 'last supper' as a pregnant woman. Later the nurse came over to check if all my ornaments and any nail paint was removed (this is essential when one goes in for any surgery under anaesthesia to check for cyanosis ie. nails going blue due to lack of oxygen in blood). S was sweet enough to remove the paint off my fingers and toes treating me like a real princess. He was to sleep in my room in the couch that was provided. We decided to turn in early by 9.30 as I had to bathe and be ready by 6.30 am as my doc was coming in by 7.45 am. Also I was supposed to be NBM (nil by mouth) from 12 am onwards -which means nothing to be eaten - not even water after my last and final dose of BP medication.

I slept fitfully in 2-3 stretches and woke up by 5.30 am with all excitement of ushering in 4th December. After chatting with S for a while, I went in for my shower as the nurse brought in the gown that I was supposed to be wearing - a long white robe with full sleeves and full back open - to be tied by 3-4 strings (so much for modesty). I was at peace knowing that I wont have to walk upto the Operation Theatre giving a full view of my weighty backside to everyone around (most embarrassingly the family). As I was sitting with the Vishnu Sahasranamam running on my ipod, my mom and inlaws came into the room by 7 am. Before I could completely recite the sloka, the anesthetist came in and asked me to lie down for basic questioning regarding history and allergies and IV line insertion. She seemed like a pleasant lady and I felt in safe hands regarding my anaesthesia - we had agreed upon Spinal anaesthesia at my doc's recommendation. My dear friend P came in at this point as promised. So there were 5 people in all to see me off to the operation theatre.

7.30 am or so, I loaded myself on the stretcher (literally climbed up on the bed and onto the stretcher, back open gown, IV line and all) - the nurses covered me well to save me from embarrassment and I waved a cheery goodbye to my people. The exhilaration of meeting baby was so high that I had no fear what so ever of being cut open. It could also be because I had over 100% faith in my doctor.

My doc was in on time and the wardboys loaded me on the operation table. S was to come in changed once I was under anaesthesia. I was asked to sit up and bend for my spinal. As my anaesthetist gave me a local anaesthetic injection at the site on the spine, I hardly felt any pain of the spinal injection. So this part went off smoothly. I was asked to lie down at this point, and I could feel the numbness creeping up from my toes. I was asked if i could move my toes, and it was a weird feeling that the body was not obeying the commands from my brain. Once confirmed that I was anaesthetised - my doc started his work on me, with S sitting down by my side, holding my hand. I was reciting the Gayatri mantra and looking into S's eyes - it gave me all the strength I needed. We were probably just over 5 minutes into the surgery that I heard baby wail. My body was covered with goosebumps - in my excitement I even forgot to think if it was a boy or a girl. My anaesthetist then told me - Congrats- it's a boy! Our little one wailed and wailed and wailed. The paed was there to check on his Apgar scores and all that - and hubby managed to click a couple of pics as soon as baby was out and at the doc's insistence one with the baby placed on my chest - if there is anything called a Kodak moment, this was it. My doc collected the cord blood for preservation and my baby was taken away to the nursery for weighing, bath and clean up. S was shooed out at this point, so that he could pass on the good news to waiting family.
I was given a sedative so that the stitching up part could begin. It was all over in 30 minutes or so and I was out of the OT, lying on the stretcher - I held my doc's hand for a while, thanking him for everything - and asked him to convey the news to all the familiar friendly people in his clinic.
I was brought back to my suite in another 10 minutes with a severe attack of shivering which required a heater to placed near by head and heavy bath towels covering my ears.
S was busy fielding calls from family and friends - my mom had my mobile which she managed to keep busy for over an hour :) Everyone was ecstatic at baby's safe delivery.
It took a couple of hours to come out of anaesthesia and I was able to feel the pains of the uterus contracting - as the IV drip had pitocin meant to shrink back the uterus. It was not unbearable - and given that I had escaped bearing labour pains, I told myself, I should be able to take this at least without grumbling.
The nurses soon brought baby for nursing and thankfully he was sucking enthusiastically trying to extract the few drops of colostrum that he could manage. Late evening I was allowed my first few sips of water after almost 20 hours of having nothing by mouth. And tomato soup for dinner, which my mom spooned into my mouth. I managed to finish only half the bowl.

The catheter came off the following morning after which I was encouraged to walk to the bathroom. Getting up from the bed, and sitting down on the pot felt like sheer hell. The 4+ pints of IV fluids running into my veins wasn't helping the cause, making me want to get up every few hours. But the ordeal was worth it - early mobilisation after surgery really helps and each time the getting up and out of bed became easier and I became more confident about healing quickly.

The second day and the following two days essentially comprised of me and hubby familiarizing ourselves with our newborn, me learning to breastfeed at regular intervals. Ours was a hungry baby and no way was baby satisfied with the measly colostrum. The nurses said it was regular to give babies a top feed in the first three days before milk flow was established. With a heavy heart I agreed - after consulting my doc. Other than that, whenever baby cried due to a wet nappy - all we had to do was to press a button to call the nurses, who would promptly take away baby to nursery and get him fresh and changed. Baby was all of 4 days old on Monday morning, when I was allowed to go home with him. Baby was put into a diaper for the first time, given a good top feed so that we could commute the 80 odd minute drive back home without any hitches. He slept all through the way and we were home by 12.45 pm.

A new journey started then...