Posts Tagged ‘nursing’

Hitched for the Holidays

This week, I am the leading lady in a Lifetime movie plot – it would be a Hallmark Hall of Fame, but their charactersfala are a little too naive for this storyline.

Our first daughter was born just before Christmas; during those hazy midnight nursing sessions, my husband and I discovered Fa-la-la-al-Lifetime.  It beats infomercials and Public Television Membership Week hands down.  These movies play 24/7 throughout the 6 weeks before Christmas and we have seen almost every one.  There are 3 plot lines and the best ones feature actors from my teenage years (I never miss anything starring the kids from 90210).

One of my favorite story lines, and the one I am playing in this year, is the one where a beautiful single person (pretending to be undesirable) is tired of hearing their mom complain about their lack of spouse and they hire a companion for the family holiday festivities.  I don’t want to spoil the end for you, so don’t’ read on if you prefer the suspense. They fall in love with their partner-for-hire and kiss under the mistletoe.

So, as you might have guessed, my version is a little different: my blind date for the holidays is a new miracle medication meant to sooth an ailing digestive system (I already have a handsome man friend). Scorned in the past, I was not hopeful. However, the last few good days have me skipping towards the mistletoe.  On my new pancreatic enzymes, I have been eating without regret for the first time in 20 years. Cue make-over montage, I feel like dancing!

These movies (and med trials) usually have a bit of drama after that first longing-look, so I am waiting for the other Louboutin to drop. But I am hopeful, and isn’t that what this cheesy season is all about?

I hope Santa brings you and yours everything you’ve been wishing for, including a made-for-TV happily ever after.

 

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Birth Story

I am not immune to the allure the birth story. Any mom worth her salt jumps at the chance to share all of the gory details, so please forgive the length of my indulgence and here we go:

This story is quite the opposite of my first tale involving 36 hours of  labor – leading to a grand C-section finale. My Doc recommended against a V-back, guaranteeing we’d have her at the knife and allowing her to control my pain throughout the scheduled surgery.  So we packed up our eldest, took her to Grandma’s house for some insane spoiling and headed for the hospital, labor-free.

It is a bizarre feeling to know when you will give birth, the calm seems ridiculous in some way. I was far more aware of the delivery this time (and the epidural needle), it was incredible and terrifying to take in.  I will remember the very first moment I saw my little one, my Doc popping her squirming, screaming body up over the white sheet, for the rest of my life.

She was born as perfect as perfect can be. Not a single symptom of withdrawal. Not a single symptom…it still fills me with a sense of relief.

For those following along for the pain details, here’s what went down: My Doc left me on the epidural for 24 hours and it worked beautifully. It got me through the worse day of recovery without  hitch.  It was my first day free of pain in 6 years.

The hitch came the next day when they removed the epi and put me on a dose of pain killer. For some reason it was  1/4 of what I usually take and I crashed epically. Enter amazing nurse who ran interference and managed to serve up enough morphine to get me back to sanity. It took 8 hours and I had to drop breastfeeding for  two days to clear the meds from my system.

Enter also useless pain Doc. After the main surgical pain is taken care of, the treatment goes to the hospital’s specialist  – the one damn person I didn’t meet with beforehand. Although he never came to see me in my room, he threw down the red flags and spent 2 days refusing to adjust my pain prescription, calling my Pediatrician to report my drug use. The posse paid off and my Ped came to the rescue – delivering copies of our plan and research. In the end, the pain Doc did visit my room, he thanked me for teaching him something about chronic pain and childbirth. Yes, this man is the only pain consultant in the entire hospital. I take no pride in teaching him, just disappointment at the state of the institution’s pain management.

I resisted the urge to smack him in the forehead and thank him for two days of crazy-ass pain. I was just too delirious with baby joy. We tucked our little one into her car seat, next to her big sis, and headed to our little home… grinning the whole way.

Run Dry

I breastfed for the last time this morning. I am not a woman who loves to nurse, it took Herculean efforts to produce anything for both of my babies. Which is why ending so early is bitter sweet. There certainly is something to looking down onto a completely satisfied face, knowing that I’m providing everything she needs. My first weaned herself at 10 months, about 12 weeks after I received my graduate degree and headed back to work. Life cannot afford me a 7 month maternity leave this time and things have already run dry. The benefits and freedoms of moving on will hit me soon, but for now I am feeling the sting of a far too short baby leave.

I’m trying not to rant here, but this is a national issue and, if I don’t speak, it won’t be corrected. I will not have another baby, but my daughters might and I hope things are better for them. We all know that, when we compare our national maternity leave policy to other developed countries, we come out on the short end. At least 178 countries have national laws guaranteeing paid leave for new mothers. More than 50 nations, including most Western countries, also guarantee paid leave for new fathers. In the US, like most things, it has become an issue dividing the haves and the have-nots. Evidently, family values have a price.

My experience is a shining (or not so shining) example: I am the full-time working mom of a lower-middle class family. My field is small and does not provide paid leave, relying on its employees to purchase disability insurance to cover their own time off. I have the unlucky circumstance of suffering pre-existing conditions, so the Aflac duck rejected me. I had to pay for everyday of my leave out-of -pocket. I took on additional consulting work throughout my pregnancy and its going to take an act of God to keep us economically afloat through Christmas. I have used every second of sick time I have through June of next year.

I’ve returned to the office despite the fact that I am still working with my Docs to get my health back on track, my daughter is up twice a night with colic, breast pumping has failed almost immediately and, lest we forget, my husband and I are suffering the economic stress of digging out while trying to pay for childcare, more health insurance and the looming Santa season. Not shocking that 60% of women who return to work before 12 weeks suffer from diagnosed, medical depression. The cost to employers in productivity and tax payers in welfare/health coverage should be enough for us to reconsider our policies.

Going into the pregnancy we knew that this would be our burden to bare. I did not make the economic downturn, it has denied me so many things but I’ll be damned if it was going to keep me from being a mom. Maternity leave should not be the major barrier keeping otherwise stable families from having children. My baby girl has started to coo at me, so many stories she has to tell. No doubt she is worth all of this, but it is my job to always want more for her. To want more for the families in our country.

MORE information from Human Rights Watch.

Ridiculousness

I’ve decided to choreograph a dance piece called Way Too Pregnant Woman Gets Off the Couch.  A former dancer and current fan of  So You Think You Can Dance, I’ve decided it is the only performance I could ever do better than Melanie. Next up: Too Pregnant Woman Gets Out of the Bath Tub.

I’ve reached a point of ridiculousness, where everyone I run into seems surprised to see me, AGAIN. The neighborhood coffee girl, my office mates…I’m even kind of surprised that my legs continue to get me around. But they have managed to deliver me to the office and four doctors appointments this week.

And, the news is all encouraging:

  • My pain Doc and my OB/GYN actually talked to each other! On the phone! I didn’t know actual communication in the medical field was allowed. This means that my pain management for the C-section and recovery will be planned and in my chart, so as not to surprise anyone on delivery day.
  • My Ped is prepping the chart for the baby’s observation, meaning an unsuspecting Doc on rounds won’t throw my kid into child protection for weird blood levels.
  • And, the lactation consultant has approved my plan to nurse, based on a recent study published by the Journal of Ob/Gyn that found doses of Vicodin as small as mine to be perfectly safe.

I guess the lesson of the week is that preparation is your chronic pain friend, even if it means lots of time in waiting rooms, with people staring at you  – like you might just deliver right there. 18 days left, and yes, I AM going to make it.

The Littlest Rabbit

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